Don’t Forget Everybody Else – CarseatFullstop

As a couple, my husband and I are in the interesting position that when we are with our friends, we are the only parents in the room, more often than not. Our circle is made up of an interesting combination of non-parents (those who do not want children) and pre-parents (those who are not yet ready to have children, for whatever reason). And our kids are like the Royal Family – they have an army of godparents, none of whom are parents themselves. This position has really brought home the lack of education around car seats for me.

So, let’s talk about EVERYBODY ELSE. Let’s talk about non-parents, pre-parents, godparents, grandparents and bonus parents and the effort we put into educating them on car seats.

As parents and pre-parents, we learn everything we can from parenting forums, facebook groups, pre-natal classes, books and OTHER PARENTS. I remember all the time I spent on the various sites I deemed trustworthy – NHS, WHO, Baby Centre. And guess what? None of them told me anything about car seats. For that, I had to do special searches and everything I found was American. And I’ll be straight with you, I’m one of the lucky few, I knew to do my homework. Purely due to having a husband who does slightly extreme sports – so the first question in our house is always safety.

What quickly became apparent in our search for a good seat and the next seat up, is that the people selling the seats, are not really clued up on car seat safety as a whole and I had nobody else to ask, so to the internet I went and we did the best we could.

Due to the army of aforementioned godparents, we spend a lot of time demonstrating our carseats, running through the do’s and don’ts, and inevitably, explaining the whys. Every time a question gets lobbed our way – why is Storm still rearfacing? When will we turn her around? Isn’t she bored? Surely Claws is big enough for the next seat? Why are you pulling that so tight? Shame, they’re freezing, why did you take their jackets off? – I am reminded how unprepared we were. I am reminded of the pre-parents fantasising about Mom proudly sitting in back with her new bundle in her arms. I am reminded of the “to-buy” lists I downloaded that never included a seat. I am reminded of the financial shock it was to have to buy them, because we were not prepared.

I see people advocate multi-stage seats everyday on parenting forums, saying how these save you so much money and I cringe, because parenting is SUPER expensive and saving is important, but also because we start budgeting for nappies and medical and school the day we go off our contraceptives, but we never consider the cost of safety. And single stage seats are, simply safer. And there’s nobody talking to prospective parents, or any non-parents – about car seats.

I got lucky, I came from a research background, I had informed in-laws and my husband is safety mad. And then I stumbled into CarseatFullstop and could adjust my actions before they were a problem. But as with all things parenting, car seat safety takes a village. It is upto us as parents to educate and inform the pre-parents, godparents, non-parents and grandparents in our circle. So next time you’re telling that sweet young couple who looks like they’re thinking about it, about how freaking much giving birth cost you (you’ve done it, we both know you have), stop, they’ve heard it already. Try this on for size. “You know what I struggled with? Carseat info. Can I share a great resource with you?”

And if you do find yourself strapping your greatest treasure in while chatting to someone who might someday drive your and/or their own child around, take the moment to do a free demo on car seat safety – it could save a life.

CarseatFullstop. Every Child. Every Time. No Matter What.

Soundtracks (and some ramblings)

Isn’t it the strangest thing how life seems to have soundtracks? There are songs I can’t listen to without being transported back to another time in my life. And times in my life I’m not sure I’d have gotten through without certain songs.

I remember my first real heartbreak and I still can’t listen to Bed Of Roses without a slightly nostalgic smile (yep, I’m that old). I survived my first betrayal on Offspring. I momentarily fell in love with a boy who played guitar and sang When You Say Nothing At All. I found a voice for my anger in Nickelback songs (yes, I listen to Nickelback and I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks).

I’m not sure I’d have found my way through my fight to myself without a combo of Linkin Park, The Pussycat Dolls and Pink. And Mambo No. 5 still makes me feel insecure every time I hear it.

My life with my husband has a strangely varied soundtrack. All the stuff in the previous paragraph, because he was right there. A bunch of stuff from dancing. Do-ah-di-di, of all things! It’s a Boogie. A few Spanish songs I don’t even understand. Some very inappropriate Waltzes (Last Cheaters’ Waltz – I kid you not). Choosing the song for our first wedding dance was hell. And the Quickstep, Twenty Tiny Fingers. That was probably our favourite. When we were planning our wedding, I discovered Daughtry and This Could Be The Start Of Something Good seemed to fit.

