Saturday, February 16, 2019

Parenting Aid Station #1

Big week here.

The toddler had a second dental treatment to seal up a cavity. She handled that well, and my wife took a day to go with her. I haven't taken as many days, but fully prepared to take days when the kids inevitably get sick. I spent a lot of the week feeling like I did not see my kids enough, though. Just tough this time of year.

Valentine's Day is always a minor holiday, but one that we mark in our family with cards and a nice family dinner. I'd gotten cards for my wife and girls (and one for my wife FROM the girls) during a mini errand during the week. Got home on Valentine's day, and my wife went out to pick up some things. I set into starting to make the house ready when the 3 year old got sick, and immediately started showing signs of stomach flu. I went into full adrenaline mode and calmed her down, cleaned everything up and got laundry started after getting her into new clothes.

I told my wife I would take care of the toddler, as the baby is still nursing and she's also in a phase of not wanting to be separated from her mom. I knew I signing up for a long night, and of course it was. The kiddo was sick a couple of more times, and was shivering. We alternated between my cuddling with her, and her deciding she wanted to sleep in a fetal position on the rug. I got about three hours of sleep, but I expect she got four or five.

The next day I stayed home with her, and spent the morning trying to get her to keep down water and some bland food. There's a big learning curve for the three year old and basic how-to-be-sick skills, which seem like they should be inherent. They aren't. And I mean I've studied child development, so I should know that. But I'm stupid sometimes, too. So we had lots of talks about what stomach pain means, how to know when you're going to vomit, where to go and what to do if you're going to vomit. Overall the day was pretty good in terms of recovery, and she took a good three hour nap. She later decided to go to bed around 5:30 pm, and woke up totally recovered.

So thankfully that was a short stomach bug but it would still be fair to say I learned so much about parenting in that 24-hour period. Highlights include:

  • Separate sleeping spaces for the sick kid and whoever is caring for them. Very important.
  • Layer towels for easier cleanup in sleeping area. Your shirt, or a large camping tarp will also do.
  • An actual trash can should be in that space, along with some cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer.
  • A bidet is such a nice to have when your toddler has to go to the bathroom every ten minutes.

I messaged a friend who has a little one, as well, and found out that his five month old spent the entire day screaming for (apparently) no reason. We had a good talk about how we handle that, and I completely related to that from my own kiddos.

The experience got me thinking that what we need is a sort of parenting "aid station" like you'd have in a race. Just a place to come in from working out in the wild, and get some help, to check in and make sure you're OK to continue. That's a decent metaphor for what community is, I guess. My ideal parenting aid station would be filled with warm confident people who have been thrown up on, seen some truly horrible shit, endured no sleep, and kept going. They'd offer you a glass of bourbon and a hammock so you could grab 20 minutes before getting back into it.

Because there's no god damned finish line. And it's work -- and it's also delightful. It's a challenge that makes you grateful for help, but not expectant for it. No judgement. You're doing this shit.

Out for eight and one half miles on the trails this morning (Run streak day 87). A decent amount of ice and mud, leading to an exciting few stumbles and falls. Came home to prepare waffles, whipped cream, and strawberries, which is a favorite of my wife's.

Running has been going well, actually. 40 miles covered with pretty relative ease this past couple of weeks. Forced work stoppage this week means that I'll have more time to run, as we are going to put the kids in daycare at least a couple of those days. I no longer entertain the idea that we'll come out of a break like this ahead of the game -- that's an illusion. But for sure I'll use the time to get some good work in, see some new trails, spend time with my family.

I may even clean the van (@*&k.)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Onward, into the Year

The year is going slow -- which isn't a bad thing. I feel like in a lot of ways all the tracking I'm doing in terms of running has caused me to really pay attention to what is happening. My running is scheduled out ahead of time, with some variation for the weather (because it's freaking cold this time of year.) I'm tracking on Strava, another web page, my dry board, and a calendar near my desk. I found back during training for the Big Sur International Marathon that this was really useful in maintaining a consistent plan.

Have been working through audio books, focusing on the theme of resilience in January. I've worked through one and a half books so far, just in listening while running. Also read about a half of a book of Taoist philosophy (OK, I admit I've read it before, but not in many years.) I want to read more this year, as to set a good example for my toddler who sees us staring at screens more than I like.

Went out to breakfast this morning with the toddler. My wife and I have both been running low on sleep, and she let me sleep early last night (after the toddler went to sleep) so I figured I'd try to repay the favor. We had a good time, and for a three year old that kiddo is pretty good in restaurants. Came home and she played with clay while I took down the Christmas Tree (finally) and cleaned up the living room.

The baby never did let my wife sleep. But I mean, I tried. It was an effort. The baby is doing well -- very smiley, and chatty. Loves her sister. She isn't crawling yet, although she manages to move quite a bit. She seems to really want to stand up.

Nap time ended up being later, which we decided is OK because it's the weekend. I'm off to go running in a bit -- planning on a 10km or so as the sun sets. Tomorrow will be quite a bit warmer, so I'm planning to go run some trails at about mid day. It will probably be kind of muddy. I'll wear shoes I don't love. 

The trail running has been really good for me lately -- and I run them once a week. The same trail loop, about three miles, but often I run more than one loop. As the weather gets nicer I'm hoping to go run some different trails to get used to some different types of trail. I want to do more trail running this year, and perhaps even my first 50km. So preparation will be important. I also am doing enough volume that it makes sense to me to sign up for a spring marathon. I haven't picked one -- yet -- but I'm keeping my eyes open for one. I'm running everyday anyway, and I'm actually getting faster while taking it easy, so I may as well.

I've also been doing a lot of stretching and foam rolling -- much more than I typically do (which is none.) It's been very helpful so far in reducing the pain I had in my right hip, and piriformis muscle. So that's a good thing. I'm also up in terms of weight, even though I'm still watching what I eat. My legs look particularly muscly, so I'm hesitant to cut more calories for fear that I'll burn the muscle. But I'm going to try some stuff, because I'm worried about carrying all the weight with the volume I'm trying to run over time. Truth be told, I don't actually have any idea what I should weigh, or what I'm carrying and how. So maybe I shouldn't care anyway.