Archive for October, 2005

Before we lived in our house, Nathan and I rented a duplex in a nearby town. The unit was right on a busy street that served as the parade route every July 4th. The last time we attended the parade, a city official was handing out boxes of Crunch and Munch to the crowd. Nathan and I were waving our hands at him hoping to get his attention. He looked at us and said, “I’m passing these out to families,” and breezed right on by.

I looked at Nathan and said, “Can you believe that guy? If I were him I’d be looking for voters.”

Whenever I look back at this incident, I’m still a little offended that Mr. Crunch and Munch had the gall to tell me I was not part of a family. Did I have to have a child in my arms and one clinging to my leg in order for him to think I was worthy of his snacks? What about my dog? Didn’t she count as part of my family? She certainly thought so and would have enjoyed sharing the Crunch and Munch with us.  The word “family” somehow implies a plural number more than two. A man and a woman living together aren’t really a family but a couple. Even a cute dog and some annoying cats added into the mix still doesn’t count as family. You have to have that child to make a family, right? I don’t think so.

Having a child is like adding honey to your tea; you’re taking something good and making it sweeter. The honey doesn’t make the tea if the tea already tastes wonderful. So in other words, Nathan and I were good as is. Our relationship was solid and we loved each other’s company. We laughed at each other, rolled our eyes at each other’s occasional stupidity and were best friends. We could have gone on like that forever, but somewhere along the line we decided we were ready for that honey.

We’ve had a long time to get to know each other, and for that I am so grateful. Last night I asked Nathan one of those questions that only a woman would ever think of asking.

“Do you ever wonder what our lives would have been like if we’d had this child ten years ago?”

Of course he hadn’t, but my own question started me thinking. Ten years ago we were so new. We had just moved in together and had gotten engaged. We may have thought we knew what we were doing, but in reality we were stupid as only two people in their early to mid ’20s can be. We had crappy jobs and made little money. I had quit school yet again and couldn’t figure out what to do with my life. I remembered some of the fights we had, the horrible things we’d said without thinking and tried to fathom a child in the middle of all of it.

“I don’t think we would have made it,” I said.

It was frightening to think that a child could have destroyed us just as easily as it is making us closer now. Had we not had those ten years to just be together, we may have never become each other’s family.

“I guess things happen the way they do for a reason,” I said.

“I guess so,” he replied.


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Family Outings

We went to a farmer’s market today. It was about an hour away, towards the lakeshore. I heard they have good cheese there and we needed a pumpkin anyway.

Nathan wasn’t too keen on going until I offered to drive. Driving has always been a funny thing with us. Neither of us like to do it and we have an unspoken rule that the primary driver of whichever car we take has to drive that car. I always make sure to sit my butt down in the passenger side of Nathan’s car whenever we decide to go out.

Today’s outing was really nice. Traffic was light and the colors are still beautiful. In a couple of weeks most of the leaves will have dropped and everything will be brown and bare. I would have liked to have taken Molly with us. She loves to be in the car and is an excellent rider. I love looking in the rear view mirror and seeing her head sticking out the window, ears blown black and nose twitching.

Our conversation in the car revolved mostly around the baby, as it does most of the time now. I mentioned that this may be the last spur-0f-the moment trip just the two of us take. Nathan confessed that he had called Ryan yesterday and ended up talking first to Marla, who urged him to take advantage of whatever free time we had left. That’s another reason why I didn’t get much resistance to the farmers market idea.

As much as I’m looking forward to finally meeting my child, I have to realize that I have few precious days left that belong to just me. I can go to a farmer’s market an hour from home, run to the mall on a whim or spend the evening on the couch downstairs without worrying if someone upstairs needs me. Soon I won’t be able to take a shower without worrying about leaving my child unattended. I won’t be able to just run down to D&W for a gallon of milk without wondering if I should wait until Nathan gets home or just pack the child up in her car seat and take her with me.

I can’t remember the last day that didn’t involve doing something for the baby. Today’s thing was stopping at Lowe’s to purchase a remote control with a dimmer for our bedroom ceiling fan since the girl will be sleeping in our room at first. Hopefully by keeping the lights dim at night I won’t wake Nathan and she won’t be so over-stimulated that she won’t go back to sleep after a feeding and diaper change. We also installed our car seat bases, an easy task if you have newer cars with a LATCH system (which we don’t).

While part of me is thrilled at starting this new chapter of my life, the other part is starting to miss the life that was. It’s not as though I was writing great literary works or curing cancer. I just liked being lazy and having time to do whatever I wanted, even if it was watching “Law and Order” for three hours straight.

Tomorrow will be another outing,this time to Nathan’s parents’ house, also about an hour away. We have the car seat installed and will be taking Molly with us this time. We want to see how she is with the seat in the back. We even have a baby doll to strap in as a surrogate until the real thing arrives.

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Thank heaven…

Nathan has been doing most of the cooking since I’ve been pregnant, but last night was a tag team effort. He made soup and I made sandwiches. Grilled cheese sandwiches to be exact.

