Category Archives: Pregnancy

Happy Birthday, Sprout!

Sprout turned one year old today.  It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since her precipitous arrival 2 1/2 weeks before my due date and 28 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  I feel like she should still be a tiny baby, but every day she is showing us more evidence that she is becoming a toddler.

She took her first independent steps last week.  She practices standing up All The Time, especially in really unhelpful situations like when she’s in her high chair.  She’s crazy about animals.  She loves Tad’s stuffed animals (especially his lemur, which is twice as tall as she is), books with pictures of animals, and real dogs who we see on walks.  She’s also crazy about these tiny duck magnets that are on our microwave (perfectly horrible choking hazards, so of course she loves them!).  She is finding lots of ways to communicate her wants and needs, including a few words (one of which is “duck”!).

We had a small party for extended family and a few friends on Saturday, so tonight was just our little family of four.  Dinner included the mix of joy and chaos and exhaustion that is our life now.  Between Sprout standing up in her high chair, Tadpole being put in time out for bopping his sister on the head, and Roo and I hopping up to get seconds of different dishes, I don’t think we were all sitting at the table together for more than 30 seconds.  But in those 30 seconds Tadpole said, “Thank you for Sprout and for making the whole wonderful world” as part of our before-dinner “thank yous”.  And in the midst of the chaos, Roo and I stole a few moments to hug each other and to thank the other for the hard work she did 365 days ago.  After dinner, Tadpole “helped” Sprout open her presents from us.  Sprout grinned at the stuffed dog Roo had bought for her, reached for it, and bit its nose decisively yet affectionately.  We flipped through the book with pictures of animals that I had bought, and Tad read it to Sprout until she decided to carry it off and try to look at it (and chew on it) by herself.

Here’s to another year of our boisterous menagerie. Happy birthday, Sprout!

 

 

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Filed under Parenthood, Pregnancy, Sprout, Tadpole

The other shoe

It has been a crazy week.

A few weeks ago I posted this, about being informed of a sudden drastic salary cut at my job.  This past Sunday night I called my boss to ask her a quick question about a meeting on Monday.  She told me that she had been in conversations with our agency’s board all weekend and they had decided that they needed to lay off almost all of the staff (including me) as of Monday.  I was 34 1/2 weeks pregnant.

On Monday, my boss asked me to come in to meet with her.  She had come up with the beginnings of a plan that would get me at least some income, and would tide me over as an employee until the point where short term disability would kick in.  It would also allow me to continue on the agency’s health insurance at least through December.  I would continue to see my clients and do a few hours of training and supervision, but would no longer do the administrative work that I had been doing.  We hammered out some more details, and she said she would present it to the agency’s board.

On Wednesday and Thursday I went in to see clients and to provide supervision to the two remaining staff people (one of whom is an intern and the other of whom started at the agency a month ago).  Both of the employees were understandably anxious.  They mentioned hearing that the other staff who were laid off had been informed of the cuts over email, on Sunday night.  They are doing their best to keep things together, but are confused about what happened, frustrated about having so little information, and concerned about their own job security.

It didn’t help that I couldn’t even give them a definite answer about whether or not I would be continuing at the agency, because I still had not heard back from the board.  My boss said on Thursday that she hoped to have a definite answer by the end of the day, but when I went to bed Thursday night I still hadn’t heard.  My boss finally called on Friday morning and said that the board had approved the plan we had come up with.

It’s a slightly better plan than being laid off completely.  Assuming most of my clients come in, I’ll make a little more than I would on unemployment.  And I’ll get a chance to wrap things up with them.  Not getting a chance to say goodbye to my clients was one of the hardest things when I thought I was being laid off completely.  I’ve known several of these kids and families for more two years, and one of them was a client at my old job so I’ve worked with her off and on for seven years.  They all know that my maternity leave is coming up, but they and I have assumed we’d have several more weeks to work together and prepare.  And we have all assumed that I’d be coming back after my leave.  My boss has suggested that things may change for the organization over the next few months and so I might be able to come back, but at this point I don’t want to.  I have really enjoyed a lot of things about the agency, but these recent cuts (and particularly the way they were handled) mean that I don’t feel comfortable returning.  But I haven’t told my boss that, which makes it trickier to tell my clients.

