Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Summer Check-in

Screen-shot-2011-09-02-at-9.26.09-AM

Hello! Guess what today is?

It’s 17 more days until school starts again! (And also 17 more days until I turn 40, but in our home the former is the bigger deal). This summer has been a … kind of weird one. Nothing particularly challenging has happened in our home, though we’ve had some struggles keeping Jackson entertained and occupied — he REALLY misses being in school and wishes it were year-round — but lots of people we know have had stressful summers. Even on a global-level, the energy this summer seems pretty harsh, if you believe in that kind of thing (and I do). My heart goes out to anyone suffering in the Louisiana floods, or anywhere, really, where extreme weather has or is causing severe damage and destruction.

As I said, our biggest issue this summer, besides battling the oppressive NYC heat, has been trying to keep Jackson entertained. I always knew he loved school, but I was still surprised at how lost he would seem without that daily structure in his life. Even camp doesn’t fill the void. And, in fact, he hated camp so much that I had to withdraw him after three weeks because he wouldn’t stop crying. And then I found a different camp for him to try and he liked that one, so I signed him up for two days a week through the summer, and, though he goes on exciting field trips all over the city that he seems to enjoy, he says he’d still much rather be in school. “What is it that you miss so much about school?” I asked him, thinking that, if he said it was his friends, I could point out how often he’s actually been able to see his neighborhood pals this summer — at play dates and block parties and get-togethers and the playground. But he said it was learning that he missed, and then he asked again: “Why doesn’t school go all year long?” I should field that question to my parents, the retired educators, who lived for June, July, and August!

Another issue we’ve had is dealing with the mass exodus of friends fleeing our gentrifying neighborhood. We’re part of a second-wave of gentrification, where much of the middle-class, many of whom started moving in about 15-20 years ago, is now being forced out to make way for people who can afford the 3-4 million dollar condos that are going up at every corner. I won’t pretend to know what it feels like to be priced out of a neighborhood you grew up in, and I realize it’s a very complicated issue around class and race and things that can be uncomfortable to talk about, but on a personal level, it’s been heart-breaking to watch the neighborhood where we thought we’d raise our family change so rapidly, and people we’d come to call our good friends and community whom we thought we’d raise our kids among, be forced out. And while we are ok for the time-being — we have a decent apartment that’s below market price and that lots of people would be happy to have — we were hoping to find our “forever home” soon, and, after almost a year of casual house-hunting, we don’t feel any closer to finding where or what we want than when we started. It’s not the end of the world by any means, and certainly, in comparison to real problems, we’ve got nothing to complain about… but, I don’t know, I thought by this point in my life I’d feel more settled than I do. I didn’t think I’d still be contemplating where I want to put down roots; I thought the roots would be already in place.

Last week, we had to say good-bye to Jackson’s best friend and that was especially sad. There are some people who are friends with everyone — who fit in with every group and seem to have magnetic personalities that attract a wide range of friends (I have a feeling this will be Joanie). And then there are people who are more introverted and content with a very select few people in their inner-most circle and that’s it. Well, Jackson — at least at this age — falls into the latter group. He has his person and then a few other people he is friendly with, but mostly that person is the one. And she left last weekend and, I swear, my heart broke for him probably worse than it ever broke for myself. He seems ok though; he’s hanging in there. The day after she left, he wanted to go see her apartment and get his picture taken on her stoop, which I thought seemed like a healthy way to process and accept the loss. And every night before he goes to bed, he looks at a photo he has of the two of them taken on a roller coaster at Coney Island last summer right before they started school, and we talk about her and about how he misses her (and, of course, we call her, too, which helps–what I would have given as a kid to have FaceTime to keep in touch with all the friends I always had to say good-bye to!).

Sometimes — a lot of times — I have to remind myself that he’s not even five years old yet. These first five years are so instrumental in a child’s emotional development, and, as parents, Drew and I have worked as hard as we can to give him — and now Joanie — the best experiences and tools that we are able to, to give them a great start in life. And it’s kind of crazy to think that years from now they *might* remember a few moments of these experiences but that most of it will be lost. Or, not lost exactly — they’ll be part of the kids’ make-up and their foundation and who they become. But the kids won’t remember the details and they won’t have pictures in their minds of … of any of this, this life we’ve shared for the last few years, and that’s kind of weird, and a little sad.

Oh, and now I’m getting away from myself and the point of this whole post, which was to say: Hey, how’s your summer been going? Mine? Ok. Kind of ready for it to be over. Kind of ready for a break in the heat and a break in the big life questions that have been hanging over my head, and hoping that turning 40 already and getting on with it and enjoying a change of season might help in that regard.

I was talking with a friend the other day who’s also turning 40 and has kids the same age as mine and is facing a lot of the same questions I am — when and where and whether to make a move, in what direction she wants to steer her life and profession and her family — and I told her, “I guess I just need someone to tell me it’s all going to be OK.” And she looked at me kind of surprised and said, “It already is. It’s more than OK.”

I took that photo above on the morning of the 30th birthday, almost ten years ago. I was facing some big life questions then, too, and wanting someone to tell me it would all be OK. I’d met Drew a few months earlier and didn’t know exactly where things were leading or how we’d navigate the long distance relationship. I’d just finished grad school and started teaching a couple college classes to see how I liked that and if I might want to pursue a PhD and become a professor (um, no). Everything was up in the air, and my hope for the decade ahead was that I might find my place in the world. And I think I have. It’s right here, with my family, with my friends who are scattered all around, with you.

Everything’s going to be OK. Everything already is.

108 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sara August 22, 2016, 9:21 am

    In NC, school does go year-round…some of them anyway. Some are “traditional”, some are year-round. They go in waves, where you get periodic breaks (I think 3 weeks?) instead of one long summer break. Most teachers and parents love it because the kids stay focused better and don’t have to be retaught when they come back from break. Plus I would think being able to go on vacation when things are cheaper would be a bonus. There are also tons of track-out camps to help during the breaks.
    .
    I think year-round was designed to help with overcrowding issues (different “tracks” rotating through the school throughout the year), but someone else could explain it better than me.
    .
    The downside is if one kid is in a year-round, and one is in traditional. Scheduling nightmares! And high schools apparently can’t do the trackout schedule because of the complexity of the coursework or reasons or something.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Ella_ August 22, 2016, 9:42 am

      I was in year-round for one year in elementary school — my school tried it out for a couple years but didn’t keep it, I think. It was for space reasons — not enough classrooms, so they rotated one class through the rooms of the class that was off at the time. Everyone got a 2 or 3 week break in July and then my track got October, February, and June off. It was weird and difficult for my parents to manage because those are random months to have a kid home, especially when there isn’t a stay at home parent. They had two week “intercession” kind of things you could enrol in, but they only ran from 8-12. I didn’t mind so much because each Friday my mom took us on a fun field trip (pumpkin patch in October!) but it was sort of weird being home all February.

