Monday, June 30, 2008

In Which I Read my Son's Mind and it Makes me go a Little Crazy

Time: Lunch time
Setting: The Dining Room my my 80-year-old Victorian home


Oscar: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHH! (loud, painful whining sound)

Mommy: What's wrong honey, do you need more tofu? No, you have plenty of tofu on your tray.

O: (anger increasing) EEEEEEEH! EEEEEEH!

M: (beginning to feel flustered) Okay, how about more broccoli? Oh, I see you have lots of broccoli as well.

O: (nearing fever pitch) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!

M: (with relief) Oh, you need a cracker! You've eaten all your crackers!

Mommy hands Oscar a multi-grain saltine

Oscar begins eating saltine

O: (munches saltine) EEEEEH! (munches, gets louder) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!

M: (baffled) What is it, Oscar? Water, do you wants some water?

Mommy gives Oscar water. He drinks like a dehydrated camel.

M: Is that better, sweetie?

O: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEH!

M: Oh, okay, more water?

O: (purses lips, tucks chin, wrinkles nose, squeezes eyes shut) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!

M: (mounting confusion) Okay, no water. Do you want another cracker? You've still got half a cracker in your hand, but here you go.

O: (munches second cracker) EEEEEH! (more munching) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!

M: (frustrated) Okay, you want more water?

O: EEEEeeh!

M: No? Another cracker? But you have two?

O: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!

M: Okay, okay, another cracker!

O: (tosses aside cracker #1 for cracker #3 and begins munching) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH! (munch) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHH!

M: (ears bleeding) Alright, I give up, what could it be? Why on earth could you possibly be whining? Oh, wait, is it because the crackers get smaller when you eat them? OHMYGOD. It IS because the crackers get smaller when you eat them. But I can't DO anyting about that.

O: (waving around cracker shards) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHH!

M: (begins simultaneously laughing and crying like a crazy person)

And curtain.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Phobia Friday: The Robot Edition

Okay, I realize that this is quite strange, but I am absolutely terrified of robots. I'm not saying I run in fear every time I see a Roomba in some one's house, but a machine that knows how vacuum by itself is just not right. One minute its sucking up crumbs and other household debris and the next it's cleaning up shards of glass from the vase it used to to KILL YOU so it can take over your life.

I realize that this is not entirely rational. The hard drive in my XBox 360 is not going to hop out of it's housing anytime soon and embark on a murderous rampage. I get that. But did you know that there are video games than can adjust their difficulty level as you are playing? I'm saying, the games can self-adjust for your skill level. The games can learn. That's creepy, okay? Awesome, yes, but also creepy. Because games don't have a "self." They're made of plastic and wire and stuff.

I also don't think that electronic devices are going to take over out world, a la Maximum Overdrive (although I do think that was a scary movie) or that my Passat Wagon is going to become a jealous girlfriend.

However, I do think we have created some really potentially scary smart technology. And, in case you didn't know this, humans have a track record of using technology and science in pretty stupid and appalling ways. Smart Bombs? Are you kidding me?

Mostly, I just don't want to see robots or computers becoming sentient beings - capable of free thought and action. I just think that's trouble for stupid humans. And when I see those terribly creepy Honda ads with the child-size robot as part of a family, I think that's where we might be headed.

So, yeah, I'm afraid of robots. Except for Johnny-5. He rules.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Must be Hoping for a Girl

Whenever folks find out I'm expecting again, one of the first things out of their mouths is "Oh, you must be hoping for a girl."

Hmm. Well, actually, I'm not. I am NOT hoping for a girl. I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing would make me happier than a whole brood of boys.

Yes, I was certain that Oscar would be a girl. But, when I found out he was a boy, I knew that was just right. Oscar is sweet and loving and cuddly and affectionate and bright and funny and I could never ask for more.

This is is not to say that I'd be disappointed if I have a girl this time. Not at all. In fact, I'm sure I'd be thrilled and filling my virtual Gymboree cart with frilly pink nightmares moments after I'd received the news. Because boys have pirates and dinosaurs and puppies and bugs, but girls have PINK and FRILLS and I love pink and frills.

