Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Itsy bitsy pieces

I am trying to think of something interesting to share but Margot is in the middle of another growth spurt and has been waking up every two hours at night again, so I am in a total fog. Her hungry cry is piercing and totally belies her usual happy baby self. I would appreciate the Darwinian necessity of that scream more if it didn't squeeze my heart into my throat every time, usually at 2am. Last night, however, I exercised the beauty of the bottle and got Lunchboy into the action when we hit wakeup #3.

Though most of our pictures are taken in the living room (aka baby central), we do actually leave the house, particularly now that the weather is getting so nice. Every weekend I mean to take the camera with us when we go on walks with Margot in the Bjorn. She has discovered trees and is completely mesmerized by them. Trees are for her what ceiling fans seem to be for lots of other babies--head thrown back, attention completely focused. It's amazing to watch her discover the world.

This is a photo of Margot wearing a very cute outfit that her aunt, a world-class shopper, picked up for her. She wore this outfit for approximately 3 hours and then, abiding by third rule of babies, which dictates that cute outfits be baptized by fire, proceeded to destroy it with an epic blowout. I've tried not to be one of those parents that talks about their kid's potty habits but this may be my one exception. Before I went off dairy, Margot was a on a two-a-day blowout schedule that was like clockwork. Every 12 hours, KERBLOOEY. After I cut out dairy, she dammed up like Holland and started pooing 1-2 times a week. When those 1-2 times roll around, the result is...considerable. Our daycare provider gives us a lovely rundown of Margot's day when we pick her up and today the note included the following notation: "Explosion! Then a tubby because the mess was so bad it got in her hair. She loved her bath--so cute!" So there you have it.

On a totally unrelated note, Lunchboy and I are doing the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred. We are on Day 4. There is a lot of pain involved. But I have suddenly developed muscle tone, so I feel like there is actually payoff.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


When Lunchboy and I first met a little over four years ago, we were both working for the same company. He was a consultant and I was an editor. Basically, my job was to make all the management-speak that he and the other consultants wrote sound more like regular English. The job was fun in part because it introduced me to whole new ways to shape and twist language. For instance, Lunchboy once used "whiteboard" as a verb in a meeting (there was also the whole "efficient frontier" argument). He is a man who loves his whiteboard--it was one of the very first things he bought to set up his home office when he switched jobs--and even though he mostly uses those giant, poster-sized Post-It sheets, the whiteboard is still there, just waiting for some consultant brainstorming to occur. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that a consultant came up with this so that children of consultants can also learn to whiteboard their ideas. Since we are renting our current place and are not allowed to paint anything, it will be a while before we could introduce Margot to whiteboard paint. But I have a feeling she'll love it--it's in her genes.

Genes--jeans! It's totally unrelated but I wish Tea Collection made clothes for grownups. Seriously. I heart them.

You and me, baby

When you're pregnant, there are a million books and websites out there that will tell you exactly what's happening to your body and your baby at any given point in time. Hormone changes, neural tube development, hair and fingernails--you name it, the information is there. But when you HAVE the baby and suddenly you're home with this tiny person who is no longer connected to you physically and you feel like you're flying by the seat of your sweatpants, I often felt like I couldn't find out what I needed to know. What I did find was often loaded with condescension. Part of this was that I didn't have the nerve to ask about some things and didn't know to ask about others. Then, because I am late to the game on pretty much anything cool, about a week ago I discovered AlphaMom. I wish I'd known to look for them back when I was on maternity leave. Specifically, this column could have made my head stop exploding on multiple occasions. I can't tell you how many times I sat on the couch looking at Margot, frantically wondering what to do next. Was there something I was supposed to be doing with her that I didn't know about? Was she going to be scarred for life and left behind in school because I was clueless?

