Saturday, May 31, 2008

All Hail the Goddess

Above is our fertility goddess, Kuato. My sister gave her to me for my birthday five or six years ago. It's gold and pink and about four inches long. When she gave it too us, we were far from planning our family so I just put it on a window sill and didn't think much about it.

When we moved to our house three years ago, Kuato came along with us. Nelson unpacked her and was highly amused by her alarming resemblance to Kuato (hence her name), a character from the movie Total Recall. This is Kuato as seen in the movie:

Needless to say, he though my Kuato was pretty ugly. He asked what we were going to do with it and I said I didn't' know. He thought it would be pretty funny to hang it in a central location in our home, so he hung her in the door way separating our living and dining areas. I thought it would be pretty funny to leave it up. I figured it would be a good conversation piece. Wouldn't you know, in three years not one person has EVER asked us about Kuato?

Flash forward one year. We deiced to try for a baby and BAM! are pregnant on our first go around. I have a healthy, happy pregnancy and deliver a healthy happy baby boy in the room just above where Kuato hangs.

Flash forward nine months. BAM! I'm pregnant again, just when I'd begun thinking about maybe having another baby later in the year.

A few weeks ago, my brother pointed out Kuato and mentioned how effective she was, maybe even too effective, and we should possibly take her down until we want to have another baby. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I decided it would be good karma to leave her up for the duration of my pregnancy. It's not like I completely credit Kuato with my and my husbands fertility and prenatal heath/birth(s), but we both cross under her a dozen times a day. So better safe than sorry, I say.

There is a particular blogger who's been trying to conceive with his wife for more than a year with no success. I like this blog and although my husband and I don't have this particularly issue with our own fertility, I feel very sympathetic to his plight. I'd been thinking I'd offer up Kuato's services this blogger and ship Kuto overseas to work her magic. I was initially worried about sending her out into the world while I was still pregnant, but decided the karma of sharing my fertility charm was so good, it would make up for not having Kuato in my home for the duration of my pregnancy. I think I lied about not being superstitious.

But he was way ahead of me! Before I had a chance to make my offer, said blogger has gotten himself a fertility goddess of his own, and it's much more, ahem, rustic than mine. So, I guess Kuato will stay where she is for now, at least until the Sprout arrives. Then we'll pack her away until we need her again.

All hail Kuato! And all hail fertility - good luck, Xbox! Hope your new charm is your golden ticket.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Five Alive!

Is anyone else tired of hearing me whine about my family and verbalize my anxieties? Well I sure am. Moo's Moo tagged me for this five things meme, so here goes:

Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player tags other people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Except I'm not going to tag anyone, sorry.

What was I doing 5 years ago?
Ah, 2003. I was working as a hotline counselor/hospital advocate and fundraiser for the DC Rape Crisis Center and desperate to leave. I believe I started looking for a new job right around this time. Nelson and I had been living in the cutest, cheapest basement apartment you've ever seen. It was within walking distance to the Metro and to campus. Nelson was STILL working on his PhD and I was supporting the two of us on my rinky dink NPO salary. There were credit cards involved. Lots and lots of credit cards. Credit cards that haunt us still (though resolution is in sight.) My parents had been split up for a year and my Mom was beginning to move on with her life and I was glad. I believe my Dad forgot my birthday this year and I didn't speak to him for two months.

Five Snacks I Enjoy:
Let me just say, I'm a snacker, so picking just five is painful for me.
1. Ice cream
2. Salt and vinegar potato chips
3. Chocolate milk
4. Veggies with dip
5. Fresh fruit

Five things I Would Do If I Were a Billionaire:
1. Pay off all our bills, including our mortgage
2. Set up a trust for Oscar
3. Pay off all my mom's debt and help her fix up her house she could sell it
4. Become a philanthropist
5. Take lots of vacations

Five Places I Have Lived:
1. Massachusetts
2. South Carolina
3. Southern Maryland
4. College Park, Maryland
5. DC suburbs

Five jobs I have had:
1. Wal-Mart customer service associate (GAH, I know! Worst. Job. Ever.)
2. Cashier in a union grocery store (a thousand times better than WM. I really liked this job.)
3. Rape crisis counselor/hospital advocate (hated, hated, hated it)
4. Non-profit fundraiser (both union and not - not surprisingly the union jobs were better)
5. Day mother (what they call day-care providers in Germany, and what Susanne, Monica and I decided was a good name for me)

You've Been Spared My Laundry - Enjoy My Anxiety Instead!

