Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Practice Contractions?

Sunday night I started having contractions around 4pm. They weren't really strong or painful, just uncomfortable. I didn't know what to think so I followed my midwife's advice and had something to eat, a glass of wine and went to bed as usual. The next morning I woke up without a baby in my arms. So clearly it was a false alarm.

Monday night I had the same thing, only less strong. That time I figured it was fake. After all, real labor is bound to be more intense. Right? Again, my baby remained in my belly upon waking.

Tonight was the same thing. They aren't as frequent as they were on Sunday, but they are much stronger. I would go so far as to classify them as painful. But does that mean anything? Apparently not, according to another midwife. (I knew that already. I remember being told that. I was just hoping that the answer had changed.)

I have no idea if I'm in labor or not. And it seems the only way for me to tell is to wait and see if I get a baby from it. Since I have always expected to go late, I doubt it's the real thing. But if it isn't, this evening ritual will get old real quick.

Squiggle was induced at 40 weeks plus a couple of days. My body was not ready in the least. I've assumed that that means that this one will take its merry time as well. But one of the women in my Bradley class who swore she'd be two weeks late, because she was always late, just delivered early. That seems to mean there is no way to predict.

I'm trying to be patient and just go with the flow. It's not as if I have any control over it. But the not knowing is difficult. When do I call my midwife? My photographer? Who will be available to watch Squiggle? Many questions exist with few answers to go with them. I imagine it will all work out. This has been done for centuries. But that doesn't keep me from occasionally worrying about it.

Still, I'm excited. My baby is waiting to meet me. I feel the little movements and still love them. But the excitement is mounting. I am drawing nearer to holding my baby in my arms. God willing, I will be the first person to do so. It's difficult to wrap my brain around that idea. Tonight or two weeks from now doesn't really matter. My baby will be here soon. All our lives will be forever changed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

39 Weeks

That's a reality check for me. I've been unaware of how close this birth is. It's not really denial, just a general unawareness of time. It's been this thing that is coming up, but not imminent.

I've been making slow progress on my goals. I'm not thrilled, but I am content with it. And, after all, I have time. (Yes I know I've been complaining about not having enough time, but that is due to the weeks of steady work I'd have if I wanted to accomplish it all.)

Last night was my last Bradley class. I knew it was the last one, but that fact still didn't clue me in. After all, just because we finished the series doesn't mean that we'll all go into labor and have our babies now. One of my classmates might not even deliver in 2011.

However, I was looking at the calendar to see when the next convenient Midwife Circle was. (My midwife doesn't make appointments, she just has "office hours" when she is there and whoever wants to stop by, does.) In the next couple of weeks there is only one that is not in the morning.

Then I realized that I only have one week before I'm due. Yes, I could go late, but that was my moment of realization. This baby will be here soon. Very soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Those Last 5 Pounds (Not What You Think)

Okay, so I'm not much of a dieter. Growing up I never had to be. My metabolism worked for me and my weight didn't get to be a problem until about a year before I got pregnant with Squiggle. That's when I went on my one and only diet. Ever. (It worked until I got pregnant.)

But I've known many women who say that the closer you get to your goal, the harder it is to make any progress. If you have an extra 100 pounds the weight comes off relatively easily at first. But those last five pounds...

Well, that is what cleaning is like to me. When confronted with a complete shambles, I can get a lot accomplished, rather easily, in a short amount of time. Toss the trash, put away any items that are obviously out of their already-been-designated place; it's easy. But I have a tendency to quit at that point. Why? Because what remains is those last five pounds.

The little things that I don't quite know what to do with or haven't gotten around to dealing with. A sample of belly rub. A random band-aid. Some small toy that I think might be "Transformers" related, but I'm not sure. A note from my husband that I can't bring myself to toss. Yes, these are all things I came across today on my quest to shed those last five pounds from our bedroom.

