Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Decembering

 
Ok, now I can finally write a post about Christmas decorations in our household.  It actually took 2 weeks to get everything up this year.  The first weekend, I put Guinevere in her Mamaroo, turned on John Denver and the Muppets and assembled the Christmas tree.  Yes, we have a fake tree.  I grew up with real trees, and still love the smell and freshness of real trees, but I will admit that I love the ease of a fake tree.  I can just pull it out of the garage whenever I’m ready to get my decoration on.  I don’t need a strong man to help me put a tree in a stand and move it wherever I want it.  Aaron and I bought this tree the first year we were married using Target gift cards that were given to us as wedding gifts.  I like to think that buying Christmas decorations we will use year after year is exactly what people intended when they gave us those gift cards. 

Anyway, Guinevere was done by the time I got the tree assembled and finally got the lights on.  I had to re-do the lights 3 times.  The first time I got done and then realized I had them backwards (with the plug on top of the tree).  The second time, I got the lights all up on the tree, plugged them in and then realized that half of that string of lights didn’t work.  Third time, I finally got them all up, in the right direction, and they all worked – they’re not as evenly spaced as I would prefer, but oh well.  By the time I finished all that, G was super fussy, so I had to wait until the next weekend to put the ornaments on the tree.

Our tree 2012

We have a bunch of fun ornaments:
Our first joint ornament.

We are nerds.
 Aaron’s favorite part is the Han Solo “topper” (really it’s just a figurine that we have straddle the top of the tree) (funny story: I was at lunch telling some co-workers about our Han Solo Christmas tree topper and then they told me to “go tell him.”  I turned around, and there was Harrison Ford, eating lunch at the same restaurant as us!)

Yes, that is a Han Solo Xmas tree topper.
 And here's our mantle:

Our mantle 2012
 Because we got married in December, I like to use our cake topper as a Christmas decoration.  Those purple cloth napkins are also from our wedding.

Cake topper/Xmas decoration

 And of course, our newest stocking holder:
Guinevere at 2 weeks in the stocking holder - I plan on updating the picture every year.

For the first time ever, I'm jumping into the world of social blogging and participating in a link party.  I found out about this one from my friend, Danielle, who has a blog called Silver Pennies (you really should check out her blog if you like crafty home decoration stuff). 



Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Sadness

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*** note: this post is pure stream of consciousness, with little to no editing***

Facebook is such an interesting beast – it can allow you to do something as inane as finding out what your friends are eating for lunch to something as deep as reconnecting with old friends (you know, the ones who you’ve thought “I wonder what ever happened to . . .”).  And then there is the downside to facebook – finding out information you would have rather not known.  This week I found out about two deaths via facebook in almost as many days, and I have to say, I might just be taking a little facebook break as a result.

Aaron is now in Chicago for one of his best friend’s mom’s funeral.  I didn’t know her that well, but we were facebook friends and she “liked” pictures of Guinevere and seemed like a very nice person.  I will never forget the kindness she and her husband showed to us when Aaron’s dad passed.  They made us dinner one night, and it felt like an extension of Aaron’s family.  When I learned of her passing, all the old memories of that horrible time when Aaron’s dad died came flooding back.  No one wants to lose their parents, and especially not suddenly.  Guinevere and I stayed home for several reasons: a) cost, b) baby + December in Chicago = no fun.  Fortunately, my mom was able to come up and help take care of Guinevere while Aaron is away.

Last night, I was scrolling through facebook and saw a post mentioning my childhood friend, Recenah.  I thought to myself, “Oh yay!  I haven’t heard anything from her in awhile, I wonder what she’s up to.”  Then I read the post.  It was an in memorium post.  She passed away on Saturday.  I just stared at my computer screen, jaw dropped, tears welling in my eyes.  I just kept thinking, “no no no, people my age aren’t supposed to die.”  I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know if she was sick or if it was sudden or anything like that.  Recenah was one of those friends who I had always wondered about throughout the years and was so glad to find her on facebook and reconnect.

Recenah and I had been best friends growing up.  We were inseparable.  Her family lived three doors down from mine.  We spent summers sleeping over at each other’s houses.  We would play Uno literally all night long – except, neither of us knew how to shuffle.  So we would ask my dad to shuffle for us, and then after he went to bed, our version of shuffling was to just spread the cards around all over the floor and swirl them together.  We swapped clothes and hair ideas.  One summer, my parents got a new refrigerator and we played in the boxes for about a month straight.  I’ll never forget watching Indiana Jones over and over while sitting in those boxes.  Recenah introduced me to my first video games.  She had Nintendo and we played the heck out of Super Mario Bros. and laughed at the dog from Duck Hunt. 

