Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feeling the Feelings

I'm going to go out on a limb and state something really obvious.  Being a mom is hard.  Wonderful, yes.  But really frigging hard.  And I really don't think it matters if you are a stay-at-home mom or a work-outside-of-the-home mom.  Each has its challenges, and at the end of the day - you are raising a human being.  It's wonderful.  And hard.  All at the same time.

Most days I feel like I have two jobs.  One job pays me in dollars and the other one pays me in open mouth kisses, the handing off of chewed up food, and tantrums.  You might think that the job that pays me in dollars would be more stressful than the one that doesn't, but it's the opposite.  I sit at work and I'm thinking about Cam - wondering how his day might be going at daycare, and counting down the minutes until I get to hug and squeeze him at pick up.  I don't sit at home on the evenings and weekends thinking about work.  I'm confident in my abilities at my dollar paying job as a project manager, but I'm not always confident in my abilities and decision making skills as a mother.

I know I'm not alone, either.  All mothers face challenges, question their abilities and decision making, and at times - feel inadequate.  (And if a mother told me she didn't - I would call her a liar.)

One of my many challenges, is that Ryan's work schedule changes a lot, and he frequently has to work odd or extended shifts.  This week he started another round of swing shift (6pm - 6am).  This shift means a couple things for our family.  First, we see Ryan for about five minutes in the morning after he gets home and before we leave for daycare/work, and then we see him again for about 20 minutes after we get home from daycare/work and before he leaves.  Second, when/if he is home on the weekends, he is utterly exhausted and trying to catch up on sleep.  Third, and perhaps the more obvious, is that this means that I'm flying solo on the parental duties.  Maybe this makes me sound like a big 'ol whiner, but when you throw in pregnancy, swim lessons, meals, baths, and the bedtime routine, all after a full day at work - it makes for one very tired mommy.

Normally, I feel like I keep my shit together.  I go about my evening, and enjoy the time I get to spend with my little man cub.

Tuesday, however, I did not keep my shit together.  At all.

I picked Camden up from daycare, raced home to see Ryan for five minutes, and then got Cam and I back in the car to go to swim lessons.  Just pulling into the parking lot at the YMCA is enough to give someone a panic attack, because holy New Year's Resolutions.  Not a spot to be found.  I circled and circled the massive parking lot, and in hindsight, I should have taken this as a flashing red sign to wave my white surrender flag and go home.  Instead, we found a spot and went inside where I quickly discovered I forgot (of all things) a swim diaper.  Swim lessons were all good and fun (after I borrowed a swim diaper from a fellow mom), and as a bonus - my mom was there to help get Cam dried and dressed afterwards.  Lucky for me, having her help gave me the extra ten seconds I need to wipe the smeared mascara off of my face, so I could avoid walking out of the place looking like a psychopath.

I got Camden into the car and the thought of going home to prepare dinner made me want to rip out my hair, so we drove across the street to Panera.  It was while sitting in the blessed drive-thru line that I responded to an earlier text message from Tiff.  I don't remember exactly what I said but I know it included, "chaotic," "in the Panera drive-thru," and "I have nothing left."  I should mention here that I always feel bad whining to Tiff about being an exhausted mother.  She stays at home with her busy-body boy Huck, and I don't know how she does it.  I'm pretty sure that if I were a stay at home mom, I would "have nothing left" every single day.

We got home, unloaded, settled, and started in on our dinner.  Cam wasn't super interested in his meal (shocker!), and was more interested in playing with his toys.  He wasn't being naughty by any means, but if he did something that I would normally, calmly, tell him not to do - there was no calmness in me to be found.  Only me raising my voice and my already short patience fuse was burning shorter and shorter.    

Time to start the bedtime routine quickly arrived, so we hopped upstairs.  Camden continued to be in his normal, turkey-ish spirits, only slightly fighting me when I was trying to brush his teeth because "I do it" (he wanted to do it himself) and asking for more "wotion".  Instead of letting him do it himself for a minute, and giving him another dab of lotion, I raised my voice yet again, clearly losing my cool.  We sat in the rocking chair to read books, and rocked together all snuggly for a few minutes afterwards.  Cam was calm and happy, totally oblivious that five minutes earlier I was about to lose it, and giving me more kisses than I could have ever asked for.  And more kisses than I clearly deserved.  I gave him one last squeeze, laid him down, said "I love you, buddy," turned off the light, and closed the door.

The door wasn't even completely closed before the ugly crying face made its really ugly appearance.

In that moment, the last three hours came crashing down and I felt like the worst mother in the world.  Seriously, I spend three hours with him this afternoon/evening and I can't handle it?   

