Well, we're well into third trimester. I'm reminded now that it isn't just first trimester that sucks. It goes like this:
First trimester: Ugh, why did I have to get pregnant?
Second trimester: Hey, it's not so bad being pregnant.
Third trimester: I am so done being pregnant!
Funny how I started off with this terrified of having another baby, and now I'm like, bring on the baby! Beats being pregnant!
I had a few days where I was having braxton-hicks contractions pretty much every time I stood up, despite all the magnesium I'm taking, on top of my pelvis getting totally screwed up all of a sudden. I walked to the park on Tuesday and felt like I'd just finished a marathon .... that would be three blocks, at a snail's pace. Of course the heat didn't help (it was 90) but my main thought was, "Oh woe, no more park till the baby is born!" Because I was so afraid I'd put myself into labor just walking out there.
Well, for whatever reason that's all settled down (better hydration? truly excessive amounts of magnesium lotion smeared on my belly?) and I don't think I'm going to give up the park just yet. I'll play each week by ear. Right now I'm almost 33 weeks. I am thinking of it as "five weeks more" because Michael was born at 38 and Marko at almost 39, but of course it could well be another two months. And you know, I'll survive if it is. I'm not going to say no to more time with only two kids.
With discomfort, for me at least, comes massive amounts of whining. It does make me feel better to complain -- the years that boarding school had me never complaining just led to me feeling miserable AND lonely -- and it wins me all kinds of sympathy from friends and family. But on the other hand, I'm beginning to feel like the world's biggest whiner, and I am tired of it. I feel like I'm bringing everyone down. Everyone's happy to be sympathetic for a day or two, but if you whine every day for a month, they're going to get tired of it. I especially feel bad for John, who is entitled every once in awhile to have a bad day himself and could perhaps use not to hear a list of complaints every single day.
So I'm trying to strike a balance. Now that my back is better, my uterus has calmed down, and the kids had a good day today, I don't even feel the need to whine. But I still reserve the right to whine as necessary. If I never complain, I just end up crabby and no one knows why because I didn't tell them any of the reasons.
Marko seems to have hit his stride as a four-year-old. Instead of the constant battles of the will we had when he was three, and for a month or two after, he's turned to constant questions. Some of those questions are obviously just to make sure I am paying attention to him ("What are you doing, Mama? Are you washing dishes? Did you wash that dish already? Are you going to wash that dish next?") but others are rather genius ("Why is the sun hot? How does matter turn into energy? What's gravity? Are spiders mammals?"). And I just can't help trying to answer them all, even though I know there is no end to all of them, because I like to help him learn.
And because if I say "I'm so tired of all your incessant questions!" he'll only answer, "Why are you tired of questions? What does incessant mean?" He will repeat the same question over and over till he gets an answer. I try to fight it sometimes, if only to prove to him I don't have to answer, but really, it's a losing battle.
In Chesterton's words, he will ask all the questions there are, and some there aren't.
He's finally interested in getting older and learning new things, instead of melting down crying at the thought of someday being older than he is. (It helped that I told him that even if his hair turns brown when he gets older, like Daddy's did, he can always dye it back to blond if he wants to. For some reason this was very important to him.) He says he's going to have a real tractor when he grows up, as well as a house and twin boys who own remote control cars and are going to share with him.
And he's stopped insisting he can't read and never wants to learn, and now tells me that he can so read. Which he pretty much can, if by "read" you mean flip through the book and tell you what's going on on every page, as well as recite the words, often enough. Michael loves getting "read" to, and Marko enjoys going through a book even when I'm not willing to read to him. (Either one of them would have me read to them all day, given the choice.) Marko is also interested in the idea that letters make sounds, and he can spend fifteen minutes asking, "What sound does T make? What sound does P make? What sound does L make? What word does TPLWR spell?" (Then he'll answer himself, "It spells Constantinople.") He doesn't recognize the shapes of all his letters, but he knows some, and we have fun with letter magnets and letter puzzle pieces, building words. I'm following his interest with this -- he's only four and there's no rush, but if he wants to learn about letters, I'll set aside what I'm doing and do letters with him.
(Which goes to show that unschooling, even though it's child-led, is hardly free of the parent's influence. When I say no to playing cars and yes to playing letters, I am sending a message about what things are important enough to get Mama's attention.)
He still can't write at all or draw very well at all, but this may be partly my fault .... I don't often let them color because it takes only seconds of my inattention for them to write on the walls. I really should try to give him more chances, though. I've noticed boys often have poor hand-eye coordination early on and thus terrible handwriting in first and second grade, and I wonder if it's because they don't spend as much time on drawing and other fine-motor activities.
