Wednesday, October 24, 2012



Nico usually wakes up around 7:00, but today he woke up at 6:00 and stood in his doorway calling, "Mama! I'm done! You want to come out now?" This is what he says just about every morning, and it's terribly cute. Today I brought him into my room and showed him the clock and said, "When that six turns into a seven, then we can get up." He fell asleep lying against my side and when I woke up around 8:00 he was still asleep. I lay there for a few minutes watching him sleep, feeling these heart-swelling emotions about him and how much I love him and how much I love being a mom. Then he opened his big dark eyes, regarded me solemnly, reached out his tiny hand, and stuck his finger up my nose. Later, he tried to do it again and when I asked him not to, he said, "Want Mama to laugh!"

I reminded myself of this sweet, funny moment later when we had to leave his swimming lesson in disgrace due to prolonged misbehavior, Nico tucked under my arm like a football and shouting. It was frustrating but not overly so, knowing that he's probably still not 100% after his weekend of sickness, knowing that he's almost three years old and therefore not terribly far from veering into crazyland at any given time. Mimi Smartypants wrote something when her daughter was little about how toddlers basically deserve a medal just for keeping their shit together at any given moment, and it's so true. Even a mostly-sweet, mostly-even-tempered toddler like mine can veer from normal to CODE RED MELTDOWN in a surprisingly short period of time.

Once we got home, he was cranky but not monstrous. After I finished his bedtime songs, he asked me to snuggle with him on his big boy bed. That's actually what he said, "Snuggle wif me on the big boy bed." How could I say no to that? I turned on his musical dog and lay down beside him on the bed, tucked up close with my arm around him. Within ten minutes he was asleep, clutching his blankie in the crook of his elbow and two matchbox cars in one hand, his other hand gently patting my arm until he dropped off to sleep. Almost-three is a tempest, mercurial, hard to predict. But the sweet moments are so, so worth it.

"Baby brother still in there. He resting?"

21 weeks. Baby brother is large and in charge, apparently.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Poor pumpkin

Poor pumpkin

After a long enough gap that I'd started to feel confident he wouldn't get it, Nico came down with my Man Cold from last weekend. He started sounding a bit pitifully froggy on Friday morning, and by the time I picked him up Friday after work he was snot-nosed and had been given medicine for a touch of fever by Grandma. It was my sister's birthday (I got her this fantastically nerdy shirt), so we hung out for a bit and talked and shared birthday cake. We left around 6:30 and headed to the grocery to buy some kind of cold medicine for poor Nico, and he almost fell asleep in the car on the fifteen minute drive there. Spooked by the DO NOT GIVE THIS MEDICATION TO ANY CHILD UNDER FOUR YEARS OF AGE, YOU MONSTER labeling on everything with actual drugs in it, I bought him some kind of homeopathic hippie cough / cold syrup and took him on a little drive, figuring the car ride would put him peacefully to sleep. He was passed out (and snoring! Cute yet sad!) in his carseat by 7:20, forty minutes before his usual bedtime. Once home, I gave him a cocktail of baby Tylenol and hippie cough syrup and tucked him into bed. MB had gone to pick up his mother for a weekend visit, and I was hoping Nico would undergo a miraculous recovery by morning. Instead, the next morning convinced me that the hippie medicine was pretty much bullshit. After consulting the ever-helpful Twitter, I sent MB out to buy some actual damn Dimetapp, which knocked down Nico's symptoms enough for him to enjoy running wild with Mamaw all morning.

We had plans made pre-visit-plans to go to a beer tasting, so we left Nico at home with Mamaw only for the first time and headed out around 2:30. Mamaw and Nico watched his Pooh movie, she gave him more medicine, and then he fell asleep propped up against her shoulder just before 4:00 and ended up sleeping through the night (other than a sad wakeup for medicine). Today we wanted to take him to a farm with a pumpkin patch and I didn't want to postpone since his Mamaw was here. I gambled on another full morning of him being chipper enough and nearly lost. He was cranky and not very open to trying new things (and flat-out refused to wear his new Halloween shirt), so we had to coax him into just about everything. He did like digging through the big bin of corn, and would've happily done that all day if we'd let him. He wanted nothing to do with the big rolling cylinders they had set up for the kids to run in (no surprise…he was giving them his patented "That does not look OSHA-approved" skeptical stare).

