At all. Anywhere. I can think of nothing appealing. I don’t have any cravings, exactly. I went thru a couple of weeks when all I ate was frozen mint milano cookies, then suddenly, those were repulsive and I couldn’t even think about them without wanting to vomit. Did the same thing with mandarin oranges, and then with onion bagels. Now I’m done with onion bagels and there’s literally nothing in the world that even remotely sounds like I might want to eat it. And the nausea is building, and it’s only going to get worse until I solve this.

I think a hamburger pizza might work. I’m going to try that for lunch. Of course, that’s more of a one-shot deal, so I’m going to be faced with this same dilemma later on this afternoon…

In other news… not too much going on. Various family dramas bubbling up all over the place, on both sides, but so far, I’ve managed to stay disengaged. For the most part. Halloween this weekend – Jess is going as a witch – she’s got the cutest costume and green face paint so she’ll be suitably spooky. Sam’s got a sword and a shield (that I’ll end up carrying, I’m sure) and is planning on being a knight. Sam’s not a kid who thrives on attention from strangers, and if there wasn’t candy involved, I’m sure he’d flat out refuse to participate in the whole thing. Ironically, he doesn’t like candy – he likes unwrapping it and then licks it and puts it down somewhere for me to find (hopefully before it melts into a disgusting mess) at some point later.

Just ask Jess. She’ll tell you.

They say parenting isn’t easy. And when they say that, it’s not just because of the beginning, the nights of endless nursing, the ear infections, the fevers, the crying, the terrible twos. It’s because sometimes you have to intentionally make your kids miserable because making them happy would teach them the exact opposite of what you need for them to know. For example, allowing Jess to push aside dinner in favor of ice cream would not be a bright move. Further making her miserable by depriving her of all dessert because of the attitude that ensued when I didn’t give her the ice cream is what earned me the title of the worst mother EVER. She’s in her room right now, crying about how much she hates me. Or the situation – I don’t think she’s actually saying ‘I hate her’ I think she’s saying “I hate it.” Not that makes me feel any better…

Because I really struggle with this – I want my kids to be happy. It’s not that I want to indulge them, it’s that I hate having to on purpose make them miserable. I do it, and I know it’s the right thing to do, and maybe she’ll walk away from this knowing that lashing out with screaming and crying isn’t her best choice when it comes to negotiating. Maybe she’ll learn a little self control, a little respect… but it’s still an awful feeling to know that your child is miserable and it’s entirely your fault.

In other news – Marc’s co-worker was hospitalized with swine flu this weekend. He works in a small office and now I’m a little freaked out. This was a healthy guy – hospitalized with a really high fever and hallucinations. My OB has finally gotten the vaccine in and I have an appt on Wednesday to get my immunization. But the pediatrician and Marc’s primary have no idea when the vaccine will be available for the kids or for my diabetic husband. I don’t normally rush to get the flu shot, some years I get it, some years I don’t, and if it works out that I’m at the doctor with the kids during flu season, they get the vaccine, but I know they haven’t every year. This H1N1 flu is freaking me out, because every morning on the news they tell me how critical it is that pregnant women and small children need to get it.

Friday night – I went to Salem with the girls in my family. Not all of them, but there were 12 of us altogether and it was fabulous. Three of my aunts, my mother, my sister and two stepsister and two cousins. We had two side by side hotel rooms and just really loved every minute of it. My cousin Becky and I were the middle ones – with older aunts and the other four girls were all at least six years younger than we were. Becky and I are just exceptionally close – she’s my best friend, and it was awesome to spend that much time with the women in my family. And SAM DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE I WAS GONE. Well, I’m sure he noticed, but he didn’t fuss once, had a great night, fell asleep on Marc’s lap, slept thru the night, and was sunshiney happy the next day.

We all got readings done (because that’s what you do when you go to Salem). Mine was a little… off, she first started off with I wasn’t married (which I am), then decided that we’re obviously going thru a rough patch (which we aren’t). She talked about the kids – and ascribed character traits to both that belonged to the other (that Sam was an intense child, thoughtful and worried a lot, and that Jess was smooth sailing and calm all the time), but it was still fun. We had dinner in an Irish bar, which involved a lot of stepdancing and hollering with the band.

