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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Livin' the Life

Are we the only ones? Is it this way for millions of people and I just didn't realize it before? Methinks not.

It is 5:30, maybe 6:00, maybe 6:30 if I'm really lucky. She wakes up and one of us goes to get her. For the next hour or two (depending on how early she rises), I feed her and we play with her for about an hour while we both get ready in the morning. Then we are out the door for work, a short 20 minute car ride with my husband, the only alone time we will get all day. I get to my office by about 8 or 8:15.

I work all day. Sadly, trying not to think too much about her or I start to get sad. So I focus on the ball in front of me, but always in the back of my mind, she is there. She is the reason I no longer take breaks to chit chat around the office, or take a long lunch. I am here to do 5 days worth of work in 4 days so that my Friday "work from home" will be all her's. So I jam through my day at breakneck pace.

And it is tiring.

When I look up, it's 5 o'clock. How does it come so fast everyday? Why am I always surprised by it? I don't even have time to marvel at the phenomenon. I have to go. I have to get home to her. I run past the looks of the partners in the office. It occurs to me that I am off the partnership track because of this mothering thing. I suppose I could have it all, but at what cost to her? Partnership isn't worth walking in the door at 8 every night, not worth only getting a half hour with her.

So it is an all out sprint to the train, and then home. Most days, that 20 minute train ride is the only time I have to myself all day. The only time I am not rushing or doing or taking care of something or someone.

I use it to shake off the stress of work. To calm down. By nature, my job consists of fighting with people all day. It's adversarial. I don't want her to pick up on any stress or conflict. She is a laid back, happy baby and I want to keep it that way. Perhaps my career choice doesn't mesh well with being a mother, I think to myself often. "laid back" isn't really an option for me at work.

It's my stop, and I run-walk the two blocks home. I take a breath as I climb up to the porch and reach for the door. On the otherside, she is waiting for me. She will give me a huge grin and reach for me to pick her up...smiling coyly, and nuzzling into my chest. She will want to nurse, not because she is hungry, but because she misses me. Reaching for the door, I know that once inside, I will not get any time alone to decompress. I feel like I want that time now, as I am on this side of the door. But once through the doorway, that need is forgotten.

It is like the heavens opened up and dropped her down just for me. These first few moments with her everyday are my reward. These moments are now where I find meaning in life. We are intimate and quiet and loving with each other. I nurse her and talk or sing softly to her. I feel the exhaustion set in as she quietly relaxes in my arms and eats.

My husband will come home, and she will abandon nursing...she is much too excited to see him, and I can see the heavens opening up again...this time for him. I know he feels the same way about his first moments with her, although he has never said it. He doesn't have to, I can see it in his face. And that look makes me feel so loved, I am sure she can sense it too.

The three of us will hang out together, playing and lounging in our bedroom while we both get undressed and shake off the workday completely. We will both put on pajama pants and turtlenecks...getting comfortable and cozy for the night...and nuzzle into each other. Nuzzle into her.

The next hour is busy work. Dinner, cleanup, feeding her, bathing her, changing her. One of us is holding her all the time. We are soaking her up. Finally, it is time for her to go down for the night. He takes us both up to her room. We soothe her together and do her nighttime routine together. Finally, it is time for her to nurse to sleep. I nurse her and rock her and put her down. Some nights are easy, some involve crying and repeated climbing of the stairs back and forth into her room until she falls asleep.

Now it is 9:30. We have not watched tv, we have not paid any bills. Nothing has been accomplished outside of taking car of her. We need to talk about whether he likes the television console I saw online at Potterybarn, but that discussion is going to be at least 15 minutes long, and I am too tired to stay up. So is he. but he needs to take out the trash, and will meet me upstairs.

When he comes up ten minutes later, I am half asleep already. I find him under the covers and we connect. I can't really sleep well unless he is against me, I can feel his warmth. He knows this and so climbs in right next to me. I roll over and show him the console in the catalogue I have by the bed. He says, "I don't know" and we don't really discuss it in any more detail. This decision, like so much other stuff, will be put off for another time. When? I don't know. It'll get figured out eventually. And we both can't stay awake any longer. Not even to find out the score of the Villanova game.

