A question that many of us on this site spend, or have spent, a considerable amount of time on is "When should I have kids?". It's a tough call and depends on many circumstances, and is clearly a very personal and individual decision. Thinking back on my own decision-making process, I wonder how I'll feel about it all 5 or 10 years from now. Obviously, I decided to have a baby during medical school. Having a baby has really made me question what I am doing, because I worry so much about having enough time with my daughter as she grows up. Since I have gotten this far, however, I am going to forge ahead. There are two possible outcomes, as far as I can tell. 1) I could end up loving medicine and being really glad I did this. 2) I could end up miserable and really wish I had chosen something else. The reason I bring this up is that I realized that, had I had a baby before med school, I would have been very likely to bail on that goal and set my sights elsewhere (PhD-land, most likely). So waiting until partway through med school was either a great idea, because it protected my career goals, or a horrible idea, because it trapped me. Only time will tell, but I think it's a really interesting question.
Thursday was R's 6 month birthday! I just can't believe it's been 6 months since she was born. Where does the time go? I'm so worried that each 6 month period from here on out will seem just as short. I want to get as much of these moments as I can. And I'm not ready to go back to school!!!
So that competitive mommy thing is still a bit of an issue for me, apparently. I think I mentioned before that my colleague B has a son, N, who is three weeks younger than R. He was born full-term though, so I guess their ages just about even out? Anyway, B's wife J stopped by the office with N on Friday and we were chatting, and she mentioned at some point that if she puts N on his hands and knees, he rocks. And what was the first thought I had? "But R can't do that!" Why did that have to be my first thought? Sure enough, when I got home I tried putting R on her hands and knees. She doesn't really get the concept of keeping her knees under her - she just wants to be flat on her belly. Which is fine. I'm not going to push it. I just wish I hadn't cared! SIGH.
On another note, R discovered her feet today! When I was changing her diaper this morning, she kicked them up and grabbed them and tried to put them in her mouth. It was soooo cute She hasn't figured out that she needs to bend her knees in order to get them to her mouth, so she just keeps opening her mouth and yanking on her feet, but never actually getting them there. She's so adorable
DH and I bought rice cereal today. Next weekend my dad will be visiting, and probably my brother and his fiancee as well, so we're going to wait until then to try it out. We figure it will be fun for them to watch her try food for the first time. I'm really looking forward to seeing her reaction the first time she gets it in her mouth. We will definitely have the video camera out for this one!
Boy do I need to vent. Here's the background: at work I share a common office space with many of the other people in my lab. We have a communal mini-fridge in the room, and I store my breast milk in there after pumping. There's a research assistant in the lab, M, who is not well liked for very good reasons. She's rude and disrespectful, she comes in late and leaves early and spends much of her day on facebook, she managed to talk herself into a higher salary than the other RAs and then told them about it, etc. People have tried being nice to her but she always ends up pissing them off by being insulting. She's always smiling while she does it too, so I can't tell if she even realizes she's doing it. Either she has no social skills or self-awareness, or she just doesn't care.
Anyway, today she was at the fridge getting her lunch. My boss and four other colleagues were all in the room, and she calls out to me across the room "hey, your breast milk is leaking everywhere!". I got up to check it out and she commented that this wasn't the first time it had happened. When I asked why she hadn't mentioned it before, she said something like "well I never really noticed before." Huh? Then how did you know that this wasn't the first time? I looked in the fridge and there was literally one drop. I said as much as I wiped it up, and she said "can't you put it in a paper bag or something?". A PAPER bag, so she can't see it, I imagine. I said it was just milk and wasn't going to hurt anything and moved my bottles to the bottom shelf, which is where I usually put them (I hadn't today because the shelf was full). Of course when I did that she immediately moved her stuff from the bottom shelf to a higher shelf. I was so pissed, I yelled at her "It's just milk!" I couldn't believe how disrespectful she was being, especially in front of the whole office. I found out later that she has complained about me keeping my breast milk in the fridge before, behind my back. If you have a problem with it, come to me personally, don't blab about it behind my back and then confront me in front of the entire office!
The good news is that everyone noticed and no one was happy with her. Two of my colleagues said as much to me later, and one said that my boss had literally turned scarlet during this (out of anger, not embarrassment). He sent me an email saying he was horrified and apologizing for not dealing with her behavior sooner, and said he would take care of it. I'm lucky to have so much support.
I decided that I should get a paper bag for the bottles, but write "nbp's breast milk, pumped fresh daily" in big letters on it. Part of me hopes that one day when this girl grows up and has kids, and is struggling with being apart from them at work and the hassles of pumping in order to provide her baby with breast milk, some little twit gives her sass about it too. Seriously, if she brings it up again, I'm going to tell her to find a different fridge if she has a problem with it. I shouldn't have to put up with this crap...
