Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Return of Pregnancy Worry (but everything is OK!)

I've written previously about how I no longer felt worry during my pregnancy.  I knew it would come back eventually near the end due to my experience with having Eliot, but I didn't think I'd find myself so overwhelmed with anxiety so early.  I felt that worry yesterday.

At my 31-week appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I had an emergency induction with Eliot due to low (almost NO) fluid.  I know it sounds overbearing, but I make it a point to tell every different doctor that I see because I regret not making a bigger fuss over it with Eliot.  With Eliot, I thought I had been losing fluid for about two weeks.  I even went to the hospital on New Year's Eve (contractions increasingly close together and painful for over 12 hours plus worries of losing fluid), but got sent home.  I called my doctor and spoke to the receptionist.  I told my nurse.  I told my doctor.  Everyone told me I was wrong.  That is, until I had an ultrasound when I was four days late.  And then the ultrasound tech didn't tell me anything.  At all.  She didn't even point out the heartbeat.  That's how I knew something was not right--because suddenly people weren't telling me I was wrong anymore.  Praise God, after an emergency induction, I delivered Eliot without any complications and he was perfectly healthy.  We had a few scary moments, but he and I were absolutely fine.

After that experience, though, I vowed to be the one to make a fuss (even though I had tried with Eliot).  I swore to be the one to make an even larger fuss until I am heard.  Fortunately, though, the doctors here seem to listen.  At my appointment, the doctor suggested that I have an ultrasound even though it wasn't planned.  He said we'd just check to the fluid to be safe.  Since it happened last time, I'm at risk for it occurring again.

I sat in the waiting room for about 45 minutes.  I called Chris and explained that it wasn't a big deal, no reason to worry, just a precaution.  As soon as I got off the phone with him, I ran through every scenario.  What if the fluid was already low?  What if I had to have a c-section immediately?  What if I had to have Jack this early and he couldn't come home with us?  What if Jack would be in the NICU for weeks and weeks?  How could I handle that, recover from surgery, and look after Eliot?  I was sick with worry--and I had no reason to be worried at all.

The lady called my name.  She had me explain the situation.  She was gentle and kind.  She said we'd check everything out.  Also, I had only gained a pound in three weeks, which had me worried (but the doctor didn't seem concerned), so she took all of Jack's measurements.

I thank God that everything was fine.  Jack is right on track.  He has plenty of fluid.  He even has a little bit of hair.  The tech pointed out that Jack was practicing breathing; she assured me that a baby in distress would not be doing that.  I could have hugged that ultrasound tech, but not because she gave me good news.  No, because she treated me so kindly and made me feel like I wasn't alone during a scary time.  I know my other tech with Eliot might have not been allowed to interpret the ultrasound for us (maybe the doctor wanted to reserve that for her), but she felt so distant.

This all does have me thinking a little more, though.  We're nine weeks out, but we don't have any diapers, the car seat isn't installed, our bags are not packed, and so many other last minute things remain undone.  It still is a bit early for that, but I think I'll try to get to those when I hit 36 weeks instead of waiting longer.

Also, I have been planning to be induced on or around my due date at 40 weeks because of my risk of low fluid.  The doctors have told me, though, that I can be induced at 39 weeks if I want.  I had been leaning more toward 40 to give my body time to gear up for birth itself.  Which is a bigger risk?  Waiting til 40 with the possibility of low fluid, Jack going into distress, and having an emergency c-section (my biggest fear with Eliot and now my biggest with Jack too)?  Or being induced at 39 weeks, my body not being as ready as it could be, having a tougher labor, and having a c-section because it is taking dangerously too long?  Ah, it's complicated.  I'll keep talking to the doctors and see how I progress as I get close to my due date.

By the way, I know natural is better and more preferred.  Believe me, the last thing I wanted with Eliot was a c-section and the second to last thing I wanted was to be induced.  For some reason, the ladies in my family seem to come late and still require being induced.  I would much rather have a natural birth with little to no interventions; however, low amniotic fluid is very dangerous for the baby, and I don't want to mess around with it at all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

While I Wait: Thoughts on Our Marriage & a Week Recap

I sit in bed this rainy Monday doing a little work and watching our boy sleep.  I am just waiting for 8:00 am to come so I can call my doctor.  Somehow my appointment didn't save in my calendar in my phone, so I'm not sure of the time all the way.  I am 95% sure my appointment is today, and I believe it is 9:20 am, but I want to be sure it isn't something like 9:00 am or 9:45 am.  You know, I probably just didn't hit the right button as I saved my appointment information while leaving the doctor's office last time.  I had the gestational diabetes test, which I was worrying about, and I was eager to call Chris and talk to him.

We both work from home and are usually together.  In fact, we are rarely apart.  When we are (when he is working out, one of us goes to the store, I have a doctor's appointment, one of us is doing something with a friend, and so on), I miss him and we spend a lot of time texting each other.  That might seem ridiculous to some people.  Some might even call it co-dependent.  Some might say it isn't healthy.  But it's not that we can't do anything on our own--we're functioning adults, of course--instead that we miss each other and we really like being around each other.

