Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slowly Emerging

We've been in this bizarro world of newborn time for 12 days now...  It's amazing how things that used to take 10 minutes (like getting out the door) now take 30 minutes.  (We're those ridiculous people loaded down with 50 tons of stuff at the store.  It's hard to keep a newborn warm.)  Entire days (and nights) go by in a blur of diapers, nursing, ham and turkey and present opening and sugar.  I've lost all track of what day it is today, and what I'm supposed to be doing other than treading water.

It's wonderful.

Jack is SUCH a great baby.  He is nursing like a champ, and he's content and snuggly and just awesome.  He smiles, sometimes, and it melts my heart.  I know it's not a "true" smile, but it's true enough for me.  I call him "Mister Baby."  Switching to male pronouns after five and a half years of "she," "her," and "the girls" is kind of hard. 

His head smells so good.

I've managed to keep up with thank you notes - which is insane because all of our friends and relatives are still waiting on them from when Claire was born.  I'm keeping up with the laundry.  The kitchen is clean.  We have enough festive holiday leftovers to keep us fed for another week.  Ham keeps for ten days, did you know that? 

We survived Claire's stomach virus by quarantining Jack and me in the bedroom.  It was hard to not snuggle Claire through the worst of her sickness, but her daddy took very good care of her.  Jack and I didn't get sick, thank goodness.

My favorite sling is now too big, so I need to figure out what we're going to do about that.  I tried to buy a stroller today at Sears, but no one was at work at Sears today, and the few people who were there didn't want my money.  Next task on the computer is to write a strongly worded letter to Sears corporate about their completely shitty customer service.  I ended up deciding (after 30 minutes of waiting for someone to help me, and no help arriving) that I'd rather chew off my feet than buy a stroller at Sears. I was literally standing in the infant/toddler section yelling "DOES ANYONE WORK HERE?  I WOULD LIKE TO SPEND SOME MONEY!"  No one came.  I took a pair of jeans and waved them past the exterior door, hoping to set off a security alarm which would summon someone.  No alarm went off.  I called the store FOUR times from my phone and tried four different departments to locate someone with a pulse - no luck.  It was absurd.  I felt like I was on candid camera.  I almost stole the stroller...  I figured I could take it and no one would notice, then I could just mail them a check.  In the end, though, I figured Amazon.com was less likely to get me arrested.

Well, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about Sears, but I'm feeling a little too tired for anything but stream-of-consciousness, so that's just what this will be today.

I actually managed to send Christmas cards/birth announcements this year!  I KNOW!  That picture up there was my favorite of the ones I used on the card.  He flipped his tiny lid right after it was taken, so it's a good thing we got one good shot.

The bruising on Jack's face is almost gone.  He looks much less like a boxer and much more like a baby. 

I'm having some of those horrid thoughts that I've had before, but whether it's due to Dr. Dave's good influence, the Zoloft, or both I'm able to ignore them or laugh them off most of the time.  This time I know that it doesn't mean that I'm going to do anything to hurt anyone.  This time I know that it doesn't mean I'm a rotten mother.  It's just a broken wire in my head.  Maybe it's how my brain deals with being completely responsible for another human being.  Maybe everyone has these thoughts - BJ says it's like when you're up really high and you think, "Just a step to one side and I'm a goner," even though you have no intention of taking that step.  It's comforting that he's had horrid thoughts too, and that he's able to blow them off.  It makes me feel less nuts.  It's comforting to be able to look at MG and C and say, "See, they're fine!"  I didn't have that comfort when MG was a baby and I went through this.  I may not be at the optimum level of anxiety, on a ten point scale I'd rate myself at a 6, maybe 6.5, but it's far better than the 8 or 9 level I was at before he was born.  Dr. Dave says that 4 is optimal.  I'll get there when I've had some sleep.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


I already received the present I was wishing for! I hope that your Christmas is full of love, laughter, and family.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zone Defense

First, a couple more cute stories:

During a particularly grouchy diaper change, I stuck my pinkie in Jack's mouth to soothe him.  I told the girls that they couldn't stick their pinkies in his mouth (fearing that they'd do it with less-than-clean hands) because Mommy's pinkies are special.

"Mommy," Claire said, "do your pinkies make milk too?"

***

Grandpa:  Mary Grace, how long did it take you and Daddy to make that giant snowman?

Mary Grace:  I don't know, I can't tell time.

***

Well, I guess that, "...and then everything was fine," would be a boring story.  Claire came down with a stomach flu last night.  We brought the kids downstairs and BJ slept in the family room with Claire (good thing we have two couches in there now!) while I slept in our room with MG and Jack.  Loft beds are fun, except when someone's puking, and if we'd left MG upstairs alone she would've spazzed.  She was up most of the night, anyway, even before her sister got sick.  By some miracle I slept from about 5:30 until 9:45, so I'm feeling a little more rested.  Unfortunately, I was up almost constantly from 1:30 until 5:30. 

I frantically called the doctor once we got everyone settled at 5 am (luckily our doctor was on call), and he reassured me that I didn't need to take the baby to a hotel.  BJ wanted me to take Jack to my mom's today, but I don't want to drive that far alone with him, and I don't want to pack up all our gear, and if we go to Grammaland everyone's going to want to see him, which will expose him to more germs than if we just stay home, and if he does get sick, I don't want to be 90 minutes from our doctor... so instead we've quarantined ourselves in my room and his room while the girlies and BJ are in the family room.  The girls have been bickering a little more the last hour or so, so Claire must be feeling better.

I'll tell you what, it KILLED me to tell her I couldn't snuggle with her.  Poor baby.  I know Daddy's taking good care of her, but it was so hard to say, "I can't give you what you need, because I have to stay healthy for your brother."  I did go in for a quick cuddle right before I changed my clothes, then I washed my hands for like 20 minutes.

(aside)
Daytime TV sucks.

So I'm working on thank you notes and laundry and wrapping gifts today (of that list, so far I've managed two whole thank you notes!).  Maybe this is the universe's way of making sure that I rest.  The last couple of days have been pretty busy and tiring, between visitors and getting ready for Christmas.  But today I've pretty much been in bed with my baby, and if I weren't so worried about all my little ones, it would almost be nice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Things They Say, part 2, now with more Daddy

Claire is having trouble with the term "hand sanitizer."  Yesterday it was "appetizer."  Today it's "hamentizer."

***

I was wearing this top (in green - LOVE it) yesterday at Dairy Queen.  We stopped there on the way home from the doctor because BJ got his pertussis shot* and he was very brave.  By the way, the Reindeer Bites Blizzard (lizard?) is awesome.  I already want another.  Anyway, I mentioned that the top wasn't optimal for breastfeeding, because it's tight under the chest.  BJ said, "Maybe, but it is optimal for getting out of speeding tickets."  I guess I was having kind of a Pamela Anderson day, considering that my milk came in.  Hee!

(*I had my pertussis - DTAP - shot before we left the hospital.  I also got an MMR.  I said a very bad word, but it's totally worth it.  Thanks, J.Lo!)

***

Speaking of nursing, after I nurse Jack when I break his latch, he'll usually try to suck a couple more times.  It sounds like he's blowing kisses, so I choose to interpret it as, "Love ya, Mom, thanks for the snack!"

***

Mary Grace lost another tooth, and the very unprepared Tooth Fairies were fortunate enough to find a Sacajawea dollar in a jar of coins on Daddy's desk (PHEW!).  When she got up we were trying to explain who Sacajawea was.  I told her that she was a Native American, but I couldn't remember what she did.  BJ said, "She helped Lois and Clark..." then he and I busted up laughing.  I guess sleep deprivation is setting in!

