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3.26.2015

Four snowstorms, four weeks, two dentist appointments, and one exhausted momma : A letter from New England

1.  The first snowstorm was actually a blizzard.  Leading up to the storm, the media was warning people that this could be the blizzard of the century - major cities closed - and I found myself at a big box home-goods/hardware store asking about flashlights the hour the snow started to fall.

Poor New York was disappointed by the storm, but here in Boston, we had a genuine blizzard, spent Tuesday inside watching snow fall, spent another day or two at home because schools and preschools were closed, and we got about two to three feet of snow. 

Fun.

2.  About a week later, there was another snowstorm.  It arrived on a Monday morning and lasted all day.  It dropped about a foot of snow on top of the several feet from the blizzard the week before. 

That day, I was a little less enthusiastic about the snow.  I woke up tired of having been stuck in our apartment and not looking forward to another day inside.  I took a walk at around 8 am while the snow was still falling.  The sidewalks were not clear yet, not even close.  On my way home, about a half-block from our apartment, I slipped, fell slowly, and landed in a very soft pile of snow - belly and all. 

So fun.

3.  One week later, we had another snow storm on a Monday. 

The same day that Bug and Squish had their dentist appointments about a mile down Mass. Ave in Cambridge.

Perhaps the part of me that took a walk in the snowstorm the week before was the same part of me that decided the three of us were going to these dentist appointments.  We had spent what felt like over two weeks in our apartment because it was too cold to go outside.

Off we went.  The boys did a great job, and I was so proud of them.

Then we re-bundled ourselves to leave - snow pants, winter coats, water-proof puffy gloves, hats, and boots - and we went outside to wait for the 77 bus to take us home.

We did this on purpose.  For fun. 

It was freezing and snowing outside.  Bug and Squish stood behind a 5-foot tall snow bank that blocked the wind while we waited for the bus, which arrived just a few minutes later and not a second too soon.

The boys enjoyed the ride down snow covered Mass. Ave, and I enjoyed spending time with them outside of our living room for the first time in many, many days.

We got off the bus near our local pizza place so that we could have a special lunch together.  My husband was going to walk over and meet us for lunch, too.  It was going to be a cheesey, root-beery, wonderful family hour together.

The pizza place was closed.  Of course it was.  We were in the middle of the third snow storm in as many weeks.

Bug accepted the defeat with some dignity and was ready to walk home, but Squish refused.

He kept pulling on the locked door to the pizza place.  He was crying.  He was shouting.  Snot and tears were running down the little bit of his face that was not covered by his hat and jacket hood.

A woman in a pick-up truck across the street shouted over to us, "Can I give you a ride?!?"

I said, "Oh no.  We are fine. Just a couple blocks from home.  Thank you!!"

She tried again, "But with the baby crying!  And it's only going to get worse out here.  I can take you down the road easily!"

Again, I let her know we would be fine - perhaps hoping that Squish would hear these words and realize that he would, indeed, be fine.

Squish continued to wail and flail and ask why the pizza place would not open.

The woman across the street said, "I'm not a crazy person.  My truck is safe.  You are welcome to hop in!!"

I felt terrible.  She was being so, so kind.  And we must have looked so pitiful.  One prego lady, one quiet, cold 5-year-old, and one floptastic 3-year-old screaming about pizza on the corner in the middle of a snowstorm.

I tried to reassure her that we really lived two blocks away and would be okay. 

She shrugged.

Finally my husband arrived.  I explained that the place was closed and started to walk Bug home, leaving my husband to manage poor, sad, hungry Squish.

So, so fun.

4.  Yes, 4.  Freaking 4.  And it wasn't March yet.  Valentine's Day brought another snow storm this year.  I only remember three things about that weekend - all food related.

Bug and I went to the grocery store and got some Valentine sugar cookies to decorate.

My husband made a delicious dinner that night.

We had nutella French toast with bacon and strawberries that Sunday morning. 

Otherwise, it was just another freezing cold, snowy, several day period when we were stuck inside trying not to go absolutely insane.

So, so, so fun.

The following week, we did not have another snow storm.  But some things were going on at work that caused a lot of stress.  An almost absurd amount of stress.  So much stress that I ended up at the doctor's office one morning for the ironically named nonstress test because of the number, frequency, and strength of those delightful Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having the night before.

After my nonstress test, I got some great advice from the nurse practitioner:

"Lower your standards.  Cereal is a perfectly nutritious dinner for everyone.  Pajamas are not required for bedtime - kids can sleep in their clothes."

