Friday, December 31, 2010

Treadmill Deck Height

Since this appears to be, like, a big federal secret, I'm going to post the deck heights *I* got when I went out and measured treadmills myself. Obviously they're nowhere near exact, but for gods' sake, it is totally ridiculous that you can't find this information anywhere. The guy at the treadmill place told me the info is available for commercial models, but never for residential. This makes zero sense to me, since I've never seen a low-ceilinged gym, but I know plenty of people with older houses that don't have ten-foot ceilings in their basements.

anyway.

According to the treadmill store, the Landice deck height is 4 7/8in. This is the shortest treadmill out there. It costs an arm and a freaking leg. Unfortunately, nothing else out there is nearly as short.

All the Nordic Track models I measured were TALL- 7-8in off the ground. There was one I did not bother measuring because it was even taller than the 8in model I measured. These are for people with McMansions, I think.

I measured a few ProForms and they were all in the 7.5in range. I currently have a ProForm which I LOVE, but it is also currently dismantled so I can't tell you the exact deck height on that one. The guy at the treadmill place said he thinks ProForms are crap. Of course he said that, they don't cost three grand. I will tell you that I USED that treadmill- as in, for running. Not for walking, and certainly not as a place to hang my clothes. It had zero problems, and if height isn't a concern, I'd recommend them. Your mileage may vary, no pun intended.

I measured one Sole treadmill (didn't get a model number) and got the deck height at just around 6.5-7in.

I didn't go to the Sports Authority to keep measuring, because I was tired and the writing was on the wall. The Landice appears to be the only usable treadmill for tall people with shallow basements.

Y'all are welcome. And to the treadmill makers: you'd probably sell a lot more treadmills if you would TELL people how tall your stupid treadmills are. Or maybe not, maybe you're banking on people going thru three treadmills before they find one that actually fits. I'd like to think not, though.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GROUNDED FOR LIFE.

So, we're gonna play a little multiple choice game. Let's say you answer the emergency line at an obstetrician's office. Someone calls you and tells you they're 30 weeks pregnant and bleeding. do you:

A) ask them a few questions, tell them something vague but reassuring, and make them an appt to be seen

or

B) ask them a few questions, become extremely flustered, and say, "..oh. Ok. this should not be happening. Hold on, I'm getting the nurse."

If you answered B, my doctor's office may be looking for YOU!

As part of Segundo's seemingly endless attempt to make this pregnancy as stressful as possible, I not only had some bleeding today, but realized right around the time I was getting the aforementioned response that I had not felt him* moving since about 3am, at which time there was some serious tap-dancing going on. I became convinced he'd hanged himself and began sobbing hysterically.

By the time we'd made it to the doctor's office, he was busy dancing again and I was feeling mildly reassured. I felt even better after everything, when my exam was completely normal, his heartbeat was regular and strong, and the ultrasound looked perfect, with no signs of placental issues. I also got to review the growth ultrasound with the NP- she confirmed that it was totally normal, although Segundo is on the petite side. I measured small again today, which apparently happens when babies like to stay all curled up. The tech commented at the big anatomy scan that he was all curled up tight, even though "the kid has like, half a uterus left to stretch out!" So, I guess that's why? She said if I keep measuring small, they'll keep checking ultrasounds, just to be sure. Fine by me! I also lost a pound since my last visit, which is good, because in spite of growing a tiny baby, my weight gain has not reflected this. Things even looked good enough today that they cancelled my routine appointment for tomorrow- which is extra-good, because we sat in the office for two hours today and I am just not sure I have it in me to sit there again tomorrow!

And? Segundo is grounded. Until he leaves for college. ENOUGH trouble out of this kid. SERIOUSLY.

*yes, he. it's easier than constantly flipping back and forth between she and he. I do think he's a boy, but NO, I don't KNOW that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fear

One of the main responsibilities of my job, that we informally rotate between the three of us nurse practitioners, is carrying the on-call pager (aka the bomb- because you don't want it to go off while you're holding it;). We get various calls on that particular pager, including trauma pages. There are different categories of traumas, the two main ones being Trauma A and Trauma B. Trauma Bs are less critical and may or may not require neurosurgical consultation- we're not required to report to the ER unless we're specifically called (via separate page). Trauma As are more serious- report directly to the ER, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Once the patient arrives, we're sometimes dismissed by the doc running the trauma, but it's pretty unusual (and you NEVER leave without being dismissed). Most traumas major enough to be a trauma A involve some kind of CNS injury.

I was really unpleasantly surprised, when I went back to work after Grace was born, to find that I was really uneasy about, well, everything. I mean, I've questioned how much my job and I are a good fit for each other (who hasn't?), but it's never been due to a lack of confidence. I'm good at my job. I know what I'm doing. It took me a reeeeally long time to feel that way after I went back to work. So when I was carrying the pager one day and got a trauma A page, I asked Maureen to go with me. It ended up being a really wise decision, although not for the reasons I expected.

We got to the ER before the patient. We were able to piece together that a little boy (I can't remember his exact age anymore, somewhere around 4-6 yo) was found down (pulseless and not breathing), accidentally hanged on exercise equipment. We exchanged looks- the rate of survival for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, particularly in a child, is nearly zero. (The rate of meaningful survival is essentially zero, with rare, miraculous exceptions.)

When the little boy arrived, there were paramedics all over him, bagging him, pounding on his chest, yelling at each other, like a tv show. I never saw his face, but I saw his legs, and they were gray. He was wearing plain white tube socks and no shoes. That really, really bothered me, and I'm not sure I can clearly explain why. I guess because it just made him look so much like a little boy- I pictured him yanking his socks on and running down the hall after his brothers, yelling and throwing things. And I thought, in the middle of all of that, when he put those socks on, nobody ever imagined this would happen.

I had other weird thoughts. I remember thinking, abstractly, that it was strange to see everyone running and yelling and tossing things to each other, fighting so hard to save a boy who couldn't possibly be saved. (But what else do you do? I don't know. I just remember thinking it.) I remember one of the social workers commenting to Maureen and me that one of the paramedics working on him was one of the best, and he was lucky to have her working on him. I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life, because that boy wasn't lucky at all. (In the social worker's defense, stuff like this doesn't happen every day. It's hard for everyone, and we all say weird shit when we're rattled.) And I remember being totally horrified by the fact that I could not keep myself from crying. Crying at work, in front of other people, is Not Okay, and especially not in a situation where you need to be on your toes. They weren't hitching, heaving sobs, but the kind of tears that just plop out of your eyes and you can't do anything to stop them.

The whole time we were standing there, we knew we weren't needed. We couldn't possibly be needed, because the little boy was dead. But until they officially declared that they could not win the fight, we had to wait. We absolutely could not ask to be dismissed, as there were far more important things going on, but because there were far more important things going on, nobody even really noticed we were there. And, if by some miracle, the boy's heart started beating again, we would be needed. He would need c-spine evaluation, and he would inevitably have cerebral edema (brain swelling) as a result of his injuries and prolonged anoxia (lack of oxygen). So we stood in the hallway, watching them whale on him, until the tears started plopping on my cheeks, at which point Maureen walked over to someone in a position of quasi-authority, who wasn't otherwise occupied, said we would be leaving, and led me away. (And, to my eternal gratitude, never, ever said another word about it.)

So (and here's where I'm going to sound really flip, so bear with me), when I say I don't want to put Grace in a bed, it's not because she's a devilish little butthead who will never sleep again (although that is obviously a factor), it's because it means she will be free to find a way to roam around without my knowledge. And for now, all that means is tying up blind cords (or buying new, cordless blinds), mounting her dresser to the wall, only opening her windows from the top from now on, locking the bathroom every night, things like that. Knowing that I will go over her whole room with a fine-tooth comb, and the first night she's in a bed, even if she sleeps, I will not. But from that point, there's always another step. Letting her play in the backyard by herself, letting her play out front by herself, letting her cross the street, walk to school, ride a bike, drive a car (oh god, I just threw up a little bit).

The world is full of precipitous drops and hanging cords and cables and sharp edges and asshole drivers. We all need to learn to navigate that, as parents. We all need to learn to let go, and trust that things will be okay, or we run the risk of causing a different kind of damage to our kids than the physical injuries we fear. I fight every day to remember that. But at the same time, I'm also remembering gray legs and tube socks and horrible days that nobody ever thought would happen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Always SOMETHING.

Tomorrow is Segundo's follow-up echo. I'm excited to peek at him/her again, but I also kind of know we don't really need another echo. The arrhythmia resolved two weeks ago, and was still not present when I went for my regular visit wednesday. Rhythm was still perfect, with not one single skipped beat, 150-155. "Happy baby," murmured the doctor who delivered G. (She actually did murmur, btw. It was kind of creepy.)

