Honeymoon Phase

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep from all the pregnancy insomnia or the fact that I am no longer doing Alice impressions (in fact, Alice seems to have left the building), but I swear the oddest things happened yesterday.

First, I woke up at the crack of stupid (in this case, around 3:00 a.m.) with a full bladder and the inability to fetch sleep back to my bed.

Then, I went to my doc appt. Dr. M reviewed the results of my nuchal fold test with me. He told me my risk profile for genetic problems looks like someone in their 20s. Stunned, I made some offhand comment that I always knew prematurity would work in my favor someday. He said “or immaturity.” And I said, “whichever it is, I’ll take it!”

But on the inside, I was all “that means we could probably go for 3 if we want”. And I was all “what the wha----?” and in my brain, I was kicking that other, more optimistic self in the tenders because when I was playing Alice down in that dark, deep hole, I swore I never wanted to do this again!

{And this, my friends, is why I call this trimester the “honeymoon” trimester. . . because we’re all swoony and in love with the being pregnant and it’s all great and fine and wonderful and birds and angels sing when our bellies pop and we feel baby movement. . . . until the crap hits the proverbial fan and we run out of abdominal real estate and have a body tenderize and mash up our nethers and our face (and then some) looks like an inhabitant of zombieland. Honeymoon over.}

His voice hailing me back to reality, Dr. M moved my due date up four days to May 31. Then I got to hear the hearbeat and Dr. M said something about the heart rate being girly, but I told him I remained on the fence. And then he asked about baby movement and I told him I was skeptical – because what I think might be baby might just as easily be intestinal passage of some sort.

But then, when I was sitting in a drive thru about a half hour later, I felt a little *bump! and I went “Oh.My.Gosh! That was a baby!” I texted M with crazyfingers and he called me and we laughed and hung up only after he said he’s So Excited for the anatomy scan in a few weeks.



Alice is Still in Underland

November 8, 2011

I think (hope!) I am almost done playing Alice to this pregnancy’s rabbit hole. You’ll recall I fell down into it around week 5. Last week, during week 8, I was climbing back out, only to go tumbling into a downward spiral once again.

I am nearing 10 weeks, feeling about 50% more surfaced, and – given some extenuating life circumstances – decided to break the good news/bad news to my boss. (Good news: he doesn’t have to worry about me going to part-time status any time in the foreseeable future. Bad news: He will need to find someone to work from him next summer.)

So, naturally, my brain starts devising a list of things I will due during my 12 week hiatus. Because in my fantasies, my second maternity leave is much like the first in that there is a squishy snuggly newborn and no 2.5 year old running about. In my fantasies, my second mat leave will include:

· a Harry Potter marathon
· gratuitous photo book updating
· naps!
· Friends on DVD
· morning walks (so long as the weather is temperate)
· lunch dates



Pregnant Birthdays and Sugar Sugar

October 27, 2011

I don't know what kind of cruelty it is that sugar - and particularly chocolate - mostly hits my pregnant stomach wrongly. Here it is my bday and there's a perfectly perfect white Safeway cake with raspberry filling sitting on my dining room table, of which I managed to choke down a single piece but can't bring myself to touch the rest. That's cruel is what that is.

(Still, I see myself unthawing frozen cake on some future day when my stomach stops being all tempestuous and flippy floppy.) (Well, maybe not the floppy part, 'cuz . . . well . . . )

This is the third birthday in my life I've been pregnant: the first met a too-early end, the second was during a full-term ripeness, and this third time is a couple of months in but not medically confirmed to my peace of mind. (That's tomorrow.)



I've Fallen (and I Can't Get Up)

October 24, 2011

I’ve been trying to abide by the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Or, I’ve been too freakin’ tired. Or both.

It’s like invasion of the body snatchers over here. I have long remembered what it was like during weeks 6 through 12 of my last pregnancy. But it turns out that remembering and experiencing are two very different things. I remembered, sure. But, doing it – THIS – is madness.

I’m able to push through the fatigue for the most part. But it really is all-encompassing. It’s soul sucking, too. I fell into a deep hole around week 5 and clamber as I might to try and get out of it, I think I’ll be here for another few (four-ish) weeks, at least. I’ve been so grossed out by the thought of vitamins that it’s all I can do some days to choke them down. And some days I don’t. But I really need to because the B6 seems to help with the nausea.

Anyway, if you’re looking for me, I’m somewhere down a deep, dark crevasse desperately awaiting rescue.



Mixed Bag

October 13, 2011

This state of Being carries a mixed bag of emotions.
Hope . . .

I watched Elder Anderson’s conference talk again. It is amazing that the precise pattern he outlined about seeking to know when to have children is the one we followed. And we certainly got our answer. And we certainly obeyed. So, in an odd way, that is comforting. Comfort is a good thing to feel.

He also said that women need to be willing to bear children. I was very willing. Which helps when the trifecta of morning (all-day) sickness, fatigue and migraine headaches has got me in its grips. Yes, it helps to remember that I was very willing.

It also helps to remember that an elephant is eaten one bite at a time. There is no way I’m getting through these next few weeks in a lump. One step at a time is the only way to attempt such a feat.

More scary red spotting this week. When I got up in arms over it, I was praying and thought of the scripture “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s” (Mark 12:17). In talking with Him about it, I figured that any child He sends us is His to begin with, and there is absolutely nothing I can do either way to prevent a miscarriage anyway, so why worry overmuch about much of anything. I’m rendering unto God that which is already His.


In Real (4 a.m.) Time

I am trying not to be a whiner.

I am also trying not to be a martyr to this pregnancy.

But darn it if I didn't freakin' forget all about the plaguery (made up word) of pregnancy insomnia, particularly while under the influence of caffeine or a hungry stomach! How could I forget??

While I am waiting to feel tired again (and dreading the busy morning I have planned with C), I am spending gobs of time reading Swistle's baby names blog. Which, really, only serves to make me more awake. I start planning my own "Dear Swistle" name submission for when (if) they ever start accepting them again. You know, just in case this baby's a girl. (We've got the boy names down pat this time!)




October 8, 2011

I've been thinking lately how it's very strange that they call it "symptoms of pregnancy". Like it's a sickness.

Then, when I don't feel well, my brain goes "wow! This isn't right at all. Something's wrong. Why do I feel so yucky?" and then it answers itself "Um, you're pregnant. This is normal." And I go "Oh yeah!"

So, yes, symptoms. Mine are on a slow build. Yesterday my stomach straight up flatlined while we were at the park and I had to sit down. This morning, I got through breakfast, a shower (for me), and a bath (for C) and then had to come sit down.

And as "wrong" as it feels, I am so glad.



Why Not?

October 4, 2011

I stomp out the embers of excitement until they grow cold in the dirt, not out of cruelty, but as a means of protecting myself from hurt.

This morning, under the crushing weight of evil twins Worry and Fear, I continued my prayer for some sort of reassurance, the lasting kind I know can only come from a loving Father. I explained to him how I’m scared to hope, scared to be happy or excited, because, well, the less you go up the less you come down.

I corresponded with a friend who’s planning a wedding:
-Wooooohoooo! (Of course, that said, I’ll likely be largely pregnant by that time.)
-Well, we will just have to find you a pretty preggers dress.
-Yes, do. Something that will fit an . . . .(counts fingers) 8.5 month preggo belly.
-Are you counting a known entity or “The Plan”?
-The Plan has been loosely interpreted. Last Thursday, I peed on a stick last week and saw , so it’s official.

I typed the words “it’s official” haltingly. In the aftermath of hitting Send, I thought about those words. Excitement popped its head back up, looking warily for an all-clear from my relentless stomping.

Then, the tiniest whisper of a voice.

Why not just be happy? It’s OK to be happy!

And so I am.

I am giddy like a schoolgirl, giggling and delighted, reveling in the lightness of being that comes from having the dark cloud of those gloomy twins dispelled.

It feels good!

And it's almost tempting enough to start sharing the news, declaring my happiness to the world. . .


(Maybe for my birthday?)

In the meantime, I'm only 4 weeks pregnant, but I feel like I look like I'm 4 months.
True story.



In Remembrance

October 3, 2011

Yawn. Yawn. Yaaaawwwwwn. Yawn. YAWN!

