Tuesday, September 11, 2007
...because I can't separate the threads of baby versus non-baby material in all that's gone on in the past month + since we moved, plus I have very (even more-) limited time. That also means that this will likely be a disorganized post, or more so than usual.
So we moved into University housing, which initially was a bit scary. Tiny, dark, smelly as heck, and the carpet (the Grease Mat) so nasty we couldn't put Limelet on the floor even for a minute. Yep, you bet that was a pain. We ended up spreading old bedsheets on the livingroom floor just to be able set him down. Since he had just begun crawling, it was a matter of trying to constantly corral him on the rumpled, rapidly dirtying sheets.
What we wanted to do was get everything off the floor and shampoo the heck out of the carpet. Over and over. And over. However, this took about a week and a half to accomplish.
Backing up a bit: on the day we moved in, I walked into the livingroom where the moving guys had been stacking our boxes to find that the tiny room was COMPLETELY filled with boxes up to the ceiling, with only a little path through to the kitchen and to the sofa. When we were packing and building up to the move, we had thought that once we moved, we could finally relax a bit because we could unpack at our leisure.
HA! It actually ended up more stressful and urgent even than the packing, because we had to hurry to get that enormous pile of boxes unpacked and sorted out enough to shampoo the carpet before we could do much of anything else. And since the place was so tiny, unpacking was like an incredibly complex puzzle. A two-bedroom four-dimensional Tetris. In 90-something-degree heat.
It took over a week (was it ten days?) of solid work to get things to a level at which we could even think of shampooing the rug, so it's a good thing we chose a move-in date that was a bit before my internship started. (I wouldn't even have known where my work clothes were, had we not done that.)
Once we got the shampooing done and had covered the Grease Mat with a series of area rugs, there was a mutual deflation of stress. Thank goodness!
Since then we have been gradually fixing this or that situation in the house, like adding babyproofing and unpacking my work clothes, for example. Just this past Saturday I finally got my laptop set up, which tells you how much there has been to do. Normally I wouldn't think of going over a month without a proper desk setup, but it was just quite a bit lower on my urgency list than...well, than a month's worth of other stuff, I guess.
So TheLimey has been staying home and caring for our Limelet, a transition which has for the most part gone way faster than either of us thought. True, the first week or so there were a few meltdowns (and I'm not saying they weren't mine!), delayed naps, lost sleep, and hassles pumping milk and transporting it and using it--all that sort of thing, but we've all gradually begun to find a new rhythm.
For one thing, I stopped coming home for lunch. Limelet's pediatrician had suggested it as a transition device, and it seemed like a good idea. But in practice, it ended up making Limelet have to say goodbye to me just 15 or 20 minutes after I'd gotten home, and then he was often upset for the entire afternoon. Now that I'm staying away he stays happier all day, and when I come home at night his delight in seeing me is not shattered by my immediately leaving. Not to mention it was a huge pain in the butt for me to use thirty or forty minutes of my lunch hour just driving back and forth and parking. By the time I'd nursed him I often wouldn't even have time to eat something myself.
We also have switched from using a bottle for serving the expressed milk, to just putting it in his sippy cup before naptimes. He likes the bottle primarily as a toy, so it more distracts him from sleeping than puts him to sleep.
Since it's been so @#$%& hot every single frikkin' day since we moved, there have been Sleep Issues. Particularly at night. Turns out that about the only way to get Limelet to sleep on a hot night is for one of us to take him out on the nearby swings and swing him to sleep. If it's me doing it, he also nurses. (Luckily it's usually dark anyway.)
I've been worried that he'll become addicted to falling asleep on the swing, but on the three cooler nights we've had, he's fallen asleep inside, so I hope that we can get back to normal when the weather breaks. I'm not going to be swimging him to sleep in February, I'll tell you that much! It makes me think that we should just replace our bed with a hujambous hammock.
Daytimes--from what I hear--TheLimey and Limelet hang out outside under a shady tree, even napping there at the appropriate naptime. (Probably cooler than inside the apartment, anyway.) They've been exploring campus while I'm gone, so that's nice. It's such a gorgeous campus, too. There's also a grocery store and some other conveniences within easy walking distance, so sometimes they go there during the daytimes.