We went to Girl Scout camp together several summers in a row.  I was there to comfort Recenah when she was kicked in the shin by a horse, and when she got completely sunburnt in Catalina.  Her family took me camping with them in their RV, which I thought was cool because my family camped in tents.  It was fun to see how the “comfortable people” did it.  (for the record, I prefer tent camping now, I just liked the novelty of RV camping).  In addition to camping, my family took her skiing with us at Mammoth.  That was such a fun trip!  My parents rented a condo and there was a Jacuzzi outside in the snow!   Recenah and I also took several trips to Disneyland together – she loved Mr. Toad, I tolerated it, but we could both agree on Haunted Mansion and Pirates.

Her family moved out to Ramona (about 45 minutes to an hour away) when we were about 12, but she kept going to the local junior high with me.  Her mom would drop her off at my house in the morning and then we’d walk to school together.  Then we’d hang out after school until her mom came to get her.  We were both in drama together and loved being “theatrical.” (i.e. putting on shows for our families and recording made up “radio shows” on my tape recorder)

We went to separate high schools – mine in Mira Mesa, and hers in Ramona.  That’s when we started to drift apart.  It wasn’t as easy to stay in touch back then.  There was no email or texting or facebook.  You had to actually pick up a phone and call someone and have a real conversation, or write a letter, or visit.  We each got busy with our own lives and eventually lost touch.  I think the last time I saw her was at some point senior year in high school.  She came down to visit along with some of her Ramona friends.

I will forever be glad that we were able to reconnect before she passed.  I got to see pictures of her son and read posts about how excited she was to be going to school again.  We had exchanged a couple messages trying to get together at some point when I was in San Diego, but we never quite made it work.

I’ve had such a heavy heart this weekend.  So much of who I am today is because of our friendship so long ago.  I am sad that we weren’t in closer contact later in life, but I’m also glad that we were in at least some contact.  Her impact on my life will never be forgotten.

Recenah, me, and our friend Ava at my 16th birthday party.

And because I am such a musical theatre nerd, I'd like to leave you all with some of the lyrics of a song that has been running through my head. 

For Good (from Wicked):
(Glinda) I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

(Elphaba) It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

(Glinda) Because I knew you

(Both) I have been changed for good

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving



Before I get started on all my December activities, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks for all my family and talk about our Thanksgiving this year.  Thanksgiving will forever have a special place in my heart because it was a year ago Thanksgiving that I found out I was pregnant. 

I spent the majority of our travels last weekend reminiscing about how I felt a year ago and staring in wonderment at my beautiful Guinevere, who at the time was little more than a little bean in my belly and now, here she is, in the flesh, a fully living, breathing, cooing (and sometimes crying) baby.  A year ago I was trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t drinking because we weren’t even close to being ready to tell our family.  This year, I was able to have some wine with my dinner (spaced appropriately due to breast feeding, of course) and eat whatever I wanted without fear of nausea or heartburn.

We followed pretty much the same routine this year as last year.  Aaron and I spent Thanksgiving Day with his mom and aunt near Temecula.  My parents drove up to join us as well.  It’s so fun having both sets of parents be driving distance now. It was surprisingly warm for late November!  All of us were wearing shorts because it was too hot for long pants!  I brought a cute little dress for Guinevere to wear, which I cleverly did not put on her until we arrived.  And of course, she had to wear a bib all day.  My little Mount Vesuvius cannot be trusted with cute clothes.  (She usually goes through about 3-4 outfits per day due to spit up).
Guinevere on Thanksgiving Day

The next day, Guinevere and I went for a walk at Miramar Lake with my good friend, Corey and her daughter.  That night, my parents volunteered to babysit for us and Aaron and I were able to actually have a date night!  We drove through fog as thick as pea soup to the movie theatre, where we saw “Argo.”  As we walked past the crazy long lines for the new Bond movie, we both commented on how we were glad we chose to see something that’s been out for a bit instead. I am so thankful to my parents for watching Guinevere – our date night was a breath of fresh air.
At Miramar Lake

Saturday after Thanksgiving has always been my family’s traditional get together dinner.  My cousins, aunt and uncle and grandparents all came down to my parents’ house in San Diego for more turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc.  Everyone loved seeing Guinevere so much that I didn’t really hold her very much at all!  At one point, I looked around the table and had to ask, “Who has my baby?”  Turns out my cousin had taken her into the other room to play.  By the end of the night, all of us were really exhausted, but happy.
Saturday after Thanksgiving - her tummy time skills have vastly improved!

