Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I think I'm ready ...

I'm going back to work Thursday. Oddly enough, after my freak-out a couple of weeks ago, I think I actually might be ready. It helps that my hormones are finally starting to settle down a bit, I think. The emotional roller coaster that comes along with pregnancy and the weeks postpartum has probably been the worst part of the whole experience for me. I mean, I cry pretty easily as it is, but this has been ridiculous. As time has worn on, I've started feeling more like myself. I have also started looking at the situation more realistically. Sure, it's fun to stay home all day and do pretty much nothing now except snuggle with a newborn. I try to keep up with the dishes and laundry, but otherwise I haven't done much over these past eight weeks. I know I wouldn't be able to get away with that forever, nor would I enjoy it. I also think of the future. Sure, it's fun to be at home with a new baby who does very little but eat and sleep. But how will I handle staying home with a toddler? I don't know. Maybe I would love it, but it also might not be for me. And what happens when Jane is ready for school? It's tough to re-enter the workplace after being away.
I know that there are also some definite advantages to daycare. Jane will not just be taken care of, she will be learning. Our daycare has a curriculum that she will be following from the start. She'll be learning Spanish and sign language, among other things. She'll also have the opportunity to make friends long before she goes to school. All of these things are pretty important to me, and I think our daughter will be smarter and better off for it.
There's also the matter of money. Much as I hate to admit it, I like having money. I like nice things, and I like being able to buy my daughter nice things. So while I may not be tending to my daughter's every need during the day, I will be providing for her in another way.
I also believe it will mean that my daughter and I will never take each other's time for granted. Although I will be sad to drop her off, when I come home every day there will be a joyful reunion. I'll spend my day thinking about what I'm going to do with her tonight or this weekend, rather than spending the day wishing I could get out of the house and have some time to myself.
Still, I'm going to savor these last few hours and minutes with my baby girl. It's been a magical time in my life. One I know I will never forget.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So much to be thankful for ...

There was much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Last year at this time we were hoping that soon we would become parents. This year our dream had come true. The last seven weeks have been amazing, scary, and wonderful all at the same time. I wish I could live them over and over again, yet I am so excited for what the future will bring. Next year, there will be a high chair at our Thanksgiving table and little Jane will be running around and sampling food from our plates. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 6