I mention this now because yesterday I had my 16-week check up (there's a baby in there, it has a heart beat, I've only gained one pound, all is well) and I was given the referral for my ultrasound. I'm hoping to schedule it for July 18, three weeks from tomorrow. Then, we'll know for sure (hopefully.) Right now, the sprout is just a hard not in my abdomen, but in three weeks, it will be someone I've seen, someone I know. I can't wait.

At the end of the day, boy or girl, I know whatever sex this baby turns out to be will be right, it will be perfect. Just like Oscar was perfect. That's just how it goes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Birthday Gifts for Children: A Few Suggestions

If you choose to buy a toy that makes noise, try to pick one with an on/off switch. Adjustable volume is also a plus.

Make it age appropriate, please - if the child is turning one, you should not get a toy for 3 years+. No matter how smart the birthday boy/girl is, this toy is too old and may contain small parts that the wee one could choke on.

If you're buying clothes, please include a gift receipt in case the item is too large/small. The sizes on children's clothing are tricky and all children are built differently.

Books make good gifts - I've never heard a parent complain that their kid has too many books. However, when making your selection, stay away from the classics. Chances are good s/he already has a copy (or three) of Good Night Moon, Green Eggs and Ham, and the Hungry Little Caterpillar.

If you don't know what to get, get a gift card or a savings bond. Parents love them.

Toddlers love bubbles. LOVE them. LOVE. Any gift that involves bubbles is sure to be a hit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Damn You, Babycenter.com, Damn You

Two days ago, I received and email from babycenter.com entitled "Your 12-month-old, Week 2." I've been receiving these emails since I was pregnant with Oscar (Your Pregnancy, Week 16), and while they've never really given me any information I didn't already know from reading The Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy, or What to Expect the First Year, I've kept up my subscription because occasionally they are RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

For example, when Oscar was three months old, I got an email "Your 3-month-old, Week 1" and it said something like, "You may have begun to notice a sink full of hair after you brush it each morning." While I'm not really a daily hair brusher, I had noticed just that week that my hair was falling out by the handful, which was a bit alarming. I'd heard of postpartum hair loss, but seriously folks, I thought I was going bald. That babycenter.com email made me feel much better.

Back to my most recent babycenter.com email. Said email informed me that as my child rounds his first year, he may begin to resist taking naps, even though the child still needs naps. As in the two and a half hour morning nap and the hour and a half afternoon nap that I depend on for my very life. And gosh darn it if they weren't exactly right.

Friday - Oscar resists his morning nap, but eventually goes down for a hour and a half. Throws and absolute temper tantrum in the afternoon and completely refuses his second nap. Sleeps through the night.

Saturday - Oscar refuses his morning nap. Naps for 45 minutes in the stroller on a walk with Daddy, 2o minutes in the car on the way to see Nelson's folks. THAT'S IT. Sleeps through the night.

Sunday - Goes down for AM nap at 9:40. Wakes at 10:20. Mommy get him back to sleep by 10:25. Sleeps until 2pm. You heard me.

Look, Oscar may think he's over napping, but I need his naps as much as he does. During this morning's nap, I did dishes, started the crock pot for dinner, threw in some laundry, read some blogs, and am writing this. And, after I'm done, I'll take a 30-45 minute nap before the boys even wake.

During this afternoon's nap, I'll clean up from lunch, throw in another load of laundry, and fold four loads of laundry, and eat my own lunch. I might also get a little recreational reading done.

When am I supposed to get this stuff done if he doesn't take naps? Seriously, people, when?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oscar Loves Chocolate


The birthday boy: An exhausted, blissfully chocolate covered mess.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Phobia Friday: The Salt Water Edition

I am terrified, TERRIFIED of the ocean. Something about it's vastness, the fact that it's water but you cannot drink it, it being filled with sea creatures (sharks, jelly fish, barracudas, sting rey's), yech! I'm really, really scared of it. This extends to all bodies of salt water, really, even my beloved Chesapeake Bay. I won't go in past my ankles.

This fear prevents me from ever, EVER going on a cruise. I can get on boats, but they have to be large (not a little dingy) and I have to be able to see the shore and make out the trees and people and such. I think I could reasonable swim that far if need be. Oh, lordy, I hope it never need be.

As a teenager, I had this recurring nightmare: I was riding in the back of pick up truck (I'm from the country, we did such things all the time) and we were going over the Nice Bridge, which spans a large body of salt water in my home town. Something goes awry and the truck careens over the bridge at the bridge's peak. The truck flips in the air and we crash into icy, salty water.