      Reply Link
    • othy

      othy August 22, 2016, 4:33 pm

      I did year round for many years in elementary school. Then I had a hard time converting to a 3 month long summer. Even now, I get antsy if I’m off for more than about a week at a time.
      .
      It really sucked for my folks when my older brother and I were traditional and my 1st grade brother was on year round school. My mom ended up hiring a kid in the 6th grade who was on the same ‘track’ as him to watch my brother while she got her work (at home) done. In a weird twist of events, it turned out that his dad went to college with my folks (and knew my dad pretty well) 2,000 miles away before they all settled in Utah. We didn’t figure it out until years later when we bumped into the dad with the kid at a function at my high school.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Leanne August 22, 2016, 10:02 am

    Man, I really needed to hear that today. Your post was so honest and hit home with me so much I am crying that kind of cry that feels like I am weeping for the past, present and unknowns in the future. But remembering it will all be OK and it already is OK was a powerful reminder that we have all we need right here in the now. Thanks Wendy.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Holly August 22, 2016, 10:31 am

    My summer has been good. Transformative, I guess? Like, I bought my very first home and my boyfriend just moved in and it’s the first time I’ve lived with a partner (or anyone, actually, besides my parents) and work is going well. But that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly scared, because every single part of this is so brand new and I have no idea what I’m doing, or if I’m doing it right, or if things are going to blow up in my face somehow.
    .
    It’s, at times, hard to remember that things are okay now. I’m on board with the whole “when is it going to be okay?” train of thought and it’s hard to let go of.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Vathena August 22, 2016, 10:45 am

    This is timely for me – my little nuclear family has been doing fine, but a lot of friends are having a hard time this summer. My best friend has had two miscarriages this year. Another one lost her dad suddenly, to a heart attack. My mom’s partner died of cancer a few weeks ago (and she has a milestone birthday coming up, and already hates her birthday anyway). Sometimes I think I’ve run out of hugs to give. This on top of all the absolute shit happening all over the world, and the Trump campaign. I hope in a few years we can say it all turned out OK!

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 10:54 am

      I call it “supporters fatigue” — the feeling of running out of hugs to give. It’s hard to watch people you love going through difficult things, and when it’s a lot of them at the same time, leaning on you, it can feel almost as challenging as going through a difficult thing yourself. I’m sorry for all your people’s losses!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Azma August 22, 2016, 10:52 am

    Have you ever considered moving to Queens? Sunnyside or Jackson Heights? The apartments and houses are more affordable– and beautiful. And the community is lovely. It means moving away too but you’re still in the city. Regardless, as you say, it will all be OK! (Jackson sounds like a great kid! I completely empathize with his dislike of camp and his longing for school. He sounds like a smart kid.)

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 11:25 am

      We definitely haven’t ruled out queens, but the idea of moving there brings up additional questions. It would essentially be starting over since we don’t know anyone there, don’t know the schools or the area very well. The only meaningful benefit to moving there, besides of course marginally more affordable homes (and only marginally so; we’ve looked!), is that Drew wouldn’t have to get a new job. But then, we think, well, if we’re going to start all over again anyway, maybe we should move where it’s a whole lot cheaper and not just marginally so and where we actually know people — like in the midwest (where Drew would have to find a new job), or New Jersey (where he wouldn’t). But then, we really love NYC and didn’t imagine leaving. Ugh, and this is the cycle my head has been going in for the last year. I’m really ready to not think about it anymore and devote so much brain space to something more interesting!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        TheRascal August 22, 2016, 2:06 pm

        What about deeper into Brooklyn? Ditmas Park is still somewhat affordable, there are great bars and restaurants, and lots of young families.

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 6:28 pm

        Yep — we’re open to Ditmas Park, for sure.

        Link
  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki August 22, 2016, 11:52 am

    Sometimes we all need to hear that it will all be ok. My summer has been mostly fine, kind of slow, full of new things and firsts.
    I always wanted year round school too, and actually I’m hoping my district institutes it in the near future for my son. One of the districts about an hour from us has at least one school that is year round and my niece and nephew went there and LOVED it.

    Reply Link
  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny August 22, 2016, 11:58 am

    I love how Jackson is so excited for school! He sounds like a great kid! 😀 Hopefully the next 17 days go by quickly.
    I understand what you mean about gentrification and rising prices. My city is as expensive as NY and average rents are over $3k a month for a 1br, and average home prices are over $1m. And the whole metro area has this problem. I sometimes wonder why I stay here, but my family is close by and it would mean starting over in a new place, without my support network. Frankly, I am feeling really weary, wondering where I’m going to end up, feeling like I have to be always hustling just so I can afford… what? To live in a halfway decent neighborhood? To occasionally be able to go out to eat at a restaurant? And so many others have it so much harder than I do.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Themintyness August 22, 2016, 8:35 pm

      Are you also living in the SF Bay Area??

      Reply Link
      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 23, 2016, 7:06 pm

        Why yes, I am!

        Link
      • avatar

        AndSoItGoes August 25, 2016, 11:02 am

        Me too, sort of! I just moved away, to the east coast. But I’m really missing CA so any mention of the Bay Area makes me happy.

        Link
  • avatar

    Ashley August 22, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Jesus I guess it helps to know that these feelings happen no matter how old you are, that it truly is a journey. I am in the process of moving in with my parents (my choice, I’m tired of paying ridiculous Austin rent and want to put together a nest egg to buy my own place). I’ve started a new career with a new company, and decided to put some serious effort into dating, and looking for someone I feel I could end up with. After some truly awful online dates, I found a nice guy…but he lived an hour and a half away. So we’ll see. I think those 3 words sum up pretty much every aspect of my life right now.

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 1:12 pm

      I think that has been hands-down, the biggest surprise about getting older — the question marks remain, the transitions never seem to stop, you’re always still wondering if everything is going to work out ok. So, I think the lesson is (and I REALLY need to be better about heeding this): try not to worry so much about the future and enjoy where you are now… or at least try to enjoy the good aspects of where you are now, and trust the the aspects that you aren’t so happy with will eventually change and hopefully work themselves out because the only thing that is constant is change.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        AndSoItGoes August 25, 2016, 11:04 am

        Agree so hard. On the one hand, you get better at handling the difficulties of life because you’ve experienced many of them before. On the other hand, the difficulties never stop coming–not just in terms of painful experiences, but also the uncertainty and doubt and hope and wondering.

        Link
  • avatar

    Jane63 August 22, 2016, 1:01 pm

    I’m in Dallas and today is our 1st day of school. Only 174 more to go!

    Everything already is OK. I really needed to hear that today. I think the same way about my life – it already is OK. Thanks, Wendy!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Howdywiley August 22, 2016, 1:26 pm

    This summer. Where do I start? My husband and I finally realized we couldn’t afford to live in our hometown. Prices have gone up so much we had to let go of the dream of raising our kids where we grew up. We decided to turn that realization into a huge life change. We quit our jobs and moved our family (3 little kids plus a zoo of pets) halfway across the country to a new state. Home prices are literally a quarter of what they are in our hometown. We’ve been here a month and are still in transition.
    Back home my dad had a physical on Thursday which immediately led to quadruple bypass surgery. I flew all night but arrived when he got out of surgery. It’s a miracle he is alive. So bittersweet that Saturday morning I had to fly back to our new state to get back to my children. The shock of living so far from all my family and friends, really everything I have ever known, is really hitting me.

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 2:06 pm

      That’s hard! I hope the transition to your new home goes smoothly and you continue feeling you made the right decision for your family. I can imagine how bittersweet it is.

      Reply Link
  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl August 22, 2016, 1:54 pm

    It’s been a busy summer, but one that is the calm before the storm. At some point in the next year or so, we are going to need to make decisions on where we will live longer-term, are we willing/able to stay at the company we’re currently at and, of course, will it be the right (or right enough) time to start a family. I’m trying to maximize my Chicago time as much as possible. We’ve been doing lots of bike rides, brewery trips, picnics, movies in the park (Purple Rain tomorrow night!), but it still seems that I’m just not quite done with this city yet. There are always new things to do and restaurants to try. Close friends and new friends and activities and the running paths. I can’t quit you, Chicago! But I know that having a family, working, etc will just be a lot harder in some ways in the city. I’m enjoying the now, and I have to keep reminding myself of that and to try not to let it be bittersweet

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 2:06 pm

      Maybe you don’t have to leave? Raising kids in a big city IS hard, but Chicago is such a livable city (well, 8 months out of the year anyway) that raising a family there seems pretty doable (says this NYC mom). If we decide we can’t make it work/ it doesn’t make sense to stay here in NYC, chicago is on a very shortlist of possible places to relocate specifically because it’s a great balance of urban life and family-friendliness (and I have friends there and it’s closer to my family). I say stay if you can!

