I haven’t blogged in a while – it’s been a fairly busy couple of days. Friday morning, my mother called just as I was getting ready to rush Jess out the door. Marc and I have one car, and for the most part, he does the driving to and from school, but on Friday, he’d had an early meeting and had carpooled in, so I was in charge of the commute to school. She wanted to go shopping to buy Sam and Jess their Easter outfits, so I told her that I’d meet her down at her house. We spent the whole day shopping, bought the girl a beautiful black and white dress and Sam a new dress shirt and belt (he has reluctantly taken the belt off strictly for sleep and put it back on immediately upon waking up). Then we drove home and I started trying to clean. It didn’t go well. I’m so tired and sore and the kids were fighting and when Marc offered to take us all out to dinner, I jumped at it.

The weekend was crazy busy, as per usual. Saturday, I met Becky and Trish at the mall for a while, bought the sweetest little coming home outfit for the baby and a little sun hat for her. I started really contracting hard at the mall, actually considered whether or not I was going into early labor. But then I sat for a while, chugged some water and it seemed to calm down. I’ve been having contractions off and on ever since, whenever I’m up doing too much. Saturday night, we had Lilli and Sarah spend the night, and it was so cute, all four kids played together SO well. It was another late night – I don’t think either of my kids fell asleep before 10:00, and with Jess, you can so completely tell.

Jess just doesn’t function well on no sleep. She’s pretty impervious to most things that bug other kids, she can be hungry and still friendly and cheerful, she’s not bothered by being too hot or too cold, she doesn’t even complain if she has to pee and we can’t get to a potty right away – but lack of sleep morphs her into psycho daughter – she just gets brutal. And we’ve been dealing with a lot of that this weekend, the poor kid is in her bedroom crying herself to sleep after informing me that she’d so much rather Daddy was here than me because she likes him the best. I would have stayed in there and snuggled her to sleep, and would honestly rather be doing that than blogging, but nope – she had to take it that one extra step and get all mean.

Jessie’s complicated – there are always so many layers to whatever is going on with her. She’s so very smart and her mind is always making connections. I struggle with her sometimes, because it seems as though she goes out of her way to make her life more difficult than it has to be. I mean, I guess we all do that, right? But take tonight, for example. She had to go to bed, she’s exhausted, she knows it, I know it. She knows that I’m not going to let her get out of bed, why not just make it easier on both of us, snuggle up and let me sing you off to sleep? That makes so much more sense to me, but instead she went with fighting and getting mean, so that I told her that she could just go to bed by herself then, and shut the door and walked away. Now she’s in there crying (actually, I think she’s asleep now) and I’m out here feeling guilty and like a mean mother. Even though I know I did what was actually best for her, what she needs is sleep. It might not be what makes her happy, but it’s what’s best. Sigh…

In other news… went to a really crappy family party today, where I overheard comments of a derogatory nature directed at my son and my parenting skills, so I’m in a pretty lousy state of mind. Let me state officially and for the record that I’m one of “those” mothers. I pick my battles. I fight the fights that are worth fighting, not the ones that don’t matter. Sam has three older sisters. I have a lot of girl socks. He also likes to take his socks off and shove them deep inside the couch (why, I don’t know), but I’m frequently in the position of having a thousand socks for Jess and three for Sam. I keep all the socks in a box, and every now and again I match them. Today, we were getting dressed and I told him to go grab some socks. Sam’s big on independence, nothing makes him happier than doing it (whatever it seems to be) by himself. And he picked himself out two socks – one was polka dotted and one had little pink hearts on it, put them both on himself, and then put on his shoes. And I didn’t care. They weren’t boy socks, they didn’t match – but he was very proud of himself, and they covered his feet.

But when certain members of my family noticed his socks, there were comments made. It didn’t help matters in their eyes that he also had his fingers painted. This reflected badly, to them, not just on him but also on me. But (again) the kid’s got three older sisters. And it was spa night. And he wanted to play and they wanted to paint, and I don’t mind if they paint his nails. I’m not worried about his gender identity – if anything, this kid is overdosing on testosterone, he spends most of his leisure time fighting bad guys and wrestling with his Daddy. But it infuriated me that people would make fun of him – and I’m vowing never, never to go to another family function unless my sister or Marc is in attendence. I didn’t have any allies there, and it was a really, really crappy afternoon.

