The Homestretch: Am I ready? When’s it gonna happen? Give me a sign!

We’re in the homestretch! I’m due Monday and have been feeling like this kid could come any time. Two nights ago, I had crazy new cramps down my inner thighs and some shortness of breath, and I thought for sure both were a sign that labor was going to start sooner than later. But, alas, 2 days later he’s still cooking.

labor coming

Two days ago: Wednesday night, October 21 9:30pm

I’ve been trying to remember how I felt (and if I had any clear signs) in the days leading up to Aria’s birth. I can recollect feeling different, but, then again, she was a week late so every day that passed I was anticipating her. The night before she was born, I had started getting contractions at 10pm, and it all rolled very easily from there (she was born the next morning), but I don’t remember the signs before that all started. I now wish I had written down everything I felt in the days leading up.

I’m thinking this boy will arrive in the next few days (I’ve been chatting with him for a while to come this weekend, or on his due date of Monday, as it would be most convenient for me), but even though I feel like he might, I also have no idea. I’ve been asking friends and googling some common signs that labor is coming soon, but bottom line is anything can happen at any time.

Nonetheless, if it’s any help to any expectant moms out there, here’s what’s going on with me right now.

Pressure & cramps: The crazy leg cramps I had the other night were not the common charley horses I felt all through this pregnancy. Instead, they were intense sharp pains down my inner thigh (perhaps he’s hitting a nerve?), that took my breath away. I’ve had them here and there since, but the other night they were hitting one after the other, so it had me thinking labor was definitely on it’s way to meet me.

I’ve also felt more pressure and bearing down in my pelvis. Now it could just be that the bigger he gets, the more I feel. After all, he’s gotta be a pretty good size by now, and is definitely in position. They say in the last day your baby “drops,” but this boy has been head down and ready to go for months. Lately though, ANY little move he makes, I FEEL.

I also sense a build up of what feels like a fluid pressure at times. It’s hard to describe, but almost like my water could break at any moment. With Aria, it didn’t break until I was in the hospital, and, since I experienced that, I can kinda recollect the feeling just before, which is this build up/pressure feeling I’ve had the last few days. But, nothing popping just yet, so I guess for now I’m good.

Nesting: I’ve been scurrying around trying to get things in order the last few days. Some say this burst of energy and intense “nesting” often comes days before labor sets in, but I still wonder if it’s just my procrastinating nature, and the fact that now I know it’s crunch time, that I’m finally getting shit together for this boy. It’s so funny, because for Aria I was setting up a room and making sure all was as it should be months in advance, and this poor baby gets things pulled out of the attic and dusted off last minute.

Emotional: I’ve definitely been more emotional as of late. I found myself crying during CNN the other night. Granted it was a Lisa Ling documentary that was a bit tender, but never would have brought my pre-pregnant self to tears. I’m sure it’s all these crazy hormones, and perhaps the anticipation of the unknown that’s got me a bit off kilter. Many woman say they’re more crabby also leading up. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Speaking of being off, when I was thinking we might be close the other night, I got a little jittery because I was home alone and thought, “Is this whole thing making me nervous?” (As clearly shown in picture above!) Nerves aren’t common for me, but the reality that all was about to change in life (and hey, that I could be pushing out a kid that night), did put me a bit on edge. I think it’s totally natural for women (and dads to be for that matter) to feel that way. I guess I just didn’t expect it to come over me since this my second go-around, but, hey, life IS about to change… BIG time!

This Morning. Still in there!

This morning. Still in there!

No matter, what the signs or symptoms, I’m thankful that in the end I know that I am ready. We never have all set, and the unknown is scary, but having had Aria and knowing the incredible impact she has had on my life reassures me. Before her, I had no idea how deep and wide and unconditional love could be. Granted, with her it was not this immediate gush of love upon delivery like you see in movies, but it has been a steady and increasingly heavy hold on my heart. A love that has grown to be more immense than I could have ever imagined. This, and even the swell of my heart as I just caught sight of the banner on this page and her sweet newborn face, totally put me at ease and crush any and anxiety I might feel about number two. In fact, it only makes me look forward to meeting him, and starting another new adventure. So, we’re in the homestretch. Bring it on.

