Friday, May 29, 2009

I Wanna Know... Do You Wanna Know?

Corey was born in 1993, a time when women were just starting to find out during pregnancy whether they were having a boy or a girl. Unless a woman needed amniocentesis or they had excellent insurance... or private funding, I suppose... it just wasn't that common. And for those who found out via an ultrasound, chances were high that the doctor was wrong. My first husband was in the military, so our insurance was pretty good. And if memory serves, we were told that we might be able to find out the baby's sex. I do recall very clearly wanting to wait for that grand announcement from the doctor. So whether we could or not, we did not find out Corey was male until he was born.

When I look back on those days, I see a different me. Back then I knew I wasn't grown up yet. I couldn't even formulate an opinion and keep it for long. Present a great opposing argument and count me on your side! Along with that was an easy acceptance of life as it came. I wasn't much of a planner (except for when it came to diapers... I was very concerned about not having money any time we needed them, so I insisted we start buying a pack a week somewhere around the five months mark... I clearly had no idea how long an infant wears newborn diapers). Mom isn't a planner either, so it probably comes from her. I was flow-er... I went with the flow. Not finding out fit in with this philosophy.

Fast forward to the end of 2007 and the me I have become. I am a woman who generally has very strong opinions... though I can be swayed, but you'd better bring your best arguments. Having spent 12 of the previous 14 years as a single mother, I can plan out my budget for the year in less than an hour (not that I do... but I have already mapped out the money through the middle of July). Planning is fun, exciting. I love being ready. I am not fond of unpleasant surprises (happy surprises? yay!). It all flows together, if you will, quite nicely.

Finding out the baby's sex was a no-brainer to me. Not only could we pick names, but we could decorate (this from the woman whose walls are still bare... egad!) and buy clothes. With Corey, I chose a ton of white onesies and a pastel blue and green Winnie-the-Pooh bedding set. It was cute and definitely served its purpose, but c'mon!, these days everything is either for a girl or for a boy, because everybody finds out.

Somebody forgot that Tom wasn't having his second baby, and he didn't want to know. I did not nag or stomp my feet to get my way... those tactics work with Tom right up to the point where he realizes he's been had and then he's pissed. It ruins everything, so I gave up that method six or seven years ago. Instead I cleverly countered his argument.

"Well it'll ruin the surprise."

"No it won't. The surprise happens when you find it out... it'll just happen sooner, that's all." (Said with my most innocent and convincing smile.) It seemed to be working, too.

Although my doc had an internal ultrasound that was used freely during the first few weeks, once the heartbeat could be heard, the ultrasound machine was nowhere to be found. So we planned for the "big" ultrasound that would be coming sometime in November. I wanted it as early as possible to, once again, verify that everything was okay. But we also wanted to have the best chance of finding out if we were having a boy or a girl, which probably meant doing it later. We mentioned our plans to Doc, who already thought we had our priorities mixed up because:
  • I wouldn't get the amnio test done despite my advanced maternal age of 36 (I realize that my anecdotal information is nowhere near the statistical info, but knowing that 2/3 women whom I've known to have them had subsequently lost their babies is really enough for me... and what would it get us if there was something wrong? Five months of worry and stress, that's what. We couldn't go through with an abortion on the off-chance that we were one of the many "false positives" out there. Thanks, but no.)
  • I wouldn't get the flu shot (the last time I'd had the flu was in 1991)
  • We questioned every test and procedure
  • We had already stated we weren't getting the newborn eye drops since I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and that's what they're protecting against
  • We dared to ask if there was any medical reason to support getting a circumcision if we had a boy ("The only reason I need is that GOD. TOLD. ABRAHAM. 5000 years ago and that's good enough for me." "Uh, okay, but what about medical reasons?")
So he should not have been surprised that we wanted to find out the sex and we should not have been surprised to come up against resistance. He promptly educated us on the reasons not to find out.
"I've been delivering babies for over 40 years and I can always tell. You can always tell when the parents know. It changes things. It just does."
And then the final blow to any argument I could ever make:
"The joy. is. not. the. same."
Tom ate it up and my cause was lost.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Under Pressure

When I was pregnant with Corey my mom told me that people would be falling all over themselves to open doors and take packages out of my arms. It just wasn't true. The only person who ever did help me, came to my rescue when I was trying to go to the laundry room with a newborn placed on top of a pile of his dirty clothes. But she didn't stay to help, she just got me to the room and that was it. So I didn't expect much when I was pregnant with Mad. However, I have a job that can involve some pretty heavy lifting at times, and that had to be cut back. My doc recommended, but didn't insist on, a 10 pound limit. I mentioned that to Nance and my days of lifting anything were over.

My office consists of a group of women, all but three of whom are mothers and/or grandmothers,(oh, and one happy-to-be-the-lone-male guy). Women declared themselves surrogate grandmas. One person said it really was the *place of business* baby, not just mine. All of this was said in good humor and with love. I was extremely well cared for during my pregnancy.

In the beginning I was exceptionally concerned that I could lose the baby or that the baby might at that very moment not be doing well. So I was at the Ob/Gyn more frequently than the average mama bear in the beginning. It's sort of strange, because I'd taken exactly the opposite stance with Corey... I figured that if "this one took" after so many miscarriages, then it was meant to be and if not, I was done trying for a while. I didn't even rush off to the doctor as soon as I suspected I might be pregnant. Once I heard his heartbeat at the doctor's office, I don't recall ever worrying again that he would be anything other than perfect. And he wasn't.

But I put so much pressure on myself regarding having a healthy baby with Tom and avoiding anything that would cause heartbreak and disappointment for him and his parents, especially his mom. Not to mention that my own father had been plotting and scheming to convince somebody... anybody... to give him another grandchild. Nobody else put this pressure on me; it was an overactive congeniality gene or something. I just wanted to please them and let them be pleased for themselves. And since Mad wasn't planned, I especially wanted her to be as beautiful as Corey had been. Of course, she was, as evidenced by this, her best photo EVER:

But back then, I didn't know that this was the glorious girl who was waiting to meet us. So I fretted a bit. Okay, Nance would say a lot. But she got to "meet" Madelyn via ultrasound because I just had to confirm one last time that everything was okay before we told the fam, so I don't think she'd complain too much about it.
Pregnancy and I get on very well. I had raging morning sickness for the first and last three months of my pregnancy with Corey, but I still loved every minute of it (well, I didn't especially love puking my guts out in the mall shopping center between expensive cars every time I couldn't make it to McDonald's from the bus stop... and heck, making it there wasn't so great because it always seemed to be filled with moms and kids listening to my insides hit the bowl... but aside from that, it was pretty great).
With Mad I was nauseated most of the time for just over half the pregnancy. One time the nausea was so bad that I went into the bathroom absolutely sure that this was it. I couldn't bring myself to look at the toilet because I knew the sight of it would bring me down faster than anything. So I stood in front of the toilet, facing the wall and talking to myself about how I needed to tighten the towel bar and how I was not going to turn around. Thoughts of the watery bowl behind me kept trying to creep in, but I shot them down with, "what a lovely shade of lavender the wall is despite how shockingingly bright it'd seemed at first, lalala."
It worked. I didn't throw up once during my pregnancy.

History of the Madelyn Girl

I was reading some of the responses on The One Minute Writer today and it took me back to last year, when Madelyn was born. I had written most of it down... or typed it up... on the computer, but when we had that crash in January, everything was lost. So I'm going to put some of what I remember about my pregnancy and delivery and Mad's early days here. This first bit is from an article I submitted to DivineCaroline in November of 2007.

My husband and I have been together for nearly eight years and married for two. We’ve discussed having children together. Sometimes I felt the pull of the daughter who is “out there” waiting for me. Other times I knew for sure I didn’t want to go through that again. For my husband, I think he has worried about how good of a father he’d be “from the get-go.” I have been married once before and have a fourteen-year old son. Tom has been wonderful with my son, who is now our son.

For the better part of a year we had been discussing whether or not we wanted to have a child together. If we weren’t having a baby, then I wanted to get my tubes tied so I could go off the pill and live a less chemical life.

Sometime early this summer we both decided that not having a baby was the better decision for us. We’ve been working on some financial goals and enjoying the freedom that comes with having a teenager. I was in agreement with the decision, but I wasn’t ecstatic about it. I told Tom that I would take a little time to absorb the finality and then I’d make the appointment. However, our summer schedule was insane. Our son started an independent study program that meant I was essentially his teacher. When we weren’t working eight hours a day on schoolwork, we were off camping. We had so many trips scheduled, and not all with definite dates. So there wasn’t really time to have surgery. I planned to make the appointment for early October, when life would be back to normal and taking a few days off work wouldn’t be such a big deal.

I remember the time that I think the baby was conceived. In a small part of my mind, I thought about our decision ... but I had thought about it other times as well. This particular time, though, was so incredible and magical. It felt like making a baby.

A few weeks later when my period didn’t come on Sunday, as it had been for a few months, I wasn’t too worried. The original reason I got on the pill was to regulate my period, and even with that help, the only thing I could guarantee was the week that my period would start and stop ... not which day. When my period didn’t come on Wednesday ... typically the latest day ... I started to wonder. When nothing had happened by Sunday night and I was starting to feel “different,” I was concerned.

One night while Corey was away and Tom was playing tennis, I did a little online research to see if maybe I had cancer or something else that caused my missed period. It sounds crazy, and it probably is, to say that a major ailment could be better than being pregnant. But this is where I was at: Life was so good. Tom, Corey and I were settling well into married life. We had been incredibly happy. Getting pregnant without both sides consenting seems to me a lot like betrayal. I know I didn’t do it on purpose, but I think that the part of me that wanted to have a child with him feels guilty anyway. The thing I kept thinking was that this pregnancy could be the key to unlock the happiness of our marriage and send it away for good.

I stopped sleeping well. I couldn’t fall asleep and I couldn’t stay asleep. For the next couple of nights, I probably averaged two to three hours over the course of the night. Even though I’m off during summers, I couldn’t sleep late because I was now home schooling our son.

Relief came in the form of a camping trip with my brother and his family. Tom couldn’t join us, so Corey and I headed out to the Eastern Sierras without him. By the time Corey finished setting up the tent, I was so exhausted that I went to take a nap. This is not something I normally do on vacation, and especially not on camping trips. I slept for an hour and then when we all headed to bed later, I crashed right away. Part of me knew this was probably a bit of being pregnant and a lot of not having to face Tom with this news.

We stayed away for three nights. I slept so well for the first two, but the night before we went home, I could feel the tension welling up again. I couldn’t sleep to save my life. When I did sleep, I dreamt that his best friend tried to kiss me and that I was sort of letting him when Tom walked up. I don’t remember it as clearly now, but one of us said to the other, “We have a lot of things to talk about.”

When we got home that night, it was too beautiful outside and too stuffy inside, so I spent most of the evening on the grass in the yard. When Tom got home and joined me, I listened to the events of his past few days without us and told him a little about our time in the mountains. I told him about the dream and then, without my meaning to, but also without my being able to stop, I told him that I thought I was pregnant. Well, I told him that I was either pregnant or very sick and that I’d done research that pretty much negated the possibility of very sick.

I thought I saw him smile (or grimace) a little and I saw tears welling in his eyes. I didn’t have a clue as to what he was going through. I was as ready as I could be for, “You know I said no, so you can deal with it on your own.” (This really wouldn’t be like him.) To my complete relief, what he said was, “Well this is just another adventure for us, isn’t it?”

The next morning we went together to buy a pregnancy test. He waited for me to take it and made me promise not to look without him. Once it was confirmed, we went to the bookstore, where each of us got a pregnancy book. He has attended every appointment with me, and insisted after the first one that we change doctors because of the demeanor of that doctor and his staff. He gets to decide if we find out or not about the baby’s gender, and we both have to love the names we choose.

When it came to telling our families, he made me wait until his was out here in late September (we found out in August). In reality, this made perfect sense because I have a history of miscarriages prior to having Corey, and I was only a few weeks along. And telling all of our parents at the same time would be fairer. I’m glad we waited, but it was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a few years.

Our son is thrilled to finally be getting the brother or sister he’s always wanted. My father almost knocked me down when he came to hug me after getting a copy of the first ultrasound photo. My mother, who is almost blind, just sat there perplexed as to why she was given a photo of an owl until she heard my mother-in-law gasp and saw her come running up to hug me. My father-in-law, who’s never been one to think women can’t do anything they want to, has suddenly become very concerned that I not go out of my way to do things for others, or otherwise over-exert myself.

And somehow, this news, this pregnancy, did unlock a key to the happiness in our marriage, but instead of letting it fly away, it has deepened and become more intense and exciting and fun. Life is good.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Did you know that pregnancy offers significant protection against allergies? Well it can, and it did for me. Prior to getting knocked up with Mad, I'd been on various allergy meds for nearly 10 years. According to my allergist, I am significantly allergic to nearly every plant that grows in our area (well, our area when we lived down the hill anyway). Every animal, but cows, too (don't tell me not to have a cow!). I would have been an excellent candidate for shot therapy, except that I'd had an allergic reaction to a half dose of children's benadryl (that doctor's rescue medicine of choice). Ugh!

It took a couple of itchy, sneezy months for the "pregnancy protection" to kick in, but once it did I was like a new woman. I noticed that my allergies have gotten worse the less I nurse Madelyn. Since she doesn't nurse every day now, I feel like a character from The Simpsons.

Now that we have Maisy, my allergies are getting out of control. As I sit here, my eyes are red and irritated and I have what sounds like a smoker's cough. Much more of this and I'll be back on an inhaler, something I haven't had to deal with since taking the meds.
It was in this condition, coupled with areas of itchy skin I might add), that I blurted out to Tom in front of Corey, "I either need to get pregnant or get back on medication stat!"
I didn't see Corey's reaction, and I'm not going into Tom's exact response. I'll just say that my man makes me smile happy smiles.
Mad has brought many good and beautiful things into our lives, including new music. Sometime around her birth, I heard a story on NPR about Barenaked Ladies' new album, SnackTime. Their alphabet song was what sucked me in ("P is for pneumonic, pterodactyl and psychosis"). There are many excellent songs on the CD.
Another great one is "Allergies":

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Aside from a recent rant, I generally don't talk about work here. That being said, I have to get this out.

I work with high school students who have moderate- to severe developmental disabilities. They can stay in high school until they are 22; I've had this job for six years. Even though there isn't much time to "hang out" in any one class, I have gotten to know some of my students pretty well over the years.

My first year was more about not screwing up than really getting to know people, since I'd bumped a beloved woman out of the job. So when three students died that year, it was shocking, but not personal. Almost every year we have lost students to congenital illnesses, one to cancer (who, regardless of her level of disability, was eventually able to say "no more" to the treatments; she was over 18, unlike the boy in the news). We've had kids age out of foster care and have to leave school prematurely. The grandmother who cared for one of my favorite students ever (he had Grandma buy work boots so he do the jobs I brought to class... even though the jobs involved envelope stuffing and the like, not anything requiring steel toes and good traction) passed away, so he was taken in by an aunt and uncle. He now goes to school about 25 miles away.

Two years ago I even "lost" a student to runaway marriage. That was an experience, let me tell you.

Last year, no one died. All of the "losses" were simply due to aging out of the program.

This year, knock on wood, so far so good.

Except that things aren't all that good.

Today I learned that the heart of one girl is essentially giving out. The parents are "happy" that she will likely make it to graduation, since she was never meant to live this long. This girl isn't all that aware of her situation, which is a sort of comfort.

Another one of my students, I'll call him Raj, has a brain tumor "so deep they can't operate." The good news is that it's not untreatable, but the boy is understandably upset about the whole thing. He's one of my exceptional kids. Any set of tests and assessments would indicate that Raj is well within the mentally retarded range of functioning, but he gets things. A neighboring teacher mentioned that they'd just gotten the news and that Raj was crying earlier. Fortunately, he's surrounded by loving adults at school (which is not always the case, despite what most people think). Before I left his school this morning, I pulled him out of class briefly to tell him I'd heard, that I'd be pulling for him, that I love him and that everything will be okay. I gave him a hug.

One of the persnickety parts of working in education is the righteous outrage toward adults who physically overstep their bounds with students. So part of me was thinking, "You could lose your job for this." Displays of affection, no matter how innocent or well-meant can be misconstrued. I'm not seriously worried about it; the hug took about 1.5 seconds. Still, it did pop into my mind.

When I was talking with Raj, I acknowledged that he can't have surgery. Even though his eyes showed his emotions, his response was classic teenaged boy: "Yeah, but it's good, because then they'd have to shave my hair off." He ran his hand over his head as he said that, and I could feel his relief. I didn't chuckle, but it wasn't easy. We talked briefly about alternatives to surgery. He seemed to have a pretty good understanding of the basics and we didn't drag things out.

After leaving I wanted to call Nance and tell her, but it's hard to know when to say what to someone who's already dealing with so much medical drama. Yesterday Ken was re-admitted to the hospital, into ICU no less, for a rapid heartbeat. Hopefully he'll be home again soon. So I didn't call her. I'm telling you instead.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I drive a lot for work, regardless of the commute. Driving that much helps a person put things into perspective. So I slowed down a bit and stopped getting involved in little tete-a-tetes with what my mother always called "the other crazy people out there" (as in, "it's not you I worry about, it's the other crazy people out there"... um... what does that make me?... oh).

Once I started slowing down, I noticed a new unattractive habit popping up. If someone's being a jerk on the road, I don't slam on my brakes in front of them (a brilliant tactic passed down to me from Mom). Even if I want to, I don't stay in front of them just to piss them off and I try very hard to avoid all visible hand gestures. Instead I imagine them getting pulled over by the police... for something completely unrelated to their "crimes" against me. Here's where I am extremely lame:

I picture myself pulling over with them and telling the cop, "You know what else they did?!?"

Still working on achieving adulthood over here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Division of Labor

We have been phenomenally busy for the first time this school year (why yes, there are only five weeks left... this probably explains why we started this pay period with 40% of the budget untouched). Here are some stats:
  • Our roster has 119 students
  • We take jobs to 17 classes
    ... at 11 schools
    ... in three districts
    ... in seven cities.
  • One class cannot work because the teacher sucks at paperwork and couldn't manage to get work permits made out for the entire year (yeah, the school would re-issue, but she doesn't follow up).
  • One cannot work because the district is hassling and won't issue work permits at all (is that steam coming out of my ears?!?).
  • One we won't take work to because he jacks everything up and doesn't currently have an aide we know well enough to trust with the jobs. The one he does have whom we know... well, she's very nice, but nice doesn't get the job done by the students.
  • One class has done very well in the past, but recently... not so much. When I tried to address some specific problems with the teacher, she abruptly ended the call. Along with her chances for more work this school year.
  • One class could get work, and is frequently offered work, but just as frequently turns it down. The last time he did it, I told him that was fine as long as he quit telling people from my office that he "doesn't get work projects"... as if he hasn't turned down the last eight jobs!

    As of 10:30 this morning, I had every single available class working. By the end of the day I was able to clear jobs from three classes, give missing items to two classes, pick up an Avon job, have it done and get it back to the employer the same day. We have one job spread over four classes. It's not a lot of pieces (3200), but the boxes are enormous. They take up too much room in the classes. I can fit about 350 pieces in my Escape at one time. So I had to go to a few classes several times, as well as to the employer's warehouse, which is about 17 miles away from anywhere. Not including my commute, I put 183 miles on my car today. That's insane!

    Normally Nance and I would be working together in separate vehicles, but she needed to take Ken to City of Hope for an extra check-up. If he passed, he could go home; if not, he would be re-admitted. I'll save the suspense and tell you he's happy to be home tonight.

    Tomorrow I have to work from home because there is no Mad-a-care. My niece is graduating from USC (ahem... with a double major and a couple of certificates, after only three years... apparently she never got the "not working up to potential" marks that I so often received, haha), so Grandma will be in L.A. for the day. Additionally, Nance won't be able to deal with any jobs tomorrow. We had two of our classes bake about 80 dozen cookies this week. They packaged them quite nicely, and Nance's task for the morrow is to take the rest of our allotment to the employers I couldn't get to today. It's a little thank you for the work that is saving our program. Add all that together, and I had to get as much done today as I could to alleviate the burden for Nance tomorrow.

    This evening Corey stayed at Mom's. I picked up Mad tonight because Tom had baseball practice (he usually brings her home). We had a brief hang-out with Grammy and Corey and then headed home.

    Mad is one of those "terrible twos" kind of girls. Tom mentioned it looked that way several months back and I denied it vociferously. But now she'll sit down and/or yell with or without tears shooting from her eyes if she doesn't get her way. She did it this morning when I had to push Pooh still in her hands under the carseat strap so I could get her out. Then, before a stress-filled, high speed day, I reacted by simply turning my head and ignoring her until she stopped (about 1.5 seconds).

    This evening it happened again before bathtime. The kids' bathroom has two doors, the "outside" one and the one that closes off the tub and toilet section from the sink. I was in the tub area, she was in the other. When she started screaming, I shut the door. Not all the way; she stopped screaming and opened it. When she started again, I canceled bathtime and scrubbed her appendages and pits with baby wipes. She's quite ticklish, so that was fun.

    Dad got home in time to put her to bed. This is "his job," as is bathtime. I'm generally the one who handles the morning stuff, which works well for us. Mad and I were quite relieved when Daddy walked through the door. If he hadn't, I'm quite sure that bedtime would have involved some rocking/walking, some squirming, a bit of fussing when I put her down. Instead she got to rock with Daddy in the big chair and when he saw that she needed to get some last energy out, he let her run around and play hide and seek with him (he was in her closet and she opened and shut the door) until she climbed into his lap for a last snuggle. Then she went down with hardly a peep.

    Sometimes it's my turn to be Supercool Mama, sometimes Tom is the Dad With All the Tricks. This is why we must have two parents in this home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh Mama!

Wasn't sure what to expect for Mother's Day after the birthday debacle. Mom was coming over and I asked Tom Saturday afternoon if he had any thoughts about what we should have for dinner.

"Nope. You?"


There was a long pause as I considered what I might make and he apparently bent over and pulled his head out of his... well, anyway...

"What would you like to have?"

"Hmm... probably something new."

And then we went to find something yummy.

The next morning I got up early with Mad and Maisy. When Tom got up a couple hours later, I headed back upstairs to nap.

Tom had made the bed! I took myself back downstairs to thank him and tell him it made me smile.

While I was napping, Tom and Madelyn went grocery shopping. They came home and Tom began the food prep for dinner. When Mom arrived, I was able to hang out with her. Mom, Corey and I played Scrabble.

Dinner was amazing. For dessert we had a fine vanilla ice cream with a bunch of fresh berries that Corey had cut up and sweetened with a bit of orange juice. Once Mad was down we played cards.

Corey seems to be relaxing into himself more and more. I see him smile more often and I hear him laughing. Sure, he's still a teen filled with the angst of place-finding, but he seems to be on a good path right now.

Tom, Corey and Madelyn each gave me cards. Madelyn's had her "signature" while Tom's and Corey's each had a lovely note. This was the do-over, and it was wonderful.

I hope you all had the same.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Not Ready. Ready? Not Ready? Ready.

I was reading a post over at Blite not whack about baby fever and having people ask if and when the next one's coming. It's something I can relate to pretty well. Pre-Madelyn, Tom and I went back and forth about whether we were really up for a baby together or not. He never really said that he was, and I didn't exactly either. What I did say was something along the lines of, "If you do, then I do because I don't want you to miss out on something as amazing as parenting from birth if that's what you want. If you don't want to, then I really don't because I don't want to be that woman who pressures the guy or gets pregnant on the sly."

I am that wishy-washy, however, that subtle suggestions or gentle questioning from friends (and yes, strangers) would get my mind headed down that path. There was a period of true baby fever once. I can't recall if it was before or after we were married, but it didn't stick.

Around this time two years ago, and after a lot of discussion and thought, Tom and I agreed that it wasn't about not wanting to have a baby together as much as not wanting to change our lives. Things were incredibly good between us... something akin to the beginning, but with the knowledge and love that came from making it through what was then the middle. I'm personally opposed to having babies after 40, so we talked about the possibility of adopting later should we change our minds. I don't care what's medically possible. I want to have a chance of being in my children's lives well into their adulthoods.

***No, I don't judge too harshly those who do have babies later. I feel for their kids, but I also know that I could be hit by the proverbial bus tomorrow.

***Please don't let me get hit by a bus tomorrow!

Anyway, life was good. It was a good decision for both of us. I was a little sad at the thought of never having that experience again, but not anywhere near enough to try to plead a case I didn't feel strongly about. Tom was brave enough to say what we were both thinking. My response was that I'd schedule an appointment to get my tubes tied. I figured that early fall would be best because our schedules would settle down by then. A few weeks later, I was pregnant with Madelyn.

Despite early qualms about how Tom would take the news, I knew almost instantaneously that I'd be having a baby. I'd had a sense for many years that I had a daughter "out there" waiting for me. When she was born... heck, once I felt relatively sure that she was really on the way... life took on a new completeness. I have a son and a daughter and a husband to be the father they need.

Sometime extremely early on, I was contemplating the future of our family. Tom was, too, but in a different way. Possibly even the week of our first prenatal appointment I nearly blurted out, "As soon as this baby's born and assuming he or she is healthy, I'll get my tubes tied." It occurred to me that I might want to choose my words more carefully. The really good news is that I thought about it before I said anything.

I have a tendency to be much more blunt than Tom (ahem... or a lot of people) prefers. So when the thought arises that I could be more smooth, I usually try to heed it. Good thing I did, too, because here's how the conversation went down:

"So... after this baby's born... *hand wringing and searching the ceiling for the right words*... is this... this is it, right?"

"Ahem... well... I was thinking that we should... unless we're having twins, which would be ideal..."

*internally* "WHAT?!?"

"... we should probably have another one. Corey's so much older than this one that it's like having two only children. I don't think it's fair... I think it would be better for them... not... to be only children."


Since then I have constantly pondered the next child. We call him/her the PFC... potential future child. We spoke about said child while on our way to the hospital to have Madelyn. Same thing a couple hours after she was born. On our anniversary last year Tom and I shook on it. He's got a very convincing logic at times, and the gleam in his eyes... well, I'd defy any of you to deny him his request if he looked at you that way.

So we were in agreement. Sometime this summer we would try to conceive another baby. Even though Mad was a total surprise, the timing of her arrival could hardly have been more perfect. After all my maternity leave and some of the FMLA pay was exhausted, I went on summer break.

Last month I thought I was pregnant. The timing wasn't right for me. I wanted to stick to our plan. As is the case with just about any important decision, I went back and forth. Ultimately, when I got my period, I was relieved. So relieved in fact, that I merely told Tom how I felt about it and didn't even ask him. I realized it later, but by then it would have just stressed my oversight, so I never asked him.

All signs point to Tom wanting to have another baby, sooner rather than later. I suppose I will do this dance of indecision until we really are expecting our third child. In the meantime, having a puppy and a new house has meant that no one is looking to us to bear the next baby. It does help that two of my coworkers have had grandbabies in the past two months. The baby fix is in for now.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bad Mommy

I just awoke from a nap because Maisy was whining to go out. As the fog cleared, I remembered that Madelyn had been in bed with me, nursing. However, she was nowhere to be found. So I got up and checked the upstairs baby gate: closed and locked. All of the doors in the hall were shut, so I raced to each one and opened it to see if she was inside. I started with the priority rooms: the bathroom and Corey's (with the 75 gallon tank). She was not in those rooms.

Laundry room? Nope.

Hall closet? Uh, no, but thanks for checking.

Her bedroom? No.

Wait. What's that in her crib? *sigh* It's a sleeping Madelyn, safe where I'd left her two hours ago before I went to lay down.

Sure she'd been nursing in my bed today... about six hours ago! And how I thought she could get off our bed without my noticing escapes me. The top of the mattress comes to my waist and I'm 5'7".

I would have gladly gone straight back to napping once my heart stopped pounding, but a plaintive moan from the downstairs reminded me that I was still needed.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kids, Swine Flu and My Hands, Oh My

Corey is continuing his streak of helpfulness and minimally abrasive attitudes. I'm beginning to hope that it's not about a honeymoon, but that perhaps we've hit the right combination of various therapies and living in a home where he feels safe. (I may be a little defensive here, but we were completely safe in our previous home. The only problems he encountered were during those middle-of-the-night jaunts.) He continues to be an amazing big brother to Madelyn, as well as a fine junior pet owner for Maisy. We've had her for a week and he's already given her two baths... on top of the one that the dairy kids gave her before we brought her home.

Mad, on the other hand, is where our eyes must constantly be these days. People hear that her birthday was on Easter and they ask if she's walking yet. Uh... yeah... she started walking at nine months and three days. At this point she no longer has much of that baby way of walking. She's beginning to master the heel-toe, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other method. We have gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. She refuses to crawl up them. She will either be carried or you will hold her hands and let her use your thighs as a head rest as she marches one foot per stair on up, thank you very much; the thigh-as-headrest thing is because she has to lean back at about a 45 degree angle to accomplish one foot per stair. She doesn't mind. It gives her a chance to look up and smile at you. Grandma Margaret suggested that we teach her to go down the stairs backward.

Yeah, right.