My house is in shambles, having four kids rocking and rolling here all weekend will do that, and finally both my kids are asleep. And if I was a good mother, I’d be vaulting into action, weilding my broom and my vacuum and picking up and straightening and making everything neat and pretty. But let’s be honest, I’m going to heat up my hidden stash of chinese food and watch Grey’s Anatomy, which I recorded three or four days ago and haven’t gotten around to watching 🙂

Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow…

I love the warmer weather. There are aspects of winter I like, I enjoy bundling up in a blanket, sipping cocoa and reading. I love Christmas and candles and birthdays, and all of that is winter related for me. I like big rocking blizzards, when the wind howls and we can just burrow in and stay home for days on end. I like no school days. But mostly – I don’t like being cold, I don’t like having to wear shoes constantly or drag coats around with us all the time. I’m always happier when I can just pull on some cut offs and sandals and spend the day outside. Or inside with the windows open 🙂

Today, it’s gorgeous out – in the sixties, bright and sunshiney and I’m delighted with myself. Sara came over with Jordyn, and I had Harrison and Sam today and we all walked to Elm Park. The kids all ran around and played and jumped and yelled and it was great. My laundry is drying out on on the line, and I’m busy planning out Easter and Passover celebrations 🙂 Harrison and Jordyn are both napping, and Sam is, of course, still up and rocking and rolling. I miss his afternoon nap… he just asked if I’d make him a cup of coffee, I told him we were out, and then he asked me to brew a fresh pot. I think it’s possible he spends too much time alone with me.

At Sam’s last physical, he had his vaccinations. I’m almost always the one who does physicals, and the shots – I don’t like them, it’s not fun to see my children get them, but I”m okay with it. I can hold them down and while I might tear up, I’m nowhere near as fragile about it as I was today. I put off getting his lead test done, but getting bloodwork done on the same day at the shots just seemed mean. But it turns out that I need the results in order to get him registered for preschool, so today while I was at Jessie’s physical, I figured I’d just get Sam’s bloodwork done at the same time.

It was AWFUL. He started screaming “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK” while we were waiting for Jessie’s camp physical form to get filled out and just kept going, begging me not to make him do it. He’s not stupid, and his mother is 35 weeks pregnant – he’s seen a lot of bloodwork because he comes with me to all of my appts. And even though I’m very calm and don’t freak out about needles, he knows that it’s still a needle going into your skin. He screamed the whole way down in the elevator, and while we were waiting in the waiting room. It was a crowded little waiting room and I could not stop him from just screaming non-stop. “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK! PLEASE MOMMY, NO BLOODWORK! I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK!” His poor little face, the tears were pouring down his cheeks and his eyes were huge and terrified. They finally took us in, there were two techs, they muscled me down into the chair, locked my legs around him (and he’s not fitting all that well due to enormous belly) and I held one arm while they jammed the needle into the other one. (You understand that I’m exaggerating slightly, they were actually very fast and efficient and I’m relatively sure that they didn’t actually jam the needle in – but it was hard to tell because at this point I was crying as hard as he was).

It was the worst experience ever – rivaling his x-ray at two weeks old, when he cried so hard he vomited all over the table. He’s kicking me with those super hard shoes, I’m contracting all over the place, crying because my poor son was just so scared and I was making him do it anyway – Jessie was hiding in the waiting room, with her hands clamped over his ears… total trauma. Even afterwards – he screamed for at least another twenty minutes – jumping up and down, screaming “I DON’T WANT BLOODWORK!” I had to go back upstairs to check out in the doctor’s office, and begged them for a room, where I nursed my little boy (who’s been weaned for months) just to try and calm the hysteria, because he was still screaming. I’m wrecked, exhausted, emotional and feel so incredibly emotionally fragile. It was just awful. I’m never doing bloodwork again. Shots, shots I can do, bloodwork – no way. Never again. That’s so completely Marc’s job from here on out.

In other news – Jess is a paragon of health – still tall and skinny, 49lbs, and 48 and three quarter inches.

Am going to go sit quietly in the living room and cry it all out, I really can’t handle that kind of thing at this point. Too emotional, too pregnant, and way too tired to do that kind of emotional trauma.

