Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mexico sans the bambino

So, it's tradition that between completing the bar and commencing work at a law firm, law school grads celebrate with a really fabulous trip to somewhere exotic. For months, Jason and I had dreamed of white beaches, snorkeling, and of course, sleeping in -- hours and hours of sleeping in. That's right. We were leaving Wyatt at home. Babies are just like cats; extra food, water, and litter and they're good to go.

Actually, we left Wyatt with my sister's family. We both felt guilty about foisting our son on my sister (who is, herself, the mother of a toddler and a preschooler). But, Hey! The Bar Trip is tradition. As the hour of our departure drew close, I felt physically ill. I was about to abandon my lovely son, the one who trusted me so completely. Of course, all pangs of quilt evaporated upon seeing the turqoise waters off the coast of Cozumel.

I should have known the trip wouldn't be everything I'd hoped for on the first morning there. No baby means sleep -- only we were both wide-awake at 7:30. All around us were adorable Mexican children with angelic smiles. We couldn't escape our longing for Wyatt. After four days we were ready to come home; after five we were at the airport begging them to let us leave. No deal, airlines only fly out on the weekend. I left in tears. We looked joyously forward to our reunion with Wyatt. He would giggle and smile and reach out his arms for us . . .

. . . or he would scream and shake in terror. Not quite what I expected, but exactly what happened. It wasn't that he'd forgotten us, he doesn't react that way to strangers. No, he was furious at us. We'd abandoned him and then materialized from the dead. My niece and nephew assured me that he'd had a wonderful time and he learned sign language and overcame a fear of bath water in our absence.

After a few hours, he had forgiven us. Whether I've forgiven myself is another question altogether.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Preparing for work: babysitters and bottles

It's two weeks before I start my job, and Piper starts daycare. Scott and I found a babysitter to pick her up from daycare twice a week, and we started her on the bottle long ago (it was no small victory, trust me). Things were going great and we were oh-so-proud of ourselves for taking care of everything in advance.

You know there will be a snag here, or I wouldn't be blogging about it. We forgot to explain to Piper that we're great parents and that she's supposed to love the babysitter and the bottle. The babysitter - Kate - came yesterday to meet the baby. Kate is a senior in high school, and she is a lovely girl. Piper took one look at Kate and started screaming her lungs out. Her cries were piercing, and Scott and I were horrified. When we took her away from Kate, she'd calm down in a minute, but as soon as Kate took her back, she'd start screaming again. How does she know who's holding her? Who knows?

Eventually, she cried herself to sleep, and the torture - for the moment - was over. Then, this morning we decided to give her a bottle just to make sure she still remembers how to take it. Well, she acted like she'd never seen the bottle before, and even spit out the milk that somehow ended up in her mouth. She did it peacefully, however, with no major outbursts. For the first five minutes, that is. Then, when the bottle wouldn't go away, she started arching her body away from the bottle and, two minutes later, the now-familiar piercing scream came. I ended up breastfeeding her. So much for preparedness.

In conclusion, to paraphrase a famous saying, the baby always wins.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Shopping with Piper

Today, Piper and I went shopping to the outlet mall with my friend Angie. Ok, so shopping doesn't technically count as "work," but I was shopping for clothes for work, so it should fall under the "work" category. Besides, it turns out, that with a 3-month-old, even shopping for clothes is work.

Piper was fine on the trip to the mall, but once we reached the mall, she turned into a proverbial pumpkin. Maybe she hates shopping, or maybe she hated the fact that I was buying clothes for myself and not for her.

I used to love shopping. What happens on a shopping trip with a friend is that you go from store to store sampling the offerings and talk girltalk (translation: girltalk is French for "guess what stupid thing my husband said today"). Then you buy a lot of stuff and leave happy and satisfied, only to wonder three days later, really? that shirt?

Now, shopping was all about keeping Piper happy. Angie and I took turns going into stores while one of us stayed outside with Piper. When either of us needed advice, we'd come close to the glass door (not so close, of course, as to set the theft alarm off), and watch the other one give thumbs up or thumbs down. There was practically no time to complain about our significant others.

I am never shopping again. (Ok, Andrea and I are going shopping tomorrow, but that wouldn't be the dramatic ending this posting deserves, so I am mentioning it parenthetically).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beginning of the working mom life

My daughter Piper was born on the last day of law school - how very compliant of her. As soon as I got over labor and started sleeping two hours at a time, I started studying for the bar. Studying for the bar counts as working, right? Everyone who's ever studied for the bar (or married to someone who's studied for the bar) knows that future lawyers would rather do anything - take out the garbage, wash the dishes, get the mail - than study for the bar. All I wanted to do was play with the baby. I do not know whether my desire to be with Piper came from maternal instincts or from trying to avoid studying. Suffice it to say, I did not get much studying done. Now that the bar is behind me (for now, anyway - I may have failed), I am playing with the baby guilt-free. She is fun and a handful at the same time. I am starting a new job in September, and I am looking forward to it and dreading leaving Piper at the same time.