Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things I am pondering today

1. Why Ess is refusing to nap in the middle of the day. She yawns, she gets cranky, but when I swaddle and bounce her, after a few minutes I look down to see her grinning up at me. So I unswaddled and played with her for a bit, then the crankiness and yawning reappeared. So we went for a long walk, during which she slept for approximately nine minutes. She was groggy and had glazed eyes when we came home, so I swaddled her again. She wanted to nurse, which I figured would surely put her to sleep. Again, I look down to see her sweet little grin. And now we have to leave to take Rocky to the vet for a booster of her lepto shot, and she's starting to get cranky. Of course.

2. Why our insurance refuses to cover a certain test that D took last September. After a year of trying to get pregnant, we'd been starting to wonder about fertility issues, so we went to my doctor to begin the poking and prodding. I had blood drawn, and D was given some instructions about what he was to do. In retrospect, of course, this was all unnecessary, since Ess had been conceived the day before (!). But now the stinkin' lab is billing us $65 for the test and insurance has denied the claim. I'm thinking it's time to get the benefits consultants contracted by D's employer involved. It's only $65... but money is tight these days, and besides, they ought to pay.

3. Why literally NONE of the sources I am trying to contact for a freelance story I just accepted have returned my various calls and emails. Could it have something to do, perhaps, with the fact that it's the last week in August? The Sept. 22 deadline, which seemed so far away just last week when I accepted the assignment, now is looming on the horizon. People, call me.

4. Whether there really are an unusual number of houses for sale in our neighborhood, or whether because I'm home all the frickin' time now I just notice them more. If there are more for sale, what's going on? Did someone declare our neighborhood no longer cool -- it was the hot area for a little while there, although our ending up here had far more to do with the fact that the grandparents of a friend of D's owned the house than it did with us being coolhunters -- and if so, where is everyone going?

5. Why I am not napping right now, since (in the three hours since I started this post) Ess is really and truly asleep for the first time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Enough with the canine bodily fluids already

So this weekend the mystery of the pee-soaked dining room rug was finally definitively solved; as we suspected, the culprit was Jelly, the elderly lady mutt who barely even knows Ess exists. D caught her in the act; I swooped in, picked her up and deposited her in the backyard, whereupon she commenced wandering around, as if to ask herself, why am I here? I already peed -- what else is left to do?

Jelly seems to be even more arthritic than usual, and yesterday she had a really bizarre senile moment, snapping at the living room as though she thought it was her dinner. So we are wondering how long, exactly, she's going to be with us. And sympathetic though we are, it gets really frickin' tiresome to clean up dog urine several times a week. (And, yes, we are thinking of buying stock in Nature's Miracle. And possibly of dipping the entire rug in it at some point.)

Then, today, dog vomit joined the mix. Rocky wouldn't eat her breakfast, which is entirely out of character, and a few hours later I discovered why: puke spots in two places on the carpeted (enclosed) front porch and one on the living room rug. A little while later, I discovered an even better present: a giant puke spot on the couch. This is what we get for allowing the little princess to sit up here with us...

And now, as I sit reading my way through Catherine Newman's archives -- how did I not know she exists? -- the faint odor of puke is haunting me. I suspect the spot-cleaning did not work, which means I'll need to wash the slipcover, which means I'll discover exactly what horrors lurk beneath it. And given the frequency with which it's getting spit up upon these days, perhaps that's not a bad idea anyway.

All of which is to say that suddenly, astonishingly, Ess is the neatest non-adult-human creature in the house.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm supposed to be working...

... but I couldn't resist posting this picture of Ess from the other morning. She totally loves her bouncy seat these days -- thank god, since the swing is anathema to her. And the dress... it kills me. I have no idea who gave it to us, but it's ridiculously cute.

