Saturday, August 13, 2011

Extracurricular activities

This summer our 3 year old took swim lessons and gymnastics classes. I wanted her to try some new activities and see if she enjoyed them. I also wanted to see how she would do respecting a teacher's authority and waiting her turn, since she will need to do that at preschool this fall. She did ok with both classes, and I think it was a good experience for her, but we're not continuing either one during the school year. In swimming she unfortunately got water up her nose during the 4th class, and didn't trust her teacher after that. So even though she could do the skills, she did a lot of whining and crying and acted afraid of the water. She enjoyed gymnastics a lot more, and loved all the jumping and different equipment. I liked seeing her persistence trying new things, and how she gained confidence each week. In the beginning she clutched the teacher's hand to walk on the beam, but now she will walk by herself with a huge grin. She doesn't always listen to the teacher, and still complains if the teacher scolds her, but it is cool to see the improvement.
Nevertheless, we won't be doing activities during the school year. She will be in school 2 days a week, and will have our playgroup for field trips. She is not asking to continue gymnastics, and I confess I don't enjoy sitting and entertaining her younger brother while she is in class. With the new baby coming any day now, I am trying to keep life as simple as possible. She's only 3, and I'm sure we have years of soccer, dance, and other activities ahead of us. What age did your children start extracurricular activities? How did you decide which ones to enroll in?

Friday, August 12, 2011

The waiting game...

Military wives should be experts in that virtue called patience. We accept a lifestyle where we are not in control of, well, almost anything. I have learned to accept the unpredictable future of career paths, where we will live, when my husband will be with us, where he will be sent in the world, etc. I know how to be patient waiting for him to come home from a field op, a training mission, or even a deployment. If patience is a virtue, I should be a SAINT by now! So why am I finding it so difficult to wait for this baby???
I am almost 39 weeks pregnant now, so the baby is full-term, completely developed, etc. He could be born at any time. In fact, it seems most of my friends having babies in the last year delivered before this point. I've gained a ton of weight, I am feeling heavy and tired and slow, and it's just getting uncomfortable. I have done my cleaning, and baby preparations, and freezer stocking. Right now life feels like it is on hold, waiting for Alex to make an appearance... and I am feeling just about done.
However, the rational part of my brain tells me that there is no rush. My other kids were born in the 40th week, so there is no reason to expect this one to be earlier. And I know all too well that pregnancy--with all its discomforts--is not nearly as challenging as caring for a newborn!!! At least right now I have quiet naptimes and evenings, and I can sleep through the night! Life with 3 children is not going to be easy, so there is no need to rush into it. Whether it starts this week or next, it's going to happen eventually! So I should enjoy these last few days of snuggling with my 2 kids, being able to carry them, and giving them the attention they crave.
I think there are a few big differences this time around. First of all, my husband is deployed. So even though I have WONDERFUL support from my friends and my mom, I still feel a little bit helpless and scared about giving birth 'alone,' and I would like to get it over with so I can move on to the next exciting stage. Secondly, I have been having contractions on and off the last few days, but the doctors confirmed today that there hasn't been any changes and the baby is not close to being born any time soon. With the other kids, once contractions started, they gradually increased in intensity over the period of a few days, so I had a good idea when the baby would come. These contractions that start and stop without actually accomplishing anything are a little frustrating, painful, and discouraging. I don't mind having them if they lead to the birth! But if they are just random inconveniences that don't do anything to the baby... then I want to get this process moving and get it over with!
Anyway, I think I am done venting my frustration. The baby will be here within the next week or 2, one way or another. I'm doing fine, and I can think of lots of things to enjoy each extra day that I am given. Sure, I want to meet Alex and hold him and kiss him! But I can wait as long as I need to... after all, I do have a lot of experience with waiting!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My bags are packed, i'm ready to go!

I finally made it to 38 weeks in this pregnancy! Not sure I'm ready to be a mom of 3, but I think I 'm ready for the baby. Today I packed my hospital bag. Clothes (including nursing stuff) , toiletries, and snacks for me, plus the going home outfits for little man. I even have a book and some dvd's in case I'm there for a while. And I remembered a bag for all those extras they send you home with. See, 3rd time doing this in 3 years, I feel like a pro! His carseat is in the van, his clothes are all washed in dreft, his bassinet, pack and play, and swing are all set up... I'm ready for him! The only thing I realized I am missing is a baby album for him, but that's an easy fix.
I feel like we have about a week left. My other kids were born on or just after their due date, but I keep feeling this one will be a little early. I have been getting crampy pre -labor contractions today, and with the others I felt like this for several days before active labor began. But I haven't really been nesting yet, and usually that is a good sign things will start soon. My freezer is stocked, and my house is clean, so there's nothing I really HAVE to do. Although I do want to get laundry and grocery shopping done as early in the week as possible! We'll see! Now watch me wait in discomfort for 2 long weeks...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Emotionally Detatched?

Like many military spouses, I try to avoid watching the news during a deployment. I don't mind going to news websites and looking up political stories about what is going on in D.C., but I try to avoid obsessively following military reports from the country where my loved one is working. However, between Facebook and my e-mail home page, it was hard to avoid the news of the U.S. helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan yesterday, killing 31 people. Since my husband's battalion is "somewhere in Southern Afghanistan" many of the spouses in the battalion immediately became concerned that the largest day of casualties in that country would involve their beloved.
I have to say I was never that concerned. I knew it was unlikely my husband would be on a helicopter, and then when I learned it was Navy Seals, I knew he wasn't involved. I was relieved, and prepared to forget it had even happened. But all day today I am seeing FB posts (from military AND civilians) honoring the memory and sacrifice of those 31 fallen. Has my gratitude for my own husband's safety made me completely numb to the sufferings of other families? Is it selfish of me to care only about him, and not about other military casualties? Last deployment, there were at least 7 deaths in his battalion. But because none of them were his platoon or spouses I knew personally, none of them hit close to home. I think it's healthy to stay somewhat strong and emotionally reserved during deployments so you are not constantly worrying or making yourself sick. But I don't want to be emotionally dead and unsympathetic to others. Do you have a good way of coping during deployments without getting emotionally involved in every news story?