Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh - the itching....

Forgive me, I know. I know that I'm blessed and so incredibly fortunate to be pregnant - and I truly can't wait to hold this baby in my arms, entirely for her own sake, and not just because when I can hold her, I won't be pregnant any more. I even like a lot of being pregnant - I like having a big ole belly, I like the extra attention, the smiles from strangers. I love feeling her move - and I flat out adore babies, so I'm very excited about having another one.

But OH MY GOSH - this itching is making me crazy. I thought it was just dry skin at first, but I'm lotioning (is that a verb?) like mad and it makes no difference. I'm taking benedryl - which just makes me delightfully sleepy, and doesn't help with the itch at all. I'm sitting here at the computer, shifting and moving and trying desperately not to scratch, because once I start, I can't stop - and then scratch like a lunatic until I cry. It's ugly.

I'm waiting to hear back on bloodwork to rule out some sort of liver disorder that results in too much bile and the main symptom is crazy itching. It's super rare, and my doctor told me that I probably don't have it, and even if I do, worst case scenario, they'll just induce me early because carrying the baby to term would be dangerous. He also recommended that I take benedryl at night especially to help me sleep, and try to avoid googling to get more information because I'll just scare the hell out myself. (I googled like mad all day yesterday and am sufficiently freaked out.)

In other news... all is well here. Sam is still not nursing and I'm getting used to it. He asks once in a while, but mostly when he's half asleep or just waking up. He's definitely a boob man though - he likes to lay on them for pillows, and kiss my shirt goodnight. To him, a breast is no more private or special than my arm (which he also likes to kiss). Jessie and I are going to finish up Harry Potter tonight - and I'm so excited about it. I was afraid she'd lose interest, but she asked for it every night, and talks about it all the time. This has really inspired her to really like reading - she liked it before, but this is the first "grown up" book she's read, or rather, that we've read to her. I like to think it's the first of many... if I can get my kids to love reading, I know that I'll feel like I've done my job :-)

Just another day in paradise

Much to discuss - overwhelming itching and fatigue, freaking myself out about rare liver disorder that will result in delivery of baby four weeks early. Not that I have this - but there's nothing like the internet for self diagnosis...

I was on my way to the doctor's today (for bloodwork to rule out rare and complicated liver disorder) and was listening to the radio - and started crying, listening to my favorite Phil Vassar song. My musical tastes stopped developing right around the same time Jess was born (coincidence? I think not) and that song always makes me smile. It does not generally reduce me to tears - but mix in a little pregnancy hormones, plus lack of sleep, and it's all me, sobbing my way down Main Street, trying to find the right street for the hospital...

Because this - more than anything - is my song.

Just Another Day In Paradise lyrics

The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills - overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk's gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don't kick it.I promise I'll fix it
Long about a million other things

Well, it's ok. It's so nice
It's just another day in paradise
Well, there's no place thatI'd rather be
Well, it's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Friday, you're late
Guess we'll never make our dinner date
At the restaurant you start to cry
Baby, we'll just improvise
Well, plan B looks like
Dominoes' pizza in the candle light
Then we'll tippy toe to our room
Make a little love that's overdue
But somebody had a bad dream
Mama and daddy
Can me and my teddy
Come in to sleep in between?
Yeah it's ok. It's so nice.
It's just another day in paradise.
Well, there's no place that
I'd rather be

Well, it's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Well, it's ok. It's so nice.
It's just another day in paradise.
Well, there's no place that
I'd rather be
Two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the lord every night
For just another day in paradise
For just another day in paradise

Well, it's the kids screaming.
The phone ringing
Just another day
Well, it's Friday. You're late
Oh yeah, it's just another day in paradise

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bedtime routine

I know I've posted on this before - but I'm still confused by Sam's bedtime routine. I've tried to be more consistent with it, but it's strictly for my own comfort, because he certainly doesn't need any help with it. He just goes until he's done, then lays down and sleeps for 12 hours.

Jessie, to this day, still requires a routine. Teeth, pee it out, stories, and even then, it's difficult for her to fall asleep. I can relate to that - because I do the same thing. I have to read myself to sleep, literally until my eyelids are too heavy and then I have to coax myself to sleep. I need total darkness, no noise. Marc, on the other hand, simply decides to go to sleep, and does. Bright daylight, television on, kids screaming - doesn't matter, he decides to go to sleep and is asleep minutes later.

Sam is like Marc. He just hangs out with us until he's done, and then lays down and within minutes, is snoring. And I keep thinking that I'm somehow neglecting him. Despite the fact that he doesn't require, or want, for that matter, any more involvement on my part. Stories are okay, if he's in the mood, lullabies do nothing for him. He just dances around, and then lays down and sleeps. Even as a baby, he was always super easy to put down for a nap. He's the only kid I've ever known to freely acknowlege that he wanted to sleep, and then he'd go to sleep. It's not something to fight for him, it's just a simple fact of life. When he's tired, he sleeps. It's not that mysterious, but I'm still baffled by it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Itchy, so very itchy...

Wow - I really wish there was another adult here, because I really need to slather my back in lotion and quite honestly, I don't think Sam's up to the task...

Had a delightful birthday - my wonderful husband actually planned a surprise party for Sunday and all of my favorite family and friends bounced in and woke me up from my nap on Sunday afternoon :-). I had no idea, but it was wonderful. Then we went out to dinner, just the two of us, and had so much fun. Sometimes, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Marc and I are married, and have a unique relationship independent of being Mommy and Daddy. So it was especially nice to go out to dinner, just by ourselves and sort of reaquaint ourselves with that.

Seriously - I'm ready to jump out of my skin, I'm so freaking itchy. I just lotioned everything I can reach and am still so uncomfortable I can't sit still. I'm wearing actual clothes, maternity jeans, a camisole and pretty top - and I'm usually in comfy cotton pants and big t-shirts. I tried to get dressed like a big girl - but the plain grubby cotton stuff is what's most comfortable...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pregnancy update

Would you believe that I'm seven months pregnant? According to the Baby Book by the Sears, anyway. I was thinking six, but nope - turns out I'm officially seven months along, and delighted about it.

