Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why we need more medical insurance

"You know what I should start doing? I should start planning Connor's swingset."
"You mean, you're going to build him something."
"Do you know those come pre-made?"
"Only the shitty ones. He needs trap doors, ejector seats... Let's just say this, honey, the pre-made ones don't come with a zip line to the bottom."

My trip to Labor and Delivery

I went to the hospital on Wednesday...and I got me

...a head down baby! So now, I can go back to my plan of giving birth at home. Prior to that, Baby Helen had decided she would prefer to lie sideways in my uterus, rather than in a position that it was possible for her to enter the world in a non-surgical manner. But the head of OB at the hospital near my home took one look at the sonogram and declared my baby was a "turnable baby", so with a lot of external pressure, he and another doctor performed an external cepahlic version - and it worked. At the end, he wished me well and told me to go back to the midwives.

Though the procedure took less than two minutes, my stay in the hospital lasted several hours (most of which was just waiting to be officially discharged, which was long after the doc announced I could go home). For the last half hour or so of my hospital stay, Ed went home to get Connor, went to a fast food joint for some fries, and then played roll down the steep hill with Connor until my release. Because of this, Connor probably thinks hospitals are cool.

Elaine, who is much happier than she was a week ago.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Next year, we're getting the moon bounce!

Last Saturday, Ed and I hosted our annual Oktoberfest party. I think we've been hosting this since 2002, with the exception of 2006. Last year at this time, Connor had just started sleeping through the night and Ed and I were fearful of doing ANYTHING that might jinx that situation. Inviting a bunch of people over to our home who would not necessarily tiptoe around in near silence would have been tantamount to telling Ed he could never in his life ingest anouther beer. That's territory you just don't tread on.

But this year, we decided to gear up, with the slight modification that we would go from having the party be an exclusively evening affair to more of an all-day fete, which is much more akin to the way the real Oktoberfest works. Sadly, I didn't take my camera out once. But luckily, if you know Vickie, you can get access to her movie of the big event (or you can e-mail me and I'll tell you how to sign in as me to see the movie). And here's a snapshot she captured of the little man.

At first, Connor wasn't too sure what to make of all the kids. In fact, he kept asking Ed and me to take him to parts of the house without other kids. But once his friend Zoe arrived, he finally understood what having a party meant. They jumped on his bed, ran around outside, played in his playhouse, swung in the hammock, took a ride on the swing, and generally enjoyed running around. Thank you weather gods, for allowing us such a beautiful day. On Friday, all I could think about was how the toddlers were coming! If you haven't seen a bunch of toddlers lately, I assure you the prospect of having many of them in your home is much scarier than having a bunch of drunks in your home. The drunks, after all, fall down at some point.

Shortly after dinner, the kid crowd cleared out and the adult crowd arrived, with a small amount of overlap. We learned that Connor is pretty darn comfortable among the drinking crowd (not that my mom friends and their spouses don't drink - but let's just say the average number of drinks they consume is well below the average for my non-kid friends). Traditionally in Germany, kids are kicked out of the beer tents at 8:00. Connor was able to hang until 8:30 when he actually requested to be taken to bed. He slept the whole night without making a peep - and even had the courtesy to sleep in on Sunday morning. Maybe he is our kid after all.

And Eamon, you can be certain there will be a big festival next year - and like the title says, we'll be getting a moon bounce!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Crap day!

Yesterday morning started out bright enough. Connor and I hung out reading books, he ate a nice big bowl of oatmeal before his nanny arrived, and was having a fun time sorting through the very nice drawer of useless kitchen tools to see what he needed to capture for his own use. Then he dropped a glass bottle which naturally busted into a million pieces on the floor. But then things turned around. Once his nanny arrived, we played a game of slam dunk three balls at once which had Connor laughing and allowed me to leave the house without a bunch of grief. For the record, Little Man lets Ed leave the house four days a week with no grief, but I think it's just so on my one late day, he can really pile on all his tricks.

And then the crap part really started. First, I left the house about 2 minutes too late, because just as I got to the corner, my bus passed by me. Damn. Now I had to ride my bike to the subway. Then, when I got to work, I realized that my teeny-tiny pearl bracelet - the one my friend Kellee had specially made for me in China to fit my freakishly small wrists, the one bracelet I can wear - fell off my wrist somewhere between my home and office. Ed and Connor met me for dinner at a restaurant near my midwife's office, and Ed informed me that on the drive over, Connor had seen a McDonalds, gotten all excited and shrieked "There's Mommy's letter!!". I hate McDonalds. I often tell people that because there aren't a ton of things Connor can do to really get under my skin, he'll probably rebel by bringing a giant box of McDonalds fries home when he's a teenager, slamming them on the dinner table, and informing me that he's having McDonalds for dinner. That, or he'll join the Army.

Next, we went to my 36 week appointment with my midwife only to find out that Helen is still lying sideways. No surprise, but sideways babies are not candidates for home birth. The only bright spot to this news is that she hasn't dropped anything down into my pelvis, so she's still a turnable baby, which means I'll be going to the hospital for an external version whenever the only doctor in the area who performs these maneuvers can squeeze me in and thinks it's appropriate. When we got home from the appointment, Connor decided he was not going to bed, so Ed and I spent from 8:30 (bedtime) to about 9:30 putting Connor back in his bed. But, I think Connor's stomach might have been bothering him because the last time he got out of bed, he asked "Does Connor need to flush his poopies?" which, in our neverending game of Jeopardy! is Connor's way of saying he just took a dump. I posited that this might have been the reason he was having trouble sleeping and he agreed. Finally, ater I settled him in bed for the millionth time, it stuck. But only until 3:40 when he came into my room to play helicopter on my bed. This is when Connor asks in a very pitiful voice "Does Connor need to lay next to Mommy and sleep?" and climbs up into bed and makes himself comfortable. He pretends that he's going to sleep, until just the point when I fall asleep and then he starts moving around like a helicopter. This happened at 4:10. I looked at him and said "This isn't working, Connor. You need to go back to your bed." And man, I was tough as nails. I plopped him across the hall in his bed and even when he asked me to lay with him for just a few minutes, I told him I was tired and needed sleep, so I was going to my own bed. I told him he could come get me when the wake-up light came on. Miraculously, he stayed in bed until said lighting.

Surely today will be better. And if you read this far, send all your baby turning mojo my way, because I do not want to end up in the hospital with a c-section.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Because I needed another backseat driver

It's no secret that I am terrible with directions. I come by it honestly, though. Family legend has it that after my parents got married, they set off across the country on their honeymoon. Not too far into the trip, my dad handed my mom a map. If she did then what she does today, she started flipping the map around so that it was oriented with the car going up the map, because everyone knows that's the right way to hold a map, even if it means west is "up". My dad, quite proficient at map reading, was not impressed. But heck, the wedding was over and there was nothing to do now, so off they headed, and I do believe they got to where my dad was hoping they would get. This started my dad's career as being my mom's personal Mapquest service. Who needs a computer when you've got a yellow tablet, a pencil, and an engineer for a husband?

Long before our wedding day, Ed learned that I suffered from my mother's skill deficit in the map reading department. I've gotten better over the years (as has my mom), but I can still manage to get lost going someplace Ed and I have been 100 times. It's impressive if you really sit and think about it.

Last Thursday, as I was driving Connor home from pre-school, I decided to stop by a friend's house that is a few blocks further down the main street than mine to drop something off with her nanny. I hadn't cleared this detour with Connor, and as we passed our street, I heard from the backseat "I think that we forgot to turn onto Connor's street".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

10 years

Ten years ago today, I drug Ed to a "Miss America" watching party, and the rest is history. We're celebrating with a night out at a cool new restaurant. I can almost tell you what will happen before the date even occurs.

Back in our "going-out" days, Ed and I seemed to have a knack for sitting next to people on first dates. We would always overhear snippets of conversation like "So, you said you were a lawyer, what kind of law do you practice?" with the questioner appearing to be very interested in the answer, perhaps wondering how many hours a day the person being asked the question was likely to work. Or, "How many sisters and brothers did you say you had?" - perhaps the questioner was wondering how many children this potential new mate would be interested in having should they hook up for good. And of course, the conversation is loaded with awkward pauses. I always laugh when this happens because (1) I think it happens way too much for us and (2) it reminds me of September 13, 1997.

On this particular night that started our string of eavesdropping on first dates, we sat outside on a rooftop deck and the folks next to us were on a first date. The guy was nervous, the girl thought a little more highly of herself than was perhaps warranted. At one point, the guy dumped a glass of water onto the woman's lap. From her reaction, you would've thought he had just given her a black eye. He felt horrible, she rubbed it in by pretending to be incredibly uncomfortable, and I can't say as Ed and I were all that helpful. There we sat, making snarky comments, thinking we were really funny (and we were!) because clearly the woman was overreacting. This was a hot day in Washington, DC. The water would likely dry before they were finished with appetizers. It was

At that point, I'm sure the thought we'd be parenting the same child one day never crossed our minds. And parentng any child at all probably didn't occur to Ed. Heck, it wasn't even supposed to be a date because everyone knows that office romances are a BAD IDEA. But sometimes, everyone is wrong, and two people find themselves hanging out watching a baseball game on TV 10 years later and one of them will say to the other "I don't feel like going to work tomorrow. Would you mind having the baby tonight?". Followed by, "Try and do it in the middle of the night because I want to sleep through the whole thing this time, rather than just early labor. I've done it before, you know." (Ed's youngest brother was an unplanned home birth and despite the sirens, lights, and EMTs tromping up the stairs in the middle of the night, Ed apparently seemed not to notice anything as he slept soundly in another bedroom. Now why couldn't he have passed this good sleeping gene onto his son?)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy 25 month birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 25 months old. The date sort of snuck up on me because I am feeling the pains of being sleep deprived. I owe part of this to you, part of this to your sister, and part of this to your nanny who needed to go to the ER last night (she’s fine, thankfully). I think it’s safe to say that this was definitely a “daddy month”, which is a bit different than every other month of your life. In part, it’s because you have suddenly realized that we are two people with two different tolerance levels for various things. I can’t even remember what I told you no about, but as soon as I did, you looked right at me and said “Connor need to go see Daddy”. I told you your efforts at manipulation were fruitless because I was going to tell your daddy I had already said no, but you persisted. He’s clearly the softy in the house.

You seem to be coming to terms with the fact that my large belly leaves very little room for you to sit in my lap. After trying many times to sit squarely on my crossed legs like normal, you’ve finally conceded that there is simply not room, and now just go for my knee right away.

We spent this month marking the final days of summer by enjoying splashing in the neighborhood pool and then loving the cool afternoons that are perfect for outdoor adventures. Today though, was your dad’s early day, and after attempting to cajole you into some outdoor time, you decided that playing with his wallet was the very best activity of all. I came home to find you sitting in the chair pulling money out of your dad’s wallet. When you heard me start to open the door, you quickly started shoving the crumpled bills back into your dad’s wallet asking “is there enough room for all de money in Daddy’s wallet? I think there is not enough room. I think I will put it in Mommy’s backpack”. I was fully supportive of this move. Earlier in the week after asking “Where’s Daddy?” you answered your own question by saying “I think Daddy is at work making some money”. I’m very glad that you have put together that it is Mommy’s job to spend that money, which I presume was the reason for your enthusiastic redistribution of wealth today.

You’ve decided that the particular is superior to the general for just about everything. If I tell you something is in my bag, you quickly say “I think that it is called a backpack” or if I say “Look, Connor, there’s a bird” you respond “I think that it is called a pigeon”. I had to remind you one day that I have graduated from grad school and I do know a thing or two about what things are called, but you weren’t buying it for a minute. You also constantly say “I think” before statements and frequently say “I don’t know” even when you know the answer. You also try and mess with your dad and me by calling objects by a different name, which you think is very funny. You get your pronouns correct about half the time – but almost everything still leaves your mouth in the form of a question. You’re turning into one funny dude. Today, I told you that you were not making sense and you smiled and said “Connor IS making sense!”. You also told your daddy earlier in the day “That’s funny…hahahaha”. Sarcasm, Connor, might be your best coping mechanism in this house.

You learned to jump this month. Both feet legitimately leave the ground in tandem and rarely do you end up on your rear end. You show off this new skill to just about anyone who will watch. You can also use the "big swings" by laying on your tummy, you can climb the ladders at the playground, and you no longer flip to your tummy to go down most slides; you prefer to sit upright, instead.

Two notable events happened this month. First, you got a baseball from a baseball player at a baseball game as we sat 6 rows from the field. That was very cool. Second, the same friend of mine who gave us the fancy dan baseball seats took us to a “backstage visit” with the sloth bear at the zoo that he had won at a silent auction. While there, we got to feed the bear mealy worms through a long tube. You didn’t mind at all when the worms crawled around your fingers. Your dad did most of the feeding with you, but I played along a bit, and I didn't even jump or get squeamish once. This is my attempt to not pass on all my irrational fears to you. While watching the sloth bear, you remembered that this sloth bear looks a lot like the moon bear we saw take a swim while we were in Rhode Island last month. How you remember these things, I do not know.

I successfully filmed you performing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, complete with actions, and reading a book – or rather, chanting the words to a book – but I can’t share these great video clips with blog nation because I haven’t figure out how to get them from the DVD recorder to the computer. Let’s just say – you’re one cute kid. Your grandpa thinks if we both have the book memorized it’s probably time to get a new book. So, he sent you a new book, which is very boring, but again – you adore it. I think you might already have it memorized we’ve read it so many times. Thanks, Dad!

Your grandma, on the other hand, sent us much more useful things. She sent a pink blanket that she made for your sister and new clothes for both of you, but the only thing you considered might be for Baby Helen was the outfit that clearly did not fit you. Oh well, she’ll have her claws in all your stuff in no time. I suppose it’s only fair that you let her know you’re taking everything you want out of all packages before she has at them. My mom was surprised that you didn't realize the pink blanket was for Helen, but I don't think the thought ever crossed your mind.

I cannot report that you have become a good eater, but I can report that you eat clams, shrimp, and mussels. What’s that about? You won’t eat mac and cheese from a box, but you’ll eat things that most adults don’t care for.

Enjoy these last few weeks of being an only child, Connor. Pretty soon Helen will be here and it’s not clear any of us will know what hit us for a few months.


Friday, September 7, 2007

The whole baseball experience

The days at RFK are coming to a close. We won't be watching post-season action involving our home team, because well, that's life for me in baseball. Frankly, I wouldn't know what to do if a team I actually cared about was playing in October. The last time this happened for me was 1985. That was a long time ago.

All in all, Connor has enjoyed the season. He's certainly learned about the finer points of the game, which means he can dig through my bag,
looking for sunglasses or other entertaining items, and he fully understands the purpose of the concession stands and the lovely folks who come around bearing treats during the game. On Wednesday, he shared my lemonade, gobbled some popcorn, and then decided he needed some french fries. (And I wonder why he's hit the growth chart, finally!) At one point during Wednesday's game, we went up a few rows and a guy behind me actually remarked "that's the popcorn eating kid! Man...he made that stuff look good" because apparently he had watched the spectacle known as Connor shoving fistfulls of popcorn in his mouth whenever someone behind us will take notice. Prior to arriving at the game, Ed and Connor had been walking around and a random lady bought him a pack of peanut butter M&Ms from a street vendor, just because he was cute, I guess. Ed tried to pay this kind stranger, but she wouldn't take his money.

But most importantly, on Wednesday, a friend of mine gave me his law firm's tickets to the game. These are great seats - just 6 rows back from the visitor's dugout. Miraculously, we were on time for the game, and that was a good thing. As the visiting team was exiting the field after pre-game warm-up, the shortstop had a ball in his hand and as he looked up into the crowd to see who he could toss it to, Ed stood up, pointed at Connor and said "little guy here". And that baseball player - in mid-throw - changed the direction of his intended throw and tossed the ball right to Connor. Ed caught it, gave the ball to Connor, and Connor lit up. You see, like every other toddler I know, he loves balls. And Ed and I, well, we've always dreamed of getting a ball from a major league player, but we've never been so lucky. Not even the time I went to the San Diego ballpark on my birthday and anniversary and sat close enough that an outfielder could've tossed me one. Ed and I hollered, but we never got a ball.

Connor held onto the ball for a while, but Ed and I were seriously concerned that he would toss it (along with all of our dreams of owning a ball tossed around by an actual major league baseball player) back onto the field. But the next morning, the first words out of Connor's mouth to me were "Connor got a ball from a baseball player! Did we forget to bring the baseball and the baseball glove home last night?" "No Connor, we didn't forget. It's sitting on the dining room table."

And here's a little dance party in the seats!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Every few weeks, we head off to the midwife's office to check on Baby Helen. Before Ed and Connor meet me there, they often detour to the waterfront to check on the ducks. Apparently sometimes little birds will eat bread right from Connor's hand! This week, I met them there and we headed to see the midwife together, but not before snapping a few photos.

And as for Baby Helen's transport once she arrives, all I can say is "WATCH OUT!".


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sauce making weekend

A few years ago, Ed and I were at the Farmer's Market lamenting the fact that so many lovely "seconds" tomatoes were being sold so cheaply, and we weren't buying them! So, inspired by my Midwestern heritage and the memory from my childhood of my mother spending a few days each summer in the kitchen canning the approximately 3 million pounds of tomatoes produced in my dad's garden, we took the plunge and purchased a huge basket of tomates. We called my mom, got some canning advice in the hopes that we wouldn't cause anyone who came in contact with our sauce intestinal distress, pulled a few recipes together, and made a grand mess. We had sauce for the year, and much like my childhood (which at the time was certainly taken for granted), we avoided lackluster imitations of the real thing sold at grocery stores. We spent some time discussing what next pioneering feat we would attempt, but as of yet, we've failed to get ourselves off the grid.

Last year, with a one year old in the house, we knew that a big day of canning was not in the cards for us. For one, some stages of canning tomatoes are better done with two people (though my mom manages each year without a helper). And more importantly, we just couldn't bear the thought of bringing a mess into our home. I think Ed's rule was that we were only doing work that needed to be done - not creating work to do.

But this year, those heirloom tomatoes called, so we decided to introduce sauce making to Connor. As shown in the video, he's obviously a natural. And, just so viewers realize we do learn in this house - last weekend we made sauce and Connor took care of the tomatoes inside. This weekend, Ed moved the process outside.


Monday, September 3, 2007

When Ed is in charge of bedtime

I often wonder what goes on when I'm away from Ed and Connor. Apparently, Ed often wonders as well.

Last week, I went to my pottery studio for less than an hour. During this time, Ed had plans to put Connor to sleep. Did I mention Connor sleeps in his own bed...every night? I guess that's one detail that Ed didn't know, because when I got home, I found this:

I looked across the hall into my room, and found this:

The little guy was in such a hurry that he left his blanket on the floor next to the bed. On the bright side, the last time Connor attempted to sleep in my bed, he fell out. This time, he clearly staked out the middle of the king size bed as his territory, lessening the chance that he would plummet off the side at an inconvenient time.

When I asked Ed why Connor was not in his bed, Ed thought I was joking. Ed's claim is that in the few moments it took for him to walk downstairs and turn the monitor on, Connor scampered soundlessly across the hall, and fell asleep. On the bright side, the monitor is so overzealous with its job that Ed could hear Connor's rhythmic breathing as soon as he turned the monitor on, so naturally assumed all was well.