***

 This one is more serious than funny, but I don't want to forget it...  Mary Grace and BJ went shopping yesterday.  On the way into the store she asked BJ for some coins for the Salvation Army.  Last time we gave them something, they gave her a candy cane.  She excitedly said, "Maybe I'll get another candy cane!" as they approached, but when she put the money in the bucket the bell ringer didn't offer her a candy cane.  Instead of throwing a fit, she just said, "Merry Christmas!" to him and went into the store with her daddy.  (At this point in the story, as BJ was telling me, I started crying.  My good girl!)

So they go through Walmart half a dozen times, and she didn't ask for a single thing until they got to the check out and she asked for an 88 cent box of candy canes.  Did my girl get candy canes?  You betcha.  And she came home and shared them with her sister.  What a love. 

I guess we're doing something right.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Things They Say

On Thursday afternoon, before we went to the hospital, Claire yelled, "COME OUT AND PLAY!" at my tummy.  Mary Grace came running in and said, "Yeah, come out!  You have presents!"

***

A couple of days before Jack was born, Claire came to me and very seriously said, "So Mommy, are we going to have to put this baby in a manger?"

***

So of course, at the hospital, Baby Jack's crib was "the manger."

***

This is probably going to embarrass everyone involved someday, but it's too funny not to share.

I guess I never mentioned to Mary Grace that there's a way to tell the difference between boys and girls that has nothing to do with hair style or color preference.  We were changing Jack's diaper yesterday and she said, "Baby has a stick coming out of his bottom!"

"Yes," I said, "That's his penis.  That's where his pee comes out.  That's how we know he's a boy."

She ran out into the dining room where Uncle Chuck, Aunt Mimi and Grandpa Bob were, and said, "Baby Jack has a peanut!!!"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jack's First Three Days in Words

Thursday I had a headache all day, and I felt like someone had taken all the air out of my tires.  Around 4 pm I got up (for pretty much the first time all day) to fold some laundry.  Half a load in I felt really bad, so I took my blood pressure.  It was 158/92.  I laid down and took it again ten minutes later, and it was still high, so I called BJ, my dad, and the midwife's office.  The midwife sent me to the hospital for monitoring.

It took us a while to get everyone together.  We finally arrived at the hospital around 6 pm.  I honestly thought I was being a big dork, and that they'd send me home and tell me to quit bugging them on Thursdays.  They got us to the L&D floor and into a labor room, which was a little surprising, since we'd had the tour and we knew that they had monitoring rooms up there.  I got gowned, they started the IV and did all the tests, and they put me on monitors and started taking my BP regularly.  It stayed high, even though I was laying down and calm and not doing anything it was still in the 150s over 90s.  I'll admit that I was a bit relieved that I wasn't just being a hypochondriac, at that point.  My midwife came in and we all decided to induce.

At that point BJ and I called my mom and sister and told them to head down.  My dad was still with the kids, and he didn't have to work that night, so that worked out nicely.  We called his parents and told them what was going on.  It was all very surreal.  We couldn't quite believe that we were having a baby that night!

They started the Pitocin at 10 pm.  If you have the choice between Pitocin and Cytotec, take the Pitocin.  The baby did not come shooting out of me like a midget out of a cannon the way Claire did (when I was induced with Cytotec).  Things were much more calm and controlled.  I was in labor for about 3-1/2 hours, total.  The first 2 hours were very easy and manageable.  We laughed and talked and joked and made guesses as to when the baby would be born and what his measurements would be.  Things started to get real around midnight or so.  I kind of went "inside myself," which is the best I can do to describe what it's like to give birth.  I kept my eyes shut and concentrated on BJ's voice.  I said "ok" a lot.  I told everyone that this was a bad idea and we should go home and try again tomorrow.  At one point the midwife was wiping off my cheeks, and I said, "I forgot to take off my mascara.  I'll bet I look like the guy from KISS," and I stuck out my tongue. 

I only pushed for about ten minutes.  I distinctly remember pushing, and feeling something emerge, experiencing a great deal of relief, and thinking it was over.  Well, I must have just delivered his head at that point, because BJ said, "I can see the head!" and I thought, "WHAT?  Where's the rest of him?  I thought I was DONE!"  It made me so mad that I pushed him the rest of the way out on the next contraction.

My sister said she almost missed the birth because it was so quiet, she didn't realize that it was happening right then.  It was very much a calmer birth than my birth with Claire.  The midwife stayed with us the entire time, which was really nice.  She didn't check me unless I asked to be checked.  I asked her if I should push, and she said to do what my body told me to do.  Labor makes me shake like crazy (probably from the adrenaline) so I didn't get to try standing up, but I was kind of seated upright in the bed, and they lowered the bottom half of the bed so they could catch the baby.  Being upright with my feet on the lower part of the bed below me, as opposed to being on my back with my knees held up, really helped. 

Jack weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 20.25 inches long at birth.  He's lost a bit of weight, of course.  His face is all bruised from coming out so fast, but it's getting better.  So far he has a little jaundice, but not much.  We expected quite a bit with all the bruising.  He's nursing like a champ.

I ended up having to stay in the hospital until today because my blood pressure wouldn't cooperate and come down, but we're home now.  The girls are over the moon.  I kind of hope the newness wears off a bit this week, because they're a little too enthusiastic - fighting over who gets to help me change dirty diapers and stuff.  We're working on "safety tips" for how to take care of the baby.  I got the idea from a book we have called "Officer Buckle and Gloria" - Officer Buckle gives safety tip speeches to schools, and Gloria is his police dog.  The tips are things like, "Tip #52 - Never stand on a swivel chair!"  So ours is "Safety Tip #1 - Never leave toys on the floor where someone could trip and drop baby."  We hope that by including the kids in making the rules, and by making it fun, we'll make them more likely to be followed.  We'll do some more Safety Tips tomorrow.

We had a little birthday party for Jack at home this afternoon, with cake and balloons.  His sisters helped him blow out his little "0" candle.  He slept through most of it.

My aunt Julie and her family stopped on their way home for a little while, too.  We don't see them often, so that was really nice.  They're coming back next week to celebrate Christmas with us, too.

Jack has slept all day, so he'll probably be up all night.  I should definitely go rest while I can.  I may be light on the text for the next few weeks, but I'll try to keep up with the pictures.  Thanks so much for your well wishes on the previous posts, and all the awesome comments on Facebook!  They mean so much to me.

Jack's First Three Days in Pictures


Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a boy!


John Paul, who we'll call Jack, was born at 1:32 this morning. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, 20.25 in long. 3-1/2 hours of labor. We're all doing great!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's baby time!

Blood pressure spiked this afternoon so we are at the hospital being induced! Stay tuned! I'm SO glad to not be writing that it's baby time from the side of the road!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dinner with Santa

Monday night we went to LBC for the Dinner with Santa.  It was truly a last minute decision because MG had been sick all day Sunday with a pukey flu.  I am SO glad we went!

When we arrived, they seated us with a Christmas ornament craft.  It was a Christmas tree with sticker ornaments.  Then we went up to tell Santa what we want for Christmas.  MG drew a picture for him, which I thought was so sweet.  After that, there was a nice buffet dinner.  The best part, though, was the dancing.  A woman played the keyboard and sang Christmas songs - Santa even danced with the kids for one song.  He must have been hot in that suit!  It was a great time.

I clouded up because my Papa and my uncles used to take me to the Kiwanis Lunch with Santa, and I was about MG's age the last time I went with Papa.  Being there with my own kids was a real "circle of life" moment, and it brought back that memory (one of the few authentic memories of him that I have - he died when I was 6) so clearly.  I told one of the waitresses, as I choked up, that attending Dinner with Santa was one of the best things we ever did.  She must have thought I was nuts!

