Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Attached at the hip and teaming up against Mommy.

It is every mother's dream to have children grow up without sibling rivalry, instead loving and sharing with each other.  Pete and Chester, of course, have days where they beat on each other.  This morning, I had to send Chester to time out for clocking Pete in the head with a hockey stick.  But for the most part, my little guys love each other and are becoming totally inseparable. 

Weeks ago, as Chester started learning two-word phrases, he started with "Pete, wait!"  Every Tuesday and Thursday, the drop off at pre-school is agonizing, dragging Chester back out to our car while Pete hangs up his coat and heads into the music room. 

You may think it's just one-way, that Chester idolizes Pete and Pete could care less, but that's just not true.  When I take Pete out for his special date to Dunkin Donuts or the grocery store, he asks "Where's Chester?"  and "Can Chester come too?"

It used to be a problem putting them to bed together because they would get out of bed and play together.  Or if Pete could be convinced to stay in bed, I would find Chester in Pete's bed, jumping on his head while Pete tried desperately to pretend he's asleep.  So we've been putting them to bed separately for about the last year, waiting for Chester to fall asleep before adding Pete to the room.  Last week, we bought them a big boy bedroom set complete with bunk beds and suddenly, they want to go to bed together.  Chester won't go to sleep without Pete in the top bunk.  Chester climbs out of his bottom bunk and comes out to find Pete, over and over until I finally send Pete to bed too.  In the morning, if Chester gets up and comes to our room, we hear "Mommy, where's Chester" once Pete wakes up and misses his brother. 

But tonight takes the cake.  I put Chester to bed, and let him keep his sippy of water.  Pete headed to bed too, and started whining that he was thirsty.  Though I don't allow Pete to have extra water at bedtime (this kid is a peeing machine all night, and often wets through his pull-up, soaking the bed) I relented because Chester got out of bed to get up and offer Pete his "bup".

It warms my heart to see them run and play together, totally worth the struggles and hassles of two boys 21 months apart.  I love to see them giggle and "getcha getcha" but I can't help feeling like they're starting to team up against me, and with the addition of a third soon, I know I'm in big trouble. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Okay, I actually know exactly where you are.  There's no hiding from me, little baby dinosaur!  I have decided on the "if you pack it, the baby will come" method (and thank you to Kim for helping to name that method)

Today marks just shy of 38 weeks, and as of Wednesday, I'll be eligible to deliver at the birth center (instead of the associated hospital).  For those keeping stats, this morning I measured at 1cm which is not surprising at this stage, but also doesn't indicate impending labor.  I warned the midwife that the baby is nice and low, and she was still surprised this morning because his head really is right there.  I am hoping for a nice, easy, quick, birth center water birth just like last time.

I'm also prepared for things to go differently, and have planned accordingly, arranging back-up childcare for the older boys and considering all the different requirements for a transfer to the hospital if necessary.  The extra hospital forms are on file, and I've taken a tour of the hospital. 

The cradle is ready (Thanks Jennie and Shannon!) the car seat is ready, the diapers are folded and the clothes are washed and put away.  The list of people to call when I go into labor is complete.  The iPad is loaded with music for labor, and the Nook is loaded with books for reading while we hang out in the hospital for two days after the baby's born. 

Earlier this week, I shaved my legs and gave myself a pedicure.  I also picked up water-proof mascara, as my current mascara is merely smudge-proof and certainly not birthing-tub-proof.  Laugh all you want, some women say the last thing they're thinking about is looking good while giving birth.  I think anything that gives you confidence as you're going into labor is worth the effort. 

I packed my bags with comfy clothes for the birthing tub, and extra clothes for after I get out and dry off to hang out with my new baby.  Also packed my makeup and favorite soaps and shampoo.  Don't forget the hair dryer!  I didn't pack one with my first baby because it wasn't on the hospital's packing list.  I guess they don't expect new Moms to want to shower and dry our hair?  Again, no problems if that's the last thing on your mind, but getting back to presentable makes me feel better, and a hair dryer is pretty important to that process. 

I am ready and impatient, just like all the other moms-to-be are right about now.  Scheduling a birth is a modern convenience that comes with additional risks that I'm not willing to take, so instead I will just wait.  Impatiently.  I want this baby to come for the 2011 tax break.  I want this baby to come so I'll be sufficiently recovered to enjoy my trip to San Diego in January.  I want this baby to come so I can sleep comfortably with fewer than five pillows.  I want this baby to come because my last one was over ten pounds at 41 weeks and I'd prefer a nice eight pound sized baby.

