When bowel movements become a reason for posting


(I miss the obnoxious old Netscape scroll tag.)



It was even a for real poop. I knew he was about to poop. (There are tells.) So I wouldn’t stop talking to him until he got on the potty. (When he poops he wants privacy and quiet. Don’t we all?) I provided him with reading materials and left him alone. And lo! There was poop! And pee! In the potty!

Of course he got ice cream and candy and several phone calls to relatives.

I think that in a few weeks diapers will just go away for any time he’s not sleeping and we will all have to learn to adjust or deal with the consequences.

Yes, I have become THAT person.

In other news, Patrick (the birthday cake version) did not turn out as well as I was hoping. One can only pray that a three year old will not notice. In reality, a three year old is at just the right stage of honesty and verbality to tell me it sucks if it does.

Also, we had pancakes for dinner.

Further bulletins as exciting events warrant.

Mental zephyrs

I’ve been moody lately, for me. By moody, I mean that my general emotional tenor has not been logical or consistent based on external stimuli. Some days I’m just cranky as a bear with a sore tooth, while other days I’m Ms. Sunshine and Light. Today is a Sunshine and Light day. Wednesday? Bear needing a root canal.

This morning, as so often happens, my son climbed into bed to snuggle me. He even says, “snuggle”. He nestled into my arms, his butt against the bulge of his baby brother and his fuzzy-head at perfect kissable height and we drowsed there together for 10 minutes. How can that fail to bring joy to the heart? On a perfect clear October commute where the highway is lined with the slow fire of the dying year (really, the colors are magnificent this year), I listened to him discourse at length about whether Jesus had ever used bad words like “ca ca poo poo head” and gotten a time out.

One never knows just how much theology to teach a three year old. But I’m pretty sure the gospels are silent on Jesus’ use of the phrase “ca ca poo poo head”.

I remember part of why this stage of pregnancy is so tiring. You KNOW that you might have up to (by my count) 30 more days until you are holding an actual real baby. You know that the odds of going into labor today are very small. (Less than 1 in 30.) You know that likely you have a long hard slog ahead of you. And yet you think that maybe? Just maybe? And some of my friends are every so slightly more pregnant than I am and they are having labor pains and it’s days or hours until they will have babies and I could too! Or, well, it could be November.

Hm. What if I am in active labor on election day? Hm hm.

And thus you see the pattern of my thoughts, scattered high, low and in-between by the autumnal zephyrs like so many crisp new-fallen leaves.

Stay on target…

So the last week or two I’ve felt very end-game about this pregnancy. I am two weeks and three days shy of my due date. Plenty plenty plenty of people have their babies this early. I know that I’m late enough that if any problem arises, my medical providers will be urging an induction in a heart-beat. I really DO need to have my hospital bag ready, the car seat in the car, etc.

These preparations, though, inevitably get you excited and get you thinking that hey! Maybe I’ll be having a baby soon!

By my calculation I have up to 30 more days of pregnancy to go. And as I’ve posted innumerable times and tried to remind myself thrice daily, the ODDS are very very good that I will spend most of the next 30 days pregnant.

I hate waiting. I’m a person of action. I initiate things. I make things happen. I see that things need doing and I do them. I do not sit around waiting.

Maybe installing the car seats was a mistake. I shouldn’t have hit all the pre-requisites for having a baby so early, because now there really is nothing to do but wait.

My life of leisure

This morning started out with Grey’s 3 year well-child checkup. I remember when I used to send emails about his 6 week checkup etc. they were full of data! And information! But 3 years? Grey is developmentally fine. His height and weight are fine. He has lots of ear wax. We should probably make with the potty-training.

The big news, I guess, was that Grey got his flu shot. I asked if I could have one too. Grey’s pediatrician has a low opinion of grownup-doctors. “Why didn’t your midwife give you one?” “They don’t have any?” “What about your primary care doctor?” “They wouldn’t give me one until after my due date.” “Well, I can’t give you ours because they’re formulated for kids, and you are not a kid. [insert rant on how grownup doctors don’t plan ahead].” Frankly, I think he’s entirely right. I can’t believe my OB/GYN office didn’t order at least SOME vaccine for their patients who are, you know, pretty much universally supposed to ge flu shots.

