A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Catastrophic Atrocities and the End of the World as We Know It!

A typical morning in the life of experiencing a toddler with the number of personalities that would make Sybil cower in shame.  My little man is very sweet and loving so much of the time, but then there are moments, and they are moments, peppered throughout the day when all happiness grinds to a halt and ruination overcomes his beautiful face.

This morning he ate breakfast as he normally does…simultaneously shoving multiple chunks of strawberries in his mouth and grinning at me while making it rain cereal all over the floor.  He eats what he eats and scampers off to play.  I want to hurry us out the door, so the cereal explosion will wait until later.  I bide my time until he is distracted before clearing his breakfast plate, but it seldom works.  Mr. Man glances up and spies me covering the plate of remaining strawberries he proclaimed he no longer wants, as well as restoring his milk cup to the fridge.  Well, apparently what actually happened is I kicked a puppy and urinated on a kitten because a screaming blur of two-year-old runs at me, tugging my shirt and pleading with me.  If he had the vocabulary I’m sure he would be making the case that the milk should spoil and I should leave the pieces of strawberries on the table to turn into potpourri.  But, it isn’t just that he is upset with my actions that is always astounding, but the instantaneous waterworks and abhorrence expressed so acutely on his face.  If I returned the warming milk and fruit to the table, his devastation would immediately lift.  Mind you, he wouldn’t return to the table to eat the food he fought so nobly to protect; he would resume his play that consisted of launching all of his toys across the rug as though he were an Athenian Olympian.

Over the course of an hour while I prepared snacks and such for our outing, my son intermittently played independently among sudden, more enduring tantrums that included launching plush and paper-based toys into our kitchen sink until I gave him the stink-eye stare down that I can’t believe worked, or him pulling on whatever appendage that was convenient before passionately slamming child proofed cabinets and attempting to dislodge the oven door from its frame.  I’m not daft; I understand this behavior was prompted by justifiable grievances…like not allowing him to gnaw on the random cords in our pantry or suckle the assortment of brooms we have hanging in the very same closet.  I completely understand that I’m a terrible, terrible Mommy for not permitting him to horde the glass jar of gefilte fish that we have no choice but to house on a refrigerator shelf he can easily reach.  Even more evil is that I won’t hold him at that very moment because I’ve learned that his true desire is to scout the top of the island for stuff he can pull down, forcing me to lumber after him pregnant or not.

But, alas, he is a toddler.  When I sit down for a moment he’ll cuddle me or try to cover my feet in my favorite soft, fuzzy socks.  He loves little more than endless renditions of his current Dr. Seuss favorite or burrowing in the blanket I’m crocheting for his sister.  It’s in those moments that I’ll happily oblige him…until I realize he’s soiled his diaper.  During those very instances he perceives I’ve come to such a conclusion and dashes off in mischievous giggles, and the chase is on.

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Tenacity and Grit

I haven’t provided an update of sorts specifically regarding my Gestational Diabetes progress for a bit, so perhaps now is a good time while my son tinkers at my feet in his fleece dinosaur jammies with a badly brutalized old USB cable, mouse, and an eclectic assortment of random toy bric-a-brac.  I figure I can launch into a few sentences until he decides to duel with the diaper bin; my son’s last call announcement to his ability to sustain play independently.

My fasting levels had been borderline almost from the get-go, but given that almost all of my after meal levels have been golden…and I vomited in the nurse’s trashcan over a miniscule needle the first visit…the clinic personnel were willing to let it ride as long as possible before I start injecting insulin before bed.  I made it longer than I thought, a whole two weeks before altering my bedtime routine to include this newest pleasure.

Last week was my first week taking insulin.  I developed a certain process with the various sticks, having the nurse do it first in the office a couple of times before I venture on my own.  Mind you, I’m well aware my needle phobia has nothing to do with the acknowledgment of actual pain; it’s completely irrational, but that doesn’t matter.