I was going to write a post about how everything Oscar owns is covered in mac and cheese sauce, and how I can't seem to get it out. But I've decided to spare you this mindless detail of my life. Instead, I'll be treating you to another dose of my anxiety, which has reached pretty epic proportions.

So, there is this movie that released in the U.S. today called The Strangers. It's a horror movie. Totally not my bag, as I tend toward anxiety. It's also a horror movie that's not about the supernatural (which I find less scary) but about serial killers. There is almost nothing I find scarier than a serial killer movie (Halloween, Scream, Manhunt, Friday the 13th, Silence of the Lambs, American Psycho) because serial killers are real. They actually exist. There are not a lot of them, but there out there and I could be walking by one on the street and never even know it.

Back to The Strangers. Usually, when a serial killer movie preview comes on the TV, I change the station. Really, I can't even take the previews. And I did this with The Strangers several times, but was still totally freaked out by this movie. At the same time, I am totally obsessed with this movie. I seem to love scaring the crap out of myself.

So, I decided to watch the whole trailer online yesterday evening and that was a bad idea. I was more scared than ever. Then, I decided to look for the spoiler online because I often find that once I know the resolution to a serial killer movie, I find them less scary. Look at the list in the above paragraph. All the serial killers are caught, or killed, hence ending their reign of terror (except for Halloween and Friday the 13th, but they are also kind of a supernatural horror films.)

I found the spoiler. It did not assuage my fears. AT ALL. Crap.

My next move was more investigation. It's supposed to be based on actual events. Which events, you ask? The Manson Murders. So, of course I looked those up, and read testimony and saw crime scene photos (I stumbled on them and it was awful) but was relieved that those crazies are all in jail probably forever. However, I still felt pretty freaked that it had ever happened, and that it was so easy for them to commit these murders - it makes me feel completely vulnerable and unprotected.

Then I got freaked out and thought all this thinking about serial killers is totally bad karma for the Sprout so I stopped, which was a very good thing. But last night, I could not sleep a wink. I confessed to Nelson how I scared the crap out of myself, and then continued to scare the crap out of myself until I was so scared I was afraid to go to sleep because 1) someone could kill us all and 2) I might possibly have serial killer nightmares.

Nelson tried his best to calm me. He told me I should not worry about things I cannot control and focus on things I can control - taking care of myself and Oscar. He did some relaxation breathing exercises with me. He told me a riddle. He told me about Oscar's bath time. He made me laugh. I still couldn't sleep.

A few hours later, Oscar woke up. I told Nelson to bring him to the bed. I cuddled up to the Bean and instantly felt calmer. Being so close to Oscar reminded me that it is my job to protect him. I'm the Mama Bear, I've got to keep him safe, so I can't be all terrified of every creak and shadow. I have to be brave for him. I fell asleep.

Now, I'm not saying I won't be anxiety ridden when I go to bed again tonight, but I do hope I can remember that Mama Bear moment and let it all go a little easier.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And We're Back!

Okay, enough of the Debbie Downer "My Daddy doesn't love me" crap, because you know what? Who cares! I've got a beautiful little boy, another little something on the way, a fantastic husband, a Mom who would move mountains for me, and plenty of other family members and friends that who love me an actually make an effort to be part of my and my son's life. I'd much rather devote my time, and my blog space, to those folks.

Like my friends Anne and Nancy, who are leaving for a cruise the afternoon of Oscar's birthday. The actually scheduled a later flight so they could attend his party.

And my friend Kate who give my little boy books for no reason and when she has a random day off in the middle of the week, she's emails to set up a date for us to hang out.

There's my Mom who's coming to Oscar's birthday party even though her boyfriend of over a year has triple bypass surgery scheduled for the same week.

My friend's from college Jen and Ellen who posted comments on my last post that completely validated my feelings by sharing their own difficulties with their parents.

Nelson's Dad, who couldn't have been any happier than he was this weekend, just pushing Oscar in a stroller around the farm, and telling him what he was seeing.

My sister, who always makes time for us, and who invited my family on a week-long vacation to the beach this summer.

Our friends Regis and Ana love Oscar so much, they share his photos and exploits with their own parents (who we've never even met) in Brazil.

And there are so many more of you who'd drop everything in a second if I need your help. Thank you for being a part of our lives - we are so lucky to have so many people that love us so much.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It's just a two post kind of day.

Even though I expected it, I am still disappointed. When I emailed my Dad and his wife about Oscar's birthday next month, they responded they would try and make it. I was doubtful. My brother was doubtful. My sister was doubtful. My husband told me not to be so pessimistic.