Two years later, we lost our first baby (pregnancy) and my dad died and suddenly I couldn’t listen to that Quickstep and Daughtry reentered my life with Gone Too Soon on repeat. Recently, Mandy from Pregnant in Cape Town introduced me to Ed Sheeran’s Small Bump in the process of her own grief and it really shredded me anew. It really brought back so many feelings and memories (who in fuck came up with the term “Missed Abortion”? For realsies? It’s not like you didn’t pitch for a clinic appointment).

When I fell pregnant with our daughter, I rediscovered country music. I also happily researched serial killers all day as a pastime. There’s no accounting for what hormones do to you. But I’m still loving the country, so there. There is a beauty to the story telling, the inventive insults, the reality… My daughter likes 90s pop and Bryan Adams and has since birth.

I fell pregnant with our son a year after returning to dancing. Suddenly Twenty Tiny Fingers held a certain secret, exhausting joy again (don’t quickstep when you’re 6 months pregnant unless you’re really fit, and even then…)

There are songs I struggle with. Any paternal references, like Butterfly Kisses. Don’t You Want Me (1981) rubs me the wrong way so badly, my husband always ends up laughing at me.
I also enjoy listening to lyrics. That combined with my fondness for arguing with PCs, TVs and radios, makes for great entertainment, I’m sure.

What’s your soundtrack?

When Does No Mean No?

This is a question that has come up a few times during the course of my relationship with my husband, friendship included. It has again reared its ugly head this week.

Now, to be clear, this is not a post about rape, chauvinism, the patriarchy or any of the like, but those may be relevant. The intention is to examine the way we communicate. Also, no victim blaming. EVER.

Ok, moving on. The correct answer is always. No always means no. End. Of. Story.

And then my husband looks to me and asks about when it doesn’t. With specific reference to courtship. He has had instances in the past where a woman has told him no, she is not interested in a romantic relationship. His parents taught him that no means no, so he backed off, only to be hit with an angry, incredulous woman. Now, my hubby is easily confused by social norms NOW, can you even imagine how overwhelmed he was in his late teens and early twenties? So he’d ask what the heck the issue was and be told that she really just wanted him to TRY HARDER. To fight for it. To win her over. So now the poor dude is getting some very mixed signals and he’s not alone. And this is not a “girl thing”, it’s a human thing. We do it as parents, as partners, as children, as friends, as romantic interests. Why do we confuse matters like this?

Recently one of our friends has started romantically pursuing another of our friends. The pursued friend is NOT interested and responded as such, only to be hit with four months of unrelenting pursuit. Now, I know my male friend is not a complete jackwit, but I also know that he will take the smallest gesture as a glimmer of hope, an implied maybe, a chance. It’s quite exhausting really. If he has his sights set on you, your best hope, really, is to cut all contact until one of you is in a relationship with someone else.

Against all feminist beliefs, I had to advise our female friend to avoid any action that may “lead him on”, for the above reason. And again the meaning of no came up. And she said something so true. She said “I want to be respected as an adult who knows my own mind and can say what I mean”

This really struck me. If we’re going to be adults, we need to communicate as adults. We need to say what we mean, instead of playing silly games. If you want someone to try harder, say “Sorry, I don’t think you’ve earned my partnership/company yet”. If you mean not now, say “Not at this point in time”. And if you hear the word no, take it at face value. If the other party really meant something else, they will soon learn to communicate more effectively.

A week in the life of an Ultimate wife

Disclaimer: Ultimate is a sport. If you want to know how to be the ultimate wife, I can not help you… I can’t even help myself

The main aim of this post is to focus on the compromises made around a partner’s passions. As such, I am not getting into the arduous task of explaining a sport. If you want to read up on Ultimate, go here. I will say, as it is relevant, that it is a sport, played seriously and competitively, but predominantly on an amateur (unpaid) level. There are currently only two countries where it is played professionally. That said, it is an Olympic sport as of 2016, and there are various world championships, so players take it pretty seriously.

Ok, now that’s out of the way… I’m married to a serious Ultimate player. Not just a player, a coach. My husband represented SA at Worlds 2016, we’ve travelled to Holland for a tournament and training camp, he plays 2 – 3 major national tournaments every year, there’s leagues and smaller tournaments and training and meetings… you get the idea.

Of late, we have watched a lot of (male) players drop out of the sport entirely. They all word it differently, but the reason generally boils down to “my wife gave me an ultimatum”. We’ve also witnessed quite a few break ups an divorces within the community. Now again, I should clarify, in SA the sport is mainly played in its mixed (co-ed) form, meaning the community consists of both men and women and they play on the same teams. Obviously, this results in quite a bit of “incest”, but it also means that couples often share the sport and these couples usually survive. The issues we witness are in couples like us. One athlete, one non-athlete.

