Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mom cliches

People love to tell pregnant women “just wait”. I’ve waited. The baby is here. So how true are those tired phrases?


“You’ll experience a love like you've never known.” True.

 This one is so irritating. So holier than thou. I mean, I loved people my whole life. I'm close with my family. I'm happily married. I have long term close friends that have become like family. I thought I was pretty good at loving people.  And I would never presume to tell other people about love. But, for me, this one is true. Somehow, 31 years of loving lots of wonderful people never compared to this. He’s doing this thing now where he stops nursing and looks up at me and smiles and then my heart explodes and I can’t even deal with him.


“You’ll feel so lucky to be his mom.” Another variation is some version of how fulfilling motherhood is. True.

This is one I was sure people were just saying to pay lip service to the mom police. I mean, tell me this doesn't sound stupid, right? But as stupid as it sounds, I am constantly amazed at how lucky I am to get to spend every day with him. I can’t wait to go in and get him out of his crib each morning. I could give a million more examples but I should probably stop here.


“Your body will never be the same.” True? Maybe?


I must just have a terrible memory. I know my stomach wasn’t flat before I was pregnant. Ever. And it’s not now. But whenever I look at it, I’m like…is this the amount of flab I had before? More? Less? I don’t even know. At this point, it was my belly a year ago that I’m trying to compare the current situation to and it’s not like I ever studied it trying to commit it to memory so I could figure out if my baby ruined it or not. I know the big scar wasn’t there, and while we’re on the subject, that scar doesn’t look big enough for a baby to come through? Anyway, bottom line, my body is still functional, and it’s not like I was a super model before or something.


“You'll never sleep again.” False.


You might get blessed with an amazing sleeper! I've heard of this! I personally know babies Dalton's age or younger who sleep through the night! But I'm here to tell you that even if the universe does not give you this gift, you will still sleep. There will be nights you won't. Like everything else, there is a new normal for sleep. It's not guaranteed. It occurs in a series of segments, rather than a solid 8 hours.  A three hour stretch is amazingly lucky. The thing is though, the interruption is from a snuggly, adorable baby.
He somehow rotates in his crib every night.
Sure, sometimes that baby is crying and angry. And that's not as fun. Especially when you have to be at work in a few hours. But I still like it better than 3am pregnancy/work stress insomnia, or 5am wakeups to take my temperature to create said baby, or even being up at 2am closing down the bar (as a patron, I would never survive as a bartender). If I wanted nice, refreshing nights of sleep all the time, I wouldn't have procreated.


There are a whole bunch related to your relationship with your partner.

“You'll hate your husband. He’ll do everything wrong.” Mostly false.

I will admit, this was true for me in labor. And pregnancy at moments. For next time, we’ll have a safe word that just means close your mouth and leave me the hell alone. But since delivery, it is false. There are some things I wish he would do like me.  Then there are a lot of things he does better than me. And even though he doesn’t do everything like me, amazingly, Dalton is still growing and happy. Realistically, Dalton needs one parent who doesn’t neurotically want to wrap him in bubble wrap to protect him from the world.

Which leads me to….”Seeing your partner as a parent is amazing.” True. So so true.

Pictures just say it all. BE STILL MY HEART.


They didn't even notice me taking this.
“You'll never discuss anything else with your partner.” 75-80% true.

Babies do so many cute things. Then babies do so many things that their parents, who are obsessed with and fascinated by them, find adorable, but other people not so much. So when you need to share that amazing story of how funny he was while pooping, or how he kicked his socks off (HILARIOUS AMIRIGHT), you’re kind of stuck with a co-parent as your only option for someone who actually wants to hear it, and that takes up most of your conversations. Not all though! We do talk about other things, at times. I’m ok with the balance we’ve struck. We have a baby, and what’s that saying? This is our season of life or something? The point is he’s fun to talk about.

“You won’t be able to remember your life without your baby.” Mainly false.

Obviously bearing a child doesn’t cause sudden amnesia. I remember things as well as I ever have, which is terribly, but I can’t blame that on Dalton. But I have had weird moments, like remembering something we did over the summer, before he was born, and thinking “wait, who was watching Dalton if we were both out to eat?”. No one. He was a fetus. Or in other such cases, not even a twinkle in my eye. So maybe it’s more like the second they are born, they are a central and integral part of your family, and it seems like they’ve always been there?