So, when I got the email today from my father saying that he could not make it, I was not surprised. But I am still disappointed. He couldn't even call me to tell me himself. In fact, I'd put money on the chance that he didn't even write the email himself. I mean, he addressed me as Jennifer. He's never called me Jennifer in his life.

He did not visit when Oscar was born, or in the subsequent months of Oscar's life, even though he kept saying he would. I eventually just stopped asking him to come. In fact, my father wouldn't have even met Oscar were it not for his own father's passing away when Oscar was four months old. It took a funeral for him to meet his only grandchild.

But still. I guess I was just secretly hoping he'd make the effort to make it up here, to make the effort to be part of Oscar's life.

His reasons? He cites high gas prices - his over sized SUV would eat about $425 in gas on the trip. Oh, and my mother's alimony (which, after 24 years of marriage, she deserves every bit of.) He even told me how he had to cancel his own vacation because of his work schedule - like I'm supposed to feel bad for him!

He could make it if he wanted to. He could rent a car with better gas mileage for much cheaper than $425. He could get a plane ticket here for half that; I know because my mom did.

I keep telling myself I'm going to stop putting forth the effort, that things are better this way because at least he'll never be able to disappoint Oscar like he has disappointed me. Oscar will never even know him. So maybe this is the last straw. Maybe this time I won't chant my mantra "He's the only dad you've got. You have to accept him for who he is and just get over it." Maybe I won't get over it this time. Maybe I'll decide that I don't have to accept him, that I can shut him out and turn him off and never give him another chance to disappoint me.

But I can't help but wish that we he cared enough, that we were important enough to warrant a just a little bit of his time and attention. The fact is he doesn't and we just aren't and I have to learn to deal with that. I'm just not sure how.

Tiny Tyrants

For the past several weeks, Danny has been ruling the roost around here. He has seven teeth and he has NOT been afraid to use them.

It started innocently enough. I'd notice Oscar's hair or shirt sleeve was wet and slobbery, and maybe there was a little red mark. Oscar didn't notice at all. Then, Danny's tooth explosion occurred in which he got five teeth in about as many days. The red marks turned to tooth impressions. The tooth impressions turned to bruises. And Oscar's not noticing turned into all out sob fests. Add in the hair pulling and face slapping and we had all out pandemonium around here.

Right around the same time, Danny became very interested in whatever toy Oscar was playing with. So interested, he would crawl up to Oscar as fast as he could and snatch it away. This happened so fast you'd miss it if you weren't looking. Again, at first Oscar didn't seem to mind. He'd just pick up another toy. And Danny would take that toy right away. This could go on and on. After about a week, Oscar started to mind Danny taking his toys, and he'd sob dramatically each time he did.

I figured this was all just normal baby stuff and it would all pass, and in the past few weeks it has. We've been living in a baby utopia around here.

Well, as of today, there's a new tyrant in town and his name is Oscar. He'll be taking that toy, Danny, and he'll smack you in the face when he does it. What, Danny, are you enjoying that book? Oscar will be having that, and he'll pinch you on the arm just to make sure you know who's boss. No, Danny, you can't play with the baby radio, and Oscar will smack your hand away every time you try to change the "station." And I see that you'd like to crawl through the door Danny, but Oscar is going in the opposite direction and is going to headbutt you back from whence you came.

So, I intervene when necessary, soothe away tears, try to prevent major injuries, hold back my laughter at their little baby brawls, and feel pretty confident that this too shall pass.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I started a discussion on my blog a few days ago about blogging and anonymity, and I guess I'm a little more anxious than I realized.

Last night, Nelson stayed up late playing video games. When he came into the bedroom, he woke me from a night terror, and I started screaming so loud, my throat still hurts today. I thought he was there to take my kids (I realized I only have one kid, but in the dream, the sprout was already born.) I could not move - I was paralyzed with fear. Even when I realized it was him, I couldn't stop screaming, I had so thoroughly scared the shit out of myself. I thought my heart would never stop racing.

Once Nelson had me calmed down, he went to calm Oscar, who I'd woken up. He ended up coming to bed with us because he was inconsolable.

Nelson has startled me from sleep before, but it's never been like this. He said I was screaming bloody murder. Now I'm especially exhausted from sleeping poorly the rest of the night, so I'm going to try and take a nap while the bean is down, and hope the night terrors stay away tonight.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tea and Scandal

Oh my god did I have a fabulicious Saturday morning with four of my best girlfriends. It was so amazing, so fun, and so exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. When I left after and hour and a half, my face hurt from smiling, my sides ached from laughing, and my throat was sore from all the yelling. It made me realize why I hated playgroup so much - I thought playgroup would be like hanging with my girlies, but with kids. I was sooooo wrong, and absolutely insane to even think for a second a group of strangers could ever live up to the fun, gorgeous, brilliant women I'm lucky enough to surround myself with. So this blog post is an ode to you, my girlfriends (and thank god for you). I present you with a short list of some of the many reasons I love you all so much:

I love that we call each other exclusively by our last names, like football team or something.

