Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

At 35 weeks after an iron infusions at the hospital I walk straight over to my doctor’s office for my regular stress test (third THIS week-3 times a week every week after 30 week gestation).

During the test, baby doesn’t cooperate at all. His hear rate is all over the place (I have to turn around, walk around, sip cold water then orange juice) and towards the end I start getting contractions so strong they are (literally) off the chart. They feel just like labor contractions and my heart is racing (just like my baby’s) as the doctor on call enters the stress test area.

This baby is not ready yet, I was hoping for at least 38 weeks (and I so wish I was 38 weeks pregnant right now), even though I know babies aren’t really ready until 39 weeks (and not fully cooked until 40 weeks).

I find myself yet again with the big orange envelope, back at the admittance desk at the main hospital. They fear preterm labor once again and have no other choice but sending me back to the hospital.

Things go much quicker this time (probably due to my recent visit-and updated information). It’s not like I like spending all my time in this place but I keep finding myself back here…

As I’m waddling towards the familiar elevator I try to breathe “IN; last pregnancy, OUT; last baby” and as not to seem ungrateful I pray that the baby IS and WILL be okay! I love this little one and can’t wait for this last pregnancy to be over and to be able to hold and cuddle our baby boy!

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

Stay in there a little longer I tell him as I hold my ginormous tummy, waiting for the nurse to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to yet another hospital room (at least they are all private). If I can hold on for at least another month or so, so can he…?

And so the process start yet again as they prep the IV, draw the blood, give me the steroid shots for baby’s lungs (ouch!) and give me (with huge difficulty because of my “impossible veins”) the anti-contractions medicine (brown and burning and slow moving) more known under the name “puke” .

Trapped in the big bed in the regular (very sexy-not) green hospital gown under straps leading to monitors I feel like I spend waaay too much time like this!

They want to monitor me and baby for preterm labor for at least 24 hours.

My contractions subside, baby is looking great on the monitors, steady heartbeat, great movement. No leaking, blood or pain!

As I’m about to get released the contractions pick up again, earning me another 24 hours away from my kids, my family, my dog, my house, and my life.

Luckily the contractions subside yet again and I’m finally being released under stern promises that I will come back the very next day to see my doctor and EVERY day until I give birth, which (hopefully) could (should) be several weeks. I promise to come back if I show ANY signs of preterm labor (including leaking, bleeding, strong contractions and/or lack of fetal movement).

It has been such a tough pregnancy so far and I’m so ready to be over and done with this but I know I need to hang in there. I know this baby depends on me, I know he is not ready and if I (we) have made it this far…

It has been tough at home as well with two kids transitioning into a brand new School and with one kid approaching the age of two.

Back home it’s hard not to stress. The kids are feeling my stress as well as their own with all the changes happening around (and to) us and I’m fearful the baby in my tummy will be affected as well.

After a tear-filled School drop off and a mid morning tantrum, I decide to call my mom to vent. In the midst of all the chaos I complain to my mom through the computer; “I’m sooo huge”, “I have soo many aches and pains”, “I’m terrified my cyst might burst”, “I’m scared I will have to have a c-section”, “All I want is to know for SURE baby is okay and healthy”,  “I’m worried my kids won’t settle in to their new school”, “I’m anxious my third child will regress even more when the baby comes”…

My mom is calm, realistic and reasonable as always (with just the right amount of “mom”, “support”, “strength” and “push”).

Most of all I’m telling her that I am just so ready to get this baby out of me like RIGHT now…

But I know I have to hang in there for at least a few more weeks…or will I??

Be careful what you wish for…

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

First comes Halloween…

But of course I do- expose myself and my son to that “school drop off car line” again…but not for a very, very long time.

At first drop offs are back to finding an extremely limited spot insanely early in the school’s back parking lot. Sit and wait for what seems like an eternity while at least two out of three kids are screaming their little heads off, while trying to read e-mails and leave important voicemails (no one is answering their phone at this hour and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to hear them if they did), and let’s “face” it; checking Facebook!
Then march in (usually) extreme heat (always worse at pick up) or pouring rain (by the end of the year) with a very specific and demanding kindergartener in one hand, a hungry (always) baby bouncing (getting heavier and heavier) in the carrier and a tantruming (more often than not) two year old in the other hand. Following the exact same procedure at pick up (except then we are also stuck and kept from leaving the school until all the cars in the car line disappear…a good 30-40 minutes later…(not kidding, wish I was).