Anyway, if you're local you'll know what LBC is (e-mail me if you don't), and if you have kids I HIGHLY recommend that you go next year.  It was only $5 for kids and $13 for adults - what a deal!  It's definitely going to be a Pretty Baby Family Tradition.

Later, this boy gave his big candy cane to Claire.  She's already a heartbreaker at age 3!



SO excited to dance with Santa!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frightful Weather!

My bonus mom, my siblings, and their significant others were supposed to come down from Grammaland today, but couldn't because of the weather. 

Claire is all worried because she thinks they can't come down because of a lizard.  Hahaha!

MG seems to be coming down sick, so it's probably for the best.

Nothing goes according to plan.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Christmas Song

(I am not in labor!  But I heard this song and I got to thinking about the snowstorm that might be coming this weekend, and how fast my labors are, and how far away the hospital is, and this is what happened in my head.  Now I'll have something to sing on the way to the hospital!  :) )

To the tune of Baby It's Cold Outside

(Baby's voice - Mommy's voice)

I want to be born - Baby it's cold outside
So get on the horn - Baby it's cold outside
Gestation has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - But please don't fall out on the ice!
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry?
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the ambulance roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just one hour more - Get the bags, let's get out the door!

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
I'm blue or I'm pink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Please God, send the snowplow now!
To slow things more - A blizzard is no good time to be born!
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Contractions are getting closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - Why is it such a long ****ing ride?
I really can't stay - Baby don't come out
Baby it's cold outside

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - Not lucky the weather's grim
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
My sisters will be suspicious - Road birth is against my wishes
My midwife will be there at the door - Wait till we get to the 5th floor
I know that labor is vicious - This birth could be more auspicious
Well maybe just a half an hour more - Never such a blizzard before.

I've got to come out - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out here
So Mommy don't shout - It's up to my knees out here
You've really been grand - Stay in, my child, I command
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
If you have me on the hospital ride - If you caught pneumonia and died *
I really can't stay - So baby don't come out
Baby it's cold outside

*That's in the original song - I'm not being morbid.  No one's going to die, even if there is a blizzard.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It could be a long month...

My Uncle Doug called me today, for no particular reason, just cause he was thinking about me.  He mentioned that he thought today might be The Big Day.

I didn't tell him that I had passed some mucus earlier in the day, because uncles don't want to hear about mucus (now that I think about it, you probably don't either... I promise that's the last time I'll mention it).  I also didn't mention that I'd been having some interesting tightenings - not necessarily real contractions because they weren't painful, but they were making it hard to breathe.  And I'd been super emotional all day.  And my back hurt like crazy last night, and I made BJ rub it forever...

Hmmm...

Around 2:30 pm I started paying a bit more attention to these tightenings.  I noticed that they were coming at even intervals - about every 12 minutes.  I chatted to BJ, "ummmm... I think maybe you should come home..."  He took a wait and see approach.  When I was able to predict when it would happen within 2 minutes based on the timing of the last two, I said, "do you think you should come home?"  "I'm already gathering my stuff," he said.

I called the midwife's office and described everything that had been happening.  "Can you get here by 3:30?" they said.  "Yes, I can make that happen..."

I called my friend Karen, but she didn't answer her phone, so I called our friends down the street and they agreed to take the kids for us.  I started gathering my hospital bag, my make up bag, my "oh shit, we're having this baby on the highway" bag (which contains a blanket, a shower curtain, two towels, and two receiving blankets), the cord blood collection kit (we're donating our cord blood for Huntington's Disease research), and my purse.  I even remembered the camera and the charger - there's a first time for everything!  I grabbed my cell phone charger just as our neighbor arrived to get the girls and BJ got home a few minutes after that.

We called BJ's mom and my mom and sister from the road and told them to be on high alert.  We made it to the midwife's office in excellent time, without a police escort and/or paramedics.

The midwife checked me.

No change since Tuesday.

Still at 3 cm and 80%.

I'm trying not to feel silly, because I did have several good reasons to think things might be happening, and because it's better to get checked and be sent home than to have the baby unassisted at home (actually, our friend down the street - the one who took the kids - is a postpartum nurse, so she's totally qualified to help me birth this baby if it comes down to it).  It was an excellent dress rehearsal.  I stayed remarkably calm in the face of what I thought might be imminent labor and a couple of things-that-didn't-go-according-to-plan.  BJ stayed calm too, but he's always calm.

It was a good trial run.  There's no reason to feel silly.

But it's going to be a long month.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

via Wikimedia Commons
Oh Universe, you just LOVE messing with me, don't you?

The extended forecast for our area is calling for 5.5 inches of snow on Saturday, and an additional 1.5 inches of snow on Sunday.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Guess who just made an extra appointment to get checked late Friday.

Does anyone have any polar camping gear?  Maybe I should just set up a tent in the parking lot of the hospital.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grounded

36 weeks tomorrow.  I went to see my midwife today.  She did the Group B Strep test and checked me (why not, as long as I'm already in the stirrups?) and I'm 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced.

There go all my plans to go to out of town parties between now and baby. 

If I had ever been in labor for more than 4 hours, I might take the chance, but since I have rocket powered babies, I'm going to be staying close to home.  If it weren't so cold, I'd just camp out in the field next to the hospital. 

I know that it's not predictive, especially in a 3rd pregnancy, of when I'll go into labor.  I could totally walk around and not dilate any more than this for the next month...  Or I could go into labor in 5 minutes.  Not knowing is hard. 

Anyone want to revise their guesstimate?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Outing

Yesterday I managed to draw upon some reserve of energy that I didn't know existed (which was mostly composed of guilt), and I took the kids to the Children's Museum after school. 


You should have seen me going down the holiday slide with Claire on my lap.  I thought we were going to go careening into the cafeteria. 


Mary Grace's favorite activity was "ice skating" in her socks on what looked like a big piece of whiteboard.  Claire's was making dresses for our Barbies.  Mine was sitting down.  Often.  Luckily it wasn't crowded at all, so I could position myself at the front of each room and let them roam around.  They know better than to leave an area without me, which makes things a lot easier, too.

We can totally paint the bunkbeds like this...
We managed to stay until 5:00.  I was the last person down the slide.  The kids went down first without me.  Fortunately I looked funny enough that they stuck around to see if I'd be able to get back up at the bottom.  I was able, but it wasn't graceful. 


The first real snow of the year is falling now.  The driving was terrible this morning.  I guess no one expected it to stick.  When BJ came home for lunch he got the Christmas tree out and assembled, and the girls and I are going to fluff up the branches so that we can decorate it when he gets home.  I have a pot roast in the crock pot, which is good, because I'm not likely to have the energy to cook later.

I guess as long as I take advantage of the good days, I can give myself permission to crash on the tired days, right?  I'm really ready to be all done with this pregnancy.  35 weeks today.  Post your guesses for gender, height, weight, and most importantly BIRTHDAY in the comments!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Rhetoric of the Anti-TSA Movement

I noticed something interesting earlier today...  All the people who are against the invasive screening procedures that the TSA have recently adopted are talking about three distinct groups - grandmothers, wives (especially those who are pregnant), and children.

A great deal of the discussion, though, is directed at men, in the form of, "Would you want YOUR pregnant wife or YOUR child or YOUR grannie to have to be subjected to this?"

It reminds me of the rhetoric used to inspire soldiers - protect the wives and children; women and children first, etc.

If I were writing a term paper, I'd go find specific examples, but I'd rather go downstairs and watch last night's Chuck, so I'm just going to leave you with that observation and this thought...

