Baby takes a Break

1.13.09 Baby's 36th Week

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Getting away from it all—sort of We're staying in a house on the water in Tampa with Aaron's family for a long weekend. It's balmy and beautiful, there's an egret standing on the patio...and I remain sleep-obsessed (possibly because I'm not getting enough sleep?). In fact, as I write, I'm sitting alone in the largest room of the house outside the door of the room where Leo is sleeping while all the other people in the house tiptoe around the perimeter.

Is all this necessary? Well, it's nice to have a reasonably rested baby. He has more attention span, he doesn't hurt himself as much, he has more fun, is less clingy, and I don't see him rubbing his eyes and looking glazed so I don't worry about him as much. Would he be as rested if I was more relaxed about his sleep? I'm afraid the world may never know.

Though it's not as easy for me, Leo seems to have adjusted to this new lifestyle surrounded by uncles, aunts and grandparents, once again proving that he's the adaptable one. Me, I'm just sitting out here like a crazed puppeteer, imagining that I can pull all the strings in the theater of my child's life and make everything right. I suppose that's not a terrible delusion to have, at least when he's this young, right? Why not try to make his days easier, try to help him enjoy himself?

It just gets creepy if I start imagining that I can control what Leo does. I can offer him opportunities, but at a certain point, I need to let go. You can lull a baby and put him down for a nap, but you can't really control whether he'll fall asleep or for how long. Watching Leo's cousin, who's one year older than him, is a helpful reminder of where we're headed. Little Lucy is a wonderfully willful, communicating person. If you don't want her to, say, yell outside Leo's door while he's napping, well, you better have something more interesting in mind, because picking her up and moving her will not go over well!

Vacation with a baby is a funny mix of keeping the things you can consistent, and letting the rest go. I'm having a nice time too, now that I've adjusted my definition of vacation. Sleeping late, lying in the sun and going out at night are out. But relaxing and knowing that Leo is rested and doted on by his big, adoring family makes me so happy. It also means that I'll have a moment to slip out with my jogging shoes on this afternoon.

When we get back next week, I need to buckle down and figure out childcare. Though I haven't yet found a daycare or caretaker situation that seems right, I'm going to need to settle on something so that I can get back to work, and to taking care of myself. After being in this beautiful place, I hope to bring more energy to getting things rolling when I get home. I don't expect to come back to New York tan and well rested, but I think we'll all be refreshed by these few days. As my sister-in-law's doula once said to her, when you've got a baby, don't think of it as vacation—think of it as a change of scenery.