This has now become our daily routine and even though we don’t have much of a Fall per say here, the leaves do change colors and it slowly gets a little colder-at least at night.

Halloween creeps up on us way too fast and I can’t believe my son has been in school this long already. This is his absolute favorite holiday and as soon as October is here, he starts talking pumpkins, bouncy houses, candy and ghosts. The highlight is of course the dressing up in costume part! Since his school won’t let you do that, it’s up to me to figure out what to do for Halloween and where to take the kids trick or treating!

I offered to take pictures at my son’s kindergarten class school party! Like mentioned, they are not allowed to dress up or have candy but it is surprisingly festive anyways. The kids are so darn cute (hate people under 65 who say that, or even worse; “they are so daaarling”) but they are. Trusting and sweet and so excited to do their little poses for the camera and show off their art work and their classroom. You just get the feeling that these genuine traits disappear more and more the oldest they get and it’s almost like you can’t think too much about it, or you’ll get really, really sad.

We go to a neighborhood Halloween party at the clubhouse (which surprises me as well with how great it is-nothing like the summer BBQ fiasco where a bunch of old people ate really bad food and nobody was dancing to the poor live band, which was actually quite good). This even had a ghost house, a picture kiosk, a bouncy house, a costume contest (as well as a golf cart contest) and lots of treats and goodies! We were just excited to be able to go as the “Disney Family” and entered the contest as such!

I was just really excited to provide my oldest with some real Halloween fun IN costume but of course all he wanted to do was going door to door actually trick or treating. Something our neighborhood apparently does NOT do…

Thankfully we could rely on good friends living in an awesome trick or treat friendly neighborhood!

While my son got his fun, running ahead with his little friends, our little ones were both scared and exhausted, neither wanting to be in the stroller. It was worth it in the end though with all the candy we got (soo stealing the peanut M&Ms).
We did donate most of it to the troops a day later even if our son just tried to give away the candy he didn’t like-and you know the candy that wasn’t candy… like fruit, gold fish and Rice Krispie treats… (so proud).

The highlight of our Halloween however was this grand party that I randomly got invited to. Thank mommy, family- except that is not exactly true. It’s baby boy that we all should thank!!! He totally got us all invited!!

This sweet mom from our oldest’s school invited us to the best costume party ever, solely based on loving our youngest! His smiles and his flirting got us a really fun night! Everyone from Donald Duck, to Goofy, to the two Minnies and the littlest Mickey Mouse had an amazing time. The family hosting the party’s house was seriously a massive mansion you only see in the movies and from the valet parking, to the hired magician, to the craft table, the good food (OMG the food), to the dance floor and DJ, it’s fair to say we never wanted to leave. Even our little (ice) princess had a lovely time dancing and giggling dressed up as her favorite character! Overall a great first Halloween at our new location with all our babies!

Once Halloween is here, it’s like you blink and then it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas- seriously the Fall disappears in a fog of holidays and I’m always left wanting time to stop, or at least slow down enough so we can enjoy it more…

I wish Christmas would go as well as Halloween, our oldest wakes up with 104 fever on Christmas Eve (the day we celebrate), our daughter wakes up in the foulest mood ever, the baby will not stop nursing and the stove top stops working-and we’re (I’m) hosting Christmas this year (for the first year ever) for the entire extended family…

 

 

Drop off Disaster

I prep my oldest son even before we reach the school parking lot. He knows by now how to buckle and unbuckle himself and how to stand ready (hunched over) by the back “lift-gate” (we have been practicing). Okay, so maybe that needs some further explanation…
As you all know, I have three kids and we TRIED to put them all next to each other in the backseat of our new (oversized) SUV. Heck noo, did NOT work…
The oldest two were fighting like crazy, which made me frustrated and scream way too much. I was also worried about the tiny (okay not so tiny) baby back there.
After weeks best described as catastrophic, we had the brilliant idea to put the oldest in the third row!
It was a bit tricky with the big stroller and all the other baby stuff (car seat adapters, extra toddler seat and what not) but we made it work. We also had to teach our oldest to buckle himself. The problem is, I didn’t WANT him to be able to open the back liftgate on his own (way too dangerous). So every time he (we) went out of the car, I had to open it for him.

