Sunday, October 25, 2015

Back to Work

My girl is eight weeks old today, and it's amazing to me how much she changes each day.  She's learned to mimic people somewhat; if you stick your tongue out at her, she'll stick hers out in return.  She's gotten much stronger in the last week, lifting her head up far more, and if you hold on to her, she can straight up her whole back.  If you hold her and let her stiffen her legs out, she can put her whole weight on them (with support).

She's also smiling a lot more, particularly when she wakes up--she's just glad to see everyone.  Those smiles made it a lot easier to go back to work this week.  I felt horrible when I left for work on Monday.  I just didn't want to leave my baby, even though I knew perfectly well that she was just fine with her gramma and papaw.  But when I got home, I came in, and the moment KC saw me, she just broke out into a grin because her mommy was home.  That made everything worthwhile.  And she's just smiled more and more and more as the week has gone on.  Her hair is starting to come back in where she'd lost it--it's looking like she might not completely lose all of it and be bald until she's two (like her mama was).  Most of the time, I think she looks like me, but every once in a while, she will strike a facial expression and looks just like Dear Husband.  And she and her cousin have the same exact smile!

Sunday, we took her to church for the first time.  This lead to what is one of my favorite pictures of her so far--and definitely my favorite that I've taken.  Her Bunny had bought her a new church dress when they were here, and she looked positively adorable. We took her into church, and she was so good.  She just looked around at everything, and listened to the organ.  I had to take her out and change her and give her a bottle, but she never really fussed loudly.  We took her up to the altar rail, and Father M blessed her--he was tickled, I think.

And, as mentioned, Monday, I went back to work.  There have been a few bumps in the road, but they have either been smoothed out or are in the process of being smoothed out, and they weren't really unexpected.  I'm slowly getting caught up, and getting to know my students again, since I only saw them all twice before KC came along.  (I did show them the picture of her in her church dress, and they were all suitably impressed, as they should have been.)

My world lit class remains amazing.  They're so invested, and I barely have to do any work, because they go back and forth in discussion.  On the other hand, getting my American lit class to talk is like pulling teeth, and I'm trying to figure out how to really get them going.  I'm thinking about breaking them up into groups and giving each group a discussion question, and seeing what happens.  We're doing more poetry on Tuesday, rather than short stories, so we'll see if they do better with that.  And my 1301 classes are moving along, and they all seem to be pretty well involved in the class. 

Friday, there were meetings, and I took KC with me to the department meeting so my colleagues could all meet her, and again, she was so good.  I had to take her out to change her diaper twice, but she behaved so well, just snuggled with me, and looked over my shoulder at two of my colleagues while the meeting went on around her.

We were expecting a huge rain 'event' this weekend, and much of Texas did get it, something on the level of 12 inches of rain in spots, caused by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia and a low pressure system, but the clouds parted over town much like the Red Sea, and all the rain really went around.  It is windy today, but the high is a balmy 70 degrees, and I have the windows open.  (The cats love that.)

Saturday morning, my FIL left for home.  He'd driven down with my MIL, and then flew home.  He will be back at Thanksgiving, and Gramma will be taking care of KC, which makes me feel so much better.  It's wonderful having her here.  Saturday was also DH's birthday.  It wasn't celebrated with great fanfare, but DH said that it was amazing how different his priorities were.   It's yet one more example of how much things have completely changed in the last two months. 

I'm preparing for next week right now.  I've only had homework to grade this last week, and this upcoming week will see my first week with major assignments and work to deal with.  I'm also taking on some additional responsibilities at work, which I'll be able to talk more about next week.  This week, I was also honored by the college with a Disability Advocate of the Year award.  I don't know who nominated me--and I wasn't able to make it to the ceremony, but it made me feel pretty good about the impact I'm having here. 

And that's been the week.  There's no telling what the next week holds, but if it goes as well as this one has, I'll be pretty happy. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I've been having weird dreams in the short spans of hours that I sleep at night.  I've had weird dreams fora while, since before KC came along--probably starting in my second trimester.  They've continued since, often with some reoccurring themes.  (A tunnel space created by trees and plants?  At least I'm not dreaming about my teeth falling out again.)

Sunday night, however, I had one of those dreams that was so incredibly real and vivid that it's stuck with me all week in its entirety.

I dreamed I was at my mom and dad's house, and I came around the corner from the hallway to stop in front of the front door, because standing there was my Mamaw Ree.  It was a full stop, an almost jolting one, because all I could stammer was, "But you're dead." 

Mamaw just shrugged and said she had to see that baby.  So we settled her in to the chair in the front room, and I pulled up the piano bench to sit next to her, and she held KC and made over her and loved on her, and KC smiled and babbled at her.

Finally, Mamaw gave KC back to me, and told me that she had to go, and I began to cry, because I knew what it meant.  She was going, and it really was the last time I would see her.

And then I woke up, not because KC was making noise, but because the dream was over.  KC was asleep in her basinette next to me, and I looked up at the ceiling, but instead of wanting to cry, I felt an almost overwhelming sense of peace.

I don't believe in ghosts or astral projection or any of that nonsense, but if there ever was someone stubborn enough to bend time and space and dimensions to get to visit their great-great-granddaughter, Mamaw would be the one.

