Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pardon Me, Do You Have a Lactation Room?

My office environment is very positive. The people are pleasant, the bathrooms are clean, and most importantly, the lactation room is private. Hidden behind a locked door that requires an entry code, it contains a sink, a mini-fridge, and two cozy pleather chairs separated by a curtain. I retreat to it three times a day and give nary a second thought to the process.

After my fiasco trip to Phoenix, I have not only a newfound love of my pump, but a newfound respect for the facilities. I had already been here for over four years when I came back from maternity leave, and I had seen other new moms excuse themselves to express, so I knew that a lactation room existed and whom to ask for access.

I know I am fortunate to have a lactation room at my office. WorkingMomsAgainstGuilt had an interesting discussion about pumping at work a few weeks ago. Moms are pretty inventive when challenged, with some hiding in coat closets, others seeking refuge in bathrooms and the brave few pumping at their desks. Imagine being an employee at a fast food restaurant or a Starbucks, talk about having limited options! At least I can take my breaks as needed and no one questions where I am going or counts the seconds until I return.

It still makes me wonder how things are at other organizations. And how you find out about them. Since you are apparently not supposed to be too obvious about having small children during the interview process, when is the appropriate time to ask about the existence of a lactation room? Do you pump in your car for a week until someone notices and asks? Do you just avoid switching jobs while nursing?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's All a Blur

Tomorrow, LP will be nine months old. That means she will have been out of me as long as she was in me. And this week our little munchkin is transitioning at day care. That means she is going into the next classroom with the "bigger" kids (9-18 months). I am not sure how we got to the end of February 2007 so quickly, so I thought I would take the opportunity to review some of the changes in our life over the last 9 months.

First of all, the cliches are all valid: no, I can't imagine life before her or without her; yes, time flies; and no, I can't really remember her when she was an itty bitty tiny thing. This may be because LP was never an itty, bitty tiny thing, but she was a newborn.

Second, I can carry 20 pounds with one hand! While doing a million other things with left arm (and the occasional additional thing with my right)! Who knew! And I didn't even have to work out. If you had asked me to stand from a sitting position, without using my hands, while holding a very fragile 20-lb. package two years ago, I would have laughed in your face and most likely fallen over while trying. Now I am an expert and I have the muscles to prove it. Of course I also have the back and knee pain to prove it, but let's focus on the positive here.

Third, I continue to be in awe of this little person we created. I have been in a state of awe for the past 18 months and I probably will be for the rest of my life. Just last night I was looking at LP tear things apart in our living room while giggling and I looked at the Hoos and asked "Can you even believe that is our daughter?". She is even more gorgeous, loving, and wonderful than I ever thought possible.

Fourth, it does get easier. When LP started day care at three months old and they told us to bring in a schedule for her, I wanted to simultaneously laugh and cry. A schedule? Ummm...she sleeps every once in a while, eats every 2-3 hours, and the rest of the time, well, I try to fill that time up with interesting things? The 'schedule' we delivered on LP's first day basically said "She eats every 2-3 hours, when we drop her off we will let you know the last time she ate." Six months later, LP has a perfect schedule. It is flexible, but there are certain windows of time when she does things. She eats five times a day, she takes two naps, and she goes to bed at 9:30 after her bath and nursing.

Finally, we have learned to be happy with what works for us and not worry too much about what everyone else is doing. We are LP's parents. We love her more then we ever thought imaginable and we are making stuff up as we go along and so far things are turning out just great. Just ask LP!

Monday, February 26, 2007

"F" is For...

Five, as in the five inches of snow we got last night. The impact of these frosty flakes was local school closings - including LP's day care.

Flexible, which is what my Hoos is. Because I had a meeting this morning (despite the fact that I don't typically go to the office on Mondays) he stayed home with LP this morning until I could get home and cover him.

"Freaking a!," the words I repeated as I attempted to clean off my car after wading through the aforementioned five inches to reach it.

Frustration, the feeling I had after arriving at work and getting calls from two of my colleagues that were supposed to be in my morning meeting, telling me they would be taking the meeting via conference call from their respective homes.

"F&^*" another refrain running through my head as the gas light came on in my car on the way home, and again when I pulled into a service station only to discover that the credit and debit card system was down and they were only taking cash. Further amplified when I realized I didn't have any cash.

Fortunate, that I read the sign about the credit cards BEFORE getting out of my car.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Who Made Up These Rules?

