Saturday, July 30, 2011

14 months old

14 months

He changes. He's confident and energetic. He steps up the stairs without kneeling. He's so tall he can reach things off the kitchen table and is able to grab the spout in the bathtub (and pull himself in headfirst). I don't want to forget the way he sometimes jogs around with his face pointed up toward the ceiling, how he hops up and down on his butt, or how he squeals when I walk in the front door.

What gets me most is when he looks in my eyes and says, "Mum Mum." I would do anything for this little boy.



he is loooooong

and goofy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CD12 time

July 26, 2011

It's cycle day 12 and I can't help wishing on my lucky stars that something will happen this month.

Am I really this eager for Baby Deuce, really for real? Or is it just how much I loved being pregnant that makes me want it again? The excitement. The ultrasounds. The little kicks that mean a tiny person is inside me. The magic when the baby is born.

...What will happen then? Is it any more possible to be ready for the lifestyle change of *two* children, than it was to be ready for the first? It's a scary future. Scary but wonderful, I'm sure. But we are so SPOILED with our little guy. In part, I don't want anything to change.

There's the problem. I'm so happy.

I'm not sure it's possible to be happier. I'm not sure there's enough of me to spread around a husband and two children without being spread so thin that I lose my happiness. I know I CAN do it, I just don't know if I'm going to lose something. I imagine some of what will be gained -- another person to love, the pleasure of seeing my children interact with each other, doubling this joy I already feel whenever I see my son learn something.

There's time. At this point in the trying-to-conceive process, there's lots of time to ponder and crave and worry and obsess. It's a blessing and a curse.

Monday, July 25, 2011

brief note

I won an award! a.k.a. I have a friend who likes me!

Go show some love to Begging The Answer.

And while you're showing love, please read Mental Poo. You won't regret it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Phantom Pooper

I'm not the first one to use the phrase "Phantom Pooper," but I am ascribing it a new meaning.

Angela wrote:

By which she meant:

Fletcher has had this problem too, where we expect an apocalyptic diaper and it turns up nothing. However, I must postulate that there is a worse phantom-pooping scenario. The opposite of her definition, in fact.

Yesterday morning, I was given no warning. No grunts or holding of breath, no red face (what I call "poop face") or change in expression at all. No smell, even.

But poop he did, and I'll never know what length of time had passed before I noticed. Thirty minutes? An hour?  However long it took for the mess to spread to the four corners of the diaper and BEYOND.

My kid poops like this guy.

I don't actually know how Billy Zane poops.

I washed my hands at every opportunity yesterday, and I still feel dirty.

I fear that the surprise diaper is becoming a trend, though this was the worst one due to no smell warning. Time to feed him broccoli and beans?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

commenting on blog posts

I rarely comment on the blog posts of others because without fail I don't say what I mean to say. I either sound whiny, ignorant, or so random that it looks as though I didn't even read the post.

When I do comment, as I did yesterday on Loralee's post about being uncomfortable around women nursing in public, it's often because I want to admit a shortcoming of my own (in this case, wishing I wasn't uncomfortable with nursing in public). It's a self-absorbed tendency. Such are the readers of these blogs that they often reply to my comments with advice in an effort to help me, a stranger.

Although I want to say, "Don't bother," that isn't very nice, is it? The people in this "mommy" blogger community are better than I. While I'm adding to the problem, they're trying to add to the solution. I want to say, "Don't bother," because I've already explored my possibilities. I didn't wake up one day and say, "Oh, I have this new problem. Instead of trying to fix it, I'm going to comment on a blog post and hope someone does the work for me."

Of course, the lovely Loralee cut to the heart of what I was saying by pointing out that no one should feel pressure either way in the public breastfeeding debate, but that she supports me for wishing I had "more freedom and less judgment" to do so.

The honest reason I bother airing out my problem(s) on someone else's post is loneliness. I just want someone to say, "Me too, absolutely." And that's it. To not be the only one entering the room through this particular door.

Just a "Yes, I also wish I wasn't so worried about what other people think that I completely inconvenience myself by not nursing in public."

Instead I got a sweet reply that said, "I spend time with a lot of other moms and when you’re just getting the hang of nursing, it helps to have the support of another Mom nursing beside you!" And where do you find these other moms? And when do you have time to sit beside them?


*shut up now, Lindsay*

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chef Boyardon't

I go home on my lunch break to test just how short one hour can be.

Take 20 minutes off for driving there and back.

Take 10 minutes off for helping to get Fletcher changed into a fresh diaper and outfit, and playing.

Take 10 minutes off for preparing my lunch and Fletcher's lunch, attempting to feed us both, and staining us both with Chef Boyardee's Red Sauce From Hell (or RSFH, if you will). I wipe it up and turn away to try to put a spoonful of food in my mouth, and Fletcher picks up his bowl and dumps it all in his lap.

Take 6 minutes off for changing his outfit and wiping the stains into his feeding chair and the rug under the table.

Take 3 minutes off for helping Fletch drink his milk.

Take 10 minutes off for Fletcher spitting up the RSFH while he's running across our living room, and we get busy wiping the stains into the carpet.

In the last minute, I get to say goodbye to a little boy who knows I'm leaving, who doesn't want to let go of me, who throws a fit if I set him down. During this last minute, Andy's doing what he can to clean the rug, the carpet, and whatever else was hit with the RSFH. And he's asking me why I'm not leaving.

When I walk out the door, it all stays with me. I don't take a "break" and leave parenting behind me for the afternoon. If those 60 little minutes were stressful, you can believe the rest of the day will be. I can't stop hearing his tantrum voice and wishing I were there to help clean up the mess.

Instead, I'm at work, where a slew of tasks waits. I'm here, with stained pants and an almost empty stomach, shirking responsibility for two minutes so that I can write this. It feels as though everything I want to do – personally, professionally – is all compounding on me as every moment passes, and it is too overwhelming to manage.

As I pick up my professional to-do list and my stomach rumbles, I'm wondering how hungry Fletcher is, and what his daddy will feed him while I'm away.

I'm guessing it won't be Chef Boyardee.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

11DPO stupid test

July 14, 2011

You suck, pregnancy tests. I hate you. I have a lot of words for this, but none of them are worth reading. Blah blah blah you suck. I'm having a caffeinated soda and a candy bar and screw it all.

I'm so tired of myself.

From "With Every Heartbeat" by Robyn:
Maybe we can make it alright
We could make it better sometime
Maybe we can make it happen baby
We could keep trying but things will never change

So I don't look back
Still I'm dying with every step I take
But I don't look back

And it hurts with every heartbeat

4:36 p.m.: Ohmygod I'm sweating my butt off. Is this a PMS thing then? I'm going to say that it is. But you know I'm going to pee on another stick tomorrow anyway. Stupid tests.

I'm too tired not to be lazy

I don't know if I'm lazy or not. The true answer is probably sometimes.

Regarding my home, I'm suddenly out of time to do everything that needed doing. A potential buyer is coming tomorrow and we aren't ready. It isn't just the basics (like picking up toys and cleaning the counters) that aren't done. Major gardening that should've been started in spring (and maintained) never was. Now it's too late and we have no choice but to be the house with more weeds than grass.

I haven't hung that shelf. The windows haven't been washed since we moved in. If the realtor opens any closet doors, he runs the risk of a booby-trap-style collapse of the excess that I haphazardly stashed away. I haven't deep cleaned the kitty litter pans.

It would be a fantastic feeling to catch up on all of this and have a beautiful, clean home. So why wasn't it on my top priorities before now, when it's too late? When I look at my priorities, I feel guilty. I'm a good mom, but I'm capable of more. I could do a better job of juggling.

I can only assume the price would be even more fatigue, and I'm just so damn tired all the time as it is. I can't concentrate on anything. I get headaches. My energy level is only mediocre.

But I could stay up past the toddler's bedtime every night and do at least one extra household-y thing (in addition to picking up the toys, washing baby dishes, sometimes scooping kitty litter, and getting ready for bed).

Would it be worth it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10DPO negative

July 13, 2011

This is not the first post with that title. In both previous pregnancies, I received a negative test result on 10DPO, followed by a positive on 11DPO. Why did I bother testing today? Sentimentality. Eagerness. Lack of self control.

I told myself yesterday that if my BBT was elevated today, I would test. It was elevated (see chart), and I felt that first flutter of nerves in my stomach. It's been a long time since I felt that flutter, and the disappointment of the one lonely line on the test.

My rational side is ordering me to snap out of it. I never get an accurate result on 10DPO. And if the test is negative tomorrow? There's always the next cycle. And I won't have to worry about going into labor during the wedding of my step-sister-in-law.

Still... this whole thing has a dreamlike quality. Two years ago, it was all that consumed my thoughts -- my temperature chart, signs of pregnancy, test results.

Trying to conceive again feels like stepping into a memory.

3:45 p.m.: I don't want to jinx this crap, but on 10DPO last pregnancy, I made a 3:28 p.m. footnote that I felt hot and tired. And now it's 3:45 and I'm hot and tired. The "tired" isn't unusual, but the "hot" definitely is. I anxiously await tomorrow's test.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I guess God wants me to be a teacher

I attended an unusual high school. It was a prep school for entering the ministry, so there were a lot of missionary kids from around the world, as well as Pastors' kids from around the country. I was a less common student, not having come from a start-up congregation in the middle of Zimbabwe. But like the other students, I did live on campus in the dorms.

We'd attend chapel twice per day, religion class three times per week, and mandatory choir and piano lessons. You never heard words like "evolution" or "democrat" in class. This was an environment where taking "one nation under God" out of the Pledge and "In God We Trust" off our money were considered serious grievances.

Being female, my option was to train for the teaching ministry (boys could be teachers or pastors). The natural path of the female prep student was to attend Martin Luther College and from there receive a divine call to teach in a Lutheran school. That's what all the cool kids were doing.

I'm not very cool.

Having had zero experience with anyone younger than myself, teaching little kids was definitely out. Kids scared me. So I expected to teach English to teenagers. I really didn't consider other alternatives. (I dreamed of being a fiction novelist the way other kids dreamed of being rock stars, so I never thought of that as a viable option.)

Looking back on the prep school environment, which I did love and do not regret, it was a bit culty. While I was one of the lucky kids who got to go home on weekends, weekdays were a kind of constant brainwash. Your school is church, your cafeteria is church, your bedroom is church. We were normal kids, definitely not saints, but we had zero doubts about God and faith and (for many) the paths we were on toward the ministry.

I did doubt whether I had the capability to teach. I knew I could do it, but could I be great at it? Would I enjoy it? The more I thought, the more I felt uncomfortable with the image of me in front of a classroom of teenagers. With my personality, I would have no control over these students. They would walk all over me and learn next to nothing.

I determined there were two reasons I could never teach: 1) I didn't have the strength to be tough with students. 2) I didn't have the patience to teach. I'd just hand over the answer and hope they understood it.

I didn't attend the Lutheran college and become a teacher. I didn't marry a pastor and play the church organ. I don't look lovely in an ankle-length dress. In fact, I barely go to church these days because it would interrupt nap time, and because chasing my lightning-fast boy down a church aisle while every muscle in my body tightens with stress is not, in my opinion, to God's glory.

Still, God is having the last laugh. I always knew that parents have to teach their kids things -- most notably how to use the potty -- but the extent of teaching didn't sink in until recently. I am a mother = I am a teacher. 

As I switch from moving his hand to his mouth as he forks up his scrambled eggs, to stopping him from trapping himself behind the couch, to mouthing words in front of his face in the hopes that he'll start to speak, I know it isn't just a few things along the way. Parents need to teach them EVERYTHING, at least during these first years. Some things come naturally or easily or even without prompting, but most skills are taught.

I thought back to my reasons I could never teach, realizing that subconsciously I already was overcoming what had held me back. I'm finding strength I didn't know I had, to be tough when necessary. I'm finding the patience I never had, because the reward is worth the pace and the work.

What changed? As with all things, the difference is love.


P.S. New blog design! Hooray! Exclamation point!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

independence day

One year ago, our little family stood on the sidewalk in front of our condo, dodging mosquitoes and watching the fireworks in the distance. Fletcher was so tiny. We turned him in the direction of the bright splash of lights in the dark, but agreed that he really didn't see it.

This year, he saw them, and though he was supremely tired, he enjoyed them. Even the loud crack as they exploded across the sky didn't scare him.

This year, independence has a new meaning for us, as Fletcher asserts himself. To "assert" is to cause others to recognize one's authority or right by confident and forceful behavior. There's no better word for Fletcher... when he absolutely refuses to eat anything. When he goes after the floor lamp and laughs when he's scolded. When he charges the cat. When he demands to be picked up and put down and picked up and carried around absolutely everywhere now and forevermore.

It's good to want these first amounts of independence. It's hard to give on demand.

Photos of my Hawaiians:

So that's why he emptied the toys out of the little toy box:


4th of July Parade:

Catching a few fireworks:

4DPO insensible

July 7, 2011

I know I won't publish this post until my readers have been told in person about a (future) pregnancy. But I wanted to know what it would feel like to write "DPO" (days post ovulation) in a post title again.

Here we are. Trying to conceive. Again.

It's strange the second time around. Like the first time(s), I have anxiety. But it's a sweet anxiety. It isn't peppered with fears of what-if-I-can't. I've been here before, I know the drill. I know that on Thursday, July 14 -- 11 DPO -- I will take a pregnancy test and probably find out if we're going to add a fourth family member sooner rather than later.

Now we wait. I remember ALL about waiting.

The thing is, I would be better off not being pregnant this first time out, because I'm standing up in a wedding next March. So I'm approaching the magic test-taking day on two different feet. One is jumping up and down wondering if this is it. The other is taking a sensible step back.

So why didn't we prevent the possibility of a pregnancy this month? Sensibility isn't my strong suit.