Sunday, July 31, 2011

36 Weeks, Not That Everyone Forced to Deal With Me Is Counting...

At this point in my pregnancy with T I'd been diagnosed with preeclampsia and was on bed rest. The plan had been to pack our apartment in Providence to get ready to move to Syracuse in two weeks and my mom was joining us to help Z because I was so useless. We didn't anticipate me being quite as useless as I was. We didn't anticipate needing to be in Syracuse full time for twice weekly doctor visits. I didn't anticipate having to exclusively pee in a jug for 48 hours so my urine could be tested. That was flat out gross. So Z was stuck packing alone and Mom drove me to Syracuse so we could check into the glamorous Extended Stay America. I got into bed and didn't get out much until we drove to the hospital so I could be induced 6 days before my due date because my blood pressure was getting rather worrisome.

Bed rest is not glamourous or in any way enjoyable. Even for a lazy person it is fucking boring to just sit in bed all day. You sort of nap on and off and can't sleep well at night. You read, you surf the net, you watch a shit load of TV. My mom brought me my meals in bed. I felt like I was a kid. And I felt like a tremendous hinderance. But being on bed rest meant I wasn't moving around during the last few weeks of pregnancy. And this time not only am I moving around, I'm caring for T. Whenever Z is around I take complete advantage. I rest a lot on the weekends. Yet I'm in a surprising amount of physical pain. Which is making my hormones go crazy and my anxiety heighten.

I remember my sister being in her last month with her most recent son. She told me she didn't think she could do it any longer. She just hurt too much. In the evenings after work she couldn't even take care of her older son. And I had no idea what she was talking about. Another example of those smart friends giving me good information I'm too thick to digest.

So to add to my list of gross pregnancy stuff: On your second pregnancy your body has already stretched out and this means more ligament pain, you might feel many more pre labor contractions (I felt none with T, when I over exert myself, i.e. go to the grocery store with T, they start and don't stop until I put my feet up), when the baby moves around it can be unbelievably painful, if he moves around and you are constipated you feel like you might die from the pain, you might get lightheaded for no reason, your heart might race like crazy (I believe that has to do with all the extra blood, your body makes 50% more during pregnancy and it's extra work to get that stuff pumping). The bottom line is I feel worse right now than I did the day I found out I had preeclampsia. At that point my hands, feet, and ankles were really swollen, but otherwise I felt pretty darn good.

Last night our friends invited us over for a cook out. They set me up in a super comfy chair with a huge  cup of ice water. And I started to feel worse and worse. I was short with T and Z, I wasn't friendly at all. I was nauseous and I had a headache. At one point I realized I was so lightheaded that if I was standing I might have fainted for the first time in my life. We left pretty early and abruptly. And I'm so embarrassed by my behavior. What a drama queen. So the last gross pregnancy thing I'll add is you might turn into a huge brat who is absolutely no fun to be around and who is pretty ashamed of herself the next morning.

We are cat sitting this weekend. Z knotted up this rope and had T pull it. T shouted, "Oh, man! That was awesome!" It was pretty hilarious. And it helped pull me out of one of the many weeping jags I've indulged in this weekend.  

 Little Man demonstrating his mad harmonica skills while skyping with my dad.

I've posted a shot of his bean covered face before, but it never fails to crack me up. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Message To Ladies Considering Pregnancy

And to my 4 male readers: You might feel better giving this one a pass. Amanda, was this what you were talking about? Or did I go to the too much place?

After my miscarriage last year I would like to say I'm honestly grateful for every single horror I'm going to lay out for you. Yup, I hate being pregnant. But I love being a mom. And I want this little critter who is ruining me from the inside out. I may not feel bonded to him yet, but that's totally cool. It's more like I feel a fierce curiosity about who he is and what he looks like. Will he be a mini T? Or will he look like Z? In my heart of hearts I want him to look like Z. We have one Cordano baby, I'd like to see what a little Leonard boy is like. Bottom line, to me this pregnancy awfulness is totally worth it. That said, I think it would be helpful if we talked frankly about it a bit more. Not the sanitized shit in the pregnancy books, but the real, gross, and surprising ways it affects your body.

Of course, all of this stuff might not happen to you. Your pregnancy grossness is going to be unique! I haven't experienced many of the yucky things that some women deal with. And then there are those magic women who have great and easy pregnancies. This is not very gracious of me, but I hate their guts. The thing is, you know your body. You might not love it, but you know it. If you've waited as long as I have to get pregnant you've known it for a really long time. It is enormously disconcerting to have it rebel and turn into something you aren't sure how to handle. The changes aren't fun, they make you a stranger in your own body.