Oh yes, I remember: There is a wide black chasm of fatigue that lives behind my eyes. Most days, I teeter on the edge of it, trying not to fall in. When, by chance, I lose my footing, I fall deeply. When I awake, it is only because I have been yanked back up to the top, and set back on that slippery rim, not because the journey has yielded up its rest.

Burping up toast I had for breakfast. Sweets that turn my stomach.

Oh yes, I remember: I set a resolve in my head to eat more healthfully this time around, to fight the whim and pull of cravings, to spend much less face time with Sonic chili dogs and burritos and chalupas from Taco Hell. Then, during times of hunger, my stomach starts to prickle and sour and get all tetchy, demanding only what is both safe and appetizing.

The truest sense of surreality.

Oh yes, I remember: “I am pregnant! I am pregnant! I am Pregnant!” my mind says over and over to no one in particular. Every once in a while, an excited, hopeful flutter rises up inside my chest, flapping against my heart. Innocent hope forever tainted by loss, the suddenness and exhilaration of the feeling startles me. I tamp it down, stomp on it, really, until it slinks to the bottom in an unmoving lump.



TWW: Shocker

September 29, 2011

Yesterday I attended a wellness event at work. Our healthcare provider came and did a Know Your Numbers event (blood pressure, body fat, BMI, cholesterol, etc.)

When I was filling out the registration paperwork, I struggled over the question "Are you pregnant or suspect you may be?" I thought about it for a minute, decided a visit from AF was imminent, that October/July will be the months to watch, and definitively marked "No".

Later in the day, a staff member and I were talking over my boss's shock over my announcement that I want to go part-time next year. She said "you're not pregnant yet, are you"? and I easily answered "No" again.

So. . . here I am all ready for AF to sing like a bloody canary.

Ready for July to be our baby month. I even made a list of Reasons I Love July:
Homemade ice cream
Sparkly swimming pools
Summer tans
Long days
And a baby?

Then, this morning I had the most vivid dream about a home pregnancy test. Just before I woke up, I dreamed that I had the coolest, most awesome home pregnancy test ever known to woman. It was digital and in-color (pinks and purples) and my urine sizzled when it touched the applicator and the chemical reaction climbed up the test. Then, there were double lines - one pink and one purple - and all these other sort of cool gadgety things and screens you could click through.

So, this morning, with my bbt still high at 13 dpo, and even though I fully expected AF to show up any minute now, I figured "why not? what the heck?"

I grabbed one of two Target brand hpts I have at the moment and took the test. Just as M called out "Bye! I love you! Have a good day!" and walked out the door, double lines popped up on the stick.

Um what?!?? But what about the spotting? And what about all the red? And what about how I totally stopped prog cream two days ago in anticipation of AF!!?


So, of course, I started snapping pictures of the hpt, one of which went straight to M with a text that read "Your super sperm worked!"

And then, I updated my chart on TCOYF so I could see the chicky on today's column.

And then, I sat here in awe (AWE I tell you!) and full of immediate hope that it sticks!!

(And then I went to the bathroom and put some prog cream on - just for good measure!)

And then I tried and tried not to analyze and panic over every little twinge and cramp (and the red bleeding and clots that cropped up again after lunch).

And then I spent the day feeling so SO grateful.




TWW: My Uterus Speaks

September 27, 2011

Pics of my kid litter my screensaver at work. Today, as I left-arrowed and right-arrowed through them like I sometimes do, two things happened with my anatomy. First, my heart said “Awwww… I miss my boy and can’t wait to get home!”. Then, my uterus responded in kind with “I want another one just like him as soon as possible!”

If resources – like time, money, and, bodily and . . . um mental health – were no object, I am convinced I would definitely try to have 4 or 5 just like him.



TWW: A Dream

September 26, 2011

Spotting? Yeah, I got it.

But it's not over til AF sings (or so they say). (Even though I'm sure she'll be practically operatic by the end of the week.)

Last night, or very early this morning - it's difficult to know for sure - somewhere before the time my child woke up crying his head off about it still being "gark" outside and asking me to turn the "wight on" in the windows. . .

In the darkness and comfort of sleep before all that, I had a dream. I was in the hospital ready to give birth. My baby bump was tiny. Like tiny. So tiny that my poor large baby was out of room and I could see him or her moving against my skin. And it hurt a lot. Like A LOT. So, using my hands, I pushed him or her back down into the paunchy part of my belly.

And then?

I woke up.

What does it all mean?



TWW: Ugh.

September 25, 2011

Here's how you know you're smack in the middle of a two-week wait:

~Your husband tells you he prayed your "womb will be fertile and healthy".
~You have a flaring frustration at fertility forums that are not user-friendly enough for you to post something cathartic in your time of need.
~You are watching every little sign and trying to identify the precise moment you might become pregnant.
~You are thrilled just to have made it to 9dpo without the usual spotting, etc.
~You have yourself convinced it wouldn't be as scary as you think it might be to have a Gemini.
~When you wake up to a lower bbt and bright red blood, you feel disappointed knowing that AF is probably imminent, but happy because it means you can order OPKs and HPTs from the internet.

* September doesn't look like it's going to be our month. I think my TWW will end tomorrow-ish. I'm not too bummed, since next month was our target month anyway. Besides, July babies rock!



TWW: Acronyms

September 22, 2011

You have no idea the learning curve involved with surfing sites about all things pregnancy/trying to conceive/etc. Or maybe you do?

Either way, here's a handy dandy guide to fertility forum acronyms (it might help you navigate future posts here):

TWW/2WW: 2 Week Wait (from ovulation until pregnancy test)
AF: Aunt Flo, Period, or Menstrual cycle
BBT: Basal Body Temperature
BD: Baby Dance (sex) [I hate this term and will probably never use it]
BFN: Big Fat Negative (pregnancy test)
BFP: Big Fat Positive (pregnancy test)
CD: Cycle Day
CF: Cervical Fluid
DPO: Days pas ovulation
FMU: First morning urine
FRER: First Response Early Result (brand name pregnancy test)
FXd: Fingers Crossed
hCG, HCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
HPT: Home Pregnancy Test
IC: Internet cheapie (pregnancy tests ordered off internet)
LH: Luteinizing Hormone
LMP: Last Menstrual Period (start date)
LP: Luteal Phase
LPD: Luteal-Phase Defect
MC, m/c: Miscarriage
O, OV: Ovulation
OPK: Ovulation Predictor Kit
OPT: Ovulation Predictor Test
Prog: Progesterone
PG: Pregnant
POAS: Pee on a stick (i.e. pregnancy test)
RE: Reproductive endocrinologist
Squinter: pregnancy test you squint at to see if + or not
TTC: Trying to conceive
WTO: Waiting to ovulate



TWW: Day by Day

At 5 days past ovulation, after the last few months I've had, I'm thrilled just not to be spotting.

I have no idea if this is "my month" or not, but it seems to me that a full month of taking 100 mg of B6 every day has helped. I am also on day 5 of progesterone cream, but I have no idea what that's doing, if anything.

I'm spending way too much time lurking on TWW boards, etc. It's all quite ridiculous, really.

I feel crampy generally, but since I have no idea what's normal and what's not at this point in terms of my cycle, I am reluctant to get my hopes up.

Well, I sort of get my hopes up, because the getting pregnant is always the easiest part for me. Whenever we've aimed-shot-fired (oh, and that one time when we were not trying), I've usually gotten pregnant right away. [Except that other one time when we were trying after the miscarriage and I got pregnant in February instead of January.]

Then, with my hopes all up, I bring them crashing down by reminding myself that I've been pregnant twice before when it resulted only in lots of heartache.

But mostly, I try to avoid thinking all that. [I also try to avoid thinking about all the women on these boards who've been trying to conceive for almost a year, so, there you go.]

Morale of the story is: I am thankful for a somewhat normal cycle, and mostly, I am hopeful.



TWW: A Waiting Song

September 15, 2011
Too bad I can't be like Phoebe "The doctor says it takes a couple days, but my body's always been a little faster than Western medicine" Buffay and know right away.

I have to do the two-week wait (also known around these parts as the TWW) like everyone else.

So, here's a song to entertain us all while I wait:

"Are you in there little fetus?
In nine months will you come greet us?
I will . . . buy you some Adidas."




September 14, 2011

Hey there! How’s it going?

