Monday, September 30, 2013

Bits and Pieces: September

Clare and I are taking an ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) class through the St. Paul Public Schools. We've only been to two classes, but I think it is going to be great. We are together for some of the class, and then separate and the parents (all moms) get together to discuss parenting issues, while the kiddos play in the classroom. Clare LOVES it. She talks about it for days afterward. And when we had to miss the second class because Clare had a fever, she was absolutely distraught. (She is over it.) There are two moms in the class who have new babies (and toddlers). Everyone seems friendly. I am excited to have this outlet, even though it is just once a week.

Last week, we talked a bit about what it is like to bring a second child in the home. A few of the women mentioned feeling guilty and anxious before the baby was born, and some of them even said they didn't like their older children some days after the baby came home. I hope I don't feel that way, and I know others who don't. I do feel anxious and guilty, though. I am nervous about leaving Clare to go to the hospital, even though I know she won't remember any of it. And probably once I am in labor I won't care. I'll be a bit distracted, after all.  Anyway, I am excited to have another source of support and opinions and advice.


Over the past few months Clare and I have developed a routine - we have an activity every day. The park, story time at the library, ECFE. Clare loves the park, and when the weather turns we will go to an indoor playtime offered by St. Paul Parks and Recreation. We are also going to get a membership to the Minnesota Zoo. If anyone has any other ideas for indoor winter activities, I am all ears. Right now the park is my saving grace.


A few weeks ago, the church next door to our house had a big fair. (Next year I will be hitting the beer and Bloody Mary stands. A few of our neighbors even fair pre-parties.) The Gravitron was right next to our house. I feel nauseous just looking at that ride, but I loved it when I was younger. I thought about going on the Zipper to see if it would induce labor, but decided that probably wouldn't be a good idea. Clare really wanted to go on one of the rides - a train where each car had steering wheels. We let her go on it by herself, and I was really nervous that she was going to be upset that she was by herself. She wasn't. She loved it. She went on it again the next day, and since she was the only one on the ride and there wasn't anyone in line, the ride operator let her go around about 20 times. She is still not what I would call a daredevil, but she is definitely becoming braver every day.

Posing in front of the Merry Go Round. (She insisted on wearing her water shoes.)

Driving her purple car.
Sick girl, passed out on the couch after sobbing about missing school.
At the lock and dam on the Mississippi. She loves the river, and really enjoyed this outing with Daddy this past weekend. Mommy stayed home and relaxed on the couch.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 39

We've had a rough couple of days with Clare and I both suffering from colds, and me suffering from Clare NOT NAPPING. I love her, but if that trend had continued I would be booking her passage to Siberia. I am happy to report, however, that she seems to be back to her regularly scheduled programming. (Knock on all the wood in the universe. Even that in a galaxy far far away.)

I was convinced that the baby was going to be born today. I felt weird and crampy all day yesterday, and could not sleep last night. (Partly because Baby was performing a gymnastics routine for about an hour. I think it stuck multiple landings.) I had contractions every 15 minutes for about an hour, and then fell asleep on the couch while watching Gavin and Stacey on Netflix. When I woke up, the contractions had stopped.

I had an appointment with my midwife today. Not much is happening. Everything is fine with the baby, though, so I guess that is what matters. I have been such a klutz lately, too. I drop everything, which is extra annoying because with my enormous belly, picking whatever I dropped up can be a challenge.

I have been feeling GUILTY, because when don't I, that I have been letting Clare watch too much TV and too many videos on You Tube. I am just not up for doing much. Ben has been a champ with helping around the house, but that makes me feel guilty too, because he works all day and I am at home. I have officially decided, though, that being 39 weeks pregnant is a valid excuse not to do ANYTHING. Okay, I am done with the guilt.

We still haven't decided what to name the baby. I think we are set on two girl names, but we don't agree on the boy names. I hope I have some inspiration soon, or the baby might be known as Baby Boy Exley for some time. Or maybe it will be a girl, and we'll be all set.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Letter Writing

There is a spot in Clare's baby book for a letter from both of her parents. (I can tell you now that Ben will probably NEVER fill in his page, other than to possibly say something like "Clare. I am your father.") I still haven't written anything, either, and I was thinking now would be a good time to write it. Now, before baby brother or sister arrives. The problem is deciding what to say.

Do I tell her how much I love her, and how that will never change, even once the baby comes? How I'll always be Clare's mommy?

Do I tell her how much I've enjoyed this past summer, the two of us hanging out, knowing that right now I am her best buddy?

Or that even though I know she prefers me over almost any other person right now (except maybe Daddy), I can already see this changing as she joins in with other kids playing at the park? How I am so glad it is changing, how proud I am to see her jump in and play with the other kids, because that's how it's supposed to be?

Do I tell her about some of her favorite things right now, how much she loves to play catch, go to the park, ride her tricycle, and read books?

Do I talk about how funny she is, how creative? How she is constantly inventing little games, and has started role playing?

Do I tell her how I'd like to just bottle every minute, because she is changing so fast? Or how the sound of her little voice coming from her room in the morning, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Wheels on the Bus, just melts my heart, even if I am not ready to get up yet?

Do I tell her that I am really nervous about the baby coming, because I can't imagine loving anyone as much as I love her? And that I feel bad, that my attention will be divided, because I never want her to be unhappy? (Even though I know she will be, sometimes. And should be.)

Maybe I'll tell her all of this. Or maybe I'll wait, write the letter in a few years, when she is older and has become even more amazing than she already is.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I just said the following to my 2-year-old: "Bring me my wallet and I'll give you some money."

Yeah. She is pretending to go to Target to buy ice cream and popsicles, and she is short on cash. I know she doesn't really understand the concept of money, but I guess she knows she needs it at Target. Why I offered to give her money is another question. My brain is mush.

Yesterday I found myself cleaning, and really just stressing out about the dust behind the radiators. BEHIND THE RADIATORS. Finally, I came back down to earth and realized that if anyone is actually looking behind my radiators they have a problem. I really am worried about the cleanliness of my house, though. I feel like I have all sorts of cleaning to do, but I don't have the energy to do it. Someone please tell me it is okay to have a messy house. I think part of the problem is that since I am a stay at home mom, I feel like my house should be perfect at all times. I can't seem to manage it, though.

Maybe I am nesting. I am 37 weeks pregnant, after all. Full term. I still haven't packed my hospital bag, though, and I don't want to. I don't know why, but the thought of doing so just seems like too much work. What is the weather going to be like? 90? 60? Who knows. I can't handle it. I think I'll just wait until I am in labor to pack. I don't even remember what I brought last time. I don't think I used most of it, whatever it was. All I remember is staring at Clare for hours and hours.

Okay, I should go. Clare just got done ripping the dollar bill I gave her in half, and is now eating chapstick. Oh yeah, I am going to do great with two kids! I need a drink, but maybe I'll just settle for a popsicle. Good thing Clare bought some.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bits and Pieces: End of Summer

Time is a funny thing. It goes fast, says everyone (including me). Here I am, almost 34 years old, with a 2-year-old daughter. Wasn't I just freaking out about turning 30? Didn't I just graduate from college? Where did that time go? And yet, right now I don't remember what it is like not to be pregnant. I feel like I've been pregnant my entire life. What is it like not to have an enormous belly? Could I ever walk up stairs without getting winded? Could I get out of bed in a graceful manner, rather than heaving my entire body over the side? (Actually, graceful is not a word that I would ever use to describe myself, even when not pregnant.) Have I ever not been tired?

I almost had a panic attack on Sunday when I was saying goodbye to my mom after a visit. "Next time I see you, you'll be a mother for the second time!" she said. And although I realize my due date is less than a month from now, it still seems so far away. It is still the future. I have all SORTS of time. Right?

Summer is over, even though it is supposed to be 90 again by Friday. Time-wise, this summer felt long, in a good way. We moved into a new house, we traveled, we spent a lot of time at the park. We ate grilled food and sweet corn. Clare and Ben went to the Fair. By the way, is it too cliche to complain about the heat? Probably, but I am going to anyway. Being pregnant in this heat and humidity SUCKS. Thank goodness for the little reprieve we are getting. I was getting stabby.

Clare, though, does not seem to mind the heat. She loves her water table and the playground, even if she is dripping in sweat by her second time down the slide.  She is also exercising her independence. When we are at the park, we are told in no uncertain terms to sit on the bench while she goes off to play.

We have also been having a lot of night time dance parties. Well, Clare and Ben dance, I sit on the couch and watch. Clare has always loved music, and lately she has started telling us which songs on the radio she likes and doesn't like. Her current favorite bands are Vampire Weekend, Mumford and Sons, and Daft Punk.

She knows her basic shapes and colors, and is learning to count. She sings constantly. She is starting to role play - pretending she is a doctor (she actually sat in the doctor's chair at one of my appointments, asked me questions, and pretended to type my answers into the computer), or putting her baby to bed. She also pretends she is washing her hands. A lot. Yes, it is weird.

Her favorite game is catch, and she loves to go on walks or runs. She and Ben will run around the block. She did not get this love of running from me, that is for sure.

I enjoyed having this summer with Clare, just the two of us. It is weird to think that in a few weeks we will be a family of four. And time will probably speed up once again.

Laundry baskets are fun.
She loves sweet corn, but did NOT like it when she got a little piece of corn silk in her mouth.

Nom nom nom.
Her first selfie.

Water table!

At Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater, with her friends Alice and Carter.

Fun at the Fair. I stayed home this year. That was fine with me.

Last weekend, we went to La Crosse to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Clare loves her great grandparents, and I am so happy she's gotten to know them, and that they've gotten to know her. My grandmother volunteers at a hospital, and a local news station did a story about her on her birthday. My grandma told us that one of the other volunteers came up to her and said, "Well, I'm 92 and no one ever did a story about me." I guess you can be jealous at any age. My grandmother's party was very nice. Clare was just glad there was cake. 

Oh, and there's this. 36 weeks. You know your belly is big when many of your maternity clothes don't fit anymore.