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 . . .

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.  :)