Yesterday's incident got me way more down in the dumps than I initially realized, and it upset me even more because this person is so inconsequential that I couldn't understand why I was so affected by her behavior. I guess it hadn't really hit me how hard it is to leave R every day to go to work, and the fact that I've had nothing but support from my colleagues up until now. Yesterday was the first day that I ever felt my efforts were being undermined.
So today I had a brief private chat with my boss about it, and I'm so glad I did! First of all, he gave me reassurance that steps are being taken to deal with her behavior. But he also said that you'd have to be stupid not to realize that the best way to get him mad is to come after me or anything having to do with R! I am soooo lucky to have this guy as my research mentor! He has been so supportive the whole way. I used to bring R to work with me (his idea!), and one day the business manager noticed the bassinet and said that there was a policy against "kids and pets" at work (yes, she lumped kids with pets). He told me that R couldn't come to work "over his dead body", and went to the center director to get things straightened out. I really need to remember how unusual this is, especially from a male boss, and not take it for granted.
As for other things to complain about... unsolicited advice. A fellow student asked me about R the other day, and then asked what my husband is up to. When I told her that he stays home with R and how great it is, she told me she was going to give some unsolicited advice (at least she warned me!) and went on to tell me about her friend whose husband stayed home with their baby. I guess he got to be very resentful about it and they're now getting divorced. What was the point of that story? Be careful, or you'll ruin your marriage? Thanks for the advice, but no thanks. I think we've got it under control. Sheesh.
I feel like all I ever do in this diary is complain. I guess it's because I have ample opportunity in my daily life to share the positive things with people, but less to vent about the negative, so I come here for it. Thanks for putting up with it
In GOOD news, the online scheduling system for third-year clerkships opens tomorrow - eek! I'm dreading going back but at the same time I'm kind of excited to put my preferences in. We don't get our schedules until March, but still... hopefully each step will get me more excited, rather than more anxious!
More good news - I had an abstract due this Friday and I was super-stressed about it, but I just found out that the deadline has been extended for one week! Now I'll have time to actually put together a decent abstract. The conference is in Barcelona in June, so I hope I get accepted!!!
And the best news of all - my dad, brother, and soon-to-be sister-in-law are coming to visit this weekend. I love living as close to family as I do (2 hours away, as opposed to 9 or 10 where I go to school). I can't wait for everyone to see how big R has gotten since Christmas! We're also going to set up her high chair and give her her first taste of rice cereal. Should be fun
Sorry to keep posting about this, but I finally realized what upset me so much about the incident around my breast milk at work. M's behavior and words implied that my breast milk is disgusting, and that's what really got to me. I was insulted, but it went beyond that. I take the time every day to go and pump that milk. It's what nourishes R, and it's a very important thing that she and I share together, and the fact that M found this gross made me feel defensive, protective of R, and as I said, insulted. I feel a lot better now that I've made this connection.
Oh my goodness, so much development in such a short time! R is now sitting unsupported for several minutes at a time. She hasn't figured out how to get her knees under her when she's on her belly, but she pushes all the way up on her arms and lifts her hips off the ground. She is clearly and purposefully looking at her toys and trying to get to them. We started her on rice cereal this weekend - it went well. She obviously spit a lot out, but she swallowed some too and while she didn't seem incredibly enthusiastic, she didn't complain one bit. AND, I see the beginnings of a tooth popping through!
She is such a delightful little girl. She's got such a winning personality. She's cheerful and friendly and pretty laid back and just so much fun to be around! We had a lot of fun Saturday with my dad, my brother, and his fiancee. DH was sick on Sunday, which is too bad, but R and I spent the whole day alone together while he was in bed, and we had such a great time together! I just can't get over her
One thing that's sort of nagging at me - when my dad arrived Friday night, R was pretty tired. She exhibited a little stranger anxiety, which my dad handled just fine. He didn't take it personally, and the next day she was totally fine with him, and with my brother and his fiancee. But my dad kept telling me I should try to find some activity group for her to make sure she's getting exposure to other people, since she stays home with DH during the day. I used to take her to a baby yoga class and a breast-feeding support group, but they were in the middle of my work day as well as her morning nap. I think it's more important for her to get her sleep than to go to some group activity. When I mentioned that to my dad, he seemed to think naps could be adjusted, but she's at an age right now where she's really fighting her naps, and I just don't agree with him. Even if I can find a group on the weekend not during her nap time, I'm not sure I want to fork out the cash and the time. There's enough to do on weekends as it is, and I'm not sure how important it is for her to get lots of exposure to other people right now. It's not like she lives in a bubble, and stranger anxiety is a normal part of growing up. She'll be starting daycare when she's 12 months. Surely not going to an activity group now is not going to make it impossible for her to adapt to daycare, right? Of course I want to do what's best for her, but I'm just not sure how much this particular point matters. It did make me a little annoyed at my dad, just because I felt like he was giving me parenting advice I didn't necessarily agree with, which made me feel like I am doing something wrong. If any moms feels like they have any input on this, please feel free to PM me!