Sunday, July 31, 2011

Too Tired for Witty

I don't have time to be thorough or witty, so here's what happened today:
  • Michael got up at 4:30 to go fishing, so I let him skip a bottle feeding. Then Milo and I decided to stay in bed until 1:00 pm when Michael came home with bruegger's bagels for brunch. We all got cozy on the couch together while we watched some DVR and had brunch.
  • Milo had a HUGE blowout that went through the double-layered swaddler and the cradle sheet. When I went to change him, it turned out he wasn't quite done. Ew. I cleaned him up, only to have him then pee all over himself. I cleaned that up and went to put his clothes on only to find that his back was all wet because he was sitting in a lake of his own pee that I guess had dribbled down his side and hidden from view. Awesome. 
  • We really need to bathe our son more often. Of course, though we had said we would do it today, we didn't. We are not going to make parents of the year, that's for sure.
  • We did not get anything ready for the yard sale, other than make new signs to put out in the morning, which means we have a LOT to do tomorrow morning.
  • I DID take Milo's 8 week photo, only two days late. He wasn't playing along though, and none were coming out well, so after he fell asleep I took some more and those were cuter. Then, since he was sleeping, I had fun posing him a bit and took some other super cute pics of him!
  • I actually had a lot of fun taking a stroll down this year's memory lane in order to update my vows for tomorrow's vow renewal. You can't think about the highlights of the year with your husband and not feel uplifted. My vows turned out to be over two pages though. Oops. (Don't know how I'm going to fit THOSE in the year 3 marriage book!)
  • I agreed to meet one of my college counselees on Monday to talk about essays and other college stuff. Which means I really need to spend a few hours prepping for that meeting. agh. (yes, I suck at boundaries.)
  • We also made it to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on a SATURDAY night, with 6 adults and 4 babies! It's great that Michael got to meet some of the husbands of the moms in my group at his class on Thursday. (did that make sense?) Anyway, the women all knew each other and the men all knew each other which was cool. And we had so much to talk about, since our kids are all around the same age and we're all new at this parenting thing. It's great that none of us have to feel self-conscious if our baby starts crying or needs to eat, since we're all in the same boat. And it turned out that we stayed for three hours, so ALL of the kids had to eat at some point.
  • Plus, today was National Cheesecake Day or some shit like that, and all the cheesecakes were half off. Sweeeet.
  • I'm about to go check out the new breast flow bottle that got here today so Michael can use it tonight. I'm praying it makes a difference so we won't have to come home early from our anniversary date tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In which we take on the grocery store, the MFA, and the Stroller Strides exercise class.

Okay, this is going to be a long post since I haven't posted since Tuesday night. I'll just summarize Wednesday quickly and try to post shorter, more focused posts in future.

Basically, Wednesday's big challenge was taking Milo to the grocery store for the first time. The first tricky part was how to bring him. The ergo would leave my hands free for shopping (and cart free for groceries) but it was SOOOO hot that I couldn't really imagine that working out well for either of us. So I brought the car seat in. I know I've seen other moms put the car seat in the front of the shopping cart so I figured I'd try that. Well, apparently it works with the snugride 32 but NOT the snugride 35 that I have. (Mommy tip #13: go for the 32. Those three extra pounds really aren't going to make a difference since by the time your child weighs 32 pounds he will no longer fit in this car seat.) I could have tried balancing the car seat up there anyway, but it seemed pretty precarious. And I am a klutz, prone to driving into displays and innocent bystanders alike.

So I put the carseat in the main part of the cart. Which meant there was very little room for groceries:

Anyway, I haven't done the grocery shopping since Milo was born, so it was actually kind of fun and I lingered a little too long picking out snacks and things. I was so excited that I bought three different kinds of hot dogs for the BBQ and 3 lbs of potato salad to share (which, it turned out not to be a sharing kind of night so both were really unnecessary.) Anyway, I took a few minutes TOO long, as just as I got to the register, Milo woke up, realized he was famished, and started screaming and crying so hard that he sounded like he was choking.

And the women in front of me was paying with pennies.

I'm kidding. She wasn't, but her checkout process was crazy slow. Or maybe it just seemed that way. In any case, I was grateful when a woman came over and smiled at Milo and started bagging my stuff double-time so that we could get out of there and feed him. And then another man came over and started helping (clearly he figured out that the faster my bags got packed, the faster the screaming baby would disappear). The woman was really sweet though, packing my cart carefully around Milo and reminding me not to forget the bags she was putting on the bottom of the cart.  And, once we got back in the car and started moving, Milo fell asleep again. phew.

Until we got home and the car stopped moving, at which point he realized that HE MIGHT NEVER EAT AGAIN and reacted appropriately.

Which made carrying the groceries and him in at the same time nearly impossible. But I managed to get the perishables in and got to feed him just in time to head out to the BBQ. I would have considered this grocery outing a success, except for that over the next 24 hours I kept trying to use things I had purchased only to find they hadn't made it home with me. Apparently a bag of groceries that I paid for went missing along the way, including gripe water for baby and hair gel for me. (and when Michael tried to get hair gel for me a day later, it was sold out. Because it was on sale. And the gripe water was $9! which made me even more mad about the missing groceries.) Oh well. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

Not much to say about the BBQ except for that the weather was lovely and Milo was totally into his new black and white books that our friend gave him:
So, then, on to Thursday!

Every summer, there's one big meeting where we assign advisors to all of the new students. It's sort of fun for me, because it's like a huge logic puzzle. For example: Sarah needs a hands-on advisor, preferably a soccer coach, and another new junior in her group. I love doing the matchmaking, especially for the students that I interviewed. So even though I'm still on maternity leave, I wanted to try to go to this long meeting yesterday, from 9-whenever. At first, I thought I'd just bring Milo since he sleeps so much, but he's gotten unpredictable lately and I don't want to be that mom that's unaware (or pretending to be) of the fact that her child is totally distracting (and annoying) everybody.  So when a kind dorm parent friend offered to watch him, I took her up on it. This was the first time (on his 8 week birthday) that Milo has been left with anyone other than Michael or I except one time when a neighbor friend watched him for 20 minutes while we ran to the dumpster.

So I knew it was going to be hard, added to the fact that being anyplace at 9:00 am these days is nearly impossible.  But then, Milo decided to wake up hungry every two hours the night before. And then whimper a lot. From 4:45 am on, I was wide awake. Tired, but wiiiiiiiide awake. My mind was swirling in a way that I had's been the better part of a year since I last felt anxious in that way. When Milo broke every one of his limbs out of his swaddler at 7 am, so that it just wrapped around his middle like a diaper and pissed him off further, I reached over to pick him up out of the bassinet, and in my best sullen teenager voice told him, "You are so ANNOYING." only took me 8 weeks to say something I totally regretted and felt guilty about. Not a good sign for my level of self-control. Lucky me, he can't understand me yet, but I still spent a good five minutes later in the day telling him I was sorry and that he wasn't annoying at all. Mommy just gets cranky when tired.

Anyway, I cuddled him up on me to see if he'd fall back asleep, but no go. And, unexpectedly, I started tearing up. I didn't feel sad. I didn't even really feel tired. In fact, I felt more awake than I had in a while. But I couldn't stop crying. I figured there was no need to wake Michael up too, so I took Milo into the bathroom and settled him in his bouncer while I got into a really hot shower.

Where I proceeded to sit on the floor and sob uncontrollably for a good twenty minutes, for no real reason. In retrospect, I think I was feeling anxious about going back to work, since I had spoken with my boss the day before about when I would return and we just hired the nanny, etc etc. I didn't really expect to feel this torn. On the one hand, I don't want to leave my baby at all. I want to spend all my time showing him the world and napping with him. On the other hand, I want to get back to doing something that I'm good at...something that makes me feel like I can make a contribution outside of being a mom. I think I feel equally strongly about both. Plenty of people told me that I'd feel this way, but I still didn't expect it. I thought one side would clearly win out, and I'd just steer my life in that direction as much as possible. I really can't complain since my boss was so great and made it so that I can work part time, from home this year.  It's the best situation I could have hoped for.  But I still worry I won't be able to be the mom I want to be OR the employee I want to be. This year will be the ultimate exercise in balance and mindfulness. And I can't decide whether it will be better to have both parts all mixed up so that I do personal stuff during "work" time and work stuff whenever I can during "home" time, or whether it will be better to really focus on work during work time and vow not to work during "non" work time. It might seem obvious to choose the latter, but I suspect that might make me feel more like I am not the mom I want to be (when not interacting with him at all during the day) or the employee I want to be (when I can't actually finish what I need to do in the time I have a nanny here and try not to do it during "off" time.)


Anyway, back to the meeting. My friend had to drop her son off at camp at nine but was so sweet and dropped him off a few minutes early so I could be on time to my meeting. Milo was sleeping when I left, so it wasn't too hard to leave him.