2.02.2015

Separate

We took the boys to the museum of science yesterday, and as part of the fun, we went to the 4-D movie playing in the morning - something about shallow seas.

For those who have not attended a 4-D movie (as I had not until a few weeks ago), you watch the film wearing 3-D glasses plus you might smell hot chocolate or Christmas trees or you might feel snow or bubbles as they fall from the ceiling.

Or you might feel like there are snakes hissing and moving around your ankles.  Which promptly terrified Squish and led to my husband carrying the poor thing out of the theater.

Bug and I stayed to watch the rest of the movie, which had begun with a momma humpback whale and her calf making their way from the shallow seas back to deeper waters.  Bug turned to me and said, "That calf is so cute!"

"I totally agree," I said.

Twenty minutes later, the movie returned to the momma and calf as they gorged on krill.

The narrator said that it would soon be time for the momma and the calf to separate.

"Separate?!?" Bug exclaimed.

"Yep.  It's time for the calf to make his way in the world.  He's ready, sweetie," I whispered.

"But will the calf have to go to danger?  On his own?!?" Bug worried out loud.

"He will be okay.  He's big and ready for plenty of adventures - even if they include a little danger, buddy," I tried.

Bug was quiet as the movie ended. 

When we left the theater and were tossing our 3-D glasses into the bin at the exit, Bug said, "But what about sharks?!?  Will the calf have to see sharks?"

"Maybe.  But he will be a grown whale by then.  Nothing to worry about.  Sharks don't mess with humpback whales.  [Plus, my little calf, I love you very, very much, and I am sure that when the time comes, I will be the one fretting about danger and sharks, while you are the one reassuring me that you are grown and ready.]" I suggested.

"Okay.  What do beluga whales eat?" asked Bug.






12.22.2014

First Trimester Fun - Part 3

My husband and I wondered for several weeks toward the end of the first trimester when and how we would tell the boys about baby number three.

I read articles about creating a comfortable environment in which my children would be able to express conflicting feelings, and I would tell them that I have felt happy and anxious at times, too.  I would guide them through the complex emotional landscape known as Momma Is Having Another Baby.

We finally decided that we would tell them on a weekend.  I did not want to tell them on a weeknight  because I didn't want any anxiety about the news to affiliate itself with bedtime.  I then read an article confirming that bedtime was the wrong time to reveal our big news.  Good.  So we were on track to be amazing parents.

And the best laid plans . . . confronted an bumped into an ordinary Thursday night, after dinner:

Bug, standing on the couch, looked down at my belly - which the third time around is noticeable even in the first trimester.

He said, "Why is your belly so big?!?"

I just looked at him and said, "What?" (A tactic I use whenever I am trying to avoid answering a question.)

Bug repeated, "Why is your belly SO big?!?  Why is it so fat?!?"

I looked at my husband in the other room and said, "[Bug] wants to know why my belly is so big."

My husband smiled.

Bug kept staring at my belly, then up at my face, then back at the belly.

He smiled and asked in a whisper, "Is there a baby in there?"

"Yes," I replied.

"What baby?!?" he exclaimed.

"A new baby that will be here in the spring," I answered, wondering if I was about to find out how capable I would be as a guide through the complex emotional landscape known as Momma Is Having Another Baby.

Bug got pretty excited and jumped around saying a few nonsensical sentences.

Squish had been jumping around on the couch near Bug for most of this exchange.  At some point, I heard my husband tell Squish that he was going to be a big brother.

Squish acknowledged the news by puffing out his three-year-old belly and proclaiming, "I have a baby in my belly, too!"

Then it was business as usual for both of them. Time for the bath.  Pretty small emotional landscape, if we had journeyed across one at all.  Apparently, we're ready.  All four of us.  


12.18.2014

First Trimester Fun - Part 2

Remember how tiring the first trimester is?

No?

Right.  I didn't either.  Then around week 11 or so, I was sitting at my desk at work thinking, "Gosh, I am tired!  Those other times I was pregnant, I had an office and could close the door and curl up on the floor under my desk.  That sure sounds luxurious now.  I know this office is quiet and slow, but I am pretty sure someone would notice if I curled up on the floor at my cubicle right now."

So I did what I do sometimes, and I Googled my troubles.

Google: "peak exhaustion pregnancy"

Results: not helpful

I tried again because I was so tired it didn't seem at all absurd.

