Friday, July 30, 2010

Bird brain.

I think I figured out why they call it nesting. One day you're a fairly normal person and then suddenly (perhaps after an appointment with your prenatal care provider where she reminds you that you will have a new baby in your home...SOON), it's as if a bird flies into your head through your ear (probably while you're napping) and builds a big ol' messy nest where your brain once was. Where normal, rational thoughts used to grow, now there's nothing but twigs and grass and chewing gum (my mom convinced me from a very early age that discarded gum is how birds hold their nests together - that's why it was okay that she spit her gum out the car window that one time and why I should stop calling her Litter Bug).

Suddenly you are consumed with an innate desire to PREPARE FOR BABY. NOW! All else falls to the wayside as you drag every last baby item out of the basement, set up the crib, wash and fold all the 0-3 month clothes, pack the diaper bag, disinfect the toys, sterilize the bottles, set up the swing and the bouncy chair and the car seat and the stroller, take inventory of all the things you have and all the things you need and obsess, obsess, OBSESS until every last detail is in place and ready for baby.

I procrastinated just enough that all this nonsense took place over one fast and furious weekend. Well, most of it anyway. By Sunday night a few weeks ago everything was found and washed and ready except for two things: our crib mobile and our infant car seat. Pretty good, right? Not to me. When you have a nest in your head, being this close to perfect just pisses you off. Who cares if you have a perfectly made up crib and a dresser full of adorable clothes and oodles of toys and diapers and bottles and everything else you could possibly need if you're missing a piece for your mobile and the canopy for your car seat has gone MIA? That's enough to justify full blown hysteria!

I tried to tackle these problems rationally but it just didn't work out that way. After several days of scouring the house and the basement looking for the missing piece of the mobile and wondering, Did I really see all of the parts when I first opened that box or am I imagining things? Why would we have packed something away if it was missing a piece? Have I looked in the laundry room in the last hour? Maybe I'll look again just in case... I finally had to hide the damn thing in Finn's closet just so it would stop taunting me. If the piece turns up, fine. If it doesn't, whatever. Maybe I'll revisit the importance of a crib mobile at another time but for now, out of sight, out of mind (and boy howdy was I out of my mind!).

As for the car seat canopy, I immediately took a different approach. Unlike a crib mobile, a car seat is non-negotiable. I can't just hide it in the closet and hope for the problem to solve itself. Not that the shade canopy is technically paramount for safety but it does seem mighty important. But because I have a vague recollection that the canopy really is lost and not just messing with me like that stupid missing mobile piece, it was easy for me to skip searching the basement and go straight to searching the Internet.

Besides, I never really loved our car seat to begin with. I mean, it's fine and it definitely does the job but had I known when I bought it that it would be as much an accessory as the diaper bag for the first six months of baby's life, I probably would have chosen more thoughtfully. Safety is most important, of course, but there's no reason something can't be safe and cute.

As soon as I hopped online, my desire for something cute grew exponentially. I had no idea how many adorable ways there were to pimp your car seat! Sure, some of the car seat covers I found cost more than the car seat itself (like, a lot more) but I didn't care. I was in the zone! I had managed to convince myself that having a cute car seat was absolutely essential and I wasn't going to stop until I had one in hand.

It took most of the afternoon but I finally found The One. (I am incredibly picky on a normal day but when there's a nest in my head? Forget about it.)

How cute is that? And it's a bird print - ha!

Once I found it I became completely insane. While I am decisive about what I want, I tend to be really indecisive about purchasing what I want. I think it's the whole not having a job thing. I mean, you do the math: no income + $65 for something adorable yet arguably unnecessary + shipping = kind of a big deal. I felt compelled to spend the next couple hours justifying the fact that I was totally going to buy it (some of the car seat covers are like $200...this is the cutest one I found and it's a total steal...just think about all the money we're saving on reusing our crib and our stroller and everything else we already have...). Even though the pep-talk was really for myself, I was still pretty excited when Bill gave me the go-ahead. When I told him I pulled the trigger, I think he was pleasantly surprised. It's not unusual for his support to act like unintentional reverse psychology. He says "buy it!" and suddenly I don't want it anymore.

I waited patiently (yeah right) for a couple of days before the whole nesting insanity started to take over again. I checked my order online and found that it had been placed on hold. When I inquired with the company I found that it was out of stock - they could make me another one but it would be several weeks before it would be ready. Several weeks?! No way could I wait that long. Not in my condition. So I canceled my order and purchased the same cover from a different company I found online. I'm going to stop right here and spare you the excruciating play-by-play. Let's just say 10 days, four canceled orders, and many hours spent combing the Internet later, I gave up and bought a replacement cover for my car seat from Graco directly.

