Long Time, No Blog
And I have no real excuses except for the big one: I wanted to focus all my attention on the baby, so I don’t feel bad about it at all. Sure, there were lots of things I could blog about, but to be honest, I just didn’t really want to. My sole focus during my maternity leave was M and I’m fine with that.
So please accept my apologies for disappearing on you. And please also accept my apologies for not blogging regularly anymore, at least for the time being. I have lots I could share and discuss, and maybe someday soon I will feel like sharing it all. But to be honest, I’ve really been struggling lately with whether I want to continue blogging at all. Make no mistake—this is not a lame excuse to get people to comment & tell me to keep blogging…these are my true feelings at the moment, and it doesn’t depend on how my readers feel, but what I think is best for myself and my family. I’m having a hard time marrying blogging with protecting M’s privacy, and I find I am much more “afraid” of the Internet these days. When you blog in a public space such as this one, it’s out there, no matter what you do. So I really need to carefully weigh my options and decide if continuing to blog is something I really want to do. While I enjoy blogging very much, and I could probably find ways to blog without bringing my family into it, I must admit I would find it hard to blog about my life without being able to discuss my family & what’s going on with M, and I’m just not really sure I want all of that out there, especially as he continues to grow and we broach things like potty training and the like. And I’m not sure how I feel about putting photos of him on a public blog. I know I’ve done so a few times already (including this post, below) but I am increasingly uncomfortable with it. Blogging about pregnancy is so different from blogging about your children, and so I’m leaning towards wrapping this blog up and going on with my life. I can’t lie, the break from thinking of posts, writing those posts, editing photos, and focusing on material for the blog was really nice, and although I will definitely miss the interaction with my readers and sharing my craft projects and the like, I think for me it’s probably getting to be time to move on.
That being said, I definitely still feel like I owe you all a little update on how we’re doing as I decide how and when I want to wrap things up here. The low-down on what we’ve been up to:
Breastfeeding: took about 8 weeks for us to get the hang of it finally. Eight horrible weeks, where I wanted to quit every single day and I absolutely HATED nursing. I dealt with overactive letdown and oversupply, which in and of itself is sort of traumatizing, but then M wouldn’t take a bottle and it took us until nearly the end of my maternity leave to realize why: I also have excess lipase, which means that after about 24 hours my breastmilk “goes bad” or starts to taste pretty soapy and gross. So my freezer stash that I had been painstakingly building was useless to me and I had to start fresh, figuring out how to scald my milk in order to stop the breakdown of the enzyme. So now in addition to pumping, if I am going to store the milk in any fashion, I also have to scald it. Pain in the ass, but I’m committed now. I want to make it to a year breastfeeding, do or die. When I was in the midst of hating it, I would set small goals. Make it to the end of this week, make it to the end of the month, make it to the end of maternity leave. Once my leave was over, my goal has been 6 months. Now that I’m pumping at work and nursing at home, though (and despite having some minor issues with my pumping output), I’m in it to win it. The fabulous news is that I’m so committed because I really love nursing now. It’s so easy, M is a great eater, and it’s such a nice way for us to continue to bond, especially now that I am back at work. I actually look forward to getting up with him in the middle of the night to feed him!
Going Back to Work: Horrible, horrible, horrible. In hindsight, if I could do it all over again, I would probably have waited to have M until I knew FOR SURE I could stay home full time. It’s that horrible leaving him every day…seriously, every day feels like the worst day of my life. Dramatic, but true. I still cry a lot and I miss him all day long. The good news is that he does really well at daycare, he is at a wonderful place, and his teachers really LOVE him. I was just telling a friend the other night that I love the whole “it takes a village” mentality, and it really feels like his teachers are a part of our village now. I’m not one of those people who think sending your children to daycare means that other people are raising them, and in fact, I think that’s probably one of the meanest things you could say to a working parent. I have enough guilt already, thank you very much. That being said, I enjoy my job & like the feeling of productivity I experience while I am working. I also like the routine that comes with going to work. M is learning how to interact with other babies & children, and he knows there are other safe adults besides my husband and me. I’m also lucky enough to have an end in sight: I have arranged with my job to start working part-time sooner rather than later. We are still working out the details, but it tentatively looks like I will be working three days a week and will then be home with M two days a week. This will be the perfect balance for me, as I do not want to stop working entirely and am committed to my job, but I also want to be home with M! Our plan is also to wait to have a second child until we know for sure that we’d be comfortable having me home full-time with both children (plus I do not want to have two kids in diapers).
First day of work & “school.” I look much more put together than I felt.
