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Posts Tagged ‘Buddy’

Various family members (my mom, my MIL, and my SisterIL) all asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything material that I wanted – or at least want badly enough to ask for. But no matter how much I try to carve out time for writing on teaching days and on non-daycare days, it is never enough. So I had an inspiration and asked for childcare in order to have more time to write instead. And furthermore I asked for at least four days of pre-planned babysitting coverage before the end of May, and to combine this “present” with my birthday gift as well (I turn 40 next week – ugh). 

So today is the first of my ‘gifted’ writing days. SIL is taking care of Buddy this morning (with SG downstairs and available if needed) and my MIL is taking the afternoon shift. We are most nervous about the nap – Buddy goes to sleep without a peep at daycare but it is always a struggle at home. However I am hopeful that with MIL – who has successfully put him to sleep at night several times – he will behave differently then he does with me. 

But I’m trying not to think about that. For today it is not my problem. I’ve left the house and the neighborhood. I drove up to our old neighborhood – the one we lived in for 6 years until I got pregnant and we could no longer afford to live in because we needed a bigger place. I am now in  my very favorite coffee shop working on my introduction (taking a break at the moment to write this post) and drinking too much coffee. This is one of the places where I wrote much of my masters thesis, prepared for my comprehensive exam, and wrote my grant applications. So it is a sight of inspiration and success for me. At least I’m trying to think of it that way.

So far it is great. Best gift ever!

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I teach about labor and work and globalization. So by all rights I should be joining the big march and rally that takes place downtown in Big City every year. But I’m not going to.

Friday has become sort of my “day off” – which is bad because I can’t really afford to take a day off, but there is no rest on the weekends with the little bundle of energy and emotions that we call “Buddy” here at LivedSpaces headquarters, and by Friday morning I am drained dry, particularly if I was productive on Thursday (which I was).

So get Buddy off to daycare and then come home to sleep. And it feels SOOO good. Not just to sleep for 2+ hours but to have the room and the bed to myself.  To know that Buddy is off having a fun day with his friends (really – he loves daycare, we are starting to worry that we might have to take him out because of the cost and my not having a job and all).

Today I slept from 9 am to 11:45 am. Totally decadent but I needed to catch up on my sleep. Plus it is May Day and I am a working mother. So for all of the workers out there – whether you work in the “productive” (paid) or “reproductive” (unpaid) sphere or – like most of us – BOTH, Happy May Day!

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Milk and Teeth

Remember how I wrote last week that I was planning to get serious about weaning because Buddy’s renewed interest in nursing when sick made me realize that it was time? Yeah, well approximately 24 hours after posting Buddy started biting me at the end of every nursing session. Not exactly a bite, more of a pull and a scrape of the teeth, still very painful, as you might imagine. So I’ve tried everything I can think of to get through to him that it is not OK to bite me, and nothing has worked, so my take on it is that he is ready to wean but not sure how to get the comfort he needs from me otherwise. 

It’s been a little bit of a balancing act. Right now we have a nursing avoidance program in effect – I try to stay on my feet and deflect any interest in nursing during non-sleep times – and that seems to be working. If he does insist on nursing we have a one bite (OK , sometimes one on each side) and you’re out policy. This holds true at naps and at bedtime too. So far he has taken it pretty well, which confirms my suspicion that he is ready to stop. And we have also started singing special songs, including “Twinkle twinkle BIG star” and “The etsy bitsy spider” to wind down and get ready for bed. Part of me is a little sad, I thought that it would be a longer, more gentle process, but part of me is relieved because now I don’t feel like I am taking away something he is not ready to let go of just yet.

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What a week. I was sick. Then Buddy got sick. Then I started teaching my new, self-designed, and extremely labor-intensive class on Monday (and SG had to take a break to watch Buddy because fever = no daycare for the poor little guy. Then I had to actually teach class on Wednesday (Monday I just went through the syllabus and called it a day). Yesterday I was so wiped out that after I dropped Buddy off I spent the whole day sleeping. I feel somewhat guilty about that but I honestly don’t think I could have done anything useful anyway.

