Sunday, May 30, 2010

Defying Gravity

It continues to amaze me that my belly can hold itself up without outside support (or stretch marks!). I know pregnancy is like the epitome of a natural process, but it is so bizarre to see something sticking as far out from my abdomen as my belly currently does.

5 more days!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Different Breed of Baby

This is my sister's new baby, Louie:



She just adopted him from SNIPSA, the same wonderful organization that rescued both of our dogs and my parents' two dogs. I think our family is SNIPSA royalty by now.



Landon was SO excited to meet the "baby doggie." When I told him that Tia was adopting a puppy he told me over and over that he was going to be SO GENTLE and give him soft pets and hold him "just like this mommy, JUST LIKE THIS!" (cradling an imaginary baby in his hands). We even stopped at Target after dinner tonight to pick out a few toys for the little guy.



Landon followed Louie around trying to interest him in the fluffy blue toy we bought him, but Louie was far more interested in Lilly the cat, the general smells of our house, and Landon himself. Maybe he felt the mini-human was just less intimidating, but he seemed very taken with the Lanman. And Landon was very gentle and sweet with him. He's such an animal lover. Lilly seemed pleased that we'd brought her a physically inferior underling. I think it drives her crazy to know that she's ten times smarter than our dogs, but they're so much bigger than her, she can't properly assert her superiority.

As for me, I'm still pregnant. It was nearly 100 degrees today and I wavered in my commitment to remain content in my hugeness until Friday. I got winded and sweaty walking to the mailbox and I started thinking that maybe going into labor a few days early wouldn't be such a bad thing... but here I am, trying to keep my laptop from falling off my non-existent lap. But I can take some comfort in knowing that this is my last pregnant Saturday- it's all one big countdown now!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Idle Musings: Family Planning

Still here, still gestating, and remarkably okay with the status quo. At this point we're so close to having my mom here and having everything go down in a nice, planned manner that I'm completely at peace with staying enormously pregnant until next Friday. It's only 7 days. In fact, exactly one week from today I should be holding my baby girl! Even I can wait that long.

It is remarkable to think that at this point in my pregnancy with Landon I had a 3 week old baby at home. I still tend to think of our daughter in fetal terms, but then I look at a picture of Landon sleeping in his papasan chair at 21 days old and think wow, that's our baby girl right now, except she's all squished inside my belly alongside the frosted cookies. Amazing.

Last night JP randomly turned to me and said he wished we were having twins. My look must have reflected something like, "have you lost your mind?!" because he immediately explained, saying that then we would be done and wouldn't have to wonder if we were having any more children. I hadn't realized he was spending so much time thinking about our future family planning, but I guess I have too. It's nothing I'm obsessing over, but I do find myself wondering if I'll be doing this again. Will I get these maternity clothes back out of the guest closet for my own use? Will a little boy of mine wear Landon's old clothes? Will I get to use my baby boy name? Will I decorate another nursery or will my next project be turning it into a guest room? Little thoughts.

It's such a big thing -- 2 v. 3 children. It's a 50% increase. So it seems a little odd to me that we're so uncertain as to our plans, and yet, how can you know? We have yet to experience life with two. Maybe we'll find a feeling of completeness? Or maybe it will be more of an awareness that we've reached our limit as to the number of children we can effectively parent. In a purely theoretical sense I would like to have three. Well, actually I would like four. I grew up as one of three, and JP was an only child- when we got married we both of us agreed we wanted as large a family as possible. And maybe that's two. I'd be done with pregnancy. I could get back to my normal weight and just stay there. I could permanently pack/give away the maternity and baby stuff as we get through each new stage with our baby girl. We could start talking about some of those vacations I want to take when our youngest is out of the baby/toddler years. I think about daycare for a third child for five years- an extra $60,000. More than any of that I think about managing the schedules of three active kids with two working adults and wonder if we could give enough of ourselves to three.

