Tuesday, December 1, 2015

4 weeks tomorrow

Oh, man, I've forgotten a bit about what life is like with a newborn.  I realized I never told you his name, so here is a (badly written) acrostic so you know what it is:

Ah, my sweet little boy, so happy
Unless your diaper is being changed or you're hungry
Get lots of hugs and kisses from your brother and sister
Usually spend your time sleeping or eating
So cute and squishy, like a newborn should be
This little baby that has been given to me.

I haven't gotten much done lately - this baby wants to be with me always.  He nurses and falls asleep, and I've finally stopped just holding him all the time and started putting him down so I can do some chores.  He doesn't sleep too long when I do that, but I manage to accomplish a bit.  Then he wakes up and wants to nurse again.  Which is fine, but I would like him to spend some awake time without crying or eating, and I'm not sure how to get him to do that.  This newborn time with the twins is sort of fuzzy for me now.

Tomorrow I'm planning to go to the new parents support group for the first time with Gecko baby.  I'm really looking forward to it.  And next week is my follow-up with the midwife, so I want to find out about exercise.  I'm ready to start getting back into shape soon, which means I'll probably have to work on my diet a bit, too.  The holidays are not really the time to start thinking about that!  He'll be two months old just after New Years, so that might be the best time to set a firm deadline.  It's weird to think that I can finally climb again!  And swim soon, too, although that will be tough with nursing.  I do plan to go to Mamma and Baby yoga, try to do some exercise at home, and aim for daily walks in our greenbelt.

I have turned into the crunchy mama I've always wanted to be.  I'm not doing baby carrying as much as I'd like, since Gecko doesn't seem to really love it.  But I am breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping (which was unplanned, it just sort of happened to help facilitate the breastfeeding), and I'm generally loving both of those things.  I do hope to move Gecko to the co-sleeper for at least part of the night soon, because after the first 3 or 4 hours I don't sleep that well with him in bed with me.  Our queen bed is a bit small for the three of us.

My goals for the next 4 weeks or so are to start moving towards a better schedule with Gecko baby, start getting regular exercise, start pumping a bit of extra milk for my friend with a special needs baby, work on baby carrying, and a million other chores!  In any case, Gecko baby is sleeping on me right now, but I have plenty of things to be doing and dinner to get on the table soon.  So I'll sign off for now.  But here is a quick picture of little Gecko on his birthday.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The little guy is sleeping on me right now.  He needs a diaper change and probably a clothing change, too, but he's sound asleep on my shoulder and I don't want to move.  The twins are playing happily, our au pair is probably bored out of her mind, and my Italian in-laws are (hopefully) enjoying some down time.  They tend not to like to be bored.  The weather is cold and wet and windy, so we are inside, where it is cozy and warm.  I want to take care of paperwork, and get dressed, and really I'd like to start baking some bread, but I have this sleeping baby on me, and I just can't summon the inner strength to put him down.

Things have been good.  Really good.  Gecko Baby is mostly a good sleeper.  We've had some rough nights, to be sure, but I'm getting 6-9 hours overall (not in a row, of course) each night, and I'm surviving pretty well on that.  He's nursing like a champ, and my main problem is most likely oversupply.  But I made a few minor adjustments and it seems better.  This little guy sleeps a lot, usually on top of me.  I haven't tried using baby carriers much at this point.  I just can't get enough of holding him.  I looked up a poem that I love, which usually makes me tear up a bit.  Here is the last bit:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

And that is how I'm feeling these days.  Along with a major dose of gratefulness.  And a bit of exhaustion.  Which is going to get a lot worse next week when my in-laws are gone and my husband is out of town.

So.  All is well.  We're all happy and healthy and getting ready to enjoy a nice quiet Thanksgiving.  I'm still in awe over Gecko Baby's birth and how happy it makes me when I think back on it.  And I don't feel sad about Tadpole and Turtle's birth either.  I was worried that having a good experience this time might make me regret how things went with the twins' birth and infancy, but it doesn't at all.  I'm grateful for all of it, and especially grateful for this chance at a more normal mothering experience.

So like I said - things are really good.  Oh, and this little guy is going to be 3 weeks old tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He's here, he's beautiful, and he's mine

Note: I wrote most of this a week ago.  I'm now holding an 11-day-old baby in my lap.  I know it's my last baby and I'm just soaking him in, so unfortunately I can't seem to finish a blog post.

Original post:

I'm sitting here holding a beautiful 4-day-old baby in my lap.  I'm so overwhelmed with love and joy and gratitude.  He's perfect.  I mean, he sleeps all day and stays up all night, but I'm actually pretty ok with that.  I am treasuring every moment I have with this little love, my last baby.

I am not sure where to start his birth story.  I guess I can start it on the evening of his due date, which is also when I wrote my last post.  I had been having irregular, mild contractions all evening.  I went to bed, and tossed and turned a lot from contractions, waking up briefly occasionally, but always falling back asleep easily until about 5:30.  I got up and started timing the contractions, and found to my surprise that they were pretty regular, about 10 minutes apart, but not painful at all.  They felt like pretty mild menstrual cramps.

I had to get the family up before 8 so everyone could get where they needed to go.  Wednesday mornings are always a bit crazy for us, since it's the only day the kids have school in the morning.  Also, even though I've given the au pair our schedule, times when I expect her to be "on the clock", and list of things that need to get done, she was not up yet, so I had to get everyone ready for school and get my husband up, etc.  Also, the cleaners were coming at 9:30 and the place was a disaster, so I was desperately trying to pick up toys and wash dishes and put things away, too.  I wasn't able to really pay attention to the contractions, much less notice them, in all the crazy hustle and bustle.  I got the kids and au pair out the door, and husband decided to work from home in case labor was imminent.  I kept cleaning while he told me to take it easy.  Finally, the house was ready, the au pair was back, and I didn't seem to be having contractions anymore .  While the au pair and I waited for the cleaners, I installed the carseat and packed a few last-minute things in our hospital bags, then we left to run errands

We went to the bank and the cell phone store without incident.  Since we still had some time to kill, and we hadn't really had breakfast, we stopped at a cafe for a coffee and we sat and chatted for a bit.  Finally, around 11 am, we headed home.  We arrived just as the cleaners were leaving.  As I headed down the hallway to our bedroom, at 11:15 am, I felt a twinge of pain and a weird popping sensation, and it felt almost like I had peed on myself, even though I knew I hadn't.  I shouted to my husband that my water had broken.  I wasn't really sure what to do, if you can believe that!  I had prepared for a lot of things, but I was expecting to be having contractions, and possibly be in active labor before my water broke.  I had no idea what to do when it just broke out of the blue.

I ran around looking for my folders from the hospital and my phone and texting with my doula.  Earlier she had told me that contractions can stop and start and early labor can last for days, so it was a good sign but I should prepare for nothing to happen.  She was surprised by my call about my water breaking.  I called the OBGYN office and they put me on hold, then finally told me to come in and get checked out, but to expect to be going back home since I was most likely in very early labor.  Contractions started pretty strongly while I was on the phone, 6-7 minutes apart.  We packed up the car, left instructions with the au pair, notified the doulas, and headed to the hospital.  We arrived around noon, where we were told the OB was performing a c-section and it might be a short wait, but that most likely we'd get sent home after she checked me out.  The nurses hooked me up to the monitors and we watched my contractions on a screen.

Contractions started getting stronger and slightly closer together by the time the doctor showed up a little after 1 pm.  She didn't want to do a cervical check since the amniotic sac had ruptured, so she tried to take a look with a sterile speculum.  She said she couldn't see much since fluid was still gushing out, but she would guess I was in very early labor and I was dilated at most to 1 cm.  She said she would send me home except for the Group B Strep, so it would be better to stay and start the antibiotics.  She warned that if I were not in active labor within 18 hours, I'd have another c-section, and when I asked for a room with a birthing tub, she said I needed to wait until I was a lot further along.

So I got settled in for what I expected to be a long wait, feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of another c-section hanging over my head.  The doula told me that it sounded like I was still in very early labor and should get some rest while I could, and recommended lying down for a while.  Contractions were getting pretty painful while we watched a little TV, and I remember telling my husband that I might want a c-section after all.  I mean, if early labor were THIS painful, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do the entire thing.  Around 2:30 I told my husband it was time to call the doulas.  I was concerned about how much pain I was having, and just nervous in general about the birth.  Every time he tried to rub my shoulder while I had a contraction, I had to fight the urge to tell him to stop pushing on me.  I knew it was early, but I had lost all confidence in my plan for a VBAC without an epidural.  I needed back-up for sure.

The first doula arrived a little after 3pm, and the second one probably closer to 3:30.  First I stayed in bed, and the first doula tried to get me to relax through my contractions.  When the second doula arrived, they got me out of bed, and had me sit on a rocking chair.  I was in a LOT of pain at that point.  They wanted me to vocalize, but the best I could do was whimper piteously.  The contractions were SO strong that I couldn't relax.  After only a few more contractions, they suddenly became much stronger and felt different.  They seemed like they were lasting much longer, and I couldn't sit still through them.  I felt like I needed to poop, and found myself pushing up out of the rocking chair.  I could see the really concerned looks on the doulas faces.  I wanted to ask what was wrong, if something seemed not normal, but I couldn't get any words out I was in so much pain.

After two of these really strong contractions, I was scared and finally managed to squeeze out "I feel like I need to push" before another contraction hit.  It was true.  I was not actively or consciously pushing at all, but it felt like my body had taken over and was trying to push.  It was almost 4 pm.  The doulas decided to call the nurse to check my cervix.  The nurse came and asked me to climb onto the bed.  I could barely do it in between contractions.  When I did, she took one look and shouted "His head is right here!  Get the doctor!!!!  Call the doctor!!  Is someone getting the doctor?!?!"

