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.
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.