Archive for Navel gazing
I’ve started so many posts and finished none of them. I guess I’m feeling a bit stuck lately. Anxious, actually.
My leave is technically over. I requested an extension but the insurance company has yet to approve it and it’s been over two weeks. I spoke with my contact there today and he said it’s under final review with his supervisor which for some reason is making me nervous that it will be rejected. I’m not really sure what happens if I get rejected since I’ve been out this whole time?
I was hoping that once (if) it got approved I could talk to my HR about taking the two weeks of California’s Paid Family Leave that I have left over. Since our office in CA is tiny and they’re more used to dealing with NY state rules, I’m sure they’re not familiar with it and will have to look into it but I’m pretty sure I do still have those two weeks, it might just look bad at how long I’m attempting to extend my leave. Especially since I still want to use the four weeks of vacation at the end of it.
Is it obvious that I’m having a hard time thinking about going back to work?
Adding to my anxiety is that my state disability claim is still pending processing. I should probably call to follow up because the website says it takes 7-9 days processing (and I submitted it over a month and a half ago) but the social worker at the hospital did mention it can take up to 10 weeks or more. Plus the one time I tried to call a recorded message informed me that there were already too many people holding and hung up on me.
I just wish I could stay home with my baby.
T is smiling real smiles now and working on his laugh. He definitely wants to and has the first “HA” down but can’t quite figure out how to finish it off.
Honestly before he started with the smiling I wondered if he was a happy baby, I couldn’t tell because it felt like all he did was cry, fuss or quietly stare. Now he smiles all the time and it just melts my heart to know that he really is a happy boy. I love that I’ve gotten to see him change bit by bit, day by day and I really can’t imagine having to leave him for so many hours every day and missing all that.
I think we all have ideals for ourselves of what we will and will not do when we become parents.
I consider myself to be a fairly nonjudgemental person when it comes to how others want to parent but, as I’m sure everyone does, I have seen techniques employed by friends and family and said to myself, “I’d never do that” or “I hope I can imitate that!”
One thing I’m sure every parent can agree on, is that parenthood? Boy is it humbling.
And the reality is that while it’s great to have an idea of the things you do and don’t want to do, I’ve learned that 99% of the time it’s just not that simple.
For example, we registered for and received an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (thanks lil sis!). I had visions of the ease of being able to reach over, grab the baby in the middle of the night, nurse and pop him back into his co-sleeper. I mean really, what could be simpler right?
Of course, it hasn’t worked out this way for a number of reasons, one of which being that my letdown is too strong so I can’t nurse T without burping him, which means the whole production of sitting up and rocking and patting and usually ends with T being fully awake and needing to be soothed back to sleep and then promptly waking up again the moment he’s placed back into his co-sleeper.
There are actually a whole host of other reasons that feeding him inevitably turns into a minimum 30-45 minute debacle at night which pretty much destroyed my dream of how amazingly easy and awesome the co-sleeper would make life.
But that’s not the point. My point was supposed to be (although I completely failed to make it) that I always said I would never co-sleep with a baby in my bed. There would be no reason right? We were getting a co-sleeper!
Yeah, about that…
T does not seem to love his co-sleeper. He can be passed out in our arms or in his new bouncer (which he looves but unfortunately I have stood firm on not letting him sleep overnight in it since he seems to slide down the chair into dangerous positions) but once we put him in his co-sleeper it takes about two minutes for him to start fussing and another three for the crying to begin. At 3am it’s hard to be firm about leaving him where he is and trying to soothe him with patting or continually replacing the pacifier into his mouth.
So, in the quest for sleep, there has been a baby in our bed the past few nights despite all the AAP warnings against it and my own firm belief that I would never do something so dangerous as sleep with my baby. All things equal, I came to the conclusion that it is safer for my baby to have a semi-rested mama caring for him than a sleep-deprived, frustrated, arthritic one that has stayed up all night trying to get him to sleep in his co-sleeper.
There’s also the added bonus that he actually seems to sleep 100x better snuggled up next to me and has been a much happier baby as a result.
I don’t let him sleep next to Paul because that man rolls like crazy and has been known to squash me once in awhile.
