This draft has been kicking around a long time. I've finally got it finished.
A Couple Comments on the Pregnancy:
One thing I'm really disliking about this pregnancy coupled with Natalie only napping once a day is that I really only get to choose to do one thing a day. I can play on line, or blog, or read, or nap, or do something else, but that's it. In the evening I'm too tired to stay awake, or if I can we watch a show from the DVR. That leaves the 1 to 2 hours of free time in the afternoon. I know that with the new baby, it will probably be worse for a while, but that doesn't make me like it now any more or make me look forward to how it will be in the future. I'm really worried about losing all sense of who I am due to a complete lack of time to do anything for myself or even just really be alone. In some ways, I'm wishing that Mike would step up and plan to take Natalie for a couple hours so I can be alone instead of me having to ask him to take her shopping or tell him I'm going to go shopping by myself. Its similar with some of the chores around here. Mike has always helped around the house, especially with Natalie related work. In fact, sometimes I feel very guilty for ever being annoyed at him when I hear (or see) how little other husbands do or how clueless they are to care for their children or homes. But, that doesn't make me wish a little that Mike would just say, its okay for you to take a nap, I'll give Natalie her bath by myself, or for him to say for me to go play with her while he does the dishes and cleans up the floor and sets up breakfast. Its like there isn't much acknowledgment that I'm pregnant and might need a little extra help. I've heard this is common for a second pregnancy, but for us, I don't feel like there was tremendous acknowledgment of my first pregnancy since he felt sick for most of it too. It makes me worry a little bit about how things are going to be later. Does he realize how much stuff he is going to have to pick up on when its July and I'm 8 months pregnant? Or when I'm only sleeping like four hours all together a night and taking care of two kids alone all day? I feel like we are still at a point where we are looking for fairness in the amount of work we each do, but at the same time, I feel it doesn't need to be fair. I shouldn't feel bad if he picks up the toys every night or has to do the harder parts of bath time or has to cook and do all the clean up. Being pregnant and the first bit postpartum is the only time when I feel like I shouldn't have to feel bad about asking (or expecting) him to do more work than me, but we aren't there yet. I just hope that when we do get to a point where I really do need to be resting more and can't do as much, that he realizes it himself without me having to complain about it. That would mean a lot.
Venting about a Run of Bad Luck:
I really hate it when things are going really well, then you go screeching into reverse. Last night was a perfect example. I got everything all set for dinner and even managed to make myself sugar cookies with the mix we finally bought. Then Mike gets home and I realize I should have put dinner in the oven at least 20 minutes before to eat at 530. He is taking the trash out and its leaking nasty stuff all over the floor, while he tries to talk to me from the kitchen but I can't hear him over the TV. At dinner, Natalie is mashing her peas and trying to put them in her hair while we are still waiting for the roast. I get increasingly more annoyed with Mike, as he does me, for reasons I can't even remember clearly anymore. So, even though its Valentine's Day and he bought me flowers, we end dinner mad. Putting Natalie to bed together levels things out, and we're fine after that, but things went from really good to pretty horrible.
This morning was a bit like that, too. Around 430 Natalie starts crying pretty hard. I got up to get her to bring her into bed with us (only the second time we've ever done this because she usually goes back to sleep). After a little excitment that Mommy and Daddy were there and Kitty, she snuggles up to me and goes to sleep. So deep a sleep that I manage to move her off my shoulder so I can lay on my side looking at her gorgous sleeping baby face. When its time for Mike to leave, he can't resist stroking the side of her face. Instantly, her eyes pop open and that's that. She's awake asking to go play and saying she's all done. That was at 630. We haven't been out of bed at that time in a while. The morning went so slow. I gave in and let her watch TV early, but she wasn't that interested. At snack, she is knocking food on the floor and trying to dump her cup. Just annoyances all around, but nothing that is really her fault. When we are finally ready to go to the library, she falls asleep in the car. I have to wake her up putting her in the stroller and its freezing out - actually below since its 17 degrees and very windy. She does okay at story time, though its big kid story time day and she is loud, but I didn't care. We HAD to get out of the house with her getting up so early. After a little bit of playing and checking out (during which she makes a huge mess with orange cheese sandwich crackers), we have to go to the post office to mail a library book back to my sister. The wind is blowing in our faces the whole way, which feels so long but is really only a block. Luckily, there is no line and we are out fast, though I feel stupid using the elevator to go literally five feet down. Natalie feel asleep in the car again on the way home and I got her into her crib with no problems. But, naps before lunch are often shorter and we have a long evening ahead of us. Even though Mike left early because he was tip toeing around trying to be quite, he has to stay late and won't be home until almost 6. Its so cold out I don't want to do another outing. It looks like it could be a long afternoon. I probably should go take a nap now, but I'm at that point of being tired where you feel tired, but you can't really sleep because you aren't tired enough yet.
