New Year’s – again? (as in, already?)

December 31, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Posted in little bug, Little O, music, not yet written, NYC, read this, running, SAHM, Starbucks, tax law is sexy, the firm, Uncategorized, wine, yoga | 1 Comment

You know I love New Year’s resolutions. Two years ago, my resolutions were clearly defined and yet highly unattainable. Last year, they centered around  simply finding happiness (hot showers, more wine, more yoga…). I understand why people eschew resolutions in that they set unachievable expectations, leading to disappointment, etc. etc.  Looking back over the past two years, it’s clear that I’m not one who makes resolutions and actually sticks to them, but I do get a lot of pleasure out of making them (in that I set up some sort of idealized vision of the future?). This year, I’m less able to articulate my New Year’s resolutions — I have some vague ideas about living more simply, lowering instead of raising my expectations, and trying to exist in some sort of more tempered universe. Of course, in the back of my head is a little voice saying, “Run more! More yoga! Spend less money!” but at the end of the year that included birth and death and health issues and lots and lots of sleepless nights — and somehow, in the midst of it all, a growing sense of contentment — I’m going to resist the urge (at least publicly) to enumerate my Resolutions.

Instead, my friend Lindsey had a fun and introspective little survey/questionnaire on her blog this morning, which I’m going to adopt. I’m answering these less thoughtfully than I otherwise might (blogging, as I am today, in the short window of Little O’s nap!) But maybe that will make my answers more honest.

What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? I spent seven months as a stay-at-home mom. I took a weekend trip to Florida with my college girlfriends. I participated in a competitive blogging challenge. I went three (almost four — since September 1, basically) months without running. This last one sounds like a crazy thing to list, but it actually imparted to me an important lesson. I used to think I needed to exercise for weight-maintenance. Eleven months of nursing, however, took care of that for me, and I realized that running in fact gave me much more than the ability to wear skinny jeans. If I have any resolutions at all for 2011, it is to remember that running keeps me sane, not thin.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for 2011? Of course not. And of course — albeit with a more measured approach, I hope.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! I did! But also my sister. And several close friends and seemingly half the tax department at my firm (literally — nine women in my relatively small department had babies this year!).

Did anyone close to you die? My great-uncle. And, just last week, a close family friend.

What countries did you visit? None. Sigh. Again, if I do have a resolution for 2011, it is to “remember Italy” (a metaphor and theme in a striking book I read recently, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson — see Lindsey’s interview with her, here) — although in my case, it would “Remember Paris.” More on this in another post.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? Patience. Acceptance. Faith. Confidence.

What was your biggest achievement in 2010? Having a healthy baby would have to be it. But I’m also proud of myself for going back to my job. It wasn’t clear I was going to, but I do think it was the right choice, and perhaps the first time in my life I’ve done something truly rational, career-wise.

What was your biggest failure? A few work-related ones come to mind. But mostly I regret the times I’ve been short-tempered with Little Bug and a less-than-present daughter, sister, friend, and wife. I didn’t put down my iPhone/work email enough to stay focused on my family.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I feel like I’ve been sick a lot this year — an immune system no doubt compromised by severe sleep deprivation and preschool germs.

What is the best thing you bought? My iPhone and Pilates. (Am I a yuppie or what?)

Where did most of your money go? Starbucks and J. Crew. Ha ha, just kidding. Sort of.

What did you get really excited about? My girls’ weekend in Florida. My husband would tell me that I’m being all “Joy Luck Club,” but oh, god, there was something so refreshing and invigorating and inspiring about spending three days with the women who were with me when I became the woman I am, the women who have been there for me for the biggest hardships and greatest joys in my life, the women with whom I speak an abbreviated shorthand language and who can finish my sentences. And now, at this stage of our lives, the women with whom I can discuss my career, daycare, siblings, husbands and parents. Even though they may not be part of my day-to-day life, the are a part of the foundation of my life.