She is getting so big, and so full of personality -- it's amazing. And along with that she is starting to register my absences. She was in bed by the time I got home last night, so I didn't see her again until she nursed at 9:30 or 10. And I think when she realized it was mommy, and not those plastic bottles, she was thrilled. So we were up again at 12 and 3 and 5 and 6 and 7. She totally refused to take a bottle of formula from D after I nursed her at midnight (we've been getting a couple hours extra sleep if we top her off with formula after nursing once in the night), but stopped crying immediately when I latched her back on.

Part of me was irritated by this -- I really could have used another few hours of uninterrupted sleep last night -- but a bigger part of me was totally happy about it. She knows who I am, and she likes it (or, at least, she likes the milk direct from the source...). So today it's nice to be working at home; D is in charge of her, but I'll nurse her when she needs it and pop in to kiss those gigantic cheeks every now and then. So I'm finding that it is, in fact, possible to be totally exhausted and happy at the same time. (You can all commence with the "I told you so" now...)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Drifting apart

The loss of old friendships is tough. Sometimes it happens because of a particular event, a dispute or disagreement that is too big to overcome. More often, I think, it's because of a drifting away, the fact that lives that used to be interwined became merely parallel and then, eventually, diverged even more. That doesn't make the loss of the friend any less painful, though.

I'm talking here about my friend P., who I've known since we were 15. For years, he was practically my brother; there were outings in high school -- like taking the train into New York to see the Andy Warhol exhibit at MOMA, or driving to Philly to go to the zoo -- that my parents wouldn't let me attend unless he was going, too. He was -- and is -- the kind of guy who is friends with everyone, from the biggest, slowest jocks to the prettiest popular girls to the offbeat drama geeks (count me in the latter camp).

Our group of friends stayed unusually close through college and the first few years afterward, driving long distances to attend one another's keg parties (and, really, what truer sign of friendship is there?) and spending hours on the phone, catching up on breakups and new jobs, gossip and new albums. P and I even had an ill-fated few days of romance, in which I realized that kissing him was exactly like kissing my brother, and that was no good. We recovered from that, though, and he was in our wedding, proudly dubbed the "bridesdude."

But ever since I moved to Maine, he and I have begun to drift apart. Other than a year in the upper Midwest, P. has spent his entire life in Jersey. His family is tightknit, and he has a younger brother with some difficulties that cause P. to feel quite responsible for him. (In fact, the two recently bought their parents' house -- a few doors down from our high school -- and are living there together.) When P. goes on vacation, he tends to do so with his brother, or, if alone, to see family on the West Coast. He has come to Maine exactly once, and that was seven or eight years ago. So our visits have slowed down. I see him when I'm home, and we talk on the phone a couple times a year at best.

So of course he was invited to the party my parents threw last month when Ess and I were in NJ. My mom didn't hear from him until the night before the event, when he called to say that he could, in fact, be there. (He'd emailed a note of congratulations when we announced Ess' birth, but otherwise I hadn't heard from him.) The day of the party dawned. We were hanging out in the backyard with the first of the guests when the phone rang. It was P., who said his day hadn't gone as he'd expected and that he was going to be unable to get away from repairs on the house to come to the party.

Mind you, he lives about three miles from my parents' house. And he has known my family forever; he could've come covered in mud and been welcome. And just as he was telling me that hanging drywall (or whatever) was more important than coming to see me, in walked my friends R and R, who had driven from Washington, DC to attend the party.

So I was mad. Really mad. P. called a day later to see if he could stop by, but we were at my grandparents' house. And when we got home it was time to celebrate my birthday, and I just didn't feel like talking to him. And did I say I was mad?

Fast forward a few weeks. P. leaves a message on our answering machine apologizing for missing the party. I joke to my parents that it's become impossible to get rid of him -- just when I think he's pissed me off for good, he realizes he's done something wrong and I can't stay mad. A few days later, I get an e-vite to his birthday party, addressed to mc D's-last-name, which is not my name. And I'm irked again.

