I Don’t Mean to Brag but…

Our newest family member, Marleigh Juliana, was born just over two weeks ago.  On her older brother’s birthday.  Because she has no problem asserting herself.  She is sweet, chubby and cuddly.  Everything a newborn baby should be.  Her brothers absolutely love her.  Max is thrilled to pieces each and every time she opens her eyes and looks at him.  Mason, whose birthday she so boldly took, literally cannot be in the same room with her without touching her; kissing her, gently patting her head or poking her tiny feet.  It’s pretty adorable.  Overall, I would say both boys are adjusting very well to having a little sister.

As for me, well, I think I’m doing ok too.  When people ask me how I’m adjusting to life with three kids, I’m not always sure what to say to them.  How do you know you’re doing well?  There’s a pretty wide range of success markers to gauge yourself with.  Anywhere from “Well, We’re All Alive” to “Why Yes, These Are My Skinny Jeans and I DID Just Churn That Butter By Hand”.  So I started taking stock of my recent successes to see where I stand.  I think you’ll be pretty impressed.

  • I have washed my hair three times since giving birth.  This is right on par with my pre-baby hair washing average.  A clear win.
  • I have not peed my pants even once.  (If you’ve ever had a baby, you totally get this.)
  • All three children have been fed daily, multiple times per day.
  • I did not scream, “HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS!!!!” every time Marleigh latched on to nurse the first week.
  • I’m pretty sure I got very nearly three hours of sleep the other night.
  • I have cooked fish sticks, salad and blueberry muffins.  Not all on the same day, obviously, that would be crazy.
  • I remembered to order diapers from amazon.
  • I have managed to get all my kids fed, dressed and out the door before 9am on three separate occasions.
  • I’ve gone grocery shopping and remembered pretty much everything.  For the most part.  Sort of.
  • I only broke down sobbing twice when literally EVERYONE in my family got sick and/or got pink eye right after we brought Marleigh home.
  • I did not completely lose my shit when our air conditioner went out pretty much the moment that everyone in the family was finally healthy again.  Because that wasn’t frustrating at all.
  • I was told by the nurse doing my post-partum exam that I have “…really firm abdominal muscles…” and “…a remarkably fast-shrinking uterus!”  I assume this is all underneath the generous layer of squishy tummy that I’m sporting right now.  Regardless, I’m clearly a fine specimen of human female. Don’t be jealous.
  • I have brushed my teeth every day.  Except one.
  • I can change a diaper in the dark.
  • The baby has only peed on me twice. So far.
  • I have cut the baby’s nails without injury (to her) or panic attacks (for me).
  • My one-handed Pinterest-ing while breastfeeding skills are pretty epic.

Also, I managed to write this blog post in under a week.

I think I’m getting the hang of this.  My next goals are to shower daily and actually FOLD the laundry.  At that point I should be able to qualify for the Motherhood Olympics.  I’ll probably win.  Unless there’s a swim suit competition.

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A Special Kind of Crazy

Tomorrow will mark my 39th week of this pregnancy. I feel like I’ve been pregnant for WAY longer than that. Not because I’ve had a bad or difficult pregnancy, just because growing a tiny human seems to take a long time. A long, booze-less, smoked salmon-less, awkwardly chubby time. I’ve written about the weirdness that is pregnancy a couple of times (here & here) but there is a very special brand of crazy that hits once you reach those last couple weeks of pregnancy. I like to think, or maybe pretend is more accurate, that I’m not subject to the wild ups and downs of hormonal fluctuations. Mind over matter…or some crap like that. I consider myself to be a fairly even-keeled person. I think even my close friends and my husband would agree that’s generally the case. Or at least they’d agree that I’m good at keeping my crazy under wraps so I seem level-headed. All that to say, I’m caught off guard by the thoughts and emotions of very late pregnancy EVERY TIME. You want to know what the worst of it is? I have absolutely no idea I’m being crazy until it’s all over. The damage has been done but it all seemed so sensible, so right in the moment.

A classic example of this comes from my first pregnancy. The Hubs and I were planning to order pizza. There was a disagreement regarding what coupon to use. By disagreement I mean a no holds barred, screaming, cursing, locked-myself-in-the-bedroom-and-sobbed-like-an-angsty-teenager fight. The likes of which had never been seen before (or since, for that matter) in our home. I honestly felt like my husband was being completely unreasonable and just plain mean. He wanted to order pizza with a coupon that included a 2 liter bottle of coke. Well, I can’t drink coke, ASSHOLE! Do you see what I was dealing with?! He was clearly trying to lord his caffeine drinking privileges over me while I carried HIS child inside my body. Insensitive prick. It was a relief when he finally came to his senses, stuck his head ever so slightly through our bedroom door and told me to order anything I thought I might want and that he would love it. I mean, I felt a little bad about the utterly traumatized look in his eyes and the way he flinched every time I tried to speak to him throughout the evening but if he hadn’t been so mean in the first place…

