Friday, November 11, 2011

Girl Traps

Much of Parents' Night at O's preschool focused on social interactions and group dynamics. O's teachers commented that this year, his pre-K class seems to be unusually focused on boys vs girls games, a phenomenon that they are trying to gently diffuse. Apparently O is right in the thick of the boys group. This was interesting news to Hubby and I because last year O played mostly with the girls, disliking the boys' favorite superhero/villain activities. O's teacher pointed out, "Well, now he's matured and caught up to the rest of the boys." Every day stories come home about how today they played "Bad Guys" or "Catch the Girls." Frankly I wouldn't have minded if he stayed a little immature for longer! But I couldn't help but laugh at this conversation on the way home from school last week.

O: "Mom, guess what I'm going to do at school tomorrow!"

Me: "What?"

O: "I'm going to build Girl Traps!"

Me: "Girl Traps? What's a Girl Trap?"

O: "Well, I'm going to build a cage, and then make some pretend pretty wooden bows! And then when the girls come to take the pretty bows then they'll get trapped in the cage! HA HA HA HA HA!"

Me: "Oh....Well why do you want to do that?"

O: "Because they're girls!! But don't worry Mom. It's just pretend!"

Me: "Hmmm...well, I think the girls might be too smart to get caught in your trap."

O: "No, Mom. They like bows! They'll think the pretend wooden bows are real bows. Because they'll be pretty! And sparkly! And then they'll get caught in the cage!"

(thoughtful pause...)

O: "But maybe you're right, Mom! I know! I'll put a sign on the cage that says "Boys Trap!" That will trick them, because it's really a trap for girls! HA HA HA HA!"

Sigh... Who knew my middle child was such an evil genius? Or that preK girls were so into hair accessories?

Monday, October 24, 2011

We've been BOO-ed!

After years of apartment and townhouse living, I am really loving having our own home. One of the things I am looking forward to the most is finally amassing a collection of decorations for the all the different holidays that the kids enjoy. We didn't have too much for Halloween this season, but luckily the kids were happy to create some handmade decorations for me!

I love the look of our front door now! A closeup of one of the windows will reveal another reason we are loving our new home...

That's right! We've been BOO-ed! Earlier this week, the doorbell rang and the kids were confused to find that no one was there. They soon discovered that a mysterious bag full of candy and Halloween trinkets had been left on our doorstep. A letter of explanation explained that we had been BOO-ed! Our mission, should we choose to accept post the BOO sign on our door, and to BOO two houses that have not yet been BOO-ed.   So off to the store we went to pick up some treats for our version of the BOO bags. The next night the boys couldn't wait for it to get dark enough to head out and BOO some neighbors. They spent the day practicing how they would run away after they rang the doorbell. The stomping feet and giggles that spilled into the house when they came back were sure signs of a mission accomplished! I love living on a street where people BOO each other. I hope this is only the start of the boys growing up with a real sense of community!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ramona is still a pest!

Even though I have a kindle and rarely buy paper books anymore, I still love perusing the piles of books at Costco. It gives me ideas of what to download on my kindle, and I can always pick up great gifts there too. I also love seeing what children's books they have, and last week, I hit the jackpot! I found "The World of Beverly Cleary", a collection of 15 books, for only $25!!!

I was an avid reader growing up, and Beverly Cleary's books were some of my favorites. C reads well on his own, and O has just started reading, so I thought now might be a great time to pick up these books. I had a vision of sitting down with the boys and slowly working our way through this collection of books a chapter a night. But, there was a small wrench in the works... They're boys! Would they be as taken with Ramona and Beezus as I had been as a young girl? I think I would have put the collection back if it had only contained the Ramona series, but luckily it also included 3 Henry Huggins books and 3 Ralph the Mouse books, and I figured the boys might at least like those. And what a steal! How could I pass up that price?!

Turns out it would have been a huge mistake to put back the Ramona books. When we came home, the boys were eager to start reading. Hooray! The big propaganda speech that I gave them on the drive home (about how these were some of my favorite books when I was a kid and I was so excited to finally get to share them with my boys) clearly paid off.  I had planned to start with "Henry Huggins" but "Beezus and Ramona" was the first book in the box, so C wanted to start with that one.  So I took a deep breath and dove in.

And they loved it! After the first chapter was finished, they begged for another, and then another, and I ended up reading until my voice was hoarse. Both boys were taken with Ramona and how naughty she could be. They also seemed to really understand how Beezus was torn between loving her sister and finding her just so annoying, because I am sure they feel the same way about each other at times. I was amazed how quickly the stories came back to me as I was reading. I began to remember exactly what would happen as we continued on, eagerly anticipating how Ramona would eat just one bite out of all the apples and how she would bake her doll in Beezus's birthday cake.  We finished "Beezus and Ramona" in two nights and immediately the boys began begging for "Ramona the Pest." While they enjoy reading, usually they are begging for TV and videogames, so begging to read a book in the afternoon was quite a nice surprise.

