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Time is On My Side

A Bundle of Surprises

Jacqueline Fennington
MSN Class of 2010

(2/2012) I was supposed to write this article five days ago, and then life got in the way, preventing me from writing anything. It is now the end of the month and I am rushing to get it done. This is the story of my life.

As I sit down to write this article, I realize that I lost my train of thought I had three weeks ago for a good article… It was one of the moments when I was removed from the world, an outsider looking in, simply taking in the world as it passed by in front of me. I was sitting right outside Lucy’s room on the floor against the wall, patiently waiting for her to doze off to sleep before I would sneak in to give her one more kiss goodnight. While I waited there, I heard cars speeding by outside and I thought, "Why is everyone going so fast?" It was a weekday around 8:00 p.m. – where were people going? That’s when I lost my train of thought because Lucy was officially asleep. So naturally, life continued on, I stopped daydreaming and returned to my nightly routine – one more hour of work, laundry, fold the laundry, realize there is more laundry to do the next day, prepare Lucy’s food for the next day, write tomorrow’s to-do list of all the stuff I didn’t get to today, and then get tired enough to call it a night.

I begin every day with a plan of action. Well, my plan of action starts the night before with vowing to wake up early. Sometimes I even set the coffee pot on delay brew, thinking the smell of freshly brewed coffee will lure me out of my comfy bed while it is still dark outside. It never works. I also set three separate alarms at night that are strategically timed thinking I will trick myself out of bed. That works on occasion, but I usually end up staying in bed and repeatedly pressing snooze every 10 minutes. Lucy is the most efficient alarm clock!

Lucy is more than my alarm clock; she is the deciding factor of whether or not I will follow through with my plan of action for the day. For instance, if all goes according to plan, Lucy takes two naps and I can usually get in most of my work hours during that time and then start dinner before Sean gets home. If she never has an explosion on her clothes (we’ll keep this polite and refrain from too many details), then I never have to do an impulse load of laundry or give her a bath when it’s not bath time. This situation is fairytale and rarely happens.

Some days Lucy naps twice for a total of five hours and other days she only naps once for two or three hours. Almost every day there is at least one explosion that ends up all over Lucy and her clothes. There is no point in trying to clean it up – just stick her in the tub! Then comes the laundry, the folding, more laundry, more explosions, and on and on. I rarely get dinner started before Sean gets home.

As I have admitted before, I am obsessive compulsive about writing to-do lists and I also love schedules and routines. So, for when the babysitters come, I wrote out a schedule about Lucy complete with notes and instructions for everything imaginable. Well not everything…

When my first babysitter, Traci, started watching Lucy, I never gave her too much detail with instructions because she was familiar with infants and only had to play with Lucy for a few hours. I gave Traci instructions about feeding Lucy a bottle, but other than that everything was understood. Easy stuff, right? I felt like if I gave too many instructions it would just be annoying.

One day I come home from work and ask the usual question, "How did everything go?" expecting to hear the usual response, "Great!" but not this time! Traci began to nervously tell me that Lucy had a little bit of an accident that turned into a huge mess. She ended up stripping Lucy down and putting her in the bathtub because it was the only solution to the disaster that occurred. Who knew such a tiny, cute little baby could make such a big mess! Poor Traci didn’t even know where Lucy’s towels were and, thinking on her feet in the moment, ran to my bedroom to use my big towel for Lucy. Traci thought the accident was her fault for putting on the diaper wrong and kept apologizing as she was telling me what happened. I guess I didn’t do a very good job preparing Traci for everything!

I just laughed and told Traci not to worry, that it wasn’t her fault at all and that Lucy has these explosions almost every day. She was shocked! I don’t know if that was too comforting to hear, but at least she knew it wasn’t her fault. The same thing happened the past three times that Traci has babysat. Lucy must really like her! And Traci must really like Lucy because she miraculously keeps coming back for more. The last time Traci was here, I warned her that I thought Lucy might be testing her because it seemed like little Lucy saved up her explosions for when Traci was here. When I returned home from work that day Traci said the same thing happened again and agreed that Lucy was definitely testing her. We’ll see if she comes back this week!

I am living and learning as a new mom. Now whenever a babysitter comes over, I go over every situation imaginable in extreme detail. It is probably information overload, but at least I am covering all bases. First I take the babysitter on a tour and show her where everything is, and then we go through Lucy’s routines. Now I have Lucy’s handy dandy schedule typed up and on the fridge, which should also cover all bases.

No matter what I do to "cover all my bases," there will always be a surprise waiting for me. Every day is a surprise and an adventure. When I go into Lucy’s room every day to say, "Good morning," I wonder what new thing she will do that day. Like I said, she is the deciding factor of how my day will go. So far I like her plan of action better. I may not get as much done on Lucy’s plan, but it’s more exciting and impulsive than mine.

Read other articles by Jacqueline Quillen