Thursday, November 29, 2012

Maternity Leave

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Janna who was only going to take six weeks off after the birth of her first child.  In fact, she was willing to go back to work after only three or four weeks if circumstances necessitated it.

It's been eight, almost nine weeks now.

And she still doesn't really *want* to go back.


It's not that I don't want to go back to work per se.  It's more that our original plan - for me to work just enough to keep my benefits - is incompatible with Chris's work schedule (new as of mid-October).  He's gone from 6am - 8pm, Monday through Saturday.  Ergo, we'd have to get a babysitter for two of my three requisite (to keep benefits) shifts, and that's assuming I want to work on Chris's one day off.  Which I don't.

We went back and forth on what to do about this dilemma.  It's not necessary financially or insurance-ly for me to be working, since Chris has benefits through his job and works more hours than both of us used to work combined.  However, it's costruction.  Getting laid off, even temporarily, isn't a matter of "if" so much as it is "when."  Trader Joe's doesn't pay enough for us to live on long-term, but it's absolutely enough to put gas in the cars and groceries in the fridge for a few weeks or a month at a time.  So I'm going back at twelve weeks part-time.

Extreeeemely part time,  Like, one shift a week part time.  I'll probably go back up to three shifts once Chris is working forty hours (as opposed to seventy) a week, but for now I'm going to be a few hours a week from being a stay at home mom.

Crazy, right?

I'm typing this with Levi sleeping next to me, and I can honestly say that while my social life is pretty limited these days, I have a hard time being away from him for more than a few hours.  One shift a week should be just enough to keep me from vanishing down the rabbit hole of home life...and honestly, I miss my coworkers!  I don't miss every day and certainly don't miss working full time, but it will be fun to catch up with all the customers who got to watch my belly grow from January through the end of September.  And now I have baby pictures to show off!

Broccoli Soup

Now that I'm starting to get the hang of parenting (and that Levi's starting to nap during the day), I'm starting to cook again.  I made great strides in the kitchen while pregnant and not working much, and they were put on hold for the first month and a half of parenthood.  I was lucky if I managed to keep edible things in the house (as opposed to just getting carryout) and there was much re-wearing of previously worn clothing.  ANYWAY...

Broccoli soup, so easy that even I can make it from this 'recipe'

(copied verbatim from Momfilter)
Ariel’s Broccoli Soup
Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 large carrot in butter and a bit of olive oil
Add peeled potatoes that are quartered or eighthed depending on size of potato, resulting in 2 cups of chopped potatoes
Add broccoli florets and cauliflower if you like, loads of them
Add good quality vegetable stock 
Top up with water so all ingredients are submerged
Add salt, pepper and a touch of cumin
Simmer for 20 minutes
Puree in food processor
Serve with grated parmesan or cheddar on top

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    I'm back!

    It's been awhile.

    Levi turned a month old on Tuesday (or Sunday, if you consider 'four weeks' a month).  It's been good...not easy, but good.  My mom was here for the first two weeks, and Chris went back to work after a month and a half off a few days later.  I may or may not have cried for about four days straight (placental encapsulation sort of saved the day...perhaps I'll blog about that someday!).  But we got through it.

    Breastfeeding (yes, I'm breastfeeding, and doing so happily) is going incredibly well - Levi gained 2.5lbs and grew 2" in his first month of life.  He's still a little munchkin, but he's outgrown his NB - sized clothing and is about to outgrow his NB diaper wraps too.  A trip to Modern Natural Baby is in order in the next few days, so we can continue to cloth diaper successfully.  We've been using entirely too many disposable diapers lately (errands, combined with the inconvenience of stuffing a bulky cloth prefold into an almost-too-small wrap).  And while I'm not getting as much sleep as I'd like, he wakes up consistently at 2:30 and 4:30 to eat if we put him to bed between 11pm and midnight.  I can't really complain...he's just shy of five weeks old, and he gets hungry/poopy/lonely often and easily.

    Levi's about to wake up, but I'll leave you with one thought (to be expounded upon later).  It seems like a lot of women on the BabyCenter October 2012 birth forum are asking "when do things get easier?" or something along those lines.  The first month of life is frustrating, exhausting, and sometimes miserable.  I don't claim to have had a rough run of it by any means, but I've had my struggles.

    I realized today as I was putting the third load of laundry of the day in the washer (after cleaning the bathroom for the first time since Levi's birth) that the answer to the above question is "Today!"  And "Yesterday!"  Also, "Tomorrow!"  I may not have realized that yesterday was the day that things started getting easier yesterday, and may not realize that things got easier today until next month, but every day is progress in the right direction at this point.  Today is the day that I was able to take Levi out for three hours without a peep from him.  Yesterday was the day we figured out that cloth diapers are easier on his skin (after a few days of mostly disposables).  They're small things, but they add up.

    Maybe your kiddo's been screaming for three days straight, but today you figured out that he only likes Soothies pacifiers.  Perhaps yesterday was the day you got up the courage to tell your MIL that you, not she, is the mother of your daughter.  Tomorrow might be the day you and your son figure out a latch that works for breastfeeding comfortably and successfully - or it might be the day you decide that formula would be best for your sanity and your baby's growth.  I don't know what's going on in your house - my point is that progress is a continual parade of tiny, tiny steps.

    But hey - I'll take it!

    Pictures, for those who are interested.

    Levi and Chris

    Sometimes, a screaming baby can be absolutely adorable

    And the first smile caught on film (er, 'imaginary film').  He was awake for this, but his eyes were closed at the moment I managed to snap the picture.