The Full-Term Fall

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

The Full-Term Fall 1

Hello! I’m back! (For today at least.)

Why the blogging hiatus? I had a baby.  And get this – newborns are tiring.  My newborn pretty much eats all the time, and when he’s not eating, I have a toddler that I need to pay attention to so she remembers that I love her, too.  Anyway, here’s the cutie at 5 days old:

 

Future aviator?

The Little Aviator

 

And of course, with his adoring sister:

IMG_4726

There’s no way this sweetness will last.

 

Now, I know a lot of pregnant women right now.  Seriously, a lot.  This blog post is for them.  I want to offer my personal experience as a guide for what not to do when you’re pregnant. Particularly at the very end of your pregnancy.  Say, the day before your due date.  Pretend you are due on a Thursday.  This guide begins Wednesday morning.  Read and learn and watch your step.

1)  Wednesday morning:  Roll your ankle and fall – hard – on your butt while you’re carrying your 34-lb toddler.

2)   Wednesday afternoon: Go to the hospital for an ultrasound and fetal monitoring.  (Note: Besides a throbbing ankle, I felt totally fine. I wasn’t even going to call my doctor and tell her about the fall, but then I got scared she would scold me the next day at my 40-week check up for not calling.  Just be aware, if you are super pregnant and you fall down, they will always make you go to the hospital for testing.)

3)   Three hours later (yup, 3 hours for me!) you will be released from the hospital.  Everything is fine.  (But hey, in that 3 hours you might get to grab a nap! Upside!)

4)   Thursday morning (the due date): Go to one of your doctor’s office locations for MORE testing. Just in case.  Everything is still fine.

5)   Thursday afternoon: Go to your doctor’s second office location for your 40-week check up. Pretend not to be bitter when the doctor says pleasantly, “I’m surprised to see you here!” This doctor will, after all, have been predicting your early delivery for the past five weeks.  LIAR! I mean… uh… Polite chuckle.

6)   Thursday night: Notice your toddler has unusual spots all over her feet and legs, and spreading to her abdomen.

7)   Decide to take your toddler to the ER.  Because even though you feel like you will be pregnant forever, you could go into labor anytime now. In fact, now that you have a bum ankle and a child with a mysterious illness, you will almost certainly go into labor very soon.  You’d rather take care of your child’s weird skin rash before that happens.

8)   Doctors diagnose your child with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.  Not serious, but highly contagious. Great timing, Kid! Nothing like contracting a contagious viral infection before a new baby arrives!

9)   Late Thursday night: Go into labor.

 

Ahhh, labor. I’ll save that for another blog post.

In the meantime, trust me that this is not how you want to spend your final pre-baby days.  You want to spend them lying on a couch with the biggest tub of ice cream you can find binge-watching a Netflix series of your choice.  If you already have a toddler at home, this will be impossible, but you still want to avoid visiting every medical facility in your county as your final acts before labor and delivery.  So don’t be an idiot like me.  DON’T FALL DOWN.  And maybe keep your children quarantined so they don’t get some nasty illness.

 

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Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To

Posted on May 8, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To 4

Spring break season is over. As Elisabeth is not yet school-aged, I don’t think in terms of break schedules.  So when Damon visited last March and we decided to take Elisabeth to Disneyland, we didn’t consider that half the state of California (and the entire U.S.) would be on spring break and visiting Disneyland with us. While we lived in Japan, Damon routinely brought up the idea of visiting Tokyo Disney.  I routinely shot down that idea.  It was too crowded, too expensive, and Elisabeth was too young to enjoy or remember it.  I am a cold, heartless woman, I know. But things were different now.*  Despite my efforts at shielding Elisabeth from the more annoying of Disney characters, she is enamored of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She’s old enough to have fun on rides.  Though she would not remember the trip, she’d enjoy it in the moment.  Plus, this was going to be our last time together as a family of three.  Why not do something special?  Disneyland is magical! It’s the Happiest Place on Earth! What could be more special than that? Well, unless you think “special” entails pushing your way through hoards of tourists and waiting in endless lines while trying to keep your impatient child (or children) entertained, DON’T go to Disneyland during spring break.  Just don’t. Because this is what your visit will be like: -Take 30 minutes to find parking. -Wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to the park, or walk the 20 minutes to the entrance. -Wait another 30 minutes in line for exorbitantly priced tickets. (Note to military spouses – Disneyland does not offer military discounts for single day passes. You have to waste three days of your life there if you want a discount.) -Decide to take your daughter out of line and let her run around the courtyard that separates Disneyland and California Adventure. Marvel at her excitement at recognizing the characters that decorate the flagpoles.  “Hot dog!” she will squeal with glee, because for some inexplicable reason she will think Goofy’s name is “Hot Dog.”  Wonder why you...

