Thursday, December 30, 2010


It started at 2 a.m. Tuesday

I felt all kinds of crampy and sick but not the laboring kind (or so I thought). I spent four hours up and down, sick as a dog unable to keep anything in me. I thought it was a stomach bug that had been going around until I felt my water break around 6 a.m. and then it dawned on me. Oh yeah. I am 9 months pregnant.

It was a relief. I spent the night before fretting about leaving Peanut and going into the hospital. I was in tears I was so anxious. Now, I knew I wouldn't even have time to think about it. Baby Maddie was on her way.

I had deja vu, waking my husband to tell him it was time. I think I even used the same words, "Honey, don't freak out, but I think my water just broke." He had the same reaction as he did with Peanut, hopping out of bed and trying to rush me out the door. I, instead, wasn't having it and told him to calm down. I just wanted to stay in bed for a little bit longer.

Soon the contractions started, contractions that I couldn't walk or talk through, coming every three to six minutes. I knew I couldn't stay in bed so I joined the husband in his preparations. I called my sister to ask her to come get Peanut. She said she had been sick with the stomach virus and that she would come get her. We told her thanks, but no. We didn't need exposure to any bugs so we went to Plan B and dropped Peanut off at a friend's house who just happens to live near the hospital. Peanut was very excited when we woke her but not so happy when she realized she wasn't making the trip to the hospital with us. Thankfully, I was in mid-contraction during the fit so I couldn't get upset too.

Once at the hospital and up in the exam room, they confirmed that my water had broken but that my cervix was still Very High, just barely changed and just barely a finger tip dilated. I knew then we made the right decision to have another c-section. Again, relief. I knew what we were getting into.

By this point, it was 8 a.m. and they said they would take me back for the surgery at 9 a.m. Until then, I got the fun of the contractions, squeezing the husband's hand and breathing through them. It gave our parents time to get to the hospital and let me appreciate the fact that I wouldn't have hours and hours of that to look forward to.

After a few delays, I finally was wheeled back to surgery. It took an inordinate amount of time to get the spinal in. Way too many pokes and two doctors. I was sobbing by the time they got it but so very relieved when they finally did. I just kept telling myself that in a matter of minutes, Maddie would be with us.

Once things got rolling, the husband was let in and they wasted no time. I felt relaxed but alert enough to know what was happening. The staff was kind and talkative, engaging me and the husband through the process.

Then the doctor said, "Well, hello, chubby cheeks!" I heard her cry immediately and it was the biggest relief of my life. She was here. She was fine. Our family was complete.

They showed her to me and immediately I noticed her head full of thick, dark hair. She let everyone know what she thought with her cries and the sense of relief came over me again and again. She was fine. I was fine. We made it through it.

She weighed 8 lbs. even, almost a pound more than her sister and measured 20.5 inches in length. Her cheeks her unbelievable nom-nomable and her hair is screaming for bows to be put in it. She is low-key and calm and looks much like her sister except chubbier and with a lot more hair. She is nursing like a champ and sleeping great.

She is perfect.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She is here

Madeline Sarah had her own agenda and came a day earlier than planned. She is 8 lbs. and 20.5 inches and came yelling at the world at 10:39 a.m. Tuesday.
Pictures and story to come soon but she and I are both doing great. Daddy is already in love and Peanut declares her beautiful.
We are blessed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

While we wait -- Off-topic: Books

So, while we wait for Michelle's big news, I thought I would offer the last of this year's "Off-topic: Books" posts.

As of today, I've read 85 books this year. I probably, almost definitely will finish one more book before the year ends -- "When Everything Changed" by Gail Collins. It's less than last year's total, which was just above 100 (102? 103? My list is at home.), but it's an average of 7 books a month. Considering it was my first year with two children, I'm pretty damn proud of myself.

