Monday, July 13, 2015

It's been real...

.... and it's been fun.

And now, I'm taking this insanity over to wordpress. Please come join me at Housewife(ish) -- I promise to provide the same irregularly scheduled programming. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Camping and Insanity...

I'm in the middle of a million projects. I started writing an "ode to mothers" post… On. Mothers'. Day. and I haven't finished it (which might actually be fitting). I have bathrooms that need to be cleaned. Piles of preschool projects that needed to be sorted and -- gasp! -- purged. Newborn clothes that need to be boxed up to make room for our little slugger's 3 month wardrobe.

Mostly, though? The laundry. We went camping over the weekend and virtually every piece of fabric we own smells like campfire. Does it matter that it was chilly, which means that we all wore the same 3 articles of clothing the whole weekend? No. Does it matter if the clothes were touched by campfire-scented hands? No. Does it matter if it even went to the lake with us? Absolutely not. I have clothes in the back of my drawer that I haven't worn in 3 1/2 years (which just so happens to be around the time I had to move into maternity clothes with J. Damn you, birthing hips.) that I might wash… just to be safe.

But, as I recuperate from the beautiful chaos that was the 3 days of prep and 3 days of camping, and find myself knee-deep in what is sure to be 3 days of clean-up, I thought maybe some camping story background would be appropriate therapy.

When we were first married, we lived in Western Washington (state, guys, not D.C.), and I pretended to be adventurous. One October (roughly 6 months into wedded bliss), K got the hair brained idea that we should go camping. Not the KOA "Kamping," mind you, which had been the vast majority of my camping experience until that point (what can I say? My mom has a penchant for running water and heated showers… a trait that she passed right on down to me.). Oh, no. He wanted to go the pack-in-pack-out camping where the "facilities" are a glorified outhouse and there aren't "camping spots" as much as "find a kind of flat place to set up your tent and hope it's not in a flood zone." The lovely part of living in Western Washington is there's tons of beautiful rainforest. The crappy part about rain forests, though, is it rains kind of a lot. Especially in October (this is what we call foreshadowing). Against my better judgment, I agreed, which was just as surprising to me as it was to K.

(P.S. - I've never seen this movie, so don't judge me if it sucks.)

K found some lake that was a 3 mile "hike" in, and a few days later, we packed up our gear and set out on a grand adventure. Except, it was raining… it rained the whole 1 1/2 hour drive to the trail, but we were being adventurous. Plus, how long could the rain last, really?? (Spoiler alert: a really damn long time. That's why the call it a bloody rain forest.) So we busted out the ponchos and set off into the pouring rain.

Regarding the rain: this wasn't the Seattle Drizzle, where you don't really need an umbrella, just a lack of concern for your uncontrollably frizzy hair. I was wearing a ball cap under my poncho, and it rained so hard that it turned into an excellent textbook example of the wicking effect: the water soaked the cap, gradually made its way back so that the entire hat was dripping wet, then soaked my hair, which in turn started dripping down the back of my fleece. 

After about 2 1/2 miles of this deluge, I started asking if we were getting close. K kept telling me that it was just around the next corner, which was a lie. Only 6 months into our marriage and he was already lying to me. This wasn't a good start. About 2 3/4 miles in, I started to cry, I think. I know that my face did that "sonofabitch I'm experiencing unpleasant emotions" thing, but there was just so much water that it all intermingled and I couldn't tell. 

We finally reached the campsite, and K set up the tent, engineered a little shelter with a poncho and some string, and dug out the camp stove and tuna helper, while I went to the "bathroom." Like I said earlier, it was a glorified outhouse. The stench was incredible, and I found myself sobbing and trying to decide which was worse, being in the monsoon or enduring the fetor that comes with years of use. I finally braved the conditions once again to return to our "camp site," and start preparing our gourmet dinner. Except, the only spoon we had was plastic. I kept trying to stir in the tuna, only to have it immediately become bent to the point of ineffective. And then, I sloshed half of it on the ground. Did I mention that this was bear country??

