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There seems to be so much going on and so little time to document…

Cling: we are back in clingy baby hell. E is just attached to us and it’s very taxing. There are times when I have to put him down and he refuses to sit so I have to lay him down – and he protests. I think I am an incredibly accommodating parent, and I just about do back flips to give him what he wants, but sometimes, I have to do something that does not jive with his plans (i.e. use the bathroom). I knew I’d be using the Ergo for a long time but I never thought I still be using all three of our carriers at this point— and yet I can’t make it through a day with out them.

Sleep: Same old broken record. We’re up a lot. I nurse him to back to sleep. We repeat an hour or two later. We’ve talked about night weaning but it really just seems like too much work at this point. Our co-sleeping arrangement makes the night wakings manageable most nights.

Going to sleep: E has always been pretty good at going to sleep on his own. This is something I worked on from the start –never nursing or rocking him to sleep (except in the middle of the night). We always put him down awake and he’d nod off to sleep. Recently- with the cling and the co-sleeping – he seemed to be fighting going to sleep at night (he starts the night in his crib around 7:30). One night he wanted to take a book to bed, so I let him, and I left the light on. Ten minutes later I checked on him and he was sound asleep. There was no drama. From then on – for naps and bed – we put him in sitting up with books. We return ten minutes later to cover up our sleeping boy. I am amazed.

Walking: He’s →this← close. I predict it will happen in two weeks. He is cruising like crazy and standing on his own. He’s taken a few steps when he can grab onto something. He needs just a little more confidence. This is exactly how crawling went down. He really has to work it out for himself, really understand it and one day soon I know he’ll put one foot in front of the other and take off.

Signing: After nearly six months he’s finally developing his “sign clusters.”  He’s learning at least one new sign a week and his communication is amazing. When he woke at 6:30 this morning and had gas, I asked if he needed to use the potty, he signed potty back to me, and sure enough he needed to go!

Childcare: I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I’ve wanted to do this for months. I’ve been ready to get back to running but I could not leave him. Well I finally sucked it up, joined the gym, feel great, and begun using the childcare. E is less than thrilled. The first time he did OK. The second time he cried when SIL picked up his cousins before he was getting picked up, the third time I got called in after 35 minutes because he was so upset. We’re working on it. I think it goes back to #1 above: cling. As hard as it is, I feel really great and have pretty much gotten back to where I left off 22 months ago!

Life before E: A and I went out last night. We left E with my mom and really went out. Met friends for drinks, then went to a ball (LGBT church fundraiser with 200+ attendees). We partied and danced ’till midnight, closing the dance floor. For the first time in about two years we went out and just had fun. We didn’t spend dinner talking about how amazing our son is, we left him and all thoughts of him at home, we stayed out for a long time and just had fun! Of course getting home at 12am, getting up with E all night and then getting up at 6:30am was not fun, but it was well worth it in order to gain a sense of normalcy– of life as we used to know it.

Life after E: There have been times lately that have been hard. It’s no secret that this economy sucks. We left our well paying stable jobs before the economic nosedive. We knew it would take a while to get on our feet but we didn’t know the economic situation ahead and how it would present greater challenges. While A is employed, she is still seeking the full time benefited job. Lots of teachers who were set to retire have changed their plans due to the economic situation. Other teachers are being laid off. And thus we feel the tightening of the job market, while remaining thankful for the jobs she does have.

We have an amazing community here – we did before we moved here, but it’s even more so now. We have real meaningful friends. People who are not transitional – are not going to move away. People we have lots of things in common with, people we really like hanging out with. This was hard in Western MA. After five years we left feeling like we never really established the community we needed. It feels really good.

We’re really torn because on the one hand, we want to stay here. We want to raise E with family and among this strong community we’re weaving. And on the other hand, it is really expensive here and we desperately need A to get the full time job. So the current plan is to stick it out at least until the time E would start school. And if we’re still not on our feet at that time, we’d need to move onto plan B – relocate to a place holding a job for A. Ugh…

Joy: We’re so happy for the addition of little J to our family. We’re so happy for his mamas, and all of his family. I’m comforted knowing that within our family we have two donor babies – only one year apart – who will surely lean on each other as they navigate the nuances of our unique family compositions.

