It's 7:30 and quiet except for the wind whistling around the house. We've been sleeping with the windows open this week, and I'm considering making a night-time raid on our neighbors' wind chimes. I know they're soothing and wonderful... if they're your own, and it's not blowing hard all night.
We have a busy weekend ahead. This afternoon is a birthday party for 2-yr old Alex, and we're going both to celebrate with him and so that his older sister has someone to play with and boss around (Otto is amenable to being bossed around by cute brunettes).
Last night I asked Otto what a good birthday present would be for another little boy like him, and he said "cars!" So Matchbox cars it is.
Tomorrow morning we're off to see Thomas the Tank Engine in REAL LIFE at Greenfield Village. The weather promises to be ugly, but that doesn't stop true train fans like us. We'll probably spend an hour in the round house anyway. And maybe if it rains the lines will be short so that we can get a snapshot with Sir Topham Hatt.
Otto is a language machine lately. He's getting kudos at school for being so "verbal." Jon and I just smile and nod, since we've known all along that he was fine, not behind on the developmental curve the way they worried. But it is fun to have conversations with him and listen to him chatter. And we're having to watch what we say, since he's now a word sponge and will repeat everything.
The other night he met me at the door with a pen and a pad of paper, asked me to follow him to the living room, and proceeded to write his name for me. His Os are a little shaky and his ts a little loopy, but he can indeed spell his name out loud and write the letters that make it up. Yay for short names! I think he's good with the alphabet in general -- he loves his flashcards -- and I've started pointing out words as we read his favorite books. Sharing reading with him is such fun for me, and I'm just thankful he enjoys it.
The baby continues to kick me and grow bigger, and I'm having more and more trouble getting comfortable in bed at night. Or at my desk during the day. Or in my car. You get the picture... Next week we start every-other-week appointments, and not long after that it'll be weekly. I've been looking at refresher birthing classes but haven't found anything good yet, and am wondering if it's really necessary anyway. Need to start practicing the relaxation exercises for hypnobirthing, though.
What with the birthday parties and trips to see Thomas and books to read, getting ready just doesn't feel as urgent as it did when I had Otto. And every day he's here as proof that we've done it before -- maybe not beautifully, but competently enough. Thanks to him, we know that what this baby will really need upon arrival isn't a perfect nursery or new gear. She'll just need us.
Thankfully, the last two days have gone better. While I was changing him Thursday night Otto told me that using the potty at school is about "following the rules." I said "Really? OK." Hopefully this little break can help us figure out how to make the leap from following rules, which is helpful to a point, to knowing when he needs to go and what to do about it. I'll re-read Sears and Brazelton this week for ideas.
I've decided that spring is the ultimate drug for Michiganders. Everyone in our subdivision has their windows open. You hear people laughing and talking well past dark, with lights on in living rooms until midnight. Dogs I'd swear I've never seen before are getting walked twice a day. Spontaneous backyard parties pop up as people rediscover their decks, and everyone seems to be doing yard work or starting a new home improvement project. I don't think happy pills in the water supply could have a more dramatic effect.
Yesterday I got home and there was a miniature parade heading down the street to the neighborhood playground. Otto was riding his trike, Noah was driving his miniature Chevy Silverado with his little sister riding shotgun, and Chris and Ryan were on scooters. We ended up spending a good hour or so at the park getting caught up with our neighbors while the kids chased each other around.
Otto finally allowed Noah to give him a ride. Last summer he was fascinated by Noah's truck, but wouldn't sit in it let alone let Noah drive him around. As the passenger last night he was in charge of communications and kept talking into the little CB radio. Noah's quite the showboat driver for a 5 year old, and Otto laughed and laughed while bouncing over the ground at 5 mph. We got home late, sunburned and sweaty and dusty, and fell asleep almost before our heads hit their respective pillows.
Today we've been busy running errands - haircuts for the boys, hazardous waste to the recycling place, returning bottles for deposits, etc. Tonight I think we'll go have dinner with Grandma.
Tomorrow I want to go to yoga, though it means missing church, and some housecleaning definitely needs to get done. And with two months, 17 days to go until the baby's arrival (or at least her due date), we'd better do some baby work. Like getting the room somewhat ready (though she'll sleep in the co-sleeper and get changed on our bathroom counter for the first couple of months). And picking a name -- a name would be a good thing to have before we go to the hospital. I browsed Borders for a bit on Wednesday, looking for a new potty training book (no luck) and a new name book (picked the Baby Name Wizard).
