Friday, November 14, 2014

A Kid Post

Felicity Update: She is 7.5 weeks old, getting good head control, smiling a lot if you make an effort to make eye contact with her. She has a cold at the moment so that makes things a bit difficult (stuffy nose). Her sleep continues to be erratic but decent, sleeping 2-5 hrs at a time. The cold makes it so she is less settled, I hope that goes away soon. Her cradle cap is responding great to occasional coconut oil. Her baby acne mostly cleared up though she gets a small patch here or there, or patches of dry skin occasionally. She likes to be able to be in the sitting position and looking around. Daycare is going smoothly, she takes the bottle well and they treat her well.

Benjamin Update: I have not written about him too much in awhile. We have had a lot of difficult adjustment since Felicity was born, some of which is just normal toddler behavior that he didn't choose to display until she was born. He also had a "sleep regression" of sorts - more difficult bedtimes and lots of night time wakings, some of which extended into the ridiculous (one particularly bad night he kept us up from 2am-4am). He now has a very clear idea of what he wants/does not want and can tantrum if you don't get it right. One particular evening he was in tears because his Grands biscuit had been cooked in the oven. One morning this week he freaked out because we didn't give him cereal in the car or have him wear his Goblin hat... both things which he did not tell us he wanted until we were getting out of the car at daycare. Its hard being little. There also has been some ridiculusly serious moments considering her is not yet three years old. He get upset if you tell him that he is going to grow up, or that Felicity is going to grow up, he wants to stay how he is, and her to stay a baby. (There is therefore virtually no chance of getting him to potty train). He also has asked once what death is recently. I think he is struggling with scary concepts that are beyond his years (is three too young for an existential crisis?). But, enough of the heavy. He likes movies/tv - Curious George's Halloween Special has been a hit, and we have been watching Magic School Bus a lot. He has been mostly playing with cars/trucks, play dough, books and puzzles lately. We are back in swim lessons now and he loves it. He is very insistent about his cereal in the mornings, and often has it for dinner or evening snack as well (I have been trying to cut back on sugary cereals and push towards basic Chex w Raisins with some success).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Back to Work

Felicity is 6 weeks old (As of Monday), and also as of Monday, I am back to work. Don't get me started on America and maternity leave. Suffice it to say, I would have preferred to stay home longer, but that was not in the cards for me, so let me talk about my experience in returning to work this week.

The best way to describe my return is "overwhelming", in every regard.

The logistics of returning were overwhelming. On Sunday evening (and really, throughout my maternity leave) I was anxious (maybe even panicked at times...) about the logistics - getting everyone and everything they need to where they need to be on time. I was terrified of forgetting to take milk or a pacifier to daycare, or forgetting to sign a form and getting there and being turned away, etc etc etc. Of course it all DID go smoothly, I made lists, I remembered everything, and put safety measures in place in case I do forget in the future (daycare keeps their own pacifier there, and has frozen breastmilk, I stuck some milk in my parents freezer, etc).

The emotions of returning were overwhelming. They didn't hit me until Monday morning when I had to put Felicity in her carseat to go. I didn't want to put her down. She is SO tiny. Of course, the fact she is so tiny means she doesn't even realize I am leaving her really yet (that will come I am sure), but it was still difficult from my end. I mainly avoided tears at drop off by doing it quickly and moving on to take Ben to his room. And the emotional drama continues, because I am realizing how with a 6 week old, there are so many milestones coming. Smiles, rolling, etc. And, some days, if she is sleepy in the evening, I hardly get to see her eyes or interact with her at all besides feeding her. (Last night was good, she was very alert in the evening and I got to make faces at her, and saw some hints of a smile and her working on other facial expressions).

Returning to work was overwhelming! I am lucky I had written down my passwords, I did not remember them at all. It took quite a bit of dredging to get my work knowledge back to the surface. I asked a lot of stupid questions on Monday and Tuesday and made some very stupid mistakes. They let me ease in though, so luckily none of these mistakes had impact on clients. They just made me look stupid. LOL. I am feeling much more 'With it" work wise already though, so that's good.
Work was also overwhelming from a social perspective. I have spent the last 6 weeks mostly socially isolated, with occasional visits with close friends. All the sudden I am back on a floor with 100 people, all of whom know I was on leave and want to know how I am doing. They are all happy to see me, and I was not that happy to see them (because I didn't want to be back). Readjusting to talking to so many people on a daily basis has been a challenge.

Another challenge is dealing with pumping. With Ben, I did not go back to work until 5.5 months, so I had a HUGE stash of breastmilk saved up before I went back. This time, I am only (maybe, if I calculated), a week or so a head. If my supply dips much I will not keep up with her needs.  I keep trying to convince myself that supplementing with formula would be fine, no big deal (I am trying to accept this so I am less stressed, not because it is an immanent reality), but I can't accept that. I want her to have the same 12 months of exclusive breastfeeding that Ben got, and I feel like I will fail her if I can't do that. Besides that stress, pumping at work means no time for breaks for anything else. I have been pumping at 9:30, 12, and 2:30 (roughly). I cannot go out for lunch. I cannot use a break to go on a walk. And, since my breaks tend to run on the longer side now (they are close to 15 minutes... but spill over a bit), I feel guilty if I need to do other little things like fill my water bottle or wash a dish, things I used to not even think about, because I feel like pumping takes me away from my desk all the time. And my work place is by no means strict about this sort of thing, its more a feeling of personal responsibility.

Its hard to separate out what challenges are arising from having two kids and working, and what challenges are arising from having a 6 week old and working. Either way, the big thing I feel, that I have never felt before, is that every minute matters. I feel like there is something I should be doing every minute of every day. I need to hold baby. If I am not holding baby, I should be packing my lunch for the next day, or freezing milk, or doing laundry. Every minute counts. Maybe I will become more productive... or go insane. One or the other.
And that is my back to work story. I am sure ALL of these challenges will get easier with time and practice. Thanks for listening.