A lot of Mom blogs have been talking about, an organization dedicated to 'building a family-friendly America.' Despite how it might sound, this is not a right-wing conservative group. Rather, it is very mainstream, and it is actively fighting against hiring discrimination.

As someone considering dipping my toe back into the hiring pool, I was shocked to learn that it is perfectly legal for a company not to hire me because I am a mom. They can't discriminate if I am pregnant and going to be a mom, but apparently it is perfectly valid for them to rule me out as a candidate because I have already given birth.

Alternatively, my husband is considered an excellent, even more attractive, candidate for a job because he has a family (actually, he is an attractive job applicant for many reasons, but l digress). Men with families are viewed as being more stable and more willing to work long and hard to bring home extra bacon. Women with families are undesirable because they are perceived as having different priorities and less flexibility.

In reality, we all know that moms - 'working' and stay-at-home - are excellent multi-taskers. We have to be! I can empty the dishwasher, while making dinner, with a 9 month old clinging to be right arm - and I'm right-handed; when IMing with my dad, I still type faster than he does with one-finger on my left hand (same child, rendering the right arm unavailable); after grocery shopping I can carry LP, my purse, a diaper bag and at least 4 bags full of groceries and juggle them all while attempting to unlock the house (okay, I cheat a little by using my mouth to hold the keys sometimes).

I think it is sad that in 2007, not only do we have to doubt our own ability, and overcome guilt, anxiety and a host of other emotions to return to work after maternity leave, but we have to play down one of the most important aspects of our lives in order to compete in the job market. Sure, we can say that we wouldn't want to work for a place that discriminates in such a way, but I have the sense that this practice is pretty prevalent - we might all end up working for the same handful women-owned businesses....

Comparing Apples and Oranges

We all do it. We can't help it. We compare ourselves, our kids, our lives to others. As a new mom desperately seeking to understand my developing daughter, I find that my need to baseline has gotten worse.

The world is set up to force us to compare. Look in the child-rearing must-have "What to Expect the First Year." At the beginning of each chapter is a "What Your Child Should Be Doing This Month" section. Most parents, myself included, ignore the footnote in small print that says "each child develops at his or her own pace."

A friend recently brought her daughter who is a week older than LP into the office. I missed it, but rumor has it that she was crawling, taking some small steps and clapping for joy when everyone oohhed and aaaahed. LP continues to be a world-class roller on the brink of crawling.

"No two babies are alike!" I keep reminding myself. Of course, no two babies are alike when my kid is ahead of the curve, but when she is right on (or dare I type, behind) pace, I don't like this disclaimer.

My little LP loves to hug and snuggle. She makes everyone around her smile. For now, I am content that she excels at bringing joy, but come the next milestone check, I am sure I will be looking for the more standard high marks.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blog

Yesterday I had an email conversation with my Aunt Barbara. She asked if I minded that she read my blog, since it sort of felt like "reading my personal diary." I guess this is true to some extent with two main differences:

  1. I am too lazy to actually write in a diary on a daily basis
  2. Believe it or not, I actually do censor what I write in the blog
I started this blog in hopes of finding other women in similar situations that I could share stories and experiences with and learn from. I have been really pleasantly surprised to see how many of us are in the same boat and how supportive "working moms" are of one another. When my mother and Aunt became parents, there was much more of a stigma attached with moms working outside the home. While there is still the guilt and debate over whether leaving our kids in someone else's care will scar them for life, we have to admit it is much more accepted.

An added bonus of this blog is that my family can now keep up with LP's development on a much more personal level than third-hand information. And, hopefully it is helping them see me an aspect of me that they didn't know existed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Paradise Lost

I rarely watch television anymore. I don't like to turn it on when I am playing in the living room with LP since I often find myself focused on the tube instead of the cherub beside me. The one show that I do still like to watch is Lost. After a three-month hiatus, it returned to the ABC line-up a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it returned in a new, not-so-mommy-friendly 10 pm time slot.

Last night, after depositing LP in her crib around 9:30 I slipped into my PJs so that I could watch Lost from the comfort of my bed and go to sleep promptly when it ended at 11. Well, lets just say that staying up until 11 is not compatible with having a child that wakes up at 5. I have never been a night owl that could stay up late, but I certainly thought 11 was doable. I didn't even make it to the second commercial break.