K returned from his surprisingly unsuccessful attempt at starting a fire, and noticed that the poncho-turned-canopy was sagging from the accumulated water. Without considering the shape or construction of typical ponchos, he stood directly under the center and pushed, which dumped about 17 gallons of water directly on his head. At that point, we decided to take the crappiest tuna helper ever made (which, let's face it, is saying something) and head into the tent, where at least we'd be dry. 

Following best camping-in-the-rain practice, we had set up the gear that needed to be dry by morning in our tent, which meant that there really wasn't room for us. But, we busted out the wine and Dove chocolates and tried to be less than completely miserable.

(In case anyone was wondering, this was not a scene from our trip. Mostly because I didn't have pearls on. Kidding… it was because we were miserable and not in a Nicholas Sparks book/movie.)

A little while later, I felt some water on my face. I wasn't sure if it was a drip or just my nerves recreating the trauma of the previous 4 hours until I felt several more in quick succession. Then, I thought maybe there was a leak in the tent. But, after being assured by my outdoorsman/husband that it was actually a high quality tent that had no potential for leaking, I realized that we had successfully, though unintentionally, performed science experiment #2: creating rain. Apparently, as we had warmed up the air in the tent, the condensation had accumulated at the ceiling of the tent, until it started dripping. And voila! Rain. 

And that was the moment. I turned to K in the tent-rain, at 2 am, in the pitch black, 3 miles away from our car, and said, "You need to get me out of here. Now."

We hiked/slid back down to the car, all while making conversation in loud voices so as to avoid being mauled (I did mention that this was bear country, right??). It was still pouring. I dug out a bunch of clothes that never made it to the Goodwill drop-off, and we drove the couple hours back to the warmth of our condo. 

Among the things that were ruined that day: a $200 point-and-shoot camera and my desire to ever go camping ever again. 

That is, until a few weeks ago when K convinced me that we should rent a pop-up tent trailer and take our 2 kids out into the wilderness. That story to follow. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Continually Increasing Chaos...

Now that we're officially a family of four humans (those few years with two "fur babies" [holy mother of pearl, how I hate that phrase!] don't count), I sometimes reflect on past stages of then-overwhelming moments, and how those activities are still overwhelming, but on a much different plane.

Parenthetically, there are things that are overwhelming even in retrospect, like the time that The Herpes Cat died in my bathroom (true story). But, that's one for another post (unless I already wrote about it...? What can I say, I'm currently a little overwhelmed by this stage in life).

Some examples of how the overwhelming evolves:

Going outside: When we lived in Italy, I had it in my head that it would be edifying for our cats to explore The Great Outdoors (aka, our patio). However, there were feral farm cats, so to keep them safe, I bought -- and used! -- little harnesses intended for use by the littlest of dogs. Oh, along with dog leashes. (Feel free to roll your eyes. Lord knows I am.) So, on one of the first warm days of spring sunshine, I harnessed up one of the cats (there was hissing involved. The cat wasn't happy either.), made myself a chai tea latte, grabbed a textbook, and opened the doors to go outside. I don't remember the exact details of the next few minutes, but it involved a cat pissed about going outside, me stepping in a puddle from a backed-up drain that I didn't notice, a leash tangled up around my legs, a broken mug, a soggy textbook, and cat prints throughout the house of whatever sort of drain water. Oh, and tears.

Then, we had a baby, who grew into a toddler, who eventually decided he liked playing in the snow. This "playing outside" was a 75 minute evolution, with only 15 of those minutes actually spent outside. There was the finding misplaced snow gear, the "If you don't help Momma put on your [snow pants/boots/coat/hat/mittens/whatever], we can't go outside!!" threats, the putting on the snow gear, and the 7 minutes of re-convincing the toddler that he wanted to go outside. Then, if we were lucky, he'd be entertained for 10-15 minutes before wanting to go back inside for hot chocolate. This started out as a fun treat, towards the beginning of the winter when I was all gung-ho about "making memories." Dumb. What it turned into was 30-40 minutes of mixing hot chocolate mix into a sippy cup ("No! Jack stir!"), explaining 17 times that we were all out of cool whip, adding sprinkles ("No! Jack pour sprinkles!"), spilled hot chocolate, and cleaning up the hot chocolate ("No! Jack wipe-wipe-wipe!"). It was exhausting, and every time someone said anything about going outside, I started hyperventilating -- did Jack hear that word? Was he going to demand (and then un-demand, and then re-demand, etc...) to go outside? Would it be any easier today than it had been for the past month? Spoiler alert, the answers are yes, yes, and no, respectively.

