A Week of Money: When you turn into a brain dead workaholic zombie
??:?? — Baby Bun squealed. Now I am awake.
??:?? — Baby Bun round-house kicked me in the face. I am trying desperately to sleep because I’m so tired but my sleep is restless & dreamless.
6:08 a.m. — I am still not sleeping well during the night after hearing the news, so when Baby Bun wakes up, my brain starts racing about all the things I haven’t thought about, I can’t fix or control, and I can’t go back to sleep easily. During my tea-making I decide to offer to help go there and pay for everything to relocate my aunt.
8:19 a.m. — I start a load of laundry and decide to take Baby Bun to the park going down in the elevator with my partner who is going out to get groceries for the day. I want to be out in the fresh air and just numb my brain for a while.
9:08 a.m. — At the park, I let him run free while my brain drifts off, listening to podcasts.
10:18 a.m. — I take him back home and feed him his lunch which is a range of vegetables with pasta. I lie down with him, and we read together. More brain-numbing in process. Plus, I want to enjoy Baby Bun and nuzzle him, he is really quite cute when he’s reading. When he wants me to read a word, he puts his finger on my mouth and says: “Mommy?” He used to just say “Mum?” because he was having to ask so many times that it shortened.
11:02 a.m. — My partner comes home and we have a quick lunch together. It’s usually just cheese on bread, or some ham with butter on bread. It isn’t the healthiest thing in the world but Baby Bun already got his serving of vegetables so I’m not concerned. Baby Bun eats his second lunch with us. I start getting ready to go out, but am sort of aimlessly moving from room to room. I don’t know whether to go to the library today or go downtown. I really just want to lie down and read or watch videos but Baby Bun won’t leave me alone if I am at home.
12:36 p.m. — I am out the door and on the metro. $2.25
1:12 p.m. — I decide on going to Starbucks to relax, but.. to not relax, really. Whenever I am in a café, I always feel like I could be doing other things being toddler-free, like check out things in stores, speedwalk from one to another, etc. I always have this urge to multi-task and work 24/7. It’s terrible.
1:15 p.m. — Out of inattention, I reload my Starbucks card with $25 before realizing I still had $18 on it when I check the receipt. Darn it. I take a piece of cake with the balance, it’s cheaper than a hot drink and just as sugary. $25
1:44 p.m. — I get up off the Starbucks chair and decide to go eat some dumplings because I eat my feelings.
2:18 p.m. — I order a platter of deep fried shrimp, pork and coriander dumplings and inhale them. They were smart enough to give me my $6 change back in coins so I could leave a bigger tip (they gave me three $2 coins instead of a $5 bill and a $1 coin). I don’t fault them for that hustle (holla!), so I leave a generous tip. $16
2:22 p.m. — I walk to my bus stop all the way across 4 metro stations and enjoy the fresh air. I’m listening to America’s Test Kitchen, a podcast I newly discovered and love but is now defunct (BOO!). I listen to old episodes anyway. They talk about cooking tips, history of foods, and feature guest chefs as well, like my favourite Dan Barber who wrote a fantastic best-seller called “The Third Plate” which I highly recommend.
2:48 p.m. — I get into another Starbucks and just sit there, listening to podcasts. I don’t buy anything. I’ve spent enough today.
3:45 p.m. — On my way to the bus, I spy a little baby strapped to her mother’s chest and fondly remember when I used to “Chimparoo” with Baby Bun. I loved having him against my chest and toting him around town, it was so much easier than a stroller. I suddenly miss my warm toddler. $2.25
4:15 p.m. — I get home early but I feel a bit dizzy from the bus driver who drove like a maniac. I slowly change into my lounge wear and lie down to try and stop from throwing up. Baby Bun buzzes around me like a baby bee, excited I am home. He sits on me when I am lying down (and he is DANG HEAVY), and wants me to constantly stand up to play with him. “MOMMY UP? MOMMY UP?”
4:45 p.m. — I give up on trying to rest and do it in between doing a shared reading of The Big Red Barn with Baby Bun (his new favourite book, I knew he’d love the animals!). I patiently wait in between each word to get him to read it (Mommy doesn’t help unless he really needs it).
5.35 p.m. — We sort of made it through 3/4 of the book. I’m brain dead. It is mentally numbing to do shared reading with a toddler.