What song will always remind you of 2010? Have I listened to so little music that I can’t answer this? Probably, however, something country (since that is all Tim and I seem to listen to these days). I really like that song Welcome to the Future by Brad Paisley, though I suspect that was not released in 2010. OK, so, maybe I’ll make another resolution: listen to more music. It makes me happy — just as Glee made me so so happy this year.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

— happier or sadder? Happier
— thinner or fatter? Well, as I was eight months pregnant, this isn’t really a fair question!
— richer or poorer? It’s probably not a good thing that I can’t really answer this literally, but I imagine that since we spent most of 2010 paying two mortgages, poorer!

What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I’d written more — here on this blog and elsewhere. I have a great idea for another blog, but I can’t seem to find the time to make it happen. I wish I could let myself go with my children — really play with them, focus on them wholly, without thinking about what’s next (be it cleaning up lunch, or what’s for dinner, or how much work I have, or even who has posted what on Facebook).

What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I had spent less time agonizing over my job — both preemptively before I went back and then also on a daily basis once I was back. I think it affected my relationships with my family. It’s just a job. It’s not the greatest, most important job in the world, it’s not the end of the world, and I’m not a victim. I have to remember this.

How did you spend Christmas? As we do every year, in New Jersey, with my whole big crazy family. We snuggled in during a blizzard and took Little Bug in to New York City to the Museum of Natural History the day after the blizzard — rather ill-advised when it took us 4.5 hours and four different trains to get home!

Favorite TV program? Glee and The Good Wife.

Favorite books? I actually had a lot of time to read and finished more books than I have in years, both fiction and nonfiction. In the former category, the three books that stand out are: Dear Money by Martha McPhee, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. They weren’t earthshaking, but I just loved each one. In the nonfiction realm I really liked No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (the Roosevelts on the home front in WWII) and The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison.

Favorite films? I only saw one movie in the theater this year — Eat, Pray, Love. (But I loved it. Sue me for my questionable taste!) Recently, I’ve seen The Town and The Kids are Alright on OnDemand, and, surprisingly, liked both (as you know, my taste in movies runs towards the saccharine, e.g., Eat Pray Love…)

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? I can’t even really remember my 36th birthday! Luckily, I blogged about it. It was spring, and I was still home on maternity leave, and Tim took me to a local Italian joint for dinner because I was craving a real Bolognese.

What one thing would have made your year more satisfying? Just knowing from the start that I was going to go back to my job and that it would all be OK.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? I have to divide this in to two parts: January – September and September – December. In the former, it was black yoga pants and spit-up stained black t-shirts. In the latter, it was black Theory pants or skirt and cashmere cardigans or blazers.

What kept you sane? Red wine. For reals. And phone calls with my mother. Daily, sometimes twice a day. Also, emails and texts from my hilarious friends.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010? You are not your job. In fact, I suspect that nobody really cares what you do except for you. You’re not a victim of some amorphous FIRM that is out to get you (a la John Grisham?) — you’ve made your choice and you can unmake it at any time. You’re not trapped.  Also, even though you may get frustrated that your husband doesn’t like to hash out the nuances of your day, he is listening. More important: baby boys may not sleep and pre-school girls may whine, but it’s all doable. You can be much happier being grateful for what you have than wanting more, more, always more — this easier said than done, of course, especially for me, but slowly, slowly I feel like I’m on the verge of grasping this. I haven’t actually grasped it yet, but at least its a tangible concept now, something I can turn over in my mind, rather than something completely inaccessible.

How to say no (or, how not to say no)

December 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Posted in the firm, wine | 1 Comment
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When was the last time you had an ear infection? I haven’t had one in, oh, 25 years. But I have had so many in my childhood — easily 30 or 40 (I really don’t think this is an exaggeration) — that the signs are obvious and tell-tale: sore throat, a clicking sound when I swallow, a stomach ache, drippy nose, and, of course, pain. Two nights ago I awoke at 3 a.m. (or maybe one of the children woke me…sigh) with my ear pounding, and it felt as if someone had stuffed an ear plug in it, or cotton. I couldn’t hear a thing. As you may have read if you’re keeping up with me, I’ve been sick for about two weeks. I had a cold and then it got worse and then it kind of went away and then last weekend it started coming back. Finally, though, the not-hearing thing inspired me to go to the doctor.

