Though there are still things I think I'll never get used to here, it's true that after the first year overseas, life doesn't seem quite as overwhelming and more like home. Though every time I get too comfortable, there seems to be another big thing that makes me just long to be back in the country that will always be "home" again. ;)
I don't record just daily life happenings enough, so I thought I would write about this normal, random morning, to give a "day-in-the-life" view.
It was a busy weekend, so we didn't quite want to start the day. But, with a toddler, you kind of have to. ;) And the rhythms of getting her up, her exuberance even at 6:30 AM, scrambling eggs, and daily chores have a way of bringing you back into the weekday routine. Coloring pictures, washing dishes, hanging up laundry, "having a picnic," and sweeping up "uh oh piles" with a little girl who wants to use her broom just like Mama, even if it means more work in the end... These are the moments I find so beautiful.
And, the wonderful call: "Mama, potty!" After beginning to teach Hadassah around age 8 months to start putting potty in the potty chair, taking her to try after meals or going out, and other times I noticed she was dry (with plenty of on-and-off inconsistency here and there!), with her at 22 months and a new little one soon due, we decided it was time to start potty training "for real." She had started staying dry more and even telling us every now and then when she had to go, so we set aside the first Saturday in September to make the big switch from diapers to underwear. She knew how to go, so it was partly just for me that I needed to not be lazy and take her more consistently!
And here we are, 8 days later, and she's doing so well! This morning she told me at least 3 times when she needed to go, and it's been 4-5 days since she's had a wet accident. We also had a big celebration - even calling Daddy - when she told me in time to put her poopy in the potty chair, not a little too late as it's been about half the time since we started trying. Not sure why she can (and will!) sit for 30 minutes trying to go as we read story after story, but then when she has a minute to play alone, it just comes. Hoping this marks the beginning of her understanding urges more. And for all those without children, sorry if this paragraph is gross to you... It's amazing the things that start being super normal and worth huge celebrations when you become a parent!
So, after feeling like I spent most of last week in the bathroom with Hadassah, or always on the eagle eye, sweating if we were out and she hadn't gone recently, today I feel a little liberation. While I still take her at set times, after meals or being outside, or every hour if she hasn't gone, with her telling me more and more, and even holding it if we're out for a bit, I feel I can breathe a little more.
We tried to get outside early to enjoy the cooler air and not too much sun on the playground, but there's always something that delays... It was 8:45 AM when we finally got out of the elevator only to realize that it had JUST started raining. So back upstairs we went... but it was okay, as after being gone 8 hours the day before (when it's a special work day and Ryan was leading music, we had to leave at 6:15 AM to get to church amid the traffic!), Hadassah was happier to play at home. After a brief shower and then 30 minutes of the sun shining, we ventured out again to run errands. Only to make it almost to the fruit stand 10 minutes away when it started sprinkling again! A bill paid at the convenience mart, fruit picked out, and killing time with a strawberry popsicle and a rocking, singing, 1 kuai ride for Hadassah, and soon the sun was shining again.
We headed back toward home, but the little miss was eager to get some energy out, at a little running track/garden area along the way. So I let her out and got some fast walking in myself as she ran all the way to the end of the fenced area and back. She laughed as I told her she was running just like Daddy and called out "Pǎo Bu, Dassah!"
We walked all the way to the east gate, through a cut-through road (where the above picture was taken) only to get there and realize it was locked. Now I know... must only be open during times people are going to and from work? If there's a sign saying that I can't read it, but now I know not to count on it at 10:30 AM. It was all the way back to the main road over, back in through the main gate, and then to the right, just where that east gate is, to buy eggs at the little shop there. At least I got plenty of walking exercise today!
The lady at the shop also delivers our water, but about half the time she forgets. She's really sweet, but just needs reminders. So, buying eggs gave me a chance to ask about water, and tell her I'd be home if she could deliver it. We'd just gotten shoes off, potty chair done, fruit put away, and stroller almost collapsed when she showed up with two big 18.5L jugs. We get two deliveries of these each week, and it usually pretty much supplies what we need, though sometimes, like today, we're just running out. It sure beats having to haul water myself every day though!
But even though the water was here, I couldn't access it. We filter it again in our Berkey just to be safe, and I can't lift the full jugs. So, I was careful not to drink too much until Ryan came home. It still is strange how sometimes we just run out of clean water to drink. I know I could go buy some just a five minute walk away, but it always drives home just what a blessing I took for granted it was having clean, running water always there in America.
More laundry to hang, and it was time to make lunch. Hadassah had her first room time since potty training, and though she tried to use the "potty!" call to get out every minute at first, with true need the first time and definitely no need the second, I told her she could hold it for the next 20 minutes and to stay in. She's doing well obeying even with the door open, and seemed to enjoy having some time alone to play despite her antics to get out occasionally. And I got time to cook without interruption which was great! Being around her almost every minute during the first week of potty training was great to see so up close what an amazing little person she is, but definitely was exhausting, with meals always taking longer to make!
The excitement was real when Daddy finally came home, and he was greeted accordingly with kisses, as well as a presentation of the last swallow of water we had left, grateful for another reason that he was home. When I'd found two full water bottles while making lunch - so I had something to wash the vegetables with - it had felt like finding gold. But now, we finally have water in abundance again. :)
Nap time is always a relief for this Mama. A chance to catch up on email and Facebook, write a little (and thus sit!), and now it's time to tackle chores. There are always more dishes to wash, menus need to be planned and groceries ordered, and the floors haven't received the attention they need in quite some time... With the third trimester bigness and tiredness hitting full force this last week, the house hasn't been in top shape for a while, but I have some energy today. So I better get going before it fades. ;)
Thank you, God, for every-day days.