I’m not very good at going with the flow.

It’s not that I don’t like the idea of going with the flow.  When I was a kid, I really liked that song ‘Que Sera, Sera’.  And who doesn’t love a bit of Enya to zone out to?  I dare you to listen to this and not feel relaxed:  It’s like a musical spa day.  I also love spa days.

The point is, I know how to unwind and bliss out, but I can’t *stay* that way.  I always start stressing again if I don’t have closure or don’t know the answer.  One of my childhood friends is on Facebook touting the virtues of following your bliss after (from what I can put together from her posts) giving up her career as a lawyer to become a yoga instructor/ life coach.  Part of me wants to roll my eyes at this, but it’s hard when she seems so honestly happy and chilled about life.

I want to be like that.  At least, I think it would lead to a calmer existence.  After being married three years I’m not as tightly wound as I used to be (sharing your life with someone will do that), but I still want to know how things will end up so my imagination doesn’t run wild with all the possibilities of what *could* happen.  I’m very good at coming up with dramatic, though highly unlikely, possibilities.  For example: if I go to the town where my ex-best friend lives, will I see her?  Maybe there will be a confrontation!  Should I play it cool or giver her a piece of my mind because I still don’t have closure from our last fight?  I run the scenarios through my mind like stories.  The problem is, like many good stories, they are engrossing because they are so stressful.  It’s like when I stayed up all night one time to try to find a good pausing point in The Hunger Games.  Note: It took something like reading 200 pages until 4am and practically falling asleep before I could close the book.  This is how I get about life.

That’s why pregnancy is such a special challenge.  I’m now in my final few weeks of gestating #2 and I’m at the point now where I’m ready to have this kid.  Problem is, I don’t know when, or how it will happen and there are so many variables.  What will happen to my two year old daughter while I’m in labour?  Who will take care of her, and how?  My personal plan A got turned on its head for a variety of reasons, and that was the one I liked because it was most predictable: she’d stay with a relative she frequently stays with and who not only loves her, but is excellent at upholding her little routines.  With plan B, I’m not sure how she will react.  I kind of know, but I don’t *really* know.

Then there’s the method of delivery.  The Feliciraptor was a c section, which means I could, in theory, demand a c section this time.  But then I don’t know how I’ll cope with staples in my stomach when I’m trying to manage a two year old.  On the other hand, it is what I know.  I know what the recovery is like and what the pain will be like, and generally how everything will go. And if I schedule it, then I *know* what will happen, which is comforting.  But I wouldn’t be able to drive for a few weeks, which means being stuck at home with a tiny baby and a two year old, and last time I found that very hard.

And speaking of post delivery, what will having two be like?  I know what it’s like to take care of a tiny baby (simple, really, but pretty boring), but I don’t know what it will be like dealing with two children.  Probably fine–after all, this is something a lot of people do with a very high success rate.  But *I* don’t know, so my mind ticks over with possibilities.  Will Felicity provide me with some company while her brother develops a personality, or will she make my days more monotonous?  What is it like to handle two kids having meltdowns for completely different reasons?

Last night I thought I had the beginnings of labour, but no dice.  As we drove to the hospital, though, I breathed a sigh of relief thinking that this was it; things were finally decided.  Only they weren’t, and now I’m in limbo again and finding new things to angst about.  For example, at my last doctor’s visit he agreed that I shouldn’t be induced, but I get stressed about the idea of being induced and back in hospital again for ages–even though that’s not going to happen and I have the power to refuse induction.

I posted a similar anxiety-ridden post when I was very pregnant with Felicity.  Now that post seems kind of silly–I had a pretty traumatic labour in the end, but she’s fine and I’m fine–fine enough to try this all over again.  People were lovely–I had lots of messages reconnecting me with friends who all sent words of reassurance.  This, however, is where I think the idea of flow comes in–if a river flows around you and you’re standing resisting it, eventually it’s going to tip you over and carry you along anyway.  Either the flow was too strong for you to fight, or you just don’t have the strength to keep resisting.  The other option is to lie back and float and see where the river takes you.  I really need to get used to option B, because the river’s given me an interesting ride.  And when I get on the lazy river at a water park, I love it.  As for exactly how to lay back and enjoy it when I want to steer and impossible to steer inner tube, well, there’s the rub.  But maybe I should try.


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Source: Flow

Pamper thyself

Prior to becoming pregnant, I was what you might call an admirer of beauty products.  I certainly found them alluring–I could easily spend ages in Lush and Sephora poring over products, and imagining how the potions and lotions might work their magic on me.  Occasionally, temptation would overcome me, and I would buy several products and bring them home.  I promised myself I would begin a new beauty regimen, but mostly the products just stayed on the shelf, looking attractive and promising but going unused.  I tended to favor things that were more overtly aesthetic, like clothes and makeup (what can I say, I’m a girly girl).

The same was true for spa treatments.  I love going to the spa, and swear I’m going to put aside money to make massages a regular treat for my tight shoulders, but it never seems to happen.

Since becoming pregnant though, all those theoretical treats (wouldn’t it be nice if I could have bright undereyes with no shadows?) have become real necessities.  One thing I have learned is that even easier pregnancies take over your body.  I’d consider myself pretty lucky–my morning sickness was just nausea, I was full of get up and go in my second trimester, I’ve not been incapacitated in the third.  But there are still a bevy of discomforts–heartburn, painfully swollen feet, a belly that itches horribly from stretching so much, painful, uncomfortable sleep.