Good. You?

Good! Not looking forward to a two-week wait. Lol.

2 weeks for what? A test?

Or spotting, bleeding, midnight peeing, sore boobs, phantom symptoms or none at all . . . it’s two weeks of a special brand of illness.

I’ll cross my fingers for ya!




Trying the Heart

September 12, 2011

So the thing about feeling like this all over again is that, having been there before, you try subtly drop the whole topic into a casual conversation. While laying down for a family nap on a Saturday. Which, of course, results in a similar conversation as before:
She: Are you ready?
He: For what?
She: Next month.
He: What's next month?
She: We start trying.
He: When does that mean the baby would be born again?
She: Around July.
He: (sharp inhale of breath) Whoa.
She: We talked about this before, remember?
He: Um well um. . .
She: (in a huff) I'm going to sleep.
He: (backpedaling) Well, it's just that I, well . . .
She: You should probably pray about it.

Then, the next morning, the conversation continues.
He: So, you wanted to start next month?
She: (defensively) We've already had this conversation!
He: I know, but I want to talk about it.
She: I don not want to talk about this right now. I'm tired!

Turns out, the poor man was up with a tempestuous stomach at 2:30 in the morning and was praying and took his wife's advice and felt good about it and figured why wait another month?

And this is precisely how the trying for numero dos began. (Essentially, we jumped right in with total abandon.)

Try as I might to convince myself not to immediately start stressing over the subtle signs and symptoms, about impending implantation or infertility . . . in short, what my body is or is not currently doing - after all, we're a whole month early so no biggie, right? - the heart just doesn't work that way.

The heart is filled with hope and issues a bodily decree that now is the time to catch, stick and stay a pregnancy.
The heart is uncomprehending that there are women who have this internal struggle each and every month.
The heart worries overmuch about the pain of a miscarriage and whether it will be called upon to endure that ache again.
The heart weighs those happy women who seem to have no problems getting and staying pregnant with those who battle with unexplained secondary infertility.
The heart wants to wrap all those women up in a hug. And to wrap itself up against such trials at the same time.
The heart wants to simply will the spark of fleshy newness into existence.
The heart wants to personally oversee that the building of an entirely new little person goes off without a hitch.
The heart wants to play armchair conductor, orchestrating the whole lovely physiological symphony from its high perch.

But of course, even though the heart wants what it wants, it is not the boss here. In fact, the heart has very little to do with it.

And yet, it is everything.




September 9, 2011

~ C is 20 months old today! It's amazing and exciting and he's-not-a-baby-anymore and every month older he gets, I find myself adding 10 months to it because "that's how far apart my kids would be if I got pregnant now". (Oy.)
~ Last week I had lunch with a friend and told her I am most excited about labor/delivery and breastfeeding. Then, I remarked how strange it is that those words came out of my mouth!
~ Here is Kalli's funny birth story. (I particularly like the parts about "exercising her right for epidurals for future babies riding this train into the earth station" and "writing around like an electrocuted eel".)
~ I remember feeling like this, mostly because, for absolutely no rhyme or reason, I kind of feel that way again. Which is totally stupid because it's not October yet.
~ It's time and I am ready.



Hope via Text

September 6, 2011

N: Wicked migraine today, which I am hoping is my body’s way of figuring this hormone stuff out and getting geared up for another pregnancy. Or it could just be spiraling out of control, but I can hope.

L: We can hope. ‘Cuz aren’t you gonna try soon?

N: Hopefully next month, depending on how this month goes. Right now, it’s not going so hot.

L: Why not?

N: I have been spotting/bleeding for 23 days, 13 of which have been a real period.

L: Boo! Have you taken ovulation tests or anything to see?

N: No. Trying not to get too freaked about anything this month. But I am still taking B6 every day and just started charting my morning temps so I can start using progesterone cream after I ovulate this month, in hopes that I can lengthen my luteal phase and get some of this bleeding under control next cycle.

L: Good!

N: Cross our fingers and toes it works!



Reasons Why

August 28, 2011

On Friday, we took a visit to our local Target. We walked in and spied an expecting couple starting their baby registry. We saw another couple, the wife with her pregnant belly protruding farther than what should be legal (much less normal), looking over breast pumps and asking passersby for their advice. I weighed in, but because it was almost 9:00 and my kid was nearly melting down, I was much too distracted to give a wholehearted opinion, so I wasn't too disheartened when they didn't heed my advice and bought a Medela. Then, on the way out, I happened to glance back and saw a third prego walking out of the store behind us. "Too many!" I thought. The whole freakin' world is pregnant right now. Later that night, I admitted to M that I am not ready for invasion of the bodysnatchers to happen all over again. But, I wasn't really ready for it the first time. However, as it turns out, it is the only way to have a biological baby and, as it also turns out, I want one of those, so it is a road we must travel.

On Saturday, I went to my cousin's baby shower, feeling excited for the arrival of her little boy and looking forward to the shower. Once upon a time I really hated baby showers. Once upon a time before I was pregnant (the first time), I could count on one hand the number of showers I had attended. And yesterday, I remembered why it was I felt that way: Baby shower games. No matter how inventive or fun, they make me want to poke my eyes out. I swore right then and there that I will never willingly have another baby shower. Making someone bring me a gift and holding them hostage for cake and gift opening (the only reasons people really go to baby showers in the first place - and in that order, too) and torturing them with games in the meantime? That's just cruel and unusual punishment is what that is.

On Sunday, we further cerebralized having another baby. I asked M if he's really ready to take it on. I was thinking specifically about how I will likely be sick and he's going to have to pick up the slack, while he was thinking more globally about the aggregate cost of raising two kids. (It helps to convince the both of you if you look at your baby's photo album and reminisce over how tiny and lovely and cute newborns are.) The truth of it is there are a lot of reasons not to sign on for this right now (uh, economy, childcare, debt, job uncertainty, weight loss, I'm-not-ready-for-this, etc. etc. etc.). But there's One Big Reason to go ahead and do it: we want another one. That's it, end of story. And we want a sibling for C. The rest, as always, we will figure out later.



Eggs and Things

August 25, 2011

Tonight I made egg salad for the first time in my life. Some of the eggs came out perfectly, and one or two were cracked from being hard boiled, leaving them a little soggy and strange. As I peeled them, held those warm, firm eggs between my finger and thumb before I placed them in the slicer, I noticed how kind of perfect eggs are. And maybe a little beautiful?

As I stared at each egg, I got to thinking about my own eggs. I hope they are as strangely beautiful, and more on the intact side of things than the soggy side.

But right now, it's not my eggs I am concerned with.

I know I've worried over my luteal phase before (and I turned out to be pregnant), but this time it's pretty bad (possibly only 4 days long). I haven't really started charting in earnest because my cycle is just all over the place (it's that bad, really?) and I'm not even convinced I ovulated this month before the pseudo bleeding began (yes, really!).

I am taking 100 mg of B6 and I bought progesterone cream to use this cycle, so I guess we'll see about that.



Line of Questioning

August 23, 2011

Am I really really (really?) ready for this again?
(because all I can think of is the nausea and fatigue and heartburn and swollen feet and passing out {BUT THEN I think about squishy babies and I know it's all worth it.})

Is it strange that I want to be pregnant in good company?
(because now that Jennifer Garner is pregnant and some of my best girlfriends are trying to be, it would really be excellent prego company to keep! {not that Ms. Garner even knows I exist or anything.})

Why do I like to write in secret?
(because I am reading The Help which is all about covert novel writing and such, maybe? because I have a history of doing this? {with this very blog?})

Why does looking at a baby registry for an upcoming shower convince you that baby clothes are way cute, but babies that go in those clothes are way cuter and just thinking about all of it makes your heart swell and your uterus ache? (because you start thinking about all the clothes you stored away for “the next one” {especially if the showered baby is the same gender as your own baby}?)



Self Talk

August 20, 2011:

I am Ready, she says.
But what about the wakeful bladder and mid-night pilgrimages to the porcelain throne to pee?, I query.
I am Ready.
But what about the tsunami of fatigue that rises up and drowns you?
I am Ready.
But what about the decidedly icky stomach not wanting to hold onto anything you give it?
I am Ready.
But what about the fire of indigestion burning in your chest and the incessant popping of Tums?
I am Ready.
But what about the pulling ligaments that catch your breath and double you over?
I am Ready.
But what about the legs that are fitful and bouncy and restless in the night?
I am Ready.
But what about the weight of a belly pulling your low back into a graceful "C"?
I am Ready.

