Today I finally talked to the right person who answered all (or almost all) of my questions about my maternity leave, my unpaid leave and my Family Medical Leave Act benefits! In January, I tried to iron this out but got bumped around from department to department b/c my situation is so unusual and nobody could really answer all of my questions.
My leave is unusual because my "employment anniversary" date is right in the middle of my leave and so it complicates things for reasons that I won't go into here--complicates in some bad ways but also in some good ways (my FMLA 12-week leave option gets renewed every year, so I actually get more than 12 weeks during my time off).
Anyway, so I finally started to get all of those details rolling and I met with the personnel person in my office and I presented my "maternity leave" plan and how somebody could pick up my duties while I'm gone and she liked it all.
It helps tremendously that I'm off during the whole summer when things around the office are petty dormant anyway. I would hate to burden a coworker with my job duties during the academic year!!! Scary!
So, I feel very relieved to have these plans in place and I have more to do to finalize some projects before I take off in about 2 months, but this is a big hurdle I had been struggling with, so that's great! Progress!
I'm really looking forward to these last two months--my last two months to be pregnant ever--as we do our flurry of activities to welcome the baby. I bought a bunch of plain onesies and I'm going to buy some fabric markers and then send them off to various family members so they can decorate a onesie for the new baby. I want him to have a few unique items from his infancy, since so much of what he's getting are hand-me-downs from his male cousins and people don't generally make a big fuss over the second baby. That's ok, but it's nice for him to have some personal mementos from his first year.
I'm also going to include some blank t-shirts in Molly's size so they can decorate a few shirts for her and she won't feel so left out when he shows up and gets a lot of attention. Pretty creative of me, huh? I probably stole the idea from someone but can't remember who it was.....
So, I'm complaining yesterday in my blog about some of the dysfunction at my work place. Ya know, it's really not that bad but it feels good to complain a little, to blow off steam.
Then I go home and find that Ed is feeling horrible because his cold seems to be sort of flu-like. He's been stuck inside all day with an active toddler (except when he went outside to shovel snow! Fun!) who refused to take her regular nap (weird--that rarely happens). Poor guy.
Earlier that morning, I went out to the garage and brought in two boxes of those oversized cardboard blocks for kids. I had bought them at a yard sale last summer and saved them for a winter's day when Molly really needed something new to do and we're all getting cabin fever. Yesterday seemed like the perfect day for that.
Ed told me after I got home that she liked the blocks pretty well, but preferred playing in the empty cardboard boxes they came in. Oh, well. I'll put them away again and pull them out on another day when she is bored with everything else.
I think Ed's glad he's a stay-at-home dad only 2 days a week, especially in during the winter we've had. Yikes! No more snow, please...
The good thing that did happen was that his current employer (one of his college teaching jobs) called and invited him to teach another class in May/June. That's a relief. It's hard to plan when he works semester to semester, so this is something else to check off our endless "to do" list before bouncing baby boy arrives....
Let's hear it for those moments in life when we are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed and then we get a glimpse of a saving grace that reminds us to 'keep it all in perspective' and let go a little bit.
This morning I left for work feeling frustrated about the constant battle with household clutter that feels like an albatross around my neck (good literary allusion there).
As I was getting into my car, my next door neighbor, Tom starts using his snow blower to clear our driveway since he had just finished with his own. What a guy! This is a guy we don't interact with much because we just don't see him--our paths literally don't cross very much but when they do, we get along with him just fine. So here it is, just showing up and helping us out in about 5 minutes with a task that would have taken Ed about 30 minutes and lots of work. It was such a nice gesture.
This is especially poignant because my favorite neighbor, Linda, who is also a good friend just got a new job in Indiana and she's moving away this summer! Bummer! I'm so sad to see her go, but happy for her, too. Still, our neighborhood just won't be the same. She's been such a good friend to me and Ed and even to Molly.
Then, at work today, I'm feeling fed up with certain personalities that work in my office and in walks one of my other coworkers who is a pleasure to interact with. In fact, as I've mentioned before, my office is full of people who I either tolerate in a cordial way and those who I have a million laughs with and who have become good friends as well as coworkers. So, the latter are my savings graces when the former start to really make me feel frustrated.
My officemate and good friend Robyn said she's a little worried about me going on maternity leave because she'll be here all summer without me to help provide a buffer with those "other" folks we both have trouble dealing with. Overall, though, we both have it really good in our jobs and so I try not to complain *too* much (you can arrive a little late and leave a little early and nobody cares or makes snide comments).
In fact, I have so much autonomy in my job and yet have the option to collaborate with certain people I like that I probably don't value it as much as I should. Saving graces are good reminders that life is a constant balance.
We're due for a big dump of snow tonight. So much for spring. I saw my first spring robin outside my office window this morning, hopping around on a ledge covered with snow. So typical for Michigan. We don't really get spring until well into April, and even then it's mostly an ambivalent kind of spring weather--not really spring, not really winter.
Last weekend we met with our doula for the first time. I'm feeling relieved to have hired her, although I know I'd be okay in labor and delivery without her and just with Ed (although massage is not his strong suit!), but I'd like to be better than "okay."
I'd like to have an experience where I feel a little more in control of my options and choices. I'm not giving up the idea of an epidural, of course, but I'd like to be able to see how far I can go without one, rather than just opt for it at 4 cm like I did last time.
I really like Jenifer, our doula, and I look forward to having her in my corner before the baby, during and after.
My regular OB appt. was yesterday--every two weeks for the next 6 weeks or so and then it's every week--and it went just fine. I feel grateful when they are routine like that.
Over the weekend, we moved more stuff around! Almost done! We steam cleaned the carpet in Molly's new room and all I have left to move out is my jewelry armoire, my closet stuff and clean out the dresser for her. Then we can really make the room "hers." She is so ready to sleep in her "new bed" as we call it. She even asked to take her nap in it last Saturday (and not her crib) and I was sorry I had to say no, since there was still so much crap in the room at the time.
Gosh, it will seem so incredibly "real" to have her moved in her new room and then the nursery will be readied for the new baby.
It's like the second baby is not just happening "in theory" (and inside me), but will really, really be here in 10 weeks, give or take a week (I hope). It will really start sinking in.
That reminds me--with Ed teaching in the evenings, Molly and I have 2 evenings a week home alone to play together, have dinner and then I get her ready for bed. At first I was wondering if I would be exhausted by it all after a long day of work, but actually it's been wonderful. We have our regular "mother daughter" time that feels a little bittersweet since her brother is about to arrive on the scene (and just kicked me one good as I was typing that, as if to remind me).and she'll no longer have my undivided attention to such a huge extent. I'm feeling a little sad about it, actually. The end of an era. At the same time, I'm sure we wouldn't have it any other way. We are blessed and I hope some day she'll thank me for having a sibling (when they aren't fighting, that is).
One final Molly note---my words come back to haunt me. As we were moving stacks of books on Sunday, Molly was helping us by carrying one at a time into a big pile. At one point, the pile of books started to slide to the floor and she started to mutter "Shit, shit, shit!" under her breath. Yikes! Just like her mama! Not a proud moment for me, I must say and I'm much more the guilty party for swearing in front of her than Ed is. I'm trying to think of a substitute for the "s" word that I can train myself to use.
How about "Oh, bother!" just like Winnie the Pooh, one of Molly's favorites? Hey, it's worth a try! Wish me luck....