Sadness: For friends in pain.

Hope: For jumping back on the baby train really soon.

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This whole interview-which-may-result-in-me-going-back-to-work thing has had my stomach turned inside out.

My concerns are:

  1. I never wanted my son to attend formal day care
  2. I don’t want to work just to pay for day care
  3. Being home affords Mr. E a relaxed schedule, which I really really really value

I currently work about 10 hours per week. Half of which is on the morning when A is home and the other time my SIL watches Mr. E. After careful thought A and I have decided that should we be in a place where I am made an offer, I will only accept if no outside day care is needed.

Impossible, you think?

Not so. If I were to take this job (which is 18hrs/wk) and the scheduling is at my convenience, then we will be able to juggle our schedules in a way that would allow us to forgo formal day care. If not, I will have to decline. It isn’t worth it to put him in day care.

A is ready for me to go back to work. She really wants me to get a job. I, on the other hand, think I could be quite content to stay home until Mr. E and future child go to school, at which time I’d work “mothers hours.” And this baffles me…I always thought my career was going to be it for me. But things really do change when you have kids.

So think of me at Noon on Wednesday when I will be on the other side of the table for the first time in 5 1/2 years.

Last week while looking at vacancies at a local school A found a job posting that matched my interests, qualifications, education, and experience. It’s an 18 hour per week job. The person who supervises this positions is someone who had a great impact on my own secondary education experience. I don’t have the energy to go into all the details, but let’s just say I was drowning and she threw me a life jacket.

A and my mother immediately encouraged me to apply to the job. The job excited me in a way I have not felt for a very long time. And then reality set in and thoughts of leaving Mr. E were realized. We dialogued back and forth and in the end they pretty much convinced me to apply and deal with the details later.

I emailed the supervisor posing some questions about the position. I had sort of decided if it paid more than $20 per hour I’d apply. The email I received back filled in some of the details and – it pays more than $20 per hour… I sat down to update my resume and began wrapping my head around the idea of putting Mr. E in day care. And then little things would make me reconsider. It may sound weird but as I was getting out of the shower and saw his potty I thought, they won’t do EC with him. And it seems like most day cares won’t cloth diaper. Then there’s just the fact that he’d be under someone else’s care. On the flip side, while we were on a play date last week I sat back and watched as he went to town playing with his friend’s toys – hardly even noticing I was there. And I thought, maybe he’d love day care?

A and I decided I’d apply and we’d just see what happened. Tonight I sat down and blew the dust off my resume. And that knot found it’s way back to my stomach. I couldn’t focus enough to write a cover letter. I recalled the number of times people have told me it’s nearly impossible to secure day care for infants (birth – 15 mos). I stopped updating my resume and began playing on Face.book.

As A and I laid in bed tonight (I am now up thanks to Mr. E – he’s back down but my head is so full of thoughts I can’t sleep) we talked it over again. We both really don’t think this is the right time to start him in day care. When I did the math, I figured out in the new position, after paying for day care I’d take home about the same amount of money that I currently make working nine hours per week, while Mr. E is with either A or my SIL. But I’d have the added annoyance of packing him up and carting him off to day care and juggling schedules when he’s sick. I’m not ready to join the day care rat race – certainly not for the same amount of money at the end of the day.

Currently, we lead a very relaxed (although poor) lifestyle. My work is flexible and we are never away from each other for more than five hours. I don’t have to pump with any regualirty and If he’s sick I just stay home with him. The only benefit to applying to the job, is, well, it’s in my field and I think I’d like it and be really good at it. It would probably open doors to other opportunities. But at this time, I don’t think any job could take me away from my boy.

