Thursday, January 26, 2012

Am I in Labor?

The answer to today's titular question seems to be a firm,

"No, but you might want to seriously consider cutting back on your consumption of leftover Halloween Laffy Taffy. There's a reason that this is the only candy left in the candy bags. Because it is not really even a candy! It is some sort of epoxy that has been dyed neon yellow and then flavored 'Banana-esque'. The reason that your stomach begins cramping immediately after consuming said substance has nothing to do with the baby preparing to be expelled from your netherregions."

I should have probably let you know in advance that this blog post will be not so much a blog post but rather a series of screeds against everything that is currently wrong with my existence. 

The number one thing that is wrong with my existence is, of course, that I am currently 96 MONTHS PREGNANT.

Now, you may recall that a mere two weeks ago I claimed that I was entirely content to remain pregnant until sometime in mid-May. But as my due date swiftly approaches, I have come to realize that those were merely the insane ramblings of a crazy lady.

Because, as I glide into my 39th week of gestation, I have begun to manifest a multitude of symptoms that have caused me to remember that the entire point of the last stage of pregnancy is to make one desire to expel one's baby IMMEDIATELY and AT ANY COST.

These symptoms, in my case, include but are not limited to
  • an insane desire to ingest Crunch 'N' Munch at a rate so startling that it will soon necessitate me giving birth to a 23 pound infant in order to justify my recent weight gain;
  • a white-hot perma-rage that is putting me in constant danger of arrest for assaulting fellow drivers and/or grocery shoppers. WHY ARE ALL HUMAN PEOPLE SO ANNOYING??????
  • a lack of patience at home which manifests primarily as fantasies of going into labor merely as an excuse to get away from my existing children for a night or so;
  • a bladder so squished by foetal weight that I find myself having to go to the bathroom again before having exited the bathroom after peeing;
  • an inability to exit the seated position without the help of at least two other humans.

So it is that I've had a change of heart. I am ready for Doodle the Third to exit the premises ASAP. 

I am currently hoping that my tried and true method of staring at the wall angrily in order to induce labor will finally prove successful with this pregnancy! 

I used it in both my previous pregnancies with varied results:

DOODLE #1: Born 12 days after due date.
DOODLE #2: Born 10 days after due date.

But this time I'm staring angrily really, really hard.

I'll let you know how it goes....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Talk with a 20-month-old (if you must)

The world of the 20-month-old is a confusing one.

The inner lives of children of this age are developing rapidly -- too rapidly, in many cases, for their communication skills to keep pace.
For this reason it can be difficult to understand the needs of your toddler at this delicate time.

But fear not! Having now survived the 20th month with not one, but two children, I am in the rare position to create for you this handy guide to communicating with a child in this age group.


You'll be hearing this word a lot from your 20-month-old. 

At first you may think that your child's use of this word "NO" indicates the traditional negative response, but this is not necessarily the case.

Let me give you an example of a  typical conversation between myself and my twenty-month-old son, Crinks.

ME: Hey Crinks are you hungry?
ME: Here, how about some waffles?
CRINKS: (while gobbling waffles with alarming ferocityNO!!!!!
ME: Are you done?
CRINKS: (while slamming about violently in an attempt to get out of his chairNO!!!!!
ME: Would you like this check for a million dollars?

For the 20-month-old, the newly discovered power of the word "NO" is too much to resist. This means you'll be hearing him or her use "NO" repeatedly and at high volumes in a bizarre range of situations. Be prepared for the word "NO" to become akin to the word "SHALOM" in your home. It will take on a whole range of meanings, including, strangely enough, "YES".  

Uncontrolled violence

As your 20-month-old struggles to express his or her needs, he or she will likely resort to bouts of violence to get his or her point acress. Unfortunately, these bouts of violence will likely be aimed directly at you.

The attacks are likely to come on unexpectedly. One night, as you reach to scoop your beloved toddler into his or her highchair, you will find yourself buffeted about the face and neck by a series of punches. At this time you may also find your abdomen assaulted by a frenzy of feisty kicks. 

