Having a delightful sort of day – unbelievably crappy night’s sleep, but I got up nice and early, took Samilicious out for a walk this morning. I’m trying to walk in the mornings, just to get a little exercise, a little fresh air, and Sam and I enjoyed our walk tremendously until the end. We were talking about trees, his favorite trees (which are all of them) and he was giving each one a kiss and a hug as we walked by, when it suddenly occured to him that they had no roof, and were going to get wet when it rained. Not that it was raining, or threatening to rain – but the fact of the matter was that it would rain eventually, and the thought of his favorite trees, out there, exposed and helpless, was simply too much for him, and he started to cry. Sad, heartbroken crying, and there was nothing I could say that would dissuade him. I assured him that trees weren’t like little boys, and they liked the rain, it helped them to grow, but it didn’t help. He cried so hard he couldn’t walk and I had to lug him the rest of the way home.

Got up this morning bright and early with Samilicious. We’ve been playing musical beds lately, and Marc was in Jessie’s bed, Jess was on the couch until about six thirty or so, and Sam was in mine. I’ve got to get that situation under control – a queen size isn’t big enough for all of us! I left Jessie asleep in our bed, and Sam and I got up. Strangely enough – the child actually went on the potty for the first time. Ever. I asked, the way I do, every now and again, if he’d like to sit on the potty, he did, and after a little while, he said he went and I completely ignored it. Which was probably the best thing to do, as Sam’s not the kind of kid who thrives on praise. I figured he was just making it up. But lo and behold, he honestly did pee in the potty. Of course, twenty minutes later, he peed all over the floor – but still – progress…

Jess and I went for a lovely walk down to the park, we held hands the whole way and talked about the new school year. She’s planned out her outfit for the first day – a beige skirt and a white t-shirt, because, as she explained, she’s kind of shy and wants to blend in on the first day. Then she’s going to rock out on the second day, with sparkly jeans and her new pink t-shirt with sparkles on it. My mother in law got her a new backpack with wheels and she’s good to go. She starts on Wednesday… and I’m filled with mixed feelings. I hope it goes well for her, I hope she loves it and makes lots of new friends and learns a lot – but I’m going to miss her so much. So much of raising kids is watching them outgrow us – she’ll be in school from 8-2:30 every day, dance on Wednesdays. Next year, she’ll have school, Hebrew School Monday and Wednesdays and Thursdays’ll be dance. She’s getting so big so very very fast. And after six and a half years of motherhood, I’m still not used to it.

The baby is doing well… although at five weeks and two days – the baby isn’t doing all that much on a regular basis that I’m aware of. I still feel sick, but not as much as I’d like… which is to say, not all the time. Because, really, only when I’m sick do I feel secure about this pregnancy. I’ve got a lot of fatigue (but with two little kids – I’m always tired anyway, so I don’t think it’s much of a difference). I’m definitely chubbier, my maternity clothes are unbelievably comfortable, nursing is more and more uncomfortable…

Speaking of nursing – I’ve dialed back the weaning process. It was making Sam crazy – he’s definitely not ready for it to be over. Although he’s only nursed once today since six thirty this morning. The less I push it, the less he nurses – if that makes sense. I’m still thinking I’m going to do night weaning again, but it’s so hard on both of us…

That’s huge – even if I suspect that 800 of them are just Marc, visiting again and again 🙂

All is delightful here, have given up entirely on night weaning, and am considering giving up on weaning all together and just hoping for the best. Last night, I went out for dinner with some friends, and poor Sam lost his little mind, screaming and crying and chasing after me. I think it’s because he’s more insecure now because I’m really discouraging nursing. He used to just give a quick wave and a “see ya later, Mommy” but last night, he was really, really upset. I nursed for as long as I did because I’m committed to doing what’s best for him, and I don’t think weaning is what’s best. HOWEVER – it’s also becoming increasingly uncomfortable for me, and with any luck, he’ll just outgrow it on his own. Really, really soon 🙂

I feel so sick right now… and I’m so glad. Yesterday, I felt pretty good all day long, and was really worried about the pregnancy. After the miscarriage, I don’t feel secure in the pregnancy unless I physically feel terrible. This pregnancy has been strong from the very beginning though, I don’t ever remember getting this sick this early. I threw up the day the egg implanted, I swear – and have had vague nausea off and on ever since. I burp all the time, which is just weird, I never do that, and I’m slightly horrified every time it happens. I don’t want to go too far, when I’m outside with the kids, just because I don’t know that I’m not going to have to throw up at any given point. I just burned some toast and nearly vomited from the stench of black bread, in fact, just thinking about it now is awful…

