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Posts tagged ‘happiness’

6 months!

I can’t believe that we have had a baby for a whole half year.  I mean, I can believe it – I have the body, mindset, messy house, and exhaustion to prove it – but I can’t really believe how fast it has gone!  I love love love this age and am excited to see all that comes next (though I can’t say “can’t wait” because I could wait.  And stay in this lovely stage for a while longer.

Food

  • Describe what and how your child eats: We started solids in early January because K was showing such an interest in everything we were eating and was a good supported sitter.  We have been implementing a hybrid of baby-led weaning and I guess what you would call “traditional” weaning.  K has eaten primarily mashed varieties of foods that are still together enough to be “grabbable.”  We have gone step by step to introduce new vegetables and now some fruit, not for any strong reason, I don’t think, just made sense to us.  We started with mashed sweet potatoes, then moved to carrots, avocado, banana, and butternut squash.  K enjoyed all of the foods except the avocado, which she made faces about but continued to stuff into her mouth, albeit slowly and clearly with the hope that it would turn into something more palatable.  K struggled at first to use her hands to get the food to her mouth; when a spoon of food was offered, she figured out how to use her hand to sweep the food into her mouth when the spoon was held close.  She then preferred to be spoon fed for a while because it was way more efficient at getting the food into her; she would bang her tray to get more food (C yells “hit me!” when she does that).  We only offer the spoon sometimes and if she refuses in any way (including showing disinterest), we stop.  Now she can use a pre-loaded spoon and has also gotten significantly better at seeing the food, grabbing the food, and getting the food (mostly) to her mouth.   Dinners are a fun treat and it’s neat to see her developing a relationship with food.

   Nursing is still going well and pumping is going okay.  I pretty much have enough for her every day and despite    reaching the magical six months, I have not been able to add to my stash, which is at a low 20 ounces.  Which means I am pretty much constantly anxious about pumping (though still not always anxious enough to add more sessions, maybe because historically they have been fairly disappointing).  K is getting increasingly distracted during meal  times, which has made for some soreness as she pulls off and then goes right back on when whatever had her attention moves away (Wonderdog) or becomes less interesting.

Sleep

  • Where and how much does your child sleep? Still in the crib, still with the same routine, though lately she has been sleeping in her rocker because she has been congested and being upright seems to help.  K generally sleeps from around 8:30 pm until 8:00 am with at least two (sometimes three) night wakings (see below).  When she was feverish and very sick, I pulled her into bed with me, partly for her benefit but also, admittedly, largely for my own.  K takes naps during the day, though today she only took a 30 minute nap ALL DAY.  Thinking it might be a growth spurt??
  • Does your child have any sleep problems?  Not major ones.  She can go down awake some nights and gets back to sleep quickly in the middle of the night if she is nursed.  The bigger issue is that despite our attempts at a routine (same bedtime and almost same wake-up time daily), she has not gotten back into a predicitable night time pattern like she had when she was a newborn.  Some nights she has a midnight wake-up, some nights 1 am, some nights 2 am.  Some nights she wakes up more times, some nights fewer.  Definitely a challenge!

Physical Development and Health

  • What is your child’s current size/weight:  Don’t know – we go to the doctor next week.  It seems to us that she is in a lengthening phase again.
  • What about pee and poop? Her “poopy streak” from last month slowed down after the new year but we replaced that fun with solids.  Which has made for interesting cloth diapers (highly recommend a cloth diaper sprayer).  It’s not so terrible that I would give up cloth diapering, but it’s definitely not the easy dump-in-the-wet-bag-and-go that it once was.
  • How many teeth?  Still none (I’ve been predicting this for months now).  Not over-eager but am curious when they will come in.
  • What, if any, health issues are apparent: None.