Here is my abbreviated list of super disgusting stuff to keep in mind while considering pregnancy. I will try not to be too graphic. If any of you have specific questions feel free to email.
  • As you get super pregnant you start to sweat like a pig. Like. A. Pig. I use a prescription deodorant called drysol, OK, so I use drysol even when I'm not pregnant. I have a sweating problem. Yes, I am gross. Chronic diarrhea, excessive sweating, anxiety disorder. Can you believe that Z got so lucky? And please, don't tell me how it is giving me cancer. You won't change my mind about using it. Because seriously, the sweating is even worse than usual during pregnancy. And it certainly smells worse.
  • The foot sweat? In the second half of the pregnancy it's bizarre. Since it's summer the only shoes I wear are my flip flops. They will be tossed as soon as summer is over. When I am in public I'm sure that others can smell them. As I walk my feet actually slip around my shoes and I'm constantly scared I'm going to fall because of my own sweat puddles.
  • During the 3rd trimester you will feel about the least sexy you've ever felt. And yet, the amount of, um "discharge" will increase so alarmingly you will ask the doctor if there is something wrong with you. You will actually start to wear panty liners to save yourself from having to prewash your underwear. Because nothing makes you feel worse about your physical repulsiveness than prewashing underwear. Even though one of the few upsides of pregnancy is not dealing with your period and its accoutrement, even though you hate panty liners more than anything, you will use them every hour of every day. 
  • Clothing will feel disgusting, but being naked will feel disgusting as well. You won't have anything to wear because you will feel so physically uncomfortable in anything.
  • If you are overweight in any way (or even if you're not in some cases) your flab will rub together and you will get rashes. You'll get them on your inner thighs, you'd get them between your boobs, you'll get them under your boobs, you may even get them in your armpits. If you are pregnant in summer the rash between your boobs might be visible to others even if you aren't wearing a very revealing shirt.
  • If you groom your lady bits in any way, well you won't be able to anymore in the 3rd trimester, earlier if it's not your first pregnancy. If it's really important to you you'll have to go to a professional. Otherwise, just cross your fingers when you put on a bathing suit if you're pregnant in the summer. It's not like you're gonna be the one seeing it. 
  • Out of the blue you might develop subdermal cysts all over your body. One on your arm might even be visible to the naked eye. You will ask every medical professional you meet about them, they will all say they are normal. You will still lay awake at night feeling even more physically repulsive, but as a bonus you will also be sure you have cancer. 
  • You might not get stretch marks on your belly! Which rocks! But you might get them around the circumference of your upper thighs. Which sucks. 
  • You will constantly lube up your stomach to prevent the worst itching you've ever experienced in your life as your skin stretches. 
  • Your bowels will be in an uproar. This can mean diarrhea, or constipation, or both. But I have never talked to a heavily pregnant lady who hasn't suffered in this department (I don't know why, but we always talk about poop, even if we are strangers. Pregnancy totally makes you lose your inhibitions). I implore you, DO NOT FORCE IT. Anal fissures are one of the most painful things I've ever experienced. Yes, I got mine post partum. But they don't just go away. After I'm done procreating for good there will have to be surgery. I have your best interests at heart, do not do this to yourself! 
  • You might pee yourself when you sneeze or cough hard in the first two trimesters. The good news is this might pass by the third trimester. The bad news is you will wake every two hours all night long having to pee worse than you have ever had to pee in your entire life. And you will literally limp to the bathroom because if you walk normally you will wet yourself. During the day out of nowhere it will feel like your unborn child is grasping your bladder with both hands and squeezing. And if you don't get to the bathroom immediately there will be big wet problems.
  • If you are 3rd trimester pregnant in the summer don't even try to put rings on. Don't look closely at your hands and feet, they will belong to someone who weighs roughly 100lbs more than you and they will just make you sad. 
  • I will end on a high note. Your belly button might not become an outie, which will crush you because you might be obsessed with your belly button. But you might get to see the bottom of it. Which will be FUCKING AWESOME for you because your belly button is normally so deep it goes all the way to your spine. Um, or that might just be me. 
Let me reiterate, all this shit is worth it. I promise. Even the anal fissures. I'm not trying to freak you out, this is the stuff I'd have liked to known about before my first foray into the wilds of pregnancy. But remember, I love being a mom so much that I actually knew about all this shit before I got pregnant for the second time and I chose to do it anyway. That is how much motherhood rocks.

 We had to drop by Z's work today and he was welding. His gear scared the crap out of T. First time ever T didn't want to go to him.

 But he was cool once Z took the face shield off.

He insisted on climbing onto the potty himself today. 

It was a very laborious process. 

Almost there... 

Finally settled with the book he picked out at the bookstore himself. Still no pooping on the potty, but he is very very interested. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

If You Didn't Think I Was an Insecure Dork Before....

T and I had a pretty huge morning. We finally walked the 3 blocks to our public library and I got a card after living here for two years. We hung out in the kids section and read board books. Then we walked home a slightly longer way (T was following two older boys on bikes) and went by the pizza place he sometimes visits with his Dad. He pointed and asked for pizza, it was a few minutes before 11am. I figured they opened at 11, so I waddled across the street and T got the first slice of the day.

Totally normal stuff, and we were back at our front door in less than two hours. But man, was my mind racing the whole time. I kept thinking is this what normal feels like? This is the stuff that other moms do without thinking every single day. They surely don't feel like they should get a gold star, but I was so proud of myself. And then, of course, I felt dumb for feeling proud over such a small thing. The negative feelings were close to the surface because of another hurt feeling situation. But this one was real, and it was aimed at someone I love. It's not my place to discuss the details, the gist is someone I know was a complete and utter dickhead to one of the people I am closest to. It makes me feel so angry and impotent and vulnerable and just plain old sad.

So when the two boys that T followed out of the library showed up and started looking at books my mind was on overdrive thinking about all the social situations T was going to have to navigate during his life. He sweetly followed those boys around to every shelf they looked at. When one of them sat on the reading mat T sat right across from him, book in lap, copying the kid's every move. When the boys left, T was crushed and ready to leave himself. Out front he saw them climbing on their bike and he called, "Bye guys!" I was proud of him for being so brave, but it also broke my heart to watch him seeking approval from two kids that didn't even act like he existed.

Don't get me wrong, those boys were perfectly pleasant and age appropriate and it was in no way their responsibility to play with my kid. What I was reacting to was thinking about my own longing to fit in when I was the perpetual new kid growing up, and how so many of my peers didn't have the time of day for a new girl. Again, most of those kids weren't cruel. They were being normal kids who already had friends, it wasn't their job to coddle the new people. But I've never gotten over wanting people to like me no matter what. And not everyone is going to always like me, I often do very unlikable things.

Now, this is an embarrassing confession, but it's also been bugging me all morning that overnight I lost two friends on FB. I have no idea who unfriended me, and I know I shouldn't give a crap. I'm just as honest and uncomfortable on FB as I am here, I offend people all the time and am often unfriended. And makes me feel bruised. Pretty ridiculous. It also made me think about a friend request I sent out months ago to a childhood friend. The request hasn't been accepted, and it hasn't been denied. And I've thought about it on and off quite a bit. It was a kid I had a crush on, a sensitive and quiet kid, and I was aggressive in what I thought was a joking way with him. I vaguely remember him ending up in tears as we played several times, and suddenly it hit me that he probably felt like I was bullying him. I've written about bullying before, and my abhorrence of it, and suddenly I'm realizing I may be the bully remembered by a contemporary. I really liked this kid, and I feel terrible that he probably remembers me as the cause of hurt. I kind of want to send him a message in which I apologize, but I've already reached out. I've realized the kindest thing I can do is leave him the hell alone.

Someday T is going to be hurt and do the hurting over and over again. He is going to make his own mistakes and have his personal victories and I'm going to have to stand to the side and let it all happen so he can learn how to navigate his way through interpersonal relationships. I'll always be there to step in if needed, and I'll be there to listen. But he needs to get hurt and pick himself up and figure out how to deal with people himself. I hope he is more successful than I have been.

A hot date at the pizza parlor with my sweet boy. 

Much to my anxiety-ridden surprise, it was pretty fun. We'll have to do it more often in the next few weeks before his brother joins us.