Fast forward to my first night thirty minutes before going to sleep as directed.  I begin the process of situating everything.  I have the trusty injection pen, which I had been assuming would be a blunt end that I hold to my leg, and simply push a button to receive my insulin dose.  It isn’t, as I’m attempting to control a wave of panic examining the device, I realize that I will be, in fact, injecting myself…sans blunt end…sans magical button…  But, I did it…incorrectly…but, I did it nonetheless.  It bled…a lot.  I forgot to count, needle still imbedded in my thigh when adrenaline set-in and my hands began to shake.  The needle bent, but the full insulin amount managed to make its journey.  It didn’t hurt.  I began sobbing, laying on the bed, violently shaking.

I was fine; I told my husband as much.  It was just adrenaline, and the remaining week had little drama to the general festivities.  Sure, there was the night that I didn’t check the gage to see if the full insulin amount was through…It wasn’t.  I had to stick myself again.  And, there was last night with a perfect stick that had no feeling whatsoever to only realize I forgot to actually turn the dial for the proper insulin amount.  Had to stick myself a second time once again.  Oddly, the insulin is a more pleasant experience than the glucose monitoring.

Then there are the other pieces of this diagnosis that I’ve had to come to terms with throughout this, surprisingly, short time span.  With insulin means more appointments…many more.  Appointments I cannot bring my son as chaperone.  My husband and I worked it out as I knew from the moment I was told, but it’s all so overwhelming and I am very pregnant, so any difficult news becomes absurdly catastrophic.

My diet is draining, and contrary to what the internet consistently indicates, maintaining a “healthy diet” is maybe ten percent of managing my food intake and glucose levels.  It continues to be more thought than I’d like incorporated into every eating experience, and I’m tired of eating nuts four times a day, and with all the cheese I eat as a safe, virtually carb free protein, I may never poop again.  It isn’t about forgoing my precious chocolate, which I have.  There are surprising, healthy things I cannot eat or have to limit significantly.  The amount of food I can eat is greatly reduced from any other point in my life, so I’m almost always hungry with little I can do about it.  Now I’m at the peak of my insulin resistance, which restricts my food variety and amount all the more.  Sometimes it bothers me more than others.  To reframe the situation into a slight glimmer that I will appreciate after my daughter is born, I am on track to only gain twenty-five pounds from this pregnancy.  Six weeks ago the likely target was thirty-five.  I’m told this is what happens with Gestational Diabetes.

Sunday night, however, I completely failed at this diet thing for the first time since this whole business started, and I loved every minute of it…when I wasn’t torturing myself with guilt for my weakness.  It was a two-year-old’s birthday party, and, I have to say, I don’t know the last time I had such exquisite gluten free, organic chicken nuggets…Yes, there is such a thing.  I don’t know what was in them.  I didn’t care, as they complimented the two (albeit small) slices of pizza and sliver of cake I scarfed just before…It took every part of me not to weep in the process…Oddly, my glucose level was twenty points lower than when I ate a can of chickpeas…

So, I’m thirty-four weeks pregnant today, and another week closer to my tenet vacating the premises.  I have my first ultrasound in ten weeks in a matter of days.  This practice gives me 3D images, so I’ve actually been able to see my beautiful baby girl all along; I’m told from here the pictures will accurately reflect her appearance at birth.  Moving forward this will be the first of many, many ultrasounds and non stress tests I’ll have until she is born.  But, I have a feeling there will be tears this first time even if I see her and don’t feel this experience is worth it just yet.

 

The Buddy System

My husband and I were talking last night about how we became accustomed to the fairly profound change of having a young child; well, I was speaking of the transformation.  My husband was partially lamenting about not having time for himself any longer once he enters our homestead.  A part of me shares that lament, but I’ve been at home with my soon-to-be two-year-old so long that much of the independence I gave up is a very distant memory.  I also have the benefit of the end of my second pregnancy to haze any productive use of my nostalgia.

It isn’t so much that my husband was complaining; most of the facets of our son’s loud plod through his life are things he loves and embraces, giving purpose and unique happiness to his existence.  But, there is the constancy of care and attention that can drain as much as it bolsters.