So yesterday was his birthday. I was out for a walk with Ess and called him on my cell. We talked for about 40 minutes and he never once asked how I'm doing. Didn't inquire about how I like motherhood, or what Ess is like, or whether I've gone back to work. Didn't even think to ask about her health. Instead, it was all about how difficult the house repairs are, and how bummed he is about the recent breakup with his girlfriend.

I'm not entirely cold-hearted. I know he's having a tough time right now. But on top of everything -- particularly his lack of interest in coming up for a long weekend, despite multiple invitations over the last several years, followed by his inability to drive three miles to see us last month -- this preoccupation with himself made me see red. I seethed through the second half of the phone call, and was grateful when I walked back into my driveway and had to end the call to get Ess into the house.

My temptation is to make some big dramatic gesture to formally end this relationship. But that's just the hurt feelings talking. Instead, we will continue to drift apart. He'll probably come over to see Ess when we visit my folks this fall, or we'll stop by his house and see what changes he's made since his parents moved to Florida. He'll stay on my Christmas card list. And I will continue to miss the friend I once had.

True life tales of the fourth trimester

Just wanted to alert y'all that the Sisterhood Six have posted their second Carnival of Motherhood, this one on the (extremely relevant, to me anyway) on the so-called fourth trimester, and they've included one of my posts. In retrospect, perhaps I might have submitted something a little less overwrought, but it's certainly true to life.

Interestingly, we are actually still in the fourth trimester if you use Ess' corrected age -- which is nine weeks tomorrow (that would be fifteen weeks real age). So maybe that explains why I'm still so tired??

I'm looking forward to reading the other posts, particularly if that means Ess keeps napping... Thanks to Moreena for the info about the carnival!

Monday, August 21, 2006

All systems go

It has been ~36 hours since I ate the cream cheese, and Ess has shown no ill effects. Can I even express how good that bagel tasted, or how we flinched every time she cried yesterday?? But all is well, thank gawd.

Next up on the menu: in a few days, ice cream. Keep those fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A few random bullets, Sunday style

  • This morning we discovered that Ess' coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit, which absolutely swam on her at the time, is too small. What a bittersweet moment. I wish we'd gotten her in it one more time before she outgrew it, just to see what she looked like when it actually fit, but instead it earns its place on the rapidly growing pile of outgrown clothes next to her bureau. (She's still in 0-3 mos. clothes, but I see the 3-6 mo. stuff on the horizon...)
  • Today's big experiment: The reintroduction of dairy into my diet. This morning I had half a bagel with the wonderful herb cream cheese made by the bakery down the street. It's still too soon to know if it's affected Ess, but I'm crossing my fingers that it won't. We realized the other day that all the frozen milk she's been drinking while I've been at work was pumped when I was still eating dairy, and she's had absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever. I can't imagine that freezing would somehow alter the protein from cow's milk that tends to bother babies, so we're giving it a try. Updates to come...
  • Pumping and dumping isn't such a terrible experience if it means you can have a glass of wine and one of champagne. We went to the wedding of a coworker of D's yesterday; my sister and her husband babysat. They had a grand old time, and we had a decent time, too. Luckily the wedding was on the beach right near our house, so when I got antsy to see the girl we were home within five minutes. And that champagne was awfully nice.
  • Perhaps this is a sign that I am still watching TLC a little too much, but every time I get dressed these days -- largely in shapeless T-shirts and shorts -- I hear Clinton and Stacy's voices in my head. Today, for example, they pointed out that my hot pink stretch V-neck from the Gap outlet ends at my hips, the widest part of my body, thus emphasizing what I would prefer to downplay. And they are right. The only problem is that, having learned all their pointers for finding more flattering clothes, I somehow do not have in my possession the $5,000 to buy a new wardrobe that they so eagerly hand out.
  • I have a small freelance piece due tomorrow. Ess is napping. So why I am I blogging rather than working on it??