So back to the dreaded school car line…

As soon as we are on school property I yell for my son to unbuckle himself and to prepare with his backpack and such, for me to come open the back for him.

We have arrived early enough so that there won’t be a lot of cars…there still IS, but we are amongst the first in line (pat on back).

As we approach the green “drop off zone” I slow way down and then come to a complete stop in front of the school, I put the car in park (and apply the parking brake for good measure) and open the door…

As soon as I do this, cars (people of course but you know what I mean…) start honking (these are moms and nannys and the occasional dad, mind you) and by the time I’m in the back of my car there is also yelling (I’m not kidding).

When my big handsome boy jumps out with his backpack, I feel so proud of him but of course the moment is completely ruined by even more severe honks and yelling ( “hurry up”, “come on”, “unbelievable”, “must be a new mom”, “she will make me LATE”)…

As I rush over to the driver seat, a school “representative” runs after me screaming “this is NOT how we do things”.

Yet as I see my son struggle with his huge backpack I feel an urge to go help him out, to go steer him in the right direction, to show him the gate and his classroom. I swollow hard and manage a wave to the car behind me as I speed off away from the school parking lot.

Theoretically I know he knows where to go and that he won’t be lost (or gasp “stolen”) but I can’t help the moment of “mommy panic”.

As I drive off I feel sad and disappointed. Well that didn’t go according to plan! I almost want to call the school to make sure he made it to his classroom safely. I feel worried and stressed. I have to call my husband to relay the fiasco…
Well, that’s it!!! I will NEVER ever expose myself or my son to that car line EVER again!!!

The frazzled, slightly lost and confused new mom…

As I slowly walk away from my brand new kindergartener’s school, feeling empty and a little lost, baby boy starts crying on cue!

Nothing like a gut wrenching hunger scream to take you back to reality. I quickly realize that all three of us (it does feel like I’m missing one) have to go all the way back to the car so I can feed the baby before the “coffee with the school moms”. So we start walking…

The restaurant across the street is beyond full of mingling mommas. My little daughter is trying to hold on to me for dear life as I try to maneuver her and the baby in the carrier .

There is hot coffee, giggling mamas and their legs everywhere- my two year old daughter is basically being swallowed by the crowd. I don’t think this is the place for me and my young to be right now. There are no other kids here and I come to the understanding that these moms are older (not that I am exactly young) and so are their kids. I challenge myself to talk to at least three different moms. They all seem nice but very different from myself and not quite what I’m used to. I try to introduce myself, give a compliment and ask a question. The planner in me feels like I’m checking off a check list not being genuine or trying to make friends. But I do want to be genuine and I do want to make new friends. I try to get out of my comfort zone and not think “I have all the friends I need”. This is not only for me but for my kids-my oldest and the other two following him! It just feels like this crowd has a secret I’m not in on … but I should make an effort to find out what it is. Some of them are very cold and stand off-ish but I must say, most of them do seem warm and approachable.

I make my rounds and manage to talk to three different woman- all of them with older kids, their youngest being in kindergarten. Not a lot of babies or toddlers beings seen or talk about diaper brands (organic, cloth or *gasp* plastic) or potty trading tips being heard. It makes sense now that they all seem to know each other since they have other kids in the same school. I feel like a lot of new information is being thrown at me and I feel totally unprepared, unpolished, and frankly like I’m left out of some “perfect manicured mom’s club”. I am that frazzled new mom who makes the mistake of bringing her smelly, whiny little kids to a classy event. Except my littlests are totally behaved (AND they smell delicious…at least I think so but I might be biased…then I remember the leggings) and I thought this was a “come as you are, casual coffee after drop off thing”…

I’m officially exhausted after discussions school safety and security as well as the kids cafeteria menus and meal plans with mom number 3 and have to excuse myself (who am I kidding? She is so bored by my input-or lack thereof she is already seeking a more gluten/dairy free, pro huge fenced in/gated school mom after a couple of sentences from me even if I’m totally pro healthy eating and school safety!)

Trying to avoid my little girl getting trampled, our little gang (feeling totally misplaced) head for the door.

For the first couple of weeks, we are supposed to walk our brand new school kids to their classroom and drop them off and walk to their classroom to pick them up. More seasoned moms with older kids get to pick their kids up by car-stopping (more like a rolling stop) by the side walk.

I oblige and walk my son back and forth with his little sister and little brother for weeks. I park at the church the first two weeks but get by week three that if I’m early enough I can snag a parking spot at the actual school, and I won’t get stuck in the line of cars dropping off and picking up (that lines up around the school’s back parking lot-sounds confusing? That is because it is!!! The school itself call drop off and pick up “an organized chaos”…)

After the initial weeks of a lot of walking a baby who just wants to eat and sleep and hates the in an out of his car seat and a hysterically grumpy (worst little morning person ever…gets it from me…very proud) toddler who is forced to walk in a rush several times a day…my oldest son and I decide to be brave…

We decide this on the same day as our very first kindergarten play date and we are both very excited…until we are actually stuck in that school line of cars at drop off…

Next stop kindergarten- part 1

Yes my son is starting kindergarten, he is starting school. I mean real school, actual school- School School (I know, I know you get it). It feels big and he is not ready…okay I’m not ready. How could I be? And clearly he is not either. He is just a baby!

My parents have just left and we are running around like crazy, trying to get last minute things done. I order an extra nice backpack online (worrying if it’s nice ENOUGH or if dinosaurs are geeky or interesting or gulp; childish…?) the one my son really wants. I go out and get a tall star wars water bottle because that is what the “instructions” say “tall water bottle”- not Star Wars of course-but that’s cool…right? And so IN with the kids right now…(said no cool mom ever…)

Our first born is excited, but a little apprehensive too I can tell (or is it all my nerves?).

I leave the two oldest with the nanny and grab the baby and a trusted friend (who has done this all before) to go “back to school shopping”. The list is about a mile long of stuff and school supplies not only for your kid, but for other kids as well and the classroom…and entire school (and you know basically the whole community). I have never had to do this before (and can’t believe all parents do this…and I heard it gets “worse” the older your kid gets). I’m confused as well-what the heck is a 3 ring binder? A size what? double huh? , an A1 pencil a quadruple something something? This is not as straight forward as you might think, if you know what I’m getting at. Thank goodness I have help-I have to return half the stuff and go for round two (and here I thought I was doing pretty well).

I take all three kids clothes shopping (oh the absolute joy!). I want brands that are trendy enough, that says “we care about what we wear…but not too much”. “We are in the know…but you know very laid back”. “We are not cheap but not careless with money…not tacky or thoughtless but not wasteful and spoiled…not”…ah you get it by now!
This is exhausting!!! Not that I’m spending that MUCH time, energy, thought…or you know money! It not like I’m trying to impress anyone, no way…or am I?

We are new here, new house, new neighborhood, brand new location and school for all of us. Even though I care way less than I used to (it’s an ongoing struggle), I do care you know, a little bit…or less…more like a sliver. But who doesn’t want to be accepted and even we’ll liked? I mean my son now of course… And have to admit, I desperately want them to like him!
But it could only help to have (a super cool…who of course doesn’t use the phrase “super”…which was “super cool” back in the 90s where I come from) a well-like mom!

The “meet and great” with the class doesn’t go great. I feel like the kids are taller and more advanced than him (but come on they are supposed to be five…aren’t they?). I can tell he is trying though, because he is extra silly trying to make the other kids laugh and it’s not that is doesn’t work but it’s not like it does either…which makes my mommy heart so sad. I didn’t exactly help him, like my plan was either. I may have laid it on a little too thick with the cheeriness (remember, I was the mom being called rude by the preschool moms…I’m trying here). Except when cheeriness is not your “normal” (come on, I’m pretty happy and sweet) it come of a little…strange. Wait is that MY laugh? I don’t do fake…

I actually feel like the other moms seem nice. At least most of them (it’s like I’m waiting for someone to yell “just kidding, we don’t like your fake smile or your childish son”). They don’t seem snobby or stuck-up like I have been warned. Most of them have older kids and some of them have several (older kids in the same school). Two of them strike me as warm and genuine-they ask about the baby and talk about how happy he is and marvel over how my two year old was a preemie and now looks closer to three (yep: I used the preemie card-so sue me!). It’s just myself and two other moms who have “oldests” starting school. One seems friendly…the other not as much.