This really sucks.  The timing is crappy–though I guess if it had happened a few months ago it might have been worse?  I can’t believe how little notice we were given.  It seems unlikely that my boss woke up on Sunday and suddenly realized that we had no more money–so why had no one told the staff that this was a possibility??  It’s also ridiculous to me that she or the board would assume it would be okay for me to just suddenly not show up to meet with clients.  Were they imagining I would send everyone a letter–“by the way, I don’t work here anymore.  Good luck with those issues we were working on.”??  I can’t believe that employees were laid off via email on a Sunday night.  And I’m angry that we received no severance pay, no pay-out of vacation time, etc.  I have been so careful all year to save up my vacation and sick time so that I could use it during my maternity leave, and now am told that it is just gone.  Instead, I will bring in a little income between now and when the baby comes.  For the two weeks after giving birth I won’t have any income.  And then I’ll go on short-term disability (a percentage of my old salary) for four weeks or so.  After that I will probably have to file for unemployment and we’ll manage on that until I find a new job.

I’m trying to notice some positive things in the midst of this crappy situation.  It’s not such a bad thing for me to have some extra time to do things to get ready for the baby.  I have two appointments scheduled for next week to get inexpensive things done on Roo’s and my cars.  I don’t have to worry about missing work time for my weekly midwife appointments.  I can spend some extra one-on-one time with Tadpole before his world changes completely.

And we have felt very supported by our various communities.  On Sunday night, Roo and I sent out emails about the situation, and I posted on facebook about it.  Numerous folks passed along job leads and networking possibilities, and these have already led to a couple of possible kinds of part-time work that I could do for the next few weeks.  My sister-in-law called to offer to provide babysitting for Sprout while I go on interviews during my maternity leave.  Roo’s parents and my parents have offered to help us out financially.  Many folks said they would think about us/pray for us/hold us in The Light.  Lots of our friends and family have been outraged on our behalf.  All of that feels good.

But it still really sucks to suddenly and unexpectedly have much less money coming in and much more uncertainty a month before our baby is due.

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Filed under Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Anniversaries

We’ve had more crappy news in the job/$$ department, and I’m working on a post about that.

But tonight I am grateful for Sprout.  We went to the annual potluck at Tapole’s preschool this evening.  Two years ago when we went to this event, we had just found out that our first attempts at TTC #2 had resulted in a chemical pregnancy.  You know where a really crappy place to be is when you’re feeling sad about not being pregnant?–a preschool family potluck!  They tend to be full of adorable babies and moms who are pregnant with their second (or third or…) kid.

Last year at the potluck we sat with one of Tad’s classmate’s families who had an adorably-chunky several-month-old baby.  Roo and I both got a turn to hold her, which was delicious but also sad, since we still had no idea when or if we would have our own.

But this year I was one of the pregnant women, chatting with other parents about due dates and baby clothes.  I wondered if there were any families there this year for whom the event was hard.  Given that there were dozens of families in the room, there probably were.  I hope that all of those families find their way to the family size that feels right to them, even if (like us), the path to get there isn’t the one they had imagined.

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Filed under Pregnancy, TTC #2, Uncategorized

Changes

It was a crazy weekend.  We spent most of Sunday rearranging what felt like half of the furniture in our home.  Our house has three bedrooms–Tadpole’s, Roo’s and mine, and the room that has been Roo’s art studio (and also held my crafting supplies and an exercise bike).  For a variety of reasons, it makes sense for Tad to have the studio space, and for Sprout to have the room that was his bedroom.  So we had to move Roo’s studio stuff into our basement, Tadpole’s bedroom furniture into the former studio, and Sprout’s crib, changing table, etc from the basement to Tad’s old room.  Fortunately, Roo recruited two of the maintenance people from her work to help with some of the lifting and carrying.

Roo and I are still exhausted, and we’ve been realizing that it’s not just from the zillions of trips that we’ve made up and down the basement steps.  The whole moving process also brought with it a huge list of different emotions that we’re only now having a chance to sort through:

  • Relief at having the furniture-moving project crossed off of the pre-baby to-do list.  There’s still quite a bit left to do–Sprout’s room is currently full of a lot of odds and ends that need to find new homes, and we need to acquire a few major things (including a new dresser for Tad).  But compared to the big move those all feel manageable.
  • Terror and delight at the idea of the smallest bedroom holding a baby again.  I have so many memories of sitting in the glider in that room holding baby Tad.  Some were moments of cozy bliss, and others were times when I was completely overwhelmed, frustrated and exhausted.
  • Bittersweetness about Tad growing up.  Roo peeked at him after he was asleep tonight and remarked that somehow he looks even bigger in a bigger room.
  • Fear of losing parts of our not-just-parent selves now that they don’t have a formal space in the main floors of our house.  What does it mean that our exercise bike, Roo’s art supplies and my craft supplies are all now in our unfinished basement?  This is a tough one for both of us.
  • Joy and excitement that we’re finally going to meet this new little person.  The fact that she has a crib and a room of her own makes it all feel more real.  We’ve been waiting for more than two years to add another child to our family, and we’re getting so close to finally seeing it become a reality!

I feel like lots of my recent posts have been about feeling All The Feelings, but I guess that’s where I am right now.  This is a major life transition so it makes sense that there would be excitement and fear and sadness and joy about all that it may entail.

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Filed under Parenthood, Pregnancy, Tadpole, TTC #2, Uncategorized

Wait a minute!

I’m 31 1/2 weeks pregnant.  I’ve had more weird hip issues, including one weekend in which my hip would randomly give out on me when I was trying to walk (super fun….).  My back hurts, especially if I sit or stand for too long.  Heartburn makes it uncomfortable to eat much in the evenings.  Sprout has also started doing this charming thing where it seems like she’s trying to burrow her way out of belly elbow-first.

Despite these various discomforts, I’m wishing there were a way to prolong the period before Sprout’s arrival.  I really want to have a second kid.  And am so grateful that we’re getting close to having that happen, especially after the long slog to get here.  But I’m not excited about having a newborn again and am not sure I’m ready for all of the changes that will entail.

Tadpole was not an easy infant.  We spent the first six weeks struggling with breastfeeding before giving up and deciding to pump and bottle feed (which meant having to find time to do both).  Plus Tadpole was what our lactation consultant called a “frisky fritter”–a kid who goes from perfectly content to blood-curdling “I’m starving and must be fed RIGHT NOW” screaming in about 7 seconds.  And he had reflux, which meant more screaming.  And of course there was the normal craziness of life with any newborn–sleep deprivation and not having any predictable routines and never being able to get anything done except feeding/changing/rocking the baby.  I remember bursting into tears one evening when I realized that the load of laundry that I had put in the washing machine that morning was still there–I hadn’t even been able to complete a single load of laundry all day.  There’s more about those early days with Tadpole here, but even just writing the above makes me a little queasy.  Remind me why I thought it was a good idea to do this again???

I love our little family routines and rituals, and I’m not ready for them to be completely upended. We have systems for getting the three of us out the door in the mornings, and bedtime routines, and a plan for who drops off and picks up Tadpole on which days.  And there are things that we do most weeks–cooking waffles on Saturday morning, going to the neighborhood farmers’ market on Tuesday evenings, cooking a big meal on Sundays (to allow for lots of leftovers during the week).  I’m not sure what any of those routines and rituals will look like in the months following Sprout’s arrival.  We’ll try to continue with as many of them as we can, but I also remember how topsy-turvy everything felt during the early months with Tadpole.  We have a really great life right now, and I miss our little habits when they are disrupted.  Besides, our current life is crazy and exhausting enough, without adding a newborn to the mix!

I’m hoping that one positive of having been through this once before is that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully we’ll be able to hold onto the knowledge that the crazy newborn stage doesn’t last forever, that all kids sleep through the night eventually, etc. Simply the fact that we’ve kept one kid fed and clothed for 4 1/2 years gives me confidence that we’ll somehow manage to do the same with a second. I know that our current patterns may be completely upset for a while, but we will find our way to new routines that will probably look not-so-different from the ones we have now.  And we’ll be getting to know this new little being who we have waited so long for.  I think once we are able to settle into life as a family of four it will be amazing. But I’m worried about the in-between time before we get there.

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Filed under Parenthood, Pregnancy, Tadpole, TTC #2, Uncategorized

Public Property

I had a midwife appointment last Thursday, and afterwards had a few extra minutes before I needed to be at work.  So I stopped at a fast food restaurant along the way to treat myself to a fruit smoothie.  Below is the ensuing scene:

Woman behind the counter: Are you having a boy or a girl?
Me (consider saying “right now I’d like to be having a fruit smoothie” but bite my tongue):  A girl.
WBTC (turns to her co-worker): That doesn’t look like a girl belly, does it?  I heard it’s boy bellies that are usually right in front like that.
Co-worker:  Yeah, that’s what I heard too.  I don’t think that looks like a girl belly.
WBTC: Are you sure you’re having a girl?
Me (really hoping my smoothie shows up soon):  That’s what they said.
Random other customer:  I think boys are usually carried low, so that could be a girl.
Third woman behind the counter: Yeah, it’s boys that are carried all the way around, and girls that are just in front.
Yet another random customer:  Yeah, I think that looks like a girl belly.
(I turn away from what’s starting to feel like a mob of people wanting to share their opinions about the size and shape of my body and head for the door.  But make the mistake of stopping to get a straw, where I am interrupted by an employee who had been sweeping the floor.)
Floor-sweeping employee:  So did you want to have a girl?
Me:  We would’ve been happy either way.
FSE: (seeming disappointed that I’m not going to share my innermost thoughts on gender with her): Oh.  When are you due?
Me (over my shoulder as I escape out the door): December.

It’s fascinating to me that so many people think it’s totally fine to comment on the shape and size of a pregnant person.  There’s not really any other circumstances in which that is socially acceptable.  We don’t walk up to strangers and say, “wow, you sure do have big feet!” or “wow, what a tiny belly you have” or “your head is way out of proportion with the rest of you.”  But somehow, a pregnant person’s body is public property and lots of people think it’s acceptable to examine and comment on it.

Last Thursday was certainly not the first time I’ve had conversations like this.  And this one was actually fairly benign in that they were debating the sex of my baby (which I don’t have much doubt about after the ultrasounds we’ve seen) rather than the size of my belly (which tends to come with all sorts of emotional baggage attached).

Over the summer a man in line in front of me at a rest stop in Delaware wanted to know when I was due, and promptly expressed his disbelief that I could have so many months left to go.  I considered going into detail about IUIs and vaginal ultrasounds and the other reasons that I am definitely sure of my due date, but decided that I’d rather just get my pizza.  I’ve had many people tell me that my bump is “so cute” and “so little” and many others tell me it’s huge and they doubt I’ll make it until December. One of the joys of being pregnant is that, in addition to the societal pressure that women face all of the time about not being too big, there’s also negative feedback if you’re too small. I feel fortunate to be relatively comfortable in my body, because all of these comments could make me very self-conscious.  Belly’s too small–am I giving the baby what she needs?  Is the baby okay?  Belly’s too big–am I eating too much?  Is the baby going to be obese?  Is it going to take forever for me to loose all of the baby weight?

Many women have jealously compared the shape and size of my belly to the way they remember carrying their baby/ies.  All of this examination (and especially the jealousy) tends to feel uncomfortable because I don’t have a lot of control over how my body carries pregnancies.  It’s not like I’m doing anything particularly virtuous that is giving my body this shape that they think is ideal.  I usually mumble something like, “isn’t it interesting how different people’s bodies are and how little control we have over how it happens.”  I certainly understand how much pressure there is to look a certain way when pregnant, but it’s not so fun to have other people’s insecurities projected onto me.

I will admit that there are occasional moments when I like feeling special and like the center of attention.  But in moments like the scene above, I just want to get my smoothie and go to work in peace without having the shape and size of my body closely examined and commented on by every employee and customer in the McDonalds.

 

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Filed under Gender, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Bins

I now have a few hours on Friday mornings to Get Things Done while Tad is at preschool.  The plan this week was to use that time to sort through Tad’s old clothes in order to get things organized and ready for the baby.  So I hauled up from the basement the six (!) giant plastic bins that held all of Tad’s outgrown clothes and toys, plus the bin of very pink hand-me-downs from my nieces that we just received.  I spent more than two hours sorting them into piles by size and then folding them and putting them neatly back in the bins.  It was satisfying to check one more thing off of the pre-baby to-do list, but the whole process also brought up lots of different feelings.

My most prominent reaction was relief at finally getting to do this.  During the year-and-a-half that we were unsuccessfully trying to conceive, I had moments of hating that we had these bins.  These hopeful stores of newborn onesies and bouncy seats and nursing cover-ups felt mocking.  And as we had to add bins for Tad’s 2T clothes and then his 3T ones, the number of bins seemed to represent the growing age gap between Tad and a potential sibling.  But now, finally, I could pull out all of the tiny pastel outfits and dream about this girl in my belly wearing them.  I could picture her in her brother’s hand-me-downs at six months, 18 months, three years.  It was so joyful to finally be here!

Of course, imagining our soon-to-be-born child in the clothes happened simultaneously with memories of her big brother wearing them–“oh, I remember when he wore that to the zoo” or “we have a picture of him wearing that on our porch on a beautiful spring day” or “I know where that stain came from!”  I picked up one particularly soft and colorful onesie and had a flashback to holding my son when he was wearing it, back when he was chunky and bald, years before he was the long, lean preschooler who he is now.  I could feel that toddler’s chubby round body.  I love the boy who we have now, but in that moment I also missed toddler who we used to have.

And then there was the moment when I came across a few loose-fitting dresses of Roo’s.  I was baffled about why they were in with the baby stuff, but then I saw the maternity skirt folded up with them.  These were a few things that she had put aside to wear when pregnant.  So like many other moments of this pregnancy, the joy at finally preparing to welcome our baby girl shares space with sadness that Roo isn’t the one carrying Sprout.  For me (and I think for Roo too), the joy continues to grow and the sadness gets less sharp.  But it’s certainly still there.

Do you have any objects that represent your TTC journey?

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The end of Fridays?

I’ve mentioned on here before that I work 35 hours, 4 days a week.  I’ve been lucky enough to have this schedule ever since going back to work after my maternity leave with Tadpole.  I’ve tried to make Fridays a day when we can move at a slower pace and can focus on having fun together.  We’ve certainly done plenty of trips to Target or the grocery store on Fridays, and there were some days when spending all day on my own with our rambunctious kiddo wasn’t easy.  But we’ve been able to have adventures on the city bus, go swimming at the pool, take toddler-paced walks around the block, visit the animals at the zoo, and so much more.  Overall, it has been fabulous to spend my Fridays with Tad, and there are posts here and here about some of our Friday adventures.

But now there are a variety of factors that are making us wonder what the best way is to spend our Fridays this fall:

  •  Tad is in pre-K this year, in a combined pre-K/K class. We haven’t gotten to meet his teacher yet (she was out of town this week), but we think she may not want him missing out on 1/5 of the classroom time. But he’s still in pre-school, and his class is still very play-based (it’s not like they’re sitting in rows of tiny desks filling out letter worksheets). So maybe she won’t care?
  • Tad is more and more aware that his friends are still at school on Fridays, and has sometimes mentioned not wanting to miss out on time to play with them. I’m sad that he’s already at an age where he (sometimes) prefers time with his peers to time with us. It brings up all sorts of things for me about the ways he’ll eventually grow away from us.  But I don’t want our time on Fridays to be more about my needs than about his.
  • I’m a little overwhelmed by all that Roo and I have to do between now and mid-December. So having some chunks of time to get things done would be kind of amazing. I start to daydream about being able to sort through all of Tad’s baby clothes so that we can get them ready for Sprout. Or having time to research day-care options for the spring.  Or even taking some mid-day naps when I’m 30+ weeks pregnant! Or sitting in a coffee shop and people-watching by myself!
  • We don’t know what we’ll want to do about Tad’s preschool schedule after Sprout is born.  I’m guessing that we’ll probably want him to go to school on Fridays.  It seems like Roo and I will want to be able to focus on the baby (and on napping when the baby is napping!) during maternity leave.  And it might be good for Tad to have as much time as possible at school, where thing will be more familiar and less chaotic than at home.  It’s hard to predict how it will all feel once Sprout is here, though.  Maybe I’ll be happy to have someone around who I can talk to, even if that person is 4 years old and doesn’t take naps!  But if it’s likely that he’ll go to school on Fridays after Sprout’s arrival, maybe we should start that schedule now–both so it’s a familiar routine, and so it doesn’t feel like another way in which the baby is taking our time and attention away from him.

So there’s all of these really good reasons for him to start going to school five days a week.  But then I think about how awesome it has been to have a day a week to focus on my kid. I know he’ll start going to school every day when he starts kindergarten next year.  And in the spring I’ll be spending Fridays with our new baby.  But I’m not sure that I’m ready to give up this Tad-focused time quite yet.  And I know that Tad misses his friends at school on Fridays, but I also think he might miss our special time together–especially as we all get ready for the arrival of his sister.

So I don’t know what the right answer is. Roo and I have talked about various options. Maybe he’ll go to school every other Friday? But won’t that be confusing for everyone? Or maybe he’ll go to school on Fridays and I’ll pick him up around lunchtime? But won’t that be a confusing change in routine too? We have a beginning-of-the-year conference with his teacher next week, and we’ll see what her advice is. And Roo and I will keep exploring our options.  Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this?  Any suggestions?  Maybe a magical solution that we haven’t thought of?

The one thing that I keep coming back to is that, no matter what we decide to do going forwards, I’m so lucky to have had 4 1/2 years of Fridays with Tadpole.

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Heading into fall

I spotted the first red leaves of the season on a tree on my way to work yesterday–it’s really almost fall.  I’m 24 weeks and 2 days pregnant. That feels kind of amazing to write. I know we’re technically approaching viability, but I’ll feel a lot more confident in a few more weeks. For me, reaching 29 weeks will feel like an important milestone. My little brother was born at 29 weeks. He spent quite a while in the NICU, but knowing that he turned out just fine (6 feet tall, and starting a challenging graduate school program next week!) is reassuring.

It feels like my belly has gone from “cute” to “ginormous” in just the last week. I started having some Braxton Hicks contractions a few weeks ago. They’re not terribly uncomfortable, but they do freak me out. And then there have been a few times when I couldn’t quite tell if I was having contractions, Sprout was doing back-flips, or my belly was just stretching. It happened for a while yesterday, which led to some more freaking out, but both my anxiety and the weird sensations have calmed down today.

Our Maine trip was really good. We stayed at a rustic cabin that belongs to my parents. It’s on an island on a lake, and I grew up going there most summers, starting when I was about 8. It’s a beautiful area, and we had perfect weather. Tad loved riding in the kayak and the canoe, and I loved sharing some of my favorite activities with him. The water was chilly, but we all still went swimming a lot. We went on a hike and marveled that Tad was big enough to walk the whole way independently. Roo and I spent most evenings sitting on the dock by the water after Tad was in bed, looking at the zillions of stars, enjoying the absence of traffic noise, and talking about issues large and small. We’re so lucky to have access to this place!

The drive up and back wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Tad was a very patient traveler for 95% of the trip. The 5% that he wasn’t involved some ear-splitting screaming, but we all got through it. I had checked out some books on CD from the library for the drive, and Tad loved them. He particularly enjoyed Pippi Longstocking, which was a book that I loved as a kid, so it was fun to share that with him. And it’s impressive to me how much he could follow of what was going on.

We got back home on Sunday afternoon. Tad went back to his preschool on Monday, and I went back to work. Roo did some work at school and home during the first few days back (including waiting for the refrigerator repair person because our fridge had helpfully died just before we left!). She started official meetings at work yesterday. The transition from trip on Sunday to work/school on Monday (especially without a working fridge) was rough. I feel like I’m still catching up on lots of things. There’s still 200+ unread posts in my blog reader, there’s still baskets of laundry from the trip that have been washed but haven’t gotten put away, the kitchen is a mess. And I owe a post and a much-belated thank you to the lovely folks at Two  Mommies and a Baby, who nominated me for a Liebtster.  Thanks a bunch!

I’m sad about the end of the summer but also looking forward to the fall.  Our summer was wonderful, but crazy-busy. It felt like we were away more than we were home! It was great to have Tad and Roo around more over the summer, but every week (and often every day) had a different schedule. Which meant each night having to discuss with Roo who was getting up at what time, who was helping Tad with which parts of his morning routine, what time he needed to be picked up from which location, etc. I’m not looking forward to getting up at 6:20 every morning, but it will be nice to fall back into our regular routine and not have to negotiate everything.

Being gone a lot also made for a stressful summer at work, especially since there has been a lot going on at my job (hiring new staff, preparations for the new school year, an upcoming audit from a major funder, etc.). Plus, between my travel and my clients’ summer schedules, it has been a while since I saw many of them regularly. I miss the consistency of seeing folks week after week, and it will be good to get back to that (at least for a few months, before I disappear for 12 weeks…).

Tad has been very happy to be back at school. I hadn’t been sure how the transition would go since he hasn’t been there all summer and is starting in a new classroom. But he ran off to play with his friends with hardly a backward glance. He’s starting pre-K. There’s moments when that seems impossible to believe. But then I look at this long, lean, confident kiddo and it seems like he’s totally ready. This week his class has been talking about the Wizard of Oz, and they performed a “play” this morning. Apparently their initial Tin Man backed out, and Tad jumped at the opportunity to have the role. All of yesterday evening he was full of information about his costume, his cue to come onstage, the set, etc. I got to go see it today (yay for Fridays off!), and it was adorable. It was a very home-made affair (Tad’s costume included an aluminum pie plate tied onto his head), but the teachers had done a great job creating a
play that 4-year-olds could manage.  Tad took his part very seriously, and especially got into using a funny voice and stiff motions before Dorothy oiled him. I’m glad that, in the midst of the changes that Sprout will bring, Tad will continue to have the community of kids and teachers at his preschool.

This fall will also need to include some time to take care of the preparations for Sprout’s arrival. Fortunately, we still have lots of the baby gear we accumulated for Tadpole (though much of it has been handed down between several friends in the meantime). But we need to get a new infant car seat, and figure out how to fit both it and Tad’s car seat in our tiny cars. We need to sort through the baby clothes that we’ve saved. We need to get Tad’s new room ready so that he can move into it so that we can set up his current room for the baby. We also need to find a daycare! There is a lovely one at Roo’s work, where Sprout can go starting next fall. But they don’t have space in the spring, so we’ll need to find something to cover the few months between when I go back to work in March and when Roo gets out of school in June.

In addition to the logistics of preparing for Sprout, there’s all of our concerns about starting over with a newborn, helping Tad adjust to having a sibling, etc.  Little Sprout is a very wanted baby, but we’re starting to freak out about the changes that will come with her arrival.  So I’m also hoping to find some time this fall to savor the life that we have right now. There’s lots of things that I really like about our regular day-to-day life together. We have lots of little rituals and routines that are familiar and comfortable–Tuesday evening trips to our neighborhood farmers’ market, Friday night dinners out at one of our favorite restaurants, Sunday nights watching TV on the couch after Tad is in bed, etc.  I’m hoping to spend this fall getting ready for our new adventures, but also enjoying our life as a family of three.

