Monday, August 22, 2011

I Got Mad Skills

My husband had his "mid-year" review at his firm last week.  Of course, he got the highest quantification possible, which is something like an A or a descriptive adjective or a numerical rank or maybe a special sticker.  I forget.

It got me thinking about my own skills, and all the ones I'm wasting, for lack of a better word.  There's a lot I used to be able to do, you know.  Have a legal research question?  I am a master of Westlaw and, given enough time, I will get you an answer, or tell you your question is full of shit.  Need thousands of documents reviewed in an electronic database?  I can code ever damn one.  While we're at it, I can also draft all sorts of documents that are incomprehensible to the general public, including motions, briefs, interrogatories, document requests, and deposition outlines.  I can read boring, lengthy legal opinions and make some sense of them (unless they involve patents, then forget it).  And I can get along with anyone, including cocky pricks from the Department of Justice or crotchety old partners.

I don't necessarily want to be doing these things, but it doesn't mean it doesn't make me a bit sad that all of these specialized skills are going to waste.  And it won't be long until those skills start fading.  Maybe they already have.

But fret ye not.  I have acquired some new skills in the last six months, thank you very much.  And since this new career of mine does not involve any formalized review process, I will engage in a self assessment which highlights my top 5 new areas of expertise:

1) Eye/toe coordination.  Over the past few months, I have developed an uncanny ability to pick things up with my feet.  This usually occurs when I am holding a 20 pound baby in my arms, and am having difficulties bending over.  Instead of putting said baby down, I simply use my toes to pick up various objects, such as keys, diapers, phones, toys, and even bottles (I pick it up by the nipple and then wash the nipple, I promise).

2) Supervision of two children under 3 at the pool.  Yes, I have done it.  I've taken Braden and Casey to our neighborhood pool ALL BY MYSELF!  It's not easy.  Braden can't swim, but thinks he can.  Casey doesn't realize that water is a substance that cannot be inhaled or eaten, and he is no longer content to just hang out in the stroller.  Accordingly, the first trip was rough.  I had Casey on one hip.  I had Braden's elbow in the other hand, attempting to keep his head submerged above water, with varying success.  I had strangers offering to help me, and I think my boob popped out of my bathing suit two or three times.  But, hey, everyone survived.  Once I threw a life jacket and some swim toys into the mix, the situation improved.  We go at least twice a week now.

3) Multi-tasking.  When I was at a law firm, I would get very stressed out when I had multiple cases blow up at once (which happened quite often).  I yearned to just be able to focus on one task at a time.  Ha!  I am proud to say that I am now a pro at multi-tasking.  Indeed, at the moment, I am blogging, talking to my husband on the phone, attempting to feed Casey breakfast, supervising Braden, and watching Yo Gabba Gabba.  And I'm somewhat relaxed, without the aid of alcohol.  Amazing, really.

4) The Sleeping Through the Night of Two Children.  Braden first slept through the night at 9 weeks old (we're talking ten straight hours).  Casey did a solid 11 hours at four months.  Neither have looked back since.  Add to that the fact that they are both master nappers, and I can't complain.  It could be luck, but I like to take a little bit of credit.  My secret?  Schedule, schedule, schedule.  We started working on a sleep, wake, feed schedule very early on.  In terms of night feedings, once the baby would do a long stretch (say, 4 hours straight), I would never let the stretch go shorter - if the baby woke up, I would just rock, soothe, etc., until eventually, they went the whole night.  Casey did end up with a bit of a pacifier addiction, which we broke at 4 months and involved a bit of crying, but other than that, we never cried it out.  Ah, love those boys!

5) Napping.  Not for the kids, for me.  As in, after 30 years of no napping, I now have the ability to nap.  This is huge.  HUGE.

Comments from Supervisors (Anonymous): 
"Gabba, please?"
"I'm stuck on a conference call and don't have time to comment.  Sorry!"

Overall Quantification - A+, Fabulous, perfect 10, gold star.

Okay, maybe I've patted myself on the back a bit too much.  You'll notice I haven't mentioned any June Cleaveresque skills, such as cooking or cleaning.  That's because that stuff's just not my thing.  We have a fabulous cleaning man (yes, a man!) that comes every two weeks.  And as for cooking, lets just say I didn't learn how to make pasta until my senior year in college and it hasn't gotten much better since.

In all seriousness, I am proud of myself.  Making the decision to stay home was the easy part.  The day to day stuff can be challenging.  VERY challenging.  But I am handling it.  I am adjusting.  I am actually enjoying it.  And I'm getting pretty good at it.


  1. A+ for these skills! Getting one, much less two, child(ren) to sleep though the night is a true accomplishment. Plus, there are countless other attorneys who can draft discovery requests, motions, briefs, etc. (and some doc review, in my opinion, could be done by a trained monkey), but no one who will raise your children with the love that you do.

    You also get an A+ for passing on your experiences so eloquently and with fantastic humor via this blog. I look forward to every post!

  2. K, thank you so much - your comment made my day! And you're right about the trained monkey thing.

  3. HA! I loved the eye/toe coordination one the best! I give you an A+++ too!!

  4. you are an amazing mom!!!!!

  5. Sorry, sleeping through the night is a personality thing - you don't get the credit, but you've got super kids!


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