Monday, April 27, 2009

Miracle Grow

Me at 32 weeks:
Me at 37 weeks:

The Most Wonderful Place On Earth

Conversation from dinner a few nights ago:

Daniel: "If you don't take too long to eat we might have enough time to go shopping."

Charlotte: "Shopping!"

Daniel: "Yeah, we're going to your favorite store."

Charlotte: "Home Depot?"

So there you have it.

This picture has nothing to do with the previous story, but my mom says I haven't been putting enough photos up lately so here's one of Charlotte in one of her new birthday outfits.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is It Just Me?

The end of this pregnancy has been such a drastic change from the first that I'm wondering if this happens often. I remember (which, probably has been dimmed or changed with the passage of time) being so excited for Charlotte to come out I couldn't hardly wait. I was counting down the days and trying my best to just enjoy the moments as they happened. I never once had sleep issues during that pregnancy (thanks to a half pill of unisom before bed for nausea every night). I never really had heartburn issues. But mostly, I didn't stress about being prepared for the baby to come.

This time I feel like I am dragging myself through the day every day, just trying my best to make it to bed time when I can relax. Then bed time comes and my mind just swirls with words and thoughts that want to come out. In fact right now it's almost midnight and I had to get out of bed to get these ideas out because I wasn't getting to sleep.

Sleep, oh I want sleep. I know full well the sleeplessness that is to come, but I already feel like I'm being somewhat tested in that area. I wake up 3-4 times each night because my back hurts and my bladder is full. Yes, I know there's a difference between getting yourself up to pee and getting yourself up to nurse. But getting yourself up to stretch out all your major muscle groups so that laying horizontal isn't painful isn't all that easy to do either. Also, Charlotte wakes herself up on a semi-regular basis in the middle of the night and we have to escort her back into her bedroom. Again, you don't really have to be fully alert for that, but when I do wake up my mind starts working again. And I start thinking about pediatricians, and obstetricians, and car seats, and breast pumps, and playdates and hospital visits.

Another difference this time around is that I'm more than content to wait all the way through my due date and then a few days. Dan's last final is the day before I'm due. Wouldn't it be nice to have a few days decompression before the next big thing happens? It sounds selfish to admit, but I would love to have some time with Daniel completely, mentally home with us. I know now that babies change everything and I'm wondering if and how baby #2 will change the dynamic between my husband and myself.

Not only that, I keep looking at Charlotte and thinking how much I love her and how anxious I am for her not to feel hurt or sad when the baby comes. My mom recently sent her 8 new books which she is in love with and asks to be read to all the time. I feel like I will have to be saying no to some of her requests soon so can't say no to her now so I will sit and take the 40 minutes or so to read them all to her two to three times everyday since they arrived. I'm hoping that I'm storing up some extra love in her now so that when the baby comes her reserves wont be too depleted. I'm not even sure if it works that way, but I just don't want her to feel less love. One end result of this is that my house, which I feel I should be getting clean and organized now while I can, is messier than it has been in months. I try to not worry about that though because honestly, my daughter knowing that her mom loves her and prefers to spend time with her is way more important to me.

Which is another thing. Man do I love that little girl! I'm so in love with everything about her. She is so beautiful and so amazing. She is so smart and funny. She has so many abilities that open themselves up to me every day. Part of me wonders how I could ever love this next one as much. I know everyone says that you do, but honestly, babies don't tell you that they love you back. They don't give you sloppy milk kisses. They don't touch noses or squeeze you in a hug. They just need you. They need you all the time you have to be there for them always.

None of this is to say that I'm not thrilled to be having Baby Greg. I love him already. I know I do. I love to feel his slow movements around inside me. I love to watch my stretched tight stomach change shape as he sticks a little body parts out. I do want him here with me-with us. I have delighted in washing and sorting all his tiny little clothes. Part of me is counting down the days. This time it's just...different.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Passionate Calling

Note: All of the following is my own view and not necessarily my husband's. He may or may not agree with me on this topic, but I thought I'd write it down just to think it out. Also, for that reason it's probably not very well organized since this is the first time I'm attempting to get the circling ideas straightened out in my mind.

On a slight break from the all kids all the time mode, I thought I'd post about a husband related topic that I've been thinking about lately. I've heard from several sources recently about how some people feel that being a doctor is "a calling" that one must sacrifice for, be dedicated to and be "passionate" about. Obviously not all three of these things typically come out of the same source every time, but you get the idea.

