Friday, April 22, 2011

Pardon me, do you have the time?

Part time, that is.

Two posts in a row. Well, in a week anyways.

Hello again, blogosphere. I'm back.

You've missed out on so much this year, but I'm finally catching up to 2011, and one of the reasons I'm starting to get my sea legs is that I made a large and life changing decision: I'm working part time! It is glorious and I am thrilled.

You'll remember I was pretty bummed out about my maternity leave coming to an end. Part of it was that I didn't want to leave The Cupcake, but truth be told the main reason was I just could not imagine how I would add 40 hours a week of work and a few more of commuting on top of my already exhausted list of burdens and not somehow short circuit. It didn't help that I had marked the WRONG DATE on my calendar and realized somewhere around then that I actually had to return to work a full week earlier than I had expected (sleep deprivation messes with your math skills apparently). I was devastated.

But what could I do? If I hadn't returned to work my benefits could have been retroactively ended on the last day I attended work - meaning I'd owe some big $$ for the small paid part of my leave, the sick time that was paid out, and all of the insurance coverage over those three months. That was simply not an option. Luckily we had the BEST POSSIBLE childcare arrangement, GrammyCupcake (my mother) would come and tend to the kid right here in her own home, where she would receive more attention and love and kisses than even I could bestow on her in a day. She'd carpool with GrandaddyCupcake who happens to work close to my home, and that way I'd know she'd be on time and everything :)

So when my last days of leave were crossed off the calendar I dried my eyes, bought a couple pairs of new pants (yay for breastfeeding weight loss), and jumped back in to showering and getting dressed in the mornings. Whoa.

Actually, the mornings went pretty well, we had already been waking around 6am for pumping/feeding time, and TC had just started being able to entertain herself long enough for me to go to the bathroom or brush my teeth without her screaming bloody murder. She even enjoyed chillin' in her Boppy in the bathroom while I showered, she just loves herself some warm steamy time.

So GrammyCupcake came and loved up the little one. And I headed back to see what had happened in my 12 weeks off. I expected a giant pile of work to catch up on.

And that lasted about 12 minutes. And then I was bored again.

This is a problem that some people just can't related to. I know, I know, I should be happy to have a great non-taxing job, lots of people would love to be paid for being bored all day.

I'm not one of them.

I try. But it's not very compatible with my personality. I keep thinking about all of the "important" things I'm missing and the anxiety builds. It was peaceful to be back, that was for sure, almost eerily calm. I almost felt like the sad lone survivors in zombie or outbreak movies who walk out their front door expecting the hustle and bustle of the world and find it is suddenly still and silent.

It was definitely silent. And I could eat. With both hands. And go to the bathroom, whenever I wanted. And did I mention eat? Because eventually that will come around to bite me in my once-shrinking @$$ for sure. And the silence? Yeah, I had to physically assault myself to keep from falling asleep. Because, in case you remember, I was exhausted. And despite all the craziness of having an infant at home, at least when I was home all day (in my pajamas)there was likely some point at which The Cupcake would fall asleep for a short period, and because the only place she would do so was pretty much in my arms, it meant that I was used to conking out for that short time as well. And suddenly that option was off the table. And it was very difficult.

And I made it about a week before I cracked and asked my bosses if it was possible to cut down to part time. I was pretty uncertain about the option being accepted for a long and myriad list of reasons, but somehow everything went through perfectly, and a couple weeks later I was back to PJs 2 days a week. Two glorious wonderful days, and that means I only ever really work 1 day at a shot. Even if it's the longest day in the history of time (most of them feel that way), I already know that once I'm done, I have the whole next day "off" to recover.

And being at home has gotten SO much more livable now as well. TC sometimes naps, during which time I accomplish all matter of other things like house work and even a few craft projects. The other day I actually cleaned the bathroom and washed a wall in the entryway, things I never could have gotten to if I had been working full time. Everything feels much more manageable now.

Maybe even blogging :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream...

I was a sleepy baby, or so I'm told. While I can't vouch for the accuracy of the legends, I've been told that my mother went as far as to wake me up as an infant for visitors who swore that all I did was sleep. I've always enjoyed sleeping, and it was not uncommon for me to get 10 hours of sleep a night before I got pregnant.

Lord how the world changes.