I’m still somewhat baffled by how LARGE my stomach has gotten in the past couple of days. In the past week, it’s like all of a sudden, the baby is just putting on all kinds of weight and growing like a madwoman. And I waddle. I’m still convinced that I’m going to be pregnant forever, it feels like this whole pregnancy has just crawled by… I’ve still got about six weeks left, by any conservative estimate. Although – I’m all about fast forwarding and rounding up – so I’m also half way thinking that since I’ll be 35 weeks on Friday, I can start claiming that I’m 35 weeks now – I mean, I’m in that week, right? And since Sam came eight days early (which is, as you all know well over a week early) this one should come even earlier (why I think this, I don’t know, but am clinging to it because it makes me feel better), which means that she could come as early as 37 or at the absolute latest, 38 weeks. So I’ve got less than a month, right? In fact, according to my creative math – it could be as soon as three weeks. Right??

In other news… we’re struggling again with my little drama queen. Mornings have suddenly become absolute disasters – this kid just flat out doesn’t like going to school. We had started the sticker routine in January, giving her one for each day that she didn’t freak out and scream like a lunatic at the prospect of heading out the door – and it worked so well that we stopped doing it (on the theory that maybe it had served it’s purpose and we didn’t want to be stickering her when she was sixteen). But then she just fell back into utter misery every morning and it culminated into a knock down fit last Thursday that resulted in the loss of Rebecca Rubin for three days. We’ve been doing the stickers ever since, and it’s working. I guess. I still don’t like that she hates going to school – I talked to her teacher again, just to confirm that there isn’t anything going on at school that I’m missing. But nope – she’s doing great, academically and socially. Is well liked, interacts with the other kids, seems perfectly content and is exceeding expectations academically. I’m not sure where to go with this – she seems awfully young to have to trudge off every day to a “job” that she hates, but I really don’t know that homeschooling is the right option either.

Sam is also doing great with the potty training. The only hitch is that he’ll only go at home. Won’t use the potty when we’re out. I mean, he’s great at holding it – he’s never had an accident when we’re out either, but still it concerns me that he won’t go at the library or at a restaurant. He claims he’s nervous – and when we prompt him to go, it’s just makes him mad. But he’s reliably dry at home, and is even waking up dry some mornings, so once we get over this little hurdle, I think we’ll be good to go.

Jess liked to be naked too, I guess, but not like this. She didn’t have much modesty – but liked clothes on her body. Sam literally would prefer to spend all his time sans clothing. We went thru a two week period when he was just naked all the time, and now I can mostly get clothes on him (because I told him dressing himself was one of his chores – and he understands from Jessica that you have to do your chores), but there are days when he just whips off his jammies and stays naked all day. Perfectly content, and looks confused when I suggest that perhaps a pair of underwear or maybe a t-shirt would not be out of the question.

Part of it is just the penis, I think. He flat out loves that thing. It’s got an identity, and apparently requires a lot of what he calls fresh air and play time. (There’s going to come a time when he’s old enough to read and curious enough to go back far enough in this blog to find this post and will kill me – but I’m okay with that).

Anyway – I’m home today, being lazy. It’s overcast and chilly today, raining off and on – so I can’t use my pretty new stroller. And I’m just so… out of it. I’ve got a list of my own chores to do, and absolutely no desire to do any of it. Sink full of dishes, floors that need to be vacuumed, laundry to be folded, and all I want to do is curl up and read. So much for nesting…

I’m struggling with time constraints. Specifically, trying to balance out the demands of family versus having a life of your own. Actually, what I’m struggling with is trying to understand my beloved husband’s struggle. I’ve worked out my own struggle. For well or ill, I value family demands over my own. My children are only little a finite amount of time. They’re only tiny and nursing exclusively for six months, where I am the only source of food. So for at least the first six months, I don’t really go anywhere without toting a little one with me. And even after that… their physical need for me might be lessened by the introduction of fruits and veggies and diluted juice, but in Sam’s case, at least, his emotional need for me was still just as high, so I didn’t really leave him. Jess was certainly easier, she was more comfortable with other people, so I’d go out occasionally without her, but for the most part, I stick around my kids. Now that they’re older, I can drop them off with friends, leave them home with Marc and spend time doing my own thing, but my first priority is generally to spend time together as a family. Which is to say, if Marc’s not working and at home, that’s where I want to be.

