Monday, December 16, 2013

Resolve Not to Resolve




Oh, the dreaded but much anticipated New Year's Resolution. We vow to lose weight, eat better, run more, be nicer, and pay it forward. And we do it - for about three weeks.

On January 2nd through - maybe - mid-February the local gym is bustling with new comers.  When I am there, at 5:30 am (boo. hiss.), I see the gym population double with new faces. Some are confused, some are determined, most are tired - but all resolved to make 2014 the skinniest, healthiest, fittest year yet! With trepidation, some approach the treadmill while others have enlisted the assistance and expertise of a trainer during these early days (and earlier mornings).  Even, the gym itself sponsors a program to help us all lose those extra pounds put on during the holidays, but it is specifically geared towards those January newcomers.

But then something happens. It is called February....

February not only brings with it cold weather, snow, and frosted windshields but it also brings a sporting event that restocks your fridge with fried goodness right after you have purged the last of the fruit cake and eggnog. Yes, I am talking about you Superbowl! You come and knock us off the wagon so soon into our fitness mission. A different article for a different day,  but having the game on a Sunday night has those of us on Eastern Standard Time staying up late on a "school night" and binging on beer, burgers, and wings later into the night than usual. Monday the alarm goes off,  we skip the gym, swear we will go Tuesday, but that one missed Monday can often be the beginning of the end. Tuesday becomes Wednesday, Wednesday to Thursday and then we say, this week was a bust - I'll start again next Monday.

Last year I made a resolution to drink more water. At the close of 2012 I bought myself a 64 ounce water bottle while waiting to check out at TJ Maxx (darn it, impulse buy!) and made a sweeping declaration to my husband and 2 month old son that I was going to drink two of these a day for a year.  Like the gym goers, I started off strong. Finishing off the rest of my maternity  leave happily hydrated and once back at work - I was fortunate to have an office near the water cooler. But then, like the gym goers and dieters, things happened. First toting the water bottle plus lap top plus lunch into the city got annoying so I started leaving it at home, then I lost the lid somewhere so it wasn't portable anymore, and then I forgot the resolution all together.


Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we feel the need to change the 2013 version of ourselves when it couldn't have been all that bad? Why do we pick the first day of the New Year when there are clearly hangovers to recover from and still leftovers to eat? Of course, we can stay this day is the first day of the rest of our lives - but I think forcing it  to be on January 1st with the rest of the pack is a lot of pressure. This year I say we resolve not to resolve. We resolve to love and appreciate the person that we were the year before and continue to be that wonderful person in the next year and years to come. When you read this, look in the mirror and say, "Hey! I'm pretty awesome and will stay just as awesome in 2014! THAT is my resolution!"




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Close Relationship with Halloween

I have always felt a close, personal connection with Halloween. Aside from it being my birthday (the best possible day to be born, if you ask me), it is the one time of the year where you can be someone or something else. Ignoring what happens to Halloween costumes at the collegiate level (Black boy shorts, a little tank top, and cat ears), Halloween in elementary school is nothing short of awesome!
Whether you and your friends dressed as the Little Rascals, you and a playmate were Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, or you were your favorite super hero, there was always a sense of pride marching in your school's parade flaunting your alter ego.
Growing up, class-moms would deliver ghostly cupcakes, popcorn balls, and various "potions" to the classroom after lunch. We would play themed games, talk about our costumes, have contests, and learn a little about Halloween. It was a free afternoon to play and take some time off from long division and memorizing state capitals.

Times, however, are a'changin'. A friend of mine teaches in Northern New Jersey and because of the food allergy epidemic, Halloween candy is off the table, literally. Similarly other schools, because of the obesity situation in this country, require treats to be healthy. I'm not sure about you but I think carrots on Halloween are about as exciting as the old lady that gives out pennies.
Although a little old, an article written by Dennis Byrne in 2009 for www.chicagonow.com, mentioned that many schools are replacing "Halloween" with "Fall Festivals" because of the negative connotations associated with the name and the pagan celebration. He adds that 66% of adults do not agree with the name change while 15% are not sure. Just last year, Halloween was banned in Isaac Preschool on Phoenix, AZ because they wanted to "keep the focus on learning". The year before Ithaca, NY canceled their Halloween parade because it excluded students of diverse backgrounds and in Massachusetts they not only sassed Halloween but warned teachers to "be careful" about celebrating Thanksgiving and Columbus Day (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/arizona-parent-jason-bake_n_2049756.html).
Maybe this will cause a rise out of some readers but c'mon man


Trick or Treating has changed from roaming the towns with a pack of friends and pillow cases to "organized play" and trips to the mall, walking from store to store. A fact that makes me very sad. No, I am not naive enough to think we live in a world of sunshine and lollipops where my son should wander on his own, ringing doorbells of strangers at all hours, but I do feel that my town, as a community, has more good eggs than rotten and can celebrate the holiday as we did in the days of 'ole when gas was only 99 cents a gallon and cell phones only made phone calls.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy First Birthday!

My dad told me that one doesn't realize how fast time passes until he or she has a child.

Truer words have never been spoken.

As the news relives Hurricane Sandy, I have been reliving the past year with Austin. I remember the weird labor/not labor pains that Sunday morning, my emotions in the delivery room, and the joyous aftermath of holding my little man. Then I blinked - and here he is, one year old!



Courtesy of cakeartistcafe.com
Planning a first birthday is kind of an odd thing since the guest of honor could probably care less whether or not you go for the vodka penne or the linguine with marina sauce. He is indifferent to the Halloween theme, his presents (actually he was very into the wrapping paper), or the shape and style of his cake. On the other hand, his mother is all over the internet trying to find fun looking appetizers, scouring the Christmas Tree Store for bargain plates and decorations, soliciting her dad's near perfect handwriting to make labels, and ordering her husband to do menial tasks that have been festering for months (like taking a homemade birdhouse out of our bathroom). Also my family likes to conceive in February so in addition to Austin, my cousin shares his birthday on the 28th, her husband is the 24th, I am the 31st, and my husband follows shortly behind us on November 13th. Although I have accepted the fact that my birthday is no longer significant, I wanted to at least acknowledge all the other aging Scorpios in the house without drawing attention away for my son.



Like any event, once the party began - all was right with the world and if the plates specifically bought for the cake went unused - then let that be the worst of my life's problems. For our costumes, I wanted something we could host in, be comfortable, and didn't cost a fortune. DJ, the excellent sport that he is, tolerate the whole scene and looked just fantastic as Popeye!




At the end of the day, despite his distaste for his sailor hat, our Austin made the perfect Swee' Pea to our Popeye and Olive Oil, enjoyed every bit of his cake, and smiled ear to eat as we sang Happy Birthday to him.