I begin to swim toward the surface. Only after a few moments, I realize that I am actually swimming down further into the depths of the water. I reorient myself and begin swimming to the surface, but it's so far, so very far, and I'm so tired. The last thing I recall before waking is my lungs burning as they fill with icy, salty water.

This dream also explains my intense fear of driving over bridges. I cross one on the way to my midwifery appointments each month and I grip the steering wheel for dear life and stare straight ahead the whole time. If the bridge weren't so long, I'd probably be holding my breath, too.

Anyways, fear of the Ocean. I blame my parents for this one. This fear closely ties into another fear of mine: sharks. I know precisely why I'm afraid of sharks. Is it their millions of teeth, powerful jaws, sleek bodies, and dead eyes? Yes, all those things scare me.

But the reason they scare me is because my parents let me watch Jaws when I was, oh, six or so. SIX. As in years old. So even though I know there are no sharks the size of a tractor trailer that can inhale an entire fishing vessel, I'm still terrified. Thanks, mom.

Hey, look at that! Three irrational fears in one post! How efficient!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blarugh!!!

Toddler temper tantrums over, you know, NOTHING; my laptop being held hostage by the Geek Squad; laundry of epic proportions, as in I'm on my last pair of clean undies, Oscar has no PJs, Nelson has no pants, but somehow there are THREE baskets of clean clothes upstairs to be put away (what the crap?!); thunder storms complete with power outages; a one-year-old that refuses to both go to sleep and stay asleep and a husband that is being the opposite of helpful in this situation; a full reeking, garbage can in my kitchen; unseasonably beautiful weather and my complete inability to get everyone/thing together at once so we can go out and play (some one's diaper is dirty, some one's tired, some one's cranky, errant sunscreen, missing flip flops, etc.); dog fur balls floating around my home the size of my cat; two dozen baby birthday thank you notes to write, taunting me; I haven't been to the grocery store in a week; and I can't remember the last time I showered. And it's only Thursday.

How's your week?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Proud Owner of a Toddler

I've been experiencing a bit of a writing block recently - what to write about that isn't horribly boring? I can start by apologizing for missing my first Phobia Friday, but I had to admit, I'd started typing it before my computer went dark and wasn't loving it. However, I promise to find a way to make it work by this Friday.

Another point of business - I know you're all DYING to see first birthday photos, including the glorious cake shots and I promise to oblige as soon as I find a USB cable so I can upload my photos. See, the computer I'm borrowing doesn't have a slot for my memory card (because it is O-L-D) so I have to upload the photos old school. Ugh, so much more work.

So, lets talk birthday gifts. The big winners were the Leap Frog music table from my Dad and Step mom and the deluxe Radio Flyer wagon, including seat belts, cup holders (for kids and adults) and a sun shade. We took it for a spin yesterday and Oscar LOVED it. He was also envied by every other kid we passed on the street.

Oscar also got not one but TWO completely different Elmo telephones. And they are LOUD, but very cute and much adore by Oscar. He also got a pool, several books, a tractor, a new BPA free sippy cup, a fire truck, a sandbox, clothes, a baby doll, an alligator xylophone, and many other fantastic toys. It's a bit overwhelming. I don't even want to talk about thank you notes.

Ugh, see what I mean about boring? I'm off to fill in some of Oscar's baby book, which is very, very empty. Hopefully I'll return tomorrow with something interesting to say.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One

My sweet, sweet boy. You're one whole year old. How did that happen? How did you go from a squirmy, little baby seal into this chatty, laughing toddler before me? When you were born, I could never have imagined what a sweet and funny and sensitive little boy you'd become. I could never have imagine how you've changed my life, how you've changed me. You've made me a mommy and now that's who I'll be for the rest of my life.

You've taught me patience, you've taught me selflessness, you've taught me love in a way I didn't know was possible. I had no idea my destiny was to be your mother, but there is nothing else I could be better suited for.

As I've watched you grow and change, you've amazed me every step of the way. You work so hard to figure out how things work and delight in each discovery. I see the excitement in your eyes each time you say a new word (dog! cat!) and understand it's meaning. I watch how thrilled you are as you cruise around the living room and crawl around the house. You are excelling at life, and all I can do is watch in awe.

