Friday, February 28, 2014

Then and Now: Pregnancy III Edition

In my first trimester with Zuzu, I craved apples.  Apple pie, applesauce, apple juice, whole apples, apple cider...  I ate an apple a day plus anything else with apple ingredients that I could shove in my mouth.  (I also ate a donut a week, but that was later in pregnancy...)

This time around, as with Eliza, I haven't had much in the way of specific cravings, (hmm... maybe Nutella? But I always crave Nutella.) but I have had more food aversions than I had with Zuzu.  My first trimester was kind to me in the sense that I didn't vomit and had no morning sickness, but I would feel nauseated regularly in the evenings--more so than I remember with either pregnancy before (which was quite unpleasant) and if I didn't eat dinner early enough (before 6:30pm), I wouldn't want dinner at all and everything grossed me out.

I've learned the hard way that Rerun does not care for onions or guacamole.  I got terrible stomachache and indigestion after eating guac (twice, because I'm a slow learner), so I'll be avoiding it for a while (which is a bummer, because I love it!).

My sense of smell is pretty keen whether or not I'm pregnant, but it gets SUPER amplified when I'm pregnant. Like a wolverine. (Or something else with a keen sense of smell?).  Just like both pregnancies before, I couldn't handle scented candles or air fresheners or scentsies or any artificial smells.  This time around, dirty diapers have also posed a challenge for me and resulted in a few episodes of dramatic dry-heaving over the trash can in Zuzu's bedroom (no barfing though!).

One morning, David made sausage for breakfast and it was nearly grounds for divorce.  I had to rule out the cooking of ground beef for approximately two months because the smell made me want to hurl. I ended up going upstairs to take a shower with the ventilation fan on and I made him open the windows to get rid of the lingering odor. So gross. (I hate the smell of ground beef and sausage anyway, but it normally doesn't actually make me feel ill.)

My exhaustion level was also off the charts for last couple weeks of December (further complicated by illness right before Christmas) and for the whole month of January, although I'm pretty sure it was similar with both the girls before.  My schedule was just easier back then--with Eliza, I was working part-time, and with Zuzu, I didn't have a toddler to chase after getting home from work and I could take a quick cat-nap whenever I felt like it.

David was the one who really had to adjust to the change in my energy level there for a while. I'm usually pretty energetic about getting stuff done and he's used to us tackling weekend projects and working til it's all finished.  But until we got a week or so  into February, there was just no way.  I was going to bed at 8:30pm, out cold by 9 at the latest, and napping on weekends.  It was a definite change of pace around our house there for a while, and David seriously had a harder time dealing with it than Zuzu did (that girl is totally fine with scheduling naptime every afternoon!). I kept having to remind him that I needed to slow down (or sleep).

Anyway, I'm at 17 weeks this week and I've started feeling much more like myself in the last little bit.  Sometimes this has been bad for my anxiety (omg... I don't feel pregnant at all...) but just this week I felt the first tiny flutter of movement--like the teensy little bubbles.

(Nothing crazy like the first time David was able to feel Zuzu moving in my belly--but Cooper hasn't been fighting any possums either).

My stomach pooched out earlier than it did last time, which makes sense since I figure my ab muscles are basically shot by now.  Three pregnancies in four years does not exactly keep the belly in shape.  I also tend to gain weight early in pregnancy--like my body realizes its pregnant (omg wut?) and suddenly hoards fat.  I really didn't think I was showing, but an older lady who teaches at Zuzu's school asked me if I was "working on something" while gesturing to my stomach, so I guess it's a little more obvious than I was willing to admit.

I have a lot of maternity clothes but I'm in that awkward stage where maternity clothes are too big and my regular clothes are too small and I'm still trying to dress to camouflage the belly at work because I just don't want to invite nosy questions and I'd prefer my students just think I've been eating a lot of Qdoba lately.  So I mostly wear tunics and scarves and put the bella band around my (unbuttoned) regular pants.  I did switch out my closet over the weekend and pack away shirts and pants I know I won't be squeezing myself into until... oh, probably the fall of 2015.

This pregnancy has been easier in large part because I've been so busy with other things (namely Zuzu, but also work). Just having a million distractions makes it easier to get through the day. I truly can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going by (although I am sure that will change as the due date approaches).

This sounds kind of weird, but I also think it's easier because it's not like everyone else I know is pregnant right now. When I was pregnant with Zuzu, I knew SO MANY pregnant people--many of the moms who'd had losses around the time we lost Eliza were expecting again and two of my closest friends in St. Louis were both pregnant. It's not to say that those other pregnancies made me stressed out exactly, but because I was pregnant with so many of my friends the first time around and then left without a baby to bring home, being pregnant with them again felt like an uncomfortable re-living of eighteen months earlier. And as for the other babyloss moms, at the same time they were my life line and support system, I think it was also easy for us to make each other anxious because we'd had different kinds of losses at different times, so there was no stage of pregnancy that ever felt "safe."

This time feels quite different because that feverish obsession with pregnancies everywhere has subsided. It's also been easier because I have felt comfortable with having the "normal" level of medical care for the first two trimesters.

When I was pregnant with Zuzu, I saw my regular OB (who delivered Eliza) and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist in another practice (conveniently located in the same building), which meant I had a doctor appointment every two weeks for the first two trimesters, then weekly appointments in the third trimester.  We peeked in on that baby through ultrasound so many times I lost count.  (This after reading an article in my natural childbirth class about the potential risks of ultrasound--I tearfully asked both my doctors about that article, blubbering about mice brains in laboratories, and I remember my MFM telling me she gave herself ultrasounds just for fun every few days and now her son was attending Harvard--somehow that made feel a lot better). I went into every appointment with a list of questions to ask my doctor.

Once I hit 32 weeks, I started having weekly and then twice-weekly non-stress tests in the peri-natal center, occasionally followed by bio-physical profiles (ultrasounds).

In ADDITION to all that monitoring, I went in to the hospital twice without appointments in my final month of pregnancy because I was certain I was feeling decreased fetal movement, and I didn't really trust myself to know (after all, I could have not known something was wrong with Eliza?).

I had thought I wanted a totally natural experience the first time around, but with Zuzu, I happily agreed to an induction at 39 weeks 5 days because I needed to get that baby on the outside.

This time, I still haven't thought much about what delivery will look like... we know we want to go back to the hospital (and hopefully have the same nurse!) we went to with Eliza and Zuzu. Eventually I'll need to decide if I want another non-medicated birth (assuming all goes well and I have that opportunity), and if we're going to hire a doula. As much as I'd like to go into labor on my own, I'm not sure I will feel comfortable going past 40 weeks, so we'll have to just see what happens.