I grilled a sandwich for Nathan first and put it on a plate behind me. I let him know his sandwich was done and started to make my own. Not two minutes later I turned back around and noticed an empty plate with crumbs where his sandwich had been sitting.

“Where’s your sandwich?” I asked.

“On the couch,” he said.

I craned my neck. Sure enough, there was the freshly grilled sandwich sitting on the couch. No napkin. No plate. Just the sandwich. On the couch.

I yelled at him as only a wife can yell at her husband. “What the hell is wrong with you? I put that on a plate for a reason!”

He sheepishly took his plate over to the couch and placed the sandwich on it without a word.

And I once again thanked God that I’m going to have a girl.

It’s easy for me to make light of the silly things Nathan does because he makes up for them in spades. For every grilled cheese sandwich incident, he redeems himself by doing things like:

Making dinner.

Taping the last 20 minutes of “Law and Order” for me when he sees I’m starting to fall asleep.

Putting the laundry in the dryer after I fall asleep so that I have dry pants to wear to work the next day.

Not getting on my case about neglecting the dirty dishes after I promised two days in a row that I’d do them and he knows I wouldn’t be as nice to him if he didn’t do them.

And these are just the things he did for me last night. Just one night in however many nights we’ve been together. I always knew I’d be a pain in the ass if I got pregnant and I’ve pretty much lived up to my prediction. Nathan hasn’t complained much though. I tend to forget that he suffers even though he’s not the one carrying the child. After all, he’s had to put up with me.

I’m a very lucky woman.

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I’ve heard it said more than once that the human race would die out if men were responsible for giving birth.

I was sharing with Nathan my hopes that this baby will come soon and on her own so that I won’t need to be induced. While he also hoped I wouldn’t have to be induced, he was skeptical that I could get through the entire labor without an epidural. This both offended and scared me because he’s supposed to be my main source of support throughout the whole thing.

“I’ve never seen you in pain before,” he said. “I just don’t know what to expect.”

Men and women handle pain very differently. Nathan and I are no exception. I tend to withdraw into myself and prefer solitude when I’m sick while he requires frequent attention and sympathy. Unfortunately for my husband, I’m more like a drill sergeant than a nurse when it comes to making him more comfortable when he’s needy.

I explained that if I do have an epidural it will be my choice to ease my pain, not his, and that I don’t want him by my side urging me to call the anesthesiologist if things get too intense for him. “You’re just going to have to trust me,” I said.

I also reminded him that never having seen me in pain should be a good indicator of how well I’m able to cope. “Remember when I whacked my finger on the ceiling fan when I was working on the baby’s room this summer? That hurt like hell but I sucked it up and moved on.”

I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t buy a word of it. I can’t blame him really. What we’re about to face is a whole lot different than nearly breaking a digit while cleaning. I’ve stubbed my toe and accidentally sliced my flesh while prepping food, but he has never seen me in the kind of pain that’s painful to watch. He’ll feel helpless, but I assured him that I will ask for that epidural if I feel I can’t take it anymore.

I guess we’re getting nervous. We’re nervous about the delivery, about becoming parents and about being able to afford this child. Yesterday Nathan told me he had a dream that my brother was our nanny and living with us. “You know,” he said, “it would save us some money if Sean could take care of the baby while we’re at work.”

My brother is unemployed and living off my grandmother’s good will in my great-grandma’s old house. Nathan figured we could have him move in with us, thus taking him off my grandma’s hands and saving money on day care. While I found the idea amusing, I couldn’t help but point out the obvious. “Sean knows nothing about taking care of children,” I said.

“Neither do we,” said Nathan. “But we’re going to have to learn.”

While I love my brother, I don’t like the idea of him taking care of my child. Right now he divides his time between television and Playstation with occasional trips to my grandma’s house and the blood bank to sell his plasma. “The idea here is to minimize the trauma we inflict upon our child, not add to it,” I said.

We actually ended up visiting Sean at home yesterday. We hadn’t seen him in a few months and were curious to see how he was doing. He and Nathan mostly talked about football while I enjoyed the vibrating recliner in his living room. Nothing was said about being a nanny. Even if we had made him an offer, he wouldn’t have considered it. Living under the same roof again would totally ruin our relationship.

As we stood outside and said our goodbyes, Nathan noticed a rather large, wet box resting against the house next to Sean’s side door. When asked about it, Sean said it was something our uncle, who lived in the house before him, had ordered but never picked up. “If he could care less about it, so could I,” he said.

Once we were back in the car Nathan marveled that Sean wasn’t even curious about what was inside the box and was willing to just let it sit outside and rot like that.

“And this is the person you’d like to watch our daughter?” I asked.

“Um, no,” he said.

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I think these last few weeks are going to be very dangerous ones as far as my wallet is concerned. We have everything we need and yet I can’t stop looking for more things to buy the girl. On Sunday I went to Meijer and put the Fisher Price Jumperoo on layaway and wondered if she would like a Boppy 5-in-1 Fun toy or just the Boppy Tummy Play pillow. I ended up with neither, but that’s not to say I won’t go back.

