I left work in the middle of June 2011, expecting to have a month off before the baby arrived, his speedy and unexpected arrival at the end of that month meant I was still on ADOs (Accrued Days Off), 8 working days later. I’d not even started Maternity Leave. Now at the end of this month, 3 days shy of Peanut’s 9 month birthday, I will be returning to work, full-time.
I was due to have a day in the office this week, Wednesday and again next Wednesday, then we’re off. However, after his orientation sessions and first full day in childcare, Peanut came home with a horrendous virus, that has gone through the three of us. To be expected. He also gave it to my Mum who was visiting for a couple of weeks. She’s since flown home and probably infected everyone on the plane, whoops – sorry! She is due to go to France this weekend, so it could be a well-travelled bug by the time she’s finished with it.
Getting back to getting back to work. Talk about hitting the ground running, with major office renovations being completed this week, I also don’t even know where I am going to be sitting yet. Or what I am doing. Hubs is going to get a car seat so I don’t have to drop off and collect every day of the week, but into our working weeks we need to diarise gym sessions, food preparation, planning and shopping, sleep, the usual every couple has to organise. Plus something else we didn’t have to worry about before I stopped working: playing with and enjoying our baby.
While I am looking forward to going back to work, I am aware that it isn’t for some people. That working full-time is for even fewer people and the continual juggling that working parents do is only just beginning. I am including Hubs in this, because we include each other in everything, we are a team and have been from day one. While he has relied on me during the past 8 and a bit months to look after the baby the majority of the time, I will now be relying on him to hold me up while I transition back to work. As I can’t imagine when all our jobs are done for the evening I’ll be very good company, I think I’ll be like a zombie!
Thankfully Peanut has started sleeping for 7 hours at a stretch over the past month. What clicked in him, we don’t know, neither do we really care, but the same routine has been going on for a while now; bath, music, books, boob, bed. The week though it’s gone a bit skewiff, what with the lurgy waking him (and me) up every 2-3 hours again. I simply can’t shake the bug off because I’m not resting enough. Hubs had a day off work this week, but as I am still feeding Peanut, I don’t get a day off to recuperate. Life, and washing, simply goes on, because I am still feeding Peanut, I can’t take anything stronger than paracetamol and ibuprofen. Have you tried fighting a cold with that? I might as well shout at the sky to tell it to stop raining.
We got the doctor out to him on Monday, a public holiday in Victoria, as he just wasn’t getting any better. He confirmed what I’d guessed, that it was viral, as the copious amounts of snot the baby is producing is clear, not green which would indicate bacterial. However, the doctor was pleased that he was still eating, albeit mostly only breast milk, still producing wet nappies and told us what to look for that would indicate Peanut is getting worse. His cough is horrible, hacking, congested and racking his tiny body. The warning signs we were told to look out for got worse in the evening, culminating in a trip to A&E after a 2c temperature spike in 2 hours on Tuesday night. He wasn’t well enough to go into childcare on Wednesday, and we saw our GP again today (Thursday), where we found out he’s now got an ear infection too. After most of the day being inconsolable, he’s just had his bath and calmed down somewhat. We are both exhausted looking after him.
Getting ready to go back to work also involved a small shopping expedition, as I had bugger all clothes that fitted me. I went through my wardrobe, all my ‘feeling fat’ clothes, ‘had a big lunch’, normal, ‘wooo! I’ve lost weight’ and ‘heck I’m skinny’ clothes. Literally two suits and (after they were taken in), one extraneous pair of trousers later, I’d got into the ‘maybe one day I might wear these again’ clothes. The rest of the bottom half of my working wardrobe has all been donated to charity. Mum came shopping with me, we found another suit and three tops. Which doesn’t sound much, but this weekend I’ll go and buy some more trousers and a skirt or two, which will get me through the first couple of months then I can buy stuff as I need it from there on.
I’ve also dug out my ergo keyboard and mouse, the reference books and text books that sit on my desk shelves, brought a box of tissues, packed a mug and a packet of tea. I added my pencil-case to the bags (my pen pot will go in when I know where I’m sitting properly) and I look like I’m moving house already. My back to work haircut is booked.
Now all I need to do is get Peanut drinking exclusively from a bottle and we’re all set. I had two weeks to sort that out, but while he’s felt so rough, I couldn’t restrict him access to one of his comforts. It’s going to be a busy week leading up to the 26 March. That’s before I know what projects I’m going to be working on.
I threw my teddies out the pram over the weekend with Twitter. As you can tell by reading this, Peanut has been really poorly, using the hash-tag #babycold, I updated people on how he was doing for the first couple of days. And got sod all back. Which both infuriated and then upset me. I don’t know how many times I’ve replied to people when they are going through a hard time, cheering them on, sending them hugs, support and letting them know they’re not on their own, that someone is listening to them. So I deleted my profile picture, removed my bio, listed myself as just ‘m’ and huffed off.
And, dare I say it, considering I am in the 13k of tweets, I am not missing it.
I’d been feeling fed up with being tied to an electronic gizmo 24/7. I record all of Peanut’s feeds on an app on my phone, it’s been very useful, mainly as it meant I didn’t need to remember when he last fed or for how long, it also showed us patterns forming in his sleep, but having my phone permanently by my side meant I’d check my phone permanently. Frankly, I’m over it. While I will continue to record his feeds etc. on it, I’m trying not to use it for anything other than a phone.
I’ll make a decision on whether I go back on twitter later. Initially, I went on to follow Stephen Fry, it snowballed from there. I’ve met nice people through it, I know that friends back in the UK read my steady stream of inane babble, so when I was feeling lost and lonely, I was genuinely upset that one of my main sources of communication was ignored for the most part. While my PND scores have gone down, my GP is still concerned that as Mum was out for two weeks, they could have dipped by having her here. I can still feel it rumbling away in the background. I know I don’t email as much as I should, or call as much as I should. But if you know me, you know that I babble on twitter. During this period of change and reflection on what has gone on in our lives over the past eight and a bit months, some things will get dropped as we transition back to ‘normal’. Our boy has grown, changed and developed exponentially more than either of us realised would be possible. I’ve said it before, he is my little Zen Master, I’m much more ‘present’ when I’m with him, I can’t be in real life if I’m in the cyber world with one hand, scrolling down a screen on a phone.
I don’t have time to re-view and re-read this, Peanut and Hubs are waiting for me. Apologies for this long epistle. I hope it’s not been too full of typos and grammatical errors.