Anyone else’s almost 4-year-old very good at issuing orders?

Are we still counting the weeks? Seems like right around that time with a newborn baby, when you start saying their age in months.

Staying home, month 3. Pretty sure we’ll be talking about this in years. Or however long it is until there’s a vaccine.

How crazy can we get until there’s a vaccine? Hugging everyone all day long? That’s what I used to do. Oh hi, let me give you a hug. Bye, how about another hug? Someone’s left over food? I’ll eat that and hug them too if they want.

Mother’s Day, whenever that was, started with hugs from the people I’m still allowed to touch. And a baby handover because as huggable as she is, I’ll have my bed to myself for Mother’s Day morning thank you very much.

Yes I started this Mother’s Day post a week ago. I’m not sure what’s going on around here, but it isn’t quiet alone-time conducive for blogging.

BB took the obligatory breakfast-in-bed to new levels. She ordered,

“Do NOT come out of your room.” And slammed the door.

Who am I to argue with that? Although I did try to come out for more coffee and was rebuffed.

Every morning I eat a chocolate with my coffee. I mention this to BB. She tells me,

“After you eat your breakfast.”

Being confined to my room has its limitations.

Can’t remember exactly when normal life resumed. It was still morning, but BB had one more trick up her sleeve. Again she told me to make myself scarce, but only after supplying her with a box, wrapping paper and a bow.

I gave her all the aforementioned plus some tissue paper. She rebukes me,

“I don’t know why you’re giving me tissue paper.”

I don’t know.

I was made to wait until dinner to open it, but it was worth it: a Mother’s Day crown made from dandelions, creeping vinca, crayons and emoji stickers.

BB led Captain in a rendition of “Happy Mother’s Day to you,” to the tune of the birthday song.

I didn’t know I needed a crown, but once I had it on, the day felt complete.

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No thanks pants! But maybe some clean underwear

Week 7. I’m turning into a pair of sweatpants.

I’ve been getting dressed. Not always sweatpants, often leggings. NEVER jeans. Usually a bra. I’m still leaking milk. If it weren’t for that, it would be no bra.

The rest of my family may also be turning into lounge wear.

On average I do the laundry once a week. RB gets a pass. Her clothing is labeled “sleep ‘n play.”

I’ve seen Captain in jeans. I haven’t washed any, so maybe they’ve been worn twice?

And now BB. As I sorted her laundry, it became clear the parenting around here is really slipping.

For all of last week, there was one pair of pants. No dresses. There were several pairs of jammies, but not enough to make up for the missing pants and 3 pairs of underwear. Three pairs of underwear for the entire week.

I’m not sure what happened. But every week is a fresh start. And we’re doing about the same this week. Maybe upping the underwear count.

We have never had more family time. And if I thought I was irritable. BB is fed up.

The other day the bathroom hand towel was on the floor where BB usually leaves it. I step over it on my way to the toilet.

Week three I stopped and hung it back up. Week five I tried to stop caring. Week seven I really don’t care.

I’m sitting on the toilet, being as quiet as possible, hoping no one will find me. BB shouts,

“Can you hang that back up?”

I say nothing. She storms in,

“Fine. If you’re not going to do it, I’ll do it myself.”

And she really does hang the hand towel back up, so that’s nice.

RB starts fussing. BB exclaims,

“Hold your horses, I’ll tend to you in a minute.”

I mention her pre-school zoom meeting is about to start. BB plops in her chair,

“I’m going to tell them to make this quick.”

Good.

We’re here. We’re holding our horses. And occasionally changing our underwear.

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Grocery delivery for the win, but who’s hoarding gefilte fish?

Safe at home week 5. Passover and Easter, check.

I had a precious grocery delivery scheduled for a few days before Passover. I was hoping to get things for the seder, including a 3 pound ish beef roast.

I unpacked the groceries. I didn’t disinfect them. We got a lot of what we needed and a few substitutions.

There were no chocolate chips, so they substituted coconut milk. There was no gefilte fish. Who bought all the gefilte fish? And then I pulled half a cow out of one bag.

It was a $60, nine-pound beef roast. Holy shmolies. Of all the years to have enough meat to feed all the Jews in my town.

Yes, there aren’t many Jews here. Which makes me wonder about the gefilte fish.

I called Peapod. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I’ll suck up the $4 for coconut milk that won’t turn into chocolate chip cookies, but $60?

Peapod tells me,

“We’re experiencing high call volumes.” CLICK

They didn’t even let me stay on hold. I finally get through. They give me a $35 refund for 6 pounds of beef I wasn’t expecting and I got to keep it! A Passover miracle.

The day of the seder arrives. The chunk of cow is on the table. BB has so many questions and that’s in addition to her required 4 questions.

I don’t know where the Jewish seder references fall with my readership, but had to go for that one.

We’ve been very open with BB about where meat comes from. She’s always enjoyed it and in the past has said things like,

“More piggy please!”

All of a sudden she’s very concerned about the cow.

“Is the cow not at the farm anymore? How did it die? Where did all the blood come from?   Why do we eat it?”

“Some people don’t eat meat. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“Why?”

“Many reasons including it’s not nice to the animals.”

“What about plants? Is it not nice to eat plants?”

“I don’t know about that, but we’ve gotta eat something.”

We ate this 9 pound roast for 4 nights and I’m still snacking on it a week later. BB’s questions were unrelenting. She seemed ready to swear off all meat. I mention,

“Just so you know, hot dogs, meatballs and dino chicken nuggets are all made from animals.”

These are three of her five favorite food groups.

As we filled the kiddush cup for Elijah, BB started sobbing. BB is terrified of all these characters: Santa, the Easter Bunny, Elijah, life-size Elsa.

Saturday night she sits down with Captain to make a list for the Easter Bunny. I mention,

“It’s a little late for this, the Easter Bunny finalized orders 2 weeks ago.”

Captain offers,

“Maybe you can guide us in the right direction? Jelly beans?”

“Chocolate.”

Not that jelly beans were sold out, it’s more why would the Easter Bunny bring something that I don’t want to eat?

BB leaves her lists in the living room and goes to bed. Using brown paint, Captain covers her lists with bunny footprints.

Easter morning she’s thrilled, but she has questions, so many questions.

“The bunny had muddy feet? Where did the bunny get muddy? Is it on the carpet?”

Seems like all of this can’t hold up to much more scrutiny.

After a breakfast of chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and more chocolate eggs, BB poops in the potty, which is usually rewarded with a treat. I offer one. BB replies,

“Too many treats. Maybe tomorrow.”

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I’ve spotted my first gray hairs

What day is it? I’m delirious. I have everything in the world to be thankful for and I am. There’s even a sign in my kitchen that says,

“Start each day with a grateful heart.”

I do. I am. I’m also on the verge of losing it.

At the beginning of this I thought: ‘Oh good, time at home. I can recover from my postpartum hair loss and I’ll get all that stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do.’

Lies. All lies. My hair is growing in gray and I’m accomplishing less than when I was able to leave the house. It’s time consuming to compulsively check the news and hit “ignore limit” on every restriction I’ve set on my phone.

In an effort to cut ties, I started putting my phone in the kitchen cabinet. Sometimes this works.

In the vacuum void where a color-coded daily schedule would be, there has emerged a routine. Or at least things that usually happen:

Coffee. Non-negotiable.

Solo walks. Even in the rain.

Shower. Every other day. I’ve never been a shower-every-day type of person. No reason to go crazy now.

Preschool zoom meeting and a silent prayer that they don’t mention any more projects I need to do.

Encourage RB to roll over. She’s done it twice and seems to have decided that that’s it. It’s hard having the munchablest thigh rolls I’ve ever munched on.

Snack. When in doubt we all have a snack. Something other than baby legs.

Get BB outside. If it means she rolls down the giant pile of mud in our yard so be it.

Naptime. The ultimate goal of every day is to have both children in their rooms at the same time. Some days it works out better than others. It’s the only hope I have of getting a blog written before fall or whenever kids go back to school.

Now it’s the homestretch. TV. Dinner. Captain emerges from the library/office/toy overflow room. BB is no longer my responsibility.

BED.

Maybe emerge from putting RB to bed.

Back to bed.

Rinse and repeat.

Another sign in my house says: “Every path has its puddles… JUMP IN FEET FIRST.” Yes it’s yelling at me. We’ve definitely hit a puddle and I am doing some jumping. Thanks virtual Zumba.

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Blogging: Home Edition

Here we are. Home. Everyday.

Preschool is on Zoom. Zumba is on Zoom. Book club is on Zoom. A week ago I’d never even heard of Zoom.

I mention to Captain,

“I need to test out this so-called Zoom app”

“That’s what we use for work!”

Captain’s on Zoom too, but he’s not singing “Where is Thumbkin?”

Thumbkin is at home trying to social distance himself from Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Lady and Pinky.

RB is 5 months old and living her best life. Until now most of her life was spent being carted around wherever BB needed to go. Now she spends her days rolling around the living room floor and napping for however long she’d like.

BB is mostly unfazed with moments of clarity. The other day,

“I want to go to school.”

“I know you do. Remember we’re staying home so we don’t spread germs?”

“I cover when I cough. It’s so-and-so’s fault, he doesn’t cover!”

I explain that everyone everywhere is staying home. Except last week when I made a liquor store run.

We’re stocked up on groceries. I did that 3 weeks before the general rush on toilet paper. We have a fair amount of alcohol, but no rosé and I’m guessing we’ll still be home well into rosé season.

Captain’s productivity hasn’t been optimal. He remarks,

“RB’s crying is like nails on a chalk board.”

“Really?”

For whatever reason, her crying doesn’t bother me that much. Girl’s gonna be ok.

My sanity is being sustained by solo walks, but I’m missing my evenings out with girlfriends. I now see the benefit of a she-shed. Captain can do the kids’ bedtimes and I’ll go sit in the swing set with my rosé.

If I didn’t know I was going to be housebound for the foreseeable future, my life hasn’t changed all that much. I just get to wear my favorite sweatshirt a lot more frequently.

I’m trying to put my feet up because my vascular surgeon’s office called with this news:

“Your insurance denied coverage. We’re canceling your procedure.

When I pressed for more information, she declared,

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic you know!”

I’ve heard.

I also need to manage BB’s birthday party expectations. Is it normal for a kid to talk about her birthday party ALL year?

I had been thinking June, when her friends are around and still in school. Now that seems unlikely. There are parts of her plan I can still fulfill: a bucket of M&Ms and a bucket of Reese’s Pieces.

We’re stocked up on treats in general, but out of few key things like girl scout cookies. BB asks,

“Can I have one of those peanut butter cookies?”

“I’m sorry, they’re all gone.”

“All gone?! Where’d they go?”

“I ate them.”

“All 5 boxes?”

Shoot. She’s counting.

Last night she dropped her ice cream sandwich. She looked at me and said in an aw-shucks kind of way,

“Gravity.”

My homeschooling here is done.

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COVID-19: If I wash my hands one more time they’re going to crack open and bleed

COVID-19, coronavirus, where you guys at with this? A month ago I was FREAKED. No one else seemed worried and everyone was talking containment.

Containment seemed like a dream. I have a 3-year-old. I’ve seen her wipe snot on the living room rug and lick a table at the YMCA.

I’ve been through so many stages with this: concern, anxiety, preparing for the end of the world and now kinda over it.

Two weeks ago I did my apocalyptic preparation: not just stocking up on toilet paper, but enough mac n cheese and dino chicken nuggets to see us through to the other side.

An article I read said to stock up, but not hoard. Where’s the line? Twenty boxes of mac n cheese? Thirty? We’ll eat them all eventually.

And people are definitely hoarding because if you’ve tried to buy hand sanitizer, good luck. I put some rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle. When in doubt I spray BB.

