Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Week 25 (and 24)

Well, I guess forever and always Little Baby will never have a visual reference as to what life looked like at 24 weeks in utero. But here's a hint: it looked pretty much like week 25.

Even though I totally forgot to update this ol' blog, last week was awesome because we did get the good news that everything checks out okay with the baby. When I saw my regular doctor, she still didn't like how things looked but wasn't sure her equipment--which looks crazy modern to me--was 'enough' so she sent me to a specialist ultrasound guy. So we went to visit that doctor (who had a grand piano in the lounge, along with a bar) and he got all investigative and confirmed everything is good.

What a freakin' huge relief!

Otherwise I might have had to make use of that bar. I'm sure that's why it's there. Except, yeah, okay, it's probably not for the pregnant folks.


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I look super creepy in this picture.
Like I'm plotting against you.
Or you.

I cannot believe I wore this outfit yesterday. CAN'T BELIEVE IT. It's horrible. Ugh. The dress is one I bought last summer, and is super breezy and cute when you aren't stretching it out to maximum effing capacity. Then, because of the growing belly, it was too short in the front and looked a little 'Trailer Park Chic' so rather than take it off and put on something appropriate, I charged ahead by putting on leggings, which is my number one pet peeve when worn with skirts and dresses. I broke my own cardinal rule! Then I decided there wasn't enough definition in the waist so I added this belt which... just...I mean...

Then I went out in public.

I have no shame!

And in other clothing related news, we went on our very first 'buy Little Baby some clothes' excursion on Saturday and OH THE SWEETNESS.

Baby stuff is SO little.

It's SO precious.

We were in the store and my arms were basically being used as clothing racks, because I liked everything and wanted it all. Dan had to coax me down from that tree, and then when I was back on firm ground I kicked the tree trunk and pouted because ''no fair!" But then when we went to pay we got 20 CHF in gift certificates.

So....

Those gift certificates were burning a hole in my pocket all weekend. So yesterday afternoon I popped back into the store before they closed with the intention to only spend the gift cards.

Um...yeah, that didn't happen.

Internet, I'm going to be requiring a lot of party invitations for 'dress your baby like a fancy person', because that is all the clothing I currently have for LB. In fact, as I was coming home I felt briefly panicked because it only occurred to me at that moment that LB is going to need practical clothing, but I have not idea what that means.

What do babies need?

Help a girl out, because I seriously have no clue what clothes I'm actually supposed to be buying an infant. Buyers remorse didn't set in though because our baby can totally get an invite minutes after birth to attend a fancy person party, and LB will definitely have something to wear.

Mother of the year!

I'm really good at prioritizing.

 
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(But not at dressing myself)
Also, I just realized that from a distance this dress looks like pajamas.
I'm a disaster.

I also think that what weeks 24 and 25 have brought is that primal urge everyone mentions: nesting. One morning I found myself wide awake at 5 a.m., so naturally I hopped out of bed and made myself some breakfast. Then I did my workout, had a shower, and it was still only 7:15 a.m. It was too early to start work, so I decided that I was going to totally clean out one hall cupboard and our bedroom.

I dumped everything into huge piles, tossed the mattress and boxspring off our bed, filled three garbage bags with stuff we don't need today (hopefully it's not required tomorrow) and three bags of clothing for goodwill.

Then it was 9:00 a.m.

And I had a back cramp.

And the mattress and boxspring seemed really heavy to have to move back onto the bed frame. And also, the vacuum was unwieldy and awkward and wouldn't just roll over the piles of debris I'd created. And also...there was a lot of debris.

Plus, I was ready for a nap.

So I chose to just ignore the mess I made and start work for the day. Except it's sort of hard to ignore that big of a mess when your husband comes home for lunch and can barely open the front door because, "Surprise honey! Now we live like hoarders! Hope you like it because I'll never get enough energy to put this all back together."

Who wants to live with us?!

And one last bit of news to wrap up this disjointed post is that today is our third wedding anniversary! Three years ago today we got to be part of our very own 'fancy person' extravaganza. Two years ago today I was spending my last night in Kamloops before moving to Switzerland to finally see Dan again. One year ago today we were in London, where we feasted on sushi and then attended Wicked.

