Sometimes it’s incredibly unreal to me that we’re having a baby.  In four and a half months.

In four and a half months–the same amount of time that’s passed since I found out I was pregnant (which, by the way, feels like no time at all)–we will have our own squalling, pooping, chubby-cheeked child.  It will actually be in my arms.  I’ll really be a mama.  Clint will really be a daddy.

Weird.

I mean, I still feel like I don’t know what I want my life to look like most of the time.  But I’m living it anyway, moving right through it even though I’m entering into a life stage that doesn’t end until I’m closer to retirement than college. I’ve been preparing myself for this for years–all those years of babysitting, nannying, watching my own sisters and practicing to be a mom (although I don’t think moms steal quarters from their children’s piggy banks when they want to buy a coffee cooler from Sunrise Coffee… man I could really go for one of those right now).  And yes, I did that.  I was a terrible sister and a really sneaky liar.  This is my confession.

Christine, Becca, I will pay you back, all in quarters if you want, to atone for my sins.

Anyway.  I practice mothering on other people’s kids all the time.  Heck, isn’t that practically most of what being a teacher is?  But now I’m going to have my own little bundle of joy.  I think about all the hopes and dreams I have for this child.  I imagine all the perfect images of children that are collected in my brain from books and movies, those perfect childhood moments of running through the sprinkler, making snowmen, blowing bubbles in the sun on the back porch, and I want all this and more for our baby.  But I also think about how likely it is that I could be extremely hurt by this child someday.  I think of all the temptations that will be thrown at this little boy or girl once he/she has grown older.  Temptations that could ruin this precious life, and bring so much hurt and sorrow to us.

(I will be thankful when I know if it’s a boy or girl.  I’m tired of trying to be so inclusive and keep my singular subject/verb agreement).

I know, though, that this is the risk we take when we, whether purposefully or surprisingly, enter into the journey of parenting.  Thank the Lord it’s not up to me anyway.  He has a plan for this growing baby, and he already knows the end result of this child’s life as well as mine and Clint’s.  I know I will not be perfect. And my kids won’t be perfect either.  Their little sin natures will tempt them as soon as they are plunged into our world.  But they are enveloped by prayer and mercy and grace, and I so hope that their little hearts (both this one that I can hear on occasion and the ones to come) will be opened to love Jesus and obey him.

Dreams

My high school friend Courtney and I stole bikes and road them around our small town until we were pursued by a gang of ruffians that were hanging out in a cemetery. My bike was red, and Courtney’s was blue.

I was visiting my family–we were in a lakeside cottage–but some of my friends were there as well. The next night, I was roughly awakened by the old music teacher from my previous job. She had a print from an ultrasound. Her face was terrified, and she told me that the doctor had misinterpreted my labs, and I may not even be pregnant. Or, if I was, I was going to have twins or quadruplets. I saw a glimpse of a picture she was holding behind her back of a grotesque, distorted baby emerging from a womb.

I’m dressed in a semi-formal black dress, and three of my sophomore students are huddled around me, carefully styling my hair and painting my nails. Once I’m ready, I go out to the other room, where several other students are waiting. They look me over, decide that my dress isn’t the best choice, and a guy hands me something else to try on. I go back into the room, try on the dress, only to find that it is SO tight (and unflattering) that I don’t even want to go out in public in it. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror–I have a short haircut with streaks of maroon and bleach-blonde white all across the front, and it’s teased out in the back. I look like a cross between Cruella DeVil and an ’80’s version of Madonna.

***
I’ve had the strangest, most vivid dreams since I’ve gotten pregnant. Granted, I’ve always had weird dreams, but all these crazy hormones in my blood are making me dream more often, and remember my wacked out dreams more often.

Clint and I watched a portion of a documentary on dreams, and one scientist suggested that dreams were opportunities for our brains to think through potential scenarios and try out different solutions to those scenarios. I hope that’s not true. Otherwise, my brain is considering all sorts of TERRIBLE scenarios that I hope would never ever ever come true.

Crotchety

I want to make this blanket. Maybe it’s because we had our first ultrasound today, and I’m feeling all motherly and nest-y.  Regardless, it’s a gorgeous blanket, but it’s way beyond my ability level (I have to re-learn how to crochet, plus figure out what all those abbreviations mean in the pattern and how to do them).  I also have to decide if it would look as cool if I used slightly less feminine colors (just in case we have a boy).  Or would it really matter, since I’m the one looking at it and appreciating it, and maybe I’ll have a girl someday??  After all, a baby doesn’t really care if he’s draped in a girly-looking blanket.  It’s not like I’m making him wear pink.  Besides, I think half the reason I like it is the color scheme.  It’s very whimsical and vintage-y.

I’ve also been trying to think of a hobby that I can do while my student-teacher slowly takes over my classroom.  Don’t get me wrong–I love having all this free time during the day while he’s teaching, but I need something to keep my hands busy.  And I look like a lazy bum sitting out in the hall, reading a book (there’s no teacher’s lounge; the closest thing to it are the chairs outside the principal’s office).  Maybe if I’m crocheting something, my boss won’t feel obliged to give me other things to do.

Let Go

Have you ever watched someone else try to do your job?