Before you have a little person, you don't think about things like timing a birthday cake around someone's nap, finding a onsie that suits your Halloween costume needs perfectly, or making sure every moment of a party is captured on film.





Monday, September 30, 2013

My Son is going to be 1!

Yesterday we celebrated my son's 11 month birthday. 11 months! I couldn't believe it. It addition to being shocked and amazed at the quickness of time, I realized I was in the final weeks of first birthday preparations. To keep up with the First Birthday Jones', so to speak, I was all over Etsy trying to find the most wonderful first birthday invite (check!), scoured the internet and my town in search of a caterer (check - with a side of sticker shock), and spent yesterday turning parts of my home into a kid friendly, birthday appropriate Halloween Haven (trial and error check!).

Although most of my friends consider Facebook Event invitations suitable and "we'll try to make it" a decent RSVP, I feel sending out actual printed invitations is indicative of four things.
1) This is a real event, not college party,
2) RSVP means RSVP - no probablys, we'll sees, or I'll let you know that week,
3) the names written on the invitation are the expected guests - don't bring your buddy because he is in town, see #1.
4) The start time is the start time - If you are going to be late, fine  but if you come at 5pm - well I will probably be napping.

I wrote in the past about the Lost Art of Excuse Me but I think there is also the Lost Courtesy of RSVP. Between Evites, Facebook, and mass emails - it is hard to keep up etiquette. Personally, I RSVP to everything and then check in to make sure said RSVP has been received but my husband takes more of the laissez-faire approach and wings it. Not cool. 

With all of this said I am constantly checking and rechecking my guest list, texting to make sure all of the invites reached their destinations, and itching for the RSVP date so I can properly stalk the MIA's and see what their plans are. Is this normal? Call it Type A personality, but I feel it most certainly is.

Because Austin is the first grandchild and his father and I are the only makers of grandchildren (as we are both only children), I feel this birthday party has taken on a life of its own. First of all, Austin is having two of them - one in New Jersey and one in Maryland  to accommodate all possible guests. Both have their respective cake, favors, and theme -because without a theme - what kind of parents would we be? Both  include guests with overnight requests, special diets, young children, and personal squabbles and both will include presents.Not that I have anything against gifts, but really - all I want is wipes, diapers, and baby food. The past few days Austin has had more fun playing with the laundry basket than anything that sings, blinks, squeaks, or twinkles.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I won't forget to remember you

Last night Austin was up at 4:22 for some reason. When I checked on him, he had his binky, he wasn't wet - he was just awake. Leaning over the crib, I rubbed his head to calm him down, restarted his mobile but no dice, so I scooped him up and carried him over to his recliner. He was asleep instantly. For a brief moment, I thought about carrying him back to his crib, but then realized I may not have too many more months of this. Unlike my husband, I am not wide in the chest and broad in the shoulders. At almost 11 months, Austin pretty much covers my torso when he lays on my chest and there are only so many positions for him to get comfortable. In any event, I thought I would savor the moment and stay with him in the chair.

September 2013
While he slept, I thought about all of the things DJ and I have done for him so far. Whether it is crawling around with him on the floor, playing fort, or making sure he gets a good night sleep, we are constantly showing him that he is loved. These are things my parents did for me to but I was too little to remember them. Things that I unknowingly took for granted because I didn't know what was happening but, I am guessing, I liked it. I don't know when Austin will have his first memory but I want him to know all the things that happened before that memory came to be. Similarly, I don't want to forget how he is now, his quirks, his habits, his personality. 

I said to DJ the other day that I wished Austin could know us now. Know how we revolved our days about his schedule, waved "hi" and "bye" incessantly in hopes he would pick up on it, made ridiculous sounds to see him laugh, danced with him in the kitchen, and experimented with different food combinations in his baby bullet. I want him to know how funny we are, how hard we tried, and how much he taught us in these first 11 months. I also want him to know that no matter now big he gets, he will never be too big to fall asleep on my lap. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Donut Day


 Although National Donut Day is a different day of the year, my family has our own Donut Day. August 17th was my Nana's birthday and even if her latest stages of dimentia she knew that she wanted donuts as a birthday breakfast. This wasn't always the case, but as she aged we would all meet at her extended care facility's courtyard with a 12 pack of Dunkin and Box of Joe and celebrate with our matriarch.

Austin enjoying his first Donut Day 
At 4'11 inches my Nana was a one of a kind. Her refrigerator was always stocked with Jell-o and each time we left her house, she should always slip us a $10 or a $20 for "ice cream" or "something nice". She made the best meals, had the best basement to play in, and could be found watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune nightly. I remember growing out of a pair of snow boots and giving them to Nana as a hand-me-down. In return I got a coat that was a little to big. I was one of few 6th graders who could swap clothes with her Nana.

After she passed away, we decided to continue the tradition. The one day of the year where low-carb, low-fat, paleo, clean eating, or whatever the diet-of -the-day was was pushed aside and donuts reigned supreme. Inspired by my pear tart success the other day, I decided to bake my own donuts.


Do I dare call what lies below a recipe? No - because although I list four ingredients, there is no mixing and no measuring. It is pure idiot-proof bliss.

What you'll Need:
Pilsbury's Grand! Biscuits
Cinnamon
Sugar
Vegetable Oil


Step 1: Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or (if you are fancy like us) one of those baking sheets and preheat your oven to 425*F
Step 2 : Open a can of Pilsbury Grands! Biscuits. We used the honey flavored one
Step 3: Lay the biscuits out on the cookie sheet and using the lid from your vegetable oil container, punch out donut holes.
Separate and lay your "munchkins" alongside your donuts.
Step 4: Lighly coat all sides with vegetable oil
Step 5. Bake for 7 minutes
Step 6: Top your donuts in cinnamon and sugar (I eye-balled the amount in a bowl, blended, and added more as needed).

This recipe was borrowed from the following link and she coats hers with icing - a taste far to advanced for us: Easy Baked Donuts

Monday, August 12, 2013

Harnessing my Inner Martha

TWO POSTS TODAY!
(crazy!)

Ok so I am a maven in the kitchen when it comes to cooking but I NEVER bake. I stink at it, it is my hell, and I will be that mom that purchases baked good at the store because that is how I have been genetically wired. Sposito/Coccia women can cook but baking = no bueno.

