Friday, June 26, 2009

Home at last

Forgive me, the hospital had no wireless connection. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging:

The Thinker

Alexander (Alec) Foster Atkinson-Freeman, born June 23 at 10:03 AM. 8 pounds, 14 ounces, 21 3/4 inches. Currently plotting world domination.

We are all home and well, albeit quite sore. More later when I'm not dealing with a clingy four-year-old who wasn't allowed to visit us in the hospital because of the swine flu.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tomorrow, I'm going to go to the hospital and have an actual tiny baby.

I think we're ready. The grandparents are here on child care duty. The birthday girl has been amply feted, and I even managed to finish all four princess dresses and the cloak in time. I have finally acquired the big sister gift.* There's still plenty more sewing I could do, but it may or may not happen depending on what kind of baby we get. We have a dresser full of teeny weeny washed baby clothes and 3 dozen washed diapers. Our bedroom is set up so all four of us can sleep together if necessary.

B and I went out to dinner and a movie tonight, sans child. We saw Up, which was just fantastic. I loved it despite the fact that I could see every single emotional plot point a mile off - I mean, how much more literal a representation of a metaphor can you have than a man with a house strapped to his back? But I don't really watch Pixar movies for the convoluted plots. The quality of animation, the fun characters, the wonderful talking dogs, the great touches of humor that had us laughing out loud at times - that's why we go see Pixar movies. I would definitely rank this one up with The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Off to bed now, since we're going to have to get up way too early in the morning. Hopefully, this time tomorrow I'll have a healthy newborn sleeping next to me.

*I had left it too late to order something online, and when one of her birthday presents from a relative turned out to be a doll, we decided to get her something else. But then I drove out to an incredibly cool toy store (they have, no exaggeration, the ENTIRE line of Playmobil products), and discovered an anatomically correct boy doll, which I was able to purchase for the price of taking 2 minutes to fill out a preferred customer card, and FIVE DOLLARS. Down from $25. Zowee. At that price, I was able to get the doll carriage K had been asking for as well.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Yesterday my tiny baby turned four years old. Although if you ask her, she's 28. Or possibly 6. But definitely a big girl now.

I can't believe how much she's grown up this year, physically, emotionally and intellectually. She started the year still a toddler in many ways, and now she's very much a little girl. A princess-dinosaur-horse-car-Lego-doll loving girl.


Happy birthday Sweetheart. You'll always be our baby, no matter how many new babies we bring home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

39 weeks

I had my last weekly ob appointment today. My weight has stayed steady for the past two weeks, which will have me ending this pregnancy 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. My blood pressure is uniformly excellent and doesn't seem inclined to pull the tricks it did last time of giving a high initial reading but going to normal after I lay down for a while.

All is quiet on the uterine front. My cervix is thinned out, but still quite high up and not dilated at all. I haven't had anything remotely like a labor contraction and if anything, I'm having fewer Braxton Hicks contractions than I was ten weeks ago, probably because I'm less active.

With K, I had a healthy enough fear of what life with a newborn would be like that I was perfectly happy to stay pregnant as long as possible. This time around, I'm not sure if it's having four years of parenting experience, the fact that between the extended morning sickness and the serial illnesses that followed it I've basically been sick for nine months, or the current fact that every time I walk, I'm not sure if my legs are going to fall right out of my hips before or after my pelvis breaks in two, but I'm perfectly happy to get this kid out with all due speed.

If I don't go into labor this weekend, this time next week (knock wood) I'll be in the hospital with a one-day-old baby. My goodness.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On leave

As of last Friday at 9pm, I am officially on maternity leave and it didn't come a second too soon. I was really struggling by the end of last week, to concentrate, to keep my speed up, just to stay awake. I've had the odd feeling of playing hooky yesterday and today, but I think I can live with that.

So I'm slowly but surely using this week to finish up baby preparations. All of the 0-3 month clothes and diapers are washed and in the dresser. I dug out the diaper pail last night and am making a new wet bag for it. I have a cloak and 2 3/4 princess dresses out of a planned four done for K's birthday present, a princess dressup box. I should be able to finish a new cover for the hideously drab child's Ikea Poang chair we got her (partly because I thought she would really like a chair all her own, but partly in hopes of keeping her out of her brother's bouncy seat).

Someone at Joann Fabrics must really love me, because flannel just went on sale for $2.49 a yard. Well, if they truly loved me, they would have done this a month ago, but still, when you have a large number of sewing projects that need flannel, it's thrilling to come across the rare sort of sale where you can afford to just pull whatever you want off the shelf without worrying about price. So I am amply set for cute flannel prints for lots of baby wipes (16 done so far), a couple new wet bags for the diaper pail, cloth pads for me, and enough left over to make some diapers in the future.