What clichés did I miss?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Post partum exercise check in

I’m pretty sure I can’t say that I have a “newborn” anymore (tear), nor can I use post-partum recovery as an excuse not to exercise anymore.
I outlined my post baby workout/health plans on the blog at 34 weeks pregnant. I didn’t really count any exercise I did on maternity leave, since that was a vacation from real life. Now that I’m attempting to get into a routine, I think it would be a good time to see how I’m doing.

My original goals are in black (wow I’m wordy. I had to delete so much text.)

1. I won't be doing any exercise before I'm cleared by my doctor. Nailed it. I did little other than absolute basic baby care and played the “I just got sawed in half and now I’m this child’s only source of sustenance” card to the best of my ability. I often got meals brought to me. If I was wearing one of those fit bit things, it would probably have registered negative movement unless I accidently triggered it by forcefully bringing mac and cheese to my mouth.
2. I won't be making a paper chain like the kind kids make to count down for Christmas to count down to when I can run/exercise again after delivery. I'll start when I feel ready. I did run as soon as I got home from the doctor’s office to get cleared. Apparently I like it more than I thought. But I wasn’t stupid. My first run was a whole mile!

3. Once I return to work, I'm hoping to do some type of workout 5 days a week. So far, so good. Last week I even worked out 6 times! Full disclosure though, since I’ve been back we’ve had a ton of snow delays which helped.

4. Eating. I actually have no plan here except that I definitely plan to continue doing it. Yup. Stuck with that one on a daily basis. Be inspired.

Moving on to my current lifestyle compared to when I was in my racing heyday.
  • What I consider an acceptable workout has drastically changed.
This is now a long run.

Since I exercise in the morning, pretty much anything other than sleeping counts. A two mile run at an 11 minute mile pace would have been a disgrace for past me, now it’s a win. This morning I managed to pump, run 3 miles in under 30 minutes, get ready, get Dalton mostly ready (Eric finishes the job), and sit down at my non-desk by 7:15am.
This is how I get ready for the day now.
I did forget half my breakfast, and also, to do all that, something has to go. In my case it’s washing my hair and making the bed. I still feel it’s an accomplishment. I know many people bounce back to running much faster, but that brings me to my next point.
  • Running is just not a priority. Back in the day, training for races was paramount. If that meant getting up at 3am to get a 20 mile run in before a work day, so be it. Now, exercise is just to stay healthy, not suffer a rage stroke at work, and avoid buying new pants. I think I heard that people should aim for 30 minutes, 5 times a week, and that sounds just fine to me. During the week, that’s obviously to conserve sleep. But even on the weekends, when I could get in a longer workout, I’m just not interested. I guess right now, it’s a means to an end, not a hobby. Plus, I just downloaded Trivia Crack.

But how can I be a #motherrunner if I don’t pose with my kid in a finish line photo and hashtag the crap out of it?

Racing is so not on my radar right now. I thought I would miss it, like I did end up missing running, but I so do not (yet). I can’t even imagine trying to add following a training plan to my plate. The thought of paying money to wake up earlier than I need to on a Saturday makes me want to vomit. I look forward to not setting an alarm all week. It takes so much stress off those 3:30am feedings when I don’t have to wake up an hour later. Not to mention the fact that I’ve ran outdoors like, twice since July.
Also, if I was going to do a race, I would go by myself, and let Dalton and Eric stay warm and comfy at home.
He loves me. I swear.

I definitely would like to return to racing at some point, although I’m not sure I see more 50 milers in my near future. I think for my sanity, that point shouldn’t occur until two important things happen.

1.      My kid is weaned.

2.      He’s sleeping through the night.

I’m not known for always making wise choices, so who knows how this will actually shake out. That’s where I’m at right now, though.
Where does exercise fall in your list of priorities? It's somewhere below coffee but above cleaning (what isn't?).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ways my baby is a jerk

Misery loves company. I've read some posts lately complaining about inconsiderate babies doing completely normal baby things that prevent their parents from doing whatever they want, whenever they want, and generally make life as a mom living hell. Wasn't it enough that I had to get FAT creating him?! Here's my list of such offenses so we can all suffer together. 