"You must be joking."

He initially did NOT want to go near the big corn maze and got his first of three public time-outs of the day for smacking MB while MB was trying to talk him into trying it. I do kind of wish I had a photo of the moment when Nico stretched out flat on the ground in full-body protest of the horrible injustice of being taken to a pumpkin patch on a beautiful autumn day. As is typical, he seemed to enjoy the corn maze just fine once we convinced him to try it. Then it took us another eon to convince him to try the hayride out to the pumpkin patch. He was actually protesting as we climbed up onto the wagon, but my gut was telling me he'd like it once it started and - just like with the fire engine ride - my gut was right. As soon as we started moving, he was cheerful and even chirped "Woohoo!" while perched on my lap.

(I feel compelled to state for the record that this scale is off. Nico measured 39" at the amusement park on Labor Day.)

Out in the patch, he wandered from pumpkin to pumpkin, attempting to pick up any that caught his eye. MB finally helped him pick one that turned out to be a slightly lumpy, turnip-shaped Charlie-Brown-Christmas-tree of a pumpkin. I started to tell them to pick another, but then I realized that first of all, we aren't planning to carve it, so its lumpiness doesn't really matter. Secondly, if Nico liked it, that was really good enough. Third, probably no one else was going to choose the poor misshapen thing, and I'm a sucker for the underdog, even when it's a pumpkin. Said pumpkin rode back on Nico's lap and is now in a place of honor in the center of our dining room table.

By the time we got home after our little adventure, Nico was pretty much out of energy to hold his shit together and I was tired and crabby myself. I could tell he was basically sick of my ass face and I was running low on patience, so I attempted to put us both down for a nap. He fought it and me for nearly two hours and of course he finally fell asleep five minutes before I was planning to give up and let him come out of his room. I'm glad he's resting, but I feel stupid for wasting the whole afternoon fighting over a nap when we could've been snuggled up on the couch watching cartoons together. I'm glad we managed to have fun today despite him not feeling his best, and I'm really hoping he's feeling better tomorrow. If not, there will definitely be less insistence on naps and lots more cuddling.

Reading:  Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

Playing:  Babel by Mumford & Sons

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Are you listening, IKEA?

Are you listening, IKEA?

When we moved into our house, we pretty much knew we were trading some unfortunate decor and remodeling choices for a place that was bigger and in a nicer neighborhood than we'd be able to afford otherwise. Of course we had ideas about remodeling and redecorating, but those turned out to be expensive and there were always other more important things to pay for, so we still haven't done much. We redid Nico's room, of course, and we've replaced a few light fixtures and ceiling fans as needed, but that's about it.

For the most part, the things we'd change about the house are strictly cosmetic. I'd love to have the floors refinished (if we could replicate the lovely yellow sheen our hardwoods have now), replace all the granny curtains, and strip the hilarious train engine wallpaper out of the stairwell and upstairs hallway. Physically we'd be thrilled if we could have the semi-finished basement refinished more nicely and add a deck onto the back of the house. (I've even planned out where the lovely French doors would go.) I'd probably do some bad things in exchange for a garden tub in our bathroom.

The main complaint we have is lack of storage space, or at least poorly utilized storage space. We have a great pantry in the kitchen that has barely any usable shelf space. (I advocated redoing all the shelving but was outvoted. We'd need to find a new place to keep our broom and swiffer, but I still maintain we could find a good spot elsewhere.) We have a breakfast nook that we don't need because we also have a full dining room. So far that space is being used somewhat well as extra storage - we have two stacked shelf things and an ugly but very handy metal cabinet that we use for miscellaneous things like cookbooks and garden gloves and large seldom-used kitchen gadgets and batteries and extra canned and boxed food. I'd love to put up shelves along the back wall (where my hippie posters are now) for more storage, so that might happen someday. MB has floated the idea of getting rid of Indy's crate since he's never in it and putting more freestanding cabinets in there, but I argued that if the day ever comes when we get another puppy (hopefully a million billion years from now), we'll want that dedicated spot for the ginormous crate.

