Consistency is key in parenting. If you make a rule, you have to stick to it. Every time. When your child is in school, you should try to stick to the teacher’s rules and methods, too, if possible. As much as some of us (ok, a lot of us) thought homework to be a punishment, its design and purpose is to teach something new or to reinforce something recently learned so the lesson will hopefully be retained for a long time.
Today, Em forgot to pack the homework her teacher assigned. Em was supposed to study in preparation for a science test tomorrow, so in addition to having double homework tomorrow, she’s also just learned how important homework is for her success in class. For punishment at home, Em will have to mark a negative on her behavior chart for not completing her homework correctly and we will not be going out to watch Oz The Great and Powerful as I’d planned.
After explaining to Em the importance of and reason for homework, I assigned her my own homework - NOT as a punishment, but to keep consistent with her afternoon routine. I asked her to read 3 chapters in a particular book she has on her Kindle and write at least 1 paragraph for each chapter summarizing what happened during each of them. I also explained the purpose of this, to make sure she stays focused on her reading, to make sure she understands and remembers what she read, and to help her work on proper sentence and paragraph structure. For Em, reading is never a punishment, but I made sure to emphasize that this is just in place of what she should have been doing for class.
I’m bummed that Em and I will not be able to go out to see a movie tonight and I’m sad for her that she will not be able to study properly for her test tomorrow, but I am glad to see that she understands the importance of bringing home the assignments from her teacher and is willing to accept my consequences as well.
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I’ve pretty much reached that stage of pregnancy where I’m “done.” Just a few hours into each day I’m tired, my back aches and I’m MORE than ready for labor to start. Of course, Miss Swann really should hang in there until 40 weeks; it’s the best for her development. And, yet, I’m not ready to NOT be pregnant. I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy, this surrogacy, this whole journey. My job as gestational surrogate is almost over and then it’s up to the boys to raise Miss Swann, to love her, to teach her, to nurture her. I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain: provide a safe place for this little baby to grow for 9 (10) months so she can be raised by two people who love her so much they’ve been planning to have her in their life for a long time.
Pregnancy agrees with me: I had a relatively easy pregnancy with Em and this one seems to have been just as easy. Sure, I’ve whined about heartburn, not being able to put on my own shoes without assistance, swelling, the lack of sushi… But those all fade away and I can focus on the lack of morning sickness, being able to teach my daughter about love and babies, the support my family, boyfriend, church, friends and coworkers have given me, the opportunity to teach people in my life about surrogacy and of course the wonderful relationship I’ve developed with Miss Swann’s daddies.
In regards to the pregnancy, this week was less eventful than the last. I have only had intermittent Braxton Hicks contractions that are eased by rest and water. I lost part of my mucus plug Friday. I experienced one moment of seemingly random and sudden vomiting Sunday afternoon, but was able to eat lunch right after and have only felt some mild nausea on and off since. My lower back started to hurt Monday afternoon but that also went away once I was in my recliner with my feet up. Miss Swann’s movements have been less frequent but with the same intensity that she’s had all along. Her favorite spot is about 2 inches below my belly button, causing discomfort that is VERY similar to cramps/contractions, so every time she stretches I go on full alert! I woke up Tuesday with my lovely swelling, so I put on my maternity support belt, took some Tylenol and drove to the office with an ice pack; by lunch I could actually sit comfortably. The support belt is a bit uncomfortable now that I’m bigger, but it’s better than staying home JUST BECAUSE I cannot be in any position other than lying down on my side.
In regards to the surrogacy, this past week has been amazing! The boys joined us at church Sunday morning, had a wonderful NOH8 photography session with Em and me Sunday afternoon and had dinner with my family Sunday night. The relationship between us all is just beautiful, like long-lost friends reconnecting after years of separation. Our conversations are a mix of love, laughter, and language lessons: we keep discovering phrases that don’t really translate well or even exist. We are also learning about some cultural expectations that are complete opposites of what we are each used to. The boys were quite shocked to learn that their daughter will only stay in the hospital for 2 days before they take her home, which is MUCH different from the ONE WEEK babies usually stay in the hospital back home!
The deadline for my mom to be my birth coach is slowly closing in as she leaves this Sunday to be with my sister; of course my friend Mary is ready and excited at the prospect of being there for me.
Em and I both have bags packed, ready for the big day: mine for my hospital stay, hers in case my labor starts at night so neither she nor I have to pack her “tomorrow” clothes while she’s sleepy and I’m breathing through contractions.
Brad is still unsure about where he will be when I’m in labor. In the beginning I told him his only job was to make sure I had sushi ready for me in my recovery room. But as this pregnancy has progressed, so has our relationship. He’s very important to me and I feel like I need him with me during this. But this is not his baby, so it’s not like he HAS to be there. Only he can decide what is right for himself and I’ll support that decision no matter what.
“Stats” from today’s appointment:
Dilation: 2 cm
My weight gain in the last week is a bit surprising to me, though it could just be water/fluid retention. As of the writing of this post, my ankles are still swollen, even first thing in the morning. My waist gain, however, doesn’t surprise me. Miss Swann has moved around a bit and isn’t quite as up-and-down as she usually is.
My blood pressure was 136/78 and I had a small amount of protein in my urine. Doctor sent me over to Quest for blood work. IF my labs are abnormal, I’ll be sent to labor & delivery today; if they’re normal, I have a 7:30 AM induction scheduled for tomorrow! So I may not get to go out with Brad for Valentine’s Day, but… WORTH IT!!
Of course, I’ll update more as I find out more!
Miss Swann is officially welcome to make her entrance: Em, the boys and I had our pictures taken yesterday!
HUGE thanks to Jessica Chapman (who coincidentally is the sister of the friend I’d offered to be a surrogate for that led to my working with my agency and meeting the boys) for asking if she could take NOH8 pictures of us! I cannot wait to see the finished product.
Brad was on hand to take behind-the-scenes pictures with my iPhone and did a great job! Check out this fun little slideshow I made with Qwiki (I’m having trouble embedding it on my site, so you’ll have to click the link to see it in another window).
I’ll upload some of these pictures to my surrogacy pictures page in the next couple of days and you can bet the real pictures will be posted when I receive them!
Oh!! And don’t forget to participate in the poll I have on the right side of this website: when do you think Miss Swann will arrive?
My daughter is in love with a 27-year-old man.
Or, at least, he would be 27 if he were real.
The summer of 2011 Em expressed interested in the Harry Potter series. As a bibliophile, I am usually very strict (for myself) on reading books before I see the movies that follow. However, since Em was only 7, I decided to show her some of the movies first. It sounds backwards, but being that Harry and his friends are British and in a world of magic that Em had never seen before, I though it best to help her understand why certain characters spoke the way they did and help her to understand some of the words that Americans don’t usually hear in day-to-day conversations. We ended up watching the first 6 movies. When she whined a bit about not seeing the last 2, I told her I wanted her to read the whole series and then we’d watch the last 2 together. Deal!
Over the past year-and-a-half we have borrowed books from friends and family to continue Em’s love affair with Harry. Then last year some relatively new friends/family gave Em the entire set in paperback as a wonderful gift!
This past Sunday night, Em finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The only reason it she didn’t finish the series sooner was because she doesn’t get points for them on her school’s reading comprehension computer program (they only have 1 of the HP books downloaded for the test), so Em had to read her beloved Harry Potter when she was between school library books. Em devours books like the rest of my family does: whenever she had a chance to pick up where she left off, she’d disappear into her room or snuggle under a blanket on the recliner and she was off in her own world. Or Hogwarts, as the case may be.
When she came out of her room Sunday to tell me she was done, she was literally dancing around the living room! She said she’d cried a little when Harry’s friends thought he was dead (seriously, if you get mad at me for spoiling that – 6 years after the final book was published – we need to rethink our relationship) and that she was upset that there aren’t more books left in the series.
We are really looking forward to watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 & Part 2 together soon. I’m glad I waited until she finished reading the series before showing her those two movies; they do not split the book exactly in half and much of the second half of the book would have been spoiled for her. And I wanted her to experience the death of Harry and the battle on her own time; let her re-read parts if she needed to rather than be forced to process them in the time the movie allows.
I’m so excited that she loved the series and I’m sure she’ll be glad to tell anyone who asks what she thought about it and her favorite parts.