As I mentioned, I’m used to it.  There are very few moments that are solely my own.  Sure, I have the daily nap time…assuming my kid doesn’t decide to take Mommy’s bad day and increase it ten-fold by forfeiting this one meager break that cascades into an avalanche of awesomeness until it is late enough to bid him goodnight.  But, when all goes as “planned,” I amaze myself with how much my life’s changed, and how little I think back to the way it was.  This was not the case during the first year.  Maybe I’ve finally found myself along the way, or at least enough of myself to feel comfortable with uncertainty.

While I most definitely appreciate my Saturday free time, it occurred to me during the conversation that my Saturdays don’t hold the same desperation they did in the beginning.  I find myself not having the dramatic personality transformation after that single extended break.

The Warrior Queen may be born in as little as three weeks, and I wonder what it will be like, aside from the predictable sleep deprivation and all the spousal and life hatred that brings.  Little Man was my first for so many things, but my daughter will be my first with me as a person as well as Mommy.

Six Strategies for Surviving Gestational Diabetes

Regardless of the number of pregnancies experienced, a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes can be devastating to even the most level-headed mother. Every woman experiences the impact of the news and intervention differently, but all emotions are valid and reasonable.  Gestational Diabetes is serious business, and it can take several weeks to accept, and even more time to feel relatively comfortable with the entire process.  Below are some tips I accrued so far through my process, and may you read them and be saved some of the heartache I experienced:

  • Utilize people’s support effectively.

Immediately upon informing friends and loved ones about your diagnosis, plan to be bombarded with unsolicited advice and commentary ranging from, “It isn’t so bad,” to “It is temporary/will be over soon.” After minimizing the diagnosis, your support will expect you to listen attentively as they provide dietary insight or the experience of random people with the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes.  All information obviously useful and helpful, so as you soak in all minutiae offered, sit in front of your computer and shop online for the hottest maternity trends you can find to fit you in the sunset of your pregnancy.  It’s best to open another window for mortgage applications because a maternity shirt does not come cheap.

  • Be well informed before your first appointment.

Blood glucose monitoring is paramount in helping you manage your diabetes. If any needle gives you a greenish hue, spend a few moments before your first appointment online researching medical ailments that will provide a reasonable alternative to anxiety as rationale for you vomiting in the nurse’s trashcan before you are about to puncture yourself for the first time.  The same ailment could prove helpful if you will need to inject insulin for unruly levels not managed by diet.

  • Try new foods.

Be prepared to eat copious amounts of nuts and cheese, and what better time to throw caution to the wind than during pregnancy. Peruse your grocery nut collection for your preferred assortment or choose something you’re not sure exists in the natural world.  The same can be said for store cheese selections.  At this point you likely lost track of the last time you had a successful bowel movement, so the increase of cheese array shouldn’t make much of a difference.

  • Focus on the positive.

Some may view the Gestational Diabetes diet as restrictive, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. What better time is there to creepily stalk all grocery bakeries and candy aisles, looking lovingly at your favorite treats?  But, pregnancy is the time for indulgence, so go ahead and enter the expensive candy store and hover close enough to lick and drool over the case or fancy chocolate packages.  All of these actions are preparation for planning the first meal on which you will gorge yourself once your system returns to normal after birth.  After all, don’t they tell you to ready food for the initial overwhelming and exhausting first days of parenthood?  The more thorough your meal plans in the beginning, the more relaxed you can be adjusting to your new normal.

  • Occupy young children.

Invariably your toddler or small child will act like a clown only when you are attempting to check your sugar level. Hand the precious darling a full box of tissues for the child to destroy; with that you bought yourself a good five minutes or so to puncture yourself seven times because the process evidently is more complicated than the clinic nurse indicated.

  •  Learn a new language.

