Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Update Where Everything is Different

Basically everything is the same since I last posted to this blog back in February except for the following:

  • Eloise is no longer 1 week old. She is now 15 weeks old or something like that. Now she smiles, generally tolerates life's myriad of challenges (see "dog licking" and "tummy time" in sentence to follow), and enjoys snuggling and scratching her stubborn, flaky cradle cap. She does not enjoy having her head licked excessively by the dogs or tummy time. Unlike Henry, who refused and still refuses to go above 2% on the growth chart for weight, Eloise has delicious thigh rolls and her cheeks are giant, heavy apples. I love it. It's as though last time around I made skim milk and this time I'm serving up heavy cream. No one would call her a fat baby but she has significantly more chunkage than Henry ever did. She is a delight and I want to smush her.
  • I'm back at work. I am pumping. It is terrible just like last time. Unlike last time, I decided right off the bat that I would pump no more than 1-2 times per day and would supplement with formula as needed. That has worked really well for me and seemingly for Eloise, too. I tend to pump once a day, drop about 9 oz at daycare, and the rest is Baby's One Formula which my hippie granola sister-in-law told me to get and I blindly obeyed. At home its straight boob. So far, so good. She gets mostly breastmilk and I'm not a ball of stress over reaching some crazy milk quota.
  • When I say "back" at work I really mean that I'm working again but at a new job. My new job is in the same general field as before - I'm doing project management for construction projects but this time for a general contractor where as before I was an owner's representative. It's way less corporate and more independent. It's refreshing and terrifying. I'm being paid hourly at a rate comparable to my old salary but am working 4 days instead of 5 so that I can spend a little more time with my babies. This sounds great and feels great when I spend my Mondays at the zoo in the sunshine just loving on Henry but is feeling logistically and financially difficult right now. Part-time care for Henry (almost all daycares in the city require full-time for infants) was supposed to save us money and free us up to spend more time with him. Instead, it seems to be accomplishing the latter but instead of saving money, we're losing more by not working. We're only 3 weeks in and figuring things out. I'm completely certain (sometimes) that things will fall into place and all will be ok. I've worked 50+ hours a week for the past 10 years - on-call and traveling for the past 6 of those - and I want to take some time to slow done and enjoy my babies while they're little. I know that's the right decision for me but the whole money bleeding thing is killing me. Having 2 kids in the city is really expensive. Which brings me to my next bullet point...
  • We're listing our condo on the market next month and want to move back to my hometown, a lovely suburb that borders Chicago and has ample access to public transpo. Also the home of my sister and parents. 2 Adults + 2 kids + 2 dogs in a 2 bedroom apartment is feeling like, "cramped" isn't the right word for it... ah yes, like a hell hole. That's what I mean to say. It was no big deal to scoop Henry up in a carrier and walk the dogs back in the day. Now I have to leave Eloise strapped in her carseat while I run the dogs down to pee in 30 seconds, either balancing Henry on my hip or willing him to walk down the back stairs faster. This all came to a head earlier this week when J had to work late. I picked up the kids from daycare, parked, walked a block to our apartment, got in the door and Henry decided he wanted to go back outside. But he couldn't because we had to go let the dogs out, eat dinner, and generally continue on with life. Not fucking okay. He lost his mind in the biggest tantrum I've ever seen from him. I carried Eloise up the one flight of stairs to our landing, left her in the carseat, ran back down and picked H up while he screamed and flailed. I then let us into the apartment and fed the dogs who were losing their minds about being hungry and needing to pee. I tried to negotiate with my terrorist son about coming back outside with me to walk the dogs and while that fruitless discussion was happening, my dog Frank simply couldn't hold it any more and shit in front of me in the living room. While Henry was screaming. Shit + screaming + my old dog Ella was just barking incessantly to let me know she wanted to go out which I was already completely aware of. I cleaned up poop, got the dogs out, eventually calmed Henry down by turning on Bob the Builder (no judgement), and made dinner. When J got home after 8 pm, Henry was still eating dinner. I crawled into the fetal position with a glass of wine once J took over with Henry. A total winner of a night. The point of this whole story is that I desperately need a yard so that I can just let the dogs out and deal with my insane kid. Or, let Henry play in the yard so he can be outside like he wanted. I realize that I am hanging all my hopes and dreams on a backyard and that it will only go so far towards making life with a menagerie of dogs and children feel sane but it's all I got right now.
The most stressful things - aside from famine, natural disasters, homelessness, actual tragedies the likes of which I've never had to experience - are the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, changing careers, moving, divorce, and canine incontinence (made that one up). J and I have agreed not to get divorced because single parenting seems overly difficult. If someone dies now, I will kill them. Please let me focus on my new baby, changing my career and moving. I am this slightly manic mix of incredibly in love and happy with my family and stressed and stretched too thin. This is probably the state of my life for the next 15-20 years with fluctuations in the love : happiness : stress ratio.

When he is not throwing epic tantrums about outdoor access, Henry is SUCH A FUCKING DELIGHT. I know I described Eloise as a delight earlier but truly, they both are so wonderful. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is absolutely free which makes it a favorite destination of this cash-strapped mom. Last Monday we had a day there, just the two of us, where we rode the train, saw lions, flamingos, hippos and - HOLD THE PHONE - monkey doctors. Not just regular doctors but ones that take care of monkeys. Henry is very interested in his own pediatrician since his two-year checkup. At the Macaque Forest, we were able to watch researchers in lab coats working with the monkeys in some humane experiment where they were offered fruits and veggies constantly. I clearly didn't catch the details. I think the experiment was called, "Do Monkeys Like Food?" and the answer was "yes, yes they do." Anywho, Henry was completely enthralled and has been saying since then, "I be a money doctor. I take care of mama monkey, daddy monkey and baby monkey. Someday." He's starting to explore the concept of things happening in the past and the future. Not everything is right now. Though most things are. After seeing pictures of him meeting Eloise at the hospital, he now repeatedly asks, "Daddy, remember when Henry was born? Mama, remember when Eloise was born?" I vaguely remember those events. Yesterday I asked him what babies do. He replied, "Be born."

I swear I can hear the gears spinning and cranks clicking while that boy thinks. He is always exploring, learning and trying to catch his language up to his whirring thoughts. It makes me so, so proud. I think I got two really good ones.

Theoretically, our condo goes on the market in the next 2-3 weeks. I'll have much more to report in life in the next several months and hopefully will be blogging about it a bit more often. Til then...