Instead of going into work in the morning, then, I called my primary care physician. But because I often let details fall through the cracks — such as finding a new primary care physician closer than 45 minutes away (in my defense, for 20 months of the past four years or so I’d been having regular ob visits and thus no real need for primary care appointments) — I had to trek to Cambridge. I was wearing leggings and snowboots under a puffy down parka — hair unwashed, no make up. While I was at the doctor, I got an email that a client needed a letter by 11 a.m. — a letter I had been planning to email later that afternoon, from home, when I returned from the doctor. I didn’t have time to drive all the way home, so I had to head downtown and send it from the office.

I slunk into my office in my horribly inappropriate work attire (leggings — yeesh!), and wrote the letter. All the while, my ear was clogging up more and more, and I could hear almost nothing out of my left side, which is a very strange sensation. I tied up some more loose ends and then packed up for my vacation, which is supposed to start tomorrow, figuring that I’d spend today working from home and recovering.

I hit CVS on my way home to pick up my prescription for antibiotics, and in the parking lot I received another urgent work email, inquiring about a matter I had researched more than a year ago — a tricky area of benefits law about which I know almost nothing. At the time, I’d had to reach out to a senior attorney for help. What to do?  I was shaking with fever, my ear ringing in pain — and, oh yeah, Tim was away.

I pushed off the query. I hope I did so tactfully, but of course I’m second guessing myself. It felt awful. If there was ever a time to say no, this was it. And the motto at my firm seems to be that you should turn down work if you don’t have the bandwith to do a good job.

Is it the end of the world? Probably not.  Could I have articulated myself better? Most likely.

So, anyway, once again, I find myself (and this seems to happen every year) sick at Christmas. After the doctor gasped at the sight of my ear drum, she asked if I had been getting enough rest. This is a rhetorical question. I mean, no — at least one child wakes me up at least once a night. I’m exhausted! I haven’t exercised in three months! I don’t think I’ve eaten a fruit or vegetable in at least that long! Clearly, my body hates me and is trying to tell me so.

 And, like every year when I spend Christmas somewhat sniffling and feverish , I start thinking ahead to the New Year and all the things I will change: my diet, my sleep habits, exercising regularly, and so on. 

Maybe what I also should be doing is saying no a bit more. Not to work, per se, but to the other things sidetracking me and keeping me in this seemingly permanent, semi-exhausted state, in which I spend most of the day feeling totally ineffective at everything. These things include: zoning in front of the TV too late at night, that third cup of coffee, puttering around aimlessly at bedtime instead of actually going to bed.

I’m frustrated — frustrated that I haven’t been taking better care of myself, that I am a crappy unreliable lawyer, that my ear hurts.

Luckily, it’s snowing fluffy flakes outside and tomorrow we head to New Jersey for Christmas. I just ordered petit fours from the Konditor Meister to bring with us.  All four of us will be sharing my mom’s guest room, so I imagine I won’t exactly be catching up on sleep, but I’m looking forward to a break from our schedule. I’m looking forward to the Christmas lights and my mother’s beautiful decorations. Can one drink wine on antibiotics? Probably not, but I’ll look forward to a fat glass of wine by the fire nonetheless. And then I’ll come back in January and try again.

Dear Santa

December 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Posted in little bug | 3 Comments

Dear Santa,

If one’s three-year-old dictates a letter to you and asks for

a “princess wind-up toy box that plays beautiful music,”

and then, in every subsequent meeting with you (of which there have been several, to her delight and, happily, utter non-confusion), asks for the same,

do you think she means a wind-up princess music thing-y (which isn’t actually a “box”),

or a wind up music box that just so happens to feature a ballerina (not a princess)?

Both have been, um, acquired. But I am at a loss as to which should be under the tree Christmas morning.

All advice welcome.

Thank you. Merry Christmas. I love you, Santa, too.

