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.

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