It's been great to rediscover these stories with them, and amazing that they are still so relatable 50 years after they were written. Hours of reading, snuggles, and a whole new generation discovering Ramona. Not bad for $25!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Challenge accepted!

C seems to be settling into his new school nicely. He really likes his teacher and I'm starting to hear the names of certain classmates over and over, so hopefully he's making some new friends too. He was so excited that the first graders finally started to have homework last week, which included 8 spelling words, a reading log, and a couple of pages of simple addition and subtraction. Last Friday, he had his first "spelling challenge" and was thrilled with his results.


Monday, September 26, 2011

All Thumbs

My mom is a great gardener.

I am not.

Every time my mom visits, she brings me a plant. Which is almost always dead the next time she visits. Did I forget to water it? Water it too much? Not enough sun? Too much sun? Who knows? I definitely do not have the magic touch when it comes to plants. My mom always takes the pathetic specimens back home and usually manages to revive them. It's amazing!

So, plants and I have a questionable history. But now that we finally have our own house, I'm hoping to improve. I've managed to keep the hanging plants that the previous owners left behind alive for these last few weeks, although that probably says more about the hardiness of those plants than it does about any improvement in my gardening skills. But, ever hopeful that I will get the knack for gardening, my mom came over this weekend and brought along some chrysanthemums and bulbs to plant in our new front yard. After digging a couple of holes, O lost interest pretty quickly, but C was quite into the whole project and kept announcing "I Love Gardening!!"  Hopefully he'll get the green thumb that seems to have skipped my generation! For now, I'm really enjoying the new additions to our front walk. Hopefully they'll still be alive next week!

And we all can't wait to see if any of those crocuses, tulips, and daffodils come up in the spring! If one afternoon of planting really leads to a spring full of blooms, I might be able to get into this gardening thing. As long as I have C to help me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

47 Tall

O: "Mom, I can't wait to be 47!"

Me: "Why do you want to be 47?"

O: "Because I want to be tall!"

Me: "But you'll be tall before you're 47. "

O: "Yeah, but 47 is a lot of tall. I want to be 47 tall."

Me: "OK."

O: "Wait, how old are you Mom?"

Me: "34. Why?"

O: "Wow! 34 and you are already tall. Mom, you're going to be really tall when you are 47!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jumping back in...

I feel like I keep posting "Wow, I haven't posted in a long time" posts. And that's pretty boring. So I kept waiting for something super interesting to write about, but that's just too overwhelming! So I'll just jump back in.

We've had a busy summer. We bought our first house, which I am loving more and more each day, despite the lack of furniture and lingering boxes. C started first grade in his new school and so far he seems to like it very much--a huge relief for me! O is in preK and is looking forward to staying for lunch one day a week. And Baby A, now 8 months, is an excellent sitter, a decidedly NOT excellent sleeper, and the proud owner of 3.5 teeth. I keep hoping when that other half comes in, he'll start sleeping better again. Wishful thinking, I am sure.

Anyway, hopefully I'll write more often now that we are getting settled into our fall routine. We'll see how it goes. Time just seems to disappear around here! Maybe it's because I spend too much time staring out the kitchen window...

Did I mention that I love it here! :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not quite sure this is working out right....

O: "Mom, you know what makes me happy?"

Me: "No, what?"

O: "When you let me watch TV."

Me: "Really? Is that the only thing that makes you happy?"

O: "No. When you let me do whatever I want. That makes me happy too!"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lazy Bones

As the older brother, it always frustrates C that O doesn't pull his weight when it comes to cleaning up at the end of the day. We've been working on getting O more involved by giving him specific tasks but this has only garnered mixed results.  So today I tried to motivate him with an incentive, by announcing that only boys who help to clean up the living room would have a brownie after dinner. But it looks like O is still just fine with the status quo where C does everything.

O: "Mom? Can we just make a new rule that C cleans up everything, and then I get the treat?"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last Day

Today is C's last day of kindergarten! I was so nervous to send him off, and now I can't believe it's over! He's had a great year, made good friends, and I am sad to see it end.

He's a little sad too. As he said yesterday: "Mom...this year is going by too fast. Because Mrs. Bradley is so nice, and tomorrow's the LAST day! And she's just the specialest teacher ever."

To ease the transition, they've been talking a lot in class about how next year the kids can come back and visit their old K room anytime. But since we're planning to move over the summer, for us a visit will involve a drive over to the old school, rather than just popping by on the way to the first grade classroom down the hall. But C loves his teacher, so I promised him we can drive over anytime he likes.