Our bedroom looks good. The best it's looked in our married life. If I were being honest, which I am, it is the best a bedroom of mine has ever looked. But there are still those "things" laying around. Little things that I tend to overlook because I don't want to think about them. But they are there. And I have decided to deal with them.

It is slow going. Sometimes I walk from one end of the house to the other to put away one thing. That's the sort of action I would never have done before. But I've come to realize that it is the exact thing I need to do in order to have any hope of achieving and maintaining a tidy house. If I allow my laziness to goad me into procrastinating until the trip is "worth it" then I will likely never make the trip. At least not until there is a big mess again. It needs to be done now, while I'm thinking about it.

While it is hard to stick to that resolve, especially being as hugely pregnant as I am, I have to. The alternative is to live in filth the rest of my days. Worse than that, I'll be taking my family with me. So clean I shall.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Could've v. Could Of

There is no such phrase as could of. What people really mean is could've. It is a contraction of could have. As in, I could have written a longer post, but it wasn't necessary.

The same goes for would've and should've.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perspective: Half Clean or Half Messy?

Yesterday I took a day off from cleaning. All I did was maintain. By that I mean that used dishes got washed, dirty clothes were deposited in the hamper, etc. But I didn't try to break any new ground. It was after all Sunday, the day of rest. My husband convinced me to nap instead of clean. The nap was several hours long so I guess I needed it, but I digress.

Today I decided to get back at it. It's rather difficult to get motivated though. Maybe you're one of those people that enjoys cleaning for some reason, I'm not. The word chore definitely applies in my case. A past problem has been that I look at all that needs to be done and get discouraged. How could I ever possibly get it all done? It tends to overwhelm me.
Library, pre-clean.

Taking it in small pieces, not even allowing myself to think about more than the task at hand, has helped. In fact "just doing it" has resulted in a clean and organized laundry room, guest room, sitting room and kitchen. My master bed, library, dining room, family room and nursery aren't bad either.

This has led to a new issue. One that I've never had to deal with before. Now I look at my home, through eyes accustomed to seeing a cluttered mess, and see my house as clean. I've let up on my quest because my house looks so good. To me. Then I pretend that I'm my grandma. Oh, now I see it. There's still tons to do.
Look past my cute family to see the mess that I try to frame out of my photos.

I've done a lot of work. I'm proud of myself. The excuses that always seem to crop up about cleaning in the generations after my grandma have not stopped me. My husband is also proud of me. And has said so many times in the past week. This has two contradictory effects on me. Part of me wants to show him that this is nothing, wait 'til you see it when I'm done. The other part of me preens and sees my job as almost done. (Which leads me to sit back and enjoy my delusions of being done.)

The truth is... my house is better than it's ever been. AND it still needs a lot of work. There are many nitpicky little things that I have to figure out. (For instance that tiny corner of counter space in the kitchen.) There are bigger things as well. We still have a number of boxes to unpack. The tough ones full of miscellaneous things that do not have obvious homes. The stuffed animals need to be sorted and put up in the nursery pet net. My studio, well, it needs me to figure out storage solutions for the myriad craft supplies and photography equipment, while still looking nice enough to use for my photography clients. Assuming I get some. The floors, walls, baseboards, windows, nooks and crannies could use a good cleaning. My cabinets and closets would benefit from streamlining. I could go on.

So which perspective do I choose? Do I go with the one that makes me feel good about myself and fires me up to maintain the good work I've done but does nothing to motivate me to continue making progress? Or do I go with the realistic one that deflates me with all that is still left to do? Is there a happy medium that will enable me to see the work that needs to be done, but in small increments that my new-found housekeeping self-esteem can tackle? I don't know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conquering the Kitchen

In my quest for a clean house the kitchen is always a sticking point. It is the most difficult room to get and keep clean.

I love to cook. I also possess many gadgets that help me do that. With all due respect to my ancestors, I know that if I have to peel my veggies with a knife or puree hummus by using five different knives and a potato masher, it won't happen. Of course, the more gadgets one has, the more gadgets one has to store somewhere. This has been a problem for me. Ideally, I'd like to have everything grouped together in a way that makes sense to me. But I don't have the room. So I have to fit things in where I can. This makes things less ergonomic than they could be.

