I haven’t written a blog in a while. Did you miss me? I see the last one was on my three new year’s resolutions, which I broke by the middle of January. Oh well, I’ll try again next year.
The reason I haven’t blogged is because I’ve been too tired. Like smashed tired. Like totally whacked with exhaustion. Like bulldozed by fatigue. At the end of the day, when Alastair says he is tired too, I explain to him that my feeling is not the same thing as he experiences after a busy day at work. It’s more intense and far worse, thank you very much. It is out of my control because even a good night’s sleep doesn’t solve the problem. It’s as if I have something growing deep inside me that’s sucking out all my energy.
And then it turned out that I literally do have something growing deep inside me that’s sucking out all my energy. I am pregnant again. I have 11 friends who are struggling to have children so I am endlessly grateful to be pregnant and extreme tiredness is a small price to pay when others who I care about absolutely ache to be in the same position.
It’s different being pregnant for a second time. There’s no time to rest. I just have to suck up the tiredness and nausea and soldier on. Every morning I wake up at around 5h45, when Megan springs out of bed as if she’s been shot out a cannon. I don’t stop all day until about 20h30 when I face plant into bed.
Kids are full on. I’ve realized they operate on a binary level. They are all zeros and ones and nothing in between. They are either on or off. Megan is on all day except for a pit stop for a brief power nap. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Her energy means she’s happy and healthy and that’s a good thing. I just need to catch up.
I also haven’t blogged because I haven’t had time. It is strange to say that because I often feel quite bored and some days stretch out in front of me, blank and long. I’ve been grappling with this guilt lately – how I can possibly feel bored when I get to spend the day with my little poppet whom I love to bits.
After chatting to a few friends, I’ve realized it is ok to say that a 18 month old baby is boring to hang out with because the simple and widely accepted fact of the matter is that 18 month old babies are boring to hang out with.
Boredom is helluva tiring. I play on the mat with her and we throw shapes into a plastic bucket or arrange her farm animals in a row and I think, ‘Well that must have taken 30 minutes or so’ and then I look at my watch and only 5 minutes have passed.
18 months is an awkward age. Megan is full of energy but is not able to channel her exuberance in a focused or entertaining way. She can’t talk so she articulates her needs through various levels of crying and whining. She wants me to play with her and be with her all the time but she has a 1-minute attention span, which is my constant challenge.
Megan prefers to skitter round the house and wreck destruction, like a happy tornado. She unpacks all her toys, my groceries, the pots and pans, the Tupperware and the recycling bin. She unpacks, undoes and unloads but she is not at the level where I can say, ‘Right Megan. Let’s tidy up. Help Mommy put these things away.’
We can’t cook or dance together or build a puzzle or construct a house out of sheets or watch cartoons (educational ones in French, of course) or play with her dolls. I’ve tried reading her books but she sits on my lap and flicks through the pages or just rips them out altogether. Alastair asked me not to let Megan tear her books but he doesn’t understand that while she quietly shredded pages out of ‘Juliette Learns to Potty’, it gave me 20 minutes to frantically reply to a few emails.
I need to embrace and appreciate this phase because it won’t last forever. I know I will look back on it and wish I appreciated the quietness and the alone time with Megan.
I’ve also realized that, as a tired mom, I must chill out and hang loose. I can’t do everything and be everything and it is ok to let some things slide, such as my personal appearance. I look like I live in a trailer park. The other day, when we were going out, I felt particularly scruffy and asked Al if I looked passable. He said, ‘For someone who got ready in 15 seconds, you look amazing.’ I don’t feel bad though as most of my friends look as if they’ve been dragged through a bush backwards. That’s the reality of being an expat without access to family or affordable help.
Another reason why I haven’t written any blogs is because I have had a little of The Black Dog. Not in a bad, slit-my-wrists sort of way but a big enough dose to make me feel flat. I think it is primarily the weather.
I wish I didn’t have such weather-dependent moods. It’s been cold, grey, damp and miserable so of course that makes me feel a bit cold, grey, damp and miserable. I accept that someone with my kind of personality shouldn’t be living in Europe. I should be based in the tropics, like in the Caribbean. Next year, we have decided to break up the winter with a trip to South Africa.
Speaking of South Africa, I’m homesick. I ache for Mama Africa. This happened before – every two years, Europe starts to get under my skin. I am over the dead-pan, brick-wall customer service. I am tired of the cold of both people and the weather. I am weary of being on the back foot because I can’t speak perfect French.
Mostly, I am over ham, cheese and bread. I can’t face another croissant. I am craving a chicken mayonnaise toasted sandwich or a fat, char-grilled steak cooked SA-style. My cousin was here for a week in September and was overwhelmed by all the bread, bread and more bread in Switzerland. She said, ‘If I have anymore bread, I’m going to shit out a baguette.’ At the moment, I feel the same way.
Anyway, things are looking up. The first trimester will end so this tiredness should stop. It’s February and spring is coming soon. We will go to South Africa in December. And, right now, my mom is here. Happiness! She’s a champ. She fully embraces Surycz hospitality which is, ‘Welcome. Make yourself at home. Clean my house.’