Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Big Girls Don't Cry

When is the last time you cried because you got hurt? I don't mean hurt emotionally, I mean due to physical pain.

I think the last time I wanted to burst into tears from pain was when a window accidentally fell on my hand. And I had the flu a few years before that, and while I can't recall specifically if I wanted to cry, I do remember responding in the affirmative when the Hoos asked me if I felt like I wanted to die. I guess that is close.

I think I realized for the first time that crying from a physical injury doesn't really accomplish much, except to draw attention, when I was 23 or 24. I was roller-blading with my roommate in Arlington, VA when I slid half way down our street on my arse. I had some serious road burn. As she carefully walked down so as to avoid a similar fate (even though she was and continues to be a much better rollerblader) a woman leaned her head out of her garden apartment and asked me if I wanted her to call my mom. Considering my mom lived in New York, it didn't seem like a very prudent course of action.

Yesterday a friend showed me a head injury she incurred while doing some work in her garage. I sympathized about how much it sucked, and we both commented on how silly it now feels to cry when you hurt yourself. The cause is more likely to be due to humiliation or embarrassment than pain anyway.

As I watch LP grow and use tears at opportune times to get her way, I am struck by how effective crying is as an attention-getting mechanism. Unfortunately there isn't really any tool in my arsenal that has an opposite effect. Perhaps some sort of invisibility shield to cloak myself from a particularly awkward moment? I can see myself making use of that baby much more frequently than tears, that is for sure.

On Parenting

Today I am the guest blogger on the Washington Post's parenting blog, On Parenting. Check it out and let me know what you think!

If you are navigating to me from that post, welcome! Be forewarned, I am not promising to be particularly insightful or interesting, but I do my best to give an honest perspective on parenthood.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Picking Up Speed - While Trying to Maintain My Balance

As Baby #2's (Bun, for my hip regulars) arrival draws ever closer, I am really making an effort to gain some momentum in terms of preparation.

Yesterday's big step was buying newborn-sized diapers. First, I am amazed that 80 newborn diapers fit in a shrink-wrapped package, where it takes a big old box to hold 80 or so of 23-month-old LP's size 4s. And of course the mini-size costs less. I would like to think that it means my dollar will go further, but I have a vague recollection that I will go through significantly more diapers with a newborn. In fact, I remember going through three diapers in a single change thanks to the magnificent thing known as projectile poop.

Today, LP started going to day care full time. No more Mondays and Fridays running errands with Mommy. I already feel lonely, but I know it is for the best. We are only five weeks out from Bun's due date and I really think it is important to get her started on her new routine. Better to blame Mommy and Daddy today for "having" to go to the fun place where they ply her with snacks and she gets to play in gym and make crafts, than to pinpoint the cause as her new little brother or sister, right?

I am still conflicted about sending her to day care five days a week while I am home on maternity leave, but I try to remind myself that it will most likely be in everyone's best interest. I know I felt cooped up in the weeks following LP's birth, so I can only imagine how an energetic two-year-old will feel. Especially since I am going to try to avoid taking Bun to any enclosed places until his/her first shots. While that means that walks and playground trips are still options, they are limited to the hours outside of 10-3 when the sun is hottest. Plus, since we opted not to get a double stroller, I am not even sure how I would coordinate being the lone parent on an outside excursion. I mean, I have to be faster than my current waddle, but having a baby latched on will certainly have an impact on my speed.

The next "next step" continues to be the same "next step" the Hoos and I have been wrangling with for weeks - the question of the "big girl bed." Have I crowed about how fabulous my little munchkin has been in her crib lately? Both Saturday and Sunday mornings she entertained herself in her crib for an hour before deciding it was finally time for breakfast. It is like she knows that Mommy and Daddy are not quite ready to move until after 8 on the weekends. Of course, this is making us even more reluctant to move her into a bed, because once she has more freedom, all bets are off.

And, no, don't ask me about potty training. Although I did send a portable potty seat into school with her this week. I think she likes it better than her little potty. Regardless, all she does is take off her pants and diaper, sit on it for a few seconds and announce "all done." The good news is that she at least understands the process and insists on "washy washy" to clean off her hands afterwards. Baby steps, right?

Didja Miss Me?

I missed you all too. It has been a busy time since I last posted. The highlights: A day at the zoo with both of the Hoos' brothers and their kids and a visit to Cabela's - one of the largest stores I have ever been in. Amazingly, we spent more time at Cabela's Hartford location than we spent at the zoo. The tents were a highpoint for the kids.