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Summertime and the living is…complicated

Hello, hello! Sorry that it has been so long. Lots to catch up on, and I’m not sure I’m up for actually creating transitions between topics. So bear with me.

I had an OB appointment last Friday, at 17 weeks, 2 days. It had been a very very long 4 weeks since the last one. I haven’t felt any movement yet, and the queasiness has let up a lot (which is great. But also leads to lots of paranoia). When I was pregnant with Tadpole, I knew that my mom had had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with me, but I didn’t know many of the details. This turned out to be a good thing, because I would have worried an awful lot more if I’d known that her miscarriage happened at 16 weeks. But in the intervening time I have asked her for more of the details, and I can’t exactly un-remember that information. So that was also something that was on my mind as I went into the OB appointment. But everything seemes to be fine. Sprout’s heartbeat was definitely there, and just the right speed. And now it’s only two weeks until the anatomy ultrasound!

We will find out the sex at that appointment (assuming Sprout cooperates). It’s complicated, since we’re fully aware that finding out what is between his/her legs won’t really tell us anything about Sprout’s temperment, personality, etc. And it doesn’t even guarantee what gender of kid we’ll be raising once s/he is old enough to tell us who s/he is. But given how little we can know about our kid before s/he comes out, we do want to find out this one random fact. Sprout’s sex won’t necessarily have much of an effect on our preparations–s/he will probably still wear a lot of Tad’s hand-me-downs. And it won’t affect the nursery decor–we’ll actually probably be moving Tad into a room with pale purple walls, and putting the baby in Tad’s current room, which is yellow. But it’s helpful to be able to pick just one pronoun and to begin to narrow down names. And given the very gendered world in which we live, it helps to make this whole having-a-baby thing feel a little more real.

Tadpole has become quite independent these days. Most mornings he wakes up before Roo and I and just goes downstairs to play until we get up. He even helps himself to a yogurt and starts in on his breakfast. He has gone to several half-day camps–one at Roo’s school and one at a park–and has come home each day with stories of his exploits: “I was trying to catch a water strider but I caught a fish instead!” “I have a new best friend. Her name is Sophie.” “I got my face painted like a shark!” “We sang a song about mermaids!” He has been excited to take on these new adventures, and hasn’t seemed worried about being in new places or with new people. It is fun to see him finding his way in the wider world, and his various camp counselors have seemed very fond of him and pleased with his enthusiasm for every activity.

Unfortunately, some of this independence has led to way more moments than usual of Tad being really difficult to live with. He would like to make all of the decisions about everything, and every little thing (getting dressed, washing hands before dinner, cleaning up toys, etc.etc.etc.)turns into a power struggle. I’m not sure if all of this is about the reality of Sprout really hitting him, the change in routines over the summer (and lack of naptime since he refuses to take one when not at school) or hitting 4 1/2. It feels very “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in that he alternates randomly between being sweet and cuddly and eager-to-please and being defiant and falling apart.

The other day Tad was mad at me for setting some limit and he looked like he was going to hit me. So I said, “Tad, you can tell me that you’re mad at me, but you can’t hit me. Why don’t you go stomp around the house and tell me about being mad.” I was all proud of my parenting prowess, as he marched around the house talking about being mad. Until he marched back up to me and kicked me in the shin!

And then he has these moments when he gets upset and just can’t seem to get “un-stuck” and settle down; the other night he couldn’t pick out a song for us to sing at bedtime, wouldn’t let us pick out a song, and couldn’t stand the idea of us leaving him without singing a song. Poor kid! I’m not sure what it is that’s going on for him, but I hope (for all of our sakes!) that we’re able to get through this patch soon!

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