Sunday, May 15, 2011

Checking In

It's been a while and for that, I am sorry. There just seems to be so little time these days. Blog posts bump around in my brain and then they don't get written. I'm trying to get my life sorted out and am setting some goals - one blog post a week is one goal.

I've been back at work for four weeks now and there have been some highs and some lows. I think we are finally getting ourselves into a routine and I have accepted that this is how life is going to be. As always, the thought of the change was scarier than the reality and I think this will work, if only I can keep myself putting one foot in front of the other.

The kids have settled in fairly well. As you can see, they haven't been totally traumatized.

Baby Bean has made the transition to daycare fairly smoothly, although he decided to celebrate his new freedom by coming home with a nasty cold that turned into an ear infection and then into a stomach bug, right around day 3 of my being back to work. The Thursday before Easter found Dh taking him to the walk-in (that was our fourth of five walk-in appointments over a one-month period) and getting round 2 of antibiotics (sadly, Pk's record of never having been on them up until three and a half was also broken). That Thursday was truly the hardest day of going back - I can't tell you how I felt leaving for work knowing that he wasn't well and I couldn't stay home with him. I felt so guilty. Initially, Dh was resistant to taking the time off, which was a crushing blow - I just didn't think I could take the day before a long weekend off, especially since I have a child suffering from anxiety in my class who was finally starting to adjust to me as her teacher. Thankfully, Dh changed his mind and was able to leave work at 1 p.m. to go and get Baby Bean to the clinic. All of our family Easter plans had to be cancelled but I think we needed that quiet time.
Anyway, back to daycare, Baby Bean cries going in but Dh is good at dealing with it, I would have a hard time going to work at that point. I leave at 7 roughly to get into work and get started but I try and leave the second my class is dismissed so I can get the kids. When we pick him up, he's happily playing with the other kids until he notices us (then we get the crying) and both Pk and the sitter say he is very happy there. He's eating solids like he's 15 - feeding this boy is going to be expensive, I have a feeling!

Pk has had a harder time adjusting. With her, as always, it's subtle. She isn't crying as I leave or kicking up a big fuss but she is back in bed with me most nights now and asks frequently about whether today is a "J" day or whether she gets to stay with me that day. We are seeing some behaviour issues, too, but sadly, I am utterly convinced that goes with daycare. Even with a great home daycare, the kids have too much time without direct adult intervention and it changes how they relate to people. It's the reason that I was determined to do the home daycare route - in my years of teaching, I find that institutional daycare kids are very bright academically and very verbal but also very pushy, demanding and aggressive with each other (not so much fighting physically but more socially). I am seeing a less gentle side of Pk and while it isn't the end of the world and I think that the socialization is good prep for her at school, it still makes me sad. I don't think it's an entirely positive change.

I've been trying to make the most of the time I do have with them. Pk and I have done lots of cooking together, our weekends are filled with family activities and I am trying to do little things to make memories. One example was our morning picnic a couple of weeks ago. Pk LOVES to eat outside so we decided to have breakfast out on the deck. There have been many requests to do it again and once the weather dries up (will this rain never end???), we will try and do it more regularly. I'm hoping that once school is done for the summer, we can do it daily.

Pumping has been really draining. On the one hand, I am thrilled with myself that I am making it work and I haven't even had to take much of the milk out of the freezer. Baby Bean will be 11 months on Tuesday, so I think that we will make it the full 12 months without starting cow's or goat's milk (I am debating which way we will go - goat's is easier on his tummy but also twice as expensive). The pumping can be really demoralizing though. The only place to pump is the handicapped washroom at work that is used by the caretakers. It's not all that clean, very institutional and very boring to spend 15 minutes twice during my workday stuck in there, worried that someone won't pay attention to the "occupied" sign and use their key to walk in. I was finding that pumping was making me cry and I felt like a complete loon until someone pointed out that it's releasing "love my baby" hormones and I have no baby around to cuddle. It just makes me more convinced than ever that mat leave laws are positively dinosaur and that all women should have the chance to be home with their babies for at least six months.
Baby Bean is up crying and I have to go. Enjoy a few photos - we have had the last two weekends with the grandparents and it's been awfully nice.

See you next week!


  1. Going back to work is hard, isn't it?! When I was teaching, I pumped in the little closet we had for kindergarten supplies. I made sure to always have a book in there though 'cuz yeah, it is boring! Maybe tuck one in with your pumping stuff? :)

    I wonder if some of Pk's behavioral issues are due in part just to the change & the stress of change. As you're probably experiencing yourself, change (good, bad, or just different) makes us stressed & there's a period of adjustment. Hopefully as you all get more settled into your new routines, she'll regain her equilibrium & get back to her normal good-natured self!

  2. I honestly think we need to look at 18 month mat leaves, given how many people scramble to fill the 6-month gap between leave and the majority of daycare situations. I always found pumping boring as well, but like you, thought it was important and a point of pride to myself that I went the year with each kid, though I did use the last two weeks to transition.

  3. Kittenpie, I have always admired you for pumping the year but now that it is something I have more than slightly casual experience with, I TOTALLY respect the choices that you made. You are one incredible woman. I am debating how to do it now, too. I have a bunch of milk in the freezer and I am thinking I might start to cut out one pumping session and then start adding goat or cow's milk in about two weeks... I was pretty sure I remembered you saying that's what you did and you are a wise woman.
    Ms. Huis, I think you are right, too, some of Pk's problems are definitely adjustment and trying to get used to the new reality. Don't you find that it's always when we are most stressed that they are most frustrating? They are like little emotional barometers!

  4. Yep, I started blending the milk two weeks ahead, and over the course of two weeks, my supply dried up as I increased the amount of cow milk in the mix. It also gave me the time to assess how they reacted to the different milk proteins, which went fine. You will do great - if I know anything about you, it is that you will have put LOTS of thought into any decision you make about this, and I think that is very much the key in parenting choices, simply being mindful.