I love that we are a team, or something.

I love that because we call each other by our last names, my husband could not tell me each of your first names, even though I've know most of you for eight or more years.

I love that we are so loud, other patrons scowl at us.

I love that when I'm with you all, I feel like so much more than just a mom.

I love that during tea and scandal this past weekend, not only did I not call home to check on the boys, I didn't even think about doing so.

I love that we can start a conversation with disparaging remarks made by an ex-boyfriend, and end the same conversation as members of some crazy all-girl drug cartel operating out of Annapolis.

I love that not one of you (who where there this weekend) RSVP'ed for my son's first birthday party but all of you are attending. And I already knew that.

I love that you lift me up when I don't even know I'm down.

I love that you are more like family than some of my family.

Thanks for making my weekend, and I'll see you next Saturday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Paranoia Strikes Fear

So, I have this stat counter on my page that allows me to see who is visiting my page, where those people are coming from, how often the visit, how many times they load my page, what their IP address is, etc. It's frankly a lot more information than I could possibly know what to do with.

And, truth be told, I know who most of my readers are, either in real life, or via the blogosphere. But, there are a few I don't know and they come to my page a lot. And that's par for the course - I have a public blog, anyone can see it, and I'm fine with that.

Except maybe I'm not. There is someone in particular who's visited my site over 300 times and I have no idea who he/she is. I hope he/she just thinks it's interesting, but I'm a bit worried that it's some weirdo looking at pictures of my kid.

Anxiety and pregnancy go hand in hand and I know this, particularly for someone like me who tends towards anxiety in the first place. But, I have to admit, it's making me question my decision to use my family's real names and my son pictures on my blog.

I'd be interested in hearing some feedback, here. What do you think re: using real names, photos (particularly kid's photos) on blogs? Am I being paranoid or is there real reason for concern?

On a completely different note, I'm getting my two hours tomorrow morning and a couple of my girlfriends are joining me for tea and scandal. Nelson was gallant and apologetic, and even if it was only because I'm a hormonal pregnant woman, I'll take it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


For the past week or so, I've really been craving some time to myself. After some thought about what I wanted to do, how much time I needed, I decided that I would leave Oscar with Nelson on Saturday morning and go to a local coffee shop and treat myself to some tea and some time away. I want to bring my new book and just hunker down and read for like two hours. This is a big deal for me. I haven't done anything like this since Oscar was born.

So, I told Nelson last night, "Hey, I'm going to leave the baby with you for couple of hours on Saturday morning so I can have a little time to myself."

His response, without missing a beat, "Well, what do I get?"

I was baffled. I really had no idea what he could possibly mean.

"Time with your son?" was all I could come up with.

"Well, yeah, but when do I get to go do something on my own?" he was looking pretty sheepish at this point.

I didn't even know how to respond. I was completely dumbfounded.

I am with Oscar 99.99% of his waking hours. This is my choice, yes. He comes with me everywhere I go. But mostly, we are here, at the house or in our yard or immediate neighborhood. I don't get out much unless it's to the grocery store, the natural foods store, the post office, housefrau errand stuff. And I'm not complaining. But lets be clear, I almost NEVER do anything without Oscar. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I went somewhere without him, but I'm sure it was too the grocery store. No, it was when I got my hair cut four weeks ago.

All I'm asking for is two hours. Just two. I just want to be by myself to two hours of MY LIFE. But my husband is making me bargain for it. He gets home at 5:30pm on a good day, and the baby is in bed by 7 or 7:30. So that's max two hours of help I get from Nelson with Oscar M-F. The weekends are the only time I get a hand around here, and now he's making me bargain away some of that time so I can have two hours alone.

I just don't think that's fair.

He runs errands every weekend - at least one or two - and NEVER takes the baby. And he's gone for at least an hour each time. But he says this does not count as time alone, even though he enjoys it. He spends two or three hours in the yard PICKING UP STICKS and other yard work, which he admittedly LOVES doing, but Nelson says this does not count because it is for the house. All this time, who's taking care of Oscar? Me, of course.

I know I'm pregnant and hormonal, but seriously. Is it so wrong for me to expect my husband to let me have two baby-free hours a week? Not even every week, just this one week.

