When I think of this little baby growing, and think about her future brothers and sisters, one of the things I hope most for them is that they are creative. I try to think of how I can encourage creativity in my children's minds, and help raise people who aren't afraid to be individuals and cultivate their creative side. Fortunately, we're studying creativity and intellect in my psychology class right now, and studies show that creativity thrives in environments when parents encourage new ideas and ways of thinking differently. So the good news is, there are things I can do to foster an environment that allows children to grow in this area. I think my sister-in-law, Becca, does a great job of this in letting my niece dress herself. Sometimes Ashley picks out the most outrageous outfits, and I'm sure less creative parents are wondering why anyone would dress their child that way, but I love that this simple practice is helping Ashley become exactly who she was meant to be.
I will of course introduce my children to music, art, and books as soon as possible, because I think early introduction is what did it for me. (Due to her parents' love for musical theater, Ellery will be watching Danny Kaye movies from the beginning, so she'll have plenty of exposure to that. In fact, she's already getting it in the womb.) Speaking of which, Mom, thanks for always reading books and being that example for me, and for encouraging me to keep singing, performing, and writing. Dad, thanks for writing songs in the living room at the piano, because I saw first-hand what it looks like to write a song. I witnessed the entire creative process; how difficult it can be, how much effort goes into even small projects, and how satisfying it is to be able to share your finished creation with others.
As a disclaimer, I'd like to add that I'm in no way trying to force anything onto Ellery. If she is more interested in science and math than literature and the arts, then great! I'll be in awe of her. But I think even in those left-brained pursuits, there is always room for creativity and figuring out new ways of accomplishing things.
Can anyone else offer advice on how to raise creative children? And yes, I'm actually asking for parenting advice this one time, on this one issue. :)
And now for some belly truths. I think it's so nice that people have been saying that I'm "all baby", and I've been smiling and thanking those kind souls, knowing in my heart that I'm not "all baby". It's time for some honesty, people. Whenever I gain weight, it goes to my belly and my face. (As you can see from the picture below, nothing has gone to the booty, which is somewhat of a disappointment to me.) So below is a picture of me holding in my stomach muscles, so it is fairly indicative of how big the baby is right now. The following picture is when I'm letting it all hang out, all of last night's pizza and this morning's two bowls of cereal.
See the (significant) difference? So yeah, this weight-in-the-belly thing is fine for now, when I'm supposed to have weight in my belly, but come June when this baby is out, y'all will probably keep asking when I'm due.
By the way, I'll be twenty-six weeks tomorrow, which means that today marks 99 days until my due date. We're in the double digits, people! I think that's a good time to make a paper chain...