Friday, December 3, 2010

Belly Shot -- 29 Weeks

Okay, my sweet Michigan friend, here's the belly shot you requested:



I'm not a big fan of "the belly shot" since I'm too vain to want to make record of a rapid and steady weight gain, but I can't say no to my friend! Sorry for the lousy picture quality--I wasn't about to setup a tripod and a high-def camera!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

101 Days Later...

I am now 202 days pregnant with 78 days to go. It's hard to believe that in 2.5 months Little Femme will be joining our family. So much has happened since I last wrote, yet so much has remained the same.

I continue to think about Little Husband and how he will feel when a new sibling appears and competes for my attention. Little Husband is a very independent little kid, but I suspect that his limits will be pushed once he gets wind of the change in our household. My newest concern is that I will miss him terribly while I am in the hospital. I think I'm more attached to him than he is to me. He's my little sidekick, after all. I feel incomplete without him.

On that note, today while picking him up from preschool a thought occurred to me: having a child affords you the ability to experience that fluttery, in-love feeling. If you've ever fallen in love, you know what I'm talking about. Your stomach has butterflies, your heart races and you have a wonderful feeling of euphoria. This is how I feel every day when I look at Little Husband.

This is not to say he is perfect; he is two, after all. He throws his share of tantrums and tests my patience hourly, but somehow we both manage to get through it and come out the other end with plenty of hugs and kisses for each other.

My apprehension about adding a fourth member to our fledgling family is fading. This is entirely due to Husband who always puts his family first. So many times throughout the day we find ourselves talking about our favorite subject, Little Husband, and somehow it never gets old. Husband is my biggest champion and somehow he manages to make me feel attractive in the midst of my ever-expanding waistline. In the dark of the night he reaches out and holds my hand as we drift off to sleep. He is my very best friend and I can't imagine going through this with anyone else. He is a wonderful father and there's no trait more attractive in my book. I thank God for him every day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

101

101 is the temperature outside. 101 also happens to be number of days that I am pregnant. Our Brookstone Wireless Weather Forecaster tells me that it "feels like 106 degrees". I wouldn't know; I've been staying indoors.

Unlike my last pregnancy, I don't find myself consumed by thoughts of this baby. In fact, much of the time I completely forget that I am pregnant. I'm not really showing (although in my honest opinion I think I look like I'm getting a beer belly) (husband disagrees but that's because he's sweet). If I lay down I don't look pregnant at all which, in my opinion, is a pretty good argument for laying around the house all day (husband also disagrees). I'm in the second trimester so I no longer have that pesky nausea that plagued me during weeks 8 and 10. I still have my maternity clothes from last time so I'm not worried about finding things that fit. In truth, most of my thought process surrounds Little Husband. I know this will change when baby #2 arrives, but still it's a little disconcerting.

Of all the weird things to worry about, I worry that I won't love baby #2 as much as I love Little Husband. Why is that? Do I not think I'll have enough love to go around? One of my more experienced friends told me to think of it this way: my love won't be divided, rather, it will multiply. That gave me some measure of comfort.

Still, just the thought of giving birth and spending a few days and nights away from Little Husband makes me sad. I've spent a few days away from him before and it was no big deal for either party, but for some reason this seems different. I will greatly miss reading him bedtime stories and tucking him in at night. As odd as it is to say, I feel like I'll be cheating on him. I know this will all iron itself out in time, but for now this is honestly how I feel. Perhaps I can read his bedtime stories to him over Skype. Not to boast, but no one reads "Barnyard Dance" like me, in fact, if you can't give me a "barnyard beat", you're not a contender. You should hear my "cock-a-doodle-doo" when I read, "Mr Brown Can Moo--Can You?". No wonder Little Husband doesn't know what an inside voice is!

For the record, I think I'm having a girl. We've already had a few sonograms and each time I beg the sonographer to see if she can determine the sex but the baby is just too small. Our next appointment is 10 days away at which time I will be almost 16 weeks pregnant. I am hoping at that time that we'll know what we're having. In truth, I hope it's another boy. Nothing would make me happier than having two little wild Indians running around the house. Naturally a girl would be wonderful too. Above all, I just pray that this baby is healthy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Blame Game

One of the most important pieces of baby gear that one should own--in my opinion--is a baby video monitor. We didn't buy one until Little Husband was around five months of age and I could have kicked myself for not getting one sooner. Not only does it give you incredible peace-of-mind as a new parent, it also serves as a great tool for sleep training. Thanks to the video, I knew exactly when I needed to go in and intervene while LH tried to fall asleep. I also knew when to leave him be and let him fall asleep on his own.

