Sunday, November 30, 2014


This Thanksgiving, we had one more little thing to be thankful for.

"Was this an accident?" my blunt little sister asked me ten minutes after I had taken the pregnancy test and called her on the phone.  I called her first because we had just been talking; she had been asking me about stage two and stage three foods for her little peanut while I had been staring at the tests in the drugstore and contemplating just skipping the whole thing in favor of going to the dollar store the next day and buying one there.  Eight dollars for a pregnancy test?  Fifteen dollars for two?  Why would I pay this much when I can already feel the results in the pit of my stomach and the side of my boob?  Sure, the dollar store tests are a little more labor intensive- you have to find a cup to pee in and a little pipette to dispense the urine onto the test strip portion of the flimsy device- but the extra work is definitely worth the seven dollar savings.  Ah, screw it.  I'll just buy the eight dollar test and not eat lunch today.  And I just need one.

"Not exactly an accident," I answered honestly.  "Not exactly on purpose."

My sister was blown away by this news, and when she pressed her husband to guess who was pregnant, my name didn't even come up on his list.  When she finally told him it was me, he would later liken his reaction to finding out George on Seinfeld was getting married.

Jerry: All right. But then I can't tell you the BIG news.
Elaine: News? What news?
Jerry: Sorry!
Elaine: What? What?
Jerry: All right, Elaine but this is beyond news. This is like Pearl Harbor. Or the Kennedy assassination. It's like not even news. It's total shock.
Elaine: Oh, come on, Jerry:. Please, please, please, please, please!
Jerry: George Costanza...
Elaine: Yeah?
Jerry: Is getting married!
Elaine: Get out!

Really?  Is it that unlikely that Chris and I would have a third child?  Are the two we have THAT horrible that people would find it inconceivable that we'd go for another?  Or is it that I'm just so very old, so very tired, so worn down and jaded by motherhood that a new baby just doesn't add up?  Or did it really seem to others like our family was perfectly complete even though I've had this strange little aching feeling that it was mostly complete... but maybe not just quite.

Oh, and the minor detail of Chris' reaction?  "That's interesting," he said on the phone (I'm still in the bathroom at work, still staring at my eight dollar positive, still thinking about that dollar store test and how now I could REALLY USE THAT EXTRA SEVEN DOLLARS SINCE I'M HAVING ANOTHER BABY AND WILL BE BROKE FOREVER.  "Can we talk about this later?  I'm at Home Depot with my dad."

"Will do! Chat later!"

When I told Andy the news six weeks later, he was so excited that he got up in his chair and did a little dance.  "I want twins!" he exclaimed.  "A boy and a girl!"  (Alex's reaction was less jubilant and the phrase "no baby" came out of his mouth about a dozen times until last week or so when he finally started professing love for it.)

"It's probably not twins," I told Andy, thinking of the difficult decisions involved with having twins. Which one do you keep?  Which one do you give half of a medallion to and send on his or her way? I continued, "It's probably just one.  So, are you going to be a big helper?  Feed the baby bottles and help hold it?"

"Yeah," Andy replied, looking me dead in the eyes.  "I'll hold the baby.  I'll hold BOTH OF THEM."

We're, of course, excited for the baby, the one baby I have growing.  Sure, I've had moments of sheer panic, such as in the morning when I'm really struggling to get only TWO children dressed, fed, and out the door.  Getting Andy and Alex ready for preschool is a freaking nightmare.  Nobody listens to me, and Andy treats brushing his teeth and using the potty like it's a once in a lifetime event to be cherished.  And Alex. Watching Alex slowly eat his breakfast is the most infuriating spectacle I've ever born witness to.  I've never seen any single person eat as slowly as this kid does.  I've spent mornings just glaring at the poor kid while my blood pressure's inched slowly up into the danger zone, my eyes burning holes into his oblivious little face while he leisurely lifts the bagel to his mouth and takes just the tiniest, daintiest little nibble before slowly setting the bagel back down and chewing while seemingly counting to a hundred before lazily swallowing and starting the whole process all over again.  I've never wanted to cram bread into someone's face like I have with Alex.  There.  I said it.