Playgroup on Valentine's Day:
We just got home from play group and Natalie fell asleep in the car. Its nice to have a break right when we get home, but its nicer to have her nap at her usual time, because its more likely it will be a longer nap. If she takes a short nap, we have to either deal with it or try for a second nap later in the afternoon, neither of which are great options. But, I'm stealing a few moments to write while I can.
At play group, there was a baby sleeping in his car seat. I brought Natalie over to see him. I'm still not sure if it was a mistake. She was very curious and kept going back, but she wanted to get really, really close, and lean on his seat. His mom wasn't there at first, but she did come around later and was a little worried about him being woken up since they are having some napping trouble right now. I told her how this is really the first baby she's gotten to see up close (which I realized later wasn't 100% true, since she saw our neighbor's baby at about 10 weeks old, but that was maybe four months ago before Natalie learned the word baby). The mom was surprised, but the youngest kid at play group is about 6 months and even at baby story time the babies are at least 3 or 4 months old. Natalie usually doesn't get to see them up close because they are on their parents' laps. Anyway, I was glad she was curious, but wished it wasn't so hard to keep her from trying to touch the baby. The mom I think was surprised that I told her I was pregnant so early because she was like, "You look great" like she expected me to be way further along. She also commented at how much energy I had saying she was exhausted, and I told her that I was usually asleep at 730 every night. She also commented on Natalie energy, but really Natalie was really only being a handful because I was trying to keep her from touching the baby! I said she was more low key at home and the mom reminded me to look out for myself. Of course, by the end of play group, I was pretty tired.
There were a few other fun things about play group today. Natalie got happy to see one of her friends arrive and ran up to say hello. She also interacted some with a couple of the other toddlers. She got to have frosted strawberry mini wheats at snack special for Valentine's Day, and she got her first Valentine from another child who gave them out to everyone (his mom brought in the snacks and Valentine plates, too). I was a little sad I forgot to dress at least Natalie for Valentine's Day. It especailly sucks because she just got a pinkish sweatshirt from my sister this weekend and it was clean. There was only a little pushing from the other older girl who has bullied Natalie. She pushed her away on the chest with one finger, so it wasn't too bad, but Natalie didn't really like it. Natalie is getting better at sitting for the end portion of play group. Miss Linda leads them through a little train game, and she will sit for that, but Natalie gets up as soon as the story starts. She wanted to leave. I told her that if we left now she couldn't get her sticker from Miss Linda (that's her favorite part, and she loves stickers in general now). So, she goes over to Miss Linda, in the middle of the circle as she is reading, and goes Bye, like if she tells her bye she'll know its time to go. She came back to me by the door and I told Natalie that Miss Linda wasn't ready to go yet. After a minute, she wandered back over to Miss Linda. I was worried she was going to say bye again, but she started listening to the story. So, I came up behind her and plopped her down on an empty chair. She did good until there was a kitty in the story and she started missing her Kitty. Then she hugged me sucking her thumb. Other interesting things about today would be her rubbing in her own hand sanitizer before snack and her holding my hand as we walked down the hall towards the door. Also, there was a time when she wanted a toy under a table. She couldn't reach it. When I suggested she lay down to reach it, she listened and gave it a try. She has been doing that recently, but it was cool that she understood my suggestion and tried it.