He went out one night last week and played disc golf for TWO and a HALF HOURS with a friend of ours who was visiting from Florida. I stayed home and fed Oscar dinner and put him to bed myself, after caring for him and another baby all day. I'm telling him my two hour coffee break is in "exchange" for this time, even though I think he deserved it and I never for a second thought of asking him not to go so I could get a hand with Oscar, or making some kind of "bargain" for his time. I'm not sure he'll agree, but it just has to be good enough.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Public Parenting

When Oscar was born, Nelson took three weeks off from work to be with us. Then he went back, and left us all alone. On that first day, by 11AM I was in tears and on the phone with my husband begging him to come home. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and felt completely unqualified and inadequate as a parent. He did come home, by the way.

Oscar was a marathon nurser and would not nap unless I was holding him, or he was in the swing. This made it nearly impossible to get out and about his first few months. And I was fine with that. It was sweltering hot. And, truth be told, I still felt really self-conscious and inadequate. I felt that way for a long time.

Eventually, I screwed up my courage and we began venturing out when he was five or six weeks old, mostly to visit with the other new moms I knew from our childbirth preparation class. We visited with Susanne and Danny in DC; a walk by the river with Diana and Aiden in Alexandria; a stroll with Katya and Kira at the arboretum.

I grew more confident. We joined a Mommy and Me yoga class that met once a week. We made trips to Babies r Us and Target and the local bookstore. I went everywhere with Oscar. And everywhere I went, people watched me.

There are many things no one ever tells you about becoming a parent. One thing no one told me about is the tremendous pressure of parenting in public. All those eyes, trained on you, studying your every move, how your baby is dressed, how you interact with him, how alert he is. This is especially difficult for a new parent who already feels she doesn't know what she's doing. It's enough to keep you house bound for days, weeks even.

These days, I still notice the watchers, but I feel more confident. Most days, I'd even say I know what I'm doing.

And then, there are days like today. Oscar and I had run some errands - bank, bookstore, pharmacy. He was a model baby. He was cute, babbling playing with his toys, interacting with me and with other patrons. I am such an awesome mom and have raised such a smart, well adjusted kid. Look at me. LOOK AT ME!

Then, I took him out of the stroller to load him into the car and BAM! the stroller tips over backwards because of the weight of my diaper bag on the handles, spilling my packages into the parking lot. Frazzled, I turn to load Oscar in the car and WACK! I hit his head on the window of the car and the THUMP! I bump his head again on the door frame. Not hard, he didn't even cry. He was fine, totally fine.

But tell that to the nosey grandma shaking her head at me a few cars over. And POOF! I felt like an inadequate idiot of a parent all over again.

Becase it's Been Far Too Long

A photo of my golden boy, being silly:

Nope, not watching TV, just playing with the remote.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

STAND in the Place Where you Live!

In yesterday's dramatic news Oscar STOOD UNASSISTED for the first time. Yay, baby! I don't think he realized he was doing it, but I'm still proud of the little bugger.

He was holding on to his book basket, and reaching into the CD rack (which is off limits, or the best toy ever) and had pulled out a Macy Gray CD with is right hand. He then reached out and pulled out a Morphine CD with his left hand. Then, he straightened up and began looking from CD to CD, shaking them.

At this point I gasped dramatically. I was instantly shocked, proud, and terrified that he was going to topple over and bash his head on the corner of the brick fire place. When Oscar heard me gasp, he looked surprised and sat down on his butt. All of this happened in about seven seconds.

The end.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Oscar is Brilliant

Oscar has figured out how to turn on his Little Touch Leap Pad - and electronic book of sorts my mom got him for Christmas.

Unfortunately, he has not learned how to turn it off. So, unless I turn it off myself, oh 100 times a day, I'm treated to this constant refrain:

"Touch the green "go" circle on your Little Touch Leap Pad. *90 second pause* Touch the green "go" circle on your Little Touch Leap Pad." And on and on until I shut it off for the millionth time, after which Oscar immediately turns it back on.

I have no love for the Little Touch Leap Pad.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Two Questions and a Random Story


1. Why on earth would my husband choose to reorganize our cabinets after three years while I am pregnant? He's switched the positions of the salad plates and the cereal bowls three times in as many weeks. I keep putting them back where they've been for three years. I'm going to tell him to stop moving them tonight. I'm also going to ask him why he's doing this. He'll get really defensive and say something like "Do you think I would intentionally do something to incur your pregnant wrath?" I think he's doing it to drive me crazy. Really. Why else would he do it? Please, I'd like to hear your ideas on this.