I’ve also been rebelling against the AAP recommendation to only put babies to sleep on their back. The kiddo hates tummy time with every fiber of his tiny body. He also doesn’t nap well during the day because he generally does not like to be swaddled when the sun is out and then proceeds to startle himself every thirty minutes or so. So Paul and I finally decided to try to kill two birds with one stone and let him nap on his tummy during the day, as long as I’m awake and watching him. We’re hoping he’ll sleep deeper and also create a positive association with being on his tummy because Paul is terrified that he will fall behind developmentally and there goes his Stanford basketball scholarship =P
Also, funny enough, he will sleep on his tummy in his co-sleeper. So maybe at some point we will just have him do that at night. I figure once he can roll on his own that would make it the safest of the options that lead to sleep for us and him.
I guess in the years to come I’ll have plenty of opportunities to give up my own expectations of myself in pursuit of sanity so I better just get used to it now. Like I said, parenting is humbling!
I want to preface this post by saying, I have absolutely nothing against breastfeeding in public. In fact, I did it for the very first time last Sunday and it was great, I was on a bench with a lovely view of the bay and I kid you not that a sea lion swam by to entertain us as I nursed on a bench with my friend who was also nursing her daughter.
But I would never, ever, ever nurse in public without a cover. I feel like the hardcore breastfeeding-in-public crowd confuses modesty with shame and the two are not the same even if they can lead to the same outcome. The outcome being not flashing my breastses (pronounced breast-eh-stes) to the world.
I’m certainly not ashamed that I breastfeed, I’m not sure why I would be given that society nowadays pushes the whole “breast is best” thing way beyond the limits of what research has actually proven, in fact, I was actually fearful of judgement that time I whipped out a bottle of expressed milk in a cafe to feed T and I tried in vain to telepathically inform all the eyes that I felt were judging me, “it’s expressed breast milk, I swear!” BUT being proud (or even just neutral) that I breastfeed does not seem to me to be a great reason to suddenly become an exhibitionist flashing my nips in every Banana Republic (true story, I once saw a woman nursing cover-less in the middle of a BR in downtown) or showing off a ginormous nip.ple as I walk down a Miami promenade in the middle of the day with an infant hanging off it (but who’s mouth wasn’t big enough to cover it because it was so damn huge) (also a true story, I saw this, I was eating, it kind of ruined my appetite just a little bit, I don’t care if this makes me a prude).
I read a comment somewhere and this woman was downright appalled and angry at her family, who were “sooo backwards” that they asked if she could cover up when she whipped out her bo.ob in the middle of like Thanksgiving dinner or something and started nursing in plain view of all her cousins, uncles, I’m assuming her father and maybe grandfather? I just don’t get why you would WANT to do that, even if you can, which yes, you technically can, but then shouldn’t you be prepared for all your hormonal fifteen year old nephews to be whipping out their iPhone cameras and er…ew…just ew?
I feel like I am probably in the majority here, since I know a lot of women who breastfeed/have breastfed and I have no idea what any of their nip.ples look like, but I feel like with this new generation of “lactivists” there’s this small segment of the population that seems to be demanding that breasts no longer be viewed as sexual objects but rather just food dispensers, like the pez ones with Donald Duck on top. The problem with this is that they aren’t just for feeding, they have a legitimate role as sexual objects too. Even though my own at the moment aren’t looking so hot, more like veiny and disproportionate, but they actually do look pretty good when I’m actually wearing a bra and a shirt (this does not happen often anymore though).
So while breastfeeding in public should be and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is seen as 100% acceptable, I think it is just as acceptable to expect that women who nurse in public use a cover, particularly if they’re in an area where there may be hormonal teenage boys. You may think, well teenage boys should learn that these are merely baby feeders, but in the same breath you should also tell yourself that communism works in theory because that’s about as far as you’re going to get with that.
In closing, breastfeeding is great. Breastfeeding in public, also great. But there’s no reason to throw modesty out the window just because breastfeeding is great. Besides, they make cute nursing covers nowadays and you can probably get one for free if you google promo codes for udder covers. You’re welcome.
This thing with my mom is turning into a ridiculously epic power struggle.
Her problem is that when it comes to T, I get to make the decisions and she’s quite confident that I’m doing it (i.e. everything) wrong.
So even though I know in my head that I should be over the moon grateful that she’s willing to help out by taking the absolute worst shift with a newborn baby, I end up acting like a sour, angry teenager every time I see her.
The ridiculous arguments she insists on picking with me don’t make the situation feel any less like junior high.
For example tonight we got into an argument about whether or not T should have a night light in his room. I say, yes, I mean I think most children in this country have a night light to keep the bogeymen away right? She thinks it’s going to cause childhood insomnia and is the reason that T doesn’t want to fall asleep tonight. (Nevermind that he fell asleep just fine with it every other night).