In a few hours around 2, I will wake to pump so she has enough food for the next day. Around 2:30 or 3, I will be back in bed, and praying she grants me till 6 a.m. before waking...

when it will start all over again.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PETA friendly

Don't worry, it's faux print...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Does this Come in Beige?

Who knew that with her would come so much stuff? Seriously, it looks like a circus tent blew up in my otherwise neutral toned house....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2 and a half hours

Of sleep.

Finally at 4:30, i gave up trying and just took her downstairs to play. After struggling all night from 8:30-ish to 4:30, I surrendered to the exhaustion and gave up the rocking, nursing, cajoling, singing and general lulling to sleep attempts and went down stairs.

I am not ashamed to tell you I cursed the fact that spongebob squarepants was not on at 4:30 this morning. That's right, I was going to turn on the tv and let her watch. I am a horrible mother.

Horrible, and tired. VERY tired.

Monday, February 11, 2008



Sweet little Buddha, you are getting so big. Too big. Please stop. Thanks.

Okay, okay. I know you can't stop growing, but this month you just started becoming a little person with a personality all your own. It's wonderful, but I fear you are growing up too fast. And you do stuff. I mean totally do stuff-on your own. Not like "take the car and go shopping" stuff, but "sit in the jumper and jump like crazy all the while not even noticing that we are not right there playing with you, talking to you, paying 100% attention to you" stuff. Which is actually nice because aside from the time in the jumper you are fairly demanding about the attention thing, as in "you better be talking to me and entertaining me at all times" demanding. So your father and I would pay $5,000 for that jumper as ransome if someone stole it is all I am saying.

More than once over this past month your dad and I have remarked that you are no longer a 'newborn' but a real baby. Like, all baby like and all. You look older, and cuter, and pudgier. You have mastered grabbing, and in the last week you can remain sitting up unassisted and OH. MY. GOD. You got a tooth about 3 weeks ago! Sweet Pea! You got your first tooth! I am so proud of you! Seriously, your dad and I were totally proud of how advanced you are with the tooth thing...

(Except the teething is killing us. You didn't sleep all night for 3 nights in a row)...but your big gummy grin makes you look so much like your father when he smiles a big goofy smile, I have to laugh every time you do it.

Unfortunately for you, getting the tooth resulted in our inability to sleep in the same room with you any longer. Sleep deprivation was making everyone I had contact with at work want to kill me, so 4 days before your 5 month birthday, we put you in your crib...IN YOUR OWN ROOM! And can I just say that all that worrying I did over you being alone and lonely in your room was for nothing. If you could speak I swear you would have said "well thank god I don't have to share a room with you two anymore." You love your room and sleep through the night, once you finally go to sleep. I say "finally" because you have been hard to put down lately, but it isn't anything we can't handle. I hate to see you cry, so I rock you to sleep in my arms each night until you fall asleep before putting you to bed. You inevitably wake up once or twice within the next hour, and we repeat the rocking. I don't mind, I just can't let you cry ala the "Ferber Method"...oh well.

You have gotten very strong this month. You bounce like crazy in your jumper, and you love to stand up and sit up for long stretches. But you still have not rolled over. I asked the doctor last Friday about it, and she said you "weren't motivated" to roll, but you were very very strong. Despite putting toys just out of your reach, and practicing and praising you like crazy for rolling, you won't do it. It is a glimpse into your little personality. Your little stubborn streak. Although I have to say, I secretly suspect you have rolled over for one or both of your grandmothers, and they just don't have the heart to tell me.

You also started to eat cereal this month. GOOD LORD do you love the cereal. You would eat half a box if I let you. And we did give you peas once, which you loved...but in a stunningly great parenting move that will surely win us awards, we decided to forego giving you any more peas once we changed the peas diaper a few hours later. So it's just been cereal for now. You may be ready for peas, but your father and I are not ready for the (literal) fallout from such a milestone.

