Sunday, November 24, 2013

The one month (or so) countdown.

I find it interesting, when I take the time to think about it, that now that I have so much more to say about my children, and about parenthood in general, I say a lot less. On this blog, at least. Part of it is time. There is certainly less of that. A lot of it is an inability to distill my thoughts down to discreet stories. There are simply too many wonderful, cute, frustrating, infuriating and inspirational moments in every, single day, to say much meaningful about them all. And choosing just a few is hard, so I don’t bother.
I’ve been writing a lot less. I’m not real pleased about that. I’ve noticed that many, many blogs completely die once the writer has a third child. I am 35 weeks, 3 days pregnant with our third. Does that mean I only have about 5 more weeks of life left in this blog? I hope not.
I have a lot of thoughts about this pregnancy that I hesitate to share, in part because I worry someday that baby boy will read this and mistake my thoughts for regret. I have no regret. This baby is very much wanted, and I have no doubt he will be an amazing addition to this family. The simple fact is, we didn’t think too much about all of this. I had such a difficult time getting pregnant with Greta, that I figured if we wanted a third it would have to be a conscious decision and there would be real effort (i.e. medication) involved. If it happened by accident, then, in my mind, it was meant to happen, and we were saved from having to make a difficult decision.
But I have wondered lately, if we hadn’t had such a hard time having Greta, if we would be having a third at all. If we had felt that we could time this pregnancy to our convenience, we probably would have aimed for about 2 years apart, which would mean I’d be thinking about getting pregnant right about now. And I can tell you, I can’t imagine I would have had the energy after chasing Greta around all day, to think that would be a wise decision. So we would have waited, and eventually decided we didn’t want to start at square one again. And thus, we would have two wonderful children and stopped there.
I found out I was pregnant about a week before Greta started crawling, and I think that if I hadn’t gotten pregnant EXACTLY when I did, we would have made the decision that we just couldn’t handle three. Because crawlers, and toddlers and runners are no joke. They have the ability to get into just about everything, and yet lack any understanding of why that’s a bad idea. This is really the peak of trouble making and lack of rationality. And it’s right when we’re going to add a newborn to the mix.
In some sense, it will be easier, because newborns are lumps and just lay there. And Greta will (theoretically) be a little calmer by the time the boy is moving. But also, she will be trying to shove small objects in his mouth, will harass me while I’m trying to nurse and climbing on top of the table while I am attached at the boob. So that will be hard. I already know, if this boy is not an efficient nurser and I don’t have a miraculously strong milk supply, I may just not last very long. The last two have been complicated, and I had all the time in the world to feed them.
People keep asking me if I’m excited. (Note to future self: do not ask women pregnant with their third if they are excited). I always hesitate and then feel bad for not immediately being like “Yes!! And I love unicorns!” I am excited to have a third child in our family. I think 2-3 years from now will be amazing. But this next year? I am mostly just terrified. I don’t even know how the logistics will all work. When on earth am I going to sleep? How will I ever get a shower? How am I going to manage to carry Greta and the baby to the car? How am I going to get Greta the socialization she needs?
Greta is still so much a baby. She still prefers to be carried up and down stairs. She barely has words. She mostly sleeps through the night, but I still give her a bottle before bed (hope there are no dentists reading). She’s not even 16 months yet! I recently realized I’ve been pregnant for as much of her life as I’ve been un-pregnant.
Furthermore, I’m pretty much all she knows. When MJ was born, she was going to daycare. So she had a second support system, with teachers she loved and a place that remained stable even when home became chaotic. Greta has none of that, she just has me during the days. So I feel much guiltier about the effect this baby will have on her (for that matter, I felt no guilt about the effect a baby would have on MJ.) I feel like I’m taking part of her babyhood away from her, and forcing her to grow up faster than is fair.
I just realized I’m very, very tired. So that will have to be it for now, baby boy. I am excited to meet you. I’m excited to add you to the mix. You’re like a new, unknown ingredient in this amazing pot of stew we’ve been working on. I have no doubt that you will meld wonderfully, I just look forward to finding out how.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Getting so big.

This post is only… oh… about 2 months late.  I still consider this payback for arriving 5 days after her due date (that was a rough 5 days).
Not really, though.  I’m just behind on life.  Actually, I’m mostly behind on blogging, I’m pretty caught up on life.  It really is one or the other, rarely both.
The first video I took when MJ was 3 1/2 years old, inspired by Erin’s video of Annie at 3 years old.  I decided I want to do one of these every year, I just got started a bit late.  It’s interesting to see the difference that 6 months makes, even just in her appearance.  She’s lost more of her baby fat, and more of her baby speech.  She’s really, truly, getting so big.  
She’s turning into such a beautiful girl, and I’m not talking about her appearance.  I’m talking about her spirit.  Despite some fears I had when she was 1 year old and biting everyone, she’s incredibly kind.  She cares deeply about others and almost always tries to do the right thing.  She helps everyone in her family.  She is kind to strangers.  She is so inquisitive, which drives me batty but makes me proud at the same time.  She picks up pacifiers that babies drop, holds the door for strangers, gets concerned when another kid is upset, and is an all around good person.  
On top of that, she is so friendly that we know every one of our neighbors.  Not because we have met them, but because she has met them.  I’d be willing to bet she’s the most well known person on this block.  She has calmed considerably in this past year.  She loves to sit down and work on a puzzle or color a picture.  She will actually persevere until they are finished, which gives me hope that she is developing commitment to tasks.  She will delay gratification, saving a piece of candy for the very end of the day rather than eating it right away.  These are the traits I most hope to see in her, as they are the traits that I’m convinced will take her far in life.  It is so exciting to see the person begin to emerge from the baby.
She unexpectedly busts out vocabulary that I find shocking.  Like “omnivore” and “compromise” and “oxygen”.  I am probably harder on her than I should be, because I so often forget that she is as young as she is.  
On the downside, I feel that I’m starting to see some longterm tension in our relationship.  The husband says that we’re starting to get like Claire and Haley on Modern Family (the mom and daughter) and that I’m far too critical of her.  I’m working on that.  I’m working on infusing more positivity into our interactions, and I feel like it’s making a difference.  I’m working on lowering my expectations a bit, for the sake of our relationship.  I’m starting to realize that this is our future together, and whatever tone I set now will carry on for years to come.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of relationship I want to have with my daughter, and what I can do to make that happen, without sacrificing my job as her mother.  I’ve often felt that it’s my job to be loving but tough.  I’m starting to wonder if it’s just my job to be loving, and to find other ways to achieve tough.  Helping put her in situations that are tough, rather than being the tough one myself.  If anyone knows the answer to this, by all means let me know.
But anyway, the videos speak for themselves.  Where she’s at in life.  What she thinks about.  She’s losing some of her spitfire, and a whole new girl seems to be blossoming.  But when someone crosses her, or someone she cares about, the spitfire comes right back.  I guess this is a good thing?  She’s becoming a more nuanced person.  These “Ode to MJ” birthday posts are going to get harder to write as she develops a more rich personality.  But I look forward to the challenge.
Little girl, that is so very, very big, I will love you always.  Here’s to an amazing 5th year on this planet.
love, Mom