Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper (Hindrance?) Part II

Hardly Working

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to work part time. I work in the office two days a week and a few hours from home the remainder of the week. Basically, I get both the benefit of being a stay at home mommy and the uninterrupted professional time that I need to stay sane. It’s the best of both worlds.

Although I do most of my work at home while Macie is napping, I usually do between thirty minutes to an hour of work while she is playing. Macie, being such a curious baby, is very interested in all things work related. As soon as I get my laptop, paperwork, and pens out she drops her toys and toddles over to get in on the action. Macie giggles and grins as she bangs on the laptop keys and tears up any piece of paper she can get her hands on. The end result is that I sometimes spend half my time pushing Macie’s fingers away from the keyboard and trying my best to keep documents out of her reach. Some people are notorious for spilling coffee and/or food on work they do from home. I’m known for bringing work from home that is crumbled, has milk on it, or a corner eaten off. Is the “baby ate my homework” excuse as lame as the “dog ate my homework” excuse?

In addition to helping me advise students, Macie also thinks I need assistance with my homework. Macie adores books of all shapes and sizes so anytime I bring out a textbook she sits in my lap and listens to me read aloud. The problem with this is that she gets bored after I read two sentences and turns the page. As you can imagine, I don’t retain a whole lot from these read-aloud sessions.

Cooking and Cuddles

To be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time slaving away at the stove. No one would accuse me of being Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, or Rachel Ray- cooking is not really my shtick. I don’t relish time spent in the kitchen, carefully plan out detailed/laborious meals, or take much pride in what I produce on a day-to-day basis. I am fortunate to have a husband that does at least half of the cooking (if not more), and when I do cook it is just to avoid having to eat out.

Macie, on the other hand, is very interested in the cooking process. She wants me to hold her when I am stirring, mixing, scooping, etc. so that she can see exactly what I am doing. Her big blue eyes carefully take in the process and her mouth is set in a determined line (usually she bites her lower lip), as if she preparing for an exam on each step later that evening. Unfortunately for Macie, I can’t always pick her up while I am cooking- some tasks require both hands. Unfortunately for me, Macie doesn’t usually take this denial of involvement well. This often results in at least a stage one or two meltdown- she even bit my inner thigh once in retaliation. Although cooking one handed can be a little difficult, cuddling with Macie and watching her learn how things work makes the chore slightly less disagreeable.

Cleaning and Clinging

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m not exactly a “Suzie Homemaker” type. I’m not your stereotypical 1950s style stay at home mom, Stepford Wife, that takes care of the children, cleans the house, and cooks gourmet meals all while looking effortlessly glamorous.  On the contrary, I can do only one of those things well at one time and I always choose Macie over cleaning, cooking, or primping. I view domestic work as unfortunate tasks that cut into my “me” time (what little of it there is these days between Macie, work, and homework).

When I do clean the house it is often with the assistance of my “little helper”. Macie always wants to be doing what I am doing. If I play with her toys, she plays with her toys; if I do homework, she does homework; if I cook, she cooks. Cleaning is no different. When Macie notices me picking up, folding laundry, sorting mail, doing dishes, dusting, and cleaning the floors she wants me to hold her so she can “help”.  I make it a game by letting Macie hold things we are putting away, and encouraging her to clean up her toys. I am looking forward to the day when she can really help me domestically instead of just creating messes to be cleaned.

Makeup with Macie

Since Macie started crawling and cruising she has been constantly on the move, but now that she is walking I can’t keep her still for a moment. She loves walking from room to room, leaving destruction in her wake, and objects to being confined in any way. When I shower each day I have no choice but to put her in the crib….and I have to hear her protests, yells, and bored ramblings as I make myself presentable to the world. In order to limit her “suffering” I usually take speedy showers and let her “help” me with my makeup (the little that I wear on a daily basis). Macie eagerly grabs my makeup brushes and moves them along my face then leans back and inspects her finished product with a satisfied/proud grin. She wields my makeup brushes with about as much coordination as she does coloring with markers. The results are similar- lots of sporadic and random lines and streaks.

Bootcamp for Babies

I’m sure you have noticed a theme by now. Anything I can do Macie can do better J. Clearly this baby always wants to do what I am doing- at all times. Working out is no exception...which, again, makes the process more difficult but more entertaining. I have been working out with a personal trainer at my local gym for almost a year now and Macie has become a regular at the in-house daycare. My bubbly, cheerful baby gets a huge pout on her face as we near the gym’s daycare and she clings for dear life when I try to leave to work out. When I finally break away from her grasp she often wails as if I have abandoned her. Usually my trainer, Sam Patryn (AWESOME, by the way), peeks in on Macie to say hello, which usually results in more tears from Macie. I think she blames Sam for taking her mommy away.

Macie finally got her chance to work out with me when we went to one of Sam’s Saturday morning bootcamps, which are usually outdoors. I did not have a babysitter but I figured Macie would play in her pack n’ play with some books and toys. Wrong. The five minutes Macie spent in the pack n’ play were spent sobbing and reaching for me. I felt bad for Macie, as well as the other boot campers having to hear her cries, so I ended up doing the workout holding Macie. At this point Macie weighed a good 19 pounds, so she slowed me down considerably, but I was doing lunges and squats up and down the basketball court with the rest of the girls. Macie was having a blast giggling and kicking her legs in excitement. Now anytime I work out at home and Macie is around (which occasionally happens due to time constraints) she yells “UP” and wants to be held while I sweat along to Jillian Michaels style torture. While I don’t prefer to work out holding a 20-pound baby, it’s better than not getting any exercise in at all. Sometimes you do what you have to do- and Macie really enjoys the movement. 


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