My serious guy at a cookout in our backyard this past weekend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Today my feelings got hurt. When you are as ridiculously over-sensitive as I am it's a pretty common occurrence. And often times what has been said was not meant in any way to be hurtful. I'm constantly worried people are mad at me, or worried I've offended people, or worried people don't like me. It's a big part of the self-loathing aspect of my anxiety problems. It consumes my thoughts, makes my throat burn, my stomach feel hollow, tears prick at my eyes. I mean it's all so over the top it makes my eyes roll.

This afternoon when T got up from his nap I was still feeling pretty bruised and vulnerable. It got me thinking. Do you remember when you were a kid and something hurt your feelings? If you were anything like me you'd fantasize about being an adult because they had it all figured out. And for the first time I wondered how many times my mom nursed bruised feelings while caring for my sister and me while we were oblivious that something was hurting her.

T and I were sitting on the floor playing with his blocks. I'd ask him what a letter was and then I'd match it with a word, "C! C is for cookie!" or "G! G is for Grandma!" or "B! B is for Boy!" He brought me a block with the S facing up. He said, "S! S is for Mommy!" And my stupid hurt feelings evaporated. Replaced by how much I love this little person, how much joy he brings me, how lucky I am to spend every day with him.

When Z came home tonight I was telling him this story. And I added that I have a babysitter coming tomorrow for a few hours so I can run some errands. It's getting harder for me to go to multiple places while lugging T around without those pesky contractions starting these days. I told Z I almost didn't arrange the sitter. I feel like it's a wasted day when she comes because I see so little of T. I told Z I missed T already even though he was right there with us. We only have four and a half weeks or so until we add another number to our crew. And then I started to cry. But as I explained to Z I wasn't sad, I was just crazy and hormonal and grossly pregnant, and they were sort of happy tears. I'm lucky to love T and Z the way I love them. And that matters so much more than stupid hurt feelings.

Yesterday morning Z worked on the window seat for the 3rd floor in his shop before going to work. T isn't a fan of loud noises, so he rocks the ear protection while Z runs the table saw.

Z made this while I was pregnant with T. If its flipped over it's a rocking goat, and if put on its end it's a high chair. But he was doing very important work at his desk on this fine morning.

One of the best parts of today was visiting our good friends for a bit. Baby Emily was born just over two weeks ago and T loves to hug her. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Which I Whine About Being 8 Months Pregnant

As I was making myself lunch today I started to sob and couldn't stop. Z was so confused. Thankfully, he was also incredibly comforting. I'm frustrated and disapointed with myself. This morning we started loading books on the bookshelves in the 3rd floor because the reno is complete. Doesn't seem like an overwhelming job, but we are book lovers and book collectors. So we're talking about a shit load of books. The bending over to lift them was making me terribly lightheaded and then I started getting contractions. I was so pissed I couldn't do a simple job without my pregnancy getting in the way. I was pissed Z had to lug the futon mattress and frame up the stairs by himself. I was pissed I need a nap in the middle of the day to make it to the end of the day. I was pissed I haven't been a trooper about this heat, instead we've had the A/C on all week. I also might have been a smidge hormonal.

T and Z just left the house to go to a cook out at a neighbor's place. For the first time in a while I couldn't get it together to get out of the house to join them, and that is adding to me feeling pretty low. The heat has really kicked my ass this week. I've been working on keeping both me and T hydrated and in good health, but that has meant we have been house bound in the merciful air conditioning. Yesterday morning I had to go to the grocery store, and even that short trip before the heat of the day took hold was too much. I was having contractions in the check out line while praying I'd just make it home before anything freaky happened.

And I did make it home just fine. Z came home from work early (already planned) and then T went down for his nap, so I got to spend most of the afternoon sitting on the couch. We had a doc appointment late in the afternoon and my wonderful doc said the contractions were totally normal and not the kind that opened the cervix. He said I did the right thing by getting my feet up and that I'd have them for the remainder of the pregnancy when I exerted myself. Then he told me not to exert myself.

I'm a pretty lazy gal, so I can't imagine what this stage of pregnancy is like for those Type As out there. It's bad if even I'm frustrated that I can't make it to the grocery store in a little heat without having contractions. I have shit to do! We need to get T's new bedroom ready and his old room ready for New Guy! And I need to be doing stuff with T during the day! Poor guy is bored out of his skull from hanging out inside with me. I don't even have enough energy to take him to the mall to run around and it's too hot for both of us to take him to the park. He's been acting like a little turd this week, and I absolutely don't blame him. He needs more stimulation. He needs to see other kids.

We had him outside in the sprinkler for a little while this afternoon. As we were setting things up he walked part of the way down the driveway and saw the much older kids who live across the street were out. He started waving like crazy and shouted, "Hi Kids!" and it absolutely broke my heart and make me feel so guilty. He just wants to be around other people. And he will be tonight, which is terrific. And preschool is going to be great for him in the fall.

I just feel like I'm failing him in the socialization department. He gets to play with my one mom friend's kids frequently. And he adores them. He also adores a couple we hang out with all the time, and they are wonderful about playing with him. And on Monday we are having two families over who have small kids for a BBQ. I could see us being friends with both the couples, it feels very much like a first date and I have my fingers crossed it'll go well. But we don't do play groups, I haven't met a bunch of other moms, mostly because of my anxiety issues, and I absolutely don't want the same for him. This winter when it's snowing like crazy and I've got a baby to deal with I'm really worried about making sure T is getting what he needs as well. I feel like I'm doing a shitty job meeting his needs before the baby comes, how am I going to cope after?

Yes, I'm having a bratty pity party over here. The nachos from my favorite place are helping, though. So is the venting. And I'm guessing Z will suggest we watch a Harry Potter movie of my choice tonight. That'll really help. I really married the right man.

One of my favorite parts of the day. His tiny bottom slays me.  

T's new room. Needs a little work, huh? 

Playing in the sprinkler. 

This is only a tiny fraction of the books. But we are taking the time to do it right, separating by topic and alphabetizing. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Brain Needs More RAM, and Yet Another Question for Parents

The week-by-week pregnancy book that sits by our toilet has remained closed since I was somewhere in the mid 20 weeks of this pregnancy. I'll be 35 weeks in two days. I've mentioned it before, when you've got a kid on the outside you just don't have time to think much about the one on the inside. But I'm realizing there's another thing going on. When you are a parent you only have enough room in your brain for the stage you kid is at today. I didn't believe my friends when they told me I'd forget about hating pregnancy and my terrible delivery. But they were right. Turns out I've also forgotten what it is like to parent a newborn. I'm not talking about forgetting the lack of sleep and all that jazz, I'm talking about the nuts and bolts.