The doctor arrived in a rush, and now there was calling for the respiratory therapist, since there had been meconium in the amniotic fluid.  The doctor took a look and told me I could feel free to push with my contractions - like I could have stopped if I wanted to!  After a couple contractions, she told me that she wanted 4-5 good pushes with each contraction.  It was so hard.  I could really feel his head right there, but I couldn't seem to push hard enough to get it out.  Everyone was cheering me on, despite the general chaos (well, it seemed chaotic to me).  I don't know exactly how many more contractions I had or how many pushes, but 15 minutes flew by really quickly and I could feel the baby's head crowning and then it was out!  One more push and I felt his body slide out, and the umbilical cord, which was a weird feeling.

He was immediately placed on my chest, the most amazing feeling in the world.  I was completely overwhelmed with emotion.  And some pain, as the nurse pushed on my stomach and the afterbirth was delivered very shortly after the baby.  I vaguely remember the doctor mentioning that most of the blood was no longer in the cord so it could be cut, and I suppose my husband cut it.  I was too busy enjoying my sweet precious babe, who had immediately found his thumb and stuck it in his mouth.  He was so beautiful.

I got to hold him for at least an hour before they weighed and measured him.  He nursed and sucked his thumb and looked around.  It took a little while for me to stop shaking - from the hormones and the cold and the pain.  None of that feels like it matters now.  My memory of that time is a treasure.  It was a beautiful, spiritual experience.  It wasn't at all what I had imagined in my head, but it was perfect.  I'm so happy with how it went.

I've spent a lot of time in the last 11 days just holding my baby.  I want to appreciate every moment and breathe in his sweet scent.  He's a calm baby, very mellow so far, easy in a way that Tadpole and Turtle weren't.  And of course there's only one of him.  I know now how quickly it goes.  I know how much I should savor this time in my life.  I want to keep writing here to record these beautiful years with my 5-year-old twins and my brand new baby, and so I will do the best I can.  The records I have of my last pregnancy and the twins' early years are so special to me.

So now we're a happy family of five.  I'll post pictures soon =)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Due date day

So yeah, today is my due date.  It's after 9pm.  Baby Gecko is not coming tonight for sure.  Although ... I have had some irregular contractions.  But not enough to make me think anything is happening for sure.

Today was interesting.  I had yoga this morning, which was nice as always.  I also found out that my yoga teacher does induction massage, so that's another alternative.  Multiple people have recommended a chiropractor who does prenatal stuff, and has an office just down the street from me, but I called several times and got voicemail and an email I sent was not returned.  So I am not sure what's going on with that.

Anyway, another to-do item on my list was to call the OB office and see if they wanted me to come in for an appointment this week, since my only other scheduled appointment was for next Thursday, at which point I would be 41 weeks 2 days, and one day away from a c-section.  They said yes, so I went and saw my regular midwife.  I told her about feeling the baby a bit less than usual, and calling Friday night to report it, and she thought it best if I have a non-stress test and AFI (amniotic fluid index ultrasound).  Since I had brought my kids and au pair with me planning on a 10-15 minute appointment, it was a bit stressful (ha!), since it ended up taking an hour and a half.

I only did the non-stress test, I'm doing the AFI tomorrow.  The baby looked good - he started kicking a ton (of course!) before settling down and being quiet for the rest of the test.  The nurse took forever to consult the doctor, and then came back and said the doctor wanted more monitoring - she wanted to see one more set of kicks and how his heartbeat would respond.  That took at least another ten minutes, and then a while for the doctor to review it again.  In the end, all looked good.  In the meantime, I had several contractions which showed up on the monitors and made me realize that all the weird crampiness that's been going on the last week or so has been contractions.

So, here we are.  I've warned my sister and my doulas that I'm having contractions, albeit few and far between and it's been happening on and off for days, but you never know.  Better to have some advance warning just in case.  I'm not totally sure what to do now - try to push things and see if it's real or false labor?  Just rest?  Go on with life as if it were false labor, i.e. finish cleaning, folding laundry, prepping for the house cleaners to come tomorrow?  Go on with life as if it were real labor and finish packing my hospital bag and getting stuff like the cosleeper and car seat completely ready?  I don't really have any idea.  I've been encouraged to take a bath, but I already showered today and don't really feel like hanging out in the tub.  So ... I dunno.  I guess I will just do a few more chores and then try to relax a bit.

Wish me luck, please!  Will update with news when I have it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dear Baby Gecko

Well, Baby Gecko, you've only got two days until you're predicted to make your appearance.  Although I know that can be off by two weeks either way, you've used up the first two, and the circumstances of the birth of your older brother and sister have shortened the second two weeks to a week and a half.  So I'd like to kindly suggest considering joining us here on the outside pretty soon.

I totally get that you've had a great time in there.  We've done so much fun stuff!  But I promise, I SWEAR, it's much more fun to participate in these things yourself, rather than vicariously inside my tummy.

Honestly, it's been a pretty awesome pregnancy from that point of view - I got to take you along with me on some really cool experiences.  We went backpacking twice - the first time your brother and sister got to go, too.  We went to Desolation Wilderness, one of your Papi's and my favorite places to get out into the wild.  We went camping in Yosemite's high country, which included hiking, hanging out with really good friends, rock climbing for Papi, Brother, and Sister, and just some awesome wilderness views and a renewing time for the whole family.

We went to Italy, where we took your big bro and big sis skiing, and Turtle even learned to ski by himself.  Tadpole was almost there, too - she'll get it this year for sure.  We went to Hawaii, where I got to take you snorkeling with me.  We saw sea turtles and tons of fish, coral, just amazing beautiful things.  We hiked through a volcano's caldera, and through a lava tube.  We had a wonderful time with good friends.

How amazing it has been to share these experiences with you!  But you want to know a secret?  Your Papi and your big brother and big sister want to meet you, too.  Your grandma is driving me crazy calling me to find out if you've been born yet.  Your grandparents from Italy are coming to visit in just a few weeks, and they're excited to meet you, too.  You have an aunt and uncle just waiting to welcome you to the family, a huge extended family in Italy who are expecting news of you, and tons of friends who are just waiting to know when you'll be here.

So, please, come soon!  We all love you so much and are looking forward to seeing you and learning everything about you - your eye color, your smile, your personality.  And to be honest with you, this mamma is getting a bit tired and achy and ready to be done with the pregnancy part of this and hold you in her arms and give you a million hugs and kisses.  That doesn't sound so bad, does it?  This is a big beautiful world with so much to see and learn and do ... won't you come join us out here?


Saturday, October 31, 2015

39 weeks 4 days

Well, 3 days until my due date.  I wasn't totally expecting to make it this far, but for the non-baby part of my life, it's been good.  I've gotten through just about everything on our schedule/calendar, and today is Halloween, which my kids have been SO excited about.  We'll have soccer and a Halloween party, and then pretty much nothing but waiting for baby.  Which of course might not be a great thing, but I'm relieved to at least not have to worry about rearranging everyone's lives if I went into labor.

I have to admit I've been nervous.  At the movie we went to on Wednesday, Gecko kicked for 1.5 hours.  We watched the first half of the third original Star Wars movie on Thursday night, and Gecko kicked the whole time.  Then yesterday, Friday, suddenly almost no kicking.  Enough random solo kicks through the day to reassure me that he was still alive, but no major kicking sessions like I usually feel at least first thing in the morning and late at night before going to sleep.

We had friends for dinner, and while sitting at the table eating dessert, I brought up to my husband and friends that I hadn't felt much movement, so I finally called the midwife line just to be safe.  They told me that it was good I'd had something sweet, and I should drink something cold and lie on my left side for an hour and count kicks.  It was a little hard to do, since Tadpole insisted on cuddling with me, and her fussing and moving around made it hard to pick up some of the more subtle baby movements, but I did get to 10 within an hour, so I went to bed feeling a bit better.

Then I woke at 3:45, which is why I'm writing now at 5am.  I had a granola bar and a couple glasses of cold water, and Gecko JUST started moving, albeit very subtle movements again.  I'm hoping for a nice reading session on the couch with the kids tomorrow morning and some of his usual crazy antics so I feel more reassured, but for the moment I'm pretty content that at least he's moving.  The nurse I spoke to said he could have dropped and therefore not be moving as much since he's more squished, and that there are a lot of potential reasons for decreased movement.

In some ways, I find myself almost hoping for a c-section, even though in an ideal world it's not what I want.  I wouldn't have to worry about labor, failing my TOLAC/VBAC, emergency c-section, or Group B Strep.  Although I know it's not what I really want, it would be nice to just have a better idea of the end of the story - to know when the baby is coming, prepare for it, and have some control over the process.  But I KNOW I want this VBAC.  I picture an empowering labor and a possible water birth, holding my baby right after he's born and trying to nurse right away, a natural and calm entry to the world and a beautiful bonding experience for my husband, myself, and Gecko.  And a hopefully short, peaceful stay at the birthing center before being able to go home to my family.  It's what I'm really hoping for.