Then I dropped A. off at home, Grey off at daycare and bought several small sundry things (like the hardware to hang the light-blocking shades) that were needful.

I arrived at the ultrasound clinic a little early and turned off the tv, since I was the only patient in the waiting room. It took the staff less than 2 minutes to realize the tv was off and attempt to turn it back on. When I rule the world, we will have a constitutional right to not have to be exposed to daytime television involving quiz shows that ask questions like “What color is Pokemon?”

The ultrasound tech was new, at least to the organization. One room, two pregnancies, three ultrasound techs. But she was good — I liked her.

You will be shocked, SHOCKED to hear that everything is JUST FINE. The facts:
* The baby appears to be about 5 lbs 11 oz. Note: ultrasounds are off by as much as a pound. But even at 4 lbs 11 oz a baby with 2.5 weeks to go will likely squeak over the 5 lb worry threshhold. And he’s very likely over that threshhold already.
* The baby has hair
* He is definitely, for sure, fourth confirming ultrasound a he.
* He is also opposed to letting people get the measurements they want in ultrasounds with him.
* His head is really, really, really low. Really low. She almost couldn’t measure his head because it was blocked by my pelvis.
* His heartbeat was perfectly fine
* He has plenty of amniotic fluid.
* My cervix does not look like it’s letting its occupant out anytime soon.
* He is a squirmy little bugger

THEN I went to Walgreens where the guy in front of me in line was saying how his roommate stole his prescription and he’d heard some horrible people abused these sorts of drugs and you know he might DIE if he didn’t get more of this stuff and have seizures but it didn’t matter because he had cancer so he was going to die soon anyway and his doctor was out of town and unavailable to call and couldn’t she just fill his prescription? Did he mention he might die without it?

I was impressed with how the pharmacist handled the situation.

And I finally got my flu shot.
Midwife: 0
PCP: 0
Pediatrician: 0
Walgreens: 1

They even remembered I had called and had things ready to go for me.

And finally, home. 6 hours after I left in the morning.

Baby not measuring to dates

So I’m about as easy and vanilla a maternity patient as you can find. My blood pressure today was 116 over 81. My weight gain is normal (if perhaps a little donut-enhanced). All my tests (for strep, yeast infections, etc.) came back negative. I do not have gestational diabetes. My birth history is uncomplicated. My overall health is excellent. The baby’s heartbeat has been at 140 – 144 bpm every single appointment since the first heartbeat was spotted at 10 weeks. He’s very active. I don’t smoke, have pre-existing health problems, genetic predispositions to health problems, or any other complication. I’m well within the age range for not worrying. If there was a woman out there who could probably skip most prenatal care without harm, it’s me. I’d be fine so far this pregnancy, without a single medical intervention.

Do you hear a rant coming on?

There are a few things you do in the last month nearly every exam:
1) Pee in a cup (to check for protein — a sign of preeclampsia)
2) Take your blood pressure (also a preeclampsia check)
3) Check your weight (mmmmm donuts….)
4) Check the baby’s heartbeat
5) Measure the size of the baby.
6) Answer any questions you might have.

Step #5 is done with a little tape measurer. You lie down and the practitioner takes the tape and measures from the crease that starts in my case right below my boobs, over my belly button and to my pelvic bone. (Hurts when she presses down on it.) After like 14 weeks or something there’s a 1 to 1 correlation between number of weeks and the centimeters on the tape, so at 28 weeks the bump should be 28 cm. Convenient like that.

For the last 37 weeks of my pregnancy there has been NO MENTION made of the size of the baby. (Although he was the correct size in the very early ultrasounds where size matches dating.) This is my third midwife appointment in the last 4 weeks. The previous two she was gossiping while measuring and nothing came up.

