Beware the terrible and-a-halfs!

I have reached that point in pregnancy where you’re torn between wanting it to be over with and wanting a few more precious weeks to relax and *sleep*. Only I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so I suppose my feelings on that are rather mixed. I cannot wait to be allowed to sleep on my back again.

I’m starting to feel like a huge, lumbering (okay, waddling) penguin much of the time. It doesn’t help that I did something to my knee a few days back, too much walking around the neighborhood and lifting my knees high as I walked to try to work the kinks in my legs out before bed. I spent a few days gasping in pain every time I bent my leg. Not fun. It seems to be on the mend, fortunately, as does my sleep. I’ve been taking Unisom, which the doctor recommended. It makes me sleepy and sort of hazy, the way Percocet did when I had to take it after my foot surgery (and after childbirth). It doesn’t necessarily conk me out, though. Apparently I can lie in a haze on my bed yet remain awake for an hour or more. However, the only day I really, really couldn’t get to sleep even with the Unisom was the first day I’d hurt my knee and the pain was keeping me awake, and since then it’s really helped. So maybe I’m mostly past that now.

Seth is home, yay! I didn’t want to mention that he was gone, because, yeah, not safe. But he went off for a week to do some testing at a different military base. For the most part, days aren’t so different when he’s gone as when he’s here, since he’s at work during daytime hours anyway. I did miss having him do the one night that was his turn for bath/bedtime that he missed, but it worked out that he only missed one of his two days, so that was something. I got some writing done, although not as much as I would have hoped.

I’ve made a writing goal to try to get 250-500 words down every day. It’s a small goal, I’ll admit, but then I’m not a full-time writer, and I want some of my free time to be free. One nights when I have a great night and get over 1000 words done (okay, so that night I’d missed the night before entirely, so it was really only the equivalent of having two nights with just over 500 words), I’m quite pleased. I obviously don’t know exactly how many words the finished work will be in this draft, but I think 30,000 is a fair estimate, and I’m at 18000. So at this rate I just need another 24 days to finish, which is doable before the baby comes, if just barely.

The story feels… well, pretty crappy, to be honest. I feel like I’ve failed to really execute my idea well onto the paper. And it’s such a great story in plot outline! However, I’m not letting myself dwell on this problem too much, because I keep going back and starting over, and right now I think the best goal is just to focus on finishing the first draft, crappy or no. I really want to get that much done before the baby comes. Then I’ll be busy with the baby and forget about the story for a few weeks. At that point, I think I’ll be ready to go back, do some additional character work, and look at the story as a whole to try to figure out what’s so lackluster and how to give it a burst of life. I’ve already noticed that I do need to do a lot more description, as so much of my story basically comes across as dialogue in a vacuum. So I’m going to work on describing locales a little better, maybe on adding some interesting fantastical features/creatures to the world, and then do some brainstorming about what characters are doing when they talk, what kind of motions they have, or physical reactions, etc. It’s not that I avoid doing that stuff as I’m going along now, but I’m avoiding letting myself get stuck on trying to write that as I go along, if it doesn’t come easily to mind.

I’m really curious how chapter divisions work for professional writers. Do they divide chapters as they go along, like I’m doing, or do they write the story as a solid chunk and divide chapters later? Part of what I wonder is that I try to make chapters roughly the same size (obviously there’s some variance, but I aim for about 1200 words). I try to cut the scene at the most dramatic, “well, I can’t stop here!” part to make the reader turn the page. Etc. But some chapters I imagine I’ll end up adding a lot to, or cutting a lot from, in later drafts. If I add enough to double the chapter and then split it into two, great. But what if it’s just enough to make it a really long chapter but not enough to make it two? Hmm. Well, I’m sure that if the story is good enough to get published, that’s something the editor would tell me. So I won’t let myself be bothered too much.

Both girls are acting up a bit. Maybe it’s that whole “second half of the year” phenomenon. Beth, who just turned 3 1/2, has also just started this. She’s getting more and more independent, but along with that she also really doesn’t like being told what to do. She’s tried correcting me when I tell her to do something instead of asking, or telling me, “No,” or refusing to do things. I’m trying to work on making sure that I ask nicely and say please, just as I want her to do when she asks for something, but sometimes parents *do* have to tell their children to do something and need to be obeyed immediately. “Stay on the sidewalk!” when a child is about to step out and cars are coming needs to be obeyed instantly, not defied because the parent didn’t ask nicely and say please first. She’s a good girl, really, not generally deliberately disobedient, but we do need to work on the balance of power, because she needs to understand that while I won’t lord it over her, I *am* the parent and that gives me certain rights that she doesn’t have, namely that she has to obey me even when she doesn’t want to.

Josie, who has been 1 1/2 for some time now, has been tantruming for some time as well. When she wants something, she wants it, and if she doesn’t get it, she screams, kicks, throws herself onto the ground dramatically, etc. If she’s picked up for safety/politeness reasons, she flails and throws herself around. Etc. She’s having a bit of trouble controlling herself when her desires–no matter how significant–are thwarted. Sometimes a very small thing will set her off (she wants juice, I give her water), and she’ll scream at the top of her lungs for ten or more minutes. I think that if we have any more kids, we should aim for Spring babies, so at least we don’t have all of them in their rough “second half of the year” stage at once, because it certainly does seem accurate!

On the plus side, Josie’s language is taking off in leaps and bounds, which is incredibly fun. She said “I love you” to Seth last night, which was the first time she’s said that phrase. It was adorably cute. I love little beginning talkers.

I’m gonna try to squeeze in a quick nap during the girls’ naptime/quiet time.

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