Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why being a SAHM is the hardest thing I've ever done

Can I be brutally honest here? This is freaking hard. Unbelievably so at times, for example, today.

I love my children. I wanted to be a mother from the time I first realized that it was an option. I remember my mother being pregnant with my sister when I was five years old and being thrilled because she told me that one day, I could have a baby in my belly too. I miscarried my first pregnancy, twins, and remember the devastation, the absolute utter horror at death of my babies, and the prospect that I might never be able to carry a pregnancy to term. I find enormous satisfaction in being a mother, it's a huge part of the way I define myself. I feel a little bit lost when my kids aren't near me, and freely acknowlege that I legitimately LIKE spending time with them - I've got great kids. They're smart and funny and I can't imagine my life without them. I feel a little sorry for all the other parents who don't have my kids, because mine really are amazing.

But full time parenting is so hard some days. When you've been up all night because one had a nightmare and the other one just isn't in the mood to sleep, when you've been trapped inside for days on end because it's so frigid cold outside, when you're the only adult all the time and the housework bubbles up around you - and you can't get the kids to stop fighting long enough for you to take a much needed shower. When the dishes are spilling over the sink (and you did two loads of dishes yesterday) and you've got construction guys and dragon castle components scattered with American Girl hair accessories and doll clothes tossed gleefully all over the living room... and your daughter is raging because webkinz won't let her do what she wants and your three year old is screaming, just screaming, like it's his new hobby... all I could think was that this is so damn hard. I sat in Jessie's room, trying to pick up all the tiny little clips for Rebecca Rubin before they got lost, and cried right along with Sam, as he stood in front of me, jumping up and down, begging me to pick him up (which is becoming increasingly harder as I get bigger) and nurse him. I ended up sitting on the floor, sobbing, and stopped only because when I cry too hard, I inevitably throw up because of the pregnancy. I'm so worn out and tired and some days I wonder if I'm really strong enough to do this.

I wouldn't trade these years for anything. I know that the years when my babies are little are fleeting, and have already gone by so fast... I'll never be able to pick Jess up and carry her around the house anymore - she's too big. The number of times when I'll be able instantly soothe whatever is bothering Sam just by being beside him is finite. I never thought I'd be able to be a stay at home mom, I thought, of course, my kids would be in daycare, how could I afford to not work? I never dreamed I'd be as lucky as I am. I'm pregnant with my third child, and watching one of the people I love most in the world struggle with infertility - I'm so incredibly aware of how blessed I am. But this is hard. There are days when a part of me envies my husband, who gets dressed, showers whenever he wants and goes to work all day with grown ups who don't ask for drinks or to get a diaper change, who don't yell at him for no real reason. Where nobody has to be bathed, where dishes don't need to be done, where the floor is always vacuumed and the trash is always emptied.

I love my children. My amazing girl child, with her passions and her furies, her creativities, her kindness and her beauty. My beautiful boy, big grey/brown eyes and so much love and sweetness all bundled up in this little package of maleness. My tiny baby girl, who's becoming bigger and more a part of my life every day. And I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

But I would really appreciate a day off.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

School vacation

I really like having Jess at home. Which makes me think, more and more, that I would have loved homeschooling. I know all the reasons that I send her to school - because I do believe that our goal as parents is to teach them to be adults, to give them opportunities to learn and grow, and she gets exposure to different people and ways of doing things, a level of independence that she wouldn't get at home with me. She loves first grade, is excelling there, but... but, but, but (as Sam would say) - I like having her home. She asked to do some work in her workbooks the other day, and I thought to myself that I could so easily be homeschooling her. The two kids still squabble, but it doesn't seem as though they do it as much as they do during the week. I don't have to haul her out of bed, struggle and fight to get her dressed and ready, pack her lunch (that she won't eat) and send her out into the freezing cold. She's spent the past four days in her pajamas, staying up until nine and then going right to sleep, sleeping until after 8:30 most days (which is just her preferred schedule - she isn't ready for bed at eight and fights it and then has to be dragged out of bed kicking and screaming at seven to get ready for school).

In other news - I think the baby's kicks are strong enough that you could feel it on the outside. It's hard for me to tell, because I can obviously feel it on the inside and may be just fooling myself. But she's moving all the time now, and I love it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

favorite holiday pics

Sam hanging next to the tree

Lilli, Sam, Jessie, Glennys (everyone's best friend and my fifth child) and Sarah


I love this smile


On to January

I love January. I just do - I hate the weather, but it's the month of birthdays in my world, and it's been my favorite month since I was a little girl. Although, now that I think of it, neither of my children, neither of my stepdaughters, nor my husband have January birthdays. But when I was little - EVERYONE had a January birthday. My dad's is the 5th, my brother Scott is the 12th, my baby cousin Lea is the 19th, my brother Eric is the 21, my cousin AP is the 22, (my niece Alyssa is the 22nd as well), my mother's is the 24th and mine is the 25th. I loved being last, and having all month of celebrating everyone's else to anticipate mine. And I really wanted Jessie to be born on the 26th - not only because at that point - I was so tired of being pregnant but because that would have been so cool, my mother, myself and then my daughter all one day after another. I always loved my birthday - and despite the fact that I'll be 36 this year - it's still just as exciting to me. I feel like it's the one day of the year that you really take stock in everything, celebrate all that you have, all that you are, and get to have cake. How could it get any better?

That being said, Jess didn't come along until February 7, but I still include her in with all the festitivies. I'm just a happy girl this month.

Monday, December 28, 2009

One last Christmas post...

I read a really good book this weekend - can't put my hands on it right now to tell you the title or author - but it was all about the orgins of Christmas and what the different traditions were about. Christmas has been a big topic for me over the past couple of years, and it was really interesting to read the historical data behind it. It echoed conclusions that I had come to, and made me feel a lot better about celebrating it as a Jewish convert. It was written by a Christian, and talked a lot about how mid-winter celebrations existed long before the birth of Christ, and that the bible only mentions the nativity twice. It certainly has enormous meaning to Christians, but it's okay that it has meaning for me as well, because Christmas is so much more than just a religious holiday. It's snowballed on top of mid-winter traditions, been re-created a whole bunch of different times and in different ways, from Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria to the poet who wrote the Night before Christmas and the invention of Santa Claus. Did you know, in Japan, a majorly not Christian country, Christmas is widely celebrated? Just because it's fun and meaningful and exciting to have a big ole celebration in the dead of winter.

All that being said... I'm happy that it's over. I took the tree down today, and am pausing in the middle of vacuuming up all the pine needles to reflect briefly on this past holiday season and what I liked most and would like to re-do, and what I think I'd rather skip next year. I really liked getting a smaller tree, and putting less emphasis on gifts. My kids didn't get a lot of presents under the tree - they both got one nice gift and a stocking full of odds and ends - and were perfectly happy with that. I have to remember that for next year. It's not about quantity at Christmas. Also I need to stock a LOT more candy canes. I loved staying at home and going to my mother's house later on in the day - it was a lot easier and less hectic on everyone. There's so much potential to stress out over the holidays - and it's not necessary. I made a concerted effort this year to not go down that road, and for the most part it worked.

In other news - can you believe that I'm going to be 24 weeks pregnant next week? That shocks me - it's more than half over, and while part of me can't wait to hold this tiny baby, part of me wants to slow time down - it's going by SO fast. Sam is still nursing every now and again - he asks a LOT, but it's more just habit than anything else. He's completely stopped doing it first thing in the morning, falls asleep most nights without it and with the exception of killer tantrums or if I REALLY need him to nap, he doesn't nurse at all during the day. We're not all the way weaned yet, but close enough so that I can pretend :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas

This was a really nice year for holidays. We switched up tradition, my cousin Becky and I had been celebrating Christmas Eve together for the past fourteen years, first with an Open House at our apartment that we shared for eight years, and then at her house after that. This year, we decided to get a group together and go out for chinese food. And it was wonderful, we'll definitely do that again next year. Sam fell asleep on the way home, and Jess was still rocking and rolling when we got home. She and Marc wrote out her note to Santa (asking for a Zsu Zhu (??) pet at the last minute and "the one, the only, the beautiful and exquisite Rebecca Rubin) and left him cupcakes, candy canes, a glass of milk and of course, eight carrots for the reindeer.

She woke up bright and early, and was so excited. Marc wanted to wait until Sam woke up, but I wasn't going to wake him early (without napping, this kid needs all the sleep he can get), so he and I watched Jess open her gifts (she got Rebecca Rubin and a new bedding set) first. She was beyond thrilled, it was wonderful... I took a whole bunch of pictures of her. When Sam woke up, he was grumpy. Slightly mollified by the presents, but still screamed in horror when I tried to take pictures of him. (When he's thirty and thinks that I loved Jessie best because there are thousands of pictures of her smiling and only a few of him - I'm going to remind him of how many times he'd snarl "NO PICTURES" at me). We got Sam a big dragon castle thing, with guys to go with it. He's in heaven...

We spent the morning at home, and headed down to my mother's house around noontime. Jessie immediately disappeared with my niece Bella (who also got an American Girl doll), and poor Sam and I came into the living room. I say poor Sam because he just really doesn't like attention - and my grandfather and his wife were in the living room, along with my mother. They were all cooing over him (because he's cute and little and that's what you do with cute little kids) and trying to convince him to open his gift. He refused for the longest time, and then finally opened it. It was a Toy Story thing, some sort of house thing that you could open with figurines. He wouldn't let me open the box though, kept saying he just wanted to "wook" at it. Everyone kept trying to convince him to open the box, and he just got more and more upset. Eventually, he slid over to me and said very softly "Mommy, I wish nobody was here." I asked if he wanted to take it in the kitchen and open his gift where nobody could see him, and he nodded happily. He played in there for a while and was much better.