Nowadays, I don't even remember the chick who would stay up until the late hour of midnight (ha ha ha). I am constantly part of a team. For example, when I spend the day with LP and the Hoos calls to check in, I tell him about 'our' day. "We did three loads of laundry, changed the sheets, went grocery shopping, emptied the dishwasher and made dinner." LP - she sure is some helper!

Another example: yesterday I won a customized mug from Design-her Gals as a result of a contest I entered on Role Mommy and created the cartoon image of myself to the right (okay, she is much cuter and chicer than me). I captioned it "LP's Mommy". Not "Glamorous Fabulous Super Star" or "Amy's Mug"; Actually , now that I think of it, "Amy's Mug" would have been cute - except that the cartoon isn't really my mug....

I knew being a mom would redefine who I was as a person, and I love it, but I wonder if my name will become a relic of the past as I move from "Mommy" to "LP's mom" to "Mrs. Hoos". If you see me on the street, or someone that kinda sorta looks like the cartoon if you squint at her, please, just call me "Amy". And let me know what happened on Lost last night too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Modesty? Privacy? What Are Those?

Early on in my pregnancy I knew that there was not going to be any room for modesty in the delivery room. I don't think I knew that the lack of modesty would start so far in advance of labor or last so long after.

It started shortly after I thought I was beginning to show (note: Me thinking I was showing and reality were not necessarily the same thing). I would pull my shirt tight across my belly anytime I talked to people about my bump. It didn't matter if they were strangers, colleagues or family - Free show! See More! I would talk openly with my female co-workers about the ever expanding size of my chest. Toward the end I was constantly hiking up my maternity pants (do they actually make maternity pants that stay up?) and itching the growing mound that was once my stomach. Just typing this is making me cringe in embarrassment. I apologize in retrospect to all of those who know me and had to suffer through this indignity with me.

As expected, labor was all about introducing new people to my bathing suit parts. Anyone who wanted to check on my progression was welcome to check me out. And the gown wasn't leaving much to the imagination. In fact, even once LP was out, the gown continued to be the gift that kept on giving (especially to my visitors and the hospital staff).

The sharing continued as I began nursing within minutes of giving birth. Every nurse and lactation specialist in the hospital copped a feel as they attempted to show this first time mom how to get my hungry, big-cheeked bundle to latch on. The only thing I remember is that someone accurately told me I would feel it in my toes when the baby latched correctly.

Now, I have the nursing thing down, my clothes kinda sorta fit, the itching has pretty much abated, but my privacy continues to be invaded. Maybe invaded isn't the right word - perhaps my privacy has been expanded. My circle of comfort now includes LP. She watches me get dressed, she sits in a bouncy seat in the bathroom while I shower and use the facilities, and she gets up close with my bosoms to nurse 24 times a week or so.

On the bright side, now I have someone to appreciate it when I sing in the shower...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Drawing the Line

My schedule has been the same since I came back to the office after my maternity leave ended in September. In fact, I laid out my schedule in May before going out on leave. I am in the office three full days a week and I work 3 hours from home - preferably in the mornings - the other two days. Ideally, my two days at home are catch up days. Days when I actually complete the action items assigned at all of the meetings that I attend when in the office.

Unfortunately, the Vice President I work with, while being all for "family flexibility" and having a family of his own, doesn't really put this "flexible" mentality into practice. In fact, he travels the bulk of the week and he is the one that strongly encouraged me to go to Phoenix. Because he travels so frequently, he is only in the office on occasion. And when he is in, he likes to pack the day with meetings. Wouldn't you know it, 9 times out of 10 this falls on a work-from-home day for me. I don't mind participating in conference calls. We bought a phone with speaker and mute capabilities just for this purpose. However, instead of me catching-up on these days, I spend hours on conference calls and at least one extra half day a month in the office.

I want to be responsive and a good employee, but as a type-A overachiever that hates to disappoint, I am finding it difficult to draw the line. How do other moms accommodate everyone and everything in their lives without compromising themselves or turning into an over-extended mess?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Do You Mean By 'Breathtaking'?

Like most parents, the Hoos and I are constantly telling our little LP how gorgeous she is. We are biased, but really, she is simply beautiful. At some point, LP will actually be able to comprehend what we are saying. Are we building her self-confidence or are we helping her develop a huge ego? Where does one draw the line?

