Ready, Not Ready

This past weekend I hit the magical 37-week mark of pregnancy (full term!) and my husband and I cleaned out our minivan. He vacuumed and rearranged the car seats; I cleaned the van’s interior with – what else? – baby wipes.

I also laundered various baby gear, cleaned out my boys’ closet, and starting shifting the toddler’s belongings from his room to his big brothers’. (Kiddo’s getting promoted – a.k.a. demoted – to the rank of “roommate” here in the next week or so. Poor thing.)

I haven’t yet started washing baby clothes, but I am very proud of myself for having pulled out an overflowing bin’s worth of gender neutral-ish clothing from my (much too large) stash of boy stuff.

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All that is to say, between the 37 weeks and the weekend’s accomplishments and the fact that (according to last week’s sono) baby girl likely weighs about 8-and-a-half pounds already, by the end of the weekend I was officially Ready For This Child To Be Born.

But then Monday happened.

Monday happened, and though it contained nothing but normal, low-level mishaps, it left me wondering (not for the first time) how I could possibly think I’m fit to handle four children under the age of six. Here’s a sampling of that evening’s Facebook activity:

It’s 5:27 on a Monday evening. At this hour, responsible stay-at-home mommies up and down the east coast are diligently preparing healthy dinners for their families. But me? I’m upstairs hiding from my boys, eating a chocolate doughnut.

My second chocolate doughnut.

However, today was the day of pink eye, pacifiers dropped on exam room floors, toddlers sucking on public chairs and sticking their hands in public (urine-filled) toilets, little napping, excessive screaming, and cackles from the child to whom I’d just said, “You gave Mommy a hard time today, didn’t you?”

So hide I shall.

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Update: I returned from hiding just in time to catch Today’s Offending Party removing his poopy diaper. And then putting on a fireman’s helmet to (happily) dance around stark naked.

Today is begging to be mommy-blogged.

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My beloved tormentor.

Last week, I was all set to update you fine folks on the health situations I mentioned on New Year’s Eve.

“Though I sit here with a raw nose, watery eyes, and a throat dry from open-mouthed breathing,” I was going to say, “I didn’t want to wait too long to tell you kind souls that things are looking up for our family, health-wise. (Mostly. Because in a household of six people, what would cold and flu season be if somebody weren’t sick at any given moment?)”

But then last week happened, and this one too. And I’m no longer feeling perkily overconfident that we’ll all soon be healthy. Our stupid, nasty cold is hanging on for dear life. Child #1 now has an ear infection; child #2 has an eye infection (and has developed an allergy to the antibiotic prescribed to address it). Child #3 and myself are still congested, sneezing, snotty messes. Brennan has somehow (thank goodness!) escaped the so-called “cold,” but his mother has just succumbed to it.

As much as my sore body wants (Not So) Little Miss Baby Girl to arrive as soon as possible, my good sense really, really wants us to be healthy when she makes her appearance. So I’m feeling a little more down now than I was when I drafted my “things are looking up for our family, health-wise” post.

Still, on one very important count, things are indeed looking up: Brennan seems to be firmly on the upswing. Though he’s still somewhat fatigued, his numbness and weakness are fading. (What a relief!) He’s still experiencing some of the negative effects of the spinal tap – occasional headaches, feeling like his brain is bruised – but he’s not bogged down by them like he was that first week. Every day seems to be getting better, slowly but surely.

Honestly, it’s been like I’m looking at a different (happier, much more comfortable) person from the end of December. The boys and I are so glad to have Brennan “back.”

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Somebody was very sad when Daddy had to go back to work after Christmas vacation.

As for me (insofar as the pregnancy is concerned), Baby Girl and I are coming along fine. I’m still experiencing occasional episodes in which I feel faint and I’m contracting (what feels like) pretty much all the time – but I’m fine. Everything is checking out as it should. And unless I go into labor by myself before then (ha! unlikely!), it looks like we’ll be scheduling an induction for sometime around the 24th.

Which is about ten days away.

So… I suppose Brennan and I ought to wrap up some loose ends so we can plant ourselves firmly in the “ready” camp, hm? (That, and we need to get our family healthy.)

Last but not least: Thank you so much to all who have been praying for us and otherwise offering support. I find your kindnesses at once uplifting and humbling. Thank you, thank you.

Little Scientists And Cheerful Mischief: 7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 32)

It’s a gray and gloomy day in these parts. (I wish I’d made it to the orchard for apples – talk about perfect baking weather.) And we’re closing out yet another week of gloomy news. See this piece if you’re in the mood for a cry. And don’t miss this one for a valuable lesson:

Every moment of your life has meaning, and your suffering is not in vain. You have a right to be here. Every moment of the life you have been given is a gift, and nobody has the right to take it from you.

Not even you.

So (sniff, sniff) I thought I’d wrap up the week with a bit of cheer, courtesy of my boys whom I love so very much, even when they spend half the day fussing and sobbing.


7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!


After our two failed attempts at celebrating our newly-minted three-year-old’s birthday last week, this past Saturday we went to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, where we succeeded! We’re falling into a little pattern of hosting a birthday party for our child one year, then doing a fun day trip as a family on the following birthday. And so on and so forth. This year our four-year-old got a party and our three-year-old got a day trip. Next year we’ll switch.

So anyway, last weekend we did the Science Center and it was perfect. My parents met us there, but very few other people seemed to have had the same idea, so we just about had the place to ourselves. The birthday boy’s favorite game to play these days is “mooseum,” so he was thrilled to get to go to one in real life. He kept talking about how excited he was to see the dinosaurs that came alive at night and the animals that stampede down the stairs.


