Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

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Can I get a do-over for yesterday? I missed yet another post (so I guess that’s three I have to make up before month’s end) because I jinxed myself.

On my message board, I wrote a note about how well the Poptart sleeps at night and how we just let her fuss a bit if needed, providing some advice that someone was asking for.

Sunday night, she stayed up til midnight. And got up at 4. And then at 8 for the day.

Monday night, she stayed up til TWO A-FUCKING-M. And was cranky.

And got up at 4.

And then up for the day at 7:30. #killmenow

She hasn’t napped at all today except when she was in the car. And a half an hour on the sofa on me.

I would really like to know what drug babies have in them that make them so wide awake and CHEERFUL on such little sleep. Because, really, zoloft has NOTHING on that. If I find out what it is, I will bottle it and sell it and Make My Millions.

And just to really round out this day, she got her 6 month vaccines and the first H1N1 shot. Tonight could be really fun. Send wine.

On mornings when it’s raining (or monsooning as it was this morning), I’ll get up and drive Darren to the train so he doesn’t get too wet on the way to work. Take note he takes the train at half before dark (otherwise known as Oh My God o’clock). So he’ll get up, get ready and then come and get me when he’s ready to go. One of us will pack the Poptart into her seat because they don’t like it when you leave babies home alone.

Me: mmmmmf. Need a ride?
Darren: Yep. It’s raining. Want me to get [the Poptart]?
Me: If you could.

I get up, go to the bathroom and toddle downstairs where I find Darren just standing there holding her. She’s snuggled into his shoulder, her arms around his neck.

Darren: I don’t want to put her down.

The Poptart is a good baby. Dare I say, an easy baby. She’s slept through the night – at least 6 hours – since about 8 weeks of age. Every once in awhile, of course, we have a “bad” night where she’s up every couple of hours.

The tradeoff on this was that she didn’t nap during the day. At least not more than 20 minutes. If I wanted her to sleep longer or if she needed to sleep longer, she had to sleep on me, but would move every time I took a breath. Which sort of defeated the purpose of taking a nap: so I could get stuff done around here so she could get some rest.

My mother said the no napping was payback: apparently I didn’t nap either. And yes, she laughed at me.

Anyways, I took the tradeoff: so long as she goes to bed between 8 and 9:30, she sleeps when we sleep. I will take that any day. It’s not like I could return or exchange her.

In the last month or so, she started taking a nap about 1.5 to 2 hours after getting up in the morning. This morning she napped from 6:30 to just after 10.  Then she went for another nap at about 1 until just about 2:30. Then another nap about 5pm for about 45 minutes.

And she’s been doing this more or less consistently for the last couple of weeks.

Of course, now that I’ve written this down, she’ll probably stop napping and wake up all night.

The Poptart is rolling over now. We are in so much trouble. She’s actually been rolling for about a week, but seems to have figured out how to do it now rather than it being pure accident.

Many thanks for the kind comments on my last entry. I feel much more stable now.

 

 

 

Yesterday I spent the day away from the Poptart for the first time since she was born and it made my chest ache.

Yes, I missed her. But I don’t mean my heart ached (although it did a little). I mean my chest ached.

Note to self: bring the breastpump next time.

This post is part of the Carnival of Maternity Leave over at Strocel.com. Visit http://www.strocel.com/maternity-leave for more posts on maternity leave from August 3 – 15, 2009.

When I found out I was pregnant last year, we were surprised. Not at the pregnancy itself, but at the timing. You see, I’d gone off birth control in March or so when my prescription ran out. By September I was pregnant. My job was really going to hell in a handbasket, and there’s somewhat of a major event happening in Vancouver next year – I didn’t want to commute while that was happening. This couldn’t have been better timing.

In December, Darren quit his job – for the best really since he was miserable there and was out of work for 3 months. He’s in a much better place now, making more money and is able to leave work at work. It did however, drain our savings.