Plus, you know, I was only a two minute walk away.

I had almost decided not to go to the meeting, but I wound up being so glad I did. I think it will be too easy to drift away from the office while working from home and not feel "in the loop" anymore, which will just be too weird. Plus, I love the match-making. Milo lasted for two hours before he woke up and my friend texted me to let me know he was hungry. Since most of my kids had been taken care of, I felt okay about leaving and came back home to feed Milo. Not an altogether unsuccessful first attempt at leaving him for work.

Once I fed him, my friend and I were headed off to the Museum of Fine Arts to see a glass exhibit I've been wanting to see since April. (On a side note, I've started this habit of just talking up things I want to do, or emailing a big group of people about them, and I've been really lucky to almost always have someone who is happy to go with me which means I'm doing a lot more with my time and spending more quality time with friends. yay.) It was nearly noon by the time we got out of the house, but at least we made it.

I had decided to valet park given that driving into the city and taking Milo (and stroller and ergo) to the museum was enough of a challenge, and was excited to learn that there was a $10 discount for museum members. I'm not a member, but another friend is, and she lent us her membership for the day. (shhhh. I'm totally into supporting museums and promise I'll get a membership myself when Milo is old enough to merit actually going more often.) Actually, in all the time(s) I've lived in Boston, this was my first time going to the MFA.

By the time we got there, my friend and I were both starving and Milo was still sleeping, so we decided we should eat first. The first cafe we tried had a huge line so we decided (since we had the membership discount) to splurge on the fancy, zagat rated restaurant upstairs. Unfortunately, it turned out that since we didn't have a reservation, we'd have to kill 45 minutes before we could eat. Which we did pretty easily, mostly by getting lost in the exhibits on that floor.

This all meant that by the time we got seated, Milo started to wake up and fuss because he was hungry. I wasn't sure how they would feel about breastfeeding in the restaurant since it was so...stuffy sophisticated expensive. This was no Cheesecake Factory after all. But, Milo had to eat and so did I, so we set about trying to make that work. Neither of us is super good at doing this without a "my breast friend" pillow yet, and Milo kept squirming and slipping off. Luckily, he's getting quite good at finding his own way given enough time. Eventually, he got latched on and I managed to eat my entire lunch one-handed. With my left hand. HAHA! I am so clever.

In case you're interested, there were only about four things on the menu, so I had $28 crab cakes (#2) for lunch. They were served in a delicious sauce which made them taste practically worth $28.

I also ordered a $12 "glass blower" drink, partially for the name and partially because making it into the city to the MFA at 8 weeks and eating left-handed while breastfeeding seemed like an accomplishment worth celebrating.

During the lunch, I realized that I was sitting in a frou-frou restaurant in the MFA, midweek, drinking a cocktail and spending an unacceptable amount of money on lunch.

Whoa. Suddenly, I'm a Weston mom. Creeeeeeeepy.

But my awareness of this irony is reassuring, and my friend and I have a good laugh over this weirdness.

After lunch, we finally made it to the glass exhibit that had drawn us to the museum in the first place (after getting lost a bit more). I'm telling you, they need better maps. In fact, there should be an "app for that" that knows where you are and tells you how to get where you want to go. But I suppose that's what the docents are there for. (I think they're called docents, right?)

So we made it there and OMG was it worth it. SOOOO breathtakingly beautiful. I took a lot of pictures.

And then I made my friend take a lot of pictures of Milo and I, to document his first museum trip.

Here are some highlights:

Well, there was more that we would have wanted to check out in the museum, but it was around 4:00 by the time we finished in the glass exhibit. Michael had (somewhat begrudgingly) agreed to the daddy/baby class that started at 6:00, knowing that he wouldn't be able to leave work early enough to get Milo and get there on time, so I had offered to take Milo to meet him there. Traffic at that time can be unpredictable and I didn't want Michael to be stressed, so I wanted to make sure to leave plenty of time to get there on time. So we decided to head out. By the time I dropped my friend off it was 5:00 and it seemed silly to get Milo out of the car only to turn around and get him back in, so I turned around and headed towards the class location and called Alexis to catch up on the way there.

Milo slept the whole way, and I was positively PARCHED--and early--so I was trying to find a place where I could get a drink without having to get him out of the car and risk waking him up. I figured I could hit up a fast food drive-through. So Rosie (our GPS--named after the maid from the jetsons who always knew everything) found the nearest McDonald's for me. I get to the McDonalds and follow the little arrows painted on the ground and tell Alexis I'm going to have to ask her to hold on while I order...

...and then I realize that I can't find WHERE I am supposed to order. So I keep following the arrows until I have completely circled the building.


A McDonald's that doesn't have a drive-through?


I still had a half hour so asked Rosie to find me another fast food joint. The next nearest one was 2.5 miles away, which could be risky with traffic but I decided to try it. Until I saw that she wanted me to get back on 95, which I knew made the whole venture unrealistic. So I decided to just head towards the class location to wait for Michael. Of course, as soon as I parked the car, Milo woke up and started crying his inconsolable hunger cry.

So I climbed into the back seat to feed him (thank goodness for my blue tooth surround sound thingamajig). Meanwhile, Michael is texting me that this important project at work has hit a snag and he's running late. Which means that I will be running late for dinner with Erin. And I have already pushed it back once today so that I could drop Milo off here. And we were supposed to be celebrating her birthday, which made me feel extra stressed, since she is always such a good and reliable friend herself and I am quickly becoming a flaky friend. sigh.

I manage to feed AND change Milo in the car (oh god, I've just this moment realized that I think there is still a dirty diaper sitting ripening in the car someplace. ewww.) and then decide to wait inside for the rest of the time until Michael gets there. He takes long enough that I have to change Milo again and there is only 30 minutes left of the class but at least he made it. I head out to meet Erin, who has agreed to drive out to my house and has suffered an hour in traffic as punishment for this good deed. (Sorry Erin!)

We decide not to get back in the car and order in and settle into catching up while we wait for the food. I tell her about how this Sunday is our anniversary and how much I wanted to just go to dinner and a movie to be able to feel like we can still do that stuff, but that my child care has fallen through and I am debating whether it's worth seeing if the new nanny is available (at $15 an hour.) And then she volunteers to babysit herself! (See what a good friend she is?) But then I feel really badly because it sounded like I was fishing for her to offer, and it hadn't even occurred to me. But then I get really, REALLY excited to go out for a real dinner and I just got a groupon for a great new restaurant close to the movie theatre. So we are going out for our anniversary after all. YAYYYYY. (Now let's just hope Milo will either sleep the whole time or take a bottle so we don't have to cut the night short and Erin doesn't regret offering!)

So today was the first Stroller Strides exercise class. I had seen it on BuyWithMe and sent an email to the moms in my group to see if anyone wanted to do it with me and a few did. (Which, incidentally, got me a $10 credit for the site. yay.) Anyway, it seemed like a great way to get back into exercising since I still haven't managed to make it to the gym. And we could bring the babies and get to know each other better. Perfect.

Except I don't know what made me think that I could get anyplace at a set time, especially when it was before ten am. So I got there after the warm up, just as they were headed off and I had to run to catch up to my new mom friends. Which was a bad idea, since one of the first things we had to do was run up a hill pushing the stroller.

What the hell did I get myself into?! I had envisioned a brisk walk with the strollers followed by some time on a mat in the park doing a gentle pilates workout. But no, this was RUNNING along with all kinds of stops to work on various muscle toning. While singing to the babies, which apparently counts as cardio. Which was evident by the fact that I could no longer breathe after trying to sing while doing the exercises.

At the last stop, we got on the ground to work our abs, and Milo started fussing. He had gone four hours since eating, so I knew he was hungry and frankly I was not at all upset to cut the workout short, but I decided to take him out and hold him while doing sit-ups as our leader had offered. And it turns out Milo LOVES that! He stopped fussing and started smiling so much that I asked one of the other moms to take a picture! You can't see his smile, but trust me, he's smiling up a storm!

Just then, it started raining, so class ended a little early after all. Again--not upset. =) We got back to the starting location and I even got a little gift bag from the "sponsors." Awesome. Totally worth the BuyWithMe. And I felt GREAT. Lots of energy. And it was only 11 am! And Milo was still sleeping!

So I went to return that expensive swing that did nothing for Milo, and of course while in the store waiting in line, he decides he is ravenous. Luckily, it's a baby store, so I don't really feel self-conscious about it and they're all really nice and we're on our way pretty quickly. I debate whether to feed him in the car since it's been almost four and a half hours since the start of his last meal, but I decide to risk it and see if he'll fall asleep again once the car starts moving. Luckily, he did. So we made it all the way home and I fed him and then we played for a while. He is really smiling a lot now--AT ME--which is really fun and pretty much endlessly entertaining.