Needing to eat: I, and everyone I know, only eat 3, maybe 4 times a day at most. This kid eats 8 times daily. Maybe 7 here and there. He even has the audacity to demand food at completely inconvenient times. Like when I want a cup of coffee. Or when I'm hungry and want to sit down to a meal myself. Unacceptable. Apparently the only way for me to have a moment of peace is to pay someone else to deal with him. Why aren't daycares open 7 days a week?

Not even exaggerating, he cries daily. You would think it's his only way to communicate.

Bathroom: Months after birth and he's not even potty trained yet. He is rude enough to dirty a diaper I just put on him. It's clearly on purpose. Often when I have just sat down to relax and I'm forced to get back up and do a second diaper change. Ridiculous.

                                                     ~~ No picture here, for obvious reasons~~
Sleep: He sleeps like a baby, but not in the way that the idiom promised. More like frequently waking up at times when I would like to be sleeping, or when I'm busy. He has the nerve to interrupt my beauty rest at night demanding to eat, be changed, or for no clear reason which I can only attribute to making sure I'm still there after leaving him to go to work all day. DUH, baby, I'm right next door, learn some object permanence already would ya? Then he will engage in nonsense like take a 30 minute nap when I wanted 52 minutes to watch a show on Netflix. Oh I mean um, work.

This photo was taken at 5am. Can you even believe a baby woke us up at such an ungodly hour?
Entertainment: Dalton will be four months old friday and I thought that by now I could take a cute photo for Instagram and then he would play quietly by himself in a corner and not bother me. BUT NO. He still demands for me to amuse him and interact with him constantly.

Um, we did not have a baby just to play with him all the time.

What's worse is that based on my observations of my friends' older babies, my nephew, and my own experiences as a first grade teacher, this crap could continue for like, ten years. I didn't sign on for parenting being a 24/7 job. I was thinking it was more like 2 hours a day or so. When can I just work out and browse the internet whenever I feel like it again? Life was so great then.

What totally expected and normal jerky things have your family members done lately? Responses regarding humans only please, not interested in pet stories here at Chocolate is my Life.

Disclaimer - in case you haven't noticed from the rest of my blog, I'm obsessed with my baby and hate leaving him to even go to the grocery store. This post was written tongue in cheek.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Working mom - myths and facts

2 weeks down, 20.5 years to go! There are definitely some misconceptions I had and some things I was dead on about. Obviously all of my opinions are subject to, and will most likely change as time goes on, but with a baby just under 4 months old, this is where my head is.

You leave work and do more work. MYTH.

Wayyyy before I was on the baby train, I had no idea how my mom coworkers managed to work a full day and then go home and continue to "work", aka be a parent while I was mindlessly browsing the internet with my feet up. Getting home and being with Dalton is the absolute best.

I wait all day to see that smile.

I spend the entire day at work counting down the hours, and get so excited when I finally pull into the parking lot at his daycare. I can't even believe I used to get excited about just sitting around by myself. I realize that sounds totally like it belongs on STFU Parents as all "my life without children was empty and meaningless!", but I call it like I see it.

It's how I imagine the world was for chocolate lovers before Reese's were invented. They all thought chocolate was so great and couldn't be improved, then BAM someone filled it with peanut butter and they realized what they thought was perfection could get so much better. Don't get me wrong, I still love being lazy and mindless entertainment, and I certainly do it during naptimes. It's just not the best way to occupy my time anymore.

Working out will be challenging to fit in. FACT.

I am gladly willing to sacrifice housework for it and less glad to sacrifice a tiny bit of sleep. I do what I can and if I can get in a couple minutes of sweat on any given day while Dalton is sleeping, great. If not, so be it.

Getting ready for the day requires more coordination than launching a nuclear missile. MYTH.

We have a lot going for us here.
  • We live in a small place (no going up and down stairs).
  • We both get ready at more or less the same time (and therefore can tag team baby entertaining/getting ready).
  • Dalton is still at the age where you can plop him down and rest assured he will stay in that spot (when that ends, god help us).
  • He's too young to have an opinion about anything and I get to dress him in whatever cute outfits I want.
Preppy baby. I die.
  •  My job requires me to read novels with ten year olds, not meet with clients. AKA I don't have to dress to impress, or look put together, or even shower if you want to get technical (but, I still do). It's even better now that I teach kids old enough to understand tact. When I taught first grade, they thought nothing of yelling out "what's that big red bump on your nose?!". Side note - pregnancy did not clear up my skin as promised.