On the other hand one  of the boys is already making fun of my boy’s height (all in good fun, I’m sure…) and he gets pushed roughly down the slide by another one (right in front of me…but again they are all laughing-including my son). But just in case they don’t love him now- I know he can hold his own and that his sweetness and quirkiness will win them all over in the end.

I feel left out by the snack table (hey, I know it’s not about me…) with my little baby in the carrier and my bouncy two year old in hand. I feel like the other moms are already forming clicks. I’m running out of cheeriness, but at least my son seem to have found a friend (at least someone to talk to).

By the end of the meet and greet my boy actually begs to leave-well kid, I hear you, I’m exhausted too! We just can’t wait for school to start on Monday!!

 

A Back-Firing Baptism…

The sun is blazing on the outside patio where we have set up chairs, tables, decorations and balloons. Way too hot for comfort (especially considering some of the guests are young babies and others 80 year old plus) It’s probably to late to change all the stuff around outside now however, we are already running around in a frenzy. At least the food is set up inside with the perishables and cake within reach in the fridge. We are still getting ready and struggling with nap schedules (or lack thereof) when the first guests arrive and we haven’t even poured the welcome drinks. My hair is wet and then the baby has a blow out diaper all over his special outfit (just thankful it wasn’t his baptism gown passed down by generations).

The Godmother is late due to an oven fire (yes, I’m serious, she sent me pictures of the fire truck and everything). I have no other choice than asking the guests for help (obviously my parents are already helping and my husband is trying to juggle the two older kids). Unfortunately my mom has hurt her arm badly and can’t use it properly, but mind you, is still running around helping and setting up, but hurting and unable to do so with her usual speed and precision (pretty dang close though considering her arm won’t even extend past the elbow).

As I change little man, finding him a brand new outfit, more guests arrive. I have to ask our niece to pour the welcome drinks and mix my special mango/peach mimosas without me. Our daughter has what we call “a no nap” meltdown and runs around screaming in her diaper, refusing her pretty purple dress and even though almost all guest have arrived we are missing two very special guests…

We have invited my Dad’s cousin-whom I haven’t seen for probably more than fourteen years. When I first came here, I stayed with him and his wife and they helped me settle in to my University. My parents have seen them a couple of times through the years at family gatherings in Sweden and have gotten updated about each other through other cousins but with me being so busy and life just getting in the way we haven’t been able to see each other. He did help me with a few things I needed as a newbie in this country (including chasing down somebody trying to steal my bright yellow suitcase and co-signing my first apartment contract) and has been nothing but nice.

I just recently decided that I really should re-connect with him. I wanted my dad’s cousin (my dad is an only child so cousins became closer to him growing up-some more like siblings) to see me now-sixteen plus years after he dropped off a young, anxious girl at a school campus far, far from home! I wanted to introduce him and his wife to my husband and my three children- but even though he had confirmed that they were coming they were starting to get seriously late and everyone else had already arrived. The godmother/one of my best friends had even arrived leaving her husband and two sons to deal with their oven being on fire. She even managed to get here without a speeding ticket this time! (Inside joke).

I have known this girl for fifteen years and we have been through a lot, she is really the perfect and obvious choice as my little baby boy’s sponsor and Godmother! While we wait for our (elderly) guests (increasingly worried they have mixed up the dates…or worse) she wants to go over a little speech I asked her to hold for the baby (just s few words of wisdom really or a piece of advice for the future). She tells me she has picked a poem and I’m thinking perfect, what can go wrong?!

It’s a beautiful old poem of encouragement and strength and she did a great job researching and finding this…except…

it’s also the speech held at every 12 step program meeting…

Thanks to my parents, my hubby’s parents (his mom helping with the food and guests and his father performing the ceremony which he has been able to do for all our kids, which is so so special), our chosen Godparents and all our wonderful guests we are finally starting to get close to what resembles a baptism (despite some food order mishaps-almost poising said “wonderful guests”).

In the end the lost guests arrive- better late than never (and it’s great to see them after all these years and introduce them to my new family) the sun is excruciatingly hot (but most guests are able to eat inside -and the food is a hit) and the ceremony is just beautiful (the Godmother is talking straight from her heart instead) and actually everything is close to perfect!

There is really no time for devastation after my parents leave (the trip was way too short) because my first born is starting kindergarten…

The magical month of July!!