The Nanny Diaries

December 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Posted in little bug, Little O, SAHM, the firm, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Sometimes I am convinced I am working to afford a wife.

After Little Bug was born, we hired a nanny.  Janet was a shy, 40-something mother from the Caribbean who was an unassuming balance to Tim’s and my rather type-A, talkative personalities. Leaving a new baby for the first time with a stranger is terrifying. Janet came highly recommended by a friend of a friend, and all I wanted was for her was to love and keep my baby safe.  Which she did — I couldn’t have asked for more.

But also: I didn’t know to ask for more.  For the first year JJ worked for us I was still in law school, and she only worked part-time. When I started at my firm, we upped her hours, but never discussed her doing anything other than what she had already been doing so well: strolling Buggy around the Back Bay in the Bugaboo, swinging her on the swing, reading her stories, cooking her spicy chicken curries.

Then we moved to the suburbs and had another baby. For a variety of reasons — most of which had to do with my fear of other people driving my children around — I decided not to hire another nanny when my maternity leave ended (JJ didn’t stay with us through my long, seven-month leave). Little O went to a wonderful family-based daycare where the majority of the working moms I knew in town (and, granted, I don’t know that many people yet!) sent their children. For Little Bug, I took advantage of her preschool’s full-day option.

I went back to work September 1. By October 15 we had to make a change. Trying to pick up two kids in two different spots by that hard, 5:30 deadline was difficult even when the Expressway didn’t have one of its usual afternoon fender benders. Then we’d get home and I’d throw together some dinner (which my exhausted toddler usually didn’t want). The kids were melting down, they were dirty, they were tired. And so was I.

A very senior associate — a friend and mentor whose career and family-life choices I admire more than perhaps anyone else at my firm — had a come-to-Jesus talk with me. “You have to hire a nanny,” she said. “Like, now. And you have to hire more than a nanny — you need a household manager.”

Two weeks later, it was done. I pulled Little O out of daycare and scaled Little Buggy back to mornings-only at preschool. Gail showed up at 7:30 a.m. in her fleece (spit-up friendly!) sweatshirt with a steaming travel mug of coffee, and all of our lives changed for the better. Now she oversees the end of the children’s much more leisurely breakfast — Little O still in his pajamas — while I finish getting ready. Tim or I still drop off Little Bug at school. Gail spends all morning with Little O (one-on-one attention this poor second child rarely gets!), and then picks up Buggy at 1 p.m. In the afternoons she takes them on outings — the library, the Children’s Museum, the playground. They make crafts (which you know I wouldn’t do!). She cooks them dinner and gives them a bath. And I come home and get to play with my well-napped, wet-haired, pajama-clad kids.

She also takes care of me. A good friend once told me she thought her nanny was the only person who had her, my friend’s, back. When Gail started, I immediately felt the same way. Gail makes sure I have my own travel mug of coffee when I walk out the door. Before she started, the house always felt like a disorganized disaster, the laundry never done, and we were always running out of something essential — orange juice, Cheerios, diapers. I now come home to a calm, straightened up, orderly house where the laundry is folded and — get this — dinner is plated and tented with tin foil, waiting for me to heat up after I put the kids down.

She’s a better “mom” than I would be were I home. I mean it. Ok, well, she’s a better “housewife” at any rate. A repair person can come if we need it, library books are returned before we’re fined, and she can run to the market for milk. Of course, the obvious flip side is that I have to work my crazy job to afford a professional like Gail — and she is a true professional. She is former preschool teacher and a mother who considers nurturing children her calling.

But she also sees it as her job to make our home run smoothly. Every time I have an idealistic (or even realistic) urge to chuck it all and stay home with the children I think, “I wouldn’t have Gail!”  Being a household manager-type isn’t my natural affinity to begin with, so it was increasingly stressful for me to try to be both lawyer and house manager (i.e., housewife). Am I working, then, to be able to hire someone to — apart from caring for my children — do what I would do were I not working?  I might just be. And I’m a bit unsettled as to whether I’m actually OK with that…

Working from home

December 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Posted in the firm | 1 Comment
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Every time I get exhausted by the juggle (work/home/lawyer/mom) — which are well documented here on this blog and elsewhere around the Internet — I think about finding a kindler, gentler, in-house position. “In-house” jobs are like this mythical golden ticket in BigLaw. “Have you seen [insert fourth- or fifth-year associate’s name here] recently?” “Oh, didn’t you hear, he went in house.” Most of the time you’ll take a pay cut, but you’ll also usually take a significant hours cut.

