Sunday, November 30, 2008


That's the sound that echoes over the monitor at 5 am when your 2-year old falls out of his new big boy bed. Then hysterical crying follows. I haven't shot out of bed that fast since Finn was a newborn. M., of course, had no idea what was going on - his senses aren't very keen when he's extremely sleep addled.

I thought we would make it longer than 4 nights before Finn fell out of bed. Luckily, he barely remembers it. I asked him once we were up for the day if he bumped his head last night, and he talked about how he bumped his head on the car cart at the grocery store yesterday. When he was trying to escape and run around the store like a maniac, thwarted by the belt that strapped him in. Later on at breakfast, we asked again, and he said something about bumping his adorable nose, but he didn't seem too upset about it.

Needless to say, we will be placing some pillows around the perimeter of the bottom of his bed where the bed rail doesn't have coverage. And beyond that, we'll just cross our fingers and hope that one of these days he'll learn not to migrate around the bed quite so much while he's sleeping.

Other than that, the big boy bed has been a success. Finn still hasn't realized he can get off the bed by himself - he waits there for us to get him when he wakes up. We've had some excellent nights of sleep and naps over this holiday weekend. Me included - I've napped every day except Thanksgiving day. How will I handle a full, exhausting day of work tomorrow?!

Speaking of tomorrow, M. and I are headed first thing in the morning for our "big" ultrasound. It will be nice to see the baby again, and get some reassurance that all is OK. The list of ways that I have been an irresponsible pregnant woman has grown, along with my guilt. Things I have done this time around that I avoided with Finn are many. The "What to Expect When You're Expecting" authors would not be happy with me. Now added to the list - in decorating and hanging the garland that now adorns the front of our house, I apparently exposed myself to lead. Just when I receive a "Your Pregnancy, Week 19" newsletter that tells me that brain development is really ramping up this week. Yikes. So, yeah, looking forward to tomorrow, even though we won't be finding out the gender. Just hoping I can maintain my resolve to have a "delivery surprise" and that the ultrasound tech doesn't accidentally reveal the "he/she" mystery to us.

The next day, I have my regular prenatal visit. Which I am dreading a bit. Weigh-ins should be skipped during the holiday season, in my opinion. Blargh.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Big Boy Bed

Another big transition for Finn was implemented last night. To make lodging at my parents' house over the Christmas holiday easier, we decided to move Finn out of his crib now, even though the new baby won't be using it for a good 5 months or so. Two weeks ago, we bought a twin-sized mattress and box spring and had it delivered last week. Anticipating some sleepless nights, we decided to wait for this long weekend to make the leap so we wouldn't have to go to work incredibly sleep deprived.

Operation Big Boy Bed was initiated last night, at around 6 pm. We all marched upstairs to struggle with furniture rearrangement and bed-making. Finn's bedroom is tiny, so there was no way to have the bed and crib in there at the same time to ease the transition. The crib was moved out - in pieces (disassembling it was remarkably easy, but we will definitely need to dig out those instructions before reassembling it!). Also to go was Finn's "rocking chair" (the IKEA Poang chair that has been standing in as our all purpose bedtime story and middle of the night rocking-to-sleep venue), and the stereo system that has been hiding in his closet unused. Without the chair and the tall crib, the room definitely looks bigger and FAR less like a nursery. Which of course gives me lots of little "oh my god, my baby is growing up!" pangs.

We set up the bed (minus the frame to make it a little lower to the ground), and struggled with the necessary but evil bed rail. I put the sports themed sheets on the bed that Finn picked out himself, including his very first pillow. Macy (our cat) set up shop immediately, and made herself right at home.

After all the excitement, we gave Finn a bath to calm him down. Then it was time to attempt our bedtime routine in the new environment. Finn did OK until it was time to turn off his light and sing our bedtime song. Normally he drapes himself on one of us in the rocking chair for this part - not such an easy task in a bed where I was trying not to lie down myself. There was much moving around to get comfortable, and some tears from Finn. More tears, many more tears, came when it was time for me to say goodnight. I tried calming him down, but he kept crying and trying to stand up in the bed. Eventually, I just left and shut the door, hovering outside to monitor whether or not he got out of the bed. Luckily, he seemed to think that he could not get out of the bed himself, and after about 2 minutes of intense crying, all was quiet in his room. We peeked in about an hour later, and found him lying on his blankie near the foot of his bed (essentially outside the range of the bed rail and in serious "fall off the bed" territory). Not under the covers, not lying on the pillow. Oh well, one thing at a time, right?

We moved Finn a little more in range of the bed rail and put up a gate outside his bedroom door just to make sure he couldn't wake up and wander the house at midnight. He didn't stir until about 5:30 am! I went and laid down with him, got him back to sleep, and he managed to sleep until 7:00 am. Overall, a very good first night with the bed. I am not so hopeful that our first nap will go as well today, but I'm grateful that M. and I are not walking zombies as we prepare our Thanksgiving Feast today. Hopefully tonight will go as well, as we will need our strength to tackle Black Friday shopping.

