Thursday, January 30, 2014

34 weeks

So after all that worry about how to keep B from coming into my room in the middle of the night, I took a chance and just left his door closed. I figured if he got really distressed it would take me about two seconds to get to him, so why not try it rather than letting him crawl into bed with me, only to lug him back into his room? 

So I left the door closed. Guess what? Right on schedule I heard the pitter patter of little feet at 2:30 AM, then heard him stop at his closed door. He cried for maybe three seconds, then I heard his little feet patter back to his bed. And...that was it! And even better - the next morning he didn't get up until almost eight! Woo!

So this counts as the next on the list of things I freaked out about that turned out to be not a big deal. I have left his door closed all night the last couple of nights, and it's been just fine. In the morning he just cries for half a second and I come get him and that's it. I probably should have just left his door shut all along. 

So in honor of making it to 34 weeks, I would like to comment on things I am looking forward to saying goodbye to once I am not pregnant anymore:

Totally annoying insomnia.

Feeling the absolutely desperate need to pee almost all of the time, but then you do and you pee maybe a teaspoon worth. Good times.

Horrid, acid-y heartburn. I'm tempted to say it's not as bad as last time - but maybe I'm just tougher!

Pants constantly falling down, pulling my underwear and shirt with them.

Bad vision! I am so farsighted at the moment, as I was last time, too. Hopefully this will return to normal.

Never being able to find a comfortable position, whether it be standing, trying to sleep, sitting, driving, etc. It all sucks.

Being short of breath all of the time. There's a suffocating feeling that's very unpleasant. Put that together with constant congestion and I spend most of the day (and especially night) feeling like I can't breathe.

Not being able to wear anything cute - I rotate the same frumpy mom shirts and couple of pairs of pants and sensible shoes every week. But that's more being a mother of small children than being pregnant. Do I really want Bumpus' grubby little banana-y fingers on my Anthropologie white linen blazer? Not so much. Those things are just going to have to stay on the shelf for a while!

So those are my physical complaints, which as you can see are really not a big deal. I definitely feel better over all than at this point last time. Six weeks to go and I still feel pretty good, all things considered. I can't even imagine what 40 weeks will feel like...!

For now the tentative plan is to have my sister come out on my due date (3/14) if I still haven't popped. This way childcare will be covered; then I just have to get to the hospital, which at this point I am considering just cabbing it, especially if it's the middle of the night. There's just no one I feel comfortable calling at 3 AM. But we'll see how I feel as I get closer.

My intrepid babysitter is down for watching B for as many days as it takes if I go early - but that plan has issues. She's three hours away, and what if right when I need her she's about to start a job for someone else? She said she'd keep a light schedule around my due date, but I definitely need to be prepared with lots of backups for looking after B, just in case I don't make it to my due date. 

So the plan is a) make it to due date, b) continue to be healthy and not have to schedule something, and c) need to get to the hospital in the middle of the day rather than the middle of the night.

I know these things are a tall order, but just putting it out there!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I read somewhere (Malcolm Gladwell no doubt) that the human mind can only keep track of 150 relationships. So that's your family, and their spouses and children, and some of their friends, and your coworkers and some of their families and friends, and your friends and some of their families and coworkers. After that I guess we just kind of max out (although Facebook has probably upped that number considerably!).

As a single parent I am so entirely focused on my relationship with my one son (no significant other in the way) that it's hard - indeed, almost impossible - for me to fathom bringing a third dynamic into this house. Right now it's just me-Bumpus. But very soon - in just six weeks! - it will be me-Bumpus, me-Theo, and Bumpus-Theo. I'm haunted by many of the concerns women about to have second children have: will I love the second as much as the first, what if the second is a handful, what if the two boys bond together and shut me out, what if I bond more with one of the boys and shut the other out and break his heart? But honestly I've read enough and talked to friends enough that I know none of these things will happen - I know that your heart expands for all of your offspring; I know that your kids should bond since one day they'll only have each other. So these are fleeting concerns at worst. 

Still, B and I have been having a pretty good time lately (now that the hitting crisis is over!) and a lot of snuggly time, and it is very bittersweet, knowing these are the last days of "just us". He won't remember it, and I'm sure I barely will, years from now when life without Theo will be unimaginable.

The last three nights B has done something he's never done before - gotten out of bed in the middle of the night and crawled into bed with me. It's because he's been sick, awful congestion and coughing all night (only seems to be at night, and no fever, so I'm just keeping an eye on it), and I can tell he just needs to be comforted, so I've been indulging him. But I know I'm going to have to stop it - it makes sleep for me utterly impossible (sleeping with a two-year-old is no bueno) so I'm exhausted, and once the baby comes, that's his spot. So I have to figure out how to handle it. I could just keep his door closed - but I don't want to scare him (I know he'll just scream until I come and get him); I think I'm going to have to gently put him back in his bed, letting him know the days of crashing mom's room at 3AM are officially over. He'll still scream but it seems nicer than just keeping him trapped. I'm just doing everything I can to make sure a habit doesn't suddenly change when the baby arrives - I don't want him to associate anything negative or any "shutting out" with Theo showing up. So, got to nip this one in the bud, I'm afraid. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A shower for Theo

Today's shower (or "sprinkle" as it was called) was perfectly delightful. I attribute this to the good friends who took the time to throw together this party for me...and me going in with what I'd like to call "managed expectations".

