This Time it’s Different

I never put much stock in those words, “this time it’s different.” Pregnancy is pregnancy, right? Not so, but for many more reasons.

1. I’m 4 years older. I thought being a healthy individual would be enough, but my doctor and Mother Nature remind me that there are more aches and pains as we age. You learn to deal with it, or whine a little as necessary.

2. You carry the baby lower. I thought this was a falsehood, but no I am already panicking as I pull out my slightly too-short-to-look-cute maternity pants, because let’s face it, my regular ones aren’t meant for this um… girth.

3. Cravings differ. Yes, I still have an aversion to alcohol and coffee, just like last time. But I am not craving juicy fruits, my “queasy” stage lasted a two weeks longer (AWESOME). I would be mid meal and I would have to walk away. This is not as familiar as I expected.

4. We’ll get there. The baby’s room is still very much a “storage” space from when we moved (8 years ago) and from our recent master bedroom repaint (the guest bed is a perfect space for pictures and random clothing). I feel like I have all the time in the world to get organized to tackle the closet of Moving Shame (8-year-old box fort anyone?) It has a domino effect, can’t do much with the baby’s room until we clear the shelving downstairs to move books and tchotckies. Can’t do much with those items until we get frames and hang things up on the walls. Can’t get to that part of the living room until we get the toys downstairs into the new “creepy” playroom (I hate this idea). Can’t start the playroom “repaint/remodel” until we undo the “storage” it has become.

5. I know what is at stake. Last time my pregnancy was very much an abstract concept. A little sea monkey was developing and using my various innards as a springboard of fun. I wasn’t attached to the idea of motherhood. The ultrasound was an abstract experience (is that my uterus we are exploring?) I had lost my dad only 2 months prior so much of my pregnancy was shrouded in grief. I was afraid to expect a baby in the end since I could lose it just like I had lost my dad. Yes, I never thought past the pregnancy. So, Motherhood and all it entails, came as a loud, jarring alarm clock. This time, I know there is a tiny person growing, I know he or she is nudging around and reminding me to eat well and keep us healthy and safe. It’s depending on me for this. That’s a huge difference. I am its home, its safe keeper, its nutritionist and its story reader (thank Henry for his vast interest in books at night.)

It’s simple that huge.

I have a feeling that this Thursday afternoon I will cry like a baby when I see the little shape wiggling on the screen during the ultrasound, while Henry meets him or her for the first time. He will likely ask many questions over and over again, and it will be a special moment to share with him. He will likely bring up the experience for many months to come.

So if anyone asks me, is the next pregnancy different? I can answer with certainty that it is.

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I’ve temporarily inherited the appetite of a toddler.

I’ve heard many friends tell me over the years that though their subsequent pregnancies were similar the experience was still different and unique. I realize now that this is true. The cravings are still similar – my body has a physical revolt to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and sweet smell of wine or hop smell of beer. Sorry Starbucks and sorry wineries! I’m not worried my love for these vices will come back. I still love juicy fruits, but this time I much prefer a grapefruit over a melon – not that different I suppose. However, last time when I set my mind to a particular craving, I. HAD. TO. HAVE. IT. My relationship is “complicated.”

The Process.

  • I crave something.
  • Then I have to smell or think about it to make sure my brain and my stomach agree.
  • Afterward, I proceed to order it or cook it.
  • Once cooked or served, I have to make sure that it’s still sounding good to my brain 10 min. later.
  • Finally, I have to taste it.
  • If it tastes fine, then I may safely proceed.
  • If it does not, I have to start over and quickly. For the hungry and the queasy do not wait.

More than once, I’ve had to choke something down or opt for another food because partway through this process the idea of what I was about to have fell apart. So when I have a craving the first question Adam asks is, “Is it a hankering? Or a craving?” Then we need to determine if I still feel the same when it’s actually time to eat.

I can be partway through a meal and my stomach decides enough is enough. It not only tastes “bad,” but it actually tastes “repulsive.” Dear fried chicken this is why we broke up early on.

Sweets?