2. Why does my son break out into shrieks that can only be described as banshee-like whenever I try to sit down and eat? I think it is because he wants what I'm eating (pizza is like a million times tastier than tofu), or because if I'm eating, I can't also be cutting food for him and he gets worried his supply will run low. My ears hurt and I'm hungry. Thoughts on how to combat this problem?

Random Story:

When Oscar sits in his high chair and eats, he crosses his legs at the ankle and I think it's the cutest think I've ever seen. A grown up behavior on a baby. It's precious.

When I was little (six or seven) my maternal Grandmother told me that men who cross their legs at the knee are gay. I thought this was absolutely true for probably eight or ten years. Now, even though I know that this is absolutely NOT TRUE, every time I see a man with his legs crossed at the knee I wonder if he might be gay, and then think how ridiculous that is. True story.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Midwives and a Bean-tacular Birthday

We had our first appointment with the midwives today and it was pretty uneventful. They were all happy to see us back, if not surprised that it was so soon. It was too early to hear the heartbeat with a Doppler, and there are no ultrasound machines at the midwives' offices, so we'll have to wait until next time.

On a positive note, she didn't feel compelled to look under the hood because I'd just had a pelvic exam in December. I go back in six weeks and I'll have my blood drawn for the quad screen, and two weeks after that we'll be able to go for our ultrasound to find out the baby's sex (and make sure it's healthy, has all it's limbs, etc.)

And, on to my other favorite topic, my first born. He's eleven whole months old to day. Eleven. Months. Old. When did that happen? Has it really been nearly a year since I pushed his slimy perfection into this world? I'm so in awe of his very living and breathing, that my husband and I MADE him. He is one part me, one part Nelson. He's becoming his own person, a little boy before my eyes.

Happy birthday, love. I'll save the rest for your birthday letter next month.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Mother's Day: A Recap

I'm pleased report that in addition to a beautiful locket from my husband and son, I changed no diapers, washed no dishes, did no laundry, and cooked no food on my first Mother's Day. It was bliss.

At the end of the day, Nelson looked exhausted.

"Tired?" I asked him.

"I feel like I've been changing poopy diapers all day," he responded.

I stifled a laugh.

Total number of poopy diapers changed by Nelson on Mother's Day: three.

Friday, May 9, 2008

And the Weird Pregnancy Dreams Have Begun!

In this dream, at 20 weeks I'm pregnant with a full grown baby, and a little normal fetus, and also with a golden retriever puppy. Nelson was most excited about the golden retriever puppy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On the 10th Week of Pregnancy my Body Gave to Me

A fat, bloated, pregnant belly.

Ugh, please ignore my very messy house and the very 90s sibling photo in the background. As if you can focus on anything other than my massive belly. I know this is not a full body shot; I don't have a full length or even half length mirror, so all you get is boobs and belly. Consider yourselves spared the extra couple of chins and ass I'm now hauling around.

I'm TEN WEEKS. Have you ever seen such a sight? Just for comparison, me pregnant with Oscar at 21 weeks:

I realize the scale is different, and the shirts are totally different, but I seriously think I'm bigger now than I was then. Or at least close. And what was I thinking, growing my hair out when I was pregnant? You all had better not let me do that again. It looked freaking awful.

Sigh, I'm off to polish off another bag of Doritos. This pregnancy is NOT going to be pretty.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It Ain't All Roses, Baby

I'm pregnant, okay, and I'm tired. This should come as a surprise to no one. No one except Oscar, that is. So when I woke this morning to his sleepy baby "Ooh!" and his grubby little fingers poking at my boated pregnant belly, I would have been really annoyed if I weren't so tired that I could almost not even open my eyes.

When I finally made it out of bed after enduring a half an hour of pinching and maniacal laughter, I was treated to the sound of Oscar wailing as I did the unthinkable - I put him down in his crib so I could go to the bathroom and get dress and maybe even brush my teeth. I know, I'm a terrible and selfish parent.

Then, after I put him in his high chair and gave him some Cheerios so I could prepare his breakfast, he delighted me by tossing his Cheerios to the floor one by one, while whining in a most lovely fashion. You can imagine how fun breakfast was this morning.

After another hour of whining and intermittent playing, he's down for a nap, thank god, and I'm hoping I can catch a few winks before Danny arrives.

Speaking of my bloated, pregnant belly, woah, can I get a break here? My underwear no longer fit and I'm only 10 weeks pregnant - I should still have a waist. The Sprout is only two inches long - how on earth is is taking up so much room? And don't even try to tell me it might be the entire bag of Cool Ranch Doriotos I ate yesterday.