It's no Earthy Owls (sniff), but it's much cuter than my old car seat and looks perfect with this adorable blankie I got at my baby shower.

Swaddled model - my baldie from 1st grade, Mel Robertson!

On the upside, if I am still nutso insane about my car seat after our baby is born (doubtful), I will know exactly where to look to purchase a fancy pants new cover. While several companies carried the same inventory, Trendy Tots ~n~ Polka Dots was a bright and shining star when it came to customer service. She seemed to totally understand my unwillingness to choose something different or wait a couple of weeks for what I wanted. Like my nesting behavior was a perfectly normal thing that she deals with every single day. While I know I am being completely unreasonable, I appreciate anyone who makes me feel like I'm not.

So that's the end of the car seat cover saga. And hopefully with it the end of this stupid nesting!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Facing my fears.

Last night, in the middle of the night, it happened. Twice. Thankfully, both times turned out to be a false alarm but I was unpleasantly surprised how instinctively I went into panic mode. As I lay there in the dark, sweat trickling down my face and neck, all I could think was, "This is it: we're all going to die."

What scared me most is how fast it was happening. It felt like we couldn't have more than a few minutes to get out of there. Maybe it was already too late? My head was spinning and I had no idea what to do first. Should I wake up Bill? Get our stuff together? Grab Liam and Grandma or let them keep sleeping? Even in the midst of panic I knew I could very well be blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Maybe I should wait a few minutes to see what was going to happen?

And then, just as suddenly as it started, it was over. With a whir and a hum, the power clicked back on and with it the lifesaving goodness of the air conditioning. And the fan! I've never been so thankful for a ceiling fan in all my life. It immediately cooled me down at least twenty degrees and made me want to shout from the rooftops, "Hallelujah! We're not going to die!!!"

I am so thankful I had the courage to survive such a harrowing ordeal. A weaker woman might not have made it. I have to credit a decision I made earlier in the day for buoying my confidence and giving me the strength to face my fears and come out the other side a better person. Who knew a bedazzled bikini top on clearance at Target could have such an impact?

Woah, Kelly Clarkson!

I'm sure you're like, Um, yeah, so why would a bikini top have such an impact? I mean, it's covered in tacky rhinestones and, no offense, but you're HUGE. What about this is supposed to be exciting? Well, I'll tell you. This is my VERY FIRST TWO PIECE SWIM SUIT. Ever! Okay, maybe that's not entirely true. I did buy a bikini once before but I never actually wore it out of the house. (I'm sure that comes as a shock - you're probably still suffering from the temporary blindness brought on by the extreme lily whiteness of a massive belly that has never once seen the light of day.)

Me, my sister & the other bikini (circa '96-ish)

Looking at that photo now I'm like, Why didn't I run around in a two piece all the time? I'm super skinny! But you know you never appreciate stuff like that until it's too late. Like not until after you have stretch marks and a permanent squishy spot from where you once grew a child inside your body. Only then can you really see how hot you once were.

But that's not why I took my big ass bikini shopping yesterday. I did it because a good friend of mine recently gave birth to a big beautiful baby boy and her birth story was so freaking inspiring I don't know if I want to kiss her or kick her (that line between awe and envy is mighty thin). It was quick and natural and just about as close to perfect as any girl could hope for. But my most favorite part was that she birthed her baby in a bikini! She was lucky enough to get one of the labor and delivery rooms with a tub and was in it just before she needed to push. So when her baby came out and the midwife plopped him on her chest, it was a fabulously bikini clad chest! What a way to welcome a new life into this world. Hellooo, dahling!

I may not get to orchestrate exactly how my delivery will go but I can certainly do my best to be prepared. I am with a great practice of midwives (yes, the same one my friend used - I'm no dummy) with a great doula, a great husband, and a great, no fabulous!, birthing bikini tucked in my suitcase just in case I get a room with a tub. I've done my research and Liam has quite literally paved the way for Finn's arrival. Now all I have to do is wait for my beautiful baby to be plopped on my fabulously bikini-clad chest! (I'm only slightly re-thinking the rhinestones...) Bring it on - I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

By request: Liam's big boy room!

Here are some photos of Liam's new room. I think it's finally finished! Of course, it will always sort of be a work in progress. We have to leave some wiggle room for new Liam art we want to display and the ever-changing collection of "favorite" books and toys. And besides, if it's too perfect, it won't be any fun!