We're managing pretty well (and all my friends who have lived in tiny houses are probably dying of laughter right now), but we have had constant spats over stupid little things like where to keep the bread, half-used bags of kid crackers, loose pieces of fresh fruit, etc. I tend to set them on the island-like part of the counter, and that tends to drive MB crazy. He tends to put all the bread products in the pantry, which drives me nuts since I then promptly forget they exist and ignore them until they mold or go stale. Or he sticks them in the bowl with the bananas and then everything tastes like bananas. We've been trying to come up with some kind of solution for the bread since even though it's a small matter, it's a near-daily source of irritation for someone and that just seems silly. I got curious this morning and googled "storage solutions for small kitchens" and found a site that advocated using "ignored" spaces like corners. That made me remember again that we were wasting about 2/3 of the space in our upper corner cabinet thanks to a really bizarre door design. Someday we want to have the whole kitchen redone, but that's a project very far off in the future unless some company decides they want to sponsor our kitchen remodel, so for now we're stuck with our charmingly orange, charmingly strange cabinetry.

In the spirit of working with what we've got and banking on the chances that seeing the ugly cabinet edges will be less annoying than our current (ridiculous) bread battle, I decided to go all in and took the stupid decoy door completely off the cabinet. At some point we'll want to buy more attractive baskets or bins for in there, but until we've tried it out for a few weeks and figured out what we really need up there, I'm pretty happy with the current state. All bread products and fruit and miscellaneous tupperware are tucked away and off the countertops.

Seriously, though…call me, IKEA!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012



Whenever we take Nico to do something new or hopefully-exciting, we tell him we're going on a little adventure. This past weekend was packed full of little adventures, for him and for us. We planned to spend the weekend camping with BoMB, Nie, and some mutual friends - a couple and their girls, ages two and four. Imagine my dismay when I woke up Thursday with what I thought was a sore throat due to using the furnace for the first time this year and gradually realized was actually a cold. And since I was toddler-wrangling all day Thursday while unable to take any good drugs due to being pregnant, this meant I basically had a Man Cold. By that evening I was somewhat miserably stuffed-up and exhausted, and also cranky because we'd been planning this trip for six months and there was no way to postpone. All the adults had taken vacation days and we had already paid for our campsites. Luckily the list of approved medications from the OB included Sudafed, so I sent MB out in search of some on Friday morning - never an easy thing to find in the Meth Belt. He prevailed, though, and I decided to proceed with cautious optimism. We set out around lunchtime and drove down to Land Between the Lakes, a place I'd only visited for one overnight in college.

Unlike last time, picking campsites based on my best guesses after viewing an online map worked out well. We had three fairly large sites on the back loop of a tent-only section, within walking distance of a water spigot and an actual flushing toilet and within an easy drive of a place to buy firewood. Despite being literally sick and tired, I was much more patient and a lot less cranky than last trip, and we ended up having a really good weekend. Other than a spectacular nap failure on Saturday (which can probably be almost entirely blamed on flawed adult expectations), Nico was a champ. He minded mostly-well, he slept mostly-great, and he seemed to have a very good time running around with his little buddies. We all went to a working historical farm on Saturday morning and got to see sheep and the biggest cows I have ever encountered. Perhaps they were actually oxen? Nico's favorite animals were the two horses that were barely visible through the slats in their barn wall and he kept asking to go back and "see the horses peeking out." I really wanted to take him to the Nature Station as well, but we didn't have time Saturday and then it rained Sunday morning. We didn't make it to the drive-through bison prairie, either, so I guess we'll have to go back when he's a little older. I suspect Nico's favorite thing from the whole trip was spending almost an hour chucking rocks into the lake (and stuffing them down crayfish burrows). It was one of my favorites, too, admittedly. Other hits with the toddler set were blowing bubbles and running amok with glow bracelets.

