Relaxing Doesn't Make Babies

Such a sweetheart

Feb 3, 2012 — 11:49 am

After a night of me not sleeping at all (but Kate did… now there’s a plot twist) and then Kate waking up early I did my usual: curled up on the couch and turned on Elmo. I kept the remote near at hand, since I have to keep hitting play next, pulled up my blanket and curled up on my side. Kate immediately climbs up on the couch with her puppy and sits with her back leaning up against my chest. She leans her head against mine, so my lips are pressed to her cheek. We stayed that way for a while. I fell asleep a few times, woken by her asking for another episode.

She hops down a few times – once two retrieve the dropped puppy and climb back up, the next to run over to the highchair and ask to eat. I brought over her little strap-on booster seat, set it on the floor and gave her a cut-up peanut butter and jam sandwich that was left over from yesterday. I kept trying to open one eye to peek at her and make sure she wasn’t doing something terrible with the PB&J but she was just quietly and slowly munching on it. She had found her sippy cup of water. She was all set.

Next time she roused me she wanted out of the seat and climbed back up with me. So there we stayed, cuddled together, warm memories drifting in about how I used to sleep with her in my arms all the time. It was such a perfect moment.

::

Yesterday we went out for dinner to our favorite hibachi restaurant. Eating out is certainly a bit tricky now that Kate is a toddler and doesn’t want to ever sit still. The last time we attempted to eat out it was spur of the moment. We were all hungry and when told it would be a 30-minute wait just to be seated we left, knowing Kate wouldn’t handle the wait – which in and of itself caused a complete meltdown the entire trip home. It’s a touchy thing, this timing – the kid has to be hungry enough to be occupied by the food while you eat your dinner, but at the same time that makes them hungry enough to freak the hell out if there is any delay.

So yesterday we timed it well and went for hibachi, which has the added benefit of being something to watch while eating and getting more hot food every few minutes which plays in nicely. Kate did take several trips to check out the fish aquarium before the food started, but then was good and ready for her meal. She was excellent. She dug into the rice and noodles, was trying to stuff whole shrimp in her mouth (ummm… no) and devoured the cooked veggies including carrots and “trees” (broccoli). She talked (loudly) in excited gibberish the entire time, as if wanting to share just how delighted she was with our outing. At the end of the meal there was surprisingly little food under her chair, too – apparently it was so good she ensured that every bite went directly in her mouth.

Funniest moment though was when the chef arrived at our table. Kate stared at him wide-eyed and I wasn’t sure how she was going to react. Then she pointed at me, told the chef very loudly, “Mama!” and patted my arm a few times just to make it clear that I was indeed her mama. She again repeated this halfway through our meal when the lady sitting next to me started talking to me about Kate. “Mama,” Kate told her proudly while patting me. “Mama.

I really love it when outings go well like that – they definitely don’t always. I was so proud of my little munchkin.

It’s complicated

Feb 4, 2012 — 1:58 pm

I am finally applying for US Citizenship. I have been living here for nearly 7 years now (What? 7?!). I have my green card, and I could legally live here the rest of my life as a permanent resident and be just fine. But this year, especially with the election coming up, I just feel like, okay, it’s time for me to take that next step. I believe I can keep my Canadian citizenship and be dual, which is nice.

So this means filling out yet another immigration form (although thankfully nothing in quadruplicate this time!) and pay yet another $85 for “biometrics” (fingerprinting) – for the fourth time. (Don’t they keep these things on file? I was under the impression that fingerprints don’t change.) But all in all it’s a pretty simple form, and then I’ll get an interview and have to swear an oath. The only hard part on the form was when they asked for every single date I have left the US since I moved here. Exact travel dates and number of days outside of the US each trip. Now that certainly caused me to scramble and search all of my records everywhere for receipts and journals and oi. Wish I had known about that 7 years ago, I would have written it all down!

The other part of the form that gave me pause was of course the “LIST ALL CHILDREN” part. It even specified “ALL children, even missing or dead.” I hesitated and sighed and muttered to myself. Den looked over and what I was doing and said, “You know how you have to answer that.” Yes. I know. Devin was not born. He is not, was not, a person under the law. He had no death certificate. He is not officially dead; he officially never existed. He was a pregnancy loss, not a dead child. And that bugs me. It doesn’t upset me, and I clearly understand how I need to answer this very official form, but for everything else they want every single detail – they want to know not just if you were charged with a crime, but if you were ever detained or questioned, they want details, they want explanations. But my dead child is not a person.