We stayed for the rest of the day, my sister came over, my cousin Beck and her husband and mother, an uncle, some more cousins, my brother and his wife and kids... it was nice. And the longer we were there, the more relaxed and happy Sam got. We just have to go to a party and plan on staying for several hours before Sam will stop snarling at people.

My grandfather was admitted to the hospital Christmas night. He's got an infection and they kept him overnight again last night. I'm hoping that he'll get released today...

We're having some quiet time this weekend, the weather is lousy, cold, icy and rainy. The kids have been busy playing with their new toys - I'm glad they didn't overloaded with gifts this year, because the things they got, they really are enjoying. I'm ill amused with Rebecca Rubin's hair - especially because Jess adores taking the brush that came with her and just ripping thru it. I've done my best to teach her to go slowly, and try not to brush it all that often - but she's still six, and it's just WAY too much fun to brush her hair. There's not a doubt in my mind that this doll is going to need a new head before too long, do they do that?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Better today

Hot tea might be the trick... I started to crash, exhaustion-wise, mid afternoon again. This time, instead of just suffering and trudging to bed at seven (since Marc won't be home until after nine tonight), I went for a hot cup of decaf tea. And while I don't feel up to running a marathon, I'm at least coherent and functional.

No more afternoon nap for Sam. Unfortunate casualty of weaning - he hasn't really figured out how to fall asleep without it yet. I've never just "put him down for a nap." He always nursed to sleep for that one. He's pretty good about going to bed, just crawling up with Marc, but occasionally me, and falling asleep when he's tired - but naptime? Forget it. If he's not nursing, he's not napping. And he's most assuredly not nursing anymore. He asked a couple of times last night in his sleep, and I'd let him attempt, and then cut him off after a minute or two. And he didn't ask this morning or at all during the day. He's weaned. He just is, and I'm thrilled. There's a little wistfulness, my baby boy took a pretty major step out of babyhood, but mostly, I'm just psyched about it.

But I could really use an afternoon nap at this point in the pregnancy ;-).

In other news - all is well with the girl child. She's been very busy with her new art kit, making birthday cards for her grandmother, and Merry Christmas cards for her teacher. Tomorrow is the last day of school before vacation and she's thrilled about it. She's so smart and so pretty - and growing up so fast... it's amazing to me that I've got an almost seven year old and am working on having another tiny baby girl. I wonder what they'll be like, how they'll be different from each other, how they'll be the same. I mostly just can't wait to see all three of my kids together. You know that feeling you get when your kids are together? That sense of just... rightness, for lack of a better word. Lately, when I look at Jess and Sam, it feels like my baby girl is missing. She's already such a big part of the family and not even due for another eighteen weeks (it's not like I'm counting or anything)...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Worn out


Sam doesn't throw the temper tantrums that Jess does... he's a much more even tempered sort of child. But when he does... wow. And although I was bragging earlier about how well weaning went - being able to nurse him down from a tantrum was so amazingly useful. I really missed being able to do that today.

The child was grubby. He just was - he needed a bath. He hates baths. For whatever reason - both my kids hate the tub. Jess used to scream so hard about a bath when she was his age, she literally would break out in hives. So when he said he wanted one, I enthusiastically filled the tub, collected the toys and popped him in there. After about ten minutes, he announced he was ready to get out. But he was grubby - his hair needed to be washed, his body needed to be washed, and I couldn't let him get out without washing him.

It was ugly - screaming, yelling, trying to climb out - things were thrown across the bathroom, but his hair was washed, his body had soap applied and rinsed - and I pulled him out. At which point he started screaming - jumping up and down, screaming at the top of his lungs. And it went on and on and on. He begged to nurse, I let him try, but the milk is gone, and it's so painful for me, sucking on dry super sensitive pregnant breasts, I couldn't bear it. It didn't do much more than just let him catch his breath for another bout of screaming. And jumping, and kicking and sobbing.

I was pretty tired before I started, but now am exhausted. He finally calmed down, after I paced around the apartment, holding his naked body up high over my stomach and letting him cry on my shoulder. He picked out his favorite jammies and I managed to distract him with an old cartoon called Fangface. He liked the name, and as far as I can tell, it's an odd version of Scooby Do. Actually, I just leaned back to glance at him in the living room, and the poor kid is sound asleep on the chair. He's so cute I could cry. This is why we don't kill them - because just when they've pushed us to the point where we're about to completely lose our minds, they do something so sweet or adorable, like fall asleep in the chair, all snuggled up with his butt in the air like he's a baby.

I so wish I could go to bed too.

I think it's official - Sam is weaned

I might be jumping the gun a little bit - but think I can safely say that we're almost entirely done nursing. YAY! I'm so proud of going for as long as I have (he's almost three and a half) and so thrilled that we did it peacefully and on terms that we can both live with. He's falling asleep more and more without it, nursing for just a minute or two when he does nurse, not asking for it first thing in the morning, skipping the afternoon nap.

I did it with no family support, and with a lot of disapproval and outright hostility towards it. I did it even when it hurt tremendously, I've nursed in front of rabbis, doctors, on a train, in museums, in a sling while shopping, in food courts, in the park, etc. I nursed for as long as he wanted to - and I'm super proud of that. I didn't night wean, I let him outgrow the need on his own, and it actually worked - he's a great sleeper. I'm so happy. I actually did a little dance last night when he dozed off in the chair instead of crawling up to nurse. I honestly can't remember the last time he asked to nurse, I've offered a few times when I KNOW he needed a nap and it was a quick way to ensure he got it, and will probably do that still when it's necessary. But he's done, really. He's outgrown it - and I'm so proud of him and so happy that I was able to nurse him for as long as he wanted it.

That being said - if this next baby wants to wean at a year, I'm going to be delighted. This weaning process has been really difficult for me, I didn't like being at odds with everyone about my parenting choices, and there were lots of time when I was gritting my teeth and crying with frustration. I'm grateful for Marc because he never once discouraged me from doing what I thought was best, and I know that a big part of Sam's weaning is because Daddy is so much cooler now than Mommy is. And he's more than willing to sit up and snuggle Sam to sleep, instead of letting me handle it - and that's made the weaning process easier. Also have to give props to the baby - because the fact that the milk changed and gradually dried up made it a smoother transition as well. And mostly, I have to thank Sam, for teaching me so much about patience, about parenting, about mothering, and about myself - I'm enormously proud of what we've accomplished, and I certainly wouldn't have chosen this path (I thought toddler nursing was weird, and never wanted to nurse longer than a year). But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can I control the weather???

I think so. My family is mostly a hodge-podge of pagan and wiccan - sure, we've got our vaguely Catholic branches, but my immediate family (specifically my mother) all proudly self-identify as witches and are firm believers in our ability to affect change in our world. Stuff like arranging for a parking space at the mall, or making sure that it's bright and sunny when we've got outdoor plans. I believe profoundly in a divine force that I can connect with - that we are created in God's image and have an immediate and personal relationship with.

That being said... there's a big family party this weekend at my aunt's house, and while I love my family - I'M TIRED. The past couple of weekends (and weeks) have been non-stop running, running, running and I'm just exhausted. I need a day to just... be. To stay in bed and read for a while, catch up on laundry, actually have a conversation (or two) with my husband... and I so wanted to reschedule the party until after Christmas. But I was outvoted, so was going to drag myself up there tomorrow (it's an hour and a half away), even though I REALLY REALLY wanted to stay home.

Lo and behold - we are about to get slammed with 8-16 inches of snow. Now I think I'm magic.

Had our first Hanukkah party last night. For the kids' friends - we let each one invite a buddy, and had some of the parents as well. It was chaotic and loud and fun. I threatened several times (during prep) to never do it again (as children were swinging from the chandelier and screaming with joy), but I think we'll probably make it an annual event.

Going out shopping again today - my last time, I hope. Annie is taking the cherubs and we're going to go out for lunch, pick up something awesome for Sam, get stuff for Becky/Greg, stocking stuffers for the kids, etc.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So so proud of Jessica

She wrote the most detailed sentences out of everyone in her class, on the topic of how much she loves winter - and was chosen to read her paper out loud at todays WinterFest. She's so thrilled with herself, and danced off to school today in her favorite green dress. We bought her a curling iron for Hanukkah (because she's got gorgeous curls, but her hair is so silky and fine that the curls don't stay in her hair). The curling iron worked great, though, because her hair wants to curl, so I actually sprayed a little curl inducer stuff, and put in a bunch of little ringlets - she's so gorgeous. And I'm so proud of her for winning the writing contest - she used her imagination on some of them (for example, wrote about her purple sparkly ice skates she uses at Elm Park, when in fact, she's never been ice skating before :-), and some of them were completely factual (about how she gets cupcakes for breakfast on her birthday). She's so smart, and the best part was that she was so proud of herself for it.

We also got the tree last night - and it's staggeringly small. I have a tiny little space here, and so we needed a little tree, but it's shorter than I am ;-). Jess picked it out (as Sam was sound asleep in the car) and we're going to decorate it tonight. I feel much better about everything now that I've gotten it, like now the holidays can really get going. Hanukkah isn't a big holiday, religion-wise, it's fun, but not all that important, and honestly, after the second or third night, the kids keep forgetting about it. I have to remind them to light the candles each night and get the gift. I wasn't home last night, and they skipped the whole thing because Marc didn't remember either.

I'm very happy about celebrating Christmas this year - the kids are loving the whole thing, and I feel really good about not missing out on this tradition with them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

preschool or not???

This is my dilemma. It's not a big dilemma, and it's not really time sensitive, as I'm not even considering it until next summer at the absolute earliest and more likely, it would be next September. Jess had one year of preschool, the year before she started kindergarten. And she learned a lot, really enjoyed preschool - but repeated the curriculum once she started school and she flat out hated kindergarten. My argument in favor of preschool is that it's good prep for when they start going full time - but when I really think about it - it didn't help Jess at all, she still had a huge adjustment to starting real school, and didn't help her academically, I think it just made her bored, which added to how much she hated it.

