Saturday, March 30, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seasons of Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Miles, I got a ton of sympathy.  Everyone commented on how hard it was to be pregnant in the summer.  How hot I must be.  How much swelling I must deal with.  As far as they were concerned, being pregnant in the summer had to be the worst luck.

Each time they told me this, I'd just smile and say, "I'd rather be pregnant in the summer.  It seems like winter would be a much worse time to be pregnant."  And they'd smile and nod, all the time believing that I was miserable, but trying to make the best of it.

I was miserable, but not because it was summer.  I was miserable because I was huge, and everything hurt, and I was tired of sharing my body with another human.  Summer actually made it more bearable.

This time around, I will get the joy of experiencing a spring baby.  No worries about the terrible flu going around, or counting the days until she'll be vaccinated against things like whooping cough that can be so prevalent, and devastating to newborns.  Instead, I will be able to take her outside and sit in the sunshine with her while Miles plays.  We will be able to take walks, and play at the park, and spend time in public without worrying every second about whether or not she'll catch something.

However, the flip side of that is that I've been pregnant all winter.  And I've found my instincts were right on - I much prefer pregnancy in the summer.  And of course, I have had the sheer joy of being pregnant during the first winter in ages where it has snowed constantly and spring seems like it will never come.

Everyday, I walk outside and tentatively test the sidewalk with a toe, while holding onto the door.  Is it slick?  Because I have a unique talent for falling even when it's dry, and my center of balance isn't thrown off by a massive belly.  If it is even the least bit icy, it takes me a full two minutes to get down the eight or ten steps outside my front door, as I cling to the handrail.  Miles, meanwhile, is impatient and invincible and hops down the steps two at a time, and then whines because I'm taking too long.  Then, I get to waddle down the drive, start the car, and buckle Miles into his car seat, all while juggling any number of necessary items.

And that's once I've gotten out the door.

Long gone are the days I could wear my warm, adorable wool pea coat   It just won't button anymore.  Now, the only thing that fits is a bulky faux-down coat that's five sizes too big, but barely zips in the middle.  I bought it on clearance because I refused to spend a ton of money on a coat that I'd wear for a few weeks, at most.  So, instead, I bundle into this monstrosity, and a scarf - because this coat doesn't have the collar my normal one does.  And it's not nearly as warm, though it does its job.

Then, there's the anxiety - always worse in the winter, anyway.  Only now, I've added pregnancy hormones to it, and it's outrageous.  Even now, on my Zoloft for almost three months, I have random panic attacks.  And my motivation to get out of my chair sets when the sun does.  I feel a bit like Superman, soaking in my energy and drive from the sun.  The difference is that when the sun is gone, so is everything else.  And my only superpower seems to be getting up the stairs in less than 15 minutes.

So, yeah.  Winter is a sucky time to be pregnant.  I'm ready for spring, and for an outside baby.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Miles Update

I feel like all I've done the past few days is complain about how tired I am.  And how much the weather sucks.  Which is all true.  I don't take back one iota of the complaining.  I am not one of those pregnant ladies who will swear that it's 'magical' while chasing my preschooler.  It's not.  It sucks, and I'm just counting on the fact that this little girl is going to be so freaking adorable and awesome that all of this will be worth it.

In the meantime, I have my Miles, who is becoming more and more amazing as the days go by.  He can now dress himself from totally nude to fully ready for a snowstorm with very little help.  He does require constant persuasion and reminders that yes, he does have to wear pants, but he's male, so I figure that's normal. ;)

He can - and does - play by himself for 30-45 minutes at a time, when he's in the mood.  When he's not, he begins asking for things every 2.5 seconds.  Usually things he knows he can't have, like more television or fruit snacks or candy.  Sometimes, he giggles at his own silliness.  Other times, he throws a tantrum because his mother is completely irrational for not letting him consume pounds of sugar while staring at the tube.  3-year-old logic at it's best.

His speech gets clearer and clearer, and it's obvious that the half-hour a week with a speech therapist is working wonders.  Some of her methods seem so obvious once she suggests them, but I never would have thought of them on my own.  Things like having him clap or tap out the syllables of a word as he says it to help him slow down and articulate.  It's so simple, but the effect it has had is impressive.  Plus, it's cute to watch him pat his belly as he says, ""

He's started singing.  Constantly.  Sometimes, he sings his favorite songs - Wheels on the Bus, I Need a Hero, and the theme song to the the animated Avengers and Iron Man shows he found on Netflix.  Other times, he sings a song of his own, describing everything he's doing, from the interesting to the mundane.  Occasionally, he will dance as he sings, but just as often, he sings quietly to himself as he plays.  Or loudly and suddenly after a long silence in the grocery store.

