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    I have it pretty good

    February 9th, 2009

    I had a dentist appointment this morning. Nothing serious: just my regularly scheduled cleaning. I’ve been with this office ever since I moved up here from college. Although, after 2 moves, it now takes me 40 minutes to drive there (without traffic), I still go there because 1)  I really like the staff; and 2) given how rarely I need an appointment, I don’t mind the trek.

    This morning I dropped G off at day care at his regular 7am time and, anticipating traffic, headed towards my 9am appointment. I got there at 8, much to my surprise, and since I had an hour to kill I decided to keep my 8am pump session and pump in my car.

    That’s right folk – I pumped in public. Well… sorta!

    I drove around the parking lot to find myself the most remote and concealed spot possible. I found one right next to a utility enclosure surrounded by bushes. I though “Perfect!” My side would be completely covered and my only exposure would be if anyone decided to pull up on my right. I figured that it was a big parking lot though, I was far enough away from the building entrance and the average “lazy” person wouldn’t care to park next to me. Of course as soon as I lifted up my shirt someone decided that of ALL the empty spaces around, the one literally right next to me would be the most perfect one to choose. Yeah – lucky me!

    I don’t feel self-conscious nursing in the car anymore. I feel justified in it, but pumping is different. I felt exposed… and a little embarrassed.

    Either way, the driver (thankfully a woman) came and went without paying too much attention to the evil-science experiment my vehicle was begining to resemble. After she left, I re-settled myself and finished up my business without further disturbance. But once I was done, I realized I had another problem: “How do I clean up?”

    This is where I realized how spoiled I am, and how good I have it. At work my Mother’s Room has a cozy recliner, an electrical outlet, a sink and a fridge. It’s clean, and private and quiet, and these days ALL MINE!!!!! Here’s a crappy photo, but one I’m going to cherish going forward.

    My car had neither of these things: the seats are certainly no leather recliner, it wasn’t private and a sink was only as close as the nearest bathroom. I started to feel bad for all the women out there who don’t have all the conveniences that I’ve gotten used to and have grown to expect. I’m really starting to admire them for being committed to “breastfeeding” their little ones while back at work.

    So yeah, I have it pretty good.

    …I think I need to send HR and our Facilities teams a thank you!

    Work & Day Care: WEEK 1

    January 11th, 2009

    It wasn’t bad! The first day (as you read) was hard, but as the week progressed it got better and better. My second day drop-off wasn’t nearly as eventful as the first and by the end of the week, I felt like a pro.

    G also kept improving. By day 3 we were getting reports that he was enjoying hanging out with the big kids, eating well, and napping… on his own… without being held… 3 times a day, for at least an hour each. By the end of the week we were asking for tips on how to put our kid down. The main instructor (we’ll be calling her “F”) is really nice and she seems to care for G a lot. At the end of the week she told S that G was a smart little boy. Of course, I’m thrilled to hear that, but with a 4 month old, what does “smart” look like?

    My only quarrel is diapers. As it turns out I’m an overly obsessive diaper changer. Apparently I’m one of few insane parents that likes to change their child every hour. No, I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but in my defense, G has never had a diaper rash nor has he ever needed rash creme. Besides, why would you want to let your child stew in their excrement if you know they need to be changed. I know my kid has gone in his diaper over that hour so why not fix it? Unfortunately, F this week would change him at most 4 times per day. From 7am to 5:30pm, 4 diaper changes. I don’t think she’s used to working with cloth diapers. 4 changes might be OK for disposables, but doesn’t work as well for cloth. They’re each sopping wet, and he’s started to develop some redness on his bum from diaper rash. I’m not thrilled, so I think this will be a conversation topic for the next week. I understand that I won’t be finding anyone who’ll want to change my kid as often as I do, but at least every other hour isn’t too much to ask.

    Work also went alright this week.  I had to turn in my performance self-assessment for our focal reviews on Friday which was interesting. I knew this was coming up, but I didn’t realize I only had 4 days to get it done. It didn’t help that while on leave, I had conveniently forgotten (or mentally blocked out) just about everything I worked on last year. I had several drooling moments as I stared at a blank document in an attempt sing my own praises. I’m pretty sure I deserve a good review (and preferably a raise)… I just couldn’t remember “why”. The stupid focal tool doesn’t take image attachments, so pictures of G looking extra cute weren’t going to cut it. None the less, I got it done.

    I’m also coming up to speed with the projects I’ll be taking over. I’m much slower at completing my tasks than before. I don’t know why, and to be honest it’s driving me crazy. I really hope that “mommy-brain” doesn’t professionally mean “mush-brain”.

