The first trimester of this pregnancy kicked my tail. I was beyond tired. I remember being exhausted the first time around, but add in the challenge of chasing around a toddler and I was unprepared for the sheer level of bone crushing, driven to tears tired that accompanied this pregnancy’s early weeks. Luckily, I did feel the weight lift around week 14 or 15, but I wouldn’t say that I have my energy “back.” Not when pumpkin is siphoning off all my caloric intake, depriving me of enough oxygen to, you know, breathe and pressing on my bladder causing late night/early morning trips to the bathroom.

Lately, though, I have noticed an increased burst in motivation. Or something. I’m baking up a storm (although probably because I’m scarfing down whatever I’m baking in record time). I’m rearranging all the furniture in our house (in my head, at least). I’m meeting with 800 different contractors and service providers, or so it seems, for a variety of projects that we are considering getting done with a potential refi on the horizon. I’m noticing all the little things I want to change in the house – bedding, curtains, new rugs. I’ve started a painting I’m doing for peanut, and depending on how it goes (since I’m no artist), I’ll start a comparable one for pumpkin’s side of the room. I’ve actually started dusting and vacuuming regularly again and even pulled out the old swiffer to attack the dust bunnies under the bed…something I don’t think I’ve done since seeing the second line on the pregnancy test (one word for you: ick!). I even have a stack of books by the bed that I’m actually reading with a hunger I haven’t felt in awhile.

Unfortunately, my physical stamina doesn’t always match up to my mama’s instinct to prepare for this new addition to our home. Not to mention the fact that peanut and his lack of rest time have created a challenge in getting through the day. More activities need to be planned and trains need to be played instead of mama getting a respite or at least 30 free minutes to accomplish something without an insistent tugging on my shirt. Let’s just say we’ve watched a lot of “Calling All Engines” courtesy of Thomas and Friends just so I can sit down.

So, until I can find a few extra child-free, before dark (because let’s face it, after the sun goes down, I’m useless) hours in the day or a miracle money tree growing in the back yard, the majority of my nesting is taking place in my head.

Although there are quite a few blueberries in my fridge right now. Cobbler or muffins? Decisions, decisions.


Let It Be

“And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me…”
— The Beatles, “Let it Be”

I’m pretty certain John, Paul and the gang did not mean a preschooler when they wrote this, but when I heard it again today, I couldn’t help but suck in my breath and say, “yup, that’s how I feel about peanut.”

No matter how difficult, disobedient, whiny, obstinate, or irrational peanut is in any given testing his boundaries moment, there are still spots filled with light. Spots so bright, clear and shiny that they can’t be ignored. Moments of laughter, sometimes through tears (both his and mine). Moments of pure beauty, joy, discovery, sweetness.

Even on the hardest days, I still go to bed with these bright, shiny images dancing behind my closed lids. The ear to ear grin when I toss him in the air at the pool (enjoy it now while you can, kid. In a few weeks, I think we’ll have to retire that move). A belly laugh during a tickle. A whispered, unexpected “I love you” after a game of Candy Land. A hand holding tight to mine as we cross the street. The puppy dog eyes and slightest of pouts when hoping for a treat. A snuggle in the pillows during story time.

I know he’s still finding his way on this journey of becoming a person and I’m still blindly finding my way on my journey of becoming a mother. I’m taking great comfort in the fact that we trust each other enough to have these honest moments with each other – both positive and less than.

And I hope with all my heart that when he is drifting off to sleep on those particularly challenging days, he sees a light shining on his mommy, no matter how dim it may be. Because the light that shines on him in mine when I sneak into his room before bed? Breathtaking.

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Poops Their Pants

We’ve been having the most lovely weather lately – warm, but dry. No humidity in the south in the summer is like an oasis and you must take advantage of it while you can. It might not be this nice again until October.

So, I decided we’d try to make a day of it with a special park trip complete with picnic lunch. Peanut was a bit cranky this morning (“Put my snot back” was screamed at me after I wiped his nose post-tantrum about my putting his milk on the wrong side of his plate or something equally irrational) so I took a deep breath, pushed aside my impatience and decided we’d better get to activity sooner rather than later.

We started by making a banana blueberry bread together. We worked together to pack the picnic lunch. We got dressed. We packed up the car and we were off later in the morning.

