It's been a very full weekend, and the best part about it has been the realization - at about 11:30 this morning - that there's still A WHOLE DAY LEFT tomorrow! Yay, long weekends!
Because of my flex day, this weekend is actually four days long for me. I know, I am spoiled. On the other hand, this weekend was a first for Gwen and I: Chris has been away for the majority of it, and won't be home until circa dinnertime this evening. She and I haven't spent so much time on our own since the halcyon days of maternity leave. Although I am very much looking forward to Chris getting home, it's been fun to have this time with Gwen.
On Friday morning Gwen and I met our friends Tricia and Reilley at the water park in Departure Bay. We had a great time. None of us had ever been there before, so we didn't know what to expect. The park was great, with a terrific variety of fun water-spraying, -squirting, and -shooting toys. There was even a little waterslide. Reilley and Gwen loved it! I think we were there for nearly two hours.
We got home, had some lunch, and I put Gwen down for her nap. She goofed around in her crib for nearly an hour, and then slept for THREE AND A HALF HOURS. Dude. We will be re-visiting that waterpark. The fact that her nap started late and was so long meant that she woke up shortly before 6pm, when normally we would eat dinner and then start getting her ready for bed. That ... didn't seem like a good plan. So instead I gave her a snack and then we went out to the library and the grocery store.
(Aside: I highly recommend doing your grocery shopping at 7pm on a Friday. The store is completely empty.)
After a quick dinner and some playtime, Gwen went to bed.
Saturday morning was the part of the weekend I was not looking forward to. In fact, I was downright stressed about the logistical challenges of it. I had yoga class at 9am, and since Chris was out of town I needed to find someone to look after Gwen: Tricia had graciously agreed to help out. All I needed to do was get Gwen to Tricia's house, which wouldn't be a problem normally but I have a carpool buddy for yoga class who usually picks me up at my place. So instead of just driving to Tricia's and dropping off Gwen, I waited at my house for my carpool buddy, who parked her car at my place and got into mine, where Gwen was already installed in her carseat. Then we drove to Tricia's and dropped off Gwen and her stuff. I felt bad, too, because I have never been to Tricia's house before, and I would have loved to hang out and have a tour and a bit of a visit and hear about their renos and so on, but my carpool buddy was waiting in the car. We got to yoga in plenty of time despite my worries, and had a great class. After class, we drove back to Tricia's and picked up Gwen and an unexpected treat: not only did Tricia and her partner look after my child for an hour or so, but they sent us home with tasty baked goods. Yes, again, I am spoiled! I was glad to be able to give one of these treats to my very patient carpool buddy, who was waiting in the car as I packed up Gwen's stuff.
I dropped her off at my place, and then headed down to the ferry terminal to pick up Sally. I was a bit late, as I'd known I would be, but I'd warned Sally about the difficult logistics of the morning so I knew she wouldn't be panicking quite yet. Once Sally had joined us, the day got a lot less complicated. We three ladies headed home for a very relaxing day of admiring Gwen, lounging in the yard, eating quesadillas and chatting about all manner of things. I think this was the first time I've gotten to hang out with Sally one-on-one for any length of time, and it was a lot of fun. We can't wait to do it again.
While Sally and I were lounging in the yard, Gwen was napping ... and napping ... and napping. We looked at the clock and realized that (a) she'd been sleeping for about 3 hours, and (b) Sally would soon need to leave for the ferry. I went to wake Gwen up while Sally gathered her things, and after giving Gwen a snack we headed to the ferry terminal to say our goodbyes. As I pulled away from the terminal my cellphone rang, and I immediately thought it would be Sally calling to tell me she'd forgotten something, or that the ferry had exploded, or something. Instead, it was Chris, who was in Parksville at an Iaido retreat. The workshop was over for the day and the participants were all heading to the Sensei's house for a barbecue - did Gwen and I want to come and hang out? Since I know a few of the people involved and they are usually eager to see Gwen, and since she'd had a three-hour nap, I agreed. After a quick stop at the grocery store and then another quick stop at home to throw some things in a bag, we headed to Parksville.
We spent about an hour at Peter-Sensei's gorgeous home in Parksville. Gwen mostly played on the grass with a beach ball, which she found fascinating, and I found far less stressful than watching her shove entire grapes into her mouth. At 7pm - Gwen's usual bedtime - there was no movement whatsoever towards the "dinner" part of the evening, but fortunately I had brought along the leftover quesadillas for Gwen to eat, so she had already had her dinner. As she was showing signs of tiredness, she and I said our goodbyes and headed home (Chris was camping over with the rest of the workshop participants). I was a little irked when people acted surprised that we had to leave so soon after arriving; it always makes me defensive, like I'm being a party-pooper or something. But if someone shows up at your party with a toddler, you don't generally expect them to stay until all hours, do you?
Anyway, Gwen and I came home and Gwen went to bed. I puttered around the house for a while, tidying up and wondering what to do with my night off. I am still not sure why the fact that Chris wasn't home, and wouldn't be home all night, made it feel like I ought to do something fun and indulgent just for me. After all, I'm a grownup, and can generally do something fun and indulgent any night I want. In any case, I watched a movie I had borrowed from my parents (I am Sam; verdict: thumbs down) and went to bed.
