We also took the child to two museums, but these were her favorite parts.
(Also hey, my last ever Playgroup Dropout post is up here, if you care.)
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
- Walt Whitman
I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick
and altoids. I am freakishly flexible.
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We also took the child to two museums, but these were her favorite parts.
(Also hey, my last ever Playgroup Dropout post is up here, if you care.)
You know what I haven't had with this pregnancy? Those searing middle-of-the-night calf cramps that send you shooting out of bed screaming in agony telling yourself to flex, flex dammit but oh my fucking god you flex because I am too busy literally dropping dead from calf pain over here. I had those every night for months with Mia, and so far with this pregnancy, not a one.
I mean sure, I do have hip pain and back pain and pelvic pain of the sort that makes daring to draw breath an agony and the total inability to roll over in bed, but hey, no leg cramps. Woo-hoo.
P.S. This is a great post. You should read it.
Yes, I am three days late and also promised pictures yesterday, but so what? You wanna make something of it? This is the first break I've had from my child in four days, including the four solid hours of yesterday that I spent trying to convince her to sleep. It seems that the combination of Christmas, the sudden appearance in her toy room of every piece of Little People crap known to man, and having Fun Daddy home for a week and counting leads to that dreaded condition known as Toddler Overload. Also knows as "It's a Good Thing I Love this Kid Because She Sure is Rotten-itis." Plus, I've spent my very brief stretches of free time doing twelve loads of laundry because suddenly it is not possible for me to continue to breathe if I do not have piles of little blue jammies and onesies neatly piled in the crib. Hi, I'm nesting, how are you?
Anyway, without further ado, I present the Abbreviated Christmas Photo Essay. Check out Chris's site in the coming days for a link to what I am sure will be a much more extensive assortment. ("Fun Daddy" has more free time than "I Want My Mommy Now!". Remind me to make him start doing the laundry.)
My house looks like a Little People factory exploded in it, we have eight dozen sugar cookies to work our way through, plus all the chocolate Chris stuffed in my stocking and half a chocolate cake from Christmas Eve dinner. Mia is so overwhelmed by the pile of new toys (and I swear we were very conservative! Well, ish.) that she totally forgot herself and consumed actual food (and a piece of chocolate, but hey, Christmas) and we haven't even collected the grandparent loot yet. As an extra-special bonus, nobody has vomited, which puts this Christmas head and shoulders above last year no matter what happens.
And you know, the first Christmas that your child understands is one of life's truly great moments.
Wishing a wonderful December 25th to you and yours. Tune in tomorrow for pictures, and just wait until you get a load of the sparkly red shoes.
1. I taught Mia how to give both wedgies and noogies. Naturally, Chris was the test subject for both.
2. I have this:
So what, you say? Let's look inside...
That, my friends, is a hand-signed and artistically-enhanced Christmas card from none other than Swistle. Which you must admit is irrefutable proof that I am cooler than you are.
And before you get all het up about why would I send her my address and not send you my address, I do make exceptions to the address thing for people a) I have met in person and not utterly despised (which is just about everybody I have met in person and no, you are not the exception, I promise), b) that have been to my house (obviously a subset of a), or c) already have enough information that they could just look me up and sending them my address seems like the polite thing to do just to save them some time. Although I might have sent it to Swistle even if she hadn't fallen into one of those categories (c, for those who care) just so I could get the card and then gloat about how I am basically the coolest person on the entire internet.
P.S. Dear Bloglines readers - yes, I know Bloglines isn't updating our feeds right now and thanks muchly for letting me know, but I don't know what to tell you other than hey, all my feeds are working just fine and dandy and possibly you should consider an aggregator that does not suck?
At naptime yesterday, I did the treadmill for a while and cleaned up the kitchen and picked up some toys and read a bunch of your comments on my last post while bawling my eyes out. And I mean bawling with much snottage and looking like I had been in a fistfight after, which had probably been coming on for a while but hell, who has time for that sort of thing? And it wasn't even everyone who told me it was going to be ok, because I know it is going to be ok, better than ok, and while I do appreciate hearing it, I don't need to hear it. What I did need to hear was what you told me, that I wasn't a bad mom, wasn't a bad person, that you had thought the same things, worried about the same things, and gotten through all of it to the good bit at the end.
