Friday, September 30, 2011

My Little Nerd

My daughter loves school--loves it!  The first week she was a little hesitant, she liked it but still wanted us to wait with her until they lined up to go to their room.  Now, though, she is pushing me away, giving me a quick hug and saying okay, bye mom!  When I picked her up yesterday she was gushing about how she did the pink tower all by herself!  (I didn't know what that was, but I was proud that she was proud of herself!)

Yesterday was an open house to show the parents the room, meet the teacher, and have the kids show us their favorite activities.  Brendan hadn't been to her school yet, so it was fun for Ingrid to show her dad where she went.  She showed us how she does the pink tower (blocks of different sizes stacked up about 15 high) and buttoning, and coloring.  I just loved to watch her do things the right way ("we push in our chairs when we get up, Mom.") and she just seemed to really love what she was doing. 

I am once again SO GLAD we have public montessori schools!  This is probably the perfect situation for us.  I was worried about "regular" school for Ingrid, but I know she's not getting enough stimulation with just me and Otis at home.  This way she gets to go to school but is challenged and her mind is worked in interesting ways.  I am so happy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Beginning of the End

I think my time as a nursing mom is coming to an end.  After three months of on and off strikes, supplementing with bottles, and worrying if my supply is down, if Otis is getting enough, etc, we are now down to one nursing a day, er night.  Just the night feeding is me, the other two are bottles. 

I have mixed feelings.  Brendan asked me if I was sad when I told him I hadn't nursed the whole day and I thought it was maybe going to be the end of breastfeeding.  I'm not sad really.  I don't really know what I feel.  I kind of feel like a failure for not making it a year.  I kind of feel like I should be trying harder, which means I'm giving up, and no one wants to be a quitter.

But then I feel like it just doesn't matter that much.  Otis is growing and healthy and has had nine months of mama milk.  I know it's kind of a cop out, but that's better than nothing right?  It's just getting so stressful, worrying if he's getting anything, watching him suck at what seems to be an empty breast.  Pumping and getting nothing, and then getting confused because should that tell me I'm right that I might not have much milk coming in, or should I not pay attention to pumping because it's not like the real thing?

Blah.  I don't know.  It's easier to breastfeed, for sure, but then it's kind of nice looking at that bottle, seeing it go from 8oz to 6 to 4 to empty, knowing he's got a full belly.  It's strange not actually feeling him eating, though.  I just see his mouth working but I don't feel it!  It's very strange. 

How long did your kids nurse?  Did you ever slow down like this and then pick back up, or when it went down to one nursing, did it stay that way? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The School Run

So, after getting used to the idea of Ingrid not going to school this year, we ended up getting into one.  It's not our first choice, we have to drive there, but it's Montessori, it's free, and it's close even though it's not walking distance.

I have issues with the school.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but it's an old middle school that they have split into the Montessori downstairs and a high school upstairs.  Ingrid's room is bright and cheery, but you have to walk down this tunnel like corridor in the basement to get there.  The teachers are all really nice, but frazzled.  When I picked Ingrid up at lunchtime yesterday I could barely say hi to the teacher.  It was just a madhouse!  This morning when we dropped her off, there were about ten billion crying kids, which just broke my heart.  Like not just whimpering, but full on bawling and screaming mama.  And we were in the lunchroom so it was like echoey and loud and Ingrid just looked at me like "you are going to leave me here???"  I stayed with her until they lined up for class.

She is happy there, she is smiley when we walk in, she didn't cry when Otis and I left, she seems happy to be there.  I just don't like the chaos.  I am so used to our leisurely mornings, it is a little jarring to go to this loud clusterf**k at 9am.  Hopefully things will calm down as the school year goes on. 

But it got me thinking of the other school runs I've done in the past and how very different they are from this one.  When I was a nanny I would walk the kids to school and pick them up.  I did it for a couple different families, and they were all at the same school in the same nice neighborhood in a suburb of Milwaukee.  The school run there is moms that don't work walking over or driving their luxury SUVs.  The moms chat about whatever while waiting for their kids, the kids come out in their expensive clothes and go to their after school activities. 

Ingrid's school is in the Mexican part of town.  It's bilingual so everyone speaks Spanish.  There are a handful of white kids there.  School starts at 9am but there is a subsidized breakfast program that most kids take part in, so that's why they start out in the lunch room.  There is an afterschool program, too, so kids could theoretically be at school from 7:45am until 6pm.  Because their parents have to work.  They have nothing else to do with their kids.  It's so different than what I'm used to!

We'll see how the next month or so goes.  If Ingrid starts acting like she doesn't like it, I will take her out.  She can go to the neighborhood Montessori next year for K4.  I love the three hours she's away and Otis naps, but I love having her home, too.  Either way...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Go On Without Me.

Brendan just left with Ingrid for a two night camping excursion.  I am here with Otis, and I could  not be more excited!  Since Otis is teething and therefore not sleeping, I just didn't want to deal with that in a tent with the whole family not getting sleep.  And Brendan's parents are out there already, so they'd be bothered, not to mention anyone in earshot of a screaming baby...It's just best we stay home.

When I told Brendan my thoughts on this, he agreed, but said he'd like it if I could change my mind.  I have to admit, even if Otis weren't teething, the idea of having the house to myself with only Otis is rather charming.  He's sleeping right now and I don't have a three year old tugging at me to color or play or put on a Clifford DVD.  I never get time to myself (and look how myself is me and a baby!  I'm not even really alone, just more alone than usual!) so staying home just sounded so appealing.

I even went so far as to say this could be a new tradition in the making--Brendan's parents go to the same campground every year the week after Labor Day, so Brendan could take the kids for the weekend and go camping with his family while Mama stays home!  He looked appalled at that idea.  "I don't want this to be a tradition!  I want to go camping as a family!"

That got me thinking--am I just selfish?  My mom always relished any time alone, and now that I'm a SAHM I can see why.  The days are a constant barrage of wants, needs, cries, messes, laundry, and dishes.  From 6am until the blessed 7pm bedtime there is chaos.  Most of the time I'm okay with that, but a weekend, a whole three days, without it??  Count me in!

But it's not just that.  I love the idea of Brendan spending time alone with the kids.  It happens far too rarely.  I am one to jump in the car and take a six hour road trip by myself with the kids, spending a week or so with my mom or friends, but he doesn't do that.  I spend tons of time alone with them, but other than a couple hours at the zoo, he does not.  I never did anything with my dad, ever.  I cannot remember one single time we hung out just the two of us, or even just him and the kids.  Scratch that--my mom worked a New Year's Eve in 1984 or so, he had us that night.  All I can remember, honest to god. 

So the idea of being alone is awesome, but the idea of Brendan having Ingrid this weekend, making memories that just the two of them share, is even better!  Because I'm with the kids all day long, they tend to cling to me.  I think they need time with good ol' dad to see he's in charge, too.  And that he's fun!

So, they packed up the car and left an hour or so ago and I put Otis down for a nap.  I am sitting here drinking coffee, on the computer, making a list of things to get done this weekend.  And the house is silent.  And I am loving it.