Saturday, September 3, 2011

Holy itch cream, am I miserable.

What a week! 6 days with no power. Three nights in a hotel, going back and forth, not knowing whether to check out or rebook. Two days of meetings until 9:30 pm. No air conditioning. No pumping. No night-time bottle help from Michael (because we had no bottles). A whole week of 4-hr-sleep nights.

I have to say, if there's a bright side to this week, it is having great confidence in our nanny, who started on Monday. We had half power when she arrived on Monday and no power when she left. On Wednesday, she showed up with a little mini-generator/battery thing that could power my pump and a fan for most of the day. Resourceful. I like it! The lack of power brought a lot of little challenges...storing and heating her lunch...our apartment being too hot to stand...her having to walk across campus to another dorm to retrieve milk to feed Milo. And she seemed to take it all in stride, with a positive attitude. She even returned to work on Thursday. yay.

I asked the nanny (who I will refer to as Tricia from now on) what text messaging plan she had and she said she had an unlimited plan on verizon. WOOHOO. I casually said that she could feel free to send me any little pictures she might take throughout the day, and she actually did. She'd send me a little text or photo when they went on a walk or when she got Milo to nap in his bassinet or when he was rocking at tummy time. It made it so much easier to be away from him. I love that she is willing to do this. (As a side note, I am irrationally annoyed by people who don't text, as I find it the most convenient way to communicate since I can respond immediately no matter where I am. People who require a phone call are subject to a long wait, since I have to find a period of peace and quiet and no interruptions...which happens roughly every four months or so.)

Anyway, the other great thing about Tricia is that she's interested in photography. So I leave my nice camera out and at the end of the day, I get to come home to pictures of Milo! yay.

AND she likes cleaning and organizing. So much so that I think I'm going to sit down with her and list out the housekeeping tasks that are part of the job as described when we interviewed her, but then offer to pay her extra for going above and beyond when Milo is sleeping. And I like that she shows good judgment with that...Milo had a hard day on Thursday and she didn't try to get the fridge cleaned out. She focused on Milo, which is just as it should be. Yet she has initiative, like on Monday when she had time and started organizing his clothes.

And get this--she offered to go grocery shopping for us if we made her a list.

I think I'm in love.

So anyway, that was the highlight of the week. If she was so great during such a challenging first week, I have great faith that she will work out and that will make it MUCH easier to not feel guilty about working and to stay sane.

The week had a lot of lows, though. Besides the lack of power/air conditioning/refrigerator/internet/cable. It was also VERY hard to get work done, since I couldn't work from home on the days when I didn't have Tricia here and thus couldn't go to the office. I feel like I spent every spare minute making arrangements related to power outage stuff and where we would sleep or how Milo would eat and whatnot. Which means we got nothing done in terms of preparing the dorm for the students who started arriving on Thursday. I'm kind of in denial that the year is actually starting and it's really too bad that we're starting off the dorm parenting year already depleted.

On the other hand, we were at the receiving end of a lot of kindness this week. My admissions boss kept offering different ways to help out, and my dorm parenting boss let me skip one of our opening meetings to go to the hotel with Milo so Tricia wouldn't have to stay with him in our dark apartment (which also saved us $60). One of my colleagues asked why we hadn't asked for help in carting our stuff down to the other dorm's fridge. It never would have occurred to me to call them, but how nice to hear that they would have been happy to help. Our neighbors offered us food, and helped us get our food to the other dorm, and also responded to a late night text to defrost a frozen bag of milk for Milo. And my wonderful sister donated/lent me hilton honors points for that last night in the hotel after we ran out of our own points. (Thanks, Tiff!)

Yesterday, I decided to try to run a bunch of errands that needed doing since it was one of our last dorm parenting-free days. I have to say, running errands with Milo is an exercise in patience. I have to give up any sense of control or expectations about how much will get done and how quickly. I fear I will never be on time for anything, ever again.