Obviously, it takes more time and is more hectic than when we were only responsible for ourselves, but it's not too bad.

I would miss my weekend social life. MYTH

Because we have awesome friends (both to spend time with and to babysit), we actually went on a "date" this weekend! Our very first date ever was the Saturday of MLK Jr. weekend, so it really pleased me that our first post baby date was the same day. I'm easy to amuse.

We went out for my lovely running buddy, Lily's birthday.

Dalton helped me wrap the gift.
My wonderful work bestie Kristin came over with her daughter to babysit. Aside from the fact that the GPS took us on a 30 mile drive in the wrong direction TO PENNSYLVANIA, we had so much fun! But at the same time, I couldn't wait to get home and back to baby snuggling. Yet another fantastic friend offered to babysit Dalton that night so we could go out to dinner just the two of us, and while the offer was much appreciated, I really wasn't interested. I just spend way too much time away from him during the week. Eric made us grilled cheese and tomato soup while I held Dalton in the kitchen so he could watch (he loves looking around the kitchen for some reason) and we took turns eating and baby holding, and it was perfect. But, maybe I'll be dying for a babysitter when tantrums and backtalk start in a few years?

Right now I  can't imagine being mad at this face.
Leaving your baby with someone else sucks. FACT.

There’s no way around the fact that leaving him is torture each morning and I miss him like crazy all day long. First I was wracked with guilt over him being miserable and crying all day. Then I went to pick him up this week and he was happily sitting in his caregiver's arms. I was so relieved that he was content. But also kind of like…hey let’s not get too chummy here. I’m your mom and you are supposed to like me the best. So basically there’s no winning.

Doing errands after work is a pain. DEPENDS.

On one hand, who wants to waste our precious short time together driving places? On the other hand, sometimes he falls asleep on the way home anyway, and then I can kill two birds with one stone and get stuff done while he takes his evening nap. That worked out Friday and then he woke up and had a blast looking around Target, AND it lit a fire under my ass to get in and get out and I didn’t leave with $50 worth of stuff that wasn’t on the list.
This cuteness almost caused me to crash the cart numerous times.
There’s also a grocery store right around the corner from his daycare, so it’s pretty convenient to run in and grab a couple things I need for dinner on my way to pick him up.

Housework would never happen again. MYTH.

I’ve been pretty transparent that I’m no Suzy Homemaker to begin with, but obviously even the bare minimum to keep a place livable takes time. Babywearing is a lifesaver – I’ve been strapping him on and doing skin to skin time when I get home and getting as much done as I can before he gets antsy. Cuddles + productivity = winning, plus it’s supposedly a way to help your supply. The past two weekends we did cleaning blitz during naptime – quickly divided up tasks based on skill sets before we put him down, then raced to get as much done as we could before he woke up. So while things are still, and will probably always be messy, they aren’t too dirty.

Exhaustion. Because baby. DEPENDS.
I hesitate to speak on this subject because last time I described sleep as “good” I got my ass handed to me that night. Coffee is certainly a lifesaver and maybe I’m getting used to being functional on less sleep? Or maybe it just hasn’t been long enough and soon being upright will be physically painful? At any rate, clearly painting was exhausting, because this kept happening when we got home.

He was midsentence for this one.

I was concerned with his breathing here.


Which painting do you like better, mine or Eric's?



Monday, January 12, 2015

My original guide to pregnancy, trimester by trimester

You can find a million resources that tell you exactly what you are supposed to be feeling at every single moment of pregnancy, plus your friends, family, coworkers, and every woman you ever meet or see on the street will probably fill you in, and you should listen, because every pregnancy is exactly the same and if someone you worked with five years ago felt the morning sickness begin at exactly six weeks on the dot, YOU WILL TOO.

Since all pregnancies are exactly the same and everyone experiences the world in exactly the same way, I'm here to guide you through your emotional status in each trimester. I'm not done with this journey yet, but if I wait too long then I might be finishing this post when I'm no longer pregnant and that defeats the whole point. (Edited to add: that happened. So most of it was written while pregnant, and a little was written while my 2 month old naps. Edited again - finally publishing it when he's 3.5 months. Use context clues and you'll figure it out just fine.)

The first trimester (approximately weeks 1-13, I guess, even though week 1 doesn't really exist).