Now, I look back fondly at those snow days (which, living in New England, were really only a couple weeks ago). Much of that routine is still the same, although now that it's a balmy 40* out, there isn't quite the level of gear necessary. Lately, though, there has been the addition of a newly-postpartum momma and a newborn. For example, a couple weeks ago we decided to go for a family walk. We found Jack's monkey "backpack" (read: leash) and put on jackets, only to realize that the baby needed to eat (what can I say? cluster feeding is a bitch). 30 minutes later, we started the process all over, then tried to put the baby in the carrier. It's not really that hard, and she likes it, but it takes a few times to get used to putting it on and plopping her in, and then it takes her a few minutes of bouncing and shushing to calm her back down. Finally, we got outside. It was waaaay colder than I was dressed for. And, of course, being newly post-partum, it was an emotional crisis. We weren't even a block down the road when I asked K for the keys and walked back home. Of course, Jack was crying that I wasn't going to continue on the walk, and I was near-sobbing over ruining a family moment, and internally yelling at myself for not being able to cope with crap (which obviously made sense, since it had been a whole 12 days since pushing a human out of my body). Not gonna lie, that moment is still a little overwhelming to me.

Blog Posts: I started this blog when Jack was only a few months old. It would take me a whole hour to sit, write, proofread, and click "post." But, (as evident by the few posts from that time period) I was hard-pressed to find even that much down time. The thought of putting the baby down for a nap was traumatizing enough -- putting him down for my own selfish project seemed like an action worthy of a call to CPS. Then, I had a toddler. He napped (in his crib!) for a couple hours a day, but I used that time to do things like play games on my phone or mindlessly watch NCIS. When I did sit down to write, he would inevitably wake up and demand my full attention. It took me several sittings to write even one short post. Now: well, let's just say I wrote out a few notes in between feedings and filling sippy cups, and those notes have been sitting in my overpriced, under-utilized planner for about a week. Oh, and I'm also on my 3rd sitting.

Traveling: Jack was around 7 months old the first time I flew with him. And I was terrified. There were lists for each carry on. I bought "necessities" on Amazon and had them sent straight to each set of grandparents' houses. I assembled several "blowout kits," which consisted of wipes, a diaper, a clean sleeper for Jack, and a clean shirt for me -- all in a handy-dandy gallon Ziploc bag. (OK, not gonna lie - that trick was actually brilliant, even if slightly Doomsday-Prepper-ish) I spent hours worrying that he wouldn't sleep, or that people would be mean, or that I would forget how to collapse the stroller and be "that parent" who holds up the line at security for 14 minutes (which actually ended up happening). But, each successive time flying on my own with him, I've longed for those early flights, when he slept the whole way in my arms, didn't demand to share my $12 fruit and cheese plate, and was un-intimidating enough for strangers to offer to hold him while I peed. Now?? There's no way in hell I'll be flying with both kids by myself. In fact, we're planning on flying home within the next few months, and I've wondered if Ken would be willing to fly with the kids by himself and I'd go on a different flight. Ahhh.... that sounds dreamy.