While we are there for the echo. we will ALSO be getting a growth ultrasound. Because, it turns out, *I* gained three pounds in the last two weeks (*&^!!!!), but Segundo is measuring behind. My friend pointed out this is just further proof it's a boy- only a boy would make you gain all that weight and stay skinny himself. Seriously. Were truer words ever spoken? It's like that commercial for that stupid dietary supplement where the animated woman talks about her husband giving up soda and losing fifty pounds, and how she gave up soda and lost nothing (and then pours her water in the dog's dish and the dog gets all skinny when he drinks it. too bad it's for such a stupid product, or I would totally buy it to support clever advertising.)

I'm genuinely not worried. I have been absolutely terrible about drinking water with this baby, because I hate drinking water, because it is disgusting and also then I have to pee every three seconds, and that is really annoying. On top of that, I was coming down with a cold at my last visit (which has now FIRMLY taken hold), which will dehydrate you a little bit. So really, I think I was a bit dehydrated and Segundo's amniotic fluid was a bit low. (mother of the year!) Obviously, any time they say they want to double-check something, it worries me, and I wish they didn't have to do it, but mostly, I've kept my imagination in check. I've been drinking water like it's my job, Segundo's been dancing the tango...I don't want to say everything is fine, because god knows that is the fastest way to make something really bad happen, but, well, like I said, I'm keeping my imagination in check.

But let me tell you this: if I gain all this weight, only to crank out a six pound baby in March, I will be DEEPLY PISSED OFF.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nope, novelty still hasn't worn off.

28 weeks with Grace:
Photobucket

28 weeks with Segundo:
Photobucket

Isn't that wild?

I don't see any way this baby is a girl. And really, not just because of the way I'm carrying- although I can't really get that out of my head, my BFF from college was a labor and delivery nurse, and she is absolutely adamant that the way you're carrying doesn't mean a darn thing. (although, seriously, if I carried high last time and low this time, I'd say, well, ok, everything is all stretched out...but how weird is it that I was sooo low last time, and this time, Segundo has taken up residence somewhere around my esophagus?)

I'm pretty sure I've already covered the differences between each pregnancy, and they persist even now, at seven months. The one similarity is that both times, I had a moment, very early in the pregnancy, when I was struck with the absolute certainty of the baby's gender. Both times, I went on to question that revelation, but when it was happening, it was clear as a bell. That instinct was right last time. I guess we'll find out in March if it was right this time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two

I can't believe two years have gone by since this day. At the same time, it feels like a million years ago. Yesterday, I was thinking about going into labor, waiting at home for contractions to be regular enough to go to the hospital, and it feels like I'm trying to remember something that happened in first grade.
Two years later, she runs, sticks play-doh up on the windows, knows all her colors (mom's favorite: orsh), can count to five, recognizes a little more than half of the alphabet, eats spaghetti like it's her job and routinely asks for choc-choc. She's clearly a genius.

Well. I guess genius is relative.

Happy Birthday, Gabba Goo. You are the bestest girl in the entire universe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Meat-Hater

I am a vegetarian. Stephen is an omnivore. I never planned on raising our kids as vegetarians, for a wide variety of reasons I don't really feel like getting into right now, but the upshot is that Stephen and I agreed our kids would be omnivores.

Gracie, apparently, has other plans.

I mean, no. She'll eat some meat. She likes ground beef, if it's mixed in really well with her mac and cheese, she'll eat the occasional meatball, she sometimes loves bacon (and sometimes refuses it), so, there are some things she'll eat. But strips of meat, like steak, are absolutely out of the question. And do not even get me started on the pure evil that is poultry in ANY form.

I haven't been too worried about it, because she really does eat a very nicely varied diet, as far as most toddlers are concerned. She likes fruits and vegetables (both orange and green), she likes beans, all dairy products, eggs, peanut butter, and obviously carbs in all their lovely forms. I try to keep offering meat to her, but it's kind of hard, because it's a huge pain to make, it costs money, I hate wasting food, and 9 times out of 10, it gets dumped down the garbage disposal. But we really are trying. I don't want to give in to a toddler's dietary whims, and I know that any day now, she might change her mind and discover the joys of chicken. On the other hand, she gets PLENTY of protein, and iron...well. She's almost old enough for half a Flintstone vitamin, and really, she probably gets more vitamins and minerals than a lot of toddlers, so I just can't stress about it.

What's interesting to me is the reaction this gets. I can't tell you how many people have insisted I offer her hot dogs and bologna. Seriously? Because the protein in kidney beans and yogurt is so inferior to protein that's served with a side of nitrites and excess sodium? Listen, don't get me wrong- she gets her fair share of junk food. I've been known to feed her McDonalds and Taco Bell. She gets chocolate milk a few times a week. She gets the occasional cup of juice (which, don't get me started on baby candy, that's another rant for another day). My little mutey says "ice cream" when she sees it in a book. So. We're far from perfect here, is my point. But do people GENUINELY believe she'd be better off eating processed, over-salted lips and assholes? Girl, please.

It's the same problem I have with all the articles about the "safety" of vegetarian diets, both for adults and children. They always emphasize the importance of thoughtful food choices, ensuring balanced diets that address all nutritional needs. Because eating whatever sounds good has worked out so well for the health of this nation's omnivores? Not thinking about what to feed an omnivorous child is a wise choice?

I think the whole food/eating issue is incredibly loaded and incredibly difficult. I want Grace to understand how to respond to her hunger cues, to stop eating when she's full and not to keep eating until her plate is clean (if she is full and there is food left over, that is MY failing, not hers). To understand that junk food is okay, it's just not supposed to be the staple of her diet. To be able to snack when she's hungry and not because she's bored. All of those things. It sounds so easy but DANG, it's hard.

I'm also struggling a lot with the soy issue. I just sent a message to one of my medical librarian friends, asking for help with a lit search on the topic. I do believe there are some very real endocrine effects from soy consumption, and it stands to reason that a toddler would be more vulnerable to those effects. But just because that seems logical doesn't make it true, and there are also health benefits to weigh against any other risks- reduced fat intake, cardiovascular benefits, and a possible link to decreased breast cancer risk in adulthood. I just want to make an informed choice, especially because Gracie inexplicably LOVES her some vegan Boca burgers and fake meat crumbles.

And I'm still pretty sure the answer isn't a goddamned hot dog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RRR

aka: rate and rhythm regular:)

The nurse practitioner listened long and hard, and we heard no trace of the arrhythmia. It seems to be gone! At least, for now. The cardiologist did say it would likely resolve, it was just hard to predict when that would happen. I did not expect it to be gone today, to be honest. The NP kept asking me all kinds of clarifying questions about it, and I kept assuring her that it was VERY obvious, and I didn't hear anything remotely resembling what we'd heard at my regular visit or when we went for the echo. I have no idea if the arrhythmia could recur- we'll still go for the repeat echo at the end of December- but for now, things all sound very reassuring.

Gracie went along with me for this visit. She was NOT a fan of mommy being up on the exam table- each time I got up there, she would whimper and say, "mama, down. DOWN, MAMA." She also made a show of her color knowledge- when we went in the bathroom to, ah, provide a specimen, she pointed at it and yelled, "wawa!! Lello wawa!!!" She also slept all the way to the doctor's office (of course she did!), but is shockingly taking a nap right now, so I think I'm going to follow suit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Various and Sundry

I have an appointment tomorrow to check Segundo's heart rate. I'm nervous. I feel like I shouldn't be. Everything we've seen has been encouraging, and the cardiologist told us the risk of anything bad happening is, like, 2%. When I compare that to the things I do and see at work that carry a 2% risk, and how often it seems like we see those things happen, I think, oh, pshaw, this is nothing! And I did feel that way for a long time. But in the last few days, I've found myself feeling sort of scared. I'm bringing Gracie with me to the appointment, and there's a part of me that feels like that is tempting fate. Just a teeny part- not enough to, say, find someone to watch her, but that teeny part of me is there. So I guess I can't deny that I'm worried.

******

I woke up several times last night- midnight, 3am, 5am. For really no reason. And I was annoyed and frustrated. I also thought, "In a few months, this will be a GOOD night." And I wept. Not really, but I wanted to.