Even though I am out of the working madness world I still get excited about Fridays. It’s exciting because everyone is home on the weekends and that means I have help. (Well, theoretically at least). But lately, as Fridays approach and our family lets loose, I’ve started to feel frustrated. I want a day off! How amazing would it be to to just have one day off? I’d settle for an afternoon. How nice would it be to have a change of pace? Maybe I’d finally get my hair cut (it’s been six months). Or I’d do any number of the zillions of things on the “to do” list.

It’s hard to be at Mr. E’s beck and call 24 freaking hours a day seven days a week. A works long hours, and we only enjoy one day together every week; and I work a full day on her other day off. Our close proximity to family, (yes, it comes with trade offs, I know) nets babysitting requests. And they are coming more and more. I watch our two nephews one half day a week in exchange for one half day of care for Mr. E. In addition to my half day this week I had older nephew for about three hours today and have younger (who’s sick at the moment) nephew for about three hours tomorrow. I love our nephews, but it’s really hard to juggle three kids and I plain do not enjoy having Mr. E and younger nephew at the same time (they are 5 months apart). It’s too much work.

I know we chose to have a baby and tried really hard to get him. So don’t tell me I got what I wished for. I did, and am thankful everyday for our son. But that does not mean that I can’t get cranky when I feel every ounce of energy sucked out of me, and yearn for just a little alone time. It’s true what they say about babies changing everything. But until you’ve lived it, you just can’t comprehend just how much things change. I will never ever be first again. It’s all about his needs now.

A and I talk about this all the time – you have to or else you’d go nuts with the personal space/time deficit. I’ve begun dreaming of taking a weekend away. With A. Leaving Mr. E behind. It will be a while before it happens, but when it does, it will be amazing, and full of room-service, and champagne. As soon as the boy is off the breast and sleeping through the night, we need to plan a trip. Seriously, I need a a day off, or maybe even two.

As A and I drove off to the beach today, leaving Mr. E home with his grandmother, A said to me, I have a little mama guilt leaving him. I boldly replied, I don’t have any. A day way from the boy was just what I needed.

We set up camp on the beach, the way we did pre Mr. E. We sat in the SUN (not under the umbrella to protect him), read our books, swam when we got hot, drank beers, walked out on the flats after the tide moved out, and above all r.e.l.a.x.e.d. It was delicious!

While we were walking back in from the flats I mentioned to A that my mother asked me if I wanted her to call with updates. I told her no, just call if you need something. A said, oh, I wish she was calling with updates. Um, we got six hours away, at the beach, with out our boy…why would I want this sacred time interrupted with updates?

This, I think is the difference between a stay at home mom and a work out of the home mom. At least, in our case, this is what it boils down to. I bask in my time away, because it’s so rare. And A feels bad.

But she didn’t feel bad enough not to enjoy the day. It was great. I can’t believe it’s July 13th and I just went swimming for the first time this summer, for real swimming, body submerged, for an extended period of time. We stayed for about six hours until my milk-filled breasts dictated us home. Mr. E had a great day away from us too.

We topped off our perfect beach day with a trip out for ice cream after dinner tonight. Today, we blended in with the tourists, and you know we kind of felt like we were on vacation today.

Now that my period is back and my cycle is on its way to regulating there’s been talk of ttc our second child (please let it only be one, after all I am a clomid gal). I want to enjoy this time with Mr. E and not rush into the next baby. As we walk the path back to ttc, that is my marker for readiness. We have (moving) target dates for when we’ll start, and ideas about minimally how far apart we’re comfortable with them being. But one thing that never changes, we’re impulsive, we change our minds every other day, and we’re probably so sleep deprived that we shouldn’t even be permitted to make the decision to have another one. And after my half day with Mr. E and our two nephews (10 months and 3 years), I began to reconsider another one altogether. Taking care of all three is exhausting. Picture this: Mr. E on me in the Ergo, 10 month old J in the stroller, 3 year old J riding his bike. Now, me running after J on his bike, while wearing Mr. E and pushing the stroller. And that’s the scene when the babies are confined. When we’re in the house it’s nuts!