When my sister had her second in May she couldn't figure out why his diapers kept leaking pee all over the place. She didn't remember it happening with her first son. After a couple of days she called and told me she knew what the problem was, they weren't changing his diaper enough. Seems simple enough, but when you have a toddler that is going through maybe 5 or 6 diapers a day that becomes your baseline (she was changing the baby more than 6 times a day, just not the upwards of 15 times it seems newborns need). Her reasoning seemed perfectly sound, I would have done the same exact thing. Over the last few months she's called me time and time again with reminders of what it means to have a newborn. And I recently realized I haven't remembered a single thing she's told me on my own.

Let me start this story by saying my sweet little nephew is perfectly fine and healthy. A few weeks ago her whole family got sick. Her husband didn't touch the baby and she wore a face mask while nursing him to try and protect him. But the little guy still caught it and spiked a fever which led to a middle of the night call to the pediatricians. The on-call doc told her she needed to take the baby in to the ER immediately. The good news was the doctors at the ER chose not to do a spinal tap because everyone in the house was ill, so it made sense that the little guy got it, they released him after some blood tests and his fever didn't spike again. When she called me the next morning to let me know what happened it already seemed he was on the mend. As she was giving me the play by play she mentioned his fever was 100.8. I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe she had to take him to the ER for a temp so low. She gently reminded me that fever is really bad in babies under 3 months and that if it is higher than 100.5 the doctor needs to be called immediately.

I felt like such an idiot for forgetting something so very important. And I really worried about what my poor New Guy was in for. If I forget to change his diaper enough and he gets pee on his clothes it's not a huge deal. But the big stuff? If I can't remember the important stuff he's in big trouble. My brain can barely keep up will everything it needs to remember to meet T's needs, I'm really worried about caring for both little guys at one time. Thankfully I have my sister to remind me what to do, because judging from her experience (and she is a great mom along with being one of the most responsible people I know) it doesn't all come rushing back. I need to dig out the book I got about the baby's first year. Been meaning to do it since my nephew's trip to the ER, and it still hasn't happened. I feel pretty secure that I'll be a more relaxed mom for my New Guy, and yes women have been having multiple children for a kabillion years and it all works out. But I still worry about being an attentive mom to both the boys. My head is full of almost-two-year-old information. How do I make room for newborn info without sacrificing space for T?


Here's another quick question for the parents out there: What do your kids call adults who are family friends? Z and I are having a disagrement over how to handle this issue. He grew up calling adults by their first names. I grew up calling them Mr./Mrs. Last Name. Now, I do have major authority issues. I'm 34 years old and I still can't refer to those family friends as anything other than Mr. and Mrs. And I don't want that for T. I proposed that he refer to adults as Mr./Ms. First Name as a compromise. I just feel like kids should show some respect to adults. Am I being hopelessly old fashioned? Z is against anything but first names and the last thing I suggested was asking the adult what they preferred and going with that. What do you guys do? My endgame is not teaching him to blindly respect all adults, rather I'd like him to approach adults with respect as a starting point. He can draw his own conclusions from there as he matures. I'm just not sure how to make that plan a reality.

Things got suspiciously quiet in the living room this morning as I made my coffee. I poked my head around the corner to see this. He's clearly very focused on learning how to build a house. 

I put one thing on the registry for T's shower that was completely for Z and me. The wood and velcro food is cool to begin with, but a sushi set? Pure awesome. T is now old enough to play with it and he adores it as well (Thank you again, Stacey and Steven!) This morning he said to me, "Boy play sushi! Boy knife!" and I taught him how to cut through the velcro. 

He can't get enough of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Hand-Me-Downs

Z and I started our make-room-for-baby 3rd floor reno by going through all the crap we'd dumped up there over the last almost two years. This is the first house we've lived in together, we've been apartment folks up till now, so it's the first time we've had extra room for storage. Both sets of parents sent up a bunch of stuff they'd been saving for us for years. Included in my shipment was a ton of toys from my childhood. Sadly, much of it was covered in mold and had to be tossed (farewell sweet My Little Ponies). But I was able to salvage a bunch of cool toys I'd forgotten about. Like the extensive Tupperware set that matched a full size one we used growing up. And the Fisher Price School Days Desk. And my Pound Puppy and Cabbage Patch Kid. And maybe most excitingly, the group of homemade Cabbage Patch Kids sewn by the mother of our favorite childhood babysitter.

Watching T play with these things that meant so much to me as a kid has been surprisingly gratifying. Being we moved so much I can't share physical locations from my youth with him. My parents are on their 7th home since I last lived with them. It's very different when we visit Z's folks. We stay in the room he occupied in high school. They moved into their home more than 30 years ago. There are memories around every corner and I'm glad that T will be able to match the stories of his dad to the home we often visit. 

This morning I was in the kitchen when I heard T climb upstairs. It sounded like he was playing in his bedroom, but the other bedroom doors were open and I didn't love the idea of him being alone up there unsupervised for long. So I dragged my huge pregnant butt up the stairs. It seemed suspiciously quiet on the second floor so I hurried to his room and found this:
My grandparents had that blue chair reupholstered for me when I was a baby. It had belonged to my mother when she was a girl. And now it is T's. We hope to have it reupholstered for him sometime soon using leftover fabric from a chair we had recovered that belonged to Z's great grandfather. I love seeing him sitting in it. My family is pretty far flung (although thankfully the days of me being the only one that actually lives in USA are over) so it's one of the most tangible ways for me to feel his connection to our history.
The homemade Cabbage Patch Kid has become a special favorite of T's. This isn't the first time we've found him holding the baby while sitting in the blue chair. Yesterday when T was hugging him I asked what the baby was named (We've been using our New Guy's name freely around the house to let T get used to it. One of the millions of things I swore I'd never do before I became a parent. Thought it was bad luck and just not right to give an unborn babe a name. God, I was a judgmental idiot.). And he called the doll by his brother-to-be's name. I'm not gonna lie, there were tears in my eyes. Then again, I'm an over-sentimental pregnant fool. There are sort of always tears in my eyes these days.
I can't wait to take a picture of T holding his new brother in that chair. Um, at that point I promise I'll tidy the room a bit. And the doll? When my sister and I played with him more than 25 years ago we called him Tommy. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Victory and a Parenting Question

We did it. We went to the movie. We even held hands a little bit, which is huge right now being my core temp is similar to that of the sun and I can't bear to be touched because it makes me even hotter. He cried at the right places (Huge relief. During the last movie he didn't cry when Dobby died and I almost left him.) and we had a very satisfying talk about the series on the way to dinner.

