Uncle Andy and Aunt Alyson’s wedding was great - perfect weather, beautiful ceremony (except when part of the chuppa fell on Uncle Andy’s head - ouch!) and lots of fun all the way around. Emma enjoyed dressing up (not really) and seeing all of her New England family (really).
We got home over a week ago and it has taken me this long to recover enough to get back to my blog. Summer is great - the vacations, traveling and activities - but there is a secret part of me that craves the structure and ritual that fall and the back to school season brings. Even though I don’t have anyone going back to school in my house, I have some internal clock that knows it is time to refocus and re-establish a rhythm for my life.
We had a wonderful summer - I can’t think of a better one - filled with family visits and celebrations and a good amount of relaxation. Now I find myself looking forward to a few slower months where we can get some work done on the house, I can get caught up at my non-mommy job and we can just enjoy the passage of time.
We are off to Newport, Rhode Island today for Mike’s brother’s wedding. The wedding is tomorrow, but we are staying a few extra days so Grammy and Grampy can get their Emma fix. Well, plus there are all those mansions to see. Should be a wonderful wedding and a nice break for us. Congratulation Alyson and Andy!
I have two jobs. I am the primary caregiver for my daughter Emma, I am also the legal administrator for a private adoption agency. I am a mommy full time, and I am a legal administrator the rest of the time.
When we had Emma we knew we needed my income, so being a full-time stay-at-home mom was not an option. We also knew, even with my income, that full-time childcare in any form was going to be very difficult for us, both emotionally and financially. This meant we were going to have to get creative. What we came up with is the hybrid arrangement we have now. I go to my office one day a week and make up the rest of my 35-ish hours a week telecommuting from home - during naps, in the evenings and on weekends. We have a babysitter who comes for the one day I am in the office, and then one or two other afternoons during the week, for a total of about 15 hours a week, but I am the one with Emma the majority of the time.
I have, in the past, worked for a company or two that claimed to be progressive and concerned with the happiness of its employees. When push came to shove, that turned out to not be true. I am incredibly grateful to now have a truly progressive boss who cares about my family and my happiness.
I am planning on writing a lot more about my experiences as a work-at-home mom, partly because I feel a little lonely in my not quite working mom/not quite SAHM status and I could use some company. I am also hoping writing about it will help me organize the experience, because the bottom line is that I still don’t know if it’s working. I have days when I feel like the luckiest mom around, to be able to hang out with my daughter and still work as a professional on a team of adults. Then there are days when I can’t imagine what made me think this would work as I look at my email inbox, the blinking message light on my phone, my screaming child and the piles of laundry building up all around me. So maybe writing about it will give me some perspective. I can only hope.
Emma was in waterbabies swim class for the last two weeks. This meant that we went to the pool together every morning and splashed around for 30 minutes. Not bad work if you can get it, especially when it is 100+ degrees. Yay for DC in the summer.
Emma was a big fan of swim class. She loved kicking and jumping off the wall, and especially loved watching me blow bubbles and go underwater. When it came time for her to go underwater she was less enthused. Every time I dunked her she would come back up sputtering and with her eyes wide open, with a look on her face that said “LADY, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?” Some of her classmates never even went under the water though, so I was very proud of her, even if the feeling was not mutual.
On the final day of class all of the babies got report cards. Emma got a 3 out of 3 on “Kick, Kick, Kick” and a 1 on “Blowing Bubbles”. Understandable since she was a rock star with the kicking and didn’t blow a single bubble till the last day. She got a 2 on “Go Underwater,” though, as did the aforementioned classmates who never went under. I know this because we mommies compared our kids’ report cards after class. The mommies of the non-underWaterbabies were amazed that Emma had not been rewarded with a 3 for her efforts.
As I discussed this with Mike on IM, we both, with very little irony, agreed that our baby was clearly the best swimmer in the class and obviously the teacher had just gotten it wrong. Harumph. Then there was a pause in our conversation as we both had the same thought. Oh my god, we had become those parents. The parents whose kids can do no wrong. The parents who CLEARLY are better judges of their kid’s accomplishments than any so-called teacher. The parents I have always looked at with contempt because of their inability to see that their child might not be perfect.
I guess we have a few more years to get this under control before Emma’s teachers become the victims of our love-of-child induced psychosis. Better get to work.
Emma turned 8 months old yesterday. She has had a busy month. She is now sleeping through the night consistently, sitting up with no wobbling, standing pretty solidly as long as she is holding onto something, and CRAWLING! She is kind of doing the army style crawl right now - using her arms to pull herself along on her belly, but I expect she will be cruising with the dogs and cats within the week.
She had a lot of firsts this month too. First time at the beach, first time sitting in a shopping cart, first time flying a kite (ok, she didn’t so much fly it as provide moral support), and on and on and on…She meets each new experience very seriously and with a lot of concentration and determination.
As you can see in this picture though, she knows how to have a good time too. While the dogs fascinated her a month or two ago, now it’s the cats that she can’t stop watching. We are working on teaching her a few signs, and so far “cat” seems to be the one she has figured out. If we do the sign for cat and a cat is in the room, she immediately looks over at said animal. Brilliant.