Meanwhile, I'm seeing my OB for the regular appointments every four weeks (read: HARDLY AT ALL), which means that I got to hear the heartbeat in the office last Thursday and I don't go back until toward the end of March for my 20-week ultrasound, which will be in his office with his super sweet ultrasound tech doing the ultrasound and my doctor talking it through with me instead of in the perinatal center, where getting a tech with any sensitivity was hit or miss and I had a personality conflict (that's a euphemism) with one of the doctors.

Once I hit the third trimester, I'll have weekly NSTs to monitor the baby, and as chill as I feel right this minute, I know very well that my anxiety will be heightened once we know the baby is viable. The necessity of being vigilant feels much sharper at that point, when it truly seems like a mother's intuition (or hard-earned-wisdom) can be the difference between life and death.

I will probably need to revisit the topic of my anxiety at that time, but for now I'm grateful for the little distraction that's currently asleep in her crib upstairs, and I have every reason to be hopeful that less than six months from now there will be two of them up there.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Looking Forward...

For a long time after Eliza died, I didn't make plans. There was nothing I wanted to do, and no energy for doing anything anyway. I went back to work on a part-time basis (which was the most I could handle) and that was the only place I went. David and I ran errands together, neither of us having the strength to handle grocery shopping on our own. I went to therapy on a weekly basis, and for months, that was the extent of my socialization. Occasionally, a friend would convince me to go to dinner or coffee. The days I didn't work, I often stayed in bed, crying, using my computer as a lifeline to connect with other bereaved parents. I can't even capture the misery of those days.

I think it took fourteen months before I started to feel anything like what I could really call "better." I was able to start functioning long before that, of course. I taught a summer class. We traveled to Vancouver. I got (a little) better about seeing friends. My therapist convinced me that healing massages were in my best interest (and she was right). I even landed my first full-time job post-grad school.

But it took a very long time before I wanted to write things in on our calendar, before I was willing to make plans in advance--especially plans to do anything "fun." After getting so cruelly and violently duped by the universe, making plans felt like an invitation for disaster. We turned down invitations, or explained to friends we'd have to make the call at game-time rather than RSVPing in advance. Our calendar remained pretty empty for a long time, until it finally got filled with doctor appointments.

In recent months, we've gotten really busy again, like the old days, and I look at the way our spring weekends have already started filling up and I can hardly believe we've gotten brave enough to make plans again, that I've gotten to a place where I look forward to things to come without worry constantly that something terrible will cause everything to go wrong.

We've spent the last two days at home with Zuzu battling a wicked ear infection and correspondingly spectacular mood swings. My usually-independent toddler has wanted to be carried everywhere (except after pooping, at which point she suddenly had the energy to run away from me--WHY????). So I thought it might do me good to think about all the things we have to look forward to as the calendar turns from February to March, bringing with it (I hope), the promise of warmer weather and sunshine.

This Friday is the anniversary of my Grandpa Vance's birthday and my family's Annual Gpa V Ice Cream Day, so at some point we'll be celebrating Grandpa Vance by treating Zuzu to ice cream. David and I have also arranged for a babysitter and are going out to dinner with friends. Ice Cream + Dinner Out = The most excitement we have seen in a while. (Unfortunately, I'm serious.)

Next week I'm going to the dentist (most people dread this but I look forward to having my teeth cleaned and polished and visiting with my super nice dentist whose patients call her Dr. Mary).

I'm also attending a film screening on campus next week of the documentary Gideon's Army. It aired on HBO this summer and is about public defenders and inequalities in the justice system in the deep South. The filmmaker (formerly a lawyer) is coming to campus to speak later in March, so I'm looking forward to attending her talk as well.

My mom is coming up next weekend to spend the start of her spring break with her favorite toddler, and David and I are taking advantage of the free babysitter to attend a trivia night fundraiser for his school.

The weekend after that is KIND OF a BIG DEAL and will require ANOTHER BABYSITTER, as we are going to attend opening weekend of Veronica Mars. I'm going to see if any marshmallow friends want to join us for an afternoon flick. We're going to a matinee (because we're old). There will be popcorn. There will be a post-movie happy-hour rehash (my favorite part of attending a matinee). I will totally be squeezing my belly into my Veronica Mars Official Kickstarter Backer t-shirt. I'm super excited.

Later in the month we have more fun plans--the twenty week ultrasound to give us another peek at Rerun (fingers crossed that we get all good news), a trip back to my hometown, hopefully a visit with my BFF and her daughter, and then Zuzu and I are getting out of town on a little spring break (unfortunately, David's spring break and mine don't line up this year, so this is just a girls' weekend).

I feel so fortunate, not just to have these things to look forward to, but to actually look forward to things again. In Charles Dickens's novel A Tale of Two Cities, the first book of the novel is titled "Recalled to Life." That's basically how I feel. These things are small and simple pleasures--seeing movies, meeting up with friends, going out to dinner. I took them for granted for so long until I lost my taste for them and everything I'd once enjoyed was clouded by grief that made it impossible to feel anything but heartbroken.

My heart is still broken, but it's also still beating, and I'm so grateful for the people who have helped recall me to life--reminding me that life is brutal but it's also beautiful.

This little Miss in particular:

I'm so freaking happy we need a babysitter to go to the movies.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Laundry Redux

Back in the basement!  After pricing out painting for the main area of the basement and the kitchen, we also had a few contractors give us bids for the laundry room.  They were way more than we wanted to spend (like $5,000).  So we decided to just DIY it as best we could.

Before we started, this section of the basement was totally unfinished, which wasn't a big deal except that (1) it was super ugly and (2) you have to walk through the laundry room to access the guest room.  So we were basically inviting people to stay with us and then making them venture through the ugly bowels of the house to reach their guest quarters.

By "unfinished and ugly," I mean concrete floors and dreary, beige and green walls (not exactly what I'd call a winning combination). Our plan was simple: cover the ugly walls with beadboard, give them a cheery coat of paint, slap some adhesive vinyl tiles down on that concrete floor, and add some glossy white trim to make it all look finished.  Or at least as finished as a basement laundry room room with the furnace and water heater in the middle of it can look.

So here are the BEFORE pictures.  As you walk in to unfinished part from the finished basement, you face the washer and dryer.

Doesn't the green accent wall just really add something special to the space? This picture also best captures the oppressive BEIGE that was all over the basement.
Looking back toward the entrance to the finished part of the basement.  This is Cooper's eating nook.  That gray wall on the left leads to the guest room.
To the left of the washer and dryer is the biggest part of the room--it's where the furnace and water heater are.  The former owners also left a refrigerator down there and we put our small deep freeze next to it.