Though at least now I have a better excuse than before. ;-)

I took the little newborn insert out of the car seat because it was squishing Milo's head a bit. But halfway to our first errand, I looked in the rear view mirror and found Milo asleep, with his head cocked at an impossible angle. The more I looked, the more I convinced myself that his neck had snapped and he was no longer breathing.  After a mild panic attack, I pulled over on the side of the highway to get out and see if he was breathing. He was. Jesus. I am losing my freaking mind.

Since he's sleeping, I decide to go to the McDonald's drive through (which is easier to get to than the burger king drive through.) I am eating a ton of fast food lately, because it doesn't seem worth getting him out of the car just to get some food. I'm all about drive throughs now. In fact, I wonder why they don't have more drive-through services aimed at moms. Like drive through grocery stores. Anyway, I get all excited about the fries and head to that McDonald's I wrote about a few weeks ago with the double-laned drive through. I drive all the way around the building, following the arrows on the ground around and around like I'm in line at Disney World, only to find that the ride (drive through window) is closed. Dammit. Now I have to go to Burger King after all. Of course, by the time I get there, Milo is waking up. And he's hungry! I was hoping to find someplace with wi-fi for my ipad, so I drive around a few strip malls that seem likely but can't find any internet. I do realize how pathetic this behavior is. I literally had the ipad open on the front seat and drove around watching it try to find a network. Sigh. No such luck. So I settled on parking in the lot near my first errand  and climbed into the back seat to keep Milo company. I made a deal with him that if he let me finish my lunch, then I'd feed him. He did. So I did. Luckily I had my Oprah magazine stored on the ipad for entertainment while nursing. (oh how I love technology.)

So then, we get to the first errand, which was returning the too-long curtains I had bought to try to use as shower curtains in the dorm. (Turns out they come in two different sizes and I hadn't noticed and gotten the longer size. Oh well--already bought new ones on Amazon.) Milo started fussing while we were in line to make the return, and I knew he was tired, so I took him out of the stroller and rocked him. He was happier and I managed everything one-handed. Afterward, I needed to pick up more stuff for the dorm and wound up throwing it all in the stroller while I carried Milo. Along the way, I found nicer bath mats for the dorm (which meant making another stop here to return the other ones!) and by the time I checked out, Milo was clearly desperately tired yet fighting sleep, but I had gotten a lot of the stuff we needed. I realized he needed a new diaper and figured it was a good time to head to babies r us. We had our eye on a little sleeper thingie that goes between us in the bed since Milo hasn't been sleeping as well lately and Michael worries about him being in the bed with us. I had noticed a 15% off coupon in the latest mailer, but I didn't have it with me. I figured I could change Milo, and see if I could score a coupon and get the sleeper.

The first lady I asked told me they couldn't do that, but if I brought the item back within 7 days with the coupon, they could credit me the amount of the coupon. HA. Clearly, she doesn't have kids and doesn't understand the major undertaking it is to run errands with a newborn. I nearly started crying but decided to just head for the changing room. Once Milo was all fresh and clean, I headed back over to the service desk, eyeing a coupon booklet behind the counter. I considered just grabbing it and making a run for it but instead I waited to ask a different clerk if I could use one of the coupons. She said no problem, and off I went to find the sleeper. Awesome. Another errand done.

So then it was off to DSW, because I have no shoes that fit me other than flip flops. And aside from them not being particularly professional for my return to work, they are also not tall enough for most of my pants not to get ruined. Oh yeah, and it's going to get cold pretty soon.

Milo FREAKED out in the parking lot of babies r us, so I decided to walk to DSW, hoping he'd fall asleep in the stroller. I tried to give him a pacifier, but he threw it on the ground. He was so, so tired but fighting sleep hard. I started driving the stroller like a crazy, drunk woman and took the long way to the shoe store. Luckily, he fell asleep (quite suddenly) before we got there. So I could shop in peace, but sadly found no shoes that would work. What a waste of his sleep time.

So I decided to head to Marshalls, which has a big shoe selection. Plus, Michael needed new jeans and shirts and Marshalls is a good bet for that too. Unfortunately, halfway through the shoe section, Milo started whimpering. And then proceeded to have the biggest meltdown I've ever seen him have. Even after I picked him up and bounced him, he screamed his angry red face off like I was kidnapping him from his real mom. Who would never drag him around on errands for hours at a time, obviously. And ate real food that did not come from a drive through window.