      Reply Link
    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray August 22, 2016, 2:12 pm

      Wendy’s right; you really can have the best of both worlds here. If a house with a yard is what you want, you can have that in the ‘burbs and still enjoy Chicago and all it has to offer. You have great jobs in this city – fortunately you can keep your jobs AND have a more suburban life if that’s what you want. IN SHORT, DON’T LEAVE ME!!!!!

      Reply Link
      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 22, 2016, 2:18 pm

        I know! It’s really dependent on whether our company is a viable option. RadioStars early hours will mean a big change for me (no more early runs if i have a bebe :-(), but Beverly is on the short list, and that doesn’t seem too bad. We were just riding through Andersonville Sunday and it’s still my pipe-dream to have a single family house there even though the commute for RS makes it impossible. I more happy to stay than he is, if we do leave our jobs, then our only real option is to look elsewhere because he’s so specialized (and he’s got wanderlust… loves to just leave everything and go, I’m the nester).

        Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 22, 2016, 3:14 pm

        Wherever you are, Baby, Moose and I will come to visit!

        Link
      • avatar

        ktfran August 22, 2016, 3:24 pm

        My friends have a house in Roscoe Village. They had baby number two three months ago. She starts back to work Tuesday. They aren’t leaving for a long while, if ever. They also have friends with kids that live in the City. You can do it MG!

        Link
      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 22, 2016, 3:46 pm

        i hope so!

        Link
  • avatar

    va-in-ny August 22, 2016, 2:16 pm

    We, too, are just starting the thought process of “should we leave NYC?” In fact, we may consider leaving NY all together. My husband is a consultant and works in Chicago Mon-Thurs. The money is good, and we’re not necessarily struggling day-to-day, but we want to start planning to put down roots somewhere. Within the year, we’ll probably start trying to have children, and our Queens apartment just won’t contain us when that happens. (also, we’re really tired of landlords)

    My in-laws live out on Long Island, and they would love to see us purchase a house out there and settle down. The problem is, we’d end up spending $500k – $600k on a house that would likely need a lot of work, and tack on a yearly tax bill of upwards of $15k! Down south (where I’m originally from), we could get a MASSIVE home for that much money (but, would likely spend a lot less) and only be in for about $2,000 on taxes each year. But, it would mean leaving everything we know and love in our day-to-day.

    I do love living in the city (most days), and I think I would really miss being here. I think I would miss living near my in-laws, and I would miss the friends we have made here. But, right now, I also miss being home near MY family and friends. It would likely make more sense, cost-wise, since my husband would still be making the same amount of money while living in a lower cost area. I would, of course, need to find a new job.

    I guess I’m just feeling a little in limbo right now. We’re only in the first month of his new consulting gig, the first one that required him to be away from home for a portion of the week. We have until next year until we HAVE to decide (stay, leave, buy here, buy there, etc.), so there’s time to suss it out, but the pros and cons are driving me insane already. One side of our support system will be ecstatic, the other side, will be devastated. I just wish that both sides could all move to the same place and be happy together.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Taylor August 22, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Love this column. Love love love your insight Wendy.
    I’m going to write “everything already is” on my office wall, as a reminder. My toddler is getting so tall, and chatty, and my heart just keeps expanding and aching, aching and expanding, watching her grow.

    Reply Link
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray August 22, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Summer? I’ve been very tired all summer. I almost lost it the week before last – but then I did lose it, to strep throat, which meant I needed some help with the baby and I got time to recover, which I needed not just for the strep but for the last 11 months. (Side note – the baby is over 11 months old now, can you believe it?!) For the first time since the baby was born, someone took over night duty for me and I got to get over strep and get some sleep! It was amazing. And I usually don’t complain about lack of sleep but it was really, really catching up with me. I was a zombie.
    *
    My baby is a BAD sleeper. In hindsight, I made a few rookie mistakes when he was an infant that has led to him not wanting to sleep in his crib. Until he was about 5 months or so, he slept just like the books said he’d sleep – in stretches that got longer and longer and soon he was sleeping 6-7 hours at a time (in essence, “the whole night long”)! But then I brought him to bed with me and ever since then he has never finished the night in his crib. And though he’s happy once he’s in the bed, he then wants to nurse all night long. Also he keeps sitting up and trying to crawl away, so I need to sleep with one eye open so to speak. What’s up with that?
    *
    Here’s a typical night: he falls asleep at 7 pm (on me; because he’s conditioned to falling asleep on me, oops); I transfer him to the crib; he stays down for about an hour than pops up crying; I rock him back to sleep; he pops back up an hour later; I go to bed at 9 and just bring him with me. He moves around and pops up and wants to nurse every other hour; he gets up crying again at 3 am, so we move to the Lay-Z-Boy chair; he nurses so much that he often pees through his diaper so I have to delicately change him while he sleeps; I rock him back to sleep; he sleeps in my arms in the chair until 5 or 6 am. That’s a typical night. On a bad night, I have to sleep with him in the chair all night long, or if we’re in the bed he wakes me up every 45 minutes. He doesn’t like pacifiers, he likes the real thing in his mouth all night. People say I need to sleep train him, but I can’t do it! I let him cry for a few minutes the other day. It was too hard, so I got him. I just stopped pumping at work – as in this week. So I’m not sure how long my supply will last; so this whole “nursing during bedtime” thing will likely not work anymore. I am feeling a bit guilty about that. But pumping during work just got too hard (mostly annoying); I hit a wall and just didn’t want to do it anymore.
    *
    Then in the morning time we play from 6 to 7. I make breakfast and we eat from 7:15-7:45. He is a ferocious eater. A typical breakfast includes a piece of toast, an egg, and some banana and apple sauce.
    *
    We play until the nanny comes at 8:30. I go get ready in 10 minutes and am out the door. My secret baby-free, work-free fun is the 20 minutes I have to walk to work catching Pokemon. (I know.)
    *
    I get to work where I look like shit, by the way. I look so bad, I finally ordered me some more pregnancy pants and shirts because I have worn out the pregnancy clothes I bought last year (and because I can’t fit into regularly clothes, it goes without saying). My hair is long and stringy; haven’t had a cut since last year. Haven’t had a manicure or pedicure since last year. I have a little bag of nasty old makeup – some broken powder, some dried up mascara, and some dull eyeliner, all of which is OLD, I can’t remember when I got it. I sometimes wear a little of those three things but mostly I go makeup free with my hair in a pony tail.
    *
    I work. I used to (but not anymore!) pump twice a day. So so so so annoying, that pumping at work. I often pick up groceries over my lunch hour. I come home at 5 pm and play with the baby and feed the baby dinner. I need some more ideas of food to make for him, by the way. He eats a lot of eggs, lasagna, other pasta dishes, grilled cheese, toast, and then his greens and fruits usually come from smoothies. But I need made entree recommendations. Got any, those that are still reading this? Anyway, because he is a bad sleeper, he usually doesn’t nap too much and is already showing signs of “ready for bed” by 6. So that’s when I give him a bath, read him books, and then by 7 pm he’s often asleep on me. I transfer him to the crib and cross my fingers that he stays down. Because then I get to. . . wait for it. . . lay down on the couch and watch TV! Joy! (Just finished Stranger Things on Netflix – OMG). Except sometimes I need to work after he goes down. Or pay bills or figure out the nanny’s taxes (an ongoing hassle, paying nannies like “employees” – if I weren’t an employment lawyer, I may want to feign ignorance and pay her like a contractor). Or call the maintenance guy about that one thing that’s broke. Or something related to condo-ownership. Life, what have you. The things we all have to deal with all the time. Sometimes it would be fun to say “you, you take over these things, and I”ll take over these things.)
    *
    But, like I said, he usually pops back up away every hour or often more frequently. Often I’m in there from 7 to 9 pm when I say to hell with it let’s just all go to bed in my bed.
    *
    And until I got strep, I had had no help at night. But I’ve had help. Did you hear me mention the laundry or cleaning? No, because the nanny does all that! I have the best nanny in the world. When the baby goes to school, I want her to continue being my nanny….
    *
    It all kind of sounds miserable but it’s not at all. I mean, the lack of sleep was taking its toll on me. I am not taking care of myself at all and I need to, but I just can never justify it. I keep saying this week I’m going to start, but I never do. I can see how, if you want to continue doing the stuff you used to do – see friends, work out, groom yourself, etc. – and if you’re single, you really have to be pro-active about that stuff. But when I work all day, I just want to get home fast to play with the baby. I feel bad for being away all day. I feel bad for him but also me – I really want more and more time to play with him! And on the weekends? Again, I really enjoy spending time with the baby. I miss him. And honestly, the nights my sister stayed up with the baby when I had strep, and I didn’t see him until the morning time, I missed him!
    *
    Oh, and before I got strep, the baby got Impetigo. Heard of it? I hadn’t. Horrible rash all over his chin/mouth. When that happened his nighttime sleep went WAY DOWN HILL. That’s actually when I almost lost it, but then got strep, and then I had no choice but to take off work and to sleep. Actually, the week I got strep I had already taken off so I could catch up on sleep from the preceding weeks of impetigo (and also to help my brother move in). But I didn’t realize I was going to get strep so I let the nanny go that week. Strep + having to care for a baby = HARD! My sister was here, but that poor thing had to help me take care of the baby day and night, while she worked full time). I just wish I had gone to the doctor sooner b/c I delayed getting the penicillin 4 days. I was zero help to my brother.
    *
    Guys, I’m so tired! But we are now 2 weeks post strep/impetigo, and life is SO MUCH BETTER!
    *
    Man, am I rambling or what. I can’t believe you’re still reading this. You crazy. I forgot, what were we talking about? Summer? Summer. I heard summer came but is almost over. That’s what they say.
    *
    Guys, I’m tired.