Showers are a funny animal. Existing entirely in the realm of the female, they exist to celebrate two of the major milestones in a woman's life - marriage and childbearing. Since usually they have to be thrown for you and you can't really ask someone to do such a thing, you are in the awkward position of waiting around for someone to volunteer. You may supply the guest list, but usually you have very little control over what happens - no clue as to who's actually showing up, what activities are planned, food served, etc. One sticking point for me was the fact that the person in charge of invites had decided to not include my registry info on the (emailed) invitations; when enough people had asked me if I needed anything and did I have a registry, I innocently asked the invite person if they could just email everyone with the link to my registry, assuming it had been forgotten. She responded that it "just wasn't done" for a second shower and that she would tell anyone who asked and to not worry about it. Hmmm. 

As the weeks went by I was still getting lots of emails, texts, etc from people saying, "there's no registry, right? You don't need anything right?", so I decided to take matters into my own hands and email everyone the registry info myself. Before you think me a grasping whore, keep in mind the following: I am the poorest I've been in 13 years and can't even pay my bills at the moment, and I gave away all of my baby stuff, like really important, not cheap stuff like swings and breastfeeding pillows and bouncy chairs (like a idiot). I also have massive, giant tubs of baby clothes, and the idea of everyone thinking I had no registry and so instead buying me outfits was enough to send me into hysterics. So, that's a little background on that.

Then in the last week I personally had gotten so many "sorry, I can't make it" emails, texts, etc from people that I really began to wonder if anyone was going to show up. It just sucked because I had cut the guest list so severely at the request of the organizers - and wasn't able to include any of my new friends I've made since B was born; SMC friends, mommy group friends, etc. Had I known how many people would ditch out at the last minute I wish I could have included some more people that I really wanted there. 

So I got myself all worked up about it this week. You have no idea. I scarcely wanted to mention it for fear of sounding selfish and ungrateful - I've seen what happens to women who complain about their showers on my WTE app; they get torn limb from limb! But I think it's ok to admit I kind of freaked out a little bit this week. The whole thing just had this "it's your second kid, who cares" feeling about it and it was bumming me out. 

However, a little attitude adjustment on my part (much like when I go into one of my lesser attended dance events, I make a promise to myself to honor and appreciate the people who did care enough and make the effort to show up, rather than being bitter over those who didn't), and the day turned out to be really lovely. Yes, a lot of people weren't there - but a lot were, and it was beautiful and charming and everyone mixed well and the gifts weren't completely overwhelming and I did feel very loved, which is what showers are (supposed to be) all about. 

Being broke, as mentioned, I was unable to get gift cards and make nifty little gift bags for all the organizers (I spent over $200 on this last time), but I did write heart felt thank you cards and made jars of chocolate covered coconut balls as a thank you. I even colored them pink to make them all fancy. 

There are lots of photos that will be sent to me later, but for the sake of expediency I will just post the ones I took (or are on my phone). We had an owl theme and I am positively buzzing from the Trader Joe's fruit chocolates on the tables. Zzzzing!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

33 weeks

I should make this post all about vomiting, but for all of your sakes I won't. Suffice it to say, I was sick Saturday night, took Sunday to recover, but then still felt really lousy and run down Monday and Tuesday. I was beginning to worry maybe pre-e had reared its head again, or I was having some other pregnancy complication as yet undiagnosed; until I spent all night Tuesday night throwing up again. Good times! So I either just hadn't really rid myself of the stomach bug, or caught it a second time, or caught a different one, or was just run down. Who knows? Fortunately B has not been sick again (knock wood!) and after taking the day to just lie in bed all day yesterday (it wasn't easy, but we pulled it off), I actually feel normal today for the first time in about a week. Or, normal for being eight months pregnant, anyway!

I have my midwife appointment later today, and fingers crossed all still looks good. I'm now 33 weeks, the point at which a lot of my pre-term friends started delivering. I'm pleased I've made it this far - but am also exasperated that even at 38 weeks this baby could be not fully developed, could still have respiratory issues, etc. It's still a long slog before it's really safe to have this baby. But still, I'm delighted by the following: with only seven weeks left, other than this stupid stomach flu, I am still able to operate at full capacity, which is more than I'd expected at this point; still no signs of pre-e (yay); I got my medical card so I think it's safe to say I may just not have a bankruptcy-inducing birth this time thanks to the ACA; and my weight will probably remain manageable at this point (I am up about 26 lbs, and can put on 7 more probably, but at least I'm not looking at huge gains from now on). 