But he's gradually getting more capable in other things. He buckles his own seatbelt, and often will dress himself (though he'd still prefer I do it). He can make his own (messy) peanut butter sandwich and give half to Michael. He likes to help me with stuff, though he can be bad at following directions and end up being more of a hindrance sometimes.
Michael .... sigh. The two words I can think of to describe him are "irrepressible" and "sleepless." Yeah, he's still not regularly sleeping through the night, or even very often at all. Sometimes he wakes up around when I get into bed, and I bring him into his bed in our room, where he might sleep great till morning. But in Marko's room, he never sleeps as well. He wakes up and squawks a little -- enough to wake me up and get me halfway out my bedroom door before I realize he's just making noise in his sleep -- every hour or two, before waking up for real between twelve and three and needing to be brought into our room. I really want him to sleep in his own room all night, but I think I've missed the best window to do it ... now I am too tired to make the investment, and I'd sooner just bring him in our room to sleep.
But if he's on the mattress next to our bed, where is the baby going to sleep? I was going to set up the crib there! I don't like actually having a baby in bed with me all night; I can't get comfortable. And I would hate to train my baby to be unable to sleep alone simply because I had nowhere else to put them!
Also this waking at 4:30 a.m. and not going back to sleep thing has to stop. He doesn't always do it, but when he does, he and I are both miserable all day. He spends the whole day collapsing into tears over being offered the wrong food, having Marko make a face at him, or being told no for any reason. And I spend the day shrieking "WHY must you be so crabby? Why can't you ever be happy?" Which led to poor Michael staggering after me sobbing "I will be happy, I will be happy!" Ugh, stab to the heart. Not my proudest mother moment there.
I won't turn the wheels on your loom, Mama! That is, not until your back is turned!
But the irrepressible side is really a delight, even though it's trouble of its own. Most of the time, he's SO happy. Big beaming smiles, hysterical laughter over the tiniest things. He's also so affectionate -- loves hugs, and will come up behind me to give me one. If he sees a booboo on me anymore -- or even a zit -- he has to kiss it. He hugs his stuffed animals and carries them around. If someone is sad, he has to do something about it. This morning he insisted I nurse the crying baby in his book, so it would feel better. And I did, because who can say no to that face?
His "crazy face"
Of course his irrepressible temperament and general lack of anxiety means that he isn't half as good a listener as Marko was at the same age. (I supposed we could also put it down to the fact that I pay him less attention and he gets away with a lot Marko never did.) If I said "No, dangerous," to Marko, he nodded solemnly and avoided the thing ever after. If I say it to Michael, he gets a twinkle in his eye and sees how close he can get to it before I stop him. All of our really solid rules -- no opening the front yard gate, hold hands in the parking lot -- he accepts, but I can't just make up new ones and expect him to follow them until I've enforced them quite a few times.
Some days it seems like he's almost done nursing -- other days I cut him off long before he's done because he will never be done, and it gets uncomfortable after awhile. When I do he whimpers, "I will be still! I will be still!" That's because I cut him off if he's too fidgety ... but some days it's not the fidgets, it's nursing at all that's the problem. And, well, he's two. I don't feel guilty in the least about setting limits.
Overall they are getting along pretty well. No biting each other. They do get in this one argument over and over again -- who is going to hold the baby first when it's born. Poor baby.
So, considering how terrible I am at keeping up with this blog, I decided to start another to neglect as well. It's just for my spinning/dyeing/weaving stuff, because it felt like it would clutter up this blog, and that way I can share it on Ravelry without having to share this blog. It's The Spindle Is Mightier Than the Sword. You can see some of my projects on there and pour out effusive praise, if you feel so inclined. Nothing has yet turned out the way I wanted, but it's still all fun and I love the colors I've been working with. If I ever get around to posting what I'm working on now, you can see even cooler colors. I just love color.
Hobby Lobby .... I'm tired of hearing about it. It's really not such a landmark decision as far as I can figure; it's ringed about with exceptions so that it really won't apply to anything but this one case. That should be a relief to some and a disappointment to others. Me, I'm still annoyed that my husband's employer got to deny me coverage for a homebirth and a Rhogam shot, because it chose my insurance plan (obviously, since it purchased the plan) and made up its mind ahead of time about what it thought I needed and deserved. Some reproductive freedom that is.
It's not surprising -- you make someone pay for something, you give them the power over that thing. Government money means government power; corporation money means corporation power. More and more I think paying cash would work better, but now it's illegal not to pay extortion money to an insurance company every month, so there isn't really any choice anymore in that direction.
More takes at Conversion Diary. How was your week?