August 22, 2007 Edition

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Brotherly love

Gretchen Hunt

I have been enjoying my maternity leave and being able to spend extra time with my boys. We have had a blast the last few weeks.

Family members and friends have been wonderful about visiting, as well as taking Conley to do fun things so that he knows he is still important to everyone, too.

Conley has adjusted very well to being the big brother. He loves helping to take care of Colter and is very gentle with him. He loves to rub his head, pat his back and give him kisses. He is also great about bringing me a pacifier or a diaper or whatever I might need.

He doesn't have any interest in actually changing a diaper, though, especially if Colter has done the dirty deed. Conley will say, "Mom, I think Colter needs you, he's stinky." He has helped feed Colter his bottle and loves to hold him, but he can't understand why I won't let him carry the baby around. I explained that if he accidentally dropped Colter and hurt him he would be very sad and he seemed to accept that, at least for now.

We have actually enjoyed several outings since Colter's birth, too, including a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, a couple of visits to The TD and a baby shower at Jelly Bean Junction in Walnut Ridge, where Conley has attended since he was one and Colter will be going when I start back to work. We've also been to church each Sunday, to the grocery store a couple of times and to visit family.

It is definitely an adjustment having two, but I think Conley is at a good age. He can take care of himself to a certain extent and can generally entertain himself, as well. I was worried we might have to deal with jealousy issues, but so far it has not been a problem.

The fact that Conley is also going through a transition starting to "big boy" school has probably helped as well. He started in the Pre-K program at Greene County Tech on Monday. He had a great first day and when I asked him what he did at school he told me, "Everything!"

He has enjoyed the attention he has received in preparation for the new school year - getting his backpack and new clothes and shoes and such. It has probably been a good offset to all the showers and gifts that Colter has received.

My maternity leave has really come at a good time as I was able to spend a lot of time with Conley leading up to his first week of school and am able to drop him off and pick him up as he makes this transition. Next week he will be able to start riding the school bus, which he is quite excited about. I think he was actually a little disappointed that the school did not allow pre-K students to ride the bus the first week, but I am grateful that I am off work and am able to be a big part of his first days at school.

As much as I am enjoying my time off and hanging out with the kids, I have also missed my time at The TD. Everyone is being wonderful and helping to do the things I would normally do, which has made it possible for me to enjoy my time off.

The longer I am off, though, the more I miss it. I miss the work itself, but I really miss interacting with my co-workers, our readers and those in the community who have become my friends over the years.

I'm about halfway through my leave now, and I know the upcoming weeks will fly by. While I will be sad not to have as much time with the boys, I am so glad that I have a job to which I can look forward to returning.

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