Thursday, 18 December 2014

Five months!

How Old:   Five Months!
Weight:   14 pounds, 1 ounce
Likes:   Bouncing in the door bouncer, singing and dancing with mummy and daddy (daddy sings the Time Warp...mommy likes to attempt to rap), walks in the evenings to look at Christmas lights, splashing in the bath and playing with/sucking her toes!
Dislikes:  Being held too close, having her arms pulled in and out of clothes (don't touch them!!!) ((having a baby doll did not prepare me for having a real baby)) , and being stuck in the same position for too long.
Eating:   We have settled nicely into the Nutramigen (prescription formula) and although it smells horrible, Emma doesn't seem to mind the taste.  We have also taken a break from weaning onto solids as we had a spell of vomiting and couldn't work out the cause.  She seems OK now, so I'll slowly introduce them in the next few weeks again.  She loved pretty much everything she tried except for Carrot and Baby Rice!
Sleeping:  What a rock star this child is.  She has started this new trick of getting fussy as she is tried, I put her down in the crib on top of her V Pillow (she has always done better when sleeping with her head propped up)- she turns her head and she is out.  We have worked out that she sleeps best when swaddled (although she is growing out of the largest Summer Infant swaddles - much to our dismay) and in the dark (hooray for blackout blinds).  This makes it difficult to get her to sleep when out and about, but I think in the long run this is a good thing!  She has gone through the night a few times, but mostly she is waking once for a feed and then goes straight back down until 6 am.
Routine:  Oh, who knows.  I've had to write her routine out for Nursery and I have no idea what schedule she is on anymore!  Thanks to formula, she is now going four hours between feeds and her naps are sometimes two hours, twenty minutes or missed all together.  I don't get it.  Her bedtime routine is the only consistent thing:  Nightly walk, bath, feed, bed.
Sizes:  She fits quite comfortably in 0-3 month UK sized clothes at the moment.  Her length is still the issue though - as she's about to grow out of 6 month Carters sleepers!  Hello, 9 month sizes!
Milestones:  She has rolled over ONCE!  Emma hates being on her tummy so decided she wasn't interested in that.  She loves the bouncer so I wouldn't be surprised if she's going to bypass crawling and go straight for walking.  She LAUGHS and it is the most adorable thing ever.  Plenty of cooing going on, plus responding to being spoken to!
Mum's favourite moment:  The first time we put her in the bouncer she didn't quite know what to do.  Her feet flailed about a bit - so I did the only appropriate thing -- I played an Irish jig.  Hilarious. 
Dad's favourite moment:  Emma's face when she was first bouncing in the bouncer!

In other news, we are SO EXCITED for Emma's first Christmas.  She got to meet Father Christmas (so cute), she enjoys the lights and the Christmas tree.

I can't wait to share our Christmas with you!  I'm not going to discuss my first week back to work....give me time.  I'll accept it eventually. 

Look at that face...

Yea...maybe not.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Maternity Leave is ending....

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. Before you read on, please understand that I know how fortunate I am to live in a country which values maternity leave. We are so very lucky to be offered a year of leave - three of those months receiving some pay from work. Due to both finances and our potential move abroad, I had to return to work. While I find the return heartbreaking, I know that every other mother feels the same way upon their return to work.  What's more - I had far more time with Emma than most mothers get with their little ones. I am by no means unaware of how fortunate I have been.

I had chosen to return to work the week before the Christmas holidays as I believed it would be easier to get back into the swing of things right before the two week holiday. I would have to spend the Christmas holiday preparing, so I may as well get paid for it, right?  The return five days before the break also meant that I could ease myself in - leaving my precious baby for only five days before I would be with her again for two weeks.  

Let's get one thing straight. I never thought I would be maternal...I didn't think I had it in me. I have always been a relatively selfish individual - and before you say "no, you are being too hard on yourself" - yes - I have always been selfish. I wasn't convinced I wanted to change my physical appearance. I didn't want to lose sleep. I didn't want to give up things which I did or bought or ate or used.  I was happy with my life and the way we lived. 

And then along came Emma. 

I didn't realise my life was half empty. I didn't know my heart was missing something. I couldn't initially comprehend the love that I feel for her or the way she makes me feel.  She was part of me for nine months and then virtually attached to me for four. We've been inseparable. I've not even spent more than a few hours away from her (and I can count those occurrences on one hand) and she's nearly five months old. 

Now, I have to leave her for most of the day, five days a week - and it's honestly breaking my heart. She will love being with other kids and she will love the different activities they do at nursery.
I know it'll be fine.
That doesn't mean I am ready.

What makes things even harder is that I know my job. I know the time commitment it takes. I've always prided myself on my work ethic and I've always met deadlines and ensured the quality of my work is high. In the years I have worked there, I've spent hours every night commiting myself to my career, trying to be Perfect. For years I have allowed myself to become buried in work - wading my way through endless piles of paperwork and never quite being good enough. 

And now I've realised that that is not ok anymore. 

I don't know how to be both a successful teacher and a mom. I'm not sure I can do both. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that I'm not sure that I can do both.  

Emma is the piece of my heart that I didn't even know was missing.  I know I have to return to work, but that only means for eight hours a day I will be missing a very important piece of myself. I will be half present.  My commitment is at the bottom of the school field - playing her day away in a brightly coloured nursery where someone else will change her and feed her and hold her. 

Half may not be good enough - half committed to my work or half committed to my daughter. 

She wins - every time. 

The only consolation to returning is that I know it won't be forever. I know that something is coming. Never the less - the next few weeks are going to be difficult. 

I've watched her sleep over the past few days, loving her gentle breathing and relaxed, comfortable form. I am going to savour every second spent with my beautiful little girl - she is, after all, the piece I never knew I was missing.