Two weeks ago everyone at book club was incredulous that I was stocking up. Maybe it was unnecessary.

If we were serious about not spreading this we’d all stop going anywhere right now, but if Captain is going on the train to work and BB is going to school with a bunch of petri dishes, I might as well go out for dinner.

I watch the server refill my water glass. The rim of the water pitcher makes contact with the mouth of my glass. I imagine that water pitcher touching everyone else’s glass in the restaurant. I’m thirsty. I take a gulp of my water. There’s no hope.

So if at some point we’re told to isolate, don’t worry about us, we’ve got enough chocolate to see us through.

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Disclaimer

I have my dear neighbor to thank for this mug:

I am a writer mug

When RB was a couple weeks old my neighbor arrived bearing dinners. She made TWO dinners: one for Captain and me and one especially for BB, a Dora the Explorer plate piled with dino chicken nuggets and mac n cheese.

Ours was delicious and BB is still talking about hers. As in,

“I want my dinner on the Dora plate P gave me. You remember the dinner she made me?”

Yes.

In addition there was the mug. I thanked her at the time, but was way more focused on the food.

Four months later, this mug is a highlight of my morning.

For years I’ve gone to bed looking forward to my morning coffee. This has only amplified now that it’s my sliver of alone time.

I shuffle into the kitchen in my slippers. You know the ones. The sun is rising. I pour steaming black coffee into my I-am-a-Writer mug. Life is good.

Not only am I alone, drinking coffee and eating a chocolate I don’t have to answer to BB about, I am being reminded by my mug that I am a writer. I’m not just a big human keeping two little humans alive. Some days reduce me to that, but then I get to wake up, get my writer mug out and try again.

I love all things coffee. I love drinking it; I love reading books where other people drink it and while blogging this I’ve learned that I love writing about drinking it.

In addition to boosting my self-esteem, I’m pretending this mug is fair warning to BB and RB.

I do not blog about them with impunity. I am aware that someday they may take real issue with being blog fodder.

I’m also hypocritical. I’m reluctant to post their photos on social media. Let them make their own internet trail when they’re ready or whatever age it’s acceptable for them to have a phone, 18?

So someday when BB and RB wave my blog at me and say,

“How dare you?”

I’ll point to my mug,

“You read my daily disclaimer and you continued to live here.”

 

Hi Mom I'm a blogger

After a couple false starts, ski team Curtis is coming together

Ski vacation was fun! Even if the effort required to travel and sleep somewhere new is almost enough to make me never leave home again. And yes our trip was over a week ago.

It was our first time traveling with 2 kids and our first ski trip in 3 years without any vomit. For 5 hours I rode in the third row of our SUV or however long it takes to lose feeling in the lower half of your body.

But it was worth it. We picked up my mom on the way. Not only is it helpful to outnumber the little people, but she did some major childcare. I skied every morning and got a couple nights out with Captain.

Captain and I had quality time with BB and so did the rest of the adults in the hot tub.

BB had the option of sleeping in the bed or sleeping on the couch cushions on the floor. They were very nice cushions. BB chose the floor. She also had the choice of underwear or a pull-up for bed. That choice was a mistake. Sorry couch cushions.

I booked ski-in ski-out because I knew that’s the only way I’d get a decent chunk of skiing time in before RB needed to nurse.

She’s not taking a bottle. She’s got nothing against it. She’ll hold it, play with it, chew on it. Just about anything to it, except drink from it.

A month ago I was miffed, but at this point if she’s happy ish, she can hold out as long as she wants, I’ll be at book club.

It was my first time at Stowe and my first time at our hotel. I slip on my comfy, well-worn slippers and head down to ski check. By well-worn, I mean I’ve been wearing them all day every day for over a year and they’re dead.

I see everyone leaving their shoes under the benches. I spot the same pair of slippers as mine. I’d hate to be left with someone else’s well-loved pair. I check my slippers so they’re safe with the ski-check guys.

I hit the slopes. First time skiing in 2 years and minimal post-partum core strength. It was weird and great.

By the end of the trip BB could even take a couple runs with me. And by couple runs I mean we went up the magic carpet and down the slightest incline while Captain walked with us.

We signed BB up for one day of ski school with the idea that if she liked it she could do more. She loved it! They skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for lunch, skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for pick-up.

I asked BB about her day. She compared it to her regular school, so she found the routine a little perplexing. She said,

“It was a different kind of day. We just kept skiing.”

Outfitting one small child for the snow, one time a day, feels like all I can manage, never mind multiple small children in and out all day long. Bless those instructors.

I return to ski check and hand over my boots. The guy says,

“Have a nice afternoon!”

“Thank you, I just need to grab my slippers from you.”

He returns with those bad boys and remarks,

“Good thing you checked these.”

Back home I tuck BB into her bed. She sighs,

“It’s nice to not be sleeping on the floor anymore.”

As if we’d been roughing it.

Although I agree, it is nice to be home.

Brought to you by the letter ‘P’

Too soon to declare overall success, but I will declare victory. BB pooped in the potty.

We’re approaching a year of peeing in the potty, but pooping in a pull-up. Two weeks ago I put away the portable potty.

I had left it out thinking that the small one would be the easiest transition for pooping. Now she is 3.5 years old, taller than average and very happy to pee in the regular toilet. I thought,

‘When will she poop in the potty? Who knows, but whenever it may be, I will flush it.’

I was chatting with a friend who was having a similar issue. She and her kid had picked out a specific toy for pooping in the potty.

For a year now I’ve been telling BB that if she poops in the potty we’ll go to Target and she can pick out whatever toy she wants. Obviously that hasn’t worked. Maybe we should narrow it down.

BB comes to me with a pull-up in hand. I convince her to sit on the toilet and I grab my computer. We browse the toys at Target. She zeros in on a Frozen castle.

“That’s what I want!”

“Ok! All yours if you poop in the potty.”

I leave the computer open in front of her. Eye on the prize.