Lastly, Date Night: Before we had kids, dates were kind of the norm. I mean, what do you call it when you can just leave and go out to dinner on a random Tuesday? Isn't that a date? Is it only a date if you go to a nice enough restaurant? Spend over a certain amount of money? Have to make a reservation? Still, we would plan "date nights," which were legitimate events for us. Sometimes, even those date nights required prep. "Ugh," I would think, "I only have an hour to shower, apply makeup, and blow dry my hair.... and what am I going to wear??" After kid number one, things got a little more complicated: I needed a few days' notice to book the sitter. I'd only have 35 minutes to get ready (hello, wet hair thrown into a ponytail!). I'd have to pull an easy meal out of the cupboard/fridge for the babysitter to make. There were details to take care of. Now, it's a whole other level of crazy, mostly because 1) baby girl cluster feeds in the evening, and turns out I'm the sucker that feeds her constantly (no pun intended); 2) I'm so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open for an episode of Castle at the end of the day; and 3) I'm not really ready to leave her with anyone yet. (Do candle-lit restaurants have room for a stroller in the dining room?? What about changing tables?? Are people going to judge me for throwing back gin & tonics while nursing the baby??)

So, maybe it's natural for life to just keep getting crazier and crazier, with or without kid(s). Maybe we just take on more stuff until we're overwhelmed with whatever our life looks like? (P.S., I didn't even touch housework, meals/eating, shopping, or just leaving the house.... 'cause baby girl needs to eat, and ain't nobody got time for that.)

But, whatever the "normal" reason for people's increasing chaos, here's ours:

Miss Clara Anne
(photo by Chelsea Ahl)
Also, I'm thinking I should start working from home, ASAP. That seems completely reasonable, right??

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Quest for Control

Maybe it's the pregnancy; maybe it's some sort of epiphany about what functional adults do; maybe it's the look that K gives me when he tells me he's out of black uniform socks, so could I please do a load of darks, and I say, "don't you wear tall boots?? Can't you just wear argyle ones? or ankle ones?" Whatever the reason, I've been on a kick recently to try to keep up with crap around here -- you know, stupid, normal things like cleaning the bathrooms before they look like our family is trapped in a game of Jumanji or occasionally being able to see the bottom of a laundry basket (this shouldn't be unreasonable -- we have approximately 7 of them). So, I made schedules: outlined routines that I should be able to accomplish each(ish) morning and evening, larger tasks to do during nap time, and -- gasp -- started meal planning.

In conjunction with this, I've also put J on more defined schedule. We also recently moved him into a big-boy bed. It's been, um, a process. He was doing fine for the first few nights, and then he started doing things like squeezing all the A&D out of a full tube and rubbing it into his sheets in the middle of the night. A few nights last week were especially bad. He went from sleeping 12-14 hours at night with a 2+ hour afternoon nap (please, other parents, don't hate me…) to only sleeping 5-6 hours at night, with a significant amount of those curled up with a blankie and pillow next to the door, and maybe 45 minutes of a nap. In fact, I came up with a couple new mantras. Wednesday's was, "he's not purposely conspiring to break my spirit." Thursday's was, "well… maybe he is." In my desperation for sleep, I thought back to all those times that I had judged parents whose kids don't sleep, and realized that 1) I was a jerk; and 2) if it's going to take him 2 hours to fall asleep, we're gonna start that process a lot earlier.

Armed with a newfound zealousness and a healthy dose of pregnancy hormones, I set out to control some shit. I bought an overpriced planner, complete with overpriced custom inserts from etsy (that are actually fantastic -- they're printed on 30# paper, and sometimes I find myself stroking them for comfort. I acknowledge that that's disturbing and something that normal adults don't do). I created a checklist for each day's routines and actually checked them off.  I started breaking my cardinal rule of "never wake a sleeping baby child," in favor of actually sleeping at night. And, surprise of all surprises, it actually started making a difference. There were a couple of days that I didn't do my daily load of laundry because (phone the press!) there wasn't enough of any pile for a full load. The bed has been made every morning (yes - the one that we sleep in every night). We weren't ordering pizza at the last minute because I forgot to get groceries/take chicken out of the freezer/cried every time I saw the pile of dishes in the kitchen.

Which leads me to last night. Night before last, it snowed several inches, which basically means that I don't leave the house barring a large fire or a craving for a peppermint mocha. Like my schedule said, I got up before J, unloaded the dishwasher, started some laundry, had breakfast, ordered groceries online (that my amazing husband volunteered to pick up on his way home), and made some phone calls. Then, I got J up, and we spent the morning playing on the floor (let's not talk about the time or 7 I got stuck and he had to help "puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull" me up. Thanks, toddler.), snuggling on the couch watching Curious George, dropping golf balls in the demijohns, and watching the snow fall. Then, during his nap time, I prepped dinner, cleaned the bathroom, did some work on the computer, and checked off boxes in my planner. I was caught up. It was amazing.