Throughout our relationship, we've always been together.  I mean, we were long distance for about eight months, but then we always took similar classes, worked the same jobs (English grad assistants, a J. Crew call center, Education grad assistants, and now online instructors), which meant that we always knew what each other were going through.

I was thinking the other day of how we spend most of our time together, but we are often "apart" in our home.  I might be working while cuddling with Eliot as he watches a movie in bed while Chris is working in the den.  Or we might doing yard work "together" with me pulling weeds and Chris cutting the grass.  Or I might be cleaning the bathroom while he takes Eliot for a walk.  I think that through the years, we have struck a good balance.

We go through ups and downs like anyone else because we're not perfect people, but we rarely really fight.  We genuinely like being with one another.  I don't have to watch what I say around him in the sense that I can be myself and say what I really think.  He's the one person that I don't feel even slightly guarded around.  I can anticipate how he will react to certain situations and I accommodate those feelings as I see them coming, just as he does for me.  I know when he will grow anxious and needs a little help.  And he recognizes when I need to eat, but my brain is shutting down and I'm freezing up, and he forces me to eat something healthy.

Maybe it can be summed up in this.  We were watching The Lion King last night with Eliot.  I don't laugh during movies or tv shows or anything (unless it is a screaming goat and then I cry from laughter just thinking about it).  Chris, though, does laugh.  And we were getting to a part in the movie where I knew he'd laugh.  And I was so very much looking forward to it because I love to see him laugh.  He has the best laugh.

I feel like I haven't updated in forever because this past week has gone by quickly.

We spent a couple of days hunting for palm trees (more on that later).

Eliot and I had a play date with friends at the park.

Both of our dogs got their teeth cleaned and we neutered our younger dog, Dexter.  Dexter has had a little bit of a tougher recovery (he had to get a tooth extracted too), so we've been trying to stick a little close to him.

And we've been doing a lot of grading.

Jack keeps growing and I keep feeling all kinds of new pregnancy pains, like Braxton Hicks contractions already, which I am not trying to whine about.  I'm sure I'll eat my words later, but there is something about new pain in pregnancy that I find thrilling:  it means he's growing and we're getting closer.

Well, it's about time to call the doctor to check on my appointment time.  Nine weeks left tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

30 Weeks

Thirty weeks seems like a big milestone.  Ten weeks remain!  The countdown begins!  It's weird to think that just a little less than 10 weeks ago is when we went to DC.  That doesn't seem that long ago at all, so just that much (and a little more) left.

Jack seems to stay in a similar position and has for a couple of weeks.  I can tell by his movements.  He often pushes off of my left hip with a hand or foot and then, at the same time, a large part of his body (his head or bottom, I think) pushes at the top, right side of my belly.  This way, he is moving across my belly diagonally, which is always quite interesting.

At 30 weeks, our Jack could survive on the outside with medical assistance--this has been the case for a few weeks.  While there is no history of pre-term labor in my family to my knowledge (our babies always seem to be late), it brings me a bit of peace to know how far we have come.

I have a doctor's appointment next week, and I haven't heard back about my glucose tolerance test from a couple of weeks ago.  "No news is good news," they said.  I guess that means I passed, which means no gestational diabetes (yay!) and no follow-up three-hour test (double yay!).  I can't say how relieved I am about both of those things.

Eliot is all about his baby brother.  He's always trying to climb all over me to talk to Jack, rub my tummy, kiss Jack, and so on.  It's so precious, but I try to remind him that he can't exactly sit on my stomach or put too much weight on me for very long.  Eliot also occasionally likes to growl like a dinosaur at Jack.  Just as I try to savor this time with Jack on the inside as I anticipate loving him on the outside, I'm trying to soak up this special relationship that Eliot has with Jack in my belly.

As time goes on, I am worrying less and less about Eliot adjusting to the new baby.  He loves babies and already shows love for his Jack.  My friend Stephanie visited recently with her husband and their almost-ten-month-old baby boy, Azriel.  Eliot loved playing with Azriel and asked each morning to "go upstairs.  Baby!  Check it out!"  Of course, Eliot did have some "mine" moments, but it didn't take too much to encourage him to share.  And he only tackled Azriel once over their three-day visit....  I know Eliot and Jack will have their conflicts, but I think Eliot is at a good place as far as welcoming his baby brother goes.

Allow me to whine a little.  Just a little.  I try not to complain, but I suppose it is acceptable every few weeks.  I've entered that uncomfortable place, and, yes, I am aware that it is "only going to get worse," so just go ahead and save yourself the trouble of feeling the need to point that out.  It has grown more difficult to breathe, especially when laying down, like someone is pushing my lungs (because, hey, he is!).  At night, my legs and hips ache horribly, which keeps me up, but some adjustments with pillows have helped enough to get by.  Oddly enough, my heartburn has decreased.  I used to think that I was carrying low, but lately Jack seems to be rising up up up, a clear explanation for a lot of my discomforts.  Chris says that this pregnancy seems to be a little more difficult for me.  It has in some ways, yet I keep in mind that I am chasing a toddler this time--and the weather is nice now whereas last time it was growing closer to winter.

My friend Liz made this adorable fox hat for Jack.  She also made Eliot a couple of hats when he was born, so I'm excited for Jack to have a special Liz-made hat too.  Isn't it so cute?

