Today was the last day that Little A will be attending daycare. I know that many people dream of being a stay-at-home parent, but I’m just not entirely convinced that it is right for me. Which is really a way of saying that I had to try extremely hard not to bawl my eyes out when dropping her off and picking her up today. Which is bizarre because it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was even more upset dropping her off for a few hours when she first started daycare. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my children, they are obviously the most beautiful, talented, wonderful, intelligent kids ever, it’s just I am floundering a little when trying to work out how to achieve a life-balance. I know this sounds ridiculously self-indulgent, but I can’t help but feel like the next few months may continue to feel like they are taking place underwater. That each day is a matter of just getting through, minute to minute, hour to hour. I’m also concerned for Little A. She is such a bright social little butterfly, I worry that I can’t give her the variety of experiences and socialisation that she is getting at daycare. I am aware that the things I can see us doing are the things that I enjoy doing and she enjoys doing, such as crafts and baking and reading. The physical side of things and the exploring of the unknown we’ll just have to figure out somewhere along the line.
I’m not rabidly ambitious by any means, but what I do is important to me and my sense of identity. When we first moved to the States, to Smallsville, Midwest, I could not work because I didn’t have a visa, while L had a relatively high profile new job. One of the things that I found hardest was suddenly being perceived solely as L’s wife. Because we also collaborate, for a while that element of my life felt just like an extension of what L did, as if my work was to supplement his. I was also pretty unhinged when we lived there, which could account for some of my crisis of self, at least. My biggest fear at the moment is that I won’t manage to make a success of my grand plan, and I’ll just be the girls’ mum and L’s non-working wife. Of course I realise that the newborn/ toddler combination is more than a handful, and that things will get easier. And maybe parenting will be all I achieve for a while, it is certainly all-consuming and exhausting. I am just wiped out at the moment, but there are so many things I want to be doing. But without resorting to amphetamines, I have no idea how to make that happen. Well I suppose there is a New Year just around the corner, and setting overambitious ridiculous expectations for yourself is what resolutions are for.
Anyway, on the plus side, L put up the Christmas tree today. We bought bounceable not smashable decorations from Ikea the other day in purple and silver. The tree looks beautiful, if a little “department store does Goth”. Or Goth lite. Like maybe Norah Jones singing Sisters of Mercy covers. We got some other stuff sorted out today and removed all the cardboard from the hallway and stairs. The house looks much bigger. If you’re ever feeling claustrophobic, I would recommend taping paper to your floors or walls, leaving it up for a few weeks then tearing it out. Hey presto! An enormous house. Tomorrow we have mountains of stuff to do before picking up our guests. Currently they have a bed to sleep in but no sheets. We should try and remember to work on that.
This evening we made Chicken Cutlets on Buttermilk-Cheddar-Chorizo Bisciuits with Tomato-Olive Salsa Mayo which would have been pretty straight-forward if we’d concentrated on cooking. Instead we were simultaneously decorating the tree and entertaining Baby N. Amazingly it would seem that twinkling tree lights plus shiny things plus somewhat inattentive parents are not conducive to calming down an overtired baby. We suffered a meltdown like we haven’t seen since the early weeks. Poor little mite was obviously totally overstimulated. Anyway, eventually with the help of lots of rocking and shushing and a darkened room, the little one calmed down. But not before it sounded like she was being severely tortured.
The biscuits were made from a packet mix with added cheese and chorizo. The chicken cutlets (chicken breasts in our case) were fried in olive oil with dried coriander, salt, pepper and lime juice. The salsa mayo was made with chopped tomatoes, red onion, parsley, olives, lime juice, hot sauce and mayonnaise. The whole lot was put together as if it was a burger, with a lettuce leaf thrown in there for good measure. I’m always a little disappointed by the biscuits made from a packet. They look just like really good cheese scones, but always end up tasting a little institutional. Still, the cheese and chorizo were definitely great additions to the mix. The chicken and salsa mayo sounded less than appetising this evening, but actually they were much better than expected. There were plenty of different tastes and textures at play, and the chicken was particularly good. I was wary of the raw onion + mayo combination, being fans of neither, but actually everything worked well together so that the final effect overshadowed any particular ingredient.
Tomorrow we will be making Spinach and Spicy Ham Pasta Bake, probably for lunch as our guests arrive at dinner time. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the people, we last saw them when we went home for Christmas way back in 2005 when Little A was just Baby N’s age. I’m guessing that the adults will all look the same, albeit fatter and more tired looking, but between us we now have 3 kids and that’s just bonkers.