Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pity party

Who am I? Honestly, I don't know these days. I want to be a balance of everything: caring mother, loving wife, fun friend, hardworking professional. "Professional" is on hold until I return to work. This new "mother" role consumes most of my time. "Wife" comes in at a distant second. (Thank goodness my husband is a kind and patient man.) And "friend," well ...

I'll just be honest: My feelings are really hurt right now. I had been looking forward to a friend's Halloween party for several weeks. If Miss M's feeding schedule allowed, I was hoping we'd be able to make an appearance, briefly, with her. I figured at best, we'd have 30 minutes, an hour tops, before the baby would demand we headed home. We had coordinating costumes planned. It would be fun to get out with the baby, to pretend to be cool parents amongst cool friends.

It didn't occur to me that the cool friends might not welcome Miss M at their cool party. I mean, yeah, it would be weird if we were playing beer pong at 3 a.m. with the baby in the corner. Or if we had a toddler or otherwise mobile, interactive child in tow. But I didn't think an hour with a 10-lb newborn would be a problem.

I was wrong.

Maybe it's my fault for waiting until the night before to ask if it would be weird to bring the baby. But I didn't expect the answer to be "yes." And I was miffed she had to even ask if we would still make it. Of course not. I have a 7-week-old who is cluster feeding again. I'd be doing good to get her off the boob long enough to make it to your stupid party. And even if I were willing to leave her with a babysitter, it would be impossible to schedule one for that random one-hour window when I don't even know what time it would happen.

So yesterday, I was sad for many reasons. And today, even with the cute trick-or-treaters we've seen, I'm still a little sad. How can I be a friend, if my "friends" won't have me?

Yes, I know I'm being melodramatic. And yes, I will probably read this in a few days and want to blame hormones for what is probably totally irrational thinking. But this is how I feel right now.

I hope in my pre-motherhood days that I never made any of my mother friends feel this way. And if I did, I am so, so, so sorry.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Time is flying by. I can't believe I'm already halfway through my maternity leave. I never thought I'd feel this way, but right now, I would be happy to never return to work again. I could spend all day gazing into her eyes. I know it won't be long before she begins to pull away. The other morning, I overheard a woman on television say the greatest joy of having children "is not deciding who they are, but discovering who they are." Amen.

Week six was a major turning point. My best friend, who currently lives in France, flew all the way across the Atlantic with her seven-month-old just to spend a week with me and Miss M. We went shopping, I breastfed at the mall, and I even left the baby for a brief period with Grandma K.

Other milestones:
  • First smiles! It happened Monday or Tuesday. She smiles often in her sleep, and sometimes randomly while playing. But she is just now beginning to smile in response to us. Dad got the first smile; mine was later in the day. They are hard to coax out of her, but I can't wait to see more.
  • Sleep tight. I hesitate to write this because I'm probably jinxing myself, but over the past few days, her feedings have stretched overnight to where we can get 5-7 hours of sleep sometimes. Amazing.
  • Head strong. Miss M is holding her head up well. A little wobbly, particularly if you tip her backwards, but if you lean her forward, her neck muscles are strong enough to hold her head up for a minute or so. Modified tummy time on her boppy must be working!
  • Growing! Now in 0-3 month clothes. We switched to size 1 diapers about 10 days ago, and after a few recent leaks, I'm already wondering if she's nearing size 2. She won't go to the pediatrician for a few more weeks, but when I tried my bathroom scale, she appears to be about 10 pounds.
  • Back to work ... to visit. Coworkers met her Thursday. It was fun to introduce her around. So many things had to fall in place for it to work out -- what time she woke up, how long she ate, etc. But we made it happen, and she lasted three hours before needing to eat again.
  • Mom and dad hang out with grownups. We took Miss M to a house party last night and cheered our underdogs to a win over the No. 1 team. Mom even had a few sips of beer! It was quite tame from the parties we used to throw; there were four other kids present, including the hosts'. But it was still a fun time, and I enjoyed hanging out with my friends.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things that make my heart melt

Sweet, milky breath. Soft, fluffy hair. Delicate peeling fingernails. Dark, wide-open eyes. Tiny pursed lips.

The first month has flown by, and yet, it also feels like an eternity. The days and nights have blurred together. Time is measured in feedings that range from 90 minutes to 5 hours apart. It's hard to remember how rough the first week was. And the second. And third. It's still not easy. But we're figuring each other out, and each week is better than the last.

As we're emerging from the dazed and bewildered first month, we're all taking on new challenges. Miss M is experimenting with her voice -- soft coos for now. Today, for the first time, she grabbed my hair in both fists and managed to get her thumb in her mouth, although both of those actions may have been accidental. Last week, dad took baby on an errand while I stayed home (somewhat reluctantly) and got some much needed sleep. Tonight, I left the baby at home with her dad and ventured to Wal-Mart alone. It was my first solo outing since she was born.

It's funny how I can feel fine at home. Then I enter the real world, and exhaustion hits. Maybe it was the bright lights, but not ten minutes in the store and I hit the proverbial brick wall. I wandered around in a daze for another half hour or so, trying to remember what I was supposed to get. (Lotrimin for possible thrush/yeast, and pacifiers because we're getting tired of having to walk her to sleep every night.)

I was relieved to return to our little cocoon of a home. Just the three of us, together. I'm not ready for the real world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A new chapter

Miss M is nearly four weeks old, and it's amazing how much she's changed. Or, really, how much I've changed. My "old" life seems so far away, and surprisingly, I don't miss it. My days have been hijacked by the eating and sleeping schedule (or lack thereof) of an eight-pound infant. Since Chris went back to work this week, it's a major victory if I find time to poop and shower. But I'm figuring it out, and feeling proud when I master these small things. Last night, I even managed to make a trip to Target, baby in tow. It was my first time behind the wheel since before she was born. I felt so accomplished!

It's such a change from my professional persona, who measures accomplishments by awards, dollars and cents, and satisfied clients. "On time and under budget," as my boss says.

Who is this new woman?