Fridge and freezer pulled away from the wall to allow access to hang the beadboard.
And they left a (very heavy) antique desk which we decided to keep because (1) I think it's cool and would like to refinish it and make it a crafting sort of space (2) it would be a pain in the butt to haul out of there.

Zuzu and baby playing with wires in the space where the craft desk normally sits.  Safety first!
I don't have any other angles in "BEFORE" pictures because David was in charge of taking them, but you get the idea. The walls were ugly, the floor was bare, dirty-looking concrete, and the whole room just felt dingy.  The ceiling remains unfinished--it's low enough that I think a dropped ceiling would feel too low and I don't feel the need to make the room feel completely finished and polished--it is a basement, after all.  But we did do just enough to spruce it up!

First, David and my dad built a plywood platform for the washer and dryer.  This served two purposes:  it leveled out the base so they weren't off balance (the washer had a tendency to wander a bit in the spin cycle before), and it raised them so there's not so much bending over to transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer (much like the expensive drawer bases you can buy at the store).  It is a little bit tall for a folding station, but I rarely fold laundry in the laundry room anyway (it's one of those chores I like to do in front of the TV--especially if it's a little more time consuming, like stuffing diapers).  But it is a nice surface for folding/stacking when necessary.

You can kind of see the platform and cabinet that David built around the washer and dryer. Or you could if Cooper, Zuzu, and David weren't all blocking it.  You can imagine what an enormous help Zuzu was with the painting.
David covered the walls with beadboard to make them uniform and make it feel more like a real room. We chose a soft aqua-blue paint for the walls--Tidewater by Sherwin Williams.

Tidewater is on the large swatch on the bottom right. It's second from the top.
Going on the beadboard! Also pictured: laundry on a drying rack.
I edged while he rolled to get the paint up on the walls and then while he was painting, measuring, and cutting trim, I got to work on tiling the floor.  The concrete floor is no where near level, and it's designed to dip toward the drain located on the floor.  Unless we wanted to spend a considerable amount of time and money leveling it out, we knew ceramic tiles weren't a viable option.  The washer drains just below its plywood platform and the basement tends to be super humid in the summertime (we run a dehumidifier down there), so we needed a floor covering that could handle a bit of moisture without getting completely wrecked.

Considering our budget and the basic needs of the room, we decided to go with peel and stick vinyl tiles.  We chose a medium gray that contrasted nicely with the pale aqua walls but felt so much fresher and cleaner than the dingy old concrete.  I thought I wanted the larger 18" tiles, but they weren't available in the pattern I wanted, so we ended up going with the standard 12" square, which worked just fine.

We ended up going with the bottom tile even though it was dark because it had the most texture and felt the most substantial of the two grays.
A friend of mine had warned me that she'd done peel and stick tiles in her basement and the adhesive didn't hold up very well, so we took the extra step of prepping the concrete with this stuff that's supposed to improve the adhesion.  It didn't take much time to roll it on and it made me feel like we were being thorough, but of course there's no way to really know if it will make much of a difference.

I started tiling on the plywood platform, which was perfectly level and pretty square, so it was a good place to practice, especially since the tile would all be covered up by the washing machine and dryer.

In progress.  
Tiling the concrete was a bit of a different experience since the concrete wasn't always level and was actually quite uneven in a few places.  But I made it work!  My hands were sore and my fingernails were all broken by the end of it, but it was well worth the hard work (even the bruised sits bones and knees from crawling around and sitting on concrete).  I think even more than the walls, the tile transformed the place by making it feel clean in a way that the concrete never did.

Bare concrete. But a clear shot of the platform and the cabinet. A utility sink is on our shopping list and will go in the space next to the washing machine.
There was a method to my madness.
It took an entire weekend of peeling, sticking, cutting, peeling, and sticking, but in the end we were quite satisfied with the transformation.  Our paint and tile made everything feel so much cleaner and brighter (even though the tile was about as dark as the concrete floor had been).  The contrast is lovely with the blue walls and white trim, and even without a finished ceiling, the space is SO much nicer.


Washing machine, dryer, unmatching rug.
Cooper's hungry.  As usual.  That weird green thing is his food dish--it forces him to eat slowly because he has to work around all those green nubs to get at his kibble.  Keeps him from scarfing his food down in .5 seconds. He's not impressed.
View from the desk/refrigerator area.
Here's the view of the furnace smack-dab in the middle of the room.  This is why the room will never really feel "finished," but as you can see, we could definitely improve the functionality (and cuteness) of the space.
So, as I said, eventually we're going to put in a utility sink next to the washing machine, and I'll get some heavy-duty metal shelves to put by the door and replace the not-as-sturdy white plastic ones.  I picked up a few accessories last weekend--a banana leaf laundry hamper, a couple of plastic bins for the shelves, and a soft-sided bin (just because it was so cute!).   I'm still on the hunt for a replacement rug to go in front of the washer and dryer (the placeholder rug is too small and all the wrong colors), and I want to get some fun art for the wall.  I also may whip up a little valance curtain for the window above the washer and dryer, and David wants to build in in the breaker box so all the wires aren't so exposed.

The desk area is going to be fixed up to create a little crafting/wrapping station, which will be really nice when it's all finished, but will take some planning on my part.  I also think I'd like to refinish the desk, but that project seems a bit daunting.  Maybe this summer?

freezer, fridge, part of the desk, and wild Zuzu.
Keeping it real with the lack of organization so far.  I need to get some pegs for my pegboard!
Zuzu is crying because I closed the closet doors for this photo. #reasonsmytoddleriscrying You can also see David's weight machine is hanging out down here.  We think that it may get relocated eventually, but we'll see.
Evidently, Zuzu really wanted the closet doors open so you could see this. Yes, I tiled the entire storage area, too. And yes, it is crammed it full of stuff.  Most of these bins are full of outgrown baby clothes and baby stuff (not kidding).
Anyway, we'll be tweaking the laundry and crafty sections of the room and I'll be scoping out some accessories to cute it up, but overall I'm really glad that we plunged ahead with this little makeover.  Of course it ended up costing more than we wanted it to--we were aiming for around $500, but the room itself is so large (roughly 12'x19', plus the storage closet that's probably 12'x6') that buying the beadboard and floor tile added up quickly.  Still, I think it was a good investment since it has already made the chore of laundry far more enjoyable.  And I happen to live with two of the biggest laundry generators on the face of this earth, so I appreciate the improved facilities.

If you're wondering what's through this door...
It's our St. Louis Cardinals-themed guest room! Don't you want to come visit?
And by the way--Zuzu spied this swing in the storage closet and decided it had to be relocated for the use of Big Baby.

Putting baby in the swing.
And starting it up.
Obviously, Rerun will be in good hands.  Zuzu is totally ready to babysit!

Oh, wait...