Aren't all of us, whether we are grannies or not, whether we "belong" to a man or not, whether we are pregnant or not, and whether we are minors or not, aren't all of us entitled to some basic measure of privacy and decency?  Shouldn't everyone, whether they are a member of one of these vulnerable populations or not, have the right to travel without (literally) being molested?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Nest Wrong

Some people go on vacation when they're expecting.  Others will get massages, manis, and pedis at the spa.  What do we do?  Home repair and improvement.  Nesting generally isn't supposed to involve this many power tools.  But our girls wanted bunkbeds, and because of the wonky ceiling and enormous window in their room, the pre-fab one wouldn't fit...  So, we improvised.

Here's the before:


There is no potential for head injury here!  Let's elevate this bedroom!


That's better!

Mommy spent a LOT of time sanding.  We can't have our princesses pricking their fingers and then sleeping for 100 years, after all. 


Oh wait, that was a spinning wheel.  Well, whatever.  Look at all that dust!


Then Daddy sanded for a while.

So, now that we have the major structures in place, BJ is at the hardware store trying to figure out a solution for the stairs and/or ladder.  I guess what he had planned isn't working.  Some kind of saw malfunction or something.  I think leaving them this way would really cut down on the number of times the kids get up during the night, but I'd probably end up changing the sheets more often.  Do you think we could teach them to use chamber pots?

Anyway, once we have the ladder/stairs done, we'll cut the facing that will go on the front out of plywood.  Each loft will look like a castle tower, we're going to paint them gray and then sponge on some stone, maybe some arrow slits or windows or something...


...then we're going to get two identical bookshelves to put on either side (where the dressers are now), and we're going to paint the backs of the bookshelves to look castle-y too.


BJ has plans for a drawbridge in between.

We need to clear out the rug (pictured above, all rolled up and stuck against the bed) and the stand for the fish tank (BJ thinks that we should sink it into the floor to make it a moat, but I don't want fish in my bedroom ceiling). 

We have a LOT of painting to do, but I can't really do it when I'm pregnant, so it'll have to wait.  Mary Grace wants her bed "hot pink" (behind the tower face) and Claire wants hers "hot purple." 

Once we're all finished, all the stuffed animals will become Royal Subjects, and they shall move upstairs.  All the dress up clothes will make their way up to the Royal Wardrobe, too.  It should really make the family room look cleaner once we're done.

So that's what we did on our Thanksgiving break.  And now I'm thankful that BJ's going back to work tomorrow, so that I can rest!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Damnit Disney!

I was impressed with The Princess and the Frog, with its message that you have to work to make your dreams come true, but we haven't let the kids see it because we thought the voodoo stuff was too scary for them.

Mary Grace had to miss going to see Lucy and Jane when she had strep/scarlet fever, so we promised her that we'd take the four of them to see Tangled this weekend, instead.

Apparently Disney has been listening to my complaints about the princesses all these years, because this movie fixed so many of my previous princess beefs...  There may be spoilers ahead, so if you don't want the movie spoiled, you may want to save this post to read later.

1)  Ariel beef - Ariel has to give up everything she knows - her home, her family, even her voice! - to be with her beloved Eric, even though she's never even spoken to him.

Tangled Fix - not only do Rapunzel and Flynn actually get to know each other before they fall in love (gasp!), but instead of closing her off from her world and making her give up everything she knows, Flynn actually helps open the world up for Rapunzel.

2)  Sleeping Beauty beef - Aurora sits around in a coma waiting for someone to come save her.

Tangled Fix - Rapunzel kicks ass and saves herself.  And then she saves the guy.

3)  Jasmine beef - Jasmine's worth is measured by her marriageability.

Tangled Fix - No one even talks about marriage until the very, very end of the movie. 

4)  Snow White beef - Snow White's worth is measured by her beauty.

Tangled Fix - While Rapunzel is beautiful, it's not the main focus of her character.  There's a lot more to her than looks.  In the beginning there's a whole song about all the things she can do.  A princess who does things?  Woah.

Mary Grace did get scared at the end (I don't want to spoil it too much, so I won't tell you which scene, but it was brief.  Not brief enough that she didn't demand to leave the theater, but it was brief), but she's particularly sensitive to scary stories and images.  I think that Tangled would be fine for your average 5 year old.  Claire did fine.

Of course, it's Disney, so there are still Mommy issues...  But Rapunzel's real parents are kind and loving and alive.  Actually, much of the movie can be interpreted as an indictment of helicopter parents, which gives the movie another layer to like and appreciate.

I've been lying to my kids since birth, telling them that princesses get to be princesses because they're good at math and science (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?), but for a change, I don't feel like I need to lie about a princess.  Rapunzel can stand on her own.  It's a great movie with a great message, and just one scary part.  I can't believe that Disney is abandoning the princess thing, just when they've finally gotten it right.

And now we're going to go build the girlies castle loft beds.  Stay tuned for pictures, it's going to be awesome!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving American readers!

This year, as always, I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  I'm thankful that my kids are healthy.  I'm thankful for my husband and for everything he does for our family.  I'm thankful that my pregnancy has (so far) been completely healthy and uneventful, in spite of all my worrying.  I'm thankful that the crisis at work worked out the way it did.  I'm thankful that our business has weathered the recession.  I really have so much to be thankful for, it's hard to list it all.

Photo by floodllama on Flickr - because it cracked me up
I'm especially thankful that each of you takes a moment out of your own busy life to stop by here once in a while to check in on mine.  I'm thankful for all the compassion and support you show through your comments here and on Facebook.  I really appreciate each of you.

With love,
Amy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Expectations

I went to the midwife on Monday, and everything's fine with the baby and me (heart rate: 144, measuring 34 centimeters at 34 weeks, my blood pressure was great, I gained another pound - total 17)... but I was so upset by something that I haven't been able to write about it until now.  Actually, I spent most of Monday night and Tuesday morning in tears.

The OB who delivered the girls isn't practicing in our town right now.  He left the group of physicians he was with, and had a covenant not to compete, so he can't practice here until April of next year.  I considered driving about an hour to Illinois, where he is practicing, to continue to see him - he still takes my insurance - but I decided that it would be too inconvenient, especially with my fast labors.

So when we saw the midwife for the first time, I said, "Here's the deal - with my first I had preeclampsia, was on bedrest for a week, and delivered naturally at 39 weeks in 3 hours and 45 minutes.  With my second I had preeclampsia again, I also had ICP, and I was induced at 36 weeks.  My labor was only an hour and 9 minutes.  In light of all that, and since ICP has a 60-90% chance of coming back, I want to be induced at 37 weeks.  If you can't do that, or deal with all these complications as a midwife, I'll find someone who can."  I wasn't hostile about it, I was just putting my preferences and expectations out there right up front.

She said, "Well, we don't know that the preeclampsia will come back - after all you've lost 50 pounds since then.  And there's a 10-40% chance that the ICP won't come back.  We normally induce for precipitous labor at 38 weeks."

"I can live with that," I said.

On Monday I said something about 38 weeks, and she said, "39 weeks."  Apparently (according to BJ's cousin's wife who is an L&D nurse) the rules changed about two months ago.  Of course I didn't know that at the time.  I was too stunned to even question her much.  I've gotten VERY comfortable with 38 weeks over the past 7 months, and I felt like she had pulled the rug right out from under me.  Part of my disappointment was that I felt like she'd lied to me.  That part went away when I found out that the guidelines had changed.  (In fact, some insurance companies are refusing to pay for some inductions which they deem "too early," which just makes me want to spit nails). 

