Monday, January 30, 2012

Smart Kid

I know I'm a little bit biased since I'm her mother, but I sure to think this kid is creative and smart.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almost There

Tomorrow marks 39 weeks of this pregnancy. I can hardly believe we're almost done.

At my 37 week appointment two weeks ago, my midwife confirmed my suspicion that the baby had dropped. So I've been waking up every day since then, wondering if I might go into labor early. In fact, I've been dreaming about almost nightly, and have been thinking about it constantly. Lots of braxton hicks contractions, but no labor yet.

This pregnancy has been easier than the first, but has still presented its own difficulties and struggles. I haven't had the horrible back pain (or the mild spasming that accompanied it), but I have had some pretty severe sciatic and what must the femoral nerve pain. Last week, after doing laundry all day (which means I did stairs at least a dozen times), my sciatic nerve hurt so much I couldn't even walk. It was really frustrating! I felt like such a cripple. Thankfully, after an evening of sitting around, and night of sleep, I woke up functional, but still had some pain. Since the baby dropped two weeks ago, her head has been squishing those nerves against my pelvis. I am glad that I can still walk around, but I can feel the irritation building if I'm on my feet for very long. Which means I've been taking it easy, sitting whenever possible, especially for things like cooking. Sometimes when Baby repositions, and I'll get a good zing down one of the four nerves. If I happen to be standing when this happens, I wonder if my leg might give out. So far, so good.

I've woken up in the middle of the night with PSVT twice in the last month. Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia. The first time, it felt so awful I kinda lost it. It was 4 AM, and it woke me up, and just wouldn't stop. After trying my tricks without success (mammalian dive reflex and the valsalval maneuver), it seemed like it was just getting worse, and of course I started wondering if I was going to die, and how Baby was taking it. I think I had my first official little panic attack. I regained my composure, and after almost three hours of having my heart beat between 150 and 200 times a minute, it finally returned to it's normal rhythm. Two nights ago, I had another episode that lasted a couple of hours, and again, I just had to wait it out. There is some evidence that PSVT is more likely to occur during pregnancy (due to the increase in blood volume and how that effects the heart), so I've really been grateful that I haven't had to deal with it more often.

The morning sickness has been gone for a while now, although I've still been taking the Unisom at night since sleeping has become such a challenge. I did throw up a few days ago, but I had taken pills on an empty stomach, which I know not to do. I was fighting a cold last week, which upped my daily pill count to 22. I had to take a picture. At least they are all vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

The first three: Prenatal, magnesium and B complex. Been taking those the whole time. Recently I've been building up the number of the middle bunch: four Evening Primrose, Flaxseed, iron, six 5-W, and bromelain. Then the last six are two garlic, a zinc and three Cs, which I haven't been taking since I'm over the cold. I have to spread them out over the entire day to make them manageable.

The heartburn has been pretty constant for the last couple of months. Sleeping propped up on five pillows at night make sleeping possible, although I still have to take one or two Tums to make it manageable.

I have been so thankful how rare the migraines have been, now that I've cut MSG and free glutamates out of my diet. I had a good migraine a couple of weeks ago, and then a weird complex one a few days ago. I had gotten myself and Chloë all ready for an afternoon out of the house, and as soon as we got to the mall, the blurry vision hit. After a few minutes, I found a bench and called Bryan to come rescue me. I didn't want to stay at the mall, but it would have been impossible for me to drive. I am so grateful for such an understanding and helpful husband.

This little girl is really, really active. Even now, as I type, I look down and see my belly jumping around. It is so strange knowing that my baby girl is inside of me, moving all around, oblivious to the fact that her world will soon be very different. Soon, she will be able to stretch her legs all the way out if she wants to. I'm sure things are getting a little cramped in there.

Bryan and I finally decided on a name for our little girl. There were 4 or 5 names that we liked, and we finally agreed on the best one. Now we're just hoping that it will "fit" her when we meet her. We haven't told anyone either, despite a few good attempts to get us to spill the secret.

I have everything all ready for Baby's arrival. Tiny baby clothes fresh and clean and put away, waiting patiently. Our bedroom is ready to be transformed into Labor Central in a moment's notice; all of basic things gathered and ready.

Now, we wait.

Re-reading this, I hope I don't come across as complaining, discontent, or in any way ungrateful. This just happens to be the only journaling I do, so I'll include some of the hard stuff, but leave out the worst details, for your sake. Yes, some parts of pregnancy are less glamorous than others. Sometimes they are downright difficult and frustrating (thanks for that, Eve). But I am so thankful to have the privilege of growing another life inside of me. I know I am blessed to have two (relatively) healthy pregnancies so far. That said, I really can't wait to meet this little girl.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mama and Chloë

Mama: 28 years old. Chloë: 19 months old. Baby Sister: 37 1/2 weeks gestation.