Many women require insulin to manage their Gestational Diabetes, which is always a pleasant addition to glucose monitoring four times a day. Small children are sponges, and every profane word that escapes your lips as you muster the strength to stab your appendages guarantees that your children will repeat everything with remarkable accuracy.  With all of your free time and energy, generate a list of obscure curse words from languages you’ve never heard of.  The likelihood of running into someone in public familiar with the language is miniscule, and you will look like a cultured mother fully committed to your children’s enrichment.

As a final thought, I am full-term in a little over a month, and I’ve concluded that my placenta is a complete tool, and I absolutely despise it for pushing me into this situation. Like my glucose levels, my emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes I am not sure how I will make it through until the end, but I’m too exhausted to think beyond that hopeless rut much of the time until the wave passes.  I don’t have a solution; I only am able to manage moment to moment until random relief is offered.  I feel alone between managing my diabetes and balancing the tail end of my pregnancy, staying home with my toddler, and my other obligations.  The only helpful aspect of this situation is having a friend who recently experienced this with both children.  The entirety of this experience is still draining and frustrating, but hearing tales from someone else means that there is the remote possibility that I am not overreacting, and perhaps the end will eventually come.

Pregnancy Woe, Whoa, Woooa…

There was a certain excitement when I first started showing with both pregnancies, but second time around I started showing very early, at five weeks.  Sadly it probably looked more like gas, but I didn’t want to admit it at the time.  By second trimester, I was looking…large, but that’s okay because it isn’t a problem to look pregnant when you actually are pregnant.  If you’re not, then it is heartbreaking, but not enough to put the chocolate cake down.  Yeah, that happened, but it’s a post for another time.

Pregnancy is funny that way; I will have the same girth for weeks, but then my fetus eats another fetus or something because I’ll suddenly look at myself and there is definitely more of me.  This REALLY started happening at the end of my second trimester.  I periodically issued commentary to my wonderfully honest husband akin to, “It’s probably my imagination, but I could swear I suddenly look bigger.”  That would be his cue to look up from whatever free physics-based computer game he was playing, and blandly glance at me with the statement, “No, it’s not.  You’re bigger.”  Then he would return to his game, and I would have confirmation that I’m not crazy…at least not on this issue.

Well, I’m about thirty-three weeks now.  My last ultrasound almost ten weeks ago had the Warrior Queen in the eighty-first percentile…clearly not my side of the family.  My doctor measured my bump recently mentioning that I’m carrying large; none of this shocking.  And, it wasn’t shocking when I ran into a friend of my husband’s while voting in our primary who asked if I was sure there is only one in there.  Sounds insulting, right?  It isn’t.  I look hot, but it takes twenty minutes to see me after my belly arrives on scene…

Two days ago was another one of those, “I could swear,” moments.  I look absolutely enormous.  My husband kindly said that our daughter will be in another time zone soon, and I have to agree.  I am four weeks from full-term, and at this rate I’ll be giving birth to a beautiful bouncing baby teenager…who ate Godzilla…and Tokyo.

 

Near-Fetal Attraction

Shocking, we spent the morning and early afternoon at our favorite indoor play spot…  There is a funny crowd consistency I’ve noticed over the last couple of visits.  It is nearly empty the first hour they are open, but immediately becomes jammed with kids until about eleven-thirty.  Then the place is delightfully empty once again.  It was after my twenty-two-month-old son’s Hobbit-like second lunch at almost noon when he saw her…

I think she is a college student who clearly loves her job and children’s festivities.  She was behind a closed door in the structured program room preparing or cleaning something, when I see my little man climb on a chair outside, and creepily attempt to leer through the window.  I assumed there was something fancy happening in there that captured his attention…like a fan…or some lights…clearly Harvard awaits…

The young woman emerges and on long legs crosses to the front desk in what would take me an embarrassing amount of more steps to cover.  Little Man takes off after her, gripping the gate that prevents little person access to the employee section and just stares.  Eventually, she notices and bends down to talk to my future awkward middle schooler; my son chuckling in her undivided attention.  Bless her, she came out to play with him.

