The second time around

I’m discovering that parenting a baby is pretty different the second time around.

There is, of course, the obvious difference that you would expect: the fact I’ve done this before and things aren’t quite as stressful when you know what you’re doing.

But there are also some surprises this time.

When I was pregnant with Littleman and it was time to start stocking up on baby gear, I remember wanting everything to be new.  We took a couple of hand-me-down items from good friends or family, but even that made me cringe a bit.  I preferred brand new, shiny, clean stuff.

This time, nothing is new.  Most of it is the stuff we used for Littleman, but we’ve also (gasp!) purchased a bouncy chair from a second-hand store and bought a jogging stroller off a kijiji posting.  Oh the horror!  As long as I can clean things before we use them, I’m happy to save some money.

The other thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m really savouring my time with Bo.  I enjoyed my time at home with Littleman when he was a baby – in fact, I absolutely loved it – but I don’t think I really took the time to appreciate how very special it was.

This time, I’m acutely aware of how quickly time goes by.  In the middle of the night last night, I was awake, listening to the rhythmic sound of D’s breathing as he slept beside me.  I had just finished nursing and burping Bo, who was asleep on my chest, snoring softly.  In the past, I would have rushed to put him back down in his bassinet so that I could maximize my own sleep.  But this time, rather than be annoyed that I was awake, I just savoured that time with him.  How much longer will he be so tiny?  How much longer will he want to snuggle with his mom in the middle of the night?

This is about the time in Littleman’s life that we moved him into his crib in his own room.  D has suggested that we think about moving Bo, but I’m not ready.  I know this is my last baby.  This time with him is fleeting and, as I felt Bo’s soft hair on my cheek and breathed in his baby scent, I reminded myself of the need to enjoy every second.

So, while I’ve been applying all the baby care lessons I learned the first time around to help make my life easier this time, I think the most important thing I’ve realized the second time around is to just enjoy it.  And I am.

12 weeks old and enjoying the warmth!

Where does the time go?  It feels like just yesterday that we were freezing our buns off in the midst of a miserable winter and I was sending my mom out to buy Bo more newborn sleepers.  Now, it’s hot and humid (no complaints here!) and I’m frantically digging out Littleman’s summer baby clothes so Bo doesn’t have to sweat it out in his pants and long-sleeved onesies!

Baby Bo is almost 12 weeks old.  I’m feeling really good and, while we don’t quite have a schedule or routine going, we still manage to be pretty busy during the day.

Now that the weather is nice, I’m walking a ton.  I love my stroller and can walk happily for hours.  Bo is (usually) just as happy as I am to be out with the stroller.  It’s a good way for me to get some exercise while he gets some napping.  Win win!

After one of our walks yesterday, Bo was still asleep so I decided to plant some of the flowers that we bought for our front garden.  We had just walked home from our mommy and baby fitness class, so I figured I might as well get even more dirty and sweaty before I showered.  I sure am feeling it today!  I’m not sure what hurt me more – the exercise class or the gardening!  Either way, my poor body is very sore and I am very tired.  I’m using today’s rain as a nice excuse to stay inside and play with my baby boy while I rest my aching muscles.

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That’s Manager Mommy to you!

So, last week I went into the office to meet with my new boss. He explained that there would be some changes to the team before I return from maternity leave next year. While I was happy to hear that, I also didn’t set my expectations very high. My colleagues and I have a manager that sucks and have been promised a lot in the past. Over the eight years that we’ve worked there, nothing has actually changed.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, less than a week after my visit to the office, I was contacted by HR because the new boss wanted to have a quick phone chat to update me on some changes.

Turns out he had two pretty big pieces of news: my crappy manager is gone and I got a promotion! Woohoo! I’m not gonna lie – I’m not sure which piece of news excites me more! Obviously it isn’t nice to be happy about someone losing their job, but holy shit, she sucked. And I’m pretty darn pleased about becoming a manager myself! Two of my other colleagues got promoted as well, and we will each have one employee reporting to us.

I’m glad that I still have many months before I have to return to work, but I think this will make it a bit easier when the time comes. I was seriously unsure about whether I would stay there much longer once my maternity leave was over, but this may be enough of a positive change to turn things around.

Now, I better get back to my current job. My boss needs his diaper changed!

My kids’ friends or my friends’ kids?

When Littleman was a baby, I never really thought about who he would play with. When I wanted to socialize, we’d often spend time with friends who had kids that were a similar age. He was too young to choose his own friends, so we chose for him.

Now that he’s three years old, things are starting to change. He’s in daycare during the week and it’s so interesting to hear him talk about who he plays with.

Recently, his daycare teachers approached D and I to say that there is one little boy in particular, Jackson, who Littleman is great friends with. We were told that they play really well together and are best buds. They do everything together.  The teachers suggested that we consider arranging a play date outside of school.

This sounds fine in theory, but it’s kind of weird in practice. First, I don’t know this kid. I had to ask the teachers to point him out to me. Second, I don’t know his parents. I’m certainly not going to send my three-year-old to their house alone for a play date and I imagine they feel the same. So that automatically means that we, as the parents, have to choose to hang out together if we want our kids to play together.

