Top Ten Reasons Why Pregnancy #2 Isn’t Quite as Fun as Pregnancy #1

Well here we are, pregnant with baby number two!  It happened later than we expected, but nevertheless we’re finally on the road to parenthood one last time.  As I approach the halfway mark, I’ve decided that being pregnant this time isn’t as fabulous as it was last time.  There are several reasons why:

  1. I’m older. 5 years older to be exact. So I’ve lost some energy and patience since 2010.
  1. I have a 4 year old to wrangle. Last time it was just me, hubby, pets, and plenty of down time. Not anymore.
  1. No cocktails. This isn’t new obviously – I didn’t drink last time either. But there’s something about the aforementioned 4 year old running around that makes me REALLY crave my wine…
  1. “Oh don’t worry. You’re always bigger the second time around.” Enough said.
  1. The setup. We moved into our current house when I was approaching my ninth month. As hard as it was to move that late in my pregnancy, we started with an empty house – a blank slate.  It was so easy to set things up.  Now that we’ve hunkered down for almost 5 years we need to do a lot of rearranging and purging.  More work for sure.
  1. My two boys will be 5 years apart, so I’m waaaay out of the “baby stage” of life. Sometimes during a quiet moment I look around and think, “Oh crap, we’re going to have to change diapers. And wash bottles.  And buy baby food.  And not sleep through the night.”  Now please refer back to the first item on this list.  It’s all related.
  1. Maternity clothes. I think I borrowed a lot of stuff from my friends last time, because when I pulled down my box of maternity clothes from the attic I had no pants. Lots of shirts, but no bottoms.  And I distinctly remember covering my rear end regularly when I was pregnant before.  Most of my friends are done with the breeding portion of their lives so I have nobody from whom to borrow, which means I’ve had to spend money on stupid maternity clothes that I will never wear again.  I’m literally scraping by with like 3 outfits.
  1. All the stuff. It’s so much fun to get all new baby gear the first time around. It’s sparkling and pristine and magnificent.  But pretty soon we’re going to have to trudge up to the 1000-degree attic and start pulling down the old stuff, wiping it down, washing it, and probably finding out that some of it has dry rotted over the years.  Can’t wait.
  1. My dad’s not here for this one. I’m so grateful that he was able to spend a couple of short years being the best grandfather on Earth. But we lost him unexpectedly in early 2013 and it kills me that he isn’t here for round 2.  I’ll never forget him walking into my hospital room for the first time carrying a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and sweet tea.  THAT is the best dad known to man.  I miss him terribly.
  1. I’m sure every mother wonders if she has enough love to share with a second child. Right now my little boy consumes every ounce of my heart, even when he’s being a terror.  Is there room for another?  I know deep down the answer is YES, and he’s coming one way or the other so I guess we have no choice but to make room right?

I’m thrilled to be pregnant of course, but it is a little different this time.  A different mindset I guess.  I know what to expect for the most part so it’s not unchartered territory.  Maybe that takes a teeny bit of the fun out of it?  OK who am I kidding…  No cocktails all summer is really what’s taking the fun out of it.

Cheers to all the preggos out there.  I wish you the best!

Resolutions Shmesolutions

It’s January 5th.  I’m back at work for my first “normal” week since mid-December.  The decorations are down, the new stuff has been put away, the guests are gone, and the holiday menu checklists have been thrown away.  As my mother would say, the “doldrums of winter” have begun.

Most people spend January acting frantic about their resolutions.  Go to the gym no less than 3 times per week and for no less than 1 hour each time.  Eat no more than 1.285 desserts per week.  Eat no less than 6 pounds of celery per week.  Blah blah blah.  My resolution this year?  Kick resolutions to the curb.  In fact, I started the year by QUITTING the gym.  How’s that for going against the grain?

Yes, there are absolutely things that I want to work on this year.  Things that I need to improve upon in my personal life as a wife, mother, friend, sister, and daughter.  But I don’t want to set unrealistic goals because I know these continuous improvements should be part of my everyday life, whether it’s January or July.  I like the way that sounds actually –“continuous improvements” instead of “resolutions.”  I didn’t wake up on January 1st with a big slap to the forehead and say “dammit, I think I’m going to be more patient with my toddler this year!”  Who does that?  Every day I strive to be more patient as he becomes more aggravating.  Patience, for me at least, is a hard concept.  I’m bitterly type-A, and have had to finally realize that there is often no room for reasoning with a 4 year old.  Sometimes they’re just plain difficult.

And then there’s the health and fitness piece.  I can picture what the gym (the one I just quit) looks like at 6 PM Monday through Thursday evenings, at least until about March.  Once again, I didn’t wake up on the 1st and say “time to get healthy!!!”  I’ve always known that I need to eat well and get exercise; we ALL know that.  We just feel like January 1st is the right time to obsess about it because we spent the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas eating and drinking like slobs.  There’s too much unnecessary pressure surrounding the “get healthy in the New Year” movement.  Who’s really going to drop 15 pounds in the month of January?  Most people can’t completely overhaul their diets and expect to stay the course for more than a month (hello Valentine’s Day chocolate!).  So why set yourself up for failure?  Continuous improvements…

So there you have it.  For me there were no resolutions going into 2015.  I need to try to be a better mother and a better wife because let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement in these roles.  I need to continue cooking nice meals for my family and not feel bad when I call in a pizza from time to time.  I need to get my money’s worth out of the new exercise equipment I bought (in lieu of keeping a gym membership) because no matter how hard I try, I’m just not a gym person.  I’d rather work out at home in my ratty college t-shirt at 9:30 PM watching re-runs of Friends or Law & Order SVU.  I’m a realist, not a resolution maker.

If you came up with a long list of resolutions for yourself, three cheers for you and I hope you get ‘em done.  If things go awry, don’t beat yourself up…  If you’re like me and have no interest in resolutions, enjoy your year of continuous improvement and the occasional slice of greasy pizza!

My my my… Look How You’ve Grown!

Every now and then I catch myself looking at Junior, now 2 months shy of his third birthday, and wonder how (and when) he got so big.  I had to leave town for several days last week and when I got home it’s like I was looking at someone else’s child.  Did he get taller between Thursday morning and Sunday night?  It’s made me really start paying attention to the little things…

His vocabulary.  He’s my first child so I don’t have much to compare it to, but some of the things that come out of his mouth are mind boggling.  Not just because they’re so crisp and clear, but because they’re so grown up.  A recent example, stated with the clarity of a polished orator:  “Mommy can you stop?  You’re annoying me.”

The water fountain.  He can reach it at daycare.  For months I’ve had to give him a little boost to reach the stream of water.  Now he puts his sweet little face right in there and slurps away.  I don’t know how it happened.

His sales pitch.  He’s a better negotiator than I am.

Junior:  “Mommy can I have some M&Ms?”

Me:  “No buddy, not until after dinner.”

Junior, turning to his father:  “Daddy, you’re the best.  Can I have some M&Ms please?”

Mimicking Mommy.  It’s no secret that I love having Junior work with me in the kitchen.   I’ve found that he translates the things I do in the kitchen to the “cooking” he does in his own little places.  For instance, at least 3 times a week he makes me soup or macaroni in the bathtub.  And almost always he samples his bubble-laden recipe and informs me that it “needs a little more salt.”  So he takes a pinch of salt from his imaginary bowl and sprinkles it into his recipe.  Then he’ll taste it again and say, “It needs some pepper Mommy,” and crank his imaginary pepper grinder like I do in the kitchen.  He is so serious about it, and is overjoyed when I taste the final product and tell him how DELICIOUS it is, and seasoned just perfectly…  It is absolutely precious.

Independence.  Now that we converted his crib into a toddler bed he thinks he can set his own agenda when it comes to going to bed and staying in bed…  My once late sleeper has now decided that chirping birds are his sign to get up and start the day.  Mommy wholeheartedly disagrees.  But it’s a tricky situation because he’s potty training and I want him to feel like he has access to the bathroom, or to me, should he need to go.  Quite a conundrum…  I do find it comical that he thinks he can get up and stroll around the house at night after he’s gone to bed.  Not too long ago I was loading the dishwasher at around 9 PM, and I looked up to hear him say, “Hi Mommy.  I’m going to play in my fort now,” as he waltzed into the family room.  Do what?

Affection.  With all of the ups and downs, milestones and challenges, the amount of affection we get is the best part.  I’m not an overly affectionate person by nature; my closest friends and family know how much I value my 3 feet of personal space…  But the big bear hugs I get from Junior are out of this world.  He tells me he misses me when I’m gone.  And he still wants me to hold his hand as we go down the steps.  I know that won’t last forever so I’m happy to oblige as long as I can.

Take it Easy…

Have you ever risen on a Saturday morning after a much needed sleep-in session, looked outside at the beautiful sunny sky, then looked at your messy house, laundry, and empty fridge and decided the sunshine has to take a backseat to chores?  Regrettably I do it all the time.  My busy work-week schedule leaves me little time to catch up on errands, laundry, and de-griming the house, so Saturdays or Sundays (sometimes both) are usually reserved for the crappy stuff. 

But this past weekend was different.  On Saturday morning I was the first to wake up (at 9:15 AM – score!), so I started the day with 30 minutes of peace and Food Network shows until the rest of the crew decided to join the living.  It was during that time I chose to give the middle finger to my dusty hardwood floors and skyscraper sized piles of laundry, to turn up my nose to the grocery list on my counter, and turn a blind eye to Junior’s disaster of a playroom.   On Saturday I wanted to play outside.  I did not want to see the inside of Wal Mart, Target, or Trader Joe’s.  I did not want to open my container of Mr. Clean with Febreze scent.  I did not want to clean toilets.  So I didn’t.

I jokingly classify myself in a number of less-than-desirable ways.  OCD, type-A, and a slightly less extreme version of Monica Gellar from Friends are a few that come to mind.  Granted these are all a little exaggerated (maybe?) but I will certainly admit that I’m one of those people who needs to be doing something all the time.  I can always look around and see something that needs tidying or decide at 9:00 PM that I’m going to bake a cake.  Even when I’m watching TV at night I’m folding laundry or dusting or organizing Junior’s stuff.  At 34, I still haven’t learned the fine art of vegging out, unless there’s a hangover in play and I have no choice (which has only happened once or twice since I became a mother).  So for me to declare to my husband that I just wanted to goof off was a little perplexing for both of us.

So here’s what we did…  We ate breakfast at our leisure.  We watched cartoons with Junior.  We went for a long walk and let our new rescue dog swim in the lake for the first time.  [Side note:  for a moment I thought I was going to have the only golden retriever on earth who doesn’t like the water.  She heaved herself into the lake with reckless abandon as soon as the tennis ball left my husband’s hand — and promptly sank.  She found her way up but was utterly confused about where the sturdy ground went.  My husband yanked his shoes and socks off so fast and was prepared to go in after her.  She figured it out eventually.] I digress…  After the walk we fixed sandwiches at home and then filled up Junior’s exquisite inflatable pool with the garden hose.  I sat in a chair in the sun and watched him.  I didn’t pluck weeds out of the flower beds or mow the grass or wash windows or clean the grill.  I just sat there and watched him make pretend soup in his embarrassingly cheap swimming vessel.  Then we got extra fancy and hooked up the sprinkler so he could run through it 1000 times.  I ran through it too, in my clothes.  He laughed so hard at his silly mommy getting her shorts all wet.  As the afternoon wound down we decided to get showered and head to a local (kid-friendly) brewery to sit outside and listen to some music.  We met friends and enjoyed a few hours outside in the comfortable summer breeze.  Junior danced and ran around and ate dinner from a food truck.  My husband and I had a beer and caught up with our friends.  When we got home Junior brushed his teeth and fell fast asleep, and I watched a movie on TV that I’d already seen 250 times.

When I went to bed on Saturday night the floors still needed to be mopped and the laundry was still piled up.  I still didn’t have eggs or milk in the fridge.  But I spent a whole day having fun with my little boy, my husband, and my crazy dog, and felt that good tired feeling that you get after a busy day.  The moral of the story?  It’s OK to take a day and chuck “responsibility” out the window.  I don’t do it often enough and that will probably never change.  On Sunday I was right back at it – grocery store, prepping meals for the next few days, doing laundry.  But we still found time to head to the playground for a while…

Tales from the Potty (part 2)

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we haven’t made much progress on the potty training front.  We’re trying though, without pushing too hard, and have had some positive moments.  Small victories keep me motivated…  It’s like a golfer who misses every fairway and lips out 10 putts, but birdies the final hole…  Utter frustration can be wiped out with one small taste of success.

I’ve read a little, consulted with friends, and tried to follow my instincts, and I do think we’re heading down the right path.  But boy it’s a frustrating path.  I’ve never been labeled the most patient person in a room so I’ve had to dig deep to find my inner tranquility during this process.  The best bang-my-head-against-the-wall moments come after we spend 20 minutes sitting on the potty, chatting about the potty, reading the potty book, talking about toilet paper, letting out a few toots, and then decide it’s not the time and go back to the diaper.  And 60 seconds after getting suited up Junior runs to me with a big ol’ grin and says “I pee peed in my diaper mommy!”  Cue the head banging.

Like everyone says, he’ll do it consistently when he’s ready.  But I can’t wait for him to completely make the decision; I feel like I need to make sitting on the potty a part of our routine whether he wants to or not.  The handful of times he’s gone have been after a teary fit; part of me feels bad for making him get upset, but he can’t always call the shots.  And he is always SO proud after he goes – it’s worth the twinge of guilt I experienced a few minutes before.

I’m far from an expert (obviously) but here are some of the things I’ve tried.  Some have worked and some haven’t, and there’s clearly no right or wrong way to do it.  Every tot is different, every parent is different, and every situation is different.

Training potty:  In my last post I shared a picture of the luxurious Elmo potty that we bought for Junior at Christmas time.  He sat on it once or twice but it was more of a novelty and had too many distractions.  So I made an executive decision to go straight for the grown up potty, using the removable seat from the Elmo commode.

Big boy underwear:  A number of people suggested I let him run around in regular underpants so he could wet himself and learn that it’s uncomfortable when he’s not wearing a diaper.  So I bought a dozen pairs of Disney themed underpants and gave it a shot.  He was so excited to look at all the characters – Mickey on some, Jake and the Neverland Pirates on some, Pluto, Goofy, crocodiles, you name it.  So I slipped a pair on his little bum and within 5 minutes he peed through them.  Instead of feeling icky, he happily said “I peed in my underwear.  Can I have a fresh pair?  Mickey this time?”  FAIL.  I think he would have peed through all 12 pairs just to try on each pattern.  I didn’t give him the chance to prove me wrong though.

Potty book:  It’s cute, short, and tells the story of a little kid (we named him Peter) who faces a moral dilemma:  pee pee in my diaper or pee pee in the potty?  After much soul searching he decides the potty is the best place and he plops down.  The best part is when he falls asleep on the toilet waiting for the big moment and is awakened by something…  “What was that?” he exclaims. The next page reads “Tinkle Tinkle TOOT – I did it!”  Literature at its best – I love it.  And considering Junior has no issues tooting on the pot this line is quite appropriate.  The book is good because it puts his mind on something OTHER than locking down his bladder.