Sam is a different kid than Jessica in so many ways. Much more attached to me, simply because I worked, at least part time, for a year or so before Sam, whereas Sam has been with me since the beginning. I've been babysitting for the same two kids since they were all infants, so he's growing up with two best friends, learning to share, how to get along with other kids, getting socialized, etc. Does he need preschool? Would it be worth it for him to go for a year before starting kindergarten? Both my daycare kids will be going off to preschool next year, so there's that weighing in on the side of starting him as well.

The only perk would be that it would force a little separation from me - give him a little independence. Sort of a taste, especially if we go with two or three half days a week - that way maybe the transition to full day kindergarten will be easier for him. I don't want to send him, I don't ever like sending my kids off to school - I still wish most mornings that I had home schooled Jess, even though she's loving first grade. Plus I keep hearing that boys don't thrive in academic settings in the early years, they're sort of designed for a more sedate, calm personality (the stereotypical girl personality), as opposed to the rough and tumble, rambunctious boy that I've got. I've read a lot about parents starting their sons a year late, to give them that extra time to mature and be ready for school.

I don't know... expect many more posts on this as I deliberate :-)

In other news... all is well here. We got Jess the American Girl doll that she's been dying for, and will have it waiting under the tree for her at Christmas. It's killing me to wait - I can't wait to see her face, she's going to be SO thrilled. I think we're going to get Sam the Batman Cave or some sort of big superhero thing (I'm letting Marc pick the boy toys - he's so much more in tune with what Sammy would love). We'll do stockings as well, but that's about it for Christmas. My kids get so much for Hanukkah that I keep Christmas kind of low key. I still love celebrating it, but have to take into account that they are celebrating (and receiving gifts) all month long, and too many gifts is not only foolish, economically, but they don't really value them because they have so much.

Baby is doing great - moving, moving, moving. I'm still all about food aversions - anyone have any great smoothie recipes they want to share? I have a hard time finding stuff that I can actually eat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My son is anti-social, I'm okay with it.

I think a big part of parenting is accepting the children you have, and not trying to force them into the children you wish you had. I would love it if Sam was a social butterfly, delighted to go to parties and be around lots of people, I think his life would be easier. But the fact of the matter is that Sam is an extreme introvert, and really hates big crowds. His immediate reaction to any kind of party is to climb into my lap and beg to go home. He hates having strangers talk to him, doesn't like people he knows paying attention to him when he wants to hide and that's just the way he is.

I can't change that. (Believe me, if I could magically make him be super polite and friendly all the time, I would). What I can do is understand the child he is, and do my best to teach him techniques for surviving in the real world. I don't want to shield him from the world, he's part of a large extended family, on both sides, as well as a busy, active family with three older sisters. He's got to go to parties, and part of life is being around those that you love. We spend a lot of time at parties off to the side, going for short walks and getting away from the action. In the middle of the Hanukkah party at the synagogue, I sat along the wall, away from everyone and read a book while he climbed on the chairs behind me. He was happy, I was happy, and I'm sure most people thought that not only was my son rude and unpleasant, but that I was totally anti-social as well. But the choice was either that, or sitting in the middle of everything with him screaming on my lap.

The thing is, after about an hour or so, if everyone leaves him alone, he'll relax, open up and really enjoy being around everyone. But when we first get there (wherever there happens to be), he's in no mood to talk to anyone. Any attempt to jolly him into talking or playing is met with hostility on his part, and outright embarassment on my part. Because he'll snarl or cry and I can't do anything to stop it. I'm thinking about making a sign "Please just ignore the boy until he talks to you."

Can you tell we spent all weekend at parties? And I'm dead certain that there are a lot of people out there who think I'm a horrible mother because my child is rude and unfriendly - but he's not really - if they'd just give him some time to relax and feel comfortable before swooping in with kisses and hugs, he'd be fine. He is who he is - and he hates parties. I love him exactly as he is, and wish that it were easier for him - but I make no apologies for him. If you don't want to get snarled at, don't talk to him. Leave him alone and let him come to you - he will. He's a bright, beautiful, sunshiney little boy, who loves playing and interacting. He's a lot better than he was, as he gets older, he gets better at being around a lot of people, but he still needs time to scope things out on his terms.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday spirit

I'm getting there. It's somehow harder for me to get into the holidays now that I have kids, I think, because it's so much more work. Dragging down all the stuff, the dreaded shopping, etc... but tomorrow starts the first night of Hanukkah and I'm in the right mode now. I'm going to start my shopping tomorrow, and will do most of it on Saturday. This weekend kicks off non-stop Hanukkah parties and it'll continue right up until next Sunday when I've got my family Christmas party.

I'm feeling delightfully pregnant - my belly is lovely and round and the baby moves pretty much non-stop. I'm still throwing up occasionally, pretty much exhausted all the time, but mostly feel pretty good. I'm really enjoying this pregnancy, especially now that the nausea has mostly passed. I love being pregnant. I love the way I feel as though my entire body is stuffed full of magic - and there's something to be said for feeling so incredibly FEMALE - I am making a whole new person, right at this very moment. And that's not all - I'm still able to nurse my son, providing him with antibodies and nutrition and comfort and love. My body is freaking amazing, and I'm more aware of that now than ever before. As much as I'd LOVE to be done with nursing - I'm secretly really proud of the fact that we've gone this long. I am the nursing QUEEN.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

oh the drama of it all

Don't get me wrong, I love a little drama. A little emotional free for all, a little let it all go and cry your eyes out. I'm big for expressing whatever - the "hokey pokey theory of life" (phrase stolen from One True Theory of Love by Laura Fitzgerald). Whatever you're feeling, be it joy or misery, put your whole self in it.

But my daughter takes it to a whole new extreme. She's been wailing for the for past hour. About what, I'm not entirely sure, I tried to keep track, part of it was that her sisters were not coming over today, then it merged into some nose pain (??), and last I checked it was because her blistex wasn't where she left it. I've given up and just sent her to her room to pull herself together, when she's done crying, she's welcome to come back out. But until then... I just can't do it anymore. She's just crying, and really getting into it, letting the full throated wail and screech come out - and it's making me crazy... I know that this is part of what I love most about Jessie - her ability to feel everything so fully, it's what makes her who she is, and I wouldn't change it. Really. I just like to think about how nice it would be if she'd smile instead of sob on a day like today.

In other news - first snow day of the year. Marc and Sam went outside to clear off the car. And for the first time, I refused to trudge out there to keep an eye on Sam while he did it. He's three, old enough to control himself out there, and he had a wonderful time. I ended up standing outside on the porch anyway, because Sam was nowhere near ready to come in by the time Marc was ready to go to work. I had my boots on barefoot and my winter coat over my nightgown and brought down my book and read while he played in the snow. It was sweet - he's an outside boy - and expressed concern for "his trees" would they be okay in the snow? I assured him that trees LOVE snow, and would be just fine :-)

The baby is moving, moving, moving. A lot, and I love it. Really, really love it. This is my favorite part of the pregnancy, so incredibly worth the first 14 weeks of utter hell :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

So very busy...

I don't feel as though I'm all that busy. I mean, I'm at home pretty much all day, every day. And even though there's the obvious chaos that goes along with having small children in the house, things still feel fairly calm and relaxed much of the time. But I spoke to one of my best friends in the world and she mentioned that she hasn't talked to me lately because she didn't want to bother me, I seem to be so busy all the time. Every time she calls, the kids are yelling or there's something going on... and Marc commented this morning how exhausted he was after such a busy weekend.

Looking back, it wasn't all that busy, but it feels as though we're just doing something constantly. Saturday morning, he got up, brought Jess and Sarah to Hebrew School, came back, picked Sam and I up and we went out for breakfast (which was very sweet, because he was planning on going to services but because Sammy cried so hard when he left, he came back to spend the time with us instead). Then we picked up the girls from Hebrew School, did the dance relay (where we drop one off at the studio and pick the other one up), came home, dropped off me, Sam and Lilli, and took Jessie grocery shopping. Then he picked up Sarah, and we spent the afternoon at home. The girls went home early, because Harrison and Julia were coming over. The kids were here for dinner, and settled down to watch movies around eight thirty or so.

Sunday was equally busy, I guess, Marc went to the Brotherhood Breakfast with his dad at the synagogue in the morning, and I stayed home with the kids. Then he picked up the girls, brought them back here, we made Hanukkah cards for a marine that Marc met thru work, who's stationed up in Alaska. After that, we picked up Jordyn and went to the Hanukkah party for the PJ Library. Which was actually great, and everyone had a really good time. I'm feeling delightfully pregnant now. Sam was, as per usual, miserable at the party for the first hour, but then loosened up and started interacting with people.

Today's a quiet day at home, and I'm looking forward to just relaxing and straightening out the house. Both kids are seriously sleep deprived, so I'm working actively towards an early bedtime with Jess. She's been fighting sleep, really hard, for the past couple of nights and I need to fix that. I've always had no problem getting her to sleep, but now she's bigger and it's becoming more of an issue. I want her to be able to fall asleep on her own, and it's not going well. I'm thinking that maybe getting a sound machine, or a books on tape sort of thing might work well for her, because she falls asleep best when I'm reading out loud to her from one of my books (boring for her, but she likes to listen to something when dozing off).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The December Dilemma

It's an actual dilemma - I didn't make up the name. This whole December/holiday problem comes up every year for families that are interfaith. Not that we're technically interfaith anymore, because the kids and I converted to Judaism earlier this year. But unfortunately - it's still a dilemma.

This morning, Marc and I had our annual battle over the holidays. The worst part is that it's all theoretical - we weren't fighting over whether we'd be celebrating Hanukkah (we are) or if we'd be putting up a tree (we're doing that too). For me, Christmas isn't a religious holiday - but it's still a beautiful one, filled with tradition and peace and goodwill towards men. I have wonderful memories of Christmas as a child. And because we were never really a traditional Catholic family (most of my family would self identify as pagan or wiccan if asked), I don't have any religious associations with it.

But for a Jewish person - someone who was raised Jewish - Christmas does have all sorts of negative religious associations. And it's hard for Marc to compromise. Not that he's not going to compromise, not that he's ever said that I can't get a tree or put up my little nativity scene that my mom made me when I was a kid. But he's not thrilled with it - and I want him to feel better about it. I essentially was fighting with him about the way he feels and not the way he's acting. Because actions - he's great with that. He'll go get me my tree, and let me string up the lights and hang the candy canes. He enthusiastically watches all the Christmas specials with the kids, and will come with me to my mother's house on Christmas Day.

I didn't grow up Jewish, and I'm okay with that. I'm very happy with my spiritual path, the road I've taken to get to where I am, and I wouldn't change that. I don't want to pretend that I didn't celebrate what, for me, is a wonderful, life affirming, joyous time of year - and I don't want to deprive my kids from that. But I AM Jewish - and I don't want to change that either. Left to my own devices, I don't have any conflict with lighting the menorah and making potato latkes and putting up a tree and leaving cookies out for Santa. Because one is spritual, one is a celebration of a miracle, it's a way of bringing light into the darkest time of the year - and one is just fun, pretty lights, candy canes and jingle bells. My kids know the difference - and are able to appreciate each holiday for what it represents to them. I just wish sometimes it was easier for Marc to get there.

It would be easier, I think, if Marc had gone thru a conversion process similiar to the one that I went thru. If he had thought about all of this, figured out what's important to him, what he'll compromise on, what he can't, how he wants to raise the kids, etc. But there's no conversion process for Jews who marry girls who aren't Jewish. And even though I've converted, there are still compromises that he has to make, just because I'm not, nor will I ever be, a person who grew up Jewish. I can't magically erase my past, and more importantly, I don't want to. I don't want to hide who I am and my family's traditions from my kids. I'm perfectly comfortable with being a Jewish woman who celebrates Christmas as well as Hanukkah. I'm very comfortable with the December Dilemma - I worked my way thru it over the past couple of years ago. It's just occuring to me that Marc missed out on that - he missed out on that introspection, that really deep thinking about what our marriage means to him, what it means to raise children with someone of a different background.

We'll survive the December Dilemma - we do every year. And in the end, it's precisely because of who we are that keeps us together. I know that he loves me, exactly as I am, and I know that I feel the same about him. Our children will grow up with a strong Jewish identity - but they're also going to grow up knowing all the words to the 12 Days of Christmas and craving candy canes every December. And that's exactly the way I want it to be.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A boy and his dad

When Sam was about seven months old, he fell in love with his Daddy - and it's a relationship that has only intensified as time passes. Don't get me wrong, this boy loves me - but he WORSHIPS his father. Last night, Marc got home at about seven. Sam is in the process of giving up the afternoon nap, so in theory, he should have been going to bed around seven thirty or eight. But once Daddy got home, Sam was his shadow all night long. First they fixed the dryer together. The thermostat had to be replaced, and Sam got his tools and headed to the laundry room with Daddy. It took about an hour, and Sam was right there, actively hammering away on the thing and feeling oh-so-important. After that, they had a little dinner (Sam's second dinner of the night), played swords and Spiderman on the bed (wrestling and jumping on Daddy) and then took a shower and shaved together (we bought Sam a little kid shaving kit last Christmas, he likes to scrape the soap off his face). Finally, I convinced Marc to come and settle down in the living room with him, and Sam was trying SO hard to stay up with him. He was sitting in the chair next to Marc, and I realized that he was literally falling asleep, his head was starting to nod off. I went over to him and picked him up, and he was asleep before I laid him down :-). So incredibly sweet... but I kind of miss my husband because Sam has been completely monopolizing him :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's working!

I think, as a parent, most of the time, you really don't know if you're doing a good job or not. In fact, being me, most of the time, I'm pretty sure I'm screwing the kids up in ways I can't even imagine yet. But every now and again, I see actual tangible results, and the pleasure I feel is huge.

As many of you know (you know, the three people I know of that actually read this blog), I've been struggling with extended nursing. It wasn't necessarily a path I wanted to walk, but it is the path that Sam has planted himself along, so I'm doing my best to work thru it. It's been really difficult, in terms of family support (non-existant), pregnancy (suffice it to say - remember those first weeks of nursing, when it just hurt and you'd have to do lamaze breathing just to get thru it - that's NOTHING compared to nursing while pregnant). Sam's started skipping his nap (he's almost three and a half, so I guess it had to happen sometime) and (miracle of all miracles) has started falling asleep at night, cuddled up in DADDY'S arms - NOT NURSING. I can actually see the end of the tunnel now - the main nursing sessions that I couldn't talk him out of where nursing to sleep. He still nurses on occasion - but it's nowhere near as frequent, and I think we've at last managed to break the habit of needing it to sleep. THANK GOD! It actually worked - letting him wean on his own DID NOT mean letting him nurse until he was 30, despite what everyone in my family thinks. I'm psyched that we're finally making concrete progress on this matter ;-)

Miss Jess is one of those kids who just doesn't LIKE going to school. Likes school, but doesn't like the process of getting up and dressed and out the door. And many, many mornings, she lobbies to stay home. Claiming an upset stomach, or sore throat, or her ankle hurts (it's random stuff - I know she's just throwing it out there to see if I'll bite). Today was one of those mornings. Complicated by the fact that I actually AM sick - sneezing, coughing, lungs congested, I feel awful. And I was so not up for the fight this morning - because there have been days when Marc has had to drag her out the door, crying and wailing (not that she's not FINE by the time they get there - but I have a drama queen, and she's well aware of how easy it is to make me feel guilty). I just couldn't do it this morning, I didn't feel well enough for the fight - and after about five minutes of it, I called her into the living room, and told her that I knew she wasn't sick, but I didn't feel good enough to fight her on it. So she could stay home - but that going to school was her job, and her responsiblity, and I would be very disappointed if she chose to take advantage of the fact that I was too sick to force her to go. She slammed back into her bedroom, and my heart was sinking - because I knew that she'd choose to stay home. BUT SHE DIDN'T. She came out and asked for help picking out clothes, got herself dressed, ate breakfast and left with an extra hug and I'm so proud of her for making the right decision. It was definitely another moment when I felt like all my struggles to teach her responsibility and compassion were working - when the chips were down, and it was totally up to her, she made the right decision.

It's a good day here - now if I could only take a deep breath without coughing...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not too much going on....

Thanksgiving was lovely - it was actually one of the most peaceful ones I can remember. One of my brothers, I swear to God, makes it his holiday mission to bug the hell out of me. I go down to my mother's the night before to be there bright and early to help make the turkey. And my brother always shows up around eight, and bugs me until he finally goes home to his own house for dinner around noontime. This year, he never showed up, and the day was peaceful and easy and delightful.

We had another Thanksgiving on Saturday, here at the house. Invited friends and family and the turkey turned out wonderfully. This way we have tons of leftovers, and it went so well that we'll do it every year, I think.

Everyone's got a cold here, well, except for Marc, and I think he's coming down with it. It's not a bad cold, but coughing, sneezing and general yuckiness seems to prevail all around. I took some benedryl to bed last night, and feel a LOT better this morning. Jess was home yesterday (she had a dentist appt in the middle of the day, so I didn't bother waking her up and shipping her to school for only a half day), but went to school happily enough this morning.

I was doing dishes this morning (as per usual) and Sam came tearing into the kitchen, devastated that I was "doing his job" without him. He LOVES doing the dishes, and really considers it his responsibility. We do them together, obviously, but he did a great job, and I love that he totally steps up when it comes to household chores :-). I also love that it's my son doing the dishes, and not my daughter. Sam's such a BOY sometimes, I worry that we do a little too much gender stereotyping around here, because Jess is such a girly girl and Sam's so rough and tumble boy-ish. I think it evens things out to have Sam in charge of dishes. Now if I could just get Jess interested in bringing out the trash...

Baby is doing well - moving a LOT and I love it. I'm getting bigger and bigger and it's starting to occur to me that there's no way out now. If that makes any sense... with both Jess and Sam, there was a point in each pregnancy when it suddenly became clear to me that the only way out of this was labor. There's no escape - this baby is definitely real and coming and in a few short months, she'll be here. I can't wait.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful for...

(in no order)

1 - I'm thankful for my husband, Marc. Because I feel more like me when he's there, because there's nobody I'd rather spend time with, because he loves me all the time. Because he's brilliant and strong and the best father I've ever seen. My kids are so incredibly lucky to have him.

2 - My stepdaughters - the gifts I didn't ask for, they came along with their dad and have added so much to my life and to the lives of my children. It's been a joy to watch them grow - they're amazing young women.

3 - My beautiful daughter Jessica Mary - who made my life so complete when she was born. She made me a mom, and I'm amazed and blessed to have been given her as a daughter. She stuffed the turkey all by herself yesterday, made sixteen placemats for everyone there, and I spent all day so incredibly proud to have this child in my life. She's beautiful and kind and sweet and so smart it takes my breath away.

4 - My angel boy Samilicious. The boy I never planned on (for some reason, I always thought I'd have just girls), and the one I can't imagine my life without. Even when I don't understand the fascination with poop and guns and superheros - he's taught me so many lessons about patience and love and I'm so proud of the boy he's coming. He's my big boy now, and even though he'd so much rather hang with Daddy (Daddy's way much cooler than Mommy), he's always going to be my little lovebug, my bestest hugger and my sweet boy.

5 - My tiny little green pepper sized bug - my daughter I haven't met. This pregnancy still seems unreal to me, it's unimaginable that I'm going to be lucky enough to have another child. I dream of you at night, wait for your movements all day and can't wait to hold you. This whole family is waiting with baited breath for your arrival - there has never been a more wanted child in the world.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tandem Nursing

Finally got a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing today and LOVED it. Totally recommend it - I read it in one sitting. Such a relief to read about actual people who have been where I am. It's odd - my family is very pro-nursing, at least in the beginning. I think if I had switched to formula at six months, they would have been fine with it. After a year, they were slightly confused, when he was two, they were slightly horrified and now that he's three and I'm pregnant -forget it, I'm out and out crazy, and the best reaction I get from them is ".... umm, okay, if you want to...." in a tone that makes it clear that they disapprove. I also get a lot of open hostility towards it - and have battled it out too many times. I've simply reached the point where I no longer discuss it with anyone. I love my family - but they really have NO clue about extended nursing.

Sam's three years old - and has never once been on an antibiotic. In fact, with the exception of the two times he was put on a nebulizer for really bad colds, I've never had him in for a sick visit. And he's a talkative, independent, FUN kid - who plays by himself, mixes well with others, and I'm immensely proud of him. And proud of myself for going this far... I certainly never planned on nursing this long, but it's what's worked for Sam. I'm incredibly frustrated that I have virtually no support from anyone re: this.

Nursing while pregnant isn't easy, but I can only tell you that weaning during pregnancy would have been infinitely harder. It's a quick, easy cure for everything, puts him to sleep in minutes, quiets a temper tantrum immediately and fixes bumbs and bruises in seconds. It's also painful - really painful and frustrating and time consuming - but the choice really is clear. Sam's not ready to wean. And I haven't gone this far to wean cold turkey. It wouldn't be fair to him, and it would be incredibly hard for me.

That being said - I still wish he didn't need to nurse. I also wish he was potty trained. And if wishes was all it took - then I'd have the most well behaved, perfect children in the entire world. He'll get there, on his time, and when he's ready. I distract as much as I can, push off whenever it's possible. I don't nurse in public anymore. There's a lot about parenting that isn't what I thought it would be - extended nursing is just one of many things I thought I'd never do. I thought it was icky and weird, only to discover that it's just... natural. It's no more odd than picking him up for a cuddle or getting him a cup of milk or taking him outside to play. It's just one of the many tools that I rely on for parenting.

I don't know that I'll be able to tandem nurse. I don't know that he'll continue nursing thru the pregnancy. He nurses rarely now, just for comfort, really. But one thing I've learned - there's no point in trying to predict anything. Ideally, he'll be done nursing, potty trained, sleeping thru the night in his own bed all the time - but I've got to come to terms with the fact that it might not happen that way. I think we can probably get potty training down - but I'm not going to take away nursing from him until he's ready for it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Duty Distribution

Marc and I very similiar in a LOT of really important ways. We have the same attitudes towards family, academic excellence, intellectual curiousity and we're both really patient and tolerant. We're both pretty social, like to have people over, have a lot of activities, like having a lot of children, etc. But on some levels, we couldn't be more different.

Marc is much more organized than I am. Especially around the house - he does the meal planning, organizes our cabinets and tupperware supplies according to some principal that only he understands. I not only don't understand it, I don't care that much about it. I hate meal planning, am willing to cook whatever he has bought, but hate trying to figure out what to buy. As a rule, when Marc comes home at night, he spends about ten or fifteen minutes puttering around the house, gently reminding me to try to remember to put away the jelly, or make sure the top is on the peanut butter, or to make sure the bread has the little fastener for the bag. Things that just aren't on my radar. On the flipside, he never vacuums, never touches laundry and wouldn't dream of picking up a toy. Just wouldn't occur to him to do it, not that he objects strongly to it, it just isn't on his radar.

One thing that Marc is really crappy at is putting the kids to bed. He's Fun Daddy - and the only way to transition out of that, for him, it seems, is to be Mean Daddy. I know that he could get the kids to bed - his preference would be to literally put them into bed and ignore them until they slept. I don't do that - Jess is just now (at six and a half) at a point where she'll go to bed and fall asleep on her own. I parent them to sleep - and combine sterness, kindness and an absolute conviction that they need to go to sleep, right now, and it works, no tears, no pain, and Jessie, at least, is usually asleep between eight and eight thirty.

I went out last night, to an Education Committee meeting that had been postponed. I missed the e-mail on that, and showed up anyway. And decided to not come home - after all, it was Daddy's night with the kids and I figured the last thing they needed was more time with me. The kids needed this time with Marc, they had been looking forward to it, Marc was looking forward to it, and I just .... wandered. Hit the library, read in the car for a while, wandered around the grocery store by myself for a while... and came home around nine fifteen or so, to be met by a teary eyed six year old who was crying so hard I couldn't understand what she was saying. I didn't even bother to try and sort it out, just dropped the groceries on the table and took her to bed. She fell asleep pretty fast (it was nine thirty!!) and then came out to the living room, fuming, because Sam was still pumped up from playing with Daddy all night and nowhere near ready for bed. Marc went to bed almost immediately, and I sat up with Sam and chilled him out, nursed him a bit, and he dozed off easily enough.

I was thinking that probably each of us are firmly convinced that the other one just has no clue on how to do what the other one does, not only that, but we both are firmly convinced that it's not worth trying to meet the other's standards. I don't care where the cereal goes in the cabinet, or if the tupperware all comes cascading out when I open the cabinet (I like the sense of adventure, honestly - I think it adds a little something to the day). And Marc doesn't really care when the kids go to bed - they were having fun and everything was great. And it probably was - Jess would have been fine, I'm sure, if I hadn't come home for another hour or so, she was just awake enough to know that I was home, and once she saw me, she started crying because she was so overtired. If she hadn't seen me, she would have eventually fallen asleep. Sam was having a blast with Daddy, and if I hadn't come home, Marc would have sat up with him and eventually, he'd have fallen asleep too.

Even though we're so different in the way we handle these things, I think the fact that we still somehow manage to co-exist so happily and so easily is fabulous.

And on the upside, I bet the kids will go to bed super early tonight :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Test results

Negative - which in this case, is a totally positive thing. Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I've got this nagging sense of pushing my luck - I've already got two gorgeous healthy children, am I asking too much to have another? And I didn't know, until I got the results today, how worried I really was.

In other news - I TOTALLY FELT THE BABY MOVE! That popcorn popping sort of sensation, or butterfly wings fluttering - however you describe it - it was real and I felt today for the very first time.

Very happy pregnant girl today ;-)

Not too much to report

Today's kind of a quiet day, and I'm sleepy... Jess was up a lot last night coughing, no fever, and she was fine this morning so I shipped her off to school. Sam slept in this morning, so no nap this afternoon, I'm assuming - which'll actually work out well for me, because Marc is going to the gym tonight.

Anyone have any suggestions on what they'd like me to write about? Any questions or comments - I'm running low on inspiration these days. I think there are a lot more readers than commenters (I'm assuming - what with me getting no comments on most of these posts). You guys have anything in particular you'd like me to write about?

Baby still isn't moving - sometimes I pretend that I might be feeling something, little quivers, but I think I'm just fooling myself. Not quite seventeen weeks, and it's average to feel movement between 18 and 20 weeks, but I'm so ready for it. I feel SO much better though - I heart the second trimester. Sam is doing well - still not potty trained and still not weaned, but getting so much bigger every day that I have to catch my breath sometimes around him, he seems to be growing up so fast! I'm resigning myself to tandem nursing, although still not looking forward to it. Committed to doing what's best for my kids, though, even if it's not what's best for me. And point blank, he's not ready to give it up, and that's okay. I haven't gone this far down the road with him to cut him off cold turkey. Jess is also growing amazingly fast, I'm seeing more and more signs of the grown up girl she's becoming. She's still over the moon excited about a baby sister - I'm really looking forward to watching that relationship flourish.

Waiting anxiously for test results today - I had blood work done, the screening for downs and all the other scary stuff and the results are supposed to be in early this week. Trying to resist calling and bugging the doctor's office, I know they'll call when they get the results, but I want to know NOW.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Every woman should have a Jessica

I was planning on a very lazy night - Marc wasn't coming home tonight after work, going to the gym instead. I was going to order in and go to bed as early as I could get the kids to fall asleep. But then he changed his mind, decided to stay home, and asked if we could go out to eat instead of getting take out. Because I know the kids would love it, and I remember being a kid and LOVING eating at a restaurant, I said okay. But I hadn't showered in... a couple of days, lets say, and knew that I'd have to get cleaned up. So I took a very long, very hot shower, and then got dressed. I have a lot of comfy maternity clothes, leggings, long t-shirts, but no jeans. And I've been wearing leggings for the past 16 weeks, and I'm sick of them.

I dug around in the closet and found a pair of pregnant girl overalls. They look hideous. They have to be a hand me down from someone, because God knows I would never have bought them. But they aren't leggings, and at this point, who cares what I look like, right? At least that's what I was trying to tell myself - because I think I look horrible. I'm clearly pregnant, but still feel like I look fat. Anyway, so I haul these things on, and then went to go change Sam's disgusting diaper (will he ever potty train - I'm beginning to doubt it). I look terrible, and know it, and I trudge out into the living room, disgusted with myself - and Jessie takes one look at me, gasps in wonder, and says "Mommy - those look BEAUTIFUL."

Thank God for Jessica. I wish I'd had her all my life - I could have used this ego boost when I was sixteen :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on the future

Now that I know I'm having another girl - I've found a whole new set of things to think about. Wondering what this little girl's personality is going to be like, how her personality will be influenced by having a big brother as her closest sibling, what it'll be like for her to have three older sisters, what will her relationship with Jessie be like. My own sister is six years younger than I am, with two brothers between us, and I've always had a more maternal relationship with her. Will Jessie fill that role with this baby? My sister obviously liked my mother best - but I was next best when it came to comfort and solace. I remember feeling like babysitters would watch my brothers and I would take care of my sister. I hope for that, for my girls (I really LOVE saying that), in a lot of ways, and in some ways, I'm wondering if that's necessarily a good thing. Is that too much responsibility for Jess? I'll have to watch that - especially because she's already planning on taking over for me with the new baby when I'm busy with Sam.

Jess is very maternal with younger kids - she watches over Sam and takes care of him in the most adorable of ways. Yesterday at the ultrasound, without saying anything to me, she hoisted Sam (he weighs all of five pounds less than she does) up so that he could see the monitor as well. Don't get me wrong - my kids can throw down with the best of them - but there's a level of love and care and attention to each other than I find enchanting - and Jess is definitely the caretaker in that relationship. I'm sure it'll be the same thing, only that much more, with her baby sister (especially because she'll be so much easier to carry around).

My sister really loved being the "baby" and it's a long standing joke in the family, that in my next life, I want to come back as Mandi, because it seems as though it'd be SO much easier to be the youngest. But the truth is that given the choice, I wouldn't trade my place in the family for anything. I do want to be aware of it - the tendency to put more pressure on Jessie because she's my oldest, and the tendency to let the little one skate out of responsibility because she's the baby. Because that's what I know, that's how I grew up, and I don't necessarily want to repeat that whole pattern completely in the next generation. I want Jess to have more freedom, less responsibility, and my little bug to still feel as though she's strong and capable and responsible as well.

She's so excited about having a little sister.

I love my Sammy Boy, and in some ways, he feels almost more precious to me now that I know he's my only son. I wonder what his life will be like, with four sisters. I worry sometimes that we (Marc and I) tend to separate out by gender too much. It's not a conscious thing, and I do believe that there are hard core differences between male and female. Sam worships his dad - just flat out worships him, and follows his lead in all things. He likes to help take out the trash, and fix things around the house, play computer games with Daddy and watch old documentaries on the History channel. With Sam being the only boy now - I want to make sure that we also give him chances to be himself, not just Daddy's Mini Me. He LIKES being Daddy's Mini Me, it's not that we push him in that direction, he just seems to naturally gravitate to whatever it is that Marc likes, in a way that Jess doesn't. It wouldn't occur to Jess to go sit outside and watch while Daddy hits the punching bag - and I want to make sure we don't get to the point where it doesn't occur to us to invite her outside because we assume that she doesn't like doing that kind of thing. Does that make sense?

I'm still absolutely thrilled about having another daughter. My family is girl centered in a lot of ways, very matriach oriented - and there's something glorious for me in the thought of having daughters. I think I'd be equally thrilled with the thought of another boy, just in a different way. Two boys - my boys, I'm kind of sad that it didn't turn out that way. But mostly, I'm just thrilled. Finding out the gender has really made me feel so much more connected to the baby, so much more excited about this pregnancy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's a....

GIRL!

I'm so happy. I think I'd be equally as happy about it being a boy, but finding out the gender makes it seem so much more real to me. I'm carrying a little girl - I'm going to have two daughters and a son. How incredibly perfect. I'm absolutely delighted.

The ultrasound went great - everything looks nice and healthy. The baby is very active, moving all over the place, measurements were great, placenta is lovely. And the tech was more that 90% certain that this is a tiny girl for me. Jessie is, obviously, beyond thrilled and Sam is mostly happy, although a bit bitter because he was hoping for a brother.

I talked to Marc last night about finding out, we had planned on not finding out, because Marc didn't want to. And if he felt strongly against it, I would have gone along, but am so glad that he was okay with me finding out. It's just easier for me to bond. We found out with Jess and didn't with Sam - and with Jess, from the second she was born, it was an immediate bond because I had been waiting to meet my Jessie for months. With Sam, I initially had to get used to having a boy. I loved him from the start, of course, but think that not finding out made it a little tougher to feel that immediate connection.

I can't stop smiling - I'm so happy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is it wrong that I loved this weekend so much?

It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was lovely. We did absolutely nothing, for the most part. Jess stayed home from Hebrew School, Marc didn't want to send her out into the world yet, the fever is gone, but she was still coughing. We didn't have Lilli and Sarah, because we didn't want to unnecessarily expose them if we didn't have to, and plans for Saturday night at my sister's were cancelled due to them coming down with the flu. Friday night, we went out to dinner, Saturday, we lazed around the house most of the day, braving the cold for a while with a brief trip to the park and the library, and then back home. Marc took Sammy to the store to do the grocery shopping, and today - we did absolutely nothing. Watched movies, I read three or four books, Jess finished up her homework and Marc watched the game.

It's odd, because we spend so much of the weekends running all the time - have to get up early, get the girl dressed and off to Hebrew School, picking up Sarah on the way, then rush to drop Sarah off at dance, pick Lilli up from dance, back to pick Sarah up - and then the afternoons are so loud and chaotic with four kids running around the house and screaming. This weekend was so incredibly peaceful and relaxed and easy - I feel guilty because I enjoyed it so much. The kids are both better, Jessie cough has mostly subsided, we're all still sneezing a lot, but everyone is feeling good and it was just so nice to have it just be the four of us.

The morning sickness has really gotten so much better. I'm still really lazy though, no energy whatsoever. I doze a lot more and wish for naps when I don't. The ultrasound is on Wednesday and I'm really, really nervous about it. The baby isn't moving yet, and I spend most of my time (because I'm just laying around mostly) trying to will myself to feel the movement. Even though I think maybe I've felt it a couple of times, it's nothing substantial, nothing real - and it's freaking me out. Especially because I'm not out of my mind sick. Rationally, I know that it's average to feel it closer to 18-20 weeks, and I won't be 16 weeks until Friday - but STILL. I just want to know that the baby is okay and everything is fine.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flu, baby worries, and gratitude

I've had a lot of both this past week. Poor Jess has been home sick with a fever all week, and I've been trapped alone in the house with both kids by myself - and there were definitely times when I didn't handle it well. I'm a yeller - I come from a long line of yellers and it's obvious that my children have inherited (or learned) the tendency to holler when things get tough. I'm making a serious effort to remain calm, to speak softly - but on more than one occasion, I found myself screaming at them for screaming at each other. Which doesn't make any sense, but is certainly loud.

Another thing I've noticed is that they both want to be on me. All the time. Both my kids are cuddlers, thank goodness, and for most of the week, when I sit down, they both come and crawl up beside me. (Leading me to worry about where on earth I'm going to put the baby when it comes, both sides of me are taken). And I've been so grateful, all week long, that I can do that - that I can sit and just cuddle my cherubs and not have to worry about calling in and missing work. I can read to them for hours, or curl up and watch movies, or play on the computer or just talk... and not every mom gets to do that, so I'm thankful for that this week.

I'm fifteen weeks pregnant today - fifteen weeks. That's huge, and so fast. I worry about the baby a lot, this is a tough time in the pregnancy because it's still to early to REALLY feel the baby, the morning sickness (thank God) has faded a lot, and I'm just sort of... hanging in and waiting. Still don't have a girl's name picked out, starting to worry about where I'm going to get the money to pay for what we need (like a bassinette, dresser, clothes, etc...) and where on earth I'm going to put the stuff, once I get it. How the kids will adjust - will Sam be okay giving up the coveted "baby" spot in the family? Will Jessie be okay with my attention being split even more than it is now? Will I ever get my body back? After nursing for three plus years, am I signing up for another three? Sam has cut way down on nursing, but will he start back up again when the new baby comes? How do I give that baby all that I gave to the other two, when I've still got the other two to take care of?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still here taking care of sickos

Not that they're all that sick, but still sick enough to be stuck at home and miserable about it. Jessie's fever was normal this morning, and she's hoping to be well enough to go to school tomorrow. Sam's got a bit of an elevated fever this morning (100.5) and is in a wretched mood, poor thing. I say poor thing because at the moment, he's laying on the couch watching Toy Story and not focusing all of his attention on bothering his sister, which was what he was doing this morning.

I'm definitely ready for healthy kids. It's draining, being at home, basically quarantined. I can't go to the park or the library with them, and even though I haven't been as active lately with the pregnancy, I like knowing that I could be. I feel very trapped and full of cabin fever. I'm desperate for adult interaction, bitter on the nights that Marc isn't here, and eager for the return of healthy, happy children.

Fifteen weeks tomorrow - YAY. Very excited about this, and nervous about the upcoming ultrasound next week. I always worry - what if there's something wrong? The baby isn't moving, not really, I think sometimes I feel it, but it's nothing I can swear is the baby moving. I'm still sick and tired and know intellectually that everything's okay, but.... but, but, but. I always worry.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The dreaded flu

So far, it really hasn't been that bad. Not compared to some of the horror stories that I've heard. Jess came down with it on Sunday, and since we're going on day 4 with a fever, I've got an appointment this afternoon to get her evaluated. Sam is just starting with the fever (actually, right now, Jessie's is 100.5 and Sam's is 100.7). The school has a fever free for 24 hours rule which means she won't be back to school until Friday at the earliest. Monday was, by far, the worst day, and she's been gradually getting better, but can't kick the fever. So far, Sam seems to be fine (other than the low grade fever).

I, however, have been going out of my mind. Major fatigue and lack of energy combined with being trapped in the house alone for days on end has not made for a happy Mommy. It takes a lot out of you - taking care of sick kids when you would so much rather just be laying down somewhere yourself. I think I'm anemic - based on just the fact that it can't be normal to have this little energy. I know I'm pregnant, but this is ridiculous. The nausea is slightly better, I haven't thrown up in a while - but I just feel exhausted and like I'd be better off if everyone would go somewhere, just for a while, and let me sleep.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Having a baby

I've been thinking a lot about my past birth experiences, and what I'd like for this next one. I'll be fifteen weeks pregnant on Friday, and am flat out shocked at how FAST this pregnancy is whipping past me.

Jessica was four days late. I had an ultrasound scheduled for the morning she was born at 10:00, and started having contractions at 6:28. I remember the time specifically because it woke me up :-). I called my sister in law to ask her what these really odd back pains were, because it wasn't like any kind of contraction I had read about. She patiently told me that I was obviously having back labor. I sat in my little rocking chair for the next two hours, writing down every contraction and how long it lasted. It was snowing that morning, and by the time I got Marc up and we drove to the hospital, it was snowing a lot harder. I got my ultrasound, everything looked fine, and they admitted me. Looking back now, I really loved my birth experience with Jess. It hurt, oh my God, it hurt, and I was vomiting with the pain and so scared - but it was beautiful at the same time. I knew I was so close to this thing that I had wanted for so long, and it was quiet and calm with the blizzard raging outside. My mother, thank goodness, was right beside me, coaching me thru breathing. Marc was there, but I really remember my mom. I got the epidural around two-ish, and after that, I got to sleep for a bit. My regular OB wasn't there, so I had a total stranger as my doctor. I got to nine centimeters with no problems, and then stalled out. Jessie started showing signs of distress, and we decided to do a C-section. She was born at 6:32 p.m. I had a little trouble after surgery, couldn't stop shaking, then my blood pressure dropped, and I passed out. Having no memory of it, I can't tell you much about that part of the day - but my mother still gets teary eyed talking about it. Thru the whole experience - I remember the feeling of her hands on my head. Once I woke up, Jess latched on right away, and it was magical and beautiful and amazing.

With my Samilicious - he was six days early. I had gone into the hospital for a routine visit, and was mildly concerned because he didn't seem to be moving as much as I wanted. I went down for an ultrasound, and while I was waiting, I felt my first contraction. Back labor. Again. They were really mild, so I wasn't too worried, especially where Jess had been late, it just didn't occur to me that I was actually going to go into labor. Marc had met me down at the hospital, and I had my Jess right there too. The ultrasound looked fine, and on the elevator ride down from my doctor's office, my water broke. MORTIFYING. Absolutely mortifying. I waddled to the bathroom to check (on what I don't know, I was soaking wet) and called upstairs (my OB's office is at the hospital). The receptionist told me to come back upstairs, so up five floors in the elevator, soaking wet pants, three year old by the hand, only to be met at the door and told that clearly, my water had broken and I should go BACK DOWNSTAIRS to labor and delivery.

My cousin Becky came with her mother, and her mother took Jessie home with her. Labor was great - the contractions were mild, and I was so happy to have gone a little early (July is not a good month to be pregnant in for me). I was apparently a little TOO happy, as my doctor suggested pitocin to get things moving. And moving they were - I went from not too bad at all to OH MY GOD - THIS IS GOING TO KILL ME. I didn't want to rush into the epidural (why?? I don't know) so when the nurse suggested a narcotic, I went with that. That did nothing for the pain, but did make me so confused and disoriented, I couldn't open my eyes and everything hurt and it was awful... I waited another two hours, just laying there and moaning. Becky and Marc were both there with me, but I remember just feeling so alone and hurt and scared. I finally got the epidural - and while they were putting it in, I had sent Becky and Marc to go grab something to eat. Figuring that I'd get a little rest after the epidural - I was only six centimeters dilated at that point. But once the epidural was in, the nurse checked me and I was ten centimeters and she told me to start pushing.

I don't know about most people, and am not sure if this is normal for back labor, but I had no desire to push, no driving biological urge. My contractions were manifesting as massive leg and hip cramps. It was terrifying, my husband and cousin were having dinner, I had no idea how to push, why they thought it was a good idea... it was awful. He was out in twenty minutes, so I must have done something right, but mostly, I think he just burrowed his way out on his own, I had nothing to do with it. That being said, they delivered him right up onto my stomach, and I got to nurse him right away - and that, that was magical.

So what do I want to do this time? I'm definitely going for VBAC, because the recovery time is so much better. And I'm seriously going to start wearing major pads when I'm 38 weeks, just in case. I want to labor at home for a lot longer this time - because I was at the hospital when my water broke, it all started faster than I think it needed to. I'm going to avoid pitocin at all cost - that stuff was horrible - and if I get pain relief, it's going to be straight epidural. But I'm also reading as much as I can about labor and child birth, specifically back labor and how it's different. Twenty five weeks to go!

Trick or Treating



I think Halloween, every year, should be held on the last Saturday of the month. Because that way you've got all afternoon to prepare, nobody has to get out of work early, you can start trick or treating when you want to, you don't care what time they go to bed because nobody has to get up early the next morning, and they've got all day Sunday to eat ridiculous amounts of junk and get it over and done with so you don't have to spend the next week and a half arguing about it.
Jess had the BEST costume - a super cool witch dress and hat with green face paint. She looked fabulous and loved it. Sam, on the other hand, refused to wear any of the three costumes I offered him. I have a pirate costume that he shot down right off the bat, then he wanted a knight costume, which involved a shield and sword he refused to carry, and finally he agreed to wear his trusty Batman costume, only to bail out at the last minute because "it was private" and he didn't want anyone to see it.
Jess is home sick today with a cough and a fever. A little motrin made her all better and I probably should have sent her, but it's always tough to tell, and with a fever... I figured she'd be better off home for the day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

There's nothing good to eat

At all. Anywhere. I can think of nothing appealing. I don't have any cravings, exactly. I went thru a couple of weeks when all I ate was frozen mint milano cookies, then suddenly, those were repulsive and I couldn't even think about them without wanting to vomit. Did the same thing with mandarin oranges, and then with onion bagels. Now I'm done with onion bagels and there's literally nothing in the world that even remotely sounds like I might want to eat it. And the nausea is building, and it's only going to get worse until I solve this.

I think a hamburger pizza might work. I'm going to try that for lunch. Of course, that's more of a one-shot deal, so I'm going to be faced with this same dilemma later on this afternoon...

In other news... not too much going on. Various family dramas bubbling up all over the place, on both sides, but so far, I've managed to stay disengaged. For the most part. Halloween this weekend - Jess is going as a witch - she's got the cutest costume and green face paint so she'll be suitably spooky. Sam's got a sword and a shield (that I'll end up carrying, I'm sure) and is planning on being a knight. Sam's not a kid who thrives on attention from strangers, and if there wasn't candy involved, I'm sure he'd flat out refuse to participate in the whole thing. Ironically, he doesn't like candy - he likes unwrapping it and then licks it and puts it down somewhere for me to find (hopefully before it melts into a disgusting mess) at some point later.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm the worst mother in the world

Just ask Jess. She'll tell you.

They say parenting isn't easy. And when they say that, it's not just because of the beginning, the nights of endless nursing, the ear infections, the fevers, the crying, the terrible twos. It's because sometimes you have to intentionally make your kids miserable because making them happy would teach them the exact opposite of what you need for them to know. For example, allowing Jess to push aside dinner in favor of ice cream would not be a bright move. Further making her miserable by depriving her of all dessert because of the attitude that ensued when I didn't give her the ice cream is what earned me the title of the worst mother EVER. She's in her room right now, crying about how much she hates me. Or the situation - I don't think she's actually saying 'I hate her' I think she's saying "I hate it." Not that makes me feel any better...

Because I really struggle with this - I want my kids to be happy. It's not that I want to indulge them, it's that I hate having to on purpose make them miserable. I do it, and I know it's the right thing to do, and maybe she'll walk away from this knowing that lashing out with screaming and crying isn't her best choice when it comes to negotiating. Maybe she'll learn a little self control, a little respect... but it's still an awful feeling to know that your child is miserable and it's entirely your fault.

In other news - Marc's co-worker was hospitalized with swine flu this weekend. He works in a small office and now I'm a little freaked out. This was a healthy guy - hospitalized with a really high fever and hallucinations. My OB has finally gotten the vaccine in and I have an appt on Wednesday to get my immunization. But the pediatrician and Marc's primary have no idea when the vaccine will be available for the kids or for my diabetic husband. I don't normally rush to get the flu shot, some years I get it, some years I don't, and if it works out that I'm at the doctor with the kids during flu season, they get the vaccine, but I know they haven't every year. This H1N1 flu is freaking me out, because every morning on the news they tell me how critical it is that pregnant women and small children need to get it.

Salem and Pumpkin Carving



Friday night - I went to Salem with the girls in my family. Not all of them, but there were 12 of us altogether and it was fabulous. Three of my aunts, my mother, my sister and two stepsister and two cousins. We had two side by side hotel rooms and just really loved every minute of it. My cousin Becky and I were the middle ones - with older aunts and the other four girls were all at least six years younger than we were. Becky and I are just exceptionally close - she's my best friend, and it was awesome to spend that much time with the women in my family. And SAM DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE I WAS GONE. Well, I'm sure he noticed, but he didn't fuss once, had a great night, fell asleep on Marc's lap, slept thru the night, and was sunshiney happy the next day.

We all got readings done (because that's what you do when you go to Salem). Mine was a little... off, she first started off with I wasn't married (which I am), then decided that we're obviously going thru a rough patch (which we aren't). She talked about the kids - and ascribed character traits to both that belonged to the other (that Sam was an intense child, thoughtful and worried a lot, and that Jess was smooth sailing and calm all the time), but it was still fun. We had dinner in an Irish bar, which involved a lot of stepdancing and hollering with the band.

Pumpkin carving on Sunday was a fiasco - too many kids, WAY too much screaming and yelling and crying... I was sick to my stomach (spoke too soon on the morning sickness going away) and ended up taking some Reglan. This promptly put me to sleep, which meant that poor Marc had to carve four pumpkins by himself. They came out great - and the kids had fun in the end, so that's what matters, right?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wait - hold on, I actually feel... okay :-)

I feel as though a fog is officially lifting - I think that I'm entering the second trimester - time of glory and sunshine. I felt REALLY good yesterday - still sick when I didn't eat, but actual whole hours when I felt like myself, I got a TON of stuff done around the house, and am really hoping that this trend continues. It's been a rough 12 weeks. Really rough, way tougher than my other pregnancies. I'm not sure if it was worse because I'm older now, if it's that I'm home and able to really just feel like crap as opposed to being distracted, or if it's that I'm running around after a million other children - probably a combo of all of it. But I feel AMAZING this morning - and I know it's just because I have a feeling that I'm going to feel okay physically all day long. I want to take the boys for a walk, it's gorgeous out today, I want to organize all the jackets, finish all the laundry, make a delightful dinner for everyone.

I worry - the ONLY perk to feeling awful was that I knew that the pregnancy was okay. But I've seen the heartbeat on ultrasound, heard it in the office, I'm thirteen weeks tomorrow, and I know that my chances of miscarriage are so low. Plus I do still feel pregnant. I have to eat every couple of hours or get really sick to my stomach again - but it's a HUGE and DRAMATIC improvement over the past three months.

I would not do well with a chronic illness. I know I've been grumpy and hostile at times (most of the time, if you listen to extended family members), and I'm not going to apologize for that (because most of the time, there was an amazing effort on my part to be as nice as I was). But I have to give major kudos to my wonderful husband Marc - who, never, not once, hinted that I was perhaps a bit grumpier than I should have been. Never was anything other than kind and loving and sweet and nurturing. Rubbed my back when I vomited, told me how pretty I was. He was, hands down, AWESOME - and out of everyone in my life, the best source of support and comfort during the last three months - thank you, honey - I don't think I could have made it without you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wow - morning sickness

I feel like I post about this a lot - but really, it's most of my life these days... I feel almost newly pregnant today, unbelievably nauseated and sick to my stomach. Everything smells wretched and so strong and I dream of sleep. Fantasize about it, crawling into bed by myself, snuggling down into the blankets and just... sleeping. For hours. I can't eat much, swallowing the anti-nausea meds this morning was incredibly difficult because I immediately started gagging and choking on this tiny little pill. Isn't it supposed to ease up as I get to the end of the first trimester??

Jess cried this morning on the way to school... I hate that. Even though she's so much better this year, I have such negative associations from last year. We just overslept this morning, and had to rush a bit - but she didn't want to go, and cried. I feel so awful for her. Plus then I spend all day thinking of her little face, so sad and miserable...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Freedom of Speech - and why am I so horrified?

Was it Winston Churchill who said if you weren't a liberal at 18, you had no heart, and if you weren't conservative at 30, you had no brain? I can't remember the exact quote, but something happened today that really shocked me and made me rethink a whole bunch of things.

I'm a library girl - I LOVE the library. I'm a book addict - I read CONSTANTLY. I'm usually in the middle of two or three books (right now I'm rereading Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and a new book about the relationship between sisters (fascinating). Anyway - so I take out between twenty and twenty five books a week. I take the kids there a lot - I think the best way to encourage the kids to read is to constantly feed the addiction - so they've always got lots of new kids books to read. The girls (Sarah and Jess) were at Hebrew School (which is an important detail for the rest of the story) and Lilli was at dance class. Marc was going to drop me off, and then come back after picking all the kids up and meet me there.

We pulled up in front of the library, and there was a guy standing there, with a huge sign, proclaiming his firm conviction that Israel was responsible for 9/11. I was shocked. Just... shocked. Marc was FURIOUS. Got out the car and confronted him, ended up chasing him away (we saw him later on in the afternoon standing in a different part of town). I was just speechless. I've got kids. Kids who read. Kids who go to Hebrew School - and there was every chance that I would have gone down to the library, parked the car and led them right past that sign. If things had been slightly different this morning, I wouldn't have seen the sign until after I parked the car, got my (Jewish) kids out of the car and walked down to the library.

It just brought up a WHOLE bunch of issues that I'm still trying to work my way thru. I always believed in freedom of speech - I mean, who doesn't? Right? We love freedom of speech - it's like apple pie and baseball. But what if it's YOUR kids who are being attacked? Because Israel really means the Jewish people - and that's what my kids would have read it as. How do I explain that to them? How is it okay that they would have to see that - on their way into the library? What does that say about the world that I live in? The world I'm raising my children in? I feel vulnerable in a way that I've never felt before, I feel attacked in a way that's completely unfamiliar to me. I wasn't raised Jewish - I didn't grow up as part of a hated minority. Marc wasn't shocked by the protestor, unbelievably furious, but not shocked. I haven't moved past the shock yet.

The library is one of my all time favorite places in the whole world - it's where the books live. It's knowledge and rest and comfort - it's awesome - I love the library. Now I'm afraid to go back. I'm afraid in a way that feels wrong and scary and unsafe. There are really people out there like that? People who hate me and my kids that much? Really? And they walk around, looking all normal and friendly, but holding signs that terrify me.

Do I still believe in free speech? I think so, but I've never questioned it as much as I have in the past six or seven hours. Do I believe that my children should suffer because of some ignorant bigot's right to spew hatred? Do I believe that I should have to explain to them why this man hates them so much? Should I explain that? Do I want them to grow up afraid? Aware that there are people who believe that they are evil because their last name is Cohen? And if I don't - if I try to protect them from that, to shield them from that - do I run the risk of having them feel the way I do now? Unsure and afraid and violated and threatened? How do I explain this to my children when I can't explain it to myself?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Infomercials

Sam's got a thing for infomercials. Actually, Sam's got a thing for his Daddy - and Marc is amused by Vince, the spokesman for the Slap Chop and the Sham Wow. My mother got the slap chop and my sister got the sham wow, and they were both so charmed by Sam's obvious joy in these products that they promptly handed them over for him to take home. Not that we let him HAVE the slap chop - but he does help me use it :-). Anyway, today, he came into the dining room and said "Mommy, where be the sham wow?" I handed it to him, and he walked away from me muttering "I tink dis'll come in handy." He's so funny - and luckily adorable enough so that when I discovered that it actually came in handy because he had upended a glass of chocolate milk all over the floor, all I did was agree that the sham wow really was a handy thing to have around ;-).

Waiting for the girls to come home, and thankfully the heat just turned on - which helped my bread rise. I'm making a big Shabbat dinner tonight - and my goal is to actually have it ready and waiting for when Marc gets home from work. For the past couple of months, poor Marc has been coming home and having to assemble the whole thing - I get all the food mostly ready and then collapse on the couch, too tired and too sick to finish. My goal tonight? Table set, candles ready to be lit, food on the table waiting.

12 WEEKS TODAY. Very happy about that. I feel like now that I've reached 12 weeks, I'm safe. And I feel better - not great, not 100%, and definitely still pregnant, but in between the nausea and the fatigue, there are little burts of energy. Occasionally, I'm even productive - for example, yesterday, I vacuumed. Folded laundry, even. House is still in shambles most of the time, and that's troubling to me - but it's getting better. And the second trimester - that's my favorite. Actually, the third is really my favorite - when I'm all big and the baby's kicking away and I'm getting everything ready and so excited...

Starting to panic a little bit about bringing a baby home - wondering how Sam's going to make it while I'm in the hospital. I LOVE being in the hospital - which I know puts me in a minority of pregnant women. But what's not to love? Nurses on call, qualified to watch your baby while you sleep, they bring you food, people come visit and hang out, and I get to laze in bed and adore the new baby. Everything's right there, everyone's ready to help - I don't have to break up fights, or pick up toys - I just get to be Mommy of this tiny little baby. It's great. And I'm telling myself that Jess was FINE while I was in the hospital, and Sam'll actually be about three months older than she was, and he'll be fine too. But hey, I've got another 28 weeks to freak about it - no need to do it all right now :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mental Health Day and 12 Week checkup

Called a mental health day today for Miss Jessica. She's missed only one day so far, when she was sick, and quite honestly, I think she just needed a quiet day when she's sitting at home, with no other older girls here, just relaxing, reading, watching television. Even though she only had four days this week, the weekend was just insane with constant activity. She's been coming home from school and having massive temper tantrums the past two days, plus it's been difficult to wake her up, and she's been complaining of a variety of different maladies (sore throat, upset stomach, sore knee, her bug bites hurt, etc). She's very happy at the moment, in her Hannah Montana jammies, her hair a wreck, and I made homemade corn muffins for her.

In other news, I have a bunch of housework type stuff to do - switching over Jessie's summer stuff to winter, figuring out if I have any mittens and hats left over from last year, vacuuming and mopping and scrubbing. I'm so wiped out all the time, a lot of the stuff has been woefully neglected as of late. But I'm momentarily energetic, so am going to do what I can before I decide that it's time to lay down and read.

Had my 12 week check up yesterday and heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I LOVE my OB appointments. I saw the same mid-wife when I was pregnant with Sam, and for every appointment, I brought a three year old Jessica. Bringing Sam is so much fun - he's so interested in all of it ("why you pee in a cup, Mama?"). The hospital is gorgeous, with a huge atruim and waterfall that he can throw pennies into, and the lab techs always give him two stickers when they draw my blood (which they do with alarming regularity - I've had it done twice so far, and have more bloodwork scheduled for the next appt). My next appt will be the 16 week one, and I get the super big ultrasound. We aren't going to find out the sex, Marc doesn't want to know, and since I'm totally not giving him a vote on the baby's name, I let him win this one ;-). I'm torn on wanting one sex or another - I want both for different reasons. I think it'd be great for Sam to have a brother, we have a really female dominated family, and another boy would be great for Sammy. But a girl... I love the thought of Jessie having a sister (not that she doesn't already have two sisters - but I'd like to have two daughters that are all mine - a sister she can share her whole life with, as opposed to just every weekend). Plus little girl clothes are cuter.