I think I've lost a couple of pounds over the past couple of weeks, which is kind of weird; however, I'm not really concerned.  I've been more active with the warmer weather, and I eat when I'm hungry.  I have Luna bars stashed in my nightstand for when I wake up starving at 4:00 am.  And I can tell that Jack is continuing to grow.

I try to remember what was going on last time at 30 weeks....  I was painting the tree mural in Eliot's room.  The nursery was almost together.  I had already had my shower.  We were a few weeks from Thanksgiving.  In my memory, all of that (and what quickly followed) felt like the end of my pregnancy with Eliot.  I'm sure it will go just as quickly this time.  Ten weeks left, I keep telling myself.  Soon we'll be down to single digits.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mulling Over Tragedy

I honestly don't watch too much of the news.  I watch mostly kids' shows, some sports, and a little bit of the news--none of which is my choosing, but I don't even like TV, so I don't care at all.  I'd prefer to go without a TV, really.  I usually get my news online and also through Chris because he reads pretty much everything out there and reports to me.  That probably isn't a good thing all the way.  Meh.

However, with the Boston tragedy, I have been keeping on my toes.  I ask, Why?  Just like everyone else, I want to know why someone would do such a horrible thing--why someone would feel the right to take things that aren't their's:  other people's lives and legs.  Now that both suspects are no longer free (and unfortunately one has died), everyone sighs in relief and hopes to find out why.

But I'm sure we won't find out why.  We're trying to make sense of a senseless act.  And the reality is that there is always the possibility of a mental illness in the bombers, which we can't make sense of either.  I'm sure there was a motive and multiple factors, but nothing that will satisfy us.  There's nothing that will make the father of the Richard family say, "Oh, OK.  So that's why my son has died, my daughter lost her legs, and my wife was injured.  Gotcha."

I suppose this happening at the Boston Marathon really hits home.  One of Chris's goals is to run a marathon.  He ran a number of races over the past few years, including a half.  I know what it is like to wake up early, fight to find parking, and wait wait wait in a large crowd to see your loved one come running by.  Each person has fought through so much to get there.  And while I hate running (it's true), Chris loves it and I get a little tear-y-eyed just thinking of him racing.  Because I've watched him fight through seven years of injuries to get to where he is.  Every time he comes home from a run, I ask him how it was, just hoping to hear that his shins or his knee didn't hurt the whole time, which will set him back.  And when he runs in those races, it doesn't matter how well he does (though he has done great and even won his age group and 10th place overall in a race last winter in the freeeezing cold).  What matters is that he is doing it even though it is hard because he loves it.  And to think that someone would step on such a special day for so many people and seek to harm (and kill) their supportive friends and family members...  That is horrible.

In times like this, I feel as all people do.  I am deeply saddened, angry, and afraid.  I want to hide my boys in our home and never come out.  Why is there such evil out there?  But Chris said it so simply the other night, "There are bad people, but there are a lot of good people too."  All we can do is hang on to those "good people," and I hope that I can raise my sons to be just that--good people.  The reality is that we live in a fallen, temporal world, so I cling to the hope of seeking grace daily in my life and showing Christ's love to others--everyone.

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30

Friday, April 19, 2013

Two is Hard

Two is hard.

Last night, Eliot walked around the house with a plastic $5 Cars kite still tucked away in its package, unopened.

"Help me, please?  Kite, please?  Help me?" he pleaded so soft and sweet.

It was 9:00 pm, close to bedtime.  There was no wind out.  It was dark.  I didn't know how in the world we could make a kite work.

"Oh, Eliot," I said.  "I am so sorry, but we can't play with this today.  It's night; this toy is for a windy day.  Some day this week if it is windy, I promise."

Toddlers can't understand "windy" or "next week" and maybe even struggle to understand night versus day.  I couldn't get through to him.  "Please?" he asked again so nicely.  It broke my heart because he was being so polite, but I just couldn't turn it into day.  He asked Chris next, then me again, and that's when the tears started.  He wasn't throwing himself on the floor or screaming, just crying while asking, "Help me, please?"

When I thought he wasn't looking enough, I tossed the kite into the garage to get it off his mind.  He saw me.  He cried more.  I held him, told him how sorry I was, and put on a movie.

Maybe I should have opened the kite anyway just to make him happy.  I didn't want the string to get all tangled and ruin it--then we really wouldn't be able to play with it on a windy day.  And as weird as this sounds, my cat is crazy about eating and destroying string, so I worried she would mess it up in the meantime.

Two is hard.

But, this all came at the end of a rough day.  I felt like I was using my "mom voice" all day because Eliot was having fun, but would push it too far.  Exploring the gardens?  Sure!  But stop shaking that tree branch!  Want to play in the sandbox?  Great idea!  No, I meant your sandbox!  Not my flower boxes!  And now there is dirt on your head....  Want to run around the yard?  Awesome!  Wait, don't crawl under the deck--and now you're stuck! 

Two is hard.

