I have been on vacation with family since Thursday. We drove up to a nice resort on a lake, a few hours away from where we live. This is our third year here, we rent a two-bedroom apartment and do our own cooking. The kids and hub are enjoying the indoor and outdoor pools, and I am doing what I would do at home: nurse around the clock, and in the meantime try to get some sleep, eat, maintain personal hygiene, and spend some time with the older kids.
A striking thing has been the amount of attention that Smurf has been getting. I know people love babies, but I don't remember everybody commenting quite as much as they do on Smurf. Perhaps because he's really smaller than what people are used to seeing in public... I kid you not, every day at least 3 or 4 people (mostly women) come and ask how old he is -- he's 5 weeks old today! -- and when I tell them, they congratulate me on being brave to go on vacation with a 5-week-old. I have actually started justifying myself, saying that I have the older boys who really need to go on vacation, so that's why we do it...
There are other interesting comments I receive. From flattering (that I look great for 5 weeks postpartum) to those I can't decide what to do with. For instance, at home as well as on vacation, since I have 3 kids, whenever people see me with all of them (even if it's not during business hours, but say on a Saturday morning), everyone automatically assumes I am a stay-at-home mom and related comments come up. There is no shame in being a SAHM, but I must admit that it upsets me a bit that I am referred to as one, although I understand that there is no way anyone would guess what I do when I go shopping all bleary-eyed, messy-haired, struggling to round up all these kids.
We rented a minivan to go on this vacation. We don't own one, we own a small sedan and a small SUV that we bought after baby #2 (so almost paid off). Our cars can fit 5 people in principle, but not with the amount of luggage we have to carry and not comfortably enough for long trips, especially with two car seats in the back. But we (nearly) own both of them, and they are fine for driving around the city. So while we are enjoying the minivan, it's really roomy and the kids love it, both hub and I are reluctant to take the plunge and buy it -- it would be another loan that we are not sure we need.
And last but not least, Smurf, in his 5-week awesomeness. He holds his head quite well and does really well on his tummy. He is interacting more: makes good eye contact, sticks tongue out, holds my fingers when he nurses, and plays well with (as in, tries to grab) the colorful chains hanging off of his car seat. I am a bit ashamed to say that, even with the third kid, I still have to go and look up when each milestone happens. I only remember the really big ones (e.g. teeth and sitting up start about 6 months), but when they start to smile or roll over, I repeatedly have to look up. But Smurf is awesome and quite cool. Big bros are all over him.
I promise some academic-focused posts in the near future. I have been a busy bee talking to program managers, so a few white papers are in the works. But with only 1-1.5 hours of work per day, things are slow... I promised myself not to worry too much and actually try to relax and not think about work while on this little vacation with my family. And so far so good.
Now I'm off to get some shut-eye before it's time for the night shift at the dairy factory.