A couple of nights ago Husband and I were having a conversation which involved mentioning a VCR. Older was listening in and chuckled at the mention of a VCR. I turned to him and asked, “Do you even know what a VCR is?” “Yes, “he replied with the tone of a tween who is insulted that I dared question his knowledge. I continued, “What does a VCR do?” In a self-satisfied tone Older answered, “Plays movies.” “And what do you put into a VCR?” I continued to probe. Older smiled, “A floppy disk!”
Not quite my young one. Not quite.
Yesterday was yet another boring day spent shadowing one of the lactation consultant at the hospital. Besides the long hours and the long commute, the absolute worst part of my job right now is that I have to go through three months of orientation before I am able to practice independently. This is a requirement of the particular hospital I am at and isn’t typical of the profession. I did not know about it prior to accepting the position and for a type A, independent person, such as myself, it is a special form of torment. There is something utterly miserable and defeating about being 38 years old and feeling like you’re back at square one.
But…the last consult of the day was a set of preterm (born before 37 weeks) twins. They were doing fine given their size and age but will need a great deal of help with feeding. The consultant that I was shadowing was working with the mom and Baby A when Baby B began to spit up and cry. The other parent wasn’t available to hold the crying babe so I volunteered for the “job” of holding and calming Baby B. The only way the tiny infant would settle was to hold her upright near my shoulder and snuggle her under my chin while I swayed. The previous ten hours at work had crawled by but the twenty minutes I held that baby were over in a blink. People often think that, as a lactation consultant, I get to hold babies all day long. In truth, if I am doing my job right I shouldn’t be holding babies much at all. They should be being taken care of by their parents. Although I am quite fond of babies, I didn’t choose this career so that I could hold newborns all day long. My greatest passion is in empowering parents with information and skills and helping to ensure that tiny humans get the best possible start in life. That said, those 20 minutes spent calming that perfect baby girl were a rare respite of bliss. I’ve been smiling on and off about them for the past 24 hours.
Can I write anything of substance in 15 minutes?
We shall see.
I started a new, demanding lactation consultant, job last week and the experience of it is so all encompasing at this point I need to find a way to make some space for myself or I will surely drown. Surely I can carve out 15 minutes at lunch, once week to step back and write.
Not suprisingly, what’s on my mind lately is work-life balance. Last Thursday evening, after four straight days of work Older broke down angrily “I hate your new job!” he shouted at me after a too late dinner (because I have a long commute and don’t get home until after 7:00 at best). The past week and a half has been a constant clash of those moments. Should I take the time for individual conversations with each child or should I go to bed by 10:00 so that I might hope to get seven hours of sleep before I am up in the dark at 5:30? Is it better for my husband to let the kids watch TV so he can make us a home cooked dinner or is it better to just save everyone the stress and order pizza? By the way, it turns out that the kids actually can get tired of pizza/quesadillas/mac and cheese. Is it better for me to go to the gym near work and exercise for 45 minutes, waiting for traffic to die down so that my commute will “only” be an hour or is it better for me to go straight home from work but sit in traffic for an hour and forty five minutes.
I don’t know the answer to any of the equestions. I do know that right now, life feels really hard. I keep thinking I just need to get though “one more day” or “one more week” as if I will then reach some mythical finish line. I am trying to accept that a week and half into a new job is probably too soon to really know what to do (not that I have other good options). Yesterday was a particularly bad day. Today is better.
Time to go back into the hospital and just keep swimming.
I love dresses. I find them generally more comfortable than shorts or pants. No matter how easy it actually is to slip on a dress, wearing a dress (or a skirt) seems to make you look more “put together” than you would otherwise. And, of course, a light dress is nice and cool in the summer. But despite the many praises of dresses, sometimes a girl needs to wear pants. Horseback riding. In the lab. And, of course, hiking.
Five years ago, when I thought I had two little boys, I often dressed them in jeans or overalls (matching them as often as I could for maximum cuteness). When Middle started to form her gender identity she progressed from blue jeans, to sweatpants with a dress over them, to a pair of purple skinny jeans with a dress or T-shirt, to leggings and a dress, and finally dresses or skirts ONLY. Pants were summarily rejected and on the few occasions when she really needed to wear them – like going on a hike thourgh poison oak territory – it was a drawn out ordeal to coax her into purple girls hiking pants.
This past week we went on an amazing coastal vacation that involved hiking though redwood forests. Before our trip, I took Middle to a local, inexpensive chain store and had her try on pants. She selected a pair of magenta skinny jeans and a pair of plain girls blue jeans. While she seemed happy with our purchase I didn’t know what would happen when the time came at the campsite to actually don the previously offensive garmets. The morning of our first big hiking day Middle woke up and with excitement selected the magenta pants along with a shirt emblazoned with kittens and flowers. Two days later she wore the blue jeans – by choice (even when she had skirts to choose from) on a trip to the aquarium. There isn’t a page in the baby book for the “finally feels secure enough in her gendter to wear pants without a fight” milestone. Maybe it sounds silly, maybe not, but I alomsot cired that day in the forest, watching her little pink pantsed butt heappily run ahead of me on the trail. Pants are back in the closet!