The kids are so good – so happy about the new baby and so considerate and kind. Jessie has been my water girl, she offers throughout the day to get me glasses of iced water and is so delightfully diligent about it. I hate water and have passed out from dehydration in the past, so I’m really, really trying to drink a LOT, and she’s made it so much easier for me. Sam is doing okay on the weaning as well. As goofy as it sounds, I filled up a bottle with icy cold milk yesterday and offered him that instead of nursing, and he was delighted. He’s not done with me yet, not by far, but I’m hopeful that it’ll taper off more, because it’s beginning to get really uncomfortable nursing. He understands that it hurts me, and is more willing to do something else instead – and for that, I’m very proud and grateful.

Summer is over, kind of. The temperatures and the humidity especially, has dropped off and it’s beginning to feel more like fall. Jessica Mary starts school in less than a week, and I already miss her.

Not on Sam’s, obviously, as he’d never voluntarily stop. But I can’t do a cold turkey kind of thing either. I tried last night to do night weaning – where I’ll cuddle him and rub his back if he wakes up, but no nursing. I spent the past couple of months really encouraging his attachment to Quackie and Georgie (his two stuffed animals), and last night, Sam and I talked about it a lot, how he’s have to go all night without nursing, that the “oobies” (don’t ask, Jessie named them that when she was a baby) needed to sleep because Mommy’s body was busy making a baby and needed to rest. He was very concerned that they’d be sad without him (I love how his mind works), but all in all – the night went great. He nursed to sleep around quarter of nine, and then woke up a couple of times, but managed to go back to sleep on his own.

Jess crawled into bed with me around three-ish. I had suggested that Marc sleep in Jessie’s room so that he wouldn’t be disturbed by us (anticipating a long night with a lot of crying). I couldn’t get comfortable after Jess came in – I’m queasy all morning long now – and apparently, it starts right around three thirty or so. I’m just usually asleep for that part :-). I got up, went to the bathroom and moved over to the other bed. I laid there for a long time, watching the numbers click past on the clock, thinking about financial worries (really, doesn’t everyone freak out over money when they’re up in the middle of the night or is it just me?) and trying to pick out baby names.

Sam woke up, really woke up, around four thirty or so. And he wanted to nurse. So badly, and I tried to say no, but in the end, I just couldn’t sit there and let him cry – he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let him, and at that moment, neither could I. Because he had done so well – and all night long, had woken up every couple of hours, but put himself back to sleep – I just gave up. We got up and went into the living room. I tucked him up next to me, shielded his eyes, and watched West Wing repeats. He never did fall back asleep, and eventually asked for breakfast and is now happily hanging out, watching cartoons and having cold pizza and milk.

I’m still working on it – because I really do want to push him towards independence and not nursing. I say no far more often than I say yes, and I’ve got him down to just once or twice during the day, and we’ll keep working on the night weaning. But I can’t rush this too much – it’s too hard on him, and too hard on me. I can’t just let him cry – I mean, I can when he wants to play with scissors, and have chocolate for breakfast. I let him cry all the time, he’s not an overly indulged child. But nursing has been such a huge part of our relationship, and eliminating it takes time, love and patience.

Or am I showing super early? Not that I was ever what I’d call skinny – but I don’t think there’s any call for my maternity clothes to fit so perfectly so fast. I dug them all out of my closet earlier – and tried on a pair of my favorite capris – and they fit. Absolutely. Then I put on my favorite maternity top – lo and behold – I’m pregnant!

I’m thinking twins. In the same way that I always think I’m pregnant, I always think every pregnancy is twins. All a result of the first so incredibly surprising pregnancy that I lost – that one was twins. Combining my natural inclination to assume that I’m having twins, with my pre-existing little pot belly, plus zippo stomach muscles after having Jess and Sam and marked dislike of sit-ups – I’m feeling huge. And looking huge – will probably be big as a whale by the time April rolls around.