She looks pretty comfy here. And poor Big Baby was flopped unceremoniously on the floor--you can see her feet in the bottom corner of the photo. 
I'm thinking we may need to hold off a little bit on leaving Zuzu in charge of babysitting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rerun: The Backstory

First of all, thanks so much for your well-wishes about our newest Baby Duck.

I also want to say that I know pregnancy announcements can be loaded for anyone who has had to cope with baby loss, ongoing struggles to get pregnant, or infertility.  Please know I'm sensitive to the fact that this is a tender subject.  Given my own experience, I'm painfully aware that one person's good news can be another person's grief trigger and I completely understand if that's the case for anyone reading this blog.

So here's the backstory on Rerun:

Right around the time Zuzu gave up the boob (at 15 months), I was hit with the certainty that I did not want her to be my last baby.  I wanted to have the whole experience one more time, and David was totally on board with that.  Up until that point, I wasn't really sure whether Zuzu would be our only living child.  Pregnancy scared me, my memories of med-free labor were, let's say, VIVID, and my biggest worry was that 9 months of Zuzu's toddler years would be spent with me being totally anxious and focused on another pregnancy.

David and I had talked quite a bit about it (because we are planners!) and he assured me that he would be okay with whatever I decided.  As scary as it was to contemplate another pregnancy, I figured that by the time Zuzu was three years old, we'd probably be ready for another baby.  She turns two at the end of June this year, so I thought maybe we'd start trying that fall.  A few of my friends were pregnant with their second rainbow babies and while I was happy for them, I wasn't envious AT ALL.  I had no desire to go through the physical stuff of another pregnancy at the moment. I definitely did not feel emotionally ready to deal with the anxiety of another pregnancy. And after seeing several friends have kids less than two years apart, I had no desire to join that club! I really only want to deal with one baby in diapers at a time. So my plan was to wait until Zuzu turned two, and then evaluate and see when we'd be ready to start trying to have another baby.

I have to say, there was a part of me that felt rushed to have another baby before I turned 35 (I'll turn 34 this summer--right before Rerun's due date), but mostly I felt like the status quo was pretty freaking great. Eventually, I hoped Zuzu would have a little brother or sister, but I was in no hurry.

Without getting overly TMI (just a little TMI!), you may recall that it took us a while to get pregnant in the past.  We "quit preventing" for two months and then tried in earnest for four months before getting pregnant with Eliza.  By "trying," I mean careful timing, ovulation kits, basal body temperature taking, taking prenatal vitamins in advance, eating a healthy diet, cutting out caffeine and soda, and doing a lot of googling and obsessing (at least on my part).

After we lost Eliza, we waited the recommended three months before we decided that our desire (desperation?) to have a living baby was stronger than our fear. Easier said than done, though. Every month, my grief was amplified by negative pregnancy tests and I felt like a double failure for not being able to keep my baby alive and not being able to get pregnant again. When we hadn't gotten pregnant on our own after six (long, long) months of even-more-obsessive-than-the-first-time trying (among many other things, I made David take special vitamins, purchased a fertility candle, and insisted he couldn't use the seat warmers in the car in case he was cooking his sperm), I scheduled an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist, had my cycle monitored, discovered that my follicles were developing properly but I wasn't actually ovulating.  I cried and freaked out and stressed out about the cost of everything we were doing, and finally had a hormone shot administered (by David, in my butt cheek!) to make me ovulate.

It worked, and I got pregnant, but it was so scary.  I felt like I had "tricked" my body into doing something it wasn't able or willing or ready to do on its own.  I felt like I had willed this pregnancy into existence and it seemed so fragile and like it could disappear so easily (after all, if my first baby could die after 34 weeks of healthy and normal development, what was keeping this baby from doing the same?).  I felt like I practically had to hold my breath for the next nine months--like one wrong move on my part would make this pregnancy fall apart.

This time was... different.

The first week of December, I was experiencing my usual slump before Eliza's birthday. At the same time, work was crazy with end-of-semester business, I was thinking ahead to Christmas with Zuzu and trying to figure out how I could make more of an effort to embrace the holidays this year, and--like it or not--our calendar was full of school events and social events, so even though I'd tried to block off time around Eliza's birthday, I felt tired and stressed out. I didn't have a lot of time to dwell on my sadness, but it was inescapable and weighed heavily on me.

On December 3rd, I was drinking a glass of wine, grading a stack of papers, and texting a friend who asked how I was doing with Eliza's birthday coming up. I said something about how I was functioning pretty well but I knew the grief and anxiety were getting to me because my cycle was wonky (obviously she's a good friend and oversharing is how we operate). I'd had some spotting the week before, but my period had never actually started and now I was on day 34 of my cycle. She asked if that was normal for me and I said no--in the past, stress had caused me to have shorter cycles, not longer ones.

She said, Maybe you're pregnant.

And I snorted into my GLASS OF WINE because, no.  Just, no.  We weren't trying, we weren't ready, it wasn't even CLOSE to being on our radar.  True, we weren't actively preventing (I had no desire to go back on the pill), but after having to use medical assistance to get pregnant with Zuzu, I fully believed that having another baby would require some serious effort. I would need to cut out all alcohol, start taking vitamins, go on my organic, healthy-fats, low-sugar diet, and make sure I was getting more exercise. I was not one of those idiots who gets pregnant by mistake. Plus, and most convincing, (again, an overshare), romantic evenings in our house were so infrequent these days that it just wasn't possible.

Our conversation moved on to other things, but I woke up in the middle of the night that night and couldn't get back to sleep.  I felt totally normal.  There was no way I was pregnant.  But I also didn't feel at all like I was about to start my period...

The next day on my way to work, I stopped at a pharmacy and picked up the cheapest pregnancy test available.  I knew I wasn't pregnant, but I just needed confirmation. I didn't want to face Eliza's birthday wondering what was going on. And if I wasn't pregnant, then I needed to figure out why my cycle was so wonky, which truly had me worried.  I took it in the bathroom down the hall from my office, then raced back to my office and locked the door, peering at the stick to see it develop.

One line.  A small sigh of... relief? regret?  A combination of these two? Also the concern that there was something wrong...

I took a photo and texted it to my friend.  "I think it's negative."

But then I noticed something weird.  The test had a "control line" and then the pregnancy indicator line.  It was the control line that wasn't there.  The pregnancy indicator line was super dark. WTF.

I chugged a bottle of water and repeated the test.

This time, there was no mistaking it--two pink lines. I stared at those two lines, illuminated by my desk lamp and my computer screen, not sure whether I wanted to laugh or cry, glad that there wasn't something inexplicably wrong, still in disbelief that this was even possible.