But who wants to do homework of any sort when it's 70 and sunny outside?
About a week and a half ago, something changed at day care. I don't know what. But O has been acting out much more than usual.
Last Wednesday night he came home with 5 plastic grocery bags, each of which contained urine-soaked clothes, including his shoes. Jon said they'd had a really bad day, that he needed a couple of time outs and that it'd been rough. Bad days happen, at home and at school, and as long as it's one bad day here and there it doesn't worry me much.
Thursday morning I dropped him off, and before I could ask for myself what had happened his teacher said (with a cheerful little laugh), "I know we're making a lot of laundry for you, mom, but we're making progress on potty training!" Which immediately shut down my ability to voice a concern, since my concern would obviously come from being lazy and not wanting to do laundry. Thursday was a short day, he had a doctor's appointment, and he still came home with two sets of dirty clothing.
Friday morning I walked in, said to the teacher available "I brought 3 pairs of rubber pants with his training pants, I want him to wear them all the time. If he's soaking himself to his shoes 4 times a day, he's not getting it and he needs the rubber pants." She nodded and agreed.
Friday went a little better. Monday seemed to go OK. Neither day was accident free, but it wasn't blow-out city either.
Tuesday night I picked him up and there were 4 more bags waiting for me. I went in to see the owner (by the time I can get there to pick him up his teachers are long gone), and explained both that I didn't think this was working, and that I didn't understand why they weren't using his rubber pants all the time. She promised to look into it.
We got home that evening and Otto had the mother of all meltdowns, ending with locking himself in the bathroom and wetting his pants. It took me 5 or 10 minutes to get him to calm down enough to let me touch him and help him change.
You can tell me that he's 3, and challenging, and willful and stubborn and all of that, and you would be right. It's his job right now. But his dad and I don't believe that public humiliation in the form of letting a child wet himself multiple times a day in front of his classmates is any way to teach. The end point is, he has to know when to use the bathroom by feeling the urge to go. If he can't do that yet, then this is all pointless. Which is when I really get upset.
I am, at the moment, a big raw walking nerve ending. Hormonally-challenged would be putting it nicely. Jon and I talked it over Tuesday night on the phone and agreed on what we wanted them to do, but I couldn't face going in to day care and talking to the "making me do laundry" teacher by myself. All I would've done is stand in the office sobbing, which is a great way to boost my authority and inspire confidence in my child. So I took the coward's way out and kept him home.
And yes, I'm also researching difference child care centers. We toured a Montessori place yesterday (interesting), and I'm trying to get in to see the center at a local university. Switching him immediately isn't practical, though, and I do believe in trying to work things through. If they'll listen to us and make some changes, things might turn out OK.
Today Jon dropped O off (I had an early drs appt), talked to the manager (who had already talked to the teacher on my behalf), and everyone has agreed to take a couple of weeks off the whole potty training thing. They've had him on their regimen for 9 months now, it's clearly not working, and I want them to back off long enough for us to figure something out ourselves.
I'd also like to know what changed last week and getting information has been difficult. We'll schedule a conference with the teacher and the owner in a week or so to talk things over. Maybe by then I'll be more coherent and less emotional. That would be nice!
In better news, it seems my thyroid is keeping up with the pregnancy just fine. Only one more visit with the endocrinologist before I deliver. It'll be nice to be back to annual visits, instead of every other month. I forgot about renewing my referral for this appointment until 3am on Wednesday morning, and of course you can't call for a referral at 3am. So I got up and wrote myself a big post it note and put it on my mirror, then laid sleeplessly in bed trying not to think about having to reschedule because I have swiss cheese for brains. Slotting into a specialist's schedule is like stuffing in that wafer-thin mint at the end of a huge meal. Thankfully my awesome drs office got it done in time and I was saved.
This morning Otto insisted Grandma be the one to take him to school, where he proudly led her to his coat hook and then to his classroom so she could meet his teachers. No fussing, no guilt trips, no last-minute demands for Puppy or a train or a book to take along. Sometimes life as a mom just isn't fair.
I realize he doesn't understand the concept of "baby" and has no idea that a major life change is on the horizon. But lately he's giving me a hard time, and I think he knows there's something going on. Something that makes me less reliable, beyond the usual pregnancy-brain issues.
At least, this is what I'm telling myself. It's either that or I need the Supernanny to intervene, and I like to think I'm not that desperate yet.