I don't know why the internet makes this easier, why I am better able to say to the world at large that hey, I'm having these bad thoughts or I'm feeling these things that I am sort of ashamed of feeling than I am able to say the same thing to a friend or to my husband. Or maybe I do know, maybe it is because when you say that to one person there is the risk that they will look at you like you are a lunatic or unworthy or a bad mother and will have no connection whatsoever to what you are telling them, but when you tell the internet the chances are good that someone out there will have gone through the same thing and be willing to own up to it and just to say yes, yes honey, you are not the only one, and it will be ok in the end.
And that is partly why whenever I am asked by a pregnant woman or a brand new mom how those first few days and weeks were with Mia, I tell them the truth. They were miserable. I had been fed all the lines by the stupid pregnancy books that as soon as the baby was in your arms the clouds would part and a radiant swath of sunshine would illuminate your life and the angels would sing and you would suddenly know a love like no other that made it all worth it. And that is bullshit. I mean sure, maybe it happened that way for you, and if you had asked me early on I would have claimed it happened that way for me, but it was nowhere close. Really it was just bizarre and miserable and confusing. I was drugged and in pain and couldn't quite understand that I was no longer pregnant and that this alien being I had been handed was the child I was supposed to love more than air.
I wanted to sleep. I wanted an hour to myself. I wanted to be able to get out of bed without being in agony. I wanted this strange little person who I would certainly never understand to stop chewing my boobs all to hell because it hurt like a motherfucker and made me really, really angry. I wanted, more than once, to just jump out the window and run far, far away. Yes, of course, I stayed and cared for and protected that baby, but only because she was helpless and it was my responsibility, not because I felt any particular adoration for the squalling, messy thing. And it wasn't post partum depression, and it wasn't hormones, and it wasn't anything wrong with me. It was that it was hard, very hard. And I don't want to scare the new parents, but I wish that someone had told me ahead of time that it might take time for me to love my child so much that I would happily lay down and die for her and consider it a small price to pay, and that it was ok if it took that time. That I would get some sleep and get to know her a bit and it would happen. So that is what I tell people, when they ask me.
And so my deepest thanks to all of you who told me that you had doubts and fears about the second one, and that it worked out in time, and that it is ok to feel that way. I needed to hear that more than you can know.
I dreamed last night that I had the baby, or at least that there was a charming newborn lying next to me in a hospital bed and I was trying to nurse the thing without accidentally snapping his little neck. But then it turned out my precious newborn son was some sort of bitter Vegas casino lizard and ultimately ended with him eating grapes (to my horror - choking hazard!) and berating me.
I'm a little apprehensive about this new kid. I remember feeling the same way with Mia, the whole "how am I going to manage this, what ever made me think this was a good idea?" thing, but I assumed I would skip all of that this time now that I'm already committed to the mothering thing. It is just that things are, mostly, so easy with Mia lately. She mostly sleeps, she sort of eats, she has enough language that she more often than not tells me what the hell her problem is rather than just screaming about it. She can sit and entertain herself for a few minutes while I brush my teeth or get dressed. She likes to help clean the kitchen. She can be easily bribed with candy. We have our little routines and our little outings and our little ways of doing things, and I am about to throw an infant into the mix and screw all of that up.
Chris and I worry a lot about the impact a new brother will have on Mia. Ultimately, of course, I think it will be a very good thing for her, but in the short-term I worry that it will be a hard transition, that she will not get enough attention, enough time, that she will somehow feel that we love her less. And that could never happen. In fact, I share the concern of seemingly all second-time moms that I am not sure I can ever love another child as much as I love Mia. And I know that you do, that the amount of love in the world is not finite, that your heart expands to hold all of your children, but god, you know? It's like Mia is my very bones right now, and I don't know how that happens.
And oh there is more, there is always more, but I think that is enough Thursday morning random anxiety to dump on the internet. The real problem with being pregnant is that you can't even down a bottle of wine to chill yourself out.
Holy hell. I caught sight of myself in a mirror tonight, in profile, wearing a tank top and yoga pants and man oh man but the belly is just out of control. I am at least as big as I was at the very end with Mia, maybe bigger, and I swear this kid just kicked me in the sternum.
Eight more weeks. Eight. Expect a lot of bitching ahead.
