Number Two

First off, this post title does not refer to poop, though admittedly that is what I have been feeling like lately. The school year is winding down (six full days and two half-days to go!), and I am TIRED. I remember being tired when I was pregnant with Maggie, particularly at the beginning, but this type of exhaustion is new to me. During my planning periods I have to fight the urge to put my head on my desk and use the stack of papers waiting to be graded as a pillow. When I get home after picking up Maggie, I manage to get her something to eat and then sit at the kitchen table with her for as long as humanly possible while Matt gets home and cleans up after me. I feel like a perfect example of the law, “An object at rest stays at rest.” Motion of any kind is rough these days.

Meanwhile, I have been racking my brain for subjects to blog about, but my brain is pretty much on the same page as my body. It doesn’t follow basic commands. Coherent thoughts get sucked into the vortex of fatigue. The fact that I’m currently stringing words into sentences is a miracle. However, I don’t want to lose the momentum I gained when I first started writing, so what follows is the best I can come up with:

Number Two. The second pregnancy. The second child. It’s a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for quite some time, but devoting a blog post to it is admitting that it’s actually happening. Just saying it kind of gives me a panic attack. As of today, I am five weeks and one day from my due date. Clearly, it IS happening. Change is imminent. And I am freaking out.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone with my mental state. My children, my husband, and I will get through this transition unscathed. There’s no need to alert the authorities that a crazy lady is about to give birth. I absolutely want this child, and chances are good that I’ll go through this all yet another time after this. If  it were possible to pour out all of my anxieties about number two and sift through them, there’s definitely excitement mixed in there as well. I am dying to meet this little person and see who he or she is going to be.

That said, this second time around I know what lies ahead of me in the coming weeks and months, and only a truly crazy person would look forward to it. Labor? Seriously, does anyone WANT to do that again? My first time around I was dead-set against getting an epidural. I recall my words sounding something like this: “This is what my body was made for. I can do this on my own.” We bought scented oils and a back massager and made a labor playlist for my iPod. After about 24 hours of hard labor at home, though, my beautiful feminist sentiments had crumbled and an epidural became my new best friend. I still smile wistfully when I think about that needle entering my back, and I look forward to greeting my old friend again this time around.

Then there’s the whole newborn stage. When I was pregnant with Maggie, I attended a school holiday party where I oohed and ahhed over a colleague’s five-week-old son. “Yeah…” she said, in response to my gushing. “It’s not my favorite stage.” At the time, I thought it was a slightly awful thing to say, but now, comparing my articulate, relatively independent, mobile two-year-old to the emotionally unreachable yet completely dependent blob she was as a newborn, how can I blame her? Up until Maggie was at least six months old, I was covered in pee, poop, or spit-up often enough that I stopped bothering with a change of clothes in between and just waited until bedtime. Am I particularly excited about returning to that state of being?

Yes, there are certain things that I can count on experiencing as the mother of a newborn, but some of my panic also comes from the unknowns of adding another human being to my family. As awesome as Maggie is, she can be a handful- really, two hands full. How am I going to handle a tantrum with a baby hanging from me? How am I going to get both kids to go to sleep and still leave time for me and Matt?

The answer, obviously, is that I’ll figure it out. People generally do. But one piece of advice for you, reader: When it’s three in the morning and I’m calling or texting or posting in complete desperation and sleep deprivation, it’s probably best not to tell me that. Crazy people don’t usually respond well to sound logic.

Guilty as Charged

Is it just me, or does guilt instantly become your default emotion the minute you become a parent?

Things I have felt guilty about since becoming a parent:

  1. Not spending enough time with my daughter
  2. Not spending enough time with my husband
  3. Not spending enough time becoming a better teacher
  4. Not taking enough “me” time
  5. Not working out or eating healthy enough
  6. Not reading enough books
  7. Not staying up-to-date on current events
  8. Not volunteering 
  9. Not being a good enough friend. Sometimes I’m too absorbed in my own family and daughter to really pay attention to my friends’ needs and problems. Then there’s the issue of not being able to be at every wedding shower, bachelorette, wedding, birthday, etc. 
  10. Not calling my grandma often enough
  11. Not keeping my house clean enough
  12. Not being the mom that my mom is. I can’t make an apple pie, sew, or french braid hair.
  13. Not telling my mom often enough how much I admire the mom she is
  14. Letting Maggie watch TV
  15. Letting Maggie snack too much
  16. Telling Maggie, “Just one minute” when what I really mean is, “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing until I can’t take your harassment anymore and have to see what you want.”
  17. Giving Maggie what she wants when she probably should get a time out
  18. Totally neglecting my poor dog, who just wants someone to snuggle with
  19. Thinking about what I have to do while I’m in the middle of a conversation with another person
  20. Going days without checking anything off of my to-do list
Ok, so that’s twenty, and honestly I could keep going. I do have two and half years of guilt to catalog. In fact, let me be even more specific by doing a quick run-down of the guilt I’ve felt just today.
  1. Maggie climbed into bed with us at 7:00 this morning and I tried to pawn her off on Matt so I could keep sleeping, even though I went to bed before him. So, I felt guilty about trying to get him to do the work AND I felt guilty about wanting to be in bed rather than spending that time with her.
  2. I felt guilty about having two cups of half-caf coffee and another small cup of regular this morning. Doctor said it was okay, but what if I’m giving this kid a super-dose of ADHD while in utero?
  3. While Maggie and I were getting ready for church, she continually ignored instructions I gave her. Despite a clear warning, Supernanny-style, she still refused to listen, so I took away the one privilege she was really looking forward to: Sunday School. What kind of a mother punishes her child by not letting her go to church? Matt totally backed me up on this one, but I still felt like this was a dubious victory on my part.
  4. Throughout the entire church service, I couldn’t get my brain to focus. Weekends have been crazy lately and I’ve barely been to church, and there I was, glancing at my phone, thinking about the week to come, and still fretting about the Sunday School decision.
  5. I let the kid eat macaroni for lunch. AGAIN. 
  6. My students’ state test for my subject is on Friday, and they still have some major review to do. I had wanted to hand out a review sheet in class tomorrow, but guess what? It’s not ready. Worked on it for a little while just to decide that I’d finish it tomorrow and email it to them. 
  7. Decided that I’d rather be blogging. The good news? This is something I don’t need to feel guilty about.