Procrastination and constant use combine to make things more difficult. There are always dishes being used, needing to be washed and not a big desire to wash them. After dinner we just want to relax. Washing, drying and storing dishes is not relaxing. But when dishes are left out, at the very least it creates clutter. For me that opens the door to adding to the clutter. It's like when I'm confronted with a pristine piece of paper to draw on. I can't bring myself to make a mark because I don't want to mess up the page. But as soon as it's marked I feel free to make a further mess. (If you'd ever seen my attempts at drawing you'd understand the use of the word mess.)

When I decided to clean my house I started with least used areas first. My reason was that it would be easier to keep a room clean if it was seldom used, rather than heavily traveled. This has proven accurate. My laundry room has stayed as clean as I got it. As has the guest room. But the kitchen has been a constant thorn in my side. I see it multiple times every day. It gets used every day.It sapped my energy every day. So I decided to do something about it.

To be honest. I was detailing all the things that needed to be done and mentioned that the kitchen was the one room that bothered me the most. So my husband asked why I didn't just tackle it next. And tackle it I did.

It has been a two day project. In all honesty, I thought it would take longer. The counters were covered with stuff, the stove top and floors were filthy, spiderwebs were found in nooks and crannies; it was bad. So Friday I just started out to make a dent.

There wasn't really a plan. I just started. Consequently I didn't think to take any photos. Once I started I just didn't stop. Squiggle and Bug were both napping and I just turned on the radio and went to town. I got the entire long wall segment done. Then later, when Squiggle's really annoying dolphin movie was on, I went back and did some work on the island. Today my friend Leslie came over and helped me tackle some of the buggier areas. Piece by piece, in some cases item by item, the mess was chipped away. Now I can honestly say my kitchen looks good. There is only one teeny-tiny corner that has any clutter.

After that I still have work, but it can wait. I have numerous boxes of Tupperware and the like that need to be matched and stored, and I'll need to reorganize the cupboards. But I keep repeating my new mantra, "Good enough IS good enough." And this is good enough.

P.S. Tonight we had a pizza mishap and instead of leaving the mess to be cleaned up later, I cleaned it tonight. And you know what? It was quick and easy. Imagine that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

English Lesson: Why bother?

So I had an interesting thread on Facebook. Improper use of language irritates me. Most things are not that difficult and I don't understand why people write so abysmally. I'm not referring to complicated things, just simple things that anyone who went to school should know.

Blatant errors bother me even more when they are committed by people who should strive to do better. For instance, anyone who teaches a child should know the basics. Or care enough to learn them. People who are arrogant about their intelligence should know how to use words properly. Anyone who cares about getting the true meaning of something written should understand that word choice matters. And, for crying out loud, if you are promoting yourself as an editor/proofreader, your business advertisement should be free of errors.

Last night I couldn't stop myself from posting about a new trend I've seen. I'll save the specifics for a later post. But it has cropped up in so many places that I had to inquire of my editor/English major husband if I had been wrong all these years. He, and a few others, assured me I hadn't.

So when I saw it in an ad for editing services, I had to comment. Yes, on Facebook. I got an interesting reply. Someone said that while rewording would make it clearer, it was still understandable as it was. Dialect was also mentioned as an excuse.

This started me thinking. Do things like grammar, punctuation and word choice really matter? I believe they do. Here are a few reasons why.

1) Understanding great written works. I'm not talking about the latest romance novel or thriller, although it is possible that those authors also use deliberate language. I'm referring to books that are crafted. Where the writer knows exactly what he is intending to say. (I am using the grammatically correct "he" to avoid the incorrect "they" or the cumbersome "s/he." It is not meant to imply that only men can write well.) For those wondering, this includes the Bible. A change of one word can alter the meaning. Example: A lord versus the Lord. So can any number of "little" things that are often dismissed as inconsequential. For a crude example on capitalization I offer this sentence from a friend's wall: "Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse." Get it?

