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Softies

12 Feb

I’ve always known I’m a softy.  It turns out that — at least where Lucy is concerned — Hubs is too.

Yesterday Lucy was extremely fussy.  Not all day, but enough of the day and with enough intensity that it was unusual: arched back and wailing and crying real tears and going all red in the face.  She didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms of being sick, so Hubs and I suspect she’s going through a growth spurt.  She barely napped all day, and by the evening she was so tired that she fell asleep in my arms, which she rarely does these days (I admit I loved that part):

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Sleepy baby

Then when we tried to transfer her to the Pack n’ Play napper so that I could make dinner, she woke up.  Usually she doesn’t go to bed till after 9 pm, since she’s still sleeping in a bassinet in our room so we usually move her and then go to bed ourselves.  But in my Mommy & Me class (which I had the second session of yesterday), we talked about setting a sleep routine and I decided we should start trying to move Lucy’s bedtime up to be earlier.  (One thing that convinced me was the instructor commenting that it’s better to do it now before Lucy can speak and say things like “Don’t go, Mommy” and “You hurt my heart.”  Yikes, point taken.)  So last night I thought, since she was clearly tired but also in a relatively good mood, it might be a good time to try to put her to bed at 8 pm in our room while we listened to her on the baby monitor from the living room.

Hubs got her all swaddled and settled in the bassinet, but as soon as she figured out that we weren’t also going to bed, she started wailing.  Hubs went back in, and I listened to him try to soothe her.  The silence lasted until he returned to the living room.  Then I went in and tried soothing her and also re-swaddling her since one arm had already escaped the swaddle (have I mentioned she’s a little Houdini?)  She would not stop flailing around long enough for me to re-do the swaddle.  I returned to the living room and there was some rustling and then silence other than Hubs’ footsteps.  

Success?  Not so much.  Hubs returned to the living room carrying Lucy, who was raising her arms in a victory pose (ok, not really, but she was pretty darn happy after we brought her back out to be with us).  Clearly, Hubs and I don’t yet have the stomach to listen to Lucy crying — it seriously breaks my heart when she’s upset!  So she will continue to be a night owl for now (or we will start going to bed at 8 pm!)

On the plus side, Lucy slept from 9:30 pm to 6:30 am, ate, and then went back to sleep and is still sleeping now (at 9:30 am)! So we know she can sleep like a champ–we just need to work on shifting the sleep schedule back.

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Our little Lucy burrito in her bassinet

Today I am going to try for the first time to put her for a nap in her crib instead of in the napping station in the living room.  Wish me luck!

Spoke Too Soon

8 Feb

Well readers, after my big ol’ brag about how Lucy and I totally mastered this whole nursing business, it turns out…not so much.  The first evening we did it a few days ago it was wonderful, but every time since then has gotten progressively more and more painful.  I’ve been consulting books and websites trying to refresh my memory about positioning, latch, and all that good stuff, but I just can’t figure out how to fix things. 

Before, the problem was that Lucy either wouldn’t latch, or else would latch on and promptly fall asleep and not drink anything.  Now she’s latching on and drinking, but in a way that is somehow excruciating for me.  Her positioning looks like what they show in the photos, so I have no idea how to keep her from attacking me with her bitey little gums (if that’s what’s happening…I honestly don’t even know).  She also is very fidgety when she’s eating sometimes, and tends to abruptly tug her head backward or side to side while still latched on.  When she’s drinking from a bottle I don’t really mind and it’s actually kind of funny/cute, but when she’s nursing…well, not so funny.  It’s also hard to take the time to get the right latch because when Lucy gets hungry, she gets ravenous and needs her four ounces of milk RIGHT NOW, and will wail and writhe until she gets it.

As a result — and I know this is a taboo thing to say — I’m not finding nursing enjoyable at all.  I know I’m “supposed” to feel like I’m bonding with Lucy but it’s hard to feel that way when really what I’m thinking is “OH MY GOD OUCH!!!  LET GO OF MY BOOB!!!”  I’ve felt much more snuggly and lovey with her when I’m giving her a bottle and she’s gazing up at me with her big blue eyes.