But in reality, this kid can hang out as long as he needs to, and I'll let him come in his own time (minus a few gentle methods to coax him out like primrose oil and walking the mall) because a happy healthy baby is more important to me than the tax deduction for 2011.  I am blessed not to be affected by pre-eclampsia or any other medical conditions requiring medical interventions in my delivery, so this baby will show up when he's good and ready.  Besides, we still need to come up with a name...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chivalry (or perhaps Pity) is not dead.

Last week I went grocery shopping on a Sunday night.  Anyone in my local area will tell you Sunday night at Market Basket is the worst idea ever (even worse than the Commissary on the first of the month!).  I was actually pretty excited about it because I scored an evening shopping with only one child, while Ryan kept Chester home to get ready for bed. 

The grocery closes at 7pm on Sunday nights.  I arrived at 5:30pm with a short shopping list, including some turkey and cheese from the deli.  Pete pulled a deli number for me- number 52.  I checked and saw they were only on 15.  Seriously.  15.  The deli was mobbed, as expected, with everyone who packs a lunch for work or school every day.  I finished my shopping, checking back often to make sure I didn't miss my number.  After finishing my entire list they were on 31.  So Pete and I settled in to wait for our number, and I mentally prepared myself for a tantrum or meltdown.  We compared his number (that's five-two for the three-year old crowd) to the deli number and I chatted him up about school, and what letters he learned this week (J and K), and what starts with letter K (kite, kitten, kangaroo). 

Either we were the most annoying cart in the deli area, or this older gentleman was truly an angel because he walked over and told me he had pulled a number, and his wife had also pulled a number, so would I like number 37?  I can't exactly jump for joy, and in would be inappropriate to kiss a total stranger in the grocery store, so instead I just thanked him earnestly and accepted his extra number.  Even Pete must have been relieved because he also said "thank you sir" (I seriously love this kid, I can't claim I've been the best mom, but he is the best three year old I know!) and started comparing his new number to the deli numbers.  "Mom, we're three-seven, and that says three-two, are we next?" 

Less than ten minutes later I ordered our turkey and cheese and we headed for the checkout.  Checking the clock as we left, I realized that without that gentleman's kind offer of his extra number, we wouldn't have gotten our deli order before the store closed. 

So thank you, kind man at the deli counter, you made our week.  Or at least our sandwiches this week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's finally acceptable.

For months, I've been lying about my due date.  I just got tired of the shocked or horrified look on people's faces back in July when I told them I was due in January.  So when some well-meaning stranger asks when I'm due, I just pick an appropriate fake date and smile.  Random strangers have no agenda, they're not trying to ruin my day or my self-esteem.  They just want to be part of a happy moment, this beautiful time when you're creating life and what's the harm in that?

Please note, this does not excuse family, who, KNOWING the due date, continue to make remarks like "you look huge" or "are you sure it's January" or "ohh my, HOW much weight have you gained".  Shame on you.

Aside from the fact that this beautiful time of creating life is really quite painful and miserable, there's no harm in a stranger wanting to congratulate you and celebrate with you.  So instead of getting worked up over these strangers, I've chosen to give them what they want without horrifying either of us.  I lie about my due date. 

I was tired of explaining that this is the third baby in four years or that I started ten pounds heavier than with the first two, while the well-meaning stranger tried to back peddle or just plain looked embarrassed (for me being so huge or for them being so rude, I'm not sure which).

Around 10 weeks, I hadn't gained a single pound, yet I was already in maternity pants and looking quite puffy and round.  The bloating made me look approximately five months pregnant, and the vomiting made my face as puffy and round as my belly.  Most people haven't even announced their pregnancies at 10 weeks, but I was already claiming September as my due date.   

At 20 weeks, and only up 4 pounds, I looked like a beached whale at my cousin's wedding.  I'm wicked glad the focus was on her stunning dress, his adoring smile, and their bright future because it pre-empted most of the standard "when are you due" questions.

Starting around 28 weeks, I got the "you must be glad to be almost done!" to which I just started answering, "yes, I am glad, we're very excited, thank you."  About 96% of babies born this early will survive, so yes,  was very excited to be at a point where my baby would likely live if he were born today.  And "almost done" is a relative term, so I wasn't quite lying.   

Finally, at 37 weeks, I look like I'm 37 weeks.  We attended a holiday party for the District One Admiral yesterday, and if felt great to answer "yes, due just after Christmas, any time now is just fine with me" to all the sweet older ladies asking when I am due and if I am ready yet. 