Activity and Motor Development

  • Describe your child’s gross and fine motor skills (how she moves around, grabs things, etc.): K is officially a sitter.  We supervise closely because she does tumble over now and then, particularly if she is reaching for something, but overall she’s awesome at sitting and that has allowed us to play new games without extra “furniture” like  a bouncer.  What I’m noticing the most, though, is that K has moved this month from “sometimes-I-grab-things-and-it’s-surprising-and-fun” to “I-see-what-I-want-and-I’m-going-to-do-my-best-to-get-it.”  She has become so purposeful in her actions and it’s a real treat to watch her set her sights on something and go for it with fierce determination.  This focus has also been helpful at dinner time because K can now get her hands in her food and get the food to her face.  K is doing well with tummy time and can now scoot around in a circle on her tummy (she’s been doing that on her back for months).  She is highly focused on Wonderdog and will maneuver herself so she can see him.  She also has made attempts at moving herself forward but often ends up rolling over onto her back.  She can roll from back to front but usually doesn’t bother.  She has been able to hold her own bottle when C is feeding her.
  • What can your child do for himself? Feed herself!  So neat!  And grab things that she wants off of the ground (and bring them to her mouth).  Maneuever herself around a room at least to be able to see everything.

Language and Communication

  • Describe your child’s language abilities:  The singing in the car has died down, but consonant sounds have sprung up.  “Ba” “Da” and my favorite (of course) “Ma” which she sometimes says in succession “mama” though she has no idea what she is doing.  In the past couple days, she has been especially chatty and I love-love-love hearing her little voice try out new sounds.  We are also starting to do some basic sign language with her (“more” and “milk” to start) and she watches us, interested, when we use it.  Her cries have also changed and she now has quite a demanding cry when she wants something.

Social Development and Environment

  • Can your child follow simple directions? No, but I like to imagine she can.  Like when I said “High five” and she hit my hand or when I said “Can I have a hug” and she leaned into me.  She is starting to respond to her name more and more.
  • How does your child react to family outings and visitors? She pretty much likes everyone.  If it’s the evening and close to her bedtime, she sometimes gets a little fussy.
  • Does your child play with other children?  Same as last month, with the other children at daycare.
  • In what ways, if any, does your child behave aggressively toward you, his siblings, his playmates, or others?  She did grab my lip pretty ferociously this month, causing it to bleed 😉
  • Does your child have a strong preference for one parent? No?  She definitely knows who brings the milk (and in the middle of the night, if she’s fussing a little and I enter the room and get close to her, she begins wailing in a way that says “give. me. the. milk.”  She got super excited and flailed her arms today when she saw C at daycare.

Toys and Play

  • List your child’s favorite toys and describe how she plays with them: Probably one of her top favorites these days is tags on any of her stuffed animals or taggies.  But not the taggie tags, oh no.  She likes the REAL tags, will find them on any given toy, and stares at them like she’s looking at the materials.  And then, of course, mouths them.  She likes all of her various stuffed animals these days and her soft itsy bitsy spider book.  She really likes the red ring on her ring stack, which she grabs and shakes and mouths.  Much of her time with toys is spent passing them back and forth between her hands, mouthing them, and grabbing them when they get away from her.
  • What are your child’s favorite games? She likes peek-a-boo and all of the “in your face” kinds of games where she is surprised, just like last month.  She likes when we “eat” her neck, making nom-nom sounds.  She likes to clap, be bounced in the air, and to dance with me.  She likes to make sounds and have us make them back at her (she sometimes flails delightedly when we do this).
  • Does your child have a lovey? Not a particular one.  She snuggles with her various small stuffed toys, including a stuffed monkey from C’s dad and the stuffed dog I wrote about last month.