LP just loved being with her cousins and didn't really care where we were. On the way back from Cabela's she fell asleep in the car (it was waaaay past her nap time) and the Hoos and I figured we would stretch out her nap by taking turns running errands from the car. Of course, as soon as we pull into the bank, our first errand, and the Hoos puts the car in park, LP springs awake, looks around, and says "Cousnins? House?". So much for accomplishing things while she naps! We went to my brother-in-law's house and she proceeded to have a wonderful time running her cousins ragged.

Saturday I got to spend the entire day in class. Yay! It was miserable but at least now it is over. 12 courses down, seven to go until I am done with my MBA program. Hopefully I will finish before LP graduates high school.

While I had a pity party for myself at school, LP and the Hoos had a fun day together: throwing rocks into the river, playing on the slide at the playground and working in the yard. She really is a lot like her Daddy; so much so that for her second birthday one of her presents is her very own fishing rod. Believe it or not, she is very excited at the prospect. I expect her to be a master bluegill catcher in no time.

Here's hoping for another great week - despite the crummy weather prospects in the northeast.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wrath, Indignation, Munchkins...

Every year my grandmother (G.G. for Great-Grandma to LP) comes up with a new and exciting idea to try to keep the kids engaged at the Seder table during Passover. For those of you that aren't Jewish, the Seder can last anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour. Basically you are sitting at the dinner table, gearing up to eat for a really long time before you actually get to chow down. At my parent's house we had 30 people and it took about 40 minutes to get to the grub.

Last year, LP received Four Question finger puppets. This year, Ten Plague face masks were introduced. Here are some photos of LP and her cousins modeling plague masks. Who knew the wrath of G-d could be so cute?

Thanks to my Aunt Barbara for the photos!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two Cells = One Amazing Person

What a busy weekend! With the arrival of my brother-in-law and two nieces from overseas on Friday evening, our weekend was kicked into high-gear. It was chock full of family and food and fun in addition to the million other things that typically have to get done. Last night was the first night since Thursday that LP had her regular bath time regimen!

This weekend in particular really help me to see how much LP is growing and changing:
  • Friday night she sat patiently (I can only assume) while piggytails were put into her hair at all sorts of angles by her older cousins.
  • Saturday morning she impressed the stylists in our hair salon as she sat patiently on the Hoos' lap while they trimmed her bangs. I then took her to the playground and she proceeded to follow the lead of an older boy and go down the "roller" slide head first (man, I hope they have improved those things since we were kids, I remember getting my fingers pinched!).
  • Saturday evening she sat at the Seder table for much longer than I anticipated and wowed many of my relatives by eating a hard-boiled egg with a fork. And as we left my parents' house on Long Island, she used all of her manipulation skills to try to convince my parents to let her stay over and awake, yelling out "Papa! Shopping!". As a two year old she already knows a.) that my dad is a total softie and she makes him melt every time she says "Papa!" and b.) my parents are big bargain hunters and have no problem going shopping just about anytime.
  • Sunday afternoon she enjoyed roasting (kosher for Passover) marshmallows over the Hoos' fire bowl and helping to throw sticks into the fire. She also enjoyed showing her Hungarian cousins every nook and cranny of our house, crawling up the stairs, motioning for them to follow as she yelled out "Baby's room!".
  • Sunday night she ate "steak" (aka brisket) at my sister-in-law's lovely Seder, one of the few items of meat protein she will actually let pass her lips.
  • Monday morning I had an 8:30 doctor's appointment. LP sat so wonderfully in a chair in the corner of the examination room (unfortunately eating baby junk food, but sometimes bribery is necessary) while we listened to her sibling's heart beat. She did get riled up during the HOUR it took for me to get blood drawn, but everyone has their limits.
  • Monday afternoon she had a nice visit with my parents and grandparents and then wowed me with all sorts of new vocabulary words and phrases like "no reach" and "watch kids" and "[LP] play too".
I am in awe that this beautiful, smart, amazing little toddler is the same chubby munchkin I gave birth to almost two years ago. It really is making me appreciate even more how amazing nature is. We created a little PERSON with her own personality out of two tiny cells! Wow....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hiking...Without Exerting Myself

One of the problems with being pregnant is that nothing fits. It doesn't matter if it is maternity clothes, regular clothes, or clothes a size or two too big. You will spend the last few months of your pregnancy hiking stuff up, creatively using safety pins, and covering your chest with folders to hide your goods.

