Friday, March 25, 2011

a reminder to myself: breathe

I'm prone to worrying, so it's no surprise that being pregnant again is raising my anxiety level. I did pretty well there for a while, just not thinking about it and letting it happen as it would. But the earthquake and tsunami in Japan brought all my fears back home to roost. It's not that I fear either of those events happening where I live, but that the media coverage of the suffering has been overwhelming. I've spent hours crying, at this point, and feeling alternately lucky and scared (when will I have to face crisis again?). The scared feeling is winning.

The current big set of fears is about the health of the baby. I know--it's predictable and it's a completely fair set of fears for any pregnant woman to have. I went through the NT scan last week and while it all looked good (NT=1.49mm; nasal bone present), the first set of odds were 1 in 320 for DS. These are fine odds, in fact, and they mean "screen negative" (a.k.a. no recommendation for an amnio or other invasive testing). For an old broad, they're really not bad. According to my testing center, a woman my age (42 at delivery) has a 1 in 32 chance for a child with DS, so my odds were improved by the low NT score and my first set of bloodwork. All this is relatively fine.

Except, this is me we're talking about. Me who worries daily about the idea that the cat has trailed some toxop.lasmosis in on his little paws. Me who stockpiles water in her basement in case of disaster (and who regularly updates that stash of water so that it's shelf life is always good). Me who can spend hours obsessing over odds and dangers and twinges.

There is no solution to this problem. I've done what I can about this. I've researched the hell out of amnio (again) and am going to wait until we get the second tri bloodwork back to make a decision. I've talked to my husband about it until he's finally sick of worrying with me (he's SO not a worrier!). And I've written a wish in my little wish box that this baby is healthy and will arrive happy and alive sometime in late September/early October. I know this last thing is not exactly a "real" solution, but I've done it for years and it feels like a measure of hopefulness in my otherwise worried little world.

I've also tried to remember some of my breathing techniques and buddhist readings, as I know they'll be helpful during this rough couple of months. I've meditated and read buddhist philosophy for many years, though the meditation is spotty (at best). Life is change. We're not really in control. I should let my mind observe my anxiety rather than get caught up in its narrative. Let the anxiety be; it has it's place. I know these aren't the beautiful ways that philosophers describe buddhism, but they're the sentences that I've translated them into for myself in the last week or so. I meditated for 5 minutes this morning and will try to do so in the coming weeks at least.

Honestly, this is probably all I can do. Just sit with the fear and let it be what it is (and nothing more). It doesn't mean that the fears will be going away anytime soon, I know, but maybe they'll be more bearable.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a reason we still need feminism

One of my favorite bloggers has written a very important post, so in the absence of a real post from me (for now), let me refer you there: The War on Women Has Got To Stop. It's such a smart, nicely documented, argument about the need for some kind of reaction to these ongoing assaults on women. I absolutely couldn't have said it better myself. No matter where you stand on feminism and its effects, and I know we don't all agree (and that's completely okay with me), I think it's worth checking out. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

spring break?

I am technically on spring break this week, but I'm not really enjoying it the way I expected I would. I envisioned lots of naps, maybe a matinee or two (my husband is working and W is in daycare three days/week, so I had free time in mind). But instead, I'm completely buried in student papers. I somehow thought that I could dash through them on Monday and early Tuesday, leaving myself tons of free time. But that didn't happen. So here it is Thursday and I'm sad to say that the pile is almost as big as it was when this so-called break began. Today, I'm trying to catch up.


In other news, W has been moved up from the Babies to the Toddlers room at day care, and I must say, it was a little shocking! Yes, he's 15 months, but usually they don't move until they can feed themselves and are closer to 18 months. But they feel that he's socially, emotionally, and physically read enough, and that he'll enjoy being with the rest of the toddlers (someone will still help feed him at lunch time). Is my baby growing up? Yikes. It's very strange to imagine him going through the activities that the rest of the kids go through, because at our day care, the babies are on their own schedule while the "big kids" have activities they attend, like exercise time, or circle story time. Apparently, W sat happily in the circle the other day, and he was even able to march around with the other kids in a line. I had no idea he was ready for structure of this kind.

I still think of him as a baby, even though he's exhibiting some toddler traits (for example, he throws minor tantrums when he can't do something--like use a spoon--or when I take away something he thinks is a toy--like a magic marker that he found on a table the other day). I guess this is part of motherhood, too, the letting go and trying to enjoy the new phases and steps in his life. Am I ready for this?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

cooking skills, or the lack thereof

I have a confession to make: I often struggle with what to make for W for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is easy. Banana. Sippy cup full of milk. Chee.rios. Maybe an scrambled egg if there's time or it's a weekend. Other meals are hard, though. We've been raising him somewhat vegetarian because I'm vegetarian (have been for almost 20 years--egad!). It's not so much that I want him to abhor meat, but that I don't want to cook it because it's icky to me. I'm way out of practice. I don't even really remember how to make chicken that tastes good.

He's not being deprived in terms of fruits or veggies--he gets lots of these at every meal. He doesn't always eat them, of course, but he's offered them and he usually nibbles. Green beans, peas, and carrots are special favorites, as are pears and apples. Blueberries are apparently a toddler version of heaven. I almost called the doctor the other day because he ate an entire pint of blueberries almost on his own; I filched a few before he had cleaned out the bowl. LOVES blueberries, just like his mama. But protein...that's what I'm worried about. Doesn't he need protein to build strong muscles and bones? This has long been a struggle for me, too, and I've resorted to eating plenty of the processed soy products as a means to ensure that I get enough. I refuse to give him those, however, because they're really just one step away from fast food. I wish I could cut down on them.

Our usual sources of protein are black beans, lentils, cheese, tofu, eggs, and yogurt. But he picks at the beans and lentils, and while he'll eat cheese like there's a shortage on the way, I'm not crazy about it as a main source of protein. It's expensive to buy the hormone-free stuff, and I think he's getting a little bored with it. One can only eat so many cheese cubes. Tofu is hit or miss. And honestly, I'm not a great cook. I have very few tricks up my sleeve, and because I work full time (not meaning this as an excuse, but as a descriptive measure), I generally don't have time or energy to figure out other ways to fry up tofu that will work.

Oh, and purees are out of the question. W refuses purees unless we're talking applesauce. He wants to eat everything with his hands. Last night, I gave up the fork for letting him pick up chunks of scrambled egg by hand because he wouldn't eat it any other way. I think we're in the toddler "I can do it!" stage with full force.

I'm not asking for advice, here, though I'll certainly take it. I'm more just lamenting the sadness that are my cooking skills. I can make a mean loaf of bread or a fine batch of cookies, but a main dish for a toddler? Meh. What I'd really like to be doing is making meals that he and I can eat together, but that's not really working, either, as my foods tend to be ones he turns his nose up. I took him to my favorite Indian buffet last weekend, only to remember 1/2way through that he doesn't like the texture of rice. He snubbed almost everything I offered except for a few peas from the matar paneer that he could pick up with his grubbly little fingers.

I suppose that like so much in parenting, this stage, too, will pass and I'll be facing a different challenge. But for today, this is it: what am I going to make us for dinner tonight? Does anyone else face eating challenges with their LO?