My second pregnancy was unique in that I was also raising an infant at the time. Our kids are only 12.5 months apart in age so that first year of fumbling around trying to figure out how to care for my firstborn was also spent being pregnant. Not a combination I’d recommend for the faint of heart but it did result in a pair of wonderful boys who, despite being total opposites, are very close and have so much fun together. I wouldn’t change it for anything but it was incredibly challenging at the time. I only had about 4 months of being not pregnant before I was pregnant all over again and I think that really took its toll on me psychologically. By the time I hit 38 weeks pregnant I was done. Oh so unbelievably DONE. I cried like a baby at each and every midwife appointment until Mason was born. (of course he was nearly a week late.) And by cried I don’t mean shed a little tear or two while talking about my feelings. I mean sat in the chair and ugly-cried insisting that my baby was just “…never ever going to be born.” and that, “I will be the only person in history to stay pregnant forever and I’ll spend the rest of my life fat, ugly and partially baby less…” I’m pretty sure the midwives thought I was completely losing it. I remember one of them staring at me with a slightly wide-eyed look that clearly indicated she would have tranquilized me if that option were available to her. In the end she told me to go home, take a bath and drink a glass of wine. I would have preferred scotch but beggars can’t be choosers so chardonnay it was. And yes, it helped.

This time around things are a little different. I don’t feel that same overwhelming, slightly panicked urge to give birth. Thank god. That was miserable. However I have noticed myself being a little more whimsical and worried about things lately. I know, whimsical and worried, it doesn’t even sound possible. Oh, but it is. I can go from daydreaming about how magical it would be if peaches were in season year-round and I could live in a little cottage nestled among giant trees and read books and eat peaches every day and it never gets above 70 degrees outside and my hair miraculously styles itself and always looks amazing and….yeah. I go from that little mental paradise to worrying that an evil spider is going to break into my house and bite the boys while they’re sleeping and I’ll have no idea and when I wake up and check on them they’re already in some sort of coma and the doctors can’t do anything and I’ve essentially just lost both of my boys in one fell swoop. Which is a horrible thing to think about but what makes it worse is that I don’t dismiss this idea as obviously outlandish. I dwell on it and worry about it and wonder what the actual chances are of it happening and is there anything I can do to prevent it and on and on and on. I can be happily thinking about having a baby girl and wondering what she will look like and all those sweet little things you think about when you’re having a baby. Then in the next moment I find myself worrying that she’ll be born sick or with some sort of devastating incurable issue and I’ll feel sick to my stomach over it and use all my will power to keep myself from laying down and sobbing on the floor for an hour. I’ve, more than once, considered ordering Les Miserables on demand so that I can sit and cry for a few hours without being questioned. And the fact that this seems like a good idea just drives home the point that I’ve truly lost my mind. But then I’ll remember how delicious chocolate milk is and suddenly things are looking a little brighter. I wish I could say this was all exaggerated but it’s not. The upside is that since most of this craziness is in my head I’m not tormenting my husband or my midwives with it. The downside is that my mind is a mess. I need to have this baby so I can move on to being too sleep deprived to worry about anything.

In the meantime, I plan to take a lot of deep breaths, enjoy the more lighthearted side of my imagination and happily look forward to meeting my baby girl.

Also, I will probably eat far too many donuts. There are some perks to being hugely pregnant and a little bit crazy.

Peanuts & Cracker Jacks

If my sons ever doubt my love for them I will remind them not of the months I spent carrying them in my body, the hours I spent giving birth to them (9.5 and 7.75 respectively…not that anyone’s counting) or even the countless hours of sleep lost caring for them (approximately one billion).  No, I will be reminding them of yesterday.  The sunny, blue sky filled Sunday in June when we took them to their first baseball game.  Why?  Because I fucking HATE baseball.  I LOVE my children but baseball…just shouldn’t exist.  It makes me angry.

In fact, if we were to make a list of things I believe should be banished to the underworld (where are those angry Greek deities when you need them?!) it would read something like this:

  1. Nicki Minaj
  2. Baseball
  3. Nickelback
  4. Spiders
  5. Oreos
  6. Orange Flavored Anything

So how exactly did I end up going to a baseball game on a hot Texas day at 38 weeks pregnant?

I was tricked.  Tricked by cute little people.  It started out so innocently…

 

Max: Hey Mom, one day I want to go to a baseball game with Daddy and Uncle B.

Me: Awww…well that sounds nice.  I’m sure Daddy and Uncle B would love to go to a game with you.  Maybe we can work that out.

Max: Yeah, that would be so fun.

Mason: Yeah, we would like to do that.

Me: Ok.  (This sounds adorable!  I’m totally going to buy them tickets!  For their birthdays!)