Tops. My maternity shirt is gaping, showing off the girls to the point of distraction for a few people. I don't know why manufacturers insist on making crisscross tops and v-necks for pregnant women. Only worse are button-downs, which I thought were cute the first time I was pregnant, until I realized that no matter what they were not going to lay flat and I would spend most of the day flashing unsuspecting colleagues.

Bottoms. Maternity pants don't stay up. The ones with big stretchy sections roll off your belly (or at least mine, but it could be because I am carrying kind of pointy), and the ones with bands that fall below your belly inch down when you walk. And, if you are petite like me, don't be a bonehead and get your pants shortened early in your pregnancy. By the time you get to the end they will be too short and you will look like you are wearing highwaters.

Undergarments. My panties are in a bunch. Literally. They keep falling off my butt and bunching up in the back. I look like LP with a full diaper (and a much bigger arse). Maybe this is because I am wearing my regular underwear, but for some reason the maternity underwear only come in bikini briefs; I don't wear bikinis when not pregnant, and I can't understand why someone would want less material when they have more to cover. And don't get me started on bras. I have four different sizes in my lingerie* drawer. Even ones that are labeled as being the same size don't fit the same, even from the same manufacturer.

*I don't really own any lingerie, but it sounds nicer than "the bedside dresser where I cram in pantyhose, socks, bras and granny panties".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Blogger's Insight

Since posting about my potential guest blogging piece for the Washington Post (keep your fingers crossed for me!) I have gotten a few questions about if I am worried that people I work with would find my blog. I have given this some thought and in a word - no. I am not worried.

The purpose of my blog is not to complain about work, or the Hoos (although I occasionally do both). I really try to focus on my life with LP and my excitement about Bun and all of the good stuff. More importantly, I try to blog about things that I don't think would be embarrassing to me or make my readers uncomfortable.

In general, I am pretty tight-lipped about what I say about work. In fact, two of my colleagues and all-around favorite people, Wenderina and Kiki, already read my blog. And, a few months ago I gave my url to my direct supervisor. I don't think she ever actually came and looked at the blog, but it is out there if she wanted to.

I do realize that the thought of a blog makes some people very uncomfortable. Like I am sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings and things that should best be kept private. The Hoos is someone that really doesn't understand why I blog. He rarely, if ever, reads it.

True, modesty and privacy go out the window once one gives birth in a room full of strangers, but I am not quite that open out here in cyberspace. I have never mentioned LP's name (those aren't even her initials) and I am pretty sure that once Bun arrives I will just give the baby a nickname and go with that, never announcing his or her name in this space. I enjoy writing and I find that the very nature of a blog and posting my stories offers time to filter and more closely weigh what I am sharing. It forces me to think very carefully about what I say and how I say it.

For this and other reasons, I don't typically respond to memes or do the "100 things you didn't know about me", because, honestly, there are lots of things I don't want you to know about me. It is not that I am trying to create a picture of perfection (I often write about my imperfections and inadequacies, I think) or create an ideal me; rather my goal is to amuse, relate, and chronicle some of the high points (and some of the low).

Despite what some people think, in my experience blogging really is a personal thing and much more about the writer than the audience.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Territory

Being a mother means...
  • suffering right along with your child when they spike fevers of 104 and don't get below 103 for an entire weekend.
  • persevering while said child is a total crankpot and only wants you to hold them and cuddle them, even if they aren't sure what that means and keep moving and readjusting every two seconds.
  • trying not to grimace while feverish child attempts to get comfortable by resting their head on your chest, only they can't reach your chest because your ginormous pregnant belly can't allow them to get close enough.
  • tiptoeing around your own house at 6:30 in the morning, pretending you are deaf, while your child calls out "Mommy! Mommmmmmy!" because, well, life rolls along.
Fortunately, LP seems to be better today, although she has stinky breath, despite frequent brushing of her teeth. Oh, and either she really enjoyed being a crankpot while she was sick or she has entered the terrible twos. Rock on!

And finally, my thought for the day, how cool is it that I have my own tray table that I carry with me (I can't even believe that my belly stick out as far as it does). And I still have seven weeks to go!

Friday, April 11, 2008

All at Once

I feel like my life has been whipped into a frenzy this week. Both with positive and negative impacts.
  1. Work. I am having personnel challenges at work.
  2. LP. Yesterday LP felt pretty warm when I picked her up at day care (at the regular time). She ended up having 103 which went up to 104 half an hour later. And very unlike her, she was crying and clingy and cranky. We went to the doctor who confirmed she had a fever virus. She slept through the night (although the Hoos gave her Motrin around 1am). She had 103 when she woke up and even though it comes down with medicine it goes back up. Ibuprofen is our friend.
  3. Opportunity Knocks. A few weeks ago I blogged about a friend sending me a posting for a perfect job at her company. Yesterday I received a request to set up an interview. I am now 32.5 weeks pregnant. ACCCKKKKKKKK! And due to the aforementioned personnel-issue, I am feeling very loyal to my supportive manager. Double AAACCCKKKK!
  4. More Knocking. Last month the Washington Post parenting blog, On Parenting, posted a request for guest bloggers. I responded figuring I would be one of dozens throwing my hat in the ring and the likelihood of getting asked to write something was close to nil. Yesterday I got a very nice email saying they accepted my offer and asking for ideas. It doesn't pay but it would definitely open this little ol' blog up to a wider audience.
  5. Life. Did I mention that I am 32.5 weeks pregnant?! And the baby's room is still a mess of dresser parts and clothing stacks and spare furniture?

Did anyone notice the Virgo horoscope this week?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What Would You Do?

We live in the suburbs. Our house is on the corner of two very nice leafy green streets lined with families.

The view outside my kitchen window is a street that runs along the side of the house. About twice a week a kid from up the street comes and stands opposite my kitchen window and waits. He is probably 15 or 16. After a few minutes a car drives up, same car every time, and a covert exchange is made through the car window.

We have hedges that line the side of the house that provide privacy, as do the people across the street from us, which is probably why the kids chose this spot to make their transaction: the "purchaser" is hidden from his family. Occasionally the kids see me watching them through the window. I stare them down.

Anyway, what do you recommend we do? Do we call the police and ask them to step up patrols? Do we call when we see the kid standing there waiting? We don't want to ruin any one's life or give them a permanent police record, but I don't really want my kids to see drug deals (which I think it is pretty obvious this is) .

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Calling all of my blogosphere friends - vote in my new poll (on the right nav bar)! Am I having a boy or a girl? This highly unscientific poll will have no influence whatsoever on the actual gender of the baby, but you can feel satisfied if you are right and excited about a new baby even if you are wrong.

Do you have questions related to an old wives tale that you think will help you make a decision? Ask away in the comments and I will do my best to answer.

Some things that may help:
- I think I am carrying the same way as I carried with LP.
- I have gained less weight so far than with LP.
- My due date is June 2nd.
- LP was born May 28th and her due date was May 25th.
- Some people tell me that you can't tell I am pregnant from behind.
- People are split about if my face has changed or not.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pain, Pain, Go AWAY!

Yesterday morning I experienced my first leg cramp of this pregnancy. And man, did that sucker hurt. At 8 am I was yelling at the poor Hoos "Help me! Help me!" Poor guy was paralyzed in fear that if he touched me I would kill him and if he didn't help me I would die. I can never remember in the moment of excruciating pain whether to point my toe straight or point it up to the ceiling. AAAGHHH!! No matter, the Hoos eventually massaged it out, although there is still some residual pain. How and why does that happen? Not the cramping, but the not going away part?

As a result, I spent the rest of the weekend waddling around. In addition to the limp, my back hurts from 1. over-compensating on one side thanks to the leg pain and 2. carrying around LP. I can't resist when she says "uppy" and it is easier to pick her up in a store than chase her at this point. For real, mama just can't keep up.

Regardless of all of the physical fun, I have managed to get a few things accomplished. I went through our storage bin of newborn clothes and picked out all non-gender specific items. Bun now has his or her first round of clothes all clean and ready.

I can't even believe how small the clothes are. Someone told me that when you bring your newborn home for the first time and look at your toddler, you swear they must have grown a foot while you were in the hospital. LP is not exactly a giant, but I really can't imagine that some of the onesies and one-piece outfits ever fit her. Or that in about 8 weeks I am going to have a new child that will fit into them - with some wiggle room.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This morning I stopped at the bagel store and got a bagel and some nice warm decaf coffee to enjoy on my way into the office. Life was good. I arrived at the office, finished the coffee and got up to make my first, of what I am sure will be several, trips to the ladies room.

While walking I look down and notice a wet spot on my chest. It is definitely too early for lactation and the spot was closer to my collar than my girls. And the spot was a light brown and smelled vaguely of vanilla hazelnut decaf coffee.

By the time I got to the bathroom I realized that this was not a single spot, but rather there is a chain of spots - starting at the top and trailing down to the middle of my large and in charge belly. Lovely.

