Monthly Archives: December 2008

Newborn Polar Bear Pups and The Beast Teacher

I went back to work today.

I was dreading it, if you hadn’t noticed.

It was hard to leave the baby.

I was standing by the elevator crying when I left.  I didn’t want to go to drop-off at daycare.  I made my honey do it.  I couldn’t stand to prolong it.  Plus, gathering all of my pumping gear took way longer than I’d expected.

The actual work day was pretty easy.  The sub who has had my class so far is with me today and tomorrow.  So I just watched her teach and took notes on her routines so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel with the kids.  My students were on their best behavior.  It was nice to see my colleagues again, though I had to stop myself from crying about twenty times.

When the teacher sat down to do read aloud, she read this chapter from a non-fiction book: “Newborn Polar Bear Pups.”  For real?  I was part laughing and part inner-crying while she read how polar bears nurse their young (What time is it?  When can I pump?)  And how they ween their young.  How they burrow a warm and cozy place in the snow to have their babies and cuddle them close.  Did you know that female polar bears just mate with the males, then don’t hang out with them at all?  The males try to eat their young.  I’m starting to remember the things I like about teaching.

Since the other teacher was there, I was able to work out some kinks I was worried about.  I found out that I don’t have a prep period until last period on Mondays and Tuesdays, but an intervention teacher comes in on those mornings, so she said I could sneak off to pump while she’s there and together we figured out that I could do it in the ESL room, just down the hall.  I did actually make it all the way to lunch time without pumping and it wasn’t so bad, but I’m nervous that it will lessen my supply.

When I ran like the wind to daycare after school to pick up Trucker and Cake, I was surprised to find my baby boy happy as a clam.  So very happy, in fact, that the tearful, cuddly nurse-me-right-now reunion I expected didn’t come.  He was busy watching another baby wrestle with a baby chair.  He was having a blast.  He barely threw a glance my way.  Which is, of course, great.  It makes leaving him that much easier.  They had just fed him (I didn’t expect that.)  So I did have to endure a rather painful walk home, completely engorged over an iced-over sidewalk with a toddler and a stroller.

Once I got home, I pulled out a note a student had written me:

Dear ms. Oneofhismoms

you are here you are

going to lern alot about

us and awer names

your the beast teacher

to and I will miss

you when you leave again.

sincirly J

I don’t know when I’m leaving again.  I got several notes with similar sentiments.  I think they just can’t separate her leaving from my coming.  And I’ve been called the best teacher a thousand times (second graders give up that title fairly easily.)  This is the first time I’ve been called the “beast teacher.”  I’m not sure if it means I am the beast or I teach the beasts, but I like it.

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Filed under b00b food, my second son, teaching, Trucker, working motherhood

Going Back

Here it is.

My last day home.

My last getting-in-some-computer-time during morning nap.

Monday I go back to work.  I don’t want to.  I’ve looked forward to this time at home with  my baby all my adult life.  Now it is over.  My friend asked me if there is anything I’m looking forward to about going back to work.

I couldn’t think of anything.

After a few days I came up with a short list:

1. I will get to take my hair out of the pony tail for a few hours a day.

2. I will get to know my new students.

3. I will have the use of both of my hands for a good portion of the day.  (Both hands!  Imagine the possibilities!)

4. Perhaps my back, feet, and neck will stop aching from carrying around my big boy all day.

Ok.  So I thought of four.

Blah.

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Dear Trucker (5 months)

Dear Trucker,

Now I know what you want.  Sort of.  This month you finally started letting your wants be known.  The very first time you let us know what you wanted, you had been playing with Grandma.  I was out of the room.  When I came back, you got a little fussy.  Grandma passed you to me.  You turned with your whole body and stretched your arms out to Grandma.  Ok. Message received.

I gave you some banana yesterday.  I did it because you have been making us feel a little bad.  See, when Mommy and Mama and Cakie eat, you’ve been watching us with huge eyes and making eating motions with your lips and gums.  So we feel a little guilty for eating in front of you.  But when I gave you the banana, you made the funniest yuck face I had ever seen.  I’ll wait until you’re six months old.

Your hair is so long.  You look a bit like a rock star.  It is funny to look at pictures of you when you were just born, because your hair was short and spiky.   Now I need to keep combing it out of your face.

Mommy’s going back to work next week.  I have to go teach some other kids during the day.  But I’ll come get you from daycare as soon as I can.  In fact, I asked Mama for a grown-up scooter for Christmas, so I can get home from work really really fast and kiss you and feed you.  Even if I have to look like a weirdo grown-up on a scooter.  I’ll do it for you, babe.