I also never post about food but I was so proud of this little gem (and when you look at it, you'll think - wow, she really must suck at baking because that is the easiest thing ever, but I needed a personal win so let me have it)

I adapted this from Better Homes and Gardens and this is the original recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pies/country-peach-tart/

But this is what I did:
1 Pastry for Single-Crust Pie (or buy Pilsbury like I did)
2 Tsp of Truvia Baking Blend
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
3 peeled pears (from our PEAR TREE - take that Barefoot Contessa!)
1 Tsp of lemon juice

1. Preheat over to 375* and prepare pie crust
2. Line a baking sheet with foil, sprinkle lighlty with flour, and roll out pastry (circle, square, trapezoid, whatever tickets your fancy)
3. In a large bowl, stir together truvia, 4 tsps of flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add pears and lemon juice.
Keep stirring until everything is coated
4. Mound pear mixture in the center of pastry, leaving a 2 inch border
5. Fold border up, over peaches and sprinkle top with a little more Truvia (just a little)
6. Bake 35 minutes and, if you feel fancy, broil on low for another 4.
It may not get an A for presentation but I was pretty pleased with myself 


Friday, August 9, 2013

Babies at the Beach

I am selfish at the beach. I like to sit, read my book, and bake. I don't go in the water, I prefer not to talk to anyone, and enjoy being on my own schedule. Ideally, I would go to the beach alone or with someone who has similar antisocial beach practices. It is my time to do my thing and that is that. 

Babies at the beach put a GIGANTIC wrench into my selfishness. First they need to be doused in sunscreen, then you have to put their bathing suits and tops on their slimey, slippery, squirmy, lotioned body. Next you have to take Baby and his towel, beach tent, cooler, bottles, formula, cold water, snacks, blankets, toys, and hat down to the beach with you, in addition to your own crap. Third, you have to watch him, carry him, make sure he doesn't eat sand, escape into the sun, cry, or pee out of his silly water diaper that doesn't hold pee (WTF!). 
You walk down to the water to dip his toes in
walk back up because he doesn't like it
walk back down to rinse off some bodily fluid
walk back up because he is hungry
walk back down because - maybe he didn't like the water the first time, but he might like it now
walk back up for pictures and maybe a nap.

It is insane!

I don't know what I was even thinking packing a book (rookie mistake) or why I thought my 9 month old would be advanced enough for sand toys (JV move) but I did learn that with babies at the beach there is strength in numbers and between four adults, including a husband that does not have the same affinity for lazing in the sand, I was able to get about an hour of uninterrupted tanning in..........over the course of 4 days. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

How does it feel to have a baby?

I was at a wedding this weekend and was randomly seated next to an old friend from college. We were catching up and when I said I was good friends with the bride from elementary school, he asked if my parents were there.

"No, they are at home with my son", I answered.
Austin vs, Plums
Shocked he repeated - "You have a son!? That's crazy....What is it like to have a kid?"

To be honest, this was the first time I had ever been asked that question. Sure, my friends asked about child birth, the pain, the process, and all the sexiness that comes with labor but how does it feel to actually bring him home and be yours - forever?

"Well, to be honest - it was hard for me at first". I explained. "One minute he wasn't there and then he is and your whole world is changed".
I explained that little things we take for granted, like running to Walgreens for toothpaste, are now pain-in-the-ass tasks. Sleeping, at first, is a blessing long taken for granted, and no matter how prepared you thought you were - you aren't.

Then there is the baby itself. In one of Jenny McCarthy's books she describes a newborn as a blob, and as bad as it sounds - I have to agree. Your newborn doesn't laugh, smile, or cuddle. He is crinkly, confusing, and indifferent to all of your parenting efforts. Cry, Eat, Sleep, Rinse, Repeat. You are at the mercy of this pattern during those early days and you might feel selfish as you think about all the new sacrifices you will need to make for the rest of your life (pause for dramatic effect).

As a new mom, you are wiped out and the new dad is overwhelmed. You will have a "what have we done" moment, maybe more than once and wonder when this baby's "real parents" are coming to pick him up.

Then - something wonderful happens -

At two months or so, your baby smiles at you and you are in love. A different love than you feel for your husband and your parents. This kind of love consumes you, your parent-dar is in full swing, you understand that "take-a-bullet" feeling.
Your body swells with this new feeling and you aren't even sure where it came from but it is over powering. You wonder how you ever lived without this little person in your life and you vow to never miss a moment with him. Of course, you relish in his nap time, but you melt when his eyes open and he smiles at you, when he reaches for you, when he holds on tight. When people ask, "will you have a second baby?", you honestly answer - "I don't know. I love my son so much - I don't know if I can make more love". You are brimming with warm fuzzies - your blood has transformed to warm milk and honey, your body is a pillow for your little man, your arms are a blanket, a shield, a fortress.

The smiles turn into laughs, your baby recognizes your face, your voice, your smell. You find yourself revolving your day around hugs, kisses, and playtime, and you love it.

That is what its like to have a kid.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Times - They are a Changin'

Austin - July 6, 2013

In 2010 seven friends and I rented a house in Ocean City, Maryland, stocked the fridge with beer, wine, liquor, and mixers, and lived off of pizza, boardwalk fries, and sub sandwiches for a week. That Fourth of July weekend, we imbibed, debauched, and were gluttonous. We, eight "adults", had no responsibilities, other than finding out the cover charges for area bars and when we had to arrive in order to beat them. We stayed out too late, we drank too much, we puked, we rallied, and we slept in as we pleased. It was glorious!

July 4, 2013 was a far cry from those care free days when our biggest worry was if rum tasted as good with Sprite as it did with Coke and what was the lowest SPF we could get away with, without burning.

I was up with Austin at 6:30 am, digging through his drawers for something Patriotic. I knew I would have to find several somethings since we go through a few outfits a day and I would need back ups. Daddy joined the ranks a little after 7 am and I hit the garage for a quick workout before BBQs commenced. (The Elizabeth of 2010 might have thought about working out, but the mere idea would have been exercise enough for that day).

Our first stop was a 3rd Birthday party for a family friend - low key - but with the oppressive heat we didn't stay long since we were having company at our house later in the day.

Fast forward to our party, Austin and his friend, Logan, spent about 15 minutes in a baby pool in the yard. The filling of the pool took longer than its actual use but at least it kept the boys cool and entertained while Dad fired up the grill. Sun dresses of the past, were traded in for gym shorts and an old tee shirt in case we experienced an explosive poop or rogue spit up. Everyone was doused in SPF 50.

Between chasing around newly mobile babies, spoon feeding pureed vegetables to Austin and supplying Logan with enough Gerber Puffs and Goldfish,  the adults were able to, at least, take a sip or two of wine and beer between activities. All was going smoothly until the heat of the day hit one of our little soldiers and all of Logan's Goldfish were regurgitated on the floor.

