And for once I was SuperMom

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dorm Life

You know when you're packing you run across old photos and sit down and waste countless hours looking through them istead of jamming them into boxes? Scott ran across a disc of photos from a mission trip that I led to Denver, I was in grad school and the students were in college. In about every photo I look exhausted and extremely sarcastic. You know that chin jutted out, stretched, 'I'm grinning but right now I'm freaking out internally because one of the participants just jumped in a fountain' smile? That one? It's on my face in every picture. My favorite shot was of me stretched out on a bunk, on my belly, looking back at the camera, I'm holding out my hand in a 'thumbs up,' and my face is partially obscured by my pillow. I remember I wanted to go to bed at ten and having my participants stay up until the wee hours.
I was only 24. Apparently I've gotten old and crotchety fast.
Did I mention that we are living in a dorm for the next two months, until we find permanent housing?
We are on the bottom floor, we have three bedrooms and a bathroom all to ourselves. You walk in through the main door and there is a hallway off to your left and a set of stairs right in front of you. If you go down the hallway you run into our three bedrooms and bathroom, if you go up the stairs you go onto the boys floor.
Last night while I was trying to fall asleep several students were hanging out in the room right above us, I could hear their conversation. As my irritation level rose and I vowed to buy earplugs, I realised they were just talking. Apparently Gordon didn' invest in the more soundproof cinder block construction that Westmont did.
This morning while I was toweling off from my shower several staff members from another department on campus were in our hall having some kind of discussion about how no one is living in these rooms. During this process a hand reached in and flicked off the light.
"Um?!?!" I said loudly.
"Oh, sorry!" The hand came back in and returned the light to on. Gee, good thing I was naked.
Emma has done really well with the transition, but, of course, there is some fall out. There is always fall out.
Bathtime and bedtime have turned into a time full of tears and stress for everyone involved. You might remember that most dorms have stand up showers, kids usually don't take showers. The bath has become an important part of the bed time ritual. A friend on campus lent us an inflatable baby tub that we have been able to wedge into the shower, of course it takes forever to fill and by the time the water reaches the tub it's lukewarm. The last two nights in the lag time between stripping her down and filling the tub she has peed on the counter and on the floor. Tonight, in between pulling my bottles of nail polish out, when she squatted on the floor and peed I was pretty sure she did it on purpose. I tossed her in the bath/shower prematurely and ran into a stall to get toilet paper, because the only paper towels were in the room across the hall and don't feel right about leaving the room when she is in the bath. As I leaned against the wall and pawed at the super size roll of ultra thin one-ply to get it off the roll as fast as possible, I thought, 'I was crazy to agree to this, who else would do this?' She screamed and cried through her bath in one inch of lukewarm water in her new inflatable tub, I had to perform the whole bath squatting because we don't have a bath mat and the floor was wet from overflow of water. Speed bath.
Afterwards as I was trying to calm her down by puttng lotion on her and counting her fingers and toes in the most soothing voice I could muster someone's Dad walked into our 'sitting room.'
"Can I help you?" Which is my polite code for, 'what are you doing?'
"I'm looking for 208," the look on his face bestowed that he already knew he was in the wrong place.
"It's upstairs," I smiled and motioned above me, while trying to diaper my screaming child. He nodded, in that, 'Yeah, I got it,' way and disapeared.
I read stories to my child and plopped her into her crib to wails and shrieks.
(Right now you might be asking, where is her husband? Assembling manuals and setting up an ice cream social. Of course.) I settled down in a chair set my computer on my lap and listened to my child scream, cry and talk intermittently for the next forty five minutes while the students above me proceeded to move around crates of circus animals. When they left for the aforementioned ice cream social it was calm, and Emma feel quiet about fifteen minutes later.
Then I walked around trying to clean up...wandering around in circles with something in my hand and thinking, 'Now where does this go? It doesn't go anywhere. Oh, jeez,make something up!'
I kept thinking, 'I'm not so sure how doable this is if every night they keep my kid up while playing frisbee golf in the hall.' I can't stand my kid screaming herself to sleep and being kept up by noise, and on the other hand I don't want to deny them playing frisbee golf at one am. Isn't that part of college? Late night shenanigans?
Also, I remember dorm furniture being way more comfortable.
Maybe I'll get used to it.
I found ear plugs in my day pack.
Maybe I'll get a baby gate, not to keep my kid in, but to keep all the adults out.


Jeff & Rebecca Jo said...

Lara, wow sounds like a tough evening. I will be praying for you guys. We are in the transition boat and have been for over a month. I totally understand what you are going through. Not the dorm shenanagins but foreign noises that interfere with rest times. Can you hang up a curtain or something to section off your part of the living quarters or post a sign that reads "PRIVATE"? Also white noise like a fan or radio on a non-station has helped our girls fall asleep. Do you have someone to help watch Emma while you guys get unpacked a bit? Hang in there girl. God has you there for a reason. I pray that your purposes will become clearer with each day and contentment and adjustment will come soon. love, rebecca jo

Traci said...

Hang in there! Someday you will look back on this and laugh... someday very very far into the future... don't you have it when people say that:) But seriously, hang in there!