Here's are the highlights of my reading list in the last quarter of 2010:
  • Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro -- Depressing but lovely book that, though it's set in a dystopian future, feels like it might be set in mid-century.
  • Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta -- This is a self-contained (ONE BOOK!) young adult fantasy. Don't roll your eyes. It's really good. And more adult than young. And it's really about heritage and identity. Read it.
  • Sellevision, Augusten Burroughs -- Don't read this. I normally don't mention books I hate, but this is so bad, you deserve to be warned.
  • The Glass Castle and Half-broke Horses, Jeannette Walls -- The first is a beautiful, gut-wrenching memoir. The second is a fictionalization of Walls' grandmother's remarkable life. I love true stories. Makes my family seem normal.
  • Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier -- I couldn't remember this one at first, so maybe it wasn't great, but when my memory was jogged, I recall really liking this novel. The writing didn't wow me, but the subject matter -- women and archeology -- is surprisingly fascinating.
  • Just Kids, Patti Smith -- I am not a huge fan of Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, but the buzz around this memoir intrigued me, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Smith's writing is spare and elegant and her tales of New York City in the late 1960s and '70s have the feel of a fairytale.
  • All They Ever Had, Rick Bragg -- I would read anything Bragg wrote. He recently published an essay about mayonnaise that was laugh-out-loud funny. This is a sort of memoir about the mill town where he grew up and what the mill did and meant to them. Sad, funny and perfect.
If you're interested, here are the first three quarters.

What are you reading in 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seven stages before baby comes

You know the seven stages of grief? Well, here's my seven stages before baby comes. For me, this starts about two months before giving birth.

1. Preparation: This is when I start washing the clothes and blankets and imagining what my darling will look like in them. It involves sniffing a lot of baby laundry detergent and holding up wee little socks and dresses and saying things like "Wook at da wittle, itty, bitty, teeny, weeny sowks. Aren't dey soooooo cute," in my best baby-like voice while my husband just kind of looks at me.

2. Taking inventory: OK, the nursery isn't fully done. The curtains aren't hung, the crib isn't put together. Not really sure if the big bed is going to stay or go. Still haven't picked out paint. Haven't even thought of packing a hospital bag. Meh. I still have some time.

3. Reality sets in No. 1: Oh my. There is another human being that is coming into our lives. Who decided we were ready for this? No seriously. Was this your idea? What do you mean it was mine? I OK'd this plan? Are you sure?

4. Bargaining (also known as get this baby out of me): Please, dear God, let it be a month from now. Please, please get this child out of me. I'll pay the doctor extra if he takes me to the hospital right now. I know I still have four weeks to go but are you sure she isn't baked yet? I feel like she's good to go. No one thinks I will actually make it to Dec. 29. What do you mean that doesn't mean anything, doctor? You don't go by my mother's hunches? That's not medically sound?

5. Nope, still not quite ready: Wait a minute. The baby can't come yet. The nursery isn't done. We must paint. We must wash more itty bitty wittle things. The curtain rods aren't up yet. I haven't installed the baby car seat and I'm not even sure where the stroller is. Holy moly we need to get crack-a-lacking. (This is usually where my husband decides it is best to keep his mouth shut and just do what I ask given the wide-eye, wild look I've got going on. God bless his very patient soul.)

6. Reality sets in No. 2 (also known as slightly delusional): I'm ruining my first child's life by bringing another child into this house. I'm not sure how we made it through the first one. Are you sure we can do it again? I really like that I'm sleeping now. I'm not ready to not sleep. Did you say this was my idea?

7. No turning back: Hopefully this involves less anxiety and more peace. Usually comes once labor starts or when I roll into the hospital for delivery. Then I get that little bundle of joy in me arms and realize all the worry was for nothing because nothing in the world could make my life more complete than this little being. The lack of sleep will be worth it. The hormonal jags will be worth it. The spit up and poopy diapers will all be worth it just so I can wake up to that face and that or her big sister's every morning and know that I am truly blessed.

