Thursday, April 19, 2018

No more pumping in a closet!

The way this blog works now is whenever I have a little time, I write down something about my kids that I want to remember. You're welcome. This is like a month of "work" compiled together.

Dalton REALLY likes precision of language. He gets all kerfluffled if I say something like "Royce, we keep our shoes on in the car" as his brother takes his shoes off while I'm driving. Like he does during every car ride. All toddlers do this, right? Dalton of course immediately pipes up from the backseat "you mean VAN mommy?". Yes, of course, silly me. We made brownies for St. Patrick's Day and had friends over. One of his little friends referred to them as "cake". Dalton was like NOT UP IN HERE and immediately made sure his friend realized they were "brownies, they are not cake".

This picture makes him look like a teenager. Dislike.

Royce is so sweet and at that age where he just wants to be part of things. If I'm chopping vegetables, he wants to be on the counter at least with a spoon to pretend. When Dalton hurt his foot and requested a kiss on it, Royce was right in there too with his foot up for his kiss. When Dalton says beep beep and backs his trucks up, Royce immediately stops what he's doing to walk backwards. I feel so bad for him sometimes because there are inevitably just things he is too little to do that he sees his brother and friends doing and he gets so upset about it. Being one is so hard. I wonder if this will be a trend his whole life, but, maybe not? I mean, is there that much say, a seven year old can do that a six year old can't? I'm hoping as they get older the gap in their ages will continue to seem more and more minute. Of course, then the new baby will just be the one left behind.

He almost never sits. 

Dalton is just so responsible and helpful at this age. Royce was fussing because he didn't want to get into his car seat and doing that thing that apparently is an instinct all toddlers have where they arch their back and make it physically impossible to buckle them in to a car seat. How are they born knowing that you go limp when your mother tries to pick you up to stop you from doing something in the house, but you arch your back and go completely wild to avoid the car seat? Anyway, Dalton cheerfully announced "Don't worry! I can help with that! I'll get him a toy!", went and retrieved a toy, and, lo and behold, Royce stopped crying and sat right down and let me strap him in with no more issues. I honestly don't even know how I was able to parent before I had this 3 year old baby whisperer in my life.

Taking his brother to the dentist. All the heart eyes. 

Their favorite game is just chasing each other around the house, alternating between different vehicles (because we have 5000 vehicles), and Dalton loves to block Royce. This really comes in handy when they play outside and run up and down the sidewalk. Royce is getting much better at stopping when he gets to the street and knowing he needs to hold hands, but he's definitely not 100% trustworthy or even close yet. I can count on Dalton to run out and stop him and turn him around when he's two houses down beelining towards the street. Of course, I thought my pregnant running days were over but it's amazing how fast I can sprint when my 3 year old nanny is distracted and my 1 year old is bolting towards the road.

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The baby seems fine. Lots of kicking, which is my favorite. I'm currently 32 weeks, so it is finally starting to feel like an end is in sight.

Awkward mirror selfie

 Something pretty exciting and a big change for me - I won't be returning to work next school year. I'm really lucky that my school district offers teachers a two year leave of absence (unpaid of course) for "Child Rearing Leave". I was just approved for this leave, so I'll be returning in the 20-21 school year when the baby is two! Once we were positive we eventually wanted three children, this was our long term plan, but it seemed too good to be true. The leave of absence is a pretty sweet deal, because I'll return at the step that I left off at, with all my benefits, sick days, pay level and years of service intact. Of course, my position at my school has to be relinquished, which I'm pretty sad about since I am really happy here. But I'm guaranteed a comparable job when I return. You actually can even keep your benefits ON your leave at a higher price, but we just switched to Eric's health care.

Like with any big change, I have some mixed feelings. This will be all new to me. While there are many (MANY) days I feel like a total failure as a working mom, at least I know it's doable for me. The boys will all be home with me (when proofreading, I realized this statement might be inaccurate if the baby is a girl! I'm just so used to saying it, maybe it means it's a boy!), although we plan to enroll Dalton in preschool two mornings a week, since he will be almost 4 at the start of the upcoming school year. I'm scared of making them dumber, since they learn so much at daycare. Yes, I'm a teacher, but working on analyzing novels with pre-teens really doesn't translate well to helping very small children learn basic preschool skills. There's a reason early childhood is a whole separate degree! But thankfully we live in the age of the internet and there are tons of good ideas for ways to work with your children at home. I feel guilty that I'll have so much more time with the baby that I didn't have with the boys. I feel guilty that the boys won't get the stimulation and attention they are used to at daycare and will have to wait for my attention while I'm caring for the baby. I feel guilty for taking them out of daycare, since they've been with the in home sitter we use since they were each 3 months old and they love her, and right now there is only one other full time child, so we are a big part of her income. But if the past 3.5 years have taught me anything, there's always something to feel guilty about as a mother.

But it's not all guilty and anxiety, far from! I cannot wait to get to see my little guys all day every day. I spend the whole work day missing them and looking forward to picking them up. We have memberships to the zoo and a children's museum, and the thought of just getting to hang out with my boys there on a random Wednesday morning is heaven.

They hate it there. 
Side eye on point.
 I love our lazy weekend mornings when we sleep in and cuddle on the couch and watch shows. Our weekday mornings are complete chaos now trying to get out the door by 7 and I am not going to miss that. Nor am I going to miss pumping in a freezing cold closet, the panic of what to do when a kid wakes up with a fever, or trying to function at work with a 12 week old newborn who eats all night and still, in my opinion, needs his mom all day. Or maybe it's just that I need him all day. All I know is, after 9 months of sharing my body, and 12 weeks of almost constant togetherness, having to drop my boys off for 40-50 hours a week felt wrong in every way. I felt physically ill at work without my tiny baby. I thought it would be easier the second time, but it wasn't.

Looking forward to lots of this.

I'm so, so thankful not to have to do that again. I'm sure leaving him or her at age 2 will have its own issues but I'm pretty confident it's the lesser of two evils.

It will be a big change, but overall there's no real damage to my career (as far as I can tell), and I get what I've been desperate for since I first became a mom - more time with my kids! Hopefully I can somehow continue to help them grow and learn and develop, although to be honest, my main goal is just keeping everyone alive, with maintaining my own sanity as a "reach" goal. The timing actually worked out better than I could have hoped for; when my two years is up, Dalton will begin kindergarten (the cutoff in our state is September first, and his birthday is the 23rd, so he will be nearly 6 when he starts). So we will never have to have 3 in full time daycare! Someday, they will all be in school and we will MAKE. IT. RAIN.

My last random exciting (for me) update is my doctor told me if everything is looking good after my c-section I can do skin to skin in the operating room! One of the reasons I wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is because it kind of sucks you have to wait so long to hold your baby after a c-section. So I'm excited to at least have the possibility of that whole skin to skin golden hour bonding thing. I really want the experience of getting the baby on my chest right away, before it's cleaned up and swaddled. But we will see, as I've learned, anything can happen at delivery! I didn't have it with Dalton and Royce and I feel we "bonded" just fine without it.

6 weeks, 4 days or less until this baby is out! Any SAHM tips for me?