Sunday, January 27, 2013

14 Weeks

Perhaps more discernible growth in the bags under my
eyes than the bump


* In addition to the bout with the flu, I woke up Saturday morning with a raging ear infection. This poor baby is getting so many drugs I think he might be born holding a prescription pad. I'm completely comfortable that the risks of anything I'm taking are far outweighed by the benefits, but it does seem totally backwards that you would get sicker during a time you're supposed to be taking fewer medications.

* I'm still wearing a couple pairs of my normal jeans, just. I've never been one of those people that can wear normal jeans through the second trimester with just some sort of waistband-altering device. Unfortunately I gave away every stitch of maternity clothing I ever owned before we moved, so sure was I that I would not be having another baby. Fortunately, it was all either business-style clothing for work or stuff suitable for wearing in California in the spring/summer so it would have been largely useless anyway. I foresee a trip to a store selling maternity clothing in my near future; based on past experience, there will probably be bad lighting and some tears.

* The first thing that actually sounded good to eat this week was wafer cookies. You know, those waffle-y ones with cream in the middle that come in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry? Or, well, yellow, brown and pink anyhow...I'm not sure there is any actual flavor to them whatsoever. Apparently the desire for fake foodstuffs has not left entirely.

* Brighton asked the dreaded question earlier today: how DID the baby get in there? I asked her what she thought and she came up with two theories:

1) He scratched open my stomach and "popped" inside (I'm a little disturbed this was her first idea), and

2) He went in through my mouth, down my throat and into my stomach. This one made a little more sense, especially since we are inclined to tell kids that gestating fetuses reside in stomachs.

I then offered the very vague explanation that the baby was made from an egg and a seed (oh god) and she thought it was the absolute funniest thing she'd ever heard. Like LITERALLY rolling on the floor laughing. She made me repeat it several times, with the same reaction, and then I suggested that perhaps we should look for a book at the library to help us learn about it. So to the library we go...and I'm beginning to appreciate at least one advantage to the smaller age gap between the first two kids.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Singing the Flues

So, that flu that's flattening people everywhere? Yeah that happened here. The kids have had what I am guessing was a mild version and I have been truly, truly sick for the last few days. We all got flu shots back in October and I'm so grateful because I can't imagine what this would have been like without at least some immune response (I am attributing my own fall from grace to my wimpy pregnant immune system. At least I know the baby is likely blithely hanging out, completely unaware).

Other things I am grateful for:

-My husband's excellent nursemaiding. We are not historically very sympathetic to each other's physical discomforts and illnesses but he has been very understanding and rearranged his work schedule to be at home handling things as much as possible. He also drove me to the Urgent Care early yesterday morning when it was -16 degrees so I wouldn't have to park and walk.

- The extreme efficiency of that particular Urgent Care facility. I was in and out in about 30 minutes, prescription filled and in hand.

- Kids who are self-sufficient enough that even when C had to go into the office this morning, they mainly entertained themselves and allowed me to languish on the couch. I cannot even say how glad I am that no one requires diaper changes anymore around here.

- DVDs. We are going to need a serious detox after the marathon movie-watching sessions of this week. Do I care? Not a bit.

- That at least if I had to be quarantined in the house for several days, it coincided nicely with the horrendously cold weather I'd have been avoiding going out in anyway.

I think Pacey will be fine to go to school tomorrow (he hasn't had a fever in several days now, I just couldn't fathom getting him there today), and B and I might do something wild like go to the grocery store for essentials. Seriously, is it spring yet??

Monday, January 21, 2013

To Hug or Not to Hug

When I was in elementary school, I was in a gifted program at a school outside my neighborhood "zone" and was therefore entitled to special education busing services. A special ed bus picked me up at my house and took me and several other students to a bus depot where we were then transferred to larger buses that took us to our respective schools. When I was in maybe third grade, there was a boy named Grant that also rode the bus. I have no idea what special education services he required or what challenges he faced during his day, but I do remember very clearly that he was very interested in me. He always took the seat behind me and would frequently reach over the seat and touch me, play with my hair, etc. I HATED it. I didn't feel comfortable talking to the bus aide about it so every day I just dealt with the invasion of my personal space. It was awful.

I mention this story because the only "negative" feedback (if you can call it that) at Pacey's winter school conference related to his habit of hugging his teachers and classmates. Now, this isn't exactly a problem for the time being. I accompany him to his classroom in the morning and I try to help him recognize when his classmates don't want a hug (which he doesn't accept easily). Every morning, however, he does run in and immediately give his teacher a big hug.

His teacher has no problem with hugging, and pointed out that many of the other kindergarteners also give her hugs. The problem comes as the kids get older and most naturally develop restraint when it comes to physical affection and appreciate others' personal space; this does not strike me as something that will come naturally for Pacey. He has a hard time with conditional things: when it's ok to do something in one venue but not another. Nobody particularly minds his hugging at age 6, but the staff's point was that it gets less cute and less socially acceptable the older a student gets and the suggestion was to start addressing it now before it is a problem.

It's really hard to know what to do in this situation. Chris and I are very affectionate with our kids and hug/kiss them frequently. Both kids are accustomed to hugging close family friends and relatives, and in general seem to be naturally physically affectionate. It's hard to figure out, at this age, where to draw a clear line that they can understand. Additionally, I don't want Pacey singled out at school; if his teacher is comfortable with hugs and other kids are hugging her too then it's not fair or reasonable to expect that she somehow refuse him. I know a big part of it for him is routine; he started out giving her a hug every day and now it's his habit. He has a VERY hard time changing routines. We may be able to adjust routines at the start of the new school year to take care of the teacher issue, specifically.

However. I have such a clear memory of my personal space being violated by someone that I don't believe understood why it wasn't ok. I absolutely believe that people of any age are entitled to decline a hug from my child, and I want to help him understand and accept that. Additionally, and I've mentioned this before, the kids need to start developing a sense of personal boundaries as it relates to adults they don't know well. Pacey will quite happily hug a complete stranger and that in itself has resulted in some awfully uncomfortable situations at times. I am, of course, grateful that it's an excess of affection we are dealing with and not an aggressive behavior like hitting; at the same time, though, it's easier to draw a clear line with that sort of universally unacceptable behavior.

I'm kind of curious as to other people's experiences here. If your kids were/are really physically affectionate, did they learn appropriate boundaries over time? When and how did you talk to them about it? Pacey is such a compassionate kid, quick to offer comfort to his peers and I don't want to squelch that tendency.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

13 Weeks

Since this is the only pregnancy I'll be blogging through, I figured I might as well post some belly pictures. I like having a noticeable (to me) reminder of exciting things to come.

Hi Hedgehog! Chris told me I looked like
Bagpuss in this jacket. If you don't know
who that is, Google it. Flattering, no? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

December is Red and Green, January is Blue

I transcribed a conversation held between B and myself in the bathroom this afternoon and I really wanted to post it but...well, I wouldn't be surprised if she wants to rule the world one day and I don't want to damage her credibility. Trust me when I say, it was hilarious.

Remember my Winter Survival Plan?  Yeah, this pregnancy (which I am happy and grateful for and not taking for granted) is really cramping my ability to follow the plan. Wine? Nope. Hot tub? Nope. Strenuous exercise? I can barely slog through the daily grind right now, let alone find extra energy to work out. Not napping? HA HA. A 45-minute snooze is the only way I'm making it through some afternoons. Reaping the benefits of the season? Nope. We have almost no snow right now and Monday is due to have high temps in the negatives. Not exactly conducive to getting out and enjoying winter.

It's been a long month so far, is what I'm saying. I am hearing from a lot of people that this year has felt especially hard...cold snaps and a rough cold/flu season aren't helping. January is dragging on and I'm finding it hard to get motivated and/or enthusiastic about much. This will definitely be the month that we plan a warm-location getaway in future years.

I guess one exciting thing on the horizon is that we're going to have someone come and look at putting in another bedroom for us. There's open attic space above our master bedroom and we're hoping to squeeze in a fifth bedroom and avoid putting kids in together (I have nothing against that in principal, just that I predict it would result in less/worse sleep at least in the beginning and I'd love to NOT deal with that). That was one thing on our wish list when we had the house on the market but if we can make this work I'd dearly love to not move at this point.

So there's that. I know that next winter will be easier in some ways - and harder in many, many others (I...haven't done the whole Infant-in-Winter thing). I'm coping fine, not getting depressed and doing my best to take it easy and not feel guilty about being less capable of achieving things at Super Mom pace. And on the bright side, winter layers are really helping disguise the awkward not-ready-for-maternity-clothes-but-not-so-much-fitting-in-regular-ones-either stage.

Still though, would anyone like to come and hang out with two adorable children through, say, the end of February so I can ride out the winter in Hawaii?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Written Word

I earned my Good Mom points today and played board games with the kids. I'd resigned myself to an afternoon at home, given the nasty temperatures outside; somehow my kids' compliance levels are inversely proportional to how cold it is outside (or however you want to say it...bottom line, they are a pain in the butt when it's cold).

Anyway, we played our Photo Safari game which remains one of the least annoying kids' games I've played to date. At one point Brighton could see that Pacey was very likely to win the game. Her usual reaction to this scenario is to say she doesn't want to play anymore, claim it's "not a competition," etc. Today though? She looked at the game board, looked at me and said, "Mom, I want Pacey to win because he's my bud." I didn't say much, but we finished the game and sure enough, Pacey won. She gave him a huge hug and said how happy she was that he had won. Man, was I proud of her. Sure, she only said that because she could see he was going to win anyway, but I was really proud of how she decided to handle it. It's so gratifying to see progress when you have been talking yourself blue in the face about a particular issue.

Of course, she then went on to blatantly cheat so she could at least still beat me, but whatever.


I know I'm like a broken record on this, but it blows me away how much mental energy kids require when they reach a certain age. Brighton has questions about EVERYTHING. She wants to comment on EVERYTHING. She wants direction and guidance and feedback on EVERYTHING. That last one sort of surprises me actually. She is generally so strong-willed and sure of herself that I would assume she wouldn't want input into creative activities. However she seems to have inherited perfectionism from somewhere (*whistles and looks around*) and she wants to make sure what she's doing is RIGHT. It's just exhausting. But of course it's awesome at the same time. Her mind is working all the time and she is learning and growing and beginning to grasp that there is a huge world waiting for her to conquer.

She's particularly interested in reading and writing right now. The bedtime tactic that has been working for the last few months (to let her look at books in her room til she's ready to sleep) isn't as effective anymore because she's so frustrated she can't read the words. She wants her turn practicing Pacey's sight word flashcards. She can write pretty much the whole alphabet and so wants me to spell things our for her to write "emails" to people (hasn't quite got the whole "e" part of that yet). I love it and I am so proud but MY GOD it's tedious. See why I am not a preschool teacher???


And finally, on the subject of being proud, I've saved the best for last. Last week I checked Pacey's backpack and there was a book inside with a note from his special education teacher (she works with Pacey in the classroom three times a week). The note said that Pacey had "finished the whole book." I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, so I asked him to sit down with me and the book. It's a level one reader that is 54 pages long and he read every single word to me. Now, he doesn't "know how to read" yet. He's learned to sight-read this book, meaning that he recognizes the words (as opposed to having the ability to sound out new words). Knowing that takes nothing away from his achievement. I am so proud. I am so grateful for the teachers in his life. My thoughts about the educational process in general and the seemingly endless options/approaches continue to change and refine; by the end of the year I think I'll have a much clearer picture of what I want education to mean for Pacey. I feel like the ability to read written language plays a part in how integrated one can be in their community and I am so pleased to see this progress.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Things My Kids Fought About Today

1. Who would open the door
2. Who would close the door
3. Who would get to use the Lightning McQueen cup
4. Who would get to use the Lightning McQueen plate
5. Who would be the first to get in the car
6. Who would be the first to get out of the car
7. Who would open Brighton's cubby at school
8. What movie they would watch (a moot point because regardless of the movie being shown, B would rather follow me around the house talkingtalkingtalkingOMGTALKING)
9. Who would "win" at eating breakfast
10. Who would "win" at eating lunch
11. Who would "win" at eating dinner
12. Whether or not one can claim ownership of a particular toilet in the house
13. Who would get in the bath first
14. Who would get soap first in the bath tub
15. Who would get out of the bath last
16. Whose story choice we would read first
17. Whether or not they have the right to veto the other's choice of pajamas

I think we might be in a bit of a competitive phase, what do you think?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Ok, I promise that the blog is not going to become All Pregnancy All the Time, but I do have a few things I want to record in case my husband still thinks a fourth child is a good idea when we've gotten through #3 and I can just direct him (and myself) here.

So. First trimester. Not a fun time. So many people have it so much worse than me, but I will confess that for 8-10 straight weeks I felt like crap. I'm not an actual puker, for which I am grateful, but constant nausea makes it really difficult to eat the way you want to when you're growing a human being inside of you.

I'm normally a pretty darn healthy eater. I LIKE healthy food. Sure, I indulge a decent amount but in general I eat way more homemade food than purchased and am always looking for the healthier option if I can. However, in the first trimester? That goes out the window. For some reason the only food that sounds even remotely appealing is as processed as it comes and bears almost no resemblance to actual food. We are talking Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Grape Kool-Aid (plain water sounds revolting to me when I have morning sickness). Quaker Fruit and Cream Oatmeal. TOTINO'S PARTY PIZZA for heaven's sake. Disgusting, awful, unhealthy crap. And yet, that's all I can stomach. And I don't feel one iota of guilt about it. Seriously, none.

Thankfully, the nausea has died down to almost nothing and my appetite is returning to normal, albeit slightly ramped up. Today after dropping off the kids I actually stopped at the local market for a basket of produce because suddenly fruits and vegetables sounded amazing. Unfortunately not the ideal time of year to develop a produce fetish, but there are some giant Chilean blueberries, crisp Jazz apples and the most perfect avocado I've ever seen waiting for me in the fridge.

Here's hoping the baby doesn't come out with two heads from all that crap!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Whew! Nice to have things out in the open now. It's surprisingly hard to maintain a blog about your life when you're not writing about such a huge part of it. However, I've had enough surprises and know enough about the whole process of reproduction that I no longer assume pregnancy = baby and felt more comfortable keeping things quiet through the first trimester.

We're so excited!! We told the kids this weekend and their reactions were true to their personalities. Pacey took it in stride, accepting and good-natured. Brighton flipped. She's really excited about the prospect of a baby brother. I wondered if she'd be disappointed it's not a girl, but she just said, "Now I'll have TWO boys."She doesn't understand the timing though, and every day asks a couple of times whether my baby is "popping out" yet.

Before we had any kids I always thought I'd like to have three. I'm one of three and it seems like your own family size growing up affects what your ideal family looks like. Living in California and working full time, I really couldn't see having a third kid though. Having two was really difficult. As soon as Brighton grew out of things I gave them away, passed on baby gear and my mantra to get me through the challenges of her infancy was "I never have to do this again."

But we moved and I quit work and delved into motherhood as my full time job. I got some breathing room, stabilizing my mental state significantly and suddenly it seemed possible to have a third child again. When I was pregnant with Brighton I felt guilty about the attention I'd have to divert from Pacey to her. I felt like having another baby was something I was doing "to" Pacey. Now, though, I feel like adding another child is going to be a gift to us all. I think the kids will be such great big siblings and will really enjoy a baby. I love the idea of the three of them having each other always.

It's definitely going to be a huge adjustment going back to the schedule of a baby. I'll be giving up my precious hours of free time each week for another few years. We have no baby gear left (well, apart from two cribs, both of which have apparently become dangerous since we used them). I've really been enjoying not changing poopy diapers. But I feel lucky to have achieved the perspective now that the tough infant and toddler years pass and then you have amazing, funny, infuriating kids to enjoy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

One More Thing for the To Do List...

In 2013:

Learn how to parent three kids.

Fetus name: Hedgehog
Appearance expected: mid-to-late July

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It seems impossible that New Year's Eve was earlier this week. I don't know if it's the dark, cold January days or the lack of normal routine or what, but this week felt like a month.

Contrary to my predictions, we ended up staying at our party until midnight. Our hosts did a great job of organizing things such that the kids were entertained but not running around like maniacs, and they all made it awake til midnight except for Brighton, who nodded off at 11:30 (pretty much the worst case scenario). The kids were watching a movie as midnight rolled around, all snuggled up in blankets and sleeping bags. Here's Pacey just before we gathered to ring in the new year:

I told him it was time to come downstairs and he leapt up and said, "Oh yeah, rock and roll!"

Here's B:

She pretty much said, "I'm sleeping, screw the new year."

There was toasting and general merriment and then we faced the unpleasant task of waking a very tired girl up and getting her into snow gear to get home. The windchill had the temperature at around -12, and she was...not pleased to say the least. Frankly, I felt like crying too. But! We all made it home and everyone went straight to sleep and slept in a bit the next day. And someone took his first nap when not ill in about two years:

I was able to take this photo from my vantage point next to him, where I also took a blissful New Year's nap. All in all, I consider it a success although I am not sure I'll feel compelled to repeat every year. It was nice to recognize the occasion though, and even nicer to celebrate (and therefore leave the mess) at someone else's home. A home, by the way, which is equipped with under-floor heating. If I ever have the opportunity, I'd give up a lot to have this in my home. I actually contemplated curling up on the bathroom floor at one point it just felt so heavenly and warm (I didn't).

So. On to 2013. As of this coming Monday we will be back to normal schedule with both kids in school (NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON) and as nice as it has been to laze around, it's time to kick it back into gear. Happy New Year all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Things to do in 2013

1. Overhaul my spice cupboard

I cook. A lot. Many of my spices moved with us from California, almost 2.5 years ago. Some of them moved between houses in California with us. That move took place in 2005. Um. I've definitely learned which spices I use on a regular basis and therefore warrant purchasing in larger quantities, and which ones I tend to either leave out of recipes or make substitutions for. I recently visited Penzey's Spices and was totally inspired by the atmosphere in there so I'll do my purchasing through them, I think.

2. Replace the awful tile in our entryway that I have hated every single day since we moved into our house in 2010.

It's been budgeted for, we're entirely agreed on the project, it's just a matter of getting the estimates in, picking tile and committing once and for all. Can't wait.

3. Hire someone to do at least a bi-annual deep clean of the house.

We've gotten better about being a shoes-off household, but I haven't yet figured out how to teach the dog to wipe his paws and, well, life is messy. I just about keep ahead of tidying and cleaning toilets but my GOD this place could use a really good clean.

4. Watch at least five documentaries.

I've gotten kind of lazy about seeking out opportunities to learn about things that interest me. I have absolutely accepted that I prefer to keep my reading of the leisure variety, so I'd like to give more documentaries a try.

5. Attend a photography workshop and learn how to better use my camera.

Needs no explanation. They are offered all the time on Groupon and similar for very reasonable prices, so I need to just bite the bullet and DO THIS.

6. Make a special effort to really celebrate my 10-year anniversary in April.

We have always talked about renewing our vows for our tenth anniversary. I don't know whether we'll actually do that, but I would like to attempt at least a short getaway together. Hey mom, what are you doing in April? Feel like a visit with your grandkids??

7. Sit down with Chris and write up a new Five-Year Plan

We did this several years ago and it was a seriously useful exercise. We had some personal goals in there, some financial goals, professional goals and family-related goals. Enough has changed since then that we need to do this again.

8. Write up wills and a guardianship plan.

Ugh. A morbid activity and one we have been avoiding for a long time, but feels important. We even have a legal benefit through C's employer that we have yet to take advantage of. Dooooooooo it.

9. Get a Target RedCard debit card.

I can't believe I'm even putting this on here, but I'm hoping it will shame me into actually getting it done. Sometime in the last year I asked for this very thing at Target. Unfortunately what the woman helping me actually applied for was the Target RedCard credit account. I don't prefer to use this (I like to avoid credit accounts for the most part), but that means each and every time I visit Target I pay 5% more than I need to. Over a year, this amounts to a horrifying amount of money to be giving away. The only thing I actually have to do is bring a check on one of my multiple weekly trips and it'll be taken care of.

10. Find a good balance for the use of my kid-free time each week.

It's not a lot of time - 2 - 2.5 hours several days a week - but if I don't plan how to use it it's way too easy to waste it. I think my original plan was to designate a day a week for home chores, one for errand-running and one for personal time/socializing. Needs some more thought.

11. Spend some time reading about organic vs conventional produce and adjust my purchasing habits (if necessary) based on my conclusions.

I encourage the kids to eat as much fruit as they want, especially since they aren't great about eating vegetables yet. Unfortunately, though, a lot of their (and my) favorites land on the Dirty Dozen side of the list. I feel like I need to do a little bit more research and decide what is a reasonable approach and seek out some good sources of the things I think are worth buying organic. My biggest beef has always been that the quality appears significantly compromised, but I suspect if I really do some looking around I can find some good options that aren't prohibitively expensive.