This was two days before Eliza's birthday. I was exhausted and grieving and completely unprepared for another pregnancy. Once again, the timeline I had imagined in my head suddenly looked nothing like my reality. I was pregnant on December 4th for the third time in four years. To say my emotions were all over the place is an enormous understatement.

I was supposed to go to a friend's house that evening for a little Hanukkah party, but I was so overwhelmed with this news and so not ready to share it with anyone but David that I bailed on the party and headed home early.  I texted David and told him I wasn't feeling well and asked him to please get home early (he didn't because of course).

When he (finally) got home, I was in the kitchen and Zuzu was in her high chair eating dinner slash whining.  David came in and we gave him the normal greetings and then I asked if I could talk to him about something.

He's fairly used to me starting conversations like this, with subjects that could range anywhere from paint colors to swimming lesson plans to really serious things, so he said yes.  I suddenly felt shaky and my heart was racing.

The conversation went like this (as I assisted Zuzu in shoveling applesauce into her mouth):

Me: You know how you said that after Zuzu was born that you'd be fine with it if I didn't want to have any more babies?

David: Yeah.

Me: And you know how you said that you'd also be fine with it if I did want to have another baby?

David: Uh-huh.

Me:  Well, what would you want if it were totally your decision?

David: (pauses for a minute, thinking) Well, I guess that I'd just want to leave it up to chance.

Me: (pauses to think about how freaking perfect that answer was) Okay. Well, how's August for you?

David: (nods calmly) You want to start trying in August?

Me:  No, dude.  I'm due in August.

David: (freezes) Wait. What? (silent beat.) You're pregnant?

Then I nodded and started crying because OMG emotional and then there was hugging and kissing and celebrating and laughing.

I've always said I don't like surprises, but waiting to find out whether Zuzu was a boy or a girl until she was born was the best surprise ever (because I'd been hoping so hard that I would have the chance to have another daughter). Now I have to say that getting surprise pregnant with Rerun was the best outcome I wasn't hoping for.

While the universe continues to mock my plans for family making, there is enormous relief in the fact that I didn't have to stress and worry about getting pregnant again.

I confess, though, that because I know several people who are actively trying to get pregnant again or who are coping with infertility or recent miscarriage, I couldn't help but feel a certain kind of guilt for having mixed feelings about an experience that many people were desperately hoping for. I also felt some guilt and sadness, and then guilt and sadness about not feeling completely happy.  (Because there is NOTHING I won't overanalyze).

Plus there's the fact that I have always rolled my eyes at the thought of people getting pregnant by accident. Like You know what causes that.  How irresponsible can you be?

The timing also complicated things, of course. I was so shocked by the unexpected turn of events that my grief for Eliza, even on her birthday, felt somewhat distracted, and there was also some sadness that the good news of pregnancy was so close to the anniversary of the saddest day of our lives. Again, I felt guilty in both directions.

It took a couple of weeks for my wild emotions to settle down and for both of us to start to believe that this could be real, let alone start to get excited about it.  But then David went with me to my appointment at 8 weeks, just a few days before Christmas, and we saw that little bean with the flickering heartbeat in the middle, and we looked at each other with teary eyes because That's our baby. Another baby Duck.  The best Christmas gift I didn't know I wanted had just become a gift I didn't ever want to have to live without.

So... it looks like I may have to rethink my stance on surprises. But for now, I'm hoping things remain boring and uneventful until this little one makes his or her appearance.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Let There Be White in the Basement

Thanks for all your well-wishes about Rerun! I loved the slew of comments and e-mails. It made me feel very popular and like I'd accomplished something besides accidentally getting knocked up. I'll have lots more to say about that (per the usual), but tonight I decided that it's time to write about some of the projects we've been working on around here.

When we bought our new house, the basement was... weird.  (Disclaimer: My photos are not great because there's no natural light down there and because I'm not a great photographer.  Also, nothing is styled blogger-style or styled at all, really.  This is just how we live, folks.  Keep your judgment to yourself.  Except the before pictures are not really how we live because they were taken in process of rearranging and putting together bookcases, so just slightly crazier than usual.)

Okay.  When we first bought the house, we walked down the basement stairs into a shag carpeted, wood-paneled, drop-ceiling room.  The room was long, narrow, and dark (because of all the wood paneling and because the walls that weren't paneled were painted a super ugly beige).

It looks crazy because we were putting together the white bookcases, but you get the idea of the paneling here.
Looking back toward the stairs from the alcove where my desk is situated. Ugh, my poor books lived in boxes for far too long.
After much discussion, we had the paneling and oppressively-beige walls (I swear they were much more offensive than they appear in photos) painted white (Dover White by Sherwin Williams).  We considered doing this ourselves but ultimately hired a professional to do the basement paneling at the same time they did our kitchen cabinets (a post on that coming soon), not only because they would be far more efficient than we could be with fitting in painting around our schedule on nights and weekends, but also because we wanted to make sure the end result would be really polished and perfect.  (Spoiler:  It was money well spent).

Putting a coat of white on the walls instantly opened up the basement and made it feel SO MUCH bigger and brighter.  It's an amazing difference.  I even feel different when I walk down the stairs and it doesn't feel like I'm going down into a dark cave.

Zuzu's toys are shoved in one corner, and down the line I think I'd like to set up a little coloring station and put an easel down here.  This may also be where she gets a play kitchen, or could be where we put a train table or a dollhouse, depending what her interests are.

After we built the bookshelves in the living room upstairs, it became clear that there still wasn't enough room for our library on the three bookcases down here, especially once David moved our upstairs TV down to the basement.  So we ordered two more bookcases to really finish off the basement.  You know I love it.

We finally donated the super ugly chair left behind by the former owners (barely visible in the first picture in this post).  I'd had vague plans to reupholster it, but it wasn't comfortable and the legs were ugly and I decided I'd rather scope out thrift stores and try to find something else that would work down there than put the money and effort into reupholstering something we wouldn't really love anyway.  So I'm keeping an eye out for a chair that would fit in well down there.  I'm imagining something bright with a fun pattern.

The futon is still hanging out, having served us well from the time David was in college.  I keep thinking maybe grown-ups aren't supposed to have futons anymore?  And also it's ugly.  But it really is nice to have an extra bed in a pinch.  I'd like to stain it a darker color, which I think would make it look less... country?  But that is not a pressing desire at this point.

So, for now the futon fits perfectly in this little space, and is easy enough to move twice a year to get out and put away the Christmas tree, which gets stored in the little closet under the stairs.  The door to the closet looks like it's a different color than the walls, but it's just the funky lighting and my inability to use (slash lack of interest in) the white-balance function on my camera.

