Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What else can go wrong?

Actually, I probably shouldn't ask that, because each time I do, I get an answer I don't like.

Last night B was on a ladder in the garage, pulling something off a top shelf, when he lost his balance and took a bad step off the ladder and landed HARD on his left heel.

Can you tell them I was in a biker bar doing the Pee-wee dance after my tenth shot of tequila and got into a fight with a bunch of busty biker chicks?

No, I can't.

Can you at least tell them Campbell's tricycle was in my way?

OK, part of the reason he stepped badly was that he was trying to avoid Campbell's tricycle, which was next to the ladder.

He spent all night on the sofa in pain before hopping into our room at 5:00 as I was getting up to run. When I got home, he was back on the sofa because his foot hurt too much to sleep.

After I got the girls to school, Campbell and I took B to the ER to have his foot looked at. The verdict? He broke his heel, literally. He's in a walking boot and on crutches for the time being. He's got a referral to see a specialist next week to find out if he'll need surgery.

B has taken as many pain pills as he's allowed for the time being and is still in horrible pain.

Tell them it's 8 out of 10.

He's sitting here on the sofa next to me, with his foot wrapped in an ice pack, watching old Popeye cartoons on Boomerang with Lily.

The only good part of the day, at least as far as he's concerned, is his new iPod. His dad gave it to B for for his birthday, and I synced it with my iTunes set-up for him. B has been watching episodes of 30 Rock all morning. He now understands why I LOVE my iPod so much. On the way home from the ER he begged me to stop at the Apple store (not that it's anywhere near our house) so he could buy gadgets for his iPod. I ignored him and drove straight home.

So send healing thoughts B's direction.

And booze!

A shocking lack of common sense

One of my little volunteer gigs is sending out the PTA's weekly e-mail newsletter for our school. I share the duties with another parent, and this week it's my turn to put everything together.

One of the teachers sent a reminder about bike safety on campus. He added another little note about safety on the end that surprised me because I never imagined parents wouldn't already know this. The note is a reminder that "heelies," those infernal sneakers with wheels built into the heels, aren't allowed at school.

I mean honestly - they are essentially roller skates that you can walk in. What parent would send their child to school in roller skates?

I loathe heelies, and my children will never own any. I can't count the number of times I've nearly been run down in the grocery store or at the mall by a kid wearing heelies. They ought to be banned from all public places.

And when I get older and more crotchety, I'll refuse to let kids ride bikes on my stretch of the sidewalk, too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Control your young!" - Ricky Gervais

I really wanted to shout that line from "Night at the Museum" last night while I was at Target. Apparently Sunday evening is "loud, ill-behaved children" night at Target, because the place was packed with them.

I know my children aren't always perfectly behaved in public, but I do my best to teach them appropriate public behavior. They never run up and down aisles and get in peoples' ways. They don't scream and yell and pull things off the shelves. We've experienced a tantrum or two and some crying as a result of their being tired, but nothing that would cause other parents to look at me in dismay.

I'm also usually really forgiving of other parents and their children at stores. I know that most are in the same boat as I am - trying to get errands done despite the presence of tired, cranky kids. If I see that a mom or dad is trying to get a child to behave, or at least paying attention to the child's behavior, I'm extremely sympathetic. Once, in Toys'R'Us, I gave a mom whose child was having a meltdown over a toy she wouldn't buy him and sympathetic pat on the back and a consoling word. I'd been in that situation the week before over a DVD at Target.

This is NOT what was happening last night at Target. Kids, whole families' worth, were running loose, and the parents either weren't paying attention or were nowhere to be found. Kids were screaming and yelling, chasing each other through the aisles, throwing things off shelves, and just generally being destructive and awful.

I had been looking forward to a trip to Target without children in tow, but I ended up so frazzled by other peoples' kids that I fled the store without buying half the things on my list.

I was just stunned at the whole scene. I've been in stores with one or two kids who were being awful - like the time at Target when two kids, with their father's permission, were running up and down the aisles honking a very loud bike horn repeatedly. They were annoying enough that the store manager had to threaten the father with ejection from the store if he didn't make them stop. The father responded by cursing at the manager and security had to be called to defuse the situation.

But I've never seen a whole store taken over by parents and children who obviously had no clue about appropriate behavior. When I left, I looked for a charter bus or fleets of vans in the parking lot, thinking that maybe, just maybe, they'd all come together. I saw no evidence of it, though.

After Target, I met up with two friends for dinner at a local TexMex place, and I was really wishing I could have a margarita to recover from my shopping excursion. Iced tea just doesn't have the same calming properties as tequila and triple sec.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No lake today

Yesterday B mentioned to the girls that we might go up to the lake today if the weather was nice. We haven't been up since last October, so the girls were thrilled at the thought of a day swimming and boating. Little did they know that if we went, part of the day would be spent putting things to rights - mowing the grass, picking up sticks, cleaning the boat, etc. But fun still would have been had.

Alas, it is not to be. The morning started with a whopper of a thunderstorm and torrential rain. The thunder has let up, but the rain hasn't, and the weather channel is showing huge green and orange blobs heading our way.

Plus, Ella woke up with a fever. I should have known it was coming. Last night she was so tired she just about fell asleep at the dinner table. I put both girls in bed to read at 6:30, and they were asleep by 6:45.

So we'll spend the day being lazy couch potatoes, watching cartoons and movies. I've already announced that we're having house-wide quiet time when Campbell goes down for his nap.

Next weekend is B's birthday, and we'll definitely head to the lake then.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A lizard in the house

This morning I once again added "lizard rescuer" to my list of mom jobs. Ella and Lily came out of their room two days ago shrieking that there was a lizard under their bookcase. I went in to take a look, knowing full well I'd never manage to capture him in the disaster area that is their room. As I expected, the lizard was nowhere to be found.

Yesterday afternoon, while I was dealing with the effects of a migraine that went all the way to 11, Ella came out of her room with the lizard in a cup. She was very proud that she had trapped him, until he climbed out of the cup and up her arm. She shrieked and jumped, and the lizard scampered for cover. I was too dopey from pain and medication to give chase.

This morning, however, the lizard appeared in the kitchen. I stalked/herded him into the kids' bathroom, where I knew he wouldn't have anyplace to hide. I managed to grab him as he tried to scale the tub. I showed the lizard to Campbell, who tried to pet him. I snatched the poor lizard away before Campbell could flatten him with affection.

Then I showed him to Lily, who deemed him "very cute." She I and took the lizard out onto the front porch and set him free in the bushes next to the porch. He seemed very relieved to be back in his natural habitat.

When I told my mom about the lizard, her comment was that it was good I'd grown up in Florida. We had lizards get in the house all the time. There was a whole family of them that lived on our screened-in back porch, and when we opened the sliding doors or kitchen windows, they'd make a break for the house. We'd shoo them back out again without thinking about it. But my aunt, who also lived in Florida, was terrified of them. She was in our kitchen once and saw a lizard on the counter and flipped out. She refused to go back in the kitchen until I got the little guy back outside.

At the school I went to, catching lizards was a popular pass time for the boys. They'd get the lizards to bite their earlobes and wear them as earrings. Most girls were grossed out, but I wasn't. Lizards just don't bother me.

Now frogs, on the other hand . . . especially little green tree frogs that cling to the garage door and drop on your head when you open the door. Those send me over the edge.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I knit these baby booties for the silent auction at our preschool. I didn't see what they went for in the end, but at one point they were up to about $20, which made me feel good. Plus I got lots of compliments from people when they saw them.

I love making them - this is the fourth pair I've knit. It takes me about four hours per bootie, and it's a simple pattern. The cuffs are alternating bands of stockinette and reverse stockinette, and the toe and foot are garter stitch.

I use a self-striping yarn, and I don't make them so the stripes on each bootie match. I think they look better unmatched. I have a pattern for a hat that goes with them, but I didn't have time to knit one before the carnival. I barely finished the booties in time.

My mom made a set for Campbell before he was born, and he can still wear the hat. It's just a matter of whether he WILL wear it.

Soon, I'll start knitting a set for the Alien child.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hello, world

This alien-ish creature is the baby. I had an ultrasound today to make sure I wasn't having twins. Not that I was worried. But I had mentioned to my doctor that my aunt and uncle have twins, and she decided that we'd better check. I think she was looking for an excuse to send me for an ultrasound. Anyway, it's not twins. This picture is of the baby's face, with big eyes and mouth. The baby's left arm is waving at us.

I took Ella with me to the appointment, and she was pretty amazed by it all. She kept asking how the ultrasound worked and how the doctor knew what he was looking at, and I didn't have any answers. Even on my fourth pregnancy, the whole ultrasound thing seems like magic to me.

Here's baby's whole body in profile - head on the left, legs on the right, and umbilical cord sticking up in the middle. The baby is about 2 inches long at this point. When the doctor told us that, Ella's eyes got really big and she held up her fingers, about two inches apart. My mom asked if Ella had been able to tell whether baby is a boy or a girl, and I had to break it to her that it's too early for anyone to know. Mom is just desperate to know, and the fact that B and I aren't going to find out just drives her nuts.
My ambivalence about this pregnancy abated a bit today as a result of the ultrasound. It's hard to remain on the fence about a new baby when you see the little heart fluttering away and the hands waving around.
It's finally hitting that we really are having another baby.

A B in his Bonnet

I don't know what got into B yesterday, but he went on a garage-cleaning tear. I woke up from my nap to find B and the girls and my car gone. They arrived soon after, with a trailer hooked to my car.

B worked in the garage for at least 12 hours, cleaning out shelves and baskets, corraling things into big plastic tubs that I made a Target run to buy, and sweeping and vacuuming everywhere. The floor is so clean that you can . . . well, you can walk across it barefoot without fear.

I should explain that our garage is a miniature one. Our house was built in the late '40s, and for some reason, the builder put in a garage that is about 3/4 the size of a one-car garage. Even if the garage were completely empty, we'd never be able to get a car in, well maybe a Mini-Cooper.

B emptied so much stuff out that the trailer is filled with things for the dump and Goodwill. And there is so much space! I can walk from the back to the front without having to hurdle bikes and strollers and wagons. There's enough space in front of the washer and dryer now that I can stack laundry baskets there and still open the dryer door.

B is so thrilled with his garage that he is out there right now, drinking his coffee, returning e-mails, and making phone calls. It could become his new office.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Turns out the anticipation of the meeting about the writing job was far, far more painful than the actual meeting. I was worried I'd walk in to find a hip, tatooed, pierced grrrll young enough to be . . . young enough to be my much younger sister. Instead, the woman was older than I and incredibly nice and welcoming. In fact, everyone I met was incredibly welcoming.

The end result? The job is mine, and there is as much work as I want to do. I have to ship them my first bit by next Wednesday. Eek.

And after all my dithering over clothes, I wore a pair of khakis and a cool shirt my sister gave me for Christmas. I did buy an outfit yesterday, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep it, so it's still hanging in my closet with the tags on. The skirt is a good transition one; I'm just not sure I actually like it. I have a hard time making my mind up about clothes, which is why I hate shopping for them. If I really need to buy something, I take one of two friends with me. They have better taste than I do, and I trust their judgment over mine any day.

So now to work. Yay me!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All adither

I have a real-live work-related meeting tomorrow morning in which I get to pitch myself as the perfect freelance writer to take on what could be a large writing project. The potential job is through a small, but very well respected, marketing and PR firm here in Austin, which shall remain unnamed. But if you live in Austin, you've seen their work.

I got the referral through my good friend O'Pine, who had been offered the writing job but then decided it wasn't his cup of tea. So he gave the account manager my name as a candidate.

So even though O'Pine has assured me that I'll be fine, I'm still worried. This is really the first time since leaving the "real" work world that I've had to pitch myself for a job. Everything I've done at the textbook company I've worked with for the past five years has sort of just been given to me because I was in their system as a reliable freelancer. I've worked my way up through the trenches there to the big projects I've been given in the past year. This is the first time I'll be going in cold.

Also, it's a big project with technical writing. I'm worried that that part of my brain has stagnated a bit.

And then there's the issue of what to wear. I don't have work clothes. At the textbook company I can get away with khakis or a skirt and a polo shirt. This firm, though, is known as hip and cool, and I don't have hip and cool and work-like clothes. O'Pine has assured me that jeans and a cool shirt will be fine, but I don't know if I can do that.

So I'm considering going shopping, which seems kind of pointless. Within weeks, if not days, I'm not going to fit into any of my clothing.

So I'm all adither. What, dear readers, would you do?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


People keep asking how I'm feeling, and I'm sure they're getting tired of my answer, because it's always the same - awful. I do my best to smile when I say it, in the hopes that if I look cheerful, I'll feel better. But it's not working.

Last week was a bit better. I didn't feel queasy in the mornings, but I could set my watch by the arrival of the 4:30 nausea express every afternoon. I was hopeful that the fact that I wasn't sick in the mornings was a sign that the nausea was easing up, but no such luck. This week I'm back to all-day queasiness.


Friends and strangers alike have been offering me all sorts of advice on ways to quell the nausea, but believe me, I've tried them all. The funniest was a male friend offering tips on how to deal with the queasiness. His wife saw the look in my eyes and dragged him away. It's a good thing she did, because as much as I like the man, I was about to lose it. What does a man know about morning sickness?

I also get frustrated talking to some of my running friends, none of whom have ever dealt with the level of nausea that I have. Some have the attitude that I should just eat some crackers and get over it all ready. If only it were that easy.

When I was pregnant with Lily and Campbell, my nausea ended somewhere between 14 and 15 weeks, and it stopped over night. I'm hoping the same thing happens this time - that a switch will flip and I'll feel better. But since I'm only 11 weeks along, that means I still have 3 to 4 weeks left of misery.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notes from Ella

Ella, even before she could write, would send me notes whenever she had been confined to her room for various transgressions. Some have been pretty funny; others pretty pitiful. Once she drew a picture of me with fangs and wrote, "Big Mama! Bad Mama!" on it. Another time she just drew a picture of me with a circle around it and a line through it.

She does sometimes leave me nice notes, like the time I found a thank you note tucked under my pillow.

This Saturday's note was on the pitiful end of things. Two of her buddies were outside playing, and Ella wanted to join them. However, I was walking up to the store, and B was in the shower, so there wasn't anyone to be outside to supervise her. I told Ella that when I got back she could go outside. Unfortunately, by the time I got home, her friends weren't outside playing anymore. Ella launched into one of her famous screaming fits. So she was sent to her room, while Lily, who was being extra good of course, was allowed to play on the computer.

When I went in to Ella's room to talk to her about her behavior, she was in the process of writing the following note on a stack of kleenex with a hot pink marker. I ignored the note while I was talking to her, so Ella taped it to her bedroom door.

Here's the note:

I want to have fun too! Lily gets to play on the computer I want to too. You don't like ME! You don't let me have FUN! You don't care about my feelings. You like little ones more.

I can only guess that by little ones, she means Lily and Campbell.

And as for not letting her have fun . . . let's just say she had a lot of fun over the weekend. She went to a picnic at the park with her grandmother, had a sleepover at a friend's house and went on a bike ride with B.

Nope, no fun at all around here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

If you give a boy a bat

. . . he will whack something with it.

I found out on Easter that hitting things with bats is programmed into boy DNA. Despite the brisk weather, we had a picnic at the park with B's family (the ONLY reason we did this was because his brother and sister-in-law, whom we don't see enough of, were in town), and the kids' aunt and uncle brought a scary bunny pinata.

We brought a bat for the pinata, and as soon as Campbell got his little hands on the bat, he was looking for things to whack. He bee-lined for the pinata and started swinging, yelling, "Go! Go!" every time he did. It was both funny and frightening. I forsee lots of bat swinging and broken windows and injured sisters in his future.

It took both girls to pry the bat away from Campbell when it was their turn to hit the pinata. After it finally broke, we left it hanging in the tree for Campbell to continue swinging at.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


This is Campbell's Pigeon. My sister gave it to him for Christmas. For those of you who don't have small children, Pigeon is the star of several books by Mo Willems. Our favorite is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Despite having lots of stuffed animals, Campbell hadn't really taken on one as a favorite until Pigeon arrived. Now he can't go to sleep without Pigeon tucked under his arm. When I get him up in the morning or after nap, Campbell is always standing at the side of his crib, Pigeon clutched in his hand.

When you squeeze Pigeon's belly, he shouts, "Let me drive the bus!" It's a line from the book. There have been many times when I've heard Pigeon yelling in the middle of the night over the baby monitor because Campbell has rolled over on him in his sleep. Other times, I hear Pigeon yelling, followed by Campbell cackling. He cracks himself up by making Pigeon talk.

I'm glad all of my kids have found their own security objects. Ella has her Pooh Bear, who has been her companion since she was a baby. He still has a hospital bracelet around his neck from when Ella had surgery on her leg three years ago. Lily has her lovies, which are cloth diapers with patches of fabric sewn on them. We're down to two of them after having lost three others. I had to institute a rule that lovies are only allowed in bed because I got tired of the nightly house-wide search for them so that Lily would go to sleep.

I wonder what New Baby will get attached to.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


In addition to e-mails and comments full of support in the wake of my announcement last week, I've received a lot of questions. Here are some of them.

Is this baby going to be the caboose?
Actually, Campbell was supposed to be the caboose. While we had at times discussed a fourth, we weren't serious about it for a number of reasons. First, our house. We live in a 1600 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath house that's already crowded. We really don't want to move, and we're not in the financial position to put on addition. So this baby is going to make things more crowded. Second, our health insurance. Because we're self-insured, our policy doesn't cover pregnancy and delivery. We're looking at a tab of about $12,000 to $15,000 for this baby. There go any plans we had to re-do the kitchen or put hardwood floors in the back of the house.

So yes, this baby will be the caboose. I've already opted to have my tubes tied during delivery.

Don't you know where babies come from?
No, even after four pregnancies, it's still a mystery to us. Enlighten me, please.

When are you due?
My due date is November 10, but given that I have to have a c-section thanks to Campbell, we'll be setting my delivery date at about 20 weeks.

Are you going to find out?
Nope. We haven't found out with any of the other kids, and neither of us see a reason to start now. It's already alien to me that we'll know so far in advance the date and time of the baby's birth.

Do you have a preference?
Not really. Although it would be nice for Campbell to have a little brother to be his partner in crime. The girls are so close that I'd like Campbell to have the same experience. But really, I'm fine either way.

Have you picked names yet?
No, we're stumped on names. I'm still lobbying for Tallulah, but I don't think I'm going to get my wish, even as a middle name. We both kind of feel like we've run through all the good family names, and my sister has given me a list of family middle names that I'm not allowed to use. She says it's not fair that I get the good names like Ella and Campbell just because I had babies first. So in the interest of fairness I'm taking Robertson and Evelyn and O'Keeffe off our list.

How have people reacted?
The reactions have been pretty entertaining. The folks I've told in person haven't been able to hide their shock. One neighbor burst out laughing. I told another friend when we were running, and she came to such an abrupt stop that I thought she was going to fall over. Another close friend dropped everything she was holding and gave me the biggest hug.

My mother had one of her classic reactions. She said, "You're having another baby? But you'll have to have another c-section. That's major surgery you know." Um, no, I hadn't noticed that last time. I just loved that she went straight to the dangers of surgery instead of excitement about another grandbaby.

I had a Danskin Triathlon committee meeting last night - this will be the fourth time I'll have worked the race while pregnant - and everyone there has worked on the race as long as I have. When word filtered down the table that I was pregnant, they all had the same reaction - a shocked expresion followed by the same question, "Pregnant? Again?"

Once everyone has gotten over the initial shock, they have been universally supportive and encouraging. The responses have reminded me how fortunate we are in our family and friends.

Do you have any of your maternity clothes and baby gear left?
Nope. I have one maternity tank top and one maternity bathing suit left from last time, and that's it. I gave away our infant car seat about six months ago. But a friend has a crib we'll be able to use, and I still have our cradle - I was saving it for grandbabies to use. I've also given away all of my gender-neutral newborn clothing. I'll essentially be provisioning as though this is my first baby. But at least I'll get the fun of buying tiny baby clothes again.

Feeling better?
The mornings are better, nausea-wise, and I've been able to get out and run several mornings a week, even if I have slowed to a snail's pace. The afternoons, however, are still really hard. The nausea kicks in at about 4:30, and snacks of ginger ale and saltines don't do anything to help. I'm also still tired all the time.

How about the varicose veins you had with Campbell?
They're getting bigger by the day. I'm going to have to start wearing my lovely support knee-highs soon - just in time for the heat of the summer.

So there you are - everything you could possibly want to know and then some.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Lily and B before her beloved "ballelet" class. B hates to have his picture taken; Lily loves it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I was tagged by Damsel, and now I have to list six unimportant things about me. Hmmm. There are so many things that are unimportant - how to choose?

1. Milk is my favorite beverage. I guess that's a good thing considering how much of my life I spend pregnant or nursing.
2. I have a scar that runs through my right eyebrow. I got it when I was a child. I had tied a jump rope to a swing on my swing set and then brilliantly pulled the swing into my own face.
3. I'd leave my husband in a heartbeat if Lyle Lovett asked me to. My husband knows and accepts this.
4. I don't get Bob Dylan.
5. I have an IQ that is in the genius range. But when I took an IQ test for fun 6 months after Ella was born, I scored a 65 - proof that being a mother makes you stupid.
6. I have the bad habit of abesent-mindedly twitching my left foot. When I do this my ankle makes a clunking noise that I don't even notice. The noise, however, drives B insane.

There - six things. I'm not going to tag anyone. But if you feel like making your own list, drop a line in the comments and let me know.



That's the number of children who were taken from the YFZ compound here in Texas this week. I am absolutely stunned that so many children were hidden there, away from public view. The scariest thing is that these children know no other way of life. The girls are brought up to believe that their purpose in life is to be married young and bear as many children as possible. The boys are brought up to believe it is their right to have as many wives as they like - provided they aren't exiled from the community because there are too many young men.

What's even scarier is how many children might be in the Colorado City community, which is much, much larger than the Eldorado compound. There might be thousands there, hidden from view and "protected" by the local authorities, who are all FLDS members.

I know that "regular" Mormons are ordinary people who happen to believe in odd things. By all accounts, most are fine, upstanding members of their communities. But the fundamentalists are something else all together. If you haven't, you should read Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven." It contains an excellent history of Mormonism and of the fundamentalist cults that sprang up.

I don't consider FLDS to be a religion - it's a cult, pure and simple. Any group that hides its members away from sight and indoctrinates them to believe that young girls should have sex and bear children with men decades older than they is a cult.

My hope is that the Texas authorities can find good foster home for these kids and help them transition to the real world. Otherwise, in a few years, they'll be raiding the compound and removing even more children.

And as for the girl who called in the report of abuse - she's got to be the bravest girl. I hope she's safe with the other kids and hasn't been whisked away as a result of her call for help.

I'm not a praying person, but I am praying for these children.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Two tired girls

The girls spent Friday night and all day Saturday with their grandmother and returned home for a late bedtime. True to form, they were up at the crack of dawn Sunday.

Lily fell apart first, bursting into tears at the slightest thing - Campbell touched her teddy bear, the tent they built fell down, Ella wouldn't play with her, her apple had a bruise. After two hours of dealing with her tears, I sent her to her room for rest time. "But I'm not tired!" she wailed as I tucked her in. She popped out a few times to announce that she had stopped crying, but, mean mom that I am, I put her back in bed. After an hour of protesting, Lily finally fell asleep; she took a 3 1/2 hour nap. So much for her not being tired.

Ella held everything together until just before bedtime. As we were gearing up for toothbrushing and stories, Ella announced that she was hungry. B told her that it was too late for snack, which sent Ella over the edge. She started screaming about how she was starving, so she got sent to bed. B and I both went in to calm her down, to no avail. She finally cried herself to sleep, which just broke my heart. When she woke up this morning, her eyes were all puffy from crying. I wanted to cry from looking at her.

She just needs to learn that screaming and yelling and slamming doors is not the way to go about getting what she wants. B and I tried to explain it to her last night, but she was too worked up to listen to us. As a result of her fit, she has to go straight to her room after school today. I hate to do that to her, because I know her tantrum was a result of her being overtired, but still . . .

Poor tired girls.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sitting in a tree . . .

I furthered my reputation for motherly omniscience on Friday. We went up to the neighborhood grocery store with our friends the Ks and bought popsicles, which we sat outside and ate. While the kids were running around, mama-K told me that her daughter told her that Ella had kissed a boy after school and they were planning a November wedding. I just cringed.

I don't want either of my daughters to be a boy-crazy girl. Plus, I think seven is too young to be kissing.

While we were eating dinner, I casually said to Ella, "I hear that you and N kissed at the park today after school." The look on her face was classic. She was clearly thinking, "How did she know that??" But she shook her head no. I asked, "You didn't kiss N?" Another head shake. "N didn't kiss you?" Another shake, with a mortified look. I said, "It's ok if you did. I was just curious. I also heard you were having a wedding in November." Her eyes got even bigger at that comment.

I dropped the subject for a few minutes. Then I said, "You know. I think seven is too young to be kissing boys. Holding hands is OK. Hugging a friend is OK, but no kissing. I think you need to be 27 before you can kiss boys." Ella's only protest was, "But that's seven years after I'm a teenager." I shuddered a bit at the thought of Ella's being a teenager.

Later, while she and Lily were getting ready for their shower, I told Ella that if a boy ever wanted to kiss her and she didn't want him to, she was always allowed to say, "My mom says I'm not allowed to." I told her she could blame it all on me. I think she really liked the idea of blaming something on me, based on the slightly wicked grin on her face.

I'm glad I've opened the discussion of boys and kissing now. Perhaps if we are able to keep it up, it will be easier to broach the whole dating and sex thing when she's a bit older. The way things are going, it seems like that time will be sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A good run

I wanted to get up and run with the group at 5:30 this morning, but last night's migraine ruined those plans. So this morning I put on running clothes in the hopes that doing so would inspire me to run after I got everyone off to school. And it worked.

After the thunderstorms stopped, I left Campbell home with B and headed out the door to run my little 3-mile loop in the neighborhood. I'm so glad I got out there. The weather was perfect for running - the storms had brought the temperatures down a good 15 degrees (I had to send a jacket to school for Ella with a neighbor because wore a sundress today) and dropped the humidity. Everything smelled so fresh and clean - all the spring trees and flowers are in bloom. Plus, after warming up, I actually felt good while I was running, and I was able to finish strong.

I ended feeling so good, so pleased with myself for actually getting out there to run.

Unfortunately, the good feelings didn't last long. By the time I got in the shower, the waves of all-day sickness had hit. B said he could see me actually turn green in front of him. So much for my theory that getting out an exercising makes my nausea better.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Blown away

I am absolutely blown away by the comments and e-mails I've received in response to my post on Tuesday. I was very nervous about putting my real feelings about this surprise baby out there for the world to see. Knowing how the blogosphere can be sometimes, I was preparing myself for some flames, for people to tell me I was a horrible person for not being overjoyed about an unexpected pregnancy.

Instead I received nothing but support, love and kindness. It was a relief to know that I'm not the only mother to feel this way and that is is OK to not be excited right away.

I'm still adjusting to the turn my life is taking, but being able to let go of some of the guilt I've been carrying for four weeks about how I feel has made a world of difference to me.

So thank you to everyone who commented and e-mailed. You helped me more than you can know.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This is not an April Fool's joke

So about four weeks ago all my plans for the coming year got thrown out the window. My goal of running the New York City Marathon? Gone. My anticipation of having Ella and Lily at school all day and Campbell at preschool two mornings a week? Gone. My plans for taking on more freelance work? Gone.


Because I'm pregnant with baby number four. To say that this was a surprise would be an understatement. I'm still having trouble saying "pregnant" out loud - it's like if I say it, it will actually be true.

The pregnancy test turned positive immediately - no need to wait three minutes for the results. I left it on the counter in the bathroom and went back several times during the day to check to see if it had suddenly turned negative - because they do that you know. Or not.

B was in meetings all day, so I couldn't get in touch with him to share the news. I had the whole day to sit and stew and cry. I finally was able to tell him late that afternoon, after our meeting to refinance our lake place. His reaction? "Holy f*ck, Wally!" Then he asked if I was sure he was the father. I kicked him in the shins. But since then he's been a rock. Every time I melt down in despair about having a fourth child when I can barely cope with three, he's there with reassurances that everything will be OK and we'll figure it all out together.

As much as I have joked in the past about wanting to have more babies, I didn't really mean it. I'm fine with three kids. Before we had Campbell, I insisted that someone was missing from our family. Once Campbell arrived, I felt like we were complete. There isn't anyone missing.

And all of these feelings of stress and anxiety make me feel even worse than the constant morning sickness. I mean, how can I not be excited about a new baby? I love babies. Babies are wonderful!

But I was so close to having that part of my life over with, and I was looking forward to it. I was going to have two whole mornings a week without children in the house. I was going to be able to get my hair cut or go to the dentist or go to work meetings without having to hire a sitter. I was going to be able to volunteer more at the girls' school without having to hire a sitter. I was counting down to the end of having diapers and sippy cups in the house.

Now I get to start all over.

All of those mixed emotions were compounded by the fact that I found out about the baby the same week my grandmother died. I fell apart one day when I realized I didn't get the chance to tell her that she was going to have a fourth great-grandbaby. My dear friend H consoled me by saying that my grandmother's spirit was whispering all sorts of secrets to the baby already. That just made me cry more.

We told the girls earlier this week. They did cartwheels around the kitchen while screeching with excitement. Ella kisses my belly several times a day and keeps asking when the baby will be big enough to hear her read stories to it. I'm trying to share their excitement, but it's hard.

I know that once they put that tiny, pink, screaming bundle in my arms I'll be just fine. I'll rejoice in the miracle that is a new baby.

I may not be able to rejoice until then, however. At least not until I stop feeling queasy and tired 24 hours a day.