    Pumping at work is a challenge. They say that the first few days your supply takes a major dip and I’m here to vouch for the validity of that fact. It’s ramping back up, but I’m still not producing as much as I need for G. Let’s just say I’m REALLY thankful for my freezer back-up supply. I wish I could forget about work while I’m pumping, but I’m in that room 4 times a day, 30 minutes each. That’s a quarter of my work-day. Although I block off the times that I pump on my calendar, I can’t prevent meetings from being organized around me. I’ve already had to call in to several, which is a little ackward. I try to be discreet, but wonder if people can hear the “Whom-whom-whom” sound of the machine on the other end of the phone, and giggle to themselves while they hear it.

    It felt like a very loong week. I think I made a mistake my returning on a Monday and doing a full week. For any one wondering about how to approach returning back to work, do it on a Thursday. Wednesday if you’re feeling brave.

    I was thrilled when Friday finally came. Saturday morning I had the luxury of sleeping in until 7:30. I never thought that would be a luxury, but I waited for G to wake us up for a change. I kept wondering if I should spent the whole week-end just looking at him and playing with him, or actually attend to all the other things I needed to get done around the house. Ended up doing a bit of both, which is good.

    So here we are, another Sunday evening ahead of yet another work week. Here’s hoping it will get easier still. I’m off to bed. Meanwhile, if you just so happen to run into my brain and productivity (the two are playing hookie), please… send them my way!

    Happy Monday!

    Work & Day Care: Day 1

    January 5th, 2009

    Aaah, the prodigal daughter returns. Four and a half months seem to have flown by, and today I returned back to work as G attended his first day at day care.

    I thought that dropping him off would be hard. And it was in some respects. I tried to move around the house this morning focused on everything we needed to do before leaving. If I didn’t I was afraid I was going to loose it. S filled in for me though and cried before we left the house. I followed suit by crying in the car on the way over; and G apparently cried after we left. Yeah, it was a wet day for this family.

    I thought that my first day back at work would be hard. But it was thankfully OK.  My colleagues appeared to genuinely appreciate me being back. It feels good to know I was missed!
    I spent my day at work going over hundreds upon hundreds of emails. I started my day with about 1560 messages (down from over 2K as of Fri night) and pressed the delete key… a lot! In some respects after being gone this long, it almost feels like starting a new job. The only difference is that I know who people are and have a vague idea what they’re talking about. Memorable moments of my day include:

    1. not remembering which floor I worked on
    2. not remembering the name of the building I worked in
    3. walking into the men’s restroom and being there a good minute before figuring it out
    4. being asked by a young, non-parent co-worker if G spoke yet. Unsure if he was kidding, I responded “Yes, he’s reciting Shakespeare!”

    Can I just say right now that I am REALLY glad that I didn’t become a brain surgeon like I wanted to in Jr. high? After reading the above, you should be glad I didn’t either.

    I had a few meetings, and got the heck out as soon as the last one was over. Yeah, it was early, but for a first day back after a 4.5 month leave it felt like a long day. Besides, I just wanted to go and hug my guy as tight as I could without his eyes popping out of his little eye-sockets. Yeah, I really, really missed him.

    Our day-care lady was surprised to see me. I guess I should have told her when I’ll be coming to get him. She greeted me by saying that he cried a bunch unless being caried around and that he’s a terrible napper. Yep. That’s my boy, alright!

    He was calm when I got there, though, and gave me a big smile when he saw me. It’s things like that that make my heart melt. Once we came home, he proceeded to tell me about his day. Ugh, that coo kills me. I never dreamed that I could be this attached to a short, bald man who spoke in tongues.

    I still don’t think I could ever be a stay at home parent, but after today, I understand why people would want to be.

    Still a two-income family

    December 11th, 2008

    My place of employ had a rather sizable (and public might I add) round of layoffs. It was no surprise to anyone. I consider myself as close to living under a rock as possible these days, and even I knew about it. The press has been talking and speculating about it for months. After awhile I just wanted it to be over already.

    And now it is.

    Good news: I still have a job.
    Bad news: I still have a job.

    Yep, for the first time in my professional career a round of layoffs did not bring panic attacks to my morning wake-up routine. As much as I like working, I’ve also enjoyed my time with the G-monster at home. No matter what happened I was at peace with it because one way or another I’d be getting something good out of it.

    Oh, here’s some fun trivia for you: In the past 8 years of my professional career, I’ve had 3 separate employers and I have neither quit nor been fired once. Aaah, the joy of good ole’ economic bubbles.