Sort of similarly, I went in for my annual physical yesterday and, in a totally offhand manner that implied I should know this already, my PCP told me that it takes about 6 months for all the pregnancy hormones to get flushed out of your system. "That's why your body is still probably all loosey-goosey," she said. Things that would have been helpful to know about 7 weeks ago, when I went back to yoga and wondered what alien had stolen my body and replaced it with one that was too weak to do much of anything! Frankly, however, all the residual baby hormones are keeping my anxiety at bay and I will happily trade the ability to do full kapotasana in order to continue not worrying about stupid shit.

Speaking of babies, Margot is rolling over! Want to see? Lunchboy has perfected the Cloverfield camera technique (and his superb coaching style) in order to capture the elusive roll from belly to back.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Our little family, on the roof deck.

Who is this guy sucking on my neck, mom??

Feet are so fascinating!

Happy baby!

Conversations with a machine

OH!! So I've been pumping for about three weeks now and all the anxiety I was feeling about the process has completely vanished. I still feel slightly bovine whenever I pump but I think that just comes with the territory. It's kind of fun to see how much I can produce each day. It's like a little contest I have with myself--how much can I get/bottle/freeze?? Not exactly American Idol, I know, but it makes the process more interesting. When I am particularly tired, which is a lot of the time these days, it sounds like the pump is talking to me. No, I am not crazy. Depending on the day, the noise it makes sounds alarmingly like one of the following, uttered with EXTREME robot-like urgency:


and today, "STEVE HOLT!!!"

This is what I get for watching too much Arrested Development.

My company created a lactation room for me in an unused IT closet. It's not nearly as dank as it sounds. I have a soft chair, a door that locks from the inside, and total privacy--when I'm in there no one will bother me or ask questions. The only funny thing is that the light is on a motion detector (yay for saving energy) so if I sit too long without moving the lights go out on me and I have to stand up, pump in full motion, and stick my head in front of the sensor to get the light back on. Hmmm. Dark, private, no windows. Length of time until the lactation room becomes a nap room? T-minus 1 day and counting.

...and I just realized I left my wallet in the diaper bag again. Ah, Monday.

What the what

I've been back at work for a week now (one week today--pregnancy and parenthood have ingrained the whole "count by week" thing in me hardcore) and so far it's not terrible. Margot loves daycare and we think she forgets about us as soon as we drop her off in the morning. She is the only girl in the infant room because, for some reason, everyone else in Somerville seems to only produce boys. If we decide to stick around town for the long haul, our kid is doing to have her pick of boyfriends and I think this realization is driving Lunchboy to consider the suburbs with a renewed zeal. That and the fact that yesterday we went to our old condo for a quick flyby and Margot was positively mesmerized by the mature trees on our old street. More mesmerized than she is by the chandelier in our dining room. So we're thinking it might be nice for her to, you know, be around some trees at some point and Somerville doesn't have a ton of them.

We went to the old place for a bunch of reasons. One, I never really had any closure with that place or the way we left. I'm not sure I'll ever have that, partly because I never went back there after the day our things were moved out--Lunchboy was the one who made about 10 followup trips to clean and get rid of the things we weren't bringing with us. I was too pregnant and too upset, so he let me stay in the new place and nest. Two, when Scully died a few months ago, we decided it would be nice to scatter some of her ashes in our old garden because that was her very favorite place in the entire world. If she had her way, she would have been out there every day regardless of the weather (she particularly loved going out there in the rain--no idea why). We'd been waiting for the right time to do this and yesterday was not only Mother's Day, which felt appropriate, it was one of the most spectacularly beautiful spring days we've had so far--sunny, clear, dry, perfect and gorgeous. It was exactly the kind of day that Scully would have spent sprawled on the patio or taking a dirt nap under the wisteria. So we snuck over and thankfully the new owners had all the shades up and were nowhere to be seen. It didn't take long. I miss her terribly every day. I never thought it would be possible to miss a pet like this.

We also snuck a peek at what SMTT did after we left, which was construct a big new fence all the way around her part of the back patio in what was clearly her best effort to barricade herself from the other people who live in the house. The fence is lovely but the energy and the intent behind the project were so BAD. It screamed "Fuck you, get the hell away from me, who are you people to think that I want anything to do with you!!" With some snotty arrogance thrown in for good measure. I am so infinitely grateful to be away from her, and so relieved to be in our new place, that I do not have the words to articulate the feeling properly.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

First day!

