Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And I thought grocery shopping was hard back then

There's a bloggy-type website that I found when I was pregnant with C called "Baby Bunching", which is about having 2 kids under 2. (And for the record, 2u2 from here on out will mean 2 kids under 2.) One of the things that Baby Bunching mentioned was that it would probably be a good idea if longer errands (such as grocery shopping) were done either on your own or with just one kid.

To which I say, good luck with that! As much as I would adore the chance to grocery shop alone (or do anything alone, for that matter), it doesn't appear that that will be in the cards for at least 15 years. Which, now that I've actually put that little truth nugget in print, seems rather bleak to me.

So last week was one of those times where I had to do the bi-weekly grocery shopping by myself, with the kids (and if that isn't the biggest oxymoron I've ever written or read, then....I don't know what.). I always do my grocery shopping on a Thursday. We get paid on Thursdays, and there is no way in heck I am sacrificing one red little second of my weekend at the suburban jungle known as Kroger. So no matter how busy I am on the Thursdays we get paid, I am going to the grocery store.

I used to have the luxury of being one half of the good old American dream called the DINK (dual income, no kids) and would wait till D went to work and go grocery shopping at around 7:30 on whatever Thursday night. I loved it. The store was always relatively empty and there was something satisfying in being able to linger over the produce to select the least bruised apples without worrying about getting out of the way of fellow shoppers or stock boys. (It's funny how your idea of paradise changes when you have kids. Before kids, paradise is a tropical vacation. After kids, it's the ability to go out by yourself after 7 p.m. to grocery shop without having to arrange a babysitter or rush back home because your husband is "babysitting" and is counting the minutes till your return.)

These days, now that I'm a DITK (or a DICK if you change "two" to "couple" ha ha ha. I'm such a child.) I have to come home from work and immediately get the kids in the car to go. If we wait even 10 minutes after I get home, we are in trouble because we are nearing the danger zone of dinner time. But the benefit to this plan is that D is almost always available to come with me, which is great because he can distract L and I can focus on wearing C in the carrier and selecting our groceries. Plus, D always unloads the cart so I can sort through my coupons while we're checking out. Our team effort of grocery shopping is one of my favorite things about being married to him. Which is way less depressing than it sounds, I promise.

But on this particular Thursday last week, I happened to have the day off. And since D is in the middle of Kamikaze Season (aka lawn season), he was exhausted. He had worked the night before and had gotten only 2 hours of sleep before he went out to do lawns. I knew the last thing he'd want to do was go grocery shopping, and that by the time he was done with lawns, it would probably be dinner time anyway. So I braced myself and decided to take the kids in the morning.

I have gone many places by myself with the kids, but the grocery store is by far the most challenging. If you are going to just pick up a few things, you can put the big kid in the seat up front of the cart and put the baby's car seat in the basket of the cart. But if you're going for a big trip....I'd turn back if I were you.

But, it had to be done. So I wore C in the carrier and put L in the cart and off we went. Of course, I had selected a cart with a wonky wheel. But I didn't realize this until my cart became so laden down with food that I would have preferred to poke myself in the eye with a pencil than transfer both groceries and toddler into another cart. Instead, I chose to deal with it and throw my entire body weight into turning the cart. Not an easy task when you're wearing a 13 pound baby on your front.

So we went to the fruit first. L is crazy over fruit and would probably live on blueberries, peaches, bananas, strawberries...basically any fruit (and graham crackers) if we let him. He loves fruit. And it was really cute because he was pointing to all the fruit and saying his version of their names.

Now, in the old days before C was born, I often went grocery shopping with just L. I used to give him whatever grocery I had just selected to hold, and then I'd say "Ok, let's put it in the cart!" and take it from him and put it in the basket. Or sometimes I'd let him hold it and thank him profusely for helping and tell him what a good boy he was. I liked doing that and making him feel involved in the errand. Plus, it kept him interested and prevented boredom from setting in, which is always disastrous.

So we went to the first display and got two plastic boxes of blueberries. You know the kind of boxes, right? The ones that have the little slots in the bottom so when you wash them the water drains out? Ok. So I got those and put one on either side of him in the seat. Then we went directly to the apples and I got a bag and started counting them out to him as I put them in the bag. I got two bags of apples and put them on top of the blueberries. Then we headed for the bread.

As I was trying to find the very specific brand and type of bread that my not-at-all-picky husband likes, I kept up a running "dialogue" with L. But I wasn't looking at him. I walked about 5 feet away from the cart to get the bread, and as I turned back, I saw him throwing the bags of apples in the basket. And then I remembered how D keeps L entertained by giving him things to "put" (aka throw) in the basket. And just as I remembered that, it suddenly occurred to me what was about to happen.

I saw him lift the box of blueberries and as he swiveled in his seat to toss them in the cart, I tried to say "L NO!" But it was too late. The blueberries hit the mostly empty bottom of the basket and the container popped open, exploding like a blueberry nuke. And little, tiny blueberries rolled EV.ERY.WHERE like little blueberry prisoners who finally had their chance to make an escape.

I remind you that I was wearing C in the carrier. This is more awkward than being pregnant, because when you're pregnant, you don't have to worry about your baby falling out if you bend or move the wrong way. Plus if you fall when you're wearing your baby in a carrier, the chances of them getting hurt are much higher than if you fall while pregnant since there is no placenta or huge boobs to help cushion the fall.

So what was I supposed to do? I couldn't just push the car at warp speed to make a quick getaway, since there was a blueberry graveyard under the cart. If I moved the cart even a centimeter, I would have run over the blueberries and squashed them, leaving a trail of evidence in the form of blueberry juice.

I briefly considered walking 10 feet away and looking disapprovingly at L and saying loudly, "UGH! Who does that kid belong to??" But I'm pretty sure there were witnesses who could place me at the scene of the crime, and I've never been a good liar anyway. Plus it would totally blow my cover when L looked directly at me and said "wa-wa-la-la, mama!" as he pointed at the watermelons.

So I just looked around helplessly and prayed that a Kroger employee would happen along my path. In order to make them not totally hate me when they did happen along my path, I made the effort to squat down and try to balance and pick up blueberries at the same time. It didn't go great, but I managed to pick up a handful.

Poor L, he just looked at me like "What did I do wrong Mama?" So I summoned some real effort and drop-kicked the annoyance and the "arrrrrrgh!!!" out of my head. Instead, I called up a smile and said, "That's ok baby, I know you were just trying to help. But next time we won't throw the blueberries, right?" And he slowly shook his head "no" because he doesn't know how to say "yes" yet, but I took it as a yes anyway.

Finally some poor Kroger employee happened upon us and mercifully told me she'd clean up the berries. I told her I didn't want to push the cart away because I didn't want to leave the blood of the slain blueberries in my wake, but she waved me off, told me not to worry about it and even went to get me a new package of berries. I was so appreciative that I even plan to write a letter to Kroger about her. And I hope this plan is more successful than my plan to start toning my arms up, which has been in "plan" mode since, oh probably April.

Anyway, we finally got to move along and continue with our shopping. By this point, I was pretty wary. When something goes so wrong like that right at the beginning, it doesn't really bode well for the rest of the trip.

On we went, the bockety cart wheel growing bocketier by the minute. By about aisle 5, I realized that C seemed to be sinking lower and lower in the carrier. I put my hand under her butt to boost her, and felt an adorable little foot peeking out from the bottom of the carrier. Which is when I realized that I hadn't adjusted or otherwise tightened the straps on the carrier since I had adjusted them back in February when I was 22 pounds heavier (thank you Weight Watchers). And then I realized that these realizations were really kicking my butt that day.

