Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Here's what I look like pregnant

Alternate title: I feel like I'm the size of a house.

So, I've been MIA for a myriad of reasons. Vacation, broken laptop, cleaning up more vomit, moving every bed in our house to a different floor, doing very important research into the most delicious brand of mint chocolate chip ice cream (Kroger store brand, for the record)... you know, important things. I actually do have some real live posts in the works, but while you wait for those, I thought I'd share some maternity photos that my good friend Rebekah took a few weeks ago. (These pictures were taken about four weeks ago... when I was feeling slightly less house-ish.)

This is my family. In case you couldn't guess.

I've carried both Lucas and this baby like I'm smuggling a watermelon under my shirt, which of course elicits a lot of ridiculous comments from complete strangers. Because everyone knows that women like nothing better than people she doesn't know making weird remarks about her body.

I have leggings on. I'm not randomly posting bottomless pictures of myself online. This isn't that kind of blog, people.

So far, I've been asked twice to please not give birth in a store, which is a little disappointing, because I had really hoped to bring my child into the world in the plumbing section of Lowe's.

This is my "no, I'm not going to give birth in a store" face.
When I was pregnant with Lucas, Rebekah took this picture of me:

I put Psalm 139:13-16 over it and gave a framed copy to my OB after Lucas was born, and she has it hanging in her office. I knew I wanted to do a similar picture with this pregnancy, but I hadn't given it much more thought than that. But then at one of my OB visits, the nurse pointed at the picture and said "So what are you going to do this time to top that picture?" I told her I wanted to do the same one facing the opposite direction, and she said "Well, I think you need to do it facing the opposite direction, but with Lucas kissing your belly." So, voila! Below is the product of my OB nurse Kara's genius idea, my friend Rebekah's awesome skills, and a toddler who was feeling cooperative.

Also, this:

Anyway, stay tuned for some more posts, but in the meantime, how cute is this child??

If you wanna click below, I won't say no. :)

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Enjoy every moment."

I posted this on Facebook this evening:

Which led to me thinking for the umpteenth time about those women (with grown children) you occasionally run into in the grocery store who look at your child(ren) with a wistful smile and then tell you to "enjoy every moment."

For the record, I know how very, very fortunate I am that I get to be the mommy to my son and the little one we're expecting in September.

I am in a position to be able to choose to stay home with my children, and I know that there are other women out there who want to do the same and aren't able to; I realize what a privilege that is.

But I will tell you the truth: some parenting moments are more "have to" than "get to." Like cleaning up vomit. Or dealing with tantrums. Or waking up ridiculously early. Or changing poopy diapers. Overall, I wouldn't trade this job with anyone, but I'd be thrilled to have a pinch hitter or designated barf cleaner every now and again.

So when people tell you to enjoy every moment with your young children, just keep in mind that they themselves definitely didn't. They're looking back with rose-colored glasses at the parenting-of-young-kids experience as a whole. The cuddles, the wet kisses, the enthusiasm, the not being embarrassed to be seen with you in public. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and you should absolutely try to enjoy them as much as you can. But the moments (or days - or weeks) that you don't enjoy? Don't feel bad about them. That's not you being a bad mom; that's you being a human being. Being a good mom doesn't mean that you have to be filled with ecstasy by every single moment you spend with your child. And the more time you waste feeling guilty that you honestly just hate bath time, the less time you have to bask in the moments when your little boy pats your face and says "Mama best lady."

So if you're a little worn out by parenting today, give yourself a break, a pat on the back, and a piece of chocolate. And if you should happen to stumble across a company that has someone on call to clean up vomit 24 hours a day, could you please pass along the phone number? I'd really appreciate it.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Letting My Little Bear Play

A year or two before I had Lucas, a polar bear at the local zoo had a baby. (A polar bear baby. Just so we're clear.) When we visited the zoo after the bear cub was old enough to be out in the main enclosure, everyone was crowding around the viewing window to see him playing with a giant ball in the pool. As the cub played, his mother just paced next to the water. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth; never more than a few feet away from her baby, her eyes never leaving him. Occasionally she would let out a little warning growl - whether to her baby or as a reminder to the crowds to stay away, I'm not sure. While her little cub swam carefree in the water, she was the picture of unwavering maternal attention. At the time, I thought it was adorable. So sweet. So motherly. So full of adoration and maternal instinct.

Now, I identify way too much with that mamma polar bear. And I know that what I was witnessing was not cute. It was not sweet. It was a mom freaking the heck out about the millions of dangers that her little one was being exposed to. Where was the life guard? The life jacket? Why was there no sunscreen available? How deep was the pool, was it warm enough, and when was the last time it was cleaned? Did that kid just sneeze in the direction of her cub without covering his mouth??

My son is two, and almost every day (sometimes every hour) I have to fight the very real urge to be that mom. The mom who sprays a can of Lysol ahead of her as she walks through Walmart with her child. The mom who freaks out because her son waved a kind-of-sharp-looking piece of toast near his eye. The mom who puts a winter hat on her child 11 months out of the year. The mom who (this is true) was planning to have the backyard jungle gym that came with our house torn down because the slide was too steep.

Before I became a mom, I didn't even know that "mama bear" was in me, and now I spend much of my time trying to shush her. "It's good that he's learning to be more independent," I tell her in a soothing voice. "Even if he skins his knee, he's going to be fine. I promise, nobody ever died of hypothermia in 67 degree weather."

Yesterday I took Lucas to an art and music festival. A group called The Wanna Bees (great band for kids, by the way) was playing on stage, and they were encouraging the kids to dance and jump along with the music. At first, Lucas stayed on my lap.
Yes, he has a mustache. Instead of a regular face-painting booth, they had a free mustache booth.
Lucas kept calling it his "mustard."
Then he stood in front of me, watching the band and the other kids. And then he made his way out to the grassy area by the stage where a few of the kids were jumping and dancing along with the performers. Although he was in a safe, enclosed space, he was farther away from me than he has ever been in public before. And I had to quiet my inner polar bear mom more than once: at the sight of him so far away from me for the first time, when the little girl dancing with him accidentally knocked him over and fell on top of him, and then when he knocked them both over again. I suppressed my very strong urge to hover two feet away from him (maybe growling occasionally) and instead sat on the grass and watched him play. He would glance over at me every minute or so, smile and wave, and I would smile my biggest smile and wave back. And then my little boy - who sometimes won't go to people he's known his whole life without repeated urgings and me holding his hand - did something that surprised me. One of the performers asked if some of the kids wanted to come up on stage, and Lucas walked right up there.

As silly as it might sound, I felt so proud of him. And maybe a little teary (dang pregnancy hormones.) He stood up there calmly and clapped his hands at all the right times (ok, so he was supposed to be pretending to hammer, but he's two. It's close enough.)

It made me glad that I'd silenced my inner mama bear long enough to let my little cub be brave and have a fun new experience. It even made the temper tantrum that he threw when he had to come down worth it... almost. So in the future, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to back off ever so slightly while my son explores his world. I even agreed to keep the slide (see? I'm growing.)

But if you ever run into me at the zoo and you see me exchange a long look with one of the polar bears, don't be surprised. It's just that we have this kind of unspoken connection. She totally gets me.

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