Nah, I can skip those now. I’ve had a lifelong sweet tooth. Particularly chocolate. A love/hate relationship like any other woman. I can skip it now and not feel the pressure to just have one bite. When I eat it, sometimes it tastes to sweet. Who is this person?!

Gummi candy I still like, but it’s not a must for me to thrive. However, the more sour, the better (this especially because of the constant queasiness.)

Celebrating with a bucket of sweets, there is yogurt somewhere in the bottom.

Sour!

Sweet Jesus bring on the sour! I cannot get enough of it. This time around it’s all about the balsamic, “hello caprese salad!” “Heck, just pour it in a cup so I can drink it.” Yes, I’ve read conflicting reports about balsamic vinegar and pregnancy safety, but I am happy to report that my particular stash is California compliant (apparently that’s a big deal on the west coast.) I don’t care, it’s sour, that is all that should matter. sour.sour.sour.sour.sour…..

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.13.04 PM

Chicken…

Not really, it’s kinda gross. Chicken my go-to meat is no longer, red meat? Oh yes, bring on the steak. Since when?!

I am looking forward to the second trimester which will include less of the constant-jet-lagged feeling I have been navigating for the last 8 weeks. This might also loosen some of my must-have-it-right-nows. I hope it allows me to return to a semi healthy diet, you know where all of the food groups are enjoyed and I don’t feel like I need to eat my weight in cheddar and sour cream chips (which by the way, no longer sound good. Broke up with those during the holidays.)

Will this new kiddo be a picky eater like our Henry? Will he or she have some other food quirks? Is this pregnancy already telling me some things? I think it’s too early to tell. But if you will excuse me I have to find something sour to eat.

Setting Goals & Hopes for 2015

I started writing the title of this post as “Setting Goals & Expectations for 2015,” but I quickly realized that will not be accurate. Now that we formally announced baby #2 being on its way this July I realize that expectations are the first thing to shift and change. With it comes a new set of challenges and adjustments we’ll all need to make, not just me, but Adam and Henry as well. For some reason I think the pets will be okay.

So instead of setting high expectations and then disappointing myself daily I am going to shift those to goals and expectations to goals and hopes. Largely inspired by my Evil Twin, and fellow blogger Jacqui, you really need to read “Dear self (a letter for 2015).”

Therefore, without further delay, here are my goals/hopes for this year.

1. Begin to workout again. I am no longer looking to be in the top five of my work’s daily mile challenge; I just need to be healthy and gain some muscle tone again.  Once the weather thaws  Maya and I can pick up where we left off with our walks. But I cannot turn into a plump marshmallow this winter. Now that the constant queasy feeling will be subsiding soon I am looking to start something new, prenatal yoga. Here is the one I’ll try.

2. Find time for me. I know what happens, it happens to me from time to time. I get so wrapped up in routine I forget to take time to rest and relax, to sit still and read or work on art projects. The results end up being a miserable me. The one that snaps at people and feels annoyed while awake. I don’t like her, and neither do you.100_6624

So I will try the following:

Read 10 books in 2015. That doesn’t sound like much BUT, Goodreads sadly informed me that I only read six in 2014. That’s embarrassing, I have a bookworm son, why don’t I practice the same? What happens if I don’t make my goal of 10? Nothing, it’s a goal but I will not let it eat away at me if I end up with less books read. They are still books read and that in itself is an accomplishment.

Be artsy. I pin ideas on Pinterest all the time. I whisper “I can make that” so many times at art fairs. So why don’t I do something about it? I know this one is harder than picking up a book, so I won’t set a quantitative goal, but I will do my best to carve out some “artsy” time this year, even post baby. Nothing big, nothing complicated, but definitely rewarding (a few canvases for the baby’s room and a big city canvas for Henry’s big boy room, those are my hopes.)

3. Eat healthier. I typically do a descent job eating healthy, but first trimester is a bitch. I have to think ahead about what I can eat, will it still sound good after work? Once I cook it, will it still smell good to me? When I eat it, will I be able to finish it? This time around things are more unpredictable. What is a craving one day becomes a horrid experience the next. I am worse than a toddler. Once the queasy feeling subsides in the next week or so, I can start to focus on flavors and seasoning as well as variety.

Courtesy of Red Tricycle.

