It is May 31st, my due date, and judging by the time, it is highly unlikely I'll be one of the 3% of women who deliver on their "due date."
I am eminently ok with this. K. is less so, mostly because he is ready for his 2-weeks of "paternity leave" (aka vacation/sick days) to begin. And yet somehow, I do not feel guilty.
What I do feel, at this exact moment in time, is calm.
Y'all have probably figured out that I have spent about 100x more mental space thinking about the renovation of our house than the arrival of this child. It's true. My last column in the O-town's newspaper was titled "So This Is Why Second Children Feel Shortchanged" or something like that.
And I am over feeling guilty about this.
I spent my entire pregnancy with Annaliese thrilled to meet her. I wanted to know if she would love me, what she would look like, what her first words would be; I wanted to stroke the curve of her cheek and hold her close and kiss the folds of her neck and her arms and her legs.
And then she arrived, and though every anticipated moment and detail I just typed has actually happened or been answered, it was not at all as I had dreamed about when I was rocking in the decorated nursery and sniffing Baby Bee's Shampoo Bar.
I am much more open with this child. I am unwilling to spend the mental headspace trying to figure out when and how he will arrive, where he will sleep, what he will look like and weigh and be like, because it has become clear to me that it does not matter what I would choose. I could Google the night away and the child would still arrive when he is good and ready; he might be a cuddler or a colicky baby or have a shock of bright red hair; I simply don't know, and I won't know until the fullness of time.
The fullness of time. A wonderful phrase that is coming to make more and more sense to me.
Time is something that has changed radically for me since Annaliese's birth. I am still impatient (just ask K.) but I am also more cognizant of the seasons, of how the days keep flowing and circumstances keep shifting until it becomes apparent that yes, it is time for Annaliese to move into her own crib (age 3 months); yes, she is ready to feed herself with her own spoon (9 months); yes, it is time to wean her (11 months); yes, she is ready to leave the house for daycare (13 months); and so on and so forth.
You cannot plot children. (But my Lord, people do try. That's what all those baby books are about: control, a billion-dollar industry. Weight, yes; children, no.)
I am open to being surprised by this child. By the circumstances of his birth, by his nature, by his looks, and by the way we will all keep changing, because my goodness they do not stay the same: something that it takes first-time moms a while to realize. They will not wake every hour forever; they will grow out of needing to be held constantly; they will-- so they tell me-- learn to speak whole sentences, sentences you would not have chosen for them.
But while I have matured enough to resist planning, I do admit to being DEEPLY curious. About how I will tell the story of my son's first summer; about how we will survive, with all that we are doing and want to do.
But for the first time I can say we are ready. Even if the porch trim isn't painted, even if I have yet to plant the *damn* cucumber seedlings... we are now ready, and every day before the little boy gets here will just be an opportunity to savor the final days of being a trinity.
I don't like to drive, I have a toddler, Mississippi weather is mighty fine 10 months out of the year, and I live two blocks from Main Street.
Throw all those facts in a bag and what you come up with is I tend to walk around town when I'm doing my errands, shopping, etc.
However, of late, every DAMN TIME I'm out at the bank, or taking myself to lunch, or going to the Post Office... someone I know will slow down, lower their window, and say, "You trying to walk that baby out?"
Maybe it's just the 40-week-pregnant talking, but man, it makes me want to stick a fork in someone's eye.
Also irritating: the very existence of a due date. It's Sunday, by the by, but what a RIDICULOUS notion; babies born between 36-42 weeks are considered neither preemies nor "overcooked" as long as their lungs work and their weight is ok; I am having a baby. Soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next Saturday. (Personally, I'm rooting for a Sunday or a Tuesday because I like what the nursery rhyme says about kids born on those days.) The odds that the baby will arrive on my due date are so NEGLIGIBLE I don't even like telling people when my "date" is.
Rants aside, I'm well. K's been felled by another throat/sinus/nose thing (God really did a lousy job on his plumbing, I'm nagging him to go to an E-N-T) and Annaliese has been sleeping very, very poorly, but there's banana bread and chili and chicken soup in the chest freezer and K plans to finish the shower on Sunday and the pest control man just told me we don't have any signs of termites.