Pumpkin carving on Sunday was a fiasco – too many kids, WAY too much screaming and yelling and crying… I was sick to my stomach (spoke too soon on the morning sickness going away) and ended up taking some Reglan. This promptly put me to sleep, which meant that poor Marc had to carve four pumpkins by himself. They came out great – and the kids had fun in the end, so that’s what matters, right?

I feel as though a fog is officially lifting – I think that I’m entering the second trimester – time of glory and sunshine. I felt REALLY good yesterday – still sick when I didn’t eat, but actual whole hours when I felt like myself, I got a TON of stuff done around the house, and am really hoping that this trend continues. It’s been a rough 12 weeks. Really rough, way tougher than my other pregnancies. I’m not sure if it was worse because I’m older now, if it’s that I’m home and able to really just feel like crap as opposed to being distracted, or if it’s that I’m running around after a million other children – probably a combo of all of it. But I feel AMAZING this morning – and I know it’s just because I have a feeling that I’m going to feel okay physically all day long. I want to take the boys for a walk, it’s gorgeous out today, I want to organize all the jackets, finish all the laundry, make a delightful dinner for everyone.

I worry – the ONLY perk to feeling awful was that I knew that the pregnancy was okay. But I’ve seen the heartbeat on ultrasound, heard it in the office, I’m thirteen weeks tomorrow, and I know that my chances of miscarriage are so low. Plus I do still feel pregnant. I have to eat every couple of hours or get really sick to my stomach again – but it’s a HUGE and DRAMATIC improvement over the past three months.

I would not do well with a chronic illness. I know I’ve been grumpy and hostile at times (most of the time, if you listen to extended family members), and I’m not going to apologize for that (because most of the time, there was an amazing effort on my part to be as nice as I was). But I have to give major kudos to my wonderful husband Marc – who, never, not once, hinted that I was perhaps a bit grumpier than I should have been. Never was anything other than kind and loving and sweet and nurturing. Rubbed my back when I vomited, told me how pretty I was. He was, hands down, AWESOME – and out of everyone in my life, the best source of support and comfort during the last three months – thank you, honey – I don’t think I could have made it without you.

I feel like I post about this a lot – but really, it’s most of my life these days… I feel almost newly pregnant today, unbelievably nauseated and sick to my stomach. Everything smells wretched and so strong and I dream of sleep. Fantasize about it, crawling into bed by myself, snuggling down into the blankets and just… sleeping. For hours. I can’t eat much, swallowing the anti-nausea meds this morning was incredibly difficult because I immediately started gagging and choking on this tiny little pill. Isn’t it supposed to ease up as I get to the end of the first trimester??

Jess cried this morning on the way to school… I hate that. Even though she’s so much better this year, I have such negative associations from last year. We just overslept this morning, and had to rush a bit – but she didn’t want to go, and cried. I feel so awful for her. Plus then I spend all day thinking of her little face, so sad and miserable…

(When it came time to pick an image – I’d rather go with a pro-Israel one, always)

Was it Winston Churchill who said if you weren’t a liberal at 18, you had no heart, and if you weren’t conservative at 30, you had no brain? I can’t remember the exact quote, but something happened today that really shocked me and made me rethink a whole bunch of things.

I’m a library girl – I LOVE the library. I’m a book addict – I read CONSTANTLY. I’m usually in the middle of two or three books (right now I’m rereading Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and a new book about the relationship between sisters (fascinating). Anyway – so I take out between twenty and twenty five books a week. I take the kids there a lot – I think the best way to encourage the kids to read is to constantly feed the addiction – so they’ve always got lots of new kids books to read. The girls (Sarah and Jess) were at Hebrew School (which is an important detail for the rest of the story) and Lilli was at dance class. Marc was going to drop me off, and then come back after picking all the kids up and meet me there.

