Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is Something, This is Nothing, This is Something, This is Nothing.

Behold, in a rare glimpse into my uterus, my breech baby:



Sucking his or her thumb, maybe?


Baby face…

We had another ultrasound this morning because the baby has a spot on his/her heart.  This spot is a small calcification that could be nothing at all, but also could be correlated to Down Syndrome.  Considering that my quad screen was normal and that I don’t have other risk factors, the likelihood that I would have a Down Syndrome baby is low.  However, stranger things have happened.


The radiologist still has to look at the images this week to see if it’s anything further than just a spot (like an actual threat to heart function – though that seems unlikely as it was beating at 144 bpm during the ultrasound and the baby was lively), and then my doctor will discuss the results.  He has already offered that I could have an amniocentesis if I am worried, but I really don’t like needles.  And I know someone who miscarried after an amniocentesis, so I’d rather not go there; losing a baby at nearly 28 weeks is not part of my plan.


So.  Now we wait, hope and pray for a healthy baby in 3 months, and move on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Animals

We did it!  Charles and I survived our first airplane ride together (and second, and third) this past weekend when we visited my dear friend Liz in Phoenix. 


Here’s the thing about traveling with a toddler (especially if you’re pregnant and want to not only get to sleep earlyish but also must avoid alcohol – combining those restrictions, of course, makes getting a babysitter and going to a wine bar difficult to justify): the trip is all about him.  You can’t go somewhere far, far away and think that you’re going to schedule relaxing time to catch up with one of your best friends.  The best you can hope for is some quality catching up while you herd the toddler to various toddler-friendly activities. 


Fortunately, Liz, while she does not have children of her own, is a friend to kids and seemed to understand this from the get-go.  She accommodated my requests to get takeout as opposed to sitting in restaurants, she plied Charles with toys and sweets as soon as we walked in the door, and she had fantastic toddler-friendly activities planned for us.  In return, Charles only broke one glass and only dropped about 60 goldfish crackers in her previously immaculate car.


The flights to Phoenix were a dream – I’m sure the people on the flight thought I was some sort of supermom.  That is, of course, if they didn’t see us struggling before the flight.  Sure, we killed a lot of time in SeaTac’s atrium watching planes land and take off,

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but once we arrived at the gate, all our gear in tow, Charles did not want to stand in line and he was overtired, so he began throwing tantrums.  God bless all the wonderful people who said things like, “What is he, about two?  I have a three-year-old at home, I know exactly what you’re going through.”  Unfortunately, Southwest does family boarding after the A boarding, so we had people in front of and behind us.  Thankfully, some of them helped us on (for the return trip, I asked for preboarding and got it not because of having a toddler and all the stuff that goes along with him, but because I am pregnant.  Because pregnancy counts as a disability while kids, disabling though they may be, do not).  Charles thought that takeoff was scary (the first thing I have ever found that frightens him!) and had me hold his hand, but then he promptly fell asleep.  He woke up when we landed in Salt Lake City, had his first peeing-in-an-airplane-bathroom experience (he loves flushing toilets, so flushing that one with the noise and the blue stuff was awesome for him), and got settled for the last leg, during which we sang songs, ate junk, and read books.  He was quite the delight.


Our first day in Phoenix, Liz took us to the zoo.  It was a nice 75 degrees and super dry and we enjoyed every minute of it.


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The zoo is thirsty work.


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“Pet GOATS, mommy!” 


The next day, we went to the train park.  I don’t know what you picture when you read “train park” but believe me, it is cooler than your wildest imagination.  Here is the website.  Charles never wanted to leave, and in fact coerced us into going again the next day.  So yeah, aside from the time spent at meals and watching movies and hanging out, we were mostly at the train park for the rest of the weekend.


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He’s a climber.

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First ride in the train and we’re not sure what to expect.

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The Carousel, aka, “Horses, Mommy, Horses!”

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The photo that made me realize that, whoa, I am getting really big.

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The little train.

We also took an afternoon trip to Sedona, because mommy wanted to see things like this:

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Charles was not so interested in the red rocks, so after some mandatory photos, we took him to a park.


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We returned from Phoenix with similar airport troubles as in SeaTac, and Charles was awake the entire flight, but life was made so much easier by this contraption.  I wouldn’t consider flying without it – keeping him in the carseat during the flight made everything so much easier, and if he wasn’t being towed through the airport, he wanted to do the towing.  Everyone needs a task, you know.  I also will not consider flying by myself with Charles and the next baby.  Our next family trip will have to include Tony, there is just no other way.


All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing time, and Liz and I did get to catch up in between chasing after Charles.  I tend to think that anyone who is around Charles for extended periods of time probably comes to think of him as good birth control, but I was very proud of him.  He wasn’t too cranky and he’s always been very adaptable to different situations. 


Oh!  And do you see that last photo?  It is the last time you will see that diaper bag until the new baby comes along – I realized yesterday that being diaper free means we are also diaper bag free!  Hallelujah!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Last Week’s Belly

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Bam!  Who wants to have a belly fight?