Also tonight I informed her that T must be having a growth spurt because from 10am on he ate every 2 hours until 6pm at which time he started feeding every hour. She replied in Chinese, something along the lines of, “That’s unacceptable, what are the grown ups (watching him) supposed to do?”
Um…deal with it? If the baby is having a growth spurt and hungry, you feed him. It doesn’t matter if it’s every 2 hours, every hour or every 15 minutes. I’m not understanding what her philosophy even is in this situation. Let him be short?
The Type A personality in me is having a really tough time with this arrangement because I feel like her lack of respect for my mothering choices leads to her kind of winging it and doing it in ways she think are better but that I don’t agree with. I’m not some crazy attachment parent who believes babies should always be held and never, ever cry for a single second, but I also don’t think I want my newborn baby crying it out when all he really wants is to be fed, changed, or held. And yes, I do count his need to be held as a legitimate need and something that I should respond to. But all I hear from my parents (even my dad is in on this part of it) that I’m spoiling him by holding him too much.
I feel terrible about what a little shit I’m being towards my mom but I can’t spend every night arguing about what I’m doing and what makes sense and why. I just want to be a mom. And I want the person who’s helping me out with that endeavor to go along with what I’ve already decided. Non-judgemental advice is more than welcome but without any obligation to use it. None of that I’m going to get from my mom.
I have a feeling that before this week is over there will be tears.
The long-awaited haircut unfortunately did not come to pass. Alas, they were all booked up until next Saturday. But I did get to eat a delicious bowl of ramen (with pork belly!) and a green tea ice cream crepe so all was not lost.
My hair though, is still ridiculously long, untamebly tangled, riddled with split ends and has the tendency to fall over my shoulder into T’s face when I’m nursing him. So it still has to go. I’m thinking somewhere cheap and close, it doesn’t have to be a stylish haircut, just one that ends with all my dead ends in a pile on the floor and my hair short enough (but not too short, no “mom” haircut for me thank you!) that I can pull it into a pony tail without having to comb through miles of tangles for half an hour first.
All in all, though, I had a pretty great weekend. On Friday, Paul and I braved happy hour at a trendy, high-end Japanese restaurant in SoMa. I was craving nigiri like nobody’s business and we knew this place had tables with big bench seats that could easily accommodate a car seat so we headed over as early as we could and luckily there were still plenty of those tables left in the bar area when we arrived! T slept quietly the whole time like the little cherub that he is (and yes we did get a comment from the waitress – “Your baby is so good!”) while we chowed down on happy hour snacks, rolls, nigiri and drinks. Since I knew I had some time til I needed to nurse him again I ordered something called the Giddy Geisha – lychee and passionfruit vodka concoction – and it was everything I hoped it would be.
Yesterday we made our way to J-town. Once again at a restaurant (albeit at a totally off-peak hour – 3pm – to minimize the crowd we would have to deal with) and once again we got a comment, this time from a fellow diner, about how good and quiet our baby is.
Today we finally went to this farmer’s market we used to go to literally every weekend. We met up with our friend’s T & V and their new little one, Baby O who is two weeks younger than Titus, but was supposed to be one day older based on their due dates. Except they both decided to come early! Titus just came the earliest so he gets to be the oldest now. It was a gorgeous sunny day and it was so much fun talking to V about what life is like now for us as new mommies. The only downside is that we ended up sitting in the sun for a few hours and even though I was busy shielding T from the sun, I didn’t even think at all about how it would affect me until I got home and realized I’m totally sunburned.
I hope those couple hours of carefree fun in the sun don’t result in a crappy lupus flare.
Please, please, please…just be a sunburn and nothing more. I don’t have the luxury of getting really sick right now.
Speaking of which, I finally did a load of my own laundry tonight and am unreasonably excited about the prospect of wearing clothes tomorrow that are not covered in a fine layer of dried breast milk and spit up. And maybe a little pee or something.
With any luck tomorrow we will take a little family trip to J-town, where Paul will attempt to navigate the narrow aisles of the Japanese market with a stroller while I get a haircut.
A badly needed, long overdue haircut.
You see, I haven’t had a haircut since a couple months before I got pregnant, so you do the math on that one.
The week before I had T, I had actually had lunch with a pregnant friend who had just gotten a haircut and made me think, “Hm…I better get one of those before the baby comes.”
But then, of course, before I had a chance to make the appointment, boom. Baby. Came. And now my hair is inconveniently long and scary ratty at the ends (and of course now “the ends” are many inches long) and a pain to wash and an even bigger pain to try and dry. Mainly because all hair washing/drying must be done before the baby starts screaming for…something.