I'm looking forward to No. 7 right now. Just about 40 hours more.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The best Christmas present still

I've gotten many great presents over the years: my own little crafting box, She-Ra's castle, a robin's egg blue outfit with lace leggings that I still think was the coolest thing ever. One Christmas, I got a diamond ring because my mom decided a girl's first diamond should be from her parents. Another Christmas, the husband bought me a diamond bracelet. My sister bought me a mezzaluna chopper that I use at least once a week preparing dinners.

But without a doubt, the best Christmas present I have ever received -- or will ever receive -- arrived last year at 7:29 p.m. I just put him to bed. His name is Wes Avett. He is my little Wesdebeest. The beastiest beast who ever beasted.

And yes, that's the kind of baby talk you hear in my house.

I'm getting a little teary just thinking about the last year. It's so cliche, but I really can't believe it's been a year. I can't imagine a day without The Lad's dimply smile yet it seems like just yesterday I was yelling at the nurse and a borrowed midwife to just hold my legs for the love of god, because this baby is coming. The Lad, who really is known mostly as The Beastie Beast, has been a smiley, curious and active baby from the start.

How could you not love those dimples?

He nursed easily, making me feel better about the one nagging annoyance I had from my first pregnancy. He's never been a great napper -- we're lucky these days if we get an hour or so -- but made up for it by skipping colic. He rolled early and has been moving ever since, crawling and climbing and now walking. Just in the last two days, The Beast went from stringing together a few steps before resorting to lightning fast crawling to teetering around everywhere on two feet. I wouldn't be surprised if he ran tomorrow. He's like that. I had a hard time figuring out what to buy him for Christmas and his birthday because he only wants his brother's toys. Baby toys I saved for him mostly have gathered dust as he's chased after The Boy.

Thanksgiving -- despite a rash-causing virus, The Lad was determined to have his turn.

"Merry Christmas and happy birthday!" I said this morning when I went in to get him out of the crib. The Boy and I brought him out into the living room, where the tree presided over a pile of gifts. The Lad, put down, made a beeline for the unwrapped, just-his-size trike from Santa (ie Grammy and Papaw). "Whoa!" he said. "Whoa!" He was on it in seconds, scooting around the house. Later, he was playing with a racetrack he'd gotten with the husband. The cars rolled over a spot on the track to turn the noise on; the husband couldn't figure out at first that that was what was happening. While he puzzled over it, The Lad smacked the exact spot to make the thing play music and light up. That's The Beast for you. He's not super verbal -- though he's starting to say words and phrases -- but he's very physical, very busy and very mechanical.

Happy birthday, Beastie.

And merry Christmas to you! Hope it was a lovely one.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are you sure?

That is the question I keep getting at the OB/GYN when they look at my chart and see that I am scheduled to have my tubes tied at the time of the baby's birth.

"You know you can't reverse that right?"

"Are you 100 percent sure?"

And the answer is, yes. I am sure. This is the last baby for us.

Earlier in our marriage, I had toyed with the idea of more than two kids. But I've never had a burning desire to have a large family.

And while I wouldn't classify my pregnancies as traumatic, they aren't pleasant for me. I love the fact that my body is able to create a life and that I am nurturing that life. I love the fact that I get a squishy baby at the end that means more than anything in the world to me. I love the fact that I get to raise that child into what I hope will be a loving, productive member of society.

But the pregnancy itself? Meh.

The husband I have discussed it and it just makes sense for our family to have two kids. While he wants a boy, he's also terrified of the notion of having three girls plus ME. That's a lot for any man to handle. He's already going to have his hands full with all of us.

I know there will come a day when I hold someone else's newborn or see a pregnant woman and sigh wistfully thinking for a split second that maybe, just maybe we could have kept going. But, I know it will be a feeling I can overcome quickly when I look at my own complete family.

How did you know your family was complete?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Perhaps a pet?

Florida is buggy. So, we have a bug man who kills the bugs. And I don't even care that he uses icky things. I just want the bugs dead.

It's cold right now, so these tiny, itty-bitty ants are coming in through the boys' bathroom window, crossing single-file across our living room and crawling into an interior wall for warmth via an electrical outlet. I am not happy about this. We called the Bug Man.