The first trimester is the shortest, since you probably won't even know you are pregnant until at least four weeks. Unless you're one of those crazies that starts testing/logging symptoms the second you ovulate, and I'm not judging because I've done it, trying to conceive WILL make you crazy after a few months. Anyway, I stopped that as part of my New Year's Resolution, so I didn't know I was pregnant until 4 weeks and 1 day, which made my first trimester under 9 weeks, but OMG it felt like it actually was the whole 9 months. I swear time stood still. People say it stands still at the end, but I don't agree, I think that scary first trimester is where that happens.

A few things factor into this. First of all, you are probably keeping your pregnancy a secret. Even though I did tell my family and close friends right away, it was obviously a secret at work, on the internet, and from whoever else. It's hard to keep a secret that's the most exciting best thing ever and that consumes your every waking thought.

Second, the first trimester is terrifying. There's a really high risk of miscarriage here, and it sucks, there's really no other way to put it. After spending so long desperately wanting to see a positive test, my non-pregnant self just assumed everything would be sunshine and rainbows once it finally happened. Don't get me wrong, I was absolutely thrilled, but it was a cautious happiness, and I also felt absolutely terrified of losing the baby. The worst part was the four weeks between finding out and seeing the heart beat (at that point the risk goes down significantly). This was something that took me totally by surprise, so I wanted to put it out there.
First ultrasound!

Third, it feels like you are getting punked. Sure, you saw the test, maybe even saw the heart beat by now, but you can still easily zip your jeans, and there's just no proof that a baby is in there. I was surprised to find that it was a long road from seeing the second line to really feeling like "yes, I'm going to have a child". I definitely didn't hit that destination in the first trimester. For me, that whole time was spent just trying to get myself to believe that I was actually pregnant. I really longed to get to the point I'm at now, where I look down and see my belly and feel my baby move. Now that I'm here, it's awesome, and I really wouldn't want to go back to the insecurity and disbelief of the first tri at all. Maybe it would have been different if I'd had morning sickness, or any symptoms at all, but I didn't. Sorry I'm not sorry.

The second trimester (weeks 14-27)

This is supposed to be where things get good, and I would say it pretty much lived up to expectations. Supposedly you feel much better, but I can't really speak to that, because I felt pretty good all along physically. In the beginning, you're still solidly in the "pregnant or fat?" category.

18 weeks

 My friend told me that I would suddenly wake up with an adorable baby bump instead of just looking fat, and I swear that is exactly what happened, right around 21 weeks.

24 weeks

This was where I finally had many "it's getting real" moments, and they slowly solidified the idea that a baby was in fact, inside me. The big turn around really happened when we first felt him move at 19 weeks, and then finding out the sex at 20 weeks. Hitting 24 weeks was exciting too, because that's where there's a significant improvement in preemie survival rates. I started to feel like this might be actually happening.

I spent the whole first trimester wishing time away and just desperately wanting to get to September so that I could have the baby and know it was ok. In the second tri, I started to appreciate that I had a few months left to go, because holy moly WE HAD TO GET READY. It seemed like there were a million things to do around the house, to buy, and to learn to prepare to bring an infant home.

But, somehow, the hospital let us leave with him in the end.

The third trimester (weeks 28- 40 on the dot!)

After spending approximately 6 months trying to get past my disbelief that the baby was actually in there, the third trimester was when I finally got on board 100%. So far, this is has been a glorious time when I have the comfort of feeling him constantly move, and I can just put my hand on my belly and fantasize about all the fun things we will do together. I finally feel like I've connected, or bonded, or whatever. It's weird because the second I saw the positive test, I felt that crazy protectiveness and terror that something bad would happen, but it really wasn't until 7 months in or so that I really felt attached to him as an individual, rather than an idea. I feel like that was really sappy by my standards and I cried a little while I wrote it.

I know every mother is probably laughing at my romanticized version of parenthood, especially the ones who write all the viral articles I've referenced. But all that's coming no matter what at this point (there's no turning back!) and I want to record my naïve excitement and enjoy it while I can.

Anyway, the third tri. The second had a lot of things that finally convinced me that I am actually growing a baby. The third has a lot that have convinced I'm actually bringing that baby home and going to be his mother for the rest of our lives. One is that suddenly I can see some type of baby gear in my home, no matter what room I'm in, or what direction I'm looking in. (Maybe this isn't true if you have a bigger home, but it is for me.) As opposed to the second tri, I haven't really felt stressed about it, but that's probably because I've been lucky again and had the whole summer off to take our time preparing for our little bundle of joy.