It can be frustrating.

That’s all I’m going to say.

Lucky Charms

It’s almost 10 am, and I’m eating lucky charms.

In my classroom.

With milk.

I have a full-sized, old-school-brown refrigerator in my classroom. I claim to use it for the “International Food Club” that I sponsor (we meet every three weeks to eat international foods), but really, I mostly use it to store stuff for ME to eat.

Now that I’m pregnant, I am finding that the only time I really feel like eating is in the morning. By the afternoon, almost every single food item makes me feel like hurling.

But enough of that. I have my first appointment with our midwife today. I’m getting really excited, but I’m also nervous. I don’t know if we’re having an ultrasound or not–some people have said, “Oh, you’re 10 weeks? I’m sure you’ll have an ultrasound!” Others have said, “Nah, probably not for another couple visits.” So, not sure about that part. But either way, it’s the first step in really confirming that things are going okay in there. I’m hoping that we’ll somehow get to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I still sometimes think that I’m just getting chubby, and there’s not really a THING growing inside of me.

The other plus of today’s appointment is that I get to skip out on our staff meeting this afternoon! Yay!

Finished with the First Half!

I just finished grading the first half of the 100 persuasive essays that were turned in last Tuesday. Yeah, it took me that long. It seemed that every night this week something else was keeping me from grading–a meeting at school on Thursday, a meeting on Friday, the Huskers playing on Saturday. Well, I did get some grading in yesterday. After all, it was a sad day for the Husker nation. No one likes being beaten in their own stadium (although we just did that to Missouri a week ago).

Anyway, after going through all of these papers, I’m going to have to spend the whole of next week reviewing MLA citation guidelines. That stuff is almost as bad as comma rules when it comes to memorizing it. Something inside of me loves the neatness of it all, though. I tell my students that research papers are so enjoyable! They’re so satisfying to piece together! They never seem to believe me. In their defense though, I don’t think I really enjoyed research papers until later in college. Or maybe it was when I started teaching, and realized I would give almost anything to be a student again myself.

In 2007 I wrote a long research paper for a grad class on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Great book, by the way. The popular idea of Jekyll and Hyde is far off from the original plot. I loved going to the library and searching for books that could help me. I spent hours searching online databases for compelling journal articles I could respond to. I would pore over my paper again and again, reading it outloud to myself to make sure it sounded exactly how I wanted it to. And then there was the moment of satisfaction, when at the end of the course, I received my paper back, a red A scrawled at the bottom, and a positive note scribbled underneath.

I probably need to be more encouraging to my students. The affirmation on that essay made me feel like I was going to make it through grad school (although I had to drop out the next semester because we were moving to Chicago). Too often I think I just cross out all their errors, write them notes instructing them to use more sophisticated vocabulary or to follow the prescribed 7-paragraph structure, circle misspelled words and throw in question marks wherever I lose whatever it is they’re trying to say.

But then again, I hate false praise. If a paper is terrible, I don’t want to make up something nice to say just to make my criticisms that much easier to swallow. And I don’t want kids going to college thinking they’re amazing, only to get shredded by some uncaring college prof (sorry Clint, don’t take that personally).

Anyway, I’m just glad to be finished with grading for today. I can handle only so many comma splices and incorrect shifts in verb tense in one day.

It’s freezing!

I saw frost on the ground this morning on our way to church.

My sister told me it snowed in Lincoln yesterday.  We get Lincoln’s weather about a day later.

What does this all mean???

It means winter is starting to hang around in the air and in the nooks and crannies of our apartment.

It also means that it’s time to start listening to Christmas music.  Well, I actually should confess that we started listening to it on October 1st.  It’s an Eberspacher tradition.  At least, these Eberspachers.  (Also, I think Clint cheated and listened to Christmas music on September 27th).  In any case, Sufjan Steven’s Songs for Christmas is making me feel all cheery inside.

But even with all this holiday cheer, my fingers are turning blue.  We’re trying to hold out on turning on the heat until our downstairs neighbor does.  We’re hoping the whole “heat rises” principle will work in our favor.  In an attempt to stave off hypothermia, I’m running the hot water and washing dishes.  I’m also contemplating what to cook–I’m thinking about these Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies from Tasty Kitchen, one of the best places online to get good recipes.  I also have four cans  (four cans!!) of pureed pumpkin in the pantry.  I’m sure I can put that to good use.

*brief pause for dancing by myself to “Put the Lights on the Tree”*

Good thing Clint is at Starbucks, trying to get some work done.  He just can’t concentrate when I’m around.  I wonder why.

I have tomorrow off–hallelujah for Columbus and his amazing discovery!–and I’m trying to think about how I’m going to spend all my free time.  So far I’ve come up with laundry, reading, baking something (again, the stove helps heat the whole house!), and watching Bones on Hulu.  What I’m NOT going to do is grade papers.  Yay!  On Tuesday, I’ll be receiving 98 persuasive essays–most of them abysmal (although it’s not totally their fault–I was sick three days during this unit)–and I’ll be grading them for the next two weeks, if the last paper was any indication.  So, I’ve got to enjoy the freedom while it lasts.

I wish you were here and could eat cookies with me.

Enjoy the day!