2) Writing great works. Or even not-so-great ones. There are many great things that can be done with language. But you can only do these things by understanding language and how to use it. Sadly, it will only matter if those reading it understand as well. Subtlety and nuance can only be communicated through careful use of language. It offers a way for an author to mislead the readers, without lying to them. Then when the reader is surprised and goes back to gather evidence about the plot not making sense, none can be found. (What? Oh, I'm the only one who does that? Okay.) Sadly, much of the time I do find things that don't work. Even more depressing, the trick usually would have worked by  restructuring certain passages without changing the story at all. 

3) Catering to the lowest common denominator is a bad idea. "Who cares? It doesn't matter as long as we agree it doesn't matter. They're just words." Let's see what else we can apply this to. Finances: Why should I pay my bills when others just default? I think our economy speaks for itself. Morals: Why should I abstain from ______ when my culture doesn't condemn such behavior? We need only to look at how our country is falling apart to answer that. 

In the words of every parent on any TV show, "If your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"

4) The job market. While the number of employers who care about such skills may be dwindling, they are still out there. Communication is important. Those who recognize good writing are likely to admire it and judge the author as intelligent. The reverse is also true. Personally, I have a difficult time accepting the content if the form is flawed. So if you want me to think that you are intelligent and pay attention to what you have to say, you had better communicate effectively. That means using words that actually mean what you are using them to mean, spell things correctly, punctuate your sentences for clarity, use proper grammar and proofread.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And That is Why You Should Ask in a Clear Manner

I love bins. I would store everything in them if I could. I would have bins to store my extra bins. Okay, that is an exaggeration. But bins are great. Especially when they are the same type and stack.

It's no secret that I'm not the most organized person. But I've found that even if I can't keep things in a correct spot, I can keep them in a general area. Like a bin. I have one for my instruction manuals, one for my scrapbook keepsakes and several others that are less important. The two I've named are particularly important because I keep coming across things to put in them. Because I haven't been able to find them, all this stuff has been floating around, loose and free to clutter up my house.

At home I have mentioned on several occasions that I don't know where those bins are. I've looked for them to no avail. With no answers forthcoming, I determined there are currently only three possible places they could be hiding.

The first: In my husband's office closet. He has tons of bins and boxes stacked in a way that could probably manage to hide my bins. I highly doubted that they would be there because he would hardly be likely to allow any of my junk to clutter up his domain. And there is no way that he would have mistaken my bins for his. Just. Not. Possible.

The second: Our cubbyhole under the stairs. Slightly more likely. It is where a bunch of my stuff got put so that I could move around in my studio to try to get it in order. But all the stuff under there was originally in my office. And I don't remember my bins being in my office. So I doubted that pulling everything out would help.

The third: My garage. The way things sit now is this. There is an outer layer of metal; bicycles, lawn mower, etc. Then comes the middle layer of insulation in the form of empty boxes and coolers. Lastly there is the center with all the boxes filled with stuff. I don't know what stuff, because I can't reach it. It was the only place left to look. But when I did my graceful, tiptoe-peeking into the tangle, I didn't see any hint of them.

But where else could they be?

Well. We had a discussion this afternoon. I was asked what I needed to get the house in order. It was a long conversation, but the relevant part came when I talked about a specific part of the house. The part that has a bunch of paper strewn about because I can't find my place to put it. I talked about my frustration at not being able to find my bins. Then it came. The solution.

"You mean the bins on the garage lofts?"

Uh, what? Oh yeah, you mean the lofts that have a bunch of bins on them? Sure. I guess they could be there.

In our old house the garage ceiling was lower. The lofts only had enough room for our holiday stuff and some off-season clothes. I guess that was why it never occurred to me to look up. When I did, there they were. My beloved bins. Beautiful.