Now I’m really torn on what to do.  On the one hand, if I could figure out how to make nursing more comfortable and pleasant, I’d like to be able to do it at least part of the time.  So I will probably meet with a lactation consultant again.  But on the other hand, I had come to a point where I was really comfortable with the way we were doing things.  Of course I don’t love pumping — it’s inconvenient and I’d rather be snuggling Lucy than snuggling up to a machine — but it’s also pain-free and allows me to measure exactly how much Lucy is eating, which I like.

To be continued…

Old Soul

3 Feb

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

-Jason Mraz, “I Won’t Give Up”

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I created a playlist of songs on my iPhone for Lucy (the playlist is titled “Bambina” because that’s what we called her before she was born).  One of them is this song by Jason Mraz, because it was one of my favorites on the radio in 2012 and I think the music and lyrics are gorgeous.  

Now that Lucy has arrived I think it’s even more fitting because sometimes she gets an expression on her face that makes her seem so much older and wiser than 11 weeks old!

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She was on my shoulder for this photo that Hubs took yesterday, so I didn’t get to see her expression until I reviewed the photos later, but it is my new favorite.  I can’t stop looking at it!  

Writing Day

2 Feb

So yesterday, while my parents came over and watched Lucy, I had my first ever Writing Day.  The point was for me to spend 3 interrupted hours (10 am – 1 pm) getting into the flow of writing to enable me to actually make some headway on a short story.

It turned out that I had a phone call for a work committee I’m on from 11 to 12:15, so I didn’t get quite as much writing done as I’d hoped.  But I really did get into the flow between 10 and 11, so much so that I lost track of time and only remembered about the call at 11:05.  

Blogging almost always comes easily to me.  Fiction, on the other hand, is difficult.  I spend a lot more time thinking about the words I’m using.  I struggle with descriptions of people and places — how much detail do I need and when does it become too much?  And for lack of a better expression, I think I basically suck at dialogue.  As a result, while my dream is to write a piece that’s of the caliber of the stories that are published in the New Yorker, what I end up writing sounds more like the excerpts in Glamour or Cosmopolitan.  (Don’t get me wrong — if I could be published anywhere, much less a national magazine, I would be ecstatic.  That’s just the best comparison I could think of for my issues with the tone of my writing.)

Even though it’s hard, I’m still really excited about it.  I’m not exactly quitting my day job just yet, but I am going to continue setting aside chunks of time each week to write.  I’m also going to read as much as I can of the type of writing I inspire to.  And I still think I’d like to take a class at some point in the future.  I bought a book called A Year of Writing Dangerously, and I can’t wait to see what interesting prompts and inspirations I’ll find there.

Fellow writers out there, I’d love your words of wisdom!

Milestones

18 Jan

First, a warning: Loving Lucy will be taking a brief hiatus over the next few days, as Lucy’s Grandma and Grandpap (Hubs’ parents) are visiting from Virginia.  (They are en route from LAX as I write this!)  I will try to catch up with some extra posts next week.

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What are you doing?

And I know I didn’t post yesterday either.  We were busy taking Lucy to the doctor for her 2 month checkup.  She got a clean bill of health and confirmed what we already knew: our daughter is a string bean!  10 lbs and 24 inches puts her in the 18th percentile for weight and the 98th percentile for height.

I expected Lucy’s shots to be really traumatizing, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.  I admit I got a little freaked out when I saw the needles (I hate needles so much that I went without an epidural, after all!) but Lucy was a real trooper.  She cried hard for a few minutes, which was hard to watch — I hadn’t seen her cry real actual tears before!  But then she settled down, slept all the way home, and was totally fine!  No extra fussing, no fever, and no need for infant Tylenol.  Much better sport than her mama.  I’m impressed!