I’m good at saying no. Nope, sorry, I can’t make that meeting. No, I’m sorry, I can’t be there, I’ve got other responsibilities at home that take priority. I tend to, if anything, to spend too much time at home, I have trouble sometimes separating my identity as Mommy with my identity as Melissa. It’s obviously complicated because I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t have co-workers that see me just as an adult. I’m in charge of my kids 24/7. It hasn’t always been without sacrifice – I’ve lost friends and am nowhere near as close to my family and friends as I once was, but I figured out early on that if I didn’t put my kids first, nobody else would. And they deserved that level of committment.

My husband, who I love so very much – lives a very different life than I do. He’s got a full time job and is not home from about eight thirty to six thirty Monday thru Friday. He’s got diabetes and his health is dependent on regular workouts, so he’s at the gym one to two nights a week. He’s become super involved with the synagogue we attend, and has been at meetings several nights a week. And he’s got a little group of friends that try to get together a couple of times a month to play dungeons and dragons.

All of this means that frequently the kids and I don’t see him for what feels like days on end. And I don’t get that. I don’t understand how that’s a livable situation for him – I’d be miserable in that type of lifestyle. It’s hard not to resent it as well – because when he’s not here, I’m here by myself, and it’s frustrating to be the one doing all the housework and childcare – I’d so much rather have him here with me. I’m sore and pregnant and emotional, which doesn’t create a situation where I’m super patient and loving and self-sacrificing. Most of the time, I’m bitchy and grumpy and unhappy and resentful – it’s not a far walk from being mad that he’s never here to hurt because he must not want to be here – I mean, he’s making the choice to do something else. Other than work, which he has to do and working out, which with a diabetes diagnosis, is also not negotiable, but at some point, he has to think to himself, I’d rather go to the gym than go home and go for a run with the kids. I’d rather attend this meeting than stay home and eat dinner with the wife and kids. Which probably isn’t the way he’s looking at it, but again – pregnant, super emotional and resentful – that’s how I see it. Which, as you can imagine, does not make for a happy family. Especially because my kids are super attuned to my mood, and when I’m unhappy, they don’t know quite what to do, and resort to screaming and yelling at each other to get me to focus on them and not on my own issues.

I’m not sure how to resolve this – especially because it’s not really a situation I have any control over. I can only control what I do. How I feel (and with hormones all over the damn place – I don’t have much control at all at this point) and how I react. I suppose I just need to accept it for what it is – he just doesn’t look at it the same way that I do. And just because he perceives it differently doesn’t mean that he’s wrong. Maybe it’s biological? Maybe he’s really not capable of focusing on family the way that I can. In the same way that he’s not capable of getting pregnant and nursing. Maybe biologically, he’s not capable of attaching the same way, having the same sense of responsibility and obligation. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the kids as much as I do, just that he’s not as involved with their health and survival on the same level that I am. In the same way that he was able to go back to work after each one was born without feeling as though he was being ripped in half. Even now, seven years later, I know that the first day I left Jessie with a sitter and went back to work was one of the worst days of my life. I know that Marc loves the kids as much as I do, that they matter to him as much as they matter to me – but there’s something different there that I’m struggling to understand.

Certainly, most people who know him would argue that he’s a phenominal father. Involved, focused, attentive. He works so hard at a job that he hates to provide for them. He derives enormous pleasure from spending time with them, he delights in their accomplishments, never complains about the drudgery of parenting, is happiest when they are with them. He’s a far better father than any other I can think of. He snuggles and talks and spends as much time with him as he feels he can. I know a lot of his friends think he’s the pinnacle of what a husband and father should be. And most days I agree. I know that he’s a great husband, I know he loves me, I know he loves his kids. I just wish he was around more. Having a great husband and father for your children isn’t much comfort when it feels like you’re the only adult in the house all the time.

I just don’t. I don’t think it tastes very good. But it turns out that when I don’t drink enough, bad things happen. Not that I haven’t figured that out before (having been rushed to the hospital after passing out at the beach when I was 11 weeks pregnant with Jess, having been admitted with both Sam and this pregnancy for dehydration issues…) but specifically now, it turns out that when I don’t drink enough, I start contracting like mad. So when you see me, just politely hand me the bottle of water because left to my own devices, I’m going to “forget” to drink and suffer the consequences.