We had a great weekend, but it was also really nice to come home to our own house and have Guinevere in her familiar surroundings.


Ok - now I'm off to go dig out our Christmas stuff from the garage and start decorating!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Unwelcome Visitor: the Flu

 
Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post – the flu decided to pay our household a visit.  It all started on Sunday night when we came home from a family gathering celebrating my grandfather’s 88th birthday.  Aaron and I were both feeling a bit run down, but I sat down at my computer to type out a blog post and compose my thoughts for the coming week.  But then my head started spinning.  I rested my head on my cool desk and closed my eyes for a bit.  Next thing I knew it was five minutes later and my forehead had beads of sweat forming on it.  I took my temperature, and sure enough, I had a fever (as I mentioned in my post about Guinevere’s first fever, it takes a lot for me to even break 98 degrees).  So I went to bed without posting anything (for the record, that would-be post can be summed up like this: my grandpa is awesome and it was great seeing everyone).

The next morning I woke up not feeling great, but I thought maybe if I got dressed and went into work, I could power through the day.  By 9:30am, I realized that was not going to happen.  So I wrapped up everything that had to be done that day, said goodbye to my co-workers and headed home.  When I got home, Aaron was laying on the couch making groaning noises.  He, too, had a fever.  By that afternoon, we both realized we had the full-blown flu.  (I guess the one silver lining is that it helped me lose those last three pounds of baby-weight.)

Our biggest concern was Guinevere.  If we both had the flu, how would we take care of our baby?  Fortunately, Aaron’s mom recently moved to Southern California and was willing to make the drive to visit for a bit and help us with the baby. I am going to take a moment here to state how amazing my mother-in-law is!  She definitely does not fall into the stereotypical overbearing in-law category.  She came up here, exposed herself to our germs, disinfected our house, did laundry, made us soup, helped us with the baby, and kept a cheery disposition the entire time! 

This flu that is one of the most contagious bugs I have ever encountered!  It turns out that of about 12 people at my grandfather’s birthday gathering, at least 9 of us were sick in the next couple days.  You might be thinking food poisoning, which went through my head too, aside from the fact that I had other non-food poisoning symptoms (congestion, etc.).  But then, within 2 days of being here, Aaron’s mom came down with the flu too!  The craziest thing about this flu is that it ends almost as quickly as it starts.  Usually when I get sick, there’s a bunch of lingering symptoms (sore throat, congestion, cough, etc,) that last for days after the fever and icky symptoms are gone.  But aside from a bit of a stuffy, nose, I feel totally fine now.

So far, Guinevere seems ok.  She’s a little congested, but I don’t think that has anything to do with our illnesses.  She’s had a stuffy nose practically since birth.  I’m still being paranoid about making sure I wash my hands before touching her.  I’m also starting a new regimen of wiping down surfaces that we touch on a nightly basis, just to be safe.  The Lysol will definitely be getting more use, too, as I spray down fabric things like the couch every night.  Honestly, maybe I needed this illness to get me into some good cleaning habits before Guinevere starts crawling and getting into everything. 

In other news, it’s finally cooled down enough for us to use some of Guinevere’s “winter” clothes (I put “winter” in quotation marks because around here, anything colder than 65 is “winter”).  Other than that, I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing, rainy weekend.

Ready for a rainy day.

All snugly for a cool night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween!


Halloween is so much more stressful now that I’m a grown up with a grown up job (and a grown up commute to go with)!  I’ve always loved Halloween.  Maybe it’s the theatre person in me, but I just loved putting on a fun costume and going around trick or treating when I was a kid.  When Aaron and I bought our house a couple years ago, I was so excited at the idea of having trick or treaters come to the house and handing out candy to them!  Up to that point in my adult life, I had lived in apartments that saw little to no trick or treaters.  But it’s hard to get home in time to actually hand out candy!  When I did the young adult Halloween thing throughout my twenties – going to West Hollywood and walking amongst the throngs of people, going to parties where half of the girls (including myself) copied Mean Girls and wore lingerie and mouse ears (“I’m a mouse, duh!”) – it was fine because those parties would last all night.  It didn’t matter how late we got off work because we knew the party would still be going when we got there. 