If this had happened at our beach house, the cuteness factor would have been non-existent and the puker would have been left to fend for himself. But, we, new mommies jumped into action grabbing carpet cleaner, wipes, paper towels, and Frebreeze. If I had glanced out the window during the raucous, I might have seen 2010 Elizabeth, peeking in with a vodka cranberry in her hand, sun burnt from a day a the beach, laughing at the unfolding chaos, but as it was - I didn't have time. By time the puke had been cleared, Austin was crawling away into another room and Logan was getting hugs and kisses from his mommy, being told everything was okay. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Lost Art of Excuse Me

This post has nothing to do with IVF, pregnancy, or motherhood - well, maybe motherhood - but it is more of a recent observation.

Now that I take up more space, strolling my City Mini up and down the aisles of Target, Shop & Stop, and other retail establishments, I have become very aware that people are either ignorant to on coming pedestrian traffic, choose to ignore on coming pedestrian traffic, or are just deaf.

For some reason I have trouble navigating the aisles of stores with my son's stroller. I often crash into display stands (hence the Sprinkle Incident of 2012), underestimate the amount of space needed to make a turn, or get stuck on one thing or another. I try to stick to one side to allow passing or wait for oncoming traffic to go by before perusing the 900 brands of cereal available before making a commitment. I like to think I am aware of my surroundings and respectful of my fellow shoppers, but I don't feel like they are equally kind to me (or us, if we include Austin).

The other day there was a street fair in town where another mother and I were more or less pin balls, bouncing and darting from one side of the sidewalk to the next. We might as well have chanted "Excuse me" down Main Street since everyone seemed oblivious to the two women, two babies, two strollers, and one dad walking down the street. We were so ignored that we had a casualty in our midst. A carry-out container of buttered noodles for her son fell to the streets while we were jostled between spectators. Many seemed as if they were playing chicken with us, waiting until the last second to move and allow us to pass while others (usually those of an older generation) simply ignored us, forcing us to awkwardly jump a curb or squeeze between them and a bench to get by.

Why does "excuse me" not seem to work anymore? Further, why do people look so inconvenienced when the request is made? I am not asking for your first born, the shirt off your back, or money. I am kindly requesting that you scooch one way or another to let me pass.

With the older population, I wonder if it is a respect thing - be kind to your forefathers, help old ladies across the street, respect your elders? I find they are the worst offenders in the "excuse me" battle. I picture them thinking, "I dare you to ask me to move" or "I stormed the beaches of Normandy so I could stand freely on this sidewalk!" In either case, I respect your right to stand there but you also have to respect mine. I often find myself repeating the phrase 5 or 6 times before getting a begrudged nod and side step that barely allows me to pass.

Not only do I find people ignore strollers and people toting children, but runners are treated like pariahs in the world of "excuse mes". When I run outside and two people (usually it is twos since a runner can usually pass a singleton without issue) are walking ahead of me, I try to exaggerate my breathing and footfalls so they can hear me coming. When this fails, I begin my chain of "excuse mes" about 20 feet before a head on collision would occur. Sometimes I get the backwards glance and then I'm ignored, sometimes it is the over expressed sigh accompanied by the "how dare you ask me to move to the side" look, or the "I can't believe I have to stop holding hands with my lover for a millisecond" glare. Yes, if there was molten lava on either side of the sidewalk, I would definitely understand your anger - but last time I checked it was grass so get over yourself.

When Austin is old enough to say "excuse me", I will make sure he not only has the knowledge to ask but also comply with the phrase. Smile when you move to the side, add a hello, and give ample space - not just a crappy centimeter. Be aware of your surroundings and anticipate when an "excuse me" might be on its way and, for goodness sake, do not give a dirty look. Your face will get stuck that way :).

UPDATE: After I posted this, I did the world's tiniest research experiment - I ran with a jogging stroller. Not only does this take up the most space but you have momentum and, quite possibly a sleeping child. Unlike running alone or walking with a stroller, running with a jogging stroller is akin to walking across hot coals while feeding the hungry - people admire you. You are a hot, multitasking mamma who is not only bettering her body and her mind, but pushing your bundle of joy. People do not only stand aside, they part like the red sea.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To B-Yaz or not to B-Yaz

My men and me
Yesterday I went to Dr. B for my annual/second opinion check up. Since my progesterone shot a few weeks ago, I am still without period but after my visit, I am more educated and will, in turn, share my knowledge with you.

To begin, I will review a bit of what I  learned and recorded back when I heard that I would be an IVF-er.
One's menstrual cycle is stimulated by estrogen increasing during the follicular phase of the cycle, thickening the lining of the uterus and the eventual release of an ovum (or egg). Meanwhile, under the influence of progesterone, the uterine lining changes to prepare for potential implantation (pregnancy). If you do not get pregnant within about two weeks, the estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly, the lining sheds, and that is your period.
This explains why I was getting my period when on the pill. The pill was providing my body with the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen. When I reached the placebo pills, these hormones dropped, causing my lining to shed and creating a period. Dr. B explained he could give the pill to a woman who has gone through menopause and she might get a period because of the hormone changes in her body. Capisce?

After speaking with Dr. B yesterday, it was reconfirmed that my estrogen and progesterone hormones are still sleeping and because they are at a stagnant level (without any significant increases or decreases), they are still unmotivated to make a period. The good news is that this isn't bad news. Unlike women suffering from poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), where hormones are out of balance and there is the potential to stop ovulating, get acne, and/or grow extra facial hair (eesh, as if infertility wasn't stressful enough), I am still a victim of hypothalamic (or "athletic") amenorrhoea. I still find this hard to believe because in all of my Googling, these women are either ultra-exercisers or anorexic. Wikipedia writes "women who diet or who exercise at a high level do not take in enough calories to expend of their exercise as well as maintain their normal menstrual cycle". I certainly don't fit into that category, but at least it isn't saying "women who are fat messes with beards".
PCOS is also genetic and since everyone else in my family seems to be normal, fertility wise, that is the unlikely culprit.

Amenorrhoea has only a few long term side effects, outside of difficulty conceiving. One of which is osteoporosis As Dr. B did, many will many physicians, put patients on an oral contraceptive to trigger a period to help prevent osteoporosis and keep them from getting pregnant - just in case. We decided to go with B-Yaz because back in 2002, my body was cool with regular Yaz and there were no annoying side effects, there is an extra bit of B vitamin which is a win for everyone, and it is a lower dose of estrogen - a benefit he explained but now I can't remember.

