Saturday, January 21, 2012

Swimming, Sledding and Outsourcing Tedious Tasks

It's been a busy week. But then, aren't they all?

I left you on Sunday, after we cleaned everything and dismantled the Christmas tree and I got my blood test (7 months late) and I was feeling pretty on top of things.

Monday, I got a call from my doctor's office. The doctor was like, "Hey...have you been feeling really crappy lately? Because I know why!" Like it was the punch line to a joke. I guess the joke is that if I had made time for the blood test months ago, I might not be feeling so crappy all the time. Because apparently my thyroid is completely out of whack. It had been fine during the pregnancy and we had been monitoring it carefully, so I figured the blood test wasn't really that necessary. But it turns out my TSH levels are at 8.57. Just for reference, we feel best when they are between 1-2, though technically normal is .3-3 (or .5-5, depending on which doctor you ask.)

So, yeah. We've changed my medication and hopefully I'll be feeling better in 4-6 weeks. Awesome.

Hey, remind me to go back for a blood test then, will you?

So then it was Tuesday...the big day to drive Milo out to western Massachusetts to meet with famous eye doctor lady. Our appointment was at 5, so I left at 2 to pick up a friend who was up for keeping us company, with the idea that I'd get there in time to feed Milo before the appointment so he'd be in a good mood. Well, we get all the way there only to find there's no eye doctor at that address. Oops. Guess she'd moved since I used to see her five years ago. Well, we got to the right address right on time, so I sort of let Milo snack in between the pre-evaluation and seeing the real doctor.

She was amazing with Milo, and she seemed amazed AT Milo. Which was always one of my favorite things about her--she always acted like I was some kind of miracle or something. Hard to dislike. =) She had good news for us: Milo has binocular vision within a certain focal range...between 2" and 10" or so. He definitely doesn't have binocular vision at longer focal ranges, but she said it's a really good sign that he'll be able to develop it. She also had some mixed things to say about the eye surgery that I thought for sure we'd be signing Milo up for in a couple of months. Basically, it's a completely cosmetic fix, and even then is often temporary, requiring multiple follow-up surgeries. If you're really interested, here's a site that explains it.

And there are risks. Many patients that have the surgery wind up with a vertical deviation (their eye wanders upward). And there will be scar tissue and basically you're messing with the natural order of your physical self, without telling the brain how to actually interpret what it sees any differently. So some people wind up worse after surgery. She's seen the most success if people do vision therapy before and after surgery.

She wouldn't advise the surgery, though she does see the benefit in a cosmetic fix. If that's what we're looking for, however, then it's not really necessary to get it done as soon as possible under the logic that we're going to try to get the brain to develop the way it uses the eyes in a natural way.

She does, however, recommend vision therapy, and she really thinks Milo can achieve binocular vision. She had some innovative ideas about using special lenses to lift his gaze and gave us recommendations for three vision therapists in our area that she'd trust her children with. So now I have to look into that, which seems a little overwhelming but maybe a tad less so than surgery on my infant's eyes. The bad news: vision therapy is not covered by insurance, and is somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 a pop, every few weeks, for a few years (most likely).

She was really sweet and informative and offered to act as our consultant and said to call her any time with questions. Which is pretty nice for someone who's famous and all that.

So then we went to grab a quick dinner and then dropped by our friend Kate's house before the long drive home. Luckily, Milo slept both ways in the car, because we didn't get home until around 11:30.

In other news, we started sleep training this week. We're using the Sleep Easy Solution/Sleepy Planet. They basically advise a bedtime between 6:30-8:30, based on when you need/want baby to wake up (allowing them 11-12 hours of sleep). Apparently, Milo needs 11 hours a night (NO LESS!) and 13-15 1/2 hours per 24 hour period. Turns out our little Milo was sleep deprived and just too good-natured for us to tell.

So you put them in their crib, after doing a bedtime routine, and then if they cry, you go in after 5-10-15 minutes and speak to them reassuringly (but don't touch them or pick them up) and try to get out of the room in under 30 seconds (which is where we always fail.) The first night, Milo made it LITERALLY to the last minute of the 15 minute check in (so 30 minutes total) and just as I was about to go in for the third time, he fell asleep. Michael's heart was broken. He is so not into the whole cry it out thing and is pretty sure it'd be better to let Milo sleep in our bed or eat four times a night or whatever else needs to happen to avoid crying. It'd be cute and sweet if it wasn't so unrealistic and didn't mean that I'd never get a full night's sleep again.

He slept for 11 hours that night. IN A ROW. Sure, he woke up a few times, but after fussing for a few minutes, he went back to sleep. WITHOUT EATING.

Jesus, do I feel stupid, thinking he needed to be eating twice a night for the last however many months. Sigh. All that sleep I could have had.

Anyway, I still woke up every time he woke up, but I didn't get out of bed and I got about 6 hours of sleep. The next night was another 6 hours. Last night I think I might have actually gotten 8 hours of sleep. I woke up a few times, with Milo, but went right back to sleep. Once I even fell back asleep before he did. I'm starting to actually feel like a normal person again. I didn't feel hostile at all today. Not once.

Tonight was the 4th night, and Milo didn't cry at all. He just went to sleep. Crazy.

I really need to talk to Michael and decide for certain if I'm returning to work full time, since my feelings change pretty much hourly. Some hours, I am sure I want to spend all of my time with my happy little sidekick, the light of my life. Other hours, I am sure life would feel so much easier if I went to work for 8 hour chunks and came home to my baby rather than trying to meld baby and work constantly, which largely means that I'm doing work until well after midnight most nights, and often trying to get Milo to entertain himself or sleep so I can squeeze some work in during the day. The other thing is that I sat down with our financials and realized that currently, after paying our nanny, I bring home about $4300 a year. Even worse than I had thought. A YEAR. And for this I'm killing myself? Working all hours, spreading myself so thin that I am a vitriolic, hostile person much of the time? Not getting to spend quality time with my son? And watching our savings dwindle?

Working part time is so not worth it.

But if I work full time, we won't be able to afford a nanny. Which means day care. And a lot more sick days in our future.

So that's all going on. And will take months to iron out. As will our future housing situation.

Thursday, we were on duty. Days where we are on duty after I work all day are hard, but this was a good one. I had a nice, long talk with one of my favorite girls in the dorm (not that we have favorites). And then I walked with Milo down to dinner, which was decent for once (though not healthy), and Michael met us there. Afterward, Michael fed Milo while I did study hour check-ins, which let me have more good conversations with the students. Then he went to the gym while I played with Milo and then put Milo to bed while I finished up some work. Everything seemed to flow so well. It almost convinced me that we can totally make this work.

Friday, we were supposed to have breakfast plans and I was REALLY excited about them, not only for the company but also because I was going to get to have caramel crunch, nutella-stuffed French toast!!! Sadly, our plans got canceled Friday morning, so I decided instead that it would be a good time to get Milo's glasses adjusted, since both pairs leave dents/bruises on different parts of his face. Yup, mom of the year I am, waiting weeks to get them fixed. Go me.

I tried really hard to plan it so that we'd get there before it was nap time and after he had eaten, but everything always takes longer than I think and by the time we got there, it was slightly past nap time. sigh.

Here's why. I have two packages to bring to the post office. One of which is the angel care breathing baby monitor Michael made me buy in June but that we still haven't installed. Anyway, both are in big boxes. Which wouldn't have been a problem if I could have put Milo in a stroller and balanced the boxes on top to get to the car. But we're not allowed to keep our snap and go in the dorm anymore (effing fire marshall.) So I had a baby to carry in one hand, and two big, heavy boxes to carry in the other. So I got Milo in the Beco carrier (facing in, so I wouldn't accidentally bonk him in the face with a box. See? I AM a good mother!), slung the diaper bag over my shoulder, balanced the boxes on top of each other, carefully slid my hand underneath, and turned and looked at the door. Crap.

I inched the door handle down and open verrrry slowly, and with my toe pulled it shut and quickly got out of the way. Then I started down the dark stairway. Which is pitch black because the dorm is engaged in a competition to see which dorm can reduce their energy usage. It's a miracle every time I make it down the stairs and hallway.

I get all the way out to the car and see that it snowed. So now I'm thinking, do I put the boxes down in the snow? Or the baby? Just kidding. I slipped the keys out of my pocket, opened the car, put the boxes and diaper bag in the front seat, got Milo out of the carrier and into the car seat. At which point I realized he'd already lost a sock. I don't know how that kid does it. But it didn't really seem worth taking him out of the car seat and going back to find it. (Did someone say mom of the year?)

So my one-socked wonder and I finally get on the way and make it to the glasses place just as Milo should be going down for a nap. It took about 40 minutes to get the two pairs of glasses adjusted. During which time we entertained the other customers (who kept exclaiming how cute he was) and Milo lost his other sock. (I should probably buy stock.) He started seriously melting down in the last ten minutes or so, but overall did really well with the lady putting the glasses on and off and on and off and on and off and on again. So, even though I really wanted to get my packages to the post office, I figured we better get home and let Peanut nap.

Plus, who was I kidding? How was I going to get the baby and both packages into the post office? I felt like that riddle where you have to get a fox, chicken, and a bag of grain across a river in a small boat but they can't all be in the boat at the same time or one will get eaten.

So we went home and Milo napped and then we went to visit a friend from our mom's group. I love this friend (and all the friends from our group) because I totally don't have to pretend that I've got my shit together with her. And I can tell her all the frustrations and mom fails and know that we both still know we're both good moms anyway. Because, I mean, c'mon. Look at our happy boys. And it's nice to get some perspective. I hadn't gotten more than 4.5 hours of sleep in months, and her son hadn't napped more than 45 minutes in months. It made me appreciate Milo's naps instead of focusing on his night time sleep. So, good all around.

Though it meant he was late for his second nap as well. Oops. No post office for us on Friday.

Today was swim lesson day. I was supposed to have an all day photography workshop for "moms with cameras" but it got postponed until tomorrow because of some snow. So that meant I got to go with Michael and Milo to swim lessons.

I've decided I hate swim lessons and shouldn't have to pay for them. They keep asking us to have Milo do totally un-age-appropriate things like blow bubbles and "help him climb up on the wall" so he "knows what to do in case of emergencies." Um, WHAT kind of emergencies would require my 7 month old to climb out of a swimming pool by way of the wall? When I explained that Milo doesn't really know how to blow bubbles and would just drink the water if I put his mouth near it, the instructor explained that this class was really for tots, so that was why and she didn't know what to tell us.

Um, no it isn't. I signed him up for WATER BABIES. WATER TOTS is taught an hour earlier. So basically, she didn't even know what class she was teaching. Grrr.

It's a good thing I like swimming with Milo so much. Dunking him is kind of fun too.

And in the locker room, this woman started telling me how cute Milo was and that she had an 18 month old daughter and she had strabismus and they were considering options, etc etc that was nice. And she also said that even though her daughter isn't in daycare, she's been putting her in the day care at the gym since she was 6 months old and it's really great and she feels good about it. The only down side is that her daughter gets sick more often. Which is one of the things I'm afraid of but have to admit is inevitable.

So I think I've decided to at least TRY the day care there. Maybe on Tuesday.

After swim lessons, Milo had a nap and then it was time (finally) to take him SLEDDING. Michael thinks I'm crazy but humored me. The first hill we tried didn't quite work. I had fun pulling Milo up (he laying on his tummy in the sled) but then we couldn't get the sled to go down. Hmmm. So then we walked to a much bigger hill. Michael made me do a test run by myself, he was so worried I was going to injure the Peanut. But it went fine. Sadly, by that time, Milo was getting pretty cold, so we only went down twice. I don't think it was really fast enough for him to understand how fun sledding is. Michael sure isn't convinced, though he was kind enough to snap some pictures of us at least.

I wonder if that counted as exercise?

Then I got to take a nice hot bath with my book while Michael fed Milo. Then Milo came into the bath with me to get cleaned up, and then Michael swooped him away to get dressed while I showered. Then Michael went out for some sanity alone time to a sushi dinner and a movie while I got Milo ready for bed. AND HE DIDN'T EVEN CRY. Just went right down and hasn't stirred since. (knock on wood).

And then I hired a task rabbit to plan our vacation. Task Rabbit is this amazing web site I found out about. You can post ANY job at all...running errands, doing research, staining your deck, moving your couch, assembling your ikea furniture...ANYTHING. And you say how much you're willing to pay for it. And then these "task rabbits" bid on your job. What?

I had started to research infant-friendly vacations earlier this week, as Michael and I were trying to see if we could really afford a vacation during school break this March, given that we're also committed to go to Denmark this summer so Milo can meet the other half of his family. And I got lost in the internet for two hours and came out the other side no closer to booking a vacation.

So I posted a task asking for vacation research. I gave them a budget and the list of things we wanted to do and needed at a hotel, and I got three bids from different task rabbits within the hour. I chose the one with the best reviews and the more affordable bid, and told her that yes, I would pay her $32 for her to do hours of internet research and send 5-7 options that fit our criteria and budget. WHAT?

I'm so excited to see if it works. And I'm now thinking of all the other tedious tasks I can outsource.

Which is probably not good for our budget talks.

Anyway, I better get to bed because I have to be up EARLY tomorrow to feed Milo before heading to Worcester for the photography workshop.  It's ALL day and will be Michael's longest stretch to date with Milo. I hope it's worth 9-10 hours of my very valuable and rare free time.

Here's hoping for 8 hours of sleep starting in 8 minutes...

'night 'night.

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