NST went a little long this morning. I didn’t eat beforehand, so that’s probably why. I don’t think there’s any concern, since he perked up and showed off a bit toward the end, thankfully. Last childbirth class is tomorrow night; next BPP/growth check is on Thursday, and another NST on Friday. They did say this morning that my beta strep culture from last week was negative (yay), so one week from tomorrow might very well be my last encounter with a needle of any kind relating to this pregnancy. That’s crazy. And of course, now that I’ve finally met the deductible on my insurance and the heparin would be much less expensive, I need only the tiniest of partial refills. Oh well. I’m sure we can find better things to do with $300 a month. Gah. I can’t even make a bad joke about that. Every penny spent will be worth it in the end, I know, but it’s still quite harsh to think about how long we may be paying interest on all those many, many pennies. Nauseating, really.
Not a lot of visible progress on the mountains of baby stuff that still needs sorted, washed, organized, etc. Slowly but surely, a little at a time, we have chipped away at some edges, but there is still a helluva lot of nesting to go. Including of course our ongoing side project of the front bathroom. And, you know, finishing the nursery, I’d think. I’m hoping we get a lot done this coming long weekend.
Just a quick post to say that while the gems such as, “Should I get him a shirt that says, Now that I’m safe, I’m Pro-Choice?” did continue, so did his generosity. He left his grill and pretty much replaced the patio furniture he took back with him, so I really cannot complain too much. Of course I’d prefer that he not try to buy affection/gratitude that way, and just not be so obnoxious to begin with, but overall it was much less painful than I expected, and for that I am very grateful. I guess he did go back on some meds, not that it is really any of my business, let alone yours – this blog is really probably not anonymous enough for me to be posting stuff like this about my family, so I
may should come back soon and just delete that post below, and perhaps this one as well, since apparently Blogger still won’t let us password protect individual posts (am I missing something? anyone?). But for now, I’ll just say that all’s well that ends well, and this past weekend was very busy and fun. I’m exhausted and stressed about the mountains of baby stuff that still needs organizing, and all the cleaning that still waits for me underneath all the organizing, and the thank you notes from the first shower still to be written and mailed, but it’s truly the kind of stress and exhaustion that continues to confirm that we really have so much to be grateful for.
I’m a little freaked out that my due date is now less than six weeks away, honestly. I suppose it’s normal to question everything about my abilities for both labor/birth and motherhood at this point. I don’t in any way think that I’ll have regrets, of course, but it is still hard to believe this is
finally already actually happening. As I was looking at the enormous amounts of gifted baby gear we’ve got to sort through, I realized that I don’t think I’ve actually purchased a single thing for this baby myself. I wanted to…but I never did. At this point I probably don’t need to, though of course eventually I’ll buy lots of stuff for him. But that I haven’t yet, and that I can’t seem to commit to a name, even though we still have the two top candidates, makes me think there is a bigger part of my mind than I’ve realized of late still in some kind of denial that we’re as lucky as we are to be here. I can somehow both love and hate that it feels too good to be true.
- He arrives wearing a T-shirt that says “Relax, I’m hilarious.”
- He asks me if I’m going to breastfeed my baby until he’s like, twelve, and old enough to stand on a stool while doing it. I just said…probably not [but if I did, why the fuck should you care?].
- He chooses where we have dinner, then complains that he can find nothing on the menu that suits him, then demands that we go for ice cream afterward. AND WE DID.
- He tells anecdotes about Republican-leaning campaign crap: “Vote Romney 2012: He’s White.” [BLINK. BLINKBLINK.]
- He apparently signs my husband up to receive promotional mail/free sample things from Depend. Yes, the incontinence undergarment. I don’t even ask.
- He asks if I had ever seen anyone with such skinny legs yet such a [sound effect] abdomen, referring to my MIL’s friend and travel companion. When I say I really hadn’t noticed (complete honesty – am I supposed to notice that or something?), he describes in further detail how he really doesn’t think he’s ever. seen. anyone. with such drastically contrasting upper and lower body types.
- He uses the word FUPA. I pretend I either don’t hear it or don’t get it, and don’t ask for a definition. Thankfully, he obliges.
Yesterday was a two-fer. Had another good NST in the morning, followed by a good ultrasound/growth check in the afternoon. He appears to be on the smaller side, but still within the normal range, at four and a half pounds as of 34 weeks. So, he definitely still needs to finish baking and fattening up, and there’s probably no danger of a nine-pounder for me. Blood pressure was a little high in the morning, 130/80, but much better in the afternoon at 116/73. Clearly I just need to quit letting Mike piss me off in the morning before I go to these appointments. That’s a joke…kind of. I am definitely still fighting the crankiness. Or, wallowing in it, depending on the hour.
We have made some progress on the house, but it’s still basically a disaster area, and my MIL and BIL both arrive today. MIL is bringing a friend up with her for the shower tomorrow, so they aren’t staying at our house, but BIL is. I have no idea how this is going to go, but even Mike wasn’t too optimistic about what kind of mood he expected his brother to be in – I guess he’s quit seeing his therapist and stopped taking whatever meds he was on, so I am just EXTRA TICKLED to have him come shit all over my shower weekend, lemme tell ya. Now, I’ll happily eat my words if that turns out to be false, but I’m fairly confident in my pessimism, sadly. I’m supposed to be deciding where we’re all going for dinner tonight and I kind of just want to tell them all to go without me. That’s terrible, and I clearly cannot actually do that, so…I guess I should figure out what sounds good enough that I’ll want to eat despite the big ball of resentment that’s likely to be festering in the pit of my stomach.
