Category Archives: Teaching
Well… it’s been approximately a decade since I last posted. Apparently going back to work full-time has caused my posts to be few and far between. Well, going back to work & keeping up with my BUSY little man. Who is growing. By leaps and bounds. I’m still deciding how I feel about that.
Here’s a *brief* update on our life as of late:
I’m teaching second grade and loving it. I’m staying so busy & feeling very fulfilled being a wife, mommy, & teacher. Most recent classroom happenings include: A Social Studies project in which students created their own communities, a visit from my fabulous brother/friend Chaz (who works for the DEQ) who taught a lesson on Louisiana’s Wetlands, a Grandparent’s Day extravaganza, and a visit to a local nursing home (to round out our lesson on serving others with love). We’ve been having a lot of fun… I have a fabulous group of students this year & am enjoying teaching them SO much!
T is 8 (almost 9) months old. He weighs 22 pounds, and is crawling EVERYWHERE. He is getting into everything, and while it’s exhausting… it really is precious. He is pulling up on the furniture constantly, and even “cruising” around the coffee table some. It is amazing to see him gaining such coordination every day.
He has grown out of his infant car seat. Silly me. I bought the regular Graco Snugride thinking there was NO WAY he would weigh 22 pounds before he reached a year. I guess we should have sprung for the 32 or 35 pound model… In any event, he is now in a rear-facing Evenflo Tribute car seat. Since Aunt Jessi keeps T during the week while I’m at work, we bought three of these. It’s so much more convenient to have one for each vehicle rather than constantly switching them back and forth. Little nugget of wisdom we have discovered.
T is still breastfed (duh). Pumping while I’m at work is going well… I’m consistently pumping 2-3 ounces extra each day. T usually takes two sippy cups of milk while I’m gone, totaling 8 oz at most. He nurses when I’m at home, which is usually 4-5 times each day, depending on if/when he wakes up at night. He is also eating more solid food than before. At first he hated most of the foods we gave him. I was getting worried. Lately, though, I’ve relaxed about what/when/how he eats, and we’re probably following more of a “baby led weaning” approach to food now. More or less, we are offering him foods that we are eating in small bites. Although, we still feed him lots of things from a spoon… just usually not purees. Too bad I spent all that time making beautiful batches of pureed squash, sweet potato, green beans, spinach, etc. He seems to like small pieces of food much more. His current favorite foods are: eggs, chicken, turkey, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers, and yogurt. Yogurt is a recent addition… and he loves it!
As much fun as feeding T solids is, and as happy/relieved as I am that he has taken to them, I’m glad he still loves to nurse. We won’t be weaning from the breast anytime soon!
T is also growing socially/emotionally. He loves to play peek-a-boo, sing along when Aunt Jessi plays her guitar for him, follow us from one room in the house to another room, and get into things he’s not supposed to for a reaction. He likes to look at us when he’s going for the DVD player just to see if we’re going to stop him. *sigh* He is definitely ALL BOY… constantly climbing, crawling, and exploring. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Here are a few updated pics of the “little” man. Happy Turkey Day!
No, I didn’t fall of the edge of the Earth. No, T didn’t start walking. I just… went back to work. It’s been a struggle to find time to do the dishes, let alone write a blog post!
I have to say, I don’t know how working moms who don’t L-O-V-E their jobs can do it. I’m having a hard enough time leaving every day, and I adore my job. I can’t imagine leaving every day to go to a job I hate. It’s such a struggle to balance being great at my job and being a great mom. I’m trying to sift through all that and decide what it should look like, and it’s honestly a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.
In the twenty minutes or so that it takes me to get to work everyday, I think to myself, “I’m gonna quit my job today. I have no business leaving my son every morning. I hate it. I’m done.”
Then I walk into my classroom and have the opportunity to teach those fifteen smiling beautiful faces. I can literally see the light bulbs go off when they finally understand a concept we’ve been working on. Like telling time… it’s a long road to being able to read a clock, let me tell you. This past week I had several students who had major break-throughs in the time-telling department. Seeing those successes and knowing I had a part in it is amazing. It’s why I love my job.
Then lunchtime comes, and I have to get the giant, noisy, cold, plastic pump out. In the ten to fifteen minutes that I’m pumping, I usually send a text or two to check on T and Jessi or John will send me a picture of him smiling happily or rolling over or sitting up, and I’m ready to quit my job again. How can I be missing all of this? Evenings and weekends are not enough!
It’s a constant back and forth with myself. Even though I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing… I can’t help but struggle with it! I never thought I would second guess my decision to go back to work… but it’s true what they say: A baby changes everything!
For the past five months, I’ve been so nervous about going back to work for a bunch of reasons. Once I came to terms (as much as can be expected) with being separated from my baby, I became extremely nervous about pumping enough milk while at work. My goal from before T’s birth was to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, then to continue to breastfeed for at least a year. The thought of going back to work and not producing enough milk seriously upsets me. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal… but I’m pretty stubborn (shocker), and once I set a goal, you can bet I will be devastated if I don’t meet or exceed it.
So, naturally, I spent all summer pumping and storing over 200 ounces of milk in our freezer. I figured that would get me through a month or two of “daycare bottles” if pumping didn’t go well and I wasn’t able to meet T’s milk demands. Am I crazy? Absolutely. Did it work? You betcha.
Now that I’ve been back at work for two weeks, I’m pleased to report that not only have I pumped enough milk to feed T when I’m away, I actually have a surplus. T takes two 4 oz bottles every day while I’m gone (once school starts and my days are a little longer, he will probably need 3 bottles). I have pumped no less than 10 oz every day. I’ve never pumped less than 5 oz in a session. Sometimes (like just now) I pump 6 oz in one session.
I’m so pleased with this that I’ve started thinking about what advice I would give to a new mom returning to work and hoping to pump. I actually have a coworker who will be in this very situation later this school year, so I’ve really been thinking of advice for her. She’s my inspiration for this post. So, in honor of Sweet Nika, I give you:
Pearls of Pumping Wisdom!
- Start pumping before you go back to work. This will increase your overall daily output, and what you pump can be frozen and saved for “emergencies.” Frozen milk lasts 6 months in the freezer.
- Don’t stress out if you don’t pump much at first. Babies are inherently more efficient than any pump. It may take your body some time to get used to producing for a cold plastic pump. If you follow rule #1, then rule #2 will be a breeze.
- Spend the first 2-3 weeks of your baby’s life nursing as much as possible. This is smart because it’s a good way to boost your supply without having to pump (have I mentioned how much I hate my breast pump? Or any breast pump for that matter?). Don’t focus too much on pumping the first two weeks. Enjoy your baby and get rest… adequate rest is good for your supply. Only pump when you feel engorged at first. You can “schedule” pumping sessions later!
- Eat, Drink, and be Merry! Seriously, increase your water intake as much as possible. Pack snacks so you can eat every few hours. I’m eating almonds right now and slurping my way through giant bottle numero tres of ice water.
- Make time to pump during the workday. There’s no way around it, ladies. You have to pump if you want your supply to stay intact. You have to take time out of your day for this. It’s not easy. Believe me, I’m an elementary school teacher. Finding time to sneak off to pump when you have a classroom full of noisy, nosy, and active children is difficult. FIND THE TIME. It’s important.
Good luck, Mamas! With just a little effort, you too can be a dairy cow! 😉
Well, the time has come. After spending almost 5 (amazing!) months posing as a stay-at-home-mom, I am officially back at work. I have to say, I don’t know how women who don’t love their jobs can go back. The only things making the separation more bearable are:
1. Awesome (seriously. AWESOME.) friends and family members who are willing to take care of T in the morning for us
2. A beyond amazing husband who is a great Daddy & spends several hours every afternoon taking care of T
3. The fact that I absolutely adore my job. I have a great boss, fabulous coworkers, and such great students!
This week and next week will just be teacher in-service. I honestly really enjoy in-service with my coworkers. I know you probably think I’m lying, but we really do have a good time. The planning meetings are productive, and I always learn a lot in the professional development. I really love my job, and I want to be better at it. Of course, it’s also fun to set up my classroom!
Right now, I’m totally consumed with revamping my policies, procedures, and lesson plans from last year. So, if there seems to be a lull on the blog… don’t worry. I haven’t died. Things are just a little hectic right now! On that note, I’ll leave you with a pic of me and my Sweet T! We had so much fun playing together all summer long, and I’m really missing him at work. But, I know he’s in good hands. I think he’s even having a really good time with his Daddy!