Lasagna trumps sandwich

I am a sandwich generation peep in a lot of ways. I’m raising a small child, soon to be children. I had babies late, and Pea is older than I am, and our parents also had kids a bit later than the norm for their generation. Those timelines means we are sandwiched earlier than we might have been.

My father lives in a hospital. Spud’s grandparents have replaced three joints between the seven of them in the past three years. There have been significant health scares or events with all but two grandparents in the past three years, including the death of my step-father.

My mother, who is hale and healthy, now lives 6 minutes away from me. When she chose to come to New City, we had a long, frank talk. She has been caring for her mother for years through the onset of dementia and now into a twilight diminishing. My mother does not want to impose such a burden on her children as had been placed on her. She intends to remain in New City for the rest of her life, and I intend to be here indefinitely. Undoubtedly, the burden of her care and living arrangements will fall primarily to me. I am close. I am willing. I have resources. I explained that I understood this to be an integral part of the plan for her move from her rural, remote house. That when she needed help, help would be nearby. (And it won’t just be me, we have a great deal of family a heck of a lot closer here than in her previous location.)

Yesterday we got quite a lot of snow, after which we got quite a lot of ice pellets and freezing rain and rain. I had a snow day, and sent my nanny home at noon once the weather shifted from snow to “unfathomable mess”. My mother was meant to gather Spud, giving me a slightly longer workday, but this was negated by me already being home. Undeterred by circumstance or weather, she showed up early, helped me finish shoveling the driveway*, and brought with her a lasagna, a loaf of fresh baked homemade bread, an apple crisp, and a bag of dollar store goodies for Spud (stickers!).

The other half of the deal, you see, was that help would be nearby for me when I needed it too.

 

 

* I am ok to shovel if I take it slow, or if the snow is not too heavy. I got ~50% of it done during Spud’s nap, between skype meetings, but then ran out of time and needed a rest. By the time I got back to it, with my mom, the rain had made everything sodden and heavy and crunchy and awful. It was thankless, and she did the vast majority of it because Spud was having mini meltdowns and then one real tantrum over his mittens** that necessitated him going back indoors immediately.

** Spud’s hands are too big for toddler-size mittens, but his thumbs are too short for mittens that fit him, and it’s a disaster. It’s hard to do anything fun without thumbs, and he becomes understandably supremely frustrated. I have a pair of thin gloves somewhere for him, but they usually don’t cut it for our current weather conditions.

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bump update, part the next

How far along? Sixteen weeks

Vital stats? +5.8 lbs, down 0.2 from last week. OR, if you take my Saturday am weighing, which is my usual timing, +7.3 lbs, up 1.3 lbs from last week. Which I was all prepared to call the “sour cream and onion chip phenomenon” until my intestines decided to stop being a blind sac and instead act like a tube, and now I should still probably eat fewer delicious delicious Ruffles chips.
My blood pressure was 102/64 at my GP appointment last week, which is totally normal for me.

Sleep: Not bad. Spud has been sick, and waking up once a night to whinge about it, so that’s not ideal. Crazy dreams seem to have tapered off a bit, though I have had some truly odd ones this week. I’m still tired all the time though. I wake up tired, I go to bed exhausted. In between, I’m pretty functional, but it doesn’t feel great.

How am I feeling physically? Pretty good. Big – I am popping and popping and popping, but I have decent energy once I’m awake, and I’m getting things done. I capsize once a week though so I am wondering if my reserves are not up to my current activity levels.

How am I feeling emotionally? I’m getting a little freaked out that I’m nearly 1/2 way through this pregnancy. I feel unready. I still don’t love being pregnant – I didn’t really enjoy the process with Spud, and so far I remain pretty ambivalent. Yes, yes, creating life, all that. It’s still uncomfortable and fraught, and I reserve my right to endure peaceably rather than unmitigatedly enjoy.

 Best moment? Sprout has been kicking a lot lately, which is fun because they aren’t remotely strong enough to be a bother yet. Spud has been a serious ball of delight, with imaginative stories and determined opinions. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he tells me “grumpy face” while frowning exaggeratedly.

What I miss? Pea, he’s on a work trip this week, left yesterday. The amusing notion I’d somehow manage to have a baby without becoming ridiculously enormous – I never defied gravity or looked extra-pregnant with Spud, but that is NOT how this one is going, my goodness.

What I’m looking forward to? Not sure – figuring out a few loose ends. Like where we will put Sprout, and in what, and how we will port Sprout and Spud about, and all those small essentials.

What have I done this week for the pregnancy? I traded a sugar obsession for a chip obsession (neither actually unreasonable, but not something I need to be doing). I’m not sure that’s better?

Milestones? Nothing too much this week, though Sprout is meant to double their weight in the next two weeks, so that’s quite a lot to have happening.