The video monitor also clued us in to the idiosyncrasies that befell our little man. If he's thrown all of his toys/blankets/pillow out of the crib, we knew that he had pooped his diaper. If he was standing and bellowing at his bedroom door, we knew that we were being too loud in the kitchen. We quickly learned that if he cried out in the middle of the night, it was because he was searching for his beloved "Blankie" in the dark. Once the object of his affection was found, he would contentedly drift off to sleep. Most important: if Blankie somehow fell out of the crib, we always knew to go into Little Husband's room and retrieve it for him.

Side bar: LH is not stupid. Once he realized the cause-and-effect of this action, he began "dropping" Blankie on the floor all the time. We're not stupid either: we quit going in to retrieve Blankie for him, and after a few Blankie-less nights, he quick accidentally-on-purpose dropping it.

My point of all this is to say that I love our video monitor. I cannot live without it. I think that most people don't buy one because of their sky-high price (quality ones go for upwards of $180). Considering what people spend on baby clothing that they only get a few months' worth of use out of, the video monitor is a bargain since you can use it for years.

One night, while helping me clean up after dining on our front deck, Husband, in all his masculine efficiency, decided to bring in the video monitor while simultaneously carrying a large pile of dishes. I looked over to see him pinching the video monitor between his thumb and index finger in such a way that his thumb was pressed firmly against the video screen. I didn't think anything of it until I picked up the monitor later and saw a thumb-shaped white spot on the video screen.

"What the...", I asked myself, "What's this?" I tuned to husband and showed him the monitor's screen.

"Huh---I wonder what that is?" he replied.

"I think it's a thumb print. In fact, I think it's your thumb print!"

As if to prove it, I took husband's thumb and put it up against the spot. "Yup--definitely your thumb print. I think you burned out the screen when you were carrying the monitor earlier!"

What Husband didn't know is that I covertly held my thumb up against the white spot as well, to see if it could be mine. It could have, but since I'd caught Husband in the act of carrying the monitor in such a way that could cause the burnout, I decided to let the blame reside with him. He accepted it, no questions asked.

I did a little research in the ensuing weeks and learned that you cannot buy a replacement monitor. You can buy a replacement camera, but not a replacement monitor. If we wanted another one, we'd have to fork over another $200.

It really wasn't a big deal except that sometimes we couldn't see what Little Husband was doing in his crib because the burnout spot was in the way. Then one day the spot got a little bigger.

"Husband! You've got to stop carrying the monitor with your thumb over the video screen! Look at this---the burnout spot is spreading and I know it's not me doing it!" I told Husband one evening.

He looked at the monitor in dismay. "I swear I'm not doing it," he said, "perhaps it's the baby sitter."

I wasn't convinced, but I had to admit that it was a possibility. I blew on the monitor and rubbed my fingers lightly over the burnout spot but that seemed to make no difference.

Last week we went to the beach and brought the video monitor with us. A few days into our trip we noticed that the burnout spot was gone! "Holy cow!" I exclaimed! "How on earth did it fix itself?"

Husband and I then commenced devising elaborate, scientific reasons why the monitor repaired itself.

"It's got to be the humidity!" I declared. "It somehow caused the video screen to expand thus peeling the layers apart and correcting the problem!"

"Perhaps it's the salt in the air. Salt is a great electrical conductor and once it corroded the internal components it actually served to increased the charge of the current thus fixing the screen!" was Husband's theory.

We didn't spend much more time thinking about it, we were just glad that it was fixed.

A week went by and our vacation ended and we made our way home. Husband dutifully hung the video camera in its place over the curtains in LH's nursery and aimed it at the crib. That night we resumed our ritual of turning on the monitor after putting him to bed.

"Oh holy crap," I said "Look at that--the screen is burned out again!"

Husband grabbed the monitor and peered at it. "How could that be?" he asked.

"I have no idea! You must have pressed the screen with your thumb again!" I blamed.

"No, I definitely did not--wait a minute! I know what that white spot is. That's the curtain rod!" Husband said. "It's slightly in the way of the camera lens, and it's so close that it appears as a white spot on the screen. That's what's been wrong all this time!"

"What? Wait a minute---!" I grabbed the monitor and peered at it closely, Then I held it out and looked at it from a distance. Then I peered at it again closely. "Holy crap, you're right!" I told Husband. Then I collapsed in a chair and laughed until I couldn't breathe.

"All these months you had me convinced that I'd broken the video monitor!" he said, which only caused me to laugh harder.