Can you tell David put the futon cover back on himself? I'm not complaining--it's a tough job! But we do need to turn it so the zipper goes across the top and isn't so visible. Of course, I also need to actually choose fabric (bright and patterned to match my imaginary chair) and sew new covers for those pillows. 
My desk is hanging out back in the alcove where it belongs.  It is mostly operating right now as a sewing station, since the plan is to get a little writing desk to put in the living room upstairs.  But this desk will also house our wireless printer and the storage drawers will hold a few other office supplies that we don't need cluttering things upstairs.

Desk space needs some art on the walls and an organization system! All in good time.
Also there's a rowing machine leaning against the wall.  Le sigh.
That door on the right leads into the bathroom.  The former owners added it when they did the extension upstairs, so it's pretty new.  We haven't really done anything in there, but for all you nosy folks, here's what it looks like:

Hello, please look at my toilet.
This is where David gets nekkid.  TMI?  Sorry.
Sink and medicine cabinet.  Difficult to photograph.
There's still a lot of stuff to do down here--namely hang some more things on the wall and figure out the furniture situation.

In the next phase of the basement makeover, the plan is to replace the shaggy carpet with dark cork flooring.  I am super excited about this, but not ready to pull the trigger on such a big non-essential expense.  It may have to wait until we're no longer paying daycare tuition for at least one little Duck.  Still, the changes we've made are already a tremendous improvement.  The basement has shifted already from a place I entered by necessity--to switch the laundry--to a place I actually enjoy spending time in.  If only I could keep Zuzu from climbing the bookcases.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Love Poem

Roses are red...

Snowflakes are white...

This Valentine's Day...


It was love at first sight.

Baby Duck #3 ("Rerun") is due in early August.  We are already in love and hoping so hard for a healthy baby.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Studio Samuel Project: Training for Tomorrow

Some of you may remember way back when I posted information about an organization called Studio Samuel that was collecting new and gently used bralls (bras) to send to girls in Ethiopia.

Studio Samuel is a nonprofit that was started by a woman who adopted a child from Ethiopia and felt compelled to do more for the children there.  Their motto is "Empowerment without pity," and this mantra defines all of the action they take to help young women in Ethiopia, who are smart, motivated, and capable, and who must overcome daunting obstacles in their lives.  (They also sell some amazing jewelry, accessories, and coffee, so feel free to shop them!)

My friend Emily got in touch with me earlier this week to tell me about a new venture that Studio Samuel is undertaking called "Training for Tomorrow."  She asked me to help spread the word, and after reading about this project, I want to tell everyone I know about it.

For a little background, you should check out Emily's blogpost about visiting an orphanage for girls in Ethiopia.  Emily and her husband were making their first of two trips to Ethiopia for the process of adopting their son, and they toured three other orphanages.  Most of the girls at the final orphanage they visited were too old to be adopted, but as Emily's visit was drawing to a close, one of the girls who had been holding her hand as she walked around looked up at Emily and then pointed to herself and said, "Daughter?"

(It makes me cry to type that and I wasn't even there to see it.)

Studio Samuel's latest program is directly aimed at assisting young girls who will be aging out of the orphanage system and who will often face desperate circumstances and limited choices, forcing many of them into prostitution.  Most of these girls have lost one or both parents to AIDS and they are on the brink of adulthood, alone and vulnerable.

Training for Tomorrow is a two year sponsorship program that will provide 40 young girls with occupational training, life skills training, healthcare courses, counseling and mentoring, and karate classes.  The sponsorship fee is $30/month (less than $10 a week and about $1/day).   It requires a two year commitment.

I admit that it's not exactly pocket-change, but if it's something that you would find manageable, I invite you to consider the opportunity that you could be creating for a young girl.  I'm not sure how else you could spend $30 in a month and get that much bang for your buck.

As a sponsor, you'll receive a photo of the girl you're sponsoring along with her name, age, and her goals.  You'll get updates on her progress and have the opportunity to exchange letters with her.  You'll be making a difference in the life of a girl and you'll be helping to reshape her future, her family, and her community.

Another thing to think about it--if $30 a month feels like too much, talk about this program with your friends.  Splitting the cost with someone else makes it $15 a month. It might also be worth checking with your employer to see if it would meet the requirements for the sort of charitable donation that some employers match.  As we think about retirement, college savings, and stuffing our emergency cushion, taking on a commitment like this may sound like something we're not quite ready for...  maybe this is something that someone else (someone richer!) could handle.

And then I remember that I just bought Zuzu a pair of sparkly Toms shoes and I think actually maybe it's me who needs to step up and make a negligible sacrifice on my part in order to make a tremendous difference in the life of a little girl who doesn't have a mama to buy her sparkly shoes, but who is looking for a way to sparkle all the same.

So please consider signing up here, and spread the word, will you?

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Ways We Worry

Do you ever have the experience when you're reading something and it's completely unrelated to you or your real life, but then you come to a sentence and it's like the author wrote it to describe you?  And you didn't even realize it described you until you read it and suddenly you're like, yes, yes that's exactly how I am or that's exactly what I'm feeling?

I do a lot of reading, so this happens to me fairly often, but I always get a shiver of pleasure when it does.  There's something so satisfying about having someone else clearly and beautifully articulate the incoherent thoughts that are bouncing around in your brain.

This happens a lot when I read things about grief, of course.  Right now I'm listening to an audiobook.  It's a novel, and the main character's mother just died.  It made me wish I was reading on paper instead of listening because I wanted to copy down the description of how he was feeling, of his distant certainty that it would just take a bit of time before the world made itself right again and quit traveling down this wayward path away from the way things should be.  (That's not a quote, the author said it much better, but that was the general idea, and do I ever know that very feeling.)

Anyway, I am an occasionally reader of this blog, Enjoying the Small Things, and I was reading about the author's concerns for her daughter who has Down syndrome.  I'm not facing that particular challenge, but I was filled with sympathy for many parents whose concerns about academic and social success in school (which I imagine almost every parent has) are amplified by additional challenges their children face.

And then I read this phrase: worry quickly translates to urgency...  

And I was like, holy shit!  That's exactly how I am!  My worry ALWAYS translates to urgency.  I want to analyze it, research it, and FIX it right then and there.  It explains why, after a few months of trying (unsuccessfully, obvs) to get pregnant with Zuzu, I was absolutely insistent that I see a reproductive endocrinologist.  When I am worried about something, I want to deal with it RIGHT.THIS.SECOND. I don't want to wait and see, I don't want to pause and take a breath. I want to launch headlong into research and plan-making and immediate action.  I don't tolerate uncertainty very well, and I want to make sure there is as little of it as possible.

