I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More than cravings

I have to admit, the third time around - I'm not a big fan of the first months of pregnancy. I am tired; I feel nauseous when I'm hungry and after I eat. My hair looks gross, I feel gross, I don't fit into my clothes. It's like PMS on steroids. And if you are superstitious like us and don't spread the news until the 12 week mark - then everyone in your life thinks you are just a big, hot mess because they don't really know what's going on.

With Ayla, I spent the first 3-4 months just mystified that I was really pregnant. Other than feeling sick, there isn't much proof that a tiny baby is forming inside of you. It seemed that the first trimester went on forever because I was waiting to actually see the "baby bump". With Jackson, I was slightly better at managing the nausea and knew better - I would soon see a growing stomach to go with that ever-nagging feeling.

And here we are, baby #3 and the first trimester seems like unnecessary torture. Can't we just skip forward to six months? I don't mind - I have the maternity clothes. People don't have to wonder whether I'm just gaining weight and I can start nesting. That damn nesting instinct really helps with getting odd jobs done around the house, I am so hormonally motivated!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about being pregnant. Women who aren't pregnant yet or are desperately trying tend get offended when other women complain. If I had waited ten years for this, I'd be a little bit more "appreciative" of my pregnant status. I know it's not easy on Gregory either when I am totally useless first thing in the morning. This is just where I am RIGHT NOW.

But here's the secret: food is both friend and foe. The cycle goes, you don't want to eat because you feel like throwing up. But if you don't eat, the nausea gets worse. Eat often, but only select items and feel about 30 minutes of relief. I've gone almost completely vegetarian in the last couple of weeks because anything but carbs, fruits and veggies smell really disgusting. That is - until I get the weirdest craving for a hamburger.

Top food items of the week: pickles (alone, not in ice cream), soda water, jasmine rice, veggie burritos, pasta, crackers with peanut butter, apples, bananas, cereal with soy milk and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Terrible food items of the week: chicken, pork, turkey, tuna, Diet Coke, candy, lettuce and yogurt.

More than cravings, this is survival!

Hope is around the corner - these symptoms (which aren't even severe by morning sickness standards) usually disappear around 4 months... almost there. I'm not looking for sympathy, this goes with the territory. But I can say it gets tiresome. It's amazing that pregnancy causes such bizarre reactions in the body. Now it's time for more cereal...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Moment of the Day

Every day has a high and low point. Especially when your life is busy and all over the place. For instance, some days my high point might be getting an unexpected letter in the mail or finding a few hours to go on a date (what is THAT?) with Gregory. Low points might be when the dog has pulled a dirty diaper out of the garbage and shredded it all over the stairs.

It was simple, but today the high point was just a few words between my kids. It didn't involve me at all. Ayla had been at the library for Story time and I was home with Jackson - cleaning up after his breakfast. When she busted in the door, she started yelling for her brother, "Jackson, Jackson, where are you? I got you a burger at Wendy's house!" He was, of course, sitting on (not at) the dining room table drawing. He yelled back, "Ayla!" until she found him. It's hard to describe the joy I heard in his voice.

This is all I'm asking for. She was so excited to get home to him, and his day was finally beginning that he could share it with his sister. The feeling isn't actually mutual all of the time. There's lots of hitting, not sharing and angry tears between the two of them. But these short, sparkling moments show the real truth - they love each other.

And that gives me hope, as we are expecting a third baby. I'm a realist - this is going to be tough. But can you imagine a life/childhood without siblings? If it were easier on the parents, I'm sure we'd all have more brothers and sisters. I'll take those few high moments as proof that we're doing the right thing!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cross-dressing at any age

This is NOT a picture of my two daughters. This is a picture of one daughter and one son - yet they are both wearing dresses! Jackson's secret is out... he wears girls' clothing. But in my book, he has an older sister and that's exactly what one should expect.

And this picture looks ordinary until you see that Jackson has fairy wings over his sweatshirt. (Although, it seems perfectly okay with another team sweatshirt - I would never dare with a Pittsburgh team.)

Jackson constantly wants to do whatever it is that Ayla (or for that matter, myself or Gregory) is doing. He wants to look at books, play with markers, brush his hair, unload the dishwasher - as long as someone else in our home is doing it. He's smack in the middle of the imitation phase. He likes to put on makeup with me when I'm getting ready and wear the pink flamenco dress when it makes Ayla happy.

I'm sure some people would have a problem with this.
Boys should be boys!

But my question is: why? Why do boys have to be boys and girls have to be girls? What does that mean? Should I be encouraging stereotypes? Isn't it a waste of my time to push my kids' personalities into tiny, definable squares?

When I was first pregnant with Ayla and we had decided not to find out the sex of the baby before s/he was born, I heard a lot of complaints. People were dumbfounded that I could proceed with planning for a child without knowing whether I was having a boy or girl. I can understand the argument of just not being able to wait - the anticipation is intense. I get that. But when people told me that we should find out just so I could decorate the baby's room... that seemed so shallow and minimally important. Really? I'm going to give birth and become a parent, but I should really be focusing on either a pink or blue paint color.

Our non-decision to keep it a mystery has worked out. When I became pregnant with Jackson, sure we had a lot of pink clothing - but we also had tons of greens and yellows! We had toys that would suit either a boy or girl.

I've never understood the intense desire some parents have to have BOYS and GIRLS. And by that I mean, boys can only express themselves in masculine ways, and so on for their daughters. Baby girl clothing is covered in frills and bows (which are pretty damn adorable), but baby boy gear almost always has something to do with sports. I don't find this over-generalization very cute.

We give our kids toys based on what they seem interested in - not what WE think they should be interested in. Yes, Ayla has tutus and Jackson has cars. But they are also interchangeable toys that they both enjoy.

I sometimes get the question, "Have you found that it's different raising a boy after having a girl?" Yes, sure I have -they're two different people. But not because of their gender. It's in fact, the opposite of what one would expect. Ayla is a the jumping-off-furniture daredevil and Jackson is a timid, cuddle bug who likes necklaces. I think this would cause anxiety in a family of severe male/female gender roles - but thank God that isn't us.

So, the secret is out - I let my son wear dresses. I let Ayla be gross and "unladylike" in our house. My two children are just people, trying to figure out what they like. Who am I to push either princesses or footballs? Let them decide for themselves.