Mom-ing 36 Weeks Pregnant

I am almost 36 weeks pregnant with my second baby and am home full time with my intelligent, persistent, vivacious, no-nonsense three year old, Emmy. I’ve never been so tired in my life.

Today I asked the babysitter to come over for a couple hours so I could lay down, and I passed out within 5 minutes. Now the sitter magically got Emmy to take a nap (something I have not done in over two weeks) and I find myself with a moment to myself. I haven’t written in a while and told myself I’m going to be interrupted shortly so why even bother? But then I remembered, real life is not perfect, manufactured and filtered like so many social media pages. Real life is messy and many things all at the same time. So I write, freely, without editing and cutting and pasting. I write what I feel.

I need to remind myself daily it’s okay to feel exactly what I’m feeling. I can be as tired as I’ve ever been and be as grateful as I’ve ever been. I can love my daughter so much that it hurts, and I can get so angry at her that I want to punch a wall. I can be excited to meet my baby boy and be terrified at the thought of raising a newborn and a toddler. I can be proud of what my body can do and also be put-off by the massiveness of my belly and the roundness of my current double chin. I can be happy and sad and angry and fulfilled and lonely and grateful all at the same time.

Just as I encourage my daughter to be unapologetically herself, I can be unapologetically me. So that’s what I do. Because I’m 36 weeks pregnant with a toddler, and there’s really no room for bullshitting. I just haven’t got the energy.

So despite my bone-deep exhaustion and many aches and pains. Despite a belly that feels it may burst and hormones that cause me to cry every day, it’s back to mom-ing I go.

I’ve never been so tired, and there’s no where I’d rather be then here- with my huge belly and double chin, glancing at my daughter as she sleeps so peacefully.

Wonderwoman

Today I did something I have not done in over two years; I went to see a movie by myself.

The last time I saw a movie by myself was when I was pregnant. I just love going to matinees alone. It’s such a treat! I can totally immerse myself within the movie and experience it fully. (Twizzlers and soda included.) As a movie-lover it’s one of my greatest escapes.

Today I had a babysitter for three hours and thought about what I should do. My first thought was go to Whole Foods, run some errands. Honestly that sounded pretty shitty to me.

So, on a whim I checked the showings for the movie theater around the corner and guess what? WONDERWOMAN was playing in 3D during the exact hours I had a sitter. DING DING DING! Winner winner chicken dinner. Whole Foods can wait!

I watched Wonderwoman today. I cried, I laughed, my whole body tingled. It was AMAZING. It was something I’ve never seen before. It was beautiful. It was fierce. It was a powerhouse of a movie.

And I thought… my daughter is growing up during a time when a bad ass woman is the hero, where a bad ass woman saves the world. Hell yes!

The first photo is my brother Chris and me on Halloween maybe 1988? As you can see, I’m Wonderwoman. And amazingly my mom saved that outfit. Emmy wears it now.

That little girl in the first picture could never have known that one day she’d have a daughter who grew up in a time where a woman saved the world; a world where a mama could take time for herself to watch it happen.

Story Time Yoga

Last week the first official class of my new company JEM YOGA NYC began. I was nervous at first, bur once I got into the flow of leading the class it felt like I was soaring. I was back at it and had that feeling of “this is what I’m meant to do.” And the best part? Em was right there with me.

Em is used to going to classes and is also used to doing yoga with me at home. I think in her mind it was just a normal day! She went with the flow, did some poses, joined me for savasana and proudly said, “Bye Bye Yoga!” as I put away the little yoga mat I had brought.

I felt so much emotion when I got home last week after class, but the biggest one of all was pride for my baby. I put my passion for teaching on hold for a while when she came into this world, and to come back now feeling like my heart is more full than ever? I just feel so blessed!

Story Time Yoga Class 1Story TIme Yoga Class 2

 

 

That Moment 

I hadn’t taught kids in quite some time when I began teaching a few classes at a preschool last month. I was rusty and a little awkward and felt like it went… okay.

This morning I taught again and I felt my confidence in teaching surfacing again. It by no means went perfectly but there was this moment. 

It was when I walked into the last classroom and a girl was screaming crying and the kids were running and it was so loud. I sat down and began taking deep breaths, and something miraculous happened; the kids got silent and followed. 

We took a few breaths together and it was quiet and calm. And THAT moment, the brief pause between the lesson plan and the noise and the crying and the excited screaming and the running and the diving hugs, THAT is why I love sharing yoga with kids. 

If you watched a class it wouldn’t look like a clean and tidy yoga practice that’s tied in a bow. It would look a little messy and loud. But I’ve taught long enough to know that kids are sponges taking it all in in their own way. And what a gift for me today to bring them a moment of calm without saying a word. 

Mom Yoga, Toddler Yoga

Today I got in a yoga practice and it felt so good. I was able to do this because of Emily’s fascination with shoes. You see, she spent most of this time off to the side trying to get on her sneaker!

She wasn’t the least bit frustrated or annoyed as she did this over and over again, even though she never actually got her sneaker on. She was just content to be in the moment practicing something.  Isn’t it amazing how focused a child can be when exploring something they are interested in?

Emily reminded me of one of the Niyamas or observances in yoga called Santosha. Santosha means finding satisfaction in exactly who we are and where we are without wanting to change anything.

I am grateful that today we both got in a yoga practice. I got in my yoga through the poses (asana) and Emily got in her yoga by practicing her one-pointed focus (dharana) during her shoe-putting-on investigation!

Toddler Wisdom

Emily usually holds my hand and brings me with her as she wanders, but this past week she decided it was time to walk out on her own. She had the time of her life wandering around Riverside Park while Romeo (our dog) and I followed close behind. Her joy was infectious and my heart was exploding.

She is my most special teacher. Here are some lessons she has taught me.

Walking Beside Her

Every night as Em is winding down she does laps around the apartment. It’s like she’s walking off all her remaining energy. Tonight she kept grabbing my finger and leading me around with her. Even though I slept a lot last night I still felt so tired. I think that never ending tired feeling is just motherhood. 

Anyway, even though all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and not move, and even though my mind kept wandering to the veggie burger and fries I would order once she went to bed, every time she grabbed my finger I walked with her. I reminded myself that she won’t always want to walk with me. She won’t always want to bring me along into her world with her.

So, I thought- as long as she wants to bring me into her world, I will be there walking beside her.

Anyone But Me (A tale of middle school)

When I was in the 6th grade I would pass notes back and forth with a good friend. We drew funny scenes with imaginary characters and then wrote a little story about the character.  I don’t remember the particulars of the scenes, but I do remember laughing a lot.

One particular day the scene I drew was not funny. I drew an unflattering picture of a mutual friend. I made her look fatter than she was, made fun of her clothes, and drew arrows at her hair mocking her ponytail. I don’t remember the description I wrote, but it was probably equally mean-spirited.

I remember erasing the first drawing I made to make her look thinner because something inside of me was telling me to stop. I also remember getting a feeling in my gut to NOT pass the note. I wasn’t yet familiar with that intuitive voice inside, so I passed it along anyway.

Passing that note happened to coincide with the holiday season, and my group of friends were doing a Secret Santa. We would leave clues and presents in the locker of the person we had drawn to be our gift recipient. On the last day before holiday break, I opened my locker excited to find out who my Secret Santa had been.

What I saw inside was the note I had written hanging and surrounded by festive holiday streamers. Below it was a sign that read, “Next time you write something mean you should be careful.” Turns out, my Secret Santa was the friend I had made fun of.

My heart completely sank and I felt instant shame.

I don’t remember how everything else unfolded. I don’t remember if I apologized or if I just hid from the friend I had written the note about (probably the latter).  What I do remember was from that from that point on I was an outcast in my group of “friends.”

Around that same time, I had to miss a sleepover party because I had a dance show. When I came into school that Monday morning a friend came rushing towards me. “Everyone was talking about us the party”, she told me. When I asked her what she meant she went on to tell me a number of cruel things the girls had apparently said about me. The one thing that stood out and still hurts to this day is how they said I tried to be funny but wasn’t. They said they had to fake laugh at my “jokes.”

In addition to the note and sleepover drama, during this time I also really pissed off a friend (the same one who I had passed that note to by the way). She and I had a big crush on a boy named Steve (yes, he’s now my husband). Without telling me she asked him out, and they began “dating.” At the time I think that meant they would occasionally hold hands in public. Anyway, when someone asked what I thought about her asking out Steve I said, “No comment.” My lack of a comment got back to her and she was MAD. She didn’t want to speak to me anymore either. With that, I lost another friend.

From that day on, I wasn’t allowed to sit at the table with that group of girls anymore. I would sit at a different table feeling totally excluded and completely worthless.

In the midst of all this, I remember being in dance class and watching an older dancer perform. I thought, “I wish I was her.” I was hit with the absolute sinking feeling of TRULY wishing I was anyone else but me. To be her, I thought, would be so much easier. She was pretty and talented. I bet she had friends at school who let her sit with them. I bet she didn’t have problems like awkward, unfunny, ugly me.

Looking back, I know why I wrote that terrible note. It was because I felt terrible about myself. It felt good to project that feeling onto another person and get momentary relief. Many years later I was able to apologize to that friend for writing the note. I told her it was cruel and I should have never done it. She accepted my apology and laughed it off. She seemed a little uncomfortable with how serious I was about saying I was sorry.

Looking back, I’m happy I missed that sleepover. Instead of gossiping about other girls (which I most likely would have done), I was performing on stage.

Looking back, I’m not sorry I said “no comment” about my friend dating Steve. I really liked him. I married the guy for Christ’s sake! And I could have said something so much worse.

Anyway, I was wondering why I’ve been thinking about all this stuff lately, and maybe it’s because of the state of our world. There is so much animosity and hatred. There is a fighting and cruelty and misunderstanding. And it makes me wonder- where does that come from? If a person feels worthless, if they wish they were anyone else but them- how do you think they treat others?

I’m totally serious when I say- maybe how middle school girls treat each other is a microcosm of the darkness of the human condition. There was fear of anyone or anything different. There was projecting worthless feelings onto each other.  There was creating an “us” and “them.” At any moment everyone could turn their back on you. Middle school was rough!

My story is such a small one. It can by no means be compared to the serious horrors happening in our world right now. It does remind me though to stop and ask, “If that person is treating others like that, how must they feel?”

 

 

 

 

 

A Deep Exhale

Yesterday Em and I had a busy and stressful (for me) day. We had a follow up appointment with an orthopedist concerning Em’s hips. Being that she was a frank breech baby she was born with a risk of having hip dysplasia. For that reason, she was given an ultrasound on her hips at 6 weeks old and 3 months old.

We had a bit of a scare about her hips when she was six weeks old which left me a bit traumatized. You can read the back story here.

Our appointment was way across town which meant trekking across the city in the cold. I felt tense but breathed deeply and Em handled it like a champ.

We got there a half hour early. I know people say once you have a kid you’re always late but I haven’t found that (yet). Being late for something makes me SO anxious that I’m usually ridiculously early, even with my baby. I’m not saying this is a good thing. It’s just what always happens!

Being so early made me panic a bit wondering what the heck we would do for a half hour; however, The Hospital for Special Surgery happens to be amazing and very child-friendly. 

There was a woman playing ukulele in the waiting area! She asked for requests and gave Em her own show. She sang Itsy Bitsy Spider and I’m a Little Teapot. Em was entranced and so was I. When she sang “You Are My Sunshine” and changed the words of the first verse to be happier (like I do) I cried.

We got called in early and met with the lovely doctor who said Em’s hips looked great but they would do an x-ray just to be sure. When I asked how safe an x-ray was he explained it would be the same amount of radiation as a plane ride to California. We did that plane ride with Em so using that analogy soothed my worries.

We went across the hallway to get her x-ray and Em said “hi!” to everyone we saw. The receptionist. The 10 year old boy wearing headphones and watching a show on his phone. The mom waiting with him. The technician who walked by. She also pulled out my ponytail, snuggled into me tight and kept kissing me. Did she know I was scared? I don’t know. But she made me feel better.

As for the x-ray, I consider it a miracle moment. She laid perfectly still as we sang the ABC’s. It was shockingly easy as pie!

In the end we got confirmation that Em’s hips are developing normally and we don’t need to go back. I’m more relieved that I can explain here. The only way I could describe it is that Em having hip problems has been weighing on me since I was pregnant and learned she was breech. Now it feels like that weight is released and I am ten pounds lighter.

When we got home, I was physically and emotionally SPENT. My back was killing me from wearing 21 pound Em in the carrier all afternoon. I rolled out my mat. I rolled out Em’s mat, and this video is what happened.

I just want to say I’m so grateful for my healthy, sweet, social, communicative girl. My heart explodes every single day and I’m a way better person because of her.