Then, I got J up from his nap. Keep in mind -- up to this point, all of the boxes were checked. I was doing it. Accomplishing things. Regaining control. Being a functional adult. Hell, I'd even changed my son out of his footie pajamas. Things were happening around here.

Then a few things happened over the course of about 30 minutes: as I was pulling things out of the fridge to start dinner, I got a phone call from K saying that my perfectly timed dinner was going to have to be pushed back a few minutes; he was running late. I had J help me measure/pour the rice into the pot (since it'll just be a little mess, and it's good for him to help, right??), and we scooped a massive bloody stink bug out of the damn bag of rice, which proceeded to fly straight into the light fixture and make loud cracking noises every time that winged spawn of Satan (name that movie) smacked into one of the bulbs. I immediately picked up J, went into the next room, and called K on the verge of hysteria: "there was a bug, and you're gonna have to buy rice, and also do you think they sell flame throwers at the grocery store, because I will not be entering the kitchen until it is completely gutted and remodeled." While I was hyperventilating, J returned to the kitchen because he apparently wasn't finished helping. He grabbed the disease-riddled bag of rice and attempted to dump it into the pan, but ended up with 90% of it on the floor. I frantically hung up on K, whisked J away from rice that would most certainly give him Ebola, endured panicked toddler pleas of "moooooooo riiiice?!!" and started the roomba. Apparently, though, no matter how desperate the situation, roombas don't do well with mountains of rice. She mostly flung it across the kitchen, and kept escaping to the dining room despite being on spot clean mode ("Quit going in there!! I told you to stay by the table until it was clean, you overpriced piece of junk!!"). It was at this point that K walked in and I saw with fresh eyes the utter shit show that was our life: a toddler throwing a fit over not being able to push the roomba buttons, grains of rice blanketing the floor, a roomba freaking out about being stuck under the wine rack, a massive insect whacking repeatedly into light bulbs, and a frazzled wife muttering something about "but I checked all the boxes! with color-coded pens!"

Like a knight in shining armor, K immediately swooped in, put J in his room for a few minutes of quiet time, killed the bug, freed the roomba, gushed over how good pre-packaged ravioli sounded for dinner, told me how great the bathroom/straightened up bedroom looked, and poured me a half-glass of wine. He did all this while still wearing his boots, meaning he tracked water all over the house. It's fine, though, because my daily task for today is mopping.

Moral of the story: I've determined over the course of the last 17 hours that there's no such thing as getting a handle on life with kids. Have I mentioned we're having another one?? I might set up a paypal account for people to make donations to my therapy/house cleaner/nanny/pizza-ordering fund.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering… J is back to his normal sleeping self, although we're sticking to the more regimented schedule. K noticed him pulling at his ear a couple days ago, so we've been giving him tylenol before bed and he's out within 15 minutes. Last night we didn't at first, and he didn't fall asleep until about 20 minutes after finally getting "meh-hinnnn" (medicine). Either he's got a lingering earache/infection that is causing no other symptoms or we're raising a kid to be dependent on artificially flavored red syrup. Which reminds me… I need to call his pediatrician and make an appointment, and then write it in color-coded ink in my fancy planner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Penises and Potty-training...

Fair warning: This is not a "Potty-Train your Toddler in 3 Days! With Pictures!" post. There are enough of those and, personally, I would like to punch those people square in the throat. (Also, I call bullshit that your child was fully, big-kid potty-trained at 17 months, no matter what your oft-pinned blog post says. If your kid can't say, "Excuse me, Momma - would you put down your gin and tonic and help me locate a restroom, please?" and then have the sphincter control to actually hold it until you arrive at the restroom, wait in line, and finally set him/her on the strips of toilet paper you carefully arranged to cover up as much Ebola-covered toilet seat as possible, then, no. Sorry. Not potty-trained.) Instead, this is a from-the-trenches account of lessons learned.

