Daily Habits

A while ago, I was really into my daily habit tracker. I had five daily habits: 10k steps, no sugar, time with R, meditation, and stretching. Since then, a lot has happened. I became pregnant, had a baby, came back to work, etc. I’ve been thinking about what my new habits should be. My short-list so far is:

  • Food journaling. I am very not into diets or anything insane, but have 10 pounds of “baby weight” left to lose and thought writing down all the food I eat might help with some internal accountability.
  • Intermittent fasting. Linked to the above, I’ve been trying to eat in a window of 10 hours and fast for the other 14 (which isn’t as bad as it sounds because I’m typically asleep for 8 of them).
  • Deep work. Now that I’m back at work, I would like to become a super productive beast.
  • Daily workout and nightly stretching.
  • Meditation. As usual.

And, I would love to put something on their like nourishment, but I’m not sure exactly what would fit. Left to my own devices, I become very routine-oriented (which is good in many ways), but can lose opportunities to have fun.

Rituals

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about rituals. In November, MG will start daycare and R and I will go back to the office full-time. So, even though she won’t remember them long-term, it seems like a good opportunity to start with some family rituals.

You can have daily rituals like…

  • a few, on-rotation afterschool snacks
  • saying what you are grateful for at the dinner table
  • taking a shower and changing into pajamas after school (instead of before bed). We did this a lot when I was a kid and it was soooo cozy.

Or monthly rituals like:

  • cake for breakfast on the first day of every month

Or yearly rituals like:

  • a birthday experience (instead of presents)
  • pumpkin carving
  • opening one Christmas present on Christmas eve

Or seasonal rituals like:

  • late night summer grocery store runs;
  • going to the library on a rainy day and then spending the day snuggled up at home
  • watching Moonstruck between Christmas and New Year’s

 

A drive for perfection

I have found myself being very consumerist recently. Just spending tons of time browsing through clothes, toys, etc. Like, if I buy the perfect thing, my life will become perfect. R and I don’t spend a lot of money by choice because we both would rather save our money so we have more flexibility later on in life with how we want to spend our time. But coming back to work and with MG becoming more interested in the world, I have this quiet anxiety that is telling me to be more perfect. I have probably spent hours looking at beautiful rainbow blocks, stacking bowls, play silks, etc. At the same time, we work very hard to not give MG too many toys and overwhelm her. So where is this drive coming from? It’s like some perverted thought that if I don’t get the right things, life won’t be good. I think I’m going to pause on online shopping for a while and let myself reconnect more with the natural rhythm of my life.

Newborn Essentials

I remember when I was pregnant, R and I got into an argument with my parents around how we didn’t want to buy that much baby stuff. Their side of the argument, “babies need a lot of stuff!!!!” I still disagree. This is a list of what we found to be the only essential items:

– a place for the baby to sleep. I would highly, highly recommend a baby box. We used the “SnuggleNest.” A box means you can have the baby fall asleep anywhere while still having the baby feel like it’s in a familiar place. Plus, later on you can put the box inside the crib and the adjustment goes super well.

– silicone bottles. We used comotomo brand which I liked a lot because the silicone and the wide mouth meant you don’t need a bottle brush to wash them out.

– diapers. Goes without saying.

– warm clothes. Babies run cold, or at least our baby did. It was not unusual for her to sleep in an inside onesie, a wool sweater vest (handknit by grandma), footed PJs, and a hat.

– blankets to swaddle with. We used regular receiving blankets and didn’t buy swaddlers.

– a baby bathtub. Our kiddo legit cried every time we bathed her, which we did every day! But in a few weeks, she started associating bath time with bed time which is still the case. The one time in her entire life we skipped the bath, she would. not. go. to. sleep.

– a white noise machine, though we used our phones for the first few months.

– burp cloths. Get more than you think you need. Once you are out, time to do laundry!

– a mode of transportation for the baby (wrap, car seat, etc.). This one is highly variable based on your situation. We did a mix of wraps (the ktan), car seat in car (the maxi cosi mico 30…insane name for a car seat if you ask me), and car seat attachment with stroller).

– and for mom: massages, post-partum pies (and really unlimited food), and at least a night bottle of formula administered by someone else so she can get some sleep).

 

Overlap Week

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.

Life Update

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.

 

Letter of Recommendation: Sleepcasts

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.