Happiest Parents on the Block

My maternity leave, a pathetic six weeks, ended around the holidays, but I was able to extend it with the two remaining weeks of my vacation. Then in mid-January I had to go back to work to do the yearly reviews for my direct reports. I was able to do this from home, a nice yet misleading perk as it’s almost impossible to work with an infant and his lack of schedule. Chippy, and Ben occasionally, had to help take care of Milo while I held phone meetings. Last week I went in for half a day and got to use the nursing room to pump for the first time. It was a little awkward requesting a 20 min. break during the 5-hour meeting, but whatever, they’re all parents.

I’m relieved to be almost done with work. It’s stressful having deadlines loom over me, I’m too exhausted to work all day, and I felt terrible not giving Milo my undivided attention. I decided to take the 12-weeks of family bonding leave after this. I can’t imagine sending Milo to daycare yet! He’s just starting to recognize ME.

It’ll be an interesting change of lifestyle, for sure. One income and my staying home entirely for Milo. I realized I haven’t quite done that yet. We had guests for the first six weeks, then I worked, so I’m looking forward to a carefree time with my baby. I’m scheduled to go back to work end of April/early May.

We are starting to get back into the routine of things. We’ve hosted a Family Friday and game night; the girls come over while Ben schemes up his next Gathering for Gardner gift; he has a 25km trail race coming up in a month and I have a tennis tournament tomorrow (!). Though everyone says take advantage now while he’ll sleep through the noise, we’re eating out less. I don’t cook fancy and often Milo wants to join dinner time which means one of us is not eating, but it’s still nice to have a homecooked meal. Many thanks to our friends for spoiling us with elaborate (three course!) meals. I usually don’t have time for lunch so microwaved leftovers is key.

I started exercising again around seven weeks. I’m very shy to admit that…I joined a club. And not just any club, THE elite club in Portland (locals, you know which one and I’ll have you know I got in through the ethnic diversity program 🙂 ) After loving tennis last year, I realized the only way to really play in rainy Portland is to join a club. I have serious reservations (which I’ll delve into some other time) about this one, but it’s hard to compete with the best indoor tennis court facilities, one mile away, with DAYCARE (that I just learned starts at SIX weeks!), not to mention my tennis partner Ben is a member. I get to try it out for six months before fronting the painful initiation fee. One of the perks of being “diverse” 🙂

With women’s season starting this early spring, my priority was tennis. I’m slowly working my way into the tennis community, trying to meet people to play with. They’re generally nice, always complimenting my figure and the fact that I’m out there with a newborn, though I’d rather they’d be wow’ed by my forehand. Still, it’s nothing like my close friends on Team Soft Serve and I’ll blog another time about how it’s reminiscent of high school and its cliques. I’m simply stoked for some competitive play: I’ve joined a couple of leagues and this weekend Ben and I play in a social mixed doubles tournament. We’ll likely get crushed by some juniors or a 5.5 guy, but it should be fun!

Running hasn’t happened as much as it should. I long for the endurance and fresh air. I want to be fast again but I’m less inclined to train in this weather. The fact that I can play indoor tennis anytime doesn’t help getting me out on the trails. We have dragon boat track workouts coming soon, so maybe that’ll force me to maintain my “fast” status.

The house is climbing about once a week, twice if we’re motivated. Even though I miss being a bad@ss on the walls, climbing is super fun and social to see all our friends. It works out well since Milo sacks out in the carseat. Last week I sent my first v5, a soft one, but still!

And then there’s dragon boat. First team meeting is in two weeks and we still haven’t decided what we’re going to do. Hopefully at the least one of us could still paddle, but who? I want Ben to but he points out I am the namesake… And we obviously can’t make it to all the practices, so how would we stay in shape? Currently we’re looking at Erg machines to modify.

Fortunately I have been able to stay pretty active, relatively. I really only have time for one activity a day, if at all, and even then it’s not as long or as simple. I am SUPER lucky to have Chippy on the weekdays to watch Milo. Daycare doesn’t get any closer than the room next door! But going to play tennis requires strategic timing to feed or pump, not to mention with the women it’s often at 8:15am. I am a zombie, certainly not ready to defend the net. There are many days where I opt for a much needed nap instead.

But there isn’t a lot of opportunity so we just have to get good fast. Ben says the small window makes him procrastinate his runs less and he gets out the door quicker. I keep saying I should do my five minutes of tummy time, i.e sit ups, to sympathize with Milo. And I move like the Tazmanian devil when it comes to getting things done around the house: just give me 10 minutes and I’ve covered all ground.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. Now on to the title of this blog. The highly recommended book, Happiest Baby on the Block, says these 5 “S’s” will calm your baby: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shhh, Swing, and Suck. Some fun dinner conversation (oh, it’s happening times here) had us thinking about what would make parents the happiest on the block. Here’s what we came up with:

Sitters (Chippy got this one)

And we’ll leave the 5th “S” as an exercise for the reader. 🙂



  1. “Sympathy” is also a good one. But not as good as the four/five you already have listed…:)

  2. Serenity Now, Sushi,Sit down more, and Sweets came first to mind, probably not what you were thinking. 🙂

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