So there you have it. If I had pulled him aside and specifically asked about my bins, I could have had them months ago.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gratituesday, Huh?

So things have been kind of crummy lately. Shoes have been dropping and threatening to drop all over the place. Many, many opportunities to worry. And I do so like to worry.

I think I'm a bit superstitious about it. Maybe if I worry enough then the bad things won't happen. At least I'll be prepared if/when things go wrong. Right?

Not exactly. All I do is make myself miserable in the present. A better solution would be to just deal with the problems as they happen. That's not to say that I should ignore things if I see bad news on the horizon. But I could prepare without worrying about it. I should prepare without worrying. But that's a bit off topic.

I was talking about gratitude. Or at least I was getting around to it. You see, I have been having a lot of negative emotions lately. Worry, fear, anger; these things have been preying on my mind. Piling on top of each other. So when I stumbled across a blog hop about gratitude, I initially decided to pass it by.

Then I changed my mind. I decided that gratitude is just what I need. Gratitude is incompatible with these other things. To be grateful one must acknowledge the good things in life. And there is almost always something good in life, even if it doesn't seem like it. The trick is to see it. Then give thanks for it.

I have many things to be grateful for. My wonderful husband and daughter. The new baby currently wriggling around in my belly. We have a house that we are turning into a home. A neighborhood that we feel safe enough to go for family walks around after dark. We are able to cover our hard expenses, even when it is difficult. We have friends and family who care about us. The list does go on.

But I think I've gotten the point.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Ten years ago I woke up. My then boyfriend (now husband) had come over to my apartment when he should have been at work. I am not much of a news person. It is usually depressing and very often not relevant to my life. Knowing that horrible things happen daily is not something I need to spend an hour watching on TV.  But this was different.

At first I thought I was watching a movie or a hoax of some kind. Slowly the realization came that it was real. I saw the towers come down and knew the world had changed. I knew we were at war.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Impossible-to-Fail-At Peanut Butter Cookies

A friend introduced me to these cookies. Maybe it was the late hour or the homemade-ness, but I couldn't get enough. I actually ate three of them in one evening.

Maybe this is no big deal to you. Maybe you can tolerate eating a whole batch of cookies and still have room for ice cream. I, on the other hand, cannot consume too much sugar in a short amount of time without getting sick. Being aware of this quirk of mine, I rarely overindulge. I also am fairly picky about sweets. Since I don't have much of a sweet tooth, if I'm going to eat empty calories they better be darn good.

These were.

She said the recipe was foolproof. I decided to test that claim. The recipe is simple. So simple that I didn't even write it down. Until now, that is. (Hold on while I check my cookies.) Mix one cup of sugar, one cup of peanut butter and one egg. Bake at 350 degrees.
My supplies, assembled.

Simple, right? Apparently they are impossible to over or under cook. They are always crunchy. Even though I usually prefer soft cookies, I still decided to give them a shot.

So since I am actually making these as I write this post, I have no idea how they'll turn out. I added chopped peanuts and chocolate chips to the mix. (Not my idea, my friend had them in hers and I really liked them. Plus, I like nuts in cookies.)  Because I am taking them to a pot luck I decided to double the recipe. Here it is.

2 c. peanut butter (I used natural creamy)
2 c. sugar (although I'd like something else if anyone knows of a healthier substitute)
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1/2 + c. chocolate (I threw some extra in at the last minute without measuring)

I tried using my hand mixer to mix the first three ingredients. While it worked, it wasn't easy. Next time I will probably use my standing mixer or just do it by hand. Then I used a wooden spoon to ad the chocolate and nuts.
The dough with my precise measuring equipment.

My impression of the dough is that it was dry and crumbly. Not knowing what the texture is supposed to be, I decided to try baking a batch and see how it worked. After rolling them into a ball and slightly flattening them, I baked them in my wonderful toaster oven for ten minutes.

