Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another appointment and more pictures.

I do realize I've become sort of single-note lately in my postings, but my Luca and the belly baby are pretty much all I have time to concentrate on anyhow. So bear with me, and I promise to be normal and less baby-obsessed eventually. Maybe. Probably not.

First, I had an appointment last weekend, and all's well. Baby is growing fine and 'probably' head down. My belly didn't grow (it measured 32-33 last time, and 33 cm this time), which is just fine. Probably means baby was going through a growth spurt last time I went in. We talked a little about labor plans, whether or not to circumcize if Andre is a boy, and the random 'tired legs' I've been having lately. My next appointment is in 2 weeks, and THAT is when I'll get the birth kit (thought it was going to be this time, but I was wrong). I can't believe how quickly the end of this pregnancy is approaching!

Now, on to cuter things. Luca's been a blast lately, really getting into things like coloring and playing with her Legos. We've been pulling out her little table to color and try crafts, and I snapped some pictures of her latest attempts at art. I also snapped a few shots of her trying to eat her strong cheese through the plastic (she loves her cheese!) and 'talking to Gramma' on the phone. TOO cute, this kid! Below are LOTS of pictures, mainly because I was having fun photographing my little ham and playing with the camera settings.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fortune Cookie Affirmation, Take 2.

We got Chinese food last week, and today I realized I never opened a fortune cookie. The fortune inside:

" Try to channel excess energies into rejuvenation."
Lucky Numbers: 8, 10, 13, 21, 39, 47

Yup. 13.

Luca and her 'girls'.

The past two weekends have been full of fun playdates for Luca. And you just KNOW I had to practice using my shwanky new camera to capture some pictures of the cuteness.

First up, Elle came over to hang out while Darrick was helping her family move. Elle's 6 months old and just such a chill baby. I swear she could be content just staring at people and chewing on a toy. Luca ADORES her and was dying to share toys with her. You can see the huge pile Elle accumulated throughout the afternoon.

Next up was Madison, who is 4 months younger than Luca. The two of them have a blast together, though it seems they are going through the 'mine!' stage at the same time, which can be interesting. Madison's mom sometimes watches Luca for me for a few hours at a time, and Luca is mildly obsessed with her, in a good way. When she sees pictures of her, she says her name and sometimes when we're out places she'll see something that makes her think of Madison and she'll talk about her. It's really, really cute. We hung out with Madison for a few hours so her mom and dad could go watch the Cardinals win the game that got them into the Super Bowl.

And then, just this past weekend, Luca's BFF Melody came to play for a few hours. These two had SO much fun together. We read books, they chased each other around, Luca tortured Melody with kisses, they shared applesauce and yogurt. It was SO much fun having Melody over. My favorite part of the night was when they started stacking bouncy balls on the baby bouncy seat. Luca would place the larger one in the seat, Melody would balance the smaller one on top, and then they bounce the seat, sending the balls flying. Both girls would run after the balls, in fits of giggles, only to end up repeating the process over and over. SO cute!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Mental note: when a woman who is 8 months pregnant wears dark jeans and a navy blue shirt, she risks being compared to:

Mental note to my husband: when the husband of a woman who is 8 months pregnant points out such comparison, he risks being subjected to:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fortune Cookie Affirmation.

This came in a fortune cookie I got the other day. It feels almost like an affirmation to me. Note the lucky days....and note that my original due date with Andre was March 13th.

"Endurance and persistance will be rewarded.
Lucky numbers 1, 13, 17, 21, 35, 48"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Because I know you're waiting for this update.

Tonight is night 5 of going Bop-free, and we've had success. After night 3, she stopped crying for it or even asking for it at all.

Free at last! Free at last!

My kid is seriously amazing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Puppies, Bellies, and Dancing Queens.

I feel like my dogs get ignored in this blog. Rest assured, in real life they are still the pampered spoiled brats they've always been. I even have photographic evidence of such lady-of-leisureness happening in our house. Behold, Ruby and Miss Piggy:

I love the picture of Ruby's paws because they are delicious slices of corn chip softness. And the Pig pictures are SO Pig. Luca just ADORES them both!