But I digress. We will try for another. And we’ll probably do it sooner rather than later, and most likely sooner than we originally planned. As A said to me last night “why drag out having you home forever. Let’s just have the kids and be done with it.” (Of course she said it lovingly.)

All this talk has propelled me back to my time being pregnant. Somehow it doesn’t seem so bad. But I know it was. I know I was uncomfortable, and everything hurt, and I was emotional, and so on. But now, now, I yearn for the closeness with Mr. E that we shared for 10 months. I remember walking around while pregnant, thinking how amazing it was that he went everywhere with me, and dreading the day that would cease to be true. The other night something moved in my stomach (probably gas) and it felt as it did when Mr. E was in me moving. And I longed to feel that intimacy with him.

I hated being pregnant so I can’t believe I miss anything about it or that I am nostalgic and wanting to do it again. I already know breastfeeding will be the same. I didn’t know if I’d like bfing, and it turns out I am pretty damn good at it and so is he. I can’t say as though I love it, but I don’t hate it, I enjoy the time together, and most of all I am humbled to be so fortunate as to produce food for my child. I have every intention of bfing till he’s one, and then will see what happens. TTC plans may necessitate weaning. No mater what I know I will miss it when we’re done. Just as I somehow now miss being pregnant.

So much to say …

Days even weeks pass now with out me posting. I have lots I want to write about but just can’t seem to find the time. When I do have time I am either exhausted or want to spend time with A. I’ve had thoughts of abandoning this blog all together, as I seem to neglect it so much. But it’s been such a huge part of my life for almost three years. I guess I am trying to figure out how it fits into my life now.

On the Mr. E front:

~He turned 5 months on Monday. I can’t believe it. He’s really coming alive and continues to charm everyone. The kid has a smile that melts hearts. And he loves people.

~We’re still working on EC and he is getting better and better at the potty. We’re shocked at how easy it’s been. He is so cute on the potty and moms love not having to wash poopy diapers!

~He ditched the swaddle. Some time in the last month we stopped using a swaddle. I forget what prompted it but we tried it one night and he slept fine. So he’s swaddle free. In a lot of ways this is great because we can easily have him nap in his stroller when we’re at the beach or when he comes to the office with me, but it’s also sad because my little baby is growing too fast!

~He has a lovey, two really. When we abandoned the swaddle we introduced a “lovey” – which is in my opinion, the most ingenious baby accessory. We just snuggle it near his check and he is immediately soothed and relaxes. When I saw how well it worked in the crib, I put one in my car…and wouldn’t you know, he does not scream in the car anymore (we even had a successful trip to Maine this past weekend). Coincidence? All I know is that it works.

~Mr. E was the star of his Mama’s graduation last Sunday! He was so proud of her!

~He’s started grabbing things. The other day he put both hands around my seltzer can and pulled it to his mouth! This is a baby who gets about 10 bottles a week! But he’s been watching us eat and drink, with great interest for several weeks. I will be excited to start solids in a month.

~ He is pulling up as though to do sit ups. He wants to sit up so bad.

~He’s “this close” to rolling over.

the cuteness:

On the E and A front:

~ For those who are not my Face Book friends (come on, why aren’t we friends?!) or if you are and you didn’t see my status yesterday, I am now 30. It’s so not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. A gave me a “mother’s necklace” with Mr. E’s birthstone in it. And she was sure to tell me we can add more stones. I said, great, I can’t wait till there are three stones… (11 months and counting till we start ttcing again.)

~ Tomorrow we will have been married for four years. We’re packing up the boy and spending the day in P-Town.

~ A got a new job that is not teaching, but she is excited about it and her hours will pretty much put me back to full time SAHM, which I am sooooo effing excited about! I’ll work one full day a week and the rest of my hours will be working from home and in the evenings.

Those are all our updates. Some day I hope to get back into my blog. Life’s just too crazy right now.