So, yeah, I really, really need a haircut.
Another thing I’m really looking forward to is my first postpartum brazilian. Before getting pregnant I had found a wax-er I loved and was seeing her pretty regularly. When I got pregnant Paul was afraid the wax could somehow be bad for the baby and as I got bigger and bigger I thought it’d be hard to try and contort into some of the positions necessary to get really, erm, clean…So once I found out I was pregnant I stopped going and now my lady bits are just dying to be nicely groomed once more. Unfortunately since my c-section scar is still rather red and sensitive to the touch I probably won’t be getting things in the nether region properly manicured for at least another 4-8 weeks
Any of you new mommies missing stuff like this? Or is it just me.
One of those things you’re think you’re prepared for about parenthood but have no clue just how bad it’s going to be is how to deal with your parents who are now first-time grandparents.
I love my mom. I really do. She is a great mom and always has been and I know she has the best intentions in the world when it comes to me and T.
But she is driving me so completely nuts I’m not even sure where exactly to begin.
The conflict du jour is over our night nanny. She has all kinds of objections over said nanny, the top three being: 1) the cost, she thinks it’s exorbitant, 2) she hasn’t come right out and said it but she is upset that we didn’t ask her, and 3) she thinks she can do a better job of it (see #2).
Now, trust me, it doesn’t feel great writing out that four figure check every Thursday night, in fact it downright sucks. But I think both Paul and I do feel it’s worth every penny and we’re thankful that it’s an option for us at this point. I get my mom’s point about the cost, especially when there are much cheaper options given the abundance of “Chinese helpers” available in our area, but with such a little baby we are willing to pay for the peace of mind of hiring someone who views this as a profession and not simply the only thing they can do to make money under the table.
As for the other two points, I’ve tried to make it clear to her MANY times that we didn’t ask her because it is a LOT to ask of someone. In the five weeks that he’s been home, last night was the first time T went a four hour stretch without eating. And since that’s start to start that means any caregiver who was watching him and actually attempting to sleep could have gotten a max of a three hour block of sleep. Outside of that he’s been waking up to feed every 2.5-3hrs (again that’s start to start) and every once in awhile he wants to eat every 2.
He has been gaining weight (and growing) really fast, he started at 5lbs at birth and I think at his lowest he was 4.5lbs. He literally wasn’t fed at all for several days when he was at his worst in the NICU so he lost more weight than most babies do. Even with all that by his due date he was nearly 8lbs, so my guess is if he had made it to his due date in utero he could have been an 8+lb baby easily. He is now over 9lbs and climbing his way towards 10lbs every day. In other words, he is a big baby, at least by my family’s standards.
My mom keeps insisting that since he’s already over 9lbs that his feeds should be getting stretched out and she will not listen to me when I tell her that, that just isn’t how it works! He is essentially three weeks old (today!) which means feeding every 2.5-3hrs is 100% normal for his age. Everything I’ve read says it DOES NOT MATTER how big the baby is, it matters by age but my mom does not accept this because she raised two (average to smallish) babies that slept through the night by one month. Thirty years ago.
(Which is to say, who knows how accurate her recollection is.)
So anyway, her conclusion is that we must be doing something wrong and the nanny must be making it worse.
For days we had the exact same argument over this topic and she kept insisting that she can handle watching him at night since I don’t feel I can without risking my health.
But even then it wasn’t that simple. She wanted us not to hire anyone and she wanted to watch him at night but she only wanted to stay with us a max of three nights per week or else she wanted us to go live at her house five nights a week. I put my foot down and told her neither of those options are acceptable to us because as long as he’s waking up so frequently there’s no way I could get enough sleep (especially since I don’t fall back asleep easily, once I’m awake no matter how tired I am, it takes me time to settle) and as long as we have other options I view not getting sleep as a last resort. Living at her house makes no sense because our cat is not allowed to come, Paul would have to commute two hours a day meaning we would barely see him and I didn’t tell her this, but I really do not want to be on her turf.
She clearly doesn’t totally respect my role as T’s main caregiver and being at her house would only make that even more pronounced.
Anyway, after lecturing/yelling about it for days she finally realized I was not going to give in on either of these points because we do have the option of hiring a cheap Chinese nanny when we finish with our night nanny and she relented. She agreed that she would do her best to be here five nights a week unless something came up with my grandma or other extenuating circumstances. I still felt somewhat reluctant about this but I agreed and was immediately treated to a speech about how I need to make her feel appreciated.
