Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting It Together

I was pretty sure that at this point in my pregnancy, I would be getting it all together. My floors would be mopped. The freezer would be completely stocked with food. I would have finished the quilt I wanted to make for one of my dearest friends whose due date is a few days after mine. I fully expected that there would be a handful of odds and ends to accomplish in the waning weeks of the Turtles' gestation but those would be trivial like pulling the diapers out of the box and putting them on the change table.

Well, let's just say, my expectations were off... WAY OFF! First of all, I got Vivi's cold but what was a cold for her is something of a flu/walking pneumonia for me. It's been a week now and I'm not feeling much improved. I've taken to sleeping on the couch in part out of mercy for my husband but also because I am more comfortable in a semi-upright position in a colder room. I'm trying to nap when Vivi naps too which seems to leave me more groggy than refreshed. It's the cloudiness in my brain that is really making me wonder if getting it together at this stage is just a complete impossibility. Here are a few examples:

On Sunday, some of my lovely friends threw me a surprise baby shower. I was under the impression that my husband, Vivi, and I had just been invited over for dinner. I had NO IDEA what was going on-- even after I walked in and everyone yelled surprise. I kept thinking that my friend sure invited a lot of folks over for dinner. Finally, she had to say, "Sam, it's a surprise baby shower for you." Oh!

In the course of the last week, I have either loaded the washer and forgotten to turn it on or loaded the dryer and forgotten to turn it on-- several times. Same goes for the dishwasher.

I was feeling a bit more energetic this morning so I managed to get a soup together to cook in the crock pot. It takes about 8 hours but I finished it by 9 a.m. At 12:30 this afternoon, I noticed that I never turned it on.

I've put shirts on backwards, forgotten to rinse shampoo out of my hair, and failed to return 75% of the phone calls or e-mails I've received. Not to mention, repeatedly forgetting to relay important messages to my physician husband.

Twice this week, I have forgotten to turn OFF tapioca I was making.

And, the crowning glory of my insanity: bursting into tears when my midwife said I should not air out two vinyl shower curtain liners on our back porch since they might crack from the cold. I couldn't handle the thought of those things (necessary for waterproofing our mattress and protecting our floor during the birth) off-gassing phthalates and other known toxins into our home.

So there we have it. I don't know if it is just the sickness precipitating this or the hormones or some unfortunate combination of both. It must be getting bad when Vivi repeatedly asks throughout the day, "Mama, are you okay?" while she pats my back or brings me a pillow.

Still, I think Vivi summed it up best yesterday morning when she was snuggling with me. She handed me a tissue and said, "Mama, we are a couple of sickie girls." Then she offered to take care of the Turtles by feeding them milk from her boobies, just in case I wasn't better in time for their arrival.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Test

I suppose it was inevitable that Vivi would pick up a cold this winter. She woke up Tuesday morning with a runny nose and has been my pathetic, pink-cheeked, little patient ever since. We've been through plenty of colds since Vivi's birth but somehow this one seems different. This one is a test of our endurance.

You see, since this cold started Vivi has been too uncomfortable or too unwilling to sleep. Yesterday, she got a twenty minute power nap in the car on the way home from Trader Joe's and that was it. This from a child who will regularly nap for a minimum of an hour and a half. (Oh, and yes, I took my sick kid out into the cold and ice but this pregnant lady really needed juice and Pirate's Booty!)

I can usually cope with a missing nap here and there but when it is combined with a night of up and downs, then I'm just not good for much. Here is a sampling of what our last few nights have been like:

8:00 PM- Put Vivi to bed. She is crying from exhaustion.
8:05 PM- Light goes on in Vivi's room. We ignore it.
9:15 PM- I head upstairs for bed. I go into Vivi's room to turn off the light and see her diaper on the floor. I wake her up to put on a clean diaper and she demands to snuggle in my "cozy bed for just a few minutes." I give in.
9:30 PM- Vivi and I snuggle in bed. She falls asleep clutching my belly while I lie awake wondering if it is remotely possible to get comfortable with three children in and around my abdomen.
10:15 PM- My husband comes to bed. Vivi wakes up and says, "Hi Dad. I snuggling with turtles."
10:30 PM- Vivi says, "I ready go back to my bed" so my husband gets up to move her.
1:15 AM- We wake up to Vivi crying and yelling for me but my husband gets up and settles her down. She wanted a cup of water which he gave her.
2:00 AM- I am awoken by the searing acid pain of heartburn and feel like I might vomit. I get out of bed and use the bathroom. I take a homeopathic remedy, go back to bed, and try to sleep in a semi-upright position.
2:30 AM- My husband gets up to pee. I take another remedy for my heartburn. Silently pray for it to work.
3:05 AM- Vivi yells that she needs to go pee. I go in and tell her that right now it is okay for her to pee in her diaper. I feel guilty that I don't put her on the toilet. I notice that the side of the bed is wet and discover that she spilled the cup of water that my husband gave her. I throw a towel over it and tell her that it's time for sleep.
4:30 AM- Vivi yells that she wants music. We ignore her.
5:00 AM- Vivi is crying but sounds like she is asleep. My husband gets up and settles her down.
6:15 AM- My husband gets up, unable to sleep any more. I get up to pee and then go back to bed.
7:00 AM- Vivi is up and has taken her diaper off. She climbs into bed with me and snuggles but doesn't stop talking.
7:30 AM- My husband leaves for work and I grudgingly get up.

REMAINDER OF DAY- Pray for a nap but forgive myself in advance for letting Vivi watch Raymond Briggs' The Snowman on DVD.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Secrets and Sleep

Vivi loves to tell secrets. For her secrets, you must always close your eyes and wait patiently until she comes up to your ear to reveal her little piece of information. Until recently, her secrets have always been her saying "I love you" in a deep, burly voice known as her monster voice. She thinks this is hysterical. Of course, you are then expected to reciprocate by telling her the same secret in the same monster voice while she closes her eyes. It's a game in which we both delight.

Lately, we've been having lots of fun with our "I love you" statements. Vivi will usually ask how much I love her and I'll respond with something ridiculous like "I love you more than all the cow poop in Vermont." (Poop jokes never get old with Vivi.) Or she'll ask me, "Mama, do you love me more than this much?" which she demonstrates by holding her thumb and forefinger a centimeter apart. I usually say, "Yes, that's it. That much." Then she'll start giggling and yell, "No! Mama, you love me more than this!" while she stretches her arms as far apart as she can.

Well, this morning I was told a new secret and it went like this:

Vivi: Mama, close your eyes.
(I comply.)
Vivi (whispering): Mama, I love you more than all my socks and my panties from Santa.


In other news, Vivi is back on her independence streak. She recently woke up from her afternoon nap yelling that she needed to pee. When I went upstairs, she said groggily, "Mama. I need to go pee. After I pee, I finish my nap in my bed." I was thinking "Yeah, right..." while I took her to the bathroom. I couldn't believe it when she finished her business and actually toddled back to her bed for 45 more minutes!

We also seem to have turned a corner with her usual naptime delay tactics. Recently, I asked her if she wanted to read one or two books before her nap. She looked at me and replied, "Mama. I no want any books today. I go right to bed." Perplexed, I watched her climb into bed where she slept for over two hours.

Last night, Vivi did ask her Dad to take her up to bed but when my husband asked if she wanted the hall light on, she said, "No Dad. I turn on light if I need it. Then I turn it off after I fall asleep." We noticed that it stayed dark up there for a little while and then the light did come on. We left her since she was quiet and figured that we'd turn the light off later. When I went upstairs half an hour later to go to bed myself, she was asleep AND the light was off. For a two and a half year old, she's pretty true to her word!

I fully expect that when the Turtles arrive in the next 4-7 weeks (hopefully) that all of this independence will be thrown right out the window.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Soup For You

Consistent with my pregnancy with Vivi, I have had a very strong craving for soup while carrying the Turtles. I can eat any kind of soup-- from clear broths to thick and creamy New England clam chowder. The more soup, the better. I love the way it feels going down on a cold winter's evening and the ease of reheating a bowl of it for lunch the next day. Combine it with a piece of buttery toast and all is right in the world.

With that in mind, I wanted to share my "recipe" for vegetable barley soup. This is so ridiculously easy I am almost embarassed to pass it on. Almost...

Vegetable Barley Soup

2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1 potato, peeled and cubed
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup of frozen peas
2 handfuls of barley
2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans
1 bay leaf

salt, pepper, sage, and oregano to taste

Throw all ingredients into a slow cooker. Add enough broth or water (or combination of the two) to equal roughly six cups of liquid. (I usually eyeball it and make sure the liquid is at least 1" above the vegetable line. You can always add more liquid later if the soup looks too thick for your taste.)

Cook on low for 8 hours.

There are so many variations to this soup. If you don't like an ingredient, leave it out or add something that you want to use up. I listed the spices I like but obviously you can adjust it to your own taste as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby vs. Big Girl

For 2009, Vivi has been conferred the official title of Little Miss Independent. This is a self-appointed position that she has taken on with great enthusiasm. Lately, Vivi has preferred to do most everything herself which includes getting dressed in the morning, peeling her own clementines, wiping herself after the potty, and putting her dishes in the sink. It's all very disconcerting to me and my husband.

Sunday night, after snuggling on the couch downstairs and reading our requisite three stories, she informed us that she was going to go to bed. ALL BY HERSELF. Oh, and she was adamant that she doesn't need the hall light on or her bedroom door open anymore. My husband and I just looked at each other in disbelief as she walked up the stairs in the dark and climbed into bed. We went up 10 minutes later and there she was asleep snuggled under her comforter. Is it possible that she is this big already?

Well, the answer is no NO NO! I'm not in denial about my child growing up. (Well, not completely in denial anyway.) The fact is that today she has been anything but Little Miss Independent. Her official title today is "Mama's Little Baby Who is Never Going To Grow Up. Ever." And, I'm not sure I'm liking this either.

By 1:30 pm today, my fully potty-trained daughter has had five "accidents" and has demanded that she needs a diaper because the pee "comes on too fast." She has taken a basket of newborn clothes that I recently pulled out and proceeded to try on every single item except for the socks which she reserved for her teddy bear (aka "my new baby sister.") Naptime was a battle of epic proportions when Vivi cried vehemently for her crib because she is "too small for a big girl bed." Ugh... She finally fell asleep a few minutes ago and I'm ready for my own nap.

I understand that finding independence for toddlers is often two steps forward and one step back but I'd really rather she make steps in both directions in a single day. One day of super independence followed by one day like today is too much for this mommy to take. That's why I am going to take my nap now-- in my own big girl bed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The New Year

In our grand tradition, my husband and I were in bed long before the stroke of midnight on New Year's. The cold weather combined with all the drunk people has made going out to celebrate totally unappealing for us. This year, the fact that I am seven months pregnant with twins sealed the deal for a homebound celebration. (And by celebration, I mean we rented a movie.)

Well, the holiday was not lost on Vivi. When I put her in bed on December 31, I told her we would have a special breakfast to celebrate the new year. When she awoke in the morning, she ran into our room and yelled, "Happy Birthday!!!" We all snuggled in bed and I told her that it isn't a birthday today, it is the changing of the years. She asked, "Mama, this is the year the Turtles are gonna come out?" I told her that it was so we have to start getting ready.

And getting ready, we are. In the last week, we've figured out where we are going to put the babies and some of their stuff. We've purchased several gigantic packs of diapers. I've frozen five casseroles and five large containers of homemade spaghetti sauce since I figure I won't be cooking for a while. Vivi has already cleaned out her toys to give away. I've organized my hutch and all my crafting supplies which, of course, has nothing to do with the upcoming arrival of our twins but does clear my head in a somewhat important way.

With all this nesting, we are finally starting to accept the inevitable- the number of our children will soon triple. It's an awesome thought, indeed, but at least it is one that we've come to feel excited about. (The shock has abated but the nervousness has not, however.)

So, while we wait, Vivi continues to snuggle and talk with my belly a million times a day and I make lists of what else needs to be done.