I love you, Oscar, my bean. In the next year, you will start walking, you will become a big brother. You will need me less, but I will love you more and more. You have my heart.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, June 13, 2008

Computer Shumputer

Hi, folks. I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth but I am having major computer problems. I hope to be back online by Monday, when I'll post my baby's belated birthday letter. He turns one tomorrow!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

I've been struggling with this post. Where to start, how to end, what detail to give. Here's my best shot.


We're at the tail end of a three day heat wave in DC - temperatures have reached and exceeded 100 degrees for the past two days and will most likely do so again today. The humidity has been staggering. We're talking dangerous levels, here - as in an official Heat advisory: the District and surrounding areas have set up cooling stations, people are advised to say in air-conditioning as much as possible and to check in on elderly neighbors, livestock and domestic animals are to be given plenty of shade and water.


Which brings me to my point. My dogs live pretty cush lives. They (along with are cat) are considered members of our family. The are fed two meals a day, and table scraps. They are bathed regularly. They come with us on trips. They see the vet once a year for shots and as needed for injury and illness. They have a large backyard to play in, but live mainly indoors.


I know not everyone feels like pets are members of the family. We are by no mean the type of folks who think of our pets are children; pets are pets, but they are still family members and should be loved and cared for and treated with respect. In fact, we think all people that own pets should love and care for them and treat them with respect. Period.


That's why when I saw a dog locked in a car with a window cracked in the supermarket parking lot in 100 degree heat, I nearly broke down. When I went into the store, patrons were reporting the situation to the manager - I felt comfortable that it would be dealt with.


But, when I left the store 15 minutes later with my purchases, the DOG WAS STILL IN THE CAR and looked to be clinging to his life. I called the police, who took down a description of the car and assured me three times they were sending someone to "check it out." I called my husband, sobbing. A crowd had gathered around the car and my husband convinced me I should come home.


I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would take their dog to the grocery store period (unless it was an assistance dog), let alone in 100 degree heat, and leave it in the car. This is misdemeanor in my jurisdiction punishable by 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, but one's love for one's animal should be deterrent enough.


All I could think was that that poor dog was probably so excited to be spending time with it's owner, who I've not doubt it loves with all the ridiculous, unexplainable, undeserved affection only a dog can muster. And that dogs owner didn't love it enough to just leave it home during a heat advisory.


I came home and hugged my mutts, who were very glad to see me. They sit inside, miserable on days like today because they are only allowed out long enough for a pee, a poop, and a perimeter check. But I don't care. They are safe and healthy and that is my responsibility.


I don't know what happened to the dog or the owner, but I do hope the dog is okay and on his way to a healthier, happier life with a new family that is deserving of his love.

Friday, June 6, 2008

What's With Me?

Last night, I told Nelson that I'm feeling much less connected to this pregnancy than I did to my pregnancy with Oscar. It feels....less real, less important, less consuming. Sometimes, I even forget entirely that I'm pregnant. It's not until my belly crashes into a doorway or I'm suddenly horrendously nauseous that I remember, "Oh, that's right. I'm pregnant. No wonder I'm so hungry and exhausted."

I can't figure out what this disconnect is or why it exists, but it makes me feel tremendously guilty. I mean, when people ask about the pregnancy, I don't even really want to talk about it. And what pregnant woman doesn't want to talk about her pregnancy? It's what we do, until our friends and family don't even want to call us anymore because they are so tired of hearing about discharge and morning sickness and food aversions and stretch marks and awful smells and weird sensations.

Each day, I survey my growing midsection with surprise and a little bit of panic. I feel utterly unprepared, but I also don't feel like preparing. There is so much to do, I'd rather just sit here and blog and not think about it.

Nelson has been thrilling over telling people. Me, not so much. I wish I knew what it was, I wish I could feel more excited. Maybe it is that my 20+ hour labor with Oscar and those difficult first few weeks with breastfeeding and sleep deprivation are still too fresh in my mind. Maybe when I see this kid swimming around for the firs time sometime next month there will be a huge change and I'll cry tears of joy for this new little miracle.

I know I will love this baby ridiculously once it is here. I have no doubt about that. But the fact that I don't right now has me a little worried.

