Pregtodcy: the state of being pregnant with a toddler in tow. My hubby and I recently created this term as a form of comic relief when stress-managing 3rd trimester life with an energetic, strong-willed 17-month old running around. I wish that my first blog post found us under happier circumstances, but in the spirit of keeping it real, I invite you into a morning of pregtodcy at its finest.
Let me set the scene for you. It’s Night 3 of Mommy and Baby Boy flying solo, with Daddy away for a work conference. After Pax is down for the night, I begin mentally preparing for the morning to come: I have an important work meeting I’m leading at 8am, and need to have myself presentable and Pax ready for daycare no later than 7am. Knowing full well the chaos that could arise from poor planning, I take every precautionary measure I can think of – including pouring Westy’s (our black lab pup – she’s a sweetheart) breakfast in advance to avoid the thundering sound of each pellet hitting her metal bowl in the morning and resounding off every wall and crevice.
5:30am: time to wake up! Except that I don’t – on time, anyway. I manage to get myself showered and mostly ready by 6:45, a half hour later than planned, and Pax is now fully awake and yelling for Mama. I resign myself to the impending reality of a morning marked by tears, stress, and a sense of urgency. I much prefer allowing Pax to wake up slowly, on his own time, and to enjoy the morning a little as opposed to rushing around, but such is life.
Getting changed and dressed in the morning is a loathsome activity these days, but can be effectively tempered with a nice leisurely start to the morning – not possible today. I pick Pax up out of his crib and immediately FaceTime Dada as a distraction tactic while I speed change/dress. Few things make Pax happier than seeing Daddy’s face on that screen: no answer. No problem! Nuney (that’s grandma) is our second go-to: no answer. (I feel compelled to mention here that these two are normally very dependable in the “picking-up” department – love you both dearly). Pax is extremely upset that the face machine is not showing his favorite faces while I try to keep him still – what else is this thing good for? He throws it to the floor. By the time he’s changed and dressed, which includes some force and restraint, we are quickly approaching meltdown mode.
But not to worry! Pax’s morning milk is waiting for him in its usual spot. I set him down and he runs to find it, only to trip and fall face-first on the hardwood floor. While he lies there helplessly and a whole new level of crying ensues, I retrieve the magic milk potion myself and deliver it to him, hoping it will miraculously erase the events of the morning thus far. It doesn’t. The crying continues in between sips of milk, although I realize I need to take advantage of the time it will take him to finish. Pax follows me around, milk-in-hand, while I frantically try to finish a few last minute things – did I take my vitamins yet? where are my keys? Before I have time to take a breath, milk’s gone.
Beside himself with grief at the sight of his empty milk cup, Pax and his temper tantrum follow me as I run around in a frenzy. Eventually he drops his cup and is standing at my feet, distraught and tugging at my legs to be picked up. I make the decision to get my keys before grabbing him – that way we can head straight to the car. Horrible decision. As I rush toward the kitchen, Pax, still clutching my legs, is dragged to the ground. Our second fall of the morning coupled with the realization that his request to be immediately picked up has been denied results in full meltdown mode. My keys are so close – surely I can quickly grab them before consoling my poor baby boy. I decide to make a move for them, though Pax clings to my feet. I try to break free for a moment but his grip is too tight, and he is literally dragged along the hardwood floor until at last I have my keys in hand. Wailing intensifies. Things are out of place everywhere and it goes against every fiber in my being to leave the house in this state of disarray, but I have no choice. It’s past 7 already and I cannot be late. Can our new neighbors hear this fiasco?
I grab my bag, pick up my adorably desperate baby boy, and stick a binkie in his mouth to stop the crying. Binkies are reserved for naps and bedtime but I’m out of options and the thought of a moment of silence is too tempting. It works like a charm. Becoming a mother, among other things, has made me really appreciate the blissful sound of silence. Could it be? Has the madness ended? I put Pax’s shoes on his feet as we walk, tear his coat out of the closet and dash toward the garage. We are almost to the car when his binkie falls to the garage floor. If this were a movie, it would have happened in slow motion. In a split second I look at Pax, my face pleading with him to remain calm for the short time it will take me to remedy the situation. He is not having it – the screaming resumes. I recover the binkie which thankfully lands face-up, acutely aware that it’s becoming much more difficult to bend over while 29 weeks pregnant with my hands full, one item being a 25 lb toddler.
I sigh as I realize my greatest trial lies before me: the dreaded car seat. The car seat is a battle worthy of a blog post of its own, so suffice it to say that I get him in and secure and manage to stumble-walk to the driver’s seat where I am finally able to enjoy a (sweaty) moment of refuge. I apologize to Pax and to baby-to-be for the stressful morning, and release a dramatic sigh of relief. Whether it was the sound of my exaggerated sigh or a mutual feeling of joy over the long-awaited and much-needed sense of calm, Pax lets out a giggle from the backseat which immediately stops the urge to start crying myself. Is there any sweeter sound?