Baby’s first cold

We lasted just under three months. My poor dumpling.

It was the introduction to daycare, of course. We weren’t overly cautious with him as a newborn – we’ve been taking him to restaurants and stores since he was just a couple of weeks old – but we did always take precautions like covering his car seat and staying away from huge crowds. By his last day at the original daycare however, he already had some nasal congestion and we’ve gone downhill since.

We’ve been really lucky in that, so far, it hasn’t seemed to affect his temperament or sleep. He coughs at night but it doesn’t really appear to wake him. For the first time I have zero guilt about him being in his Rock N Play still because the incline is undoubtedly helping him sleep better at night. He’s his usual happy self during the day, although he does appear annoyed at all the coughing (not that I can blame him!). He hasn’t run a fever so far. All really good signs that he truly is battling just the common cold because, oh my, is it ever hard to listen to your baby cough and hack. He’s so young and his lungs are just so tiny! Poor dumpling.

He passed it to me, of course. There’s only so much my immune system can do when it’s being constantly bombarded by the germy little guy. What can I say? He likes to sneeze and cough on me as he’s nursing. So we’re both a little miserable and phlegm-y. It’s quite the cold because I have been fighting it for a week and a half with minimal improvement. Texas isn’t helping because the weather can’t decide which season we should be in today. Monday was spring with highs in the upper 70’s. Today’s back to winter with cold winds and a high in the low 50’s.

So yeah, send us get well wishes! And tissues because we are fresh out.

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Back in the Saddle Again

I’m back! (cue Steven Tyler mic tip and hair flip)

Welp folks. My maternity leave has officially ended. I am on my third day of being a working mom. I think it’s going pretty well. It’s nice to be back at my job, using my brain for things other than keeping track of how long it’s been since the dumpling has slept. Though it’s a little dusty up there, I’m pleased to report that I do remember financial terms and can still label a balance sheet! Back in October, this time seemed like an eternity away. When the newborn days hit us hard, January seemed like it would never arrive. And now we’re here. That chapter has closed.

Three days in and all I have to say is whew! There’s just so much to remember to get the dumpling and myself out the door every morning. Milk. Lunch bag. Computer bag. Diaper bag. Pump. Pump parts. Seriously – did you pack the pump parts??? (A crucial piece that I forgot yesterday and had to turn around and drive all the way back home for.)

I have a pretty great arrangement with work. If you’ll remember (waaaaaay back at the beginning of my pregnancy), I worked out an arrangement that I would work from home part time. Today is the first day of that and I think I’m really going to like it. Mornings are a lot smoother when I’m not as concerned about getting myself out the door to go downtown. I can also pump while working, which is very convenient as I’ve already seen why working and pumping moms often stop pumping. It’s just such a nuisance. Yes, I know you’re providing sustenance for your child. Woo! But it also means 20 to 30 minutes (every three hours or so), locked in a room at work, feeling weird because you’re shirtless. It means interrupting conversations and meetings because you’re boobs are full. Or not interrupting conversations and meetings and then realizing that it’s 3pm and you’ve only pumped once. It means stopping what you’re doing right now because you’re already behind on your pumping schedule. Since I’m working from home most of the week, I think I’ll be more likely to keep up with pumping as it’s just my conversations with Jas that might get interrupted. (And who are we kidding, she’s a cat… she’s probably happy that I stopped talking to her and left her to nap in peace.)

We did change daycares. I feel pretty good about the new place so far. Everyone is warm and welcoming. Even though it’s a center (which I always stigmatized as huge and impersonal), the staff and teachers have greeted the dumpling by name every morning. They tell me that he’s the happiest baby! So many smiles! They also have a great app that keeps us up to date on his day in real time (he’s napping right now). They can also send us pictures through the app which is how Luffy and I got to view the dumpling’s displeasure with tummy time on Tuesday. I, however, am very happy that he’s getting regular tummy time and stimulation as I seriously doubt he was getting such attention at the last place.