I’m pretty much going to gloss right over it being Mother’s Day. We did celebrate, but I admit that it feels somewhat like counting a pre-hatched chicken. I will say it’s been a great day, full of lovely things including (but not limited to) donuts, moules-frites at brunch with my parents, a bit more progress on the nursery (glider! We did the changing table yesterday, so all furniture is now assembled, woohoo!), and even some rug-doctoring on the only remaining carpet in the house and the couch. Feeling very lucky, but still thinking of those for whom today may have been quite miserable. I’ve not forgotten what it’s like to aim for survival rather than enjoyment when it comes to Mother’s Day – and Father’s Day too, for that matter. We typically have not made huge deals out of those days in my family, not so much gift-y as a meal, a card, some flowers or a smallish gift, but the simple stuff is sometimes the most poignant, you know? Last year especially it was so hard to not feel gutted on both of those days, hanging out with my parents and not knowing if we’d ever get the chance to make them grandparents. They’re so happy for us, as are Mike’s parents.
I did manage to finish Bringing Up Bebe, a couple weeks ago. I should have written about it then, but clearly I’ve waited until the last brilliant minute. Thankfully, people did send some questions and quotes to Esperanza, so…I’ll use them. Brilliant! The quotes not associated with questions really sort of speak for themselves.
“I hear other American moms say ‘I’m a bad mother,’ too. The phrase has become a kind of verbal tic. Emily says ‘I’m a bad mother’ so often that, though it sounds negative, I realize she must find the phrase soothing. For American mothers, guilt is an emotional tax we pay for going to work, not buying organic vegetables, or plopping our kids in front of the television so we can surf the Internet or make dinner. If we feel guilty, then it’s easier to do these things. We’re not just selfish. We’ve ‘paid’ for our lapses.”
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“There are no fixed rules…You have to keep changing what you do”
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Quote from a French parent: “In the US, sometimes I have the feeling that if it’s not difficult for you, you have to feel bad about it.”
There definitely are some things described in the book that I think will be worth trying. The author makes it sound like a fairly great system, if you can call it that, helping to create a much calmer household and lifestyle than what most American families would probably say is typical. I think my problem is what seems like the impossibility of trying to implement it all here. Parts of it could probably be done, like “the pause,” which apparently allows babies (and therefore parents as well) to start sleeping through the night as early as six to eight weeks in. But I think it would be extremely frustrating to expect the same overall results when applying some of these ideas in the context of a parenting culture that is hardly conducive on all fronts. For instance, it’s also noted that French toddlers are not necessarily always accompanied by baggies of Cheerios or the like, that parents and caregivers are not constantly soothing with snacks like American parents tend to do. I think it might be rather hard, but perhaps not impossible, to stick to that very strictly here when we have such a drastically different food culture.
Another thing that struck me as a dramatic difference in culture is that in general, these lovely French children are taught self-soothing, self-amusement, and patience at such a young age that they often don’t throw tantrums, or at least they don’t throw them at the same scale or frequency as we expect here. Sounds great, right? Of course! It sounds almost too good to be true. I think that a lot of this French parenting philosophy is clearly made possible by the great benefits provided to parents: paid (at least in part) parental leave, excellent neighborhood daycare that won’t cost you most of your salary, and perhaps best of all – no Are You Mom Enough crap. TIME magazine really jumped the shark this week, if you happen to have missed it. I won’t even link to it – not because of the image, but because it’s just bait and I don’t need to take it. But it is a great example of what French women are not subjected to – this competitive thing, where mother becomes martyr and everything is the most important thing you can do for your kids: the way you give birth, how long you breastfeed, whether you go back to work, and on and on and on.
“College-educated mothers rarely ditch their careers, temporarily or permanently, after having kids. When I tell Americans that I have a child, they usually ask, ‘Are you working?’ Whereas French people just ask, ‘What do you do?’”
I do like that a lot of what is described is basically free range parenting, letting kids have their own existences – not helicoptering and giving as much freedom as possible within a certain framework. The most important rules (safety, basic manners, respect and consideration for others, for example), are never broken without consequence. It is not a bargaining match; it is simply, firmly, you must always or you must never for the most important parts – teaching kids not to be “good” so much as to be sage, all the while realizing that children are children, and will of course be naughty and silly. I like the concept of bêtises, small infractions that are not ignored, but are not punishable offenses. The caca boudin thing cracks me up.
I’m past the deadline for sending this link, and it’s way past my beditme, so I’m going to wrap up as usual with little in the way of a final judgment or conclusion. I liked it, overall. I am far from ready to say, I’m going to do it this way, or that way, or, I’ll never do this or that. I plan to take it as it comes, and this book provided a glimpse into a culture that seems to be doing very well at that, so I will definitely be keeping it on the Kindle, letting Mike read it, and probably rereading at some point when I need a reminder that it’s okay to chill out, let the little things go, and that there are no actual trophies for being a “super mom.”
I had another good NST yesterday. Everything seems fine, but they are still going to start doing them twice a week starting next week, along with the biophysical profiles with the peri. It will be sort of nice to get weekly ultrasounds again, I guess. Hopefully one of these times we’ll see that he’s moved from posterior to anterior. Somehow I’m not overly worked up about labor and birth, but back labor with a sunny-side-up baby is
obviously not preferable. I’m not a hundred percent certain, but I’m pretty sure he’s still feet and face forward for now. I started doing the forward-leaning inversions, but the movements I feel are still all over the place so I don’t think he’s rotated much, if any.