Thursday, December 29, 2011

This is NOT an Announcement

If you'll recall, a little over a month ago I wrote about how I am 100% not ready for another baby?  Let me stop you right there and point you to the title of this post.  And just so we're clear, I am not pregnant.  For sure.  Ok, so now that that's out of the way, back to me totally not being ready for another baby.  Or so I thought.  I now might be.  Just maybe.  Sort of.

Why the change in only 37 days?  It's simple.  My Christmas revolved around these two little guys playing together...

Lukas and his cousin Stu were so sweet together.  They had crazy (and loud) dance parties, played with trucks, read books, ate lots of food and just played and played.  Stu was so protective of his little cousin - putting his hand on his back as they'd walk down the hall, giving him toys and following Lukas around the house.  And Lukas loved his cousin just as much, if not more.

It was one of the best Christmases I can recall.  And after watching them play together, I now kind of want another kiddo.  Kind of.

Or to move to California so that Lukas and Stuie can play together all the time...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mr. Cob's 2011 Christmas Letter

[BACKGROUND: For the past four years, Mr. Cob and I have sent out a Christmas letter and picture to our friends and family.  This year was no different.  The letter is always filled with footnotes - it's Mr. Cob's signature style.  After a request to post it for those not on our "official" Christmas card list, I decided to share it with my loyal readers.  I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas, and spending time with your family.  This year has been especially joyous for me.  Seeing Lukas and my nephew play and dance together has been the highlight of my year.  Without further ado, the letter...]

Dearest Family and Friends:

Hello this is the Swans sending you season’s greetings and yet another letter filled almost entirely with fabrications and half-truths.(1)  In our last episode, Lukas had just been born (November), and Mrs. Swan and Mr. Cob… well to be honest, last year Lukas was born. That’s about it really.(2) If you are even marginally competent at math, you will realize that this year’s letter will mostly focus on the first year of Lukas’ life, or as doctor’s call it “his first year.”

So let’s get some of the housekeeping out of the way. Mrs. Swan went back to work at [insert law firm name] at the end of January where she continues her banking/public finance work. When she isn’t being the most amazing mom in Atlanta, she is busy with her great girlfriends and continuing her blog,(3) and starting in January, she will be doing a monthly blog post at the parenting website “Dr. Z and Friends.”(4) Mr. Cob continues to practice at [insert law firm name here] and had his first solo federal jury trial in November, which went well. Becoming a father has finally given Mr. Cob a receptive, albeit confused, audience for his crazy voices and characters.(5)

If you have been paying attention, you will now have determined that this means that Lukas is home by himself for much of the day or that maybe he is working too, probably in catering. First of all, he would probably eat all the food(6) and secondly, he isn’t tall enough to climb into his crib for a nap or cook anything on the stove.

In fact, Lukas has his first graduation in January from the “Infant” to the ”Young Toddler” class at Primrose School in Midtown. He spends his day wrestling with his classmates (Rome) and running around the classroom stealing other kid’s toys. Oh and he dances. Like all the time. Any music, he’s down.(7) At home, when he isn’t running around the house, he is busy pointing at ceiling fans, flipping through books and chasing the dog. Dog! DOG! Dog. (He says that a lot).(8) Don’t worry he dances at home too. He is such a happy little guy.

Oh No. Is that the end of the page? Well, I could shrink the font a bit? No? Ok fine. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas.

The Swans

(1) Or is that a lie too? See what I did there…

(2) There was some other stuff that happened, but it really paled in comparison to Lukas, which is saying something considering he spoke terrible English and could barely hold his liquor. Amateur.

(3) PLUG!

(4) PLUG! This is the one she is getting paid for so, you know, look at it and comment.

(5) Based on some field research, Mr. Cob  is writing a pilot for a children’s television show version of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment with the role of Raskolnikov played by a Golden Retriever with an Australian accent. His crime – getting up on the couch. His punishment – hugs and kisses.

(6) A clear violation of company policy.

(7)This is not surprising, Lukas comes from a long line of dancers. His maternal great great grandfather Cesar Ramon Cesar was voted best merengue in Sicily three years in a row. His paternal great grandfather the infamous Magnus von Swan was the first, and only, male pole dancer of the Greater Stockholm area from 1875 until 1935.

(8) DOG! includes cats. And sheep. And horses. Basically, Four Legs + Excessive Hair = DOG! So, Tom Selleck might also qualify.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby School Caroling

Lukas' school sang Christmas carols to the business men and women eating lunch in their building today.  Of course Mr. Cob and I went to this.  Because, you know, 13 month old toddlers can sing and all.  It was adorable.  But the best part was secretly watching our little man enjoy the festivities - and then realize mama and dada were just a few feet away watching him!  Man do I love this kid.