Part of it was that 38 weeks is 12/22 - 39 is 12/29.  It's the difference between being enormously pregnant and uncomfortable on Christmas and having a new baby at home on Christmas.  It's the difference between having BJ home for 12 days after the baby's born, and having BJ home for 5 days after the baby's born.  It's the difference between having my mom here for a while after the baby's born, and Mom going back to Florida.  I'd gotten really, really invested in the idea of having the baby by Christmas.  More than I realized, actually. 

One of these days I'm going to learn that when I have expectations, I inevitably end up disappointed.  I sometimes wish that I couldn't think in the future tense at all.  I get these ideas in my head about how things are going to be, and then the reality is never what I had imagined, and even if the reality is better than what I imagined, I get all upset over the loss of the imagined reality.


But the main component of my 'tude about the change in plans is that I'm deeply, deeply afraid of having this baby at home.  Remember all that anxiety I've been battling?  It all came right back in spades.  I cried a lot on Monday night.  Mary Grace heard us talking and said, "Mommy, if I can come along (to the hospital) I can protect you and keep you from being afraid," and I felt horrible enough for worrying her that I was able to suck it up for a while.  I had nightmares on Monday night, and lost a lot of sleep.  Then Tuesday I cried some more.  I didn't sleep well last night, either.  The last two days have sucked.

From comics.dp.cx
Even though I wanted a homebirth with MG (BJ said, "No freaking way," though), the idea of a homebirth terrifies me now.  (I also was adamantly against being induced with MG, and now I want to be induced.  I'm like the Ziggy of childbirth).  For one thing, we have new carpet and a new mattress.  For another, what would we do with the kids?  Or the dog??  For a third, who is going to clean it up?  What if there's a blizzard and the EMTs can't get to our house?

The midwife's answer to all of this was to get a shower curtain (to protect the bed), and to visualize having the baby in a calm, controlled, normal length of time.  I'm trying, but I really don't think I can visualize my way out of this.  And a shower curtain isn't going to do diddly squat if the baby doesn't breathe (pneumothorax is a complication of precipitous labor - it means collapsed lung), or if I bleed to death, or if I have a cervical tear, or if something else tears, or if the baby is brain damaged, or any of the other bad things that can happen with precipitous labor that I'm not making up.

I feel marginally better today (mainly due to finding out that the midwife didn't lie when she said 38 weeks initially), but I might just be exhausted.  I'm trying to convince myself that Claire's labor was so fast because they induced me with Cytotec, and that I shouldn't expect this labor to be that fast again if I go into labor naturally.  I'm also trying to convince myself that the 4 hours between when they put in the Cytotec and when they broke my water "count" as labor, even though they didn't hurt and I've never thought of them as labor - I was mainly just hanging out in the hospital wondering if that twinge might have been a contraction.  I can totally get to the hospital in 5 hours and 9 minutes, or 3 hours and 45 minutes.  It's the less-than-an-hour scenario that scares me.  I'm hoping that my friend Tammy, who dreams about babies with surprising accuracy, is right when she predicts that I'll go into labor on my own on 12/15 and have a boy (12/15 is 37 weeks - the leading edge of "term").  I'm trying to remember that I have a chance of going into labor before Christmas on my own, and if not, I'm trying to get excited about a different reality for Christmas this year - mainly not having to miss all the parties leading up to Christmas.  After all, if she's not concerned enough to induce me, and if going to labor before 39 weeks on my own is so rare, then there's no reason for me to sit at home all month not having a baby.  We'll just take our shower curtain with us.

I know this is a stupid reason to be upset.  The baby is healthy.  I've been healthier than anyone expected me to be throughout the pregnancy.  I'm trying really, really hard to count my blessings.  And I'm trying to let go of all my expectations. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dogs and Pregnancy

"Ruh-roh!"
My original baby has been acting very strangely for the past few weeks.  She barks a lot more, or maybe I'm just home to notice it a lot more.  She seems to be velcro-ed to my legs.  She seems very nervous and protective.

I took her to the vet for her checkup and she actually bared her teeth at the vet!  Those who know Max know that this never, ever happens.  She will grump, particularly when the kids get too close and too bouncy, but she has never even threatened to bite anyone.  Now, at the time the vet was trying to check her teeth, and she and the tech had backed Max into a corner, and Max couldn't see me anymore, but still...  It was a very unusual behavior.  The vet said that it was like Max was a completely different dog than she was a year ago at her last exam.

Hmmmm...

Then our vet told me that I was kicking out a ton of pheromones ("Oh, excuse me!" I replied, and she laughed) because of the pregnancy, and that Max is probably reacting to the pheromones I'm exuding.

Since then I've been watching her more closely, and sure enough - this dog is being weird. 

I just wondered if any of you had stories about your pets behaving strangely during your pregnancy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Open Letter to the President



Dear Mr. President,

When Sasha, and Malia have to have nude pictures taken of their bodies, and when they are groped in their bathing suit areas by strangers, I will allow it to happen to my daughters.  Until then, I think you are the worst kind of hypocrite - expecting American parents to do to their children what you would never allow to be done to your own.

I voted for you.  The way things are going right now, I don't plan to do so again.  Heaven help me if I have to choose between you and Sarah Palin.  I think if that happens I'll move to Canada (I can drive there, eh?).

Sincerely,
Amy Prettybaby

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Second from the right, back row.
Mary Grace's Thanksgiving Feast was yesterday, and one of her teachers made a point to come up and tell me what a wonderful singer she is (they sang four songs, then we had cookies and whatnot). Made my day! Finally all those times I have had to listen to the same song over and over and over in the car are starting to pay off. I told the teacher that we've been watching Annie at home, and that it's a stitch to watch her sing and dance along with the characters. In a year or two we're going to have to get this kid into musical theater. I can't imagine where she gets it (says Mommy, who was Brigitta from The Sound of Music a thousand years ago!)


Claire clapping, not-Sean is in the green shirt.
Claire's Feast was today, and she held her own, too. This was her first school performance, and I swear she looked older when it was over. MAH BABY! OMG! Claire's been talking a lot about a little boy whose name isn't actually Sean, and BJ and I finally got to meet him today. "So you're Sean," I said to him. "I'm Claire's Mommy." I shook his hand. "So, what are your intentions?" That got a laugh from the other parents. His Mom and I are going to try to plan a playdate for after Thanksgiving.

They grow up so fast.

Mary Grace is invited to a birthday party at a beauty salon - the girls are instructed to wear princess dresses, and they'll be getting their hair, nails, and make up done. Oh my! Claire is crushed that she's not invited, but it's a teachable moment. They're not always going to be able to do the same things. I left the birthday girl's mom a message RSVP'ing (I'm so old-school) and to find out if it's a drop-off party. If it is, I'll probably take Claire to another nearby salon and get her nails done. I may have to take MG for a mani before the party, though, because her first mani is something I always thought we'd do together. Is it weird to consider it a milestone? I always kind of figured it would be something we'd do when she started puberty. I guess that'll be about 7 years too late.

Gozer is threatening to make his or her own way out via my belly button.  After we get the girls to bed, we genearlly sit on the couch and watch TV, and if the TV gets boring we can watch the show on my belly.  It's so weird to actually be able to see the movement.  Everything is still awesome, health-wise.

Grandpa Bob is buying a house in our neighborhood (6 doors away!) and we're so excited!  My great-grandma lived next door when I was a kid, and it was so cool.  Right now he's storing a few things in the baby's room, until he can move them into his house.  It's providing an excellent excuse to not make any progress toward the baby's imminent arrival (ONE MONTH, oh my!).  I did get the gender-neutral clothes out and washed and put away, and I got my hospital bag packed.  It's hard to believe that it's time to do that stuff already.  Where have the last 8 months gone?