The violence has begun.

In dealing with this sudden onset of assaults you have the following options:

  • Develop enough upper-arm strength to enable you to hold your offspring at arm's length at all times.
  • Define a four-foot perimeter around your toddler and then never enter it for any reason.
  • Build up your resistance to your toddler's attacks gradually until you become almost immune to them

The full-body fling to the ground

When your 20-month-old flings his or her self to the ground you should take it as an indication that your have done something intensely displeasing. Your cruelty has broken your child's heart, and he or she is letting you know this through the strategic use of operatic gesture. 

If your behavior has been particularly egregious you may find the floor flop accompanied by ear pulling, hair-pulling, and/or the rending of garments.

In my experience, the full-body fling-to-the-ground can be brought on by a range of parental sins including, but not limited to
  • asking your 20-month-old to refrain from drinking from the toilet
  • attempting to restrain your 20-month-old from eating from the garbage can
  • trying to recover a pair of shears that your 20-month-old has swiped from the kitchen counter
  • gently endeavoring to convince your toddler to stop drawing on your couch with a green Sharpie 
As long as you continue to displease your 20-month-old you will be on the receiving end of the floor flop.

You've been warned.

The Horse Collar Tackle

Your child is too young to have mastered the phrase,

"Dear brother, I see you are playing with a blue train. I happen to feel that I would greatly enjoy playing with said blue train. Might I have a turn with it?"

Instead he or she has a method for expressing this sentiment, and that method is the horse collar tackle.

According to Wikipedia:
The horse-collar tackle is an American football maneuver in which a defender tackles another player by grabbing the back-inside of an opponent's shoulder pads from behind and yanking the player down.

As your twenty-month-old will tell you, when shoulder pads are not available, the back of a playmate's or sibling's t-shirt works equally well. 

I have seen my two-foot tall 20-month-old bring down kindergartners with a well-timed horse collar.

Beware it.

You are now ready to take your communication with your 20-month-old the next level! 

If you find yourself discouraged at any time when learning all this "toddler speak" I urge you not to fret! Take heart in the simple fact that this stage doesn't last all that long. 

You'll be out of the pre-talking phase and on to the terrible twos before you know it, at which time I will offer you a primer in how to listen to a three-foot-tall person say "MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!" for an hour straight without developing a nervous condition.

Look forward to it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

37 Weeks and Counting

Exciting breech baby update!

After reluctantly heading to my baby flipping procedure earlier this week I was elated to discover that Doodle Three had already flipped of his/her own accord!

Clearly this baby is some some of foetal genius.

This otherwise stunningly good news has proved to have one unexpected downside, which is that with the worries of a breech birth out of the way, I have been forced to confront the startling impending reality that --- OH MY GOD WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A REAL HUMAN BABY ARRIVING AT OUR HOUSE IN THE EXTREMELY NEAR FUTURE!

*stunned silence*

Now, I acknowledge on some basic level that after 8.5 months of gestation, I should probably not be quite as shocked by this news as I am.

When I was pregnant with my first I was obsessed with my due date. You could ask me at any given moment how pregnant I was and I would respond with an up-to-the-moment count, 

"Thirteen weeks, four days!" 

"Tomorrow will be thirty-one weeks!"

I could detail on a moment's notice the size of my baby as it related to a variety of common produce, 

"It's now about the size of a squash!"

"Picture a length of swiss chard!"

With my second I was significantly less tuned-in. Still, I could usually guess which gestational month I was in and could even occasionally get the week right as well, if pressed.

But now, with my third, I am so busy chasing after two toddlers that I find I pay almost no mind to how this pregnancy is progressing. 

I'm embarrassed to admit how often I've been caught off-guard by the sudden query, "So, how far along are you?" only to stammer in response, 

"Um, let's see, about four months? Or maybe six? What month is this again?"

I finally signed up for one of those, "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" emails in an earnest attempt to avoid being that woman who goes to the bathroom one day only to emerge with an unexpected newborn.

