Monday night I felt very prepared for school. Henry had been sleeping for 4-5 hour stretches, I had packed up my bags to make the morning departure go smoothly, and David and I even spent a few minutes just the two of us to connect and reflect before the hustle and bustle of the school year commenced. Then the week went like this:
Tuesday 1AM, 2AM, 3AM, 4AM, 5AM: Henry decides to boycott sleep and/or he was worried I would not wake up for my alarm and wanted to make sure I was up and ready to go. Nothing says, “Let’s get this party started” like of sleepless night, right?
Tuesday 6:30AM-7:40AM: The usual 25 minute commute is endless as everyone in the 20 mile stretch to school decides to hit the road early for the first day of school.
Tuesday 8AM-12PM: A blur of classes, students, faculty, lessons, meetings, emails, and trying to speak coherently after spending the summer mostly in the company of 4 people or less. Oh, yea….and I have to pump for baby Henry A LOT. So also I spent time running in and out of the Nurse’s Office and then trying to relax enough when in there in order to accomplish this task. And, of course I wore a dress on the first day in order to look “fabulous” which meant pumping was an interesting procedure. Note to self: No more dresses.
Tuesday 12-2PM: Try to call my mother for an update, as this is the first day I am totally away from home, but her phone keeps going to voice mail. Usher in PANIC, SWEAT, and calling her number over and over again. Is everyone alive?
Tuesday 3PM: See that our friend and neighbor has been able to knock on the door and confirm that everyone is indeed alive and fine and my mom plugs her phone in. Whew!
Tuesday 3:30PM-4:30PM: slow go through traffic all the way home.
Tuesday 4:30-9:00PM: Soak up as much of my family time as possible. Seeing Henry at the end of the day is the BEST! I cannot get enough of that little man’s smell, smile, cuddles. Also, I shed a few tears because I am so happy to see him and so happy the day went so well at home for him. And really I am just an emotional person these days anyway.
Wednesday 12AM, 2AM, 4AM: Henry is no longer worried about me missing my alarm and extends his sleep from every hour to every two hours. It is amazing how “highly functioning” one can be with so few hours of sleep. I guess it is all about lowering one’s standards for “functioning.”
Wednesday 6:30AM-7:20AM: Tons of traffic yet again. I am looking forward to when everyone collectively starts to sleep in or snoozes their alarms and I can perhaps squeak by ahead of the traffic cluster.
Wednesday 8AM-2:15PM: Another whirlwind of classes, students, emails, pumping, and trying to do all of this without breaking a sweat in the crushing heat that has enveloped Boston. Somehow all of this is done today with less of the “teacher crust” of yesterday. While I am definitely not in my groove, teaching is starting to feel comfortable again. It is like breaking in a pair of jeans after they have stiffened up from the dryer.
Wednesday 2:30PM-3:30PM: Take a walk down memory lane with the senior class. As they prepare to apply for college, we teachers share stories from our college years. It was pretty great hearing my co-workers’ stories and having the opportunity to share my own. Go BC!
Wednesday 3:30PM-3:50PM: Drive fairly smoothly to Natick and decide to pull into the Starbucks drive-thru for a treat. This was my guiltiest cup of coffee ever! I wanted to head home to Henry but I also wanted an afternoon pick me up so I could feel alive and present during my time with Henry. I justified the pit stop by noting this Starbucks was a drive thru.
Wednesday 4:10PM: Arrive home and snuggle Henry. Immediately realize I left all of my pumping gear and all of Henry’s milk back at school! Panic sets in and I realize that despite my cool exterior, my mind is complete mush. And the consequence is: Henry will starve tomorrow.
Wednesday 5:00PM-7:30PM: Pack everyone up in the car and drive all the way back to school to retrieve the much needed items. As an “I am so sorry for ruining everyone’s night,” I treat David and my mom to dinner in the area to break up the long commute in the car. Finally arrive back home and feel like crashing but it is time to get in that quality time with Henry so I postpone fatigue until later.
Thursday 1AM, 4AM: Ah Henry is heading back towards his more reasonable sleep schedule just in time for the end of the school week. Fingers crossed
Thursday 6:30AM-7:10AM: Even the commute this morning is being more cooperative!
Thursday 8AM-12:30PM: Being in school feels more “normal.” Starting to feel more confident in the classroom and more capable around pumping. Work-Life balance is coming more into focus…for now, I think.
Thursday 12:30PM: Head over the Keurig machine in the faculty room because yesterday’s drama revealed I need a shot of caffeine before I head home and see that someone has left a “pumpkin spice” capsule in the machine. Deliriously excited, I open the cabinet to retrieve one of these special k-cups only to see that this flavor is non-existent. Some sneaky, smarty pants brought it in for themselves and now I am incredibly jealous. Left to drink the usual k-cup, I return to my classroom to await the last class of the day.
Thursday 3:00PM: A moment of peace and calm after checking for the 100th time that I have everything I will need when I leave campus. I do not think my nerves could handle another mishap like yesterday. Finally settle into some lesson planning in an attempt to “get ahead” of the weekend pile up.
Thursday 3:30-4:10PM: An uneventful drive home and the first night where alongside snuggling up with our little man and giving him our undivided attention we are also trying to prep dinner (remarkable that this is the first time this week we have to do that!). Thankfully it is taco night. Not that this isn’t work, but taco night is usually an easy kitchen night! Definitely thanking “past Melissa” for her smart meal planning for this first week back to teaching.
Thursday 5PM-9PM: Family time to the max!
Friday 1:30AM: Oh my goodness, the little man sleeps for 5 hours without interruptions and now I am sleep drunk from all the extra Zs.
Friday 5:00AM: My alarm and not the little man wakes me up. Have we finally fallen into some semblance of “normal”? I don’t want to jinx us but this would be a very very VERY nice routine. Let’s replicate this again okay, Henry?
Friday 8:00AM-2:15PM: Despite some scheduling mishaps on my part (Need to remember to double check the uploaded homework assignments) the day goes fairly smoothly. It is topped off by a visit from David and Henry to the ice cream social before Henry’s 2 month check-up.
Friday 4:00PM: Henry had his 2 month check-up and vaccines. We all took guesses for his weight and height but we missed the mark. That’s right we all underestimated our little man’s monthly growth. Henry is not 13.11lbs and 24.75in! He also did not like his vaccines. His cries were heart-breaking
Friday 5:00PM: Lots and Lots of snuggles all around.
And so it goes, the successful conclusion of our first week. It is amazing how a 4 day work week could feel like it was actually 8 full days of work and running around. Yet, we all survived and it can only get better from here, right?
Tomorrow I go back to school officially. Thankfully it is not a full day of school jammed with classes and new students and new lessons. That will wait until Tuesday. Rather tomorrow is a day to set up my classroom briefly, meet with a few parents of my advisory, and leave Henry at home for the first time for more than just a Pure Barre Class. Family and friends have asked how am I feeling about this and to be honest I am incredibly conflicted.
Half of me is excited and ready to return. I love being a teacher. Each day the students challenge me to think, grow, and learn and in return I get to work closely with them as they question the world around them and discover history. My co-workers are inspiring men and women who are passionate about their careers, the students, and about having a good time too. It truly is a wonderful place to work and a wonderful place to return to each Fall. Having had my mother here this week, I have been able to prepare lessons, set up class websites, check e-mails, start class blogs, review faculty documents, review class lists, and generally feel “ready” for the first day of school. This has helped keep the typical back to school anxiety dreams away! Professionally, I feel fulfilled in my job which makes going back to it exciting. I have also spent time tracking Henry’s sleep/wake time and feel good about the schedule I am leaving behind for Mema. This was a major step is feeling ready to return. Whenever you look up baby schedules (even one that is baby led and flexible) it follows the typical work day of 9AM-5PM which is not the schedule of the working teacher. This new baby schedule for the teaching parent that we have created at least lets me feel as though when I leave Henry’s grandma will have a sense of when to expect certain cues from Henry in order to have as smooth a day as possible (and, I know this is ideal).
At the same time, this year is so different. The other half of me is drawn inward to my home and family. Henry has turned out to be such a wonderful and amazing addition to our lives. I am afraid that if someone asks me “How are you doing?” on that first day, I will be too fragile to answer without bursting into tears. I know I want to return to work, but I also wish I could just stay home (at the same time!) and raise and love my son full-time. Two feelings I am most conflicted with about leaving Henry are: I don’t want to miss ANYTHING and I want Henry to be more than just okay when I am away. It is not healthy to be the only one to provide Henry with all of his needs, I know. It is important for him to meet others and be cared for by others. But the idea of missing BIG chunks of his day hurts my heart so much. He grows and changes so much even in a day and I just feel like I am going to be missing out. Oddly, I also feel like I am going to be replaced. For the last 8 weeks, I have been there for everything even if I was just watching David parent, I was still physically there. Now I won’t be there AND someone else will be. What if I no longer can read my son or what if he prefers the care, cuddles, and love of my mom over me? I am so lucky that my mom, Henry’s mema, will be with him but I still have this silly worry. As I write this, I can see the selfishness of these feelings but I cannot swipe them away. I selfishly want to be home with my baby boy and simultaneously want to be at school teaching and working. Part of me wonders if I had had more time and support in this dynamic if I would feel better prepared to return but our timing wasn’t perfect. And, part of me wonders if anyone would notice if I just tucked him in my backpack and brought him with me!
Tomorrow morning I will probably cry all the way to school but then will be so happy to see my co-workers who have for years shared some much of themselves with me. I feel more emotional now than I did any day of my pregnancy! I just hope that when I come home tomorrow, Henry will have had a good day home with Mema and David and the decision to return to work will feel more and more right as the hours turn into days, weeks, and months back at school.
So much has changed this month! Henry is no longer the sleepy little baby who observes his world silently. Instead, he has become more and more vocal and loves to smile and squeal in delight. His smiles are killer. He is such a little charmer and he spends so much of his morning just smiling his toothless grin at you. It pulls at your heart and it takes every ounce of me not to just eat him up. He still naps like a champion but it takes him a little longer to get to sleep these days. While it was a little hard figuring out that he wanted a few more snuggles before nap time, it was worth every moment. He will only be this tiny for a short period of his life and the least I can do is soak up every snuggle he gives me! You can tell that he really is beginning to notice people, pets, and toys and continues to develop his list of preferences. We have loved all of our adventures this month too. Every day heading out with Henry becomes more and more second nature. This month we have visited downtown 3 times and have had many family members come to stay with us. Throughout all of these moments, Henry has been an excellent little companion and host. We definitely still have some challenges (like Henry is not a fan of drinking from a bottle), but overall being a parent, caring for Henry, and watching him observe and interact with the world around him is the best…simply the best. It makes going back to work next week hard on my heart because I never thought I could love a little baby like I love this little guy. I am going to miss him so much during my day and I am going to miss the time we had together as a little family of three all summer long. This was hands down the best summer. I guess David and I will just have to savor every minute we have home with our little charmer this Fall.
This month Henry is:
- Smiling a TON
- Starting to show signs of laughter on the horizon
- Babbling and saying “agoo”
- Noticing his toys and trying to “play” with them (reaching out towards them)
- Enjoying being read to and looking at the pages
- Visiting with family and friends
- Starting to take a bottle (but the struggle is real)
- Snuggling like crazy
- Listening to songs
- Making tons and tons of flirty eye contact
- Noticing he has a tongue and staring at your mouth when you talk to him
Henry Monthly Archive:
Kaelin came to visit us in Boston for a week and on Saturday the three besties took “Bestie Fest 2014, the summer edition” to the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Of course, Mr. Henry joined us for our outing as well. When we started school in Boston (shhh about 10 years ago), the greenway didn’t exist. Instead it was a massive construction site full of concrete madness. The promise of the greenway loomed over future Boston but it never seemed like the plan would be actualized. Nevertheless, it opened in bits and pieces and now is a beautiful series of parks that line Atlantic Avenue. We made our way there in order to snack on some food truck delights and walk about the little market of local artisans. It was a beautiful cool, crisp, and sunny afternoon. Henry was in stellar form and our reunion was thoroughly enjoyed! It was the perfect outing for a new baby and a bunch of best friends looking to reconnect over a easy stroll and ice cream sandwiches!