The more you know…

I am taking a break from moving (which, can I just say, IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE EXCEPT THIS NEXT THING I’M GOING TO TALK ABOUT) to bring you a very important PSA for everyone who doesn’t watch Downton Abbey and isn’t already freaked out about it.

A year ago today Buddy was six days old, and I was pretty sure I was dying. Or at least, I was pretty certain I wanted to die, because I couldn’t imagine living one more night like I had been feeling. Since the baby was born, I’d been feeling pretty awful. But it was my first pregnancy, so I figured I was supposed to be feeling like that. It was also historically the hardest annual day in our marriage, so I figured that had something to do with it. And the whole newborn baby thing- that’s stressful, right?

Then the nausea started. So much nausea. I literally could not sleep for even five minutes for two nights because of the nausea, and I threw up all night so violently that I introduced a lot of other complications that I won’t write about here because blood and ickniness but, hey, it made me call the doctor. My head felt like it was in a vice. It was horrible.

This morning, a year ago, I got scared by the actually innocuous bloody and ickiness stuff, and called my doctor. She was remarkably blase about the whole hemorrhaging thing, but asked, “Do you have a headache?”

Uh. Yeah.

“Okay, you should probably get the emergency room as soon as possible.”

Oh. OKay then.

Turns out I had undiagnosed postpartum preeclampsia- yes, the same thing that killed Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey (the crowning achievement of my life- being diagnosed with the same disease as Lady Sybil. And my master’s degree.)

(Oh, and what I thought was a pinched nerve in my back from holding the baby weirdly was actually the beginning of seizures of my heart muscle. Oh. Good.)

I’m not trying to be dramatic, really. I was fine after a course of magnesium and rest, and I know enough now to be proactive in any possible future pregnancies (which will most likely demand bedrest in the case of any hypertension because I don’t produce the protein that they usually use to diagnose you.)

But my doctors (and I’m guessing a lot of doctors out there) didn’t mention ANYTHING about this. I was discharged from the hospital and told not to use tampons for six weeks. Okay. Awesome. Nothing about swelling (my EYELIDS were swollen) nausea, headache, all the minor problems that Buddy had that probably were related to the preeclampsia- nothing. Just no sex and no tampons.

Not. Helpful.

So. Pregnant women or women who are thinking about becoming pregnant- STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES. If you’re nauseated, or sick, or HAVE A HEADACHE tell somebody. Or if you’re stupidly discharged with incredibly high blood pressure (for you) MAKE THEM KEEP YOU.

And seriously- swelling. I know labor is hard, but you are not supposed to look like this:

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When you normally look like this:

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AND CALL YOUR DOCTOR.

(Also, no tampons for six weeks.)

(That’s apparently the most important part.)

11 Months

Dear Buddy,

You’re 11 months old today. As in, almost a year. As in, you’ve been here and a part of our family for ALMOST A YEAR. I cannot believe that.

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You, for one, seem to enjoy this whole almost-toddler thing. You aren’t walking quite yet, but you’re, like, thisclose. You can get yourself up on your walkie toy and get all over the house, even turning around, which is relatively new.

You may notice something about the pictures this month. None of them are of the front of your face. BECAUSE YOU DON’T STOP MOVING. And CLIMBING. And OOH WHAT IS OVER THERE THAT I CAN HURT MYSELF ON?

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Today you knocked over your sister’s yogurt bowl (spilling it ALL over the house. Like, under furniture.) Then you upended the table, and started chewing on one of the legs. When I took it away from you (you know, in case you impaled yourself and I’m a good mother like that) you scooted over to the folding chair and climbed up ON it, and tried to stand up. ON A FOLDING CHAIR.

Seriously, Buddy. I know I drank during pregnancy, but only a little. You shouldn’t be that stupid.

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But you’re not stupid, you’re so smart. You’ve figured out so much about the world, and you have so many likes and dislikes. You’re just a boy and those likes all involve MOVING SO FAST AND SO HARD and the dislikes are all safe, soft, quiet things. And peaches. You really hate peaches.

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You love pears and applesauce (as long as it’s not homemade, that made your face break out) and you’re getting better with textures. You love Cheerios, like, so much. And you’re okay with cheese. It’s okay. We’ll work on that. You can drink water from a straw now which, can I just say, PRAISE JESUS. I had to fight so freaking hard to get every single drop of liquid in you that you’ve consumed over the past eleven months and I really thought I’d have to come along on your honeymoon and spoon-feed you soupy oatmeal so you didn’t die of dehydration on your poor new wife.

But now! You can drink on your own! And I can stay home from your honeymoon.

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That’s silly, though. Because I’m not going to let you get married. You’re growing up way too fast, and Grandma Susan is totally right- I miss each and every stage with you, even though I love the new one so much.

I’m not really a baby person. I love you more than life itself, but the whole bottle, diaper, scream, wash, rinse, repeat thing isn’t really my idea of a good time. So I totally thought I’d prove her wrong and be all, “Bye, babyhood! See ya, pregnant suckas! I’ll be over here getting a good night’s sleep!”

But I’m not. I find myself wanting to stop pregnant women and tell them, “No, seriously, it will go so fast. You might not enjoy it. You might think it’s awful. You might wish you were dead.  Your hormones might make you think awful, dark things that you will never, ever speak about, not even to your husband. But when your little boy stops cuddling you during naptime because there are so many, many more things for him to do? You will miss it.”

And no one will ever, ever love you as much as I do. So you’re never getting married. That’s where I was going with that. Anyway.

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Let’s see. What else do you do? Well, today you pooped in the sink during your bath. That was fun for the whole family. Mostly because it required the whole family to clean it up. You love tubby time, though. I’ve put you back in the sink, even though you’re big enough for the bathtub. I can’t get the water deep enough in the bathtub for you to have fun without it being dangerous, but in the sink you can splash and play and have a gay old time for as long as you want.

Which is good, because you’ve also taken to playing with your food and then smearing it in your hair. And my hair. And all over the table. And anything else you can reach. So you get pretty frequent baths.

You have a few tricks all worked out. You do high fives, and can almost clap, and when I say, “How big is Buddy?” you put your hands up. That’s pretty adorable.

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You’re not crazy about a few things. Being held isn’t great for you anymore. If you’re tired, you’ll still cuddle. But I can’t get you to sleep by holding you anymore. Which means I’ve had to start putting you in your crib for naps. You’re doing okay with it, but it’s not great. I think the problem is that you still need a short morning nap, but you refuse to settle down for one. So you’re overtired and cranky by the afternoon and won’t settle down for that one. But as you REFUSE TO SIT STILL, I think we’ll just have to white knuckle this one for the next few weeks until your body catches up with your unbelievably active brain.

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You’re, in short, you, buddy. Just you. Just a little twenty-pound bundle of curious energy that I love more than anything else in the world.

I love you, honey.

Love,

Mommy

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Reasonably Priced Listing: Midwestern Suburb Edition

You guys. I’ve discovered a new show- Million Dollar Listing. It is glorious. It’s hilariously earnest about things that absolutely don’t matter just like the Real Housewives shows, and features a series of fabulous gentlemen brokers with shellacked hair, tans that don’t quit, and wardrobes that definitely cost more than my car.

They have little hissy fits, and make more money than I’ve ever seen on single commissions, and generally exist in a Bravo-created world that in my fairly inexperienced opinion, doesn’t exactly exist in the real world of buying and selling homes.

The open houses are amazing- people are always fabulously dressed, and there are drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and people pretend to be not at all interested and oh, yes, that’s a lovely sky vault you have there, I don’t know, we saw one in Soho we liked…

I’m fairly certain when we sell our house, it will involve something a little bit more like this.

*opens door*

Oh! Hi! Are you here to see the house? Awesome. Yeah, we really need to sell it. Like, fast. I am sick of driving.

Champagne? No, we don’t have any champagne. Uh, I might be able to find some apple juice the kids didn’t drink…wine? Nope. That’s mine. Don’t touch.

Here, let’s go into the dining room. Uh, just ignore the baby in the corner eating coffee grounds out the K-cup he found somewhere.*

As you can see, there are lots of windows that haven’t been cleaned since my mother-in-law stayed here. But, uh, they’re pretty! And it’s an open concept which- Buddy! No! No no! That’s not for you!- uh, I hear that a lot on HGTV. It’s good. Definitely.

Um. Three bedrooms. Perfect for separating children who were SUPER excited to be a big sister when you were pregnant and then once the screaming, wriggly, red thing came home quickly changed their minds- Squeaks! Get Buddy away from there!- anyway, lots of room.

The closet, as you can see, is quite spacious. Big enough to hold a wedding dress you haven’t had cleaned yet because you got pregnant so fast you didn’t have the energy to do so…also all the baby stuff that you demanded your husband re-purchase because pregnancy made you crazy and you had to do everything for yourself even though the kid outgrew everything within, like, minutes, and you didn’t really have any idea what having a baby would be like anyway (Bumbo? Really? I needed a separate one of that. Really?)

Attic? Yeah, there is one. I don’t know, I’ve never been up there- Squeaks! Get off of there! Uh, basement. You can hardly hear the kids from down there. I used to take naps down there when I was pregnant. If you open the vent it’s not dangerous- you can hear screaming, I mean, just not like the normal everyday, “I see imaginary monsters and I’m scared come get me” stuff…uh, room for a lot of exercise equipment we don’t use! And an elliptical that gets ooh, gosh, maybe 20 minutes of use a day four or five days a week. I know. I’m in pretty good shape- BUDDY. NO. THAT’S A NO NO.

Diploma frames? Oh yeah, those are ours. Yeah, I used to be accomplished. Empty? Oh, yeah, I know. Well, see, I have the degree I just need to call and clear up some clerical oversight- BUDDY SERIOUSLY STOP IT- um. Bar! We have a bar! It’s awesome. I love it.

Um. Bathrooms…yeah, I don’t know, they’re nice? Lots of room for you to puke when you have morning sickness or pre-eclampsia? I don’t know if that’s a concern for you…are you married? Does your wife have a history of high blood pressure in her family? Anyway. New plumbing.

Teeth marks? On the door frame? Nope. Uh, don’t see them. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Our son does not chew at woodwork like a rabbit. Absolutely not.

So as you can see, it’s a great house. Are you interested? You know what? Let’s open that  wine now. It’s afternoonish.

Ooh, I almost forgot! The hallway that your kid can crawl up and down for hours! Perfect! It’s like a baby racetrack!

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*Yeah. That happened.

Crazy pregnant bag lady.

I think the nesting thing has started. I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like morning sickness where at 10:10 on Monday. November 12 it was all, BAM WELCOME TO HELL HERE HAVE A BUCKET YOU WON’T ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO THROW UP IN FOR A FEW WEEKS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW SOME REASON.

And I certainly haven’t begun to do anything in his room yet. There’s a crib leaning up against the wall that has yet to be assembled. I think that should happen sometime next week. And I’m still throwing shower gifts and stuff in a box and not actually washing stuff yet. The shower is in about a week, and either we will be getting furniture to put all of his adorable things on or I will be ordering it (prime shipping) that night. So either way, it’s kind of silly to waste a whole lot of time in there until after that because it’s kind of…empty. And God willing we’ll have several weeks to get that straightened out after the shower.

(Although I did think he was coming on Tuesday night. Which was unpleasant. But actually ended up being less labor and more not eating and stress because the sink backed up [of course] and my husband is many things but happy and complacent upon not being able to immediately conquer any and all home emergencies despite not owning the correct tools to do so is not one of them.)

But it’s gotten to a point where I WANT to do those things. I want to set stuff up and get frustrated when I can’t. Because it’s another cruel twist of irony that God makes pregnant women a.) need everything absolutely perfect and fixed RIGHT NOW and b.) unable to lift more than 10 lbs frequently.

And I’ve made Buzz start cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Because there’s a baby coming! And he’ll need places for bottles! And formula! And binkies! And then he’ll get solid foods and God knows Squeaks won’t want to share her dishes so we’ll need to double them and oh good Lord, we need to move.

(Another thing in the back of my head I’m refusing to deal with.)

The kitchen was never really organized after I moved in. I moved all my stuff in before the wedding because I figured the last thing we needed was to spend the first two weeks of our marriage fighting over where my stuff would go and what that meant for our relationship and past relationships and the world as a whole, I don’t know, it was stressful. And we had those fights, just before the wedding. So we came home happy and at peace with each other and got to enjoy the brief weeks before the puking started.

Except in the kitchen. Because while I was crazy and irrational, I wasn’t crazy and irrational and mean and making Buzz eat off of paper plates until we unpacked the wedding china seemed rude. So I kind of piled all our stuff in the cabinets when we got back and didn’t really arrange any of it with any thought as to how to easily retrieve it. Which is why in order to use a mixing bowl you have to extract the salad spinner and any time I use a 9×13 pan I have to slam the door shut with my foot SUPER FAST before the rest of the bakeware falls out.

But no more! Because we have been going through the kitchen a cabinet a night. And let me just say? I didn’t think we were hoarders? At least until I actually looked at how we keep all our stuff.

Like our snack cabinet. That contained two bags of expired goldfish, three bottles of B6 that I purchased while out and nauseated, and a handful of Father’s Day cards that never got given away. (Be surprised this year, gentlemen.) And eight tons of other crap that I don’t even know but once it was gone I have a place to put my generic oreos.

(Yay!)

We also did the broom closet, which held one broom and EIGHT MILLION plastic bags. Because, I don’t know, we were going to use them? If we decided to move using only plastic bags? And also, holy cow do we spend too much time and/or money at Target.

So this morning I got to drag LITERALLY a cart full of plastic bags into Target to recycle. Like a crazy person. A crazy pregnant bag lady.

Tonight is Eva’s cabinet. I’m not sure if there’s anything in there that needs to be disposed of, but if it does, I’ve decided that’s Buzz’s job. I’ve had enough of being stared at.

Mothering

I totally mean to blog like every day. And certainly at the beginning of every week. I mean, I have to-do lists, people. They’re the only way I get anything done. But it seems like it’s Wednesday before I actually get around to it. I guess that’s a good thing though, or else Squeaks will have even more to talk about in therapy one day. 

This weekend was my first official and legal Mother’s Day (well, canon law. Which is really the most important.) I mean, last year I was Squeaks’ mommy and everybody treated me like it was real but Buzz totally still could have bolted. I mean really, he had no idea how I needed to keep the bedroom at a temperature roughly similar to a meat locker in order to be comfortable. Or the tyranny of a preggy pillow. Which apparently I kicked over last night and forced him to cuddle with.

But he didn’t! And so I was still around this year, and knocked up to boot. We had a lovely day- went to church (obviously) and visited everyone and their mother (Ha! See what I did there!) and while there were of course difficult moments, it was nice to spend the day as a family. 

Also, I got super-sweet cards from Buzz and Squeaks, whose handwriting has improved since, oh, Friday. And loot- a nanny cam sort of thing so I can watch the baby at all hours while only appearing slightly crazy, and birthstone rings that hopefully will fit again one day. You know, along with my wedding rings. 

So it was absolutely lovely. 

And now some pictures:

May 8: Shape

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Round is a shape. 

May 9: Snack

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My favorite snack, but I have to eat it during naptime because Eva is the only other person in the world besides me who loves (like, genuinely loves) prunes and as far as she’s concerned little girls don’t drink orange juice except on special occasions. 

May 10: Star

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She was a big help during the whole moving experience. 

May 11: Smile

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May 12: Mother

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I got to be a real mother. And I’m so happy. 

May 13: Sunset

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May 14: Need

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Okay. Maybe not a need in the whole “food, water, shelter” thing. But we finally got a patio set and it needed some flowers. 

Snugabunny

I was bad at planning a wedding. I was bad at caring about colors (I told the bridesmaids to buy a dress they liked), I was bad at caring about flowers (I ordered them two weeks before the wedding and my only request was please God don’t make it look like a funeral no, really, let me explain…), I was bad at caring about details and flipping out about things going correctly (My aunt dropped off a box of decorations at the restaurant that morning, the priest didn’t tell us where to stand during Mass, and the DJ literally got our first dance song wrong). I just didn’t care. As long as we were legally married and no one fainted or ran screaming from the church, I considered the evening a rousing success.

Registering proved to be similarly difficult. It was one of those wedding things I just could not care about. I loved that people cared enough to give us gifts, but I seriously did not want to pick them out. And, well, let’s just say it was a rather fraught few days between Buzz and I. We do not have similar tastes. Or perceived needs. Or…anything really. It’s amazing that we’ve been so happy together.

I figured that registering for baby stuff would be equally as difficult. And I wasn’t thrilled out the prospect of celebrating the impending (eleven weeks holy God) arrival of our bundle of joy with fights and screaming and that one time I yelled pretty awful things at Buzz at Target.

But I was wrong! Registering for a baby is awesome! First of all, it’s really like comparing apples and oranges. We didn’t really register like you register for a wedding when you pick out EVERYTHING. We kind of just listed the kind of car seat we want and what crib, what wrap/carriers, etc. Just in case people wanted ideas or wanted to know what we’d end up buying if they didn’t. Way easier than selecting the hand towels you want to use forever and ever, amen.

Also, my husband loves to research stuff. Like, if Consumer Reports has a category for it, we are not allowed to buy it without careful research. This process bugged me when we were selecting (or rather, ending up NEVER SELECTING) a vacuum cleaner. It sucks up dirt. If it doesn’t work, we’ll get a new one in ten years like everyone else on the planet. This process does not bug me so much when we’re selecting the thing that will be cocooning my infant and Squeaks’ little brother as we hurdle down the highway at 65 mph.

(Also yes, I drive like an old lady.)

Finally, all little boy stuff kind of looks the same. I mean, you get to pick between geometric shapes, owls, or monkeys. That’s nothing compared to the relationship minefield that was silverware for us. (The pointed ends are apparently not useful and therefore should be banned except for the highest of holy days. Or, no, they’re pretty and I like them.) And, you know, I kind of have the trump card here with the pushing your huge familial head out of a rather tiny hole (Have you SEEN 10 cm? Because it’s not huge.), and therefore if I want owls, I get owls.

So, in general, the registering went well. There was lots of cooing and oh how cute! And oh my gosh, can you believe we’re having another one!?

Buzz’s maddeningly practical side was not completely gone, however. We selected the My Little Snugabunny bouncer. Which has little bunny ears above the little cocoon part. And it’s so adorable that if it was physically possible for me to ovulate right now, the My Little Snugabunny would have made me do so.

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See?

My husband was less enamored.

Buzz: “I was going to say that you know there’s no real reason for the bunny ears, right? But I’m sure you know that.”

Me: “No. Really? You mean they don’t serve any evolutionary purpose? You know I have a master’s degree, right? THEY’RE LITTLE BUNNY EARS. THEY’RE SO CUTE.”

Buzz: “Okay. But they’re pointless and add $20 to the price. It’s the most expensive bouncer we found.”

Me: “No one has to buy it for us. If we don’t get it and we have to buy a bouncer, we’ll just get a cheap basic one from Target.”

*pause*

Me: “No, actually, what will happen if we don’t get it is I’ll call my mom and tell her we didn’t get the my little snugabunny and you won’t let me buy it and it’ll be at our house the next day. No, she’ll probably find it in a store somewhere and bring it over before dinner.”

Buzz: “Oh. Of course.”

See? He’s learned so much from last year.

Turns out 2009 me was oddly prescient.

As it happens, I am the worst pregnant woman ever.

Yup. All that anxiety that I thought I was going to have? TIMES A BILLION.

Because in 2009 I was just being snotty. I had no idea the thousands of horrifying outcomes and well, yeah, they say you don’t miscarry in the second trimester but my cousin’s sister’s neighbor totally did. And I’m going to tell you about it. For science. And stuff. Why are you crying?

Now I do. And oh, it is not pleasant to live with me. Last night I informed Buzz that I only had two days left where I could technically miscarry, after that it would a stillbirth. He told me I was crazy and to go sit down and try to be happy.

It’s going to be a long time until July.

(I can have more coffee than I had previously assumed though. That’s a plus.)

(Still no Nyquil. Boo.)