I have been struck, as is pretty usual for me, to do a recounting of this year and a planning ahead for 2021. But every time I start to think about this year I just stop. I don’t really want to go back. I keep thinking about the holidays for 2019 – MG’s first. She was sick from daycare and basically up all night for November. Then she was a bit better and she – and then all of us – caught HFMD for Christmas. I spent my birthday feverish in bed. By February she was better and we felt like we had survived a really difficult window and things were turning a corner. Her birthday party was probably the last time we had people in our house.
From there, it has been a total shitshow. WFH with her, the total fear and panic of living in NYC in March and April, the house fire, five months of living with parents and in-laws. When daycare reopened and we moved back home it was like reaching the promised land. There were a few rough weeks of transition but since then, our life has been stable and happy once again, even in light of occasional COVID quarantines, masks, no indoor playdates, etc.
But it was hard again for other reasons – I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks, the fear and panic of the election. I just feel so wrung out and tired, like I need three years to recover from this one. And we still had it easier than so many people. We have stable jobs that paid us the same amount even when we were doing childcare half the time, we didn’t lose any loved ones to COVID, we didn’t get sick ourselves. But it was so hard in so many ways.
I have been looking forward to 2021 but softly. Thinking about doing a weekly tech sabbath which I have been finding really restorative and a way to bring the pleasure of boredom back into my life. And I long, I honestly long for, a cold rainy weekend day when indoor play dates are allowed once again and the kids can play with trucks and the adults can have some pizza and wine and we are all warm and dry and safe. I feel thankful and I am filled with so much longing.
Tomorrow starts October. A month where my partner turns 40 and has his last month of parental leave, MG starts daycare, and its Halloween and Diwali, back to back. It’s making me feel very pre-nostalgic. Fall is a very fresh start, back-to-school sense for me, but it increasingly makes me think of growing old and dying. Or, just dying. Who knows when? I often wear an extremely comfortable, enormous t-shirt to bed that says “this body will be a corpse.” It’s morbid but true (and no, I did not buy this shirt — it was given to me from a meditation center that was closing). I feel like MG is so fun and so much of a kid right now — like has clear thoughts and preferences, and you can actually communicate with her. At the same time, she’s such a cuddly, squishy, loving and loveable baby. I wish I could sort of pause this era of my life. I would not have said this even a month or two ago, but it makes me look forward to having another baby.
Often I try to commit to monthly goals, but this month, I want to just try embracing the messiness lovingly and mindfully. So I commit to loving presence and daily meditation practice, and lots of grace for myself and for others.
We have not been spending many weekends in NYC recently. Often with the grandparents, and coming and going from CT. This was my first week of full-time work since February and there’s about to be a big rainstorm. I feel like in the “old days”, we would have a weekend full of plans for working out, eating out, lounging, running errands, etc. But it’s strange now having a weekend with the baby, especially in city. We go for a lot of walks, but MG is still young enough that there’s not too much you can do with her, especially if the weather is bad.
I signed up for a personal retreat weekend. The sort of deal where you can do whatever you want in your room or on the grounds, but all your meals are prepared and you don’t have access to technology. But the idea of it makes me feel sort of lonely. What I really want is time with R…but then, I miss MG when it is just the two of us!
There’s an interesting tension in my time now, always wanting what I don’t have and often wanting to be where I’m not.
So what would make it a good weekend? I’ll say…
- seeing friends
- working out
- having a hot shower
- making a meal
- playing with MG
- watching a TV show?!
Seems fairly doable.
It is overlap week! The one week where R and I overlap our parental leaves. We had thought we’d need a week to transition MG, but she hit a really good napping pattern last week and it seems like anybody (aka at least R and I) can now put her down for a nap. What caused this do you ask? Why, after a month or so of rolling to her belly and then crying during sleep, she’s decided it is much preferable to sleep on her belly. Therefore, she refuses to roll onto her belly herself and when you roll her, she instantly goes to sleep…babies!
So far, overlap week has mostly been fun. We’re being productive beasts — scheduling a house cleaning, donating a bunch of stuff. We’re also trying to schedule fun things every day — blogging, watching Stranger Things, hopefully a few beach trips. MG has been getting pretty bad heat rash so we mostly stay inside the house.
And next week, I go back to work. Part-time for a month and then full-time…I’m sort of nervous about going back (and honestly, slightly resentful that I had the “hard” part of the leave bc MG is now so fun and so playful and takes lots of long naps every day!) but I think it will be good for me. And it will be good for R and MG to hang out together more too.
A pattern I’ve noticed — married couples without kids come to visit. The man leaves wanting a baby, while the woman leaves having decided she’ll postpone babies for at least a few more years.
I haven’t written in a while. Life feels sort of like I’m on a hamster wheel, but my companion becomes a more efficient babbler every day. In four weeks I go back to work, so it’s been a bit easier for me to enjoy my time off and see the silver lining in being home because I know my time left is finite. But still, man oh man, do I think I’m better off as the working parent rather than the stay-at-home parent. For a month, I’ll be working 3.5 days a week, and then I’ll be back full-time after labor day. R will be off until November.
Friends of ours came into town and we were talking about what it’s like to have a baby. R was like it’s about 10% harder every day. I said it’s about 30% harder every day. I’ll be very curious to revisit the conversation after he’s on leave for a while and I’m back at work.
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.”