The biggest things on my mind right now other than all of us staying healthy are getting my event launched Feb 1, my shower coming up this Sunday, and preparing for taxes at the end of Feb. I am cutting it so close with the money this year, it's a little frightening - I am having to put off all my debt payments until after Feb 1 (not a problem since they're not due until then, but I'm one of those people who prefers to pay bills the minute I get them), and am not even sure I'll have enough in the bank to pay my mortgage. I am counting on a big opening night like last year, but experience has taught me that results can be all over the place - one year I got one person signing up on opening night! This year unfortunately a couple of other events have decided to make their opening night the same as mine (or the night before, etc), so that may affect me negatively. I also haven't been able to announce my instructors because they've been giving me an unprecedented runaround, which makes the event look unprepared. But man, I need to make a lot of money, and fast. It's going to be a real nail biter this time.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stomach flu, part II

I'm sad to report that B's vomiting episode Weds night was no fluke. I started to feel queasy Saturday and threw up all night. It was just awful. As another blogger posted about her recent bout with this nasty bug, I discovered much to my chagrin that throwing up this far along in pregnancy also means simultaneously wetting your pants. Good times, huh?

Thankfully B was not sick when I was - but I did have to deal with a spectacularly poopy diaper, making breakfast, and entertaining him while still feeling like I should be hovering over the toilet. It was pretty awful. Thankfully it was Sunday and I already had B booked for the Baby Kennel so I could go to an SMC meeting (which I of course had to miss), so I was able to drag our butts over there, drop him off, and spend the day lying in bed recovering. 

I'm still not 100%. I went to a meetup today that involved a child-friendly restaurant, but I just couldn't manage any food. I hope B doesn't get it from me and we just keep trading it back and forth. Two episodes of stomach flu in two months is a bit more than I can bear, really. 

Right now I'm in the middle of three loads of laundry and have about four trips up and down my front stairs to take out the mass quantities of garbage. No rest for the weary, eh? 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

32 weeks

I am officially eight months pregnant...even though I technically have two months left to go. I'm pleased to announce that unlike earlier in the pregnancy, I have almost zero fear about the birth; it's so inevitable now that there's no point in being scared of it. It's better to just get geared up and prepared. I also do really believe now that this one will be different/aka better. And even if it's not - I never have to do it again! So there's that.

I've stayed off all week because I kind of wanted to see how my "Wake Training" would go before giving a full report - but it's kind of been all over the place. I did the hallway thing for two days, and it went ok - minimal crying, and at least I didn't start our long day together angry and flustered. But then late one night as I lay in bed I heard B wake up and start throwing up; considering how many people I know who are making their way through their second stomach flu of the season, I braced myself for a long night. Thankfully it was a one time thing, but I let him in my room to cuddle the next morning, and have ever since, and it's been ok. No hitting or throwing of things. Instead he now comes in and dumps his stuffed animals all over my bed and crawls in next to me to cuddle. Has he somehow figured out this is a better way to get mom's attention in the morning that smacking her in the head with a remote? Is this just a fluke? Who the hell knows. But I'll take it. 

I have been making more of an effort to be "present". Even though I'm with him 24/7, I figured it wouldn't hurt to play with him a little more, sit him on my lap facing me and sing a little more, etc. It's hard to remember these little beings really need us, especially when they only seem to want to run away from us all the time, and my main objective in life is to encourage him to be independent of me. Well, if it stopped the hitting, great. Whatever it takes, really. Because I couldn't take one more minute of that BS.

I broke down and put him on the waiting list for the preschool that is part of the baby kennel. I don't know why I didn't do this before; I guess I didn't realize they would have a waiting list. As it is I'll be lucky to get him in by summer - but I thought it couldn't hurt just to have his name down. It's not expensive but it's not cheap. I could never afford it right now - but in six months? Maybe. And the best thing about it is he knows and likes the place (I'm taking him there in about an hour) so I would think the difficulty transitioning would be minimal. 

We are in a weird spot with both of our health insurance where our old policies have been canceled but we've gotten zero confirmation on a new policy. I called Kaiser and they said mine was "in processing" but B is through MediCal now technically and I have not gotten a word from them. I will call Monday, but it sure is nerve wracking. What if we have an emergency? This thought crossed my mind the night he threw up; with his policy canceled technically dating back to Jan 1, I have no medical card for him and no idea even where to go. This whole insurance thing I'm sure will all get ironed out for us and end up way better than what I had before, but right now it's a bit of a mess. Just stay healthy and accident-free, Bumpus, is all I ask!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wake Training

Today I met with my doula. Wow, these ladies really want you to have an unmedicated birth. I did not have the balls to point out how manipulative I thought her paperwork was; I was honestly too distracted and exhausted to care (see reasons later in this post). But she did want to warn me about all of the dangers of epidurals again, despite my stated preferences, and at one point said the one thing she feels really strongly about is the introduction of narcotics in labor and told me all the horror stories around that - until I pointed out I'd had morphine during my labor, nothing bad happened, and it helped me survive what turned out to be two more miserable days of excruciating induced labor that, had I not had any pain relief, would have absolutely resulted in a c-section. See, you just can't tell a second-timer that kind of stuff and get away with it. Anyway. Believe it or not despite all this I do not feel the need to find someone else. I think we understood each other that I know what I want and I will not be swayed. 

It brings me back to a question I posed before having B, though - why do women consider natural childbirth a "goal"? Why is "seeing how far you can get without an epidural" considered something to strive for? I mean, man, that pain is unreal, and can go on for hours, even days. In the old days women had no choice but to suffer. Why on earth would anyone choose that if they had an alternative, unless their head was full of those one in a million bad reactions? I just don't get it.