But yesterday.  Yesterday, Chris and the boys took me to urgent care as I had a little bleeding. It was a Saturday, and my doctor's office was closed, and I was in a bit of a panic.  In my heart of hearts, I think I knew the baby was okay, but I went to what was likely a six hundred dollar post-insurance ER visit just to make sure, and that whole ride there I found myself realizing just how much I wanted this baby.  Even more than I already knew I did, and that's quite a bit.

Everything was fine, baby was great.  Apparently, there was a small tear in my uterus which is supposedly totally fine. I mean, that SOUNDS totally fine, right? I had an ultrasound, and the baby lifted his or her little hand up while I watched, spreading his/her tiny, perfect fingers and giving me a virtual high five.  What's up, Mom? Got a little rip in here.  Sorry about that, my bad.  See you at the end of May.  High five.

Is it really that incredible that I'd have another baby?  That unbelievable?  Well, it is pretty incredible. So far, the experience is surreal, and he/she isn't even here yet.  Just seeing that baby at my first ultrasound past ten weeks was, yes, quite unbelievable.  I didn't think I'd ever see a third child on an ultrasound screen.  When pregnant with Alex, I thought for sure that this was it- done after two.  But here we all are.

And I'm oh so thankful.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Excessive Drool!

This morning, I had parent teacher conferences at ye olde preschool.  Alex was first, and a couple of words immediately caught my eye when I sat down and glanced at her written summary.  "Excessive drool?"  I thought quizzically.  "Is that really a standard measurement of preschool intelligence?"

This is an excessively wet, sloppy kiss.
The excessive drooling (I suppose all the slobber CAN be a bit much at times) is apparently indicative of his still maturing mouth and tongue muscles.  The teacher thinks that Alex may need to be evaluated for his speech, although I have to say I disagree with this assessment.  The kid has come a long way in these past four months, and his constant running commentary has exceeded adorable and gone straight to uncharted levels of annoyance.  He points out everything he sees, brings up topics from days and weeks past, and has started introducing his questions with "Can I ask you a question?" He is ridiculously friendly with strangers when we're out and about, approaching whoever is closest in the supermarket to brag about how he's getting donuts.  He has the same personality as Andy had at his age.  Outgoing.  Friendly.  Absolutely no sense of stranger danger.  He's a regular people person.  I still find this attitude in my children so strangely bizarre as I'm one to go out of my way to avoid talking to most people if I can help it.  I don't want anyone to know that I'm buying donuts in Walmart.  I don't need to say hello and good-bye to everyone I meet.  I have enough going on these days without all of that taxing small talk.

So there's the excessive drool (admittedly pretty gross) and the teacher's perception of his possibility of a speech delay, but this little guy of mine is still a young two.  He's not even two and a half yet! And so I will push off any thoughts of having him evaluated until after he's two and a half or until the slobber becomes completely unbearable and starts collecting in sloppy puddles around his feet, whichever comes first.  Otherwise, Alex is doing just fine and has basically met all of his other "goals" on the checklist.  He's just a wonderful child with a sweet little spirit.  He loves going to preschool and is a happy guy.

On to Andy's conference next, of which there was thankfully no mention of any drool.  Andy had a stellar review, and I felt myself getting a little teary with pride as I looked through his binder of work. I find it amazing the things these kids accomplish in preschool.  Writing, patterns, graphing, science experiments, the whole shebang.  And the teacher said, "He likes doing EVERYTHING."  Every task or project she gives him, he does wholeheartedly.  I got the feeling the teacher wanted to admit to me, "Andy's definitely one of my favorites," but as she's a professional, I think she was able to hold it back.  Just barely.

She did bring up something else mildly amusing after the conference when we were standing around talking with another mom (also a friend).  Andy had apparently gone up to the assistant teacher one day and either asked her if he was adopted or told her that he was adopted or asked him if she knew he was adopted or something like that about him being adopted.  The teacher said that she didn't think he was adopted but that it was an interesting subject for him to bring up and she'd mention it to me.  I know exactly why Andy's talking about being adopted.  Caillou (you know Caillou, right?) has an adopted friend, and Andy had a lot of questions about what being adopted was after we watched that episode.  When I explained what that meant, Andy wanted to know if we knew anybody, other than Caillou's friend (who we really only know very marginally), who was adopted.

"Well, actually, your friend Joey is adopted," I told him.  "He grew in another mommy's tummy but right after the doctor took him out, he went to his forever mommy and daddy."