6:37 p.m. — Down for a quick dinner of chicken wings and bread. I don’t find chicken very tasty as of late, so I try to subtly hint that I don’t want it any more and would prefer wild game or seafood… It sort of falls on deaf ears. I give up. He cooks, I eat. I’m too lazy to take on the former task. We chat about random stuff, gossip about neighbours and talk about world events.
8:37 p.m. — Bedtime.
??:?? — Baby Bun face-kick with a knee.
??:?? — Aggressive Baby Bun bum in my face.
5:08 a.m. — Baby Bun. We spend the next 3 hours playing and spelling. I’m exhausted so my responses are slow and in between dozing off, and Baby Bun gets very frustrated with me, understandably so.
8:19 a.m. — I decide to take Baby Bun out to get him out of the way while my partner cooks (he is driving me crazy, this toddler), and we go out on a single metro ticket for a round trip. $2.25
8:29 a.m. — I took a notebook along so I could plan out the trip for the end of the month to go help my aunt. I make a mini schedule day-by-day, I list everything that has to be done, asked of agencies, unanswered questions in general, completed and verified, along with hotels and flights. I fill up about 10 pages of thick, furious writing. My brain can’t stop.
10:08 a.m. — I spy the time after spending almost an hour watching trains arrive and leave, and quickly get him to our next bus stop to get home so we don’t have to pay again. $0
10:48 a.m. — We’re back from our single ride jaunt, and it’s time for lunch. I’m slightly refreshed from that trip because I managed to finally nail down the schedule day by day along with other things that have to get done, so I feel like I am more in control of what needs to get done, and I won’t forget anything. I feel much better about the whole situation. Planning means that I will spend a week instead of 3 weeks getting things done, and that means less money and also less stress about being away from my baby. I hope he doesn’t think I’m abandoning him.
11:02 a.m. — We sit down at the kitchen counter for lunch. (Baby Bun usually squeals: “SIT SIT!!!” and points to his Stokke chair because he knows if he is sitting in that chair when food is being made and/or Daddy is in the kitchen, there is a GOOD CHANCE he’ll get fed something or another. LOL. That comes from his aunt.)
12:36 p.m. — My partner is out the door for his errands as Baby Bun goes down for his nap. I pull out my notebook to start planning everything into a neat little document with tables.
1:12 p.m. — I’m watching videos in the background without a purpose, and turn it off to concentrate better. When it is high-intensity stuff, I can’t watch videos and do it at the same time. Focus requires absolute silence and concentration because I am hearing myself think and talking back to myself, which can’t be done with ambient noise or chatter.
2:12 p.m. — Baby Bun is up, and I clean the entire kitchen, wash all the dishes and coax him to be quiet while I am doing it so we can go to the park later which will give me a break as well. I also make him clean up his toys and things before we go (it kills time and gets the place clean, win-win I say..)
4:16 p.m. — We make it to the park! It only took him 45 minutes to clean everything along with threats of: “OH SO NO PARK THEN?” Even when I am at the park, I am still making more notes about what to do, what to buy, how to plan everything. I don’t want to miss a thing. My brain can’t shut off.
5:26 p.m. — I get Baby Bun back home, lured with the promise of a whole avocado for himself. As we are taking our shoes off, my partner comes in the door. It’s tight in the front hallway but we make it work.
6:12 p.m. — We have a light dinner of bread and cheese, and play together as my partner putters around the apartment checking for things to fix, and I turn into a “Mommy Mountain” for Baby Bun’s trains and buses.
6:42 p.m. —My partner takes the grill out and is getting ready for a Summer of Grilling. My mouth waters at the idea of grilled zucchini and seafood (fish, and octopus) on the barbecue.
6:45 p.m. — I log back in and continue with the notes and scheduling. What is frustrating me is every time I get a plan nailed down, someone (lots of someones) who thinks they know better, emails me with suggestions, changes to the plan, more notes, and seriously annoying hiccups they didn’t think were big deals but are SERIOUS things because they screw up my perfectly orchestrated plan that has flexibility for changes. I’m annoyed by all these family BusyBodies who have tons of suggestions but are too lazy to do the actual work that goes into it. WTF.
7:24 p.m. — Story time, and I warn Baby Bun we’re getting close to bedtime.
