Friday, October 19, 2012


We are currently on our Forrin Holiday, lots of nice croissants and ice cream, sunshine, beautiful small towns, and random mad parks with Wild West guinea pig pens:

We've booked our flights, a couple of nights in a hotel, and car for trip back to Birth State.  We emailed Nella's parents who didn't say "but we're on the other side of the country then!" so we will I think at least see them (they are not the kind of people who are the other side of the country, ever, but they are also the kind of people, I think, who don't have random last minute personal emergencies, unlike Nella, so it sounds like we are going to see them at least). It is a bit of a leap of faith - it feels like an odd thing to do - it is not really somewhere we'd choose as our first option for a family holiday, and frankly though it's something to build Baby Spouse's life story, he won't care where we are or remember it. Neither would we choose the dates we booked, but it is a lot easier to renew Baby Spouse's US passport in the US, before it is a year old, so it's more of a case of several factors combining to make it convenient.

We've also primed our good friends in Agency Town and in addition (I'm not sure I ever mentioned this) my cousin who lives in Far Distant Cold State which is far from both Birth State and SoCal (where we lived and where her parents live).  Cousin's baby girl was born 3 days before Baby Spouse, but indecently late and huge (almost twice his birth weight). She's the cousin in my US family that's closest to me in age, and closest in personal terms as well, but a bit flaky about communication, though her husband is better, and he arranged Mr Spouse's volunteering gig during the 2008 Obama campaign. 

They have no vacation time to join our visit to Nice Warm Birth State this year (and we are reluctant to visit Far Distant Cold State in January, call us wimps, but there it is!) but we have opened the door for a family visit in future years.  This cousin is significantly younger than me, but we have now closed the gap with Baby Cousin and Baby Spouse, and I would love it if they could get to know each other growing up. So we're hoping for 2014. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This says some very apposite things, given yesterday's post. Yes, I have worked for years and years to save up to take an only very slightly extended adoption leave, and to work part time when I go back.  I could have taken 3 maternity leaves in the time. And yes, I may be able to buy myself a cappuccino, but that doesn't mean I get to enjoy them all in complete peace. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

End of an era

We are actually on holiday in France at the moment but over the week before we went away we had the end of Mr Spouse's studying and the first session at nursery for Baby Spouse.  He sailed in and was fine and loved the baby room (and so did Baby Spouse... joking). I was sad that he didn't miss me/us!  I am not sure if he just hasn't got to the stage of stranger anxiety or if he is anxious but does not cry always when anxious. He has several more mornings in nursery when I am not yet back at work so we can ease him in gradually. Mr Spouse is jobhunting so we have a little time together as a family.

But I am really beginning to see why people decide not to go back to work at all. It's not actually because I'll miss Baby Spouse while I'm at work, or because I want to spend all my time with him - I will miss him, but I don't want to spend all my time with him, or at least not just us at home - I'd still want him to go to a formal setting, with more of a variety of activities than I can provide.  And it's not that I don't like my work, because I do, it's interesting and (often) rewarding. It's the relentlessness of it.

I've already had complaints that I didn't host a visitor I had invited at about the six week stage, complaints that I didn't provide some paperwork someone wanted immediately (because I was doing "other work" - the arrangement here is that you can do a limited amount of work on maternity/adoption leave by agreement with your line manager, but it's supposed to be limited or you lose your adoption pay as, after all, why should the government pay you not to work when you are, in fact, working? so you pick the urgent work, and pile up work until you have a day's worth/everyone's told you all the stuff that needs doing on X project - also a more efficient use of child care).

I may have said that I sorted out with my old line manager (who's now moved away) part time working and I also sorted out (which is legally my choice, not theirs) a return to work date.  It's particularly important for us to make sure that childcare is a settled arrangement - for Baby Spouse's security especially. It's not something I will be discussing with my new line manager, or really with any other colleagues.

Now I've been told by my new line manager that I agreed to go back to work the previous week (wishful thinking on his part in fact) and two or three people have been moaning that it won't make much difference etc. etc., why not get Y person to babysit (who is qualified it is true, but who has met Baby Spouse once when awake, when he was 5 months old). I have not actually said but really felt like shouting IT IS OUR BUSINESS WHO CARES FOR HIM.  The only reason he wants me to go back to work the previous week is because he didn't get his act together to get someone else to do something happening that week, which is not really my problem, and which actually doesn't even fit my timetabled schedule anyway (old line manager helpfully agreed to set working days for my part time work, rather than a random "you're working 3 days a week but when we feel like making you work them" which is useless for childcare). Again, new line manager has tried to suggest I "find" extra childcare.

And I have an ongoing issue with some paperwork that really needs doing but I can either wait till next year (which is to my detriment), scramble to do it now (which means it might not be done properly, which is also to my detriment), or moan that actually they should allow me extra time owing to having been on adoption leave (if the due date was while I was still on leave, I'd be looking at a discrimination case, but it isn't, so it's a grey area). I've talked to my union about this in fact but although retired union guy was very sympathetic, new union guy was more of a chocolate teapot and, you guessed it, suggested that going back to work early would solve everyone's problems in this area.

So do I feel excited and enthusiastic about going back to work? Funnily enough, no.

Monday, October 01, 2012


We had Baby Spouse's christening yesterday. Here's a small corner of his cake:  

And here's his gown (which used to be my wedding dress):  

Full photos available for those on the Book of Face.
I have not yet strangled any of my friends or relatives, and the baby slept through a large portion of his party (though he didn't sleep through church, or cry - it helps that he loves lights, organ music, and being the centre of attention).
I now have a really nasty cold and would quite like to sleep all week. However, I have to work out which of his clothes for nursery really need name labels, and then pack for a sunny holiday in the South of France. It's a hard life.