And when I felt my stomach seize up after the movie I did not, repeat, DID NOT suggest we bail on dinner. I sucked it up, told myself there was a bathroom at the restaurant, and kept my mouth shut. I'm pretty proud of myself. We went to a fancy restaurant and the food was supremely mediocre, but even that was sort of interesting. I'm a food snob through and through, but it isn't about gourmet for me. I just want food to be delicious. Z told me about another place he'd like to take me to that's on the fancier side of things, but he said if I don't love that we can stick with the awesome (and cheap) pub across the street from his work where I can get a half order of most excellent fish and chips and be happy as a clam. Bottom line: I agreed to more dates. And I'm looking forward to them. As long as he stops trying to convince me that I will magically start to like meatloaf if I make it at home for him. We wasted a bizarre amount of time on that topic. Zeke: I love you. I will happily make you meatloaf. I will not eat it myself. I will not ever start to like it. Please never bring it up again.

So we are feeling pretty good at our house. I'm not loving the lows of last week combined with the highs of the last few days, but I'm aware of the crazy mood swings. And I think the pregnancy hormones are bringing more to the party than I acknowledge a lot of the time. So on to a quick question or two for my fellow parents...

How do you instill empathy in your children? When is it age appropriate for your child to develop empathy? Little man is so very wonderful in a million ways, but he goes not get that his actions can cause pain in others. It might be completely ridiculous that I'm expecting him to have that realization at 23 months, but his comprehension and verbal skills are so advanced it just makes sense to me that he'd also develop some feelings about those around him. Last week our lovely friend invited us over to play with her two dogs and they were excellently behaved around T. And T was just too rough. Both dogs were significantly larger than him, and he had no problem stepping on them and using the opposite of gentle touches. About a month and a half ago I caught him purposely stepping on another dog's leg. I was so embarrassed and frankly, frustrated at him. I think part of the reason he isn't careful is our cranky old cat loves babies and will let him do anything to her without repercussion, but I also want him to know he is hurting these animals! And I want him to want to not hurt them! How do I teach him? Smart parents out there, please share your secrets! And would you mind assuring me that these are not the signs of a sociopath?

 Z took this pre-date. Next time perhaps I'll actually iron the dress and do something with my hair and maybe for the love of god put on lip gloss or something.

After the date. Crap pictures, but I was just trying to get him to stop making crazy faces. And to cut it out with trying to lift the baby off of my body. Was not successful in that department. I assure you it was not physically comfortable for me, and I'm guessing New Guy wasn't crazy about it either. 

 T was pretty excited he could see us in the phone. We couldn't convince him to look in the mirror. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Date Afternoon

Yesterday we decided to schedule a babysitter for this afternoon so we can go to Harry Potter and then grab dinner. At first I was so excited and happy about the prospect. Then I started thinking about the last time we'd had an honest to goodness date. And I couldn't remember when that was. But I did remember the last time we planned a date, it was for our 10th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, that didn't work out very well. So I started to get anxious. And then I thought about seeing HP on Friday and the anxiety attack I had during the movie. And I got even more anxious.

Of course, I've partially convinced myself that something truly awful is going to happen today. All things considered, I've led a very charmed life. The worst thing I've ever gone through is my miscarriage. And in my head the miscarriage is somehow tied into us trying to do something nice for ourselves. Or having the hubris to celebrate 10 years of marriage like we are some sort of experts and deserve a pat on the back. I don't understand why I've had the dumb luck to be so fortunate in my life and I am constantly waiting for the, I don't know, fates? To even things out somehow, to punish me for having every opportunity handed to me and squandering those opportunities by having an anxiety disorder.

But there is a small part of me that trying to be heard and it is saying I'm full of shit. I want to have a nice date with my husband. And damnit, I'm going to try and enjoy myself. I'm at very least going to try and not let my anxiety disorder bully me. And that, my friends, is progress.

Yesterday was stellar and that is helping me have a more positive outlook. We are friends with an amazing couple who took it upon themselves to give their Sunday to us. He arrived at 9am sharp and over the next 8+ hours proceeded to caulk, sand, prime, and paint all the trim on the 3rd floor. The work he did would have taken Z two or three days. She came by a little while later and provided me with some excellent company while I tried to clean up the living room a little bit. Then she ran out and bought lunch for the crew. All the sudden we didn't feel like we were caught in the never ending reno. Z was able do a bunch of little jobs that got him to the place where he is ready to do a last coat of paint on the floor. As soon as that happens it's time to move furniture in. We are really almost done. Later we had take out from my favorite place for dinner, and out of the blue they stuck a huge chocolate chip cookie in the bag with a piece of tape stuck to it on which was written "a gift". And as soon as the boy was down a friend showed up to have a drink and some very pleasant conversation for the rest of the evening. After a day like that I don't want my anxiety to take over. I just want to keep having days like that!

So fingers crossed Z and I make it to the 3:30 show at creepiest mall in Ameraca, good old Shoppingtown in sunny Dewitt, NY. Seriously, if you are ever in Syracuse you've got to pay this place a visit. And then you can feel thankful that your mall is nothing like it. Fingers crossed even harder that we make it to Pascale in Fayetteville at around 6. And fingers crossed hardest that we have a wonderful time.

Before yesterday we weren't even sure if the carpet was going to get off of the stairs this summer. Now the stairwell is painted and the steps are waiting for their first coat of paint. 

Three weeks ago that wall did not exist. 

Oh my lord, I love the menacing look on his face as he wields the 5-in-1 tool. And yes, we supervise him while he handles Z's tools.  

This chalkboard hung in Z's grandmother's kitchen for decades. Last summer he made it into a coffee table with a hidden drawer for chalk. I asked T what he was drawing and he said, "Daddy playing guitar!"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Twofer Tuesday (Except it was Friday)

Very occasionally I'll go ahead and have two separate anxiety attacks in one day. After having one I like to think I'm sort of safe for the rest of the day, so I often get disoriented when the second one rolls around. Last night we were eating dinner outside when my heart started pounding again. And as unbelievable as it sounds I couldn't figure out what was going on. I thought back about the day and decided to fixate on what I'd eaten at the movies.

Because the movie was a big deal to me I thought I'd disregard my diet on this very special occasion and I got a small popcorn (layered with the simultaneously disgusting and delicious fake liquid butter and generously sprinkled with salt) and a small Coke Icee (which was actually huge). It's my standard movie theater order and I wouldn't have thought twice about getting it before the whole gestational diabetes scare. It was the first soda I'd had in over a month. The whole thing sat in my stomach like a brick. It made me feel so gross I didn't even want lunch when I got home. The only thing I ate yesterday before making dinner was a nectarine even though I'm usually ravenous all the time now. Yup, the unhealthy food made me feel bad, there are no two ways about it. I mean, the anxiety attack didn't help matters. But the truth is when you consistently eat healthily you really feel gross after the instant gratification of the junk food. Um, that is a new lesson to me. I've basically eaten junk for my whole life. Since working at Whole Foods it's been expensive and usually all-natural or organic junk, but it's been junk all the same.

