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Musings ’ Category
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
This is a super-special edition of Tummywatch Tuesday, as today marks not only the 33rd week of my pregnancy but also the 40th year of my birth. Yep. I’m old.
I hadn’t planned on combining the Tummywatch and 4-0 posts. Tummywatch was going to get its very own day—yesterday; Tuesday—and then I figured I’d devote some time on my actual birthday—today; Wednesday—to filling this space with whatever thoughts happened to bubble up.
But then yesterday, I was sick. Spent most of the day sleeping on the couch. I woke there at roughly 12:30 this morning and decided to make my way up to bed. I let the dog out into the rainy December night. Went to the bathroom. Choked down some oyster crackers and a prenatal vitamin. Waddled up the stairs, solidly gripping the handrail, and spent a full five minutes strategically placing and re-placing pillows around my 8-months-preggo body, trying to find the perfect setup that would allow me the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep. So that’s how my 40th birthday began. Woo hoo! Party on!
Not exactly what I’d envisioned in the past. When I was a kid, those first few birthday hours were usually spent tossing and turning in bed, anticipating the big “me” day ahead. A decade later, they were likely filled with music and friends and at least one shot. Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that I’d spend my 40th birthday on Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’ve never been to Africa, and from what I hear, Mt. Kilimanjaro’s a doable, yet challenging climb. A fabulous experience to cap off the first half of life and set the tone for the second. So that was the loose plan.
I’ll be honest. I got a little winded climbing the stairs to bed last night.
If I’ve learned anything in my 40 years, it’s that things don’t always go as planned. I used to set strict personal goals. I will live in New York by the time I’m 30. I will write for national travel magazines by the time I’m 35. I met a good number of them, too—both of those, in fact. But somewhere along the line, I let go of the strictness. Goals are good, but rigidity can cause you to miss some incredible opportunities.
I never had goals centered around getting married, for example, or having kids. Then I met Clint, and when he asked me to marry him on the anniversary of our first date, I knew, deep down, that there was really was no smart answer besides “yes.” Turns out marriage isn’t straightforward business. Suddenly, your dreams and methods and moods affect another, and vice versa. You function as a team. You buy a house. You renovate a house. You have a kid. Despite not having technically been goals, those things sure do take up a lot of time. Personal goals still exist, of course, but they’re part of a bigger picture; part of working toward a collective, family-type happiness, daily, monthly, yearly.
I am completely OK with this. Because no matter what I had in mind for myself earlier in life, right now, at this very moment, I’m good. I like my job, and the people I’ve surrounded myself with, and the community I live in. I slept pretty well last night, considering my physical state. I got to wake up to a cuddly, healthy 1-year-old in monster footie pajamas telling me, “Happy Birthday, Mommy.” (Even if he later decided it was actually his birthday instead.) My sweet, quietly heroic husband had a vase of flowers and a lovely necklace waiting for me downstairs. I have an afternoon and evening full of small group face-time with friends and family planned. And I’m growing a baby girl, who’s doing fine, by all accounts, and is roughly pineapple-sized now. Let me tell you, this baby-growing thing feels more and more challenging every day.
All in all, forty’s feeling just fine, thanks. Good thing, too, since it becomes clearer each year that time’s moving no way but forward.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the other hand, is not going anywhere.
Pineapple image credit: Marty Baldwin
Friday, October 28th, 2011
I appreciate a well-placed curse word. I really do. As a writer, of course I believe it best to make the creative choice. To find the word that most accurately and originally sums up how the sky looks, or the bonfire smells, or you feel. Sometimes, that word happens to be shit. Neither shoot, shucks nor any other namby-pamby substitution will do. Especially not frick. Too similar. Just say the damn word.
Unless you have a young child. Roy is a total parrot right now, and no utterance goes unnoticed. So to save ourselves the embarrassment of having to lay claim to the adorable tow-headed one-year-old littering the playground with profanities like a mini Gordon Ramsay after a couple of shots of Jameson, Clint and I have tamed the trash talk, at least until our kids are able to comprehend the difference between “adult” language and “kid” language. In moments of sudden pain or disappointment we substitute toned-down versions of our old, reliable profanities. No problem. Totally worth it. Done.
Except. The other day, Roy’s fumbling around, trying to pick up one of those unwieldy over-sized cardboard picture books and I hear him mutter, “Crap!”