The Old Me

15 Jan

Bob Porter: “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”

Peter Gibbons: “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”  

– Office Space 

A few months before Lucy was born, at the prodding of my law firm’s marketing director, I joined a formal networking group.  It meets in Westwood the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m., and is comprised of lawyers, CPAs, real estate agents, insurance brokers…basically anyone who provides a service.  The point of the group is to build relationships with the other members for the purpose of eventually referring business.

When I was first approached by my marketing director, I was reluctant, to say the least, to check this group out.  It’s part of a larger networking organization of which many partners in my firm are members, and it just seemed overly formal, overly blatant about getting business referrals, and just generally not my cup of tea.  (I love people, but I hate when it feels like schmoozing.)  So for many months, through the spring and summer, I put off attending a meeting.

Finally, in late summer, I sucked it up and drove out to Westwood in the early morning.  I was happily surprised that not only does the group include other young people and several other women, but everyone was extremely warm and welcoming.  Then I faced a quandary — did it make sense to join a group knowing that in a few months I’d be having Lucy and begin a 6-month maternity leave?  But I figured (not knowing whether this was overly optimistic) that this would be a good way to retain some small connection to the working world during my leave.

Understandably, I missed the November and December meetings.  The November meeting was just three days after Lucy was born, and even by the December meeting (at about the 1-month mark) I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to be donning business attire and leaving the house in the morning.  I wasn’t sure I was going to attend this month’s meeting either, but when I received an email from the group leader that attendance at this particular meeting was “strongly encouraged,” I decided to bite the bullet.  I arranged for my mom to come over at 8 am to be with Lucy when Hubs went to work.

Then this morning, I almost bailed.  Last night was not the easiest with the little bean, and I woke up exhausted.  I had planned to hop in the shower no later than 5:45, but I ended up feeding Lucy at 5:30 (Hubs had handled the 2:30 a.m. feeding and I didn’t want to break his deep sleep), so I ran out of time.  The best I could do was comb my hair into a bun, and I looked and felt like a disaster.  Still, I put on a black pantsuit (yay for being able to button the jacket again!), some black heels that I haven’t worn in months, and hit the road.  On the way I thought to myself, “It’s not too late to go home and try to get some more sleep…”

But as it turns out, going to this meeting was the best thing I could have done for myself today.  I wouldn’t have expected this since I don’t even know the people in the group that well, but today I felt more like “myself” than I have since Lucy was born.  I have become so hyper-focused on Lucy and on mamahood that I really needed that reminder that I have a career and a life outside of Lucy, too.  I studied and worked hard to become a lawyer and I get satisfaction from it.  So while there are certain things about my job I don’t love (billable hours…) there are things I do love (the intellectual challenge, the camaraderie, the problem solving).

Before Lucy I always thought I would want to continue working outside the home, even if I had a choice not to.  Then Lucy came along and I fell so in love with her that I thought maybe I would really want to be a SAHM if I could.  But now I’m realizing my first instinct was right.  I love Lucy, and I love being a mom, but I’m not cut out for staying at home full-time.  Along with my feeling of relaxation, I’ve also been feeling a bit like my brain is turning to mush, and today helped!  Of course, attending one morning meeting is quite different than a full-time job, and I know I will have a tough adjustment once I do return to work.  But it is nice to have a way to gradually ease back into that world before I have to jump back into all the deadlines and stresses that go along with it.

When I came home, I shared my thoughts with my mom, who agreed that it’s important for me to maintain my career.  Always wise, she said the following:

It may be very hard to think about, but although Lucy is the most important person in your life, you won’t be the most important person in her life.  And that’s how it should be.”

I apparently taught my mom that lesson early on.  At the tender age of 8, as she loves to recount, I wrote her a Mother’s Day card with the sentimental note, “Just think — only 10 more years.”  In other words, I was envisioning my departure from the house before I had even left elementary school!  It’s so hard to imagine when she is just a baby, but Lucy may very well be the same way, and I need to be able to laugh about it.  I think that will be much easier to do if I hold on, to some degree, to the “old me.”