So they were good. In my husband words, "A bit grainy and doughy, but I like that." Just in case they could be improved I experimented with the second batch. I added approximately 2 tablespoons of water and mixed. It came out more moist than I expected. I guess a little water goes a long way. Mental note made. The dough ended up very sticky. I increased the baking time to 15 minutes. They were still good, but I think the first batch was better.
The difference between my first and second batch.

The folks at the potluck seemed to like them but we did have some to take home. So I don't know. I liked them and will be making them again. I guess if any of you make them you can let me know what you think.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Because We Care" Country Fair

Last week I saw this event advertised on a friend's Facebook site. (I know, it always seems to come back to Facebook, doesn't it?) A group of people, family and friends of Rob Grimshaw, put this fair together. Originally it was to raise funds for his treatment, then he passed away. Now the funds are earmarked for his medical and funeral costs. I didn't know him or anyone connected to him. But this sounded like fun for Squiggle and the money would go toward a good cause.

I decided to load up my Squiggle and take her. It advertised a petting zoo, bounce house, a giant horse, pony rides, swimming, paddle boat rides, "train" rides and a bunch of other stuff that I thought would be too advanced for my not-quite-two-year-old.

After an uneventful hour-long drive I arrived. Actually I overshot it and had to do a u-turn in the middle of the highway, but that wasn't a big deal. In Nevada you can do that sort of thing. It has something to do with long flat roads filled with no cars.

Taking a trip, alone with a toddler, into the middle of nowhere was a bit daunting to me. But I decided to go with it. The worst that could happen is that I would get lost and we'd all burn to death in the desert. (Yes, these are the things I worry about when my mind is allowed to wander.) Since that was unlikely to happen I felt that I shouldn't let my more reasonable fears (tantrums, bathroom availability, water shortage, fatigue, shall I stop here?) stop me either.

Here's my report: It was fun and I'm glad I went. But I doubt I'd do it again. First the bad stuff, to get it out of the way. Many of the things did indeed prove to be impossible for a not-yet-two-year-old. She couldn't ride anything that I couldn't walk alongside. And even if I were not 34 weeks pregnant that would be impossible.

The stroller was mandatory to carry all the junk one seems to need when preparing for a day of fun away from any backup supplies. Unfortunately that means that the "shuttles" were not an option for us. So we didn't end up going to the lake area. When I heard someone telling a group of teens that it was too far to walk, I decided that probably applied to us too.

The face painting and carnival games were just too advanced for her. There was a bounce house that I thought she'd love. She didn't. It probably would have been different if I could have crawled in there with her, but that wasn't going to happen. Oh well.
This is the happiest she got in there.

Since it was run by volunteers and not professionals, many things were not available. The people just weren't there to run it. I doubt it was anyone's fault, just one of those things that hopefully gets ironed out with experience. So some of the things she may have liked were not available.

Now for the good. The petting zoo. Not the part with the animals in cages that people couldn't reach and would have bitten anyway, which happened to someone else. I am referring to the bunnies. Bunnies. BUNNIES!!! Yes, my daughter liked the bunnies. They were kept in a box/pen/thing that was 3 - 4 feet tall. They just roamed free and kids could go in there and play with them.

Well, I was not about to allow my excitable and none-too-gentle daughter to go in there alone, so we both ventured forth. She immediately sat in one of the kid's chairs (MINE!) and with outstretched arms demanded (CARRY!) which was my cue to provide unto her a small, fluffy creature. She was quite adorable kissing and petting the bunnies. Of course I couldn't let her hold any. They jumped down as if they too were familiar with Of Mice and Men. But she loved touching and watching them.
Baby and bunny.

As for me, I got to practice my squatting and my midwife would be very proud. I held out for quite some time before I decided to overturn one of the chairs and pray it wouldn't collapse under my weight. It didn't. Squiggle seemed content to look at and only occasionally touch the bunnies. At one point I thought we'd never get out of there. (I think it was around that time that I started imagining myself as a character in one of those '80s movies about a Vietnam vet who escapes from a POW camp to wreak havoc on some evil-doers.) Eventually I abandoned my precarious perch for the ground. It was probably around the time I saw her eating scraps of hay, rabbit food and who knows what else off the ground. After all, if I let her eat it I shouldn't balk at letting it touch my overalls, right?
Nice cage.