After Eliot's nap, we decided to go out to dinner (ha) because we hadn't been since our rabbit died two weeks ago.  I gave Eliot a snack before we left so he wouldn't be too hungry, but still hungry enough to want to eat.  I hyped up eating the whole drive and Eliot kept telling us all the food he was going to eat.  I brought the iPad, a coloring book that he had been using just before we left, and markers.  We had this.  No, we didn't.  About five minutes after our food arrived, we knew we just couldn't do it anymore.  We had it boxed up and left.  Eliot just kept demanding to run around, wouldn't stay in the booth, and wouldn't eat.  Of course, when we got home, though, he sat at his table and ate almost the whole meal.

Two is hard.  I feel like I keep losing more and more parts of my life.  Shopping is difficult and must be done quickly, so we usually don't shop with Eliot.  Restaurants are pretty much out, so we try to do something fast but not fastfood, like Q'doba.  If we really want a specific restaurant, we do carry out.  I mean, we used to only eat out once a week, so it isn't a huge sacrifice, but it was something we looked forward to and enjoyed.  And let's not even get started on sleep....  I have given everything in me to Eliot for sleep, and I am at an utter loss--and I am tired.

I sound like the biggest whiner.  I love, love, love having Eliot, and I wouldn't trade our challenges for anything.  He's learning, growing, and becoming an individual.  Each phase has its challenges, and I think this has been the hardest when really Eliot is so good compared to how he could be.  The kid doesn't want to sit still at restaurants?  Surprise, surprise...  He doesn't understand when he can't have something?  Of course not!  He pushes every "fun" thing a little too far because he doesn't know the boundaries (because he hasn't learned them yet) and he is enjoying life?  Sounds like a good problem to me.  He tells me "bye-bye, Ma," or "go away, Ma" when he is doing something he knows I don't want him to?  Smart kid, I'd say.

I can't expect him to act like a little adult or even a "disciplined, well-behaved" child because he isn't even a child yet.  He's a toddler.  He's learning.  We're setting the foundation for that well-behaved child, and we'll get there eventually.  Good foundations are always difficult to build.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Let's Get Away for a While

Maybe everyone is like this, but if we don't get out of town once every six weeks or so, I feel like I am dragging myself through routines.  I like routines; I like knowing what to expect.  Sometimes, though, we just need a road trip (a small one, even) and a change of scenery.

Chris had signed up for a race in the Outer Banks (about an hour from our house), but his knee has been bothering him.  His knee has been recovering (and this is a re-occurring issue for him), but he worried if he ran a long race, it might set him back and blow the rest of early spring running for him.  I told him not to worry about it, sit this race out, and let's just have fun.  Last Friday, we headed to the Outer Banks for one night in a hotel.

I went to the Outer Banks as a very young kid (like, two or three years old?), but we didn't vacation there regularly or anything.  It was Chris's family's favorite spot.  And I went on a few vacations with them when Chris and I were dating and newly married, so it is a special place for us in our "early years".  I feel funny saying that because Chris and I have only been together for nine years coming in June, so someday I know I will count our whole first decade together as our "early years".

Chris and me in the sound in 2008.  We had been married for a year.

This time, it was just us and our baby boy.  We played on the beach.  We climbed the dunes and slid down over and over at Jockey's Ridge.  We drove around and talked about our memories from our vacations with his family.  We relaxed in bed and ate carry-out dinner from the hotel's restaurant.  We got doughnuts in the morning.  And then we came home.

We weren't even gone for 24 hours, but it was a nice little trip to break up the routine.  We came home and Chris worked on the pool.  I cleaned.  We graded.  The next day, we did more grading and some yard work.  Back to the routine--but it is such a good routine.

Chris and I decided that about four times a year (or maybe once a season?), we will take a mini vacation.  It doesn't have to be far.  It can just be an hour away.  It doesn't have to be long, maybe just one or two nights.  Getting out of town, though, does our brains a lot of good.  I'm not sure where we'll go next, but we were thinking of perhaps going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg in the winter since they have an indoor water park.  Eliot will be almost three and Jack will be around six months old.  It sounds like a great time to splash in some water in the middle of the cold season.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Eliot: Two Years and Three Months

Dear Eliot,

At two years and three months, we are a quarter of the way to you being three years old!  A three-year-old?  That is unbelievable, but I know it will happen.

Sometimes I feel like you are reading the toddler version of a Faulkner novel.  You talk to us constantly about everything you are thinking about, especially when we're in the car--it's like baby stream of consciousness.  "A tree.  A house.  Truck.  Car.  Car.  Farm and a horse! Big sandbox?"  Trust me, I'm not complaining.  I love that you are talkative and expressive.  Your full sentences are growing better and better too.  Just this morning, the dogs were scratching to come inside.  You said, "Daddy, close the door for Bendy-go and Dexter." 

I noticed something funny about your speech development.  You're right on track with your speech, but you really excel when you are conveying some sort of extreme emotion.  I mean, when you're angry, excited, or being bossy, you speak in clear, full sentences.  The more worked up you get, the more complex your sentences grow as well.  "No, I don't want to eat food."  "I am playing with the ball with Bendy."  "I want to watch Thomas."  These are pretty complex for your age if you ask me.  And most people have trouble communicating clearly when you're feeling emotionally.  Not you...  So, that's good, right?