Every child is - or should be - blessed with family that loves him or her unconditionally. Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, etc. that think he or she is the best, most adorable thing since the last new baby in the family. Rationally, I know that not every baby can be a beauty. Remember the Seinfeld with the 'breathtaking' baby? Is it fair to raise a child's self-image to the point where it is unrealistic?

I do believe it is a parent's responsibility to ensure each little bundle thinks of themself as uniquely and wonderfully beautiful both on the inside and outside (I mean, how else would anyone survive the ugly-duckling phase of the tweens and teens?). But how can a parent truly separate reality from bias? I can tell you right now, LP will never be anything less than beautiful to me (even is a few years when, if she is as much like her mommy as my mother hopes, she is throwing a tantrum and yelling about how much she hates me).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Here, There, Everywhere!

LP is on the cusp of crawling. Lest you think this means she stays still, let me enlighten you. This means she gets to where ever she wants to go, using whatever means available.

For quite some time now LP has been an expert roller. She rolls to the left, she rolls to the right, she rolls on hardwood, she rolls on the rug. She also has figured out how to aim for things and get to them by rolling. She will pivot so that she is sideways to her goal and roll to it. Once there she will sit up (it amazes me that she is still so 'healthy' considering the kid does more crunches a day in order to sit up then I have done in my entire life), pick up whatever she was shooting for and promptly stick it in her mouth.

Last night she rolled into the corner in our living room to where this crazy, heavy, noisy, ball popper toy (thank you CA family! we will get you back) was hiding. She knocked the thing over and proceeded to push it around. When I "caught" her, she looked up at me sheepishly, grinned, and went right back to attempting to destroy the lovely hardwood floors.

I am anticipating that once she does actually start crawling I will collapse from exhaustion on a daily basis. I have no idea how I will be able to work from home with an omnipresent infant making her way through every square inch of our home.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Glad It Isn't My Job...

Yesterday LP's day care had a two-hour delay. Since I was going into work late anyway, I was in charge of dropping her off. This is typically the Hoos' job. And man, am I glad it is his job, because I didn't like it.

Oh, it is easy enough to pack her bag, carry her into the school and unload her things: milk in the fridge, coat and hat removed and put in her bag, Valentines cards distributed to classmates and teachers... The hard part is the leaving.

From what I understand, when Daddy leaves LP hardly notices. She is too busy waiting for Miss Crystal to make her breakfast. As you can see, she loves to eat. Well, maybe it is because she already had breakfast with me at home, but as I turned to leave, my baby girl started whimpering. I am still feeling guilty to spending a night in Phoenix, so you can imagine that the sad noises were like salt in the wound. Miss Crystal had to pick LP up as I left.

When I got in the car, I couldn't help but notice how quiet it was. I was alone in the car. Usually when I leave the day care center, LP is with me and we are heading home for the night. I owe the Hoos big for taking on the job of drop off. Definitely better him than me.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sweet Relief

I have never been so happy to see a machine in my life as when I limped into the house at 1:15 this morning. My feet hurt, my heart ached, I was a bit nauseous from the awful landing at Newark airport...but the sight of my Medela PumpInStyle almost made me cry.

I took off my shoes, sat down on the floor and pumped 10 ounces in 15 minutes. Then I went upstairs to peek in on LP, go to the bathroom, and slip into bed.

LP was even more gorgeous than I remembered. I didn't even mind when she woke us up around 6 and Daddy found her sitting up in her crib. But I really loved it when she cried out at 7:45 and I brought her into bed with me and held her close. It was like heaven - for both of us.

Update: I called EvenFlo to complain about the stinky pump. I told them that I can imagine someone giving up breast-feeding if that was the only pumping experience they had. The are going to give me an exchange credit for any other EvenFlo products (because it sure as heck wouldn't be another pump) with free shipping, etc. So I guess the pump isn't totally useless.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just Call Me Clara

I have never felt so much like a cow in my life. Not even when I was essentially nursing constantly during LP's first few weeks. It didn't help matters that the freaking cheap Evenflo pump I got at Target is useless.

Where to begin? The trip to Phoenix was miserable, as expected, due to the weather and problems with the "jetway motor". Folks couldn't get off the plane at JFK and we couldn't get on the plane. Lovely. Then when I got to Phoenix, I waited on the wrong side of the airport for my hotel shuttle and instead of getting to the hotel at 10:45, I got there at 11:30. Strike two. Then I found out that the aforementioned pump was a piece of crap.