I went into labor in the evening and despite the best efforts of my nurse, I didn't sleep a wink that night. Despite sending the kid to the nursery during our hospital stay, I never got more than 15 minutes of sleep in a row, and our first night home was completely awful, especially since we had to be back at the pediatrician the net morning. I don't believe I slept a wink. That meant from Monday - Friday I was operating on less than 5 hours of sleep, TOTAL. On the way home from the doctor, while sitting in the back seat next to the carseat, I had a conversation that didn't exist, and not just talking to a baby who couldn't talk back, I was hallucinating.

I completely understand how sleep deprivation is an effective torture technique.

The Cupcake is 3 1/2 months old, and this is a delightful age. It's a hopeful age. For me, I feel hopeful. I feel so much better than I did in those first two months, when everything was hard and frustrating and potentially impossible, when I was so entirely exhausted that I wondered each and every day if the lack of sleep would just erode my sanity completely like water carving canyons and valleys out of rock.

When The Cupcake sleeps, everything seems possible again. The night before last, she slept from 5:30pm until 8 the next morning with just a few sleepy bottles in between. At first I held her and watched TV, checked my email. Then as the hours added up I started to poke her and study her, feel her temperature, contemplate what was surely wrong...but she was just very peaceful. At 11 the hubby and I woke her up completely to re dress and swaddle her for the night, and she cooed and sang and smiled like never before. She was utterly delightful, and then went right back to sleep. And I did the same. And it was wonderful.

And it made all the difference in the world.

Yesterday all things seemed achievable. I must have slept for 7-8 hours, not straight through the night but with short enough breaks that I felt almost rested in the morning. And the idea of feeling rested was energizing in itself. I awoke re-calibrated to my life, and somehow, the kid was STILL in a great mood. She lounged in her swing while I loaded the dishwasher, watched and cooed as I cleaned the bathroom, listened to the dishwasher swish while I folded laundry...

It may have been a very isolated incident, and indeed last night TC was much more fitful, fighting sleep until she melted down in tears and frustration sometime after 10, and she woke up three times between midnight and 4am, but just the idea...the experience...the light up ahead...

It's the same feeling I had when I attempted my first post-partum craft project. Cupcake was snoozing in her swing, and I attempted to cut out pieces for some paper crafted invitations. When I had finished, she was still asleep, so I started to assemble one...two...forty-three...and then I jumped for joy because for a while there I thought I might never get to finish another project again, heck, I might never clean off the dining room table again, and here I had sat down and done crafts. Awesome ones that I can't wait to share next month after the bridal shower, so I don't ruin any surprises.

So much has happened in the past 3 1/2 months. Every time I bend over I get excited at how easy it is to squat and reach my feet now, compared with the chore of late pregnancy. I can put away groceries and not have to be helped back up from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. That's not the only thing that has gotten easier. Not only did I lose all of the limited baby weight I gained, but I'm down nearly 20lbs more (thank you breastpumping) and all of my clothes are falling off, including my wedding ring. What a delightful problem to have, one to be solved with a shopping spree eventually. Speaking of pumping (long story short: Cupcake wouldn't play along with breastfeeding, and after listening to everyone and their mother tell me what I "HAD" to do in order to raise a happy healthy daughter, I did what MY mom told me - "whatever works for you." So Cupcake is getting breastmilk, just not from the tap), operations at the dairy are almost old hat. I'm only chained to THE MACHINE 5 times a day now, and at work it's even a nice break - I look forward to sitting down in solitude with my Kindle for those two 20 minute stretches. My emotions are still slightly wacky, and I may have teared up this week while reading cards at Walgreens AND Tina Fey excerpts on Facebook, and let's not even discuss how I react to diaper commercials like the Pampers one about new moms...but I'm starting to get it.

Or at least believe that I will, eventually.

We even packed up our bags and went out to LUNCH yesterday with Dad/Grandpa, and babies + restaurants = MAJOR ANXIETY for me, so that was a HUGE step, my first time taking her to a restaurant all by myself and on purpose, and she was a perfect peach the entire time.

I have stories to share. I've probably forgotten more of them than I'll remember already, but I'll get back to it.

Someday she'll sleep through the night for real. Someday she'll even do it in her crib, and maybe I'll go back to sleeping in my own bed. And she will continue to smile and coo and laugh, and one day she'll talk and tell me what a great job I'm doing and thank you so much for all of the effort...

Or maybe not.

But she will sleep. And I will sleep. And that will heal so many things.