Don't confuse yourself and think that this was my first rough day rodeo.  I've had plenty of days where I thought I could have "done better," or wished that I could have a redo, but right then - I felt absolutely terrible.  Terrible because I felt like I squandered the few hours I get with Camden.  Terrible because he didn't do anything to deserve my frustration.  And terrible because the days of him being the sole recipient of my mommy love are numbered.  I won't even go into the part about me questioning my abilities to bring another baby into our house and parent two kids.

As I was blubbering to myself in our bedroom (texting Tiff and Cara, practically begging them to tell me that they've felt like this too), I knew that my feelings of inadequacy and my inability to cut myself some slack were borderline ridiculous.  Maybe even a few toes over the line, ridiculous.  I know pregnancy hormones were playing their dirty tricks on me because until this week, I've overall felt very even keeled and not at all like a dramatic, hormonal pregnant woman.     

No one (pregnant or otherwise) can keep it together all the time.  No one has unlimited patience.  We're all allowed to have bad/off days.  And I know all of these things.  I was telling myself all of these things (as were Tiff and Cara), but the more I tried to reassure myself that I am a human being, the worse I felt.  I finally hopped in the shower, drank a bunch of water (while trying to trick myself into thinking it was a delicious pinot noir), read my book, swore that the next day would be a fresh one, and went to sleep.

I vowed to take tonight night off from swim lessons - to give myself a break and just have a quiet night at home.  Clearly, I'm still reflecting and feeling all the feelings from Tuesday.  I know I'll get over myself eventually and move on -- probably to feeling all the feelings about bringing a new baby home.

I bet you can't wait to read about those feelings.

Take Luck,

Friday, January 23, 2015

Camden Says / 01

Every mother thinks their kid is cute and hilarious. I am no exception. 

Cam is pretty chatty. I'm amused by both the things he comes up with and how he says certain words. My hope is that some day he will be on the same level as Julia Patton. Although, this girl sets the bar mighty high. 

Talking about the baby in my belly...
Cam: (lifts up my shirt) Hi, baby!
Cam: (points to belly) Baby poo poo.
Cam: (pulls shirt back down) Baby cold. Brr! 

Trying to get him to get in the car to run an errand...
Me: Let's get in the car!
Cam: I drive!
Me: Uh, not today buddy.
Cam: Ok. Seat belts!

If he really wants to watch a movie or show and is denied, he will cock his head to the side and continue to repeat his request (and throw new ones out there in hopes that we will say yes) in a much higher-pitched voice than he normally speaks. "Bubble? Dora? Thomas? Movie? Monsters?" 

Anytime we are driving through a heavily wooded area he calls it the "rainfowest (rainforest)."

Hears any noise that he wasn't expecting....
Cam: (whips head around) What that noise?

During diaper or clothes changes he always asks for "wotion (lotion)" and says "I eat it. Dewicious (delicious)." I oblige his request with a small dab of lotion on his palm and say "Do not eat it. It is not delicious. It just smells delicious." And then he scrunches up his face when he "eat it" and it is indeed NOT dewicious. 

They must be praying at daycare because at dinner time last night he folded his hands, put his head down on the table (literally) and said, "Mommy, Daddy, Jesus, Amen."

Loves brushing his teeth - especially at bedtime. He asks for his "teepbrush  (toothbrush)" and his "poopaste (toothpaste)."

I cannot make this stuff up people. 

Cam has also started to tell me to "go away."  This is usually when I'm trying to get him to eat more breakfast/lunch/dinner.  For the record I do not find this cute or funny.  Just heartbreaking.

Take Luck,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fun Fail

There is no real point to this, other than I want to remember that one time we tried to venture out and take Camden to do something fun.  And failed miserably.  

On Saturday during Camden's nap, I called and asked my mom if she and my dad would be willing to watch Cam that night so Ryan and I could go have a dinner and movie date.  She happily obliged and we said we would drop him off around 5:00.

He woke up from his nap ready to rock-n-roll, and it was crummy weather-wise outside, so we got our things together and decided that we'd go bowling before dropping him off with Grammy and Papa.

We've been to the local bowling alley enough that Camden now knows where we are when we pull into the parking lot.  We walked into the bowling alley as a slew of birthday party guests were leaving, feeling confident that one little lane would be open for our use.  We get to the counter and are told there is a 45 minute wait for a lane.  Ha.  A 45 minute wait with this tornado child?  No, thanks.

We headed towards the door to leave and Camden started crying big 'ol tears, his hands desperately reaching out towards his beloved lanes, yelling, "Bowliiiiiing!  Bowliiiiiing!"  I had been carrying him at this point and had to pass him off to Ryan when he started flailing and kicking.  Many more tears were shed as we strapped him into his car seat and tried to explain that we would have to come back another time.

