(See? I told you I’d be up in your face making you crazy-laugh again…)
The sun and warmth and faint smell of spring have started to creep up around us and so your winter sniffles and spotty sleep schedule have started to melt away. Literally, right now, we’re on the floor together, you’re up on your knees, grabbing me by the collar, getting in my face and smile-saying “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!” as if something hilarious is on my forehead.
This month you’ve really woken up from a wintry infant slumber. You’re finding things funny but also making things funny. You’re paying attention and grabbing attention. You’re speaking non-stop (did you actually tell me ‘toda’ yesterday after I gave you something?).
There’s a cautious curiosity about you, but you’re not stopped by fear. You also know what you want (and most of the time, it’s to get out of whoever the hell thinks they’re cuddling you and back into my arms). You’re clear, you’re focused, you’ll make yourself heard.
Meanwhile, the calaniyot are not safe around you (and neither are the crumbs on the floor from being consumed, my skin from being lovingly pinched, anything your siblings own from being destroyed).
As befitting a bilingual baby, you’re reaching a little higher than you need to. A little more to figure out in the world.
And of course, curiosity has fully set in; not like I’m at all surprised.
There are months when I take a million and a half pictures of you, where I’m up in your face covering you in kisses, where I tickle torture you until you snort. Zooey this was not one of those months because there’s so much going on. But I’ve missed you during late nights at work and the good thing is I’ve done this enough to know it’ll end and the month will go on and you’ll be snorting in laughter because of me soon again.
I work full time, and there are days when I’m in back-to-back meetings all day. There’s never enough time to get my work done, because if I’m not at work, I’m picking up my kids and starting the second half of my day. And when that’s over, preparing for the next one.
The reality is there are days that I end up with a rushed 20 free minutes midday and I have to make a choice – find food because I’m about to collapse, or pump.
Why am I bringing it up? Because I feel like when we talk about working moms and how insane it all is, we don’t get into the messy awkward stuff. Like boobs exploding in pain in the workplace. Like having an extra personal, physical thing to take care of during the day aside from feeding ourselves. Like feeling disappointed if I didn’t pump one day because I prioritized meetings over having extra milk for my baby. Like getting over knowing that all my coworkers know where I’m going when I walk away from my desk with my bag, and the answer I give is ‘no’ when they ask if I’m leaving for the day.
I guess I’m sharing this because 2.5 years ago I decided I wanted to normalize pumping in the workplace to help the next set of moms coming up under me. It was harder last time around (I was the first and only one doing it, hello freezing server room), but this time I do feel change, both in myself and the company.
Today, my workplace is very pump friendly, and there are four of us now, and though it gets crowded, they keep adding new locks and shades to close off private offices.
So here’s to normalizing pumping, friendly workplaces, and hungry, tired moms overcoming the added daily challenge of exploding boobs.
On the one hand, you make your opinions known.
My baby ate my homework.
On the other hand, you have to constantly watch your back.
And that’s a lesson in how to survive in your family of six.
I had an unexpected emotional trigger when, as I walked toward the office fridge to grab my pumped milk at 18:45, I saw the fridge door already open, with its glistening empty shelves, and the cleaner standing in front, putting new garbage bags in the trash cans.
The office manager had emailed earlier that everything in the company fridges would get chucked today at the end of the day… I frantically asked the bewildered cleaner if it was really all gone, ‘no, I don’t need milk, it was my pumped milk, mother’s milk, that was in there, in a special bottle,’ and he did feel sorry for me… and had been just doing his job…
I left and stood by my car watching the other cleaner toss the day’s garbage bags into the parking lot dumpster. I debated looking through them. I debated crying. I debated going home.
It wasn’t a lot of milk and I have more bottles. But finding 30 minutes during the day to put my baby first is hard. Every. Day. And finding time to give her special attention is hard. She doesn’t even drink it… she eats it sometimes, as a meal. She never accepted bottle feeding.
She’s nearly nine months and I’m sad to come to terms with moving on from pumping. Because it’s just another little chapter to close up in our lives together.
[UPDATE January 16 2017: Is now a good time to mention my frozen stock just fell to the floor and cracked and broke?]
Durable. Is that a weird way to describe you?
Persistent. Attentive. Problem-solving.
You’re proving more by the day that you can keep up, especially with Nettles. The thought of the pair of you… well… makes me realize I’m going to need to up my game.
In the meantime… stay innocently curious, deliciously cute, with that face that reads, yeah, I’m in the joke.
“Really, ima. Do you do it?”
It was a heavy one, and I’m kinda not sorry that #dinovember 2016 is officially closed…
View the album here.
No joke – you’ve made it clear. You may be four, but you’ve given me a run for my money. This doesn’t get easier just because you’ve done something similar before.
Going back to work has been extremely difficult – that has always been the case – but your refusal to take a bottle was incredibly frustrating and a little scary. For a couple months, I had to contend with the fact that I’d have to go back to work and you would just not eat enough. You wouldn’t take a bottle and you wouldn’t let a spoon enter your lips.
We got through it – you’re eating beautifully, and you’re getting your nutrients your way. And you did me a favor. Us a favor. You’ve forced me to slow down. You’ve shown me I have to make time for you, make sure we spend time together. You won’t fall between the cracks. You won’t be neglected or forgotten.
You’ve made a point of not being just #4 or the baby or another kid to feed.
You are THE kid to feed. The kid I have to stop what I’m doing and sit with.
So thanks, Zooey. Thanks for creating the space for that. Thanks for making me slow down with you.
Also… I love when you high-five me as you start your meal.