Thursday, May 27, 2010

Working in the big city: week in review

Today is the start of Speed Street in Charlotte. Basically the main uptown area is shut down and vendors set up booths for the enjoyment and commercialism of the Charlotte population. We'll probably check it out on Saturday with Cameron. In the meantime, I've decided to work from home today and tomorrow to avoid the hassles of traffic and parking. So while it hasn't officially been a week working from uptown I still wanted to share my thoughts about the changes in working at the headquarters and commuting uptown.
  • Commute. My commute in the afternoon is much better than the morning. The reason being that I do Cameron's drop off. And of course the daycare is 4 miles in the exact opposite direction of where I need to be. So I am averaging about 45-60 minutes once I leave my house to when I arrive at work. That extra 15-30 minutes makes a big deal in how I feel in the morning. There are 3 ways I can get to my office from Cameron's daycare according to Google maps. And the commute time only varies by 1 minute for each route. There are lots of lights, idiot drivers and general frustrations that I remember from my days of commuting in Boston.
  • Parking. I pay $115/month for parking now vs. $0 when I worked in the suburbs. Plus there is the extra hassle of navigating the parking structure. I've found my "spot" that will allow me to use walkways (once they open) when it rains out. Until then I brave the weather and the rain to walk the streets to my building.
  • Dress. I work in the headquarters so most people wear suits. I don't mind as I have quite a few (although many of them need to be taken in - yay!) and it does make it easier to wear a kind of a uniform. I plan on working from home every Friday per usual but I have a feeling more business casual is acceptable on Fridays.
  • Eating options. There are a lot more eating options within walking distance uptown. This has it's pluses and minuses. I went out to eat 3 (!) times this week. I tried to be good and stick to Weight Watchers but I have a feeling this week's weigh in will not go well.

My boss was in town from NYC this week so I got to spend some quality time with him. My project also utilizes Accenture and they have an office right outside of the uptown area that I can take a free trolly to. It's nice to be able to meet with people in person. Most meetings in my last role were conference calls and there is about 10% lost in translation when you can't look people in the eye.

Has anyone else made the transition from suburb to city while working? How did it go for you?

One other thing I would mention is that BigFinance has started blocking blog sites. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. I'm devastated. If I don't VPN in I can get to them but this means less flexibility to write and post my own blogs as well as respond to the ones I read. I think that this may be the biggest transition of it all!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The future of sleep

I'm about to invite the karma gods to rain down on my head but I have a not-so-secret confession to make: Cameron is an excellent sleeper. How exactly did we arrive at a 14 month old who sleeps 12+ hours a night? Let me share my secrets:
  • I tracked her sleep/wake/fussy patterns starting at 8 weeks old for about a month. This allowed me to visually understand her patterns and be able to adjust her feeding/nap schedule appropriately.
  • Swaddling. We swaddled for about 6 months until we started CIO. The super swaddle was the only thing that allowed us to keep her in a burrito shape.
  • Consistent bedtime. Need I say more? Cameron is in bed between 6:30-7 PM depending on how well she naps at school. We also have a consistent routine with bathing every other night, music, book and bed.
  • We did CIO when Cameron was 6 months old. I know that some people don't like CIO for various reasons but I am convinced it was a key step in teaching her how to fall back asleep on her own.
  • Medicate early and often. I can count on one hand the number of times we've had to console Cameron during the night and they all point to illness or teething. Motrin is my friend and if there are signs of teething I will give her some before bed. I don't want to be in pain so I assume she doesn't either!
  • Good naps. It's totally true. A good napper is a good night time sleeper. We have irregularly gone down to one nap a day (always at daycare but sometimes on the weekend). She spends that nap in her crib with the shades and curtains drawn and the fan and humidifier on. I'm a light sleeper so I always assume everyone else is too. The white noise helps ensure a 2+ hour nap.
  • Read, read, read. I searched other people's blogs, I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and I posed questions via my own blog for advice. I didn't have to experiment with many techniques, fortunately. CIO worked for us in about 4 days. I also felt no major guilt over CIO. I know my mom did it with us (how could you not with triplets?!?) and I love to sleep.
  • Genetics. See above. I love to sleep. I can nap and still go to bed at the same time. This must play a roll in my child's capacity for sleep.