With my fancy Medela pump (thank you Aunt Angela!) I can pump both of the ladies at the same time and in 10 minutes be done (with about 6 ounces to show for my efforts). With this thing after half an hour with very very full ta-tas (sorry dad!) I had an ounce. And still two erect rocks. So around 12:45 I figured I had accomplished enough so I could sleep. And woke up with two boulders.

I spent two breaks HAND-PUMPING (which proved to be much more efficient) in a locked executive bathroom. Standing over the sink, looking into a mirror. My hands are cramped. And unrelated, my feet hurt due to swelling and I am scared to take off my shoes for fear I will have to stay barefoot.

Next time they want me to travel for work, I will most definitely say no. It's not worth it. Thank goodness my workshop went well, otherwise I might have considered quitting (joking, being tired makes me dramatic).

Here's hoping I make it home tonight. I miss LP, I miss the Hoos. The only good thing I missed was the miserable weather.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So Not Ready for This

I spent some time yesterday preparing for my trip to Phoenix. I am starting to freak out a little bit - not because of the trip, but because of the weather. Please, oh please don't let me get stuck out there. 36 hours away from my baby girl is going to be hard enough. Leave me alone, inclement weather!

Typically I work in the office on Tuesdays, but since I am heading out of town, I am working from home until heading to the airport. This morning, LP woke up at 7:50 and made some noises implying, "Okay, Daddy, I am awake, come and get me ready for school." She was probably surprised when Mommy went in to get her. Imagine my shock when I walked in to see her sitting up in her crib. Just sitting there, staring at me, with her pacifier in her mouth.

Now I am thinking, oh boy, I am leaving the Hoos home with an even bigger challenge. He needs to lower the crib by himself without me here to help or watch LP. Then, Hoos gets ready to take LP to day care. Of course, she was fine and I start blubbering like an idiot. Who is this strange emotional person? That's right - it is a mommy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Note to Self: All Parents are Created Equal

I work 30 hours a week. Lately my poor Hoos has been working somewhere in the area of 60 hours a week. He isn't thrilled about it, and neither are we. But it is an exception and not the rule and so we deal with it.

Regardless of how many hours he is working, LP and I always look forward to when he comes home. He is a wonderful husband and father. He appreciates my hardwork and my parenting of LP. He is absolutely in love with LP, enjoys reading the same stories to her over and over, and he takes a very active role in her day-to-day care. He also is really appreciative that, more often than not, a home-cooked meal is ready and waiting when he gets in around 7:30 pm.

So why is it that I go out of my way to be sure he is getting the relaxation that he needs at the expense of my own peace and quiet? He doesn't complain but I often feel bad foisting LP on him shortly after he walks in the door.

This weekend I finally got a much needed haircut. My growing-in hair desperately needed professional help. The Hoos rushed in from work at 2:25 to take LP so I could rush out in time for my 2:30 appointment. And the whole time I was getting my haircut I kept looking at the clock. Not worrying that LP would be hungry or upset, just worried that "poor Hoos must be exhausted and I bet he sure could use a few minutes to himself."

My grandmother told me about a conversation she once had with my Aunt. My Aunt was going to be out of town and my Grandmother remarked, "Oh so will [my Uncle] be babysitting?" To which my Aunt accurately responded "No, he will be parenting."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

9 Months to a Whole New You!

It took 28 years for me to get used to and grow into my body. I was comfortable with my weight, I had come to terms with my height, I was familiar with all of the birthmarks I could see, I learned how to buy clothes that fit; in short, I knew my body.

When I was five months pregnant I swore everyone could tell. My belly was HUGE, my hips were wider. At nine months, I looked back and laughed. I was essentially the size of two mating whales. The big ones.

Once I gave birth I eagerly awaited the return to normalcy. I previously blogged about my hair, in addition to that I was looking forward to the belly and "the girls" reassume their regular roles. A lot of people talk about the weight. My problem was not - and still is not - the weight. I was very lucky, I lost the weight within three or four months. In fact, thanks to nursing I lost the weight and a couple extra. And yet, this is not my body. It is like invasion of the body snatchers and they put my brain back in someone else's pod.