Gwen slept in a bit this morning, which was lovely, and also made me think that perhaps we could go to church. I got her dressed and gave her breakfast, then got ready to go. In fact, I pondered, we even have enough time to walk to church if we want to: we live about a 15-minute walk away, and I love to walk if time allows. I put together a diaper bag, including a snack and a bottle, and got the sling (for the service) and the stroller (for the walk) all ready to go. That's when I realized I had left the sunscreen at the previous day's bbq. With only a few minutes till we needed to leave, I looked high and low for another bottle, but there was none. I'd sent one bottle to Gwen's daycare; I had another one in my office. But there were no more at home. Chris wouldn't be coming back from Parksville until that evening, and as I looked around at the gorgeous weather I knew it would be a shame to stay indoors all day. But as I wasn't willing to let Gwen be outside even for a few minutes without it, we needed to go buy some.
I packed her into the car and drove to the nearest drugstore. No good - it doesn't open for another half an hour (coincidentally, the same time church starts). Okay, the grocery store then. We raced down there, and I put Gwen in the sling and headed in for our one lone item. Of course, once I found the sunscreen (or, as it is called on the aisle sign overhead, "Suntan Lotion" - they REALLY need to update that) I was paralyzed by indecision. There are a LOT of different kinds of sunscreen, y'all. And they range in price from $3.49 to $13.49, for reasons I could not easily discern. I finally decided to just grab the $3.49 bottle, since after all Chris would be bringing home the preferred brand that evening.
Minutes from a clean getaway, I scanned my purchase at the self-serve checkout. Church was due to start in about 20 minutes, and if we wanted to walk we had only a few minutes to get home and get sunscreen'd up. Naturally, the sunscreen I'd chosen was not ringing in at the correct price, so I had to wait for someone to come and punch it in manually, which took two tries.
Raced home. Slathered on the sunscreen. Strapped Gwen into the stroller. Strode quickly towards the church. Enjoyed the sunshiney beautiful day along the way and felt proud that I'd managed to get some exercise in.
About two minutes away from the church, I saw a couple walking the opposite way on the sidewalk. As they came closer, I recognized Helen, our former landlady: she owns two condos in a beautiful building in Departure Bay, and rents one of them out to supplement her disability income. She has a degenerative disease that is causing her to lose her sight. Chris and I had moved out of our apartment there when we became pregnant and bought our house.
I knew that I could easily walk by her without her seeing me, since she is nearly blind, but I chose not to. As she approached, I said, "Helen, is that you?" and introduced myself. She gave me a big hug and was very happy to see me. "Here is my daughter, too," I said, guiding her hand towards the stroller. "Oh, I'm so glad," she said. "I had wanted to call you and ask how things were going, but then I wasn't sure, you know ... you never know how things go." We talked for a few minutes and then she went on her way and I on mine. I was really glad I'd run into her, and knew that it had brightened her day as well.
We finally made it to church, and yes, we were a bit late. But the people at my church are very gracious and kind. One woman found an extra chair for me and put it at the back of the church, recognizing that I didn't really want to go sit in the front row with my squirmy, distracting toddler. Another handed me a hymnal already turned to the correct page, which was lovely since it is hard to balance a book and turn pages with a sling (especially if the book is one you don't want a toddler tearing to bits). We had been there less than ten minutes when I smelled An Odor.
Usually, I would have put Gwen in a disposable before going out to church. But thanks to the 2009 Quest for Sunscreen, we hadn't had time for that extra diaper change. There was no ignoring this odor, so I had to do what had to be done. Gwen and I slipped out into the ladies' washroom, which blessedly *does* have a change table.
I am not much in the habit of changing Gwen in any other place but home. We are not usually out with her for very long, and unless An Odor appears we can let her go a couple hours without a change. This means I am not always prepared for these situations. In this case, I actually had everything I needed, but I was still not prepared. I guess I just haven't had much practice at this. The result was that the Substance of Odor ended up getting all over the fabric covering of the change table, and that I ended up rinsing out a cloth diaper in the church bathroom toilet.
It probably took me a good ten minutes to get everything cleanish, dryish, and packed back into the diaper bag. Fortunately, Gwen - bless her little heart and her randomly co-operative moods - did not roll off the change table during this time.
With Gwen newly diapered in a disposable and my diaper bag bursting with a cloth diaper and the change table cover, which I needed to take home and wash, we re-entered the sanctuary and enjoyed the rest of the church service without incident. (Unless you count that time the pastor asked a rhetorical question - one which probably should have been answered in the affirmative - and Gwen shouted, "NO!")
Gwen was actually pretty good at church, or so many of the other members told me. I always feel like she's being really loud and disruptive, but every time I take her I get at least two or three comments about how good she is. Maybe I need to be less paranoid.
We walked back home, I gave Gwen some lunch, and she is now sleeping blissfully in her crib. I had a shower and am now pondering what to do with the rest of the day. My only real goal is to find a way to cook the chicken that's been sitting in my fridge for most of the week - preferably without heating up the entire house. Sometime this evening Chris will return, and he has sworn up and down that tomorrow we will do something together as a family.
This is the part of the post where I feel like I should draw some conclusion or meaning from the thousands of words of blather that came before. I guess I could make an observation that the part of the weekend I was really stressed about (Saturday morning with the sitter-yoga-carpool-ferry-pickup challenge) ended up going absolutely fine, while the part of the weekend I felt very carefree and laidback about (taking my kid to church) kind of went haywire in several perplexing ways. I don't know if there's any kind of life lesson to be learned there, though. So instead I will leave you with a picture of Gwen and Reilley playing at the water park.