Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School Day

I am now the proud mama of a preschooler. Yesterday was our first day and he was so excited. I, on the other hand, was glad for the dark glasses that hid my tearful eyes. Watching him in the rear view mirror, sitting in his car seat, sucking his two fingers - he just seemed so small and much more toddler than little boy. I found myself overcome with the desire to keep him with me, I was half considering turning the car around and bringing him back home. But we made it to the school and he was thrilled to wear his back pack into his class. We found his cubby and hung his back pack. We put on his name tag and helped him wash his hands and then said "Good bye" and told him we'd be back soon. He barely glanced at us - "Bye Mommy!" and went right to playing. No tears, no fears. Just excitement. I hope we can start every school day this way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

52 Days to go...

I am trying not to be a complete nut job but let's face it - I am. I have an app on my phone that "oh so helpfully" tells me how many days are left until my due date. The kicker is that I see that number and then have to subtract seven because my c-section is actually scheduled the week before we are due. EEEEEK! Who went and made that crazy decision? (okay, it was me). So today after work I am going to Babies R Us and however many other places to load up on whatever baby supplies we are still in need of. Thankfully, we still have a lot from the tot so we only need some odds and ends. I am nervous to see the total bill once all is said and done, but I know we will be glad to have everything we need.

Lest you think I am an overly prepared mama, I should confess that there is still a cardboard box full of bottles and nipples just waiting to be sterilized on my counter (where it has sat for more than a week) and I have yet to dig out the baby carrier or car seat base from the black hole that is our basement storage. I am assuming that it will happen at some point if we ever hope to take this baby home with us, so am in no rush currently.

Yesterday, I had a seriously uncomfortable pain in the top of my belly. It was a burning, pulling sensation. I was convinced I had a hernia and was afraid to move or do much of anything all day. Thankfully, I had a check-up yesterday afternoon and was able to tell my OB about it. She assured me that I did not have a hernia but explained that it was a nerve that was being aggravated by pregnancy. Guess how they treat it? They don't! She suggested cortisone cream or ice but sounded doubtful that either was very effective. All in all, a disappointing check up. But the baby is still good and that's the important thing.

In other news, the tot starts preschool next week! Pardon me while I sob uncontrollably for a minute. Okay, better now. When I first registered him for preschool, we weren't even expecting and my thought was that two hours, twice weekly seemed like a great way for him to get some socialization with other kids and make friends. That was when it was months away and a completely abstract concept. Now it's next week and I am over come with "No! Not mah babeeeeee!!!" and an urge to grab him and hold him forever. He is, of course, ridiculously excited to go to school and wear his new back pack. He wants to meet his teacher and see his classroom and play with the other kids. So, because of this, I am going to sit on my ever growing anxiety and sadness and say "YAY!" as much as possible so as not to put a damper on his experience. The things we do for these kids, right?!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Go To Sleep

When I named this blog, I had no idea how often it would come back up in my life. It seems that part of child raising is continuing to struggle with getting your child enough sleep. Now that we are big enough for a bed, apparently we are also big enough to get out of it and make a ruckus.

Every nap time and every bedtime starts out with getting rocked to music, getting in to bed, snuggling up and looking at the stars on the ceiling. By the time I get down the stairs and turn the monitor on, the chatter has started. Then, I hear the clicking start - which is the turning on and off of the nightlight. I can hear the moving around and the creak of the rocking chair.

After about forty-five minutes of this, I go upstairs and say very firmly (ala Samuel L. Jackson) "It's bedtime! Go to sleep, NOW!" and remove whatever offending stimulus (typically books) that has been dragged into his bed. Somehow, at least so far, within about 3 minutes of this visit, he rolls over and goes to sleep. For that time and that moment - the battle is won. Only to resume again the next afternoon and evening. My hope is that at some point, he will get that he eventually has to go to sleep and start doing it again on his own. The reality is, he may never get to that point and this battle may go on for the next decade or longer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I have been having more anxiety lately about the end of summer. Now that the heat wave has finally broken and the weather is more tolerable, I am reminded that preschool starts in a few short weeks. I find myself feeling an overwhelming desire to squirrel away time for just the tot and me before our lives start to feel too busy. Before Baby Sister arrives and "mommy & Ben time" is hard to come by. But....

It seems that every free afternoon ends up getting something scheduled. It's a train ride with friends, an afternoon kite flying at the park, a morning play date, a trip to the zoo. It feels like every "free" moment ends up becoming filled with something and I am taken by an overwhelming desire to just stop time for a second so I can savor the smell of sunscreen and toddler sweat. The deliciousness of a warm little boy snuggled in my lap for a book. The joy of opening the bedroom door first thing in the morning and being greeted by a huge smile and "Hi there, Mommy!" in a delighted toddler voice.

Very soon, the days will be shorter and the weather will be cooler. And while we will have so many great new experiences - the addition of a new family member, the chance to make new friends at school, the holidays, - I still find myself wishing life came with a pause button.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Longest Morning

You know what you get when you eat cookies before your glucose test? An invitation to take another one! Another, longer, fasting version with many more blood draws. Joy, joy! I had to have the husband stay home with the tot for this one so I got up especially early in order to be at the hospital right when the lab opened. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the 3 hr glucose test doesn't actually start until after your initial blood draw comes back from the lab. So despite arriving at 7am rearing to go, my actual test didn't begin until almost 8am. At which point, I had to chug down the same sugary orange drink and then wait an hour to have my blood drawn...again.

Did I mention this was a fasting test? So I had not eaten anything since 8pm the night before. For some odd reason, where I was sitting just happened to be the area where every nurse, orderly and visitor had to walk through with their boxes of donuts and trays of cookies for patients and staff. I tried to go to the gift shop and browse at one point, only to find that the register for the gift area was closed and if I wanted to buy anything, I had to pay for it in the cafe. You know, right next to the freezer case filled with pudding parfaits and brownies? By hour three, I was starting to hallucinate, I actually got to the point where I would see women carrying in bags that I could swear held birthday cake and cookies but ended up only being clothes on a second inspection. (I can't imagine what these women must have been thinking walking by the wild-eyed, enormously pregnant lady who was drooling at them).

Finally at 11, I had bruises in both arms and was done with the last blood draw. I was also famished and wishing fervently that I had thought to bring a snack in the car. I did the next best thing and hightailed it to the nearest drive-thru to pick up lunch. I rarely eat fast food, but that didn't stop me from finishing most of my fries before I got in the door.

Thankfully, I passed the test with no trouble at all. Which means I can go back to my nightly habit of double-stuffed Oreos and milk. It also means that I will be mentioning all of this torture and suffering to my daughter when she is at the "I hate you" stage of adolescence and complaining about how I never do anything for her.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago - 
I lived in Orlando and had just finished graduate school. I was working only part-time counseling HIV patients and their families. I had terrible debt from school and had never owned my own home. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my degree. I had never been out of the country. I had never owned a new car. I was not a mother. I did not attend church. I was focused on my career. I had only had one "serious" relationship that started and ended with lots of drama and tears. I didn't understand how to be a partner or a wife. 

Nine years ago - 
He got down on one knee and he said "I have no idea what the future holds. I don't know where we will live or what we will be doing. All I know is I want to be with you. Will you marry me?" I have no idea why, but every day I am so glad he did. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cool and Cloudy

Finally, the heat wave has broken here. Ironically as we had planned to go to the pool this weekend and it looks like it will only be a high of 81. Thankfully most of the week is in the upper 70s and low 80s. However, due to a very late bedtime for myself and a very early wake-up for the tot, my motivation to do cool fun things is nil.

I stayed up way too late watching some show about aliens taking over the world and helping my husband put together folders for a presentation he is giving today. I remember reading in sleep books when we were going through many restless nights with the tot that after a certain point of tiredness, you actually become OVER tired and make cortisol which makes it hard to sleep. I think that was my problem last night as I felt like I had a horrible case of the fidgets once I finally went to bed. I wonder if that's what keeps the toddler getting out of bed playing with his turtle night light well after he as been tucked in. In any case, he also has his father's early riser instincts and gets up by about 6:00 or 6:30 no matter what time he goes to bed. While I am grateful for this on some level as I know it will make getting ready for school easier in a few weeks, I am also wishing that he could discern the difference between Summer and Fall and sleep a little later for now.

So, despite the beautiful, bearable, PERFECT weather for walking and running and playing outside, we will likely be inside as I try to plod through the morning and keep my eyes open.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Inside the Mouth of the Gift Horse

This weekend was a weekend away for the husband and myself. We were celebrating our last "couples weekend" before the arrival of our next spawn as well as our upcoming wedding anniversary and my upcoming birthday. It seemed like a lot of good reasons to celebrate. So we packed a bag and went to the city for a romantic evening. My mother bought us tickets to a favorite musical and offered to stay with the tot overnight. I want to say that I was eternally grateful and that I spent the days and weeks prior to the trip in excitement and anticipation, but I didn't and I wasn't.

For starters, I have a hard time with receiving extravagant gifts with grace. I have no good explanation for this except that I always worry that the other person is expecting something in return from me. Either a like-minded gift down the road or some other feeling of indebtedness for the over-the-top gesture. Unfortunately, I think I have developed this anxiety from learning experience with various friends and family members. Oddly, I enjoy giving gifts and I try to never expect anything in return for what I give whether it's a frozen meal for a friend who had a baby or a new IPod for the husband. It irks me to hear people complain about the "ungratefulness" of others when they have been given a gift. I think because I don't believe someone should ever do anything for someone else with the expectation of something in return. In my mind, gifts should be heartfelt and not a quid pro quo arrangement. Ironically, because of that anxiety, I am sure I end up looking very ungrateful more often than not.

In any case, my other major concern was leaving my tot in the care of someone else. My mother, in particular. Not that she is a neglectful caretaker or an abusive person by any stretch. I think the problem comes in that she is MY mother and therefore has a tendency to disregard most instructions I give her because she is MY parent and therefore doesn't need me to instruct her on child care. Unfortunately, she and I have very different parenting styles, some of which is values based and some is because of generational factors. I also don't have the standard "She raised me so she can take care of him" to fall back on because she really didn't raise me. I lived with my dad most of my life and that may be another reason why she and I are on such different pages as parents. (There is also always the controlling part of me that absolutely hates to relinquish care of my child to anyone else because, let's face it - no one will do the job like I do!)

In the past, I have left long instructions for how to take care of Ben - what he eats, what his schedule is, etc. which my mother has mocked and mostly disregarded. This time, I tried to leave a very general list of what his schedule was and what he would typically eat for dinner and left it at that. All the way up to the trip, I agonized. I worried about her not putting him to bed on time. I worried about her getting him up too early. I fretted that she would take him out to play without sunscreen. I agonized that she would give him something with peanuts in it ( a huge no no in my peanut-allergic son!). Or that she would let him watch television that was too mature for him. Or that he would learn some of her more "colorful" vocabulary just in time for preschool to start!

In spite of all this, I kissed my son goodbye and drove off with my husband for a "fun weekend". And guess what? It was fun! We got to the city, stayed in a fancy hotel, did some shopping, had a romantic dinner and saw a great show. We slept later this morning (though not much - old habits are tough to break) and had a delicious breakfast. Best of all, we got to talk to each other without interruptions or distractions which is always my favorite part of any date. We still came home early because we missed our tot and wanted to see him before his nap.

When we got home, I found that many of the things I worried about had happened. He had a diaper mishap that resulted in a VERY early wake-up, he had played outside without sunscreen (twice), he hadn't eaten a great dinner or breakfast. But, he was fine. He was in one piece. And, best of all, he had a GREAT time with his grandma. In fact, when we came in to the backyard, I didn't receive the warm welcoming hug I had been hoping for - he started to cry because he didn't want to have to go inside and stop playing with my mom! I was a little bummed to not have gotten a warmer reception but so relieved to see that he had a good time.

The thing is, my mom isn't perfect, but she does her best. She's my mom and I love her. She does many things differently than I would when it comes to Ben. But, she loves Ben and he loves her and the fact that they can play and have such a great time together is a better gift to me than the fancy theater tickets or expensive dinner.