Well that makes one of us, I say.



The Retreat to Solitude

So, now that the Big News is out, I can start publishing the back story. I kept them in installments.

Here's the first:

August 15, 2011

There was a certain sense of anonymity when I was enduring a second failed pregnancy and this blog was a private blog. It was a safety net, a room where I could put my thoughts and they could stay private. And now, at this time when serious budget talks weave and intertwine themselves with conversations about growing our family, I miss the obscurity and privacy.

So, thought I to myself one Sunday, after a weekend drenched in deep discussions over timing and plans steeped in conjecture and speculation, why not write my thoughts privately in draft form and publish them when the time is right?

It all started on a Saturday morning. After holding my one-year old with one hand and feverishly wiping the plastic car strapped to the front of a Fry’s shopping cart with the other, I wheeled the contraption to the produce aisle and breathed a sigh of relief. My kid was settled into the car, “driving” it like a maniac and eating his snack, and all was right with the grocery shopping world. Then, I saw a prego belly and for the first time since I got pregnant with C, I was hit in the gut with an overripe sense of longing. “Where has that been hiding?” I wondered, reeling a little from the shock of such a surprise attack.

Later, as I laid down to nap, thoughts swirled and whirled like some great mental gyre. As I finally drifted into solid sleep, a whisper of a thought settled on my brain: get pregnant as soon as possible.



Birthday for Two

Two is a bigger birthday than One, it turns out.

Two can blow out candles.

Two knows what a "birday cake" is.
Two can open presents (mostly) by himself.

And Two gets the honor of sharing Very Big News:



Three Little Words

Tonight, as I put C down to sleep, I told him "I love you".

And then I thought about how, for some people, those three words are the hardest to say.

Which means that some people rarely get to hear those words said to them.

I thought about that for a minute.

There was a time not so long ago in my own family history when this was the case.

I wondered how it came to be that I could so easily say those words.

I realized it's because I heard those words told to me every day in my home.

A kiss on the lips before bedtime.

And then,

"I love you."

And I'm so grateful for this legacy of love.



Battle Royale

I really hate second guessing myself. I try not to make a practice of it. But raising a toddler is no joke! And I find myself second guessing . . .er, myself a lot lately.

Take the other day at the park, for example. We got ready to leave and said “we’re leaving” about 5 times. Then, I walked away saying “mama’s leaving. Time to go! Let’s go!” And M stood nearby and followed up with “mama’s leaving! Let’s go!” about 5 more times until our kid decided he was ready to leave and followed after us.

During this exchange, I suddenly saw myself through my own pre-mother eyes.

Two years ago, I would have silently, if not snarkily (and probably very judgmentally), willed myself to “pick that kid up and tell him you are leaving. Be the boss! Make him go!”

Now, as a parent, I am walking the fine line of choosing my battles. Sometimes, like when leaving the park, it’s just easier to let him come to his own decision to leave rather than have a Battle Royale over it and drag him kicking and screaming from the sand. Other times, like meal times or bed times, it’s better to have it out and that way at-least-he-knows-I’m-serious. But even during those times, I see myself from outside of myself and the awful thought sneaks in “is this fight really worth it? What am I trying to accomplish here?”

Here’s a for instance. Last night during bed time, C was having a hard time settling. I told him to lay down about eleventy times. Finally, I told him that if he didn’t lay down on mama’s bed, he was going to have to go lay in C’s bed. Up he popped again. So, over to C’s bed he went, and I sat like a sentinel to lay him down again and again and again, while he writhed and fought and cried “way down in mama’s bed!”. I explained that I had told him he had to lay down and that if he didn’t he would have to lay down in his own bed.

Repeat battle scene.

At this point, I am doubting myself like crazy.
“Is this worth it?”
“What am I trying to accomplish here?”
“Just let him lay down in your bed. What’s the harm?”
“Is he even learning anything from all this (besides how to hate his bed)?”

Then, with him sitting up (again) and crying (still), I remembered a battle tactic that works wonders at bedtime. I told him to sing me a song. He looked at me and cried “Bus!” and I told him he needed to lay down. So, he laid down, I held his hand and sang our extended version of The Wheels on the Bus to him. He calmed down, stayed laying down, and then transferred to mama’s bed to snuggle against me until he fell asleep.

[Now, I know (I KNOW!) this kind of bedtime routine is not for everyone. I know that there will come a day when he will need to have his own bed in his own room. I know some people find our 20-40 minute bedtime routine indulgent and slightly loony. (I would have when I wore my pre-mother eyes.) I know he should not still be waking during the night for milk. But he does. And we do. And that’s the way it is. And every time I start to think about trying to change everything, I lay next to him at night, my nose buried in his hair as he goes to sleep, and I think about future days when he won’t want me to snuggle him to sleep, when he will reject my kisses on his head and cheeks, when he’ll want to be left to fall asleep on his own. So, for now, it’s what we do. End of sidebar.]

It is a careful line to walk, this raising a toddler business. One day – like when they’re 18 to 20 months – you’ll finally feel like you’ve got it down. Then 20 months hits, 22 months hits, and little tantrums spark up, and sitting in a highchair (or anywhere) to eat goes out the window, and nap times and bedtimes get harder, and he’s a pseudo-terror some evenings at the witching hour of 6:00.

But you know what? Mostly, he listens. Mostly, he does what he’s asked. Mostly, he’s calm. Mostly, he’s a good little boy.

And his mother?
Well, I'm still having a Battle Royale with myself and am still learning about which battles I want to pick.

But you know what? Tonight when he was starting to pop his head up off the pillows on mama's bed, I reminded him about last night. I told him "remember the rule? you have to lay down on mama's bed." And you know what else? It worked.




C says all sorts of things these days, some of which is surprising, some of which is hilarious! I have to get these down because I don't want to forget.

"You hear dat?"
"Wion (Lion) roar! Bunny pop pop pop (hop hop hop)!" *
"Way (lay) down!"
"Nice twuck (truck)!"
"Big toe, wittle toe"
"I want teary-o (cereal)/cheese/apple/canny (candy)"
"Be wiiiiight (right) back"
"I tow (throw) it"
"I seep (sweep)"
"I wike (like) it"
"I bibe (drive) it"
"Kick yer butt!" **
"I get that"/"I want it"
"Mayman (mailman) got it"
"Giyout! (get out) [of bed]"
"Go pay (play)"
"Geegee Chist (Jesus Christ)"
"Touchet" (touch it)/"Don't touchet (touch it)"
"Wun wun wun!" (run run run)/"Wuneen past! (running fast)"
"Guy walkeen (walking)"
"Get down get down get down" ***
"Aye (I) can't do it" ****
"Weabit dere (leave it there)"
"Dada pumeen (coming) back"
"Coss steet (cross street)"
"Cayet boice (quiet voice)"

*inside joke. he roared and I asked him if he was a lion. he said "bunny" but roared anyway.
**said in a growly voice when he's mad. I laugh behind my hand, then put on a straight face and tell him "that's not nice. please don't say that."
***trying to sing a disco song like M.
****might as well be a curse word! Post on this one coming up.

This list could go on and on, literally: the kid learns something new every day! Oh, and his laugh! His laugh!! He has the best laugh ever. He's a "punny" (funny) kid and he knows it!



Things I Knew and Things I Guess At

I knew it! I KNEW IT!

Right around the time I was dealing with this and this and going to a neurologist and taking anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers and so forth, I was convinced that my ectopic pregnancy was related to becoming unexpectedly pregnant while on those types of meds.

Then, today, I read this vindicating article that basically says that NSAIDs are correlated with a higher risk of miscarriage!

(I totally knew it!)

On a very related note, Google should really do a corporate acquisition of McDonald's ancient "over a million served" slogan, and change it to "millions upon millions aided in self-diagnosis"!

Because here's the thing: it's not too big of a digital leap to go from searching "hormones migraines" to "estrogen dominance migraines" to "estrogen dominance B6" to "estrogen dominance migraines luteal phase".

