Not hard to do with a one-year-old.

August has left me in the dust. It’s no wonder, with Beaner’s birthday (she’s now been around the sun), my husband’s deployment, my week of work in Germany, and then back to the house to resume some semblance of normality. I made the command decision to enroll the squish in two more day care sessions at her nursery, so that gives me an extra couple of hours a week to get things done. Things like organize her clothes and put those that don’t fit in the “put in loft” pile, clean windows that haven’t had loving in over a year, tame the rosebush out front, make jelly and jam from the local hedges and crabapple trees, work out, and, you know, write. I can’t complain. With the chickens rehomed (yes, I know), it’s pretty easy to juggle two older cats and a chillaxed Lab, plus my daughter who’s currently sleeping 12-14 hours a night and eats almost whatever is put in front of her. Life’s pretty good, even with a massive hole the departure of my husband has left. Having deployed myself, and been left home during deployments, I know it’s hard on both parties, but the ultimate trick is staying busy.

So, I’ve made plans. We’re going to the States to visit my parents soon, something I scheduled months ago, and hopefully we’ll be able to chill and watch the leaves turn fiery autumn colors. I’ve booked coffee mornings with friends, doggie play dates, and dinner with neighbors. I bought tickets to a kid’s theater show to bring Bean to her first live performance (well, minus the Christmas panto last year that was way too loud). We visited a zoo/safari park/manor house last week. We’re going to see a witch who lives in a cave in a fortnight. We’ve got the local pool, the library, and countryside walkabouts. And, of course, there’s the holidays with grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles we can look forward to. For an introvert, I’ve accumulated quite the social schedule.

I made a promise to myself a while ago that I’d finish my first real draft of my memoir manuscript by December 31st. I intend to hold true to that deadline, though I do realize time is cracking on. It’s strange and a bit counterintuitive, but I feel I have more drive and focus now that it’s just me. There is no one else to lean on to cook dinner, change a dirty bum, or grab groceries, so it’s made me a more organized person. I’m normally not super organized. I pretend to be, but I’m someone who collects clutter and stacks papers up until it gets to be too much, then goes into a cleaning frenzy. With a child, I’ve turned into a “war of attrition” mom, tackling jobs five minutes at a time. This may mean the laundry takes two days to fold and put away, but it gets done eventually. And I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned to accept a new pace in life now that I have an infant who crawls and generally gets into everything. My patience hasn’t grown, but rather lengthened. I’m not as upset when my daughter finds the dog water bucket and splashes herself, her clothes, and the floor in raucous enjoyment. I take a moment to breathe deeply first before I tackle a crying, teething baby. I don’t give myself deadlines for things that don’t need deadlines, like how long Bean might sit on the potty for, how long dinner may take, or how long her bath may run. These things naturally vary and I try not to worry if they’re shorter or longer than “normal.” It also means she’ll get done what she needs to get done at her pace. And, ironically enough, we end up on a pretty routine schedule because of it. I know she gets hungry around five. I know she starts rubbing her eyes around six. I know she’ll wake up when she’s ready, whether that’s 6:30 in the morning or two hours later. She may nap or she may not. I’ve learned to set an alarm only when truly necessary. I’m not saying I’m in the honeymoon stage of “single”-parenting, but I’m certainly grateful for the stage we’re in.

Make no bones about it though, I’ve seen my nieces and the neighbors’ kids: I know those Terrible Twos are coming. I’ve already got enough grey hairs and varicose veins. I’m not ready. But I will be.

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