Net result? Unless he is absolutely positively caught in the act, it will be approximately 10 years before I get to blame Husband for anything ever again.

Of course, there's always Little Husband...

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Lesson in Not Giving Up

Back in my telecom days, I used to pass a billboard every morning on my way to work. On it was a picture of Abraham Lincoln with the words, "Failed, Failed, Failed, Succeeded". Then there is the famous sentence incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill that goes something along the lines of, "Never, ever, ever give up." These phrases used to play over and over in my head in the wee hours of the morning as I--armed only with my laptop, a floral screwdriver and the will to beat a machine that is smarter than I will ever be--battled broken VoIP communication systems.

Many times--particularly as the hour neared 3 am--I thought about giving up, however, I couldn't because I had a boss who believed that he could fix anything (and he could). I never saw that man quit or admit defeat over anything. He would calmly attack the problem from all angles until he found a solution. It was his influence that struck the words "I can't" from my vocabulary.

Somewhere along the lines I forgot that lesson. Last night I learned it all over again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Helicopter Butt got away!"

Languishing in a warm tub after a busy day, I opened one eye to see Husband standing in front of me, out of breath. He was holding up a leash that was attached to a dog collar that was decidedly not attached to a dog.

"He saw a deer and somehow managed to wriggle out of his collar. He ran off into the neighbor's yard."

This was not good news. Our neighborhood was built in the 60's and 70's when yards were quite large and full of trees. Helicopter Butt would be hard to find.

"Don't worry," I reassured Husband, "We don't call him 'Boomerang Dog' for nothing. He'll come back--he always does."

Unconvinced, Husband grabbed his keys. "I'm going to go drive around and look for him."

Sighing, I extracted myself from the tub, dried off and got dressed. Figuring that we'd find HB in no time, I put on a tank top, yoga pants and my fuzzy, white slippers. I then proceeded to post myself in the front yard and call Helicopter Butt's name.

After a quick drive around the neighborhood Husband returned home and suggested that I drive around since HB is more likely to respond to me when called. By this time it was 11:40 pm. I drove for 20 minutes up and down the same streets calling his name. I offered treats and the opportunity for a walk, but nothing I said flushed HB from his hiding place. Exhausted, I resigned myself to the fact that the chances of Helicopter Butt returning home on his own were higher than us finding him at midnight in our heavily-wooded neighborhood. I decided that I would put his dog bed and water bowl under the portico and hope that he returned at some point in the night.

Since he had slipped out of his collar, he did not have his dog tags. He is, however, micro-chipped so that gave me some degree of comfort. I mentally began drafting the "Lost Dog" posters I was going to put up around the neighborhood before going to bed that night. Not that I was going to get any sleep.

As I was pulling up to our house, Husband flagged me down. "I can hear him! He's somewhere in the woods in one of our neighbor's yards and he's whimpering."

This was not good. HB whimpers for one of two reasons: he's either hurt or he's cornered a rodent. I turned off the car and listened. Finally, finally I heard him whimper again, briefly.

Running up a winding driveway into pitch blackness, I called HB's name as I shone my flashlight all around the woods. I prayed that whomever's yard I was in would not come running out with a shotgun. None of the yards were fenced, rather, they--being built into the side of a very steep hill--were separated by retaining walls.

Once again I stood still and listened. Finally Helicopter Butt whimpered again, and I realized that he was close by. Spotting a brief movement out of the corner of my eye, I shone my flashlight over into the neighboring yard and spotted just the top of his head peaking out of what appeared to be a hole. I somehow--fuzzy slippers and all--managed to scale a chest-high retaining wall and what I saw took my breath away: Helicopter Butt--my sweet, beloved, precious little dog--was drowning in a neighbor's pool.

I don't remember running over and pulling him out of the pool, but I must have because the next thing I know I was putting his collar back on him and rushing him home. Husband met me at the end of the driveway.

"You saved his life!" I told him, "If you hadn't heard him whimpering, we never would have been able to find him and he would have drown! He was barely able to keep his head above water when I found him and probably had been dog-paddling for the entire 30 minutes that we were out looking for him. That's why he was whimpering intermittently; he could only whimper when his head was far enough out of the water to do so!"

Back home we swaddled HB in dry towels and hugged his shaking body. We marveled over and over about how lucky we were. I thanked Husband repeatedly for saving HB's life. Then we tucked all our dogs into bed and went to sleep.