Today she gets this concerned look on her face and asks if I would have an objection to going in for an ultrasound because the baby is measuring small. I pointed out that I fell under the birth weight threshold (at three weeks post due!)

So the upshot is that I have an ultrasound tomorrow to check the sizing on this baby. The thing is… um, so what? (The questions I should’ve asked all come to me as I stand in line for a donut at Starbucks.) What could be wrong with a small baby that we would currently have a chance to do something about? What are you worried about regarding the smallness? Has he been measuring consistently fine and then just failed to grow at all this week? Is that really a cause for concern? Or has he been running further and further behind and I just wasn’t told until she got really worried? Do we think he’s sitting on his umbilical cord? (Heartbeat was just fine…) It sure isn’t that I’m not eating enough. I could understand if he was measuring large — we might want to see if he would still fit and maybe induce labor a bit early to avoid a c-section if there was a doubt about him being too big. I just fail to see what is gained by knowing he’s small. I mean, if he runs the risk of being low birthweight, the best thing to do is carry him for as long as possible, which is exactly what I plan on doing anyway (not that I have much say).

And to be quite honest, I’m not sure he is all that small. I think he may be smaller than his brother (who was 7 lbs 11 oz and 20.5 inches — on the tall side, perfectly normal for weight), but he just presents differently. Maybe he was stretched out. My tummy definitely bulges to the right side instead of in the middle. (He’s sort of lying on his side — his butt is on the right side of my belly and his hands/arms/legs poke towards the left side of my belly. He’s head down.)

But because now I’m worried/wanna know what’s up I will present myself as requested at 1 pm tomorrow to have the, uh, 5th ultrasound for this pregnancy? (Ok, one or two of those definitely had to do with me being worried after my pair o’ miscarriages, and then the whole “short cervix” debacle but still…)

The worst part is that I see a *midwife* in part because I do not think I require that much medical care and because I am a non-interventionist patient. Is she just a very interventionist midwife, or would I be getting even MORE procedures with an OB/GYN? I’m really healthy! I could have this baby in the bathtub, if someone would throw in a few stitches afterwards! It doesn’t get easier than me!

In other obnoxious news, it is recommended that pregnant women get flu shots. If I get a shot now, it will protect both me and the baby for the flu season. (Which is good — you’d rather not give the baby his own shot.) So wouldn’t you think that my midwife/OBGYN would have access to the flu shot, which does not have a shortage this year?


She says I should see my PCP. Fine. My PCP is just down the hall. I drop in with fantasies of a “sure, sit right here and we’ll just jab you right now”. I mean, they do flu shots at Walgreens. How hard can it be.

Well, they have a flu clinic on the 27th (a day past my due date!) and they can’t give any shots before then. This is not helpful. I want the shot while the baby is internal, kthx.

So now I need to find a Walgreens or some place that has a clinic before then. Really, does following health recommendations need to be this hard?


Zombies, Madeleine and apples

Friday: I spent Friday madly doing chores. Upside of being a human adult: ability to plan for the future. Downside: doing as much laundry as humanly possible on a Friday night. After I collapsed into gelatinous goo, I got to watch a bit of the playoff game. I have yet to watch an entire game this playoff season. That is sad. But with the west coastness and extra-inningness… oh well.

Saturday: This was an entirely fun for me day! While I did get up with Grey to give him his waffles, applesauce and strawberries while turning on “Robin Hood” (why yes, I am up for the “Parent of the Year” award — why do you ask?), A. took him to dance class, allowing me to sleep in. Then I went all by myself to our monthly local gaming get-together and played no fewer than three Zombie-related games. (Braaaaaiiiins.) I had to leave early.


Because I had a date. Better yet, a date coupled with a surprise. My loving husband had gotten us tickets to *something* and gotten a friend to babysit Grey.  Anyway, we fed our friend dinner and then went downtown.