Courtesy of Red Tricycle.

4. Leave the house. Yeah this will be a huge post-baby challenge for me. When Henry was a newborn I became so worried about leaving the house I became afraid of him crying in public. So much angst, I started to stay home too much during my maternity leave. Those days I don’t want to relive. Thankfully there is Henry now, the little kid who likes to go places and do things. Thankfully this will get us out of the house, whether to the park, Children’s museum, or the library. Don’t worry we’ll get it figured out even with a newborn in tow.

5. Stop stressing myself out. I am an only child and thereby I must set goals that are too complicated to complete, or too far out of reach and then I make myself feel badly about it. Well this year I am going to step back and think twice about my goals and hopes for the year. I am free to adjust them as necessary and as long as I find balance between restful things, creative things and things I need to do I think I’ll be a happier me.

Here is to a new and exciting year.

 

 

Enjoying the Rest of Our March of Dimes Season

Keeping people’s attention is a fleeting thing. What starts of as lots of enthusiasm can dwindle over time. That is why we generally don’t extend our inner-office March of Dimes fundraising beyond 2 months. This post is dedicated to the remaining efforts in the 2014 season.

Shameless plug #1

Shameless plug #1

Stop being loud. Start saving babies – We had a very successful silent auction in the office, folks were generous both in donations as well as bids. We had 22 entries and raised an incredible $1,031! Here is our link to the MOD silent auction page. Don’t you wish you bid? I love this event because it does a solid job fundraising but it’s also fun to see what percolate in a co-worker’s mind to donate a decorative sheep pie plate, or paint a purple bird painting,

Shameless plug #2

Shameless plug #2

or donate a hummus cooking class, play guitar? GREAT! We have a class for that. The other is seeing just how many alcohol baskets one small office can procure. Impressively there were four. Yes, we like to drink, yes, we like to bid. End of story.

see my t-shirt, see how it's grand?

see my t-shirt, see how it’s grand?

March for Babies. This is one of my favorite times of year, the spring weather has arrived, families and friends join together for a walk to celebrate our babies and honor the little spirits that are no longer with us. This year was sunny, but bitterly cold. It reminded my that Mother Nature wasn’t done with us. Hundreds of families trekked the 5K with gloves, winter hats and warm coats. Though we had adorable ddm/MOD t-shirts on, they were buried deep underneath our coats. Long story short, I made this walk memorable by needing assistance from the Caledonia fire department when my hands turned purple. Two minutes assessing my numb fingers I was issued real firefighter gloves, in a size XL. I proudly waved those huge mitts as if they were a foam hand at a baseball game. VIVA March for Babies, VIVA Caledonia fire department! Kudos to ddm for raising $1,796 online!

Waiting with baited breath.

Waiting with baited breath.

Bowling for Babies! (Please do not use babies to bowl.) This was a new event for us, would people come on a Sunday? Would we be able to peel them away from family obligations, out-of-town games, sleeping on their couches? For the most part yes. Lots of co-workers and their loved ones joined. Two solid hours of bowling, pizza and refreshments, we squeezed in a 50/50 raffle, and the big cake reveal. Nothing could have been better. Well except my BLUE team didn’t win.

WHAT?!?!?!?

WHAT?!?!?!?

PURPLE dominated (they did so with additional online and & daily mile donation success.) Damn you PURPLE team. Mark, my boss, provided us with the most honest reaction to unveiling that he didn’t lead winners, he led runner ups. At least we clocked in $585 for the event, overall.

In summary this year ended on a high note, we beat our total amount raised from 2013 by almost $1,000. We encouraged the participation of all the new co-workers we collected since last year, we tried a new event and people actually came. A MOD SQUADDER cannot complain. We raised $5,426.78 – that ain’t half bad. Check out how we performed by event.

Little Big Boy Beds and Other Things I’m Not Ready For

Our son is growing and he is thriving. He has the vocabulary of an older kid with an energy level to match. When he starts to tell you a story you have to pause and consider whether he is telling you something he heard in a book or if it really happened to him. He can tell you the letters of the words you are reading, he can ask fairly complex questions. He even has a nice little sense of humor (he’s picking up the sarcasm we are laying down at a young age.) It’s inevitable, he is growing and he isn’t a baby anymore.