In any event, the new plan is to go back on the pill and live life as normal (awesome, optimistic, and energetic), bask in the glow of my little man, and then see what happens when we decide to go for Baby #2. Worst case, we go back to IRMS and defrost one of Austin's siblings for an embryo transfer.

Final thought - Should we have to have another transfer, Austin and Baby #2 would unofficially be fraternal twins since they were fertilized on the same day. Weird Sciences.


Monday, May 13, 2013

First Mother's Day

My husband told me Austin was SO excited for his first Mother's Day that he got up at 5:00 Sunday morning just so the day could get started.

With the exception of one Mother's Day back when I was an idiot teenager and forgot to get my mom a card and then was a mix of ignorant and ungrateful when she took it personally, I have always relished in the two holidays dedicated to my parents. When I was very young, I obviously had the help of my dad - signing my name on cards or diligently gluing sequins and glitter on whatever bedazzled gift I was making - and we always hit a home run. Mom would plant her begonias, accept her flowers and construction paper cut-outs with awe, and we would all spend the late afternoon barbecuing and eating one chocolate covered fruit or another. We may have done the whole brunch thing once or twice but when literally everyone and their mother is trying to make their 11:00 reservation, it got a little taxing and silly. My family, the three of us, made Mother's Day our own. We had our own traditions, our own quirks, and our own crafts - and it was glorious.


 As with everything else, holidays take on a new meaning once you have a kid so like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Mother's Day was reinvented this year. It was my first! And I was very excited for it. Austin and his dad did their due diligence and sent flowers the Friday before (shipping and handling spikes tremendously over the weekend and I appreciate their thoughtfulness as well as their economy) and planned a lovely dinner with the help of Grandpa. BUT more than the flowers, Austin gave Mommy the best gift ever later than morning - a two hour nap! More than the nap itself  it was the timing of the nap. Mommy wanted a nap too. I napped the hell out of those two hours and it was great!

At my parents I asked my mom how her first "Grandmother's Day" felt and she described herself as feeling blessed and grateful. As one who is not very religious, those are not words I typically use but considering how far we have come since the start of this post, I think they were two excellent choices.

More than having a first Mother's Day was the epiphany of why there is a Mother's Day. In Austin's 6 months of life, I have learned why my mom was frustrated when I left toys all over the place, why she was forever doing laundry and my dad was forever folding it, why she read newspapers and newsletters filled with area activities, cut coupons, encouraged vegetables, scheduled play dates, gave me constant hugs and kisses (whether I wanted them or not), or sometimes just watched me do whatever I was doing - as if breathing in that moment, chronicling it in her mental filing cabinet, and chanting to herself, "remember this moment. remember this day".



Friday, May 10, 2013

Why I don't Nap

By Austin

Grandma tells mom I nap for two hours the days they watch me, while mom is at work
but I know for a fact she doesn't believe them because when it's just us, I go berserk!

I wake up real early, while the sun's still asleep but lay in my bed with my binky in hand
then my tummy rumbles and I give a cry. Since I have her trained - mom arrives on command.

She'll bring my bottle, change my diaper, give me a kiss. She'll dress me into fresh threads
And for the rest of the day, I'm fairly certain, that is the last time I'll be in my bed.

After a bottle or pureed sweet yams, I may dose for twenty minutes or so
But don't think you'll have time to vacuum or dust because when I wake up, I'm ready to go

for a walk
for a bounce
for tummy time with dad
for a snack
for a toy
for a roll on the floor
for new diaper
and for some hugs
for any attention you have, I want more..

I know you'll entertain me, you'll gaggle and goo when I flash my million dollar grin
And you'll forfeit, surrender, your pressing chores because - let's face it - I'm going to win.

Now I know you're sneaky - and I'm on to your game - when you take the car for a ride
to no where specific, around the block, to lull me to sleep by the hum of the drive.

Or to pack up the stroller, with a blanket and lovey, while I'm rocked to sleep by the gravel below
but who are you kidding? This walk will only get another ten minutes or so.

Accept your fate, your powers are helpless, although I have to admit, you fight a good fight
but you know that you won't have your free time until I decide to call it a night.







Monday, May 6, 2013

BYOP(rogesterone)

 You know what I don't miss? Progesterone shots. You know what I miss even less? Getting them.

As I may have mentioned, my last day of breastfeeding was February 4th (snark if you like Leche ladies, but Austin and I just didn't do well with it) and between that date and today I should have restarted my menstrual life in hopes of smoothly creating Baby #2, if desired. Unfortunately the "restart" mode that Dr. B referred to at my 6 week postpartum check up has yet to kick in leaving me at the mercy of science, yet again.

I pray you never see the day when a nurse asks you to come in for a progesterone shot and you respond: "I have everything I need here. Can my husband just give it to me?" Why, you ask? Well 1) it means you had a bout with infertility and that is frustrating and tiresome, 2) Your husband should not be well versed in the ways of progesterone administration, 3) I would have hoped your body properly restarted after Baby #1, and 4) You should not have an arsenal of syringes, progesterone vials, alcohol swabs, and replacement needles tucked away "just in case" in your bathroom drawers. It just isn't normal. You also should not have to call your husband from work, ask if you have x-amount of MG's of progesterone available and he, in an effort to find the correct medication, rattle off 3 other types of medication in your kit and then know the quantitative difference between an ML, a CC, and an MG. This isn't conversational knowledge, this is IVF speak.

Anyway, so rather that giving me the shot at home, I went to the doctor's (my own progesterone in tow) because I had some questions and she wanted to see my son. This will probably be one of the few times Austin will visit a gynecologist's office, but since he is a little flirt, he had a grand old time with the ladies in the office. As Mommy posed for her progesterone injection, Austin dribbled and drabbled in the corner, enamored by the stark white environment in the patient's room.

Bruised butt and all, Austin and I headed home to wait. Ideally, if my hormones take the appropriate cues, I should have my period just in time for Mother's Day. Ironic, isn't it?



Monday, April 22, 2013

The World We Live In

Yesterday I ran the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon. As I waited at the starting line, I thought, "how perfect that the race sponsor is Unite". The 4000 runners lined up that day were doing more than just exercising, besting their PR's, crossing off bucket list items, and running a race - we were uniting as one group in support of Boston, of runners everywhere, and of good overriding evil.

On April 15th, two terrorists made bombs from pressure cookers and strategically placed them at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots Day, the event attracts up to 500,000 people and has grown from 18 participants in 1897 to over 38,0000 - making it the world's largest marathon. This year, 2013, just before 3:00 pm in downtown Copley Square came the first explosion, shortly followed by the second. Like something out of a movie, the incident resulted in over 100 casualties - many of which lost limbs, suffered injuries from shrapnel, and required immediate medical attention. Streets reserved exclusively for the runners were suddenly filled with emergency workers, good samaritans, and scared civilians. Simultaneously we saw humanity at its worst and at its best - fortunately the heroes outnumbered the evil doers by far.