On the T in I asked A. where it was we were going. He said that we were going to a concert with a folk singer named Cesaria Evora. Ok. A bit random — never heard of her before but it sounded like fun! And I was wearing a dress! And going out! And with my beloved husband!

Then we got to the actual theater. Hmm… seems like there’s an additional name on that marquee:

Wait a minute... what's that second name?
Wait a minute… what

I totally went squeey-fangirl on him. It was an excellent surprise and I was completely bamboozled. He did very well.

I really, really, really like Madeleine Peyroux’s music. It’s some of my absolute favorite. I was totally expecting to just love her concert. Instead, it was utterly bizarre. For one thing, the Orpheum was this strange combination of rococo opera house meets Fenway park (seriously — they sold hot dogs in the lobby) meets Shakespeare’s Globe theater. (Where I come from you don’t get seated after the lights go out. People were still arriving and being seated an hour later!) For another thing, I have never in my life seen a performer as terrified and uncomfortable as Madeleine was. This includes the 7th grade concert where April Kenny threw up beforehand. She was dressed in a long suit that was at LEAST 3 sizes too large for her. My mother in law would not let me out of the house in this suit. She held her guitar protectively in front of her. When she wasn’t playing, she sort of hunched over and clutched her suit jacket together as though attempting to be invisible. She looked completely miserable — like she wanted nothing so much as to disappear and get OFF THAT STAGE. She got this sort of grimace that was supposed to be a smile when she approached the microphone, which she only did when absolutely necessary. Her patter when she retuned between songs was about as feeble as I’ve ever heard — and the next act didn’t have anyone on stage who spoke English. And worst of all, she didn’t even relax and enjoy when she was making music. She played with her timing in some sort of attempt to… I don’t know… but it didn’t work. She didn’t hit the timing at all. When her set was done, she introduced the rest of her band but refused to introduce herself, and when the playing was done she FLED offstage. She nearly ran, I swear. I have no idea what was up with that — if she hates live performance ever and always, if she got broken up with 5 minutes before curtain, or if she had some sort abdominal pain issue, but it was almost upsetting to watch.

The act after her, on the other hand? The one she was opening for? ROCKED. It was this 70 year old Cape Verdean singer who practically limped on stage and drove the crowd WILD. Her band was FANTASTIC and everything about the show was totally on. And she just exuded confidence and presence and dontgiveadamness. She only spoke in Portuguese. And when she put down her microphone and did the ever so slightest shimmy of a dance, the crowd went absolutely nuts as though Elvis had just done a pelvic thrust.

If you asked me which one I’d rather have a CD of? Totally Madeleine — way more my style. Which performance did I enjoy more? Without a doubt Cesaria was more fun to experience. It was weird.

After the show, I found myself in dire need of dessert. For some reason, the Theater District in Boston does not cater to the “I need dessert” after a show crowd, so we ended up walking all the way down the street to the first place that would take us and feed us something sweet.

By the way, not that this is apropos of anything, but I’m apparently pregnant enough that even the wait staff at the Four Seasons will congratulate me on sight.

It was an awesome day.

Sunday: But wait! The weekend is not over yet!

Sadly, Grey wasn’t feeling very well on Sunday. We went to church, where he melted down in Sunday School. (Seems like every other week — he’s either great or totally melty.) Then after church I had a meeting and A. and Grey helped plant a few trees. Grey was definitely really tired and not feeling 100%… we’d planned on going apple picking. Was this still a good idea?

The way I figured it, we’d have a melty, tired, not-quite-right boy at home or a melty-tired-not-quite-right boy at the apple orchard, so why not pick apples while the sun shined? It was the right decision. The weather cleared just in the nick of time. Grey was GREAT at the orchard. He loved picking the apples. He played hide and seek. He loved eating the apples. We got pumpkins. It was a really lovely time. One should go apple picking at least once a fall when one lives in New England.