Speaking of sleep, Gracie is going through some kind of Thing. I am not a fan of this Thing. Although she has never needed a lot of sleep, she had become relatively consistent, staying in bed until 6 (and sometimes even sleeping til a bit later than that!) and napping for up to two hours (with the occasional three tossed in there, just to make me think she might become a sleeper.) She was actually happy to go to bed. She seemed to enjoy the time alone- she would play in her crib for up to an hour, and then fall asleep. I absolutely refuse to call it lucky, we worked DAMN hard to get there. Lately, though? Oh man, she cries bitterly when we put her to bed. Even worse? Was last night, when she actually *whimpered* when I put her in the crib, and moaned, "maaammaaaa" as I walked out of the room. FABULOUS. She was also having some seriously wicked night wakings about a week ago- screaming like she was being tortured, and again with the "MAMAMAAAAA!" or "DADAAAAA", depending on her mood. This led to us rushing in to her room, to find her standing in her crib, just crying for no real known reason. Since it was so incredibly unusual, we'd scoop her up and rock her awhile...and she'd drift off to sleep. And absolutely *scream*, again, when we attempted to put her back to bed. Worse than when we started. That seems to have passed. I think? But the going to bed is just godawful. And? We really need to transition to a bed relatively soon. Looks like sleep is about to get a lot worse, well before March.

******

Last night, while I was (or was not) sleeping, Stephen was awake, because he works midnights. As he is known to do, he was baking. I woke up to warm, fresh, biscuits, straight out of the oven.

Don't hate the playa, hate the game.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

no clever title for good news

The echo went well yesterday.

Segundo's premature beats meet all the criteria for benign arrhythmia. They're all atrial, which is good, and almost all conducted instead of blocked, which is also good (a few were blocked, but the cardiologist wasn't worried). Everything she could see looked normal. It's hard to perfectly measure fetal anatomy, because fetal circulation is different by nature, but everything looks normal right now.

There is still a small chance of the baby flipping into SVT. This is something that can also happen to kids and adults, and is usually very easy to treat, and sometimes people will flip in and out of it without any cause or intervention. Unfortunately, when fetuses flip into SVT, they can't get themselves out, so you have to treat the mama with Digoxin. Blech. The doctor said that, based on our echo and her experience, she thinks there's less than a 2% chance of that happening. The official statistic is 2-5%, but she feels our risk is lower than that. She just wants us to go for every two week heart rate checks (which only means one extra appointment, as I was due to start every two week appointments in December, oh my GOD where did the time go, I am SO not ready here!!!), and we go back for a repeat echo in 4-6 weeks. The arrhythmia could resolve by then, or it might persist until the baby is born and normal circulation takes over. Less than 1% of babies needs an echo or EKG after they're born- which, considering the number of babies who need those for other reasons, I'm not sure that's any higher than anyone else.

It's a lot of details to say, everything is FINE. We get an extra peek at the baby and one extra doctor visit, and one day, get to torture Segundo by telling him/her all the sturm und drang s/he caused before birth. Of course, I planned on telling Gracie the same thing about her choroid plexus cyst one day, and then she decided to make sure she gave us far better things to tell her about one day. So. Maybe I shouldn't plan on that...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

High as a Kite

24 weeks with Grace, note the bulge waaay down at the bottom:


24 weeks with Segundo. Note that the baby is somewhere around my esophagus:


Crazy, no? I mean, WOW.

In other news, I appear to have made a tactical error. After we had a pristine level 2 ultrasound, I thought to myself, How funny that this baby is already worrying me less than Gracie did, what with her proclivity for cyst-formation. And I went to today's appointment, expecting another boring appointment where my worst concern would be how much weight I gained. And when I gained two pounds less than I thought I did, I was all excited and shifted my stress from that to getting my blood drawn on time so I wouldn't have to repeat the glucose test.

...Stupid.

Because it turns out Segundo is lazy. I kind of already knew that, but I had no idea, the depths of the baby's laziness. It turns out Segundo cannot be bothered to, you know, keep his/her heart beating regularly. This bean needs a break every four beats. And not just once or twice, but every time. Beat beat beat beat pause. Et voila, fetal echocardiogram, scheduled for this friday.

Maureen already talked to the cardiologist who does all the fetal echos at Childrens, because she is the awesomest awesome who ever awesomed. She said I should not worry at all, that this is very common, it often means nothing, etc etc. Much like choroid plexus cysts. And unlike that situation, I've already had a normal level 2 ultrasound. So, we have that in our favor. Unfortunately, my deeply pessimistic nature, combined with my career, make it really, really hard for me to not worry. Right now, I am focusing on worrying what this will mean for delivery- because really, ultimately, none of that matters a lot. I can't worry about the baby, it's just...too much. And I have to worry about something, because hello, we all know this happened because I let my guard down.

Hopefully, everything looks good on friday, and all this means is that we get extra peeks at Segundo between now and March. And if not...I can't really think about that right now. So instead I'm panicking about c-sections, and quietly, quietly thinking to myself, please be okay...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

House Arrest

So Grace hates to nap.

No, that's not true.

Grace loooves to fall asleep in the car and then not sleep for the rest of the day. Except, when she does that, she lapses into a freaking coma. And is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to arouse. Even if it's just five minutes, it shaves a full half hour off her nap, minimum.

This means that, for the last, I dunno, six months? We have stayed within a 5-block radius of our house, unless I was prepared to pay the consequences. Occasionally, we could get away with going to lunch, and then I could transfer her to her crib for a semi-decent nap. But trips to the mall, for example? Out of the question. It's just too far away. Why not just go after her nap, you ask? Because she wakes up in the middle of rush hour, that's why. And so, I order 99% of what we need over the internet, and otherwise just deal. ("Just deal"ing mostly involves wearing underwear that I used to only wear five specific days of the month, if you get what I mean and I know you do.) It is claustrophobic and frustrating, but the alternative is no nap, and you know what? Growing another human is frigging exhausting, and I NEED TO NAP, TOO. So.

But now?! Now, she can no longer be transferred to her crib from the car at naptime. Now she wakes up, screams her brains out, and then eventually calms down and plays awhile. This means I can't nap, because it just doesn't work (I realize tehcnically I could nap during that time, but I just can't. I won't know when to wake up, because she'll be making noise the whole time, so I just can't sleep at all). So right now, she's playing by herself in her dark room, because I do think that's important. I mean, in theory. It's actually not remotely important for Grace, because she spends the entire time FLINGING HER BODY around her crib and screeching like a howler monkey, so it's not like it's down time. I think we both know who finds that time really important.

I guess the sleep situation could be a lot worse, but you know what? We worked REALLY hard to get this kid to sleep for us. REALLY hard. It sucked and we hated it, but she had to learn how to sleep, and she sure as HELL was never going to learn on her own. And it really sucks to have it still be such an issue.

ALSO I AM TIRED.

******UPDATE******

Soooo, I guess I left the bag of hand-me-downs for Grace's cousin too close to her crib when she was "napping". On the plus side, this is what I found when I went in to get her (and for the record: that dress is a size 6-12 months.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hello, Segundo

I'm pretty sure I've said this before (my brain is SHOT*), but Segundo doesn't move around nearly as much as Grace did. I always knew Grace was around. On the rare occasions when she hadn't jabbed me in the ribs by noon, I completely panicked. It was just NOT NORMAL!!! Segundo, on the other hand, has only a few active periods a day. Always, always in the late evening, and other than that, it's pretty variable. But, like I said, much more infrequent, and also not nearly as vigourous. Gracie was tap-dancing, Segundo is just trying to squirm into the lotus position.

On the one hand, it's kind of a bummer. I miss all the constant reminders that Gracie was around, that there was someone there. On the other hand, when Segundo DOES move around, it's always such a happy surprise. Like, ooh, there you are! Hi! What's up?!

I was saying to Maureen the other day that it's so funny how easily she can show her personality now, instead of just being happy or mad or sad. She agreed and said, "yeah, I remember thinking, 'wow. you've ALWAYS had that personality. You just couldn't tell me.'" And she is so right (as usual). Except, in Gracie's case, her personality was aaalllllways evident. I just didn't know exactly how to piece it together. She was really active in utero, but what did it mean? Well. She made THAT apparent as soon as she was born, heh. Then she was born and she was pissed off all the time, but what did it mean? Now that she's bigger, it's easy to see that she was bored, she wanted to go go go, she wanted to DO SOMETHING. And she certainly did NOT want to fit into anyone else's agenda. It's so obvious now. And I wonder if Segundo's intra-uterine personality will have anything to do with his/her long-term personality. I mean, it doesn't seem as striking. Lots of babies are like this! But I dunno. Maybe I'll look back and think, yes. Of course. How very Segundo.