Invasion of the Body-Snatchers

14 Jan

Note:  I started writing this a few days ago but was interrupted, and then I didn’t want to work on it over my birthday weekend because it’s not the most uplifting topic.  But here goes.

Most of the time I am very relieved and happy not to be pregnant anymore.  Mainly, of course, now there is Lucy, and people were right when they told me I would soon not be able to recall life without her.  And even though I had a healthy and relatively easy pregnancy as these things go, I was pretty darn uncomfortable toward the end — I became way too acquainted with sleeping on the couch propped up with an assortment of pillows.  I got tired of not being able to see my feet anymore and not being able to put on sneakers without much difficulty.  (At least I don’t live in a cold climate — my sister–in-law had to have my brother-in-law put on her snow boots for her!)  We had an unusually hot fall with 90 degree temps as late as October, so my desire to live in stretch pants and huge sweaters was not fulfilled until very late in the game.

On a superficial note, I was so, so sick of my maternity clothes.  My mom asked me what I was going to do with them, and I immediately replied, “Burn them.”  (Don’t worry, not only did I not burn them, but they are all still hanging in my closet — taking up precious real estate, I might add — because I haven’t had a chance to buy bins to organize and store them.)

But at the same time, I actually felt pretty cute during at least part of my pregnancy.  And even when I felt way too huge and uncomfy to be cute, people still told me that I was a cute pregnant person, which is always good for the spirits!  (People looooove a pregnant woman!  I miss that, too.)

Loving my cute tummy on the beach.

Loving my cute tummy on the beach.

I thought I was mentally prepared for new-mommyhood (or at least, prepared for not being prepared).  As it turns out, there are many things I wasn’t truly prepared for, but a big one was the way my body would change.  I knew it would take a while to get back to normal but I couldn’t bring myself to even imagine that my body might change permanently.  Beyond the effect on my lady parts, which I won’t get into, my figure seems to have done some real shape-shifting.  I guess I’m lucky in that I pretty much only gained weight in my tummy and hips (no double chins or cankles, thank goodness), so I dropped a significant amount of weight post-baby.  But now, I’ve reached a plateau and have come to the harsh realization that I won’t be able to get back to any semblance of “normal” — if at all — without some serious work on my part. As mentioned previously, I am not and have never been a workout girl or someone who watches what I eat, so this all feels pretty daunting.  I’ve also realized that before Lucy,  I think I went around sucking in my stomach 24-7.  During pregnancy I didn’t have to do that (yay!) and so now, I forget (and my stomach muscles forget how, even if I wanted to!).

So, I’m at a weird limbo with my clothes.  The dreaded maternity pants no longer fit, but neither do 99% of my old pants.  I’ve started ordering new jeans in the next size up.  I can’t decide if it’s better to accept that my body’s changed and buy all new clothes now, or to keep the old jeans in my drawer as a carrot to entice me to try to get back to my old shape.  I don’t want to give up, but I also know that I need to learn to love my body the way it is.  I try to look at myself in the mirror — imperfections and all — and tell myself that my body is miraculous. After all, I grew and gave birth to an amazing little person!  And most of all, I don’t want Lucy to ever grow up hearing me complain about my body because I don’t want her to internalize those same insecurities.  But I must admit it’s hard to accept a “normal” post-baby body when I see women (ranging from celebs to my own friends and co-workers) who seem to be able to return their bodies to its former status.

I know I’m not alone in these feelings.  But here is an awesome article that I try to think about when I’m feeling blue about my body.  It made me tear up when I was pregnant, and even more now!

No matter what, I am trying to remember to stay in the picture.