 

So as I was working out all the details for this little outing – thinking the entire time that maybe I’d go get a pre-baby pedicure while the boys were at the game – my husband suggests buying the fifth and last ticket in the row we were on.  He made it sound so reasonable.  What if we want to invite one of our dads to go too?  What if Uncle B’s wife wants to go?  What if the boys want me to go?  I pretty much stopped listening after the part about our dads so I just clicked and paid for that last ticket and didn’t give it another thought.  Until we told the boys about the game and the first words out of Mason’s mouth were, “Mama!  Do you want to go to the baseball game with us?!  You can sit in a seat with all the other grown ups and watch me play baseball!!”

Oh dear.

Two major problems with this scenario.  First, NO I do NOT want to go to a baseball game.  Ever.  I would prefer to stay home and scrub every tile in our house with a toothbrush.  Second, my son thinks he is going to be playing in the baseball game.  Of course I can’t tell him I’d rather torture myself than go to a game with him.  Especially since I’m going to have to break his little heart about that whole “only the professional players are allowed to play at this game” thing.  In an effort to soften the blow, I agreed to go to the game before I attempted to explain how attendance at sporting events usually works.  Which, by the way, is borderline impossible to explain to a stubborn very-nearly-three-year-old.  He pretty much ignored everything I said and moved straight on to requesting that I take to him buy a “baseball hand” (aka baseball glove) so he could play at “his game”.  This conversation was repeated for the better part of two weeks.  Which wasn’t frustrating at all.

Finally, game day.  I’m right in the middle of being hugely pregnant and feeling very nest-y and the last thing I want to do is go to this darn game.  There are baby blankets to fold and muffins to bake!  But I love my boys and they are excited, so I go.  And here’s what happens:

  • I pay for this game with MONEY and I attend this game SOBER.  The first sporting event I’ve ever attended in my life that didn’t involve kick ass free seats & free booze on the company dime.  I firmly believe this is the ONLY way to attend any sporting event.  Little League is going to be a rude awakening for me.
  • Upon arriving at our seats, both Max and my brother step in gum.
  • Max gets his foot stuck in his seat and drops his $50 pretzel on the ground.
  • Mason also drops his absurdly expensive pretzel on the ground…and attempts to pick it up and eat it.
  • Both boys get bored after approximately seven minutes.
  • We take them to a playground within the ballpark (genius) where they play happily until a little girl in line for the slide in front of them pees ALL OVER the steps, walkway and slide.  They were not happy when we made them climb down instead of letting them happily prance through and slide down the trail of urine.  We’re awful parents like that.
  • We attempted to console them by taking them to buy “baseball hands” at the gift shop.   The gift shop that was SOLD OUT of baseball hands.  And gloves, for that matter.  They settled for some small bats.  I anticipate a game of Beat the Crap Out of My Brother with My New Bat to commence after breakfast tomorrow.  At the latest.
  • We hawk a piece of jewelry in order to go buy hot dogs and hamburgers.  They eat three bites before managing to drop these on the ground too.
  • They start asking for popsicles.  There are no popsicles to be found at the ballpark.  Ice cream cones are a completely absurd substitution and we are idiots for suggesting them.  Dippin Dots are finally agreed upon.
  • We settle back into our seats just in time for a fly ball to come literally curving around the net straight towards Max’s head.  Seats that we very deliberately chose because of their low likelihood of fly ball traffic.  Luckily I’m married to a freaking ninja with crazy fly ball catching skills; he caught that damn thing before it shattered my kid’s face.  He was so excited to have caught a fly ball.  I was ready to beat that player with his own fucking bat for nearly hitting my kid, scaring the shit out of me and taking a solid eight years off my life.  I think my blood pressure is back to normal now.
  • My feet are now swollen.  This irritates me.
  • The game finally ends!
  • We work our way to the end of a seriously long line so that the boys can “run the bases” down on the ball field.
  • Parents are not allowed to accompany their kids.  We watch our babies hike all the way down the stadium and onto the ball field without us.  I completely cease breathing.
  • We watch our boys run with gleeful abandon around the bases.  I almost cry.  They’re so focused and so incredibly happy.  They look a little nervous coming back up the stairs towards us but they’re little champs, so proud of themselves.  Giving us high fives and hugs like crazy.  (fuck…I’m crying right now just remembering it.)

As we drive away from the ballpark, they are exhausted and quiet.  I glance back to see Max’s eyes sliding shut and his mouth curving into a sweet, sleepy smile.  At home, we put them to bed and they insist on sleeping with their new baseball bats.

I still fucking HATE baseball.  And I would still prefer slurp up cold (free) beers if I have to attend a game.

But I am madly in LOVE with my children and if sweating and swelling my way through a stupid game is going to make their childhood just that little bit more magical, then I’m in.