Saturday, July 11, 2009

AntePartum Panic

I am sitting in bed, ice blocks on my feet, trying to remember what I planned for next week when the realization suddenly sets in.  I am 28 weeks plus.  In less than three months I will have a baby; it hits me. 

Really, said baby does hit me.  The little allegedly female creature who has slowly been rearranging my insides for six whole months is already active enough to make my mid-section jiggle around.  The only problem is that babys do not seem obliged to rearrange your mental state until after they have deigned to arrive.  All the changes in my body just make it harder for my mind to cope with the task ahead of me. 

I know frequently I joke about the schenanigans of my two outside children.  Actually, I can not honestly think of a post where I did not.  Parenting is not an easy job.  From the moment a mother first finds herself vomiting with pleasant sounding morning sickness, the path of her life must be shared.  True, the every moment needs diminish in frequency, but not in intensity.  Actually if you could look at my moms phone bill, you would probably doubt the frequency statement as well. 

Being needed, being responsible for another human beings existance is a heart rendingly terrifying act of love.  At what age I will quit leaping across space and time to form a cushion for impending injuries, real or imagined I do not know.  My suspicions say never. 

That is why I am suffering from an acute case of AntePartum Panic. 

Do not look it up in your pregnancy manual.  They skirt around this issue, as much as they skirt around pregnancy guides for third time Mothers.  AntePartum Panic is the realization that there is a point in which you can stretch the Mom too thin to protect against most known dangers.  It is the fact that time, and the physical resource of Mom is limited.  Not the love.  No the love is never limited.  Just well, everything else about me. 

It takes me half an hour to tuck two small children into bed.  My 13 month old clings to me as I lower her towards the mattress telling her about how she'll get a cool new BIG bed soon.  My 3 1/2 year old asks for one more book or one last hug, or the un-sleepy-without-it spongebob happy meal toy she has not played with in three weeks.  My life and my arms are so full it seems impossible to make room for one more.  Where will I have the time?  The patience?  The hands?  How will I ever cope with sleepless nights when it takes so much energy to make it from 6:30AM (Nyobi's wake up time) to 8:30PM (The time Cora usually falls asleep)?

Once baby three is home, it will just happen.  My ankles will not be swollen.  My hormonal levels will not be so out of whack, and my two outside girls will be a few months and miles ahead of where they are right now.  Unfortunately, that does not stop the itching feeling of panic I have.  The next year stretches out dauntingly before me, a mountain of diapers, feedings and caffeinated delirium.  This is Ante Partum Panic.  It hits every woman who has ever had a child, but usually the ones working on number two or three harder.  The cure for it is birth, when the imagined horrors dissappear in the exhiliration and joy of parent hood again. 

For me, it is a syndrom with two silver linings.  The new life growing into a strong little baby, and enough new and crazy experiences to fulfill my blog posts.  That is, if I manage to make time to write them.   

Monday, July 6, 2009

House Keeping

The other side to being a stay at home parent is the fun of dealing with all the home maintenance and bills.  It seems completely reasonable that the parent at home has time to talk to the cable guy, deal with the energy people and hurl insults back and forth with the telephone and insurance brokers.  After all, adult contact is ideal....

Either that or it is a pain to make time when you can hold an un-interrupted adult conversation and keep track of different billing systems, rate changes and payment plans.  Most recently, I found time to delve into the problem of why I kept getting really low energy bills.  These energy bills successfully timed themselves with the installation of our new furnace, so in a way, my interest was not entirely piqued by the first couple low charges.  When replacing a thirty year old appliance with an energy star and non-soot clogged device, one expects to see changes. 

Somehow I do not think that my energy charges over the last three months totalled only eighteen dollars.  Correct!  Close examination of my online statements revealed that my meter reading was exactly the same for the last three months. In true Mommy fashion I took a break to start a movie for the children.  The one before that only showed 15 kwh of use.  Perhaps my husband installed solar panels without my knowing it. 

I doubt very much that I could miss enough solar panels to generate power for our household.  We do not make it over the 1000 kw use very often, but we come close.  The polite people at consumers energy informed me that they would send someone out immediately to deal with the problem.  While she answered what immediate meant, I covered the mouth piece to inform Cora I could not watch Mulan with her because I was dealing with boring stuff on the phone. 

Immediately means within twenty four hours.

Then, hoping to leave me with a happy impression, I was informed that I could expect to receive a bill for the estimated energy usages for the last four and a half months, based on what they could wring out of the now defunct meter, and a review of my account.  Mulan ends and Cora dances into the kitchen.  The only happy thing I could get out of this statement was a mental picture of a maintenance guy torturing the energy meter.  Great.  When I get the worlds largest energy bill in July, my monthly budget will jump up and down in celebration. 

Time to re-do the next six months budget with a catagory for the Energy Company Can Not Self Review Electronic Accounts.  I decide to do my own estimates.  Fortunately the Mulan disk has some marvelous music videos which buy me a total of 18 minutes minus walking time.  My estimates show a several hundred dollar discrepency.  I hate being honest. 

At least I will sleep better knowing that we pay our way in this world.  Perhaps I can help "wring" information out of the old meter.  Or just be given it as a loser prize to destroy with a sledge hammer. 

Mulan music ended and Cora trips through the kitchen on her way outside.  No.  Paying bills and dealing with services is not an easy task to do at the same time as watching small children.  It has its benefits though.  You get very quick service when there is a screaming child in the back ground, or at least sympathy. 

MMMM. Berries!

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Blackberry Bonus!

Our house came with a well planted back yard.  Some enterprising bird also delivered a bonus to the previous residents that they either did not recognize or did not enjoy.  There are blackberry bushes, wrapped around the base of the flowering cherry.  Its quite a bonus.  Cora went out every morning last month to check on their progress.  I thought this was an excellent bonus.  Nothing like a tasty treat to draw your children out into the sunshine.  Then, as they discover the berries are not quite ripe they wander away to the sand box, or pick flowers and play in their fort. 

This week the berries are ripe.  They are so ripe and plentiful the flavorful little wild black bunches produced filled an entire childrens bowl this morning.  As Cora and I circle the bushes and pick, I feel like there is no end.  As I get to where I started there are new ripe orbs glowing purple in the sun.  Nyobi happily brings me back to present by doing something painful, like banging a spade on my bare foot. 

This mornings breakfast consisted of black berries, milk or coffee, and cereal.  The girls ate the berries more so than the cereal but somehow I can not complain.  Fresh picked produce outweighs boxed processed grains in my health index. 

As I sip my coffee and feed Nyobi the last of her cereal, I have only one question remaining.  Why did the birds not drop off some stain remover to help me with all the purple pink laundry stains?  I mean really, it is not THAT heavy.