After much debate, consideration and over thinking we updated our Mini’s crib to a “little big boy bed.” Henry coined the term himself. He hates change and when we were visiting family recently having him lay down at bedtime on a mat was a disaster – different sleeping arrangement, different room, different everything. Eventually having him knocking on the door of his bedroom at Babcia’s house asking for us to come back. Sigh. So needless to say we didn’t want to convert any of his sleeping arrangements to anything allowing him free reign of his room, a.k.a “I will never nap again.”

But growth continues and so does he readiness for a new bed. We poled him a few times, “are you ready for a big boy bed?” And each time we were met with “YESSSSSS.”

Sigh.

We took the plunge this weekend. Neither of us had to work. We didn’t have any family plans including leaving town or screwing around with nap times.  So with a mix of reluctance and some enthusiasm we converted his bed over to a toddler bed. You might be shaking your head thinking, “what is the big deal,Ramseyers?” but it is a big deal. It means that he no longer sleeps in a crib anywhere. That he can now get up and move about his room with his own two feet rather than waiting for one of us to rescue him from the confine of his crib.

Little big boy enjoying his "new" little big boy bed.

Little big boy enjoying his “new” little big boy bed.

So how did it go, you might wonder…

Great. We’ve had two nights where he was enthusiastic to go to bed, he stayed in bed and slept through the night. Looks like it was the right time for him to move on. With some encouragement we will eventually feel ready for him to grow up a bit too.

I am a realist so I thoroughly anticipate the novelty of the little big boy bed to wear off and going to bed will be met with the same level of whine and sass as before. But in the meantime we will enjoy any full nights we are afforded.

Next up?

Potty training. Yeah give me a minute to adjust to that thought.

 

Consolation-Prize Parent

Since Henry was born I have been a favorite parent. I don’t say this to be egocentric. But it makes sense. He and I bonded during our maternity leave, for a while he depended on only me for food. Though Adam and I shared parenting responsibilities he definitely had a preference… his Mama.

And so for the first two years this conversation was a fairly common one:

Where is Mama?SAM_3325
At work.
I WANT MY MAMA!
Sorry buddy, she is working right now.
[insert angry crying and mumbles…]
Where is Mama?
At work.

On and on it would go.

He would request me for our nighttime reading ritual. Then he would wave good-bye to Dada if Mama was the evening book reader. Or he’d cry and cling to me if it was Dada’s turn.

He would throw a fit when I couldn’t hold him because I had to make dinner, or pack up the car, or get the laundry. His face lit up when I would enter the room. Though having someone that dependent on you can be a bit much at times, I thrived on it. I love having a little fan, I love having someone who thinks I am quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread (even if he didn’t have teeth to chew it with at the time.)

But in the last two weeks the tables have turned and drastically I might add. Now it’s all about Dada.

SAM_3332Where is Dada?At work.
I WANT MY DADA!!!
[insert angry cries and mumbles…]
Where is Dada?
At work…

That is definitely not awesome. Because on and on it goes.

I am not chop liver, Henry still loves me very much. I am not being ignored, he still loves to hang out with me and is still happy to see me…but our mini man has a clear and present preference, he wants his Dada and he loves him very much.

I am glad that Henry has such an awesome dad. I am thrilled that Adam takes such good care of our little guy. He plays games, does great with story time, uses funny voices to help Henry do what he should versus what he wants, the awesomeness list is long. I couldn’t be happier.

We both know that Henry will continue to grow and develop. He will continue to amaze us and he will continue to conquer milestones as he grows into a big kid. Which means his preferences for his “favorites,” whether one of us, a favorite book, food, a toy, a piece of clothing may continue to change. A fact of life.

In the meantime it will still take some time to get used to being the runner-up or the consolation-prize parent.

Parenting a Two-Year-Old Has its Ups and Downs

The last week at the Ramseyer roost has been a challenging one. While parenting our son is generally fun and engaging the past week I think all parties involved would wish to wipe away clean.