Fallout

Every weekend since the beginning of term, I capsize for an afternoon. I’m cold, my hands are purple, I feel vaguely ill and awful. I lie on the couch or bed, or go have a shower to warm up and then lie on the couch or bed. Pea wrangles Spud, makes dinner, copes.

Me, today, mid-couch-lie-in: I wish I didn’t fall apart once every weekend.

Pea: I wish you felt ok! Also your hands looked like aliens before your shower. Tucks a blanket around me

Me: I wonder if I am doing too much at work during the week, and this is the consequence.

Pea: well, probably.

Me: hmmmmmmmmmm

Bump update, part the next, one day tardy

How far along: fifteen weeks one day, but every ultrasound I have bumps this up by two days, so my doctor now thinks I am thirteen weeks five days. It wouldn’t much matter, but I’ll be induced at 39 weeks and I’ll be damned if Sprout gets nearly a week less gestation because they are currently “tall”. I know to the hour when I ovulated and will fight for that timeline once I’m with my OB.

Weight: +6 lbs, zero change from last week, finally. All it took was not eating an extra bagel for second breakfast and not eating a small meal-sized snack at 3 pm. I now skip a morning snack entirely and have an apple in the afternoon. If I still felt sick or as relentlessly hungry as a few weeks ago, I’d still be gaining, so this isn’t willpower, this is the natural ebb and swell of the pregnancy. I’m just willing to adjust habits that are no longer needed.

Sleep?: Spud woke up today at 5:45 am. This is three Tuesdays in a row that he’s been up carolling like a deranged rooster at what Pea and I categorize as “Not Morning Yet”. Today was my morning, so I’m feeling a bit draggy. I also having a really hard time sleeping past ~6:30, even when the opportunity is there. I need to accept this as a new normal and go to bed earlier, but it hasn’t been happening consistently yet. Thus, I am tired.

How I’m feeling physically: Ridiculously massive. I now look actively pregnant. I walked into my mother’s house last week, took off my jacket, and she involuntarily exclaimed “popped, wow!”. It is still a small bump, but it is distinctly a bump. I’ve had some stretching pains and some gas attacks, so my internal organs are busily reorganizing themselves. I was feeling sluggish after being inactive during our massive cold snap, but I’ve walked to work the past few days and have been on my feet a lot as well, and now am just feeling tired again.

How am I feeling emotionally: Pretty good! We told our extended families, and I also told my chair, students, and key collaborators. It was a little tough sending the email to my family, as another family member is struggling with unexplained infertility (and possibly some recent early losses), and I knew it would sting for them. I know they will be objectively happy for me if they can, but don’t expect anything at all. I remember hiding from babies and pregnancies for nearly a year after my third loss.

I had a window where I didn’t feel as much movement from Sprout, but this coincided with my uterus erupting out from behind my pubic bone, so I deduced they just had more room/had moved from my more sensitive area, and sure enough stronger little pokes have started up again.

What I’ve done for the pregnancy: Not much, again. Started organizing larger equipment (bassinet, crib, on the hunt for a bucket seat as ours has expired, similarly need to figure out stroller system with toddler plus babe). I need to dig out the parental leave checklist for Innovation U to make sure there aren’t any pressing things I need to do soon.

Best moment: On Sunday night, I attempted to show Pea the horrific, toe-curling noise the heartbeat app I downloaded makes, and there, clear as a bell, was Sprout’s little heartbeat galloping away. We have seen Sprout’s heart flickering on ultrasound screens, but hadn’t heard it yet. It was pretty great.

We got some really sweet emails from family once we announced, and some highly excited text messages.

Milestones: The DNA tests came back with a 1:1100 chance of Down’s, which is low enough that I’m not going to think about it again. (My baseline risk based on age is 1:250, so this looks fine.)

I had an appointment with my GP today (apparently I was meant to be going monthly but no one told me that!), and my blood pressure and urine are great. He hilariously thinks I have gained no weight at all, because my initial weight with him in November was oddly heavy. At the time, he expressed some concern that I had gained weight since he’d seen me last (4 months postpartum and well under my pre-pregnancy weight, in the throes of trying to eat dairy/soy free while sustaining a rapidly growing babe). I chalked it up to having gained a bit after weaning, but now that I see the actual number I wonder if something was seriously wrong with his scale (given also that the weight today would have me up 9 lbs, not 6).

I got the all-clear from my GP to transition to my OB – first appointment is early March. My OB’s office is easier to get to from work, and walkable from my house, but she routinely runs 1hr45min late for appointments so I’m somewhat dreading the addition of these time-eating events to my calendar.

I’m writing this on my phone in a coffee shop, having eaten a celebratory piece of cheesecake post-GP-appointment, as I had an awkward amount of time before hopping a bus home to get Spud. I may have forgotten categories for this list, but it shall have to do.

A rose by any other name

Suddenly, without warning or prompting.

No longer Mama.

Mommy.

I do not like it, but I have not been given a choice.

Pea has also been swapped from Dada to Daddy, and is gently working on transitioning that directly to Dad. I’m not even trying to fight this, Spud will get to Mom and Dad soon enough, and he does seem very pleased with himself.

Name changes accompanied by internal “s’s” being enunciated, and green suddenly “green” instead of “gn”.

useless week reflections

Me: This week was useless. I thought it would be productive, but I spent the whole time in meetings or running around with stupid administrative things.

thinking

Me: I did win some funding, initiate discussions on the project, create a job, and hire my excellent graduated student into that job, all since Tuesday. It means the project will be pretty much finished before I leave for mat leave and my two co-PIs leave on sabbatical.

Me: I arranged three students’ travel and accommodations and ordered their supplies for the field trip in 10 days. Granted, this required paying for some emergency shipping and some expensive flights because I left it late, but it’s ready now. Field work lays the groundwork for all of my research results. All of them. It is so critical, and this trip has been in discussion since August.

Me: One of the meetings was a great conversation with a collaborator and my student, where we’ve now got a plan for the second half of a thesis chapter/paper, and a roadmap for her to achieve it. Our initial idea was wrong, but we caught it before she invested any time in that approach.

Me: I fed my students sauerkraut and bratwurst in class on Monday, and I did a demo where they all had bags of perler beads to do sampling statistics exercises on Wednesday. It’s the most interactive week of the semester.

Me: I got my lab server finally up and running after six months of meetings/calls with internet services on campus and the manufacturer’s help line, and my CS student has made people accounts, and they are running jobs already, removing a massive roadblock in our process.

Me: I was able to use the server to send a collaborator data that my other internet connection has been systematically failing to send, removing another bottleneck, and again solving a problem that has persisted for months.

Me: I told my lab and my chair about Sprout, and our extended families too.

Thinking

Me: Ok, so maybe not useless. I’m so tired.

Transitions

There are a lot of transitions upcoming for Spud.

He’s showing readiness for toilet training, though has not yet actually deposited anything in the potty. We are letting him define our pace on this, as neither of us cares to struggle with it. He tells us he’s about to poop, or announces while pooping, and demands a diaper change immediately after, so we know he’d probably be able to do it. We just want to see some enthusiasm from him first.

We’ll likely move him out of his crib in the next year or so. I have arranged to borrow a crib from a friend for when Sprout arrives, as I don’t see the point in kicking Spud out of a crib that he loves and shows no interest in climbing out of just because we need a crib, but I also really didn’t want to buy a second crib for what will likely be a matter of months (if that, if Sprout is in a bassinet first). Free crib solves that issue nicely, I’d have gotten Sprout their own mattress anyway.

The sticky issue is daycare. Spud is showing signs that he’d be benefiting from daycare – he’s interested in other kids but very bad at playing with them/managing frustrations that come from other kids using toys around him. We have a daycare that we like. It offers full time or 3-day (M/W/F) or 2 day (T/Th) care for both toddlers and preschool ages. Our nanny is on board with some part-time weeks while we transition Spud over. My ideal timeline would be to send Spud to daycare for all of June on a 2 or 3 day a week schedule, and then switch him to full time for July.

The trick is timing. Sprout is due late July. Spud turns 2.5 on July 1. Our daycare rooms are from 1.5-2.5 for toddlers, and from 2.5 up to 4 for preschool. I really do not want to transition Spud to daycare only to have him change rooms within the month. I also really don’t want Spud in a major transition when Sprout arrives, which I feel three weeks of daycare would still be. I don’t want to start him in daycare immediately after Sprout arrives (worst case, in my mind), and I can’t solo parent both kids for August and still work (and I will have two students defending so I really will still have to work).

I don’t know what to do. Start Spud in daycare in April, part time, so he’s used to full time by the time a room transition hits in July? Wait til July so he only has to adjust to preschool, and just hope it goes smoothly? Struggle through August and pop him into preschool for September, one month post-baby? Part time through the summer (July/August) and full time in September might be our best bet for consistency through the baby arrival, but with some breathing room for me, but even that feels tight. He’ll be in this program for two years, as he won’t start kindergarten til September 2021, thanks to his very early birthday, so there is lots of time – I just don’t know what timing makes sense.

I think he will like daycare, but I also think it will be quite challenging for him to begin with. He is very very used to one-on-one attention, and his upset cues are suitably subtle because of that – he doesn’t need to rage or cry, we notice if he’s sad before that happens. So it also hurts my heart a little to send him into the chaos of 20 other little kids.