Friday, December 10, 2010

Our daily routine

Email blogging again. I find it's a great way to compose a post and pass time on the subway trip home.

I have found after going back to work that the most precious thing after God and family is time. I didn't have much of it before I became a mom, so I surely have less of it now.

Our "day" really begins the night before. DH works nights, so he leaves at 10:35pm every night. Thereabouts, I also go to sleep. If I'm lucky, I've fallen asleep as he is getting ready and wake just enough for him to kiss me goodbye.

7:15am rolls around and he is back home. I get up and get ready for work, and DH gets Abby ready for daycare. I pack her lunch bag (something I want to start doing the night before) and by 7:50am, we are out the door and on our way.

I usually get into the office just after 9am and DH is home after dropping us off at our various locations by 8:30am. He wakes up, unfortunately, at 2:30 (a mere 6 hours of sleep if he's lucky) and picks Abby up at 3. We do this for several reasons. The first is to save a little bit of money because we pay an hourly rate. The other is so that DH has more time with Abby.

I try to leave the office as close to 5 as possible and we are usually home no later than 6:15pm. From there it's dinner for all of us and playtime before bed. Abby usually falls asleep when DH comes to pick me up, so she doesn't go to bed at 7pm like a lot of parenting resources say toddlers should.

Abby is usually asleep around 8:30, which leaves me two hours to shower, tackle a to-do item or just relax. Then it starts all over again.

This does leave little room for essentials like cleaning, cooking, laundry, groceries and others, but I'm still learning and expect to be for a long time.

I have had to learn to relax when it comes to our daily routine, but not to be so lax that nothing gets done. On the flip side, I wish I had more energy to prep the night before so our mornings are less chaotic. That all being said, I think that for 3.5 months of figuring the balance out, we're doing pretty well.

Do you have a daily routine that you follow? How does that work for your family? What do you wish you could improve on?

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making it through the day

I can't lie, even the best plans don't always go according to your best intentions. When I started back at work, I had a rough idea of how we wanted to do things. Abby was still taking two naps a day and I was still nursing her. The first several weeks, in fact, meant that my body went through some major adjustments as well.

Gone were the days of mommy-baby nap times, nursing on demand and having to sit for nearly 8 hours in the same spot. So how did I do it? I made an idea of a plan and filled in the gaps as we went through each experience.

My body learned to sit in an office chair, though the back pain on the first day made it nearly impossible to sit still. I also got Abby used to nursing only once a day, and eventually my body slowed down the milk-making. I also re-learned what it meant to stay awake longer. I was no longer tiring myself out holding and chasing a baby and instead did a mental workout. Just as tiring, but without the muscle aches.

Here I am, 3.5 months after and I am claiming that reclaiming my work life while adapting to being a first-time parent can be done. We just need to talk about how to do it more.

I have to have the people I work with understand that I really can only be in the office 9-5. My husband also understands that because of this, I sometimes have to take my work home with me. But most importantly, everyone needs to know that being a Mom comes first. Abby misses me so much, that when I finally get home, she doesn't want to let me go. So even though I am away, making a living and reclaiming my career, she doesn't care. I am mom and among all other things, I always will be.

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What it's like

I have been back to work now since August 16th of this year. To prepare myself from being with Abigail 24/7 to only a few waking hours in the day, I did what any internet-savvy person would do: I googled it.

My goal was simple - find a blog where I could learn from another woman's experience about going back to work after having their first child. So far, every woman I spoke with in person had told me horror stories about bawling their eyes out the first day or having a rough transition. And these were predominantly women who were going back to a job they had before - I was starting a brand new one. So, needless to say, I was also searching for some encouragement.

No such luck.

So here I was, the weekend before beginning my job and adding the title of Project Manager at a large ad firm to my list of other names (mother, wife, sister, aunt, nieces, daughter...can I put these on my business card?) And I didn't know how to handle it. We had gotten a private in-home daycare spot through a woman in our church, but that was still a few weeks away. I had packed and planned and gotten myself and Abigail as prepared as I could for day 1.

Then day 1 came. There was no crying. DH's brother came to take care of Abby and I went off to work. Abby happily and blissfully unaware watched cartoons while I slipped out. That wasn't so hard! Of course I missed her terribly and called as frequently as possible to see how she was and by the end of the day I ached to see her, but it wasn't as tragic as expected.

A few weeks later, when she started daycare, it was a bit harder. This time a stranger would be looking after my little girl. I felt like I was letting someone raise my child. Getting into the car some days after dropping her off were really hard and I had to fight back tears. Those would turn into moments of joy when I would see the look on her face at the end of the day. She still loves her Mommy.

So as hard as it was in concept, the transition wasn't the sob-fest I had anticipated. I can actually do this! And it makes the time I do have with my family all the more precious and important to me.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

The Mommy Worker Bee

Ever since I got the call that I had been offered a new job, I have been on the search for a mommy blogger like me. Someone who is heading back to work after a year of blissful maternity leave (because once I went back to work, I began to yearn for the simpler days of mat leave) and were doing it for the first time.