He plays pretend.  Usually, he is a dog - always Lady from Lady and the Tramp.  (I asked him once, "Not the Tramp?" and he said, "No. Lady.  Lady a good dog.")  Sometimes he's the voice of one of his toys - SpiderMan, an airplane, a train, or a t-rex.  He voices entire conversations between his toys, and sometimes, just with himself.  It's fascinating to watch, but a little unnerving to never know exactly who I'm talking to. :)

He is fascinated with superheroes, and dinosaurs - things that scare him a little.  He loves watching the Avengers, even though "I scare [of] Hulk-Smash".*  His favorite dinosaur is the tyrannosaurus rex, and he will proudly tell you that his teeth are "long like bananas!"  He'll curl up in my lap to watch, occasionally burying his face in me.  Those times, we turn off the television and talk about how Mommy and Daddy will keep him safe.  Five minutes later, he's usually begging for more.

He is incredibly sensitive and empathetic.  When he knows I'm having a rough day, he'll grab my hand and say, "Sit in Mommy's chair and cuddle?"  When he wakes up from nap, and I'm still in bed, trying to wake up, he'll happily sit next to me, holding my hand.  Today, he scratched and rubbed my back, asking if I was okay.  I told him I was fine, just tired, and he cuddled in, rubbing my back for the next 45 minutes while watching Netflix on my phone.

He's beginning to understand that there's a baby coming soon.  He proudly tells anyone who asks that "Baby Saman-tah in Mommy's tummy!"  He loves to look at the 3D sonogram pictures and alternately says, "Aw, she cute," or "Looks like space cadet."  (He's not wrong on either account - those pictures are a little freaky).  He plays with his baby doll, and is obsessed with changing its diaper, announcing every minute or so, "Ooh!  Baby stinky! Shooo-weee!"  Once the baby stops serially crapping its pants, he gives it a binky and shushes it to sleep.  Oh, and he prefers that the baby wear nothing but its diaper.  Clothes are overrated, I guess.

Sure, he throws tantrums, and argues, and often flat-out refuses to acknowledge us when we tell him to do something.  But overall, I am loving this age of independence and discovery that he is experiencing.  It is fun to watch him becoming a little boy, where once there was a helpless baby.  And he gives me confidence that we are doing something right as parents.

I love this kid. <3

*As far as Miles is concerned his name is Hulk-Smash.  Not just Hulk.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6 weeks. . .

Until my scheduled c-section.  Not that I'm counting down or anything.*

Six weeks from today, we will be spending our final day as a family of three.  Six weeks from tomorrow, at this time, I will be snuggling my baby girl.  Six weeks, one day, and two hours from now, we will probably be introducing Miles to his new sister for the first time.

To say I'm excited is an understatement.  But not just because of those newborn snuggles.

The truth is, I am so done being pregnant.  I ache, all.the.time.  I can walk about 50 feet before I get short of breath.  I can't sleep at night because Sam thinks night-time is the perfect time for a dance party.  I have near-constant heartburn, no matter what I eat.  I'm constantly hungry, but can only eat a tiny bit before I'm so full, I feel like I'm going to puke.  Grocery shopping on Monday resulted in a 2.5 hour nap, and I was still exhausted afterward.  I can't take Miles anywhere that requires much effort on my part, because I can't guarantee that I'm capable.

This is so different from my first pregnancy, when I was at the Festival, walking around the entire 16-acre site, and working until 3 days before Miles was born.  Sure, I moved slowly, but I could move.  With this little lady, any time I move, she objects.  Violently.  Miles moved constantly, but it was mostly kicking.  Samantha moves only occasionally, but when she does, she literally shakes my entire body with her flipping, rolling, and stretching.  In fact, I think I scared a newly-pregnant friend recently, as she watched my stomach bounce and wiggle.  She was sitting 3 feet away, and my shirt was covering the belly, but it was still quite evident.  I probably should have been nicer and not told her that this was pretty typical for that time of the evening.  Or that it was fairly mild compared to some nights.  She managed a smile and a laugh, but for just a moment, I'm pretty sure I saw pure terror in her eyes.  Whoops.

But, I digress.

I'm trying to remember that this time is fleeting.  That all of this means I have a strong, healthy baby coming.  That I'm almost at the end.  I'm trying to remember that some moms never make it this far, and many have worries far beyond my petty whining.

Mostly, though, I just count down the hours until I'm done being pregnant.

*43 days.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dear Judgmental Mom,

[This is in response to this blog post, which has shown up in a variety of places recently. If you haven't read it, please go do so, or this won't make any sense.]

Dear Judgmental Mom at the Park,

I see you over there under the tree, staring at me, shaking your head and 'tsk'ing every time I pick up my phone. (Oh, and it's not an iPhone.  I wouldn't own an Apple product.  But that's a rant for another day.)  I can hear the not-so-subtle remarks you're making to your girlfriend over there as you judge me, without knowing what's going on.  So, I'll tell you.

That little girl who is spinning in her beautiful dress?  She's not mine.  I'm watching her for a friend who had a family emergency.  She is a little beauty queen, and I adore that sunshine in her hair.  But, she's spent the entire morning whining for her mom, and my patience has worn a tad thin.  Part of the reason I have my phone out is that I'm waiting for an update from her mama, to make sure everything is okay.  In the meantime, yes, I'm catching up on a variety of other things.

