Friday, May 27, 2011

Wedding weekend, and feeling sorry for my pregnant self

We have two weddings to attend this weekend, one tonight and one on Sunday morning. For me, part of the pleasure of attending a wedding is the chance to kick back, relax, celebrate, and enjoy life with my husband, sans child. Part of that enjoyment, at least for me, comes from indulging in a few glasses of wine, maybe even a mixed drink. I feel like it's a way for me to celebrate the occasion, and feel like just "Megan" for a few hours, not "Mommy." Of course, I will not be consuming any alcohol this weekend, or at the July wedding we are attending. And, call me selfish if you must, but that disappoints me. I am not an alcoholic, but when i'm not pregnant I do enjoy an alcoholic beverage on occasion. I never drink to the point of excess, especially not when I know I have children to go home to. However, I am a social drinker, and I take pleasure in a chilled glass of wine or two. Now don't get me wrong, I know how blessed I am to be growing this tiny miracle in my body, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. I also know that there will be a multitude of occasions after October 8th where I can choose to partake in an alcoholic beverage. But right here and right now, knowing that I will be attending a wedding with nothing more than water in my glass, makes me sad. Hey, blame it on hormones if you have to!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The missing sunglasses. Or, How I Have Been Afflicted By Pregnancy Brain.

I hate, HATE to lose things. When I think something is missing, I turn the house upside down trying to find it. It causes me anxiety when I can't find something, and I obsess over it. Yesterday the object of my obsession was Stephanie's new, pink sunglasses. She wore them on Saturday, when we were at a birthday party, and I know we didn't leave them there because she had them on her head when we got in the car. But yesterday I could not find the darn things anywhere. (Bear in mind, it was pouring rain yesterday, so it's not like we actually neeeded the sunglasses. But I knew I couldn't find them, and it was driving me crazy!)

I looked all over our apartment, and no sunglasses. I emptied the diaper bag twice, but still no sunglasses. Then I went out to the car, and searched it high and low. Nothing. I finally realized I needed to focus on something else, so I spent some time in the kitchen, washing dishes.

When I walked out of the kitchen, into the dining room, I look down and there are the sunglasses, just sitting in the middle of the floor. I literally stopped in my tracks and stared at them for a minute. I know for an absolute fact that those sunglasses were not there 10 minutes earlier. The only other person in the apartment with me was Stephanie, so I called her over, pointed to the sunglasses and asked her where she found them. She picked them up, and put them in the side pocket of her diaper bag. Did I seriously not look there? I know I emptied that entire diaper bag, twice. Had I not thought to look in the side pockets? Could I really have done that? I don't know, but honestly, I wouldn't put it past myself. Apparently, pregnancy brain has really kicked in.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dreading the lack of sleep...

In less than five months I will morph into someone who slogs through the days, deprived of sleep, and spending every minute thinking about when I can next crawl into my bed and catch a few hours of shut-eye. I almost think it's worse this time, because I know what to expect, since i've been through it before. However, I also know that in many ways it will actually be worse this time, since I also need to take care of a very active toddler. (Maybe this will distract me from the exhaustion! Hey, I can live in my dreamworld.)

Stephanie was actually a very good sleeper, but we needed to wake her up every three hours to eat, since she wasn't gaining weight properly. Then, when she was fine to start sleeping longer, she was so used to getting up every three hours that she started doing it on her own. It wasn't long though before she was giving us 5 or so hours at a stretch, and at the time it seemed heavenly! Five hours of unteruppted sleep felt like winning the lottery. Eventually her sleeping times increased, and we got to where we are now, where she sleeps for twelve solid hours, 7pm to 7am.

Once in a while (like last night) she will wake up and let out a fuss or two. Usually I wait to see if she'll just go back to sleep, and sometimes she does. Other times (also like last night) I don't feel like lying there waiting to see if she'll go back to sleep, so I get up and put her sleep sheep back on. That's all I have to do, we don't interact at all (unless I need to lie her back down) and she goes right back to sleep. Once in a while she can't find her pacifier, which is why she won't go back to sleep, so I'll help her find that, too.

As I crawled back into bed at 3am, I started thinking about how wonderful Stephanie sleeps right now. So then I started worrying about how her sleep habits will be affected by the baby. For the first few months, he will sleep in mine and Dan's room, and hopefully Stephanie will be in a deep enough sleep, with enough white noise in her room, to sleep through his cries. But once he's sleeping for solid chunks of time in the night, we plan on transitioning him into a crib in her room. This is the part I worry about. Will they wake each other up? If I need to get Joseph at 4am for a feeding, will Stephanie expect to get up as well? Will they both have trouble settling back down once they've woken each other up? I know eventually they will get used to it, but I also know that there will be weeks, perhaps months, of transition time.

I remember nights of rocking Stephanie back to sleep at 2am in the morning, sometimes spending hours in her room before she settled down. (This was before we sleep trained.) At the time I never thought we'd get to where we are now, and that we'd be rocking her to sleep when she was in high school. However, as I've learned over the past fifteen months, every phase passes. I know that I will need to remember that, and make it my mantra, as I suffer through those seemingly endless nights of trying to get two children used to a new routine. I also know that eventually it will be the norm, and we will all forget just how horrible those transition weeks and months were. Then, just as we think we'll never have sleep troubles again...we'll try for baby number 3!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The "simple" things

One of the biggest adjustments to motherhood has, for me anyway, been figuring out how to get everyday things done while being accompanied by a very small, very young person. I'm talking about, in no particular order, cleaning, bathing, cooking, eating, using the bathroom, making a phone call, and running errands. That last one is by far the biggest challenge. During my child-free years, I never appreciated the ease with which I was able to jump in the car, run into a store, pick up what I needed, bring it home, and put it away. It was just one of those things you do without even thinking. Then you bring home a tiny bundle of joy, and everything changes.

When Stephanie was a baby, the first challenge was leaving the house in the first place. I had to make sure she had a full belly, an empty diaper, and a stocked diaper bag. Then I had to strap her in her carseat, lug her, the diaper bag, and my purse to the car, and drive to the store. I then had to take the carseat out of the car, finagle it into the shopping cart, shop as quick as I could before she became hungry or needed a diaper change, and pay for my items. Then I had to load her and all the stuff into the car, drive home, bring her in the house and get her settled, bring in the items from the store, and unpack it all. Again, I needed to rush to make sure that she didn't start screaming at me, in her not-so-subtle way of demanding to be fed or changed.

Now, it took me awhile, but I did get used to this new way of life, and after a few weeks I became an old pro. Then, she grew up a little and was no longer content to snooze while I shopped. This added in the delightful factor of having to plan errands for times when she was well rested, as well as requiring an aresenal of toys or other objects to entertain her with while we were shopping. Again, I made the adjustment. And then she outgrew the infant carrier.

At this point, Stephanie was walking, and the last thing she wanted to do was be strapped into a shopping cart. That made for some interesting meltdowns in the middle of the store. Being out of the infant carrier also meant that I had to strap her in and out of the carseat twice, not an easy feat to pull off with a squirming toddler. However, as she got even older, I noticed that as long as she had people to watch, and an item or two to hold in the cart, she was happier than she had been when locked in her carrier. So that got easier, as did the in and out, in and out of the carseat. (I think I just got used to doing it.) BUT, not everything was easier. Now, she protested being left alone in the house while I made back and forth trips to the car to bring in the groceries. I finally figured out that if I brought her in right away, plopped her in her high chair, and gave her some goldfish to munch on, she would happily allow me to both bring the stuff inside, AND put it all away. Bliss!

Once I figured everything out, errands became, while not easy, definitely more enjoyable than they had been at the beginning. In fact, I actually have fun taking Stephanie to the store, because she loves to say hi to everyone she sees, and she delights in the attention she receives when they say hi back to her. So, right now we're in errand-running heaven, and all is right with the world.

Of course, in less than five months, I get to figure out how to run errands with both a toddler and an infant in tow...but i'm choosing not to think about that right now!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Something Blue


We had our 18 week anatomical ultrasound yesterday, and it revealed that Stephanie is going to have a little brother. We are thrilled to embark on this new adventure, and excited to experience the differences and spot the similarities in raising both a daughter and a son. It's funny though, we found out in the morning that he (Joseph) is a boy, and in the evening my mom brought over some gifts for him. As I held the blue jammies, bibs, burpcloths and onesies, I was momentarily confused. Blue? What is this? I'm used to pinks and purples, flowers and butterflies. I think it hadn't hit me until that moment that I was really and truly growing a little boy. Of course, today I went shopping with my best friend and my sister, and had no problem picking out adorable baby boy clothes.

I know that having a little boy in the house will be different, but I also know that we have so much love for little Joseph already. I absolutely adore watching Dan play with Stephanie, and she is absolutely, 100% a Daddy's girl. I now can't wait to watch him play and interact with his son, and to witness him having an opportunity to relive his "little boy" childhood. I know how much fun it is for me to relive a "little girl" childhood, and now it's his turn!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This past Sunday was Mother's Day, and I had a fantastic day with my little girl, and my loving husband. It started with Stephanie sleeping until 8:30. Her typical wake-up time is 7:30, and I had elicited a promise from Dan that he would get up with her, change her diaper, and give her a sippy cup of milk. Of course, I started waking up at 6:30, and continued to doze for an hour and a half, until I finally got up at 8:15. My back ached (side-effect of pregnancy) and I couldn't lie there anymore. I did however get to enjoy a cup of coffee in silence, which is pure bliss.

When Stephanie and Dan finally woke up, I was showered with Mother's Day gifts. Stephanie gave me two children's books about Mommies, which she helped her daddy pick out at the store. Dan gave me two maternity dresses, which are appropriate to be worn at the three weddings we have to attend this summer. This was such a thoughtful gift, since he knew I was having trouble figuring out what I was going to wear to these occasions.

After gifts, Dan proceeded to cook breakfast for us. The smells of pancakes, eggs, and toast filled our apartment, and it was such a freeing feeling to eat such a delicious meal without having to cook it or clean up afterwards. I felt like such a lucky Mom. We then spent an hour at the playground, took Stephanie home for lunch and a nap, and then headed off for dinner at a fabulous restaurant.

My Mother's Day was picture-perfect this year, and I have to say, it was an improvement over last year. This year I feel like an old pro at this mother-hood thing. Stephanie isn't a baby anymore, she's an active toddler who is on a great schedule. She sleeps through the night, can communicate her wants and needs (for the most part), and is truly fun to be around. Last year I was still adjusting to having a new baby, was suffering from sleep deprivation, and wasn't able to fully enjoy the day. What a difference a year makes!

Friday, May 6, 2011

18 Weeks Tomorrow....and I guess I look it!

This morning Stephanie and I spent over an hour at the playground. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Southern New England, and I wanted to take full advantage of the weather. We were there for just a few minutes when two women arrived, with three children between them. After a few minutes of shameless evesdropping (doesn't everyone do that at the park??), I figured out that the two were either related or very close friends, because their respective children were calling the other woman Auntie. One of the women came and put her son in the swing next to Stephanie, and after a few minutes of idle chit-chat she asked me whether I knew if I was expecting a boy or a girl. I hadn't mentioned that I was pregnant, so my first thought was, well, i've officially crossed over into the "Obviously she's pregnant" phase. Which I suppose is much better than the "Is she pregnant, or did she eat too much pasta last night?" phase. Anyway, I told her we didn't know yet and would find out next week. At that moment, the other woman approached and said "Oh, we found out last week that we're having a girl!" I looked at her, and honestly, I wouldn't have known she was pregnant. Not in the slightest. Upon closer inspection, I could see a teeny tiny bump, but I would have pegged her as maybe 8 or 9 weeks. Definitely not as far along as me, maybe even farther. Sigh. I should be used to it. I popped early with Stephanie too, and had to listen to the "WOW if you're so big now, I can't imagine what you'll be like at 8 months!" comments. And the funny thing is, I wasn't overly huge at 8 and 9 months. I popped early, and then the baby seemed to fill up the space. So, while I did suffer a few "I wish I was as small as this woman" moments, in the end I decided to be happy with my clearly pregnant bump. I'm fit and healthy, I eat well (most of the time) and although I can't seem to fit regular excercise into my day, I chase after a toddler, and that in and of itself is a workout. So i'm proud to be a big-bump wearing pregnant lady!

In other pregnancy news, I've been having a lot of cravings. None of them are intense, need-to-eat-it-now cravings, but they're things that, when i'm hungry, I think "hmmm, I could go for that!" The list includes Mexican food, pineapple, watermelon, coffee heath bar frozen yogurt, and Frosted Flakes. Wouldn't you know, we have none of those items in the house. Which is probably good, because if we did have them, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even want them anymore. Such is the plight of the pregnant woman. However, my wonderful husband left the house a few minutes ago, to help Stephanie (who is asleep in her crib)with her Mother's Day shopping, and he promised to bring me back some ice-cream. Yippee!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New York, New York

Last week we took a vacation to Long Island, to visit with my in-laws. Previous trips had proven to be very stressful, and I was therefore dreading this one. However, I knew that it would be the last time we went before the baby is born (I find driving too difficult as I get further along in my pregnancy), so we packed up and headed off. Typically Stephanie is horrible in the car during these long drives. She screams, fusses, and needs to be entertained. Last Wednesday, we left home around 10am, and she fell asleep about 20 minutes into the trip. She slept until I stopped at the final service area in Connecticut. After that, she entertained herself all the way to my mother-in-laws. She sang, looked out the window, and chatted with us. She did start to get a bit fussy during the last 20 minutes, but nothing compared to how she usually is. I was thrilled that our trip was off to a great start!

It continued to get better that night. The last three times we had taken this journey, she refused to sleep. She would SCREAM when we put her in the pack n' play, would only fall asleep if we rocked her, and woke up 6 or 7 times in the night. All of this is completely unlike the way she sleeps at home. I was determined to do everything I could to make it easier for her, so I made sure the bed was extra padded, and we kept her up late so she was tired, and it seemed to do the trick. She went right to sleep, all by herself, and slept through the night, only waking once. And when she woke, all she needed was to be laid back down and she went right back to sleep. AMAZING.

The trip was also nice because my in-laws worked all day. This made it so that we could have family time during the day, just the three (well, four) of us. While we love our relatives, 24/7 days with them can get to be a bit much, and this was the perfect reprieve from that. We only stayed three days, and left on Saturday after dinner, and right at Stephanie's bedtime. She actually didn't sleep most of the way home, but she also didn't make a peep, so it was fantastic. All in all, I have to say I think this was the least stressful and most successful trip we have taken. And all I could think of the whole time was, well, we're going to have to go through another year or travel adjustments with the new baby. Nothing like positive thinking, right?
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