I had every intention of making the last couple days before baby gets here a fun and memorable time for the kids. But OH MY GOSH. My kids have been demons.
Saturday morning, I doled out five time-outs and took away TV privileges all before 9am. They still continued to fight over everything and argue with me at every turn for the rest of the day. They even managed to fight over the proper method for putting away Legos. SERIOUSLY?!
Today wasn't much better either. I'm seriously starting to worry that there is no way I'll survive my four month maternity leave. I feel like a yelling monster. I'm SO sick of enforcing time-outs, administering reprimands, and mediating every little dispute.
But despite the frustrations of the past couple weeks, there have been a couple shining moments.
A trip to the park - the last day there will only be the two of them:
And Ryan being goofy. Ryan: "Mom, I a robot!"
I'm kind of in denial about what's going to happen tomorrow. Maybe that's a good thing. Less time to be anxious.
But denial or not, we are at least ready! Today I packed baby's diaper bag, my hospital bag, Jacob's school backpack, an overnight bag for the two big kids (sleeping at grandma's for most of the week), and finished assembling the car seat.
Ugh, I'm ready too (40 weeks)
Yay! After tomorrow, I won't be pregnant anymore!! And most likely, I will never be pregnant ever, ever again. My surgery is at noon tomorrow and I'm not allowed to eat anything after midnight tonight. Not that I'd be able to eat tomorrow anyway. Ahh, this is really happening?
Baby will be here Monday. Monday at noon to be precise. It's so weird to know the exact time, down to the hour. But it's also highly convenient. (One--and the only--point for C-sections).
I took yesterday and today off. Yesterday I had hoped to have a fun day with the kids. Ryan stayed home with me while Jake was in school. Ryan had a million tantrums which included: screaming "I hate you" repeatedly in Target, crying at the top of his lungs for five minutes (also in Target) for no apparent reason, throwing himself dramatically on the kitchen floor every time I refused to give him Doritos, and telling me that everything was "stupid."
Wow. Jacob's terrible twos (which were actually terrible threes) were never this..... terrible.
Finally it was time to pick Jake up from school. I decided to surprise the boys with a fun putt-putt golf adventure. They fought and whined the whole time. Jacob threw down his golf clubs in disgust and had his own set of tantrums.
Let's just say that yesterday was not my finest mom day. I put the boys to bed at 7:30, cried for half an hour, and then spent the rest of the evening wondering what the hell I was going to do with another child when the children I have drive me so insanely batty. What the hell have I done?
Even though I'm supposed to be on maternity leave, tomorrow I have to go into work and sit through a lengthy court hearing. I was asked if I was available to do some work after the hearing. I'm pretty sure my face screamed, "what part of 'maternity leave' do you not understand." But all I managed to say was, "I wasn't planning on it...." HINT. HINT.
Everything is uncomfortable. Everything hurts. But the thought of a C-section, and everything that procedure brings, makes me want to put Monday off until forever. My C-sections have never been easy. The first time (my emergency C-section), I ended up with an infection and a fever. The second time, I lost so much blood that my doctor almost ordered me to have a blood transfusion. In ten days, things will be better. But getting there is going to be so hard. So. Hard. Do I take the anxiety medicine they will offer me and suffer through those extra side effects...or do I suck it up, again?
This reminds me, I have to start taking stool softeners right now. Popping them like crazy until Monday. Because there is nothing worse than having to poop after someone has cut through all of your abdominal muscles.
Ryan is my baby. Having another baby makes me feel slightly like I am betraying him. Tears. Damn you, hormones.
I'm worried that I'm going to be so overwhelmed that I might not love the new baby. But I'm also pretty sure that I already do love him. I'm being absurd, right?
My husband is awesome. We have been married for seven years and I feel like this year has been our best. We are so different but we make such a great team. The strength of our relationship may have something to do with the fact that neither of us really have friends. He isn't bad to look at either.
I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm overwhelmed. And sometimes I feel absolutely nothing. Everything on social media pisses me off. I'm pretty sure I have pre-partum depression. I vaguely remember having these same feelings last time around.
You will be here in eleven days. Unlike many of your baby peers, you will not have the luxury of a fancy nursery prepared and decorated with much care, energy, and thought. In fact, despite your nearing arrival, you do not even have a place to sleep yet. There is not one inch of this house devoted solely to you.
You will not get hours of one-on-one time from your parents. You will not be the center of our lives like your oldest brother once was. In fact, you will often be an afterthought. A tagalong. Your schedule will be roughly forged into our daily activities. I will have to pry you from the warm house early each morning to take your brother to school. You may feel like merely a piece of luggage at times, as you sleep (or cry) in your carseat as we cart you around all over town from activity to activity.
You will not benefit from long, lazy days at home lounging in the living room and being gazed upon as we tend to your every whim. In fact your own schedule will rarely be accommodated to perfection. You will take naps in the car while errands are under way. Your diapers will not be changed instantly. Your cries will not be immediately tended to.
As your birthday approaches, I most frequently see that day as the end of my pregnancy rather than the beginning of you. As a working mom, I don't have a lot of time to think about and dwell on the event much. Don't get me wrong, we are all anticipating that day and counting it down. But mostly, this takes place in quiet. In our silent thoughts as we cook meals, make sure homework is completed, fold laundry, create grocery lists, carpool, answer calls from clients, and send important emails from our office computers.
We all know that the day you are born will be a day of something big and important. We just don't know how to conceptualize that in our present world of chores and mundane daily tasks. Factually we know that your birthday will bring forward a brand new human that will forever change us and be bonded to us. But despite our knowledge of how the whole thing works (and despite having done this twice before) we still cannot conceptualize it or understand it.
Don't let any of what I just said fool you. You are wanted. You are loved. We are eager to meet you. Although we cannot provide you with everything your oldest brother had (unlimited undivided attention and your own designated space), we cannot wait for the moment that the doctor lifts you over the bright blue curtain and we get to see you for the first time, filmy, wrinkly, and covered in white goo.
I can't wait until we finally settle on a name that will be yours forever. A name we will use over and over as we call to you lovingly, scold you, or brag about you to coworkers and friends. A name we will put on birthday cakes and school applications. We don't have that name picked out yet. And it amazes me to think that your name, so unknown and undecided at this moment will become so familiar to us.
I feel the same way about you. Although you exist right now, I do not know a thing about you. And as foreign and unfamiliar as you are to us now, you will become an integral and familiar part of our lives. A part that someday I will not be able to imagine being without.
As we go about our business as usual and as your birthday slowly creeps up on us, it become even more strange to realize that in the course of a couple hours, with transformation of one Sunday into one Monday without much fanfare or buildup, as the rest of the world goes about its business, our lives (and yours) will change forever.
This weekend I had the best of intentions. I had planned to finally start getting ready for baby. Because, you know, I'm only two weeks away from D-day and had done absolutely NOTHING. From the look of our house, you wouldn't expect that we would be adding a new person to our family in exactly 14 days.
So, I thought I would take the time to cross off all the things on my half-assed baby list. Like: set up the bassinet, get the car seat ready, wash all the newborn clothes and blankets, pack a hospital bag, and buy bottles and baby shampoo and other baby accessories.
What did I actually manage to do? As I was putting the boys' dirty laundry into the washing machine, I haphazardly threw in three newborn outfits. Sorry new baby, no Dreft for you. So. At least baby has three things to wear when he gets here. Aside from diapers and boobs, newborns really don't need much of anything else anyway, right? Places to sleep, like cribs and bassinets are overrated anyway.
In other news, my two year old frequently tells us that things are stupid. He also likes to say that he hates us. He literally turns from sweet toddler giving me hugs and forehead rubs to devil child kicking and screaming his extremities in wild protest in just a matter of seconds. It's quite impressive.
Even though I didn't manage to do much in baby preparation, I did spend three hours at a pumpkin patch with my family. And I don't regret my unwise time management decisions one bit. Apparently, it's much more important to get ready for Halloween than it is to get ready for the birth of your third child.
Last year we discovered The Best pumpkin patch in the entire country. And if it's not really The Best, well, it's pretty far up on the list. There was bouncy houses, mechanical bull riding (even for kids), zip lines, monster trucks, a zombie safari (I've never been brave enough to check that out), a jump pillow, camel rides, pony rides, a cow train, hay rides, duck races, pig races, a petting zoo, long slides, a playground, go carts, tether ball, a live band, goat feeding, food ... oh, and pumpkins, duh!
I took over 200 pictures at the farm today but I promised myself that I would only post my favorite ten pictures (it's your lucky day!).
It appears that Jake was just not cut out to be a bull rider. Out of three attempts, his longest ride was 2 seconds.
So tall. This settled once and for all an ongoing debate I have with my husband. He insists he is 6 feet tall. I know he's only 5'10." I win.
Cow train made with oil cans pulled by a tractor (not pictured)
Accidental action shot.
Daddy giving the kids a lesson in tether ball.
Zip line! Jacob flapped his arms like a bird for the first half of the ride and thought he was hilarious.
My babies this year.
So big compared to last year:
I found a pumpkin just my size!
I left pumpkin selection to the experts. They took their job very seriously.
Obligatory family shot. And my new favorite picture :)
Today, I picked Jacob up from after-school care and as we walked to the car, this is what followed:
"Did you have a good day at school?"
"What did you guys do today?"
"Well, guess what? On the bus this girl's pants were unzipped and she didn't even know it and me and another person who is a girl saw her UNDIES!"
[Really kid?! I haven't seen you in nine hours and THIS is what you want to tell me?!]
"And during free time, I just wanted to sit at my desk and not play. And Mrs. P asked me if I was ok and I said I just didn't feel like playing. So she told me to come see her and count to 100. I counted all the way to 100 and she gave me a.......[Jacob paused for dramatic effect].....A STICKER!"
[Wow, a whole freaking sticker]
"And later we played Duck, Duck, Goose but the girls think Nick is cute so they picked him like ten times and they only picked me two times. Sigh. It's not fair."
[Really, I had no idea Duck, Duck, Goose was so riddled with hidden agendas. Hmmm, that just might explain why I was NEVER picked]
"And then during craft time, Madison took a glue stick and rubbed it all over her lips like it was lipstick and the teacher got mad."
[The teacher should give her super glue next time]
Jacob's school stories are the highlight of my days. Whenever I ask him how school was, I just never know what kind of answer I will get. My favorite stories are what I call Madison* stories. Apparently she is this girl in Jacob's class who has never been parented a day in her life. She sounds like an absolute disaster on two feet. And everyday, without fail, Jacob tells me some crazy thing that Madison did in class.
So far, since school started, Madison has:
Used a glue stick as lipstick
Pooped all over the classroom toilet
Colored on the wall
Stuck a crayon up her nose
Stuck a piece of bark up her nose
Tried to cut her lips off with scissors
Told the teacher that she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to do and stomped out of the room (which landed her in the principle's office)
And these are just the things Jacob has TOLD me about....I totally understand now why they say public school teachers are so underpaid.
Can I just ask one question? How come no one ever told me that having a Kindergartner would be so much fun? I've always known and treasured the joys of babies and toddlers (even when they are acting contrary, I just love that age). But in my 12 years of babysitting kids of ALL ages, I never appreciated the joys of Kindergartners. That is exactly what Jacob is right now-- a joy. I can't describe him in any other way.
I genuinely have fun talking to him and listening to his stories and observations. He is old enough to hold interesting conversations and actually contribute. But he is still young enough that he actually wants me to be with him at school. I am now convinced that Kindergartners are the perfect age. They are the best of toddlers and the best of big kids combined into one.
It was raining when I picked Jake up from school. He was so bummed he couldn't play outside. So I told him to take off his shoes and socks and just go play in the rain. He looked at me like I had just offered him a giant cruise ship full of lollipops. Here in Seattle, we can't let a little rain stop us or else we'd never leave the house!
Before bed, I pulled out some phonics books Jacob got for his birthday and pointed to a word and asked Jacob if he could read it, just out of curiosity. He looked at it, sounded out the letters in his head, and read it with ease. I was shocked. I pointed to another word and another word with the same results. One month into Kindergarten and this kid can read! What the heck?!
I really enjoyed being Mom this weekend. I mean I always love being a mom, but some days are easier to appreciate than others. This weekend was far from perfect, there were times I wanted to scream, times I DID scream, and one very low moment where after a difficult and long shopping trip with both kids, I lost my keys somewhere IN my car and broke down sobbing in the middle of a parking lot at 7pm (spoiler: a good Samaritan stopped and helped me find them). But luckily, days as a mom are not defined by the valleys. They are defined by the many peaks that inevitably outshine everything else.
On Saturday we celebrated Jacob's sixth birthday. Six doesn't seem very old. Personally, I don't have a ton of memories of being six. But relatively, when I think about the day my first baby was born, six seems ancient. He's so tall and independent and capable and basically living a life completely separate from us now that he is in school. I don't even know the people he spends all day with (music teacher, computer teacher, classroom helpers, classmates). It's so odd to not be fully 100% immersed in your big kid's life. It's also so odd to look at your own kid and realize that somewhere along the way, he's become a real person and is no longer an extension of you.
What amazes me about Jacob are his emotional smarts. He is capable of understanding what other people are feeling, understanding how his actions affect how others are feeling, and shows genuine concern regarding the same. (Jacob told me the other day that their teacher gave each child a Skittle and Jacob gave his Skittle to another kid in the class for no reason other than to make him feel happy). I don't know how we are doing it, but we are raising an intuitive, sensitive, and caring child. And that makes me so proud. More proud than anything else. I've recently decided that as complicated and tough as being a mom may seem, the objective is simple and clear: teach my kids to love and be kind to other people. In my book, that is the benchmark which defines mommy success.
For Jacob's birthday we rented a party room at an indoor pool/gym. This was by far the easiest and least involved party EVER. First, Jacob is old enough to be a huge help and I totally took advantage of that. I made him pick out and assemble all the party favors and put him to work on what would have been most of my tasks. We ordered pizza from a place that was literally across the street. All that we had to bring was cake, drinks, eating utensils, and our swimsuits. The quickest and easiest party ever. And when we were booted out of the party room 2.5 hours later, we returned to a clean and organized home where we all took naps (it was heaven compared to the usual party chaos).
Family photo at the pool party room
Please note the frosting on his chin and the fact that there is no trace of baby whatsoever (sigh).
Watching Jacob open present was the highlight of the party for me (followed by listening to him dialogue with the adult guests- when did he become such a grow up?). With each gift that he opened, he displayed the most intense exuberance and excitement I have ever seen. He opened one gift that contained both a Lego set and a pack of gum. He opened the Lego set first and nearly screamed, while waving the set wildly in the air, "How did you know these are just the Legos I always wanted!" (even though I'm sure he hadn't seen this particular set ever before). And when he pulled out the pack of gum, he was equally wild with enthusiasm. He looked at the gum and exclaimed, "MINT gum! This is the best day of my life!" I was dying. He repeated a similar comment for every single gift, with genuine excitement.
"MOM LOOK. Star Wars Legos. These are my FAVORITE Star Wars Legos in the whole WORLD!"
"A NINJA TURTLE BOOK! I can read this with my new bedtime flashlight!!"
"A SUCKER! How did you know suckers are my favorite?!"
The party was a success, with many thanks to my husband who did all the clean up and behind the scenes work and supervised the kids in the pool - ha, like I would wear a swimsuit at 37 weeks pregnant! Thank to my gigantic protruding belly, I'm pretty much uncomfortable every second of the day unless I am laying horizontal... as a result, I'm not much help, I'm very slow, and I'm often cranky. My husband was seriously the best!
37 weeks. I'm SO SO SO sick of being pregnant. I will hire a hit out on the next person who stares at my belly for too long, tells me I look like I'm going to pop (OMGSTFU), or asks me any questions about the baby (Is it your first? do you know what you are having? When are you due?). Praying every day that my water magically breaks.
Today after church and Jacob's Sunday school class, we hoped on a ferry to Seattle to watch the last Mariner game of the season. This is the first time we've taken the kids to a game and it was not the disaster I predicted it would be.
Post-church donuts on the ferry
Daddy hugs and tackles
In fact, the kids were mostly very good. They enjoyed waving and cheering with the crowd although they were more entertained by making the bleachers their own personal jungle gyms and playing with a large cup full of ice than anything happening on the field. Ryan was solely interested in the mascot moose and kept asking me every ten minutes where he was.
Go King Felix!
Ryan's lap bed for naptime.
Baseball games are so thrilling
Despite our busy weekend, I got a lot of chores done. And for probably one of the first weekends in months we spent almost the entire weekend as a family. This is a far cry from a typical weekend in which my husband and I split duties, errands, and weekends chores (and occasionally the kids) and rarely see each other except for dinner and bedtime. It was so nice to be together, even if I was just folding laundry or doing dishes while my husband worked on the computer and the kids tackled each other.
I sometimes get so caught up on life and chores that I forget to just sit back and soak up my time with the kids. Lately, with a third baby on the horizon and with a winding down of my schedule, I'm trying really hard to just appreciate their little personalities and quirks and focus less on getting stuff done and checked off my to-do list.
Nothing like having another baby to remind you how quickly it all goes by. I barely remember Jacob as a baby. I don't want to believe that the same thing will happen with Ryan.
Ryan is going through a phase where he is very affectionate (actually, now that I think about it, he's always that way). He randomly likes to reach out for my hand and rub it softly up and down his cheek. He often asks me to hold him in a voice that just makes me melt. He also gives what I like to call "forehead nuzzles." If I'm sitting down, he will approach me, put his forehead against mine, and just press forward or rub his forehead back and forth. It's so weird but so cute at the same time. Also, he makes me lay down in his bed with him every night until he falls asleep. Most of the time it drives me crazy, but sometimes I really look forward to it. He wraps his arm around me, holds my hand, recaps bits and pieces of his day ("I have fun at the baseball game. I clap and eat a hamburger and wave my flag and saw the moose.") and drifts peacefully to sleep.
Right now he talks in the sweetest high-pitched voice. My favorite thing lately is how he uses the word "actually" in many of his sentences. For example, tonight he told me he wanted pizza. Then he said, "Actually, I want a corn dog. No, actually, I want pizza." It's pretty funny to hear that word come out of a two-year old's mouth. Yesterday, he waltzed up to me and exclaimed, "I'm playing dinosaurs. Actually, can you take me outside?" It reminds me of the "apparently" kid (look him up on Youtube, he's adorable).
People often ask me how I feel about having a third boy. They ask me if I was hoping for a girl. If I want to try for a girl. If I wish I had a girl. And, you know what, I'm sure girls are awesome. But I feel so full of love and life with the kids that I have that I've never once felt that I was missing out on something. In anticipation of our third boy's birth, I don't feel anything but fulfilled and thankful and blessed.