Life is a Ferris Wheel
We had a good day, despite the fact that, once again, I barely slept last night and was a little worried about my mental state now going on three days/nights of exhaustion. Right after breakfast, we drove up to our old neighborhood in Minneapolis to visit some friends we don't see often enough anymore now that we live almost an hour away. Julia and her toddler buddy drew with sidewalk chalk in the backyard, played with a dollhouse, had a snack, and then we all walked to a nearby playground where the two mamas (both of us pregnant) sat sweating in the extreme humidity and the two toddlers explored. In the early afternoon, Julia and I hit the road for home in hopes of snagging a nap. Naturally, Julia didn't sleep in the car, and only napped an hour once we got home, but all in all it was a good mini road trip and fun to see old friends again.
I'm glad my three days of solo parenting are almost at an end, and yes, this stint did test my pregnancy energy (or lack thereof), but my overall impression of this week was that it was a lot easier than I expected it to be. (Note that this is not the same thing as saying it was EASY.) I've been thinking a lot about this. Is it, as a friend of mine with a preschooler once described after her spouse took a ten-day work trip, the fact that when you know you don't have anyone coming in to take over your parenting shift, you somehow produce MORE patience and energy rather than less, because part of your brain adjusts to the knowledge that you don't have a choice? (Also note that the idea of a TEN-day stint of solo parenting, rather than the THREE I have just withstood, gives me the shakes and causes me to count my many blessings.) Is it the power of sheer determination and strong espresso? Is it adrenaline?
I suspect that a big part of it is that, along with the fact that obviously Julia has changed since she was smaller and needier, that I have changed too: that I have more stamina as a parent than I once did, and more than I knew I had---stamina that has grown and developed like a muscle over my past two years of parenting, without my even realizing it at the time. It's nice to know that it's there for me to call on when I really need to, despite how depleted I may feel much of the time these days.
Unrelatedly, I'd like to report that my sweet and smart daughter has tagged as her current favorite song a very charming Dan Zanes tune about a Ferris wheel called "Wonder Wheel," which is so clearly a lovely allegory for, well, life: "I went to a weekend fair/met someone while I was there/we put flowers in our hair/and rode the Wonder Wheel/So begins another day/crazy stops along the way/think of funny things to say/and ride the Wonder Wheel..." Julia loves it, and before I even noticed it or what it was about, she was saying "Yet's yisten dat one AGAIN!" in her wonderfully enthusiastic way every time it played on the stereo. Well, why not, I say.