As of this very moment, I have gotten 243 comments suggesting names for my unborn child. Which totally rocks, because I swear to you that we are flat nowhere on the name thing and need every bit of help we can get. Those 243 comments represent 1004 suggestions for 334 separate names. You would think that out of 334 names we could find something we both like, but frankly the jury is still out on that. Far out. Those 1004 suggestions happened to contain 12 votes for Elliott, which is the name Chris is recently recommending and which I am flat out vetoing due to it being the name of a former cat. (No, my friends, not even Chris would recommend naming our child Pixel.) The cat Elliott was actually named Elliott because before I was born my dad suggested it as the name for his potential son. Or actually, for one of his potential sons since I was expected to be twins right up to 38 weeks or so. When my cat Callie had kittens all those many years ago, we named them after the names I wasn't given: Ann Marie, Jean Louise (who turned out to be Jonathan Louis, whoops) (those were my names when I was twins) and Elliott.
It is actually really too bad about the cat (who disappeared years ago and we assumed he had died but then I dreamed that he was living behind the airport with some hobos, what a relief), because I like the name. Although I would spell it Eliot, for T.S. Eliot who is responsible for some of the best strings of words ever put together in English. Such as:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
I mean really. Forget the meaning, if you want, and just hear that. Like "the evening is spread out against the sky" which forces you to speak slowly, to spread out all those vowels, and then "through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats" which speeds you up and gets you all choppy and, well, muttering.
Whoops, sorry to geek out on you there. That's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" dontcha know? One of my favorites. But yes, really too bad that we can't use Eliot, but such is the way things are.
And admittedly, my motivation in asking for suggestions was twofold. First, I need some ideas. And second, while I fully understand that asking the readers of my blog does not constitute a scientific sampling, I do think it is a fairly good idea to get a sense of some trends and thereby avoid some of the names that everyone is naming their boy babies this year. I want traditional, yes, but also most avidly do not want to be trendy. Which means this child will not be named Ethan (13 votes) or Andrew (14 votes) or Benjamin (19 votes) and most certainly not Jack (27 votes). We will also be avoiding all of those highly unique names so in favor now, because gosh but that's even trendier than Jack.
(No offense to anybody, please. Naming kids is entirely a matter of taste... not good taste or bad taste, just different taste.)
It was also entertaining to see how many of our family names were high vote getters. Looks like my ancestors are very much in vogue right now.
If any of you are wondering how I managed to compile all of this data, here's where you get to point and laugh and call me a major dorkatron. I typed all of your suggestions into an Excel spreadsheet. And then I made a pivot table. Y'all didn't know I knew how to do a pivot table, did you? I am full of surprises. Seriously, you want to see it? Naming your own kid and want some help? You can download my spreadsheety brilliance by clicking here. See how much I love you?
And ok, it is time for me to step away from the spreadsheet, which I keep going back to and marking names I do like and names I don't like and then forgetting which marks are for which ones and reversing them and then having no marking system whatsoever other than I like some names and don't like some names and there is no way in the world to say for sure which is which. Apparently making a pivot table is the extent of my cleverness. Thanks for the ideas though, we might even use one of them. In four of five years, when we give up and let the kid just pick his own name.
Chris taught Mia to sing Jingle Bells, and the child will. Not. Stop. Until you turn a camera on her, of course.
(And oh yes, I am so reading all the comments on the name post below. In fact, when I tell you tomorrow what I am doing with them you are going to point and laugh and call be a big fat dork. Something for us all to look forward to, then.)
Sigh. Ok, people, I know I have asked for your help with this before, but frankly, it didn't help. So I am going back to the well one more time in hopes of brilliant inspiration that will save me from an absolute mental breakdown and allow me to get back to the critical business of laundering itty bitty fleece footie jammies and vacuuming the inside of my freezer. (No lie on that one, I vacuumed the inside of my freezer. It seemed the easiest way to get all the bits of frozen waffle out. Worked like a charm.) Anywho, when I say "go," I want you to give me your very best boy name. Or your top three. Or five. But absolutely no more than five. No restrictions, just whatever you want to throw at me (although I lean strongly toward very traditional names, so if you want to be actually helpful here you may decide to keep that in mind.)
You have got to help me here. If we don't come up with a name soon I may experience a moment of pregnancy-induced insanity and succumb to my husband's recent campaign to name this poor, unsuspecting fetus after my former cat. And do you all really want a travesty like that on your heads? No, you do not.
