Brothers Back and Forth

It’s getting to be crunch time, folks. Tomorrow I will have another checkup, putting us a week closer to Little Pea’s arrival. Tonight, the inversion table was finally moved out of the nursery to make room for actual baby stuff. Last week I did loads of infant laundry and there are still boxes of clothes and breastfeeding bottles to wash. There are still lots of things on my to do list, though, and a bit of anxiety is finally starting to creep in; this kid is coming soon and we have yet to buy an infant car seat, find Connor’s old footie onesies, and generally prepare the house for the arrival of our new arrival.  But, we will all be fine regardless of the state of our house or the laundry and dish piles. We have family down the street, convenience stores down other streets, and at least a smidge of know-how (and the internet) to help Little Pea survive and thrive.

I’m feeling less anxious about how Connor will react to his little brother. Every night he gives my belly a smattering of kisses and at least one hig before bedtime. The other night he put a small hand on each side of my belly and gave a little squeeze while saying “Smooshie smooshie.” He has been offering his little brother food and cars and asking him to come out and play. I’m fully expecting battles over time and toys, but that, too, will pass. At this point, aside from relearning breastfeeding and the tricks to sleep training, one of my bigger concerns is what to do with an infant in the middle of winter. Connor and I took countless walks outside; I wouldn’t be so bold in January. Any ideas?

While Little Pea continues to grow, we continue to marvel at ‘Rado’s intellectual and verbal advances. The kid is a trip. Over the past few nights after we’ve put him to bed, he’s been reciting a stream of “Good night, Mom and Dad and Blue Boy’s” and “Love you, Mom and Dad and Blue Boy’s” until the door to his room is completely closed. Even after that, he has to get one more “Good night” or “Love you” in like the guy who has to have the last clap at the end of a performance (oh god, he IS like his dad). He declares that “I have a big problem” when he pushes one of his cars out of his reach or rolls a ball under the bed. He will try to disarm an encroaching tickle monster by smiling and saying, “Hi, Mom” or “Hi, Dad.” Kids can be so cool.

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My mind in this post is a microcosim of what I imagine life will be like with two kids – constantly bouncing between thoughts and activities and issues between the two of them. Will it mean double the guilt, heartache, and headaches? Hopefully just one-and-a-half times all of that. Although, I’ve heard it’s more like four times all that. Regardless, it will be my guilt, heartache, headache, love, and life to own. I’m looking forward to it. It will be nice to embrace it and hold something close after months of expanding distance between my arm span and the things I love.

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The Holiday Cliche & Parenting

Written on 11/30/13:
The kitchen smells like pumpkin pie (Marie Callendar’s on sale after Thanksgiving, bitches!), holiday classics are streaming through the speakers, and there are boxes of Christmas decorations in our living room just waiting to be busted into. Oh man, and Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song has just started to play; that’s my jam. I’m in full holiday mode. There isn’t a flake of snow on the ground, but Connor and I have already watched Frosty the Snowman and The Little Drummer Boy today. Love for this time of the year is in his DNA. I have some pointless regrets about Little Pea’s birthday coming at such a packed time of year, but he will be born when people are full of holiday warmth, hot cider, and festive cookies. Doesn’t seem like such a bad time of year to be born after all.

Z and I have debated the commercialization of the holiday, but no matter where you stand on the subject I believe that if you hold onto any shred of the meaning of the season you can enjoy giving even if you’re standing at a long checkout line or waiting to click the “Submit” button on your online order or as you pull your umpteenth batch of cookies from the oven way too late at night. Hopefully, though, the real joy comes from reconnecting with yourself and others, because taking time to appreciate yourself is just as important – if not more so – as giving someone else a hug, kiss, or pat on the back. I hope I say “I love you” and “Thank you” as much all year as I do in November and December. It doesn’t matter, though. Saying it at all and meaning it at any time is makes living worthwhile.

Written on 12/4/13:
It’s hard to make many plans for Christmas and New Year’s because we don’t know when Little Pea will make his arrival. I’ve heard people say that if you carry your baby a certain way it’s likely to be a boy or a girl. Even though we know Little Pea is a boy, I think I’m carrying him in my booty. Whenever I get up from a reclining position my butt cheeks ache when the most strenuous thing I’ve done all day was try to put my socks on, which can be hella difficult with basically a watermelon under your shirt. Heck, getting up from a reclining position is a workout in and of itself at this point.

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I’m comforted by the thought of Little Pea’s infancy; what I will be concerned with after he’s born is purely his survival. It’s so primitively simple – he needs to eat, sleep, and be cleaned. Done. On the other end of the spectrum is ‘Rado. Eating, sleeping, and staying acceptably clean are givens – what concerns me now is his social development and how to deal with his toddler ‘tude and anger. When my nephew was younger he would “hulk out,” meaning he would clench his fists and jaw and just shake for a few seconds. Connor does that. He will also clench his teeth and say, “You listen to me, mom/dad,” he will throw things on the floor to observe our reactions, and he will say “No!” with the voice of a possessed elf. Standard toddler fare, right? I just don’t know how to handle it or if it’s even worth handling right now. Can I use the “I’m pregnant” excuse for everything I want to run away from?

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Then again, it’s ridiculous to think that we won’t make mistakes as parents. If to err is human, what is to be expected when an older, tainted, uncertain human is completely in charge of an innocent, utterly trusting, new one? It’s great, the variety in the world because of crazy, good, honest, loving, parenting parents.

Little Pea Emotions

I don’t feel that I’ve given enough credence to little Pea.  Struggles with Connor and kids in general will always be in the news, but my pregnancy is in its third trimester and will soon be over.  I’m feeling large, not sleeping as well as I used to, having difficulties bending over (oh the joy this brings when going to the bathroom in the middle of the night or in shrinking scrub pants), swearing a lot, and running out of clothes to wear as we head into the colder months.  I exercised a lot when I was pregnant with Connor.  These days, staying awake all day and getting anything done seems like enough.  I give myself a big pat on the back for putting a load of laundry in the washer.  Moving that load to the dryer in the same day deserves a high five and maybe a bowl of Chocolate Cheerios.  

Being pregnant with a toddler running around can get tricky.  I haven’t had those quiet moments where I can focus on sending love and peace and calm and whatever else I wish for Pea from my mind to my belly.  I’ve stole a few seconds here and there for my peace of mind, but that same mind can’t help but compare this pregnancy with every aspect of my last one.  How much of Pea’s personality is developed in utero?  Since I’m not paying as much attention to and taking as much care of myself as I feel I should be, I imagine it to be an inordinate amount.  My mind conjures him up to be an emotional mess much as I myself am feeling these days.  Do you believe you get what you give when it comes to building a baby?  Lord save me if that’s true.

I’ve been particularly anxious about this given the emotions I’ve bulldozed through in the past week. Not being able to let loose is starting to catch up with me. I’m feeling vindictive and jealous towards those who can have a beer whenever, who can and do go out at night after Connor goes to bed, and those who do those things without me. It makes me feel crazy and sad and mean and tyrannous. Is that what I’m being? Can some concessions be made on my behalf? I’ve been haggling with these feelings for the past few days and can do nothing but feel like a bitch about them while still carrying them on my shoulders because I feel there’s at least a shred of validity to these feelings. If only I could get to sleep so I could sleep them off.

Little Pea, I hope for you to be brave, kind, strong, smart, and loving.  I will do my best to impart those things upon you, but please do your part to accept those gifts or, even better, just be born with them to make my job a little easier. I’m not holding out for this to be an easy job, though. We all know it’s not. I guess what I’m asking for at this point is forgiveness, patience, and acknowledgement of my simple humanity. Oh, and cut me some slack when my hormones are trying to normalize. Thanks.