And here is a little glimpse into why that might be. The below is a blow by blow of a week we lived in January.

Mon: Full work day (both), with toddler on hand, followed by training session from 18:30 – (supposedly) 20:00. Get home around 22:00. Bath and get toddler to bed

Tues: Full work day as above, followed by sprint training from 17:30 – 19:00. Home around 19:30. Dinner, bath, bed.

Wed: Repeat of Monday

Thurs: Repeat of Tuesday

Fri: Full work day. On this day, we rest.

Sat: Training from 09:00 – (supposedly) 11:00. Get home around 13:00, unless there’s a meeting or team social. Start weekend.

Sun: Be a family (unless I’m working). Pick up game at 16:00. Get home when sun is down.

I work one weekend day a week, so if that’s a Saturday, I’m stuck at home with the toddler, while working (not for myself) while Dad is training. If it’s a Sunday, no family day. With hubby coaching, that means there are also a myriad emails being composed, sent, adjusted, resent, bemoaned… There are meetings and special discussions and training plans.

I’m sure just a quick glance makes it obvious why non players don’t deal well with partner absences. Added to that, hubby’s club is in the Southern Suburbs and we live and work in the Winelands. That’s a fun, 3 times a week commute. (We both work from home, we hate commuting). And here’s my pity party, I was 8 months pregnant in January…

The absolute only way that we have made this work as a family, has been to integrate the entire family into the sporting community. We’ve been together almost 11 years and in that time, I’ve had to learn to be a WAG. More than that, I had to make this sport and community a part of me. I don’t do running things, so I will never EVER play, but I’ve run a club, I’ve served on committees, I’ve managed international campaigns, I’ve written countless rule tests and I’ve been a paid member of the sports federation. I’m on the sideline, rain or shine, for every practice and every game, unless health or work don’t allow it. The community is amazing and has become family. Our children’s godparents mainly come from the community. And our kids are growing up on the sideline as well. With a lot of babysitters.

This sport doesn’t have a season. There is a short break in December, but beyond that it goes all year. We travel at least once a year, mostly twice, for tournaments. We sacrifice long weekends to them and Monday nights to league games. Family time is me herding kids while trying to follow the game and suggesting adjustments to play and yelling at my husband for rushing a throw.

The ONLY way a marriage can survive the sort of strain an amateur sport puts on it, is for both parties to be committed to that sport. You don’t have to go to our extremes, but there has to be mutual buy-in or resentment will set in and the ultimatums will come. And they’ll result in more resentment.

Let’s talk about them double standards…

Soooo… On Wednesday we were all brave and stuff and decided to take our 2yo and our 8 day old to a birthday braai. We were one of three sets of parents and our kids were both the oldest and youngest children there.

Now, if you actually know me, you’d know that our eldest is a complete blooming baboon. She takes after her father, or this is what I tell myself. One of her favourite games is “the balance beam” – pretty much any wall she can climb and then run/walk/shuffle/skip along. She’s been doing this for what feels like years (in how much it ages me), but is probably anywhere between 6 and 18 months. I honestly can’t keep track of when she starts a new life threatening activity, but I know she started climbing just after she started walking.

So, this little extroverted (God save us), acrobatic, assertive monkey child was absolutely ecstatic to find a friend her own age at the get-together. Her being 29 months and him 24. The little friend seemed to enjoy having a playmate, but was definitely less assertive and outgoing, so I spent a lot of time running interference to keep our monkey from overwhelming the other child. So much time, in between also breastfeeding and changing a newborn, that I missed one of the biggest ironies ever.

You see, we had arrived at the exact same time as the family with the other toddler. So we were witnesses to Mom stepping out of the backseat, child in arms. No car seat in sight. (Yes, I checked) I was about to give a rather unwelcome lecture to guests at our children’s godparents’ home, when my son decided he needed boobie right freaking now and all else was erased from my mind.

Later that evening, I watched these same parents hover nervously around their son, for fear he might fall from a chair, or bump into a table, or (dear mercy, save us) join our daughter on the patio wall. I’ve heard of helicopter parents, but this shit was next level. I’m honestly surprised the kid can walk. Our daughter was actively discouraged from doing regular toddler crap, for fear the mere sight of it might inflict injury upon the other child.