Friday, August 18, 2006

Geeky Friday night pastime

I just switched my blogroll over to Bloglines, which lets me update it much more easily than Blogrolling does. Having gone ahead and done this (yet not cancelled my Blogrolling membership), I'm wondering if there are disadvantages to Bloglines that I don't know about? I've been using it as a feedreader for a while now and am pretty happy with how it works. And I especially like the ability to (finally) put my blogroll in categories.

So, anyone with an opinion, please jump in. Otherwise, have fun perusing the newly updated, and much more comprehensive, list of blogs I read.


So I'm working at home today. Most of the rest of the staff is off for the day. The only emails in my inbox are from the editor (my boss), one of the two other people on staff who are working today. My phone is not ringing.

Until a few minutes ago, that is.

It's the editor, and this is what he says: "C. just left for the day. I'm thinking I'm going to call it a day pretty soon here, too. And you? I don't know what you're doing."

So there you have it: tacit permission to bail out of work on a gorgeous Friday in August. Yeehaw.

This would seem to be stroke number two of good luck in the last 24 hours. I know I'm risking ye olde blogging jinx by writing about this, but Ess has made some strides in her sleeping patterns this week. We got really aggressive about instituting a bedtime routine on Monday or Tuesday -- starting with either a bath or a massage (the girl now smells permanently of apricot baby oil), then a walk upstairs to the bedroom where we pull the shades, turn on the sound machine and then nurse in the rocking chair, followed by a smooch and a pat when I place her in the co-sleeper -- and it seems to be paying off. We haven't had a night of shrieking prior to bedtime, and each night this week she's increased her sleeping time, to the extent that last night we got TWO four-hour stints out of her. This is unprecedented.

The other thing that I think is helping is the fact that I'm making sure that at the midnight-ish feeding she is eating a lot. This was our pediatrician's suggestion; two nights ago, Ess nursed, then I burped her and changed her diaper and D gave her a big bottle of formula. She drank it all and conked out for three hours. I wasn't thrilled about the formula solution, and had a little middle-of-the-night meltdown about not being able to provide for my baby (I swear, it was the smell of the formula alone -- the first time I've smelled it on her formerly sweet little breath -- that created this trauma). So last night at midnight I nursed her, poked her until she woke up and nursed some more, then changed her diaper and woke her up again for more nursing. And that really seemed to do the trick.

And the third thing that's helping is the strict attention we're paying to her nap schedule during the day. It's meant that whoever's in charge of her doesn't stray from the house for long, but we've been rewarded with some longer naps and a happier baby.

Or, of course, perhaps none of that has caused the improved sleep and it's just some mental or physical milestone that she's reached. Whatever it is, it's giving us at least a few days of better rest. And that is nothing to sneeze at.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another day, plus a backdated post

Thanks for your comments and e-mails last night; they were really helpful. We still didn't sleep any better, and D is currently on minute 30 of an attempt to get a visibly tired little girl to nap, but there was at least some catharsis in the writing and the discussing.

And lest you think it's all gloom and doom around here, I point you to this post, written last week on the occasion of Ess' three-month birthday and posted to the family blog but unposted here until this morning.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Instead of wine, whine

This is not the post I was planning to write. The one I was planning to write was sort of witty. Failing that, it was at least non-baby-related. And non-whiny.

But, as I said, that post is not getting written.

Instead, you're getting yet another whiny baby post, in which I admit how miserable I feel these days about my role as a mother. Mondays and Tuesdays are my days alone with Ess. D works from 11 to 7 or thereabouts, meaning that if he goes straight to work and comes straight home I am on my own with her from 10:30 to 7:30. This morning, I had a chiropractor appointment and then some errands to run, so I left the house with her at 9. A friend met me at the chiro's office to watch Ess while I was treated; she and I chatted in the half-hour we waited for my appointment. (News flash: I have carpal tunnel from holding the baby and need to be fitted for wrist braces. Yippee.)

