Category Archives: Motherhood

extracurriculars

I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about my kids’ activities, and Covid is not helping.  Last year, L took ballet one day a week and jazz dance one day a week.  Then, during the summer she did swim team, after a Covid delay.  I also have been teaching her piano since school got cut.  So, in summary, during the school year, she did dance two days a week plus piano.  In the summer, she did swimming four days a week plus piano.

L’s ballet school promoted her from pre-ballet to Level 1.  (I’m sure this is standard unless the child is really struggling for some reason.)  Level 1 ballet meets twice a week for an hour each time.  They are doing virtual classes this year, but it’s still a really big commitment.  L used to want to be a ballet dance but has been rather lukewarm on it lately.  I’m not a huge ballet fan myself, but I don’t want to influence her interests and choices.  I initially thought she should stick with ballet this year since twice a week isn’t too much time and the online aspect makes it much cheaper (cost cut by more than 50%) and saves us a lot of driving.  But L said she doesn’t want to do it.  I am 100% sure I could convince her to do it  – not make her, but make her want to do it, but I haven’t done so.  I feel like if she tried it one more year, she’d start learning more advanced skills and maybe like it more.   L has been more enthused about swimming lately, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that swimming is in-person.  We had been talking about having her do swim team for a couple months in the fall, but they meet five days a week, so I think it is really not feasible in combination with ballet.  But what do I know?  And she could go to swim three days a week or something.  (There are no meets, so I don’t think it’s a big deal to not attend all the practices.)  However, because of Covid, swim lots are very limited, so it’s harder to be casual about it – planning and financial commitment is called for.  L is already signed up for contemporary dance at another dance school where she originally studied ballet, but that class is on hold indefinitely, until the governor moves the county to Phase 3.  My assessment is that this will not happen before the new year.  But again, what do I know?

I have all these conflicting desires for my kids.

  • I don’t want them to be overscheduled
  • I want them to participate in the arts – dance or music being the most obvious choice
  • I figure if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it well, which means time commitment
  • I am turned off by ballet, the obsession with thinness, what it does to women’s feet, and generally I find the traditional ballets uninspiring
  • I feel like ballet is a really good basis for doing other types of dance
  • I don’t know enough about dance to provide any kind of support at home, like I can with piano, soccer, swim, etc.
  • Team dance (the alternative to ballet) requires a five hour a week time commitment.  I think that’s too much at age 8/9
  • I want L to experience team sports, but she’s really turned off by any sport in which she might get hurt, like soccer or basketball
  • I think it’s really important for the girls to be involved in athletic / fitness activities.  My kids, especially L, would much rather read or sew than move their bodies.  L takes so naturally to things like piano, sewing, reading, origami – things that involve focus and sitting still.  She doesn’t seem to have as much natural aptitude for soccer, dance, etc.
  • I think you can become very good at anything, including things for which you have no natural aptitude, with consistent practice over a period of years
  • But it’s nice to do things at which you naturally excel and enjoy

Bri did soccer once a week for a few weeks last fall.  I was hoping she’d be able to do junior swim team this summer, but between the baby and Covid, I just wasn’t able to get her into lessons to make that final leap in skill level.  She took swim lessons twice a week this summer, and she appears to be ready for junior swim team.  (She can swim a length of the pool freestyle fairly comfortably.)

Right now, I’m leaning towards signing up L and B for swim for September.  That would be 3:30 to 4:30 for L, five days a week, but I figure we’ll give her at least one day off.  I’ll continue to teach her piano, and we’ll hold off on dance (unless the dance class she’s signed up for starts) until October or November, at which point we’ll sign her up for some kind of virtual dance class.  L will do swim twice a week from 5:30 to 6 through September.  I worked very hard with Bri, in addition to her lessons, this summer, and doing at least a month of junior swim team should solidify the skills she learned.  The swim place is ten minutes from my house.  It’s an outdoor, heated pool.

I’m just tempted to put L in ballet.  It IS remote, and with no school, I do think she has time.  Such a hard call!  The tough part about ballet is that you’re committing for the whole year.  In a couple years, I’m sure L will make up her own mind about what she wants to do, and I won’t have enough influence.  But for now, I feel a lot of responsibility because she still listens to me.

I’m sure this is more detail than any of you cared to read, but I’m curious if anyone else is struggling with these types of decisions for their kids, and what you’re doing.

convalesce

We’re on Day 5 or so of a cold.  Maybe only 4.  It’s funny how the days seem longer when either you or baby is sick, or both of us in this case.  It’s supposedly a very mild cold, but it’s still quite difficult when layered on top of what is not exactly a leisurely lifestyle.  Currently baby is sleeping on my chest.  I often try to do a little sewing at times like this, but I’m just not feeling up to it today, so my everlasting quilt is stagnating this week.  Not having sick days is very high on my list of things I dislike about being a SAHM.  If I were working, I would definitely have taken a couple days off this week to convalesce.

I’m currently going through a minor English Paper Piecing obsession.  As in, I’d really like to try it, but because I have almost zero free time right now, it’s a purely theoretical obsession.   I am mentally planning a very simple quilt with a *little* bit of EPP for my brother’s baby, expected in August.  (I’m so happy for him, as it’s a double rainbow.)   He and my SIL do not find out gender in advance, so it needs to be gender neutral.  I’m thinking squares on point, perhaps in white or mostly white, with a simple hexagonal flower appliqued on top, probably in blue.  Hand sewing is where it’s at for me these days.  I’m even contemplating doing some hand quilting.

This weekend is the marathon Olympic trials.  In my opinion, it’s the women’s race of the year.  (Men’s marathoning isn’t in a great place right now in the US.)  I’m more excited about it than the Olympics.  I’ll be cheering for Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall, not to mention all the sub-elite women who are living a dream by merely competing.

3 months

Saoirse is three months old.  It’s been a blur.  We had such a difficult start, and it’s gradually becoming easier and easier ever since, but it still doesn’t feel easy.  I guess as a general rule, caring for a three month old baby is not easy, no matter how things started.  S is now 11 pounds 6 ounces, which is between 15 and 20% for weight.  (We have an appointment at the doctor tomorrow for a weigh-in to find out exactly.)  We are still fortifying her food to 24 calories, and I still set alarms at night so she eats every four hours, but she is doing very well.  I am mostly pumping, but I’ve started breastfeeding her twice a day in the morning, and I’m going to discuss adding a third feeding with the doctor.  I’m not making enough milk to exclusively breastfeed (we supplement with formula), but I make the most in the morning, and so I can nurse at that time of day.  It still requires discussion, even if I make enough milk, since my milk is obviously not fortified to 24 calories, and whereas I can basically pour the bottled milk down her throat, I need her to participate and eat sufficient calories when she nurses.

When we got home from the hospital, it took me upwards of 90 minutes to feed her, sometimes 2 hours.  She needed to be fed every three hours around the clock, no exceptions.  You can see how this would be challenging.  H took one of the night feedings, giving me four hours of contiguous sleep, but it was still extremely hard.  My parents left (after staying more than three weeks to help), and I literally sobbed because I didn’t know how I could do it without their help with the girls.  Well, H took on most of the work.  He got them up in the morning, gave them breakfast, made lunches, worked with them on their homework, did the laundry, made the formula and on and on.  And I spent 12+ hours a day feeding her, took all the nighttime wake-ups except one feeding, dealt with the feeding tube, pumped and fortified breastmilk and so on, picked up the girls from school and put them to bed.  It was HARD for both of us.

Since then, we got rid of the feeding tube.  We started letting her sleep four hours at night.  We have fewer doctor’s appointments.  I feel so much better physically after struggling with blood pressure for weeks after her birth.  S also initially had her days and nights reversed, and that got fixed, thank God.  I’ve taken over homework and laundry and do all the night feedings four nights a week.  So, it’s still hard – easier, but not easy.  The most important thing is that she has been gaining weight, and the terrible fear and anxiety have lifted for the most part.  I was having nightmares about her funeral.  Those have stopped.

S herself is becoming more and more interactive.  She started smiling at 10 weeks and loves her toys.  She loves baths.  She loves animal noises and likes to be sung to.  She loves interacting with us and is generally a happy baby.  She cries if I don’t hold her for naps, but usually sleeps pretty well at night between feedings.  In general, she likes to be held.

She dislikes tummy time and being put down.  She hates hats.

We’re looking forward to another month.

a few words

So many things to say.  The first few weeks of S’s life were just so hard, I didn’t have time to come up for air, and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it.  The reality made me sad, and I didn’t want to document it.  I took no photos those first few days in the hospital when we were the most scared.

Now, though, S is doing great.  She was 7 pounds 3.5 ounces yesterday, up from a low of less than 5.5 pounds.  She takes more than 90% of her food by mouth, 95%+ most days, so I think we’ll be able to get rid of the NG tube in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  She’s also started sleeping at night, which is giving me my sanity back.  Feeding her is very time-consuming, and I’ve had virtually no free time, unless you count pumping as a leisure activity.

It’s been harder than I expected, but I know these early difficult days will pass soon enough.  It’s reassuring to see how solid and big and strong her older sisters are.