Friday, July 24, 2015

Weird Parenting: The Four Month Honeymoon

Hello again friends and creeping family members!

I apologize for my absence, but believe me twas for good reason.  I was simply saving you all the trouble of having to hate me.  I know my readers (all twelve of them), really are here for one of two things:

1. The adorable pictures of #owenmichael -- in which case scroll through to the bottom and ignore all the words.

2. To get pulled into the dark soul-sucking abyss of new parenthood -- the world of explosive feces, bodily fluids of questionable origin everywhere, and zombie walking through Target on a Saturday morning in search of the next diaper size, witch hazel pads (don't ask), and Siggi's, THE BEST GODDAMN ICELANDIC YOGHURT IN THE WORLD, for breakfast at 4 AM.  The only redeeming features are the exposed breasts at all hours of the day, the endless supply of poop/fart jokes, and the ability for me to go on heroin binges, take runny dumps all over the house, and blame my four month old (I'm joking, JOKING, ah poop jokes... pls don't call DSS ohmigosh meth is better anyway helps counterbalance the insomnia.)

But for about six strange weeks, Team Taj could only offer happyhappy tales 😂😂❤️   

Owen is sleeping through the night!  

moustache pacifier creator deserves a Nobel Prize in general awesomeness

Owen went to Tour De Fat and a Cuban restaurant with us in the same afternoon and didn't cry ONCE!  

#$@&ing hipster baby

Brian is running again!  

You don't see me?  I'm somewhere in there I swear... oh wait that was last year

Brian finished a draft of his first novel since 1988!

Ok the content of my last book was a little juvenile
Megan's back to work transition isn't traumatically awful!  

Owen got accepted early admission to Stanford but he's considering deferring a year because see he's got this whole start up thing going on you know, like building drones to feed starving infants in third world countries in the middle of the night and stuff 

(whoa now, someone actually DOES need to invent and market bottle feeding drones.)

Baby genius right here... but still scratches himself

In other words, parenting THIS particular kid at three months was boring and so I didn't have much to write about.  He was cute (and still is by the way.)  He played well with jingly toys for 10-15 minute intervals before squawking at us.  He started laughing at the dumbest things we did, not often... but often enough that we actually started to think "wow we have a pretty cool kid, how'd he end up NOT being a sociopath with us as parents" (don't worry we got LOTS of years ahead to mess him up.)  In other words, we thought we had it made.  Easy kid, livin' the good life.

Then the first baby tooth started growing (only 19 more left, right!?)

The milk supply ran low and Owen was umm... displeased.

homeboy don't mess 'round

The sleep patterns that made our lives infinitely better started breaking down.

The locusts came and ravaged everything and blood rained from the sky.

He keeps getting bigger and bigger...

We got pregnant with our second (no No NO NO NO just kidding again!)

Ok but seriously, having a kid will keep you on your toes -- and sure that's so eff-ing obvious and I knew that would happen, but to live it is a whole other thing.  Months go by now in a blur - and I can't remember how or what I did when (uh, it's almost August now, whaaaa?  Where is summer going?  When is our vacation?)  

I look in the mirror and I'm the same except for the new silver hairs I seem to notice each day taunting me from my scalp.  I look at Owen and he seems the same too until all of a sudden he moves up to the next size in everything at the same time.  He takes a sudden interest in us eating grown up food, copying us intently with motions of his hand, staring at us with his bulging eyes and bullfrog cheeks from the high chair Megan frantically assembled one day because she needed somewhere to sit him when he wouldn't lie down anymore without fussing.  

new toys... our living room looks like a day care

And we wondered why he wasn't sleeping... when we still had him in the rock-n-play that he was in since he was two weeks old...  Turns out he likes to roll on his side now when he sleeps, just like a normal human being.  He wakes up in the middle of the night because his brain is rapidly rewiring again to transition out of that newborn/early infant phase.  I have deja vu of the first month all over again when he wakes up at 10... 11... 2:30... 4... but it's different now.

Mom and dad both have to go to work in the morning.  Mom and dad both have things they want/need/have to do other than hyper focus on the baby like in the first month.  Mom and dad love the baby, jesting about returning him back to Duke Regional Hospital for a four month warranty after the rough nights, but mom and dad are ummm.... tired.

dad displaced

The rest of the world often forgets what we have to deal with at home, or just simply doesn't know.  The return to work transition for mom can't be taken lightly.  Nothing magic happens at 12 weeks that automatically qualifies a new mom ready to go back to the work force.  If anything, that is when things actually first start getting FUN with most kids - when they start smiling and making all those cute baby noises we tend to think happen straight out of the womb.  Those are simple things, but they are the rewarding aspects of being a parent at this stage.

Arranging for child care is a powerfully consuming household project.  If Team Taj were a business, it would be our second greatest expense just behind the space we occupy -- only so much is emotionally invested in it too, particularly for mom having to watch someone else care for the kid that was literally attached to them for the past 52 weeks.  A litany of literature is available about how the US lags so many other countries around maternity policies (and paternity) -- the hidden cost is how much of a career killer it can be for many women whose workplace corporate cultures don't support it.  Let's be clear -- both she and I are very lucky to have supervisors, coworkers, etc... that get it, but most corporate policies give limited flexibility.  To be perfectly honest, Megan's 20 hour a week job was the single tipping point that gave us the confidence to be able to do this crazy thing called parenting; 20 hours is probably the optimal combination of time away from home and time at home at this stage (yet I assume Megan would still say "don't be fooled, it's still not easy.")  40 hours a week would be killer.  Stay at home full time and Megan would be going batshit crazy.  

Women are told by the medical community constantly to breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed - which automatically tethers mom to the child 24 hours a day in some shape or form.  Mom can't just STOP the train once it rolls out of the station and once those 6-12 weeks of maternity leave are over - the physiology just doesn't work that way without other medical implications.  What about the woman who has to travel for her job?  (thankfully not Megan.)  What about a woman who is in meetings all day and doesn't have time to pump and ends up with stains on the inside of her blazer at the end of a workday, which really is an issue that pales in comparison to the guilt associated with not being able to feed and wasting supply.  Many women choose to make the time anyway, and often times it comes at the cost of perceived productivity -- and yet for many the only option is to exit the workforce altogether, at least temporarily.  

At the same time, we are just hitting our stride in our thirties - it's the decade that makes or breaks so many people career wise.  A company often won't hire a person into a Director or VP position who has been sitting entirely on the sidelines for the last two years.  If the foundation of any economy is keeping people educated, busy, and productive, why do we throw so many barriers into the equation that make it more difficult to sustain continuous employment?  I'm not advocating for more programs/laws like FMLA, but rather more flexibility around supporting the rigors of new parenthood, particularly for women.

Anyway, I know that was all philosophical/bloggy type ranting.  I guess things are moving the right direction albeit glacially -- as I think I'm not in the minority among my age group peers around "the system needs to change" ... now we just have to wait out all the folks who guide the laws of the land (mostly white, mostly men, mostly grew up in another era where feminism was "bra burning hippie crap", all wealthy, ironically mostly have kids themselves, yeah I just went there.)

Maybe I'll just stick to the poop jokes from now on -- and thank Megan again for ALL that she does, something I need to remind myself to do far more in person.

Oh and the pictures.

leave me alone paparazzi

Team Taj huddle

Friends from Norway/Singapore

Aunt Kristin and my 95 year old granddad

Aunt Pari


I'm ready to go, let's go!

4 generations, 95 years

showcasing my instragram prowess

Koala vs. Human... eep.

Taking care of something this cute is a full time job

No comments:

Post a Comment