Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day by day

My nemesis is about 5'3", drives a Nisson Xterra (those bulky things are an abomination) and scowls at me every time I see her.  I feel like there are "Mommy Wars" in every context (home versus hospital births, breastfeeding versus formula, working versus not), and now I'm in my own personal battle with this moody mama from daycare.

Our daycare is in a well-off area, but we picked it because 1) it's close to my train station and 2) it seemed a lot more unstructured and normal than the Ivy League-groomin' joint down the street.  I's daycare. 

Anyway, let's get down to business: many of the parents are obviously doing pretty well because they have nice cars, clothes, and fancy baby seats. I'm totally ogling their kids' gear when they're not looking.  We have the Target special and drive the cheapest versions of a 2004 Civic and a 2005 Corolla.  The latter has packaging tape holding it together.  (Don't be intimidated by our high-roller lifestyle.)

So there I am every morning, shortly after seven, wearing something that is inevitably wrinkled, getting out of my sweet ride, and this mom gives me a raised eyebrow as I wobble in with my sweet little girl strapped in her car seat.  We are not so frumpy and frazzled that it makes us pathetic or endearing (movies with harried moms always make them seem cute and endearing): we're just doing our thing and a bit tired.  When I was in Annie's room I mentioned that she had a bit more peach fuzz than before (I mean, she's still pitifully bald, but we cling to the notion of a "a bit more fuzz!") and this other mother guffaws and comments on the luxuriousness of her child's hair while turning to me.  Look - no infant has luxurious hair!  It's called "baby fine" for a reason.  She then looks me up and down.  How dare this woman make me feel small.  Aren't we all in this together?  This is not easy.

Putting Annie in daycare is hard, but has not ravaged me the way I thought it might: during my last days of maternity leave I sat on my couch and wailed.  But it didn't talk long (like a day!) to find I like my adult time.  I like having a break.  But it still kills me she's there so often and for so long.  When her teacher took me aside this morning and said that Annie had a horrible day yesterday - that she was so fussy and inconsolable - my eyes welled up and that familiar tightness in my chest returned.  The teacher hugged me and said they'll watch her today - hopefully it will be better - it might be an ear infection or she may be teething, or she just had a bad day.  And I said thank you, please let me know, and I got in my car and cried.  Not just about her, but about both of us.

And this is when it's hard - when the puzzle pieces are still askew and nothing seems to be fitting, at daycare or at work.  For a job and industry that doesn't pay well and doesn't have any prestige (I can pick 'em!) I have a large workload and a lot of anxiety that surrounds it.  I have spoken to my boss about my inability to continue like this.  I even mentioned my Crohn's and how I'm having a flare that I believe is stress-induced - perhaps a risky corporate move, but needed.  Her sensitivity and response gives me hope.

And then I asked Matt to pick-up Annie earlier - to see how she was doing today.  I called him while still in the city shutting down my computer and he already had Annie home and she was "happy and smiley", and like that I felt instant relief.  I felt lightened.

I've been finding being a working mother very much like this: the pains ebb and flow, but for the most part, we're fine and we keep moving on.  One step - and day - after the next.

And with that, I boarded my train home.

That little girl is my beacon.

Two weeks ago was my 30th birthday.  Matt and Annie surprised me in the city and we went for lunch.  So incredibly sweet.  

We all took the train home together.  I think it's so sweet Annie and Matt took the train in alone together - she was well-behaved both ways!  Here she is mesmerized by my jewelry.

That weekend it was hot so we got out our baby pool (which we originally bought for Penny last year).  Matt and Annie took a dip!

Here's Annie in the backyard watching Matt work on the trellis he's building with his father.  He set this up for her when I was taking a nap:  they are quite the dynamic duo!

The trellis.  For Matt's darn arctic kiwi plants.  (The ideas this boy gets in his head.)

Matt's father David, Matt, and Annie on top of the trellis.


  1. what wonderful family pictures! the pool picture? most adorable thing i have ever seen. crooned at annie for like five minutes. i think your little girl has a beautiful head of peach fuzz. shame on your nemesis.

  2. you make me laugh and cry at the same time. love the sweet family pics;)