Although I'm finding it hard to write because of time constraints, it's also partly because each day seems to blend into the next without much fanfare.
Being on maternity leave has completely blurred my concept of time -- sometimes I don't even know what day of the week it is. Sure, the thought of having 12 weeks off probably sounds like a vacation to most office dwellers, but I can assure you that's not the case. In fact, the only difference is that I'm on-call 24 hours a day and my boss is 25 inches long and screams without reason.
In a weird way, this time at home reminds me of the two months I was unemployed after losing a job in 2004. Although none of my days stood out and I struggled not to feel wretched and worthless, I recall much of that time very fondly. There were so many wonderful moments spent with Jer taking sub-zero walks in the snow, dancing in the kitchen to music while making dinner and renting tons of movies.
My maternity leave feels vaguely similar. Although I struggle with my inability to get out of the house -- mostly because I hate leaving Allison even for a moment -- and I'm spending most of my time in sweatpants and baggy T-shirts covered in spit up, I know I'll look back at these few months with nostalgia.
And although there's seemingly not a lot to write about, the big picture of how we're spending our days in this house is something I don't want to lose to time and memory lapse.
It's nothing spectacular. In fact, it's probably best described as ordinary. I've found my favorite spot to feed Allison during the day is on the right side of the couch, and because of that, I've taken to watching much more TV than usual.
"CSI" reruns to be exact.
Thanks to the writers' strike that has every major network airing a dismal abyss of reality garbage and uninspired game shows, I found myself searching for something, anything of substance.
In my remote control travels, I stumbled upon a "CSI" marathon on Spike. An obscene amount of DVR recordings later, Jerry and I are hooked. And because it has been one of the most popular shows for over a decade, we have more than ample catching up to do. Sure, we don't get them in sequence, but we're starting to put a pattern together -- much like the investigators on the show.
When we're not talking in our newly discovered crime jargon, we're usually splitting the duties that come with owning a house, having a baby and a dog, and catering to the necessities in life like eating and sleeping.
Although Allison is an awesome baby, she really likes to be held, which leaves one of us with our arms tied up almost all the time. Fortunately, Jerry has found a way to balance her on his chest while she's napping that also allows him to get in a little video game time. Even better, it allows me to walk around the house freely.
Those are moments I think all three of us enjoy. Well, four of us if you include Toby who is usually curled up on Jerry's lap.
But my favorite time during the day is when we play with Alli. We put a blanket on her floor, place her in the middle, read her stories, hold up toys and just talk to her. I think Toby loves it too because he has access to sniff her freely.
Eating dinner has gotten a little easier in the past few weeks. I've found that if I feed her right before we sit down, Jerry and I have a little more time to actually converse at a normal tone instead of attempting to enjoy a meal over a symphony of screaming. We've actually made it through without her crying on a few occasions, and each time we wonder what we did to deserve it. Regardless, we certainly don't take it for granted.
I wouldn't say we've quite fallen into a routine, but it no longer feels completely overwhelming. Allison's biological clock still varies from day to day, but much less than it did at the beginning. I've found that if I can get her to midnight, she'll usually fall asleep for a significant period of time, leaving me feeling much more rested and able to handle the curveballs.
That said, I'm starting to stress about returning to work. I have four weeks left and wonder how the hell we're all going to make the transition. I'm worried about leaving her. I'm worried about Jerry getting enough sleep. I'm worried about me getting enough sleep. I'm worried about Jerry and me getting time together and to ourselves. I'm also worried about continuing to breastfeed and all of the hurdles that come with it -- pumping at the office, keeping up my milk supply, keeping up with the bottles and sterilizing everything.
But just when my head starts to go crazy worrying about the "what ifs," I try and remind myself how much she's changed since we brought her home. A lot could happen between now and February.
I'll just do my best to enjoy every moment. As uneventful as they may seem, I know I'll be wishing I could get them back in a few weeks.