I am curious about how long our luck will hold out. I plan on keeping Cameron in a sleep sack until she can't fit in it any more to avoid attempts to climb out of her crib. Thanks to Goddess In Progress for that suggestion. I'm sure once we transition her into a "big girl" bed that sleep interruptions will be more frequent.

As your kids have gotten older did you find that their sleeping patterns changed drastically? Any particular stages for us to be aware of? In July Cameron will be sharing a room with her almost two year old cousins. They are twins and hence used to noise from each other during the night. I am a bit worried that Cameron will wake up more frequently and not be able to fall back to sleep. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Going shopping in my own closet

I haven't written much on this blog about my crusade over the past two months to lose weight. I have been inspired by others (Goddess In Progress and Lauren to name two) to go back to Weight Watchers and finally take my body back. I did WW before I got pregnant. I knew that I was going to pack on the pounds with pregnancy so I decided to lose some weight first. I figured it would make the uphill battle post-pregnancy a little easier.

I gave myself a year to lose the weight on my own. And right around Cameron's birthday I caved and started WW again. I love that I can track my points on my iPhone although the past two weeks I've been remiss. Sometimes I get lazy entering points especially if the nutritional value isn't easily accessible. It's been 8 weeks and I've lost 11 pounds. I was really hoping to average 2 pounds a week but I've had some off weeks here and there. I blame wine. Or rather my preference for wine. My target is to lose another 9 pounds before our family vacation/reunion which is slated 8 weeks out. I think it's doable but I have to put more focus on both my eating and exercise. We joined a local community center and three days in a row I've been able to use the indoor pool to swim laps. I forgot how much I loved swimming!

One of the benefits to having, ahem, fluctuating weight is that my closet is filled with smaller sized clothes that I couldn't bear to part with. This weekend I took a stroll through my 3 closets and came up with 4 pairs of pants, a suit, lots of casual summer tops and a pair of jeans. DH was thrilled that I avoided spending money although I spent a bunch on swimming gear so at least I got some shopping done that way! Yes I do have 3 closets: the guest room one is a hodgepodge of my stuff, Cameron's and Christmas decorations. We have two in the master bedroom that are small so DH gave me those and he uses the closet in his office. Not that he ever needs to go into his closet for work clothes because he works from home. So it wasn't a serious sacrifice on his part :-)

The two closets are next to each other and are a lot longer than the small closet door. So I end up "losing" a lot of clothes to the back of each one. I need to be better about going through them regularly and rotating pieces to the front. I have my casual clothes in one closet and my work clothes in another. That's worked well for me so far but I might need to reorganize again if I keep losing clothes. Does anyone else have this two closet situation? If so, how do you organize your work/play clothes?

I'm down a solid pants size and looking forward to dropping another one by the family reunion. I hope that the more regular exercise will kick start my system a little more and allow me to indulge in an extra glass of wine now and then. Hey, I deserve it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The queen of busy town

I was talking to my mom today and she asked how Cameron was doing. My response? "She's very busy." And she is, constantly. It doesn't matter what she is doing she does it with such an intentness that you can practically hear the wheels turning in her cute little head. Cameron always has to be doing something. There is never a moment to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. Looks like toddlerhood has hit us hard!