Not if you're me, that is. And I just happen to be me, so, you know. (Remember when I was convinced I had LPD, but turned out to be pregnant? Yeah, um, that was fun.)

Here's my theory-slash-self-diagnosis: I am estrogen dominant. Which makes me vitamin B deficient. Which makes me have low progesterone. Which makes my luteal phases short (or, in the case of - oh, right now - practically non-existent).

So, I have been taking 100 mg of B6 every day for. . . (checks calendar) . . . 28 days now. Which may or may not be helping with the progesterone-slash-vitamin B deficiency. Which may or may not be the reason I have been spotting and/or bleeding for 23 days, including a particularly crampy period. Which may or may not be causing my current (4-days and counting) migraine headache.

Such is the life of a self-diagnoser.

Next up? Progesterone cream! (I've even started taking basal body temps to help me with that one. . .)



Little Voice

Some moms get all bummed about their babies getting bigger. I myself am guilty of looking at C's baby pictures both with fondness and a certain longing.

But his increasing shoe size and growing body don't make me sad. What I want to never change is his little voice.

It's the best thing in the world to hear him talk! Today, he's walking around saying "ocurt aisins" (yogurt raisins). Last night I laughed and laughed as I was putting him to bed, because he flicked his hand at himself and said "Poof! Egg!" (because his Nana and Tata tell him "want me to make you an egg? Poof! You're an egg!"). I called him "silly" and he got serious and said "Tata!", like he was saying "not me, it's Tata."

I love to hear the way he says his numbers and letters, how he tells me his "car go past (fast)" and how red and yellow are finally starting to get consonants at the beginning ("wed" and "wellow"). Also, every animal either goes "eee awww" or "moo", except dogs, who definitely go "woof" and roosters, who go "cockadoo".

I am trying to get all of this on video, but every time he sees the red light come on the Vado, he says "pone" (phone) and tries to grab for it.

So, can't his little voice just stay the same forever?




I think my favorite times of day as a mother are the polar ends of my child's sleep: the waking and the falling.

When C wakes in the morning, I run to him – in whatever state of dress or undress I find myself in at that point in my morning routine – and I say “hi!” and snuggle him and hug him and kiss him. He leans his head against me and snuggles me. Everything is right and perfect in the world for those few small minutes before the busyness of the day snatches us from each other.

After his diaper change this morning, he set out to play with the upturned wheels of his topsy-turvy wagon and say “turn wheel” a few times before it was time to go. I heard his dad’s final boarding call – the snap of his lunch box closing shut – and announced to C “it’s time to go to Nana & Tata’s!”. He looked at me and said “here”. I told him it was time to go, and he countered by sitting down and saying “stay”.

Oh wouldn’t we all just love to “stay here” all day long! His feet kicked in wild protest when I picked him up, told him mommy has to leave too and it’d be awfully lonely in the house all alone. I wondered if he thinks I stay home all day without him, since I’m there when he leaves and there when he gets home.

Just before I passed him to his dad, I shoved a cheese stick into his hand and reminded him to say “thank you” (he did). I said “I love you!” as they walked out the door and as I bent to grab his backpack, he said it back. So, I followed them out the door like usual – only this morning I was nearly nekkid (thank goodness for garages!) – and said “I love you” a few more times just to hear him say it back.

Afterward, I stood in my bathroom feeling stunned. We all know I’ve had tough days where all I wanted to do was stay home and be with him, and that I have prayed more than once for a way to make that happen (It’s coming! We have a plan! It’s in the works!). But I hadn’t prepared myself for the day when he would want to stay home, when he would be asking me for a reprieve. And you know what? It was flattering and frightening. But mostly, it stung.

I reminded myself of the thought that occurred to me when I was trying to convince him to go about his day: tomorrow is Friday! Tomorrow is our reprieve day! And, for now, it’ll have to do.



She Says, She Says

HAVE NOT Emails: "I know when I have a child I will find it positively adorable when they learn how to say “hi” and do so to everything and everyone. However, at this moment in time, the small child out in the lobby saying “hi hi hi hi hi” is driving me CRAZY!"

HAVE Replies: "They are ALWAYS cuter when they are your own. It’s a protection mechanism built into the species so humans don’t eat their young. Higher order, and all that jazz. It also makes it practically impossible for us to see the extent to which our “cute” kid is making others wish they could eat (or seriously maim or injure) our offspring.



My Kid. My Life.

My kid is my favoritest thing in the world right now. He walks around gibbering some version of gobbledygook that sounds oddly like an Asian language. I stare in awe at new daily tokens of his developing language skills.

When he wakes up, he lays there and sings or talks until the sounds of his little voice hail me from the deepness of my sleep. Yesterday he awoke practicing intonations of "No" (Nononononono No! No. No!) and his newest opposites (open/closed and on/off).

He's a fantastic mimic! Today when he went down for a nap he said "Dad fix it fan!" Right now he is standing at the window saying "Nena (dog) whay ahyou?" (where are you). When I say "You know what?" he answers "I uhview" (I love you) and when I tell him he's my best boy, he says "buddy" and I say "that's right, you're my buddy".

He is 21 months now (!) and still loves to be worn. I recently bought an Ergo and wear it at the grocery store and sometimes while making dinner. He snuggles up next to me and squeezes me and just plain loves to be loved.

He loves jeeps and cars and buses and lights and shoes. He LOVES stools but we've had to take them away and hide them in the laundry room. He loves to be surprised and I often jump out from behind things to oblige him. He giggles at the funniest things and I am pretty sure his laughter is the best sound in the universe.

Most of the time he is very well-behaved and doesn't do much that a little redirection and a request to "go play with your toys" won't handle. He listens well to requests (most of the time) and I think we're doing pretty well in the discipline department, but I still read the books.

Every time I read a book that talks about extinguishment of a behavior by letting my kid cry (or scream) for hours on end, I get a bad taste in my mouth and have real trouble taking anything after that point seriously. The most recent book I read talked about bedtime routines in the second chapter and how a child will probably scream for 3-4 hours the first night. . . how on earth do I even go on to chapter three after a comment like that?

Especially when what I am mostly trying to avoid is the place of panic my heart retreats to when he is being particularly challenging, like yesterday when we were at a mall bookstore and he was straining against his stroller straps saying "Out!" and it was nearing bedtime and he was just done. I told him he was not getting out and then tried to readjust him in his stroller. While doing so, I hurt his leg and he starting crying in earnest. Instant heart panic rose up (was I going to have to go back on my word?), but in the end, we struck a compromise that allowed me to stick to my guns and him to be happy for another 10 minutes.

Being smothered is a delicate balance between trusting yourself and being open to learning new ways to handle things. But mostly, it's just awesome!



The Worst Day Ever. Until Today.

Sometimes you just think so long and hard and overmuch about things that they leave an indentation on your brain that only time can resolve.

Which I why I never thought overlong about being a working mom. It’s what I have to do, so I do it.

But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

On Mondays, while I drive to work (and often on the drive home from work), my Heavenly Father gets extra long phone calls from me asking for His help for me to be patient and have faith that He’s working on the blessings that will make it so I can stay home. He hears from me all day long too, any time I miss my boy.

And lately? My Tuesdays and Wednesdays haven’t been so good either. Tuesday, I crunched budget numbers in Excel spreadsheets and made plans in my head. By Wednesday, perhaps because so much of my husband’s telecommuting day morphed into the embodiment of chaos theory, perhaps because, even though my mother-in-law meant only that I was the mom and the call was mine to make when she said “if you want to be with your boy, come get him,” the words beat my heart into pulp, perhaps because hormones and lunar cycles and maybe even the damn barometric pressure all combined against me, I was a fully dysfunctional, sobbing, crying, praying mess of a lump sitting in my car during my short lunch break.

This week was like that quote from the movie Office Space: “Ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, it's the worst day of my life.”

Wednesday night, I arrived home with a purchased dinner to find my kid had crossed the strike line to join up with the Grouchies. I told him, after I forced him into his high chair for dinner, that he didn’t have to be so upset, that he could actually choose not to be upset. I told him he could choose to be happy. He stopped fussing and looked at me, curious as he considered this new information for a while. And you know what? After that, he was happy.

We both learned a lesson that night. I am choosing to be happy!

Thursday was marginally better, but I could have done without the hunger, fatigue, and grouchiness (mine, this time, not the boy's).