But the fun didn’t stop there! I realized when I got home just how many apples half a bushel is. The answer is: a lot. Many. More than we are going to eat. So I figured I’d send Grey and A. over with some apples for Jefferson and his family while I made dinner. Grey did a great job of decorating a bag to put them in. Then the guys took the apples over. Long story short, this resulted in Jefferson coming over to our house for the boys’ first ever playdate! They did really really well together (and looked soooooo cute!) It was fun.

Then I collapsed on the couch and the Sox collapsed in the 12th and I’m tired today. But all in all, it was one of the finest weekends I’ve had in a long time.

Grey turns three

Grey turns three today, whether he knows it or not. I think he must know it — he celebrated by throwing up in the car this morning. (One of the challenges of being a parent to a child with a touchy stomach is that it’s very difficult to figure out when they’re really sick and need to stay home vs. when they are just throwing up because, you know, it’s fun and different!)

So what does it mean that Grey’s three?

Let’s see.

Grey long ago passed the easy-to-capture milestones and firsts. After that, it’s all an element of degrees.

Verbally, Grey can usually make himself understood to people who are not related to him, depending on the subject matter. He’s started telling long and involved stories. They usually involve bad guys, hitting, explosions, Spiderman (red vs. black), fighting, and time-outs. He knows his days of the week, except Thursday which seems to give him problems. He can count up to forty and has known his alphabet for several years at this point. He knows all his basic colors and shapes. He can sound out words, and can probably identify ten or twelve when they’re written. He has a relatively extensive and sometimes surprising vocabulary. Ice cream is “delectable” (WHERE did that one come from?). He’s not angry or mad, no, he’s frustrated. And just yesterday we learned he knew a word that got him a three minute time out. Hint: it’s the same one that the kid in “A Christmas Story” used that ended up having him have his mouth washed out with soap. “To be” verbs still seem to be on the optional list and he mixes up cold and hot, but if you know the context for what Grey’s talking about, almost everything else is comprehensible. Grey does seem to have a bit of trouble with initial “S” sounds followed by a consonant. So “snake” often ends up as “nake”.

He spends a lot of time on days of the week, locations and people. Often the first thing he’ll ask me in the morning is what day it is and what happens that day. Is it a daycare day or a church day? Is anyone coming over for dinner? He knows the routes to all the places we go regularly — the chiropractor’s office, church, daycare, dance classes, the “Y”…. even the Starbucks near church. He knows the exit numbers for many of them, thereby putting him ahead of me. He has strong preferences on which route we should take. He talks a lot about those absent, especially the fellow inmates of Camp Gramp. The other day he jokingly introduced himself as his cousin, who has a rather difficult to pronounce three syllable name. He loves a little picture book I have for him with pictures of people he knows — he likes to go through and name everyone and talk about what they’re doing.

He tends to introduce himself by spelling, instead of saying, his name. “I G-R-E-Y.” I think this is because, given his unusual nickname, when I introduce him I usually end up spelling his name to make it clear that he is NOT “Greg”. Grey also loves letters and knows what they signify and I think he appreciates the letters in his name more than the name itself. I’m not quite sure if he knows that “grey” is also a color.

Grey can even write his name, after a fashion. The “G” is pretty good. The “R” is a circle with two spokes coming out of it. For “E” he’ll make the vertical bar and then add sufficient lines coming off it to fill up the bar. (Sort of looks like a caterpillar — the “E” is definitely my favorite.) The “Y” is three vertical lines that do not touch. These may or may not be written in the same orientation with each other. His fine motor skills — the skills for writing — are among his most advanced I think. He’s perfectly capable of unscrewing and rescrewing the lid to his toothpaste. He spends a lot of time practicing writing and drawing. He likes to draw people. He’ll carefully look at them and make sure he includes all the relevant elements, like earrings and hair. He can use a mouse better than lots of grownups I’ve met — to our chagrin. He can totally close out the software we have him using and pull up something more interesting, like the C drive. I’m very intentionally NOT teaching him how to use a screwdriver.

As far as large motor skills go, Grey is completely and utterly fearless. He climbs, jumps, crawls, leaps, runs and can even do a very good somersault. He’s pretty tall — he can and will reach the top of our kitchen counters. He’s also a fearfully good tool-using mammal. He pushes over chairs, toys or other things to stand on if what he desires is out of his reach. Grey is really fast. Right now he can run faster than I can. (Then again, several kinds of sloth can currently run faster than I can.) He also has endurance. He can and will walk for up to two miles, if correctly motivated. Motivation often involves daddy claiming that he will get to the goal before Grey can.

Grey likes to spend his free time as a kitty cat. Or spiderman. Or possibly as an angry robot. He will sometimes say “Aye aye captain!” in the most charming manner.

Socially, it’s very difficult to figure out where a three year old is. He sometimes plays nicely with other children, although just as often he’s playing around them instead of with them. He likes chasing games. He’s unafraid of large groups and pretty much never pulls the “wallflower” act. No no, he’s in the middle of the action, wherever the action is. He talks about his friends a good deal. He has some of his manners down (he’s pretty good about please, thank you and excuse me), but others are lacking. He hasn’t figured out how to introduce himself to someone who doesn’t know him. But he’s extraordinarily outgoing and friendly. He pitched a major fit the other day because he didn’t have a hand free to wave “thank you” to a motorist who had stopped for us to cross the street. He often says “hello” to people who are definitely not expecting it — including our next door neighbor. (He likes to say hello out the window in our kitchen.) He hasn’t quite figured out that sometimes people can’t hear him, or simply do not expect to be greeted (see also: surly looking teenagers). I personally love this about him. He reminds me to be more friendly myself. I think he’s a normal extrovert for his age.

Behaviorally, he’s also pretty typical I think. He vacillates between affectionate, “I love you very very much, mommy!” and violent. There’s definitely been a decrease in hitting, pinching and kicking (and biting has more or less disappeared altogether), but it still happens sometimes. Most of the time he behaves in an appropriate middle ground. Actually, I’ve been really quite pleased with his behavior lately. He’s doing a good job of listening and following the rules, even when he doesn’t want to.

He has a charming wheedle, where he will say “please” in the super-sweet voice when thwarted and then promise you something. Promises might include being your friend, letting you play with his toys, or giving you candy. I sometimes relent when he is super-polite like this, because I’d rather have the polite negotiating behavior than the violent lashing out that we had before. Sometimes, when you ask really really nicely, a no DOES turn to a yes! Yesterday, he promised his father and I that he would not open the package of candy that he was holding, and he didn’t!

Sleep is going better. He’s rarely waking up during the night anymore. He usually sleeps in until about 7ish, which is just fine by our schedule. Going to sleep has even improved with the advent of a rule that any time he opens the door, unless there’s ACTUALLY a poopy diaper involved, he loses one of his night lights. This gives him a stake in the game, and there are nights where we don’t have to answer any of his questions after the initial light’s out. (If there’s a bit of thumping from his room after he’s supposed to be in bed, well, as long as he’s staying in his room and not calling for us, it’s ignored.)

Grey eats as well as you can expect from a preschooler. He likes sweets better than dinner, of course. But he really like fruit and eats quite a lot of it. He’s gotten used to milk and water being the standard drinks and juice and chocolate milk being a treat. He will often eat the meal put before him.

Regarding potty training? There’s no doubt that Grey has all the skills necessary to be trained. What he doesn’t have is parents who are in a position to put in the focus and attention. He also lacks motivation. (So do we!) I plan on potty training him sort of whole-hog during my maternity leave. Wish me luck with that.

To sum up? Grey is a joy, a delight and a fun kid to have around.

Grey three years ago today:
Grey on the day of his birth

Grey two years ago today:
Grey on his first birthday

Grey one year ago today:
Greys second birthday

Grey yesterday:

Grey enjoys an apple he picked
Grey enjoys an apple he picked