My New Life

Maternity leave is officially over, but I don’t go back to work until Wednesday. I negotiated (see: asked for) a three day work week and got it, no strings attached. Just the vague, unspoken agreement that someday, I’ll go back to full time.

I doubt that day will come.

I guess I’ll still be working full time, just not at that one job. My parents pack up and leave town today, ending their two and a half months of helping out and watching the baby. I’m excited because this means I can finally see how writing with a baby will work. I’m also worried because it’s going to be just me and the baby for two days a week. Alone.

I’m sure it’ll be fine, but this will be the first time I’m truly on my own for long stretches with the baby. Before, someone would usually eventually show up so I could pee/eat/brush my teeth. Now I have to figure out how to do all that on my own. I had worried about this more a month ago, but Lady Jr has become a lot easier to handle in the past few weeks. And now I think it’ll be doable. But still. The worry lingers.

Anyway. Now that my parents are gone and I’m back to work, my new life really begins. Two days a week alone with baby, three days a week working with baby at daycare and then weekends. Between all of that, I also have to write (and edit) 100,000 words by May.

Daunting, but doable.

Is it weird that I’m just really excited to finally get into a new routine?

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13 Weeks

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This baby. This. Baby.

New things this week:
– She can roll onto her side.
– Tummy time doesn’t result in instantaneous wailing. Sometimes it takes a few seconds. She’s even pushed herself up onto her elbows a few times instead of just flailing wildly.
– The talking continues to increase. It’s the best.
– She gets distracted by Lady when she’s eating. She’ll look up and smile and just stop eating and it’s too adorable.
– She can sit unassisted for a few seconds before toppling over, instead of instantly toppling over.
– Did I mention she’s adorable?

She seems to have settled into a bedtime between 7.30 and 8.30, which is so so so much better than the 11pm/12am she’d been doing. We’re finding a rhythm again and I’m even getting up early (!!) so I can get some writing done before she wakes up. The day is still pretty unscheduled, but I suspect that will change when she starts daycare.

Which is next week!! I’m both ready and not. Now that she’s so much easier and not in need of constant comfort, I’m much more okay with someone else keeping an eye on her through the day. I still need to figure out the food sitch, but I’ve been drinking anise/fennel tea and pumping every morning and we’ll get there. Worse case scenario, she might have to have one or two meals of formula, but at least it won’t be the whole day like I’d feared. Nothing against formula, I just wanted to avoid such a big gastrointestinal disruption.

Dairy is still off the table. I had some cheese last week and baby got fussy within the day, with lots of gas, so at least I know I made the right choice in dropping that. Oh well. I’ve gone without cheese for months before. I’ve been eating coconut everything instead.

Writing this book is coming along, although it requires some hardcore discipline to keep on track. But it’s worth it. So so worth it.

She’s actually three months as of today! Hoorah, hooray!

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12 Weeks

12 Weeks

Lady Jr is officially not a newborn anymore. She has morphed into a bona fide baby, complete with chubby legs and cheeks and she’s so so kissable. She charms anyone and everyone (and anything and everything).

She’s made such an insane leap these past few weeks from a fussy, crying, barely interactive wiggle worm to a smiling, talking, occasionally laughing (!) baby. She’s done so many sit-ups that she can almost sit up on her own and she’s grabbed the rings on her playmat multiple times in a row. She talks and talks and talks and is experimenting with sounds, so sometimes it’s a little difficult to tell if she’s crying or not.

She still hates naps, but her bedtime is creeping up. We got her to bed at 8pm last night (!!), but then she woke up before 7am (boo). Likewise, we’ve been going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I keep chasing that elusive quiet hour before she wakes in the morning to get my writing done. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.

She is also officially in six month clothing. We spent some time this New Year’s weekend putting away her 3 months stuff and getting out the six months and seeing what we needed. She lives in onesies and fleece footed PJs, so at least clothing her is relatively simple.

Since she’s 12 weeks, my maternity leave is coming to an end. I’ll be going back to work tentatively at the end of next week, and then for real the following week. Daycare has been confirmed for mid-January, so woo, not having to work and juggle a baby. My parents leave after next week, which means I’ll be on my own with this baby for two days a week.