I cried yesterday afternoon, on Marc's shoulders... sobbing that I just didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I was tired of feeling sick all the time, tired of hobbling around, moaning in pain because of the sciatica. I've outgrown a lot of my favorite maternity clothes already, and everything hurts - I'm emotional as can be, prone to tears at random times. No energy... winter is not a fun time for me to be pregnant. I really think if I could get outside and be more active, it'd be better, but it's so icy out there, I'm afraid of falling and hurting myself. It's hard, because everytime I feel sorry for myself about suffering thru all the aches and pains of pregnancy, I then yell at myself for not feeling grateful, especially where one of my favorite people in the world is trying so hard to get pregnant - and would kill to be where I am. Then I feel crappy, sick, sore, and guilty. It's a vicious cycle. But I realized yesterday that even though I'm so happy about this baby, and so excited about her arrival - that doesn't mean that this pregnancy is blissful, and it's okay to occasionally feel sorry for myself. It doesn't mean that I'm ungrateful or unaware of how incredibly blessed and lucky I am. It just means that sometimes, pregnancy is wicked freaking hard. And being sore and sick and tired and achy for months on end is enough to drive anyone a little over the edge at times.

Today's much better though, I'm starting to feel a real sense of impatience. I'm READY for the baby... I'm eager to have her HERE. I keep picturing her here with us, curled up in my arms nursing while I'm reading, or sitting with Sam.

Speaking of Sam... I'm doing a LOT of prep work to get him ready for the new baby. I got the books by the Sears, What Baby Needs and something else, something about what happens when Mommy is pregnant. He's pretty freaked out at the prospect of me being in the hospital for a couple of days, this really bothers him, but I keep talking about it in the most positive of terms. I'm also mildly concerned that he's going to be really freaked out at the time and care that a baby is going to demand from me - he's been my baby for a long time, and pushing him out of that spot might be rough. But I think he's mostly ready. It helps a lot that this is my third, and I've been thru this before. My greatest fear, when I was pregnant with Sam, was that Jessie was going to be miserable, feel as though we'd ruined her life and feel unloved and pushed aside. And really - she handled it so well that I'm a lot more optimistic about how Sam's going to handle this one. It helps a lot that he's given up nursing on his own, I feel as though that's a real sign that he's not a baby anymore and will deal with having a new little one with no problem. With any luck.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday freakout

I do this every Friday - plan a thousand things and then don't have the desire to do any of it. Kept Jess home today to bring her to the dentist, which is so NOT fun for me. I'm terrified of the dentist, really, and keeping that fear from her, and watching her lay there and sob while they hurt her again and again (she got a cavity filled) is incredibly difficult.

Now I'm home, with fifteen minutes to kill before I have to go pick up Marc, then go get the other girls from school, come back home, cook dinner, clean the house and have a lovely Shabbat dinner.

I'm super tired - which is pretty normal for me these days. I've been dealing with a couple of garden variety pregnancy complaints, sciatica, leg cramps, general nausea and fatigue. Kids are both well, Jess is LOVING her day off from school. I could have sent her this morning and dropped her off afterwards, but life is short, and why not give her a day off once in a while? She's been doing so well on our new program in the mornings, she hasn't asked to stay home in weeks.

Sam's thriving as well. Not potty trained at all, but that doesn't bother me, honestly. I think I'm just used to changing diapers, and he's got NO desire to start using the potty. Jessie didn't train until a couple of months after Sam was born, so the thought of having two in diapers is no big deal to me. I'm starting to sense a little more peer pressure on this one - now that he's done nursing, the only thing left to yell at me about is potty training. Oh, and the co-sleeping thing, but I keep that pretty well under wraps :-). He'll grow up soon enough, using the potty and sleeping in his own bed, so I'm just trying to enjoy this time while it lasts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quality time with Jess and why I feel guilty about Sam

