The 30 Day Challenge


I still check my work email.

I’m on maternity leave, for a whole glorious year. It’s awesome, but holy man do I miss my job.

So, I check email. Just to see what’s going on: mostly birthdays and goodbye emails and reminders to do timesheets, but it’s nice. It gives some structure to the week: reminders about free (and awesome) breakfasts on Mondays, ridiculous emails from the developers on Fridays.

Also, the culture stuff. The company I work for does some pretty cool things to boost morale and help with people’s development-y stuff. Right now, there’s a 30-day challenge going on. You just have to commit to doing something every day for 30 days, or to have achieved something specific in 30 days’ time.

I think. I’m fuzzy on the guidelines. I never said I actually *read* the emails.

I decided to participate from afar. I like the idea of a daily something. I was doing 30 days of yoga when I got pregnant with Rei, so that worked out pretty well.

Here was my short list:

Shower every day

Bad for health, plus gives off impression to work people that I have an issue with showering. Cough. No comment. Am new mom! Leave me alone.

Exercise every day

See: carrying, bouncing, giving horsey rides to, dancing with, singing to, pushing stroller for, rolling around on play mat with a baby. I think I have that one covered.

Pet cat every day 

This is actually a valid goal, because my cat used to be my sun and my moon and now I barely get to hang out with him. I swore I would not be one of those people who stopped loving their pets when they had a baby, and while my love hasn’t changed, my ability to actually show him that love has. Which is pretty much the same as that jerk who kept saying he loved you but still wouldn’t introduce you to his friends.

However, “Pet cat every day” makes me sound like both a disturbed cat lady and someone who is living a very small, very sheltered existence. (Which is true.)

PS: I have two cats. The other one didn’t even get mentioned. I am a monster. Sorry, Ben.

Stop thinking in (possibly racist) accents 

Does anyone else do this? Every now and then, the voice in my head switches from someone that sounds vaguely like me to an angry older Chinese woman with a heavy accent. This tends to happen when I’m telling myself what to do, like I should take more Vitamin D or make that dentist appointment I’ve been putting off. I’m not sure exactly where the voice comes from. Sometimes it’s a man. He’s not as mean as the woman. Weird, right?

The other voice is a sassy black lady. She shows up when I’ve decided I’m going to do something and I’m going to do it now, dammit. Like when I think I deserve to buy myself something nice, but part of me is waffling. She’s the, “You go girl!” part of me. I have Angie from 30 Rock to blame/thank for her.

So now I have admitted to you that: 1. I am probably racist and 2. I hear voices. So you can see why I didn’t use that as my goal.

Write every day (blog or work on novel)

Winner! It’s only been a few days but so far so good. When I get tempted to dick around on Facebook I just remind myself to get to work now! Write book take long time, you work hard finish book, still write crappy book but book be done! And then when I write a scene or finish a blog post, I go to the kitchen and get some chocolate into my own bad self!

So, you can expect more blog posts, is what I’m saying.

You’re welcome.



Three Months, Almost


That’s how old Rei will be soon. In just a few days. Four days. In four days, she’ll be three months old.

This is why I couldn’t sleep last night.

Almost immediately after Rei was born, I started to miss work. Badly. I texted work people, asking what they were doing. I checked email (and I am the type of person who never checks email when away from work; who thinks working on vacation is a form of self-loathing; who has never been defined by a job). I even contemplated asking if there was something I could do, some little project I could help with while working remotely, with no deadlines and the understanding that as long as my baby kept insisting on being held all day long, I’d probably never get the work done and sorry, what was I thinking? I mean, I really MISSED it, in this yearning, pathetic sort of way.

Somehow, my brain had compartmentalized my baby and my work. I was happy, ecstatic, in love with my little girl. I also missed my old life. And one did not cancel out the other.

But last night (or early this morning, rather), after I nursed Rei and she went back to sleep, I realized she would be three months on Monday. I almost bolted upright before remembering how noisy our comforter is. I would have gone downstairs to cry if I could have done it without risking her waking up. Because…three months. Which means, if I go back to work at nine months as planned, I only have six months left of this. Two-thirds left. A measly two-thirds.

I never registered that working would mean I wouldn’t be spending my days with her. And nine months seemed like such a long time off. I’d be ready to go back by then. I’d be bored. I’d be dying to be something other than a mom.

But dates and definitions can distance you from reality, from feelings. Thing is, I expected to love my daughter. I didn’t expect to like her so much already, to enjoy her company, to feel such a kinship with her. My days are hard, to be sure, much harder than any job ever was. They’re not always fun and sometimes they full-on suck. But it’s what I do. It’s what I do for her.

I’m with her, all the time. And today I can hardly contemplate not being with her.

When I finally fell back to sleep this morning, I dreamed I went back to work, Rei in tow. I had to cross a river to get to the office. My cat Yoshi got lost in the woods. In the foyer was an old frozen yogurt machine. No one knew who I was. It was the kind of dream where you’re in a bizarro world; a place that’s real but not real.

Except for Reiden, in my arms. The one thing that made perfect sense.