Monday, February 4, 2008

highs and lows in motherhood

The past few days have been filled with highs and lows in motherhood. Let's start with a high. Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for church, I was plucking the clips from my hair, allowing my curls to tumble down. Donovan walked in while I was doing this and stopped with his mouth hanging open. "Mom. Mom. Mom. You yook BOO-tiful!" This totally took me off guard and I laughed that laugh that explodes out of you when something totally surprises and thrills you at the same time. I squeaked out, "Oh THANK YOU Donovan!" And I guess my squeak sounded emotional because then he wanted to know if I was going to cry. This is one of those rare instances where no, I didn't start crying.

But I could have. That was a really wonderful thing to say. It's like he knew that lately I've been lamenting some of the changes my body has been going through. This began the other night as I got up to go to the bathroom one of the 37 times each night. This time I must have been more lucid as I walked back to my bed because I suddenly clued into a strange "swish swish" I was hearing. And the a cold wave of horror washed over me as I realized it was the sound of my thighs rubbing together as I walked. And so there I lay in bed, trying to get comfortable with pillows in back of me and between my knees, grateful that after 8 tums in the last hour my heartburn had relaxed, but unable to sleep because MY THIGHS.

Now, overall I'd say my body is built for pregnancy. Really, on the whole it's very enjoyable. I love feeling the baby squirm and wiggle. I love watching as my belly distends further out. I love the anticipation of a new person. I even love envisioning labor (please not, my actual perceptions of labor while in the throes are very different). I do NOT love watching my rear-end try to compete with my belly. Or the ridiculous gas that has seemed to plague me. And I know that I'm not one of those people who can wear the same pair of pants before, during and right after pregnancy. I know that. And I'm really ok with that. And yet, when swishing jolts you out of a semi-sleep state...well, it's just unsettling.

What IS settling is that this morning, for the first time in...ever, Ainsleigh got up and made her bed without me asking her to. Yeah, big deal, right? WRONG. Oh heavens, the DRAMA that goes on in the morning before school revolving around her not wanting to make her bed is ridiculous. What is it with 5 year olds and the need to tell them 82 times to do something before they actually think, "Hey, mom seems frustrated. Should I still be sitting here playing? Or is she telling me to do something? I'll sit here and play a little longer and see if I can think of something else to do." But this morning she DID. And it was the greatest way to start our day. She said she would do it every morning now, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm just going to remember that she did it THIS morning.

So tonight we were having our little family meeting and we were talking about what we liked best about today. Ainsleigh talked about who she ate her snack with and Donovan talked about the mask he made at Tyson's house. I talked about how Ainsleigh made her bed and Donovan took a good nap. And then Ainsleigh amended that her OTHER favorite part of the day was when "Mommy smiled at me because she was happy." Now, of course I know that she meant when I walked into her room and hooted and clapped, but it sounded funny. Because, you know, smiling and being happy are in short supply around here.

One thing I was NOT smiling about was Sunday morning. See, I've been working on the kids and we have a system. Saturday morning they can come downstairs and turn on the tv. I leave out bags of cheerios and fruit snacks and they can get their cups of milk from the fridge. This is all part of my grand and selfish (and honest!) plan to get an extra hour of sleep. Who wants to wake up before 7 on Saturday? I mean besides Donovan? I mean really. So I have the tv set up to an appropriate channel and hope that Donovan is entertained (Ainsleigh always is).

So SUNDAY morning I wake up, groggily, at about 6:45 and begin to realize that the tv is on downstairs. The kids went down and turned on the tv? Wait, what is on tv right now? Oh CRAP. I bolt out of bed because I have no idea what channel it was on last night. But I'm pretty sure I wasn't watching Bob the Builder the night before (A Daily Show from Comedy Central? The Soup from E?). As I'm gingerly high-stepping down the stairs (as one does when trying to hurry, but not sound like the elephant they are), I can tell it's some type of infomercial. Ok - fine, but for what? Oh my gosh, it gets SOOOOO much worse, people. I walk into the family room and ask, "What are you watching?" while Donovan asks where the snacks are. Ainsleigh has a confused and annoyed look on her face, "I don't know! What IS this?" And then I turn to the tv.

HORRORS. The HORROR! I don't know the name of the drug, but it's for something to do with MALE ENHANCEMENT (and those stupid Google ads on the side are going to be advertising them now. Super. I'm one of THOSE blogs). There are just couple after couple, smiling broadly, beaming at each other, talking about the "big" improvements in their lives and how things are MUCH better and with that I dove for the remote and changed the channel to anything but that. And you want to know the kicker? My kids don't know how to operate the remote, so I'm pretty sure it was on for like 10 minutes. Thank goodness those commercials are so dang vague. Just a lot of unexplained improvement and joy. And that is my confession of a horrible neglectful mother for the year. And do I keep that to myself? No - I'm sharing it with you. So you can pat yourself on your back and know that at least you haven't sunk THIS low.

Suffice it to say, I'm reassessing my morning game plan. Like, I'm going to have a season pass on tivo for 6am on PBS. I'd rather they watch that guy with the afro who shows you how to paint all manner of trees and lakes. Because I figure I've got about 3.5 months of potential sleep-in Saturdays (and by sleep-in, we're talking 7:45 here) before it's all shot.

Ugh, am I ending with THAT story? Come on - I've got to think of something positive to end on. Well, I'll just say that despite my less than stellar moments, the last few days (today especially) has just really made me happy to be a mom. No, to be THEIR mom. Donovan is such a wild and sweet boy. One moment he'll be shaking his tightie-whities at me, closing his eyes tight and swinging his head back and forth while wrinkling his nose and singing, "La la LAAAAA!" at the top of his lungs, and the next as I'm helping him step into his pants, he will whisper in my ear, "I wuv you sho much, mommy." When Ainsleigh and I are on the same wavelength, it's just incredibly fun. I look at her writing in her journal or drawing a picture, with that serious look of concentration on her face, all while mismatched stickers are stuck to her ears, her lower lip sticking out, her hair wisping about her face, quietly humming a song, and I just want to pick her up and squeeze her. Instead, I whisper that I love her and as her eyelashes flutter up and a grin spreads across her face in recognition, she gives me that look that says she loves me too and that we'll always be friends. I look forward to what this new baby will bring to our family. I think it will be another huge improvement, but I'm not about to run an informercial for it.