Google: "peak exhaustion first trimester"

Results: not helpful

I took a break from asking the internet to help me and tried to tell myself, "Hey - this is probably the worst of it - you know the answer.  Stop Googling it, silly!  And by all means, please stop reGoogling after you have already discovered nothing helpful in the internet.  The only way the internet could help you now is if it could reach out to hand you a pillow, a blanket, four walls, a door, and fifteen minutes to lie down on a couch before you go back to reading about the latest and greatest in accounting standards."

I hated that advice and went back to Google because I was so tired it didn't seem at all absurd - again. 


12.11.2014

First Trimester Fun - Part 1

Now that I have shared the amazing news that we are expecting a third munchkin, I would like to share some of the highlights from the first trimester.

The following is the first of a few installments I will call First Trimester Fun (and by "fun" I mean what most people mean when they say "nausea" or "exhaustion.")

One night, around week 8, I said to my sister, "I either rage or cry these days.  No in-between.  Just those two settings.  I should start a twitter feed and list what happens during the day to set me off with hashtags: #rage or #tears."

My husband offered to get me a glass of sparkling lime water one night.  #tears

The woman behind the desk at the Y asked me to swipe our member ID cards a second time.  #rage

On a Monday, my husband told me it was probably going to rain all week.  #tears

I got a parking ticket.  #rage

I felt so, so tired.  #tears

I thought about the fact that my job only provides six weeks of paid leave .  #rage #tears #morerage

I saw Zoomy's heart beating during an ultrasound.  #tears




12.09.2014

Babies in bellies

Bug: "I want a baby in my belly!"

Squish: "Me, too!!"

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Maybe.  We'll see how they feel when Zoomy arrives in late May.  Until then, I will be the tired (but very happy) pregnant lady who tried (unsuccessfully?) to hide her belly for the first four months at work. 

11.22.2014

Momma's Boy

Have you ever felt like shouting, "What the **** did you just say?!?" and then pushing someone in the face, but then you chose not to waste your time because your two munchkins were sopping wet and crying because they were so cold?

That's how I felt this morning.

The boys and I had had a fairly lazy morning followed by a mad dash to get ready for swim lessons.  None of which should surprise anyone who knows me.

We were late to the lesson, but I dropped them off with their teacher in the pool and went to get a seat in the parent viewing area.

During the first ten minutes of class, Squish spotted me and kept saying, "Momma!!" as he gave me a big thumbs-up.  This happened several times, and it was as endearing as you would imagine it to be each and every time.

Toward the end of class, the kids swam to the end of the pool closest to the parent viewing area.  The viewing area is separated from the pool by a wall of windows.  So, when Bug and Squish are at that end of the pool, they can see me, and we are no more than fifteen feet apart from each other.

As the class got out of the pool and lined up behind a starting block to practice jumping into the water, each of the kids was freezing.  They had their arms crossed in front of their bodies and were shivering.

Squish was the saddest of the group.  Literally.  He was shivering and crying.  He saw me and called out, "Momma!  Momma! Momma!"

I gave what was meant to be an encouraging smile and said, "It's okay.  It will be okay," hoping he could suddenly lip read.

But this was not reassuring, and he kept crying and shivering.  Soon I was about to cry, too.

Finally, Bug gave him a little bump forward - his signal that it was Squish's turn to jump in.

A few minutes later, class was over.

I met the boys on the pool deck.  Both of them were shivering, crying, and saying, "Momma!"

Their teacher was standing there and said, "Momma?!?  Ha!  [Squish] kept saying 'Momma, momma!' all through class today.  I called him 'Momma's boy,' and [Bug] laughed.  Hahahahaha.  Good job today, boys."

I said, "Oh . . . No."  Then I wrapped up the boys in towels, picked up Squish, and escorted them to the family changing room as quickly as possible.

What I wish I had said was, "Momma's boy?!?  MOMMA'S BOY?!?  Ha?  Hahahaha?!?  Let me tell you something.  He is three years old.  He is THREE. YEARS. OLD.  And another thing.  He is not a momma's boy.  He is THIS Momma's Boy.  And THIS Momma does not abide by adults calling children names! AND ONE LAST THING.  If my FIVE YEAR OLD laughed when you called my THREE YEAR OLD a name, it's because he didn't realize that you were being an asshole.  But I do."

Then I would have pushed him, and he would have fallen into the pool, drenched in humility. 

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