Back to the anxiety attack. So I convinced myself that I was having some diabetic reaction to the stuff I'd eaten half a day earlier. Even though it's been established that I do not, in fact, have gestational diabetes. I asked Z if he thought it was possible that the soda I'd had more than eight hours previously was affecting my physiology. He gave me that old standby look of his, the one of pity and incredulity simultaneously, and told me no. He said he thought I was having an anxiety attack. I asked why he thought that and he said, "First of all, you've said it yourself a bunch of times over the last few minutes." I thought back and I didn't remember saying it once. Evidently I did realize I was having an anxiety attack on some level, and I was actually talking about it, but I wasn't conscious of it. Weird, right? Hearing that sort of jerked me back to reality. I told Z I was going to have to go ahead and take a chill pill.

As much as I wanted to get through this pregnancy without one, I knew I had permission from my doc, and I thought my poor New Guy had been through quite enough for the day. I needed to calm the fuck down as much for him as for myself. Z totally agreed with me. The pill did what it was meant to do.  New Guy was moving around a lot as it started working, which set my mind at ease. He was also active through the night and through the morning.

There are probably plenty of people who would be critical of me using medication during pregnancy, even once. Hell, they probably would wonder why a crazy lady would think she had any business being a mom in the first place. Thankfully those folks haven't found my blog. But you know what? I'm doing the best I can here. I am actively working on my problems and I have strategies in place to deal with emergency situations. After years of anxiety attacks I feel like I have multitasking down. During the AM attack I was paying attention to the movie as I was figuring out what the hell was going on with my body. During the PM one I managed to play with T and feed him and change his diaper as I dealt with attack number two. Do the attacks suck? Um, yes. Yes, they do. But they are part of who I am. And most other parts of my life are beyond wonderful, so I don't really have a lot to complain about. Besides, they are kind of funny in retrospect. I didn't know I was having an anxiety attack, yet I was telling Z I was having an anxiety attack? You can't make that shit up.

T is being a little more cooperative about standing still and smiling for photos. Man, he looks like a Cordano here. And man, is he turning into a big boy. Breaks my heart and makes me proud all at the same time.

T on a rather funky and rustic stool Z made from a piece of trunk that was hanging around the yard. 

Z and a dear friend loaded a hunk of wood on our friend's truck to get milled this morning. Of course, T helped.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Humongous Anxiety Attack

*Spoilers for the final Harry Potter movie in bullet points at the end!*

There are a number of close friends and family members that text me while they are having diarrhea. You know, to let me know they are thinking of me in their moment of discomfort.
I. Love. It.
I love being the Diarrhea Guru, it totally cracks me up. Because if you can't laugh about literally 20 years of chronic diarrhea, you will weep with frustration that your anxiety disorder manifests in such a gross and unfair manor.

Over the last few months of this pregnancy I've been pretty constipated. For just about the first time in my life. And I hate it. Diarrhea sucks, but like anything you get used to it. I'd rather deal with the enemy I know than some new thing. So I haven't had diarrhea in a few months, probably my longest run (I'm cracking myself up here) in that 20 year period. It started up again a few days ago, and I was almost relieved. At least I don't have to deal with the constipation anymore...

I ended up not seeing HP 7.5 last night at midnight. I was stupid and thought I could get a ticket the day of. Who knew there were that many people in Syracuse that wanted to see a movie in the middle of the night? I realized later it was those damn teenagers that are out of school for the summer. They spoil everyone's fun. As bummed as I was, it all worked out fine. I got to go to the first showing this morning and Z and I watched the first HP last night. But my stomach was a mess today. And I took Imodium for the first time in ages before the film.

On the way to the theater I was fighting back tears. I felt frighteningly alone and overwhelmingly sad and weary. Someone with my history is at higher risk for postpartum depression (which didn't happen at all with T, thankfully) and I started worrying that the depression fairy was visiting early. I've only had one severe depressive episode in my life, and that was plenty. In my opinion, those who suffer from chronic depression deserve our sympathy and support. Anxiety is a million times easier to manage, depression is beyond terrible. No matter how many people who love and want to help you are nearby you feel completely and utterly alone. Everything gets fuzzy, nothing in your life has definition. You are separated from everyone and everything by an insurmountable and invisible barrier.

But it wasn't depression. About 15 minutes into the move I had the kind of anxiety attack wherein one questions whether a trip to the ER isn't a good idea. My heart was absolutely racing. I was sure that my blood pressure was so high that I was endangering the New Guy. I was unbelievably hot and dizzy. After about 20 minutes of wondering if I should stay or go I started to realize what was going on. It's amazing how slow I am when having a little episode. All semblance of self-awareness goes right out the window. In another 20 minutes my heart had slowed considerably and I knew the attack was passing.

Z is sure that the attack had to do with confronting the end of something very important to me, with the last of the new HP stuff, but I don't quite buy it. Yes, I really don't handle change and the end of things well, but there are plenty of stressful things going on in my real life. I still have the HP books and movies for comfort. I'm more concerned with the reno project that has become more complicated and time consuming than originally planned. Z is having a hard time because he doesn't have any help from here on out, all the work falls to him, there is a ton of work left to do, and there is a very hard deadline. He's on edge, so I'm on edge. I'm concerned about how the next few months are going to affect T and the New Guy. I'm concerned that I won't be up to the challenge of mothering two instead of one. I'm worried that we are broke and I really need to get a job but I don't know what I can do or want to do and I'd have to bring in a significant amount of money to make day care fees worth it. HP ending is very sad, but it is the least of my worries.