I went shopping yesterday, but there's not a whole lot that we have to have right away.  We can always pick it up later.  I hate to get a bunch of clothes with Christmas right after Gozer's arrival.  I'm sure s/he'll get a cute suit or two.

We have our language study at the university this afternoon.  I'd rather take a nap, but I suppose I'd better get a move on.  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sign the Petition!

I know you're getting bored with the TSA posts - after all, this blog is about the pretty babies, but I really believe that this issue is important for all children - especially after seeing that video of the 3 year old getting patted down while she screamed.

HERE is a petition you can sign to make your voice heard if you agree.

(In non-TSA news, I actually bought a few things for the baby, and I got out the baby clothes from the girls, separated out all the gender-neutral stuff, and it's in the washer now. That sounds like progress to me! I needed to stop living in denial - we've only got 4 or 5 weeks to go!! Also, I'm having a TON of Braxton-Hicks contractions yesterday and today, a few that actually hurt which is a little troubling. I really don't want to go into labor at home. That would be bad. At least it isn't snowing yet.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things That Make My Blood Boil

There is no way that I would subject my children to this:



None.

I love how the suggestion for how to make it less traumatic for kids is to "make it a game." Pedophiles have never thought of that!  I'm sorry but there is NO situation in which it's appropriate to make touching a child's "bathing suit areas" a game. Because how are they supposed to know the difference between the TSA's "game" and the creepy child molester's "game"?? Ugh!

I wish I had more time to rant about this right now, but I'm at work.  What do you think?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TSA Revisited

Everyone needs to read this article about what happens when you try to refuse the new TSA procedures that I wrote about before.

This guy was randomly selected to go through the Advanced Imaging thing, he refused, then he refused the pat down, went back to the ticket counter and got his ticket refunded, and as he was trying to leave the airport he was told, "...that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine."

Wow. 

Thoughts?

Here's what I think:  "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."  Benjamin Franklin

No Big Thing

Well, that was manageable!

Scarlet fever sounds like a big freaking deal, especially when you've read a lot of books set in the 19th century, but it really wasn't.  We treated the itching with Benadryl (orally) and Calamine lotion (externally), the fever with Tylenol and Motrin, and the infection with antibiotics.  Two days later, and she's fine.  We didn't even have to take all her toys out back and burn them. 

I think we tend to forget how lucky we are to live in a time of abundant and accessible medicine.  We get so caught up in the health care crisis (and believe me, with as much as our health insurance costs - more than our mortgage - there's no doubt that it's a crisis!) that we forget how very very lucky we are that we don't have to sit and wait for our children to die of simple infections.  100 years ago, they didn't even have Tylenol.  The best you could do for your sick kid was to liquor (or coke!) 'em up and hope for the best.  There was no FDA to make sure that whatever snake oil you were giving your kids was even safe.  But I can easily imagine that trying something would've been preferable to doing nothing.

Parents then didn't love their children any less than we love our kids now.  They weren't less attached to them.  The only insulation they may have had against the heartbreak that would come from losing a child was that it was such a common experience back then.  Walk through any old cemetery and you'll see dozens and dozens of tiny headstones with a single date on them, or with a horribly short span between two dates. 

And here we are, a century later, and parents can and do elect to refuse vaccinations that our great-grandparents couldn't have imagined, and would have given anything to have for their kids.  We've never seen an iron lung, and if we see a kid with leg braces or in a wheelchair, it's unusual.  Few people walk around with scarred skin or rotten teeth.  And while children still die young, it's a rare and unexpected tragedy.  I've heard so many people say, "Parents shouldn't outlive their kids," when someone dies young, but the truth is that up until quite recently in human history, it was actually more common for parents to lose a kid or two (or several) than not.

Geez, for a post that started off with "everything's fine!" this has gotten awfully maudlin.  But this is what I'm thinking about today.  I'm thinking about how lucky we are that we can run out to the store and grab a bottle of Tylenol or an antibiotic for a couple bucks.  I'm thinking about how sad it is that not everyone in our modern world enjoys the same access to medicine that we do.  And I'm wondering what kinds of advancements the next 100 years will bring.  That will really be something...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Frankly Scarlet....

I wrote yesterday that Mary Grace was sick.  She slept through the night last night and woke up fairly perky, so I thought we'd seen the worst of it (the worst being 102.6 degree fevers twice yesterday).  Well, you can imagine how long that lasted...

Grandpa Bob came over this morning bright and early after he got off work, had pancakes, and looked at her throat.  He said it looked bad, but to give it another day since she was doing so much better than yesterday.  If you don't have a nurse in your family you really should get one, it's very convenient!  After he left and I got Claire and BJ out the door, I remembered that it's Friday and that I've had profoundly bad experiences with urgent care, and her fever was starting to spike again, so I decided to call and get a same-day-sick appointment.  This was at 9 am.  I spoke to Annette (LOVE her - if your doctor's office doesn't have an Annette, you should get one, but you can't have mine!) and when I told her what was going on, with the white spots on the tonsils, she said, "Yeah, we have a 10:00, you should bring her in."

"Well," I said, "As long as no one cares that I haven't had a shower..."

Turns out I had just enough time to get showered, so at about 9:15 I left MG on the couch watching Phineas and Ferb while I ran upstairs.  By the time I got back downstairs (fully dressed) at 9:30 (becoming a mother has made me hyper-efficient with personal hygiene), she was covered in a red, bumpy, itchy rash.  It came on so fast!  It was especially bad around her belly button, on her neck and shoulders, and her wrists.

At that point I was thinking, "I'm SO glad we already have a doctor's appointment!"  I threw clothes on her, put her in the car, and away we went. 

"You're welcome."
Her throat was so classically strep-looking that Dr. M didn't even do a culture (she cried a lot when I told her what they were going to do - she was afraid they'd drop the swab down her throat, poor baby).  In addition to strep throat, she also has Scarlet Fever (!!!) which was a big deal before antibiotics (see also: The Velveteen Rabbit, and Little Women) but apparently is no big thing now that we have abundant antibiotics to choose from.  (It still sounds scary, though.)

Thank Fleming!

It turns out that Scarlet Fever is a skin manifestation of the strep infection, which means that the infection in her throat is already in her systemically, which means that there's a greater risk of it going to her heart or her kidneys, so we're treating it aggressively.  He assured me that she should be much better by Sunday, and that she could even return to school Monday assuming that her fever stays down.

We waited at the doctor's office for her urinalysis to come back (negative for a UTI, hooray!).  I'll tell you what, I've had to do a clean-catch urine sample with MG twice now, and it's no fun for anybody.  "Mom, this is GROSS!" she said.  I had to agree.

Odds are that one of us, probably Claire, will have caught this by Sunday.

And then I'll become real.
It took forever to spend $80 at the pharmacy on various medicines and creams to try to keep her comfortable.  We were mainly waiting on her antibiotic.  I think they had to go out back and culture it themselves.  Then my order rang up incorrectly - the vitamins I got for the dog (whole 'nother story) didn't ring up buy one get one free - so I had to talk to the manager to get a refund.  All told, we were gone for 2-1/2 hours which is a ridiculously long time when you're little and you're sick, but she hung in like a trooper.  I guess the Oreo Blizzard didn't hurt.

It has been an exceptionally long day, and it's only 1:30.  I think I'm going to try to sneak in a nap.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fever

It's approaching 4 am.  I've been awake off and on all night - mostly on since about 2:30.  I hear a thud and then shuffling, unsteady footsteps on the floor upstairs.  Someone's up, and something sounds wrong.