But today? Today is Friday! The day I get to play Stay at Home Mom. And even though my kid woke up at the crack of stupid after a rough (rough!) night, and I am so tempted to trade our Grand Day Out for a Great Day In, I am going to make the best of today!



With a Will

I've written before about how nap times and Sunday schedules are like oil and water around these parts.

We moved into a new ward that is a whopping half hour earlier than our former ward, so the fact that my kid's nap time falls before and during church was not helped much.

BUT, I am happy to report that with prayer and effort, we have found a way to make it work!

We have gotten to where we just push his bedtime out a little so he sleeps longer and push his nap until later (i.e. keep him busy and occupied right up until church). We are able to make it through sacrament meeting without any major meltdowns. Then we rush out and get him into the car. Some days he is so tired, he falls asleep before we are out of the parking lot. Other days, he lasts until we reach the top of the hill before turning left for home.

One hour is not nearly enough, but it will do for now. And the experience has helped me re-realize that praying about something and being willing to put in the effort to make it happen really are a powerful combination!



The Shoulds

Have you ever met the Shoulds?

The Shoulds are a malicious bunch. They like to hold me hostage, back me into a corner, and squish the shreds of parenting dignity I have left beneath their crusty leather boots. Then, as a more acute and awful form of torture, one of them reads a list of my parenting transgressions: not paying enough attention to my kid, saying "damn it" when his octopus arms are busy grabbing my piles of freshly folded laundry, letting him slip underwater while I try a few acrobatics in the pool. . .

Then they stand around and recite their creed: "he Should be night weaned by now!" "he Should be in his own room!" "you Should be using time out!" "he Should be watching less movies and reading more books!"

Just when I feel about to succumb, my kid does something great like eat chicken (we've been convinced he's vegetarian!), or learn all his primary colors (plus black, purple, and orange), or recite 15 letters of the alphabet (out of order), or sit nicely through church (eating raisins).

Such things intimidate the Shoulds the way a patronus does a dementor! And they make me feel way better, too!



Crafting with Cephalopods

Here's the thing.
I don't quite know how it happened.
I don't know quite when it happened.

But sometime between 18 and 19 months of age, my son left babyhood behind and went into full-on toddler mode. He walks with a very purposeful toddler walk. He acts like he's the boss of everyone. (And everything.) I have never seen a person more self-possessed than a toddler!
Recently, I read a blog post that compared flying on a plane with a lap child to trying to hold an octopus still for a few hours.

Did you know that that is exactly what trying to do a craft project with a 19 month old running around is like?

I did the nice version of my tutorial here. Here's the real story.

We started in the morning. When he was extra wiggly. And prone to climbing every climbable surface on the planet.
He "helped" me measure and mark my button holes.

He climbed on the table about eleventy hundred more times. He modeled my fabric.

He grabbed all my tools from me, injected himself into every task I performed. He "helped" me make the buttons.

He ran around and generally caused a ruckus all over the household. Insert break for going to buy foam - during which the heat of the car and the noonish hour brought on a (too short) nap - which made the day all the more interesting.

Insert second break for lunch and chasing and redirecting and pulling a kid off all sorts of high-ish surfaces.

My octopus used his tentacles to grab and shake loose the legs of my once-sturdy table, at which point this octo-mom lost her patience and started using my own tentacles to pull him away much too forcefully and impatiently.

I called reinforcements in from outside (i.e. made his dad come and watch him while I operated the compressed air stapler).

Finally, about 12 hours after I started, I finished. We couldn't get one of the four corners of the legs to seat correctly thanks to the vigorous octopus shaking it received.

Oh, and it took about 4.5 seconds for my kid to stick his little tentacles under one of the tufted buttons and snap it right off. See for yourself:

Just keeping it real, folks. This is the side those cozy online tutorials won't tell you.

By the way, if ever I am tempted to attempt a project like this again with a toddler underfoot, remind me of this, will ya?



Toddler Discipline

Parenting a toddler is what I imagine being bipolar to be like. You're never quite sure how much that bump will hurt and whether it will elicit a cry, and at what point redirection will cease to work and major meltdowns will ensue.

To be sure, with each new developmental stage, parenting (and disciplining) a toddler feels most like being out at sea, never quite sure exactly which direction you should be heading in next.

Look up toddler discipline, and you'll get all sorts of directions. Brazelton has his way. Sears has his. There are time outs (which I honestly can't imagine for this age). There are "secret" methods. But all agree that consistency is key.

My approach, before I had kids and before my kid was a toddler, was simple. It involved a two-pronged attack of Redirection and Choosing Your Battles.

But, as my son tries harder and harder to gain independence, he has stopped listening. He has started testing limits. And I have started raising my voice and not wanting to get up 50 times to redirect (both of which I am working on).

With potentially dangerous and gross things like toilets and the fireplace, I've tried smacking hands or his butt. With the hands, he is completely unphased. And he is fascinated by his butt, so he thinks it's funny and when I say "I'm gonna spank your butt" he puts his butt out, pats it and says "butt". Which I think is funny.

I am learning right along with him. I try out one tack to see what works and even though I am supposed to speak with some sort of authority, some days I feel completely at a loss for what to do next - totally in the middle of the ocean.

How about you? What do you do?



19 Months

19 months!

And we have entered the stage where he's so adorably cute one second (that little voice singing in the back seat or trying to say every thing I say - you should hear him say his name. or haircut. or the letter "F".)

And then the next moment, you're out to dinner and he's an unholy whirlwind of terror, threatening to hit his head on every living surface in the restaurant (glass tabletop! tiled walls!) or pierce the ears of fellow diners with his fitful crying.

But mostly, the cute thing.

I love love love love this kid! I love love love love being his mother. It's the most awesome job in the whole world, crazy bits and all!



On Mothering

I have been thinking much lately about mothering. And what it means.

I confess I do not have any particularly stunning or profound insights.

I know only this: I love being C's mom. And I am learning a lot about prayer and faith and patience and trust as I pray for the blessing to work less or not at all someday in the near future. It is my fondest dream to spend my days with my boy, taking him to swimming lessons and storytime and picnics at the park.

In the meantime, I am trying to do my best with what I have. I like what Kelly had to say about her mother's recordkeeping. And about the most beautiful thing. And her utter honesty about her struggles with infertility. What I am saying is this: this week, Kelly's beautiful little blog is where it's at if you want some profound or stunning insights about mothering. She gave me something to think about several times this week.



A Letter

Dear C,

Pretty soon - four days your dad tells me - you will be 18 months old. You are amazing! Your language skills are exploding. Just today I told you we were going to the doctor and you said "Dot-ter?"

Your little voice and the way you repeat words with the upward tilt of a question - I could listen to that all day long!

Your little face is thinning out and you look more and more like a toddler and less and less like a baby each day. I love to run my finger along the curve of your cheek down toward your chin.

And your brown eyes! I can't even put a coherent sentence together about those beautiful browns!

Oh your laugh! And how you are so silly and take such delight in finding things to be silly about just so you can laugh. It's all so delightful and fun and it just makes life worth living.

I tell you all the time that you're my best boy ever, and that's the truth if ever I heard it! You are pretty great! You're smart, and you are a good listener and you are just the funnest person to be around.

The only only only thing I wish were different is . . . I'd really wish you'd poop. Because adding words like "suppositories" and "enema" to my SMS words is kind of crazy if you ask me.




Always Go Back In

This morning began at the early (but used to it now!) hour of 7 a.m. with my baby next to me in his raised up toddler bed - screaming and ranting and just generally unhappy*. Now that he's all toddlery, he goes through these spells every now and then. Sometimes at 3:30 in the morning, but you know, why should that matter to us vampires? (Because I seriously think that's what parents have to become in order to cope with all the sleep deprivation . . . )

He rejected my soothing advances, my attempted caresses of his back, my calming tones by becoming rigid and frenzied, arching and tossing himself backward, and trying to get as far from me as possible,which is kind of hard to do when his sleeping quarters are designed to keep him within my reach.

I left him alone, writhing there and fussing. During such times, I usually say out loud, to no one in particular, "Well, kid, I don't know what to do for you."

And inevitably, when I stop trying to soothe, his frustrated crying gets worse. And inevitably, I take this as my cue to get back in there, get up to my elbows in fussy baby, and try again.