Not to mention I’m currently pregnant with 3 months left. By the time they receive this form, approve it, and schedule an interview I could well have another child that is not on that form. But what can you do. This child isn’t yet a person, either.

Swim!

Feb 6, 2012 — 2:20 am

A couple weeks ago I took Kate to our local Boys and Girls Club to go swimming in their pool. I knew from last year that their pool is not as warm as I would like it and the time of day for their swim is difficult for me to make it to on time (9:30am – Kate usually wakes up at 9), but I’ve really been feeling like I need to take her swimming at least a few times this winter, especially since this summer will be much more difficult with a newborn and toddler. So I went one morning. The water was indeed cold. I sucked in my breath… Kate shrieked. We didn’t really do much, I carried her around for a few minutes while she repeated “No! No! No!” and sobbed. I sat her on the edge so she could kick her legs in the water and that was acceptable to her – but she still would rather just run off somewhere. It was, needless to say, disappointing.

I know the YMCA has a warmer pool but I haven’t been a member there since I was pregnant with Kate. The membership fees are hefty – worth it if you’re going to take classes and use their equipment and go swimming all the time, but just to go swimming once or twice a month? I’m not paying $70 a month for that. A friend recently told me about a family swim night they are now doing, which is open to the community for a drop-in fee. I was so excited to hear that.

So this evening I decided to try it out. Den is out but I figure that’s just as well in case it’s another total failure.

When I carried her into the pool room her grip on my arm tightened considerably. I went down the steps into the water and she clung to my hip like a baby monkey. The water was most definitely much warmer – not quite “I’m in a bath” but at least warm enough that I wasn’t going to start shivering or anything. Kate was still very uneasy about this whole pool concept and she whined a few times. She didn’t like it when I moved around. There were other kids splashing and I think she was in overload for a little bit. They had a bunch of rubber duckies in the water so I distracted Kate with one (she kept shouting “DUCKIE!”). Then I sat her on the edge, which happens to have a lip and then a flat area in an inch or so of water, so she kicked her feet and splashed a bit. I think she slowly started realizing this was a lot like her fun baths.

It did take a while for her to relax, but I could feel the tension ebbing from her as time went on. She stopped grabbing me every time I moved, she started leaning away from me instead of into me, and she started talking. A lot. So I carried her around, I let her grab little balls and ducks and pool noodles. She started standing on the edge and counting (except instead of saying “One, two, three,” like I did she was garbling it a lot, sounded more like, “Da, go, TREE!”) and then I’d pick her up and swish her in the water. She thought that was fun, I kept doing it, dipping her a little further in each time.

Then she discovered the steps. She LOVES steps into pools. This time she wasn’t climbing out though, she was climbing in. I’d put her on the side of the pool and she’d walk over to the stairs, take my hands, walk down two steps and then “jump” in. She got pretty mad when I tried moving away from the stairs, she was really obsessed for a while. But every time she did it she got bolder. After a while she was holding my hands while jumping in but not scrambling to grab my body after she was in. I started holding her under the armpits and “swimming” her. She was doing really well on her belly, even kicking her legs a tiny bit when I encouraged her to. The more surprising part to me was when she started just hanging and drifting, letting her feet float to the surface in front of her as she leaned backwards. Then she’d shift upright and lean forward again. I think she was experimenting with her buoyancy and movement in the water. I was just holding her up, not directing her. A few times when I took her to the stairs she put her hands on one of the stairs and let her entire body float to the surface – without me holding her at all! She did get her chin wet, even got water in her mouth a few times. Once she slipped a little while climbing out and I’m pretty sure her face went in but there wasn’t a peep from her so I didn’t react at all.

I was really just so excited watching her – I find it’s hard not to grin idiotically the whole time. I was just so proud of her! She and I were having a great time, laughing and saying “Yaayyyy!” She talked a lot, actually – very loudly, in fact. She was yelling things like “Seat! Seat!!” when she wanted to sit on the edge, and “Ducky!!” and “Ball!” and “Yibber yibber go!!!” and other random nonsense just out of sheer excitement apparently. (People around me were giggling at my little chatterbox.)