What a Weekend

I’ve often thought that I should take more photos of Charles tantruming (probably not a word, but who cares?) so that I can either elicit sympathy from friends on the internet or keep them to show him when he is older.  My parents probably wish they did this with me as they try to tell me that I was just as bad as Charles when it came to epic battles of will, crying over seemingly nothing at all, and rage-fests.  Knowing that I tortured them as Charles is torturing me does make me feel better, but only because I know I ended up mostly fine and maybe he will, too.


But will I be fine?  I found myself honestly wishing for a few moments yesterday that I could be back before all of this happened, back when we were looking to move to Mount Vernon, so that I could change some big life decisions.  The first would be to not buy a house; I’m sure I’m not the only person in America who wishes he or she had not bought a house in 2007.  But it’s not about the money, it’s about the crappiness that we didn’t notice because we had lived in junky little apartments our entire adult lives.  Things that I am having to fix now, things that I would like to fix but are too expensive, things that are damned inconvenient that will never be fixed because they are a part of our stupid house and can’t be changed.  If we had lived in an apartment for a year or two, sure, we wouldn’t have Buster and Charles might not have been born (but surely there would be another baby, just not Charles, just not timed as Charles was), but we would have been able to afford a much nicer house with fewer problems to be solved.  Maybe even furniture that matched and home decor items other than stuff we find at the dump.


And then I did a mental slap and threw myself out of the funk and went to sleep, where I proceeded to have awful dreams about drowning while trying to save Charles in an overflowing pool that was inside a building with no windows and no way out except one door that I couldn’t get open.  How’s that for subconscious guilt over wishing I could undo my life and the best thing in it, even if I only wished that for a few minutes?


The truth is, Charles was awful all weekend long, just plain horrendous.  He refused to nap, he freaked out over little things, he threw kicking, screaming temper tantrums, and then, when he would get a second wind, he would climb all over me and the furniture like a freakish, little monkey.  What do you do for that?  What do you do when you’re six months pregnant and you can’t make your stubborn toddler sleep?  And television is a reward, and you don’t want to reward bad behavior?  You tough it out, I guess.  And luckily, my mom was there, so at least I wasn’t alone and there is someone else in the world who believes that Charles can be this nasty because, I’ll tell you what, as soon as grandpa or daddy walks in the door at night, he is all smiles, an angel-toddler, a happy kid who sits right down and the table and wolfs down strawberries and leftover pizza and chocolate milk without a bit of fussing. 


It’s these kinds of days that take the wind out of my sails after successfully potty-trianing and remind me that I really have no idea what the hell I am doing at all.




Charles and I are leaving for Phoenix on Thursday and I am so looking forward to the break.  I think the bus ride and airport and plan will blow my two-year-old’s ever-loving mind, and I anticipate a good trip punctuated by solid napping.  Because one must remain optimistic, right?  I have the ipod, and I plan to get backup power for it tonight, I have Talking Carl and Minimals (animals in Charles-speak) and Toy Story 3 on the ipod, and a book of Curious George, his current favorite (though not Curious George Rides a Bike, which I have read approximately 11,236,748 times in the past 3 weeks and refuse to bring along).  I have snacks.  I should receive by tomorrow a roller for the carseat so I can use it as a stroller with strapped-in toddler throughout the airport.  I think I am ready.  Any suggestions from anyone who has traveled with children before?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In which I start whimsical, go political, and end with a reprimand.

Want to do something fun with your toddler?  Watch old Sesame Street videos on YouTube.  I don’t know what they’re showing on Sesame Street these days, but the songs and episodes I remember from my childhood are pretty awesome.  That said, Charles really loves the Katy Perry/Elmo video (the one that was banned).


So what do you think about Congress de-funding public broadcasting?  I have mixed feelings.  For one, if people across the nation really want to keep PBS, then they would pay for it, right?  Except that they don’t, because I think those programs are great, but I have never given to a phone drive for funding to keep them on the air.  And I’ve been thinking about that a bit lately because one of my favorite radio stations (the classical station out of Seattle) is going public this summer and I really feel I should support it since it is probably the number one station played in my car. 


But I think that a lot of people are like us – we are happy to give for big, disastrous events, and also for things like children and ministries in 3rd world countries (Tony and I sponsor a child in Africa through World Vision and we do Christmas boxes through Samaritan’s Purse), but ongoing upkeep of philanthropic organizations or public broadcasting or whatever takes a backseat. 


Additionally, there are probably lots of people who benefit from programs like Sesame Street who are not able to donate.  Kids whose parents have to work more than I do and so the TV is on a bit more than it is in our house.  No one can deny that programs like Sesame Street are educational.


So then we have funding from the government.  Which, in one argument, it’s not the government’s responsibility to fund television, public or no, good programs or not.  BUT.  If we put programs like Sesame Street, Arthur, etc, into the category of education and childcare, then one could argue that by boosting public broadcasting, we are boosting child/family services. 


