What Not (Because You Can’t Fit In It) to Wear

I don’t know what the heck I was wearing when I was pregnant with peanut. Okay, I take that back. I was working from home and wearing sweats and t’s until I had a business meeting and would pull out the few high-quality items I’d bought to get me through presentations, sales pitches and business lunches. Weekend wear wasn’t much nicer than a gaucho pant and tank.

As I unpacked what wasn’t ice cream or sweat stained (oh yes, I was the sweaty pregnant lady first time around), I realized that I didn’t really have as much to get me through my mommy days as I would have liked. Where was the decent casual wear? Did I really stretch some of those pants out that much during the latter weeks of pregnancy that in these in between weeks of belly growth they’re actually hanging and drooping? Were those maternity jeans ever attractive?

So, today I braved the mall. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve even stepped foot in the mall, but away we went. Peanut was stellar. I really could not have asked for better behavior in the racks, the dressing rooms or the lines. And I came away with a few staples that will help fill out a couple of holes I had and was feeling pretty good.

We stopped for lunch at a bakery in the mall for mama’s blood sugar and to reward peanut with a well-deserved cookie (after his sandwich, of course). And that’s when my shopping high came to a crashing halt.

Our lunch table was located directly across from here. With it’s cute this and adorable that and darned sale sign in the window. Ugh. Way to hit a girl when she’s down.

Good thing peanut didn’t finish his cookie so I could at least replace the shopping high with a sugar one.

Somedays You Stumble Into Parenting Genius

Re-entry after a long weekend away is always difficult. There’s the grocery shopping that needs to be done, the laundry, the unpacking, the mess you left as you ran out the door, the fridge to clean out of last week’s leftovers, the constant “where’s Grandma/Nana/et al” questions…Not to mention the time it takes peanut’s “system” to get back on track after all the junk we eat on the road and the crankiness that ensues when he realizes it’s just me and him today – not a cadre of relatives to entertain him.

This morning, however, has been a good morning. (And as I type this, I fear what the afternoon will bring since I’ve written it “out loud.”) He slept until 8am, something he didn’t do all weekend. We hit up the grocery store this morning and I graciously allowed him to ride in the race car cart (I can’t even put into words how much I hate trying to maneuver that behemoth cart around the tight aisles of our grocery store, heaven forbid another parent gets suckered into it and you have to pass each other on the same aisle). Ah, sweet shopping relief. He was engaged, he was pleasant, he was more than happy to sit in that cart and help mommy with the shopping.

On the way home, peanut caught sight of the bags of hand-me-down toys a friend had given us several weeks ago. I promised him we’d bring them in so he could play with his new toys. Who knew my laziness a few weeks ago would turn into a parenting genius move today? He was more than content to explore his new finds while I carried in the groceries, cleaned out the fridge, put away the new groceries, cut up and stored the appropriate produce, emptied the full dishwasher, made quessadillas for lunch. I didn’t hear a peep out of him.

And he’s already made deals for which books we’ll read and puzzles we’ll put together after rest time. Could I have stumbled upon the greatest re-entry solution ever? New-to-you toys? If I had known that’s all it took…

Now if only he’d stop banging books around his room and actually take a nap…wow, then it really would be the perfect day and I would truly be a parenting genius. Good thing I bought the ready to bake cookie dough at the store as a back-up plan.

Homeward Bound

As always, I have mixed feelings about going home. I love being there, seeing our families, watching peanut with them, relaxing back into the fold of familiarity, not having to cook my own meals.

But the getting there. Bleh. We’ve done this trip enough times, you’d think I have it down to a science…and I do, except for the fact that for every five items I get in the suitcase, peanut takes out three and puts in two that we don’t actually need (today – an umbrella and a pillow case). And the snack bag is usually overflowing with a variety of goodies for peanut, but add in the pregnant lady who has to eat every 1.5 hours and the bazillion bottles of water that will only cause us to stop every 30 minutes for a pee break, and the car is going to be packed to the gills.