Then Ess and I went off to do our errands. She slept for about an hour, and then was awake. We came home, she later napped for 30 minutes, and we spent some time hanging out in the backyard. Getting a bit bored and stir crazy, I called a friend whose baby doesn't sleep, either, to see if she wanted to go for a walk. Ess was just falling asleep when they arrived at our house, so I popped her into the stroller, where she slept for much of our walk. K and I discussed sleep schedules, our frustration, the difficulty breastfeeding creates for the mother who wants to accomplish anything besides nursing the baby, etc. etc.

I came home at about 3:30. I'd had two good social interactions with understanding friends. I'd gotten some exercise, had a good lunch and even gotten some things accomplished -- together, typically the sign of a good day.

But by 5:30, when Ess was clearly overtired and still would not nap, despite about 45 minutes of effort on my part to help soothe her to sleep, I was a basket case. On the verge of tears, at a loss for what to try next and resentful of the crying baby in my arms. Even before we'd gotten to this point -- and this is one of the things I don't like to admit -- I was looking forward to going to work on Wednesday, to having someone else be responsible for her.

My mom called in the midst of this to see how we were doing, and I lost it. Cried, confessed to dreading the days I am on my own with Ess and looking forward to work. She suggested I call my sister and ask her to come over and help. I didn't want to. Ess screamed, I cried some more and my mom took over. Called my sister and sent her over. I later learned she told my sis that I was having a nervous breakdown... a little melodramatic, but effective in getting a fresh pair of hands on the scene.

So my sister held the screaming baby while I drank a huge glass of water and got started making my (very simple) dinner, which I hadn't figured out how I could manage without someone else there. Ess screamed more, my sister bounced her and danced with her and was just about to take her for a ride in the car when I decided to nurse her once again, just to make sure that if Ess was screaming in the car, it wasn't because she was hungry. She screamed and refused to latch on, then eventually settled... and had a nice big poop while she nursed. That seemed to help, so after I changed her diaper and gave her a massage -- just about the only thing that reliably helps her sleep -- I put her to bed. It only took about 15 minutes -- astonishing, after the hours I'd just spent trying to soothe her.

Still, I feel incompetent all the time. I feel like I'm not learning anything about how to help Ess get to sleep more easily, or stay asleep longer. (We are still looking at three hours, and occasionally four, as the longest she'll go between nursings at night.) I hate how easily I get frustrated, and how much I resent her -- not all the time, but with some regularity -- for keeping me from reading or eating or sleeping when I want to. I fantasize about going back to work full-time and then hate myself for wanting to. I feel like I am just not cut out for this job, and yet I've got it for life.

I know that a lot of this is temporary, that presumably at some point Ess' sleep schedule will improve and I will get a bit more rest myself. I know that I really enjoy toddlers, and that in the grand scheme of things this infant stuff doesn't last for long. And I am trying to keep all that in perspective. But on days like today, it's really difficult.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Why I am drinking a tiny glass of wine tonight

First of all, because La Leche League says it is ok. And if the same women who tell me not to eat dairy products and urge me to nurse for as long as my child is interested say it is ok to have an occasional glass of wine, I am choosing to believe them.

Second of all, because what a freakin' day. Now that I'm back to work, on Thursdays I will be spending the day at the office, which as I've mentioned ad nauseum is ~85 miles away, meaning that I'm away from home for about 12 hours. This week, though, I went up on Friday. Today. Because the company picnic was today, and since I just started in January and am working part-time and telecommuting and just came back from maternity leave, I figured I needed to show my face... and the faces of my wonderful husband and cute little peanut of a girl.

Which meant that the three of us needed to be out of the house by 7 am.

We almost made it; I think we pulled out of the driveway about 7:15. Ess slept the whole way there, then nursed in the car in the parking lot. D took her off for a walk around town and a nap in the park, then came back to pick me up around noon. She nursed again and we went to the picnic, held at the lodge of a local ski area. Blah blah company picnic/schmooze the CEO and his wife/try to nurse the baby among lots of co-workers, which was a little weird/eat gross, greasy hamburger/watch interminable skits/nurse some more/ blah blah.