This is Cameron's pooping corner. Every time she had to poop this weekend we happened to be in the living room and she would head to this corner, grunt a few times and bang, a nice little present for Mommy or Daddy to clean up. I heard somewhere that picking a particular location is an early sign of the ability to be potty trained. Given that she still falls down a lot when she walks I think we'll hold off on that particular learning process for a while.
Cameron always tries to carry her daycare bag when we are entering or leaving the school. So when we were at the mall this weekend I stopped by Claire's to pick up her very own purse. As you can see, Cameron loves it and insists on carrying it with her everywhere.
I had to include this photo because, man, this kid is cute, isn't she? We had some friends over for a BBQ last night and I mentioned that I was surprised she wasn't "discovered" in our outing to the mall. It's about time Cameron started earning her keep :-)
Despite being extraordinarily busy Cameron does love her arm chair, a birthday present from Grammy. She gets annoyed if I sit in it. She seems to realize that it is her chair and no one else should sit in it.
Another cute chair photo...

Friday, May 21, 2010

That really bites

DH had a late meeting yesterday so I was the one to pick Cameron up from school. It was kind of crazy when I got there as they had just consolidated two classrooms (waddler and infant) and it seemed like every single baby was crying. Per usual Cameron had decided that her Pebble's ponytail wasn't for her and removed the band creating a major bouffant. If she had a little gel she would have been channeling Elvis.

The teacher told me that there had been an incident so I had to sign the report form. I didn't immediately pick up on the use of the word "incident" vs. "accident". I pulled out the report with Cameron in my arms attempting to grab at the paper. I glanced down and saw the words "fight" and "bite". Immediately I started laughing. I said to the teacher, "So, Cameron got her first bite today, huh." The teacher was impressed I took it so well but I knew that biting was only a matter of time. I'm just glad it wasn't Cameron doing the biting! One of the mom's in my play group told me about a phone call she got when her son was bit 4 times (!) in the same day. Cameron had two little teeth marks on her left arm but they were gone by this morning.

Here is the report:
Cameron and her friends were playing on the playground happily. Suddenly Cameron and the other child argued over the toy and the other child bit her on the left arm. We washed the area and applied lots of TLC.

Like most daycares, ours has a policy that you don't share the name of the child doing the biting with the bitee. To date, Cameron hasn't been much of a biter. She likes to pinch me sometimes (and always the boob like she knows that's the worst spot) but aside from some quasi kisses that don't quite go the right way, she keeps her fangs barred. Neither DH or I involve any mock biting with our play so I'm sure that helps. I'm also sure that Cameron will be the biter at some point. I just hope it won't become a regular occurrence.

Any funny stories about biting that you want to share?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The post where I admit I'm going to miss all those fire drills

For the past few days I have been officially splitting my time between my old job and my new job. The only problem? I'm finding it hard to really get into my new job. Partially it's because I'm still transitioning all my responsibilities (and multitude of issues) to other people so I'm spending more time on my old position than my new one.

I've also discovered that I'm an adrenaline junky. For the past 2 years (excluding my maternity leave) my calendar typically held 10+ meetings a day. I was required to multitask frequently and squeeze out major productivity in 30 minute chunks. And I got so much done. I had to mentally track all of the projects and dependencies and issues and be ready to address them on any and all of the meetings I hosted or participated in. Yes, we formally tracked that stuff to but I needed to remember everything and be able to call up the details at the push of a button.

My new role seems a bit more, well, relaxed is the only word I can think of right now. Very few meetings. A lot more individual thinking and work. I think it's going to be a great role but it is going to take me time to get acclimated to such a different style. And right now I find myself procrastinating because there isn't a lot of pressure to get tasks accomplished right now. No doubt that will change as I get up to speed and start carving out a niche. But for now....well, let's just say I'm spending more time on Facebook than I probably should be.

How about the rest of you? Do you find that the busier you are the more you can get done? When there is a lull is it hard to get motivated for the less urgent work?

Monday, May 17, 2010

BBQ snapshots

This past weekend my friend Amanda hosted us for a BBQ. Also invited were another couple and their son who are a part of our regular play group/mommy's night out. We had a wonderful time and so did Miss Cameron as illustrated by the pictures below.

Now that Cameron is walking more regularly I decided it was time to start putting her into dresses. She had a little trouble figuring out how to stand up without tripping over the skirt but by the end of the day she was a pro.