After an hour and a half, at 8:00pm, I finally decided we had to go! Kate still wasn’t showing any signs of getting bored or tired of swimming. She did leave with me without complaint and happily walked right into the showers. She loves showers, she stands right underneath the spray. I got her out of that and into a changing room – I was very thankful they had nice family rooms with locking doors so no kid can go escaping naked down the hallway (yes, that happened last time!). Unfortunately Kate was not a fan of the wet tile floor. She was scrunching up her toes and crying, “Wet! Wet!” and then almost falling over because she was trying to pick her feet up off the ground. I had to sit her on a towel on the bench while I dressed quickly.

I really hope they continue to have these family swim nights!

Challenges

Feb 10, 2012 — 1:43 am

This has been a challenging week. I can tell that I am not in the best of moods to start with – hormonal and cranky – and Kate is pushing my buttons. I know it’s just the age and what toddlers do, but I feel unprepared for constantly arguing with my kid.

First of all we turned off the TV. The Elmo-demanding had increased to such a level that we were not only not okay with how much TV she was watching but her attitude frankly sucked. Enough is enough and so we are going through what I affectionately call “Elmo detox.” She’s allowed one Sesame Street episode in the morning – I seriously need that time to wake up and get my head on straight – and one before bed. Then it goes off for the day. She was clearly not happy about it at all and begged all day long for Elmo, but I think she realized from the start that we were resolute this time and she wasn’t going to change our minds because she didn’t throw a tantrum about it like she has previously. On the down side I now have to find ways to occupy an extremely bored toddler all day, but now when she says, “Elmo?” and I say, “No, not now,” she lets it drop and goes to find something else to do.

The tantrums… let’s talk about the tantrums. She’s not a terrible tantrumer like others I’ve seen/heard, she doesn’t throw herself to the ground or anything, but she definitely has the screechy wail, the hysterics, the huge tears and sobs. And it just seems to go on and on and on. I admit I roll my eyes a lot. Today she was throwing a fit about me not retrieving an old paci from under her crib so I left the room, told her to have fun. Miraculously, minutes later she was quietly – and happily – reading books off her bookshelf all by herself. Tantrums are apparently less fun when there is no one watching.

A huge tantrum trigger right now is the freakin’ bathroom. She is OBSESSED with water, and by obsessed I mean if she gets into the bathroom she’s climbing up on her stool to reach the sink, and if she sees us using a sink she says, “Hands? Hands?” and tries climbing our legs. So the bathroom is this huge point of contention because as soon as the door is cracked open she makes a beeline for the sink. And if I dare say, “No Kate, not right now, lets go,” say perhaps because I just had to grab my hairbrush or do a quick pee or something, then she starts up the hysterics. This is extremely unfortunate timing because with me being pregnant and all I have to use the bathroom like fifty times a day, and each time I’m playing linebacker to a toddler and then dealing with the sobbing aftermath. I do let her play in the sink once or twice a day, since it does a great job of occupying her and it’s a fun activity to play, but not only does she get drenched in the process but so does everything in the room. So I only do that once, maybe twice. The rest of the time I am that mean mom who tells her no.

No is being said a lot lately. I never really had to say no very often to Kate, and she always listened when I said not to touch something. Oh how that has changed. She has entered the toddler stage of, “Oh, you asked me not to touch that? It must be cool to play with, then! Let’s do it some more and laugh as you get angry!” We had several instances today where when I warned her not to touch something she looked straight at me, put her hand on the object, and then laughed when my voice got sharp. She suddenly doesn’t seem to care when I pull out the mean mommy voice, which leaves me at a complete loss. That ALWAYS worked. I found myself arguing with her a few times before realizing that I’m being an idiot, I’m the mom, and taking the object away. You want to keep touching mama’s pen and drawing on her work notes? Pen goes away. You want to keep banging on mama’s laptop keyboard when she tells you not to? Computer goes away. You want to draw on the floor instead of your notepad? Crayons go away. Oh there have been a lot of tantrums, yes there have been. But at least it makes an impact on her, rather than her blatantly ignoring my voice.

::

She’s also moving into the independence phase. She now wants to walk herself from our door to the car – which is an issue because when I need to turn around and lock the front door she’s trying to go down the porch steps by herself. Though I must say if she’s going to pick a time to insist on walking, me heading into my third trimester of pregnancy is a great time for that. I do have to still live her up into her carseat (our SUV is too tall for her to climb in), which she is not thrilled about, however I can distract her by getting her to help me buckle her in. She now does the chest clip herself, and she is so super proud of it! It takes a lot longer than me doing it, but it’s helpful to have her working with me rather than fighting me. (She also has a toy phone that lives in the car so she’s always asking for her “fo” soon as she’s buckled in… that keeps her happy, too!)

She has recently figured out how to use a spoon properly. She’s been using a spoon for sticky things like yogurt, but she was tilting the spoon a lot. Well now she’s figured out how to feed herself keeping the spoon level, and thus keeping things on the spoon. She can eat soup! (Though tomato soup? Not the best choice.) And our morning now usually consists of oatmeal, since she seems excited that she can do that by herself. And that’s fine with me, that gives me a chance to eat something!

The walking by herself thing is more stressful in stores, as she will only hold my hand for so long before attempting to wander off on her own. Today I stopped at staples to photocopy something and that was kind of hellish. She wouldn’t let me hold her, I had to give some attention to the photocopy machine, and she kept trying to run off every time I turned my back, so I ended up standing there poking at the copier’s buttons while holding her arm as she squirmed and sagged to the floor and loudly protested.

She is okay in her stroller for a while, but then she wants out. I learned to not make the mistake of taking her out of the stroller for a little bit and then trying to put her back in. I ended up walking down the mall pushing an empty stroller with one hand, carrying a wiggling, wailing toddler tucked under the other arm.

::

I used to be the awesome person. I was the magical adult who could do all kinds of wonderful things. Now? I am the person who says no. A lot. I make up stupid rules, like no eating random crap you pulled out of the garbage can, and no coloring on the hardwood floor, not to mention no climbing up on round, wobbly objects in order to pick up the xbox. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I really don’t like saying no. I hate hearing myself say no a thousand times a day. I would love to just make you happy all the time. But what you want and what is safe and acceptable, they are not exactly on the same page. So you will be continuing to hold my hand in parking lots, even though you’d rather not, and you will continue to not touch expensive pieces of equipment that are not yours, and you will continue to hear no a lot. This is something we’re just going to have to live with.

You do own a lot of toys. How about playing with them once in a while?

Kicking mama

Feb 13, 2012 — 12:24 am

Both of my girls are giving me a run for my money! Okay, so admittedly Kate is still pretty good 90% of the time, but she’s still exhausting and climbing up on everything to grab anything she shouldn’t have. I fear we will soon run out of spaces high enough to stash things. I’ve also finally had to remove my printer/scanner from the floor under my desk. I was fine with tiny little Kate using it to sit on, but she’s been using it as a step-stool for climbing and tipping it so that it slams back to the ground. Today I really thought she’d broken it, so away it goes. (Now I don’t know where to put the darn thing – I frequently need to print things for school. Maybe somewhere in the bedroom, when it’s cleaned out.)

Then Ember has shifted, today she had her feet way out in my side just under my ribs. When I was laying on my side watching TV she was getting dangerously close to kicking my ribs. She would alternate that with random periods of kicking low in my side at my pelvis, which also wasn’t too pleasant. And at one point she had her hands (I assume) really down low at my cervix and was doing something causing me to yelp a little with little jabs. Is this beat up on mama day? She’s been so good up to this point, always kicking outward.

She is an active kid. Wow. Maybe Kate was indeed this active at this gestation and my memory is failing me, but I thought it started later. Ember is just… crazy. I can see my belly jump and bend and jiggle – Den can too. And she only weighs, what, 1.5 lbs? This could be an interesting third trimester! I really love this part though. It is just so much fun to see and feel her moving in there – and very reassuring, too. She has stopped playing hide-and-seek all the time so Den has been able to feel a bunch of movement in the evening when she’s having fun in there. He’s always so surprised by what he can feel. “I don’t know how you handle feeling that all day long!” I laugh. It just becomes a part of you that you carry around all day…. I get so used to her moving that it feels weird when she’s having a quiet day.

I am finally feeling past the nausea – or at least the bulk of it. When people ask how I’m doing I’m getting all perky and saying, “Actually… great!” It is so so nice to really feel good after feeling nauseated and gross for so long. My face and back have finally cleared up, I’m not throwing up or gagging, I have energy to tackle projects around my house and do some cleaning… now this is how I should be feeling in the second trimester! And my growing belly doesn’t get in my way yet. The only big thing it affects is standing back up after squatting down – which is a frequent occurrence with a toddler. Squatting down to pick her up? Oh I huff and puff to stand back up. Those stomach muscles are just not there anymore!

