Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Job

I got one.  I start September 16, and September 13 will be my last day at my current job.

Never thought I would see the day when I would be happy to take a 25% pay CUT, but here it is.

In my new job, I will be doing much the same work I am doing now, with some key differences.  I will no longer be paid by insurance companies.  I will no longer have a billable hours requirement.  And I will have holidays off, paid vacation, and paid sick leave again.  I will also have some other nice benefits, like student loan repayment assistance and a state retirement plan that my employer actually contributes to.  (My current employer offers a 401k plan but contributes exactly $0 to it on my behalf.)

I will also be working only blocks from MM, which means we will be able to meet for lunch occasionally.  Yes, it will probably be brown bag lunch, due to decrease in my salary.  But hey.  Life is full of trade-offs.

I will take my sanity and more time with my sons in exchange for less money.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sleep question for the moms

In the past couple of weeks, AJ has gone from being our excellent sleeper to being our challenge.  Historically, AJ has always needed a little more sleep than MJ.  From the time they came home from the hospital, he would sleep a little longer at naptime than MJ and wouldn't wake in the mornings after MJ (usually being awakened by MJ, or by us because MJ had been up for a while).

Starting about two weeks ago, AJ has been waking up first. . . and early!  He has gone from sleeping until 6:15-6:45 or so to waking between 5:15-5:30 most mornings.  This change in wake-up time has come without any change in bedtime or change in nap duration, and I'm not quite sure what is causing it.

Now AJ is up before MJ every day, and unlike MJ, AJ is not content to babble contentedly in his crib for a little while when he wakes up before someone comes to get him up.  No, AJ wakes up crying and insisting to be taken out of the crib THIS INSTANT.  This means that someone--OK, *I*--have to get up at 5:15, or whatever ungodly hour he has awakened, and get him up.  And because MJ is a light sleeper, I also have to get him up, too, because invariably AJ's crying wakes MJ up, no matter how quickly I go in to snatch AJ out of his crib.

I'm not sure if this is our "new normal" or a phase or if there is something that can be done to change this pattern.  I know that AJ is probably due to get some more teeth--at 19 months, he still only has four teeth, though several more are visible right under the gums--so maybe teething pain is a factor in these early wakings.  Additionally, he has had a ravenous appetite lately.  The amount he is eating has increased 50-75% from his usual amounts over the past few days; some days, he eats almost as much as I do. . . and that's saying something, considering that he weighs under 23 lbs to my (ahem) 200-ish lbs.

This morning AJ woke at 4:00 a.m. (GAH!), and fortunately I was able to quickly retrieve him from his crib before he woke his brother.  He slept in the guest room bed with me for a little more than an hour more (we generally don't co-sleep, but desperate times call for desperate measures), until he awoke at 5:10 signing and asking for "cracker."  (Dude has a serious graham cracker addiction lately; he eats several a day on top of his usual meals and snacks.)

I tried to put him off by telling him it was too early.  His response was to slide down off the bed and toddle out to the kitchen on his own.  

Fellow moms, any thoughts on what may have caused this change in AJ's sleep habits and what we can do to get him to sleep a little later?  I'd like him to sleep in not only so that I can get a bit more sleep--I'm usually up at 5:30 anyway--but also because he seems pretty tired all morning these days when he gets up this early, so I'm concerned that he isn't getting enough rest.  Plus I feel bad for MJ for getting woken up every morning.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yeah, OK

I only have time for a very quick post, as I am at work on a Sunday and want to get out of here as quickly as possible and home to my boys.  (In case you were wondering why I am busily searching for another job. . . .)

I just wanted to say that I very much appreciate all of you who took the time to read, and comment on, my last post.  I think your points were very well taken.  Yes, guilt does seem to be an inherent part of motherhood, and yes, some of the questions asked may, in fact, be unanswerable.

I went over the questionnaire with MM, and he wasn't sure how to answer some of the questions either.  He made the observation that some of the questions seemed to be geared toward older children (like questions about whether others can understand our child's pronunciation) and guessed that they are not specifically aimed at AJ's age group.  Which makes sense, given that most parents (1) might not notice a speech delay until their child is a bit older and (2) might wait to have their child evaluated even if they noticed a delay.  Being able to say only 3-4 words at 18 months is probably not seen as a big problem by a lot of people.  (Just from firsthand experience, I know at least three friends whose children reached their 2nd birthdays saying as few words as AJ does now, and they waited until after that age before they even mentioned it to their respective pediatricians.)

So maybe I am not an awful mother.  I am probably being too hard on myself.  I appreciate your offering me your perspectives.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Awful mother


I have felt for a few months that AJ's speech is not where it should be.  He has been saying the same three words ("Mama," "Dada", and "Mum-Mum") since around 14 or 15 months, and unlike MJ--who has had an explosion of speech over the past couple of months and now says at least twenty words and parrots many of the things we say to him--he has not added any new words to his vocabulary.  So I have been planning for a while to bring this up with his pediatrician at his 18-month well-check which, because of scheduling, was today, even though the boys are now nearly 19 months old.

Our pediatrician agreed that it sounds like AJ has an expressive speech delay and that it makes sense to have him evaluated by a speech and language pathologist.  I made an appointment for him this morning and then proceeded to begin filling out a lengthy questionnaire that needs to be completed in advance of his appointment.

This process is when I began to feel like an awful mother.  Because I realized I didn't know the answers to questions like. . .

What does your child do when he needs help?  (I think he cries or whines. . . but is that always the case?)

What happens if you can't figure out what your child is asking for?  What does he do?

Does your child ever seem to be frustrated when communicating?

I realized that I could *guess* at the answers to these questions (and others), but that I did not feel confident that I truly *know* the answers to all the questions on this form.  And that realization made me feel sad.  How can I not know these things about my own child?

Is it because I don't spend enough time with him?  Or because I don't pay enough attention to him when I *am* with him?  Or because I don't notice the things he does or his attempts to communicate with me?

And these thoughts made me think that maybe part of the reason AJ doesn't talk the way he should at his age is because of things I should be doing for him, and with him, that I'm not doing.  It's a terrible feeling to think that I am in any way responsible for a problem or delay that one of my children has.  As their mother, I want to do everything I can to help AJ and MJ get the best possible start in life.

I feel like maybe part of the reason that AJ is struggling in this area is because I have been so caught up in my own struggles of just trying to get through each day that I haven't given him the attention and the interaction he needs.  And that makes me feel like an awful mother.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Latest

  • Things seem to be improving on the job search front.  I have had two interviews in the past week and have two more coming up in the next two weeks.  All are for jobs that I believe would be an improvement over my current position.  I'd appreciate any positive vibes, prayers and kind thoughts you can send my way.
  • I've mentioned here before that billable hours are the bane of my existence.  One of several things I dislike about my current job.  It seems that over half of the associate attorneys in my office are below target on their billable requirement at the halfway point for the year.  We found this out at a meeting Monday when we were all lectured about the need to work more and bill more hours so that the firm can make more money.  Good times.  Just one more reason I need to get a new job.
  • I thought my headaches were improving--they had gone from every day to only every other day or sometimes every third day and were generally less severe--but then I woke up today with a really bad migraine.  Fortunately I have now seen a neurologist and have new medications to try to stop this cycle.  Here's hoping they work.
  • As I put more effort and energy into my job search, I am feeling even more overwhelmed and stretched even thinner because filling out applications, going to interviews, filling out background checks, getting fingerprinted, etc., takes up a lot of time.  Time that I really don't have.  But I am telling myself that I just have to push through, that this is temporary and that this effort is going to pay off when I land a new position.
  • MM is doing what he can to be supportive.  He is not the greatest with the emotional support--thankfully, I have friends and a sister for that--but he is taking on more than his share of the boys' care and doing even more than usual around the house.  He wants me to get a new job almost as much as I want to.
  • I can hardly believe it's already August 1!
  • Blessedly, the boys are doing great.  Their growth and development is amazing, and I feel lucky to have two such happy little guys in my life.