Bryan took a few quick photos on Sunday. It consisted of a three minute photo shoot, with Chloë running around, pausing for two seconds with me, and running off again. I'm impressed that we got a few good pictures.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

19 Months

Chloë is very much a little girl at 19 months of age. I am amazed at how "girly" she can be at times, especially since we haven't really encouraged much of the stereotypical gender stuff. Yes, we gave her a plastic bead necklace for Christmas, because we saw how much she loved wearing Mama's necklaces. She also got Duplos, which she does like to play with. But that cheap plastic necklace is almost always around her neck. She gets sad when I tell her she has to take it off for naptime or bedtime, but she is willing to trade it for a binkie.

She still loves shoes, and really likes dresses and skirts, too. Her other favorite attire is to dig one of Mama's tank tops out of the laundry basket, and put her head through an arm hole, and wear it like a frontward cape. In fact, anything of Mama's she is eager to try on. She managed to put my slippers on the other day, and was quite pleased with herself.

She loves chocolate. Loves it. Apparently she once saw where the chocolate chips were kept at Grams and Pops' house. When no one is with her in their kitchen, she'll open the lazy susan, spin it until the container of chocolate chips appears, and then help herself to as much as she can eat before she is discovered. If I ever mention the word, she gets super excited, and says "choc-ate! Choc-ate!" over and over.

She absolutely loves her baby doll. We decided that Baby Doll needed a name, since Baby Sister will be here in no time, and it might be nice to distinguish between the two. So we randomly started calling the doll "Baby Sarah," and Chloë just loves giving "baby Sah-yah" hugs and kisses. Sometimes she delicately cradles the doll in her arms, bouncing her up and down, and rocking her side to side. Sometimes she holds her up to her shoulder, and firmly pats her back. Usually she just likes to wrap the doll up in anything that resembles a blanket (a kleenex, a burp rag, her own baby blanket), and carry her around. (Sometimes she gets frustrated with her less-than-perfect blanket wrapping job, and requests help.)

Besides carrying her around, Chloë has taken an interest in putting Sarah to sleep.

In this clip, she says Sarah ("Say-ah,") patting her doll. Then she puts her on the pillow and tells her "Baby, 'top it" (maybe she was fussing?) and then tells her "s'eepy s'eepy." What funny maternal instincts she has.

The things that she says catches us off guard and often gives us a good laugh. A couple of weeks ago, her daddy disappeared somewhere for a few minutes. She walked around the main floor calling out "Daddy! Aye AH you?!" During dinner the other day, she sat on her daddy's lap to eat, and we were in the middle of our "take-a-bite-of-this-and-you-can-have-a-bite-of-that" routine. Usually bread with butter is our main bargaining tool. Bryan and I were deep in conversation for 10 whole seconds, and looked down and she was happily munching on Bryan's bread that she had grabbed off his plate. "Hey!" we exclaimed, once we noticed, taking the bread away from her. She looked up at Bryan with squinty mischievous eyes and happily declared " 'neaky, 'neaky!" And then last week at Grams and Pops' house, two of the dogs were playing, jumping around the living room a little, gently gnawing at each other. She walked up to Gypsie, firmly hit her on the back and with great authority, said " 'top it!"

A new word that we find convenient for her to use is "again," which she says with perfect enunciation, and always as a request. Usually for a game, or a song, or a dance, or a story... sometimes once just isn't enough for her satisfaction.

And she's officially hit the "what's that?" phase. If there is anything new in our surroundings, she likes to point and ask "aht's dis?" or "aht's dat?" Sometimes this goes on for a very long time. Her little brain is so eager to learn. We've been half-heartedly working on colors and counting and the ABCs for a while, and I know one of these days it will all just click for her.

Her love for books has grown. She loves to bring book after book to me or her daddy, handing it to us asking " 'ead?" Then she throws her upper body onto the couch, pulls herself up, and positions herself right next to me, and happily sits cuddled up next to me (my lap just isn't ideal for holding a squirmy toddler these days). Her absolute favorite is Miss Suzy, and while I read, she points to every picture of the gray squirrel and says "Suzy!!"

She also like Curious George (again with the pointing and saying "Jowge!"), Mr. Dog, and the French translation for Madeline. My French is very basic, but if I do all of the sounds in the back of my throat, I think it sounds pretty good. Chloë usually waits until we're a page or two into the book, and then starts giggling a little, periodically looking at me with her squinty "you're silly" face. She must think I'm crazy. I think my favorite books to read are the one that I don't actually have to read. We just point to the pictures and name things.