One side-effect of the nausea going away is that I am all about food. I told Den flat out that he could pretty much convince me to go to any of his friends’ parties or work events or any kind of outing as long as he promised me I’d get food. Superbowl? I don’t give a whoop about football. I did however eat a ridiculous amount of snack food. Weekends we pick a day to go out for brunch (since eating out at dinner with a toddler can be hit-or-miss brunch fills the void nicely… so much yummy food and Kate is almost guaranteed to behave and eat happily). I am just so hungry. Den has been cooking dinner every night, but unfortunately, being a man on a diet, he’s big into the meat and veggies thing. I am not. In fact meat right now is not really sounding appetizing much at all to me. My cravings are all about sweets and carbs. Fruits are awesome, but can be very sad at this time of year. I’ve been eating a lot of cereal and sandwiches (PBJ) and yogurt.

Kate has also been a little piggy lately. Today at brunch I think she ate nearly as much as I did! A large piece of french toast, some potato chunks, hash brown mix, and apple rice. She hasn’t been eating enough at dinner – I think she’s not necessarily thrilled with the meals – which I figured out is what was leading her to wake up in the middle of the night. So we’ve started giving her a second “dinner” right before bed, making sure she eats as much as she wants right before she goes down. Bingo, sleeping through again. (Except last night, when she pooped 2 hours in. Unhappy baby, unhappy mama.)

Some other things my crazy kid is doing:
* Holds out her arms and says, “Hug??” And then dives in for a big hug. LOVE this. So stinkin’ adorable.
* Talks for a long time in/at(?) her crib after being put to bed. We crack up in here listening to her. Today she was loudly saying, “Banana! Banana! Ag-deegle-wa [random babble]. Banana!!” She also talks and giggles when she wakes up in the morning and after nap. I can leave her in there for half an hour or so most days, she apparently has a great time.
* She has figured out the mama word. And not just figured out that it means me, but that it gets my attention. So now all day? “MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!!” Adorable…. and also slightly annoying. Especially when I turn to her for the tenth time and say, “Yes baby?” and she just giggles at me. And then says, “Mama!!” as soon as I turn back around.
* She’s been very interested in her clothes and is starting to try putting them on. She is failing big time, but it’s funny to see her flapping her pants around and haphazardly trying to step into them… while already wearing pants.
* She’s also very interested in her baby. She shoved a diaper at me the other day and her baby, insisted I put it on the baby. So I pulled out one of her old xsmall cloth diapers and put that on the baby. She had fun taking it off and attempting to put it back on her baby. She also insisted I put socks on the baby. She will “feed” the baby food as well.
* She LOVES real babies. She wants to touch, and even though she’s gentle I still don’t want her sticking her fingers in babies mouths or anything! But she loves to pet them gently on the head and point out eyes, nose, mouth. She’ll offer her sippy cup and paci to babies as well.
* She loves her kitties but also has picked up some bad habits from us! She now shoves the cats off of tables and chairs saying, “Go!!” and laughs and laughs. Though today she saw Merlin on the couch and said, “Mewin. Mewin. Seeping!” (Merlin sleeping) which was pretty cute! It may also be the first step towards putting words together.

Science

Feb 19, 2012 — 2:18 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. This week marks 10 years since Den and I officially started dating, the first time I flew out to MA to see him. (We had met in person once prior, then developed a relationship online.) It’s also the year that I turn 30, and the year that I am having my third kid. Suddenly it is very noticeable that time has moved forward.

It’s kind of funny going back to college. In a lot of ways I still feel like that person I was before, that college kid – but I’m not. I look at the young kids sitting in my class around me and realize how little they know of life. And I would have hated someone saying that to me when I was in college. But they just have a look about them, sassy dress and attitude covering up their wide eyes and confusion. My belly gets a lot of glances when I look down the hall (either that or I keep getting toilet paper stuck to my shoe or something). I am the oddity. I don’t feel old, but at the same time I’m clearly different. I am a good student – a very good student, actually – but I also expect my instructors to understand that life is a lot bigger than school, than this one class. I do my best, and I am getting very good grades, but there are days when the babysitter is late or my kid is sick and I just might not make it to class that day. I remember the attitude some of the instructors had with us back during my first degree, and that would so not fly with me now. I am lucky so far that my instructors seem to get it.

Going back to school has also brought up a lot of questions in my mind about where I want to go in life. I am of course a mother and I love this job more than anything in the world, but being a mother was never the only goal I had in life. While they are little I fully intend to be here for them, being a stay at home mom was always my plan. But after they get older, then what? Go back to work… what work? I’ve always had this vague concept that I will have a career some day – not a job, but a real career – I just have never been too clear on what exactly that’s going to be. I’m still not. And it feels weird to be taking the first steps down this path not knowing where the heck it’s leading.

I seem to be sure about one thing, though: I want to do something important, and it will be in science. Maybe research. I’ve always been the girl who was fascinated by astronomy and physics and theories and discoveries. Combine that with my love of organizing minutiae and I think there are any number of areas that I would excel in. But not just that. I think I’m the kind of person who would excel in a lot of things. But doing research and being on the leading edge of science, that is something I would feel good doing.

I hope somehow I can make that happen.

Third Trimester

Feb 20, 2012 — 7:01 am

I am headed into my third trimester now – 27 weeks tomorrow! That seems a little insane. 3 more months left. I’m really starting to think more about the birth and bringing this baby home… and Kate’s birthday party, which will hopefully happen beforehand. We’re now planning summer events and having to take into consideration the baby. The baby! Crazy crazy. I am getting pretty excited now to hold our second baby girl and find out who she is.

I purchased a dresser for Ember and Den set it up in their room. It’s not in place yet, as we still have to remove the bookcase, but it’s there and I’ve put a few clothes in it. I’ve also spend time planning how to finish up their room decorations, what photos to hang on the wall, what decals to buy. Little things, but I guess I’m nesting so they seem important to me. I’m very clearly nesting, in fact, since my other obsession is cleaning out and organizing my hard drives; I have spent hours meticulously going through files and archiving/deleting/renaming.

Right now I’m trying to balance preparing for the baby with not changing too much on Kate. Right now I’ve been thinking a lot about the crib. We have only one. Kate is very happy in it. Last week one night I couldn’t change the crib sheets by myself so I ended up taking out the bumper – yes, she sleeps with a bumper now that she’s older and very mobile. I knew she slept in the corner but I hoped she’d adjust to maybe a blanket rolled up. Nope. We had some touch and go nights where she was clearly displeased with the new situation so I tucked the bumper back in on two sides so she still has her corner. I didn’t tie it in though, so now I can just pull it out to change the sheets. But it really made me think, why bother disturb her? If she’s sleeping well – and most of the time she is – I really don’t want to disturb that, especially with all the changes a new baby will bring. So right now we’re just going to use the cosleeper for the baby and wait and see. Maybe Kate will be ready to move before Ember needs the crib. If not, well, then we’ll look at getting a second crib. I am trying not to plan too far ahead, as we all know how well that can go with little ones (but that’s hard for me, because I am definitely a long-term planner!).

I had an appointment last week and all is very well! I am up roughly 20lbs, which she said is normal and good. I didn’t see my blood pressure, but it’s been slightly higher than my normal this pregnancy because I have to hold a wiggling toddler on my lap the entire time. My fundus measured 25.5 at 26 weeks, so perfect. Baby’s heartbeat was loud and clear – Kate sat and just stared at the probe and the funny sound coming from it. I’m glad she wasn’t upset by the midwife touching mama’s belly, but she seemed more curious than anything. (Also, side note: taking a toddler to every appointment is a lot more exhausting than I would have thought.)

I am very happy that my back has finally cleared up and the Aveeno lotion I’m using is helping with the itch as well. My back hasn’t broken out that bad in many many years and my skin is super sensitive this pregnancy; there are some nice looking shirts that I can’t wear because for some reason the material feels really weird against my skin. I’m very itchy on my back and shoulders. My face was breaking out really bad too and that also seems mostly under control finally. I had to be very diligent about using my Proactiv on my face and I got a stronger benzoyle peroxide wash for my back and shoulders. I’ve also noticed my cheeks are very red. I know I am prone to color in my face anyways, but it just seems extra red right now – I can’t even cover it with foundation (which I use only for special occasions, due to the breakouts).

Sleep has all of a sudden gotten very difficult. I am getting braxton-hicks contractions in the evening, I know that much – it feels funny but I have to check my belly to see if it is a BH or baby moving or something. I get them a couple times a day that I notice. But now I think I’m getting them at night because I wake up feeling like my bladder is going to burst and I have to run for the bathroom. Even when I wake up having to pee and don’t have a contraction I still can’t fall back asleep… it’s just too much pressure and it feels like I’m going to pee myself. So off I go in the dark. I’m also just getting uncomfortable sleeping in my usual half-belly position, which means I can’t fall back asleep very easily – not to mention the heartburn I get some nights (like tonight). I think it’s time to start sleeping with extra pillows. The belly just feels heavy and awkward now!

I don’t wish the next three months to speed by, as I know this is probably my last pregnancy and there is so much I do enjoy about it. Watching my belly move is so awesome. But I’m also having anxiety creep in. Now that I’ve started feeling a connection and excitement I get the corresponding anxiety and fear… those little thoughts and “what if”s that I try not to let in. I try to convince myself that this pregnancy will be normal and fine and this baby will be here in our arms… but the only time I’ll fully believe that is when she’s here. Until then I enjoy what I can and am extremely thankful for having another very active baby, but I will probably continue to wake up in the middle of the night hazily thinking Is she still alive? in those minutes before I feel her move.

Time-out

Feb 24, 2012 — 9:07 am

Kate is all about pushing boundaries right now. Thankfully she is generally just nudging them, but she clearly puts her toes on the other side of the line and then looks at me as if waiting to see what I’ll do. It’s just little things, like touching something repeatedly after I told her no touch (while staring at me), getting up on something right after I made her get down, drawing on things like the floor and desk when I have told her we don’t do that.

The worst one was at the doctor’s office. She likes blowing bubbles in water. So for some completely crazy reason she recently decided that blowing bubbles on chair seats is hilarious. I couldn’t figure out what she was doing for a while, making big “Bbbbbah!” sounds on the vinyl, until she said “Bubble!” While at home this is just kind of a weird thing to do, in a freakin doctor’s office it’s so gross! I was getting quite frustrated with her and was using my sternest mommy-voice telling her to stop it, we don’t blow bubbles, no touch! And she would laugh and dive back at the chair again. I had to stop her somehow and she clearly wasn’t going to listen to my verbal command so I picked her up, sat her on my lap, wrapped my arms around her and held her tightly so she couldn’t get down. She struggled and whined and cried a little bit. I calmly said, “Mama said no bubbles. You have to listen to mama.” Unlike removing her from the chair, which she seemed to think was a funny game, she really really did not like being held and unable to get down. But I think it at least made an impression. She still tried doing the bubbles again though, I had to do another impromptu time-out.

The laughing at me thing is what has me kind of stumped. She [usually] listens when Den uses his daddy voice – I’ve seen her fling an object to the floor and slam her butt to the ground as if by having a really fast reaction time she’ll convince him that she was never in fact standing on the chair grabbing that thing-she’s-not-supposed-to-have. But me? She laughs. I don’t even pull out the mommy voice very often, I don’t really have reason to and I try to reserve it for special occasions. It doesn’t matter. It’s apparently the curse of being the mommy. So I will pull her off something and she’ll laugh and laugh like it’s a fun game we’re playing. I take things away from her – like the crayons – and she does get upset at that and it seems to be pretty effective since it’s an immediate, related consequence. If she can’t use something properly then she doesn’t get to use it. But things like climbing on the table or the back of the couch? I can’t take those away. A natural consequence would be her falling on her head, which is of course the consequence I am trying to avoid. I’m not really a huge fan of time-outs, mostly because her cognitive skills are still lacking to be able to understand my explanations, but I think it may end up being what works.

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I had plans to write more, but apparently Kate and I have gotten sick. I no longer have any desire to sit here, and coughing keeps interrupting my few thoughts. A day on the couch it is. Blah.

Two Crazy Girls

Feb 28, 2012 — 3:18 am

Ugh. This weekend was a “our house is a biohazard” kind of weekend. All three of us are sick with a cold. I haven’t been sleeping much because I can’t breathe! Started with a cough, progressed up to my sinuses, and now it’s trying to sink its teeth in. Every time I think I’ve got it going away a little bit it rushes back into clog my sinuses. And I can’t even take any of the good decongestants! (For all that Den says it barely helps, it’s better than nothing!!)

Kate has been very miserable, very snotty… she didn’t seem particularly sick but moody and prone to meltdowns. And then I noticed the two lower canines poking through. Agghhh! I’ve been waiting and waiting for this next round of teething – it’s been a while since the last one – and of course it hits when we’re all sick. So the poor kid is barely eating anything at all, yogurt and fruit purees are key right now, and she is pretty unhappy. Like I said, very prone to meltdowns. The smallest thing will set her off: not being able to reach something, me saying she can’t have something right now, etc. She’s also been very clingy. I had a big project I was working on this weekend (also perfect timing) so I spent a lot of time locked in the bedroom with my laptop while Den played with her. She actually did really well for most of the day, but then I guess enough was enough and she just kept sobbing for mama. :( Today I spent a lot of time with her, often she just wants to be picked up and held, or for me to sit on the couch with her.

Though she isn’t sitting still for long. Sick teething child, you’d think maybe she’d be lethargic and want to cuddle right? Nooooo. She’s not sick enough for that. She’s bouncing off the walls since we’ve been cooped up in this house for days! She has found new creative ways of climbing everything in sight, which makes Den super twitchy. Remember, he’s the nervous one always worrying about her falling and cracking her head on something – he’s already removed several toys for climbing violations. (I’m wondering just how much toys/furniture will be left at the end. Not much, I think.) She’s also showing a lot of cunning, knowing how to move furniture around to get to things that she wants.

She has also been so very funny. All this energy and her craving for attention has made her a bit of a ham. Today while we were watching a movie in the evening we had to pause because Kate was having this entire conversation with me – or maybe I should say at me. For like 2 or 3 minutes she was going on and on in what I think was mostly toddler-jibberish, but mixed with known words. “Ahd, bak, dah, yuck yuck yucky yucky maaaooo.” It was hysterical! I really feel like she’s going to bust out with real english sentences any day now, like her brain is processing and is sitting right on the edge. She seems so heartfelt when she is talking away and I feel bad when I have no clue what she’s trying to communicate. Most of the time I just nod and say, “Okay!”

Yucky is her new favorite word, by the way. She loves to point out the yucky things. Trash? Yucky! Fluff on floor? Yucky! Dirt on hand? Yucky! Also random things I really can’t identify, but she’ll insist yucky, yucky! This is also leading to more girly/prissy behavior. She will not continue eating if she has some crumbs or half-chewed-something on her hands. “Yucky!” she states as she holds out her hand. “Yucky. Yucky. Yucky.” And on it will go until you remove the offending yucky thing. Bits of crackers and fluff is constantly being handed to me now as she is playing.

She also likes pretty things. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with her hair, since it’s getting longer and really looking a mess. I’m balking at cutting her bangs, though I know it would make things neater… I just am not a fan of bangs. So I’ve started trying to put a little barrette in her hair. Oh my goodness so cute! She looks so girly with it in. And it does keep most of her hair out of her eyes. But of course she does remove it… though not for the reason you’d think. She doesn’t remove it because she doesn’t like it… she removes it because she likes it a lot and wants me to put it back in. It’s like she’s studying it. I even saw her lay down on her belly on the floor, barrette in hand, studying it very closely (another adorable mannerism). She still loves to wear her bead necklaces and has started bringing us clothes to put on her. She especially likes to put on pants, skirts, and the other day a dress. I think soon she’ll be putting on her own pants and skirts but for now she needs help doing it.

Sitting on my lap is getting more difficult with the belly in the way though. She hasn’t noticed, but I sure do as she thumps her butt down and squashes me. She’s still such a toddler, wanting to stand on my lap, wanting to climb on me, wanting to be held and talked to and get down and back up. I really do feel like a jungle gym most days.

Not to mention what’s going on inside my belly. If outside I am a jungle gym for a monkey, then inside I am a ring for an acrobat. Ember is a mover! Some evenings it feels like constant movement while I’m sitting down. And she’s not gentle. I don’t mind the outward kicks and punches so much, but there are times when I’ll just start wincing as she turns her attention way down low, or I have to grunt and stretch as she pushes up into my ribs. Luckily it isn’t often yet. I think she actually bruised me somehow the other day, because Kate bumped a spot on the side of my belly that made me give a little yelp. I prodded the area and found a sore spot! I’ve never noticed something like that before. It felt just like a bruise, but without any visible bruise.

The more active she gets, the more real she feels… though sometimes I catch myself calling her Kate when I pat my belly. So many good memories overlapping, my two active little girls!

I think to myself, wow, I’m already 28 weeks! And then I think, wow, I have 3 more months to go. 3 months seems like a long time. But I certainly am keeping busy… May will be here soon.