But the way I’m looking at it – this is probably the last time I’ll do this – so I might as well get all the enjoyment out of it that I can. That’s part of why I told everyone so early – even if, God forbid, I miscarry, this is still a baby, this is our baby, and I’m already so incredibly attached to it. As is Miss Jessica – this kid can’t WAIT to see the baby. It’s all she talks about. And she’s being so sweet, she keeps bringing me cups of water to make sure I drink enough.

I’m officially pregnant. Just a little bit (as anyone who’s miscarried can attest, you can, in fact, be a little bit pregnant), we just got the positive result on Saturday. I’m so happy. We hadn’t been really actively trying, but we haven’t been using birth control since April, so it was bound to happen sooner or later. The kids are both thrilled – Jessie is pinning all of her hopes on another sister, and Sam’s lobbying hard for a brother, and Marc’s walking around grinning.

I’ve already started with the nausea, and I swear to God, I threw up once the baby actually implanted in my uterus. Ever since then, I’ve felt the nausea off and on. I’m clinging to it – there’s NOTHING I like more than morning sickness early in pregnancy because it reassures me that the pregnancy is real. It still feels unbelievable to me – three kids – just so exactly what I always wanted.

The baby is due at the end of April, just when spring is really starting. Flowers blooming, birds chirping and a lovely brand new baby :-). I couldn’t be happier.

It’s just me and Sam tonight – Jess is spending the night at Annie’s house (thank goodness for Annie) and Marc is out at the gym. Sam had asked for a bath earlier and I told him to wait until his friends went home, and as soon as Jordyn left, he whipped off his diaper. I asked him what was up, and he announced he was ready for his “bathess.” We’re having scrambled eggs for dinner – he and I are the only ones in the family that like them (Jess prefers boiled or “bubbled up” and Marc likes omelets) and since it’s just us, we’re having a tea party with eggs and milk for dinner. After the bathess.

There’s something magical about just having one child here. I love having two, and am hoping for three, and between my stepdaughters, Annie’s daughter Glennys, and the little ones I babysit for, I’ve usually got a LOT of kids running around – and it’s great. I love it, really, almost all the time. But when it’s just me and either Jess or Sam, it’s so sweet and tender and just peaceful and loving. I’m really looking forward to tonight.

My only excuse is that it’s hot. And even though I’m happily enclosed in an air conditioned apartment, I’m still feeling like just laying down somewhere quiet to sleep. Unfortunately, I’ve still got sixty percent of my kids (easy math when you’ve got five kids here) still awake so I’m pouring a cup of coffee and hoping for the best.

Actively working on weaning – at least for today. I’ve embarked on this before and always gave up – this kid is just too stubborn for me. When we pit our wills against each other, I can win, but it’s really hard – and he isn’t giving up nursing without a serious fight. But three years is enough, I was hoping for one full year, happy to have reached two, and am now so incredibly ready for it to be over and done with. I don’t mind changing diapers, the fact that he’s got zippo interest in the potty doesn’t bother me, the fact that he’s still climbing into my bed most nights is fine by me, but the nursing has got to go. With any luck. Like any relationship, it takes two so I’m trying to gently push towards weaning. I don’t think it’ll happen overnight, but that’s where I am right now.

In other news – the father/daughter camping trip went GREAT. The girls all had a great time, with the exception of Sarah, who woke up and got a little freaked out about being in the tent. Marc ended up getting them all up (the other two woke up when Sarah started crying) and going out to go the bathroom, which was actually lovely, because they got to see the stars. Living in a city, they haven’t seen that before and it was magical for them. They can’t wait to go again – I think the Daddy/Daughter camping trip will be a new summer tradition.

Jess has another two weeks until school starts, and most of the school shopping is done. I still need to get her a backpack (one with wheels like her older sisters) and a new lunchbox, but I was able to get most of her actual pen/pencil/crayon/construction paper stuff at the dollar store.

I’ve been thinking about this for the past day or so, after a conversation that I had with one of my aunts. Because I am a happy housewife, a SAHM, whatever term you want to use – and I still self-identify as a feminist. I don’t see the contradiction.

Part of my job, as I see it, part of my “duty” as a parent, is to provide a stable, loving home environment for my children. This includes having a roof over their heads, food to eat, clean clothes to wear and hugs and kisses on demand. Marc and I never sat down and clearly listed out what he’s responsible for and what I am, but let’s just say – if you plopped my family down in the 1950’s, on the surface, we wouldn’t seem that out of place. Marc goes to work every day, handles the bills, always knows what’s in our checking account and takes out the trash. I do everything else. I nag and occasionally Marc’ll do the dishes, or break up a battle between the kids, but for the most part, I handle the day-to-day parenting issues, overseeing baths and meals, changing diapers, I get up in the middle of the night with them, etc. We make all the big decisions together (which means any major purchase gets discussed, any major disciplinary action gets debated, etc) – we are a team, absolutely, with specific spheres of influence and responsibility.