But anyway, back to me being exhausted and distracted. As always my mind is full of B, and especially how our home life, and particularly my life, has deteriorated to absolute shit over the last few weeks, and is getting worse and worse by the day. Why? Because B won't stop hitting me or chucking things at my head. That's why. 

He's not even doing it to be a brat. He doesn't do these things when angry, tired, or frustrated. He does them when we are having a nice time together playing and he gets all riled up and wants to have more fun. It is maddening. Yesterday I attempted to take him up to the playroom in the afternoon after I'd run myself ragged at a playground all morning and just couldn't face running around chasing him at yet another playground all afternoon, too. Did he play with any of his toys up there? Nope. He just kept climbing on to the daybed and hitting me. Or throwing toys in my face. I kept telling him no, no hitting, no throwing, and dunking him on the floor, sometimes explaining why, sometimes not. He would cry for half a second, not liking being on the floor, and then climb back on the bed and immediately start hitting me again like nothing just happened. This went on for hours. I finally just stood up and put my face out of the skylight to breathe, completely fed up and not knowing what the hell to do in the hours still left before dinner. I took us downstairs and sat in the kitchen staring into space, since we can't go into the living room anymore because he no longer listens to me when I tell him to stop touching things, and again just climbs onto the couch or chair with me and starts hitting me. 

So I stared into space for two hours just waiting for time to pass while he played around me. Then this morning it all started all over again - comes into my bedroom at 6:30 (after I've had about four hours' sleep), climbs on the bed, and starts hitting me. I try to redirect. I tell him no a thousand times. I dunk him on the floor. I explain over and over why he's being put on the floor. He cries. Then climbs on the bed and hits me. When he chucked both heavy TV remotes right at my head, I just snapped. 

I just put him out of the room and shut the door, so he would only have access to the safe hallway and his room, also safe. But not my room. And he cried. And I didn't care. Not one bit. I laid down and for the first time in weeks didn't have to worry if he was about to get hurt, hurt me, or destroy something. I was so tired I just didn't give a shit about anything. 

When I went out to get him later, he was asleep on the carpet. I woke him up and took him in for breakfast and it was like nothing ever happened. He was his usual jolly self. 

And you know what? I might try this again tomorrow. Anything on earth is better than being beaten up by your child for hours while you are eight months pregnant, horribly sleep deprived, and facing another day of chasing him around playgrounds all day just so he can get out his energy. 

So I'll change his sodden diaper. I'll dress him and give him snacks and drinks. I'll give him tons of safe toys. I'll give him hugs and kisses. But I will not give him the opportunity to throw things in my face and hit me again and again. Short of beating the crap out of him, which I refuse to do and which will no doubt not accomplish anything anyway, this is what I need to do to survive. In the mornings he just has to be somewhere else. And I really don't care if he likes it or not. I'm over it. It's either this or pop out of bed at six AM, immediately get us up and fed and dressed, and immediately get out of the house so he can run around all day from 7 AM until 5 PM. No, and no. And especially no when there's a new baby!!!

If I cared about his comfort level we would still be co-sleeping and he would still be keeping me up all night nursing every hour on the hour. Disbelieve all you want - I have a friend with a two-year-old who is in just this situation. It can happen very easily if you don't put your foot down.

So I am going to call this Wake Training. I have no idea if I will be successful in any way. But I have to do something or I will literally lose my mind. And this kind of thing - Bumpus rough housing around and being dangerous - is going to have major ramifications when there is a fragile newborn in the house. 

Just in case you're wondering I have done extensive googling on this issue, and much to my mixed pleasure/disappointment, this issue is very common. And it always is right at this age - just shy of two - and often has nothing to do with being frustrated because they can't communicate, or need attention, etcetera. They are usually just playing and pushing boundaries. So he's not a sociopath or a bad kid; he's completely normal. And it's almost always something that only happens at home when he's bored. And guess what - pretty much all of the anecdotal evidence I've read about this phase says there's really nothing you can do about it. Say no, of course. Distract, remove, all of that. But most women have found, like me, that nothing works. It's just something you have to power through, and can drag on for months. So for now I need to just limit the situations where it can happen. And be glad that right now I am his only target. 

I hate the toddler phase with the heat of a thousand suns. 

Friday, January 10, 2014


Lately I've been feeling a lot less alone in my general exhaustion/exasperation with the whole "toddler thing". I guess I've reached out enough in real life and on this blog to feel like I'm not alone in my feelings. Sometimes when I read everyone's happy stories about their cute babies and all their new milestones I wonder what the heck is wrong with me - why aren't I enjoying this more? Why am I not only not grateful that I get to be my children's full time caretaker, but actually find myself longing for a job, even a shitty one, just so I can have an escape? I think the answer is most people feel this way, just few care to talk about it. And that's everyone's personal preference how open they want to be about the dark side of parenting small children. But you know me - bring it on!