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Frozen is Crushing My Soul

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Confession: I don’t get the hype around Frozen. *Winces at instant backlash from Frozenphiles everywhere* I’ve only seen the movie once.  I don’t own the DVD, I have not bought Elisabeth an Elsa costume (not that I could find one if I wanted to), and I have not made a cutesy YouTube video of me lip-synching to the soundtrack.  I am clearly a failure as a parent. But don’t hate me just yet.  Hear me out: Damon visited a few weeks ago.  We decided to take Elisabeth to her first movie.  (Frozen, in case that wasn’t obvious.)  I was hesitant at first – she seemed a little young to sit through a full-length movie.  Plus any Disney animated film would surely feature some traumatic incident LIKE PARENTS DYING or something.* But since the whole world was in love with this movie, and I knew plenty of parents who had taken their toddlers to see it without incident, I decided to go for it.  Also, I had seen some Adele Dazeem perform a song from the film at the Oscars, and the music seemed pretty good.  That was enough for me. Now, I hadn’t seen a Disney animated movie since maybe… The Lion King?  Which came out in 1994, by the way.  (I Googled it, I know.)  So yeah, that’s 20 years without Disney in my life.  I didn’t know what to expect.  (Except catchy songs and traumatic deaths, obvi.) The movie started and Elisabeth was immediately enthralled.  But also kind of terrified, I think.  It was insanely loud.  Why are the theaters trying to deafen our children?  Elisabeth sat on my lap, clutching my shirt, the entire movie.  At one point she had tears streaming down her face.  I was shocked at the emotional maturity of my daughter! Who knew a two-year could connect so intensely with an on-screen character? Could feel such empathy and emotion? Or maybe she just hadn’t blinked for an hour.  I can’t be sure. I whisked her out of the theater.  “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” I inquired.  She seemed eager to get back...

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Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came: 1)   Potty Train 2)   Transition to Toddler Bed 3)   Wean from Pacifier Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation. And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!* As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning. Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW. I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her...

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Can’t Hack It

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Can’t Hack It 1

I spent last weekend in San Francisco visiting friends.  Non-mom friends.  For the first time, the distinction between “mom” friends and “non-mom” friends became important; for the first time, I realized that though I like to think I can hang out with my non-mom friends just like I used to, I’m severely disillusioned.  Nope.  As a 33 weeks pregnant mom of a two-year-old, I just can’t hack it anymore. *** The week after moving back to southern California, a few non-mom friends happened to be in town.  After exchanging emails to make dinner plans, one friend suggested a place and time. 8:30. I balked. 8:30!? As in, PM!?  But that’s jammy time!  I hastily wrote my friends back, and after claiming jet-lag, asked if we could push dinner up to 8:00.  I really meant 5:30, but figured that might be pushing it for my friends whose lives don’t currently revolve around potty-training and early morning prenatal yoga.  So 8:00 it was.  The evening of our dinner arrived, and after chugging boatloads of coffee I made my way to the restaurant, praying I wouldn’t fall asleep face-first into my mocktail.* I managed to rally, but I got lucky that time.  So let’s examine last weekend, when a silly pregnant woman attempted to recapture her pre-children days. Friday night my girlfriends and I got together at a charming little Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then lingered over wine.  (Well, everyone else lingered over wine.  I lingered over water.)  I love these girls.  I love catching up with them.  I love lingering over wine when I am actually allowed to drink wine.  But how does a sleep-deprived, third-trimester pregnant woman stay awake past 9:00 in a dim restaurant after eating copious amounts of carbs and cured meat?  It’s damn near impossible, I tell you. Everyone seemed a little spent after a long week, and decided to disperse after dinner rather than heading out somewhere else.  Thank the good Lord – I could go to bed!  Except I couldn’t.  My friend’s neighbor fell asleep with her television blasting.  My über-sensitivity...

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We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers 1

We do not negotiate with toddlers. I wish this were true.  But we do negotiate with toddlers.  At least I do.  All day…  Every day…  Go ahead and file this under, “Things I thought I’d never do as a parent.” -Sigh- Wouldn’t it be great to take a hard-line with these obstinate little ones? “Eat your vegetables because I said so.” “Put on your pants because it’s cold outside.” “Go to sleep because you need sleep to live.” Done and done.  If only it were that easy.  If only the toddlers would respond to logic and reason. But no.  Toddlers don’t respond to logic and reason because they’re not logical or reasonable.  They’re two; they respond to cookies and toys.  Either that or they’re manipulative little geniuses who know how to get exactly what they want  Maybe it’s both.  So instead we parents (or just me?) endlessly cajole, bargain, and outright bribe.  I didn’t notice my shameful behavior at first.  Then one day I realized almost every conversation with my 2-year-old involved some sort of “If…Then” statement. “Eat your vegetables,” became, “If you eat your vegetables, you can have more pasta.” “Put on your pants,” became, “If you don’t put on your pants, then we can’t go outside,” which became, “If you put on your pants, we can watch Elmo when we come back inside.”  When even Elmo didn’t work, it became, “Here’s my iPhone.  Look at pictures while I put on your pants.”  (For some reason, Elisabeth was vehemently anti-pants for a while.) When did every interaction with my child become a negotiation?  When will it stop!? I thought I’d be tougher.  I thought I would weather any tantrum and firmly hold my ground.  Eventually my toddler would listen to me and respect me, simply because I know what’s best. But holy cow – have you ever spent 30 FREAKING MINUTES trying to clothe a screaming, flailing child?  Or 30 minutes doing ANYTHING that should take 2 minutes, but for the innate need of these little people to assert total domination over you?  (I suppose it’s more PC...

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