But being a small cog in a very large wheel, such as I am, has one important advantage over the in-house job: in my relative anonymity lies the ability to work from home. At my firm, there is no face-time requirement, per se. If you are not at your desk, no one gives it a second thought. You might be in the cafeteria, down at Starbucks, at a client meeting, at the dentist, whatever. As long as you’re responsive to clients and partners and are generally around when people need you, no one seems to really care. (Of course, I have to clarify this a bit: if you are a busy deal lawyer and try to be out of the office one day a week, people will notice. And, indeed, I’m finding even my sanctioned Fridays at home to be tricky and probably not sustainable in the long-term, considering I end up working a few hours on Fridays anyway.) Still, if you’re in-house in a small department, your absence, for whatever reasons, would be much more conspicuous.

I don’t work from home too often. When I am in my home office and hear my children downstairs talking and playing or even crying, I of course feel guilty (and sad) that I’m there but not there. Plus, if they know I’m home they whine outside the office door like  puppies, and this has escalated into all-out tantrums. (Understandably, so, too.  How frustrating for a poor three-year-old to know that her mom is on the other side of the door but won’t come out and play?)  Also, it’s much easier to run down the hall and ask someone a question, print stuff, fax stuff, etc. when you’re at work.  In addition, while I’m still so junior that no one really needs me all that much, I’m also junior enough that I’m paranoid that if someone did need me and I weren’t there it might not be good for my reputation…

Today, however, I feel a cold coming on. Sore throat, runny nose. My baby son has had the croup all week, which means he’s been up in the night again (this is the cycle we have been navigating for the past four or five months: we get him sleeping, but then he’ll teethe or get sick and of course I’m not going to let him cry…). I have already been more productive for six billable hours in my yoga pants and turtleneck in my home office than I would have been braving a 45-minute (if I’m lucky) commute each way and sitting through a department lunch (will they notice I wasn’t there? Maybe, but maybe not…) The ability to stay at home on a day like today keeps me sane. It gives me a much needed break and makes me appreciate my company and its trusting environment. It would (will?) be difficult to give up.

On second thought…

December 6, 2010 at 9:34 am | Posted in little bug, Little O, SAHM | 1 Comment
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Remember how last week I wrote this really upbeat post about how I loved my job and how great it was, in essence, to be a fabulous working mom?  Just kidding. 

Today: Monday morning. More work than I can possibly get done in my “reduced time” 8:30-4:30 day.  I left a croup-y baby at home, clutching his right ear and rasping out a barking, snotty cough-cry hybrid (while making a mental note of course to call the pediatrician while on drive into work so the nanny can take him in…).  My three-year-old screamed from the second she woke up until somehow we got her out the door (breakfast: baggie of goldfish and a sippy cup of apple juice for the car. Mmmm, healthy…). She wanted to wear this no not this that, no not those underpants, I can’t go to the potty I’m too cold (OK, let’s get dressed), no I can’t get dressed until I go to the potty.  A friend refers to them as “threenagers” – ha. Perfect. It’s like being two-and-a-half again, yet more articulate and thus able to throw ever more spectacular tantrums. Anyway, my husband comes in to help and the shrieks grow louder, “NO I WANT MOOOOMYYYYYYYY!!!”

I get in the car late already and, already, defeated. Both of my children need me this morning. And all I can think about is how I’m going to get x, y, and z emails out before 9 a.m. I may be wearing nice clothes, but I have bags under my eyes from being up in the night with the croupy baby. I can’t fool anyone. Am I fooling myself?