So girls weekend is going well. This morning Emma and I rearranged the basement. Mike is going to hate it, but we had fun doing it. Then this afternoon we went to the zoo. Our friend Michelle is a volunteer there and was working in the primate house so we went and hung out with the gorillas and the orangutans for the afternoon. Emma got to see Baracka, a silverback gorilla and Kiko, an orangutan. Then while we were standing there talking to Michelle, Batang came right up to the window so we got to see her up close. Emma seemed pretty interested in the whole thing, which kind of surprised me. For some reason I thought she would be all “Yeah, gorillas, whatev”. She seemed extra interested in “Good Night Gorilla” when we read it tonight before bed, which makes sense, since it has a gorilla and it takes place in a zoo and all.
One of the things Michelle told us about the orangutans was that this morning they were, um, well, pleasuring themselves. She also said they like to, um, pleasure each other. A lot. And she has to explain it to 8 year olds. She said she usually tells them to ask their parents. Better her than me. It made me think though, that maybe we will head to the primate house when the whole “birds and the bees” talk needs to happen in our house. I know it’s a long way off, but I feel better knowing Michelle can handle it for us.
I have been tagged by Doodaddy - one of my new favorite blogs - with the “8 Things About You” meme. So here goes.
I love being home with my daughter. It is work, don’t get me wrong, but oh-so-much-more-rewarding than any job I have ever had. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be a person who would like being home. I figured I would love her and all that, but that I would be bored and ready to go back to work within minutes after her birth. Instead I have found a peace and a quiet stability in being with her and making sure she is getting what she needs.
I can’t stand Andie MacDowell. I would rather watch a piece of cardboard act than watch anything with her in it.
My Grandpa Gus Gus was a POW in World War II. He was shot down, broke his leg badly during the crash and was held in a German camp for 18 months (Dad, please correct my details here!). I never really talked to him much about it when he was alive, but he kept a journal of his time in the camp complete with sketches that is amazing. So at least I can tell Gus’s great granddaughter about his life and experiences.
I just figured out the guitar chords for Patti Griffin’s songs “Mary” and “Tony”. I think they could be the first songs I have learned that weren’t written over a decade ago.
In general I think TV is a huge waste of time. Reality television even more so. Having said that, I have to admit that I am shamelessly addicted to “Hell’s Kitchen” and “So You Think You Can Dance”. I remember a few years ago, a good friend of mine, a social worker, admitted she had been completely addicted to “Beverly Hills 90210″ when it was on. It gave her the chance to escape from the reality of the tough job of being a social worker and she considered it crucial to her ability to do her job well. I was completely shocked, since “90210″ was never something I watched. But now I get it. So, yeah, same with me. Go Sabra!
My favorite city in the world is Edinburgh, Scotland. The castle, the pubs, the haggis.
I want a minivan. There, I said it. I know it’s not very hip of me, but I love everything about the minivan, especially the sliding doors. I can’t imagine why they don’t put sliding doors on everything - SUVs, sedans, mini coopers. Our current mode of transport, a VW Jetta Wagon, has 112,572 miles on it, so we have started to think about what we might replace it with, if the need should arise. We have our eye on the Mazda 5 right now, but haven’t completely decided yet.
I know all the words to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, a fact that causes my husband no end of embarassment. Someday I will teach them to Emma and put him right over the edge.
Now I have to tag five people to carry on the glorious “8 Things” meme. No doubt you guys have all done this, but just in case - Cristen, Emily, Terrance, Mandy and Katie.
I had chocolate chip cookies and a glass of red wine for dinner tonight. I am not particularly proud of it, but I had to come clean.
Mike is in Chicago at the YearlyKos conference, and Emma and I are having a little girl time for a few days. Used to be (don’t tell Mike) that when he would go away, I would have some “it’s all about me” time. I would eat and drink whatever and whenever I wanted, watch as many chick flicks as one human could stomach and sleep till whenever.
This trip, I’m a mom. So no eating a whole box of frozen T.G.I.Friday’s potato skin appetizers in one sitting. Nope, have to be responsible. Plus, routine right? Have to keep Emma’s routine so she doesn’t get all out of whack.
With all this in mind, I had every intention of eating a normal dinner - it was going to be salad with chicken - and Emma and I were going to eat together, inasmuch as one can eat with an infant spoon in one hand and a bowl of pureed orange stuff in the other. Somewhere along the way I just forgot.
I think I didn’t realize until tonight how nice it is to have a partner in the parenting thing - “You do the bath, I’ll do the bottle”, “You do her food, I’ll do ours”. When it’s just one of me, everything takes a little longer and if I have to choose between her needs or mine, I will go with hers every time (yeah yeah Mom, I know, oxygen mask in a crashing plane - I promise I will put mine on first…). Anyway, by the time she got fed, bathed, changed, read to, bottled and put down to sleep, it was 9:30 and I just didn’t have the energy to make that salad.
But the cookies sure were good.
Update: Ok, it’s the morning after “cookies for dinner” and I just made myself a pot of coffee while Emma sat in her high chair looking REALLY pissed that those pears on the counter weren’t “IN HER BELLY”. So much for choosing her needs over mine. What crap. I guess I just wanted cookies for dinner. Hey, at least I didn’t feed them to the baby.