But what the heck was I going to do? I had to take C out of the carrier and use both hands to take off the carrier, tighten the straps and then put her back into the carrier. There was literally no place I could (or wanted to) lay her down so I could do the necessary tightening. I even briefly considered telling L to hold her and then laying her in his lap. But I dismissed that bright idea as quickly as it had occurred to me because I'm pretty sure if I asked her, C would tell me that she prefers to never fall from the cart to the floor of the grocery store.

So instead, I had to make the tough choice and do something that would eternally mortify my husband if he were with me. (Except, if he were with me, I wouldn't have been in that pickle in the first place.) I stood there for a second, watching people walk by. And when I saw the right kind of lady walk by (old because old ladies love babies, not old enough that she'd drop C, friendly looking, and not in a hurry) I stopped her and said, "Excuse me, but would you mind holding my baby for a second?"

She gave me a look that said that she knew I was talking but couldn't believe that I'd said what I said and asked me, "What?"

"I'm sorry," I stammered. "I know this is really weird, but my carrier is super loose and I really need to fix it but I can't hold her while I do that. Would you mind holding her for just a few seconds?"

"OHHHH HONEY SURE!!!!!!!!!!" she squealed. Like I was asking her if she wouldn't mind if I gave her 10 million dollars. And then I got a bit nervous. But the carrier needed to be tightened, so I handed C over. And then the really sweet old lady proceeded to chatter to me at a speed of approximately 30 words per second.

"Oh my daughter has five kids she adopted three of them you know and she has every carrier you can think of oh are those kids ever sweet so I know just what you're going through with that carrier she has every stroller you can think of too and why I bet you are the same way with these precious little ones and oh how old is your little boy why what a sweetie he is too but oh I bet he gets into mischief bless his heart and look at him that big boy helping you with your shopping oh now make sure you get that carrier tight enough honey we don't want this little angel falling out I bet they keep you busy bless your heart and look at you you look like the sweetest little mommy ever just like my daughter with her five precious ones she lives in Florida you know so I don't get to see them often but I sure do love seeing them and you know when I'm done with my visit I am ready to be done because five sweethearts is a lot you know but I bet you know that because two babies this little must keep you hopping!"

By the point she stopped for breath, I had tightened the carrier, replaced it on my body, baked a cake and went with L to pick out a coming-home outfit for the birth of his third child. I had been standing there with my arms out to have C returned to me but the very sweet lady wasn't even paying attention. She was just staring at C the whole time.

After holding my arms out for about a minute, it dawned on me the reality of the situation. I was standing in the middle of Kroger while a complete stranger was holding my baby and not giving her back to me. I began to get a little alarmed.

As if reading my thoughts she smiled at me and said, "Now don't you worry, I promise I'll give her back. I thought about taking off with her, but I think you could probably catch me" Ha. Ha. Ha. Not a very funny joke to make when you're actually holding my baby. Maybe funny if I'm holding her and you're walking by and saying "Aw, she's so sweet, I wish I could take her home with me!" NOT funny when you actually are in a position where you could probably take her home with you if you tried hard enough.

Just as I was about to reach out and snatch C back, the lady handed her over to me. I quickly put her in the carrier, thanked the lady, resisted telling her that I was sorry, she couldn't have the baby but was she interested in my toddler? and took off.

By the time I finished pushing the bockety-ass cart through the store, I was literally sweating. I wearily dragged myself to the checkout, where I realized that I had forgotten at least 30% of the things that had been on my list. But I was not pushing that cart back through the store for ANYTHING.

I loaded the groceries onto the checkout belt (missing my husband keenly at that moment) and tried not to punch the checkout clerk in the face when she asked for my ID as she scanned the beer. I mean, I know that wasn't a rational reaction because it's her job and everything, but I felt like she could have helped me out by seeing any of the following:

1) I have 2 kids and clearly need the alcohol, so even if I wasn't 21 she should throw me a bone.
2) I am sweating my kiester off so maybe she could scan the beer last so I'll have time to get my ID out.
3) My outfit is an assortment of Land's End and Kohl's so I am CLEARLY over 21 (but still as hip as the day I was 18, booyah!).

(And the sad thing is, I don't even drink beer. It was for D.)

While I was fishing my ID out of my wallet, C decided that it would be the ideal time to start melting down. And lately, L has found it fun and/or funny to join in the melee and whine when C whines, sort of like how a dog howls along when someone sings really badly.

So I'm bouncing and swaying and shushing, trying to calm C down before L starts his crocodile tears and pretending like I don't see the laser eyes the cashier is giving me. And this is totally a change of pace for me because usually I get the "Awww how old are the babies?" and "My, your children are so well-behaved! And trust me, we get some bad ones through here." I'm used to people bowing at the feet of my maternal awesomeness, not giving me That look, the one that says "Your kids are really chapping my ass today lady."

So FINALLY the groceries are bagged, placed in my basket and paid for. I muster my last spark of energy and head for the van. I thank sweet baby Jesus for the person who invented the buttons on the key fob that open the doors and hatch automatically and wearily put the kids in car. I load the groceries into the van and then sink into the driver's seat, thankful that the ordeal is over.

And then I get home and realize that I still have to unload and put away the groceries, and what the heck am I supposed to do with the kids while I'm doing that?

Strike 100, you're out.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A day in the life of 2 under 2

Some of you may not know that D works nights.  He goes to work at 7:35 p.m. and gets home at around 8:15 a.m.  He works at the beginning half of the week for 5 weeks, then switches to the end half of the week.  He also owns his own lawn business, which he works "part time" during the spring/summer/early fall.  During the winter, I much prefer D to be working the front half of the week, because that means he has his weekends off.  During lawn season, it doesn't matter which half of the week he works because on his days off, he's doing lawns.  Lawn season means that my husband is a zombie.  

This means that much of the time that I'm not working is spent mothering two children under the age of two on my own.  I know, I know.  I shouldn't want a medal or anything.  So many women are stay-at-home moms to two under two (2u2) and they aren't asking for medals.  But let me tell you, they sure do deserve them.

Approximately 6:30 a.m. - Hear toddler stirring in his crib.  Pray to God that just this once, he'll go back to sleep and not wake up again till 8:30.  Ignore the nagging knowledge that, the later he wakes up, the later he'll go down for a nap. 

6:45 a.m. - Toddler is not going back to sleep.  But, toddler is also not crying yet and has been distracted by the book placed in his crib for this express purpose.   Roll over so you are facing away from the monitor, hoping that somehow this will shut out reality and allow you to go back to sleep for at least another hour.

7:00 a.m. - Toddler has been whining and calling for you and every other relative he can think of for at least 5 minutes.  However, crying has not reached crescendo so you stay half-asleep for a bit longer.

7:05 a.m. - Whining has turned to crying and you realize you can't delay the inevitable any longer.  Look at the clock and realize that you have successfully squeezed an extra 35 minutes of half-sleep out of your morning and try to take solace in that fact.  Gaze longingly at your still-sleeping infant and try to convince yourself that it is depressing and wrong to be jealous of a 3 month old.

7:06 a.m. - Open the door to toddler's room.  Toddler who has been crying and calling for you for the last 30 minutes suddenly wants nothing to do with you and runs to the other end of the crib, throwing himself down flat so you have to stand on your tip toes to reach down and get him.  Use every muscle in your body to haul his purposely-dead weight body up and bring him to the changing table.

