Now that I am taking medication for the crippling nausea, I am able to get through my days so much more productively than I was for almost the entire first two months of this pregnancy. I am still very exhausted most of the time, but a cup of tea, or a dose of sunshine have been helping me out there.
It isn’t quite Spring yet in this neck of the woods, but more of the snow is melting away* each day with the temperatures being up into the 30′s and even 40′s. Changing the clocks ahead may have robbed us of an hour of sleep for one night, but for me, it means an increase in hours of sunshine, which also increases my energy. The timing of seasonal change along with my transition from first trimester into second is perfect and much appreciated.
So now I turn my focus from just surviving each day to improving my environment at home. Almost two months of being behind on the chores (for someone who is not exactly the word’s best housekeeper to begin with), has been making me twitchy for some deep cleaning and organizing. I started the other day, at one end of the house-the kitchen, working my way around, really cleaning everything: pulling things out and wiping and dusting behind them, clearing surfaces, working to finally find a place for everything (something I have not done since moving in).
It feels good to see a completely clear kitchen counter, or toys put neatly into a basket where they belong. Completely reorganizing everything is going to take time, especially when I get tired so easily right now, but it is making me feel good. Instead of looking around me and seeing clutter that stresses me out, I am seeing our new home transform into the place I have always wanted it to become.
*A snowstorm of 10-16 inches is predicted for this week. Winter has not had its final say.
A couple of days ago, I announced to my friends, family, and acquaintances something big: I am pregnant with our second child. This has been a very difficult secret for me to keep, not just because it is life-changing, but because have been feeling so incredibly sick for the past two months. I have wanted to complain to everyone I know, or at least to explain why I haven’t been quite my usual self.
My pregnancy with Simon was so much different. I did have morning sickness, but it would last a short time, and go away once I ate something. I believe I only actually threw up twice, the whole pregnancy. This time around I am vomiting daily or multiple times a day, and feeling overwhelmingly nauseous all. of. the. time. I can’t eat, and I cannot go near anything that might set me off: a dirty dish in the sink, the smell of what is cooking for dinner, the deli at the supermarket. Sometimes, even just walking up the stairs makes me gag and heave, for whatever reason.
I have tried all of the remedies they suggest. Ginger, staying hydrated, eating all day long so my stomach won’t get too empty, taking vitamin B6. None of it helped. After a bout of vomiting yesterday that was particularly long and painful, I started sobbing, and told Jeramy that I didn’t even want to be pregnant anymore. I didn’t mean it, but that was the point of frustration I was at in that moment.
So, today I called and asked for a prescription anti-nausea medication. I have had several friends chime in and tell me they did the same thing when they were pregnant, and that it was the only thing that worked for them. I took it for the first time this afternoon, and so far so good. I am hoping this will be a turning point for me. I am ready to start being excited about this new family member on the way. To start looking longingly at onesies, and picking out a paint color for the nursery. To feel up for some prenatal yoga, or going for a walk to keep this changing body in shape. To actually be able to cook dinner, or to play with Simon for more than 5 minutes before the next bout of sickness hits.
I know this is an atypical pregnancy announcement post. But this is where I’m at right now. I think it is about to get better though.
This part of Winter has been rough for me. I have frequently felt sick, we have had loads of snow and ice, and things feel a bit stale. I find myself repeating: “One day at a time.” as a reminder that it will get warmer, I will feel better, and routines will change again.
Sometimes I forget to appreciate Winter for what it can be. If I let it, it can be an opportunity for connection. We are forced inside, we spend more time together in close proximity. Sometimes, we take turns caring for one another when we catch colds or illness. We learn to seize upon the days when the sky is blue, and the temperature jumps above freezing for a while, because we don’t know how long before it will happen again. And when it is snowing, and sleeting, and freezing rain for the third time in a week, we hunker together and try to be in awe of nature.
It is hard for me to do this. To put a positive spin on Winter and find the joy in it, when it goes on for months and months in this part of the world. But I have to take the time, for my own good. I need to stop, take a moment, and remind myself that Winter is a season in nature, and in the flow of life, when I must work a bit harder to be mindful and seek the positive, but the reward of doing so is crucial to my soul.
Last week, Jeramy and my Brother-in-law installed the woodstove in our living room. This is going to help us cut down our heating costs, and add a feeling of coziness to our home. This has also required rearranging our furniture. While the work was still being done, everything was just shoved to the center of the room. We had to squeeze around furniture to get through the room, and everything looked a mess. The other day, once the installation was complete, I became motivated and began moving things into place.