We've also been to tour what will be his new school, assuming the house deal goes through, and where I just saw a regular school, he saw something great. "Mom! This school is so nice!!" I hope he ends up loving it as much as he loves his current school. And that he gets another teacher he likes as much as Mrs. Bradley.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brotherly Love

I feel like life is moving so quickly right now and it's all I can do to keep up! The school year is winding down so we are busy with end of the year events. And after months of hunting and almost giving up hope that we would find something before it is time to renew our lease for another year, we may have found a house!!! Here's hoping that pans out.

So I haven't posted here as much as I'd like, but hopefully once things slow down for the summer, I'll be able to get back to blogging a bit more.

For now, here's a little snippet from yesterday...

Me (because I am not one to miss an opportunity to practice reading): "C! Look what Baby A got for a gift! What does his shirt say?"

C: "'Could I be any cuter?' Hey, Mom! That's a great shirt, because he is the cutest baby in the whole world!"

Me: "That's true!"

C: "Look O, Look what Baby A's shirt says! It says 'Could I be any cuter?'"

O (very seriously): "Yes... Yes, he could be cuter."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Three Generations

In what has become an annual tradition, we went for a nice nature walk on Mother's Day. This year, my mom joined us too. My mom loves gardening and hiking, so she was in her element, teaching the boys her favorite walking songs and asking them what trees they saw, what birds they heard, etc. They didn't know too many of the answers though, since I haven't taught them much of that stuff. Doh.

A really fun day!
When I was growing up, all my relatives lived overseas, so I only saw them every few years. I'm glad that my boys have the opportunity to get to know both sets of their grandparents much better.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I've had a hard time keeping up with this blog lately. There always seems to be something else to do, like finally putting away the winter clothes and pulling out all the warm weather stuff. I've tried to sit down and write a few times, but I never get the chance to finish a whole thought.  So I've given up on that for now. Instead, here are a few funnies from the last few weeks.

In response to my asking "Why does Baby A always spit up on me?"
O: "Because he thinks you're a milk target!"
Me: "Well, his aim is really good then, I guess."

*          *          *

While I was making dinner one night, Baby A started fussing. I asked C to help me by giving the baby his pacifier. C tried valiantly, but Baby A just kept spitting it out and crying. I couldn't help laughing when I heard this desperate plea.

C:  "Baby A! Baby A! Calm down! It's ok. You don't have to get so hilarious!"

Me: "C, I think you mean hysterical."

C: "What?"

Me: "Hilarious means very funny. Do you think A is being very funny? Or do you mean hysterical, like he's freaking out?"

C: "Well, I don't know what he is, but he's annoying!"

*         *         *

On the way home from school yesterday:

O: "My tummy is rumbling."

Me: "Does that mean you're hungry?"

O: "No. That means my tummy's mustache is wiggling!"

Me: "Your tummy has a mustache?"

O: "Yes! And it's wiggling!"

Me: "Why does your tummy have a mustache?"

O: "I don't know. It just does! But Mom? All that wiggling is making me hungry!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well that explains a lot...

O: "Mom! Mom! I know why I was having such bad behavior!"

Me: "Oh really? Why?"

O: "Because I was stuck in un-behave mode!"

Me: "Un-behave mode? What's un-behave mode?"

O: "You know, un-behave mode! But I found the switch, and now I am switched to behave mode!"

Me: "That's great! I wish I had known about this switch so we could have switched you to behave mode a long time ago."

O: "Yeah, mom. And I changed the remote, so now it only has one mode. There isn't even a switch to un-behave mode. Now there's only one mode. Behave mode!"

Me: "I love it! This is the best day ever! Hmmm...I wonder if your brothers are also stuck in un-behave mode..."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Since Baby A has arrived on the scene, we've brought out quite a few of our old baby books again. I think reading these has rubbed off on C because this afternoon I looked over and saw him making these on the computer...

The first few pages of his creation, entitled "My Book of Words".

Not bad! I'm glad I was able to convince him to print out these pages, even though, as he says, "But Mom! That's a waste of paper!"

I can't wait to see the whole thing when it's finished. Maybe he'll even read it to Baby A.

Now that would be awesome!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

About Face

O: "Mom! Mom!" (impatiently tugging on my shirt)

Me: "Yes, O?"

O: "Mom, you and Baby A are the greatest!"

Me: "Oh really?"

O: "Yeah, you are the greatest thing of my whole life!!"

I guess he does still love me! :-)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wasn't in a rush to reach this one!!

While waiting for C to be dismissed, O often plays in the side yard of the school...

Me: "O, if you want to play outside, you need to put on your coat."

O: "No! I don't need a coat! It's warm!"

Me: "It's only 40 degrees. You can either put on your coat, or wait in the car."

O (begrudgingly putting on his coat and stomping out of the car): "I don't need a coat! I don't like you! And I don't love you anymore!"

Yes, there it is. The "I don't love you!" milestone. Wow! That came out of nowhere. Amazingly, I don't think C has yet said this one to me, but here's O coming out with the dagger at just shy of 4!