And then we headed home. At this point, Ess had not slept a whole lot. She'd dozed during the skits, but that was about it. So she and I both napped a bit while D drove. I woke up after about 20 minutes, when we hit miserable August-Friday-on-the-coast-of-Maine traffic, and she'd been awake for a while. Her contentment quickly turned to misery, and as we sped up and slowed down, she screamed and quieted, screamed and quieted. We stopped in Outletville so I could nurse her while D ran into the grocery store to buy zuchini for the meal we planned to make (but for which we turned out to lack several other essential ingredients; apparently the sleep deprivation is getting to us). She had a giant poop, seemed happy and off we went. Ten minutes later she was screaming again. And then she finally fell asleep... just as we crossed the bridge into our town, five minutes from our house.

I'm sure you can imagine what came next... a little bit of contentment, and then hours of misery. We bounced, we sang, we rocked, we nursed, we wore her in the sling. Nothing calmed her. She did fall asleep briefly in my arms, but woke angrier than ever when I put her down. Eventually, by bouncing on the ball while wearing her in the sling and running the hair dryer, she calmed down. So we decided to go for a walk in the hopes that it would knock her out.

We walked for an hour. And came home with a crying baby.

I took her out of the sling, resisting the temptation to drop her off at our neighbors' party and run. And then I bicycled her legs and did some belly massage. She became mysteriously calm, though she grunted a bit when I did the massage. I nursed her for a bit. And then there was some more grunting, and then a giant poop. And a giant spitup.

And now she is asleep in the cosleeper. But we are absolutely exhausted. And also somewhat delirious. We've decided to cancel plans to see some good friends who are only in Maine for a short while; we were supposed to visit with them (an hour-and-a-half away) on Sunday, but between Ess' new trend of being completely out of sorts and unable to sleep when she's been overstimulated and the miserable weekend traffic on Route One, we have just decided to bag it. I am sad we won't get to see them and their new daughter, but we have to have some sanity around here.

And all of that, my friends, is why I am having this tiny glass of wine.

Apologies for the length of this post about nothing; as someone famous said, If I'd had the time, I would have made it shorter.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Three months old

Ess on Aug. 10, 2006, with Zeke.
And introducing Larry, whose size will provide
a better basis for comparison with the little girl as she grows.

Dear Ess,

What a month it has been! You were not short on adventure this month, proving to be an intrepid traveler as you journeyed with Aunt E and your mom all the way to New Jersey to meet a slew of relatives and friends. You slept like a dream in your carseat for the entire journey -- an impressive performance for such a wee girl. You also went on your first hike this month, something we hope you'll like a bit more when you get a little older. And you met, among other important people, your Uncle A and Aunt K.

Perhaps our biggest collective achievement this month was handling the transition in work schedules that began last week, when your mom went back to work and your dad went on part-time paternity leave. So now you spend Mondays and Tuesdays with Mom, and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Dad. You even attend staff meeting with Dad on Wednesday mornings, and you have behaved like a champion at both meetings you've attended (although you did give Dad a big poopy diaper to change both times -- great timing, little girl!). Your dad loves spending these days with you, and your mom is happy to be back at work while still being able to spend a lot of time with you, too. It seems that the combination of working and parenting is working well for all of us at the moment. You, of course, have weathered the change without a problem.

You've reached several physical milestones, too. The biggest of these, for your poor tired parents, is of course your beautiful gummy smile. You smile most frequently in the morning, when you are generally happy and curious. You love to lie on your back on the couch or on one of your quilts on the floor, kicking your legs, waving your arms and smiling. We spend what seems like hours tickling your belly and poking your cute little nose to provoke that smile, and then we melt when it appears. You've also started to laugh more; for the first time just a few days ago, you squealed in response to a sound, rather than a physical sensation or a smile from one of us. You've also recently begun to enjoy playing peekaboo with Daddy; he brushes one of the ubiquitous burp cloths across your face, and you squeak with delight when he pulls it away.