This morning, I asked M to bring me a sippy of milk. I laid C down on my chest, reclined back against my pillows, and as he calmed down and snuggled against me, I made a mental note.

Always get back in there.

No matter what. No matter how much the initial rejection stings. No matter if he's 17 months or 17 years. Get back in there. Get up to your elbows if need be. Because just when they think you're not what they need, you're exactly what they need the most.

(*Later, when happy and smiling and laying semi-still for a diaper change, I noticed the pointy white peaks of 1, 2, 3 teeth trying to come in. If I were cutting three teeth at once - and all molars, too! - I think I, also, would be a mite cantankerous . . . so, he gets a get out of jail free card. Who are we kidding: he always get a get out of jail free card!)



Time for Two

It is at the risk of entirely inflating my mom's hopes and getting her prematurely excited that I write this post.

My baby is 17 months old. As he becomes more and more independent, not a day goes by that I don't think about when to have another. "When" is a question that does not currently have an answer, since we are working to put some things in place and want to let the dust settle so we can see the picture clearly.

I've read plenty of articles about the ideal spacing for children. Everyone has their opinions. Even my mother-in-law, who once said "You guys are so funny. We never talked about when to have children or how to space them. We just did it."

If only.

Some people still take this approach. I am not one of them. But I am not getting any younger, people! (Are you?)

Some people say spacing of between two to three years is perfect, others say waiting longer (3, 4, 5 years) is better, still others say having them as close together (between one and two years apart) is the way to go.

What say you? What is your ideal spacing? Is it something you decided on purpose? Or are you one of those chosen few who have faith enough take them as they come?



Home Again

We've had to get creative with the sippy cups - straw cups are no longer fascinating (and he would flick the straw and milk caught inside would get all over the place, like, say the backseat of my car), so last night he picked out insulated sippy cups with cars on them instead. Went down with one last night, but was really not having it when I tried to slip it in there instead of a bottle overnight.

But my real source of frustration is not with bottles or sippy cups. It's with the fact that I thought 1:00 church was the answer to our Sunday nap time conflicts, and that I have (very sadly) been mistaken.

When we were at 11:00 last year, one of two things would happen. We would delay his morning nap (10:00/10:30) and he would fall asleep before we even left the parking lot after church, which meant he only took one nap that day and we had to grin and bear with a cranky kid; or he would get his morning nap and sleep for 2 or 2 1/2 hours and I would miss church.

Then 1:00 church rolled around and all seemed perfect: he could get his 2 hour nap in the morning and we'd make it in time for sacrament meeting, and leave church just in time for his afternoon nap! Then, he became a one-nap-a-day toddler. He still goes down around 10:30 or 11:00, and sometimes have little more flexibility on when we lay him down, but he sleeps for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, which means he sleeps right through church and then needs lunch right after he wakes up.

I have missed more Sundays now than I would like to count. And it's getting old. This past week I had lunch with a friend. Because C woke early that morning, I put him down early, knowing I would have to wake him up at 2 hours in if we were going to make our lunch date. He did really well on the drive and during lunch, but threw an ever-loving toddler hissy when I tried to get him back in his seat to come home. Then, he refused to lay down again that afternoon and was an absolute bear the rest of the day, complete with whining and writhing around on the floor. (I have witnesses.)

I thought maybe the same approach, if it worked, might be an option for Sundays. After a cranky Thursday afternoon, I swore it off. But this morning, I thought it is much better to deal with a fussy toddler than not to go at all. But then he refused his nap at 10:30 and all bets were off for both getting a decently rested kid and getting there on time. He was still wakeful as we edged toward church time, albeit in a crankier and crankier state of being. He took a bath, rubbed his eyes, fussed and cried and climbed up into his bed while still naked under his bath towel.

Needless to say, I lost steam on fighting to get him (or myself) ready. He was asleep by 1:10.

All you moms out there consider this a cry for help. How do you make it work when nap times and church times conflict?



Bye Bye Bottle - Take 1

When C was rounding the big Uno, I started feeling a lot of indirect pressure about getting him off the bottle. His ped mentioned it in passing at his one year wellness visit. Books I had read all mentioned it too.

12 months was a huge transition point with lots of other hubbub to keep us busy. He was just starting to walk, cutting more teeth, becoming more verbal, transitioning from breast milk to cow's milk. . . . it was a busy time. So, I didn't worry about the bottle overmuch.

Plus, I had tried every sippy cup known to man and he was not really interested. We started with a Nuby bottle to cup contraption, tried a Gerber Graduates cup with the valve in and out, then a Nuby spout cup, and finally a Tilty, which he loves, but only to make sprinkles with.

But mostly, I put it at the back of my mind and figured we'd try it when he was ready. He naturally went to only having bottles before naps, before bed, and once during the night, with water during the day.

At his 15 month visit, the doc talked more at length about getting him off the bottle. She said it's better for babies' teeth and for their development to get off the bottle. I asked her what she suggested. She said they are really into straws at this stage and suggested a straw cup. She also said try giving him milk in a cup and a "drink he doesn't like" in a bottle. Hard to do when the kid's only drinks are milk and water. He drinks his water from a Funtainer thermos. (Remind me sometime to tell you about the time we left that $15 thermos at a restaurant and when I went back to get it, the waiter-kid said "I don't know what a thermos is".)

So, for the last month, I have been slowly making some small changes. He's really into cars, so one day while looking at cups, he saw one with a car and that's how we chose the Nuby insulated straw cup. If he wanted milk during the day (if he missed a nap), I would offer him this cup before the bottle and he would usually take it, refusing only if he was way too tired to put out the effort to drink from it, since the straw is typical Nuby-engineered and harder to drink through than your average straw.

Then, a friend suggested the Nuk learner cup, which I initially thought might be to "young" for him (and which he initially rejected) but it has turned out to be very helpful. I read several articles about stopping the bottle and toddler transitions to a cup.

If I know I am going to be out and about during the day and run into nap time, like I did yesterday, I pack the Nuby straw cup and the Nuk learner cup and give him his choice. Yesterday, he refused both. I knew he was very tired and probably would have accepted a bottle if I had one, so I put him in the car, turned on the music and he was out in 2 minutes.

When he woke up, I fed him dinner and offered him milk with dinner in his Nuk cup - which is new and different, since I only offered water during the day to try and keep his total daily milk consumption around 24 ounces (another thing I've worried too much over!) - and he loved it.

Today, for nap time, I offered him the Nuk cup. He drank 4 ounces, handed it to me, and tossed and turned himself to sleep. Again at dinner time he drank milk from the Nuk, water from the Funtainer, and homemade orange julius from the Tilty. At bedtime, I decided to try my chances and offered him the Nuk again. It only holds 5 ounces and sometimes he takes 7 or 8, so we needed a refill to get him to 7, but it worked!

The only bottle he will likely be getting if we can keep this up is his overnight bottle. And I know (I know!) babies are technically supposed to sleep through the night without waking to eat. . . and I've read the pamphlets the ped has given me about training him to do that. But, I haven't been willing to pick that fight just yet. (Besides which, he has been cutting a lateral incisor and the last few nights have been miserable already!) Not that I haven't thought about it. And read about it!

It's just one thing at a time around here: first transitioning from co-sleeping to his own bed, cutting more teeth, and now getting off the bottle. Definitely next up is night weaning, so we can move his bed further from ours and start the transition to his very own room!



Doodooing It Doggy Style

Remember when I told you about this visit to my erstwhile-beloved doc? And do you know how sometimes you can relive the same conversation over and over again, mentally inserting all the things you Should Have Said?

Well, this has been stewing for weeks, so here it go. . . . (Warning TMI ahead!!)