Not to mention the guilt trip we always put ourselves through on the way about living far away, do we go home enough, how can we fit in as many possible visits and activities without totally overwhelming our child…I’m exhausted before we ever leave the house.

And then peanut had to go and say it…

All morning he’s been asking when we’re going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. As I was getting him ready for his rest time, he picked out his stories and asked again “Where’s Grandma?” (when Grandma’s around, she usually volunteers for story duty). I told him we’d see Grandma tomorrow when we got to her house and that she’d be happy to read him stories then.

“No, Grandma come here.”

I tried to tell him again that we were going to Grandma and Grandpa’s and we’d see all his aunts and uncles, Nana, Opa and Grand Pam and his cousins – don’t you want to go there?

“No. They come to my house.”

*sigh*

Let the guilt trip begin again.

At least the real trip should be fun – a stop in the Queen City tonight. A family picnic and play time Saturday. And I have a date night scheduled Saturday…with my sister. I just need to work on a teleporting machine that gets us there with a twitch of my nose and a little wink. I’ll let you now how that works out.

Have a wonderful holiday and don’t forget to spend some time remembering the reason we have a three-day weekend in the first place. Puts my traveling 6 hours in a car in better perspective.

Summer Vacation: Ready, Set, GO, GO, GO!

Somehow, what started out as a quiet summer with one trip planned to Massachusetts has now turned into three trips within five weeks.

We start next week by heading home for Memorial Day. With the three-day weekend coming up, we figured no time like the present to squeeze in a family visit. It’s really important to us that peanut know and bank memories with his family despite their distance. Since we haven’t been home since February and probably won’t be home for the holidays this year with a new born in tow, it seemed like good timing.

We had already planned a trip to see the extended family at “Camp Massachusetts” (aka, my aunt and uncle’s house) towards the end of June. These visits were so important to me as a child, that it’s equally as important that my peanut know his roots, not to mention I could use some good old fashioned family lovin’ (and Uncle M’s apple raspberry pie doesn’t hurt either). We weren’t able to make it up last summer, so this was the first trip to make it on our summer schedule when we found a great airfare deal.

Now, suddenly, we’re planning a third trip smack in the middle of those other two. This time, to catch a shuttle launch. The hubby is a space geek – loves all things NASA and has always wanted to see a launch. He’s since rubbed off this obsession on the peanut, as much as a nearly three year old can be obsessed with anything that isn’t Thomas or Elmo. So, we find ourselves gearing up for the mid-June launch and I’m researching nearby beach options (anyone have any advice about things to do or avoid near Cape Canaveral?) to make it a family vacation, just the three of us – which I’ve realized we’ve never actually done. Sure, we’ve traveled together, but usually some aspect of family is involved. We haven’t really gone somewhere the three of us. With a fourth on the way, this suddenly has become very important to me.

I know now is the time to do all this traveling – before I’m huge and uncomfortable. But looking at them all lined up on the calendar is making me a bit stressed out.

So, I’m going to spend the evening researching portable DVD players and kid’s headphones to get us through the two car trips and the plane ride north. I’m going to suck it up and try on last year’s tankini and consider the horrors of buying a maternity bathing suit (really? ugh). I’m going to start making lists of items to pack for next weekend and finalize our trip itinerary for at least the first trip. I’m going to charge up the camera and video batteries to capture every last beautiful moment of Summer 2009.

Because as stressful and intimidating as three trips in five weeks can be, I can’t wait for each and every one of them.

Where or Where did my Confidence Go?

Oh where oh where can it be?

Not only have I lost my ability to finish a complete thought if an ant hiccups in the vicinity, to remember what I’m looking for when I’ve opened a cabinet or the fridge or the front door, to pee fewer than 50 times in 24 hours, to actually write this whole sentence in less than 10 minutes because I’ve been easily distracted by Facebook, a Pledge commercial and a bathroom break; but I’ve also apparently lost my mommy confidence.

Sure, I’ve gone through peanut’s first two years at times confused, flummoxed, baffled, stumped, frustrated, irritated, and occasionally just plain pissed, but through it all, I’ve felt the underlying pulse of “I know my child” mommy confidence that got me through any given tantrum, sticky situation or emotional reaction (mommy’s not baby’s). Being pregnant, however, has somehow blocked the confidence pulse and left me with moments of “will I ever be good enough?”

A lot of it was the exhaustion in the beginning of this pregnancy just didn’t leave me a lot of mental reserves for dealing with peanut’s new no-napping, boundary-testing behavior. Now that some energy has returned, I feel mostly on my game. Until I just don’t.

Today was just a tired day, all day. I knew as soon as my feet hit the floor (on the way to the bathroom despite my two middle of the night trips) that I just wasn’t in it to win it. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I colored, no matter how many fun voices I did while reading the stories, no matter how well I pretended to eat the pretend sandwich and pretend milk peanut made for me, I was busy thinking how my heart just wasn’t in it. And that made me feel pretty crappy. Not to mention feeling less than because I was finally doing the breakfast dishes at 4:30.

I know not every day is perfect. Not every day is even a quarter perfect, honestly. But knowing I’ll be responsible for two of these little creatures and their growth into well-adjusted, polite, intelligent, creative, contributing members of this planet feels like a lot of pressure some days. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s overreacting because I’m sleep-deprived and in need of another pee break. Maybe it’s a weird sort of nesting and instead of organizing cabinets and folding onesies, I’m mentally sorting my short comings.

Luckily, today is just a day. And I know that even when I feel like I’m not giving 100 percent, peanut is still cared for, loved, snuggled, fed, clean — we are our own worst critics, right? So I think I’ll eat a little mint chocolate chip ice cream, fluff the pillows and remember to give myself a break.

Now if only my bladder would cooperate.

Is Forever Enough?

It’s so easy to get mired down in the day-to-day minutia of motherhood that it’s sometimes hard to define being a mom. Sure, I’m nurser of boo-boos, cooker of meals, player of games, changer of diapers, chauffeur to play dates and playgrounds, planner of activities, reader of stories.

But today, on Mother’s Day, as I look at peanut becoming an independent child and really not my baby anymore and feeling the early flutters of this new life inside of me, I am reminded that being a mother is so much more and so much harder to describe.

For me, motherhood is true, simple, undying, imagination-stretching love. Love that knows no bounds, no obstacle, no end. This morning, I was snuggling peanut and covering him with tickles and kisses, telling him I loved him. He told me, “No mommy, stop loving me.” I know he was simply trying to get me to release him so he could get back to building his tent in the pillows. I told him mommy will never stop loving you. I may have let go of my physical hold on him so he could get back to the business of play, but the emotional hold…that started growing the moment they cut the umbilical cord and has gotten stronger by the minute.

So today, to all you mothers and children of mothers, I give you a song that is special to my heart (yes, I’m entitled to be totally cheesy on Mother’s Day – it’s in the Mom’s Handbook, didn’t you get one?). This song always seemed to comfort peanut as a newborn after our 5pm feeding and before the hubby got home from work. We’d stand in the living room, swaying until he’d drift off and I’d settle onto the sofa with him in my arms, breathing in his warmth, stroking his hair and just loving him. Many a night the hubby would come home from work and find us this way wondering why I hadn’t just put him down in the crib or the bassinet. But those early evening snuggles were a special place where I could just marvel at peanut and contemplate the mother I was only beginning to become.

I’m still evolving, but this song brings me back to those moments of peaceful, loving contact of just mother and child:

Happy Mother’s Day.

What I Really Want for Mother’s Day

I will happily accept whatever gift the hubby and peanut dream up – a book, a new diaper bag, breakfast, flowers, a card. I’m not writing this to fish for gifts or hint at websites that offer really cool options. Whatever I open Mother’s Day morning will be thoughtful and perfect, I’m sure, and I will love it and appreciate it and the sentiments that come with it.

But, in a perfect world, what do I really want this Mother’s Day? A vacation by myself.

Seriously.