She's started a finger-in-the-mouth thing recently, which is kind of funny to me, since she was never a thumb sucker. Sometime she just likes to have a finger (or two) in her mouth. I think especially if she feels nervous or put on the spot. It's kind of cute, but we gently tell her not to, since we don't really want it to become a big habit.

She's also taken a liking to spinning, hopping, and jumping. She can't quite get her feet off the ground when she attempts to jump, but it sure is cute the way she squats down, and then springs up and throws her arms into the air and says "dump!"

(Her classic morning bead head. Yeah, it's insane.)

Chloë is usually still awake when I'm brushing my teeth and washing my face. She decided she she should get in on some of the fun, and waits until I'm done and then sweetly requests "oh-shun" and "ap-tick." So I rub a tiny bit of lotion on her cheeks, and put a tiny bit of chapstick on her lips. She becomes very calm and still when I do this, and thinks it's pretty important that she gets to join in on Mama's bedtime routine.

When it's finally time for bed, we hold or cuddle her until she falls asleep. It's just so sweet that we can still do this. Sometimes she's so tired she passes right out, but sometimes we read or pray or sing. "P'ay?" she'll ask, and lays there, softly blinking, listening intently to the things we say to God. As soon as we say "amen," she asks "sing?" We usually sing Jesus Loves Me, and sometimes the Doxology or another song from church. And then her blinking usually gets very heavy, and she falls asleep holding on to all of the things she loves most; her blanket and bear and doll, and Mama and Daddy's hands. After a few minutes her daddy carries her off to her crib, and I usually find myself sighing in contentment at God's goodness.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I can't wait to wrap her up in this, chapter 2

I finished Baby Sister's blanket.

It's about the same size as the blanket I made for Chloë.

I can't wait. Less than three weeks until her due date.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Musical Child

We've always assumed Chloë would be a musical child. Sure enough.

In the last couple of months, she's taken a special interest in "conducting" music during church. Our choir director uses one hand to conduct the choir, and apparently Chloë has been paying attention. She'll either hold her index fingers out and wave them rhythmically, or she'll hold her hands out, palms down, sort of limp-fingered and limp-wristed, and bob her hands up and down to the music. She has great rhythm for a 1 1/2-year-old.

She also likes to sing. She's been making up melodies for quite a while now, but only recently has she started singing songs that are familiar to us. A couple of weeks ago, she was in the basement with her daddy. She saw the piano, and walked up to it, started gently playing a few notes, and started singing "looo-yaaaah, loo-yaaah." We realized she's seen me play and sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" a few times in the last couple of months, and it must have made an impression. What a smart girl we have.

Then last week, she started singing "ole-eeee, ole-eee, ole-eee," undoubtedly mimicking a song she's heard in church.

And of course she's very fascinated with anything that makes noise or music: electronics, making a beat with her fingers on a tin can, or last week, her Uncle Daniel's harmonica.

It's kinda fun thinking about piano or violin lessons in a few more years. I'm guessing she'll be a natural.

P.S. My sister just happened to write a blog post about Chloë, and the correlation between being a firstborn and being smart. I think she's on to something.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crafty Presents

Happy New Year, everyone! I joke that my resolution this year is to lose about 15 pounds in 4 to 6 weeks.

Every year for Christmas, I make a point to give someone I love something handmade. It keeps my procrastination in check, and helps steer me away from the rushed consumer mentality that can easily happen towards the end of the year.

Ever since my three lovely sisters-in-law come into my life five years ago, I've thought it would be fun to make them pseudo-matching scarves or hats or something. I decided this was the year to do it. So I browsed Etsy for ideas, found a cute scarf I liked, bought three colors of pretty wool yarn, and made up a pattern as I crocheted.

Christmas presents:
Laura's, Jessie's, and Christa's. (I also made them some earrings, which hardly count since they were so easy.)

The look: drapey, skinny, slightly twisty, and knobby on one side. I was very pleased with how they turned out.

I bought some pretty jasper beads well over a year ago, intending to make a necklace for my sister at some point. I finally got around to it for Christmas, and she seemed to actually like them. The top two strands are on the same clasp, and the bottom strand is on it's own clasp, so she even has some options of how she can wear it.

I also gave away a lot of the jam I made last summer, so I was feeling all sorts of domestic this Christmas. Now I have a month before Baby comes, and all kinds of ideas for projects to keep myself busy. I'm over halfway done with her baby blanket, so hopefully I'll get that finished soon.