The other significant difference I notice this time around, especially as I get into the late stages of pregnancy, is my complete lack of anticipation as the due date approaches.

With both of my other deliveries, I was close two weeks overdue and it was TORTURE. With the Snood, I was due September 13th and didn't go into labor until the 25th. This meant that for almost two full weeks I did nothing but sitt around WAITING FOR THE BABY TO COME. In this I had help from hoards of visiting relatives whose sole job was to sit on my couch, stare at me intently, and will me to go into labor already.

I would wake up every morning, turn to my husband and cry, 

"I'm going to be pregnant FOREVER!!!!" 

In response David would gently suggest that he believed this to actually be a medical impossibility before slinking off to work as quickly as possible.

Crinks was due on May 7th and was born the 17th. Again, I spent 10 days in the agony of waiting, experiencing frequent violent outbursts towards friends and neighbors who would call to inquire daily, "Have you had that baby yet??"

But now, with Doodle Three's due date fast approaching, I find I've had a change of heart. I look at the calendar this time and think, 

"Really? The baby is due THAT SOON? How is that possible?"

As far as I'm concerned, this baby should stay put just as long as it likes. Two children into this gig I've finally realized that these things are A LOT more work once they emerge from the birth canal.

And so I find myself lying in bed at night, gently rubbing my belly and encouraging him or her to just nestle in and relax. My due date (according to my latest email reminder) is February 1st, but I'm hoping this one stays put for a little while longer...

...I'm thinking sometime after St. Patrick's Day sounds good.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

36 Weeks and Counting...

Welcome to 2012 one and all!

David and I rang in the New Year in true parental style by hitting a 5:15pm showing of Mission Impossible 4. (My review: Mission Impossible 4 - the best movie that has ever been made in the history of ever.*)

We then went out for dinner at 7:30 (Did I utter the phrase, "I can't have anything too spicy due to my reflux!" during this meal? I won't say no.) in order to be home and fast asleep by 9:30pm. 

It was all very sexy, what can I say.

Now we find ourselves hunkering down to await the arrival of the baby we are referring to as "Doodle Three".

At 36 weeks I have officially entered into the physically absurd phase of this pregnancy. I am ridiculously clumsy, I make a disturbing series of random moan-like sounds when attempting to move in any direction, and I possess a near-total inability to maneuver in confined spaces without knocking items over with my belly. TRUE STORY! I recently knocked my three-year-old off his feet with an ill-timed turn in the playroom.

Also, there is the near-constant crying.

Of late, David has been subjected to bouts of tears on topics including, but not limited to
  • the commercial where Sarah Mclaughlin sings about the abused animals
  • the dearth of Heath Bar Crunch ice cream in the fridge
  • the commercial where the kid admits that he was the last one to touch the basketball
  • that video on Facebook with the cat who makes friends with the squirrel
  • how come my toes are SO weird
  • it is not fair that I have to pee again!!!
  • you think my hair is ugly, I can tell by the way you look at my head

Adding to the comical dopiness of the late-pregnancy era is the fact that the baby is breech...

...which means that I am now spending any and all free time trying to get the baby to flip over using a series of methodologies of suspect origin.

This means that at the end of a long day of toddler-wrangling, meal-preparing, laundry-laundering, and fight-disrupting you will find me doing this:

and this:

and even occasionally this:

(Did you know that the ancient Chinese practice of "moxibustion"- or burning herbs near one's little toe - has been shown to coax breech babies into changing position? I mean, not my baby apparently, but some babies, I guess.)

What I don't spend ANY time doing anymore is bending over to pick up any of the myriad of things I have either dropped due to pregnancy clumsiness or knocked off surfaces due to belly unwieldiness. This means that my home, at all times, appears to have been ransacked by a gang of marauding hooligans.

I'm hoping that maybe the baby will be willing to help me clean up when it gets here.

* Please note this review may be biased due to the fact that the film Mission Impossible 4 involved exactly no one learning to use the potty or driving a tank engine and therefore represented a massive improvement in recent film-watching experiences.