Wearing Mommy's medal
The visual images, albeit graphic, showed people flocking towards the injured and regular Joe's and Jane's turned into first responders, triage nurses, and new friends. The public outcry was immediate and through cell photo photos, Tweets, social media, and news coverage action was taken immediately to narrow down the suspects. It seemed that by days end, two suspects were weeded out, splattered all over the internet, and the chase was on.

So back at the starting line, I began to think - "what kind of world have a brought my little man into?". You go to the movies, there is a shooting. You go to school, you are at risk. You run a race, you could lose a limb. Where does it end? Well, I may not have an answer to that but I do know, as I looked at the racers wearing tee shirts, badges, ribbons, and hats in support of Boston, I realized that there is too much good out there to prevent little champions like Austin from entering the world. As we ran, as I ran, I felt a little extra something for those that may not be able to run anymore. The proximity of the race dates, the fact that Rutgers was not canceled in light of the recent events, told the world that you may kick us, but you can't bring us down. We may be sad, we may have been scared, but now we are united and we will out number you - always.

On I ran, passing (or sometimes being passed by) my peers thinking about Boston, the runners and the spectators in particular. Running is different than a lot of sports because 99% of us know  we aren't going to win this race, we aren't the elite, and we aren't professionals. We recognize running is a solitary sport but it is also a team sport. Early finishers double back and cheer us, mortals, on. Telling us the finish line is around the corner or that this is, in fact, the last hill. People we have never seen before cheer us on - holding up signs saying "Your feet hurt because you are kicking ass" or "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon". Runners, those you are "competing" against, give you a reassuring nod or an extra smile when its clear you are running out of steam and, for whatever reason, that propels you to forward. Girl Scours, Frat Boys, Soccer Moms, and Supportive Dads in their "I'm Here to Help" tees to pass out water and Gu on the sidelines despite the temperature, the early hours, or their outside responsibilities. For a solitary sport, we are one helluva team.

When I crossed the finish line, shocked I had gotten a PR, and found my friends I was anxious to get home to my family. I had that overwhelming feeling of wholeness and goodness that I wanted to share and use right away. Yes, there were two little bastards out there that sought to injure many and take the lives of three. To you both I say - screw you! As long as people, communities, runners, what have you come together and keep moving forward and sharing positive moments, you will not win.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Where did my hair go?


If you have been following along, you'll notice that the luscious locks Austin came into the world with have started to thin.  At the moment he is a mix between Mo from the Three Stooges and Robin Hood's Friar Tuck. 

The creative apple didn't fall too far from the tree and this is what my dad wrote on the matter. 

Where Did My Hair Go?
by Grandpa 


Where is my hair?
Where did it go?
I saw it right there.
And now it's no mo'.

Is it on my pillow?
Or on my bed?
Did the wind blow,
And take it from my head?

I'd ask my Momma
And my Pop.
If they would  help
And make it stop.

Is it at Grandma's and Grandpa's?
Is it in a book?
Maybe they can find it,
If they look?

What is the cause?
What is the reason?
Is it from hiccups
Or too much sneezin'?

I don't know 'cause I'm just a baby.
Will it grow back? Will it? Maybe?
Ya know. I don't give a hoot.
'Cause even without it .
I'm so darn cute.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Case is STILL Open!

Now that Austin has successfully entered the world, I feel like the title of my blog - The Case of the Missing Period - needs to be reassessed. I am flirting with the idea of a new title but first, let's acknowledge the period - or lack there of.

Again, a romantic topic that women love speaking of and one I just can't get enough of - literally. My last date with the Medela breast pump was February 4th. I know this because I found myself in the bathroom plugging away for the last time after the Raven's won the Superbowl and wishing (as I do every year) the game was played on a Saturday. The adults at our Superbowl Party barely outnumbered the 5 children under 2 years old so with the exception of "who won the game?", I, as the host, could answer very few questions about the game's progress.
My Brave Little Toaster!

After ending my love/hate relationship with breastfeeding, I googled away to determine how long it would take for me to get my period back. This was done for several reasons, of course, but most of all I didn't want to have another situation as I  had in Boston and be caught off guard. Friends said a month or two, the internet said the same, and Dr. H suggested early April. Well, we are just about to cross the threshold from early to mid-April and I am still periodless. Am I surprised? Not really.

The good news is should Baby #2 need to be an IVF baby, the worst part of the process is over. We have 5 of Austin's siblings hanging out in a freezer somewhere waiting to be implanted in my uterus. This means no tummy shots, no enlarged follicles, and no retrieval. Essentially DJ and I would be able to schedule our next pregnancy and go in for the transfer. I will still have to get the progesterone shots, which is annoying, but at least I have experienced them before, survived, and made a baby. The bad news is - well - where the heck is my period and what does this mean long term? What will my birth control options be? Do I even need birth control? Will I age in a weird way because I am not menstruating?


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Headlines

All the time you hear of babies doing crazy things the second their mother or father goes out of ear shot or eye sight. I think about this all the time when Austin is crying and I have to run to the bathroom real quick, take out the trash, or check on dinner. With the exception of one near escape from his swing, it has never been a dire emergency - not even close - but more of a "no one is giving me attention at this exact moment and I must have it now" cry. When this occurs and I find myself taking an extra minute or doing something seemingly selfish or self indulgent or just not Austin-centric, I think of what a headline might read if an accident were to occur such as:

Foot stuck in Crib Bars; Results in Massive Bunions for 5 month old; Mom plucking eyebrows.

Mom Taking Out Trash during Strained Pea Debacle

NJ Boy falls 3 inches from Play Mat while Mom checks on Pasta Fagioli

Baby Coughs Up Hairball; Shedding Mom to Blame

I'm sure moms all over the world have these concerns, especially when you are flirting with the idea of basic pleasures like taking one more minute in the shower or snoozing for five more minutes in bed before welcoming the day with poopie diapers and pureed bananas. I would assume it is commonplace to question your parenting abilities, your strategies, and your techniques. I know I am constantly puzzled as to why everyone can get my son to nap for an hour and a half or more except me. As of late, twenty minutes has been deemed a small victory.

Regardless of how you feel, know you are better than the following moms and their "headlines":

A 51 year old Palm Bay, Florida Mom and her 23 year old son pull a heist at a CVS demanding 100 mgs of morphine

In Kansas City, Missouri, a 17 year old Mom leaves her two year old in the car while she hawks drugs. She returns to find son and other children playing with the plate of cocaine.