Normally, The Boy hates bugs. But for whatever reason, he's taken a liking to these ants. Lying on the floor this morning, he watched the ants marching and said, "Hello my ants! Hello!" He was very upset when the Bug Man arrived.

"Momma, I don't want my ants to be killed!"

The ants are not staying. We are not ready for a dog. We already have a cat -- although The Boy informed the husband that she is "not nice" and we need a different one. I'm thinking maybe a goldfish. Or frogs?

Any ideas for easy-peasy trainer pets?

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Daring Wesdebeest

Things we have caught The Lad doing:

1. Standing on top of the toilet, giggling and flipping through the basket of kid-sized washcloths on the tank. He climbed up using The Boy's potty stool while I washed bottles after work.

2. Sifting through the litter box, giggling.

3. Standing in his high chair, one foot on the arm rest as if he were going to climb up and leap out. This was a first. He always stands when he's finished eating, but usually we get him up and out before it goes further. Not that we knew he would try to go further. We should have suspected.

4. Balancing on the back step of The Boy's tricycle, obviously trying to figure out how to get onto the seat without slamming his face into the bars.

5. Attempting to climb into my reading chair while carrying a bucket full of toys. The bucket is nearly as big as he is.

6. Trying to figure out how to work the Windex that was in the (I thought) child-proofed kitchen cabinet and thankfully turned to the off position. Apparently The Beast is too smart for safety.

7. Standing on The Boy's Sit-and-Span, laughing wildly, dancing to the toy's music and wiggling the turning board under his toes.

8. Sliding feet-first off our bed without assistance. At least he's figured out that head-first is not optimal.

9. Fetching the house phone, dialing a couple numbers and handing it to the Daddyman, as if to say, "Here. It's for you."

10. Sitting in the isolation exersaucer at daycare for a baby-sized timeout after a thwarted biting attempt. Oh yes. That's right. I have another biter.

Sigh. He's just so darn cute though.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yes, I am still pregnant

Yes, I am still pregnant but at 5 a.m. I didn't think I was going to be much longer.

I couldn't sleep last night, tossing and turning, alternating between horrible heartburn and nausea. I finally dozed off sometime after midnight, only to wake back up before 4 a.m. with contractions and nausea. For about two hours, I had irregular, mild contractions.

Sometime around 4:45 a.m., I gave up on sleep and started folding laundry and watching the unseen moments from 16 and pregnant. I could walk and talk through the contractions so I knew it was nothing too serious but I also had this burning need to get things done around the house ... immediately.

Finally, I fell asleep on the couch around 6:30 a.m., only to wake a little while later and stumble back to bed. I got up and decided today was the day for the final prep, just in case. So far, I've accomplished most of what I needed to - tidying the house, laundry and I'm going to tackle present wrapping as well as a trip to the store to get all the postpartum necessities.

All this is to say I am ready to give birth. Now. Yesterday.

I lost my ankles Friday night. My socks felt all pinchy and when I looked down, I realized they had swelled to almost twice their size. Here's the problem though: if I stay busy and on my feet, I swell up terribly. If I take it easy, sitting or lying down, my hips hurt like crazy.

I'm at the stage where people who see me on a daily basis give me the sympathetic head tilt and say, "You hanging in there OK?" and the people who don't see me call me daily all excited to see if anything has happened.

The good news is we are as ready as we will ever be. The nursery is ready. Clothes, blankets and towels are washed. My bag is packed (finally). My sister, who is our closest relative, is off from work for two weeks and can come be with Peanut at a moment's notice (plus we have two back-up offers).

So stay tuned ... you never know when this could happen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am a sap

The Boy's first Christmas concert was this morning.

