Tuesday, March 31, 2009

28 weeks

I had my 27 week prenatal checkup last week and a "check to make sure the baby's still growing" ultrasound today. All looks very well.

After being scolded about my lack of weight gain and measuring behind at 23 weeks, I have now gained a lofty 6 pounds and am measuring a bit ahead. This doesn't surprise me given that while I was in Michigan, I was suddenly attacked by The Hunger. I would have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, then make another one an hour later. I would get up to get a snack and grab two other snacks for later because chances were good that "later" would be within the hour. So I guess that's what it's like to be a preschooler going through a growth spurt, even if I wasn't actually the one growing.

Though actually, I am. My stomach grew visibly last week and I finally have an undeniably pregnant shape. My stomach still doesn't stick out to the point that it can't be hidden with a sweatshirt and even if people suspected that I was pregnant, I don't look big enough that they would probably ask for fear that I'm just chunky, but I'm definitely round. My belly button has gotten visibly shallower in the past week as well, and the skin on my abdomen is feeling stretched and sensitive.

Wulfrith measured perfectly on the ultrasound - 28 weeks, 3-4 days (a couple days ahead) and two pounds, 9 ounces. I am no longer worried about his growth or mine.

It's still too early to really worry about positioning, so I will simply note for the record that he is transverse, has been hanging out in that position for at least 6 weeks and is in exactly the same position K spent about 18 weeks in. I asked the doctor what the chances are that he won't turn, given that K never did, and he said pretty good. Babies who like to take weird positions usually do so because there's a structural issue that makes it more comfortable for them. Ah well. He'll come out one way or another. I have another ultrasound at 36 weeks, so we can decide what to do if he hasn't moved by then.

It's definitely the third trimester. I'm tired yet find myself concocting plans to rearrange every single room in the house and sew a tent to cover it. I've had a rotten cold for the past several days, and have discovered that a violent cough and the third trimester don't really mix (if you've been pregnant, you can probably figure out what I mean when I talk about undesirable side effects of coughing. If you haven't, feel lucky). My uterus hasn't grown far up enough in my abdomen yet for him to jam his head into my ribs in that lovely way K did for the last ten weeks, but I'm starting to feel the periodic pressure of his head just below my ribs. He's also large enough to make my abdomen dance and undulate in an entertaining yet highly creepy way.

Less than twelve weeks to go. Eep.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is it a bit mean of me to be kind of glad that K didn't seem to have a great time when her preschool class went to Chuck E. Cheese this week?

I mean, I didn't want her to have a terrible or traumatizing time, but while my antipathy towards place like Chuck E. Cheese wasn't enough for me to make her stay behind when the rest of her class went to have fun, I didn't especially want to deal with demands to go back. Chuck E. Cheese is in the shopping mall right next to where B works, so we would be dealing with it a lot.

I recognize that there are inevitably things that are suitable for children but not adults that parents will simply have to endure, like Barney or the twenty millionth repetition of The Poky Little Puppy. You don't feel right saying no because the only thing actually wrong with it is that it makes you want to scale a three story building with your bare hands to get away from it, and your child loves it. I accept this as a consequence of parenthood, occasionally sacrificing my sanity and unrended garments for my child's happiness. Into each life a little McDonald's playland must fall*. But that's not to say that I'm not happy to allow my child to remain in ignorance of the things I don't like as long as possible. I would have been happy to keep K from knowing about the existence of restaurants filled with mediocre pizzas, rigged video games and creepy animatronic singing animals that inexplicably attract children for several more years. We got lucky this time - she didn't seem too enthusiastic about the experience and said eating lunch was scary, which I think means she has the good taste to think the supremely creepy animatronic singing devilsanimals are in fact quite creepy. Good taste AND we can still pick B up from work without having to worry about tantrums over going to Chuck E. Cheese. Lucky indeed.

This is just one example of the eternal problem of parenthood: eventually, you have to send them out into the world, and once you do, you no longer have total control over what they're exposed to.