A 28 year old Wisconsin Mom was arrested for shooting her 8 year old with a BB gun because her boyfriend bet she wouldn't

And across the pond, a Mom, 54, french kisses her son, 30, as a means to pass drugs through prison security.



Can a Mom (or Dad) have it all?

How can you leave this face at home and go to work without feeling a pang of guilt? It's damn near impossible, but it a decision moms have to make as their maternity leave comes to a close. To work or not to work, that is the question.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought going back to work would be a no brainer. I went to a lot of school to just have a baby and call it a day, professionally speaking, didn't seem like an option. But, as January 14th neared, the degrees, the certificates, the credentials seemed to lose their value and bottles, breast pumps, diapers, and onsies started to look more and more appealing.

At the end of the day I chose to go back to work for several reasons. The first was my new position was very "new mom" friendly. With the ability to work from home two days a week, I am with my son more than I am away at work. This hybrid life style also makes me a better mom, I think, since I am more tolerant of tears, break downs, explosive poop, and spit up. It also allows me to interact with adults, put those diplomas to work, and prevent a glaring gap on my professional resume, The second reason I decided to return to work was based on our quality of life. Although DJ is the "bread winner", per se, I am not significantly far behind. The purchase of our house, the vacations we take, the dinners we eat - are all based on two salaries. This said, I never want to say "No Austin, we can't go to Disney" for money purposes. As an only child, and the wife of an only child, I recognize how spoiled I actually was (and still am). I certainly don't want Austin to be a spoiled brat, but should he want to dabble in soccer, football, and dance - I want to give him that opportunity. I want him to experience camp, travel, and annual vacations. He deserves that.

The third reason was my support system. Because my parents live twenty minutes away and my husband works remotely, we were fortunate enough to have childcare in place. Free childcare. This was HUGE. I recently spoke to a mother and she was paying $1500.00 a month for childcare. Although her monthly salary was more, she would still have to take off in the event of a sick child, to be a field trip volunteer, or a school closing. At the end of the day, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom because it was more cost effective. DJ and I have a very good system - although not perfect - Austin spends three days a week with my parents and then two days a week at home with us. Even though we are both working the days I am home, we do a pretty good job of tagging each other in and out of parent duty. Our system allows me to go to work with piece of mind, knowing my child is in good hands, getting undivided attention, and is in a safe environment.

Recently Sheryl Sandburg's book "Lean In" took the women's workforce by storm as she wishes to encourage women to "pursue their ambitions" and change the conversation from what we can't do to what we can do. I think the premise is excellent; however critiques think she may be out of touch with the needs, demands, and stresses of the everyday working woman. I'm not sure what a day in the life of Ms. Sandburg is, but I can guess she doesn't take the 8:11 train into Penn Station every morning, but she probably has a million other stresses that I can't even begin to fathom. I followed the website, Leanin.org as well as joined the LinkedIn group in hopes of connecting with women who share my concerns as well as ambitions. Hopefully I will one day be the CEO of something other than 16 Beechwood Avenue. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Firsts!

Austin's First:


Hurricane/Superstorm: 
Sandy 10/28/2012
Football Game
Cowboys v Giants (Giants win!): 10/28/2012
Car Ride: 
Daddy's Ford F150 10/30/2012
Bath: 11/10/2012
(Lost umbilical cord 11/9/2012)
First Night in Crib: 11/11/2012
Thanksgiving: 
At home with Mom and Dad 11/22/2012
Smiles: 12/24/2012
First Visit to MD: 12/25/2012
Superbowl: 
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Fransisco 49ers (Ravens Win!) 2/3/2013
Roll Front-to-Back: 2/27/2013
First Papal Resignation: Benedict XVI
(first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415)
2/28/2013
Solid Fruit: 
Bananas 3/2/2013
Solid Vegetable: 
Peas 3/12/2013
First Papal Conclave: 3/12-3/13/2013
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires - selected papal name of Francis 
First Preaster (and, consequently, St. Patrick's Day)
3/17/2013
First Easter: 3/31/2013
First tooth: 4/5/2013
Sits up in Tripod Position: 4/24/2013
Sits without support and sucks on toe!: 4/27/2013
Austin with Dad in GCT
First Night in a Hotel: 5/4/2013
First Cold: 5/14/2013 - I didn't think Austin could get any cuter until he gave me the biggest smile, through his sniffles and dried boogers around his nose. I melted whereas 16 year old me would have been totally grossed out. 
First Trip to NYC: 5/26/2013 - Spent the day with Mom and Dad going to brunch and visiting Grand Central Terminal. It was a little chilly but he was a champ all day! 
First Crawls - The weekend of 6/14/2013
First Train Ride - The New Hope Railroad Express in New Hope, PA for Father's Day 6/16/13
First Hair Cut (unofficial): 7/4/2013 - just a little off the bangs
First Trip to the Beach (Avalon): 8/4/13
Pulls himself up from floor to standing!: 8/6/13
First Government Shut Down: 9/28/2013
First Shoes: Stride Rite 4.5 Wide Curious George Style 10/5/13
First Day of Day Care: Little Genius Academy in DaVinci's Den 11/1/13
Stands on Own and First Word (Da-da) - end of Oct/early Nov.
First Record Breaking Temperature (HIGH) : 12/21/2013 - 70* F (previously 65* F in 1998)
First Record Breaking Temperature (LOW): 1/7/2014 - 4*F (previously 6*F in 1896). 
Austin Walks (and gets his first black eye as a result): 1/2014
First Projectile Vomit: 4/6/14 Preaster 




Top Songs on Billboard Top 40:
10. Alex Clare, Too Close
9. Flo Rida, Whistle
8. Kesha, Die Young
7. One Direction, Live While We're Young
6. Ellie Goulding, Lights
5. fun, Some Nights
4. Pink, Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
3. Taylor Swift, We are Never Ever Getting Back Together (most annoying song EVER!)
2. Psy, Gangnam Style
1. Maroon 5, One More Night

Who was in Office: President Barack Obama/ Vice President: Joe Biden


Movies in Theaters in October 2012:

Taken 2, Frankenweenie, Seven Psychopaths, Argo, Butter


News Headlines from Around The World:

1. US braced for massive storm as Hurricane Sandy Nears
2. British pop start Gary Glitter arrested in connection with Jimmy Saville sex abuse scandal
3. 7.7 Earthquake strikes Western Coast of Canada, tsunami warning issued then retracted

Chinese Year of the Dragon:

The dragon is the 5th sign of the Chinese Zodiac. It is a majestic, proud sign. The talented, artistic Dragos are the real show-offs of the Chinese Zodiac. They are always popular and they easily influence those are them. Dragons are determined, successful, and enthusiastic. Dragons usually find successful careers in the performing or creative arts, or in politics. Their element is Earth and their color is gold. This year adventure and boldness are favored. 
DJ was born the Year of the Dog (1982) and I am the Year of the Pig (1983).


