Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Musings on the Day Before...

Well, technically it's not the day before- it's two days before (or about 42 hours, but who's counting?) but I figured I should start this post today because the next few days are going to be hectic, especially with Halloween tomorrow.

Everyone keeps asking me, "So, are you ready?" I was definitely ready with the twins- after all, I had been sitting around for months on end, obsessing about a healthy outcome, and, towards the end, feeling VERY uncomfortable. I also had no idea what was about to hit me (namely, a couple of months- luckily only a couple- of sleep deprivation, mood swings, and the general feeling of total ineptitude). This time I'm in a happy place right now- we're in a great routine, I feel like I have my act together, I'm not in too much discomfort from the pregnancy itself....and frankly, I'm NOT looking forward to the first few weeks- the recovery, the hospital stay, the sleep deprivation.

Don't get me wrong- I am very excited to add to our family and if this baby brings even a fraction of the joy that our twins have brought to our lives, it will be more than enough to offset the initial "unpleasantries" of caring for a newborn. It's just that I hate change, and this is a big change. Once I get into a new routine and learn how to manage with three kids instead of just two, we'll be golden. But that unknown looms out there and without a crystal ball to tell me that things will be just fine, even more wonderful than I can imagine, I can't help getting nervous.

In the meantime, we're staying very busy trying to jam every ounce of quality time into these last few days. Lots of Halloween festivities, play dates, classes, running errands. It's certainly making this week go by a little too fast.

There's not much left to do in terms of preparation. Consistent with the Jewish superstition of not setting up much (if anything) in the house for a new baby ahead of time, we haven't really set up the room but everything is ready to go once the baby is born. Unlike last time when I wouldn't even allow anything baby-related into the house, I do have everything we'll need when we get home from the hospital on hand and organized. One of the most disconcerting feelings last time was coming home to a house that wasn't ready for our babies. My mother and mother-in-law attempted to organize things (wash and put away clothes, stock the supplies, etc.) but I had no idea where anything was and that just made me feel more inept and out of control. This time I'm at least getting somewhat prepared, if not totally set up.

I'm spending a lot of time trying to picture this baby and our new life with three kids. Whereas with the twins we knew we were having a boy and a girl, this time we've saved the gender as a surprise so I can't even picture that aspect of this baby. My gut says a boy- mainly because the heartrate has always been on par with what our son's was while in utero- but DH is guessing a girl. I wonder if I'm going to be totally thrown off if it's a girl. I know it's obviously a strong possibility, but I have just been assuming it's a boy for so long it will be somewhat of a surprise if it's a girl. I also wonder if this baby will look like either of our twins (who looked very different from each other) or if it will look more like me than either of them do. Will this baby be a "good" baby, sleeping well and easy to please, or, G-d forbid, will it be a difficult baby? Our twins were SO good- I feel like I'm due for a difficult baby. Hoping that's not the case, though.

What will I be like with this baby? Will I be more laid-back than with our twins? Will the crying bother me less? Will I want to lavish as much attention on this baby as I did with our twins, or will I even be able to if I want to? Is this baby going to end up watching the world go by from his/her carseat carrier while his/her older siblings partake in their activities?

I guess we'll know the answer tomorrow. Everything that needs to be done is done- preliminary blood work and pre-registration at the hospital, instructions left with both sets of parents (who will be caring for the twins while we're at the hospital tomorrow), the house is in as much order as it's going to be in. Stay tuned to find out what life is really like with three under two.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

During my twin pregnancy, I couldn't eat a bite of sweets- which is VERY odd for me, since I could practically live on sweets in my non-pregnancy state. Much to my relief, my love of sweets came back after I gave birth to our twins and during this pregnancy it actually intensified. So imagine my luck to have signed up with Mel's awesome Candy Exchange Program (now there's a girl after my own heart!) and to have been matched with Rebecca from the UK.

Yesterday afternoon I was having particularly strong cravings for chocolate but there wasn't too much in the house- some chocolate ice cream, but what I really wanted was the good stuff. Imagine my happiness when the post woman dropped off a box mid-afternoon, just as my craving was peaking:

First of all, isn't it cool how it says "Royal Mail"? Something about that made me giddy- imagine me, getting some "Royal Mail." But even better was what was inside when I opened the box:

Oh. My. Gosh. Can I just say how much Rebecca ROCKS? All of the "sweets" are amazing- and yes, I've taste-tested everything already. My favorite so far is the Milky Bar, a "kids chocolate" (actually white chocolate). But the chocolate creams are really good too- Rebecca described them as "unusual, but okay in small doses." Well, chocolate and "small doses" don't go in the same sentence with me, no matter how rich- so an entire bar is gone already. Luckily she sent me several :)

So a big THANK YOU to Rebecca and to Mel for putting together this exchange that has brought so much happiness to my heart (and my stomach). And even better- in the process, I've made a new friend who loves sweets as much as I do!

In other news, things here are good- and we're currently at T-minus a week and counting. I have such mixed emotions- on the one hand, I'm eager to meet the newest addition to our family and to get rid of this ever-expanding belly. On the other hand, I know that this baby is a LOT quieter and easier to take care of inside of me than it is going to be outside of me. I'm also a little sad at the thought of it not being "just the four of us" (or during the day, just the three of us). I've found myself sitting with both kids in my lap, getting teary-eyed at the thought of having to divert any attention away from them...not to mention not being able to fit all of my kids in my lap at once, since I can't imagine fitting three kids on my lap at the same time! I know I am going to love this baby just as much as I love our twins, but a small part of me is grieving the fact that we won't have this time again, and that they won't remember what it was like without a sibling. Maybe that's a good thing- I want them to be close to the new baby- but it's also bittersweet that we've had such a special 19 months together and they'll never remember a thing about it.

Ahhh...better get to bed before the hormones (and the rest of Rebecca's box of chocolate and candy) gets the best of me...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Almost There...

I'm still here, and still alive (and well!) It's been a long two weeks, but the kids have continued to behave beautifully (OK, I'll admit there have been a few brief interludes of difficult behavior, but nothing to complain about) so it hasn't been as hard as I was expecting. Of course, the following day after I posted my last post our daughter decided it would be fun to throw a fit in the bookstore after I wouldn't allow her to take the book she had in the car (which came FROM that bookstore) in with us, for the obvious (to me at least) reason that it would look like we were stealing the book when we left with it. For the first time that I can remember, I got looks that said "I'm so glad I'm not that woman with the screaming little girl and another baby on the way." Or maybe they were saying, "Lady, if you can't even control your little girl, what business to do have giving birth to yet ANOTHER little brat?" only lasted a few minutes and eventually she calmed down enough to be presentable in public.

And then there was the bright idea I had of having some of my neighbor friends over for a pizza dinner. It started out innocently enough- their husbands were out of town, too, and gee, while I'm at it why don't I invite a few other neighbors and their kids over too? So we ended up with five adults and TEN children, six of whom were "older" (2-4 years old) boys with enough energy to tear our basement to pieces. Two of them are the sons of my friend and neighbor who I personally really like but am amazed at the difficulty she finds in controlling her kids, especially the older one. I swear- I really do adore this woman and think she is an intelligent person who I can relate to-- I consider her a good friend...but I just don't get her parenting philosophy. When her older son acts out (and I mean really acts out- not the typical 4-year old tantrum) she says,"wow- what am I going to do when he's 14 years old and yelling 'f-you' at me?!" Umm, am I the only one who sees something totally backwards with that statement? I am really the last one to judge others on their parenting decisions- everyone has to do what works best for them- but sometimes I find it hard to see the logic behind certain approaches.

Anyway, needless to say that one night beat me to a pulp and even though my friends were all extremely helpful (most stayed to help clean up and offered to do anything necessary to help me out a bit-- more than I can say for my own family sometimes!), I was already feeling run down that day and the dinner experience just did me in. Lesson learned. What I was thinking when I decided to have everyone over after an already tough (physically draining) day, I'll never know.

So, you see, it's not all roses and smiles, but again, I have little to complain about. I love spending the time with the kids and we've done a lot of really fun activities we probably wouldn't have done if I wasn't on my own with them all day- dinner with friends, extra play dates, etc. I'm kind of going to miss this time after the new baby comes. Which for those of you keeping track is just two weeks from today. When I have more energy and more time (hubby gets home tomorrow night and no more plans to travel in the immediate future!!!) I'll get into how I'm feeling now that we're SO close. For now, it's off to bed...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Off to a Good Start

I'm feeling a lot more confident today and less stressed about the prospect of being on my own for most of the next few weeks. Today was a good day, though-- everything just seemed to fall into place and the kids were so well-behaved I'm even afraid to mention it, lest I jinx myself for the next 13 days.