I nearly started crying when the first class, WHICH DID NOT EVEN INCLUDE MY CHILD, started the concert with a "Hark the Herald Angels." But you guys, it was 4-year-olds ringing bells! Dressed in Christmas outfits! Sweater vests! Clip-on ties! Red velvet dresses! Velvet pants! The Boy's little buddy -- meaning, an ornery little boy -- kept his bell clamped to his chest, with his brow furrowed, any time he wasn't ringing it. My working theory is that he'd gotten in trouble for ringing at the wrong time and was determined to do it right.

So yeah, tears.

And then The Boy's class came out. (The Boy, for the record, was wearing navy cords, a button-down shirt and green and navy argyle sweater vest.) The Boy, like most of them, was a deer in headlights looking out at the audience. My child -- who never ever shuts up at home, who makes up his own songs and sings them at the top of his lungs, who tells me, "Momma. You SHOULDN'T interrupt my song" -- sang for approximately 3 seconds of their two songs. However, he was well-behaved. The little boy next to him (in a red sweater!) kept hugging The Boy around his shoulders and whispering in his ear, and every time, The Boy would turn to the kid with his finger to his lips and say, SHHHHH!

I laughed so hard I cried. That's my excuse anyway.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas elf

We went to paint our Christmas ornaments a few weeks ago. We got one for our family -- an angel -- and one for The Lad's first Christmas, a tree. The Boy ended up painting the tree black.

It was a physical effort for me not to snatch the brush out of The Boy's hand. But I did it. I let him paint the damn tree black.

I love Christmas. I love the lights and the smell of pine and the glitter of ornaments. I love wrapped packages and the sound of tearing paper and the oh! of surprise after a good one is opened. I love baking cookies; I love eating cookies. I love spending time with family and the holiday's messages of love and peace.

I love all those things because I had such lovely Christmases growing up. They weren't all about the toys, I don't think. I mean, we always had plenty of gifts under the tree, but looking back, it's not gifts that I remember most. It's family. I remember walking home in the cold and the dark, looking at stars, after Christmas Eve at Grandma's. I remember Dad waking us up every Christmas morning because he couldn't wait any longer. I remember sending Dad on a scavenger hunt for his presents. I remember the look on Mom's face the year Dad surprised her with a diamond ring. (OK, maybe that's a gift, but it was a very special and unexpected one.) I remember burning my tongue on monkey bread not even out of the pan. I remember Cookie Days.

I want my boys to have special Christmases. I want them to remember more than the loot Santa and the grandparents send. So, I make a big deal about trimming the tree and making ornaments and baking cookies. Right now, The Boy is sitting next to me on the couch, up late and cuddled with his blanky to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.

But I've noticed myself getting cranky this holiday season because I feel like the sole repository of Christmas cheer. I'm the damn Christmas elf. It doesn't help that we've had a plague on our house; everyone's been sick. But like most mothers, I've been the one buying and baking and wrapping and planning. The fact that it's by my own design (The husband offered to address cards: No, I said, people have to read them. I did let him wrap a couple things.) doesn't stop me from feeling put-upon.

It's taken a concerted, physical effort to stop, breathe, ask for help and just enjoy the damn moment instead of worrying about everything being perfect. Sometimes not quite perfect is pretty good.

Of course, I'm still going back to paint The Lad a real first Christmas ornament. Poor thing shouldn't have everything taken over by his brother.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's like she knows something is coming

Peanut's behavior in the past week has become interesting.

It's like she knows something is about to happen. Something big.

She saw the baby bath tub I got out to clean and insisted on taking a bath in it.

She's been very clingy, alternately with the husband and me. She gravitates to her father generally but has been clinging to me and then extra clingy to him. If she's in one room and I go into another, she runs after me in a panic. She's very loving and huggy and kissy. All lovely things but she seems to be laying it on thick.

She's also had two Massive Fits already this week. She's prone to a fit every once in awhile. She's a toddler. It's a given. But Sunday, she went nuts over something I can't even remember at this point. High-pitch screaming, crying. She did it again at the babysitter's house today over a ham sandwich. For almost an hour. This, ladies and gentleman, might be a record for my Peanut. Both times, she calmed with a little quiet time on her own and some soothing.

We have been talking about the new baby with her all this time and she's been very excited, promising hugs, kisses and songs. The other night, she insisted on going to the store to get juice and crackers for the baby and tonight, she and the husband went to buy pacifiers for the baby on Peanut's suggestion.

We've explained to her that the baby is coming to live with us, that sometimes she will cry and that mommy and daddy will need to take care of her. We've also tried to appeal to the helper side of her, asking if she will help us give baths and change diapers, both of which she readily agreed to do.

I'm assuming the uptick of talk of baby and the fact that the nursery is done is triggering some of her behavior. The husband and I talked last night and we don't think there is much more we can do to prepare her.

Did you notice a change in behavior with your older child right before the younger one was born?

Monday, December 13, 2010


The Lad is subsisting on air, orneriness, milk and bananas.

We can probably add stray cat hair and crayon bits to that list. Os, too, especially petrified ones found on the floor.

It's not quite that bad, but it certainly is not a well-rounded diet. Sometimes, he eats everything in sight and begs for more. Other times -- even if it's something he's maowed on before -- he just plays. There's no rhyme or reason to it. I've given up looking. I'm not really worried. It's just funny because it's such a far cry from his brother, who at a year was vacuuming up any food faster than we could put it on his plate. The Lad would rather take all of his food off his plate, then swing his arms back and forth so it flies off the high chair tray.

That's The Beast for you.

If he's feeling sweet, as he was tonight, he'll pick up every little bit of black beans and rice and put it, at your request, back into the bowl. And then he'll pick up the bowl and dump it, cackling with joy at the mess.

He's lucky he's cute.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The hospital bag: a list extravaganza

I still haven't packed for the hospital. Well, that's not exactly true. I got cute little travel toiletries at Target yesterday and I have Maddie's clothes ready. But that's about it. I'm at least thinking about it.

(I've come to conclusion that if I do go into labor, I'm just going to hospital with whatever I've got on me. The husband can get the rest and I'll survive. This is soooo much different than how I was the first time around. I'm sure my bag had been packed for weeks at this point.)

Anyway, I asked over on our Facebook page what you packed that you didn't need and what you wished you had.

Things people wished they had:
Hair ties
Lounge pants and nursing top
Charged cameras
Life cereal (because pregnancy cravings didn't end after birth)

Things people said they packed but didn't need:
Nightgowns (because it was a pain to hike up every time someone wanted to do an exam)
MP3 player and books

Things people had that they were happy about:
Boppy pillow
Lavender room spray

Swistle wrote about this, specifically for C-sections a couple weeks ago and had some good suggestions.

Here's my essentials:
My own pillow
My boppy
My own pajamas (some will disagree but I felt more comfortable in my own things)
Robe, slippers and socks (so I can feel comfortable walking around the halls to prove that I can leave sooner.)
Camera/Video camera
Nursing bras (I will never forget when my milk came in with Peanut. I walked out of the bathroom, staring at these monstrous mounds attached to the front of me and said, "Um, I think my milk came in." The husband took one look and said, "Um, you think?"

Things I won't be taking:
Laptop (I promise to update as soon as I get home)
Books and/or magazines (because really, I'll either be sleeping or admiring the baby.)

What about you? What would you suggest taking? Not taking?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

happy day/decade

So, I'm 30.

I was thinking last night as I fell asleep about when I turned 20. I was at home on winter break, working at the grocery store where I had worked all through high school, feeling melancholy because my high school boyfriend had gotten married and I was not even dating anyone. I was excited but extremely nervous about spending the next quarter in Mexico. I felt chubby -- and was a little -- and was about to get more so, thanks to beans, tortillas and copious amounts of tequila and Mexican beer. I was happy, but not very fulfilled. I was in-between and unsure. It was an exhilarating but exhausting place.

I feel settled now, happy in my skin and my home, in my job and my life. It's not where I thought I would be at 20, but it's a good place. I'm emotionally and physically healthier than I think I've ever been. I have a great husband and two beautiful boys, good friends, a lovely family and a job that's challenging and rewarding. I'm a lucky woman. There still are question marks -- that's life, right? -- but I'm much more confident to handle whatever happens.

I think the 30s are going to be a good decade.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chatter and Alibis

I knew the second I heard her strained "Hello." that my sister was having a rough evening.

"What's up?"

"Oh nothing. I am just about ready to kill the kids and figured I better call somebody. You know. Then I can say, No, can't possibly have been me who strangled them. I was on the phone."

I heard my nephews screaming in the background. My own boys were squealing around my feet as I tried to get dinner. The husband, who is sick (lord help us), was sitting half comatose on the couch.

"Momma! Is it dinner yet? ... I TOLD you, Daddy. We're having grilled cheese. I told you!" The Boy gloated.

"Yeah," I said into the phone. "Know that feeling."

None of our boys were being bad, exactly. But sometimes we feel trapped by the endless chatter, the sporadic whining, the random cries over a grave injustice witnessed by no one but them.

Yes, it's lovely to hear your son -- this tiny person who only a few years ago was a mewling, helpless lump -- tell elaborate stories about rocketships crashing on the moon and kitties lost and missing their momma. It's wonderful to get a hug from an almost-1-year-old. Unprompted "I love you, Momma"s and snuggles and kisses are great.

And yes, yes, yes! to all the old people who tell me at the grocery store, at the library, in parking lots and anywhere else I happen to be with my little heathens in tow: YES! I know it goes quickly. And yes! I am enjoying it while I can.

Most days.

Some days, sometimes all that jibber jabber is just enough to send you over the edge.

And that's when you call your sister. Thank god for sisters. (And for moms and friends.) Who do you call when the children are closing in?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Maternity leave

I'm planning on taking at least nine weeks right now for maternity leave. This morning, with temps not even reaching freezing, I was wishing I could start it right now, but alas, no. I have too much to wrap up at work and not enough time saved.

I keeping daydreaming of how wonderful maternity leave will be. Somehow I have pictured an idyllic scene of a wintry landscape outside. The baby and I will be curled up on the couch while I read and Peanut quietly plays by herself. At the same time, the laundry will magically be done, the kitchen cleaned and dinner warming in the oven, just waiting for the husband to arrive home from work.

Yeah, I know, I'm going to be disappointed.

When I was pregnant with Peanut, I had grand plans to do so much on maternity leave. About the only thing that got accomplished is that we all survived. I remember one particularly heinous day that Peanut screamed and screamed and screamed for hours and nothing I did soothed her. When the husband arrived home late from work, I was sobbing on the couch with a baby who finally had cried herself to sleep. He took one look at me, called his mom and asked her to come stay with us for a day or two.

In my big plans for this maternity leave, I'd like to potty train Peanut, or at least lay the ground work. I also want to try to do more cooking and find easy, healthy recipes that I can make once I go back to work. And since I'm getting a Nook for Christmas, I am looking forward to getting some reading done without having to leave my house to go to the library or book store.

What I should probably focus on is being happy if I get a shower every day and snuggling with my girls.

What was your maternity leave like? Did you get anything big accomplished?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worth it

"I'm very happy."

The Boy's voice came unprompted from the backseat. When I looked back at him, he was smiling and his eyes were shining. His face was the picture of contentment as he stuff his dirty stinky blanky into his mouth.

It had been a long morning. We all got up at 4 because the husband was running a half marathon about an hour south, and the race started at 6:15. I contemplated skipping it, but decided to endure the early hour and the chill because I couldn't bear the thought of his running without a cheering team after the last half marathon fiasco, when he landed in the hospital. Also, The Boy knew about the race, which meant that wrangling kids in public for a couple hours would be preferable to an entire morning at home filled with endless questions -- "Where's Daddy? Is he running a race? When is he coming home? Why didn't we go?"