I disagree.

I think being a doctor is a profession. It's a job that you chose for yourself because you are drawn to it. There is something in it for you, whether it be the thrill of solving problems, the satisfaction of helping people, or the myriad other reasons people chose to become doctors. Each person's reasons for becoming a doctor are as varied as the doctors themselves.

I will concede that becoming and being a doctor requires a lot of sacrifice in time, energy, and capacities of those individuals and families pursuing it. As I look into the face of having a newborn baby and a husband that is starting his third year in med school (typically the hardest year I hear) I'm trepidacious. I also think you have to be dedicated in order to complete such a lengthy, and challenging education process. Let's face it 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, 4-5 years of residency and that's not including 1-2 years that could be thrown in extra if you want to go into some sub-specialties. I would not dream, however, to compare myself and my situation to those of military families, for example. In that family one or both spouses/parents are physically out of the picture. Not only that there's also the chance that they could never come back. Now that's sacrifice.

Even with all that, I still don't think being a doctor is a calling nor would I qualify it as my husband's passion. I would say that my husband's passion is, well, me and our family. Our well being. Also, he's passionate about our religion, our country, and our freedoms. I think he has that in common with most people around the world. In my mind those are the things that lie near and dear to most people's hearts. If medicine were his passion I don't think he would relate very well to any of his patients. That's not to say he doesn't love the practice of medicine. It's not to down play the eagerness with which he is pursuing his goal. He loves what he is doing. He will make a great doctor. I'm just saying that there are more important things in his life than his job.

Which is exactly what being a doctor is, a job. I would be equally proud of my husband and his support of our family if he were a mailman, a carpenter, a marine or a farmer. He works hard, for himself, and for us and I think that's something to be admired.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting it Done

Today we went to the mall to actually get stuff done. Charlotte and I go to the mall strictly on it's-too-cold-to-play-outside-so-we'll-play-on-the-indoor-playland days, but today we had to. Today we had to exchange items that were purchased for us and Charlotte had to get her 2 year old photos taken. We got there around 10:15 and didn't leave until a little after 1. And I just have to say:

Charlotte was AMAZING!

Despite her angelic mood and the fun playtime we had, it was still a test of endurance for me physically and mentally. Remember when I would go to the mall for fun? Will those days ever come back? Honestly I look around the mall and just think of all the things I could be getting done while I'm stuck there running more errands. Anyway, I can now check two things off my list of things to get done before Greg arrives. And to celebrate I got myself a butterfinger bilzzard. Yeah for me!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cue the Panic

Friday Daniel took the equivalent of a midterm and so had the rest of the weekend free of studying for that class. We decided it was about the perfect time to till up our entire front and back yards. After a failed attempt to till with a tiller that was way too small he went back to Home Depot and rented a bigger, better model. He started work about 2:30 and I went out to help dig up around the sidewalk and parking pad in the back. It was a long afternoon of working in the back yard turning our "lawn" into the biggest mud hole you ever did see. We didn't have enough time to finish the job Friday before dark so we stopped just before dinner, ate, and then headed to the garden section at Home Depot. (That store really ought to start paying ME for the amount of time I spend talking about it.) As we were walking around Home Depot I realized I was having a few contractions. Nothing serious, just a tightening of the muscles, but frequent enough for me to pay attention. Also, I NEVER had braxton hicks with Charlotte. In fact the doctor had told me see you next week and I delivered the next day. So to be feeling anything like that made me a little nervous. We went home and I took it easy for the rest of the night.

Do you think that would stop me from shoveling, raking, and leveling the backyard Saturday? Heavens no! I did work a bit slower, but work I did. And now we have the most beautiful mud pit. It's really ridiculous how proud I am of what we've accomplished.

Unfortunately, those contractions, coupled with Daniel saying, "Well, you are full term now so if the baby did come it wouldn't be that big a deal." To which my mind screamed not that big a deal?! Not that big a deal?! You only say that because you're not staring into the front end of labor Mr! I have 3 weeks left! I want those 3 weeks! I need those 3 weeks! I have things to get done! Which started a small knot of panic in my stomach. What was I thinking having 2 kids? My time with Charlotte is so precious! I love how I could stop cooking dinner Sunday to spend 20 minutes on the kitchen floor cuddling her just because she wanted it. I have so many, many projects I want to do now or they'll never get done.