    Reply Link
    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray August 22, 2016, 3:13 pm

      Also, I’m tired.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Taylor August 22, 2016, 3:30 pm

        You’re awesome. Also, *hug*. Also, hurray for sleep! Year 2 was a big improvement on the sleep front at my house. At right around 11 months we tried sleep training. If you do or not, he will eventually sleep, and you’ll sleep.

        Link
    • avatar

      ktfran August 22, 2016, 3:33 pm

      AP, if you ever need an hour or two, let me know. Seriously. A haircut. Some alone time. Whatever. The guy lives downtown and I’m there most Saturday’s. I can easily get to you, no problem. If it’s nice, we can hang at the park at River East, or I could take him for a walk.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 22, 2016, 3:53 pm

        You are sweet!

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 22, 2016, 6:40 pm

        Addie — take her up on it! Take up everyone who offers help now and go take care of yourself!! Get a haircut. Get a manicure (if you want). Go buy some new makeup. Take a yoga class. Take a nap! I know you want to spend all of baby’s waking time with him when you can, when you’re not at work, but he won’t remember these days. He won’t remember his mom sneaking off for two hours to go get a haircut. What he will remember eventually is a mother who found time to take care of herself among all the responsibilities she shouldered. You’re a supermom already. But you’d be an ever more super supermom if you prioritized your sanity and health and well-being.

        ALSO: sleep train! Seriously! I know it’s hard, but it is SO WORTH IT. You and baby will SLEEP. You need it, he needs it. We sleep-trained jackson and it worked and it was awesome. Now, it is much harder to sleep train joanie because letting her cry means waking up jackson which sets off a whole cycle of crying and waking and awful sleeplessness for all of us. It’s a shitshow and I could write a whole other post about the effects the general sleep deprivation is having on Drew and me lately, but I’ll spare everyone and just say this: if you have an only child or if you have kids in bedrooms far apart enough that you can reasonably let the baby cry it out for a few nights in a row, DO IT! It will be the best move for everyone.

        Link
      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 23, 2016, 9:06 am

        yes AP! DO IT! i know you feel like you can’t or won’t let him cry, but these fabulous DW’ers have all been there before. They know what you’re going through! Trust them! There are a few different methods that follow a similar pattern with varying amounts of crying etc. You can do this! My offer still stands to come over and sleep train with you! I can referee!

        Link
      • avatar

        ktfran August 23, 2016, 8:16 am

        Saturdays! Early Sunday mornings work too (the guy is on a bowling league with his fam in the burbs… he leaves at 8:00 Sunday mornings…. I can come to you!)! After work! Work and the guy’s apartment are like 4 blocks from where you live.

        I can even offer a reference 🙂 When I watched my friend’s 1.5 year old daughter so they could see Star Wars, they left during her snack time so she didn’t even really notice them leaving. It worked out well. Of course, I’m familiar to her, but we could make it work.

        I’m happy to help.

        Link
      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 23, 2016, 3:08 pm

        I’m free late morning/early afternoon this Saturday, too @ktfran!

        Link
    • avatar

      mertlej August 22, 2016, 3:52 pm

      You are my hero. It is so so so exhausting, and you are doing a really amazing job. We’ve never had our daughter (10 months old) sleep in bed with us, but I keep having these recurring dreams where she is in bed and trying to crawl away, and I wake up in a panic and start grabbing for her. Sometimes this happens multiple times a night – if my husband shifts at ALL, I start patting around the bed trying to find her or (a few times) I will grab him HARD. I don’t know what is going on in my brain with that one.
      *
      Sleep training is so stressful, but sooner or later it’ll come. Do you have a white noise machine? Ours (and blackout curtains) make a huge difference.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 22, 2016, 3:53 pm

        I have noise machines and blackout shades in every bedroom! Such a must have!

        Link
    • avatar

      Anonymousse August 22, 2016, 3:52 pm

      I read it all. You are a trooper! I totally feel you on not having time nor energy to really take care of yourself, but you should try to! It’s important!
      With my son, I co slept and I don’t even remember when I started putting him in his crib…sometime between 6 or 8 months and a year…I can’t remeber and it wasn’t that long ago! I used to pride myself on my excellent memory, ha!
      Before that it was just like your experience. He’d be with me pretty much all night, on my boob, and I’d barely get any restful sleep. At some point, I just started nursing him in his room, in my arms in a comfy dining chair (not one I could sleep in) and I’d lay him down asleep or mostly, and he did cry a little the first week or so, but he stopped and adjusted to the new routine.
      With my daughter, she was much, much easier. Barely coslept. I’d nurse her in my bed and then move her into a rock n play in my bedroom for awhile, but the transition to a crib was much easier.
      My suggestion (not that you asked, I know!) would just be…bite the bullet and do it. He might cry a little. If you can, have someone come stay with you for a night or two and not let you go in and soothe him. Or, give him your boob for a minute, and then put him down again.
      Sleeping more will be so much better for both of you!
      Last night, they both went to sleep around 7-7:30 (okay, my son is fighting it now, so he was babbling and carrying on for two hours) and then he woke up around 1-1:30 I think from a nightmare…and was literally awake until 3:30. And that’s when my daughter started crying. I went in multiple times to calm her, but she kept waking up. So, I put her down in her crib, went to my bed (with my toddler and husband in it) and turned my fan on. I know she cried a little, but she can and does soothe herself, and I really needed sleep at that point! And I would feel terrible about it (I always start to) but when I get her when she wakes up in the morning, she’s fine, well rested and happy as can be.
      Of course, you can keep doing what you are doing, and he will eventually grow out of it. A mom friend pointed out to me, you don’t commonly hear about old kids sleeping in mom’s bed.
      I hope you get some sleep soon! And, I have to say, getting a haircut at a place that also gives you a great scalp massage is truly a magical experience when you have a hard time taking time for yourself. Sometimes I buy add on conditioning treatments I don’t need just because they give a longer massage.
      Here’s hoping you get some good shut eye soon!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 22, 2016, 4:04 pm

        Another unsolicited piece of advice for you – my daughter was a really terrible sleeper for a while, but when we started sleep training her, part of the transition was easing out the middle of the night feedings. She’d cry, we’d pick her up and soothe her, and put her back down (even though she was sometimes still fussing). From there, we’d just go in and lay her back down (she’d be standing up crying), without picking her up. Just setting her back down, keeping one hand on her back and one on her butt, usually rubbing her back or patting her gently. She eventually caught onto the fact that we weren’t going to pick her up, and we’d eaaaaaase into just letting her cry it out. Of course, every baby is different, and you should do what you feel comfortable with!

        Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 22, 2016, 4:10 pm

        I’m almost there. I’m still nursing her as much as she will (not much!) because she won’t take bottles and still has no teeth. She eats a lot of purees but still needs fluid.
        At night, I go in, pick her up, let her nurse, but she just falls right asleep within minutes. She doesn’t really nurse much now.

        Link
    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover August 22, 2016, 9:53 pm

      Oh Addie! 🙁 It’s not worth it! Get the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child and read it, cover to cover. Even if you don’t follow it. What it does is explain why your child needs sleep and how important it is and how this isn’t helping him. Part of being a mom is figuring out when it’s ok to let your kid cry. This book gives you “permission” to do that. Seriously, for you and for him! He needs his sleep to develop, and you need to be there for him for the next couple of decades. What will happen if you burn out now??

      I’m breastfeeding at the moment, currently in the fourth straight hour of clusterfeeding. Not exaggerating at all. I’m so exhausted, I don’t know how you’ve gone so long. She’s 3 months old and I started sleep training last week. This time I’m doing Baby Whisperer (pick up put down) because I can’t do cey it out because of my toddler. It’s a gentler way of sleep training. But I still highly recommend the book I mentioned, even if you end up using another method, because it’ll give you the confidence that sleep training is the right thing to do. For your sake and his, seriously, try it!

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Sarita August 22, 2016, 10:07 pm

      I accidentally created a wee will-only-be-nursed-to-sleep monster, and the No Cry Sleep Solution book was a pretty great help (i got the one for toddlers and preschoolers, because after a year and a half of boob in his mouth every time he went to sleep (including nighttime wake-ups) i was losing my goddamn mind. But there’s also a version for babies). There are gradual, less cry-y ways to help you and your boy get some more sleep. Fingers crossed for you!

      Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom August 23, 2016, 6:36 am

      Besides the sleep training, try feeding him a high protein meal for dinner or a protein snack before bed. Give him something that will keep him full for a long time. Something like an egg or cheese or slices of roast beef or turkey or chicken. My son had a huge appetite and grew at an incredible rate and he needed the food. When he turned one he was as tall as the average boy turning two. He might be breastfeeding just for comfort but it is probably a combination of being hungry and comfort and it is the thing he knows he can have in the night when he wakes up hungry.

      Reply Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom August 23, 2016, 7:14 am

        I should have said high protein, high fat. If he is feeding that much during the night he is getting a lot of calories during the night and if his growth is on track he probably needs them. The trick is to switch those calories to the day. So many foods in this country are low fat and babies need a high fat diet for normal growth.

        Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 1:09 pm

        My son is the same. A very tall/big boy. So maybe that’s it? He’s (usually) taller than all other babies and toddlers we meet, even at only 11 months. He usually eats a pretty big dinner within the hour before we goes to bed. I’m anxious to see how introducing cows’ milk affects things. I’m hoping he loves it and fills up on it and sleeps better.

        Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom August 23, 2016, 3:10 pm

        The fact that he is filling his diaper indicates he is really feeding during the night. If he was just latching on more as a comfort/pacifier type thing he wouldn’t be filling the diaper to the point it leaks. He’s getting a significant number of calories during the night and I’d assume he needs them so the key is to see if you can get more calories into him during the day and see if that helps him last longer during the night. For that last meal of the day it might help to load it with protein and fat and let him get his fruits and vegetables during the earlier part of the day. Protein and fat take longer to digest and milk is loaded with them. Is he allowed to eat cheese? Something like cottage cheese, as long as it is full fat, would be easy for him to eat and could be pureed if the curds were too large or a scrambled egg. Even scrambled egg with cheese melted into it. When my son turned one he would eat an entire plate full of food every meal. By plate full I mean the entire plate was covered with food from rim to rim. He wasn’t overweight, just growing and active and needing a lot of calories. He was always at the 105th percentile for height (which you know isn’t possible mathematically) during his childhood. He ended up 6’3″. I also left him a nibble tray out every day. It had things like peas, corn, blueberries and cheese. A variety of healthy foods that covered the food groups and were finger foods and let him eat his way through the day.

        Link
    • Mar1985

      Mar1985 August 23, 2016, 9:06 am

      I also vote for the sleep training! It is so hard to do (I only have one) but oh my gosh so worth it to be able to get some sleep. I also recommend tracking it so that you can see there is progress. I still have it saved in my phone from January 2015 when I did it! Wendy is right – they will sleep. And you will probably cry while listening to them (I did). And I needed someone to tell me they will still love you in the morning! I was convinced my child would hate me. But good news – they won’t! And she sleeps great now. It felt really unfair that I had to sleep train because my nephew was a great sleeper from birth (like anywhere he could sleep, always slept through the night after he was like 2 months old) and I was super envious of it. Also – I am a lurker but good job on Mommyhood – you’re doing a great job! I also second Wendy on you getting some “you time”. I have to schedule it in so that I actually do it. Consider it like an appointment you have to take!

      Reply Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 1:05 pm

        The sleep training thing… you just let the baby cry, right? When he’s standing in his crib and wide awake and screaming his head off? For how long? . . . I mean, how long does the crying last? It seems like he’ll be traumatized from all that crying! He is not a crier. Very calm and easy going kid (by day). I feel like if he’s crying he must really be sad!!

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:28 pm

        Addie, there are no-tears methods! Check out this link:
        http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-sleep-training-no-tears-methods_1497581.bc

        I’m doing the Baby Whisperer right now, which is “some tears”, but you always comfort and cuddle them when they’re crying. You don’t just let them cry. The other ones on that page are no tears at all. Look up the different ones and get an idea of what will work for you. I found the Baby Whisperer one online, but I think I’ll get the full book because I want to know how to get out of the put-down pattern once I’ve established it. 🙂 You really owe it to yourself and to him to make sure you’re both getting some good sleep.

        Sorry if this is a repeat, my comment got eaten.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:30 pm

        Oh and Baby Whisperer seems to be working. My baby used to cluster feed from like 4 or 5 pm, and go till midnight (sometimes till 1 or 2am!). It was brutal. I started about a week ago and now she’s sometimes in bed by 8pm! It’s a miracle! Just having a bit of time in the evening where I’m “done” and I can relax is so amazing. Last night we had a regression because she’s sick, but she was still in bed by 11, which is earlier than she used to ever do it.

        Link
      • avatar

        Vathena August 23, 2016, 1:37 pm

        That sounds a lot better than the way I did it – I wish I’d educated myself before things came to a head with my daughter! Glad yours is sleeping better!!

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:39 pm

        I did do CIO with my son (first baby), but he went a lot more easily than yours did. I don’t know if I could have kept it up! I honestly don’t even remember it, that’s how little of an impression it made. I can’t do that with my daughter though, because she’ll wake up my son. 🙂 So, no-tears it is!

