ShelahFor the last four and a half years I've scheduled practically every waking moment around what the kids are doing....

For the last four and a half years I've scheduled practically every waking moment around what the kids are doing. I take a shower when I know they're occupied and unlikely to join me in the tub. I eat when they're hungry. I go shopping when they're relatively well-rested and less likely to make a scene. Instead of eating leisurely dinners at nice restaurants, I've become intimately familiar with the menu at McDonalds.

But I've just been granted a reprieve from my on-call 24/7 existence. Both of the kids started preschool this week! Yes, it's true, Annie is only at school for 4 1/2 hours a week, but I'm amazed at what I can pack into 4 1/2 hours when I only have myself to worry about! I don't have to think about whether or not I have enough sippy cups to get us through a shopping trip without a major meltdown, or enough books to occupy the kids during a long drive, or even whether or not I've reminded everyone to go to the bathroom before we leave the house.

Oh, wait a second, I still have to do that one. Unfortunately, it's not the kids who need reminding--it's me. I've been timing myself in the last week, and during the day I can go about 45 minutes before my bladder starts telling me it needs to be emptied. That's not enough time for our morning walk, or a trip to the grocery store, or really any trip outside the house that's further than the gas station down the street. I'd rather suffer with an uncomfortable urge to pee than stop at the bathroom in Target with a heavily-laden cart and two kids, but sometimes I feel like I don't have much choice.

When we were potty-training Bryce last year, we'd pretty much let him pee wherever he wanted to. The tree in the backyard was his favorite place to go, but he also went regularly in the woods near our favorite park or the tire of the van when we were driving around town and he expressed an urgent need to go. Aaah, a penis would make things so much easier at this stage of pregnancy. I could just quietly walk over to the woods while the kids were playing in the park and feel so much better in just a few seconds. I wouldn't have to make the kids get out of the kiddie pool and sit shivering on the deck while I made a trip inside to go to the bathroom.

Now that I'm in my last few weeks of pregnancy and have a bladder the size of a shot glass, I find it highly ironic that I do have a penis inside of me. I don't think it would be asking too much of Isaac to share it with me. After all, I'm only experiencing this urinary dilemma because of him.

I guess that drinking less would solve my problem, but I've heard several places that drinking a lot of water can help ward off swelling. I'm already huge in the belly, and I don't want to add edematous elephant legs to the mix, so I've been drinking a lot of water. I have a 34 oz insulated water cup that I fill at least three times a day. I've become quite addicted to eating the ice when the cup is empty, so I keep filling it up so I can get down to the bottom and crunch some more.

My youngest sister graduated from high school a couple of years ago and left home to go to college in Utah. For the next couple of years, one of my mom's most frequent vents was about her reluctance to apply the "empty nest" label to herself. She equated it with wearing polyester, only eating at restaurants that offered early-bird specials and wearing Depends. She was in her late forties at the time, and felt way too young to be seen as a senior citizen. I know that the empty nesting phase I'm experiencing right now is very temporary (with a new baby due next month), but I sure wouldn't mind some Depends right now!

Until next week,

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