7:07 a.m. - Lay toddler on changing table.  Toddler suddenly springs to life and decidedly does not want diaper or clothes changed.  Desperately grab any object within reach and try to distract toddler with it.  "Ohhh look at the book!  Read the book while mommy changes you!  No, we don't throw books at mommy!"  (Book hits floor, narrowly missing your toes.)  "OOOOOH!  Look at the teddy bear!  Do you want to hold the teddy? ....Oh, you don't want the teddy?"  Patience begins to expire.  Resort to simply trying to overpower toddler.

7:08 a.m. - Overpowering didn't work.  Decide that it's ok that you've only managed to change toddler's diaper and were unable to get clothes put on him.  Reason with yourself that it's better that way since toddler will probably make a mess of himself at breakfast anyway.

7:09 a.m. - Time to go and wake up infant.  Try to muster enthusiasm out of your still-sleepy body and excitedly tell toddler "Let's go get sister!"  Bring toddler to your bedroom and put him down.  Try to find clean clothes for infant.  Meanwhile, also attempt to intercept toddler from somehow having a knack at grabbing the things in the room you least want him to have.  Curse silently that you'll have to figure out how to re-program your TV to get rid of the Chinese subtitles your toddler somehow added to the bottom of the screen.

7:15 a.m. - Marvel at the achievement of somehow managing to get infant dressed while preventing toddler from using your cell phone to call 911, flinging himself face first off the bed, pulling out dresser drawers on his toes or stabbing himself with the retractable blade that your husband uses at work and carelessly left in the pocket of the pants that he tossed on the floor.

7:15 and 25 seconds a.m. - Pay the price for stopping to marvel and comfort both toddler and infant who are screaming because they got frightened when the full-length mirror slammed to the floor because toddler wanted to see what would happen when he pushed it over.  Thank God for small miracles when you gratefully remember that the mirror is a cheap one from Target and not an expensive one from somewhere fancy like Pottery Barn that you could never justify spending so much money on and would break if it fell on the floor.  Make mental note to ask husband to hang the mirror on the wall once and for all instead of leaving it propped against the wall.

7:16 a.m. - Promptly forget mental note.  Hoist one child in each arm and trek downstairs to try to conjure up some sort of healthy breakfast that toddler will actually eat.  Pray that infant can stave off hunger long enough to get breakfast on the table.

7:17 a.m. - Stare blankly into the bleak-looking fridge.  Remind yourself that this is one of those times you wish you knew a thing or two about cooking and resolve yourself to use part of nap time to research healthy toddler recipes on the internet.  Abandon all hope of healthy breakfast.  Put blueberry Eggos in the toaster and satisfy yourself with the thought that blueberries are fruit, even if they've been dried and processed to within an inch of their lives.  

7:18 a.m. - While Eggos are toasting, try to strap toddler into booster seat.  Remember 5 seconds too late that there's a certain way to finesse the situation and resist the urge to swear out loud in front of the toddler who has begun repeating everything when you realize you forgot the finesse and will be screwed for the remainder of breakfast.  Give up on trying to get toddler into booster seat and resign yourself to allowing him to sit in a regular chair, forcing you to sit vigilantly next to him so he doesn't fall off.

7:19 a.m. - Infant starts crying for her bottle, so you quickly mix one up while the Eggos cool on the counter.  Since infant's crying often causes toddler to cry, you forgo the usual cutting of the Eggos and hastily throw them on a plate in front of the toddler and remind him to take bites (because if you don't, he'll try to stuff an entire waffle in his mouth at once) while you scoop up infant and quiet her with the bottle.        

7:20 a.m. - Momentary peace reigns as you enjoy pleasant "conversation" with your toddler while he eats his waffle and you feed infant.

7:21 a.m. - Look at clock in shock and horror when you realize that you've only been out of bed for 15 minutes.  Swear to yourself that you will not get caught up on Facebook when toddler goes down for a nap (a nap that feels lightyears away) and instead will have a nap yourself.  

7:23 a.m. - "Toddler, eat your waffle.  No, don't feed the dog.  Eat your waffle.  No, don't throw it on the floor.  Please don't slam your cup on the table so that juice leaks out everywhere.  No, stop slamming your cup down.  I said stop!  Don't make me take your cup away.  Look, you have a waffle!  Show mommy how you take a bite!  Toddler, show mommy how you take a bite.  What, are you done?  You've only had a couple bites, eat some more.  ::Sigh::  Ok, I guess you can be done."  Toddler gets down from chair and runs into living room to play while you finish giving infant her bottle.

7:24 a.m. to 10 a.m. - "Toddler, let's play with your blocks.  See, they go together like this.  No, no don't throw blocks at your sister.  Book?  You want to read a book?  Ok, bring me your book.  Toddler, bring me your book.  Come on, bring it here!  Toddler, bring it here and mommy will read it to you.  Don't you want mommy to read to you?  Oh you don't?  Ok.  (Wait 45 seconds to 5 minutes for toddler to decide he really does want to be read to and brings book over.  Read Dr. Seuss book that is somehow a classic, despite the fact that it manages to be 63 pages long with absolutely zero story line.)  Again?  Ok mommy will read it again.  (Reads again.)  Again?  No, baby, we're done with this book.  Go pick another book.  Hey!  Stop that.  You don't hit just because you didn't get your way.  No toddler!  We do NOT drop books on our sister's head.   See, now she's crying, you hurt her."  And on and on while you go stir crazy waiting for Target to open because it gives you a place to go to get out of the house.

10:01 a.m. - "Ok toddler!  Let's go get our shoes on!  We're going to Target!"  Commence with the 15 minute struggle to get toddler's shoes on while he screams as if you are continuously dunking him into a pool of scalding water, then keeping him out of trouble while you try to get infant into her car seat.

10:16 a.m. - Despite the fact that infant is 3.5 months old and you've been doing this since she was born, stand by the front door for 5 full minutes while you try to decide the best way to get both kids out the door.  Realize that you really don't have to take them both at once and leave the easy infant in her carrier by the front door as you maneuver the toddler out the door.  Depending on your patience level at that point, either allow him to walk to the van himself (then proceed to chase him in circles around said van when he inevitably breaks free from your hand) or carry his squirming, unhappy body.  Summon super-human strength to simultaneously hold struggling toddler down while clicking him into his car seat. 

10:17 a.m. - Begin drive to Target, making sure to point out every truck or bus you pass on the way in an effort to keep toddler content and distracted before he remembers that he doesn't really care to be strapped into things.

10:21-11:00 - Wander around Target slowly, putting things in your cart that you didn't know you needed.  Breathe a sigh of relief that toddler seems to share your love of Target, and happily give him something from the dollar bins to keep him entertained while you browse through trashy celeb magazines or peruse the racks of mostly over-priced-for-what-they-are fashions.   

11:01 - Widen eyes in horror as you check out, and ask yourself how in the world you spent $50.  Nothing you bought cost over $10, after all.  Inventory everything you purchased and do the mental math.  Fail at adding everything up exactly and satisfy yourself with rounding up and estimating.  Come to the sad realization that the cash register was not wrong.  Mentally prepare a convincing argument for why you need each item, since you'll need it when you get home to your husband.

11:15 - Arrive home and begin lunch preparations.  Make the grilled cheese, mac and cheese, turkey dog, etc. with full knowledge that only about a quarter of it will be consumed by toddler.  The rest will be picked up off the floor by you or fed to the dog, who has long since learned that the best place in the house is by toddler's seat while he's eating.  