(*OMG. So today? We were at Old Navy. And the cashier asked to see my ID when I used my credit card. So I showed her, and as I put it away, I thought, hmm. I think my license expires this year. so I looked, and oh no. It expired LAST YEAR!! OMG WHAT IF I GET PULLED OVER?!?!? They'll take me in for processing and DCFS will have to pick up Grace and I will die and then Stephen will kill me for being so irresponsible and oh. That's right. I have safe driver renewal. The sticker is on the back of my license. Where it has been for the last year. Good Christ. It is a miracle I haven't left the house without pants on.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chili

Grace is a pretty adventurous eater. Not as great as she used to be, but as toddlers go, she's really pretty good. She refuses all meat except ground beef, and she has a thing against ravioli/pierogis/any kind of smooth dough with filling, but other than those quirks, she'll eat most things we give her. And if she doesn't? That's fine too, she just has milk and whatever she does eat off her plate. I'm not a short-order cook AND I'm not getting into a habit where all she eats is oyster crackers and ketchup off a spoon.

So we're trying chili, made with veggie crumbles. It's super easy to make, and we all love it. I just scoop out a few ladles worth before I add the hot pepper and that's hers. The introduction went relatively well, and I felt like it went really well, considering it was a brand-new experience and a pretty strong taste. So when I gave her a bowl tonight, I wasn't sure how it would go, but I expected at least okay.

Heh. Yeah. She wasn't in a chili kind of mood.

So when she started holding her milk out to Stephen and asking for "choc choc", I reminded her she only gets chocolate in her milk if she eats her dinner.

Did she know what I meant? Oh yes. Yes, she did.

She proceeded to put a bite of chili on her spoon, put the verrrrry tip in her mouth, and nibble rapid-fire on the metal of the spoon, no actual chili entering her mouth. She also kept her eyes squeezed shut, for extra effect. Next, she absolutely FILLED the spoon with chili, opened her mouth WIDE, stuck it all the way in, and held it there, not actually touching ANY lips/cheeks/tongue, then pulled it back out.

Not nearly as humorously, she also put a bite in her mouth and then spit it out, but I do give her credit for actually tasting it that time.

And no, she did not get any chocolate milk. Tonight's dinner was raspberries, clementine sections, and half a cup of milk.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fail after Fail

I bought Halloween candy a week and a half ago, thinking I would avoid any candy-eating binges by getting stuff I don't like. Turns out Segundo has HIDEOUS taste in candy, and crap like Laffy Taffy is totally irresistable. Sooo, yeah. I just ate my weight in gross plastic candy. And now? Segundo is sugared up and ready to GO GO GO GOOOOOO!!

And if it's not candy, it's vermin. We had a mouse in our bedroom last night and we have some kind of unknown but surely disgusting varmint living in our attic. I just might have to scratch all my skin off and start sleeping in the bathtub if we don't reduce the number of uninvited, disgusting creatures living in this crapshack.

The mouse is particularly upsetting, because we never had mice in the bedroom (that made themselves known, anyway) unless they were brought there by Falafel. The cat lives in the basement now, so he sure didn't bring the dirty little motherfucker (DLM) into my room last night at 1:45 to rattle a milk bone against Sam's crate. In case you're wondering where Sam the Wonder Dog was in all of this, he was sleeping on his bed downstairs. I bribed him with ANOTHER bone to run up and get in his crate, knowing he would soundly ignore the mouse, but also knowing he would at least scare the DLM into leaving.

Here's hoping there are no mice in our room tonight and the critter in the attic is quiet tonight. Didn't the Exorcist start with creepy noises in the attic? GREAT. Now not only do I have to worry about getting the bubonic plague in my sleep, I also have to worry about being possessed by Pazuzu. Get this shit OUT OF MY HOUSE!

The power of Orkin compels you!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hubris

I made it all the way to seven weeks with Segundo without feeling sick. We went for the ultrasound, I saw the tiny flickering heartbeat, and I thought, ok...I AM actually pregnant. But I'm not sick! SCORE! And God smote me with seven weeks of nausea, dry mouth, and an indescribably funky taste in the back of my mouth.

OK. Fine. It was foolish of me to expect otherwise. I can take it.

So as the pregnancy has progressed, I've noticed the absence of some other really unpleasant symptoms, too, as I've mentioned. And honestly, of all the symptoms I had with Grace, the absolute worst was the insomnia. I would lie awake for hours every night, for absolutely no reason except that I just could not fall asleep. This time around, I thought, thank GOD I dodged that bullet, I don't know how I would do it without the ability to sleep until 8, nap, whatever.

So. You DO know I was awake last night from 3:15-4:30, right? Staring at the ceiling? Tossing and turning, counting sheep, getting up to the bathroom, you name it.

Fantastic.

I'll be expecting that "no body hair growth" to start up ANY DAY NOW, universe.

(oh, and also: Segundo was going bananas the whole time, kicking and flipping and tossing and turning. Really, kid? REALLY? You've got twenty weeks to cut that shit out. No following in your sister's footsteps on that one. Unacceptable.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comparison

Twenty weeks with Grace:
Photobucket

Twenty weeks with Segundo:
Photobucket

I don't how I missed it until it was pointed out to me, but wow, Segundo is waaay higher. I wonder if it explains the lack of round ligament pain and the fact that, now that the nausea is gone, I feel a thousand times better than I did at this point with Grace.

Anyway. I thought it was interesting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More From Captain Obvious

In addition to my recent revelations about pregnancy, I had another Supreme Epiphany this week: when I run consistently? I feel better! if I am in a bad mood and I go for a run? I feel better! It's the funniest thing...

In my defense, I was not always a runner. I didn't start running until, gosh, about seven years ago? And before that, I told everyone who would listen that I only ran if I was being chased. Then one day I decided enough was enough and I needed to start taking care of myself. It took a reeeally long time for it to feel good. In the beginning I was more addicted to the progress. I am not REMOTELY athletic, so running a whole mile without stopping was an accomplishment I worked up to- I can't remember how long it took, but I used to say in my head "Run to that bush. Run to that sidewalk." etc etc, just to keep myself from walking. Then one mile became three. Five was a huge milestone for me- for whatever reason, I felt like running five miles meant I was a runner. And eventually, I started feeling better, and that led to feeling BETTER when I ran than when I didn't.

I'm not sure when I first realized that a good run could ruin a bad day- whether I felt physically rotten, mentally exhausted, or just totally fed up with the world, but it finally dawned on me that it was just as good for my soul as it was for my body. But? I still keep forgetting! And I'll get in these ruts, where I'm not running enough, and I can't figure out why I'm in such a funk.

This past week, I had a reeeally obnoxious day at work. I left totally fed up and pissed off. I saw tons of people out running on my way home and thought, yes. I need to do THAT. And three miles later, I felt like a new person. I was still annoyed about work, but it didn't bother me as much, and all the physical signs of agitation were completely gone. Today, I was totally exhausted, frustrated that Gracie took a rotten nap, and just could not get over myself. And I thought about cancelling my plans for a run with one of my favorite mamas, but I didn't want to bail. And I am SO glad I went, because again, by the time we were halfway into it, I didn't even remember I'd felt bad when I started.

You know how obnoxious ex-smokers can be, once they realize how it feels to breathe fresh air, walk up the stairs without coughing, and have money in their purse instead of a pack of cigarettes? And they preach to every smoker they know about how quitting smoking will change their lives? And it's totally annoying to people who don't want to hear it? I get that. I get it because I wish I had listened sooner. I wish I had started ten years earlier. I would be faster and have better endurance and I probably would've run more than one marathon, and I wouldn't have wasted all that time sitting around like a lump and feeling crappy.

You don't have to believe me. But if you believe someone else five years from now, I promise I won't say I told you so.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Newsflash!

So, wow. It turns out? Every pregnancy is different! Who knew?!?!

I know people like to ascribe gender differences to the differences between pregnancies, but I don't really buy that. First of all, because the people I know who've had babies of all the same gender swear each time, THIS is the girl/boy. THIS is so different! I know a mom of four boys and a mom of six boys who both swore up and down they were finally having their girl. And obviously they did not. Also because you just don't have enough circulating hormones from the little turds to actually cause those symptoms. For example, I hardly ever had to shave my legs (or armpits, but that sounds gross...) when I was pregnant with Grace. I like to say it was because she was a girl, but come on, it wasn't! (also: I would like that pregnancy symptom back kthxbye.)

The nausea was the biggest difference this time around. So far, anyway. With Grace, I started feeling bad literally the day after I had a positive pregnancy test. On the plus side, it passed by 11 or 12 weeks. With Segundo, I did not feel sick until I was seven weeks pregnant. I thought I might even avoid it this time! HA! At seven weeks, I got hit by the Nausea TRUCK. And that crap stuck around until about 15 or 16 weeks, complete with dry mouth (but water made me feel sick!) and the most godawful taste in the back of my throat.