The view from the hallway:

We hung a bulletin board over his thinking chair to display his school work, letters from family and anything else he loves; set up the record player so he can listen to music whenever he wants; placed a "work bench" under the window for drawing or doing Puzzle Buzz or whatever; and found a great fuzzy rug at Target to warm up the room and give us a good place to chillax (not to mention, it's a soft landing for the slide!).

The other side of his room:

His big comfy bed (it's the one Bill slept in as a kid!) with a memory foam pad, robot bedding, storage space for all his stuffed animals and special things (plus drawers underneath for his clothes), and a dimmer switch for his reading lamp; his racetrack, basketball hoop, and "anything box" full of dress up clothes; and a big cabinet full of toys and games.

The music corner:

His drum set and musical equipment with a stool that doubles as storage; the only working fireplace in the house (shouldn't every 4 year old have one of those?); more books; and of course, his Beatles poster.

The dressing area:

His coats and bags and shoes (he prefers them in a pile - if I try to straighten them, it ticks him off); his very own hamper and mirror; another view of his bed and some of the items displayed on his wall (a really old photo of Reno, a snow globe from Valentine's Day, his 1st birthday invitation signed by all the party-goers, etc).

Thanks for reminding me to share these pictures, Jaime and Meredith! And, if anyone else has something you'd like to see or a story you wish I would tell or a question you're just dying to know the answer to, hit me up. I can't make any promises that I'll respond in a timely manner but I'm more than happy to take requests!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tick tock.

Did you know that full term for pregnancy is anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks? So that whole "due date" thing is really just a bunch of crap. It's actually more like a due month. Which is fine, of course, just a little vague.

37 weeks pregnant.

For one, it makes any sort of planning somewhat hilarious. Especially when your entire family lives all the way across the country. My sister booked a flight to come out mid-August and the best I can tell her is, "We might have a three week old; I might still be pregnant!" Not that it matters that much but I really want to have a "come hold my baby so I can have a drink / it's our 10 year anniversary" party and think it would be super fun to do it while she's in town. But there's no way I'm hosting a kegger if I'm still pregnant or only a few days home from the hospital. Although we did have a birthday party for Bill when Liam was 6 days old and that turned out alright (if you don't count me not being able to sit down all night on account of the situation).

On second thought - I look exhausted.

Being full term for such a long time also confuses the heck out of non-pregnant people (especially guys) who seem to think that a woman with a belly the size of, well, a full grown human baby, should probably NOT be out and about amongst normal people. The due date offers them some form of relief (Oh, okay, not until August 9th. Phew! I thought maybe you were going to go into labor right here at this party!), but then I throw the whole due month idea on them and they quickly excuse themselves to go get another drink.

I can't blame them. I mean, pregnant women are kind of bizarre. It's just so, you know, miraculous that it seems a little sideshow freakish. Ladies and gentlemen, turn your attention to the center ring where our very own Gestational Gina is growing a human being INSIDE HER BODY! At least I'm not the bearded lady.

At this stage of pregnancy, a lot of attention turns to getting the baby OUT. If I was a better student I would probably be spending my days walking and having sex, walking and having sex, walking and having sex. I mean, isn't that what they say you should do to get the baby out? But here's the thing. It's the middle of summer. In Nashville. Going for a walk is not only the last thing in the world a pregnant lady would want to do, it's also downright dangerous.

(I'm not usually scared by things in the news but when it works to my advantage, I'll take it.)

And when it comes to the sex, well, let's just takes two to tango. I can't say I blame my husband for not wanting to touch me with a ten foot pole. I mean, if my hugely pregnant wife told me her midwife could feel the baby's head with her finger and then suggested she have lots of sex to get her cervix primed for labor, I might have a few concerns of my own too. Sure, we all know sex during pregnancy is fine (even when the baby's head is RIGHT THERE) but can anyone really explain how? I don't think so.

Fortunately, I'm not in any hurry. I had a quick moment of panic at my appointment last week when my midwife made it sound like I could have the baby in the car on the way home but now that the house if more or less ready, I'm good to go whenever Finn decides to come out.

I still feel really good which is amazing considering at this stage in my pregnancy with Liam I was about ready to kill myself or the next person who asked, "When you gonna have that baby?" Any day I don't go into labor feels like borrowed time. I get another full nights sleep. Read more books about the awesomeness of birth. Find an excuse to swing by Panera Bread for a cinnamon crunch bagel. Cash in the 9 months pregnant card for a foot massage. Spend a few hours in a nice cool bath. Make out with my air conditioning. Take a nap. It's like the perfect summer vacay!

