Friday, 18 September 2015

Unintentional crossfit for parents

Well, I am exhausted. And my muscles are already sore, an hour after my unplanned extreme workout. So, tomorrow is going to suck. But hey, maybe this will catapult me towards getting back into shape post-new-baby!

I haven’t written any posts for a while, mostly because I haven’t had any unstructured freetime, and partly because a month of prodromal labor, having a baby girl, and then learning to take care of two kids plus my dilapidated body sucked up all of my remaining energy for those pockets of time that I may have had.

Anyway, enough complaining. Let me tell you about our awesome morning, so you can wallow in jealousy!

I woke up to the sound of light rain, which is odd because it’s September and I’m in San Diego. As I told my mom 10 years ago when planning my wedding with no back-up plan for rain, it would be a miracle for it to rain here this time of year. The next day after saying that, of course, there was a crazy tropical thunderstorm. It doesn’t often rain here this time of year, but it obviously can.

The next thing I did was take a mental inventory of all of the inconvenient things I had left outside: approximately 6 rugs, a baby bouncy-chair, an old couch, a pile of random clothes I had accumulated in the car and thrown onto the deck to be dealt with at some unforeseeable time in the future when I had nothing better to do, and 2 loads of laundry no longer drying on the line.

We all got up, the husband went to work and I did the breakfast routine. These days it mostly consists of letting Ryder eat Lucky Charms and then watch cartoons (educational ones!) while I nurse the baby, put in my contacts and try to find some clothes that will allow me to nurse easily while being a color/fabric that hides absorbed spit-up, and attempt to drink some coffee before it gets cold.

I suggested some cozy indoor activities for the morning, but Ryder pointed out that we could also go splash in puddles. Of course! We got out his rainboots and rainjacket, I put Adelaide into the Moby wrap, and found our gigantic golf umbrella. We headed off towards the canyon at the end of the street, splashing along the way. I mentally whined to myself about the weight of the umbrella.

Totally ready for absolutely nothing

I was quite pleased at the science-observation opportunities on our walk: we were discussing wind-blown currents while floating an abandoned flip-flop across a particularly large puddle, and gravity and erosion while exploring the miniature waterfalls running down the side of the sandstone canyon. We followed the main flow of water down to the bottom of the canyon, where it infiltrated and disappeared, then back up the other side. I had never been that far along the trail and was enjoying the exploration as much as Ryder.

The trail lead into a big empty lot that we traversed, only to find ourselves trapped by large fences. We backtracked and found another exit through a neighborhood. By now Ryder was totally soaked, as his rainjacket turns out to be totally non-waterproof (how useful!) and of course all the puddle-splashing had filled his boots to the brim. He also mentioned that he was hungry, which for some annoying reason sent my insulin production into overdrive and I started getting minor low-blood-sugar shakes. I had not anticipated such an expedition so had no supplies of any sort. We were about ½ a mile from the house now, and our lovely and fun walk was threatening to disintegrate into unhappiness. So, I encouraged quick walking towards home by splashing through the mini rivers in the street gutters to keep up morale.

About ¼ mile from the house, we had The Incident. Ryder tripped and went down face-first into pavement. There was blood and loud crying originating from his mouth and nose, and I feared displaced teeth or a broken nose. The teeth appeared intact on first examination, so I decided we needed to get home out of the rain to actually do anything useful towards soothing him. Of course, it’s hard to walk while crying uncontrollably when you are 3 years old, so this meant I had to carry him.

I was already carrying Adelaide and the large and heavy golf umbrella, so I had to get Ryder onto my back and hold him with one hand while trying to keep the baby somewhat dry with the other hand, and then run home. Halfway there, the holding arm gave out and I had to drop him and try to get him back on with the other arm. Let me tell you, it is hard to get up from a squat carrying 45 pounds of children with no hands to help steady yourself. Also it is hard to run with said burden, particularly when you are trying not to let the infant’s head bounce too much on her weak little neck and everyone is now wet and slippery and the heavier child is doing almost nothing to help hang on except scream loudly into your ear. Luckily, I had randomly decided to wear shoes instead of flip-flops this morning. Also luckily, adrenaline counteracted my low blood-sugar so I did not end up a crying mess myself.
The start of the canyon, when the walk seemed like a great idea

I have never been to crossfit, but my understanding is that it goes something like this: 
-Instructor tells you to do some unreasonable physical activity
-You try and stop when you are tired and can do no more
-Instructor forces you to do more
-You do, and destroy your body
-Repeat and get fit eventually
I could be wrong, but if that's the way it goes, parents should be quite to used to the concept: Don't think you can go one more night without unbroken sleep? Too bad! Endure 2 more years without it!

On the way to the house, I mentally prioritized the order to address all of our issues. First, I didn’t want to destroy our newly-laid wood floors, so I planned to run us all into the bathroom to drip. Then, since the teeth were intact and I didn’t think there was much to do even if the nose was broken, getting Ryder dry and warm seemed most important (after the floors, of course…). The baby was sleeping still, despite the ruckus, so I planned to put her on the guest bed and hope she would just stay asleep while I got Ryder sorted out.

First, the useless raincoat came off and into the shower. Ryder kept wailing about his face until I explained the dryness plan, and then he helped by taking off his boots and pouring the water all over the floor – at which time I remembered I had not resealed the tile grout since ripping out and replacing the tile after the toilet leaked underneath them. So I mopped that up and then got the rest of the soaked clothes off and a dry towel around the now-whimpering instead of screaming child.

Then of course it was time to clean up the blood and assess the damage. Ryder let me gently clean his nose, and poke around without much fuss, so I figured it wasn’t broken. The lip was gigantic, and upsetting him, so we agreed that he would try an ice pack while towel-enrobed on the couch, as long as I also brought Lucky Charms to him with no milk and 2 bowls, then separated out the charms for him. Of course the baby had woken and started to fuss for milk, so I had to settle Ryder as quickly as possible while she worked up to full-volume shrieking and he continued to request additional items that I could not hear over the baby-distress-call.

But soon we were all on the couch, and I was using one arm to hold and nurse the baby while feeding cereal to the 3-yr-old with the other, as he could apparently not use his own. As I realized I had successfully not allowed either child to be seriously damaged, the adrenaline wore off and I started to seriously shake from my need for food. At this point I also wondered how much more broken I had just become: the doctors had explicitly told me not to lift Ryder or other heavy things for several more weeks. Oops! Our western nuclear families are so annoying; there is no help for the parent, so one must learn to just suffer quietly. As long as the kids are alright, we are supposed to just smile like benign martyrs.

So, I gazed lovingly at my little darlings. At least I won’t have to go to the gym ever again.

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