In another breathtaking development, you have begun to hold your head up when we hold you upright against a shoulder. You get tired after a little while and rest your sweet-smelling head on our shoulders -- still a tiny baby, but already growing up so much. You've become much more interested in Rocky, and she has become devoted to you. In fact, as I type this, you are both asleep upstairs in your respective beds (Rocky has even overcome her neurosis about climbing the back stairs in order to be with you!).

You love taking a bath; it seems that the warm water soothes you, and you really enjoy kicking and splashing. You also really like the massages I've been giving you with apricot baby oil. We learned about this in the Blossoming Newborns class we took this month. We spent 90 minutes for four Tuesdays hanging out with some other moms and babies, admiring your growth, talking about our concerns and learning songs and ways to calm you. Inspired by the class, we bought an exercise ball we bounce on to calm you, and we began dancing with you when you're really cranky; bopping around the room to Paul Simon's Graceland album does wonders to soothe you.

You've more than doubled in weight since you were born; now if only you would increase your sleeping time at night, too! That is one of the big challenges we face: figuring out how to get you to go longer without waking in the night. But even though you are a wise old three-month-old, developmentally you're still only seven weeks old. So we're trying to just hang in there as you grow and, theoretically at least, develop better sleep habits. For the last few days, in an effort to get you to sleep a little longer in the pre-dawn hours, I've let you sleep in the crook of my arm, with your head on my shoulder. Belly to belly, we snuggle together and, astonishingly, you'll sleep for almost two hours. This is obviously not a long-term solution, and it leaves me quite stiff, but it is awfully sweet.

And with that we will close this overly long update. It's astonishing that so much has happened in just one month -- what will happen when you sit and eat and crawl and talk? We can only dream. We love you very much, sweet girl.

Mom and Dad

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Random bullets of Tuesday

  • My parents, and their dogs, left this morning after their week-long visit. I am simultaneously very sad that they've gone and totally relieved to have the house back to myself. My wonderful father is a clutterer: when he's here, the case for the video camera is in the middle of the living room floor; his laptop and papers are on the dining room table; the DVDs he's copying are scattered around my desk. We keep our house pretty neat (note that I said neat, not clean), so the clutter stresses me out.
  • Lobster and steamers, while a wonderful summer meal, are extremely difficult to consume with a cranky baby in a sling.
  • Salad and blueberry pie at 9 pm does not a balanced dinner make.
  • Our next-door neighbors have been doing a ton of work on their house. After weeks of asking leading questions about their intent, D finally learned that they are, in fact, planning to sell in a couple years, when the guy's 91-year-old father dies and they move to Colorado. My parents have been making noise about buying property up here as an investment, and perhaps moving here to be near Ess (and us) when they retire. We introduced them to our neighbors a few days ago, with a little real estate matchmaking in mind. Should this all come to fruition (unlikely, but possible), I hope I do not one day look back on this week and ask myself what the hell I was thinking.
  • If I do wonder what the hell I was thinking, I can blame it on the sleep deprivation, which continues in a major way. Last night, or rather this morning, at 3:30, it took me a looong time of patting, belly-rubbing and re-binkie-ing to get Ess back to sleep. When she woke at 5, the only way I could get her to sleep again was to snuggle her in the crook of my arm. And the same at 6:15.
  • All of which means that the visit yesterday to the osteopath, which was supposed to help with both her digestion and her sleep, had absolutely zero effect. But then again, we may be asking too much of the osteopath, since the Wonder Weeks' description of the week 7 or 8 fussy phase reads like a biography of our child (who tomorrow will be 13 weeks, or 7 weeks if we take into account her prematurity). Shy with strangers? Check. Wanting to nurse frequently, but not taking much milk at all? Check. Clinging more tightly? Check. Sleeping poorly? Yes, indeedy. Crying and crying? Oh my yes. Last night she was absolutely inconsolable screaming for over an hour; we've been lucky enough thus far that it was truly unusual behavior. And the napping... oy. The 45-minute naps have now been reduced to 25 minutes.
  • All of which means that Rocky's annual checkup and barrage of shots later this afternoon -- normally a somewhat trying affair, since our 10-pound princess fights like a grizzled heavyweight boxer when needles come near her -- should be even more, ummm, interesting with a 10.5 pound grump in the sling.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Week one: Done