Today I got back on the horse, cleared a path through the toys in the living room, threw some of the dishes in the dishwasher and did some work on my diss. Here, in no coherent order are some random thoughts and events from my life at the moment:

  • Buddy is going to spend time with his old babysitter tomorrow (yeah!) so that I can get caught up on lesson planning (boo!) and SG can do the taxes (double boo!).
  • Since he’s been sick Buddy has revised his usual wake-up time of 5 or 5:30 am to 4 or 4:30 am. We went through this for a while when we were night-weaning him, and we got through it,  but since he’s been sick he hasn’t been eating as much, so he wakes up and then he wants comfort and he flat-out refuses to go back to sleep. Basically he stands up in his crib and screams and jumps for an hour until it is “time to get up.” (We have a no getting up before 5 am rule – you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere).  I should mention that while we don’t co-sleep, his crib is approximately 5 inches away from my side of the bed – we live in a very small two-bedroom house, and the bedrooms are on separate floors (I use the downstairs one as an office). So it is pretty hard to ignore.
  • The 4 am screaming sessions, combined with his revived interest in nursing (although to be honest he has always loved it), mixed with my feeling like death on a sticke, has brought me to the end of my rope. It is time to wean. We will take it slow and gentle and it can take a couple of months, but it WILL happen before my 40th birthday in May. I. CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. 
  • I’ve made little or no progress on the Self-Improvement Experiment – we have been in survival mode around here for a week. I’ll pick it up again over the weekend and have a couple of posts about moving forward.
  • On Wednesday a couple of emails went around our department list-serv congratulating two of my colleagues on landing tenure track jobs. While I’m happy for them, it is sort of like twisting the knife. Then yesterday, another friend of mine announced that she was invited to interview for a very prestigious department in the UK. Never mind that because of our family situation SG and I agreed to stay in North America, so I decided not to apply anyway, this person is not even close to being finished and she was INVITED to apply. I know that I can’t compare myself to others and that my turn will come (at least I hope it will) but I’ll admit it – my self-esteem has taken quite a blow this past week.
  • On the plus side I posted to FaceBook that while I was happy for friends that I was down about giving two GREAT interviews and getting NEITHER job and a lot of people responded both intelligently and sympathetically. Also one of my best friends, who teaches in the Bay area, sent me some super fancy Easter chocolates in the mail. I started to cry because it is nice to know that there are people out there who understand and who have my back.

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Nana's Castle

Nana's Castle

We’ve been at Nana and Pappa’s (my parents) for the last few days. It is a great place to be a kid – particularly a grandkid – great toys, an art table, play doh galore and lots of doting attention. Check out the castle sitting on the niche in front of the big picture window!  Now that’s hard to beat.

Plus Buddy got to hang out with his cousins (my nieces) Belle and Zippy (ages 7 and 3 respectively). But there is no internet there and with all the toddler wrangling I had no time to get anything done, so I just tried to relax for a few days and relish the fact that I decided at the last minute NOT to attend the big academic conference in my field this year. I just couldn’t deal with it – especially after both those interviews and then not getting either job. I didn’t want to be away from Buddy that long and I have some time off this week so I need to get ready for teaching and get some writing done on the next chapter. So I unplugged for a few days and just played with the kids and hung out with my parents. SuperGuy enjoyed it too, although his cat allergies make being around my parent’s Persian an ordeal. 

Now we are home and we continue to celebrate Buddy’s second birthday (it’s a week-long celebration). This morning we did all the stuff he likes. We went up to the cupcake place and sat in the kiddy chairs and shared a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting and drank water. Then we went over to a local fountain and threw pennies in it. At which point we needed some milk so we walked over to the grocery store and let him push around one of the toy-carts they so thoughtfully provide. Despite his tendency to ram into things (both accidently and on purpose), no cases of wine were destroyed. Finally we went down to the dock and had fish and chips (which is something we do together every other week or so). Now we are home and he is exhausted and sleeping and I think that I’m going to treat myself to a nap as well.

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The story of Geng He and how she fled with her children to Thailand has really struck a chord with me. Her husband, a prominent dissident, has disappeared, probably arrested by the Chinese government with a future in a labor camp and possibly as an involuntary human organ donor. Her story brings up a lot of feelings for me, and brings into stark relief the dilemma between our obligation to our ideals and our obligation, our overriding, undeniable obligation to our children. Before becoming a mother I could understand her actions, but now that I have Buddy I emphasize with her on a whole different emotional level.  I need to process my thoughts and feeling on this story a little more, but it brought into stark relief the question of whether or not I would be able to live up to my political and moral ideals (or I could support my partner doing so) in a situation in which I would have to choose between my convictions and the well being of my child. I am glad I am not faced with such a dilemma, because I know the answer – Buddy would absolutely, positively, always come first. And that is a little scary.

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Buddy has a runny nose and a cough and has been a little off all day – acting tired and wired at the same time. Getting him to sleep tonight was exhausting. It took three tries; holding his hand, saying goodnight, leaving the room. He would fall asleep, wake himself up coughing, call out, and we would start all over again. He finally went down around 9 pm. And I’m exhausted. To bed.

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