Today, for the first time, one of us left the bottom gate open. Each of us thinks we are the culprit. It was a little hectic because we were having my brother's family and our mom over for dinner. I was playing with Maisy when I heard this sound from Madelyn that was not a word, but the verbalization of "Oh, crap. Help?" I looked up to see her trying to walk down from the second step... in the same manner that she goes up. One leg was perpendicular to the ground and then she went over. I was on my way before she landed, but not quite close enough to save her.

Mad seems to like her injuries clustered over a single day, with long respites in between. Today, in addition to the stair scare (she was fine), she experienced these things:

  • Got tangled up with Maisy on the back patio; fell over backward and bonked her head... hard.
  • Purposely put a foot into Maisy's water dish and then slipped trying to make her get-away... twice.
  • Stepped on a book and had it slide so far that she fell down sort of in the splits.
  • Fell while carrying said book, thereby jamming it into her neck.
Aside from the head bonk on the concrete, everything was relatively minor. But by the time that last one occurred, Corey was clearly distressed and said that this wasn't a good day anymore and he wanted it to be over.

Further indignities Madelyn suffered included not being allowed to go outside while Maisy was romping around out there.
  • Sampling a dirt clod and discovering that it's not as great as it looks.
  • Being allowed out, but only while carried because she was in sock feet.
  • Being forced to come inside from her wagon ride because she was strapped into the wagon and that's where her brother and Cousin Sarah pulled it.
  • Sampling a bathtub crayon and learning that it, too, does not taste as good as it looks.
Fortunately the night ended with a few high notes, including having two bites of lemon lavender cake that Auntie Gina made and having the whole family around for story time. They applauded for her when it was over. And of course, there's always the mostly popular (tonight very well-enjoyed) quiet time with Daddy while she settles down for sleep.

Our old apartment was tiny, crowded with our belongings and cluttered. One of my friends who helped us move said sympathetically, "I've heard that larger places are easier to keep clean." I figured she was lying and wondering how long it would be before we trashed the next place. Turns out, it really has been pretty easy. Sure, we have a ton of unpacked boxes in the garage. A lot of them truly are kitchen items. Most of the cupboards are bare because I still haven't gotten back on the painting, and who wants to set up the kitchen twice?

***Niece Sarah loves the color, by the way. Yeah, she's cool. Super cool, in fact. She attends a performing arts magnet school for theater arts. They are performing Rent next months. This video was taken four days after the parts were cast. I know it's mature subject matter, but she can handle it; she's grown up with my brother. Sarah is the one in the dark jacket. The video quality is poor, so she mostly doesn't seem to have a face and then appears to have a moon face. In fact, she's quite lovely.

My point about our old place was that our new place didn't take that long to get ready today, aside from food prep and laundry, most of the tidying has been maintained. One of the bonuses about having guests (even Bro's family, for whose visits I feel almost no stress) is that I can convince Tom to get something else done before they arrive. Today it was the kids' shower curtain rod. Of course it's only important to Corey, since Mad is a bath girl. Poor guy hasn't had a bona fide shower since we moved in. Thankfully he doesn't mind baths. Tom had a lot of trouble with the shower curtain rod. It's a curved one, and anchoring it well took three or four trips to Home Depot. Corey could take a shower at home tonight, except that he went home with Grammy so he can go to church tomorrow (ahem... and play computer games at her place, let's be honest, shall we?).

While Tom did the shower curtain bar, I prepped the marinade for the chicken. It was a new recipe for Beer Lime Grilled Chicken that I'd gotten from an email yesterday.

You know how the news is all about washing our hands in warm water with lots of soap for at least 20 seconds because of Swine Flu? And how moms of babies may wash their hands more than other people because of diaper changes, etc.? And people who have a dog with round worm may be especially vigilant about soap and 20 seconds? And how no matter how bold the lettering on the pump declares that it's moisturizing, in fact it will dry your hands faster than anything else out there?

Imagine sticking those hands into marinade that included the juice from about six limes.

Yeah, that hurt! Still hurts.

I took part of a CPR/First Aid class yesterday (it was a crap class, so I left). The instructor did make one good point about why we should all use gloves when dealing with another person's bodily fluids: You probably aren't aware of every tiny little cut here or there. I guess she was right, but I can identify most of them now! My goal between now and Monday night's sign class is to constantly moisturize so that the raw meat look goes away, or at least starts to get better.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...