Thursday, May 25, 2017

ready and not.

FYI...public opinion on my Impending Delivery Status has officially shifted from, "Oh, only a few more weeks to go? Wow, you look great!" to, "Oh, next week. [Knowing nod.] Mm-hmm. Yep!" - often accompanied by a smirk that says I don't know, lady...I bet he'll be here before that

In other words, yeah, I look ready.

(Here's me at 37 weeks, 2 days with Rowan...I guess pretty much the same?)

And I definitely feel ready. I am so tired so much of the time, needing to summon every ounce of energy for every necessary task. But otherwise - are we really ready? Like, ready to become a family of four, ready to handle a newborn, house ready, plans ready? Totally! 

...Aaaand also not at all. I've had evolving to-do lists floating around for weeks now - one for me, one for J.J. - and they're sort of complete. The baby clothes have been located and washed. The diaper trash cans are now de-spidered from their sojourn in the crawl space, along with the bouncy seat and the Rock 'N' Play. The car seat bases are installed in both of our cars. The breast pump was located and sanitized (Rowan peered closely at it and declared, "I loved ONLY that when I was a baby." Truth.). Rowan's dance recital and preschool graduation (from the three-year-old class, not from preschool entirely) are over, so I won't miss those if I go into labor. I haven't technically packed a hospital bag, but there's a bag on the rocking chair with some stuff piled next to it (I cannot for the life of me remember what to bring to the hospital, other than my toothbrush, contact solution, and a phone charger).

But, god, the things that aren't ready? Flerrrrggghh. The nursery, which I know doesn't need to be finished but will take so. much. longer with a baby around. The non-baby stuff on my to-do list, like Etsy orders and calling the electrician and getting an oil change. The pile of All The Things on our entryway table, which teeters and leans and intermittently ejects things like Fun Run medals and incomplete health insurance forms. A birth plan, considering I'm still only like 94% sure that a c-section is the way to go. And, of course, a name. A MOTHERLOVING NAME.

I guess I've been more focused on getting Rowan ready than myself, honestly. My baby girl, who's been asking to be a big sister since before she was two, is as ready as she can possibly be, given that she has absolutely no idea how her life is about to shift. I mean:

:: She helped (...I use that term loosely) fold the baby's clothes and wipe down all of her old baby gear.

:: She's made seven thousand pictures and paintings "to hang up in my baby's room."

:: She requested that we turn her car seat around and make room for the baby seat months ago. We finally did it last weekend, and every car ride is a full-on adventure now. The main reason we hadn't turn her forward-facing yet was laziness, and I'm kind of glad we waited. Beyond the safety benefits of extended rear-facing, it's hilarious to hear her revelations about facing forwards now. I started recording her on my phone partway through our first drive because I was laughing so hard (I'll put a little transcript at the end of this post...I was dying).

:: She and I wrote a list of things she and Gramma are supposed to accomplish while J.J. and the baby and I are at the hospital. She wants to make and bring cupcakes for the baby, since it will be his birthday (awww). When I explained that he wouldn't be able to actually eat the cupcakes, Rowan shrugged: "Well, we'll just make the cupcakes white and the frosting white so it looks like milk!" Lol. Problem solved. She also remembers from my stories about when she was born that Gramma made our couch into a bed for me after my c-section and brought over delicious fresh fruit, so she wants to do that again; she wants to tie balloons to our front porch, just like when she was born; and she wants to bring the baby his new teddy bear.

:: Speaking of the baby's teddy bear - Rowan helped me pick out a lovey for him that we could use in his weekly pictures, just like we did with Mosby when Rowan was a baby.

{The day she came home from the hospital}

{One year old}

Rowan took the task very seriously, although I did have to narrow down the field for her after she discovered a talking, light-up, life-size Doc McStuffins doll and exclaimed, "I think the baby would LOVE this!" Yeah, no. I found two cute owls and she found a bear, and I let her choose from the three. I was hoping she would choose one of the owls (they were really cute), but she went with the bear...and was pretty proud of her choice:

:: He's always on her mind, as evidenced by the little things she does. For example, my mother-in-law made a cute door latch-catcher for the nursery out of the fabric we're using for the crib skirt and window treatments. Our bedroom doors are annoyingly loud and don't always stay closed well, so the latch-catchers have been extremely helpful. I bought one for the nursery from Etsy before Rowan was born, and my mother-in-law made one for Rowan's big kid room. The old one from her nursery was hanging out somewhere - maybe on top of the nursery dresser? - until I realized one day that someone had hung it on the master bedroom door:

When I asked around, Rowan said she did it, "because that's where the baby sleeps when he's first born, so you need to be quiet with the door." Also, she was coloring the other day and made a "book" for the baby out of paper. Then she cheerfully told me, "I'm going to go put this in the baby's room!" and disappeared up the stairs. I didn't really think about it again until I went into the nursery a few days later and discovered that she'd put her "book" on the baby's bookshelf. Love.