Feelings and Moods

  • Describe your child’s range of feelings (comfort, discomfort, pleasure, joy, anger, affection, fear, hostility, depression/sadness) and how she expresses them: More and more of them that are noticeable.  My favorite is what I guess you could call an anticipatory feeling.  The look on her face when she knows she is about to be tickled.  She has also gotten more demanding and has a very demanding cry when she is hungry or wants attention (one that is much less adorable than her newborn nyahnyah hungry cry).  Her pained cry, like if she is surprised in a not-so-happy way or if she gets hurt is the saddest sound still.
  • What is likely to upset your child?  Being hungry, sometimes being alone.  Sometimes tummy time or trying to get to something and not being able to do so.
  • Describe how your child copes with discomfort, frustration, or other distress: Crying, sucking on fingers, nursing.
  • What makes her feel better? Being picked up (sometimes), being talked to (sometimes), nursing (pretty much always)

Books

What books does your child enjoy? All of them!  The same books as last month.  She generally likes reading though she is definitely more and more distracted these days.

Highlight of the Month

The big highlight for me is having a more independent baby who is still so dependent.  That is, she can sit up, reach for things, look at things, interact, but she is still very much a cuddly, gummy, adorable baby.  I love watching how determined she gets and seeing her confidence grow.  I like when she first learns a new trick and then watching her remember the trick and make attempts to repeat it, with varying success.  I like seeing her try foods  and getting to see C interact with her while feeding her.   I wish everything in the world made her giggle, but I like that she has likes and dislikes and things that make her laugh and things that make her stare like “that’s not as funny as you think.”  I am really enjoying her excited flails, which are new for her and super adorable.

Probably my favorite moment from the whole month was when she said “mama” – and then did it again a few seconds later.  I was SO EXCITED, more than I imagined I would be.  Every time she accidentally stumbled across those syllables again, I am thrilled 🙂

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23 Weeks

I liked four months and five months is just as fun!

This week was New Years – relaxing – back to work – getting stuff down around the house and K was a champ through most of it.

We had our first real “baby makes us too tired to do much of anything” adventure on New Years Eve.  We usually cook a nice dinner and dessert but instead chose to cancel the festivities and head to my mom’s house instead, where we ate a really rich and delicious meal, followed by random cake that we had purchased.  We watched a tv show marathon before watching the ball drop – while K slept on my mom’s chest in another room, making my mom and dad the first to wish her a happy new year.

On Wednesday night, we introduced K to her first real food – mashed up sweet potato.  We had planned to wait until she was six months old, but she is currently able to sit on her own (with supervision) and has been showing interest in food for over a month (eating “imaginary food” whenever we eat).  We brought the high chair up from the basement, wiped it down, and sat her in it with toys while we made dinner.  We put the sweet potato right on the tray and let her play with it.  Well, let her look at us and play with her toys and the spoon we had given her, as she did not go for the food right away.  When she accidentally got some on her hands, hands went to mouth (as usual), and she ate!  And began sucking on her fingers like it was her job, as though more sweet potatoes would come from those fingers.  Two nights later, we tried again, and this time she was semi-interest but became more so when C put some of the sweet potatoes on a spoon and offered them to K (which was not how I had wanted to approach food but was a middle ground between force feeding and letting her get to the potatoes herself, which was difficult for her because her arms aren’t that long in the high chair).  Tonight, K ate with her fingers but then become fussy.  C offered her the spoon and K grabbed her arm, pulling the spoon to her mouth, where she used a finger to hook the food off the spoon and into her mouth.  She ate the whole couple tablespoons of sweet potatoes that way and only cried when C tried to put down the spoon at one point.

Besides the food, which has been fun, K has been pretty smiley and pretty giggly, both of which are great.  She has also been pretty awake in the middle of night (well, at least pretty-waking-up-multiple-times), leaving me pretty exhausted.  I think she is reverse cycling as she seems hungry in the middle of the night and has been taking less milk during the day.  I also seem to be producing less during the day which means my entire freezer stash is almost gone and I need to get serious about doing multiple and extra pumping sessions.  I had planned to pump more over the holidays but K’s sleep schedule changed and my normal high-yield pumping times became eating times for K.

After a chunk of time off with K, I was very sad to return to work.  It’s getting better already (because it has to and because there is something nice about working hard and playing (“playing”) hard), but I really miss our chunks of free time together.  Add to the mix that C was home with us for four days in a row and it was a sad night New Year’s Day night.