Second, I wanted to address my belly, which is in the words of someone who shall go unnamed to protect her idenity, "Bigger than it's ever been.". It's not just big, it's got it's own life in there, which is incerdible to witness. Andre is moving around all over the place, kicking and punching and rolling and stretching. The other day I think he/she was standing up in there stretching because when I bent to sit down, it felt like there was something blocking me from bending over. As though someone had lodged a broomstick up under my ribcage and I couldn't bend my torso. Bizarre. Here you see some photographic evidence of my belly's expanding size...and I fully admit to only posting semi-flattering pictures, as much as that is possible.

Last, I love the DSLR for its ability to catch Luca's moments of insane cuteness. Sure, I could use some work on the settings and whatnot, but I managed to capture this moment of wild baby dancing. I can't even remember for sure what she was dancing to, but I love the mid-air shot I captured. And I ADORE this amazing kid.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Operation Stop with the Bop, revisited Day 2.

So, last night was an experience. Yeah. We'll go with 'experience'.

I put Luca down at 8:30, and she was quiet for all of 2 minutes. I heard crying, so I went to check on her, and she was sitting up in bed crying, Bop on her finger like one would put an olive on a pinkie as a child. SO not amused. I gave her some loves and put her back down, then headed downstairs. Two minutes later, we witnessed her (via video monitor) climbing out of bed and stomping around crying. I sent the hubs up to deal, thinking maybe she'd react differently to him.

She climbed into his arms and cried and fussed and asked to play with books and her giant stuffed turtle. He hugged her, rocked her, talked to her, and put her back into bed. She fussed for a few more minutes, tossed, turned, and eventually was out about 45 minutes after being put down. Once she was out, though, she was out for the night.

Fast forward to tonight: bedtime hit and up we went again (naptime was handled at daycare, so no update there, though I have a feeling it isn't an issue there like it is at home). I took her up, said goodnight, and left the room as usual. Again, 2 minutes later she was sitting up in bed crying. I went in to rub her back and she clung to me and lost it, sobbing in hysterics. We rocked for a few minutes, and I talked to her about how I knew she was sad and it was ok to be sad, but Bops were for babies. I asked if she was a baby, and she said, "No, big girl." So then I assured her big girls could be sad and miss the Bop, but it was time to say goodbye to it. She said ok, and we rocked some more and to bed she went.

Granted, she did just wake up, and hour later, but she's coming down with a cold and was having trouble breathing. Some more cuddles and a humidifier, and hopefully she's now down for the night.

Night 2: Muuuuch better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Operation Stop with the Bop, revisited.

You may remember Operation Stop with the Bop, which took place way back when and was our effort to wean Luca from her pacifier. Yes, we had one of 'those' kids who LOVED her pacifier. And we were eager to wean her from it during daytime hours as early as possible, so as to avoid it becoming a never-ending bad habit, negatively impacting her speech and her teeth, etc. You can read about our experience, in three parts, here, here, and here.

Well, I have a confession: we've not entirely stopped with the Bop. You see, during the daytime, Luca goes without and we never have a problem. She doesn't get it while playing, riding in the car, out in public, or any other awake time. But we were hesitant to wean her from it at naptime and bedtime, mostly because she's been SUCH a good sleeper for us that we didn't want to mess with success, so to speak. But in recent months, I've come to the realization that it's time to break that nasty habit. I kept putting it off for one reason or another (mostly figuring it wasn't hurting her speech while she's sleeping, which was my main concern with letting her have it while awake). My latest reason was that I wanted her to get used to her big girl bed first, and I didn't want to throw two big changes at her at once. I was also worried I'd go through the trouble of weaning her from it now, only to have her regress when Andre comes along should he/she be a Boppy Baby as well.

It honestly wasn't a pressing concern for me, until we went to Mexico over Thanksgiving weekend. We knew the travel and new people would be stressful for her, so we gave some leniency with the Bop. Mostly, this just meant that she was allowed to have it in the car, something we hadn't allowed in 6 months. Well, this leniency proved killer, and we came away from that long weekend with a toddler who started to ask for 'Boppy' when it was bedtime, and to talk about it outside of that time. We'd ask her if she wanted to go 'night-night' and she'd say "Yes. Boppy." This was not going to work.

So, today is the day. I KNOW for a fact she naps without the Bop at daycare, and I was determined that we'd follow suit at home. So I followed the advice I've seen and heard mutliple times: I gave her the Bop, but cut off the smallest piece of the top, so that it woudln't have quite the same sensation when she sucked on it. I tucked her into bed for naptime, left the room, and turned on the video monitor.

What ensued was:
- fussing
- mumbling about 'Boppy'
- whining about 'Boppy'
- climbing out of bed to get books
- climbing into bed, reading books and talking about/to 'Boppy'
- throwing books and then crying while pounding the door

I went up to get her, and she asked for her crib. I took her into the 'baby room' and put her down, with the mutilated Bop, and left the room. This time, what ensued was simply 10 minutes of outright fussing.

I wasn't sure what to do. Everyone always says kids don't come with a handbook, but the truth is advice (good and bad) is everywhere out there. But I've always been one to follow my gut rather than advice...and my gut was telling me what Luca needed.

And what she needed was some kisses, some rocking, and a nice lullabye (Me and Bobby McGee, with Luca substituted in place of Bobby) and she was out in less than 5 minutes.

OSWtB, Revisited Outcome: Not too bad, really.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What happens when a 20-something who is 31 weeks pregnant is asked to speak in front of a crowd of 120+ geriatrics?

Preggo: "So, that concludes my presentation. Any questions?"

Old lady in cat sweater vest: "Is this your first baby?"

Preggo: "No, my second."

Gentleman up front, with the light-sensitive glasses that darken in the sun: "When are you due?"

Preggo: "March."

Silver haired firecracker in back: "Is it a boy...or a girl?"

Yeah. This is SO not what I am here for.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Appointment time again!

Remember my post about the Belgian Waffle craving? And how I almost switched to the pancakes but decided to hold off on them until the morning of my next appointment? Because I needed to carb up prior to getting my blood drawn to check for Gestational Diabetes?

So, my day started off less than ideal. My appointment was at 9 today, which meant I needed to finish breeakfast by 8 am so my blood would be drawn at least 1 hour after eating. I loaded Luca into the car and decided to brave IHOP alone, in search of pancake nrivana. I had planned on a feast of lemon blueberry streusel pancakes, and IHOP no longer has them. Apparently I looked sad (and fat) enough, so the waitress went and asked if they had the batter still to see if she could whip me up an approximation of the dreamcakes, but to no avail. I opted for stuffed french toast...good, but not the same. Luca got an order of 2 sausage links (she LOVES sausage for breeakfast), which she took maybe 3 bites of before repeatedly telling me, "All done, mama." Over and over. And over. And did I mention repeatedly? And over and over again? Yeah. I thought so.

My appointment went well. Two of my Midwife's apprentices were there, so everyone got to measure the belly (a bit ahead at 32-33 cm), feel the baby (position is exactly as I expected, with head down in left hipbone and feet in right ribcage), listen to the HB (150s) and do my blood pressure reading (fine and dandy).

I told our MW we nicknamed the baby Andre the Giant, and she laughed. She asked how long Luca was (22.5 inches) and I told her my mom's 2nd was 24 inches long. She nodded, smiled, and said, "It wouldn't surprise me if yours is about that." Eeek! She DID tell me baby feels lean, and his/her head feels fairly small-average sized, which was good to hear.

She gave me the option to not step on the scale this week (what with the holidays and the stuffed french toast just consumed), but I did and everything is fine there. If, by fine you mean "Holy shit I am a beast of a whale of a beast! I never want to weigh this much ever again! Could you amputate an arm or something since dieting is verbotin in pregnancy?!?!". But, really, she was not worried so I tried to act casual as the absurdity of stepping on the scale and announcing my new, higher than ever weight to 3 women hit me. Never in my life would I do that, except in pregnancy. Then again, when else in life do I invite a kindly woman I scarcely know to come to my home and prod my netherlands? Yeah, the answer there is never. But I figure I'm already pregnant, so I may as well LIVE a litte!

My next appointment is in 2 weeks, and I get the birth kit. In it will be things like a footprint kit, cord clamp, chux pads (if you don't know, consider yourself lucky and move on), a peri bottle and herbs (again, don't ask...just keep skimming), and other essentials. Once I get a good look in there, I'll have some stocking up to do as I need to buy some towels and plastic sheets to protect our floor and bed, along with a few other things I'm sure. The appointment following that is at my house. Which means I better start doing some cleaning and organizing now, so that things are set for her visit and the birth that follows sometime in the next 2 months or so. Anytime after 36 weeks if I go into labor we're good to go.