Here I am, huge as a house, but it's finally acceptable.  Please excuse the lack of makeup, I've come to the point of simply storing it in my car, since that's the only place I have time to apply it. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The snuggles keep me from going bat shit crazy.

Despite any (okay, a lot) of frustration with the pre-schooler recently, he really is my sweet little guy.  Pete will be four in April, and he's finally giving up naps.  I'm a little sad, because it means I'm losing about two hours of my day where I could also lay down for a break.  Realistically, adding in the third baby next month meant I was going to lose that two hours anyway, so now is a good time to accept the new routine.   But the consequence of an overtired pre-schooler around here means he can dissolve into a fit of tears over the slightest provocation that wouldn't normally phase him.  It also means he is quite hyper, literally running into the walls, the couch, the chair over and over while screaming made up songs in an effort to fight the sleep.

Pete is now typically able to make it all day with just a quiet time after lunch while Chester sleeps, but occasionally he just can't take it anymore.  Here's what happened while I cooked dinner earlier this week:

Tonight I could see that Pete was having a rough afternoon, barely keeping it together while I made dinner (a failed attempt at General Tso's but that's a whole other blog).  We pushed up the time for jammies, cleaning the toys and 30 minutes of a special show (the current favorite is the DVR of Ice Age Christmas) and by 7pm we sat down to read a book in our rocking chair.  I snuggled him up on my lap and read the Lion King book.  And then he fell asleep in my arms as we rocked.  It's been years since Pete has fallen asleep in my arms and it's one of the sweetest things in life.  It's enough to give me the strength for tomorrow, and one day at a time is all you can ask for with soon to be three boys under four. 

Dum Dum awards

At our MOPS group, every other Thursday morning, we take a moment to share our "dumb" parenting moments.  You get a dum dum lollipop to celebrate your folly, and we all share a good laugh.  It's a reminder that we ALL have those moments in parenting, and the only way to move forward is to laugh it off. 

A few weeks ago, I shared the story of my super-productive day.  I was showered, with my hair styled and make-up on when we left the house for pre-school at 7:30am.  This alone, is a miracle!  I dropped off Pete, attended a great MOPS meeting, went grocery shopping, went to the bank, picked up Pete, had a meeting with our insurance agent to finalize a few documents, cooked a healthy and balanced dinner and I was ready to head out to my "Meet the pre-school parents" night when my friend arrived to babysit.  It was one of those days you feel like you've got your sh*t together and you are on top of the world!  Then I looked in the mirror to check my makeup before heading to the pre-school night, and realized the shirt I'd been wearing all day was see-through.  I had been wearing something else when I first got dressed, but during breakfast, the boys or I must have spilled something, so I just grabbed another t-shirt  and topped it with a little cardigan.  Unfortunately, I had selected an old and very thin t-shirt, and looking in the mirror now at 7pm, it was glaringly obvious that my bra had a lovely flower and lace pattern under the t-shirt.  All day I had been flashing people, though my friend swears up and down she assumed it was a camisole and not just my bra, so I can only hope others thought that as well. 

How did I get through an entire day without looking in the mirror?  I must have used the bathroom that day, didn't I take two seconds to check my outfit or look for a smudge in my makeup or a flyaway hair?  I guess I must have been so busy being productive that I was completely un-self-conscious.  Coming from a person who does my very best to look presentable in all situations, I'm shocked that it was an entire day I didn't look in the mirror, but I guess that's what motherhood does to you.

This blog is like those dum-dum awards, because really, my life is constantly one mishap after another.  I think it's important, though that I've accomplished the laughing part.  When your husband shatters two Christmas ornaments crashing them together to demonstrate that they're plastic and not glass, you have to laugh or you'll cry.  When your children refuse to share any of their toys during a playdate and the other children at the playdate are also throwing a tantrum, looking for barbies to play with and the whole situation is just so ridiculous you must laugh together because sharing that laugh meant you weren't alone today.  When haul out the presents and wrapping paper to start wrapping your Christmas present during naptime, only to find that you're completely out of scotch tape after just three presents, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it, so you might as well put them all back in the bags, then have a cookie and go lay down next to your sleeping toddler.   

My life, and my blog are our own little world of dum-dum awards and I wouldn't have it any other way.  We're too busy having fun to get everything right, and sometimes getting it all wrong is the most fun anyway.