No luck that day. The next morning she wakes up and without thinking about it, poops in her overnight diaper.

She comes downstairs and spends 15 minutes on the toilet trying to poop again.

“I want to poop in the potty! I want the castle!”

She’s a once-a-day pooper. I tell her,

“It’s probably too late for today, but you can try again tomorrow.”

And she did! She earned herself a castle. We now have 3 castles. I tell Captain,

“I can’t believe we just spent $40 on another castle.”

“We’ll save $40 in pull-ups.”

Then BB says,

“No more pull-ups or diapers. Big-girl panties for bed!”

Woohoo! Good luck to Captain who’s sleeping there too.

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Time for a cookie

My brain feels like a shell of itself. I was not at peak mental prowess before RB was born, but whatever state I’m in now feels mushier than that.

The other day a ray of light shone down from the heavens and both kids took an afternoon nap at the same time.

I tried to start a blog, but my brain wasn’t working. I opened up photos: ‘Look how small RB was when she was born!’ Three months ago.

Captain declares,

“Both kids asleep! Are you enjoying this?”

“Yes! I’m looking at their photos.”

He stares at me like I’m crazy. I LOVE looking at their photos. They’re so adorable! And their photos don’t talk back or fuss or need anything from me.

I used to look at them after BB went to bed for the night, but now I go to bed at 8pm.

I’m in bed from 8pm to 7am. I don’t feel all that sleep deprived. Maybe the countless wake-ups are destroying brain cells or maybe 37-and-a-half is hitting me hard.

Where to go from here? I don’t know. I promised myself a cookie if I finished this blog.

You’re right, I was going to get a cookie whether I finished it or not.

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We love our new potty stool!

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Can we store toys in the Land of Make Believe?

SO MANY TOYS. I am the number one contributor to this problem. I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to give BB presents. I also want to be able to see the floor of my living room.

There are toys that haven’t even come out of their boxes yet and toys that did, but BB refused to play with.

She opened her Buzz Lightyear jammies and declared,

“I’m still looking for a Buzz Lightyear costume.”

I explain that the jammies can go both ways. Then she opens what I thought was a fantastic idea for my little space, Toy Story enthusiast: a Buzz Lightyear helmet and jet pack. I’m thinking that can go over the jammies to make it a real costume.

A week later BB has yet to try on the helmet.

I ask BB,

“I’m thinking about returning the Buzz Lightyear helmet, what do you think?”

“No, I want it.”

“Do you want to wear it?”

“No.”

“Then maybe I can return it.”

“I’ll wear it in the summer.”

Last year I returned a Christmas present and BB missed it so much that the Easter Bunny brought it back.

For RB we just rewrapped BB’s old toys. I thought BB was oblivious, but after opening another baby toy for RB she declares,

“Did I play with this when I was a baby?”

“Yes.”

Santa re-gifting was not an issue, but I did field more questions. Not my strong suit. BB tells Captain and me,

“Open your stockings!”

“There’s nothing in them.”

“Why?”

“Santa only does the kids’ stockings.”

“Why?”

Because Santa has a new baby and whatever Santa managed to do this year is a miracle.

BB gestures to her toys that are sitting in front of the fireplace,

“Were those in the way of Santa?”

“Oh no. That doesn’t stop him.” Although the child safety lock might’ve given him some trouble.

I’m still struggling with this whole thing. Where does it end? Now when BB asks where Santa lives, I’ve changed my story. I say,

“He lives in the North Pole in the Land of Make Believe, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”

BB is very satisfied with this answer and still believes in all of them.

She’s planning a trip to the Land of Make Believe to get a pet unicorn. She says she wants one real one and one pretend one.

Maybe I can return the Buzz Lightyear helmet and she can help herself to a pretend one.

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Adding a little bounce to my holiday

 

Happy Holidays! Where’s my package?

Hanukkah is tomorrow! Christmas sometime after that! Am I ready? Maybe? It’s hard to say because my brain is shot.

I was finishing up my wrapping a week ago and I realized I was missing a package from JCrew. I felt like I’d seen it at some point, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I wouldn’t have thrown it out, would I? I couldn’t be sure.

I called them and told them the package they said had arrived a week ago had not. They were very apologetic and issued an instant refund. I asked,

“Could you resend the items instead? I need those presents.”

Nope. All out.

Oh well. Captain will survive without me wrapping up a new pair of work pants.

I went about my life. I did a semi-clean of the dining room in preparation for our Hanukkah present display. For the rest of the year we use our dining room for toy storage, so by semi-clean I mean I moved the toys around to make room for all the new toys we’re wrapping up.

And there was the missing JCrew package! Along with THREE other packages I didn’t know I was missing.

I called JCrew back and gave them the good news. But the most alarming part was that I’d completely forgotten about all that other stuff.

On Black Friday, besides JCrew, I saw a deal on Godiva cherry cordials and thought to myself “am I supposed to get BB’s teachers an individual gift or do they do some sort of collection and group gift?”

I could’ve asked someone. I could’ve waited. But the sale! I bought a fair number of Godiva cherry cordials, because what was the worst thing that could happen?

The next week an email came suggesting a monetary contribution to a communal present for BB’s teachers. Done. I started eating cherry cordials.

Yesterday I head in to BB’s school for their Hanukkah party. I’m such a mom-of-a-school-kid newbie. I watch the moms juggling 3 or 4 kids. Everyone seems to be functioning and all kids are dressed. Thank goodness RB is immobile and BB hasn’t wandered too far into the parking lot.

After a sing-a-long with the cantor who’s wearing a light-up, menorah hat, we sit down to eat. The teachers are passing by chatting and some parents are handing them individual gifts. Oh man. Should I have contributed money AND given the chocolates? What’s the protocol?

Two weeks ago I had the audacity to think I had my act together. So now everything may or may not be wrapped. We may or may not be ready. But BB has plenty of new toys to open, RB has plenty of BB’s old toys wrapped up, Captain has new work pants and I’m enjoying my chocolate cherry cordials.

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‘Tis the season

Two months postpartum and it’s that time of year. Having a new baby for the holidays is simultaneously lovely and a terrible idea.

Last week I managed to throw out the rotting pumpkin on our front steps and Tutu our elf on the shelf is out and about. She hasn’t remembered to move from the plant in the kitchen. But she did remember to get out of the attic, so points for that.

Update: as of this morning Tutu is nowhere to be found. Either she’s back at the North Pole for good or Captain decided to take initiative.

Update on the update. Captain moved her! She was on top of the kitchen light and Captain has earned himself a new job.

Note on the updates: Before kids I used to write these blogs in one sitting at 11am. Now I write them over the course of a week, starting at 6am. That’s why it’s possible to need multiple updates.

Ok that’s it. No more asides.

Hanukkah decorations are in full swing and I’m ready to wrap presents as soon as I get a minute without a kid, so maybe next year.

I know it’s too soon to say much about RB’s personality, but as much as BB is a clone of Captain, RB seems to be more like me. At the very least she seems chill and very smiley and happy despite being congested for 6 out of the 8 weeks she’s been alive.

It’s tough having an older sibling in school. BB spent the first month of RB’s life sneezing and coughing all over her. In the last month BB decided she’s capable of covering, which is wonderful, but still hasn’t prevented us from sharing every cold.

An email comes in from BB’s school: ‘just want to let you know a child has hand, foot and mouth.’

Oh help us.

Through all the colds, spitting up enormous amounts of milk and phlegm all over her face and into her eyes, because back is best? RB is still smiley.

I know people say babies don’t smile socially for several weeks, but I SWEAR RB has been smiling socially since she was born. She smiles for everyone. I’m not that indiscriminate with my smiles, but close.

On the other hand, if you get a smile out of BB, you’ve EARNED it. There are a million other things I could list that make BB and Captain twins, including their artistic talents, but there’s one recent discovery that I’m in awe of.

Captain can fart on command. I have a moderate amount of control to stop a fart, but I have no idea how to create one on cue.

During a moment of dinnertime tension: BB playing with her carrot sticks, me about to take her plate away, Captain tried to lighten the mood. He directed a fart at BB. I looked at her. She had a funny face. Was she upset? She directed a fart back at Captain. He did another one at her, she did another one at him!

Amazing! Such control, especially for someone who still won’t poop in the potty.

BB tries again. She’s running on empty. Frustrated she declares,

“I need more toots! How do I make more toots?”

Captain offers,

“Eat more green beans.”

The incentive is strong enough to incite a green bean nibble before the playing begins again and I take the plate away.

We relent on the cupcake because when everyone is exhausted, snotty and BB with her double ear infection isn’t eating, but will eat the chocolate frosting off a cupcake and then go to bed. A deal is made.

Also a deal was made to write about Captain farting on command. He said it was okay as long as I include a Ren and Stimpy photo. Here ya go.

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Blog-life balance is hard. And to BB, I’m sorry. Just sorry

One month postpartum. I’ve been DESPERATE to write a blog for a couple weeks and finding time feels hard.

Aside from that and BB being mad at me, things are good. Maybe it’s the placenta pills.

When my placenta came out covered in meconium, RB’s first poop in the womb, the nurse said,

“You don’t want this.”

I spent 9 months making and maintaining that thing and I’ve already paid $400 to get it made into pills, so I DO want it.

“Did you see your placenta? You don’t want it.”

“I do want it.” And considering it’s 2am, I want to save it until I can check with my placenta person and see if it’s still good to ingest.

“We need to send it to pathology.”

“Why do you need to send it to pathology?”

“When there’s meconium we send it to pathology.”

It avoided pathology and was allowed to go home with my mom who was kind enough to escort it out a day early.

And in case you were thinking:

‘Hey! Whatever happened to Jess’ varicose veins and those sexy tights?’

Well let me tell you.

Immediately after delivery the veins in my legs felt better. That or a million more important things were going on and I forgot I had legs.

I had 2 pairs of compression tights in my hospital bag and I didn’t think about them for a second.

The day after I delivered I woke up at 4am to intense pain. All my bulging veins had clotted. They were super hard, hot and painful. I could barely walk.

The irony of having an intact vagina but hobbling about because of my varicose veins was not lost on me.

At the time I didn’t realize there are all different types of thrombosis and what I have is painful, ugly and not life threatening. The blood clots are superficial and can’t move anywhere in my body, unlike deep vein thrombosis. That’s the deadly one.

At 4am we alerted the powers that be, but no one was alarmed. After multiple calls to the nurses, they told us that the doctor isn’t concerned and someone will be in to see us eventually.

Captain and I did the only logical thing to do if you’re in a hospital and think you might have something deadly going on. We consulted Google. It was unclear what signs of imminent death we should be looking for, but to be on the safe side we didn’t go back to sleep.

The nurse put a loose heating pack on my leg. I asked her for a way to strap it on. She said,

“Like an ace bandage?”

“Yes!”

“We don’t carry those on the maternity floor.”

“Ok.” I’m waiting for her to follow up with how she’s going to get one from somewhere else because we’re in a HOSPITAL. She proceeds to tie a baby swaddle blanket around my leg.

After an ultrasound to confirm what they suspected: nothing deep and deadly, we went home. They recommended I start wearing my compression tights again. A month later my newly found vascular surgeon tells me,

“Yes, wearing your tights after delivery definitely could’ve helped.”

Screw you people. I wore them my entire pregnancy, through JULY AND AUGUST. I could have worn them for one more day and maybe prevented or minimized the clots, but no one told me.

My vascular surgeon adds,

“It could be helpful to wear them now.”

Maybe, but now the pain is so minimal and the stockings are so annoying, that the pain-annoyance ratio is not in the tights’ favor.

Three months until surgery to remove the clots. I’m sorry BB and RB. It’s hereditary.

