35 Weeks Rainbow

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I’m surprising myself with the bump shots this pregnancy. With Potamus I took a few, but it wasn’t my main focus. This time around I’ve managed to take a few more. And with the rainbow backdrop, how could I resist?

35 weeks.

It feels like forever from now.
It feels like it could be tomorrow.
I don’t think I’m prepared.

But, I’m trying to go with all the different feelings I’m feeling in any given moment. Like crying at the Passat commercial featuring a dad with his two sons on a boy adventure day. Today I wore supportive tennis shoes and found that it helped with a great deal of my hip pain, which is both tremendously good, and also embarrassing. I don’t want to wear New Balance tennis shoes with my maternity outfits for the next 5 weeks…

This pregnancy has been a roller coaster. I’m trying to focus on being mindful, now that I’m nearing the end.

2015 In Review

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It’s that time. A zeitgeist of reflection and projection. Looking back: how was 2015 for you? Looking forward: what do you hope for in 2016?

I’m thankful for social media, which pulled up my “best nine” photos on Instagram as a way for me to have a drishti of reflection for the past year. So much has happened. There’s so much still happening. Sometimes reflection and projection is like trying to stop midstream and figure out where exactly we are in this wild uncharted course.

Three dead grandparents. One pregnancy. A few writing submissions. Two publications. A summer spent chasing a toddler through wooded trails on camping trips. A fall spent teaching an exorbitant amount of credits and burning the candle from both ends. A few months of social experiments. Coffee. Wine. Friends. Laughter. Sunshine. Whining. Sleeping. Not sleeping. Writing. Not blogging. Picking blogging up again (if even halfheartedly). Parenting. Driving. Working out.

It’s becoming a list.

It’s because it’s a blur.

2015.

Two thousand fifteen.

I don’t have many feelings attached to the year. I feel sad when I think about my grandma, how many memories she’s missed, we’ve missed, in the almost-year that she’s been gone. I’ve felt settled into myself in a way that I didn’t know was possible, but my forward projecting anxiety is freaking out about the intensity of what’s to come with the birth in 8 weeks (crossing fingers, not sooner).

I think it’s okay for a year to go by with day-to-day feelings, and no lasting impression in the Big Feeling category. I think it’s okay to head into a new year without the Hopeful Anticipation of youth. Tomorrow is another day. It will be a new year. The river will keep rushing us along.

Hope you’re happy and healthy and safe.

4th Birthday Love

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On December 20th, Potamus turned 4. We had celebrated his birthday earlier in the month, but with grandparents and aunties in various locations around the state, really this kid is getting birthday month (um, as it should be? Speaking as another December baby for a minute here…).

Four years. I have so many thoughts about these last four years. I used to tell people that when you move to a new place it takes four years to settle in. I really believe that about places, but I also believe that about parenting. I have felt an amazing connection to motherhood in the past four years, but what I have noticed lately, is my distinct lack of angst about getting him yet another peanut butter cracker/glass of orange juice/etc. What used to feel like having competing Internet Explorer browsers open, now feels a little bit more like a humming program running in the background, while the internet browser is open to whatever tab I want it to be.

I know that in 8 weeks this will change with the birth of my second kid, but it feels like year 4 with little dude is in a really good place.

And look at how sweet he is in that picture? So big. So big that Boof said, “I barely recognize him in those pictures from his first year.” I know. It’s crazy.

Happy 4 Years Buddy. I’ll leave you with this recent quote of his:

“Before you were born, I was just a lady. And you made me a mommy.”

“Yeah! And you made me a [Potamus] and I made daddy a daddy. We all made each other.”

WE ALL MADE EACH OTHER.

Wisdom from a 4 year old.

 

Will it be like this forever?

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The chiropractor has helped with the pain, though it’s November and I’m eating like a pregnant bear and going to bed at 7pm, which is reminiscent of those days I used to be depressed. I’m not (depressed that is), though when I’m thinking of my bed from the moment I wake up until I crawl in at “night” (is 7pm night?), I wonder if I’m not depressed, somewhat.

Yesterday I visited the Urgent Care clinic, after my right ear was so painful that I almost threw up. Turns out I have sinusitis (duh, always this time of year), and because it’s not bad enough yet + I’m pregnant, they prescribed me saline nose spray ($3 at CVS) and Tylenol. Yippee.

I might have gone to the store and bought some hippie essential oils, because fuck it, I can’t just muscle through a sinus infection without a little something, even if it’s just the placebo effect.

So maybe that sinus infection explains the early bedtimes. Or maybe it’s 25 weeks pregnant and it’s dark at 4pm and I’m parenting an almost 4 year old with a strong will like his mama.

All of this complaining to say, I’ve been trying to use the mantra ‘this is my last’ when it comes to this pregnancy. And so far it’s not really working. I’m not appreciating these little moments, full of peeing pants, and carb cravings (yes, I did eat 3 croissants on Friday, why do you ask?), and hips that feel like they’re going to crumble into 1,000 pieces when I walk. I’m just not. And I’m really struggling with that. The comparison.

And I never thought I’d say it, but thank God for Kim Kardashian. Because I still think she looks good even though she’s announced her 52lb weight gain and how she hates feeling pregnant. My last pregnancy I would have despised her for those words, but this time around, I’m taking comfort.

Because I have anxiety, and like to future-think rather than always ruminate in the present moment, I am worried that this is the way it’s going to be forever. I don’t mean forever forever, but in relation to Baby #2. I worry that I will hate breastfeeding from the start, and think ‘if only this were over already,’ like I’m doing with this pregnancy. I worry that I’ll resent the endless diapers and the tantrums of my 4 year old at the same time. It’s those things of even when it was hard the first time around, I had a naivete, and I honestly feel like I did a really great job of living in the moment. Not 100% of the time. But a good 85-90% I’d say, which is pretty dang good for a first time mom.