What I'm not really doing is planning K's birthday party. That would be because we can't get the phone numbers of any of the children from K's preschool that we would like to invite, and now that it's less than five days before the theoretical party, I've more or less thrown my hands up in despair. I admit, it takes a special sort of chutzpah to plan a child's birthday party on your due date, but we were planning something pretty small and informal. As it is, I've downgraded to inviting the child we've had playdates with over in the late afternoon for playing followed by dinner and cake. It's probably for the best, but I swear, next year she'll get a good party. And I'll send some cupcakes into preschool on Friday so they can celebrate there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Alternate reality

K, last week, trying to get out of going to preschool: "We can't go in. The doors are locked and no one's inside."

K, in response to being told that it's 8 o'clock and time to get ready for bed: "We don't have a clock."

There are times I really envy K's approach to things she doesn't like. When confronted by an inconvenient truth, she simply makes up a story she likes better and sticks stubbornly to it. Sometimes, it's clear that she's doing it because she thinks saying absurdly wrong things is funny (e.g., insisting yesterday that her blue socks were black). Sometimes she's trying to explain something that she doesn't quite understand, like figuring out the function of an object she doesn't recognize (what's the object I'm sewing? It's a blanket for her brother's cradle, of course. Even though it's in fact a diaper liner, but she can't wrap her mind around the function of a diaper liner). And other times, she does it to deal with something upsetting she can't deal with. I've been talking with her about what will happen when the baby comes, and attempted to come up with the cheeriest explanation of a c-section I could manage. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough to keep K from finding it upsetting, so she started insisting that her brother was at the hospital, and we were going to pick him up. The next day, I was told further that her brother was sick, and was going to be in the hospital until the doctor made him better. You have to admire the utterly logical elaboration of detail there.

I can't tell how much she believes the things she makes up. As I said, sometimes it's clear she joking. Other times, she seems pretty serious, and utterly unwilling to move from the explanation she came up with for herself. We've learned that the best approach is to correct her once, and then let it go. If it matters, reality will assert itself soon enough and she'll adapt to it. In the meantime, it's fascinating to watch her little mind figure out the world in her own eminently logical way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Retail frustrations: boy parts

I've been looking for an anatomically correct baby boy doll for K as a big sister gift. I have three criteria for it, which seem like simple desires:

1. Non-mechanical
2. Under $25
3. Available from, since I have a gift certificate

This is turning out to be much harder than it should be. The first problem is, which it turns out has a criminally bad search function. I can understand why they wouldn't want the standard search to search an entire entry since that could produce an insane number of results, but it's not an option in the advanced search, so there are parts of entries that are simply impossible to search. So if I search on "anatomically correct" in toys, there are any number of things it misses because "anatomically correct" appears in a part of the entry that isn't searched.

The second issue is how inexplicably coy some manufacturers are about the gender explicitness of their dolls. I've found any number of dolls on lists of anatomically correct dolls that don't so much as whisper that fact on either the manufacturer's website, on Amazon, or even on the package. Some of them use the euphemism "Real Boy," as in, "We may not come right and say it, but our doll is ALL BOY under that diaper, if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink." This seems like a particularly stupid move, since they run the risk of both losing customers like me who are looking for a feature they aren't advertising, and offending the sort of customers who get the vapors at the thought of their children having a doll with genitals.

It's hard to describe just how absurd this search has become so quickly. I find myself going through toystores fingering doll crotches like some sort of mad doll pervert. I think things that I never thought would go through my head, like "Why won't they just say if the doll has a friggin' penis already?" and "Well, I could get a soft-bodied doll and enhance it, so to speak. How hard can it be to sew a doll penis?"

I won't even get into how looking for an anatomically correct doll inevitably brings you into the deeply disturbing world of reborning.

Out of what I've found so far, my choices range from the hideously expensive, those that possess more computer circuitry than a NASA satellite, the non-committal and the just plain hideous. And sometimes all of those at once (okay, I exaggerate a tad, given that the price is only a little bit over my limit. But trust me, seen in person, I have rarely seen a creepier doll). Right now, I'm debating between a nice-looking doll available for the right price from Amazon that doesn't seem to be anatomically correct (I can't find any references to it, ahem, packing in the diaper area although it does say it has a "lifelike bottom," a maddeningly vague potential euphemism if I've ever heard one), and a doll that is exactly what I want, but while absurdly expensive on Amazon, available for a reasonable price elsewhere. The problem with elsewhere, of course, is I have to spend my actual money instead of using my handy gift certificate. At the moment, I'm leaning toward the doll available from Amazon and trying to decide if I want to try my skills as a fabric pornographer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 23

I had my 37 week appointment yesterday and we have a plan.