I placed this awesome little rough edge table (which I bought from the previous owners of this house for eight dollars at a sale they had before they moved out) under the window and decided to turn it into our little nature table. I have been wanting to create a nature shelf, table, or corner in our home for ages now, and I am so glad I have finally gotten around to it. The plan is to change the items that are on it with the seasons. In Spring we might have a branch with buds, and some seeds. In Summer, seashells and flowers. In Autumn, bright leaves and some twigs and pinecones. Books that tie-in with the current season will also make great items for this spot.
This is an excellent opportunity for Simon to be hands on with nature, and to learn more about our changing seasons. He is allowed to play with and touch everything on there. He feels proud to showcase his treasures that he collects when we go on walks.
I have many more ideas for this little spot of the living room. Quotes about nature or photographs that I would like to hang on the wall right nearby, baskets to place under or beside the table for collections of items and more books, a little swiveling light to shine in the evenings here. For now though, I think it is a good beginning.
Last week there were two days of school cancellations due to weather, which meant no work for Mumma, and no preschool for Simon. We were stuck inside for two days. Then, we kicked off the beginning of this week with even more inclement weather, dangerous roads, and staying indoors. This winter has been a doozy, and it is only just beginning for us here in Maine. I think it is safe to say that cabin fever has been high around here, and we are all a tad grumpy.
However, there has also been a lot of creativity. Jeramy got into the baking mood, and whipped up some crock pot beer bread on a whim. Simon and I drew in our sketchbooks. There have been multiple instances of toy cars being pressed into playdough, and some sponge painting.
The sun has returned, and I look forward to shaking off some these feelings of being cooped up by getting us out of the house. However, I am glad that when we do end up “wintered-in”, we are able to find ways to add color and flavor to our days.
We must be willing to accept mistakes from our children. They need to try things, and they are going to fail sometimes. They will spill, they will break, they will stumble, they will forget. If we expect them to always get it right, to never make a mess or an error, than we are asking more of them than we ourselves are capable of.
As parents we try to teach our children how to be safe. We also pass on intelligence and guidance. “It is not safe to jump down the stairs.” “You need to carry the cup with both hands.” “You need to listen to your body so you know when to go to the bathroom.” We say these things and they still fall, drop, forget. They will mess up. They are kids. Yet it is so hard for us to remember that at times. We wonder why our child is misbehaving in spite of what we think they should know by now. Frustration builds, and it seems we are speaking to them in vain.
As a Mom, I am working on practicing mindfulness in the face of Simon’s errors. Sometimes he needs a consequence for his actions, but sometimes he just needs to know that I will love him no matter what. A hug and a conversation about what happened and why, can be miles more effective than being sent to his room. If I am always scolding, always impatient, and always punitive, I will actually hinder his ability to learn and mature. He will feel punished all the time, and it will begin to lose meaning. I will feel discouraged and tired, and lose my temper. No one benefits.
This afternoon, I asked Simon to feed the cats. This is one of the chores he helps with. I reminded him that the bag was full, and not to let it tip over and spill. Well, no sooner had I said that, than he did let it tip over, and cat food rolled out, all over the kitchen floor. I could have raised my voice and spoken to him with exasperation. I could have just taken over for him, scooted him out of the way, and allowed myself to become upset. Instead I stood the bag upright, allowed him to finish, and then plugged in the vacuum cleaner and handed him the hose. I didn’t say “I told you” like I wanted to. Instead, I gave him the opportunity to fix his mistake.
The next time your child asks a question that you have already answered for the third time that day, or spills their milk on the floor because they were not being careful, try to breathe and remember that we adults do these things too. Boundaries are important, but so is patience and forgiveness in the face of being human. Children have had less practice at life than we have, and need to keep testing their world to see what works. Some days they will “fail” over and over and over again. But that is ok, even though it might not feel like it. They are learning, and we can help them.
Our children look to us for leadership. What kind of leaders do we want to be?
We started our new year off this morning by being entirely too lazy for an impatient Simon, who woke with typical boisterous three-year-old energy. (How do they do that, so early?) Once he convinced me to leave my warm bed I sat on the couch, by the heater, under a blanket, and sipped a cup of tea while Jeramy made us all toast. Thankfully, my child has plenty of new toys from Christmas to occupy him while Mumma and Daddy wake up fully.
We then dressed and headed off for a day at Simon’s Great-Grandmother’s house. There, we enjoyed lunch, playtime, and even a champagne toast (for the grownups).
Back home, our exhausted child was ready, despite his protests, for an early bedtime, as indicated by his continuous eye-rubbing. (Poor kid, can never fool us into believing he isn’t really tired.)
And now I sit, in my cluttered house, finding myself feeling kind of relieved that the holiday season is over. It is time to take the ornaments off the tree and drag it into the woods where it can become new habitat for wild creatures. Time to put away all of the remaining gift bags and boxes, and mix the new toys in with the old. Time to pick up the mess that the holiday season left behind. Time to set out with a new list of intentions for a mindful, peaceful, and happy new year.