Twas the night before Christmas…
And I’m relaxing in bed a bit. I already ate breakfast at 4am – I’ve been getting super hungry in the very early morning hours. Perhaps I am turning into a newborn before my new one is even born?!
I’m thinking about the word “twas” because so many things are turning into twas-es for me. On Monday, I went to my last yoga class for a while. On Tuesday, I taught my last Neighborhood Bridges class for a while. And one of these days, pretty soon now, I’ll have my last day as a pregnant woman. And my first day as a Bio-Mom.
I never thought I would have to specify Bio-Mom, but it turns out being a step-mom is really important to me. There are two children at my house right now, as they are half of their time, who count on me as a parent. Not their Mom, but another parent. Going from half time to full time, from step to step and bio, from kids to baby – we are all so excited for these changes. But we also don’t really know what to expect.
When David and I got married (our anniversary is tomorrow! Happy Christmas!), we spent a lot of time prepping the kids for the wedding and forgot to prep them for the rest of life together. We all got used to it eventually, pretty quickly actually, and we really feel like a family now. With the baby, we’ve been prepping them for life with a baby, not just the pregnancy and birth (don’t worry, they won’t be there for the birth…).
I think we are all as ready as we can be. But I think once he is born, we will, if even in a small way, miss our time together as 4, the way i’twas.
38 weeks and counting...
Sometimes there is so much going on in my brain that I’m sure what to write on my blog. What is appropriate, what is interesting, what I feel like dealing with in written words.
I recently came across a prompt project: http://www.reverb10.com/
Each day they have a different reflecting-over-the-past-year prompt. Here is today’s, followed by my response.
December 15 – 5 Minutes
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
(Author: Patti Digh)
Five minutes to remember 2010. The biggest memory is getting pregnant and carrying little Raspberry around for much of the year. I remember telling different people, friends, family, co-workers. It is amazing how excited everyone gets when you start talking about a baby. I took a home pregnancy test one morning when David had already left for work. I took a photo of the positive response and showed it to him that night after we’d put the kids to bed.
36 weeks pregnant...
In 2010 my grandfather passed away, a sad reminder of the cyclical nature of life. He was ill and had been struggling. Luckily David and I went to see my grand parents in January, so we had spent some time with him when he was feeling pretty well. Never enough time.
With Grandpa and Grandma in January
Mentioning the midwest reminds me of the way I began 2010 – by totalling David’s car. We were driving from Chicago to Detroit (the WORST idea we’ve ever had in winter – and we are smart folks!). David suggested I drive a bit because the road was clear and there was no snow. After about 5 minutes of driving, the road suddenly covered in ice and we were the final car in a huge pile up. The tow truck driver took photos it was so many cars. We were completely shook up, we spent the night in a weird Ramada in Western Michigan, and the next day rented a car to drive to Detroit and then PA. David kindly did all the driving. And we agreed never to drive to the Midwest in winter again.
We are very lucky
And that’s 5 minutes of memories. It is interesting to see what comes up – life, death, fear.
Last year I made a 2009 photo album of our best photos from the year. It was mostly the kids, some of me and of David. I plan to do it every year, in part because it is nice to have a tangible memory, and I love looking through the hundreds of photos we take each year, remember everything from ice skating, to planting our garden, to swimming with cousins, to going back to school, to ice skating again.
This year will be full of such different memories. But I love looking back.
Posted in family, myself, pregnant
Tagged baby, children, connections, family, learning, love, personal, pregnancy, reflection, slow down
David and I have spent lots of time talking about baby names. We both have high standards and strong beliefs about names, which is why we are calling our child “The Raspberry” (at least for now).
I was baby-product-surfing and came across this:
Aidan is THE name for a baby boy. I don’t know any Aidan’s my age, but I can think of at least 4 Aidan’s who are under 7 (2 on our block). Nathan, my step son’s name, is also popular (our neighbor is also named Nathan, but we call him Big Nathan to our Little Nathan. One of the carpenters working on our kitchen has come to be called (just in our family, to differentiate him from the others) Huge Nathan.). As is Zoë, my step daughter.
So coming into pregnancy, David and I both had strong ideas about how to choose a name:
- The name could not start with a “G,” like Graham Graff or Gayle Graff. Sounds too much like a super-hero or comic book character (Lois Lane, Clark Kent).
