Pregnancy Week 12: Time Flies

Today wraps up the last day of my first trimester (I think… it’s not always clear when one ends and the next begins, but I’m counting it.) The theme this week has been the breakneck pace at which life moves.

I’ve already mentioned how much quicker it feels like this pregnancy is going. In some ways I’m much, much busier, but in other ways I have fewer distractions because I’m alone with my thoughts so much more than I used to be when I was surrounded by colleagues and projects all day. Or maybe it feels like it’s going quicker because I already have someone on the outside reminding me daily just how fleeting babyhood is.

I woke whimpering from a dream one night this week. I know it’s usually boring to hear about other people’s dreams, but I think this one pretty perfectly sums up how I’m feeling right now:

In the dream, I was standing and holding The Toddler in my arms, telling him how big he was getting.

I whispered in his ear, “Someday, you’re going to be so tall you’ll be able to hug me like this with your feet on the ground.” He giggled with the delight, that heart-shatteringly sweet giggle that toddlers have.

With this, I released him to put him down, only to find that in that moment he had grown tall enough to hug me with his feet on the ground. In an instant he had become a full grown man, and I looked down at my hands, wrinkled and older, and up into his face. I had somehow missed all the moments in between.

He was beautiful and smiling but I began to cry in confusion and sadness and woke up gasping for breath.

Blame it on pregnancy hormones, but this dream has stuck with me all week, feeling like a lump in my throat. It’s been a trying week in many ways (I’ll spare you the detailed complaints about sleep for the thousandth time, but it’s making me wonder 18-month sleep regression? and Google “Dealing with breastfeeding aversion in pregnancy” and throw silent tantrums), but that dream has been reminding me to take a breath and try to, if not remember forever, at least be fully present for the sweet moments we have.

The Toddler is picking up new words every day and wearing them around like a new pair of shoes: Mama, Dada, Lou (our dog), big, bye, hello, nest, car, truck, bubbles, bottle, cheese. (Along with a slew of animal- and vehicle-related onomatopoeia.)

He is climbing into our rocking chair and looking at books by himself, helping put kitchen towels and clean spoons away. Choosing (and lifting!) big bags of cat food and putting them in our basket at the pet store. Watching frogs in the pond and offering clover to the chickens. Listening for distant planes and seeking them out in the sky. Turning everything into a train and lining it up on invisible tracks. Watching the pair of house finches outside our kitchen door feed their babies and pointing, “A nest!” He is curious and exuberant and nurturing and wild and so, so big.

I know I will love our second baby with my whole heart just like I love him, and I cannot wait for them to meet each other, but I also feel like I need to hold onto every second I have in the next six months while it’s just us. I don’t want to lose focus and find when I step back that I’ve somehow missed out on this short, precious time.

Today is also my seventh wedding anniversary. I won’t get too mushy here (I think I’ve probably used up my weekly allotment above), but I must say I feel pretty damned lucky to have found the person who wraps me in his arms when I wake up from a nightmare, jumps into every new adventure with both feet, is absolutely worthy of his son’s hero worship, and lets me talk him into scrapping our semi-fancy anniversary dinner plans to get burritos in our old neighborhood because it’s all I can think about eating.

Pregnancy Week 12: Time Flies

Parenting with your best friend

Happy Cuatro de Mayo, everyone!

What, you don’t celebrate Cuatro de Mayo?

Of course you don’t. Because it’s my holiday. Mine and The Husband’s.

It’s the anniversary of our first date in 2007, and we’ve been celebrating it instead of Valentine’s Day ever since. (I highly recommend this if you’re sick of Valentine’s Day. Replace it with a significant date of your own and celebrate that instead.)

tbt-the early days
Here’s a picture from about a month into dating. We were so young!

We met at Ohio University my freshman year, but it wasn’t until late in my junior year that the stars aligned and we started dating. Our first “date” was, as most things are at OU, a happy hour followed by a long night of shuffling up and down Court Street with friends. But we found ourselves holding hands the third or fourth bar in, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Nine years covers a lot of ground. We’ve certainly had the opportunity to play out much of our wedding vows — better and worse, in sickness and in health… We probably won’t ever be rich, and we were never really poor, but we lived through the Great Recession together on rice and beans, and we just made a few bucks on a house, allowing me to stay at home with The Baby for a little while, so I’m  not complaining.

Parenting, of course, is an entirely new frontier in this relationship, and that uncharted territory was something that really scared us away from having kids any sooner than we did. All the horror stories of fighting and affairs and messy divorces after having children made us wonder how becoming parents would change us — not just individually, but Us, us. We wondered if the glue was strong enough.

Four months in, here’s how parenting has changed us: We spend more time apart.

This has been difficult, because we really like each other.

From grocery shopping to visiting each other’s families to just hanging out when we have free time, we’ve always been (probably obnoxiously) attached to each other. Now that we have a baby, this isn’t so easy. We no longer go to bed at the same time. It’s usually The Baby and me doing the week’s grocery shopping. And if we’re visiting friends or family, one of us (often me, since The Baby is still breastfeeding and I’m lazy about pumping) has to get the baby to nap. So even though there are more of us in the family now, I am finding that solitude is a part of new motherhood that takes some adjusting to, and I’m sure The Dad feels the same way on his new, longer commutes or as he does chores alone as I put the baby to bed.

And yet, when we do have time together, with or without the baby, it’s still time with my best friend.

I was reminded of this yesterday when the three of us were lying on the nursery floor, The Husband and I playing a new game we made up called Mad Lib Story Time: One of us narrates the story but leaves blank spaces for the other to fill in with utter nonsense.

[I’m sure this won’t be funny in writing, but to give you a sense of how to play…

Me, holding lion rattle: This is a lion. His name is…

TH: Andy

Me: He works at a…

TH: Dairy store.

Me. Dairy store? Like a store that just sells dairy? Is it retail?

TH: It is a fill-your-own dairy store.

Me: All day long at the Dairy Store, Andy…

TH: Makes sure the bottles are filled to the very top.

Me: Andy’s favorite kind of milk is…

TH: Five percent.

You get the idea. Go be ridiculous with your baby.]

The Husband had me laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

Minus the baby, this is just about exactly how our friendship started so many years ago – uncontrollable laughter and an indescribable connection.

I know it’s still really early days in our lives of parenthood, but I’m no longer worried that the glue of our relationship will be weakened by it. Because for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, covered in spit up and drowning in laughter, we’ve got a good thing going.

 

Parenting with your best friend