***Since folks are loving all my anxieties and fears, I've decided to make Phobia Friday a regular blog feature! Next Friday: The Top Ten***

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Storms

I'd like to start this post with a little confession. If you haven't realized it already, I'm a person of many phobias. In addition to being afraid of stalkers and serial killers, I'm also afraid of natural disasters, the ocean, robots, driving over bridges, scorpions, sharks, and venomous snakes. And that's just my top ten list, folks. Oh, it goes on.

A lot of my fears I can control. I can stay away from oceans, robots, scorpions, sharks, venomous snakes, so it's not so bad. I have to cross a LARGE bridge for all my pre-natal appointments and I think I'm going to pee myself every time.


Anyways, yesterday, just after I put the boys down for there afternoon nap, it got dark. Like, twilight dark. And, then, the wind started blowing. And the thunder and lightning stated. And then, torrential downpours. I checked the Weather Channel online. Severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning. GAH! That would be a natural disaster.


I called Nelson - his work (a government agency) had LOST POWER and he was coming home. Then I lost power. He called back a few moments later to tell me that our warning had been upgraded to a watch. Double GAH! This meant I had to get to the basement. My unchildproofed basement. With two babies. Are you kidding me?


Loud crash of thunder, house shakes, Oscar wakes. Danny was awake the whole time, laughing. I retrieve Oscar, who is sobbing and terrified. I then move to take the pack and play to the basement. And I can't get it to collapse fully, so I have to take it half collapsed to the basement. Very difficult. As soon as I get to the basement, it collapses fully, of course.


After putting the pack and play back together in my very dark basement (which was horribly difficult) I huff back upstairs to retrieve the babies. Luckily, whenever I leave the play room for like two seconds, both boys immediately go to the gates and being rattling them like prisoners. And that's how I found them.

Only when I got back upstairs, sweaty and pregnant and exhausted, the wind had stopped. The rain had slowed to a drizzle. My power flickered back on.
I sighed with relief. We seemed to be safe. I collapsed on the couch and was covered in babies in an instant, so thankful we'd SURVIVED (dramatic, I know.)


We finished the afternoon unnapped and cranky but in a house that was still standing. Our trees lost relatively few limbs and we were only without power for 30 minutes or so. The rain started back up that night, but no wind, no tornadoes.


I woke this morning to a baby that slept though the night and sunshine. And hopes for a much less exciting day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

He Speaks


Oscar's been saying Mom and Dada, albeit inconsistently, for weeks. And, as of last week, he had "uh-oh" nailed (commence throwing everything to the floor with force for the opportunity to say "uh-oh.")

But yesterday was the big one. The real first word. As we were coming down the stairs from his morning nap, he pointed at Nebo and said "dog" clear as a bell. Dog. He's said it five or six more times since then.

And so dog it is, Oscar's first official word.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Unknown

For the past two days, I have had a migraine and nausea that have been so intense, I'm almost unable to function. Let alone care for my child and another (thank you Nelson for coming home early yesterday, and thank you Susanne and Monica for allowing me to take a sick day today.)

I hate complain about my pregnancy because the truth is, I'm extremely happy and lucky to be pregnant and am actually really excited about it. Up until this point I've been mostly symptom free - not bad for the first trimester..

And yet, here I am, nauseous, with a pounding head and some not too comfortable cramping. I spoke with the midwives. They said if this now 36 hour headache is not gone by tomorrow morning to call and I'll have to go in for a blood pressure reading and blood work. I hope this is not the case. I hope this is just normal pregnancy related ills and not a complication.

With Oscar, I was worried all the time, particularly in the first trimester, that something bad would happen and I'd loose him or be put on bed rest or have some other complication. I can honestly say I haven't given any of those worries any thought this time. Until now, until I'm feeling like I've been raked through the coals, and now I think I should have been worrying more. I should have been drinking more water and eating better and sleeping more and not stressing so much.

I enter my second trimester today. I thought I was out of the woods. The woods I didn't find so scary this time around. Now I feel like I've been duped. I'm reminded how fragile a state pregnancy is and how much is at stake.

I'm downing glass after glass of water, resting, willing my cramps and headache away. Telling myself I have nothing to worry about. Telling myself over and over that this is NORMAL, this is pregnancy.

This is normal, this is pregnancy.

This is normal, this is pregnancy.

This is normal, this is pregnancy.