Thursday, August 28, 2008

"You really shouldn't be doing that"

When I was pregnant with Seren, I maintained my general world view that a woman can do anything I man can do. No problem. I ran. I moved things. I helped garden. And I was pregnant. See? You can do it all.

The thing is? You really can't do everything with a bowling ball in front of you. I mean, some women still run marathons while nine months pregnant. But I can't.

This whole phase is kinda difficult. In some ways, you are actually "seen" by your partner, your friends, your colleagues in ways you aren't "seen" later. And part of me enjoys the sensitivites that others extend.

On the other hand, I don't like being a "bother". I don't like that others think I *can't* do something because I am pregnant. I don't like being the center of attention. I don't like feeling like I "cannot do".

Tonight was a bit rough because I had braxton hicks contractions- like 25 of them- for about two hours. I started to just freak out! Was I going into labor? My adelenine started to pulse through me and I became teary at the thought. I got home and laid down. I just sat down on my butt and (tried to calmly) let Sam and my parents do everything for me.

It is a good lesson. Sometimes we really can't do everything. And that is ok. We can let others help us. We have to just give up being in control of things we can't control.

My last post and the subsequent comments from you all, which came one after another, was so refreshing to me. I felt so much better to hear that others struggle with the same challenges. And have the same frustrations. And I'm so glad we are all in this together.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What was I thinking?

Why did I think I can do all of this?

I am completely overwhelmed most days. The past three weeks, while fun filled, have been exhausting. Seren is really challenging these days. I love her stories and her many funny sayings but she is so hard to deal with sometimes. She requires so much patience. Everything is a battle these days. I find myself hardly laughing with her as she doesn't want something I have just made for dinner, doesn't want to wear the clothes she just picked out, and doesn't want to get into the car when she just, moments before, gleefully said "CAR!". Before I had a two year old, I thought the label "Terrible Twos" was a horrible label. Afterall, how can a child be "terrible"? I still think that but I do have a sense of what others mean. It is SUCH a challenge- this stage of independence. Seren isn't "terrible" she is just...hmm..."moody".

And believe me, I have enough moods to go around. When I was pregnant with Seren, there are some famous stories of me being (uncharacteristically) extremely rude. I feel very irritable these days too. While I love the life growing inside, with him on the inside kicking and moving and squishing me and Seren on the outside yelling and pulling on me, I just feel like I'm about to fall apart by the time 8:00 pm comes. I really can't even begin to visualize our lives when he actually is born! And I worry about that. And I worry that maybe we aren't being good parents to Seren and then? Well, it tailspins from there.

That being said, during this past weekend, I had a moment of clarity about discipline. I found myself raising my voice too often last week and feeling like an Ogre of a parent. That isn't my style. It also isn't that effective with Seren. And the more upset I get, the more upset she gets and before you know it, everyone is yelling and who wants that?

My friend Joanie lived in the Congo for 20 years. She talks about "African Time" in that it is quite different from the Western sense of "time". Folks are late to events because well, they were busy chatting. We found the sense of time refreshing when we visited Ghana. "Rushing" isn't a concept that is well valued.

I think Seren has a sense of this African Time. She is in the Seren Time Zone. (STZ) Her time doesn't really correspond to our time. Acknowledging this this weekend made me realize that she doesn't understand "rushing"; which is refreshing. I find myself simply waiting a little longer for her to respond. And she does. She is just really busy chatting with her stuffed animals or playing with her cars. She will get to it (it being dinner, washing up for a meal, cleaning) when she can.

The other epiphany, which really shouldn't have been an epiphany, was the realization that while she cognitively seems to understand a TON, she is only two. A year ago, she was still taking a bottle at this time! We have a long way to go in terms of self control. Why do I think otherwise? While she is such a big girl in all of the things she can do on her own (dress herself, feed herself, talk), she is still a really little person. She isn't going to be "ruined" forever as an adult if she doesn't "listen" to everything we ask her to do the first two times. Afterall, she is busy learning about something else.

This post reads exactly as I am feeling this morning: scattered! All over the place in terms of frustrations, disappointments in myself, and exhausted by the idea of adding another child to this madness. But I'm also hopeful. We are ALL learning about "how to" be two years old and how to parent a two year old.

It is a steep learning curve. But we are in it together.

I think the baby "needs" a doughnut, don't you?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Berry Picking and Beach Days

We have had busy weekends the last three or four weekends. With Sam working and another baby coming, I feel compelled to just ENJOY our weekends. So what if I need to clean? We are going outside! And it has been wonderful to spend time with one another.

This Saturday, we took Seren to the Jersey Shore. She had a complete blast! As a result, I had a complete blast. She spent a lot of the day doing "gymnastics". She does these wacky splits and likes to "stand on one leg". It was awesome. We left early, got to the shore and were on the beach by 10:30 with full sun screen. We left at 2 at which point Seren turns to me and says, "Momma? I want to go to sleep."

"That's fine with us, kiddo!"

Out she went and Sam and I got to talk (gasp!) on the way home. So very nice. We even made some (some) progress on the Name the Baby Front.

The weekend before we went berry picking on a farm. Seren loved this too and showed incredible self control by picking each berry, asking us if she could taste it, opening up her mouth and then, upon hearing, "not yet", placing it in the container. I couldn't believe it! Once we paid for the berries, we let her go to town. We have been reading "Blueberries for Sal" which is a classic story that I loved to read when I was growing up. (We actually read my old copy of the book). Seren turned to me while berry picking and said, "Blueberries for Sal and Blackberries for Seren!"

With Sam working two jobs, Seren and I have spent most of our Sundays together while Dad is at work. Or as Seren likes to say, "On the puter." (on the computer) It is just the girls. She and I have had fun on the swings and visiting with some friends. It really has been an amazing time. I have taken a ton of pics but none of them are downloaded yet! I girl can't be a good blogger with this wacky system!

But here is one of her on the beach that I like:

And here is a good one I took of her at a park in Cape Cod.

Stay tuned:
This week: Operation Big Girl Bed (OBGB) and a visit from blogging extraordinaire, Laura!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Seren at the beach: Move over Michael Phelps!

I couldn't stop laughing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. All I wanted to do was teach in a classroom. I ended up being an education researcher- so not THAT far from my little girl dreams.

My brother wanted to be an ambulance driver. He always pretended to be helping people and saving them. Until May, he was an athletic trainer- the person who runs on the field when an athlete is injured. He hopes to one day be a physical therapist. Again, not too far from where he started off as a little boy.

Now Seren? Seren has her sights set pretty darn high, if I do say so for myself. She announced her dreams sometime last week:

"Some day, when I get big, I want to be a big, big, big moose. With antlers. Like this!"
(insert hand gestures on top of her head indictating antlers)

A mom can only hope.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Right there in the middle

I'm right there in the middle of the pregnancy. I am passed the half way mark and into the "looking big" phase. My underwear leave red marks. My zits taunt me and make me feel 14. I am simultaneously thrilled to bring a new one in and scared to death of the prospect. I am overwhelmed most of the time. With the first child, you are so ignorant of everything. I worried a lot but I always worry. This time you have a glimpse- a small idea- of what is ahead.

Last night I tossed and turned. One of the first nights of feeling like the belly was really in the way of being comfortable. My son was kicking like crazy well past 12:15. My body craved the rest but just couldn't get it.

I said to Sam last night, "How much longer do I have until we have him?" And part of me feels like I'm ready for him to arrive. To be with us. I am tired of being tired. I am getting big and uncomfy. The back pain is tiresome and the scare of Pre Term Labor is wearing.

But then there is the other side.

I CAN wait to see him. When you have had a preemie, I would argue that time is a bit different. I have been so closely monitored. Last week brought a shot Tuesday, an ultrasound Wednesday and a regular OBGYN appointment Thursday. I am happy for every week that goes by! Safely. Without cramping. Without non stress tests.

Yesterday morning, I took Seren to the playground. We had a complete blast. She went up and down on the swings. And had a great time on the slides. The fear that used to characterize her time at the park is gone. She went full throttle. As a result, I went full throttle. And since my doctors have said, "Look, your cervix is doing great. Enjoy yourself again". I did.

I came home hot and sweaty. I then felt a huge contraction and just about passed out from nervousnes. I put myself to bed with a gallon of water while Seren napped. It is normal to have these "braxton hicks" contractions but they really, really scare me. With Seren, I chalked all too many up to "just normal". This pregnancy, nothing really seems that normal to me until I clear week 35.

And so I want to not focus on the fatique and the discomfort. I just want to be happy with the amazing life inside. I don't know if I'll be blessed to have this experience again! So in uncomfortable moments the next 16 weeks seem far too far away. But really, 16 weeks is nothing- a blink in the grand scale of things. To feel and SEE the kicks makes me smile wide.

I am one blessed Momma.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finding Herself

Last night I was watching Seren as she played in the bathtub. She was doing her typical splashing, kicking, pouring water over Elmo. She was also investigating her
va *gina. (Spelled like that to avoid odd google searches) I mean REALLY investigating it. She was leaning in half with her forehead in the water to look 'down there'. Then she says to me,

"Mommy! There is another belly button down here! Another one! Wanna see it, Momma!?"


I love kids.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Please Hold"

The week before our vacation was insane. Work decided that I needed a few more deadlines. And all four projects had a deadline before I was set to leave for Cape Cod. I was required to work full days, go home, be a mom, cook dinner, bathe her, put her to bed and then head back to the computer. Some people do this all of the time; I am not one of those people.

Anyway, it was insane. And Sam, thank goodness, still new at his job, could pick up some of the slack. As our childcare provider couldn't provide care for Seren due to her daughter having pneumonia, we pulled her out of care and into Grammy Care. So, things were nutty.

At 5:30, I call home to tell Sam that I'll need to work late. He says that I should stay there because our home had no electricity. They were managing just fine but I should stay at the office. I settle in.

At 7:30, I call home. I was depressed that I hadn't seen Seren (a first) and I was hours from being done my work. I ask Sam how he is feeling.

"I am not good. Oh! I am SO not good."

Alarmed, I ask him what is wrong. Seren is screaming in the background and Sam says he is bleeding uncontrollably. He asks me to call the neighbors so that they can come over and help.

I call six neighbors.

I call two more families. No one is picking up their phones- our phones are all on those damn electrical landlines. I call him back. Seren is still screaming. She is fine, just scared. So he asks me to call 911.

I call 911. The local town in NJ picks right up (I work in Jersey, my family and home are in PA). I get transferred quickly to PA. Her first words to me?

"Hi, please hold."


So I tell them what is going on. She says, "Oh, this is an emergency!?" (Apparently, I was transferred to some non-emergency line). The EMTs get to my husband. And I drive like a bat out of hell from Princeton. Going 80 on I-95- good times!

Meanwhile, sam has stopped the bleeding. He has had this thing on his leg for over a month- it is very close to a birthmark. Apparently, he picked the scab and since it is sitting right on a vein, it just started shooting blood up into the air. And he couldn't get it to stop. Seren, meanwhile, was having a tubby and was stark naked screaming, "DIAPER!" for over 30 minutes while Sam tried to get the bleeding to stop and find a diaper for his toddler.

I arrive home to find all of my neighbors drinking wine on the front steps of one neighbors' home. They have Seren in their arms. I look like a stressed out, pregnant freak. They told me he was fine and that Seren was fine. Seren wasn't so sure about all of this activity.

I went home to our still dark home and found a flashlight, put Seren to bed in her clothes and would have poured myself a BIG ole glass of wine, but ya know, the pregnancy thing isn't about drinking alcohol.

Sam can be very sensitive about medical issues and can exaggerate colds and cuts. So I wasn't really sure how bad the situation was. That was, until I came home.

Our bathroom looked like a small dog had been murdered! It was horrible! There were bloody footsteps down the hall. Yuck!

Amazingly, Sam arrived home quickly- our neighbor kindly picked him up. And we settled into to eating McDonalds at 10 pm.

Seren's commentary on the whole thing the next day was classic. "Momma!! Daddy had a BIG, big, boo-boo."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stories to Tell

I am alive and well! I am behind on everything but I'm hanging in there! We are back from our one week vacation to Cape Cod. It was amazing! I am actually tan and somewhat rested! Such a great week. And I have stories to tell! So many that I most likely don't have time to blog about all of them but will leave them here for myself and for my readers. (All 5 of you!) Any votes on which story to tell first?

1. Why the local ER knows my hubby
2. Seren's ride in a Pick Up Truck and why I know the insides of not one but TWO Pep Boys in CT and NJ?
3. Big Momma in the house- weight gain and major popping at week 22
4. Seren's House of Horror (our transition to Child care)
5. Sand, Water and Sun
6. Seren's two favorite phrases: "Momma! Whatcha doing?" and "I hear something!"

I can't believe our vacation is already over! So sad! I am behind in emails! Now that my two weeks of working like crazy at the office is coming to an end, I should be emailing all of you soon!