Mr. W got a text yesterday morning where the stepdaughter said she was “coming home” that night. That to me sounded like she was calling this “home,” which means things didn’t work out at her mom’s place and she’s coming back to live with us. I instantly got nauseated and dizzy thinking about all the stress coming with stepdaughter’s past resistance to the household’s current needs for quiet and privacy, and the sleep I’d be losing, and how much harder it’d be to put the baby to sleep and keep her asleep with noise I can’t control. The cat yowling is already bad enough, but I’ve been able to cut him off by making myself visible to him. He’s too polite to yowl when I’m there, and the deep loud territorial sounds will instantly change to gentle softer “meows” as he greets me. And then he stops altogether.

I actually considered taking my mom up on her offer to stay with my parents for awhile with the baby. Mr. W was understandably frustrated. “What do you want me to do?! She has to have a life, too! She’s my daughter, just as SHE (*pointing upstairs toward Allie’s room, where she as napping*) is my daughter.”
“I’m not trying to pick a fight and I can tell by your tone you’re upset at me. I feel like I’m pressed against a wall and I have nowhere to turn. I’m just trying to figure out what to do here. And it’s not just me having a hard time; [stepdaughter] was so resentful of having to live with the new lifestyle of being with a newborn that she tried to move out. I just think it’s easier for a 21-year-old to modify behavior than it is for an infant to modify behavior.”
“So I’ll talk to her. Write down a list of things you me to address with her and I’ll address it.”

Turned out she didn’t return last night, but had texted him saying she’d be here the next day (today). I just did a list, and they’re pretty common sense stuff:
*Respect current household hours (then listing the times her dad’s up in the mornings, the time the baby’s up to start her day, the fact that the baby’s down for the night at 6:30-7a, and her dad and my bedtimes of around 9p or earlier).
*Use front door and not garage whenever possible, especially after household is asleep; garage door rumbles & vibrates beneath baby’s room & sometimes wakes her up.
*Try to keep noise level to a minimum if you observe baby’s napping in the day, and after household has gone to sleep.
*Give prior notice if someone is coming over. Make sure guests respect household hours, too, i.e. with their own noise level.
*Note that noise carries easily upstairs, & altho the baby’s door is somewhat closed, she’s sensitive to sudden noise, & our master bedroom can not be closed becuase Dodo goes in & out, and the baby’s crying needs to be heard. Light therefore also goes in the master bedroom from the living room.
Examples of noises heard: garage door, door between garage & house slamming, talking on cell phone in regular voice in kitchen/hall areas, pots/pans banging in kitchen
*Clean up after self: shoes left in living room over several days are a tripping hazard when carrying baby; put dishes, blankets, etc away after use. Dishes go in dishwasher (instead of it drying out in sink), trash goes in trash cans & not countertops (wrappers, etc). Leave common areas in a condition where others can use it immediately after you without having to put things away or clean up after you first (i.e. laundry half-done in washer & dryer when you leave the house).

I can see Mr. W rolling his eyes at this list, but I think they’re very basic considerate things that anyone ought to do when living with anyone, even a roommate.

My anxiety level is cranked way up right now. Earlier in mid-post, a streetsweeper truck rolled by outside and I watched the monitor in horror as it woke Allie up from her nap. I couldn’t convince her to go down again because she’d napped long enough to not be as tired, altho she really didn’t nap enough at less than an hour. An insufficient nap after soothing her screaming and crying in my ear because she didn’t want to nap and resists when she feels tired, despite all her yawning and eye-rubbing… I was so frustrated I wanted to cry or puke or both. She’s old enough now to be somewhat self-entertained for a least 5-10 minutes, so she’s in the swing right now cooing along with the swing’s music, practicing raising her arms and legs.