Tomorrow is our last day as just Mommy and Trucker at home.  It is supposed to snow a lot.  Let’s watch it together.

Love,

Mommy

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Mother-Baby Movie w/ bonus, since I haven’t posted in a long time (for me)

Akilah and The Bee

Pirates of the Carribean –The Annoying One With the Dumb Ending

Knocked Up

Dreamgirls

Sex In the City

Rachel Getting Married

MILK

Yes.  I can count on my fingers the movies I’ve seen since Cake was born. Some, obviously, were seen when there was not much selection in movies to be had.

Crash. Mad Hot Ballroom.  Those were the two I saw right before my honey gave birth.  I like movies.  But when one lives several states away from the kids’ grandparents, and babysitting ends up costing $100 a night, movies are harder to come by.  (That said, I have seen more plays than usual in the past three years, the reasoning being that if we’re spending that much on the babysitter, we may as well shell out some more for the entertainment.)

I was secretly jealous of my honey, I may have mentioned before, during her seven months home with baby Cakie way back when.  One thing I envied was the time she could spend sitting in cafes with friends and little babies.  Another was that she could go to movies.  In New York, a few years back, it was all the rage for movie theatres to reserve one showing of a matinee, maybe once a week for babies and their caretakers to be welcomed and not have to feel like they are imposing on other movie-goers: the mother-baby movie.  Now that I’m home, I can’t find them anywhere on line.  Please help me out, quick (!) if you have any evidence to the contrary as close to Brooklyn as possible.

Since I have one whole freakin’ week of time at home with my baby left, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to a movie I wanted to see regardless of the state of the welcome my little friend in the Ergo would receive.  I chose the movie I wanted to see most: MILK.  Hoping for an empty theatre, I was a bit bummed to see the theatre half-full.  Damn New Yorkers and their flexible schedules.  Artsy-fartsy freelancing matinee crashers!  I chose a seat near the door, way in the back.  There were people in front, behind, and to the left of me.  The people to my left were young.  Too young.  Rabblerousers.  I don’t know what movie they thought they were going to see, one about cows perhaps?  Every gay kiss, these teens felt the need to giggle. Loudly.  They were extremely annoying.  And yet… they made Trucker seem kind of quiet and unobtrusive.  So I didn’t even shush them.

I loved the movie– what I saw of it.  Yet, it was the kind of movie you want to be fully-engrossed in so you can cry really hard at the hard parts, etc.  That didn’t happen.  Especially for a long stretch in the middle during which Trucker would make I’m-about-to-cry noises, until I walked into the lobby.  Then he’d stop.  Then if I went back inside, he’d make the I’m-about-to-cry-take-me-back-to-that-pretty-lobby noises. Repeat.  Finally, I stood in the back for some time rocking him gently and watching the gays on the big screen.  He fell asleep.  And proceeded to snore. Loudly. But I didn’t care.  At least I could sit down and I didn’t have to go into the lobby and I wasn’t snickering loudly like the teens who should have been in school, dagnabit.  The movie ended and I cried, yadda yadda.  I couldn’t help but feel like a missed out on the movie anyway.  I walked up to a woman who had been sitting in the last row, right where I kept having to stand and sway with the baby.  I apologized for  any distraction I may have been.  She said it was no problem.

When I got outside and I was trying to put up my umbrella, the woman from the back walked up to me again and said, “You really should get a babysitter next time.  You’ll enjoy the movie a lot more.  Trust me.”  Perhaps she saw the look on my face I get when given unsolicited advice from strangers on the street.  She pointed to her pregnant belly (I hadn’t noticed before) and said, “I have an older son.  Really.” I paused.  She was right.  I would have totally enjoyed the movie more if I’d had a sitter.  Perhaps even $100 more.

Upon further thought, I realized that maybe the very best way to have fun while home with a baby is to have fun with the baby at home.

Bonus — My favorite sign from the No On 8 march … Sad Rainbow.

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Filed under gay marriage, LGBT, my second son, NYC What is it about you?, Trucker

A Few More Words About Sleep

When I first became a parent, I made a little promise to myself. You see, parenting is so tricky and so personal. I decided to do my very best to not judge other parents based on their parenting choices. (Unless they are abusive. I’m a pretty good judge of the difference between abusive and maybe-not-the-way-I’d-do-it.)

People get very touchy about sleep. Perhaps because they are tired? Sometimes they tend to get a “this is what works” attitude. I did. I was such a Baby Whispererite. She really changed my quality of life. I thought everyone should do it.