Monday, May 5, 2008


When you first have your baby, it's a tiny little poop-pee-sleep-cry machine, and you love it more than you ever dreamed possible.

Then, after a few weeks, your new little person looks at you and smiles and you swear it is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life.

Several more weeks pass. The smiles come more often, are more intentional, and you think it can't get better. Then, your baby laughs and it is the sweetest sound you could have imagined.

As the months march by, your baby will continue to amaze you his feats of brilliance and strength - he wave his rattle at you, he will roll over, he will sit without support, he will start playing with all sorts of toys.

And one day, when he's on the floor or in someone else's arms, he'll reach out to you and your heart will absolutely melt. He knows you, he needs you, he loves you.

I love Oscar so much I almost cannot put it into words. My love for him is monumental. It's staggering. It's breath-taking. It's epic. I can't even write about it without being overcome.

Early this morning, Nelson brought Oscar to bed for his morning nurse. He nursed and dozed a little, but was still half awake. He was making beautiful baby sounds as he tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable. First, he nuzzled in close, I was on my right side, he was on his left. Then, he rolled to his right side so his head rested on my breast and his body leaned up against me. He tossed back and forth from these positions for a while.

He turned quickly, so we were facing one another again, but he was much closer this time. His head was nestled against my heart and beneath my chin; his left leg was tucked beneath me and his right leg was thrown over me. I had him cradled with my right arm beneath his body and my left arm over top of him. We were so close you couldn't have slipped a hair in between us. And that is how we slept.

When Nelson came say good bye this morning, not it exactly the same position but still curled up together, he just kept saying, "He loves you so much. Look at how much he loves you." And it was this moment I realized Oscar really does love me. Not that I'd doubted it before, but I really, really FELT it for the very first time as something completely separate from his NEED for me. His love for me is one of the most fundamental parts of his being. He does not know life without this love. It makes him feel safe and comforted and he doesn't even realize it.

That is epic.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Family Planning

Updated to include more information on baby bunching, and link to the original baby bunching post!

So, apparently, Nelson and I are on the cutting edge of a new trend called "baby bunching." Baby bunching, as defined by Linda Kerr who's co-authoring a book on the topic, is the spacing of children less than two years apart, and it seems that it is all the rage.

There are several reasons for baby bunching: women are having children later, and hence having them in rapid succession to increase fertility; two under two is also a good reason for one parent to take a few years off to raise the kids due to the high costs of child care; you only have to baby proof once; after a year or two your kids have a built-in playmate.

I have middle of the night panic attacks when I think about the fact that my first two kids will only be 17-18 months apart (depending on when Sprout arrives.) That's a lot of diapers, a lot of breastfeeding, a lot of baby weight, and a lot of sleepless nights right on top of each other. I mean, I'm still breastfeeding Oscar. I think I would have liked to have my body back for a little while, but it'll be someone else home/feed bag for the next year and a half at least. That's pretty overwhelming.

When we were planning for Oscar, we were going to start trying in the Spring of 2006. Then, I just didn't feel ready and we pushed it to the Summer of 2006. Then, I didn't feel like Nelson was ready, so we further pushed it to the Fall of 2006, September to be exact. Oscar arrived ten months later.

Since about February, I've been thinking a lot about our next baby, and we were thinking we'd start trying again around December and have kids a little more than two years apart.

Then, something happened. Or, rather, didn't happen.

The prophylactic pause.

Now, the Sprout is on it's way. We were surprised and not surprised. I knew immediately I was pregnant again and told Nelson the next morning, the morning after the missed pause. I began taking my pre-natals and went off coffee. I peed on a thousand sticks until the tell tale pink line made itself known as I knew it would.

And here we are with a pregnancy that was not exactly planned, but not exactly unplanned either. We certainly weren't doing anything to prevent it. We want this baby, have wanted this baby, and are excited that it's coming. But my pregnancy this time is so different - pregnancy was all consuming when I was carrying Oscar, but now Oscar is so all consuming in his very presence that I have little time to sit and ponder my pregnancy, scrutinize my symptoms, count my daily calcium intake, obsess over every cramp and twinge.

However, I still sleep with my hands tucked into my waste band, pressed on my lower abdomen as I did with Oscar. I'm still anxiously awaiting that first flutter that lets me know s/he's swimming around in there. But these days I think more about when I'm going to ween Oscar, or will I tandem breastfeed? When are we moving Oscar in to his new room? Who's going to take care of him while I'm in labor? How will he react to this new baby? Will he ever forgive me for cutting our Mommy and Oscar days short?

