Thursday, November 8, 2012

So This Is It

I had this moment yesterday.  I was home from work, baby girl was hanging in her bouncy seat, I was washing her bottles (Though not because she actually drank from them!) and I'd just started a load of her diapers and I was thinking about a meeting coming up at work and the unfinished to-do list I'd left on my desk in my office and all of a sudden I was like, "This is my life now."

Being home with Caroline wasn't a vacation in the sense that obviously parenting a newborn is a lot of work, but it was a total break from "normal" life for me.  Everything was different--the staying home thing, the baby thing, all of it.  I never really got used to it because I knew I'd be going back to work and everything would change.

And now this weird balancing act of baby and work is the new normal.  This is what I do now.  I get home from work and I wash bottles and breast pump parts and I kiss the baby and airplane the baby and play with baby toys and I hope David gets home early because I haven't had a chance to talk to him today and I also hope he has a good idea for dinner because Lord knows I don't want to make something.  And this seems marvelous to me not because it's easy or awesome or even fun all the time, but because this is just what I do now and for so long I didn't know if I'd ever get here.

So the working thing.  Parts of it are weirdly good.  I am getting things done, I'm lunching with colleagues, I'm enjoying using parts of my brain that were getting mushy after four months of staying home and watching a lot of television.  I miss my baby, but if I am being perfectly honest, having a break from the 24-hour caregiving is nice.

It feels shameful to say that, somehow, but the stuff people said in the comments on my previous post is true in many ways.  I don't sigh or feel impatient with Zuzu in the evenings because I haven't seen her for several hours and I've missed her.  I like having some time to myself.

Right now I'm able to work part-time hours on campus and I can take care of anything left hanging usually when I get home.  So I'm working roughly 9-2, which is awesome.

It's also incredibly fortunate, since Miss Zuzu is still refusing to take a bottle.  Yesterday one of her teachers just helped her drink from a cup.  Like poured tiny sips of milk into her mouth.  Which is...  amazing because I'm so grateful they are willing and able to do that when they have a roomful of babies (of course, all the other babies are at least four months older than Zuzu and much more self-sufficient).  But it's also annoying because Zuzu!  Seriously!  Take the bottle!  I give her a pep talk / stern lecture about it every morning, but obviously she's not listening to me.  Baby girl is stubborn.  I have NO IDEA where she gets that.

Now I will bore you with a detailed description of our daily routine:  (Hey, this blogging every day business is hard work!)

Zuzu wakes up early in the morning (somewhere between 5 and 6) and I nurse her while still lying in bed half asleep.  My alarm goes off at 7 and I get up by 7:15.  Zuzu is usually awake at this time, but content to lie in her bed and jabber to herself while I get dressed (I've been showering at night to save time, which is annoying but efficient, although it makes for lots of ponytail days).  I get her dressed for the day and put her in her bouncy seat so she can watch me eat breakfast (or make breakfast to go) and get her bottles and diaper bag ready to go.  I slap on some make up and do something with my hair. By the time I'm ready to walk out the door, it's almost 8am and I sit down and nurse her again.  I change her diaper, put her in her carseat, and we're out the door by 8:20am.

It's a five minute drive to daycare, then I do the check-in--refill the diaper bin, hang the diaper wetbag, fill out the form that tells them when she last ate and what time I'll pick her up, put her bottles, bib, blanket, and change of clothes in her cubby, and put her milk in the fridge.  Then I get her out of the carseat, give her a million kisses on her cheeks, and settle her into a swing or bouncy seat with her hane/blanky.

I haven't cried the last two days when I've left her there, and I swear it's because her teachers are so wonderful.  They are so lovely and patient and kind and soft-spoken and the older babies love them so much.  None of the babies are crying or fussing when their parents leave in the morning, which amazes me and makes me feel good.  The room is busy, and Zuzu seems to love to look around and watch the other kids.  When I've picked her up, she's either been asleep or being held by one of the teachers, so everything about this day care center makes me feel really comfortable.  I'm amazed at how confident I feel that she is in good hands.  I could have never guessed that the teachers would relieve my anxiety so much.

(And if you're wondering, yes, I did tell them about Eliza in the notes about Zuzu that I typed up.)

Zuzu should eat around 11am and 2pm.  At least, that's what she was doing for me the last couple weeks before I went back to work when I tried to nudge her into a reasonable pattern.  But, yeah.  She's still refusing to latch on to the bottle.  (Because boobs are so much awesomer!)  One of her caregivers told me that she's a good baby because she doesn't scream bloody murder, but she worries about her being hungry.  I assured her that Zuzu is nursing more in the evenings to make up for it, but I sure wish she would take some milk for them during the day!