I have a c-section scheduled for June 23, a couple days after my due date. If I go into labor before that, we will see what happens based on what direction Wulfrith decides to be pointed in that day (he's flipped 3-4 times since last week. I was told yesterday that his head was low, but since I spent last evening having my left hip pummeled enthusiastically, I'm suspecting it's actually his butt that's low. Since I spent the last several weeks of my last pregnancy being told the head was low, I'm, ahem, a tad cynical when I hear that). So we're giving vaginal birth a chance in case Mr. Points All Directions of the Compass decides to cooperate, but with a definite date past which I won't be pregnant, which is about the point the doctor will start talking induction anyway (I'm comfortable with the risks of vbac, but not induction and vbac, so if it comes down to that, I would rather just get another c-section).

Of course, this means we will have a baby in less than three weeks now. Oh my.

Monday, June 1, 2009


* We finally received the letter yesterday telling us that K has been accepted into the public school's preschool program for next year. I wasn't truly worried about getting in since she was placed on the waiting list last year, but we're in the middle of trying to plan what to do with her this summer and with both children next fall, and it's hard not to let thoughts of "Oh Lord, what will we do if K doesn't get into Bright Futures?" creep into the middle of that. But she has, so we're set for that at least. Yay!

* I had an ultrasound last Tuesday, which revealed a baby that was most definitely male (what we saw at 19 weeks looked fairly penis-like, but was small enough that I wouldn't have died of shock if a girl had come out instead. Now, however, there's absolutely no mistaking it. And his testes have descended, which is good news for his future fertility), measuring 2-3 weeks ahead, seven pounds and head down...ish. During the ultrasound, it was fairly straight down, but then he squirmed around a bit and spent the next couple days crossways across my abdomen with his head lodged in my left hip. And now? I'm getting a hard round object pushing in my ribs, repeated jabs to the left hip and the hiccups that were by my pubic bone earlier this week are now at my ribs, which is to say I think he flipped again. Sigh. I will be talking delivery options with the doctor next week at my 37 week appointment. If we decide to schedule a c-section, it will very likely be sometime between 39 and 40 weeks, which means I could be looking at a baby as soon as 2 1/2 weeks from now. Eep.

* The newborn size diapers I ordered arrived yesterday - we didn't start cloth diapering with K until she was big enough for medium size, so we needed to get smaller covers and infant sized prefolds instead of using our stash of premium size which would swallow a newborn whole. Oh goodness, the concentrated cuteness strength of all of those teeny little diaper covers with a sampling of adorable prints could be bottled and sold as an illicit street drug.

I don't know why having diapers in particular should bring home the fact that we're going to have a baby soon so much more than, say, pulling out two tubs of teeny 0-3 month clothes and washing them, but it does. They're sending this urgent message that in not very long at all, we're going to have an inhabitant of this house small enough to wear them. And it won't be a cat.

* K came up to me this morning and told me, "You don't want to go to work today. You want to stay at the house with me."

Oh, you don't know how right you are, sweetheart, but I had to go to work anyway. Thankfully, she accepted my leaving fairly cheerfully, but it's another sign of the separation anxiety we've been seeing lately. She doesn't want to go to preschool (although she's always happy once she's there), she doesn't want to be left alone in her room at bedtime, she would quite possibly be happiest if I would allow her to simply meld herself to my skin so she could be at my side at all times.

I don't think it takes Dr. Spock to recognize that this is almost certainly baby-related anxiety. Given that she knows that life is going to change profoundly very soon, but has no idea how, I can't really blame her. There's not much to be done except be patient with her. I could live without the mouthiness and defiance though.

* Given that we have potentially two weeks until the eaglet lands, I may need to actually pull out the sewing machine to finish what I want to get done. My realistic plans are to make K a couple princess dresses for her birthday along with a cloak, and would like to make a bunch more cloth wipes and some cloth pads for myself (I won't even show my unrealistic sewing plans the light of day, since I might as well just start gathering twigs and straw and arranging them in the tree in the front yard as attempt to get them done). And speaking of birthdays and two weeks, we should probably get on the stick about planning her birthday party. I think the current plans are inviting a couple preschool friends over for cupcakes and running around outside and splashing in the wading pool. Ideally all _before_ giving birth.

* In the very little non-baby related news we have, Lily got her stitches out last week and seems entirely recovered. As I write this, she's looking down on me from the top of the cat tree, queen of all she surveys. No doubt looking for more inappropriate things to choke on after failing to eat a small plastic doll shoe. Clearly she has learned a valuable lesson.