Cameron loved Holden's police car. All 3 of them did and occasional fights broke out. Nothing serious but it heralds the future of this play group, I'm sure!

Graham wants to get into the car but Cameron slams the door shut so she can ride.

Holden shows off his water table.
Cameron cools off from a 85+ degree day.
With only one nap under her belt Cameron decides to crash Graham's party on the hammock.
Although they look tuckered out a little food and milk and they were back playing again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crap, guess it's time to start really parenting

I picked up Cameron from daycare on Tuesday and got to talk with her main teacher Miss Melba for a few minutes. In that time I learned two things:
  1. For the third week in a row Cameron has consistently only been "resting" in her crib for her morning nap;
  2. She screams and screeches if she isn't fed her meals or snacks first

The first one I can handle. I've been toying with the idea of bringing her down to one nap for a while. I've been resisting because she still sleeps 2-3 hours in the morning and another 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon on the weekends. But going down to one nap will allow us more flexibility in our day, a good thing now that we have joined a local community center. Cameron has also been extremely tired in the evenings which has pushed her bedtime up to 6:30 PM. Now that I will be commuting from uptown (with a daycare drop off in the opposite direction) I probably won't get home until 6 PM. It would be nice if we can put her down at 7:00 PM instead. I'm hopeful that Miss Melba speaks truly and by eliminating the morning "resting" period Cameron will sleep 2+ hours in the afternoon. As it stands now, she just sleeps for an hour which is not enough and hence the 6:30 PM bedtime. Please speak up if you have any advice about going down to one nap. Also, has anyone maintained a one nap schedule in daycare but two at home successfully?

It's the second item on the list that has concerned and caused me to run out to buy a book recommended by Laura, "Your One Year Old: The Fun Loving, Fussy 12-To-24 Month Old." OK, maybe I snuck in a few books for me with the order but hey, that way I qualified for free super shipping :-)

I've noticed that Cameron has definitely entered the feisty, fussy stage, especially when it comes to food. Part of it is our fault. We will give her some green beans or fruit while waiting for the rest of her dinner to heat up and cool down enough for her to eat. That means she is receiving her meal in piecemeal fashion which causes her to screech when she sees stuff she didn't like and not stuff she does. As of three nights ago we are now making an effort to get her food ready in its entirety before giving it to her. Then when she starts screeching and throwing her food, she is "all done" and down she comes. I still hate that she doesn't eat much in the evenings so we are still using the evening bottle as a crutch. I expect that to be phased out by the end of the month at the latest. She is still getting her molars in so I don't want to push it. Honest question for my readers, "How long did you/will you give your child a bottle?" I figure if Suri Cruise still has one at 3 years old I'm OK with phasing it out around month 14.

Basically what it comes down to is that I don't want a wild child. I don't think that Miss Melba related Cameron's mannerism as a reproach to me (or wait, maybe she did???) but I did see it as an area that we should be working on with Cameron. Especially if she ends up being an only child she will need to learn how to share. I guess part of me hoped that daycare would help with that (and it will) but we need to be doing things at home to reinforce it as well. Full honesty here: I also don't feel quite ready to really parent, you know what I mean? Toddlerhood may have more sleep for me but it certainly has it's own stressors, doesn't it? I'll let you know what I think about the book but as always, any and all advice or commiseration is welcome!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And now, for a change of pace

In talking about Cameron's progress with walking I equated it more to a gradual progress rather than a leap towards freedom. No longer. Take a look at these two videos taken 4, yes 4 days apart.

This video was taken on Sunday night after bath time. Hence why Cameron's hair looks tamed. The most she walked in a row was 10 or 11 steps.

This video was taken last night. For the first time ever Cameron walked laps around the first floor and didn't need anything besides herself to pull up into a walking position. Looks like it's time to really, really baby proof!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Time to hit the road

Sorry I've been so remiss in posting lately. Work has been crazy and I also took the past two days off. It was wonderful to have two whole entire days to myself. Of course DH is happy I'm back at work because I did a lot of shopping over the past two days.