So now Luffy and I are once again shifting our roles a bit, finding our groove in this new routine. Luffy helps me wash the daycare bottles and pumping bottles. I take time each night to get the dumpling’s bottles ready for the next day (right now, he’s getting all fresh milk because I’m battling a cold and want to make sure he’s getting all my antibodies). Luffy picks up the dumpling when I’m working from the office. I race home from to nurse. But at the end of the day, we get to spend a little time with our dumpling; coaxing adorable smiles that make the entire day so worth it.

Parent training – it’s only the beginning

Luffy always jokes that half of having a child is actually not about training the child, it’s about training the parent. Learning to live off 5 broken hours of sleep. Learning to live in a noisier household. Learning that every cry and whimper and sneeze need not be attended to. Learning how to let other people care for your child. He poked fun at me earlier this week when I was wailing in the kitchen that I missed my baby boyHe sleeps most of the time anyway! he told me.

But another part of parent training is learning to trust your gut, especially when it comes to child care. When we interviewed with our in-home provider last year she had six children under her care, including two of her own toddlers. The dumpling would make seven – perfectly in line with the recommendations by the Texas licensing division for a mixed aged class. Wonderful! we thought. I took a cursory look into daycare centers, but pretty quickly opted against them in favor of in-home care. I wanted the dumpling to have a bit more love and attention than a typical daycare center. I liked that he would be exposed to older children (who were hopefully modeling some good behavior!). I liked that it would be in a more private setting (which hopefully meant less germs!). It just felt like a good fit for us.

Little Dumpling’s first week has been good. He has responded well, though he’s understandably been more tired. We’ve had some issues with feeding, primarily because, as we’ve pretty much exclusively nursed up to this point, I had no idea how much he needed in each bottle. But. Each morning I count the car seats in the mud room (another bonus of in-home care! his car seat stays with him, so none of that well I dropped him off so now I have the car seat and HAVE to pick him up)… six car seats, seven car seats, eight car seats. It varies based on the time of day. Yesterday, when Luffy and I went to pick him up, Luffy counted 10 kids in the play area; I added one more to the total because I could hear one kid crying in the nap area. That’s eleven children. And one care giver.

….

For reference, an infant-only room in a licensed daycare is only allowed to have a ratio of four to one. Now, obviously, some of her kids are older, but not all. She has several that look to be under a year old. This concerns me a bit. When we talked to her about it this morning, she didn’t explicitly say how many kids she has (maybe she doesn’t want to???), but she assured us she is in the process of hiring help. She just hasn’t found a good fit yet.

….

I get how hard it is to hire someone, I really do. My primary concern is that she put herself into this position in the first place. Eleven (or more) kids to one care giver is far too many. Out of concern for her charges, she shouldn’t have taken on more children until she had help in place. I’m giving her until the end of January to hire more help or we’re moving the Dumpling. Her care, to this point, has been fine, but with so many children, I feel like there’s a disaster waiting to happen. It doesn’t even have to be a disaster – it could just be a day that child A is cranky and child B is teething and child C is learning to crawl and – oh whoops – the Dumpling hasn’t eaten in five hours. Or he’s been in the swing for the entire day. Or he’s the one learning to crawl and there he goes down the stairs…

Anyway, we’ve already started the search for alternative child care, just in case. Parent in training over here – learning to trust myself when I get that there’s nothing blatantly going wrong but I’m uncomfortable with the situation  feeling.

The Newborn Chronicles: 11w1d

Little Dumpling is at daycare right now.

The house feels empty.

I feel a little lost.

Drop off went well! He’s too young to have separation anxiety right now, so the hand off was simple (for him at least – I didn’t really want to let him go). We found a lovely in-home daycare that I’m sure I mentioned once upon a pregnant time. I like that it’s a small group of mixed aged kids and he’ll have one teacher the entire time.

