The number one question these days… “how much longer?”  As if I know!  Bless folks’ hearts- they mean well, but God didn’t give me that power.  “Any day now” is a common response.  Another is, “Whenever he decides to come.”  The third is, “Well, Sunday marks 39 weeks.”  I’m just grateful this week has been relatively more comfortable than last week was.  The temps have been lower overall and far more enjoyable.

It’s funny how people are also dying to be helpful now… for example, I’ve been the one taking the trio to the dog park… by myself.  They are fairly cooperative about it- excited about getting in, but no major worries about one of them jerking me off my feet or wrapping themselves around my legs and tripping me.  The going home part is pretty much an easier experience because they’re all tired and hot and ready to go rest.  Inevitably, someone will ask if they can help me when they are ready to leave (but we’re not), so that I’m not carrying a now-empty water bucket and dealing with three leashes by myself.  It’s sweet, but I hate being made to feel like I’m raining on someone’s parade because I politely decline.  Oh, well.  Maybe I really am too darn independent sometimes.

I did ask my mama for some help this week with cleaning up my kitchen and making some post-partum meals for the freezer.  She rocks!  We got a lot accomplished in 2 days, and I feel SO much better.  Tired, but better.  Today’s my day of rest, I think, in between some necessary errands like picking up my last paycheck and checking in with our homeowner’s insurance folks.

Being a homeowner is such a blessing… and a headache.  Here’s the latest- regarding our current home- last week, I got this lovely letter from our utility company noting that we had an unusually high water reading for the month.  It took me awhile to get through to talk with them and find out more.  Based on what I found out, I called the plumbers to check on the many possibilities of leaks.  No major leaks in the house- one bathroom faucet dripped if the handle wasn’t just so, and they fixed that.  While repairing the pilot light situation on the water heater, they turned off the water main inside the house… walked outside and realized the meter was still running.  Long story short- we have a leak in the water main between the meter and our house somewhere.  Hence the need to talk with our homeowner’s insurance, because there is no more expensive plumbing bill than the unknown leak buried under the ground “somewhere” outside between point A and point B.  The leak is probably the result of some landscape work our next-door neighbor had done, so I’ve got to find a way to track her down and talk with her, too.  At least we won’t have $200 or more water bills anymore after this is repaired… and with proof of the repair, we may even be able to get that lowered, too.

The appraisal has been completed on the new house that we want to purchase.  They are now shuffling some more mortgage paperwork based off of the appraisal and then… Lord willing… we’ll soon have a closing date and be homeowners living very close to B’s work.  How my hope hinges on this becoming a reality.  My sweet husband desperately needs to lose the 3 hours of driving each day.  I know he will feel so much better.  At any rate, once we are homeowners there, we will be putting this house on the market.  Contract-wise, we must close by Sept. 10, so yes… we will be moving with a brand-new baby.  Not ideal at all, but keeping our eyes on the long-term benefits is going to play an important role in maintaining sanity.

I have gotten fantastic news this week, which will hopefully not change: my brother bear will be visiting home at the end of September for a brief vacation.  That makes me really, really, really happy.  I look forward to a family pizza and games night.  The last one was when he was saying that he’d had his fish dream again and had asked around but nobody he knew was pregnant.  How cool it was to realize (in retrospect) that it was us, the very people it “couldn’t be”!

As for how we’re doing… Pud’s doing great.  Still moving, still has a strong and steady heartbeat, still going to be a long baby.  I’m doing better- lost a little of the water weight from last week’s heat wave, Pud’s dropped and that’s been making me more comfortable in a lot of ways, and maintaining healthy vital levels.  Next week, we have an ultrasound to check his size and position… should we make it that far.  I’m still ever-hopeful that he’ll come while I’m still covered on my insurance, but accepting that I have no control over when he’s ready to come out. 

Callie is sticking a little closer the past couple of days.  She seemed to be checking on me a lot yesterday, with a slightly worried look on her face, but not so much this morning.  Maybe she just wanted me to take it easy.  I asked her if she thought Pud was coming soon, but she didn’t really say “yes” or “no”.  I love my girl.  Loyal like nobody’s business and concerned, besides. 