It's no surprise to the regular readers of this blog that I've been having some work challenges. That's a pretty inoffensive way to put it, right? More strongly worded language can be found here or here.

Just a short two weeks ago I ramped up my efforts to find a new position and it fortunately paid off in spades. Starting Monday I will be in a completely different division at BigFinance. Never have I been so happy to tell people that I am transitioning my current role over to someone else.

This is a lateral move for me but there is substantially more opportunity for career growth and title and pay increases. I'm looking forward to the challenges that come with starting a new job: Learning all the new players. Figuring out how to really get work done. Learning how to manage my boss. Etc.

Another big change for me is that I will now be commuting to uptown Charlotte rather than out to the suburbs. This will require me to pay for parking but overall my commute should be reduced by about 10 minutes. Another plus is that there are a lot more eating options and a lot more colleagues and friends who work uptown so I can socialize more with lunches or after work events.

I am not really clear yet on what my new role is but I do know that I am ready for a change. I am very happy that I work for such a big company that supports a fluid workforce and is focused on promoting talent. Of course check back with me in 6 months and I could be bitching again. But hey, that's life!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Cameron's funny faces are one of the many reasons I love being a mother! 13 months old and she's already a ham and a difficult photography subject.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Language development

This week has been a rough one primarily because Cameron was sent home from daycare AGAIN yesterday for a suspected case of pink eye. Second time this has happened. I was home already battling my own illness but still forced to be on multiple conference calls. DH picked her up and I made a doctor's appointment. Diagnosis? Double ear infection, no pink eye. While I am glad that we got a diagnosis on the ear infection (apparently it was pretty bad) I am disappointed in how frequently Cameron has been sent home over the past 6 weeks. Example A. So of course I decided it was time to have a little chat with the Assistant Director. It wasn't satisfactory but I'm glad I unloaded. Only time will tell if my complaints have a direct correlation with how often we are called to pick her up in the next few weeks. The girl still has two more molars coming in...

Getting off my high horse I thought I would copy A. and provide an update on Cameron's current language development. She is regularly calling DH "Dada" and irregularly calling me "Mama". I can understand her when she says, "All done" or "Again" but a person off the street would just think she was babbling.

DH swears that Cameron said, "apple juice" last week but I think it was a fluke. Also a fluke was "bottle" as clear as day about three weeks ago, never to be repeated. I try to hold her evening bottle (last one!) away to make her say it but she throws a fit so that doesn't work. Charlie is another word that I know she says but it kind of changes regularly.

Cameron definitely understands a lot more than she speaks. Key examples include:
  • Give that to Mama.
  • Where's Charlie?
  • Where are your socks? Your shoes?
  • Do you want to go outside?
  • Where is your swing?
  • Time to get into your car seat.
  • It's time for school.
  • Are you hungry? Do you want some dinner?
  • Where's your paci?
  • It's time to change your diaper.
  • Do you want milk?

As I'm sure you can imagine, some of the statements or questions result in excited noises. Others, I'm looking at you diaper change (!), result in crying and throwing herself around. I have done exactly zero research on how Cameron compares in her language development with other toddlers. I assume she is statistically average and don't worry about it. Of course, now that I've written it down, I have to ask the experts (aka my readers) do you think she's on track? Any funny words that your kids starting saying early that just made you shake your head or laugh?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday play date

On Saturday Cameron's friend, Holden and his mom (and my friend) Amanda, came over to enjoy the balmy weather we have been having. It was great for us to catch up and the kids were so much more interactive than they were in their first play date.

Cameron was definitely the instigator in a few minor tussles that we had to break up. Fortunately Holden is a sweetie so he only cried once.
Holden also ate a lot of sand and got very messy. Amanda complained that he was all boy and somehow Cameron emerged from the play date largely unscathed. I attribute that cleanliness to the fact that she has played with water and sand for a few weeks now but it was Holden's first experience.
Of course they got bored with the actual toy and decided to play with the lids instead. Isn't that always the way with toddlers?