Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another day

On the phone today:

My Guy: I think you should stop calling me. Every time you do I think you’re going into labor.
Me: Oh, right. OK, emails and texts from now for non-labor stuff.
My Guy: Yup. Sounds good.
Me: Just make sure you pick up the phone when I call!

Two hours later:

I overhear Little Miss on the monitor reading herself to sleep, and of course I think it’s the cutest thing; I call her dad so he can hear this too, but I get his voicemail and I leave this message:

Listen to this – she’s reading herself to sleep. (I move the phone closer to the monitor so he can hear her.) By the way, aren’t you supposed to pick up your phone when I call? What if I’m in labor??!

* * *


Nope. No labor yet. Still waiting. I must be making it really comfortable for the baby, although it has the opposite effect on me. But there’s a bright side: more time like this with just my Little Miss.

 

SandyBeach

I don’t think she minds. And neither do I.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I can do this

Diapers

I received an email from My Guy the other day that simply said, Can you believe we get to do this all over again?” and with it was a picture of an infant, toothless Little Miss grinning at the camera. I melted. It seemed so long ago.

Where once there was fear, in these last few days of anticipation there is excitement. Doubt has given way to peace. What will it be like? Will I be a good mom to both Little Miss and Thumper? Can I handle two little beings who will be needing me all the time? All of these questions, though unanswered, have fought out of their dark corners and into a place of light.

I can do this. I have to. I will.

My doctor informed me that she doesn’t think Thumper will make it to my due date as I’m already 4.5 cm dilated. Because of that, I may not even have time for an epidural! That didn’t sit well with me. When it comes to pain, I am the wimpiest person I know. As much as it scares me, the thought that this is fleeting helps. The labor is but a miniscule part of having this baby after all.  

I can do this. I have to. I will.

Once she’s here, the hard part begins - the nursing, the pumping, the sleepless nights, the deciphering of infant cries, the fretting, the fussing. Then there’s the big sister who will continue to need, want, demand and also question, wonder, frustrate. Twice the fun!

I can do this. I have to. I will.

But when I think about the scent and sighs of an infant, the answer that Little Miss gave when I asked her what she’d do when Thumper is here (“I will take care of her”), the teeny, powder soft infant clothes, the quiet nights of gliding in the rocker with a baby in my arms, the way Little Miss turned to me in the middle of reading her book and simply said, “I love you, mommy,” I can’t think of anything better.

And I can’t believe we get to do it all over again.

 

FootiePajamas

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nesting

Bird and her nest

Some time during pregnancy, a woman’s nesting instinct kicks in to prepare the house for the arrival of the baby. Having moved just five weeks ago, I’ve been immersed in house-related chores - unpacking, cleaning, storing - so I can’t really tell if it’s just nesting, or if it’s the natural order of things that follow a transplantation. The worries I had about a baby that would appear too soon have mostly been quelled by our consequent diligence in preparing for her arrival. When Thumper comes, I am confident that she will have clothes to wear and a place to sleep. Phew!

This past Sunday, when Little Miss and My Guy were away for the day to visit her grandparents, I found myself reveling in domestic bliss. I should have taken advantage of the fact that there was no needy, clingy, demanding toddler around me and rested. With only two weeks away from the due date, I know rest will go the way of the dinosaur for awhile. Yet, the lure of freshly baked granola bars in the house were fat greater than my need to stay put with my feet up.

I also whittled away at some of the boxes around my house, made our beds and sewed a button on My Guy’s shirt! A momentous occasion around these parts, let me assure you. It’s amazing how much I can and want to get accomplished without the distraction of a toddler. Having that energy usually reserved for her helped, I’m sure. Of course I missed her, but at the same time, quietly going about my day doing exactly as I intended are simple pleasures that often elude me. Laundry and baking seem less like arduous chores when you want to dive into them.

Besides, now that this house feels more like a home, there’s a certain pride that comes with saturating myself with domestic work. It’s also another way of preparing for the impending change. When I am able to relish even the most mundane work around the house, I feel I can better face the tiny little chaos that will consume me in the next couple of weeks to come.

I remember the bleary eyes of sleep-deprived nights and zombie days, the struggle and exhaustion with nursing, the utter helplessness and dependency of a newborn, and my subsequent, almost irrational, desire to satiate her need for me. And when I think of those things, I can hardly imagine finding pleasure in being a domestic goddess.

As someone who enjoys her time in the kitchen, I know I will miss it when the newborn is here. For now, I think there may be cookies in our future. And perhaps even some food I can make in advance to throw in my freezer as I convalesce. A casserole or two won’t hurt.

When Little Miss spied Thumper pushing against my belly this past weekend, forming a rather precarious peak, she declared, wide-eyed, “Mommy, Baby Thumper is going to come out!”

Her toddler naivety made me laugh, but with just two weeks to go between now and May 29, anything can happen. However, I have my priorities.

Cookies first.

 

* * *

Moms and dads, what did you do or think about the last few days prior to your baby’s birth? Moms, what did you miss the most when you were convalescing? My first daughter was born one day before her due date - care to venture a guess when my second one will arrive?

Image: Weaver bird nesting by wallygrom (very busy at work)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Regression

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that we’ve been going through some changes lately. It began with my mom’s move to our home as a permanent member of our household. Then it was our move to a larger space to accommodate our growing family. And finally, this baby that has been in my belly for the past nine months will eventually join us in a couple of weeks. All of these changes are hard enough on adults, but for a 2.5-year-old?

Once easy-going and good-natured, Little Miss became a little terror for awhile, especially around my mom. When interacting with her paati (grandma), the first word that usually spilled out of her mouth was “No!” She was rude and obnoxious, and very unlike the friendly, charming little girl she usually was around our friends that we hardly knew how to curtail her defiance.

Then it dawned on us that she was mostly that way when we were around too, so we began to carve out more alone time for my mom and Little Miss. After a week of spring break from her preschool at home with paati, she was back to being herself again. At least her normal toddler self with the more predictable tantrums and misbehaviors. Now they actually have conversations that make me smile. What a relief!

At the time around the move, Little Miss also experienced more night wakings and had difficulty falling asleep. That too stabilized after our house of boxes became more a home, although she continued to be a little more clingy than usual around bedtime whereas she used to kick us out of her bedroom after the last bedtime story. I complained about her not being a snuggly kid before, and now that she doesn’t want me to leave her side, I complain about that too. Happy medium in parenting is apparently a myth.

As for the last big change, we are careful not to mention her baby sister’s arrival in any way that would threaten her place with us. We usually try to incorporate positive statements that would prepare Little Miss for Thumper and so far, I think it’s been working rather well. She talks about Thumper all the time and even tells strangers about her with a twinkle in her eye. At restaurants, she points at an empty seat at our table and gleefully announces to the servers, “Baby Thumper is going to sit right there!”

But just like her reaction with my mom and the move, where it was great one day and appalling the next, I wonder what she would do when Thumper arrives. She likes to touch my belly and feel the baby moving, asking if her sister needs milk. I marvel at how, even at this age, she is able to grasp the concept of a growing baby in the belly. Then she moves my hand to her belly and asks me to feel Thumper kicking her too. Perhaps I’m wrong.

Of all the out-of-character behaviors, the one that mystifies me most is the way she addresses me. Little Miss has been calling me Mommy for over a year now and suddenly, she has reverted back to calling me Mama - in a baby voice, nonetheless. When once she would proudly declare herself a big girl, she has now taken to correcting us, “No, I’m not a big girl, I’m a baby!” Is this regression? Is this her way of coping with the general stress of all the changes or is this purely Thumper related? I don’t know.

I can’t blame her for reacting badly to the new baby’s impending arrival, but her conscious and subconscious reactions are so radically different sometimes that it puzzles me. No matter how careful we’ve been around her, a toddler losing her place at the center of everyone’s attention will be hard on her. As we transition into the new family dynamic, we can try to prepare her with books, gifts and sweet psychologist-approved words, but in the end, we can only hope that she has the fortitude to weather another change with which we have unwittingly burdened her.

She has surprised us at many turns so far by hitting her milestones with flying colors and eventually accepting the changes that have upset the equilibrium of her life. She probably will surprise us again, only this time I wonder if it’ll be the good kind.

 

LittleImp

* * *

 

What have you done as a parent to prepare your child(ren) for their new sibling’s arrival? How has your firstborn reacted to Number 2? What did you do to help your child(ren) cope with the baby in the house? Any and all tips welcome. Please!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The last days of three

Mother’s Day may be a day to celebrate mom and motherhood, but over here, with another baby eager to join us any day soon, I was especially keen on commemorating the last few days of being mom to my firstborn, my now-one-and-only, my Little Miss. She has taught me so much - about the kind of parent I am and hope to be, about myself and what matters to me, and about the wonders and challenges of raising an emotionally intelligent human being. I have to say, I’ve not mastered any skill - just grateful that I am a part of this journey, simultaneously learning and teaching every day.

As an only child myself, the next part of our journey is a mystery to me. But then again, so is this whole motherhood thing and so far, my daughter seems to be thriving. I suppose I will figure it out somehow. And stumble along the way. And find myself back on my feet again.

For now, I’m relishing these last few bittersweet days of the routine with which we’ve grown familiar, of being mom to one, of knowing how to love this little girl who stole my heart the moment she appeared in my life. I’ll have the rest of my days to unlock the mysteries of being a mom to two.

Here’s our calorie-filled Mother’s Day weekend - the last one as a family of three - in pictures, involving cupcakes, tulips, dim sum at Chinatown and a sweet new gadget for me, making me the fresh and proud new recruit of the Android Army, thanks to my favorite geek in the world. Guess My Guy and I are finally back together again after he left me for a hottie last summer – and I couldn’t be happier.

It was lovely to have a carefree, well-rested weekend like that. Especially considering what’s in store for us in the next couple of weeks…

 

A surprise at home

TulipsNCupcakes 

EyeingCupcakes

 

TryingFrosting



CupcakeAttack

 

Chinatown adventure (37 weeks pregnant)

ChinatownStroll               


Waiting

 

DimSumTea

 

YumYumDimSum



GiftTime


  NexusS  


   Enjoying the Mother’s Day gift from Mother Nature – no rain! – at the beach

BeachReady


NewFriendAtBeach

 

And remember how I was fretting about taking a family picture before Thumper’s arrival? Yeah, we even got that done too - Go us!

FamilyOfThree

 

Sadly, I’ve not had the chance to get my pedicure. No picture. You’re welcome.

* * *

Did you do anything special the last few days before the arrival of your next baby? Were you as nervous as I am now about welcoming a new baby to the family? Or mostly excited? If you remember your mom and dad bringing home your sibling, what was it like for you? How did you react to your new brother or sister?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No, no, I’m not ready!

Packing

At the doctor’s office, they confirmed that the baby is preparing to enter the world. That she might misconstrue my constant mobility as an encouragement, and so I was advised to stay put for as much as I could so she wouldn’t show up too soon. Especially since she’s not quite to term yet.

And that sent me into a tiny panic mode. Going in, I had over three weeks to prepare. Coming out, I felt we were running out of time. A family of procrastinators means we are ill-prepared for Thumper’s arrival. Suddenly all the to-do’s for someday have morphed into has-to-be-done-now’s!

My mind reels with everything that we need to get done...PRONTO.

Get newborn diapers
Set up the newly purchased changing table
Make room for her bassinet in our room
Set up her bassinet!
Get her hand-me-down clothes (from her sister) washed
But first, we have to get the newborn-friendly detergent
Which means we need to get to Target
Oh and what else will we need while we’re there?
Should we get a different kind of wipes too?
Where are the new baby clothes I ordered?
Note to self: Need to track those packages…

Crap - I have to pack my bag for the hospital!
What will I need?
Have to remember the camera.
Oh no, my hair! I need a haircut.
And a pedicure. My feet will be in stirrups - my toes will have to face the public.
But they’re not ready! What will my doctor think? The nurses?
What should the baby wear for her trip home?

What’s our plan for when I go into labor during rush hour?
Who’s going to get Little Miss from school?
How will we introduce her to her little sister?
What should they give each other as I-love-my-sister gifts?
Where’s that book I ordered - I’m a Big Sister? Why is it on back order?

How will we announce the arrival of Thumper?
Should we have printed announcements? We skipped it the last time.
But maybe just this once...except we need to be more organized for that.
And we’re not.


I need pictures of the three of us, pre-Thumper. Our last family of three photo.
Pictures? Really? Pictures?
With all the other things we have going on, I’m thinking about pictures??!!


Yes, pictures. And a pedicure. I blame the pregnancy hormones. If you’ve done this yourself, please help me out here. Did I miss anything? Well, the more important/rational things on the list anyway. I think I got the crazy part covered.

 

image source: Packing my green bag by Sally Crossthwaite

Monday, May 2, 2011

A movie, a cat and a toddler

Since our move three weeks ago, we’ve been working hard unpacking around the house, and I’m happy to report that we can finally see the floor and couch in our family room! We decided to reward ourselves with a break in the form of a movie at the little neighborhood theater a block away from us. The four of us, including My Guy, my mom and the toddler, made our way to watch an afternoon matinee, Rio.

It was Little Miss’ first movie in a theater, not counting the couple of times she was with us as an infant, mostly oblivious to the big screen. Although Rio was a good family movie, she was at first a little afraid of the noise level - it was too loud for her, indicated by her hands on her ears. She eventually got used to the sound effects, but she was often dismayed every time a little bird or monkey got hurt. “Oh no!”, “Where’s the baby?”, “Where’s the mommy?” and audible gasps were frequent reactions.

We were grateful there were only two other families in there, so her loud exclamations didn’t bother anyone. Despite asking to go home a couple of times, she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the screen. We stayed until the end, and that’s when we had to fight to get her out of the theater – kids, I tell ya.

I have to say, our first family movie at the theater together was a decent experience. Rio, with the vibrant animals and catchy tunes, was a good choice. It centers around a rare blue macaw from Rio de Janeiro (duh!) who was raised as an exotic pet in Minnesota by a little girl, Linda, who later becomes his best friend. They grow up together and become inseparable.

That made me think of Little Miss’ own relationship with our pets at home – at least with one of our cats, Macavity. The movie may have had too much going on for a toddler, but the relationship between Linda and her bird, Blue, wasn’t lost on my 2.5-year-old. I think Little Miss knows just how distressing it was for Linda when she thought she lost Blue because she probably would’ve felt the same should anything happen to her buddy at home.

We have two cats and a dog, but Mac wins her affection, as he does all of ours because of his easy-going nature. He would play with dogs four times his size and snuggle up to anyone who would pet him. He’s our ham. Our buddy. And our little girl’s favorite. Who can blame her really? We’re all fighting to be his favorite.

Although, so far, I think she’s winning.

 

Mac&Babe2

 

Mac&Babe4

 

Mac&Babe3

 

Mac&Babe1 

 

* * *

Did you grow up with pets in your house? Did you have a furry best friend? What about your kids – are they attached to any animals in your house? What was your first family movie in the theater with your kid(s)? What was your experience?

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