2 Full time working parents, a commuter marriage, and a sick kid

I know it’s been a long while since I last posted.  Baby Groot is growing like a weed…or tree root (ha ha, see what I did there??)  At his 4 month check up, he was measuring in the 2nd percentile weight.  He had only gained like a pound since his 2 month check up.  Woops.  Doc said “maybe feed him more.”  So I did.  And he gained weight!  It’s hard when you’re breastfeeding, you just have no idea how much little guy is actually getting, and you hope it’s enough.  So, I supplemented with formula, and now we’re healthy as can be.

I stopped breastfeeding around the new year.  I just stopped producing like I was earlier, and it was just getting a little ridiculous to breastfeed, then offer a bottle, every single time, and also pump at work (which wasn’t horrible, thankfully we have an empty office to use, but it’s just so awkward).  I sort of felt like I had something to prove to myself, like, I can breastfeed as long as anyone else, so it was a little hard to quit.  Honestly, it was more of a competition thing (and free food) in my mind than the added nutrition.  And the convenience of not having to make a bottle in the middle of the night.  Yes, breast is best, whatever.  But my baby weighs a normal weight now, so there’s that.

So there’s my quick update on the little guy.  Cutest thing you’ve ever seen too.  Although, I often wonder if I’m just being biased and people are just being nice when they say he’s cute.

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Anyway…on to my first woes as a working parent.  First off, let me preface this by saying I enjoy being a working parent.  Baby, Bastion, and I have our little routine down during the week when daddy isn’t here.  I like that he gets all the care and activity and socializing at daycare while I still get to enjoy my career.  And then in the evenings, it’s all cuddles while still doing all the stuff I have to do, like clean, make and eat dinner, laundry, and preparing everything for the next day.  It’s just a really great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

OK, back to the dilemma.  Daycare called me yesterday saying that Baby had a temperature and that I needed to come get him.  Actually, they told me he had a temperature and I asked if I had to come get him.  I always feel like I sound like a horrible mother when I ask that, like I don’t care or something, but seriously, will he be OK for a few hours??  I assumed he had a temperature because he’s teething, but he felt super warm when I picked him up, so I decided to take him to the doctor to be on the safe side.  Poor guy had a temp of 102.7 and ear infections in both ears.  No flu though, thank goodness.  So now, Baby can’t go back to daycare until he’s been fever free for 24 hours.  Sooo, what does a working mom with a husband that lives 2 hours away do???

Thankfully, the husband agreed to come and watch the poor thing today while I went into work.  But who knows what’s going to happen after this.  Baby still has a fever, so he’s not going back to daycare anytime soon.  We both still have to work, but luckily we both work for pretty understanding companies.  Turns out it’s hard to work full time, have a baby, no family close by, and your husband lives 2 hours away.  Actually, it hasn’t been terrible and we’ve made it work.  This is just the first time a wrench was thrown into our system!

Update:  At home on a Thursday afternoon and this is what my living room currently looks like…

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Home with baby

Turns out caring for a baby is hard.  And not for the reasons you probably think I’m going to say.  Yes, there are a lot of diapers, crying, sleepless nights.  Yes, caring for another human being is a huge responsibility.  Yes, it might have been especially hard for me because after the second week, my husband wasn’t there half the week.  He didn’t just leave for work early and come home late.  Since he works 2 hours away, he had to leave us Tuesday morning to Thursday night (and he hated it just as much as we did).  I expected all these things though.  I already knew babies were hard work.  And I already anticipated my husband not being able to be with us every night.  What I did not anticipate was the emotional toll this baby would have on me. It’s really hard to have something depend on you 100%.  Taking care of my baby made me feel like I was losing a little bit of myself.  Losing my identity.  I was no longer wife, daughter, engineer.  I was only “mom” and I didn’t know how to handle it.  I was also nursing and that was horrible.  Sometimes little guy would need to be nursed for up to 2 hours, which gets tough when they’re supposed to eat every 2-3 hours.  And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t getting enough to eat a lot of the times.  Breastfeeding is especially hard for a numbers person like me I think.  I want to know exactly how much baby is eating and there’s just no way to know that when you’re breastfeeding.  Unless you exclusively pump, which I thought about, but stubbornly decided to nurse and only pump when I needed to.  The nursing, being alone for 3 days a week straight, it all started to take its toll.

I loved when friends came to visit, but would also be very anxious about his feeding schedule at the same time.  Is baby going to want to eat when my friend gets here?  And how long is he going to want to eat if he does?  Will my friend care if I feed my baby while they’re here??  Adult interaction was key to survival during my maternity leave.  That, and just being able to get out of the house.  I would strap baby to me in his carrier and go for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog.  I think all three of us appreciated it.

My other escape was TV.  Television has always been an escape for me.  Maybe why I love it so much.  In one hour I can travel to far away planets with The Doctor, pretend I’m high society with the gang from Gossip Girl, fight demons with Sam and Dean, help take care of the Gallagher kids and yell at Fiona’s bad decisions on Shameless.  I did all those things while on maternity leave and I think it kept me sane.  Not trying to brag or anything, but I made it through 5 seasons of Shameless, all 121 episodes of Gossip Girl, 3 seasons of Suits, and 2 seasons of Supernatural in 8 weeks.

When baby was a week old, the family ventured to Costco.  When baby was 2 weeks old, I decided it was time for him to meet my coworkers, so I took him into my office to meet some people.  When baby was a month old, we traveled 12 hours to New Hampshire for a family reunion.  Nothing was keeping mama and baby from leaving the house.  Like I mentioned above, it was needed for survival.  Dad had a conference in Las Vegas to go to when we got back from New Hampshire.  He was gone for 6 days straight.  6 days!!!  It was a little tough, all that time alone with baby.  Before I met J, I had considered having a baby on my own, just because being a mom was something I wanted so bad. I wouldn’t have been anytime soon, but it was something I was seriously starting to consider because I was almost 30 without even a boyfriend.  Thank the good Lord J came around!  I can’t even imagine doing this all by myself.

Baby is almost 3 months now.  Feedings are so much quicker.  I’ve been back at work for almost a month and feeling more normal because of it.  The first 3 weeks of work, my Manang (see my Mother’s Day post) stayed with me and helped.  She was a Godsend, to say the least.  Not only did she care for baby, she deep cleaned the house from top to bottom!  And I didn’t even ask her to!  It was weird coming home and the t-shirt I slept in that I just threw on the floor that morning was no longer on the floor!  Then I started to stress out, the thought of taking care of a crying baby, AND getting lunches and dinners together, as well as cleaning and sterilizing pump parts and bottles, all by my lonesome, made me cry some nights.  Manang was so good at tending to baby while I took care of everything else.  But, the first week without Manang is now passed and we survived.  An unintended side effect to parenting alone is that I somehow became productive and organized.  And I now eat dinner before 9pm and sleep before midnight.  Weird!

Baby seems to like daycare, and let’s be honest, he’s doing way more in daycare than he would be if he was home with me.  We would probably just watch TV all day.  And now that he doesn’t watch any during the day anymore, I don’t feel so bad plopping him in front of it at night for a little bit.  It’s our bonding time 🙂  Call me a bad mom, but I know it’s just the lights he’s interested in.  The first daycare drop-off wasn’t the traumatic experience I’ve heard many talk about (traumatic for mom, not baby.)  I felt a little guilty for a second, like I was supposed to have some sort of break down, but I realized that just because I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I love him any less.  I love my little guy.  I mean, how can I not – he’s the cutest baby in the history of babies.

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I’m pretty sure he’s like the smartest and strongest also.