These mommy worker bees are not difficult to find. Any google search will come up with tons if results. My issue is that they all seem to have older kids.

I didn't grow up with the example of a mother who worked outside of the home. My own mother, bless her heart, raised all 4 of us and that was all she needed. I don't blame her. However I also don't have the same example from my mother-in-law. She stayed at home raising 4 boys and didn't go back into the workforce until my husband was 12.

So, now - am back to my search. I almost feel like I should be taking out a personals as or posting in the "missed connections" section of craigslist.

Where are the new mommies of the internet world and where are their blogs?

Perhaps they are like me, and as a friend so poignantly put it: maybe they are all too busy to blog?

Monday, November 22, 2010

My baby speaks!

Abby, at 14 months old, has so many words in her vocabulary that I am amazed. She has evidently decided that talking is more important to her than walking, and I have to say that I am ok with this.

The best part of her talking so much, aside from the obvious decrease in communication issues, is how excited other people get when they hear her and actually understand what she's saying.

So far she has mastered:
Ma ma
Da Da
Na Na
All done
Please (said "plees")
Thank You
More (comes out as "mo")
Two, Three, Six, Ten
Tree (said "sree")
Fishies (said "pishie")

There are always words that she is working on but I am amazed by it all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A letter to Abigail after her 1st year

Dear Abigail,

I hope to make a habit out of writing letters to you; hopefully around the time of your birthday. This is the first.

My darling daughter - you have turned our life upside down and changed everything that Daddy and I knew to be "our life". We went from a carefree lifestyle of coming and going as we pleased; taking long car rides; and eating whenever and whatever we wanted. That all changed the day you were born and I wouldn't change that for the world.

In the past year we have learned how to be parents...your parents. We have learned who you are becoming and have laughed at every funny face and sound, reveled in every new skill and move you make. Sure there were nights where we were ready to pull our hair out as we bounced you because you wouldn't sleep and we were way past due for our own "nap".

But then there are the moments that I will never forget: The first time you smiled was when I lay you down in your crib so that I could fold laundry and I turned on your mobile. I was so excited to see that smiley face at just 3 weeks and you haven't stopped smiling since. The day you started babbling in your exersaucer and I heard the word "Mum". The discovery of your first tooth. When we realized you could put your own pacifier in your mouth. And the moment we captured on video where you stood on your own two feet, unsupported, for the very first time. It was a year of firsts; for you and us.

I am utterly in love with who you are, that you are mine and that you love me back. You are such a happy child who is big about everything. Big laughs, big cries. You crawl on your bum, putting one leg out to propel yourself forward. You sometimes even do this while towing some favourite object in one hand.

Now you are a one-year old and no longer considered a baby; you're a toddler now. You are still MY baby, though. I am so excited to continue to see your next firsts and to hear your voice as you learn more words. I can't wait until you finally sleep through the night (it's going to happen, right?) and I am terribly excited for Christmas this year. You are going to love the decorations and most assuredly, the presents.

What will you do next, my baby? I can't wait to find out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I am the mother of a 1 year-old

Today is preparation for the magical transformation that is going from being the mother of a baby to the mother of a toddler. Who let me be in charge of this little life? Obviously I'm not doing that bad of a job, because she's made it to 1 without any life-threatening illnesses, no calls to child services and she is overall very happy. When I say happy, I really mean it. Abigail, upon learning how to smile at 3 weeks old, has always been friendly. Her favourite thing to now is to smile big and say "Hi" to anyone who makes eye contact with her. Surely I didn't teach her that and neither did hubby, because though we are casually cordial, we certainly aren't friendly to strangers. But I digress.

This time last year I was in labour. DH was video chatting with his cousin while I sat on an exercise ball trying to cope with contractions, because that is what my pre-natal classes told me to do. It didn't work. In fact, none of the coping techniques didn't work. Unfortunately for me, my contractions never really ever evened out, though the pain didn't seem to care about that. I laboured all night and gave in to the epidural at 5:30 in the morning. Thank the Lord almighty for this sweet invention. Though I still have occasional bouts of lower back pain which I swear is at the spot where the catheter was; in the moment it was totally worth it.

At 8:55am, we welcomed our little Abigail into the world. Life has never been the same and hasn't been any sweeter since.

I am in love with this little girl - who is no longer my baby girl, and love seeing who she is becoming. Somehow, DH and I are responsible for who this little girl is and I wouldn't change a bit. She is friendly, outgoing, inquisitive, bold, energetic, happy, bright and alert. She is the joy of my heart and I am so blessed to have her in my life. I hate that she is growing so fast, because it means scrambling to cherish those important moments when she is young, but at the same rate, I can't wait for her to show me what she can do next.

My resolve for the next year is to blog regularly. I want to chronicle my life now that I am back to work and Abby is in daycare. I want to record and cherish the moments that my family makes as we grow. Somewhere in there I hope I get to entertain or educate you...perhaps just for you to nod your head in agreement or lend a helping hand.