I actually admitted to a friend last night that I find myself looking forward to the hours (or days) spent birthing this baby in the hospital because it means I get to have a frigging break! I felt insane saying this at the time, only to have her tell me when she was having her second child she felt the same way!

I have come to realize being at home alone with a toddler all day really sucks. I don't know how women have done this for centuries...maybe they had more easily accessible community than we do now; maybe they were so delighted to have survived childbirth that they didn't care what came after! I feel like all I do all day long is try to kill time. I spend an inordinate amount of time driving, sometimes to get B to nap, sometimes because being at home and pulling his hands off of things and trying to keep him from climbing on top of the piano is just too much for me to handle. It's all just to make it to bedtime so I can get out my paperwork and get to work, an area where I feel completely competent and in control, as opposed to parenting, where I feel largely incompetent and out of control. 

As I drive around I think of how many people like me are in those cars - sleep deprived new parents, parents of toddlers who have stopped napping and this is their one shot at it for the day. How many people are in that Starbucks drive thru line just killing time so their children will sleep. I don't even want the damned latte. I just want to kill an hour and Bumpus to sleep.

I have been thinking of using the baby kennel every weekend whether I need it or not. I have only ever used it when I had appointments on weekends or to see movies...but I think as the pregnancy progresses and once the baby is here, I might just book it every weekend so I have a few hours to myself to get things done around the house, or even, dare I say it, sleep? It's sort of a way of getting a pseudo-preschool; not really committing to anything, just getting him in the habit of being somewhere and socializing with other kids. We already go so often that he loves it now - runs away from me and doesn't even look back. When I ask him if he had fun when I pick him up he always enthusiastically says, "yeah!" I don't have much on the schedule for Feb or March for obvious reasons that I need sitters for - but I think I will give myself the gift of a little weekly break. It's going to feel weird but I think I really need it for my soul. 

In the meantime I am going to check out free indoor play areas at malls and other public places - and maybe try to set some kind of schedule for us so we have places to go and things to do. You know, like on this day we go to the nice little park in South Pas, this day we have a play date with so-and-so, this day we do the drum circle, this day we go to that coffee shop with the play area in the afternoon, etc. I know a routine would be beneficial for both of us. As mentioned, I'm sure we're both a lot more pleasant to be around when we've had a fun, full day!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

31 weeks

I'm pleased to announce all still looked good at my OB appointment today. Still just "trace" protein in the urine. I'm fairly confident that at this stage last time I was at at least +1 and had been watched for some time. So much of my better attitude about the upcoming birth is based on a) continuing good health reports and b) being seemingly so close. Sometimes two months feels like an eternity; sometimes it feels like it's all happening too fast. As the weeks pass my fear of pre-term labor dissipates as well. If T were to be born now, it wouldn't be ideal, but he would most likely survive, and with little to no lasting health issues. A couple more weeks and we're really doing well. So. That's all good.

As to B's behavior. Thanks for all the helpful comments. I learned a lot from them. For now we've had a couple of very enjoyable days, because of two things: keeping us out nearly the entire day, and whenever he starts up with anything quickly re-directing. It works like a charm. I think I will keep doing this until he realizes slapping me and continuing to touch things after I've said "no" is not a fun game we're playing together. 

That's the problem - he does these things full of joy and laughter. He's not mad or being bratty. He genuinely thinks it's fun. And those couple of miserable days have shown me no matter how serious I make my face and voice, no matter how much I say no and don't touch or don't hit, no matter how much I put him down or walk away, he does not get it. And then I just get infuriated and try to come up with these awful "punishments" that he also doesn't understand or make any logical connection to. The time may come to institute a time out system - but I truly believe in my gut he's not going to understand. And I simply cannot face days or weeks of screaming, crying, and my own anger escalating, just to have him keep up with the shitty behavior anyway. My heart can't handle it - and neither can the skin on my face! If we were in public and he was doing something I didn't like I would swiftly pick him up and get him occupied with something else. So I've been doing that at home. It sucks to have to be so on top of him to make sure he doesn't mess with the faucets or oven burners or appliances...but it's manageable. Especially when we just stay out all frigging day. He's much more pleasant to be around when we've done active things all day rather than sitting home for even part of it. 

I'm so glad no matter how shitty our day was it always ends with hugs and kisses and I love yous. I love that he always hands me his tooth brush with such confidence once I've tucked him in, and I love how cute he looks under his little blanket all happy and ready for a new day's adventures. It's times like those when I feel more confident that we'll get through this.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Started off horribly...

So...after last night's parenting debacle, today started off like this: Bumpus comes into my room at 6:45 (after I've had four hours of sleep thanks to awesome pregnancy insomnia), climbs on the bed...and proceeds to laugh and playfully yell "no!"...and then smack me in the face so hard I saw stars and could still feel the sting of it an hour later. 

I grabbed both hands and said no, we don't hit, that hurts, etc etc, while he laughed, again thinking we were playing. Finally I said, "that's it - you're off the bed," and plunked him on the floor. Which made him cry, but didn't stop him from periodically climbing on the bed and smacking/kicking me until finally I just always held his hands so he would just stop hurting me. It's awful when you can't even trust your child to get close to you, cuddle with you or want to sit on your lap because they're always going to haul off and smack your face!!!