And then I wonder how people know. My mom said that when my sister was born (baby #2) she knew she wasn't done, and when my brother was born, she knew she was. I know other families who knew they were done at two, had a surprise third baby, and found their family complete in a way that it wasn't before. I figure it's something we'll keep in the back of our minds for a while and revisit in a year of so. But if we're done, I kind of wish I knew that now. Maybe I could enjoy these last few days of pregnancy a little more? Maybe I could find a little extra appreciation of our little girl's newborn newness? Perhaps the fact that I don't know means that we're not done. I think I might be a little sad if we decide in a year that we're complete as a family of four and I need to go back and give a belated goodbye to the baby things I'd been saving just in case.

What about you? If you're done expanding your family, did you know that by the time your last one was born? Or was it something you decided or realized later?

On another note entirely, what do you think of the new blog look? I've wanted to change it for months but these things intimidate me. I think I like it - it's brighter and more cheerful than the old look, but I'm still fiddling (at least to the extent that I can fiddle, I really don't know a thing about html, coding, etc.).

And in closing, 7 more days!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Still Pregnant

Well JP's chosen day has come and gone. He thought I'd go into labor on Tuesday but here we are on Wednesday morning and our baby girl still seems quite content to stay in her increasingly tight quarters. We're at 37 weeks and 5 days and I'm starting to get worried that we did too good of a job convincing her of the coziness and general awesomeness of the womb. But every additional day brings benefits and extra fat rolls (to the baby and me) and I shouldn't complain much since I'm really feeling just fine.

I've compiled the guesses from the last post into a little list (updated):

- May 27th, after 3 pm (Chrisy in Chicago)
- May 28 (Meegs)
- May 30 (Kelly)
- May 31 (Gillian, LT)
- June 1 (Liv, Lisa M, jwg)
- June 3 (Jen)
- June 4 (Procrastamom, MJS, JLS)

My guess, for what it's worth, is May 29th. I don't really think I have any additional insight into what my body and baby are planning than anyone else (seriously, Landon's early arrival was a total shock to me), it just seems poetic that my daughter would arrive on the very day my best friend is getting married in Houston. I'm supposed to be a bridesmaid in that wedding and I remain devastated to be missing it- not only because she and I are so close, but also because her family knows how to throw one hell of a party.

As far as names, Hanah guessed Anabelle, Kira, Veronica, Kendall, and Stella, Kelly guessed Adrienne, and Anonymous on the Graduated! post guessed Avery. I had a dream last night that I was surprised with quadruplets and I was absolutely panicked about naming three other babies. Note that I wasn't at all concerned about caring for three additional children, I was just upset that I couldn't name them. Even after I woke up I continued trying to think of extra names.



(a windy shot before JP's graduation dinner)


Meanwhile my belly continues to defy gravity, physics, and the length of my maternity shirts. I'm reconciled to waiting until June 4th- it's only 9 days away, but as fewer of my clothes fit and it gets increasingly hard to sleep, I wouldn't mind at all if she debuted sooner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Rest of the Weekend

Cliff's Notes version: JP is graduated. The in-laws are back in Maryland. I am still pregnant.

On Saturday I spent the morning lying around the house recovering from the physical exertion of the night before. My in-laws came over for an hour or so to see Landon (if I hadn't mentioned it before, they stayed at a hotel for this trip, thank god, especially since JP's 91-year-old grandmother ended up in a wheelchair a few days before they left and wouldn't have been able to go up our stairs anyway) while JP and I ran out to get some lunch. They left at Landon's nap time and I spend a few more hours lazing about the house wondering what on earth I was going to do with myself if this baby waits until June 4th to be born.

We all got back together at 5:00 for a fancy graduation dinner at Shoreline Grill. My sister, her boyfriend, and a few of JP's MBA classmates (our Indians, as we fondly call them) were able to celebrate with us since their families couldn't travel to Austin for the festivities. It was a lovely dinner and Landon was very good at the fancy restaurant even if he didn't eat a single thing. After dinner everyone gathered back at our house to eat the delicious cake that Landon and I baked the day before and to play washers in the backyard. Eating and beating people at games are JP's two favorite things in the world besides swimming, so I'd say his graduation celebration was a big success.