I have a friend whose worry seems to move in the opposite direction--toward what appears to me to be denial or disregard. It's frustrating for me because, were I in her circumstances, I would handle things so completely differently. She laments missed deadlines and looming time frames, but seems (to me, anyway) not to take specific action to remedy these things. I just don't understand her approach because I'm all OMG the URGENCY!

It was interesting for me to read that sentence and recognize it as a truth that described me, but also as one that certainly doesn't describe everyone. It's not the only way to handle worry, and it's certainly not the right way or the best way. It can be effective, yes, to treat worries as though they must be dealt with right then and there, but it can also be an enormous waste of energy and a major cause of stress. Not every worry is urgent, and even major problems are not always ameliorated by taking immediate action.

Occasionally--and I remember doing this more often in graduate school--I would make a list of everything I was worried about. Usually assignments or exams, but sometimes money issues or other deadlines or conflicts or anything else that might be on my mind. This helped me deal with things that I couldn't fix right that moment--there was no way I could solve the problem of my Major Field Exam nine months in advance (but I could definitely fret over it!)--and helped me prioritize what needed to be done.  It was calming to see my concerns listed out on paper, and so satisfying to cross them off the list eventually. I loved going back to those lists six months or a year later to see that the things I'd been so worried about had all worked out just fine.

I like to think my worries have changed in perspective since I was in graduate school, when things like health and safety seemed easy to take for granted. Still, I manage to worry about plenty of smaller things that are more manageable but certainly not as urgent as I often make them out to be. I hope this little moment of self-awareness translates into an ongoing recognition of what really needs to be done and what I'm making seem more urgent than necessary. Not every decision has to be made right this second, even if I'd feel better if it could all be decided.

I suspect this is related to one's tendencies to procrastinate or not (I am not a procrastinator, but my best friend--not the one mentioned earlier--totally is.  And--like my other friend--she deals with worry very differently than I do, craving distractions where I get rabid for more information).

So, informal survey... how do you worry?  Do you tackle things as though they have utmost urgency? Or put worries on the back burner and deal with simpler tasks first?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Must Be the Smile

Zuzu is at that stage where she loves to name things she knows.  Pointing and declaring is basically her favorite past-time.

Car! (anytime we're outside)

Airplane! (upon hearing any sort of zooming)

Baby! (pictures of herself or ads in Parents magazine)

Mama! (pictures of me)

Daddy! (pictures of David)

Bubba! (pictures of Cooper)

Bird! (seeing them outside)

Cat! Meow! (the Kitten Bowl on the Hallmark channel)

Dog! Woof! (neighbor-dogs)

Chicken! Bawk-bawk! (our own chickens, obvs)

As we were going into daycare today, we passed by the window of a food/farming co-op that shares the parking lot and, for some reason, has sun-faded fine-art prints taped in their windows.  Zuzu observed one poster as we passed by, then pointed and proclaimed it, "Mama!"

Yeah.  I get that a lot.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Remember Last Year At This Time?

I'm working on a nice long post all about our laundry room makeover, but in the meantime I thought I'd link you to a little eye-candy.  Can you believe it's already been a year since I posted this?

Also funny--compared to her little friends at daycare, Zuzu is still somewhat lacking in the hair department, but seeing her at this time last year makes me feel like her current locks are long and luscious.  She was one bald baby!

Zuzu is currently obsessed with babies, and most of the pictures of babies around our house are pictures of her.  So she basically loves herself.  She will watch videos of herself on our phones over and over:  "More baby? More baby! More baby, peas!"

And when I look at the cute, I can hardly blame her for being such a little narcissist.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Financial Fast Update/Recap/Follow-up

So...  the financial fast happened.  From January 13-February 1, I purchased nothing that was not essential.

Well...  yeah.  You were waiting for the caveat, right?

Here's the thing, people.  Nutella IS essential.  I stand by that decision, made in the aisle at Target on impulse on a weeknight in January before Zuzu could decide she was "all done!" with being strapped in the cart.  Get the Nutella and run.  No regrets.

As for other not-absolutely-essential spending, I caved on three things:

(1) We went out to dinner for my friend's birthday.  I was not going to ask a group of eight people to reschedule around my voluntary financial fast, and after having to miss dinner with the group in December due to not being able to find a babysitter, I didn't want to cancel again.  So, we went.  We ate.  We paid for it. It was fine.  (I did, however, purchase her gift before my financial fast started.)

(2) I mailed a gift (also pre-purchased) to a friend who had a baby.  Because babies outgrow those newborn clothes fast!

(3) I made a donation to Zuzu's daycare.  We couldn't make it to the fundraising event they were having, and I really value the fundraising that they do and the way the daycare strives to keep tuition affordable and the center nice, clean, bright, and updated, while paying their staff a decent wage (and providing benefits).  So it was important to me that we demonstrate our support even though we couldn't make it to the trivia night.

Overall, though, we still saved money.  It was not a CRAP-TON of money, mostly because David quit participating.  He dropped out of the financial fast and started purchasing non-essential stuff to work on our laundry room remodel (which is REALLY NICE and will soon get a post of its own, but was still not ESSENTIAL).  Anyway, his lack of participation after agreeing it was a great idea and we should do it caused some... shall we say tension? around our house for a little while.  Part of me wanted to drop out too--"FINE!  If you're not doing it then I'm not doing it either!" but the stubborn part of me that insists on seeing things through, if only so I can feel morally superior to those who drop out (ahem, David), ended up winning and I resolutely held to my plan.

All in all, we spent less money in January than we would have otherwise--my best guesstimate is about $500.  It's hard for us to compare spending accurately from month to month since this was the first month without a second mortgage, and we've just recently paid off a couple no-interest appliances we bought for the new house, and there are always lots of variations from December to January, gas money being a big part of that.  But there's no doubt that we saved, and as far as I'm concerned, $500 is a pretty significant amount of money!

Important purchases that were delayed will still be purchased, but I can now say with confidence they are things we really want and will use (for example, I'm on a hunt for a writing desk to put in the living room).

I think the biggest change has been the way I think about purchases I make, especially online.  After a three week fast, I got a supreme rush of pleasure out of ordering a "non-essential" Valentine gift for Zuzu and a new print for the laundry room.  But I also continue to categorize purchases as "essential" or "non-essential" which is very useful at places like Target.

(It is true that I did have a slight binge at Target right after the fast when I bought Valentine M&Ms and a new shirt for myself, but sometimes a new shirt just brings a much-needed boost in morale).

I am actually considering doing the fast again around Lent, although I would make exceptions for a couple of non-essential weekend trips that I have planned in March/April.  It's really less about fasting and more about being thoughtful when purchasing.  I'm not usually much of an impulse buyer--I tend to hem and haw over things at a certain price point.  But I'm also quick to make exceptions for small purchases, and those things obviously add up.  So that's something I will continue to pay attention to going forward.  As much as I think I spend wisely, there's something about having a hard and fast rule that makes it much easier to abstain from purchasing cute things I don't really need.

