Pardon the Interruption

Wow, has it really been that long since the last post?

In case you were wondering, I did not go into early labor, we weren’t on some swank babymoon and we did not float away in the great Atlanta flood of 2009, although areas surrounding our home were certainly affected.

We did, however, experience a power outage and power surge during a particularly “holy cow, did that just hit our house?” lightning strike that knocked out our DSL modem. And writing on dial-up? Heaven forbid.

I’m hoping to get back up to speed this week with posting now that we’re settling back into our new preschool, pregnancy pains version of normal routine. Until then, I’ll leave you with a little peanut story.

Last week, we had our parents’ night meeting at peanut’s preschool. I’d hired a babysitter – someone who had come recommended and I wanted to try out. While catching up on peanut’s antics while we were out, the sitter asked, “Do you have a cat?”

Me: “We did, why?”

Sitter: “Peanut didn’t kill the cat, right?”

Me: “Um, no. What did he say?”

Sitter: “Peanut told me: ‘We have a cat. I pushed her over, she purred, then she went to heaven.'”

Okay. First of all, this is not at all what happened. The poor kitty was old and very sick and peanut’s behavior toward the cat was actually quite gentle. Second, I’m not sure where this new obsession he has with our cat is coming from. He hasn’t asked after her since the weeks following her passing…until recently. Several times he’s asked when the kitty is coming home. I’ve tried to explain in the least scary terms possible for a three year old, but it’s obviously on his mind.

I’m hoping it doesn’t have anything to do with any fears he may have about the new baby or the changes he sees in me. Although, now that I think about it, I suppose there are some similarities to the cat’s inability to get off the couch and moaning in her last few days and my inability to get off the couch and moaning when I actually do manage to lurch from an awkwardly horizontal position and waddle down the hall.

It probably means the recent badgering we’ve been giving him on listening and keeping his hands to himself will finally sink in…in about nine or ten months. Appears we’re on quite a learning curve at chez High Heeled Mama.

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Pregnancy Week 33: The One Where I Panic

So, apparently there is going to be a baby in my house in about seven weeks.

WHAT?!

I have, indeed, been pregnant for 33 weeks so this should come as no surprise. And yet it is. Pregnancy is a weird state of motherhood purgatory. You see those two little lines on a home pregnancy test and immediately imagine snuggling little pink or blue bundles, the yummy smell that wafts off the soft spot and yearn to fold millions of teeny, tiny socks. Then you’re more tired than you’ve ever felt in your entire life and realize that THIS is how bears manage to hibernate all winter – they get THIS tired. Then you’re nauseous or get headaches or pee every five minutes. Then you are distracted by trying to find something to wear by your ever changing silhouette. You have doctor’s appointments, stretch marks, food cravings. Time passes and you can’t even remember how pregnant you are, you just know that the date circled on the calendar is a long way from now, so what difference does it make?

Pregnancy lulls you into a false sense of status quo as you pop your prenatals, head to the bathroom AGAIN and begin to accept the hip pain in bed as part of your new normal. Until the moment comes when you say, oh sh*t! There’s a real live hungry noisy human coming to our house. And coming soon!

*Deep breaths*

It’s not that I’m not preparing, it just seems like most of the preparations have to do with peanut – the move to the official big boy bed, the who do we call when we go into labor discussions, the purchasing of a book or two to try and get him ready for the changes to come, the reading up on how to make the transition as painless as possible… The actual idea of preparing for labor and where pumpkin’s going to sleep at night all seem really remote, like they are happening to someone else.

Luckily, my panic coincides with a visit from my mom later this week where we’ll take down all of the hand-me-downs, organize what’s appropriate for baby, pop open that bottle of Dreft and make some lists of what we still may need. And when I get weepy about peanut not being my baby anymore as I picture each milestone that corresponds to each outfit, there will be someone who has been through it to hug me and share in the excitement of a new baby. In other words, help is on the way.

Until then, I’m painstakingly making my way through an entirely too long to-do list that doesn’t even include the normal stuff I need to, you know, do. And only sometimes giving in to the urge to call the hubby at work freaking out about all that needs to happen between now and the arrival.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t possibly predict how it’s going to be until pumpkin is physically here in all his newness. It’s just going to have to be sink or swim, right? And let’s face it, there are only so many water wings a girl can put on before jumping in.

As they say, hope floats.

Or maybe they don’t say that and it was just the title to some cheesy movie. Oh well. Whatever gets you through the day when the wine is off limits!

Remembering

I have written about 9/11 before. As always, today is a day of remembrance. A day when I can nearly feel the fabric of the navy blue suit I was wearing, the warmth of the September son, the quiet of the city, the empty highways later that afternoon, the taste of the fear in the back of my throat, the smell of the smoke rising from the hole in the Pentagon.

As usual, my kids are teaching me lessons about remembering. While it is important that we reflect and remember and memorialize those who were lost, it is important to also recognize that their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of the men and women who are still fighting this battle in Afghanistan, allows us to experience hope. Hope in rebuilding. Hope in growing stronger. Hope in the future. Hope in life.

This morning I dropped peanut off at preschool. I told him while he was in school, I was going to the doctor. When he hopped out of the car, he took the carpool lady’s hand and I told him to have a good day. He turned and with a big smile said: “Have a good day at the pumpkin doctor, mommy!”

The poor carpool lady didn’t know what the heck he was talking about and I left the carpool line crying again, only this time through laughter.

So this morning, I will smile thinking of my child’s innocence and silliness, I will have the nurse midwife leave the heartbeat doppler on my belly a little longer and I will take a moment to relish the simplicity of these things.

And I will remember. I will shed a few tears for those lives and the innocence lost. I will never forget. We can never forget.

First Day of School

Dear Peanut:

Today you started preschool. You have officially done something that your mother never did. When you figure out how to pee standing up, well, then you’ll have another one on me.

In the weeks and days leading up to the start of school, I was excited. Having time to myself again was like an oasis in the desert of no napping we’ve been experiencing since February. Other mothers in our circle worried they’d be weepy or find it hard to let go. I laughed it off. What were they thinking? I was about to taste freedom. I counted down the days.

And then I woke up this morning. It was upon me. You were going to have this new adventure that I would have no part in other than as chauffeur. You were going to have experiences that I wouldn’t be able to witness. You were going to leave me.

Your daddy and I took the obligatory first day photos on the front porch that you didn’t want to sit still for. Typical. You insisted when I buckled you in the car seat that I was going to school with you. I breezily reminded you that you went to school by yourself and mommy would be going to the dentist. Your daddy and I drove you together. As we approached the front of the drop-off line, I began to tense up, anticipating the tantrum that would ensue when you saw that mommy wasn’t, in fact, going to school with you.

The carpool lady opened the car door. You loudly announced:

“This is my school!” Then you walked off, hand-in-hand, with this stranger, bag slung across your shoulder, head moving around as you took it all in, not looking back once.

And I cried. I cried because you were doing exactly what I wanted you to do. You were confident and secure. You were headed off to learn and grow and continue to develop the you-ness that I fall more and more in love with every day. Yet part of me wanted badly to hold on. To snap you back in that seat and speed off. To pretend it never happened and cancel that tuition check.

The best part of being your mommy is what I learn from you. Today, I learned to let go. This new separate journey that we will take three days a week means you will have more to share, I will have more to give and together, we will forge new paths in this relationship between mother and son.

By the time I picked you up, I couldn’t wait. Not because I’d missed you – I mean, it was quiet without you, but I also managed to get my teeth cleaned and spend an hour doing nothing, which was really nice – but I couldn’t wait to hear about your day.

And you didn’t disappoint. You were covered in paint from face to knees and beaming when you climbed in the car. You insisted on holding your bag all the way home. You excitedly told me all about the “dirt” you played in with a dump truck, the playground, that you painted a bus and a bee, there was a Dora potty and had snack at a table.

I am so proud of you, peanut. You are taking the first steps on your own journey, armed with whatever it is that your daddy and I are trying to teach you, and I have no doubt you will find joy, success and perhaps a bit more paint.

Good luck this year, peanut!

Do Penguins Wear Heels?

