Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not bored!

Yesterday my mom called me and said, "Those pictures of Nora are adorable! But you sound kind of... bored with her."

"What?" I said. "No I don't!" And then I reread what I wrote and, hey! Look at that! I sound totally bored with her!

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So of course I had to set the record straight. I mean, how could ANYONE be bored with this face?

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When I said that Nora's milestones are dull, I meant they are dull for OTHER people. Mostly people with no kids. Everyone can understand why, say, the first steps are big news, but it is not until you have kids that you can understand how very exciting the ability to sort of bat at dangling objects can be. Really! When I first noticed Nora doing it, I was all, "Hey, Andrew! Look! She's trying to hit the toy!" It really is pretty cool to watch these small bundles of screaming, sleepy need turn into actual human beings with real personalities, and batting at dangling objects is a step in that direction.

Plus, you know, there are the smiles to keep things interesting.

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So, for the record, Nora is far from boring. I love seeing her smile, hearing her laugh, and feeling her soft little body relax into mine when she gets sleepy. And I love watching her bat at things. And stuff her fist in her mouth, which, incidentally, is another milestone, because she can do it AT WILL.

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She wills it quite often.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Three months

Hey! Is it the 25th already?

At three months, the milestones are still very... how shall I put this? Dull. Yes, very very dull. Oh! Look! She's sort of trying to bat at that toy that is dangling in front of her! Oh, wait, she lost interest. But no denying that she can hold her head up with only a little wobbling!

But the smiles are real, though. So we'll keep her.

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Are those leg warmers she's wearing? OH YES THEY ARE. Giraffe print. She also has the flame ones.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not much to say

Well, that's not true. I have lots to say. But the thing is, it's hard to type when you're holding a baby all the livelong day. And when you're not holding a baby, you're doing work for your paying gig. So.

How are you doing?

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am a frood who really knows where her towel is

Swistle just posted a question about how best to tidy-ify her towels, and it made me think of my own towel dilemma. See, I want new bath towels. A completely new set of matching bath towels. Can I afford them? Actually, I don’t know. I probably can, but bath towels are probably one of those things that cost way more than they should. I wouldn’t know, as I have never bought a bath towel. I know that sheets sure are things that cost way more than they should, and towels are related items. I’m sure the awful, scratchy towels are quite affordable, though.

“You’ve never bought a bath towel?” you say. “Aren’t you, like, thirty?” Thirty-three, actually.* But see, here’s the thing. I’m a Yankee with Yankee sensibilities, and the towels we already have – most of which were wedding gifts – are still perfectly good. Do they match? No. Do they even come remotely close to matching? No. Do they at least complement the bathroom d├ęcor? No. Well, the two white ones do. But the rest? No. Not even a little bit. But do they successfully dry us off? Yes.

I only very recently allowed myself to get rid of the two towels I bought when I went to college. Oh, that’s right, I have bought a bath towel before. Two, even! But it was in 1994, so I can’t quite remember how much they cost. These towels were faded, ratty, and wildly frayed at the edges – and also FIFTEEN YEARS OLD – but whenever I considered getting rid of them I felt guilty because they still worked. They still absorbed moisture, and isn’t that what a towel is supposed to do, after all?

I finally was able to allow myself to relegate those two ancient towels to the rag bag, but I can’t seem to let myself get rid of the rest of the mismatched towels we have. The ones that we had before we were married (Andrew had several, and I had I think one other set that I only bought TEN years ago), and the ones that we got for our wedding that we don’t like. In fact, now that I write this, I realize we don’t like those towels because they do NOT absorb moisture particularly well and should therefore feel no guilt about getting rid of them. But they are the nicest looking towels we have since we hate them and never use them. See? Dilemma!

Sigh. I guess I’ll keep hoping they all accidentally get torn up in a freak laundry accident or something, and I can start over with a bunch of matching white towels that look pretty on my shelving unit. Stupid Yankee sensibilities.


*True story: I just had to ask Andrew how old I am, because I FORGOT. I thought I was thirty-two, but then I thought, “Wait, isn’t it 2009? Doesn’t that make me thirty-three?” The thing is, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what year it was.**

**I am very sleep-deprived.***

***But I don’t know what my excuse was before.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sick toddler

No preschool today, since Jack is nursing a cold and I don't want to infect the whole school. So now my morning is shot, but maybe this means he won't be bouncing off the walls this afternoon.

At any rate, Saturday was Curious George's birthday, which I found out thanks to Becca, and we went to the Boston Public Library to MEET GEORGE.

Sadly, our good camera broke minutes before we left, so we had to make do with my old point-and-shoot which has an old battery that lasts for only a few photos. Well, that and a FILM camera. I KNOW. FILM. WTF.