{It's hiding right there in front of Goodnight Moon, on the bottom shelf}

:: She wanted to hang up a calendar like the Countdown to Florida one that we made. I thought it was a great idea, since she was getting a little twitchy post-Florida, not having any real sense of how much time was left before the baby would be here. Calendars are so not developmentally appropriate for every three-year-old, but they really jive with the way Rowan operates, so I was happy to comply. She, of course, insisted that my printer-paper-and-washable-marker calendar was insufficient and that we invest in one just like her teacher uses at school...so I ordered one off Amazon...which is how we accidentally ended up with a GIANT calendar. Whatever.

:: The last major way we've helped Rowan prepare for her baby brother's arrival is just talking. I don't like to bring it up constantly because I don't want to overdo it, but she brings it up all the time. Every time she does something helpful, like bringing her dishes to the sink or holding my hand in the parking lot, she asks, "Was that a big sister thing to do?!" I always say yes, even though she inevitably follows up with, "Why?" And then I'm forced to explain how, say, putting the caps back on her markers is somehow a "big sister thing to do." (FYI, the answer in that scenario is, "So the baby won't swallow the caps if they roll onto the floor.") She loves to talk to my belly and tell the baby all the things he won't be able to do until he's a big kid like her (eat certain foods, sleep over at Gramma's, pump on the swing, etc.). She makes me tell her the story of when she was "very first born" every night, which I think is one way she's trying to wrap her head around what's going to happen when her brother is very first born. 

And, finally, while 98% of Rowan's baby-related talk is gushing with love and excitement, I wanted to make space for other feelings, too. I'm certainly experiencing feelings besides just love and excitement, so I've explained more than a few times that when mommies are pregnant and when the baby first comes out, mommies' bodies have a lot of hormones - which I described as "chemicals that are helpful for growing and healing, but that can make people have really big feelings." (It's...possible...I most recently had the hormone conversation with her over breakfast this morning, after I tearfully apologized for being a raging bitch cranky with her about her waffle.) We've talked about the fact that she might have lots of big feelings when her baby comes home, too - excited, happy, nervous, angry, sad, loving, annoyed, etc. And I asked Rowan one night when we were snuggling at bedtime if she had any worries about having a baby brother. She surprised me by answering yes immediately, her eyes filling up with tears: "What if the baby spits up on my rug?" she sobbed. Her other big concern is that the baby will chew on her books or her stuffed friends. We talk, and talk, and talk some more, and hopefully she'll feel safe to keep talking as we navigate big sisterhood.


So, yeah. We're ready. And we're not. But, as one of my friends from my new mom group (guess we're not "new moms" now, four years later...) reminded me the other day, isn't that exactly how it feels a week before you have a baby?

I'm going with yes.

{Ready to not have a built-in cupholder for Rowan,
who handed this to me and said, "Here, Baby. Can
you hold this on Mommy's belly for me?"}

**Oh - here's the transcript I promised from Rowan's first forward-facing car ride. Her words have not been altered. She talked the ENTIRE TIME, but I only recorded part of it, and I could not stop laughing. You've never heard anyone as excited as Rowan riding forwards:

"Ha! It's fun to be facing frontwards! Some people might think that I'm a grown-up. Ahh, so that's what I couldn't see when I was facing backwards! I see one cute little doggie and one cute bicycle. Oh, that's a cool slide they've got there! I'll tell the baby when the light is red and when the light is green. And I'll tell you if you forget to tell me, and then I will tell the baby. Hey, this is where you went to celebrate Donald Trumpet! [She meant the spot downtown where she and J.J. dropped me off at the inauguration protest...I died when she said that!] I see a police car! This is as fast as my bike goes down the hill. Now I'll be kind of like a babysitter for our baby [because they'll be alone in the back seat together]. I was just - woohooooo!! Hey, there's some construction over there! Hey, what's happening over there? Hey, I see another police car! Weeeeee! Woohooooo!! Do you see those doggies, Mama? Cute doggies! That car has a paw on it [a dog paw magnet]. And a wiper in the back - that's weird! - and even in the front! Why are there things that look like water on the road? Oh, I know, it's from the construction that they're doing over there from the pipes. Over there - on that crosswalk - there are baaaaad things going on over there [still not sure what she meant by that]. I'm glad we're not over there! And over there is a traffic jam!"

May you take this much joy in your next car ride. :) 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

21 actual reasons I've cried today.

21 Actual Reasons I Have Cried Today:

1. Because it started thundering right after I finally fell asleep in the middle of the night. AGAIN.

2. Because Rowan fell back asleep after the storm with her hands clutched over her ears, which was endearing and precious and adorable.

3. Because, before J.J. and Rowan left to go on a breakfast date together, I had already scrubbed the shower, wiped down the bathroom walls, cleaned the toilet, dusted all three bedrooms, and Swiffered the whole upstairs. By 8:30. On three hours' sleep. Which was not how I needed to be expending my limited energy.

4. Because I was crying about #3, which was a ridiculous thing to cry about.

5. Because around 11:30, I really missed J.J. and Rowan, who were still out having fun together.

6. Because when they got home, Rowan gave me two special "notes" that she had written to me, and they were adorable.

7. Because I woke Rowan up from her nap by snuggling in her bed with her, and she was so little and so big all at the same time, and we don't have very many "snuggle naps" together left before the baby comes.

8. Because I hit a major nesting spurt this weekend, but I'm not attending to any of the right things. Like, the baby clothes are in seventeen different locations, and what did I do with all the baby blankets?, and we still have snow pants lingering in the front closet instead of bathing suits, and I haven't done anything to update the nursery like I wanted to...but, oh yes, those lunch boxes look fucking SPIFFY all lined up in their drawer, right under the freshly-cleaned spice racks. Also, the fronts of my kitchen cabinets have now been thoroughly wiped down. BECAUSE THAT'S ESSENTIAL. (False.)

9. Because Rowan was watching videos on my phone from her dance recital last weekend, and her little face was just bursting with pride.

10. Because the fun henna tattoo I got on my belly a couple weeks ago (yes, before Beyoncé did it, ugh follower) is fading, revealing new stretch marks that have sprouted in the meantime.

11. Because I took the pretty knobs off the nursery dresser and replaced them with the original ones, and it made me remember when I ordered those pretty knobs for baby Rowan, and when I stabbed myself with the screwdriver while I was installing them, and oh my god that was so long ago but that was also just yesterday and CRY CRY CRY.

12. Because I read through the post I linked in #11 about impaling myself with a screwdriver, and I cannot - CANNOT - figure out what angle the pictures of the upstairs doors was taken from. Every time I think I understand, I realize that I must be wrong, because the hall closet doors aren't pictured. WHICH DOORS ARE THOSE? WHERE IS THE HALL CLOSET? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?

13. Because I wanted to go out to dinner with J.J. and his mom and Rowie, but I finally had a burst of non-misguided nesting, which basically meant I was schlepping stuff from the second floor down to the basement and back up to the kitchen and out to the car and up and down the stairs a few thousand more times, which resulted in one long continuous Braxton-Hicks contraction, which rendered me motionless on the couch.

14. Because I snapped at Rowan when she was stalling during bedtime, which made her cry, but I yelled anyway because my belly was still hurting so badly from overdoing it today.

15. Because then I laid with her in her bed before she went to sleep, and she made me tell her the story I tell her every single night - "about when I was a baby and I first came out" - and she threw her arm around my neck and sighed, "I love you. Even more than you love me."

16. Because I remembered that this is Rowan's last week of preschool with her immensely beloved teacher, and I'm just so sad that she has to move on from that relationship. ...And that I can't drop her off at school two mornings a week for the next three loooong months.

17. Because I told J.J. he could have the last of the rice last night, neglecting the fact that I had leftover Thai food for tonight that I fully intended to eat with ONLY THAT RICE. So I ate cereal. And cried.

18. Because I was just folding laundry and the floor kept squeaking in the same place every time I stepped on it and it was fucking annoying.

19. Because I should be [doing bills, writing the article I meant to finish last week, sorting out a rental car payment dispute, scheduling an oil change, catching up on other blog posts I've been trying to write, working on the sudden flood of Etsy orders that just came in which is awesome but oh shit], and instead, I'm...crying.

20. Because, oh god, is this what postpartum is going to be like again? Allllll the unnecessary crying? Starting next Friday, which is horrifyingly close but also like seven thousand days from now?

21. Because nine months pregnant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

nocturnal mission impossible.

Somehow I forgot.

I forgot that, as a parent, you are not to even think, let alone speak, about the times when sleep is going well. You shall be punished. Swiftly. Harshly.

Similarly, it is not advised to ever wonder, to yourself or aloud, "how bad" it could be when you have two kids waking you up at night instead of just one.

The following events occurred last night and are true to the best of my recollection, which is spotty at this point, given both my advanced stage of pregnancy and almost complete lack of sleep last night.