Yesterday was observation day at dance class. Jessie has been going to dance class since she was two, and every year, one day in January, they let parents/grandparents in to watch their kids' class. My friend Sara took Sam home with her yesterday afternoon, so it was just me and Jess (and my in-laws) and it was wonderful. She's so gorgeous and so grown up, I still catch my breath sometimes with utter amazement that I'm lucky enough to have her. I cry every year at observation day, and yesterday was no exception. She's so perfect, so uniquely Jessie, and I fall a little bit more in love with her every time I watch her dance. The baby girl bounced along with her, she was so active! Especially during the tap shoe portion of the class, it was like she was bopping along with her big sister :-)
After we got home (I took her to McDonalds for dinner, alone time with Mommy and fast food - special treat :-), I started the going to bed ritual. She likes to have some time putting the babies to bed (she has thirteen or so dolls that all require a great deal of attention) and then we do jammies, teeth, a chapter from Harry Potter, and then she reads herself to sleep.
Sam, meanwhile, has no bedtime routine whatsoever. He just rocks and rolls until he crashes. I feel as though he's getting the shaft as the second child - I was much more structured with Jess at that age. Most nights, we do teeth, but not last night. Marc is more involved in Sam's bedtime routine (a hold over from me desperately trying to wean him) and he's completely fine with it as it is. Sam goes to sleep when he's tired. And until then, he's up partying like a rock star. Last night, he spent a half hour rearranging his stuffed animals (or as we call them, his people) behind and on top of me while I moaned on the couch (I was SO ITCHY), and then laid down and fell asleep.
He sleeps great thru the night (far better than Jessie did at that age, or now, come to think of it). Sam's been great at sleeping from the very beginning. When he's tired, he just goes to sleep. I don't know why I think it's so amazing, it makes sense, but Jess was never like that, and I'm not like that. Falling asleep is a PROCESS for both of us - Jessie, even as a baby, used to fight sleep. She'd cry herself to sleep, every night, in my arms, until she'd finally consent to nurse. And she really seemed to thrive under a routine, it calmed her down and got her in a good sleeping place, and even then, at least half the time, she'd still fight falling asleep. Whereas Sam, he's just a different kid. He goes to sleep when he's tired. Doesn't matter what's going on, he'll conk out on the chair, on the couch, even on the floor sometimes.
I think I feel guilty because Jessie's bedtime has always been so much work. It was parenting, it was something I had to participate in, I felt like I was being a good mom by putting my child to bed with snuggles and songs and love. Sam's bedtime, especially now that he's not nursing, requires nothing from me, and any attempt to insert myself into the process is pointless. I tried to read to him last night and he COULD NOT SIT STILL. He was just bouncy, had no interest in the book (that he'd picked out) and just wanted to boogie. Left to his own devices, he just goes until he's done, and then lays down and sleeps. He doesn't like lullabies, he'll snuggle, sure, but doesn't really need it, and while I can occasionally coax him to sit and read, it's not something he wants or will even sit still for consistently.
Marc says I'm creating a problem where one doesn't exist. Sam's perfectly content, getting plenty of sleep, has all the attention he wants or needs, and I shouldn't feel guilty because he can put himself to sleep when he's tired. After all, isn't that a good thing? Going to sleep when he's tired. He doesn't fight it, he doesn't need to be coaxed down to sleep, he's more than content to just crash when he's ready. Having a child that just doesn't seem to need the nighttime parenting isn't necessarily something to worry about, right? It's not like he's in preschool and NEEDS to wake up at a certain time, and there are mornings when he'll sleep in until nine or nine thirty. If he needs the sleep, he finds a way to get it. And he'd just as soon do it without my involvement.
Maybe it's just me - I suppose I shouldn't feel guilty, like I'm giving him less of me, because he could have it if he wanted it. I would love to snuggle him to sleep, with lullabies and stories... and I shouldn't complain - because for three and a half years, he needed me to nurse him to sleep. He's outgrown me, and that need. That's a good thing, right? I'm thrilled about not nursing him, but feel bad that he's outgrown the need for me at bed. I'd feel better if he had transitioned to needing stories and songs - instead he skipped that and moved directly to "don't bother me, Mama, I'm going to sleep when I'm ready." If it's not broke, don't fix it - at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Wednesday

All is delightful in my world at the moment. A little nausea, but the baby girl is bopping around in there. I think it's honestly making the nausea worse, but I always like to feel her move, so I'm not complaining. Actually, I am - but not in a real way, more commenting.

Stayed up late last night watching the election. I love elections. Just flat out love them. I like the race up to it, I like voting, I like watching the returns. And felt extra special last night because we live in Massachusetts and got to vote in such an important election. The kids, Marc, and I all went to vote together, and then came home. I started to get the kids ready for bed, read Jess a little more of Harry Potter (she's loving that) and then we all sat in the living room and watched the results come in. I love thinking of the kids having those memories growing up - that voting is important, taking an interest in your country's government is an obligation and how lucky they are to be able to have the right to vote.

In other news... not too much going on. We've got birthdays coming up soon - my mother's is on Sunday, mine is on Monday and my baby girl will turn seven on Feb. 7. This Saturday, Jessie, Mom and I are heading out for our day of indulgence - every year, we go out for mani/pedis and lunch to celebrate our birthdays together :-). Can't wait...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert Parker has died...

I love to read. Love it. I have the best memories of my second grade teacher, who used to let me go to the school library when I finished in class early and take out more books. I used to read while walking home from school, it was my go to leisure activity. I'm the oldest of four, and learned early that by picking up a book, I could take myself out of whatever family crisis I was going thru (and with my family - there was always one), and it's still the easiest, fastest way for me to calm down. I always have at least two or three books that I'm reading (right now I'm working on Blessings of a Skinned Knee and Nuture Shock, both fascinating, and finished up the Harry Potter series last night).

I found the Spenser novels at a yard sale, someone was selling old paperbacks for ten cents, when I was in high school. I LOVED them. Quick, easy reads, well written, great character development - I bought probably ten or fifteen of them, and then went out and found the rest of the series. I followed Spenser from that point on, and was still eagerly waiting for the next installment. I loved his Sunny Randall series, the Jesse Stone series. I'm so sad about his death. He's one of the authors that I'll reread again and again, so incredibly talented...

Monday, January 18, 2010

nighttime parenting

First, let me say that, for the record, when one of my kids is puking in the middle of the night - I want my husband beside me. He's freaking fabulous with puke. We have a system, a routine, a carefully choreographed dance that we've worked over the past seven years of dealing with nighttime pukers and I wouldn't have it any other way.

But other than that, really, I'd rather he just pretend to sleep thru it.

Sam had a rough night last night - for no specific reason, he just did. He doesn't usually wake up in the middle of the night, he's, for example, more consistent about sleeping thru the night than his almost seven year old sister. But last night, he woke up and was crying and crying. He was very upset, about a whole host of different issues (because when you're three and a half, there are lots of things that bother you, apparently). He wanted to nurse, he was upset about not getting play time in with Daddy earlier, he wanted his big sister Sarah, he was just upset. It was one in the morning, and he was up and crying.

I like nighttime parenting. I like the intimacy of it, I like snuggling with my kids and making it all better. I love holding a sleeping baby/child, and I like being able to make it all better with a kiss. Sometimes it takes a little while, like it did last night, but I don't mind. Especially with Sam, because it's so rare for him to wake up. I figure sometimes he just needs a little extra love and am content to work my way thru it until he calms down enough to go to sleep.

Marc, however, is not a nighttime parenting guy. This is fine, and may well be his adaptation to having children with me. Because again - I prefer to do it alone. Last night, I had to talk him out of taking a sobbing three year old out into a snow storm to cry in the car so he didn't wake everyone up. Having learned thru years of experience that a crying child in the middle of the night wakes nobody (everyone pretty much just sleeps thru it), I knew this was a dramatic overreaction designed to make a somewhat tough situation a thousand times worse.