Me (swallowing a sigh): "That's not very nice. But that's fine. If it's cold, you still need to wear a coat."

O makes a growling sound and then runs off, promptly faceplanting on the sidewalk. After making sure he was ok, I couldn't help but chuckle at the karma of it all. "See, you were mean to Mommy, and look what happened. Let that be a lesson to you..."

I wonder how long before he comes out with "I hate you!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bright Spot

Baby A is now 12 weeks old and I am beginning to see his personality develop. So far he seems to be a fairly serious baby, and spends most of his time quietly looking around and taking everything in. But a couple of times a day, for just a minute or two, he'll suddenly be full of smiles. And oh the excitement that creates! C & O start jumping up and down. "Look Mom! He's smiling at me!" I rush to get the camera to try to capture the elusive moment. I rarely do because the smiling bursts end almost as quickly as they start.

But in those brief moments when I see this...

 Or this... is perfect.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"You Wanna Be... A Loser Like Me!!"

As a former choir and band member, I've really been enjoying the show Glee since it premiered. The show follows the trials and tribulations of a bunch of high school students trying to start a Glee club. The characters on the show work hard to persevere despite being picked on, and continue to develop and share the joy they find in song. I love the message that despite what people think, music is cool!

Music has brought me a lot in my life...discipline, confidence, some of my very best friends, and even my dear Hubby, who I met in my college band. Who knew woodwinds could mix so well with brass? Looking back, I have no idea what my life would be like without music.

So far, the boys seem to enjoy music too. They love to listen to the Glee soundtrack (among other things) in the car, and we often have "dance/jam parties" to their catchier tunes. Right now C says he wants to play the trombone, and O (inspired by his favorite show "Little Einsteins") wants to play the violin. I've started looking into the best ways to teach them how to read music, and am trying to determine the right time to start them with piano lessons. I haven't quite sorted it out yet, but hopefully I won't screw things up!

For now they just love "rocking out" with their toy instruments. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when they say "Hey Mom! Maybe we can jam today?" Here they are "jamming" to Glee's latest song "Loser Like Me".

Future bandies?

I do hope that the boys continue to love music as they grow up. Maybe they'll even be in the band! But even more importantly, I hope they'll have the confidence to pursue whatever their passions are, even if their peers say it isn't cool. I hope that while they're having fun, they're also internalizing the song's message. And that they'll never lose those joyful smiles!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not so Subtle...

O's preschool teacher pulled me aside at drop off the other day, and said "I have to tell you the funniest thing that happened yesterday! O and some of the other kids were playing house in the dramatic play area. They all were having so much fun working together putting things in and out of the house and blocking the doors. When I asked them what they were playing, I was expecting some sort of "keep out the bad guys" answer because some of the kids have been into superheros lately. But instead O said the name of their game was...

"Put the Baby Outside!'"

(hmmm....I wonder if he's trying to tell me something....)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Let's go fly a kite!

Buzz Lightyear Kite
(Note the lack of snow on the ground for the first time in months!) 

It's finally beginning to feel like spring!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quirky Qwirkle

My big boys have been lucky enough to receive quite a few "big brother" gifts since Baby A was born, and the biggest hit so far has been the game Qwirkle. We've played this quite a few times already and I love it because it's fun for adults too. It's like a cross between Uno and dominoes with more complicated score keeping. C loves finding the matches and the grownups love figuring out how to score the most points on each turn. O doesn't quite understand the game yet, but he gets in on the action by passing out the game pieces.  And we all love the thrill of completing a "Qwirkle" (a row containing all 6 matching pieces).

One of C's favorite things to do at the end of the game is to say what he thinks the final pattern looks like, because it works out differently each time.  Here are some of our recent masterpieces with C's descriptions. Don't the brightly colored tiles look so pretty?!

"A one legged dinosaur"

"A weird house with two chimneys"
"A triceratops"

Monday, March 7, 2011


Last week C had a birthday. Unlike last year, C didn't ask for a theme cake. Instead, he seemed to care more about flavors, and asked for a chocolate and strawberry cake. So I made him this...

Yes...that's a "6" made out of strawberries.

I know.

I thought it must be a mistake too. After all, I can't possibly have a SIX year old! Because just yesterday he was this little guy!

And now, he's a kindergartener who matter-of-factly informed me, "Hey Mom! In 3 years, you can make me this cake again! Because when you turn it around, it's a 9!"

Only 3 years from 9?!? That alone was enough to give me pause, and then I realized that he's already one third of the way to 18. One third of the way to spreading his wings and going off to college.

Don't mind me when I hide in the corner and cry a little...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some vacation!

Last week was school vacation. It was not among the best we've had.

Why not? Let's see...

...Hubby traveled for work for the first 3 days of vacation, leaving me home with the 3 boys. Which would have been a challenge even under perfect conditions.