Weekend at My Parents':
Well, weekend is stretching it. We arrived at 1230 on Saturday and left about 24 hours later. That makes for a very fast weekend, but it was nice to see my family. Natalie was very friendly with everyone - no warm up period. One of the cutest things was when my brother arrived, she said hello to him from the top of the stairs. The other best thing was when she opened the gift my sister had for her. It was a small Cookie Monster stuffed animal. Natalie liked him right away. I asked her if she wanted him to come home with us, and she goes "Yea, Okay, Okay," so loud! My sister loved it! She played with him a lot the rest of that day. The family took turns hiding him for her to find and she carried him around hugging him. She laid him on the kitchen floor to go "night night" and she fed him. Natalie also showed off her language skills by saying Elmo for the first time. She also started saying "oh no," both words she knew, but in a new combination with the right context. She also said Oscar and ride, and something very close to Cookie a few times, but I don't think we can call those official yet. Another highlight was her playing with stickers with my mom. As my dad whispered to us at the time, my mom isn't really the playing type, so it was nice to see her helping Natalie stick down the stickers on to a stray envelop. Everyone was pretty surprised how quite Natalie got when we turned on a Sesame Street DVD around 4 to let her wind down some, which we are very glad we did because her snuggling and thumb sucking proved she needed a break. She had napped early in the car, but we didn't think she would go for a second nap in the afternoon with so many fun people around. She made it to bed time with only some fussiness as she waited for dinner, but I was down stairs resting. I had a headache all weekend and was trying to rest so Mike and I could go out, so everyone else had to deal with keeping her happy until dinner time.
Mike and I went out after she went down for the night. We did our crossword puzzle as I had some dessert, then walked around Jordan's. We hadn't realized Tron was still out, or we might have tried to see it. We saw a bed frame we really liked and walked around in the bedroom show rooms for what seemed like a really long time. Then we watched the Liquid Fireworks while Mike had some ice cream and we talked. That was nice because we often don't just hang out and talk. We were going to walk around a bit more, but the escolator to upstairs was closed for cleaning, so we left rather than find the other one hidden deep in the store. We instead drove a lap around the lake and talked about how nice it will be to go on summer evening walks around the lake for a date while Natalie sleeps and to take her to the park area during the day. Once we got home, we managed to stay up until almost 1130!
Sunday was mostly getting everyone ready to go and we head out after lunch so Natalie could sleep during her normal time in the car. We were both pretty tired that afternoon, maybe because we went to bed a bit late, but more I think because it was so gray out. The rest of the afternoon was pretty boring, and I was asleep by 730 again. This time though, I didn't wake up and get stuck awake for a couple hours in the middle of the night or early morning.
Phone call with my sister:
I had a great phone call with my sister one morning. I'm excited about her coming to visit while Mike goes away in April. (I'm also excited that she is talking about staying home when she has kids). We also talked about the arrival of the new baby and what that will mean for holidays and how we will arrange visitors / help.
Cousin bad mouthing Sesame St.
So my cousin, who has very different views than me, bad mouthed Sesame Street on her FB the other day. Here are her reasons: socialist street, too hollywood, aimed toward network TV parents, enviromentists, too much silliness and focus on feelings rather than content, and too much Hispanic culture. While I agree that sketches aren't devoted purely to content, there is plenty of educational stuff, especially science (scientific method, animals, seasons, rainbows, etc). Lots of opposites, rhyming, problem solving, conflict resolution, and awesome research skills in Elmo's World. I feel that it teaches a lot about the world in general, which is just as important as numbers and letters. Maybe I am too hollywood, but I love the paradoies, and that's why they are there, not for the kids, it makes no difference to them, but for the parents who are watching along. There are only two Hispanic live characters, but they have been on the show since forever and there is only one Hispanic muppet, and she isn't even in every episode. I don't remember how the show was structured back in the 80's, but I think its way better than reruns we see from about ten years ago. Most episodes have a lot of continuity, with many segments around one or two topics, but done subtly.