If it doesn't happen again this year, I think I'll definitely start January of next year with another fast.  I like the idea of having a fresh start and a little cushion in the bank account when the new year gets rolling, especially after the gluttony and fast spending that can happen around the holidays.

So that's my (belated) recap.  Anybody else out there try the fast?  Anyone succeed entirely with no non-essential spending?  Anyone break the fast for very good reasons?  Would you do it again?

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Zuzu got bitten by another kid at daycare.  When I picked her up yesterday, I had to sign an "incident report."  The report didn't name names, but I gathered that Zuzu had gotten into a dispute with another child and then that child (not a typical biter) had chomped down on Zuzu's arm.

The report said that her teacher had comforted her and put ice and anti-bac cream on her arm and sung songs with her and her teacher told me she only cried for thirty seconds or so, although she could tell it was a real cry of pain and not just an angry cry.

Zuzu was playing happily when I got there to pick her up, with no sign of pain or distress, so I signed the report and put her coat on her and we headed home.  I dropped her with David and then headed back out to get my hair cut, so I mentioned to him that she'd been bitten, but didn't think much about it again until I was back home and getting her ready for bed.  I took off her shirt to put her pjs on and saw a nasty red bite mark on her arm--all those hours later and I could still see the individual teeth marks!

I gasped and asked Zuzu what happened and who bit her, and plain as day she named one of her little "friends" from daycare and added the word "BITE."  (She told me about it again this morning, and her teacher said she expected that Zu would tell us what happened.)

It was kind of a weird moment for me when I uncovered the bite mark because, initially, I had been relieved that Zuzu was the victim rather than the perpetrator (which, honestly, seemed an equally if not more plausible a scenario!).  But suddenly I saw this angry welt on Zuzu's soft little arm chub (it's on her right bicep) and I was horrified and ENRAGED at this little blonde toddler whose mother and I are often doing drop off at the same time in the morning.

I was also FURIOUS with her mother, a very nice, soft-spoken woman, whose name I don't actually know and with whom I have only exchanged friendly greetings.  Friendly?  Ha!  Suddenly I wanted to FIGHT her for sending her vicious monster of a daughter to school with my innocent little cherub.  For all I know, this child could have rabies.  Maybe her mother should consider some kind of correctional facility instead of a daycare where her daughter can continue to victimize my child.  I mean REALLY.  Who lets their vicious toddlers out in public where they can continue to be Violent Offenders?

(Okay, ALL OF US who are parenting toddlers, but that's not the point!  I'm very busy being righteously indignant here.)

I made David look at Zuzu's arm so we could be appalled together and then I carefully washed the bite mark and put a little anti-bacterial cream on it and we did our usual bedtime routine.

This morning, the bite was still there.  Faded, yes, but obviously and clearly a bite.  Her teacher gave her extra hugs this morning when we got to school and told me again how sorry she was and how she had possibly been more upset than the girls were about the incident (evidently the biter cried almost as much as Zuzu over the whole thing).

She also said that Zuzu had tried to retaliate (and the other teacher in the room did a hilarious impression of Zuzu fiercely chomping the air) so the girls had to be separated, although the teacher said she was almost tempted to let Zuzu bite her back so the other girl would know how it felt.  (However, that is not how the daycare handles discipline, which is probably a good thing.)

Instead, the whole class had a long talk about how we don't bite our friends.

Which I am sure was very effective and a real lesson learned for all the 1-2 year olds.

(Also I'm now referring to this particular child as Zuzu's frenemy until I have a little more time to get over it, or possibly forever).

Anyway, the fact is that Zuzu is going to be just fine.  And, if I'm being honest, I know it's very possible that I might one day have to sign an incident report in which the roles are reversed.

These things happen, and it could be that this girl just managed to strike first.  Chances are Zuzu had done something to provoke her, especially since she's not typically a biter. There's really no point in directing my wrath at a one-and-a-half-year-old who got mad at my daughter.

Her mom on the other hand...?

Better watch her back in the daycare parking lot at pick-up time.  I still kind of want to fight her.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recipe for a Monday Morning

whiny 19 month old with runny nose
daily shower
dog with disgusting appetites
office hours that begin at 9am

Wake up on time.

Hear through monitor that baby wakes up earlier than her usual time.

Take lightning speed shower while baby starts fussing in her crib.

Wrap up in towel, get baby out of crib, change diaper, put clothes on baby.

Listen to baby whine and fuss and watch her pull all your shoes off the shelves while you dress.

Run downstairs to get sippy of milk and bowl of cheerios for baby.

Listen to baby shriek at top of stairs as though you have permanently abandoned her.

Run back upstairs, give baby sippy cup and cheerios.

Turn on hair dryer without turning off space heater.

Blow breaker by running hair dryer and space heater at the same time.

Curse under your breath.

Run down two flights of stairs with half-wet hair to basement to flip breaker switch.

Listen to baby shriek at top of stairs as though you have permanently abandoned her.

Enter basement and discover dog is in the laundry room.

Gasp aloud as you realize that dog is digging through and eating a bag of dirty cloth diapers that husband inexplicably left on the floor of the laundry room.

Run back up two flights of stairs with half-wet hair.

Anger baby by wiping her snotty nose.

Continue drying hair.

Realize noise of hair dryer is preferable to noise of whining baby.

Turn off hair dryer and listen to baby whine while you put on make up as quickly as possible.

Encourage baby to use her words.  Listen to her wail incoherently in protest.

Pick up baby and wipe her nose again.

Call husband because dog eating poop is not something that can be suffered alone.

Gag in disgust when you catch dog sticking his poop-eating nose in baby's bowl of Cheerios.

Lock dog on other side of baby gate at top of stairs.

Listen to dog and baby whine for each other through baby gate.

Put on boots and jewelry.

Carry baby, phone, paperback book, two extra outfits for baby, and bag of diapers downstairs.

Microwave bowl of instant oatmeal for two minutes while packing baby's yogurt and fruit, pouring juice to drink, and making cup of coffee.  Do all of this one-handed while baby insists on being held.

Eat oatmeal, sharing with baby.

Run outside to start car.

Come back in, chase down baby while saying, "I am not going to chase you down!" in a firm tone.  Wrestle baby into coat and hat.

Load up baby, diaper bag, and bag of other daycare supplies (blanket, pacifier, change of clothes).
Realize dog has followed you outside.

Sprint back to house to let dog inside.

Grab purse, paperback copy of Heart of Darkness, and cup of coffee.

Sprint back to car.

Head for daycare and work.

Try not to feel tired, considering it's only 8:05am.