...As soon as Hubby left, I started feeling sick. It got worse and worse, so the next day I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat.

...Baby A decided that this would be the perfect time to experiment with never sleeping longer than 45 minutes at a time. Apparently he does not believe that people need rest to recover from an illness.

...I discovered that it is very difficult to manage 3 children alone when one can barely swallow or raise her voice above a whisper. And when one has not slept in 2 days.

...The day after Hubby returned from his trip, C was diagnosed with strep throat. O also started with a fever, so he's being treated too.

...When I finally started feeling better (thank goodness for Amoxicillin!!!), I spent the rest of the week on a laundry and Lysol binge.

Yup! I think I need a vacation from this vacation!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Of course, two minutes after I put this shirt on Baby A, he spit up all over it.

And then he peed on it.

And now he's wearing something else.

Yeah. I'm feeling the love...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Middle Child

Since the arrival of A, O has obviously become our middle child. Knowing that lots of people think of this as a negative, I started hyping up the coolness of this position months ago. "You know, C only gets to be a big brother, and A only gets to be a little brother, but YOU get to be both. Isn't that so awesome?!" I told him over and over. But he was really just excited to finally be a big brother like C, and didn't seem to really care about also being a little brother. So I didn't think my propaganda campaign worked. Until this afternoon.

When A woke up, O came running over and started jumping up and down frantically.

O: "Hi Baby A! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!"

Me: "Wow, you're always so excited when he's awake! You really like having a little brother, don't you?"

O: "Yeah! He's the little brother, and I'm the big."

Me: "That's right."

O: "But not the biggest. That's C. A is the littlest and C is the biggest, and I'm the medium brother."

Me: "You mean the middle brother? You're right, because you are a big brother and a little brother at the same time. Isn't that great?!"

O: "No, Mom! Not the middle brother! The medium! C is the biggest, and A is the littlest, and I am the mediumest!" 

Hopefully he'll always be this excited about it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sure hope that Phil was right!!

We've had a major snowstorm every week since A was born, and today we're on snow day number 4.

We need an early spring!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

The rest...

"Wow!" the midwife on call said. "Your water broke again?! It's so unusual for that to happen 3 times!" She told me to come on into Labor & Delivery, but that I didn't need to rush right in since third babies tend to come a little slower than second babies. But after the crazy labor I had the last time, I wasn't going to risk it! So, as soon as my mother arrived to watch the boys, we headed off to the hospital. During the drive over, I was hemming and hawing over what to do about an epidural. I had one with C's birth, but had an unplanned unmedicated birth with O. I had been debating the whole pregnancy about whether or not I should try for a med-free birth this time because my recovery with O had been so easy. "Why don't you just see what happens?" Hubby suggested. "But, I think you could do it without meds again if you want to."

Since I had not had a recent internal exam, I had no idea if I was dilated or not. Having no evidence to the contrary, I was optimistic that things might progress quickly like last time. So, when I arrived at the hospital I told the nurse I would like to try to deliver without an epidural.  But when I was finally examined, the midwife told me I was only 3cm dilated and about 50% effaced.
"Really?!"  I asked.
"We still have some work to do!" the midwife announced cheerfully.  I was not full of cheer.

On the drive over, I had convinced myself that I'd be at least 7-8cm, and having the baby in the next 30 minutes. Now that non-medicated birth was seeming like less of a good idea. I still wanted to try to deliver naturally, but by midnight, instead of picking up, my contractions had slowed down markedly. After speaking with the on call OB, we agreed to wait until 3AM  (6 hours after my water had broken) to see if things would pick up and start progressing again. If not, she would start Pitocin to augment my labor at that time. I tried sitting on a birthing ball to see if that would get things moving again, and after a while my contractions did pick up again. Soon I was feeling quite uncomfortable and was feeling a lot more rectal pressure with each contraction. Noting these changes, the nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural, but again, I was on the fence. I was quite uncomfortable, but maybe things were finally moving along?  She suggested that we have the OB do another internal exam to see what kind of progress I had made. I was so sure that the amount of pressure I was feeling was a great sign, that it was a shock to hear that I was only 4cm and still 50% effaced. "WHAT?!" I thought to myself, and immediately told my nurse, "I feel like a failure but I want the epidural!! If I'm feeling this much pressure and I'm only 4 cm, I'll never make it! I wonder why things aren't moving along this time?" 

