Five Minutes with Mini Me

Last night, my daughter picked up a magazine, got in bed next to me, and started reading. I put down my own magazine and watched her. Here was my baby, with legs crossed and ankles twirling, reading an article about birds.

When did she get so big?

The past 11 months have been a blur. Working a new person into our family has been an all-consuming whirlwind, made especially challenging by the fact that said new person’s super power is the ability to cry for two hours straight.

No doubt, there have been times when Mini Me has felt a little neglected. I can think of several moments when I have been covered in spit-up, poo, tears, or a combination thereof, and I delivered this response to my questioning eldest:

“Not now. Maybe later.”

Most times, my big girl seemed to take it in stride. Other times, though, she did or asked for something that she knew would grab my undivided attention. Like the time she said she was considering a return to thumb sucking.  (I replied than anyone who could rationalize thumb sucking did not need to practice it, and then I prayed that she would agree. Thank goodness she did.)

I’ve been kicking myself for not spending more one-on-one time with her, so when she asked if she could stay up a few minutes and read with me, I quickly agreed. It started as five minutes, but morphed into 15 as we discussed birds and butterfly gardens. We also talked about camp and her upcoming trip to Arkansas with her grandmother.

It was the best discussion I’ve had with her in a long time. I saw how much Mini Me has matured in the past year. She’s funny, smart, extremely tenderhearted, and WAY to grown up to be eight. But I’m sure that’s just the mom in me talking.

Of all the things I’ve tried to invest five minutes in, this is by far the most important.

5 Minutes for Me x 3

At the end of each day, right after both my girls have gone to bed, I kick into high gear. I spend about an hour doing as much as I can. I fold laundry, wash dishes, pack lunches, review emails and action items for work, pay bills, write a blog, or whatever else I can squeeze in.

If it sounds a little frantic and tiring, that’s because it is. By the end of my spurt of productivity, I’m beat. I hit the bed or the couch in a fit of mental exhaustion. It’s only been a couple of weeks since I restarted my five minute challenges, and I’m already over it. The idea was for me to feel less stressed out, not more.

So last night, I tried something different. After the girls went to bed, I sat down, and did NOTHING. No dishes. No bills. No laundry. I put my feet on the sofa and watched the first 15 or 20 minutes of the Karate Kid. (The 1984 version.)

I learned a couple of things:

1. The first 15 minutes of that movie are boring.
2. I am more productive if I allow myself to recharge first.

After watching Daniel lose his first fight, I started my evening routine. I was more relaxed while getting the work done, and for some reason, it didn’t take as long. I finished in time to see Mr. Miyagi take down a group of bullies dressed like skeletons.

While Daniel was waxing Mr. Miyagi’s surprisingly large car collection, I rethought the purpose of my five-minute challenges. They are not tests to see how big of a mountain I can cram into a mole hill of time. Each five-minute segment is a doorway into an experience. Sometimes, five minutes will be enough. Other times, it will be just the beginning. I just have to keep that in mind.

Five Minutes for Fashion

My morning can proceed one of two ways:

Option 1: I wake up on time. After practicing yoga (this is new), the girls and I get dressed with no drama. I make a smoothie. Mini Me has cereal, and then we leave, often with smiles. (Lil’ Ma has breakfast at daycare.)

Option 2: I wake up. Maybe I’m on time, but I’m usually not. I then stand in the closet for 15 minutes pondering combinations of tops and bottoms. I try on several, and none of them work. I look at the clock, realize I’m running late, and proceed scurry around like a mad person. In the midst of this, Mini Me shows up in an frilly sundress to plant flowers at summer camp. Tears are shed as she drags herself to the closet to pick another outfit. No yoga. No smoothies. No smiles.

The difference, I’ve learned, is a five-minute investment on the weekend. For some reason, I’m much smarter about picking out a week’s worth of clothes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. My daughter is also better at this time, and she puts up little argument when I explain that sequins ballet flats don’t work for a trip to the pool.

At 10 months old, my youngest is fine in whatever. I’m enjoying this while it lasts.

I will admit that five minutes can turn into 10 or 15 if I need to iron a item or two, but the amount of time I save each morning, and the smiles, are well worth it.

Five Minutes of Om

The last time I did yoga, I was five months pregnant. I walked into a class that I had attended on a quasi-regular basis. The teacher, however, was not familiar to me. I explained my situation, and she told me to rest when I needed.

What she should have told me was to go home. I wasn’t ready for her intense, work-up-a-sweat style. I spent most of the class in child’s pose and the next two days in bed.

A newborn baby, sleepless nights, a stress fracture, a torn meniscus and carpal tunnel have placed yoga no where near my to-do list. (The story of all these injuries is quite unglamorous. I am simply getting older.)

When I announced the return of my five-minute challenges, my favorite Yogi reminded me to keep my shoulders down. After chuckling, I did a quick self-check. She was right. My shoulders were up to my earlobes.

Instead of hitting the snooze this morning, I got up and blew the dust off my yoga mat. I took 10 minutes instead of five, but it was sorely needed. I’m sure I used to be able to touch my toes. Nevertheless, I felt better after just a few minutes.

I spent the majority of the work day in meetings. After chasing and wrestling a squirmy 25-lb kid this evening, another yoga moment was in order. I squeezed in five minutes between putting my two girls to bed.

My shoulders are not yet back in there proper place, but they are on the way.

Changing My World Five Minutes At A Time (Again)

When I had this idea three years ago, I was inspired. I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could make a significant changes for the better. For a while, it was working.

So what happened?

One word: Life.

And once again, I’m at a phase where five minutes seem very precious, and these minutes hold the potential for impactful change. It seems to align quite well with my current search for fabulous.

So I’m starting this challenge anew, and I’m quite excited. I have no idea where this will take me, but I’m determined to see it through. Five minutes at a time.

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