So if you real-ly love CHRIST-mas…

December 3, 2010 at 8:00 am | Posted in celebrity obsession, the media | 3 Comments
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When I was a child we were allowed to start listening to Christmas carols the Friday after Thanksgiving. Everything else, however — lights, decorations, candy canes — had to wait until December 1 to be strung up and twinkle. Even though now that I have children and I am again as giddy as they (or as they will be, once they kind of “get” the idea of the Christmas season) about the next four weeks — I love advent (with a small “a”); I love that even though it is dark by 4:15 the lines of car tail lights blink festively red as they stretch down the freeway in front of me — I don’t feel right starting my own traditions until the calendar flips from November to December.

So, now it’s December, and I can break out my small but growing collection of decorations, smell the paperwhites in my kitchen windows, and light the tree at 4:30 p.m. I can also watch Christmas movies. No, not It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street (though, call me a heretic, I do like the 1994 version with Elizabeth Perkins), or even Rudolph. I have my own Christmas movie aesthetic, decidedly untraditional and, yes, decidedly skewed towards the only kind of movie I really like anyway: chick-flicks. But they get me in the spirit — and I know several of my readers will not argue with my choices! In the spirit of the blogosphere and its ubiquitous lists and countdowns then, here are my top five annual Christmas classics:

5. Elf — just as my mother commenced the Bing Crosby rotation immediately after Thanksgiving, you can watch this Thanksgiving weekend. Likely you’ll watch it a few more times during the month of December. Also, very likely for several of these viewings, you will not be completely sober (making it, like most Will Farrell movies, even funnier). P.S. Smiling’s my favorite!

4. The Holiday — I dragged Tim to this one December right after I finished my law school exams for the semester. He indulged because of my fragile, exhausted state (oh yeah, I was pregnant, too). I’m quite sure he regrets it to this day. But what a lovely fantasy with lovely home decor.

3. Bridget Jones’ Diary — technically not a Christmas movie, but it begins on Christmas with Colin Firth in a reindeer sweater. And is one of my top five favorite movies ever. (I never said I was a film student; plus, I wrote 30-page paper in law school discussing Bridget Jones in the context of Aristotle and ethics and Jane Eyre. If you don’t believe me, I’ll email you a copy.)

2  Love Actually — Colin Firth again! And Hugh Grant (again!) My sister Erin and friend Meg and I have made this a Christmas tradition. Meg pointed out last night that Natalie, the Prime Minister’s secretary, has the winsomness of Kate Middleton. (I suppose you have to find meaning and relevance where you can during each annual viewing, no?)

1. Sound of Music — is this a Christmas classic simply because it is on television at Christmastime every year? I grew up wishing I were Marta, or at least that I could play Marta in some local musical production. This movie has it all: nuns, scenery, Nazis, teen romance, a glamorous countess, and, of course, true love. Little Buggy and I sing “Doe a Deer” a lot in the car (she can pitch match, by the way — I was a bit worried that the maternal genes might not be dominant here…), and I hope that this year I can at least show her the highlights: in addition to “Doe a Deer,” the Lonely Goatherd song and maybe So long, Farewell…

What is your Christmas favorite?

Baby boy

December 2, 2010 at 5:01 am | Posted in Little O, Massholes | 3 Comments

All boy…

My baby boy is 10 months old today. Here is what he likes to do:

Crawl up stairs and try to crawl down them, backwards
Eat rice crackers (Baby Mum Mums)
Steal his sister’s ellie
Pull his sister’s hair
Talk and coo
Yell in his highchair
Take things in and out of containers, such as baskets
In the middle of playing, crawl up to you and try to climb up your leg for a snuggle
Then, immediately after a quick hug, dive for the floor so he is free again
Wake up at 10:30 p.m. for one final feed (we seemed to have solved the sleeplessness!)
Wake up WIDE AWAKE at 5:30 a.m.
Stick his hand in the toilet
Pull all the toilet paper off the roll
Stick his fingers in sockets
Open bureau drawers and then shut his fingers in them
Dance in his mother’s arms
Put small things in his mouth
Bang his favorite toy, the remote control, on his sister’s head or other nearby surface