The nurse reassured me that the length of third labors typically end up being somewhere between the first and the second labors, rather than being the fastest of the three. "I had an epidural for my 3rd baby, after going natural for my second too," she said. "I think it's hard to labor the third time if your second was so fast, because you have the expectation that things will be easy again. And then when it's not as quick, you get so discouraged. That's what happened to me!"  That made me feel better, and once I made my peace with the idea, I was excited to get some pain relief. I thought I would have to wait a long time, but within 5 minutes the anesthesiologist was there to start the process. While he was putting in the epidural, my whole body started shaking violently.
"What's the matter?" Hubby asked, concerned.
"I don't know. I can't stop shaking! Is it a reaction to the epidural?" I asked the anesthesiologist. But he and the nurse assured me that it was not and that the shakes were probably a sign of labor progressing.
"It's a good thing!" the nurse said cheerfully. But I wasn't feeling very good. The epidural had relieved the abdominal cramping, but I was still having awful rectal pressure.
"Hmmm..." the anesthesiologist said. "Still quite uncomfortable, huh? Let's top you off with some Fentanyl." But that didn't relieve the pressure either. In fact, I was getting more and more uncomfortable instead of less.
"It feels like right before I delivered O!" I said to Hubby. "There's so much pressure and now a sharp pain!"
"It's probably still just the position of the baby," the nurse said. "But let's get the doc to examine you and see where you are."

So the on call OB came back to check me. This time I was sure she would say I was only 5 cm. After all, I had been 4 cm not long before. But instead, she said brightly, "Yup! Your baby is right here! Would you like to start pushing?" And so I did.  15 minutes later, at 2:55AM, baby A made his entrance. I couldn't help but chuckle. Of course he was born 5 minutes before the time that the OB had planned to start pitocin. And immediately after I got the epidural that I agonized over and might not have needed in the end. That fits my stubborn child mold perfectly. 

But you know what?

He's so worth it!
Baby A: 8lbs, 8oz, 21 inches

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The beginning...

Sorry to keep my readers waiting!! It's nice to know there are a few of you out there! Unfortunately, getting a chance to sit down and actually write a coherent thought is difficult these days. But at the moment, the two big boys are in school, and A seems fairly content in his swing, so I'll try to get at least part of his birth story down....

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As I entered my 38th week of pregnancy, I was so tired and uncomfortable that I couldn't wait for the baby to be born. Hubby had been joking throughout the pregnancy that I just needed my OB to set an eviction date, and then we would know when the baby would be born. "As soon as she sets the date, you'll know that your water will break the night before." Hubby said. "Because that's what you do. And he'll be born on a Friday, because all our babies are born on Fridays!"  But since we'd relocated after O was born, I was now under the care of a new OB practice, and had no idea what their birthing policies were. Since this baby was also measuring big, estimated to be 9+ lbs at delivery, I tentatively broached the subject of induction with my new OB at my 38 week appt. "Well, this hospital is quite strict about not letting us do any elective inductions before 41 weeks without a medical indication. And a big baby can sometimes be that indication, but you've had large babies before..." my new OB said, her voice trailing off, clearly unwilling to commit to any plan at this point. I left the appointment despondent. Even though I knew she was doing the right thing to let nature take its course, the idea of waiting 3 more weeks for a baby was torture. I had really just wanted her to say firmly, "If you haven't delivered by XYZ date, we'll induce you." I finally admitted to myself that I had bought into Hubby's theory that the baby would be just like his brothers and wait until the absolute last second before making a spontaneous appearance. With no firm end date in sight, psychologically it felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. "With no eviction date, he's never going to come out!!!" I wailed to Hubby. And so, I went into the weekend fully prepared to be back at the office for my 39 week appointment the following week.

It's funny how quickly one's perspective can change. On Sunday morning, O developed a fever and spent most of the day clinging to me. I immediately flipped from wanting to have the baby ASAP to hoping he'd hold off as long as possible. "It's a good thing I'm still not due for another 2 weeks!!" I thought. "Hopefully, this will be a 24 hour bug, and if not, there's still plenty of time for everyone to get healthy before the baby comes. Besides, I have to wait a few more days for Gramma to get here anyway." Originally my MIL had been planning to arrive for a 2 week stay that Monday, and I had it in my head that I could go into labor only once Gramma was here to watch the boys. But then she postponed her flight, and was now arriving on Thursday.  Monday morning O seemed better, and we went through our normal routine. C went off to school and then I brought him to his afternoon swimming lesson.  While at swimming, I noticed that I was having more Braxton Hicks contractions, and that they seemed stronger than before because I was feeling some increased pressure with each contraction. "Maybe the baby is finally dropping down," I thought. "Maybe I really will go into labor soon after MIL arrives on Thursday. Maybe I really will have another Friday baby!!" But then pessimism took over. "Probably not...I bet I won't even have the baby until after Gramma's gone home again! Because she's leaving before I'm 41 weeks pregnant. And I'm not going to get induced before then..."

