Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Also, I've been busy reading away thanks to some pregnancy-induced insomnia. I've updated my reading blog with a bunch of new entries.
My mom, knittergran, just installed a hit counter on her blog and would love to see that more than just four family members stopped by. If you have a moment, check out her stuff and say hi.
Finally, my sister, who lives in Los Angeles, survived her first real earthquake yesterday. Check out her account of it.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
These days, I receive about 30 individual hits a day on my blog, about half of them are friends and relations who lurk. About 25 percent leave comments, and the rest seem to wind up on my blog by Googling lice, migraines, and running.
Today when I checked my stat counter, my jaw dropped. I've had more than 60 individual hits and almost 100 page loads. This is an all-time record for me. So I checked my keyword report - at least 30 of the hits were from people searching for Grammar Gal. My initial post about her comes up second on the Google report, just below GG's official Web site.
One visitor even left a comment noting a misspelling in my post. As I said in response, I never claimed I could spell.
So this all makes me wonder - Why in the past two days have there been so many searches for Grammar Gal's site? Was she in the news? On Oprah?
All I know is that I had more than double my usual number of readers today. If any of you came here from Google and are visiting again - Welcome! Stay for a while. Browse through a few posts. Kick back and enjoy yourself.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Because my car can't fit four kids, H left her minivan with me and took my car. This was the first time I've driven a minivan since my mother-in-law had hers. Which, now that I think about it, may be part of the reason I dislike them so much.
Anyway, after driving H's minivan, I can see why people like them so much. It certainly was very easy to load four kids in and out. And it handled well enough. But I still couldn't get past the fact that it's a minivan. B and I have been researching cars that seat at least 6, and I'm slowly coming to accept the fact that I'll probably end up with a minivan sometime before Baby Bee is born. I just won't like driving it. I told B that I'd get a bumper sticker made up that says "I loathe my minivan!" He said that if I did that, the car would never behave for me.
I also got to test out transporting four children this morning. Granted, I had a 5-year-old, a 3 1/2-year-old, and two toddlers, not a baby, a toddler and two older kids. But still, I did ok. I got everyone in the car and buckled without a problem and the two older kids dropped off at preschool without losing the little kids in the process. I felt quite victorious by the time I got home.
I still have four kids, but the toddlers are entertaining each other, and the big girls are in the back yard doing something that I probably don't want to know about.
Maybe I'll survive having four of my own.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Later that day, during dinner, Ella told us she wanted to invent a machine that would make little brothers and sisters disappear for a while. Lily protested until Ella promised her that the machine would send her someplace fun - with fairies and unicorns. B and I asked Ella if little brothers and sisters could use the machine on their older sisters, and Ella said no: The invention was only for oldest children.
Last night Ella got her wish to be an only child. B's dad, in an effort to help us out since B was still feeling the effects of his root canal, offered to take all three kids to his house for a sleepover. Lily was thrilled, but Ella said she didn't want to go. We finally wormed it out of her that the last time she had spent the night there, she and granddaddy had had a bit of a struggle over something she was doing and she lost. We reminded her that she has to follow granddaddy's rules the same as she does ours, but we let her stay home with us.
I did my best to make it a fun evening for her. She and I went to pick up dinner, which included a root beer float for her and a milkshake for B. Then we watched a marathon of "Mythbusters" on Discovery Channel.
Our neighbors were having a big shindig last night, and I went over for a while, leaving Ella in charge of B, who was under the influence of painkillers. At one point, while sitting in the neighbors' back yard talking to other guests, I heard giggling. I turned around to see Ella spying on us from our back porch.
We let her stay up extra late - when I got home from the party at 10:00, she was out on the back porch reading with B. I even let her curl up in bed with me to go to sleep. B moved her into her room when he came to bed.
This morning I took her to Michael's to buy her own set of circular knitting needles and some wool with which to knit a hat for the baby. She's been begging me to teach her to knit in the round, and I figured this would be a good project. Then we went to the bookstore and a few other places before picking up her friend for playtime.
I think the one-on-one time did both of us some good. Ella is a really neat kid, and I don't get to spend nearly enough time alone with her. I need to remember to make opportunities for us to do things like go to the bookstore together. She needs the chance to be the only child once in a while, even if it's just for an hour or two.
Friday, July 25, 2008
In response, I said, "I do have tons of work, but I have learned from experience that it is pointless for me to work while two kids are running around. Every time I get involved in something, all hell breaks loose. I get frustrated because they've interrupted me. They get frustrated because I'm frustrated. It's a bad situation all around. Plus, the work I'm doing now is actual writing, which takes concentration."
