Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pride

One of the wonderful things about having children is having the opportunity to indoctrinate them


Speaking of love... I was so happy to hear about the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. I must admit I had no idea the decision was being made -- since Amelie arrived, I'm more oblivious than ever to news beyond our own apartment -- but I'm overjoyed nonetheless.

I went through a lesbian-identified phase a while back, at the end of college. Then I fell in love with a man. Now I have no idea what I am. Mostly, I'm a mother with zero interest in dating, or even in sex. I'm taking care of enough people as it is. But my rare (and mild) attractions to other people are generally women. Yet I love sex with men. Who knows???

Regardless, I decided to skip a museum outing with SMC friends to make our way to the Pride parade in the West Village (NYC). We couldn't get too close with a stroller but it was wonderful just to be there for an hour to absorb the joyous energy. There were lots of folks in outlandishly sexy get ups but we got smiles and "god bless" comments directed our way, regardless.

When I told Calliope we were going to a Pride parade, she asked what Pride is. She asked me what that meant, and why there would be a parade.

"People are celebrating because remember how sometimes people get married (she assumes that in every couple, someone is the Mommy or Daddy and someone is the child)? Well, there used to be a law that men could only marry women. And now there's a law that men can marry men and women can marry women. Anyone can marry whoever they want! Isn't that cool???"

"So people can marry Mommies?" (Because why wouldn't you want to live with your Mommy forever, right?)

"Well, no."

"But why not?"

"We don't marry our families."

"Why not?"

Obviously I can't say anything about childbearing issues if I'm talking about same sex marriage! So I was stumped.

"Good question. I'll get back to you."

Camp and PreK

Modeling Nastya's (our former nanny comes back to babysit!) sunglasses. 


Calliope (and her bestie, Eleanor) started camp at Kaleidoscope last week. There were some tears the first day -- apparently she cried every half hour during the first day, and refused to eat -- but mostly it's been smooth sailing since then. She seems to like it. They rode the school van to Prospect Park one day to play in the sprinklers at Vanderbilt Playground one day, and I'm still hearing, a week later, about this van. They did tie dye one day, and she seemed to like that although had no really clue what they were doing. She likes the toys there. And especially, being there with Eleanor.

Ready for her first day of camp
Too cool for school. Literally.
She insisted on the fancy lacy sweater despite it being 80 degrees out at 8 am.



We signed the girls up for this camp because doing so allowed us to designate them as "already enrolled students" when signing up for PreK spots through NYC's Department of Education website. Since the DOE decided, in its infinite wisdom, to take responsibility for admissions for all publicly funded PreK's in NYC halfway through the admissions process, we had to rank our choices. We would only get one offer letter. So we wanted to make sure our first choice was a sure thing. The school where I work is a long shot, at best, so I ranked it below Kaleidoscope.

Camp seems fine, though we don't hear much from the teachers.

Meanwhile, I got the impression that if I pulled some strings at work, I might be able to get Calliope into the PreK program at my school, BNS. But it would require asking a teacher to take a 19th child , my child, in her classroom. I agonized, because my school is amazing, but ultimately decided that it wasn't worth the logistical hassle of commuting with Calliope. We would have to leave the house at 7:15 am every day to get to BNS on time... but she could leave the house at 8:30 or even 8:45 every day to be on time to Kaleidoscope. And the nanny would be the one getting her dressed and ready, instead of me. A lot less stress, since she's definitely more cooperative with the nanny.

And then one of the PreK teachers actually offered to take Calliope as a 19th student, as a personal favor, because she was "grateful for all I've done for her students over the years." Wow. What an amazing offer! I was humbled. And agonized all over again. And finally, regretfully, declined. Partly because I asked Calliope what she thought. She considered the idea for a moment, and then asked, "Can Ellie (Eleanor) get a spot at your school too?"

"No, my love. Only you."

"Then I want to stay at Kaleidoscope."

Even though she's only three, it helped me to hear her say that. So I thanked the teacher and reassured Amy, Eleanor's mother, that our plans hadn't changed. We had been investigating afterschool care at that point, you see, and had interviewed two babysitters,

And then, last Friday, the principal and the parent-coordinator called me into their office and said, "We have a PreK spot for Calliope."

Sigh.

I should explain that getting a PreK spot at BNS is pretty much like winning the lottery. Siblings get first dibs, and this year, there were 39 siblings for 36 spots. Even for kindergarten, when I tell parents of young children where I work, they gasp and ask if I can help get their child into my school. (No, I have nothing to do with admissions.) It's an amazing public school. Admissions is by lottery. It's racially and economically diverse. It's based on a Reggio Emilia approach to education, play based and project driven. Children love coming to school here. The teachers are devoted and loving and, when I finally started attending the biannual staff parties last year, incredibly nice people.