This morning, over coffee, I mused about what happened last night. How I almost gave up on looking for HB. How fortunate we were that Husband hadn't given up before he heard the whimpering. And how Helicopter Butt never gave up, not once, while waiting for us to rescue him from that pool. The alternate ending--the one that had me passively placing his dog bed in the portico while waiting for him to come home--is unthinkable.

Never, ever, ever give up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

When Being "That Parent" Pays Off

Remember this blog post from years past? Well, being the shining example of a mother-with-her-act-together, I have yet to continue my search for a preschool for Little Husband. Once upon a time I was proactive enough to get my fetus’ name on a preschool waiting list. Now my toddler is at the age where if I don’t get his name on the waiting list, I’m going to miss out on all the best preschools. I used to think that this sort of mentality was crazy, but now I get it. It’s not about the Ivy League or social standing or your child’s ability to read Moby Dick at age three; it’s about wanting your child to be immersed in an environment where the caretakers truly care about him. It’s those schools that seem to have the longest waiting lists, and the sooner you get your child’s name on that list, the more likely they are to get in.

This brings me to last week when I finally made a call to a highly regarded preschool that is just mere miles from my house. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hi. I'd like to speak with Mrs. X about touring your preschool."

Snotty Secretary: (sounding put out) "Uh Miss? You REALLY need to make that appointment with Mrs. Y."

Me: "Oh, I'm sorry, your website said to make the appointment with Mrs. X, but if it's Mrs. Y I need, then that's fine too."

Snotty Secretary: (sounding completely put out). "That's okay. Let me see when we can get you in...we're very busy and it won't be for quite a while."

Me: "Okay..."

(I hear papers shuffling in the background)

Snotty Secretary: "Mrs. Y can see you tomorrow morning at 9:30."

I arrive at the school and am immediately struck by the fact that I can walk right into the building. I wander the halls in my search for the school office, and no one stops me to ask me what I’m doing. This is disconcerting on many levels, one of them being that my son loves nothing more than to high-tail it out of an unlocked exit. In fact, as I’m typing this he’s opening a back door to the pool area (shudder!). Thankfully we have a child safety gate erected around the pool.

I make my way over to a friendly looking teacher and ask for directions to the office. I notice her glance up at my hair but her expression remains unchanged as she tells me where I need to go. Once in the office I find myself face-to-face with Snotty Secretary and she is everything I thought she would be: 50-something, dowdy, overweight. It was clear that she held some sort of power in that school and it was clear that her modicum of power had gone to her head. She glanced up at my hair as she asked if she could help me.

“Yes, I’m Femme and—“

“You have a 9:30 appointment with Mrs. Y,” she interrupted briskly. It was clear that she was very proud of her efficiency, not matter how rude it made her. “She’s right in there.” She pointed to a nearby office.

I walked into the office and was greeted by Mrs. Y, who was very friendly and professional. I felt myself begin to relax.

“Let me tell you a little about our school and then we can go on the tour,” she began as she glanced up at my hair. I had a fleeting thought: Why was everybody glancing up in my hair?

Mrs. Y continued speaking and I became absorbed in the conversation. At one point I ran my fingers through my hair only to find a rather large object stuck to my bangs. My hand came away holding a leaf. A big, ratty, dried-up oak leaf!

Mrs. Y never missed a beat as I held the leaf up to the light and stared at it in amazement. Realizing that I’d been walking around the school with this fetching “leaf-hat”, I let out a rueful laugh and asked, “Has this been in my hair all along?” Mrs. Y ignored the question and continued talking about the school. No longer possessing the ability to concentrate on the conversation at hand, I again interrupted to discuss the leaf.

“How on earth did you concentrate on our conversation while staring at this big leaf in my hair?!?” I asked, laughing and shaking the leaf in the air to emphasize my point.

Ever the professional, Mrs. Y again pretended like we weren’t having this separate conversation and continued talking about the preschool. For some reason this annoyed me, and I can’t articulate why. Perhaps it was because there was an opportunity to switch off formalities and actually bond with each other and she didn’t take it. I mulled it over as we walked around the school and finally it struck me: for all of its merits (and there were many), this school had no heart. I want my son to go to a school where people can let go of pretenses, relax and just be themselves. Where teachers are light-hearted and generously dole out smiles and hugs. I want to visit the school and feel like I’m genuinely welcome there. Little Husband’s got plenty of time in his adult life to be exposed to corporate drones, he doesn’t need it at age three.

I left the school with an application in my hand and a heavy heart. Mrs. Y all but guaranteed that if I got Little Husband on the waiting list soon he would be admitted. Knowing that time was of the essence, I continued to drag my feet about returning the application.

Then today happened.