As I drove home without my baby this morning, I had to remind myself about all the reasons why I decided to be a working mom. Providing for our family, ensuring that by the time it really matters Luffy and I will both be able to spend much more time with the Dumpling. And, to be perfectly honest, I think I’ll enjoy it. I miss my job and my coworkers. While these last couple of weeks have been enjoyable, I do miss having responsibilities and contributing to our household. I mean, if someone wanted to pay me to stay home all the time, I’d take it.


I wrote all that yesterday. The morning passed quickly and then it was time to pick him up! And then I spent the afternoon breaking down a bit.

He didn’t smile at me when I picked him up. He was fussy (because he was tired) and I tried not to take it personally but I had looked forward to that reunion smile all morning long.

And then he didn’t smile at me all afternoon. He slept for a couple of hours and then woke because he was extremely hungry (I would realize later that I hadn’t sent enough milk for him). Then he fussed immediately after eating because he was still tired. I didn’t get a smile until early evening.

And all afternoon I thought to myself – I broke my baby. My happy, beautiful baby boy. I broke him by sending him off to be cared for by someone else. Which is a ridiculous thought, but I had it anyway. And I fretted over diapers and a skin blotch and a random toe boo-boo. Luffy tried to talk sense into me, repeatedly, but I was a lost cause. I secretly thought the Dumpling would wake a hundred times during the night because we had thrown him so far off schedule. He didn’t. He woke up at his usual time, nursed, and went back to sleep like normal.

This morning’s drop off went smoothly but I came home and cried. I cried to Luffy. I cried to my momma. I cried in his nursery. I just missed him so damn much. Luffy tried to brighten my mood by pointing out that he still sleeps most of the day anyway. I bawled that at least I could look at him.

I’m better now. The dumpling slept better today at daycare and he came home in a happy mood. He even got some play time in on his mat before going down for a nap. Tomorrow’s probably going to be rough as well because it’s his first full day.


Once upon a time, also known as the beginning of maternity leave, I couldn’t wait to pass the Dumpling off to his daycare provider. To tap out, so to speak. The monotony and tedium of caring for a newborn wore on me. I missed my routine. I missed working. I missed having responsibilities that didn’t involve changing a diaper or trying to get an infant to sleep. I looked forward to January and returning to work like kids look forward to their birthdays. I didn’t understand those moms who were already lamenting the passing of time and the return to work.

Now though, now I get it. We’ve established our own cozy little routine. It took me some time, to settle into this role of mother, but I truly enjoy it now. The days don’t feel quite so monotonous when I break it up with tummy time and hanging out on the floor. The dumpling has matured enough that any fussiness usually has an obvious reason (he’s tired, most likely, the little boy loves to sleep). I’ve gained enough confidence as a mom not to rush over at every cry and whimper. I no longer view his cries as a failure on my part. I can listen to him and know which cry means “I’m hungry” and which one means “I’m falling asleep, leave me alone.” The days, which at first felt so long, now fly by.

My maternity leave officially ends Friday; I’m due back at work on Monday. I know I’ll enjoy being back at work. I’m looking forward to trying out my new arrangement (working from home half of the week). I’m looking forward to interacting with my coworkers; I miss those guys. But. I also know I’ll miss the dumpling so, SO much. It breaks my heart to know that I’ll see him in the mornings to nurse and then won’t see him again until bedtime. We plan to get him up earlier than we technically need to, just so we can all hang out while he’s all smiles and coos. This also means though that he has to go to bed earlier, so that cuts out any evening time together (again, the boy loves his sleep – it took us a solid five minutes just to wake him up this morning!).

I’m going to miss his smiles. I’m going to miss carrying him around the house. I’m going to miss just hanging out with him while he naps or plays on his mat. I know I’ll get to see him on the weekends, but I have to share him on the weekends. With Luffy. With Luffy’s parents (who will want at least a couple of hours of our time). I will selfishly miss this time when I got him all to myself, when I got all the smiles and all the coos.

I’ll just miss him so damn much.