Jeeze, this is getting long. I'm rambly when I'm feeling unwell. So a few quick thoughts on the movie and I'll wrap it up:

  • A lot of quippy and silly little lines have been added to the battle scene stuff. I found them embarrassing and stupid. 
  • It's easy for me to separate the books and the movies, the movies are going to be watered down. It is the nature of the beast. But some of the scenes were so beautiful that it really bugged me this time when the subtlety was lost. When Snape is dying and asks Harry to look at him in the book before we know for sure that he is a good guy it is a strong hint and a rather lovely moment. Him telling Harry he has his mother's eyes before that moment in the movie is like getting struck over the head with a bag of bricks. 
  • That said, the journey into the Pensieve exceeded my expectations. I adore Alan Rickman and it was such an amazing emotional payoff after 7 movies to learn he was motivated by a very pure love. It was excellently done. 
  • Though I love the books more than the movies, I find it fun and interesting, rather than off putting, to see how they put big moments in different contexts, like Ron and Hermione's kiss, Fred's death, Percy's return (didn't even happen). 
  • There was a moment added in the Pensieve flashbacks of Lily telling Harry how loved he was as she was waiting for Voldemort to climb the stairs and kill them. Much like the awkward Harry/Hermione dance scene of the 7th movie, it was not from the book, but it was perfect and enriched the movie considerably. 
  • Chris Columbus and his casting director deserves major kudos for their casting work. I see most of the movie characters in my head when reading the books now, and that is rarely the case with me.
  • It's an incredible experience to be so invested in a group of characters you've watch grow up over a decade, and I think it's completely unique in movie history. That the same group of people were in all eight films creates a much stronger reaction from the viewer. We love and hate them all the more because we've watched them for so long.
  • There is also an incredible self reflection that happens while watching this film. Where were you guys ten years ago? How much have you changed? I was a 24 year old newlywed living in Brooklyn and desperately trying to process the events of two months prior. The breakdown hadn't happened yet. We were happy. I hadn't gotten better. We hadn't worked to save our marriage. Z hadn't decide he didn't want to work in theater. I didn't know I'd work in bakeries professionally, hell I was just learning to cook. We certainly weren't parents. Yes, the kids on film have grown, but so have we. If I'd seen the clip of Lily trying to put her consuming love of her son into words in the last few moments of her life a decade ago I would have been moved, but I wouldn't have felt it in my bones like I did today. I'm grateful that the movies have provided a framework for that reflection. Being a fan of this series has been an amazing experience. 
He's gotten very expressive when he tells us long and complicated stories. 

 He wants to drink out of any glass or bottle, but the ones that are for him.

Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith
This is my favorite one of Z and me from the July 4th weekend. I look at it and I can see how much we love each other. It helps to look on days like today when I feel so alone and helpless. It's hard to explain why someone who has a mostly happy and functioning relationship can feel such terror and doubt about one's place in that relationship. Mental illness is scary and majorly fucked up. I really hate it. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Handling (Or Not Handling) Bumps in the Road

Before I get going I just want to make it clear that everything is A-OK with the pregnancy. Last night during one of my seemingly constant trips to the bathroom there was a little blood. I didn't bleed at all durning my pregnancy with T, not until the water broke anyway. Yesterday I was 33 weeks and 3 days pregnant and spotting really seemed like not a great thing.

I suppose the smart and rational thing to do would have been to immediately call the OB's answering service. But we of the anxiety disorder club, we like to bypass rational. We go straight to crazy town. I sat on the sofa and thought about my options. I didn't want to bug my doctor. Z was hanging out at a friend's house. It's been a stressful few weeks with our little reno project and I really wanted him to have a nice time, so I didn't want to bother him. Then I started to think about how I overreact to every situation in the world and how frustrating Z finds that. I decided I was going to be calm and just wait until Z came home. And then I decided that when he came home I'd be careful not to pounce on him, give him a space and then let him know. The funny thing is while I was thinking all this stuff I was sure I was being rational. Instead I was simply retreating into myself. It was like I was proving something by not freaking out, except I was freaking out, just in a really quiet way. And I was oblivious to the freak out in the moment. For example, I felt like Z and my doctor and anyone who would hear about the spotting were judging me before they even knew what was going on and I was going to show them all that I could handle this situation. I'm even confused by that part of it. Judging what? How did that line of thinking make sense to me? It's clearly ridiculous.

So Z came home about half an hour later. And he got himself some ice cream, grabbed his computer, and sat down next to me. I casually told him what happened. He asked what I wanted to do. I told him I didn't know, but maybe I'd wait and call the doc's office in the morning. He asked why I hadn't called already or why I didn't call him. I told him I didn't want to bother anyone. He tried to touch me and I shrank away. When my anxiety gets out of control I can't bear to be touched. That tipped him off that I was really struggling. He told me to call the answering service so I did. And my doc was on call, he told me to call the office in the morning so they could check on things and he told me to call back if contractions started. He also told me to lay down. Great excuse for the freaking out (in a very quiet way) lady to go to bed for the night.

And this morning everything did turn out to be fine. I was on a fetal heartbeat monitor for a long time and New Guy not only sounds great, but I wasn't having contractions. The doc I saw checked and my cervix is nice and tightly closed, as it should be at the stage of the game. The blood could have come from any number of places and was probably nothing in the scheme of things. It might happen again, it might not.

I'm more discouraged by my continuing inability to deal with normal bumps in the road without freaking out or shutting down. My lack of self awareness in the middle of rough situations is also really demoralizing. I'm tired of the paranoia that leads me to believe everyone in my life will think I'm a pain in the ass when I need to ask for help. Anxiety disorders suck. They suck ass. At least I have a therapy session tomorrow.

Not sure what the attraction is, but does he ever love the laundry basket. 

We helped look after an adorable kitty last week. 

 T's first sprinkler adventure.

He's first impulse around any kind of water is to drink it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


On Tuesday T and I took a stroll around the block. I was telling him all about the visitors we were getting in the late summer/early fall and he said to me, "Grandmom Granddad go home." We had dropped off Z's parents at the airport earlier in the day. They were here, along with one of Z's sisters and her wife, for the weekend to celebrate the 4th and help us make major headway with our little reno project (Thank you times a million Leonards and Leonardsmiths). After we worked through talking about family I started talking to him about the nursery school he'll be attending in the fall and all the cool things he'll do and excellent kids he'll meet there.

Little Man is turning into very good company. He has certainly increased my capacity to love. Yup, T has made me love Z even more. Z hasn't hurt things by being an amazing father, but it's true that I love them both more fiercely than I have ever loved anything. Putting all that mushy love stuff aside for a moment, any SAHM will tell you (at length) that we crave adult contact. Z has to beg me not to hover when he comes home from work and all I want is to talk to a grown up while all he wants is a minute to decompress. But lately that loneliness has been tempered by my delight in T and my gratefulness that he is my daily companion.

I get that the next phase in our lives is going to be awesome as well. We can't wait to meet the New Guy. In some ways I can't wait for it to be two years from now when the New Guy and T are actually playing together and developing that magical sibling relationship. But I've got until about the end of August and then it isn't going to be me and T against the world anymore. First the baby arrives and then T goes off to school for a few hours a week. Both excellent things. Both so important for his development. But I'm still mourning in the most selfish way possible.