And as a final note and an aside, I’ve been following along with all of the various blogs and trying to comment here and there but also more exhausted than ever with K thanks to the weird sleep.

Second Post: Goodbye 2012 (22 weeks)

There is SO MUCH TO SAY with so little time to say it.

2012 was a fantastic year for us.  And a challenging year.

We spent just over the first half looking forward to the baby.  The first couple months included ongoing nausea and vomiting for me on an almost daily basis — it boggles my mind to imagine just how long I felt so bad.  We announced the baby to the world in February and all was well until March, when we had a scare that something very serious could be wrong.  Made it through that okay (and just in time for a trip to see family) and spent the next several months in high gear, preparing as much as we could for childbirth and the aftermath, getting the nursery together (building a closet! painting! hanging light fixtures!) as well as enjoying our time as a family of two + Wonderdog.  Despite super hot heat, swollen ankles, and fifty new pounds of weight, I thoroughly enjoyed the last weeks of my pregnancy and spent the day before giving birth on a walk, at a child’s birthday party in a park, and shopping.

The end of July brought the beginning of our new reality.  Labor was fast, intense, and unbelievable (I still marvel at times that that was me, that I was that pregnant, that I had the baby, and that I am a mother — STILL — I sometimes look at pictures in amazement, like it was a time from a different reality, which I suppose it was).  We had a hospital birth and outside of some trouble we all had sleeping, I found the hospital to be just fine and a nice break between the world that was and the world that was becoming.

When we got home on the very last day of July, we started a whole new set of adventures.  We functioned better than ever as a team – I would nurse, C would change diapers (and do so much more those first weeks – like pretty much everything while I got the hang of nursing).  We visited with families and introduced K to her world (and Wonderdog to K).  We made it from the hospital to home, from home to nearby places, from nearby places to distant places.  C went back to work after 6 amazing weeks, my relationship with the baby got deeper, and just before I went back to work, C officially adopted K so there is no doubt in anyone’s (legal) mind where K belongs.  K stared daycare and thrived and I returned to work and made the best of it, enjoying it some days, longing for my baby on others.  I contemplated nursing, working, marriage.

We celebrated the holidays, holding three of the four gatherings that we usually hold from mid-October until today (and we were grateful that we have held these gatherings so many times before that we were able to incorporate K in instead of  trying to create a gathering AND manage the baby).  We took our first set of flights with the baby and agreed that four months old was the perfect flying time.  I took tons and tons and tons of pictures and videos, recording each moment for K so that she can see herself with her family and see their love for her even if relationships change, even if people die.  She celebrated her first Christmas, opening presents if we tore a small piece for her.  I felt simultaneously happy and nostalgic, recognizing that these moments are so precious and so distinct from all the other moments we will have with K in her entire life.

Last night, rather than gathering with friends and preparing a large meal (and cleaning up after it) as we usually do, we ended up at my parent’s house, having an amazing meal, watching television, and just relaxing.  And it really was so relaxing.  When the ball dropped (which has never been such an amazing thing to C and I), K was in the den with her grandparents, asleep in grandma’s arms.  A good beginning to what will hopefully be a great year of growth, development, and discovery for us all.

14 Weeks / almost 100 days!

Not many earth-shattering updates this week.  K and I had our last day home alone together on Monday and ended up spending much of the day with C, who came home early due to some intense weather.  K got to spend her first Halloween with her cousin (she was a little jackolantern) as we visited a few houses in search of candy (because of a neighborhood event earlier in the week, only one house was giving anything, but that was okay for us!).  On Friday, we took K to the polls and voted, which was exciting for all of us (well, C and I mostly; K slept in the carrier throughout the hour and a half wait).  We spent time with friends Friday night, took a great walk together yesterday, and last night I went out for the first time on my own at night while C stayed home and had great success getting K to bed with the help of our bedtime routine (bath and books), a bottle, a swaddle, and some rocking.