We had a lovely time playing on the playgrounds. We found a peaceful spot under a tree, near a fountain for our picnic lunch. We laughed. We were feeling good. We were close enough that when the play fountains freaked peanut out and he didn’t want to play in them after all, we agreed we’d head over to the Children’s Museum. We have a membership, so even if the visit was short, I figured it would be worth it if it kept him stimulated.

Upon arrival, we had a potty training breakthrough! He actually sat and peed on the big potty in the restroom (this has been an issue, so I was very excited – my apologies to the other moms in the restroom with us who must have been rolling their eyes on the other side of the stall door as I fussed over and praised my little peanut’s pee pee achievement). We played and played and had a grand ole time in the museum.

Until peanut announced he had to poop. As I took his hand to lead him back to the restroom, I caught a whiff and had a sinking feeling we were already too late.

Yup. Our first public accident. It cut our fun day a little short – I luckily had a change of clothes, but because he’s been so good with potty training and we really haven’t had any accidents since week 1, I wasn’t prepared for keeping the offensive garments from stinking up the rest of the museum if I simply put them in the stroller. Plus, mommy was a little grossed out and tired from the clean-up process.

Now he’s “resting” in front of a Thomas video and I’m coming perilously close to devouring half of the banana blueberry bread myself.

The moral of the story: LOTS of activity keeps peanut pleasant and happy (although somewhat distracted from his bodily functions) which keeps mommy pleasant and happy.

So if anyone has the secret to providing a pregnant lady some super human energy boost in order to make every day as jam packed, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I’ll bask in the glory of one great day and learn my lesson so I’ll be more prepared for avoiding accident-endings to future great days.

Parenting During Pregnancy

I’m beginning to wonder if these are mutually exclusive.

I can’t tell if this pregnancy has been more physically taxing or my day-to-day life chasing a toddler not to mention lugging all his accoutrement from house to car to stroller to pool to car to house to washing machine (repeat as necessary) takes more of a physical toll that’s simply become more apparent during pregnancy. I’m tired, mentally strained and walking a fine line between patient and gritting-her-teeth-choking-back-tears mommy.

Whatever the reason, I’m not feeling good about my mothering lately. It’s one thing to let the dust bunnies collect, the laundry pile up or the vacuuming go undone a few extra days (ahem, weeks?) under the guise of self-care during pregnancy. But the idea that I’m not being the best mom I can be to peanut because of the same reason? I’m having a harder time coming to terms with this.

Add to that the guilt I project on the entire situation – if it’s this difficult now, imagine how much I’m going to suck at being a parent of two when pumpkin is actually physically here demanding attention? Let’s just say it’s been fun times for the hubby listening to me lately.

I know I need to cut myself some slack. I know I’m probably not doing as craptastic a job as I think I am (let’s hope). I know that peanut is healthy, happy (save a few excellent tantrums) and potty trained (alleluia). I know that the hubby would be the first one to step up and say something if he thought my performance was severely lacking. I know I have the comfort of advice from a girlfriend who recently had her second and assures me that it is physically easier when the baby’s here and suckling as opposed to inside and sucking your energy dry.

But I can’t help but feel like I’m trying my damnedest to give my best to everyone, some of the time at the detriment to my own physical care, and that it isn’t even close to “enough.”

Is it guilt? Hormones? High expectations? A toddler phase of uber difficult behavior I’m overanalyzing as peanut acting out because his mother is knocked up and he’s already feeling ousted from his thronely perch?

Who knows.

All I do know is that it’s been a hard week around here, which came as a total surprise after my completely wonderful, indulgent, quiet staycation. I suppose just as my ligaments and belly are stretching to make room for this growing new child inside me, my heart, soul and energy stores are doing the same.

So for the next three months and change I’ll not only be cleaning out space in peanut’s room for pumpkin, but looking for some extra internal room for things like my patience. If only the Container Store offered that particular storage solution…

Home Alone

I’m in the midst of packing up peanut and bombarding the hubby with instructions, FYIs and “what would you do if…” scenarios. The boys are leaving for Florida tomorrow afternoon to try to catch the launch that wasn’t a month ago. I am staying home.