How come the magical and arguably the best month of summer July,no school; end OR start, no stress, (wait was the “no stress” part before having children!?) always go so fast?. It races away in a haze.

Our July doesn’t start great with illness and almost unbearable heat. We are trying to save by not turning on the AC as much in the house but with our many large windows framing the family and living room it creates a vacuum of heat and you can hardly breathe. The kids have swimming three days a week (and are making great advances-when they listen to the swim instructor that is) and no camps. I signed my daughter up for dance Friday mornings and have the nanny come entertain my oldest (or is it the other way around?!).

I’m keeping baby girl out of the pool the first week due to some “diaper issues” (those swim diapers are not really built for holding anything, now are they) and I’m trying to save our pool (and myself from a major clean up) and my daughter from embarrassment (she totally wouldn’t care) even though she is feeling better. She is very mad that brother gets to swim and very curious about the swim instructor. We (meaning my daughter) watch brother every lesson in full on swim gear even though only toes (and feet) can go in the pool. Every time my son needs to work towards a promise of a favorite thing in order to listen to instructions (since he doesn’t like most food the options are limited and pretty much narrowed down to “Subway” , frozen yoghurt (ice cream) or a cookie at Starbucks (don’t judge). I also promised him a small toy if he will swim by the end of the four weeks. His listening skills are improved by constant reminders but he tends to forget very frequently and has been known to do “his own thing”. The instructor who apparently used to be an elite swimmer gets very frustrated-seemingly much better at swimming than dealing with small kids.

All the lessons means less social time outside of the house, especially if you add soccer Mondays and dance Fridays but we are still able to steal some ice cream dates with close friends. By the end of that first week the kids are all feeling like themselves again and I am beyond relieved to be out of the bad diapers/added laundry (gross) trenches!

I finally think the leaking of various body fluids (I know major yuck! …oddly enough less so if you are a parent of little kids…or maybe not so odd considering the frequency of said fluids..) is over. I venture out to Target. With the oldest (still recovering somewhat) safely at home with daddy (watching football) , I bring the other two.

Since I am the youngest’s walking, talking food source (and since hubby is not quite comfortable with him yet) he is coming too!
He is all smiles so it clearly (almost…eh not fully) make up for the two year old’s whining.

I know she has been sick and all and that she is tired but come on…everything is “no”.
Are you hungry, tired, need diaper change, hug…new shoes? No, no, no!
She is in full on 2 year mode, and of course everything I do is wrong-and she complains about it-loudly!!

I’m barely hanging on as I scroll down my “iPhone reminder list” of stuff we really need (and you know a few… occasional extras) as my toddler is reduced to tears after not getting a new “Peppa Pig” toy! In my head I mentally repeat “avoid the toy aisle…always always avoid the toy aisle…even if it means getting creative with diversion strategies and round about ways to get to the things you want. Even if you need something in the aisle next to the toys- do not, I repeat, do NOT pass them!!”
No shortcuts parents-this is serious mental planning. Think I should suck it up and take the whining, crying, melt down, “tantruming”?
Let me tell you many of time-I have and let’s just say it’s so not worth it, but today she spied this toy and being in the mood she is in; its all over…

I briefly distract her with some new shiny shoes but let’s face it- they are no Peppa pig’s dream house substitute…
At least the full on drama tears have subsided into heavy sobs and violent hiccups, not (barely) facing this brave mama! But here we are back to full on tantrum tears (aren’t they the most fun “people are officially starring and judging” kind”). Wait, what the heck happened now???
Oh, I see who was the complete idiot putting “Doc McStuffin’s” Lego set amongst the shoes huh, huh??

It’s clearly time to escape this place before my perfect little angel of a baby boy wakes up too- not so perfect…and far from an angel.

It’s Sunday-therefore all lines are long. When we are up next and I think we made it, guess who wakes up…?

The not so sympathetic cashier ring up my items painfully slow as both my kiddos wail, scream, yell and cry in a potpourri of scorned, disappointed, ignored, hurtful (as well as hungry) emotions. They are clearly being unfairly treated (according to everyone but me. This is when the cashier holds up a pink and purple Peppa Pig set (well…you know…) with some suspicious brown stains on them. I match her disgusted look at first genuinely confused …until I look down at the cart…and the seat occupied by my daughter…

 

 

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