If you’d asked me four weeks ago how I felt about all that, I would have said anxious as fuck. Now, I think I’m ready. I really enjoy spending time with baby now that she has states other than Crying, Eating, & Fussing. And I’m also looking forward to engaging in projects and collaboration and the general BS that comes with non-profit related work again. In a way, I’ve been working since week 2 postpartum (hola book deal), so this just feels like expanding my works hours and having extra help with baby.

That said, any advice about handling the first few days of daycare would be awesome. I still need to google how to pump enough beforehand and how to store it and how many bottles – oh shit, I’m not actually ready am I. o.o

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11 Weeks

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OMG this baby.

Giving up dairy was the best decision. We have completely stopped having gas issues, thank god. She’s no longer scrunching like she’s in pain and she’s no longer constantly fussy awake. We’ve come out the other side and now have a baby who smiles and babbles and only cries when she’s tired or hungry or has a wet diaper or (!!) is bored.

I feel like the best part was when she started falling asleep for naps after only 5min instead of the half hour or hour ordeal it had been before. I don’t know how much of this was developmental or how much of it was becoming militant about taking naps after an hour of wakefulness, but I don’t care. It’s so much better.

She’s still having a hard time taking long enough naps unless she’s on someone, but whatever. Baby cuddles sure are the worst.

The hardest part right now, honestly, is that because it’s so much better over all, our help (i.e. my parents) are less inclined to, well, help. And I still need someone to hold or watch the baby occasionally so food can be made, showers taken, and words written. Their time to leave is coming up soon (2, 3 more weeks?), so maybe it’s for the best that I’m taking on more and more of the baby responsibility. Just tough. Some days are easier than others, and generally this can be predicted based on whether or not I got some writing time in before baby wakes up.

Overall, I feel like I can finally understand people who say they love babies. She’s super cute and smiling and babbling and looking everyone in the eye and being the hammiest ham ever.

She’s also made a big leap developmentally, because this week she’s:

– Decided that sitting up is the Best Thing Ever, so she hurls herself forward until she’s upright (using us as stabilizers, but she’s already getting pretty good at it).

– Started throwing her arms around, trying to get things. With this method she was able to grab rings hanging over her on the play mat multiple times.

– Started telling us she’d rather not be sitting or lying on her back or being held. So we switch from one to the other until she’s happy.

– Responding to smiles. Omg, it’s the best thing.

– Being so engaged with whatever she’s doing that she isn’t bothered by a wet diaper. I’m still amazed by this, because omg she hates wet diapers.

All in all, I’m starting to see a tiny, interactive human emerge instead of just a blobby thing that needed to be fed and changed and rocked to sleep. I’m so excited to see what she can do next.

As for me, I’m inching towards my word count goal for this book and thinking about exercising and occasionally exercising. I have two weeks left of maternity leave and I’m still a little anxious. No word from the daycare facility yet, which doesn’t bode well. I need to call them and see where we are on the waitlist. It’s looking like there will be a few tense weeks of working at home with the baby, though. Work seems to understand, at least.

Next update will be the new year. I know a lot of people had a terrible 2016, and certainly it was awful for the world, but I can’t help but feel guilty because personally, my 2016 was amazing. Hard, tough, difficult at times, but amazing. Baby, new home, new car, and a book deal – when it rains, it pours.

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10 Weeks

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Those cheeks! I could just eat them up. Sometimes I try, but usually someone is quick about getting the baby away before I make any lasting damage.

10 weeks! I can’t even. Yes I can. It feels like ten months and ten days all at once.

First, Lady Jr:

This week was quite a bit of a roller coaster. Again. Lady Jr was happy and smiling and waking only twice a “night.” She was lifting her head and occasionally doing tummy time without a cry. She was babbling and happy to sit in the high chair in the kitchen with us and she was even content going into the ring sling, instead of her usual wtf squirmery.

Then she had her 2 month appointment and her first round of vaccines. And I am the very, very last person to be all like woe, vaccines, but holy shit. I get why people are so concerned about them now. The actual act of getting her vaccines wasn’t too bad. She drank her rotovirus down like it was milk. Then the nurse jabbed her in the thigh with a needle and she just opened her mouth and turned purple. By the time the last jab was done, she had finally found her voice and let us know that that was not okay. I picked her up, she calmed down immediately. Nursed and by the time she was done, she’d forgotten about the whole thing. She slept well the rest of the day and night and the next day, although she felt a bit warm to me.

It was quiet and kind of nice and  I thought, this isn’t so bad.