8:12 p.m. — Bedtime.
??:?? — Why won’t this child sleep? WHY? WHY?!?!?!
6:24 a.m. — My partner is gone off to work and I start cooking vegan burgers. I’m adding chia seeds this time to see if it adds something different to the recipe.
7:00 p.m. — Everything is done and in the oven. I start on the dishes.
7:24 a.m. — I finish washing all the dishes and start on a Green Smoothie for later. Baby Bun LOVES these.
8:24 a.m. — I put the smoothie in the fridge and tell him we eat Lunch first, then Smoothie. He nods and wants his lunch now, then.
8:55 a.m. — He scarfs down his lunch and then says: SMOOOTHEEEEEE???????? with a big smile. I give in and we share a large glass. I mix in the apple cider vinegar at the last minute so that it doesn’t curdle the milk ahead of time, and it gives a nice probiotic boost.
9:35 a.m. — He finishes his smoothie and I log in to blog and read emails. I have a bunch to go through because I’ve been sort of off social media lately and haven’t felt like myself. I still want to finish the schedule but know I have to at least keep the blog afloat.
10:55 a.m. — He wants to go to the park, I tell him we will, after his nap and if he behaves.
12:04 p.m. — He goes down for his nap but it takes him a bit to fall asleep so I know he won’t be up until 3 or so. I quickly log in and start working on the plan. What also sucks up time is having to read and learn about Medicare, Social Security, researching cities and towns in different states I think will be safe, and all the things we don’t consider. I also map out all the places to go to, how long it will take (approximately), hours they are open and think about how to make this super efficient so we don’t keep driving back and forth and wasting time.
2:23 p.m. — I take a break and wonder if I should make chia pancakes. I sort of want some with lots of sugar. LOTS OF IT.
2:55 p.m. — Screw it. I make chia pancakes. Just as I am frying them he comes out, and he points to the counter as high as he can reach saying: “PAAAH-CAKE??“… I gave birth to a glutton. A mini-me, essentially.
3:45 p.m. — After chowing down pancakes, I take him out to enjoy the day at the park after he cleans up his things. I take my notebook and am pleased that I have crossed out so much, but have way more questions. I keep writing down things I don’t want to forget.
4:15 p.m. — We finally make it to the park, as it took him half an hour of dilly-dallying before he got his shizz done (meaning, to clean up the mess he made).
5:05 p.m. — I spy my partner coming home and wave to him excitedly from the park. Baby Bun waves too. My partner makes a U-turn and comes around to hang out with us at the park, which is a really nice treat.
6:05 p.m. — Back from the park, I clean up, get changed, and flop exhausted onto the bed. My brain is tired.
7:15 p.m. — I feed Baby Bun a light dinner (he wanted oatmeal and a banana), and my partner and I download the day together.
8:25 p.m. — Bedtime. Baby Bun doesn’t even resist, he flops down and sleeps readily.
5:11 a.m. — Baby Bun slept solidly but wakes me up quite early. It is like we can’t win. Either he doesn’t sleep well at night, or he wakes up at the crack of dawn. WTF. I log in and start working on the schedule as much as I can, researching mostly because Baby Bun is super clingy today.
7:11 a.m. — Daddy leaves.
8:01 a.m. — Baby Bun plays around me but I pretty much ignore him. I figure this will not scar him for life, but I need to get this done ASAP.
10:11 a.m. — I take a break to eat lunch and feed Baby Bun early. I’m still reading up on low income seniors, calling a ton of places. I add an extra 1000 minutes to the cellphone, knowing I will probably run out in not time. $20
12:11 p.m. — Baby Bun gets bored (I think) and tired, and goes down for a nap on his own, he also woke up super early. I think he has a sense that Mommy is a bit stressed these days and he is acting slightly better, or maybe I am just ignoring him and he’s taking it like a champ.
1:31 p.m. — I finally get a hold of my aunt in the U.S. (they keep hanging up on me, not knowing how to use the hold/transfer buttons on the phone), and get some basic details from her. She’s all over the place and scatter-brained but 100% all-in her mind and body.
2:11 p.m. — My partner emails me saying he has a client dinner tonight he can’t miss and won’t be home until later. He tells me so that I don’t worry that he is dead or in an accident if I don’t see him by 6 p.m., I decide that once Baby Bun is up from his nap we’ll go do something. I need a break and a treat.