It started off innocently enough. I was blissfully wandering through Target by myself when K called and asked me to buy something normal like razor blades or windshield washer fluid or bananas,  and then threw in, "and maybe a potty seat." Looking back, that moment seems like the first time someone suggested to Oedipus that maybe he should just go see the Oracle: "I mean, what's the worst that could happen? It's not like you're going to end up killing a guy you don't know is your father, marrying your mother, fathering your half-siblings, and then gouging out your own eyeballs in angst… LOL, AMIRITE?!?!"

But, after a little eye-rolling, I decided I could make room for a $6 hunk of plastic among the cartful of my own impulse purchases and tossed the least-ugly seat in.

It was fine for awhile. We decided that we wouldn't do the "potty-training bootcamp" (and by that, I mean that I told K in no uncertain terms that I am pregnant and exhausted and will not be pouring energy I don't have into something that I'm not sure the boy is really ready for anyway. Hello! He still thinks my drink of choice is "teeeeeeea"). So we came up with a little compromise involving lots of talking about the potty, and "trying" to "go" on the potty at certain times (e.g., after diaper changes, before and after nap, etc.), and, naturally, lots of M&Ms.

I quickly learned, however, that potty-training a boy is just code for watching your child play with his penis. On the plus side, it has helped my vocabulary: I used to think that I would only use the proper anatomical terms for my kid(s)'s bits, but somehow "quit playing with your testicles!" sounds really weird. These vocabulary decisions need to be made ahead of time, though, because "quit playing with your balls!" should only be said to a child in a gymnasium regarding basketballs. So far, I've settled on "bottom," with the exception of the phrase, "Stop! Point your penis into the toilet!"

… And this is where we're stalled. He's only interested in the potty for three reasons: 1) stalling before bed/nap; 2) "treeeeeeeeeeat??"; 3) flushing an empty toilet 17 times in a row while Momma cries softly in the corner.

Which brings us to last night, when I came to the conclusion that only the same-sex parent should have to potty-train the child. J had gone back and forth between the potty ("treeeeeeeeeeeat??") and bathtub probably 7 times, each time involving much "I must dry off every single drop off water before I sit on the potty -- No! With the hand towel!" drama, along with many admonitions of, "if you have to go potty, hurry and sit on the potty." I finally thought to ask him if he was "all out" of potty, at which point he knocked on his penis with his knuckles, and leaned over as far as possible as if to listen for urine -- what? Sloshing?? I yelled downstairs to K that our child would be going off to college in diapers and that I, for one, was totally fine with that arrangement. He asked what was going on that was so discouraging for me, and I ended up crying on the stairs with my head in my hands telling him that J was knocking on his penis. To which K replied, "oh -- it must've been because we watched the episode of Curious George about 'tapping' maple trees to get syrup, because George gets confused and thinks that means that you have to knock on them and then it just comes out. Haha - he was trying to 'tap' his bladder." How could I have possibly missed that? Oh, right - probably because nothing involved in my potty training resembled a cedar tree.

So where does that leave us? J's preschool teachers told me last week that he is the only one in the class interested in the bathroom, which can only translate to, "Congratulations! You get to clean up tons of messes!" For now, I'll continue on this Sisyphean task, randomly crying on the stairs, and trying to decode subliminal potty-training messages in every episode of Peg + Cat and Curious George (I'll probably even eye J's nativity scene with suspicion - you never know. Baby Jesus could be in on it.). Or, maybe I'll just start researching slim-fit Depends.

(Also, in case anyone was wondering: Yes, I use allusions to Greek tragedies to make me feel learned, like my entire life doesn't revolve around a 2-year old and his adventures with excrement.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Little Update.

Quick update: We moved! We left Hawaii on July 5th, spent a few weeks back and forth between the grandparents', and landed in New York (the state, not the city… damn.) mid-August. New York was kind of a surprise… we found out 2 1/2 weeks before the movers came that our things wouldn't be going to the house we had already rented in Alexandria, VA. I'm thinking of writing another post about that whole mess entitled, "That's Why They're Called 'Orders.'"