11:16 and 30 seconds - Almost as soon as you get the grilled cheese in the pan to start cooking, infant decides she is sick of being ignored (as I'd imagine most infants of parents who have 2 under 2 are when they are being quiet and happy).  She starts crying for her bottle.  Your brain whirls as you try to figure out how to simultaneously cook a grilled cheese and feed infant her bottle.  The choices before you are: a) burn grilled cheese while feeding infant or; b) leave infant to cry while you mentally urge the stove to cook the grilled cheese faster.

11:17 - Decide to leave infant to cry while you hastily try to get toddler's lunch in front of him.  

11:19 - Infant's cries are no joke at this point.  She wants her bottle and she wants it now.  You grab toddler and try to put him in his booster seat.  He, of course, fights it with every fiber of his surprisingly strong 27 pound little body.  You do your very best to stay calm and wonder to yourself if you could convince your husband to leave for a spontaneous trip to Napa that night so you can drown your stresses in lots and lots of wine tastings.  

11:21 - Finally have toddler strapped in with lunch in front of him.  Make a bottle in record time and scoop up infant to feed her.  

11:22 - While feeding infant, keep an eye on toddler and talk with him while he eats his lunch.  Do your best to not laugh when he squeals with delight as the dog tries to take the food right out of his hand.  Yell at the dog and further enforce toddler's idea that dog is actually named "NOCONNERGETAWAY".  

11:36 - Toddler is still "eating", which means he is taking one bite approximately every 5 minutes.  Look at the clock and wonder how such a small person could take such a long time to eat such a minuscule amount of food.  But also feel slightly happy about this fact because the longer he takes to eat, the closer he gets to nap time.

11:45 - Finally tire of the food games and take toddler out of his booster seat.  Attempt to hold his squirming body up to the faucet and wash his hands but mostly just succeed in getting both of your clothes soaking wet.  Clean up lunch dishes and prod yourself to keep on swimming because it's almost time for the incredible, wonderful N-A-P.

11:55 - Toddler has occupied himself with his toys so nicely while you did the dishes that you are almost reluctant to put him down for his nap.  Almost. 

11:56 - Try not to sound too gleeful when you scoop toddler up and say "Ok, time for your nap!"  Carry him upstairs with a little skip in your step and happily put him in his crib.  Give him a kiss, say, "Mama loves you!" and shut the door.

11:57 - Tell yourself that you'll just go downstairs to check your Facebook for 5 minutes and then you'll take that delicious nap you've been craving all day.  

1:15 - Realize that you've been on the computer for way to long.  Feel sad inside because you know that if you took a nap at this point, it would only be for half an hour tops because toddler has some specialized radar that lets him know when you are about to sleep and causes him to wake up.

2:30 - After taking care of infant and wasting the rest of toddler's nap time by being completely unproductive, you hear toddler waking.  Go upstairs to get him and remind yourself that you only have to make it through another hour before you can wake husband up without feeling guilty.

3:30 on the nose - Say to toddler "Let's go get daddy!" and pound up the stairs as loudly as possible so husband knows your coming and that there is no escape.

3:30 - 7 - Blissfully share parenting duties with husband.  Slyly trick him into taking care of toddler while you hold lower-maintenance infant.  Make husband take everyone out for dinner so you don't have to cook.

7:00 - Put toddler to bed and collapse on the couch to watch DVRed shows and waste more time on Facebook.  Pray that infant decides to be easy and veg out on the couch.

9:00 - Think about going to bed but decide against it when just the thought of getting yourself and infant ready for bed exhausts you.

10:00 - Muster the energy to go upstairs to bed when you realize that by the time you are able to actually climb into bed, it will be, at best, 20 minutes later, at worst, 45.  

Sometime between 10:20 and 10:45 - Climb into bed.  Almost start to cry when infant begins fussing and wants to be held and swayed by someone who is standing.  If husband is not working, ask him to please take her just this once.  Punch him in the arm when he pretends to be sleeping and get up with her anyway.  If husband is working, send him a text telling him that HIS child is awake and fussing and ask him if he knows why the universe is against you.  

11:30 - Infant has finally fallen asleep as if nothing ever happened.  Crawl back into bed and pass out immediately, stopping only to pray that toddler sleeps later the next morning.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear Mean Girl: Suck It!

So that last post was pretty deep.  I'm sure some of you were considering putting me on suicide watch and sneaking into my bathroom to steal my Venus for fear of what I could do to my wrists.

Anyway, I am for sure making some progress towards beating Mean Girl into a bloody, pulpy oblivion.  So far we're both showing some wear and tear.  But, she suffered a massive defeat last night when I ran 25 minutes without walking and didn't feel like I was going to pass out after.  I actually felt pretty darn good.  And she's going to be down for the count on June 11 when I complete my first official 5K.   

I'm still a bit discouraged about my slow weight loss.  I feel like I'm doing everything right and I'm still not really seeing the numbers I want.  But, I'm going to power on through and hope that I reach my goal of looking ridiculously hot for my cousin's wedding in mid-July.  (D totally doesn't get this, by the way.  He keeps saying "Why?  It's not your wedding."  Men, I swear.  And also, doesn't he realize that I wish it were my wedding?  Of course I'd marry him again, but I seriously loved my wedding so much that I wish I could do it every year.)

Irregardless (totally not a word but it was in Mean Girls so I'm counting it as one), I'm reminding myself that what really counts is the fact that I haven't given up.  And also (repeatedly) that I'm trying to learn to enjoy running to keep myself healthy and set a positive example for my kids, NOT to lose weight.

But really, there's not so much a point to this post other than to let everyone know that I appreciate all the positive comments, messages and emails that you all sent me after my last post.  I'm going to try to get back to the positive and funny about my life, and I actually have a post in the works about the stereotype about women that is totally true for me.  How's that for a teaser?    

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Battling the mean girl within

As I stand in front of the bathroom mirror before my shower and wait for the water to warm up, I commence my regular routine of self-loathing.  

I study my stomach in disgust, angry that it still looks 4 months pregnant when all efforts to disguise it are removed.  I woefully acknowledge my stretch marks, battle wounds from two pregnancies, angrily climbing their way up my overly-wide hips; a renegade mark snakes its way across my rounded lower abdomen.  I berate myself for my too-big thighs, calling to mind the line from Love Actually (one of my favorite movies) where the Prime Minister's secretary admits in embarrassment that her boyfriend left her because "no one would fancy a girl with thighs the size of tree trunks". The mirror starts to steam up, signaling that my shower is ready before I even get a chance to move on to my flabby arms and puffy face.

The bathroom mirror offers a stark contrast to what I see when I look at myself in the full-length mirror in my bedroom.  This is the mirror that I study myself in after I've gotten dressed and am ready to leave the house to brave the world.  This mirror seems to be kinder, and actually gives me occasional confidence in my appearance.  Sometimes I even allow myself to think, "Hey girl, looking good today."  But then, that's a dangerous train of thought.  Because when I permit myself that small morsel of self confidence, the fall is all the more difficult.  

The fall comes when I see myself in a photo or on video.  The fall comes when I see how I "really" look to others, when I've been captured in a moment playing with my son, unaware of the camera and not making sure all my clothes are arranged just so, that my stomach is sucked in and that my face is tilted at an angle so that it doesn't appear as fat as it really is.  A moment that I should be happy to have immortalized instead turns into another opportunity for my inner Mean Girl to remind me of how things really are.