Limelet is learning about Other People now that we're not isolated in snowbound Tinytown USA. We have neighbors galore, as well as some after-hours activities with my fellow interns. One of the other interns has a baby who is jsut a couple weeks younger than Limelet, so we all get together and the two of them parallel-play, and sometimes try to grab each other's hair or eyes.
Limelet has always just loved having (most) people talk to him and pay attention to him (though there are a few people who sent him into fits of terror, but we won't discuss that here and now), however he's always been afraid of having others hold him. But just yesterday he finally allowed our nextdoor neighbor, a Chinese grad student named Kim, to carry him back from the launderette (as TheLimey calls it) and play with him, with Daddy close at hand of course.
We are going to try getting him exposed to being taken care of by others so we can have a babysitter at some point. Possibly the non-mother interns would take care of the two babies sometime while the parents have some time off. For us it would be our first time alone together since his birth!
I've also met some other mothers in the apartment complex (Or "Baby Alley" as I like to call it.) Across from us is a Filipino couple with a tiny 4-month-old girl, and living above us is (I think) a West African family with a 6-month-old girl and I think two older children, but I haven't really met them yet. TheLimey has found a couple weekly games of pickup football (real football, I mean, not Meatball; comprised, so he says, of the United Nations) in a couple locations on campus, so I feel happy about that. Now he can get to know some men-friends.
My office at work has high ceilings and windows up to the top, facing East, so that's going to be great for the long northern winter. There are three other interns: two are Korean international students and one is White and from California. We're all women this year. I'm happy to be somewhere that has good coworkers. And the site has an especial emphasis on multicultural issues, as I guess it would have to for me to fit in there.
I am somewhat surprised to find myself at the more-CBT end of the treatment continuum compared to others here. We have arguments about evidence-based treatments, with me on the side of research. So funny, as my Feminist orientation places me on the flakier end of many locations. I am co-facilitating an anxiety group with the center's big CBT guy. I've invented a treatment called "Accidental Exposure Therapy," which consists of running around doing random things until something makes you anxious. (Just a joke, of course.)
Of course every workplace has its paperwork/computer/etc. system that takes a while to learn, currently I'm taking more time doing those things than I want to. Theoretically I could see all my clients, attend all our meetings, eat lunch, AND get my paperwork done--all within the 9-5 model, but for now that's been a little bit of a stretch. I feel certain that I'll be able to do it relatively soon, though.
I have a campus bus pass that I've used a few times. I think I will use it more as winter comes on. For now my time is so tight in the morning that I don't have the extra 20 minutes to take it, but I hope to start doing so regularly. If it weren't for the baby care aspect, it would actually be a lot easier to take the bus.
Downtown has changed somewhat since I lived here, but other than the destruction of locally owne businesses by chains such as Starbuck's and Barnes & Noble, most of the changes are either nice or neutral. The downtown is really nice to walk around in at lunchtime. I saw an Indian restaurant nearby and can't wait to try it sometime. Perhaps when Limelet gets his babysitting experience the two of us can go. Together! What a thought.
My "baby weight" has almost gone, but I'm definitely shaped differently now. I'm still experiencing a few other unpleasant physical sequelae, but we won't go into those for now. I'm happy to be able to be outside and walking around again, I'll tell you that much. I even went for a (short) jog the othe rmorning, with the actual jogging stroller and baby in it. I plan to incorporate more jogging if possible, once we get our mornings ironed out better (which is somewhat dependent on getting our nighttimes ironed out.)
Limelet's first birthday: next week Tuesday. Wow, no longer infant, officially toddler!
Too see the photographic documentation of what we've been doing on weekends, look here.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Yeah, it's late for labor Day. But you gotta love Jack Lessenberry.
(No, really--I insist. You must LAHF HEEM.)
I especially like the discussion of Ehrenreich's assertion that the working poor are the philanthropists of society.
Hope this link works via email blog...