Unfortunately, by dinner time Monday night, O's fever had returned, and C was lying on the floor also feeling warm. "Uh Oh!" I thought. "I guess C is getting sick too." By the time Hubby got home from work, both boys were clearly under the weather and on their way to bed, and I was curled up on the couch feeling sorry for myself.  Around 9PM, I started feeling very anxious, and Hubby and I had this conversation: 
Hubby: "What's with you? You seem weird."
Me (grumpily): "I'm just tired. And stressed because the boys are sick. This had better be a short lived illness, and you and I had better not get sick, because I really need everyone to be healthy by the time I have the baby! And I'm uncomfortable because I'm feeling more pressure. But my contractions are still totally irregular, so whatever..."
Hubby: "Maybe you should call your doctor? I know you've been contracting for 3 months, but you seem different today."
Me (yelling): "I am not calling the doctor! What would I say?! I haven't even had a contraction in the last half an hour!  I am just stressed out because the kids are sick.  I am going to lie down on the couch and watch TV and try to relax. And the contractions will go away like they always do. Besides, C & O both have fevers, and your mother is not here yet! I am NOT going to have a baby today!  Just leave me alone!"
And so I settled down on the couch to watch the season finale of The Closer.  My rationale clearly hadn't reassured Hubby, but it made me feel better. I was NOT having a baby that day.

If I had been thinking clearly, I would have realized that I had just thrown down the gauntlet and issued a direct challenge to the baby.  I had told him to stay inside for a few more days, until my child care plan was in place and his brothers had recovered from their illnesses. And from previous experience, I should have known that my children never listen to my birth plans. Instead I got about 5 minutes into the show before I realized that my night was going to be very different than I thought.  

"You said you want me to wait until Thursday?" I imagine A was thinking. "Nah. I don't think so."

Because at 9:15PM my water broke.

Friday, January 21, 2011


In order to put A's birth story in perspective, I think I must start with the birth stories of his big brothers. That way you can see the ornery and contrary nature that my boys seem to have from day one...

Almost 6 years ago, towards the end of my pregnancy with C, my OB became concerned that I was measuring too large. A couple of ultrasounds indicated that C looked like he would be 9 1/2 pounds if I made it to 40 weeks. This was plausible because Hubby was over 9lbs when he was born, and big babies seem to run in his side of the family. As the pregnancy progressed, I did not. There were no signs of impending labor, despite the many Braxton Hicks I was having. No dilation, no effacement, and C was still floating high in my belly. As my due date came, my OB recommended a cesarean section to deliver C. As he put it, "I am concerned that there is a reason that he is not dropping down, and I don't want to induce you and try to force him out if he is too big. Because then you two, of all people, will be the ones who end up with a shoulder dystocia." While I wasn't thrilled about the idea of a C section, I wasn't thrilled about trying to force out a humongous, unwilling baby either, so Hubby and I agreed to this plan, and prepared for a C section that Friday morning.

I was a bundle of nerves Thursday night, anxious and excited about finally meeting my baby, but eventually fell asleep. Only to be awoken at 1AM when my water broke.  "What?! This isn't what was supposed to happen!!" I thought and immediately started panicking! On the drive into the hospital, I started having real contractions, and when I got to the hospital I had finally started to dilate and was now 2-3cm.  My OB said "I'm so glad this happened, because I really didn't want to have to do an elective C section on you. Your OR time isn't until 10AM, so let's see how your labor progresses. If it's not going anywhere, then we can still do the C section then, but hopefully we can avoid it!" And by 10AM, I was 7cm, so the new plan was to try a vaginal delivery. C was born at 1:11pm, only 12 hours after my water had broken. It turned out he was only 8lbs 9oz, and he could fit through my pelvis! Even though I had an uncomfortable recovery, after an episiotomy, 3rd degree tear, postpartum hemorrhage, and a brief fainting episode, I was so happy to have avoided a C section!

From then on, we all joked about how what a stubborn baby C had been. It was as if he had been biding his time until he was about to be evicted, and then said "Oh, you think you're going to come and take me out?? Fine. I'll show you! We're doing things my way!"

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2 years later, when I was pregnant with O, I had gestational diabetes, so I had weekly ultrasounds and growth scans. O was also measuring large, but this time around no one was really that concerned about it since I had previously birthed a large baby. But two weeks before my due date, O seemed to be a little sluggish on the ultrasound. I mentioned to the perinatologist that he'd seemed to have somewhat decreased movements in the last couple days, still moving, but not as vigorously as previously. The perinatologist was very alarmed and recommended that my OB deliver me immediately since I was already 38 weeks. My OB was much less concerned, and just recommended sending me the hospital for monitoring, which O passed with flying colors. But after a few days of anxious kick counting, and another appointment with the perinatologist who asked "Why hasn't your OB delivered you yet???" and reiterated the increased risks of stillbirth with gestational diabetes, Hubby and I met with my OB for my 39 week appt. Hubby told my OB, "You've got to do something. This perinatologist is making us feel like every day that the baby isn't delivered is a mistake, and it's making us nervous wrecks." Since this time around, I was favorable for induction, having been dilated to 3 cm for 3 weeks already, my OB agreed to induce me that Friday if I hadn't already delivered.  I was worried about being induced, because I wanted things to happen naturally, but I was more worried that something would go wrong if I didn't deliver soon. Hubby kept joking, "Don't worry! I'm sure you'll go into labor right before you're supposed to be induced. Because that's what you do. Our kids just need an eviction date before they'll make a move." I just rolled my eyes at him, and prepared for an induction at the end of the week.