This year, I was definitely ready to embrace my role as new mom, but nervous about getting home in time.  Let me start by saying, I just love babies in costumes.  I think one of the cutest images ever is that of a baby dressed up in some cuddly costume.  One of the bonuses to having had so many friends have kids this year was the influx of costumed babies in my facebook feed.   I was so excited at the idea of putting Guinevere in her little giraffe costume and taking her to our neighbors for “trick or treating.”  I use quotation marks bc I definitely did not want to collect any candy from our neighbors – really just wanted to show off my cute baby.

Unfortunately, traffic did not want to cooperate.  This is where the extra stressful part of Halloween rears its ugly head.  I’m not sure what time trick or treating starts, but I seem to remember from my childhood that it begins somewhere around twilight and then continues until 8 or 9pm.  I needed to leave work in time to pick up Guinevere from daycare and be home in time for trick or treaters.  I checked traffic online and it looked horrendous, so I left work half an hour early.  An hour and a half later (i.e. the time I was supposed to be picking G up from daycare) I was not even on the freeway!  LA traffic is usually bad, but this was ridiculous!  I could have walked to the freeway faster.  All I could think about was my poor baby and how much I just wanted to be home with her in her costume.  I finally picked her up at daycare two hours after leaving work.  Then, on the way home from daycare, one of the major intersections that I usually cross was closed, so we had to make a rather large detour just to get home.  In all, it took me two and a half hours to get home!  I pulled up to our house in time to see a wave of trick or treaters bypass my house because we had no decorations up.

Once home, I put out the large pumpkin that we purchased at the pumpkin patch over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t had time to carve the pumpkin , so I just set it out whole.  Maybe I’ll make pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or something with it since it’s not all gross from being used as a jack o lantern.  I had been meaning to carve the pumpkin yesterday or Monday evening, but Aaron has been working late for the past couple days, and by the time I put Guinevere to bed each night, I was so exhausted, I just went to bed too.  Anyway, I put Guinevere in her little costume and then put the bowl of candy out on the porch while I took her over to the neighbors.  After 15 minutes of the neighbors “ooh”ing and “aah”ing over her, I was pleasantly surprised that the bowl was still relatively full when we returned.

In all, it was a fun, if quiet and short Halloween.  I think the moral of the story is that next year I will take a vacation day or a half-day on Halloween.  I don’t want to be rushing home like that ever again!
Me and my baby!

G's giraffe costume

My cute little giraffe!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guinevere's First Fever


I’ve been meaning to write a post about moving Guinevere to her own room and sleeping in her own crib (which has been fantastic – I think we all have gotten more sleep since we moved her).  I had even set aside some time tonight to do it, but then I got home from work to discover Guinevere had her first ever fever. :(

Aaron and I got home at the same time tonight.  I changed G while Aaron changed the cat litter – haha both of were changing things for beings that depend on us!  I noticed G’s head felt really warm.  Then I noticed she was slightly congested.  She’s had stuffy nose issues all summer – I blame the heat and having to run ac and fans constantly.  But this was more than just her usual stuffy nose.  It seems like it’s further back in her nasal passages.  She can still breathe fine, and she’s not wheezing or anything – just a little congestion.  It was really how warm she felt that concerned me.

I remembered that someone gave us one of those little kits that has a bunch of baby first aid/grooming supplies in it.  I pulled out the tiny thermometer and read the instructions, hoping they would have instructions for non-rectal use (you can’t take a baby’s temp orally, so rectal is one way to do it, though I would really prefer not to).  Fortunately, this one had instructions for use in the armpit.  I took her temp: 100.5. 

I admit it, I freaked out a little bit.  For some perspective, my body tends to run really cold.  My average temp is 97.3.  It takes a LOT for me to get anything above 98. Aaron called the nurse hotline to see if we needed to take G into the doctor.  Neither of us had any idea how high a baby’s temp needed to be for immediate attention.  After a barrage of questions from the nurse (all the while Ginny was smiling and babbling like nothing was wrong), we were told to give her some baby Tylenol and call the doctor in the morning for an appointment and to call the nurses back tonight if her temp gets above 101.5.  About 20 minutes later, right before giving her the baby Tylenol, I took her temp again (following the nurse’s thorough instructions): 101.8.  Commence new mommy freak out part 2.