That reminds me, I had my last scheduled group prenatal appointment yesterday before my due date, and it went pretty well.  Blood pressure is inching up a tiny bit, but still in the normal realm, no swelling, and everything else checked out great.  The group was smaller than usual, but the women I feel the most connected to were there, and we talked about a lot of cool things. The midwife told me that I would have to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after the birth because of the Group B Strep issue, but that it can vary depending on what time I give birth (if I give birth at 1am, they won't kick me out at 1am two days later - I guess I might get to leave the night before?), whether I give birth on a weekend, that the rules are made by the pediatricians, and that my pediatrician might let me leave early if he was convinced that I would bring the baby back for a check-up the next day (which I wouldn't be possible if it were a weekend, I guess, so that's why the day of the week would be important).  I think my pediatrician would trust me to bring the baby in for a check-up, and we only live a few minutes from the hospital where his office is.  So I'm crossing my fingers that if all goes well and we were ready to go home before the 48 hours was up, we would be able to leave.

We also talked about how to induce labor on our own (plus medical methods of doing it), that we shouldn't really try unless we were past our due dates, and that our bodies wouldn't go into labor unless we were really ready.  So I'm crossing my fingers.  I may break out my pump on Sunday or early next week and give it a shot.  I just don't want to take too many chances with this little guy.  It's less than two weeks until my scheduled c-section date, and 3 days until my due date, so I know it's almost time to start thinking about these things.

Anyway, I've been up for 1.5 hours, I've felt a bit of movement, and I think it's time to try to get some more sleep.  Good night!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

39 weeks 2 days

That last post was kind of negative, sorry about that.  I was pretty stressed out.  It's a beautiful Thursday morning, we had some honest-to-goodness fall weather yesterday morning, although it cleared up and got sunny and warm again in the afternoon.  Our au pair is settling in.  Her phone habits still drive me up the wall, which again, I know is very much a product of her generation.  I don't think I realized how bad the younger generations are with their technology.  It scares me a bit for the future.

We went out on a date last night, I'm guessing possibly our last for a while.  We went out for some yummy Japanese food, and wandered by the independent theater to realize that the mountain movie Meru was playing in 10 minutes.  So I got coffee and ice cream and my husband got a tea, and we settled in for a lovely 1.5 hour film about mountain climbing.  It was almost like old days.  I had some random contractions/cramping throughout the movie, but it seems to have calmed down now.  I thought I might have been starting to just go into very early labor, but alas, it doesn't seem like it.

At this point, I'd like to hang on until Sunday.  It's not crucial, of course, but today my kids have violin lessons and I have my last group prenatal appointment, plus a meeting with our local au pair coordinator which absolutely has to get done at some point, and soon.  Tomorrow my kids' school is having a parade, which I'm hoping to go to, but I'm not telling them I'm going just in case I go into labor.  Also, Tadpole has her last soccer practice.  Saturday they both have their last soccer games, and it's Halloween and we're invited to a Halloween party.  Starting Sunday, we have just about nothing on the calendar - at least nothing that the au pair can't handle with some help from my friends and my sister.  Other than driving, she's been through most of our routine and as long as I leave detailed instructions and maps, I'm pretty confident she can make things happen.  The kids are warming up to her as well.  And really, all that truly matters is that they get to school and back, and get fed.

So, it's just a waiting game at this point, and doing some last-minute preparations, and trying to catch up and keep up on housework while I'm waiting.  And paperwork.

And now it's time to get the family up and start our busy day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

39 weeks

Well, here it is, 39 weeks.  Really full term by any standard.  I'm pretty ready to go.  My back hurts, my hips hurt, and I've been having sciatica pain.  I'm sleeping well some nights, but not others, even with some help from benadryl.  I'm just ready.

Our au pair arrived on Thursday evening.  I'm not thrilled with her.  She's young, and like many (most?) people her age, she's completely addicted to her phone.  She's constantly staring at it, even while walking around.  It's one of the most irritating things I've had to be around in a while.  I already can't stand the sound of whatever message program she's using.  I'm trying to cut her some slack because she's young and alone and in a foreign country, but we speak her language and she's here to do a job, which she is not really jumping into that eagerly since she's ALWAYS. ON. HER. PHONE.

It's awkward because I mostly wanted her to just hang around for the first few days and learn our routine, since I am still here and there is no baby and it seems easier for the kids as well to just have her sort of shadow me.  But unless I specifically ask her to do anything, she disappears into her room with her phone.  Tadpole likes her, but Turtle most definitely does not.

Speaking of Turtle, lately he's been cranky and difficult and clingy.  I think he knows the baby is coming and my attention is not focused completely on him and Tadpole, and he doesn't like it.  My uneasiness over the au pair and her lack of genuine excitement to be helping out around here doesn't help at all, either.

Anyway.  I'm just concerned about the situation and having this somewhat vapid, shallow person living with us for a whole year.  It feels like a really long time right now for a situation that doesn't feel ideal at all.

Pregnancy-wise, I've been waking up with cramping feelings, but they go away.  No real contractions.  Nothing else going on.  I keep thinking it's a sign of the beginning of labor, but then nothing.  Kind of disappointing.  I am having back pain, too, but still hard to know if it's anything at all.  Man.  I don't want to deliver on Halloween, but other than that, I'm ready to go at any time.  Come on baby!  Let's go!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

38w2d - 12 days to go

I'm sleeping so badly, I'm so tired!  At least I feel more prepared for the sleepless nights that are going to start sometime in the next two weeks.

I feel like I have a ton to do, and not much to do, all at the same time.  Pregnancy is so weird like that.  LIFE is so weird like that.  Mostly, I don't want to do the things that I should be doing, which is probably contributing to the problem.

Yesterday turned out to be just about a crazy as I expected.  The field trip was really fun - I drove out there and waited with the other parents for the school bus to arrive.  My kids had a great time, although I was in charge of 4 kids total and also just had to keep an eye on various things in general (i.e. making sure kids didn't let animals out of their pens), so I couldn't always help them or pay attention to just them, which was a bit disappointing.  I also had to run just as it was time for my kids to pick out pumpkins and Turtle's choice seems like it might be already rotting, so we might take a trip back there this weekend to make sure we actually get to do all the things they missed and maybe get another pumpkin or two.

Our au pair arrives tonight.  Yikes!  I think I'm almost ready, except for a small plumbing problem.  The faucet in the guest bath was leaking, and the plumber is having a hard time finding the right valve.  He came this morning assuming he had found it, but turns out that wasn't it, and now it's looking like we might not have a working sink for the au pair, at least for tonight.  Tomorrow is insanely busy, too, so I don't know if I can make another appointment.  Hopefully I don't go into labor before I can get all this straightened out.

After the crazy day yesterday, today is much calmer - sort of.  Plumber this morning, lunch, school, I just went grocery shopping and have a bunch of loose ends to tie up, pick up kids, flu shot clinic, Target for a reward for the flu shot, home to hopefully practice violin and take a bath, early dinner, then airport for au pair.  Not that much calmer, I guess.  Tomorrow's nuts, too - violin lesson in the morning, a short break until lunch, school, errands with the au pair to get her settled in, pick up from school, meet friends to ride the double-decker bus to campus, ride the bus home, Tadpole's soccer practice, get home in time to meet old friends who want to buy our old car, and then probably dinner with local friends.  There will basically be no free time AT ALL.  Luckily, the weekend is almost empty except for soccer games, but they're only 30 minutes and they're simultaneous, so we can finish our au pair errands and have some fun.  That's when we'll go back to the pumpkin patch and probably do some pumpkin carving.

So.  Life is crazy.  I'm looking forward to it settling down soon.  HAHA, what am I talking about, then I'm having a BABY!  But that's a beautiful, wonderful thing, and with the au pair to help, and my husband planning to be around more for a little while, I'm really excited about trying breastfeeding again, expanding our family, and really enjoying this phase of our lives.  I am very excited for the holidays this year.

Just to end, I'm going to leave you with a shot of the Christmas stockings I've made.  I still have to hand-sew the edging on Gecko's stocking, but I figure I'll do that once the baby is home and I'll be spending less time running around and more time hanging out.  I don't know how to rotate the stupid thing, but Turtle's stocking is on top (or left), Tadpole's is in the middle, and Gecko's new stocking is on the bottom (or right).  And they're on top of the new coffee table.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

38 weeks! 14 days to go

OMG, I'm so tired!  I had a nice day, albeit busy and not as productive as I hoped.  We are into the final stretch, both of the pregnancy and the crazy activities for the fall.  My kids have two more soccer games and have finished swim team for the fall.  Actually, they had a meet on Saturday, and did really well!  They each got medals for participating in all four races, and Turtle even won a trophy for getting third place overall in his age group.  They also have a violin concert coming up, next Monday.  So after the swim meet last weekend, these last two soccer games, and the concert, we are pretty darn free for the rest of the fall and winter.  Whew!  I can't wait.

All of this ends right before my due date, except the end-of-season soccer parties, which will almost certainly occur after my due date, and I don't know if I'll be able to make it.  Our au pair comes on Thursday, just two more days.  I'm still a little nervous - it's weird to have a total stranger arrive at the airport and you have to make them feel at home, although at least I have a lot of experience with both being a foreigner in her country and welcoming Italians to the US.  And I did some solo travel in Europe at her age, so I remember what it was like, too.  I think we'll do a pretty good job of helping her to fit in, I just hope our personalities all mesh well enough to make living together pleasant for everyone.

Tomorrow, my kids have a kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch, and I am volunteering, then I have to race to an OB appointment with an OB who is on call and may not even be there, and then I have to pick the kids up, grab lunch, go to swim lessons (we're doing once-a-week lessons through the winter), run a bunch of errands, and practice violin before meeting at my husband's office to attend their work dinner and costume party.  It's going to be a really busy day.