(Please excuse the pastel orange icing. We didn't have enough food coloring for burnt orange and I had exhausted all my creative juices after coming up with the idea to stick some of the homemade cream cheese icing into a ziploc bag to pipe out a message on top.)

On Sunday I had a massage (possibly/hopefully my last prenatal one) and then after some more lazing about the house, we decided to take Landon to the pool.



It is a testament to how much I love my child, and perhaps to how seriously bored I am at home, that I put on a swim suit at 37.5 weeks pregnant and wore it in a crowded public place. My maternity suit is black with a white stripe and I felt like a giant orca in a sea of slimmer, sexier dolphins. But the water felt nice.



At first Landon wasn't so sure about the big pool (the baby pool was closed for reasons I don't want to know about). He never went in it last summer, though we didn't really try to acclimate him. JP was doing so much coaching that the last thing he wanted to do after an 8-hour saturday swim meet was go back to the same pool with us, and it was so horrifically hot outside that not even the pool sounded as refreshing as staying indoors wearing as little clothes as possible with the AC on. But Landon was very excited about his shark swimwear and so strangely confident in his ability to swim ("Mommy let me go, I want to SWIM!") that he quickly became fearless.



He starts swim lessons in June, so hopefully we can keep him safe from his overestimation of his abilities until them.

The outing was a great way to waste away the afternoon and cap off the weekend. Now I'm back at work, having lots of irritatingly unproductive Braxton-Hicks contractions, and feeling very ready for this baby to be born. For whatever reason, JP has decided that tomorrow is the big day- if you would like to record your own prediction as to the day, name, or anything else, please do! It'll be fun to see if anyone gets it right.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Graduated!


Yay Daddy!



JP graduated! I'd like to be able to say that I was overwhelmed with pride and happiness as he walked across the stage, but in truth I was exhausted and distracted after 3 hours of being 37-weeks pregnant and keeping a nearly 3-year-old entertained, in his seat, and, by the bitter end (45 mins after his bedtime), just anything that was not yelling.

It was a loooong day. It started at work with a firm-wide meeting at 8:30 a.m., went home early as I made JP a graduation cake from scratch (Landon was sous chef and darn proud of it), continued with an early graduation dinner at Moonshine, and ended, slowly, with 3.5 hours at Gregory Gym for the graduation ceremony. Poor Landon. He started out so good, and he so excited about his daddy's grabadation, but it was just too long.



My in-laws are not particularly hands-on, so I did 100% of the chasing Landon up the aisle, walking him out to the breezeway for a break, and picking him up over and over again. My back is killing me and I have elephantitis of the ankles. But I did NOT go into labor, I am officially full-term, and JP has his MBA, so really things are fantastic. And even if I couldn't savor the moment at the actual graduation, I am incredibly proud of my husband -- proud of us both really, for supporting each other physically, emotionally, and financially through two graduate programs.



But I'm still really glad that our next graduation will be Landon's high school ceremony and that's a good 16 years away.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Transitions and Maternity Leave

16 days to go. I am an official graduate of Texas Perinatal Group pre-term labor prevention program. I wanted a certificate I could frame in my office, but all my nurse practitioner could get me was a signed picture of the Marine One Helicopter outside the White House. Her husband flew it during the Clinton administration and I had mentioned in a previous appointment that Landon was obsessed with "hepatopters". The picture was propped up by his bed last night and he carefully carried it down to breakfast with him this morning. I suppose that's better than a certificate. I will miss my NP. Not so much with the weekly appointments, and definitely not the weekly shots, but I will miss talking to her. She was a wonderful complement to my OB and I've felt very well cared for throughout this pregnancy.

And speaking of my pregnancy, I'm having stronger and more frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions, particularly at night. One actually woke me up at 3:00 this morning and I swore I was going into labor (I think I was simultaneously dreaming that my water had broken, but it had not). I'm a little more dilated- my first change since that appointment at 32 weeks. I've politely asked my baby girl to stay inside my belly through Friday which is both 37-weeks, full-term, and JP's MBA graduation. I think she will cooperate.

Work is strange right now because I feel like I could disappear at any moment. I clean up my desk each evening and try to leave my assignments in a good place for someone else to pick up. I've been relatively slow since my giant case settled back in February, which has probably been great for my prenatal health, but it has been annoying to me professionally. I like being busy and I like having big chunks or roles in cases. Instead I've been on the periphery of several matters, getting lots of varied experience in drafting smaller motions and doing discrete research assignments. There's positives to that, and I've learned a lot, but I look forward to coming back after maternity leave to a section that is hopefully busier and getting staffed on a case I can sink my teeth into.

And speaking of coming back, I am blazing an odd new trail of being the first woman in my section in three years to come back after only the 3-months paid leave. We get 12-weeks paid, up to 12-weeks more unpaid, and then 3 months of optional phasing in where you spend a month at 50, 60, and then 70% (and are paid at 60% throughout that 3-month period). My section has had a baby boom and pretty much every eligible female is either pregnant, on maternity leave, or recently returned from maternity leave and all have done the full 9-month option. I plan to take my 12 weeks and come back full-time, something every associate has tried to talk me out of. It's gotten to the point where I'm almost defensive about it- I feel like I did when everyone told me how they cried and cried when they dropped their baby off at daycare for the first time but then I dropped of Landon with a big smile on my face (and then picked him up at the end of the day with an even bigger smile). Like maybe my lack of tears means I'm a terrible mother, but damnit why should I feel guilty for not being sad when I know that he's perfectly fine and on that day I felt happier and more like myself than I had in all eight weeks I was home with him?

So maternity leave. Twelve weeks of paid leave- more than I got with Landon and more paid leave than any US employer is required to give (since that requirement is ZERO). I'm looking forward to it. I have another 2 weeks of vacation in reserve that I can tack on if desired, so that's nice too. The reasons I'm not taking the unpaid leave are because (1) it's UNPAID and we don't know JP's job situation and we simply cannot responsibly go without any income for any period of time (well we could, we have an emergency fund, but using it would require an emergency), and (2) our neighborhood daycare, which we adore and which our baby girl has a guaranteed spot at the start of the school year, begins on August 23rd. If we don't enroll her and start paying the $1,100/month on that date, we lose the spot until the following year. August 23rd happens to coincide perfectly with my 12 weeks of leave, and even gives me a transitional week or two to still be home but have the option of taking her to daycare for short days. So not only would my additional 12 weeks be unpaid, we would be paying $2,100/month for daycare during that time... that time while I'm not being paid.

Secret reason number 3 is that I don't want those extra 12 weeks at home. Even if it was an option- if I was sitting on a stockpile of cash and we didn't have huge student loan payments and daycare didn't cost more than our mortgage, the idea of the first twelve weeks makes me nervous enough. I enjoyed my time with infant Landon, but I wasn't nearly as happy as I was once law school started up again. JP even commented on my second day back that I was singing while making dinner- he said he couldn't remember the last time I did that. I have no doubt that two kids will be harder, and that our schedule will need some adjusting, but overall this working thing works and I don't feel any need to dig ourselves into a huge financial hole for 12 more weeks at home.

I'm really excited about this summer. JP will be home for at least part of it, our baby girl will be home, Landon will stay in "daycay" but we'll be able to get him early each day and go on walks, go to the pool, etc. We have visitors lined up and our first official family vacation booked. I think it's going to be great. And then I'll go back to work, and that will be great too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Killing Time (19 days to go)

As we go about our daily routine - a routine that I love, but is nonetheless much of the same - I frequently fight a nagging feeling that we aren't taking proper advantage of the city we live in. Austin offers so much- parks, museums, hiking trails, green belts, lakes, etc., but we often stick to our usual haunts, all within about 2 miles of our house.

Then last week, while passing time in a waiting room, I picked up a magazine with "110 Fun Things To Do This Summer In Austin" emblazoned on the front. By the third page of the article I had already sent myself 6 emails from my blackberry with websites to look up and places to go. The Texas Memorial Museum was at the top of the list. It's free, it's on the UT campus, and it's filled with dinosaur bones and fossils. I highly recommend it.

We trooped over there around 10 a.m. yesterday morning. Landon loved being on campus, and ran around excitedly pointing out the various statutes and fountains, and JP and I got to reminisce about being in college and falling in love. Or maybe only I reminisced about that, JP's trip down memory lane probably involved more chlorine. When we found the museum, tucked between Trinity & San Jacinto streets, we investigated the two fossilized dino footprints (sauropod tracks, apparently) on the side. JP was attempting to interest Landon in the paleontological wonder before him, when Landon suddenly yelled, "A PUDDLE!!" and proceeded run across the sidewalk to jump in it. And that's why it's awesome that the museum is free.



(He did like the sabre tooth tiger out front.)


Once inside we were immediately taken with the giant pterosaur, the "largest flying creature ever discovered," soaring overhead. It was discovered in Texas, which is pretty cool, by a grad student on a dig in Big Bend.



Landon showed some appreciation for the big reptile (note, not a bird), but then he saw something even cooler:

A WINDOW!!



A recessed window that he could climb in. Totally worth the price of admission.

We continued on through the five floors of exhibits. It's no Smithsonian, but it has some very nice fossils and other collections (including a huge beetle display; Landon has an odd attachment to beetles, and while he loved looking at all the varieties, he was quite concerned by their lack of movement- maybe they were sleeping?). It was also neat that so many of the fossils, gems, and wildlife had been found in Texas- it made them more personal somehow.



An armadillo that would turn your car into roadkill.


If you live in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. We capped off the big adventure with a snow cone- Landon's first, and I'm sure it landed way higher on his list of awesomeness than the poor giant pterosaur. But we'll be back.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gold Star

We are officially past the point in my pregnancy when I (very surprisingly!) went into labor with Landon. He was about 2 days old and looked like this:



It is so hard to believe that that little guy is now this big little guy:



We are all very excited to reach this milestone. I'm 36 weeks pregnant tomorrow, which is sometimes considered full-term for a girl, particularly for lung development. And then I'm officially full term next Friday, on the day of JP's graduation, and we're good to go! It would still be lovely if she stuck around until June 4th because then my mom would be done with high school teaching and already at our house to help out with Landon, but it will all work out however it happens.

Everything continues to look great at my appointmnets. No more dilation and just a little more effacement, which is all marvelously normal at this stage. I realized today as I drove away from the medical center after my OB appointment that I have attended thirty-one doctors appointments since October. I have three left. So that means that barring other complications, the fourth-to-next time I drive over to that area of town will be to have my baby. How awesome is that?!

It's strange to spend this much (and by "this much" I mean "any") time tthinking about and preparing for the birth. With Landon it was such a shock and I was so busy with work and moving that I really never thought about his arrival at all- I was certain I had at least another month to get to it. I came across this old post and cracked up. It's my 2007 summer schedule and note that on July 14th it says "first free weekend! time to prepare the apartment for the baby." That's the day my water broke.

So even packing a hospital bag is weird. For Landon all I had was what was in my purse and the short list I gave to JP to grab from the apartment after I was admitted to the hospital (the list consisted of: camera, camera charger, cell phone charger, laptop, laptop charger, contact case, glasses, and the only thing that really mattered was the camera). I was fine with all the hospital stuff until the last day when JP ran home again to get me a change of clothes to wear out. So I already know you don't really need half of the stuff those babycenter lists tell you to bring for the hospital stay, but it is nice to know that this time I'll at least have my own toothbrush. And my camera has been living in my purse since April, just in case.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Outfit He Built Himself


Landon likes to assist with his wardrobe selection in the mornings. He usually picks out his tops and bottoms, with some weather-appropriate guidance from me, and then selects his socks from our sock bucket by the door. While the socks rarely match each other, they do usually match the outfit generally, and they always make me smile.

Yesterday morning, Landon decided he needed full creative license with his clothing. I was asked not to help while he carefully chose his red and blue plaid shorts, a red "handsome shirt" (of a slightly more orangey red than the shorts), and red airplane socks with a blue stripe (this time, a slightly more purple shade of red- who knew he had so many variations on a color?). I had a big smile on my face because he was taking his outfit so seriously and he looked so pleased that everything was matching, but then he told me he was going to my closet to pick out his shoes. Curious, I followed him to my room, and then cracked up when he emerged from my closet with these navy blue pumps-- the perfect finishing touch.

He was so proud.



So was I. And I can't wait to submit this picture for his senior year slideshow at some high school banquet.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Beginnings, Endings, and Blessings

JP finished business school on Friday. The actual graduation isn't until the 21st, but he's done with class and presentations and exams, and I couldn't be happier or more proud of him. We will have been married for 5 years this September and we've had one part of our pair in grad school the whole time. And now, at the end of it, we have a JD, an MBA, and a monstrous amount of educational debt (totaling $178,000 or so). That debt, and the payments we make on it every month, stands in place of the vacations we don't take, the car I don't drive, and the restaurants we don't eat at. But that's temporary-- it also stands for a hell of a lot of hard work and an investment that we've made in our future and the future of our little family. And speaking of that little family, we made that in grad school too.

We're having the official graduation dinner when his family comes into town for the ceremony, but on Friday we celebrated the way that we like to - with a margarita, a diet coke, and a cup of milk, clinking for a toast over a bowl of queso on the pier at Hula Hut. Later we sat on the couch after Landon had gone to bed, together for the first time in weeks without a pressing need to be anywhere else, and enjoyed the simple pleasure of just being with the one you love the most.

And so begins a new chapter. With our baby girl's arrival in a few weeks it's really two new chapters starting at once. Our family of four. Two working parents (well, hopefully two, JP is working on that). A refinanced house- a renewed commitment to this home and this neighborhood that we're making our own. A mini-menagerie of pets (though I still think we have room to adopt a second cat), and a file cabinet full of adult things like life insurance and a will and estate plan. I'm not sure if this is where I thought I'd be, but I sure am happy to be here.

To add to the celebratory weekend, my sister and her boyfriend came over for a cookout last night and then babysat while JP and I went to see a movie. Our first movie to see in a theatre since February of 2009. We had two free tickets and a giftcard as a present from one of his swimmers and we decided we should use them now while we only have to saddle our sitter with the care of one child. Iron Man 2 was fun and mindless- exactly what I wanted- and I enjoyed the movie-going experience even more than I remembered, though I was appalled to find that a medium popcorn and diet coke came to $12.50 ($12.50!) and JP and I both reached out for an imaginary remote when the volume jumped up for an action sequence. On the way out we admitted we were worried about Landon waking up. Little reminders that first and foremost, we are parents now.

I continue to be well. My ultrasound revealed a perfectly formed little girl who looks very cramped in her tight quarters. My boys built a Mother's Day bouquet for me at the grocery store yesterday and Landon could not be more proud of it (or of the flower pot he painted for me at daycare, though he doesn't know that I have never grown anything that lived for longer than a few weeks). We've enjoyed a restful morning of church, pancakes, and chocolate chip cookies. Now Landon is sleeping, JP is swimming, and I'm sitting. Sitting, waiting, and feeling very happy and blessed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quick Post (while I think of something to say that does not revolve around my pregnancy)

I finally have a new All Kinds of Pretty post up: "High-Heeled and Pregnant: Embrace the Belly". Because really, at this point, what else can you do with it?

(And, spoiler alert- I'm no longer high-heeled. Well I am today, but I wasn't on Monday or Tuesday. Venturing into the world of flats has been both fun and comfortable, but none of the ones I'm wearing are technically work appropriate- I just trust that no one is going to say anything to a hugely pregnant woman about her choice in footwear, especially when said footwear is still cute and shiny. Because sadly, no matter which brand or size I try, closed toe flats just kill my feet. Something about their narrowness and tallness and the fact that they've been conditioned to find 3" heels comfortable and get confused when the heel and toes are on the same horizontal plane, and they express this confusion through pain and blisters.)

Also, I had my perinatal appointment yesterday and everything looks great! Next up is an OB appointment and ultrasound tomorrow. I never made it to the 35/36-week ultrasound with Landon, so I'm excited to get this last in-utero glimpse of my baby girl!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When There's Nothing Left To Do But Wait

And now I'll make a less whiny attempt at describing my 35th week of pregnancy. Oh, I still feel, and am, huge:



Exhibit A (for it's Awkward posing Alone)

(especially when your husband refuses to take more than one shot of a picture and gives you no warning before he presses the button)


Exhibit B (for Bam! it's a Big Belly!)


but I have some good stuff to talk about. Not really about the pregnancy itself because I still don't like it and I hate this part most of all (this part with the unrelenting hugeness), but I am greatly enjoying hanging out 1-on-1 with my Lanman and I am at least trying to enjoy this calm before the newborn storm.

The Landon enjoyment is easy. He is deee-lightful, a little bouncing ball of sweetness and light (at least 97% of the time). He talks non-stop and I still can't get over how awesome it is that we get to have conversations together- conversations about all kinds of exciting things like roly poly bugs, the existence of rainbows, and what shoes mommy is going to wear to work this morning (he likes to pick them out for me, and while I always wear them while getting ready, I can't say they're usually the pair that end up making the cut for leaving the house). He gives the best hugs and is so funny and full of love... I don't really know what else I can say about him except that I thought I couldn't possibly love and enjoy him more at 2 1/2 and somehow find that I do both 10x more at 2 3/4. How will I handle 3?

We took the suggestion of a commenter (you guys have such good stuff) and bought him the "I'm A Big Brother" book by Joanna Cole. He loves it! We read it approximately 6 times a day and when we turn the first page (which says "Someone new is at our house, do you know who it is?"), he excitedly squeals, "It's OUR BABY!!" And now the baby is always referred to as "our baby" and he loves to visit "our baby's" room and look at "our baby's" clothes and is always quick to remind us that "our baby" will like to be "warm and cozy" (as per the book) and he can help! But, as the book tells him, he, the Big Brother, is also very special and mommy and daddy love him very much. It's good stuff, even when repeated ten times a day. I can't wait to watch play and grow with his little sister, even as a part of me mourns the end of our days as as family of three. The last 2 years with him have been very, very special for JP and me- healing, really, and I treasure the moments and memories they've given me.

I've been far less successful at enjoying my own pre-baby down time. As I was telling JP last night, the last month of pregnancy is so unfair because you know you should be enjoying your long nights and easy mornings, but you're so uncomfortable and so tired of waiting that you just want the baby to get her NOW so you can start the whole crazy journey that you can't stop thinking about anyway. Plus, I am just not good at sitting, and I'm going a bit nuts. There is nothing left for me to do to prepare for our baby girl's arrival - her room is finished, down to every practical detail I could think of, and we have a fully-stocked baby suite in our master bedroom with a changing table, co-sleeper with coordinating sheets, itty bitty diapers, newborn wipes, burp cloths, etc. I even found a brushed silver lamp in our attic that matches our room and will allow us to be up changing the baby's diaper at night without turning on the bright overhead light (don't tell my doctor I was up in the attic, I just wanted to check the organizational status of our Christmas decorations). My hospital bag is packed, with a list of the items I need to grab on the day of. I even have a folder for my mom (or whoever is with Landon when I go into labor) with a map of our neighborhood, a highlighted route to his daycare, and maps to and from the hospital so they can visit. The baby book is as filled in as it can be without attempting to predict the future (I'm so tempted to fill in the birth details, just for the heck of it) and I've printed the address labels for her announcements. There is nothing for me to do. And work is slow, so I get nearly all of my personal to-do list tasks (which I would normally be doing at night), as well as my aimless internet surf time (again, normally done at night), done there. I need all the TV series I've been hearing are so good to go back to episode 1 so I can start watching- I suddenly regret our years of failing to turn the TV on at night. Maybe it will be better when JP is done with school (this Friday!!) and he can emerge from the closed-door study to keep me company.

But as I wait for the big day, I will continue to enjoy being "cozy" with Landon on the couch (probably reading "I'm a Big Brother" for the ten millionth time) and going on very slow walks around the block with him (yesterday we made five separate stops to let a roly poly cross our path to safety; which was great because mommy can't keep up with the Spider Man big wheel anymore). And I will enjoy tucking him in and hearing him talk about how "our baby" is going to sleep in his room when she gets bigger. And I will enjoy taking long baths at night and eating all the cookie cake I want before I go back to clothes with waistbands. I will enjoy all of these things and still secretly count down the seconds until I get to hold my baby girl and my life turns crazy once again.

(31 more days.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Uff Da

I don't know how prevalent the word "uff da" (according to Wikipedia, also known as uff-da, uffda, uff-dah, oofda, ufda, ufdah, oofta or ufta) is outside of my family, but it is a marvelous Scandinavian phrase that can be used in many circumstances.

For example, when you get a new assignment to review a depo transcript for certain admissions and you open up the PDF to find that it's 400 pages long- Uff da. Or, when you check your credit card bill thinking it should be low because you haven't left the house in days but then remember all that online shopping done from your couch- Uff da. Or, when you go to pick something up only to find it's 3x heavier than you predicted- Uff da. It can be used in so many situations.

And it pretty well sums up how I feel at 34.5 weeks pregnant. I've noticed that I say it a lot lately. But when getting up off the couch takes momentum and skill and maybe a few false starts- it's the perfect expression, besides cursing, which I try not to do around Landon. And Landon has picked it up (which reinforces why I can't curse)! This morning when he was redecorating his playroom by moving his big red chair, I heard a little "uff da" float down the hall. It cracked me up - hearing your own phrases come out of your toddler's mouth has got to be one of my top five favorite things about being a parent.



(not relevant, but I love this picture from yesterday)


But back to me and the uff-da-ness of pregnancy. I am DONE. I feel huge. I am huge. My belly is a giant roadblock in the middle of my body. I can't lean over to pick things up without knocking into its immovable barrier. When I want to switch the slide I'm sleeping on at night, I have slowly rotate the belly until it reaches the halfway point and then I can let gravity roll me the rest of the way. If I accidentally flip on my back I wake up gasping for air because my lungs are being squished by my 20 lb. baby (yes, she's 20 lbs., it's the only way my total weight gain makes sense). Fewer and fewer of my maternity clothes fit and even sitting on the couch while reading a book is getting uncomfortable. I miss being skinny, I miss my waist, I miss my old clothes. I miss sex. I miss feeling sexy. Instead, I feel big and blah and whiny and done.

But I am not done. I have 4 weeks and 5 days to go. And after having a premature baby who lived in the NICU for two weeks, I know that I don't really want my baby girl to arrive early. Even when sometimes I do.

But really I don't. 33 days to go. Uff-da.