You know when you use a carpet steamer thing and the water all comes out jet black and you get all skeeved out about how that whatever it is was just in your carpets and try to convince yourself that there is some mechanism within the steamer itself that causes the water to be black to trick you into continuing to rent carpet steamers but you know in your heard of hearts that the black crap really was in the carpets where your precious child rolls around all day? Yeah, I just did that with mopping my floors, which I hadn't done once in the four months we've lived here. Hey, don't look at me like that! I mop the kitchen and the bathroom and the hall with some regularity (as long as you define "some" fairly loosely), but the rest of the floors are mostly covered by rugs, so I just tend to skip them. But today, oh today, I used almost all of naptime to move the furniture (small, light furniture only, chill out) and then bunch up the rugs and actually clean the floors. And it was such a disgusting experience that I will be sure to never do it again.
Also, did you know that taking your child to see Santa Claus makes you a bad mother? I never knew that, but have been rabidly so informed in the past 24 hours, so I thought I would pass this newfound knowledge on to all of you. Nevermind that Mia has been carrying a wallet-sized picture of her on Santa's lap everywhere she goes and showing it to anyone who will feign even the slightest interest and that she cannot possibly conceive of a topic of conversation that does not have to do with how she went to "Santa's house" and met Santa and is therefore the coolest toddler ever to walk the planet. Oh no, she's damaged for life because I selfishly insisted on a cruel and unusual photo op. Bad mommy, bad.
Mia vs. Santa.
You'd better admire those bows in her hair, since it took 20 solid minutes of arguing to get them there. (The tale of our visit is here.)
And since I've only got one Mia shot for you this week, here, the belly at 31 weeks.
Not so bad? Oh yeah? Check it.
I put it in black and white so you couldn't see that the front of my belly is all red and blotchy and my sides are just regular white girl colored. Also, if you look closely, you may be able to see my skin tags. Pregnancy is so fucking hot.
Finally, photographic proof that I did indeed discover Chris wearing my lingerie last Friday, as well as the accompanying story behind it which I must warn you just sucks the fun right out of the whole thing, is here.
How concerned do you suppose I should be that I returned from my OB appointment this afternoon to discover Chris wearing my lingerie?
I mean, on the one hand, I'm glad someone is getting some use out of it since I am way too bloated for that to be either a) appealing or b) feasible, but on the other hand, it wasn't really his color.
Answers to the questions I have been asked repeatedly this week are as follows:
Paint colors are thus:
Foyer, hall, family room, etc. - Duron "Familiar Beige"
Playroom - Duron "Livable Green"
Dining room - Ralph Lauren "Balmoral Red"
Master bedroom - Duron "Austere Gray"
Upstairs bathroom (which I didn't show you but Chris did) - Duron "Lantern Light"
Nursery - Duron "Meditative"
Mia's room - Duron "Wisteria"
No, sorry, there is no new address to which you can send Christmas cards. We try hard not to give out our address at all (or at least I try hard and yell at Chris about it a lot), we almost never used the box we had other than Christmas and it cost too much for three weeks of use a year, and I got paranoid that, while I was hiding my home address, I was still providing an address at which I could be certain to be found several times a week. Yes, I'm paranoid, and yes, anyone who really wanted to find us could probably do it, but I try to further that hypothetical cause as little as possible.
And I'm bummed about it, because I absolutely loved exchanging cards with all of you last year and was thrilled every time I went to our box and found another couple of cards to admire and also liked whenever someone came to our house and saw the massive stack of cards on the coffee table because it made me feel really popular. So, bummed, but just isn't gonna happen this year.
We don't need much for this baby and in fact I have been fighting tooth and nail against a baby shower that keeps trying to organize itself because hey, isn't that tacky? When did that supposedly stop being tacky, because I totally missed the memo. (And if you had a baby shower for your second or tenth or whatever hey, good for you, hope you loved it, you are clearly just better informed or more evolved than I am, no need to send me more hate mail.) However, I think it is also rude to be faced with someone who genuinely wants to do something to mark an event in your life and refuse to allow them to do so. Therefore, if you are so graciously inclined as to feel the urge to do something to mark the birth of my second child, I humbly suggest a donation to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in memory of Jake. If that doesn't cut it for you, I do have a very small registry and I'll post a link to it just as soon as I figure out a way to do so without telling the entire internet where I live (see paranoia, above).