This month was a little hard because I have worked all month. I was just getting the hang of everything with you, when I had to go back a few days before your 4 month birthday. It has been hard, and tiring for me, but you have made it easier and less stressful each step of the way. You love being with your grandmothers, and clearly reward them with going down easily for naps and eating every 3 hours like clockwork. When I am with you Friday through Sunday, you eat irregularly (sometimes every 1 1/2 hours even) and rarely nap for very long. And save for the last few days that you have been in your crib, I have to admit that your sleeping habits have should I put this? Ummmm...sucked.

I am officially a working mom now, and I am dealing with the guilt and strain of that. The sheer amount of hours I have to put in at work and with you, in addition to all the pumping in the middle of the night, have left me bleary eyed tired on some days. And for most of the month I have been horribly sick (a cold which you gave me, might I add. You were over it in 3 days...I have had it for going on 3 weeks. Obviously I need to pull it together) but we have struggled through alright, and I think you still love me despite my absence.

As I write this I am at work. Taking a rare break to do this for you, even though I don't really have the time. I am making an effort to keep up this journal, keep doing the little things that moms do. I don't want you to miss out on anything because I work. I don't want you to feel the loss of anything because your mom has a busy job. So I take care of everything I still can for you. I bathe you even though your grandmothers would love to, I feed you cereal every night with your dad. I don't miss a night putting you to sleep, and when you wake, it is me who comes to get you. The thought of not being there when you need something, anything, is a weight that feels like it is crushing me. So I burn at both ends for you.

And I promise you that everything I do is for you. Every breath I take is for you, each waking moment that I am away from you my heart aches. And every moment that I am not at work, or making my way to you, I am with you. Holding you, playing with you, reading to you. Rocking you to sleep in my arms until your body goes limp, happy and safe and content in my arms each night. Picking you up each morning when you open your eyes.

I wish I could say I am doing all this for your sake alone, but really, it is for me. I am learning how to be away from you. To be a working mom. It isn't easy, and the guilt is almost as overwhelming as missing you is. But I will figure it out. I will learn to let go a little more, and you will be fine.

Right? You'll be fine won't you?

Just know that I love you more than there are stars in the heavens.



Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I spent the summer between college and law school interning for then Vice President, Al Gore. It was the summer of Monica Lewinsky so although I was supposed to work at the actual White House...when I showed up as a 22 year old brunette who was relatively attractive, I was banished to the Old Executive Building. Que Sera Sera.

I say all this to lay a foundation, which is that I got to meet the Vice President and the Clinton's at numerous events. I worked closely with people who worked closely with them...and I can tell you that whatever you think about the Clintons, when the dust settles, their policies and positions support the downtrodden, the poor, children, and those who usually don't get a voice. With regard to their policies, I have to say: They are the real deal. Truly.

She is a polarizing figure. But I don't really get why. She isn't a hateful person, she doesn't espouse hateful things. Why does she inspire so much hate then? No one has ever given me a good answer. My husband claims she is too harsh, too aggressive, that she is a political machine that runs down whoever is standing between her and the prize she covets.

Really? I asked for an example of something she did, that another candidate had not. I haven't heard one yet. And frankly, she may be aggressive. But she is a woman who has been the target of people out to literally destroy her and her husband for years. I think anyone attacked that way would come out swinging. The fact that she survives at all earns my respect. What has she done that is so hateful? What has she done to deserve it?

I voted for Obama. I voted that way because despite her obvious qualification for the job, despite having a daughter and wanting her to see a woman president, despite actually liking her, I think it is time to put the vitriolic politics to bed in this country. The thing is, she is a victim of this rather than a creator of it. She should be our next President. She has every right to it. But Obama represents a message of hope, one our country needs right now. He will be able to unite the country and gain back some of the shine we have lost under our current President. I agree with that, and it has been my husband's pitch for so long, that I finally caved into it.

So instead of building up and supporting a fellow woman, one that is qualified in any reasonable sense of the word, a woman whose policies mirror what is important to me; and instead of voting for a President that would help my daughter grow up never thinking twice about a woman as President...well I let my husband sway me a little. I voted for Obama.

When I stepped out of the booth last night after hitting that button, I looked down at her bright little face and couldn't help feeling that I had let her down. That we are letting our daughters down.