Still, we met George, and The Man With The Yellow Hat (film pics only of that one), and it was super cool. Plus, there were cupcakes, although the cupcakes had buttercream frosting which I have found sort of disgusting ever since I made it that one time. Do you know what buttercream frosting is made of? Butter and cream! It is ruined for me forever.

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Then we went home.

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How was your weekend?

Friday, September 11, 2009

And I Really Liked That Purse, Too

Dear Real Simple Magazine,

If your cover story is "Great style you can really afford," then the cover photo should not include a Prada purse that costs two thousand dollars. I cannot, in fact, really afford that.

Love,
Dr. Maureen

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Corn on the cob

We're having corn on the cob tonight. I made up a song a while ago about corn on the cob, it goes:

Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob
Who likes corn on the cob?
WE DO!


I was singing it just now. Jack is very into rhymes lately. Guess what rhymes with corn? I'll give you a hint: It starts with a "P".

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First day of school

So Jack went to pre-school today. It was incredibly surreal to leave him there, wide-eyed and mildly freaked out, with a bunch of strangers. But it was FANTASTIC to have the morning essentially to myself, and, although I couldn't banish the worry entirely, I knew he would love it. And he did. He was all smiles when I picked him up, and he sang me two new songs and said they read a book about monsters.

Sadly, despite the enforced rest period, he declined to take a nap and spent the rest of the afternoon finding new and ingenious ways to get on my VERY LAST NERVE. I knew it was because he was exhausted but too wound up from the new experience to sleep, but still. I am only human, and told Andrew when he finally arrived home a hundred million years later that HE would be putting the child to bed tonight.

Of course, that was before Jack put himself to bed at 6:00. In his clothes. Well, in his shirt, because he goes pantsless in the house these days thanks to the potty training.

And so I give you the following photo essay: September Days.

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First party dress

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Potty time

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Tummy time

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If SHE gets tummy time, I get tummy time

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OK, you are both forgiven

Which brings us to the First Day Of School Jig:

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I would also like to note that these size 3T pants I bought him, along with all the other 3T pants I bought him to replace the far too short size 2T pants, are all too long and also fall right off his non-existent butt if he's not wearing a diaper. Since the plan is for him to stop wearing diapers in the very near future, I guess I will be repurchasing his fall wardrobe. Sigh.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nora’s Birth Story: Part The Third

Part the First is here.
Part the Second is here.


As much as I was looking forward to not being pregnant anymore, I was concerned about being induced. First of all, being induced obviously meant that I’d be on Pitocin immediately, and since Pitocin was the trigger for getting the epidural the first time, I was afraid that my hypnobirthing trance would not be able to handle the Pitocin-heightened contractions. I was also worried about having to be on the monitor at all times, but less so because I was always lying on my back when I practiced my trances anyway. Still, I was determined to take the hypnobirthing as far as I could.

We arrived at the hospital at about 7:00 and headed up to the maternity ward. (May I take a moment here to comment on how odd it is to walk contraction-free into a hospital and know that you will be giving birth later that day? Because it is very odd.) It took a bit longer than I thought to get fully started, but by 8:00, my doctor was in inquiring about my last prenatal visit. (I go to a group practice, and he was not the one who had seen me.) I asked him what, exactly, they would be doing to me besides administering Pitocin, and he said it depends. “How many centimeters were you last time?” he asked.

“Zero,” I replied.

“ZERO?” he said, a bit surprised. “Who did the exam?”

“Judy,” I told him. He relaxed a bit at this news, and when he checked my cervix a few seconds later, I understood why. Judy is a nurse practitioner, and her exam the week before was essentially painless. Mildly uncomfortable, yes, but not any worse than a typical pelvic exam. This time, however, I thought the doctor’s fingers were going to come out of the top of my head.

“You’re at four,” he told me, as he scraped my membranes to get the ball rolling. “I doubt you were at zero last week. Judy probably just didn’t want to make you suffer. Your cervix is way up there.”

“LUCKY LUCKY ME!” I shouted. Except I didn’t really, because I am pathologically polite. I probably thanked him. Still, I was relieved that I had already made some progress, because zero centimeters at eight days post-date is really unacceptable, don’t you think?

The doctor started the Pitocin drip and left, and I settled down to get the hypnobirthing party started. Andrew had packed all the scripts, but since we hadn’t really been practicing together, I just wanted to listen to my hypnobirthing recording to get into the zone. The problem there was that the recording was only about thirty minutes long, and I anticipated being in labor slightly longer than thirty minutes. So once I was in a sort of floaty trance thanks to the hypnobirthing track, I switched over to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You might think this is an odd choice, but, in fact, nothing puts me into a trance faster than listening to Jim Dale read the works of J.K. Rowling. Andrew and I listened to the books on our numerous and endless car trips up and down the east coast while we were in grad school, and it never failed to put me to sleep, as long as I was not the one driving. I would get as far as, “Listening Library presents J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the” and then….. zzzzzzzzzz. It was like magic.