And she doesn't let me down.  She pounces with claws fully extended, ready to rip my already bruised self image to shreds.  "Ugh, look at yourself.  How could you think you look skinny in those jeans?  You're NOT skinny, so it's impossible to look skinny.  In fact, you look pretty fat.  You were stupid to think that you might actually be making progress with your weight loss, baby.  Sorry to tell you, but you've got a looooong way to go.  No one can even tell that you've lost any weight.  That's how big you are.  You're so big that losing 10 pounds doesn't even make a difference in how you look."

When I try to do something good for myself, like sticking to my running program, she's there, too.  "You'll never be able to actually run a 5k.  Look at how you're struggling to run for 5 minutes.  You are so screwed when you get to week 6, because that's just straight running.  You just won't be able to do it, and then how embarrassed will you be.  You may as well just give up now.  You always knew running wasn't for you, just accept it."   

It's a constant struggle to silence this evil bitch that lives inside my head.  In the past, I took what she said at face value.  In the  past, I believed her without question.  In the past, her opinion was the only one that mattered.  It barely made a dent when my husband told me how hot I am, how attractive and beautiful I looked.  His words were no match for the suit of armor the Mean Girl had erected around my heart. 

The funny thing about this suit of armor is that it handily brushes away any positive thoughts, but readily and willingly accepts any hint of negativity directed at me.  Well-intentioned but poorly worded comments are easily twisted into grenades that blast holes in my confidence, repeating on loop in my head.  Someone from the office says, "You barely look like you had a baby!  You'll be back to slim and sleek in no time."  I hear, "Wow, last time I saw you, your belly was hugely pregnant!  Now it's not.  But you're still fat.  Maybe in time, you'll be in better shape."

But I'm starting to get sick of this Mean Girl.  She's worn out her welcome, and I'm starting to see her for who she really is.  How is it that she was insulting and berating me when I was in high school, skinnier than I've ever been or ever will be again?  How is it that she was making sure I felt like a huge fatty when I was getting married, weighing in at what is now my goal weight (a number that is still many pounds out of my reach)?  I'm beginning to see the holes in her strategy.

No matter what I look like, she tells me I'm ugly.  No matter what effort I make towards becoming more active and fit, she tells me it's not good enough.  No matter what I weigh, she tells me I'm fat.  No matter how well I ate during the day, she still sends me to bed feeling guilty about some treat or indulgence.  And I'm finally calling bullshit.  

Enough already.  It's more than enough.  Yes, I might still be "fat".  But I'm truly making an effort to get down to a healthier weight.  I have never stuck to a self-imposed exercise program for longer than 4 weeks, and the fact that I'll soon be entering Week 5 of C25K kicks SO much ass.

So when Mean Girl tells me I'll be screwed when I reach Week 6, I respond with, "That's ok.  I'll just do Week 5 until I feel ready to move on."

When Mean Girl tells me the running isn't helping me look any better, I say, "Ah well, doesn't matter.  I'm really doing it because I'm trying to learn to enjoy exercise."

When Mean Girl tells me my stretch marks are hideous, I choke back tears and tell her to shut up because the only person besides me who sees them doesn't care anyway.

When Mean Girl points out someone else who is skinnier, prettier, better dressed than me, I remind her that I'm doing my best and that that other person has different battles.  

Since I'm just starting to fight back, Mean Girl is still pretty strong.  A lot of times she just laughs at my feeble efforts to deflect her jabs.  But they're starting to sink in.  I can feel it.  I'm starting to believe that, just maybe, the things I say in return are true.  

And that's the real battle.                          

Monday, April 11, 2011

Couch (Potato) to 5K

When I got pregnant with L, I was just about to get started on a health kick.  I had finally gotten fed up with the excess flab I was carrying around with me and decided that I'd join Weight Watchers and start training to run a 5K using the Couch to 5K program.  But then I learned I was no longer walking around alone and that positive pregnancy test was like a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Having dodged that bullet, I happily settled into my "I'll get to that after the baby is born" attitude towards eating right and exercising and ate myself stupid for the duration of my pregnancy.  For good measure, I did as little physical activity as possible.  And boy was it good while it lasted.  I figured I was fine because I'd planned on nursing L and had always heard that breastfeeding was to calories what I was to pizza or puppy chow (that amazing stuff you make with Chex, chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar).  Basically, I thought that nursing would torch the fat and flab from my body with ease.  

Then L was born.  And I found out that, unfortunately, I was sold a bill of goods on the nursing thing.  After dropping a fraction of the weight I'd gained - mostly just the weight consisting of L and his placenta - I plateaued at a nauseatingly high number.  So, I recommited myself to working out and Weight Watchers. 

I actually did pretty good at first.  I started out doing the 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels, but then I hurt my knee because my body was like "WOAH there.  Are you saying we're supposed to be active??"  So too much, too soon.  Then I decided to try different Walking for Weightloss programs with Leslie Sansone.  I loved them.  They were challenging but achievable.  Plus, Leslie was just so nice.  I liked her encouraging, friendly style WAY more than Jillian's barky "You suck, you big fatty" attitude.

Meanwhile, I was doing well with Weight Watchers.  I was counting my points faithfully and was seeing results in the form of a steadily decreasing number on the scale. 

But once I returned to work, the going got tough.  For the first couple weeks, I would come home and dutifully put on my sneaks and walk with Leslie.  I kept my Weight Watchers online points tracker up on my computer at all times and tracked everything I ate.  Gradually, though, I grew weary of counting points and logging everything I ate.  I came home from work exhausted because L was waking 4 to 5 times per night, and the last thing I wanted to do was change my clothes and exercise.  Then my 3 month subscription to Weight Watchers ran out and I didn't want to pay to continue. 

So, Weight Watchers and exercising went by the wayside.  And then I got pregnant with C.  "Well there you go," I said to myself.  "I can't diet anymore and I'm not supposed to start a new workout program so I'll just try to control my eating and not be a total couch potato and I'll be ok." 

And even though I didn't pig out nearly as much as I did with L, I still ate whatever I wanted.  Lucky for me, C was smaller than L and I didn't get fat in the face as I had with L.  So I looked pretty ok, even in my third trimester. 

Towards the end of my pregnancy with C, I decided that I wanted to try the Couch to 5K program I had heard so much about.  I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do Weight Watchers again, telling myself that just because nursing didn't drop the pounds the first time didn't mean it wouldn't do it the second time around.  Maybe just throwing in the exercise component would turn things around. 

Well, of course that wasn't the case.  Even though I gained about 15 pounds less with C, I still somehow plateaued at the same weight I did with L.  Very depressing.  So I grudgingly signed up for Weight Watchers and made a deal with my brother to run a 5K with me in June.  Just barely enough time to finish the C25K program.

As soon as I got cleared by my doctor to exercise, I put on my workout gear and grabbed my iPod.  It didn't even cross my mind that perhaps a complete novice runner should not start trying to run outside when it was 35 degrees outside.

The C25K program is basically this: 5 minutes of brisk walking to warm up, then alternating running and walking intervals, then 5 minutes of walking to cool down.  There is an outdoor track approximately 5 minutes from the house, so I decide to walk up there then do my running/walking on the track.

About 25 seconds into the warm-up walk, I was ready to quit.  My throat was starting to burn from the frigid air, and my nose was cold.  It was not looking good.  But I decided to push past it, my brother's voice ringing in my head: "You just have to realize that it's going to really suck for the first few weeks while your body gets used to it."  And realize I did.

