Tuesday, October 19

Upcoming Adventures

For lack of anything more interesting to write about (other than my latest pregnancy complaints, of which you have already heard too much), I thought I'd update you with our most recent travel plans. This weekend, we are going to be doing some recruiting for AMSL, our lawschool, in Phoenix. This is a big deal because my hubs loves Phoenix. No, he really, really loves this place. I teasingly call it the "center of the universe" because no matter where we go, where we eat out, what kind of overpasses or round-abouts we drive through, they are all ultimately compared with those in Phoenix. It is rather endearing at first. So to Phoenix we are going. The highlight of the trip for me at this point is staying in a hotel. I can't explain it, but I adore hotels. Nice ones, preferably, but I love staying in hotels. I think part of it is that we rarely did, growing up, so there is always the novelty of a new place and the sense of adventure, travel, exploration associated with it for me. And room service... nothing says decadence to me like being able to order food up to your own room! Am I betraying my hillbilly roots a little too much?

So after enjoying the opulence of staying in a Phoenix hotel and shopping in a swanky Phoenix mall (there is no better way to make yourself feel impoverished, sloppily dressed, and low-brow than shopping in a Phoenix mall), Greta and I are heading to Florida for a much-anticipated visit with family. I will be 33 and 34 weeks when I fly this time, but I'm not too worried because I flew during Greta's pregnancy at the exact same time in the pregnancy. And there were no complications. I'm not terribly excited about having a squirmy toddler on my vastly-reduced lap space for 3 hours and another 1 hour, but that's how it goes. Maybe in the off chance, the flight won't be full and Greta can be conveniently plopped on the seat next to me? That would be nice, almost too nice to hope for. So I'll be in the land of family, friends, and mosquitoes for about 5 full days, and then we fly back home.

After we get back, I'll be 34 weeks pregnant and our big plan is to fix up the downstairs bedroom for Josh's mom. She will be coming out to stay with us at Thanksgiving (37 weeks for me!). She's here indefinitely, mostly dependent on how she and I get along. I have a great mother in law. For one, she is an incredibly religious person, which will be good for getting us more regular about prayer time, etc. And Greta may learn that prayer is more than slapping your hand together at meal times. Ha! We'll see about that one! For another, she is a pretty quiet person, but not awkwardly so. You know how some people are quiet to the point where you find their company uncomfortable? She isn't like that. If there are things to talk about, we'll talk, and if there aren't, we are pretty content to leave well-enough alone. Finally, she adores Greta and Josh. Josh is her one-n-only child and Greta is her one-n-only grandchild. I guess I'm her one-n-only daughter in law, but somehow, one-n-only daughter in laws are not quite as endearing as their husbands or their children :) So overall, I would say that I am pretty darn lucky in my mother in law.

But even the best of mothers or mothers in law can cause a stir of trepidation in the hearts of their daughters when said daughters as immanently ready to deliver a baby. To be honestly, I have been FREAKING OUT about Mom's visit. Bear with me while you listen to the rantings of the slightly deranged pregnant mind. I'm afraid she'll spoil Greta. I'm afraid she'll upset my routine, poor though it is. I'm afraid she'll criticize the way I treat Josh. I'm afraid I won't be able to go in my room and yell when life gets "too much." I'm afraid she will want to make dinner. I'm afraid Josh will let her clean up the kitchen all the time while he sits and watches. I won't be able to exercise in the privacy of my living room because it won't be private... and she'll remind me that pregnant women should not exercise. I'm afraid her room downstairs will be cold. I'm afraid I will loose my temper, yell at her, and hurt her feelings. What if she thinks I'm spoiling Greta, or too hard on Greta, or too lenient with Greta? And... I'm afraid... I'm afraid.... 

There. I've almost made myself laugh. It's so unreasonable, and yet so real, too! When EVER in a woman's life is she less "at her best" than right before delivery and right after? And my mother in law will be living with me through these two worst times. Yes, I know she will help with Greta and the baby, but I don't really want help with either of them at this point. I'm worried that Greta will become used to having her own personal servant and will not like the change when Granmma leaves... and then I'm stuck with a spoiled kid AND a brand new baby. Borrow trouble much, Maria? And I won't be able to yell at Josh, at myself, at nothing at all without feeling like a completely idiot. It is so relieving to yell sometimes. Maybe it's because it stretches my cramped diaphragm. :)

So despite my complaints in this post, I am doing my best to be positive, not worry too much, and see the good in this situation. Besides, Mom hasn't seen Greta in over a year. Surely the good in that will outweigh whatever inconvenience (real or imagined) it is to me.

Tuesday, October 12

What to write about when you have 'baby-brain'

Don't worry, no one needs to read this post because it isn't going to be about anything interesting. I'm just starting to feel like a vegetable... a large, round one, maybe a tomato or a watermelon... no, too squishy for a watermelon... maybe a pumello... you know, those extra large grapefruits that don't taste very flavorful? Yes, I look and feel like a pumello. The thing with vegetables, or fruit, is that they don't have a mind to use and keep occupied. They just exist and that is the state to which I am slowly sinking. Simple existence. No real mental effort involved. I'm "celebrating" being 31 weeks pregnant today. Rather, I'm celebrating the fact that I have about 9 more weeks to go before this baby is born. Maybe only 6 more weeks if he decides to come 3 weeks early as Greta did. But I doubt it for two good reasons, one based on fact and the other on intuition. The fact is that the doctors probably screwed up Greta's due date because I had no idea when my last period was then. This time around, I know within 2 to 3 days when I conceived. The other reason is that I want so badly to give birth soon that of course it won't happen. Things always work out like that for me. Whenever I get my hopes up too much, I never get what I wanted. However, if I remain relatively noncommittal and complacent, then I'm more likely to not be disappointed.

(I have a sense this is a very ungrammatically correct post. But sorry, this is going to be as good as it gets. Save the judgment for later.)

So where was I? Oh yes, having this baby soon. So for the sake of posterity, how IS this pregnancy going? Honestly, it's been hard in the oddest ways. I'm physically fine. I've been ridiculously healthy and uncomplicated health-wise. Thank God for that. I'm not sure why, except that perhaps God knows I can't handle bad health on top of all the other drama that's invaded my life. But at our last midwife visit, the baby was measuring just right. He moves around a lot, especially recently. Tonight, he is trying to escape via my belly button. Greta used to do that, too, and it drives me crazy! My bellybutton is so sensitive. Imagine someone trying to poke it out from the inside! I don't remember Greta being quite so active. Right now, he is sliding his little legs under my ribs. Maybe if he gets his workout now, he will be tired when I'm ready to sleep. Tomorrow we have our next midwife visit, this time at our home in Gallup. Then we probably won't have another visit until I fly back from Florida at the end of the month. I'll be 34 weeks then. So yes, health-wise, this has been a great pregnancy. However, there's been a lot external goings-on that have not contributed to my overall peace and well-being. I have one particularly troublesome sibling who has been making my life hellish since April. God knows I love this sibling, but I've learned that I have some major emotional limitations when I am pregnant, and dealing with a sibling's "issues" is one of those limitations. After not talking to each other all summer (not my doing), I hear from him/her again this past month. The conversation and exchange left me so upset that I literally couldn't sleep for a week. That wreaked havoc on both our family life and my mental stability. So for the next few months, I am isolating myself and doing my best to live in my family cocoon. And it's not like there aren't plenty of battles to fight on the home front!

Greta has been "off" recently. Between some bad nights with an upset stomach and some really whiney days, I've almost forgotten what my formerly sweet, happy girl was like. She's definitely so much of a little girl now, and so much less the baby. If I wasn't pregnant now and full of my own discomforts, I would really be missing the dear, cuddly little person she used to be. I miss those quiet mornings lying in bed with her, watching her nurse, enjoying the still relaxation of a family at rest. At the same time, I appreciate that she can do more things for herself now... because Lord knows I don't have the energy to do it all. It's not that I'm wishing life away... it's going away, passing by on its own without my doing anything about it. And I'm too tired to do much more than nod as it passes. 

But not all moments are like that. Every day, Greta and I sit out in the warm front yard. Rather, I sit in the sun, soak up Vitamin D, and watch Greta climb on Tigg's dog house, scrape up leaves, pick up rocks, or step up and down the front steps. I love those moments. Time pauses for just a bit and allows me to absorb some of the beauty and preciousness that is my life right now. We usually sit there until Greta's Daddy comes walking home at 5pm. To see Greta run to the front gate, shake the gate, and yell, "Daddy" reconciles me to having a toddler rather than an infant.

As badly as I want to have this baby, I become sad thinking that these days with just Greta are numbered. As many of my mom friends have said, I do feel very much that I have the "raising one child" thing down pat. After one year and a half, one does learn a thing or two. However, I'm very nervous about dealing with two kids... and two kids of such differing ages. You know, it probably will not be as bad as I suspect because the "rule" works both ways. Whenever I think something will be really difficult, it turns out inevitably to be much easier than I suspected. Child birth was one such thing. I think the trick will be to lower all expectations and plan only one activity for the day, be it cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. And be willing to give that up if other needs arise.

So that is my life and thoughts these days, in a nutshell. I need a relaxing activity to pass the time for the next two months. Anyone have any brilliant and not expensive suggestions?

Monday, October 4

Parents are my heroes

I don't mean just my parents, although they have had to be pretty damn heroic these past years with so many drama-filled teenagers moving through the house into adulthood. No, I mean that parents in general are my new heroes. Next time you watch that perfectly dressed mother of two out for a walk with her tidy kids, know that that put-together woman has spent hours and sleepless nights growing those kids. She's given tepid water baths at 3am to bring down fevers, she's cleaned up throw-up, wiped up poop, probably sat in an emergency room at some point... you get the picture. Next time, before passing judgment on that frumpy mother with the screaming toddler in the checkout line, remember that she, like every mother, has endured the long discomfort of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and those pensive, anxiety-ridden first months of new life. Until you yourself become a parent, you cannot even imagine the work it takes to "raise" a child. There's a reason I understand now why they tell you that you will never fully understand or appreciate your parents until you become one yourself. I'm beginning to think that there is no occupation that is quite comparable to bringing up one's children. Every other job you can "leave at work" to a certain extent. Every other job you receive monetary compensation (instant satisfaction). Every other job can technically be terminated at any given moment at your whim. Not so parenting. Although I have no experience in the military, I rather imagine that it can best be compared to soldiering. It becomes your life. You have to 'see it through.' There are times when it is dangerous or difficult, as in active combat. But there are plenty of times when you're on the base, enjoying down time and some semblance of relaxation. However, unlike the military, no one is going to give you a medal for sitting up with a sick kid without loosing your temper. Yet the military cannot boast the sweet, smiling baby faces that kiss you and try to cheer you up after that bad night. So it all works out.

Last night, as I tried to fall asleep on the couch in Greta's room at 5am, after three rounds of vomiting and diarrhea with Greta, waiting for the fourth volley to hit, I found myself thinking out the sketch of this post. Parents everywhere, I salute you :) Thank you for the often thankless, unnoticed work that you do for no earthly compensation. Or is it really thankless work? For a face like this, I contend not.