We pulled up in front of the library, and there was a guy standing there, with a huge sign, proclaiming his firm conviction that Israel was responsible for 9/11. I was shocked. Just… shocked. Marc was FURIOUS. Got out the car and confronted him, ended up chasing him away (we saw him later on in the afternoon standing in a different part of town). I was just speechless. I’ve got kids. Kids who read. Kids who go to Hebrew School – and there was every chance that I would have gone down to the library, parked the car and led them right past that sign. If things had been slightly different this morning, I wouldn’t have seen the sign until after I parked the car, got my (Jewish) kids out of the car and walked down to the library.

It just brought up a WHOLE bunch of issues that I’m still trying to work my way thru. I always believed in freedom of speech – I mean, who doesn’t? Right? We love freedom of speech – it’s like apple pie and baseball. But what if it’s YOUR kids who are being attacked? Because Israel really means the Jewish people – and that’s what my kids would have read it as. How do I explain that to them? How is it okay that they would have to see that – on their way into the library? What does that say about the world that I live in? The world I’m raising my children in? I feel vulnerable in a way that I’ve never felt before, I feel attacked in a way that’s completely unfamiliar to me. I wasn’t raised Jewish – I didn’t grow up as part of a hated minority. Marc wasn’t shocked by the protestor, unbelievably furious, but not shocked. I haven’t moved past the shock yet.

The library is one of my all time favorite places in the whole world – it’s where the books live. It’s knowledge and rest and comfort – it’s awesome – I love the library. Now I’m afraid to go back. I’m afraid in a way that feels wrong and scary and unsafe. There are really people out there like that? People who hate me and my kids that much? Really? And they walk around, looking all normal and friendly, but holding signs that terrify me.

Do I still believe in free speech? I think so, but I’ve never questioned it as much as I have in the past six or seven hours. Do I believe that my children should suffer because of some ignorant bigot’s right to spew hatred? Do I believe that I should have to explain to them why this man hates them so much? Should I explain that? Do I want them to grow up afraid? Aware that there are people who believe that they are evil because their last name is Cohen? And if I don’t – if I try to protect them from that, to shield them from that – do I run the risk of having them feel the way I do now? Unsure and afraid and violated and threatened? How do I explain this to my children when I can’t explain it to myself?

Sam’s got a thing for infomercials. Actually, Sam’s got a thing for his Daddy – and Marc is amused by Vince, the spokesman for the Slap Chop and the Sham Wow. My mother got the slap chop and my sister got the sham wow, and they were both so charmed by Sam’s obvious joy in these products that they promptly handed them over for him to take home. Not that we let him HAVE the slap chop – but he does help me use it :-). Anyway, today, he came into the dining room and said “Mommy, where be the sham wow?” I handed it to him, and he walked away from me muttering “I tink dis’ll come in handy.” He’s so funny – and luckily adorable enough so that when I discovered that it actually came in handy because he had upended a glass of chocolate milk all over the floor, all I did was agree that the sham wow really was a handy thing to have around ;-).

Waiting for the girls to come home, and thankfully the heat just turned on – which helped my bread rise. I’m making a big Shabbat dinner tonight – and my goal is to actually have it ready and waiting for when Marc gets home from work. For the past couple of months, poor Marc has been coming home and having to assemble the whole thing – I get all the food mostly ready and then collapse on the couch, too tired and too sick to finish. My goal tonight? Table set, candles ready to be lit, food on the table waiting.

12 WEEKS TODAY. Very happy about that. I feel like now that I’ve reached 12 weeks, I’m safe. And I feel better – not great, not 100%, and definitely still pregnant, but in between the nausea and the fatigue, there are little burts of energy. Occasionally, I’m even productive – for example, yesterday, I vacuumed. Folded laundry, even. House is still in shambles most of the time, and that’s troubling to me – but it’s getting better. And the second trimester – that’s my favorite. Actually, the third is really my favorite – when I’m all big and the baby’s kicking away and I’m getting everything ready and so excited…

Starting to panic a little bit about bringing a baby home – wondering how Sam’s going to make it while I’m in the hospital. I LOVE being in the hospital – which I know puts me in a minority of pregnant women. But what’s not to love? Nurses on call, qualified to watch your baby while you sleep, they bring you food, people come visit and hang out, and I get to laze in bed and adore the new baby. Everything’s right there, everyone’s ready to help – I don’t have to break up fights, or pick up toys – I just get to be Mommy of this tiny little baby. It’s great. And I’m telling myself that Jess was FINE while I was in the hospital, and Sam’ll actually be about three months older than she was, and he’ll be fine too. But hey, I’ve got another 28 weeks to freak about it – no need to do it all right now 🙂