But it's time for the arts festival on campus and I wanted to go to that, so instead of leaning into the nap that's calling our names, I throw Milo into a sling and head on down, certain that he'll love the music at least.

Except he fell asleep on the way down there. Oh well. I was only going to go to one or two performances, but he was sleeping so well and it was so much fun watching younger kids perform all kinds of art, so I stayed until he got hungry in the middle of the animation showing. I figured I'd head home to feed him (and me, since I hadn't eaten yet.) But then I ran into my boss and she told me that there was this really funny mockumentary the kids had done and that I shouldn't miss it. She offered up the office for breastfeeding (how cool is she?) and I figured why not? (I feel like each time I manage to nurse in a new location, I should stick a pin in a map and get a little gold star.) I didn't want to miss the mockumentary, so I only fed him for about 7 minutes and then I went back to the festivities. Milo stayed asleep through the last dance performance and then we went back home.

He woke up but didn't start screaming for boob, so I had my lunch and then played with him some more. Wow. He has kind of been like a totally different kid all day. (Maybe this means we are through the growth spurt?) Cranky cluster feeding Milo has morphed into happy smiling Milo. Eventually he got hungry and I turned on Project Runway, but by the time he was done eating I was falling asleep myself, so I turned the show off (RIGHT before the final runway bit, which just shows how tired I was) and we both napped together cozily until daddy got home.

What a nice day, even if it was totally exhausting.

And I feel like I've been in a car accident. Really--what was I thinking with the stroller strides class?!?

We've had a busy week so we haven't gotten any further on the yard sale front, so that's tomorrow's goal. AND we are supposed to be having dinner with two of the other couples whose husbands are in Michael's daddy/baby class. They want to eat at Cheesecake Factory. On a Saturday night. With four babies.

Hahahahahaha. That should be an adventure in itself.

The other goal--and perhaps most important--is to write vows for our little renewal ceremony on Sunday.  When we got married, we wrote our own (REALLY LONG) vows and in them, promised to renew them each year in a new place. This year, we've decided the new place is Milo's nursery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Further Adventures with Milo and the "moms"

So after getting Milo to take the bottle from Michael again (for two nights) we skipped the bottle on Saturday night because Michael had to get up early for a tournament on Sunday morning.  Sunday night, when Michael tried to give Milo the bottle, he wouldn't take it...and then, in a new twist, also wouldn't take it from me. This was the first time he wouldn't take it from me and I agonized over whether to give him a boob or not. He was clearly hungry and I didn't want to deprive him. On the other hand, I didn't want him to think that if he cried long enough, he would get the boob over the bottle, since he needs to be able to take the bottle from a nanny in a couple of weeks. After a lot of fussing and choking sounds and arching back, I tried to comfort Milo and he fell asleep. So I figured he couldn't have been that hungry. I feel fairly confident that babies won't starve themselves and if they're hungry enough, they'll eat. A few hours later, he woke up hungry again and took the remainder of the bottle. Unfortunately, this whole deal meant a lot less sleep for me. And we had made plans to meet a couple of the moms from the moms' group for an 11:20 movie, which meant getting moving early enough to feed, pump, shower, change, dress, etc etc. so we didn't have time to make up the sleep.

I learned after last week, and left time in between feeding and changing so Milo was done pooping before his last change and we (miraculously) got out the door more or less on time.  I hadn't had time for breakfast, though, so wanted to go through the McDonald's drive through on the way to the movies. I didn't want to be late, since I had organized the gathering and others were meeting me, but I thought I could make it. I called Tiff on the way there, since she was due to have a baby any minute. As I slow down to order, Milo wakes up and starts crying. Which is awesome, since I was hoping he would sleep through the movie. And then I get to the payment window and they tell me to "just hold on a minute" and proceed to take FIVE minutes to change out the cash drawer while my son screams his head off in the back seat.  Awesome.

Luckily, as soon as we started moving again, he fell asleep again and was sleeping by the time I walked into the movie (only a few minutes late) and met the other moms. The movie was GREAT. Well, okay, it was Friends with Benefits and it wasn't a particularly quality movie, but it was very entertaining. I laughed out loud. I cried. Milo didn't. yay. He fussed a bit at one time and I asked him to just hold out until I finished my chicken strips. And when he made it that long, I negotiated for the cinnamelts. (Yes, I know what a terribly unhealthy lunch this was.)

When he decided halfway through the movie that he couldn't wait any more, I fed him, which went really well until he had the blowout to end all blowouts. (In case you're not a baby person and thus not familiar with this term, it's when baby poops so gloriously that it can not be contained by a mere diaper and usually ends up in astonishing places.) Milo was completely unfazed and kept eating while I could feel the poop seeping through the back of his onesie.

At which point, I did what any good mother would and wrapped a receiving blanket around his bottom half. I let him keep eating, and I kept watching the movie. He fell asleep afterward so I figured why wake him only to spend 15 minutes in the bathroom cleaning him up? And, actually, I was a little worried about opening him up in public.

After the movie, we were all in various states of undress and had to make sure we were all contained before asking one of the teenage boy ushers to snap a picture of us as evidence of our bravery in attending a not "baby friendly" movie.

I told the moms about the blowout and how I didn't want to miss the movie to clean him up, and one of them immediately said that's what she would have done too. I can tell we're going to be good friends. I so appreciate people who don't make you feel like you have to try to be (or pretend to try to be) supermom.

I was tempted to leave him sleeping until we got home, but it didn't seem right to leave him sitting in that level of poop so I took him to the bathroom to clean him up. Their changing table was in the handicapped stall, and I found myself hoping that no handicapped people would come along, since I knew this wasn't going to be fast. I opened him up and OMG. I'll spare you the details, but I'm sure my fellow restroom buddies were REALLY wondering what was going on in there as I was commentating on the diaper change: "Oh my god. OOOohhh wow. Ew ew ew. What a mess." etc etc. haha. All in all, it was a four wiper diaper--a record for us (though not Michael, as he tends to use more wipes than me anyway). I was glad I was prepared with a change of clothes and a stuff sack for the soiled outfit and blanket.

So then we were off home to interview the nanny, and on the ride home, I got a text that Tiff was on her way to the hospital. I had wanted to get there early enough to straighten the house but I got there just in time to meet my friend and nanny in the parking lot, and we all walked up together. Milo, of course, woke when the car stopped moving and was starting to fuss because he was so hot in the car seat. The nanny asked if she could take him out and I knew that was a good sign...a) that she didn't just do it without asking and b)that she had an inclination to do something to make him more comfortable.

The interview was great. Both my friend (who is "sharing" the nanny with me) and I loved her answers to pretty much every question. But I have to be honest, when she told me she's one of those people that actually really likes to clean, I was ready to hire her on the spot. My friend and I met quickly after she left, realized we both loved her and wanted to move quickly, checked her references which were glowing with no hesitation, and called to offer her the job. She told us her fiance was a little worried about the mileage/commute but that she thought it was a great fit and just wanted to talk it through with him when she got home. I was convinced she wouldn't take it, since it was a 25 minute commute without traffic. So I was SUPER excited when she called later that same night to accept. YAYYYYY. We have a nanny. A GOOD nanny. That we can practically afford. That will do laundry and dishes and floors. And she has great experience and is insightful.

In fact, she's so wonderful that I'm already worried she's going to back out. Keep your fingers crossed for us, okay?

By the time we were done checking the nanny's references, Tiff had had an amazing baby boy! She had him so fast I couldn't believe it! What a pro. I so wished I was there with her. This was another one of those moments where now that I know what it's like, I realized how much I sucked when she had her other children, and how much I am currently sucking because I am not in the car headed to NJ to be with her and meet her latest bundle of joy. I totally want to too, but I can not imagine spending 5+ hours in a car by myself with Milo, having to stop and feed him. And then what would I do once there, with a newborn? It's not like I could be very helpful, as I can barely keep the two of us clean and fed. This is when it sucks most to be far away from my family. I miss my sister and I want to visit her in the hospital and make her laugh like she did for me. But I'm not really as funny as her anyway.

So I was in a great mood by the time our California Pizza Kitchen got delivered, what with a nanny lined up and a new nephew to meet.  Milo was fed and happy and all was well with the world as Michael and I settled into dinner and the DVR.

When we finished eating, Michael decided to go night fishing at a nearby pond and I was going to work on college counseling and this blog.  Unfortunately, Milo had other ideas and within minutes starting fussing and pouting and crying. I tried everything to calm him, but it was clear he was in some discomfort. He felt clammy to me, so I undressed him and turned up the A/C as I continued to soothe him.

He cried desperately for the entire three hours Michael was gone. Which was so unlike him that I took his temperature (rectally) for the first time. (More traumatic for him than me). It was 99.9, which is not technically a fever for a baby but a bit higher than normal.  When Michael got home, I stuck Milo in the sling and we all went for a walk, which turned out to be really nice time together and Milo quickly calmed down and fell asleep. That kid really loves moving.

