Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kindermusik & Wind Ensemble

Several weeks ago, I had a fortuitous encounter with someone I went to grammar school with. Actually, this tends to happen a lot whenever I am back in the 'hood. I'm sure people would be surprised by how much NYC neighborhoods can actually feel like small towns in that way. You tend to function within a 1 mile (or smaller) radius and you become familiar with the same people and establishments. Because you tend to walk everywhere the chances of you bumping into someone you know on any given errand run are actually quite high . . . especially if you went to the same school of about 700 students for 8 years.

So anyway, this girl is younger than me (her brother and I are the same age and went both to junior high and college together). Turns out she has a 15 month old and is now a Kindermusik teacher. I had been toying with the idea of putting the baby in some kind of class. Gymboree was up in the running, but was a bit pricey and out of the way. I felt like it was more for me than for her at this point, so I was very happy that this Kindermusik stuff kind of found me. So far, I've been quite happy about it, especially the CD that was included in the learning materials packet. I was very glad to hear REAL instruments in the soundtrack, not MIDI. In fact, wind instruments are very well represented, including *gasp* bassons, oboes, and even an English horn cameo! Sign me up!! In addition, there is a decent rhythmic variety to the music too. One of the tracks is a polka, while another has a jazzy sway. The songs are fun to sing, though a bit high.

Oh yes, the baby does have fun too. It's so cute to watch her interact with the other babies. I thought she'd ignore them, but they fascinate her and she tries to touch them when they're close. The instruments inevitably end up in their mouths. But every once in a while she gives them a good shake or tap:

Speaking of wind instruments, I got another email from the person who is trying to organize a local wind ensemble. Apparently we've reached quorum and the first rehearsal will be sometime in November. *gulp*

I have an oboe anniversary coming up and I was going to say that my goal was to get back into shape by then, but then I realized that I was only leaving myself a little over a month. So my new goal will be to be practicing every day again by 12/9. Not quite up to an hour plus, but at least 15 minutes. If this wind ensemble does really take off, I think that would really help me overcome inertia.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I'll skip my usual excuses and promises to update more frequently and go right into updates.

First let's start with the elephant in the room - school. As of last Monday I am no longer a student. *gasp* Actually, it's not quite that drastic. Though I did technically withdraw it's more of a delayed deferral. They are holding a spot for me to restart first year with next year's class. I should have seen this one coming. Back in August, I knew deep down inside that I wasn't ready. I kept waiting for the idea of leaving my baby to feel ok, but that never happened. As the weeks wore on it didn't get any easier and I was slipping into very dark territory. And then there was the commute. I commuted 45 miles each way for over 5 years and my husband has been doing the current commute (22 miles each way) for 6. So we had both been road warriors before; I didn't expect this to be a source of stress. Poor, naive, still childless little me. When you add an infant into that mix (or any mix for that matter) things tend towards chaos. All of a sudden the commute became one of the circles of hell. It started out ok. She tended to sleep at first. Then she began to get cranky every once in a while. Then it started happening every single time and I resorted to giving her bottles to calm her down. This complicated our nusing relationship, which lead to even worse feelings. I was losing control. I felt like a horrible mother to put my baby through that, especially to expose her to the dangers of the roads for 2 hours a day. Then there was the dealing with my parents day in and day out again. Some things have changed for the better, but in many ways I am still a parentified child. Then there were the classes themselves. Because I missed my baby so much I would either spend lecture time pining for her or I would cut class to try to catch it online. The latter could have worked. But for many reasons it didn't. It took so much energy (mental, physical, emotional) to just get through each day, that I don't think I saw the clouds gathering or felt the rain falling. It wasn't until the weekend after our first set of exams, where there was a lull in activity, that it finally dawned on me that I couldn't continue doing this, at least not in this way. I didn't study at all that weekend and went right to the dean on Monday and by the end of the day I was no longer a member of the class of 2012. They were very very supportive, for which I was thankful. In fact, one of the deans guessed why I was there before I even got a word in and she said that I was making the right decision. I do feel very strongly that I did. When I walked out of that office I felt 1000 pounds lighter and suddenly there was lightness and gaeity in my heart. All of a sudden, the sun was out again. The next day I stayed home with her all day and it was as though those 8 weeks had never occured. I guess we were both yearning for that time together again and easily fell back into our daily routine. Only this time it was actually easier. She's feeding well, sleeping better, and more active and fun. Since school jump started me, I now have the energy I wanted to have while I was on maternity leave. I don't just sloth around the house unbathed and hungry. I was able to take care of myself and still get things done around the house all while taking care of her.

So will I reclaim my spot come next summer? Honestly, it's too soon to tell. Before I took leave I was changing my mind about my career choice a few times a minute. It was so exhausting. I am aware that all I have done is simply bought myself some time and that I do have a very difficult decision to make. Some days it seems like it is clearly what I want to do and that I simply have to make accommodations (e.g. moving on campus). Other days I wonder why I am so bent on pushing myself to do something that gives me such a visceral reaction? I have a wonderful, rich life. Why should I give any part of it up for some other shiny thing?

I think that it was simply to soon for me to go back to school. Some women may be ready to reclaim their lives in a matter of weeks after becoming mothers. But for me, it wasn't that simple. It is only now that I am beginning to feel any kind of desire to be the old me. And I suspect some pieces of the old me may be gone forever. Every part of my being has been preoccupied only with my baby ever since she was born. I honestly didn't care about absolutely anything else. Imagine trying to go through med school while feeling that way? I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did! Now that I am back home and more energized than back when I was at home previously, I am slowly getting back into things. I'm better able to juggle household management tasks with the baby now. I managed to cook twice last week. Now I want to move back into my music. Other things I would like to do too are working out (modestly) and spending time with friends. I even played a little bit of my favorite video game today. I feel that had I gotten back into any or some or all of those things BEFORE school started, that the transition would have gone smoother. Instead I went from all day baby to a tremendously stressful schedule of waking up super early, feeding her, commuting, walking to school, classes, walk back to nurse, more classes, walk back to eat and nurse, commute, put her to bed, stay up late to study, and sleep a few hours. Rinse and repeat. It was a complete shock. I need to be the whole me again. Whatever that means nowadays. Because only the whole me could possibly stand a chance to survive school. So hopefully in the next few months my baby and I can find me. And then I will be ready to make my decision. Ahh, I feel so much better now that I wrote all this. If only we could figure out how to bring in another $1000 a month in order to finance this lovely period of self-exploration. Not worrying about this just yet either, but I do need to figure it out by the end of the month.

So I won't be writing much again about my medical pursuits. They are on hold for now. And if I do decide to go back next year, I do not want to talk about school on this blog anyway. If I learned anything during those weeks it was about privacy. So if I did want to chronicle my student doctor journey I would likely start up a separate, anonymous blog somewhere.

I would like for this blog to be mostly about music again so I reverted it to its previous look. Well, without the catchy little intro since I can't find where I saved it. Nor the matching oboe picture.

My baby turns 6 months old tomorrow!! Wow!! I can't believe it, my little precious. She is the new sun in my life and I feel so blessed to be her Mommy.

This also means that I have been pretty inactive oboe-wise for at least half a year. *gulp* At this point I am literally afraid to play for what it may sound like. I did visit my teacher last week (or was it the week before last?) and I do have a new reed. So I have no excuse. I don't do well with deadlines these days so I won't tell myself that I must start practicing regularly by x day. But I do hope it happens sometime this month.

The blog may begin to sound a lot like the beginning where I was figuring things out from scratch. Well, it shouldn't be quite so bad because I do know that I can still make it sound haha. But I hope to recapture my rebirth here. It should prove both frustrating and fun!!

I'll leave you with the beautiful half-birthday girl (this was last month):