I went on maternity leave about 5 weeks (give or take) before my due date. It was Easter, a long weekend and seemed like a good time to break off. On April 14, I applied for Maternity and Parental EI benefits and was told that it would be about a month before its approved, given the state of the economy and the larger than usual numbers of people applying for EI.

Me: A month? So if I don’t hear anything in about 6 weeks I should call?
EI Agent: No, no, no. It’ll only be 4 weeks. I promise.

(Dude, I work for government; I know that 4 weeks usually means 6 or longer)

On May 17th, the Poptart was born; my EI claim still hadn’t been processed. I waited another couple of weeks then phoned because I was getting these reports in the mail to fill out even though I had asked to be exempt from them. Every time I phoned or went to the Service Canada office, I was told I didn’t have to fill them out – yet they kept sending them. None of the agents had any idea why I was receiving them.

 Normally, the wait wouldn’t be an issue, but my employer provides a 6 week top up to 95% and we were running kind of tight at that point.

At the six week mark, I phoned the automated system again and listened to the whole message which said that I had to fill out the reports in order to get my claim processed.

Me: [hits 0, listens to muzak]
Agent: How may I help you?
Me: So I applied for my maternity EI over a month ago and a decision still hasn’t been made. Also, I keep getting these reports to fill out in the mail, and I asked to be exempt from them. Your automated system tells me I need to fill them out in order to have a decision made. The agents tell me I don’t need to fill them out. So which is it?
Agent: Okay, first, I’ll flag your account and have the agent dealing with your file contact you within 48 hours. And I’ll check with my supervisor as to the reports.
Me: And I would like an email explaining that either I do or do not have to fill out the reports.
Agent: What?
Me: I want something in writing that I do or do not have to fill out the reports. This is ridiculous.
Agent: [goes away, puts me on hold]
Me: [Muzak]
Agent: Okay, you don’t have to fill out the reports.
Me: You’re sure? Because your system says differently.
Agent: Yes, because your file hasn’t been processed, its just in the pile with all other applications.
Me: So where’s that email?
Agent: Its coming. Is there anything else I can do?…

Within 12 hours I got a call saying my file would be processed that day. I got a back payment within 72 hours.

Anyways, it got me thinking: maternity EI should be a no brainer once your Records of Employment (ROEs) are in, especially if your ROE is submitted electronically by your employer. Maternity and Parental EI is based on the number of hours you’ve worked in a certain period of time. I knew I had the requisite number of hours for the maximum benefit. How difficult is it to create an algorithm that runs a check against the number of hours and performs the calculation of your benefits and trigger a conditional approval? All that would be necessary would be for a quick check to make sure that everything is in order. Those Maternity/Parental EI forms could be dealt with by a few agents once a week. And that would reduce the stress on new parents who not only have a newborn to deal with, but also have to deal with government bureaucracy to get a pittance of EI benefits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have a year off to spend with my daughter. This is MY year with her because in a few years, she’s going to be Daddy’s Girl. I don’t think its fair that my income is cut in less than half – yes, you get 55% of your income to a maximum of $447/week. So its not 55% if you earn more than $812/week. Which I do.

I don’t like running that tight on money. There’s enough, but we have a bit of a cashflow issue, particularly at the beginning of the month after the mortgage, strata fees and my continuation of benefits have come out. We’ve trimmed pretty much everywhere we can, and quite honestly, my complaints are not those of a lot of other people. I should feel lucky that we all we had to do was go down to one car, cut out the maid service, cook more, and go to using my own cloth diapers rather than having a service. And I do feel lucky.

But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Canada has a low population growth rate; it may even be negative now. If the government wishes to maintain its population, then it’ll have to change the way maternity and parental benefits are. In addition to streamlining the process so that approval is immediate, it would be great if it would be an actual 55% of your income. Or more. It somehow only seems fair to do that and relieve some of the pressures on new parents so that they don’t have to choose between work and family.

At the end of the day, though, being able to spend this time with my daughter really, really makes up for it.


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