I love my husband more than anything - and honestly believe that my children are infinitely blessed to have him for a Daddy - but he's really crappy at middle of the night non-vomit induced waking.

I'm groggy and slightly cranky this morning. Still sore after the weekend's adventures, and yearning for early bedtime tonight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I spent yesterday afternoon in the labor and delivery unit, hooked up to a fetal monitor, listening to my baby girl's heartbeat. On a side note, anyone know how much one of those would cost? If I could hook myself up every night, I would... there's nothing more reassuring that the beat of your baby's heart.

I had gone out to breakfast yesterday morning with Marc and Sam while the girls were at Hebrew School. And as we were getting ready to go, I turned around quickly, and caught the edge of the booth with my ginormous belly. It hurt, really, really bad. And at first I was okay, I was just rubbing where it hurt, but then I panicked, and suddenly all I could think was that I had somehow hurt her, or ruptured something - and what if, what if, what if. I started crying, and then I couldn't stop. It hurt so bad, and I was so scared... I called my OB and went in for a "tracing."

The lovely nurse found her heartbeat right away and I spent the next several hours in bed, just listening. I feel so much closer to my baby now - so much more like she's a real presence and so much more connected to the pregnancy. Listening to her move, she had the hiccups several times while I was hooked up.

It's difficult to describe, because I was already pretty well connected to this pregnancy. In a lot of ways - I feel more attached to this little person than I did to either of my other pregnancies at this point. Jessie was conceived immediately after I miscarried twins, and a lot of her pregnancy was clouded with grief - I was still missing my babies I lost and almost too afraid to really connect with her on an intimate level. And with Sam, we didn't find out the sex - and I think that made a difference for me as well. Missing that critical detail hampered the intimacy of it, somehow. But with this baby - she's my baby girl. And I'm so in love with her already - so connected to the pregnancy and every movement just reaffirms our connection. She's still so tiny and so fragile, and I was so terrified that I might have hurt her.

But all is well... I'm sore, still, and can definitely feel where I banged it yesterday. My sciatic nerves (nerve?) is REALLY painful, and sitting yesterday in the hospital bed for three hours and not moving meant that last night was excrutiatingly painful. But I'm a lot better this morning, able to get up and move around. And so grateful to be having this baby.

Here's hoping for a problem free fifteen weeks or so :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Updates on cherubs

All is delightful here these days...

Sam is still done with nursing, and I'm still in shock over it. It was such a big part of my life for so long, and it's still odd to be done with it. He's getting bigger and bigger - and such a daddy's boy. He's my cuddly bug, prefers to be right on top of me most of the time, unless Daddy is here. In which case, he drops me like a bad habit and grafts himself to Marc's leg.

Marc is a stereotypical guy in a lot of ways - very much into things that don't interest me at all. Like military, guns, computer games, superheros, working out, etc. And Sam is just fascinated by all of it. Sam's got play guns, bow and arrows, nerf shootguns, a whole bucket full of batman and other assorted superhero figurines. I think, left to my own devices, I'd lean towards keeping him away from all forms of violence - but I also feel super strongly that Marc has every right, and the responsibility, to determine what type of toys Sam plays with. If that makes any sense. Obviously, Sam's likes and dislikes play into this - and he's 100% into whatever Daddy happens to like. He LOVES wrestling, playing rough, racing around the house, pretending to fight the bad guys. And although it's certainly not politically correct, I think that's great. I think encouraging Sam to be proud of being a boy, to think that he has an obligation to protect and defend those weaker than himself is a good thing. I've had to throw a lot of what I thought about feminism out the window after having a boy, and seeing first hand how much he really is attracted to things that scare me. I could stifle that about him, and I see little boys who are being taught that violence is bad and guns are wrong, and I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But in the end, the conclusion that I've come up with is that boys and girls are different. In the same way that Jessie just likes nurturing, Sam likes being the hunter. My dad wasn't there when I was growing up, and I think my brothers really missed out on having a guy to teach them about being men. Sam's got a great example ahead of him - my hope is that Sam will be the kind of man that his dad is - responsible, loving, funny, smart and confident and secure about his place in the world.

My Jessie is also growing at an alarming rate. She's so smart and so sweet. She's becoming more and more confident about herself socially, more even tempered of late as well. Switching up the morning routine, putting her in charge of herself, has made a dramatic difference. She's still somewhat prone to flouncing off in dismay when things don't go her way, but more and more, she's catching herself and coming back out to talk about what's bothering her. She's still very much into baby dolls - she dresses and undressed the thirteen babies that she has, bathes them, puts them to bed. She's really into reading as well, loves arts and crafts, and is so incredibly excited about this new baby. More and more, as she grows, I see myself in her. She's delightfully unaware about so many things, she doesn't care so much about fitting in with everyone, she's got her own thing going and is totally content with that. She's more than willing to throw down with Marc - fight on the bed is still a hugely popular game with them. One of the major advantages of changing the morning routine is that she's become much closer to Marc. She's snuggling with him more in the mornings, and making a point of spending time with him.

Pregnancy is whipping right along, twenty five weeks today. Starting to think more and more about the birth and coming home, and how that'll all play out. Part of me wants the pregnancy to last forever, it's so nice to feel the baby moving, I love getting bigger - and part of me wants the baby out right now, I'm ready for her. Not that I actually am ready, but I keep picturing her here and want to hold her right away.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pathetic plea for comments

Because I really don't know who's reading this thing... I know of a couple of people, far, far away, Jessi, Joellen, Heather, and my good buddy Marc. As far as I know, it's just the four of you and since I've got a bunch more readers than that - figured I'd beg for comments, because it gives me a little thrill every time someone says something :-)

In other news... mucho fatigue going on. Was a busy little bee this morning, doing housework and am now exhausted. Sam and Jordyn are happy and playing together with figurines and castles. I'm really lucky, in that Sam's really got a built in best friend. They play and fight together and are so on the same level, in terms of strength of personality and developmental ability.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Due entirely to lack of sleep, and my own irrational dislike of taking medication. I'm going to force some tylenol down my throat and maybe some extra coffee... I try to avoid the caffiene, but today, it seems necessary. Both kids were up a lot last night, neither one, by themselves, would have been too hard to deal with, but they staggered it out, and the one two hour stretch when they both were asleep, I had to get up to pee.