It made me so angry that I again thought about how horrid it would be if I ever did hit him - and that thought made me so distraught that I just broke down and sobbed. Sobbed like my heart was breaking. I just can't stand this. I knew toddlerhood was going to be really awful - and so far, it has not disappointed-!

Finally I had to haul my carcass out of bed and do our elaborate breakfast/showering/kitchen cleaning routine. Then I took him to the less busy playground, and that turned out to be a fairly pleasant morning. Nice people and not too many kids. Now I have to figure out how to keep us out of the house until dinner time. There's no way in hell I'm spending even a minute in the living room with him today. No way.

It occurred today that some of this may be related to the new baby coming - a woman at our music class explained to me recently that her two-year-old daughter had started pushing and being aggressive around the time she was a couple of months short of having her new baby. Just a theory. 

I think I will bring back the re-directing - I had dropped this tactic for the most part when he showed me that all I had to do was say "no no" and "don't touch" to get him to stop whatever he was doing - and this has worked for the last six months. But now that that's all shot to hell, it may be time to bring back the ol' "hey, look at this!" routine. Certainly a lot more pleasant and positive than barking orders (that are completely ignored anyway). 

Believe me, I don't want to be scary, angry mommy. But I still don't know how to let these kids know you mean business without at least using authority in your voice and physically making them face you and pay attention. Considering how much this, and everything else that happened last night, failed, I don't think there's much else to do at this point other than distract/remove. So for today we're going to just stay out all day and I'n going to keep my face out of range of being smacked. I'm exhausted and emotionally raw and that's all I can handle today. 

Four more hours 'til bed time. Sigh.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Today began what I have been seriously dreading since before I even became a parent. It was the day B stopped listening to me and started testing the boundaries.

We were up in the play area and he started slamming (slapping, really) his hands on my face and yelling "no!", all while laughing. I told him no, stop it, it hurts, tried to show him a gentle touch instead - to no avail. He just kept doing it. Finally I figured it was a bid for attention - so I played with him for a bit; but he kept doing it. Fed up, I took him downstairs.

Once down there, he started putting his hand on the TV screen, looking back at me with a big smile. I kept telling him my usual no, don't touch, etc, but he just laughed and kept doing it. I pulled his hand away, kept doing it. Pulled his whole body away, kept doing it. With no other ideas, I picked him up and plunked him in his room, slamming the door. I timed it for five minutes and then went to retrieve him (he was hysterical), giving him hugs and explaining how he has to listen to me when I say no, etc. And two seconds later he runs over to the TV, laughing, and puts his hands on it. Again the nos, don't touchs, pulling him away, putting on my most serious voice and face, getting down on his level, making it all very important...kept doing it. So I slammed him in his room again. More hysterical crying for five minutes. More retrieving his hot, sweaty, crying self and explaining what no means. Only to have him run over to the TV again.

By this time it was overdue for dinner and bedtime so I just brought him into the kitchen and thankfully those two things went well - you would never guess what had just transpired. I think he was just really tired - he conked right out.

But I feel defeated. I don't think he got it at all. I think it was just a big naughty game, with strange and inexplicable trips to his room that made no sense. He was obviously upset by it, but not enough to make the connection between that and his behavior. I'm just really worried that this is what is going to happen from now on - he's going to blatantly misbehave because it's fun, and not care when I punish him.

I hate to make the connection, but my dog was the same. She never listened to me, never came when I called her, never got it when I put her somewhere else as punishment, either. No matter how much authority I put in my voice, no matter how much confidence I had behind me. She just didn't care. 

So the question is, what the heck do you do? Is this approach all wrong? I don't think it's ok to just ignore this stuff - this is where it starts. But what do you do when they think it's a game and just laugh at you? No matter how fierce your voice, face, etc? I'm at a loss. Suggestions welcome.

Playground politics

I don't know if people get as stressed out as I do taking their young children to the playground. From posts I've seen online I'm guessing that yes, some do. One woman wrote very eloquently about the amount of anxiety surrounding taking small kids or babies in public at all - the constant terror of the kid "having a meltdown", of being looked at as a bad parent, of people being mean to you. And I hate to say it...but all of this stuff is very real. I have had people be mean to me in public because my kid wasn't being a perfect angel at that moment - and I used to be one of those bitches who assumed if your child makes so much as a peep that you suck and "don't know how to control your kid". I never said anything to anyone but I'm sure I did a lot of eye-rolling and loud sighing. All of which I would now retract if I could, believe me. 

But yes, I can see how women become very isolated and afraid to even leave the house - at a certain point the stress of being out isn't worth it. As a single parent I kind of don't have that luxury - I don't have a husband coming home every night to connect me to the "real" world. So we HAVE to get out every day whether I feel like it or not. And for cost effectiveness, public playgrounds it is.