And something about getting an offer, and having this issue come up a third time... it felt like a sign. My friend Barbara reminded me of the joke about the guy sitting on his roof as the flood waters rising and three times, someone comes to rescue him, and three times he says, "No, God will take care of me." And so he drowns and when he arrives in the afterlife, reproaches God, "why didn't you save me?" And God says, "Three times I sent someone to rescue you!"

And so I allowed myself to think about how happy it would make me to see Calliope's little face in the hallway at work, to visit her classroom, to be able to talk to her teacher whenever I had concerns (Kaleidoscope has not yet offered any way to reach her teachers, and her director checks email only every few days), to know that she could play on a multifaceted NYC public playground instead of the rooftop play space at Kaleidoscope (not much available for my climber), to know that her brain was being stretched in all the right ways (with carefully designed play based curricula... which allows the children to decide what they want to study)... I also thought about how easy, relatively, motherhood has been for me. The nanny comes in the morning and I leave. She dresses and feeds and combs and tidies, too. Playschool was in my apartment, so I never commuted with a child. And now I would have to cajole Calliope out of bed and into her clothes and into the bathroom, all before 7:15 am, and all while also juggling a nursing infant.

I agonized. I called everyone I knew who might have relevant experience. I polled all my friends. And Monday morning, I walked into the principal's office, cuddling my roly poly baby (she's come to work these last two days as Calliope is sick again with fever, and I didn't want to overburden the nanny, and there's no kids here anyway), and took a deep breath and accepted the offer.

And felt giddy butterflies in my stomach. Which made me feel like I made the right decision.

Even while I'm already wondering if waking Calliope at 6:30 am is enough time to get her out of the house, or if it really needs to be 6:15. And if I can get her to bed by 6:30 pm, and if I can possibly pull that off. or if she will successfully nap at school and thus be able to go to sleep a bit later. And planning out laminated schedules where she can check off her tasks as she accomplishes them each day. And wondering when I will be able to lavish attention on my sweet baby, whose infancy is rushing by. I'm hoping that by devoting time to Calliope during our commute (do I hire a babysitter to watch her from 2:30, when she finishes school, or do I keep her with me and skip my lunch break so I can leave an hour earlier but never have personal time to get things done?), I can focus on Amelie when I get home.

My biggest fear is that I will be constantly stressed and anxious and thus, nagging Calliope. I'm scared of damaging our relationship. I'm afraid that the positives of this school could easily be outweighed by the stress on our relationship.

Please, if you have suggestions, let me hear them!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Three Months/Thirteen Weeks




Amelie is measuring 23 inches (20%) and weighing in at 11 pounds, 2 ounces (10%). I'm shocked she's still only 10% for weight because she's such a little round dumpling of a girl.

I've been telling Calliope how babies are supposed to be chubby, so no doubt she thought she was complimenting me last night when she said, "Mommy, your thighs are chubby just like Amelie's!"

Aww, thanks, my love.

Amelie's "talking" more and more, and is more and more smiley. She is rolling onto her side, and once I discovered she had rolled onto her stomach on Calliope's bed. Inadvertently, though, so I'm not counting it. But the pediatrician told me she was impressed with Amelie's strength when she pulled her to sitting and when she put her on her stomach. Of course, I was immediately both glowing with pride and suspicious that she was only telling me that because we are friendly and she wanted to make me happy.

And Calliope and Amelie continue to do well. Amelie is fascinated by her big sister. And Calliope likes to "show" Amelie things. I am responsible for the Voice of Amelie, and for answering all of Calliope's questions for Amelie and being impressed by everything that Calliope does. That silly baby pretend-eats all sorts of things she shouldn't.

Family Bath is a new discovery. Calliope is thrilled to have Mommy in the tub and Amelie adores bathtime -- she churns her chubby little legs madly, and doesn't mind company. Best of all, I can nurse Amelie in the bed -- a nice little time saver as Calliope combs my hair. I was a little alarmed when she said, "I see a bug. But that's okay, Mommy, we don't mind." But a moment later she added, "Remember when we saw the Daddy Baboon looking for bugs on the Baby Baboon at the zoo?" and I relaxed.

Amelie stayed awake long enough to have Family Reading Time on Calliope's bed. 


She's such a happy girl, especially when I don't interfere with her nap schedule too much. But even when we are out and about all day, she rarely complains. Yesterday she was crying lustily in the stroller, after a long day on the go and after vaccines to boot, and I felt terrible that I couldn't put her to bed any sooner... but it turned out that the problem was just a dirty diaper. Once that problem was solved, she was all smiles again. I feel so lucky to have such a happy go lucky girl.

Snuggles with SMC Talia and son Rian at the Brooklyn Children's Museum.
Amelie, unfortunately, no longer naps for long in the stroller. Luckily, she's a good sport anyway.