I definitely go back and forth again between terror and happiness. THE BABY IS COMING SOON I CAN'T WAIT IT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET HIM. The baby is coming soon and I'm going to be responsible for caring for him and never sleep again and his life will be in my hands and OMG what was I thinking? (In case you couldn't tell, this post was written in one of my swings toward the former).

I'm starting to get really anxious about labor and delivery (as I should have been, those contractions suck). That's been pretty well documented on the blog so I won't go into it here, but slowly my shield of utter denial is being chipped away. That's where the part I wrote pregnant ended, so the rest is postpartum reflections.

Physically, not every second of the third trimester was bliss. My ankles were gigantic, turning over in bed was hard, and heartburn was often a nightly companion. I truly can't complain though, I still felt surprisingly good overall, right up until the day I went into labor (39 weeks and 6 days).

I celebrated my due date by staying up all night with contractions. I was originally planning a pedicure.

The third trimester was by far my favorite. Feeling the baby move all the time was so nice, and I loved my baby bump.

38.5 weeks

I really enjoyed being pregnant (hopefully that will hold up for future pregnancies), and I'm kind of sad I don't even remember what those little kicks felt like. So if you need a surrogate, let me know.

Of course, this part is infinitely better.


What was your favorite trimester? Did you love or hate pregnancy? If you haven't been yet, would you rather be fat or stupid? I am enjoying both right now, and I would definitely prefer to have my brain back over fitting into my jeans.





Sunday, January 11, 2015

The story on daycare and being a working mom - week 1

Well, our Christmas tree is still up. Dalton's dresser still has newborn clothes in it, and those chunky thighs sure don't fit into teeny onesies anymore.

After last night, that jersey he's been wearing since 5 days old is officially retired. Sad face.

But in my defense, Netflix now has Friends. And I managed to take the ornaments off the tree. Progress.

I've made it through a week of being a working mom. Although it's completely cheating to say that, because we had a snow day Tuesday, and 2 hour delays Wednesday and Thursday. (2 hour delays are when school opens late due to weather. I had never heard of this until I moved down south. In the North, where I'm from, school opens no matter what. I think I had like one snow day experience ever as a student, during the ice storm when the entire town lost power.)

Actually, one day was just a cold delay.
He stayed warm.
This week was definitely better than I anticipated, but to be fair, that's not saying much, because I anticipated a fate worse than death. I would give anything to be a stay at home mom. Maybe not forever, but at least during this time when he's tiny. I have awful mom guilt about being with him all day, every day, since he was an embryo, and then suddenly throwing him to the wolves and leaving him with someone he barely knows. I know it would just be harder, not easier, if he was older (that's what I hear) but it's hard on me not being able to explain anything to him or assure him I'll be back. I can get really out of control jealous of SAHMs. I'm not a fan of paying someone else a lot of money for the privilege of hanging out with my kid all day. I want that privilege.

He just wants to eat his hands.

That's not happening in my life though, so I'm trying to focus on all the positives. Socialization and another loving adult who cares about him in his life and having something else to direct my brain power to that I'm actually good at instead of obsessing over naps and feedings and baby issues and fearing going back to work. After dreading it for so long, it's a relief that I can stop fretting over it 24/7. And I've never been so happy to greet a weekend.

I promise I will now stop using this blog to complain about how I'm too poor to be a stay at home mom. Maybe that should be my New Year's Resolution.

But before I move on, let's talk about some related topics.

Like when do animals on the butt stop being cute? I hope I have awhile.

Sleep: I agonize over a lot of mommy problems (despite what I just said above) like napping and bedtime but I'll save that for mom friends.
He just spontaneously fell asleep on me today. It's been a minute since that happened. Love it.
As far as my own sleep goes, my goal is to go to bed right after Dalton. We have no exact time yet but it's usually like 8-9pm, so that lets me get a decent amount of sleep in between night wakeups. It's a challenge because that means I need to make and eat dinner, make my lunch for the next day, wash/prepare bottles, get ready for bed and do anything else that needs to be done around the house while Dalton takes an evening nap, so I can spend the little time we have together while he is awake actually together. I would be pretty happy to never wash another bottle, which is an issue since it's only been a week.