On the plus side, I had wicked insomnia with Grace, which is decidedly NOT a problem this time around. I sleep like the dead. Heck, I NAP like the dead. I was hoping that need would pass with the first trimester, and it has, to a degree, but just yesterday I passed out in my own drool for an hour. I also had a lot more aches and pains and headaches with Grace than I'm having this time around, but the pregnancy is still young. Wait, no it's not, I'll be at the halfway point next monday. CRAZY, no? I think it's crazy.

I obviously felt Segundo moving around before I felt Grace move, which I think is always the way. It surprised me, because I felt Grace really early for a first-timer- about fifteen weeks? Segundo...I know y'all will think I'm crazy, but I felt very distinct kicks at 11 weeks. I know! But it was Segundo. It was not gas. Of this, I am certain. Kicks feel like...bones. Gas doesn't. This was bones. And now, s/he's moving and jabbing a lot more. Differently than Grace, who would have periods of total insanity, dancing and flipping and generally going nutsoid, and so far, Segundo does not do that. I get a flurry of jabs and kicks and they stop. THAT, I could see changing. I'm already noticing an uptick in activity, so my theory that maybe this is going to be my Zen baby appears to be flying out the window...

The big ultrasound is a week from today. Another difference from my last pregnancy: I'm getting a LOT more pressure to find out the gender! With Grace, people said one of two things when I said we were going to be surprised. Either, "ohhh, you're no fun!" or "cool! Being surprised is awesome!" This time? I'm getting a LOT of "Look, are you gonna find out or NOT?! Why won't you find oooouuuuttttt?!??!" And really, I *am* more tempted to find out this time than I was last time, but I keep going back to that moment in the delivery room, when she was lying on her belly, (screaming), we both thought she was a boy, and the doctor peeked under her legs and set us straight. And the moments that followed, when we got to call everyone and tell them they were all wrong, she was a girl, isn't it crazy?! And I'm not sure I'm willing to give that up, either. I think it's more that I'm just curious what it's like to know ahead of time...but I'm afraid I'll regret it, and it's not like it's something you can un-know!

If you follow the idea that gender differences explain pregnancy differences, then Segundo is a boy. And I have days when I think Segundo has GOT to be a boy. But then this little voice in my head says, ohhhh no she's noooot! So for the record: I actually do not know. I have hunches on one day and feel the complete opposite the next day. I guess that may change? But for now, your guess is as good as mine. (and I already know your guess is boy. that's everyone's guess. it was almost everyone's guess last time, too, juuust so ya know;)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tales from the Locker Room

Every week, it's the same thing. I DREAD swimming. I don't wanna get into a stupid bathing suit. I don't wanna drive all the way out there. I don't wanna get in the water. I don't wanna chase her all over the locker room while I'm trying to dry off and get dressed and then do the same for her. She's getting HEAVY and the class is getting to be a serious work-out. I swear that this is our last session and I'm not signing up next time. Then we go and she has so much fun that I think, ohhh, but she loves it! This week, she started clapping when we were a block away, and saying, "wawa! wawa!"

Today when we were getting dressed (or I was getting dressed and she was running around in a swimming diaper, closing herself in various lockers), a woman came to the locker on the end of the section and started changing. And kept smiling at me. Staring right at people and smiling is creepy when you're naked, people. But Grace got revenge, because she found a candy wrapper on the floor, carried it over to the woman's purse, dropped it in, and walked away. The woman did not notice. I did not say anything.

After we were both dressed and I had everything packed up, I realized I left her diaper on the floor. I handed it to her and asked her to please throw it away. She immediately trotted over to the garbage can and threw it away. I seriously don't know what's up with this kid and throwing things in the garbage, but I'll take it.

They have canvases all over the locker room, painted in solid colors. I have no idea why she loves them so much, but she does. It's how I figured out she knew her colors, she kept pointing at only the blue ones and saying, "boooo!!!!" and eventually worked up to "ghee" and "lala". On the way out of the room, there's one green and one yellow canvas. Every week, she wants to be picked up so she can touch them on the way out. This week, she kept touching and patting and rubbing them, so I told her, "Okay Gracie, say bye bye to green and yellow!" And my mute little girl said, "Bye Ghee! Bye Lala!"

so FINE. We'll keep going to stupid swimming. I mean, damn, I'm not made of STONE. Plus, I'm all tired and pregnant and not really very much fun for her, already, and I can only imagine it's going to get worse over the next few months. She needs the activity, the fun, the structure, and the time with kids her own age. But I'm still going to whine about it. At least, until she starts doing things like speaking in sentences because of swimming.

Monday, September 20, 2010

dang, this kid is consistent!

So, I'm sitting on the couch, feeling miserable and sorry for myself (Segundo is making my pledge to enjoy this pregnancy entirely impossible), and I decided to distract myself by reading my own archives. Eventually, I came across this.

It is so funny to me how she has the exact same personality now that she did then.

The list of dislikes? IDENTICAL, to this day. Well, now she sleeps until 5:30 instead of 4:30, and will even occasionally give me a 6am, but aside from that minor difference, she hates all the same things! Por ejemplo: now that it's cooler, we're putting her in shoes and socks instead of sandals or crocs. The MINUTE we walk in the door, she plops down and holds her feet up for us to take her shoes off. She then strips off her socks and runs around barefoot. I mean it, she does not make it two feet from the door before she does this. It's pretty darn cute. Otro ejemplo: she still gets pissed off and cries with every diaper change. I am not at all sure what is so objectionable about such service, but she is not a fan.

Oh, and if fingernails were bad, they're NOTHING compared to toe nails. *shudder*

She also still looooves swimming, and she loves to eat. We went to lunch today and she had scrambled eggs and sauteed veggies. She picked up a long piece of spinach, right out of the middle of the plate, tipped her head back, and ate it like a cartoon character. Ate her eggs with a fork. Took a teeny sip of my chai, licked her lips, and said, "Mmmmmm!"

Of course, none of that compares with her new tricks. Just this week, she started running after us with both index fingers pointed, saying "tickatickaticka!", trying to tickle us.

Even when it's hard, it just keeps getting better.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

ZOMG! I'm psychic!!

For real!

Not so much the actual entry, but the last line of my comment in response.

How did I KNOW?!??!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hail Mary...

We have had a busy weekend and my poor little overtired monkey is feelin' it. OH, the tantrums. The crazed running in circles because she's so amped up, she doesn't know what else to do with herself. Did I mention the tantrums?

It used to be easier. She used to melt down at 6pm, and we had no choice but to leave. If she rallied, she rallied, and she'd still be okay the next day. Now she totally does the second-wind thing, where she gets this crazy burst of energy and I lose track of time and fail to get her in bed at a reasonable hour. I watch her toss and turn for an hour on the spy-cam, but know that she will still be up the next day at 5am. God help us if we have errands to run, because she'll fall asleep in the car, pushing back her nap, which pushes back her bedtime, which perpetuates the cycle. GAH.

Today we stuck close to home. She woke up in such a foul mood, we didn't really have a choice. It was totally obvious I'd stretched her way too far and the entire focus today needs to be on SLEEEEP.

Minus her power nap in the car? She fell asleep eating lunch at 11:45. Here begins the novena that she sleeps until at least 2:30.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Looking On The Bright Side...

Grace isn't exactly known for her awesome sleeping habits. Her naps are either short, or start at 2pm and last through dinner time, leaving her amped up well past bedtime. She still has a seriously frustrating habit of waking up at 5am every day (unless, of course, I'm getting up for work, on which days she will often sleep past 6, and sometimes even until I wake her up). I, on the other hand? Ohhhh. I know the joys of sleep. Burrowing down under the covers and staying there all day. Getting up only to laze around on the couch. I once slept for seventeen hours. I was working nights at the time, so my sleep was really messed up, but I still did it. (In my defense, I was appropriately horrified when I woke up and saw the clock said 3pm.)

Anyway.

This morning, I realized there IS a bright side to this. On the rare occasions when I need to wake her up (get her dressed, send her to MIL's before I go to work. I've never, EVER had to wake her on my day off. But then, I bet you knew that)? You have never seen anyone wake up so easily and happily. Or maybe you have, I don't know. This is generally how it goes when someone tries to wake me up:

you: (gently touching my shoulder and whispering)Kathy?
me: GRUNT
you:...hey, Kath? we gotta go.
me:GRUUUUNT
you: ...um. Kathy?
me: RAWR
you: (screaming in pain because I just clawed your face off)

When I go in to wake up Grace? Usually she's barely still asleep, and the light from the bathroom is enough to wake her up. She squints for a millisecond, pops her eyes open, breaks out in the biggest smile you have EVER seen. Jumps to her feet, starts waving her blanket around and saying, "BEEEEEEEE!" Hears Sam in the hallway, leans over the side of her crib, waving and saying, "DOGDOGDOGDOGDOG!!"