It seems crazy that two years is all I get before outside influences start shaping him. OK, it's not crazy, although it's probably crazy that I have such a problem with letting him go. I need to not be such a control freak and he needs to be shaped by lots of other people besides me. I know that. It's just that the two years went so fast. Nothing about this parenting thing, no nothing about life period is permanent. And for some reason my brand of crazy makes me desperately grasp at life the way it is now. I was scared when I had my messy breakdown, then I got used to being crazy and was scared to get well. I was petrified to become a mother. And now that we are on the cusp of having this New Guy, this baby I want so desperately and already know I will love I'm petrified again. I don't know how to do change gracefully or willingly.

Our comfortable warn-in daily existence is coming to an end. Of course it's going to get even better, but it will be different. We will be a trio rather than a duo during the workday and I'm sure we will get into more trouble and have more fun by adding our New Guy to the mix. I'm just overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating the change. Welcoming this baby into our family won't be a problem for Z and me, but we don't know how T will handle it. And if he reacts poorly, well, that is completely natural. I'm just not sure how to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Additionally, I feel tremendous guilt over the introduction to life in our family the new guy will have. Actually, I sort of feel bad for every kid who isn't a firstborn. When T was new he was held nearly always. His every mood was catered to, he got plenty of tummy time, he was the exact center of our universe. It was the same way for my nephew G. My sister had her second son in May and I am so glad that we spent a week with her family in June. It was incredibly eye opening. The six adults in the house were no match for the time and energy suck that is two crazy toddlers. And there seemed little time left over for the sweet, well behaved baby who sat in the bouncy seat unless he needed to be changed or fed. Granted he never cried. He was the most content baby I've ever met. He was also loved and cuddled and smothered with kisses, but the attitude that surrounds the first kid, the constant attention and stimulation, was gone. Made me realize how lucky firstborns are. Until the next sibling shows up and then no one gets that glorious constant attention ever again.

And New Guy will have a couple of things T never got. He'll have a big brother to show him the ropes, he'll have a mom who is a tiny bit less uptight and certainly way more experienced. We've already made a bunch of mistakes on T that we won't repeat. We won't be learning to be parents on the fly with him. And the one thing we will be able to do is love him as much as we love his brother. That is a hell of a lot of loving for one little guy.

All photos by the amazing Ellie Leonardsmith. T helping Z put up a new wall. 

Later on the same day T learning to use a rolling pin with some left over pie dough. 

I still can't quite believe we are lucky enough to have a professional photographer regularly take pictures of our little family.

Ellie is available for maternity photo shoots! Any pregnant ladies in the Boston/Providence area should totally check her out! 

Yummy T. 

The "Vote" tattoo is my favorite. I only regret the location because it's covered up most of the time. In honor of the 4th of July here's why I got this particular one: I feel like super duper liberal folks (like me) are often unfairly characterized as un-American. And I'll tell you what, I love America. Feel like it's the best country on earth. I've lived overseas and traveled extensively, so I don't feel like that is a terribly uninformed opinion. So yes, we wacky liberals love America, too! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Little Something to Lighten the Mood

Of course my anxiety has taken off into the stratosphere since I had the hutzpah to write a post about how happy I am. It's been a rough couple of days including a stupid, unnecessary, and unusual fight with Z and an absolute weep-fest in couples therapy last night. The story of T's birth and it's aftermath had never really been discussed in our therapy. Both Z and I thought we'd covered it at some point, but our therapist didn't understand why I kept referencing T's birth as a reason for my huge anxiety about the birth of New Guy, and asked what happened. I really thought I was over it, but as I started telling the story the waterworks just took over until I was an incoherent mess. I hate crying in therapy. It's such a fucking cliche. And it makes me feel terrible about myself. I think those who witness the tears must think I'm just being manipulative by turning on the water works. Being that vulnerable is so distasteful to me I'd rather think people believe I'm an evil manipulative ass than simply weak. So yes, I'm in a bit of a funk. And clearly I have a ways to go in the getting well department. 

I'd really like to get out of this gross mood so it feels like a good story is in order.

Back when I was still pregnant with the babies I miscarried (I know it isn't a great start, but seriously I promise this isn't a sad one) my father-in-law sent Z these:
"Do you know what these are?" Z excitedly asked me. I did not. He explained they were antique umbilical cord cutters. My father-in-law is a retired ER doc and a collector of antique medical equipment. Turns out these cutters weren't just any antique. Z's great grandfather, who was also a physician, owned and used them.

I could see the wheels turning in Z's head. "If I take these to a tattoo parlor and have them sterilized in an autoclave I could ask the doctor if I could use them to cut the baby's umbilical cord! How awesome would that be?"

Me, "No."

Z, "Why not?"

Me, "Are you fucking insane? No. Just no."

Z, "Well it doesn't hurt to ask."

Me, "DO NOT embarrass me at the doctor's office. Do not do it! I will kill you dead!"

We all know how that pregnancy worked out, so the conversation didn't happen and I forgot all about it. Until almost a month ago when Z pulled the cutters out of his front pocked during my doc appointment. I felt my face get very very red and said, "I can't believe you are doing this."

Z explained what the deal was. My doctor was clearly excited by the snips and asked to hold them. He was giving them the once over as I was composing in my head exactly what I planned to say to Z on the ride home. Let's just say it was a good thing that T wasn't with us. I've been doing a really good job of not swearing in front of him.

"Here's the deal," the doctor said. "The part of the cord attached to the placenta is just going to be thrown away. And the part of the cord that's attached to the kid is going to be clamped and recut within about 20 minutes."

There was a pause in which I almost started to apologize for my insane husband. But I shit you not, the doc said, "So if you brought these into the delivery room, yes. Yes, I'd let you use them."

It would be an understatement to say Z has been triumphant about the whole matter. Insufferable might be a better word for it...Although he did not float the nuttier part of the idea to the doctor, the part in which he took them to a TATTOO PARLOR to be sterilized. But as Z has pointed out to me (numerous times) you really never do know until you ask. And he hasn't said, "I told you so!" to me, not once. Speaking as the sorest winner in the world, I can honestly say he really is a good guy.

T's favorite person in the world is Z. But this young man runs a very close second. He is the sweetest and most patient 5 year old I've ever met. He's also a Star Wars super fan. Here he is reading the Star Wars ABCs book to T and his sister. They were a truly rapt audience.