When everyone started talking about this trip way back when, it sounded like we were going to camp near Nashville, so MB and I took off extra days with the plan that we'd take Nico down a few days early to do some pre-camping adventuring. By the time LBL was chosen as the official destination, we'd already requested the days off and it seemed silly to give them back, so on Monday we took Nico on a day trip to the Louisville Zoo. I was a bit of a documom slacker and barely took any photos (none of them very good), but it was a good day. Nico spent the whole ride there intermittently asking where we were going ("To see some animals!") and then announcing "Nico doesn't want to go." As I hoped, once we got to the zoo he was fine and seemed to enjoy it. He spent a hilariously short time looking at each denizen before announcing "We go see another animal!" Post-visit interrogations turned up little intel, but it sounds like his favorite animals were the bright blue poison arrow frog, the goat that pooped in front of us at the tiny petting zoo area, and possibly the polar bears. It was a very nice zoo and a beautiful fall day for the drive there, so I'm pretty pleased overall. Who knows if N will remember any of it, but I feel like we at least did some good stimulating of his tiny neurons.

We were still off work today (decadence!) and spent it slowly putting camping stuff away and lazing about. Nico also got to go to his beloved donut place for breakfast and attended the Tuesday version of the toy-bank-style playgroup that we frequent on Mondays. I would highly, highly recommend a day of basically nothing after a weekend of adventuring, whenever possible.

Monday, October 08, 2012



Our appointment today went great. All bits and parts accounted for and measuring appropriately. And our baby is definitely and without question a boy. It's funny, I did expect a little twinge of disappointment, but it wasn't there. I guess it might come later, especially when I finally get rid of the few bits of girl stuff I've stashed away. Right now, though, I'm just so pleased our little tiny guy is growing well and looking good in there. Another long-legged, big-footed, hopefully sweet, possibly redheaded boy. Brothers…can you believe it? Brothers!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Schrödinger's baby

Schrödinger's baby*

Tomorrow I will hit (achieve? unlock? become mayor of?) 20 weeks and we're scheduled to find out the sex of the baby (assuming fetal cooperation) right after lunch. I realized earlier that this will almost certainly end up being the last time I have this day - the last day before I am aware of the girl- or boy-ness of a baby I am gestating. I am not a person who has strong intuition of any kind about the parts her fetuses are packing. With Nico, I had absolutely zero feeling one way or another. MB was absolutely convinced that N was a girl and eventually I decided maybe he was right. I ended up trusting his gut feeling to the point where I was legitimately shocked when Nico turned out to be a boy. I did have two dreams in the week before our ultrasound that I had a little boy, so maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something. This time the only person who's had any baby-related dreams is my mom, who dreamed TWICE the other night that I was having triplets. No, no, and definitely no. I was assured that this one is a singleton, and while we could probably manage to keep twins clothed and fed, I cannot even begin to imagine what we'd do with three babies at once.

Of course, people have asked if we're hoping for a girl or a boy this time around pretty much since the day we started admitting to the pregnancy. MB initially seemed quite keen on having a girl, but the last time I asked him he was less committed. I can't decide if I have a preference, so I think that means I don't. Early on, I wanted a boy because (a) the boy I have is awesome, (b) I am already schooled in dealing with boy parts, and (c) we have SO MANY boy clothes. SO MANY. I suspect with either I'll be mostly happy but a tiny bit sad. I think with Nico, I talked myself into believing I preferred a girl because I was kind of terrified to have a girl, and I thought somehow if I talked myself into how much I wanted one, I'd be less worried / feel less guilty if the baby did turn out to be a girl. And then he was a boy and is a boy and I could NOT be more thrilled to be mother to a boy. I'm sure I'd be writing the same thing if he had been a girl, but I just adore having a boy. So if I have another boy, I'll be so happy for the chance to raise another boy, though I'll be a little sad that I most likely will never get to have a girl. If I have a girl, I'll be excited to have one of each (and to use the beloved girl name that we picked out more than five years ago), but I'll be a little bit sad that I don't get to have another boy. So either way I win, I think.