So we're good. If the baby arrives... family will get a phone call, we'll email everyone we can think of, and K will post an announcement here.
Hopefully this time he'll choose to omit my breast. Because, you know, that was so SUPER-COOL of him the last time.
After a week of sun, the wind is up and the clouds are rolling in. Good odds we'll get rained on tomorrow at the market; no matter! The market shall endure! Luckily for me the manager has a tent this year.
K. and I both had no-good very bad days yesterday for various boring reasons: work, a lost wallet, missing Allan wrenches. And then Annaliese wouldn't stay asleep, so we ended up letting her get up at 9 or so: she ran around the living room as her father watched Transporter 3, eating gingerbread and squealing like a maniac.
Parents of the Year, we are.
We spent Wednesday knocking out the kitchen. And we have a 3-day weekend starting tonight. And we found before pics of the house, which astound even me...
so how's this? New House Slideshow will be posted Monday night!
On Saturday, she did so again. This pic was snapped at the Farmers' Market; it is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things to sit under the manager's tent with K. next to me, watching our curly-headed daughter run around with the local riffraff.
Just kidding. That's a child of our friends', who is a very sweet little boy, though slightly out of sorts in this picture because Annaliese kept trying to snag his stuffed dog.
On Sunday, we went for a family walk. Annaliese rode in the stroller most the way, but we took a detour to the graveyard, hoping to find name inspirations for the new babe. Sadly, "Artemus" (yes, a boy) and "Roy" -- along wth every other name in the damn world-- failed to make the final cut.
However, it turns out the graveyards are great places to let babies wander. Shade, smooth grass, and stuff to climb on.
K. and I have been married for 44 months (I had to count on my fingers to figure that out).
Today Annaliese is 16 months and 12 days.
And today is MAY 18TH! WHICH is not at all the "beginning of May" meaning that New Baby is a leisurely 4 or so weeks away! Today is well into the middle of May, which means...
I'm having a baby in like five minutes, since that's approximately how quickly the weeks are passing.
Official due date is May 31st, but come on, Annaliese was EIGHT days late so we're figuring June something-ish.
We had an extraordinarily laid-back and pleasant weekend chock-full of friends (Stinkerina came to visit), activities (Music in the Park, Farmers Market, Movie on Main say what?), and family downtime (it didn't rain yesterday. We took a walk. Took a nap. Hung out and burned some more wood.).
But the big news of the weekend is that K's best friend proposed on a HOT AIR BALLOON on his girlfriend's BIRTHDAY (wicked cool move, girls always think birthdays are proposal off-limits) and she ACCEPTED which is WONDERFUL because
1. K's best friend is really fabulous, and also a really good cook, which means the food at his wedding is something that's already crossed my mind
2. The lady in question is so AWESOME that despite being the 4th wheel in all this (best friend's wife) I personally am VERY EXCITED because now we can all go on vacation together and K and N can play (I mean, do manly things, like smoke cigars) and E and I can talk about denim and food and babies and whatever else and despite only seeing her on a few occasions, I am confident that I will enjoy these future vacations, because she really.is.that.cool.
3. Engagements are cause for celebration when the people are so clearly right for each other.
Congratulations, you two. Now post pics already so I can moon over your cutie-pie faces. (UPDATED)
A friend took this picture Saturday and I just love it. It looks like Annaliese. This is what she really, truly looks like right now, crazy curls and all.
People ask me if she talks. Sure. She says "woof" (she really likes dogs), "buuuh" (book), "Baba" (Papa), "Mamamamamamama" (I want that cookie-grape-raisin-drink right now), "eyes" (eyes), and "baaa" (ball).
Which is to say, not really.
But she shakes her head no emphatically and nods her head yes; she pulls on my pants leg and reaches both hands up to me, fingers opening and closing in exhortation; she points, says Mmmmmm, nodding vigorously all the while; she babbles and hums and coos and shrieks with frustration.
In other words, she seldom fails to get her point across. It's like living with a very small mime.