Finally I bribed her to assist my escape with the promise of a cookie. Specifically an animal cracker. Appropriate, no? Then after a brief detour by the crops and their sprinklers (a very welcome interlude) we hit the Pony Ride.
Any cookie would be better than this.

We only had about 30 minutes before we had to leave and we still had a lot of tickets. My only choices were to go to the food tent and buy one of everything, or try my toddler on a pony. For perhaps the only time in my life, I decided against the food. So I paid my tickets and plopped Squiggle down on a pony.
Yes, the inflatable woman is me.

My plan had been to hold her on the pony as we walked around in a circle. She disagreed. A few seconds after it started up she grabbed onto the saddle horn and pushed my hand away from her. She probably could have done fine by herself, but I hovered anyway. She seemed to be a natural. I don't say this to brag. It doesn't thrill me. Due to a youthful mishap with a horse I am not overly fond of the creatures. (Read: terrified of them.) Maybe I'll confess that story some other time. Suffice it to say that I never envisioned having an equestrian in my brood. Clearly, my fear has not been genetically passed on to my first-born.
The best shot I could get. Just because she was okay with solo riding doesn't mean I was.

She didn't stay on the pony for the entire ride. Instead she opted to get on and off several times. There was, after all, some very fine dirt to play in. Literally fine. It was practically sand. I found it rather enticing, myself. She finished out the time playing with the sandy dirt and the dog who liked it as much as she did.

When it was time to go I happily discovered that we were very close to the car by a short cut. Squiggle did not put up a fuss and we easily made it back to the car and then home again with no further excitement. Daddy brought us food when he returned from the boring indoor game he chose to play instead of adventuring with us. All played out, Squiggle went to bed easily and I got to shower without my tiny companion.

All in all, a successful day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Word Choice: Patients V. Patience

This is by request. A friend asked me how to tell the difference between patients and patience. I admit to being stumped for a while. Personally I don't find this one confusing, but many people seem to. I see the mistake all the time. I think it may have something to do with the fact that both of them come from the word patient.

Patients is the plural of patient. A person who goes to a doctor.

Patience is the virtue that a patient person is said to have.

Yup. I could be a patient (virtue) patient (of a doctor). And patients (of a doctor) need to have patience (virtue that keeps them from going crazy while waiting).

Here are some possible ways to remember:
      The group of people who go to the doctor (patients) is the plural, so an "s" is added to the end of the singular (patient). The virtue (patience) has the same ending ("ence") as another virtue, silence.  
       Or, patients with an "s" are sick, patience with a "c" is having an attitude of wait and "c"/see. That one is courtesy of my husband who tends to be more clever than me.

Feel free to add to these if you like.

Week 36: Reflections

Perhaps it comes from having tried for so long to get pregnant the first time and not knowing if I'd ever have a family the way I envisioned it when I was younger, but I've been determined to enjoy my pregnancies. It was hard, during infertility, to hear all the women complaining about how crummy pregnancy was. The aches, pains, inconveniences, etc. I did know that it wouldn't be all sunshine and lollipops. But I still remember the complaints of these ungrateful (as I saw them) women. "My baby moves and it hurts." Would you prefer the alternative? "I'm so fat." Really? "I got pregnant as soon as we started trying. Why couldn't it have taken longer?" Uh, you're upset that you got what you wanted, when you wanted it? Most hurtful: "I don't know why anyone would do this on purpose" Yes, she knew we'd been trying for years. Most bizarre: "I can feel the hair of the baby on my cervix. It's so annoying." Really?!?

I knew from experience how upsetting these comments could be to someone who would jump at the chance to change places with the whiny ones. So I determined not to be one of them. For the most part I think I've succeeded.  I try to focus on the positive and ignore the rest.