I think I've come a long way in learning the subtle etiquette of the playground and trying to relax and be cool...but I'll freely admit I still kind of hate it. I hate the screaming and pushing matches that almost always result from the pile of generic sand toys that seem to be everywhere. HATE IT. I wish bringing of personal toys to public playgrounds was banned. I have never brought our toys because I don't want them to be carried off home innocently by other kids...and I don't trust B to share. I know this is shitty, but I just don't. And I don't want my kid to be the mean one pushing everyone away from his toys and throwing a fit when someone touches something of his. I know this is something he's going to have to learn soon. But can it please wait until I'm not in my third trimester anymore? Because right now I really can't deal.

So our trips to the playground almost entirely consist of me reprimanding B for pulling things out of other kids' hands, flinging sand in their faces, and running off with their toys. Then there's the fun of grabbing him in the nick of time before he gets his head kicked in by kids on swings (we had such a close call today everyone in the park froze and gasped and I pulled every muscle in my body while sprinting to grab him out of the way - and screamed "Jesus Christ!!!" at the top of my lungs). 

Then there's the fun of standing around with the hot sun beating on my face while he runs back and forth on the same piece of equipment that has precipitous drops on both sides and tons of bigger kids running over him like steamrollers, when I'm desperate to sit down because I feel like my vagina is going to fall out, but I can't because these playgrounds have one bench and it's always covered with people's diaper bags, and too far away if I need to sprint to keep B from getting his head kicked in by kids on swings. 

Thankfully one park in particular has really nice people who tend to all "get it" and understand when my kid throws a fit and are on top of their own kids' behavior so I don't worry so much about B being pushed around by bigger kids. But still I find the whole experience stressful, exhausting, and unpleasant. Still, I accept that for B's benefit, going to playgrounds is something we must do, and just about every day. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


So today I subjected myself to the 3 hour glucose test. I had a lot of fear about it - especially last night. As usual I obsessed on unimportant shit - worry about getting B to the BK on time, worry about feeling sick without eating breakfast, worry about finding the building, worry about parking, worry about being allowed to take the test at all (what if they didn't have my paperwork? What if the whole ACA thing screwed up my records and I no longer have coverage? What if I showed up too late - the lab closed at 2?). But it all worked out. I did cut it very close for time - the final blood draw happened five minutes before they closed. But they did have my records, I do still appear to have coverage, and I did do the entire test, all four blood draws, and didn't walk around or drink any water. I didn't throw up or pass out. In fact, despite not eating for 14 hours, I felt totally fine. And was easily occupied by my phone, Kindle, the book Lean In, and magazine (Harper's), for all that time. I guess I have a higher tolerance for boredom than I thought!

Got my results just now and I appear to have passed all four - although you can see the two hour I barely passed. One thing I don't get, though - why is the one hour cut off for the one hour test 130 whereas the one hour cut off for the three hour test 179? I mean, if they gave that number instead both times I took the one hour I would have passed! Is the drink different? 

Anyway, I'm hugely relieved, and glad I did it. Mainly so I have one less thing to make me "high risk" and make me feel like although I feel just fine I am in fact very unhealthy. I always was annoyed by feeling perfectly normal yet having all these "conditions" - pre-e, GD. But I guess people can have cancer and not know there you go.

So I intend to continue to eat well despite the good news - still loading up on the protein, still watching my weight (I have gained 25 lbs and have nine weeks to go). But I won't lie - I may have a celebratory Krispy Kreme tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

4D Ultrasound Pics

Today's doula meeting was cancelled because she had a birth. But I did get these neat-o 4D ultrasound pics of Baby T, and I was delighted that he very much resembles his big brother!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I don't drink the Kool Aid

So last night I filled out the reams of questionnaires for my first "new client" meeting with my doula which is on Saturday. It's kind of a "getting to know you" session with emphasis on partner stuff (a big fat n/a on that one!) and birth preferences.

Some of the questionnaires made me chuckle; some made me a little angry. In the end I understand that I am not in the majority of women who seek out a doula's services - women who lean towards all things crunchy granola, who are hoping for a natural birth, who are most likely a bit younger than me, married, and first timers. But it's for those women - vulnerable, impressionable women - that I found some of the questions and information on these sheets a little troubling and even a little irresponsible.

The one that made me chuckle was the one asking about hypnosis - if I was interested in it (nope), if I am a spiritual person (nope), if I believe you can heal yourself with the power of your mind (hell to the no - I had enough of that bullshit in my childhood, thank you very much!). I laughed because my answers made me look like such a cold bitch. Oh well - at least they'll know what approach to take with me, right? Mainly that I don't want any of that "woo woo" shit. 

The one that made me mad was the information about epidurals. At the top of the page it states that they want to support whatever birth you want...but that should you choose an epidural, you should know the following...and then launches in to this laundry list of horrors headed by:

"You WILL experience the following:"

Included on this list was difficulty bonding with baby, difficulty breastfeeding, lack of control or empowerment, inability to push, inability to feel the baby move through the birth canal, etc. 

Then it moves on to another list of horrors that "may" happen - side effects, improper placement issues, etc. And I do recognize that there are risks associated with all medical procedures. So yes, all of these things "may" happen. But as a second-timer who has had an epidural - I can say based on my experience that NONE of those "will happen" things did. To me that list is patently false and nothing but agendized scare tactics. And it makes me angry. Because I know better. 

