Saturday, May 31, 2008

25 months: some things I want to remember.

You put your boots on first thing in the morning.
You know what compost is, where we put it and what doesn't belong in there.
Shouts of "NEW CAR!" in your best Boston accent whenever we see an Element.
How you somehow transitioned from A,B,C,C,9,9,10 to the actual alphabet (more or less) in the space of a week.
How you pucker your lips in between the slats in your crib, because I can no longer lean over the boy to reach you at night.
How you pat my belly and say "heavy baby" when I ask you to walk, rather than being held.
How very much I want to hold onto this time that is moving so quickly toward a big unknown.
How when I am scared, you are there with a diced tomato box on your head.

I've asked you if you are a big girl or a little girl several times. So far, every time you have answered, "li-lil gull." And I am glad. I'm not ready for big. My baby. My first girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

post partum brownies: they're magically delicious.

For the record, my good friend Courtney was the first to correctly identify the quote from yesterday's post. If you haven't yet seen Juno, you probably should stop reading this immediately and rent it. Or at least head over to the Juno website and listen to the soundtrack, using your computer as a giant, free ipod. You're welcome.

Here's the recipe for the brownies that I always make for friends when they have babies. They're delicious and easy.

Melt together:
1 stick of butter (she just gave birth, now is not the time for margarine)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate

Meanwhile, mix together in a big bowl (I use a stand mixer):
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Pause to take a photo of your growing belly reflected in a sugar canister.
Then mix butter and chocolate into the big bowl with everything else.

2/3 cup flour
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes in a greased pan.

You may want to make a double batch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

supersize me.

In our house, there are three babies: big baby, little baby and tiny baby. Big baby is Claire's largest doll. Little baby is her mid-size. And tiny baby. Well, tiny baby is a 3 month old fetus figurine that she got from a Right to Life booth a few months back. Every once in a while, I'll find tiny baby in a jacket pocket or floating around in my car. Claire will ask for him, pop his little head in her mouth, binkie-style, and chew his little head. Dude has a lot of teeth marks on his tiny baby body. I'd post a picture of him, but I have no idea where he's hiding. I'm sure he'll turn up at some point, he always does.

Sometime in August, a new baby will be here. I'm thinking we should call him Really, Really Ridiculously Big Baby. This morning at my appointment, Really, Really Ridiculously Big Baby measured 3 weeks ahead of schedule. I knew that he was getting big, but I wasn't prepared for that big. My girl was 8 days late and over 9 pounds. There's no telling what Really, Really Ridiculously Big Baby could do. I know the ways that babies come out of their mommies and none of them sound that fun. Not that I'm nervous.

And now, a cautionary whale*:
This was taken a few weeks ago, but you get the idea. And self: please stop smiling like that, it looks weird and at this point, you could really stand to blend in a little.

* A batch of post-partum brownies for the first person to correctly identify this quote. I'm big and generous.

Monday, May 26, 2008

baby mine.

I have spent most of this pregnancy not thinking about the small boy growing inside of me, but about how his big sister will cope with the changes that he will bring to her world. How will she adjust to not being our only baby? How will she cope with giving up her crib? What the heck am I going to do with her while I am nursing a newborn?!?

For a month now, a shiny new toddler bed has sat assembled and unused in Claire's room. A few feet away, is her crib. I know I need to remove the crib. To pull the band aid off quickly. She will manage in the big girl bed. But after the first night of trying out the toddler bed, and hearing her cry, "Mah chib! Mah chib!" I just haven't wanted to tackle it. Also, the baby's room is an unbelievable pile of things that need a home and the unisex remains of Claire's infancy. At the moment, there is no where to put the chib, even if I could rip it from her clutches.

Here's what I know. Second pregnancy goes fast. My boy reminds me every day that he's here, with his big, huge needs. Ready or not, he's coming.

And always, there's her. Practicing huggies on her babies, planning to give him baths and cottage cheese. Reaching her arms up to me and saying, "uppie, Mama." Already sharing me in small ways even if she doesn't know it yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

paranoia will destroy ya.

It's weird how easy it is to become obsessed and paranoid in pregnancy. The day I found out I was pregnant with Claire, I didn't eat. Shocked, I was convinced that I needed to read a billion websites to make sure that nothing I ingested was going to compromise her health. Once the baby is on the outside, I relax considerably. As a mom, I try to be informed but not paranoid. Today, I failed.

A while back, I read up on the plastic in Claire's sippy cups and since they are fine, I figured that we were a-ok. So, this morning when a friend casually mentions that that water bottles that store our family drinking water are made of the bad plastic, I put on my best laid back face, but inwardly, I was cringing. The rest of the afternoon, I was online, reading and trying not to weep. The internet is not a friend for the pregnant woman. I read about the effects for babies who use certain plastics. I didn't realize until Nate got home that I hadn't had anything to drink for the entire 6 hours after my friend's warning. And yeah, that probably wasn't the greatest thing for our littlest one. So, drank a bunch of water, ate some chocolate, and watched Claire fingerpaint. I focused on enjoying her without thinking about chemicals seeping into her little body while she made her creations. I let Nate take care of the water situation and I took a much needed 7 PM nap.

Friday, May 16, 2008

swim suit season.

It's naptime. I'm sitting in my living room in my underwear, practically on top of the air conditioning unit. I won't be posting any photos of that. This afternoon, we pulled Claire's little purple plastic pool out and filled it up. It amazed me to watch how she played compared to last summer. She's not a baby anymore.

As I slicked her lil naked body down with sunscreen and then pulled her tiny swimsuit up over her tummy, I got nervous. It didn't look like the thing was going to fit. It eventually did, but why is it that mothers of boys always want their boys to be bigger and mothers of girls always worry that their girls are too big? My girl is lovely. She has a nice, round toddler belly and inherited a longish torso from her Dada. Still, I had to push thoughts of worry out of my mind. She eats fine. She is fine. She is better than fine. She's happiest when she's naked. I want to instill in her a confidence about her body that makes junior high locker rooms a breeze and naked blogging when she's 6 months pregnant perfectly acceptable.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

toddler grocery list.

This morning, while I was making a grocery list, Claire climbed up on my lap and said, "a list!" When I asked her what she wanted to pick up at the store she suggested in this order:
1. Pancakes
2. Potatoes
3. Dada

Sunday, May 11, 2008

of washing machines and happymamaday!

There was a time early in our marriage when we had no money and a broken washing machine. As soon as it broke, I sent Nate to buy another one because of course I needed a new one THAT DAY. I've never been great at waiting. Anyway, when we returned from purchasing the replacement washer, a friend pulled into our driveway with a perfectly good washer that he didn't need anymore. Ouch. God wanted to bless me but I wanted to bless myself. That, friends, pretty much sums up my experiences as a believer. I don't write about my faith much here. Not because it isn't real or important to who I am but some things feel so personal and how do you begin to express the hugeness of that gift? It's so much bigger than washing machines.

If I had written the script for my life, I would still be without children. I would be finishing up grad school right about now. Nate and I would probably still live in that tiny house with no insulation. I'd probably be driving a janky old Volvo. I'd have no stretchmarks, better shoes, no Claire.

Today in church, I felt my little speck of a boy move inside me to the same music that stirred his sister not long ago. And I cried. This morning, Nate taught Claire to say, "Happy Mother's Day." She came running to me saying Happymamaday! Happymamaday! In her tiny hands was a card that she had signed herself. A more lovely gift I can't imagine. I am grateful for plans that are not my own. I am grateful for one wee, kicking boy. Even when I try and make my own plans, I am stopped short, turned around and given the greater gift. I am grateful to be their giant.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

things i've done while pregnant.

1. Tried countless times to open the back door of my house with the keyless unlock thingie for the car.

2. Made reservations for Mother's Day brunch 3 weeks early (yaye!) Didn't realize that the reservations weren't for Sunday, but were for Saturday at 11:00 until Saturday at 11:30 (boo!).

3. Cried when the brunch-lady called me. Cried when I got dressed this morning. Cried when Claire put her tiny hands on my belly and said "I love you bruder."

Monday, May 05, 2008

a monday quote.

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?"
-Rachel Carson

Friday, May 02, 2008


Dear Claire,
Last week you turned two. I was busy gestating your brother, gaining six pounds and planning your birthday party. Lots of friends brought baboons, and you had a wonderful time. You have taken to carrying a lone, withered balloon around the house and several times this week the bedtime song you requested is "Happy Birthday to you."
I find myself wanting to hold you more. Wanting to kiss your hair and listen to your little stories. I find myself wanting to squeeze the life out of these last four months while you are my only one. I know that the heart will expand to make space for this new baby. I know it. I know it, because I felt it happen with you. Still, it's just been us girls for so long now that it's strange to imagine us with another baby.

You're already making plans for the baby. You mentioned giving him a bath. You picked out a little beanie for him. You go in his nursery and check things out. You aren't worried. I'm glad one of us thinks we can handle this.
I love you, girlie.
*Thanks, Sarah for the pictures.