I can clearly visualize my Tide-to-Go stick...it is sitting in a basket on my dresser from the last time I changed pocketbooks. Clearly not doing me any good. And water? Well, I tried that...and 20 minutes later it finally dried and left the coffee splotches behind.

And, even though I have a couple of extra cardigans stashed in various file cabinets in my office, none of them are maternity. It is not like I can just throw on any old thing. It is 8:20 and I have already resigned myself to looking like a slob for the rest of the day. Woo-hoo.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Daddy's Girl

LP doesn't look anything like the Hoos. She looks a bit more like me, but regardless, she is 100% my side of the family. At least so far. She has strawberry blond hair and blue eyes and a round face and pale skin. Of course, she is simply gorgeous.

However, looks are only part of the equation. LP's personality is much more in line with the Hoos. First, they are both Geminis. I don't really know too much about astrology, but I do know that as the "sign of the Twins" people in this category tend to have split personalities. I leave this up to your interpretation. LP is a little enigma in that she will be standing up in her crib in the morning, waiting to be taken out, groaning "Night, night!" and asking to go back to bed. Doesn't make much sense to me, if I didn't want to get up I would still have the blanket over my head, so I am attributing this to her Gemini nature.

Also, she loves being outside and playing in the dirt. I like being outside, but I am more of a black thumb. The Hoos will read gardening magazines, visit multiple garden centers, and put thought into the placement of particular plants in our yard. LP could stand outside for hours just flinging dirt all over the place and pulling up crocuses. She says "crocus!" and can also name several of the birds that visit our feeder by sight ("Cardinal! Chi-dee [chickadee]! Timice [Titmouse]!").

Last night after her bath she was excited to see the Hoos working at his fly-tying desk. In order for her to allow me to get her dressed I had to promise that she could help him when we were done. The Hoos was so thrilled that she kept yelling "More flies! More flies!" that she ended up pushing off her bedtime by 10 minutes.

I don't think there can be anything more satisfying than watching my two favorite people enjoy each other's company. Today I am content.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Moving Forward and Keeping Everyone Happy

As Bun's arrival grows closer, so begins the transition process for LP. She is 22 months old, so I am not really sure that she understands what it means that she is going to become a big sister. Yes, we have read books; and yes, she talks to and hugs and kisses my belly; and yes, she certainly does love babies. But all of this does not really add up to a full appreciation of what impact a new baby will have on her life.

I have written previously about my desire to get LP into a bed before Bun arrives. I am not sure that is going to happen. The Hoos and I are still discussing how and if to go about doing that. One of my friends asked of we are "talking up how exciting a BIG GIRL BED is going to be." We haven't really made an effort to do this, because, to be honest, I don't think LP understands what a BIG GIRL BED is. The "experts" say you are supposed to involve the child in selecting a bed and make them feel a part of the process. If you count running through the bed department of IKEA at a high rate of speed while giggling helping pick out a bed, than LP has been involved (although we still haven't actually purchased a bed). Maybe it is just me, but I would think that she would need to comprehend what we are talking about before we do the old bait and switch and position a twin bed in her bedroom.

Another big change is the LP is going to start going to day care full time. Right now I pay for her to attend full-time (don't ask), but she only goes regularly Tuesday-Thursday. When I have a work commitment or a doctor's appointment she goes on Mondays and Fridays as needed, but I usually feel crazy guilty and end up picking her up early. For the past 22 months, Mondays and Fridays are our time to bond, bake, run errands, and play. LP's nap time is the perfect length to allow me to get work done and the rest of the day is usually a great time for both of us.

However, I know that during my maternity leave it will make my life much easier to only focus on one child. I realize that this is not viable for every family and I am very fortunate that we can continue to send LP to day care while I am only getting partial salary, but since we do have that option, I am pretty sure I want to take advantage of it. I think LP will have more fun at school than she will home with me. They have gym and go outside and no one has a baby stuck to their chest inhibiting their movement. To ease this process for LP, and to ensure that she doesn't blame her new sibling, we intend to start sending her full-time some time soon. But we just don't know when. I don't want to do it any sooner than I have to, but it is getting more difficult for me to pick LP up and at this point she can pretty much outrun me (note to self: pregnant women do not look good running, plus it makes people nervous).

LP is a wonderful child. She is happy, she is healthy, she is smart, and she is becoming really verbal. I am confident that she will be a fabulous big sister. But I know we haven't even begun to see the inevitable bumps in the road to siblinghood.