Oh, I almost forgot - we got a new car!  A Ford C-max hybrid.  We got it last night, and I need to do some research into how to get our state rebate, on top of the rest of the things I have to do before the baby comes.  It's really coming down to the wire, and I am hoping that the baby waits until right around his due date, but not much longer, to make an appearance.  It's a delicate balance, and I know babies often have their own plans, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Anyway, we are selling our old car, and I'm a bit sad about that.  It's the first car we bought together, we loved it, and it has done well for us.  Another piece of our old life will be gone.  Luckily our new car is pretty cool to make up for it.

I met with my doulas on Sunday.  I thought the visit went pretty well, although my husband barely participated.  Actually, whenever I get around to clearing off my desk, they gave me some stuff to read and fill out to help me prepare for what I will be comfortable with during labor, and how to get ready for it.

Anyway, it's late, and I need to get to bed.  Good night!

Friday, October 16, 2015


My midwife appointment yesterday was cancelled, so I had an OB appointment today with a new doctor at our local hospital.  I really liked her.  I guess baby was a bit sideways, so her measurement for fundal height was on the low side and I got a really nice bonus ultrasound.  She was worried he -might be sideways, but he was nice and head-down as expected (whew!).  His head was measuring slightly ahead, his abdomen right on schedule, and his femur pretty behind, which put his overall estimated weight at 5.7 pounds, or 22nd percentile and a bit small for his gestational age, but the doctor said that was fine and the measurements are notoriously off this late in the pregnancy.

So!  I was nervous about Group B Strep, but she didn't seem to be concerned at all.  She said that I don't need to be hooked up to an IV, they would put in a saline lock and hook it up for an antibiotic dose every 4 hours, but otherwise I wouldn't need to be hooked up to anything.  Another sigh of relief.  And otherwise it wouldn't affect the VBAC at all.  I have gained a LOT of weight, though - I'm ready to stop that nonsense soon.

I've been accomplishing quite a bit, although still not as much as I would have hoped at this point.  I still have an insanely long to-do list.  I did get the stroller fixed, though - I bought a used older-model Babytrend jogging stroller, and the wheel wobbled terribly, but I found some fixes online and it seems to work now.  I've sold our old crappy bike and bought a new one for our au pair that I'm not super happy with, but it will do if I can't find anything else.  I've got some of the baby stuff set up.  I started packing the hospital bag.  I'm getting the guest room cleared out, and got new sheets, just have to make the bed (I don't want the au pair using our nice guest sheets every day for a year, so I got some everyday ones instead).  I finished all the applique on the Christmas stocking for No-Longer-Nameless baby, and I have very little left to do to finish it, then I will pack up all my sewing stuff.  I set up a bedrail in Turtle's bed against the wall side, with pillows squished between the rail and the wall to keep him from banging against the wall during the night, which startles me like crazy but somehow doesn't wake him up.

I have a few small wood-working projects to finish up and clean up the patio, but they're really almost done.  I bought a baby gate to keep our cat in the farther part of the garage overnight so she doesn't keep the au pair up all night, but there is one spot she can squeeze through, so I am going to cut down a board to size and attach it to keep her in there.  The last semi-major project I have is to install some hooks on the wall of our garage to hang the bikes we're not currently using, like Turtle's old bikes and the next size up for both kids that I got for free, not realizing they would be too big.  I even worked on a bit of paperwork/filing, but that's going to be a huge ongoing project.

We're also trying to buy a new/used car - a plug-in hybrid that will allow my husband to use the HOV lane when he commutes.  Since he often gets stuck in major traffic, and our old car needs some major but non-essential repair (the AC), it's a good time for us to switch cars.  Unfortunately, we're having a hard time finding something that works for us - we can't claim the federal tax credit because of our current financial circumstances, and I can't find a used car that would meet our requirements.  Well, I'm really trying to avoid the bureaucracy of getting our own HOV lane sticker, and last week there were plenty of used cars online that already had stickers - now I can't find any.  We decided to wait a few more days and keep looking.

In the meantime, we're almost done with most of the crazy activities we signed up for this fall.  The kids' swimming ended this week, last swim meet is tomorrow, which we may not attend.  We're probably going to continue with lessons once a week through the winter, which is much more doable.  Soccer ends in two short weeks, right around my due date.  So then we'll only have violin and once-a-week swimming, which is a huge relief.  We can handle that.

And that's life.  Waiting and wondering when this little guy will make an appearance, and trying to get all sorts of stuff done until he does.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

37 weeks

Big day today.  I hit 37 weeks, which is considered early full term.  I feel pretty good about things.  I think I'm still having contractions.  I wouldn't say they're totally painless, but in addition to feeling my uterus tighten, I feel uncomfortable along the bottom of my belly, and sometimes feel a bit crampy.

It was a busy day, too.  I went to prenatal yoga, which went well.  I was feeling good.  Then home for a meeting with the people running the study on infant microbiomes, to go over the requirements for the study and sign the consent forms.  There were a ton of questionnaires to fill out, and it was overall a bit intimidating.  I can't help wondering if I've gotten in a little over my head.  Still, in addition to the personal benefits to me with the lactation consultant coming multiple times, I am extremely interested in this field of research and feel very good about participating.

After doing some chores, I picked the kids up from school by bike - I admit, it's getting harder and harder to ride, especially over the bike bridge over the busy nearby street.  We eventually made our way to swim practice.  Where Josephine lost the band-aid that was helping to hold on her toenail, which is barely hanging on by itself, and ended practice freaking out in the office while a high school kid desperately tried to get a band-aid to stick to her wet toe.  We raced home and were a bit late for my meeting with the lactation consultant.  Which went pretty well.  We went over my prior experience, she confirmed a lot of what I already knew and told me a few things I didn't know.  I feel somewhat prepared, but not overconfident, which I think is good.

And now the bad news.  I tested positive for Group B Strep.  At least according to the test results released to my online health account.  I see the midwife on Thursday, so I'm sure that will be a big part of our discussion.  I sort of freaked out at first, but I've gotten a lot of good advice and feel better now.  The comments range from how unlikely it is for the baby to get an infection to how simple it is to prevent an infection by having IV antibiotics.  In theory, I need an IV inserted (just as a back-up, not hooked up to anything) because of the VBAC.  I also read an article indicating that you only need the antibiotics administered every 4 hours and in between you don't need to be attached to anything, so my current plan is to discuss the VBAC and all other possibilities with the midwife - how does this affect laboring and/or birthing in the tub?  Can I only be hooked up to antibiotics when necessary and not be hooked up to anything in between doses?  What else should I be concerned about?  What about thrush and other side effects from use of the antibiotics?

And a bigger question - I've read and heard from many people that Group B Strep requires a minimum 48 hospital stay after the birth.  I hoped, if all went smoothly and there were no complications, to go home as soon as possible, but I'm guessing that's no longer a possibility.  Assuming this all happens after the au pair arrives, I still can't leave her with the kids all day and night, for multiple days.  And if I'm in labor during the night, I'll want my husband to be there.  So I'm working on lots of back-up plans, and thinking of creating lists of people who can babysit, stay with my kids overnight, possibly bring meals, etc.  It's really complicated not having much family in town.  I'm asking my sister to coordinate, and possibly spend the night if necessary, but of course she'll have to go to work as necessary, and I'm hoping that our au pair will be settled in and can manage the kids during the day.  The one thing that would be great to know is when the baby is going to be born, but of course that's not something I can plan ahead this time.  I can just hope for a quick and uncomplicated labor and delivery, a healthy baby, and enough warning to get a support team together for my kids so I don't have to worry while I'm at the hospital.

I'll update more on Thursday after meeting with the midwife.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Getting closer

Well.  I'm almost 37 weeks.  I'm still feeling that weird sensation that time is moving both too fast and too slow, that we're almost to the end of this, and that the end is creeping up ever so slowly.  I have various preferences of when I'd like this baby to come ... after the au pair, if possible, but not waiting TOO long because of the risk of pre-eclampsia or not going into labor at all.  Right around my due date would be pretty darn ideal.

So far my blood pressure is looking awesome.  My ankles are starting to look a bit swollen, but some swelling is normal, so I'm trying to keep it in perspective.  I am still wearing my wedding ring, although it's getting hard to slip it off, and my shoes all still fit, even if they are starting to feel a tiny bit tight.  I know there's nothing out of the ordinary going on, yet, but I'm still trying to stay aware of any possibility of pre-eclampsia.

I had a last-minute appointment with my midwife this past week, and I asked what would happen if I developed pre-eclampsia again.  She basically said that would not be good for my plans for VBAC, etc., that at the very least they'd probably try to get my on some blood pressure medication, and that she seriously doubted it would recur with this pregnancy.  SO!  Keeping my fingers crossed.

I finished my coffee table!  Here is a picture.

The house is a mess, and the arm of our rocking chair is in the foreground which looks a little weird, but you get the idea.  I also got our side patio, which I've been using as my work space, mostly cleaned up.  Since that patio is right off the guest room where our au pair will be staying, that was pretty crucial.

I'm also working on our little boy's Christmas stocking, which is going pretty quickly since I'm machine stitching it all this time around.  I expect to finish most of the detail work quite soon.  One of the reasons I'm making this a priority is not only that I doubt I'll have time to work on it after the baby comes, but I have to move all my sewing stuff out of the guest room, so it's nice to use it before I stow it away and it's not so easily accessible.

We're looking into buying a new car.  I have a ton of chores and errands to do before the au pair comes in just a week and a half.  We're still so busy with soccer, swimming, violin, social activities, school, and with housework and actual work.  I'm looking forward to being done with soccer and swimming for the fall, and never signing up for multiple sports again.  It's actually our last week of swimming, so that break is going to be so nice.