Plus, it's Wednesday. I hate Wednesday. Can I confess that? Jess has been taking dance classes since she was two, and I love that - I think it's great for her, she's sadly inherited my athletic ability, and is more than a little clumsy, so this has really helped her out, grace-wise, and she loves it. But Wednesdays are just the worst days. The class is from 4:15-5:15, and I have to get her at school at 2:30. I spend most the time just sitting in the waiting room for her to go into class, and then waiting for her to get out, all the while, trying to entertain a rambunctious three year old. Then I have to pick up Marc at work (the glory of having only one car) and inevitably, Sam conks out in the car and is then awake until midnight.

I'm sorry to just be complaining - I'm not having a good afternoon... will try to check in tomorrow with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patience... please

Now that Sam has stopped nursing, he's totally stepped up on the "I keeping you company" thing. I no longer sit down without him crawling up on top of me, frequently yanking on my hair, digging his little elbows into my leg or stomping directly on my belly. He likes to climb upside down on me, or pretend to be swimming in the chair next to me, or a hundred other variations that involve him twisting his body into different contortions and driving me insane.

I need to keep reminding myself to be patient, and to be grateful that he still craves that closeness. Because there are times when I just want to sit, you know? Just sit by myself for a bit, not long, I'm not greedy, but just for a minute without being treated as a jungle gym. But he's so sweet and so loving, "I just want to sit with you, Mommy" that I keep biting my tongue and snuggling him a little more.

I've got cuddly, affectionate kids, and I LOVE that. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of it, though, because I'm feeling incredibly touched out at the moment. Looking forward to my shower tonight, because I'll be all alone in there :-)


Suddenly, my children are old. My daughter puts herself to sleep every night with a couple of books, gets up in the morning by herself, picks out her own clothes, brushes her own hair and dashes out the door with no problem. My son doesn't nurse anymore, plays on the computer by himself "Mommy, you can go away now" and keeps himself entertained with his castle and figurines.

It happens all of a sudden, you turn around, and your little girl is not a little girl anymore. Your baby isn't a baby.

I think if I wasn't almost 25 weeks pregnant with another bug, I'd be a lot more sentimental and misty about it. But it all feels like part of this fabulous process for me. I'm really loving this stage of my life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Having a big family, and why I'm confused by it

Am I having my third or my fifth child? It's my third, it's my husband's fifth. And depending on where you know me from, I'm either out of my mind crazy to be having my FIFTH, or oh, that's sweet, you're having your third.

I feel like it's a bigger statement, this is my fifth child, than this is my third. I have a six year old, a three and a half year old, and I'm pregnant, due in April. Or holy moly, I have a ten year old, an eight year old, a six year old, a three year old, and yep, I'm a glutton for punishment and doing it again.

Why am I so conflicted by this? I get confused when people are shocked that I'm pregnant, and almost a little embarrassed when I see that look on their faces, that look that says, seriously - FIVE KIDS??? But it's not really my fifth, I want to say. It's only my third. I only have two children that I am responsible for. We have my stepdaughters a lot, more than most step families, I think, but the majority of the time, I'm only dealing with my two. And having a third one, well, that seems totally normal and perfect for me. I always wanted three. I know if I hadn't gotten pregnant with this baby, I would have felt as though she was missing for the rest of my life.

But five? That's a lot. And I love my husband and I love his kids - but am thrown off by the assumption that I'm actually having my fifth child. Even though I recognize that it's totally my husband's fifth child. And I encourage my kids to think of my stepdaughters as their full siblings - we don't have half relationships in my family - they are all sisters and brothers. I don't make a distinction to them about it - they are all part of the same family and should be treated as such... so why do I stutter a little when people assume that I'm everyone's mother?

I think part of it is that my stepdaughters are not my children. They have an active, involved mother, who has primary physical custody of them. I don't mother them the way I do my own kids. I don't know their doctor, their bedtime routine, the intricacies of their lives. I don't attend parent/teacher conferences, I don't know half their extended family, I don't set up playdates. I'm not their go-to comfort person, I'm never going to be able to fix everything for them just by holding them, the way I can with my kids. They aren't my kids. But every Saturday and Sunday, they are grouped in as my kids. I feed them meals, I assign chores, I take them fun places, I discipline, lay down the law, I kiss boo boos and comfort hurts. They are my children's older sisters. So they're not not my children either. It's like they exist in this weird other realm, and there are people, I know, who don't know that they aren't my children. People that I've met thru the synagogue or at the library - people who only see me and my husband with them.

I never know, when people ask, how many children I have, what the appropriate response is. I've never really known - for eight years, I've been stumbling over it. But now that I'm pregnant - it comes up a lot. It seems dishonest to say that all of them are mine, although on some level, they all are. But explaining that two are mine, and two are my stepdaughters seems too lengthy and it's more info than some people want. It depends on who's asking, and who's there when I answer. If Marc is there, then I usually let him answer that we're having our fifth. And if I'm there with all the kids, then I smile and say it's our fifth. If it's just me and my two kids, I usually just say that it's my third and let it go.

The quirks of a stepfamily. I wouldn't change it, but it's definitely not something I think I'll ever get used to - trying to figure out exactly how to label everyone, how to be sensitive to my husband's ex, who is their mother, aware of my role in their lives, because I do have a role, I've been a part of their lives for the past eight years, also acknowledging my own children's primacy in my life - because Jessie is my oldest, but she'll be squarely in the middle of the five of them. Sam is the only boy, with either two or four sisters, depending on how I feel like answering that day. It's all so... complicated. And I don't see any easy way simplify it. To say that they're all mine isn't right, and if I were my husband's ex, I'd hate it. But it's not fair to say that they aren't mine either, this child will be both the youngest of three, and the youngest of five.

I suppose the best way to look at it is the way that my kid's do (and even that is baffling, because I don't know what Lilli and Sarah would draw if they were doing a family portrait. Do they draw in me? Even if they include Jess and Sam, I don't know that they would draw in Mommy, Daddy and Melissa). But Jessica always draws all of her siblings, not just Sam. Because that's how it is for her. She doesn't have the trouble identifying it - she's got two older sisters, a little brother and a baby sister on the way. And in the end, I guess that's what counts - I might be confused and baffled by it - am I having my third or my fifth - but the kids aren't confused - this is just their baby sister and they can't wait.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weaned... still amazed

Forgive me yet another post on weaning... but it boggles my mind that Sam's actually done nursing. Really, really done. I'm still floored. We've got a couple of issues surrounding no longer nursing - one is the lack of an afternoon nap, I've got one cranky kid. I used to be able to put him to sleep so easily when I knew he needed the nap, but now? He just soldiers on, yelling and hollering at all of us. And bedtime - I've got to establish a whole new bedtime routine for him, to get him to actually go to sleep when he needs it instead of when he wants it.

And I'm mildly concerned about mastitis. My breasts are full and sore, after three days of no nursing. I didn't think I was actually making milk anymore, but apparently I was, just a little bit of it. And with three days backlog, I actually feel engorged for the first time in a really long time...

But seriously - WOO HOO! I'm beaming that this stage is over, and suddenly, my little boy seems like a big boy. All long, gangly legs and arms, he's physically so much bigger all of a sudden. He's a kid - not a baby anymore, and I'm so proud...

Also sore... because this baby is getting bigger and bigger. I've got sciatic pain for the first time ever. Leg cramps. Never had those with the other two pregnancies. And that which shall not be named (but starts with an H and I'm mortified by it) - also never had before. Movement is a pain in the a$$ (literally) and the whole lower half of my body is achy and uncomfortable. I've started commenting at random times "this baby better be pretty" and moaning a lot. The heartburn is my constant companion and I now pee at least twice in the middle of the night.

But my baby bump is nice and big, and she moves all the time. Previous paragraph notwithstanding, I'm loving this pregnancy. Loving the anticipation of knowing that she's growing and getting bigger and I'm, every day, a little closer to having her in my arms.

And since I can't post about Sam and my pregnancy without talking about my bestest girl - let me just say that Jess is oh-my-gosh big these days. She and I are reading the first Harry Potter book together and she's really loving it. I pushed reading on her so much, made it part of her identity - she's the kid who loves vegetables and reading ;-), and I'm so proud that she's really enjoying it. I put her to bed last night and crawled into my own bed and was missing her. I know she's a big girl, and sleeps better in her own bed - she's been in her own bed for about four years now, but I still miss her sometimes. And last night, around midnight, she came and crawled in next to me and I was delighted. We snuggled all night long, and it was so sweet. The she got up early, and got her brother breakfast while Marc and I slept in. The joys of having an almost seven year old...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Revisiting Shabbat

The Jewish religion, some say, is founded on Shabbat. It's the most holy day of the week, more important that the High Holidays, than Passover. My perception is that it's the foundation - God asks that you take one day a week to hold up, to stop doing everything and just exist. Focus on friends, on family, on yourself. Go to services, take a nap, relax. Don't work, don't stress out, don't fight. For one day a week, just be.

It was my favorite part of Judaism. There are lots of things about being Jewish that I really like, things that resonate with me. That make sense on a fundamental level. I love the intimate relationship with God, I love the focus on literacy and intellectual development. I love the way children are encouraged to question and learn and make up their own minds about things. I love the sense of personal responsibility - we might not be able to make the world perfect, but it's our responsibility to try. But mostly, I loved that that every week, the most important thing to do is take a day when your most important duty is to enjoy your life. To remember all the things you love most about where you are, who you're with, and just enjoy it.

I've lost some of that... Shabbat is coming, more and more, to be something that I've skipped because I've been pregnant and tired and puking. It's more of a hassle than anything else, and that's not what I want. Not for me, not for my kids. So I let go of fighting it - and just let Marc and the kids do what they wanted. Turn on the tv, turn on the computer, and just make Saturday another day.

Last night, I made Shabbat dinner and it didn't go well. It was chaotic and hectic and there was a lot of yelling and crying. I didn't enjoy it. I realized that Jessie is throwing screaming Hurricane Jess fits in a desperate attempt to get attention and wrestle back some control over her life. My apartment is tiny, and by the time Lilli and Sarah left, it looked as though a bomb had gone off. Which made this morning that much more unpleasant for me - and is pushing me to think of how I can take back Shabbat, make it more meaningful. It's one of those things that's only as special as I make it - when I let it go, it just turns into Saturday - and my life, and the lives of my family lose a little bit because of it.

So my resolution this year is to start really observing Shabbat. And that might mean not making a huge dinner every week, maybe it means ordering in take out. It will definitely mean that I don't want Marc driving the girls home, when he comes home from work on Friday nights, then he's home for the night. No driving unless absolutely necessary on Friday nights. The girls can either spend the night, or Lisa can pick them up. We'll forego the normal bedtime routine and put the kids to bed together, with stories and snuggles. No more television and no computer. We're going to start playing board games, going for long walks as a family, reading together. Instead of having all this work on Fridays to get ready for Shabbat, I'm thinking maybe I'll do simpler dinners and make sure that I have stuff for a special breakfast on Saturday as well.

I don't want my Shabbat to be hectic and miserable, with kids screaming and me stressed out. But I don't want to give them up either. I don't want Saturday to be just another day. I have to figure out ways to make sure that it's special and meaningful and pleasurable for everyone. We had done the no tv/no computer thing for a while in the past, and loved it. It's a struggle at first, but then it becomes a way to make the day longer and to stretch out the time together.

With a big family (and with almost five children, mine is definitely a big family) sometimes, it feels more like crowd control than anything else. Especially last night - there was a ten minute screaming battle over who was going to sit where at the table. That's not fun.

I'm going to make Shabbat fun.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh My Goodness - or how very anti-climatic...

Sam's been really in the process of weaning for, oh, let's say, the past two years. But the past month or so, he's really cut down. He was still nursing at least once or twice a day, but only for a few minutes, and every now and then, he'd skip a day entirely. Last night, he stayed awake with Marc and I went to bed. Sam had napped from 5:30-6:30, and was wired when I went to bed around nine.

He hadn't nursed all day, I don't think. Looking back, I can't remember if he had nursed in the morning. I think he did, at least for a few minutes. But either way, he had gone all day, and when Marc carried him into bed, he stayed asleep. He didn't wake up until after nine thirty this morning, and I immediately offered breakfast.

Around eleven, he called me into the living room and said, in this tone of pride and excitement, "Mommy, I fell asleep last night with NO OOBIES." I said something about how proud I was, and how wonderful it was that he was all done with nursing. I asked if this meant that he was going to save the oobies for the new baby, because he was so big, he didn't need to nurse anymore. He high fived me, and agreed enthusiastically.

Marc's not here tonight, so I was sort of stuck. If Marc's here, I can just have Marc handle bedtime (and by that, I mean that I'll go to bed and Marc and Sam will sit up and watch random "boy tv" like the military channel until Sam dozes off in his lap). But without Marc, Sam's always nursed to sleep with me.

I asked Sam where he wanted to go to sleep tonight, since he was going without nursing. He wanted to sleep on the couch. I read him several stories, changed him, and brushed his teeth, and then I put on a cartoon for him to watch and I went into Jessie's room to read to her. I could hear him talking back to Diego for a while, and I was in there for about a half hour. (Jessie asked if I could start reading the Harry Potter books to her - and I'm loving that she's so into it).

I came out after reading to Jess, and my big boy was sound asleep on the couch.

We're done. After three years, five month and two weeks - we're finally and at long last DONE WITH NURSING. I feel like throwing a party or celebrating. I've waited so very long for this day, and am surprised to find my eyes filling with tears as I type this. It's such a major milestone for Sam - and one I had long despaired of ever reaching with him. I'm finally done nursing.

And I've got sixteen glorious weeks to enjoy my breasts all to myself until the next baby comes :-)

Poor Jessica

My poor girl has hives. No real reason that I can discern, she's been getting them since she was tiny, two or three times a year, she goes for a week or so with waves of hives. It's more likely to happen in the winter, and once she starts, she'll get them off and on for the strangest of reasons. Stress, taking a bath, going outside, coming inside, and sometimes just because.

She came home from school riddled with the yesterday and by last night, she was just covered. Huge patches all over her body, her belly, back, her thighs, even some on her little face. We gave her benedryl and it helped some, but she was still itching after I put her to bed. I kept her home today, because I didn't want her to start itching like a mad woman at school, and called the doctor. She's now on a maintenance dose of childrens' zyrtec for the rest of the winter months. She's also supposed to be taking the meds during the spring and fall for the seasonal allergies that she gets, plus she's got an additional mist prescription that she takes on an as needed basis for her allergy to dust mites. I'm thrown off by daily meds - I don't like dosing my kids consistently. Anyone else have this problem? When Sam was put on the reflux meds, I really resisted it as well, because I didn't want to have to have a child who needed daily meds. Then when I finally caved, and saw what a major difference it made, I felt doubly guilty for waiting.

There's just nothing to like about this - I don't like having to give her medication every day, but I don't like her suffering needlessly because of these allergies either.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

24 Week Appt

Day Three of She's Not My Job in the mornings is going well... Jess was exhausted and refused to get out of bed today. Marc calmly told her that we were leaving in forty minutes and if she wanted to get dressed and have breakfast before school, she should get up. If she didn't, he'd take her in her jammies and no breakfast. She got up without arguing after a few minutes, got dressed and was at school with a smile on her face on time. I love this new routine... everything is so much calmer and relaxed in the mornings...

My 24 week appointment was today - these are the boring appointments, I think, during the pregnancy. Nothing really going on, no prenatal tests to discuss, no cervix to check, just come in, pee in a cup, check the bp, check the weight (I've only gained 4 and a half pounds so far), measure the belly, listen for the heartbeat, any questions, and out the door. But I had to wait for forty five minutes - they were running really behind. And Sam's such a good boy, he sat and chatted with me so patiently. I'm really lucky - my kids are great in waiting rooms :-)

I'm so tired - just no energy at all, and so much to do today that I'm afraid to start. I have to go to the grocery store, the library, make burgers and sautee the onions before I pick up the girls from school, drop Lilli and Sarah at Hebrew School, go to dance, then pick up Marc and rush home to feed them quick before bed. There's a parent/teacher organization meeting tonight and I'd like to go, but know that I won't make it. I'm just too tired.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It was touch and go for a while there... but Jess made it out the door without a fit. She was up too late last night and there were several moments when I know if I had been the one in charge we would have ended up screaming at each other. But Marc told me a couple of times, very gently, to back off, he'd take care of it, and she got dressed, ate, brushed her teeth, waved the brush in front of her hair and left for school with a smile. At one point, I mentioned that she had to do her hair, and Marc said it was fine. So a couple of minutes later, I mentioned again, "Jess, you have to do your hair." She smirked at me, and said "Daddy's in charge." I told her if she wanted Daddy in charge of her hair, then she'd have to get Daddy's hair cut. She ended up pretending to brush it, and threw in a headband.

But I have to say that this, so far, is working. She's picking out her own clothes, getting herself dressed, brushing her teeth, doing her own hair and going to school without fighting. There is a certain element of losing control - I usually put her hair up and out of her face, and I generally picked out entirely different outfits, but I have to admit, she still looks gorgeous, and it's not like I want to be doing her hair and picking out her clothes when she's sixteen.

