19 Weeks

19 weeks

In a mere 4.5 days we learn whether we’re having a boy or a girl. I’m beyond excited. And while I only took a few pregnancy “bump” photos with Potamus, I’ve been curious to see how I’m progressing this go round. I want to compare with my first pregnancy, mostly because I’m actively working out and trying to eat healthier…something really important with my currently VERY stressful job.

This picture isn’t a comparison between pregnancies, but rather one of my abs engaged vs not engaged. Trying to maintain my core while I have the ability to do so!

When I’m 21 weeks I’ll do a side by side comparison with my Potamus belly!

Labor Day Weekend Adventures


The epic balloon battle

The parts of Eastern Washington that aren’t still on fire, are filled with smoke, leaving the air quality (according to my mom) “very bad for kids, elderly, and asthmatics like me.” She asked that we change our Labor Day weekend plans to their house to something else, entirely. The conversation went something like this:

“We’d like to pay for a night at the Great Wolf Lodge for all of us.”

“Sounds fun. Crazy, but fun.”

To be fair, it was a little more in-depth, mostly around the discussion that Boof would not feel comfortable with us all sleeping in the same room, but that would work out great because he’d drive the 1.5 hours home to let the dog out, thus eliminating the need to get a dog-sitter for the weekend.

So, four adults and 1 child, set out on the Great Wolf Lodge adventure. And I’m happy we did it, despite the craziness of all the kids running around the lodge on their Shadow Quests and heading to the water park. If you haven’t checked out their whole clever practice, you should. For added packages kids get magic wands and can go on these quests throughout the lodge, unlocking secret things.

The thing Potamus loved the most? The free balloon sword in the lobby on Saturday night. I hate using gendered cliches, but give a boy a balloon sword…wait…give 10 boys balloon swords, and a balloon battle of “hiyas” will ensue. Seriously. We were just sitting there, and like five little boys in footed pajamas approached Potamus to engage in epic battles. It was hilarious. And adorable. And rambunctious. And made me glad I only have 1 kid. I know that’s going to change, but I’m hopeful the age difference will allow me a different sort of crazy than the Irish twins I saw running around.

My adventurous boy loved the water park as much as the balloon battle. Not only did he get adventurous and go down a (smallish) water slide by himself, he was obsessed with the wave pool. Even braving the depths in mama’s arms, to rock in the deep waves. Thankfully I’m 6’1 and could always touch, since it got kinda crazy out there. In grandparent focused moments, Boof and I were able to sneak away to ride the super fast tubular rides. I only managed to get a small concussion falling out of the speed tube slide and cracking my head against the wall, and feeling the shame as I had to slide down unaccompanied by my tube. I’m still nursing a bruise on my noggin, but got back up in the pony saddle the next day as I took my dad on the same ride. He’s a thrill seeker, too.

I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation. Sure it was tiring, but a 1 night stay was the perfect amount of time, and left the rest of the weekend for getting things done around the house. It’s back to work this week. So I’m glad to have had a little mini hurrah before the grind begins again…

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep: A Book Review


Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s all over the major parenting news sites. Maybe you’ve trolled the over 40 pages of reviews on Amazon, mostly for a good laugh. Maybe you haven’t heard of it yet, but after reading this, you’ll go read the reviews (because seriously, great material for chuckles).

It’s The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. A self-published book written by a psychologist in Sweden and translated into English.

It claims to make anyone fall asleep. And for a mere $12, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt. Our bedtime routine this summer had creeped up to 2+ hours, and I was seriously at my wits end. Potamus just hates going to sleep.

The plot in a nutshell, is that Roger the Rabbit is sleepy but has a hard time falling asleep. So he goes to a Wizard named Uncle Yawn, and along the way meets a few characters who give him some helpful advice. Readers are asked to emphasize the bolded sentences, and speak slowly and softly in the italicized portions, and “use your best fairytale voice.” If you can get beyond some of the strange tense changes, lots of words on each page, and home drawn pictures, to the heart of the story, then this book is great.

We were on vacation the first two nights that we started reading it. Night 1, Potamus had about 6,785 questions about the plot. “Why is Roger a rabbit? Why can’t he sleep? Where is his Daddy? Why is Uncle Yawn a person and not a rabbit?” I thought I was going to punch something. The book takes at least 25 minutes to read, so with his gazillion questions, I thought surely we were in for a long haul night (given that it was a new place).

Five minutes after the book ended?

Out like a light.

He simply turned over on his side and fell asleep.

I mean, seriously. It was magical to not have to sing 5 songs, rub his back for 30 minutes, get another glass of water, another snack, another song. Asleep.

We’ve been reading the book every night since. About 10 days in total. He asks for it at night, after his other 2-3 stories. Some nights (especially when Boof reads it in his deep man-voice) he falls asleep after a few pages. Sometimes he muscles through to the very end, but is out after 5-10 minutes of lying quietly in bed next to me. The cadence of reading, the repetition and the use of relaxation and hypnosis/guided meditation techniques, seem to help him calm his mind and body.

I’d recommend it. It’s not perfect, like anything. As an English major I have serious issue with some of the poor sentence construction, and lack of editing. But for us, it has been a very helpful tool in creating a bedtime ritual that is actually soothing for him. While bedtimes are not a snap, the fact that he’s asleep within 35-40 minutes from when we start the the process, certainly feels like magic! I’d say give it at least 3-4 times of reading it before throwing in the towel (unless the kid is older and adamantly refuses to listen to it, of course! You know your kid best!)

P.S. Every time I read the story, Boof falls asleep. Even when he tries to distract himself with his smart phone. I start reading and he starts snoring. I tell him that means he’s chronically sleep deprived…but he disagrees. Ha!


When I was a kid, I distinctly remember my mom saying “don’t get your hopes up.” I rationally know that it was a moment-in-time-specific saying, but it stuck with me, and has had a profound effect on many things that I do. I halt my emotions, rather than feeling them, in order to put myself in emotional limbo until all.the.facts.are.known.

I was doing this with my recent pregnancy. Because my sister-in-law had a 10 week miscarriage, I was afraid that an early announcement would bring about a similar result (not rational, I know), but announced secretly, anyway. I was afraid to let myself get too excited about being pregnant, in case it meant losing it (and then deciding the next steps, which almost 90% would be not trying anymore). When Potamus asked for a sister, and I want a girl, I held off even entertaining the idea that it could be a girl. Sure I know that I’ll love another son, but I want a girl.

In the past few days I have been catching myself calling the baby ‘her.’ I spent ten hours cleaning out our office/guest room and moving the changing table from the garage into our new nursery/guest room. I know it’s just nesting, but when my parents arrived I was just naturally calling it ‘her room,’ and saying, ‘when she gets here,’ etc. And I realized, when doing my mindfulness app, that I actually want to get my hopes up. Will I be sad, and go through the emotions if anything were to happen to this baby, or if she were to be a he, yep. And I’d also be fine. I’d know that I can handle emotions and changes and everything turns out okay.

So I’m letting myself get my hopes up. And I’ll deal with the consequences later. Because I’m tired of living like my life is on hold until I know X or Y or Z happens.

Fear of the Unknown vs Fear of the Known

I’m having trouble.

I’m currently in the blissful weeks of pregnancy. The afternoon nausea has gone, and I’m mostly even keeled (with the exception of dealing with a very trying almost 4 year old. WHEW I WILL BE GLAD WHEN THIS STAGE IS OVER. THERE I SAID IT.) I mostly am symptom free, and not yet in the showing + feeling kicks stage.

And yet, I am petrified.

Last pregnancy I was nervous, in the “can I do this? Can I really be a parent?” naivete way. But this time around? Petrified. I see pictures online of my friends’ brand new baby and I’m propelled backward in time with all of this new knowledge and I’m like “no no no no no this can’t be happening to me.” Like, wake me up from the nightmare.

Rationally I know I’ll survive, as we do. But thrive? Boy am I concerned about that. I sit in stillness for a minute and try to imagine a tiny wriggling 8lb baby on my chest while my son yells “mommy more orange juice” from the living room and think, “what the fuck have I gotten myself into?”

The fear of the known has always been hard for me. During sports seasons I would DREAD the daily conditioning, even to the point of making myself occasionally vomit to avoid practice. Knowing what was to come was terrible. The anxiety buildup was beyond what I could control. Something sprung on me in the moment isn’t fun, but I suck it up and deal much better. So having 10 months to think about this impending doom (as I can’t help but conceptualize it) is crazy scary.

And then I get the mommy guilt trip that I’ve thus avoided with my son so far. But this worry that somehow my antepartum anxiety is going to effect this little one. That I’ll give birth to a neurotic daughter* and thus feel terrible for creating a child just like myself.

I spin and spin and annoy myself to no end. Despite the fact that I know I will be okay. I’ve been okay this whole time, and I will be okay again, but I’m petrified of the hard parts. With my son I didn’t know what to expect. And so once he was born I rushed headlong into parenting with a naivete that I’m afraid will be tampered down by my obsessional desire to conserve energy at all costs.

Can anyone at all relate? Am I completely a nutcase?

Lego Ninjago does nothing for  my liberal "it's a culture, not a costume," leanings. At what age will I have to enforce that?

Lego Ninjago does nothing for my liberal “it’s a culture, not a costume,” leanings. At what age will I have to enforce that?

Perspective After a Good Night’s Sleep

The night of sleep, long but fitful, did not serve to reset my heart and mind. Potamus’s sweet voice, saying “let’s get up mama,” roused me from my already-awake-but-not-wanting-to-face-the-day musings. Bowl of cheerios. Dog trying to steal cheerios. A few games of Candyland. Another glass of orange juice. All normal morning routine. Except for the slumbering husband still peaceful in bed. And my bad attitude.

I did self care. Coloring in my new National Parks coloring book. Yoga class at my local gym. Boof took Potamus to the store and to watch the Blue Angels land at Boeing field while I got a chance to write. There was downtime for me. And yet, my nerves were shot. The brushing teeth struggle particularly highlighted it, while he, yet again would not brush his teeth without a rabid coyote battle, I cussed and imagined myself smashing every dish in the house.

I bowed out of bedtime routine and watched trashy TLC TV while self-loathing on York peppermint patties.

My Queen Mother rage inside me is frightening. My unpredictable emotions scare me, and I look into the face of my sweetness and think about how I must be breaking his spirit, or creating a fear of pissing me off in him, like I’ve somehow managed to do in every other person who knows me. The flashbacks to the time in high school when I was so out of control with rage that I was throwing glasses on the ground in a giant 15 year old tantrum of depression and not being understood plays in my mind. Knowing that exists inside me is scary as fuck.

I woke up this morning in a different place. Potamus snuggled into me and said, “I want to be big like mommy and daddy.” Some of my softness had returned, and so I explored, “what do you mean buddy.” “Just, I want to do things like mommy and daddy. Like play ball. And be big.”

“Is it hard that you’re little, and mommy and daddy make you do things you don’t want to do, like brush your teeth.”

“Yeah,” he said, burrowing his head into my neck.

“Yeah, it’s hard for mommy and daddy, too. We tell you to do those things because we want you to grow up to be big like mommy and daddy. It would be more fun if we didn’t have to make you do those things.”

My heart is tender today. I feel so bad for this sensitive kid I’m raising. I feel bad for myself as a sensitive parents, who gets so overstimulated that I shut down and act like an insane person. I’m glad for re-connection and perspective. Maybe I’ll be able to take it going forward, when I forget my compassion and empathy.

Midnight Drives and Intuition


Star darkness.

“Look honey, up there, at the stars,” I said. I could hear the Puget Sound lapping less than 50 feet away from the cabin, as I loaded the wheelbarrow full of my haphazardly packed items. Did I really need to bring home this pillow? Could it be sacrificed the Gods of State Parks and Midnight Ear Infections?

I knocked on the cabin next to me, “Dad? Dad? He’s sick, can you help.”

The mismatched trio. One headlamp. One wheelbarrow. A purse, and some extra bags, holding hands up the long steep and winding hill to the car.

“I’ll text when I get home. I might stop at a hospital along the way if he doesn’t go to sleep. I was afraid this was going to happen.”

Four days earlier I had taken Potamus in for a chest cold checkup. Doc said that it’d clear up on its own in the next few days, and if it didn’t, come back in. I had gone because this was exactly what I was worried about: the midnight drive home from camping. I guess no amount of interventions can influence karma, the Universe, or the way things are supposed to be?

I pulled out of the state park into the island darkness. No GPS to guide me. No daylight to illuminate landmarks. A wing and a prayer. The evening too far goneĀ for evenĀ Coast to Coast radio.

Everything smelled like garlic, and puke, and dribbles of urine. There was coughing, and choking, and my panicked “are you okay? tell me you’re okay,” as I hurtled 70 miles per hour down the freeway, coming to a screeching halt at the fortuitous rest area. New change of clothes. The thought: in nine months this will be my new normal. The zombie-like decision making, where I’m so tired I’m not even mad (which says a lot, because I’m often awoken like a bear), and all I can think is “please be okay.”

Where did this motherhood strength come from? Was it always there? Was it bestowed when he was born, like a gift from the Good Fairies?

I admire Boof, who didn’t freak out, when I unexpectedly barged into the bedroom at 6am and said, “I’ve been driving since 4. I need a shower and to sleep. Can you sit in the car with him. He finally fell asleep after puking.”

Eventually we dozed together, the babe and I. And now we’re heading to the doctor…