What day is it? How long does this question phase last? Will I survive it?

BB is 3-years-old! We have reached the land of a million questions.

We have also reached vacation land, which may or may not be why I’ve been slacking on blogging. I’ve thought about it almost every day, but then I went to the beach.

BB asks,

“First you’re a baby, then a kid and then an adult?”

“That’s right.”

“What’s after adult?”

“That’s it.”

“That’s it?”

“You get older, but you’re still an adult.”

A few days later BB starts crying,

“I don’t want to be an adult!!!”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to take showers.”

Don’t worry. No showers.

BB points at our house,

“What’s that?”

“What do you think?” I know she knows the answer, so why does she still ask?

“It’s the chimney!”

“That’s right.”

“Is that where Santa comes down?”

“So they say.” It’s July and I’m answering Santa questions.

“Why doesn’t he come in the door?”

“I don’t know. Maybe the chimney is faster? If you don’t have a chimney I bet he comes in the door.”

Let me supersede some of this if possible.

The next day Captain, BB and I are in the car headed to the Cape. BB asks,

“Mom, where are we going?”

My knee jerk reaction is to answer when I hear my call sign, but I remember I’m on vacation. I ask Captain,

“Are her questions driving you crazy?”

“Not really.”

Oh right. Because I’m the one who’s been answering all of them. BB tries again,

“Mom? Where are we going?”

“I’m going to let Dad field this one.”

He calls out,

“What’s the question?”

She goes back to “reading” her book.

Toy Story 4 is playing at the drive-in movie theater at the Cape. Considering Woody was one of BB’s top birthday present requests, along with “armresters” for her kitchen chair, the movie sounds like a good idea.

It’s a 40 minute drive. We pull out of the driveway and slow down at a crosswalk,

“Are we there?”

“No, we’re going to be in the car for a long time.”

“Where are we going?”

“Where do you think?”

“To see the Buzz movie with Woody.”

“That’s right.”

“Where’s the movie theater?”

Shoot me now.

We get there.

“Where’s the movie theater?”

“This is it.”

“This is it?”

“It’s a drive-in movie theater.”

“Where’s the movie theater.”

“This is it, we watch the movie from the car.”

“Where’s the movie theater?”

She’s NEVER even been to a real movie theater, WHAT is she talking about?

“Is the sun setting?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because the earth is rotating.”

“Is it getting dark?”

“Yes.”

“Where’s Woody?”

Is there another car I can watch the movie from?

And sometimes I’d like to turn things around and get some of my questions answered. Like why after months of successfully peeing in the potty unprompted with no accidents (as I write this), does BB still insist on a pull-up for pooping?

BB comes to me holding her butt,

“I need a pull-up.”

“Do you want to try pooping in the potty?”

“NOOO! I said no.”

“Let’s try.”

“I’ll poop in the potty when I’m an adult.”

She heard that kids can drown in a few inches of water

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My DNA results are in!

I sent my DNA to 23andMe. I waited as my spit traveled through the multi-step process. I ripped open each incoming email:

  • Kit registered
  • Sample received
  • DNA in queue for extraction
  • Genotyping your DNA
  • Reviewing your genetic data
  • “Results for Jessica Curtis are in. A world of DNA discovery is waiting.”

I was excited. Too excited. After hearing so many crazy genetic stories about people finding long lost relatives, I had myself convinced I was going to learn something other than that I’m 50% Jewish and my parents are exactly who I thought they were.

One close relative, my mom, was listed and after that just 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins.

I’m not sure who I was hoping to find, but confirmation of who my mom is wasn’t a surprise. She’s the one who bought the kit for me in the first place. 23andMe offered a look at my connections,

“We detected close family: Mother (predicted). Would you like to connect?”

Thanks. I’ll text her.

Then I got a little bit excited again when I browsed the genetic traits category. The first one was,

“Less likely to be able to match a musical pitch.”

That’s so me! Back in the day my piano teacher said the good news was I wasn’t completely tone deaf. The bad news is BB only wants me to sing when she’s going to sleep. Any other time I get asked to be quiet.

My excitement started to wane after that. There was:

  • Less likely to have flat feet.
    • I have flat feet
  • Likely little baby hair.
    • I had plenty.
  • Likely to get motion sickness.
    • Sometimes, but really only when cleaning toilets below deck on rough seas.
  • More likely to be afraid of heights.
    • I’ve been sky diving no issues.
  • Likely at least a little unibrow.
    • That one’s correct.

It started to feel like a horoscope. I could easily believe in it if I wanted to or not. It did say I have a 43% chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

That isn’t a complete shocker because for whatever reason my blood sugar was on the high end at the start of this pregnancy. I laid off the several powdered donuts for breakfast, soda for lunch and chocolate for afternoon snack. That seems to be helping for now so I added the chocolate back in.

It also said I’m likely to wake up at 8:11am. Before BB I was likely to wake up at 10am and now that BB exists, 7am is all I get. I’ll let her know that 8:11am would be ideal based on my genetic makeup.

Supposedly I’m likely to consume less caffeine than average: 17mg less. That’s an 8th of a cup of coffee. I’ve been helping myself to that additional splash to make up for not sleeping until 8:11am.

And fun fact, I have a gene that is common in elite, power athletes, which may be why I was able to bounce BB for as long as I did.

Captain has a kit waiting for his spit. So if BB ever decides to submit her DNA she’ll have at least 3 close connections to contact if she’d like. And hopefully just as little excitement.

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Still growing this baby

22 weeks pregnant and holding the course. I’m doing what feels like an enormous amount of self care: therapy, pregnancy-after-loss support group, midwife appointments, acupuncture, chiropractic, pelvic floor physical therapy, yoga, walking, haircuts, book club and considering a prenatal massage.

I can’t control much of this baby making process, but I’m good at making appointments. 

This is short lived. As soon as this baby is on the outside my self care will be down to the occasional shower and walk. Or maybe just shower and nap if I tear my crotch to pieces again.

Overall I’d describe myself as NOT an anxious person, but of course that’s not doing me any good now. My therapist said that I can’t expect to have zero anxiety and she thinks I’m doing about as well as I can hope. So there’s that.

At my last ultrasound scan the doctor said,

“I have no concerns aside from your advanced maternal age.”

Perfect. I’ll be 37 in July. In general I feel great, healthy, strong, vibrant, full of life, optimistic, all that good stuff. But 36.9 and pregnant? I feel OLD. My hips are aching; my legs are throbbing and I’m leaking urine just thinking about it.

I see why 22 years old is physically a great age to give birth. Although the only thing I was prepared to give birth to at that time was this blog. That’s right, this blog was born in 2005. And yes I know where to find those posts and no they’re not public. They’d only reassure you that waiting to have kids in my thirties was the right decision.

I’m also in full blown nesting mode. I had this feeling when I was pregnant with BB, but we were in a one bedroom, so after we squeezed in a changing table, there wasn’t much else I could do.

Now I can decorate a whole nursery! The rational part of me says,

“BB didn’t sleep in her own room for a year. This kid is going to be in your bedroom for a long time, no rush to decorate her room now.”

The anxious, superstitious part of me says,

“Don’t you dare decorate that room, you have NO idea what’s going to happen.”

The hormonal, pregnant, nesting part of me says,

“But I really wanted to do this when I was pregnant with BB and I couldn’t. This is my chance!”

I’m going with the hormonal part of me. She’s the most insistent. Plus we already have all the big nursery furniture. The crib has been stored in that room for over a year. All I had to do was move it to the other side of the room.

I’m going with a rainbow theme considering sometimes people call the baby they have after a loss their rainbow baby. It may be overplayed, but I like it. And heaven forbid this kid doesn’t make it, if some kid makes it at some point, they’ll be our rainbow baby.

Captain painted the walls a light blue, so it’s ready for rainbows. BB slid her bare butt across the new cloud rug, so that’s broken in. And I’ve been making frequent trips to HomeGoods to keep an eye on the rainbow/cloud paraphernalia.

All that’s left to do is keep going. And whatever concerns I have about labor and delivery, I can let those go because the other day BB told me,

“Mom, when you push the baby out?”

“Yes?”

“I’ll catch her.”

Self-care pregnancy

I can do this. I’ve got the rubber duckies, the letters and the bubbles, tear free!

Baby #3 for the win? TBD

If all goes well, we’ll see what happens, you never know, chances are, God willing, if we luck out, if the stars align, I don’t want to count my chicky before she hatches, BUT I’m 20 weeks pregnant!

I can’t believe I’m halfway through. Between this pregnancy and the last one I feel like I’ve been in some sort of first trimester purgatory.

I’m due early October. Twenty more weeks to go. A whole summer of being pregnant. I’m feeling hot thinking about it. Not sexy hot. Sweat dripping down my enormous belly and settling in my crotch hot.

Or not since the sweat will be absorbed by the full length compression tights I’ve started wearing. These are $50 pantyhose that I got a prescription for. That’s how sexy they are. Not just anybody can get their hands on these.

When Captain saw me in them he said,

“Straight out of a J.C. Penney catalog!”

I think he meant it as a compliment.

My varicose veins are popping. And mostly it’s an aesthetic issue, but by the end of the day they are achy, throbby and uncomfortable. If I wear the tights, they’re not, but then I get to be uncomfortable in a bunch of other ways. So so far it’s a real toss up.

My main complaint is that the compression tights are so strong that they squish everything up and then the compression stops right below my butt/crotch and everything spills over the top.

There never used to be a line of demarcation on my leg. My thighs increased in width until they somewhat smoothly met up with my butt. That is no longer the case.

I called the pharmacist back and asked about compression all the way up. That’s not a thing. I tried adding some maternity spanx on top of my pantyhose. Not only was it not strong enough to contain the thigh spillage, the number of layers was getting ridiculous.

Yes of course I would accept a million varicose veins and 10 months of being pregnant in the summer if I can get my hands on a healthy baby, but I sure as heck am not about to do it quietly. Or at least not anymore.

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Potty training continues

I could spare you more potty talk, but since I brought it up you know I’m not going to.

We’ve made progress. BB is pooping in the bathroom. She requests a diaper, I’m happy to oblige and then she stays in the bathroom until she’s done.

I read that this way she’ll start to associate the bathroom as the place to poop as opposed to standing in her bedroom window. Even though it has a lovely view.

This whole thing makes my cortisol levels spike like nothing else. We were running errands the other afternoon, so that by the time we got to Target I was positive we needed the potty. BB agreed to try, but nothing. I plopped her in the cart and we went on our way. Five minutes later,

“I need to go potty!”

I push the cart in panic mode from one side of the store to the other. I understand that the worst thing that could happen is we need to change clothes and we leave a Target shopping cart covered in pee, but I’d rather not. We make it to the bathroom. Nothing. BB declares,

“I tried, but my butt is all dried up.”

Ok. I resume shopping. I glance at BB. She’s holding her crotch. C’MON!

“Do you need to go potty?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you holding your crotch?”

She has no answer for me, but she continues to hold it for the rest of the 20 minute shopping trip. This is enough to raise my stress levels, but not quite enough to make me abandon Target before I’m ready.

We check out and head for the bathroom. At this point I have to go and have given up on BB, assuming an accident is imminent. She declares,

“I’ll try. If it comes out, it comes out.”

It comes out.

This is a very unpredictable process. At home I go to the bathroom. I reach for toilet paper and get a piece that’s already been ripped off. It’s mysteriously wet.

“BB where do we put toilet paper after we wipe?”

“In the potty.”

“That’s right!

“But last time I put it back on the roll.”

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Someone may need this shirt.

 

Potty training continues

We’re potty training for real this time. A month ago BB announced at the dinner table,

“I’m going to pee.”

I’m assuming she did. She was still in a diaper and I didn’t really give it a second thought. Until it dawned on me. It’s probably time.

Before our vacation I told her,

“No more diapers after ski vacation.”

She looks me straight in the face and replies,

“No more diapers and no potty.”

That’s not right.

We get home from vacation mid-afternoon. I had planned to start the next day. BB declares,

“No more diapers!”

I guess we’re really doing this. Again.

Aside from a couple accidents, she’s peed in the potty every time. She’s even peed for other people at the Y when I’m not there.

But that’s only part of it, isn’t it? Then there’s poop. Oh poop. And it is not going in the potty. It is occasionally going in a diaper. It is mostly going in her underwear. She has ZERO desire to poop in the potty.

Coincidentally we’re in the process of getting our septic tank pumped and BB is fascinated by the fact that there’s a tank in our backyard full of poop. I keep reminding her that if she wants her poop to go in the backyard tank, she needs to put it in the potty. That has not been incentive enough.

Captain dug a hole down to the top of the tank and today BB declared,

“There’s the poop hole!”

We are officially a third potty trained. We’re not even thinking about attempting nighttime. She can go off to college wearing an overnight diaper for all I care about that right now.

Part of that problem is that when I weaned her from breastfeeding at 20 months, I weaned her onto a sippy cup of milk. Then I proceeded to water down the milk everyday until now she goes to bed with a sippy cup of water. She is ATTACHED to her water cup. Not as attached as she is to her bunny. But there will be screaming in the middle of the night if it’s nowhere to be found. How can I expect a water chugging toddler to potty train overnight?

BB has insisted on complete privacy. She goes in. SLAMS the door. And screams bloody murder if you try to enter before she tells you to. Part of her process is that it is very important to her to be the one to pour her pee from her little potty into our big potty. So while she is not having accidents per se, I continue to clean up a large amount of pee off of multiple bathroom surfaces.

We’re peeing in the potty. That part is a success. And I can’t remember the last time she let me go to the bathroom by myself, but it must be nice for her.

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Another test of my love for a ski trip

Back from a successful week in Smuggler’s Notch, VT. By the skin of our teeth.

Last year in Killington we all got the Norovirus, there was vomit everywhere. It was the WORST. And the chances of that happening again? Well it didn’t even cross my mind.

Our drive up was smooth. BB slept, Captain and I chatted. We only made 2 wrong turns. We pull into the parking lot at central registration. My plan is to run in, get the info, then we’ll drive to our room. No need to get BB out and back into the car for this.

We picked Smuggler’s Notch because it’s supposed to be really good for kids, also it’s the only ski school I could find willing to put an unpotty-trained 2-year-old on skis.

I join a line of dads checking in. Some of them may have left another dad in the car, but based on the number of dads in line, there had to be a fair number of moms in the cars with the kids.

I contemplate this dynamic. We pulled in. I got out. I didn’t put it up for discussion.

I return to the car. I open the door. I’m not in the car yet, Captain and I are starting to talk. He peers into the rear view mirror.

“Uh, she’s throwing up!”

I yank her door open. I stare. She throws up more. I stare at her covered in vomit. The carseat full of vomit. Her security bunnies soaked in vomit. UGH. We decide to drive the 2 minutes to our room and deal with it there.

It’s 6pm. We unpack. Get clean clothes on. BB is interested in a snack. She seems to feel fine. I toss it up to being in the car too long and maybe car sickness? Although that’s never happened before and the car had been stationary for 10 minutes.

There’s laundry in the building. We’re ready to toss everything in: car-seat liner, clothes, blankets and bunnies.

BB shouts,

“Don’t wash my bunnies!”

Captain tells her,

“We have to.”

She starts to freak out. I say,

“Wait! BB, I want you to smell your bunny.”

I hand it to her. She doesn’t smell it.

“I need you to take a really big smell.”

She does. Her whole face puckers. She pushes the bunny at me,

“Wash it!”

That’s what I thought.

We put everything in the wash. It’s high-efficiency meaning it’s going to take 2 hours. At this point that’ll be 9pm. Then everything still needs to go in the dryer. Will BB fall asleep without her bunnies? We’re about to find out. We head to dinner.

BB does not fall asleep without her bunnies. Captain spends a fair amount of time in the shower cleaning the plastic frame of the car seat. We’re all up until after 10pm.

It was silly of me to think she’d sleep any later than her normal 7am. She’s up and chugging water. I don’t think anything of it. Then she’s puking again.

We get cleaned up. She pukes again. We have a small respite, maybe one TV show worth. She’s hungry. I let her have a little applesauce. She pukes again. We manage to go an hour with nothing. We contemplate going to the restaurant for breakfast. We get our coats on. She pukes again. We take our coats off.

Is it really possible that we’re going to have another ski vacation like this? I may never ski again.

And if I thought a 1-year-old puking was tough, BB is proving that a 2-year-old is far worse. She is now capable of puking into a trash can, but has decided that she would rather not and is managing to get it on as many clothes and surfaces as possible.

I feel like I might lose my mind. I also don’t want all of us to get it like last time, so I’m washing my hands every other thing I do.

Then she naps. Then she feels fine. She wants to eat. I’m rationing out food. She’s angry with me and I feel terrible, but if I let her have her way she’d eat 2 giant pancakes and that sure doesn’t seem like a good idea. With half a pancake in her tummy and the promise of more later we head to the FunZone.

There’s a bouncy house, but I don’t give it a second thought. BB doesn’t really like those. She heads straight for the bouncy house and Captain starts helping her in. I offer,

“I don’t think this is a good idea.”

I feel 99% sure we’re about to leave this bouncy house covered in vomit.

We don’t. We do cancel BB’s first day in ski school. Not taking any chances. She starts after a day and a half of being puke free. Captain and I drop her off together. I’m used to dropping her off at the Y, but Captain has never done that. I’m reassuring him as much as I’m reassuring BB. Everyone is going to have fun and be ok.

They give us a link for an app we can download to access photos of BB throughout her day. We drop her off at 9am and are planning to pick her up at 1pm.

The app is the best and worst thing. At 9:40am I shout at Captain,

“There’s an update! She had a snack!”

“Oh yeah?”

“A nutrigrain bar.”

9:45am:

“Another update! Wet diaper.”

10:15am:

A photo of her doing arts and crafts.

I am spending my relatively expensive child-free morning compulsively checking this app. I feel like an idiot.

11:15am, I tell Captain,

“There haven’t been any updates, they must be skiing.”

And ski she did, if by ski you mean she wore boots and skis and tolerated someone sliding her down a microscopic incline, all for a video for Mom and Dad and so someday BB can breezily say ‘oh yeah I’ve been skiing since I was two.’ Or so she can say, ‘Oh I skied once when I was two and never again.’

We were very happy to see each other and she was exhausted. I ask her,

“What did you think? How was your day?”

“Good.”

“Did you have a favorite part?”

“When the lady with the flower pants gave me more ketchup at lunch.”

For the rest of vacation BB continued to feel fine; we were all fine. No one was sick. I have no idea what all that was, but the car seat is the cleanest it’s been since we took it out of the box.

Until next year.

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Puzzle me this, just please don’t make me do it

One of the good things about Captain is that he’s as in love with BB as I am. And I’m especially in love with her once she’s asleep for the night. I sigh,

“Isn’t she great?”

“Yeah, she definitely has her own persona.”

She does and it’s apparent she’s extra related to Captain.

The two of them are very happy doing any number of activities that I have no desire for or can’t even comprehend the enjoyment. As a kid Captain loved lining up his toy cars. He walks into the house after work and BB shouts,

“Daddy, lets line up my doggies!”

They both love legos and both prefer the process to the finished product. They spend half an hour building something for BB to declare,

“Let’s knock it down and do it again!” And they do.

She loves puzzles. Arts and crafts are something I was confronted with my entire childhood, but puzzles were pretty easy to avoid. Until now.

We’re lucky she has a lot of puzzles. And in theory I come down on the side of encouraging her to do whatever she’d like to do. Which means, she wants to do a puzzle? Great! She wants me to do a puzzle? I’ll be hiding in the bathroom until she finds me and dumps the puzzle all over the bathroom floor.

I could suck it up and do one puzzle, glue it together and never do it again. The thing is the minute the puzzle is done BB sends the pieces flying and shouts with glee,

“Let’s do it again!”

Shoot me now.

The good news is Captain is a puzzle fan too. I’m still waiting to see what BB got from me aside from both of us liking to eat lemons.

So if at all possible, when BB begs for me to do a puzzle, I pawn it off,

“Daddy will do one with you when he gets home.”

The minute he walks in the door she explodes,

“DADDY PUZZLE TIME! You’re better at it.”

She has taken to telling us which tasks we’re better at. Captain is better at puzzles and tubby time. If Captain even attempts to sing, BB is quick to remind him that my rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is bar none.

And it’s clear that BB has her own sense of personhood. I told her, as I’ve told her many times,

“You have two choices…”

“No. Those are mommy choices, those are not my choices.”

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A puzzle competition! They’re a thing.

What to do about a geriatric blanket

As you may or may not know, I have a security blanket. Her name is Blankety. Yes she is a she and no she does not like to be called Blankie.

Blankety is 36 years old. That is very old in security-blanket years.

I made that same joke in a 2013 blog, but I’m banking on you not remembering it.

Over the years she has started to show the wear and tear that anyone would show if someone slept on top of them every night. The more worn out she gets, the less I wash her.

And before or while you’re saying eeew, if someone told you the Notorious RBG would live longer if she stopped showering, tell me you wouldn’t go take away her soap.

For awhile I washed Blankety every year or so give or take a year. I washed her right before BB was born. And since then, by nothing short of a miracle, she has stayed free from spit-up, vomit and all other bodily fluids that have spewed out of my child.

We’re going on 3 years since the last wash. That may be a record. I’m more and more concerned that she has very few washes left in her.

My mom and I have mended her many times. The issue now is that she’s disappearing. The material is fading away before my very eyes. It’s hard to say how mending can help her.

I also have a blanket we wrapped Angel Baby in. It wasn’t really a conscious decision, but the night she died, I snuggled that blanket right up to Blankety and they haven’t been parted since. I don’t need AB’s blanket quite the same way as I need Blankety, but when I was trying to pack as light as possible to go to DC, I left a big empty spot in my rolling suitcase.

I tell my therapist,

“Looks like I’m going to travel with both blankets.”

“Sounds totally fine. You’re not hurting anyone.”

No I’m not. But I’ve just doubled the number of blankets I need and refuse to wash.

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Was the trip a success? Yes, minus a few major malfunctions

We made it to DC and back! AND had a great time. It took what felt like a herculean effort, but was worth it. All we missed at home was Captain, 2 yoga classes, one zumba class, one playgroup, one library story time, one therapy session and an immense amount of sleep.

It IS possible to travel carry-on only, including BB’s giant, bunny sleeping bag. A surprising number of people offered to help me drag my luggage through the airport. I turned everyone down because I was managing and also because I could’ve checked something if I’d really wanted to.

I got us to the airport 3 hours early because I was terrified of how long it would take me to get through security. I had one rolling bag, two shoulder bags, one backpack, one stroller and one toddler.

I can’t remember the last time I went through security without getting pulled aside for extra screening. This time they waved us right through. We must’ve looked like it would be more of a hassle to keep us hanging around then to send us on our way.

I love our light weight stroller. The only time it proved to be insufficient was when BB was insisting on dashing away from me. I strapped her in the stroller, at which point she started whipping all 28 pounds of herself back and forth, full-body tantrum style. The stroller was about to be knocked over entirely when my hot tea that was in the cup holder sprayed everywhere. BB sat in shock contemplating what must’ve been painful tea splatters all over her.

I got her into the sling. Yes, the same sling she spent the entire first year of her life in. She still fits, ish. But more importantly, she still loves it. As her eyelids closed she told me,

“I’m not sleepy.”

“I know.”

Then she was snoring and I was drinking what was left of my tea.

BB enjoyed her window seat. And I enjoyed having two seats worth of leg room. On the way there BB was the ONLY person under 18. And the only person on the plane sneezing and coughing without covering. I’m sorry to anyone we gave our cold to. It’s a nasty one.

BB still hasn’t figured out how to blow her nose which led up to an ear infection mid-week. The urgent care office we went to gave us a Minnie Mouse nightlight, so now BB can’t say enough good things about going to the doctor.

This is BB’s first time taking amoxicillin, aka the pink stuff. I LOVE the pink stuff. I mean that. I would still get it in liquid form if I needed to take it. I’m so excited for BB to try it. She is not impressed. I stare at her,

“You don’t like it? It’s the pink stuff. Everyone loves the pink stuff.”

“No medicine. I went to the doctor, I’m all better.”

I wish it worked like that. I have an epiphany, I tell BB that if she drinks the pink stuff she’ll turn into Pinkalicious, one of her favorite characters. She slurps it right down.

“Delicious!”

That’s what I thought.

My dear friend has 4 kids and a fenced in backyard. I can’t say enough good things about the fence. Kids can be outside and we can be inside. So peaceful, until I go hurtling for the tree house as BB contemplates descending down a rope.

I borrow my friend’s car to drive to the pharmacy with BB. We FaceTime with Captain, he exclaims,

“Are you driving a minivan?!”

“Yes. Yes I am.” It’s the car I should’ve bought if my ego didn’t insist on a SUV.

It was a successful weeklong playdate. And with the help of a babysitter, we even snuck in a pedicure.

On our return flight there was a woman flying by herself with 4 kids: ages 6 months through 6 years. She made me feel like anything is possible, as long as you check some luggage.

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Solo flight with a toddler, what could go wrong?

I just booked a last-minute flight to DC for BB and me. A friend will be waiting there with her car and a car seat. So as far as baby gear goes, I can travel “light.”  I want to go carry-on only and the internet is not helping me.

I google “pull a rolling suitcase and push a stroller.” I’m hoping to find a helpful how-to video, no luck. Someone did ask a similar question and got this response:

“I suggest you find a different piece of luggage to transport your belongings. It doesn’t meet your needs if you have to ask this question.”

I practice in my driveway with an empty stroller and an empty suitcase. Super easy!! Yes I realize that my driveway trial will have no resemblance to departure day with a 30 pound toddler and however much our allotted liquid amount in fruit pouches weighs.

We would definitely be able to travel light not in quotes if it weren’t for the fact that I’m taking BB’s sleeping bag. It’s a big, hairy bunny bag. Its selling point was not based on how tiny it compresses.

I’m nervous about juggling luggage and a small person. Everyone has asked if I’m nervous about the flight. Not really. It’s less than 2 hours. Our iPad is up to the challenge. And whoever our seat mate is is welcome to share the giant bag of chocolate animal crackers I just bought.

As a child I was always desperate for a window seat, but as an adult I prefer the aisle. I like to go to the bathroom. Without thinking I select an aisle and middle seat.

Captain and I are chatting about the flight. He says,

“BB will like looking out the window, don’t you think?”

“SHOOT!”

“What?!”

“Of course I need a window seat for her! What was I thinking?” I modify our reservation ASAP. Window seats both ways. Phew.

So maybe this is the start of a lifetime of travel together or maybe I’m never flying solo with BB ever again. I will let you know.

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7-year-old me privileged enough to be going to Disney World and pissed I didn’t get a window seat. Yes, I used this photo the last time we flew with BB, but it’s a classic 

Sesame Street Live with the big ol’ five-year-olds, here we come

Happy New Year!

After wallowing in a low point over the holidays, I feel like I’m picking myself back up. The end of last year sucked pretty hard, but not for all of us. BB decided December was a very good month. She keeps asking,

“More presents?”

I made the mistake of saying,

“Not until your birthday.”

So then she started asking,

“Is it my birthday?”

“Not until the Summer.” And we talked through the four seasons.

“Is it my birthday?”

“Not until July, in the Summer.” And we talked through the months.

There’s a kid song about months. It has proved helpful for dancing, but not as helpful for understanding that her birthday isn’t tomorrow.

BB asks about her birthday again. I ask her,

“Can you say the months?”

She looks at me and gives me the biggest eye roll I’ve ever seen. And if I doubted for a second that she rolled her eyes at me, my mom was there and said,

“I saw that. She rolled her eyes at you.”

Great. So that’s where we’re at with the 2-year-old attitude. On one hand it’s a lot quieter than a tantrum. On the other hand, what is she going to do when she’s 13?!

She tells my mom,

“I need a guitar please.”

We head to the attic. I had a toy guitar at one point so it’s up there somewhere. Everything is up there somewhere.

We find it and BB is overjoyed. Her big cousin got one for Christmas and since then it’s been a must-have that I told her she could wait for July for.

Over dinner I mention to Captain that BB might like to go to a concert. BB pipes up,

“Concert?”

“Yeah a show where people play music, like on a guitar and sing.”

“I want to go!”

We do a quick search and there it is: Sesame Street Live is coming to Boston in April. BB’s eyes open wide,

“Big Bird singing and dancing?”

“Yes!”

“Elmo?”

“Yes!”

“Abby Dabby?”

“Yes!”

“I want to dance with Big Bird!”

“We will!”

BB is exploding from her booster seat with excitement. She shouts,

“Let’s go!”

“In April.”

SIGH. Here we go again.

We get BB to bed despite her wanting to go to a concert immediately and I browse Ticketmaster. I’m torn between the Saturday morning show and the Friday evening one. I debate it with Captain. We’re leaning toward Friday evening. Captain says,

“My only concern with Friday night is that it’ll be an older crowd.”

“It’s Sesame Street Live.”

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Clearly from the 90’s

The whole marginal Santa thing

Happy New Year! I’ll be lucky if I’m awake to see midnight. And awake because I woke up to go to the bathroom doesn’t count. Six years ago I would’ve been wide awake bartending. I still can’t believe I start my mornings very close to when I used to go to bed.

Captain has deemed Christmas a success and I’m relieved it’s over. I didn’t realize how relieved I was until December 26th when I ran around like a crazy person and by the time I went to sleep all the decorations were put away and the tree was in a heap in the yard. The only signs of the season now are a couple snowflake towels floating around.

Okay there are also some melamine plates with dogs in glasses and Santa hats.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole Santa thing. I grew up knowing he wasn’t real. I remember scoffing at the kids who believed in him, while simultaneously taking the Tooth Fairy very seriously.

I also never believed in the Easter Bunny, but one Easter we were away at the Ritz in Chicago and they promised the Easter Bunny would visit our room. My parents wanted to head out for the day. I was frantic. I called the front desk and pestered them for the whereabouts of this bunny, never for a second letting them believe I had any doubts about his existence. Please just bring me a basket of candy.

I thought having the Tooth Fairy was fun, so might as well do Santa. BB seemed to grasp the idea that Hanukkah presents come from Mom and Dad and Christmas ones come from Santa. I thought this would be an easy enough year, but BB is already trying to poke holes in my Santa story and I haven’t had a chance to get my story straight.

We were headed to a holiday party to see Santa. I mention this to BB. She asks,

“We’re going to the North Pole?”

No. What? Good point. How the heck do kids make sense of the million Santas walking around at Christmas time? Having worked in Disney, I know they let nothing threaten the magic. You will NEVER have a double Mickey Mouse sighting because there’s only one Mickey of course.

But nobody is monitoring all the Santas. I can’t even remember what I told BB. When we get there she asks,

“Where are Santa’s reindeer?”

That’s it. Uncle! I’m tempted to tell her I made a big mistake and Santa isn’t real. Santa terrifies her. Later when we read some books, she points at Santa’s elves and tells me,

“I like the little Santas, not the big Santa.”

She also asked me,

“How does Tutu (our Elf on the Shelf) fly? She doesn’t have wings.”

“Uh… Magic?”

Is that the right answer? I know the Elf on the Shelf website provides answers to potential questions, but when BB put me on the spot I panicked.

If I can’t field the two-year-old questions, how the heck am I supposed to carry this story until the marginal age of 7?

It also dawns on me that Santa needs his own wrapping paper and hand writing. I get a pass on that this year. The only letter BB cares about is the first letter of her name.

Christmas Eve I absolutely regretted the entire thing. BB was sitting up in bed terrified and she kept pointing to the roof,

“Is he up there?”

“No, don’t worry, he doesn’t want you to see him.”

“Are the reindeer up there?”

“No.” If Santa keeps BB from sleeping I’m going to be really angry with this guy.

She sleeps. In the morning she comes tearing down the stairs and comes to an abrupt halt in the kitchen. She gasps when she sees her presents,

“A tractor! I told Santa I wanted a tractor!” And then she whispers, “Is he in there?”

“No, go ahead!”

She won’t move. Captain has to hold her hand and we proceed with caution. The coast is clear, Santa is back at the North Pole, until next year!

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Despite the supposed war on Christmas, here we are

Jew here and it’s Christmas time. I never celebrated it until a few years ago, but my Jewish soul is no match for my desire to put lighted reindeer on my lawn. The main problem is I have no sense of nostalgia for Christmas like I do for Hanukkah, or Halloween, or any other holiday I grew up celebrating.

We’re hosting Christmas day this year. It’s just Captain’s immediate family, but still. There needs to be food. What food? For Passover there’s matzo ball soup, for Hanukkah there’s latkes, for Christmas there’s? I turn to Captain. This is his holiday. He is an unreliable source of information. He’s just not sure.

I can’t fathom this. I text his mom:

“Do you guys usually have turkey or ham for Christmas day? I come from a long line of people who went out for Chinese food.”

I learned that both have been done, so we’re going with ham and maybe a kugel and maybe some wonton soup.

In the last couple months BB has decided she loves going to the playroom at the YMCA. She gets to play and I get 2 hours of babysitting. I can workout or I can sit on my butt in the cafe or I can do both. Two hours is a lifetime.

I’ve been going to yoga regularly and it feels great. There’s a lovely woman I look forward to chatting with every week, but today a guy was waiting for class too and he dominated the pre-class chatter. He turns to me,

“I trust you celebrate Christmas?”

If you’d asked me a few years ago, no. I tell him we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. He asks what’s on my kid’s list. My neon green bracelet is a dead giveaway that I have a child in the playroom.

I mention that BB got most of what she asked for for Hanukkah. Then he asks,

“Do you have more than one?”

“Nope.”

“Do you want more or is one good?”

This is the point where I’m tempted to scream,

“MY BABY JUST DIED.”

I don’t. I keep it together.

And speaking of dead things, I hope our tree makes it. It’s dropping a lot of needles. It doesn’t help that BB likes to pet it. She pats the tree and as needles scatter everywhere she says,

“Gentle, gentle.”

And then there’s the elf on the shelf. All of November I pondered whether we should have one and if we should, should we start this year? The one other Jewish mom in our town has a mensch on a bench. Actually there are at least 2 other Jewish moms in my town, but that’s all I know for sure.

I wonder about the mensch on a bench. The elf goes back to Santa every night, where does the mensch go? I have other questions, but it feels like if this is something we’re going to do because I don’t want BB to miss out on what most of the other kids are doing, then we might as well do the elf.

The day after Hanukkah ended our elf arrived. BB named her Tutu. I’ve yet to remember to move her until the next morning when I run around like a panicked person, although BB doesn’t get it or care if Tutu moves or not. Yesterday Tutu “flew” off the top of the refrigerator when I banged the door closed. I had to touch her, which means she probably won’t move for a few more days, that works for me.

I have many more thoughts on Christmas, but whatever you celebrate, I trust we can talk again soon.

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Picking out our tree. I trust this is a traditional Christmas gorilla.

Glue for the girl who has everything

I’ve got my dreidel jammies on, that means it’s Hanukkah time! Or was. Our dreidel jammies are comfortable enough to wear all day, all Winter. Just ask Captain. I made the mistake of putting them on before Thanksgiving and BB exclaimed,

“Fall is over already? It’s Hanukkah time?!!”

“First Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah.”

I string some Christmas lights along the railing upstairs. BB shouts,

“It’s Halloween time?!”

Things are getting confusing.

I ask BB, 

“What are you excited about for Hanukkah?”

“Crispy latkes!”

Me too!

All year I’ve marveled at how much stuff BB has. In October I wondered if there was anything left to get her. 

Two nights before Hanukkah I found myself wrapping up almost 30 presents for her. How did this happen?

We wanted to get her arts and crafts supplies. I don’t like to shop, so doing it online is the best way. I browse the selection. It’s hard to get an idea of everything that’s available and appropriate for someone with limited fine motor skills. 

I decide it’s a good idea to go to a brick and mortar Michael’s. By myself. 

I walk into the store. Oh no. This is bad. What was I thinking? I don’t like shopping and I don’t like arts and crafts. This store is a combination of both of them. I feel overwhelmed just standing in the entrance.

I head to the kid section. A month ago BB told me,

“I need colored pencils.”

“Ok put them on your Hanukkah list.”

The next day, 

“Mom, I need colored pencils.”

“I know, they’re on your Hanukkah list.”

A few days later,

“Colored pencils?”

“Hanukkah list!”

We continued this way for a month. I look at the colored pencils in the kid’s section of Michael’s. Not only are there at least 4 different brands of colored pencils, but they’re in 4 different aisles within the kid’s section so if I want to price/color count compare. It’s just about impossible. I postpone making a colored pencil decision.

I get kiddie scissors. That’s also a comparison nightmare. Glue. I stop comparing. Elmer’s all the way. It claims to be washable. Then there’s white construction paper, colored construction paper, markers, water colors, water-color paper, and some Hanukkah stickers.

Mission accomplished. I check out, head home and hide it all away until I’m wrapping presents two days before Hanukkah.

I pull out the Michael’s bag. Where are the colored pencils? I scan the receipt. I NEVER bought them. The only thing BB put on her Hanukkah list everyday for a month, and it costs all of $5, I did not buy. 

I could go back to Michael’s, Target or even Stop & Shop. I don’t consider it. With limited comparison, I settle on a 36 count box Prime next day shipping. DONE.

BB opens up her Elmer’s glue. She declares,

“Mom, I need googly eyes.”

Good news. I already have a bunch. I got them years ago to April Fool’s prank Captain. I bought them online.

Last night BB opened her last Hanukkah present.  She exclaims,

“Colored pencils!”

Paper Turkey Time

I am not a crafty person. My mom learned this when my pre-school teacher expressed her dismay with my lack of scissor skills. I haven’t improved much, but I’ve made a life for myself that doesn’t rely on scissor skills, or so I thought.

BB loves to color, loves to paint, loves to glue. She LOVES arts and crafts. This has made it apparent that Captain has contributed his genetics to this. He is great at art. Before I dated him I didn’t know there was such a thing as AP Art. There is and he took it.

Nothing makes BB happier than an art project. And just like Captain, all the joy is in the process. Almost as soon as it’s done, she puts it in the recycling. There appears to be zero attachment to the finished product.

When I hear that the library in the next town over has a story time followed by a craft, I know this will be perfect for us. Orchestrating arts and crafts is almost as low on my list as creating them.

We’ve been twice now. The first time the craft was creating a squirrel. There was an outline of a squirrel on a piece of paper with pieces of grey felt for the body, leaves for the ground, an acorn for its hands and glue for everyone to put it all together.

We approached the craft table. It was surrounded by small children watching their caretakers make a squirrel. I got BB situated. She started to glue leaves onto the squirrel’s body and grey felt in the sky. I have never had to exert so much self-control in my LIFE.

I reminded myself on repeat that I did not come to story time so I could make a squirrel.

The next week I ask BB if she’d like to go to the library again for story time.

“YES! Glue googly eyes and leaves!”

This time it’s a paper turkey and there’s plenty of glue and googly eyes. Again all the caretakers proceed to make turkeys and again it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done to step back and watch as 6 googly eyes get glued on or around the turkey.

I keep asking myself,

“Jessica, if you didn’t have a small child would you be here making a turkey?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Right, then let BB do this.”

The librarian tells BB,

“You’re doing a great job!”

Then she turns to me,

“I’m so glad you’re letting her do that.”

“It’s so hard!”

“I know.”

I never knew my dislike of arts and crafts could be consumed by my intense desire to glue turkey feathers in the “correct” place.

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BB’s turkey. And for the record, BB paired the eyes together herself

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The turkey we were intended to make

Memorializing my baby at Claire’s

I got my ears pierced for the first time in my life.

When I was 10-12 I thought I would die if I didn’t get my ears pierced. My mom said if I made it to 16, I could do it then. When I turned 16, I didn’t care anymore.

Then I got pregnant again. I started daydreaming about what I wanted for a push present. For BB I designed 2 interlocking rings with her birthstone that I wear on my right hand. I toyed with the idea of getting my ears pierced for the next kid.

For whatever reason I still felt reluctant. Really why bother now? And I didn’t ask our midwife, but I figured if I’m not supposed to eat lunch meat, a body piercing can’t possibly be recommended.

Then we said goodbye to Angel Baby. A week later Captain had to work on a Saturday and BB and I were hanging out at home. I turned to her and said,

“Let’s go to Claire’s.”

She’s never been there, but she agreed.

To be a 36-year-old customer at Claire’s is a very odd feeling. I strapped BB into her stroller. A toddler loose in Claire’s is enough to raise my heart rate just thinking about it.

I sit in the piercing chair with BB in the stroller beside me. I tell the Claire’s employee,

“This is my first time getting my ears pierced.”

A mom and her 6-year-old daughter overhear me and stop to stare. The mom points at BB,

“Is it the first time for her or for you?”

“For me.”

“Really? The first time for YOU? Not for her?” And she points at BB again.

Yes, I’m very sure I’m the one getting my ears pierced and not my daughter, although if she makes it to 10 or 12 years old that’s another story.

I ask the young woman piercing my ears,

“In your experience, what’s the oldest person who’s gotten their ears pierced for the first time?”

“85.”

So there you have it, I’m still doing it on the young side.

I notice the woman’s name badge. It’s the same name we gave our Angel Baby. I hadn’t planned on telling anyone at Claire’s anything, but now of course I unload on this poor young woman. She is very kind.

And there I am, in Claire’s, surrounded by 6-year olds, sobbing and getting my ears pierced for the first time.

We named Angel Baby after a unicorn from one of my favorite childhood books, so now anything unicorn is kinda my thing.

I opted for gold stud earrings because I have to wait until my ears are healed to wear the earrings I really want. Captain, who forgot there’s a market for little kid jewelry, says,

“Good luck finding unicorn earrings.”

“Don’t worry, they’re a thing.” Mostly for people under 12, but for at least one 36-year-old and maybe an 85-year-old.

People do any number of things to memorialize their losses: services, gardens, crafts, you name it. I got unicorn earrings, in honor of Angel Baby.

 

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BB may have gotten a unicorn purse. And a unicorn bracelet. But that’s really it. Because I’d already bought a unicorn mug from HomeGoods. And a tiny unicorn figurine to put next to the family photo by my bed

My Angel Baby

Oh dear blog. I don’t know what to say to you. I lost my baby, I was 16 weeks pregnant. Yes I’m blogging about it; it feels impossible to blog about anything else. I’m aware that this isn’t the funniest topic in the world. It puts my dog dying post in perspective.

I feel like I have a deep understanding for the whale who carried her dead calf around for weeks. Don’t worry, I’m not carrying my baby’s body around. Mostly because Captain made sure we said goodbye to her after we held her for hours.

BB does not appreciate my crying. She keeps saying,

“No mommy, don’t cry.”

But TV seems to totally distract her. I can sob in the kitchen as long as Daniel Tiger is on.

And for whatever reason, BB has decided to start sleeping through the night in her room by herself for the first time in almost a year. I don’t know how many days of this to expect, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

I’ve often looked back at BB’s newborn photos and marveled at how tiny she was. Now all I can think about is how huge a full-term baby is compared to our 5″ angel baby.

After she was delivered, the nurse put an ice-pack in my underwear. She said,

“I don’t know if you need this, but I’m doing it just in case.”

No. I don’t need it. BB tore me open from end to end. Angel Baby didn’t have a chance.

Very late in the evening the day our baby was delivered the doctors were inclined to discharge us if we wanted to, but Captain and I felt better staying. I tell the nurse I’d like to take my IV out. She asks me,

“Is it bothering you?”

“Yes, I don’t think I’ll sleep well with it in.” My baby just died, I’m anticipating sleeping about an hour, and it would be nice if this thing wasn’t stuck in my arm.

She hems and haws.

“Well they were going to send you home.”

“Yes. I was thinking that.”

“If you start bleeding a lot, I’ll have to put another one in. No arguments.”

“Of course.” Yes, please save my life, even if it means putting in another IV.

While we were saying goodbye to our angel baby’s body, I had such a stinky fart that I felt compelled to check under the blanket to make sure that’s all it was. After the air cleared, I told Captain,

“I’m impressed at how magnanimously you handled that.”

“I know what it’s like, I’ve farted before.”

My heart is broken wide open. I have no physical pain, yet if it weren’t for BB I’d be hibernating in my bed until further notice.

There’s something to be said for putting clothes on, getting in the car and going to a playgroup. Even if all it proves is that my legs still work.

Two days after we lost Angel Baby at a hospital near the theater district, my iPhone grouped all our photos into an album called “Friday night at the show” and suggested I share it.

I’m sure we’ll try again and I’m not sure you’ll hear about it. In the meantime I’m going to drink some pumpkin beer. It is October and I’m not pregnant.

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Another list of ridiculous things my daughter has said

Out of sight of strangers, BB continues to talk non-stop.  Sunday morning she was fast asleep. She opened her eyes, sat up and started singing “Wheels on the Bus.” We squeezed in 5 seconds of quiet awake time.

I hosted book club last week and BB was not pleased to be missing out. I told her that she’d have book club with Captain up in her room. This morning she tells me,

“I’m having book club.”

“Oh good.”

“I need 2 books and some wine.”

 

The other morning she woke up and wouldn’t stop rubbing her eyes,

“Sleep dirt in my eyes, maybe I need to see the eye doctor.”

Maybe.

 

In Acadia, Captain put her in the backpack for a low-key hike. BB had a super serious face and wasn’t talking. I was concerned about whether or not she was enjoying herself. I ask,

“BB are you ok?”

No response.

“BB, do you like the backpack? Are you having fun?”

No response.

“BB??”

She breaks her silence and orders,

“Keep walking.”

 

The other day I was changing her diaper and my mother-in-law was at her feet. BB farted and said,

“I tooted.”

My mother-in-law said,

“I heard.”

BB adds,

“It was a juicy one.”

 

And this last quote could easily be TMI, but it’s kinda my favorite, so here ya go. I was changing BB’s diaper and she was poking herself. I said,

“That’s your vagina, I have one too.”

She looks at me and replies,

“You have a hairy one.”

 

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If I go buy organic dog food for BB, you’ll know we have a problem

Well. Acadia was lovely. We came home early because my 14-year-old Lab Booker wasn’t doing well. We knew he was old and probably didn’t have long, it was just a question of when would he go downhill. Only a few weeks ago he was still walking around with his puppy rattle in his mouth.

We put him to sleep. He’s gone. BB doesn’t understand. We watched the Daniel Tiger episode where his goldfish dies. We read a book about a dog getting old and dying and we’ve talked about it repeatedly because she keeps asking for him and he’s still dead.

Maybe she’ll remember him. Maybe she’ll remember all the dog food she’s eaten. I read not to make your dead pet’s things disappear immediately. I’ve been putting stuff away here and there. The dog food vanished the fastest. BB holds out her hand and demands,

“Dog food?”

“No. It’s all gone.”

“Dog treat?”

Nice try. Also all gone.

When Booker was alive I’d let BB eat some dog food. That seemed better than dealing with a tantrum every time I fed the dog. But with Booker dead, I can’t see paying $5 for organic blueberries to turn around and give BB the second cheapest dog food that Stop & Shop carries. Sometimes the cheapest if I catch the sales right.

Now BB doesn’t even form a full sentence about him, she just says,

“Booker?”

“Do you remember what we said about him?”

“He’s old and sad and we bury him in the dirt.”

Something like that.

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2008, when he first came home with us and still had his balls