I felt really bad that we failed at our attempt to do something fun, and then had the idea to head to the local indoor play place (think bouncy houses).  We pulled into a mostly empty parking lot and were encouraged.  Until we got closer to the door and saw that "open play," had ended just 20 minutes ago.  We could see people inside, so like idiots, we went in and asked the lady at the front desk if we had indeed missed open play.  She assured us that we had, so we carried a distraught Camden out of another building.

We were really starting to feel like parents of the year at this point.

I was out of ideas, so Ryan suggested just heading to my parents' house to relax for a bit before heading to dinner.  They live across town from us, so this made sense.  We started driving towards their house and I was feeling extra bad about our failed fun attempts.   As a last ditch effort, I suggested we go drive through the local state park.  Normally, I would never have suggested this, but recently, thanks to Dora the Explorer (whom I loathe), Camden has started calling any heavily wooded area a "rainfowest (rainforest)," so I thought this might be a semi-redeeming consolation activity.

We pulled into the park and there were immediately ohhh's and ahhh's coming from the backseat.  He pointed out trees, squirrels, cows (I assure you there were none), fallen trees, clouds, and water, and informed us many times that we were in the rainfowest.

Feeling somewhat redeemed, we headed for the exit when Ryan spotted a big tree and suggested we get out and take a picture to document this experience. 


I'm sorry.  Who are you?  I was shocked.

Third time's a charm, I guess.

We dropped Cam off with my parents, went to the grocery store to stock up on movie theater treats, and went to dinner.  About halfway through dinner Ryan asked if I would rather rent a Red Box movie and just go home to be cozy instead of going to the theater.  I didn't hesitate in whole-heartedly saying "yes" - as long as I still got to eat my treats.
Take Luck,


Thursday, January 15, 2015

20 Weeks

I had intentions of writing and posting this post on Sunday, when I actually hit the 20 week mark.  But this week has been incredibly busy and somewhat chaotic, leaving me feeling more exhausted with each passing day.  I'm pretty sure we retrieved the Spawn of Satan (disguised as Camden) from daycare yesterday - so we all had an early bedtime.  Anyway, here we are (as I'm getting closer to 21 weeks) and I'm excited to think that I am halfway to being done with this pregnancy! 

Is Jon Bon Jovi singing in your head, or just mine?

So far, this pregnancy has flown by.  I don't know if that's thanks to the craziness of holiday season or if this time around I'm chasing around a toddler-sized tornado?  Maybe it's both.  Life in general just seems to be moving at warp speed these days and I can't imagine it's going to slow down once a little ladybug joins our family.
Other than feeling run down at the end of the day and really run down at the end of a week, I feel pretty darn good.  I feel big (especially when I look down), but then look in the mirror and realize that I don't look as big as I feel.  Not yet, anyway.
My boobs feel gigantic already, and for someone who has been small-chested her entire life, this is a big (ha!) deal.  I'm hoping this means that my body is preparing itself for a successful breastfeeding journey.  I think some people would consider the six months I breastfed/pumped to be successful, but it was crazy stressful and I was personally disappointed.  I don't think I had the best approach to feeding him and pumping in the beginning, and once I went back to work - my supply tanked.  I tried eating my weight in oatmeal, drinking insane amounts of water, and taking the supplement fenugreek to try and boost my supply.  I held onto breastfeeding for as long as I possibly could (and longer than I should have for my sanity's sake) - and in the end, the stress won and we switched to formula.  It took a huge weight off my shoulders, but I had wished very much that my journey with breastfeeding would have lasted a little longer.  For the record, I have nothing in the world against formula, and truly believe that it doesn't matter if you choose to feed your baby breastmilk or formula (your child, your choice!).  Anyway, we shall see, and for now I just get to shop for new (ahem, bigger) undergarments.

Stepping into the too much information zone - I have never been a gassy person, until now.  I don't know how, but somehow I am able to keep the gas controlled at work and then once I get home - it's like I don't even want to be in the same room as myself.  Ryan says it was like this with Camden's pregnancy too, but I'm just not sure I believe him.  He must be delusional from the fumes. 

I feel like I get up to go pee at least 38 times a day.  And twice overnight.
I'm feeling the baby move around more consistently, which is a feeling I will never get tired of (until later when I'm confident she will start wedging herself up under my ribs like her big brother did).  She is most active after lunch and when I'm laying down reading before bed.  At least this is when I notice it most.  Ryan has been able to feel it a few times, but I'm excited for the movements to get bigger so Camden can feel her too.  Something tells me he's going to freak the eff out.
We didn't discuss names too much prior to knowing if the baby was a boy or girl.  I had been keeping a running list in my phone - figuring we would use a boy's name that was leftover from our unused top choices from last time, and I would take note of any girl's name that even remotely peaked my interest.  After hearing that it was a girl and letting that sink in, I started rattling off the list to Ryan, feeling confident that he would at least like a few.  Ha, joke's on me.  (What was the first rule of leadership?  Assume nothing?  I really should learn to grasp this concept.)  He either immediately said "no," or grimaced and said "eh," to every single name I suggested - and my range of styles/types of names was super broad.  Given this, you can imagine my surprise (shock) when on Tuesday night when he randomly said, "I have a favorite name."  I also love the name, so we'll see.  I'm not ordering any monogrammed baby towels just yet. 

I remember having a lot of fears last time, mostly having to do with uncertainties - the what's, when's, and how's of it all.  This time I have fears, but they feel different.  I feel like I have an idea of what to expect with labor, delivery, the dreaded post-birth (all while knowing that things could be completely different!), and taking care of a newborn baby.  But what I fear most is how Camden will feel and react to having a baby sister, and sharing his time with Ryan and me.  Right now, he's as excited as a 2-year old could be and understands about as much as I would expect.  I can just see how upside down his little world will become when his baby sister comes home to his house, is being held by his mommy and daddy, and doesn't leave.
Anyway, that's life at the halfway point.  I'm hoping to reflect more every few weeks and regale you with the super exciting details of my pregnancy.

I know you are super excited.
Take Luck,

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Girl

I can't tell you how shocked I was to hear, "It looks like you're having a little girl" this morning.

Shocked, I tell you.  As in I audibly gasped.  I said that my gut told me this baby was another boy, and boy, was I wrong.

All day as I've been sharing our exciting news, I get more and more (and more and more) excited each time I say, "It's a girl!"

Someone seems to have known this little squish was a girl all along.  Anytime we have asked Camden if he wanted a baby brother baby sister - he always responded with, "sister."  I usually chalked his response up to the fact that we said "sister" last, so he was just repeating the last word he heard.  But then if you asked him if he wanted a brother, he would say, "no," and if he wanted a sister, he would say, "yes."  Weird, right?  

Things took a turn for adorable town when his Auntie Rachel got him a big brother book for Christmas and for the past week (without any sort of help or guidance) he's been referring to it as his "sister book."  I guess it really is his sister book now!

We can't wait to meet this little lady.

Take Luck,

Friday, January 2, 2015

Old Wives Tales

Our anatomy scan is on Monday morning.  My blessed OB let me schedule the appointment a week early (at 19 weeks) instead of waiting until the standard 20 weeks.  Ever since I scheduled the appointment, I have driven myself semi-crazy (as well as my close friends and family, I'm sure) speculating whether or not this babe is a boy or girl.

When I was pregnant with Camden, and at our 12 week ultrasound, the technician happened to spot some little testicles during her scan.  She said she just happened to catch baby in the right position and couldn't be anywhere near 100% sure, but that the baby could very well be a boy.  Knowing this made the weeks leading up to our 20 week ultrasound much less exciting than I had hoped.

My intuition tells me this is another boy, but really - I have no idea.  So, I thought it'd be fun to look at some of those crazy old wives tales that predict a baby's gender and see what they tell me.

Chinese Calendar: Girl

Heart rate - Above 140 or Below 140: Girl

Cravings - Sweet or Salty: Boy

Hair Growth on Legs - Slower or Faster: Girl

Emotions - Moody or Even KeeledBoy

Carrying Baby - High or Low: Boy

Belly - Wide or RoundBoy

Skin - Breakouts or Clear: Girl

Face - Round or Long and Lean: Boy

Headaches - No or YesGirl

Body Temperature - Feeling the same/warmer or ColderBoy

Ring on a String - Circular or Back and ForthBoy

I know I sound like a broken record, but looking back, I wish I had documented these predictions with Camden's pregnancy just to compare them to these.  I do remember doing the Chinese Calendar prediction with Camden's pregnancy and it said boy.

The biggest differences (or inconsistencies?) I see/remember are that Camden's heart rate was always above 140 and in the 145-150 range, I had slower hair growth on my legs, and awful breakouts on my face, neck, and back - all of which say it's a girl!  I remember feeling warmer in general with Camden's pregnancy - like he was my own personal space heater - and not this time!  Also, and perhaps the biggest hum-dinger is that with Camden I had a very dark linea nigra that went from my pubic bone up past my belly button.  This time, I have the fainted little line that only goes to my belly button.

You also hear that girls steal their mother's beauty.  That is totally debatable and I can't say for sure either way.  This mommy is has been feeling rather haggard lately.

Needless to say (because I've already said it), the anticipation is crazy and exciting.  This afternoon, I got my reminder call for my appointment and after the receptionist reminded me of the date and time, I wanted to say, "Yeah, there was no need to remind me.  This appointment has pretty much been tattooed on my forehead for the last five weeks."  Instead, I replied with a spritely, "I'll be there!"  

Either way, boy or girl - I will be happy and just want to see a healthy baby bouncing around in there.

I hate to wish the last of my vacation and the weekend away, but come on Monday!

Take Luck,
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