This is both good and bad, of course. I can't count the number of ways preschool has been a positive influence on K's development, physically, mentally and socially. And then, we have days like last week, where preschool featured Enforce Gender Stereotype Conformity Day, which is to say I went in on Wednesday and saw a sign saying that tomorrow, the boys would wear blue and the girls would dress like princesses. Theme dressing days are pretty common at preschool, but they tend to be things like "wear pj's!" or "wear a hat!" not "make your mother's head explode by asking her to put you in a sexist, stereotyped outfit!"

And the real hell of it is that while I feel perfectly free to ignore theme days at preschool (or more often, just forget) or come up with a dozen ways to dress K subversively, I couldn't. Because one of the other influences of preschool is that all of her little friends love dressing up in princess dresses and now K does too. It would have broken her heart if all of the other girls were wearing princess dresses and I sent her in jeans. Otherwise I the only dress I would have sent her in on Thursday would have been the one I made from the dinosaur camouflage fabric last summer.

It's just life, of course. When they start out, you're their entire world, and slowly but surely they grow away from you and learn how to engage the world on their own as their own person with their own preferences and desires. But it's a process that can be awfully hard on all concerned.

*Well, in our case it's the local Burger King with an indoor play gym that we frequently find ourselves at on the nights that B is working. Oh, don't look at me like that. She eats macaroni and cheese, apples and chocolate milk, gets healthful exercise and socialization climbing around the gigantic child habitrail with other children, picks up yet another virus** and we go home. I get the weekly serving of red meat my body seems to want right now and get half an hour of reading in. The only major downside is yet another piece of plastic crap for the landfill that will clutter our house for a while. True, I prefer Panera where she can get organic milk and hormone-free turkey, but until they install a tasteful wooden playground, Burger King will be where K campaigns to go.

**To the woman last night who was insisting that her daughter couldn't go in the playstructure without her shoes on because "it's filthy in there": precisely what terrible disease do you think she's going to pick up that she wouldn't have gotten from crawling around on her hands and knees? Also, the reason it's so dirty in there is because parents let their children go in with their shoes on, which is why they're supposed to take them off. That, and it hurts other chldren a lot less when they inevitably get clocked in the head by the child going down the slide immediately after them or accidentally kicked when they follow someone up the ladder too closely.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

End of the week review

*I worked all day at the library today, then came home, took a nap and started in on the second job. Only to discover after an hour that the server had been taken down for unplanned maintenance (although I only found out a couple minutes ago that's what it was - thanks for letting us know so expeditiously, guys). This wouldn't bother me so much except that we were told to have our hours into the payroll system by 3 this afternoon, so I had to put my Friday hours in before actually working them. Ack. Well, I'll figure out how to handle this next week, I guess.

*Tonight after dinner, K went into the cabinet, got out several cookies and came to give me one. Then she told me that two of the other cookies were for Daddy. It was very sweet and touching. Of course, it was sweet and touching in a way that meant that she got two cookies as well, but a year ago she would have been trying to hoard all five cookies for herself so I'll count it as significant progress in the "thinking of others" arena.

*In Friday night tv, Dollhouse was a definite step up in quality from previous episodes and Battlestar Galactica had about as good of an ending as I could hope. This week's episode of Dollhouse also had a fairly clear message from Joss Whedon of "In case you thought I was trying to say that human trafficking is in any way acceptable or that I'm trying to glamorize it, no, I'm really really not."

*B had the day off yesterday, so we were finally able to go see Watchmen. I admit that it's been quite a while since I've read the comic, but from what I remember, the movie was remarkably faithful to the comic. It was definitely incredibly graphic, but it helped create a tone that was very consistent with the story. Since the point of the comic was to provide a non-glamorized view of what real-life superheroes would really be like, the depictions of violence that didn't spare the viewer at all seemed pretty appropriate. Mind you, that meant I watched quite a bit of the movie through my fingers or with my eyes averted since I have very little stomach for graphic violence, but this is one of the very few movies I can think of where it didn't seem gratuitous.