Called a mental health day today for Miss Jessica. She’s missed only one day so far, when she was sick, and quite honestly, I think she just needed a quiet day when she’s sitting at home, with no other older girls here, just relaxing, reading, watching television. Even though she only had four days this week, the weekend was just insane with constant activity. She’s been coming home from school and having massive temper tantrums the past two days, plus it’s been difficult to wake her up, and she’s been complaining of a variety of different maladies (sore throat, upset stomach, sore knee, her bug bites hurt, etc). She’s very happy at the moment, in her Hannah Montana jammies, her hair a wreck, and I made homemade corn muffins for her.

In other news, I have a bunch of housework type stuff to do – switching over Jessie’s summer stuff to winter, figuring out if I have any mittens and hats left over from last year, vacuuming and mopping and scrubbing. I’m so wiped out all the time, a lot of the stuff has been woefully neglected as of late. But I’m momentarily energetic, so am going to do what I can before I decide that it’s time to lay down and read.

Had my 12 week check up yesterday and heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I LOVE my OB appointments. I saw the same mid-wife when I was pregnant with Sam, and for every appointment, I brought a three year old Jessica. Bringing Sam is so much fun – he’s so interested in all of it (“why you pee in a cup, Mama?”). The hospital is gorgeous, with a huge atruim and waterfall that he can throw pennies into, and the lab techs always give him two stickers when they draw my blood (which they do with alarming regularity – I’ve had it done twice so far, and have more bloodwork scheduled for the next appt). My next appt will be the 16 week one, and I get the super big ultrasound. We aren’t going to find out the sex, Marc doesn’t want to know, and since I’m totally not giving him a vote on the baby’s name, I let him win this one ;-). I’m torn on wanting one sex or another – I want both for different reasons. I think it’d be great for Sam to have a brother, we have a really female dominated family, and another boy would be great for Sammy. But a girl… I love the thought of Jessie having a sister (not that she doesn’t already have two sisters – but I’d like to have two daughters that are all mine – a sister she can share her whole life with, as opposed to just every weekend). Plus little girl clothes are cuter.

Jess wanted a sleepover this weekend, so Saturday night, I invited my old neighbor Glennys to spend the night. We first met Annie and John (Glenny’s parents) when we moved into the apartment below them just before Sam was born. Gradually, Glennys came to be just another member of our family – in fact, I believe that Sam thinks she is his sister. She’s six months younger than Sarah and almost exactly a year older than Miss Jess – and from the very beginning, Jess and Glennys were bestest friends.

Saturday night, we went to a party at the synagogue for Simchat Torah, and when we came home, Marc put the girls to bed in Jessie’s bedroom. They wore matching jammies, heard two stories read to them, and then (this was so cute), I told them to whisper to each other until they fell asleep. It was hard, because I kept wanting to go in and yell at them to go to sleep, but by quarter of ten, the whispers had quieted down, and they both slept great. It was Jessie’s first real big girl sleepover – when it was just the two of them, alone in her bedroom, one on the top bunk and one on the bottom, whispering secrets and telling stories to each other until they drifted off to sleep.

They had so much fun, they did it again last night at Annie’s house 🙂

I hesitate to post on this – mostly because I don’t like getting the negative comments (from anonymous, every time) about how ridiculous it is that I’m still nursing a child who’s over three… but it’s really a big issue for me, so I’m going to be brave. Let me say first that I loved nursing my babies, and never considered not doing it. My goal was strictly to get to one year, after that, if he had shown any sign of wanting to wean, I’d have been all over it. Jessie weaned on her own at seven or eight months, so I was grateful to not have to spend money on formula for him, and even at two, nursing didn’t seem like a big deal. At three… I’m really ready for it to be done.