It's a pretty awesome way to start the day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

well, now that it's out there...

(I mean, not that anyone who actually reads here was surprised to hear about Segundo;)

I remember learning in nursing school that women forget how much labor hurts. That later, they say, "Ohhh, it wasn't so bad!" That is NOT MY EXPERIENCE. I mean, I can't tell you exactly how it felt, but I can tell you I was in agony. Admittedly, I am a big, giant wuss, but my POINT is, I haven't forgotten how awful it was. The strange thing, that I knew was strange, even when it was happening, was how quickly I forgot the suckitude of pregnancy.

I, um, did not like being pregnant. And within seconds of G's birth, I forgot all of it. The nausea, insomnia, back pain, restless legs, fatigue, constant sinus headaches...poof. Gone.

Part of that was our newborn experience. Look, I know nobody's newborn is easy. I also know I am really vocal and dramatic and so there's no way anybody really believes it was that bad. People just giggle and think, ohhh, KATHY. There you go again! Or roll their eyes. I get it. I really do. But just trust me on this: HELL. It was hell. It was beyond anything I could have imagined. Dante was like, "Whoa, dude. That's some messed-up shit." So really, even though I did not enjoy being pregnant, ohhh, it was SO much easier than attempting to console the inconsolable.

But more than that? I really, genuinely forgot. Months went by before I thought, oh crap, that's right, I had that weird thing with my legs where it felt like I had little electric shocks running through them anytime I sat still for more than a millisecond. Huh. Weird that I would forget that.

And then I got pregnant again. Ho-lee cow. I forgot! I forgot the mind-bending nausea, the gagging over the taste of tap water, the heavy-lidded exhaustion. The bloat. But? It's really weird. It's harder this time- I don't get to spend all my non-work time curled up in a ball, watching tv. I never, ever get to sleep until my body decides to wake up. Y'know, I have responsibilities beyond my own selfish self. But in some weird way, it almost makes it easier. Like, ok, yeah, I feel like crap. But I have bigger things to worry about now. NOT that it's stopped me from whining incessantly, as anyone reading this already knows. I do have to say though, objectively, there's something about already being a mom that makes this more tolerable.

Also, now that we've passed the twelve week mark, I'm actually starting to believe we might get an actual baby out of this deal. Yippee!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If I Ever

start talking about moving into another 100 year old house when we are finally able to move from this house?

Please remind me about the time Stephen went to work out, and not five minutes later, a horrible, plasticky rattling sound came from behind the sideboard. Where we have a mousetrap. And how that rattling continued until Stephen came home and rescued me from the rattling trap. (and how UTTERLY WORTHLESS our stupid dog was, staring at me blankly while a trapped, probably half-dead mouse, tried to escape from the trap, climb my leg, eat my face and give me hanta virus.)

I am hoping that is all the reminder I'll need to rethink such a totally stupid idea.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bless You

So, I'm not a religious person. But? There is just something about a stranger saying, "oh, god bless you!" or "bless her heart!" or one of those variations, when you're out with your kid(s). I don't get it much lately- I got it a LOT when Grace was a newborn, and especially when she was fussing (aka screeeeaming) in public. Now I mostly get it when we're out running together. It just...I don't know. For whatever reason, it makes my day. You get so many comments, especially as a brand-new mom, that can sound patronizing or annoyed or whatever else, but when people say this, it's like shorthand for, "Look at your baby! Aw. And you're doing just fine. I promise!"

I wish I could pull it off myself, but I would sound so awkward saying it, I've never even tried. I wonder if there's another phrase that works as well?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Three Miles and a Block Party

(I was reminded of the existence of my blog today by someone who, I might add, NEVER says hello to me in these parts. I'm just saying.)

It has been waaay too hot and sticky to run outside this summer. I seriously don't know what I would've done if I were training for the marathon this year, because it has been humid and stifling and totally disgusting since the beginning of July. And look, I KNOW there are places where it gets hotter and stays that way longer, and I KNOW I also hate winter (it turns out I hate extreme temperatures, perfectly rational if you ask me), but DAMN, the weather sucks this summer. Not to mention, the huge amounts of rain have left us with a bumper crop of mosquitoes- I took Sam and Grace for a walk the other day, thought we were walking into a cloud of gnats, nope, mosquitoes. We all needed blood transfusions by the time we got home. Disgusting. So anyway, that means I've been trying to run on the treadmill after Grace goes to bed, which is going badly for a whole variety of reasons, the upshot of which is, running sucks this summer. It's frustrating, because I lose endurance and speed so quickly and it takes so long to get it back. Yesterday, the heat broke, and we were able to get out with the running stroller, and I cranked out THREE WHOLE MILES.

Three miles is NOTHING. It is total baby stuff. And I was DYING by the end. But I ran three miles outside, and felt a thousand times better. Of course, it's supposed to be back in the 90s by this afternoon, and stay that way for, like, the next fifty years, but at least we took advantage of the good weather.

We also had good weather for the block party. Breezy, sunny, not very humid. And AGAIN- nobody would talk to us!! I even kept Grace up past her bedtime and fed her a plate of mostaccioli, thinking maybe people would do the most socializing during dinner. Well, they did. WITH EACH OTHER. I sat at the end of the table with Grace on my lap while my jackass neighbors ignored me entirely. The rest of the day, I was chasing Grace around, trying to keep her from running in front of big kids riding bikes and/or tearing up the neighbors' flower beds, but even then, people could've said hello. I hate this block. For real.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sponge

Gymnastics was a lot better this week. We got stuck in traffic, making us late, so G was kind of off her game. It stresses me beyond stressed to be late anywhere, so I think she probably noticed that, too. She refused to sit on my lap while they set up the obstacle course, but she did stand nicely and wait. She did a few of the steps the right way- she loves rolling like a hot dog and sliding down the mat. She did somersaults with a LOT of help. She wasn't crazy about it, but she did it. At the end of class, she high-fived one of the teachers, and let them put a frog stamp on each hand. The rest of the day, she kept pointing at them and shouting, "Fog! Fog!"

The downside is that, instead of wearing her out, the class got her all amped up, and she refused to take a nap. I left her there for an hour and a half, and instead of sleeping, just marched back and forth. And did somersaults. All by herself.

That kid. I am TELLING you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Patience

In addition to swimming this summer, I added a gymnastics class for Gracie. Um. Also for me- it is reeeally hard to fill the days with a toddler. DANG. She loves to climb and run around and be crazy, so I thought it was time. Of course, if you want to take gymnastics through the Chicago Park District (or any class, for that matter), you have to be glued to your computer the SECOND registration opens, with all your info already entered, index finger twitching on your mouse, ready to click submit. If not, you are outta luck. Of course, being the totally well-organized, detail-oriented person I am, I...didn't even remember to check when registration started. FAIL. So, we're paying non-resident fees to take the class in the burbs.

The class is tiny, about six kids? G is definitely the youngest. The age range to sign up for the class is 18 months-3 years, and since G hit 18 months a week before class started, that was kind of inevitable. I did hope there would be more wee ones in the clas, but the closest to her age is going to be 2 by the end of summer. I thought of it more in terms of gross-motor skills, and I thought, eh, who cares, we're just here to have fun!

I forgot about the maturity factor.

To be fair, there is only one girl who is a LOT older than the rest of the class. Most of the kids are at least near Gracie's age, so when we started with the different activities, there was a lot of ignoring and clinging to mom and stuff like that. Then it was time to sit in mom/nanny's lap while they set up the obstacle course for the kids.

Ohhhh, my. THAT was not part of Gracie's plan. She writhed and cried and then yowled and arched and it. was. not. cool.

All the other children were sitting quietly in their mom's laps, in case you're wondering.

My first thought is that I'm shocked all those kids sat so nicely with their moms while balance beams and mats and big rolling donuts were being strategically arranged around the room. My second thought was that it's her age. It's hard to imagine she'll be happier to sit and wait in just four short months, but maybe?

It's also just that patience isn't one of her assets and never has been. She has SO many wonderful characteristics. She's persistent and silly and so, so clever. She's funny and sweet. But patient? No. Grace isn't patient. I'm torn between thinking SHE'S the normal one, and all the other kids were behaving very strangely, and thinking, okay, how are we going to work on this?