I can't figure out my pant size. This is not helped by the fact that low-waisted pants are all the rage. Someone told me the look was called "the muffin". You know, the pouch of skin that poofs out over the top of low-waisted jeans. I don't want a muffin, but I need pants that stay up and apparently no one makes jeans that fall at the waist. These are not to be confused with "mom jeans" that double as a brassiere. I have a brassiere. In fact I have many of all different sizes because I am afraid to throw any old ones out in case at some point my chest decides to get back into its comfort zone.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Does This Thing Come with Instructions?

For the holidays, LP got a cute little school bus toy from our neighbors. It comes with "Little People". By "Little People" I don't mean dwarves - although the people are supposed to be diverse (i.e., Carlos the bus driver; Michael, the African-American boy; and Maggie the caucasian, wheelchair-bound girl). I think the brand name is "Little People".

LP loves Michael, Maggie and Carlos. What she likes most is attempting to eat them. Unfortunately, they have small holes in the bottom. Holes that can capture water, saliva, and any other liquid. By "capture" I mean, it lets the liquid in but not out. At least not as far as I can tell.

Experienced moms of the world - please let me in on the secret of liberating the rancid liquid from my school bus driver!

There's Nothing Like the Smile of an Angel in the Morning

Today was a work-from-home day for me. Of course, I think LP knew this and at 7 this morning she made some noises, which we ignored, and she fell back to sleep. An hour or so later, I forced myself out of bed while the Hoos got ready for work, and hopped in the shower.

All continued to be quiet. After getting myself dressed and relatively put-together, I went to check on my little native.

I peeked my head over the top of the crib and was met by a big pair of beautiful blue eyes, and very excited, waving arms. It was fantastic. It reinforced to me that of course she knew she would be home with mommy all day. That is why she wanted to originally wake up at 7 - so she had more time with me.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Devil You Know

I have always been a thinker, a planner. That is, one who thinks too much, too long term. I like having a plan in place, goals to achieve. Having LP meant I started having to live day-to-day and let things work themselves out. Now that I am getting the hang of this mommy thing - I am starting to look at my long-term plan again.

I have been at my current job 4.5 years. Shortly after I started, I realized it was not as challenging as my previous position. The Hoos and I discussed at length (when he wasn't studying - being a first year law student and all) and I ultimately decided that for the time-being this position was a good fit for me. We knew we wanted to have children once he graduated and we knew that my firm was flexible and family friendly, which would be quite beneficial in the long-run.

This is the longest I have ever been at one company. I almost said "one job" but my role here is constantly evolving and changing. Which is a good thing - although the things I don't like about my current work environment are not changing. Inertia is comfortable for individuals and companies, I guess.

The Pros. I have been able to pretty much dictate my schedule at my current organization; I am viewed as a valuable member of my team; I enjoy the people I work directly with; My managers are eager to keep me happy and compensate me as such; I have had the opportunity to travel; the hours (7:45-4:30); and the fact that I don't take my work home with me (although I am obsessive-compulsive about checking email).

The Cons. While I am a valuable member of my team, my team is not viewed as a valued member of the firm; in terms of long-term opportunity, I could get ahead here, but would I really end up in a position that I desire as long as the former "con" exists?; the lack of challenge - I am appreciated for my contribution, but I am pretty sure I am not working up to my potential, and while I get the occasional more strategic project to manage, is this enough?; and finally, the commute - because of the hours it works out fine, but I could work different hours closer to home and have same amount of time with the family.

Ah - maybe I should just worry about making sure I have enough clean diapers to last the weekend. It is a much easier task to handle....

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want

As a working mom, I want it all. I want time with my family, a career, a home-cooked meal every night, a daughter that can self-soothe and fall back to sleep...

At 3:01 this morning, LP cried out. So, I jumped up and ran into her room to put her pacifier in her mouth in hopes that this would quickly lull her back into sleep. I get into her room, and she is up on all fours, looking at me. I still try to shove the pacifier in her mouth and she gently grabs my hand, like "Mommy, I want you, not the pacifier." This kills me. But after getting the pacifier in her mouth, I leave the room.

She cries for maybe a minute longer and then is silent. I wait 10 minutes or so and instead of falling back asleep like I should, I get up to check on her. It takes me a moment to even see her - she is at the far end of her crib, laying across the crib, up on all fours, looking at me. Crap! I quickly back out of the room.