MR very sweetly for my birthday in April bought all kinds of pregnancy comfort products, which really touched me, but in the back of my mind I wondered if I would use.  Turns out they’ve been essentials–stretch mark oil and foot spray and a pregnancy pillow that I literally could not sleep without.  Then I added to my stores with more foot and hand creams, and moisturizers for my stomach.  And I find myself using them daily like I never have before, and taking long soaks in the bath. I think in the past 9 months I’ve taken more baths than I have since I was a kid.

I’m coming to rather like the ritual of it, and one of the neat things is seeing the benefit.  MR is being a very good husband and massages my swollen feet, and every time he does that I see the difference.  Sleep is kind of a miserable experience at the moment, filled with pain and discomfort and what seems like hourly trips to the bathroom, but rubbing a bit of cool cream into my stomach to relieve the itching feels both relaxing and indulgent.

I think the takeaway here is that these little indulgent rituals are something worth preserving.  I’ve mentioned before how ‘experienced’ parents love to warn with wide eyes about how once you have a baby, say goodbye to everything, and how at breastfeeding class, they made me worry I would be a milk cow.  But even if I am, there’s five minutes to rub some cream into my feet, or sit with my husband and give him a neck rub, or have him give me one (I don’t think I can count on the foot rubs continuing post partem).  And it’s worth finding those five minutes to feel human again–or still, depending on how you look at it.

Friendship defined

I have had a lot of cause to think about friendship lately, both good and bad.  The bad is a bit too close to home and far too unresolved to delve into here, but the good has really stuck with me.  I just went home to NY to visit family, but also got the opportunity to see my friends, and because of the bad side of things, their fantasticness struck me anew.  Thus, it got me thinking about what makes a good friend and a bad one.  Rather than dwelling on the bad, I’m going to focus on the good.  It’s my policy not to mention people directly by name on this blog, but I hope my friends are a) reading and b) recognize themselves in this list.

I’ve recently come to realize friendship is:

  • definitely not being a kid person by any stretch of the imagination, but always asking about my pregnancy and my baby, and even being eager to meet not just me, but both of us, on a European jaunt.
  • meeting up after ages of not seeing each other or talking much and being able to chat just like it’s old times, as though minutes and not months have passed.
  • showing up to a baby shower after not seeing each other for literally decades just to wish well after reconnecting on Facebook.
  • hosting said baby shower and letting some of the guests stay five hours past the time everyone else has left.
  • Driving an hour each way and paying a toll just to hang out with me for an afternoon–with two kids under four.
  • Working an extra chance to see me during lunch hour in between meetings.
  • Listening to me go on and on (and on and on and on) about a problem that keeps niggling at me and offering up some honest sympathy.
  • Going to Target with me just because, and then buying an outfit for my baby when I decide buying 3 is too many because it’s too cute to pass up.
  • Remembering that my husband (who they’ve only met a couple of times) had a thing for calling our kid Velociraptor, and buying tons of dino stuff accordingly.
  • Dropping off some tasty pastries at my door after I did her a tiny favor.
  • Being reluctant to say goodbye after spending an afternoon together.
  • Finding, somehow, a baby book version of Romeo and Juliet because of my obsession with Shakespeare (FYI: it leaves out the double suicide).
  • Calling to ask with vested interest how I am doing in my pregnancy.  Sometimes I forget and wonder why she asks so enthusiastically how I am, and then I remember that I’m pregnant, and well being is something of a moving target these days.
  • Being really concerned when the fried chicken place I really wanted to go to was closed and listing other restaurants we could go to so I could get my fried chicken fix, despite it being just a passing pregnancy craving.
  • Though this isn’t recent, it’s still something that strikes me: being willing to travel across an ocean and spend a ton of money on plane tickets and a dress to be a bridesmaid in my wedding.

In my life I have been incredibly lucky in friendships.  I made friends for life in high school and just added to the list as time went on.  My husband would hate this post because it’s all about feelings and is very soppy, but all of this is nevertheless true.  If I can make one new friend over here who is half as good to me as these guys are, I’ll consider myself very lucky indeed.

You can’t go home again

So I haven’t posted in awhile.  Like three months.  I’ve been busy with some stuff–getting a job, moving, visiting home, getting pregnant.  It’s exciting times, but it doesn’t exactly leave a ton of room for blogging.  Now though I find things equalizing a bit, or perhaps I’m carving out a bit more time for writing.

Working at an English school brings a whole host of new experiences, but the most striking difference comes not from the cultural differences, but from the fact that the school I teach at now is a ‘regular’ school, with students of all backgrounds and abilities, whereas the school I worked at in Queens, my alma mater, is an honors high school.

I didn’t always teach at an honor’s high school.  In fact, I’ve taught at some high needs schools, sometimes called inner city schools.  Whatever you want to call them, it could be rough.  I’ve had fights work their way into my classroom more than once; I’ve had students curse me out; I’ve heard some sobering tales of home life and taught girls of 15 and 16 who had to wedge their pregnant bellies into those L shaped desks.  I thought I had seen it all, and to be honest, I had seen most of it. Continue reading