When we got back Michael got ready for bed and then of course Milo started fussing again, so I fed him again and by the time that was all done, it was after 1:00 am and we were both exhausted so I gave up on the emails and blog and we went to sleep.

Usually, I wake up as soon as Milo starts fussing and well before he's really hungry and crying, but we've been trying to wait to make sure he's really hungry before I wake Michael to get him a bottle. So when that happened, I poked Michael, told him the baby needed a bottle and then...fell back asleep. This has never happened before, me falling asleep despite my baby crying only inches away.

Next thing I know, it's 6:30 and baby and Michael are both gone. Apparently, Michael got up at 2 to give Milo the bottle but by the time it was ready, Milo had fallen back asleep. When Milo started fussing and crying again a little after six, Michael started getting the bottle ready for him.

And I slept through the whole damn thing. I must have been REALLY tired to pass out like that. A little alarming really. Someone could have come in and taken my baby and I would have slept right through it.

So Milo had slept about 5 hours, and had gone five and a half since the start of his last feeding. Awesome. (Must have filled up with the cluster feeding!) Unfortunately, Michael could only get him to take an ounce or so. I knew that wouldn't hold him for long, and sure enough, Milo woke an hour later, hungry as anything. But he finished the rest of the bottle without too much drama (YAY) before I nursed him.

Unfortunately, by that time it was 8:15 and I only had an hour until my alarm would go off to start getting ready for moms group day. On Tuesdays, we meet for lunch at 11 before our 1:30 class, which means leaving the house by 10:30 or 10:40 at the latest. Well, 9:15 came and I snoozed twice. I laid there, looking at Milo conked out peacefully and cozily on my arm and was seriously considering skipping the lunch. But I was so happy after last week's lunch, so I made myself move him into the nursery and I started pumping. Of course, not five minutes in, he started to stir and then started to make serious choking sounds. I was like a deer in headlights, trying to get to him, with the pump vacuum sealed onto my breast, and the tubing not long enough to reach. Oh what a sight I must have been.

I sat him up and tried to pat his back and comfort him, but he was all gurgly and congested sounding. I tried the bulb suction thingie, which did absolutely nothing, but before I could really panic, he settled down again. Phew. But then he started trying to wiggle his way down to my boob, so I had to stop and feed him again. By this point, it was 10:00.  After he finished, I had to finish pumping (7 ounces from ONE boob. Jesus.) and then jumped in the shower. At 10:28. sigh. I figured I had 12 minutes before I really needed to leave.

But then I had to get him changed, us both dressed, and refill the diaper bag supplies (replacing the backup onesie). Then I had a moment of indecision about whether to pack a bottle or not. He had been cluster feeding yesterday, and I didn't want to have to deal with him eating (multiple times) during lunch. But then again, the bottle might cause more of a scene than trying to nurse him. And, if I didn't use it, and it was really hot, it might go bad and then I'd be wasting it.

But I did decide to bring it (at 10:56) and we finally got in the car at 11. Milo promptly fell asleep.

And stayed that way all through lunch.

And halfway into the moms' group meeting. He even slept through infant massage time (I was sorry to miss that time with him but have a deep commitment to never to wake a sleeping baby). When he woke, I fed him and changed him and he smiled at me and then we did a bit of tummy time, in which everyone admired his strength and I snapped pictures, as per usual.

Sample baby giving us the finger.

Our mommy group, set up for tummy time.

My baby, rocking tummy time.
We talked about sleep during class, and I got some good tips we are trying out tonight. First, we learned that the baby's first period of sleep at night is their longest, and that after that, they will wake every 2-3 hours to eat as during the day. Unfortunately that first long period often starts well before the parents go to bed so it's  a bit of a "waste" in that some parents get ready for bed and then feed the baby just before they turn in themselves, without the baby ever really waking up, and they say this extends that first long period of sleep. So we're trying that tonight. Milo fell asleep around midnight, and I'm going to get to bed by 1:00, and I'll sleep feed him and see what happens! Also, they said to turn off all light sources, even the digital numbers on a clock. Michael and I have been leaving the closet light on so we could more easily see and check on Milo (and make sure he's breathing) but tonight we're going dark. We'll see if it makes a difference. We also learned that by this age, babies are ABLE to sleep for a 5-8 hour period without eating, so our facilitator encouraged us to let the baby be when he first starts fussing, to see if he settles back down before we immediately try to feed him. The idea is that they can start learning now to soothe themselves back to sleep, and that will come in really handy later on.

We also talked about the bottle issue, and a lot of other moms have had the same problem or had friends who did, so we got some other suggestions about positioning and nipples. Before we left the center, I picked up some faster flow nipples for Michael to try with Milo tonight, so we'll see if that helps. (fingers crossed).

A bunch of the moms were talking about their husbands signing up for the daddy and baby class starting this Thursday evening, and we thought it would be great if they did it together because then we'd all have couple friends we could go out with WITH our babies. So I'm going to see if Michael might be into it. I've so enjoyed the camaraderie and encouragement of the moms' group, that I really want Michael to have a similar experience. I hope he'll do it.

Milo slept until we got home and got the mail, and then I fed him and we both got a quick nap in before Michael got home and it was time for me to head out with two of my friends that live on campus. We went to a nearby restaurant for drinks and dessert and it very uplifting. We had so much to talk about, and the conversation bounced along easily and happily from subject to subject. They are both such great listeners and offer so much encouragement and advice.  Again, I have to say how wonderful it is to have friends that don't judge me harshly when I tell them I haven't done my dishes for three days and as a result have been using breast pump parts with a slightly greasy film on them. Before I knew it, three hours had passed and I knew if I didn't hurry home, Michael would have to give Milo a bottle. As far as I'm concerned, giving Milo a bottle when it doesn't garner me more sleep is a total waste of a bottle.

We got out of the car and my friend pointed out Milo's shrill cries shattering the peaceful parking lot conversation. sigh.

Luckily it was just hunger and not another episode like last night, he calmed right down when I nursed him and went to bed fairly easily afterward.

What a full and lovely day, overall. Oh--and one of the mom's sent a link to a photographer she used that has decent prices for packages where you get the CD of images. I think I'm going to book one. I feel like I'm cheating on felix (our amazing wedding photographer) and I'd rather use him, but he's as or more expensive and you have to pay extra to get the CD of images. =(

Anyway, tomorrow we have the dorm parent BBQ, and we need to make something for that, so that means a trip to the grocery first with Milo. I also NEED to get the laundry done, as I am out of nursing (clean) nursing pads. I HOPE to gather more stuff for the yard sale and get started on my anniversary vows. (When Michael and I got married, we wrote our own vows, and in them, we vowed to renew them each year in a new place.)  We look at them each year and adjust them for the coming year. They get more realistic each year, and it's kind of amazing to see them change. It's my favorite thing that we do, I think, and each year I put them at the front of our annual kodakgallery photo book. (Though I'm two years behind now). I love having a record of them and how they've changed. This year, since we had to move our anniversary trip, we'll be home for our anniversary so I'm thinking we'll renew our vows in the nursery since technically that's a "new place" for us this year. And Jen offered to babysit so we could go out for our anniversary which is amazing, though I feel a little bad taking her up on it since I don't yet feel ready to offer to return the favor and watch her kids (while dealing with Milo). Hopefully soon I'll be able to. Anyway, I'm thinking we might actually go INTO THE CITY for dinner and then see the Harry Potter movie, which Michael has been wondering how we might get to see together. I think he'll be excited to see that we really can have a night out even with a baby.

Okay, this is officially the longest post ever and I still need to close down our nanny postings and let the other candidates know we've hired someone. Then...SLEEP since it's a busy rest of the week. After the dorm parent BBQ tomorrow, another dorm parent friend is going to accompany Milo and I to this awesome glass exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday (after a three hour meeting at work in the morning). I've been dying to see that exhibit so I'm really excited, even if a bit nervous to go into the city with Milo (and deal with the accompanying traffic and parking and adventure in nursing.) Then, that night is dinner with Erin. Then Friday morning is the stroller strides exercise class with some of the other moms. Then Friday afternoon, our summer arts camp is having a festival of arts stuff that I am thinking I'll take Milo too. Then, we need to get the rest of the yard stuff ready because Sunday is the yard sale and our anniversary. 

Who knew how busy I could feel during maternity leave??

Monday, July 25, 2011

Melting into Motherhood (mindfully)

Today, we did not get the laundry done, or the kitchen floor, or collect things for the yard sale.

What Milo and I did was this: we spent time together and decided everything else could wait.

