Sunday, June 28, 2015

early morning drop-off

There is a daycare downstairs from my office. My son doesn’t go there, though we originally thought he would. My mom and mother-in-law generously split their week watching him instead. This is what works best for us now.

But every morning, when I get to work, there are lots of moms dropping off their kids. Some moms in put-together outfits, heels and dress pants and badges dangling from their necks or their belts. Other moms in yoga pants, likely working from home, sitting in front of a computer all day, getting up only to drop laundry in the dryer or put dishes away before a conference call.

We make eye contact and smile as I walk past them and into the building. I see them opening car doors and unbuckling car seats, pulling out big strollers and small, brightly colored backpacks. Their kids are 6 months or 2 years or 5 years old. Their kids, even in the rush of morning, seem happy. I watch toddlers climb wide-set steps, wanting to do it on their own. I watch pre-schoolers calling out to friends. The moms are in a hurry, but not hurried. Efficient, but not frazzled.

They probably don’t know that I have a baby at home. They probably don’t know how much it means to me to see them every morning.

There’s so much written about how heart wrenching it is to go back to work after having a baby. About how tough it can be, how much crying is involved. And it was, and there is. It took me months to feel ok, though that oversimplifies it. Every day was not tough. Every day was not sad. It’s only in looking back, now that I’ve gotten to a different place, that it seems rough. It’s only in having let go of that guilt I was holding on to that it all feels ok.

But make no mistake: there is still guilt. It’s wrapped up in timing and traditional schedules and a changing workplace, for sure. It’s still hard, and from what people tell me, there will always be a split—a wanting to be here and there at the same time.

There is so much written about what it’s like to stay home or go to work. What the right decision is and how to make the best choice for your family, for your life, for your season. I don’t know what the right answer is.

But I do know that walking past that daycare in the morning makes things easier for me. It may only be two minutes and I may not know any of those women by name, but they make me feel better, they make me feel in-this-together. They make me feel that happy kids will be happy kids no matter where their mothers spend their days.

[photo via unsplash]

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seven Months

At 7 months, Luca: 

  • Weighs closer to 16 pounds, I’m guessing, I’m hoping?
  • Eats 3 "meals" a day: oatmeal in the morning, fruit at lunch and veggies at dinner. With all the usual bottles, too.
  • Hates rice and lentils. We've found the food he won't eat—it gets spit out and then he basically refuses to open his mouth again. 
  • Has been sleeping well in the crib, wrapped in his sleep sack. He still isn’t rolling from back to front, but he has started sleeping on his side. It’s the cutest.
  • Looks like he may be starting to want to crawl? He sticks his butt in the air and face plants, then inch worms just the slightest bit.
  • Makes a “bye bye” move with his hand 
  • Definitely knows his name
  • Is still quick to smile
  • But at the same time, does this thing where he’ll put his head down and into your shoulder as if he’s acting shy
  • Went on the swings at the park across the street for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It really makes me look forward to the summer. 
  • Went to his first wedding, when my brother got married over Memorial Day weekend. He hung with the groomsmen while they got ready, was dressed up in a bow tie and dress pants (that he spit up all over two seconds after I changed him), and was a total ham when we were introduced at the reception. At 9pm he fell asleep in his stroller. And here I was worried that the DJ would be too loud. 
  • Spent his first—and second—nights with my parents. The first was after my brother's wedding and the second was this past weekend when we had another cousin’s wedding. 

At 7 months, I: 

  • Am going with jars. Sure, I can puree some avocados, but the rest are coming from Earth’s Best and you know what? I am totally ok with this. Our lifestyle right now is busy, on the go, always something. And this fits.
  • My brother’s wedding was amazing, so fun. We danced and cried and laughed and it was just the best weekend. Sometimes it’s hard to write about these things: they're obviously fun and the words become trite, but oh it was good.
  • Am so lucky that my parents are up for watching Luca overnight. At my brother’s wedding they kept him in their room so that John and I could go to the after party. (We bowed out of the after, after party though), and then they watched him again when we went to our cousin Juliet’s wedding this past weekend. It was good to sleep in—even if it was just till 8—and hang out with friends. 
  • Was on vacation the entire last week of May. Between all the stuff going on, plus family from Canada and Italy in, it was the best decision ever. I was finally able to reorganize Luca's closet, hang with him on the grass, go for walks, but then also walk around Madison Square Park with my cousin, go out to dinners, have people over and do some shopping.
  • Am learning, though, on the flip side, that even if I do well when I'm busy, I really need some down time too. I used to be able to run around for hours, going from store to store, place to place and I just can't anymore. I have to make decisions faster and smarter, and sometimes that’ll mean spending a little more for convenience's sake and other time’s it’ll mean not getting the exact thing I want, and I have to keep telling myself that that's ok.
  • Realizing that sometimes the things you read are oddly accurate. I was never really worried that my relationship with John would change after we had a baby, even though that's what all the books say. And I'm still not worried that it's changed for the worse—if anything, honestly, there are times when it's better than before. But it has changed and it definitely takes more effort to keep things on track and more thinking ahead to remember that hey, we need time for us too. Sometimes I feel like these realizations are so obvious, so everyone-has-them. Maybe they do. And maybe it's just fine to have them in your own time and in your own experience. 

Six Months

I can say, without overstating too much, that April and May were crazy. It started with hosting Easter and went through two bridal showers, a bachelorette brunch, a few regular brunches, a wine tasting weekend, a communion, work events, lots of last minute shopping trips, a rehearsal dinner, and finally, three weddings in two weeks. It was totally exhausting and totally worth it.

We've been on the go so much, but Luca has been rolling with it and I'm so grateful for that. So while we did take this photo back in April when he actually turned 6 months, I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write about it until now. Better late than never and all that. 

At 6 months, Luca: 

  • Weighs in at about 15.5 lbs, which is definitely less than I thought. He's now in the 15th percentile for weight (or at least, he was as of his 6-month check-up). His pediatrician thinks he'll bulk up once he gets more solid foods, so we're not too concerned. 
  • Is now eating solids twice a day, oatmeal in the morning and veggies/fruit at night 
  • Seems to like every food we give him. Avocados (his first), sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pears, apples, and on and on. 
  • Wears 9-month clothes, though he'll still squeeze into the 6 month size in pants 
  • Smiles whenever we put the phone in his face to take a picture. I'm exaggerating, but he is a ham for sure. 
  • Loves Whiskey il Ragnetto and Il Coccodrillo Come Fa?, two Italian nursery rhymes we started listening to 
  • Spends lots of time on his colorful play mat, surrounded by all his toys 
  • Can turn himself in a 360-degree circle, but is totally not interested in turning from back to front 
  • Sleeps in his crib. Our bedtime routine right now is book, songs, bed. It's working. (At the moment.) 

     At 6 months, I: 

  • Spent my first weekend away from Luca, when we went wine tasting for Karen’s bachelorette party. There was a moment when we were at some dive bar, late on a Saturday night and I was drinking something and dancing to something and thought: yes, this is me too.
  • Felt so busy, making lots of lists and figuring what was best to do first and second and last. It was the best kind of busy, but there were a few moments in there when it was just too much.