Baby’s First Flight!

Last Tuesday, exactly a week ago, we got a postcard in the mail. My mom had recently finished renovating her newly acquired office building and she was having an open house. This was a huge milestone for her. She’s been in business for over 11 years, but she’s rented her space the entire time. She had outgrown her original space long ago and had slowly leased additional suites in the same building. These suites were not all together though, so she and her employees were constantly running through common area to get back and forth. Plus there was a lack of security, given she had to rely on other tenants to lock the exterior doors. Then there was also the fact that the entire building shared a bathroom. Etc. Etc. Lots of reasons why this new building is going to be such a huge step up for her and her employees. Plus her own building! With her name on it!

When we got the postcard invitation to her open house, Luffy asked me if I was going to attend. It was on Friday though, middle of the day, in my hometown (5+ hours away by car) and Luffy also happened to be out of town that day.

“No,” I chuckled, “I’ll just send her some flowers to let her know we’re thinking of her.”


Last Thursday, around 2pm, I got a call that registered with my hometown’s area code. I answered, instantly recognizing my mom’s business partner’s voice. He and my mom’s best friend (who also happens to be her employee) wanted to surprise my mom by having me there for her open house. They’d cover the flight, they’d pick me up, they’d even purchase a car seat if that made things easier for me. My mom always planned surprises for everyone else and they wanted the chance to surprise her.

What could I do but agree?


Thursday night, as I lay in bed contemplating the next day – flying with the dumpling all by myself – I dissolved into a ball of nerves. What on earth was I thinking?! Flying home, with no one to help me with the dumpling?! I’m crazy! I’m insane! I should be committed!

As 11pm and then midnight and then 1am rolled around, I tried frantically to adjust my plans. I even got on the phone with the airlines to try to take a different flight (that actually didn’t exist – turns out I tend to misread things when it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m freaking out). I tried desperately to come up with a solution that would allow me leave the dumpling at daycare and be home in time to pick him up. (To be clear, we have plenty of friends and family in the area who would have been here for the dumpling in case he needed it. I wasn’t just going to abandon my young to daycare and go jet-setting.)

Finally, probably around 1:30 in the morning or so, a mere four and a half hours before I needed to get up, I calmed myself. I could handle this. I was flying with the dumpling, not some stranger’s squalling infant. We would be fine. Worst case scenario, the flight is only 45 minutes long, I’m pretty sure I (and my seatmates) would be able to survive anything for just 45 minutes. And with that thought, I finally managed to get to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 5:45 because omg the baby! He hadn’t made a peep all night. Of course, the one night I’m riddled with nerves and can’t sleep is the one night he sleeps all the way through. Because of course. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. Which was probably ok because the dumpling ruined my plans to get ready before getting him up for the day by waking up at 6:15 and nursing for half an hour. But even with the curve ball, I got him fed, myself showered, breakfast eaten, Jas got her medicine, and we were out the door by 7:30!

And then I got to laugh at my anxious self as the dumpling did beautifully in the airport. He peaked out from his carrier as we went through security and made our way to the gate. He slept while we waited to board and woke up to be delighted by the airplane. A kind couple behind me shifted seats so that I could have a row to myself. I nursed him as soon as we took off and he nodded off for his first nap of the day. He slept the whole flight and woke up just as we were touching down. We made our way through my hometown’s small airport to find my mom’s best friend. As promised, she had a newly purchased car seat in the back. She had, adorably, given up YouTubing for installation help and had taken it to the local fire station. We chatted excitedly as we made our way to my mom’s business. With her business partner keeping her distracted from the security camera feeds, we made our way inside.

When I rounded the corner into my mom’s office, she stared at me, completely shocked and not really putting the pieces together – to see the dumpling and I standing in her office on a Friday morning. But the second passed and she burst into happy tears and came around her desk to envelope us both in a hug. She took the dumpling from me, hugged me again and again, and then proceeded to direct the set-up for her open house one-handed as she carried the dumpling everywhere – her mood notably lifted.

It was so much fun getting to surprise her like that! She was so shocked to see us and we made her day. We also got to surprise many of my extended family (including my own granddad who got the opportunity to meet his great-grandson!). Of course, with only two people in-the-know, we surprised nearly everyone who came out to support my mom. My mom had a blast showing her grandson off to all of her friends.

Since I was travelling alone and I needed to be back home to teach my first class the next day (which – SPOILER ALERT – didn’t end up happening because of a stomach bug I picked up along the way), our flight home was at 4:30 that afternoon. Mom drove us to the airport, sad to see us go but ever so happy that we came.

The dumpling did well on the flight home, although he was much more tired and therefore a touch more cranky. We made it home in time to get him into bed on time. Then I took a hot shower, had some dinner delivered, chatted with Luffy, and climbed into bed myself, exhausted from our busy day.

And then I got back up and puked, but let’s just pretend the story ended on my happier note, shall we?

Reminiscing

One interesting part of being back at the office is that I keep having flashbacks to being pregnant. I suppose because the last time I was in the office for any measurable amount of time was when I was pregnant. So every time I use the restroom, I remember going to the restroom a bajillion times. I remember walking waddling from the parking lot to the building. I remember making snacks and lowering my chair.

