Pregnancy Comparisons

Both of my pregnancies have been conceived after a grandparent dies. For Potamus it was Boof’s grandpa. For this little Whirlygig it was after my grandma. It’s part of the reason I’m hoping for a girl. Then our naming scheme will be right in sync. Also, for someone who didn’t want to have kids, having karmic reincarnation conception stories (not that I believe Potamus is Boof’s grandpa, or this Whirlygig is my grandma), is pretty fucking cool.

But let’s talk about what isn’t cool: pregnancy symptoms.

Now maybe it’s because I had just started a new job as a crisis counselor the day I found out I was pregnant the last go round, but with Potamus I had zero symptoms. Besides gaining weight, craving pizza and Dairy Queen Blizzards, one week of heartburn, and some low back pain toward the end of pregnancy. I’d say those “didn’t count,” because A) I already had low back pain in life, B) I already eat a lot of pizza/Dairy Queen Blizzards, C) weight gain because it was a fucking baby inside me.

This time?

Oh golly.

While I’m not to Princess Kate’s level of nausea, let me say, the hours of 3-5pm are not that great. It’s not like I’m vomiting, but it’s more like the Spirit of Nausea Past. It’s haunting. Not like the day you’re actively hungover, but the next day, when you can still remember being hungover and the thought of alcohol wants to make you yak? It’s like that.

Even writing the word yak makes me want to yak.

I’m sensitive to smells. To a ridiculous degree. If there’s a missing person in the area, give me a sock, because I could find them. I’m not kidding. I can’t take out the garbage. I can’t be around onions or spicy foods. My own sweat makes me gag and I’m wearing deodorant. I don’t get it.

Zits. Yay. It’s like karma. I was the teen who went through the awkward years without any zits. Well, maybe a few, but definitely not the recurrent theme going on on my chin right now.

Lack of appetite. I’m forcing myself to eat a wide variety of things, even when I’m not hungry. I mill around the kitchen but nothing sounds good. This is not usual for me.

Lastly, the intense mood swings that have changed both my emotional outbursts and the way I see myself. I normally don’t have any body image issues, but until today I have felt like a fat bloaty cow and wish I could just wear sweatpants and a baggy shirt for the next 10 months. Surprisingly, today I feel a bit like a sex goddess, so maybe that’s the after effects of my water aerobics class last night. Tone the abs that will disappear in a few months.

But the mood swings you guys. They’re off the charts. I’m crying at commercials and while reading stories to Potamus. I’m raging at the slightest perception of criticism. I even slammed the phone down and hung up yesterday when my mom said she couldn’t hear me on the other end because of poor reception. We had been talking about hotdog buns. And I got irrationally angry. I sorta feel like I’m walking around without skin on and every nerve is exposed. It’s annoying.

So there ya go. This pregnancy is completely different than the last. I don’t know what to make of that (though googling these symptoms = baby girl, but I’m trying to not get my hopes up). I have the first trimester off, summer vacation, so hopefully by the time I go back to work in the fall (because it’s going to be CRAZY), I’ll have my shit together.

Day 1 of the Hostage Situation

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July 1st.

I am writing this from my kitchen table. The dog is barking. The kid is sticking his head in a box of sand on the floor. I have afternoon nausea. It’s fucking hot. And I’m regretting this whole “let’s save money and not have me drive 1.5 hours a day to get kid to daycare and back everyday. It’ll be fun,” I said. Besides, now with a new baby on the way, we gotta save money for the crazy expensive daycare. And six months of me not working. But I digress.

School ended for me two weeks ago, but with some work from home, and a meeting to go to, I’ve been shlepping Potamus to daycare four days a week. Which has left me time for myself, even if it’s just a haircut, or lunch with my sister-in-law, and some time to write. I’m in a manuscript writing class, so trying to get my words on paper is best while listening to a podcast, instead of listening to a 3 year old declare “look at me mommy, look at me,” as he climbs onto the windowsill.

But it’s now summer break. Day 1. Normally we have Fridays off together, so I figured this would be fine. We’d sleep in. Dink around. Get groceries. Watch a show. Play some games.

Instead it was watching shows and whining. So much whining. Our easygoing grocery shopping took 1.5 hours thanks to a question about every damn thing I put into the cart. And asking why I didn’t put other things into the cart. Seriously. “But why mommmy?” “Because I don’t need soap.” “But why?” “Because we already have enough soap.” “BUT WHY MOMMY?”