Bought a brand new double jogging stroller today. It was expensive, so I panicked a little – major purchases always freak me out, but it’s really the only thing that I have bought new for the baby – and we REALLY needed one. Marc can take the kids jogging with him when he runs, I could even embark on a new fitness routine post-baby (this is highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility). I can put Sam and Harrison in there, strap the baby onto my chest and head out to the library or the park… it’s got kid and parent cup holders, plus lots of storage for library books, trips to the grocery store, etc. Plus, it’s super easy to push, so I’m very excited about it.

I’m actually contracting and it’s not entirely pleasant. I know I’ve been complaining throughout the entire pregnancy, but since it’s my blog, I’m just going to keep going… I’ve been noticing more and more these contractions – and they hurt. I’ve never had contractions like this – I always just got back labor, so this is completely unfamiliar to me – and it strikes me that I’m looking at another six weeks of this. I know that I’m not in ACTUAL labor, it’s too early and again – I’ve never gone into labor without back pain. But what if it actually IS labor? What if I’m just going to have her super early?

But it’s not, I mean, they aren’t coming in any kind of order, they aren’t even truly painful, just a little bit. And sometimes they last for a long time and sometimes they just sort of happen quick and stop right away. The whole top of my uterus is tight and painful and I’m ill amused.

All is well in babyland. I’ve only gained ten pounds so far, which I mention just for the sake of mentioning it. I have no real control over it, because I’ve been eating a lot and exercising next to not at all, so have no idea why I’m not gaining weight. But I’m not complaining – less to lose afterwards :-). The baby is measuring great, moving all the time. Lots of braxton hicks contractions, lots of round ligament pain and my midwife is mildly sympathetic, but basically this is just what happens when it’s my uterus and it’s the third baby. The other two babies – I had NOTHING until I actually went into labor, but this one is going to make my life utter hell until she finally appears. My theory is that the pregnancy is insane so that the baby will be all laid back and relaxed and cool. Instead of the crazy psycho baby that Sam was (seriously screamed unless I was holding him until he was six or seven months old), and the intense lovable drama queen that my girl is to this day.

Am exhausted – Jess had a rough night’s sleep last night. Usually, she’s a great sleeper, once she’s out, she’s out and I don’t hear from her until the next morning, but last night, she just couldn’t stay asleep. And usually I just let her crawl into bed with me and she goes back to sleep, but I’m so big now that sleeping in general is tough, and sleeping with a seven year old snuggled up to me is impossible. So I eventually took her back to her bed and laid there with her for a while, and then snuck back into mine, only to have her pop back into my bed three or four hours later.

Sam’s already out for the night – Wednesdays are tough because of all the running (doctor’s appts and dance class) and I’m just letting Jess finish watching Wizards of Waverly Place before we snuggle down with Chapter 10 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 🙂

And it’s even a good thing, because Sam is STILL sick. He’s much, much better, but still has a runny nose and really bad cough in the middle of the night. And I wouldn’t want to expose the baby to that. So it’s good that she’s safe in utero for a little bit longer. Say another week or so :-). Rationally, I get that a little more lung development would be a good thing, and bigger babies nurse better, sleep longer, have fewer health issues, I get all that. Rationally. But emotionally? The sheer fact that I’ve got another six weeks to go if she goes full term just blows my freaking mind. Seriously? SIX MORE WEEKS? Crazy.

I’m still freaking out a little about the whole birth thing. No way around it, she’s going to come out in some horribly painful sort of way. I’m still planning on a VBAC, and there’s no reason to assume that it won’t work, except that, having had one C-section before that wasn’t planned, I can’t not include it in my list of things that might happen. Not that I’d really mind another C-section, I don’t have my heart set on natural childbirth, I’m pretty open to whatever. I’m really going to try and go with no epidural this time, though, because Sam’s labor was just so crappy, and I think the epidural just hindered the pushing and did nothing for the back labor (i.e. leg and hip cramps), so I still got all the pain, plus it numbed the need to push as well.

In other news – SPRING IS HERE!!! I woke up this morning to actual blue skies and sunshine. Am going to take the boys (Sam and Harrison) out for a walk this morning 🙂