Weaning sucks. Weaning while pregnant sucks even more. I know this because I’ve been trying to do it for a LONG time and now that I’m 11 weeks pregnant, I can officially say that it’s gotten significantly worse now that I’m pregnant. Between the actual physical discomfort that comes from anything that has to do with my breasts, and pregnancy hormones – the whole weaning process is filled with tears and rage and frustration – on everyone’s part.

I’ve got Sam down to minimal nursing – and it really is minimal. He nurses to sleep (and it’s quick, less than five minutes) and when he first wakes up. It’s the waking up that’s killing me. Because Sam’s not a kid who wakes up sunshiney delighted to face the day – he wakes up groggy and mean. He’s never happy about it – and always requires some quiet alone time nursing before he’ll even consider not screaming. It’s a good morning when he actually wakes up and gets out of bed to find me, a bad morning when he lays in bed hollering “MAMA! COME IN HERE!”

He sleeps fine thru the night, rarely, if ever, wakes up to nurse – it’s just that every morning we have a huge raging battle of wills and it sucks unbelievably bad. Screaming, crying, begging, pleading, sobbing – and it’s so physically uncomfortable that I just can’t do it for very long. Couple of minutes, five, maybe ten tops. And that’s nowhere near enough, as far as my stubborn little love bug is concerned.

The problem, if you ask me, is that I read a quote about how a nursing mother should no more count the number of times you nurse a baby than you should count the number of times you kiss your baby. So I always nursed on demand – and with colic and reflux, Sam learned early on that nursing was the only thing that made his life better. He outgrew the colic and reflux, and has a healthy appetite, is a confident, independent boy – but LOVES nursing. Nursing for us is so much more than food – he obviously doesn’t need it for sustenance, but today – after he’d been screaming and sobbing and nothing was working, he finally just said “hug me please” and his big brown eyes were still brimming over with tears and he looked so lost and so sad, like he just couldn’t figure out why I was denying him this basic expression of love and attachment – and then I, of course, picked him up, hugged him and held him, rubbing his back and he asked for breakfast. By the time Marc brought him in a bowl of cereal, I was a teary-eyed mess, crying and feeling like the worst mother in the world – he obviously isn’t ready to give up nursing, and I went ahead and got pregnant, and now it’s so physically painful and I can’t do it anymore and it’s breaking his heart… it was awful.

He hasn’t asked to nurse all day – which is typical for him. He doesn’t nurse at all during the day, it’s just to go to sleep and then to wake up. I’ve tried everything, special drinks, distraction, encouraging a lovey, chocolate, movies, special time with Daddy – nothing works. I’ve even broken out the bottle and pacifier, thinking maybe he just likes sucking on something. I think we’re just going to have to battle thru it. Nursing certainly isn’t going to get easier, it’s only going to get worse. As I get bigger, it’s going to be more and more difficult, and I’m just praying that he’ll outgrow the need.

I feel a little bitter – because I always thought that nursing on demand would result in this perfect nursing relationship, he’d stop on his own because he didn’t need it anymore – but he turned three in July – and in his version of a perfect world, he’d have my breasts available whenever he wanted them. I did everything right – as far as the attachment parenting model is concerned – my only problem is that Sam didn’t read the same parenting handbooks that I did. He doesn’t know he’s supposed to have stopped on his own – he doesn’t know he’s supposed to have just outgrown this because he knows that I love him and will be there. He’s just a little boy – and doesn’t understand why I’m so mean to him.

Yeah – pregnancy hormones are not making this whole process easier. Marc’s on board, as supportive as he can be. He thought I was mostly crazy for continuing to nurse, but since it wasn’t him doing it – and weaning was obviously not going well, he pretty much just stays out of it. But when asked, he tells me that I’m doing the right thing, that part of parenting is giving a little push out of the nest and that Sam needs me to encourage him to be a big boy. Or something like that – and I know that he doesn’t need the nursing – I know that it’s more a battle of wills and Sam’s an incredibly stubborn kid when it comes to this. Once he accepts that I’m done for the morning (and that can take up to an hour of him temper tantrumming), he moves on and is fine all day.

But suffice it to say – my house is nowhere you’d want to be between seven thirty and nine o’clock every morning.