Obviously, such a very different parenting style left an impression on us and we spent a large part of the next day discussing it. (Disclaimer: I’m human, I do judge. BUT I try real bloody hard to take lessons from people who do stuff differently from me and I actively try not to crucify parents for whatever parenting style they choose) We try to encourage our daughter to be active and discover how her body works. We do this as we believe she’ll do it behind our backs anyway. If we can guide her and encourage her, she’ll be safer when we’re not around, because of what we have been able to teach her or help her discover. That said, we’re blind terrified half the time, so we understand that other parents might discourage it.

And then the irony hit. Remember how they arrived? And on this, my judgement is shameless (neither money, nor education factors here) – no safety precautions taken in the car. These parents fear their child will fall and graze his knee or hit his head or, at worst, break his arm, doing toddler stuff. And I do mean fear. His mother literally blanched when he walked outside. But somehow they do not fear that he might DIE in a minor collision, because he isn’t properly secured.

Please, please explain this double standard to me.

A pleasant surprise – Our birth story

I have been hemming and hahing about writing this post all week. Yes, all of a week, but I thought maybe it would provide some hope.

So, we were hoping for a VBAC. We were really hoping. And our doctor was great, she was supportive and patient against all expectation (I can’t even count how often I went to an appointment prepped for war where she just reassured us) and gave me as much time to try as a gynae can. She let me go to almost 41 weeks and says if my previous doctor hadn’t done a C, she’d have let it go to 42 comfortably, as that seems to be where our timer is at. She was honest at our last appointment that waiting longer would open her to legal action and we scheduled our second C. I was at peace. We’d tried as long as an OB-GYN could let us and it was too late to call a midwife.

So in we went on Tuesday, expecting a 16:30 surgery that got moved up to 15:30. And as I lay in prep, alone while hubby ran to let my mom know, I lost my nerve. I was ready to bolt. I remembered how cold and clinical my daughter’s birth was. How I was discussed like a training cadaver, despite being alive, awake and right f*&^ing there. Recovery blew, the drugs were constant, the sleep was non-existent and breastfeeding was hell. I could wait. I didn’t want to be butchered again.

And then it happened. A little village started assembling around me. Our friend pitched up at my side to wait with me, as she’d be photographing. Our anaesthetist came to check on me, crack a joke and put me at ease. Hubby got arrived. The assisting surgeon came to introduce himself and chat a bit, then a nurse, then our doctor, our paediatrician. They were all smiling and at ease and comforting.

This time, being wheeled into theater was a very different experience. Where before, all was sterile and clinical, including the staff attitudes, this time was clean, friendly and … joyful. I know, odd choice of word. But this time, there was a team assembled who all clearly enjoy working together and, despite my being their umpteenth surgery of the day, were excited about helping us bring our son into the world. This time, I was spoken too, never about. I was treated as a participant instead of a specimen. My husband was involved, teased, reassured. We ALL delivered a baby together. And when the little shit decided to introduce himself by peeing in my face, we all laughed together.

Am I sad that this isn’t a beautiful VBAC story? Yes, absolutely. Do I regret this C-section at all? No, not for a second. If I had chosen a midwife from day 1, I may have had that VBAC, but I chose a doctor I felt I could trust and every time I had an appointment, she proved worthy of that trust, both in her actions toward me and in the stories happily exchanged in her waiting rooms. And I am eternally grateful to her for the wonderful pregnancy (where treatment is concerned) and birth journey I had.

Not all unplanned (unwanted) C-sections need to be thoroughly unpleasant, as a surgical team has proven to me, but the experts guiding you through the process do all need to be the right people.

As a side note, I also had better ward nurses this time around. Go figure!

As time runs out

I’m sitting in a restaurant, staring at my sleeping child as I type this.

I’m absorbing how small she is, despite how much she has grown and developed lately. I feel like I’m greeted by a new child every morning.

She’s been having nightmares lately. She wakes up howling and talking about wolves and snakes catching her. Then her daddy fetches her and hugs her and gives up most of the bed so she can crawl into my arms to go back to sleep. And as I hold her, I’m terribly aware that in a matter of days I will be spending 3 nights away from her. The first time I’ve ever slept away from her. And I worry about those nightmares. I worry about the sudden growing up and having enough arms to hold 3 people. About forgetting she’s just little. I worry about making her grow up too soon.

Honestly, it has taken me 10 days to get back to writing this. I stopped, because she woke up, but also because it made me sad. In that time I’ve heard her be called a big girl a few times too often. I’ve been rushed to pop out her brother already, while I just want to cuddle her a little longer and not share our time.

She is no keener to sleep alone now than she was 10 days ago, but we’re taking in the cuddles and being grateful for them as we wait for her brother to arrive. And we remember she’s only tiny, really.

All The Reasons I Let You Keep Me Up At Night

Dear Baby Bear

You’re not a baby anymore, in fact, you seem to have skipped past all the smaller stuff, straight to little girl.

The one little person thing you suddenly do again, is to is to insist on cuddling up with me in bed again. Refusing to sleep in your own bed and only settling once I’m holding you like a teddy bear, despite the extreme heat. I can’t sleep like that at all, but I let it go for a multitude of reasons.

For starters, you’ll be a big sister instead of an only child in a few short weeks and I feel that loss very keenly. Soon I won’t always have time just to cuddle you. Soon someone else will need my arms. So I hold you and lie awake while you snore softly in my arms.

You’re also just growing so very fast and already you don’t fit as well as you used to. You’re all long legs and arms and I struggle to wrap around you. And it reminds me that soon you won’t want or need me anymore. You’ll stop crawling into my lap or falling asleep in my arms or asking me to read 45 stories for nap time.

Everyday as your brother grows and grows and I become more exhausted in this heat, I’m less able to respond to your calls of “Chase me, Mamma! Catch me! Go go go!”. I know my body will return to normal and I’ll be able to run again, but it will never just be us two again. And as I get progressively grumpier in the heat, and run up to wrapping up at work, I fail you more and more. But at night, I can just hold you.

Above all, I fear the moment when I need to share my time between you and the new baby. When I can’t just focus on you. When you have to make peace with sharing your home with a little minion.

I promise, I’ll crawl into your new big girl bed with you every chance I get.

Dear 20-something Childless Couple…

Hey there. Remember me from the restaurant this morning? The cheerfully harassed, heavily pregnant mother with the toddler? Yeah, that one! I just wanted you to know that I absolutely did feel the heat of your judgement, I did notice the looks, the disdain, the disapproval. I just don’t give a fuck.

You see, sweet children, while you sat there feeling all grown up for having breakfast at an adult restaurant with your (dating) partner, I was there with my family. Now, you were quite pointed and obvious, so I’m assuming you’d like some validation of your judgement and far be it from me to deny you.

So let us start at the start. Yes, my kid is a handful and young and busy and curious. And dear Lord, Yes, I still managed to get knocked up again! AND I have the chutzpah to show my face in public, crazed, hyper monkey in tow! I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s basically a monkey on speed with an attitude, but she’s also remarkably well behaved and I hope her brother shares that attribute with her. The world could use more people like that.

Oh, yeah, that moment when I used my stern voice. I’m amused this offended you so. See, the bundle of energy got a bit over energetic.  Actually, she was going straight for your handbag and she’s fucking fast and I don’t like unruly kids any more than the next person, so I brought her back in line. I believe in discipline. And as miserable as she looked for 5 seconds, she’s very far from abused…

And yes, I drag my kid around by the ankles. She thinks it’s the best game ever. Maybe, due to the fact you’re all fucking grown up now that you have breakfast dates, you no longer recognise fits of giggles for what they are. No worries, the lustre of adulthood will fade and you’ll figure it out again.

See, kids, what you may have missed during all your judgement, is that the exhausted, but happy couple of 30-something parents next to you, were also assessing you, albeit far more discreetly and with considerably less judgement. Shockingly, we were also in our early 20s once, and on breakfast dates and feeling ever so grown up. Filled with all the angst of not actually having a fucking clue, whilst being total know-it-alls. Haha. Good times.

We’ve sat opposite each other at many a table, breakfast through supper, for 10 and a half years now. Good times and bad. Quiet and rowdy. Alone, with friends, with family, and recently, with our child. We’ve shared secrets and glances and created a language all our own. And we thrive in the chaos that is the source of your judgement. 

We saw you, too. We saw your seriousness, your attempt at respectability and adult decorum. We also saw how you never once truly smiled or laughed. How you didn’t seem to enjoy your food or surroundings (Maybe due to our crazed monkey). How in all your adulting, everything seemed colourless  and tasteless to you.

Kids, take it from the old pregnant lady who doesn’t seem to have her shit sorted. It’s all over-rated. Learn from the crazed monkey. Be excited about life. Giggle hysterically. Run. Smile, dear heaven, SMILE. Be a dinosaur. Enjoy your partner. I know we don’t look like we’ve “made it”, but I assure you, we have. We have love and joy and family. We’re a team, us three, going on four. And we play, hard. 

Life is so much shorter than it seems when you’re 23-ish, but it’s also so much better when you stop worrying about all the adulting. Go on, try it, you might even enjoy it.

Rambles, feelings, power ballads 

Ugh. I don’t even know where or how to start. I haven’t written in so long and there have been so many things I’ve wanted to say, but life, ya know…

Music. I guess I’ll start with music. I love listening to music that makes me really feel something. It’s why I prefer older stuff and country and angry rock and ballads. So on a recent meander through YouTube, I discovered a play list for Now That’s What I Call Music – Power Ballads and I happily immersed myself in it. And then I hit Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now. And OMG! I swore to heaven I wouldn’t dedicate any more space to my ex, but apparently it’s been a reflective time…

Ok, rewind. This song is way newer than the end of that particular relationship (and I sure as fuck don’t ever just need him now), but drunk dial songs always remind me of him on a very visceral level. I don’t know why. I’ve never drunk dialed anyone. I sure as hell never drunk dialed HIM. The only explanation I can come up with is that I have never been as close to self destruction as I was with him and those songs somehow have a self destructive vibe to me.

Sooooo…. Tuesday, hubby goes to do some off season training and I tag along and obviously spend the entire training session dragging my 24 week pregnant ass (I’m huge, it’s hot and muggy) after a super busy energetic 2 year old, across 2 soccer fields… After all this, I tell hubby we’re going to Checkers, because I want something.

I have a smart husband so he complied and off we went straight to the snack aisle. Lindt is on special. You’re welcome… And as he’s contemplating Monster energy drinks, my ex’s wife walks to the fridge next to him. No biggie, we’ve been practicing pretending not to see each other for, like, 10 years.

BUT then I turn to look at something slightly back in the aisle and there’s my ex. Totally normal to shop with your wife. Except that everything inside me wanted to grab my family and run. I wanted to physically reabsorb my little girl, wrap myself around my two babies and get OUT. And I needed to figure that out. Luckily, my husband is of the sort who lets me talk such things through with him and here’s what we came up with.

When X and I broke up, it was extremely ugly. The crying, the stalking, the begging, accusing, questioning, excusing, insulting, screaming, threatening… It was just ugly. And despite the fact that in our relationship, he was the aggressor, in our break up, I was the one less hurt. By walking away, by forcing him to look at himself, by exposing years of bad shit, I hurt him. Badly. I avoid him, because I don’t want to deal with his shit. He avoids me, because I hurt and exposed him and he hates me for it. And that’s fine. It’s ok. I was complicit in that and I can literally stand before the hatred that emanates from him and not be bothered. 

My family, though, had no part in any of that. To be clear, he never raised a hand to me and I do not, for even a millisecond, think he would hurt my kids. But I can’t stand for them to be exposed to even the cast off of the ugliness and hatred that ignites the air when we’re in proximity to each other. I want nothing more than to protect them from that. Life will be ugly enough when the time comes around for them. They’ll have their own versions of bad blood, I refuse to have them exposed to mine.

And that brings me to my last thought. I have two recurring nightmares. I don’t know what the normal number for recurring nightmares is, but that’s my number. The first is fairly common to women in long term relationships. It’s the one where you catch your partner cheating. Where you wake up so mad at him that you want to snip off his nuts as he sleeps oblivious beside you and the more peaceful he seems, the madder you become until the anger chemicals finally subside and he turns over to cuddle you in that way that is unique to the two of you, even in his sleep and things slowly even out in your head, or you do punch him and he wakes up confused and in pain. Whichever.

The other is that somehow, there’s never clarity here, we split and I end up back with my ex. I always spend the entire dream desperately trying to figure out how to get out of that relationship again with minimal damage and how to fix things with my husband. I always feel like a part of my soul has been ripped out and trod on and I always wake up sobbing and distraught. My subconscious’s idea of showing me the what-if of matters doesn’t amuse me. It takes me hours to settle and after, I’m always (extra) grateful for the path my life took in the end. I’m relieved to find the right man next to me, my cats taking over my bed, to hear our daughter breathe nearby and our dog “talking” in her sleep downstairs. I take a moment to drink in the rightness of my reality, to calm my own breathing and then I semi wake my husband, whisper “bad dream” to him and curl into his arms as he whispers “Ag, no. I’m sorry” into my hair and slowly life becomes ok again.

I’m not sure how my dream really fits in with the rest, but since I had it recently, along with a few other pregnancy induced nightmares, and I really don’t want to spend another post talking about a dude I stopped dating more than 10 years ago, I thought I’d dump it in here and be done with it.