*The same things has happened this week that happened last pregnancy: the day I started my third trimester, my pelvis started aching. It's more in the hips and lower back this time instead of the pubic bone, probably because Wulfrith is lying even farther back in my abdomen than K, which I didn't think was possible. I'm doubly glad now that I got travelling out of the way last week so I didn't have to traipse across the airport with my hips feeling like they're about to fall apart. Ah, the delights of the third trimester - aching joints, reflux, exhaustion, sciatica, ever-decreasing lung and bladder capacity... all sending the message that it's all downhill from here. Of course, at the bottom of the hill you get a baby, so it's worth it.

K informed me tonight that she wants two babies, a baby brother and baby sister. Sorry kid, there's just the one with no options of adding on. But it's good of her to remind me how much worse it could be. Yikes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We are all full of delicious corned beef and cabbage and have enough left over in the refrigerator to make corned beef hash, which counts as a good holiday in my book.

New England boiled dinner is only half of my traditional St. Patrick's Day celebration. The other half is enjoying the magnificent song stylings of the Leprechaun Brothers:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home again

K and I took two blessedly uneventful flights home yesterday and have gratefully settled back in at home. Our week in Michigan was really great, much to my surprise. Based on my previous experience of travelling alone with K, I thought adding having to work on top of that would smash me flat.

But as it turns out, K has turned a major developmental corner recently and was happy to spend huge amounts of time playing on her own with my old Playmobil and Fisher Price figures, and spending time hanging out with my mother or her aides (her aides are almost universally middle aged women who have children of their own, so they were pretty good with her). She also took a good nap every day, so I was able to get enough work done during the day that I didn't have to stay up too late at night, before then having to get up with K in the morning. Between getting something resembling enough sleep and not having a preschooler velcroed to me (and being so freakin' cute and pleasant that it was a joy to be around her most of the time), it was a remarkably relaxing visit.

It's been a long time since I've felt like that visiting my parents. Before my mother's accident, going home was very relaxing - being the child of two introverts means that the atmosphere of their house tended to be very quiet and uncluttered. But then Dad got sick and Mom had her accident, and there were always strangers in the house and my mother always needed me to do things for her. Add a baby on top of that and visits home got very hectic and demanding. But unlike Christmas, we weren't trying to shove six people into a two bedroom condo, my mother didn't seem to need anything from me and life was pretty calm.

That doesn't mean that I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow when I can ship K off to daycare and to work and have the whole house to myself for a few blissful hours though.


I went to work today and spent most of the day taming our new museum and library software, Past Perfect. So far, I've managed to figure out how to add books and perform searches, format everything so that our catalog cards and spine labels would print correctly and set up a file that can be imported into Past Perfect so we can catalog books the computer without the new software, put it on a disk and then import it into PP. If we're going to put the entire catalog on computer, we're going to have to clock a few million monkeys' worth of typing time, but my boss is being all picky and insisting that other people be able to use PP occasionally, so we have to figure out how to do some of the typing on our other computer. Stupid selfish museum workers grumble grumble.

Importing data into PP naturally is far more complicated than it needs to be. Part of it is PP's fault, since it's only willing to import either very specifically formatted text files or obscure or out of date programs like Excel 5 (for reference sake, Excel 5 is the one that came out with Windows 95, which of course we don't have. I mean, we're a Victorian museum and all, but that doesn't mean we keep around antiques that old). But mostly it's because Microsoft Excel was being a complete butthead, refusing to either maintain accurate formatting in an older version of itself or dancing around being willing to save the data in a format that PP would accept. "Well, I can do comma-delimited, but I'm not going to save it in a text file. I can do a text file, but it'll be tab delimited and I won't use the quotes around the data that PP wants. And if you want me to do any of this, you'll have to balance three teacups on your head while wearing roller skates and doing the hora. Now dance for me, monkey. Dance!"

As it turns out, the secret of getting the data in the right format is actually to use Access, a fact that is so secret that they were completely unwilling to include it in any of the PP documentation or training materials. It may be that it's available in a secret file that only becomes visible on the third Thursday of every month with a gibbous moon after the computer has been spun widdershins five times. However, I had to just apply my poor overheated brain to the problem to figure it out instead. On the plus side, I felt like a Sooper Computer Genius once I managed to successfully set up the Access database, add a couple books and then import the file successfully into PP. And even more on the plus side, an Access database means that I'll be able to set up a more user-friendly interface for inputting books for any suckersvolunteers willing to help with the project.