When we found out we were having a boy, I cried a little bit. Not because I didn’t want a boy. (Of course, I just wanted a healthy baby, of course.) I cried because I just didn’t know I wanted a boy because I didn’t know about boys. I am one of three girls. As my husband points out often when I can’t take his ribbing, I grew up without a great deal of male influence. (My childhood home was full of floral prints and art supplies and girls’ lacrosse sticks and was short on dirt and trucks and baseball bats.) Now I have a daughter. My entire frame of reference for loving a child was loving a girl — and, oh, how I loved her. How could I ever love another baby as much as Little Bug? What if I couldn’t? What if I had that little baby boy and I looked at him in the hospital and didn’t love him as much? At the time I told myself that, were this the case, it might be because he was a boy and not because this was probably a very common feeling before having a second child.  “As soon as this baby is born he is going to own you,” my husband promised me. My friend Rebecca, whose first child was a girl and second a boy, understood in a way to which I could relate a little more immediately. “If you’re bummed about the pink clothes and dresses,” she assured me, “just think: you can dress him like a cross between Prince William and John-John.”

My husband was right, of course.  The end of Little O’s birth was quick and slightly dramatic, and from the second I knew he was going to be fine, he did own me. I would like not to play to stereotypes of gender and birth order, but this kid is easy-going, rough-and-tumble, and unbearably sweet. He is trying to take his first steps and of course I am already nostalgic for his ever-too-quick babyhood. But I also cannot wait to see where he’ll take off running and what he’ll say when those coos and babbles turn to words.

How did I get here?

December 1, 2010 at 8:27 am | Posted in little bug, SAHM, Starbucks, tax law is sexy, the firm, weekend | 2 Comments

Sick Little Bug, with the “ellie”, watching our favorite movie, Madeline. Actually, her favorite movie might be anything featuring Dora (groan). But this is mine!

We’re all a little run down at our house. As usual, I packed too much into our Thanksgiving weekend. It was wonderful: we visited with my baby nephew and a whole slew of Murphys and beloved cousins; we invited some of our new neighbors and friends over for cocktails (so adult! so suburban!); and we celebrated my brother-in-law’s 40th at an 80s-prom-themed birthday, complete with 80s DJ and several costume changes for the birthday boy (insane). Against my better judgment, I sent Little Bug to school yesterday with tired tired eyes and feeling slightly warm (I asked repeatedly if she wanted to stay home but she begged to go to school), and so of course by 9:30 the head of the school called to say she was running a fever and had to come home.

She is inordinately sweet when sick (so much so that we realized yesterday morning that she was probably ill when she kept repeating over and over, “I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. I love my baby brother…” etc. etc.).  This morning it was difficult to walk out the door when she kept running over for “one more big hug. No, wait, just one more kiss!”

As is often the case, though, by the time I got to work and navigated the Starbucks line downstairs, my mind was focused on my day’s client meetings, conference calls, and revisions. By the time I rode the elevator up to my office, with its sweeping views over the Charles, the Salt and Pepper Bridge and MIT, and the airport, I was happy I was here. Happy because sometimes I still get a little thrill that wait, I’m really a lawyer. I wear lawyerly clothes to work (today: Theory shift dress, black tights, heels, and a tweedy, Chanel-esque [emphasis on the “esque“] jacket in honor of my client meeting). I have conference calls and meetings with clients in glassy conference rooms on the top floor of our skyscraper building. I write and say things like, “It is reasonable to conclude that…”

Yesterday, I looked on as a very senior partner marked up a document I had drafted. His lawyerly edit marks mirrored those my father used to scratch on the reams and reams of documents he brought home. Again, I thought: I’m a part of this tribe — a life so familiar to me as a child, but one that I still can’t wrap my head around that I actually inhabit and perpetuate. 

My mind will, of course, be half at home all day, thinking of my sick little girl. But I also know that, all the usual BigLaw firedrills and false deadlines and general anxiety aside, I do like what I do. And this is what is sometimes very hard to reconcile with my life “at home.”

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