Sleeping Through Second Pregnancy

Hahahahaha! You’re pregnant, and you have a child at home? And you think you’re going to sleep? Again, I say, ha!

See, just like the first time around, this pregnancy is probably causing all sorts of not-so-fun midnight “experiences.” Heartburn and indigestion, the constant need to pee, shriek-inducing charley horses, tingly limbs, and crazy dreams are just a few of my favorites. I think it’s nature’s very confused way of preparing you for the sleeplessness that comes with a newborn (though I would argue that a few months of really good sleep would be better preparation).

If, like me, you’ve also probably got a little one at home with his own sleep issues, you’re really in for a treat. Sure, we’d love to think that somewhere in their first year of life our children learn to “sleep through the night,” but that’s not really true. There are calls for water, middle of the night accidents, nightmares and the untimely energy that seems to come standard with a preschool-aged body.

Some of you might be thinking, “That’s what your husband is for,” and you’d be right. Mine definitely does his share of midnight duties. But I have yet to master the trick of sleeping through the nighttime crisis. It’s not that I don’t trust my husband to handle it — I really do — but my body will not drift off to dreamland while my kiddo is crying in another room.

And so, we get last night:

7:40 p.m. Started bedtime routine. We read stories in the big bed, went potty, put on jammies, ate vitamins, brushed teeth, put all the “friends” to bed, took of Monster Baby’s jammies (for reasons that only a 4-year-old can understand), rocked, and read some more.

8:45 p.m. Sweet Boy is in his own bed, clutching Monster Baby and Deedee (his beloved tag blanket), almost asleep. The fact that he doesn’t want his star nightlight on is a good sign. Perhaps he’ll pass out soon. Husband and I creep downstairs.

10:30 p.m. Grown-up bedtime. We were talking a bit too much on the way upstairs and heard a moan from Sweet Boy’s room, but everything stayed still. Phew. Kiss goodnight, and I put in my earplugs (because Darling Husband’s snoring is a whole different issue).

1:15 a.m. I have to pee. Then drink more water. I know this is a vicious cycle, but I can’t help it. I head back to bed and realize baby is awake and kicking me in the ribs. This will last a while.

2 a.m. Sweet Boy marches into our bedroom demanding jammies for Monster Baby. The same jammies he wanted to take off the doll at bedtime. I refuse. Sure, it would have been easier to give in, but I have principles, dang it. Daddy gets up to put screaming boy back to bed. I unwillingly listen and force myself not to intervene when I hear, “I just want my mommy!”

2:20 a.m. Daddy’s back and Boy is quiet. Re-insert earplugs, try to sleep.

2:45 a.m. Kick Darling Husband repeatedly to make him turnover and drop the snore-decibel level a bit. Baby turns over a few times, too.

3 a.m. Sweet Boy is back. He doesn’t want to be alone. “I want to be with someone I love.” This is his favorite line, because he knows it breaks my heart. I pick him up, take him back to his room, and we rock until he’s calmer.

3:30 a.m. Pee again.

5:30 a.m. Sweet Boy has wet the bed. He’s 4, but this is still a periodic issue. This time is a big accident. Monster Baby and Deedee are both soaked. Daddy and I both get up — he changes sheets and jammies while I start the laundry, pee (again) and try to assure Sweet Boy that his beloveds will be okay in the washing machine. He climbs into our bed and wants to cuddle.

5:45 a.m. Daddy is snoring. Sweet Boy is “cuddling” by laying on half my body and squirming. When I tell him to calm down, he whispers, “Is this why you put me in my own bed.” Yes, yes it is. Baby Girl is kicking Sweet Boy’s back through my tummy.

6:40 a.m. Sweet Boy is done “cuddling.” He moves to the center of the bed and suddenly is still.

6:44 a.m. Soft, steady breathing from my left indicates Sweet Boy is finally asleep.

6:45 a.m. Alarm goes off. Time for Mommy to get up. Oh well, I had to pee anyway.

8 a.m. Wake the boys to get ready for school.

8:15 a.m. I’m at work, ready for a full day, followed by one of Sweet Boy’s friends’ birthday parties. Pregnant or not, I crack open the first shot of caffeine. Happy Friday!


DIY Family Recipe Towel

If you’ve never tasted aebleskiver, you’re missing out more than I can say.

A traditional Danish dish served around the holidays, these little buttermilk pancake balls are dipped in butter and sugar, then enjoyed until your stomach is ready to burst. You might even add in some really good sausage, served, of course, with homemade applesauce, to round out your meal — but in my opinion, that’s always been optional.

Is that my helping?

The aebleskiver tradition in my family comes from my maternal grandmother’s family. Both her parents were first-generation Americans whose own parents immigrated from Denmark in the late 1800s. We, sadly, have lost the language and probably a whole lot of our heritage, but aebleskiver is a piece that remains.

Many years ago, there was a picture in our small town newspaper of me, my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother making aebleskiver together. My mom’s now-laminated recipe was typed by my great-grandmother and contains a couple of hand-written notes, and the distinctive cast-iron pans used to make the breakfast treats are special gifts among my cousins.

Megleskiver — Sister Meghann whips up a batch of batter for a New Year's morning feast.
Megleskiver — Sister Meghann whips up a batch of batter for a New Year’s morning feast.
Mom's got her hands full with two aebleskiver pans.
Mom’s got her hands full with two aebleskiver pans.

For Christmas this year, I decided to capitalize on a bit of the tradition by making hand-stamped towels featuring the recipe. (My first idea had been to have custom fabric made out of a picture of the original recipe, but since the recipe card isn’t handwritten, I didn’t think it would be that cool.)

I started by designing a simple version of the recipe in Illustrator.

Then, I sent it off to this company to have a stencil created. (In retrospect, I should have had a stamp made instead — it would have held up longer and bled less — but a stencil is what came to mind when I was planning.)

While waiting for the stencil to arrive in the mail, I searched for some simple flour-sack towels. It took a bit of research to find what I had in mind, but I ended up with some from Fred Meyer. (Had I more time and money, I may have gone for higher-quality fabric and made them myself, but you have to set boundaries somewhere.)

Flour sack towels
Flour sack towels

I pre-washed and then ironed the towels, then spent a couple of evenings stenciling the recipe onto each towel with fabric paint.

Fabric paint
Fabric paint
Aebleskiver stencil
Aebleskiver stencil

Like I said, the stencil did start to bleed, but I figured no one would be using their towel as the actual recipe. It’s decorative!

Then had to dry for three days for the paint to set (bye-bye dining room table), but then they were ready for another wash.

A full table of drying towels
A full table of drying towels

I found from my first ironing experience that these towels would never be crisp, so I didn’t both with a second attempt. I just folded them as best I could and wrapped each pair with some baker’s twine and a gift tag.

I didn’t bother with wrapping, either. I just handed them all out simultaneously at our family Christmas gathering. Definitely a big hit!