I thought it would be much easier the second time around. I know what to expect - I've done this all before. And still I'm filled with worries and fears of inadequacy. I wonder if this gets easier with number three?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

And then there were two

Full disclosure: I don't have two kids. Yet. I will say the last time I won a prize from Cool Mom Pics, I was mom to an eight-month-old and wondering what I was going to do with a pair of Psi Band that I was absolutely delighted to win. I found out a few weeks later, I was a pregnant mom to a nine-month-old, and quite nauseous so the Psi Band came in pretty hand. So if I find out I'm having twins in two weeks, I know who to blame.

Anyway, in addition to taking care of my 10-month-old, I also take care of another baby, roughly the same age four days a week. While not nearly the same as birthing and/or raising two, I do a have a little experience taking care of two at once.

It's going to be hard. The first couple of weeks Danny was here were tough. The boys were getting to know each other, I was getting to know them, Danny was getting to know me. Two is twice as much work, no doubt about it.

Then it got better. They started napping at the same time (most days), playing well together (most days), and I'm actually able to keep my household above water (most days.) And on the days it doesn't all come together, I've learned to just let it go.

So, my advice: Don't be afraid to just let something go; be it the laundry or the dishes (house work in general), dinner (order take out), calling your mother or best friend, updating your blog, letting your spouse give the kid a bottle so you can sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours even if you really want to exclusively breastfeed. Just give yourself a break - you don't have to be superwoman, you just have to be the best mom you can be.

Good luck, and I can't wait to read all your good advice, because I'll be needing it myself come December!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Worst night ever leads to best morning ever

I could not get comfortable. Oscar could not get comfortable. He was crying and wanted to nurse constantly. Nelson snored into oblivion. Until I woke him and demanded in no uncertain terms, that he take a turn with Oscar and get him back to sleep. This was at 5AM after I'd been up for basically four hours. And he did it, although he was none to pleased about it (I mean, he was sleeping FINE.)

And then, Oscar and I slept until 9AM. I haven't seen 9AM since before he was born and it was glorious.

Tonight, dramatic action. I WILL NOT nurse Oscar after his bedtime nurse. When he wakes, DADDY* will give him a sippy cup of water and get him back down IN HIS CRIB. I will sleep soundly for a change. I'm through with being a human pacifier.

*For the record, I'm not just being spiteful - my pediatrician suggested when I decided to night wean Oscar, Nelson should take over nighttime soothing duties because the baby associates me too much with milk and would not understand why he couldn't nurse.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Trouble *YAWN*

I confessed in an earlier post that I'd been letting Oscar sleep with me in the bed while Nelson was out of town. Well, now he doesn't want to leave. If he wakes, I nurse him and put him back down. And he's up crying an hour later. Ugh.

There are a lot of different things going on here, or that need to be going on here, all to do with sleep training. One is that I need to ween Oscar off of his nighttime feedings. It's just too much on me now that I'm pregnant, and he really doesn't need to nurse at night anymore. I'm not quite sure how to make this happen. I've had some suggestions of putting a sippy cup of water in his crib with him so he can have a drink if he wakes. I guess I'm going to try that.

Another thing is that Oscar is still in the room adjoining ours, and he needs to get out of there. I'm a pretty tough mom, and I can handle hearing him cry it out for 10 or more minutes if I have to, particularly because I know that this method works well for Oscar based on our past experiences. But it is much harder to listen to when he's basically in the same room. We need to move him out. Also, I'm getting up to pee so often, sometimes this wakes him, and moving him out would solve this problem too. Getting him out is actually quite a production that will involve several steps and several weekends, and relies a lot on Nelson being on the ball. I love my husband, but I know him well and I do not have a lot of faith this can happen in a timely manner. We've been talking about moving him for two months and I'm pretty sure it's going to take me melting down to get Nelson progressing on this project. I'm not there yet, so still we wait and still Oscar sleeps in the adjoining room.

We are also dealing with an early night waking issue, I discussed in the previous post. The first two nights it was poop. Last night, he just woke up and started screaming his brains out like he'd pooped, but there was no poop. See, what'd I tell you? He's LEARNED how to cry to get me to come to him. He did this TWICE last night, once an hour before he went down, once two hours before. We're going to have to implement CIO again to get him to stop. Again, I know this works, but it is still painful for all of us.

All of this is compounded by the fact that I'm pregnant and exhausted anyways. Someone, please send the sleep fairy to my house.

Above, my blueberry monster, after a good night's sleep.