This is how it went:

Dr. M (beginning my examination): Wow! You are constipated!
Me: Really?!
Dr. M: Yes. Just full of stool. All backed up.
Me: Hmmmm.
Dr. M: How often do you go to the bathroom?
Me: Every couple of days?
Dr. M: That’s not good! You should really be going every day, if not twice a day.
Me: Yeah. That would be my husband.
Dr. M: You really need to eat more fiber. And lots of water.
Me: I drink at least 2 liters a day, so. . . ?
Dr. M: You should probably think about taking a probiotic. At night before bed.
Me: I think I have some at home.
Dr. M: We should be like dogs. We eat, we poop. You never hear of dogs getting colon cancer.
Me: {thinks to herself – what IS it with this guy and dogs?}

This is how it should have gone:

Dr. M (beginning my examination): Wow! You are constipated!
Me: Ever seen that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer waits so long he misses his chance? Well, that was me today. I was busy and missed my chance at least twice. I tried to go a few minutes ago, but like I said, I missed my chance.
Dr. M: Well, at least you tried. How often do you go to the bathroom?
Me: Every other day or so. How often do YOU go to the bathroom?
Dr. M: Ummm. That’s not really the point here. You should really be going every day, if not twice a day.
Me: Bowel issues, Doc? Is that why you’ve gotten chubby? Is that why you’re all crankypants today?
Dr. M: I am not chubby! Besides, you really need to eat more fiber. And drink lots of water.
Me: How do you know it’s not because I’ve had low back problems for the last few weeks? Or because my hormones are out of whack and maybe (just maybe?) you should check them out, run a panel or something, before you run off and prescribe me hormonal birth control?
Dr. M: You’re right. Let’s get some blood work done. And are you seeing a chiropractor about that back?
Me: Yes I am. Thank you, Doc, for being concerned about my whole person and not using my bowel troubles to chastise me because you are frustrated I took too long to answer your questions about my menstrual cycles.
Dr. M: You’re welcome. You know, we should really be like dogs. We eat, we poop. You never hear of dogs getting colon cancer.
Me: {thinks to herself – seriously! what IS it with this guy and dogs?}

Sadly, it didn’t go like it should have. But, I AM happy to report that I have paid close attention and my bowel habits over the last few weeks are becoming increasingly canine-ish every day. Take that and smoke it, Dr. M!



Insane Giggling and Cosleeping Update

Remember The One Where Everyone Sleeps Together? Funny story, that.

It goes something like wicked family-wide colds in early February 2011, during which baby was cranky but still played the part of an acceptable bed mate. Following which, he decided to get all big-britches on us and decide a king sized bed (California-sized, even) with his parents as bookends was cramping his 32-inch tall style.

Much thrashing and refusing to be comforted ensued, whereupon his parents decided he was asking for his own space.

And so, one historical (hysterical?) Tuesday night in February, that boy's parents fussed and fought over the deconstruction of a crib and its reconstruction into a toddler bed with the mattress cranked up to king bed height and smushed up on mom's side of the bed with pillows wedged between. I made a big to-do over "C's bed!" and "all the toys!" and the first night he was too exhausted from being kept up past his bed time and his parents fussing and fighting to care. But the next day's nap and bedtime were. . . . challenging. Everything was moved around and he had to see it all from his new digs. He is sleeping better, we are sleeping better. Big W all around - Hooray!

Now, I say "let's go sleep in C's bed!" and he climbs right up and in. Yesterday M reported that C disappeared and M found him nearly asleep in his own bed - all by himself! (I am still waiting for him to repeat that with me.)

Then today it happened. The moment I've been waiting for since he was just a newbie. When you've been just-the-two-of-you as long as we were before C and suddenly a third person moves in with you, it takes some getting used to, see. When C was tiny and I was getting used to having a tag-along, I used to expect him to come out of the bedroom at any moment. Today, he woke from his nap, climbed from his bed to our bed and down, and "screeeeeee!" went the bedroom door - and the moment I've been expecting finally came true.

It was actually quite hilarious.

But before that, C and I were in the bathtub and we found a new use for the Boon spoon. He's fetched it out of the no-longer-being-used box of bottles and other feeding accessories (that I've failed to find a good place for) more times than I can count and most recently it's ended up with his bath toys. Today I filled it with water and we sat and squirted water and filled it up and squirted water etc. for a good 20 minutes and that danged kid could hardly breathe for laughing. I've never heard him giggle so hard!

This is such a fun age. Well, except maybe the part where he is climbing up on all sorts of tables around our house and sitting on them. Yeah, that part we could maybe do without. But, other than that, FUN!



Fertility is a Grown Up Word

I recently went to Dr. M. I was excited to see him. Unfortunately, he was having a bad day or something because he was unusually brisk and impatient with me. He even seemed exasperated at one point.

I've been having cycle issues that are not normal. So when he'd ask how things "normally" go with me, it was a little difficult to tell him. My cycles have not been normal since getting pregnant the last time. Apparently, my waffling did not make him amused. (Who knew?)

Anywho, in addressing the issue, he offered hormonal birth control in several forms. The comment that stood out was when he said "I don't know where you are in terms of your fertility." Huh. Funny. I don't know either.

Instead of waffling about that (which surely would have sent him over the edge), I said "I'm not looking to be pregnant in the short-term". Which pretty much sums it up, but might only be partially true, I am coming to find.

See, it's kind of hard when I have a husband who walks around saying things like "I can't wait until I have a better job so we can have another baby" and a baby who walks around, his big, dark eyes smiling under his curly mane, looking all cute and making me want 5 more of him.

So, where am I at in terms of my fertility?

Well, the textbook answer my body would give is that I'm 34 and the clock is tick-tocking faster and faster. The official answer my spokesperson would give if I was famous is "she is not pregnant and has no plans to be in the near future". The answer my heart would give, if things like money and jobs and homes closer to money and jobs were not in the equation, is I would totally welcome another baby (and secretly am hoping for a "happy accident" that would take all the thinking and plotting and planning out of it and sort of force the issue).

In the meantime, I am loving all over the baby I have, squeezing the juices of his babyhood and relishing this time when I can still call him a baby (even as he is on the threshold of toddlerhood!), and making the most of his only-child-ness while it's here. He is a fascinating and funny kid and I really would take 5 more just like him (but only if it doesn't mean 5 more pregnancies to get there - and not all 5 at once, either). (You've got to be specific when you put these things out in the universe!)



The Miracle (I Never Knew) I Always Wanted

There was a time, not long ago, people would ask if I had kids and I would say, perhaps a little too fervently, “oh, no!”. The words would then hang in the air, the unmistakable relief I had poured into them dripping off of them until I would sweep the whole mess away with a little scoffing laugh.

As I edged toward my late twenties, I would hear myself practically exclaim my timeworn response, always the same emphasis, always the same self-satisfaction.

Still, I knew the time was not far off that I would be ready to have children. And, fearing that God, having heard my smug tone, would strip me of that ability, I decided I had better start sounding a bit more humble when answering that question.

An unplanned pregnancy is many things to many women. For me, it was the place where all my roads diverged. It was panic and logic. It was mania and purpose. It was disappointment and hope.

The miscarriage that followed was a meridian of time that marked my departure from the selfish, egocentric ways of my twenties, and in their places opened up a rabbit hole, down which everything I had believed to be sane and certain about my life suddenly fell.

The dark and dreary days thereafter are mostly jumbled somewhere in the annals of my personal history, but some are chronicled here and there. (And then there was this heartbroken Christmas wish.)

Today, I read this, and had a stirring in a primal place of my heart – perhaps the mother place that, though once dormant, has been there all along – and I feel now an urgency to here proclaim that even though I always viewed pregnancy as a means to an end, there was not a single solitary day I was pregnant that I took that miracle for granted. I never glanced sidelong at the gift that was mine, wishing it was something else, and no scoffing or scorn ever once escaped my lips.

I embraced pregnancy with my arms thrown wide, like one is wont to do with a long lost friend. Still, as sometimes happens even between long lost friends, the 10-month stay wore out my welcome to the point of being threadbare. But, as it goes with long lost friends, when pregnancy once again graces my doorstep, my enthusiastic embrace will be as warm as it is welcoming, as appreciative as it is affectionate.



On My Own

On this, the second day of January 2011, I did something that I haven't done in almost two years.

I fasted on Fast Day. Because of pregnancy and breastfeeding, the last time I fasted was February 2009.

It was hard. I kept wondering why on earth I was so hungry! Then I would remember "oh yeah! It's because I'm fasting."

But you know what that hunger also meant?

That my body is my very very own for the first time in two years. For the first time in all that time, my body is not dedicated to keep another human being alive. In fact, my little person can now feed himself with a fork, and (finally) holds his own bottles!

Hooray! Just in time to whip this body (or run it) into shape!


"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury