Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pregnant and happy?

Pregnant and happy. Pregnant and happy! All of those punctuation choices are accurate, depending on when you talk to me. We learned in late November that we will be expecting Baby #2 in late July and the emotional roller coaster has been nonstop ever since. Some days I'm happy, telling people at work, thinking back to my first pregnancy, and pulling out my maternity clothes in anticipation of growing bigger. Other days the thought screams out to me, "WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!? OUR FIRST CHILD IS A TASMANIAN DEVIL!" usually as I am attempting to put a planking toddler into a Superstore shopping cart with the promise of juice boxes, apples and basically, the world, just so I can buy much-needed milk and cheese. Most days I'm just tired and extremely nauseous and wanting nothing to do with cooking or cleaning. This pregnancy is much more draining than the last one, or perhaps it is the presence of the aforementioned Tasmanian Devil which is causing me to have absolutely no energy or drive to do anything other than cook pasta or order pizza. I can't feel the baby yet, and I'm barely showing, so I don't really "feel" pregnant. Maybe that's why I'm not shouting it from the rooftops or organizing a photo shoot announcement?

There is also the fact that I know what we're in for this time. I know the sweet smell of baby, how intoxicating it can be, and how it is near impossible to not hold your newborn all the time. I know what insanity a lack of sleep for days on end can bring, and the dread that you feel going to sleep each night wondering, "how long will I get tonight?". I know that I will need water by the gallon, nutritious muffins to keep me going, and the support of my family and friends every step of the way. The only thing I don't know is how to take care of two children. How to keep The Babe from hating Baby Macaroni -we are calling the second baby Baby Macaroni because The Babe wants that to be his/her name. Note, when we ask her where the baby is, she also says "macaroni". (She may be fixated on macaroni.) What I don't know, is how I can stop picking up The Babe in my last months of pregnancy, when it's not physically feasible to do so. And I don't know how I can stop myself from eating all her cheesestrings when all I want is cheese, cheese and more cheese. Seriously.

I hear the same advice I heard when I was pregnant but from different people. "You'll figure it out. She'll be two and a half then, she can be your helper. It's way easier with the second child." What I want from those people is a guarantee. How is it easier? Is it easier because you know now that no matter how early you introduce carrots and broccoli, at some point that kid is going to refuse anything that isn't in a squeezable container? Because now I know now that if I let her cry it out, she may just figure out how to sleep on her own? Because even when she is being a wild animal, I know now she will eventually stop and give me a hug and maybe even share her cheese with me? I've been through labour once, so I know what I can expect, even though this time may be completely different or so I'm told. I've made it through teething with most of my hair intact, so this time I may actually be more prepared (not likely, but it's a nice goal to have). I do have a child who is pretty good at cleaning up, unloading the dishwasher and has begun helping us in the kitchen, so maybe the helper title will stick when the time comes. But I'm also scared. What if I can't handle two kids? What does the future hold for work goals, fitness goals and relationships goals? My husband and I have a hard enough time sorting out ever going out socially now, does this mean we won't have a night out for years to come? Will reading become something I look back fondly on, wishing I had more time for? WHO WILL DO ALL THE LAUNDRY?!?

This I know for sure - everything else aside - the biggest reason I have for choosing to have a second child will always supersede the hesitations I may be feeling from time to time. The Babe will now have someone who will be there for the family camping trips, someone who will embarrass her in front of her friends, and someone who will remember those times she forgets when she's older and will most definitely laugh either with or at her when recalling those stories. This is more important than teething woes, sleep deprivation in the short term (hopefully short term!) and lack of energy for the next 5 months. So when I'm complaining (which I will) or crying (definitely) or feeling as though I cannot do this (frequently), I need to remember the bigger picture. And have another cheesestring.

~ H

Friday, January 3, 2014

Terrible twos

We are in it. As in, stepped off the edge thinking we were in the shallow end but turns out there is no shallow end in this temper tantrum-filled pool of hysterics. The Babe went from eating everything to eating nothing; from diapers to peeing her pants in Starbucks after repeated attempts to go on the potty; from picking out her clothes to kicking the bejeesuz out of me when I try to put pants on her. For the record, I could care less if she wears pants, but it's January and people tend to think you're a crappy parent if you send your child to daycare without pants, in any month for that matter.

Not that she was a wallflower before, but at least The Babe didn't constantly use her body as a weapon of pain up until a month or so ago. What happened? Is it me? Is it her? Is it something in the water? She has begun refusing to get out of the car when we get home, which would be fine with me if she was still in diapers. I could vacuum and she could hang out in the car, everyone's happy. Just kidding? She also has begun to throw her food. Yep, and she started with oatmeal, my personal favourite to wipe off cupboards. I love that she chose a food which turns into cement when it dries. When inflicting damage, my girl goes for the good stuff. She is also refusing to go up or down the stairs unless she is carried. I'm not sure why. She weighs almost 30 lbs, so it's not cute anymore. I have tried just leaving her at the bottom of the stairs with promises of treats if she walks up unaided. Half an hour later I caved because I needed to make and eat dinner, and so the cycle continues.

Why does this happen and what do we do about it? I have read all the articles about pushing boundaries, testing the limits, blah blah blah but I need real situations and solutions. Patience is a virtue I often lack, and I realize my behaviour and reaction in these situations affects the outcome as much if not more, than hers. Do I be firm and realize she may end up sleeping at the bottom of the stairs because she is too stubborn to climb them? Do I only feed her food that can be cleaned up easily, such as Cheerios and raisins? Does using her body as a weapon result in a timeout, which I am not a big fan of for her because she doesn't seem to see it as a form of punishment? GAH! What's more frustrating is the lack of control I feel, the sense that I seem to be making it worse, not better.

I shall continue to read, consult my peers, and maybe accept that I may have a few bumps and bruises before this thing is over. I shall continue to try fun activities with her, even though the markers seem to leave the page and end up on her face and the Playdoh seems to leave the table and end up in the carpet. Maybe we can try cooking together again, as long as she doesn't smack me in the face with the spoon.

~ H