I get back into bed and try to convince myself to fall back asleep. But I can't. I think about how there are still bumpers in her crib and blankets (I know this isn't the best idea, but she has always slept with blankets). What if she falls asleep with something covering her nose? (Oh, lord! I have turned into my worrying mother!) So, 10 minutes later (it is 3:30 or so now), I creep back in and confirm she is sleeping like a little angel - across her crib, on her belly.

And today I am exhausted. But it is my own *&%$ fault.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

For Crying Out Loud

Being a new parent means a lot of firsts. Not all of these firsts feel as good as the first time your baby smiles at you. In fact, a lot of them of them smell bad or feel pretty cruddy. Sunday night/Monday morning was a first in our house. It was the first time we listened to LP cry and resisted the urge to pick her up and bring her into bed with us.

It is not that we always bring her into bed with us. In fact, we rarely have; she joined us in bed occasionally during her first few weeks when we were too tired to stand and we bring her in on weekend mornings when we aren't yet ready to face the day. In general, we have been really lucky. LP goes right to sleep when we put her down at night and she sleeps through the night.

However, of late, there are nights when she wakes up at 12:30 or 1 am and screams. For some reason, when she wakes up at 7:45 and is waiting for her daddy to come and get her, she can quietly play in her crib, but in the middle of the night, playing quietly doesn't appear to be an option. So, Monday morning, after applying orajel (does that stuff really work?) and attempting to rub her belly for a few minutes, I had no choice but to walk away. I got back into bed and listened to her cry. And waited. And shortly after 1 there was silence. She had exhausted herself and fallen back to sleep. Of course, I got up to check.

The next morning I was sure she was giving me the cold shoulder for abandoning her in her moment of need. Nah, I must me imagining it, right?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Don't Get Technical With Me

Technically, 6:45 am is morning. If one goes to bed at 9:30 and wakes up at 6:45 technically you have slept through the night.

So, yes, LP is sleeping through the night, but LP is definitely not sleeping until a desirable time. I much preferred it when she went to bed at 9:30/10 and woke up at 8:15. On the weekends, it is like she needs less sleep than we do. Nine hours is not enough time for me to catch up on my much missed zzzs! Is she preparing herself for high school when she has to wake up early to shower and make herself pretty? Or does she miss her mommy and daddy?

Perhaps I brought this upon myself...I distinctly remember telling my parents that I was "lonely" in the middle of the night. My mother always told me she hoped I had a little kid like me. I guess if this is the worst of it I should count my blessings.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Redefining 'A Sense of Accomplishment'

When is the last time you felt a real sense of accomplishment? Usually it has to do with completing a project or a job well done. Before LP, that is when I would have applied the term. Now, I parade around the house, feeling a real sense of accomplishment...when I remove a huge booger from LP's nose. Not only do I parade around the house, I do so with the giant snot stuck to my finger, waving it above my head. It sounds insane, but let me explain:

First, you have to get close to LP's nose. No easy feat when you consider her previously blogged about super human strength when faced with a tissue. She also has this tactic I call "the mini-golf windmill". She also uses this when eating on occasion. Just when you think you are close to your target, her hand moves to block the incoming hand.

Second, you have to be prepared. Keep in mind, these are not ordinary boogers. They are made of some organic compound that can be stretched beyond imaginable limits. You need to have a tissue available for the snot to stick to, otherwise all it does it taunt you and then bounce back into the nostril never to be seen again.

Third, you have to have at least six hands - like the Indian deity with the elephant head; two to hold her head still, two to immobilize her arms, one to hold the tissue and the other with a longer nail on the pinky to fit in the nostril and coax the little yellow bugger out.

After reading this, don't you agree that removing one big-butt booger is better than closing a multi-million dollar deal or giving a presentation to a group of key clients?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Best Laid Plans

"Eureka!" I thought yesterday afternoon. I had an idea for making sure there was enough milk stored up while I am out of town. My grand plan was to pump before I left the house in the morning and then 3 times during the day at work (as usual). I figured that by adding in this extra expressing session I would both increase my production and have an extra few ounces to freeze. This morning was to be the first test of my genius.

And LP woke up at 6. And was cranky. And screaming. And so I nursed her on one side. Then I tried to put her back to sleep, sneaking the pacifier into her mouth, thinking "Okay, I can still pump the one side". And yet the loud unhappiness continued. So I nursed on the other side.

"Okay," I thought "this will still increase my production." Tell that to the 2 whole ounces I pumped at 9:30. UGH. There is always tomorrow.