Monday, March 30, 2009

Ali's back on offense!

From March Madness
Anyone who endured WHS with me back in the 90s knows that I am a right winger. I was most comfortable playing offense in my field hockey days. I liken the first 6-7 months of Miles's life to being thrown on the defensive line of a championship field hockey match--ill prepared with how to deal with the opposing offenders spin dodging my kilt. But now, I am back on the front lines and am able to determine when to use a slap shot over a drive. I think this started with Miles's 2nd set of teeth. I could finally contend "been there, done that." Until that point, I was constantly experiencing everything for the first time living in a reactive world. Now I feel like I can be proactive:

Teething. Skip the Tylenol and praying--doesn't work. Go straight to Motrin and Hyland's teething tablets.

Life certainly isn't easy with a baby, but we have achieved some sort of equilibrium. Perhaps this sense of stability is encouraged by the nearly full nights of sleep for Miles. Whatever it is, I finally feel like a Mom. And dare I say a pretty darn good Mom.

It's been some time since I have posted--in addition to our revolving door of guests and constantly full "dance card," we have made a concerted effort to unplug and enjoy the company of each other. We don't make New Year's resolutions nor do we subscribe to Lenten restrictions, but as a family we have come up with a list of little life changes. For almost a year we have eliminated TV during all meals and it has made such a huge difference in our lives. We are making an attempt to make all of our meals in house (when guests are not in town) and have adopted meatless Mondays. Our goal is to only produce 1 bag of trash each week and reduce our electric bill by $10. Finally, after 10 months, I have joined the cloth diaper cult. Okay, that isn't 100% true. We still use 7th generation diapers for childcare, but at home have Miles in cloth.
From March Madness
What all of this means is that we are spending more time as a family tending to the house, meals, and laundry (no matter what people say--cloth may be better for the environment, but it does take more work), and generally avoiding the computer in place of gardening, reading, or exercising.

Ah, exercise. I am getting out more to exercise and have finally cracked the surface of our seemingly geriatric neighborhood and found a group of young mothers to walk with and share in a glass of wine or two. Plus, my running has been reinvigorated after the completion of the ING Georgia half marathon. After all of maybe 6 or so "long runs" of no more than 7 miles, I decided to tackle the 13.1 miles. Luckily, my friend MB MPH PA decided to jog with me. It was great! We talked the entire way, and even took 1 mile to just walk and regroup. This was the first running event I have ever completed without the intention of hitting a specific time or racing. My quads are sore, but it was truly a great experience and I am eager to get back into peak running form (oh, and I would be lying if I said that a 1:35 half is still in my bag chest of goals for the next year). The best part was that I got a medal that Miles easily converted to the cutest baby on the block sash. Documentation below.
From March Madness

Please witness Miles trying to be serious as I honored him with a sash and scarf:
From March Madness

And then his immediate reaction:
From March Madness

As things continue to settle in our abilities as parents, there is an interesting dynamic as one part of my life has gotten more unsettling. Work. Yes, it was emotional turmoil going back to work at 6 weeks, but somehow those first few weeks during my return to work were a blur. Again, I was just reacting...people ask how I did it. Well, when you don't have an option you just "do." I would do anything to go back and steal an additional 6-8 weeks of time at home with Miles, but time travel is not in my cards. After a few weeks of being back at work, I felt more comfortable with Miles at childcare. It helped that he didn't really mind my leaving him. He always knew me when I picked him up, but easily transferred to the caring arms of the ELC teachers. Now, Miles greets me with unmatched animation and glee but also cries longingly when I leave. It kills me somedays. And it is true that infants change so much in those first few months, but I didn't experience milestone envy until Miles was about 9 months. And what I mean is that I pick him up and hear how he waved for the first time...or went from his tummy to sitting up for the first time. I've missed these moments and cannot get them back. I cherish the time I have with Miles but am trying to come to terms with the fact that % wise, his teachers spend more time with him than I do. I don't know how to reconcile these feelings--Bueller? Anyone with me on this?

I close by saying thanks to Tante K for taking a 4 night 5 day escapade to the Heintz family Inn, and capturing some great images of our little man. I am sure she can tell you how our days jump between mania and stillness.


  1. You can not only SAY you're a good mom, but girrrrrl, go'head and declare it from the rooftops! You rock!!!

    I'll have to ask you about cloth diapers in a few years...

    LOVE YOU, momma!

  2. Ali,
    I totally understand what you are going through missing out on a few things with Miles being in daycare. I have been blessed to have a job where I can use 1 day a week to work on my dissertation. But the guilt of having KR in daycare while I write is so overwhelming. Most days, I cut my writing time way short just to be able to spend some one-on-one time with her. I learned through the daycare teachers that she can hold her own sippy cup and walk across the room in a walker! She's only 6 1/2 months old and she can't crawl yet, but she can walk (assisted). We don't have a walker at home, so I never knew she could do this.
    anyway, I understand how that could make you sad or feel a bit guilty. But at the end of the day, it helps me to think about the fact that she won't remember these days of spending most of her time in daycare. Also, you were there for Miles' birth! far as I'm concerned, there's no bigger milestone :0)

  3. Just writing to play devil's advocate, but I have heard that cloth diapers can actually have a greater impact on the environment due to the increased use of energy and risk of pollution for those who are using traditional detergents. I am sure you've researched this, but it's sort of like Jon Hendricks assertion that recycling paper is bad for the environment because of the energy usage, bleaching, and chemical run off that are a result of the process. I don't know if I agree, but it's an interesting debate.

  4. I read your agony about work and missing landmarks with sadness, Alison. I was the day care worker who got to witness the "firsts" when parents were at work, and we all were well aware that we saw more of their children's awake time than they did. There really is no answer other than to say that it is what it is. regarding Miles's tears when you leave, however, those are very normal and natural. We have noted at school that children who have been in childcare are just as likely to cry as those who have not. It's just a part of separating from parents. Not only that, but children can go through stages where they don't cry and later do again. They are sad when you leave! You are sad, too. As an adult, you are sad to leave him, too. You probably just hide it better. Little ones are much more transparent and intense with their feelings (hence the "I hate yous" that come later on when you are at odds...) It's okay. I am sure he cheers up shortly after you leave and you know that he is in a wonderful setting with kind and caring women.
    I am glad to know that you are dialing back in other areas of your life to spend quality time (much as I hate that overused phrase) with Miles. Those are the memories he will have of growing up - being in the garden, taking walks with you, spending time together at the dinner table and so on.
    Just think! You will never again be a neophyte mother! Each new stage with your first child is a brand learning experience, but there is nothing quite as overwhelming as being a first time mother of a newborn or preemie. You are doing great!

  5. Oh, and about the diapers, I have to believe with the gentle detergents you use, that even the energy used washing cloth diapers, the impact to the environment has to be less harmful than dumping all that plastic into the environment.