- The name could not be too popular. No Aidans in our family.
- The name should be Jewish (which also leads to no Aidans). For both of us, this could be an Hebrew/Israeli name (Yael), a culturally Jewish but American name (Sheldon), or a Biblical or Historical Name (Akiva). This was particularly important to me, growing up as Vicki Haller, a not-at-all Jewish sounding name.
- The name should not rhyme with or reference any private body part or sexual practice. Remember the Seinfeld when Jerry was dating a girl who’s name rhymed with some female body part. He couldn’t remember the name, so maybe it was Celeste…Mulva…Delores!
- We both would like to honor someone in our family and/or someone who was important to us. In Judaism, you name a child for someone who has passed away. My Grandfather, Alexander, passed away this summer. We aren’t planning to name the baby Alexander, but the common practice is to take the first letter of his name (A) and choose a name from there.
I think we have chosen a name, but we aren’t talking about it publicly. We don’t want feedback on our choice. If the little Raspberry arrives and the name we have chosen doesn’t suit him, then we’ll keep thinking. He doesn’t officially need to be named until his Bris.
How popular is your name? Do you think it makes an impact on the person you have become? In the 80s (I was born in 1981), Vicki was the 750th most popular name. I think having a different (not unique, really, just different) name helped me differentiate myself from my peers and helped me become the person I am, one who wants to blend in, but not at the expense of myself.
Wear Maternity Pants to eat Thanksgiving Dinner. Plenty of room to expand.
In college, my friend Rob always called me a Gentleman because I hold doors for people. I didn’t think action of mine was so revolutionary. I just didn’t want to let doors slam on people behind me. Apparently, this intention makes me a gentleman.
I kept hearing from other pregnant women and those with small children (the carrying not walking kind) that people will hold doors and do other gentlemanly things when you are pregnant.
When I was 3 months pregnant and looked like I ate too much at lunch, I could understand why no one held doors for me. They were probably thinking “that woman could use some exercise” and were happy to give me the opportunity to hold the door for them.
Now that I am 8 months pregnant, clearly pregnant, and not looking like a pregnant teenager now that my skin has cleared up and my grey hairs are shining in the autumn sun, I was actually looking forward to people holding doors and offering to help me with things.
I am sad to report that Berks County is full of non-gentlemen. I have one friend who is a gentleman and will barely let me hold my own purse when we are together. He always holds doors. But he always did.
Everyone else still lets them slam.
Sigh. I suppose I’ll put this on the ever-growing “con” side of the Living in Berks County list.
Not actually MY brain
I have several different categories that I like to write about: arts and theatre, my family, being pregnant, yoga, and personal things. Here is a general update of what’s going on in my brain these days:
- Arts in Education – I read a great article in American Theatre Magazine about creating theatre with and for autistic students. Using theatre for its therapeutic values: building verbal and non-verbal communication skills and increasing abilities to work together. I have done this kind of work before, with autistic students as well as students with a variety of emotional issues. It is amazing to see the rapid changes in these students when they connect with the material and each other.
- Family – My mom moved back to Florida. She had moved to PA to be close to us and the baby, but things didn’t work out according to plan. My sister and I drove down with her, stopping in North Carolina very briefly to see an Aunt and Uncle in Winston-Salem and and Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin in Charlotte. Then we continued on to Pensacola where we saw Dad and Brother, more Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins, one Bubby, and a few friends. I was sad for my mom thather plans fell through up here, but it was nice to have a reason to see my family. I hadn’t been back to Pensacola since August of last year.
- Myself – It is hard to separate myself from all that is going on with everything and everyone else. I have become impatient. I don’t like this, and I keep thinking since I’m aware of it, I should be able to master it, but I can’t. Yet.
- Pregnant – He is moving more, but not kicking. I feel him pressing against my abdominal wall or spine or bladder (usually when no bathroom is in sight!). At the midwife’s office yesterday, I received a packing list for having the baby. My favorite thing on the list is juice – I love juice and if labor is an excuse to drink an over abundance, bring it on.