So now I'm working as industriously as possible to organize, clean, and get myself mentally and physically prepared for having child number 2. Like perhaps having all Charlotte's toys de-cluttered would actually get me prepared for such a thing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I need your help

We made it into see the pediatric dermatologist a few days ago and I'm ecstatic and stressed out. The latest hypothesis is that Charlotte did indeed have scabies, but the cream used to treat scabies contains a common allergen in people who have been sensitized to it. So right about the time all the scabies are dead, the allergic reaction started. We were given an Rx to simply treat the itchiness and told to avoid any cleanser with cocamidopropyl betaine in it. Also to stick with the free and clear detergents.

The results so far have been amazing! After just one application of the anti-itch medication she had a dramatic drop in her scratching. Only one application people! So that gives me hope that this diagnosis might actually be right. Also, being off Aquaphor, and her old sensitive skin soaps for a couple days now the actual rash seems to be going down. It makes me cautiously optimistic. Now it's a matter of finding all the cleansers, sunscreens and insect repellents that are on my safe list.

Well, it's not that hard to find body/face wash without cocamidopropyl betaine in it. We're using cetaphil and even though it's more expensive than what we've been using you can buy it in bulk at costco so that's not too bad. We have to locate an insect repellent that uses .5% permethrin instead of DEET. And also a zinc oxide based sunscreen that has no preservatives in it. None of those seem too hard to find, they just sound really expensive.

Unfortunately it's proving to be too hard for me to find a shampoo that is free and clear and doesn't contain cocamidopropyl betaine. Anybody know of any shampoo out there without that ingredient?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Even In Australia

Sometimes, when I'm feeling really pregnant.

And not sleeping.

And dealing with a 2 year old that screams "MINE!" and flops herself on the floor of Walgreen's.

And having back pain at night.

I think I must be having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Seven Year Itch

So remember when we thought my daughter had dry skin? And then sensitive skin? And then scabies? Remember how I had to spend a week in hell trying to launder all our fabric items? Remember how I had to buy expensive free and clear detergent and hypo-allergenic bath soap? Remember how we bought new mattresses for her bed? Remember how she had to sleep without her dog? Do you remember all that? Yeah, that was total crap.

The rash is still here. She's still itching it as much as ever. I went back to see the NP and she referred me to a pediatric dermatologist here in St. Louis. She warned me that derm appointments are notoriously hard to get into and it would be a while to wait. She told me to look for a paper in the mail from their office with the appointment date and time on it. Last Saturday I got the referral in the mail with my appointment on it.

It was for July 28th.

July 28th would mean that she would have had this rash, that itches so bad she scratches until she bleeds, for six months! I understand it being hard to get an appointment, but three months out? That seems excessive.

So yesterday I called the office using my friendliest, most "please help me" voice I could I asked them if there was any chance they could call me if anyone cancelled. I would be more than happy to jump in my car and drive out there for my daughter to see the doctor. Nothing (except labor of course) would prevent me from that. They kindly told me that their policy is that if I want to know about cancellation openings I have to call them. And the very kind lady at the appointment desk, whom I would gladly give a kidney to, told me that there's a cancellation TODAY at 3! So this afternoon we're headed out to see the pediatric dermatologist to try and get this thing resolved.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baby'd Out

Last Saturday was Greg's baby shower. It was amazing, relaxing, and a lot of fun. I ate and ate and ate and I talked. What do women talk about at baby showers? Labor, delivery, newborns, toddlers, potty training, spit up. I decided to just take the plunge and enjoy the conversation for what it was, which I consider group therapy. I enjoyed hearing the different stories, opinions, and dilemmas each woman had faced or faces with regard to their children. It was a great couple of hours spent talking about nothing but babies.

Then we went to a friend's house for Easter dinner on Sunday. One of the other women there hadn't been to the shower, but she's just into her second trimester with her first baby so of course the conversation (with the women) circled around to topic of babies and motherhood. It was interesting and reassuring to hear about the struggle that all of us have between loving motherhood and being a mom and wanting to do other things with our time and talents. I personally think that every woman who chooses to be a mom has to face that struggle and the guilt you will feel any which way you make your decision.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed myself in both sessions of mommy conversation, I have to admit that this morning, when I got up, I realized that I'm a bit tired of talking about babies and being a mom. It's cathartic to be able to get together and talk about those things, but I'm glad that the group therapy is over. I'd like to get back to talking about other (perhaps more interesting?) things with my friends. Then I wonder what exactly is it that I talk with them about?

So my question to you is, do you ever feel like you've had enough kid time? If you have no kids (or even if you do I guess), do you ever wish your friends with kids didn't talk about them so much? What would you rather talk about instead?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Saturday was D-day for the "lawn." I use that word very loosely since about 90% of our lawn is crab grass, 8% is broad leaf weed, and the remaining 2% is actually grass. We took a sample of our lawn to the Home Depot, where a very helpful garden expert informed us of that fact and that the best way to deal with it would be to roundup the entire thing, till it and then seed it. So that is our plan. While constructing our plan we also had to take into account what was already in the yard. Apparently at one time a gardener lived in our home that really liked to use bulbs. We have crocuses, tulips, daffodils, and blue bells, all of which were clearly located at one point in flower beds, which are now "lawn." Not wanting to spend any more money than we have to, and also not wanting to kill anything that still had a prayer of surviving we decided to transplant any and all flowers possible to two small beds. I did that Friday and Saturday afternoons.

So I weeded, and turned two areas in our backyard and dug up all the bulbs from the lawn on Friday and Saturday with Charlotte. Do you know how hard it is to weed with an 8 month pregnant belly in the way? I have never been so slow in my entire life! Charlotte also contributed to the slowness, but made the days much more enjoyable. She is an excellent and entertaining helper. She loves to see worms and always says, "I want to hold it." Even though if you get one even close to her she runs away. She also likes to give them baths with the watering can. By the way, our backyard is chock full of worms. I have never seen a yard so thoroughly wormy. She also loved to help me jump on the shovel when digging up the bulbs.

I decided to use this experience as an opportunity to teach her about plants and gardens and such so I told her about the different parts of the plants we were digging up. She really liked the new vocabulary, flowers, stems, leaves, bulbs, roots. Unfortunately she couldn't really remember the word for bulbs, so she decided to substitute the closest word in her current vocabulary. It's pretty funny to hear a little two year old say, "I want to hold the boobies! Let me have them."

I am so proud of our two little gardens right now I can't even believe it. I've taken photos of them just so I can remember them. In the first one we made I put daffodils, tulips, onion (I think), crocuses, and blue bells. After that one was full we still had more crocuses that we had dug up to save so we put those in the second garden along with the trumpet vines and pink ladies that were already there. Hopefully the boobies will all survive the move!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's in the Genes

There are so many physical traits that I see in my daughter that remind me of my family and others that remind me of Daniel and his family. First off she has a small brown spot on the back of her elbow, not a freckle, just a birthmark. Dan has a rather large brown spot on his arm as well. Another trait that father and daughter share is that Dan has a mole above his left ear in his hair. Charlotte has a corresponding mole in her hair above her right ear.

Today though I'm not talking about physical traits. I'm talking about behavioral traits. When you see me out and about the town you'll notice that I will be walking in more of a side step fashion rather than straight ahead. This is because my daughter has picked up a behavioral trait from her maternal grandfather. Basically she will walk at exactly my same speed about 5 feet behind me. My dad has done this with our family all my life. When new people see our bunch they think we don't give him enough time to catch up, but what they don't realize is that if we stop to wait for him, he also figures it's time to stop and look around.

Charlotte does the exact same thing! Only it's harder to be with becacuse I can't really just turn my back and assume she's following me. I must therefore walk down the aisles of the grocery store sideways to keep an eye on her. If I do stop to wait for her she thinks it's time to stop and investigate whatever happens to catch her eye and then wanders off.

How is it that behavioral characteristics that she can't possibly have observed being haf a continent away from him have so clearly manifested themselves? I tried to get her to walk in front of me so then I can walk normally and still see her, or to walk with me, but no, 5 feet behind is her preferred mode of travel. The only time I've really been successful at getting her to walk with me is to scare the pants off her about the road and parking lots. Then, and only then, will she hold my hand and walk at my pace right along side me.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Kicking Myself

