21 Week Side by Side

21 side by side

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.

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Hopes

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?

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?

Honey Grey Eyes

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This kid, ya’ll. He’s pretty dang amazing. I love his personality, and watching him grow up, and laughing at his funny little ways of saying things. But my heart is so wistful from this weekend, when he was napping in the back seat of the car. The car was idling in the driveway, and I was reading my book, and when he woke up (scared), he just wanted a snuggle before going into the house.

In the clear afternoon light I got a real good look into this sweet boy’s face. And I was shocked. I’m sure I’d seen it before, but dismissed it until I was ready to face the truth. My baby no longer has blue eyes. He’ll be turning three, and while it might have been four or six or eight months that we’ve been living with this truth, I now cannot hide from the truth. He’s a honey grey green eyed boy (what, is that classified as hazel?).

They’re beautiful eyes. Clear and muddy at the same time. Speckled green and gray and seem to change in the light. But they aren’t blue, or blue-green like mine, and that’s where the wistfulness comes in. I knew it was inevitable. I knew that the blonde blue eyed baby that seemed miraculous odds against a dark hair dark eyed dominant gene pool. I have loved looking into a face that resembles my own so much, but this beautiful hard part about parenting is also letting him get to be the wonderful little boy that he is. And that means embracing the sweet honey grey green eyed toddler who says “pooperman” because he can’t pronounce superman.

Driving gloves & domestic violence?

 

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look at our boys playing games

He moved with the energy of a stretched rubber band. The black pleated khaki pants, paired with a short sleeve button up tucked in shirt, were worn like a costume.  The fidgety  adjusting and re-adjusting of  his sunglasses. The quiet strained way he barked orders at the two boys, to look for quarters in the arcade machine’s slots. How he grabbed the joystick and gloated “this is how you do it,” as if he needed to show them who’s boss at these fucking machines. How he slammed the second beer glass into the first when he was finished. The way he strode outside and smoked a cigarette hastily, after telling the woman to just ‘take a damn picture’ of all the art on the wall. And then, he got into his black Toyota, kids buckled into the back, and his wife texting in the front seat. I watched him pull on gloves, and speed away.

Our Monday night solo-mama dinner out had been punctuated by witnessing this strange interaction between a man and his family. There was nothing overt. He didn’t touch anyone harshly. He barely even raised his voice. But the strained energy was like that gas smell right before an explosion. My gut screamed danger, but my eyes said ‘normal family eating dinner at Zippy’s Giant Burgers.’ Sure the kids seemed angrier than other 8 year olds, but they could have been having a bad day, right?

My gut says domestic violence.

But my question is…what do you do about it? If you ever witness something…off…in public (or not), what do you do (if anything)?

When I worked as a crisis counselor I felt prepared to go into situations that were volatile. When I’m out for dinner with my 2 y/o I don’t expect to have to put up emotional boundaries about what I will experience and how I will react. There’s no law against being an asshole, and the guy didn’t DO ANYTHING. But my gut said a different story. My mind starts to race, thinking that when he was in the bathroom I could have struck up a conversation with her. Or asked her outright if he hurts her. Or just given her the Crisis Line #. Or I could have said something to the kids. Or I could have gotten the license plate and reported a drunk driver (because I had just seen him drink a beer).

Instead I stood gape-mouthed as he drove away. Even hours later, the icky feeling in the pit of my stomach lingered. I know that legally I didn’t have to do anything. I don’t even know if ethically or morally I needed to do anything. I do know that if Candid Camera was filming I would have felt like an ass for not doing something. But…but…what would you have done? What should I have done?