I meet with the lactation consultant for the university study I'm participating in on Tuesday.  I also need to schedule two meetings with my doulas, but I don't know how to fit it in, since I want my husband to be there and our evenings are getting quite full.  I wish I hadn't waited quite so long to get things moving on both of those fronts, but it can't be helped now.

Anyway, it is late, I'm tired, and I need to get to bed.  Only a few weeks to go, and so much to do.

If anyone is still reading ... I'd love some suggestions for a welcome package for our au pair.  She's a 21-year-old girl who has never been to the US before, and I don't think has ever lived on her own before.  I'm so used to traveling now that I can't remember what it was like at that age.  What would make her feel welcome and at home?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

36 weeks

Wow.  28 days to go.  There is so much going on right now in my life, it's hard to keep track of everything.  I've set myself the task of finishing making our coffee table and Nameless Baby's Christmas stocking by the time our au pair arrives on October 22, mostly because I need clean out the room where she'll stay and the patio outside, where my projects are set up.  So I've been working on both those things pretty regularly, and it's going slower than I hoped.  I also need a plumber to fix the faucet in the guest bath, and to find a better house cleaner and SOON.

In the meantime, I just met with the doula I liked, and her mentor, and I really liked them both and I'm excited about how this will work out.  They'll come for hopefully 2 prenatal visits to help me learn some labor techniques, support me during the birth, and come for 2 postpartum visits as well.  I'm so happy to have the support.

In addition - and I'm so excited about this! - I found out our local university is doing a study on probiotics and breastfeeding.  The main reason I'm excited about this is that participating requires that the baby be exclusively breastfed for 3 months, and in return, the university provides 4 visits from a lactation consultant, once before the baby is born, and 3 times after the baby is born.  I can't begin to say how great this study is, and I hope I am eligible to participate.  It will provide both the motivation to exclusively breastfeed as well as the support to do so, not only free but completely set up ahead of time.  While I'm at a point now where I recognize the value of paying for a lactation consultant, the hassle of finding them and making appointments is still a barrier, especially with all I have going on.

So, if I do both the doulas and the university study, I will have three prenatal visits and 5 postpartum visits, all aimed at helping me and my baby.  It feels a bit like the village I was yearning for when I gave birth to the twins, but never managed to get in place.  I feel so much better prepared this time around.  And even if I don't qualify for the study for some reason, it's giving me the motivation to get some lactation consultants lined up anyway.  I also plan to go to the local new mothers' group, where I used to go with my twins.  Between all this, the au pair, and my in-laws visiting a few weeks after my due date, I expect to have a lot of support and help, and I am so hopeful to be able to spend time relaxing and really enjoying the new baby.

Speaking of which ... he may have a name.  We're still not 100% sure, but I'm giving it a lot of thought and it's settling in and growing on me.  So we'll see.  I won't announce it here until after he's born, but hey!  That's not too long to wait now!

One thing the doula did say is that without having gone into labor on my own last time, in her experience most women in that situation tend to not follow the normal pattern of second-time mothers, and still tend to deliver on the later side.  She said I could probably expect, and should plan, to go at least to my due date.  We'll see, but it is good, in my opinion, to not have my hopes up for an early birth and then feel like I'm just waiting and waiting.  It also takes some of the pressure off to have everything ready WAY ahead of time.  I think I need to not go overboard and still keep on track for planning, so the basic necessities are ready anyway.  In any case, I need a lot ready by the time our au pair comes in just over two weeks, so I do have a deadline anyway.

And speaking of which - time to sand my table top and hopefully get start with drilling holes.  I'll try to post a picture of my table when it's done, so look for that in the coming few weeks.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

30 days to go

I missed my prenatal appointment Thursday because Tadpole was sick, so I rescheduled it for Friday afternoon.  I also missed the last La Leche League meeting I am expecting to be able to get to until little Nameless is born, which was a bit disappointing, since I've been hoping to have more support set up ahead of time, but I know I can work on that in other ways.

As I've mentioned before things seem to be moving quickly and slowly at the same time.  It's already October, yesterday I was exactly one month from my due date.  Our au pair arrives in less than three weeks, and I'm starting to make plans for what will happen if I go into labor before she arrives and gets settled in.  In any case, she can't be left alone with the kids for more than 10 hours in one day, so I'll need back-up help at any point when I go into labor.  But I also need to be sure that she knows the kids' schedule and can at least get them to school with all the things they need for a couple days, while my sister and other friends can handle evenings and nights for at least a day or two.  I'm hoping against hope that this birth goes quick, has no complications, and that I'll be out of the hospital quickly.

In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy, and mostly succeeding.  I'm sleeping pretty well, thanks to my willingness to take medicine to get to that point.  I love feeling little Nameless kick me, and treasuring it, knowing that I'll never feel it again.  I feel pretty good most of the time, and maybe that's because this pregnancy is so much easier than the last one with the twins.  I'm at 35 1/2 weeks, and still no real swelling or physical complications of any sort, except for my knee problem, which I've learned to handle pretty well.  Not to say that I'd want to be pregnant forever, and I'm sure it'll get harder as I get closer to the end, but it's not bad at all this time around.

I met with a doula few days ago, and she seemed pretty cool.  Even better, she's in an apprenticeship program, and if we go through the program she's in, her mentor would also be in attendance.  Her mentor just happens to be specialized in VBACs and is a passionate advocate for them, having had a c-section and then VBAC herself.  We'll meet with the mentor this coming week, and hopefully have a plan in place, since I will be 36 weeks.  This includes 2 prenatal visits, and 1-2 postpartum visits, which I'm really excited about.  She has also already been very helpful with looking up questions I had, so I'm just very content with the current situation.

The only thing that's been troubling me recently is the dawning realization that there is going to be an ACTUAL REAL BABY arriving soon.  I mean, I obviously know that, but sometimes it hits me, just like it did when the pregnancy test was unexpectedly positive back in February.  I never published that post, but I guess I should.  Sometimes when we go to bed, I wonder what I've done to our lives and our family.  Which seems ridiculous now.  In the light of day, I'm cheerful and excited and hopeful, but when we go to bed, I start to panic.  I've often had minor anxiety attacks at bedtime, so I'm guessing this is just part of that.  I have gotten good at breathing through them, and reminding myself that I'm not being rational.  I think watching Game of Thrones season 5 right before bed isn't helping either.

So, there it is.  I wanted to record my anxieties, as well as the joy I'm getting from the end of this last pregnancy, which we're planning to be my very last.  I'm 37 years old anyway, and feeling my age, and looking forward to getting in shape and growing the beautiful family that I have and will shortly be adding to.  I'm thrilled that the uncertainty of having more kids will be behind us, because it's hung heavy on my heart these last 5 years.  This really is a great place to be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

35 weeks! Only 35 days to go ....

Wow, it's getting close now.  I'm only a few weeks from full term.  Here is my 35 week post from last time:  http://alittlebitohope.blogspot.com/2010/06/35-weeks-celebrating-and-still-not.html

Life is still busy ... I'm trying to be better about staying on top of things, but MAN I'm tired.  I had such a long to-do list this weekend, and I got almost none of it done.  I feel like so much of my life gets eaten up by administrative tasks and busywork.

I'm working on a bunch of projects, many of which I'm hoping to get wrapped up soon.  Like building my coffee table!  I'm actually going to go out and work on it for an hour or so as soon as I finish this blog post.

I'm trying to get info on who should get immunized, since the baby will come during flu season and right before the holidays, and whooping cough is still such a problem these days.  I am gearing up to be nagging a lot of people to get shots, and hoping it doesn't turn into a big drama.  Not looking forward to it!

I set up our mini co-sleeper, for the moment it's in Tadpole's room and the kids got bored with it almost instantly.  I also got my free breast pump in the mail, got a few things back from a friend who borrowed them, and have a meeting set up with a doula tomorrow to see what I think.  My friend brought my cloth diapers back, so I have to relearn how to use those, if I'm going to attempt it.  Which I think I will.  Maybe.  I mean, I"ll have the au pair here to help with my older kids and all the kid laundry so ... why not?  Oh, and I also bought some used nursing shirts and ordered some others that just arrived - I have enough to last at least for the first bit, and if all goes well, I'll probably get some more.  I'm feeling so much better prepared this time!

I have another prenatal appointment on Thursday, so I'll probably update then.  Still need a name for this little bean, though.  I wish we had something that I was sure that I loved.  Still ... I didn't love Turtle's name at the beginning either, and now it's totally fine, so that may be how this works out, too.  We'll see.  Off to sand wood for my table ...

Friday, September 25, 2015

39 days left ...

I'm feeling a lot of stress right now.  Circumstances have basically forced me to let go of our first choice au pair and take our second choice.  I'm less than 6 weeks until due date, and I was induced at 37.5 weeks last time, which is only a few weeks away.  My husband and I essentially decided we could not take the risk of not getting an au pair here on time, when our second choice was essentially confirmed and ready to start the visa process.  I feel so guilty and responsible about it, though, after asking this guy to put his life on hold for the past couple months while we worked things out.  I also just feel like we've lost a great opportunity to have someone be a part of our family who would have really fit in.  I'm trying really hard to see things from the new au pair's point of view ... she's young and traveling to the US for the first time, on her own, and she'll need just as much of a warm welcome as our first choice would have needed.  The crappiness of the situation has just made it hard for me think beyond my disappointment, but I know I need to think of others as well.

