A Little Help

Robert and I are struggling along and trying to cope around our busy routine. Things are starting to fall into place, albeit very slowly. I sat down with Lucy one Saturday and we worked out a schedule when she can look after Rob, then I came up with my own work schedule based on it. I presented the schedule to my managers at work, and they were nice enough to accept it. I will thus be working the same shifts every week: Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons and then Saturday the whole day. I threw in a whole day on Sunday every other week, where dad has to look after Robert, to make up a 20-hour week. This makes me work every other day, with a two-day weekend only every two weeks, but I have no alternative at the moment.

Lucy is very good with babies and small children. She raised half a dozen of her own children and grandchildren, in addition to many others she cared for in her working life. On the very first day I left Robert with her, I came home to see him strapped to her back African style, and he seemed to enjoy it immensely. I am glad to have peace of mind in that area at least, my child is well looked after in my absence.

When we are not running around on some errand, Robert and I enjoy soaking the sunshine in the yard, on the beach or in the park. Sometimes Jackie came along too, and I took some photos. The effects of pregnancy, continued breastfeeding and the added stress of breaking up are finally showing. I look thin, tired and haggard these days. My hair has lost its luster, and has become brittle and dry. I received unflattering comments about the way I looked, and I know why. But, I am going to ignore my growing roots for now; I want to give my hair a break. If god wants me gray, then gray I should stay. The only reason why I dyed it before was in deference to my husband. Now I have only myself to answer to. I will find a solution that suits me this time, and I do not want to succumb to the pressure of looking younger and sexier, I am not young anymore, so who am I trying to fool. I am not scared of my scars or of my approaching forties. I have lived, loved, and born a child; I have smiled, frowned, laughed and cried and I have the scars and the gray hair as witnesses. I am not going to pretend otherwise.

I am not the only one trying to adjust to our new lifestyle. Robert is also going through this phase. He has started to wake up every night for a feed, and it is something else for me to get used to. It is good that I can survive on very little sleep, and I am also grateful that I do not have to work night shifts. I want to be the one to reassure and hold him when he wakes up during the night. My feeding routine has also been disrupted, back in the old flat I used to confine Robert to the Bumbo chair in the kitchen where he was stuck in a seated position until he polished up the cereal bowl. Here, I am struggling to keep him in place as I try to aim the cereal into his mouth. I do my best to anticipate the turning head and dodge the swiping hand, but we still end up both with splats of cereal on face, hair, and clothes. The solution came from the resourceful Jackie, who got us a feeding chair from the next-door neighbors. The family was in Israel for a holiday at the time, and the maid gave us the chair, but when they came back they were very happy to let us keep it.

Once Robert was strapped behind the tray of the feeding chair, he knew that it was mealtime and there was no more messing around. Since I moved in with Jackie I also started to let him snack with me on my food, so he has started on toast, avocado, rice, beans, and many different fruits.

In other activity news, Robert and I are going to Moms and Tots class every week. It is something that I can hardly afford, but I wanted to do it, to get some social interaction with other moms, and to give Robert a chance at some fun time with other babies. The first few weeks were a little challenging but soon Robert started to enjoy the activities and get used to socializing with other people. I also met many interesting moms and learned new games to play with my little one.

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