(Aloha and Mahalo, #3601 -- It's been real.)

Anyway, surprise number 2… a few days later we found out that I'm "in the family way," as no one says anymore. I'm a bit into the second trimester now and already have noticed quite a few differences between pregnancy #1 and pregnancy #2. And so, without further ado:

1) The Doctor. With J, I went to see the doctor to confirm I was pregnant about 4 minutes after the clinic opened the morning after I saw those two lines on the EPT, and was panicked when they told me that they didn't need to see me until 9-12 weeks. (What?!?! Don't you people know how important consistent pre-natal care is for the health of the baby?!?! How am I supposed to know what I can and can't drink/eat/breathe/watch/wear?!?! You can't tell me that polyester blends don't harm the baby!!) With this little one, the nausea hit, the fatigue hit, the bloating hit (oh, Lord, did the bloating hit), and having a medical professional assess my hCG levels seemed superfluous. I called our insurance company to see where I should go, and found out that since I wasn't in our service area, they wouldn't really cover an appointment, so I thought, "Meh -- I'm sure things are fine. $300 for a doc to tell me what I already know isn't super necessary. I don't need to be seen until the end of the first trimester anyway…"

("Yep! You're knocked up!")

2) The Belly Part I. With J, I was about 20 weeks before my baby-belly could be distinguished from "ugh - I should not have had that third burrito at Taco Bell. Pass the gas-x." This time…. a plumber asked me at the ripe ol' gestational age of 14 weeks how far along I was. Seriously?! Fix the leaky pipe and leave, crazy person. It's comparable to blowing up a balloon for the second time. Basically, it went from conception to, "where are my maternity pants?" Not to mention the belly button. Think of that little plastic guy in the turkey that pops up when it's cooked. And, yes - it is visible through my clothes. Cheers.

3) The Belly II. Along the same lines… the belly thing last time was exhilarating (after the distended bowel look passed, obviously). I was so proud the first time I realized that I couldn't see my toes without bending over, and when I got big enough that strangers knew I was pregnant, it was like Christmas. This time, I feel like a house. I sent a pic to my mom of my belly from my perspective, noting that toes were definitely not visible, and she sent back a very enthusiastic "YAY!!!" and I was like, "ugh. Do you know how difficult it is to be this big?? And I already know I'm going to get bigger!"
(See?? No toes. At 16 weeks.)

4) The Deets. Funny story: I met a gal recently who is pregnant with her first. I asked her how far along she is, and she replied, without the slightest hesitation, "22 weeks on Thursday." A few minutes later, she asked me the same thing, and I couldn't remember. "Uh… 16? Maybe 17? Definitely second trimester... Let me check my app…." People that know me well might say, "yeah - but she can't keep track of anything anyway." But, with J, I absolutely did. I knew exactly how many days/weeks I was - for the whole 39 weeks. I knew which things were developing which week, was giddy when I found out he was growing that fuzzy stuff (which I definitely knew the name of -- lunago? Spell check seems to think that's incorrect), and almost cried when he started blinking his eyes. This time, I'm lost. I know I'm pregnant. I know when I'm due. I know that the nausea and fatigue are making way for the hippo-like appetite and fatigue. Beyond that…. did you know that The Bump has an app that tracks it??

5) The Fatigue. This time, I have a toddler to chase. Last time, I curled up on the couch in K's sweats and watched NCIS for 9 months. I basically "cooked" from the freezer and pre-made sections at Costco. This time, I have to make sure my toddler isn't doing things like grabbing a dirty mixing spoon off the counter and using it to stir the tupperware full of flour (true story).  I have to actually cook decent meals. I can't watch crime shows all day, due to the paralyzing fear that my child would grow up to be a psychopath. He needs things during the day: new diapers, food, milk, attention, etc. Tack on the mommy guilt from a fatigue-fueled lack of patience and the number of times I just fork over the popsicles (they're fruit based!!), and I basically spend all day thinking about how soon is too soon to change out of my maternity yoga pants, and back into those heavenly Navy PT sweats.

