Archer watches the Dragon Boats: Echo Park, Los Angeles

It's a strange feeling to know that you're life is about to change. Usually, it just changes. Out of nowhere. Like in softball when I was eight-years old, a hopeless athlete forced to play center-field for an entire season, because that was the position that got the least action. And, of course, game after game, I waited, waited, WAITED for some action, my eye on the sky, until the day came that I stopped waiting because screw waiting! No one is ever going to hit the ball all the way out to center-field. Except someone did. The one day I wasn't paying attention.

I don't know if I caught two balls in the two seasons I played center-field, which was why I learned to pitch. I was desperate for some ball control and the occasional ("huah!") strike.

Waiting gives me a stomach ache, even if there is absolutely no reason to be nervous. Waiting in line at Starbucks and my nerves are a flutter. Waiting for the mail. Waiting for friends to arrive at a dinner party. Anxiety takes over. I start sweating. I pace and clean and check my cell-phone for missed calls and messages. I re-ponytail my hair. Again. And again...

The butterflies arrived this week. In the form of kicks and nudges and hiccups and... nerves. Or maybe its just gas. No, but it isn't gas. I know gas. Gas and me are like old friends who don't like to be seen in public together. This is something bigger: an acute case of butterflies.

There is no anticipation quite like a pregnancy. Waiting for someone to be is a pretty nerve-wracking experience, even if they're the happiest kind of nerves. Nerves with smiley-faces and fedoras.

gurgle. gurgle. gurgle.

Today, I was crossing the street with a smoothie and two cups of ice coffee in one hand, Archer's hand in the other, when it occurred to me that, very soon, I won't be able to do such a thing. Not without some help or a stroller, or at the very least, a large bag full of supplies. I haven't carried a diaper bag in almost two years, and the thought of binkies and bottles and burp-cloths both excites and terrifies me.

I'm so together right now. I feel like I can do anything. I can mother and work and sleep and pursue creative schemes, and meet friends for lunch and coffee and drinks.... I can pack a lunch in five-minutes and get out the door in ten. I can spend an entire day without so much as touching a stroller. An entire week, even. I can spend an afternoon at the park and know at every moment where my child is, what he's doing and if/when he needs me to give him a boost or push him on the swing. I can, in one hand, balance two full cups of coffee on top of a 16 ounce Acai smoothie with Calcium boost.

For now.

I feel like I have finally figured out how to be a mother and a wife and an individual without leaving anyone out. I am confident in my multi-tasking across busy streets. I know what I'm doing...

Aha! But not for long.

And so, the butterflies. The twisted bellyaches that growl and vibrate the unknown. The nervous anticipation of standing in the outfield with my glove extended toward the sky, whispering, "I got it! I got it! I got it!" because that's what the coaches tell you to say when you think you got it. When you think you can catch the ball. When it's falling right over you! Right into your glove!

And, "I got it," I think, standing here, once again, in center field, the farthest position from the pitcher's mound. And of course I do. I will. I'll catch the ball. Maybe not on the fly, per say. It might take a bounce or two before it finds its way into my glove. It may even take several seasons before the coach lets me pitch again. Before I have the arm-control to throw a strike.

But that's the game. And that's motherhood... And I'm sure its been said, a thousand times before, in ways far more eloquent than I can express, that the moment we think we have it all under control, is the ideal moment to lose our balance and spill coffee all over our silly metallic gladiator sandals.

And so I embrace the nerves and cramps and sweaty palms. And I wait...

...With napkins ready.



Anonymous | 5:14 AM

I know the anticipation. But your very reaction towards it shows that you will continue to be together.
If, maybe, slightly less organized.

(And may I just say a big YES! to that maternity top?)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx | 5:48 AM

I'm with you on this one, GGC -- my second child is due in early November, and I've just started to really nest and quasi-panic at the thought of adding another to our first! And I don't even have it as together as you do :-)

I suppose we'll survive, though. That's what we mothers do.

Wendy | 5:56 AM

It really isn't too bad to have 2 babies. It's a little easier, really, because you don't have as much time to hold the baby. Which is good because if you start off not holding the baby as much, then he/she won't cry as much. Don't worry about it. You'll do fine. :)


Maria Melee | 6:15 AM

Man, I feel like that too right now. My biggest "oh shit" moments are at the grocery store. I'm excited, but this time I'm a lot more aware of how literally life-changing it is to sling an infant around all day. (Not in an actual sling though. I never figured out how to do that without crippling back pain.)

Archer is so adorable.

clueless but hopeful mama | 6:23 AM

Beautifully said.

My husband and I are approaching the time we said we would start trying for a second kid and we both can't imagine "going back THERE", that place where you need diaper bags and don't sleep longer than 3 hours at most and have to plan everything around the feeding/napping schedule of a little grub of a person. It's terrifying and yet here we are, about to re-enlist.

But this time around, I KNOW that things aren't like that forever. The baby, and I, will eventually sleep 6, 7, 8 hours at a stretch. Just when you get the hang of the sling, you find they're too big for it (I was SHOCKED when that happened. I somehow thought my daughter would live in her sling in COLLEGE.)

Heather | 6:34 AM

GGC - Wonderful words to express exactly what I was feeling just over five months ago. And now, being five months back into the bottles and diaper bag and such, I really am ready to move on! Three and half and five months...fast forward...three and a half and six and a half. Whew! Everyone can pee, eat and get dressed on their own, and walk confidently without me yelling constantly. You're gonna be great!

Zeynep | 6:49 AM

Believe me - the second child never feels like a second child. Mostly it's like taking care of 1.5 children, rarely 784... You'll be more experienced, and won't really care whether you can balance the cups of latte - your belief and self confidence will totally take you by surprise. At least that's what someone told me, and that's what I experienced with my second, exactly 3 years and 10 days younger from my first son.

Marie-Ève | 7:16 AM

I find all of you multiple mammas very courageous, because I can't think about a second one right now and keep postponing it. Then I remember my grandmother who had 13 (those crazy French-Canadian women used to be unstoppable!) and didn't so much as flinch for a second.

But Rebecca, you'll be just fine. You'll adjust and so will Archer, and you'll take it one day at a time. A teacher once told me that intelligence was best measured by the ability we have to adapt, and I always remembered it.

Soon enough, you'll emerge from your new baby bubble and realize that your life is still intact, that your stroller days are gone, and that Archer and F. are running and giggling together as you're on your way to Jamba Juice on Larchmont! :-)

thekettrickfive | 8:04 AM

I'm 3 weeks away from my third...and as I just did the laundry of all the little tiny t-shirts and pants and bought the first pack of Newborn diapers, it totally hit me. Not that I didn't realize I was pregnant for the past 9 months...but when you see these tangible little LITTLE things...shock. I drop my daughter off at school then my son and I go to the gym, lunch, pick my daughter up...we have a routine. How will I do everything with a kid who (if she's like my first two) will nurse all day long? How will I manage Costco with a two year old saying "potty potty!" and a cart-full of stuff (I probably really don't need) and a newborn?! You just do it. My mom always says "what's the worst that can happen?" I suppose my son peeing in the middle of the aisle? Seriously - you just do it! If only I had a third hand...and/or a nanny to go everywhere with me! :0)

Anonymous | 8:04 AM

Oh, the second one changes things so much. I felt together too with the first..accomplished, like I had figured out this puzzle. Then the second. And I always assumed the second child would just be one more..not so. So much more than one more. Don't be scared though - the bright side is that you learn to let some stuff go, you learn how to deal everyone a card like before and you feel even more like supermommy. Archer is such a cutie.

Renee | 9:25 AM

I agree that you just learn how to deal with everything. We were just discussing the ongoing adoption of second child and then decided we want one more. I don't know if it was a moment of insanity or if I just knew I could do it.

minniemama68 | 9:28 AM

You will be fine. Really. Not that you won't have your days. And the first few months go by in a fog, but you will find your way. It will take time to figure out what works for you--perhaps a sling or front carrier instead of the extra stroller, or a smaller diaper bag in the trunk for little trips. You will figure out the best time to shop. Or maybe late night shopping trips to the big box store alone so that Hal can do child care. It will all come together for you.
You are a strong talented woman and a caring energetic mom. You'll land on your feet. I know you will.

Steph(anie) | 9:35 AM

You just made me want to have a third baby :)

Maternal Mirth | 9:51 AM

You do long for the "easy days" after you have #2 and even more so after #3, BUT then you also appreciate a house full of chaos, giggles, boo-boo's, games and love.

Anonymous | 10:02 AM

i wish could hold hands and wait together. re: coop. aragajgahgahfdgahadfgda! exasperation. heartbreak. love.

i love you.

kittenpie | 10:35 AM

It's true, I often feel like I have come so far from cribs and diapers and the never-used stroller... and am about to land right in it again. Still, we were moving stuff around the basement, and I saw it going by - well, I had forgotten how small. I had forgotten what a nice crib we had. had forgotten so much. Maybe it will be nice to do it once more.

Anonymous | 11:10 AM

I can't balance three cups even with no baby, so I think you're pretty much ahead of the curve there... Maybe you can train Archer to carry his own damn doubleshot caramel tall skinny frappelattecino :).

seriously though. You got it. You may drop the ball a couple times... but overall I think you're poised for a great season. And Hal is there to pinch-hit, right?

Anonymous | 11:31 AM

thank you for this post. i feel exactly like this, and as i am now only two weeks away its getting worse. i wonder what have i done....glad i am not the only one

Binky | 1:07 PM

The waiting is always the part I miss.

You'll be fantastic, by the way.

Anonymous | 1:20 PM

best belly pic yet.

You are amazing and will be amazing x2 now.

LA Nickers | 4:58 PM

Soon and very soon . . . ;-)

COMICAL KIDS, a daily prompt, at MEME EXPRESS

Anonymous | 10:36 PM

It took me a few months to adjust, but now I can cross the street with the baby in the sling (on my back),Caleb in one hand, and a drink in the other. It is amazing how capable we become.

You will be fine. I promise.

Anonymous | 11:05 PM

You will do wonderful. =)

Rachael | 2:09 PM

You are such an amazing writer, and an amazing woman. This is a beautiful post, and something wonderful to share with Archer when he's older. The new one will bring the end of some things, but the beginning of so many new joys and experiences. I'm not sure there are many things better than watching two siblings love each other. I finally finished your book - I read it off and on, and didn't want it to end. It was just amazing. There were so many times that I was moved to tears because I felt what you did, I could relate so much to what you were saying. I hope you never stop writing, so I can continue reading!

rantsalamode | 8:25 AM

Great post on how weird it is to WAIT for a change. I'm waiting for a change myself. No, I'm not bringing a child into the world, but I am moving to London, England from Canada in September. I've only ever lived in Canada and I have all my friends here. Until I move, my live is going to be exactly as it's always been, with my old friends in my old hometown, where I can go to my old hang-outs any time I like. It's so weird knowing EXACTLY when everything is going to change and just having to wait for it. Your post described that bizarre feeling so eloquently!

Unknown | 3:40 PM

Isn't it amazing how overwhelming being a parent is? Yeah, it's a tough job.. but super rewarding and satisfying.

josetteplank.com | 9:24 PM

The most difficult thing for me was not in being a mother to two (and then three) and in trying to fit in being me and being a wife, etc. etc. etc...

The toughest thing was in negotiating my children's relationships with each other. Nature and nurture aside, I think that there is more truth in the fact that I could screw up who they are to each other than I could screw them up individually. Sibling rivalries are treacherous and the making of not at all as obvious as one might think. The parenting part is easy...the sippy cups and diapers...it's the relationship counselor role that scared/scares me the most.

Anonymous | 8:54 AM

i didn't read all the comments (busy nursing the new baby - 2 months old today!), so someone might have already suggested this - buy a moby wrap! or some other kind of baby wrap or sling or carrier. whatever you like and are comfortable in. i never used one with my son (he'll be 3 in october) but i practically LIVE in my moby wrap now.

Anonymous | 8:27 AM

I miss being pregnant *sigh*. Just want to let you know that is one beautiful belly!

Anonymous | 9:20 AM

Loving your writing and the phtotos as well. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and I forgot to post this earlier: I loved the gladiator sandals!

Windy | 6:37 PM

Thanks for the post! I too wonder how I will be able to do everything once my angel is here. And yes, I still carry around a huge diaper bag and sometimes a stroller wherever I go (my first baby is 18 months). It will all work out but it is a mystery how. Good butterflies to have b/c if you had none it would mean it doesn't mean a lot to you.

Debbie | 10:11 PM

i missed you terribly this weekend in SF.

your beautiful mug. it was missed. truly.