- Theatre – I’ve been catching up on old American Theatre magazines (who has time for magazines of substance unless on an airplane?!). I read about theatre festivals going on all over the world; one that particularly caught my interest is in Germany and for children. No child actors, lots of mature material but in a kid-appropriate way. I want to go to there. I’ve been thinking about this play for children that I have a grant to write in 2011. I want the topic to be something mature and thoughtful and provocative, but of course for young people. I’m currently thinking of time. Big topic, but lots of possibility. And it will make David happy because it is science.
- Yoga – My practice has changed so much. The weirdest thing is that I’ve gotten away from studying the yoga sutras. That is something I can continue even while I’m in labor (though I don’t know I’ll really be able to concentrate), but for some reason, I have stopped reading and thinking about them. Some svadyaya (self-study) may help reveal why and guide me back to the books.
What are YOU thinking about?
Posted in arts in education, family, myself, pregnant, theatre, yoga
Tagged arts in education, baby, creativity, family, life lessons, love, personal, playwrighting, pregnancy, writing, yoga
It’s not a typo.
In yoga, we say we are practitioners. The Sanskrit word I like to use is Sadhaka, which is more like a dedicated-to-the-path-of-yoga-practitioner-and-devoted-student, but that obviously doesn’t translate simply into English.
My practice has changed so much in the past few months, which was to be expected. It was one thing I was really looking forward to about being pregnant (yoga practice, interesting. back pain, lack of sleep, excessive burping, less interesting).
At 7 months pregnant (29.5 weeks, but who’s counting), I feel like I have to learn how to practice yoga all over again. Which is humbling. And challenging.
We all have different labels we wear all day, and in yoga class, it isn’t always different. I was “flexible” and “a back-bender.” Those and many other identifying aspects of my practice are gone now. I’ve been a “pranayama-practitioner” and a “restorative pose lover” by my own labeling.
It turns out these are both things I needed in my practice. I have grown to love and depend on pranayama, as I’ve written about before. The art and skill of lying or sitting and just breathing is a huge challenge for me, as movement-y as I like to be. But I feel how much better my day goes if I spend the 30 minutes in the morning doing it.
And, for similar reasons, it was always difficult for me to practice restorative poses on my own. It feels so indulgent to lie around in yoga poses and rest. Isn’t that what sleeping is for?! But it turns out to be a very different kind of rest, one that I know I’ll need when Raspberry is born and as he (and the other kids) grow up.
In a few months, it will be time to move on to the post-natal practice, which means serious abdominal work and strength building to get myself back to “my practice.” My challenge to myself: Learn how to practice both of “my” practices and reap the benefits of both.
photo/photoshop credit: Emma Chong
All of a sudden, I feel actually pregnant today. Not just “oh, my belly is big and I get to wear silly pants” but “oh man, where did my toes go?”
Posted in pregnant
I’ve been reading a lot about the best ways to welcome a newborn baby into the world. Everything I’ve read (and I realise I am self-selecting what I WANT to read and WANT to do with my baby) has suggested that holding your child and giving the child lots of attention is best for everyone.
So I had to laugh a little when I received one of these weekly emails about pregnancy; the opening article was about this amazing new idea called Kangaroo Care, when the mother holds the baby near her skin. The father can do it too.
I keep thinking that every parent would want to hold their child near them. But I have to remember that isn’t always the case. And I shouldn’t judge.
Last week, I went to Philadelphia with David. While we were eating lunch, I saw another table at the cafe with three women and a baby in a stroller. One woman was the mom, one was a nanny and the other may have been mom’s coworker. The baby was desperate for mom’s attention, reaching out, crying and wimpering. She would periodically lean oven and give him something but basically ignored him for her other lunch partners or her cell phone. When she got up to pay, he cried out for her more and she didn’t even acknowledge him. As they left, the nanny pushed the stroller and mom walked behind, not even with the baby.
I understand not everyone shares my values, and I probably won’t be the parent I’ve idealized in my imagination. When my step kids are at our house, I talk to them, play with them, make things with them. I try to share my thoughts and listen to theirs (age appropriate, of course). And when Raspberry is born, I do hope that I will take the time to listen to his needs and fulfill as best as I can.
What happens to a blog when the blogger has nothing to say?
I have things to say, but not Things to say. My brain is like this: baby, yoga, baby, husband, books, baby, minivan, family, baby, eat, baby, clean something, baby, work a little, baby, baby.
I like thinking about the baby, but I don’t want to stop being an interesting person either. It’s so cliché.