This summer I went to the orchard with my mom and Peeper. I was almost 8 months pregnant, and the baby girl growing inside me kicked and stretched, making me wince—and smile.
We had come for the cherries (and the farm animals, which Peeper simultaneously loved and feared), but it turned out that peaches were in season, too. We made a short detour on the dusty road, pulled over and found ourselves under a canopy of trees buzzing with sweetness and potential.
I didn’t have a bucket or a spare bag, so I balanced the peaches I picked on my belly. And I couldn’t resist—I bit into one (or, ah, several). I ate them surrounded by branches heavy with fruit, and the juice dripped down my chin and stained the shirt stretched taught over my big belly.
They tasted full—alive, vibrant, practically bursting with flavor.
Peeper was less interested in fruit picking than she was in feeding the goats, so we left not long after that. I drove us home, my sticky hands leaving smudges on the steering wheel, as Kiwi squirmed inside me and Peeper sang “Old MacDonald” in the back seat.
My life felt like those peaches—full and vibrant in the sweetest way.
Pregnancy is weird: It swings you from one extreme to the other fast enough to give you whiplash.
Take yesterday. I had just put Peeper down for a nap when I was overcome with energy and inspiration—a rare combo for this nearly 40-week-pregnant lady. I took the surge out on our Forester and cleaned the bejesus out of it. All of Peeper’s 87 books went into a bag; the car toys went into another bag; random things that accumulated but didn’t belong there (several sippy cups, silverware and—um—a ukulele) journeyed inside. And—get this—I vacuumed the eff out of that sucker. I had no idea how much dog hair, bunny crackers and sand (oh the sand!) had coated every surface.
Then I lay down in bed and ate cherries and read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please for a very long time while Peeper graciously continued to nap.
Another example: I’ll be so hungry that I can literally feel my body breaking down muscles and tissues and important organs to feed itself. Then I’ll look at a sandwich and want to cry because I’m suddenly so full that my stomach is crowding my lungs and I can’t breathe.
The swings can be a little overwhelming, even for onlookers. But somehow I’ve learned to ride the ins and outs like waves. Read more →
When I worked at College Possible Portland, a nonprofit that helped low-income high schoolers get into and graduate from college, we often ended the week reviewing the ups, downs and what we’d change. Allow me to steal the format for today’s blog!
Swimming It’s still blazing-hot hereabouts, so we went swimming in the Clackamas River at Milo McIver State Park (yes, still one of our favorite places to be!). Peeper is her happiest in water, and I’m carrying a 38-week-old furnace, so splashing in the river was pretty much the best.
Peeper’s birthday party We didn’t throw a party for Peeper’s first birthday and I knew I wanted to do a little something this year. I considered canceling it (see the downs below) but am so glad I didn’t. Peeper and her friends had a wonderful time painting and playing in the water, and we got to properly break in our newly fenced front yard! More about the party in a later post.
Seeing family Much of my side of the family came in for Peeper’s birthday party, and I’m always grateful when the Ryans are around! After the party we watched the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Japan (in style!), eat pizza and play video games. As we drove away from my brother’s house, I was overwhelmed with the wish that we’d all live near each other permanently. My brother recently moved to Portland, so that leaves only two more siblings to get down here!
This up was a little bittersweet, though, because Eric’s parents were meant to have arrived this weekend, too. They had to delay their trip out to deal with some health stuff (good thoughts/prayers/internet love to my mother-in-law much appreciated!), which is important and necessary, but we still missed them. In fact we re-sang Happy Birthday to Peeper so we could record it and send it to them! Peeper didn’t mind. 😉
Fireworks Ah, the holiday my noise-phobic toddler and high-anxiety dog love the most! Happy 4th of July! Call me a grump, but I hoped every single boom was the last. We will not be spending Independence Day in town next year. You can find us running away to the mountains somewhere fireworks are illegal.
No sleep Ironically, Peeper slept a few hours through the fireworks and woke up shortly they were finished—and wouldn’t go back to sleep. It was horrible. She hasn’t had a night like that in… oh, a year and a half? We finally left her to cry herself to sleep and she passed out around 5:30, a half-hour before I’d set my alarm to prepare for her party.
Eating struggles I should apologize to all my friends who have to hear the latest tale about how Peeper just doesn’t eat. Not that she’s picky in a I’ll-only-eat-chicken-nuggets kind of way, but in the sense she’s completely uninterested in food. It was worse than usual on Saturday, which led to my redefinition of a meal on Sunday because hey, at least Ritz peanut butter sandwiches and ice cream are calories!
Here’s where I mess up the format. I wouldn’t change anything (except maybe the fact I got 2 hours of sleep on Saturday). Every experience, both good and bad, shapes me as a person and a mother. I learn from some of it (leaving town on the 4th!) and revel in the rest (treasuring the memory of Peeper “getting the baby wet” in the river).
There’s practically a cottage industry for literature to tell you what to expect when you’re expecting (along with what to do and what to not do under any circumstances or you’ll ruin your baby forever). Some details, though, seem to get left out.
Well, ladies with a bun in your oven, let me enlighten you. Some of these secrets aren’t pretty, but such is life. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Read more →
You’d think that since I’ve done this whole pregnancy thing before that I’d have it down by now.
Ah, if only.
Here I am at 34 weeks—that’s a month and a half from my due date for anyone who can’t be bothered to do the math—and I still feel largely unprepared for the tiny person who’s about to make our family a foursome. Perhaps part of me has gone all laissez-faire about it because I figured I have everything we used with Peeper; perhaps I’m just more focused on things like taking care of a toddler to make fastidious to-do lists and register for layettes.
(Still not entirely sure what a layette is.)
This past week, though, I finally got my widening butt in gear—at least a little. Read more →
Taking Peeper to the Tulip Fest outside Woodburn earlier this week was wonderful (more on that later!), but it carried a very unwelcome realization: I’m getting too pregnant to continue doing everything I want to.
When lifting my 20-some-pound toddler off a swing at the festival, I pulled some of the round ligaments in my belly, the muscles that stretch to accommodate my soccer ball-sized uterus. On top of that discomfort, I felt crummy and overextended the rest of the day—a condition not helped by Peeper’s skipped nap. (Ugh, why won’t this child sleep in the car like a normal kid?)
I was utterly spent. The exhaustion I felt by the end of the day plus recalling that I’m mere weeks away from my third trimester overwhelmed me. What’s more, a good friend was recently put on bed rest when her baby tried to make a very early appearance, which pushed me to consider the possibility we could have an early bird, too.
So though I’m still rocking the ease of the second trimester, I need to scale back a bit. That is not easy. Read more →