        Link
      • avatar

        Vathena August 23, 2016, 1:34 pm

        I did cry-it-out with my daughter at 6 months, sort of inadvertently in that I didn’t plan to need to do it, but nursing to sleep wasn’t working and was taking hours, and my husband was out of town. No matter how asleep I thought she was when I put her down, she was awake again within minutes! I didn’t really feel like I had any other choice. The first two nights it was 45-50 minutes of blood-curdling screaming. It made me feel nauseous. I had to call a friend and have her talk me through it. Third night was 15 minutes, fourth night 5 minutes, and after that only a minute or two of light fussing. It SUCKED. But it was worth it – just barely! Once she could get to sleep on her own, she stayed asleep longer. At three, she still doesn’t always get through the night, but is expected to go to sleep on her own, and she does (sometimes after an hour of loudly singing to herself, but still!)

        Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 23, 2016, 1:40 pm

        Conversely, I did a very modified CIO method, where you go in,comfort for a minute and go. I never had more than five minutes of crying. Seriously.
        You have to teach your kids how to self soothe themselves back to sleep, so they aren’t waking up at all hours expecting you to do it.

        Link
      • avatar

        Vathena August 23, 2016, 1:44 pm

        Yes, for later bouts of night weaning/re-sleep-training, we did that – it usually seemed to piss her off more that we weren’t staying! We’d take turns going in every few minutes until she finally went back to sleep.

        Link
      • Mar1985

        Mar1985 August 23, 2016, 2:30 pm

        We tried the comforting every 10ish minutes the first night or two but it honestly seemed to make things worse because she wanted to be picked up but the method I was following told you to just sooth and not pick them up which seemed to make her angry. I did usually give a bottle around midnight if she woke up(I had stopped nursing at that point). She was 6 months old but I can’t really remember if she was pulling herself up yet? For some reason I don’t think she was. BUT – you do what you’re most comfortable with 🙂 Some people basically feel like crying it out is torture but I was so desperate for sleep since I was back at work full time I decided that I can only be a healthy mom for a healthy baby if I did it! If you are fine with the way things are and can push through, go for it! be warned though, my “baby” turned 2 in July and still can’t be reasoned with no matter how hard I try 🙂 Also, I checked my notes in my phone and by night 4 she was down to waking up only twice and the second time wasn’t even really crying but I fed her and changed her and went right back down. So, its a painful few nights but it happened semi-quickly.

        Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 23, 2016, 3:21 pm

        We’ve been spacing it out longer and longer – at first, five minutes of crying, and then go in and lay her down on her tummy and rub her back. Then, let it go for 10 minutes of crying, etc etc. Now we only go back in there if it has been 15-20 minutes of LOUD crying (whining doesn’t count). We are at the point where she’ll usually cry for the first few minutes and then conk out, because she knows that we aren’t going to come grab her just because she’s making noise.

        It was hard to listen to, though. Grab a glass of wine, go out on a balcony or put headphones in, and check in on the noise level after 5 mins or so.

        Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 4:01 pm

        Ok, I’m going to try this. When? Tonight? Should I? Know what I’ve done ever since he was an infant? Grab him and hold him and rock him to sleep AS SOON AS HE WOKE UP. And know what else I did? If he was crying, I’d nurse him, whether he was hungry or not, because IT WORKED EVERY TIME. And I always rocked him until he was fast fast fast asleep. Man, I did everything wrong!!

        Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 24, 2016, 12:30 pm

        Start tonight!! And you can ease into it, so he can catch on to what is going on. He’s old enough now that he (1) isn’t going to think he’s been abandoned forever, and (2) knows that certain things get an immediate response. Right now, he knows that crying = immediate comfort and feeding. The goal is to get to the point where even if he wakes up for a minute, he’ll start to put himself back to sleep.

        Do you have a separate room for him?

        Link
    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 1:02 pm

      Thanks, guys. Yeah, something’s gotta give. I need to (i) work on his sleeping and (ii) work on taking care of myself. . . . The crying it out thing? I just can’t do it. . . . I may just wait until he can talk and I can reason with him! (That’ll work, right?)

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Anonymous August 23, 2016, 1:18 pm

        Addie, you don’t have to cry it out! There are tons of methods. Look at this link:
        http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-sleep-training-no-tears-methods_1497581.bc

        I’m doing the Baby Whisperer one now and it seems to be working. It has some tears, but you comfort them every time. Other ones mentioned have no tears at all! For your own sanity, look into it, seriously. You’ll wonder why you didn’t once it’s done.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:31 pm

        Oh, this is the comment I thought got eaten. Weird. Anyway, same as above. 🙂

        Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 2:12 pm

        Reading now! You know another problem contributing to this bad sleeper of mine? Me. I mean, the “me in addition to the rookie mistakes I made when he was an infant” me. Because despite the extreme fatigue, when night comes, and he falls asleep, he’s just so damn cute. And when he cries and wants out of his crib, I seem to want to hold him just as much as he wants out. And when I bring him back to bed with me, he’s just so happy and he puts his hand on my face and OY HEART MELTS. . . . And then he moves around all night long and naturally wants to nurse when he senses my boob is right there. . . . and I’m a zombie again. But then I forget all of that when he’s fighting sleep again and I just bring him back to bed with me. I think I just need to accept that this is life for now.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 2:47 pm

        That’s honestly not great for him though. He needs to learn good sleep habits, and you need to teach him. What’s going to happen when he gets to school and he’s having trouble sleeping through the night still, and he’s tired in class every day? That’s why I recommended the Healthy Sleep Habits book (even if you don’t follow his method, which is CIO). He’s a pediatrician and he explains the reasons why it’s important to have good sleep habits. You don’t want him to end up exhausted all the time, or with issues like insomnia. That’s what the training is for.

        Link
      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 23, 2016, 3:57 pm

        So he sleeps with his mama until he’s an old man. That’s not weird, is it? …
        *
        I feel so much better today because my sister watched the baby this morning from 5 am and I slept in until 6:45!!!!!!!! And then today was my work’s annual volunteer day and this morning I spent 3 hours in the sun pulling weeds at an elementary school, in the sun getting sweaty and dirty and it felt so damn good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I mentioned somewhere, I got two issues: (i) bad sleeper baby because I do all the things wrong! and (ii) not taking care of myself (which is my fault and in part relates to (i) because I’m so tired but mostly if I’m being honest is my fault; I am just not caring about taking care of myself but I know I need to because when I do – like today, the volunteering thing? felt so good to sweat and get physical – I feel sooo much better! So, ok, I am going to be better.

        Link
  • avatar

    dinoceros August 22, 2016, 3:26 pm

    Summer’s end is interesting for me because I work in education. So the next two weeks will be hell, followed by a steadily busy but less hellish eight months. It’s sad because my work bestie is leaving. Personally, I’m sad to see her go because we are inseparable and she makes work fun. Without her, my job environment will change significantly because I will spend much more time alone. Professionally, I’m probably going to have to take on her work until she is replaced, which is stressful.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros August 22, 2016, 3:31 pm

      Also, when I was in kindergarten, my best friend moved abruptly. She told me one day that she was moving, and then she was gone the next day. We had never played together outside of school (we had only been friends for a few months), so I never talked to her again. I actually have tried to look her up on Facebook before to see what happened to her, but can’t find her. So, FWIW, he might remember the special things you do to help him with his friend’s move because I certainly remember the details my friend’s move!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Anonymousse August 22, 2016, 4:08 pm

    I can’t believe it’s almost back to school AND AUTUMN!! I have friends in Tennessee who’ve been back a week already, school here starts next week, I think. Interesting! I’m glad I don’t have to think about it too much right now.

    My summer has been good. We finally moved in and settled down and it’s really great to be in a home. I feel like we’ve all been in flux for so long, we needed to stop. So, most days the kids and I stick around close to home, or maybe visit a park with an awesome playground near by. Have a play date, but at our place or a friends’. Our rental house has three bedrooms and a spare room that I made into a playroom, it’s nice to have a room with all the toys.