People were looking at me but I didn't care. I just didn't know what was wrong with my normally peaceful baby. I had just fed him an hour and a half before, and he had a clean diaper, and I was holding what could be causing this massive meltdown of epic proportions? Well, I know only one thing that always works, so I headed for the dressing room with my two nursing-friendly shirts. Once inside the "family dressing room" I slumped onto the teeny tiny seat and opened my bra to nurse Milo, who seemed both starving (wtf?!) and happy.


Then he had a blowout. NOoooooooo. sigh.

So then I changed him on the floor of the dressing room, and changed his clothes (thank goodness I had extra!) Finally...about an hour after arriving at the store, I tried on my shirts. One seemed like it would work pretty well for requirements for new clothing are so very different now that I'm a mother. Anyway, I go to the men's section and start pulling shirts and jeans that might work for Michael and pile them on the handle of the stroller. I give Milo a little elephant toy to play with. I have everything I need but then remember that Michael wanted me to find a new toy or two for Milo to interact with, so I head to the baby section. Once there, Milo starts fussing again. I figure he has gas and go to pick him up.

Do you see where this is going?

Yeah, well I was too distracted by my screaming baby to see the foreshadowing on the wall. So I picked Milo up. And the whole stroller flips over, spewing Michael's clothes all over the floor. Let me tell you--righting the stroller and picking up all that stuff one handed wasn't so entirely easy. But I got it done, and selected two chime toys for Milo's car seat and headed to the checkout with nary a tear from me or Milo.

I unload the stroller onto the checkout counter and put Milo back in. At which point, he starts fussing and I realize we lost the little elephant toy he seemed so fascinated with. sigh. The lady lets me put the chimes on right away to distract him and then once I finish paying, I go all over the store until we find the little elephant.

Phew. Is it midnight yet? I get him back in the car and decide to call it a day and head home.

Luckily, by the time we get home, the school has installed a giant generator big enough to power the entire campus.

And then a few hours later, the power came back on. hahahaha. Clearly they should have gotten the generator earlier!

Oh...I forgot to mention two other important highlights of the week. First, on Tuesday night, we did Milo's three month photo session with a wonderful photographer (Mary Macomber) who charges for the session but gives you all the images on a CD, which is rare and awesome and also critical in my eyes. The session lasted about two hours and sadly, Milo was only feeling smiley for the first ten minutes or so. Which was extra funny since when we got back to the hotel afterward, he wouldn't STOP smiling for the rest of the night. What a tease. Even so, Mary got some great shots and I'm super excited to get the CD this week! I'm especially thrilled because she did some family shots and we didn't have ANY good pics of the three of us before. YAY.

The other thing is not quite as uplifting: somehow I got a bunch of poison ivy. It was either from the photo shoot, where I was barefoot for about ten minutes, or from running down to turn off the alarm on the dorm fire door when a contractor set it off. Either way, it is ALL over my feet and between my toes. And, I guess I must have spread it by scratching it and then scratching a bug bite, because it is also on my inner thighs. freaking awesome. I have such a serious reaction to it that I'm in serious misery. I could itch my skin right off into a bloody pulp. But I'm trying not to. Last night, I got up to nurse Milo at 3 am and couldn't fall back asleep the itch was so bad. I got online and looked up home remedies and went to the kitchen to make a paste of baking soda and vinegar which I spread all over myself and then wrapped in saran wrap so as not to get it on the sheets.

I'm serious. I really did this. It seemed like a good idea at 4 am.

It didn't work.

Today I tried Zanfel, which was recommended by a friend and nurse. You need to make it into a paste and then rub it vigorously on the poison ivy until it stops itching. Well, it worked pretty well on two areas but not at all between my toes. Turns out I can't get the prescription either, since I'm breastfeeding.

I'm trying not to be too dramatic here, but holy itch creme am I miserable.

What a week.