SETTING: Midwestern suburban household. Monday night.

7:45 P.M.
I close my three-year-old's bedroom door, calling, "Good night! I love you, sweet girl!" "I love you, too, Mommy!" she responds. 

9:00 P.M.
I bitterly ascend the stairs to remind spawn that she actually does need to sleep at night, not just bounce around and sing (scream) every song she knows. I help her rearrange her stuffed friends, which are scattered all over her bed (she has about thirty [dozen] stuffed friends in her bed). I lay with her for a few minutes, savoring her sweet bath smell and snuggles. I crawl out of bed with massive effort (exhausted + super preggo = hard to get out bed, mentally and physically) when it becomes clear she's not going to fall asleep with me in the bed.

10:15 P.M.
I'm jolted awake from an accidental couch nap to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle upstairs, wipe a nose, bid daughter good night again. Close the windows and turn on the air conditioning, just in case her frequent wakings are due to allergies or being too hot. Go pee, as my body now requires me to do the second it has produced urine molecules. Collapse into my own bed...and lay there, wiiiide awake.

11:15 P.M.
Finally drift back off to sleep.

11:30 P.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, wipe her nose, go pee, collapse back into my own bed.

12:15 A.M.
Have now read everything there is to read on the internet, weathered a round of Internal Fetal Parkour, and am finally drifting back off to sleep.

12:20 A.M.
LEGS. RESTLESS LEGS. LEGS ARE ON FIRE AND MUST BE MOVED CONSTANTLY. Legs are too hot; body is too cold. Legs must be stretched; legs must be shifted. Legs legs legs legs the whole world is now my legs and their incomprehensible demands.

12:45 A.M.
Consider cutting off legs, but finally drift back off to sleep while contemplating which cutting device to use.

12:47 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, wipe her nose, go pee, collapse back into my own bed.

12:52 A.M.
Why isn't there more stuff to read on the internet? Why isn't anyone posting new pictures or updating their statuses? I need something to read! WAKE UP EVERYONE AND UPDATE YOUR INTERNETS!

Finally drift back off to sleep.

2:10 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of my name. "Mama! I can't find Hayjack!" Fucking Hayjack, her little stuffed cat slash extra appendage as of late. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, locate Hayjack literally (LITERALLY) right next to her arm, wipe her nose for good measure, go pee, collapse back into my own bed, actually fall asleep again immediately.

3:15 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of crying. "Mama! I had a bad dream!" Apparently, in her dream, "a boy who wasn't a little baby but wasn't a grown-up" pulled out Hayjack's eye and was tugging on a thread from Hayjack, unraveling him (a frequent nightmare of hers). Comfort daughter, tuck her back in, go pee, climb into bed.

3:33 A.M.
Trying to sleep, but unable to due to the sensation of a nearly full-size baby stretching luxuriously in my abdomen, hands on my rectum, head on my cervix, feet under my ribs. Roll over with great effort and grunting and notice flashes of lightning coming from outside. Fuuuuuuck, a thunderstorm? Now? Are you kidding me? Check my weather app, which indicates 0% chance of rain but a 70% chance of thunderstorms. Thunder starts rumbling. Wait for daughter to cry out in fear - she hates thunder these days - but somehow, she's already back asleep after her nightmare, and she stays asleep.

3:47 A.M.
Realize I forgot to tally up how many preschool forms were returned and mark down who still needs to turn one in, which was my job. Remind self of all the scary things the baby will almost definitely be diagnosed with, whether at birth or in two months or in twenty years. Wonder if daughter is still breathing, considering the thunder didn't wake her up. Mull over the seventy-four things I intend to complete before the baby is born, like raise the crib mattress and decide whether we can really handle a second child. Remember how awkward I was the other day with that neighbor I don't really know, and also how awkward I was in every social situation since age two.

4:15 A.M.
Finally drift back off to sleep.

6:26 A.M.
There's the thunder I was waiting for. Daughter wails. Waddle into her bedroom, find her still laying in bed with her hands over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut. Wipe her nose, climb into her bed, and soothe her fears about how the electricity from the lightning can't "electro-cate" us while we're in the house and how we'd be able to float away from the lightning if we ever "lose our gravity."

6:30 A.M.
Alarm goes off in the other room.



And you know what the scary part is? A night like this will seem heavenly and restful during the first couple months postpartum. HAHAHAHAHAHA CRAP WHAT HAVE WE DONE ONLY TWO AND A HALF WEEKS TO GO WHAT HAVE WE DOOOOONNNNNNNNE

Monday, May 8, 2017


No...the baby has not arrived. Just its precursor: the pre-baby, end-of-third-trimester official raging bitchiness.