I got through my first day back at work and no one melted down. Supahstah!

Kindercare apparently employs a team of baby whisperers because Margot took a bottle by 1pm on her first day there. It may have been hunger. But given that she also napped a grand total of 90 minutes for the entire day, I think it's clear that her stubbornness is still front and center, so I am giving the credit to her extremely well-paid caregivers. It is very strange to think that we are paying people a lot of money to do what I did while I was home, what my instincts want to continue to do. It may be time to move to Scandinavia, where the governments mandate paid maternity leave for 16 weeks to 2 years depending on the country. Not a bad deal.

No one told me that the hardest part of going back to work is discovering that you only have about two hours with your kid every day. One hour in the morning, when you're barely awake, and another hour in the evening when they're barely awake. It sucks. I feel like one of the things I wrestled with most during my maternity leave was the inability to go do the things I was used to doing when I wanted to do them--working out, using the bathroom, going to sleep, running errands, etc. Now that I'm back at work, I have all day to do my stuff and I miss being with her. I miss her terribly. I want a part-time job as a belated birthday present, thanks.

Lunchboy and I are really blessed for many reasons, one of which is that he primarily works from home, so my maternity leave was a time when the three of us got to be together as a family unit in a very protected way. In my memory, those months are something like an idyll (though they were definitely not idle). Rather than drive each other nuts by being home together for 12 weeks, that time brought us much closer and cemented our status as partners. We are good at giving each other space and safeguarding the other person's right to alone time, work time, nap time, etc. We operate as a team and that has made parenthood even more of a joy because when one of us starts feeling overwhelmed or fried, the other one steps in. So I miss Margot but I also miss Lunchboy. Work is kind of lonely.

At the moment, I am also missing my couch. It's time for the baby's afternoon nap and I am not at all adjusted to getting very little sleep and then not being able to make up for it on the couch the next day. One thing that I hadn't anticipated is that exhaustion makes life a lot simpler. Being bone tired all the time negates the capacity for tolerating BS, for dwelling on things I could have done differently, and for relaxing boundaries. Who would have thought that fatigue could be empowering? I'm reading a really amazing book that talks insightfully about this and other unexpected aspects of motherhood. I want to buy a dozen copies and gift them to all my mom and soon-to-be mom friends.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Another little piece of my heart

I've been meaning to write for days but Commander Bligh and Herr Hendrik were visiting and then I've had to scramble to get everything in order before I go back to work (tomorrow--aieee!). I've also been trying to spend as much time with Margot as possible. And just in case I've forgotten, Cringer is sitting next to me on the couch, purring and reminding me that other folks in the house need love, too. This does not include Griffin, who has woken the baby up twice this week with her bratty antics in the middle of the night. Clearly Griffin does not know the first rule of Fight Club: never wake the baby. Griffin is inches away from being offered for adoption.

After 12 weeks of holding a baby all the time, I've noticed that I have developed a tendency to sway and bop whenever I am holding...pretty much anything. Things I have noticed myself bopping around with include piles of books, bags of groceries, a houseplant, bags of takeout food, the empty car seat, the cats, and various boxes containing baby products. Because, you know, God forbid the box for the Bumbo seat goes unsoothed.

The past few days have been a whirl. In addition to hunting for work clothes that will fit me until I lose the last of the baby weight (final 10lbs, I'm looking at you), I've been reading lots of books about helping babies sleep and occasionally punishing myself with the Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy Workout DVD, which I read about on Mighty Girl and decided to try. Tracy Anderson is the lady who trains Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, two people who have maybe a pound of body fat between them, and all I can say is WOW (and also ouch). I've done the workout 4 times and my abs are visibly stronger and more defined. This hasn't helped me resist the delicious chocolate our Germans friends gifted us with during their visit last week, however.