It’s not that I’m incapable of earning money to support my family – for most of Jessie’s first year, I was the sole breadwinner. And I worked part time from the time she was two until Sam was born when she was three and a half. I know how to lug trash outside on Tuesdays. For what it’s worth, I also know how to pump gas and check oil on the car – although I haven’t done it in years because Marc does that. But it just works for us this way. I’m proud of what I do – a big part of my self-identity, at this point in my life, is caught up in my “job,” – I’m a stay at home mom, a housewife. I feel responsible for the state of my house, I feel stressed and irritable when the house is a disaster, I worry about the care and feeding of my kids on a level that just doesn’t occur to Marc, because it’s not his “job.” He’s a loving, devoted parent – and spends a lot of time with his children – but he’s not me.

I think I’m VERY good at my job. I work hard at it, I’m constantly striving to do it better than I’ve done it in the past, I take pride in what I do. I know my strengths and weaknesses as a parent, as a wife, in the same way that I did when I was an employee.

Is this bad? Is this somehow less than I could be? I certainly never planned on being a stay at home mom. Or a housewife – it wasn’t an option I ever considered – of COURSE, I’d go back to work after having kids. They’d go to daycare and everything would be great. Then I actually had kids – and oh my gosh, the thought of leaving my tiny baby with someone and not being able to see her for hours on end hurt more than anything. That was before I had a baby with colic and reflux who relied on nursing as the only way to make the pain stop. That was before I realized what having kids did to you – how it broke you open and made you so incredibly vulnerable, because if anything ever happened to them, you didn’t think you’d be able to survive – and nobody else would take that same level of protectiveness and care that you would. Nobody else would love your babies the way that you did. That was before I realized that I would do anything, sacrifice whatever I needed to in order to be the one with them.

I’m always aware of how fortunate I am – because Marc understand that. Marc respects and trusts me to know what needs to be done. I don’t want to have the house clean because he’ll be mad at me if I don’t – as a rule, Marc pays no attention to whether or not the floor has been vacuumed or if the laundry was done. I don’t sweep and mop because I feel as though I have to be subservient to my husband and make a clean house for him – I vacuum because it’s just better to not have the kids crawling around in dirt. I do laundry because I like to have clean clothes to dress them in, not because Marc would yell if he didn’t have a clean shirt. If I had a different sort of husband, I might not feel this way – but because there is that level of respect and trust, I don’t feel as though there’s anything WRONG with me taking pride in what I do, and that includes doing the dishes and folding the laundry.

I’m still a feminist – and don’t at all see the contradiction between thinking that women have the choice and the right to decide for themselves and their families whether they should be full time mommies or work outside the house, or not have children at all. I teach my kids about the struggle for women’s rights and how boys and girls can do the same things. I’ve seen first hand that Jess loves to play fight on the bed with Daddy and one of Sam’s favorite games is “house” where he takes care of his babies. I love this about them, as much as I love that Jessie loves ballet class, and Sam loves to play “shoot guns.”

I think my kids need me at home – I think that I want to be at home with them and if one of us has to go to work fifty hours a week, it should be Marc. Because I’m better at this then he’d be. Because he’s better at that then I would be. When I was working after having Jess, I was not as good an employee as I was pre-Jess. My motivation was strictly to get a paycheck and health insurance – I did my best when I was there, but I had a much more important position, that of Jessica’s mother, and if she needed me, if she was sick or teething – then that was where I’d be. I had the ability to do that because Marc was at work.

I was raised by a single mom – I know full well the responsibilities of a parent who doesn’t have the option to drop everything and rush home when their baby is sick. And I don’t judge moms who work, I think we fought so hard to get the right to make the choice – to not be told that we HAVE to stay home with our children. But if that’s the choice we want to make, if we’re making the choice to do it – that’s as much a feminist move as working is. Because the choice is what it’s about – and taking pride in what you do, being proud of yourself as a woman with your unique gifts and responsibilities – that’s what feminism is to me.