My other girl, Piper, is doing great.  She’s been learning all kinds of new things at an explosive rate- mostly through imitating her packmates.  Of the three, she will be the one who will have the biggest adjustment to make when Pud arrives, just because she’s young and hasn’t had a lot of experience with young humans.  She seems a bit nervous of the kids when we run into them at the park, so I’ve been patiently eliciting their help and teaching them to introduce themselves to her more slowly (with my hands to guide theirs), so that she’s not running the other way.  I’m sure it’s because kids are so unpredictable… and she doesn’t always understand what they’re doing or holding (the Chuck-it ball-throwing tool, the weirdly-shaped water bottle, etc.).  I’m going to have to take time to make her a vest that clearly states that she’s deaf.  It’s terrifying when you’re doing your thing and all of a sudden, someone’s right there next to you and you didn’t see them coming.  Now add in that they are asking to touch you… yipes!  “Call 911, I’m in trouble!” is probably the thought going through her mind. 

The nice thing is that Piper can’t possibly be irritated by Pud’s crying, since she won’t hear it.  That’s probably my biggest concern for Bandit, since he’s heard so little of it compared to Callie.  It will all work out and everyone will get along just fine, I’m confident.  It’s just good to know some of the potential hurdles, so that we can plan how to deal with them proactively.  As long as they are involved in baby’s care and play, I know that they will be fine.  It will even make it easier to be sure to give each of them the attention they also crave.  Giving them that attention is as simple these days as involving the girls in household routines like folding laundry (they hand me stuff from the basket on the floor as I fold them- and they love this “game”) and gathering up the recycling.  I need to get a little better about remembering to include them in these routines even more, instead of always tackling them on my own, just because it might be faster or easier.  Certainly efficiency isn’t nearly as much fun!

B is going to be a tired new father, and will probably need as much, if not more, pampering than I after Pud comes.  He’s been putting in long hours at work, trying to finish big projects, staff evaluations, and more.  The additional stresses of the water main, the mortgage application/home-buying process, and… our impending labor are definitely filling his plate up past full. 

I’ve said this before- there is nothing like bringing a new life into a family to absolutely throw the world for a loop and cause all kinds of stress.  The difference for mamas and daddies is that because there’s a visible reminder of the impending change, mamas are treated more kindly and given far more support than daddies are.  Daddies are every bit as scared as Mamas (“I don’t know if I can do this” is as valid a feeling for dads as moms), worried (how are we gonna make it on one income if things like this water main keep coming up?), excited (I look forward to holding him), nervous (I hope I don’t drop him!), and more .  Unfortunately, there isn’t the same kind of response given to soon-to-be daddies as there is to soon-to-be mamas.  I’ve been pretty lucky about not hearing too many horror stories of birth, mostly because I choose not to listen to them (I think).  Instead, I’ve had a lot of “you can do this”, “You’ll be a great mom”, and other positive affirmations.  What kinds of things does B tend to hear?  “You better get used to not sleeping so well”, “Just you wait… (until some typical childhood discipline catastrophe)”, etc.  Poor guy.  He’s already stressed and worried about being a good daddy, the changes that having a baby will bring for our relationship, providing for his family, and more… and people don’t offer him the kind of supportive affirmations that they offer to me- not even “you are gonna be great helping her with labor”.  Why does our society have such a negative attitude towards fathers?  No wonder some of them choose to live up (down) to the expectations and become “deadbeats” or “detached” and “uninterested”.  I realize that I have a good man who genuinely strives to be the best he can be (and struggles along the way) standing beside me in this parenthood journey, but I know of many other men who want to be good dads, too, and they aren’t always supported in their desire to do so.  I find it frustrating (and from conversations I’ve had with a few, they do, too).  I’m hoping the tide is changing, as more dads are getting more involved in their kids’ lives, according to several recent articles, surveys, and studies I’ve been reading.  So do me a favor, okay?  Please take time to appreciate a dad for trying to be a good daddy to his kids, and offer only supportive, uplifting words of advice or affirmation.