Yesterday was peanut’s meet and greet at his new preschool. I spent the morning over thinking everything — where were the forms? how many things should I volunteer for? should we do carpool with a new baby on the way and a therefore unpredictable November ahead? what should peanut wear? what should I wear? Really. It was out of control, adolescent nonsense that I’m blaming on my hormones because even I was annoying myself with these non-stop, non-important mini-crises.

Needless to say, I spent more of my morning analyzing what outfit looked nice (i.e., which maternity top was clean, without sweat or food stains and actually matched a maternity bottom with the same criteria) without looking like I was trying too hard that I didn’t drink enough water.

The meet and greet went well. Peanut loved his classroom; indifferent on his teachers because he was much more interested in the race cars, tool box and books (for the record, I thought they were lovely) and there was a good group of moms. After we settled carpool decisions (opted out) and volunteered for class parties and reading assignments (pushed into the spring), we headed out to the library to kill some time before meeting the hubby for lunch.

Whatever I had had to drink in the morning kicked in…while sitting in construction traffic on the way to the hubby’s office. By the time we got to a bathroom, I was in the throws of that wonderful pregnancy dichotomy of being slightly dehydrated while also having an extremely full bladder. For me, this combo results in some fun cramping and eventually a few visits from my good friends Braxton and Hicks, killjoys that they are.

While, um, relieving myself of the bladder pressure, pumpkin did the strangest sort of flip – think Olympic diver doing a somersault in a pike position with a twist – that I paused for a moment waiting for my water to break. Thoughts of preemies and NICU’s and hospital lights flashed in my mind and then it was over. Pumpkin settled into his new position. We had lunch and I headed home to lay down with a gallon of water and my feet up to put a stop to the BH contractions.

By afternoon, I was fine. Except for one, teeny, tiny thing. I’ve officially entered the waddle phase.

I remember the moment it happened with peanut, too. One night, I got up from the couch and headed for the bathroom and there it was, taunting me on the way down the hall and back. Yesterday, I started to notice in the afternoon but tried to deny it. By my 1:45AM bathroom break there was no mistaking it. Whatever Olympic training pumpkin was doing in there shifted something in my pelvis.

Ah, pregnancy. Along with the joy of in-uterine hiccups, no periods and thicker hair, there’s the annoyance of hip pain, skin tags (that peanut keeps pointing out and calling “boogies”) and the waddle. Next on the list: swelling. Ew, the dreaded cankles.

Guess that means waddle or no, I better put some heels on now before I can’t wear anything but slippers. Would heels in the preschool drop-off line be inappropriate?

Thank You Ohio Supreme Court!

If you haven’t already read this little gem of a judgement regarding the termination of a breastfeeding mom who took too many pumping breaks, well, all I can say is read it and weep (especially when you add in this story that indicates employees taking similar breaks for a smoke weren’t similarly terminated). I am honestly not writing to argue the merits of the case – maybe her termination was technically justified, but how a company can afford not to work with its female employees (no matter if they work on the factory line or in the C-level suite) to schedule breaks that work within their physical needs (and yes, lactation is physical and pumping when away from baby for more than three hours is most definitely a need) is just beyond me.

Rather, I’m writing to thank the Ohio Supreme Court for bringing to my attention that men have apparently gained the ability to lactate and therefore share in the breastfeeding responsibilities of infants. How else could you explain this statement in their ruling:

“Breastfeeding discrimination does not constitute gender discrimination.”

I can only assume they mean breastfeeding discrimination isn’t gender specific because both genders can breastfeed? Awesome! Pumpkin is due two months from today and I will be thrilled to share with the hubby those middle of the night feedings, sore nipples and milk stains on the front of my shirts from leakage just when the kid sleeps through even 15 minutes of his routine feeding. Score for me, right?!

This announcement comes just in time and really begs the question, why have you boys been holding out on us so long?

So thanks, Ohio Supreme Court, for outing men’s role in breastfeeding for all us sleep-deprived, engorged and lanolin-layering moms.

Although I suppose this means that Totes/Isotoner and companies across the country might need to consider pumping breaks for their male employees, too. I have a sneaking feeling if this were the case, it would get done in a heartbeat.