We called the nurse hotline back.  After the same barrage of questions, they came to the same conclusion: call back in the morning for an appointment.  She’s now sleeping soundly in her crib. I didn’t expect to be a worrywart type mom, but I feel very protective of my sick baby.  Maybe it’s because it’s the first time she’s ever been sick?  I don’t think I will always be so clingy to my baby when she’s ill.  But I think I’m entitled to a little clinginess for her first fever.  Right?  I think I might sleep in the glider in her room for at least part of the night.  I just don’t want her being by herself. 

I am so glad that we decided to buy a video monitor now (it just arrived yesterday – last night was our first night using it).  The monitor that we had was a hand me down from a friend, was audio only, and sucked the life out of batteries (we had to replace them literally every other night).  Now with the video monitor, I can sit here typing this, while watching her sleep (knowing she’s breathing and ok).  That peace of mind is worth every penny!

G in the monitor
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back to Reality . . .

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I wrote the first part of this post a week ago Sunday – the night before my first day back to work.  I didn’t end up posting it because Guinevere decided to be super fussy (maybe she knew I was going back to work?) and so I couldn’t proofread/select pictures to go with it.  The second part I wrote today (had initially intended to post after my first day back, as those of you who have kids probably understand, I was super exhausted and wanted to spend most of my awake weeknight time with my baby.)


Guinevere’s First Day(s) of Daycare

We have now made it through Guinevere’s first two days of daycare.  I think the first day was harder on Aaron than it was on me, but by the second day, I just kept thinking, “I miss my baby!”  The house felt too quiet that second day.  I think it’s because the first day just felt like a nice break.  I could actually accomplish things at home that are difficult to do with a baby around . . . though I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d wanted. 

After we dropped Guinevere off at daycare on the first day, Aaron and I went out to breakfast, just because we could.  It was kind of nice to sit and eat an entire meal without having to worry about a fussy baby.  I will admit, I felt no remorse about having her in daycare that day (I hope that doesn’t make me sound like an uncaring mom).  It was just nice to have a break. 

I  went home and tried on almost my entire wardrobe to see what fits me now and what doesn’t.  I am pleased to announce that almost all of my jeans now fit!  However, most of my slacks do not, and probably won’t ever.  (They are from when I was dancing several hours a day, multiple days a week and was “ballerina size.”)  So I used it as an opportunity to go buy some new clothes.  I didn’t really want to start out my new life as a working mom with the same old tired wardrobe anyway.  That was the other nice thing about having Guinevere in daycare – I could go to the mall and try on several articles of clothing without trying to figure out how to get a stroller in the dressing room with me!

As refreshing as it was to not have the baby around during the day, it was so exciting when I picked her up!  I swear she felt like she gained a pound or two in just one day!  Of course, that could also be because she was sound asleep when I went to pick her up.  The daycare lady said she did really well – she even did tummy time! I was most impressed that she came home in the same outfit we dropped her off in – usually she has several changes throughout the day because she is my little Mount Vesuvius (i.e. she spits up A LOT).  When we got home that night, Guinevere was super talkative and smiley . . . and then she passed out for the night about an hour earlier than normal.

The second day, Aaron and I dropped her off and then had breakfast at home together.  Maybe it’s because we ate breakfast at home, maybe it’s because I always love spending time with Ginny in the mornings when she’s usually in a good mood, maybe it’s that it felt more real, more permanent on day 2 . . . I don’t know what it was, all I know is that I definitely missed her more the second day.  I think I’m really glad we started her on a Thursday so that I could miss her Friday, but know that I’d get to spend all day Saturday with her again.  I ended up occupying myself pretty well by running around doing errands and making sure I was ready to go back to work myself.

I am really glad that we decided to start her in daycare before I go back to work, though.  I’m more familiar with what our morning routine will need to be – though it was nice to be able to be more relaxed about it than I will be tomorrow morning.  I’ve already laid out my clothes for the morning.  My pump and bottles are sitting by the front door all ready to go.  I’m going to fix myself a lunch before I go to bed.  Hopefully I don’t forget anything and tomorrow goes smoothly.  
Guinevere being dropped off on her first day.