But BB has enough to worry about right now. She’s not happy. I’ve taken a lot of my love and attention that would’ve gone toward her or no one and directed it toward 10 pounds of screaming, helpless cuteness.

With the rainbow theme in full effect in RB’s room, BB informs me,

“You know I like rainbows too.”

“Yes! Of course you do!” There are plenty of rainbows for everyone.

Three days postpartum my placenta began the process of being turned into pills in my kitchen. The meconium did not disqualify it.

At this point I’ve swallowed about half of my placenta. And if you thought this would be free from the sting of sibling rivalry, you’re wrong.

BB had a lot of questions including,

“What did you do with my placenta?”

Sorry kid. We threw it out.

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My placenta print. You’re welcome.

 

Birth Story! Don’t say I didn’t warn you

Rainbow Baby is here! I’m thrilled and Captain has PTSD.

On my due date we went for a regularly scheduled check-up. RB (Rainbow Baby) was doing well and I was doing well. My midwife was happy for us to wait to go into labor naturally, which is what I was hoping for.

Four days later we went for an ultrasound to make sure everything still looked good. RB was doing well and there was plenty of amniotic fluid. I felt relieved. Then they took my blood pressure: 160/90. My midwife was alarmed. She asked,

“Are you anxious?”

“Now I am!”

She gave me some time to calm down and then she checked again, 160/90.

She told us to go to the hospital to get blood work, a urine test and a non-stress test for RB. She recommended taking our bags with us in case they wanted to induce me.

I started freaking out. I was already on the verge of a freak out at any point in this pregnancy.

The day was not supposed to be going like this. I had been looking forward to an afternoon nap and then an anniversary dinner with Captain.

And the least of it, but not helping my anxiety, was that the next day was our Angel Baby’s birthday. A year to the day that she died. I was becoming a hormonal, emotional wreck.

We went home, had lunch, packed our hospital bags. I got in the car and told Captain,

“I don’t want to go. I have a really bad gut feeling about this.” I was feeling like my blood pressure was up because I was anxious and that instead of calming down I was just getting more and more anxious. I felt desperate to stay home and rest.

Captain felt strongly about going to the hospital and getting tested. I agreed to go with the stipulation that we’d leave if I wanted to.

The non-stress test showed baby was still doing well. My blood pressure was still 160/90. The blood work was normal but there was protein in my urine and they diagnosed me with preeclampsia.

I understood the severity of this. I also understood that no one was whisking me away for a c-section.

It was 5pm. The midwife wanted me to stay at the hospital and start an induction. She said it could take up to 2 days. I said,

“If it could take 2 days, then I’d like to go home, get a good night’s sleep and start the induction in the morning.”

“We don’t recommend that.”

They wanted to monitor the baby and me in case things got worse. The doctor came to talk to me. He said that if I were 30 weeks pregnant they’d hold off on inducing me.

I knew if I stayed in the hospital I wouldn’t sleep and how the heck am I supposed to have the stamina for a 2 day induction if I start off by pulling an all-nighter? I felt desperate to be well rested for this.

Against the doctor, midwife and Captain’s better judgment, I went with one of the strongest gut feelings I’ve ever had. I signed myself out of the hospital and agreed to come back at 9:30am the next morning to start the induction.

We got take-out. Not the anniversary I’d imagined, but at least I was home. Captain was terrified. I became a little more nervous. If anything bad happened now, I was 100% responsible and what would that do to our marriage if we both blamed me?

I took a long hot shower, followed by a long hot bath. I was determined to relax. So you can imagine how that went. Captain was snoring in no time and my mind was racing. At 11pm I got crampy. Nothing too bad. At 11:40pm I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed and also excited that maybe labor was starting on its own.

I began tracking my contractions. They seemed really close together for having just started. They were coming every 3-4 minutes, but only for 35-40 seconds. I wasn’t convinced this was for real, although the intensity felt for real. I figured I should track them for an hour to see if there was a regular pattern, but by 12:30am I told Captain we should go to the hospital.

Even if it weren’t for real, I was nervous enough about my blood pressure and RB.

Captain woke my mom up at 12:40am. I repacked my bag, changed my pants, told my mom she could go back to sleep, turned off some lights, told Captain to let my OB office know we’re headed to the hospital.

At 12:55pm we left. After the fact my mom said she was one minute away from making us stay and calling 911.

I knew from BB that contractions in the car are no fun. So when a really bad one hit me half way through the 15 minute drive to the hospital I figured I probably had one more to get through and then we’d be there. I moaned through a third as we drove up the hill to the hospital. Captain asked,

“Can you walk in?”

“Yes.”

Another contraction as we pulled in by the emergency room and with that my water broke. I screamed at Captain,

“The baby’s coming I can’t walk in!” I ripped off my pants.

He sprinted for the emergency room and came back with a man and a woman pushing a wheelchair. I climbed into the wheelchair, wearing one of Captain’s undershirts and nothing else. I instructed Captain on what bags we needed and we were off.

I was told that the woman said to stop screaming and asked what happened to my pants. All I remember is her trying to cover my crotch with my t-shirt and keep a hand there in case Baby popped out.

Later, multiple nurses asked me what happened to my pants. Baby was coming out so I took them off. I am unclear on how I was supposed to have a baby with pants on.

I left a trail of blood through the halls. Days later a couple drops were still there.

The ER peeps rolled me into an empty maternity floor. Staff appeared out of nowhere.

I’d seen meconium in my amniotic fluid and was terrified that RB wasn’t ok. I screamed at the nurse,

“Is my baby alive?”

“I have no idea.”

RB was crowning as I threw myself onto the triage table. I knew I wanted to be on my side.  My midwife had said that’s the best bet if I want to minimize tearing.

The triage “bed/chair” was in an upright position. I was on my side diagonally across it. Captain had one of my legs which he handed off to a nurse and I was resting my head on a side table thing.

I was given the all clear to push and RB came right out. It was 15 minutes since we left home and 2 hours since labor started.

RB was whimpering! They cut her cord and whisked her away. Captain went with her. He came back to report all was well. She swallowed meconium but hadn’t inhaled it.

The doctor who was there for the delivery wasn’t part of my OB practice, so she peaced out.

I asked Captain for the angelica root tincture that my midwife had recommended I take to help release my placenta.

The gruff nurse said,

“You’re not putting anything in your mouth, I don’t even know who you are.”

“I don’t know who you are!”

The doctor from my practice showed up. The same doctor we’d seen a few hours earlier who didn’t want us to go home. He was so kind and funny. He said if my midwife said to take it, I could take it. He asked,

“What time was the baby born?”

Everyone looked at each other. I looked at the clock. I have NO idea. No one knew. A nurse said,

“1:10?”

So let it be written.

The doctor started the task of inspecting the damage. I cringed and waited to hear the worst. I knew I was supposed to push the baby out slow and easy and nothing about this had been slow. Although fairly easy!

The doctor sent the gruff nurse for anesthetic. There was some misunderstanding and she came back without it. He sent her away again. When she came back he said,

“You took so long that the patient is all healed up.”

And that is how I found out the most amazing news: NO STITCHES!

I’d been hoping for minimal tearing, but I didn’t have the audacity to begin to hope for NO tearing.

Our healthy rainbow baby was placed on my chest at 1:30am, 20 minutes after she was born. And as for her sharing a birthday with our angel baby, it feels miraculous. I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe leaving for the hospital 10 minutes sooner so as not to traumatize poor Captain. But maybe this cured him of the temptation for a third.

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Overdue

My due date has come and gone. As well as some of the anxiety of approaching it. I delivered BB 3 days before my due date, but now that that hasn’t happened I feel like I’m living on borrowed time.

Normally our weeks are full of activities and nights out for me. As of my due date I have nothing scheduled.

Every evening that isn’t spent in hospital underwear with a baby on my boob is some kind of weird bonus. Even if I’m still in compression tights and have now gained 40 pounds.

BB asked me,

“Did the baby make your butt grow?”

That or donuts and ice cream.

BB has a sense of ownership over my belly that not even Captain can have. She touches it, kisses it, hugs it, slaps it and uses it for leverage whenever it suits her. I’m enjoying the last few days of having a shelf for my coffee cup. Last few days. Last day. Something like that. PLEASE.

At my induction massage, A WEEK AGO, I was told that the skin on my stomach looks amazing. Which has led me to the only possible conclusion: postpartum I’ll wear sweatpants to cover my atrocious veins and a trendy, crop top to showcase my mummy tummy. Or in reality I’ll just wear my floor-length, zebra, fleece robe.

I’ve tried all the things. Including asking this baby very nicely if she would please come out.

I’m enjoying afternoon naps, never being cold and the to-do list that’s dwindled down to the things that I’d really rather not do.

I’m so overheated that BB has started calling me her Hot Mama. Yesterday we were walking out of the Y and she said,

“I want my Hot Mama to carry me.”

She snuggles up and murmurs,

“Hot Mama.”

Hard to say what other people make of this, as sexy as I look right now.

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What? Why? Are you talking to me? Am I still pregnant?

Still pregnant. No more to add on that front.

In other news, BB loves my impressions. I’m nowhere near as good as Trevor Noah or SNL, but I’m very decent at animals. That seems to be all I need for the toddler set.

A couple years ago before BB could talk, long before we entered the land of infinite why questions, BB and I took a baby development class. They mentioned that animal sounds are great “first words” for babies. And by animal sounds they meant things like: “moo, baa, oink, woof, neigh.” They did not mean my very realistic goat bleating from a mountain top.

I changed it up. I neutered my animal repertoire and other things started to talk, like BB’s breakfast cereals. Frosted mini wheats talk like Italian mob bosses. Granola talks like a California surfer dude. None of it was premeditated, so there’s no rationale.

The talking food has become so rampant that BB demands it. She was sitting at the table eating a snack and she said,

“Talk to me.”

“Yes? What is it?”

“No! Cereal bar, talk to me.”

Ah. Now I’m expected to switch to my cereal bar voice, which sounds a lot like Granola. I don’t have a huge range.

BB’s ability to suspend disbelief is impressive. The other day she was talking to Baby Bunny, her security bunny, she said,

“Sometimes I just call her Buns or Baby Buns. Buns?”

“Yes?” I say in my best baby bunny voice.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m getting your jammies out for sleepies.” Said in my mom voice.

“NOOO! I’m talking to Baby Bunny!”

“Oh! Hey! I’m ready to snuggle!” Reverting back to my baby bunny squeak.

And she resumes talking to Buns (me) like I didn’t just break character.

When I’m not speaking for all the inanimate objects in my home, I’m still answering a steady barrage of “why” questions.

I asked a veteran mom friend,

“When do the questions end?”

“Never.”

So I have to find a way to deal without losing my mind. I decide that I will remain as detached as possible, answer all the questions and try to conserve what brain power I have left.

After an entire lunch of answering whys, I am so zoned out that I’ve lost track of the line of questioning. I ask BB,

“What was the question again?”

“Just WHYYY?”

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I knew I needed a kick stand

Milk bath for BB

37 weeks pregnant! I’m stocking the freezer with my favorite meals. But before I could do that, I had to clear it out. That meant dealing with my 3-year-old stash of breastmilk.

A long, long time ago, when BB was a few months old, I had the idea that I’d pump on a regular basis, BB would drink the occasional bottle and I’d hit the town or at least be away from her for more than 2 hours at a time.

The first part worked out great, I pumped every morning and the freezer filled up. The rest of my dream did not come true. BB drank maybe one bottle and we never tried that hard to make it work.

When she was 10 months old, we moved to the burbs. I contemplated the milk. Take it? Toss it? Too old to donate. I packed it just to delay having to make a decision. And so it sat in the freezer.

I feel very nostalgic about it. I can’t remember where, but I read an article about a woman who saved a bag of breastmilk for many more years than me until her freezer died and the milk leaked everywhere, so that was validating.

But I need the room in my freezer. What to do? I lined it all up on the counter. Took a picture. Saved my four favorite bags and dumped the rest in the bathtub for BB to have an epic milk bath.

She loved it and needed another bath the next day. Imagine what a head of hair looks like after being doused in liquid lard.

That left me with only one more breastmilk-nostalgia item to deal with. I have a very snuggy maternity hoodie that I wore while bed-sharing with BB. Then we moved. She went from waking to nurse every couple hours to sleeping through the night. She night weaned herself and my boobs exploded all over that snuggy hoody. I hung it up in my closet and forgot about it. It never made it in the wash.

The next time I thought about washing it, we had weaned completely. I noticed the milk stains on the front. I was consumed with nostalgia. I said to myself,

“I’m washing this to put it away. I’m not wearing it anymore. Do I really need to wash it?”

And so it hung in my closet. Now it’s getting chilly. Now I could really use a snuggy maternity sweatshirt. I take it out. I wear it around the house a few times without washing it.

I wear it out in public. Now I’m ready to wash it. I take a photo and into the laundry it goes.

BB tells me,

“If my baby sister doesn’t want to drink her milk, I can have another milk bath!”

Maybe. Although if I don’t need the room in the freezer, BB could be waiting a very long time.

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Crotch belt bringing it home

35 weeks pregnant! I’m eating my last Cadbury cream egg. Yes it’s September and they never should’ve lasted this long, but it’s been a roller coaster of gestational diabetes tests. I passed my third and final one a few weeks ago.

Not only do I not have gestational diabetes, but there was some concern that the baby might be small. As of a month ago that doesn’t seem to be a concern anymore, but I still ate a pint of Haagen Daz for dinner just to be on the safe side.

This feels like the home stretch. I wouldn’t mind a few more weeks to check things off my to-do list, but I’m also dying to get my hands on this baby. And hoping, praying, pleading with my circulation system to please please please not be painful after I give birth.

My midwife warned me that my veins would continue to get worse over the course of my pregnancy. She didn’t say might. She was correct.

In the last week, the intense pressure of the veins in my crotch has turned into a relentless throbbing pain. I’ve been eyeballing a vulvar compression belt for a couple months now, but at $80 and no points for style, I was planning to manage without.

The other day I was standing at the counter for my millionth snack of the day. I love standing and eating at the counter, even when I’m not pregnant, but I couldn’t bear it. I had to sit down. I read the reviews of the compression belt for the millionth time.

It looks like a glorified jock strap. Everyone agrees it works. The main complaint seems to be that it creates 4 butt cheeks.

Four butt cheeks be damned. I’m taking my pregnancy sexiness to the next level. Between bulging out of the top of my compression tights and my 35 week belly bump, what’s a few more bulges out of my backside?

I like it and it’s super obnoxious. In addition to a tiny person doing a head stand on my bladder, I now have 4 pieces of straps, velcro and spandex between me and the toilet.

I’ve been refraining from asking anyone what’s the worst thing that could happen to the veins when I give birth. It’s a little bit like not wanting to hear other people’s labor horror stories. But thinking my imagination may be worse than reality, I ask the nurse who runs my support group. She tells me,

“During labor one woman had to have emergency surgery on her veins before she could give birth.”

Huh. Maybe I was better off not knowing that.

Five weeks or less to go. I have no intention of going much past my due date. I have an induction massage booked for a week before and acupuncture and walking and drinking a bottle of wine and whatever else might work.

I am so appreciative of all the help and services we’re able to afford. So every morning as it gets harder and harder to reach my feet and put on my compression tights I think there must be someone I can pay to do this for me.

The other day my acupuncturist watches me struggle to get them on. She offers,

“Can I help?”

“I wish!”

I really don’t know how anyone else could help me put them on.

A stranger finally said something about my pregnancy that made me feel better. I was in the locker room at the Y and she asked,

“Are those compression tights?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh you poor thing.”

Thank you!

I am beyond grateful to be pregnant and almost to my due date and to be complaining about a problem that has zero implications for the health of my baby, but I really appreciate the condolences for my vagina.

As sexy as the white one is, I went with the black one.

First day of school EVER

Gearing up for back to school. It’s our first time. And by gearing up I mean filling out all the forms I’ve had for weeks and buying BB a new pair of sneakers.

I have all the feels: excitement, nostalgia… that’s it. No anxiety. It’s going to be great! It’s like leaving her at the Y, but for 2 more hours and they’ll feed her lunch.

At home BB is a non-stop chatter box. Among new people she could very well remain silent all day. It’s anyone’s guess when she’ll decide to let loose.

I fill out the online forms which have big open boxes for personality description, fears, hopes and dreams and then there’s the toilet section. It has an impossibly small character limit: either 2 simple sentences or one long one.

Yes I could use one of the other large data fields to explain how we’re peeing fine and pooping in a pull-up. But as you can see, one complex sentence just about covers it. If they want to know more, I’m sure they’ll find out.

BB has a backpack and lunchbox she picked out. She told me,

“It needs to have horses on it.”

This was not a super-simple find. Unicorns are having a moment. They’re dominating gear where horses might once have stood a chance. I show BB a unicorn backpack. She shakes her head at me and repeats slowly,

“H O R S E S.”

I find one! Not just horses, glittery horses! BB is thrilled. I’m pretty pleased with myself. My mom has contributed a bullet-proof insert. This feels useful and makes me cry.

BB tells me,

“I need green, light-up sneakers.”

I mention this to Captain. He’s surprised.

“How does she know about those?”

I ask BB,

“How do you know about light-up sneakers?”

She looks at us like she can’t believe this is what she has to deal with and explains,

“Other kids.”

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We’re kinda obsessed with Toy Story right now. So much so that BB wants to be a space ranger when she grows up. She is the master of putting toys places I’d never suspect and often can’t find for months. Buzz either really needs coffee or has had his coffee and is ready for blast off.