27 March 2012


The weather has been beautiful here in Leuven, and it's making our walks around town a thousand percent better. However, although I know I should be floating in the delirium of spring, I am plodding around in a fog of fatigue and weightiness. I wake up exhausted after sleeping poorly, I take naps prior to 10 am, and only guilt about the Mister doing so much of the housework and child-wrangling on top of his busy job and dissertation-writing provokes me to get the laundry done, make and clean up dinner, and pick up toys (squatting or on all fours, because--oof--the bending over thing is just not good).

My belly is, I am convinced, as big as it was with Gabriel shortly before he was born. And we have ten weeks to go. It's sticking out like a giant torpedo, probably because all of my muscles have given way entirely. Wherever I go--church, book club, daycare, Dutch class--people assume that I am on the verge of giving birth. Yet: ten weeks to go. At thirty weeks with Gabriel, I was still only just starting to feel *really* pregnant. Hah!

In comparison with my first pregnancy, I am doing very little by way of body-strengthening and stretching, and I imagine this is in part to blame for the aches and pains. I took yoga and birth movement classes with Gabriel, but here I haven't been able to find a prenatal yoga class that's accessible to me. I know I should just do some yoga at home and figure it out on my own or via podcasts/youtube videos, but somehow a nap always sounds better. At least I am walking at least four miles a day, no matter what, so there's that. But I do want to start working on stretching and yoga practice, so I hope registering that desire here will spur me to do so.

The best part about this pregnancy with Junebug is how much he is in motion. He is continuously stretching and rolling, more than I remember with Gabriel. It's not a pummeling or a kicking feeling as much as a sensation of smooth but seriously pushy-outy gestures. I'm constantly grinning in wonder as I watch a little fist or foot make a visible path across my skin, sometimes strong enough that I feel like I need to press back with my hand lest he bust out of there! (Even if I'm not stretching enough, *he* certainly is!) It's very easy to feel his little head or rump, probably due to the aforementioned stretched-out and separated abdominal muscles, and I love poking at him (although he probably doesn't appreciate it as much). I'm convinced he moves in response to Gabriel's voice or cry, and he always wakes up and starts moving in the morning when Gabriel comes to our bed asking for a banana.

Gabriel still doesn't have much of a clue what is in store, even though we've gotten a few books about a new baby and try to read them regularly, in addition to talking about (and praying for) his new brother. He knows that my belly is "baby," but I don't think he realizes that the baby will come out and be one of the babies in his books, or the babies we see of our friends and family. I'm very curious to see how he reacts to a new sibling, and find it hard to predict what response he'll have. A friend suggested that we let him pick out a gift *from* him to his brother, an idea I like a lot--helping him feel big brotherly. We shall see!

I have a lot more to say about Mr. Gabriel, who is such a delight and a handful these days. We got him a new bed at Ikea, and he transitioned perfectly well from sleeping on a mattress on the floor to sleeping in his bed, which we are very relieved about. "New bed!" he says. He's busting out with new words and phrases all the time, in all three of his languages, and it's pretty adorable. Our favorite is "Extra yum!", which comes from an adorable book called Little Pea, about a pea who hates the candy his parents give him for dinner but loves spinach for dessert: "yum, yum, extra yum!" Gabriel gobbles up most of the food we give him, in portion sizes about equivalent to ours, so the phrase is apropos. Anyway, now I'm rambling on about Gabriel and I will try to write a separate post soon.

We leave for Barcelona again shortly...there is a general transportation strike on Thursday, the day we are scheduled to leave, and our flight is cancelled, so we are currently trying to reschedule and don't know yet when that will be. Could be as soon as tomorrow night. We'll be gone for 10 days, much of that time without internet when we head up the coast. I'm looking forward to a longer, quieter break from our regular routine, and the weather forecast is looking good. So I don't know how much I'll post during that time. By the time we get back it will be well into April, which...wow! Ten weeks is going to fly by.

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