M: is the best baby ever. Seriously, he’s so damn cute I can hardly stand it. And he is so interactive now—every day just gets better & better! He loves being read to and has even learned to turn the pages of a few books (though not with true intention yet. He grabs and paws them until they flip!). He holds & shakes rattles, kicks, screeches, laughs…it’s so great. When I was on maternity leave, I felt his sleep left something to be desired, but to be honest, I’ve since let that go, and I really think M is actually a pretty good sleeper. He wakes up two times a night to eat now, and I’m fine with it. In fact, I’m leaning towards not doing any sleep training at all. It just doesn’t feel right with M. He does things on his own schedule, and often when I’ve been doubting whether we’re doing the “right thing” on handling one issue or another, M will do something to tell me, “Hey, Mom, you should trust me more, I know what I’m doing and I’ll do things on my own time!” He’s spread out his feedings & started sleeping longer stretches on his own, so I have no reason not to think he’ll continue to do so. He was so little at birth (remember, only 5 pounds!) and since I am not with him during the day and he gets scalded milk, I don’t mind waking up at night to give him calories and fresh breastmilk. As he continues to grow (he weighs around 11.5 pounds now), I imagine he will drop night feedings in his own time, and I’m in no rush to have him sleep through the night. I’m not an attachment parent (we do not bed share and M sleeps in his own room) but I do like some tenets of that philosophy (baby-wearing, breastfeeding for a year or more) and I tend to agree with the people who think there is a tendency in our culture to want to make babies sleep straight through the night much earlier than baby might be ready to. We experienced a few days of really shitty sleep this past weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday), and I thought we were in for the 4 month sleep regression, but magically on Tuesday he started sleeping again and actually now sleeps better than he did before! Prior to this past weekend he was sleeping in about 3 hour chunks, but now he sleeps in 4 or 5 hour chunks. Even with all the shitty sleep though, starting sleep training just didn’t feel right for us. We haven’t had to formally teach him how to do anything with regards to sleep—he’s learned how to do things on his own, and for that I am really thankful & consider myself to be very lucky. I am fine with letting him fuss & settle himself back to sleep but I don’t think self-soothing and sleeping through the night should necessarily be tied together (not that they’re mutually exclusive though, either). To me, fussing is different than crying (M’s fusses are more like whiny grunts), and M rarely cries anyway, so if he is actually crying, I know he needs something. He is perfectly capable of going to sleep on his own and quite often does so, and he can definitely settle himself back down if he is fussing. Just last night he went down at 7, woke up at 9:45 to eat, went back down, woke up about 10 minutes later and fussed/grunted for about 30 seconds, and then promptly went to sleep. And then he slept for 5 straight hours. So as of right now, I don’t see sleep training in our future. I think we’ll just follow M’s cues, keep consistent with our bedtime routine, and let him decide when he wants to drop those night feedings. Things could always change, of course, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!
Books, Life, etc: Life with a baby is so different but honestly, it is awesome. The weekends are so sweet, seriously. I love every moment I spend with my family and I love M so much I could burst! And our life hasn’t stopped, like some people said it would. We just tote M along with us and have been able to do lots of fun things: eat out at restaurants, attend wedding receptions, and even go to an ice fishing party. We have lots of other fun activities lined up (this weekend we are going to visit the Amish bakery & general stores near my parents’ house, and we can’t wait to take M to a baseball game!). I still have time to read books & paint my nails, even! Currently, I’m re-reading some of my old favorites by Patricia Cornwell. I also got her new book for Christmas, and I am struggling with it again, just like I did with the last new Scarpetta book. The writing just seems so different and the story plods along. I am hoping it will get better because for whatever reason I just cannot stop reading Scarpetta novels, but I find myself more and more annoyed with the characters and plot lines in every new one I read.
At the aforementioned ice fishing party. I am wearing M in the Moby wrap and he was snug as a bug in a rug:
He was wearing some fleecies, a hat, mittens, & two blankies. We also have some shots of him in his snowsuit!
So that’s what’s been going on with us. Again, please don’t mistake this post as a plea for comments to tell me how I need to keep blogging. I just feel it’s best to be honest with you and let you know that more likely than not I will probably end up shutting The Bookworm Wife down in the next few weeks or months. I’ve appreciated all of the years I spent blogging & I have had a lot of fun doing so, but it’s starting to feel like it’s not the
write right thing for me anymore. I’m wary to shut the blog down because I will miss it, but again, this is what I’m leaning towards as being the right thing for me. I just need a little more time to process it, I think.
I will “talk” to you all soon!