What else happened this day in history?
1826: The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by Grover Cleveland on October 28th, 1886. The Statue was built in France and and funded by the French people and was shipped in 1885 to New York and placed onto Liberty Island in New York Harbor. 
1922:  (Italy) King Victor Emmanuel III hands over power to Mussolini who was supported by the military. 
1927: (US) 150 kegs of the genuine scotch whisky described as 140% proof bearing the label of Perth Scotland has been captured in New Haven, Connecticut after being landed at smugglers cove 
1929: (US) Wall Street crash's Black Monday.  Following the crash on the 24th ( Black Thursday ) over the weekend a number of investors decided to pull out of the market on the ( Monday 13% drop ) and by the the next day ( Tuesday another 12% drop ) as word spread the number of investors attempting to sell shares sent the market into a downward spiral. 
Dow Jones Industrial Average on Black Monday and Black Tuesday
DateChange% ChangeClose
October 28, 1929−38.33−12.82260.64
October 29, 1929−30.57−11.73230.07
1965: (US) The Gateway Arch, a 630 ft high parabola of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Missouri is completed 

Also celebrated:
JapanPrefectural Earthquake Disaster Prevention Day" to help residents prepare for earthquakes.
Greece: Ohi Day commemorates the rejection by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas
Worldwide: International Animation Day - commemorates the first public performance of Emile Reynaud’s Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris, 1892


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Year Ago This Month

February 2012 was a big month for us. We were on the verge of something huge. Whether IVF worked or it didn't, monumental things were in our midst. Fortunately we were able to land on the positive side of IVF, have a successful first round, and have our wonderful baby boy 9 months later, but I still clearly remember the waiting from the transfer date to the February 24th phone call that changed everything forever.

February 2013
Sunday night, a year after we found out we were pregnant, I was watching Austin sleep and, of course, was overwhelmed by emotion. Babies - you just can't help staring at them in general, but when its yours - the stare becomes a longing gaze - desire to just freeze the moment and capture it forever. While I sat there, reaching my hand through the bars of this crib, I just chanted "remember this moment, remember this moment". Even though people say how fast it goes, often ad nauseum, its true. Just less that fourth months ago, Austin came flying into this world, guns blazing, a mere 7 lbs. 6 oz., and now he is sleeping before me close to 16lbs, but still with his fabulous head of hair.

In a past entry I mentioned my freak out - about not wanting kids, about being the "cool Aunt", about how I hated how my body looked. Shame on me! Not that I knew it at the time, but I think of all the little rewards I would be missing if DJ and I went the "cool Aunt and Uncle" route. The early months of no sleep, the uncertainty coupled with being new parents, the "why is his poop that color?" concerns - all worth it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I thought I was a Hard Ass

If I should ever run into the pregnant Elizabeth on the street, I would probably give her a good smack and tell her that half of the things she planned to do on maternity leave would not happen and that she is not a hard-ass and will have a hard time going back to work. To this she will respond, "Whatever. You don't know what you are talking about" while making the judgmental face that my loved ones have come to hate and walk away.
Then I would laugh at her naivete and tell her to just wait.

Maternity leave is a bit of a Catch 22. You don't have anything to do but care for a little blob, but at the same time you have tons to do because your little blob is incredibly needy. His neediness is also ill-timed because as soon as you think he is in a deep sleep and take on the challenge of emptying the dishwasher, he decides he is no longer tired and needs you - immediately.

Toy box I painted for Austin 
My mom was witness to my ignorance regarding maternity leave. I was going to paint furniture for my friends and start a side business. I was going to chronicle my IVF process in a scrap book that would bring Martha Stewart to tears. I was going to read 100 books and, perhaps, write one of my own. None of that happened.

I spent much of my early leave on the couch tending to my girl parts, attempting to nurse Austin (something we both hated), and watching daytime TV. This was totally unexpected and hard to digest, but not even half as shocking as the emotions that came flooding in as my maternity leave came to an end.

Maybe its the thing, but I know a lot of women who spent their maternity leave looking for a new position. I was no exception and, as a fore mentioned, even though I didn't have the time I would have liked to devote to stellar cover letters and resume review, I did scour websites like Higheredjobs.com and LinkedIn regularly. My former position required extensive travel, weekend work, and nights away from home. Although it also allowed me to work remotely most days of the week, 25-30 nights an academic semester in hotels and 6-10 weekends of work a year was incredibly unappealing. On the flip side, summers responsibilities were essentially nonexistent and I was home more often than not, my commute was 12 minutes when I did have to go in, my supervisor was hands-on and wonderful, and I was the maker of my own schedule. Needless to say, I was picky. Incredibly picky.

"What? you want me to come in everyday?"
"8am to 5pm, you say?"
"The commute is what?"
"I see......"

Clearly I had high expectations for my new position. High and, more than likely, unreasonable UNTIL the Working Mom Gods shined upon me and created the position which I, ultimately, accepted.
Long story short, my old supervisor left my previous institution for a new one, had a position open under him, and I met the qualifications. Because we had a good rapport and worked well together, I was able to come in with my list of ridiculous demands, and create a work/life balance that worked for everyone. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So why, you may ask, did you only think you are a hard-ass and not actually become one? Well, its still hard to walk out the door that first day back at work and leave your little blob, who by now has developed into an awesome little person, behind. You feel like you are leaving for war and that you will have to write him letters by candlelight in your bunker detailing your day and, similarly, you will receive letters from your loved ones informing you of all the "firsts" you missed while you were away. Yes - it is over dramatic, but you are still coming down over your hormonal roller coast and you're the mom so this what your mind does.

I came home one night at 6:00pm, sobbing that we only had 4 hours together before he went to bed. I threatened to quit after two days and work part-time in a bookstore. I cursed my breast pump for taking ten minutes away from my morning bonding time while I drained the wells. I panicked thinking he could no longer recognize me because I wasn't around enough. I kind of went insane.

But then I realized leaving for part of the week made me a better mom. Stay-at-Home-Moms might find that blasphemous but I appreciated him more. I wasn't stuck on a couch watching him sleep. I had a reason to put on nice pants, have adult conversation, and put all of my academic degrees to good use. Because I missed some of the cries, the fits, the poops, and the pukes, I was more tolerable of the ones I did see.



Austin - sideways.