I think the only thing I really have to do before Finn is born is pack my suitcase for the hospital. It's on my to-do list for today right after "eat huge breakfast" and "lounge around in bed all afternoon". It should be pretty easy considering I've been through this before. I probably spent more time and brain power on packing the perfect hospital stay suitcase for Liam's birth than I have spent on anything in the last four and a half years and I never once opened the darn thing. Lesson learned.

Besides, I don't have time to spend all day packing a suitcase. I have much more pressing things on my agenda.

If I don't take the time to do these things now, it could be a very long time before I get another chance. And I, for one, would much rather be safe than sorry.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Showered with love.

Over the weekend, a couple of the loveliest girls I know hosted a baby shower for me and my new little bundle of joy. "What's that?" you say. "A baby shower for your second baby? Isn't that a little...tacky?" No, it's not. And do you know how I know it's not? Two reasons. 1) When I wondered that very same thing to my sister she said, "What? Like the second baby isn't good enough for a party of his own? Only the first baby gets to be celebrated? That's crap. As the second child I am totally offended." And 2) Girls in The South know things. If two southern girls offer to throw you a baby shower, you accept, dammit. And you know for a fact that a second baby shower is as proper as putting on the good apron to greet your guests.

You Nevadans thought I was joking about the apron...
How awesome is it that I wasn't?!

The shower was so much fun and really a truly wonderful way to celebrate this baby. And this mama. I can't even tell you how spoiled I felt. It was awesome! When I asked what I could do to help, I was told to just show up looking motherly and be prepared to ooh and aah over teeny tiny presents.

Done and done.

At one point (probably while I was stuffing my face with blueberry coffee cake and grits...), one of my friends pulled out a Polaroid camera and a photo album and everyone got to work making me a one-of-a-kind guest book.

Can I just say, there is nothing better than having a totally FINISHED scrapbook of something you really treasure. I should have invited this group over to document Liam's first year...

The shower couldn't have come at a better time. All of the darling outfits and blankies and bottles and toys I oohed and aahed over like a good little Mama did something to me that 9 months of pregnancy simply haven't - they made me realize that I am going to have a baby. Now, don't get me wrong, obviously I am well aware that I'm having a baby. But this isn't Liam Round 2; it's Finn! We are bringing a brand new person into our family. Into the world. And with him will come a million completely new experiences. Who woulda thought a teeny little onesie could be so powerful?

The timing was also great because, according to the midwife I saw yesterday, this baby could potentially be here soon. Like, VERY SOON. She said things like, "He's nice and low and in a great position," and "Your cervix is very soft and thin," and "You're already open about 1 cm!" and "I'll schedule your next three visits but I doubt you'll need them all."

Um, you guys? My last appointment is scheduled for August 4th. FIVE DAYS before my due date. While I know this little bambino could very well decide he isn't ready to come out for quite some time, he could also want to meet us, like, tomorrow. Either way, we will have one of these in our home very, very soon.

And thanks to the shower full of goodies and the kick in the pants I so desperately needed from the midwife, we will most likely be ready when he is!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Love hurts.

Last night was the first night Liam slept in his new big boy room. He had a great night's sleep and woke up feeling happy and proud but let me tell you, we didn't get there without wading through a heap of drama first. And, tears. Oh my goodness, the tears!

The three of us spent all day Monday working on the room transformation. It was like a not fun game of musical chairs. Move the computer out of this room so we can move Liam's drums in. Now find somewhere to put that bed so we can set up the crib. Empty those drawers so we can move Liam's clothes out and make room for the onesies. Anything that didn't have a place to go at the moment ended up in our bedroom. The computer desk, musical equipment, random chairs, three unusable laptops (why?!). It's like we're finally getting the college dorm experience we both missed out on. Except instead of looking forward to the next kegger, we're waiting on a baby. I am really hoping he'll arrive after we find a permanent home for all this stuff. But then again, he is our second born. He'll probably come equipped to roll with the punches.

While we got a lot of the heavy lifting done on Monday, Liam's new room still required quite a bit of fine-tuning before it was ready for an overnight guest. So Liam and I spent yesterday driving back and forth to Target and putting on the finishing touches. By bedtime, we were ready. Not that his new room is by any means finished. Oh god no. Depending on my mood it either feels 99% there or not even close. BUT - the sheets were clean, the stuffed animals were in place and the nightlight was aglow. All that was missing was a big boy named Liam.