This has prompted me to look back through my archives here and I realize that I’ve already started to forget things about my pregnancy, especially in the early months. For instance, I totally forgot all the burping I did and how uncomfortable I used to be after eating and how I took up napping. I’ve already forgotten how I waffled for weeks over whether I had really felt the dumpling move. Most of all, I’ve already forgotten how long it too us to accept that I was really pregnant, after months of infertility.

Last night, I was browsing through posts and I came across this one. It’s so crazy and amazing to look back at it now and know that this WAS our cycle. This was it! We just didn’t know it yet. This cycle would be the one and we’d have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. Incredible.

Also, there’s one small piece from his birth story that I keep forgetting to tell. Like all crazy sane women trying to conceive, once I had a positive pregnancy test, I tested multiple times. I had cheapie tests from Amazon that I was using, but did splurge on a fancy digital one. Of course, they all said the same thing, but the digital one just gave a wonderful feeling – seeing that word “pregnant” displayed. Even more fun was the fact the the box boasted the result would be displayed six months, long enough for you to plan fun announcements or something. That’s sweet, I thought to myself, as I tucked the pregnancy test into my bathroom drawer. Each morning, I would open the drawer to get my hair brush or my makeup brush or my contacts, see the test and smile at that word again. I sent a picture of it to my mom when I told her. The test was a happy little reminder, especially in the early weeks before I started showing. Six months, however, came and went and the test still displayed its cheery little result. I stopped giving it much attention as my belly grew larger and larger each day. I was however amazed to find it still said “pregnant” by August. And September. And October. By the time late October rolled around I joked to myself that the test was going to outlast my pregnancy. Then, on the morning of October 25th, that momentous day, I opened up my bathroom drawer to find the test window blank. That’s right, I thought, in a few hours I won’t be pregnant anymore. Somehow, the test knew. My little silent testimony to the Dumpling’s existence was no longer needed.

I’m Alive!

Seriously. Remember my last post… about baby’s first cold and how he gave it to me and how I was kind of miserable. Yeah. So I wrote that last Thursday. I was ok. Not great, but ok. Then Friday came and hit me like a truck. When I walked into work, my coworker legit greeted me with “you sound like death.” He then made me turn around and go find a clinic to see a doctor that very morning. (I had been planning on visiting a clinic on Saturday because I couldn’t get in to see my own doctor on Friday.) Anyway, saw the doctor at a clinic. Got an antibiotic for the upper respiratory infection and they gave me a steroid shot. A wonderful, glorious steroid shot that allowed me to breathe! Hallelujah!

By Saturday afternoon the steroid shot had worn off. By around 5 on Saturday I was having trouble swallowing liquids because there was absolutely zero air passing through my nasal cavities. (Have you ever tried to drink water with your nose plugged… it’s not easy.) Afrin saved me and I was able to sleep through the night decently. But then Sunday came and the congestion came back and then Afrin stopped working and I thought I would die a miserable, congested death.

And then I had a violent allergic reaction.

Because I was not dealing with enough health related misery.

So Sunday evening – Luffy and I had put the dumpling to bed and I was whining about how miserable I was. Luffy had gone to the store for some soup for dinner, which was warming on the stove. He was massaging my sinuses (from the outside, of course) and my eyes were watering because, again, nothing was moving through my nasal cavities. My sinuses felt so much better once he was done and we sat down to dinner. Right after we finished eating, I realized my eyes were kind of itchy…. And, you know, the left one feels a little… puffy. I hopped up to go look in the mirror and saw two strange bumps, almost like water balloons, on my lower lid. Weird. I joked to Luffy about – oh great, more weirdness. Then I continued eating my kimchi. About ten minutes later, I realized that the puffiness was distracting now and hopped up to check out the mirror again. To my horror, the little balloons had swelled up and were expanding – rapidly. I started to get a little nervous and put a warm cloth over my face, thinking it was clogged ducts or something. That seemed to make it worse, which was when I timidly went out to Luffy and asked him what I should do. It was 8pm on a Sunday, but I needed to see a doctor.

We found one of those stand-alone ER’s (that I actually drive past all the time and always laugh that it’s smack dab in the middle of my little suburb) and I made my way there. Luffy had to stay home with the dumpling. Luckily, it was fairly quiet and I made it there just fine. It took the doctor all of two seconds to diagnose an allergic reaction. He sent me on my way with prescription eye drops, as that was about the only thing he could do for me (antihistamines are not generally good for breastfeeding moms as they dry up supply).

Honestly, I would say today (Wednesday) is the first day that my eyes look normal. Even Monday, when the extreme swelling had gone down, my eyes were still puffy and even my cheek bones looked swollen. My eyes are still itchy and I’m paranoid about touching them.

We have no idea what caused the reaction. I hadn’t gone anywhere all day. I probably had coconut oil on my hands, but we’ve been using it as a moisturizer for the dumpling for about a month. Thus, it’s unlikely that I would have made it this long without having a reaction to it if I was allergic. Luffy had gone to the store, but we’re pretty sure he washed his hands. I’m hoping that it was a fluke – some perfect storm of hormonal changes and medications and just the right trigger.

So I am finally feeling a little better all around. It only took me three weeks. Sheesh.

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.

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.