And just because I'm not looking directly at her doesn't mean I don't see her.  I do.  And she's fine, spinning in the sunshine on her own for a moment.

Oh, yes, that is my son shouting, "Mom, watch this!"  I know from three years with him that he's about to do something borderline dangerous that will make my heart leap into my throat.  I also know from experience that he will probably be just fine.  But my anxiety cannot handle watching him leap off of the equipment yet again.  What's that?  You didn't realize I have an anxiety disorder?  Lots of us do, and watching every dangerous thing our kids do only makes it worse.  So, yes, I seem to be ignoring him, but really, I'm trying very hard to sit on my hands and allow him to be the adventurous boy he is.

Now, I'm pushing my baby in the swing, and you are still talking crap about me.  She is giggling and cooing with every push.  Yes, I see her, and hear her, but my phone just beeped, and I think maybe it is my friend, letting me know what's going on.  No.  It's just spam, again.  That's why I look so grumpy.

I have talked to this baby all morning.  We have spoken about the clouds.  We have talked about our God, but how do you know we even believe in a Creator?  For all you know, we are atheists.  We're not, but it's considered bad form to comment on someone's religious beliefs, especially when you have no idea what they are.  And for the record, I love that baby laugh, but for now, I'm just relieved she's not screaming bloody murder again.  Thank God for small miracles.

My eyes are on the prize - I am teaching my children to be independent, self-sufficient humans.  They do not need nor want me to be right.there all the time.  They need to learn to entertain themselves for a few moments at a time, lest I spend the rest of their precious lives dictating what they do and how they do it.  My children are strong, capable little people, and it's partially because I "ignore" them from time to time.  Yes, I'm on my phone, but that doesn't mean I've stopped parenting.  I just choose to parent differently than you do.

I realize that playtime at the park will be over all too soon.  I realize that the spinning dress, and the "Watch me!" and the baby giggles are fleeting.  I also realize that at this moment, I am doing the best I can with what I have.  All of us are.

My children may one day come to a point where they do not talk to me while I'm on my phone, but it won't be because they think it's more important than they are.  It's because they will understand that even Mommy has a life outside of raising them.  They will know that the world continues to turn, even when I'm not fully present in every moment.  And maybe, just maybe, they will be okay.

My children know that I love them.  They see it in the bedtime stories, and the cuddles.  They taste it when I make them a special dinner, just because I know they love it.  They smell it in my perfume, just as I still notice the familar way my mama smells when I hug her.  They hear it when I say I love them, even when they misbehave.  They feel it in the too-long hugs, and the tickle games, and my insistence on good-bye kisses.  I know you cannot see all of this today at the park, but our days are made up of moments of love.

Perhaps you should practice that same love, and stop judging other moms.

I hope that, in the future, you can find self-assurance in your parenting skills without tearing apart others.  Because really?  Your children will see that, too.  And I know you don't want them thinking that's okay.

-Mommy on the Phone-

P.S. Next time, rather than talking to your friend about me, or writing a passive-aggressive blog post, why not come and talk to me.  You have no idea how much I would welcome some adult conversation.  We may even become friends, if you can look past the fact that I check my phone occasionally.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Photo Round-Up

We've been busy, and I've been tired, thus the lack of updates.  I have, however, been taking lots of pictures of our adventures.  Here are some of my favorites. :)

He's such an angel when he's sleeping. :)

Playing trains at WonderScope with his friend Scarlette.

Playing swords with Emmett.

Playing dinosaurs on his awesome set-up from Aunt B & Uncle S.

Burying dinosaurs in dry beans and rice.

Miles-in-a-Box.  I swear he did this to himself. :)

Miles' snow castle, built on the kitchen table, to avoid the cold. :)

Miles the Bandit.

"I eated my snowman." A few minutes later: "I burped! I burped my snowman."

Playing at Toddler Gym.

Playing cars. :)
Love this kid. :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I am a lucky girl.

I got to spend this afternoon chatting with one of my dearest friends.  We talked about life, crafts, the Renaissance Festival, and a little bit of everything else.  She sat on my couch with her crochet, and I sat in my chair, all miserable and pregnant, and we laughed.

Have you ever met someone who just brings light and joy with them wherever they go?  That's Pren.  She is a ball of energy and happiness, and when she's around, I can't help but smile.  Even when she's talking about how much she wants to punch someone in the face, she's talking in such an animated way, that I am entertained and happy to be in her presence.  Plus, she makes the best llama face ever.  Try not laughing at that.  I dare you.

I am blessed to have people like Pren in my life.  If you need a little sunshine, check out her ridiculously adorable blog, the Convivial Crafter.  You may even get to see the scarves she made for Miles and me sometime soon. :)

And Pren, if you're reading this, we definitely need to do this again soon.  Hugs!