Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Second Time Round (Pregnancy No 2)

Well, I feel a bit guilty over No2 already. My first pregnancy, I was excited over every little nuance and also extremely nervous. I wouldn't say that I'm exactly nonplussed this time around, but certainly the dial has been scaled back and most of my focus is directed towards wonder, amazement (and admittedly at times frustration) at my son. Baby 2 is admittedly very much in the shadow of Baby 1... even when I try and connect with Baby 2, for instance during my yoga and meditation sessions, I start to think about my son. Maybe this will change when I start to feel the first flutters and kicks.

I am thankfully entering the good old second trimester, yeah, baby! As if like clockwork, I am getting more energy and less nausea. I still continue to be addicted to ginger & tumeric tea and kimchi (though not together) and I wonder how much kimchi I will buy this pregnancy. I suppose it's better than my previous urge towards cinnamon ice cream with my son, as Baby 2 continues on its health kick. A long time mushroom lover, I couldn't even stand the sight of mushrooms, unless they were of the cartoon variety, in my first pregnancy, but I am OK chowing down all manner of grilled mushrooms this time round and have had no aversions. I've definitely had more nausea this time and popped out really quickly - I was back in maternity clothes in week 9, anxiously wondering whether the doctor has missed a heartbeat or two at the initial ultrasound. My friends who are more seasoned in these matters noted that weaker ab muscles and muscle memory results in a belly way faster than the first time round, which eased my fears a bit until the second ultrasound proved there was only tenant... with a propensity for backflips.

Although the second time round is easier in some respects - I know what to expect - it's also a lot harder. Now I carry the belly and my 25 lb. son up four flights of stairs (and realized why my mother had scoffed when we rented a walk up)... a task that's only going to get harder as we both grow bigger. I'm determined to coax him somehow to venture up by himself- which he is physically capable of doing and has done at certain times, but which mode of travel is inferior in his eyes to his mother's royal ride. Cheerleading didn't work, so in desperation I threw up my keys to the top of the stairs, and that did the trick. I'm confined to always being behind him as I'm worried he may tumble down if he loses his footing (a very substantial possibility, since although he's mighty fast, he's not too balanced and has had many a fall), but I catch him with the keys after each flight, throw them up and after some initial growling in response on his part, we begin again. With my son and increased work, I've also been unable to sneak in afternoon naps which were my savior the first time round. Booo. I'm also still nursing my son, although now that he's turning 15 months and I have to travel - and I refuse to pump!- it's nearing the time to wean.... I'm not sure whom its going to hit harder...

As much as I look at my calendar and wonder when I'm going to have the time to get everything I need done, it is getting easier to do chores and sometimes even send a few emails out when I'm on duty as my son is becoming more self-reliant. If I find that he's playing with his toys by himself, engaging them in a somewhat voracious discussion on a topic that the toys evidently have
strong and contrasting views, I keep an eye on him and divert to other matters. On the one hand, I want to encourage his imagination and his ability to be self-reliant. On the other, I need to utilize what time I can. I know this increased freedom won't last as No2 is nearing... in this respect, I'm glad that they're no too far apart. No1's entry was as if a grenade went off in our lives with consequent shell shock as we tried to repair the shattered strands of our lives through a constant hypnagogic state... and just when we're putting the pieces together and managing a schedule, No 2 knocks on the door... but this may be easier than if it were five years later when we may have (as we may naively believe) been lulled back into a normal schedule...

... another beautiful madness awaits... and it's coming soon...


Thursday, January 7, 2016

A is for Apple

Recently, I've been able to communicate with my son. He cannot only point, emphatically shake his head and nod and say a few words, "mama" (which he knows to parse out in order to retain its manipulative worth), "dada", "voda" (water in Serbian) and "apple" among a few others, but it's made a world of difference. I find it interesting what he chooses to say in Serbian and what in English. From his reactions, he appears to understand both. If I tell him to pick something up and hand it to me, in either language, he will do so. I suppose he says what is easiest for him to pronounce - "voda" is easier than "water" and "apple" is far easier than "jabuka" for developing vocal chords. He is also picking up signs - he signs when he is finished with eating, he signs back happily when we signal bath time. Now that he can say "apple", he can ask for it even when there is no apple to which he can point. Every week his communication increases exponentially and it's an amazing rise to watch.

As he understands more, he is also negotiating the boundaries of what is and is not allowed. It seems the "terrible twos" start from 1, right at the start of the second year of life. He relishes our reaction when he starts throwing food on the ground and has a particular cry when he simply wants something he can't have (more appropriately a whine). Hubby and I have resolved that if he is testing the boundaries, we must strictly enforce our border patrol. After all, as a common force, he gives up, understanding he can't win. If one of us should crumble, he could easily manipulate us against the other and we will be mere putty in his hands.

I must admit I am totally winging it. At times, I am admittedly too tired and give in to his whining, as long as what he wants is not dangerous. At other times, I've found the only way to relate to him, for speaking calmly and explaining the situation does not work, is to give him what he wants in a controlled environment so he sees on his own skin that what I warned was right. For instance, he was furious that I was not sharing my extremely spicy basil chicken with him. In protest, he started throwing his own dinner on the kitchen floor and wailing away. For a while, I calmly explained that it was too spicy for him and would hurt his tongue and later his stomach and that he had much healthier food in front of him. In response, he threw a piece of cucumber in my face. I then resorted to Plan B. I stuck my finger in the sauce, took the tiniest piece of chicken, ensuring there were no chili pieces on it and gave him a bite. The look on his face was at first pure surprise, which seconds later, as his face swept incarnadine, concluded in a piercing cry. I calmly went to the fridge and poured a glass of milk in a cup and told him to drink it. After downing the milk in record time, he no longer asked for my meal and passively continued to eat his own.