(Yes. Those are brand new bottles of acrylic paint… And, yes, we did have to replace the carpet.)

The biggest difference, though, is the huge difference in the intensity of emotion. With J, sure, I was excited to meet the little and nervous that I'd never sleep again. With this one… I almost know what I'm getting into -- which is at the same time even more terrifying (ugh - nursing pads. 3 am feedings. baby brain. blowouts. eau d'spit up.), and makes me even giddier (first giggles! baby smell! watching a personality develop!).

(We get to do this all over?? Yay!)

(tl;dr: Mostly, I'm a huge slacker and, if the pregnancy so far is indicative of the way that we parent this little, [s]he's basically screwed. Oh, and required mushy "thankfulness" crap.)

(edit to clarify: I'm partway into the second trimester, not semester. At least I didn't go all Legally Blonde, winter "ovester," amirite??)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Is That a Black Eye?

I woke up this morning, rubbed my eyes, and immediately noticed that my left eye must have experienced a blow strong enough to create a massive contusion. I fell out of bed, found a mirror, and started going down the "is that a black eye" checklist.

I know what you're thinking: if I have to ask if it's a black eye, I suck -- or at least my "black eye" is wimpy and not even worth mentioning. Anyway... back to the checklist:

1) Is my eye red/bruised? Unfortunately, this one is a no-go. Since I had not piled on the under-eye concealer that normally hides the day-to-day exhaustion of chasing a toddler, both eyes could have been legit shiners and no one would know.

2) Is my eye puffy? Again, a no-starter... for the same reasons, except that concealer does nothing to hide the puffiness. Damn.

At this point, I would like to officially apologize to the string of guests we have coming over the holidays (who I am *thrilled* to see and spend time with!). If on a normal morning, I look like I may or may not have been beaten about the face, I would imagine that you might be a little alarmed. For those who might say, "what about your husband? Why are you apologizing to guests and not the most important person in your life who 'gets' to see you every morning pre-makeup?" My answer: Shut your face. He saw me pre-makeup before we got married, which means he knew what he was getting himself into. Also, he's smart enough to know that this could only be amplified by chasing around the fruit of his loins 24/7. In conclusion, shut your face. Anyway... back to the checklist:

3) Does it remind me of times previous that I got a black eye? Well. I think the last time I even got a black eye was when I was little (4-ish?) and didn't understand that when you pitch a ball to another kid who happens to be holding a bat, you need to stand back because that bat swings toward you at a decent speed and it hurts really bleeping bad to get hit in the eye socket with the business end of a bat. Basically, I don't remember what it feels like to have a black eye... other than the pity. I kind of remember the pity. (Although, now all I get for my pain and suffering on that day is mockery. Many thanks to my father, who says he loves me.)

4) Did I get punched/assaulted? The sad answer is, probably. Unfortunately, my child really likes to be held, really likes to hold toys, and really likes to shake those toys as hard as possible. Those three things are the perfect storm of "Damn! My (eye/jaw/ear/nose/etc.)!" Also, my husband occasionally elbows me in my (and his, just to be clear) sleep, but I sleep hard enough that I don't always remember. So, this one is a toss-up.

5) Would a waitress at a crappy diner come up to me and say, "Oh, God - what happened to your face??" I don't know. I haven't dined at a crappy diner (see what I did there?) for awhile - probably the last time I was reeeeeally hung over. However, the pain is localized enough for me to say, "not here, or here so much, but right about here," a la Tommy Boy.

In conclusion: Apparently my life is a little rough and I'm going to have to suspend the verdict until it becomes a little more obvious. My new action plan: find some overpriced beauty product to make me look less like a mugging victim; quit letting my child hold hard plastic toys while I hold him; go get some greasy food at a diner; and, my favorite of all, watch Tommy Boy, while texting my brother all the funny quotes (which means the whole bloody movie). Join me, blogosphere in making our lives a little happier and less cringe-inducing.