Could this be it?

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I’ll be 39 weeks on Wednesday, and I think baby is coming sooner rather than later. Which means I’ll have to give up my dream of him having a Leap Day birthday. Oh well 🙂

With Potamus, I had 10 days of early labor signs. My midwives don’t normally do checks, but I requested one. To confirm what I already knew: I was dilated. Yes, if you Google “can I feel myself dilating,” the answer is “no,” but I did. I was 4cm for 10 days.

And I felt it again this time. Last Thursday night. Like a pap smear scraping from the inside. Menstrual like cramps. Ping ponging between feeling constipated and having diarrhea. And the incredible urge to fight through the pain and clean the entire house: nesting.

I’ve heard that labors follow similar courses, so I’m not worried that it’ll happen tonight, but I’d be surprised if baby didn’t arrive before Sunday. That would be about 10 days like last time. I won’t be surprised if it’s on Thursday, though, either. It feels sooner, rather than later, but I’m hoping to get through a few more days of work…to wrap up things for the next 6 months.

Today I woke up and my belly was lower. Not dropped like first time moms, but the lightening in my rib cage makes me breathe easier, and I had my first full meal in like 100 years. So yay!

It’s scary and exciting to think that this could be it. We went out to dinner tonight as a family of 3, and we just kept saying, “this might be the last time. Next time it might be as a family of 4.”

Crazy.

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.

 

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. 

December = Blecch

Because I can’t find words to express my own December depression, I bring you this beautifully written piece.

Excitement on the side

Oh hey, guess what?  It’s December and I can’t stop crying.   If you’ve been around a while you have likely already guessed it.  I hate the weird lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas when you hemorrhage money and you wonder what it is all really for and you wish you could just climb into bed with the people that you love and knit hats and wear sweatpants and eat pizza and watch movies on repeat. Oh?  That’s just me?

But when I am not moping I am hanging Christmas lights and loving my people. That’s the real pisser about the Winter Time Blues.  It’s broken up by a lot of really great moments.   This year’s funk is extra special.  Because the only thing that makes me sad and scared and completely anxious more than cold weather is good, good news.

When MQD and I got engaged I was elated…

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Hyper Awareness as a Superpower or Albatross?

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I’m sitting at home on a Tuesday night, wearing my comfy gray sweatpants and eating some pre-Halloween candy. I’m pretending like Boof reffing a football game is the reason I didn’t go to yoga, even though I cancelled the childcare I had lined up. I’ve wanted to stay in, play legos with Potamus, and watch all the shows that have been sitting on my DVR. With November rapidly approaching I am feeling this prickly feeling inside, which I’m trying to ignore. Part of living with depression and anxiety is treading the very fine line of hyper-awareness and making a mountain out of a molehill.

My anxious mind starts to spin, asking the questions “why am I not going to yoga? Am I depressed? Do I want to sleep more because I’m depressed? Am I angry at work because I’m depressed? It’s only October and I’m not doing things I normally do, am I going to fall into a deep dark depression and become a crazy person who can’t take care of her child and ends up being committed into a hospital, and thus losing my job, and getting a divorce, and living in a box in pioneer square shooting heroin?”

You can see, the spiraling anxious thoughts actually contribute to depression, though this hyper awareness has saved my life before. It’s prompted me to notice when my exhaustion has become depression without falling into the deep hole I used to get into as a teenager. It has prompted me to go on medication less than 24 hours after having homicidal/suicidal thoughts postpartum. It has helped me make the decision to every year go on antidepressants in November and self-wean in the spring. Hyper awareness has been a super power that I have harnessed.

And yet, here I am, snuggled in my house wearing sweats and having no motivation to brave the rainstorm outside. I’m not apathetic, I’m quiet. I’m not depressed, I’m introspective. My hyper awareness is rearing it’s head because in the past these have been warning signs. That fine line between being overly tired from working/parenting and the tiredness from biological brain chemistry tricking me into wanting to sleep for days and days. I wake up every day excited to go to work, despite the dramas that happen by noon. I might leave every day frustrated and in a mood to co-ruminate with coworkers, but every morning I look forward to going back. I feel spontaneous, cancelling childcare and taking a trip to Target to indulge in the new Tay Swift CD and a bucket of legos for Potamus. Rather than isolation, I’m craving connection, but in a quiet autumn way.

I’m sleeping so fucking fantastically that I want to stay sleeping. Not because depression has taken over, but because for three years I haven’t gotten more than two-three hours in a row. Thanks to Potamus wanting to sleep in his own bed (for SEVEN HOURS last night!) and the marijuana that keeps my body from revolting from restful sleep (by having to pee all the time or having midnight anxiety thoughts), I am getting 8+ hours a night. It feels so glorious that it’s no wonder I want to repeat it again and again and again every night because who knows how many night sleeps I’ve lost (and who knows when I might lose them again!). It all makes me wonder, is this how normal people feel when the Fall comes around? The desire to stay inside, eat chilli and drink cider, and gossip with friends around the fire.

I want the sensitivity to my ‘symptoms’ to be used for good, and not as an albatross around my neck. I don’t want to rush headlong into depression because I’ve misread the signs along the way. I don’t want to treat myself as depressed when I’m not. And yet I don’t want to let myself get away with depressed thoughts/behavior that might come up, because I know how to take care of myself. It’s such a fine line of redefining and deciphering what is ‘normal’ behavior and what is a problem. Living with mental illness is such a delicate dance.

Of Grammies & Buppas

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Potamus is obsessed with the older generation. Where I feel angsty in my relation to members of my family, I fully realize that it’s because I think through all the scenarios, overanalyze motives and past experiences, and think about how I relate to everything around me. Potamus, on the other hand, is just a ball of feeling. He gravitates toward love and the ease in which grandparents can navigate the world of relating to children. They get to provide a 5th scoop of ice cream (ugh, thanks mom for THAT precedent) or sneak him another slice of chocolate cake simply because, “well, he asked for more” (ugh, thanks dad for THAT precedent!). Grandparents get to live in a world of joyful moments without the stress of having to put them down to bed every night or deciding just what warrants discipline. Every time with grandkids can be a ‘treat,’ even if the babysitting duties stretch on for a few hours or the weekend. I’m not going to come home and be annoyed that all the kid ate is popcorn all weekend, because as long as he’s alive, we’re golden.

And Potamus is obsessed with his Grammies and buppas. Literally follows them around and when he sees them he runs across the courtyard or driveway to give them a big hug. It’s very sweet. His experience of my parents, or my in-laws, will be different than my experience, and that’s okay. I loved seeing him take my dad by the hand to a quiet place to play with trains and read stories this weekend when he was overwhelmed interacting with all 25+ family members milling about in my parent’s house. I loved hearing him say, “bye buppa! bye buppa!” all the way down the driveway when we’re leaving either set of them. Grandparents are a special experience of love for our little guy.