5 Days - What?!

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year!"  It's also the busiest time of year.  It's five days before Christmas and I'm feeling very unready.  One reason is that I've already billed a full month's worth of hours in the first 19 days of December.  It is typically our busiest month of the year, so this isn't surprising, but it does make it difficult to get everything done when you're working for a few hours every night after the baby goes to bed and on the weekends.  I've done a lot of online shopping this year and Mr. Cob has picked up the rest.  He and my mom have been a huge help in taking care of Lukas while I've had to work these long hours.
But I can't complain, because I'm filled with so much love and joy right now.  I've been listening to the Instrumental Holidays channel on Pandora at work.  Our house is decorated and that Christmas-feeling is just in the air.  All we need to do is watch Love Actually, and I'll really feel like Christmas! 
Lukas won't really understand Christmas again this year, and I'm sure he'll enjoy playing with the boxes more than the toys, but I've found that the holidays are always more special when there are children around.  And perhaps what I am most excited about is the fact that my brother and nephew are coming to town TOMORROW NIGHT!!!  I am getting tears in my eyes just typing that.  I haven't seen them since July and A LOT has gone on in life since then, so there is much to catch up on.  I'm so excited to play with my nephew and to see him interact with Lukas.  Lukas is probably still too young for them to really "play" together, but it'll just be so nice to all be together this Christmas.
I'm also excited to go to the Christmas Eve service at our new church, and to start some family traditions of our own.  Mr. Cob and I are cooking Christmas Eve dinner for my family at our house and then all going to church together.  My mom always cooks a big "Thanksgiving" dinner on Christmas day, so turkey and all those trimmings are out for our Christmas Eve meal, but I haven't figured out what to cook yet.  In Christmases past, my mom has done a "party-style" appetizer dinner, so perhaps we'll continue with that tradition, or I may try out some new recipes.  Or, lets be honest, at the rate I've been going, maybe we'll just order in!  (Kidding mom, just kidding...)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advice that Isn't

There are many aspects about being a woman that I love.  But cattiness and judgement between other women is not one of them.  And worse yet, is judgement from other moms. 

I was on facebook the other day and saw a post from a college sorority sister that read something like this: hey facebook mommy friends, any advice for this new working mom?  Some days are really hard.  My response:  You can do it! It is really hard at first, but I promise that it does get better! My biggest advice is to not feel guilty and don't let other people's opinions make you feel bad. And cry when you need to :). Some days will be worse than others - but know there are lots of other working moms out there who can relate and are here to help!

I thought my advice was what I would've wanted to hear last February when I returned to work when I had a 12 week old at home/daycare.  It was upbeat and encouraging, yet understanding and hopefully made the recipient know she's not alone in her feelings.  And there is no sugar-coating it.  Return to work after having a baby is really, really hard.  I cried.  A. Lot.  But it did get better.  And eventually I got into a routine and everyone in our house is happy (some days more than others).  I made it through the first couple of months because I had a lot of people behind me and other working moms giving me advice and encouragement along the way.

What I luckily did not get, at least not to my face, was someone telling me that I was making the wrong decision.  That maybe it was hard because I should instead be at home with my baby.  But sadly, my facebook friend, received such "advice", if you can even it call it that.

One comment was to the effect of "It never gets easier."  This is not helpful to the new working mom, in any way. Whatsoever.  And for most working moms that I know, it's just not true.  It does get easier.  It takes time, but it does.  I still have days where I cry in the middle of the day at work because I wish I was at home with Lukas.  But those days are usually after I've been on vacation with him (and with my husband and away from all the responsibilities of day-to-day life), and/or are having an awful day at work, and really I'd rather be anywhere else.  It does get easier.

Another comment, which was the impetus for me writing this post said something along the lines of "It was really hard for me and I never became comfortable being away from my child. I love being home now and realize how precious this time is and how fast it will go. Something to consider?"  This comment made me want to jump through the computer and yell at this person.  It took all of my constraint to not post a comment in response and start an all out comment war on my friend's wall.  What got me the most was the end.  Something to consider?  As if this new working mom hasn't considered this.  I'd bet that just about EVERY new mom who plans to return to work at least CONSIDERS if only for a moment (or much longer) staying at home with her new baby instead of going back to work.  And a new mom reaching out to other moms for advice on juggling working and being a mom, certainly does not need someone else to remind her that she could get rid of this problem by quitting her job and staying at home with her baby.  If I'd read this piece of "advice" a week or two after returning to work from maternity leave, I would have immediately lost my shit.  At that point I was considering every second, of every day how I could figure out a way to be a stay-at-home-mom.  And I sure as hell didn't need someone else asking me if I'd considered it, especially since it was not an economic possibility for my family at that time, or even now.  And regardless of the reason a mom has for returning to work, financial or otherwise (call me crazy, some women LIKE working), putting into question another mother's decision is not your place, or helpful in any way.

Why that woman couldn't have said something encouraging and left it at that is baffling to me.  You are entitled to your opinion, but you might want to weigh when and how you express it.  And what is right for you, may not be right for the next person. 

So my advice to anyone offering advice to a new working mom, be kind with your words.  Say something loving and empowering to her.  Women have fought hard for rights of equality in the workplace and for the right to CHOOSE what to do with her career and her family life.  So don't judge someone when she chooses to be a mom and a working woman.  Love her.  Cheer her on.  And wish her strength and success.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Mom, Why?

Do you think it was the white beard, the red suit, or the who the f*&K is this complete stranger aspect of Santa that made Lukas a little weary?

Is it bad that I was kind of hoping he'd full on freak out and we'd get that amazing "child screaming and crying the first time he meets santa picture"?


This is still pretty cute.