As A says, “we’re on the sandbar.” It’s been a little more than a week since we managed to pack all our belongings (ok, most, we had to part with some items that would not fit) into a UHaul and drive away from the place we moved to five years ago, with every intention of setting down roots and raising a family. We were sad as we drove away, in separate vehicles, A with the over stuffed UHaul, me with the baby. We’ve made the same trip East, hundreds of time since moving there but I can’t describe the feeling of leaving it all behind. There are things we’ll miss, friends we’ll miss, places we’ll miss, but our lives here feel full in ways that kept coming up short there.

The whole process has been quite over-whelming. The week leading up to the move may go down as one of the most stressful. Ever. Let’s just say that together we experienced enough transitions to last a few years. In all there were only two melt downs (one for each of us) and our boy was perfect. Moving day, while always exhausting, went quickly when many of my co-workers and students and A’s former co-workers descended on us. Mr. E was bounced from person to person while our truck was loaded. And many helping hands meant our stuff was packed into the truck rather quick. My heart warmed having so many people show up to help us.

We spent an exhausting three days unpacking and getting set up, while also working through the emotions that come with such a transition. In the middle of those three days we attended an orientation for the church we planned on joining. Crazy? Yes. The orientations are only offered four times a year and are a required step in becoming a member. We want to have Mr. E dedicated (this is Unitarian Universalist for baptized) over the summer, and while we could have him dedicated without being members, my catholic guilt wouldn’t let me. Heck, what was one more thing in the middle of all we were doing?

By Sunday night A and I were unpacked and starting to feel somewhat normal. We are very comfortable in our new home, at my parent’s house (for those wondering, we passed on the condo. There are too many financial unkowns for us at this time). We have a good relationship with them and it’s very nice to have built in babysitters, support, and let’s not forget the hot tub! That was essential after moving boxes all weekend!

I started my part time job on Monday. I am working for my father helping to run his business. So far I’ve mostly been organizing the office (it’s a NIGHTMARE) and also have started looking into some really cool techy marketing tools. I love my job- you’ve NEVER heard me say that before! I love that it’s stress free, that it’s flexible and part time, and that it allows us to work my hours around A’s hours, thus avoiding daycare. And I am enjoying what I am doing. I mean, one project I am working on is kind of like blogging!

A started her job on Tuesday. She’s enjoying having structure again and has already begun networking with the elementary school principals. She left one meeting with the principal trying to create a part time job utilizing A’s experience working with English Language Learners. She needs to get her foot in the door some how and this would do it! Everything is just coming together for us in ways we never imagined possible.

Mr. E had a very difficult growth spurt last week. It was by far our worst night. He cried, no screamed all night, unless one of us was holding and bouncing him. A couple times we’d trick him into thinking we were standing and bouncing when really we were laying down and bouncing him while he laid across our chests. He never slept more than an hour like this. He wore himself out and finally went to sleep in his crib from 7-11am. The next couple of days he remained crabby, but now he’s back to his cheerful, mellow self. He’s loving having his cousins around all the time -he and J, who are five months apart are too cute together and so interested in each other.

It was a long process to get here, and we remain in a semi-permanent transitional period until A finds a teaching job and we’re able to buy a condo, but it’s all working so well and we have no regrets about our decision to move. We’re so happy to be able to raise Mr. E with family. And to be in a place where we already feel woven into the community in such a short time.

Today was Mr. E’s second parent adoption. A is now officially, legally, federally his mother…what a ridiculous process, but we’re so thankful we have it.  The whole thing was pretty uneventful and over pretty quickly. We went out to breakfast afterwards and then had our final meeting with our doula – how appropriate that she was there at his birth and then we saw her on his adoption day. It was nice to see her again. She referred us to a midwife where we are moving, the same midwife that one of our friends there used/is using. (!) And she even offered to attend our next baby’s birth…even though we’ll be three hours away! I am starting to feel a little better about ttcing #2. But we’re still waiting at least one more year…

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