This is a big week or so for us. I hit 30 weeks on Saturday. It is a new year--Happy New Year! And, Miss M turns 2 a week from today. We have much to celebrate right now.
So first, the pregnancy: I only gained a couple of ounces this week (sigh): 135.8 pounds. I'm trying to up my food intake, but it's hard. I feel like I am force-feeding myself, but I'm worried about whether the baby is getting the right nutrition (I'm sure she is, despite my neuroses--I eat a healthy and balanced diet) and gaining enough weight (this I worry about, although my doctor isn't worried at all). I'm trying to cook new and different things to tempt myself into eating. Tonight I made a roast chicken stuffed with fresh ginger, with roasted pineapple, peppers, hot peppers, carrots and onions. After everything is cooked, you take half the veggies and puree them in the food processor with a little sugar and balsamic to make a sauce for the chicken. It's a pretty delicious meal, although also fairly healthy and low-cal. To compensate, I also made brownies. I am on my way down to the kitchen in a minute to get a second one.
Overall, I am feeling good, although my skin around my belly button has been feeling sore (like someone is scratching me with a needle), and I'm still having trouble with my back. There is also a fair bit of pulling around my belly. I am still walking about a mile and a half a day, which feels good while I'm doing it, and is keeping me somewhat in shape, although I am REALLY slow, at this point. I talked with my doctor about whether I should cut back, and she advised against it. She said I might find myself even more uncomfortable, if I move less. The discomfort makes me cranky by bedtime, and my husband is getting sick of me (Miss M is getting all the good bits of me, and he's getting grouchy demands). The upside to this is that he now thinks we should stick with 2 kids, rather than 3 or 4 (as if that's even possible!), because he doesn't want to ever deal with me pregnant again. :) My evil plan is working!
The arrival of the new year has shocked us into realizing just how many things we have to do in 2012! We've been thinking of 2012 and all it holds as something very far away, and now suddenly it's here. The baby will be here in just 10 short weeks. We now have just 9 months left in Europe. When we first got here, it felt like we had forever. Now, time is dwindling. Have I mentioned that we leave here this fall, and head back to the U.S. for some training? I can't remember. We'll be there through the winter, and we are really looking forward to it. After that, I've accepted a job in South America, which we are also extremely excited about. But a new baby and another big move mean all sorts of things to work out, and things I've not had to worry about before.
For instance, preschool. Miss M will turn 3 a couple of months after we get back to the U.S.. Initially I thought that we wouldn't bother to put her in preschool until we moved to South America. But it's becoming increasingly clear that we really should put her in next fall. One, there is the socialization. She loves other kids, but even with play dates and park dates and swim lessons, she doesn't get enough interaction just staying home with daddy. Two, there is the structure. In taking her to a few art, etc. classes, you can tell that she hasn't attended as many formal classes as some other kids--they sit quietly while she wanders and explores. I think we need to ease her into something that will teach her that she must sometimes sit still and pay attention. Three, there is T's sanity. She is an awesome kid, but she is a busy kid. I think he will be at his wits end with an infant and trying to keep up to her. Four, she's ready for a new intellectual challenge. It will be really good for her. And five, we're looking at Spanish immersion schools, so that Miss M gets a little language in before we head south.
And yet, while I intellectually can assess the situation and say that we should explore preschools, she seems too young. How can I let my baby go off with strangers? I've never even let a non-family member babysit her. She's always been with us. Always. It's a little hard for me to emotionally consider this. Good thing I have 9 more months! By the way, despite the fact it's so far off, thank goodness I actually thought to check this week. Preschool applications for next year are due by the end of the month!!! This seems like sheer insanity to me. And there are interviews. INTERVIEWS for preschool. I didn't even have an interview for grad school, and I went to a top school! But anyway, I've narrowed it down to a few schools, and I'm waiting for more info from them.
In connection with preschool, I also just realized I have to get Miss M the hepatitis vaccines. I delayed doing them until she was older, but they require multiple jabs, and it turns out that at least Hep B is required for preschool. That wasn't something I had given any thought to. Luckily, we have a two year checkup coming up, so we can hopefully take care of the first series then. Preschool also made me think about college. . .as in, I still hadn't set up the college account for Miss M. So, in the waning hours of the old year, I finally set it up, and set one up for the baby, too. I've asked my mother to spread the word that gifts are nice, but we'd love for people who want to send birthday presents to Miss M or baby presents for the baby to consider putting money in their college accounts, instead. I hope people don't think that's too forward. People have been very generous with us, though, and we are bursting with toys and baby clothes. I did also set up a baby registry on Amazon. We need a few odds and ends like new bottles, new baby gym toys, and diapers. If people insist on sending something, I thought it made sense to register for the types of things we need. It's a very short list, though.
What else in 2012? Well, we still haven't come up with a middle name for the baby, or even really settled on a first name. I need to work out just how long I'll be taking for maternity leave. I think it will be 10 weeks, but I'm still trying to sort the details. I need to wash the bassinet bedding and the baby clothes, and find somewhere to stash them all in this house (which has limited drawer space). I have loads of projects at work that I need to get whipped into shape in the next few weeks, so that they will be okay floating out there while I'm on maternity leave.
On the less important/fun side, we are also toying with doing a relaxed-pace road trip toward the end of my maternity leave, but have no details worked out about that at all. If we're going to do it, I need to figure out how to make it work. We also need to buy a car in the U.S. (we sold ours just before moving here, and use public transportation or rent when we need one), to be ready for when we land. We are also toying with a trip to Disney in the fall. We were going to do it for Miss M's 3rd birthday and invite the grandparents, but I figured out that I won't be able to take time off next January, so we thought we'd spend a week in Florida before I start the training I need. It sounded really lovely way to transition back to the States at first (American resort! Kiddie pool! Warm weather!). But now, trying to negotiate multi-family logistics is starting to look like an unpleasant task. Everyone has their own ideas of what they want to do and where they want to stay. Ugh.
Finally, we have Miss M's 2nd birthday. I've just bought her a few books, because really, what does the child need two weeks after Christmas? But her real gift is that we are taking her away for a family weekend. We're going to a place that has a big indoor kiddie pool, tons of toddler activities, and great playgrounds--not to mention a quick spa treatment for me and lengthier ones for T, and a real fireplace in our room! I am so looking forward to it. It's the kind of place I would have never visited before I had a child, and now I can't wait to take her there and watch her reactions to everything. I think she will have a blast, and it will be great to just hang out and focus on her. I'm so looking forward to peaceful family time.