Juno is now officially ‘settled in’ to nursery, though that status is arguable and not without its ups and downs! But at least she is feeding and sleeping as she should most of the time on her days there. The days have necessarily been short: 10am – 3/4pm and it’s amazing how quickly but slowly that time goes by! The first week I wasn’t really able to work much while she was there and was called in a few times to help feed her but we’ve progressed to the point where I feel I could leave the locality during the day if needs be without fear of being called to the rescue. Oddly enough, though, that would be the wrong thing to do as I’d waste my only two (short 6 hour) days when I can do any work at my computer so if meetings need to be arranged, I’m scheduling them for non-nursery days and bringing the little one along as before. There’s just too much to do to fit in to two days with three out of four or five projects now needing progress.
I have naturally developed a greater level of efficiency in this compressed time. Far from being relaxing, on Mondays and Tuesdays I feel like I constantly have the adrenaline of being in technical rehearsals with so much to do before time’s up! Then the rest of the week, I spend looking from afar in my mind at the work that needs doing, knowing I am unlikely to get to it for another five days (and trying to work out whether I will have enough time between now and rehearsals to do what I need to do: despite being weeks away, this in fact means days away to me). I will also need to think about childcare beyond her nursery days for things like shoots too before too long.
I do, however, now have that sense of having ‘made something’ that I seem to find important. I think that’s why I made sure I squeezed in a few good photo shoots with Juno over the past few months – proper, decently lit sessions with my 7D and a good lens and then an editing session following (see pic to the right) – to maintain some level of creative output. And what’s more creative that photographing the ultimate thing you can create: a little person?
One of the things that has made it a worthwhile process to weather apart from the creative upside and necessity is the fact that she has been going through what is known as the four month ‘sleep regression’. No-one tells you about this, now, do they? She never slept THAT well (waking mostly twice a night to feed after her ‘dream’ feed of 10.30 or so where some babies are starting to ‘sleep through’) but we suddenly hit madness of not being able to get her to bed at 7pm as before followed by exhausting crying sessions until we flopped onto the sofa for half an hour or an hour before feeding again and going to bed ourselves only to then be up every 2 or so hours during the night. This dreadful pattern lasted around a week then has been on and off for the past four weeks but apparently TOMORROW she is due to emerge from it. It’s been sunshine as well as showers thankfully with new milestones becoming visible but it has meant that I have been more exhausted and needing to join her in her naps again.
Much as I had thought, I am also finding the time I spend with her more precious – we have actually started to go to a few baby groups so that we can ‘play’ in a structured non-self-initiated new ways – but despite being desperate to go and pick her up and delighted to have her back, it is a bit harder to get back into it just at the end of a day to myself. I suppose this is what my husband must feel like at the weekend.
I feel like I can start to compartmentalize a bit more too, despite continuing to take Juno to meetings, so that I am neither neglecting child nor collaborator. At least some of the time. But I thought it would be enlightening to document what it’s like when I do have to juggle so here’s what last Friday looked like for me:
Day in the life of a Projection Designer and her 4.5 month old ‘associate’:
My more logistically complex days usually begin the night before with a concerted effort to the the little one in bed at the right time so that she sleeps well, leaving me a couple of hours to look at trains, pack the buggy juggernaut (usually complete with laptop slung off one side handle, nappies, toys and changes of clothes of the other and car seat attachment), defrost any expressed milk I plan to take and change plans a few times etc etc.
Then it runs something like this:
10.30pm – Feed the baby
2am – Feed the baby
3am – Settle the baby (wind, general fussing)
5am – Feed the baby
7.30am – Feed the baby and wake up for the day, change her nappy, get her dressed and send her downstairs for breakfast with the husband while I shower and dress
8am – I go down for my breakfast while she has time in the playpen, Tom has his shower
8.30am – Go back upstairs. Change the nappy (again).
8.45am – We’d usually be settling her for her nap but today she has a doctor’s appointment for her skin so it’s into the sling to sleep on the way
9am – Doctor’s
9.15am – Pharmacy. We ditch this though after 10 minutes as we’re going to miss our train
9.30am – Pick up the buggy-naut, transfer her from the sling and set off for Kings X
10am – Nearly have to get off the bus to allow a wheelchair user on but I managed to squeeze the buggy over sufficiently.
10.20am – Miss the train anyhow (by 5 minutes). Aim for the next one and go and pick up a picnic lunch.
10.50am – Little girl getting tetchy for the next nap / feed. Vocal soothing while we head for the train at speed. Where’s the lift? Ah there…
10.52am – On the train. Time to feed. Then nappy change. Looking for a nap window for myself but it does’t emerge.
11.25am – Picked up at Gravesend by my colleague. Pile into the car and head off towards Glyndebourne. I sit in the back so that I can help her get off for her nap.
12midday – She’s napping, I express for the next feed as we’ll still be in the car when it’s due. Talk shop with my colleague who is driving and another who dials in on speakerphone.
12.45 – Diet coke stop – really missing my usual 20 minute morning nap!
13.00 – Quick, eat that picnic while she’s still asleep! Glamourous…
13.50 – Loo stop (hate to arrive at meetings bursting. And when we do arrive, it will be all about the little one again) then back in the car for the last stretch. Feed the baby.
14.05 – Only 5 mins late for our meeting. Talk shop whilst jiggling the baby on my knee / offering her toys and fingers to teethe on
15.00 – She needs to nap again. Pop her into the sling and stand up to rock her whilst continuing the meeting.
15.30 – Baby wakes. Bottle feed and more knee bouncing.
16.00 – Head down to investigate the rehearsal space and take a look on stage. Baby goes back in the sling.
16.15 – Baby’s not great at bottle feeds and decides she’s still hungry so I try and discreetly pop her on the boob while walking around.
16.45 – Meeting ends. Nappy change. Get in the car and leave Gkyndebourne.
18.45 – Traffic jams at Tunbridge and a few wrong turns later, arrive at colleague’s place. Quick look around his recently renovated (and water-borne) abode – we’ve missed the bedtime routine start time by 45mins so why not while we’re here.
19.30 – Train back to London
20.00 – Rock the baby asleep on the bus for a snatched catnap to get her through till bedtime.
20.15 – Home. Bedtime routine starts.
21.00 – Fed and in bed. Ish. Too tired to feed properly. Her and me.
22.30 – As her usual feed time passes by without her waking, husband and I decide whether or not to go to bed (dearly want to) or wait for her to wake for the next feed to avoid her waking just after we’ve gone to sleep.
23.15 – Feed baby then bed
1.30am – Feed the baby….
Next week we’re off to Russia for technical meetings. Juno has her passport and we’re just waiting for Visas. I kind of have no choice as to whether she comes or not: I couldn’t leave her at home without me for so long so young and whilst being breast fed. Besides, it will be a good trial in the logistics that we’ll face all over again in a couple of months’ time. Just wish me luck…