K continues to be a “talking,” moving, happy baby.  We are having a little more trouble than usual getting her to bed lately but I think that’s because now that the seasons have changed and our room is so cold and so dark at night, I end up laying down to nurse her and we both get so warm and cozy that she especially does not want to leave.  C has come upstairs more than one night this week to find us both passed out asleep; on nights when we’re not asleep, she takes the baby and I end up falling asleep… and it. is. glorious.  So much for “adult time alone” in the evenings!  To be fair, though, I do wake up at least once, usually in the early morning, to feed the baby and I’m getting up before everyone so that I have time to pump and get ready for the day in the morning.

Speaking of pumping, this week went really really well.  Daycare did not need to use any of the frozen stash I had given them, my production was good when I pumped at work, and, since I’ve pumped this weekend, I am now ahead for the coming week.  The solution for me (so far) was being very consistent at work – not so much by pumping at the same time but by trying to pump the same number of times and trying to find an afternoon pumping session even if I was going to be the daycare pick-up person (because K tends to have a bottle about an hour before I get to daycare and then only nurses a little when I arrive / when she arrives home, so it seemed like wasted milk to not pump).  I also dropped the night pumping, which did not yield a whole lot, and added a morning pumping session between the early morning feed and the just-before-daycare feed.  Because it’s been cold and because it’s delicious, I’ve also been eating daily oatmeal, but I can’t say whether that’s done a lot or not.

Tummy time is going well – our daycare provider thinks she’s close to rolling and we see that, too, as she gets her body very high and really would only need to push off with one hand to accomplish the task. She is better than ever at grabbing for things and attempting to get them to her mouth though nine times out of ten she still only ends up with fist in her mouth.  She talks and smiles and still only sort-of laughs — I think we might have a bit of time before we get the baby giggle I’m so excited to hear.  She is significantly better at focusing on books and other objects (and when she and I read together I think about a support group we went to early on where a baby about her age now was so able to focus on a book her mother was holding… and thinking how nice that would be… and it IS nice!).  We are encouraging supported sitting and her balance gets better by the day.  Our biggest challenge these days tends to be keeping her entertained as she does get bored fairly easily (though even that is getting better as she is figuring out new ways to explore the world).

Just shy of 100 days in, I can say that we have officially left the “fourth trimester” behind, that we have an infant rather than a newborn, and that I am loving most moments of parenthood.  K is a delight to watch learn and grow and I can’t wait to see what fun things she’ll do next!

12 Weeks Old

And I’m finally really feeling like that time has passed (instead of asking “where in the world did it go?”)  It seems… right… that we have an almost three month old.

This was a BIG week for K, as it was the week that I went back to work and she started at daycare.  We are lucky to have a prior relationship with our daycare provider and to trust her as much as you can trust someone else watching your child, so we were off to a great start.  K seems to be doing well on her daycare days (only three days a week) and our evenings following daycare have been SUPER pleasant, which is a happy surprise for us as we are used to grumpier evenings.  Seems the stimulation of the daycare environment is working out for her!  We are also happy because she gets to spend time with our friend’s child and said child has been working hard at her “big cousin” role and is already quite protective of K, apparently insistently telling our provider (her grandmother) to take care of the baby whenever the baby cries.

K is meeting more and more milestones each day.  We have had more laughs – including the laugh we are calling her first “real laugh” as it went beyond the heh-heh sounds she’s been making for weeks.  She is also “talking” to us quite a bit and I absolutely delight in the moments when she seems to make one long continuous babbling sound, complete with changes in pitch.  She shows more recognition of both of us.  She has also really gotten into grabbing and holding her toys on her playmat and attempts to bring them to her mouth; sadly, their position above her head mean that she pulls until they fly out of her hand and she ends up with her fist in her mouth, which seems to be an acceptable consolation prize nine out of ten times.  Her favorite song right now is “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” particularly the part where we do “all three.”  She has pretty good neck control, is capable of lifting her head off the ground for many many seconds, and at times can sit with less support, though of course she still needs a lot of it!  She is a master at scooting herself around on her back and has managed to get herself off of her playmat more than once (one time getting off the playmat, next to it, and in the opposite direction from her original direction – impressive!)