In other news... not too much planned for today. I've got Jordyn all day, which is fun, and vague laundry plans. I'm great at doing laundry, but crappy at folding and putting away. I said I was going to tackle this yesterday and did not. So that's the goal for today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ahhh - I'm back

Feeling a LOT better this morning... for a couple of different reasons. Yesterday, I spent the whole day with just Marc and my two kids - I think sometimes I get overwhelmed with having a thousand people here and just being able to relax with my family made things better for me.

Plus we started a new routine this morning - Marc and Jessie are in charge of getting out the door in the morning. Marc started a sticker reward program, for every two weeks that Jess has a good morning, she'll get a special dinner alone at a restaurant of her choice with Daddy. I'm no longer involved with any battles over getting dressed, eating breakfast, hair styling, teeth brushing, etc. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons, one being that Jess and I are so close emotionally, not just that we like each other but also that we tend to feed off of the other's frustrations, so Marc's a better choice for handling the morning routine with her. The other being that as I get more pregnant, and then after the baby comes, I'm going to be fairly tied up and not able to chase her around to get her ready.

So we laid out her clothes last night, and set her alarm. We talked a lot about expectations, and how tomorrow we're starting a new routine where Daddy is in charge and she's in charge. She got up before the alarm went off, ate, got dressed, did her hair, brushed her teeth, was sunshiney happy and delighted with herself and put the sticker up on the calendar. It's amazing how a nice, easy morning, where everyone is friendly and happy can put such a smile on your face :-).

In other news... not too much going on. Sam's still having knock down drag out temper tantrums. He's not sick at all, a little congested, but nothing major and there's no fever. I think it's just a really bad phase he's going thru. He gets so upset, it's awful. Screaming at Marc "GO AWAY FROM ME, DADDY!" and his little voice gets so hoarse from screaming... Saturday he had at least three or four tantrums, and yesterday he had two, one before his nap and one after. He had pretty much been weaned... and has started really asking for nursing again. I'm ill amused with this trend, as I LOVED being done with nursing, so that's definitely complicating the tantrum resolution. He gets himself so upset, and that was his go-to soothing mechanism. Not entirely sure how this will resolve itself, I still nurse when I have to, but would so much rather not....

Pregnancy is whipping right along, the baby is moving all the time. The food aversions have gotten better, and I'm eating more. My 24 week appt is on Wednesday.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I've been a little depressed

I'm not a girl who tends towards depression. I actually really don't have a lot of patience with depression (freely acknowledging that I have no actual experience with clinical depression). Garden variety sadness isn't my thing. I'm not perpetually happy, frequently (in the interest of honesty) I can be bitchy or irritable, impatient, lazy. I've got a whole host of negative qualities, believe me, but depressed? It's not my thing.

But I've been feeling a little off as of late. Holiday let down, all the excitement and activity of the past month is over, that might be part of it. I've had Jess home all week for Christmas vacation, and that might be a factor, although I doubt it. The pregnancy hasn't been easy. I was so sick for the first trimester, and still spend most of my days feeling yucky. It's gotten better, but I'm tired a lot, close to queasy most of the time, and as my belly gets bigger, it's harder to pick up Sam, nursing has become all but impossible. I'm weepy and emotional, quick to tears or frustration. I have less patience than I'm used to, and it's hard on everyone.

Sam's been a wreck today. Huge, screaming temper tantrums, when he's swinging out and kicking. And because I'm pregnant, I'm a lot less patient when it comes to him kicking or hitting at me. I've been snapping at poor Jess, simply because I'm so worn out with trying to deal with Sam. I don't think he's sick, but something is off. I, of course, blame myself. I nursed him twice today - and it hurt like hell both times. He screamed and cried - I instituted the "crying chair" because I didn't know what else to do with the temper tantrums. If he wouldn't stop screaming at me, and following me around the house, screaming and yelling, kicking and shoving at me when I tried to hold him, I'd put him on the chair and shut myself in the bedroom for three minutes, just trying to calm myself down enough to deal with him. I've never come as close to losing it as many times as I have today.

Marc took my two with him when he went to drive Lilli and Sarah home. And even that little half hour break made a world of difference for me. I sat, relaxed, watched an old episode of Friends, ate my leftover Chinese food and gave myself a long pep talk. It's really mind over matter. And continuing to think of myself as miserable is just a self fulfilling prophesy. I understand the theory behind acknowledging your feelings, and not ignoring your emotions, but for me, I'm a big fan of the "fake it until you make it" philosophy. Because I don't want to be a miserable, unhappy wife and mother. It's not good for my kids, it's not good for my husband, and it's especially crappy for me.

Because when you get right down to it, when you really look at the circumstances of my life, I don't have much to complain about. I have a great marriage, with a husband who loves me and tries his best to make me happy. I might have to point out what I need, but his overall goal is always to make me happy. I have a beautiful, smart almost seven year old - who might be prone to whining - but also made a special point of coming over to me several times today and rubbing my back while I cried, or crawled up into my lap for a hug because she knew that I needed it. And my rabid three year old - while he may have spent the majority of the day screaming and yelling at me - most of the time, he was screaming my name because he loves me and needs me. And he's gorgeous and sweet and loving. And this pregnancy might be making me sick and tired and queasy all the the time - but it's a strong, healthy baby - and I'm getting more and more bonded to her all the time. I'm getting a sense of her personality, or making up personality traits that I'm assigning her until I meet her :-).

I'm going to try just smiling for a while - try a little gratitude, a little bit of being grateful for what I have, all the amazing blessings and gifts that are present in my life. For every one's sake. Because when Mommy isn't happy - nobody is happy...

Mental Note: Do NOT let 3 year old sit on stomach

My belly is becoming an ever present member of the family these days... It's really popped out and I find myself referring to it as something separate and distinct from myself. Sam isn't the most sunshiney of creatures in the morning, and was pretty adamant that the only place he wanted to be was curled up on top of me. And I suffered thru it for a bit, until I realized that he was SQUISHING my belly. And shoved him off (actually talked him into going to wrestle with Marc "look, look, go poke Daddy!") and have been paying for it ever since. I'm all queasy and sick and squished.