When I got to the track, it felt like I had been walking for an hour.  I had no clue how I was going to summon the energy to run.  With my C25K app prompting me, I proceeded to start my intervals.  Half-way through the first running interval, one solitary thought was playing on loop in my head.  "This sucks this sucks this sucks this sucks..."  Even my running playlist was not enough to distract me.

The walking intervals could not come quick enough.  By the time my second running interval rolled around, my lungs felt like they were simultaneously burning and getting frostbitten.  I don't know how that's even possible, but that's what it felt like.

At first, my only track companions were an old man who was lapping me like it was his job (and giving me concerned looks every time he passed me) and a couple who was walking at a glacial pace on the inside lanes.  Since I had my earbuds in, I couldn't hear how hard I was breathing, but judging by how it felt, I must have sounded like I was seconds away from dropping dead at any time.

Then after a few minutes, a younger guy started walking on the track.  He was likely about my age, give or take a couple years.  If I could describe him in the most politically correct way possible, I'd call him a wigger.  Both legs of his sweatpants were rolled up to his knees and his sweatshirt had "FUBU" emblazoned on the front.  He had a ginormous "diamond" (or wanna-be diamond) in his ear.

Unfortunately, almost every time I was cued by my app to run, I was either right next to him or right behind him.  This made it look like I was running to impress him or otherwise get his attention.  He began to watch me as I passed him, which gave me mixed feelings.  I felt a little creepy about it, since I am an old married lady and don't even think about attracting attention from strange men anymore.  Also, I am far from looking my best, so I don't even really feel like it's possible that said strange men would look at me and think, "Wow, what a babe."  But it also felt kind-of nice.  Like maybe I was impressing him in some way and maybe he was, in fact, thinking, "Wow, what a babe."  But I quickly dismissed this option as not even a remote possibility.

Soon, I was feeling so close to death that I was only running for part of the running intervals.  I considered quitting and going home, but I told myself that I had come this far and even if I had to walk the rest of the time, walking was better than going home and passing out on the couch before I finished.  My throat was on fire and the rest of me was freezing.  My face was numb and all I wanted to do was lay down and take deep breaths of warm air.  But, I trucked on until I finally completed the last running interval and was cued by my app to "cool down".

"I'm freaking freezing, I don't need to cool down!!" I screamed mentally at the stupid app.  But I was beyond relieved, and I started a slow walk home.  I had to stop a few times to bend over at the waist in an attempt to catch my breath and stave off the spells of dizziness that kept rolling over me.

Day 1 of Week 1 felt like it had lasted ages.  I fully expected L and C to be married with children of their own by the time I got home.  And I'll be honest, I had every intention of throwing in the towel and never running again.

Oh, remember the wigger?  Well when I got home, I quickly saw why he kept looking at me.  I happened upon a mirror seconds after arriving at the house, and my face was BRIGHT red.  I'm talking 3rd degree sunburn, lobster red.  The tomato face combined with my heavy panting breaths must have had him worried that I was going to keel over and would need emergency assistance.

I decided not to quit, though.  Lucky for me, my mom has a treadmill and I decided to give that a shot.  To my surprise, Day 2 on the treadmill was substantially easier than Day 1 outside.  This heartened me that maybe I wasn't so ridiculously out of shape as I thought, and I chose to keep my word to my brother and keep on keeping on with the program so I could run the 5K in June.

I just finished Week 2 last night, and while it's still hard, I can do it.  And 3 weeks into Weight Watchers, I've lost 7 pounds.  So I'm doing alright.  I still don't feel great about myself, especially now that I know Wigger Boy doesn't actually think I'm a babe.  But, I'm working on it.  And I really don't care about Wigger Boy.  My husband still (somehow) thinks I'm attractive, and that's enough for me!   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm still here and a middle finger to pumping

Hello!  I am still alive and well, despite all signs pointing to the opposite around this place!  I have a good excuse, though.  My little girl, C, was born on Feb. 16!  She is adorable and gorgeous and is quite the peanut.  My labor and delivery was a dream experience, and I just generally love the guts out of my new baby.  

However, that is not what I'm here to talk about today.  I'm here to talk about pumping.  Not pumping iron (which I really should be thinking about doing because my body is a sad state of affairs), but pumping boobies.  AKA that soul-sucking thing I do for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

Yes, I have found myself in the unfortunate position of having to pump exclusively if I want C to receive breast milk.  I had to do it with L as well. There are many reasons for this, but I'll spare you the awkwardness of having to read about them.  Let's just say that I tried nursing and failed.

With L, there was no question that I'd pump when it became apparent that I would not be able to nurse him.  I was 100% committed to giving him breast milk exclusively, so I got myself on a schedule and I pumped.  I only veered slightly from the plan when he was about one month old and suddenly developed a voracious appetite.  My supply couldn't keep up, so we started supplementing formula bottles for night feeds.  I also secretly hoped that the legend of formula-fed babies sleeping better was true.  (For us, that legend was a ginormous fail, by the way.  Even with his formula bottles, he was still waking at night a depressingly large number of times.)

With C, I really wanted to give nursing the old college try.  I figured that I'd gained experience from my first rodeo, as well as a sense of perspective that you can only gain from actually having a child.  So I mentally geared up to give nursing my all.  Still, I sterilized my pump parts just in case.

Well, C was born and it was amazing.  My labor was a mere 7 hours from start to finish (half as long as with L) and she was born in 2 pushes.  I thought we were off to an awesome start, as she was already "easier" than L.  But then we tried to latch her on for nursing, and it was excruciating and unbearable.  I tried to power through the entire time I was in the hospital, but after working with 2 nurses and 2 lactation consultants, I finally decided - with the blessing of the last lactation consultant - that it would be best to pump again.  And anyone who has ever met a lactation consultant knows that this is huge, since those ladies do not give up easily.

So home I went, slightly disappointed at being a nursing failure a second time around, but at least satisfied that I knew the drill and knew what to expect.

Oh how wrong I was.

You know how almost all women tell you that you forget the pain of childbirth almost as soon as it happens?  I would say that it goes double for any form of milk being transferred from your boobs.  Anything that requires your milk to "come in" and then regulate to a schedule.  Not fun.  And boy did I forget how not fun it is.

Well, I didn't exactly forget, but I certainly forgot how long the whole "not fun" transition period lasts.  In my mind, it was three days (four, tops) of uncomfortable engorgement and occasional leakage.  Which I would laugh about now if my boobs weren't as hard as rocks and juicing through triple layers of breast pads.  Yes, here we are 2.5 weeks later and my supply is still regulating.

I'll admit, I'm playing a dangerous game by going cold-turkey on night pumps.  I have not pumped at night once, and I guess it's probably confusing my boobs a bit.  This is an example of some of my "second rodeo" experience coming into play.  Because I'm so smart and experienced, I know that I can still maintain a reasonable supply without pumping at night.  And I also know that the last thing I want to do after feeding my baby for the third time in the middle of the night (by laying down and propping her bottle under my chin so I can "rest my eyes" while she's eating) is pump for 20 minutes.  So, I decided that I'd just send my body the message that we don't need milk at night right from the get-go.

Sadly, my boobs are either not receiving the message or they want to mirror the tantrums that L is throwing lately by trying to show me who is really boss here.  Let me just say, I can't imagine a more pleasant way to wake up than to be absolutely drenched in milk (and as a by-product, my sheets and comforter are also soaked), with rock-solid boobs that hurt far worse than any labor-incurred injuries.

