And for once I was SuperMom

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Big Enough?

This might sound like too much information, but bear with me:
When I just went in to the restroom I reached down and realized the drawstring on my pants had worked it's way out of a bow and into a knot. There was a moment of panic while my hands were under my belly and I knew that I could not untie my pants. My pregnant belly is so big that I could not see the knot. Fortunately I was able to get out of my pants, don't worry, I won.

This brought to mind a new TLC reality show, maybe called; Too Pregnant for My Pants or Too Big for Clothes or When Pants Attack. The interviews would go like this:
Pregnant Wife, "I started to panic when I realized I COULD NOT GET MY PANTS OFF!"
Husband, "I found her sitting on the bathroom floor, against the tub, sweating and crying."
Pregnant Wife, "And then, can you believe this? He laughed at me! Can you believe that?"
Husband, shrugs, "I helped you didn't I?"
Yes, wife, we believe you because it's kind of funny. Not kind of funny, but hilarious.

Sigh. I'm so big right now.
Every now and then I see my reflection and think, 'Man, no wonder my back hurts.' Or, 'Oh, that's why the grocery cart guys at the store are so eager to offer me help.'
People keep asking me to post belly pictures. I haven't. Not because I'm embarrassed, but because the second time around the magic is really just gone. Yes, it's miraculous and I'm amazed. Yada yada. But the second time instead of wonderment I feel more like the victim of an odd science experiment. "Whoa, look at how big she's gotten. "Crikey, look at the ankles on that one!"
Actually there's some truth to that, my midwife is sending me in for an extra ultrasound because I am measuring 'large for gestational age.' Even my medical professionals think I'm huge.

I'm 34 weeks, the end is nigh. But not nigh enough. That's still six weeks of backaches, heartburn, and getting stuck in my pants.
Every afternoon during that golden time that Emma naps, those few hours all to myself where I can 'get things done,' I am reduced to 'resting.'
'Getting things done,' for me is not only limited to housework or cooking, but might include painting, blogging, or completing any number of projects I have going on. Some of this is not really difficult, painting and blogging are actually relaxing and usually done while sitting. Buuuuuuuut my huge body in all it's hormonal glory is too tired in the middle of the day to handle even those activities. Either my back hurts so much that I cannot fathom sitting up in one of the wooden chairs that we own or my brain is so foggy I cannot think clearly enough to write. It seems that 'resting' late in pregnancy involves sitting with proper back support, your legs up, and doing nothing. Maybe drinking water. Or sleeping.

I can hear the voices of older ladies in the crowd, saying, 'Oh stop, just enjoy it, put your feet up and relax.' I agree with you, I do. But every day gets old, and really it's more that I don't have a choice in the matter. If I try to do anything I end up losing an hour just staring. I will sit there in front of my computer screen and eventually realize I have spent twenty minutes staring at Facebook and have not scrolled down or read anything.

Oh well, in six weeks or less this baby will come out, my internal organs will return to their proper place, I will no longer get stuck in my pants. And the naps will be, well, more spontaneous.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good Advice

Last Thursday I put Emma to bed and got all ready to waddle about the house finishing chores and 'arting' it up. I felt fairly good so I bustled right on through her nap, when she woke up I strapped her in her high chair and gave her a snack. I sat with her for a moment and then heaved myself out of the chair I was greeted with a contraction so hard that I couldn't breathe and pain in lower pelvis that was so bad I had to hold onto something. I breathed through it and relaxed and started on my way only to have my body repeat that process over and over again. I gave up and sat down. When Scott came home and asked me what was wrong when I described what was happening I started crying.
He handed me his phone with his mother's phone highlighted I called her (she's a nurse midwife) and through the conversation was re-assured that it probably wasn't pre-term labor but I should call my midwife just in case.
So I called my midwife.
She told me to sit down, drink two large glasses of water, take a warm bath, and then lie down. If this didn't help within a few hours to call her back. I did exactly that. By the time I was through the glasses of water the contractions had slowed, and I felt a lot better,
“She told me to take a bath, so I guess I'd better,” I said to Scott.
“Sounds like good advice.”
So I took a bath, which completely abated the contractions, and then I went to bed. As I was soaking in the bath it occurred to me what good advice this was.
For almost any situation.
Having a ridiculous fight with your husband? Go sit down, drink two glasses of water, take a warm bath and then go lie down. By the time you're done with all this you will have better perspective, you'll be calmed down, and might be able to say,
“Honey I really appreciate it when you take the trash out,” and then just letting him do it instead of screaming at him when he doesn't do it.

Get a frustrating email? Go sit down, drink two glasses of water, take a warm bath, and then lie down. Half way through the bath you have calmed down, and by lying down you'll have formulated a good response.

Your child does something that makes you angry? Go sit down, drink two glasses of water, take a warm bath, and then lie down. Try being angry while in a bath, just try it, I dare you.

You have a headache? Go sit down, drink two glasses of water, take a warm bath, and then lie down. The water will re-hydrate you, the bath will relax your muscles, and lying down will relax you.

Try it, you just might feel better.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is My Child Crazy?

“Swiper, No Swiping,” the three year old boy sang and he spun in circles.
“Unh-Uh,” my daughter groaned and shied away from his display, she ran down the play structure toward me, “the little boy,” she said. I re-directed her towards another part of the structure. Thankfully the boy continued to spin in circles unaware that my child was reacting to him like he was a complete freak. At first I thought that her reaction was warranted, it is quite odd to see someone behave that way, but after a moment I realized, wait, child, you do that all the time. Often whilst calling yourself a princess, wearing a tutu, and waving a wand. Girl, you kinda take that to the next level.
Taking care of a toddler is kind of like being locked up with a small individual who exhibits several different psychiatric disorders.
If I regularly donned a tutu, placed a crown on my head, grabbed a wand, twirled in circles, while calling myself a 'princess' I would be diagnosed with schizophrenia, clustered with delusions of grandeur, and put on medication. Or committed.

Here's a conversation I have daily:
“I want crackers!”
“Do you want crackers?”
“No, I don't want crackers!” Runs away from me screaming.
“You don't want crackers?”
“I want crackers!”
“Can you ask nicely for the crackers?”
“Nooooo!” Dissolves into tears.
If I did this? Borderline Personality Disorder.

Regularly witnessed among groups of toddlers:
“Vrooom, Vroom, Vroom!” Child happily pushes train on tracks.
“MY TRAIN!” New child enters the scene and rips train out of the first child's hands.
“Noooo!” First child dives after second child and a tug of war ensues.
First child: Antisocial Personality Disorder
Second child: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

This morning: wouldn't sit in my lap or get near me.
This afternoon: introduces me to a stranger,
“This is my Mommy, I love her so much!”
I think that's in keeping with a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis.

Thankfully most toddlers will learn that spinning in circles and singing is socially awkward and that they should stop. They will learn to express clearly what they want, and eventually have the ability to get their own crackers. Eventually they will learn to share their toys. And hopefully she will be able to express her feelings towards me in a more stable manner; I might have to until after puberty for that one.
And God help me while I try to teach her all those things.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So far in Emma's little life I haven't wished that revengeful wish that 'she would get a child just like her.’ She’s been a pretty easy child with only the normal bumps and tears. I also think it’s close to immature for an adult to wish that on a child. I did however find myself wishing the other that when she is as heavy with child as I am now that there will something in her life that makes her get up and move around as much as she seems to require of me.
“Mommy, you want to jump with me?” No, honey, I really don’t.
“Can you show me how high you can jump?”
“Yeah!” She leaps around in sloppy circles, tantrum averted.

I think the thing about it that bothers me the most is the two year old lack of impulse control combined with the two minute attention span. She sees something or thinks of something and she wants it.
“I want my pink dress,” she blurts.
“Can you ask nicely?”
“Can you say, ‘Can I have my pink dress please?’” Okay, by the time I move this whole situation off the couch or chair I just plumped myself in and waddle over to her closet to get the pink dress, that I hid while she was potty training because she kept peeing in it, and waddle back in to the living room clutching the pink frothy tutu concoction in my hand she will have changed her mind.
“Can I have my pink dress, please?” Now, I’m sunk. Waddle, bend, strain, pink frilly tutu in hand…
“No!” She screams, runs across the living room and buries her head in the couch, “I don’t want it!”
What the what? So I waddle away deciding that maybe I should keep it hidden because apparently it’s more than she can handle right now.
“No! I want my pink dress!” Another wail. I keep walking. I’m sticking to it, no pink dress.

This dance is repeated throughout the day. I ignore about half the requests she makes, I just ride them out, because in a minute she is going to want something else.
Earlier today I was seated on the couch and Emma dropped the blanket she was playing with on the ground,
“Can I have my blanket?” She asks me. I sat for a moment and debated on whether or not it would take her more effort to get the blanket or me. I succumbed and heaved myself up, leaned over, feeling the hard pressure of the baby, and got it for her.
Good thing they're cute, right?

Monday, March 5, 2012

What to Expect

“See right there, that's her ear,” the ultrasound tech pointed out another feature of our little one on the way.
“Oh, I see is that her shoulder?” I asked as she moved the wand over the landscape of my growing belly.
“Yep, we can do the 3D if you're interested.”
Um, interested? Yes. We didn't have the 3D option with our ultrasounds in Kenya, so this was a true treat.
As she clicked away and this little girl's face and hands appeared on the screen tears pricked at the corners of my eyes. I really wish that Emma hadn't fallen sick today so Scott could be here to see this.
Later that day when we showed Emma the in utero snapshots she said,
“Oh, that's me.”
“No that's your little sister we said pointing to my belly.
“No, that's me when I'm crying,' she asserted. The baby's hands were up around her face so I think that's where the 'crying' statement came from. I hoped that Emma's mistaking the baby for herself was a sign of the strong sisterly bond that would grow between them.
Thirty years ago they didn't have this technology. You couldn't know what your baby was, the growing person in your belly was still abstract. In so many places in the world pregnancy is still treated with such secrecy and much hush hush, because babies don't make it all the time. We are so fortunate that we can have the emotional luxury of falling in love with our children before they are born.
When Scott first handed me Emma in the hospital room I didn't feel much. I was coming out of anesthesia; emotional numbness is probably an expectation. If I think back on it now I also didn't know what to expect. How was this little person going to change my life? Who was she going to be? Will I love her? How will that compare to love that I felt before?
Now I know what do expect. I know the first six weeks will be hard, dark, and exhausting. But this time I know I won't break her. I know that eventually she will smile. I know that eventually she will do things that will amaze me.
I know what I don't know this time. I have no idea how to wrangle a baby and a toddler. Do you bathe them at the same time? What do you do when both are crying? Do help the toddler first because she might remember or do you help the baby first because you're building trust that the world is a safe place? I can only imagine what having two crying children will do to my nerves, because I know what one already does.
Every time I look at those ultrasound pictures I feel those little tears prick up again. Those photos make this so much more real. Every now and then I feel a tiny movement inside and wonder how tiny that little hand must be. It makes me wish I enjoyed pregnancy more. Instead of feeling all the aches and pains feeling this little miracle.
This time I know what to expect: I know that she will run away with my heart.