But I worry about this next time. I know that it’s irrational to think that I won’t love this baby. It’s not even that I’m worried about. It’s that I am putting a pressure on myself to enjoy the moments because they will be my last moments, and it’s hard to fucking enjoy being pregnant in pain even if it will be my last pregnancy. So I worry that will carry forward. Does that make even one bit of sense?

 

Bright, inquisitive, and sometimes hard to understand…

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Yesterday Potamus was a part of an early intervention screening process at school daycare. It’s a part of a grant in the county, and I was happy to take part.

Today, I tried not to panic, when I got a phone call from the screener asking for a callback to discuss his results. She had told me originally that the results were going to be in the mail. Wuht?!

Turns out my kid is bright. Inquisitive. Does well with others. Answers questions with good sentence structure when asked.

And during times of ‘spontaneous language,’ when just observed by her, he has difficulty being understood. This observation is not something out of the blue for us. We’ve noticed. His teachers have noticed. Yes, our kid sometime speaks in a language that sounds like elvish, or Pentecostal tongues.

He’s also the youngest in his class. And when he does speak, he’s expressing complex ideas that, to my untrained child specialist brain, seem far advanced from a 3-almost-4 year old. Like a discussion the other day about how his friends M & J “don’t like things that are different,” when explaining why they “get really angry with me,” because he brings a My Little Pony to school. So while we are exploring the suggestion of, in a few months, having him screened again to see if it’s changed, and I’ve reached out to a speech language pathologist that I know and trust, we also are in the same boat where we feel like our little guy’s brain and mouth are in two developmental spots.

It seems to go in waves. There will be weeks where he’s clear as a bell, and then it seems like he goes through some sort of developmental leap (physical or emotional or even in language learning) where he speaks gibberish and is hard to understand (and is now able to express frustration at us, mostly through deep sighs and body language resembling a teenager), and then one day snaps out of it with an enhanced vocabulary that’s clear as a bell.

Googling hasn’t been helpful, or I’m not using the right search terms.

At any rate, it was nice that there were no big surprises in this screening. Nothing signalling that our parenting gut isn’t right on. And now we get to decide…how much intervention to explore, and how much to wait and see its natural course.

To be honest, I’d rather he see someone to break his picky eating habits…but that’s another entry…

The Second Kid Dilemma

It’s begun.

That dreaded second kid syndrome. You know the one. Where the more kids a family has, the less pictures or mementos are kept around. By the time the third or fourth or fifth kid enters the brood, there’s nary a picture to be found.

We won’t get to that crazy level, because this is the last time I will be pregnant.

But I’ve begun to notice that, despite all of my changing thoughts, little tidbits of things I ‘want to write down,’ I am choosing differently this time. I don’t know if it’s mindfulness, or exhaustion, but the zest for documenting has left, in part.

In the past few weeks I’ve thought about writing on:
-the incredible pain I’m feeling with an out of alignment pelvis (and yay, how good my first chiropractic appointment went in getting me to not walk like a 107 year old)

-the fear of turning my sweetness into an older sibling, and the pressure that goes with that responsibility. I know, both Boof and I were the eldest.

-the ¬†“holy shit we’re doing this again? for real? is it too late to back out now?” panic thoughts that overshadow my motherly imaginations of those sweet snuggle sessions and watching a new person grow into the person they already are. My mind is mostly obsessed with poop. And nursing. And poop. Diapers. Poop. Nursing. Poop. Sleep deprivation. Poop.

-the fear that, as exhausted as I am right now, with 24 teaching credits, a part-time job, 25 weeks pregnant, a 4 year old, etc. etc. etc., that I am already stretched too thin in the love department. I am most afraid of becoming the Cruel Mother, rather than staying the 95% empathetic mother. I worry that I will hold my almost 4 year old to a higher standard of behavior simply out of sheer exhaustion, leaving him bewildered at the change.

These are just snapshots of things that flutter through my head on my daily commute, while I’m in the shower, or getting up at 3am for my 5th potty break of the night. They are the same fears, only modified, that I had while pregnant with Potamus. And my higher self knows that¬†all will be okay. But I also know, that I have enjoyed looking back. Seeing a fossil record of those fears, and while I’m zenfully in the moment of anxiety (is that an oxymoron?), I also know, that in 6 months, or 6 years, I won’t remember these little tidbits if I don’t write them down. Like the funny conversations between a mother and her child on the commute home. It quickly evaporates if not set in stone.

I don’t hope to capture all of the moments. But some. So the record isn’t Potamus and then nothing. But I’m also tired. And trying to form cohesive sentences only adds to my exhaustion.

So tell me, mothers of multiples…how do you handle the inequity of time spent worrying/writing/thinking/loving that first kid, and try to create balance with the other one, two, or five who come along behind?

This is how Potamus envisions his new baby brother. <3

This is how Potamus envisions his new baby brother. <3

21 Week Side by Side

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So much about this pregnancy has been completely different than the last go-round. Perhaps it’s age, or perhaps it’s because I’m carrying a distinctly unique human being in my belly region. How silly of me to think that I would get the two children mixed up. How silly of me to think I needed a girl to draw the distinction. How silly of me to think that I would never compare the two.

I’ve felt the movements from week 16, which is much earlier than with Potamus. I hear that second babies are like that. He flips, and twirls, especially at night when I’m trying to get some shuteye. And now I can feel him during the day. When I’m standing in front of my class I feel the little swimmer bouncing off the walls, and I smile. This little fish is my constant companion, and a little light in an otherwise hard season of life.

Cheers to halfway through. Cheers to my last pregnancy. Gonna try and soak every minute up. Even the achy hips and constant peeing. Because I know this is it. The final lap.