June 25, 2010

Just let the baby have the bone

A few weeks back, I dragged my husband to see the documentary “Babies” down at our local indie theater. Not exactly romantic date night material, but we were pleasantly surprised by how much we actually enjoyed the film.

Basically, it is a comparison of film clips between babies in four different parts of the world: Namibia, San Francisco, Japan and Mongolia. As you’d expect there are huge differences in attitude, child-rearing and even development.

But there are some similarities, too. The film manages, without any narration, to weave seamlessly together the milestones of the first year as well as providing some seriously humorous comparisons in the way these kids are raised.

Hands down, our favorite moment was the episode with the Namibian baby, Ponijao, and the bone. Read more at Hybridmom.com.

Full term

37 weeks. As far as the doctors are concerned, a baby born at this point is considered good to go. That's not to say that every day in the womb isn't beneficial, of course. 40 weeks is the best goal, for certain.

But there's a certain comfort in knowing that this whole thing could be done soon and no one would try and stop it. Ahh...

With the impending baby release date looming, though, I've been spending more time thinking about, watching and generally waxing maudlin about the two children with me already. I'm not worried, per se, though that plays into it, too. (Worry is my specialty, of course!) But things, they are a changin', and I feel distinctly nostalgic about the relationships I have now and what will be lost in the transitions to come.

Biggest of all looms the time lost alone with my girls. Each day there seems to be at least a few moments where I can just sit and be with each of them, individually, with nothing more between us then a book or a favorite toy. Anna is especially cuddly these days, almost to the point of leech-like tenacity. And even if I'm just sneaking in a nap while Silvia sleeps, I can count on her to come rest with me for a bit, pat me on the head as she wanders by and, almost always, cover me up with pillows to make me "comfortable".

With Silvia, it's more just a matter of holding on, in a very physical sense. She leans into me, she curls up on my (now nearly non-existent) lap, she grasps my hand on the stairs. She's still little, but soon she will seem so very, very big by comparison alone.

I'm not trying to romanticize the girls. They are still ornery and loud and get into their sibling wackiness with alarming regularity. They're also best friends with nothing to come between them. The status quo we've established, the ability to "share mama", is about to be challenged. I know, without a doubt, that they will insanely love this new child. But now they have to share mama in a whole new way and it's bittersweet. I, too, have to learn to split my focus yet again, and that's a little sad, too. I'm finding myself putting off just about everything in the house that I need to do on a daily basis, from dishes to laundry and figuring out meals, just so I can sit and watch them play or make a paper airplane or re-read a random chapter of "The Phantom Tollbooth" while they press up against either side of me.

As hilarious as it seems considering how challenging things sometimes are, there's a part of me that is mourning the fact that it'll never be this "easy" again. And now, I'm off to get misty-eyed and sniffle over their laundry while making excuses for the perpetual mess their room has become since they moved in together.

Remind me of my maudlin regretfulness tonight when it takes yet another hour of theatrics to get them to sleep at night, okay?

June 10, 2010

And then my face turned red and I passed out

Ok, so I didn't actually pass out. Maybe just sort of grayed out for a second and I was lying down at the time. Not terribly dramatic, if I do say so myself.

But why, you ask, am I all red in the face and woozy? Inversion. Frickin' crappy, hate the damn word and want to throw rotten tomatoes at my husband every time he asks if I've done my exercises, inversion.

Baby Three (we're just going to name it Three. Keep it simple.) is upside down. Or, technically, up side up. It's not that big a deal yet and I'm hopeful that he/she will get bored with the view and slip around the right way in the next few weeks. I mean, come on, my midwife has spent months casually reminding me that I'm "all stretched out" this time around. I'm sure there's plenty of flex in there for some last minute acrobatics!

But, just in case, I've got to do these exercises at least three times a day. I get down flat on the floor and put a bunch of pillows under my butt and relax for 15 minutes whilst Three is supposed to be encouraged somehow to change direction by the change in MY direction.

Only it's not relaxing. It kills my back and after about 30 seconds I get a massive head rush that then turns into a growing pressure headache. I have not made it to 15 minutes yet, I just roll to the side in defeat after about seven or eight minutes and then have a good little whimper while my blood circulation attempts to re-assert itself.

Oh, and of course, so far this game of pregnant Twister has not inspired any shifting at all, except to get Three to kick me more fiercely right in the cervix. Ouch.