2:13 p.m. — Speak of the Baby Bun and he will appear. He’s up and wants milk. I tell him we’ll go on the bus if he is good and he is SUPER excited.
2:31 a.m. — Baby Bun is running around the apartment picking up his toys and putting them away, excited for the bus. He grabs his shirt and pants and waits patiently for me to clothe him and then he zooms off to get his socks, squealing: BUS BUS BUS BUSSSSSSS BUS BUS BUS!
3:01 p.m. — I finally get out the door with him after having to dress him, myself, and remember my wallet. I take him downtown, walking around, trying to have some fun with him to take my mind off things. $2.25
3:11 p.m. — I love my outfit today. It’s one I have been wearing on repeat because I can’t be bothered to waste brain cells on dressing right now, when I have so much to get done.
4:11 p.m. — I take him to eat something and decide to splurge today. I ask him if he wants braised beef noodles or a pork bun, and true to his nickname he says: BUNNNN? BUN? BUNNN??… I buy three pork & vegetable buns which he devours happily with me, and three steamed cakes for a treat (I eat most of them, as I don’t want him getting used to the sugar, or so I say…but really I need the comforting sugar). $16
5:37 p.m. — I DEFINITELY miss the free transfer back home because I am way over the 2-hour limit. I also made Baby Bun walk a lot (couple of metro stops), and as a result I decide to let Baby Bun leisurely watch the trains for half an hour, then we get back on the bus to go home. $2.25
6:38 p.m. — It’s a beautiful sunny day. We finally get home and in record time because the bus driver was at the end of his shift and drove like a MANIAC. I had some heart-stopping moments gripping onto Baby Bun thinking we were going to crash. He was seriously putting the pedal to the metal, I think we narrowly missed a bus and a car at least 10 times.
7:01 p.m. — I log in online, do my emails, and continue researching.
7:51 p.m. — I log off, get Baby Bun into his “night underwear” (a pull-up diaper) and get him ready for bed. As we’re reading a book, my partner walks in from the meal.
9:31 p.m. — We both finally fall asleep, because he was debriefing me about what happened and we couldn’t stop talking even well past Baby Bun falling asleep. We’re going to pay tomorrow.
6:01 a.m. — I spend the morning working again on the trip.
8:01 a.m. — Baby Bun is whiny and wants attention periodically. I take a break to give it to him but then go right back to researching online. A lot can be done with a toddler if you know how to give them attention when they really need it (e.g. tickle fests for 15 minutes and then “Mommy has to work!” which he understands now, and seems to have learned he has to be quiet when I am on the phone….90% of the time). I feel bad but not really.
11:07 a.m. — Baby Bun and I get fed, and I get him ready for his nap at noon.
12:31 p.m. — I shuffle him off to his nap and kiss him. I’m now mapping the crime statistics against the rentals I am looking at, and proximity to bus routes, if anyone is interested you can use the LexisNexis Community Crime Map for this.
2:01 p.m. — Baby Bun wakes up and I decide to take him out on the bus to buy some stamps to mail my taxes as a break. I forget every year (in hindsight) that I already have those stamps and end up buying more. Argh. $5.85
2:11 p.m. — I find this outfit I have on, to be another favourite staple. It is so easy. Jacket, top, pants.
2:37 p.m. — I decide not to take the bus back and to make him walk 3.2 km which is 2 miles. Crazy? Maybe….. but let’s see how far he makes it.
3:21 p.m. — We make it quite far, about 2 km when he starts to flag in his energy and wants me to carry him. I lift him up and carry him for a block, then set him back down to walk again. This repeats itself for 3 more blocks until we get home. I didn’t carry him that much but his limit is about 2 km (and now we know!)
3:57 p.m. — We make it back home and Baby Bun doesn’t want to go to the park. He wants to go home and read books and cuddle in bed.
4:17 p.m. — We cuddle up in bed and do a shared reading of a book (which takes FOR-EVER). I’m brain dead.
5:07 p.m. — DADDY!!!.. and the book is only 3 pages from the end. He gets distracted in between the words and sentences, but then gets mad if I fall asleep (he taps my closed eyes) and squeals: READ READ! if I try to doze off or do something else. I’ve secretly just started reading an ebook behind his head so he can’t see me and we do shared reading while I’m actually reading.