I get to work by 9am and put in my time as efficiently as possible.  My old days of leisurely blog reading and news surfing in between tasks are no more!  I'm so lucky to be able to leave around 2, because by then I'm missing my baby and I'm worried that she's starving.  It takes everything in my power not to speed on the way home.

I pick her up and (if she's awake), she rewards me with a big smile and immediately starts rooting for my boobs.  I gather up her things and her daily report, load her in the carseat, and we head home.  A couple of days she's fallen asleep in the car on the 5 minute drive home.  Daycare wears a girl out!  But once we're home and she's awake, she wants to eat, so she nurses around 3pm.

Then I wash the diapers and the bottles and we run any errands that we need to run.  We're back home by 5pm and I usually nurse her an extra time--between 5 and 6--and then once more around 8pm before she goes to bed.  This extra meal in the evening is fine with me since it gives me an excuse to sit in front of the TV while David makes dinner (I know, I'm so lucky).  In between feeding the baby, I try to check e-mail, fold laundry, iron David's clothes, figure out what pants I can squeeze into for work the next day, get the diaper bag mostly loaded up, and catch up with David. We have been eating dinner in front of the TV so we can double task--eat and delete shows off the DVR.

Typically, Zuzu will go to bed around 8:30 and sleep until 5 or 6 in the morning, but last night she woke up around 11 and I went ahead and fed her again.  I want to make sure she's getting enough to eat!  She's still sleeping for nice long chunks at night, and I am SO glad.  Good baby!

So that's it.  A day in the life.  I'm still amazed that this is my life and that it will just keep being my life, you know?  There's no end in sight, no graduation, no finish line.  We just keep on keeping on.  Which suits me just fine, since David and Zuzu and Cooper and even Little Mac and I make a pretty good team.

And speaking of Little Mac, Zuzu was having nekkid time last night when Little Mac came over and tried to sit on Zuzu's head.  WTF?  That dog is crazy.


  1. I always seem to have that "ah, this is my life" moment when the little one is in the bathtub. There's a certain hum in the house in the evenings that's not there during other parts of the day. I think it's because no matter what the day throws at you, you can be pretty certain that it's somehow going to get wrapped up with a little food, a little washing, a little snuggling and then some sleep.

  2. Just wanted to let you know I found your post really encouraging today.

    Thank you for sharing a potential future life in the day...

  3. Your days sound great.

    I like how you said you guys will just keep on keeping' on. There is indeed a comfort when there are no huge expectations, or plans, or self induced fits of over compensating (maybe that's just me on that last one).

    But life sounds good,

    I hope you guys keep on keeping' on :)

  4. I honest to goodness still have these moments: "holy shit, I'm a mom!" Yes, it's been almost 7 years. I seem to have those, "so, this is my life" whenever we make even a slight change. Before long, you will hopefully be saying, "so, this is my life... I am hugely pregnant chasing around a toddler all day every day!" :)

    I am soooo glad that you have settled happily back in to work. This schedule seems to be a great fit for you and Miss C!

  5. Your schedule sounds perfect!! I'm so glad you're doing so well. I really love the away time at work. It's not a bad thing. And it does make me more patient and fun when I get home. Part time is awesome!!

  6. What is with these babies who refuse bottles?!? I guess it will be nice that we we never have to break them from bottles, but still! M will take a sippy cup. It didn't take long before he was a sippy cup master after all he decided he was hungry enough to accept boob juice in non boob form ;) glad going back to work had been good. It is odd to feel like this is the place we worked so hard to be...we are finally here...weird.

  7. I needed this today, Brooke. I can't really verbalize why (because that'd be a post of my own in your comments section), but it helped a lot. Keep on keepin' on has been my mantra for a few weeks now.

    As for Zuzu's not eating, my oldest did the same. She refused to eat at daycare and would always claw at my shirt when I picked her up (we had longer days than the time you're away from Zuzu). Luckily, we lived near daycare as well. I remember being so afraid she wasn't eating enough, that she was starving midday, but the center assured me she wasn't fussing as though she was hungry (she was still gaining weight so I guess the added nursing at night was helping). I'm glad your daycare is so wonderful.

  8. I am glad I'm done nursing G but I kinda miss nursing (or ahem, pretending to nurse) to get some time to breathe and snuggle and do nothing else.