Going Back to Work... For a Week.

Sweet smiles during our early morning playtime in bed before work

"Mommy, you are SO funny!"


Yesterday was my first day back at work. Luckily I remembered from Calliope's early days that it wouldn't be as bad as I feared. And it was pretty easy... until the nanny texted me some sweet photos of my little one. Then I was a little wistful. But certainly not tearful.

She was awake when I got home, because Eleanor had a meltdown just before I arrived, and wanted to nurse immediately. Just like Calliope used to do. And then was ready for bed by 6 pm.

I'll admit I missed her enough that I eased her out of the RNP for a dream feed at my own bedtime. Just needed a little more time snuggling. In the near darkness, I could pretend she was still a newborn. A sleeping-through-the-night newborn.

She's eating well for Susie and we are figuring out the schedule but I'm definitely not pumping enough for her. It's clear that I will have to pump on weekends, come September, in order to maintain an oversupply for pumping during the week. For now, I have a freezer stash and I'm assuming she will be fine when she's with me to nurse.

Tomorrow she comes to work with me as it's a half day for the students and then I have an end of the year lunch with my coworkers. Next week I will work two more days, just packing up my office, then it's officially summer time!

video

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More Photos

Snuggles with Susie

Amelie gets all crazy-eyes when she's tired.
She still has tiny feet, but when she was first born, there weren't any socks small enough to
stay on. She wore these booties a lot as a result.

"Well, hellooooo there, good lookin'!"
(Checking herself out in the mirror.)

When she was first born, she had these little curl-precursors all over her head. Of course, most
of her hair has fallen out since then. Curious to see if she has curly hair again later.

Four-way playdate with Calliope, Eleanor, Amelie, and Leo.
How lucky are we to have acquired this family in our lives???

Sister love.



Friday, June 19, 2015

Photo Dump Friday 2: The First Six Weeks

Hand me downs can be entertaining! 
I called this Calliope's Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit. Amelie dutifully wore it once as well.
Susie is hilarious!
World's best nanny.



A Jodi Gibson photo of Amelie at 7 weeks.

Learning how to nurse takes a lot of concentration.
Look at all that hair!

Looking so small in the bouncy seat.
Looking even smaller in the swaddle

Loving her nanny-to-be, Susie.
Sisters' lazy Sunday morning cuddles.

Cozy snooze with the best of pillows.

Ready for an outing. 

Special Mommy-Calliope breakfast, complete with the favorite treat,a chocolate chip muffin.

Enjoying Mommy-Calliope Special Time.

Five weeks. Cheeks are filling out.

Eleanor and Calliope play with Amelie
Six weeks.
Cozy resting spot. 
Sweet big sister. Six weeks.
SMC friend's daughter, Luna, holding Amelie.

Trying, unsuccessfully, to get Calliope and her friend Jack plus their families into one selfie.
The big kids had no interest in this project, clearly.

With SMC friend Catherine and sweet baby Nora, as well as Amelie and me.



Susie showing off how she won't have trouble taking care of two babies next year. With nanny-share buddy Leo. 






Hip hip hooray! 
More smiles at 5 weeks.

First time wearing a dress. Five weeks old.

Why hello, little dangly toy.
Practicing her new smiling skills. Five weeks.

First family breakfast outing. To our beloved Qathra. Five weeks?

Loving on Susie.



Photo Dump Friday: The First Days of Amelie

Look at all that hair! (It mostly fell out.)

Baby was looking a little yellow so I took the liberty of sunning her in her little self through
the hospital window. Worked out great -- her bilirubin was totally fine. Probably would have
been, anyway, but my former NICU nurse days made me worry a little.
(Sigh, I miss the hospital!)

Ride home from the hospital. My cousin was worried the baby would be cold and insisted
I bundle her up. 

Taking a snooze on Mommy's bed -- first day home?

First day home: checking out the bouncy seat.


Sisters snuggle with Aunt J

First snooze in the miraculous Rock n Play

First snooze in the Baby K'Tan -- all that blood loss left me rather pale! But it was so much
better than last time so I'm not complaining!
Look at her amazing hair whorl!
All wrapped up at the hospital (day one of life)

Meeting her aunt J. for the first time

Surveying the scene from her hospital bassinet





The note I wrote to Calliope when my water broke (at 11 pm). In case I didn't see her before leaving for the hospital (though I ended up being able to bid her a very brief goodbye during the all too short break between contractions that were coming about every three minutes).
We had been talking for months about how the baby would come when it was spring. Whenever we saw blooming flowers and trees with new leaves, she would eagerly ask, "Is our baby coming?" So it was a beautiful coincidence that "Tree Leaf" came on the actual first day of spring (and ironic that it snowed). 


First photo of Amelie.
Shell shocked but happy. Mostly that it was over.