Then she started fussing. All day Saturday. Saturday night she woke up every two hours, hour and a half. She fussed all day Sunday. We left her with mom and dad to run to Target and apparently she screamed the entire time. She woke every three hours that night, not as bad, but then she had a hard time falling back asleep. She fussed all day Monday. We couldn’t get her to nap.

By the end of the day we were at our wits’ end. I had her in the dark bedroom, rocking and swaying and singing and patting to no avail, just more screams. It had been well over an hour of screaming. I gave up. I had her against my chest and I let her just sort of fall down until she slipped into the crook of my arm. She stopped screaming. I stared at her and watched her fall asleep. When she woke up again later, I suggested to Lady we just let her be and turn on some white noise. She fell asleep again.

She’s done that three times since. She won’t abide any sort of comforting, only letting her be in our arms or on her back on the couch. I’m kind of weirded out by this. She used to need so much motion and comfort to fall asleep and now… wtf.

Anyway.

Here’s hoping this means we can soon just put her down in her crib when she’s drowsy, like all the advice says. Fingers crossed.

But she’s now 10# 9oz and 23.25 inches, meaning she is skinny and looong. Thankfully it looks like her cheeks are starting to fill out and since the doctor’s visit, I’ve noticed her chest filling out more, too. So she must’ve just been in the lengthening phase of a growth spurt.

 

Speck

It’s been a hard week with little sleep and lots of crying (both me and baby). It got real cold and I tried to go for a walk and almost slipped on ice four times, so I stayed inside for most of the week. Not good for my brain, that. :<

But at the same time, it’s been an awesome one. I got to announce my book deal and babble back at my baby and make it to 1/3rd of the way through my first draft. I reconnected with work and brought up the fact that I’d be returning part time and they were like, “cool.”

I’m still avoiding dairy and wheat and therefore am pretty much just eating paleo. I’ve already noticed a difference in my energy levels (smoother) and my overall body (less bloat). It’s nice to be back to eating mostly vegetables and meat again after being averse to both during pregnancy. Now I just need to get back onto the workout wagon, but uuugh it’s hard when there’s a baby, I totally get it.

Sleeping in the bedroom is still A+++, even on the shittiest nights.

 

Lady

The fuss has been hard for her, too, especially because it’s usually at its worst in the evenings. She’s got awesome snow boots now and yaktrax to boot (see??), so no more excuses for walks.

I asked her how her week was and she said she’d get back to me, so we’ll see. 🙂

 

More pics!

 

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The Thing I’ve Been Hinting At

Two and a half years ago I started writing a book. I wrote and then rewrote and then edited and then re-edited it much I had several others before.

One and a half years ago I signed with an agent based on that book.

Six months ago I heard an editor was looking to get a second read.

Three months ago I heard the editor was taking the book before their editorial board to see if she could get approval for an offer.

Two months ago – literally a week after giving birth – I heard the editor was taking the book to marketing – the last hurdle.

Then things started happening quickly. Could I write two more books? What would that look like? I talked on the phone with the editor and my agent and laid out my thoughts, my plan. That evening I heard from my agent – we had an offer.

Three agonizing days later I got details. One agonizing week later, my agent officially accepted the offer. Lots more back and forth, then silence as we all waited for the slow gears of publishing to churn out the official word. But. But!

It’s officially official. From Publisher’s Weekly:

Tor Takes Debut Fantasy Trilogy by Doore

Diana Pho, an editor at Tor, acquired world rights for K.A. Doore’s debut fantasy trilogy, Assassins of Ghadid, in a deal brokered by Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary. According to Armada, the trilogy centers on a desert city “where control over water means control over both life and magic itself.” Pho added that Doore’s work draws on “the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa and ancient Egypt” as well as queer romance. The publisher expects to begin publishing the books in winter 2019.

The fun! part is that the book they have, the one that’s done, is going to be the second book in the trilogy. Which means I have a whole ‘nother book to write ASAP, which is what I’ve been trying to do while juggling a newborn and postpartum recovery. Let me just be the first to say that it’s not easy. But anything worth doing, especially a dream I’ve had and worked towards for such a long time, is going to be hard.

So whew, phew, and yay! I can finally talk about this.

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9 Weeks

9 Weeks!

Lady Jr

She’s babbling and smiling more and more. She’s now “talking” occasionally, a mix of coos and truncated cries. She’s decided she likes being on her back on the floor more than being held, sometimes, and she can occasionally find her fist and stick it in her mouth.

And, for the past three days, she only seems to cry when something is wrong. Either she’s hungry or wet or tired or wants to be held. No more crying for crying’s sake (*crosses fingers*) and – possibly – no more gas. Completely coincidentally, I gave up dairy and wheat three days ago. Hmm.

She’ll be out of 0-3 clothes soon, probably in another week or two. She’s long and thin, but she’s starting to pork up a bit – as is good and proper. She needs some proper fat on her to fuel her crawling and mental leaps. I’m so pleased when I notice a new chub roll. Is that weird?

Her 2 month check-up is on Thursday and I’m excited to find out how much she’s grown. Less excited about the shots, because I don’t know how she’ll deal with them, but then, if a little fussiness is all I have to deal with in exchange for Lady Jr not getting whopping cough, then hell I’ll deal with it.

Sleepwise, it’s a struggle to get her to nap during the day, but nights are a breeze after 11pm/12am. As noted, she slept 7 hours one night (with a wake up for a wet diaper). Then she slept six (god, my boobs hurt after that!), four, five, four. I’m still absolutely okay with four, since it means I get 2-3 hours of sleep, but I’ll take whatever means sleep.

We’ve also officially transitioned to her sleeping with us in the bedroom. Right now she’s staying in her bouncer where I can open my eyes and see her face, but she’s had two (three?) 20-30 min naps in the crib, so I have hope we’ll be able to transition her out of the bouncer in the coming weeks. I just really want her to be able to sleep in the crib by the time she goes to daycare, because otherwise that’s going to be too much all at once. I keep having awful visions of her screaming in the daycare crib and the workers just letting her cry it out and her just getting more and more worked up. :< So yeah, need her to know how to sleep in the crib before that.

But. Omg. Back to sleeping in the bedroom. This means I am no longer sleeping on the couch and it is AMAZING. I sleep so much better and I think I got eight hours last night?? Not all at once, of course, but accumulated. It makes such a big difference. AND I get to cuddle my wife again. So good.

 

Speck

Feeling pretty good with something more akin to sufficient sleep. And now I’ve been able to start eat better again, too, which means I’m starting to feel more like my old self. I have more time to make real food instead of subsisting on cheese and crackers and whatever fast food my parents bring by. Some of my bloat is starting to go away, hoorah. Here’s hoping this also fixes whatever’s up with my knees.

I did drop dairy and wheat last week after Lady Jr had another screaming-like-in-pain fit. She threw up almost an entire feed worth of curdled milk and kicked and screamed and just, it broke my heart. We’d tried gas drops and probiotics and I’d already dropped the potential gas culprits like cauliflower and broccoli. Then I noticed that I was starting to react to wheat again, so I decided, fuck it, time to cut that out. And the next day, the pain-screaming had stopped and over the next few days, the fussiness got better.

I don’t know if it’s the wheat or the dairy. I wasn’t having much dairy to begin with, and even then it was mostly cheese and yogurt. But I know I have a problem with wheat and the internet says dairy is a common intolerance, so. I might try reintroducing dairy in a week or two, but wheat needs to go the way of nightshades for now. Alas.

Not baby-related, it snowed buckets this week and I am so. excite. I’ve been out in it every day and I even got to shovel our incredibly long driveway! My back still hurts a little, but it was fun. Although any tips on how to keep walking on that ice and packed snow would be great because I almost slipped and fell four times today. :<

 

Dr Lady

Still having trouble trying to pry baby from my hands. Still having difficulty balancing work and baby. Evenings are definitely better now that Lady Jr isn’t crying for three hours straight. Actually, everything overall is better now that she gets to see Lady Jr smile and laugh and interact. That really goes a long way.

But there are still times when boobs are the only answer and she feels insufficient. I’m trying to be better about swooping, and she’s been able to get Lady Jr to sleep or calmed down on her own, so I think it’s helping.

But yeah. Being away from your baby all day is hard. I have no idea how I’m going to do it in just four more weeks.

 

Now, more pictures, because pictures!

 

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Been diggin’ this fleece-lined cover for the carrier. Keeps baby nice and toasty and safe from the wind.

 

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Shoveling the walk like a boss.

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This moose footie makes us all ridiculously happy.

 

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Our cat- and now baby-proof yule tree.

 

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Dis baby tho.

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