Trying to escape via land kayak. Best of luck.

Please hold J.J. and Rowan in your thoughts as we navigate these tumultuous times. Recent infractions on their parts have included: putting a dirty glass on the counter instead of in the dishwasher; moving the hand soap to the (clearly wrong) side of the sink; wanting to cuddle with an inflated helium balloon during nap; heating up the worst-smelling sauce EVER on some chicken & quinoa; leaving tiny stupid Shopkins on the polka-dot rug where they blend in and then stab my foot; wanting another Band-Aid for another nonexistent boo-boo; and distributing forms into the wrong tote bags when filling in for me as the parent volunteer at preschool. Doesn't matter which of them committed which crime; my responses were all equally - um - whatever the word is that I'm trying to think of but that won't come because pregnancy brain fog has descended and words are hard now.

Poor, poor souls

I actually had planned to write up a lovely post this lovely afternoon about our lovely babymoon vacation to lovely Naples, a post full of lovely pictures and lovely memories and lovely gratitude. But no. The bitchiness is pouring out. You guys. I'm only 35 weeks along. I could potentially have TWO MONTHS of this left, if I leave my body and the baby to their own devices. Oh, in case you're wondering, in terms of a birth plan? I'm currently vacillating among the following options:

   (1) a planned c-section at 39 weeks (June 2nd)
   (2) a vaginal delivery anytime between now and, you know, June FREAKING 23rd, which would be two weeks past my due date
   (3) a home c-section performed this afternoon by me because screw this
   (4) a spontaneous bellybutton birth

The bellybutton birth is an option I was unaware of until this pregnancy, when my sweet fetus decided to lodge himself firmly against the interior of my belly skin. Rowan was a lot more...internal? I don't know; I just definitely never looked down in horror and wondered if she was going to LITERALLY bust through my bellybutton. I spent last night on my back on the couch with an ice pack over my bellybutton (the special ice pack I got after my boob biopsy, which I also meant to write a post about), trying to convince an unborn child to calm down already and retreat back inside. It sort of worked, or at least I fell asleep after awhile and was no longer aware of the pain.

It's possible I overdid it yesterday, contributing to my intense discomfort all evening. I went for a walk Sunday morning (while J.J. and Rowan were at a 5k Fun Run that was, in part, benefitting my nephew, and so I felt like a guilty crap aunt for not being there, especially when I then felt motivated enough around 11 a.m. to take a walk). The walk felt so good that I ended up jogging about a half mile of it. I do not advise a random jog when you're nearly nine months pregnant and have not jogged in...nearly nine months. Especially when you then have to volunteer at (another) Fun Run until 6 p.m. - AKA, be on your feet and active for the rest of the day. It was not my smartest move, hence the couch and the ice pack and the whining. Oh, and the exhaustion, which led to the bitchiness, which led to the intense guilt, which led to the overcompensating, which was cut short when I couldn't even get my shoes on, which led to the hormonal tears.

(Please feel free to print this post and distribute it as birth control for the masses.)

Anyway. I don't even really have anything of value to say right now, except that I forgot about this stage of pregnancy - the last month, where I'm just. over. it. Props to the designer(s) behind pregnancy for structuring it like this so that by the time labor and delivery roll around, I'll be ready to extract the baby by any means necessary. I'm thrilled that he's been in there cooking long enough that everything should be about ready to go by now - just adding some fat layers to both of us at this point, but the major structures and functions should be in order. We're damn lucky to have gotten to this point. And even though the next stage is the stage I've been dreading...the newborn/postpartum recovery stage, which was my hardest time with Rowan...I just want to not have someone's knee knocking my snacks off my belly shelf from the inside anymore. #rude. Also I want to be able to eat snacks without feeling full after two crackers because my stomach has been relocated to somewhere in my ribs.

It's now three o'clock and I haven't woken Rowan up from her nap yet, which means I just doomed us to a night where she won't go to sleep before ten o'clock, because did you know she's officially not really needing naps anymore? Because the best time to grow out of naps is right before your baby sibling arrives? Hmm, let's see, can I find anything ELSE to complain about before this post ends?!

We're pretty much either in "exchanging flowers
and squeezy hugs" mode or "exchanging hateful
words that we both instantly regret" mode lately.

No. No more complaining. Time to just end it (uh, the post, I mean). Here, have some photos of a baby plotting to escape via bellybutton. The first one was taken in Florida at 32 weeks, 5 days, and I promise I'll share a much happier post about that amazing trip soon. You know...right after this wave of cray-cray passes. So like March of 2018-ish.


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