I went out to lunch today with a couple of friends. The food was lovely, the conversation therapeutic, and the atmosphere was relaxing. So then why am I so frustrated and tired? Because I did not plan well for my 2 year old. I should have known better. I blame this on the fact that I haven't taken her out to a sit down meal in so long I had forgotten that I needed to do extra planning on the front end. She's two! Just because it takes her 45 minutes to an hour to eat a stinking bowl of cereal in the morning doesn't mean she'll be willing to sit and listen to grown ups talk for that long! Of course she's going to get bored. She went to the bathroom a total of 4 times during the meal. (Which I think really concerned one of my friends that is looking into potty training in the not too distant future.) Mostly, I think, so that she could run in and out of every stall in the place. She ate very little food, a fact which vexed me to no end, but then wanted to eat all of my dessert. (Of course) Why didn't I just bring some stickers? Or a book or two to look at? Perhaps a small game to play? Then I could have relaxed just a little bit more and not spent the time exerting my efforts to keep her quiet and calm. Anyway, next time I'll remember.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Time out

I am not opposed to letting my child watch TV. In fact, if it weren't for the blessed man Walt Disney I fear I would never have been able to teach my child it's OK to have Mommy shower alone. I also love to hear my daughter sing the ABC's with the pig on Super Why. Lately though, it's been getting to be too much.

Last week was the breaking point. I remember slowing down from my cleaning long enough to look at her on Thursday and just being a little shaken by how plugged in she was to the TV. She wasn't even really being entertained, she was just totally vacant. I had been having this nagging feeling of how much TV had crept into her schedule lately and that I wanted to change that, then last week hit and we were done for. She watched that thing for HOURS without complaining. If that isn't slightly disturbing, I don't know what is.

My opinion of our situation is that not only is she connected to the TV, but I also use it as a crutch. Simply put, I turn on the TV when I don't want to take the time and effort to come up with or do something probably more fun and more productive with her. I'm being lazy.

And it stops now.

Today we did not turn the TV on once during her waking hours. (It's on now because Dan wants to watch the NCAA championship.) After tonight it's going to go into storage in the basement for a week. The way I figure it is that with the physical object completely out of the way the temptation to turn it on so much will be gone with it. Hopefully in that time I can establish a few routines or habits that are more productive and positive.

When I told Dan about my idea I was worried that he would think I'm being silly or taking this idea way too extreme. I was wrong though. His reaction was, "Well, I've got lots of stuff I am or should be doing anyway so I'll help you." It's great to have someone that supports me in my efforts.

So what do you think? How much TV is too much? Is there a time and place where TV watching is appropriate? Are there shows that you think are OK and perhaps educational? What would you rather do with your time?

I have realized that the answers to those questions change over time so I have to keep revisiting them as my family and my needs change. Now to come up with short positive activities to occupy our days...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Stifling her Creativity

Since I'm trying despirately to deep clean my entire house all at once I've had to also address the challenge of my daughter and her naturally creative and inquisitive spirit. I was feeling really bad yesterday because she spent a whole lot of the day on the sofa watching PBS kids. I usually try really hard to come up with stimulating activites, but there's only so much I can do at once.

When I woke up today with a hurt knee from walking upstairs to get the laundry and taking it to the basement to wash it and then hauling it back up I knew things needed to change. I figured that both of us would be happier today if I slowed down my pace with cleaning and tried to incorporate a little more interesting activites for her. So after I put the first load of laundry in we read books, then she took a bath, then things went downhill.

I decided that she could color pages that I could then use to make thank you notes to mail to her friends and family for her wonderful birthday presents. I had to leave in the middle of one to switch over the laundry. Not so bad right? I mean she was in the middle of coloring and covering a sheet of paper with stickers. She couldn't do anything too bad right? Wrong. I came back and she had retrieved her paints and spilled them all over the kitchen table and was attempting to clean them up when I returned. We were done making thank you cards.

Later, after having actually done her hair, I needed to switch over the loads again. I went upstairs to get the dirties and came down to see our recliner and the floor beneath it covered in water from the spray bottle I use on her hair. At least it's water right? Oh, that's what I thought too, until I realized the reason she sprayed the chair was because earlier she had gotten some of the paints (from the previous spill) on the chair. She was attempting to clean that mess up all by herself.

As I was trying to slice cheese and get out some crackers to eat with applesauce for a snack I appreciated the quiet that reigned in our house for a good two minutes. Then I came into the dining room to put the snack on the table. I found my daughter eagerly sitting at the table waiting for her snack. My heart was so happy with the angelic child sitting before me. Then I smelled the overwhelming smell of vicks vapo rub. She had taken the small can of baby vicks and smeared it all across her face, hands, and clothing. She says, "Smells good?" Yes darling, it smells like heaven.

So maybe sitting her in front of the TV makes me feel guilty, but at least I have only one mess at a time to deal with. I mean there's only so much stimulation that mommy can handle in one day!