I'm torn between thinking I'm asking too much of her and maybe she's not ready for gymnastics, and thinking she's got to learn how to do things like wait her turn on the jumping blocks, and it's better for her to start learning now, rather than when she's three years old. I'm torn between thinking it's a good way to kill the time and thinking it's a GREAT way to kill my back.

Mostly, I KNOW I'm overthinking it. We'll keep going. Maybe someone else will be crying next week. Also, she loves rolling like a hot dog down the angled mat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Also: the ground gets wet when it rains.

I was driving out to my parents' house tonight to pick up Grace, waiting in traffic and daydreaming. I started thinking about when she was born, because, well, I do that a lot.

I have absolutely no idea why this never dawned on me, but as I was thinking about her lying on my chest for the very first time, I thought, that is the same baby I'm going to see tonight. The one who rolls around in the mud and splashes in her water table. THAT baby! They're the same person. And the thought took my breath away.

THIS baby


is the same as THIS baby!!


no frigging way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why, Hello There, Blog

It's not that we haven't had anything going on over the last month, exactly. Just that none of it is really fit to blog about, for one reason or another.

Gracie hit 18 months this week, though, I and I have a feeling I'll regret it if I don't record some of this on the internets. Unlike me, the internets remember things.

Today's doctor visit went exactly as I expected. She's a big girl- 34 inches tall and 27 pounds. She's curious and clever and hates shots, like all normal people. No, she is not remotely interested in potty training, Dr. Calmness, but thank you for asking. Check back with us when she's forty. Dr. Calmness (not his real name)(duh) asked if I have any concerns, and...I do. Gracie should have a minmum of 15-20 words right now, and she has somewhere between 8 and 10. This is not entirely surprising, as she also babbled late. She understands every word we say to her and follows complex commands without batting an eyelash, so I know it's not her hearing and it's not a cognitive issue, it's strictly expressive language. I've talked to speech-therapist friends, I've talked to other moms whose kids have gone through speech therapy, and tried doing the things they suggest, and it really hasn't made a difference. She's content to point and grunt. Dr. Calmness, calm person he is, asked that we give her three more months. He'd like her to have 25 words by 21 months old. If she doesn't, we'll call him back and he'll refer us for early intervention.

Although I am, to my very core, a neurotic mess, in this case, waiting seems like the right thing to do. I kind of feel like she'll talk when she talks. Gracie has strong opinions on everything and she likes to do things on her terms. Why should talking be any different?

On the list of things Gracie DOES like to do- dress up and get dirty. She loves to pull the winter stuff out and put it on. She is DYING to dress herself, and since she can't quite do it yet, she's settling for putting on a hat and a scarf. it's pretty freaking adorable.


As for getting dirty, this is the Summer of Filth. There is nothing more awesome than getting entirely soaked at the water table, then going and rolling around in the dirt, digging in the mud, pulling up weeds, trying to launch face-fist into the garden...you name it. Dirt is awesome. But only if you're good and wet first. Crocs and bathing suits are our best friends this summer.


Well, almost. Curious George will always trump all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother of the Year!

Wanna hear about how I locked Grace in the car at Target and they had to call the fire department?!

Don't be jealous of my mothering skillz. Do NOT be jealous.

First of all, I have been fighting my crippling Target addiction, really I have. But see, I have this cat on Prozac. And since I am fully aware that this means I'm one step away from knitting kleenex cozies, I choose not to have this prescription filled at my regular pharmacy. Also Target has cheap generic prescriptions, and since I'm neither independently wealthy nor possessing pet insurance, the prescription is at Target. So, see, I HAD to go there.

I was totally distracted. I let Grace play with the keys. She locked the doors. She was in the car. I was not. But my purse and cell phone were! And, also? THE KEYS.

I promptly lost my shit. But did so internally, because Grace was actually finding the whole situation hilarious, and I wanted to keep it that way.

About five years after this happened (or maybe a minute, it's impossible to know), an SUV pulled into the garage and out hopped two Target employees. I frantically asked them to get help. One of them assured me he could get in the car, he just needed a screwdriver. In the meantime, the other guy went and got security, who called 311, who dispatched the fire department. Who showed up with lights and sirens. And an AXE. A big, shiny axe. Let me just say that you don't want the people who are supposed to rescue your baby walking up to your car with an AXE. By the time they showed up, the Target guy had the antenna snaked thru the window, while CFD worked on getting the slimjim thru the window. I'm not sure who got the door open, I thought it was the Target guy but who really knows. The only time Gracie ever cried thru the whole thing was when they got the doors unlocked and it made the car alarm go off, so I'd say she escaped pretty well unscathed.

Oh, and by the way? They didn't have the cat's prozac.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My madeleines

For those who aren't familiar with it, the author Marcel Proust wrote a whole big-ass book about taking a bite out of a cookie (a madeleine) and experiencing a flood of instant, intense memories, just from the taste and texture of the cookie.

I have a million, bajillion little things like that, and they always take me by surprise. Sometimes I purposely avoid them, so they keep giving me those big rushes of memory (I mean, if you smell something every day, it weakens any associations you have with that smell, until it all goes away). And, I mean, some are the same for everyone- dry fall leaves go with the start of the school year and Halloween, pine needles and Christmas, spring mud and the end of the school year, stuff like that. But some are ours alone. These are my favorites:

Carambars!



Proust has his madeleine and I have my carambars. When I was in fifth grade, a whole class of French 5th graders came and stayed in Park Ridge for a month. We hosted one of the girls in the class, her name was Isabelle. She brought us a whole bag of Carambars, and I loved them. The following summer, I spent a month with her family, in a suburb of Paris. We lost touch in high school, although recent google-stalking has me convinced I've found her. She worked for Louis Vuitton before she opened her own boutique in Paris. I think. I'm pretty sure. Anyway, Carambars are one of those random candies you really can't find around here. I ordered some off the internet a few years ago. They taste just the same.

Sun-Ripened Raspberry


I brought sun-ripened raspberry shower gel to England when I studied abroad in college. A few months after I came home, I sniffed it, and WHOA. I'm not even sure they sell it anymore, but I stopped using it so that it would always remind me of staying at the Y and in dirty hostels on the weekends;) Good times, good times...

Leapfrog Spin and Sing


G and I played with this outside all summer long. All of the songs make me think of warm sunny days, outside with my happy baby. It was one of her favorite toys, and she just recently outgrew it. But while she liked this toy, we had SO much fun.

What are your madeleines?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ha, April Fools!

Hey there, Gracie here.

ZOMG. I played the BEST April Fools joke on my mom. It took some serious time and planning, but oh man, it was worth it.

All last week? I pretended I was going to start sleeping! I slept past six am every single day and took super long naps. It was rough, yo. The joke wouldn't have worked without it, though. I had her CONVINCED.

Then? This weekend? I started inching my waking time back. And today? I woke up at 4:50! I am teh awesome. Oh man, you should have seen my mom's face. She is so gullible. Hey mama! Did you know gullible's not in the dictionary? Yeah, that's right, go look it up....

Time to start planning for next year. I'm never gonna top this one....

Gracie out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My parents' living room

My house was the house where we all hung out in high school. Mostly because my parents were night owls and didn't mind ten teenagers crammed into their living room, watching movies and banging on the piano all night (and by banging, I mean, "guy who would grow up to work for Elton John and Disney on Broadway playing goofy songs", but that is another story for another day). All of us coming and going, eating junk food (Taco Bell. ALWAYS Taco Bell), fighting over movies, playing video games, stupid hurt feelings, dumb inside jokes, endless games of truth or dare (which morphed into Truth because none of us ever took Dare. The boys really loved THAT game...). Every weekend, and almost every night in the summertime. When I think of high school, I think of that living room, all of us. Never one or two of us, always the whole group, every night.

And now one of us is gone and it doesn't matter that she's been physically removed from the group for so long, that we've all lost touch with her, rarely hearing from her, not even exchanging Christmas cards, barely interacting on facebook. She was still THERE, and now she's GONE, and that shit just isn't right.

And it is such a lame, completely hackneyed thing to say, but it's like she knew she'd be the first to go. The way she withdrew, the way she lived every single second of her life and didn't ever seem to waste her time worrying about what she was supposed to do, it's like she knew. Not that it matters, she'll never have her first child, or complain about the indignities of getting old or retire to Arizona or...reconnect with the rest of us.

And so today, I am sad. And I don't really have anything profound to say about it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mommy Bliss

Before Gracie was born, I hated lazy vacations. The kind where you basically do nothing, you don't see any sights or eat any new food or climb mountains or figure out the subway in a country where you don't speak the language. I did it a few times, and it was fine, but mostly because I was also drunk at the time. heh. yeah. anyway. My point is, I like to be busy on vacation, and I hate the feeling of going home from a trip and realizing there were a million different things I didn't see.

But now?

Oh man.

My dream vacation would involve lots of lying around, stacks of magazines, sleeping, eating, running (but only so the sleep would be better and I could eat more), taking a two-foot deep bubble bath, sleeping, and have I mentioned THE SLEEP? In other words, a vacation I would've hated a year and a half ago.

It's like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Vacation Style!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Swimming

Gracie loves swimming. She loves swimming possibly more than anything in the world, including her blankie, this weird spaghetti that Stephen makes for her and she inhales by the fistful, and waking up at 5am. And people, G LOOOVES waking up at 5am.

Our last class was at a YMCA on the border of the city and the 'burbs. It was a teeny class, just Grace, a set of twins, and a little boy who only came two or three times, tops. The teachers were great, the water was warm, and G was in heaven. When it was time to register for a new class, they had changed the times around, and there were really no GOOD times for her sleep schedule. I was bummed, but decided to chance it with the saturday morning class...which filled up with members before it opened to the general public. I seriously agonized over what to do next, like my decision would make or break her Olympic dreams. I finally decided to sign up for a Sunday morning class at the Y down the street- not as nice, the time isnt' as good, they lump together all the parent/child age groups, but they had an opening. Okay then.

...aaaand I promptly missed the first class. Because the new session started the very next day after our last class at the old location, she would have had back-to-back days with swimming. Which, for the record, she would have loved, but I just didn't think it through. Woops. Combine that with the fact that we're not going next week and I assume we don't have class on Easter, and we are only going for five classes. And that probably seems like it should be disappointing, but...it's not.

The class is bigger. The pool is smaller. It's LOUD in there, sooooo loud. The water is positively FRIGID. The teacher is...fine. Not very nice. She walked up to us as we got in the water and said, "OK, you weren't here next week. what's her name? How old is she? OH. Is she afraid of the water?" She asked as Grace plunged her whole face in and cackled with glee. Right. Where our other class was songs and games, this class is drills. "Time to float! Make a circle! Have them jump!"

The other parents are not very friendly. There is one nice mom, and a nice enough dad, but the other parents, well, yeah, they're not friendly. I miss our old friends!!

I checked, and we can't get our money back. So we'll go. Gracie was the only baby NOT bothered by the icy cold waters of the pool, and even though her mommy wasn't as happy, you know what? She totally didn't notice a difference. She smiled and kicked and clapped just like she did at her old class. And I'm pretty sure the swimming lessons aren't for me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coping Skillz

For all my shmoopy, sappy, "I love being a mommmmmyyyy" days, there are still some days that just suck. You know the days, when they wake up at 4:30, take lousy, short naps, and are totally uninterested in any activity that doesn't involve sticking a fork in a socket, pulling heavy objects onto their heads, climbing bookcases, or other life-threatening activities? And you think, how the HELL am I going to make it to bedtime? I cannot do this. Not today.

We had one of those days on sunday. Fortunately, I knew EXACTLY what to do.



(Taken from the archives. Since it's, you know, freezing cold outside and also she has a lot more hair now.)

She's fourteen months old today. She still doesn't walk, though she loves to swim. She doesn't reeeally talk, though she jabbers like crazy. Most importantly, with notable exception above, this baby SLEEPS:)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nature is Weird

When I was in high school, I got dive-bombed by a bird. I did not do anything to said bird. I was just walking down the sidewalk and it buzzed me. I was completely freaked out. My dad told me I probably walked too close to its nest and it was defending its babies. I said the bird was an idiot, because what the hell could I possibly want with her stupidass babies?

Today I was loading groceries into the back of the car while Gracie sat in the cart, when a creepy old man came walking across the parking lot. I swear he was walking directly towards us. He never even made eye contact with me, and walked right past us into the store. He probably didn't even notice us.

We'll never know for sure, though. Once he was past us with his back turned, I jumped on his neck and pecked his fucking eyes out.

Friday, January 29, 2010

All By Myseelllllffff

Today I was alone in our house for the first time since Gracie was born. I guess if you want to get technical about it, the first time I was ever alone, since I was hugely pregnant with her when we moved in.

It was...weird. I was sort of excited to be able to run on the treadmill, clean the house, and not have to worry the noise from the tready would bother her while she slept, or she'd figure out a way to swallow arsenic while I was wiping down her floorboards. But when Stephen and his mom walked out the door with her, I had a moment of panic. It took everything in me not to squeal, "Ugh, wait wait wait, let me go get dressed, I'm going with you guys!"

Watching her leave is always the hardest part. It's like that when I go to work, too.

After that, it was oddly fine. Just...fine. I didn't slide into the front hallway in my underwear singing a played-out Bob Seger song, but I didn't weep and gnash my teeth by the window, either.

It might even be time to spend the night away from her...

(hellnoiamnotready.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

How I Complete Recertification

Read article and answer question

Check email

Skim totally boring article for answer to question

Check facebook

use antibacterial hand gel even though I am sitting in my office and there are no patients here

Check email

Curse asshole friends for not emailing me and giving me a reason to not work on recertification

Ooh! Blog! I can update my blog!

Feel intense self-irritation for typing most boring blog post ever

Go back to stupid stupid boring dumb recertification test.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One of Those Days

Even though Grace was an exceptionally tough newborn, I know the reality is that having a brand-new baby isn't easy for anyone. It's exhausting and overwhelming with very little reward. They don't smile or nuzzle or make fun noises, really, there's just screaming and not-screaming. And obviously it gets better, so, so, so much better, but every once in awhile, you have one of those really hideous days. And it almost sucks more than when you're waking up every two hours and the baby only stops screaming if you walk in circles around the dining room table while wearing your orange t shirt (ONLY the orange t shirt) and holding her facing out. Because, the thing is, when you have to wear a groove in the floorboards every damn night to keep the baby from crying, you just get used to everything sucking. You take joy in the little things (showering, eating food, etc). Then, life starts to get better and you look back and think, "Daayummn, that sucked. So glad THAT is over."

But it's never over. And some days just suck. Sometimes, babies decide they don't need to sleep at night OR nap. Sometimes, they decide they don't want anything to do with you. Sometimes, that happens on the same day that you kind of just don't feel very good to begin with.

Today was a not-very-fun day. And I know it's stupid to complain, there was nothing exceptionally bad or difficult or anything like that. It just...I don't know. It's just one of those things, I think. For me, it can be totally overwhelming, until I just stop and say, ok. Today sucks. It's not the end of the universe, it's just a sucky day.

(fer the love of god, can tomorrow be less frustrating?! criminy.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mommy Wars

As I was walking out of work last night, I caught a glimpse of Grace's birthday picture, stuck inside my ID case. I looked at her pudgy little cheeks and thought, I'm so proud we made it a whole year with breastfeeding.

...and then I instantly felt like I had to qualify that. To myself?! Yeah, I know. Anyway. Because breastfeeding is up there with vaccines, cosleeping, and circumcision in the world of mommy wars. When we want to be hard on each other, we chooses any of these topics to judge each other, look down on other people's decisions, and assure ourselves that our way is best and anyone who disagrees is wrong. And, gasp, maybe they don't even CARE!!!

It's not okay. We have to stop being so shitty to each other. And the thing is, I think we all know that. But we're all so insecure about what we're doing, and looking for validation that we're doing the right thing, and sometimes the way we do that is by looking down on other people's decisions. Other times, we've decided something after careful thought and research, and our choice seems like the ONLY choice. And sometimes we're just being assholes.

So I instantly feel guilty for being proud of something like nursing for a year, because it feels like I'm looking down on all the other moms who chose differently. And I'm really not. I mean, when I feel proud about having run a marathon, I'm not looking down on everyone who didn't, and nobody would think that for a second. Nobody would say, "Yeah, well you know, I tried really hard to run a marathon and I coudln't," or "You know there are other valid choices besides running a marathon. Walking a 5k isn't rat poison." (Ok, that analogy doesn't play out as well, heh.) So why do I have to qualify this? Is it something so totally unique and personal about motherhood that makes us all feel so defensive of our choices?

I am proud that I nursed Grace for a year. It was a lot of hard work, teaching her how to latch on, coaxing her back when she went on strike, pumping for what felt like hours at a time, carrying around extra weight for a whole year so I wouldn't risk my supply, and on and on. And I can be proud of that without judging anyone else, without thinking they made the wrong choice or judging them. But it doesn't really feel like it...

I don't have anything profound to say here, obviously, just something that's been rattling in my brain since yesterday.