I am amazed at how much more capable she is of self-soothing and how much easier it is to get things done around the house, even with less time at home.  She is content to be by herself for longer and longer stretches, provided she has some form of entertainment, which can be as simple as watching us move around the house.  She is also calmer in the car these days (we went through a period where she would fuss and yes, scream, within minutes of the ride beginning) and is more consistently quite enjoyable to be around.

Sleep is still going well, though K is waking up once in the morning (before 7 am) since I’ve been back to work.  I generally enjoy that “middle of the night” time with her, though I am grateful that we’ve limited it to one wake up session thus far.  Swaddling continues to be our most effective sleep aid, though K does not immediately wake up when she becomes unswaddled and in the middle of the night I can put her back down even if her arms are free.  Nursing is also going well and pumping is going fairly well though my child is eating like it’s her job at daycare and I am working on increasing pumping sessions to meet her demand.    More on that later this week, I think.

Outside of daycare, fun adventures this week included going to the nursery, going to the pumpkin farm, and hosting a party, in addition to going to a beautiful state park today to soak up some gorgeous fall weather.  K loves being outside and especially loves looking up at trees.  She is not a fan of the sun in her face or too much wind.  I hope to get outside a lot more in the coming weeks before it gets too miserably cold for any of us… we can all use that time!

So we come to the end of K’s fourth trimester and look ahead to a wonderful future with her.  I am grateful for all of the time we’ve been able to spend together and for our little family and I must say, despite my concerns about bonding early on, I am quite content enamored with this little being.  She’s pretty wonderful and is definitely making our lives a better place to be!

 

Then and Now

Being back at work this week I was incredibly struck by the difference between almost-40-week-pregnant me and mother of an almost-12-week-old me.

It was like time stood still, even as it clearly moved forward.

I was struck by the e-mails I received both in the week before I had the baby and in the week that followed.  The week before, I am a part of those e-mails, making plans and scheduling meetings like I’m not about to have a baby (the magic of not knowing when the baby will come).  I am full steam ahead because there was no way to plan to NOT be full steam ahead.   I remember the last midwife appointment, the Thursday before I gave birth.  Life was the same as it was the day before and as it would be the day after, moving along toward birth. The week after K was born, work life chugged along without me and I am absent from the conversations and decisions.  It is strange to me to think about life just continuing along while I was getting to know an entire new person who had just arrived in the world.  Not that it shouldn’t have, but finding a pile of unread interdepartmental mail in my mailbox that was important but is no longer relevant was slightly jarring.

I was struck by the changes that have not been made, some of which are pretty major, and the changes which have been made, many of which are pretty minor.  There are different paint colors.  A new cafe for employees.  Changes in decor.  I left and it was the middle of summer and there was summer decor.  Now it is fall and there are gourds and pumpkins and fall colors.  Experiencing the change without seeing the transition is strange.

I was struck by the changes in my body.  My building has tons of windows and I spent my entire pregnancy watching my reflection as I grew from I-have-a-secret-that-no-one-knows to wow-you-are-so-big-shouldn’t-you-have-had-the-baby-by-now.  And to see myself first last week, with the baby in the carrier strapped to my chest, and then this week, with my stomach way down, was not surprising but was interesting.

I feel like an entirely different person since K was born.  And yet, at work, I’m expected to be very much the same person, at least professionally.  I am pleased that I still feel interest in my job, that I feel incredibly competent and ready to take on big challenges.  But I also feel separate, different, as I have this connection to this little person that no one else at my job has (with my little person, anyway).  I am not constantly thinking / worrying about K, thankfully, but I am constantly and forever attached to her and I feel that attachment throughout the day, pulling at my heart.  And getting these glimpses of who I was, even twelve weeks ago as I sat watching the Olympics and feeling K move around like it was her job, is so mind-bending.  I knew I had no idea how I would feel or who I would be and really, I had no idea.