    I’m trying to decide when to go back to work. As fun as it is to be a stay-at-home (it is) it’s also hard for many reasons. I miss critical thinking and working, or at least, I think I do. I also sort of feel like I’ve lost myself a bit, in being a mom. I love being a mom, and I still do things on my own, but not often. I exercise, and that’s about it. That doesn’t feel like me time, though. And being back in our favorite area has been really great as far as reconnecting with friends in person (yes!) I still feel like I’m missing something. I don’t really know what it is. And I’m scared of making a decision and it being the wrong one (like going back to work full time.)
    Well, that’s where I am. Happy back to school time, everyone!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    ginger August 22, 2016, 4:54 pm

    After working a loooong day with several hours overtime today, this was exactly what I needed to read. Its always nice to realize that there’s other people out there struggling with the day to day things that you think only you have to deal with.

    Its been an ok summer. Some fun days with friends, but mostly a lot of busy days at work, coupled with overtime because we’re short staffed and they’ve just implemented a 3 year hiring freeze so there’s no prospect of new help coming anytime soon, and crazy hot weather, finding out the lead singer from my favourite band is dying of brain cancer, attending some amazing (but super sad) concerts on their final tour that wrapped this past weekend. I’ve also been hoping to move, but in Toronto to buy an average house you’d need to be making well over $100000/year, which I definitely do not, and any apartments I’ve looked at seem to be smaller than what I have and much more expensive.

    Its mostly just been not very exciting, kind of frustrating and waaay to hot.

    I hope everyone else is having a more interesting summer.

    Reply Link
    • Nookie

      Nookie August 23, 2016, 6:27 am

      Oh man, I am so sad about Gord Downie.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 8:50 am

      I wish I could have gone to see them, but with the newborn it’s kinda hard. They’re like the soundtrack of my life. So, so sad. 🙁

      Reply Link
      • Nookie

        Nookie August 23, 2016, 9:30 am

        It’s amazing how much they’ve been a part of our lives over the years, isn’t it? I haven’t heard them in 10 years and I could still sing along to quite a few of their hits.

        Link
      • avatar

        ginger August 23, 2016, 10:22 am

        I lucked out and was able to go see them, and went to a screening of the final show at the CNE, but it was tough watching him lips quivering singing “scared” thats when I lost it. Its probably the only time in my life I’ll ever see hundreds of grown men sobbing all in one place. (I hope)

        Link
      • Nookie

        Nookie August 23, 2016, 10:47 am

        It’s so emotional, is it because he’s young still? I don’t know but I feel AWFUL for him, he seems like such a nice person. I’ve seen some videos from a show, it made me all sad at my desk.

        Link
      • avatar

        ginger August 23, 2016, 10:50 am

        I think they said he’s 52… so not old at all and he and his wife have three kids. The one good thing is that his diagnosis has apparently brought a ton of attention and $$$ to Sunnybrook and brain cancer in general.

        RedRoverRedRover: were you able to watch the show at all? If not I have a link to it on googledrive where you can if you want.

        Link
      • Nookie

        Nookie August 23, 2016, 11:01 am

        That is good. My friend’s mother died of brain cancer when she was really little…

        Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 23, 2016, 12:09 pm

        We just moved to Canada, and I’ve been hearing about the Tragically Hip EVERYWHERE. It’s amazing how much of an impact that band has had on everyone.

        Link
      • avatar

        Ginger August 23, 2016, 12:40 pm

        What area did you move to?

        Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 23, 2016, 3:22 pm

        Vancouver (from Chicago). It is a BIG change of pace, but my stress levels have magically dropped so low. It’s kind of amazing.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 12:42 pm

        I went to the Live 8 concert, which in Canada was packed full of Canadian icons. Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, Tom Cochrane, Blue Rodeo, Bruce Cockburn, etc. But the ONLY band that the crowd tried to get an encore from was the Hip. When they went off, the crowd yelled Hip! Hip! Hip! until the next band came on. It was awesome. And I went to school in Kingston (and my mom is from there, I grew up nearby) so I feel even more connected. Rob Baker used to live around the corner from me, I’d see he and his wife walking their baby, the two of them dressed in all black and the baby in leopard print. And their house was purple!

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 12:37 pm

        Thanks ginger, I was able to PVR it. I watched most of it live, but my baby was having a fussy evening so I missed chunks here and there. But it was fantastic. I only wish they’d done “In View”, because that’s my husband’s and my “song”. But we’ve seen them perform it about three times (including once in Bobcaygeon, and once at the album release party!) so that’s awesome at least. We’ve been to about four Hip shows together and I’m sad that we couldn’t go to this one. But who knows, maybe there will be more, knock on wood. For now I’m just streaming Yer Favourites on spotify and crying. :\

        Link
      • avatar

        Ginger August 23, 2016, 12:42 pm

        I just read that Gord might be releasing a solo album in October and could potentially tour with it.

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:21 pm

        Wow! He’s a trooper, that’s for sure. He looked great, I can’t believe he’s pulled this tour off!

        Link
  • avatar

    jmarie August 22, 2016, 6:09 pm

    Great column. I grew up in the Bay Area, & it’s gentrified to the point where even if I could afford to live there, I would not. It’s not even a real place anymore. Too many cities & places are no longer places of opportunity & possibility: they’re more like (increasingly sterile) gated communities. Other places I’ve lived since (Missoula, LA) are also increasingly expensive. I think our economy lacks manufacturing, & unfortunately also our work force lacks skills. I’m glad your son loves school so much!

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 22, 2016, 8:48 pm

    It’s been a brutal summer. Of shitty gigs and losing hope. I ran away for 17 wonderful days to the lakes of Minnesota… but all that did is underscore how hopelessly FUCKED up my life is in every other capacity… Failure is a crushing thing. Eh, what I need is a convenient plane crash. Or car crash. Stick a fork in me — turn me over. I am FUCKING done. The strangest thing is… all around me… people keep dying tragically. Honestly, I swear, they are dropping like flies. Ugh… so close. So far. Funny, it seems everything I’ve ever wanted… success, money, fame, love and now death… somehow… it’s always, always just out of reach. Bah.

    Reply Link
    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl August 23, 2016, 9:08 am

      the lakes of MN are beautiful… sorry your summers been a shitshow BGM 🙁

      Reply Link
  • Lianne

    Lianne August 23, 2016, 7:23 am

    Love this, Wendy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really love your writing style. I’m not a huge fan of short stories or essay compilation books, but I’d buy yours in a heart beat.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Samba August 23, 2016, 1:08 pm

    Reading everything from AP and the other new-er moms is making me realize how crazy and unpredictable (and maybe a little, or a lot, terrifying) life is going to become. I’m already getting nervous about getting everything done in the next few months – picking baby furniture and creating a room for her and figuring out what babies need and signing up for these birthing/newborn classes etc etc….and finding daycare or a nanny, OMG, WHYYY are all the “reasonably priced” daycares near me so scary looking (and I say that in quotes cuz, much as people from other cities have said above, not much in DC area is actually reasonably priced – my SIL lives in Manhattan and they are also in limbo trying to figure out where to move/settle, and she could not believe how much people were paying for houses around here in the suburbs!). They’ve just been in sort of falling-apart basements with not a lot of light, one had weird water damage, everything looks older and dirty – I get that you don’t want to keep a place for kids to play all day super nice since they’re going to continuously mess it up, but I’d just like for it to be safe and clean-ish. And I feel guilty about saying that since the daycare providers themselves have been very nice, and the kids there look fine, not like they’ve been breathing asbestos or have lead poisoning or anything ha. The nicer center-type daycares are as expensive as paying for a nanny, and there are multi-year waits to get infants in, so I’m hoping to get some sort of magical unicorn nanny share going….I have no idea. The costs are terrifying and the thought of our expenses growing for years to come and not knowing if our income will :-/ eek.