Michael had a fishing tournament this morning, which required him getting up at 4:00 am, so we decided he could skip the bottle feeding last night. Of course, that meant that Milo did not do his usual only-waking-up-once thing, and instead decided to eat every 2 - 2.5 hours or so. (Must be that 2 month growth spurt, a week early. Overachiever.) I had stayed up until 1:30 to feed him, operating under the logic that he'd only wake once between then and 9:30, which would be plenty of sleep for me. Instead, after the feeding that started at 1:00, he woke at 2:30, 4:15, 6:15, 9:15, etc. Which is the time I should have woken up, pumped, showered, and started the day. But I was tired, so I went back to sleep until the next time he woke. Which may have been 10:30 or noon. I can't remember. I do remember texting Michael to tell him I was starving...too hungry to fall asleep but too tired to get up and get food.

Sleep won out. When Milo started fussing, I tried to comfort him and tried a whole bunch of things, finally flopping over on my back and pulling him on top of my chest. Immediately, he calmed down and fell asleep. I was too scared to move for fear of waking the fussy dragon within. So I pulled the satin edge of the blanket up over his back, made sure there were no blankets near his face, wrapped my arms around him, and went to sleep.

When he started making sucking noises and burrowing down towards my chest, I rolled him off to my side so we were tummy to tummy (sort of) and let him eat like that until we both drifted off again.

We continued like this, with brief intermissions for singing and smiling and cooing, until about 3 pm. And I was not at all sorry about the laundry, or the kitchen floor, or the yard sale. In fact, I didn't even think about them. With Milo's head on my chest, or his cheek on mine, there was nowhere else I'd rather be. Nothing else I'd rather be doing. His warmth and weight just melted into me and I melted into motherhood and that was pretty much everything.

A few day ago (or maybe weeks) I mentioned that Milo was like a mindfulness bell, and today just illustrated that perfectly. You might remember my post from LAST August about the 5 day silent meditation retreat I participated in, and if so, you'll remember there was a giant meditation bell hanging from a tree at the monastery.  When the bell rang, wherever you were, you stopped whatever you were doing and just...took a deep breath. And then another. When the bell rang, the silent campus became even more silent as all movement ceased.  It was meant to make sure you were living in the present moment, and if not, to bring you back to it.

When I made the comment about Milo being a mindfulness bell, it was because when he got hungry, it was like the whole world had to stop. It didn't matter if I was in the middle of the dishes or typing a blog post or sleeping...when he got hungry, we needed to feed him. And, since it was very painful, it did a very good job of bringing me into the present tense. Unfortunately, I also sort of dreaded it, because a)it was painful and b)I couldn't get anything else done while I was doing it, so I was perpetually frustrated at my lack of productivity.

But today was different. Being with Milo wasn't an interruption. What was there to interrupt? Today, I did what everyone has been telling me to do since my first day back from the hospital: concentrate on feeding and loving my son, and get some sleep.

And it felt freaking great. Now it's not really realistic to think that I could continue down this path in a sustainable way (as evidenced by my to-do list) but it did make me wish I had been doing it all along. Especially when I think about how this was my only chance to do so. If I have another baby, I'll have a toddler that will need my attention as well. This was (is) my chance to have a singular, fully present focus on being a mother to my son.

And it made me think about how often I am trying to get Milo to stop fussing/crying/eating/pooping so that I can get back to the work at hand, whether that's cleaning the house or sleeping. Which is, of course, missing the whole point: raising Milo is the work at hand. That's why I wanted to have a baby. Not to fit him into the open cracks in my hectic life, but to have the honor and adventure of raising a child.

Which makes me really glad that I'm searching for a nanny. When I first found out I'd mostly be able to work from home this year, I felt that I couldn't really justify paying for childcare since technically I could be here with Milo.  But then, once he arrived and I realized how much time in a day I spend just feeding him, I realized how impossible it would be to get 8 hours of work done in a day without childcare. And that would mean doing more work during the hours I wasn't "supposed" to be working. Which, when you factored in dorm parenting, meant that pretty much all of my time would be fractured and I would never feel like I was doing an adequate job at mothering, working, or dorm parenting.

(Which, I realize, is basically the dilemma most working mothers face.)

But if I have a good nanny, that will allow me to really devote myself to work. Which will allow me to focus on Milo when I'm not working. No more fitting him in the cracks or wishing for him to hurry up with whatever he's pulling me into so that I can get back to work. Thank god we can (hopefully) afford child care. I don't want my son to grow up feeling that he's a distraction from my real life.

So, thanks to Milo, I'm in the process of reshuffling basically everything I thought was important to make room for the things that really are important. For example, this evening I spent three hours while he slept working on college counseling. But when he woke up crying, I didn't mind turning away from the computer to soothe him. I wasn't impatient when the bouncer didn't work and different positions didn't work. I wasn't frustrated when it seemed the only thing that did work was walking around singing to him. I made up crazy silly songs about how much I love him and how we forgot to do the laundry (again) and all that I hope for him (and for me) and what kind of ice cream is best.

Because I knew that, in the grand scheme of things, the college counseling could wait.

I fully recognize that I am probably so zen because my house is clean. (As is my storage closet. woohoo!) But I'm excited at the prospect of finding some balance and creating some mindfulness in my life. In our life. I'm excited that I'll get to focus on all of the parts of my job that I loved: college counseling, graphic design, and social networking/writing, and dorm parenting but that I'll also be able to take Milo to museums and parks and to see the a capella group sing. I'll have time to read books and go to the library for story hour.

I've never imagined myself giving up a career to be a stay-at-home mom, and I don't think I'd be happy if I did. But I have to tell you, I also can't imagine trying to fit all of that childhood fun and adventure into the weekend hours either.

Lots to think about. And, maybe a good topic for the Real Simple essay contest this year. (You might remember reading about my entries for the last two years which, surprisingly, did not win.) This year's topic is to describe when you first understood love.  And I think this may be the seed of it: the birth of my son forcing me to reshuffle the way I thought about the world, the spark that helped me grow into the person I always wanted to be. I think only a love this strong could help me learn to let go of the illusion of control and acknowledge the present moment for whatever it might bring, and know that it will pass.

This makes me want to spend the whole next week doing nothing but what I did today, but I've already made plans for nearly every day in an effort to get myself (and Milo) out of the house and give some shape to our days (which allows for less frustration at not being able to do everything I used to be able to do.) So...tomorrow we are meeting a few of the women from our mom's group for an 11:30 movie. I'm hoping it goes as well as last week, since I've now persuaded other women to join me, essentially making our own "baby friendly" movie. (Hey, maybe the AMC people will catch on. There's a real market here.) Then, we'll have to scoot quickly home to interview a very promising nanny at 2:30.

Of course, getting out of the house by 10:50 or so means feeding Milo around ten, so there's time to get ready and change him (preferably only once this time, unlike last time we tried to go to the movies). Which means me being in a shower by 9:30. So...we'll see how that goes. And, I'd like to straighten up before we leave since we probably won't have time afterward (before the nanny candidate arrives.)

But you know what? If I don't have time to straighten up, what's the worst that will happen? The nanny will have a more realistic idea of what I need her help with. haha. Chances are, she'll be more struck by my adorable and utterly charming son (and the small size of my apartment) than the dishes in the sink and the fishing tackle on the table.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In which we accomplish a whole lot more than expected.

I went to bed early last night (crazy, I know) so I didn't get to tell you about my day yesterday. Sadly, I forget pretty much all of it, which is why I'm supposed to update the blog before I go to bed. Oh well.

I do know that I got most of my goals done: the thank you notes, showering, dishes, ordering thank you gifts, vacuuming most of the apartment with the new shark navigator lift away (I suspect I'm going to forever use the whole name, sort of like how I insist on calling that store I love Ross Dress for Less), and steam mopping the bathroom. I got Milo's 7 week picture taken (though he was cranky, so it isn't very satisfying), and I paid most of the bills (including the hospital bills, which would have been somewhere around $20k without insurance!). I did NOT fold and put away the laundry--surprise, surprise--but you have to admit, that was a lot to get done in one day. Especially since I'm pretty sure I didn't start until somewhere around 3 pm.

For those of you that are wondering, the Shark Navigator Lift Away is pretty great. It was, I think, worth the money, but it is not as good as the infomercial made it out to be. (Surprise, surprise). First, the pros: it does have AMAZING good, in fact, that they include a little emergency "suction release" button for when you accidentally vacuum up your cat. Or baby. Good call, shark-o. It also has a relatively small footprint, which most people might not care about, but since my whole apartment is roughly 700 sq ft and I have roughly 3 sq ft of closet space, that's important to me. It's also fairly quiet for a vacuum and somehow, it makes my apartment look bigger (via clean floors). Magic. I love the lift away feature. The handle is a little tall for me, though, and I think it's surprisingly heavy for a small vacuum, and a little hard to drive for a vacuum that compares its swivel feature to a dyson.  But, it does work better than my old vacuum, and I'm hopeful I'll find a place to store it in our apartment which will help us make use of it more than twice a year. 

