Ian's off doing military classes out of state for a couple of weeks.
The downside of this is all the juggling I have to do. When you design your life around two parents in the picture and you pluck one of them away (the stay-at-home one, no less) you have to rely on babysitters and people to cover you at work during school pickups and the like. I'm suddenly doing all the laundry and all the cooking and all the cleaning and (nearly) all of the dog walking, etc. But it's not bad.
The main thing I struggle with when we have these mini-deployment
flashbacks is my stress level. I get impatient with the kids when I
have to do everything alone all the time, and I'm more prone to yell. A
few hours after I took Ian to the airport I snapped at Aden because she
only has one chore--to empty the dishwasher--and she never remembers to
do it. Then I apologized because I'm supposed to be the grownup and
yelling makes me feel stupid. I resolved that damn it, I could make it
two weeks without yelling, and I told Aden if she would try harder I
would try harder, and so far so good. What I've been doing is leaving
her a note on her breakfast plate in the morning so she'll remember to
empty the dishwasher before she eats (which she really needs to do
because Mona's chore is to fill up the dishwasher again after meals).
The most recent note read: "Knock knock. Who's there? The
dishwasher. The dishwasher who? EMPTY ME!" So it makes her smile and I
don't have to yell and life is better. My hope is that she'll get into
a habit of looking forward to finding the note, which may turn into a
habit of simply remembering to empty the damn dishwasher.
That's been the height of the drama around here and that is nothing so I can't complain. I like having more time at home, I'm getting things organized, and the kids are helpful but they miss Ian. I miss Ian. I have trouble sleeping when he's not home.
But there is an actual upside to Ian's absence when we must do without him. We watch movies he would never be able to sit through. Namely musicals.
At one point when he was away for a significant length of time I introduced the kids to The Sound of Music. This meant explaining to my children about both nuns and Nazis, but it was worth it for some of the songs. The last time Ian was out of town they asked if they could see it again.
Now, I'm not actually much of a fan of musicals myself. The ones I've seen live that I could watch repeatedly are: Hair, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Book of Mormon. (Man, that's a weird list now that I'm looking at it. ANYway...) But I do believe in making sure kids understand certain cultural references, and some musicals it's just good to have seen.
So tonight's movie is Singin' in the Rain. I actually saw that the first time in a theater when I was probably about Aden's age and I loved it. I don't think I've seen it since watching it on TV back when I was in high school. In any case, I figure the kids should know the origin of the song that they use in our grocery store to warn people that the vegetables are about to get sprayed with water. We'll see if they like it. We'll see if I still like it!
The real fun starts next week when in addition to my kids I'll have two extra ones. A friend of ours in the National Guard has her own training to do out of town so we volunteered to have her kids stay with us. They asked me excitedly yesterday on the playground how many more days it is before 'the big sleepover' and I told them a few more yet, but soon. I don't think they understand that it won't be one giant play date because they will have to pick up after themselves and do homework, etc. I won't be in hostess mode. I will be in mom mode. Which apparently now includes amusing notes about the dishwasher and Gene Kelly songs so maybe they will still have fun.
Time to make popcorn.