We of course forgot to take "before" pictures, but here are a couple of shots of Finn's new big boy room:

Bonus pic - a Happy Thanksgiving picture of our adorable but not-so-politically-correct toddler:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Food Confessions, Etc

Ugh, you know it's not going to be a good eating day when you've already had 2 cookies by 9am. A little breakfast dessert, if you will, since perhaps, as I did, you also already had a deli-sized (read: not your run-of-the-mill, teeny-tiny Lender's) bagel with cream cheese. And the only thing keeping you from having a third cookie is that there's only one left in the bowl, and you don't want to be THAT person who takes the last cookie, and has to wash the cookie container.

I'm telling myself that the baby is getting ready for a growth spurt. Perhaps by next week it will have moved on from the size of an avocado (4.5 inches long, 3.5 oz, in case you were wondering) to roughly the size of a watermelon. THAT is the extent of my appetite this week, I kid you not. I also think it explains the lame 9:30pm bedtime I had to invoke Saturday night, and the almost 2-hr nap I managed to take yesterday. I, who have not had much napping success this pregnancy (just can't sleep, darn it), much to my dismay. Thank goodness Finn was also in the mood for sleeping, and allowed me such a long nap.

In other pregnancy grumblings, I've been having issues picking out clothes to wear each morning. Is it weird that I refuse to wear things that make me look "too pregnant?" It's no longer a secret at work that my oven is officially cooking a bun. So what gives? Who cares if my outfits now make it patently obvious that I'm on my way to looking a whole lot like one of the Tweedle twins (minus the red cap)? And yet it does matter. I'm only 16 weeks and a couple of days here. It's too early for those "are you sure there's only one baby in there?" or "still pregnant, eh?" comments. I know they will come, but damn it, they better not be trotted out until I'm at least 35 weeks!

The sad thing is that I can fill out those tent-like maternity tops more than I would like. Not because my uterus suddenly needs a new zip code. No, instead it's the dreaded upper abdominal tire. The one that unenlightened people might THINK is the baby, but if they truly knew where the baby was (below the belly button, folks, well below), they would realize that it's just all that extra flesh being pushed up and out of the way to make room for said uterus. Gah.

It's really not as bad as I make it out to be, but since I've been too lazy to take any "belly shots," I guess I can't really prove that to you. It's too bad, since M. and I were pretty faithful about documenting my growing belly (and weight) with Finn. Is this just the start of always giving the second kid "the shaft?" Starting the trend of giving him less attention and more neglect (freedom?) compared to his older brother?

Note, my use of the words "him" and "his" do not mean anything, we are still in the dark about gender here, and plan to stay that way. Just doing a little educated guessing, that's all.

I'd write more, but it's already 10:25, and I'm starting to count down the minutes until it's socially acceptable to eat lunch. I'm hoping to hold off until 11:30. I just can't fixate on the clock AND blog at the same time. Besides, the only other thing I could really find to write about is Finn, and how he is making such a liar out of me (I HAD to go and write about how wonderful he was being, didn't I?), what with all the whining and hitting (yes, hitting! My baby is hitting! Me!) and tantrum-throwing. And I just don't have it in me to write a behavioral post, where I detail all our strategies, mostly ineffectual, and beg for more from you experienced moms and dads out there. So, yes, that's all for now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mixed Emotions

The entire country is focused on last night's election outcome, including me, so it seems fitting to write one more political post before I revert to the hum drum descriptions of our little life here. Bear with me, this is not my comfort zone.

I am very happy with the outcome of the election. I want to state that first. I voted for Obama, and I am glad that his victory is definitive. For the first time since 1996, I backed a winning candidate, and it feels good and validating. I hope, with a Congress that is a bit more aligned with the presidency, we can actually get some stuff done around here. We can shift our attention a little from all the issues the previous administration used to keep us scared, the way they hammered us about all the different enemies that surround us, creating an atmosphere of fear. Hopefully we can make some strides toward economic stability, good healthcare options (although I think Barack needs a little help on that one), and educational programs that work. Most importantly, I think, when tested, Obama will rise to any occasion and will do an admirable job.

Having said that, I still find myself somewhat sad today. Even with my emotional, exhausted, hormonal state that leaves me teary eyed at every TV show and commercial that I watch, I don't find myself moved to tears of joy over his victory. Instead, I find myself doubting the first sentence of Barack's victory speech from last night:

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

Last night, we elected the first African American President in our history, truly a historic moment. But what does that really say? Racial divides and tensions are deep seated, and this does break down some barriers. But in my opinion, the barriers between black and white were already being attacked with battering rams. What about the subtler, or less attention-grabbing tensions that exist? The stronger, more camouflaged barriers that are still holding strong? Does the election of Barack Obama mean that a Hispanic American now stands a chance of being elected? An Asian American? A Muslim American or a Jewish American? I am not so sure of that.

What saddens me the most, however, is that we seem no closer to gender equality. Perhaps selfishly, as a female, this concerns me the most. I think I could only cry tears of joy for an election that puts a woman in the White House, and today I am struck by the possibility of never seeing that happen in my lifetime. The divide between sexes is universal and deep seated, far more so than the tensions that exist between any two races or ethnicities. We still live in a time where women can hold the same position as men, and get paid less for it, or receive fewer opportunities for promotion. Our educational systems and workforce regulations are still geared toward a male population. While there have been some strides toward incorporating child-bearing and -raising in the workplace, it does not go far enough. For example, I will receive 6 weeks of paid leave to recover from childbirth and incorporate a new child into the family, and I will receive an additional 6 weeks of unpaid leave on top of that. Frankly, that's just not enough time. I am fortunate to work for a large company, which is beholden to the FMLA rules. If I worked for a small company, I would only be guaranteed the amount of vacation time I managed to accrue before going in to labor. In my opinion, both of those options suck, though one is of course worse than the other.

Yes, you could argue that we got closer this year, with Hillary Clinton making a substantial bid for the presidency. But she didn't win the nomination. Maybe because of who she is (those Clintons can be very polarizing), or maybe because this country is not ready for a female president. Others point to Sarah Palin, who had the opportunity to become the first female Vice President. But honestly, I think her selection as the running mate for John McCain was actually a step backward, a slap in the face toward legitimate female politicians. Yes, she is tenacious, and she must have some smarts to get as far as she has. But she is self-serving, and NOT smart in the areas where a country's leader must be smart - she cannot think on her feet, and maintain a didactic knowledge of the problems and potential solutions facing all of us. To put her one step from the presidency was an insane idea, and it shows disrespect to our intelligence.

I'll be watching, over the next 4 or 8 years, for how or if this election has really changed the political and cultural landscape in America. And you can bet your ass that I'm going to be keeping my eye out for that potential her, the promising woman who can do it, transcend those gender barriers and prove that women really are equals in every way that matters. I'm still hoping I'll see it.

OK, off my soapbox - Finn updates to follow soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween, Me Mateys!

Our little guy was a pirate for Halloween this year (thanks for the loan of the costume, Donna!). I vividly remember my brother Andrew loving his own pirate costume (fashioned by my mom, not a mass retailer, props to you, Mom!) so much that he wore it two years in a row when he was a preschooler. I didn't have such high hopes for Finn - we did a test drive in the costume a few weeks ago, and it stayed on his body for about 2 minutes. But luckily, daycare had a parade and party at school during the day yesterday, so they got to struggle with convincing Finn to put it on, not me. And I'm sure, since ALL the other kids had costumes to wear, Finn was more than happy to oblige. So by the time dinner was over, the sky was getting dim, and it was time to suit up for Trick or Treating, it was a piece of cake for me to get Finn into the costume. See for yourself, he makes a pretty jolly pirate:

M. was en route from a business trip up in Maine, so I had to handle our first real experience trick or treating alone. I left two big bowls of candy out on the front steps with a note for everyone to help themselves, and we took off down the side walk: me, my little pirate, two fake swords, and a plastic pumpkin. Finn was a little overwhelmed at times by all the kids and costumes, some of which scared him. He is still talking about the robot and "bear" (really a werewolf) that he saw this morning. Every time we saw another group of kids, he wanted to follow them, regardless of whether we had already been to that house or not. It was a bit of a challenge directing him around, and a lot of the experience was more like a meandering walk down the street than a trick or treating effort. But I managed to get him to say "trick or treat" several times, as well as "happy halloween," and we came away with a full pumpkin of candy and lots of compliments. The general verdict around the neighborhood was that he made for a very cute pirate.

I also had a doctor's appointment yesterday - I am 15 weeks along in the pregnancy as of today. These appointments always seem kind of pointless to me - there's confirmation that yes, the baby is alive, which is always nice. But the rest of the time is spent peeing in a cup and stepping on the dreaded scale, with only about 5 minutes or less of face time with the doctor. The doctor I saw yesterday was new to me (not surprising since the whole practice is new to me), and I was not overly impressed. She seemed very expressionless and not warm at all. Luckily, I think she does not deliver babies at the hospital we will use, and I plan to see only those doctors in the practice that do from now on, so I don't have to have any more appointments with her.

I had some concerns, because I've been having heart palpitations lately. I had them occasionally with Finn, and I know they can be a normal side effect of pregnancy. But with Finn they started much later into the pregnancy and didn't happen very frequently. They've been kind of frequent this week, and I was a little worried that they started so early this time around (I've had them for a couple of weeks). When I told the doctor about them, she basically told me to find a primary care physician and get monitored. She was not very proactive at all about helping me - didn't offer a suggestion of a primary care doctor (I told her I don't have one), and she also didn't offer to run any tests under her purview that might be helpful, like checking my iron or thyroid levels. Frustrating, and part of the reason I was less than impressed with her. I think everything is fine, but I will follow through, and find myself a PCP to get checked out.

Well, I'm being paged to come to the breakfast table, so I guess that's it for now...