The steam mop is a toss up. It was wicked expensive, and I think I expected a gleaming-floor miracle. But it only cleans with steam--no chemicals or floor polish--so the floor doesn't look, well, polished afterward.  Yet, the point is kind of to have a clean, sterile, not chemical-y (and baby friendly) floor, and it does work for that. The jury is still out about whether the steam really gets hard stains off the floor, because I haven't gotten to do the kitchen yet. I think in order to be really excited about the results, I'd have to vacuum, mop, and swiffer. Which is a tad too much cleaning even for me.

BEFORE:                                                                          AFTER:

BEFORE:                                                                   AFTER:

Well, maybe before and afters of the kitchen floor would have been more dramatic. *shrug*

The other thing I wanted to tell you all is that we got Milo to start taking a bottle again! I emailed the mommy group and talked to my family and friends and got tons of advice, and from that I formed a theory that since I did the first two feedings of the night (around midnight and three) and REALLY filled Milo up, and Michael did the early morning feeding (around 5:30-6)...maybe Milo just wasn't as hungry.  I'm not sure why it would have changed all of a sudden, but I figured Milo will always take a boob/bottle from me, because it's comforting (right?) but if he wasn't REALLY hungry, he might not take a bottle from someone else. And since I wake as soon as Milo starts making hunger cues (sucking in his sleep, sucking on his hands, tiny whimpers) we feed him before he's really starving usually...sometimes before he's even really awake. So we switched, and had Michael do the middle feeding, around three...but we waited until Milo was really starting to cry his appeal for milk (and even then, it takes a good 5-10 minutes before Michael gets moving and gets the bottle warmed).  And it worked! I don't love waiting until Milo is really upset, but hey, I don't love not sleeping either.

And get this...for the past few nights, Milo has woken only once during the "night" to eat.  Meaning I wait until the 11/12 feeding is done to go to sleep, and then Milo waited until around 4:30 to wake up (and Michael fed him) and then he woke up between 7:30-8:30 (normal people waking up time) to eat again.  Meaning that we got about 6 hours of sleep! Woohoo. We are quite pleased with our little man, let me tell you. Let's hope he keeps it up. (Though I fear he won't, since there's supposedly another growth spurt coming in less than a week.)

Usually, I try to pump after that morning feeding and then catch a bit more sleep (and maybe a shower) if Milo is sleeping. This morning, I couldn't do that because the nanny was coming to interview. I was so sure I was going to love this one...she seemed so unapologetically sure of herself in her profile and phone interview. But in person she seemed like she was very much trying to suss out what we wanted her to say.  I really want someone who is very convincing/confident about their ability to care for my son. But she is local, and her schedule works perfectly, and she clearly gets attached to the kids she cares for, and she doesn't mind doing household chores, and she seems to have a positive attitude.  It also sounded like she'd stay active and didn't mind that I'd be nearby (in a very tiny space). And, most importantly, I would feel like Milo was safe. And, I think I'd get along with her, which is always a good thing.

We have another nanny interviewing on Monday afternoon. She seems super together, polished, and confident/competent...but maybe a little less enthusiastic. We'll see, I guess.

So the big news for today is that we FINALLY got the storage closet cleaned out in preparation for a community yard sale we are trying to organize for next Sunday. I spent five hours on this project, but it was worth it. It's been on the To-Do list since last spring (pushed back from organizing month last January). Any big cleaning project like that is a hazard to our marriage, since Michael does not feel as compelled as I do to tackle such projects. I suspect he feels more like he's just humoring me than that this is actually something that needs to happen.  He would have preferred to put it off (indefinitely) but given that he'll spend 12 hours tomorrow fishing and we hardly have the energy to eat dinner during the week, it really needed to happen today. I guess it doesn't technically NEED to happen at all. But we are hoping to move in the next year, and I figure this will make THAT easier but also will make our lives easier in the meanwhile. (We'll have someplace to store the vacuum, for one thing. And a bunch of the stuff that we had to move out to make the nursery.) In any case, when we start a project like this, I am mind-over-matter devoted to getting as much done as possible as quickly as possible, with the logic that the sooner it's all done, the less stressed I'll feel and the sooner I'll be able to relax.  Michael comes at it from the opposite angle, I in, the less he does, the more he'll be able to relax.

Which usually goes over poorly. And today was no exception, as I wound up pulling/pushing a 50lb box bigger than me and a surprisingly heavy entertainment center down two flights of stairs and into the common room by myself.  7 weeks post C section.  After 5 hours of heavy cleaning/dragging/sorting in a hot and humid second floor attic-like hallway, breaking only to have my nipples chewed off by my adorable son.  I was just about to start loading the heavy duty stuff in the Nissan for drop offs around campus when my neighbor friend offered to watch Milo so Michael could help me. What a lifesaver. (Either his life or mine, maybe both.)

But all's well that ends well, because the storage closet is SO much roomier and accessible now. And Michael  is a wiz at putting stuff back in in the most space efficient way, which is something I am totally hopeless at. So I tried to let the rest of it go...the important thing was that it got done.

We still need to drag up the furniture from the basement and go through the apartment and basement for books, etc...but hopefully I can manage most of that during the week.

And our reward for a hard day's work: our dorm parent boss friend cooked and delivered a delicious meal for us! He had offered to on account of Milo sucking up all of our energy these days. He brought ribs and steak tips (freshly grilled) and string beans and dinner rolls and tomatoes in balsamic dressing and chocolate cake for dessert. Whoa. It was delicious.

Which just reminded me (yet again) how lucky we are to live in this community, and have these people in our lives.

On that note, it's time to wake and feed Milo so we can both get some sleep.

Goals for tomorrow: fold that laundry and put it away, mop the kitchen floor, maybe go through the apartment for stuff for the yard sale. Otherwise, some college counseling while Milo sleeps. But maybe something fun too, since Michael will be fishing all day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This is how much I like my neighbors, and how lucky I am:

This is how much I like my neighbors, and how lucky I am:

The car was ready to be picked up this morning (only $415 later), and I didn't like the idea of being car-less, so I emailed our campus residents to see if anyone could bring me, Milo, and a carseat to the mechanics to pick up our car. Three minutes later, I received a response from a neighbor who was happy to bring us. YAY!

But it gets better. Because we had set a time of 11:30-noon and at 11:30, Milo needed to eat and I still hadn't showered or gotten dressed and was REALLY tired and wishing I didn't have to move.

And then I got a text message from said neighbor, saying that it was too hot to bring Milo outside into the heat, and did I want her and her partner to go pick up the car for us?

Wow. Seriously? Of course I did. Who is even that nice? I can't get over it. Having a baby has greatly increased my fondness for people, which is a surprising twist of events really.

As for meeting my daily goals, I met with mixed success. Michael did the laundry--I have not yet folded it. I did dye my hair, though I waited until Michael got home because I figured if the baby started screaming his head off mid-dye job, that'd be tricky to handle, what with all the toxic chemicals and all. I called the lactation consultant, but it turned out she was on vacation. I didn't get to try out the vacuum (Michael put it together!) and new steam mop--so that's on my list for today. Too bad it's 3:30 already. BUT I did find and phone interview two nannies who seem SUPER promising (much more so than the last one) so we have them coming in for interviews tomorrow and Monday (more motivation to actually clean.) I also emptied and re-filled the dishwasher. AND I finally booked our Burlington, VT vacation. YAY! Something to look forward to. And Michael doesn't know it yet (because he doesn't read my blog) but we are totally going to stop and do the Ben and Jerry's factory tour and maybe the Magic Hat brewery tour on the way up. WOOT. (hopefully Michael will agree to this, since it will mean parking the boat in some random parking lot.) =/ Fingers crossed.

I've been okay with the idea of the nanny because I'll be working from home and still able to see Milo all the time. This morning I got an email from our dorm parent boss, detailing the 8 hours of training we'll be doing to launch the school year at the end of August. That's $120 of nanny care, in case you were wondering. Which is appalling enough, but even worse...I totally, gut-clenchingly, freaked out about the idea of not being with/near Milo. And I have to say, the sheer force of my resistance REALLY surprised me. I'm still reeling from it, as I examine it and wonder why/how it can be so strong. Let's hope it diminishes by the end of August. Maybe we can find a friend to stay with Milo...maybe that would help. agh.

Oh! Milo really is smiling on purpose now. He doesn't do it all the time, but it is definitely in reaction to his parents and not gas, which is exciting. I've been suspecting as much for over a week, but I think because Milo doesn't see Michael until the evening, when he is less chipper, Michael hadn't gotten to see it yet. But then last night, Milo smiled at Michael! Huge, open mouthed, daddy-magnet smile. It was pretty much magic. How will I ever stop staring at my baby and get anything done?

Goals for today include: the two lingering thank you notes for Milo gifts, folding and putting away the laundry, showering (which didn't happen yesterday), emptying the dishwasher, ordering a thank you gift or two that has been on my mind, and (finally) doing the kitchen and bathroom floors with the new vacuum and mop. AND taking Milo's 7-week photo (which technically should have been taken yesterday....shhhh, don't tell.) And, sometime soon, I need to go through the mail/bills and get to work on those college counseling projects...I promised two families I would get back to them by next week.

So that clearly doesn't fit with the "pick one thing, overachieving new mom" rule. hmmm. Okay, the floors are the one thing. But the shower and photo are a really close second.

And--I decided to email the thank yous. I really have been meaning to write proper, old-fashioned, snail mail thank yous, but I'm afraid if I hold out for that it will never happen. So. That's some progress there, right? Letting go.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holy crap. How did it get to be midnight-thirty?

Well after sending our car off with the nice AAA man, I was able to shower and feed Milo again and pump before I decided I desperately needed more sleep.  I didn't get out of bed until my alarm went off at 1:30...a half hour before my/Milo's playdate with a friend who has a 6-month-old baby. We were supposed to go to my new favorite French toast joint (doesn't everyone have one of those?) but given the car situation, we had to postpone that plan. However, said friend was kind enough to bring me some burger king take-out, which was a nice consolation prizem especially since I hadn't eaten anything yet today.

We had such a nice time that the hours flew by and before I knew it, it was 5:30! Time to feed Milo (again) and head to our weekly dorm parent BBQ, which was especially nice.

As an experiment, when Milo got hungry, Michael tried to give him a bottle to see if it was just the timing of the night time feeding. But no, he still wouldn't take it. We tried to have someone else give it to him, but no. He took it from me though. =(

Someone in my mom's group suggested Michael wrap him or Milo in a shirt of mine in case the smell of me somehow helped Milo take the bottle. So maybe we'll try that tonight. Everyone keeps reminding me that babies change so quickly that this is not necessarily a permanent shift, which is helpful perspective. It is slightly stressful though, given that a) it means less sleep for me and b) we are currently looking for a nanny, who will need to be able to give Milo a bottle.

Speaking of the nanny search, the girl I interviewed on Monday decided she isn't interested in part time work after all, so we are back to square one. Honestly, I don't feel like it is a huge loss, but it would have been nice to find someone so quickly. I spent a lot of time tonight posting ads and writing to potential nannies, so I guess now we just have to wait and see.

So, after all of that, I didn't even have time/energy to try out the new vacuum and steam mop. Dammit. Foiled by a dead car. (Which, by the way, has a snapped shifting cable, among other problems. It will be ready to get picked up tomorrow at ten, but i have no way of getting there to pick it up, especially with Milo. Tricky. It would have been nice to be able to get out of the house tomorrow.)

So, goals for tomorrow include dying my hair (oooh, tricky! Milo could wake at any moment!) and trying out that steam mop at least, if not the vacuum as well. I also REALLY need to do laundry, as I am out of bamboobies. (those are the washable nursing pads, in case you are unfamiliar.) I really need more of them, but they are ridiculously expensive, and yet the only ones I've found that don't irritate my skin. Maybe eating something before 2 pm is another goal. And calling the lactation consultant!!

I am bone tired for some reason...pretty much asleep already and not really feeling like moving Milo or myself. Holy crap! How did it get to be midnight thirty? I've been up since 7:30 really, with only an hour of wonder I'm tired. Even though I've basically done nothing all day.

Go me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ain't that some shit.

Well. Today isn't off to the best start.

Milo has decided that he will NOT take a bottle from daddy during the night anymore. He's been taking a bottle from daddy for one night time feeding since day 7, which provides mommy with some relief/sleep. About a week ago, he only ate 2 oz during that feeding, which has slowly dwindled down to refusal to eat anything at all. Today, Michael spent 45 minutes trying to get Milo to take that bottle, but Milo just got pissed off and fell asleep. Michael brought him back into the bedroom, and I gave him the bottle. He fussed a bit, got mad, let himself choke on the milk, and then drank that bottle down, clearly hungry. We have no idea what's different, but I do know that this does not bode well for mommy's sleep. Which is unacceptable.

Then, just a few minutes after I get peanut to finish that bottle, daddy comes back in (after trying to leave for work) to tell me the Camry is stuck in the middle of the parking lot and won't go into gear. Sounds like the shifting cable broke. (Look how smart I sound!) This on top of the fact that we had to get AAA to bring a new battery for that car less than two weeks ago. And it's been making a funny rattle when you step on the gas, but only sometimes.

So...awesome. Good thing I was at home, I guess. Even better thing that we have a video monitor, so I could feel okay leaving the baby sleeping while I went down to meet the AAA tow truck.

So now I'm stuck without a car (and probably with a huge repair bill.) In the same month as the hospital bills. And I'm tired. And engorged. But afraid to pump since it's now almost time for another feeding.

Ain't that some shit?

At least we have the vacuum/mop to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The New Moms Group Descends on Cheesecake Factory

This will have to be a short post because today was a busy day and I'm exhausted. And peanut will need to eat in approximately12 minutes.

We made it out of the house at EXACTLY 10:30, which I think deserves major kudos. And we even made it to the Cheesecake Factory by 11:00. (And we did not damage our nice SUV while parking in the parking garage. Go me.) The restaurant was empty, and we had reservations, but still they seemed unprepared for our group of 8 moms and 8 strollers (including one double stroller for the twins.)  We also had male waiter who did not seem to understand that when two of the moms asked for a glass of hot water, it was to heat a bottle. Which would quiet the WAILING babies.  It took the guy about 15 minutes to bring the damn water. Sheesh. A mother waitress would have never done that.

None-the-less, lunch was really great. I actually like every single one of the moms in our group, which is pretty awesome considering how anti-social I am. The mom with the twins (who are incidentally only 3 weeks old) was the one who volunteered to organize the lunch. So we'll just call her supermom. I was all set to feel like a failure in comparison (I was the one who turned white at the idea of getting out of the house by 10:30 am with my 6 week old) but then during lunch she mentioned that she has a NIGHT NURSE. OHMYGOD. She gets to sleep. Like ALL night.

Well, no wonder. If I slept all night, I'd be unstoppable!

Once we were all back on even ground, we all chatted amiably for the 2.5 hours we were at lunch. Seems everything moves more slowly when you have babies! And slow waiters. So of course Milo had to eat during lunch, which I knew would happen. Before I left, I agonized over whether to bring a bottle to make such a feeding easier or whether to try to whip out a boob at the table while eating.  I hate to "waste" a bottle, but decided I would bring one anyway.

Then I forgot it at home. sigh.

So I decided my challenge for today would be to see if I could successfully nurse Milo at the table without a) flashing the waiter, b)dropping Milo, and c)screaming in agony.

And it worked! Mostly. The positioning was a little hard, but Milo is starting to be able to find his way to the nipple all on his own. (See how advanced my baby is?!) And we might have freaked out the waiter a bit, but by that point, that only added to my feeling of accomplishment.

Then we all went to class, where we learned how to do infant massage and gave each other tips on getting through the day, finding time to cook/eat (I'm NOT the only one!), and finding discount deals on baby gear. The time flew by, and before we knew it, it was 3:30 and time to head home.

I had gotten a piece of cheesecake for dessert and planned to eat it during class but then remembered we weren't supposed to bring food. (I think in case someone's kid was allergic to something or something like that. Who knows. Maybe they just know what a klutz I am.) So I asked them to put it in the fridge.

Well of course that meant that I got all the way out to the car in the parking lot and got Milo's car seat into the car before I remembered the cake. 


I seriously considered leaving it there, but c''s an $8 piece of RED VELVET cheesecake.

So you can bet your ass I went back for it.

And did not leave Milo in the car to do it. I hear that's frowned upon. Even in the case of missing cheesecake.

So we got home around four and I planned to stop by the mail room and pick up our new VACUUM and STEAM MOP! woohoo. But there was a line of cars waiting to pick kids up from camp and I couldn't get close to the door, so I had to give up and wait for Michael to get home. Instead, I went home, did some email and fed peanut and then fell asleep with him...for a whole two hours. Longest nap he's let me have!  Sweet. Except by the time I woke up, it was nearly 8 and Michael was home and we hadn't started dinner and then once we made dinner...and I mean at the EXACT moment Michael put the bowl in front of me, Milo woke up and decided he was starving and hadn't eaten in days. Oh well.

So we watched a show while we ate and fed Milo and then we gave him a bath. He loves baths, and apparently Michael loves to give him a bath which I think is amazingly sweet. Then we swaddled him up and I held him while Michael read us a Danish story book (and translated as well) was the best story ever, about a mosquito who has all these adventures on a bicycle and eventually joins a flea circus. (Thanks, Camilla!) 