Along the way I've had some problems. But I know that there are women who aren't as fortunate as me. Ones who would love to be in my oversized shoes, because they're the only ones that will still fit. Having been one, I empathize with them and try to be considerate.

I also realize what a privilege it is to be pregnant. Fortunately most of the pregnant women I've encountered share that view. There are only three out of the countless ones I've known who never said a positive thing their entire pregnancy. And none of them were pleasant to begin with. So I'm not sure they count.

This baby inside of me is a blessing. There is no other reality. (Every baby is a blessing. Even the ones conceived by those who don't want them. Even the ones who don't qualify for the commonly accepted definition of "perfect.") Despite the physical complaints I'm still determined to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. Especially the wriggling. Then when Wriggly makes a grand entrance I will have no regrets about wasting the precious time I had to be pregnant. Even if this is my last time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36: Breakdown

Warning: This is the whiny part of the story. As I was typing it I realized that I had two different posts. It might flow better if I posted them in reverse, but I like to get the bad news out of the way so I can be left with the good.

Wow. So now I have to acknowledge that I'm at 36 weeks. This baby is no longer an abstract "future" that can be ignored until a later date. My denial ends tonight.

I had been going along quite merrily. Sure, there have been a few rough spots. The three months of morning sickness were not fun. (Let me just say that I can't imagine having it my whole pregnancy. That would be grounds for adoption or only child-dom here.) Then there was the sciatica month. I didn't care for that. But mostly I have have just minor nuisance complaints, typical of pregnancy. Through it all I knew that the payoff was a miracle known as a baby.

However, this past week has brought me to THAT point. You know the one. That one where Mommy is ready for her baby to not be in her belly anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm still terrified of having two kids and my house isn't ready and there's so much still to be done... But physically the scales have tipped.

My body is breaking down. The ligaments/tendons/muscles/whatever are displeased with the tasks assigned to them. And they are rebelling. It started about a week ago. I was getting up off the floor and made a rather graceful arc back down as I felt a pain in my inner thigh and my leg failed to hold me up. It's probably not serious, just painful. My midwife suspects a pulled muscle due to my "condition." Not pregnancy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Since then things have been uncomfortable. Groin muscle, round ligaments, uterus, back... all have been uncomfortable. Tonight, or today rather, came the inability to sleep. I woke up in the four-o'clock hour and couldn't fall back to sleep. Heat and my pains kept me up enough to start my brain thinking about all the worries floating around in my head. I laid there long enough to realize that I wasn't going to sleep anytime soon, then I came down here to share with all of you.

Don't you feel special now?

So I am at that fun point where I am at war with myself. I am not ready to let this baby out into the world. I love feeling its wriggly little movements and seeing the bulges when it stretches. I love my round belly that clearly is pregnant. Even if random strangers always ask if I'm having twins. Last time people just thought I was fat, so this is nice. I know that a major life change is right around the corner, and I want these last weeks to savor my life as it is now. My husband, my daughter and me. I want to soak up as much Squiggle as I can before I am forced to put her aside on occasion for Wriggly.

Mentally, I am content to remain pregnant until 42 weeks if need be. Psychologically, I will miss the movement. I don't know if I'll ever be pregnant again. This could be the last time I get to feel another life growing inside of me. And it is a feeling I cherish even when it is, shall we say, more forceful than I'd prefer. It is nothing short of amazing. Last and definitely least, I'd like more time to organize my living space. It is not how I want it and once Wriggly comes I'll make no progress for a long time. So I'd like to make it nice now.
A sample of mess.

I resent the physical limitations placed on me right now. The pain and fatigue are keeping me from enjoying these last few weeks. My prayer is that these complaints will go away, or be manageable enough to shove into the background, so that I can enjoy and take advantage of my remaining weeks as a pregnant mother of one, before the world recognizes me as a mother of two.

I apologize for any typos or awkward writing. I'm tired and probably not competent to proofread accurately. Not that I ever am. :-)