In a strange twist of events, we've seen Olwen twice in the past few days. I had truly thought that she had either been rescued or was dead. Finding her alive as a stray over a year after losing her was about the last thing we expected. She wouldn't let us get near her, but we put food out and found her eating it tonight. We're planning to buy a live trap tomorrow to see if we can catch her that way.

And then... we're not sure. This would have been a lot simpler before we added two more cats to the house. IF she is healthy or can be made healthy with vet care and TLC and IF she can be resocialized to us and the other cats, we have to then decide if we really want four cats. We like the kittens, but I haven't really fallen in love with them yet. I definitely don't love them the way I loved Olwen. Four cats starts to get into the realm of not being affordable.

But we can worry about that later. Right now, I'm just praying we can catch our poor wayward kitty.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Almost certainly overshare

When I was getting dressed this morning, K pointed to my nipples, which as is very common in pregnancy have darkened considerably, and told me they were poopy. Ah, the sophisticated humor of the preschooler.

Of all of the myriad indignities of pregnancy, I have to admit that this is one I've never read in any of the books and websites.

I'm still trying to decide if this is better or worse than last year when she would poke a finger into my nipple and say "Beep!"

Leaving on a jet plane

K and I are flying out to Michigan far too early tomorrow morning (I had thought I was so clever in getting a 9:15 flight so we wouldn't have to get up too much earlier than normal. Then I realized Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow - d'oh!). I don't precisely expect this to be a relaxing trip, between solo childcare, working and no doubt helping my mother in various and sundry ways. But I've been feeling a desperate need for a change of scenery since the middle of January and like I really need my mommy for a while. Michigan in March isn't exactly the favored spring break destination, I know, but it's home and it will be good to see it. Travel is about to get a lot harder in a shockingly short amount of time, so if it be not now, well, it's going to be a darn good long while before it's yet to come.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Since I can't drink, I'll have a nice gouda instead

I'm about to engage in extremely self-indulgent and unattractive whining. Feel free to skip.

The flu hit us really hard last week. took 2 1/2 days off of work, and I probably should have taken a sick day but I don't have that many available. Instead, I struggled along working as best I could. I was still throwing up as late as Thursday night, but still made it into work at the library on Friday. I worked out of the house all day Friday, worked at home all that evening and then hauled myself out of bed Saturday to go to work again. Since I had worked both days of the previous weekend, that made thirteen days in a row of work, several of which while quite sick.

The thing that got me through all of that was the knowledge that due to computer maintenance at the online job, I was going to have Monday and Tuesday off. If I could just make it a couple more days, I would have three whole days off. Well. I did get Sunday off. Monday, daycare was cancelled due to snow, so I didn't have to work, but I did have to spend the day taking care of a preschooler who wasn't slightly interested in taking a nap, despite really really needing one. And today? I checked my work e-mail this morning to discover that the maintenance was done early so we were all expected to work.

I admit, I'm probably a bit more upset about this than I need to be, but I really needed that day off. I'm normally lucky to have one day off a week and often don't wind up getting even that. I didn't get any benefit from the few days off I had around Christmas because I was so sick then. I just work through an illness and next week, I'm going to fly to Michigan with K and work all week while doing solo childcare. I'm just plain tired.

I'm also more than a little pissed off at the way work has treated us, which could have been mitigated by two sentences: "The maintenance could take less time than scheduled, so don't make too many plans" and "Sorry for cancelling your day off." Instead, just a curt order back to work. True, I had no real plans beyond relaxing, but if I had made plans because I hadn't been warned that the time off wasn't definite, I would have been incredibly unhappy.

Meanwhile, tonight I've gotten one e-mail about a bug that a number of people have been experiencing and have encountered a completely different one myself. Nice to know they did such a thorough job on that maintenance.

Contrary (and quite possibly physically impossible)

B to K: "Your pants are on backwards, kiddo."

K: "No! They're on sideways!"