We started out the day with an impromptu get-together with a bunch of neighbors whose kids had the day off from nursery school because of the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. I had mentioned to one of my neighborhood friends that my husband would be out of town, and she immediately asked if we'd like to join her and our other neighbor/friend since they already had plans to get together because of the holiday/lack of school to keep the kids busy. It turned into a much bigger gathering, but it was great- my kids had a "new" place to play (our friends' playroom), friends to keep them busy, and I got a few good hours with my friends. It was a great way to spend the morning before we came home for a nice long(ish) nap. And it was heartwarming to see our kids playing with their friends, and also to know that MY friends were looking out for me and trying to keep us occupied.

The kids were great during and after lunch. We had to run to the post office and grocery store, and they were perfect angels, even hugging each other and laughing in their stroller. It was like they were showing off: "look, Mommy, we're going to be SOOOOO perfect today!" Passer-bys couldn't help but smile and several complimented me on how happy and well-behaved our children are.

After lunch and errands, my father came by to play with the kids and give me a little break. They were running around the house, hysterically laughing and playing with each other. I planned to go to the gym while my dad was here, but by the time he got here it was late and we had plans to go out to dinner when my mom got home from work, so I figured I'd just rest for a bit and take a shower. I ended up falling asleep for over a half hour (guess I was more tired than I thought I was).

When my mom got here after work, we took the kids to a nearby kid-friendly restaurant and again, they were perfect- they sat sweetly for a half hour while we placed our orders and waited for our meals, and then cleaned their plates. A family next to us had a newborn baby and our kids kept waving and saying "hi, baby!" Again, we got a lot of compliments on how well-behaved the kids were, and my parents couldn't stop talking about how wonderful they are. Not that our kids are usually poorly behaved (in fact, I'm pretty proud of how good they are, especially out in public), but I was just thinking all day, "this is too good to be true- when will I get at least a little bit of bad behavior?" Someone must be looking out for me today, because it never happened.

I wonder if somehow they know that Mommy just needs a break for the next few weeks. Whatever the reason, it's interesting how one day like this can make me feel like Supermom again. And I know how one day in the opposite direction can make me feel like the most inept mother in the world. I'm just hoping that we have more days like today and fewer- or NO- days in the opposite direction!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sucking it Up

Oh, my. So I was looking forward to a nice long weekend, as my husband has Monday off for Columbus Day (which I've always found to be an odd holiday, but whatever...) I was especially excited because he was going to get to come to the kids' gym class on Monday morning; not only would he get to see how much they enjoy the class, but I'd have an extra set of hands to help chase them around the room, which is getting a little bit harder as I get bigger and bigger.

Today we found out that his grandmother, who lives in Germany, is headed downhill quickly. This woman is amazing and I've always found her inspirational- she is 94 years old, but until the past few years, she had more energy and spunk than most of my 30-something friends. I remember when I first met her about 10 years ago, when she'd come visit my husband's parents and stay here for a month or two, how she'd go out on her own to sight see, taking public transportation all on her own. She'd complain about the "old fogies" at her retirement home in Germany, and how no one ever wanted to go out on the town and have fun with her. She'd entertain us with stories from her younger days when she was wild and crazy (and quite progressive). She speaks at least four languages that I know of, and probably understands a whole lot more. In brief, she's an impressive woman with an unbeatable spirit.

Until a few weeks ago. She was sick and had to spend time in the hospital, and after that her fire just seemed to die. She told my father-in-law (her son) that this was the end of the line for her. While I'm used to hearing that type of talk from my own grandmother (who is convinced every malady is "it" for her), hearing it from my husband's grandmother was really disconcerting, just because she's always been so full of determination.

Since her episode in the hospital, she's been pretty much despondent. Apparently it's gotten so bad that she is not eating, drinking or responding to anyone, including her son. So my father-in-law is headed to Germany to see her, and my husband and his sister decided that they should go too. My husband was hesitant to go and leave me (his eight+ month pregnant wife) but I told him he needed to go. I would hate to be the reason he didn't get one final visit with his grandmother- how could I (or he?) ever live with that? So he's headed off to Germany tomorrow evening until Monday afternoon.

