Sunday, October 28, 2007


I haven't had any really crazy cravings with this pregnancy but I don't remember really having them at all with Charlie. This baby has some definate food opinions though. Over the last weekend I have simply OMG MUST HAVE NOW had to have:

1 pear
dark chocolate
smoked gouda
southwestern eggrolls from Arby's
chocolate chips on a waffle

I have also craved but haven't manage to aquire:

cheesecake bites from Arby's
Riesling white wine (I don't even really drink wine)
yeast based homemade waffles
instant coffee with non-dairy creamer (I just don't know...)

Getting Sucked In

I have degrees in several flavors of Early Childhood Education. I am completely aware of the many variations of typical development and have a strong bias towards play based education. I don't believe in flash cards for the under 6 set. I don't believe in tutors for pre-school. I don't believe you really need to do much in the way of direct instruction to see a young child flourish. My developmental mantra is that "You don't teach teething, why would you teach the other stuff?" After all, teething and teeth are the only real bastions of sensible thought on early childhood development. You will occasionally hear a parent questioning if they should be concerned if their child has reached their 1st birthday without cutting a tooth but I have yet to see a toy aimed at teaching your child how to cut teeth faster. There are no vitamins or drops advertised to speed the process along. The acceptable range for cutting teeth allows for a comfortable margin of acceptability. Charlie started teething at 3.5 months and other children we know didn't even show a hint of teething until after 7 months and no one considered either child odd.

At the same time, I keep feeling myself getting sucked into the doubt that is seemingly integral to modern parenthood. Charlie has yet to really have a first word. He has a mighty clap at this point. We taught him to do that rather than crying for "more" and this may have slowed down his speech a touch. I know that it won't have any detrimental effect in the long run but I do worry that I "messed him up" in some way. He will say "woo woo" for anything with 4 legs. He can identify his head and mouth. He is perfectly within range of typical development and shows no sign of any communication delay but I worry. He has wonderful pre-verbal skills and is fabulously outgoing but I worry. I read about other children who walked sooner, are talking, are running, etc, etc and I worry. At baby gym, when the rest of the children can sit for the songs and Charlie simply can't/won't I worry even though I know it's not really a developmentally appropriate expectation.

I so want to just be able to let Charlie blossom in his own way and his own time. There is a time and a place for concern over development. I am well aware of those signposts and markers he really shouldn't miss and when to ask for help. So far, he hasn't shown a hint of delay. He changes so fast, it seems like as soon as I begin to wonder if he will manage to make the marker in a reasonable time or when I feel like he has been almost there for so very long, it happens. Charlie is very much a child who wakes up one morning and turns a corner. He will be soooo close for ages and then, boom, there it is, suddenly with accuracy and precision. Some of it is also that I spend so much time with him that I miss things. I become so entrenched in the day-to-day that I miss that he is passing objects back and forth or is crouching or making more distinct babbles. He has become simply who he is and I couldn't tell you exactly where he is in skill development any more than I notice the lengthening of the day. One day you simply wake up and realize it is light when it was dark and you know the days are longer. One day I looked at Charlie and realized that he no longer crawled at all, instead he walks. It all goes too fast to spend your time worrying but that seems to be all the world wants you to do.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pregnancy Book Reviews

One of my husband's friends has just found out that she's pregnant (remember, couples are expecting but only the mommy is pregnant!) and I thought that I would put together a book review in her honor. I will offer the reviews based on what I remember but in some cases, it's been a bit since I've read it and I'm just too sleepy to go and re-read. So, take the information with a grain of salt and feel free to offer up your own suggestions...

Don't Panic! Pregnancy Book by Judy Morris
In my opinion, this is the absolute best book for dealing with the practicalities of pregnancy and new motherhood. You won't find weekly updates on what your uterus and baby are doing but you will find concise information about things like how warm your bath should be, if you should dye your hair, and how to get all those thank you notes written. It's a small book that will fit in your purse so you can whip it out when you need to figure out which fish are safe, which type of sushi you can eat, or if you should think twice about that 2nd cup of coffee. It's all presented in a calm, clear manner that explains enough that you feel informed but not so much that you're bogged down. Every pregnant woman should have this book.

What to Expect When You're Expecting I didn't find reading this the terror that other women seem to. I keep hearing about how scared they were after looking something up in it. I did find it rather "meh" in the information department though. It seemed like it gave you adequate information but finding it could be a pain and it was written in a slightly condescending manner. That said, my husband said that it's the book he always looks things up in. They also seem a bit hung up on weight and nutrition. While I think it's important to be aware of, if you already have any weight anxiety or body issues, this book really won't help you out in that regard. On the plus side, it does point out that episiotomies aren't routine and offers some different
laboring positions.

Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week by Curtis and Schuler I liked this book on the whole. It nicely met my need of wanting to know what was going on with the baby with more detail and frequency than the monthly format of What to Expect. You can tell that there are some fairly slow spots where not much is happening beyond the baby getting nice and plump. There is definite "filler" material in those weeks. I wasn't wild about the way that it presented the labor process though. I got the distinct impression that the authors would like you to lie back and simply listen to the nice doctor rather than being a thinking (and opinionated) participant in the delivery. They also present episiotomies as routine.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicky Iovine
This is one to get from the library rather than buy. It's a nice overview of what is to come and is a quick read. It's ideal for when you just got the 2 lines and are both panicked and euphoric and want a basic idea of the road ahead without needing detailed information about the pros and cons of various screening test and the like. I found some of the information a bit dated (particularly about clothing) and she focuses a lot on sex and body image (neither of them astoundingly positively) as well as making some fairly negative assumptions about how the men in your life. But, it does give a frank discussion of all the stuff about pregnancy that you hadn't even thought to ask your friends about or, you thought about it but couldn't bring yourself to ask.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sheer Frivolity

So, it has come to my attention that Harlequin has released their Christmas themed titles. There are few things quite a yummy as chocolate chip cookies, a bubble bath, and the pure cheese romance that Harlequin serves up. Christmas titles are just one step closer to mindless heaven. Can you really beat Christmas in his Royal Bed and A Town Called Christmas or, for true old school delight...The Boss' Christmas Baby. And for those of you who simply MUST have a sheik there is The Sheik and the Christmas Bride. I know what I want in my stocking this year!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Baby Gym Class

I took Charlie to his first baby gym class. Neither his father nor I were surprised to see that he was the busiest child in the class. He was the only one to try to wander out the door (3 times), try to play with the shoes everyone had taken off, try to crawl into the storage closet when they got out the parachute, and wander into the dark corners of the room completely by-passing the fun equipment set out for him. The other babies sat in the ball pit and enjoyed throwing the balls out. All Charlie wanted to do was climb in and out of the pit over and over again.

He was also a bit of a non-conformist. He would only sit for 2 of the circle time activities, finding the baby slide far too alluring to leave alone for a a full 5 minutes.

He was the most adventurous. He was the first to start wandering around the equipment, picking things up and examining them. He engaged in one of his favorite activities where he collects any number of items and piles them in one spot only to pick them all up and move them to a new spot. The child can spend a happy 15 minutes rearranging 3 items on a shelf- it's amazing. He also go to push some tubs around which is always thrilling. He may have a future in furniture removal...

He loved sitting on the parachute and waving it around but it was a woefully short activity. I'm interested to see what the next class is like since this was apparently just a day for the babies to get used to the equipment.

The next day we went to the library and he completely flummoxed this other little boy by making him his partner in crime. Charlie likes to give you objects to hold. If you take them out of your lap before he is ready, he will just put them right back in. Sometimes he mixes it up by wanting you to pass it back and forth to him. Fun times! I'm actually really happy about all this because it indicates some really great social and language development but anyway, back to the little boy. So, Charlie started taking all the trains off the table at the library and piling them in this little boy's arms. He had no idea what to do and considered crying but eventually decided to give them to his mom so we had this whole little chain of Charlie giving the little boy the trains who gave them to his mom who gave them to me until Charlie finally got distracted by the beanbag chair.

1st Appointment

So, apparently my OB broke his wrist last weekend while biking. That meant that my appointment moved from Monday to Friday. We were able to see the baby and it looks great! Although, this baby seems a bit more shy than Charlie and didn't want to have it's picture taken so we wound up with more of a fuzzy blob than a cute profile shot but maybe this indicates that this baby will be a good sleeper- I'm hoping anyway. The heartrate was in the 170s and the baby even flipped around a little while we watched- so sweet! Anyway, I apparently ovulated ages later than I thought I would and it really is a minor miracle I got pregnant that cycle at all. This explains why I wound up peeing on so very many sticks and why the line was so faint. My due date is now May 17th. Although, after Charlie I have very little faith in due dates. I prefer to think of it as due month with the assumption that should the fates continue to smile on this pregnancy, I will have a baby sometime in the month of May. Also, therapists have been consulted, books have been read, and discussion was had and, assuming all goes well, I have been cleared as a good candidate for VBAC. In fact, my OB said he "loves" VBACs. His only real concern is if I attempt the "trial of labor" and fail then the recovery will be a doozy but, we'll hope for the best and I think I will probably err on the side of bailing early rather than late if it comes to it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On Parenting

So, I am slowly crawling out of the 1st trimester hole. I started zofran today and was pleased to discover that when 7 am came around I was no longer wishing I was on hospital bedrest and could just curl in a ball and have someone offer me ice chips occasionally. I'm not sure if it's totally the medicine or that I may be wandering into week 10 which is when morning sickness is traditionally said to slack off. We don't actually know where I am in my pregnancy yet since my Monday appointment that included the dating ultrasound was rescheduled for this Friday. Apparently OBs occasionally have unpredictable schedules- who knew!

Anyway, when I wasn't starting at the ceiling and debating if breathing was really a necessary waste of my meager energy, I spent quite a bit of time contemplating what sort of relationship I would ultimately like to have with my children. There is always drama with both my mother and my husband's parents but it has been particularly tumultuous lately and I keep wishing that I had a really good relationship with one or the other side. I've been thinking a lot about friends I have who seem to get along well with their parents. There is still occasional friction but they seem to generally look forward to visits and will do things like call their parents because they want to. I've also thought a lot abut the difference between my relationship with my dad vs my mom. They have very different ways of interacting with me and I generally feel like my relationship with my dad is positive. It seems like the thread that runs through these relationships is that the parents have let go. In this instance, it seems that if you love something you really can set it free and it really will come back. These parents don't seem to spend tons of time giving advice or questioning decisions or offering unasked for opinions. The general attitude seems to be that they have done as much as they can to mold their child and it's time to see how it turned out. I've noticed that these adult children seem to be among the more successful and happy of my friends. They are confident but seem to know that there is a place for a soft landing when they need it.

I am trying to incorporate these observations into my interactions with Charlie already. This is so hard. I wish I could have a model or reference in the way my parents raised me or the way my husband's parents raised him. I have to let Charlie fail and struggle and get there on his own. I want to swoop in and do it for him. Sometimes it's easy to know when to be there. When he's crawling on the sofa, I am right there but other times it's such a challenge for me to judge when he truly needs help; when he has reached the limit of his patience; when it is time for Mommy to make it better. I know it doesn't get any easier but I keep hoping that if I am just reflective enough, I will one day be able to tell Charlie to fly and he will still call a while later and tell me about all the wonders he's seen because he wants to and not because he feels guilty.