Here I sit, nine-plus months pregnant. My house is spotless, my toddler just went down for a nap that will likely last a blissful two or three hours, and I am well-rested with not one single to-do to worry about. All is peaceful, easy and well.
And because any day now this simple life will be blown to bits, I wanted to put this moment on the record. A reminder to myself that no matter how difficult the coming year may be, there will come a time and a place where my husband and I both sleep through the night. And go out to a nice dinner. And have kids who can walk around, tell us what's wrong, eat regular food and play together.
This sounds kind of dramatic, but the first year after Mia was born, I deeply feared our life would never feel settled again. But I think we had an unusually hard start to parenthood. The timeline looks something like this: Baby born. Breastfeeding awful. Baby blues like crazy. Breastfeeding improves, but dog goes paralyzed. Expensive and painful spinal surgery. Post-op complications that required dragging an infant to several middle-of-the-night animal ER visits. And oh, look! A colicky baby. Who screamed for weeks on end while mom and dad broke a sweat learning how to manually express the bladder of a handicapped dog. Months of recovery and rehabilitation. Working-mom exhaustion. Nighttime and nap battles that only grew worse until, at baby's 12-month checkup, a pediatrician issued sleep-training instructions to a weary, tearful mom.
And there came the turning point. We fixed the sleeping, which made the whole family happier and more rested. We finished up breastfeeding, which freed up TONS of my time both at work and at home. We somehow got ourselves to a place where Mia can ask for a bowl of cereal, and we can give it to her with a spoon (a real adult one!) and a cup of milk (not even a sippy!) and a meal is as easy as that. It's beautiful!
As for Chickenbone, well, he has his good days and his bad days. In fact, he recently spent a few weeks on crate rest because we noticed his back legs were wobbly and dragging a little. It's something we're going to have to be vigilant about for the rest of his life. He may have blown one disk, but he has many more and will always be at risk of further back injury. We are also still expressing his bladder four times a day. I know that is kind of shocking, but you know what? There's lots of stuff we have to do every day. We take showers and do dishes and keep a toddler alive and entertained every single day. This has become just another daily chore. It is what it is.
Most of the time, though, Chickens is a happy dog who brings much joy to our family, and he loves Mia as much as she adores him. In fact, a few weeks ago she decided to keep him company while he was on bedrest.
Mia's other near-constant companion is this Pooh bear. She likes to feed him Cheerios for breakfast.
She used to feed him in her high chair, but we recently acquired this nifty kid-sized table and chair set. Much more civilized.
What a helpful child! She also likes to assist dad with his yardwork.
Here are a few more recent pictures. Trader Joe's is our favorite grocery store because airplanes hang from the ceiling. After Mia "helps" by handing them items from the cart, the cashiers often give her a strip of stickers.
Waiting patiently for a somersault assist.
Father's Day back-yard barbecue. I can't help but crack up when she wears these sunglasses. She just stares back blankly, like, "What's wrong with you, lady?"
Chillaxin' in her lawn chair after a hearty meal.
And here she is on her way out the door to run errands with mom (or "mom-mom," as she has recently started calling me.) It is plain to see that my belly size has graduated from cute-pregnant-lady to freaky-circus-sideshow. Meaning, new baby, that we are awfully ready when you are!