Lack of living exhibits notwithstanding, he and his big brother especially loved the dinosaurs. We had to visit that section of the Science Center twice. They also enjoyed the kids’ room, the weather exhibit (including an actual mini tornado you could stick your hand into!), and the electricity exhibit. (Which Grandpa, a DIY’er and electronics buff, probably enjoyed more than the average visitor.)











We saw an IMAX movie (Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D) which I, personally, would have enjoyed much more if it had been in plain ol’ 2D. I think the boys would agree: they both took off their 3D glasses a few minutes in. The birthday boy then promptly fell asleep on Grandma’s lap. His big brother lasted almost all the way through the movie, until he needed to hit the can.

Birthday Boy was a little more antsy a few hours later when we attended the Planetarium presentation (Black Holes: Journey Into The Unknown). But his big brother enjoyed it and the baby, to everyone’s surprise, loved it. He laughed and squealed and had a grand old time. Who knows, maybe we have a future astronomer on our hands?



After a good six hours at the Science Center (I know – we were pushing it), we walked to the other side of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor so that Brennan, the boys, and I could grab some dinner. Mom and Dad headed home and left us to our own exhausted devices.


Aren’t they cute?

We really just barely made it through the meal: the baby screamed for the first few minutes (before falling asleep on my chest) and the four-year-old was teetering right on the edge of a meltdown the whole time. But we did it. We all ate and it was delicious.

T-Rex's like pizza.

T-Rex loves pizza.

We kept it together in no small part because of Brennan, who spent half the meal entertaining the boys with crayon drawings on their placemats. The birthday boy kept requesting pictures of dinosaurs eating one another. Perfect.





As we ate, and then later as we pulled out of the parking garage, we got a couple of quotes from the boys that wrapped up the day beautifully:

Brennan: “What was your favorite part of visiting the Science Center today?”
4yo: “Seeing Gwanpa.”
Brennan: “Seeing Grandpa?”
4yo: “Yeah, and Gwanma too.”


Brennan: “Boys, say bye to the science museum!”
3yo: “Bye science mooseum! I miss you!”
4yo: “Bye science museum! I hope we see you and your dinosaurs again soon!”



Moving on…

I feel like as our three-year-old becomes more verbal, we’re getting a clearer and clearer picture of his personality. And it is something else.

For one thing, he’s been using the word “baby” as an expletive. Any time he’s the least bit unhappy or feeling aggressive or confrontational, he spits out “Baby!” with a grimace on his little face. And because he’s figured out that it bothers his brother to no end, we keep hearing a little voice throwing out “Baby!” at random times, followed by his brother’s wail, “He said ‘baby’ to me!


The other day while driving in the car, the little guy was mad at his older brother for having done something to him. What? I have no idea. But he made it very clear just how mad he was:

“Dat wee [that tree] is mad at you and dat wee is mad at you and dat wee is mad at you… And dat sign is mad at you and dat caw is mad at you and diss caw is mad at you and AW DA DINGS is mad at you!

Yesterday while driving again, we were playing “I Spy.” Every time the boys found what I was spying, he claimed to eat it.

Me: “I spy a red sign…”
Him: (GULP) “I ate it!”
Me: “I spy a big, white truck…”
Him: (GULP) “I ate it!”



When we were waiting at the pediatrician’s office last week (because of my oldest son’s ear infection), I entertained the boys by reading one of the books provided in the office.

It was old and a little dirty and raggedy, but I quickly fell in love with it. The thing was hilarious. It (Our Animal Friends At Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen) listed all the animals on a farm, with the funniest, most unexpected descriptions for a children’s book:


IBN RAFFERTY is chasing Ichabod.

CHAOS is chasing Ichabod.

They don’t mean anything by it. It’s just that everybody chases ICHABOD.

Everybody except COMANCHE, who likes Ichabod, and LUCKY, who is fat, lazy, and good-natured and thinks only about eating.

Ibn is sly. Chaos is grumpy. Lucky eats too much. Comanche runs away and Ichabod chews up fences. Oh, well, no horse is perfect, but they are fun to know.


THE SHEEP are silly. They are so silly the geese can hardly be blamed for wanting to pinch them. Still, there’s something sweet about sheep even if they aren’t clever.


GOOD NEIGHBORS are valuable and well-loved. These dogs are good neighbors. They do valuable things…

Other dogs are foolish dogs who do useless, foolish things. These dogs aren’t around any more.

This dog chased cars and was run over. His name was CANNY.

This dog bit people. Now she lives in a kennel. Her name is BISCUIT.

This dog killed sheep and had to be put away (as the saying goes). His name was ARGOS.

This dog snapped at children and wet on beds. He is not around any more either. His name was SWEENEY.

This dog ran away from home and went to live with someone else. No one can remember his name.

HA! Having become a parent in 2010, I’ve become used to sickly-sweet, uber-PC children’s books. You might think ill of me for saying so, but what a breath of fresh air this one was!

I was nearly giddy about it, which made the pediatrician look at me a little warily. I thought of making the office an offer for the book on the spot, but I didn’t want to push my luck. So I emailed myself the book’s title and looked it up on Amazon when I got home.

Triumph! It’s still in print, and only something like $8 to boot. (Wait – right now it’s only $6.08! Get one for yourself!)



Guess who is already SIX MONTHS OLD? Isn’t that crazy? I think time flies faster with every child we have. It seems like he should still be a newborn.



I’ve got to close with the best grocery store pics I’ve snagged yet:


Wait. You need a close-up.


Isn’t that beautiful? And ridiculous? My boys do have an uncanny knack for falling asleep anywhere (and they have fallen asleep in the car cart before) but this… this was brilliant! Not only did it make for a peaceful shopping experience, but it elicited chuckles from shoppers throughout the store.

You never know how you can brighten someone’s day, do you?

Happy weekend, everyone! Be sure to stop over to Jen’s to check out all the other Quick Takers!