I may not have cried then, but I've felt like it now and then since, thinking about it, but I have a very firm picture in my mind now of Mamaw--as I remember her from when I was a kid--holding KC and calling her a piss-ant (just like she did me). 


I did update this blog last week, but as I finished it up, KC began fussing, so I never managed to put a link to it on Facebook.  This week has had its ups and downs, like any other week.  I go into my office tomorrow to meet with my substitutes and do my return to work paperwork, and I will be back in the classroom on Monday.

I am not suited to be a stay-at-home mom.  I know that.  And in academia, I couldn't take ten years to be a stay-at-home mom and then return to the field.  It doesn't work like that, even if I wanted it to.  So here I am, getting ready to go back to work...and I so desperately don't want to.  The Modern Mother Guilt Cycle (TM) strikes again.  It's not just that I feel like I need to be home and won't be.  It's that I know good and well that I would go nuts if I was, and therefore, feel guilty over that. 

Already, I know that the idea of 'having it all' is a myth.  You can have a lot, but something will always get missed through the cracks--and it's probably sleep or health or social life or something like that.  I'm seriously terrified of trying to figure out this work-life balance thing.  Balance?  What's that? Even on maternity leave, I've been constantly checking my work email--and been right to do so, as things would have slipped by me.  (Crap, I've got to get my book order for spring in tomorrow.)

The last year, I've always worked really hard not to have to take work home.  That meant more time in the office, but what time I spent at home, I was able to spend at home with Dear Husband and actually be more than just physically present.  I'm not going to be able to do that now.  And that means that I'm going to be working a lot from home, and I worry about KC growing up to find her mama always with her nose buried in her laptop, grading and working.  (I worry about KC growing up with her mama and her daddy having their noses buried in their phones, too, but that's something we're actively working on.)

I know I'm not going through anything any other mother hasn't gone through.  And hopefully, others will be able to read this and say "Hey, it's not just me!"  But for right now, the fear and anxiety are still kind of at the forefront, but I suppose I'll eventually figure it out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Weekend of Home

My parents were finally able to come in this weekend to meet KC for the first time.  Mom's medication has been really putting her through the wringer, but for all the side effects, it seems to be working somewhat--well enough that she and Dad flew down Friday to spend the weekend. 

Despite the fact that my dad had told us that we did not need to meet them at the airport because we didn't need to have KC out, we did anyway, which was obviously the right choice.  I don't know that I've ever seen my parents so excited.  Mom went straight to find the Purell so she could hold KC right away while they waited for the luggage and Dad got their rental car.  We went to the hotel with them so they could spend some more time with her Friday evening.

Saturday morning, Dad and I performed our weekend ritual that we've always done and went to the grocery store.  It wasn't quite as early as we usually go--it was 8:30, rather than 5:30, and believe me, HEB would probably be bearable at 5:30.  Then he came to the house and spent some time with KC while Mom was asleep resting from the flight at the hotel.  Then we went and got Mom, and they came over for a while.  Mom was pretty worn out, so after spending some time with KC, she went back to the hotel to rest some more, and Dad and Dear Husband and I had dinner.

Sunday, Mom felt much better, and she and I went shopping.  She got KC some new outfits--including a dress for her to wear to church, which is completely adorable, and a Halloween costume/every day dress up.  I'm not telling what it is, because it should be a surprise for people, but it's completely adorable.  Mom also bought her some baby toys--the ring stacker that every kid has and a bucket with the different shapes that go through the lid.

Mom may have also bought me these.  I've wanted the Wonder Woman Chucks since I first saw them, and I LOVE THEM. 

She and I came back to the house, and she snuggled with KC.  DH made dinner again, and I think my parents might be impressed with his cooking skills.  I'm glad, because Lord knows I'm not much of a cook.  (My rolls were good, though, because I *can* bake.)

Monday, KC and I went back over to the hotel when DH went to work, so we could spend a little more time with Mom and Dad.  I mostly managed not to cry when I left.

KC has done a lot this week.  I think this is going to be the last package of newborn diapers we use, as she's growing so fast.  She's grown completely out of her newborn sleepers--both because her feet are too big for the footies, and because she's so tall that she's stretching them out too far.  So she's been sleeping in a onesie and her swaddler, but since fall is coming, it's getting chilly in the mornings, so I have some long gowns that she can wear with her swaddler too.

I take pictures of KC every day to send to her grandparents/post on Facebook for family to see, but I'm trying to be mindful about how much time I spend on my phone or looking at her through a screen.  I don't want her to grow up thinking that my phone is more important than she is, and I want to actually live my experiences with her, rather than simply record them.  So I am trying to be not always be taking pictures. But when it comes to pictures, this is one of my favorites that I've taken of late--her daddy talking to her last night.

I officially go back to work on October 16th.  That's a Friday, so while we don't have any classes, I'll be meeting with some of my subs to get records and discuss the class with them so I can get back into the classroom on the 19th.  My mother-in-law will be here that weekend, and she will be watching KC while I'm in class.  I am a little worried by how much work I think I'm going to have to do at home.  I've spent enough time in my office in the past that I was usually able to leave work at work, but I think I'll be grading at home again.

I've got my schedule for next semester set, and I should be home each day by about 2:30, so KC won't have to spend the entire day at daycare.  

And she is waking up, so this post will have to end.