My VBAC consult went well.  I think.  I'm a great candidate, everyone says.  The main thing I'm nervous about is just like last time, progressing through labor until the end, and then needing a c-section.  This time I won't be induced, though.  And they schedule a c-section for the last day they'll let me go without going into labor naturally, which in my case is November 13.  It's a formality at this point, and the OB said almost no one ends up getting that far.  But it does make me feel better.  Mostly, I wish I knew what would happen, because a scheduled c-section doesn't sound all THAT bad.  Especially compared to an emergency one.

We're still working on names for our little Nameless, and getting nowhere.  Poor little guy.  I'd like to start thinking of him with his actual name.  I wish we could make some progress  Hubby doesn't like anything I propose, and while I like a few of his ideas, I don't really love them.  Nothing jumps out at us as a great option.  It's way harder than I was expecting!

I've been looking back at my last pregnancy, with the twins.  I documented week 34 here: http://alittlebitohope.blogspot.com/2010/06/34-weeks-and-emotional.html

I just checked my ticker and saw that I only have 39 days left.  6 weeks sounds longer than 39 days, and it's actually not even 6 weeks anymore.  I'm nervous and excited at the same time.  I'm also trying to really enjoy this pregnancy, since we are planning for it to be my last.  I only have 6 weeks left to dream about the future without knowing what it will be, to feel all this movement in my belly, to read the baby magazines and books in total bliss.  Now I know a bit about what I'll be facing, so I'm a little more content to wait, instead of feeling completely impatient.

I went to prenatal yoga yesterday, and scheduled a massage for today.  I feel like it's almost time to start setting things up for the baby.  Yesterday I got out our mini-cosleeper, thinking the kids would be excited about playing with it, but they weren't really.  Sort of surprised me.  I definitely went a little overboard with this little guy.  I bought a lot of second-hand stuff that we may not use, and I'll just re-sell what we don't.  I'd rather be prepared this time around.  I don't know if we'll end up using a co-sleeper at all, but at least we have a mini one that will fit much better next to our bed, and a larger one that we can transition to later, or put in another room if I find we need to move around during the night.  We also have a pack-n-play, and a pea pod inflatable bed, which I bought primarily for travel and camping.

I need to get the jogging stroller fixed up a bit, and pretty soon I'll need to get the car seat installed.  I'm not totally sure where to put it, to be honest.  We have a minivan, and I just converted our kids' carseats to high-back boosters.  They're in the second row.  It wouldn't be bad to have them in the back row and baby in the second row I guess.  I'm not really sure.  At least the boosters aren't attached to the car so they're easy to move around.

Anyway, it's Friday morning!  And we don't have violin lessons this morning, but we should practice anyway, and then I need to get ready for a very busy day of kindergarten, errands, massage (yay!), swim meet, and soccer practice.  Here goes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

34 weeks, au pair decisions, VBAC, oh my!

Well, writing this blog can be cathartic, so here goes.

I picked an au pair.  She was my second choice, and I had already told the first choice person that he'd been chosen, then the agency said no, then we tried working through another agency and this morning they made me extremely uneasy by basically admitting that they don't have an agent close enough to our house but they're working hiring a friend to do it and asked if I had any friends who wanted to do it just in case.  It smacked MAJORLY of unprofessionalism and shadiness, and I just couldn't stomach it anymore.  I contacted the original agency, whose deadline was last night at midnight, and they said if I could submit the online request within 30 minutes, they could backdate it to yesterday.  I checked quickly and our second choice au pair was not online, so I went ahead and picked her and submitted our payment information.  It was nerve-wracking.  I basically didn't sleep last night after missing the deadline.  Then I emailed the au pair and we connected today, and now I just have to tell the other one that after all we've been through, it's just not going to work out.  I'm dreading it.

I'm not totally at ease with our au pair.  Our conversation doesn't exactly flow the way it does when I spoke with our first choice.  I think he would have been a better fit for our family.  But this girl will be fine - she seems responsible, and will take care of our kids, which is the most important thing.  A great rapport and similar values would have been icing on the cake, but it just wasn't going to happen.

Today I'm 34 weeks.  I can't believe I'm 3 weeks away from Early Full Term.  Holy crap.  I need to set some goals for the next three weeks.  Here are some bullet points, my favorite!

  • Need to get stuff out of the garage that we will need at the very beginning.  Wash bottles.  Figure out where Nameless will sleep.  
  • I got my pump ordered and it will ship in a few days.  Yay!!!!!!
  • I need to prepare for the au pair.  Have a working bike.  Clean out the bedroom a bit more.  Get clean sheets on the bed that aren't our guest sheets.  Find out more about her, and work on having her get to know our family, and our kids.
  • I have a few crafts I want to do.  Primarily, finish the freaking coffee table I've been working on FOREVER, and make Nameless a Christmas stocking to match his big sister and brother's.  I also would like to make Christmas pillow covers for our two couch pillows, but that's really a huge bonus if I get around to it.
  • PICK A NAME.  We're really having trouble.  Like big time.
  • I need to get stuff from my friend up in the foothills, and she doesn't seem like she's going to be coming down here, in spite of her many promises to do so.  The one main thing she has that I need are our swaddling blankets.  I can get some pretty inexpensively, but it seems a shame to buy new when I have some that my friend isn't even using.  Need to figure that out, for sure.
  • Get everyone in the family immunized for whooping cough and flu.  Including the au pair.
Today I also have my VBAC consult.  In about an hour, actually.  I have a huge list of questions, a few of which are just related to pregnancy in general and not the VBAC.

I drank my first cup of red raspberry leaf tea today.  I don't know why I didn't do that during my last pregnancy, or maybe I did and I don't remember.  I'm getting ready.  Pretty excited, actually!!!

And that's it for now.  The kids are keeping me quite busy, and stress is making it hard for me to concentrate.  After last night and this morning, stressing about the au pair situation, I felt like I used to feel in college after pulling an all-nighter amped up on caffeine - exhausted, jittery, and completely useless.  In fact, I've accomplished just about nothing today, and I have to leave for the doctor soon.  It's time to get life back under control!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Thumb twiddling

Still in au pair drama land over here.  Waiting for something to work itself out.  I don't like the deadlines.  At all.  I'm overall feeling calmer, or at least handling the continued setbacks and confusion with more grace.  I think.  I hope.

My husband just got back from a 9-day trip to Europe.  I think the first day or two is always rough for me because I think it's going to make life SO.  MUCH.  EASIER!  and it doesn't.  I mean, its a little better, because the kids love their dad and he likes to do fun stuff with them, but he doesn't handle any of the housework, and he doesn't enforce them doing anything like cleaning up or brushing their teeth, so I still end up being the annoyed wicked witch.  Ah well.  It's still nice to have him home, I guess.

A discussion on one of my social media groups provoked some interesting thoughts for me.  It's a Mom's group, and I only know one of them personally, but it's a very nice, interesting, somewhat diverse group.  Well, maybe not that diverse - I think a lot of the moms are older and many have been through at least a small amount of ART.  One recently posted lamenting about how having a singleton can be considered weird, abnormal or worse, selfish.  How she is the only mom at her kid's preschool with a singleton and they put up family information recently and instead of just not mentioning siblings at all, on her kid's info they put "Siblings: None".  Someone else pointed out that having 3 or more kids was also seen as out of the norm these days, and the original poster admitted that on further thought, there was one mom at the school with 3 kids, but all the rest had 2 kids, and usually one girl and one boy.

This made me think.  We were already unusual in having twins, I suppose, and I got a lot of comments for that.  Since they were boy/girl twins, I missed out on the questions about whether we'd try for another one of the opposite sex.  Instead, I got a ton of comments saying "Perfect!  You already have a boy and a girl, now you're done!"  Now that we're having a third, I am starting to wonder what people will say.  And they're 5.5 years apart, which is unusual, too.  It sort of smacks of infertility, just like the boy-girl twins.  Which is funny, since this time around, it was not only totally natural, it happened basically the first month that everything lined up just right.

Anyway, I guess we are technically a "big family" now?  I grew up with two siblings and my grandmother living at home, but I certainly never felt like a big family at all.  My grandma was my last living grandparent, and we had no aunts, uncles, or cousins.  I was jealous of all my friends who had big family gatherings at the holidays, and we'd always be just us.  I realize in retrospect that my family had a lot of problems and our relationships weren't always very good.  My siblings and I at least got along well, but my mom and grandma had lots of weirdness between them, and my mom was a very difficult person, which I didn't start realizing until high school.  So perhaps what I was secretly yearning for was a more psychologically normal family.  I don't know.

Anyway, little Nameless is doing well.  I toured the birth center yesterday as part of my prenatal group appointment, although we started late and I had to leave before we got to the postpartum room tours.  Which is ok for a variety of reasons, but mostly that I remember the postpartum rooms very well and that's not the part I'm nervous about anyway.

At 33 weeks, I've gained more weight than I'd like, but not so much that I'm terribly worried.  Since everyone is telling me how small I look, I'm really not concerned, although I am a little concerned about how out of shape I've become.  I just managed to get to yoga again this week, and went for a walk this morning  I'm quite sore, but that's ok.  I also have been biking the kids to school most days, which is 1.5 miles round trip, so some days I'm doing 3 miles on the bike.  Not a lot, but better than nothing.

The midwife thought the baby was head down, but I will find out for sure either at my VBAC consult next week, or at a future appointment closer to 36 weeks.  I have lots of questions for the doctor at next week's VBAC appointment, which will be at 34 weeks.  Yeesh, time is going fast now.