First week of Work

I had a hard time sleeping the night before my first day back to work.  I woke up every hour from 1am until I finally got up at 5am.  During the brief moments that I did sleep, I had dreams about sleeping through my alarm and waking up at 10am!  When I finally did get up, I was able to feed Guinevere, get in the shower, and get completely ready in record time.  I think it helps that I set everything out the night before.

For my first day back, Aaron and I arranged it so that I would drop Guinevere off at daycare and he would pick her up.  That way, just in case I got stuck at work with all I had to catch up on, I wouldn’t be dashing out the door and stressing about being late to pick her up.  It’s really nice that Aaron’s schedule (right now) is such that we can alternate who picks her up and drops her off.

I will admit, dropping my baby off at daycare and going off to work for the first time was more emotional than I thought it would be.  I cried a little in the car as I drove away.  I am really glad that we started her in daycare a couple days before I went back to work.  When I told the daycare lady that it was my first day back to work, she said, “Ok, we’ll be sure to send you a picture during the day today.”  And she did!  It made my heart melt, and definitely made my first day back much better.  
This face could make anybody's day better.

Apparently the traffic Gods decided to fool me my first day back with fantastic traffic.  I dropped Guinevere off at the daycare at 7:15 and was at work by 8am.  Pre-baby, I would leave the house at 8am and it would take at least an hour to get to work.  I thought maybe 7am was better than 8am for some reason . . . oooh no!  Traffic was horrendous the rest of the week!  On Wednesday, it was my turn to pick up Guinevere and it took me an hour and a half to get there!  I am so glad we didn’t choose a daycare that charges by the minute to parents who are late.  There are some facilities we looked at where an extra half hour would have cost me $300!

Back to Monday.  I got in an hour earlier than anyone else and then realized I didn’t have access to my computer yet because it was still set up for the temp.  So I decided to use the time to do my first pump session at work.  I am so glad I have my own office for pumping!  I made a sign for the door that says, “If you value your eyesight, please do not enter.  Pumping in progress.”  Fortunately, my office is a casual enough environment that a sign like that is appropriate.  Though, I’m thinking of maybe going for some alliteration and changing it to, “Privacy please.  Pumping in progress.”  I am very grateful to whoever gave me one of those special bras that you can wear for hands free pumping.  I’ve been able to send and receive emails, redline agreements, and get plenty of work done, all while pumping.  I can’t say pumping is my favorite activity, but it is kind of nice to have some quiet time when I know no one will interrupt me.

I must say, it felt really good to be back at work!  I had lots to get caught up on, but it doesn’t feel like I had been away for 3 months.  It was more like I had just been on vacation for a couple weeks.   It felt great to use my brain again!  I was so glad to discover it still works.  Not that it doesn’t take brainpower to deal with a baby; it’s just a different kind of brainpower.  I was also pleased with how much I remembered.  Co-workers would come into my office and ask a question, and I knew most of the answers off the top of my head.  Also, pregnancy brain is real!  There were several moments where I remembered how fuzzy my brain was toward the end of my pregnancy vs. how clear it felt this week even after 3 months of being away.

As great as it felt to be back at work, I was so excited to see Guinevere’s little face when I got home.  Aaron picked her up and we had dinner together as a family.  G passed out super early that first night (around 7:30), probably exhausted from her day learning new things and seeing new people.  She slept all the way until her 5 am feeding.  It sort of made me sad - I would have let her stay up as late as she wanted so I could spend time with her. 

I am really glad that my first weekend after going back to work is a 3-day weekend (we get Columbus day off).  I think I would have been really sad to have to go back to work today.  I could have dropped Guinevere off at daycare if I wanted a day to myself, but I knew I wanted to spend the entire day with my baby.  We did laundry, sang songs and went for a walk together – a perfect day.  :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lessons From Maternity Leave

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Guinevere starts daycare tomorrow.  I go back to work next Monday.  I’m full of mixed emotions.  Honestly, this has been a really good leave.  I feel like I’ve had adequate bonding time with my baby and am surprisingly looking forward to going back to work.  It kind of feels like when the run of a show is exactly the right length: some shows I’ve done run for one weekend only, and it feels like it’s too soon to say goodbye when the final curtain closes.  Then there are other shows I’ve done that seem to drag on and on and by final curtain, you can’t wait to pack up your makeup and get out of the theatre.  And then there are those golden gems where you feel perfectly satisfied with how long you’ve embodied that particular character and performed the choreography and you are ready to move on to the next project, but will forever look fondly on that particular cast and show.  That is how I feel about my leave. 