Seconds later, before I can even heave myself to my left side and get out of the bed, I hear crying.  "Mommy," she says, "Mommy, I'm sick."  She crawls into bed with me, warm as toast.  Too warm.  101 warm. 

Tylenol, of course, and some water.  We make a cozy nest on the couch so that BJ can go back to sleep and we won't wake Claire.

"Shhhh... I'm here, I'll stay with you." 

It's quiet, and I can feel her relax into me.  Half an hour later, I feel the fever break, and hear her breathing change from a fast pant to the comfortable pace that indicates a normal body temperature.  I relax a bit and try to get comfortable enough, half sitting, to sleep. 

I close my eyes and think about how weird it is that I feel most like a "real mother" when my kids are sick - when I can offer them the unique comfort of my body - my cold hands on their warm foreheads, a gentle backrub, a cuddle.  I wonder if it's weird that a part of me enjoys these moments, even as my heart breaks over their discomfort.  I wonder if it's strange to be the tiniest bit grateful for the excuse to slow down, clear the calendar, and just be quietly together in our jammies watching cartoons and sipping tea for a day or two. 

She shifts and moans a little in her sleep, and even though I know she won't hear me, I whisper, "It's ok, Mommy's here."

***


Baby update:  At 32 weeks I've gained only 15 pounds (4 of those in the last week - time to lay off the cheese balls!).  Blood pressure was awesome.  Baby's heart rate was around 130.  I had blood drawn a couple of days ago to check my liver, and the hepatic panel looked great.  The bile salts test won't be back for a few more days.  Everything looks awesome, and the anxiety is a lot better than it was before.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Slowing Down

Yesterday was absurdly busy.  I worked in the morning while the kids were at school, as usual.  While I was there I actually managed to wrap up a big ongoing nightmare, so that was nice.  I picked up the girls, then we went back to the office for a bit, then out for lunch with BJ.  We went to the drug store.  We spent two hours at the university doing a language study, came home for 20 minutes, then BJ called and we decided to take the kids to Dave and Busters down in Indianapolis, because BJ likes the kids like video games.

By the time we got home, around 9:30 or 10 pm, I was pooped.

Poopedness notwithstanding, I was awake from 4 am until 6 or 6:30 this morning.  I got up to use the restroom and couldn't get back to sleep.  My stomach was crampy and I felt really sick.  I actually walked around the house a bit thinking I might be in labor (!!!) before things settled down.  (Note: the reason I walked around is because practice contractions will stop when you change position, while real contractions just laugh at you when you change positions in an effort to get them to stop.  I knew that if I walked around and they quit, it was false labor, also known as indigestion).  Women in the 3rd trimester should avoid nachos.  Why hasn't anyone thought to put that into the pregnancy handbook?

I haven't done a whole lot of anything productive today.  I suppose if I can count making breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner and cleaning them up, that's something.  And I helped the kids with cleaning the playroom.  I managed to get the rest of the non-baby stuff out of the baby's room (except for a couple of things that are too heavy - BJ will have to get those.  He was working on the siding).  I tried to chase down a stray dog that I hope was a boxer and not a pit bull (because the kids were playing outside, and if someone's going to get bitten I'd rather it be me - yes, I realize the flaw in that logic), but he got away.  He ran off into the woods.  That was about it for exercise.  Otherwise, I spent most of the day on the couch with my feet up.  I even took a short nap after lunch.

Even though I know that I'm supposed to be resting and conserving energy now, and I know that growing a person is hard work, I feel guilty.  It's hard to let myself slow down.  But I know that I needed the rest, especially after such a busy day yesterday and a long night.  It's extremely frustrating to be awake half the night knowing that it's going to impede my ability to be functional the next day.  It's frustrating to have to slow down when there's so much I want and need to get done (the baby's room, and OMFG CHRISTMAS!!!).  Have I mentioned that I'm cooking Thanksgiving?  Hahaha!  We may have Chinese.  Turkey Lo Mein, anyone?  Stir fried cranberries?  Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes?

I really do feel good compared with how I felt at this point in my previous pregnancies.  I've had very little back pain and ligament pain (knock on wood).  I have no swelling in my ankles and feet.  I have a lot of heartburn, but Mary Grace and Claire are made of at least 50% Tums, and they turned out fine.  It's really a wonder they didn't come out pink and chalky, and that they didn't dissolve during their first baths.  None of my offspring ever have to worry about bone density, that's for sure.  They got enough calcium prenatally to last until they're well over 100.

I'm trying not to be the whiny pregnant person.  And I'm trying not to be a total slug.  But it's 8:30 now, and no one's going to judge me if I go to bed, right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still Waiting on that Other Shoe

When I was 31 weeks pregnant with Mary Grace, my blood pressure was 168/90.  Thanks to Gmail, I can easily go back and look through the email I sent at the time.  I took my blood pressure this morning, at 31 weeks pregnant with Gozer it was 116/78.

Every time I get a headache, every time I get dizzy, every time I see a spot I take my blood pressure.  It's almost silly.  And it hasn't been over 130/90 at any point throughout this pregnancy.

So why can't I relax and trust that it'll continue to stay healthy?

It's similar with the ICP.  I went back through my email and found that I came down with that at 32 weeks pregnant with Claire.  Guess who is having blood drawn next week to check on her liver. 

If I get all the way to the end of this pregnancy and nothing goes wrong, I'm going to feel pretty silly for spending all of this time worrying. 

I'm also going to feel very relieved and grateful.

Monday, November 1, 2010

There are some things up with which I will not put

The Transportation Security Administration, in its infinite wisdom, has apparently mandated that new Whole Body Imagery "security" machine - the one that takes pictures of your body through your clothes.  And if you refuse to allow representatives of the federal government to take nude photos of your body, you get to be manually patted down by a TSA representative.  And they will feel your crotch and your posterior and your breasts, if you have them.  Because they want the "pat down" experience to be so uncomfortable that people opt to use the machine, instead.  It's faster.

There might be a circumstance under which I might decide that the indignities of the pre-flight screening are worth the trip, but there is no way that I am going to allow my children to be photographed (essentially) nude or patted down (more like "felt up") by strangers.  And they WILL be patted down.  It says so right here.  So, as a mother, I get to choose to allow nude photos to be taken of my children, or to subject them to a deliberately-designed-to-be-uncomfortable pat-down.  What the hell kind of a choice is that?

Dear Pedophiles - go get jobs with TSA!  You can assault children all day long and get paid!  It's like a dream come true!!!

It's clear that this is a Fourth Amendment violation, not to mention a violation of every child porn law in every state in the U.S.  But the people in charge don't give a shit about your privacy or your children's privacy.  Apparently they don't give a shit about the law or the Constitution, either. 

What we need is a cop (maybe one with a passion for protecting kids from sexual abuse...  One I've known for 20 years...  You know who you are!) to take her kids through security, put them through the machine, and then immediately arrest the TSA agents for possession of child porn.  That would get people talking!  I'll buy your tickets!

I do have a third choice.  I am voting with my wallet.  I am not flying commercially, nor are my children flying, until the Whole Body Imaging machine goes away.  The metal detectors have worked just fine for years, and I've taken off my shoes and emptied my pockets and walked through them like a good little sheep.  I've even thanked the TSA agents for doing their jobs, in spite of the hassle and the delay.  But now they've gone too far.

What do you think?  Are you going to continue to fly?  Are you going to fly with your children?  If you are, will you opt for the kiddie porn or the molestation? 

(Interestingly, B.J. disagrees with me, so I'm looking forward to his remarks in the comments...  Be sure to come back and check on how that develops.  It's always fun when he and I argue, we were both on the high school debate team...)

Halloween

We spent most of yesterday finishing the siding on the northwest side of the house, and when I say "we" I mean "BJ and his dad did all the work while I came out and made encouraging noises occasionally, watched the kids, and made sure they ate a nice hot lunch."

These are essential services.

We have two more sections to finish on the house, and then we'll be done. 

At around 3:00 they called it quits, and we carved our pumpkins.  I like doing them on Halloween so they don't rot or get smashed.  Then we put the girls' costumes on (Woody and Jessie from Toy Story) and trick or treated in our neighborhood.  When we got too cold to go on, we came home and watched "The Great Pumpkin" and let the kids eat way too much candy.  We confiscated the yucky ones - like the peanut butter cups and the Kit Kats and Almond Joys.  Heh heh!

It's hard to believe it's November and time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Where has 2010 gone?











Friday, October 29, 2010

30 Week Baby Update

The only specific number I remember from yesterday's trip to the midwife is 1 - that's the number of pounds I gained, bringing my total up to 11.  Woo hoo!

My blood pressure was great, baby's heart rate was great, I'm measuring right where I should be.  Everything looks super.

We're going to re-run the liver panel and the bile salts test in 2 weeks.  I came down with ICP with Claire at 32 weeks.  You can imagine how much the anxiety level is increasing as we get closer to that milestone.  I'm working on it.

This visit was fun.  Mary Grace has been worrying about the baby and me, so I e-mailed my midwife and said, "Can I bring her to meet you?" and my awesome midwife said, "Let's reschedule your appointment for 1 pm so that I have more time to visit with her."  Wow!  So, we showed MG the little models of babies at various stages, and Sharon explained how the baby is stuck inside and isn't going to just "fall out" (in spite of the jokes Mommy makes), and we listened to the baby's heartbeat...  She was so little when I was pregnant with Claire that she didn't really "get it."  Claire's 3-1/2 now and she doesn't even really "get it," and MG was only 19 months old when Claire was born.  It's neat to be able to include her this time, and to see her excitement.  She can hardly wait to be a "double big sister."

Eight more weeks.  Wow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Charlie

The girls had their big sister class today.  They now know everything about being a big sister, so we're good to go.  Ha ha!

This little boy came into the class talking like a 40 year old in a 4 year old's body, and he said something about chemo.  When his mom came in behind him, I said, "I hope I've misunderstood, but did your little boy just say he has chemo every day?"  "Yes," she replied, "He has leukemia."

Suddenly the sniffles and coughs we've been dealing with seemed very very small and manageable. 

Charlie's in the second of a three-year treatment, though, and his prognosis is very good. 

And he's very excited to be a big brother.

Is somebody cutting onions in here?  Sheesh...  *sniff*

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Explain this 3-Year-Old Behavior

11:15 am - Mommy, I want some soup.
(You can have some for lunch in a little bit.)
11:16 am - I want soup.
11:17 am - SOOOOOOOUUUPP!
11:18 am - Mommy, I want some soup right NOW.
11:20 am - (crying) Please can I have soup.
11:21 am - (screaming) AAAAAAAAAHHHH!  WANT SOUP!!!
etc.
11:59 am - (fainting with hunger and frustration, whispers) sssssoooooouuupppp....
12:00 pm - Here's your soup, Claire.

Amount of soup eaten?  One bite.  Seriously.

And she did the same thing with cookies (COOKIES!) this afternoon.

What.  The.  Hell?  Seriously!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Bad Thing?

Claire had a cough this morning and no appetite.  We took her temperature as a precaution, but it was normal, so we took her to preschool.  I mentioned to one of her teachers that she had a cough, but no fever.  She said it was going around, and I agreed.  After all, you can't keep them home for every little sniffle.

Two and a half hours later I'm standing in front of the school, finishing up a call with my mom, when another mom comes out of the school, "Your little girl has a fever," she says.  I hang up with my mom and open the school door to find Claire in the arms of the school's director, sobbing.  Claire was sobbing, that is.  The director was fine.  "We would've called you, but we just took her temp 10 minutes ago, and we knew you were on your way.  It's 102," she said, "She says her tummy hurts."

I felt like the worst mom!  They dismissed Mary Grace from her class and I hustled everyone home.  Claire spit up, and I'm still not sure if it was vomit or just snot.  She had this wet, rattling cough.  She cried a lot until I got some Tylenol into her.  Once the fever came down she perked up quite a bit.  She even ate some noodles and drank some tea.

So I called the doctor's office to get the dose for Children's Dimetapp (because EVERYTHING says "under 6 years - do not use!" now, which is SO ANNOYING).  The doctor's office recommended that I use Children's Robitussin instead.  I had adult Robitussin DM, but not Children's Robitussin without letters, so I sent BJ to the store (hooray for Daddy's office being 10 minutes from home!).  Turns out that both are 100 mg per teaspoon of Guaifensin.  *sigh*  The DM means it also has some other unspellable stuff in it - dextromethospanaquawarble...  maybe that's what's bad for little kids.

The nurse told me to only give her 1/4 - 1/2 tsp, and to beware - it would knock her out.

"You say that like it's a bad thing," I said. 

I'm going to start writing my speech for Mother of the Year now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kid Drama

Claire comes in crying.  "Cammie won't let me be a teenager!" she says.

I clean her up, take her back to our backyard and say to the big kids, "Guess what.  Claire gets to be a teenager now, ok?"

"Ok," say the kids.  And that was that.

"You really want to get in the middle of that?" asks B.J. when I come in.

"They always make her be the baby, because she's little, and she hates it," I reply.

Do you get involved in your kids' spats with the neighborhood kids?  It seems like we're having more friction on our street lately than we had at the beginning of the summer.  I think everyone was so relieved to be outside after the winter that they all played in peace and harmony in the beginning.  But now, after months and months of togetherness, tempers are starting to flare and patience is wearing thin.

I think we need a good snowstorm.

I know some of the drama stems from my kids misunderstanding - like the day that MG got mad that Maddie's mom was watching Cammie and not her.  "It's not fair!" she sobbed, even though I was home at the time and she didn't need to be watched...   She just wants to hang with the big dogs, even when it doesn't quite make sense.  So I told her, "Ok, Miss Chelsea's watching you.  Bettter?"  She beamed, and ran back out to play.

I know sometimes the big girls on the block don't want to play with the little kids, and I'm trying to get my little kids to stop expecting the big kids to play with them all the time.  "Play with the girls who are your own age, and let the big girls be big girls," I tell them, knowing that the big girls will want to play with the littler kids tomorrow.

It doesn't help that Mary Grace can be bossy.  "I gave Maddie two choices..." she'll tell me.  "Well, no wonder she didn't want to play with you anymore, honey.  You're not her mom, you don't get to give her choices!"  She's bossy with Claire, too.  "When you're the Mommy you can tell other people what to do," I tell her at least 5 times a day, "But right now you're a kid and you only need to worry about your own choices."

I did the exact same stuff when I was a kid, and suffered socially for it.  It may just be part of being an oldest sister.  She'll learn.  I did.  I haven't given any of my friends a time out in quite a while.  But the learning is hard.  And sometimes I don't know if I'm navigating them through it very well.  Those precocious behaviors that we've been telling her are "so cute" for the past five years aren't cute to her peers - they're obnoxious.  And learning that hurts.

So, yeah, I get involved, even though I know that the kid we picked on most when we were kids was the one whose mom got the most annoyed with us (sorry, Kevin and Debbie - they're both Facebook friends now, so I'm hoping they both have forgiven me at this point). 

Claire just came back in, "Nathan's mad at me too..." and something about him not letting her grab his swing.  "Why don't you just stay inside?" I ask her.  But 10 seconds later she's on her way back outside.