That Thursday night I was too nervous to sleep well and tossed and turned most of the night. At 3AM I felt a pop and jumped out of bed, just before my water broke all over the floor. "You've got to be kidding me!!!" I thought. "Is this really happening again?!?!" I called the on-call OB and let him know what had happened. I wasn't really contracting at that point, so I asked him if I should just come in and meet my regular OB at 6AM (the previously planned induction time). But since it was my second baby, the on-call OB recommended that I come to the hospital just in case my labor progressed quickly. "No rush, but come on in in the next hour or so" he said. So after taking a shower, getting things together, and waking up Gramma to watch C, we headed off to the hospital, arriving about an hour and a half later.  Again, I started contracting on the drive over, and by the time we got to the hospital, I was starting to feel quite uncomfortable. By the time I got through registration and got settled in a labor room about 45 minutes later, I was very anxious. "Something's not right!" I kept telling Hubby. "I'm so uncomfortable and I feel so much pressure!" Hubby, in a misguided attempt to be helpful, said "It can't be that bad..." and pointed to the monitor. "Look! You're not even contracting at all!"  If I could have stopped clutching the side of the bed for dear life, I would have punched him in the face. "No, this is so much worse than when I had C! Something is wrong!" I insisted, so Hubby called for the nurse to ask for an epidural. But at that point, the on-call OB arrived, examined me, and announced that there was no time for an epidural, because I was ready to have the baby right now. "WHAT?!?" I thought. "This wasn't the plan!!!" but at that point I no longer cared. I pushed through just one contraction and O was born at 5:55AM with no medications and no tearing. At 6AM my regular OB strolled into the room, saw me holding my baby, and said, "Why didn't you call me?!?" "I figured I'd still be in labor at 6AM, so I thought you might as well get some sleep." I said. "Who knew the whole thing would take less than 3 hours from start to finish?!"  We all had a good laugh about that, and again joked about how my babies were so ornery and always overturned our best laid plans for their own better ones.

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But seriously, only about 1 in 10 women have their water break as the first sign of labor, so what were the odds of that happening twice? And for it to happen the night before our scheduled delivery both times?!?  It couldn't be just coincidence, could it? Through my whole pregnancy with A, I wondered...would it happen again?

Friday, January 14, 2011

A long time ago...

C came home from school today eager to tell us about Martin Luther King Jr.

"Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who lived a LONG time the 1900s!"

C then went on to report other facts about the civil rights movement and why Martin Luther King Jr. was important to our country, but I just couldn't stop chuckling at that first sentence.

And now I feel old.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Keeping it in perspective...

Both C & O ended up missing an entire week of school with this recent illness, and thus did not have a chance to tell their friends about the arrival of their new baby brother right away. By the time they did make it back to school, clearly other more interesting things had happened...

Me: "C, are you excited to go back to school tomorrow?"

C: "Yes! Hey Mom, maybe it will be my turn to share?!"

Me: "I bet you will get a chance, since you've been out for a week. What do you want to share with your class?"

C: "I know! I'm going to tell them how Daddy and I finally beat the Stormy Shores world in the new DK game."

Me: "Really? ........ You're going to share about Wii games?"

C: "Yeah! Because it was so hard! And we finally beat it!"

Me: "Hmmm...(looking pointedly between C and the baby in my lap)...Isn't there anything else that happened last week that you want to tell your class about?"

C: "Oh, right. The baby. Well, I want to share about that too, but I might only get to share ONE thing!"

Me: "And you think the Wii game is more interesting than having a new baby brother???"

C: "Well, Mom, they are both pretty fun. But that Wii game is REALLY hard!!"


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Well, that was a surprise!

After contracting for 12 weeks, I was fully expecting to be overdue, but Baby "A" surprised us all and arrived 10 days ahead of schedule! And thank goodness because he was already 8lbs, 8 oz!

Unfortunately, while the birth was fairly easy on him and me, A's timing didn't work out ideally for everyone else! Gramma missed the birth as her flight from FL wasn't scheduled to arrive until 2 days later, and C and O were also unable to visit us in the hospital because they have been sick with fevers all week. I am thankful to be home with all 3 boys now, but it was not the homecoming I envisioned, as I have been working hard to keep the boys away from the baby so he doesn't get sick as well. I can't wait until everyone is healthy again and I can break out the the "big brother/little brother" shirts for some photo ops!

Hopefully I'll get a few minutes to write down A's birth story before I forget the details! I'm finding that "mommy brain" is even worse the 3rd time around!