Unrelated to the above, it totally weirds me out to be, say, beached on the couch watching Survivor, and notice that my entire abdomen is hopping and heaving and shimmying like I have a couple of energetic squirrel monkeys trapped in there doing the rumba. Let's take a chill pill, Fetus, shall we? You're giving Mama the heebie-jeebies.
Answer's to yesterday's birthday game:
Moving on, the early years of parenting contain a series of glory-hallelujah moments. The arrival of the last two-year-old molar, sleeping through the night, getting your boobs back for your own personal use, one would presume potty training, although I wouldn't know. One of those moments, certainly, has to be when your precious spawn learns to blow their own damn nose and ceases to keep you up literally all night long manning the nose-sucker. Yeah, Mia has a cold, although it is December and her first of the winter, so not bad. And there are few things in life more pitiful than dashing to your toddler's room at 4 AM to find her sitting up and crying and pointing to her red, red nose saying "boogies, Mommy, bad boogies." Yes darling, I know, now give Mama your snot and try to go back to sleep.
On a related note, one of the least glamorous moments of motherhood is when a runny nose finds you chasing your kid around after every sneeze to remove snot from her face, mouth, hair, shirt, and the stretch of floor where she was standing when it happened. Yummy.
And yes, I did take my sick child out to play in the snow for an hour and a half yesterday morning. You wanna make something of it?
(Ok, ok, #1 is a total lie, but wouldn't that make a great story if it were true? I am so pissed that just about nobody believed it.)
Chris is 35 today! Woo-hoo! I am fairly sure he celebrated by going to work wearing huge, ugly hoop earrings in each of his four (or is it five?) holes. I think his midlife crisis is being a pirate. Anyway, to celebrate the big day, we are going to play a little game. Below are some statements about Chris, some are true and some are lies. No, I'm not going to tell you how many of each, that makes it too easy, and true items, while true, may contain bits designed to lead you astray. The game is for you to guess which of the following are lies. Ready? Go!
Now, time to vote. Click below for each item that you think is a lie, you may vote for more than one so you are trying to find all the lies here. Answers tomorrow.
Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday to Chris!
My house defies the laws of physics. The basement, which is fully underground and in which all the heating vents are firmly closed, is consistently 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. The upstairs, which is well insulated and has nice, tight seals on all the windows, is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the downstairs. Um, warm air rises, right? Except not so much in my house. We managed to somewhat equalize the upstairs and downstairs by closing all the vents on the main floor and opening all the vents upstairs, which meant the bedrooms were only two or three degrees cooler than the living room. Except that then the painters came, and somehow reinstated natural laws within my house and now with the exact same set up as before the upstairs is meltingly hot if I set the heat to anything above 63. The basement is still an inferno, but they didn't paint down there. I'm thinking they should list "broken laws of thermodymanics repair" as a qualification on their website.
Speaking of the painters, they did a great job except for a couple of really minor things and trying to get them to address those really minor things has turned into a huge battle with their office manager person. When will people realize that doing a great job doesn't count for much if your customers have to deal with a major bitch every time they call you? Seriously, I would recommend these guys and use them again even with the aforementioned minor issues, but I am not willing to deal with bipolar bitch phone woman again and cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone else subject themselves to her.
(P.S. If you participated in my Christmas card exchange last year and sent us a card, thanks! You rock! But, we don't have that box anymore, so if you were planning to be all crafty and just send another one this year to the same address, um, don't. Kisses.)
Someone was so not in the mood for a photo shoot this morning, and all y'all know how impossible it is to accurately capture paint colors in a picture, right? So take with a grain of salt and the assumption that I have fabulous taste and therefore anything you don't care for is the fault of the photograph, not the walls.
Master bedroom and bathroom (but you don't really want to see my bathroom, do you?):
I forgot to take a shot of the upstairs bathroom, but here's the guest room which we did not paint as consolation:
And I couldn't get a decent shot of the foyer, hall, kitchen, family room, stairwell, upstairs hall color, so picture something between the bit of hallway you can see in the shot above, and this:
Yes yes, you love it. Do please try not to gush.
I've lived in this house for nearly four months now, and still spend at least one night a week standing in front of the stove waiting for a pot or pan to get hot only to eventually discover that I've turned on the wrong burner. I'm a dumbshit.
But then, yesterday Chris smashed his head into the ceiling while jumping down the stairs. Twice. So at least I have good company.
The painters are now 7 hours into day three of a two-day job, and while I am very happy with the results, I think I speak for all of us when I say, get the hell out of my house!