Now that peanut has given up his nap, my “me” time is limited. Severely. Lately, he’s taken to coming out of his room and making a game of “rest time” so even the hour or so of relative quiet I could manufacture while he read or played quietly in his room has turned into a relentless back and forth down the hallway with little sitting, resting, reading, writing, cleaning or other me-pursuits being accomplished. As a result, I spend the next two hours with steam coming out of my ears trying not to resent the fact that I haven’t had a break at all when even people with jobs are ensured a lunch hour. Or at least time in a bathroom stall by themselves without a two and a half year old peeking in asking 20 times what you’re doing or insisting that no, you don’t have to go potty now mommy, you need to PLAY!

Add that to pregnancy-induced narcolepsy and by the time peanut’s in bed and the dishes are done and I’m sitting down at 8pm, I’m completely useless.

So, honestly, all I want is 24 hours in a hotel/cabin/beach house where food appears when I ask for it, dishes are taken away when I’m done with them, bathrooms have doors that can be shut, showers can be as long as the hot water holds, I can sleep when I want, I can read all day in the sunshine/under the covers/in the shade of a tree with a subtle breeze. I want 24 hours to try to hear myself think because I’m not sure I’ve heard my inside voice muttering anything but grocery lists and evil whispers that turn into the most absurd food cravings in the last 3 months.

I don’t think I’d make it longer than 24 hours alone. I’d miss my boys too much, to be honest. But a little quiet time…a little time to answer to no one but myself…a little time away from the piles of laundry/dishes/toys/craft supplies/dust/responsibility would be refreshing.

Although a new bag and an hour for a nap in the afternoon would be nice, too.

Party of Four

High Heeled Mama is packing up the heels for another summer of swollen ankles and flats and making room for the high chair at the table. Yup, we’re expecting baby number two!

The hubby and I are very excited and I’m thrilled to finally share this news with all of you. I feel like I’ve known forever (mainly because I’m freakishly in-tune with my own body and I totally knew about a week before my period was even due not to mention missed), but due to my own paranoia about sharing too early, I’ve been mum. But, I’m just over 14 weeks (due November 1), I’ve heard the little pumpkin’s heart beat twice now, seen it dancing away during a sonogram and, quite honestly, if you saw me in person these days, it would be hard to hide.
Um, yeah, that showing earlier thing the second time around is certainly true in my case. Although I’m not sure if it is because my ab muscles were more than happy to let go at the first opportunity or because I actually haven’t been sick this time around (unlike with peanut) and have been eating pretty much non-stop for weeks. Either way, there is definitely a baby bump. Thank goodness for those post-pregnancy fat pants, though! Haven’t had to resort to maternity wear just yet (but they’re unpacked and in the drawer, just in case).

Peanut giving up his nap about the same time we got pregnant has not been helpful. I’ve spent the last three months just surviving the days. I remember being tired when I was pregnant with peanut, but this has been the most bone-crushing exhaustion I’ve ever felt. No matter how much sleep I got at night or how long I managed to nap during those rare occasions, I woke up just as tired as I went to bed. I felt like I was in a fog. Television became a very good friend at our house so I could catch a nap during Clifford while peanut was mesmerized on the couch next to me. The day I put my head down on the dining table and dosed off while peanut was eating his lunch was probably a low point.

The exhaustion fog finally started to lift last week. I’m still tired, but I am not reduced to a puddle of tears at 3pm when peanut hasn’t napped and I’m desperate for just a few minutes of quiet time. The fog lifting also indicated just how bad the house has gotten during the last three months. Household chores took a major backseat with only the bare minimum getting done. The fact that I’m seeing the mess is a good sign that my energy is returning, when I actually feel like doing something about it, then we’ll know I’m back in the saddle.

I have tons more to say about the challenges of parenting a toddler while pregnant, the things the pregnancy books should address when it’s not your first pregnancy and the whole cravings thing (wow, did not really encounter this nearly as much during pregnancy one), but these are all topics for future posts.

So thank you for being patient with me the last few months and being here to share in this experience. It should be quite a ride!