As if on cue, something in the bedroom went wrong, and Campbell and Lily both started screaming at the same time. I had to put down my book and go see what the problem was. Then I had to change Campbell's dirty diaper and then make lunch because both kids announced they were hungry.
When I came back in the living room, B said, "I see what you mean."
Speaking of B, the poor man just cannot catch a break. First, he was diagnosed with arthritis in his neck, then he fell and broke his heel. The three procedures he had this winter to ease his neck pain are beginning to wear off, and his heel still isn't healed. He spends most of his days in chronic pain. The next step for his neck probably involves major surgery, and he had another scan on his foot last week in preparation for an appointment next week to see why it isn't better.
Then yesterday he woke up with a tooth that was absolutely throbbing. Several months ago, he saw an endodontist who told him he had a cracked tooth that he would need to have the tooth yanked and an implant put in. The pain subsided, so B never did anything about it. When his tooth flared yesterday, he assumed it was the cracked tooth acting up. Our dentist was out of town for a family emergency, and by the time she called him back it was too late in the day for B to see anyone else. He medicated with vicodin and industrial strength topical stuff to get through the night.
Our dentist arranged for him to see someone this morning. Turns out B never had a cracked tooth, and the problem was in a different tooth all together. So he ended up having an emergency root canal. He's home now, still numb, with a swollen face. The poor guy. I've had four root canals, so I know how miserable they can be.
He's finishing up some work and then going to bed with new painkillers.
So send healing thoughts his way.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Then last week my head started itching. I ignored it for a day in complete denial. Then I did a Cetaphil treatment and found lice in my hair. If you think finding live bugs in your child's hair will give you the heebie-jeebies, just wait until you find them in your own hair. I nearly gagged.
After I finished with my hair, I tackled the girls and did a treatment on theirs. I found more lice their hair. So I started the laundry cycle yet again.
When I was at the doctor's yesterday, I asked whether their were any of the chemical treatments I could use even though I'm pregnant, because the Cetaphil doesn't seem to be working. The nurse practitioner gave me the go-ahead to use Nix, so last night I treated my hair and the girls' hair with Nix in the hopes that one last chemical bath would end this once and for all.
I found a few slow-moving bugs last night, but when I combed out the girls' hair this morning, I didn't even find any eggs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the end.
I'm still stumped on where this most recent infestation came from. The hatch cycle is only a week, so if we were going to get re-infested from the first batch, it should have happened weeks ago. All I can think is that we picked up this new set of bugs from Lily's preschool. There are plenty of opportunities for spreading bugs in her classroom. I sent an e-mail to the class parents and to the school director warning everyone to be on the lookout.
In response I got some teasing and a lot of hints on different lice treatments, including using pine tar shampoo, which I found at Central Market but opted not to buy because it smells AWFUL, and smearing vegetable oil in the hair. I think I'll do that one as a last resort - the idea of washing vegetable oil out of hair just exhausts me.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue washing sheets and towels and inspecting the girls; I'm beginning to feel a bit like a monkey.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Even though her death was not unexpected, it hit me much, much harder than I anticipated. There are still days when my grief is especially strong.
My birthday was one of those days.
My grandmother was never one for talking on the phone; all calls with her ended right around the 3-minute mark. You could be mid-sentence, and she'd say, "It was dear of you to call. Love you. Bye." And that was it. My family and I had a sort of unofficial contest to see who could keep her on the phone the longest. I hold the record of 4 minutes and 20 seconds. After one particularly brief conversation, I asked my parents if I should stop calling Nona. They assured me that she enjoyed the calls and mentioned to them how nice it was to hear from me.
Nona never called family members - we were always the ones to call her. The exception was birthdays. For as long as I can remember, she always, always called on my birthday and talked to me for exactly three minutes.
As I was getting dressed on Wednesday morning, it hit me out of the blue that this was the first time that I wouldn't be getting my birthday call from Nona. I sat down in the closet and had a good cry.
It's funny how when you lose someone you love, it's the little things you miss the most - like the annual phone call.
Friday, July 18, 2008
My mom brought me this beautiful stuff to make a hat or two for Baby Bee. It's from a South African company called Be Sweet, and it's just the softest, fluffiest wool you can imagine. This skein is called a Magic Ball and the colorway is Nemo's World. I have a pattern ready to use to make the baby hat.
While she was here, mom and I also visited a relatively new yarn shop called Gauge that's dangerously close to my house. I spotted this Lorna's Laces wool and just had to have it. I'm planning to make myself a pair of socks (anyone know of any good toe-up patterns?) with it. I'm curious to see how it will stripe up.
But before I start the baby hat or the new socks for me, I have to knit Ella some stripey socks like I knit for Lily. I had three different colorways of SuperSocke wool, and I let Ella pick what she wanted. She's opted for what I call "Dobby" socks, with the pair made from two different colorways. I've already cast on the first sock, and she is just thrilled.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
When I dropped H's son off after pre-school, she handed me a big bag and wished me a happy birthday. Inside I found a "Dinner for Two" from Central Market, a big slice of coconut cake from a local bakery, a trashy magazine, and a bottle of prenatal vitamins (she found them in the back of her cupboard, still unopened).
I fed the kids their dinner while B heated up the fancy meal for us, and the girls decided they wanted to play restaurant for us. They closed the kitchen blinds and turned on the chandelier and set the table. Then they escorted us to the table and served us our meals. After they served us, they stood by the table and stared, giggling wildly. Campbell was sitting at the table laughing, too, thrilled as punch to be sitting in a big chair. We explained to the girls that at nice restaurants, the wait staff disappears until they are needed, they don't stand by the table and stare.
The girls vanished for a few minutes before returning with their CD player to provide us with music. When we declined, Ella protested, "But it's the 'Nutcracker!'" For her, the "Nutcracker" is the end-all, be-all of classical music. We compromised by letting them turn the music on in the living room.
After we finished, the girls cleared the table and lobbied for a special dessert since it was my birthday, so B made himself and the girls root beer floats, and I had my coconut cake.
Since the girls were in such a helpful mood, we decided to see how we much we could take advantage of them. Amazingly, they worked together to empty the dishwasher and put away all the clean dishes and then load all the dirty ones in without a single disagreement. They thought it was great fun, but I doubt they'll still feel that way once it becomes one of their regular chores.
It really was such a nice end to a gloomy day. I'm lucky to have such good friends and such a wonderful family.
Happy Love Thursday.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I'm feeling particularly Eeyore-like today, which is not good. Usually, my birthday is my favorite day of the year. I announce to strangers at restaurants that it's my birthday. I throw myself birthday parties and make my own birthday cakes.
Not this year.
We had an early celebration on Monday since my mother was here. She and the girls made me cupcakes, and the girls only licked their knives a few times while frosting them. B scrounged a bedraggled candle out of the junk drawer, and everyone sang to me. That was quite enough of a celebration. The girls also presented me with a huge card that they made, with lots of funny notes and pictures and several very large 38s.
The problem with not being in a birthday mood when you have kids is that they think birthdays are the BEST.THING.EVER. The girls woke me up at the crack of dawn this morning to remind me that it was my birthday, and they've been begging to have another party, complete with cake, ice cream and all of their friends, all day.
I briefly thought about humoring them, but then I considered the cleaning that would need to be done before and after and the cake that I'd have to either make or go to the store to buy, and it all just exhausted me. So I've told them that we're having a quiet day, just us. And I told them that the best gift they could give me was to clean up their room without fighting. They groaned at that idea, but they're in there being quiet, so I'll take that as their gift to me.
Perhaps in a week or so I'll wake up in a birthday mood and declare a do-over; it's happened in the past. Or perhaps I'll just ignore this year's birthday all together.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
But I'm also within inches of finishing my sherbet socks, and my mom gave me these needles for my birthday. I've already knitted the sock onto the new needles, and I love them. They're so pretty and smooth; each time I sit down to knit a row or two, I end up knitting 20.
Then I start thinking about the stack of books, and I'm torn. What am I to do with my few minutes of free time each day - knit or read?
Monday, July 14, 2008
Lily also has this funny way of talking that we call her "mafiosa voice." I don't think she's aware that she's doing it, but once in a while she'll say something in this low, gravely, vodka-and-cigarettes voice that just cracks us up.
The girls and I picked my mom, knittergran, up at the airport on Saturday and then we all headed to a birthday party for one of the girls' friends. Along the way, Lily socked Ella.
I told Lily that when we got to the party, she had to spend three minutes in time-out instead of joining in the fun right away. At that point, my mother suggested that maybe every time Lily hit Ella, Ella would get to hit her back. Ella giggled a bit at the thought.
Then Lily said, in her best mafiosa voice, "That sounds fair to me."
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday afternoon Campbell was out of sorts with the world and only wanted to be in my lap, which is growing smaller by the day. As I was holding his hands and playing our silly clapping game, I noticed that his hands felt warm. I took his temperature - 103.3. Eeek. I felt like the worst mother for not noticing earlier that he was feverish.
I gave him tylenol and a cup of watered-down Gatorade, which he downed in about three gulps. Once the tylenol kicked in, he was back to his usual self, jumping on the sofa and crashing his trike into the furniture on purpose. Four hours later, though, he cratered again when his fever went back up.
He woke up twice in the night fussing, and each time his fever had spiked again. Every time I took Campbell's temperature, he fussed at my touching his ears to use the thermometer. Usually, he loves having his temperature taken - if he finds the earscan thermometer lying around, he'll bring it to me so that I can pretend to check his ears. Because of this, I assumed that he was starting an ear infection.
I called the doctor's office first thing yesterday morning and they told me to come in at 11:00. The receptionist, who has worked there for as long as we've been patients there, was out on vacation, and boy did her absence show. Forty-five minutes after we arrived, we finally saw the doctor.
Campbell's ears are just fine, but I felt like a terrible mom again when the doc asked me how long Campbell had had the rash on his back. I had noticed the red bumps but had assumed they were heat rash rather than a sign of something more serious. Oy.
The doc did a strep test because Campbell's throat was slightly red, but that came back negative. I was a bit disappointed at that news. The girls* have both had strep, and I know from experience that 24 hours after starting antibiotics, they have both been on the mend.
But no, Campbell has a nonspecific virus that just has to run its course. The poor little guy is just so miserable. He's been asleep for two hours, and I hope he stays asleep a while longer. It can only help.
Last night his fever spiked to 104 at midnight. I sat with him in my lap and a cool cloth on his head while I waited for the tylenol to do its job. Fortunately, he woke up this morning relatively fever-free. But he still had to miss going to the airport to pick up my mother, who is visiting for the weekend, and a birthday party for one of his big-boy heroes.
I'm hoping we've turned the corner at this point and that no one else gets it. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
*A funny story about Ella's strep - 24 hours after she was diagnosed and began taking antibiotics, she broke out in a rash of tiny, red bumps. I looked it up in Dr. Spock, and discovered that the rash matched the description of scarlet fever. I called the on-call doctor in a panic. She explained that some forms of strep also cause the scarletina rash, or scarlet fever. I started crying into the phone, "But Beth in Little Women DIED of scarlet fever. And Mary in the Little House on the Prairie books went BLIND from it." The doctor, who was obviously trying not to laugh out loud, said, "Mrs. Gardner, that was in the days before antibiotics. I promise Ella isn't going to die or go blind." And she was right, so far Ella hasn't.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Ella had a playdate recently, though, that didn't go well. We've had this particular friend, Q, over many times, and Ella has gone to her house many times, all without problems. This time, however, no such luck.
I think the the complicating factor with this most recent visit was that Lily was in the house and wanted to play with the big girls. Q is a very sweet girl and very tolerant of Lily's wanting to tag along. So when Lily suggested that they all play "fairy princess mermaid dress-up," Q joined right in. The problem is that Ella has never been a fan of playing dress-up (unless she's dressing as Hermione Granger), and she HATES mermaids - only because Lily loves them.
So Ella got upset that HER friend was playing what Lily wanted to play. She ended up hiding in the bathroom and pouting until I lured her out. I redirected playtime to a board game, but Q and Lily got bored with that once the accompanying snack of brownies and milk was gone. They went back to playing dress-up, and Ella went back to pouting.
I tried to stay out of it, wanting to let them all work it out themselves, but when Ella looked at Q and said, "I want her to go home now," I decided I needed to step in.
I got them cooperating on a very large art project - making a "life-sized" Sorry board so they could play the game on a grand scale. But then Lily got upset that Ella and Q weren't including her in the project because math was involved. I tried to distract Lily with the new American Girl Doll catalog, but it didn't have many options for Bitty Babies, so she got bored quickly.
I decided it was time for further intervention.
Fortunately, popsicles in the front yard was popular with everyone. Then the little boy from across the street and the kids from next door joined us, and there were enough friends to go around. We managed to spend the remaining hour before I had to return Q home without any pouting or tears.
The next time I invite Q over, I'll make sure Lily isn't home. I don't think I can take another afternoon like that.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Since I announced this surprise pregnancy, back on April Fools Day, I've been open about how this pregnancy was not planned, about how we were fine with three kids, and about how we've been adjusting to the change in direction that our lives are taking. I've also talked a bit about how pregnancy and I don't agree with each other much.
And the response to all of this has been overwhelmingly supportive. I've taken great comfort and reassurance from everyone who has commented and e-mailed, telling me to hang in there or thanking me for putting my true feelings out there. All of these messages have helped me tremendously; I've made some great bloggy friends over the past months, and I'm extremely grateful.
But then yesterday I got a flaming comment about Sunday's post. The comment, left by an anonymous poster, said (sic all):
THATS VERY, VERY SAD.. FOR THE BABY.THE KID DID NOT ASK FOR ITS PARENTS TO BE IRRESPONSIBLE AND CONCEIVE AN UNWANTED CHILD. VERY SAD INDEED.
At first I wasn't going to respond to this yelling, but then I decided to post a reply to the comment. I said:
So, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, is every woman who finds herself pregnant supposed to be all rainbows and sunshine and bluebirds of happiness every moment of the pregnancy? Are women not allowed to not be excited about being pregnant and having another child? If you truly stood by your comments, you'd be brave enough to leave your name.
I was going to leave it at that, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I got, especially while I was lying awake at 3:00 this morning with a migraine that wouldn't quit. I realized three things about Anonymous's post made me angry.
First, the assumption that unexpected automatically means unwanted. No, we did not plan to have a fourth baby, but that doesn't mean that we don't want the baby now that I'm pregnant. I never, ever, not for a moment considered not having the child. Despite my qualms about how I'm going to handle four kids, I know as surely as I know my own name, that I will love and adore this child just like I do my other three.
Second, we are far from irresponsible parents. While we aren't wealthy, between the two of us, we earn enough to give our kids a safe and comfortable - if a bit crowded - house. I made the decision five years ago to switch to freelance work, despite the financial hit in terms of salary and benefits, so that I could be home with my kids. We also manage to let the girls take part in activities they love - rock climbing and ballet and the like. I am not a welfare mother having babies with random men and then looking for public handouts (and I know that's a wild generalization about welfare mothers, don't send me angry e-mails, I'm just trying to make a point).
Third, I'm upset at Anonymous's seeming belief that just because a pregnant woman discusses qualms about having the baby or ambivalence toward being pregnant, it means she doesn't want the baby. Pregnancy isn't all rainbows and rosebuds and lollipops. A lot of the time, at least for me, pregnancy isn't a lot of fun. And I ought to be allowed to say so.
I also know that the first 6-8 weeks of having a new baby are so hard. I am not a religious person, by any means, but I believe that babies are absolute miracles. It amazes me how tiny and perfect they are. But I also remember the sleep deprivation, sore breasts, constant stickiness, constant diaper changes, and zillions of loads of laundry that go along with a new baby. I will never romanticize motherhood.
So Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, suck it.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
I am still in denial about this whole fourth child thing - I've found that if I think about it too much, I end up spending most of the day crying. Early on I reassured myself that once I could feel the baby kick, I'd get excited about it. Baby Bee has been kicking away furiously for weeks, and instead of being excited, all I can think is "Knock it off kid, I'm trying to sleep." I also thought I'd get more excited when I had my 20-week ultrasound. It was neat to see the baby, but I definitely didn't get all teary like I did with the other ones. I had more fun watching Ella watch the whole thing.
Because I'm not excited, I tend to not handle the jokes people make very well. Instead of laughing along when the clerk at Michael's looks at my three kids and my belly and says, "Goodness, four kids! You think you'd have figured babies out by now!" I grit my teeth and give her the death glare. What I really want to do is punch her in the face, but that's not the best example to show my kids.
When I'm not glaring at clerks in the store, I really don't think about being pregnant - to the point where it catches me off guard when I happen to see a reflection of myself in a mirror or in a store window. It really surprises me that a. I'm pregnant, and b. I'm far enough along to have a noticeable belly sticking out. I wore my usual bikini to the pool twice last week, and it took me a while to figure out why people were giving me odd looks.
My lack of paying attention is frustrating Ella a bit. She likes to keep track of how big Baby Bee is and what its doing developmentally. With all of my other pregnancies, I knew what was going on. With this one, I don't have a clue. When Ella asks me, I shrug and say we'll look it up online. But then something or someone in the house explodes and I get distracted.
A friend asked me last week how far along I was, and when I stopped to count the week, I was astonished to figure out that I'm 22 weeks' pregnant. I guess the good thing is that by paying so little attention to this pregnancy it will go faster. Maybe.