Workouts: I got up work out before work 4/5 days. Granted, 3 of those days I was able to go back to bed due to weather closings/delays, but I still demand credit because actually got out of bed and that's the toughest part.

Pumping: I spend my 25 minute lunch housing a sandwich while pumping in a freezing closet (in addition to two other pumping sessions during the work day). That's seriously inferior to actually being with my baby and nursing him. But the more I get into a routine, the better it goes. I'm still taking it a day at a time, and grateful I'm able to do it at all.  It is vastly improved by listening to the Serial Podcast.
So addicted.

Claim to fame for fellow fans: The students attend a high school in the school district that Eric and I work for, and Eric knows Adnan's track coach. I used to tutor at the Woodlawn library. It's cool being able to actually picture a lot of the places they describe! I'm on episode 10 though, and I don't know how I'll be able to go on when I'm finished.

In closing, if my plan to win the lottery doesn't pan out, and Obama doesn't use this year to get maternity leave up to par, I will continue to work on convincing Eric that we need to move to Canada for kid #2. Canada has schools, so we could theoretically get jobs, eh? Until then, working and sending my kid to daycare isn't terrible, although I miss him like crazy. Washing bottles and waking up to an alarm clock is terrible.

What do you look forward to most at the end of the day? It used to be getting into my pajamas and putting my feet up and getting either warm or cold finally, depending on the season. Now it's obviously baby snuggles.
Who else is a Serial fan? 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A survival story

We survived day one of daycare! I was so worried about Dalton. Everyone else was so worried about me. But we both made it with significantly less crying than expected. I actually didn't cry at all! I had a few breakdowns over Christmas vacation, so I think I got it all out then.

The truth is, my first day back to work after maternity leave sucked. I had weeks after he was born where I couldn't even think about it without crying. I thought there was no way it could be as bad as I imagined. And I feel guilty for thinking it was, because I could not have asked for a better situation. I only had to go back for two days before having 12 days off. Dalton stayed home with Eric, so it's not like I had to worry about him (and I didn't).

I got to ease in along side my friends who had subbed for me, and really they did everything, and I basically was just "working" in the sense I was in the building. It is ridiculous how amazing my coworkers are - everyone helped me get through, from bringing me coffee, watching my class while I pumped, or had a crying meltdown, or did both, and just providing general emotional support. So I realize that the fact that I still wasn't happy just makes me an ungrateful jerk. But I was a miserable mess and hated every minute of being away from him. I was also stressed out about pumping not going well. I was pretty sure I would have to quit and eat ramen and live in my car just so I could spend every minute of every day with Dalton.

Then there's the sleep factor. It's fine to be sleep deprived if you just have to hang around at home in your pjs all day. I could do that forever. But having to be up, out the door when it's still dark, dressed professionally, expected to converse intelligently, and being responsible for the literacy education of 50+ kids - that's a different ballgame. Then being sleep deprived is a bit of a problem.

Long story short, I did not have high expectations for enjoying my experience of really being back at work this week. Really being back meaning actually teaching, sending Dalton to daycare, and that whole 5 days of work and only a 2 day weekend deal. It was the first time in Dalton's whole life staying with anyone who wasn't one of his parents for more than 2 minutes, and I felt like I was throwing him to the wolves to be terrified and confused and lonely all day.

He was fine though, and most likely he didn't experience those feelings because he's 3 months old and just wants to be fed and changed and kept warm.

Give him something colorful and he's a happy camper.

He took his bottles and even napped well, a surprising bonus, although I probably just jinxed that now by mentioning it. Kids keep you pretty busy so I was occupied at work and didn't have time to dwell on things, and seeing him at the end of the day was the best.

I even managed to run 2 miles. I know my former running snob self would have scoffed at that, but even a 20 minute workout required a 4:30 wakeup call. That gave me just enough time to pump, run, shower, get ready, get Dalton up, feed him, get him ready, pack my stuff, pack his stuff, and get out the door and to work as early as possible so I can leave as early as possible and see him again. I'm hoping I can stick with this routine and over time get ready faster and get more time for exercise. I'm just not willing to wake up earlier than that, especially since, as I mentioned, I'm still getting up for middle of the night feedings.

Today was a wonderful gift from the universe - a snow day! Thank god, because after that one day of work, I was certainly ready for and deserving of a break.