And today, after three years of marriage, a decade together, we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of Little Baby.

How can we not live like hoarders when it's these memories and experiences we get to accumulate?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Oh Dan

Forget 'kids say the darnedest things'; let's try 'husbands say the damnedest things'.

Here are a few of the things Dan's said since I've been pregnant, that I don't want to forget because I think they're funny.

***

In January, after finding out I was pregnant, I had a breaking-news realization.

"Oh my god! Dan! We're going to have to buy...baby stuff. Where do we even go to get that?!"

"I don't know," Dan yawned, "probably a baby store."

"WELL I KNOW THAT."

***

He puts his hands on my stomach a lot to try and feel the baby move, and this exchange resulted from one evening of waiting for Little Baby to kick.

"What do you think it's like in there?"

"In where?"

"Your stomach. What do you think it's like for LB?"

"Probably really cozy," I answered. By 'cozy' I meant it's a warm and small environment, so LB probably feels quite safe.

"Yeah, I bet it is cozy. You never have to get up to grab something to eat and you can sleep all day."

"Err...right..."

***

After staring at my stomach for awhile.

"Wow Sweets, your stomach looks like a bowl of rising bread dough."

"WHAT? I look doughy?!"

"That was a compliment. I meant it in the best way possible."

***

Oh Dan.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Week 23: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Oh Internet, I feel like I am the most eye-rolly person around because I have no choice but to start this post with, "It was a hard week." 

I realize that most people don't have a lot of sympathy for an individual who complains all the time, because trust me I have met my fair share of people like that and I seriously want to sprint away from them as fast as I can. I certainly hope I don't appear to be a downer who always complains, because I assure you my default personality setting is cheerful, happy, with a heavy-handed sprinkling of sarcastic humour. But man, pregnancy hormones are no joke.

I have already mentioned, more than once, that I am finding the ol' cliche about pregnant women being quite emotional to be very applicable to me. I have never been particularly good at waiting patiently, nor have I ever been able to lightly brush aside something I have no control over.  I am, strangely enough, generally quite good at handling in-the-moment stressful situations; though yes, Family, it is true that while in university I had one major meltdown a semester when I would wail, "It's all too much!" As though studying for finals while working full-time was the equivalent of being a single mother on the dole who didn't know how she'd feed her kids that night.

Perspective can be something I often lack.

This week I had an, "It's all too much!" moment that found me pacing around my living room at 2:30 in the morning while Dan trailed nervously behind me having no idea how to help but wanting to do so, desperately.

My anxiety stems from an ultrasound two weeks ago, coupled with trying to meet extra deadlines that I keep missing because all I can think about is that ultrasound.  An ultrasound, I should mention, that does not have either Dan or the doctor concerned. There were a couple of things the doctor didn't like the look of that day, so she wants to check things out again in a couple of weeks when the baby has grown. In size, brain development, heart development, spinal cord closing, etc..., the baby looks great. I, however, have not rationally processed her words about those two little things the same way Dan has, and despite reassuring emails from friends and long conversations with family, it's basically all I think about. I have to wait to find out what's going on. I have no control what's going on. I have to wait. I have no control. Wait. No Control. BRAIN MELTDOWN. Hence the reason I'm missing deadlines and submitting things late.

But that, "It's all too much!" moment was exactly what I needed.

Dan and I talked until 4 a.m. and then he crashed, exhausted, into bed while I phoned my Dad and had a nice hour long conversation with him. I went to bed feeling lighter.  On Thursday it was a statutory holiday here, and it was finally, FINALLY, sunny, so Dan and I hopped into Bern and sat in the sun and drank iced coffees.

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Getting bigger!

As I tried to get some sun on my beat-up and stress-induced psoriasis legs, we kinda, sorta, probably, picked our baby's name. Which, it wasn't even a week ago where I had no idea how I'd ever choose just one name, but now it seems like we have.

(Hint: It doesn't rhyme with Moonglow Laserbeam or Perfect Creation!)

Dan has picked two nicknames for the baby so has started calling it by its probably-name, and its nicknames, and I've still been calling it 'baby'.

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Specifically I call it "Little Baby," in a really sing-songy voice.

Little Baby has also gotten major rock-'n-roll this week and for the first time on Thursday night Dan felt it move. It felt like the baby did a powerful flip inside me, but to Dan it was only the faintest of movements he could feel.  This morning, though, when I was sitting out on the deck trying to catch a few rays of sun before they disappeared behind rain clouds, the baby was really moving around and I yelled at Dan, "Come quick! Come quick! You can see [it] moving under my shirt!"

And he could.

We could see the baby moving around, through my shirt.

WEIRD.

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Best science experiment, evah!

So it was a hard week, yes, because existing hang-ups I have are even harder to deal with as I'm trying to navigate pregnancy hormones. But it has ended on a nice note. A strong note. A I will rock-and-roll-so-hard-you-will-see-me-through-clothing note.

Add in timely phone conversations with my cousin, and friends who are there when I need them, with lovely in-person coffee dates, and yeah, it might have started hard but it's a beautiful day today.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Because I'm Still Going Crazy

Almost two years ago, I wrote about our upstairs neighbour and his penchant for signing. You can read about it here, if you so desire. There's a few of things I've learned since that original post: (a) the baby that screamed all the time actually lived in a different apartment; (b) there's no wife; and (c) there's no dreadlocks because we're actually dealing with a very preppy young man who flat irons his hair.

I have also learned, via our neighbour across the hall, that this young man has very wealthy parents so he doesn't work as his parents pay for everything. My neighbour knows this because she knows everything about everyone in this building, which means it's quite okay to sit back and listen to the gossip if you want to do so but do not say anything because I'd bet my last Swiss Franc she'll tell everyone. For example, a very disturbing fact I learned the other night is that a former resident of this building used to rent his apartment out by the hour if people need a quick place to go to quench their hormones, but they needed to be more discreet than using a hotel.

I found this shocking because it seemed so unSwiss. If this had been Canada, I would have rolled my eyes and been all, "Good grief. Doesn't surprise me." But Internet, this is Switzerland! Aren't they above this? I mean, there was a guy working on our freshly paved sidewalk the other day and his only job was to jackhammer away excess cement that had escaped the sidewalk squares and creeped over to the curb. Seriously! He was making sure there was a distinct straight line between the curb and the sidewalk. Though, on second thought, maybe it's because of that sort of tedious discipline I shouldn't be shocked. They need to go crazy, too.

Anyhow, the point of all this is to say our neighbour still sings but, thanks to our other neighbour, I now have clearer idea of his circumstances: he's a spoiled kid who doesn't have a job and has decided he wants to be a professional singer, so his parents are paying for him to take voice lessons in Zurich.

I sort of assumed the unwritten law, when a person can't sing, was to sing along just under your breath because if you go any higher your voice will crack and get all pitchy. Am I alone in thinking this? Because this guy didn't get the memo. He sings at the top of his terrible vocal range all the time, and these voice lessons are not helping! The only thing they've done is given him more confidence in his shitty ability to carry a tune, and now he has homework.

SINGING HOMEWORK.

He really, really, really is not a good singer and no, I am not being cruel, sarcastic, or facetious.  The boy. can't. sing.

Someone needs to tell him no.

I know you're thinking I'm terrible. Everyone deserves to dream. It's what we're always told. Never tell someone they can't because otherwise you might as well just crush their soul under your shoe like a bug.

The reason I'm thinking about this is because I just read the best article by Augusten Burroughs, who is a hilarious writer. If you ever want to read a book where you have one hand over your mouth in disbelief and horror--while still managing to laugh because the dude is funny--you need to read his childhood memoir Running with Scissors. Holy shit. His childhood...I can't even...you need to read it for yourself. So when I picked up my magazine and saw he'd contributed an article, I was excited.

It's called 'How to Ditch a Dream' and here's the great summarizing line: "...there are many, many people who do not need to be told to cling to their dreams; they need to have those fantasies wrenched from their little fists before they waste their entire lives trying to achieve them."

I feel like I need to put on my Swiss passive-aggressive invisibility cloak and slip this article under our neighbour's door with that line highlighted along with a note that reads, "Adele is the only one who can sing 'Rolling in the Deep' so before you attempt it for the eightieth time, don't."

He needs to stop practicing his scales, he needs to stop singing along to anything on the radio, and someone in his life needs to tell him he will not be a professional singer no matter how much he looks the part.

The worst part is, the Swiss take all forms of schooling very seriously, so most people in our building are sympathetic to his screechy wailing because he's practicing for school.

Excuse me while I go sign up for rotten-tomato target practice.

"But you don't understand, I have to throw these tomatoes at you because it's for school."

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Week 22

Better late than never!

So it's week 22 (well, almost 23 since this post is so late coming this week) and the biggest news of the week is we know the sex of the baby!

But I haven't decided if I'm telling!

Why? Because I'm a huge meanie, naturally, and also I may want to keep it a big surprise until the end. I have told my immediate family because it would be practically impossible to keep it a secret from them. In fact, Dan said to me: "Man has landed on the moon. This means that seemingly impossible things can happen, including, maybe, secrets being kept in the W family?"

Sorry, that's one thing that's definitely not possible.

I have also started telling a few friends, so yeah, if you know me in real life it's not much of a secret. Apologies, Internet peeps, but I can assure you the news is REALLY EXCITING.

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We know!

We have started to think about names this week, and I really like Moonglow Laserbeam. It's such a classic name that will carry our little baby through its life causing it nary any embarrassment when people exclaim, "What's that? Can you repeat that?" I also really like Perfect Creation, because it's got such a modest and understated feel to it that won't give our child an inflated ego.

But we probably won't go with these, opting instead to live in our Euro bubble and ignore the North American pressure to give your baby a name no one else has, or ever heard of.

Oh man, we are setting our baby up for a life of mediocrity by not picking the most unique name EVER. We suck. So I always knew the celebrities were wackadoodles with some of their name choices, but I wasn't fully aware of how much this mentality had entered the mainstream until I started browsing blogs that deal with kids and kid stuff.

One couple named their kids Sharkie and Boots, and for awhile I thought I was reading about dogs. I then hoped these were Internet aliases, but alas...

Oh, I know, I know, I'm so lame and my body is turning into a square to show just how square I really am; I am uninspired and unoriginal and whatever else you want to call me. But my thoughts on naming children is this: it's not about you. It. Is. Not. About. You. To have more concern about a name that uniquely identifies the child, rather than a name a child can identify with, seems selfish to me.

So now that I've ridden my high horse all over the land, where do I disembark?

Well, I think naming a baby is hard. That much I know for certain. Especially since I'm the type of person who sits down at a restaurant and orders one thing, then regrets not getting the other.

Who buys one scarf, and wishes she'd got the other.

Who stares at all the ice cream tubs and thinks, "How will I ever choose which two scoops to put on my waffle cone?"

HOW WILL I CHOOSE?

Dan will be my rock, that much is certain. He is decisive and when we've agreed on one we both like, he will keep reminding me WHY we chose it. But we have agreed that we will not reveal the name until our baby is born. Even the W family won't know the baby's name until baby is here.

Because man, I don't know if you will believe this but people are super opinionated about names.

Crazy.

(Tongue in cheek! Tongue in cheek! Just in case that earlier line was about as subtle as getting hit in the face with a dead fish.)


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Hypocrite, what??
Also, my face is getting rounder and I'm sort of mad about it.

So that's where we are this week.

And today is Mother's Day so a happy, happy, happy one to all the great mom's out there, with special recognition to two of the best I know: my mom, and my friend Jana.

My mom, because *duh*, obviously she did an incredible job of raising me, Perfect Creation (tongue in cheek!), and also to Jana, because today I received the loveliest email from my wise friend, full of reassurance, and her four kiddlywinks are so lucky to have such a mother guiding them through life.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Have I Mentioned We're Different?

I tossed and turned all night long until those early rising song birds pierced the air with their tweeting and twittering. I cursed them, put my pillow over my head, but it was no use as I was awake for good. About thirty minutes later Dan stretched and rolled over.

"I had a weird dream last night."

"Really, me too! I had a terrible sleep. What was your dream about?"

"I dreamt that I inspired an underground group of activists to form their own political party. I was standing in front of all of these people, rallying them to come together since no one would hear them otherwise. They were all cheering for me. It was awesome."

"That was your dream?"

"Yeah, what was yours about?"

"I had a stress dream that I still worked at Wendy's and we ran out of chicken nuggets during the lunch rush. It went on forever."

Then we laughed and laughed and laughed, even though it was barely 6:00 a.m.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Sugar

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Another picture from that Friday photo excursion.

The whole day I've been able to smell something sweet. As though my house is perfumed with cookies or cakes, or that distinct aroma of a shop that melts and creates its own chocolate confections.

What to make of this?

You know people say if you smell burnt toast (absent any actual burnt toast smoking up the kitchen) it's sort of a bad thing? What if you're smelling cookies when there are none to be found? Maybe this signifies a good thing? A sweet premonition?

Well, even if it doesn't I couldn't stand it any longer so when I finished up for the day I whipped down to Migros to pick up some ingredients and now I'm going to bake some lemon-poppy seed cookies to serve to our neighbour who's popping 'round this evening.

Sweet Mondays.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Week 21

We have movement!

Well, actually I could definitely feel the baby all last week and the week before, but that news was too exciting to stick in last week's post. Was I supposed to put it between the part where I was annoyed with the fitness instructor, or the part where I viciously stabbed a quiche to death because I took it out of the oven too soon? No, no, this news had to be saved for when I wasn't feeling so...tetchy.

But yes, I can feel the baby and it feels like little uncontrollable muscle twitches in my abdomen. In fact, I first thought that was all I was feeling because things are growing yo, and I assumed muscles would probably twitch while I stretched out. However, a friend of mine who is also expecting a baby told me, "Yeah...no, that's definitely the baby."

Then I felt dumb and like maybe I should crack one of those baby books that I bought I on the Kindle.

(Or, fire up the book? What is the new jargon for e-reading? Please enlighten me.)

I always feel the baby the most while I'm working at the computer or lying in bed and some days I can feel a lot of movement, like it's in the best mood ever and just wants to dance; other days I feel only one or two half-hearted kicks for the entire day, as though the baby is seriously bored and it wants me to know, "Yeah, I'm still here but I'm not having any fun. Could you put some music on or something?"

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Kick!
Here I am rocking some kick-ass pants that will get their own post.

In other news, Dan and I have started trying to figure out what sort of stroller we're going to buy and let me tell you: that's a tedious task. At this point in our research I feel like it would be easier to buy a car.  I think we've seen every YouTube video about consumer reports on buggies (Spoiler Alert: you don't want any of them because after pushing all of them off mountain tops eight times, they always break on the ninth time! Outrageous!) and basically, we're confused.

We've been to various stores to push different buggies around (Spoiler Alert: they all feel the same), to watch numerous sales people pop a tablet of speed then try to show us how to assemble and disassemble different strollers as fast as possible, like they're trying to get into a NASCAR pit crew (Spoiler Alert: no matter how fast they go, I'm never impressed), and to stare at the rows and rows and rows AND ROWS of four and three wheeled contraptions that are all vying to be your buggy: I'm the best, pick me. Pick me. These other ones are just crap, even though we all look the same. Pick me.

It's like an episode of The Bachelor, except these contestants aren't cheap.

Because, GAH. These glorified baby shuttles can cost more than a decent used car, and I'm not just talking about Swiss prices either: as a product they are absolutely over priced. Just when you think maybe you have an idea of what you want to get, you get thrown a curve ball in the form of the extra features:

"Will you be wanting a cupholder?"

"An umbrella?"

"A handbrake"

"An eating tray?"

'What about a foot sack and arctic gloves?"

"Can you throw in a four point wheel inspection and free oil changes for a year? Oh, and a gas card and some mud flaps."

So yeah, we were slightly unprepared for how much stuff goes along with a baby, and the absolute genius of the baby industry is they can quite easily convince any first timers out there that you need all this stuff. You wouldn't want to be accused of cheaping out where your baby is concerned, would you? That would mean you don't want what's best for your baby and that makes you a terrible parent.

We have a lot to learn.
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But still plenty of time.

Speaking of a lot to learn, and going back to the whole "maybe I should read a baby book" idea, I was at a baby shower on Sunday and we had to split up into teams and answer trivia questions about babies, quite a few which were gestational questions (when does it have fingerprints, when can it hear you, etc...). I knew....none of the answers. Also, the one game I thought I would totally clean up in *coughnamesofcelebritybabyiescough* I also majorly sucked at.

The lesson I have chosen to learn from this experience is this: Get used to knowing nothing, this is probably going to be your reality for the next 18+ years.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Petmature Worry

So I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, but Dan and I have two cats. I know, it's so crazy that I never talk about them. Never, ever, ever.

Ever.

Especially not when I go to parties, never forcing Dan to squirm in embarrassment when the subject of pets is brought up because I would never jump in and be all, "I have pets! Who wants to hear about them?!"

I'm chill like that.

But when you're having a baby and people find out you have pets, oh my are they ever opinionated about your animals having to STAY AWAY FROM THE BABY. Quite seriously, across telephone lines and dinner tables, people speak slowly and seriously to you like you're stunted, warning you that your animals cannot be anywhere near the baby's room; never leave them unattended with the baby; in fact, maybe just chuck them out because now you have a real baby to care for: the animals were only practice.

(Obviously no one said the last part to me, but an alarming number of people seriously support this decision.)

"You're still going to love me, right?"

There is an old wives' tale about cats sucking a baby's breath. This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard, and it originates back to those glorious days of Puritan fear when everyone was afraid of witches, and cats became symbolically associated with witches and the supposed evil they brewed. You mixed women who were going against a societal norm--by being unwed and without children--with the fact they most commonly befriended a species of animal that is standoffish and reclusive by nature and *boom*, you got deep rooted suspicion, panic, and asshole ideas.

People are awesome.

So as it is physically impossible for a cat to 'suck' a baby's breath ("Hey, let's just perform a little reverse CPR on this interloper WHO'S RUINED OUR LIFE") the new concern is that cats are sneaky little beings who are going to smother your baby ON PURPOSE.

One family member has stressed to me--more than once--that I need to make sure the cats don't smother the baby because it happens a lot and if I don't believe her, I should know she just heard on the radio how a cat went and lay on a baby's face and...

Seriously.

I have had this conversation more than once.

Dan and I are not generally concerned about how our cats are going to be around the baby. We know for sure that Cosmo is going to be super interested in the baby and that Poppy will be afraid of the change and hide under the bed for a week. We aren't too worried about the cats being in the baby's room when we're in there, and the crib and all baby blankets are obviously off-limits because WE AREN'T STUPID. However, our laid-back no-worries attitude is causing stress to some people we speak to and it's ridiculous.

Of course everyone has heard some horror story that happened to a cousin of a friend of a guy they work with, but I am going to go out on a limb and state that those are exceptions, not rules, of animal behaviour around infants; of course I find the stories shocking, but I didn't know the owners first hand, I didn't know the animal first hand, I didn't see the situation, and I don't know how closely this third hand information still resembles the truth, so I'm not about to assume the same thing will happen to me.

Of course we believe it's smart to take reasonable precautions before a baby is born, and for us this means that we have been sporadically closing the door to the baby's future room just so the cats know that sometimes they don't have access to this room. By the time the baby comes, they will be used to the fact the door to that room is shut.

When the baby comes we don't have plans to be all, "Hey Cosmo, can you please baby-sit while we go to the movies?" (we'll actually leave Poppy in charge), and we're going to be careful about how in-your-face they get with the baby. We have also talked a lot about making sure the cats still get quality attention because it is the complete alienation of the animal--who was once the centre of your universe--when baby comes home that causes it to act out. That is just a fact. We don't yet know how we will balance this attention because the baby isn't here, but we are conscious of it and know we will never disregard Cosmo and Poppy.

It would also absolutely break my heart to completely ignore them and start finding them to be a nuisance. They have been our little pals for nine years, and they will always be our adored little buddies. Having a baby can never change their importance in our lives as the purring little lovelies who have always made our home more homey.

"As long as I can still follow you from room-to-room all day, I'm cool."

We are really not worried about cats + baby.

How about you? Did you have any pet anxieties?