On a brighter note, Anna LOVES this game. She gets all pillowed up right next to me and then goes into a cheery speech about how, "I can do this so much BETTER than you, Mama! After the baby comes, maybe you can do the things that I can do, but right now I'm so much better! Can you put your legs over your head like this? Try it! No? Well, I can! See? SO MUCH BETTER!".

When Three makes this little flippity-flip-flip move, I will go out and have a whole yummy strawberry shake just to reward him/her. And I will do it right-side-UP.

(See, Lea? See what I did there? I said "when", not "if". Do I rock or what?)

UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: I wanted to clarify for posterity and concerned media outlets that when I'm expressing my feelings, trepidations, joys or other whatnots about this pregnancy and impending mommyhood challenges, I'm not in anyway blaming or belittling the baby. Three is the innocent player here and I fiercely look forward to meeting this child. I know from experience that once you have another child you always find your life impossible to imagine without them. I've been there. And even with everything that happened after my second daughter was born, there was never even a second in time where I flashed an inkling of an idea that it was somehow her fault. In fact, the nature of my unreality was rooted in how my children deserved so much more than my flawed and useless self. They are the prize, I am the undeserving winner.

In my opinion (and this is, after all, all about MY OPINION, right?) I'd rather face up to what's in my head so I can deal with it and move on. Putting it all in a pretty shiny happy box of pretend does nothing for me. It's totally possible and (dare I say it? Normal!) to feel happy and blessed by your life while still acknowledging the challenges, fears and guilty sense of inadequacy that often comes along with the good stuff.

So, to summarize, if you think I'm somehow hating on the baby when I'm just being honest about MYSELF... Suck it. And that's all I have to say about that.

June 08, 2010


Today started with me peeling open my hayfever clogged eyes to the sound of Anna commanding loudly from down the hall, "NO, Cici!! That's DAN-GER-OUS! NO."

This was immediately followed by a loud bellow from the culprit of, "FINE! You're not my friend anymore!".

Then... a heavy beat of feet and arguing as they each ran into my room to complain/tattle/cry about the injustice wrought upon them by their sibling.

At 6:30 A.M. in the morning.

I do not sleep well at night (which means Kurt does not sleep well at night, but I can't convince him to give up the charade and sleep in the guest room. He said, and I quote, "I'd rather sleep badly next to you then sleep well without you". Cue the waterworks, pregnant lady. But that's another story). I wake up almost every morning exhausted. And almost every morning, I am smacked in the head with the sound and fury of two bitter rivals. Also known as best friends. Also known as boxing trainees. Also known as Broadway star hopefuls in full song and dance mode.

Also known as my children. (When I'm not using more creative language)

In the midst of these battles and screamfests and brutal mornings I always end up thinking, "Okay, so here we are dealing with THIS... now add a newborn." Anna having hysterics because Silvia scratched the hell out of her back with the guilty party now having hysterics at being put in time-out?

Add a newborn.

Two leeches following me around the kitchen within an inch of my feet, whining for chocolate milk and snacks, arguing and tripping me at every turn?

Add a newborn.

Preschooler with night terrors crying out in the night then waking her sister who now shares her room?


Please, God, let this baby be a reincarnation of Buddha with the corresponding zen indifference to noise, insomnia and gentle, guilt-ridden neglect. And since I'm here begging, I wouldn't mind a dose of that zen attitude myself.

And some soundproofing in my bedroom with a shiny new lock on the door. Wait, make that THEIR door.

June 01, 2010

The real salon experience

Dear 20-something single hair stylist boy,

Hi! After our session today, I just wanted to offer up a few suggestions. I hope these ideas will help you in your future client relations.

1) Do not complain, in detail, about how "destroyed" you are from having to drag your ass out of bed at 9 A.M. Trust me on this one-- all you are doing is making enemies. Enemies who have been up since 5 A.M., at least, and whose caffeine fixes are starting to wear off.

2) Just because you have a friend who has a child with whom you sometimes play does not qualify you to dole out parenting advice. Spending an hour or two on the weekend in the same house with a kid, while drinking on the side, does not make you "nearly a dad". Thank God.

3) Same thing goes for having a dog.

4) Yes, I am a stay at home mom. No, this does not mean I get my hair done all the time (as evidenced by my six months of split ends), and spend the afternoons out "shopping and getting lattes with the girls". I do not live in an episode of Desperate Housewives nor, quite frankly, do I want to.

And finally, 5) Never, ever, EVER ask a stay at home mom (especially one who is hugely pregnant and exhausted), "Well, what do you plan to do when you go back to having a real job?".


The woman who tipped you 2%

P.S. My hair looks great, by the way. Kudos!