Entries Tagged as 'baby'
January 29th, 2015 · 2 Comments
I have been extremely busy lately. After starting my own law practice a year and a half ago, I’ve really felt like I hit my stride in the last six months, which is an awesome feeling. However, the flip side of that awesome feeling is that I have been working really, really hard.
Bear and I have settled into a fairly predictable schedule in the last few months, and as long as I don’t have court appearances, meetings, or depositions, I usually stay home with him in the mornings and work during his nap, and then take him to school in the afternoons. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an ideal childcare situation, but ours is a pretty good balance. Most of the time, it works really well — I have a good chunk of time with him every day, but I also have a decent stretch of uninterrupted work time.
But last week, I just started to feel like I wasn’t getting quite enough time with him. He was taking long morning naps and I was working on a number of big projects, and I just started to really miss him. My job is really important to me and I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing now for anything, but I had a day that I almost cried when I dropped him off at school for the afternoon. I know lots of moms feel this way — they’re proud of their careers, but no matter how much you love your job, it’s hard to leave your baby with someone else every day. There’s no way around that. It’s just hard.
So this week, I finally made it past a few big deadlines, and when two of my mom friends suggested a trip to the zoo, I jumped at the chance to have a special afternoon with our baby boy. We live about a mile from the Houston Zoo, but Bear hasn’t really been old enough to understand it until now, so this was our first visit.
And we had so much fun. He loved watching all the people, looking into the aquarium (“Hooray for Fish” is one of his favorite books!), and of course, getting to ride the carousel. And I loved getting an extra afternoon with our son, watching him experience something new.
As Bear gets older, I want to make this a tradition: every once in a while, we’ll take a few hours off from school and work, and do something fun. Whether it’s exploring museums or picnics in the park or just staying home and baking cookies, those memories are ones that I’ll cherish forever. It feels like he’s growing up so fast — for the past few months, every day brings some new development or change.
So, that shot above? It’s the first of many stolen afternoons, and the start of some amazing times together.
Tags: baby · life
Sometimes when I post a particularly sweet photo, video, or blog post about our son, I get a comment back: “You make it look easy.”
Undoubtedly, this comment comes from a good place. It’s someone telling me that I’m doing ok at this whole mothering thing (hopefully, I am), that life seems pretty good (it is) and that the baby and I are clearly happy (we are).
But, oh my gosh. The last thing I would want to do ever is make it look easy.
Social media and blogging are such wonderful additions to our culture; they let people connect across huge distances and cultural divides. They make cooped-up new moms feel like they’re part of a community, they help us share knowledge and advice, and they enrich our lives in so many ways.
But they also make us competitive with each other. They make us compare our real-life experience with a snapshot of someone else’s — a beautiful, happy snapshot, but one that lacks context and background. Trust me: For every cute date-night outfit, there’s also a day when I don’t have time to even brush my hair. For every sweet baby smile, there’s a night when he wakes up every two hours in tears. Those moments are part of reality for any new mom, whether we choose to share them or not.
I don’t mean to say that there’s anything wrong with posting those beautiful moments — there isn’t, and I treasure all the sweet little smiles I’ve captured on camera in these last few months.
But phrases like “making it look easy” make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if it’s not easy. If it’s not easy, that it’s your fault. That it could be “easy” if you would just do things differently.
But here’s the thing: life isn’t rewarding or rich because it’s easy. Life is incredible because of those tiny little moments, every day, when we appreciate something joyful or meaningful in our daily experiences. Sure, there are great, easy days. And there are also so many great moments in the not-easy days.
If you’re expecting it to be easy — just because someone else might make it look easy — you’re always going to be unsatisfied.
And I wanted to write this, because I worry sometimes that I contribute to it. I worry that when I write about topics like breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss, or even how I’ve chosen to pursue my career, that others will feel badly because they’re struggling with those same issues. To write about these topics suggests, in some small way, that you have figured them out. But these are day-to-day struggles, and I don’t think anyone has fully figured them out.
All our lives are different. And it’s important to remember that. Each mom out there — each person out there, parent or not — has their own ups and downs that are unique to their family. And I know that some of my toughest moments — the 2 a.m. wake-ups and the mornings that I frantically proofread a brief while our son naps in the next room — are the memories that I’ll look back on, years later, when he’s all grown up, and smile.
So who really wants ‘easy’ anyways?