After a few years, though, I’ve come to realize a few things. I think sleep success is not just about which technique a person chooses. It is a combination of things, namely, the personality of the baby, the personality of the parents, and the technique or lack thereof.

Some babies are the kind of babies who, if faced with a cry-it-out type regime, will fight a bit perhaps for a few nights, then give in and sleep. More headstrong or needy babies might not be the best candidates for such a program. Same goes for the parent. I have known ever since I became a mom that I am just not cut out for CIO (cry it out) sleep training. I’m way too much of a softie. I would give in, thus training my baby to fight sleep harder. But for some people and their babies, it is a fairly quick train. I also know I’m not cut-out for co-sleeping. Why? I never sleep. Both of my kids sleep like propellers. Plus they are too cute. Plus I could always end up smothering them or something (this is what happens in my own head. I’m not saying if you co-sleep you are putting your child in danger.) But for other folks, sharing the bed is glorious. I wish it were for me.

I have just a few words of assvice. If you choose to sleep train, make sure you really read and understand what you are choosing to do. Don’t do a half-assed job. Commit. If you don’t think you can commit, choose a different technique. Or make your partner, if you have one, do the work. That brings me to my second bit: come to a consensus with your partner. If you choose to train, find something you can both live with. If you don’t choose to sleep train, just make sure that your partner feels the same way. You both need the shut-eye.

With that, I’m off to slumberland myself. Good night.

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December, Sleep

My best friend from high school had a Calvin and Hobbes comic up on his bedroom door.  I don’t remember exactly what it said, but basically Calvin was totally stressing out because it was the last day of the summer and there was no way he could possibly have enough fun in one day.

Suddenly it is December.

I keep telling people I’m going back to work in January.

Truth is, I am going back for two days in December, right before the vacation, so I can get paid for the vacation.  Right after those two days, I’m going to my mother-out-law’s house for Christmas.  So really, my time as a stay at home mom to a little baby ends in December.  And here it is.  I can no longer say, “I go back next month.”  I know that I’ve been home a lot longer than many people get to stay.  I don’t, however, feel like I’ve had ample time to enjoy it.  Ample time would be a whole year.

My friend SN asked me to post about sleep.  People with babies my age start to worry about it now.  Usually when it is time to go back to work.  When Cake was a babe, I took my February vaction and dedicated it to sleep training the boy.  He was waking up three times a night and taking over 45 minutes to get back to sleep each time.  I did “The Baby Whisperer” technique (it is a book;  a rather condescending one, at that.)  It took two nights.  The technique, called “pick up, put down” was a sort of modified cry it out.  But instead of leaving the baby alone in the room to cry, you stand there by the crib and pick the baby up and tell him you love him and to go to sleep, then you put him right down.  Repeat.  Repeat until the kid gets the picture that you will not be rocking him for 45 minutes more.*  The first night was the hardest.  Just awful.  The second night was the same as nights had been before the first night.  Every night after that for the next year and a half, he slept through from 7 to 6ish.

Back then, I swore that when I had our second child, I’d keep him on a schedule and teach him to fall asleep on his own, yadda yadda.  Of course that didn’t happen.  Now we’re doing something that makes very little sense.  I call it the hope-the-baby-will-sleep-through-the-night-of-his-own-accord technique. Uuuh.  It isn’t as hard with this guy.  Trucker only really gets up once on a normal night, if you don’t count the 5 am wake up.  But he goes right back to sleep both times.  So I am actually getting a fair amount of sleep.

One of th promises I made to myself was to avoid nursing the baby to sleep.  Yes, it is sweet.  Yes, it is easy.  But it makes the baby need you to put him down.  I don’t want to be the only person who can put him down.  I just don’t.  It should be able to be anyone who [ok, right in the middle of typing this sentence, the baby woke up and i nursed him back to sleep.  This is going so well!] can rock or pat or calm him, not just the one with the lactating parts.  I was doing a good job.  But as you can see, something went awry this week and now he’s wanting to be nursed to sleep.  And I’m doing it.  And it is making me even more upset about going to work.

I know that he will be ok.  I know that he will adapt to daycare.  I will adapt to work.  We will all manage to get out the door and to our respective places on time.  That’s all intellectual.  Emotionally?  Just take a guess.

*I know you are not so foolish, but just in case… please don’t try “pick up / put down” based on my blog post.  Go get the book from the library, if you want to try it. There’s other scheduling stuff involved in the technique. I think the author’s name is Tracy Hogg.

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Filed under b00b food, my second son, Trucker, working motherhood, ZzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzZz