11/8/16 The Election

Donald Trump is going to be the president of the United States.  President Elect Donald Trump.  The real estate mogul, reality TV star, rich white guy from NY is the populist champion for the struggling working class folk of middle America.  Huh?  What is happening here?  For a year, my husband or I would shake our head in frustration or disbelief of the things he and his supporters were saying, and the other one would comfort the other by saying, “he’s not going to win.”  What is there to say now?

Today I felt sad.  Sad, angry, frustrated, scared.  Lots of feelings.  I went to the gym in a daze.  I consciously maintained a happy demeanor around my son and was grateful he is too young to understand these things.  It was raining today which I thought was fitting.  Tonight I try to organize my thoughts.

I have three main worries about a Trump presidency.  First, foreign relations.  Donald Trump in the White House decreases our reliability with the rest of the world.  In my crude understanding of international politics predictability is key.  If the rest of the world is not assured that we will act within a set of standards, there is no stability or protection.  I am also very wary of Donald Trump’s weird love affair with Russia.  For example, his second debate remarks on Syria could have been written by the Kremlin.

Next, of course I worry about the supreme court.  I can only hope that his claims to appoint justices that will repeal roe/wade and overturn marriage equality was just pandering to his base.  But with a republican majority in house and senate I can’t imagine them confirming anyone less conservative.

Lastly, I am so saddened by the American electorate who either explicitly identified with racist, xenophobic, sexist, divisive rhetoric, or did not find it troublesome enough to outweigh a nebulous suggestion of economic change.  I am scared that a Trump win validates these viewpoints and will fan the flames to the point of conflagration.

It seems a large proportion of Trump voters were duped.  “Truthiness” won out.  It’s a stretch that any rich celebrity would give a crap about their livelihood and well-being, but Donald Trump in particular has shown time and again that his self-interests are his primary drive.  I am angry at Trump voters and ashamed for our country.  I’ve called them a lot of names- dumb, bigoted, xenophobic, selfish, hateful, short-sighted.  Deplorable.  But half our country voted for him.  Half our country thought a Trump presidency was the best option.  In truth, I think most of them are good people, albeit misguided.   Their fears, hopes, and barriers bear serious consideration.  It’s easy to coast comfortably in my middle class, northeast, educated, progressive bubble forgetting that life is very different for others around the country.  Although I have doubts that many Trump voters (or Republicans as a whole) often do the same.

I am far more dismayed that Trump won than that Clinton lost.  Yet I still sharply felt the disappointment of losing the opportunity for the first woman president.  It wasn’t until the day of the election that the momentousness of the first female president really set in.  By the time the votes started to roll in, I was so proud and pumped that America would be electing a woman to be its leader.  Ironically, Donald Trump set the stage for my girl power pride.  His public transgressions against women really got me thinking over the last few months about how widespread and ingrained sexism is.  It made me think about the times in my life that I was objectified, not taken seriously, or put in danger because of my gender.  Between clients on Tuesday, I read stories on Facebook from women around the country whose support of Hillary Clinton was so deeply personal- the mom-to-be who was forced to sit through unnecessary ultrasounds and counseling before her D & E when she lost her last pregnancy, the firefighter who was harassed on the job from day one, the mother of the little girl who assured her mom that she would be president one day.

As the states started to be called, I felt guilty that I could have done more.  I should have been more outspoken.  I could have been making phone calls to people in Michigan and Wisconsin to tell them to get their butts to the polls.  I could have donated.  I could have made my voice heard online.  I was a lukewarm Hillary supporter, so I sort of kept my head down.  I viewed her as the boring insider, the one who benefited from playing the system so fully that she became the system.  It wasn’t until the third debate, I think, that I started to see Clinton as the inspiring person that she is.  I am awed by her intellect, tenacity, and nerves of steal.  I find myself thinking through personal challenges with her in mind.  WWHRCD?

 

I am finding solace in all the wrong places.  I say to myself “Nothing ever changes anyway.  He won’t be able to do anything.”  Or “Now he has to pony up on all of his ridiculous claims.  Good luck building that wall.”  I take a bit of solace in the fact that we have no idea what he’s going to do or what kind of president he will be.  Somehow Donald Trump made it through over a year of campaigning without actually answering how he would enact the few policies he actually proposed.  If you’re the stock market this uncertainty is a bad thing.  But next to the horrors conjured up in our collective imagination I’ll take a question mark.

One actual solace is that the system (mostly) works.  We just witnessed another peaceful transfer of power.  A large group of frustrated citizens made their voices heard without bloodshed.  Obviously there are flaws in our system (electoral college, I’m looking at you), but we have a process in this country and it ran its course.  We have checks and balances, freedom of speech, and presidential term limits to hopefully limit the damage.

Truly we do not know what the next four years will hold.  Trump’s acceptance speech was a series of motivational posters about teamwork and unity.  It seems like right now everyone is saying what they are supposed to be saying.  It’s not very telling.  Those of us who feel that this is a dark period for our country have to be vigilant and outspoken.  Just as importantly, we have to embody the positivity we hope will not die out.

This election has boosted my conviction to represent my beliefs more brazenly.  Personally, my goal is twofold: to bravely call out racism, sexism, antisemitism, islamaphobia, and to create kindness wherever an opportunity arises.  Both require a simultaneous increase in confidence and decrease in ego.  We are all a work in progress, individually and collectively.

 

Buying a Car and Other Social Experiments

Buying a Car

We moved passed our frustration with Mazda’s decision not to take any responsibility for my 4.5 year old engine dying and decided to buy a new car.  Maybe a bigger, safer car would be a blessing despite the big drain on our savings.  So we delved into the world of car buying.

Few other retail endeavors leave so much to the imagination.  In this country the casual consumer hardly ever haggles.  Prices are given and prices are paid.  Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never challenged my hairdresser with a lower bid or told the Trader Joe’s clerk that I’d only buy the strawberries if they threw in the lentils.

Then there’s car buying where everything is a secret and you can trust no one.  To be honest, the whole thing stressed me out big time.  I was ready to shake hands and say “gee, thank you so much!” when we were given “the absolute lowest price”.  Luckily Ari thought it was fun to be more confrontational.  He recognized our position of power as buyers and made sure we were competitive in our negotiations.

You see a wide range of approaches when you patron 6 different dealerships.  There was the Straight Talker, the Soft-Spoken Soother, the Buddy Buddy, the Underdog, and even one salesman who I’m pretty sure didn’t actually work for the dealership.  (He didn’t have the car keys, didn’t go on the test drive with us, and kept calling Milo a girl!)

In the end we got a deal that we feel very good about, including a very reasonable value for our trade-in.  We are now proud owners of a new Nissan Murano (in an awesome dark blue color).  We picked the Murano for its place on the IIHS Top Safety Pick list, its V6 engine (mama needs good pick up!), its sleek look, and all the fun goodies on the inside (blind spot warning, automatic lift gate, navigation, etc.).  So far we are both happy with our pick.  Hoping this car lasts (much) longer than 4.5 years.

 

Meetup.com

Meetup.com is a website for people of similar persuasions to form groups and host real-life events together.  It’s a great idea for anyone looking to make new friends, pursue hobbies with others, get involved in the community, murder unsuspecting suckers in a dungeon.

It’s kind of like a virtual club fair for adults.  It’s a good platform for me in particular because a. I want to meet more people who live near me, b. I’m not great at initiating contact or conversation, and c. I’m pretty good at making friends once there is an opening.  Meetup.com can potentially provide that opening.

So with this in mind, I joined the Pompton Lakes Moms group and decided to attend a meetup at the organizer’s home.  Luckily this was an event for moms, dads, and kiddos, so the whole family went.  And guess what?  No murder dungeon!  What’s more, we met some really nice people who we hope to see again.  Score!

 

Keeping the Old

My best friends are a big part of my identity.  They’ve been in my life for a really long time, which is something I’m proud of.  I’m also really glad that so far having a baby has not changed that.  I still call and text my girls all the time and try to keep up with their lives as they keep up with mine.  Sometimes important events slip through the cracks or don’t get as much attention as they should, but with 25+ years under our belts, the closeness does not seem to be affected.  Lucky.

My oldest friend Stacey, who I met in her mother’s Mommy and Me class at age 1, now has a little boy herself.  We played Barbies together and made up dances together, and soon our babies will be playing together.  Nuts.

It’s surprising how many people fall into the friend category throughout high school.  I guess by virtue of exposure and comfort, I had a lot of friends.  Naturally closeness does not linger for all friends, but admiration may.  Or at very least friendliness.

For at least some of those reasons I have two interesting meetings lined up for this weekend.  First, lunch with a friend from high school who recently moved to a nearby town.  Second, a get-together with a couple I grew up with in Hebrew school and their son.  Sometimes you see an old friend and the old connection is revived, sometimes there is a new connection created, and sometimes you understand why the connection faded in the first place.  We shall see!

 

Between family (who are extra excited to see us Milo), good friends we’ve been seeing a lot of, old friends who are only a phone call away, and potential new friends, for the first time in a while I feel sufficiently social.

 

No Sleep for the Weary

I’m wide awake, it’s the middle of the nii-ight, I’m standing in the dark, waiting up for the light.

 

Actually I’m laying on the couch, but close enough.  It’s 5:15 am and I’ve pretty much been up since 2 when M woke up to eat.  Tonight we tried a new strategy where Ari went in first to try to soothe him in hopes that he would go back to sleep without eating, but no luck.  I’d really like to get M back to sleeping longer stretches.  I know he can go longer without eating, but I think he likes the comfort of nursing to help him fall back asleep.

Unfortunately I don’t have the same surefire method for returning to sleep.  Usually it’s not much of a problem, but tonight (and last night) my cold is getting the best of me.  The good news is that I feel like my fever broke.  The bad news is that I’m still achy and my face feels like an over-inflated beach ball.

And the sleep deprivation.  Between waking up twice each night, spending 12 hours a week with germy children and running myself ragged by driving all over the world, I keep getting sick.  This is the third time in about 6 weeks.  I’m going for the record.  Also, my jaw doesn’t seem to be lining up these days.  What’s with that?

Speaking of driving, my car decided not to do that anymore.  Turns out I need a new engine.  A new, $8000 engine that may or may not be under warranty.  The car is a measly 4.5 years old but it has 66,000 miles on it which is 6,000 more than it’s covered for.  Fingers crossed that they’ll cut us some slack.  Not too pleased with Mazda these days.

Oh, what else?  I just took an online training on standardized assessment of foreign accent.  I’m considering pursuing private accent modification clients again.  Maybe I’ll write a post about that eventually.  Part of the draw is that it’s non-medical.  I’m looking for low-pressure work these days.  Which is funny because I used to love the medical aspect of speech pathology.  I guess I’m lucky to be in a field with such a wide scope to accommodate my changing priorities.

Really, I find myself ambivalent about getting my private practice going again.  Sometimes I’ll read something that gets me excited, but more often than not I just want to pay the bills and spend as much time as possible with my baby.  That’s fair, right?  I’m pretty sure I’m biologically wired to want that.

And he’s really cute.  I mean super super cute.  Yesterday was a rough day because I was sick and feverish and all he wanted was to be held and bounced.  I’m pretty sure he’s teething.  But that’s his prerogative- he’s a baby.  It’s so cool to see him gain new skills.  He can now grab a toy and bring it to his mouth, actually enjoy toys, smile and laugh, push through his legs to stand, support his head most of the time, take turns in a cooing conversation, latch on his own when nursing, attend to a book.  And he’s so big!  So much change in less than 4 months.

When I write a post like this, I imagine myself 2, 5, or 10 years from now reading back on my current life.  I imagine I’ll compare M’s milestones to any possible siblings’ and I imagine I’ll enjoy remembering this time in my life.  Despite the sickness, weird jaw thing, car trouble, and work confusion, this is a pretty amazing time.

 

Surviving the First Few Weeks of Breastfeeding: 14 Tips from a New Mom

Breastfeeding-10-anja-kielBreastfeeding is seriously hard work.  You’re a new mom, you haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a stretch in days, your everything hurts, your hormones are all over the map, and then this little human insists on sucking on your boobs all day long.  Ugh.

I count my lucky stars that breastfeeding has been relatively smooth for me, but still not easy.  And for some mamas, challenges like supply issues, cracked nipples, colicky babies, and breast infections can be hard to avoid and difficult to persevere through.  On the other hand, there is something special about physically providing sustenance for your child.  And there is peace of mind in knowing his food is all natural, fresh, and full of extra goodies like antibodies, enzymes, vitamins, etc.

For those new moms who are motivated and able to breastfeed (and also for my future self), I’ve compiled the 14 essential tips that got me through the first few weeks as a nursing mom.  My hope is that this advice will help other new mamas get over the hump of breastfeeding woes and forge positive breastfeeding relationships for the benefit of themselves and their babies.

 

  1. Do your homework

    Take a class at your hospital (or another local hospital if yours doesn’t offer one).  I found that just a 2.5 hour class was incredibly helpful for understanding the mechanics of a proper latch and the timing of on-demand feeding.  It also provided a lot of useful resources.  Bring your partner or support person with you so that he r she fully understands what you will be going through and how to help.  I also recommend the book The Nursing Mother’s Companion, and KellyMom is an amazing website that was my go-to for questions that arose along the way.

  2. Find support

    Breastfeeding is a whole lot easier when you surround yourself with people who get it.  My husband is so attentive to my needs while I’m feeding our son.  Perhaps even more valuable, he is sympathetic to my struggles.  Many hospitals host breastfeeding support groups, and I’ve heard good things about La Leche League although I’ve never attended a meeting myself.  In my case, a few mom friends who didn’t mind a late-night text about sore nipples or pumping were invaluable.

  3. Wait for a wide open mouth

    The latch is key.  A bad latch equals seriously sore boobies.  For me the biggest factor in getting a good latch was a wide open mouth.  If I allowed my baby to take the nipple in a partially opened mouth, the result was a painful, ineffective, shallow latch.

  4. Aim up

    I learned this tip in my breastfeeding class and it seemed to work.  To get a good latch, aim your nipple toward the back of the baby’s hard palate.  This not only stimulates the part of the mouth that triggers the suckle but it also encourages an asymmetrical latch.  Sometimes it can be helpful to smush the nipple down a bit to get further back in baby’s mouth.  Again- a shallow latch is a painful latch.

  5. Count to 10

    For the first couple weeks nursing hurt like crazy, but only for the first 10 seconds or so.  Breastfeeding is a learning process for mom and baby.  So in the beginning it took my little boy a few seconds to get my nipple in the perfect spot, and that trial and error was painful.  To get through it my strategy was to count to 10 out loud, knowing that by the time I got to 10 (or sometimes 15…) it wouldn’t hurt anymore.  (Don’t worry mamas- this only lasts a week or 2!)

  6. If at first you don’t succeed…

    If you can tell that the latch is not great, take the baby off and try again.  Otherwise you will be super sore later on.  Just be careful on the dismount!  Use your finger to gently pull the corner of baby’s lip to break the seal before you pull him away.

  7. Keep track

    I found it helpful to track when, for how long, and from which breast(s) my baby ate.  I did this until his second weigh-in with the doctor (10 days) so that if things weren’t going well I could have some data to look back on.  Trust me, you won’t remember anything without writing it down those first few weeks!  (Side note: I changed my work email password when my son was 2 weeks old and immediately forgot it.  Help Desk, please!)  Tracking also helped me feel confident that he was getting enough and encouraged me to keep him at the breast a bit longer.  I used the My Medela app.

  8. Nipple cream every time

    My cousin suggested this so I just did it.  Slather on your favorite nipple cream after every feeding.  Even if they don’t hurt.  Just do it.  I liked Lansinoh brand but there are plenty of natural creams as well.  Just use something that doesn’t require wiping off.  And use nursing pads because nipple cream can stain your shirts.

  9. Hydrate

    Some women get thirsty when they nurse.  So. Thirsty.  Science says so and I can attest to it.  Even if you don’t get thirsty, don’t forget to drink.  You are being actively dehydrated which can lead to headache and fatigue.  The jury is out on whether dehydration decreases milk supply, but the general consensus is to drink to satisfy thirst.  Whenever possible, I fill up a water bottle (with a straw) or ask my husband to bring it to me when I am nursing.  By now I’m pretty good at multitasking but early on  my husband would sometimes have to hold the water bottle for me to drink out of while the baby drank out of me.  What a sight.  What a guy.

  10. Air ’em out

    Your boobies will be sore and not wanting to be smushed inside a bra or even rubbed against a T-shirt.  Give them air.  They need to breathe!  Just be sure to clip your top back up before answering the door.

  11. Get comfy

    My perfect set-up: A pillow behind my back, the Boppy under my baby, my phone and water nearby.  If stitches, hemorrhoids, headaches, exhaustion (god we go through so much!) are driving you nuts, learn how to nurse side-lying.  Whatever you need to to do to be comfortable, do it.  You may be in that position for a while and the more relaxed you are, the better.

  12. Stay awake

    That means you and baby.  Sleepy babies can often be a barrier to a successful breastfeeding relationship.  I found that a pre- or mid- feeding diaper change helped keep my little one awake.  Also I would firmly stroke the tongue muscles under the jaw to remind my baby to keep sucking.  Some people swear by stripping the baby down to his diaper to keep him alert.  Sleepy mamas can cause a problem too.  Make sure the baby is supported on a Boppy or pillow so that if you fall asleep you won’t drop him.  Especially for those middle of the night feedings.

  13. Be all in

    Nursing on demand is a full time job.  Your baby will eat 8-12 times each day, and each feeding could take 20, 30 , or 40 minutes (there’s a wide range of normal- every baby is different).  They say newborns eat every 2-3 hours, but my baby ate whenever the heck he felt like it which was usually more often.  Cluster feeding is when the baby just wants to nurse and nurse, even if he’s just eaten and you think he can’t possibly be hungry.  With all that unpredictability, I could barely run to the store without worrying I’d be leaving a hungry baby behind.  (Pumping alleviates some of that stress but comes with it’s own list of challenges.)  The point is, to breastfeed successfully, you have to be totally committed.

  14. Patience and persistence

    This is hands down the best piece of advice I received on breastfeeding.  The first time I nursed my son outside of the delivery room the nurse told me, “Breastfeeding takes patience and persistence.”  Man was she right.  For weeks my baby would sometimes take 10 or 15 minutes just to latch on.  He would be frustrated, I would be frustrated.  My husband would wake up to me crying in the middle of the night holding a hungry baby who was not attached to my boob.  Not good.  I would literally say out loud, “Breastfeeding takes patience and persistence.  Patience and persistence.” Eventually he would latch and we would all be okay.  And the best part is that we both got a whole lot better at it- now he latches immediately.

 

Breastfeeding is draining, figuratively and literally.  For a myriad of reasons it does not always work out for everybody who chooses to attempt it.  Sometimes there are issues like tongue tie or reflux that can be rectified.  Sometimes circumstances don’t allow for breastfeeding.  (Of course if you are having trouble it’s a great idea to contact a board certified lactation consultant or your pediatrician.)  Even when everything goes perfectly, breastfeeding is still a challenge.  But luckily there is a whole lot of practice built in.  You and your baby learn more each day and before you know it you both are pros!  Go easy on yourself, be committed, and get help if you need it.

From one new mom to another, I hope these tips make your life just a tiny bit easier.  I am more than sure this list is not exhaustive and that everybody has a unique experience.  So what did I miss?  What helped you persevere through the first few weeks of breastfeeding?

On Being Heard

First, a confession: Last week Ari and I were both sick.  We spent the whole day in bed while our mothers came in shifts to take care of the baby.  Vomiting, 102 fever… it was awful.  See how I described the illness in just a few words?  Unfortunately for Ari, I am never that succinct in the moment…  “I just feel like my stomach is cramping up, you know?” “Oh my god I’m so so hot. Ugh I’m so sweaty.” “You know when you’re about to throw up and all the saliva falls out of your mouth?” “I’m cold now.”  I’m not sure if it feels better to give the symptoms a name, or if I was just looking to commiserate.  Most likely, I’m ashamed to say, it’s that I just needed some validation.  Yep, validation from my equally sick husband that I was in fact suffering.

Second, an impression: A few weeks ago I decided to give Twitter a try.  I’d dabbled in the Twittersphere before, but never as more than a visitor or onlooker.  But now that I spend a large portion of my day with a baby on my boob and one hand free, it seemed like a good time to explore social media.  Turns out, I really like Twitter!  I know, welcome to 2009.  Top 3 favorite things about Twitter: Moments (quick pulse on hypercurrent events), Interacting with known entities (got help from Optimum and advice from a baby carrier company), and Hashtag games (fun!).  I am still warming up to the idea of posting random musings and opinions.  Are my ideas worthy of immortality?  Do I sound self-important?  But experimenting with self-expression is a good exercise at least.

Third, a discussion: I have a patient who has a progressive neurological disorder that affects his speech.  Every morning that I go to see him I ask how he is and his answer is always the same: “Wonderful”.  Whenever I tell him to use a louder voice, he insists his wife will tell him to stop yelling.  Despite his dysfluencies and difficult to understand speech, he purposefully mispronounces certain words to get a laugh.  All of this behind his masked facies.  Yesterday I asked him why he was having a particularly quiet day.  He reminded me of the degenerative nature of his disease and told me, “what you see is what you get.”