Publishing this on a Friday night in August amd hoping that someone, somewhere will actually read it...

So, I survived the first week back at work. And I didn't cry, I didn't freak out, I didn't lose my mind. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. I liked applying my mental energy to problems other than Ess' sleep schedule or the bizarre propensity for her bowel movements to fill just the back half of the diaper (and beyond). I was happy to hear that my colleagues missed me, and spent some time figuring out how to be more connected to the office goings on during the days I work at home.

I'm sure some of this was just the honeymoon effect, and the novelty of change. Not to mention the fact that Ess was home with D all three days, and that they did fabulously together. With time, some of the drudgery of work will return. And in January, when he goes back to work full-time (but on a four-days-a-week schedule), she will have to spend two days a week in some form of daycare/babysitting and it will be harder to leave her.

This week, and this is a little hard to admit, the difficult thing some days was finishing work -- walking in the door at 7:15 Wednesday night and being handed a screaming baby to nurse and put to bed. Or last night, walking from my home office through the dining room and into the living room, and being handed a fussy baby who didn't know what she wanted. Nursing overnight was much sweeter, though; I didn't find myself resenting Ess at 3 am, as I had on more than one occasion. Instead, I took the opportunity to cuddle her and pat her back to sleep.

As I said, I don't know how this is all going to work out in the long run. But for now it's ok. And that in itself makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back to work

In 12 hours, I will be sitting in my (unfortunately un-air-conditioned) office. Wearing grownup clothes that, please deity, will not have spitup on them. I will not be making up song after song to the tune of Frere Jacques, nor will I be watching snippets of daytime TV while Ess nurses. Instead, I'll be meeting with my boss to catch up on what happened over my leave, and talking about Ess, and reading my work email.

And pumping. And pumping. And pumping.

Ess will be 85 miles away, close to home with her beloved dad, who will be on his own adventure as he takes her to his weekly staff meeting in the morning. The two of them will spend about 12 hours together before I return home. All of the preparations have been made -- the milk is thawing in the fridge, some backup formula has been measured out, the diaper bag restocked. I've got the pump in its case, my laptop and other office stuff in the backpack, lunch all made in the fridge and some decaf ready to go in the coffeemaker. My clothes are ironed and set out.

So why do I feel so freakin' unprepared??

I have no idea what I am going to feel like tomorrow, other than guilty. I already feel guilty for having this job that, although it allows me to work part-time, and at home two days a week, also requires me to spend one day a week so very far away. I am not worried about D's ability to care for Ess all day long, just about the strain that spending 12 hours with sole responsibility for an infant can create. Especially when he'll also be babysitting my parents' wacky dogs for the day.

Yes, my parents arrived this afternoon. They decided to come up a couple days early because they were worried about my ability to drive all that way on the (small but increasing) amount of sleep I've been getting lately. So they're staying at my sister's house, and tomorrow morning they will arrive at 6:45 am to pick me up and drive me up the coast to my office. They'll hang out all day and do touristy stuff -- and, we hope, find ways to stay cool -- then return to the office to ferry me home at the end of the day. We'll pick up takeout on the way into town, then return to the dogs and D and sweet little Ess.

I'm already looking forward to that reunion. Cross your fingers that the day goes smoothly for all of us.