Things I Have Done On My Maternity Leave (all four days of it thus far):
- packed birth bag
- swept and mopped the kitchen, dining room, and living room floors
- scrubbed the bathtub
- disinfected the toilet
- cleaned the counters and sinks
- washed the bassinet cover and bedding
- washed the Boppy and My Brest Friend covers
- washed the padding for the My Little Lamb swing
- sterilized breastpump parts
- washed nursing bras
- washed Carter's carseat cover
- attempted (in vain) to vacuum 87,000 crackers out of said carseat
- ordered pictures online
- ran 87 million errands
- gone to two movies
- awoken before 6am daily with a damp toddler calling my name (note to self: please invest in nighttime diapers, stat)
- baked and frosted (in four different colors) four dozen mini cupcakes for said toddler and his preschool pals to enjoy on his birthday
- bounced on birth ball
- reorganized Carter's closet
- washed/folded baby clothes
- gone to midwife appointment
- read birthing books
Things I Have Not Done On My Maternity Leave:
- HAD A BABY.
Ahem. I'm still ten days away from my due date, and I don't particularly anticipate this kiddo gracing us with his presence anytime soon, despite the strange pressure that I have periodically been feeling in my nether regions, like someone jamming themselves onto my cervix (yeeeehaw, run-on sentence!). For about five seconds the other day I fully suspected that I was about to go into labor in the middle of IKEA, but then it passed. I suppose there are worse places to have a baby - the bedroom showrooms are really rather cozy, after all.
I'm not particularly good with "down time," I suppose. I've been reading and responding to work emails constantly - yesterday a coworker wrote "Quit replying to emails and go have a baby." Hey, I'm TRYING, dude. The truth is that work has been so all-consuming this year that it's tough to unplug. Evidently I'm not even supposed to be checking work emails while I'm on disability - HR would not be pleased.
For the past nine months, between the office and mothering a toddler, I have hardly had a chance to focus on the fact that OH YEAH, I'm pregnant. On one hand, I feel fairly guilty about this (or as guilty as you can feel when you're existing in a state of exhausted delirium and functioning on pure adrenaline). When I was pregnant with Carter, I sang to my uterus for an hour a day (AM/PM commute), read books to my belly, played Mozart and Beethoven to my abdomen through headphones, ate like a saint, practiced my contraction simulations and relaxation exercises, yadda yadda yadda. In short, all the stuff I have NOT been able to do this time around.
This kid gets either Lady Gaga on the radio, or Carter's favorite, the "Construction Site" theme song played a trillion times during our daily commute. I haven't read to the belly even once (but we do read to Carter, so that's something - right? Right?!?) I attempt to plug the uterus up to some classical tunes, but generally pass out drooling on the couch immediately thereafter and then stumble to bed. Strictly organic eating fell prey to leftovers scrounged from whatever meeting somebody had at work on any given day (hellooooo, greasy noodles from random hole-in-the-wall! Fancy meeting you here!). Every time we attempt to practice our contraction simulations/relaxation stuff, my husband and I pass out cold. In short, I've been decidedly less Type A and more, well, human this time around.
On the bright side, less obsession equals fewer neurotic fixations - only a small fraction of my brain is spent vexing over all the unpasteurized cheese that waiters have potentially served me, for instance. Bonus!
We are ready - all of us. Carter keeps telling us everything that he wants to show the baby - "I want to show the baby the big red bulldozer." Or the yellow dump truck, or the green crane, or the brown cement mixer (yes, we are into machines these days).
He likes to attempt to lick my belly, which he finds endlessly entertaining: "I want to LICK the baby!!" followed by a pink-tongued lunge in the direction of my stomach.
Yawn. I could pass out over these keys right now.
Today is the Roo's birthday, which means two things: 1) WE MADE IT ANOTHER YEAR! and 2) unless he joins us in the next 8 hours, my kids will not have the same birthday. Hopefully Little (still nameless!) Brother will also refrain from disrupting Carter's birthday party this Saturday (just a family dinner this year, because I have come to the conclusion that I am NOT Superwoman and therefore did not wish to attempt a 40+ person party in the scorching heat of summer while 39 weeks pregnant) with his arrival too. My husband politely requested that I wait until next week to have this baby, because he's very busy in the office this week, thankyouverymuch. I told him that was between him and the uterus, so he gave my belly a stern talking-to.
Oh, Braxton Hicks. Welcome, my friend. How have you been?
Two years ago today, I was in the hospital, gazing raptly at my beautiful, perfect newborn. And every day since, I've been able to stare at that same sweet face, and wonder how it is that I became so lucky as to be his mother.