4:18 a.m. Location: Our house. Gracie’s voice shatters the early morning silence: “Mom! Dad! Help! I need you!” I haul my pregnant self out of bed and race across the hall. The cause of this alarm: She needs ice water. Not the room temperature cup of water that’s on her nightstand–ICE water. Seriously.
5:20 a.m. I’m finally starting to fall back asleep. Max starts talking in his sleep about Thomas the Train and a crack in the tracks. It’s just enough to pull me back to consciousness–well, that and his baby brother playing soccer with my bladder. The sun peeks through my window and I realize that I won’t be falling back asleep. And so begins another day with my three-and-a-half children.
This day is different, though. Hope is in sight. You see, it’s my tenth wedding anniversary, and the hubby and I have big plans. Not Caribbean cruise big, or even go-stay-at-a-hotel big, but big enough to cause a fair amount of giddiness and excitement in two tired, starved-for-alone-time parents: The kids are going to Papa and Nana’s for TWO WHOLE DAYS AND TWO NIGHTS!
It’s a running joke around here that I’m pretty low-maintenance; partly out of necessity, and partly because I’m just too practical to blow a lot of money on worthless stuff. Regardless, I wasn’t expecting expensive jewelry or a tropical vacation to celebrate ten years of wedded bliss. All I wanted was a little quality time with my husband to rest, relax, have an uninterrupted conversation or two, and not cut up people’s dinner or wipe hineys.
We dropped the kids off at my in-laws, along with blankies, at least 35 stuffed animals (30 of which were Gracie’s), Jack’s toddler bed, diapers, binkies, and a vehicle that can hold all three car seats. After a few last kisses and hugs, we were off for our weekend of freedom, beginning with dinner out, a movie, and ice cream afterward because we didn’t have to rush home. And no, I didn’t get sugar-free ice cream, I got a scoop of real cookie dough ice cream; it was almost as blissful as falling asleep without doing the bedtime routine with three kids, then staying in bed all the way till 9:00 the next morning!
We had planned to go golfing the following morning, but it was in the low 90’s and terribly humid, so we opted to stay home, play a round of Frisbee golf on the Wii in the air conditioning, and sip our iced coffees between turns. An excellent choice. Then I took a nap, and we went out to our second movie of the weekend–we had plenty to choose from since we haven’t seen a movie in a theater for months.
We capped off the evening by bringing a pizza and wings home, and eating them in the living room while watching another movie. This was special for several reasons: (1) We rarely get wings because they’re too messy to share with the kids. (2) We didn’t have to cut the pizza into a million bite-size pieces for our kids, and we actually got to eat ours while it was still hot. (3) We got to eat in the living room, something we used to do all the time before kids, but which is now against the rules. (4) We got to watch a non-animated, swear-word and gun-toting-car-chase featuring movie before 9:30 at night, which means I actually stayed up till the end of it!
Spectacular anniversary weekend? Not to most people, but it was just what we needed. Time to rest, hang out together, and just recharge our batteries. Low maintenance indeed, but I wouldn¹t have it any other way. And by the time the second morning rolled around, we couldn’t wait to go pick up the kids–after sleeping in and going out to breakfast, of course!
Toward the end of the week, Gracie accompanied me to my 24-week checkup. She had her five-year checkup later that morning, so we made a special “girls’ day” out of it, focusing more on hearing New Baby’s heartbeat, buying a lunchbox for Kindergarten at Target, and going out to lunch, rather than focusing on the shot that she was dreading. As much as I hate shots for tiny babies, at least they don’t know what’s coming; they just cry when they get stuck, then feel better a few minutes later. My five-year-old obsessed for a week, threw a fit when the time came, then when it was over said, “That didn’t hurt at all!” Good grief.
My own appointment was much less eventful. It was just a quick tummy check, and everything looked good. The doctor looked over my blood sugar testing, and said everything looked good. I’d gained three pounds in about three weeks, so the doctor said to just keep up the good work, and do what I’d been doing food-wise. I didn’t volunteer the information that two of those three pounds were gained during our little anniversary extravaganza–apparently binging on restaurant food, movie popcorn, ice cream, pizza, and wings aren’t recommended protocol for gestational diabetes, but I’m back on the wagon now, and I won’t be celebrating that way for the rest of the pregnancy. I’m glad I just enjoyed myself and didn’t worry too much about dietary restrictions, without too many repercussions. I just know I can’t eat that way all the time, so I won’t.
It cracked me up that my doctor talked more to Gracie than to me during my brief visit. Part of this has to do with Gracie, who would have a conversation with a brick wall, but part was the doctor, who seemed to realize that it’s important to make the “big sister” feel special. Gracie told him all about heading to Kindergarten in the fall, her impending doctor appointment and shot (and all her feelings about both), and that we’d celebrate being brave by having lunch at a very special restaurant: Steak ‘n Shake!
The doctor asked what kind of milkshake she’d get, and she told him chocolate with whipped cream and a cherry. I joked that it just seemed wrong that I planned to get a Diet Coke when they have all those amazing milkshakes there, but I was willing to take one for the team. He gave me an appropriate amount of sympathy before sending me on my merry way for a few more weeks. Next time I’ll meet with my nurse practitioner, who oversees and coordinates things with the pregnancy as I shuffle through the doctors in the practice on my other visits. I really like the nurse practitioner, and it’s nice to have a consistent touch point who knows what’s going on in the big picture of the pregnancy. Soon the visits will be closer together, and I’ll feel like I spend tons of time at the doctor’s office. That just means we’re getting closer to meeting the little guy, and I’m really looking forward to that, even if it means a lot of hard (but rewarding) work.