HOWEVER, the economy is really, really bad right now, and Congress doesn’t have the funding to keep all the programs it has funded in the past, and regardless of whether or not you agree with which cuts have to be made, the point stands that cuts have to be made.  So where should we make them?  To an organization like PBS that could potentially (and arguably should) find sustainable funding elsewhere, or to DSHS or K-12 education, or transportation/road infrastructure, or defense and national security (and lots more essential services)?


I think Congress is doing their best to find the cuts that will hurt the least, because they will all hurt to some degree.  Would it be nice if the government could continue to fund PBS?  Yes.  Maybe it will be able to do so in the future.  Or maybe PBS will innovate to the point that it has sustainable funding from some organization or pledge drives or whatever.


I have to say, however, that I don’t mind de-funding NPR AT ALL.  PBS is pretty politically neutral, mostly educational, etc, while NPR is not.  AND, I think the programs on NPR would probably be easily picked up by sustainably-funded (read: commercial) radio stations without any problem. 


I usually try to keep out of politics, but one thing that has become clear at both the state and federal level is that some things will have to go.  At this point, the people we elected have to make some very tough decisions on what to fund and what to cut.  I do not envy them their positions, but I do wish them good luck.  And for God’s sake, don’t anyone dare say something like, “well, I didn’t elect those people.”  Because we live in a representative government, a democratic republic, and when we elect representatives, we all do so.  Obama is my president, whether or not I voted for him.  Gregoire is my governor, whether or not I voted for her… and on down the line.  Healthy debate is good, but I have had enough of the last decade of people saying stupid things like “he’s not my president” because that’s not how it works.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It starts with complaining (what else is new) but ends with promises of sunshine.

Pregnancy is a beast.  With claws.  It sinks these claws deep into my psyche and keeps me from being happy all the time.


I think I was happier the first time around because I was in constant contact with loads of people.  I participated in at least one evening community event per week and there were always people wandering through my office.  Now I work with four boys.  My social life consists of Rotary, which is mostly male, and MOPS, which is a lot of women who have done/do pregnancy and parenting better than I do (don’t believe me?  I should show you photos of how small most of these women are.  And how satisfied their children seem to be.  And the blank looks I get when I mention Charles’ problems with sleeping until he was almost 2 years old or his epic tantrums over NOTHING AT ALL that I can’t even stop with a glass of cold water to the face).


There’s just something about working with the public that year that kept me feeling great.  Maybe it was this:


“Wow!  You look so great!  When are you due again?”

“Gosh, they didn’t have nearly such adorable maternity clothes when I was pregnant 10/20/30 years ago!  You look darling!”

“Aww, I just love the way a pregnant woman looks.  You never realize it when you are pregnant yourself, but pregnant women really do glow!  How exciting!”


So, a lack of compliments and positive comments plague me here. 


And that whole thing about buying an entirely new wardrobe just sucks.  I mean, when you already own jeans, you don’t have to think about what size they are, you just put them on and they fit and it’s great.  Or they don’t fit, and that’s not great, so you diet a bit and go to the gym and then they fit again.  I thought I would have plenty of maternity clothes to last me this time that I wouldn’t have to shop much.  But nooooo.  Not only are the seasons different from when I was pregnant with Charles, but I am discovering more and more items that used  to be in my maternity box but that disappeared during one of the many times it was loaned out to others.  For instance, I know I had some jean shorts and some other warm-weather casual shirts in there, but they’re gone now.  Which means it’s time to go shopping.  Which will suck.


I guess I am just one of those people who gets fat when they are pregnant, but it sure isn’t any fun.  I hate the look of my thighs, upper arms, back fat.  I worry that I won’t be able to lose it after baby.  I worry that my husband will never find me attractive again.  I worry that part of the reason people want me involved in anything is because I am was thin and dressed well.  I worry that I’ll have to shop for new, larger sizes.


This pregnancy is also a beast because it really messes with what I am able to do around the house and especially with Charles.  The boy is more clingy than ever, potentially because he understands on some level that his life is about to irrevocably and drastically change.  And by clingy, I don’t mean that he won’t go do fun things like play at the park all alone or whatever (not alone-alone, but with me hanging out many yards away chilling with a book).  I mean that when we are at home, he wants to be sitting on me, climbing on me, touching me ALL THE TIME.  And I just can’t anymore.


I can’t pick him up and hold him while he falls asleep – he hasn’t needed this in months and months, but now it seems some sort of necessity, which means that instead of soothing him when I sit by his bed and hold his hand, it drives him into an insane fury of “Uuuuuup, mommy!” complete with snot streaming down his face and alligator tears.  So, instead, I rely on Tony to do the majority of the bedtime routine, which seems like an unfair burden on him.  After all, why should he have to come home after a LOOONG day at work and then immediately care for Charles’ every need while I absent myself to avoid a meltdown? 