I'm now in my sixth week at home with Jane. That means my maternity leave will soon draw to a close. I have to admit, I'm pretty heartbroken about it. The thought of bringing my daughter to daycare and returning to work is clouding my joy in these last weeks at home. I never thought I'd be one who wanted to stay at home with her children, but now that I am faced with the reality, I find myself wanting nothing more. Unfortunately, that's not in the plan, and it's really not feasible for us.
I had originally planned to return to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Fearing that I would be a sobbing mess all through the holiday, I asked for an extra week off. I will likely try going in to work on Dec. 2 and 3 for a test run. I'm sure it will get easier with time, but right now I can't imagine anything worse than going back to work. I'm angry that someone else gets to spend the day with my baby, while I have to work. It's pretty sad that, in today's society, staying home with one's children has come to be a luxury. Either you have to be rich, or resign yourself to being really poor, in order to make it work. Just taking a maternity leave longer than six weeks is a major hardship for many people. I am fortunate to have been able to take off the time that I have. Yet I keep feeling that if I just had even a few weeks more - until after the holidays at least, I'd be a lot happier. But I know that can't happen and I need to start preparing myself. I know that plenty of children have gone to daycare, and none of them love their parents any less. They still know who mom and dad are, and love them most. No matter what, we'll still be a family.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's in a name?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Shakespeare thought so. Would our sweet Jane be as sweet with another name? I'm sure she would, but it's hard to imagine her by any other name.
Choosing a name for our daughter was one of the most difficult things we have ever done. Of course "What is her name?" is one of the first question people ask us. We have gotten mixed reactions when we tell people that we named our daughter Jane. We have gotten many compliments on the name we chose. Even one of our nurses at the hospital complimented us, noting that with a name like Jane, there would never be any doubt as to whether she was a boy or a girl. With today's plethora of unisex names, that was definitely one of the considerations when we were choosing a name.
Others react quite differently. I've only had one "Plain Jane" comment so far. This was a couple of months before she was born. I wanted to point out to the person who made the comment that her daughter's name, Emily, is and has been much more popular than Jane ever was, and is therefore the "plainer" name, but I refrained. Many people seem surprised. I can see why. The name Jane is not at all trendy at this time. It is classic and timeless. It will never scream, "I was born in 2010" the way today's trendy names such as Addison (which is not even a real name, but I'll stay away from that topic), and Ava will. I'm sure these same people, if I told them we named her Madison or Brielle, would say, "Oh, isn't that cute!" To them, Jane probably sounds dated. It happens in every generation. The names we grew up hearing our parents and peers called by sound dated to us, while the names of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers sound fresh. My generation's children will name their children Linda and Walter. We will find these names horribly dated, but our children will love them.
Many people ask if she is named after someone. As if we'd have to have a reason to give her the name Jane. When I tell them that she is named after my mother, I usually get a blank stare. Most people know my mom as Jan, but her full name is Janet. Janet was originally a nickname for the name Jane. Yet no one - absolutely no one - seems to know that but me. Oh, well. "I'm a name nerd," I simply explain to them. I spare them further pointless knowledge, such as how Molly is a nickname for Mary, and Nancy is a nickname for Ann, for fear that their heads would spin.
Of course it doesn't matter what other people think of my daughter's name. I love it, and I believe it will serve her very well. I once heard that the best way to decide on a name for your child is to put the words "Supreme Court Justice" in front of it, and if it sounds right, you've chosen a good name. If it sounds more plausible for you to say, "Now dancing for us at the Lusty Beaver ..." you may want to reconsider! I definitely think we've given our daughter a Supreme Court Justice name.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just when you thought the stupid quesitons were over...

I thought once I wasn't pregnant anymore, the stupid questions and observations would end. Oh, how naive I was! I don't know what it is about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborns that makes people think they can ask extremely personal questions about your body and your child, but they do. Boy, do they. I was pretty shocked to learn that people actually think it's acceptable to ask if you're planning to have the baby the natural way. At what other time in life is it appropriate to ask someone what they plan to do with their private parts? I find questions about breastfeeding equally intrusive. Really, is it anyone's business how people feed their children? It's a pretty personal decision, in my opinion. My husband suggested that the next time someone asks me if I'm breastfeeding, I should respond by asking, "Why? Are you thirsty?" I also had one person, comment, "Well, you sure waited a long time" to have a baby. Wow! As if that is anyone's business either.
The most annoying question since "How are you feeling?" and "Are you still pregnant?" is definitely "Is she a good baby?" What kind of question is that, anyway? I don't know why, but everyone--and I mean everyone--asks this question. For me, it brings to mind good old Veruca Salt and Willy Wonka's "good egg/bag egg" detector. I picture good babies and bad babies dropping down, with the good babies going on their merry way and the bad ones dropping down the chute. Honestly, what would someone say if I responded with, "No. She's a terrible baby. We hate her." Of course she's a good baby. She's ours and we love her. It wouldn't matter if she cried all day and all night, that would still be the case. The other question that makes me question people's sanity is, "Does she sleep?" Well sure, sometimes. Just like sometimes she's awake. Do people honestly expect a newborn to be sleeping through the night? I didn't, and I still don't. (For the record, she usually gets up twice during the night after my husband lays her down between 11 and 11:30.) It's also pretty funny when people see her sleeping for half an hour and assume that it means she's an excellent baby who sleeps all the time and never cries. Of course! I tend to invite these people to stop over between 9 and 11 at night. Perhaps the worst offenders are those who joke about stealing or taking the baby. I understand that they are just joking, but honestly, it's not funny. Also, it's one thing when it's someone you know, but when some random stranger comments at a children's Halloween parade that maybe this couple will give her their baby, it's another thing entirely.
I can't wait to see what people start asking us next! I'm guessing it will probably be when we are going to have another one. Those people will kindly be invited to make donations to our bank account.