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.

 

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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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. 

Home Alone! Please don’t send anyone

I’m home alone for two nights! Just me. I’d like to thank everyone who has made this possible: Captain and my in-laws.

Last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in 3.5 years. I really think that’s true. I slept for 10 hours straight. Nobody waking me up. No bathroom. Nothing but calm silence.

I’ve had my fair share of nights away from BB, so that’s not the only contributing factor. I think the magic sleeping pixie dust was being alone in my house in my own bed and having zero agenda.

A walk, a coffee, a soda-water mimosa, writing my blog, working on photo albums, that’s what I’ve got planned. And the timeline for it is anyone’s guess.

People asked if I’m getting together with friends. No way! I can do that when Captain is around. I’m hoarding my home-alone time. After all, this is it, the home stretch. I’m almost 30 weeks pregnant.

The varicose veins in my legs and crotch continue to get worse. They burn and tingle and bulge, BUT with BB I was nauseous until the end so if I’m going to have only one physical issue, I’ll take the veins.

I’ve reached the point where my body announces itself whether I want it to or not. I’m pregnant and on display for general public questioning.

I’m used to and very bored by the standard fare:

  • “When are you due?”
  • “How far along are you?”
  • “Is it a boy or a girl?”

When I mention my due date a woman says,

“Oh October is a very popular birthday!”

I haven’t heard this before. I ask,

“Because of the school year cut off?”

“No, because of the New Year!”

“The Jewish New Year?” This seems very unlikely, but what else could she mean?

“No! Conception date! New Year’s Eve.”

“Ah. That’s not really our story.”

“Oh but I guess it is!”

Thanks lady, but no. First of all I had my period New Year’s Eve. Second we thought we were going to be 7 months pregnant at that point, but instead we were on our 3rd try for our 3rd pregnancy. It’s October because that’s what we got.

And of course just when I think my belly speaks for itself, it doesn’t and I still end up struggling to get what I want.

I was craving a large meatball sub. Especially the large part. The place I want to go to is closed. I drive down the road unwilling to give up on my dream. I see another Italian joint. I order my sub. I’m the only customer in there. No one else. I step back from the counter to wait. The person who made it, a different person from the cashier, steps up and hollers,

“Meatball sub!”

I lunge for it. She pulls back and asks,

“Large meatball sub?”

Are you kidding me? There’s no one else here. Does she doubt my ability to eat a large meatball sub? Because I’m about to INHALE it and her arm along with it.

Last but not least I took BB for her 3-year-old photo session. The photographer is a lovely woman I met last year for BB’s 2-year-old photos. I haven’t seen or talked to her since.

She notices my belly and seems oblivious to any social constraints on what the “standard” stranger questions seem to be. She dives right in and I find myself feeling more surprised than put off and I answer honestly,

“Was this a planned pregnancy?”

“Yes.”

“Oh that’s good. Are you done?”

“I sure hope so.”

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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

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!

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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