Then again, I have usually had my fill of Charles and his whining for Up! or one more tractor story or one more showing of Cookie Monster on YouTube or just him insisting on being lovey and getting rocked while I am trying to eat dinner by the time Tony gets home.  Which is a horrible thing to say because I love my son and I want to love on him, but sometimes it’s just too much, you know?  And sometimes, mom has to go to the bathroom and it is really impossible to pull down full-panel maternity pants with a toddler hanging off of my shoulders.  And other times, mom just can’t physically hold onto the 38-pounder any longer.  Which only makes said 38-pounder more upset and then makes mom want to cry because she can’t take care of her baby.


Hormones.  Damn hormones.  The only thing they seem to be good for is nesting.  I think I’ll buy pansies this weekend, lots of them, for the front yard.  And seeds to start my tomatoes inside.


Hopefully, a dose of sun will do me good, as Charles and I head to Phoenix next week to hang out with a dear friend for a long weekend.  It will be Charles’ first bus ride (airport shuttle from Burlington) and first airplane ride.  I am looking forward to having lunch in SeaTac in that large pavilion where you can watch the airplanes taxi on the runway.  Hopefully, it won’t add too much to my overall stress level and the three hour flight will go smoothly.  I need to stock up on snacks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What do Oscar Wilde and Poop have in common? Other than this post, I really don’t want to know.

It’s over.  Over.  Thank God.  Although I imagine there will be setbacks, I feel confident in saying that Charles is potty trained.  Sure, while he was sick and feverish, he spent the whole weekend in diapers, but since then he has worn underwear and not looked back.  He tells us when he has to go potty (“Charles potty too!”) and he will even poop in the potty if he needs to go.  I imagined that pooping would be a much tougher deal than peeing based on stories, but Charles just goes whatever he has to go.  Perhaps this is because we have always flushed his turds (cloth diapers, remember?), occasionally saying “Bye-bye poop!” as we flushed, or perhaps it’s because we eased into this potty training thing with no pressure and let him decide when he was ready.  Either way, I am relieved (no pun intended, but you can have that one anyway).


Also!  This frees up the cloth diapers to be adjusted down to fit a tiny baby in a few months!


So, I’ve been reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, mostly because I never have, though I did read Salome some time back and enjoyed Wilde’s style.  Every time I pick it up, I think to myself, “I can’t believe that this was assigned to high schoolers in France.”  Not because of content, oh no, but because they were assigned to read it in English as a part of their English classes. 


I happen to believe that one of the surest ways our public education systems (and I mean “our” in a global sense, as I am obviously referencing French students as much as my own experiences) turn kids off of reading is by assigning them boring books.  Oh, sure, Oscar Wilde was revolutionary, writing vaguely about homosexuality, used lots of great symbolism, and is a fantastic example of late 19th-century writing, but geez, I can’t even imagine getting into this as a 17-year-old.  I like reading it now, as a 29-year-old with free time and interest in such literary pursuits.  I might have enjoyed it in college if someone were to have assigned it in class, since I loved lively debate, and I’m sure there would have been plenty of discussions about morality with Dorian Gray as a backdrop, but in high school?  Here is an excerpt from Chapter Four, which is WELL before we get to any of the meat about the painting aging and Dorian Gray staying youthful, so you can see what I mean:


As he left the room, Lord Henry's heavy eyelids drooped, and he began to think. Certainly few people had ever interested him so much as Dorian Gray, and yet the lad's mad adoration of some one else caused him not the slightest pang of annoyance or jealousy. He was pleased by it. It made him a more interesting study. He had been always enthralled by the methods of natural science, but the ordinary subject-matter of that science had seemed to him trivial and of no import. And so he had begun by vivisecting himself, as he had ended by vivisecting others. Human life--that appeared to him the one thing worth investigating. Compared to it there was nothing else of any value. It was true that as one watched life in its curious crucible of pain and pleasure, one could not wear over one's face a mask of glass, nor keep the sulphurous fumes from troubling the brain and making the imagination turbid with monstrous fancies and misshapen dreams. There were poisons so subtle that to know their properties one had to sicken of them. There were maladies so strange that one had to pass through them if one sought to understand their nature. And, yet, what a great reward one received! How wonderful the whole world became to one! To note the curious hard logic of passion, and the emotional coloured life of the intellect--to observe where they met, and where they separated, at what point they were in unison, and at what point they were at discord--there was a delight in that! What matter what the cost was? One could never pay too high a price for any sensation.


That way ONE PARAGRAPH.  Sure, I understand every word.  And yes, I am fascinated.  But in NO WAY can I imagine that someone trying to learn English as a second language in a foreign high school would go in for this.


Do you know what I read in my first few years of learning French?  Antoine de St Exupery.  Not The Little Prince, but rather Night Flight and Wind, Sand, and Stars.  Not only were these written in a prose that was at least 50 years younger than Wilde’s, but they were interesting.  Action-packed.  Full of relatable occurrences (unlike Wilde’s 19th-century discourses on morality and immorality).


I can remember the last book we read in high school that everyone got into.  It was Lord of the Flies.  That book had everything!  It featured kids as the main characters.  There were factions and fighting, survival, catchy phrases (“Piggy’s got the conch!” became an oft-heard refrain in the freshman hall that year), and an engrossing plot.  By the time we were seniors, we were reading A Tale of Two Cities.  Now, I happen to love A Tale of Two Cities, I think it is one of the most romantic and exciting stories of all time, but I can tell you exactly how many people in my class read it: one.  Just one.  Me.  I am possibly one of those few exceptions in my small-town high school that would have thrived and been challenged by a real AP English course.


Most everyone I know read parts of Beowulf, parts of The Scarlet Letter, parts of The Crucible in our high school, but no one read whole books by then.  They just didn’t hold interest. 


I do think there’s a solution, but probably (and I’m just guessing here) there is a ridiculous amount of bureaucracy that keeps this from happening.  Anyhow, my idea is this: why not have contemporary books, or at least interesting classics, to read in school?  There are plenty of contemporary books that are amazing and would be interesting for high schoolers, I would imagine: Life of Pi, Water for Elephants, Atonement, Frankenstein, 1984, Call of the Wild… the list goes on.  Perhaps Dorian Gray would be good for an AP class, but for regular English, why?  Why do that to kids?


And why do that to French kids?  They probably never wanted to read another book in English ever, ever again after muddling through that.  Sigh.  Ask them to read Harry Potter and they’ll stay interested, for goodness’ sake.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I’m Gonna Miss This

Charles was sick all weekend.  Fortunately, the barfing only happened on Sunday afternoon, and it seemed to cure him of whatever illness was stewing in his little system. 


While he lay in a fever-induced stupor watching Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 all weekend long, I alternated between cuddling him and Getting Shit Done.  I caulked my backsplash.  I trimmed bushes in the yard that have been languishing, calling to me for attention as if in a fog.  “Amelia….” they say.  “We need you…”  I picked up dog crap (gosh, it’s getting tough to bend down!).  I hoed my vegetable garden, or rather part of it, since it was incredibly hard work in my 6-months-pregnant state, to get it ready to plant.  I planted a new houseplant I bought the other day.  I cleaned.  I cleaned a lot.


But the cuddling was the best part.  I could tell whenever Charles needed another round of ibuprofen because that’s when he’d call for me to come go “night-night” with him on the couch.  I’d get the bottle of medicine and the little cup, make him sit up and drink it with some water, and then settle in with his hot little body sweltering in my arms, pull the blanket over us, and love him as he drifted into sleep. 


As much as it pains me to see my child sick, I’m gonna miss this.  Oh, so much. 


The weekend also included some revelations on Charles’ room.  I’m going to take down the large, ill-suited to a child’s room painting from the wall.  I am going to paint the two walls in his bed nook royal blue and then add some wall decals (sounds classier than “stickers”) – maybe stars like in Toy Story (those movies, affectionately called “Woody and Buzz” by Charles, are a big part of our lives right now).  I’m going to paint a royal blue chalkboard on the other wall, from the ground level up to about 4ft.  And I’m going to put some mirrors on top.  Do you know that sticker mirrors also exist?  Star-shaped, heart-shaped, flower-shaped… what fun!  And curtains, probably also royal blue.  It sounds like a lot of blue, but it won’t be.  I’ll take some before and after photos as we move along.  The first step is moving the futon out.  I’m thinking we’ll need some shelves, and I’d like to find an alternative to the oddly-placed bedside table; a surface for Charles’ water bottle is important (sure, he might never get out of nighttime diapers, but he’ll be hydrated, and that’s important, too).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Monster Wakes

So, I have a question for all you ladies who have been pregnant before: have your children been in different spots during your pregnancy?  Allow me to explain.


Charles was head-down the entire pregnancy, and his bitty legs (which turned out to be chunky, covered-in-rolls legs) kicked up the whole time.  I felt hiccoughs at the bottom of my uterus and feet at the top.  This child, on the other hand, is concentrating all his/her energy at the bottom of my uterus.  I feel this kid kick in the front and back within my pelvis, but never up high.  I’m going to ask the doctor, but until Monday, I’m looking for corroborating evidence that this is normal.


I feel the kicks and punches when I am sitting, especially if I slouch or cross my legs or in any other way squish my midsection.  This child likes to have room down there… I wish I could tell him/her to move up for more room.  Just move up, kid!  There’s a whole, large, ever-expanding belly just waiting for you to test its wall strength.  After all, if you don’t, then what is it for?


Other than, of course, to trip me up and scare the crap out of me.  The protrusion in my front has become so cumbersome that I can’t do normal, everyday gestures anymore.  I can imagine that there’s nothing quite like seeing a pregnant lady get stuck between two objects, or try to fit into a space that clearly will not accommodate her belly… but the action that takes the cake for me, at least so far, is the inadvertent honk.  At least three times yesterday, when I tried to get out of my car, I would reach over to the passenger’s seat, grab my purse, and swing it across my front as I maneuvered myself out of the car.  But the combination of “not enough space between belly and steering wheel” and “greatly reduced getting-out-of-car speed” caused me to inadvertently honk the horn and startle myself.  A honk when you are prepared for it is loud.  A honk when you are least expecting it is, quite frankly, cause for a heart attack.  I’m sure the shocked expression on my face when people turned to look at the source of the honking was plenty funny.


The reaching things is tough, too… I imagine that looks comical to the bystander, as well.  Today, I will attempt to reach things alone, in my own home, as I tackle the grout in the tile on our backsplash.  For whatever reason, the contractor who redid our kitchen three years ago didn’t caulk it, so the grout is chipping away, what with the water that splashes behind the sink and the frequent wipe-downs with washcloths, etc.  I intend to chip the rest of it away and caulk it.  There’s nothing like pregnancy for making stupid annoyances like tile grout a veritable emergency.  The question is, should I uncomfortably reach over the counter or should I use a step-ladder, thus risking a fall due to extreme imbalance?  Decisions, decisions.


Speaking of decisions, I have a growing wishlist of things I’d like to do to my house.  Some of them are large (bathroom remodels) and some of them are not.  For instance, I would really like to paint some colors in the bedrooms.  The nursery has a nice, blue wall that I really love.  I think it is soothing, not too bright, and contrasts well with the curtains, toy baskets, and this rocking chair pad I want to order, but keep putting off into my “do later” file (along with everything on my Target registry – since I won’t be having a baby shower this time (who does that? Tacky), I am using it as a repository for all the things I am going to buy.  Eventually.  Sometime before the baby is imminent.  I would use Amazon – lots more selection and stuff – but I get overwhelmed by the variety and the sheer enormity of available child stuff.  Does anyone else experience paralysis in the face of Amazon?  I feel like, unless I know exactly what I am looking for, I get lost.  Too bad, too, because I understand there is a new “Amazon Mom” option that is pretty snazzy.  Sigh.).


But Charles’ new room has no paint on the walls.  It is currently a catch-all room for some stuff we have and aren’t really willing to get rid of or store until we move (could be years, could be never).  We plan to move the futon to Goodwinds’ office to serve as a couch because there just isn’t room in the house for it.  Then, we would like to get a brown leather recliner for the living room (after going through Charles’ infancy, I refuse to have another baby without a recliner – it would have allowed me so much more sleep in those first few months, not to mention the extra nights sleep I’ll be able to have when I am extremely pregnant and uncomfortable sleeping on my side in bed (that day will come, I have the benefit of experience in this)) and move the big chair that matches the living room couch to Charles’ room to serve as a reading chair.  It is beige.  We have a nice boat painting, really large, that is also beige and in Charles’ room at the moment as well. 


But beige for a kid’s room?  What kind of house is this?  I would move the painting, but all the walls in my bedroom are used up, either by the gigantic bedframe, the window, the closet, or the dresser/mirror.  There is a red painting downstairs (also boats, in front of Venice at sunset – or maybe sunrise) that matches the paint on the walls and that, no joke, Tony found at the dump one day when he took in a load.  So I don’t want to move that, either.  The wall downstairs on which the beige boat painting originally resided is now occupied by the TV, and the other walls have the desk hutch and the windows. 


So, we’re out of space, except for Charles’ room.  And it’s a BIG painting.


Charles’ bedspread is red, and I think I will get some navy blue (or maybe royal blue?) blackout curtains (I should file that in the “do immediately” part of my to-do list because the world is turning and before we know it, we will be back to early sunrises) for the windows.  He has a multi-colored rug, you know, one of those that has roads and houses all over it.  Like this.


So the question is this: should I paint one or more of his walls?  If so, what color?  And if I decide to paint a wall or two in my bedroom, what color should those be?  At this point, it is impractical to paint my entire bedroom because it is inadvisable to move the bed frame.  I mean, it could be done, but I don’t want to.  Then again, I also don’t want to end up with a weird theme in the house where every bedroom has three white walls and one other-colored wall. 


When we move, and I am not even kidding about this or merely dreaming about perfect-world situations, we will hire an interior designer to help color walls and coordinate furniture from the get-go.  It is just not my forte, and I think I’ll probably be done with having kids, so there will be no pregnancy motivation for me to use to get things decorated properly.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Vacation Far(ish) Away

Do you want to see what I look like at 24 weeks pregnant?  Do you?  I look pretty round:


Beach 007

Big hips, big boobs, big belly (you can’t see my upper arms, but they are big, too).


This photo was taken in Seaside, where I spent the weekend scrapbooking with Sarah and Loris.  And it was awesome (except for the lack of snacks and the sitting for 14 hours straight).  The weather was beautiful, and I forced myself out on a couple of walks to enjoy the Seaside ambiance (dogs, kids, waves crashing… heaven).  It was great to spend time with Sarah, who will be moving far, far away with her family this month.  I also finished lots of work in my scrapbooks, and feeling accomplishment, even in the most small-scheme tasks, can help a pregnant lady’s damaged psyche.


I’m hoping that this refreshed feeling will stick with me for awhile.  I’m trying to believe in Lady Gaga’s Madonna ripoff and understand that I was, indeed, Born This Way; that is, I was born to get really fat and round and unattractive during pregnancy.  And really, what can I do about it?  Nothing, that’s what.  I have to come to terms with it.  I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, but I am trying. 


Which is not to say that I feel much better than I did last week, just that I give myself a lot of mental slaps now.  And I hope and pray that this weight will come off when this baby is born.  At the very least, that my workout schedule can be made a priority in our house.


I am worried about that last one, because there are so many other priorities: kids, dinner on the table, laundry, Buster, Tony’s workout schedule, Tony’s triathlon training, Tony’s job, my job… the list goes on.  I will very likely relegate my exercise to the end of the line because, what choice do I have? 


Sigh.  See?  Now I am all sad about this again. 


While I was in Seaside, Charles hung out with my parents, and then I went back to their place on Sunday and we all spent another whole day together.  The weather continued to be fabulous.  Observe:


Beach 013


Beach 026


Beach 027


Weather like that makes me wish we could visit more often.


According to my parents, Charles was “good as gold” while I was gone, but he sure threw some mega tantrums for me when I got back (either he missed me or I am stricter than my parents and don’t continually bribe him with Sesame Street and popsicles).  He has also decided that potty training is not for him and demands to wear a diaper.  Back to square one, I guess.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Just Can’t Stop

Ugh, I just can’t seem to get my feet under me to right this feeling of suck.


Last night we visited a couple of friends who had just had a baby.  They are friends who are near and dear to my heart, and their new daughter (two weeks old!  Not even seven pounds!  So small and cuddly and cute and she never fussed, not even ONCE while we were there!  Side note: my friend swore she usually is fussy at that time of night, thus confirming that all babies put on a show when others are around just to infuriate us and make us curse later {why do you only fuss for meeeee?!}) is bound to be one of those children I have the most contact with outside of my own.  We made two dinners to take to them and we had great conversation and cooed over the tiny, adorable baby, and then: disaster.


My friend gave me all her maternity clothes.  Because at two weeks post-partum, she is back to her regular jeans size.  Has even lost a bit of weight, she assured me.  And my friend, who is about the same size as I am (not pregnant), tried to give me her maternity pants, but none of them would fit me because I am no longer in size smalls.  Size smalls pinch my love handles (oh, yes, pregnant ladies can have love handles, or at least the fat ones can) and back fat and my thighs have gotten huge and now I have chub rub between them and oh!  I am a walking testimony of “this is what happens when you let yourself go during pregnancy.”  Except that I have tried so hard, you guys.  I work out almost every day – two or three times a week at the gym and a long walk when it’s not raining or snowing.  I eat well, but I guess I eat a lot.  I am always hungry and if I let myself get too hungry, go too long between snacks, I get barfy.  Now, I’m starting to think that “barfy” would have been preferable to “fat.”  I can’t even stand to look at myself.  AND I HAVE 16 WEEKS TO GO!


And how come I don’t hear any other women, or read about any other women, who feel this way during pregnancy?  It’s always “blah, blah, blah, so beautiful, creating life, blah, blah, blah.”  Well, yeah, I’m creating life, but I am also packing on pounds to do it, pounds that are going to be tough to take off if I can even manage it at all, because pretty soon I will have TWO children to exhaust me and I will also be THIRTY YEARS OLD.  Yes, that magical age when everything is said to start feeling the effects of gravity and getting wrinkly, and metabolisms are said to slow even further.  How come no one else ever worries about this?  Is it only me?  Am I the only one who has a tough time losing baby weight?  Am I the only one who gains this much during pregnancy?  Where are the others who can help me feel less alone in my inadequacy? 


And the thirty years old thing.  I am dreading it.  DREADING.  I will be 36 weeks pregnant when I turn thirty.  I ask you, what kind of party can a person who is 36 weeks pregnant enjoy?  There will be no drinking, no staying up late - I will be exhausted.  Even if I did stay up late, I don’t get to sleep in.  AND when you are that far along, food doesn’t fit in your stomach, and good food gives you heartburn.  The gifts I want (clean my house top-to-bottom, landscape my front yard, remodel my bathrooms) are a bit intensive and they are things I will have to be intimately involved in for them to go my way, except for maybe the cleaning thing, and also, they’re not really gifts as much as they are on the big wishlist of stuff Tony and I would like to get done.  I don’t feel like I’ve had a really great birthday in a long time, maybe ever.  I think my last good one was at the end of the MBA program – a bunch of friends went out with us and we drank and danced and sang karaoke (badly) and it was a lot of fun.  I always plan my own parties (not fun), and I feel bad asking people to celebrate with me.  I want to go out!  I want to have fun!  I want to dance all night!  I don’t want stuff – my birthday is not about gifts, it’s about celebration (I never really thought I’d live this long.  I mean, I guess I didn’t think I wouldn’t live this long, I just didn’t think about anything beyond my twenties).  I don’t want another awkward barbeque where people chill out at my house and I make all the food and do all the dishes.  I want to party.


Sometimes I want to smack myself.  Aren’t there more important things in life?  Yes, of course, but I still feel this way.  And then I feel bad for feeling this way.  With all the awful things going on in the world, in our town even, I am focused on getting fat and having a good party when I turn thirty.  I am such an asshole.


We came home at 9 pm last night to find that our furnace had died.  It was a very cold night, and now I have to squeeze in a repairman.  I’ll leave work soon, as things seem to be buttoned up around here (thank God for small blessings) and go to my Junior Achievement teaching gig (bad timing), take Buster to the vet because my poor baby dog is limping something awful, pick Charles up from daycare, and hope against hope that when I give the furnace repairman the code to the garage door when he calls sometime in there that he doesn’t steal everything in my house.  Not that it’s worth much, but it all means something to me, and I don’t want to live without my toaster or whatever.  In reality, a person would probably take the TV, I guess, because it’s new.  But hey, I’m not a criminal – maybe there’s a market for toasters, too.  That said, I can live without a TV, but take my toaster, and I will be lost.


Oh, yeah, and then I have a meeting at 5:30 tonight, which I have to pay a babysitter to cover since Tony is working, and then I need to pack up for our weekend away.  How does one take a potty-training child on the road?  I guess I’ll just put him in diapers for the drive.  Speaking of potty training, all seemed to be going well yesterday, but this morning, Charles INSISTED on wearing a diaper.  I am making myself resist fighting over potty issues because I can only imagine that things will get tougher if I do, but Geez, kid, you’re killing me, here.


And, there you go.  1200 words of complaint.  I’m sorry about that, feel free to stop reading this blog.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Accumulation of Suck

I was working up a post in my head about happy, innocuous things, but who am I kidding?  It’s been a rough few days and things aren’t looking up.


It’s partly due to pregnancy hormones, I know, and the weather (cold and dreary and slippery), and also the fact that I am starting to have trouble completing normal household chores, you know, like the ones that involve bending over or repeated movements or shoving (like vacuuming).  I ironed for an hour and a half last night.  It hurt my hips, which then made it tough to sleep, and I’m a bit sore still today.  Damn you, stretchy ligaments!


Anyway.  We’re potty training Charles, and it’s stressful.  We’ve read books and watched videos, but I don’t think Charles is particularly interested in them.  The only way I could explain to him how to go was to say, “Try to fart, Charles.”  Because this kid loves farting.  He thinks it’s the funniest thing on the planet, the noise is awesome, the power he has over his butt is awesome… everything about it is awesome to him.  So yeah, that worked, actually.  But I haven’t found any way to explain to him how to know he has to go before he goes.  Mostly he just hates peeing his pants, so I’m taking away diapers.  Then he goes a little bit in his pants, stops himself because it’s wet, and then we go to the bathroom.  This means a LOT more laundry for me.  See the above paragraph about chores that are starting to hurt.


And you know what?  There are a ton more chores when you’re pregnant than otherwise.  When I’m not pregnant, do I care about the state of the baseboards in my house?  No, of course not.  But now, now, I am certain that they all need to be thoroughly cleaned and the desire to do so has become urgent.  Do you know where baseboards are?  Yes, that’s right, in order to get to them I have to bend over and/or get on my hands and knees.  Ouch!  Just one of many tasks I feel must be done before this baby arrives.


Being as exhausted as I am, Charles and I are watching a lot more internet video and movies lately.  I’m feeling like a pretty bad parent when I plop him in front of Thomas the Tank Engine for an hour because I have to sleep, but I guess I can’t think of any alternatives.  I parent alone most of the day and I am just not up to rough-and-tumble play all day long.  And my poor Buster dog.  He hasn’t had much exercise lately, resulting in the re-emergence of a limp in his front leg (sometimes it looks like the right leg, sometimes the left).  When he’s limbered up from a walk or run everyday, he doesn’t do too badly, but when he goes for stretches of days without one (you know, like when it is snowing or raining), his big-dog body gets stiff.  I wish I could be a better dog mom, but going out into the snow and rain is beyond my capabilities at the moment.


Sigh.  Sometime between now and Friday morning, I have to pack up myself, Charles, and Buster for a weekend of scrapbooking in Seaside.  I had hoped to finish the book I’ve been working on for a couple of years before starting on Charles’ baby book, but alas, I just can’t find enough time. 


So yeah, it’s a lot of things that are getting me down.  An accumulation of suck that has led to a few crappy days.  Any thoughts on a good, easy way to banish the blues?  One that doesn’t involve lots of time or money or other people doing things for me (because the other people in my life are very, very busy)?