Today I received a call from The School, the one I applied to when Little Husband wan in utero. The caller, Christy, was happy and chirpy as she informed me that they have a spot for Little Husband this fall. My baby—who won’t even be two years old—starts preschool in the fall. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

I toured the school last January with my mother-in-law and it was so wonderful that I actually became a little emotional when we left. Just like I knew when I first laid eyes on Husband that he was the one for me, I knew this school would be a good thing for Little Husband. I feel ridiculously grateful that he was granted admission--I can’t imagine how I’m going to be when college rolls around!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Small, World, Small People, Big Aspirations

It's been a long while since my last post where I reported on Little Husband falling off the couch. While we've had many, MANY bumps and bruises since then, none have been quite as scary. It was all in the way that he was crying that day...it was just...eerie.

Moving on, he is walking about 95% of the time and currently sports at least nine bruises (total) on his shins, a permanent knot in the middle of his forehead and traces of a black eye. Needless to say, I am afraid to take him out in public for fear that someone will report me to Child Protective Services.

It's not my fault. No matter what I do, where I stand, or how many precautions I take, the kid finds a way to get hurt. The other day I was standing in the kitchen cooking and he was tumbling around at my feet, playing in the kitchen cabinets and drawers. (Side note: We have 31 kitchen drawers, so needless to say we do not put locks on all of them. We only lock those that contain something dangerous.) Anyway, I glance down at LH just in time to see him open a drawer, slip and bump his head on the corner of it, then ping-pong into another open drawer and bump his head on the corner of that one. Of course there was much wailing and shed tears for the next few minutes. Oh, and two more bruises on his face.

I was taking a video of him that same day and accidentally captured this (the latest bruise occurs at the end of the video):

video

I'm glad I have it because if anyone calls the authorities on me, I now have proof that we do *not* beat him.

A few days ago Husband had the ladder out because he was trying to get LH's Valentine's Day balloon down from the ceiling in our living room. Literally two seconds after Husband retrieved the balloon and climbed down from the ladder we turned to see this:



I know, I know--why am I stopping to take a picture of my 15-month-old son on a ladder rather than running over to rescue him? The truth is, as soon as we saw what Little Husband was up to Husband raced over to grab him. I edited him out of the picture, but he is right behind LH.

In other news, I was at Gymboree with LH the other day and started chatting with a mother I'd never seen there before. As always, we traded info on our babies ages and discovered that our kids were born on the same day and in the same hospital. Further conversation revealed that she was in the delivery room right next to mine. I remember her clearly because we had the same nurse. I remember not seeing my nurse for four hours because, as it turned out, she was attending to this woman's emergency c-section. I've always worried about her in the back of my mind and am so glad to know that she and her baby did just fine.

Finally, yesterday Husband and I decided to go check out open houses. We both love real estate and enjoy seeing remodels, infills and new homes. When we attend open houses we try not to engage the attending realtor as we do not want to get their hopes up or waste their time. We visited one such home yesterday with a realtor whose eyes lit up when she saw us walk in. I guess we met the profile of a potential buyer for that home. She chatted us up while and we did nothing to squelch her perception that we were in the market for a new home. She watched as we looked around the main level and apparently watched us out the window while we looked around the yard. I know this because she said, "did you figure out a way to fence in the grass?" which is exactly what we were doing when we were out there.

The reason we went to see this particular house was because we looked at it one year ago when we were serious buyers and were surprised to see that it is still on the market--it was a very cute house! We went there to analyze it and figure out why. Yes, we have no life.

Anyway, as we were leaving the realtor asked us to sign her guest book. Damn--I hate giving information about myself when I'm fake-shopping for a house. I looked at Husband but he was holding Little Husband so he got a pass. It was up to me to sign the blasted guest book. I walked over and---just as I wrote in a fake name--the realtor declared to Husband, "I know where I know you! You're (insert husband's full name here) and served on the board of such-and-such charity!" "That's right!" smiled Husband, his halo glowing. Damn again. What to do? It wasn't like I could exactly scratch out my fake name and write in my real one, so I decided to run with it and write in a fake address as well. Just as I commenced doing so, I heard Husband tell the realtor the name of the street that we live on. Great. Now she's going to thing that my saint of a husband is married to a fake and a liar. Wanting nothing more than to just get out of there, I decided to go for broke and--once I finished with the guest book--interrupted the conversation with an abrupt, "Okay, let's go." Startled, Husband said his goodbyes and followed me out the door.

I truly didn't mean to be rude, I just wanted to get out of there before she uncovered any more of my wicked lies.