Sure, there are things that I envisioned I would do that I didn’t get to do, but I think that’s how any segment of time works.  I don’t have any regrets about the time I’ve spent getting to know my daughter.  I love that now I know her cues for when she is tired or hungry.  I will miss our long mornings “talking” to each other – but at least we have the weekends for that.  I have learned so much in the past 3 months!  Not only about my daughter, but about myself. 

Things I learned about myself during maternity leave:

·      It is actually possible for me to eat quickly.
For those of you who have never eaten a meal with me, I am probably one of the slowest eaters ever.  I like to take my time and savor my food and really enjoy it.  That’s not really possible with an infant.  I learned very quickly – in the first week or so – that newborns don’t let you take your time with food.  I can now eat an In n Out burger and fries in about 15 minutes (I used to like to take an hour to 45 minutes to eat my burger and fries).  I also learned that I can tolerate cold food.  I used to be one of those people who liked their food scalding hot.  Now, I still prefer my food that way, but if I have to, I can eat half my meal, then feed the baby, and then come back to the meal and finish without needing to heat it up again.

·      It is possible to feel refreshed on 2 ½ hours sleep.
Pre-baby, I would be groggy if I didn’t get at least 6 hours of sleep. I now understand what true sleep deprivation is.  Sleep deprivation is one of the things everyone warns you about when you are about to have a baby, but you will never truly understand until you experience it yourself.  I still remember the first time Guinevere slept for more than 3 hours, it felt like a present!  I felt rejuvenated and refreshed.  Now she is sleeping much better, usually waking up just once during the night to be fed.  She is starting to sleep through the night more and more.  Of course, even when she manages to sleep through the night, I still wake up to check on her or go to the bathroom or feed the cat.  Someday I will get 8 hours uninterrupted . . . someday.

·      I am NOT a stay at home mom
Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had half a thought that maybe it would be fun to stay at home with my kid.  (I think I was mostly influenced by just how much daycare cost.)  About 3 weeks into my leave (maybe even earlier) I realized that I am NOT made out to be a stay at home mom.  I have so much more respect for stay at home moms now.  It’s hard work!  And I’m lucky – Aaron was able to stay home with the baby and me for most of the first two months.  After spending all day taking care of Guinevere, I am ready to go to bed by 9pm!  I love my child, I really do.  But I miss work.  I miss my co-workers.  I miss interacting with adults on a daily basis.  I miss using my brain!  Not that it doesn’t take brainpower to look after a baby, but I miss the intellectual side of my brain.  I actually miss redlining contracts and contemplating complicated legal terminology.  I guess this means I chose the right job and career path at least.

·      Best advice from a friend: set aside some money to hire a cleaning person to clean your house at some point during maternity leave.
I highly recommend, if you can afford it, to hire a cleaning person to come in your last week of leave (if not more often).  You would think that not going to work would give me plenty of time to clean my house . . . but no.  Babies take up ALL of that time.  And during the time Guinevere is napping, I am napping too, checking facebook, blogging or attempting to pick up here and there where I can. I am so glad Aaron and I set aside some money for professional cleaning.  The reason I recommend it for the last week of leave is that the first couple weeks the baby is home, we had the grandmas staying with us and helping to keep the house clean. Three months later, all their good work had been covered over by dust, etc.  I’m hoping that maybe we can swing it to make this a monthly thing, but as of right now, it’s just a one-off cleaning.

·      It will take me a long time to get used to saying “my daughter.”
In fact, I probably won’t get used to it until the next kid comes around, and then I will have to adjust to the fact that there are two of them!  It’s kind of like when I was engaged.  It took me forever to get used to saying the word “fiancé” and by the time I finally did, I had to start calling him “husband.”  I think it took me almost 5 years to really have that word flow right out of my mouth.  Hopefully it doesn’t take me 5 years to get used to saying “my daughter,” but if it does, no one has to know but me . . . right?

Here are some of my favorite images from the past 3 months:
One of our first pictures as a family.
Yoda baby!  After one of her first baths.

Photogenic even at 3 weeks old.

In Michigan.
My beach baby!  First trip to Santa Monica/Venice Boardwalk.