I finally seem to be outwitting my boobs in the night-pump showdown, but it's been a long process.

Also keeping me busy and happy are the every-3-hour pumping sessions I'm doing.  With L, I didn't mind pumping because he was a newborn who slept all the time and it basically just meant that I would hook myself up to the pump every so often while I was looking around online or watching tv.  This time, it's much harder.  L is now an active toddler, and we also live with my parents.  I can't just whip my boobs out and pump wherever I am, and if I want to leave the room to pump, I have to make sure someone is around to hang out with L.  And then I leave and pump for 20 minutes and feel guilty about it because I'm upstairs in my bedroom having "down time" while someone else is entertaining my kid.  Because we all know that there's nothing more relaxing than sitting in an awkward position with a loud, plastic mechanism attached to your painful boobs 6 times a day.

Then there is the wonderful scent that comes along with pumping.  I'm not sure if it also comes along with nursing because I've never been able to successfully nurse, but if not, you nursing mothers are really missing out!  I know everyone wishes they could walk around smelling like sweaty breast milk.  It's truly delightful.  So much so that I've seriously considered putting deodorant on my boobs.  But then I got worried about adding something else to the mix, and decided against it.  It's especially bad since I don't get to shower every day at this point.

D is always talking about how "something" smells funny, and since I am usually carrying the baby around, I just blame it on her even though I know it's me.  Babies are supposed to smell bad, so I figure it's ok.  But then he'll sniff her and he'll be like, "No, it's not her..." and then I'll play dumb and be like, "Well maybe it's you."  I don't know if he's figured it out yet or not, but if he has he hasn't said anything to me.  Either way, I'm golden.  Either he truly hasn't figured out what that smell is, or he has figured it out but wants to dance along to my ruse of a jig and let me keep a shred of dignity.

But seriously, even though I would quit pumping in 2 shakes of a lambs tail if D would let me, it's been amazing having C here.  She is beautiful and perfect and so far a really awesome baby.  I'm sure she'll add a good amount of spice to our lives and to this blog!

(Oh and also?  Anyone who acts like you get peed on more with boys than with girls is lying.  L has only peed on me once in his entire life, and C peed on me 3 times within her first 24 hours of life.  Myth: Busted.)    

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I have done to try to make this baby come

Hey, lucky you! Two posts in two days! And bonus, they are both about how I want this baby to be born! How happy are you that you clicked over here?

Since I'm driving myself crazy wondering when 2.0 will come, I figured I'd let you in on just how crazy I am so you can have a laugh at my expense. In my defense, some of things have only been *considered* at this point, so at least I'm not fully over the edge yet.

- Watched "One Born Every Minute" on Lifetime in hopes that seeing other women having babies would put me into labor, much as how actually being around another woman in labor can put a full-term mommy into labor. Unfortunately, unlike yawns, active labor is not contagious through television.

- On "One Born Every Minute", there was a very crunchy couple who wanted a completely drug-free birth. (They were actually pretty disrespectful to their labor and delivery nurse. I think they thought she was one of Satan's minions, sent specifically to sabotage their pages-long birth plan at any possible turn.) I do not want a drug-free birth. Bring on the drugs.

But anyway, my point is that at one point in the show, the mom and dad were staring at each other forehead-to-forehead and moaning "ooooooooopen" and rocking back and forth. They were talking to her cervix. It was actually kind of creepy. But when I was brushing my teeth last night, I was thinking about it and I was like, never know. I wasn't going to get as creepy as them, but I figured it couldn't hurt, so I whispered, "Hey.....cervix? Open?" I guess I need to be more assertive, because it didn't work.

- Whenever I get a chance (whenever I am alone), and whenever I have proper furniture or something else to support me, I'll do a couple squats in the hopes that my water will just give up and concede the victory to me. Sadly, my water is currently winning and all I've gotten out of the squats is the urge to pee and sore thighs.

- I have not done this, but I have seriously considered (on at least three separate occasions) busting out the breast pump early because I hear that can cause contractions. Two things have been stopping me. One: I don't want to waste colostrum. Two: I've already sterilized all my pump parts and bottles and I don't feel like doing it again.

- I've given 2.0 a number of stern talking-to's. As of right now, he or she does not seem to subscribe to D's motto of "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late." Which means the 2.0 is already showing signs of being just like me. Which is terrifying.

- I've pretended to give up and adopt the more zen attitude of "when it happens, it happens". I'm fooling no one. Not my water, not myself and most definitely not 2.0. I'm so unconvincing in this charade that I haven't even tried to say it to anyone outside of myself because I know they'll be unable to keep a straight face, and I really don't want strangulation charges on my hands right now.

(On a slightly related note, is it weird how I feel like 2.0 can read my mind? I don't know why that is, but I find myself talking to 2.0 in my mind, thinking that he or she can totally hear and understand what I'm "saying".)

I know there's other things that are supposed to jump-start labor, but none of them sound appealing to me. I don't really feel like chugging castor oil or using scary "natural" herbs. It's not helpful that it's freezing outside and there's a foot of snow on the ground, which prevents me from getting outside and taking a walk. And D is convinced that going anywhere (aside from work) by myself will cause 2.0 to spontaneously karate chop out of my womb, so I can't even go to the mall to walk around.

So I guess I'll just have to resign myself to "when it happens, it happens." (It's a good thing for every one that I can't hear you laughing at me right now.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pregnancy-induced insanity

I am at war with myself. More specifically, my physical self is at war with my control freak self. I am 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant today, and my physical self wants this baby o-u-t. My physical self is sick of Braxton Hicks contractions and peeing constantly and heartburn and back aches.

My control freak self is going haywire because she can't decide when the ideal time for this baby to arrive would be. Do we want the baby to be born ASAP so Physical Self can get some relief? Or is it more important for 2.0 to come at a time when D is not working so he won't be exhausted and unrested? Or should 2.0 wait until closer to my due date so my maternity leave at work would work out more appealingly?

All these considerations are driving me insane. I'll find myself thinking, "Ok baby, X has transpired, you can come now. Except you should wait until ABC to come, because then that would be better. Except wait, that would mean that DEF would be the case, so maybe you shouldn't do that..." The only conclusion I can really come to is the fact that, no matter how much I'd love to be able to plan 2.0's exact arrival, I'm secretly glad I don't have to because I'd drive myself crazy trying to come up with the perfect day and time.

I think I'm just at my limit speculation-wise. It's so annoying to be up in my head all the time, wondering if this twinge or that ache was the beginning of labor. And if I've gotten my head worked up into such a state that even I don't want to be there, that's a little bit sad.

But seriously, every night I go to bed and I lay there for however long just waiting for something to happen. I've been reading too much crap online about early labor and how to distinguish between false and real labor, and it's further proof to me that there is definitely such a thing is too much information.

Somewhere in one of those articles, I read that the majority of women experience their water breaking while they're in bed. This was written to ease the minds of women who were afraid their water would bust open at work or in the mall. Leave it to me to turn something that is supposed to be comforting into something to obsess over. So now every night when I go to bed, I literally lay there waiting for my water to break.

Also in one of those articles, I was informed that only 10% of women have water breakage as their first indication of labor, without having any contractions or anything beforehand. Which is depressing because that's exactly what happened to me with L, and I never realized how rare it was. I really, really need to stop Googling this crap.

Even as I sit here writing this, I'm in turmoil and my mind is whirling.