Speaking of being expressive, you love to pretend to be different animals, but your favorite by far is pretending to be a dinosaur.  You roar and stomp around.  When asked what kind of dinosaur you are, you tell us that you are a t-rex.  Usually a t-rex and sometimes a stegosaurus.  You also recognize raptors and triceratops.

At the beginning of this month, we took you to the doctor for your two-year well visit.  You were still 75th percentile for height and 20th for weight (that one has gone up!).  So, you're growing well and you're still tall.  Everything looked great developmental-wise, and you didn't have to get any shots.

I was very concerned about your "tantrums" for a few days.  During that half of a week, you just seemed crazy.  You were always demanding more and asking for things I couldn't give.  And then you'd just cry inconsolably.  I didn't understand what we were doing wrong and figured it was an on-set of those terrible twos.  However, it only took a few days for you to even out.  Suddenly, those fits are few, far between, and much easier to work through.

With the weather growing warmer, we've been able to play outside more.  You love helping your dad with yard work, and you do a great job picking up the gum balls in the yard.

You also helped us open the pool.  That pool is cold, and you aren't too interested in swimming, just splashing on the steps, riding on floats, and squirting us with water guns.  I'm sure that will change as it warms up.

We have enjoyed playing at the beach a few times too.  You call it the "big sandbox".  You love digging in the sand and running into the waves.  Your dad is always there to chase you and make sure that you don't drown, but when we go to the beach, it is almost a guarantee that we will get at least a little wet.

This month, we went to the Outer Banks for a one-night getaway.  We took you to Jockey's Ridge where you just loved climbing up the dunes and then sliding down backwards.  You had this weird, slivering, snake-like technique that worked really oddly well.  You were crazy about that place.  Eventually, you climbed and ran so much that you were exhausted and kept laying down in the sand.  Even then, we had to take you away crying.  We'll go back sometime, I promise.

Your love for animals always continues to grow.  When you see a dog, you want to touch it.  Your favorite animal is still a cat, I think.  In the mornings, you ask to watch youtube videos of cats, dolphins, and sharks.  Some mornings, we watch documentaries on various wild animals.  Even bugs intrigue you, and I am happy to say that you are gentle with animals and bugs too--you don't try to squash bugs at all.

Here, you brought all of your cars to Abed-nego.

You aren't always gentle with everything, though.  Lately you have been testing my limits with your toys and I don't know how to react all the way.  Where do I set the boundaries?  You want to play with cars, but you want to crash them.  You want to throw them down the stairs.  And you love your train table, but you want to take it apart--just exploring, I'm sure.  It has gotten to the point that I don't put it back together for you.  And I think I've decided that it is acceptable for you to crash your cars occasionally, but it is not OK for you to throw them (or any toy other than a ball).  It's hard determining how much space to give you and where to draw the line.

It isn't always easy making the right decisions for you.  I have to let you grow.  I have to let you learn and make messes sometimes.  Otherwise, I'd be yelling all the time--and I hate yelling.  But, you're very sweet and gentle too.  You love to cuddle with me.  You ask to hold my hand when we go for walks.  You are caring and loving.  I love playing with you and I love cuddling with you.  I love watching you run around and I love seeing you sit still.  Everything about you amazes me.

Friday, April 12, 2013


This March, it only broke 60 degrees six times.  That was the least number of "nice" days in March since 1993.  No wonder we've felt so strange.

Yes, all I do is talk about the weather because when you work at home with a little guy, the weather becomes very, very important--not that it isn't important to other people too, but it has grown more important for me than it had been in the past.

Then April came.  It was a little cool at first, but then over the past few days, it's like we skipped spring and went straight into summer.  90 degrees yesterday?  Whoaz.  Not complaining; just sayin'.  I don't think this super spring heat is here to stay--it looks like it cools down some--but either way, I'm just glad that it isn't 40 degrees.

About a week ago, we started prepping to open the pool.  I told Chris that I thought we should wait because, man, it will be cold for so long and I don't want to have to fight to keep Eliot out any longer than I have to.  It has been good, though--better than I expected.  Eliot was stoked to help fill up our very green pool with more water and clean it up some with the help of my dad. 

After we got it all clear and balanced, Eliot happily sat on the steps to play with his toys.  He loves shooting Chris (and me too...) with the waterguns.  I am glad that he isn't too forceful about jumping right in.  In fact, when Chris put him in, Eliot just shook his head and tried to get out, yelling, "COLD!"  Yes, my son, you have some sense, a good thing.  I know it will be a different story once it is warmer, but that will be fun because we'll actually want to get in with him.  Even though he runs around the pool saying, "walk, walk, walk," he hasn't fallen in.  It's the little things.

We've also gone to the beach a couple of times this month.  Eliot calls it the "big sandbox".  He loves playing in the sand, running at the water, and trying to catch seagulls.  He is going to be even more of a handful at the beach this summer since he is already trying to get carried away by a wave, but that makes it more fun.

