So I only have less than a week of maternity leave left. When Charlotte was born, the 4 month leave I took seemed to stretch into eternity, and I could not wait to return to work. Taking care of a baby all day wore me out and stressed me out. I became obsessed with the poison ivy growing in our yard. It distressed me greatly that I was constantly wearing a ratty T-shirt accessorized with spit-up. If she didn't follow her nap and feeding schedule exactly, I was plunged into depression, just sure it meant she would never sleep through the night again. I was a little crazy. I could also tell you Charlotte's age in weeks until she was 2 1/2.
This time around, 4 months has zoomed by, and I am not sure I am ready to go back to work. I also have no idea how old Lawson is in general, much less in weeks. I only know it's time to go back to work because my iPhone told me so. Charlotte still goes to daycare three days a week, so I have been home alone with Lawson those days. Don't tell my husband, but it's a pretty easy gig (most days; there are days when he acts like he has a bleeding ulcer and I'm feeding him lemon juice). Honestly, I don't know how and why I thought having one baby was hard. Just like I can't understand why I ever thought my job was stressful--what is stressful about sitting in front of a computer, unmolested by little parasites, all day? I imagine if I kept having children, which I most decidedly will not be doing, I would eventually come to regard prison as relaxing.
No, Lawson is pretty easy, despite the fact that, at almost 4 months old (I'm assuming, the daffodils are in bloom anyway), he still has no discernible nap or feeding schedule. Every day is a surprise, as if I am living with Charlie Sheen (incidentally, meditating on Charlie Sheen is one of my most effective coping mechanisms these days. Still 20 pounds overweight? At least I'm less likely to be kidnapped by Charlie Sheen and forced into a harem. Not getting enough sleep? Easier to fall asleep during ET's Charlie Sheen update. No quality time with my husband? At least I won't be reminded of Charlie Sheen by virtue of the fact that he and Kevin are both men). Sometimes he wakes up at 7, sometimes he wakes up at 5. Sometimes he goes to bed by 8, sometimes he feels like staying up til 10, usually on a Tuesday because he's a huge Gleek. Sometimes he has 5 bottles a day, sometimes it's 6, sometimes they are 4 oz., sometimes they are 7 oz. Sometimes he takes 3 naps, sometimes 4...it goes on. The only thing you can count on is that he will poop. At some point. Charlotte on the other hand followed a rigid schedule with military precision by 12 weeks old, a skill she must have inherited from her maternal grandparents, whose own sense of time could not be shaken even by the blunt force of Africa, where militaries lack military precision (but they can stage a decent coup in most places, although it will run behind schedule). His erratic behavior aside, a day with Lawson is fairly chill. He sleeps, he eats, he sits around. He is basically a piece of furniture at this point. A little more high maintenance actually, probably more like one of those weird Japanese toy pets that make you feed them. He's way cuter and more important of course, but just in terms of work load. And so what if I just wear spit-up all the time? Spit-up fits even on a fat day, and every day is a fat day around here.
Which brings me to one of the reasons I am reluctant to go back to work. Despite my best efforts, I am still really fat. I did not consider the possibility that I would have trouble losing weight when I was chowing down on donuts during my pregnancy because I did the same when pregnant with Charlotte and had no trouble shedding the pounds once I went on Weight Watchers. I also did not consider this possibility when I got rid of all my spring fat clothes, foolishly thinking I would be back to normal by the time warmer weather rolled around. Warmer weather is rolling around, and, alas, so am I. Still. Given that my wardrobe mainly consists of yoga pants and T-shirts, I have had to buy work-appropriate clothing in larger sizes, something I find more painful and unpleasant than giving birth without an epidural, something I have very intelligently never attempted, or eating salad without salad dressing, something I unfortunately have in my desperate state. I'm hoping my body will eventually get the message and start cooperating with me, but I fear this pregnancy has somehow permanently wrecked my metabolism, and I'll be forced to start buying really really expensive clothes so I can claim to be a size 8 again (Oprah, you know I love you more than life, but you are not a size 10, hate to tell you. Go try on a pair of jeans in Old Navy and brace yourself). I have a few other strategies in the event I never lose this weight that involve making my husband obese and moving to a Muslim country, but honestly I am quite despairing about it. My biggest fear in life, after being eaten by a wild animal and having to home school my children, is having to eat nothing but lettuce for all eternity. Hopefully it won't come to that.
I keep telling Lawson, in our waning quiet moments together, that he better not grow up to be a criminal because it would really suck to have had my body destroyed to bring a criminal into the world. That's what I think every time I see a bad person on TV now: your mother went through all that so you could go and become this? Honestly, we all owe it to our mothers to be a bunch of Mother Teresas out there.