"Joey?"  Andy said, thinking.  "You mean my friend Joey with the tractor?"

Ah, the big motorized toy tractor.  Little Joey's claim to fame.

"Yep, Joey with the tractor."

"So... if you're adopted... that means... YOU GET TO HAVE A TRACTOR???!!"

Ever since then, Andy's been asking for me to get someone to adopt him so he can have a tractor.  I think that if the assistant teacher would have let Andy go on with his adoption spiel, she would have realized that he was asking for her to adopt him and also buy him the requisite tractor.  Ah.  Kids.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stop It!

If Alex were a pull toy and had a catch phrase, it would definitely be "Stop it."  The kid is always telling me to "Stop it," sometimes when I do something so simple as just to look over at him and smile.  There are a couple things he especially hates, though, number one being when we call him "Big Round Blond Head."  I can barely remember how that one started, although I vaguely recall some early morning in which Andy had climbed into my bed and then Alex had also come in and started bobbing around the room.  There was something perfectly cartoonish about his tow-headed skull bouncing in the early morning sunlight, and I said to Andy, "Look at that big, round blond head go."  Andy thought it was hilarious and started calling Alex Big Round Blond Head pretty much nonstop.  As did I, since the novelty of being directly related to someone with such light hair still hasn't worn off.

And so we call Alex "Big Round Blond Head" occasionally, and he gets supremely offended and yells "Stop it!"  This makes Andy laugh even harder, as Andy really gets a kick out of making fun of both Alex and his daddy.  We're a little meaner with Daddy.  I will preface this with saying Chris has a perfectly fine, normal butt.  Yet for some reason, Andy and I were sitting around talking smack one day and I came up with a string of words to describe Daddy's doopa.  Now, Andy will randomly ask:

"Mommy, can you tell me about Daddy's butt?"

"Well.  It's poopy.  It's droopy.  It's lumpy, it's bumpy.  It's jiggly, it's wiggly.  It's smelly, it's jelly."

And then we just laugh and laugh.

Sure, good-natured Chris doesn't mind being called stinky, but Alex absolutely hates it.  Flash back to this conversation last week.

Chris, to Alex:  Hi, Stinky!
Alex, enraged:  STOP IT!
Chris, innocently:  Stop what?
Alex, explanatory:  Stop it 'Hi Stinky.'

Which is a perfectly phrased command, if you ask me.

Alex just wants to be heard and respected.  He's taken all of our shit for long enough, and now he's asserting himself.  He demands the same level of attention that Andy receives and expects to be treated as a four year old, not a two year old. I can relate. Sometimes, when Chris gets things only meant for 36 year olds, I'll pipe up and demand my fair share even though I'm two years younger.

Sometimes, when I think Alex is not listening, he'll surprise me by jumping in.  Like a couple weeks ago, when the four of us were sitting a table in the hot dog place and Andy was having a lovely conversation with the little boy next to us.  Andy recommended the chicken tenders to the kid, saying they were like chicken nuggets but not really. Alex, who had been concentrating on filling up on ketchup, had yet to even look up when out of nowhere, he casually called out, "Grilled cheese."  Ain't nobody talking to Andy without weighing in with Alex.

But oh, while the equality is all fine and good, and everybody deserves a seat on the gosh darned bus, there's nothing more ridiculous than two children who each insist on pressing the button to close the garage door, two children who want to wear one single shirt, two children who want to be first into the bathtub, two children who want sole use of one iPad, and so forth.  The hardest is two children who want to help cook.  Talk about hazardous and annoying.  Making one pot of spaghetti is suddenly an hour long process.  Each child has to salt the water.  Each child needs to stir something. With many of my meals, there are not enough steps to equally divide up.  I'm not making Thanksgiving dinner here, I'm just trying to carbo-load for the big race tomorrow (i.e., the ten minute drive to preschool).  There's not really anything for you two demanding lunatics to do.  JUST GO GET SOME SCREEN TIME, OKAY?

Oh, but you know I love it.  All of it, from the up and down and up and down of the garage door, to my husband's wiggly, jiggly butt, to Andy's maniacal laughter, to the tip of my baby's Big Round Blond Head.  Stop it?  No thanks, Alex.  I certainly will not.