Out and About

13 Jan
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This isn’t my house…

Today was our first time ever taking Lucy out, other than walks around the neighborhood or trips to the pediatrician’s office.  Our friend T. had us, and our friend O. and her family, over for brunch for her to-die-for waffles, along with eggs, sausage and bacon (actually, turkey sausage and turkey bacon, which was surprisingly good and bacon-y).  This totally hit the spot — as I mentioned previously I lurrrve breakfast foods and adore going out to brunch but I haven’t done so since pre-Lucy.

T. has a daughter who will be 2 in March, and O. has a 4-year-old son and a son who will be 2 in April, and a baby girl on the way!  T. and O. exclaimed over how tiny Lucy is, and Hubs and I had fun watching the other kids play and thinking about what it will be like when Lucy is able to run around with them.

T. also made her killer red velvet cake and I got to blow out my candle.

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Because 33 candles is a fire hazard.

Hubs and I were admittedly nervous about our first excursion with Lucy, but this was a good way to get our feet wet (baby steps, so to speak).  Soon enough we will be out and about with her all the time, so we need to get used to it!  Among other things, I start Mommy & Me classes in three weeks, which I’m sure will be fodder for future posts.

Time to watch the Golden Globes.  Normally I don’t care, but who can resist Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as co-hosts?

33 + 1 Day

12 Jan
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Happy birthday Mommy!

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.  -Emily Dickinson

I can already tell that I am going to have to make a serious effort if I want to accomplish my resolution to blog every single day!  Don’t get me wrong — I love to blog and I’m committed to it, but life definitely gets in the way.  It’s amazing how quickly a day flies by with Lucy.  Today we did some cleaning up around the house, Hubs took down the Christmas tree (if any fire marshals are reading this, don’t worry — it’s a faux tree from Target), we took a walk to do some errands, feeding and playing with Lucy in between, and boom, it’s 4:30 pm.  

My birthday evening ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered.  Perfectly low-key, but more fun and festive than the average evening.  Lucy was all dressed up in an adorable outfit that one of my friends gave her for Christmas (photo above) and was in a good mood, the food was delicious, the company was great, and as a special treat for myself, I decided to have my first glass of wine since I found out I was pregnant in March.  (I confess that I felt slightly buzzed after one small glass!  Can you say lightweight?)  Since I’m pumping milk to feed Lucy (yet another future blog topic — I swear I’m going to get to all these at some point, dear readers!) I’m not going to resume drinking except for special occasions, but it was nice to be able to enjoy it last night.

Normally I have misgivings about my birthday, but this year I feel for the most part very content with where I’m at.  Bring it on, 33!

The Big 33

12 Jan
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My birthday 30 years ago!

Today I’d been thinking of doing sort of a birthday retrospective of notable birthday celebrations over the years.  But instead today ended up being a lovely day in its own right, without the need to  reflect at length on years past.  I did some online clothes shopping (including a fun new dress, yay!) while Lucy napped, then my parents came over with lunch and we enjoyed some time with Lucy and took a neighborhood walk.  (Day 2 of resolutions, check!)  Now Lucy is (theoretically) napping again and I’m doing a quick bloggity blog before Hubs gets home.

After debating what to do for my birthday evening, I ended up deciding on a halfway position — staying in with Hubs and Lucy, but also having a few girlfriends over and ordering from Pizzeria Mozza (for any non-Angelenos, a fancy and super yummy pizza joint).  Then tomorrow my parents are coming over to dinner to celebrate my birthday and my mom’s birthday (which is on the 17th and therefore has basically been upstaged the past 33 years.  Sorry Mom!)  On Sunday morning I’m having breakfast with a couple of my law school girlfriends and their families and my friend T. and her husband are making her to-die-for waffles.  Then on Sunday afternoon, while Hubs goes to the movies and my parents watch Lucy, I’m getting a massage at a place around the corner that I’ve been dying to try.  All in all, I am spending my birthday weekend in the ideal way and I am happy as a clam!

Tomorrow, dear readers, back to my normal blogging self…but today this birthday girl is going to indulge in a nap of her own!