Then I put peanut down in his bassinet. And went to assemble the new STEAM MOP! woohoo. I didn't get to try it out yet though, because it was eleven o'clock and I knew peanut would need to eat soon and I didn't want to waste my blogging time. I hope the vacuum is as easy to put together as the mop was, so I can try both out tomorrow. 


So I didn't get to return the mamaroo, and technically Michael made dinner, but other than that...we accomplished our goals for today. Go us.

Tomorrow's goals include meeting a friend and her baby for a playdate. Other than that, I have some bills to pay (easy to forget about those these days), and some thank you cards to write, and some nanny's to call and references to check. And then, ideally, I could mop and vacuum.

But I also need to do some college counseling work. Which kind of sucks, because I am totally on maternity leave. But I got emails from two parents today, itching to make some progress, and I can't blame them. They feel totally behind (and relative to how I worked with kids last year, they are totally behind.)  But they're not really...but it's no use telling them that, and I don't want them to feel more anxious because of me...I can't exactly tell them to wait four weeks until I'm back at work. (Feel free to leave a comment and tell me how YOU would handle this!)

So, yeah. That's a lot of goals for one day, so we'll have to see how it goes.

OH! And there's another goal...I need to finally finish researching hotels for our anniversary vacation and book it. Michael found out today we can't actually go for our anniversary, so we'll be going the week after. Which is probably good, since it's creeping up on us and we still haven't found a place Michael feels comfortable leaving the boat yet.  Maybe I can do some of this research while feeding Milo tonight. =)

Monday, July 18, 2011

TMI Warning: This post contains (leaking) boobs. Read at your own risk.

Here's a funny story for you, and also a warning for future first time moms. Because this is the kind of stuff they don't tell you about when you're expecting.

Yesterday, I got Milo nice and sleepy and brought his bouncer into the bathroom so I could take a shower. I started the water and went to use the toilet while I waited for the water to get hot (which takes a lot longer now that I'm not sharing it with 29 teenage girls).

All of a sudden, I feel something dripping on me. I look up to find the leak in the ceiling but find nothing. I feel drops on the other side of me and look down to inspect them. Turns out, I am leaking milk. From both sides. For no apparent reason.

But wait. It gets better.

I mop up the spilled milk (haha) with some toilet paper only to find more drips. I turn to get more TP, and notice that there is a thin spray of milk shooting--and I do mean SHOOTING--out of my boob.  It is alarming and also impressive the distance I'm getting here, but none-the-less, I quickly clamp a toilet paper-filled hand over my nipple, stopping the flow.

Only to realize my other boob is also spraying milk. So I clamp my *other* hand over that boob to stop the flow.

I warily take the first hand away to grab more toilet paper to use it for its intended purpose so I can get in the shower.

But the spraying can not be tamed. I clamp my hand back down.

So there I am, sitting on the loo, both hands clamped down over both breasts, and no hands left for wiping.

And suddenly I think, hey, this could be my super power. So I start dreaming up appropriate super hero names. Super Soaker? Super Sprayer? It's a bird, it's a, it's... HOOTER HOSER!!

Because, really, in situations like these, it's pretty critical to have a sense of humor. And besides, given the poop drips hiding someplace in Milo's nursery, what's a little milk spray on the walls? Might as well let it fly and get in the shower before the little bugger wakes up.

Seeking Sanity

So depending on how you look at it, this weekend was a raging success. For example, I stayed in bed until 2:30 pm on Saturday. Sadly, I still felt tired when I finally dragged myself out to the couch, where I stayed through dinner until I dragged myself back to bed. We did get the laundry done (thanks to Michael). And we got the cup holder accessory installed on the stroller finally. Which was clearly a critical goal. That Michael accomplished after I tried unsuccessfully, got pissed off, cursed a lot, and then abandoned when Milo started crying.

Sunday was an even bigger success. Michael and I have perfected trading off "time off" thanks to our dorm parenting gig. So I let him skip the bottle feeding so he could get up at 4:30 am to go fishing. And he got back at 1:30 so I could leave at 2:00 to get a pedicure and eyebrow wax and go to target. Where I bought 32 snacks and a nursing dress. Michael got to watch the women's FIFA world cup soccer final and then go out for a sushi buffet dinner with his book (and brought me home my favorite CPK pizza). And then I got to take a bath while reading a new book on my iPad. Awesome day. Especially the pedicure. My god. The man who gave my pedicure took such pride in his work that it made me want to cry with appreciation. I'm not kidding. The care and attention he lavished on every little toe just made me feel so pampered. Like he really cared. I told him about a hangnail and he worked so thoughtfully on it and then asked me if it felt better. And when I lied and said it did, he kept going until it actually felt better.

And then.

And then he gave me a TWENTY minute leg and foot massage that made me stop reading, lean my head back, and close my eyes in utter contentment.  Oh, how a simple little foot massage made me feel like a whole person again.  I so appreciate people that take pride in their work.  I tipped him $10, that's how much I appreciated the care he took in such a thankless job.

And after that little adventure--only my THIRD time apart from our little peanut in his 6 weeks of life--I felt restored enough to attack more of the cleaning. Though, again, I really mean TIDY. But...the new vacuum and steam mop should be here tomorrow and I can't tell you how excited I am to try them out. I have serious issues.

And Michael unassembled the Mamaroo, so I can return that.  Which nearly pays for the vacuum and steam mop. =)

Somehow, by this morning, the house was a mess again. I swear, I don't know how it happens. So after I nursed Milo at 7:30, I pumped (7 ounces!) and forced myself NOT to climb back into bed. Instead, I straightened everything up AGAIN for the potential nanny that was coming over to interview. She seemed fine. I wasn't totally in love with her, but it's entirely possible that I have unrealistic expectations because I don't really think anyone can take care of Milo like we can. Or maybe I just don't want them to. I mean, if she does what we want...reading to him, singing to him, taking him for walks, constantly interacting with him while awake and tidying up when he's sleeping...then a) he might grow to like her more and b)I'll feel like an even bigger failure because I can't do all of that for my own son. Of course, she won't be contending with sleepless nights and two other jobs, but it's not like Milo will understand that.

Granted, he probably won't understand much. I recently discovered that I had been in childcare as a young child. I had thought my mom had been home with me until I started school...I remember her being super involved...leading my sister's brownie troop, driving us to endless ballet lessons, throwing me cool care bear movie birthday parties...I have nearly no memory of my babysitter. And I was a lot older than Milo.

Anyway, we got a few applicants from our ad, so now we have to decide whether to interview them or wait and see if this girl wants the job. We found out about her through my boss' nanny, and she seems great, so it's nice to have some kind of recommendation. And because she is young, she will be less expensive than the other applicants. But then again, she is young. And she hasn't yet sent me her references, which I would have expected her to do right away. And her profile says she doesn't smoke but she told me she does, but not around her charges.  And then once we decide all of that, there's the question of how to pay her. On the books or off the books? If we pay on the books, there is a WHOLE lot of paperwork to file and keep track of and it's all very intimidating. But we can use our flex spending account and get a tax credit. AGH.

Luckily, soon after the nanny interview ended, one of my dorm parent friends stopped by to chat for a couple of hours, which was so nice. It turns out we have a lot in common. She totally gets my need to have a clean house. It's funny how I gravitate towards fellow type-A women, even as I admire the type-B women I know--especially the type B mothers. But if I tell people how much I wish I could stay on top of keeping the apartment looking nice and they tell me to relax and let it go because it won't be clean again for 18 years and besides no one expects it to be clean because I just gave birth, I want to scream. I need it clean to stay sane, dammit, why does no one understand that?!? (For the record, I distinctly remember calling my mother crazy because she NEEDED the table and counters cleaned off before she got home from work. Sorry, mom. I totally get it now.)

Also, apparently I'm turning into my mother.

But then, when I explain it to someone who immediately says, "Oh! I'm the same way!" and then goes on to give examples, or put words to my desperate feelings, I feel an immediate kinship. We are practically soul mates.

If only I could find a nanny like that.
Combined with that guy at the nail place that takes such pride in his work.
Combined with all the energy and eagerness to please and genuine adoration of kids and endless patience that I had when I was a nanny.

Oh well. All in all, a good few days in the land of mommyhood.

And though I didn't make it to the gym, I did send an invite out to the mom's group to join a few "stroller strides" exercise classes through a deal I found on BuyWithMe and got two takers...we start next week!

Tomorrow is a big day. We have the mom's group at 1:30, but we are all meeting for lunch at 11:00 before that. Which is really nice, but the idea of having both peanut and I ready to leave the house by 10:30 seems very nearly impossible.  If we do make it through all of that, I might try to also return the mamaroo on the way home, but we'll see. Getting out of the house by 10:30, nursing peanut in public, eating at a real restaurant, and lasting through the end of the mommy group at 3:30 pm is probably enough of a goal for the day.

But there's a chance I might have enough energy to try out the new steam mop while I make dinner.

A small chance, but a chance none-the-less.