When Chris said he wanted to plant flowers the other day, I stared at him blankly.  It's not that I don't like flowers or even planting them, but I've totally lost any motivation for it over the past few years.  Chris and I have tried to plant an awesome garden every year for the past six years that we've been married (in June).  We've even done both spring and fall gardens.  And even started over with a different summer garden because I killed everything we planted from spring.  I try to follow directions, I water them consistently, I try different plants and flowers even, and every year it.does.not.work.  My plants just DIE.  I even almost killed a boxwood bush.  Yeah, a BUSH.

But, you know, we're at a new house that fortunately already came landscaped, so if I just have to try to maintain a few flowerbeds, maybe I can do it.  Our last house had full sun (like, MEGA full sun) out back all day, so perhaps it wasn't me.  Maybe everything gets scorched back there.  And my herbs thrived?  I picked out dahlias for the window boxes and Chris wanted ferns for our hanging baskets.  And I watched Eliot draw with chalk and blow bubbles while Chris did all the work.

Toddlers get messy.  Boys like to dig in dirt.  These are things we all know.  However, I didn't realize how many outfit changes my son would need everyyy day once the weather warmed up.  Sometimes, he gets three baths a day.  In the winter, I had been slacking and bathing him every other day.  The boy loves bubble baths and I'm glad he's having fun.  Plus, it is easier to get him dressed after a bath when the weather is warm--he isn't so balled up and fighting his diaper due to being cold.

I feel like winter finally broke.  I can't imagine Eliot needing to wear a hoodie again (though that isn't to say he won't tomorrow or next week).  And I'm so thankful.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Boys

I took these photos of Eliot when he was seven months old.

Here as I am entering the third trimester, it is funny to think that I really believed throughout the first trimester (and then some) that we were having a girl.  All of my pregnancy symptoms pointed to "girl," so I bought into it.  But now that I have known for ten weeks (it's only been ten weeks since the ultrasound?!) that we are definitely having a boy, well, I can't imagine it any other way.  At this point, adding a girl to our family this summer would seem so odd.  Jack will fit perfectly into our family.  And I can't wait.

When we are playing outside with Eliot, I think to myself, "I can't wait for Jack to be here.  I can't wait to have TWO boys."

I was trying to figure out dinner in the kitchen while Chris watched Eliot outside from the deck.  I heard this adorable exchange.  "Eliot," Chris instructed, "Put those rocks back.  Put ALL OF THOSE ROCKS back!"  Eliot's reply?  "A bug!"  I laughed at my boy excitedly finding bugs underneath our decorative river stones in the garden.  When we add another son to the mix, there will be even more bugs, rocks, dirt, and messes--I love it.

I think having two boys fits me rather well.  I'm not very girly.  The last time I painted my nails was for my wedding.  I don't even own nail polish (and didn't back then for my wedding either).  Growing up, I thought princesses were pretty awesome, but I was more likely to be found climbing a tree, trying to learn guitar, or wishing I could skateboard and surf.  And though I was never into sports, I like Eliot enjoying sports and playing football outside because it is something he likes.  When I thought of having a girl, I grew a little nervous.  I would much rather play with dinosaurs and cars than Barbies.

I wonder about the dynamics of our two sons.  Eliot is sensitive, creative (drawing, music, taking pictures...), assertive, independent, loves the outdoors and sports, cares deeply about animals, and loves to read.  I wonder if Jack will be similar or if he will be all sports or all creativity.  I wonder if he will be independent too or more of a follower since he has an older brother.  I dream of how they will fit together and how they will conflict with one another (because I know that is inevitable).  As a younger sibling, I wanted to be just like my older sister, but the truth was that we are entirely different people.  I can't be like her because I'm not like her.  We were born with completely separate personalities, and I think that is so interesting--how two children of the same gender can come from one set of parents and end up so different.

Jack will likely be our last babe.  I warned Chris, though, that I might really be feeling a baby itch when I hit 30, so I'm not saying this is it for sure--and sometimes you can't control how many kids you have anyway.  If we do have a third, of course I would be overjoyed to have a girl and would also be so thankful to have a third boy.  At this point, though, having two fits our plans, the size of our home, our finances, and our goals.

Eliot hugs and kisses my belly while saying that he "love[s] Baby Jack."  He touches my belly and giggles at Jack's kicks.  He says he wants to "hold Back Jack."  I love that Eliot and Jack will have each other, even if (and when...) they don't always get along.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

28 Weeks

Third trimester!  Finally!

Here at the third trimester, it seems like a big milestone, but my brain can't believe that I still.have.three.months remaining.

I had my 28-week appointment yesterday.  It was time for that glucose tolerance test that everyone hates.  It's not so bad, but I do gag when I have to drink fast, so it was hard to get that stuff down in five minutes.  Eliot was having a particularly cling-y, tearful morning after a rough night, so Chris took him to go get a plain biscuit from McDonalds while I chugged.  No word on the results yet, but they only contact you if something is abnormal.  With Eliot, I failed by one point (boooo) and had to do the three-hour test, which came back normal (yay!).  At my doctor's appointment itself, though, everything looked and sounded good.  So thankful for that heartbeat!  Since everything looked great, I will go back in three weeks, and then I guess I start going every two weeks.

I'm still loving the baby kicks, one of my favorite parts of pregnancy.  I sure wish I had an ultrasound machine so I could understand more clearly what he is doing in there.  I am unable to tell what is a foot, an elbow, a fist, and all of that.  I find it so odd when he is pushing into both of my hips and the top of my tummy all at the same time.  That must look interesting.  Part of me would like to go have a 3D ultrasound for fun, but I know my time is running out since I'm almost at that 30-week cut off.  I'm sure we'll just skip it.  Jack will be here before we know it, and then I can know for sure what he looks like.

Eliot asks about Jack every day.  He asks to "hold Baby Jack," play cars and dinosaurs together, cuddle him, and touch him.  I have shown him a few illustrations of how Jack likely looks on the inside, so I wonder if perhaps he is understanding the concept a little.  It seems so.  He also likes to try to body slam Jack, which is not good, but, you know, they're brothers so I guess it is to be expected.

Still wanting sour things.  The only problem is that lemonade and other sour things give me heartburn from the acidity.  Ah!  I bought a bunch of clementines, and they do the trick in satisfying my sour need, too.  In general, I've been getting more heartburn more frequently than with Eliot.  It's not bad, really, just a nagging burn, so I end up taking about six Tums a day, which I don't think is a lot.  As always, I am reading into all of the signs and symptoms.  Chris, Eliot, and I were all born bald and then grew in blond hair around a year and a half.  I wonder if maybe, just maybe, the extra heartburn could indicate just a litttttle extra hair, which could indicate maybe dark hair.  Chris's sister was born with a head full of dark brown hair, so it's possible.  Oh, the silly things I sit around and speculate about that I have nothing to base it on other than that I think I'm having extra heartburn.  Ha.

I went through and organized Eliot's old clothes for probably the fifth and hopefully last time.  Eliot kept pulling them out of the dresser since the boys will be sharing a dresser for a while, so I have two small, top drawers in the dresser dedicated to size newborn and size zero-three months clothes that can't be hung up.  Then I hung up what I could (three month clothes on the left, our newborn romper and swim trunks on the right).  It's nice to see what we have and sort of take an inventory, and though I think I need to buy a few more newborn rompers, I am not overwhelmed.

Later, I bought a couple of newborn jumper outfits for Jack to add to our closet collection.  Chris isn't a big fan of baby clothes shopping--he says it is too early--but he excitedly picked out these matching outfits for the boys.  Matching outfits?!  I hadn't even thought of that.  I'm not a big match-y person, but Chris thinks it is so funny.

And, of course, a couple of days after I consolidated Jack's clothes into the two small drawers instead of one large drawer, Eliot demonstrated that he could still reach the baby clothes to pull them all out.  Sigh.  It's not that he is being mischievous or trying not to share; he is really curious and likes to point out all of the animals on the baby clothes.

Talking about buying and organizing baby clothes has to be the most boring topic ever, but it is oddly exciting to me.

As for MY clothes, I had to buy some more.  I had gained three pounds since my last appointment four weeks ago (which is good), but my hips are definitely broadening.  You may recall that I bought a pair of maternity jeggings in size one.  Well, I had begun the pregnancy waddle--but not because of my belly.  No, my pants were too tight!  So, up a size I went and fortunately got them on sale again.  I also bought a pair of small black maternity leggings because my regular leggings were... not working... and making marks on my hips.  I didn't see that one coming.  Ha.

I've gotten the nursery pretty much together as far as set-up goes.  I will need a few things here and there, but it looks nice.  I'll probably post pictures of that later.  Instead of buying a bedding set with a quilt, I just picked out a couple of fitted sheets, a mobile, a baby blanket, and re-used Eliot's breathable bumper.  The babe won't need a quilt for some time, and I never even got one for Eliot because he was swaddled as a newborn (though he hated it and still hates blankets) and then ended up in our bed.  So, if we get to the point that Jack needs a quilt beyond his fleece blanket and swaddlers, I'll get him one, but they're so pricey that it just isn't worth the money if he will never use it.

We also took some 28 week portraits like we did with Eliot.  I had hoped to get one of Eliot playing cars with Jack in bed, but he just wanted to roll around instead.  Ha.  We went to my grandma's field and took a few quick shots there with the tripod and remote.  We were only there for about ten minutes at the most, so considering how fast we went, I'm pretty happy with our self-taken photos.  Here is one of me at 28 weeks with Eliot followed by a couple of similar shots with Jack.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Transition Away from Co-sleeping: Looking for New Tools

I have written before about why we decided to co-sleep, our sleep battles in attempts to transition Eliot out of our bed, and our most recent transition away from co-sleeping

Our sleep transition with Eliot has been taking longer than I had hoped.  It has been three months.  Here are our general accomplishments:
-Eliot goes to bed around 9:30 pm.  He doesn't fight it or cry.  He even asks to go to bed sometimes.
-I lay with Eliot to get him to sleep.  I wait until he is in deep sleep, but that sometimes means I end up falling asleep myself and don't get in my own bed until after midnight.
-Eliot rouses once an hour or so.  He has done this since birth.  If he is in bed with us, he sees I'm there, cuddles up close, and goes back to sleep.  If he is in his bed, he sits up and calls for us.  The first time, I try telling to go back to sleep.  Sometimes this is enough, but generally I have to get up, lay him back down, and tuck him in.  He goes right back to sleep, though, and I don't have to lay with him.
-By the second time he gets up, I usually haven't even fallen back to sleep yet.  I feel tired and frustrated.  I tell him to go back to sleep.  This second time is when I allow him in our bed, often about 4:00 am.  Sometimes he crawls in our bed himself; other times Daddy goes to rescue him.