I got a prescription for a pump, so I need to call the insurance and get that taken care of.  I might wash some bottles soon and get those organized.  I should clean the house a bit, really.  I need to get the guest room cleaned out and set up for the au pair (fingers crossed that this works out).  I am starting to work on Nameless Baby's Christmas stocking, or at least I've gotten Turtle and Tadpole's out of one of the Christmas boxes to start using as a template.  I want to start getting things where they need to go in the next few weeks, also just to get stuff out of the garage!  Our house is going to be messy and chaotic, but I'm ok with it.  I'm actually very, very happy.  And excited.  And I'm working a bit more on finding names for poor little Nameless.  And now I really need to go get a few more things done before I go pick up the kindergarteners.

Monday, September 14, 2015


I'm having a rough day.  We picked an au pair, and I notified him yesterday that we'd be choosing him, but today our local agency said they could not approve him because he's male and their policy is to not accept males from that particular partner agency in Italy.  I don't know why.  And they won't make an exception.  Even though I spoke to someone there who seemed to think it would be fine if the partner agency was ok with it, but I don't have that in writing anywhere.  In the meantime, they put our second choice au pair on hold so no one else would choose her, and she got an automated email about it, which she is taking to mean that she's been selected.  In the end, it probably doesn't matter, since our hand has been forced and we'll have to go with our second choice, who is totally fine and will be a good fit as well.  But it's annoying to have this experience - it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.  And we have only a few days before our "match deadline" to get someone here before the baby comes.  And my husband has been out of town.

I've been trying really hard to be happier and more understanding towards my husband, but today is testing my resolve very strongly.  He left for Europe last week, throwing last-minute party the night before he left.  He left a huge mess, and encouraged the kids to stay up late and sleep in all weekend, which made school and other morning activities last week really tough.  I'm still cleaning up the mess from the party, not to mention dealing with the lice by myself.  I can't comb out my own hair and see what I'm doing, so I used a second round of toxic lice shampoo just to be sure I didn't have anything still.  I've done more laundry in the last week than I have in the last several months.  I've managed the house and the kids and becoming an unexpected volunteer for AYSO soccer and volunteering in my kids' classroom and doctor's appointments and a ton of other crap completely alone, while he's visiting family and friends and hiking in the Alps (and yes, working, but still).  When I told my friend that he'd be coming back late Wednesday night, she said she hoped he was going to take the kids for the weekend so I could get a break.  Um no.  HAHAHAHA.  I will be taking them to two soccer games and a birthday party 45 minutes away and then to visit my mom, and he will probably not join. because he doesn't like kids' birthday parties or visiting my mom, but HELL, WHO DOES?!  Even if he comes for the soccer games, I will be in charge of getting everyone ready and to the field on time and bringing all the crap we need.  Then the kids have a violin concert up in the foothills on Sunday that he has already told me he doesn't want to go to, and a birthday party invitation at the same time in the other direction, which I'm sure he ALSO won't want to go to, not to mention if we do someone has to buy a gift for it.

I'm just feeling like I don't have much left to give at this point, and also in the meantime I'm working for his company FOR FREE.  I guess I will feel better once I get this all out, but MAN I'm irritated with him right now.  Beyond irritated, really.  Even though I know he didn't cause some of these problems and it's not totally his fault, I'm feeling really unsupported and lonely these days.

Anyway.  It's going to be a tough week, I have the dentist on Wednesday and volunteering and prenatal visit on Thursday, so two days are completely shot as far as getting stuff done while the kids are in school.  Which leaves me 3 days of 2.5 hours, approximately.  One of which is almost gone, I'm down to one hour today after dealing with all this au pair crap.  So I have about 6 free hours this week.  Actually, that tells me I better get to work.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Well, hubby's been gone to Europe since last Tuesday, and won't be back until Wednesday night.  It's been 4.5 days so far, and long days for sure.  We've had so much going on, first fall swim meet on Friday, soccer practices, first soccer games on Saturday, violin concert on Saturday, and tons of housework cleaning, and real work that's falling behind.  Plus interviewing our final two choices for au pair.

To top it off, last weekend we discovered the kids and myself had lice.  LICE!!!!!  It's been rough.  We treated all of us, and I spent several days washing everything in the house I could think of that might need it.  The day hubby left, I started panicking, wondering how I would manage if we hadn't gotten them all (which we almost certainly hadn't, or at least not the eggs), so I found out about professional lice removal services.  I called someone and they came out that day and combed all of our heads with their own products.  It took hours, but they found several more live lice and lots of eggs.  I've been combing every day since, and still doing lots of laundry, and I'm crossing my fingers that we're lice-free.  At least, I really hope so.  I can't take too much more of this.

I'm 32 weeks 5 days pregnant with Gecko (otherwise known as Nameless Baby), and my ticker says I have only 51 days to go.  Sometimes it seems like it's still ages away.  Other times it seems like there's no time left and I REALLY need to get life under better control.  Luckily we should have our au pair here before the birth, but we still need coverage to make sure the au pair doesn't work more than 10 hours per day ... i.e. he or she can't stay with our kids for more than that amount of time while I'm in the hospital.  To that end, I'm really hoping for an easy VBAC and very short hospital stay.

I have another prenatal appointment this week, which will include a birthing center tour.  Next week, I have my VBAC consult.  I think at some point soon I'l have to find out if the baby is head down, so I know if a VBAC is even in the cards.  I hope that these next two visits will answer a lot of my questions about VBAC procedures at our birthing center.

I have almost everything we need for our new little bean.  The main things I'm missing at this point are swaddling blankets, formula (I plan to have some on hand just in case), and a pump, plus some prep work for the things we do have, like washing bottles and bedding, etc.  I don't have a ton of diapers either.  Actually, I need to call my friend to see if I can get my cloth diapers back, and I need to review how to wash them.  I don't actually know if I'll manage to pull that off this time around, and I do have some newborn diapers already, but only enough for a couple days.

As for Turtle and Tadpole, in addition to all the sports and extracurricular activities, they've started learning to read, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's so much fun reading with them!  I'm also volunteering in their class, and the disparity between kids is really shocking.  Some kids are almost 6 already (or just turned 6!) and are way ahead of the other kids.  Some kids clearly never went to preschool  Not to mention there are a lot of English language learners, who are even farther behind.  I feel grateful my kids learned a foreign language but know English like natives, and went to preschool, too.  And have pretty involved, encouraging parents.  I wish all kids could have that, and I feel so fortunate.

Last notes - I live in Northern California, and it is burning.  Things are looking really bad.  Today in my town it is really smoky from some huge fires, one of which has burned several towns and as of earlier today was 0% contained.  I'm sending out thoughts and prayers for the people who live in those areas, and the firefighters fighting the fires ... and I'm worried about the future if we don't get any rain again this winter.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

32 weeks and getting into the swing of fall

I was just reading my last post - things got better at school last week!  Well, things have been fine with school, but we're still working out transportation issues.  Now I ride my bike with Tadpole and Turtle manages just fine, and I stop when he needs to stop and we walk up the hill.  When I pick them up, I usually bring Tadpole's bike and we do something similar on the way home.  We spent last weekend biking to anyplace we needed to go within a reasonable distance, and while she is still having trouble starting and stopping, and can't make it up the big hill in either direction, she can pedal just fine.  So that's a relief.

I accidentally signed up to volunteer in the kids' class on Thursdays.  I thought it was just a one-time deal, but apparently not.  I still need to remember to email the teacher to follow up on my verbal clarification that I am only available for the next 6-8 weeks until the baby comes.  My first day volunteering had a shaky start, since I was just sort of thrown into the mix without a great idea of what I was doing, but I mostly figured it out by the end of the hour and it was cool to see how the classroom functioned and start figuring out how to handle so many kids with such a HUGE range of prior school experience and current ability.  There were kids who were about to turn six who could pretty much already read, and tiny little English language learners who couldn't even write their names nor understand me.  I don't know how kindergarten teachers do it!

And ... I'm officially 32 weeks today!  I've entered the realm of prenatal visits every 2 weeks, which may be a bit early because I go to group appointments and I have the earliest due date in the group, but that's ok with me.  I also need to schedule my VBAC consult with an OB for about 2 weeks from now, I guess.  I'm getting both nervous and excited about it.

I'm not really ready for the baby in many ways.  I have bought almost everything we'll need, at least that I can remember that I need from having the twins, but I haven't set anything up, mostly because it's still early and I don't want things to be in the way when we're not using them.  Since I've been storing stuff in the garage, I'm worried I'll have to wash a lot of it before I use it, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there - which is pretty soon!  I'm thinking I'll start setting up the basic necessities in about a month, give or take depending on what the OB appointment tells me about what to expect for a VBAC or repeat cesarean.  Sometimes two months or 8 weeks seems like it's still a long time away.  Sometimes it seems like it's all coming up so fast!  My ticker says 56 days, which doesn't sound like a lot.  I have all the newborn through 6 month clothes organized and put away, although I don't know if I'm going to keep my current system for where things go.  I haven't gotten my cloth diapers back from my friend who lives 1.5 hours away, and I'm not sure I'm going to use them anyway.  I don't know what else she has that I might need, and so I may need to get a few more things.

Anyway - I have so much to think about.  It turns out we'll probably be able to get our au pair here on October 23, and the baby is due November 3.  That's not even 2 weeks - I'm not sure that's wise.  On the other hand, those first few weeks with a new baby are going to be hectic as hell, and having an extra set of hands around might be a great help.  I'm also torn about who to pick as an au pair - that is SO HARD.  And unfortunately, my husband is leaving for Europe tomorrow, and won't really be able to help me with the decision.  It seems like such a personal decision, to pick someone to live in your house and care for your kids for an entire year without being able to actually meet them first.  We currently have two candidates who are on track to meet the deadline in order to arrive by October 23, and I'm struggling to decide what to do about it.