In a way, I'm a little sad for the mystery to end, just because once I let go of the not-knowing, that's it. If this baby is a boy, my chance of having a girl baby is most likely gone forever, and the other way around. It's almost enough to make me consider not finding out the sex, but not quite. First of all, that would only delay the inevitable, and second I'm too nosy to wait another 20 weeks to find out, and third with Nico I definitely started bonding with him more after I knew he was a boy. He just felt more real once I could start imagining him as one or the other, I guess. I've always said I might be willing to not find out if I had two kids already and they were one of each, but I couldn't imagine not finding out with the second. Today I can actually kind of imagine it, but I think my curiosity is definitely going to get the better of me. (And wouldn't the joke be on me if after writing this, the baby turns out to be unwilling to reveal his or her secrets?) In the interest of full disclosure, when I talk about this one, I tend to refer to it as "she" without really thinking about it. I don't know if that's a big mystical sign of something or just my brain assigning a pronoun at random or if I think of the baby as a she because it's a mystery and having a girl is still an unknown. Probably it doesn't mean anything at all, but if it does turn out that the baby is a girl, I can be smug about "just knowing" what she was, right?

* Now that I've written this whole thing, I realize the title is a little morbid / creepifying. I think I'm going to keep it, though, if only because it's such an apt analogy for so much of what goes on with pregnancy. It's so bizarre to have an entire other person inside your body that you can't see, check up on, or really know anything about for almost a year.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Camp Toddler

Camp Toddler

We had our annual friendmily camping trip last weekend. In an attempt to avoid being packed in like sardines with RVers and people we've never met, we booked sites at a tiny state park that none of us had ever seen. The website was not exactly honest about the state of the sites. The maps made it look like it was short walk to the site from a road, but we had to haul our stuff from the car about 100 yards through the woods. There was a building on the map marked "restroom" which turned out to be an outhouse. I can deal with an outhouse, but this one was infested with mosquitoes. Also, there was no water source to be found and nowhere to buy firewood. With barely enough cell phone signal to text our friends to warn them, things were pretty dire for a while. After trying several times to find the alleged on-site host, we finally found someone who pointed us toward the haphazardly chopped and very damp wood we could use (which we at least didn't have to pay for), MB got a respectable fire going, and things started to improve. There was a group of obnoxiously loud runners who showed up at 7:45 AM on Saturday to slam doors and shout and do calisthenics in the parking lot, which kind of spoiled the solitude angle. But you know…overall it was a really good weekend. The site was beautiful - we camped under tall pines with a full moon overhead and at night we were the only people on our patch of ground. I don't know about everyone else, but I'd do it again if I knew ahead of time to bring wood and extra water. Pretty campsite shots stolen from evilducky since I waited until the last day to take any and then it rained:

Nico was a great little camper. He roamed a little farther than MB or I preferred the first evening we were at camp, but he got better about minding boundaries and listening. The first two nights he fell asleep in the tent and slept through the night (the third night he wouldn't settle and ended up sitting on my lap by the campfire until he finally fell asleep). I always feel a little bit of pressure having the only kid on a trip, but I'm hoping no one's opinion of him was ruined…even though evilducky and her husband did have to witness a pre-nap tantrum on Saturday. (Sorry about that!) I was tired and definitely could've been more patient with him about napping and such things, but overall I think we did okay. I enjoyed being out on an adventure with him, watching him try new things, and seeing how much he's changed in such a short time. I hope if he remembers anything about our trip he remembers the impossibly tall pines, the big rocks he explored, the visit to the swing set, his bedtime stories by the campfire. We're taking him camping again a week from now, and I'm hoping for a repeat of his good behavior and more patience and time-taking on my part. I think we'll be okay.

So, how about some photos? Nico was SO PROUD to carry his own backpack, which was hilariously almost as big as his whole body:

We drove to Garden of the Gods on Sunday because J-Dog had never been. It was lovely and not at all crowded. Nico looked morose in all his posed photos, per usual, but we did get a few cute ones of him with me or MB:

Reading:  Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

Playing:  Babel by Mumford and Sons