Shoot me now.


I’ve been back at work for a month and things are settling into a routine. Clara is gaining tons of weight and turning into such a funny little girl. I really love this age. She’s close to sitting, she’ll stand holding onto the crib rail if I put her there, and she’s become so aware of the world that it can be a struggle to get her to eat, or to sleep, or to just relax for a few minutes so Mommy can pee!

At the same time, work has gotten pretty busy for me, and I’m finding it hard to get everything done that needs to get done. Between my commute, pumping, dinner-making and baby feeding, and, oh yes, sleep, my free hours for working are just about equal to the hours I need to be billing* and, as any lawyer will tell you, you always work more hours than you actually bill.

On top of all of this, we just put an offer in on a house, right before we’re heading out of town for Clara’s baptism. The seller wants the inspection done before the weekend so that if we decide to pass on the house, she can remarket it this weekend, which means I am now scheduled to spend half of my day tomorrow — a day in which I need to get some serious work done before taking off several days — at the house with the inspector. I have no idea when I’ll manage to pump, because I have to go from the inspection straight to a meeting at another firm, and I can hardly get there and bug out for 20 minutes to pump in a strange location. Oh, and then I need to leave work early anyway to pick up the dress I plan to wear for the baptism, and then take the dog to the kennel before 7, and pack, and get the baby in bed at a reasonable hour so we can leave for the airport early on Thursday morning….

In other words, f**k.

I keep telling myself that if everything works out — if the inspection is clean, if I manage to make my meetings, if I get the dress picked up and the dog dropped off and everything packed — it’ll be really amazing to go home and visit family knowing that we will be closing on this great house in a month or so. And if it doesn’t, I’m going to be really pissed that I’ve given an inspector $450 to look at a house I’m never going to live in.

And how is your week going?

* This is a bit misleading; my firm doesn’t have a strict hours requirement. I’m actually referring here to the actual amount of work I have to do to get stuff done for my clients rather than the amount of work my firm expects me to do.

A day in the life.

2:00 – 2:25 am: Baby wakes up, wanting to eat. I feed her, put her back to bed.

5:30 am: Baby wakes up again, but it’s too early to be up for the day, so I bring her into bed with me and we all go back to sleep.

6:30 – 6:45 am: Baby is still sleeping, but I go ahead and feed her while she’s sleeping. This actually works better than waiting for her to wake up, since she’s less likely to be totally distracted by our surroundings. I put the baby back to bed in her crib after feeding her.

6:45 – 7:00 am: I shower and blow dry my hair.

7:00 – 7:15 am: Baby wakes up, cooing and babbling. I grab her and put her on my bed while I get dressed. I take breaks to blow raspberries and make funny faces at her. I change her diaper and get her dressed for the day.

7:15 – 7:18 am: Baby spits up all over and down my shirt. I change my shirt. I do not have another clean nursing bra, so I clean it up the best I can and hope I don’t smell like spit-up all day.

7:18 – 7:30 am: Baby and I go downstairs and take the dog out and feed him his breakfast. She plays in the bouncy seat while I eat my breakfast (a fast bowl of cereal), gather up her bottles and all of my pumping supplies.

7:30 – 7:40 am: Baby and I play and sing songs.

7:40 – 7:52 am: I feed baby one last time before leaving for daycare.

7:55 am: We leave for daycare.

7:58 am: We arrive at daycare. (This is one of the best things about our daycare.)

8:05 am: I leave daycare, after having a conversation with our daycare provider about her naps (she doesn’t take many), and her eating (she can start having rice cereal a couple of times a day).

8:08 am: I arrive back home, where I drop my car and walk to the bus stop.

9:00 am: After delays on the Red Line, I arrive at work. I immediately pump as I have a meeting at 9:30.

9:30 – noon: Meetings and calls.

11:40 am: I pump again, while on a conference call, with my phone set to mute (I am not required to participate, I’m just an observer) because I have a lunch meeting and have to leave the office by noon.

12:30 – 2:00 pm: Lunch meeting is interesting, and thankfully, they feed us. Free lunch!

2:00 – 3:30 pm: I’m drafting a pleading, revising terms & conditions, and reviewing documents related to a matter that’s being transitioned to me from a departing associate.

3:30 pm: Pump. I take a break to read the internet, check my personal email, and relax a little bit.

3:50 – 4:50 pm: Continue drafting, revising, and reviewing.

4:50 – 5:00 pm: Gather up my stuff, taking care not to leave bottles in the dorm fridge in my office and making sure I have my Metro card, before dashing out for the day.

5:05-5:25 pm: On Metro. Read work materials.

5:25 – 5:45 pm: Arrive at Metro station and wait for bus that is supposed to leave at 5:30 but that never comes. Get on the 5:45 bus instead.

5:57 pm: Arrive at home. Take crying baby from dad. Try to soothe her, try to feed her. Nothing doing.

6:15 -6:35 pm: Prepare baby oatmeal and a little avocado and feed baby, trading off with dad in preparing dinner (pork chops, broccoli, rice).

6:50 pm: Eat dinner with baby on lap. She’s still fussing.

7:00 pm: Bathe baby, taking special care to get all the little bits of oatmeal and avocado out of her neck folds and from between her fingers. Messy baby is messy!

7:15 – 7:20 pm: Get baby in pajamas and ready for bed.

7:20 – 8:00 pm: Feed baby and put her down for bed. This is the only time of day when she’ll relax and nurse without fighting (unless I’ve fed her while she’s still sleeping). I consider (again) breaking the nurse-to-sleep connection and decide (again) that I just can’t do it. She’ll only be this little and snuggly for so long, and I don’t want to give up this time with her, even if takes FOREVER to get her into bed.

8:00 pm: Baby goes down in crib, and I go down to the basement with my computer and the baby monitor, to half-watch TV with dad and continue drafting, revising, and reviewing.

10:00 – 10:20 pm: Wash bottles, refill for tomorrow.

10:20 – 10:38 pm: Pump.

10:50 pm: Finally crawl into bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The days just slipped away.

So today was my last day of maternity leave. (The weekend doesn’t count, since I wouldn’t be going to the office on Saturday or Sunday.)

I am both sad and excited about this. I am so, so sad to leave my little girl; I’m also looking forward to a couple of interesting projects that are lined up for me. I’m actually terrified of daycare drop off on Monday, and glad to have a workplace that I actually like to go to after I leave my baby with her caregiver.

I have a lot of feelings about going back to work — but not many thoughts, at least not ones I can articulate in words. The one thing I know is that I need to go back to work, not just because of finances but also for my own sanity. I’ve loved this time, but I don’t think I’d last long doing it full time. Still, the thought of anyone else taking care of my baby just wrenches my heart. It’s hard to be positive about my job — even a job I really do love — when there’s such a heavy trade off.

Taking advantage of people, in the good way.

My in-laws are visiting right now — they arrived yesterday for a week-long stay. I’m actually pretty excited about their visit because it means I can leave the baby with them and take some time for myself. It started last night, when Mr. D. and I went to pick up dinner and left the baby with his parents — and that was the first time we’d left her with anyone, for any length of time. I tried to get weepy about it, but was so excited to be out of the house with my husband and know that the baby was well taken care of at home…I guess I’m not as sentimental as I thought I was. I think I’m just too excited about the stuff I’ve got planned for the next several days. Like, today, I’m getting a massage and going to see our daycare provider to pick up some paperwork; tomorrow (if the weather cooperates) I’m hoping to go on a run; and Saturday night, Mr. D. and I are going out on a real, live date.

The flip side to having my in-laws here is that while I’m home (which, honestly, will be most of the time — it’s hard to leave an exclusively breastfed baby for any length of time), I will be spending a fair amount of time one-one-one (or one-on-two) with them. This is new. It’s really the first time I’ve spent any extended time with them without Mr. D. I like my in-laws (I really, really do), but I often struggle to find topics of conversation with them. The baby does make that easier — we can always talk about the baby! — but given that there are suddenly two adults in my house that I can talk to, I’d love to take advantage of their presence and talk about something (anything!) besides the baby. Alas, nothing seems to stick. My mother-in-law brought me a book that I expressed interest in (that she’s already read), so maybe I can read some of it and we can talk about that once I’ve gotten into it, but otherwise? I think we’re stuck talking about the baby. Not that I don’t love talking about my baby, but this goes back to what I said in my last post — it’s nice to talk to people about other things, if for no other reason than to remind myself that I am a whole person and not just a mom.

Still, we’re only on Day 1-1/2 of their visit, so I’ve got lots of opportunities to have real adult conversations over the next 4-1/2 days. We’ll see how well I can take advantage of that; and if I can’t, I’ve still got the time out of the house to look forward to.

Two months down, two to go

Clara turned two months old this week, which I find somewhat hard to believe — she’s only been with us for two months? How can that be? Our lives have adjusted and molded to her presence so much so that I have a hard time remembering what our day-to-day lives were like before she was here.

It helps that things have settled into something of a routine at this point. (I know, I know, that routine will get completely shaken up, probably several times, over the next few weeks/months/years. But for now, we have a routine.) At the risk of having things thrown at me, I’ll admit that she sleeps through the night beautifully, waking up just once to eat between 8 pm and 8 am, so Mr. D. and I are actually pretty well rested. She doesn’t nap well during the day, but that’s OK — it just means she spends a lot of time playing on the activity mat, and in the stroller for walks in the neighborhood with the dog (thank God for a mild winter), and in the swing with its funny little mobile. I manage to eke out small chunks of time to check my email and read the news and (most days) shower.

Never fear, though — things are not all sunshine and roses.  First, she is a fussy eater, so I’m never sure that she’s getting enough to eat, and I can’t even rely on her output to judge her input, as she only poops once a week or so. Her weight gain has slowed down, which I guess is normal, but it stresses me out nonetheless. Her pediatrician isn’t worried — she’s not falling off of her growth curve or anything — but I, the mama, am stressed out about it.

Second, I’m halfway through my maternity leave, and I’m starting to get a little stir crazy. I go to a new mom’s group once or twice a week, and I try to get out of the house on the other days to run errands or go to the grocery store, but we still spend a lot of time at home, and a lot of that time, the baby wants to be held.  The bulk of my adult interactions on a day-to-day basis revolve around baby stuff. We stopped by my office this week for a happy hour, and I realized just how much I miss being around my colleagues, how much I miss talking about stuff that isn’t the baby. Which isn’t to say I didn’t talk about the baby a lot at happy hour but I also got to talk about them and what’s going on their lives and how work is going. It was really, really nice. I am sure that, once I’m back at work, I will long for these lazy, relaxing days at home with my baby. But for right now, I’m longing for a little time for myself — to go for a run, to read a book, to focus on something (anything!) for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.

Anyway, short version: Things are mostly good. Clara sleeps well at night but not during the day, but eats and poops only OK. She’s gaining enough weight, even if I wish she were gaining more. And I’m halfway through maternity leave and feeling guilty because I think I won’t enjoy the next two months as much as I should.

My, how the time flies.

My kid will be 6 weeks old tomorrow. I don’t know where the last 6 weeks went.

Well, that’s not totally true. I actually do know where those 6 weeks went. In a perfect world, they would have been filled with cuddles and hugs, milestones (big and small), and lots of time getting to know each other. And the last 6 weeks have seen some of that. But they’ve also seen feeding problems and weight gain problems brought on by a really bad infection that took a lot of my attention away from watching my little girl grow. I spent the week between Christmas and New Years in quite a bit of pain (though it’s only in retrospect that I realize how much pain I was in), and that week culminated in a trip to the ER for me.  Two weeks later, I am almost fully recovered, though I’m still on antibiotics, and we’ll see what happens when those run out at the end of this week.

I feel like I lost a huge chunk of time, between getting sick and then dealing with trying to get better, and all the while living with huge amounts of anxiety over whether my little girl was getting enough to eat and whether I’d be able to keep feeding her. Luckily, as of today, it seems like everything is resolved — I think we are finally in the place we should have been in three weeks ago, feeding-wise — and that feels really good. But I’m still really sad for the two weeks (really, three weeks, since I was sick for about a week before I even saw anyone) that I lost in the fog of pain and fever and anxiety.