To commemorate the momentous occasion, we all piled into his bed to do story time as a family. He eenie-meenie-miney-moed to find out who would read and who would sing. Fortunately, because he's a smart kid and extends the "and you are it" part as long as it takes to land on the one he really wants, I got to read and Bill got to sing. Could you imagine if he had chosen the other way around? I mean, I know you've probably never heard me eek out my bedtime favorites - You Are My Sunshine, The More We Get Together, and Make New Friends (it's a Girl Scout song I sometimes sang to my sister at at night when we shared a room...not because I'm a good singer, just because I couldn't listen to one more night of Thriller and she needed a little music to help her fall asleep) - but it's not exactly the kind of thing I'm dying to do in front of an audience. Especially an audience that includes my husband. He's kind of a rock star when it comes to singing (okay, when it comes to most things).

I finished reading the three stories Liam picked out and then snuggled up next to my sleepy, tan, naked son to hear some songs. Bill opened with Elvis' Ku-u-i-po - the song he sang to me (and the rest of the passengers on board our United flight) on the way to Hawaii for our honeymoon. The flight attendants made all of the newlywed husbands either sing a love song or recite a love poem over the loud speaker at some point before the flight was over. If anyone resisted, they stood next to their seats in grass skirts and coconut bras with a bullhorn taunting them until they gave in. We said yes right away. Not only did we want to spare the people around us from a Ty Pennington experience (Okay people, let's do this!), we had also been bribed with a bottle of wine. Who says no to that?

After Elvis came a Dada original. I thought I had heard it before as he's been singing it for a couple of years now but I had no idea the song had grown and changed just like our boy. It used to go:

I love you and I'll see you soon.
But it's milky time.
Time for some milk.
See I'm growing in so very many ways,
You should hear all the words I can say...
Like, I love you.
And I'll see you soon.
It's milky time...
Time for goodnight.

I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was the new song. The song that actually lists all the very many ways he's growing. Last night it went something like this:

See I'm growing in so very many ways,
You should hear all the words I can say, read, spell, write, sing...
And I go to school, and it's super cool.
And I eat new foods, like quesadillas and chicken nuggets.
And I swim underwater with my snorkel and mask,
and my flippers that make me go really fast.

(Somehow it rhymed and made sense when Bill did it...)

At some point I got really choked up. As Bill continued to sing to Liam about all of the big boy things he was doing that made us so proud, I laid there blubbering like an idiot and soaking the brand new pillow cases with tears.

And I love to read books, and help Dada cook.
And I know how to spell - I spell really well.
And...what else?

Liam took White Bi out of his mouth and whispered to his Dada, "I changed rooms."

Yes! And I got a new room, and it's not too soon.
It's the perfect time because I'm going to be a big brother.

I lost it. So did Bill. Liam popped White Bi back in his mouth and sucked quietly while listening to his personalized bedtime song while we cried like a couple of babies. (I love Liam for not calling us out on stuff like this.) Bill wrapped up the song and finished with his third choice - a somehow humorous rendition (complete with sign language!) of Red House Painter's Three Legged Cat. By the time we turned off the light (and then turned it back on just a little bit), we were all laughing.

We shut the door to Liam's room - the room across the hall - and went to our dorm room to try to find our bed. But the room next door to us was just...empty. Liam's old room and his old crib and all the toys and clothes he had grown out of. It was all just sitting there in the dark. Too small for our big boy. Our big boy who was ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE HALL. I kept waiting for him to get up. To go to the bathroom or get a drink or say, "I'm too little for this new room that is all the way across the hall from you!" I waited, but nothing happened. So Bill and I stood in his old room, in the dark, pretending not to cry or think about how quickly the last four and a half years have gone or how quickly the next four, eight, ten, twelve will go. "At least he's just across the hall and not at college," Bill offered. Yeah. It's true. For now. But you saw that damn Toy Story 3. You know it's just a matter of time!

It kept me up all night. Okay, maybe the huge baby kicking me in the bladder kept me up all night, but every time I'd get up to go to the bathroom and see through the crack in my door that Liam's room was still softly lit and his door was closed, I'd get a little pang of sadness. How am I supposed to just go back to bed when my heart is all the way across the hall?

Okay, this is ridiculous. I'm crying again! And I really have to stop because it's time to go get Liam from preschool soon where he goes twice a week to like, have his own life that does not involve me or Dada. And after school today I promised him we would go to the craft store to get an exclamation point to hang on the wall after his name because evidently growing up is really fun and exciting and it deserves an exclamation point. LIAM was fine for his old room but now that he's bigger, LIAM! is more appropriate. He's right of course. It is exciting. I am just having trouble embracing the exclamation point right now. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant and hormonal. Or maybe it's because it doesn't matter what side of the hall you sleep on, sometimes growing up is really hard.