So off to West Palm we all went. The husband dropped us at a shopping center near the race at 5:30; we'll be fine I told him. If Starbucks isn't open, I'm sure Panera will be -- at least by 6.

Yeah. Neither opened until 7. Thank god I had the wherewithal to remember to throw a ball and a baggie of Os and raisins in my bag. I felt less prepared when The Boy desperately had to pee and there was no bathroom. Using the stroller and his brother for cover, I taught my son that, when all else fails, a dark public corner will suffice. It was a proud moment.

Finally, Starbucks opened. I ordered a well-deserved peppermint mocha and milk for the boys. We suffered through another public -- but private this time! -- bathroom break. We got to the race in just enough time to check out boats on the waterfront before the Daddyman finished. I made a point of waving at him as he ran past and then stayed put. Surely, I thought, he'll be smart enough to see us in this pretty, uncrowded spot and come meet us here instead of making me haul the kids through those thousands of people.

The husband was not that smart. Thirty minutes later, after I had dragged The Boy threw the crowd and found the husband, I bit my tongue from shouting at him in public.

But then we were all together. And there was a fountain to check out. And a bench to jump off. And sidewalks for the husband and The Boy to play tag on. And we stopped for brunch on the way home. The Boy loves a good restaurant.

After his declaration in the car, I thought about the morning from The Boy's perspective. We saw a giant Christmas tree all lit up. We played ball in a place where people were shopping the day before. We played hide-and-sneak (I hope he never learns how to say this right). He peed on a wall. There were a couple M&Ms in the snack bag. There was chocolate milk at the coffee place. He was allowed to throw things in the water and saw boats and a bunch of dogs. The Daddyman ran a race. The Boy got his medal and a banana and ran to the car with him. The sun was shining and we had an adventure.

"I'm pretty happy, too, kiddo."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sassy McSasserson

Have you ever had a moment with your child where you understand why some animals eat their young? Where your brain melts out your ears? Where you hear your mother's voice simultaneously come out your gritted teeth and mocking you in your head?

I had that moment in the Kohl's parking lot.

Peanut kept asking me for crackers. I told her she could have some once we got to the babysitter's house. As I strapped her in to her seat, she asked for at least the fifth time. I said, "I told you. You can have them when we get to B's."

I walked around the car and slid into my seat just to hear her say, "I told you I want my crackers in the car. Are you listening to me?"

Ladies and gentlemen, she's 2.5 years old.

I whipped around and told her sternly that she is NOT allowed to talk to me like that.

She pouted but I didn't hear anymore sass.

Please tell me your toddler has pulled something like this.

Random cuteness

I told you The Lad's first word was "Whoa!" (I'm sticking to my guns on this debate. While The Beastie does use mama and dada to mean us, he does so indiscriminately. Dada is just as easily directed at me as it is the husband. The husband says this is good enough -- dada means parent -- but I say no. Anyway ...) What I didn't tell you is how ridiculously cute it is to have The Beast shouting, "WHOA!" at every. little. thing.

The cat walks by. Whoa!
We walk outside and a breeze brushes his cheek. Whoa!
A car drives past. Whoa!
A restaurant has a Christmas wreath. Whoa!

We stopped at a grocery store on the way home and the husband and The Boy ran in to get a few things while The Lad and I waited in the car. He started fussing, so I unbuckled him and pulled him into the front seat with me. Whoa! His head went on a swivel. Whoa! Every time he says it, his eyes get wide and twinkly and his mouth pulls into a perfect O.

I, of course, don't have a picture of this perfect little face. But here's this one, which has about half the cuteness quotient, to give you an idea.


The Boy is discovering knock-knock jokes. He has discovered the intro, but the punchline continues to elude him. He likes to say, "Knock, knock!" and expects you to say, "Who's there?" but never has an answer for you. Well, sometimes he has an answer. "The Boy!" he'll shout and then laugh like crazy.

And once he shouted, "Chicken poop!"

He's lucky he's cute.