March 31, 2008

Returning to Work

Alden in his car seat, ready to go!

My maternity pay is gone and since our bills still keep coming, we decided it would be best for me to return to work this week. I had my trial run last Thursday. Dropped the kiddo off at Grandma Karen’s, then with trusty breast pump in tow, made my way to work. I cried a little during my commute to the lab and ran through the “what if” list in my head. Topping that list, of course, is what will I do if he runs out of food. The lab is a good 45 minutes from Gardiner and although I have no qualms about disobeying all posted speed limits to get back to him if he needed me, I don’t know that I could get back in time before his hunger would give way to disenchantment with the world (and therefore me). I had been saving milk for weeks in the freezer, one baggie at time, but would 5 3 oz servings be enough? And would I be able to get any work done while he was away? As it turns out, it was a pretty good day to start back at work because there wasn’t much for me to do. We had a seminar to attend all morning and then in the afternoon, there was a potluck for our new director followed by a catch-up meeting with my bosses. I managed to make and autoclave one batch of plankton growth media at the end of the day, but that was about it. It was strange to spend a day without Alden, seeing as I’ve been attached to him in one form or another for almost a year now. I’d forgotten what it’s like to really be on my own. And so, I spent most of my day either daydreaming about Alden (“I wonder what he’s doing now? Taking a crap? Maybe eating? Sigh…”) or sitting on the toilet in the Welch House (where my office is located) pumping milk. It was the only place I could think of where I could get at least 20 minutes of privacy at a time. The lab would be the other place, but the idea of pumping milk in the same room where we culture Vibrio and viruses gives me the willies. So, I spent an inordinate amount of my first day at work on the john, holding a plastic breast shield to my boob while the peristaltic pump in the attaché case droned on in its squeaky, mechanical way. I shudder to think what the Microbiologist with the office adjacent to the bathroom must have been thinking while I was in the bathroom with that pump a’ runnin’. By the end of the day, I had amassed a small army of little plastic bags of breast milk in the back of the communal fridge. Although it was nice to see everyone at work again, I really missed Alden and couldn’t wait to get back home by the end of the day. Alden on the other hand, seemed completely nonplussed by the whole event. He was happy as a clam and had been great with Karen. She seems excited about taking care of him next week as well, so I’m planning to go back to work for 2 days this week (Thursday and Friday). Kerstin will look after him on one of these days and “work from home”. I’m a little skeptical that he’ll actually get any work done, since when he’s a work, I can’t even manage to get out of my pajamas before noon. We’ll let y’all know how it goes.

As far as milestones go, Alden is making quite a variety of fun sounds and is really proud of himself for doing so. He’s also quite fond of sucking on his hand and is becoming a real squirmer/kicker. He nearly rolls off the changing table! I can no longer simply set him down on the couch or the bed for a minute if I have to go to the bathroom when I’m at home alone. Sigh. The end of an era, I suppose. The plus side is that I get to see more of Gillian these days now that she is back to normal, so I’m not on my own quite as much. We played a rousing game of scrabble this afternoon, complete with breastfeeding and nap breaks. Our kids are still oblivious of each other, but we had a great time.

1 comment:

Aaron Hobson said...

So you're boning up on your scrabble eh? Looks like there might be a Passover Scrabble-off this year... Beware the New Mexicans...