Thursday, September 29, 2011

A long day

Yesterday was a long day. A long day at work, a long day away from my kids.

By all accounts it was a successful day. I left the house at 7:30am, leaving my family with all the required bottles, lunches and school items needed to get through the day. I had time to pick up bagels on the way to work to sustain my lab and boost morale through our busy day. We had visitors coming in from Ohio to do an experiment and that was non-stop action from 8 til 2. At 3, I had an important conference call with researchers from all over the world (someone on the line from Australia - it was 6am there - and from Denmark where it was 11pm). The call lasted two hours and by then it was time to make a mad dash to get these two...

Our daycare is open til 6pm but if I get there much past 5, C & Iz might be the last ones there. Is there anything worse than picking up your kid from day care to find they are the last ones there? I imagine Charlie's face as he watches other moms and dads come to the classroom and get his friends. Each time, his face hopeful as he looks to see who is at the door. Charlie is old enough now that he looks for me at a certain time of the day and if I'm later than usual, he knows.  This was all I could think about as I raced across town.

Our daycare isn't very far from home or work, but when you are running late and feel desperate to see those little faces, it can feel like it is a million miles away. I swear I hit every traffic light. There was way more traffic than usual. Where did all these people and cars come from out of nowhere and why were they all in my way?? (I might've screamed out loud at a stop light, with the car windows closed, alone with my frustration. If that sounds crazy, then maybe I just imagined doing it). As I crept along in traffic, all I could think about was Charlie's face, his lower lip puffed out, his eyes searching for me. Izzy is only a couple weeks into daycare and still not sure of her new teachers. She has no concept of time, I reminded myself. But surely she will be aware of the quiet in her room with all the other babies gone for the night.

Charlie was on the playground when I arrived, holding a teacher's hand and looking towards the parking lot. He had been asking for mom, wondering where I was. He was trying hard not to cry. Then I had to tell him to wait a few more minutes - the school has a policy about not letting the older kids in the infant rooms, so I had to go get Izzy first and then pick up Charlie. More waiting. And at that point the tears just wouldn't stay in.

It was just one day. I kissed their sweet cheeks good-bye earlier that morning. But it felt more like a week. I hate feeling like my kids get a raw deal on my account. I know many moms have it much worse and work long hours or multiple jobs out of necessity. I feel for them and wish there was another option.

Yesterday was just one long day and today I'll leave a little early and take them to a park to play. Then it will be the weekend and I'll have uninterrupted time with them. Come Monday, we'll start all over again as I have a long day scheduled and I won't get home til after they are alseep. I can't avoid those days all together but I can make the most of the time I have with C and Iz every day. And send along extra hugs and kisses to get them me through the long days.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Budding musicians

Charlie and Izzy are both so fortunate to get exposure to music at a young age at Berkley. Miss Bekah comes to each of their classes twice a week. For the record, Charlie does not need his own drums at home. Anyone that buys him a set of drums gets to keep them at their house and Charlie will come visit often to play them.

Izzy doesn't let go of those fingers for anything.

"I wish Dad hadn't dressed me so funny today. Its throwing off my groove."
"She's playing my favorite song!"
It's never too early to start a band.

Double the fun

Charlie is suspiciously holding Izzy's foot....what is he planning?

At 6 months old, Izzy can do so many new things. Sit up, reach for and hold toys, roll over at will. And she is now big enough to join Charlie in the bathtub. Just about every time I gave her a bath in her small baby tub, I did it inside the big tub and Charlie would crawl in the tub to help. So they sort of took baths together but there wasn't much room for Charlie to move with the baby tub taking up all the space. This bath seat works much better and it is really fun to watch Iz splash around and reach for the bath toys. She laughs when Charlie splashes and spits out water. He is such a clown.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My least favorite part

The daily battle of the bottles
I've said many times how much I love the baby stage and I don't want it to end. But there is one part I will not miss. While home with Izzy it was convenient to breastfeed her - not so much now that I'm back at work full time. The challenge that goes along with breastfeeding and pumping is the working mom's best kept secret. Holy heck is it hard.

I'm so proud that it has gone well with Izzy and in 6 months she has had less than one container of formula (yes, I'm bragging. I earned the right!). But it is incrementally harder now and between washing bottles and pump parts and the lost time at work, its hard to keep the positive aspects of breastfeeding in mind. Now that Izzy has started trying real foods (post coming soon!) I know she will need less milk and the insanity will lessen. But after focusing so much of my energy for the past 6 months on making sure I supply her with enough milk, it is suddenly hard to stop. Mother's guilt. Big time. 6 months was my goal from the beginning and I met it. So why can't I let myself off the hook?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My go-to cookie recipe

Everyone needs a go-to cookie recipe. A fail-safe recipe. A recipe you can make at the last minute for those times when you forget until midnight the night before that you signed up to bring a dessert to the class party at school. A good go-to recipe requires a short list of ingredients you always have on hand, and a recipe so simple you could make it in your sleep. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The forgotten one

It has been a big week of change in our house with Izzy starting school and me going back to work full time. In focusing on how mom and baby are adjusting, I forgot one very important person that is also going through a big change this week.

For the past 6 months, Roxie has had someone (me, a grandparent or a sitter) in the house for most of the day, every day. Now it is back to an empty house for her and I think she is a bit sad. She was following me around and getting under my feet more than usual the last couple of nights and that's when I realized the impact of this week on her. She will adjust back to her solitary days and she probably welcomes the quiet and extra sleep. But at heart she is a people dog and it might be a little too quiet for her in the corner of the kitchen where the three of us girls have hung out for the better part of 6 months.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tomorrow, she walks

An apple for her teacher
Today is Izzy’s first official day of day care. It has been a gradual process and I’ve left her to go to work many days since she was born. But this feels different. This feels official, formal, the real deal. We’ve been lucky to put this day off for almost 6 months. Charlie went to day care much earlier, at only 8 weeks. That was really hard to send him when he was so tiny and I wanted to try to avoid that this time around. Between my Mom and a great baby-sitter that used to work at C's daycare and is now a pediatric nurse (score, right?), I found a way to make it work. I can’t say my work hasn’t suffered as a result, but I wouldn’t trade it. Izzy has been a regular around the lab and slept in a corner of my office many afternoons. She made it easy and seemed to enjoy hanging out with me on a blanket while I worked on my laptop next to her. (See our recent conference call as an example of her cooperative spirit. No one even knew she was on the line). I’m going to miss her company.

Bright-eyed for the first day of school after sleeping all night, 9pm - 7am. Way to go, Iz.

I’ve been looking forward to this day and also dreading it. It will be nice to have a set schedule again and to not have to scramble each week to cover meetings and appointments or try to time her nap to the minute. I feel like I will be able to focus at work in a way I haven’t since the last few weeks of my pregnancy. But this also feels like a turning point from her being a baby to soon becoming a toddler. And that makes me sad. I’ve enjoyed spending time with her and soaking up every moment of this baby stage. I don’t want her to keep growing bigger and older. Today she goes off to daycare and she will interact with new people, sit and wobble on the floor with the other babies, and start learning new things on her own. In no time she will be trying real food, learning to crawl, starting to talk. I will blink and it will be time to plan her first birthday, she will be learning to walk. I know all the days to come will be just as amazing as the past 6 months and I can’t wait to learn her thoughts, watch her personality develop, and help her explore the world. But I want to slow it all down and make sure I don’t miss anything. I want my baby to stay a baby.
Posing for first day of school pictures

Thanks to her big brother, Izzy should be able to handle anything the other babies throw at her.

Charlie has been very excited for Izzy to start going to his school and he talks about it all the time

Izzy had no idea what all the fuss was about. As usual, she was a good sport.

Not sure what I was saying to them, but it wasn't hitting the mark.

Time to go, Mom! Enough with the pictures.

I gave Charlie instructions to check on his sister and make sure she was ok. I can't wait to hear how the day goes. I will resist the urge to go pick them up til the afternoon. I can do it, I can.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A very little 'big bike'

MVI_3154.AVI a video by Pager13 on Flickr.

Charlie is working on his balance, won't be long! From this video it is obvious where the inspiration to ride a big bike comes from - our 10 year-old neighbor cruising our sidewalk and driveway on his bmx.

Charlie's orange bike

MVI_3153.AVI a video by Pager13 on Flickr.
We had a quiet Labor Day weekend at home and several great gatherings with friends. The highlight of the weekend was Charlie's new bike. It is a Strider, a balance bike that doesn't have pedals. It is supposed to teach balance so riding a two-wheeler with pedals is much easier. It is so tiny and cute and orange. In this video he is saying "Gotta ride my orange bike"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gone Granola Gone

Stop eating the granola!
I make granola about once a week for the Maniger household and it seems like all I say that day is “Stop eating the granola” and it applies to me, too. This recipe is that good. It lasts us about a week to a week and a half depending on how I divide it up and use it. Ryan takes some to work every day to top his yogurt (Greek yogurt with a dash of honey and blueberries. He’s so healthy, it’s not normal). I combine the granola with almonds and pistachios to make a trail mix for snacking. It is also really great combined with chocolate chips. I buy the ingredients in bulk and have them in handy storage containers so it only takes about 5 minutes to put everything together. And the prep work is very kid friendly.

My expert helper



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conference call

I was supposed to travel to DC for a one day meeting today. I've been on this committee for three years and made this trip every year. I traveled a lot for work this past spring/summer and so decided to stay home and attend this meeting by conference call. While I did miss the face-to-face with my colleagues, I had some pretty nice company at home for the phone call. I think it was a good trade.

The parties at my end of the conference call