"I really would like to make it to this weekend without having the baby because we have plans with friends on Saturday night. And then L has his 15 month check-up next Thursday and I'd really like to be there because I haven't gotten to meet his new pediatrician yet, so really, it would be best if 2.0 would wait until after that....But I don't WANT to be pregnant until next Thursday! I want the baby to be here now so I can stop having these awful practice contractions! But I don't necessarily want this baby to be here because that means it's back to exhaustion and leaky boobs and no routine or predictable schedule for at least two months..."

See what an awful place my head is? If it was a club or a restaurant or something, no one would want to be there and it would go bankrupt and close. But as the owner, I can't figure out how to shut it down and so I'm forced to sit there and listen to the awful, endless stream of techno bounce off the walls of the empty establishment and since I'm pregnant I can't even drown my sorrows in a nice sangria or glass of Moscato. So I sip my water as the crazy runs amok.

Maybe it would be best for everyone if 2.0 would just be born so I can stop the madness and just play with whatever hand is dealt to me. Yeah, I think that would really just be the best thing. So 2.0, listen up. You can come any time you want and I'll be ready for you.

Except could you wait until Wednesday or Thursday so I can tie things up at the office? And then, if you're going to wait until then, you may as well wait until Sunday so Dad and I can go hang out with our friends....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I think I may have mentioned this already, but D's and my 3 year anniversary is coming up on Feb. 2. We (I) try to make it a point to plan something special, preferably some sort of getaway.
The problem is, I was somewhat short-sighted when I decided that a February wedding was a good idea. Turns out, if you don't have lots of money, it's kind-of hard to find things to do in Michigan in the dead of winter. Right about this time of year, the cold starts to get really tiresome and the novelty of the snow has long since worn off. And all you want to do is go someplace warm and tropical.

Sadly, warm and tropical requires money. And also, not so easy to get away when kids are thrown in the mix. Especially when one kid is just about finished baking and could be popping out of the oven at any time.

For our first anniversary, D and I went to the west coast of Michigan to a bed and breakfast. Turns out, the town I had selected was actually more of a summer mecca and pretty much closed down in the winter. Which would explain why I had gotten such a good deal at the bed and breakfast.

This post is not about that trip, but I can't resist giving you an idea of what we were dealing with. First of all, it was basically a blizzard when we were driving into the town, trying to locate our B&B. It was just like a scary movie, where the roads are totally deserted and there's one lone traffic light blinking yellow in the distance.

Needless to say, we were the only ones at the B&B that weekend. Which was also eerie, because the B&B was a restored Victorian-style house and every time I opened the door of our room, I expected to see the scary girl from The Shining standing at the end of the hall.

Part of our weekend package was a gift certificate to a local restaurant. So we called the restaurant to see what time they closed and they said, "Whenever people stop coming in." And there was literally nothing else in this town except a bunch of boutiques that were closed and one other bar-type restaurant.

It was not a banner weekend, to say the least.

For our second anniversary, I don't remember what we did. When I started to write this post, I thought we went to Chicago, but then I started to remember that we went to Chicago in the summer for our babymoon before L was born, and not for our anniversary.

So please excuse my pregnancy brain, because I truly cannot remember what we did last year. I know L was here, so it can't have been anything exciting. And I was returning to work from maternity leave right around that time, so that seals it. We didn't really do anything for our 2nd anniversary. I think we exchanged gifts?

This year, I knew we'd need to do something. We're on the brink of having 2 under 2, I feel like I've been pregnant forever and I just want a weekend that is without a schedule and that doesn't have to be planned around nap time. So, I started thinking about it back in the fall, and looked ahead at the calendar to see what D's work schedule looked like.

Unfortunately, our actual anniversary falls in the red-zone for me pregnancy-wise. I'll be just about 37 weeks, and I think my doctor would lock me up and throw away the key if I mentioned to her that I was planning on going anywhere further away than an hour. But, since D was off weekends in December, it means he was on weekends for January. So the first weekend we could do anything would be this coming weekend, the last of January.

Not to be deterred, I announced to D that we would be taking a "staycation" and just go to a local hotel and bop around our home area for the weekend. At first, I had all these grandiose plans about how D would pick an activity to do on the Friday night and I'd pick something for Saturday night and we'd just play it by ear for the day on Saturday.

But then, as this weekend drew closer and closer, I realized that there was pretty much one thing I wanted to do: sleep. As it turns out, hotels are really awesome for that. So there's definitely going to be a lot of sleeping built into the agenda.

We do have other things planned, like dinner and a movie on Friday night. And then on Saturday, there's a home improvement show at the local expo center (with an arts and crafts fair built in) that happens to be a stone's throw away from the hotel. I'd tell you how unbelievably pumped I am about this, but it would quickly become apparent how much of a loser I am, so I won't go into that. Other than that, we have no plans except to just eat dinner and possibly bring our DVD player and watch a movie on Saturday night. Maybe order some dessert from room service or something.

But no matter what, we will have a complete and total lack of structure and schedule. This is so incredibly appealing to me that I can't even really put it into words. We're going to wake up when we want to wake up, eat when we want to eat, go where we want to go when we want to go there.....ahhhh.

Sorry, I just got a little bit swept away by the sheer bliss of it all.

I think I might be more excited about this staycation than I have been for a weekend in a long time. To be honest, I don't think I was this excited about Christmas. Or my birthday (even though this past birthday totally kicked ass).

I'm so excited that I think I've got myself convinced that staycations are just the way to go in general. Forget fancy trips to exotic locales. Why go countries (or even states) away, when a fun staycation could be yours?

Think of the perks. For one, you are already familiar with the area. If the hotel concierge tells you some sort of attraction or event is in a certain town, you already know where that town is.

You also have complete control over your travel time. You can choose a hotel 5 minutes away or 30 minutes away. And since you already know your area, you know which hotels are nice and which ones to avoid. So you eliminate the chance that you'll end up at some questionable hotel on the seedy side of town where they have the option of renting rooms by the hour.

Then there's the fun of exploring the area in which you live. You can go places you never even knew existed or always wondered about. You can eat at restaurants you've always wanted to try. (Or, in our case, you can eat at the restaurants you'd normally eat at because your husband is picky and relatively predictable and would rather eat someplace he knows he likes because if he's paying for it, he'd better like it or it will ruin his whole life.) And best of all, it's cheaper!

With all these revelations, I've got myself about 75% convinced that all our future family vacations will be staycations. If we get started with this now, our kids won't know anything different. When they're in school and their friends are talking about Disney World and cruises and beach houses, our kids will be like, "For our summer vacation, we went to Ann Arbor." (To any non-local blog readers, Ann Arbor is maybe 30 minutes from us.)

And then, if we ever do dare to venture out of state for a vacation, our kids will be in total and complete awe. By that point, we wouldn't have to go far to impress them. I'm pretty sure Cedar Point would do the trick. And Chicago would probably blow their minds. (But seriously, Chicago is awesome. Chicago blows MY mind.)

So that's the plan for the distant future. The near future holds a wonderful sleep and relaxation-filled weekend with my sweetie of 3 years (well, married for 3. Together for much longer than that. I've lost count.) Probably the last one of it's kind for a while once 2.0 gets here.

But I won't think about that. D and I made a pact that, while we can talk about L and 2.0 and general baby stuff, we aren't allowed to stress or bicker or talk about the lack of sleep that awaits us or discuss anything un-fun (specifically, money). There will only be relaxation and enjoying each other's company.

And dreaming of all the changes we want to make to our house while we're at the home improvement show.