Saturday, November 2, 2013

This Blog Is In Sleep Mode

It may be obvious that I do not put much effort into posting on this blog. Actually, it may not be, because I have, like, two followers. And one of them is me at my other blog. (Thanks, Lizzy!) I thought I was up to four or five at one point? I get very few hits. I follow like four other bloggers from this identity and I don't promote this blog at all. And yet, somehow, it has started to hurt my feelings that no one knows about this blog or reads my posts or thinks I'm a fabulous story teller or person generally. I could probably be relevant and funny on a consistent basis if I would be more personal and candid, but I guess I am unwilling to do that.

Due to the Facebook-ification I am experiencing related to this blog, I am going to take a break. Facebookism, as I'm sure you're aware, is the syndrome associated with feelings of inadequacy and jealousy when you read the juicy headlines of your friends' and half-friends' lives. Sure, I do it too. I post status updates that are little snippets of awesomeness that are designed to incite envy. I genuinely try not to do this sometimes, and instead post something that I am pondering or post something funny. Which is what this blog is supposed to be but instead it's like scrolling my news feed and learning that everyone is either on vacation or having another baby or getting backstage passes to the Daily Show (I made that up...are there backstage passes to the Daily Show? Because I would do anything to get backstage passes to the Daily Show.)

So, anyway, ciao for now. I hope to be back, sometime when I can feel not bad for not posting and not bad when I do as well. Good luck in career and family until then (and beyond)!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Baby Is One!

It's really true that time flies when you have kids. It's like you blink and they are potty trained, going to kindergarten, onto high school, getting their learners' permit, applying to college, going on dates with girls. Or in my case, waking up in the middle of the night like a newborn. We went away for a week and now that we are back J is still readjusting. I am giving him one more night of waking up and nursing back to sleep. Then...NO MAS!

I let him nurse as much as he wanted to last week, and while he nursed often, I don't think he drank very much. The past two days when I've come home from work, though, it's all he wants to do. It's really sweet in a way, but then he still pinches and slaps me so it's not that sweet after all. I can't decide if we are ready to wean or not. I want my cycle (and sex drive--for the love!) back, but I'm not sure I'm ready to let go either! Tonight J was so crabby around 6/6:30 and while I considered just putting him to bed, I really wanted to go outside for a walk because it was cool and nice out. We took him in the Ergo because we still haven't figured out how to rig up the stroller with the new attachment--oh yeah, we got 31.5 inches out of the 32 available inches from the Graco SnugRide--and the adorable little bugger fell asleep. He woke up when I tried to transition him to his crib, and cried for a few minutes but has basically been asleep since 7:00. I didn't change him into a nighttime diaper so maybe I actually do want him to wake up tonight. I think he is still exhausted from traveling and being kept up late last week. But he was a good sport.

Re-entry impact sucked as usual and work is still S L O W, but I think I am back on track to not hate my job for at least a few more months. I didn't pump these past two days and in case you were wondering, I didn't miss it at all! My right boob was a bit full by the end of the day yesterday but I was still able to pack it into a sports bra and go for a run without pain. No complications today and no extreme fullness. Now if J will stop loving me so much when I get home I can maybe spend some more time loving on my husband and have some chance for success in trying to have another kid. :)

Oh yeah, pictures (unedited) of the birthday boy:

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Forgot to Post This Last Week and Now I Don't Have to Write a New Post Right Now

I applied to a job the other day. Actually, night. It was more like midnight, actually. Every time I go on the computer after 9pm I say I will shut it off by 10...becomes 10:30...becomes 11...I started the application online. Then I needed to--oops--update my resume. Then I needed to write a cover letter. Which, thankfully, finally, has become easy. Interest, blah, blah, experience, blah, blah, problem-solving, blah blah, results-oriented, blah blah, asset to [firm or company nickname] team, blah blah. Hardest part is the signature--sincerely? Sounds too old and stuffy. Best regards? Sounds too casual. With warm regards? As opposed to my best stone-cold-bitch regards? Anyway, I went with warm regards. And I haven't heard anything back and it has literally been two days but now I am wondering if I should have done that.

But I am sooooo bored at work right now. There's just not enough work for my group. I will refrain from going on and on about this, because WHO CARES? I am also very worked up right now about being underpaid. Why did I go to law school so I could be bored and underpaid? Seriously, I need an answer to that question. And that's why I am--sort of--looking for a new job. I need to be PAID, or not bored. Both would certainly be nice, but I am also worried about being worked too much. Like anything over, mmm, 45, no make that 42 hours a week. So maybe being bored and underpaid is what I get and deserve with my laziness? I'm not really lazy. But I don't really like to work that hard for other people and I will make no apologies for not wanting to when I feel like most jobs involve meaningless crap that you do with people who think they are way more important than they are.

There is so much more to all of this, obviously, and I am not about to have another quarter-life, ahem third-of-life, crisis about what I want to be when I grow up. But anyway I think I need to really figure out if what I want is more money as a lawyer, or to not be a lawyer. (There is a third option to be a helping lawyer for a good cause, instead of a defense firm lawyer, but that will definitely mean not more money and may not ensure not bored-ness.) So that is the question. Not complicated or important at all.

. . .

In Mama-land, J took his first trip to the beach and he only tried to eat sand once. He played in the waves and stayed on his blanket in the sand and nursed and slept in my arms while I read my book and it was so, so wonderful. Perfect weather too. We went down for the day on Saturday and came back on Sunday night. It was a fun, spontaneous weekend that even included giving Senior road head on the way down. Just kidding. (Only I'm not. Just kidding.) We met up with my aunt and cousin and when I inquired about a vacancy at the motel where they were staying, they invited us to just stay in their room. J hogged the double bed that he and I shared while Senior slept on the couch. When I tried to move J over a few inches sometime shortly before dawn, he woke up and started babbling and crawling around and waking my aunt and cousin so we got up and went for a walk on the beach. Sunday was lovely too and we were so glad we stayed. My family used to go to the same place for years with our cousins so it was nostalgia mixed with the novelty of bringing my own little boy for the first time. Later on Sunday my other auntie arrived with her sister and we got to visit with them a bit and none of this was planned which made it so much more fun. But we wished we had remembered the volleyball and the camera.

In pumping news, I have experienced two blocked ducts since I decided I would cut back on nursing except I have not actually cut back on nursing. I am still pumping once a day in the afternoon and at this point, since J will be 11 months old in two days, I guess I am going for the full year. I feel this sort of sense of accomplishment but also a sort of resignation that I am continuing to breastfeed exclusively with an apprehension that I won't be able to stop at all! Because if everything goes according to plan I will be able to get pregnant immediately upon cessation of that mid-day nursing session. But clearly I have to stop nursing for that to happen. And then my job will pick up and I will get an uber-raise at the end of the year and my wardrobe will become amazing without shopping or trying on new clothes and I will lose the "last five" pounds of "nursing weight" and I will have time for things like sex and yoga. So stay tuned for that!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Three Things I Want to Rant About

Then I will talk about them in more detail later. But for now...the list:

1. Let's stop talking about "leaning in." All of us. Oh wait, only we women are the ones talking about it. Exactly my point.

2. My breasts cannot be playthings and useful things at the same time. Sorry, Senior. Back off.

3. When did "women" become an adjective? Imagine this sentence instead. "The courtroom was clamoring with men lawyers trying to prepare their clients before the session began."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Night Random Post

Is it still World Breastfeeding Week, or whatever? Because I do tend to talk about breastfeeding and my breasts quite a bit, but not this week. Yet.

I'm still breastfeeding. Bebe will be 10 months old next week. I am still pumping at work, but down to one pumping per day, in the afternoon. It is much more tolerable this way, plus J is eating a lot of food and starting to lose interest in daytime feedings anyway. But I have a lot of milk in the freezer, so...naturally...I started thinking...that I want to make cheese out of my breastmilk.

I know that some people might find this to be really gross. But my question is: Why? What could be grosser than drinking milk from a cow? (Drinking milk from a human.)

I have to be honest, though, when J was just born and I tried the milk I thought it was super gross. It had like this soapy taste to me. I thought it smelled weird too. But over time, I don't know if I just got used to it, or if the taste actually changed, or what, but now I think it smells like nothing and pretty much tastes the same way. So maybe it wouldn't make good cheese. But, I have to also confess to sticking my nose in a bottle with milk residue that had been left for a day or two, with the lid on. And it smelled like delicious, pungent cheese. I agree this is a little gross. But you have to agree that it's only gross in our heads, especially if we eat cheese made from the milk of other animals and think it's delicious.

I thought the last kerfuffle over this was over two years ago, but it seems to have cropped up again with the locavore movement. I will still be blogging about my new products, so stayed tuned.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Big Mouth

After a very long pre-nap, during which J nursed for over 30 minutes, then cried for a few minutes in his crib, babbled to himself for 43 minutes, and cried for six more minutes, J is napping. So I am blogging.

Work, in a nutshell, is a little bit busier so I am not bored for now but we are still operating at only partial capacity. I have a meeting next week with the guys with whom I WILL be starting the gym, so we are moving ahead and it's not close enough to be scary that I will be giving up a stable (?) job so it's really exciting.

Lawyering deserves an update. I was sent to argue against a motion that defense counsel made in a completely separate matter from what I normally do. (I have found another partner to feed me at least a little bit of work food.) Normally I am in workers' compensation court, where the hearing rooms are often found atop grocery stores in strip malls, in breezeways off the backs of doctors' offices, or in other low-slung, ugly, and always unmarked office buildings, usually off of parking lots in need of repaving. There are signs on the bathroom stalls in these facilities that say "Do Not Steal the Toilet Paper." I am not making this up.

But last week I was in "real court," in a real courthouse on a case in the Court of Common Pleas (trial court in PA). I was standing in for the lead attorney/partner on a products liability case he brought on behalf of a plaintiff who suffered very serious injuries in a 40-foot fall from a tree while doing arbor work. Defense counsel wanted to amend his pleading (answer to the complaint--or lawsuit--filed by plaintiff) to include the defense that plaintiff was engaging in "highly reckless" conduct at the time of the fall. He wasn't, and I was there to argue against the motion because the case is almost to decision stage. First off, I didn't even know which side of the courtroom to sit on. The clerk said plaintiff is alwasy on the side of the jury box. Ah ha! Totally makes sense. But in comp court, it can be either side, depending on the judge. I thought I had it figured out that defense sits on the side of the court reporter, claimant on the side of the witness box, and then the next time I went to a hearing before this one judge I sat on the wrong side. So it's not like I'm new to embarrassing moments as a newb attorney.

It was defendant's motion, so he spoke first, and then I would have a chance to respond. From the very beginning, the judge was completely against him. The judge thought the attorney was missing his point, and that they were talking past each other. At one point he pulled out the Rules of Civil Procedure book to ask the attorney to show him where in the book it said what the attorney was saying. Numerous times I just shook my head in agreement and felt VERY BAD for the guy across the aisle. So I know the motion is going to be decided in my favor. I KNOW it. I don't just think it. And given this fact, you would think I also would know better than to open my mouth to say anything. Anything at all. Why would I do that? Well, let me tell you why. Because I am a lawyer. Goddammit. And I'm like, I drove over an hour and paid five dollars to park and I'll be driving another hour back, and we charge all that to the client and all I did was sit there and nod and look serious? I mean, there is a reason certain people become litigators and it is not because they like to sit back and NOT TALK. So I spoke. Against all better reason, I spoke.

"Your Honor? May I just explain...?"
"That's ridiculous. Who told you that?" --"The partner who sent you here? Is he a testifying expert in this matter, ma'am?" --"You shouldn't come here to tell me that." --"That's a reflection on your partner. We've all been in your shoes, ma'am, that's not a reflection on you." (This he says with one hand on the door to leave the courtroom.) Well...shew? I only just threw my partner under the bus?

Let me first say that I LEARNED MY LESSON to STFU. Oh, yes I did. Especially when nothing I say will change the judge's mind and more important because I don't want to change his mind. He was already deciding in my favor. Buuuut, he made some comments that I thought, you know, were not true about (my understanding) of the case, and I thought, you know, for the record, I should say something. And of course the other side was saying some stuff that I wanted to rebut. Again, why? Because I like to talk. That's why. Not a good reason. Not a good reason at all.

What else did I learn? That you can usually at least try to find a positive thing to have come out of a generally bad (well, not really, we won the motion) situation. So I was able to share some insight about the judge's view of the plaintiff's behavior in this case, that it was negligent because...

Also, I told the partner exactly what happens so he is warned when he goes before this judge next and the judge says god knows what about what happened at that oral argument!


Now...what else? Apparently Friday night is J's "cheat" night when it comes to his otherwise pretty good sleeping habits. Two Fridays in a row he has been up past 11pm. Last week my parents tried to put him to bed so Senior and I could play some sand volleyball and go out for a drink after. Drink after was canceled when my dad texted to say J was still awake at 10:07 as we were heading to the bar home. Two nights ago he went down so nicely around 7:30 (early!) and I got all my stuff together to go down to a friend's house so we could all get up before daybreak the next day to begin a 90-mile relay race across New Jersey. (I blame this on my big mouth, too. I guess I "committed" to running when I told the organizer that I hadn't been running at all but sure why not? I thought they were going to say they didn't want my slack-ass on their team.) Well, he woke up before I could leave, I pulled him out of his crib to nurse him some more and then he was AWAKE. I just left him for Senior to deal with, and later found out that he finally went down sometime around midnight. WTF? Then Saturday he had a long nap and went to bed normally at 8. We were/are considering the 6:30 bedtime regime for at least a little while, especially given these occasional regular night owl episodes, but I don't know. That seems so early. Sometimes I don't even get home from work until 6:30 (of course, though not that much lately as you can imagine), and how can we eat/bath/go for a walk or do anything together as a family?

So anyway, sleeping adventures continue to be just that, but overall we're a pretty happy and well-rested bunch. Except for the three hours I got the night before the race,* after a few of us sat up drinking and catching up. Senior is so good to me...he took J after I fed him this morning at about 6:30/7 until 8:30. Then he was like "Later!" and took off 6.5 hours early for the Phillies game tonight.

*More race-y for some than others. I ran a 6-mile leg and a 5.5-mile leg. I think the last time I ran 6 miles in a row was...sometime less than two years ago. But the last time I was really in shape was 4 years ago, thanks to two pregnancies^ and the bar exam in 2010, I haven't been running that much in quite some time. I am sore today, but it's not terrible, and I am happy to report that I averaged about a 9:30/9:40 pace on both legs. I was shooting or anything under 10-minute miles).

   ^I have one living child born in October 2012 and a first pregnancy that ended at 25 weeks, 3 days in August 2011. A lot of my thoughts on children and pregnancies are colored by this loss that was by far the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. Because I want THIS blog to be more accessible and light and funny, I have kept this story separate on another blog. If you would like to read it, though, send me an email and I will share the link.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hi from the Flight Deck

Sleep training update: oops, I was supposed to be sleep training. Taking the baby to Oregon (three hours away) did not help. I picked the baby out of his crib twice tonight, because he did not nurse himself into a passed-out stupor the first, I mean second, time I tried to put him down. At least he is not spending the entire night in our bed, like the night we got home from Oregon.

Breastfeeding/pumping update: I am still pumping once a day at work. My goal was to stop after Oregon, so I was still trying to ramp down production this week. I am fearing the change though, and I'm not sure I will actually stop pumping next week. I also feel like I need some time to get used to not eating whatever I want all the time (i.e. dessert with every meal). Will I have to reel myself in on the sweets-eating once I drop the daytime feeding?

Job update: I successfully settled my first case yesterday. Which means I am now down to one active file. The work is not pouring in yet. Funny thing, though--somehow my secretary is busier than ever with my boss' work. And yet, I have nothing to do. This probably means I am more likely, not less, to get laid off by the end of the year.

Next job update: Had a good meeting (and long lunch) today with my friend about starting a business. We are going to start writing the business plan soon, and are now gathering demographic information and plotting possible locations. We will have a brainstorm by Skype with our third partner currently in Colorado sometime in the next two weeks. I miss Colorado. I lived there for over seven years but now looking at it from the East Coast again, it still seems so cool and sexy.

What else?

I just ordered the "performance" version of the Ergo baby carrier. Nothing makes me happier than going for a walk carrying the baby. And carrying 19 pounds in the Baby Bjorn was making my shoulders, neck and back very, very sad. I can't wait to go hiking with the little guy strapped to my back!

I am part of a 90-mile relay run on August 3, and I will be responsible for two legs totaling 11.5 miles. Currently I'm good for at least 4.3. I don't look forward to you, August 4.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

LLL's Mom of the Year

Ahhhh, for 40 minutes today I sat by the pool and read my book and then went for a dip...all by myself. It's funny, though, I missed Senior because I had no one to play games with in the pool. I'm reading The Awakening, and it gives me this nostalgic, childhood summer feeling. I keep daydreaming of going to live at the beach with J and not working and just doing arty things and taking naps and day drinking. I guess that is everyone's fantasy. And yes, I know what happens in the book and I suppose I needn't be so envious of Edna's lifestyle.

Last week was my first "cut back on pumping at work" week. I looked to the interwebs to get some advice for not pumping at work but still nursing. You know what I found? A few stories on La Leche League's website about working mothers who didn't pump at work. I'm like, oh good, I found what I'm looking for. Let's see...have your husband bring your baby to work? Get real, people! Seriously, that was the way that these three women avoided pumping at work. Why didn't I think of that?

I didn't really have an opinion about La Leche League, but now I do. Basically I now think anything they say has been discredited by this little bit of advice. So anyway, back to my first week of cutting back on pumping. No blocked ducts. At least one day of only one pumping. I can't really remember now, but one pumping per day was my goal. So I was successful at at least 20%. Friday Senior brought the baby to work and I avoided a second pumping by feeding the baby. Thanks, La Leche League! (It was Friday and I didn't have anything else to do.)