The highlight of the day so far was getting my kid to eat foods he normally doesn’t eat for me. English muffin pizza and cherries. It felt like a dissertation victory, which then makes me feel like a fucking idiot who has already lost her standard for self congratulations. Yay my kid ate 8 cherries. Big fucking deal. Last year I managed to teach a heroin addict.

Oh comparisons. My work self. My mom self. My self who wants to just watch the Kardashians uninterupted.

The pregnancy hormones are insane this go-round, and “keeping it together,” looks like sobbing. And yelling.

Why did I want another baby anyway?

My “saving grace,” is going to exhaust me even more I’m afraid. I signed up to counsel from 8-6 on Thursdays through the first week of September. I’m excited because the money, paired with the money saved from daycare, is going to be about five thousand dollars. Not something to scoff at. But working 10 hours in one day counseling students isn’t exactly a break in the way I like breaks…ya know?

I know I’ll get in the groove. Already this afternoon I’ve enjoyed some time weeding the backyard, and reading some stories while he sits on my lap. I am sad for these moments already as I experience them, for this time next year, there will be two grasping at me for everything.

Announcement

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I was two days late and figured Father’s Day was as good of a day as any to take a pregnancy test. If negative, it would be no harm no foul, since we weren’t going to start until July. If positive, it’d be an excuse for why I didn’t get Boof a gift.

I quelled the urge to take the test in the Target bathroom, but instead I recruited my best friend to take me to the store to buy a test.

Positive.

I’m having another baby.

If all goes well, this is my last pregnancy.

So I’m resurrecting the mommy blog to chronicle this journey the second time round. Already I’ll say my experience is vastly different. Symptom free the first time, I’m experiencing 3pm nausea, mood swings that could land me on a Real Housewives drama, and sensitivity to smell, among the most heightened. Seriously, don’t sweat near me. Or fart. Or eat anything with onions. Or pump gas. Or throw away garbage. I will hurl.

I’m off for summer break, which means the first trimester will be spent hanging with Potamus. I’m so early, but have announced it like the giant blabbermouth that I am.

Fun things: my SIL is due 4 months before me, so there’s gonna be cousins close in age. My due date will allow me to take Spring Quarter off (I already have summer off) and that puts me at about 6 months of ‘maternity’ leave!

And isn’t Potamus such a ham? Look at him getting all excited about his new baby sister*

*sex won’t be confirmed until October. BUT I’m hoping for a sister. So I’m putting sister vibes into the Universe. Will you join me?

I wrote a thing! It got published!

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Since quietly moving my blog over to Egypt Titchenal, I have been trying my hand at writing pieces for publication by online magazines, and I’m proud to announce that yesterday I was published over on Mutha Magazine! Maybe head on over there and show me some love? I’m hoping to write more pieces like this in the future!

And while you’re at it, go ahead and follow my new blog!

Monkey Mind-Reader

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His dense toddler body was snuggled up close to mine, with his chubby little hand on my neck. The room was dark, and I was in that almost-asleep state where the mind wanders to the most random of subjects, right before drifting off to sleep. He was so quiet, his breathing so normal, that I assumed he had already fallen asleep. And my mind wandered to a conversation I’d had with my friend and co-worker earlier in the day, about society and life, and…bonobo chimps.

I was so tired that I was actually imagining the chimps. I could see them vividly in my mind, sitting on the grass, grooming each other, making soft hooting noises at one another. The image of the chimps was accompanied by facts I learned in my Psychology 101 class, mixed with thoughts about ‘where is the state of the world going to be in 20 years?’ musings. With the image of a chimp in my mind, almost asleep, I hear:

“Monkeys mama? Ooh ooh, ah ah?”

He wasn’t asleep.

He was asking me a question.

And based on how I had just been vividly thinking about ‘monkeys’ (yes, I know they’re apes, but to him they’re all just monkeys), it felt vaguely eery (and slightly cool) to think…was he reading my mind? And if he was, how do I feel about it?

I’ve read stories and watched shows about psychic kids. And am wondering if Potamus fits under that, or were we simply both tired, and our consciousness merged in the dream space, or the remembrance space from where we used to be in one body.

Thoughts? Anyone have similar experiences?

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This post originally posted over on Egypt Titchenal, my new blog. 

