No, I'm not pregnant. Don't worry when the day comes, I won't announce it on the blog first. Blogs are good for some things, like sharing funny stories, cute videos, and potentially insightful or at least tolerable posts, but not for such personal and life-changing news as that. I do still know the value of real interaction.
That being said, I do have a new, somewhat shameful, secret: 'little Shuffy' (my ipod Shuffle). My brothers gave it to me last year for my birthday, and I used it for both entertainment and motivation. While I was pregnant with Cate, it was especially difficult to motivate myself to clean. So, I would download the FlyLady podcasts and just listening to them would inspire me to do as she instructed. Shine your sink! It will inspire you to keep going. Work 15 minutes at a time, then rest. Tackle those "hot spots" each night and they won't become "4-star alarms." And follow my daily "mission" to systematically go through the house and de-clutter. Little Shuffy got me through the sloth of pregnancy.
After moving to York, I primarily used it for my workouts at the 'Y'. I would download a podcast from BBC and a podcast workout from Podrunner with 140-150 beats per minute. After updating myself on the state of the world from the perspective of the Brits, which usually coincided nicely with the workout becoming unbearable, Podrunner was there to save me. I coped by just ceasing to think. I became merely a beat, leg circle after leg circle (I was usually on the elliptical). The mantra was: just keep up, don't think, just keep going, don't think, just do it..
I loaded Little Shuffy with podcasts and music to entertain myself on the flight to Italy, should the children perchance fall asleep, leaving me awake, and desperate for distraction. Unlikely as it was, it actually happened. Little Shuffy to the rescue again.
Up until now Shuffy has been there to help me, to hold me up when I simply couldn't do it anymore. When I tired of putting the toys away, sweeping the floor, and doing dishes for the umpteenth time here in Italy, I remembered my trusty ipod. I loaded that baby up with music and podcasts on grammar, news, finances, Italian, and prayers. Since then, doing dishes has become a blissful escape. Not only do I learn something and take my mind off the tedious work I'm doing, I successfully tune out children shrieking (I can still hear them, don't worry, they're just less...loud). I used to dread the thirty-five minute walk home from my Italian class. It was dark, cold, and I was bored. Now, thanks to Little Shuffy, I actually look forward to my walk home. It's a chance to stretch my legs and learn something new. Last Monday, I actually walked a few extra blocks just to hear the end of the podcast!
When Matt offered to trade me dinner dishes for getting the kids ready for bed, I jumped at the opportunity. He had no idea how much this pleased me. While he wrestled with kids, changed diapers, read stories, and cajoled them into bed, I got to stand there, tune the chaos out, and listen to something. I can't believe I'm letting my dirty little secret out of the bag.
Well, I think he was on to me, anyway. The offer of a trade didn't last very long.