I know that I’m lucky my mom wants to save us this money and is willing to do something that is so difficult, but it was hard to immediately bust out with the appreciation after I felt like she basically twisted my arm into this. It’s not that we’re super rich (we’re not) and love spending money (we don’t, at least not on stuff like this!), it’s that sometimes it’s just so much easier to hire someone, especially someone who views what you’re hiring them for as a profession.
For example, we decided to extend the nanny for another week next week because my mom said she wasn’t totally sure which days she could come next week and it might only be three or four. My mom got upset when I told her that in that case we’ll just ask the nanny to stay another week and said that even when you hire someone there are times they can’t make it and you just have to deal with it. I didn’t say this to her because I didn’t want to get into yet another no-win argument where my mom accuses me of arguing with her for the sake of arguing, but the nanny we’re working with belongs to a larger network of nannies and if she was ever sick or couldn’t make it for some other reason she has a pool of people to call to try and find a backup. It is VERY unlikely that we would have been left without support for a night. And THAT is the difference between hiring a professional vs hiring some random cheap help and one of the reasons we opted to go this route to begin with.
Not to mention, hired help doesn’t criticize and lecture you.
I’m also not sure why she thinks she has more experience sleep training newborns when she has dealt with exactly two newborns and we’ve hired someone who specializes in caring for newborns for a living. And I do resent the implication that T eats so often because I don’t know what I’m doing.
I mean, I don’t really know what I’m doing but I feel fairly confident that T eats a lot because he’s growing and he likes food. He is, after all, Paul’s son! He is very aware of his own hunger and when he wakes up to feed, he feeds well and he doesn’t spit up much so I know he isn’t being overfed. There have been times where he feeds and then only goes down for his nap thirty minutes before his next feed and he will wake up right on schedule wanting to eat because he prefers eating over sleeping!
She keeps telling me that I don’t have to feed him right when he wakes up but then she completely discounts it when I tell her that I don’t. Because in her mind the only reason he would keep waking up so often to feed is if he’s being fed right away, it can’t be because he’s actually hungry. Typically he’ll start stirring 2.5hrs after his last feed, if he’s napping that’s when he’ll start waking up a bit and doing his little cries. I usually let this go on for about a half hour or so to try and stretch the feed out to three hours, at which point he has usually just begun full on wailing like it’s the end of the world. I don’t let him scream his little head off for too long because I know from experience that he will actually tire himself out and have a worse feed if that happens, in which case he will wake up in just an hour or two wanting to eat again.
This is EXACTLY why I wanted us to take care of T on our own for at least the first few weeks. While I don’t really feel like I know what I’m doing, I do feel like I know my baby better than she does and I can be a bit more forceful about how I expect him to be cared for. Which is not to say she will listen to me. Can you tell I’m pretty apprehensive about the experiment of her watching him?
I could probably go on about this for at least another ten paragraphs but I’ve already burned through my naptime ranting and my hungry baby is about to wake up so I’ll have to save it for next time….
First off, thank you ladies for all your encouragement T and I did indeed make it through our first week alone together but we were sure glad to get Paul back home for the weekend!
Today I realized I did something incredibly dumb. I started my state disability claim online back when T was still in the NICU but apparently didn’t actually submit it. I finally remembered to check on the status today and realized it was still sitting in drafts.
I submitted it. It said something about needing to submit between 9-49 days after the disability began or you “may” lose benefits.
I was already feeling stressed today because for some reason I started thinking about whether or not I’m going to be able to take the extra eight weeks I’ve been hoping to and how if not I’ll be back at work in less than a month.
Then I noticed that T had two petechiae spots on his leg and his hematologist said to call if we noticed any. I’m not overly worried since it’s only two spots and everything I’ve found online seems to refer to a “rash” but still…I’m worried. And the doctor never called back. Plus he’s been doing this weird wheezing gasp thing when he nurses and sometimes afterwards which just has me worried.
Oh and today Paul came home and the first thing he said was how he was looking up why he’s been having more ruminating thoughts lately and realized he’s really stressed out. Which I already knew because he’s been constantly go, go, go nonstop pretty much since the day T was born but still it sucks to have confirmation of that. He comes home and he cooks and then he starts organizing and reorganizing the house and it’s just not healthy. I keep telling him to let things be a little messy but it’s like he literally can’t.
Anyway, I’m going to call the state disability office tomorrow and find out what my chances are of not getting paid any benefits at all and if so how the hell I explain that to my company which expected me to apply. Ugh. I can’t believe I did that.