I knew we needed to leave, but Mr. Macho Man was enthralled, showing the woman the various toy attractions he appreciates.  He even kind of danced for her, something very few see at this point, and for good reason.  It resembles a bouncing epileptic chicken, but he’s almost two, so it’s still cute.  My suspicion is that his signature moves will not progress beyond what we are seeing now, and I only hope it is not captured on uTube next to the Elaine segment when he can no longer claim that his motor skills have not fully developed.  My son was a bit shy about fully busting a move like he does at home.  Sure, he was giggling almost uncontrollably, but he was a bit too embarrassed to fully commit to what my husband and I see many evenings without much cajoling.

Little Man was riveted by her regard for thirty minutes; following her around everywhere she embarked.  Part of me was simply enjoying the spectacle, but then this dark thought crossed my mind.  Sure, I’m not savvy enough to unblock our television’s porn channels, but I don’t feel confident that my son hasn’t managed at this point, and has a grand scheme after my husband and I are long asleep.  Perhaps this is the root of his speech delay, and he eventually will become known to all around him as “Lips McGee,” the man who knows how to keep his mouth shut…

The Pied Blanket

I’ve been knitting on and off since I was a child, but it really took root when we moved into our house almost ten years ago.  I make all kinds of things, but with my young son marking his territory with an array of toys that are painful to step on and stealing all my stuff I turn my back on for a nanosecond, knitting is impractical.  I think I foresaw this issue while pregnant because while my son was brewing, I checked learning to crochet from my bucket list.

For my son I crocheted a couple of toys and knitted an assortment of regular and full leg socks.  It took months to decide on a project I could manage for my daughter, but a crocheted blanket became the default choice.  My husband has been hounding me for years to get rid of the bin of random yarn in an upstairs closet, so it’s really a win-win.

The blanket is full-size.  I’m not really into expending effort for something that she will outgrow before she stops pooping that horrible tar stuff that refuses to yield to any of the thirty wipes used.  I have to say that it’s fairly long at this point, and quite attractive.  I work on it during nap times and when my son and I visit the play palace extravaganza, which is mostly two to three hours of my son actually leaving me alone for large chunks of time.  The same, however, cannot be said for the random children who feel a gravitational pull toward my project.

Sure, there are the gawkers who I invite to touch it, and the others who ask questions about haphazard specifics.  That’s expected; it’s a substantial collection of multicolored yarn at this point and these interactions are akin to adult commentary I receive.

Last week I thought was an anomaly.  Mr. Man was off braving the smaller slide when a little boy around his age, but likely younger crawls onto my lap and begins snuggling into the blanket by the fistfuls.  Burrowing his head like a nesting cat, he kept at it for a couple of minutes before his small Russian bubbe hurries over and apologizes profusely.  I’m pretty sure they were apologetic statements, but seeing as she was speaking in Russian she may have been telling me about her bunions without making eye contact.  That night I laughed and relayed the story to my husband, filing the story in the back of my mind under random and bizarre occurrences.

Yesterday, a boy likely a few months over a year old, but walking well, shuffled over to me until he was standing just against my left knee.  He grabs a handful of my daughter’s blanket and rests his head on my lap.  After a moment he looks up to me with wide eyes and begins a rather robust exchange of peek-a-boo, using the blanket as the lead prop of the game.  It carried on so long that I needed to abruptly look away to ensure my son hadn’t killed himself.  Satisfied after spotting him attempting to engage with a peer without incident, I look down and this wee little one is looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to resume the game.  Eventually, his mother walked over.

For months Little Man consistently approaches the foot of the shelf where I house his sister’s blanket, determined pointer insisting I pull it down for a few minutes of diligent work.  My son seems to understand it isn’t for him, but enjoys spending a few minutes on the sofa with me curled in the assorted stitched yarn and pulling at the loose ends that will vanish upon the blanket’s completion.  I always assumed the love of this blanket was exclusive to him.  But, taking my work with me while he plays makes me wonder if there isn’t a bit of a magical quality to this specific project.  I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, but I hope to have years seeing its quality unfold.

 

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