Week 10

Well, this was the last week of my maternity leave. Tomorrow, I go back to work, which I don’t mind except it will be interesting to get us all ready in the morning.   I think we’ve turned a corner with baby.  She’s less fussy these days, and starting to smile more.  Stinker.  She’s going to be all sweet now, as I get ready to back to work.

I got a couple of new types of bottles, so perhaps Nova will take to one of them for the nice daycare ladies.  It’s going to be cold-turkey for her, as she keeps rejecting the bottle and tomorrow she will have no choice.  I anticipate lots of screaming.

But other than bottle refusal, things are going well, both with and without baby.  I’m sure tomorrow I will miss baby, but once she learns to take a bottle I will have much more freedom.

Iain came over this weekend and is currently playing Castlevania with a baby strapped to his chest.  Awesome for me!  I’ve been pretty productive, multiple loads of laundry folded and put away, and three batches of bread made.  I made a couple of loaves of three cheese semolina so Iain could take one with him home.  I even made coffee, which is an indulgence for me.  I have to be careful with it, as it tends to mess me up inside if I drink too much.  Luckily, tea is not a problem.

I feel really grateful for my life.  I may get sucked into a work-is-a-drag feeling when I get back, and finances with daycare is definitely going to be a challenge, but things have been going really well.  Sometimes when I hold Nova, I think of all the other mothers out there who worry about food or war or poverty, and I am so grateful that I can give my child a decent life.  We chose to have her, and she is definitely wanted.   We are very fortunate.

Grace

Taking a cue from Olya’s blog, here’s a few things I am grateful for:

  1. Cats in the sunny patch
  2. Baby in my arms
  3. Tea
  4. and TED on the Internet
  5. My life is charmed

(Or maybe I should have called it bad poetry day?  Wow, and I had this flashback to high school–when I was a teen I bought an actual rhyming dictionary because I loved writing poetry so much.  I wonder whatever became of it. . . )

Yes, I Love the Sunny Days

A while back, I was talking to my brother about how I miss the sun in the winter and get depressed.  He looked at me and said, “But you’re supposed to be the goth one, you’re supposed to love darkness and night.”  “I know,” I said, “but I’ve changed.”  And it’s true, I miss the sun when it’s not around.

This was a good winter in that I actually got to see the sun, as I was home on maternity leave.  But boy oh boy, am I glad to see winter leave.   I’ve been taking walks with Nova, and it’s great to get outside and get some fresh air.  It will be even better when Nova is more used to the bottle, so I can get out and take a run at dawn, I miss those.   Crazy, isn’t it?  My 20-year old self wouldn’t even recognize me.

Yesterday, I took Nova into daycare for a couple of hours to introduce her to the ladies who will soon be taking care of her.  I came home and it was positively odd to be home all by myself.  Wow, I loved it, my 2 hours were up far too soon.  Of course, I used my time for boring paperwork (bleh), but it needed to be done.  And then Leif came home early–again.  Ugh.  I am glad he is working, but with Nova going into full time daycare soon, it bugs me that he can’t always get 40 hours a week.  He’s much less perturbed about it than I am, he figures he’ll keep working there and if it folds, he’ll look elsewhere.   I think part of being a mother is making sure everybody is taken care of, and a variable paycheck just messes me up.

But despite that, I know this will be a much better year than 2009.   I’ve got several goals again for this year–the main one is clearing up some financial stuff and checking up on our credit scores.   Leif has already said that he wants to go to the Crown Cap convention next year, and our deal is–he gets a trip, I get a trip.  (I usually go to Boston, but Stacy wants to do a girls-only trip to Las Vegas one of these years)  I want to finish my hoodoo course that I started last year and got put on hold with the pregnancy stuff.  I would like to resume my bellydancing classes, but that probably won’t happen until the fall at the earliest.   If I put in a lot of hard work this year, then next year will be pretty fabulous.  Plus, it will be 2011, my favorite number.  (I’m going by 11, not 13)

And. . . there have been some changes made at work, which will benefit me.  I don’t want to go into it too much in a public blog, but the upshot is that I can relax a bit now at work and now worry about things so much.   Mornings are going to be a bit crazy with getting everyone ready, but we’ll figure it out.  Maybe Leif and I can start having arguments about makeup again, haha.  It goes something like this:

Him:  “Why do we need to get up so early?”

Me:  “Because I want to take a shower AND brush my teeth AND put in contacts AND wear makeup.”

Him:  “You don’t need to put in contacts, you look fine.”

Me:  “I like myself better with contacts.  I’m putting them in.”

Him:  “We don’t have time for you to put on makeup.  You look fine without it.”

Me:  “I wear moisturizer with sunscreen, eyeliner, and lip stain.  Give it up.  It takes, at the most, 10 minutes, makes me feel better AND I’m more productive at work when I feel moderately attractive.  And in the time it takes for you to argue about it, I will argue back for another 10 minutes as to why I need to do this and we’ll be even more late.”

Him:  “Hmph.”

Okay, we don’t do that every morning, but when he brings it up, I have to laugh, because I’m a girl.  An ex-goth girl.  I love him, but he’s not going to win an argument about eyeliner with me.  🙂

Week 8

Well, after this week I will have two weeks left before I go back to work.   Baby will take naps, but only on me or in the Baby Bjorn.  Otherwise, it’s 30 minutes max in the vibrating chair.  (The swing is collecting dust, she still screams in that.  Somehow, she missed the memo that ALL babies love cars and swings!) Kinoko has adjusted so well to Nova’s presence that she has already tried sitting on her multiple times.  Never mind that they probably weigh the same amount, and that Nova has no lap to speak of yet, that doesn’t dissuade this kitty!  So here’s my checklist:

  • Pumping:  I am now pumping most days, and frozen bags are littered in the freezer.
  • Bottle:  Nope, Nova’s still not a fan.  Holding out for daycare, I guess, when she realizes she will starve if she won’t take it.
  • Car:  She no longer screams the entire trip.  She has even learned to take a nap on selected portions of a trip.  Progress!
  • Nighttime:   She now will sleep next to me, rather than on me.  I am undecided as to whether that is progress or not.
  • Pants:  I can now get into some of my regular pants, in that I can close the zipper.  However, I am still battling the muffin top.  But more of my wardrobe is available to me, as l0ng as I wear tunic-type of tops.
  • Babysitting:  Left Nova with Grandma for an hour and half.  She was okay for the first hour, until she realized that the bottle was the only source of nourishment.  She screamed herself out and fell asleep until I arrived, then sucked me dry.
  • Walks:  Now that it is not super freezing cold, I have taken Nova on a few walks in the park.  Unless she’s hungry, she’s enjoyed them.   Plus this helps me with my muffin top problem.
  • Weights:  I can now do air bench against the wall for a over a minute.  This was a big goal for me, small steps.  Still working on push ups.  Yes, I am that lame, I cannot do one real push up.  I hope by admitting that here I will push myself to change that shortly.  Air bench has the advantage that I can do it with a baby strapped to my chest–push ups, I’d be afraid I’d slip up and squash her.  Though she quite likes dead lifts.
  • Eyes:  Her eyes are still dark blue.  Four months to go to see if they’re permanent.
  • Random:  Finally watched “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”  Loved it.  Loved it so much that I’m currently memorizing the songs so I can sing along and have a crush on Neil Patrick Harris now.  So not my usual type.  Yes, though I credit my dad as being more influential, somehow my mom slipped in a random I-like-musicals gene that pops up now and then.  My brother is also infected.  I’m not proud, but I do like to sing.  By myself, so no one can hear how awful my singing voice is.

And that’s it for now!

I Am Hers And She Is Mine

I have four weeks left before I return to work.  It doesn’t feel real, this maternity limbo I’m in.   Today Nova wasn’t too bad, but I also didn’t try to do too much.  I let myself hold her most of the day.   Yep, she’s getting older and the love is entwining deeper into my soul.

I have to say, I do find nursing really satisfying.  Breasts are so sexualized in our society, we forget their biological importance.  There is something so primal in having a baby on the breast, her face pressed against my flesh, her hands splayed above and below, her jaw working, the rhythm of her swallows. . .suck suck suck . . .suck suck suck. In this, I don’t have to worry if I’m doing it right, I don’t have to think at all.  In this, I am hers and she is mine.

She is a very pink baby, the doctors always like her color.  Even at birth, she had no trace of jaundice.  She also has some baby acne, so her skin is a bit mottled, pink on pink.  In the afternoon sun, her wispy hair has a reddish cast and I can see the golden tips of new hairs underneath, like spring shoots.  When she is awake, it is funny to see the faces she makes, some of them decidedly un-cute.  Her little mouth is like a buttonhole when she is asleep, and a great big maw when she screams, exposing her toothless gums.

I write all this down, because having a baby is both so common, yet unique (even when it’s your second), and I know I will forget all this.  This morning, when the baby was awake yet surprisingly peaceful, I went to wake up her sister.  Rowan’s face was longer than I remembered it, more oval.   I still think she has the most perfect lips, the full coral lips that my mother has.  I missed out on displaying those genes, but at least I got to carry them down.  Nova may end up more looking more like me.   She’s got my wayward eyebrows already, although her hair is so light, only I notice it.   Sometimes I wish I had one of those really fancy lenses, the ones that can capture the hair follicles, the diamond and hexagon patterns on skin.

I was grateful this afternoon, grateful for the sun outside, casting shadows through the plants.  Grateful for a peaceful baby on my breast.  Grateful for the cats, because they are beautiful and soft and warm, and I love having other kinds of life in the house.  Grateful for hot tea, and the endless designs of the steam wafting upwards into nothingness.   Grateful for our house, with the red walls, and the gold cabinets.  Grateful for the quiet, before Rowan comes through the door, telling me about school and princesses and her love of dark-skinned people.  (Princess Tiana from the latest Disney movie is her favorite princess yet, and you should see all the black mermaids she draws.)   There is a lot of good in my life.