Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons...

I am in a bit of a murderous rage right now, so if you live in my immediate vicinity, you might want to stay out of my way. Except that I am not angry at you directly. It is our effing dog that I desire to strangle right now.
Let me give you some background. So, the car place calls this afternoon (this is the silver lining of this otherwise grim tale) and says that there was just a bulge in the tire, and nothing else seriously wrong. They've fixed it already, and we can come get it at four o' clock. Also, not that expensive of a problem, the tire bulge. We were relieved.
But I was having a really gross day today, not so much nauseous as just bloated and heartburn-plagued and tired, and I was just kind of dragging around, alternating between napping and digging through the messy kitchen for something tempting. I hadn't washed my hair yet, I hadn't so much as loaded the dishwasher, and I was feeling gross. But we had to hurry up and get ready to reverse this morning's two-car errand. So I'm hurrying as much as possible with a stomach in gassy knots, trying to get Addy out the door, and of course in the process she has a diaper blowout, and then knocks my glass of pink lemonade all over the floor. Pink lemonade is not the easiest of liquids to just wipe up, fyi. I had to change her clothes, change my socks, and mop down half the kitchen floor. Then we could leave.
So, fine, we get there, drop Jim off, and Addy and I head for home. (I should mention here that dear sweet husband volunteered to go to the store for me after work so I wouldn't have to face the world with greasy hair and last night's smudged mascara. Major points.) I get home without incident, head off to Adelay's room to put her down for a nap, and there in the middle of the living room carpet is the freaking poop blowout diaper torn open, wipes and all, and a couple of wet diapers drug out as well, sort of spread around the dirty one like the appetizers displayed around the main course.
That was the last straw. My tolerance for annoyance is a little low today, admittedly, but I mean.... This was about the grossest thing I could even have imagined. I managed to compose myself long enough to put Adelay to bed, but then I carried on a swearing tirade for a good long while, as I gathered up the half-eaten diapers (this I cannot even think about,) sprayed and scrubbed the carpet, and then vacuumed up the plastic-y diaper debris. The dog, all the while, skulked guiltily in the corner, his ears low and his eyes sad and mellow.
Well, sorry, dog, but no sad puppy eyes can sway me from my utter horror and disgust at the crime you have committed in this very house today. You ate shit. I don't care how bored any mammal gets, there is just no excuse to go rooting around in a diaper pail looking for a snack. Trash can, sure. Dig out a chicken wing, a discarded donut hole. This I understand. But a desire to ingest another creature's excrement? No. Do not ask me for pity.

Q and A

Some questions I am asking myself, a little late in the game:
1. Why did I agree to bring dinner to two different families from our church this week when I have not summoned the strength to make my own personal family dinner in about two weeks?
2. Why did I agree to host a baby shower here Sunday afternoon when I have been off my housecleaning schedule for at least a month and will need to do serious catch-up work?
Answer the First: Bringing old sick people food makes me feel like a warm and generous person, and that my path to heaven is now shiningly paved with good works (I know, I know, that's an old-school and completely backwards sentiment and our pastor would be horrified by it, but there you have it. Somewhere deep in my soul, I firmly believe in karma.)
The other answer is that our local grocery makes really yummy ready to eat roasted chickens for like five bucks. Throw some potatoes in the oven, warm up some dinner rolls, cut open a bag of salad, and voila! A semi-homemade dinner, for which I never had to touch or look at raw meat. Works for me.
Answer the Second: Baby stuff excites me, and even if I'm not in the whole "Yes, there will absolutely be a new baby in our future very soon" phase of pregnancy yet, being around a 37-weeks pregnant woman and all her new baby goodies will remind me that there is an end in sight, and that the end has pastel mints and tiny booties. (It also has stirrups and stitches, but we won't dwell on that now!)
Also, I think I can summon the energy to drag myself to the grocery store and buy a really decadent turtle cheesecake or ice cream cake or something. If I was supposed to be making, say, Superbowl party food for twenty guys this Sunday, I think I might puke myself into a coma somewhere between the hot wings and the meatballs. But cake and ice cream... That I can do.
So there. I have now rededicated myself to these seemingly overzealous commitments. But here's the monkey wrench thrown in to botch my plans: My car is totally scary, shaking and vibrating so much that if you try to talk while riding in it, your voice wobbles like an opera singer's. It was getting ridiculous to be driving it, so I had to drag my tired pregnant heinie out of bed at the ungodly hour of eight thirty, throw on jeans and a coat, and take myself and baby to the Goodyear place, where Jim met us and drove us home. I did get a giant fast food breakfast out of the errand, though, so all was not for naught. What is it about greasy breakfast sandwiches that comforts my stomach? I mean, gross!
The point, however, is that now I am stuck without a car until five thirty every night, for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. The other point is that, what do you know, our income tax return is very likely to be completely spoken for by this and various other expensive-but-necessary repair issues before I ever see a cent of it. Boo. I love how the commercials are always like, "It's tax time! Book your tropical vacation now!" And I'm thinking, "It's tax time! Pay off some of the balance that still remains from giving birth a year and a half ago!"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's In A Name?

Okay, I've been meaning to start up the whole what-should-we-name-the-baby discussion at some point, and today I have my conversation starter: Phorreal. Is this even a name? It sounds like a kind of plant requiring minimal sunlight or something. The Hardy Phorreal.
This name is on my brain because, in one of my usual very productive jaunts online, I decided to go to our local hospital's baby connection to see what the cool kids are getting called these days. So here are a few gems for your amusement, or, if you're a little on the, uh, creative side, to add to your name list:
Lyric Monet (An artsy choice for the future poet / sculpter / interpretive dancer.)
Victoriana (If you plan on having your daughter carry around a parasol and wear a corset.)
Houston Harrison (Both names fine by themselves; together, a little on the overly macho side- is the baby going to be wearing a gun holster?)
Zyler (Someone's just being silly here, combining Tyler and - what? The word xylophone?)
Melody Sol (Again, for the musically and spiritually inclined. And, apparently, for those who would like to incorporate a random Spanish word into their daughter's name.)
Jazelle (The perfect solution when you'd like your child's name to imply both "jazzy" and "National Geographic's most frequently preyed-upon animal.")
Izayah (I actually kind of like this one. Except that, hmm? What will this poor kid inevitably be nicknamed, oh short-sighted parents? That's right. Izzy.)
Aries Nicholas (All I can see is some bronzed, Greek-god like body lounging on a yacht. Someone whose last name is Onassis. But perhaps that was the idea.)
Serenity Jane (This name is sort of incongruous. We have Serenity. And then we have Jane? I get a mental image of a spandex-clad girl from the future, but she's wearing an apron and has her hair in two sensible braids down her back.)
Beau Elsworth (Oh dear Lord. Elsworth??!! Someone is a wee bit too involved in their romantic historical fiction. This sounds like the name of a charismatic-but-shady traveling evangelist.)
Shandon Phorreal (We come to it at last. Shandon is... OK. Not my favorite, but not really that weird or out there. But what the heck is a Phorreal? This has to be a family name, that is the only explanation. But it's still not an excuse.)

The Breakfast Club

It occured to me today that I am perhaps not setting the best example these days. It all started this morning, when Addy and I spent a good hour or so in my bed, eating Trix cereal out of the box and watching Friends. Now, we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (as did the dog, who received his generous and gooey share of cereal, courtesy of his little cohort.) But I was thinking: perhaps it is not such a great idea to get my child in the habit of eating sugary cereal puffs by the handful while lounging in bed watching an adult-themed sitcom?
It is not my usual habit to eat breakfast in bed, understand, but it just feels so much better- so much less barf-inducing- to just stay under the covers, lying still for a while and letting my breakfast settle. I never really feel sick until I actually get up and get moving, so lately, I tend to delay the getting up part as much as possible. And, hey, if I'm gonna be in bed, I might as well watch a little TV, right?
So far in this pregnancy, I've watched about five complete seasons of Friends- I mean, I worry that Addy's gonna grow up thinking these are actual people with whom Mommy is friends! I don't know how to explain the addiction, other than to say that I have seen the reruns so many times now that it's kind of like mental comfort food when I'm not feeling good to just throw a disc in, hit play, and then curl up in bed in the dark, watching or even just listening with my eyes closed. But it is a little eerie the way the theme song sort of runs through my brain nonstop these days...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Where I've Been (And What I've Been Dreaming)

We arrived home last night around ten after being in Michigan over the weekend for Jim's grandpa's funeral. Addy was very pleasant and cooperative, considering, but she doesn't sleep that well away from home, and she loathes her carseat, so it was a long couple of days. Needless to say, it was a good feeling to pull in our driveway. But it was also a good feeling to be there with Jim's family and to visit with relatives from out of state.
One of my friends commented once that funerals are the only time when family lingers, reluctant to part. The holidays are usually rushed and full of gifts and food and agendas, but when everyone is gathered together to mourn a loss, no one wants to be the first to leave. I found that to be very true these past couple of days. I was glad we were able to make it, despite my feeling crappy and the fact of having a toddler with us and all that.
Crappy I did feel, though, that's for sure. Our hosts, who were kind and gracious friends of Jim's parents (and who happened to have a breathtaking lakefront home,) unfortunately brewed coffee night and day, or at least so it seemed. I spent much of the time huddled away in our room with the door shut, trying to block out the very idea of coffee. Plus, you know, when you're in someone else's home you can't just walk around eating crackers out of the box the way you would at home. Nor can you inexplicably demand a snack an hour after dinner because you're feeling sick again. I felt like a drug addict, trying to inconspicuously sneak crackers without anyone really noticing. "Who, me? Eating again, you say? No, I'm not. Pay no attention to this rapidly emptying sleeve of Ritz."
Also, another side effect of pregnancy has begun kicking in for me, one which I believe is probably as common as morning sickness but perhaps not as widely acknowledged: racy dreams. What is it about being pregnant that causes your waking self to be so decidedly unsexy, yet as soon as you fall asleep you are behaving like a wanton whore? A mystery to me, a frustrating mystery. Hormones are just running amok in my body, apparently, playing all sorts of cruel jokes on me.
Anyone care to contribute their pregnant dreamscapes here? I will say this of my own: Sean Connery was prominently featured, from whence I have no clue. In actual fact I think the man is something of a chauvinist pig, but apparently that's just the sort of guy my unconscious self is profoundly drawn to.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Habits of Highly Successful Moms

Rundown of day thus far:
9am- I awake to learn that Jim will be working for home, which was why the alarm had not wakened me sooner. Addy still asleep, after going to bed at 10 last night following her one and only nap, taken at 6:30 pm.
9:30am- We all eat breakfast of cream cheese coffee cake while watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Jim working at desk in family room.)
11am- I try to put a cranky Adelay down for her morning nap, which does not happen. She rejoins us in the family room, where I am still on the couch nibbling bland things, and wanders around, strewing DVD's and Cheerios everywhere.
12pm- Still unshowered, in sweats, but have managed to brush teeth. Prepare lunch of Dora the Explorer chicken soup, which Adelay rejects but Jim and I eat. Surprisingly delicious, but it could be my morning sickness talking.
12:30pm- Adelay finally lays down for a nap. She is also still wearing last night's pajamas. I return to the family room to man my post on the couch, now eating a toasted cheese sandwich while watching yet another movie.
1:30pm- Movie is a long one. I am vaguely aware of laundry in both the dryer and the washer that needs attention, but decide instead to replenish my water glass. Hear noises from Addy's room on the monitor.
2pm- Adelay up again, having been awakened by her dirty diaper. I, while changing it, have to force down the retching in my throat at the smell.
3pm- Movie finally over. Adelay has slight fever (teething, I think,) and has been fairly lethargic, cuddling on my lap and sucking listlessly at her bottle. She is now growing restless, though, so, like a good mom, I put her in her playpen with a kid movie so I can begrudgingly do the laundry.
4pm- Realize that my mom will be here in an hour to pick up Adelay for her portrait session, and she is still unbathed and covered in saltine crumbs. As am I myself, come to think of it.
4:30pm- Attempt to put an unhappy but clean baby in a beautiful but probably uncomfortable dress. Try to style hair, which is still damp because Addy has refused to let me towel dry it. Dressing process takes about fifteen minutes. We proceed to the kitchen, where I find Addy some graham cracker bites which I hope will not mess up her face or outfit. She wolfs them down, stopping only to shove soggy handfuls in my mouth as well. My shirt now looks like a used napkin.
5pm- Mom arrives, to much fanfare and adoration from Adelay. They bustle out the door, and I feel both lonely and relieved. Also ravenous, though I don't think I've really stopped eating all day. I heat up two croissant pockets (total calories: 620,) scarf them down, and start scrounging for the next thing to eat.
5:30pm- Jim leaves for his boxing class. I am still unshowered, in sweats, stuffing my face. As I wander into the kitchen for the hundredth time, I realize that from certain angles, my stomach looks about four months pregnant already.
Well, whoever you are, wherever you are, I betcha that just made your day look a whole lot more productive. You're welcome!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Thing About Snow

...Is that it makes everything look so much cleaner. I can hate its cold, wet slush melting on my floors, and I can really hate its icy frosting that must be scraped off my car, but I cannot deny that when I look out my kitchen window and see our backyard, blanketed in white and blindingly bright from the sun, it makes me happy and oddly peaceful.
I also find myself oddly peaceful about being stuck in the house for the night, where all the lamps burn bright as it is pitch black at six thirty. But that's all right; the sun just illuminates all the dust motes, falling oh so inevitably towards the tables in their endless thwarting of my dustcloths. And it's cozy, in its way. I have my meatless dinner of peas, rice, and tater tots to look forward to (I actually am looking forward to it, truly,) and soon Jim will be home from the store with necessities: toilet paper, ketchup, pound cake, and movies. All is well with the world.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mama The Grouch

Things are never as simple as they should be. Example: I had made an appointment with the chimney cleaners to come check everything out before we used our wood stove this year, and at eight thirty this morning, right on schedule, they arrived. I explained briefly that if it wasn't too expensive or difficult, we'd like to remove the wood stove, which is about thirty years old, and either replace it or convert the whole thing back to a wood burning fireplace. I had thought this would be minimally difficult and not terribly expensive. I was very wrong, as they quickly explained. So, I told them never mind about all that and just to go ahead and clean the chimney and stove so we could use it this year. Then, resigned, I went out to the kitchen to feed Addy breakfast. Not five minutes later, one of the guys comes out to the kitchen and says a little hesitantly, "Ma'am, can you come out here so we can show you something?"
Grr. To make a long story a little less long, it turns out the whole thing is broken, and it was unsafe that we were even using it last winter. The blower is missing altogether, and the insert has been pried away from the top of the stove and is basically a fire hazard. Fixing it to make it even workable will cost around five hundred dollars, and replacing it about two thousand. Not quite what I was expecting.
Man. The last couple of days have kind of sucked. Saturday was emotionally difficult to say the least, visiting Jim's grandpa and relatives and being away from Adelay. And Sunday I was as nauseous as I've been so far, gagging into the sink every time I tried to brush my teeth, recoiling in horror at the sight of a package of ground beef every time I opened the refrigerator. I went to bed at something like eight thirty, getting up only to gather more supplies (water, some little muffins which were staving off empty stomach nausea.) I keep thinking, "By the time I go back to the doctor, I will be almost ten weeks pregnant. I'll feel better then. I just have to hold out three more weeks." This is probably untrue, but having some kind of end in sight, even imaginary, helps a little.
So, this is kind of a boring and whiny post here, but it's all I've got today. I think I'll try to take a nap later, and then maybe I'll have something more interesting and/or cheerful to say!

Friday, January 19, 2007

At Home Without Baby

Well, I will be away from my beloved internet all day tomorrow, as Jim and I have to drive north a few hours to be with his grandpa, who is very sick. This would be draining under the best of circumstances, particularly with a toddler in the car, to say nothing of doing it while feeling barfy and exhausted. So I asked my mom to keep Addy tonight and tomorrow. I feel a little relieved and a little guilty. Also, it is startingly weird to be in a quiet house, a house where things stay picked up after they are put in their proper places. It's so strange; I sort of do a double take every time I walk through the kitchen and see the bare floors, devoid of random Tupperware and toys. I've also had a couple twinges of heartache thinking of the empty crib down the hall.
But I also had a happy, pinch-me-I'm-dreaming evening of watching two hours' worth of Friends, bathing as long as I wanted, and getting a solid, uninterrupted hour to clean my depressingly dusty and cluttered bedroom. A few years ago, this kind of Friday evening would have left me feeling tragically antisocial and pathetic, yet tonight I felt nothing but pampered. It made me think of Swistle's post a few weeks ago, the one about grocery shopping, but also about contentment with where we are in life. I think I've mostly reached that place. Not entirely, of course; I still have my moments where I think about what most people in their early twenties are doing, and I feel a little frantic and panic-stricken as I realize afresh that these things are no longer options for me. That door has closed. But mostly, mostly I just feel grateful.

You're Getting Veerrrry Sleeeepppy....

Well, I thought I had been tired previously, but I think the real, full-blown pregnancy tiredness is kicking in. The kind where you crave sleep like a junkie, and your every thought is of when and how you can get your next hit. The house, the laundry, the fact that your child has been watching TV for two hours already- none of this matters when weighed against the demands of your body, which is falling asleep standing up.
When I fell into bed this afternoon after Addy went down for her nap, my head was throbbing crazily, some kind of weird hormone-induced headache for which there is no cure but sleep. I awoke an hour later to hear small rustling sounds from the crib in the next room, and I prayed, as sincerely as a person can beseech the heavens, "Please, please, just let her go back to sleep so I can too."
When I woke up again another hour later, I swear I felt like the most blessed person on the face of the earth as I realized I had gotten my wish. I could feel the sleep coursing through my veins as though it had been administered intravenously. My headache was but a small, fuzzy pain around the edges, nothing like the pounding sledgehammer of two hours previously. I could get up, I could go on. I could stagger to the computer and check email while eating Cheez-Its. Life was good.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ups and Downs

Well, it figures: As soon as I get all sentimental and share a touching mommy moment, cue the bleeding and the barfing! Last night, we had Adelay all dressed up and looking totally angelic to go get her picture taken at the mall with Grandma, and not five minutes before she was due to leave, she fell face-first into the coffee table. It was awful- blood everywhere, much hysterical screaming and flailing around in Daddy's arms, and a useless me, lying on the couch with a pillow under my knees, where I was obligated to remain for the next half hour. It was such a quandary: Do I leap up to rescue my firstborn, or allow Daddy to handle it in favor of following the doctor's orders for the health of my unborn? My first taste of what it feels like to balance the needs of two children, I guess.
In the end, I did opt to stay on my back (well okay, I jumped up initially but then reluctantly returned to the couch and just listened to the grim sounds from the kitchen.) It was probably good that Jim handled in anyways; I think it's better sometimes if Mommy's not always the one to be the comforter, and the kiddos can see that Daddy's good for a hug too.
So needless to say, the dress was blood stained, the lip was puffy, and there was no photo op that night. And then this afternoon, as I was dozing on the spare bed while Addy puttered around in the playroom, I heard this weird little hacking sound and woke up in time to see her spewing partially digested Wheat Thins and orange juice all over the rug. A visual treat.
But all this is nothing compared to the grand news that.... She is walking! Not of her own accord though! But she definitely is able, there's no problem with her knees or feet or whatever. As soon as we got a little more intentional about working with her on it (picture us five feet apart on the kitchen floor, offering bribes and wild applause every time she made the clumsy little trek back and forth,) we discovered she was perfectly capable of walking all over the place. She waddles endearingly, making my nickname for her ("Ducky") apropos to more than just her downy little head.
And last but not least, there is the happy fact of my little pinto bean baby, who is growing just fine, and who actually had a discernable head and body in the ultrasound today! Still some free--floating fluid in my uterine cavity which we're not really sure what to make of, but the heartbeat is strong, the growth is fine, and so as long as I keep taking the progesterone the doctor seems to think all will continue as it should. In fact, I don't have to go back for another three weeks! It seems so reckless, after being in there every week, to just live as usual for three whole weeks without checking in!
Just by the way, aren't due dates hilarious? So carefully estimated, and so rarely correct. As the doctor was measuring the length of the baby, he noted that it was actually a day ahead of it's projected growth based on last week's measurements. Without any hint of irony, he asked, "Would you like to change the due date to September 8th, then?" I just laughed and declined, since I think I have a snowball's chance in you-know-where of delivering on any due date, 8th or 9th or even the original 4th. Addy came almost four weeks early even with bedrest and medication, so I'm figuring I won't make it to September this time. Which is fine, as long as the baby is healthy enough to be born. Less time feeling like a bloated, gassy sea cow is always okay in my book.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For Me This Is Heaven

"For Me This Is Heaven" by Jimmy Eat World
The first star I see may not be a star/We can't do a thing but wait/So let's wait for one more/The time such clumsy time in deciding if it's time/I'm careful but not sure how it goes/You can loose yourself in your courage/The mindless comfort grows when I'm alone with my 'great' plans/This is what she says gets her through it:"If I don't let myself be happy now then when?"If not now when?/When the time we have now ends/When the big hand goes round again/Can you still feel the butterflies?/Can you still hear the last goodnight?/Close my eyes and believe wherever you are, an angel for me/

So, I had this song on my MP3 player while I was bathing Addy this afternoon. (It's really such a beautiful, wistful melody. Just reading the lyrics doesn't entirely do it justice.) But anyways, it was just totally choking me up, because Addy was being so sweet, she was all fresh and clean and wrapped in a white towel, and while I was patting her face dry, she put her little hands on both my shoulders and leaned in to give me a big, smiling kiss. And I thought, "I will never have this moment again." I wanted to hug her forever.

Some Random Ranting

Sunny Again= Me Happy!!
It's sad how easily my mood is swayed by the weather. Or maybe it's just normal. But I take good weather as a good omen and bad weather as an ominous portent of doom, and maybe that's not so normal. I don't know what I would have done if it had rained on my wedding day or something. A good example would be the day we brought Addy home from the hospital: it was so warm and mellow and unusually balmy for October, and I knew then and there that her infancy would be smooth and peaceful. And it was; she was a remarkably content newborn. Coincidence? Probably. But I remember distinctly how reassured I was, as we walked through our front door for the first time as a family of three, that the sun was shining down on us and a gentle breeze was blowing in my hair.
So yeah, let's hope that this next one, due September 9th, arrives home on an equally cloudless and bright day! Or, I guess I could just refuse to leave the hospital until the weather is suitably mild. They'd probably think I had postpartum depression and was losing it, but hey, maybe I could score some mood elevators or something.
Anyways, what was I going to talk about today? I don't know if you've noticed, but my posts have been a little scatter-brained lately... Oh yeah, I was going to talk about childbirth. Yay!
Specifically, how in my first pregnancy, I was by this point already obsessing about how and where and in what position to give birth, with what calming music and aromatherapy in the birthing suite, and with what relaxation techniques ("visualize waves!") to help me avoid drugs. It just seems funny now. I mean, it's one day of your life, and it's so physically and emotionally draining that your memory of it blurs anyways. It's the baby part that matters, not the when and where and how. It's great if you can have some ideal, earth-mother kind of experience, but I also think we should be grateful that if we want help with pain, it's there!
All this talk on the "natural birthing" websites of which I was a fan in the past, about how women have been doing this for years and we just have to trust our bodies, is kind of true and kind of a load of crap. Yes, the vast majority of women are physically capable of giving birth. But some aren't. Women used to die, and their babies with them. And yes, we are capable of birthing without drugs. And some of us desire to experience that. But I'd also bet you good money that if someone had offered those women birthing in the rice fields a nice shot of Demerol, they'd have been all over it!
Now, I personally didn't get an epidural last time, but that's only because by the time I was begging for something, anything, I was dilated 9 1/2 centimeters and had missed my chance. I had a fairly short labor last time, and I'm kind of afraid that's going to happen again, that I'll tough it out until I change my mind, and by then, surprise! Too late for drugs- time to push this watermelon out!
And then there's the C-section thing. I was just hanging out today with a friend who had a really traumatic birth with her first child and has elected to have a C-section this time. Some women, probably members of Lamaze International, would frown and say that she is being fearful and not "trusting birth," blah blah blah, but after hearing her horror story (a hundred-plus stitches!) and I am totally with her on this one. She is a pretty petite person, and maybe her body is just not designed to birth babies very well. It happens. I have another friend who's going to have her fourth Cesarean in July because, as they discovered during her first birth, she has a cervix which refuses to dilate whatsoever. A hundred years ago, she would have died trying to give birth "naturally," and now, thanks to hospitals and modern medicine, she is going to be the mother of four.
I don't know that I have a real point here, except that it's nice to have one less thing to be obsessing over this time around. I am worrying about the logistics of traveling with two carseats, about the conflicting sleep schedules of a newborn and a toddler, about my current stretch marks which are already looking, er, stretchier, but one thing I am not too concerned about is the actual birth. If it's more than I want to handle, I'm getting an epidural, and that is that!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

Okay, I thought of something else I am really thankful for: Adelay's health. I was just hanging out with my sister-in-law and her son today, and boy, it seems like that kid has been sick all winter. He seems fine now, but every now and then he'll break out this barking, hacking cough from deep in his lungs that makes you cringe in sympathy. And then there's another friend of ours, whose little boy is just a month or so younger than Addy, and he has had a grand total of eight ear infections since he's been born. He's also spiked some very high fevers recently and had to be rushed to the hospital, and now they've found out he has RSV and has to have breathing treatments every six hours. Addy's minor encounters with colds and flu seem just that, minor, in comparison. On the whole she has been amazingly healthy, and I am so grateful for that.
In a related child-care note, I am also grateful to have both sets of parents around, ready and willing to babysit. It is so nice not to have to pay a sitter, to say nothing of just the fact of having one, which I realize is lucky enough in itself.
I am also happy that I have had a modicum of energy the past few days, and at last summoned the will to tackle the enormous laundry pile and the dust and dog hair build-up in the living rooms. It makes me feel so much better to have it done. I just really can't stand mess, I have to be honest. It's not the usual mom problem, that the mess makes me feel guilty, but I really don't want to do it. It's that it makes me insane to be in clutter and mess, and I really do want to clean it, but sometimes there are only so many things I can accomplish in a day.
I just haven't yet received that magical ability, which seems to be brought about by having small children, to look past the dishes and the toys and the magnetic alphabet letters and everybody's ten thousand coats strewn all over the kitchen. I can overlook it for a while, but it's always there, in the back of my mind, and I am longing to tackle it the way some people long to get to the gym or hit the mall for a little stress relief. Cleaning relieves me. I am a freak, I know. (Please realize that as I type this, however, our bathroom sink is so disgusting as to make me want to vomit every time I look at it, but I am here blogging instead. I do still have my priorities straight!)
And finally, I am thankful that.... The sun is shining! At freaking last! It is no coincidence I am in a better frame of mind today. I intentionally do not mention the state in which we live, but let me just say that it is basically a gray, gloomy swamp during the winter, a fact which is emphasized by our low backyard which has been pock-marked with muddy puddles since late October. But today the clouds have broken, and so has my mood.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Things For Which To Be Thankful

I realized I've been using this blog to complain a lot lately, so I'm going to take today and just itemize those things which I'm happy about.
Item One: The doctor did not scold me overmuch about Adelay's cracker-based diet, but seemed more to feel that I am probably doing my best to offer a balanced menu, and the ball is now in Addy's court, so to speak. (He did, however, give me a stern little speech about not putting her to bed with the bottle ever again. I squirmed a little.)
Item Two: Though the extremely gray and rainy weather has not done much for the spirits, it has been refreshing to experience a January without its usual grim sidekicks, bitter, sleety wind and snow. I also do not miss the icy roads and treacherous, slippery driveways which ordinarily make carting around a toddler in the winter such a particular pleasure.
Item Three: No bleeding whatsoever since Friday! Now I'm sure it was just from the exam, and am feeling confident again about this pregnancy. I also got a little pep talk in the form of a sermon from one of our good friends, who basically said that you can't live your life always fearing pain (in my case the emotional pain of losing a baby,) or you will miss out on the fullness of the life you are meant to experience. Sometimes painful experiences are part of the package, but if you sit around dreading them and expecting the worst, you just sort of suck the joy out of what you have right now. So, my belated New Year's Resolution: Enjoy being pregnant (even when queasy and exhausted) instead of fretting every day about my fear of the unknown.
Well, that's all the specifics I'm able to come up with at the moment. The weather does kind of drag my mood down, honestly, not to mention the house, which has slowly but surely fallen into a state of dust-covered messiness due to my constant napping. Also, it's a bit of an effort to be overflowing with gratitude when I had to spend the morning waiting in an exam room with a restless baby, then have the doctor recommend that I take her to an orthopedist because of her delayed walking. Even though he hastened to assure me that it was just a precaution and she is likely fine ( just a little too fond of her knee-walking method to give it up yet,) it was still not what I was hoping to hear. And then, of course, there was the obligatory holding down of my poor unsuspecting baby with the help of another nurse, while the third jabbed her little legs and arm.
Can I just say, I'm getting a little sick of being in medical offices of all sorts? In the past couple of months, I think between Addy and I and all of my blood draws and everything, I've been in one or another doctor's office at least once a week. And I have another ultrasound on Thursday (I do enjoy seeing the baby, don't get me wrong. I just enjoy seeing it a little more when the view is not provided by a strangely phallic looking device covered in a condom. If you know what I mean.)
Whoops, I'm complaining again! But actually, I just thought of one more thing to be thankful for: At least, if I have to clean, I can do it to the sounds of Angels and Airwaves while Addy takes her extra long, post-shot nap!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Someone Knock Me Out, Please...

So, this evening as I was lying on the couch, feet in the air so as to allow all that goopy progesterone to saturate my uterus, I was feeling pretty darn low. It just seems like a bad sign, to be taking these supplements again and to have yet another ultrasound check scheduled next week. It is all too similar, I guess, to the sequence of events back in September. And then I started feeling crampy, just a little, and then when I got up and went to the bathroom, there was light spotting on the tissue.
I've had no bleeding since then, and the books and websites reassure me that slight spotting is normal after a vaginal exam. But everything from three months ago was flooding back to me, and all I could do was curl up on the bed and cry for a while. And whisper, "Please, please, let it be all right."
I hate this so much, all the worry and the waiting. I wish someone could just give me like a three-month dosage of Percoset coupled with a whammy of a sleeping pill (or, if the drugs aren't an option, just a well-placed right hook,) and that when I woke up all would be well. I guess I've voiced that wish before, haven't I? It's just so much more exhausting and tedious and nerve-wracking than I realized, the whole childbearing process.
I told Jim tonight, in a moment of frustration (ok, more like, at some point within the three hours of frustration) that I wished pregnancy didn't even exist. I wish you could just go online and order your baby from Amazon or something and then have it delivered in three to five business days. Sure, it would lack something of that whole our-bodies-are-so-strong-and-amazing feeling that usually strikes you at some point after forcing a live wrecking ball out of your body.
But it would also eliminate those feelings of failure and disappointment that can threaten to engulf you when something doesn't go according to plan during the process. You know, those nagging feelings of guilt and self-blame that hang out on the edge of your brain and taunt you even while all your knowledge of the randomness of biology tries to taunt back. "Why did you scrub the bathroom so vigorously?" says the pointing finger, while the voice of reason intones firmly, "Normal housekeeping activities have never been shown to cause miscarriage." But guess which voice is louder?

Some Relief, Some Concern

So I had my second ultrasound today, and, after much nervous silence and prodding of my belly, the doctor at last found within the the black, cavern-like expanse of my uterus a tiny little blip of a baby with an even tinier little pulsing blip of a heartbeat. Yay! It took probably half a minute before he could maneuver my uterus into a position where the heartbeat was visible, during which time I was thinking, with a sense of dull dread, "Oh, are you kidding me? Not again." When he finally pointed it out, I let out a loud little exhale of relief, breath I didn't even know I had been holding. And then just as quickly I demanded, "What is that, another baby?" For lo and behold, there was a smaller black blob of something or other floating around near the gestational sac.
But no, don't go congratulating me on twins just yet, for it really was a lot smaller, and the doctor was actually a little concerned about it as he thought it might be fluid leaking from the sac or something. But, I had also had a large cyst on my ovary just last week which was no longer there today, so my humble little layperson guess is that the random black blob is just leftover fluid from where the cyst burst, something which happened to me before, since I am what one calls "prone to ovulation cysts."
But again, one more thing to worry about, darn it all. The doctor said I should start taking progesterone supplements (and those are in vaginal suppository form, lucky me!) just in case the sac is weak and needs some extra support or something. I don't know. Tell you the truth, I am growing somewhat skeptical of what doctors really do know about the miraculous process of conception and birth. I think half the time they're just scratching their heads going, "Well, hmm, here, try this, can't hurt!"
My husband calls it the curse of science, how we on the one hand have such amazingly early diagnosis of pregnancy and 4-D ultrasound and all that, but we are also able to find all these slightly variant things which may or may not be a problem, but because we can see them and test for them, we are psychologically unable not to worry about them. Well, I am unable, anyways.
It's still a relief, though, to see that little grain-of-rice baby there. Even though it only measured at 5 weeks, 5 days, quite a bit off from my supposed point in pregnancy, 6 weeks and 4 days or something, it is a baby nonetheless. So they changed my due date to September 9th, which I just sort of shrugged at. Due to the Clomid and the weird testing flukes I encountered when I thought my period was due, I have honestly no idea whatsoever when I conceived, so it's entirely possible I am not even six weeks yet. Fine by me! More time to prepare myself for having two little ones around.
I just want that to happen. I just so much want everything to be fine. Come on, gestational sac, get to work!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Marriage

I now take a break from my normally scheduled program- that would be lying on the sofa drinking tea while Adelay tears apart the house- to bring you this shocking update: married people should be having sex! For this and more profound advise, keep reading.
I am passing on this info from today's featured guest on Live!With Regis and Kelly, Dr. Robi Ludwig, who offers these ten genius tips for rekindling romance in one's marriage:
1. Spend time together. (No marriage will work if you don't live in the same house, apparently.)
2. Spend time apart. (This seems contradictory, but the point seems to be that while you must reside in the same zip code, you must also take care not to see so much of one another that you start to resent the very way your spouse breathes.)
3. Pick and choose your battles. (Boil this one down and it's basically an admonition to quit fighting about everything. Just fight about some things.)
4. Compliment your spouse on their strengths. (Dr. Ludwig wished to point out that we sometimes stop noticing the good things and tend to focus on the negative. So, children, what we should do is try to say more nice things and fewer mean things.)
5. Foreplay. (Apparently the one word says it all- make the effort. Lose the sweatpants.)
6. Sex. (Again, it appears to be so simple. Have some, people! Kelly's brilliant side note on this subject? "More sex leads to more sex." Aha.)
7. Have empathy for your partner. (This one was, I thought, particularly insightful. As Dr. Ludwig noted- and this is all verbatim-,"We should try to think about how other people feel. Sometimes we only think of our own feelings. We have to try to think of others." Is this a forum on marriage or an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood?)
8. Share your dreams. (At Regis's naughty smirk, Dr. Ludwig cautioned the men, "Maybe don't share all your dreams.)
9. Set goals for your relationship. ("Have more sex!" would presumably be one of the suggested goals.)
10. Keep the spark alive. (How to do this? "Glam up" your marriage, was the good doctor's suggestion. Return to the sight of your first date. Provided you even remember it. On the other hand, if the sight of your first date was less than glamorous- more along the lines of a high school keg party, perhaps, than an elegant restaurant- then my thought would be maybe try to erase that memory and make a new one. All of this assumes there is enough money in your expendable income to afford both a babysitter and a hot date. And that there is anyone left in your town willing to babysit your brood.)
So, get to work, folks! Go throw on a lacy nightie and light a candle! Or you could just accept that things change, and that this doesn't always equal the death of a relationship. I read an article on married sex by Dave Barry once in which he noted that women often overate the importance of lingerie. "Just show up naked, and you've done your part," was his thought. From my sofa, in my oversized sweatshirt, I say a nauseous amen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Will Scream for Wheat Thins

Have I complained lately about how Adelay will eat only about one or two items on any given day, and how usually one (or both) of those items is from the cracker family? You'd think she was the one with morning sickness! I even started keeping a diary of every food I offered Adelay throughout the day and whether or not she ate it, based on some counsel I found in a parenting book that suggested toddlers usually eat more than we realize, and if I were to only carefully observe, my mind would be set to rest.
Well. Consider my mind unrested. (Throughout this story, keep in mind that as soon as Addy has deigned a certain food distasteful, it is immediately thrown to the floor, and I am then howled at in rage until I provide the true and life-giving food, Wheat Thins.)
In a sample day, I gave Adelay bananas and Cheerios for breakfast. She ate three Cheerios, then began screeching and threw the rest of her food on the floor. I gave her apples for a snack. She ate none. She drank a bottle of milk at naptime. I gave her organic (!) macaroni and cheese for lunch. She ate one piece, made a face, and started yelling. As she was eyeing my own cookie enviously, I offered her one. She ate half. She drank some juice. For an afternoon snack, I offered crackers. Surprise, surprise, she ate about ten. She had some milk at naptime. For dinner, we had spaghetti, so I put some on her tray and gave her some pieces of crusty bread. She ate two bites of bread, no spaghetti. (She did smear it all over her hair, the table, and the floor.) Bedtime snack was baby cereal, which is usually a sure thing. She ate about half the bowl. More milk at bedtime.
So, let's add it up: three Cheerios, one piece of macaroni, half a cookie, three ounces of juice, ten crackers, two bites of bread, half a bowl of cereal, and three bottles of milk. I'm no nutritionist, but I'm fairly sure that the above does not compose an adequate, balanced diet.
So, any ideas, anyone? I'm really at my wits end. Adelay's fifteen month check-up is next week, and I'm already going to have to admit I'm still giving her bottles to put her to sleep. And that, in truth, she has not really walked at all since the fluke steps that occured a few days ago. I at least need to be able to say that she's eating her fruits and veggies!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tea and Sympathy

Mmm, how I do love the first trimester! What I especially love is that jolt of energy you get first thing in the morning, as you hop out of bed and cheerfully head for the kitchen to fry up a batch of bacon and eggs!
Oh, wait, no. Make that the exact opposite. Picture, instead, something along these lines: an unshowered, gritty-eyed mom tiptoeing around, avoiding the creaks in the floor, so that maybe just maybe, her toddler will sleep a while longer so that the nauseous mommy can creap back into her blissfully dark bedroom, pull the covers to her chin, and sip (decaf!) tea and nibble dry Cheerios. Oh, and feel sorry for herself.
P.S. Not too sorry, though- mostly I'm congratulating my hormonal system for continuing to double my HCG levels every three days! All systems are still go.

Monday, January 08, 2007

On Beef Stew

Oh my gosh... Have I mentioned yet that the so-called morning sickness has already begun hitting me? Well if not, let me do so now: I'm officially nauseous. And I usually feel fine in the mornings, is the thing. But then it's all downhill throughout the day, and it's almost always triggered by scent. I'll be doing good, eat my breakfast with no problem, but then the smell of Jim's aftershave will cause me to recoil with a wrinkled nose. Even sweet little Addy's breath- even my own breath, as a matter of fact- will make me sniff the air like a hound dog, demanding, "What is that horrid, sour smell?" And the dog? Forget it. If he so much as opens his mouth in the same room as me, I run for cover.
But today has been the worst, to date. I was taking a nice long nap (while Addy slept for longer than usual thanks to her post-shot Tylenol,) and when I got up I headed first for the kitchen. And that's when it smacked me in the face, the pungent, oniony, mushroomy aroma of crock-pot beef stew, which had seemed like such a good idea two hours previously when I had put it in to cook. And now it seems to have permeated every square inch of the house and I want to run barfing into the streets.
So, note to self: no more slow cooking during the first trimester. The ease of dinner preparation is not enough of a trade off to make the gag-inducing stench of beefy mushroom condensed soup (oh, it made me sick even to type it!) worth it.

Evil Needle

Addy and I were a pair of sad girls today. Our morning errands consisted of dragging both of us out in the wind and cold to get shots, Addy for her flu vaccine booster and me for my blood draw. Fun stuff! I always feel like such a monster when I have to hold her little leg still as the nurse plunges the needle into her unsuspecting self. Her eyes widen with shock for about three seconds, and then the wail of outrage and betrayal begins as giant crocodile tears well up and spill down her cheeks.
When I emerge from the exam room to make Addy's next appointment, all the people in the waiting room look up at me with cold eyes, like, "Oh, there's that lady whose poor baby was screaming in pain just a moment ago. Look at her, so callous and cold." Well, actually, they're probably just thinking, "When is it going to be my turn so I can get out of this germ-infested holding pen?" But I feel as though I'm being judged. And as I scheduled Addy's fifteen-month checkup (I'm behind, I know,) I remembered that she'll be getting four shots at that particular visit. Really, would it be so excessive to ask if she could have some sort of sedation beforehand? I mean, four shots is a lot! I think I might cry. And shots hurt a lot more than just getting your blood drawn, as I rediscovered last month when I got my flu shot. I feel so sorry for her. Poor kid.
I know I've said this before, but I just really think being a kid is so rough. Every five minutes, practically, something is being taken from you, or you're being forced to eat or get in the car or take a nap when it's not what you wanted to do at all. And then the grown-ups get frustrated when you're not just thrilled to uncomplainingly follow their agenda all day long. But the worst must be the scary things like daycare and new babysitters and of course medical procedures, which are constantly and unexpectedly being thrust upon you.
Doctor's visits used to terrify me so much. I remember I would fret about it for at least two days beforehand, the knot in my stomach growing larger and larger the closer the appointment loomed. So I guess I should at least be grateful that Adelay is too young to be consumed with dread about the shots. That will just be me, feeling tense and anxious and miserable the day of the appointment.
But, that's life. And even as I squirm and grimace my way through these vaccine-filled couple of years, I am very thankful that we live in a time and a country where immunizations are available, and where the most discomfort my child is likely to experience is a shot, and not a life-threatening illness. And I feel so much for parents whose children are truly ill. Whenever I'm in a store and I see a flier or donation container for a child with cancer, I feel a jolt of shock and horror. I want to rewind the moment and erase from my mind the very idea that children can get sick. That children can die.
Well, sorry. That was depressing. It's just that life can be such a dull, tedious thing some days, but just throw out there the thought that at any moment it could be snatched from me, and I feel an almost physical compulsion to pull close and protect my life and the lives of those I love. In her January second post, good old Catherine Newman was talking about how she lives much of her life in a state of "anticipation of grief;" that is, that she is simultaneously overwhelmed with her blessings and terrified that those blessings will be taken from her, for surely such luck must run out some time. And that is exactly, exactly how I feel. It's just such a delicate balance, this life of ours.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Big News

*Please check out my newly added links section (thanks to hubby for helping me figure it out!)
Okay, I had like the best day ever! First, one of my good friends called me this morning to tell me that she is pregnant too! Very very early (she is an early tester like myself) but pregnant indeed. On her first try, that lucky fertile woman. I am so excited for her. She was ovulating the day I found out I was pregnant, and she asked me to blow baby dust on her! Guess it worked.
Second, the doctor's office finally got my lab results (after I called them three times- they were starting to sound less than thrilled to hear my voice) and they are totally normal! It was such a huge relief. When I was pregnant back in September and they did the hcg check after the ultrasound revealed nothing, my hcg was only 150, very bad. I pretty much knew at that point that there was no way this was going to work out. But this time- 3050, thank you very much! My body, it seems, has remembered what it is supposed to do! So I'm thinking there is truly reason to be hopeful that come September 4th (probably sooner, actually, given my history,) we will be a family of four.
Thank you, Lisa and Swistle, for your congrats. It's so fun to tell baby news, isn't it? It would almost be worth having a dozen kids, just to get to announce that you're knocked up that many times. Although maybe it would get old after the sixth time or so. People would sigh and say, "Don't you know there's a pill for that?" Anyways...
Ooh, and the third awesome thing that happened today: Adelay walked! Oh my gosh, I honestly was starting to think she had settled on her kneecaps as her chosen method of transport, feeling, apparently, that her calves and feet are purely ornamental. But she took four steps in a row today! Twice! Oh, you should have heard the applause. I was nearly insane with delight. I was getting a little worried, honestly, since I had heard that most kids walk between twelve and fifteen months, and as of January third, we had hit the fifteen month mark. I had visions of her legs and feet in corrective braces, of the doctor shaking his head at us, scolding, "Couldn't you tell that she is horribly knock kneed and her feet are deformed? Why didn't you come to us sooner?"
But, it seems that she has discovered her balance at last. Good thing too- as soon as I start putting on weight from baby number two, her days of being carried around everywhere are numbered!

The Waiting Game

So here's a little question: what does it mean if you get a very, very faint positive line on a home pregnancy test about two days before your period is even due, but the line doesn't even show up for like a half an hour? (Because of course, you didn't just throw the test away after ten minutes like a normal person, but instead left it lurking on the bathroom counter like a morbid reminder of your failure- but a morbid reminder that you nonetheless kept running back to obsessively check every five minutes.)
Well, if you're me, you would obviously go back to the store at eleven o clock at night and buy another test and rush home and take it and see that it was indeed negative. But then, two hours later when you surreptitiously dig it out of the trashcan, you would find that this one too has turned faintly positive! What to do?
You would return to the store in the morning and purchase two more tests, that's what you would do. And both of those would be negative as well, the one you take that day and the one you take the next day- you know, the day your period is actually due. But, what do you know, both of these turn faintly positive as well when checked an hour later. But keep it mind that all of this is taking place on Christmas Eve, so you're a little bit preoccupied, and also the test box keeps sternly reminding you that any results which show up after ten minutes are to be disregarded. So you finally relent and admit to yourself that you must not be pregnant after all, and you go ahead and drink during the Christmas festivities with a clear conscience.
And then? And then your period never comes. One day late, two days late. Hmmm, is what you are thinking. And also, Dang it! Why did I drink? So you call your Ob's office and sheepishly explain the whole situation (leaving out the part about throwing the one test away and then rooting through the garbage for it like a deranged pig.) The nurse on the phone laughs at you and says, "Well, you can wait a while- maybe your period wasn't due when you thought it was, and that's why the tests were so long turning positive. Or, maybe they were just evaporation lines, and you're not pregnant. We can always do some blood work today to set your mind at ease, though."
And yes, yes, having your mind set at ease does seem like the thing to do, so you stop off at the pathology lab on your way to go after-Christmas shopping with your mom and sister. You know, just another boring errand.
You can't stop thinking about it, though. As you walk around the mall, the conflicting aromas of cologne and Cinnabon and those amazingly fragrant roasted almonds are suddenly turning your stomach, and you have to go sit down. Mentally, you scold yourself: You're imagining things. But you are counting the minutes until you can call for your test results.
Which are positive. You are pregnant again.
This was actually the first time I had ever not known what I was going to hear when I called for the results of a blood pregnancy test. I was petrified, my heart pounding erratically. I kept telling myself, "It's not going to be positive. Just settle down." But it was, as the nurse so nonchalantly informed me. I made her repeat it: "So I'm really pregnant, you're sure?" I demanded spastically.
And you know what else? My progesterone level was normal! In the span of a week or so, it had managed to pull itself up from a dismal 9 to a totally acceptable 19.5! That news, received the next day (that would be the day I was tucked into Aunt Nancy's bed, willing myself to live,) was actually way more exciting even than the positive pregnancy test.
And I of course was going to be cautious this time and not say anything until 12 weeks, but then I decided that even if this pregnancy fails as well, I would still want to write about it as an outlet, so I might as well just say it now: I'm pregnant. Only about five weeks, probably, since we had an ultrasound yesterday and only a very faint gestational sac was visible, but no baby or heartbeat or anything yet. Oddly though, after initially freaking out upon not seeing more, I actually calmed down. I'm not bleeding, not cramping, my hormones were fine, I feel all the symptoms I'm supposed to be feeling- I believe that all is well. Nonetheless, my doctor (oh inciter of general panic!) is having me get blood draws three times this week to make sure my hcg levels are rising appropriately, and I will go in next Friday for another ultrasound.
I'm really believing it's fine though. Especially since I'm fairly certain that I conceived later than I originally thought I did, due to the fact that all the home tests were so barely, barely positive even at the point when (according to my period math) I thought they should have been obvious.
So if that were the case, of course there's no visible baby yet- it's like, the size of a grain of rice.
I was still a little bummed though that there was nothing definitive on that screen- no absolute proof of a little living baby in my tummy. But I have a good feeling. Hopefully that's my female intuition, and not just a residual sugar buzz from all my leftover stocking candy!
Seriously though- keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Matter of Time

Oh, I am so tired! But not so much physically tired- I am tired of Addy! Shh, don't tell anyone, I feel awful enough as it is without more guilt. But seriously, she is being so insane the last few days! You know how your kid can be perfectly well behaved, and of course you're happy but you're not exactly sitting around exclaiming every five minutes over how darn content they're being, just sitting there playing with blocks or whatever? You're more like, "Good, they're entertaining themselves in a nondestructive way- what can I go sneak off and do?" And granted this is not the most selfless of parental impulses; it's not exactly cherishing the moment or anything, but sometimes those mini breaks are what keep you sane, you know?
But on those days when you're not getting any mini breaks, and your kid has morphed into some whiny, cranky, other-person's-child kind of child? Well, those days you do notice and exclaim every five minutes about their remarkable behavior: the yelling in the car seat, the kicking in the highchair, the refusing to eat, and particularly the refusing to nap without a nice prenap scream fest. Every five minutes you're muttering to yourself, "What is the deal here? What do you want? Why are you randomly biting me?"
And you understand that perhaps that child has a giant molar coming in, or maybe she's just processing some post-holiday stress or something. Or maybe she's just suddenly sick and tired of being a short, incontinent person who gets around by slowly hopping on her knees and who cannot get the people around her to understand a darn thing she says. And also, she has a relatively limited repertoire of video entertainment options. (Maybe if I myself were forced to watch "Pretty Woman" every other day, I would get a little pissed too, no matter how much I started out loving it. Imagine: my caretaker would sit me down in my chair and talk excitedly while preparing the DVD player, and I would wait in thrilled anticipation- until I saw that it was the same stinking movie I'd watched three times already that week. "Not this crap again," I would think.)
All of this to say, I do understand that a one-year-old's threshold for frustration is pretty low, and that this is not really unreasonable given her situation. But I'm still feeling a bit under par myself, and it's just tough sometimes to maintain perspective when you're home all day with a toddler. You go off to the playroom with noble intentions of engaging your child's mind with some puzzles or books or whatever, but then your child explains (by unceremoniously dumping the puzzle to the ground) that she would prefer to remove each of the stuffed animals from their basket one by one and then in turn hand each of them to you, where you must kiss and hug them, and then hand them back. This is done with much pomp and circumstance, and when it is finished the process may be repeated as many times as Adelay deems necessary. And woe be unto you, silly mama, if, after the third time, you try to lie limply on the floor and feign sleep!
And then, when you stagger off to check the clock (nap time yet?!) you find that a whopping seven minutes have passed since last you checked. It's the same with crying. You lose all sense of time when you're hovering anxiously outside the nursery door, waiting to hear if the sharp screams are tapering off or at least losing their edge of hysteria so that you can stop feeling like an evil child abuser. It feels like the crying has gone on all night long when in fact it has been, oh, maybe ten minutes or so. Yet it colors and characterizes your entire evening's events- if someone asks you the next day what you did last night you say haggardly, "Oh, it took forever to get the baby to bed." That's what you remember.
What is it about kids that makes time such a funny, shape-shifting substance? When you're in those moments of inexplicable crying jags and monotonous games (Candy Land, anyone?) you feel the tick of each second like an eternity. But on the other hand- whoosh, there it went, a whole year, and your baby is a baby no more.