Tags: baby · life
January 16th, 2015 · 7 Comments
Have I got a story for you guys today.
(Skipping to the end, I’ll tell you: we’re fine, everything is fine. As you can see in that picture above, Bear is totally ok, but… here goes.)
So, last Friday, when I picked Bear up from the school he goes to in the afternoons, he felt a little warm. A few hours later, his temperature had gone up to about 100 degrees, which is definitely a fever, but a pretty low-grade one. It came down with Tylenol, and persisted for about a day and a half, and then he kicked it.
Almost immediately afterwards, he started getting cold symptoms, which, I thought: ok, not the end of the world. He’s almost nine months old and is around other kids almost daily, so, needless to say, we’ve had our fair share of colds. I called the doctor and they said to watch him for a few days to make sure he didn’t get worse, but overall, no big deal.
So, on Wednesday afternoon, I drop him off as usual and proceed to work for a few hours. Only, when I pick him up, his teacher tells me that he’s fast asleep at 6pm (weird), he hasn’t eaten anything all afternoon (very weird), and when I hold him, I realize that his breathing is super fast, like he’s struggling for air (absolutely horrifying).
I take him home and immediately call his pediatrician’s office and talk to their after-hours line. They get a nurse on the phone, and I tell her what’s been going on. Fortunately, by this point, I’d nursed him and he’d eaten something, but his breathing is still shallow and fast.
I’m holding Bear in my arms as I tell her this story, so his head is close to the phone. And she goes, “oh, I can hear him — it sounds like he’s panting. How soon can you get here?”
And you guys, my stomach flipped. “Five minutes,” I told her (a lie; we live more like fifteen minutes away from their office, but I was basically planning to drive 200 miles an hour at that point).
“Ok. Head over. I’ll meet you in the waiting room and check his vitals.”
That’s, obviously, when I started to cry.
Chad was still at work, so I got Bear into the carseat as quickly as I could and drove us to the office (200 miles an hour seemed like a good idea, but I decided it was probably better to avoid dying in a car accident on our way to the doctor’s office, so I went the speed limit… ish.) Minutes after we get there, the nurse comes out and hooks Bear up to an oxygen monitor to check his breathing, and I was so close to hyperventilating that I debated asking her to check mine when she was done.
But, thankfully, a minute later she announced that his oxygen levels were fine. His fever was back, but only around a hundred degrees. A while later, once Chad had arrived, we saw a doctor, who told us that he’d developed an ear infection — in babies, this is a pretty common complication from a normal cold, and they can come on suddenly, sometimes in a matter of hours. My sweet little baby who had been on the road to recovery at lunchtime now needed antibiotics, but was otherwise ok. (The breathing was just due to congestion, it turned out — his lungs were fine, too.)
Me, on the other hand. All I could think about was that he’d taken a turn for the worse and I hadn’t been there.
The worst part? I’d gotten to a stopping point in the brief I was working on forty-five minutes before I’d picked him up, but since he was safely at school, I’d taken a shower.
While my baby was refusing to eat and so congested that he was panting, I’d taken a shower.
And, obviously, I hadn’t known. But I still felt so guilty — I was still so shaken up by the whole experience and somehow felt like it was all my fault.
But once we got home, and Bear was safely in bed, I told Chad about how I was feeling. And my husband is excellent at kicking some sense into me when I go down a mom-guilt spiral, because he looked at me and responded immediately:
And, you know what? He was absolutely right. I had no idea, and yet I was sitting there, beating myself up. Ultimately, I’d done everything that I could have done — and this experience, while very scary, had turned out fine. Our son had an ear infection, got treated for it, and was now on the road to recovery.
Bear’s illness itself wasn’t a big deal, but my reaction to it, in some ways, was. This situation was almost totally out of my control, and yet my urge, as a mom, was to feel like I somehow failed him. To beat myself up totally unnecessarily, when I had done everything I could for him. To feel like I’d failed simply because this had happened.
I’ve written before about “mom guilt” and how impossible it is to try to be a “perfect” parent, but this week was an extra reminder. I hope this never happens again, and that Bear has a healthy end to his first year. But if it does, I’m going to remember that sometimes these things are out of my control — that even though I’d like to protect him from everything, trying to do that is setting myself up for inevitable failure.
As always, I’m going to do my best.
And I’m going to remind myself that that’s enough.
Besides, you can’t get through a baby’s first year without at least one Urgent Care visit, right?