I spent the next three or so hours floating on a cloud of Jim Dale and Harry Potter, coming out occasionally to check in with Andrew. I have no idea what he was doing at this point. I think reading a book. I breathed my way through each contraction, instructing Andrew that he was not to tell me what numbers they were registering on the monitor. I remembered that the contractions were hitting “45” or so when I asked for the epidural with Jack, and I didn’t need any psychological triggers to hinder my hypnobirthing success.

Everything went swimmingly until about 11:00. The doctor checked my progress at, and I was at “five or six centimeters” by then. He upped my Pitocin a skooch and by 11:30 I was feeling it. I told my nurse I might vomit (vomiting is a running theme throughout my pregnancies), and she made me roll over onto my left side which didn’t help me with my hypnosis at all. But even though the contractions were definitely still painful despite the promises of hypnobirthing, the critical thing is that I was able to keep myself relaxed. Miserable, yes. Tense, no. I breathed my way through several more contractions, but by 11:45 I decided I wanted the epidural again.

I admit that I felt a small sense of failure, but only a small one. “Don’t worry about it,” my nurse told me. “A lot of times, the epidural speeds things up, because it helps you stay relaxed,” she added, as she supported me while the anesthesiologist did his thing.

That was at 12:00. At 12:10, my left side was numb, but I still had quite a bit of feeling on my right side, and rolled over to my right side to get the drugs to spread on the advice of the anesthesiologist. At 12:15, my nurse went on her lunch break, and the relief nurse questioned my judgment about lying on my right side. “It might drain the drug from your left side,” she said. I ignored her. At 12:20, I said, “I think I want to roll back onto my back. I feel… something.”

I didn’t know how to describe the sensation. I thought it was just the epidural-numbed contractions because I was certain that I was HOURS away from delivery. After all, Jack was born almost eleven hours after I got the epidural, and, as everyone knows, all deliveries are the same.

“Is it pressure?” the nurse asked me, as she helped me reposition myself. “Do you feel pressure?”

As soon as she said the word, I knew that pressure was exactly what I was feeling. “Yes! Yes! I feel pressure!” But I tried to keep myself from getting too excited, because the pressure couldn’t POSSIBLY be from the baby’s head, since I was, as noted, hours and hours away from delivery. I’d only gotten the epidural fifteen minutes ago! It hadn’t even fully taken yet! But the increased bustle in the delivery room suggested otherwise.

By 12:30, I was pushing. I pushed for three hours with Jack after having labored for over twenty, and was so drained of energy by the end that my doctor had to use forceps. Jack came out with a bruise and a laceration on his right cheek, a laceration which left a faint scar, despite all the promises that it would heal right up. Even though I’m the only one who ever notices that scar, and even though I have to search for it because it is so faint, I’ve never quite fully forgiven myself, silly as that may be. I was determined not to let it happen again, and I pushed with all my might.

“Wait for the contraction! Let the contraction help!” said my doctor. “I don’t want to!” I cried, much to the amusement of Andrew who wisely did not laugh.

“Is she almost out?” I asked, pretty sure of the answer. “Reach down and feel her head,” said the doctor.

That was pretty cool.

I pushed once, maybe twice more, and then watched her slide right into their waiting arms. It was 12:40.

Andrew and I looked at each other, and I wept in amazement and disbelief that it was over, that she was here. Andrew cut the cord and the next few minutes passed in a blurry haze of lusty cries (Apgar scores: 9 and 9), and some activity in my nether regions which I ignored because of the soft, tiny, beautiful baby girl they had just handed me. So so soft! Newborn babies’ skin is softer than anything you can imagine.

“Did you get to finish your lunch?” I asked my nurse while Andrew took a turn holding Nora Frances who would not get her name for another day at least.

“You know, when I said the epidural speeds things up, I didn’t mean by THAT much,” she told me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So, how goes the potty training?

Latest post at The Bump!

Eh, mezzo mezzo. You might recall my last post wherein I described an elaborate plan involving stickers and trucks and hopes of said trucks inspiring an attitude of eager willingness. Well that didn’t work out quite like I had planned.

In the first place, we had devised too complicated of a rewards program wherein Jack would get one sticker for peeing in the potty, two for pooping, and one sticker at the end of the day if he had tried to go on the potty every time we asked him to. And then, when the line of stickers reached all the way across the chart to the picture of the truck, he’d get the backhoe loader! But here’s the problem: YOU probably don’t even understand that last rule. I originally came up with it because I was trying to ensure a steady progress towards the truck. I thought that if he didn’t get stickers fast enough, he’d lose interest in the sticker chart and forget about the truck, but I was also worried that if I gave him a sticker every time he tried the potty, he’d just “try” until he earned the truck and then stop.

Read more at TheBump.com!