Turtle and Tadpole are getting along really well at swimming these days, and they've each had one soccer practice so far as well.  Turtle's team seems super disorganized.  Practice times were supposed to get changed, the team meeting was maybe cancelled (but maybe not?), no one seems to know what's going on.  I'm feeling a bit nervous about it - maybe I'll email the coach.  Tadpole's team is VERY organized and she will know one or two girls on the team, plus they all seem pretty sweet, so I'm feeling happy about that.  They have their first games this weekend, and hubby will be gone, so I'm anxiously waiting to see what time they'll be to see how I'll manage.  They also have a very informal violin concert (flash mob), and we didn't sign up for the fall swimming barbecue in time, so we won't be doing that.  All in all, a very busy week and weekend coming up, all without hubby.  Sigh.

Well, it's after 5am, I'm hoping I can overcome my insomnia for a few more hours' sleep.  Wish me luck, please, I haven't slept well the last two nights and I never sleep well when hubby is gone, so the next 8 days are going to be extra tough.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wednesday Friends Day

Well!  Kindergarten, biking, and extracurricular activities have gone much better this week!  Whew!  I was just rereading my posts about our troubles with biking, and things are definitely improving.  We went for a bunch of bike rides this weekend, including a longer 3.2-mile loop ride, and two rides to birthday parties, and I feel like it all went pretty well, although Tadpole didn't work on starting.

Yesterday, she rode with me on the cargo bike on the way to school, since the bridge is much steeper on our side, and then I brought her bike with me when I went to pick them up.  She biked to swimming, which is only a few minutes flat ride away, and then she biked home.  She didn't really even try to make it up the hill, but I told her we could both get off and walk up, and Turtle would wait for us at the top.  Tadpole hasn't really practiced braking too much, either, but I knew she understood the concept, so at the top of the hill, I let her get on her bike, told her several times to pedal backwards to slow her speed, and let her go while I prepared to get back on my bike.  I shouted "PEDAL BACKWARDS!!!!!" multiple times as she went down, and I could tell she wasn't doing it and she was getting wobbly and I was getting freaked out.  I may have let a swear word or two escape ... there was no way I could catch her at that point, so I said a quick prayer, told Turtle "Let's go!!!!!!", and we hopped on our bikes and took off after her.

Well, all's well that ends well.  Tadpole is my little daredevil, and seemed more excited than scared by her rapid descent.  This poor mamma almost had a heart attack, though.

And today is Wednesday Friends Day ... I'm not totally sure what that means, but I think it has something to do with the fact that all the kindergarten kids go in the morning, so the afternoon class is combined with the morning class and has twice the number of kids.  And they get a buddy from the morning class for the day?  I guess?  It was a bit rough getting everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door, but we made it with plenty of time to spare.  And since we were going in the morning, we finally had a chance to participate in the school's active kids campaign.  If you sign up, your kid gets a little scanner tag they keep on their backpack.  When you arrive in the morning, three adults (parent volunteers?) are waiting near the bike racks and scan the tags with their phones.  This sends an automatic text or email to the parent, and also records the number of trips made by each kid.  During May is Bike Month, they use it to make a contest, I think, which isn't totally fair since the afternoon kindergarteners can't do it (maybe if we stop by the office to be scanned?).  Maybe it's not fair anyway, since half the time they're riding on my cargo bike instead of pedaling themselves.  I like it for multiple reasons - when the kids start biking alone, I know they've made it, and in the meantime if a babysitter or au pair takes them, I also know not only that they made it to school but what time they arrived.  And I really like the incentive to be active.  So it's a win-win!

Speaking of an au pair, we are finally moving forward.  I asked three candidates to begin applying and one has kept in constant touch with me.  I started working on our host family application again, and have gotten it mostly finished.  Yesterday we did our home interview, and I found that if everyone moves quickly and gets all their documents done by September 17th, the au pair can come by October 22nd, which would hopefully give us 1-2 weeks before Nameless Baby arrives.  My goal is to get the au pair settled in, that she and the kids feel comfortable with each other, and that we establish at least a preliminary routine before the baby comes.  So although the one au pair who seems to have the ambition to really move forward quickly was not necessarily my first choice, I did like her and it's such a relief to have this moving along.

Oh, and we started soccer, or at least Turtle did.  I feel lucky that he ended up on a team with one of his best friends, because I can rely on the friend's parents to carpool when I have a conflict because of Tadpole.  Like next Friday, when they both have soccer practice at the same time.  And a swim meet at the same time, too!  So far, Turtle's coach seems REALLY disorganized, and not good at communicating either.  Luckily, our friend is the "parent volunteer" which apparently also means "assistant coach", and I'm counting on him not only for carpooling but also for keeping me in the loop about what is going on with practices.

I'm 31 weeks, and my next prenatal appointment is tomorrow.  I have a whole list of things to discuss with the midwife, some of which I'm not sure she'll have an answer for.  I'm still having a lot of knee problems - the worst has been when I finally made it to swimming again and tried to do breaststroke, and my knee popped so badly that I couldn't finish the workout, and was sore most of that afternoon, and again for most of the next morning.  It's fine now, and I know better, but man.  This is rough.  I'm also still having trouble sleeping.

But anyway.  That's life, and overall, life is pretty good.  I'm starting to work on real "work" right now, which is stressful as always, and I'm trying to finish up this dang coffee table I've been making, but have been not feeling very motivated to work on anymore, even though it's close to being finished.  So all that is keeping me really busy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Daily frustrations

We didn't have a great morning around here, and I've been sitting here surfing the net and eating ice cream to cheer myself up.  But I'm feeling a bit better now.

We live about .75 miles from our local elementary, and so we've been trying to bike.  The nice thing is that there are no streets the cross, except the one we live on, so it's extremely safe.  The hard thing is that there are no streets to cross because there is a pedestrian/bike bridge that is a bit hard for 5-year-olds to get up on their bikes.  Yesterday, Tadpole came with me on my cargo bike and Turtle rode his own bike, and had to get off and walk.  When hubby's with us, he can give Turtle a big push and that gets him enough momentum to finish the climb, but I can't do that, especially when I'm balancing the cargo bike with Tadpole on it.  Turtle was really upset and cried for a bit, but then he made it to the top, stopped crying, and off we went.

Today, though, man.  I made the kids practice violin  Turtle is really good at it, he has the right personality.  There is a lot involved in playing the violin - how you hold the bow, where you place it on the strings, how you move your bow arm (bend at the elbow, not the shoulder), how you hold the neck of the violin, where you place your fingers on the fingerboard, keeping your wrist straight, etc. Turtle has a ton of focus, can keep track of all those things at once, and can anticipate the notes and prepare his fingers to play them.  We whiz through practice together, and he makes me proud.

Tadpole, not so much.  She's constantly distracted.  When I fix one thing, something else falls apart.  She has a great ear, much better than Turtle's, but can't really translate it into the physical mechanics of playing the violin.  She's falling farther and farther behind him during their lessons, and practice is a torture for both of us.  Turtle gets through more material in 15 minutes than Tadpole does in 45, and 45 minutes is way too long for her to focus.  I have a hard time knowing when to call it quits, and trying to end on a positive note, though. Today was no exception - I was annoyed, frustrated, and starting to take it out on her.  Honestly, I would let her quit, but she has to go along to the lessons anyway, at this point, so it seems worthwhile for her to at least get a basis in music while she's there.  If/when we get an au pair, I may look for other options for her.  She would love voice and dance lessons, so I will eventually look into that.

Anyway.  Violin practice took most of the morning, and I barely had time to heat up leftovers for lunch.  Turtle decided at the last minute to wear his new sneakers, and he can't get them on by himself, so I needed to help him.  We ended up leaving barely on time.  I put Tadpole's balance bike on the cargo bike, and we rode to the top of our bike bridge, and I took it off for her to ride down.  Balance bikes don't have brakes (or at least ours doesn't), so she tends to take even the downhills slowly.  I tried to split the difference, not letting Turtle get too far ahead while trying to wait for Tadpole, but she wasn't happy to be so far behind.  By the time we got to school, she was crying because I hadn't waited for her, even though she was close behind me most of the way.  She cried for the first 10 minutes of class, while I sat with her outside, trying to calm her down.

The problem is, once Tadpole gets going, it's hard to get her to stop.  I try to get her to take deep breaths, I explain that the bike path is too narrow for us to all ride side by side, I tried to cheer her up by telling her about the kindergarten ice cream social tonight, anything I could think of, but she wouldn't stop crying, and I was feeling desperate because we could see all the students inside starting their hello song and I didn't know what to do.  I finally got her to at least stop crying, although she was looking pretty pouty still, and I sent her in to join the class.  I knew she'd snap out of it quickly, once she got over it, and I suspected that my trying to calm her down was really having the opposite effect that I wanted.  I'm sure she'll be cheerful when I pick her up, but I'm feeling bad about the whole morning.  I'm planning to drive to pick them up, I can't take another bike ride today.  We've decided we'll go on a family bike ride this weekend and try to get her more comfortable on her real bike.

In the meantime, I've got less than an hour to go, and a TON of work to do, so it's time for me to stop feeling bad, start planning for better mornings, and get on with my day.

Just a note, though - I like 5 half days better than 3 full days of school, for sure, although it's not a ton of time to get anything done.