Pee Pee Treat Box:  This was my epiphany.  I like to think of it more as the “cause and effect” method but let’s face it, bribery is the better term.  He pees in the potty, he gets something in return.  I had to stop into Target one day at lunch and as I passed the $1 junk aisle I decided to grab some stuff, put them in a box with a lid, and call it the Pee Pee Treat Box.  Every time Junior pees on the potty he gets to reach into the box without looking and grab a prize.  Silly stuff – rubber duckies, new cups for his juice, flash cards, etc.  He loved the idea of the treat box, but unfortunately it wasn’t as motivating as I’d hoped it would be.  But nonetheless he’s happy to claim a prize after his pee pees, but it’s not WHY he pee pees.  This morning for example, I decided to try a new tactic and actually show him everything in the box instead of making it a blind draw.  He liked it all, but it wasn’t until he saw the sidewalk chalk that he opened the floodgates.  And go figure, when it was time to actually choose a prize for his good deed, he picked the Elmo cup and not the chalk.  To be honest, his real motivation was me promising him a handful of marshmallows at breakfast if he went…

At the end of the day timing is everything.  This morning wasn’t typical; usually he goes in his diaper as soon as he wakes up, but for whatever reason he was still dry when I went in to get him.  I scooped him up and ran down the hall, he didn’t want to go, fussed for a while, and eventually he just went.  I have to rely on his daycare teachers to put him on the potty throughout the day, but unfortunately with a room full of kids they can’t dedicate 20 minutes of waiting to my guy.  That’s life.   My husband is traveling quite a bit for work at the moment, so it’s up to the new and improved patient ME to make it happen.  And I’m at peace with the fact that it will happen when it happens.  But for now even the smallest dribbles make my day.  TINKLE TINKLE TOOT.

Amnesia

I invented a new phrase not too long ago after I visited a friend to meet her new baby:  baby amnesia.  Truth be told I’m hardly that far removed from the infant stage — our son is only 2 ½ — but it’s amazing how quickly I forgot what a teeny tiny little baby felt and sounded like.  It happens every time I find myself around someone’s new bundle of joy.  How do I hold it?  Why does it feel like its head is going to fall off?  Was Junior’s cry really that high pitched when he was born?  Why can’t I remember anything from his early days?  Baby amnesia.

In the last several days I’ve adopted yet another new term:  puppy amnesia.  Yes, roughly a month after losing our beloved golden retriever we stumbled upon a beautiful red one who had just been surrendered to our local humane society.  What an unexpected discovery right outside of Trader Joe’s (aka my wine haven) last weekend.  I elbowed my way through the small group of people who were trying to get to know her and decided she needed to be ours.  So I plopped Junior down on a chair and fed him donut holes while I filled out the application.  Several days later I came home from an evening work function and, for the first time in 5 weeks, was greeted at the door by a dog.  annie

And this is where my puppy amnesia set in…  Was our old fella this rambunctious when he was seven months old?  Did he like to dig up the back yard?  Did he insist on twisting himself up in the leash EVERY time it was clipped onto his collar?  Did he grab every paper product in his path and ingest it in 2.3 seconds?  To some of those questions I can answer “yes” and to others I can definitely say “no.”  Our first golden was a rare one; yes he was goofy and rambunctious and never learned how NOT to jump when he greeted people.  But he never had any interest in eating stuff.  This new dog has an affinity for napkins.   I guess that’s a heck of a lot better than furniture though…

So off to obedience school we’ll go.  She’s a beautiful pup and we can tell she’s got it in her to be a wonderful dog.  She just never had the discipline early on, sort of like a young child who never had any real boundaries and acts up as a result of it.  Well call me Mrs. Boundaries from this point on, because they’re being set.  Junior can’t spend the next 6 months being the dog’s unwilling tackling dummy.

Are we crazy?  Lately I think the answer is YES.  But what fun is life without a little bit of crazy mixed in?  And a little slobber, shredded napkin debris, a newly tormented cat, and a yard full of poop…