I was not about to go outside and take an actual picture.
I really appreciate Mother Nature waiting to dump snow on Baltimore until it would benefit me personally.

I remember when snow days meant extra sleep. I would have liked that, but I think the new snow day activities are even better.

Snuggling - he liked it more than his expression indicates.

I also ran on the treadmill and baked cookies. A perfect day all around. How can I permanently get on this schedule of only leaving Dalton to go to work for maximum one day at a time?

Do you suffer from the problem of the anxiety being worse than the actual thing you fear? I often have this issue so it was a surprise when the first day actually lived up to my terrible expectations. But now I'm over my whiny bad attitude and it's fine. This also occurred when I thought an epidural would be awful because it's a needle and it turned out to be a wonderful magical gift from the gods.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

This is the real deal

Excellent news. So far in the new year, I committed to being a complete slug. I didn't exercise, clean, cook, grocery shop, or do anything besides basic baby care. I am happy to report that the rest healed me and I am no longer sick, just in time to go to work, and I don't mean that sarcastically because being sick at work sucks.

Saturday, being finally healthy and no longer having to cancel all plans, we attended a baby party at Carolyn and John's house. I often just refer to people as "friends" on the blog because ain't nobody got time to remember friend's names of blogs they read, but I feel we spend enough time with them that anyone reading needs to know who they are. Plus they have an adorable baby.

The party was at 12:30pm, and Eric was all like "parties in the afternoon?? Is this our life now?". Yes, yes it is.

We had fun but all the other babies were more like 7-8 months old, which is a huge difference from 3 months in baby time, so Dalton was a little overwhelmed. He shut it down.

This does not look like a comfortable way to sleep to me.
Now I know I've written all sorts of dramatic things about going back to work, and yes technically I did already go back, but tomorrow is the real, true test. See, I only went back for two days. One of those days Dalton stayed home with Eric, so while I missed him, I didn't have any concerns about him. The next day my boss declared take your kid to work day, so he came with me!

It was the best.

He slept on me in the Ergo for like 2.5 hours and basically was a superstar all day so my vote is that I can bring him every day for the next few months. But I can't so he's going to daycare and I'm having the same feelings of panic and desolation about it that every mother ever has. The only cure is just to do it and hope that by this time next week I feel better.

He's in a major "I want mommy" phase (?) and cries every time someone else holds him, even his dad, so I'm consumed with guilt and a broken heart over him crying for me while I'm not there. Good stuff. Eric is dropping him off because if that was my job I just wouldn't do it and then get fired. Today I'm trying to resist the urge to be "that mom" and call daycare and make her listen to a long list of detailed instructions about my baby.

The nice part was it led to lots of good cuddles this week. I think Eric and I are in a secret competition over who gets to hold him because we are both going to miss him so much.

A friend gave me the advice that for the first two weeks not to worry about anything but work and baby care. That's my plan. I'm prepared to live in filth and eat takeout.

I've learned that when you have a baby, the first thing everyone wants to know is "Is he sleeping through the night?". I'm considering hanging a sign around his neck that just says "I DO NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT YET". Maybe going the extra step and adding a footnote that says "no I do not want to hear about how your baby slept through the night at 7 weeks due to your superior parenting". I know plenty of babies sleep through the night by 3 months, but my understanding is that it's also pretty typical for them not to do so yet. They are all different, almost like they are real people. I never had any expectations of full nights of sleep when I returned to work.

I'm working on just getting mentally prepared for the transition to daycare involving no sleep at all, and that way any I get is a bonus. High hopes, low expectations is key. In my child free life, I relied on a combination of sleep and coffee to be awake. Currently I'm planning to rely exclusively on coffee. I just made a huge batch of iced coffee to keep in my fridge at work. Any Steaders reading this, feel free to come get some!

In my one day of experience, pumping at work did not go well. I'm not married to the idea, but I was really hoping it would work out and I could send breast milk to daycare. I'm working on trying to look at it as another transition and see it goes over the course of a week and not freaking out over one bad day. Actually, that's pretty much the theme for the whole week. My mom got me one of those fancy pump bags that holds all the parts for Christmas, so that's pretty exciting!

Now I just need this little monkey to wake up from his nap so I can continue our snuggle fest!


Who's going back to work and dreading it tomorrow?