    All this to say that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what life with a newborn will actually be like, since I’m so busy worrying about getting the stuff in order for her and tying up all our loose ends around fixing the house, replacing my super old car, etc. – and I can’t imagine having to go back to work or what that’s going to be like, but I don’t have much of a choice. I’m really impressed with all of you, doing this stuff on a daily basis and staying up all night every night and still making it work!! You’re amazing and inspiring!! I hope I can make it through and be that cool. I agree – please everyone in Chicago go sit at AP’s place and force her to go get a haircut/manicure or rest or something 🙂 It sounds much needed and deserved!

    If you have any tips/tricks for what baby furniture to use or where to get decor, lemme know! Please don’t say pinterest, I just get sucked down a hole of things I’m not creative enough to do and can’t actually figure out where anything came from lol 😛

    On the other hand, we are taking a short trip to Canada over labor day, and I was sort of anti-any vacations this year to avoid spending money and because I just feel like we have so much to do and I’m entering work busy season/longer hours, but now that it’s close I’m really looking forward to getting away for a few days and hope it will be a good way to hit “reset” and come back ready to go. Anonymousse said “Autumn” above and I got SO EXCITED for the fall!!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Vathena August 23, 2016, 1:26 pm

      Samba, where in DC are you? I’m in Old Town Alexandria. Yes, it’s all so crazy expensive here! My daughter is three. If you can find a local parents listserv, that is a great way to get lightly used baby gear. Craigslist is also good. Babies grow out of stuff so fast that you can score very lightly used (and sometimes unused) items that way. There are also a lot of seasonal consignment sales, usually at churches. Ikea is also good for inexpensive furniture/decor. We got our daughter’s crib there, and it was fine. We just passed it down to a friends for their baby. I also got a bunch of stuff on Etsy (cute alphabet print, mobile, toy bins). As for child care, get on a bunch of lists! They seem long but something may open up, or you would maybe just need a nanny/share short-term to cover the gap. Congratulations 🙂

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Samba August 23, 2016, 4:25 pm

        Old Town’s such a great area! I’m in Silver Spring. Thank you for the tips–I have just joined a couple listservs and amazed at the stuff on there, just don’t know what we need yet. Will definitely check out Etsy! I feel like I said “decor” implying I was doing some crazy room thing ha, but really just meant I need to find the furniture pieces/ rocker and chose a paint color and clean out everything that’s currently in that room (it’s a bit of a storage mess) and so I felt like if I had some vision of what color scheme etc I was going for it’d be easier to get stuff done ahead of time. But I think that is just procrastination talking LOL.

        Link
    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover August 23, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Definitely Craigslist (or Kijiji for us Canadians). Especially for decor. Buy the crib new, obviously, but a lot of the other stuff can be used. Also, look around for mom’s groups in your area to join. If you get into a group with other women having babies at the same time as you, you might be able to get a nanny share going.

      I’ve thought of sending Wendy a Reader’s Recs for things I loved for my babies. Would enough people be interested? I spend a LOT of time researching what I want because I hate wasting money, lol. Some of them are kind of expensive though (hence the importance of research!).

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Samba August 23, 2016, 4:17 pm

        YES I would love that! We tried looking at consumer reports and those places, but the reviews were all years old and most of those models don’t exist anymore. It’d be great to hear what other specific items DW readers chose, used and enjoyed! I remember there was a forum thread about it a while back as well.

        Link
    • avatar

      Anonymousse August 23, 2016, 1:43 pm

      I would worry less about decor and that kind of stuff right now. Get the important ducks in a row.
      I join buy nothing or buy, sell trade groups on Facebook specific to your area and you can find really good prices on barely used stuff.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Samba August 23, 2016, 4:26 pm

        Great idea, thank you!

        Link
    • avatar

      mertlej August 23, 2016, 3:29 pm

      I’d also suggest you get stuff set up as soon as reasonably practical for you and your family (speaking as someone whose baby came 6 weeks early and we had only set the crib up the weekend before).

      IMO, the only thing you “need” is the crib and a place to change diapers. Things that made our lives so much easier: 1) a rock n play (our baby was not a good sleeper, and after 2 months of sleeping on the couch with her every single night, this thing was magic), 2) a diaper genie (because smelly), 3) a white noise machine, and 4) a boppy pillow. In terms of strollers, we bought a jogging stroller (Bob Revolution Flex), because we lived in the City and did a lot of walking/maneuvering. This one has an adjustable handlebar, which is so great for my super tall husband (I’m only 5’5″). But!! It is heavy. We ended up having to buy a lightweight stroller, because I had an unexpected c-section and couldn’t lift heavy things for months, and we went with the Britax B-Agile (got it off of craigslist). Both worked out really well, and fit our Britax B-Safe carseat (which is still working for us, 10 months later).

      Sooo… I can go on about this stuff forever, but I don’t want to derail the thread. I spent hours researching this stuff.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Samba August 23, 2016, 4:14 pm

        Thanks Mertlej, that is an amazing and helpful brief list! Seems a lot more manageable when you put it that way 🙂

        Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 23, 2016, 4:34 pm

        We didn’t start using a crib until 6-8 months. So, not even necessary right from the beginning.
        1) Rock n play. Definitely.
        2) boppy or ergo even makes a breastfeeding pillow now
        3) cotton Muslim swaddles. Indispensable.
        4) diaper changing mat
        5) diaper genie (although I didn’t need one until they started eating food.
        6) White noise, blackout drapes or shade.
        7) I have the same BOB stroller! There are a ton secondhand out there, or Amazon and buy buy baby have sales every few months with prices at like, 30% off. I had a crap stroller with my son at first, and it is so worth the money to have a stroller that you love!
        8) I used a baby carrier (ergo, Tula, beco, there’s a zillion!) with my son, not so much with my daughter, but it was really needed with my son. There is probably also a local to you baby wearing group on Facebook. Often, you can go to meetings and try on different ones, and even borrow them until you find the one that works for you. Also a great way to meet moms!
        9) breast pump (get through the webpage, your insurance will pay for it.)
        Even if you don’t pump, it’s good to have if you get mastitis or overfull breasts.
        10) breast pads.

        I could write this stuff out all day, too!

        Link
      • avatar

        Vathena August 24, 2016, 9:04 am

        100% agree with this list, and also the one thing you really MUST have, unless you are walking home from the hospital, is a car seat. They won’t let you leave with the baby without one!

        Link
      • avatar

        Samba August 24, 2016, 11:00 am

        Oooh SO great, thank you both!!!

        Link
      • avatar

        Anonymousse August 24, 2016, 1:10 pm

        Ha ha, yes, totally forgot the car seat!

        Link
      • avatar

        mertlej August 24, 2016, 12:26 pm

        We have the lillebaby carrier – i think it is pretty comfortable, and both my husband and I enjoy it, but we only use it when we are going on hikes.

        We use the Graco Sweet Slumber sound Machine – we’ve had it for 9 months, and it works great. It has different noises, adjustable volume, can act as a nightlight, and has a small footprint. Perfect!

        And, we have the Dutailier Sleigh Glider and Ottoman – we use it multiple times a day right now, particularly when we are feeding her before bed and if she wakes up in the middle of the night (it is in the baby’s room). In our old place, we didn’t have a baby room (the crib was in kind of a nook in our living room), so we never used it (the couch was right there). If you have a baby room, I say go for it, but if you don’t, I wouldn’t put it high on my priority list.

        Should we start a forum on this? I feel like I want to share my hours of obsessive research, so it seems a little less crazy 🙂

        Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover August 24, 2016, 1:26 pm

        Do it! I’ll join in when I get a min here and there free from the baby. I did sooo much research too. I also do cloth diapering if anyone wants to hear what it’s like.

        Link

Leave a Comment