In the old days it was all about me. What do I want or what do I need. Sure, I’ve bought a few new things; a couple of nursing bras here, some lanolin nipple cream there. Let’s not forget that I actually bought two books this summer and read them both in record time, even after I vowed to frequent the library rather than the bookstore (we’re talking Harry Potter and Jennifer Weiner so I had to buy). The cool thing is that I am so excited about focusing my attention elsewhere that I don’t really care if I never get another thing. So is this good or bad?

I’ve been making my own money since I was thirteen years old, and up until I started living on my own, was able to spend that money however I pleased. I figure I’ve been spoiling myself rotten for a good 20 years now and can afford to spoil someone else. I may treat myself occasionally to something small, but I have a feeling most of my purchases will be geared towards the girl and things like this.

But I’d like to think even I’m sensible enough not to spend $37 on baby booties.

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The nesting urge hit big time yesterday. I cleaned the bathrooms (sinks, tubs and toilets-the whole shebang), washed all the bathroom rugs, swept the floor in the bathrooms and laundry room, cleaned both slider doors on both sides and did my regular laundry on top of that. I usually don’t clean this much unless I’m planning to vacate the premises for good or if we’re going to have company. With company I don’t ever touch the tub. I just pull back the shower curtain and hope my friends aren’t as nosy as I am.

Needless to say, I’m a little beat. My lower back is smarting and I have one of those Icy/Hot patches plastered to my skin just above my rear end. My legs are also a little sore from squatting while trying to clean off the glass sliders. We’ve lived in the house for over a year and I can’t remember the last time we cleaned that glass, if ever. It takes quite a bit of elbow grease to erase fifteen months of Molly nose smudges.

I think the girl is continuing to drop. She has the hiccups right now and I can feel the little rhythmic hic-hic way down low. Last night she was prodding me with her usual evening calisthenics and I noticed her kicks weren’t as high as they were last week. Nathan and I took a walk with Molly and I was able to keep up a little better and didn’t get as winded or crampy. Hopefully this all means that her arrival is imminent, but I still have a feeling she’s going to make me wait a while longer.

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I’ve realized that one can read all she wants about sex during pregnancy and how, even in the third trimester, a couple can have a healthy and active intimate relationship without harming the fetus. The baby is, after all, encased in a sac of fluid that is meant to act as a natural buffer against whatever trauma is inflicted upon the mother.

But how do we actually go about getting the job done? Our parts don’t exactly fit together like they used to. It’s as though we are two pieces of a puzzle, one of which got soaked with water and is now a bloated, misshapen version of its former self. You can see how they’re supposed to come together but it just doesn’t fit right anymore.

So yeah, things didn’t go as planned last night. That doesn’t mean we won’t stop trying, but we are definitely setting ourselves up for a challenge. A little imagination would come in handy right about now.

To add insult to injury, I didn’t sleep well at all. I just could not get comfortable again. My hips were killing me. My carpal tunnel flared up to the point that I woke up wondering whether my digits had totally abandoned me and my lower back was aching from continuously shifting my weight from one side to the other. I keep telling myself that this will all be over in a few weeks and that some of these physical changes are my body’s way of saying “get ready.” But still, it sucks. It sucks big time.

About 4:30 am I went out into the living room to watch some TV. Did you know there are an appalling amount of infomercials on when people are sleeping? How do they expect to sell anything when most of America isn’t even watching? It’s not as though folks are programming their TiVos to tape the latest Magic Bullet infomercial which, by the way, you can now purchase at Target for much less than what those perky sheisters on the tube were originally selling it for.

I finally settled on Animal Planet and an episode of “Animal Cops.” Halfway through the show I had to get up to retrieve Molly, who was sleeping comfortably on the couch downstairs before I roused her. I have to have her near when I watch one of these shows. They almost always profile an abandoned dog that looks just like her.

After sharing some of Nathan’s cashews, Molly and I fell asleep for a bit. I wasn’t much more comfortable than I was in the bed so I went back in to snuggle with Nathan. By that time the sun was up and he was semi-awake. As we lay there, I looked into the mirror on the wall and said, “We really need to dust off our ceiling fan blades.”

Nesting. Another oh-so-romantic side effect of pregnancy.

The rest of the day has been thankfully uneventful. I spent a few hours with Grandma S. while my mom was at Maedy’s daughter-in-law’s baby shower. We spent our time at Costco, an idea Mom had because Grandma absolutely loves their hand-dipped ice cream bars. “Did you tell Grandma I don’t appreciate being told I don’t look pregnant?” I asked my mom yesterday when we were making plans for today.

“Yes,” she said, “I told her ‘Heather doesn’t like it when you say that.'”

“Well tell her that if she does say it again I won’t take her to Costco for the ice cream,” I said joking (but really not).

Apparently the threat worked. Grandma got her ice cream.

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