She is more and more her own small person and less and less a spirit tied to my own. She's still a baby, make no mistake, but she has her own soul, the germ of her own interests, and I can foresee decades of delight in watching her make her own way in this world.
What an interesting trip this has been and will be.
I gave up trying to sleep at 5:30am and went to check the weather. It didn't look good, and by 6:30, sheets of rain (7 inches this month already. It's the NINTH.) and hail were coming down.
I pulled on my raincoat and went down to set up. The Market's rain policy is: let it. We'll be there.
And it let up, by 8 or so, and kids rode a cow train, a donkey got patted, a hammered dulcimer was played, and hopefully, some farmers and the MSM Fest vendors made some money.
Annaliese and Papa K. under my "Manager" tent.
A shy turkey egg vendor.
Kids waiting to be whisked around on the cow train.
At the very least, Annaliese had a good time roaming the town, petting kittens, scarfiing down homemade ice cream, and playing horseshoes with her papa.
Sadly, the headlining band and the fireworks got relocated/kiboshed. As I write this, more sheets of rain are pouring down. Everyone pretty much packed up around 5 and went home as yet more severe weather blew east and into the valley.
The band (non-refundable and all) will be playing at the local tavern, which is great except this is Mississippi, where people smoke, and my kid is pretty fried anyhow. The fireworks will be for another night.
And while it would have been great to have the whole day work out as planned, at least we got 8-ish to 5. At least there were kittens, and crawfish in bags, and sack races and ice cream sandwiches and an afternoon of music.
As for the Farmers' Market... unlike the Festival, we don't get just one shot. So we'll be doing it all over again next Saturday.
It's been a pleasant couple of days here. K. and I going to bed at the same time; a lunch date at Whole Foods post-midwife-visit; me mowing while K. painted trim and a small bonfire consumed about 1/1000 of the scrap wood littering our backyard.
Shoot, I even made a damn good chicken soup with orzo.
I haven't taken a single snap though, but I will tomorrow. Tomorrow is this.
Wish us luck. I am really, really excited. And it's going to be super fun to watch my little girl run around on her own two feet, when last year she was a wee little baby whom I had to nurse periodically in Wilbur's truck.
This weekend is the first farmers' market of the season. It's going along with a big festival our Main Street Assoication puts on; all very exciting.
In contrast to last year, when the market was brandnew, I already have 7 confirmed vendors for Saturday's market. Considering that produce has yet to really start coming in, considering that last year's first market only had 3 and one was me.... I am really, really pleased.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of running the FM. I don't know why. But it's far and away the favorite thing that I do for this town, even though I'm involved in some pretty cool stuff, like the Movies on Main a bunch of us put on under the association's name (and on its dime).
I won't, however, be trying to sell stuff myself this year. Somehow I think that the combination of bigger market + more infrastructure + newborn = no time to rise at 4 and bake baguettes for $20.
See? I let things slide :)
A fellow preggers lady emailed me this am at 5:45. Like me, she is having #2; like me, she has a little girl.
Big difference is she went in for her planned c-section at 6 or so and by 9:30am, a fellow friend had emailed to say that B. was safe and sound with a baby boy, 7lbs 7ozs.
As labor becomes more and more of a nightly possibility, I admit to some envy. How.. clean, how civilized, to be able to Blackberry on your way to the hospital, to be able to plan and organize and delegate.
In stark contrast: I don't know when (now? In early June? C'est possible...). I don't know what time of day, or what day; whether Annaliese will be at play school, at home, or asleep. I don't know how long it will take or how much it will hurt.
All I do know is that in planning a natural home birth, I am setting up my support systems (midwives, K., a friend to come over and watch Annaliese if need be) so that I can be fully available to birth this new baby. And that's about all I have control over.
I'm a planner. An organizer. A delegator (just ask K.). So this when-it-happens, it-happens approach doesn't come all that easily.
And as I waddle around town, wondering how many markets I'll be around for before maternity leave, I'm not sure why I pick this way, except I have a basic distrust of gadgetry, choosing french presses over coffee pots and knives over food processors.
Wouldn't it be nice to be more CLEARLY right sometimes?