August 16, 2007


Camper: How were you able to work at camp all summer and take care of a newborn baby?

Me: I'm amazing.

Camper: Yeah.

This bit of conversation place this week and I realized afterwards that anytime someone asked me how I was doing balancing everything this summer, I relied on the illusion of confidence that I've had to lean on during many times throughout my life. It seems that I rarely made it to breakfast each morning without someone saying "How are you doing?" without actually wanting to stop and hear how I was doing. Nonetheless, I'm proud of how well we did this summer.

Here's what a typical day's schedule looked like for us this summer:

Sometime between 3 & 5 AM: Jack wakes to eat . . . again. Kyle changes him and then brings him to me and I nurse him while checking my e-mail and sometimes updating my blog . . . with one hand. Sometimes he goes back to sleep, sometimes he doesn't. If he sleeps, we put him in his bassinet or in bed between us (don't tell the AAP). If I couldn't go back to sleep after I nursed him, I'd get up and work on folding laundry, packing the diaper bag for the day or something else equally as mundane.

Sometime between 6:30 - 7 AM: Kyle and I get out of bed and get ready for the day. Depending on how late we get up, we decide if we have time to put regular clothes on Jack. Most of the time, he stayed in his PJs until after breakfast. Depending on how long ago Jack nursed, he may nurse again a little after 6 AM.

7:20 AM: Kyle leaves.

7:30 AM: Kyle has his meeting with the Red Oak Lodge counselors.

7:35 AM: Jack and I pack up the car, I try to catch Murphy and put her in her crate, and leave for camp. Jack is usually sleeping or screaming. There was no middle ground.

7:42: Jack and I meet Kyle at Red Oak and trade cars.

7:45: Kyle takes Jack to our office while I have a meeting with the Applewood Lodge counselors. I try to stay as long as possible, because this is my only "break." But the counselors usually just sat and stared at me without much to say, so the meetings didn't last as long as I would have liked them to. THey didn't really get to know me this summer, so I guess they didn't have a lot they wanted to talk to me about.

8:00: I meet Kyle in the Cedar Center. He usually has Jack changed into regular clothes and in the stroller. Jack's usually pretty happy at this point.

8:15: The first breakfast group arrives. We eat after they do, and before the second group arrives. While we eat, one of a number of people holds and plays with Jack. We have to track him down when we're done eating because we don't always know where he ended up . . . usually with Grandma Luke or GG, but sometimes one of the kitchen "Aunts."

9:15: Kyle heads off to take care of his morning responsibilities and I take Jack with me to the office. Sometimes, he sits on my lap and enjoys looking at the colorful things I have pinned up all over. Sometimes he lays on my couch and bats at toys. Sometimes, he rides with me in the baby bjorn if I have a lot of running around camp to do. Often, he naps in the bjorn or in his little infant bed set up on my couch. We throw several mini-playtimes in there. There's another nursing slot in here somewhere.

11:30: Kyle's usually pretty open until lunch so he takes him so I can do all of the things I could do with a baby strapped to me (namely, go to the bathroom).

12:00 Lunchtime! Again, we eat between the first and second lunch groups. Lunch always seems to be the most interrupted meal of the day. Again, Jack is passed around and loves every minute of it.

1:00 I pack up work to do at home, pack up the car and head out. Again, Jack's either screaming or sleeping. He's not a big fan of being in his carseat. Once we get home, he's usually ready to eat.

1:45 We play! Activity gym, bouncy chair, blocks, tummy time . . . really, whatever he's in the mood for. We both have a lot of fun.

2:30ish If I catch all the signs that he's tired just right, I can put him down for his nap awake and he drifts off. If I wait to long, I have to rock him to sleep for his nap. I work while he's napping.

4ish He wakes up and eats again. His feeding schedule changes pretty much every day.

5:00 Head back to camp for dinner. Same thing. We eat. Other people hold him.

6:00 I tie up any loose ends before I leave for good. Some nights we stay later, depending on what the evening activity is for the campers. If he's sleeping, I can even sneak into a little bit of the evening service. He usually isn't sleeping.

8ish We head home for the night. Bathtime, short playtime, more eating.

9ish Again, if I play my cards right, I can put him down awake and he'll fall asleep on his own. I was a lot better at that by the end of the summer.

I usually waited up until Kyle got home between 11 and midnight to debrief the events of the day and decide what we needed to change for the next day. It was exhausting, but it worked. And Jack was so loved and well taken care of . . . by us with the help of the community that surrounds us. By the last two weeks of camp we had finally fallen into a rhythm, just to have it end . . . and we'll have to start all over from the beginning next summer.

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