Here's what else WILL or MAY happen if you have an epidural:

You WILL feel less pain than if you didn't have it (except in rare cases where a mistake is made)

You WILL be able to rest and relax and be in the moment because you're not being racked by excruciating pain for hours

You WILL be able to make clear decisions about your birth because, once again, you'll be more rested and present than if you hadn't had it

You WILL get to miss the fun of feeling your va-j-j tearing, always something to look forward to

You WILL be made to feel like a coward by crunchy granola types once they find out you had an epidural

Mine was a bit like this: not entirely effective; I did still feel a lot of pain - although I'll never know how much pain I would have felt had I not had it! (In the case of a horrid induced labor like mine, you kind of can't not have one - the pitocin contractions are way too painful to endure). I did feel the baby move down the birth canal (kind of cool), I did feel him come out, and I did feel empowered and in control (for the first time in...well...about nine months). I'm not going to say we bonded right away, but it didn't make me feel bad - it's just not my personality. I knew we'd get there. And whatever breastfeeding issues we had were due to his nicu stay, and were quickly and easily resolved. I doubt that would happen this time because this time I know what the hell I'm doing!

So anyway. If I were a younger, scared, impressionable first timer who is very much interested in exploring the more natural methods but was still considering an epidural, this list would terrify me and push me over the edge into requesting they not allow me to have one even if I beg for it (!), which, incidentally, is the first choice offered, with "help me get an epidural when I ask for it" being the last choice offered. I'm sorry but I consider all of this very manipulative. And it's going to leave a lot of women who "cave" and ask for an epidural feeling like weak failures. I hear this story all the time so I know it's true. 

If I were more confrontational I'd mention all this at my meeting...and I may still, in a light, humorous way. But again I do understand that they are merely catering to their usual clientele which is not someone like me. And they have their opinions and agenda. Just so long as they respect that I do not accept this agenda, we're going to get along just fine.

The Anti-Resolution Post

Let it be known I am not actually anti-New Year's resolution. I typically make them every year, and think the beginning of the year is as good a time as any to think about and plan for self-improvement, because everyone's doing it, so the spirit of all that aspirational living can carry you pretty far. 

I make them realistic and specific - things like "learn to swing dance" or "get a new car". Things I know I'll do anyway but it doesn't hurt to pronounce to the world you intend to get this thing done by Dec 31. And I really enjoy reading other people's resolutions and assessments of the previous year. But for some reason this year when I think of things I want to improve and strive for, only one word comes to mind - SURVIVAL. That's my goal for 2014. I want to survive it.

I didn't put this on my main Facebook profile because it sounds profoundly negative, and believe me when I say I don't mean it to be. I just think it's more realistic, when facing a year of juggling a newborn and a two-year-old, to drop any notion of "working out" or "focusing on myself" or "spending more time with friends" and instead think of every day when I can put two healthy children to bed and then get to bed myself as a personal triumph. 

It's already like that, and I only have one! Each night when I go through B's bedtime ritual - dinner, tidy up house, tooth brushing, diaper change, pyjamas, sing bedtime song, tuck in - and close the door on his room, I feel like a frigging rock star. This is item #5,678 of Things I Never Understood Until I Was a Parent. That the act of getting through each day is indeed triumphant. Not in an "ugh, got through another one," kind of way (although it is sometimes), but in a, "hey, we made it!" kind of way.

I would love to think that in 2014 I will continue to: keep up my appearance, eat well and get exercise, keep up my social life, read good books and watch good TV/movies, keep up the house, make the business a priority - but I give myself permission to fail at any and all of these goals if that failure facilitates my primary directive, which is merely to SURVIVE. 

And I think I can do that.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


As now the parent of a child who not only has his own will but the motor skills to enact said will, here are some examples of how my agenda and B's agenda don't always match.

My agenda: take Bumpus to my sloping front yard for the first time in the hopes that he will play nicely with the large selection of trucks and toys I brought out for him, while I sit on my butt and play with my phone.

Bumpus' agenda:

Teeter precariously at the top of the slanted cement stairs, throw handfuls of dirt and landscaping bark down said stairs, try to crawl into the poorly secured crawl space, pick up handfuls of (no doubt) toxoplasmosis-tainted stray cat shit and hand it to me, and repeatedly attempt to pull out the dirty, muddy yard hose, covering both of us with mud. Ignore toys entirely.

My agenda:

Go to playground. Run and play.

Bumpus' agenda:

Plunk down next to small girl playing in the sand, grab her toys and unintentionally fling sand in her face, to the horror of her parent/nanny. Insinuate self into groups of older boys who push him away making me come over and intervene before someone gets hurt. Run up to homeless people and flirt with them, roping me into many uncomfortable conversations.

My agenda:

Play nicely with your toys until I'm ready to get up in the morning.

Bumpus' agenda:

Go into mommy's room at six AM and pull down all the curtains/curtain rods, shove things into the diaper pail, dump all of the contents of all of the drawers on the floor, and climb all over mommy. Ignore nice box of toys entirely.

My agenda:

Bumpus wears his own shoes.

Bumpus' agenda:

Bumpus wears my shoes. Exhibit A: