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First Trimester Fun - Part 3

My husband and I wondered for several weeks toward the end of the first trimester when and how we would tell the boys about baby number three.

I read articles about creating a comfortable environment in which my children would be able to express conflicting feelings, and I would tell them that I have felt happy and anxious at times, too.  I would guide them through the complex emotional landscape known as Momma Is Having Another Baby.

We finally decided that we would tell them on a weekend.  I did not want to tell them on a weeknight  because I didn't want any anxiety about the news to affiliate itself with bedtime.  I then read an article confirming that bedtime was the wrong time to reveal our big news.  Good.  So we were on track to be amazing parents.

And the best laid plans . . . confronted an bumped into an ordinary Thursday night, after dinner:

Bug, standing on the couch, looked down at my belly - which the third time around is noticeable even in the first trimester.

He said, "Why is your belly so big?!?"

I just looked at him and said, "What?" (A tactic I use whenever I am trying to avoid answering a question.)

Bug repeated, "Why is your belly SO big?!?  Why is it so fat?!?"

I looked at my husband in the other room and said, "[Bug] wants to know why my belly is so big."

My husband smiled.

Bug kept staring at my belly, then up at my face, then back at the belly.

He smiled and asked in a whisper, "Is there a baby in there?"

"Yes," I replied.

"What baby?!?" he exclaimed.

"A new baby that will be here in the spring," I answered, wondering if I was about to find out how capable I would be as a guide through the complex emotional landscape known as Momma Is Having Another Baby.

Bug got pretty excited and jumped around saying a few nonsensical sentences.

Squish had been jumping around on the couch near Bug for most of this exchange.  At some point, I heard my husband tell Squish that he was going to be a big brother.

Squish acknowledged the news by puffing out his three-year-old belly and proclaiming, "I have a baby in my belly, too!"

Then it was business as usual for both of them. Time for the bath.  Pretty small emotional landscape, if we had journeyed across one at all.  Apparently, we're ready.  All four of us.  


First Trimester Fun - Part 2

Remember how tiring the first trimester is?


Right.  I didn't either.  Then around week 11 or so, I was sitting at my desk at work thinking, "Gosh, I am tired!  Those other times I was pregnant, I had an office and could close the door and curl up on the floor under my desk.  That sure sounds luxurious now.  I know this office is quiet and slow, but I am pretty sure someone would notice if I curled up on the floor at my cubicle right now."

So I did what I do sometimes, and I Googled my troubles.

Google: "peak exhaustion pregnancy"

Results: not helpful

I tried again because I was so tired it didn't seem at all absurd.

Google: "peak exhaustion first trimester"

Results: not helpful

I took a break from asking the internet to help me and tried to tell myself, "Hey - this is probably the worst of it - you know the answer.  Stop Googling it, silly!  And by all means, please stop reGoogling after you have already discovered nothing helpful in the internet.  The only way the internet could help you now is if it could reach out to hand you a pillow, a blanket, four walls, a door, and fifteen minutes to lie down on a couch before you go back to reading about the latest and greatest in accounting standards."

I hated that advice and went back to Google because I was so tired it didn't seem at all absurd - again. 


First Trimester Fun - Part 1

Now that I have shared the amazing news that we are expecting a third munchkin, I would like to share some of the highlights from the first trimester.

The following is the first of a few installments I will call First Trimester Fun (and by "fun" I mean what most people mean when they say "nausea" or "exhaustion.")

One night, around week 8, I said to my sister, "I either rage or cry these days.  No in-between.  Just those two settings.  I should start a twitter feed and list what happens during the day to set me off with hashtags: #rage or #tears."

My husband offered to get me a glass of sparkling lime water one night.  #tears

The woman behind the desk at the Y asked me to swipe our member ID cards a second time.  #rage

On a Monday, my husband told me it was probably going to rain all week.  #tears

I got a parking ticket.  #rage

I felt so, so tired.  #tears

I thought about the fact that my job only provides six weeks of paid leave .  #rage #tears #morerage

I saw Zoomy's heart beating during an ultrasound.  #tears


Babies in bellies

Bug: "I want a baby in my belly!"

Squish: "Me, too!!"

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Maybe.  We'll see how they feel when Zoomy arrives in late May.  Until then, I will be the tired (but very happy) pregnant lady who tried (unsuccessfully?) to hide her belly for the first four months at work. 


Momma's Boy

Have you ever felt like shouting, "What the **** did you just say?!?" and then pushing someone in the face, but then you chose not to waste your time because your two munchkins were sopping wet and crying because they were so cold?

That's how I felt this morning.

The boys and I had had a fairly lazy morning followed by a mad dash to get ready for swim lessons.  None of which should surprise anyone who knows me.

We were late to the lesson, but I dropped them off with their teacher in the pool and went to get a seat in the parent viewing area.

During the first ten minutes of class, Squish spotted me and kept saying, "Momma!!" as he gave me a big thumbs-up.  This happened several times, and it was as endearing as you would imagine it to be each and every time.

Toward the end of class, the kids swam to the end of the pool closest to the parent viewing area.  The viewing area is separated from the pool by a wall of windows.  So, when Bug and Squish are at that end of the pool, they can see me, and we are no more than fifteen feet apart from each other.

As the class got out of the pool and lined up behind a starting block to practice jumping into the water, each of the kids was freezing.  They had their arms crossed in front of their bodies and were shivering.

Squish was the saddest of the group.  Literally.  He was shivering and crying.  He saw me and called out, "Momma!  Momma! Momma!"

I gave what was meant to be an encouraging smile and said, "It's okay.  It will be okay," hoping he could suddenly lip read.

But this was not reassuring, and he kept crying and shivering.  Soon I was about to cry, too.

Finally, Bug gave him a little bump forward - his signal that it was Squish's turn to jump in.

A few minutes later, class was over.

I met the boys on the pool deck.  Both of them were shivering, crying, and saying, "Momma!"

Their teacher was standing there and said, "Momma?!?  Ha!  [Squish] kept saying 'Momma, momma!' all through class today.  I called him 'Momma's boy,' and [Bug] laughed.  Hahahahaha.  Good job today, boys."

I said, "Oh . . . No."  Then I wrapped up the boys in towels, picked up Squish, and escorted them to the family changing room as quickly as possible.

What I wish I had said was, "Momma's boy?!?  MOMMA'S BOY?!?  Ha?  Hahahaha?!?  Let me tell you something.  He is three years old.  He is THREE. YEARS. OLD.  And another thing.  He is not a momma's boy.  He is THIS Momma's Boy.  And THIS Momma does not abide by adults calling children names! AND ONE LAST THING.  If my FIVE YEAR OLD laughed when you called my THREE YEAR OLD a name, it's because he didn't realize that you were being an asshole.  But I do."

Then I would have pushed him, and he would have fallen into the pool, drenched in humility. 


Favorite Book Day

This morning, about three minutes after I had put clean clothes on Squish, I heard him in the apartment:

"I have to poooop!"

This is code for:  "I am probably pooping my pants right now because I haven't mastered the art of getting to the toilet in time.  For the love of God, could someone please come help me?!?!!?"

My husband started the clean-up process, and I finished it with lots of coaxing and my most patient voice.

With the first crisis out of the way, I set the boys up with a show and got ready for work.

When the show ended, Bug started asking me if he could watch some kind of Christmas Curious George show.  Sure.  No big deal.  When it's Christmastime, my pleasure.

I took Bug to the kitchen to get his sneakers and jacket on and heard Squish screaming from the living room, "Christmas George!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want Christmas George!!!!!!!"

Hoping this scream festival would end quickly, I ignored it.

Silly me.

I said, "[Squish], time for sneakers and jacket in the kitchen.  Come in here so we can go to school, please."

Squish, still sitting on the living room floor, staring at a television that had been turned off many minutes ago, screamed at me, "I want Christmas George!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I explained that he needed to stop screaming at me and start putting on shoes and a jacket.  Not effective. 

So I carried him to the kitchen and tried to get sneakers on his feet.

He yelled, "I do not want sneakers!"

Having hit my yell/scream quota for the day, I decided not to fight it.  I put his sneakers in the bag and started out the door with him in my arms.

Half-way to the car, Squish yelled, "I need my sneakers!!!!"

"You will get them in the car.  You chose not to wear them.  So this is the consequence.  Choices have consequences."


"In. The. Car."

We drove to school in relative peace - I don't know how or why.

When we arrived, I got Squish out of the car and held his hand in the parking lot while we waited for Bug to climb out and join us.

Bug, in all of his long-limbed, five-year-old dearness, sort of galumphed out of the car in a way that made one of his arms fly forward.

That arm that flew forward landed on Squish's face.

"He hit my nose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Many hugs, apologies, and reassurances later, we made it inside the school. 

I heard another parent say to his son, "Yep - today is 'Favorite Book Day,' so I brought your favorite books.'"

I looked down at my two boys, who had just made it through a wringer of a morning, and who were oblivious to Favorite Book Day but would probably figure it out in about ten minutes when they saw all of their friends with their favorite books, and all I could say was, "Sorry."

Which was code for: "Of course it was Favorite Book Day.  And of course it felt like a minor miracle that we managed to get out of the apartment with poop-free clothes and shoes on everyone's feet.  Sorry, guys.  Maybe being poop-free and wearing shoes is some kind of de minimis standard in other families, but in ours, it takes a lot of emotional energy and an hour and a half.  We'll do better next time."



Dear Big Box Store Where I Bought Cheap T-Shirts This Weekend,

I hope this note finds you well, and that you had a nice weekend.

I am writing today to bring your attention to an area of your store near the registers.  It includes several rows of shelves with various toys, knick-knacks, clutter, minutiae, and other junk all inconveniently located 6 - 40 inches above ground.

While my boys and I waited to purchase t-shirts on Saturday, the boys were handling all of the knick-knacks.  Most of which look exactly like what they are (junk), so the boys quickly put them back down.

But there was one shiny little treasure, on the top shelf, that caught Bug's eye.  A Captain America wristwatch.  Bug decided right then and there that he needed that watch.  That that watch was absolutely the best watch that had ever existed.

I said, "Oh, well maybe you can ask for it for Christmas."

he cried.

I picked up this fancy little watch and checked its price: $19.99.

I decided that a whine-free line for the register was not worth forty dollars (because, as you probably already realized, I would have had to purchase a second watch for Squish), and I told Bug that I would think it over, and that maybe we could come back for it another day, but that we were not getting that watch on that trip.

He was unimpressed.

Deeply and seriously unimpressed.

He complained that he really wanted to get something for himself. 

He complained about never getting anything (even as I was in the process of buying him a superhero t-shirt).

He even complained that he doesn't have a watch (even as I pictured his Spider Man watch sitting sad and neglected in a drawer at home).

Yes, it was 11:10 am, and he was hungry.

Yes, he had been up too late the night before.

But you, Big Box Store Where I Bought Cheap T-Shirts This Weekend, you were doing this on purpose.  You put those little treasures on that shelf knowing that the 3-4 foot tall crowd has little to no impulse control.  Knowing how much they love super heroes and princesses and soccer balls.  Knowing that adults will pay money to stop The Great Whine Festival of 2014. 

Please remove your impulse buy section and send your apology note to me at your earliest convenience, or else I will start a social media campaign using the following hashtag:

#dwibs (down with impulse buy sections).



Research questions for you

A national publication is researching a story involving prenatal ultrasound, and is seeking feedback to these questions:

1)      Did you ever visit a non-medical ultrasound clinic to obtain 3D/4D images of your baby?

2)      Did you ever purchase a fetal heart monitor?

3)      Roughly (or specifically) how many ultrasounds did you undergo during your pregnancy?

If you would like to send me your answers (amommagrows[at], I will pass them on to the journalist researching the story.

Thanks in advance!

(and please know that I would love to write an actual blog post about my adventures in parenting, but that every time I have a free moment to myself, I end up binge watching a certain ridiculous yet surprisingly addictive television show about Upper East Siders...  the good news for everyone is that I have finished half of the show and might completely lose interest soon)


That time it was hard to get it right

It probably comes as no surprise that bedtime has been a challenge lately.  Especially with two-year-old Squish.

Recently, I have blamed the summer daylight hours.  Of course Squish would go to sleep, if only it were dark before 8:45.  Yes.  Sure. Of course he would.


Team Challenge - Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s endurance training and fundraising program

1.4 million Americans live with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

I happen to know and love at least a few of them, so when I got a note from Team Challenge asking me to promote their upcoming season, I was more than happy to.

Team Challenge is made up of individuals who have Crohn's or colitis, or who have someone close to them with the disease, or who just want to take part in something bigger than themselves and get in better shape at the same time by training for a half-marathon or triathlon while raising funds to cure Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.

In the 2014 Fall/Winter season, participants in Team Challenge will have the opportunity to complete a triathlon in Clearwater, FL or run / walk a half-marathon in either Las Vegas or The Palm Beaches.

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Every team has an honored hero whom they run for - usually a young person who has Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis and serves as a reminder to all of the participants that they are doing important work while connecting them to the mission.

Past participant Jennifer Lonschein sums it up when she says, "If someone was considering running with Team Challenge, I would recommend it until I was blue in the face.  I've run a half-marathon before, without TC, and it didn't even come close to comparing to this experience.  The camaraderie, support, and motivation you get from your coaches, mentors, managers, and teammates is what drives you to cross the finish line and get one step closer to finding a cure."

If you know someone with Crohn's or colitis and want to do something to help - 

or if you want to train for a big event while supporting a very good cause -

take a look at this link and learn more about how you can join Team Challenge.


. . . when I get older

Squish has realized that if he adds "when I get older" as a suffix to any request, he is far more likely to hear a "yes" than a "no."

"Can I drink coffee when I get older?"
  • Sure!

"Can I have a truck when I get older?"
  • Sounds good - why not? 

"Can I drive a motorcycle when I get older?"


Dinner - June 16, 2014

Maybe it was the week in Greece this spring (yes, week in Greece - a once-in-a-lifetime family trip for a wedding - it was accordingly amazing and wonderful - yet here I am about to blog about potato chips - some things are for us, and some things are for the blog)...

Anyway, maybe it was the week in Greece without bedtimes or meal planning or dishes or laundry or commutes, but tonight I think I really tested my comfort with a relaxed approach to parenting.

The boys and I came home around 6:20 this evening, and before I could set the bags down, Squish asked if he could get a yogurt.

Normal answer: You can have a yogurt with dinner.  Please be patient while I get everything ready.


Gate C52 offers moral support

Bug, Squish, and I flew home to Boston this morning after a quick visit with family.  As we pulled into the rental car return area, Bug exclaimed, "I want to ride in the shark stroller!"

Ah, the shark  stroller.  A purchase from the day before when we had gone to the zoo.

Why did we buy a stroller to go to the zoo?

Because when the three of us were trying to go from our car to Logan three days ago, I officially declared the stroller we have had since Bug was four months old broken.  Broken like the foot strap broke off a year ago.  Broken like some metal bar that seems important to the frame and general purpose of the stroller detached itself months ago.  Broken like every time Squish tried to sit in the stroller while we were in the parking lot at Logan, the stroller collapsed in on him.  Broken. 

I put the broken stroller into the back of the car, grabbed the baby carrier for my thirty-pound two-and-a-half-year old, and away we went.

So when we all decided to go to the zoo yesterday, I figured it was the perfect time to buy a stroller at a big box store.  A nice, cheap-o stroller that we could take to the zoo, and back on the plane, and on our big family trip to Greece in two weeks, and wherever else we want to go all summer long.

We bought a perfect stroller with a canopy that looks like a shark (with a fin that sticks up off of the canopy and teeth that hang below).  We arrived at the zoo, parked, and when I opened the trunk I realized the stroller had several plastic zip ties that warranted a pair of scissors or a knife before use.  So I closed the trunk, opted for a rental stroller at the zoo, and wondered if I might have some kind of predisposition to be just about 87% prepared for everything in life.

Back at the rental car return this morning, Bug exclaimed, "I want to ride in the shark stroller!"

This was not exactly what I had hoped to hear from him.  I had hoped that Squish would ride in the stroller while Bug walked calmly next to me to the baggage drop, through security, to the gate, all the way to the airplane.

Bug was insistent about the stroller despite my best pleas to his mature side.

I asked Squish if Bug could ride in the stroller while Squish rode in the carrier ("with Momma!" - as if being closer to me would somehow lure him away from the magical shark stroller).  Squish wanted no part of the carrier. 

I asked Bug if he could ride in the stroller until security, and then if Squish could ride from security to the gate.  He seemed willing to accept this offer.  I cut Squish out of the negotiations, and Squish went into the carrier, Bug went into the stroller, I put my enormous bag on the back of the stroller, and I managed to roll the suitcase all the way from the car to ticketing and the baggage drop.

This feat earned me something in life.  I have no idea what yet, but I feel entitled to something wonderful just for that twenty-minute period this morning.

Eventually, of course, Squish found his way into the stroller, and Bug found his way into a fit.  He kept up his fit all the way to Gate C52. 

"Momma, his turn is so long!"

"Momma, I want to be in the stroller!"

"Momma, you are ignoring me!!"

Well, yes, yes, I was trying to ignore the fit.  But apparently I had failed.

Somehow the tide turned, as it always does, and between claiming that I had been ignoring the pain of stroller withdrawal and waiting for Zone 1 to board, the boys were hopping around excited to fly home.

They were zooming around, arms outstretched, making airplane noises.  They were standing on the seats by the windows counting planes at gates nearby.

Zone 2 was called to line up.

Squish, standing on a seat by the window, had an accident.  As the pee became a puddle on the seat, Bug said, "Good thing he's wearing his rain boots!"


I got out about thirty-seven wipes and tried to clean the seat.  I looked back at Squish and saw that he had pulled down his pants and undies.  I turned my attention from the seat to Squish.  I changed his undies and pants.  I tried my best to dry the chair.  I grabbed our things, corralled both boys, handed over our tickets to get on the plane and said, "I'm not sure if this is your job or if you can even do anything about it, but my son had an accident in that seat over there, and I tried to wipe it up with wipes, but you might want to send someone over to take a look."

The gate attendant said, "What's that?  An accident?  What?"

I said "My son had an accident.  He peed his pants in that chair over there.  I cleaned it up as best I could, but you all might want to have another look.  [I am losing my mind, sir.  We are very close to being home with my husband, which is what I want very badly, but there was a moment, about three minutes ago, when I wondered if we were actually going to miss our flight because I was trying to clean urine off of a chair with wet wipes.  Did you catch that?  I was trying to clean urine with wet wipes.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that all the while my son was disrobing in public.]"

The gate attendant then opened his eyes wide and said, "Oh my goodness!  You are a Super Mom!"

With that praise, I smiled and schlepped down to the plane with Bug, Squish, my enormous bag, and our shark stroller. 

Thank you, man who works at Gate C52.  That was exactly what I needed to hear today.


Brought to you by Squish

In the rocking chair, drifting off to a nap this afternoon:

Squish: "When I get bigger, I'm going to have a baby."

Me: "Oh that's great, love.  What baby?"

Squish: "Baby Mateo."

Me: "That's nice.  What will Baby Mateo do?"

Squish: "Baby Mateo is a nice baby.  He cries."

Me: "Hmmmm... he cries?  Maybe he is tired."

Squish quiet - closing his eyes.

Squish: "He a nice baby ... alligator eats Baby Mateo."

Me: "Wow - an alligator eats your baby?!?"

Squish: "Yeah - snap!"

Me: "Hmmm.  Sounds dramatic."

Squish: "Eats me and [Bug]."

Me: "That alligator eats Baby Mateo, then you, and then [Bug]?!?"

Squish: "Yes.  Snaps that monkey right out of that tree."

1.78 seconds later, Squish sleeps in my arms.


Monday morning

Before I put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway this morning, I turned around and asked the boys, "Are Mondays a little harder than every other day for us?"

Bug said, "Yeah."

Indeed they are.

Somewhere between trying to get little teeth brushed and socks on little feet, Squish fell over and bumped his face with his "guitar" (i.e., ukulele).

Yes, a ukulele.  Just to keep things nice and simple in the morning, what you really want is a ukulele in the bathroom while you try brushing your toddler's teeth and putting his socks on.  Everyone should try it.


I fly on planes

This morning, while I was eating breakfast with Bug and Squish, Bug said, "I am going to work!"

Then Squish said, "I am getting on a plane!"

At which point, they both laughed and laughed and started repeating their little mantra about going to work and getting on a plane over and over and over.

After I dropped the two goofballs off at daycare/preschool, I got on a plane for the fourth work trip in four weeks.

To be clear, I am slowly unraveling and saying things to Bug's Pre-K teacher like, "See you in a couple days!  Unless I quit, and then I guess I'll see you again tomorrow! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!"

But I have two silver linings.

First, I get to see a dear friend while I am on this trip to Atlanta.

Second, my travel has become a source of material for The Bug and Squish Comedy Hour - which is far better than my sorry little momma heart would have believed before this morning.


You win some, you lose some, Superwoman.

Does it ever feel like parenting is a series of wins and losses?  I am a logical and thoughtful person, and I know that parenting is not a zero-sum game.  Not a game at all, for that matter.  Sure.  Of course I know that.

But the feeling persists.  Sometimes as a quiet hum, and sometimes as a loud wail.  Today was like a wail.

This morning, for the first time in two weeks, Bug, Squish, and I were back to our morning routine.  And so, as anyone could have guessed, we had a late start.