These are in areas in which we need to improve:
-I wish I didn't have to lay with him until he is in deep sleep.  I wish I could just lay with him for about 20 minutes as he is in light sleep.  I've tried leaving him, but it never lasts.  He gets up and cries.  I've left the room too, but he ends up crying at the door.  I don't want to get in a cry-it-out debate, but I do not feel comfortable leaving him alone in our room at night crying at the door.  Sleeping alone in our room?  Yes.  Playing during the day with lights on in our room?  Yes.  But crying in the dark alone?  No.  I don't know what he might get into.  Plus, it doesn't seem to accomplish anything for us at this point.
-Eliot needs to learn to get himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night.  He has the same rhythm during naptime--he wakes up after about an hour, but I always sit with him during his naps (doing work on the computer, so it isn't wasted time at all), so he goes back to sleep.
-I don't mind him getting in our bed in the early morning.  In fact, I prefer it.  It would be nice, though, if it could be more consistently around 4:00 am.
-Eventually, he needs to be moved into his own room.  Whether that is before Jack comes, I don't know.  It'd be nice, but I'm not pushing it.

Since I've been at this for three months without breaking beyond this progress, I need to try different approaches.  I can keep trying to leave him during light sleep to see if he just "gets it," but that is incredibly exhausting and frustrating.

As I search for answers, I came across the idea of a weighted blanket.  These blankets provide the security and feel of being held.  Now, Eliot HATED being swaddled as a babe; however, he needs the assurance of someone holding him in order to sleep.  Maybe the weighted blanket can help with that.

Maybe I'm not a crazy, horrible parent who has allowed her son to become dependent on others to sleep, but instead he has a physical need to address instead of a behavioral issue.  It seems that many children have success with the weighted blanket because it helps release serotonin to aid sleep.  Maybe Eliot needs extra serotonin and my embrace at night is what helps him get that.  I hope that the weighted blanket can help him.

Of course, there is also melatonin, which I am cautious about.  I hear that it is great and helpful for short-term, but you can build a tolerance.  I am always leery of long-term use of something like that.  Instead of purchasing melatonin itself, perhaps I could try having Eliot eat a banana or drink a banana smoothie before bed.

So, that's where we stand at this point.  We've done well, but I think we need to try some new things to get us to the next step.  I've approached his sleep transition as a Behaviorist with classical conditioning (big boy bed = sleep, safe, and comfort) and operant conditioning (getting new sheets, Cars pillow, and stuffed toys; eventually, I'd like to get him a car bed as a reward).  Now it is time to see if hopefully some Biological approaches with the weighted blanket and melatonin from a banana might help.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recent Adventures

My previous two entries haven't been the most optimistic, so I figured I should write some (or a lot) about our recent adventures.

I'm not breaking out the umbrellas yet (and this week is supposed to get cool again), but I am so thankful for the decent weather lately.  This winter has been the hardest yet!  Yesterday, though, Chris opened the door in our bedroom to the back deck to get some fresh air in while Eliot napped and I did work.  Our cat is permanently stuck to the open window in the kitchen.  The heat and AC are both off.  And we had a couple of friends over to grill out for dinner.  A glimpse of summer.

Chris and Eliot did a lot of yard work this week too.  Chris loves it; I hate it, but it feels great to be outside.  I taught Eliot how to pick up the gumballs and put them in a bucket, which has been really useful (and suddenly I think of Thomas the Train).

Of course, Sunday was Easter.  Eliot has been so all about cameras for the past few weeks.  He refused to let us take his picture unless he was taking pictures too--I must have worded my plans the wrong way--but it is pretty cute.  We had Easter brunch with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, their kids, and my grandma.  This was Eliot's third Easter, and while he doesn't get the Easter Bunny, he was way more excited about egg trails and Reese's eggs.  He does not like chocolate bunnies, so I might have to eat that for him.

It hasn't been all fun lately.  We took the dogs to their new vet yesterday to get checked out prior to setting up a teeth cleaning.  Poor Dexter will be just two years old this month and one of his teeth is so bad that a root is exposed!  Over the past few months, he has grown less tolerant of Eliot's hugs and running around, so I figured it was time to neuter the guy (I know, I know), but I bet the pain of his tooth is also contributing to his grumpiness.  We're getting it taken care of as soon as we can and then will neuter him.

...And then, of course, our rabbit died last night, so we really had to get ourselves out of the house to take our minds off things today.  We tried having a fancy lunch at a restaurant on the beach, but Eliot kept saying he wanted to "go away" to the "sandbox" (translation:  he wanted to go play in the sand on the beach), so we ate fast.  We ended up playing in the sand, chasing seagulls, and taking photos for an hour.  It was great and my nose even got a little sunburn--and I do wear 15 SPF every day, by the way.

Other than that, we've been hanging around the house, doing work, reading lots of books, and working on the alphabet and counting.