R has always liked to do a meditation before bed. We rotate through a body scan from our MBSR class and the classic Headspace sleep meditation. But after months, or maybe even years, of doing these, I have lost my ability to use them meditatively and instead will just listen to them and think about how I could have fallen asleep 20 minutes ago had the meditation not been on. Enter Headspace Sleepcasts. These are nuts! They are basically a narrated nothingness with some ambient noise. The first time R put one on, I fell asleep on the sofa, with two other adults and a crying baby around. They take place in absurdist environments (like a night pool or a neighborhood post-carnival) and go…nowhere. Perfect to get you to sleep.
It’s Friday morning. I’ve been up since six (20 minutes feeding a crying baby who fell right back asleep), three hours ago. Monday is off. It’s a long weekend! Though I am full-time “working in the home” right now, I am still ecstatic that it’s a long weekend. It’s a long weekend! My sister is coming to visit from Maine! R will be off work for THREE DAYS. On Monday we’ll have a picnic with friends! On Wednesday my parents get home from vacation and can visit MG! It’s a long weekend!
Here’s to hoping for a long weekend filled with this:
- Brooklyn Blackout Cake (requested from a bakery in Maine)
- Installing curtains, or at least learning how to install curtains
- Grasping and side-rolling
- Long walks (some of us in our new sunhats)
- Friends and family
- Baby snuggles
- Donating the enormous bags full of baby items
One of the pleasures of being on leave is time to read. I’ve been reading for a few hours each day. Most recently, I finished Through the Children’s Gate, an autobiographical series of essays about raising children in New York City. Though in someways completely unrelatable to my life (the kids go to Dalton, the family lives on the Upper East Side), there is a poignancy and nostalgia for both New York and for childhood that I found moving. A lot of the essays were previously published in the New Yorker, including this one about a three-year-old’s imaginary friend, Charlie Ravioli.
Yesterday, MG had her last feeding of breast milk. She is now fully formula fed. I honestly could not be happier. I can tell my hormones are a little out-of-whack and I feel emotionally sensitive but mostly I just feel relief. When R and I decided to scuttlebutt our original plan of dropping a breast feeding every week or so and just move her to full formula, I also cried happiness. I didn’t have to breastfeed forever! I could move on to formula and enjoy the last two months of my leave! Everyone says when you are thinking about weaning to think back about how much breast milk you were able to give your baby but I pretty much just regret it. The amount of pain, frustration, crying (from both of us!), anxiety made it not worth it. If I could give post-partum me one piece of advice, I would say, “You were blessed with one of the sweetest, cutest, easiest babies in existence. Just feed your fucking baby with the formula and enjoy her.”
There is a deep loneliness in parenting. In being the default parent – the one home from work, the one who might not leave the house if it is overcast, the one who listens at night to see if the baby’s fussing will calm itself or escalate. I leave MG with her father, her grandparents, very easily. I know they all know how to take care of her and that they love her as much as I do. But it’s a temporary break from a permanent burden. The full weight rests on me alone. I am curious to see what the dynamic is like in August when R is off work for 16 weeks, I’m back at work, and she is no longer breastfeeding.
Not that much is on my mind right now. I feel like I’m just living an endless loop on groundhog’s day. Sleeping, eating, taking a shower, changing diapers, feeding, burping, waiting for MG to wake up, etc. There is a bit of rhythm to my days, in terms of more sleeping in the morning and more fussiness in the evenings, but it’s pretty variable. And there’s no sense of weekday versus weekend except when the NY Times comes or which adult people I am seeing. It’s sort of a weird way to live life, especially when I compare it to my weekday/weekend life that I’ve been living since basically forever.
I do feel like having pockets of time but no real schedule has made me very mindless. I use my phone a ton and am generally hopping from superficial activity to superficial activity instead of doing the things that I know I find more grounding like meditating, stretching, tidying, etc.
This weekend we’re headed back to our apartment so maybe I will use that for a shift moment. Plus, our stroller is coming so we’ll be able to take some walks!
I debated what to call this post because life with a baby is now just…life. MG is 2.5 weeks old. My days now look like — feeding her, changing her, soothing her, napping with her (or reading, or waiting for her to wake up from a nap), etc. The learning curve has been/is steep, but I can now do a few things competently, like dressing her, picking up a newborn so their neck doesn’t fall off, changing a diaper, etc. I can also recognize the wail of hunger compared to her other cries. It has been very nice being off work and not having to immediately balance a new family life with any other responsibilities. And my parents have been immensely helpful too, taking a lot of night feedings (thanks electric breast pump!) and having food available that I can eat when ravenous.
My new ‘goals’ are very minor — basically find some time to do a few self-care things. I’ve been pretty good at journaling and going for walks, so trying to find a few minutes for meditation or stretching when I get a chance.,