We’ve been going somewhere every two weeks since Memorial Day and I’m pooped. The virus I came home from Massachusetts with completely knocked my socks off. I’m still exhausted from it and the thought of another trip was too much to bear. So, the hubby is taking peanut for their first ever boys-only road trip. They even coordinated a “men, men, men” song and dance after bath tonight.

I’m really excited for them. The hubby took several summer road trips with his dad when he was a kid and has a ton of stories, miles logged and photos of those days. I know this is a tradition he very much wants to share with his children. If the launch goes off (still iffy based on Florida weather, but the initial problem that scrubbed the last launch has been fixed), it will be a tremendous experience for them to share. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m glad he’ll get a different perspective on what it means to parent a toddler when he has to do it completely on his own. The hubby is a very involved partner in this parenting journey we’re on (and thank goodness for that), but there is still nothing like traveling alone with a child – something I’ve done (and not always well) but he hasn’t yet. I know he’ll handle it with flying colors and they’ll both come back a little better from the challenge (where potty training is when they come back, well, we’ll have to see).

And me? I’ve finally received that mother’s day gift I was hoping for – time alone. Sure, it’s not on the sandy shores of a remote beach with a cute cabana boy bringing me cocktails, but it’s two and a half days of completely MY time. I’m almost nervous about what I’ll do with it – except that I already have a lunch scheduled with some girlfriends, a spa pedicure appointment confirmed and my eyes on an exhibit at the High I’ve been wanting to check out. Not to mention the prospect of sleeping whenever I want, reading a book in peace and staying in my jammies all day if I want to (don’t worry girls, I’ll get dressed for the lunch).

I know I’m gonna miss the boys like crazy. It’s going to be so strangely quiet around here. I’m sure I’ll call entirely too often to “check in.” I’ll probably spend a good portion of my alone time Friday afternoon cleaning.

But a weekend alone holds so many possibilities to recharge some desperately depleted batteries. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

So bring on the chick flicks, take out and ice cream. Mama needs some R&R.

Today’s Post Brought to You By the Letter "D"

I started blogging a little over two years ago. Peanut was almost one and I was finally feeling my parenting grove…meaning I actually had a nap time or two of me time a day and was looking for an outlet. I had stumbled across a few parenting blogs and thought, hey, I could do that.

I was never in it for the fame and fortune, which is a good thing because I haven’t found either. Sure, there are some very well-respected bloggers out there who get interviewed by major media outlets and apparently make a very good living through sponsorships and ads.

Me, I just needed a blank page to fill with words. A place to document the growth of my peanut and my role as mommy. A community that understood what I was going through and might offer a bit of advice. I needed a voice.

Of course in the early days I checked my Google Analytics regularly – how many people were coming, where were they from, did they come back? I honestly haven’t checked it in months (of course I looked today because I was thinking about it). I’m okay with my steady readership. I know most of my readers either are related to me, know me, know someone related to me or are friends of friends. And that’s fine. Because even if I only had one reader (hi mom!), I’d still write here. I’d still share my potty training stories or silly things peanut says or moments when I struggle with what it is to be a stay at home mom. I need to. It’s just what I do.

So in that vein, I’ve joined Self-Made Mom and her growing D-List posse of bloggers.

Nope, I won’t be at Blogher (although I always swear, one of these days I’ll be able to justify it). Nope, I’ll never be a featured guest on Oprah. Nope, I won’t be asked to guest post anywhere. I’m just still a high heeled gal adjusting to my life in flats who will continue to write about it here – hey, it keeps my mom up to date, my friends slightly entertained and me a little bit saner than I would be without it.

And that gets an A in my book any day.

Independence Day!

Freedom! What a wonderful blessing it is.

What’s that you say? July 4th was yesterday? Yes, I suppose it was. And it is a very important and lovely holiday to celebrate. But here at Chez High Heeled Mama, we are celebrating a very different kind of independence this weekend.

We are currently free from the tyranny of Pampers! Oh yeah, baby! Potty training has entered day three and it is nothing short of a runaway success (compared to what I was prepared for).

Of course now that I’ve typed this, I’m sure peanut is busy peeing in his Thomas undies at the playground, but I’m willing to risk it. Plus, he’s with the hubby, which means it’s not currently my problem.

Since some of you have asked me what our approach has been, here is a quick rundown of our potty training weekend:

The hubby and I entered peanut’s room on Day 1 as if it were Christmas. We were very excited to announce that this was the day he would not need diapers anymore. I think we might have freaked him out a little bit with our over eagerness and his initial reaction was not what we expected. After he took a moment to wake up and we toned down our shtick, he joined in our excitement and picked out his first pair of big boy underwear for the day.

We then gave him a tour of the bathroom that I had set up the night before. The potty was prominently displayed, special (ie, flushable) wipes nearby, his favorite pump soap at the ready, sticker chart hanging on the wall, stool at the sink and a big, decorated sign hanging on the door with his name on it so that he could take ownership of this bathroom as his. We told him what everything was for and then set about making breakfast.

The theme to our potty training has been to remind him that he just needs to tell us when he has to go pee or poop. We wanted him to be in control. His response was to announce he wanted to eat breakfast, watch Lightning McQueen then go pee pee.

Sounded good to us, so we gave him lots of liquids throughout the movie, paused two times at his request so he could go run down the hall to see his sign hanging on the door and as soon as the movie was over he announced he had to go pee. First attempt – total hit! Wahoo!

The rest of the day, we continued to ply him with liquids while reminding him ad nauseum that he needed to tell us when he had to go. We had three accidents throughout the day, but many more hits than misses including a sacred you know what (don’t make me say it!). We were thrilled.

Day 2 continued much in the same way in terms of our tactics and he only had one accident. We were getting keen on his signs and were able to strategically ask a few times if he had to try to pee and he’d agree – thereby avoiding any potential accidents. I think that also helped him clue into what it felt like BEFORE any action happened.

Today has been awesome. It’s currently just before dinner. He’s finally out at the playground across the street because the poor kid is going stir crazy from being with the two us of all weekend and our incessant: “Tell mommy or daddy if you have to pee pee, okay?” But so far, no accidents! And he’s been very proactive telling us when he has to go, including for another you know what.

I know we’re not totally out of the woods yet – we haven’t gone on errands or engaged in our normal, active routine, but we’re going to ramp into that this week and see what happens. I’ve been sick all weekend (still with this cough and overall blechs – doc says it’s a virus and I have to wait it out, which could take another week, great!), which has actually been a blessing in disguise. I’ve had an excuse to lay on the couch all weekend and haven’t felt bad about resting or skipping any usual activities. I’m not up to working out yet, so we’ll simply stay home another day tomorrow and maybe do some grocery shopping or other errands to test the waters, so to speak.

The best sign of all came this afternoon when I pointed out to peanut that he hasn’t worn a diaper in three days and he responded: “I don’t need diapers anymore.”

Score one for the parents!

And thank you for all the kind words of support and suggestions. They all came in handy and were much appreciated!

Guess What?

It’s been a rough couple of days, as every vacation re-entry is with a nearly three year old, not to mention the nasty cough and cold mama seems to have picked up along the way. So it took all my energy today to tear him away from Dora “the Splorah” and dressed this morning so we could make the trek to a local baby supply store for some potty training supplies.

(Yes, we’ve decided this is the weekend. Maybe I’m delirious from all the mucus in my head and chest or it really is a good idea since the hubby will be home for three straight days meaning reinforcements. Either way, we’re going cold turkey Friday and aim to have a potty trained peanut by this time next week.)

So of course this was the day for the very public tantrum about riding in the cart. Oh, the screaming and the pleading from peanut and the trying to be patient mommy repeating over and over despite the stares from passersby: “Please sit down in the cart. Please sit down in the cart. Please sit down in the cart.” After finally winning that battle, he spent the rest of the trip in the store crying that he wanted to go home.

Long story short, it was a rough morning. To ease my cold symptoms, I fixed up some tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. Peanut was having a grand old time imitating how I was dipping my sandwich or blowing the soup cool. It was a pleasant and lovely lunch and gave me hope for the rest of the day. So I leaned in close and said, “Guess what?”

This is a little game peanut and I play. For a long time, I’d say “Guess what? I love you.” And peanut would repeat “I wuv you.” As he’s pushing his independence lately, he’ll often run away or tell me not to say it if I start with “guess what?” Today though, he quickly responded before I could finish my game with:

“I love you.”

Then he kept whispering to me, “Guess what? I love you. Guess what? I love you. Guess what? I love you.”

It’s the bright moments like that in a cloudy mothering day that make it all worthwhile, isn’t it?