Working Mom

Last week I joined the noble status of working mom.  I am low among the ranks (with no immediate intention of rising) since I benefit from part-time hours and family-provided childcare.  Nevertheless this marks yet another shift in my increasingly dynamic personal identity.

It’s crazy how many different identities a woman can assume in such a short period of time when she has a baby.  Just last April I was an Individual, a woman focused on career aspirations, enjoying my home and marriage, and generally feeling stable and whole.  Pretty nice, right?  Then suddenly (on Mother’s Day actually) I became a Pregnant Woman, riddled with unsettling anticipation but also unabashed excitement and a growing connection to something big.  Then I became something big for a while, evoking stares and often sweet smiles and trite but loving conversation.

On January 11th I became a Mom.  The primary life-giver and care-taker of this small person that had been growing in my uterus for the previous 9 months.  This awe-inspiring, beautiful little boy was finally in my arms and in the grasp of all 5 of my senses.  (No, I haven’t licked the baby. Ok, 4.) I would stare at his perfect ear with its precisely sculpted soft curves and marvel at the wonder that I made it.

And now I’m a Working Mom.  That’s at least 4 really significant identity shifts in under a year which must be a contributing factor to the amazement I sometimes feel at considering my current station.  Still there’s something natural about each role.

Leaving M with my mother-in-law actually was not as difficulty as I had anticipated.  This, coming from somebody who called to check-in when leaving her sleeping baby with her mother for 15 minutes.  But that was 6 weeks earlier.  M just turned 2 months and I’ve been away from him many times for about an hour or 2 since I’ve resumed piano lessons and Zumba classes.  So it has definitely gotten easier and I can honestly say I don’t worry (much) about him when he’s in the hands of loving family members.

I know I’m very lucky to have that option.  Leaving my little, vulnerable child with a stranger or with caregivers whose attention is divided by other children would be a much scarier proposition.  Leaving him for the entire day, 5 days per week would have been so heartbreaking, too.  I am working max 12 hours/week now, which makes work feel like a hobby and M feel like my full-time job, which is much more in line with my priorities.  I am so grateful that we can swing this (at least for now).  So many mothers who would like this sort of arrangement don’t have the luxury of being home with their kids.  From the comfort of my cushy situation, I think of the mothers with multiple children, older kids, increased hours away from home, lower wages, decreased flexibility, tighter finances, less family support, etc.  I count my blessings.

For me the hardest part was logistics and I can deal with logistics.  I am working 2 different jobs as well as seeing a private client and working occasionally for my former employer on the weekends.  The multiple employers plus considering childcare availability took some skilled scheduling to reconcile.  My ongoing challenge now is to ensure that I pump enough milk for M for while I’m away.  I stocked my MIL’s fridge with frozen milk which gives me a bit of a cushion at least.

So for now it’s really been fine.  I’m not particularly happy about leaving M for any amount of time, but I know he’s in good hands.  I do like rebooting the SLP part of my brain.  I also find that even a few hours away from M makes me savor our time together more.  I’m more present to ponder more tiny, perfect body parts.   And in time having an active professional life will probably feel like a necessity.  In fact, as I reintroduce my former endeavors back into my routine, I suspect I will find that all those big identity shifts over the past year were no more than costume changes; that after all these changes I am still mostly the same person I was a year ago despite new labels.  I just have less simplicity and more love in my life.  Less certainty and more responsibility.  Less sleep and more spit-up in my hair.

 

Just Writing

I’m going to start writing again.  Again.

Just for myself this time though.  In the past I would construct these long posts pontificating on random things with the hope that someone would find them interesting or that I would contribute to an important conversation.  The result was flat and somewhat contrived posts that were hard to keep up with.

So now I’m taking a different approach.  One that I hope will encourage me to maintain the practice of writing.  The real purpose here is to organize my thoughts and to create a record of this time.  With an 8 week old baby the present feels so surreal that I can’t imagine how elusive the memories will be.

I guess I’m just trying to enshrine my current self for the enjoyment and education of my future self.  There’s something sick there, right?  Oh well.  Future me says thanks!  I assume.