We had a great weekend with my in-laws, who made the long drive from Iowa to see us. Makes me wish we could compress distance by pinching roads together or something else equally sci-fi. I did not take any pictures. Again. I am lame.
And yesterday work was a zoo. I was locked in my office all day, finishing my tasks for the monthly meeting. Around 4 I went downstairs to check in with staff and take a break. I got to the circulation desk and was immediately swarmed.
D - I can't find cut-rate hand wipes at the grocery anymore, what are we going to do? Should we pay more? Should we send someone to the dollar store?
J - Hey! Did you see the news? Microsoft's new operating system got hacked! You have to watch for articles tonight, I think they're trying to kill the story!
A - If you're going downtown anyway, could you get me a sandwich? And D, do you want anything? Yes? OK, what do you want?
F - Someone brought back some books and they really smell like smoke. I wiped them off (with the wipes we're almost out of) and they still smell. Do we have any plastic bags and dryer sheets?
They were all talking at once, bless them, and I sort of managed to pay attention and answer appropriately while I wondered that they didn't seem to notice each other or the fact that 3 other people were trying to engage me in conversation. I left a few minutes later to take my break, sort of mentally shaking my head. I can spend hours at the desk on other days and get hardly any interaction at all, but if I'm absorbed in something else, whoa Nellie! Scarcity makes me popular. Just think how they'll feel after I'm on leave for 3 months.
I got home late, to my rebellious boy who refuses to do anything for me lately, and bedtime was no fun. But we got through it, and when he went to bed he was clean and wearing pajamas.
Oy. I'm tired.
Dear little Chopetta --
Just what, exactly, are you doing in there?
Push ups? Handstands? A little yoga, especially the downward facing dog?
It seems that you've migrated north, putting pressure on my lungs and expanding my upper ribcage.
While my bladder thanks you, the midwife is a bit confused. I measured 4cm more than I should've today, and your heartbeat was difficult to find. It sounded like you had your back to us and your head down while you pouted in a corner. Normally I measure exactly as I should, 27cm for 27 weeks, etc. so we agreed it was strange that I should be so far off the chart today.
I realize that I skipped our usual OJ with calcium this morning -- I did that because we had to take the glucose test, and I couldn't have anything sugary beforehand. But didn't the massage kind of make up for that? Our therapist, by the way, totally noticed how you moved and let my stomach relax after the massage. That lasted until after I was home and had supper, when your dad looked at me and said "holy cow! You're bigger now than you were an hour ago!"
Not words a woman likes to hear.
But I digress. Whatever it is, sweet pea, you can tell me. Kick me three times if you're pouting because we haven't had enough citrus today. I'll give you grapefruit in the morning to make up for it, OK?
He did great! And his teeth looked good, too (sigh of relief from mom).
They have a train set up to run on a wire grid just under the ceiling, over the exam areas -- when he was done, she ran it just for him. Needless to say, he was entranced.
This photo cracks me up... his expression is so very "I am a big boy so I am being very good and smiling for the camera because this nice lady asked me to, but I have no idea what's going on here."
Certain aspects of being pregnant can be... uncomfortable.
Especially in the upper torso area.
For weeks now I've been trying to figure out where to go to get fitted for new bras. What I've been wearing has been OK up until very lately and I've been looking for new things, but there aren't any shops in this area where they seem to do proper fittings and have a nice range of styles to try (read: not armor-plated lace). Having been fitted for nursing bras at the hospital by a woman who knew her stuff, the tape-measure-over-the-shirt method at Macy's wasn't going to do it for me. The nearest Nordstrom's is in Novi -- not a short drive, and we don't head up that way on a regular basis, so although I wanted to check out their famed fitting service I hadn't had the chance.
This afternoon my mom and I headed north for some serious shopping. She needed clothes for a trip later this month, and I needed bras that didn't itch, bind, or fray elastic around the edges.
We found several cute things for mom's trip - from casual to dressy - which was a lot of fun. But by the time we finished at that store it was just after 5. I asked the sales clerk, "what time does the mall close?"
"Five," she said, and my heart sank. No Nordstrom's. No comfy new bra. I started itching just thinking about having to wait another week to make the trek north. By the time we got out to the car I was almost in tears. Me, the person who got through hours of labor without meds. This bra thing, it was baaaad.
Mom was feeling guilty, and I said "I can't believe they close at 5, let's drive over and see."
So we crossed the street and wound through the mall parking lot, which was still full. There weren't floods of people leaving and I started feeling hopeful. We got to the store, and not only did the sign say they were open until 6, but there was a parking spot in the front row by the main door.
Fifteen minutes later, after the cheerful attention of a lovely young woman who knows how to PROPERLY FIT a person, I was the proud owner of two new Wacoals. I even wore one home, it felt so much better. Crisis averted! I wanted to give that fitter a hug -- not even for the tape measure so much as for knowing her stock and grabbing exactly what I needed at the first try. Then she brought out a couple of nursing bras to show me, gave me her card, and told me to come back after the baby's born.
Believe me, I will!
Oh, it is so beautiful this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon we went out in the front yard, and lo and behold our neighbors were outside too. This is when we know spring has finally sprung! When winter hits, we're all tucked into our houses, parking in the garage, landlocked by ice and snow and winter coats. If you do make it out at the same time you're usually so bundled up you can hardly recognize the other person. Plus you're often wielding a shovel or piloting a snow blower, which makes chatting difficult.
The family right next door (to our south) has a little boy who's almost exactly Otto's age - just a few months younger. The two boys met up in the yard yesterday and started playing together, which brought the parents out to talk, too.
And wouldn't you know... his mom is pregnant again too, due about 3 weeks before I am.
And - they're having a girl.
And - they have a golden retriever named Lady who likes to hang out with Jake when he's in the front yard.
Our across-the-street neighbor friend came over and said "I'm glad I live over there, there's something catching over here." He also has two children, a boy and a girl, 3 years apart in age.
It's not too surprising, we're a pretty homogeneous group in many ways, especially in the 6 or so houses right around us.
Now that they're big boys of 3, maybe Otto and his buddy can play together this summer and bond a little over having a new baby in the house. Yesterday they traded bikes/trikes for awhile and took turns pulling/riding in the wagon. Wearing their bike helmets. And Otto wore his sunglasses the whole time...
There are birds singing so loudly outside that I can hear them through the windows of my office, which are the unopenable kind. It will be almost 60 this weekend. And I'm thinking it's about time.
Otto's fighting off an ear infection, his first in quite awhile. His left ear was oozing yuck yesterday morning, which I actually didn't think much of right away (as I said, we haven't had an infection in QUITE AWHILE). And suddenly his fever on Monday and his failure to pass his hearing exam on Tuesday -- boy, do those make some sense. Evidently I am Queen Oblivious.
Yesterday he suffered through school bravely with an oozing ear, and at some point during the day a lightbulb went off over his flaky mother's head. EAR DROPS. Prescription ear drops! We have them! I should use them! Our ENT prescribed them for precisely this reason! And I know that if I'd called the office yesterday, as I intended to do but didn't because lately I am nothing more than a junior space cadet, they probably would've said "do you have his ear drops?" and I would've had to smack my forehead with an open palm and fall out of my chair. Ear drops. What a genius concept.
So last night we got home from running errands and I made him get in the shower. He howled at first, since lately all bathing activities are considered high torture, but after a few minutes he settled into it and let the water pound his back while I scrubbed him clean.
After baths he likes us to "make him an egg." Which is Otto-speak for "wrap me up in a towel from head to toe and snuggle me." He pulls his knees up and puts his head down, and with the towel wrapped all around he does look sort of egg-like, I guess. So I did that and we got on the bed with an assortment of ear-related gear. I found the ear drops thank God (they come in tiny itty bitty bottles that I have lost more than once) and he let me clean his left ear, put in the drops, and massage them down.
And then I tried to put some cotton in there, because that's what you do, right?
Otto sat straight up and said "that's trash!" while pulling the cotton out of his ear and handing it back to me. (This morning I found out that a knowledgeable classmate saw the cotton in his ear yesterday and said "cotton balls don't go in your ear! that's trash!" -- obviously said child doesn't suffer ear infections.) So, no cotton. Fine.
This morning he let me put more drops in and said it felt good. He also let me put some cotton in to help hold in the medicine -- an excuse he accepted, probably because the drops were helping. Things looked better this morning, and I've decided to give the drops 24 hours to work their magic. We can always do a sick child appt tomorrow morning if needed.
His left ear is the only one with a tube left in it, so I'm assuming his right ear probably isn't very happy either. But as long as he's not feverish or hurting, I'm leaving it alone.
We've had so many colds and flus this winter that this shouldn't have been a surprise, but he's done so well with the tubes that I assumed he'd grown out of the worst of it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed... maybe this will be the last hurrah of the bad ears.