Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last blog.
You may think that having a seemingly endless amount of free time would be conducive to writing, but in my case the opposite is true. I write about my life, and I’m mostly lying on the couch watching it go by while trying not to have a baby before Christmas.
The good news? On Christmas day I’ll be thirty-two weeks along, and my doctor has suggested my restrictions may be relaxed at that point. By then it’ll be less scary for Baby Girl to arrive and she will require less time in the NICU, as opposed to week twenty-two when both my regular OB and high risk OB ordered me to cease and desist all activity lest she be born before she would have a chance at survival.
The bad news? My time on the couch is spent watching TV and trying not to think too much. What if she’s really early? What if she struggles? What if there’s something wrong with her that’s making her come early? What if I get bed sores? Will my feet ever go back to their normal size? And so on in an endless loop of anxious insanity.
I still get Braxton Hicks every time I stand for more than a couple minutes or attempt to walk around the house, but BH are less unusual at this stage of pregnancy so I don’t need to immediately lie down and guzzle a gallon of water to make them stop. I still drink water like a camel in the desert — which seems apt as I live in the desert and have one pronounced hump — and I still can’t lift the kids, but perhaps things will normalize a little before we have a third child and our normal is forever changed.
While I’m feeling creatively barren right now, I want everyone to know one important thing about today: it’s Mom’s birthday! I won’t say which birthday, but it’s a big one, and she is celebrating on the beach with my dad as I type. My parents have been sending photos and updates from their luxurious sojourn in Jamaica and the exchanges go something like this…
Dad: We’re having a private dinner on the beach!
Me: I have pink eye again!
Mom: Can you believe this view?
Me: I’m at Urgent Care with Jackson who also has pink eye.
Dad: Check out this fruity cocktail we’re drinking!
Me: My feet are so swollen I think my Uggs are too small.
Ah, to be retired and sipping Jamaican rum on a sandy beach. If you’d like to read something heartfelt I’ve written for my mother, you should definitely buy my book if you haven’t already. I dedicated it to her, so I probably don’t have to get her a gift for the next few years, right? The book is about motherhood, a topic about which I would know nothing if not for her, and she is already giving me lessons on Grade A Grandparenting that I’ll file away for future use.
Luckily, Mom’s sister has flown out west to help care for the kids during this busy time of year. My Aunt Karen is our third round of helpers to make the journey to El Paso and wrestle the kids into their car seats and off to school each day. I can’t express how much I appreciate my parents, mother-in-law, and aunt coming to help my little family. Without being able to lift my own kids, I can’t get them into their car seats or free Archie from his crib without an able-bodied stand-in. Their school is twenty-five minutes from the house in the opposite direction from Hubs’ office, and rush hour traffic can add an hour on top of that (the school was chosen for its nut-free policy and the security code required for entry, not proximity to our home). When Hubs has to drag the kids from bed in the dark and drive back and forth across town to get to court before eight in the morning, he is running on fumes by the time he gets home. *I* don’t need that much help, but he really benefits from someone else driving the kids to and from school, helping with meals and grocery shopping, and other important tasks.
Apart from seeing my boys being lovingly cared for by our family helpers, the highlight of these visits has been watching our visitors attempt to operate our minivan. We bought a used 2014 Toyota Sienna at the beginning of the year since we had a hunch we’d be a family of five relatively soon. Our families are not snobs or high-fallutin’, but having worked hard all their lives they now reap the benefits in the form of luxury vehicles. Schlepping around town in a prison-grey beast is quite the departure from their everyday driving experience.
Mom demanded to know why the car wouldn’t beep when she was about to back into something. Dad asked which button would draw in the side mirrors so we could pull into a tight parking spot. My mother-in-law asked where she could find the ‘start’ button. My Aunt, whom I’ve always considered to be very down-to-earth, touched the button on the trunk and waited for it to open on it’s own. The solutions to these problems are as follows: use your eyes. Use your hand. Use the key. Use your muscles.
The Beast is no slouch. She (yes, she, because she carries babies) has a rear camera, power doors, navigation (which is often wrong and doesn’t include our neighborhood, but still) and a six-cylinder engine. But she has given me the greatest gift of all: a chance to poke fun at the adults in my life. For all the times they’ve given me grief when I was learning to use a drill and made the wall look like Swiss cheese, or rolled their eyes when I realized that homeowners can’t call someone else and complain if an appliance isn’t working, I am now able to watch my beloved elders struggle to operate a mid-range vehicle without too many bells and whistles.
Sure, I may not be able to reach my knees right now, but at least I know that most cars don’t have headlights that flick on when a sensor alerts them to changing weather conditions. Tch. Parents, amiright? That generation wants everything done for them.