Typically, it wouldn't be an issue- I've been with the kids on my own for as much as a week before, and although it's exhausting, I can do it. I have plenty of family and friends to step in and give me a little break if I need it, but I usually like to do it all on my own (typical Supermom mentality...and my stubborn nature). However, this time he'll be coming home only to leave the next day for a business trip. And once he gets back from that, he turns around four days later to leave for another trip. So that means he'll be gone for ten of the next fourteen days.

I'd like to think I'll be fine, and under most "normal" circumstances (read: not 35 weeks pregnant), I could do it with ease. And I'm so stubbornly independent that typically I wouldn't even accept any offers of help. But I'm a little nervous this time, and it's the first time I've felt such trepidation at having him leave. This is actually the first time I've turned to my parents and asked them for help while he's gone. Usually I tell them not to worry, I'll be fine on my own, and they take that literally and stop by for maybe 20 minutes, but that's the extent of their assistance. This time I'm going to have to learn to suck it up and ask for help, because I just don't know if I can make it through the next two weeks without asking for a helping hand. That means not only my parents, but my sister, my mother-in-law (and trust me, accepting her help is VERY difficult for me), and anyone else I can find. Hopefully I can spread the weight around so that I don't have to impose too much on any one person.

Honestly, I think the hardest part about the next two weeks is going to be letting myself accept help. But if I don't, I'm afraid that I'll be so beat by the end that I could end up hurting my own--or worse, this baby's- health. So I'll be sucking it up, and hoping the next two weeks go by very quickly.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Run Ragged

I'm beat. But I can't stop running around like a crazy woman- I honestly feel like I am on speed or something and I don't know why.

During the course of the last week, I've been out every evening for some volunteer activity or another (ok, one night was our monthly Girls Night Out, so not "work," but still out late and tiring!) I have spent about 10-12 hours devoted to our parents of multiples club (we had our semi-annual sale this past weekend and I volunteered for most of it), 3 hours to planning our neighborhood Halloween Parade (I stepped up to take over the organization of the annual event before I found out I was pregnant...and due around c-section is now scheduled for November 1 so that I won't miss Halloween), and 5 hours working on a newsletter I co-edit. Most of this time is during the evenings, after the kids go to bed, since there is just no time during the day.

I'm notorious for taking on way too many volunteer responsibilities. Whenever we're in a room and someone starts a sentence with, "We're looking for volunteers to help with...," my husband immediately pins both of my hands down and gives me "the look." I think part of it is because I'm a stay-at-home mom after spending several years in the workforce in an intense and workaholic atmosphere (law). Maybe it's part of my desire to stay productive and busy, not that having two 18-month old toddlers and another on the way isn't enough to keep me busy already. Another reason is that I just have a lot of energy and need somewhere to direct that energy.

The catch is that activities- volunteer, kid-oriented, social, etc.- are like crack to me. Not only are they addicting, but they put me in some sort of hyper-overdrive, jacked-up state. My mind races, my hands literally shake, I talk a thousand miles a minute...I feel like the Tasmanian devil in fast-forward. I can't sleep at night because I'm so amped up, so I am operating on very little sleep (maybe 5 hours a night, which is little for me nowadays). Friday night I couldn't sleep so I finally got out of bed at 1:20 a.m. to clean out the future baby's room. I would have gone down to the basement to organize the play room/new office space but I didn't want to have to turn off the security alarm and possibly wake the kids or my husband. Instead, after I had organized the future nursery, I took out a book of NYT crossword puzzles and worked on those until I felt drowsy enough to try to go back to bed. And then I was up at 6:00 a.m. to head back to our parents of multiples club sale, where I volunteered almost all day. And then we went straight to a neighbor's house for a BBQ before heading home to put the kids to bed. After that, I cleaned (scoured) all of the new toys I bought them at the sale earlier in the day.

Is there something wrong with me or is this typical nesting/energy spurt before the new baby arrives? I vaguely remember having insomnia with my twin pregnancy right before they arrived, too. Is this mother nature's way of priming my body for the sleep deprivation I'll experience next month? Whatever it is, I wish I could quiet my mind so that I could actually rest up before the new baby arrives. Instead, I'm like a crazy woman looking for things to do, stuff to organize, activities to coordinate, etc. I try to work off excess energy at the gym, but it's still there. I guess it's good for now because it helps me keep up with the twins at the very end of my pregnancy, but I fear the inevitable crash and just hope it doesn't happen simultaneously with the birth.

Maybe I'm just one of those people who thrive on business- I do love the fact that I have all the energy I do- but I just can't help wondering if it's going to catch up to me one of these days.