With a newborn baby at home, I didn’t get my act together to reach out to Jackson’s parents. Turns out that they were getting the same message from the teachers and left us a note in Littleman’s cubby with their contact information.

So, I bit the bullet and texted Jackson’s mom to invite them to our place last weekend. D was working so I figured it would be a good activity to keep Littleman busy. I thought that Jackson’s mom (who, incidentally, is expecting her second baby in September) and I could chat and hang out with Bo while the kiddies played.

I’m not gonna lie – I was kind of dreading it.  I hate trying to make small talk with people I don’t know and it felt weird to invite strangers to my house.  But, since Littleman is usually forced to spend time with my friends’ kids, the least I could do is spend time with the parents of his friends, right?

On the day of the play date, Jackson arrived with both of his parents.  They had offered to bring lunch for the boys, but ended up bringing enough for us adults too.  They turned out to be very nice and normal people.  And the boys had an absolute ball.  They really do get along amazingly well.  It was one of the first times I’ve noticed Littleman play with another kid his age where they actually interact consistently with each other as opposed to just playing beside each other.  They clearly really like each other and had so much fun.

So, I guess this is something I’m going to have to get used to as the boys get older: my kids having their own friends instead of always playing with my friends’ kids.  As difficult as it is for me to reach out to people I don’t know, it’s important to me that I get to know the kids that Littleman spends most of his time with.  And, I suppose it doesn’t hurt for me to meet new people.  Maybe someday they’ll actually become my friends too.

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Visiting the office

It seems that I have a knack for having babies just in time to avoid major changes at my workplace.  During my last maternity leave, my company merged with another company.  When I returned to work, my office was in a different building and my team had doubled in size.  It made the back-to-work adjustment a bit harder because I had to get used to a new place and new people.  But, I was quite happy to have missed the majority of the stress and drama that went on during the transition.

This time, it appears that there will some changes once again.  My VP got a new job and left the company.  We’re getting a new boss, who is moving over from a different department within the company.  A couple of weeks ago, a rep from HR contacted me to let me know (of course, I’d already heard through the office grapevine!) and said that our new boss would like to chat with me if I was up for it.  He offered a phone call but said I could come in person if I’d prefer.

I decided that it would be a good idea to go in person.  I’ve never worked with him before and figured it would be better to meet him face-to-face.

So, today, I dragged Bo and D downtown with me to the office.  While I had my meeting with my new boss, D walked around the shopping mall attached to my office with Bo in the stroller.  Then, the three of us went to visit my colleagues.

It felt pretty weird to be there.  The meeting with the new boss was fine… he told me that he’d heard good things about me and wanted me to know that there would always be a place for me on our team.  He also made it clear that there would be some changes and that he saw this as an opportunity for a “restart” of our team.  Not sure what that means for sure, but I expect a bit of restructuring and perhaps some changes in personnel.  We’ll see.  Happily, I don’t go back to work until next February so I will be able to watch from the sidelines as things shake out.

It was nice to see my friends, though.  Bo cooperated and was happy to give some snuggles to my colleagues.

In the end, I’m glad I decided to go to the meeting in person.  It reminded me how lucky I am to have this time away from work with my boys!

One highlight of my day was the couple of times I fed Bo while we were there.  My office is attached to a major downtown shopping mall, where D and Bo hung out during my meeting.  Before and after the meeting, I nursed Bo in the mall’s nursing room.  Wow, I was totally impressed!  It was a huge room with two big, comfy leather chairs.  There was a long counter with a great change area.  And, attached to the room was a family washroom, so I could bring the stroller with me when I had to pee.  You had to use an intercom to ask security to open the room, so I didn’t have any random people walking in while I was nursing.   I was very pleasantly surprised and actually snapped a pic to show my friends!

 

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Getting my body back (or at least trying to)

So, I’ve officially started exercising again.  Not just walking around the neighbourhood (although I do a ton of that too) but full on, intense exercising.

When I was on maternity leave with Littleman, I found a mommy and baby fitness class to join.  I’ve always preferred classes to exercising on my own because I need the motivation of someone telling me what to do (and, since I tend to be a teeny bit competitive, I work much harder when there are other people around!)

I ended up loving the class and did it a couple of times a week for the majority of my time at home.  I met some great friends, spent time with my baby AND worked out.  By the end of my maternity leave, I was in the best shape of my life.

I was super excited to start taking the classes again this time around and it didn’t disappoint.  The same instructor still teaches the class and it is just a hard as I remember.  I was pretty much dying after the warm-up but I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it.

I’m back in my pre-pregnancy pants but I still have some unsightly belly flab and extra weight to lose.  Breastfeeding makes me starving (and causes me to crave sweets!) so I know I need to find a way to balance it all out.

Once the weather gets more consistently nice, I plan to join a strollerfit class as well.  Nothing like running up a hill pushing a 14lb baby in a stroller to make you sweat (and hopefully help shed those pounds!)

I don’t expect my results to be as good as they were the first time around… I’m not totally delusional!  But I hope that, by working hard, I can get a little bit closer to having my old, pre-pregnancy body back.