So here's to a new year of adventures and picture-perfect moments along the way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Abigail at 9 months!

Today we had Abby's 9 month wellness check. Turns out our doctor is going on vacation starting tomorrow, so we rushed in to see him this afternoon.
For those of you who knew, Abby had a fever over Friday and Saturday. Well today I noticed a rash on her torso, which turns out to be either a heat rash from the fever or the after-effects of a virus (which would also cause the fever). The two swollen tooth buds where her front teeth will soon be says otherwise, but the end result is that she is just fine.

Abby now weighs approximately 7250 grams which is about 16 pounds. She is 28 inches long and has a head circumference of 17 inches. According to the WHO, that puts her in the 15th percentile for weight, just above the 50th percentile for height, and about the 50th percentile for head circumference. The Doctor says she's gaining well and is great for her age.

With a little lesson taught by Auntie Ramona and Isabella, Abigail is now eating finger foods like a champ. She particularly enjoys mango, avocado and bananas. She's still trying to figure out sweet potatoes. Interestingly, she also enjoys her Stage 2 baby foods, though makes an awful mess by blowing raspberries with a mouth full of food. She eats pretty much anything put in front of her, but loves peas and is a little hesitant about fruit; especially if it is sour.

Her doctor has given the go-ahead to let her eat anything but egg whites, saying that studies are suggesting starting foods earlier than later could prevent allergies. We will still take our time, but I am excited at introducing new things to her.

She has started to scoot around in circles while sitting, push herself backwards while laying down, and when on the bed or couch, wiggles and flips all over the place. She has a particular fondness for standing right now, so I imagine that once she gets a solid footing (she still loves to bounce) she'll be running around in no time!

I think I have gone on long enough for one post (how can you stop a proud mama from talking about their baby?). Hopefully I won't go as long between updates next time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Abby at 7 months

My, how time flies! It took so long to get through 7 months of pregnancy, but the last 7 months with a baby have gone in the blink of an eye! I must say, however, that waiting for something is totally different than the new and exciting things I get to see everyday with Abigail.

Abigail is now 7.5 months old and as exciting as ever! She is getting more mobile each day, which makes me realize that I really need to baby-proof our house. Matthew got her up in crawling position the other day and even though she doesn't know what to do with herself, she loves her new achievement. She also has taken to standing with me holding her hands and taking steps; one in front of the other. Soon enough she'll be zooming around the house!

There are two things right now that are posing as challenges among the every entertaining moment that Abigail is awake: separation and sleep.

Abby is a very happy baby that plays hard and sleeps hard...or is that hardly? She typically takes 3 naps during the day and is awake between 2-3 hours in between. Bedtime has been around 7:30-9pm, depending on the day. However, she is still waking up 2-3 times at night. Since transferring her to our bed, it's been a lot easier on me, but we definitely want to transition her into her own room soon. Naps last 45 minutes to 2 hours, but the longer naps are usually when I'm napping with her. It's going to be a challenge to get her into a "typical" schedule, but I'm a baby-led parent and doubt I could force her to learn anything she isn't ready to do.

On the other note, Abby has learned to exercise her voice to let me and anyone else know when she's too far away from Mommy. She actually would prefer to play if she could sit in my lap, I'm sure. I hear that this is a phase, and I agree, but it can be very difficult to do anything but stare at her when she thinks I'm not paying attention or am too far away (which makes going to the bathroom a sprint!).

I am not a complainer and want to enjoy these moments with Abigail because she is such a sweet and happy baby. We love going for walks and she loves playing with anything any everything.

Oh, I must go now, Abby is crying for me in her exersaucer even though I am only 2 feet away. Such a ham. Gotta love her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Abby is 4 months old!

My little girl turned 4 months old on the 7th! I know I've been a very bad blogger - but my defense is as a new mom, it's hard to write down one fluid sentence and it make total sense.

On that note, I was planning on a series of posts called "Secrets from your Sister". Boy did I drop the ball on that one. I began a post but it ended up so disjointed from all the information that I wanted to share that I had to take a step back. I am going to try something else instead involving the alphabet. Stay tuned.

Onto Abigail.

At her 4 month appointment she was 13lbs 6oz and 25.75 inches long. She is the light of my life. From the beginning of the morning where she smiles at me to start the day and even middle of the night feedings, my heart melts.

She is babbling and yelling like nothing I have ever heard before. She takes after her father this way. She loves to kick and stand and look at absolutely everything. She isn't rolling over yet, but is strong in so many other ways. We began solids last week and she's slowly getting into how great sucking my finger and getting food can be.

The last month or so we've hit a problem with sleeping, but from what I have researched, 4 month olds tend to have a wakeful period. This means Abby is up to eat every 2.5 hours and is sometimes awake in between. It's hard on me, but somehow I am surviving.

I can't wait to see what she learns next!