Sure, it was the substitute. But is crap really an acceptable word for a pre-preschooler?
And then today, after we get done running errands:
Me: Aw. I forgot to pick up grapes.
Yeah, our toned-down versions don’t exactly sound like toned-down versions when hurtled out of the mouth of a 1-year-old.
And so the hunt for effective, satisfying, yet totally G Rated expletives is on. Wouldn’t I already be using such pseudo-cursewords if they existed? I may well have to make some up.
Photo credit: “Fancy” Auntie Libby
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
So you know how when your toddler says something incorrectly, you’re not supposed to outright correct, but rather to repeat what he or she said, demonstrating the proper pronunciation? That’s the advice I remember, anyway. It makes sense. It’s positive and kind and responsibly educational. Perfect. Except that some words are just too cute to correct.
So cute that I find it’s not good enough to simply leave them uncorrected. I irresponsibly promote their use, keeping the proper pronunciation from Roy like a secret. For example, I desperately wanted him to make it to preschool, at least, calling pizza peetzi. It was the way the word first slipped out of his mouth once it’d had a chance to knock around in his developing brain, and it killed me. Especially when spoken in his squeaky toddler dialect, which pounds every word into a compact question. And so pizza was banned under this roof. Peet-zi? was the new house pronunciation.
Only, somehow, Roy adopted the true version. Dammit, daycare and its promotion of proper diction and whatnot. I held out for a week or so, hoping he’d switch back, which succeeded only in my sounding like an overinvolved kindergarten teacher on Valium. Peet-zi? is now simply part of on an ongoing list, including cuckoo? (cookie) and didi? (Nico, our dog), that we’ll lovingly trot out when he’s teenager, despite any eye-rolling. Or perhaps because of it.
Currently, I’m safeguarding roni-pepper? (aka pepperoni—I swear we have a diverse diet over here) and payter? (caterpillar) while Clint’s doing his part to prolong doh-doze? (bulldozer). We can dream, anyway.
Monday, September 26th, 2011
Someone once told me that going from one to two kids is the hardest transition of all. That it is not double the work, but rather more than double the work. Having one kid will seem like a walk in the park. And any kids you add after two? Piece of cake.
This information stuck with me through the years, and I treated it as fact. When I got pregnant with #2, I decided to revisit it with a more discerning eye. Really? More than double the work? For everyone? I started asking around (if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m quite nosy), and I got different answers from different parents. Some swore that nah, second time around you have all the stuff and you know what you’re doing. The first time’s the killer. Others confirmed that yes, one to two will blow. Your. Mind. What little of it you have left at that point, anyway.
So I was intrigued when a survey* of over a thousand moms around the country popped up in my inbox. They asked all sorts of questions, but the one that caught my eye: Which transition is more difficult—the birth of a first child or the arrival of a second?
The results? About half (53%) of moms with more than one child said the adjustment to number two was more trying.
Those aren’t exactly illuminating odds, 50/50. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What proved to be the most difficult for you: 0 to 1? 1 to 2? Other?
*The survey was commissioned by Kroger’s to promote their new website ComfortsForBaby.com. In the interest of full disclosure. They’re not giving me free stuff or anything.
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
As I mentioned earlier, our midpoint fetal anatomy ultrasound was yesterday. Everything went well. As she methodically checked and measured each organ and body part, the tech kept repeating, “This one’s a mover!”
I’d kind of figured. Since that fluttery feeling started full-force last week, it’s been pretty consistent. That would be my instinct, too, if I were holed up in a small dark place. Some might be content to rest or meditate, but I’d be all twitchy energy. While I very much appreciate the peek into my womb, I have to say that it looks pretty boring in there. I suppose it’s easier to focus on growing when there aren’t any major distractions.
We were initially told the sex of the baby way back in the 12th week. That particular tech is a total ultrasound rockstar, and he was not the least bit hesitant about his determination. Deep down, I believed him. Still, it felt prudent to wait for this milestone before giving away my boy clothes. Just in case.
This tech confirmed: It’s a girl. Can you hear that slamming door? I can. It’s coming from 15 years in the future, when I’ve told her she can’t get that Mickey Mouse tattoo, or that I’m chaperoning the school dance. Again.
Bring it on, little girl. We’re ready for you.