Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back to Work

The dreaded day of 9 February finally came, and I went back to work. The truth is that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was dreading this day from before I even had the baby, just because I had no idea what it would be like, how it would work, how I would feel, how the baby would do...everything was unknown.

Now, I get it. I get that she needs six bottles of about four ounces each (just in case - she usually drinks four or five). I know where the "mummy's room" is at work, and I know what times I need to go. I can't believe how long it takes and how much I'm away from my desk, but now I know how it works.

I know that Samara will be fine without me. Her very complicated schedule of wake, play, eat, sleep, wake, play, eat, sleep (and repeat four times in one day) continues. She even rolls over and does new tricks when I'm not around. Surprisingly, I am not TOO sad to leave her - I don't mind the time away - but I wish that I got a bit more than one hour with her per day (including feeding). As the time goes on, and I miss her growing up, other than on the weekends, I think I will be sadder about that piece, but as of now, that's not too bad.

I wasn't away from work long enough for my brain to turn to mush, so that's not too bad either. I remember my projects, most of my contacts, how excel and power point work, etc. We did move to a new office (more on that in another post), so I have to negotiate a new coffee place, a new commute (with 26 escalators - not 24. I was mistaken), new printing, new food options, etc, but that was conquered in about two days. No problem.

The brutal part is the sleep. We never did that whole sleep deprivation thing when Sam was born. She slept for long stretches at night, and so did I. When I wasn't ready to get up in the morning, I pulled her into bed, and we slept until 8:30 or 9...everyday. Now, I have to wake up by 6:40 in order to shower, prepare her food, prepare my food (I feel guilty getting lunch out, since I'm away from my desk pumping so much!), eat breakfast, pump, get dressed and leave for work before the commute is so heavy that I can't fit on the MRT (must leave by 8:10, but preferably around 7:45). In addition to needing to get up super early, Sam has decided to start not sleeping. Before she would sleep until somewhere between 2 and 4. Now she wakes up at 10, 11, 12, 2, 4, 5, 6...I only get her twice (usually between 1 and 2 and between 4 and 5). The doctor warned that she might do this in order to get more calories (I have told my mom to STUFF her during the day!) or mommy time. I let her cry if I don't get her, and she goes back to sleep, but I still wake up. Then I feel anxious that I'm not sleeping, and then I can't fall back asleep. If this would happen before I was working, I would just sleep, but doing this FIVE DAYS in a row is just plain brutal. This is the first time in my life (possibly during finals or major projects at INSEAD and maybe other times at school too, but I don't remember) where I am totally and utterly sleep deprived, and there just isn't anything I can do about it. Just get through until the weekend and SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lombok #2

While the world was:
Rioting in Egypt
Pushing through snow in the mid-west
Celebrating Chinese New Year...

We went back to Lombok! You may recall that this was our last pre-Sam trip (when we were still sure she was a boy) in July. We loved it so much, we have been thinking about going back ever since. So, we made it back for Sam's third holiday (and her 5-8th flights), her second trip to Indonesia, and my last maternity leave hurrah. We went with Holly and Jeff, who you may remember from a trip to Bali in late 2009. They love Samara, so it was great to travel with them and utilise their help and entertainment for the baby. And, we love them, so conversation was great, and whoever wasn't staying with a sleeping Sam got to have adult socialising (and the other got to read). All in all, a fabulous trip.

In general, we traveled for two days (we had a connection in Jakarta) and we had three days in Lombok itself. We sat around the hotel for two days and we went around to some villages and shops on the middle day. Samara was fabulous - even when she didn't get her all-important sleep, and I was mostly not too stressed out. I will share some highlights.

The first night, we decided that we could put Samara to sleep in the room and use the baby monitor while in the restaurant. I remembered that two kids were taken from some hotel in some other country, so I was not a fan, but after some convincing, we did it. All was fine and good until the big boss came up to us and said, "excuse me, are you in room 34? Your baby is asleep in your room." Um, yeah, we know. Why do you know that?! It turns out that his staff went in for "turn down" service and found the baby asleep in her crib. Yeah - someone went in, turned on all the lights (and left them on!), did whatever they needed to do, then at some point probably saw the baby and left. And we had no idea. Matt convinced me that they love babies so much in Indonesia that no one would even think of hurting her or taking her, but I was freaked!

We had heard that in SE Asia the restaurant staff (or anyone else) will take your baby from you and just return them later. This had not happened to us yet. On Saturday, Matt, Jeff and Holly went to a temple and to get a meal in town. I was at the hotel with the babes. I waited for her to wake up and then took her to the restaurant and ordered my nasi goreng. The waitress said, "I will watch your baby while you eat." Stubborn me said, "no - it's okay. She'll just hang here." When I was eating, though, Samara got a bit cranky and wanted to eat too. So I was struggling with holding her and eating. The waitress came back and held her two arms up to take the baby. Well, why not. She took the baby away, behind the counter, and all of the staff were playing with her. I ate my nasi goreng. It was hilarious. This also happened when we were at a pottery shop. Our taxi driver insisted on holding the baby while we shopped. Why not. He has young kids and held her the way she likes to be held. She was happy. We shopped.

In typical Melanie fashion, I HATED that we were driving around with no seatbelts/carseat. As I looked at all of the babies going by as fourth and fifth passengers on motorcycles, though, I realised that Sam actually had it pretty good. I also recognised that we were going really slowly the entire time. And, being in a car, there was almost nothing that could touch us - if we came across a person on a bike, we would win. If we came across a motorcyle (even with five people on it...), we would win. So, I relaxed a bit, and just made sure that we were holding her neck unless there were any sudden motions. She basically just sat in our laps...which she did not especially like (she just doesn't like the car), and I even fed her in a moving car. Yup - you can judge me, but if you've been to SE Asia (especially with a baby!), you'll totally understand.

One other highlight was one afternoon when I put Sam in bed for a nap, and she was crying. A little baby kitten came out of nowhere and was running around our porch, going crazy. She could clearly hear Samara crying, and she was trying to figure out what to do (Kitty also sits by her door when she cries and we don't get her - she's always like, "Mom! Dad! The baby's crying! What's wrong with you!?!"). When that kitten was running around, I felt like there was some pact between all babies of the world to help each other. Different language? No problem. Different species? No problem.

We are just waiting to go back to this hotel - we just love it so much. If anyone is looking for a nice holiday - take a Silk Air flight direct to Lombok (transferring in Jakarta was terrible), and stay at Quncivillas. Wow - we might do it every six months!

In other news, my mom was supposed to arrive in Singapore on Saturday night. She went to the airport on Friday and was all ready to go...and then they cancelled her flight. She got re-booked on the same flight the next day. But that flight was super delayed and she missed her connection in Japan. So she spent the night in Japan and she should finally be on her way to Singapore now. She is arriving nearly 48 hours after she was supposed to - and now we only have one day to care for Sam together before I go back to work. Good news is that our new helper seems to be getting the hang of things, so I'm sure the baby will be fine (it's me that I'm worried about!).