New Year's Resolutions, How Am I Doing?

I started my 2012 resolutions on January 3, and am checking in just over one week later to take stock. I am an avon mom of five and there is much to get done, much to resolve!

Okay, so it’s been over one week since my January 3 date for 2012 resolutions or goals. I thought I’d check in with myself and see how I am doing.

1. More sleep.

Well, Tuesday night, I decided to put the baby down one hour later, at 8 instead of 7, to see if she would go later than the scary (horrifying really) 5 a.m. wakeup that has invaded our life of late. And, presto! – she slept till 6:30. It was such an amazing treat this morning, lying in bed, and waking up (on my own accord!) around 6, getting to hug Theodore, who was thinking some thoughts, and, most of all, feeling rested! And then, only after all that, did I hear her up. I went upstairs and got her, warmed her milk, changed her into her clothes for today, fed her, enjoyed every second (most importantly), and then she and I went down to get ready for the morning, Theodore now up and hanging out with us in my bathroom, playing cars with her which he’d brought from his room. And it was still before seven when we went in to say good morning to Christiane and Constantine – Woo hoo!

Plus, I’d gotten to bed super early last night, after saying goodnight to everyone for seemingly hours. Sitting with Christiane and Constantine as the baby played with her dad, then getting her to sleep, then the boys needed extra kisses and hugs good night. I do love this – all of this, I have to say, clearly: I loved the bedtime routines, the rituals, the saying good nights, the books read, the hugs and kisses given, the songs sung. How every night is some version of the night before and how they all fall into some sort of flicker book where you flick the pages but the movement only alters slightly.

Each set (and single) has their own ritual. For Clea-Noelle it’s the bath with music on in the background and playing silly tea set in her tub. Then getting her dressed for night on the changing table, and fun there, then a bottle with warm milk, brushing her teeth, and on most nights just rocking her to sleep. But last night she played for about 40 minutes and then was rocked to sleep to stay up later.

The boys get baths, play this game to see who can hold their breath the longest underwater. Yes, why would we ever do anything simulating drowning in the tub? How crazy are we? They like to time themselves, especially Theodore with the counting, and they last about 16 seconds.

Then the boys get ready, (we sing this song as we dry off, them in my arms like when they were babies, called Jenny Jenkins, where you rhyme with all the colors Jenny Jenkins won’t wear…). We read books, Theodore drifts off and plays with his cars and keeps running back to the book to let us know what’s going to happen next in the plot.

Then hugs and kisses and bed. And then more hugs and kisses, and then, leave the door open, that much, this much? No, this much.

C&C do baths, get ready, read books, sing “Just and boy and a girl in a little canoe…” that I learned when I was a camp counselor out in Fire Island. Then we do the “Wheels on the Bus” song, and we put all sorts of people we know on the bus, Ms. Debbie their teacher, or Alaska our cat, and sing about what they might do. Then hugs and kisses and bed and rearranging their blankets in the dark for a number of minutes until they are okay with me stepping out of the room.

Sometimes I sit on the couch as they fall asleep. And Christiane keeps asking me questions from her bed, making sure I’m still there.

So, sleep. Okay, better. If I get to bed early. If CN (Clea-Noelle) gets into a rhythm around the 8 p.m. bedtime and goes later in the morning. We’ll see.

But, okay: check.

2. Fotis, my husband.

Why do I always feel like a failure along these lines? We did go to Miami for New Year’s, I did water ski with him for a couple of days. But once back, the move looming, the kids back in school, and now showing Yorgos what to do, I am a bit overwhelmed and outstretched, and it’s him whom I shortchange first. I won’t stay up watching a movie I don’t care about if it means that I will be a walking, sleep-deprived zombie the next day. I don’t do anything spontaneous and “fun” during the school week, for fear of losing tight controls on the moving machinery of our daily routine. I do schedule dinners with other couples we like, and tonight I am getting a babysitter so we can go out and see a movie together, and spend that time. I know it’s not enough, and it feels measly to me too. I am hoping that after the move, that there will be some breathing space, and levity all around, but I know that the moment of change is always in the present moment, what you choose to do right now. And that a smile, a warm embrace, a moment to listen, to breathe with the other person, goes a long way to creating an overall more loving atmosphere, no matter how little time there can sometimes be for just the two of us. Together, alone. To make the small interactions count more. Or just to have a language around the fact that, gosh, this is a really busy time and I don’t see you that much right now, and it’s hard and no fun and I miss you and I miss feeling less tense and I miss us just kicking back together and feeling more freedom to indulge in pure, clear time with you.

Hey, HB, If you are reading this, I do. Really. Miss. You.

3. Writing.

Check, check, check. I am (look at me right now!) doing the writing I promised myself I’d do. To feel like myself again, to taste the person I actually am, deep down there, if I rummage around some. It’s important and life affirming and just so dreadfully needed right now. I don’t have a friend to sit and talk about all this with at 4 a.m. or at 1 when they are all sleeping and it just comes and I love it so. I do, and so I thank you thank you thank you to anyone who is reading this. It feels beyond wonderful, beyond important to me, right now, today.

4. Running.

Check, check, check. Yes. Every day pretty much. Without fail. I am thankful to God for my legs, for my body to be able to run, to running that it exists and that I can enjoy it! It is my single, most loved, most cherished form of exercise. I love getting ready for the run – tying up my sneakers gives me a huge surge of amps. I love the start, the middle and yes, the finish of each and every jog that I take pretty much. I love running totally, madly, completely. A huge Love of mine in this lifetime. Amen!

5. Finally – The kids!!!

I am doing okay here as well. Spending great time, busy time, normal time, even “fun” time with them, throughout the day, feeling connected in wholly different ways to each one right now. I still wish it were easier for me and Petros not to clash on small things, I still wish that I had 24 solid hours for each and every one of these amazing, sparkling, soul-affirming, five outstanding kids. I just keep going, keep connecting – as much as I can — all day long.

It's Jan. 10 and I do ballet again with Christiane, and then we do our toes together! Hers green, mine the palest shade of pink. The baby is walking even better now, across whole rooms almost! And she loves my hoots and hollers and cheers, Go Clea-Noelle, Go!! I commended Petros on his truth-telling, how that whenever I ask him a question he always, without fail, answers truthfully, and I love this about him. Theodore, my angel. Helping me entertain the baby this morning so I could brush my teeth and wash my face before the start of the day shifted into first gear. And Constantine, my perfect child, who woke up happy, ate his breakfast, did everything Right and just so, almost invisible, as he does every morning. He’s a bright, calm, needed part of our often messy, out of the lines formation. I look at him, and see a child almost raising himself. (He taught himself how to walk, one day just stood up and walked across the playroom and never looked back! We’d hadn’t even realized he’d been practicing!) Smiling, making up his own language and laughing away at what he just said, to himself. He enjoys just being here, being part of it, this jam-packed, but hopefully joyous, hopefully moving us all forward – each and every second life of ours – train.

If I could take a mental snapshot of today, this morning, of all of you, Constantine, you’d be laughing, delightful, pure, light, a little bird, who has not yet learned that he possesses wings, and someday, when they grow strong and heavy about your arms, will enable you lift up, to take flight.

But for now, you are tucked away, home with us, in this very safe, very snug – nest. And we love you.

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