Boy, oh boy!

At our most recent scan, the first image that greeted us was this one:

Capture

Despite the notorious difficulty most people have seeing anything on a sonar, this is quite obviously confirmation of the fact that we are indeed having another boy! As with so many things, finding out the gender of this baby has been a completely different experience.

I got it all so right the last time – I had an inkling that we were having a boy, but I didn’t let my imagination run away with me. This time round I completely messed up! I was utterly convinced that we were having a girl and my first reaction when seeing that little penis was ‘Are you sure?’ I will man up (excuse the pun) and admit that I was disappointed. My first thought when I left the doctor’s rooms was, ‘I’ll never be mother-of-the bride’ and I will confess to having a little cry when I got to the car.

At first, the idea of another boy was incredibly overwhelming. When we made the discovery Cameron was in his first real ‘defiance’ phase and I just thought, ‘Good gracious, there’s going to be two of them!’ Twice the energy, twice the dare-devil antics, twice the fearlessness. I also found myself struggling to imagine another boy as the concept of a little boy is so wrapped up in Cameron. I know this baby is going to be completely different, but just as I couldn’t imagine what Cameron was going to be like, I couldn’t imagine what another boy would be like either. But I have always been a tomboy at heart and it wasn’t long before I started to get really excited. Someone also said to us that while a pigeon pair is nice for the parents, siblings of the same sex often have a closer relationship, especially if they aren’t far apart in age. So please hear me loud and clear when I say that I am thrilled about having another boy. It’s going to be great!

Yet at the same time, a separate part of me had to come to terms with the fact that we aren’t having a girl. There is always the possibility of another baby, but both Colin and I feel that two is our number and therefore there was a bit of grieving to do. Simply put, there’s a vast array of mothering experiences that I just won’t have. In my haste to embrace this baby I initially pushed this knowledge aside and it caught up with me a few weeks later while I was having breakfast with a couple of friends. I suddenly found myself in floods of tears in the middle of the mall, blurting out incoherent statements, which, being women, my friends somehow understood!

The reality is though, all families are different and I have no idea what ours will look like in a few years time. For now I am appreciating the ways that having another a boy is making some things simpler (for example we have so much ‘boy stuff’ already) and am getting excited about meeting our new little man!

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The halfway mark

This week I hit the halfway mark in my pregnancy, a milestone that I was very happy to reach. The first half seems to have taken forever and I felt like I was stuck somewhere between 13 and 17 weeks for about three months! In fact, when I think about what happened with Cameron, I start to get slightly panicky as there’s a good chance I am more than halfway and I haven’t done a thing to prepare for this baby. I am determined to be ready this time – bag packed and baby room ready by 32 weeks!

My second trimester is going well. Constant backache is my only woe – most likely caused by carrying my 11 kilogram toddler and hurtling around the house after him with a growing bump. I am in the throes of that nesting phase and am constantly rearranging my lists as my unrealistic goals for the day whizz by uncompleted. I am also taking on rather ambitious projects – not always sensibly …

On Tuesday Cameron was at my parents’ house and a meeting I was preparing for at 08:30 was cancelled. I suddenly found myself with a free morning and promptly decided that now was the time to do a bit of electrical work around the house. Over the weekend the passage light (a dim, cheap, plastic horror which we’ve been meaning to replace) exploded so we’d bought a new one. It needed to be installed in the playroom as it matches the lights in the other living areas, and the current playroom light needed to be moved to the passage. After a quick Google search on how to install a light fitting I embarked on what turned out to be a four hour test of endurance, involving much time up a wobbly ladder, extreme pain for my forearms and at one point a foray into the roof to find lost wires. Now that the lights are up and working and I didn’t fall off the ladder or electrocute myself, it will be a funny story to tell our kids one day.

Perhaps this desire to do things pregnant ladies really shouldn’t be doing can be attributed to preggie brain, which until now has left me largely unscathed. It is making itself more forcefully known however. I was relaxing in the bath the other day, contemplating life and the calming descriptions on my body wash – a bottle of Nivea shower cream with caring bamboo milk and the uplifting scent of orange blossom. Except that as I was lathering up my body I read, ‘Baboon milk’ and for a few minutes smiled contentedly before thinking, ‘That can’t be right. How on earth do you milk a baboon?’ And that folks is really where I think this story should end as it tells you just about all you need to know about my current mental state!

Sparkle and Speckle’s baby shower

When the news first broke that I was pregnant, my friend Karen immediately asked if she could organise my baby shower and I was only too happy to oblige. We had tea a few months back and settled on a date (with my Mom living in Tzaneen keeping such things a surprise borders on impossible) and I left her to it.

The amazing race

When the big day dawned on 7 July, the first surprise was a brown envelope that was delivered to our door. Col and I had a few tasks to get done it seemed as we embarked on a bit of an amazing race. Among others we had to price all the items needed to change a nappy, sample some baby food, come up with a plan of action in the case of a high temperature and drive to KFC for a mini-cone since sleep was allegedly eluding our little baby. It was tons of fun (who doesn’t like ice-cream at 09:30 am) and by the time the last clue led us to Karen’s house I was well into the festive mood.

The big event

Surprise two came with the theme that Karen had chosen – Dr Seuss. I’m going to make a shocking statement here and say that I might just prefer Dr Seuss over Winnie-the-Pooh so it was just awesome! Karen’s attention to detail was phenomenal. I was dressed up ‘Cat-in-the-hat’ style and allowed a brief look at all the delightful treats on offer before being whisked off to say my hellos. There was too much to take in at the time, but I do remember ‘Thing 1’ and ‘Thing 2’ cupcakes, Truffela Tree lollipops and of course the cake. What a work of art! Let me just say that whether Karen intended to or not, she has now given herself the job of making all of Speckle’s birthday cakes for many years to come! (This photo doesn’t really do it justice but it’s the only one I have right now so it will have to do.)

A marathon

The next few hours passed in a blur of games and gifts. The amount of stuff Speckle was spoilt with was absolutely overwhelming! Blankets, clothes, toys, toiletries – you name it, we got it. It took Colin four trips from the car to unload it all when we got home, and it took me hours to sort through and make sense of. Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you to all our friends and family for your insane generosity. (Proper thank you cards are still on my list by the way, but I’m pulling the preggie card and am giving myself another few weeks to get them done.)

A delightful day

Other delights of the day included a photo booth that my friend Lee set up. She’d come to visit me a few weeks before and we’d both been saying how sad we were that the photo booth craze only took off after we got married. I had hours of fun posing for pics and will post some when I get them.

All in all I could not have asked for a better baby shower. Col and I still have a bit to do in terms of sorting and organising before Speckle arrives, but we were given an incredible head start and are so appreciative of all the love and support we’ve been given. Once again – a massive thanks! Our friends and family just rock!

The right side of the bed

So as I’m lying here with not much on TV and no energy for reading I thought I’d catch up on an overdue post.

While trying to get comfy on my single hospital bed last night I thought about our new sleeping arrangements at home. Since we got married I’ve always slept on the left and Col on the right. The left side of the bed is what you see first so during my time a neat bedside table and clean floor greeted you on arrival. Col’s side wasn’t visible unless you really made an effort to see it, in which case you’d find clothing chaos on the floor and toppling towers on the table. So you see, this arrangement had aesthetic benefits too.

However, two months ago I read that the baby gets more nutrients of you sleep on your left side and so I told
Col that we needed to swap for a while. Col was very fond of his side of the mattress but it was the loss of his secret messy corner that really hurt the most! And as I’ve had to accept the mess that greets me when I walk in, it’s been sacrifices all round.

We were warned that changes would need to be made for Speckle, so this hardly comes as a surprise. I’m just glad that this one can be reversed in a few months time!

Bad hair day

In one of the most vicious onslaughts yet, the preggie brain has attacked again …

This morning I washed my hair and was half way through styling it when my hair dryer bombed out. I refused to panic and got on with doing my make-up. Sometimes its switches off because it overheats but if you leave it for a few minutes it recovers, so I thought maybe it would work when I next tried it. No such luck. I was now running out of time, and in desperation tried a few colleagues to see if someone could bring a hair dryer to work. No one answered their phones. Admitting defeat I made a hat plan and steeled myself for walking out into the four degree morning with wet hair.

Late for work, I grabbed my bag and rushed for the door, only to notice on the way out that the plug for my trusty hair dryer was no longer in the socket …

Following in my mom’s footsteps

In my last post I dropped a bit of a bomb shell in that you might not be aware that I have decided not to go back to work after Speckle is born. What’s more, I’m finishing work at the end of this very month so will have at least two and half months before the little one arrives.

Being a stay-at-home mom for a few years has always been a dream of mine. Fortunately, it was a dream Col and I shared, and early on we started putting things in place to make it a feasible option when the time came.

Since maximising maternity leave is not something I have to consider, I’ve decided to stop working a few months before Speckle is due, and gave my notice for the end of June. Only after I’d done this did I discover that this would leave me with almost exactly the same amount of time off that my mom had when she was expecting me. (I was born in the middle of March, and she finished working in December.)

It seems that the adage, ‘Like mother, like daughter’ is indeed true in this case. But then, there is so much that I admire in my mom that this is something I claim with great pride!

Four quarters

I’ve seriously neglected my blog in the last while (due to lack of time, not lack of material), so here’s a bit of a catch up …

I was recently reflecting on how well this year has been divided up for me. Because I fell pregnant at the very beginning of the year, Trev and Marlies’ visit provided a delightful watershed at the end of my first trimester. Back from that two week break, I threw myself into Quarter 2 – my second trimester, but also my last three months at work (more on this in a future post). Quarter 3 starts in two weeks and is the ‘Get ready for Speckle’ phase. Quarter 4 will begin when Speckle arrives, and only time will tell how that goes.

I’ve very grateful for this neat division. Having such a clear focus for each quarter has really allowed me to deal with everything one step at a time. Of course, no sooner had I started sharing this epiphany with a few friends, than the whole system fell apart!

Various circumstances have resulted in an absolute manic few weeks at work recently. In the middle of that, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a whole load of parenting related fears, and my previously well-disciplined mind refused to put them on ice until Quarter 3. For about two weeks Pregzilla was on the rampage, and I have to say a huge thank you to Colin who did a stellar job of taming the beast.

In the midst of this turmoil I was reminded of Isaiah 40:11, the last part of which reads: ‘He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.’ It was a huge encouragement to me, but also a bit of a reprimand because gentleness is not something I treat myself with very often. So I’ve fallen back on my first trimester lessons of reprioritising and being kinder to myself and I’m glad to say that, as a result, Pregzilla is back in her cage.

(Sjoe, bit of a deep post that one, but then you my dear reader, have gotten off lightly so far!)