What else happened this weekend? Oh yeah, J fell off the bed while I was in the bathroom. I left him between two pillows WITH HIS DAD IN THE BED. I came out of the bathroom and Senior was standing on the other side of the bed, holding J and scolding me for leaving him unattended. One pillow was on the floor, and we suspect that J fell onto the pillow because he barely whimpered a few times and then he looked at me and smiled. Later in the day he rolled over onto a toy on the floor and screamed his head off. Maybe he's the next bungee-jumper in the family, like his mom. But anyway, I tell that story so that no one's surprised when I don't win mom of the year award for 2013.

I may or may not (ha!) have mentioned how I am not busy at work right now, so I hope I don't forget to drive straight to a hearing tomorrow morning. It will take 53 minutes, or an hour and 53 minutes, depending on traffic and construction. Awesome. Last week I went to a Phillies game and by leaving at 5:00 managed to make it in two and a half hours, which is only about two and half times as long as it's supposed to take. That made me not so sad to live in my crappy hometown where it takes me 12-15 minutes to get to work and that three-minute variation doesn't depend on traffic, but on how fast I drive.

Sigh. More about misadventures in parenting, my crappy hometown, and how I suck at my job later. I have a 10:15 computer curfew tonight, and true to form I am late. Ciao for now.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Declining Production

Oh hi. Me again.

J is eight months old now. I am so sick of pumping at work.

It distracts me from work (which, as we know, is not hard to do). My nips hurt. I haven't gotten my period yet and I want to try to get pregnant again soon. I only pumped once today at work, and I am having such conflicted feelings about it!

Maybe J needs milk. It's not that much longer, I should just stick it out. We're going on a few trips this summer and I should just be able to feed through those trips so I don't have to drag bottles around the country. That would only mean six more weeks. Totally doable. Sigh. I think I'm getting a blocked duct.

WHAT is the big deal? J eats lots of stuff now, and he's had formula once and it was fine. That was yesterday. I wanted to make sure I could stop pumping during the day before I actually did stop pumping during the day. The time I spend getting set up and cleaned up for/from pumping is worth more than the money we will spend on formula. I will still nurse before and after work and maybe during the day on weekends. Is that even possible, actually? Can I not nurse during the day weekdays, nurse during the day on weekends and still get my period? Because that would be ideal. I will nurse this kid until he's 10 if he wants to (kidding), but I am really ready to be done with it during the workday. Until now that I am trying to quit! Thoughts? Tips? Advice?

I will pump once a day for awhile (because I will have to) and see how that goes. Maybe that will be manageable and still allow me to be away from the baby for a day here and there without pumping and without getting too full. Because I have to admit, I would really like to get in a day of climbing. Not a dawn to dusk, ante-children kind of day. Just like 6-8 hours in a row. Fair enough?

So there's that. Then there is this little issue at work where...well...we don't have any. I am exaggerating. Less than I would like. This is a temporary issue, one can hope, but in the meantime my workload is going to decrease and the quality of the assignments is about to drop significantly. I have two files of my own. Two files. Then all the files I have been "seconding" my boss on--writing briefs, keeping tabs on, writing memos and filings for the court, calling adjusters and adversaries--are being reassigned so that everyone on the team has some work and no one gets let go. I don't know how long this can last. I am most junior in the group, so my work will become the suckiest. Aside from my two files I may only be summarizing transcripts and medical records. Those are the tasks I try my best to avoid doing, even though it is billable hours. It's work that my paralegal should get. I am good at writing briefs! I would just like to say for the record. Maybe I can fight for a share of the "good" work. But maybe there isn't enough to go around. Ugh.

So there is some writing on the wall. I believe I have some options. But I will have to get to work finding another spot for myself in the firm, or bringing in some new clients. It's not because of anything I did (I am told). But it is because of something someone else did, and it just stinks that I will suffer most. It also stinks that our rent is going up.

Why must our rent be going up? I hear because the vacancy rate is low where we live. How is that possible? I live in my crappy hometown! We've been looking for a house to rent, but they are all just OK. Actually this one updated farmhouse was really nice, but sooo small and had one closet in the whole house. So it's like why bother to up and move all your crap to save maybe $2000 for the year, when the cost and pain of moving is worth about $1500? But now I'm afraid I may lose my job and my rent is going up. (Oh hey, Mom and Dad. Your new third floor looks nice.)

It's funny how on Tuesday I was stressing out from my job because I have been decently busy and completely clueless on my two files, and two days later that has all changed. I am also going to take a moment to admit that a small part of me is kind of glad that I have an excuse for not billing enough time. I am obsessed with billing (like any other firm associate). Seriously, I leave work, no matter what time, thinking I should not be leaving work. Then I get home and J starts crying because I am back and I wish I'd left work earlier. And I wonder how the hell to do this, but the thing is, I keep doing it. And now that I might not be able to keep doing it, I realize that I do want to keep doing it.

So that is a good thing, I guess. Unless there were a decent severance package and I could hang out with my kid and bake things and start the climbing gym. That would be an awesome thing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Adventures In Sleep Training

I'm not sure how I managed this, but I think this past week was even less productive than the week before.

Remember I was planning (somewhat) our wedding reception and Pokeroke night and coordinating with relatives in town. (Did I mention all that on the last post?) I also was dealing misdelivered wedding gifts and an EZ Pass bill in collections even though I have an EZ Pass transponder, oh and the huge corporation that owns the apartment we rent is looking for a 14% rent increase. Well all those things were still going on. And it was my birthday last Thursday and I decided that birthday breakfast is more celebratory than birthday lunch, so I got to work at 11 or so and then proceeded to generally not work for the rest of the day. I have been daydreaming about creative projects, running for office, helping to create a climbing gym, and other things that do not resemble practicing law in the least. I haven't even been doing this a year.

So, since I seem to be neglecting it, let's talk about the mom part of my life for a bit instead of the lawyer part.

My sweet boy is seven months old. Against the recommendation of the books (mainly Weissbluth), I have been putting him to bed while sound asleep. He nurses, falls asleep in my arms, and at some point I carefully stand up and slowly walk to his crib and gently, oh-so-gently, lay him down. But recently, after a week of depriving him of regular sleep due to such things as a Friday night wedding reception, visiting with family, and getting shit done, the bedtime routine was starting to wear on me too. Senior and I had been talking about getting on a regular nap schedule. And then one night I sat and nursed and nursed and sat and sat and nursed get the idea. For an hour and a half I was putting the baby to bed. So the next night, just like that, we decided it was time to stop putting him down dead asleep.

And he cried and cried, but not that long. It was about 45 minutes. I put him in his crib about 8:15 I think. He immediately rolled onto his belly and screamed his head off. Senior went in after awhile and rolled him onto his back again. More crying. One more flip back from his belly. A little longer and the crying stopped. I didn't cave in! I definitely almost did. The book says at night you have to just let him go until he falls asleep. For naps they can cry for an hour. An hour! That was news to me and sounded like a long time. Letting him cry until he stopped crying seemed like a really long time. But it worked! He finally fell asleep around 9, on his belly (we checked), and stayed that way until 8 in the morning. 8! He used to sleep until 8 but as he started going to bed earlier the time moved to about 7 and sometimes a bit earlier. It took a few months before he started going to bed before 10 or even 11. But the thing was, he started sleeping eight hours at night about two weeks after I went back to work. So at three months almost like clockwork. I didn't really care that he was up until 11, or going to bed dead asleep, when we all got our eight hours in. And he has typically been sleeping ten hours a night since about four months. (I know I am so lucky.) But now it seems he needs more scheduled sleep. Kind of a drag to be putting the baby to bed at 7:00 in the summertime, but I guess this is parenthood.

So today, you must be wondering what happened. He woke up at 8, like I said. We went across the street to the Wegmans because his right eye was swollen and I wanted to talk to the pharmacist. And get bagels. The pharmacist said check with the pediatrician because she would need to tell me the dosage of baby Benadryl since J (that is now le bebe's blog name/initial) is under age 2. Checked with doctor and did not give him anything. Ate a bagel. I am not usually in charge of naps but Senior worked today--damn it! J is making sounds. It's 10:47. He never does this. Wait, I think he's quiet again.--so I was in charge of naps. Put him down awake at 9:59. Cried. Asleep at 10:05.--He's definitely awake and fussing now. Wait, maybe not.--J slept until 12:30!!! And woke up happy and playing in his crib. And soaked through his diaper, outfit, crib sheet, mattress cover, etc. Changed him, fed him, washed all that stuff and took him to visit my uncle who is recovering from a stem cell transplant for myeloma. --J is definitely crying now. Not sure what to do. Seriously, this never happens.--Deprived him of second nap because visit went too long. He fell asleep in the car on the way home and stayed asleep for only about 30 minutes. I would probably be mad at Senior for doing this. Didn't tell Senior that I did this. Then I started the night routine (there's not really a routine) at 7:15 and J was dead asleep in my arms at 7:50. Called that a victory! Did some bloggy stuff, 25 minutes of self-led yoga, read some New York Times non-news articles, ate avocado with carrots, and more blog stuff. You can get a lot done when the baby goes to bed before 8! But now he's awake.

Admitting defeat...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


So I went apeshit and washed the baby's toys tonight. Do other people do that? They do, right? I also spot-cleaned his tuxedo. That's right, my six-month-old has a tuxedo, and he's wearing it to his mom and dad's vows ceremony on Friday night. More on that later. I've had this little chore hanging over my head and it feels good that it's done. Taking three and a half minutes to clean the tuxedo sure took some pressure off. Okay.

I thought I was going to get a pedicure after work so that my feet will look pretty in the whatever old shoes I wear with the Macy's Juniors dress I just ordered that seems to work well for my wedding reception. More on that later. But I came home instead so I could take the baby for a walk, which is something I call exercise these days, but then he wanted to nurse as soon as I came home and then it rained so those plans were scuttled. It's probably for the best because by some act of living and breathing I strained my back the other day and should let it rest for a few days. And that allowed me to wash the toys.

Now about the wedding reception. My son looks so much like my husband that I am going to call my husband Senior. Which is also a bit funny to me because when I was a senior in high school, for example, he was in fifth grade. Senior and I met through mutual friends and of course it's a long story but we got married in NYC at the Marriage Bureau when I was 16 weeks pregnant, not because I was pregnant but because we wanted to get married. Neither one of us has been married before but we just wanted our own special day. Even though I had lived there for a few years and he never had, it became "our" special city to me too. We didn't invite anyone but a witness, one of my law school friends. Another friend of mine since sixth grade who still lives in the City (I say that because most people I know have moved out) told me she wouldn't miss my wedding which was sweet so I didn't tell her she couldn't come, even though it did make me a bit uncomfortable that two of my friends were there and none of Senior's. We also had a photographer and a co-worker of mine from snowboard instructing (did I mention yet that I graduated law school in 2010 and it took me two years to get a law job?) who helped us carry our crap around Lower Manhattan so we could take a bunch of awesome pictures.

Like this one:
And this one:

So anyway, it was very, very small and intimate and we did not have a party because I wanted to focus on starting my job and having my baby and we planned a reception for our first anniversary. We are going to recite vows and exchange our rings again so our friends and family can be part of our union, if you will. Our mutual friend who introduced us will be making a best man speech. Really all I wanted were speeches. And gifts.

I've been quite distracted at work the past few weeks planning the parties (Fri night reception hosted by my parents and then Senior and I are hosting a Sat night poker and karaoke party we are calling Pokeroke that was my idea of which I am quite proud. You know, you say you're not going to have a wedding because you don't want all the hassle, but then you have a party that's supposed to be just like your wedding and then you have all the hassle. (It's not that bad actually and I've only had like two fights with my mom over it.)

Oh yes, and then today I got an email from my boss telling me to get my hours up because so far this year I am only on track to bill 1,896 hours and my requirement is 2,000+. I actually thought this pace was pretty good, especially since I have not even been at the firm a year. I responded to this admonishment by requesting to take off the entire day on Friday instead of just the afternoon as I had originally planned. Who was I kidding, really? But in addition to spending time with family in town for the wedding reception and going to breakfast with Senior for our anniversary, I now have to get a pedicure.

Maybe I should take off tomorrow afternoon, too.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Monday: The Donna

A law school friend of mine posted on Facebook one day that "In the spirit of Crossfit," he was going to "start applying names to small collections of various activities." Last Sunday, he did Steve, which involved waking up hungover and reading and marking up a stock purchase agreement for 74 minutes. One repetition. The next day, he did Stacy, which included waking up 20 minutes late, tripping over the cat in the kitchen while trying to grab an untoasted English muffin for breakfast, and various encounters with characters old ladies and messenger bags on the NYC subway. (Oh, I do not miss that place!)

So, in the spirit of my funny law school friend Peter C., last Monday, and every Monday, I did/do Donna. It seems to me that if you are a woman who is going to end up litigating a workers' compensation claim with your employer, you have about a 23% chance of being named Donna. (No disrespect to my mother-in-law.) Not sure why, but we have a number of female comp cases against claimants named Donna.

So here's your Donna:
Wake up at some varying degree of lateness, because even if the baby woke you up early, then it was probably too early, and as you fed him you both fell back to sleep. Wake up again, rouse husband from child-like deep slumber to take care of baby. Dress in uniform of snap-strap nursing tank top, pants that at 6-months postpartum you are no longer permitted to close with a BeBand, and 3/4-sleeve cardigan from Target.

Fill breast pump bag with supplies. Turn on BlackBerry. Finish packing lunch, which is weight-aided by husband who makes your sandwich. Kiss baby and husband good-bye and exit home carrying two to four bags for all your crap. Forget to check emails at red lights. Dutifully drive past Starbucks due to lateness. Arrive at office 32-44 minutes after staff arrives.

Debate whether to drink hot coffee or iced coffee. Decide on iced coffee, which involves multiple trips to the kitchen to brew, chill, ice and pour coffee. I told you this is a workout. Return to kitchen to make oatmeal for breakfast. Return to office. Boot up computer. Talk about kids with office neighbor while computer boots up. Close office door for pumping session. Look at pictures of baby on iPhone. While on iPhone text husband to send more pictures of baby. Check Gmail. 

Stuff, stuff, stuff and stuff. Close vertical blinds because afternoon sun obscures computer screen. Stuff, stuff, stuff and stuff. Describe stuff in overabundant detail in one-tenth of an hour increments on time sheet. Print something to read in case you might "work from home" later or feed baby while awake tomorrow morning. Power off computer.

Open vertical blinds so tomorrow morning it looks like you were there before staff arrived. [end workout]*

*But don't forget to cool down with various chores around the house, which don't include washing dishes, and a three-hour feeding and bedtime routine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Modified Duty

"I probably don't need to mention that my boss is awesome and I love my boss." This said, naively, on this blog a few months ago. How far my boss has fallen. I hate him.*

That was the beginning of a recent post that has since been heavily redacted. It turns out angry posts aren't funny. And a good friend advised caution when speaking about your boss, however anonymously, in detail.

So yes, that was true, I hated him for a few days. But we're back to baseline. (I am cracking myself up by using workers' comp terms.)

I was just really angry about a number of displays of sexism. The innocent kind and the subtle kind that leave you scratching your pretty little head.

Like his last four hires were attractive young women. I mean, is this a coincidence? Are we to believe that in the worst legal economy in the history of humankind, the only competent people looking for work are good-looking women in their 20s and early 30s?

I was also annoyed about the lack of support and training that I am receiving. But I have had lots of jobs where they say you will be trained and you're not. You just learn as you go, make mistakes, learn slowly, etc. I guess in the end it works out. But people were convinced I was not coming back to work and I don't understand that based on the fact that I am the breadwinner and my husband now stays home. My boss knew/knows that. And when I was negotiating salary, I specifically declined the benefits, so I obviously wasn't just taking the job for health insurance so I could deliver my baby without going bankrupt. When I came to the casual holiday lunch at the office two weeks before my leave was over, and was talking to a male associate about coming back to work, he said, "blah blah blah if you come back blah blah blah. Yeah, like I chose to hang out with you people on my time off because I just missed you so much and will never see you again after you pay me for ten weeks to start rearing my child. Suckas.
That reminds me, we just got a decision in our favor last week, and it turns out I wrote the brief (i.e. a document--not usually brief--submitted to the court presenting our argument) in the first two days I was back. When le bebe was not sleeping through the night, might I add. I mentioned it to my boss that I wrote the brief those first days, and he sounded way too surprised. Now the claimant is appealing though anyway.

The prior post closed like this:

I admit, I was having a bad day last Friday, which was, geez, only yesterday. So we'll see how things go in the next few weeks and months. If some of my suspicions are dispelled...or confirmed.

And for the most part...well, nothing has changed except that I haven't been hanging around my boss much recently. But that's working for me for now.

*Yes, hate IS a strong word.

Breastfeeding: It's Not Just for Hippies

There are so many topics swirling around in my head, I just couldn't settle on one. But today, when I should be working on a brief while le bebe naps, I am finally catching up on blog posting.

I generally dislike Hanna Rosin and her opinions*, but I just might agree with her about breastfeeding. Here is the introduction to that article, which also appeared in The Atlantic in April 2009:
  • In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?
Oh, fine, I will even link you to the article. This doesn't mean I like you, Hanna Rosin.

The article points out the financial losses sustained by women who breastfeed for six months or more versus those who do not. Rosin also addresses the imbalances that can occur between moms and dads when the mom breastfeeds exclusively. Do I consider my time spent nursing my baby miserable? No. But, I am going on six months now of exclusive breastfeeding. And--see next post--I am thinking it is holding me back at work.

Should this be the case? Of course not. A nursing mother should not have to go to work for full days and hook herself up to a milking machine behind a closed (and wish it were locked, too) door for up to two hours a day. Because mothers should be able to be with their babies after they are born, and still have an expectation of returning to work a few months later. But does it matter what should or should not be? No.

I am not sure which stubborn part of me has made it this far. The part of me that thinks formula is gross? (Not that breast milk isn't, by the way.) The part of me that's in the competition that Rosin mentions in the intro to her article? Or the part of me that says "screw you, job, I'm going to feed my baby the way I want to and you can't stop me"? I feel like I am really succumbing to the status quo if I stop breastfeeding because of that last part.

Or would I simply be doing what's best for me? But this question is loaded, too. How many times do we lament the lot of working women, only to conclude that no one woman has an obligation to stand up for all women? And so we all make our own "best for me" choices, and we remain separated instead of united, and we never really fight for change in the workplace. Right now, in my life and in my career, I am just so angry about this. And I see how it leads a lot of ambitious, motivated women to just drop out of the workplace all together. I mean, why bother with all of this crap? My job and my career are important to me, but not that important.

And listen, I am not judging other women's choices...and I am not necessarily calling myself ambitious and motivated. I've always felt that people take themselves too seriously at work. I've never felt like work was the most important thing in my life. So maybe that is my problem? I will never become partner at my law firm because I don't want to become partner at any law firm. I just want to punch in, punch out, enjoy my work in between at about an 80-20 ratio, and get home at a reasonable hour so I can hang out with my kids, or train for a marathon, or whatever.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could be ambitious and motivated and still enjoy your life outside of work, too? Who is the spokeswoman for that group of people? And why isn't that group of people...I don't know...everyone?

*She is the author of The Atlantic article you might have read or heard about titled "The End of Men." Hey, I know why men are ending...and it's not because women are finally taking over the world. I am contemplating writing a full-length researched article on this topic, so can't share my opinion here just yet. (Who am I kidding? Check back in a few weeks when I have completely given up on doing anything intellectual outside of work.)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Out of My Pump Slump

So the other day my boss referred to breastfeeding as a disability. And I thought, "gee, making like a 40 of milk a day seems more like a (supernatural) AH-bility."

I think I'm out of my pump slump (I had no idea that would be so catchy), but I'm back to pumping three times a workday instead of two because I saw production going down to less than what le bebe needed while I was gone. Now I am outproducing him and keeping my door closed at work as much as it's open, but I don't mind trading water cooler talk for playing chem lab in my office. Actually, that's not true...have you been watching the Bachelor??

Well, anyway, I had to talk to my boss about getting advanced notice to cover hearings for him. I had just the day before asked about getting out of the office a little more, letting him know that I'm available to cover hearings and then he comes by a few minutes before pump time and says "let's go to this hearing together, you can cover it." First, I don't want to necessarily go along with him. I am still new and shadowing and learning, but I also want to cover stuff when it's necessary and we're not doubling up. Especially if I can't bill my time. (Which is, by the way, the worst and most stressful part of my job: accounting for EVERY moment of work I do. Or don't do. I can feel like I'm getting a lot done and then when I do my time sheet I wish I hadn't talked to my coworker about his wife's fad diet for five minutes. Or to one of the secretaries about last night's episode of the Bachelor or whatever trash I watched the night before with the baby attached to my breasts. And let's be honest, that's 15 minutes, not five.)

Anyway...Second, I just couldn't up and leave like that. The morning pumping was set to occur in just moments. But I didn't want to appear like I was reluctant to go to the hearing. I had just asked to go to hearings. Neither did I want to explain that I couldn't go because of my parenting responsibilities. He is a very family-oriented guy but I still feel like you have to leave your family stuff at home in order to appear driven and professional. And it doesn't matter what I think, this is simply true. I didn't know how to approach the topic with him so I asked our secretary who has worked for him for a number of years and who actually left years ago to raise her kids and then came back to work about a year ago. She suggested she get involved to recommend a better system for planning ahead. And also to avoid a one-on-one discussion with my boss about my boobs. About which we ended up talking anyway because he was really pretty dense about understanding what we were talking about. So that's how breastfeeding became a disability, because I need "accommodations" to pump while at work.

I've been a little feisty about having to work while I am trying to exclusively breastfeed and my son is still only four months old. But this is a whole big topic of its own that I just don't have the energy to write about now. Or maybe ever. My conclusion, without explaining all the stuff going around in my head (for example, --oops there I go--the company that provides generous paid maternity leave with unpaid leave of up to a year to management employees pays its union workers according to the collective bargaining agreement, which provides what? ZERO paid days of maternity leave.)...My conclusion is that we need more female lawmakers to think about how things like work and family go together and more female lawmakers creating realistic and practical paradigms for economic success. It really gets my dander up when I hear people--single white men, I mean--my age and even younger bitching about how Susie Q doesn't do her work because she has kids.


Now I need to calm down by talking about something nice for a minute. My husband (who needs a snarky nickname for purposes of this blog) cooked dinner of rice and stir-fried chicken and fresh veggies all by himself and all from scratch tonight. He asked me some basic questions, but I am really proud of him for stepping up and getting things done without me. (Not that he is extraordinarily dependent or anything, but he is still a man.) It was even almost done by the time I got home from work.

Le bebe is a crabass tonight because he got some shots today, but he's in the 98th percentile for length/height and I just had to brag. True to his breast baby roots he has fallen to 50th percentile for weight, and, thank goodness, he is about 75th percentile in head circumference, down from off-the-charts* at his four-week visit.

*I really wish that were true because it is funny that way, but he was more like 95th percentile.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Breastpumping Is Unfair

I was 20 weeks pregnant when I started my job. I did some research and knew that you're really not supposed to tell your prospective employer that you're knocked up* so I didn't and on my first day wore a ruched shirt and a suit with the jacket open. When I told my boss on Friday of that week he did confirm that I should not have told him during the interview process (shew) and also said he was very happy for me and thought it was great (double shew). He even said a few weeks later that it was better I was going out on maternity leave in the first six months, rather than down the line when they will actually be depending on me to produce work. He also interrupted himself to say--not that you can't have more kids!--so that was cool too. After I came back from leave he said he thought I was pregnant because he thought I had "gained some weight." Now that was the worst part. I thought I was pulling it off!

I started the job and worked for exactly four months, and people still thought I might not come back to work. Like who works for four months on purpose? Why bother? I didn't even take their health insurance. So I found out when I returned that I wasn't really being trained because no one wanted to invest the time and energy in case I didn't return. Turns out the associate who was supposed to train me wasn't into it either, then he left for a new job about two weeks before I went out. Like, why do you have to blame me, dude?

I pretended I was advocating for someone else and made the argument to my boss that I deserved the raise a man would get in my position. I am not sure if I was successful but he somewhat apologetically said he was getting me a very small raise. He said if a guy were there for six months but broke his ankle so only worked for four months, then he wouldn't get a raise. But ankle-breaking is an equal opportunity accident. I said if I were a man and my wife had a baby I would have worked the whole six months and gotten the raise. So you really can't say that women aren't penalized for having the babies. I understand the argument, that four months of work should get rewarded at the four-month level, but again, that is the mentality that keeps women behind. Look at that guy Josh on Top Chef. He's in Alaska on the best thing ever for his career, and his wife is home giving birth. If he were her, he would be missing out. I know there is merit to the argument that you pay to play. However, when we as a society keep wondering why women keep lagging behind men, we can't keep treating two unequal things equally while expecting equal results.There is a partner at work, whose children are now teenagers or older, mentioned that she had two of her children while working for a real "hard ass" firm, and she took four months leave with each child. I sort of want to ask her about that, but I am still afraid of looking like I am not serious about work. So how will anything ever change? I can say I want the raise, and that I should get the raise, but then I still feel like I look like I am not serious about work if I show interest in being available for my newborn whose sole source of food is me!

Which kind of brings me to my next topic. Pumping at work!** I admit, I am in a slump right now. I've been back to work about six weeks now and the idea of being le bebe's exclusive source of food for two more months is kind of intimidating. I have hearings to drive up to two hours to, I have meetings with my boss as I try to understand what the hell I am doing at work, and sometimes I just get involved in my work and look up and it's an hour later than I thought I should be pumping. The good news now is that I don't have to be that precise about the timing of pumping/feeding. But it is still so exhausting to keep on track while trying to lead a normal work life. And I know that I have it pretty good. I have my own office to which I can close the door with a "do not disturb" note on it. I've got my system now so that I can be pretty efficient. But even so, one day I had to leave early for something and I was scrambling to get everything together and it's stuff like this happens: you pull the plug out and it falls into your ankle bone. Or you leave all the pump parts in your drawer so you can't wash them one night. Or your brand-new car adapter decides not to work for some reason. Or you learn that there is a car adapter and that women pump in the car. While driving. I realize that if I think this is hard, then anyone who doesn't have such a good work environment, or a flexible schedule (except for hearings) like I do, must think this is really hard! And my conclusion right now is that new moms should be able to stay home for six months...without sacrificing career mobility/advancement. So maybe that is why I am in a slump right now...because I am sort of bitter about having a baby and being gone for only 10 weeks and I already feel like I am sacrificing career advancement.

*I have a love/hate relationship with this term. It's kinda like, not pejorative if you adopt it yourself, nah mean?

**I promised this post as Adventures in Breastpumping, but I already forgot everything I was going to write about, except for the big end of the plug hitting me in the ankle bone. That really happened.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sh*t Will Drive You Nuts!!

(Seriously, how do people blog all the time?)

So. Let's do a quick roundup on my parenting skills.

-Wiping bebe's ass with anti-freeze
-Diapering with chlorine and other nasty chemical-y things in disposable diapers
-Using a changing pad with vinyl covering, apparently all chemical-y (Used, actually. Replaced that with an organic thing for $100.)
-Didn't know there was a "no screens for babies" rule
-While trying to figure out why there is a no screens rule, discovered that putting your baby on the floor with some music playing is also bad

Really. How are you supposed to, I don't know, do ANYthing while your baby is awake besides feed him, play and read to him? I love feeding and playing with and reading to my baby. But I love eating, taking a shower once or twice a week, going to the bathroom, sometimes having to make a phone call or send an email. Oh yeah, I was reading the sleep book again (Weissbluth), probably a mistake because by pretty much all accounts "it ain't broke" so I don't know why I feel the need to go fixin' it, but anyway. He said something about how we (selfishly) keep our children from the sleep they need because we run errands on the weekends. What WORLD does he live in? Yeah, sometimes I need to go out to, I don't know, run my household on the weekend. It's called grocery shopping and buying clothes, diapers, and other toxic necessities for my child. More on this and the list above at some later date or never.

So I'm feeling a little insecure in my parenting these days. But we all lived, right? Gotta go pick up my baby from his perch in front of TV now. (Joke. Do not email me about that.)

Next post will have a more professional focus: adventures in breast pumping!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dream Feeding

Wow. It's, like, really hard to work full time and have a newborn at home and write blog posts.

So I discovered that the "dream feed," the real one that I talked about not working at all for me actually worked. One morning I woke up at 7 and wanted to finish feeding the baby since at 4 or 5 he only fed on one side. The other breast was full and leaking by 7, so I got him out of the bassinet without his waking up. He started sucking and after 5-10 minutes went back to the bassinet without waking up!

The next time I tried the dream feed, bebe was sleeping in his car seat at midnight after a long (sleepless) afternoon and evening with my in-laws. He didn't wake up when I pulled him out of the car seat and starting sucking. Hard. After a bit I put him down to swaddle and he was still sleeping peacefully. But then I thought in order to stay asleep he would need a burp. And a diaper change. It had been four hours since his last change and I thought maybe he smelled a little bad. Yeah, the diaper...had one pee in it, maybe. The baby? Now wide awake. Whoops.

OK the next time I tried. He fell asleep at 4 or 5:00 feeding after one breast. We did the other dream feed for an hour, and I woke up thinking maybe he would dream feed for real. I offered my other breast and he choked on it. At least he didn't wake up.