And of course, the 6 weeks that have already gone by mean that I am 6 weeks closer to having to go back to work. Which is difficult to contemplate right now. I am in a new moms’ group and I told them all yesterday that I’m not all that ambivalent about going back to work as a theoretical matter — I love my job, I’m good at my job — but conceptually, I have no idea how I can actually leave my little girl to go to the office. Luckily, I have more than two and a half months to figure that out. I hope I manage to do it in that timeframe.

For now, though, I am going to relish the fact that things — at least some things — seem to have gotten easier around here, and that from here on out, they should continue to get easier. And I have those two and a half months to keep enjoying my little girl 24 hours a day.

Christmas Eve gift!

Is it odd that I post more with a newborn than I did before this small creature, whose survival depends on me (and my boobs) came into my world?

So we have a 3-week old (close to 3-1/2 weeks now) and things are going about as well as I think they can be. Despite my fervent hopes (and my apparently misguided belief that I am a laid-back person), I do not have a terrifically easy baby. Thank heavens the opposite is also not true — I do not have a particularly difficult baby — or at least I don’t think I do, but what do I know? First baby!

We’ve been dealing with a lot of different stuff lately — some breastfeeding issues, that seem to be mostly resolved; some colic-like issues (but pretty sure we’re not dealing with colic, as it’s a little too early for the classic presentation, and most of those issues can be traced back to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues); some weight-gain issues; and some mommy issues. At the risk of this being a little too TMI, we’ve been weaning off a nipple shield (which we did successfully, despite my belief a week ago that it would NEVER EVER happen); but that seems to have caused some freakouts by my baby when confronted with WHOA MILK; at our last weight check (before we left off with the shield) she still wasn’t back to birth weight at nearly 3 weeks (though she was gaining, and I am so happy we have a pediatrician who was very relaxed about the whole thing and never once suggested we start supplementing with formula, which I would do if she needed it, but would rather not do if she doesn’t). And the mommy issues…well, let’s just say I always hoped I’d be a laid back mommy, but it turns out that I am a huge ball of anxiety.

Maybe that last bit shouldn’t surprise me — I am, after all, the kind of person who always wants to “win” at stuff. I like to think that I’m not particularly competitive, but I’m really just deluding myself. Which is not to say that I am particularly competitive vis a vis other people. No, it’s more that I just want to be good at (OK, OK, the best at) whatever challenge it is that I’m undertaking. In some cases (cough cough, law school), that necessarily required me to compare myself to others, because I (and all of those others) were being evaluated on the same scale. But in other contexts (mommyhood), the metric is really just whether I’m doing all The Stuff Mommies Are Supposed To Do — and doing it well. Does my kid sleep well? Does she cry a lot? How does she poop? (Seriously.) And, critically to me right now, how does she eat?

Needless to say, my ambitious, achievement-seeking personality has had a hard time dealing with a kid who has not wanted to do all of those things that babies are supposed to do on certain timeframes. There were early pooping issues. (GOD, this is super TMI.) There was the shield issue. There’s the weight gain issue. And there are more potential issues looming on the horizon: potential Introducing A Bottle issues, Introducing A Pacifier issues, and continued Has She Gained Enough Weight issues.

And in the midst of all of this, I realized today that it is Christmas Eve. I mean, I knew it was Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t really something that was front and center of my consciousness. Part of it is that this is the first time I’ve ever spent Christmas away from either my family or Mr. D’s family. We’re not traveling for the holiday this year (obviously), and that’s made it easy to sort of forget about the holiday. Don’t get me wrong — we haven’t dropped the ball on the holiday. We’ve ordered and sent all of our gifts (and those relatives who are peeved at getting gift cards 25 days after I gave birth can suck it), we have our tree up (that was done before the baby arrived), and we have (perhaps ambitious) plans to make a special, though not super labor-intensive, dinner tonight. But I (still!) haven’t really internalized that today is Christmas Eve. Or that tomorrow is my little girl’s first Christmas, and our first Christmas as a family of three.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than to say that new parenthood is hard, and doubly hard at the holidays. I hope that I’ll look back on my anxious self in a few months and shake my head at what sleep deprivation wrought. I hope that I’ll look back and cherish this first Christmas. But for right now, man, it’s tough.