Since my last post, a lot of things have changed in our household! We have new hardwood floors, finally got a Roomba (with two extremely hairy dogs, it was about darn time!), Mike screened in the porch in the back, two bird families moved into our portico and … oh yeah, we had a baby! A boy, named Shane, who is the most perfectly adorable being I have ever laid eyes upon. Parenthood has been a blur of sleepless nights, doctors appointments, and me having total breakdowns over everything. Example: one day upon careful examination of his legs I was horrified to notice we was being bow-legged. I’m talking tears, self-loathing, wondering if it was all the corn muffins I ate. Or was it the prenatal yoga? Did I bend him permanently? And then I googled it and found out that all babies are bow-legged. Phew. That was a close one.
In all seriousness, our little guy is my perfect angel baby, but there were some complications surrounding the end of my pregnancy, his delivery, and his health initially due to him being intolerant to multiple food proteins through my breast milk. Maybe I will write about it someday but for now, despite the fact that everything is under control and he is a healthy little bub, I will just use that as my excuse for being the neurotic nutcase of a mama I never fancied I would be.
Time flies when you’re having fun and our baby boy is now 4.5 months old (20 weeks tomorrow, actually!). I just closed out my first full week back to work and little man had his first week at day care (he started on Tuesday). Talk about stressful- leaving your little mush ball in the care of, for all intents and purposes, complete strangers. Licensed and accredited and legitimate strangers, but strangers nonetheless. We had planned to enroll him at a childcare center basically halfway between our house and the office, but when we were offered a spot at the child development center at work, we decided that that would be the best option. We know many people who have had their children through the program, and all gave really positive feedback. It’s literally across the street from my office, so I can visit with and nurse him at lunch! We did have to lose out on some really awesome perks like an app where I would get live updates on him during the day, the ability to log online and watch the in room cameras throughout the day and more flexibility regarding his diet. The jury is still out on whether we made the right choice.
I had been working part time for 6 weeks prior, going into the office on Tuesdays and Thursday with my Mother-In-Law watching him, and working from home on Fridays. It was difficult managing that schedule and flipping back and forth between work-mode and Mommy-mode (Mommy-mode is obviously steady state at this point, but it was hard being disconnected from work every other day). I have found it much easier to get things accomplished with a little more consistency in my schedule, but I would still classify my word of the week as “guilt”. I know it will take time to adjust, but there are a few things that I’m really not happy about. First of all, I feel like every time I drop him off or pick him up, it is straight into a bouncy seat he goes or straight out of the bouncy seat he comes. I recognize that he is at a tough age for his caregivers, and obviously he can’t be held or the center of attention all day- but the keyword in “Child Development Center” would be DEVELOPMENT, no? Shouldn’t he be doing tummy time? Playing with toys? The other big issue- sleeping and eating. I understand that his naps will likely be short and crappy until he adjusts to the new environment- but twice this week I showed up around lunchtime and my poor 4.5 month old baby had only slept 15 minutes in a total of 5 hours of being awake. For any non-parents reading this- that is NO BUENO. This may go back to me being a neurotic mother, but I try to follow wake times very closely. A 4 month old should be awake for 75-105 minutes at a time: otherwise you run the risk of them being put down over or under tired. Obviously there is a little flexibility there, but I would think this would be the type of thing an experienced caregiver in an infant room would know. However, it seems like the go to reaction to any type of fussing is to stick a bottle in his mouth. In general he eats every 3 hours (sometimes 2.5). On Friday, even though I communicated that he had woken up at 6:40 and taken a full feeding, when I picked him up at 11:30, he was being fed a bottle (2nd of the day!) and this is how the day had gone: Took 3 oz of a 4.5 oz bottle at 8:50; Napped from 9:10-9:25
His teacher said that he was fussing at 8:45 so they fed him. Um, hello. He was not hungry (as evidenced by the fact that he didn’t finish his bottle.) He was tired. You know, because he is a 4.5 month old baby who had been awake for over 2 hours. So, not only were my baby’s needs not met, BUT they also wasted 1.5 oz of my breastmilk. (Any of you breastfeeding mamas out there know that even a small amount of wasted breastmilk is too much!!!)
I got some really good suggestions for how to handle the situation in one of the Facebook mommy groups I’m in (you know you’re old when…), so I feel a little more prepared going into next week. I know we aren’t the first family to go through this, nor will we be the last, but that doesn’t change how much it sucks. My only comfort is knowing that I get to see his drooly, smushy little face at lunchtime, and his smiles and giggles make me feel more confident that he is not miserable and knows he is secure and loved. I’m prepared on Monday to provide them with more information on his schedule and needs. I did provide a write-up that indicated his general feeding schedule and that he goes to sleep an hour and 45 minutes after his last nap, but I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt (knowing they have several other children in their care so getting used to a new little one is not going to be an immediate adjustment), and lay it out for them more clearly and directly. I also plan to check in more frequently and see if the situation improves. If not, I’ll quit my job. (Kidding, Mike! Maybe…) But, in all seriousness, we may be revisiting our childcare situation shortly. The idea of a nanny is sounding more and more appealing (just not to our wallets).
I enjoy working, and I believe there are benefits to me going back to work: setting a good example for my son, continuing to grow my career and providing him opportunities to become more independent and socialize. Of course, it’s also much more feasible to raise a family on two incomes than one. Who am I kidding- if we won the Powerball I would quit in an instant and find other ways to utilize my skillset/have adult time- and also spend a boatload of time snuggling my little guy. For now, I’m going to keep telling myself that millions of other new parents have gone through this and their children have turned out perfectly fine- but continue trying to advocate for my son to ensure that he is in a healthy, nurturing environment.
This post is obviously completely off scope in terms of the original intent of this blog but our little guy is the newest and most important focus of our love and elbow grease. If and when I find the time, trials, tribulations and adventures of new parenthood will likely be a fairly regular topic that I write about. Writing about this stuff is therapeutic/a stress reliever for me, and who knows- if someone else in a similar situation happens to read it, they may find comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone in these struggles!
Becoming a mama has simultaneously been the hardest and best thing I’ve ever experienced. I guess I still need some time to adjust to having my heart and soul out in the world away from me- if it’s really possible to ever fully adjust to that! I suppose it gets easier. Or so I’ve heard. Not sure I buy it. Time will tell 🙂