6:03 p.m. — We have a nice meal of salmon and avocado together, and my partner and I chat. I gently bring up that I will have to go for a week to help my aunt. He isn’t thrilled with the idea of having to handle a toddler all by his lonesome but hey.. I can do it, and so should he (so goes the mantra I keep repeating to myself). He goes to bed in a bit of a fury, pulling the covers over his head, turning stone-faced. He’s angry.
7:30 p.m. — He gets Baby Bun ready for bed while I wash my face and brush my teeth. Would you believe that as I am brushing my teeth I keep reading my book? EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.
8:07 p.m. — We’re in bed, lights are almost out, I’m almost passed out. People say that you need time AFTER kids go to sleep but frankly, who has the energy for that?
But I am not going to make him walk 3 km again; now I know that 2 km is this toddler’s limit.
??:?? — He burrows into my back like a koala bear, and tries to get on top of me to sleep. ARG. I AM NOT A BED.
6:01 a.m. — I spend the morning after making tea, working, searching and reading up on everything I can about the U.S. and policies or help for the aging. Blog readers have been awesome pouring in suggestions of where to go and things to sign up for as help. THANK YOU. It has made my job a lot easier.
11:01 a.m. — Baby Bun and I get fed.
12:01 p.m. — Baby Bun is down for his nap, and I decide to take a break and watch brainless videos to let my brain rest. I can’t help myself, so I log in to the blog and start rescheduling posts and fixing things up. Now that I am double-scheduling my posts these days (I post at midnight and at noon), I only have posts until mid-July. Hmm. Better get on that…. but after this plan is done.
3:01 p.m. — I make Baby Bun clean up his toys and mess before we go out to the park. It takes him 27 minutes to do just that little bit of cleaning and that’s with prompting and threats.
3:29 p.m. — We finally get clothes on, a hat and head out the door. I decide on something with flat shoes this time.
4:00 p.m. — We make it to his favourite park which is about 30 minutes away, walking. He likes it because he can play on everything by himself without my help. He still doesn’t play well with other kids and cries when they take things away from him or bully him. I see a kid eye Baby Bun and make a comment about his “too big coat” and I wonder if he’s trying to make fun of him. I don’t say anything because I want Baby Bun to learn how to handle his battles but I think that he doesn’t even know the kid is trying to make him feel bad.
4:09 p.m. — I wonder how it’s going to be when he’s older. I’m already feeling very protective as I see him come across even the tiniest bit of bullying… it’s going to be hard to hold back and not fight his battles for him. I need to start teaching him assertiveness. Not to become a bully, but to stand up for himself. Is it too young for this?
6:29 p.m. — We finally make it home and he seems happy but not worn out. Maybe I should have made him walk another 2 km. LOL.
7:22 p.m. — We finish dinner and I quickly log in to do a bit of blogging and social media, I feel like things are just going downhill there.
8:03 p.m. — I log off and go to wash my face, brush my teeth and get in maybe 20 minutes of hurried reading.
??:?? — This time his hand slapped me in his sleep.
6:11 a.m. — I keep working on the plan. I basically don’t do anything but take mini breaks to take care of Baby Bun and work.
11:01 a.m. — Baby Bun and I get fed.
12:17 p.m. — Baby Bun naps. I keep working. People keep changing the plan, I am wasting time, and I finally lose it on my mother who has great “suggestions” about things, and tell her this is the plan and end of discussion.
1:31 p.m. — I take a break when Baby Bun wakes up, and we clean up the messy apartment. I quickly run a vacuum all over the place, and we go to the park.
3:41 p.m. — Back from the park. I just want to get this done. They keep changing cities on me, and each time it changes, I have to redo the research all over again, look for more rentals, etc. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING.
6:04 p.m. — DADDY! We have a short meal, and my partner is still not happy with me and the situation but at least we’re talking and he isn’t stone silent.
8:44 p.m. — BEDTIME. DEFINITELY BED TIME. He turns into a monster when it is close to bedtime and starts asking for water, more books, playing with trains. Very frustrating. My only defence at this point is to tell him I’ll take him on the bus tomorrow IF HE BEHAVES AND SLEEPS.