New Kind of Nesting

I find myself in new territory.

I’m 30 weeks pregnant, officially counting down the final 10 weeks and making preparations. The “normal” nesting instinct has been strong this pregnancy, whether my motivation has kept up is a whole other story. But the typical baking, cleaning strange corners of the house, urge to launder things in Dreft (don’t worry – this hasn’t happened yet (see: motivation, or lack thereof)), mental redecorating to make room for the myriad of infant paraphernalia that will need to come down from the attic are all there.

The strange thing? I’m 30 weeks pregnant (read: tired), have a three year old who doesn’t nap leaving me precious little time to think thoughts that don’t include trains, parks or potties and I’m currently obsessed with the idea that I need to rework my resume. Yup. I’m suddenly strangely motivated to dust that sucker off, update it with who knows what to signify what I’ve been up to the last three years and try and nail done some freelance PR work and/or writing projects.

Am I crazy?

I’m not sure if it’s because:

  • I’m trying to distract myself from peanut starting preschool in a couple of weeks leaving me with 9 hours a week to myself
  • We’re in the midst of serious number crunching analysis related to a potential refi and home improvement budget that has pointed out to me just how far we are from the soft cushion of our old two-income life
  • I recently watched my brother-in-law lose his job with a wife who is also a SAHM, a four year old and six month old and it freaked me out that I should be more prepared should the hubby lose his (thankfully, BIL found a job relatively quickly considering the market and all’s well)
  • It’s a weird three year itch
  • The realization of a two-kid household is making me want to seriously carve out something that’s just mine since I know how precious it is to have that outlet; or
  • I’m simply a glutton for punishment who wants to load up on as many crazy tasks as possible until I am finally escorted into a van driven by men in white coats.

Whatever the reason, it keeps creeping into my thoughts. Of course, the fact that I can’t seem to find the time to actually sit down and take a serious hack at the old resume should indicate that I might not have the time to dedicate to possible freelance work, either, seems to be only a cursory thought at this point.

Who knows where this new train of thought will lead. Any mom’s out there on Kid 2.0 or higher have any words of wisdom? Is this normal? Is this the former working gal’s new version of nesting? Is there some strange hormone I can blame this on?

Or should I just call in the men in white coats now?

I wonder if they make maternity straight jackets…


"Real" Health Care Solutions

Dear President Obama, U.S. Congress and various pundits/think tanks/health experts:

I have to admit, I have not had the time to follow the debate about the proposed health care reform plans very closely and would be hard pressed to explain any real item it does or does not include. I apologize. In a former life, I would find my lack of knowledge on such a key issue deplorable. Today, I’m just too busy chasing a pre-schooler, gestating a new life and keeping up with the day-to-day chaos that is my current life. Sorry. I’ll get back to informed, educated and engaged citizen again soon, I hope.

That being said, I think I have a potential solution to some of the rising pharmaceutical costs in this country. It seems to me that there are a million drugs out there for diseases and ailments I had no idea existed, not to mention required a national ad campaign telling me to ask my doctors if it’s right for me. I gather this from my half hour of (ahem, morning show) news and the occasional sporting event the hubby watches while I absently flip through a magazine (by the way, I do have a “going” problem that is a “growing” problem, but I think it has more to do with the growing trampoline champion bouncing on my bladder from the comfort of my uterus than an enlarged prostate).

I digress. Back to my proposed solution. My pre-schooler could single-handedly treat several common ailments without the use of chemical intervention. For instance:

  • Birth Control – Send those of child bearing age who do not wish to currently get pregnant to wash my child’s hair and brush his teeth when he is exhausted. I can guarantee that person won’t be getting pregnant for quite some time.
  • Appetite Suppressant – Skip the diet aids and watch my child eat a meal when he’s in a silly mood. Nothing like watching him pull that half-masticated green bean out of his mouth to end a meal early or see him eat a piece of asparagus/cheddar cheese/pot roast immediately after finishing the last bite of grape popsicle or ice cream. *shudder*
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – Take my pre-schooler to the playground or the pool and I can guarantee you won’t have time to sit still and notice that your legs are restless.
  • Delusions of Grandeur – Not once you spend some time with my the-world-revolves-around-me-and-my-every-want-and-desire pre-schooler. I dare you to try putting your needs/wants first.
  • Insomnia – I’ve got two solutions for you. Choose your own adventure: 1) Come over and read every Richard Scarry book we have before bedtime to peanut, repeat as necessary. (Note: I loved these books as a kid, but reading every word on the page now? Yikes. I literally fell asleep in the middle of a sentence the other day). Or 2) Embrace your insomnia and come help me out in a few months when I’m up in the middle of the night feeding and changing a newborn and I’m desperate for sleep. I’d be happy to share some of the nighttime tasks.
  • Mild Memory Problems – Peanut seems to remember every detail of every promise made, the location of each toy (regardless of where it’s “supposed” to be) and the plot line of each and every Thomas video we’ve ever seen. Trust me. You’ll never need to remember anything for yourself again.

