The past few weeks have been a blur of events and emotions, so I will try to sum them up in some coherent way.
A major chunk of our time has been spent house hunting and we quickly discovered that despite the news stories about desperate sellers giving away cars and properties sitting for months on the market, Ann Arbor is a whole different ballgame. This is the first time in decades that prices in Ann Arbor have come down into the sane range, so we figured now was the time to jump in.
Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea - houses are selling two days after they are listed and usually at or above list price! We finally found our "dream home" right around the corner from where we currently live (I use quotes because it needs some...ahem...cosmetic work). We tracked it for a month through the foreclosure process and made an offer the day it was listed. Despite the countless showings and interested people, we managed to get our offer accepted before anyone else could move. That sweet victory, however, was followed by defeat when the inspection revealed that the entire foundation needed repair. We've been negotiating with the bank to get them to fix it for us before closing because, oddly, we don't have $40,000 sitting around for basement repair. After a month of this, we are still in limbo.
Just a few short weeks ago I HATED the idea of owning a house, but I started down this road for Robbie's sake. Now I am the obsessed one - watching hours of HGTV and losing sleep because I'm trying to calculate how best to arrange furniture or redesign a kitchen. It's a sickness...truly. I always wondered what possessed my parents to spend half their weekend watching "This Old House" and the other half slaving away on whatever the current house project was. I vowed never to let a wooden box with a roof and front door take over my life in such a way. And yet here I am.
Maybe it's just the ultimate nesting instinct during pregnancy or maybe it's some genetic obsessive compulsive tendencies (I won't say which family member). Maybe it's the fact that we're having a home birth this time around and I was really excited about being in "my place" by the time it happened. Even if we get this current house, we wouldn't close until after the birth at this point, so I am a little disappointed. I can't help but think how amazing it would've been to say to my son someday, "you were born right here in this room." Instead, I will have to drive by a dilapidated rental and say, "you were born in that house in a room where the floor was so slanted that you popped out of the birth canal and then rolled away." Sigh.
Speaking of that son, it's hard to believe the big date is only 5 weeks away! I suppose it could be 7 weeks away, but this baby seems more impatient to get out than Emerson did. In fact, he seems determined to claw and kick his way out at any given moment. As fate would have it, there is a midwives' conference two weeks before my due date and most of the midwives in the state will be hours away. I do have a back up (including a five minute drive to the hospital as a last resort) and I doubt I will go that early, but the situation does feel a little like the set-up for an episode of a sitcom. The kind where the woman goes into labor early and instantly it's an emergency that involves a lot of screaming and a birth in a car or elevator (after a 36-hour labor with Emerson, I realize just how unrealistic those birth scenes are!)
Since this baby is number two as well as another boy, there's really nothing to do to prepare. Nevertheless, my nesting instincts are already kicking in, so I spent all last night gathering birthkit supplies, folding baby clothes and repacking the nursery with tiny diapers. In some ways it's very sentimental, but in other ways I can't help but wonder, "didn't I just pack these clothes away?!" I know two years apart is a common spread, but sometimes I question what the heck we were thinking! (Usually this occurs as I'm bending over my giant belly to pick up my giant toddler for the 100th time that day. Then again when I get up to go to the bathroom for the 100th time that night and I can't move because my back is spasming again!)
Our neighbors just had their first baby a couple weeks ago and hearing about the labor and seeing their adorable bundle brought up a swell of emotions I wasn't ready for. They seem to be adjusting much, much better than we did those first few weeks, but seeing them still reminds me of how hard those times were. Rewarding and amazing, yes, but also hard. I suppose even if the next baby does have albinism, we will be much better prepared for it this time around. But Emerson is also finally at a stage I really love, which only reminds me of the challenges we've had to face to get here...challenges we may have to face all over again.
On the other hand, if this baby does have albinism, I will be happy that Emerson will have someone who knows exactly what he's going through. Assuming they don't kill each other during childhood, I really want them to be lifelong friends. Oh yeah...THAT'S why I'm torturing my body by going through this again so soon after the first one! I knew there was a good reason.
Back to Emerson - he is basically in the terrible twos, but I am having so much fun. He's fully walking now - and running, and spinning in circles, and even doing a fancy backward moonwalk every once in a while. I never get tired of seeing him toddle into a room or explore his surroundings with this new upright perspective. He's still as stubborn and dramatic as ever and his sleeping and eating habits have regressed in some ways (maybe due to the developmental spurts or the baby coming?). But he's also a total ham and constantly making us laugh.
He refuses to say words, yet every time he hands us something or we hand him something, he says "oh thank you" in a sing song voice. None of the actual words are there, but the intonation is unmistakable. He's also taken to crawling into the dog's kennel, hiding toys in strange places, spinning in circles until he falls down, and making "scary" faces when he's wrestling (his eyes get really big, he purses his lips, and he shakes his head with intensity...until he can't hold it anymore and dissolves into laughter).
The other day we were eating at a restaurant with some friends and Emerson was getting ancy toward the end of the meal. Robbie released him from the highchair and one of our friends decided to distract him by dressing him in his wife's puffy black vest with a hood. The vest came all the way to the floor like a cape since Emerson was so small - he ended up looking exactly like Rick Moranis in "Spaceballs." I tried to take a picture, but only got one blurry one since I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face. The outfit itself was funny, but what really got us laughing was the fact that Emerson quickly became aware of the attention he was getting from other people in the restaurant. He decided to play it up by walking very stoically past every table until he was sure everyone had a chance to see his performance. I'm not sure if the waitstaff appreciated the uproar we created, but we left a good tip.
On a much less happy note, my poor family in Utah is dealing with some tough times. My uncle had an aneurysm burst in his brain and he's now in a coma with very poor odds of recovery. It's hard to imagine what my dad must be going through as he watches his younger brother go through this and struggles to help the other siblings. If you've got any spare positive thoughts to spare, please send them westward...
So here we are, plugging along, waiting for news on several fronts and trying to make the most of the time. Thank goodness we have this funny little person to distract us and remind us of what's most important in life....