The concept of a world without K is hard for me to fathom, despite all the evidence that it did actually exist.  Not so much imagining a time before she existed outside of me – that’s easy to remember when I’m woken up in the middle of the night or I’m driving across town to daycare, extending my drive home by an hour – but imagining a me before I fully knew all the wonder that is her.

 

9 Weeks (+1 day) or 2 months (+ 2 days)

9 weeks is a super delightful time!  K’s level of interaction continues to increase daily.  Morning is her favorite time, the time of day when I’m most likely to elicit the most smiles with the least amount of work.  She actively moves her head and eyes to follow C and I as we walk around the house or leave her in the arms of someone else.  She appears sort of excitedly knowing when I begin some songs (itsy bitsy spider is one such song) and seems to anticipate the fun of those songs.  K is significantly better able to hang out independently, which is a relief as we consider that daycare will begin in just a few weeks.  Her favorites around the house are her light up kitty on her playmat, the six panes of glass in our door, a painting on the wall, the giraffe hanging on her comforter on the wall, and her sensory firefly.  She also loves being outside and looking up at the sky and trees.  Neck control is better by the day and most evident when we practice “sitting” or have tummy time.

Nursing and sleeping keep going well and I doubt I’ll continue to comment on them in any extensive manner unless something changes.  While K spends most nights sleeping peacefully for many hours, we did have an every two or three hour wake up night last night.  I’ve gotten the hang of nursing in the dark and, as K is more efficient and I am more tired these days, I stay half asleep through the feedings (instead of reading).  She continues to nap daily in her swing and nightly in her bassinet and we can sometimes put her down half-awake and let her fall asleep (though we sometimes are on team cuddle – this time doesn’t last forever!).  I enjoy our nursing sessions, especially those in the morning when I bring her into bed with me and we snuggle (though I never sleep as well after that, making me glad that we don’t bedshare overall).

We are slowly preparing for K to be away from me.  I had two appointments last week, leaving her home with my mom for one and C for another.  I had another appointment today and she stayed with my mom for three hours (and took two bottles, 3 ounces overall).  While these times away do allow K to be with others (particularly my mom, who will be watching her each week), I don’t think that they are really fully preparing me for the challenge of returning to work.  I will say that it was marginally easier to leave her this week after last week went so smoothly.  I also will say that a part of my brain is consistently thinking about her, wondering what she is doing, and often imagining that she is doing many more amazing things than she actually is.  And while it is very hard to leave her, reuniting is very sweet and I definitely saw recognition and happiness in K’s face when I started a nursing session with her after arriving home.

Speaking of work, a part of me is definitely beginning to mentally prepare as these final days of leave wind down (the turn of the calendar to October, the first month I will be working since July, has jumpstarted some of this).  I am allowing myself to be excited about various work opportunities and interests and pushing down guilty feelings brought on by half of everything I read about the best way to parent.  I am accepting that both of us working is our reality (even though I say at least once daily that I don’t want to return) and that providing for our family is very important.  I am also reminding myself that I am very much an invested parent who will be spending lots of real quality time with K when she and I are together and that that kind of investment, while not the same as 24/7 care, is going to be amazing for K and me.

C and I are doing well and I can’t say how grateful I am that she is such an amazing partner and co-parent.  We’ve had a couple hard moments, but no more (and actually probably fewer) than the moments we had before the baby was born.  We tag team well (always have) and C comes home from full, stressful days at work and jumps right into baby care so that I can get other things done around the house or take a break.  We switch off throughout the evening and end the night with bath and book (usually) and bed.  I feel like having so much to do during the days has made our alone time without the baby that much more fruitful and important and I have loved some of the great conversations we’ve been having about all kinds of things.

Even as I look back at the past nine weeks wistfully (and shocked at how big my baby is getting!), I am very excited about the coming days and months and anticipating the kind of child, teenager, woman my baby will become.