I’m sure we could brainstorm a few more medical uses for this kid for a fraction of the cost of a typical prescription drug. For instance, they say laughter is the best medicine. Maybe we could all skip the added vitamin supplements by eating right, exercising and spending some time listening to my peanut’s ridiculous stories, songs and logic. Or at least that’s the prescription I’m going to write for myself.

Thank you for your consideration,
High Heeled Mama

A Glimpse Into My Future

My husband and I are fairly committed to the man-on-man defense parenting strategy. Meaning: we aren’t so sold on the idea that we’ll have only two kids that we’re planning any immediate procedures, but we’re operating under the assumption that our family will be complete with our peanut and pumpkin.

The gender of this particular child did not play into this decision. Sure, it would be great to have a little girl to balance the scales, giggle over first dances with and dress in those adorable ruffled bloomers. But I also cherish the same-sex sibling relationship I have with my sister and think the bonds of brotherhood will be an extra special gift between peanut and pumpkin.

And being the mom of boys doesn’t seem that bad when we’re sitting at a Braves game together cheering on a home run, playing trucks or even finding joy in a simple mud puddle. Until…

This evening as the hubby was getting peanut ready for bed, peanut stated that when the sun comes up he can have a treat. The hubby said, um, no, when the sun comes up you can have breakfast. I told him if he wanted a treat when the sun came up, he could get a kiss from mommy – wasn’t that a good treat? He thought that was silly and then:

Peanut: “Mommy, do you want a treat?”

Me: “Sure!”
(Oh, what cute response is coming? A kiss? A squeeze? An “I love you?”)

Peanut proceeded to rip quite a sonorous poot.

Ah, my future life with boys. Non-stop potty humor and on-demand farting. I’d be horrified if I wasn’t busy laughing so hard.

Busy Work

Busy work. I had a love/hate relationship with busy work during my full-time office days. Those expense reports that took forever to enter, collate and copy after an extended sales trip; the video logging in advance of a script write; the media research prior to pitching a new reporter, publication or beat. Some days these tasks were torture. On others, they were a welcome respite after a day/week/month of back-to-back meetings; presentations; pitch calls and other high energy, interactive, bite my tongue that they are seriously asking me to pitch “Oprah” for THAT topic negotiations of business.

Today, I missed busy work. To actually be able to spend an hour or so putting together the neighborhood newsletter or create that binder of all peanut’s pre-school information? Heavenly. Instead, I’ve launched myself into a high-octane strategy of keeping peanut as busy as humanely possible during the days in order to avoid the cranky, obstinate, typical three-year-old behavior he’s been exhibiting lately.

I do feel that my engagement factor has been seriously off since becoming pregnant. The August heat and humidity certainly don’t help as the physical toll has been a bit more intense than I anticipated (how I did not miss you, Braxton-Hicks). Are any of these factors a direct cause of peanut’s recent acting out? Not sure, but if I can add in a few more activities or adventures or art projects to distract him while also staying consistent on the discipline front, I figure I better give it a try before any bad behaviors get out of control.

As a result, I took peanut on an impromptu baseball adventure yesterday. I saw a great deal for $1 tickets to see the Braves play a make-up game in the afternoon. Sold. Packed up the water and the bribe of a special treat once we got there and headed over to Turner Field. We made it through 4 full innings, an explanation of fair vs. foul (the ball has to “stay between the lines”), and seven Braves runs (“He DID it!”) before he started complaining that he wanted to go home. Overall, a success despite my depleted energy stores and sweaty maternity wear by the time we got home.

Today, I jam packed us full of tasks. We hit up a nearby, yet not often frequented by us, playground. Got peanut a haircut. Filled the gas tank (to be so easily entertained). Grabbed some thank you note supplies at Target. Came home and had lunch. Played trains. Played a round of Candy Land. Made chocolate-chip cookies together (our new favorite word: baking soda). Read what felt like 800 stories together, but was more like three really long ones. Set-up, executed and cleaned up the art project related to the thank you note supplies we purchased earlier in the day. Popped in a “Bob the Builder” video so I could sit down for a second. More trains. A puzzle. An I Spy game. Made dinner.

Did it make a difference? Well, even the hubby said that the kid is just as hyper as ever for the “witching hour,” but at least he’s in a good mood and not throwing his stir-fry rice all over the dining room. Me? I’m beyond exhausted, but realize we did have some small victories as a result: I said “yes” a lot more than “no;” peanut was extremely well-behaved at the playground (if you had been with us on our last three playground outings, you’d be as amazed as I was) and we had far fewer power struggles this afternoon than usual.

Can I keep up this pace? I’m not quite sure. We’ll see how much I can cram into the rest of the week (so send along any craft/art/game ideas for three-year-olds. I’m gonna need all the help I can get!).

But oh, for a day of inane, boring, sit in a chair, don’t have to talk to anyone busy work. Never thought I’d say that.

Then again, I never thought I’d say the words pee and poop so many times a day or know all the lyrics to the “Thomas & Friends” theme song either.

Peanut Paranoia

Throughout peanut’s first days and months, I was, believe it or not, a pretty laid back parent. I was content going with the flow, learning about peanut and and letting him dictate the routine. I did a decent job, in retrospect, of really not sweating the small stuff. Even my dad has since said, “yeah, I was really surprised at how laid back you were during that first year.” A back handed compliment? Maybe, but I appreciated it nonetheless.

Oh sure, there was the initial obsessing over the exact number of pee pee and poo poo diapers the first couple of days home (this, thankfully, did not last very long); the how come the kid up the street is talking so much clearer when he’s only 10 days older; and — my personal favorite — the why isn’t he teething yet inquiry at his 4 month, six month and nine month pediatrician appointments. Um, yeah. Maybe Dr. W thinks I’m a little crazy after all.

My type-A behavior really kicked in after a year. Around the same time they start to get hurt from falling walking. The same time they try new and dangerous things like playgrounds and bounce houses and sharing. The same time my particular kid started getting weird fever viruses that I was convinced each time were ear infections because don’t all kids get ear infections? (Knock wood, peanut’s still managed to avoid that particular ailment).

Through all that, I felt that I was keeping a pretty even keel. My one big bugaboo?

Peanut butter.

Oh, peanut butter in all its deliciousness and evil potential to send my child into anaphylactic shock. There are no immediate peanut allergies in our families. Peanut has had no reactions to any other foods he’s tried, and the child has tried quite a few. But, the hubby’s aunt has such severe allergies (I’m talking hasn’t eaten food prepared by someone else or on someone else’s dishes in decades severe) that it had me a little wigged out that the potential for such a reaction was in the gene pool. That and, let’s face it, peanut’s are “the” allergy – so many kids have an averse reaction to them that it seemed only natural that mine would have one, too.

On this point, my pediatrician has humored me from day one and said not to try it until at least two. When the two year old appointment came around, he said I could wait as long as I felt comfortable.

For the past year, my mom has teased me many a times with the “has he tried peanut butter?” question. Each time I sheepishly said no. Now that the kid is officially three and I’m constantly in search of another protein option for his lunches, I figured it was about time.

This morning I made up a few peanut butter crackers to take with me to my midwife appointment (conveniently located in the same neighborhood as the children’s hospital). After hearing pumpkin’s heartbeat and realizing I’m already up to the every two weeks appointment schedule, I parked in a lot across the street from the hospital’s emergency entrance, handed my kid a cracker (after wiping him down with antibacterial wipes – he’s still fascinated with these at my OB’s office), and dialed the hubby at work for moral support. Final verdict – he didn’t eat the whole cracker but did seem to enjoy the new experience. No hives, no choking, no Old Yeller foaming at the mouth.


Now that I’ve crossed this off the list, what will I worry about? The nasty toe nail threatening to come off after a run in with a heavy beam? When he’ll get over his fear of automatic toilet flushers in public restrooms? How I’ll manage a two-kid household? Nah. He’s starting preschool. Time to start freaking out about swine flu.


Dear Peanut:

Today is your third birthday.

I blinked and a year went by.

You have been telling people you are three since June, so understandably, you’ve been a little confused today that you aren’t turning four, but please, don’t speed up the clock on me. It’s all flying by so fast as it is.

I’m not sure if I can document any specific milestones this year other than the fact that you somehow turned into a little boy. Toddler and baby, although they are terms I try to label you with, are no longer accurate in describing you. Physically, you are long and lean and strong. You are extremely verbal and have expanded your normal narration of your experiences and play time to actually carrying on coherent conversations, making up less coherent “jokes” and creating play time story lines.

You have given up nap and rest time, which pains your mother to no end. You moved from your crib to the “big boy bed” configuration of your crib and, as of this weekend, have moved into your official, permanent twin bed. You hardly take up any space in it, but I’ve enjoyed the extra room since it allows me to snuggle in with you when we read stories in the afternoon.

You are officially out of all manner of diapers – only big kid underwear for you, day and night. We haven’t had a day-time accident in several weeks and, as long as we (um, your daddy) take you for a pre-parental bed time pee break, you manage to wake up dry, too. Although I’m sure I’ve just jinxed your progress.

You’ve been quite the traveler this summer. In addition to our frequent trips home to NC to visit your family throughout the year, you’ve been to Florida twice in an attempt to see Space Shuttle Endeavor launch (unfortunately, you watched it on TV at home) as well as to Massachusetts to see extended family. You are an excellent traveler and we thank you for that.

You start pre-school this fall and I think you’re going to love it. You also are going to become a big brother. I am so excited to see you in this role and watch the bond you all create as you grow up together. I know you will be caring, sweet and up to all manner of hijinks together. How much you understand the big brother concept right now or that this thing we call a baby in mommy’s belly is going to be a baby that lives and shares physical and emotional space in our home, I just don’t know. But I have faith that you will handle that transition like you have all others to this point – with relative ease and good humor.

There have been some bumps in the road this year. The terrible twos weren’t really all that terrible, to be honest. As we’ve inched closer to three, the attempts you make to assert your independence have been a bit more challenging for your daddy and me. We are doing our best to help you feel in control while still achieving what we ultimately want from you. Some days are better than others.

Today I asked you, as a lark, how old you thought mommy was if you were turning three today. Your concept of numbers is unique – you’re excellent through 13 then it gets a little murky. You hit all the right ones, just not in the right order. You thought about it for a minute and started counting on your fingers and then announced that I was three, too.

It’s true. In a way, I am three today as well. Today is my third birthday celebrating the day I became a mother. A day when my life and heart and marriage and sense of self changed completely. A day that makes a new arrival to the family that much more special because, peanut, you are the one that first marked me as mommy. I can’t put into words a thank you for giving me that gift.

You are the most selfish, wonderful, frustrating, challenging, silliest, beautiful thing I have done in my life and every day I can’t imagine loving you more and yet I do. A tiny bit more every day that I barely notice until I catch you in the sunlight or hear you explain something completely ridiculous and I’m practically reduced to tears at the overwhelming feelings I have for you.

So now, I’ll go attempt to frost a ridiculous attempt at a cake resembling a race track since you are currently obsessed with “Cars.” Why? Not because you’ll remember or it will impress anyone but because it will make you smile for a moment. And that, peanut, is all this mama needs.

Happy Birthday, Peanut.

Weight, Weight…Don’t Tell Me

I gained a lot of weight my first time around the pregnancy block. I have been an admittedly very lucky gal who has not had to “worry” about my weight. Sure, as I hit my 30s, it’s been redistributing in softer ways than in my 20s, but in the grand scheme of things, I realize I have nothing to complain about.

But when you get pregnant and it’s suddenly expected of you to gain, gain, gain…why not have that bowl of ice cream? Every night? And sometimes in the afternoon? With a brownie? Cheers!

So I was admittedly a little shocked during my first pregnancy that the day the nurse had to move the big block on the scale, I was bothered by it. Briefly. But bothered. By the time I hit 40lbs near the end, I stopped looking at the scale. I would literally get on backwards — “Think of it as your IQ” sign on the scale be damned. Overall, this strategy worked for me and I honestly didn’t really care about the number…as long as I and the baby were healthy and happy, what difference did it really make except a few post-partum pants sizes?

This time, going in, I wanted to have a similar laissez-faire attitude toward the scale. I wasn’t going to worry about it. I mean, you’re growing a whole baby in your gut, the scale is going to move. And I’m working out this pregnancy, which was not something that I did at all during pregnancy one. Unless you count checking the mail. A lot of my friends going through their second pregnancies who have also been working out, were talking about only having gained about 10 pounds by the time they were 6 months along. I should have nothing to worry about. Right?

So imagine my surprise when the peanut pulled out our scale this weekend and made us all stand on it and, if it’s accurate, I’ve gained about 20lbs so far (officially started month seven today). WHAT? And why does it bother me so much? I really do feel like I’m more physically fit this pregnancy, the rings are still fitting (that’s a good sign, right?), and I’ve been craving much healthier foods this go-round.

I suppose this weight fascination of mine might have something to do with the fact that at my last visit, my nurse midwife came in perusing my chart and said “I wouldn’t worry too much about this amount of weight gain. It’s typical to put on the most about this time.” Great. I honestly hadn’t thought about it at all until she mentioned it. It felt like the equivalent of the “Are you okay? You look tired,” and we all know what that means.

When I go back in two weeks, I’m determined not to let that number scare me. I’m trying not to compare my belly to those of the two other mommies in my workout group due within a few days of myself and embrace it. After all, I lost the weight the first time around, I can do it again. And maybe this is just how my body does pregnancy.

Whatever it is, I’m having to talk myself into not paying attention to the scale again. Of course it hasn’t stopped me from my nightly bowl of ice cream, so I suppose it can’t be bothering me too much.

Speaking of ice cream…