Modeling Manners

I don’t like talking to people that I don’t know. Maybe that’s where Potamus gets it. Once someone is in my inner circle of trust, it’s different, they’re “my people” (as my son would say) and I feel free to move about the cabin like normal. Strangers? No thank you, and not in a stranger danger way, but just like a wary who are you and can I trust you?

So it really shouldn’t surprise me, that Potamus is fine at the park with “his people,” Mari’s sons, but as soon as some other random kid comes along, he asks “who’s that? who’s that people?” And even when I say, “I don’t know who that kid is, but it’s okay, just play with your people if you want,” he gets afraid, timid, worried about someone else in his space. And so, today I decided to do something different. I can’t just have my 3.5 year old sitting on my lap at every play date with a strange kid within 50 yards.

I took him by hand and walked him over to strange kid, kneeled down, and said, “excuse me, my son would like to know what your name is. His name is Potamus.” And the kid said, “I’m Pedro,” and then went to play. And after that Potamus was fine playing in the same neighborhood as Pedro.

But two minutes later a man walks up to me and asks, “did something happen? Did he do something wrong?” Figuring this was Pedro’s dad, I said,

Oh no! My son is shy and wanted to know who your son was. So I showed up how to introduce himself. He goes to school, but is sometimes nervous about kids he doesn’t know on the playground.

The dad looked SO relieved that his kid wasn’t being punished or berated, and said, “that’s a good idea, teaches them manners.” I smiled and he left.

But about 10 minutes later I see him crouched down with his kid saying, “so you can go up to someone and ask them what their name is. It’s called introducing yourself. That way you know who they are.”

So, pass it on folks, modeling manners works!

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The next kid we tried it on was not interested at all in talking to me or didn’t speak English. Potamus was not impressed with my introduction skills that time.

Rainboot Mindfulness

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In the span of a few months, the only full priced pair of shoes I’ve ever bought Potamus, has failed. True he’s worn them threadbare, with all his tromping and climbing and sliding. But I wasn’t prepared for the rain boot replacement, and then I showed up to school today and the gash in the side of the boot (that I had, perhaps, frugally thought I would repair with a big swatch of duct tape), and a ripped strap, and just general disrepair. And I realized, “dang, it’s time to replace these boots.” As it so happens, we live in Seattle, and it’s January, and it’s…RAINING.

Thank goodness I let my students out early today, so Potamus and I headed down to Fred Meyer by our house to pick out new rain boots. He was thrilled. The whole ride there he sang a little song that went something like “rain boots, rain boots, new rain boots,” and then included things like “mommy, me, scrummy, me, house, rain boots, new rain boots.” The melody is hard to translate, but it was adorable. When we arrived at the brightly lit shelves of the toddler rain boot section, I realized…good thing I only have one kid, because a) DANG THESE ARE EXPENSIVE and b) DANG THIS TAKES FOREVER.

I squatted down, frantically looking for a replacement size 9, which we  bought a size too big four months ago. And only finding one pattern (which he quickly rejected) we opted to try on some size 8’s that actually fit really well, but make me nervous that he’ll grow out of them in 3.4 seconds. He tried on butterfly boots “like aubrey,” and princess ones “like bella’s,” and didn’t want the sharks because they were “like madden’s,” and finally, after digging through all that rubber, he decided on the one pair of dinosaur boots that fit. Phew.

But wait!

The hemming and hawwing began again.

“They’re too big mama,” he said, which I protested because there’s no way they were too big. Too small, maybe, but definitely not too big. So we tried on the shark pair again. And then looked at the butterfly pair. He rejected the ladybug that was sorta ‘like aubrey’s’ but not exactly the same. We looked at plain red, plain yellow, you get the idea.

Oh the toddler indecision.

But after about five minutes into the haggling with my tiny, I was actually enjoying myself. I remember going to get shoes as a kid and feeling so stifled by the choices because a) I was gigantic and had gigantic feet and b) my mom was cheap on a budget, and c) there were 3 of us and we were always in a rush from one thing to another. I know that the luxury of spending 30 minutes hemming and hawwing over the perfect pair of rainboots will not be something I can do forever. But in the world of hurry up, where I’m always hustling him out the door in the darkness to school, or coming home and slamming things down to start dinner/snacks/tv show/cleanup, it felt nice to simply notice all the designs available for him to choose from.

And when he strutted out of the store, and on his own said, “thanks for buying my new rainboots,” I smiled and drank in the sweet moment that passes all too soon.