Most likely things stemmed from the mini man being sick on and off for the past two weeks, which resulted in us allowing for more treats (TV programs), a looser schedule (nap times all over the board) and feeding him whatever his appetite would condone (gingerbread cookies are a “bread” product since they have “bread” in the name.)

Now that he has bounced back, we need to bring things back to center and continue navigating the uncharted moods of a two-year-old little boy.

So that’s when he introduced the 1.5-hour tantrum. Much like a snow squall it can come out of nowhere and hit the recipient without any warning. It might be triggered by:

  • kisses from the dog
  • forcing him to take his coat and mittens off at home since he is now a sweating to death
  • making him put on his coat and hat before we leave in a blizzard
  • wrong cup color for his milk
  • cutting him off after 2 cups at any mealtime
  • daring to set him down for a nap without the correct stories being read
  • not letting him pick out a shirt to wear
  • letting him pick out a shirt to wear
  • forcing him into his socks
  • removing his socks
  • looking at him
  • not looking at him
  • the list doesn’t end…

Any one of these things can create a disturbance some lasting a mere set of minutes while others setting him up for a disastrous  tantrum. For those of you who aren’t familiar with one, the dictionary definition states, “( often plural ) a childish fit of rage; outburst of bad temper.”

At their worst, a tantrum can feel like being forced to negotiate with a short-statured, by-polar dictator. You must follow his rules and you must follow his moods, but neither has any rhyme or reason.  So what do you do? At our weakest we can let it get to us. It hits me hardest when he refuses to eat anything, or we can get annoyed enough to need to leave the room. That’s when he wins. The key isn’t making him lose, it’s finding a way around the problem to happier grounds.

Each child is precious and each child is different. Yes, we know.

For example Henry is much like his Mama (no not because of tantrums, I was apparently a perfect child.) He doesn’t like too much of a routine and being cooped up in the winter. I don’t like it either, but for many parents having a routine saves their ability to parent. For us it makes things fall apart. We noticed that said tantrums became longer, more frequent and louder after we’ve been home for too many days/nights in a row.

To remedy this problem I chose to battle Mother Nature and her weather spectacular in our tiny CIVIC and drive to the grocery store with Henry. Yep, our BIG adventure at the grocery store. Armed with snacks, two cups of milk (which he drank on the way there,) to “triangle cheeses“, fishy crackers, fig bars and squeezies. People commented how nicely he was behaved and how cute he was. Meanwhile he kept feeding the entire time we were there, I kept the conversation to light topics (no need to discuss politics and religion) and there were lots of colorful packages and signage to distract him when he would get bored.

Now cue the one things that started to unravel an otherwise perfect night… SANDY the horse.

Sandy is a mechanical horse at Meijer that all children love. For a penny your child can enjoy riding the horse for about 30 seconds. Half the time she isn’t working so you have to explain that there is a sign and the sign means she won’t work, or you have to try prying your child off of Sandy so that someone else can have a turn.

Last night, Henry didn’t want anything to do with Sandy. Until we got to the car. Cue the first mini tantrum. So what do you do in a small space? You distract with whatever you have, apparently he found the car dealerships interesting so we talked about the cars he saw. Success.

Once we got in he was upset that he couldn’t finish his snacks (it was beyond bedtime now.) what worked? nothing until I asked if a toothbrush is used to scrub ones toes – though it took 10 minutes through silly conversation he finally climbed into my lap, grabbed the toothbrush to show me how it worked. Success.

More mini disturbances followed that evening, but each was navigated carefully with distraction. (At some point I saw Happy Birthday to every single person in our family.) Success.

The final disturbance of the night has to do with being put to bed. Up until recently he loved to snuggle down in his bed with a big comforter, now he kicks and screams as if he is on a bed of hot coals. There is no remedy for this. I lay him down, he jumps up and down and screams. He is pissed. I cannot fix this. I kiss his head and try to not get my teeth knocked out, I tell him I love him, I tell him it’s bedtime and I walk out. The screaming generally stops after 10 minutes. Otherwise we check in on him again. It’s not magical and it’s not perfect but each day we work on it and hope this phase will pass.

Then we’ll get to enjoy some new milestones and new challenges along the way.