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Preschool In The City: The Interview.

pre school interview nurserySo, Aria had her first “interview” at Barrow Street Nursery recently. Essentially (and thankfully) it was only observed play in a classroom, and pretty painless. She and four other kids rotated at different play stations– a little kitchen with tea pots and dolls, a table with puzzles and toys, and another covered with paper and  marker paints. One parent of each child (me in this case) was allowed to sit in but were asked to not get too involved. I  must admit, a time or two I had to hold my tongue when my natural reaction was to interject or direct her (or praise her and call attention to something she was doing that was particularly impressive:).

What exactly NYC preschools are looking for during these interviews, I’m not sure. I’d say she did well, but she definitely didn’t follow every direction and certainly didn’t pull out all her charisma and charm (I guess that’s reserved for audiences in her own living room). She played well and didn’t cling to me as one of her other little co-interviewees did his mom. She was herself (although perhaps a toned down version)–  showing her nurturing side with mothering dollies, unabashedly expressing her will when another little boy tried to pry the tea pot our of her hands, and asserting her independence when she decided to rearrange the little chairs instead of sitting down on the rug for story time (free thinker? artistic expression? Surely thing was a good thing??).

Anyway, regardless, I’d say it was a success. If nothing else it’s planted the idea in her head that school is fun. She did not want to leave when it was time, and has brought up going back repeatedly since.  As mentioned before on this blog, I didn’t apply to any other schools, so we’ll see where she ends up. The mom next to me applied to 11, but Barrow was the only one they made through the lottery and got an interview.  I guess I should feel good since essentially we’re 1 for 1.

Chatter on the playground: Where did you apply?
Top choices amongst West Village mom’s seem to be:

Barrow Street Nursery
Mandell
West Village Nursery 
City and Country School
Downing Street Playgoup Co-op 

What I wish I knew then:
I wish I had applied to the two  co-ops. Subsequently (and unfortunately post-deadline) I have heard great things about both. Parents take a larger role and are more involved in co-ops and (because of this) they are considerably less expensive.

I also wish I had read this article which tells you a little bit about what to expect and gives a few tips. Luckily, I did  keep my mouth shut, and her independent streak  and will may very well have been a looked at as a positive in the end.

Good thing because ends up preschool is the best job training program out there. Or at least according to this article. 

Need help navigating the preschool madness ? A great listing of NYC preschools (listed by neighborhood) can be seen on MommyPoppins.

Preschool In the City : The Parent Visit

So, I just got out of our first preschool visit. That’s part one of two in the interview process for my 2 year old (for next year). Yes, if you’re not from NYC you probably don’t realize how big of a production this whole preschool thing is. It’s almost as bad as my college application process, and the price tag of some are almost just as much (no, I’m not even kidding).

To be honest, I am the slacker mom who has only (as of yet) applied to one school despite all the preschool chatter on the playground and the fact that Aria’s dad brought me home a book of NYC preschools to research (hint hint). I’ve used the excuse that we may not even be here next year (we discuss moving to the “country” house full time (no, no), and I’ve had a bit of a hard stance against the ridiculous process and price tag (my own silent revolt by not applying).

However, after this parent visit today, my resistance started to give way. My harshness about it all softened just a bit. The school was lovely. A place I would love Aria to be. One filled with creativity and experiential learning, one that is nurturing and loving while still fostering structure and independence. I was truly impressed.

barrow st preschool

I won’t tell you the name (right now), but it’s of the most coveted in the West Village, and now I can see why. It’s a great space with warm teachers, a philosophy in line with mine, and a beautiful space complete with a rooftop garden/playground and indoor tri-cycle track. Sigh.

It’s a hard thing now that I’ve gotten hooked in. It’s made me have to consider the fact that sometimes processes and price tags (no matter if insane) may have (some) merit.  We’ll see. For now, I guess I should be applying to others whose deadlines I haven’t already missed. After all, don’t we all want to give our kids the best things in life? The best start?

We have a second interview with Aria for this school in January, and while I know they will fall in love with her and her incredible brightness (and of course accept her on the spot :), I am going to start to check out what else is out there. Being open minded goes far– even when it  comes to preschool mania.