Well...I should say anytime after 36 weeks, we are hypothetically good to go. But the closer I get to that day, the more I get scared by all the silly things. I'm not worried about something going wrong in labor or with the baby. I'm more worried about things like the pain of contractions...whether my dogs will spazz out...more Darrick will react...did I mention contractions?...whether we will keep Luca here (I'd prefer to) or send her off with family (may be necessary)...transition contractions...whether the tub will really help me...crowning. I feel as if there is so much prep work yet to be done. It's mental (psyching myself up), emotional (dealing with adding another kid into the mix, Luca not being our 'only', the emotion of a new baby and postpartum hormonal wackiness), spiritual (not to get all new-agey, but hello? human life being created here!), and physical (human life not only being created, but also expelled from whence it came).

But it is also practical. How many towels do we need? Should the tub be downstairs where there is more light and room but less privacy and no toilet close by or upstairs in our room where it will be more crowded and I may hate having the permanent association of giving birth? Will we have enough hot water? Do we call our families early in labor or after baby comes? What kind of food will we want to eat in labor and after? If I invite Elizabeth over for stew later that week, will she be able to guess the secret ingredient is placenta (I KID, Elizabeth!! I KID!! We're making jerky like jerky, right?)? What will I wear in labor? Should I create a music playlist? And on...and on...and on. I think the practical distractions keep me from getting too worried over the pain of childbirth, but I am not entirely sure about that. I just know I have SO much to prepare, and it's coming up fast!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

20 Months.

Luca is turning 20 months old tomorrow. The past month has been full of fun, family, friends, and all kinds of new adventures for her.

Physically, she's a running, climbing, dancing machine. She definitely has her mom's white girl dance moves, but she dances with such abandon it's heartbreakingly precious.

Luca's brave too, and while it should probably make me nervous that she's so fearless, it makes me pretty damn proud instead. She scales ladders with no fear, and when we take her to the park near our house, she breezes right past all those 'baby' slides and goes right for the big dog. She even tried to climb the ladder up instead of going the long way around, just to get back to sliding faster, but didn't have much luck. It DID make for some cute pictures, though!

She's getting more and more independent, which has its ups and downs. The ups are that she really enjoys feeding herself (even eating Cheerios out of a bowl with a spoon!), she puts herself to bed quite frequently, she's awesome at keeping herself entertained, and she's inching closer and closer to being potty trained thanks to wanting to be a 'bid durl'.

The downs are...well...the same downs any toddler parent could lament about: temper tantrums; excessive use of the words 'me', 'mine', 'no', 'stop', and 'all done' (atop and all done being orders to us); testing boundaries by throwing things and tormenting the (ever so patient and very saint like) dogs; and not wanting to share. We're pretty lucky, though, and we know this. She's easily tamed and distracted thus far, and most of the time it just takes a gentle touch and a calm voice to get her back on track. She has learned to say please (Peeeeeese?), Thank you (tay too), and sorry (sowwy), which softens the blows of toddler naughtiness quite well. And she really is sweet with other kids, which is a nice bonus. Her daycare provider even assured me she is 'always so well-mannered and sweet', which is good to hear from a woman who's been watching other peoples' kids for as long as I've been alive.

Language-wise, she blows us away every day. She's speaking so many words I cannot even keep track anymore, and is stringing together 3 or 4 word sentences. Even though I categorize it as naughty, I can't help but laugh when Darrick starts singing and she looks at him in earnest and says, "All done, Daddy." She's best with 2 word phrases (all done, come on, get up), but she mimics like nobody's business. This, of course, means I am on high alert at all times, making sure to keep my profanity usage under control as much as possible. It also means my days are littered with conversations about potty, poo poo, bums, pee pee, puppies, being nice-nice, what we do and don't do (We don't hit people. We do say sorry.), and lots and lots of simple sentences. I was emailing a story to friends about Luca's first time peeing in the big girl potty, and after writing it down, I realized it was in toddler code, going a little something like this:

"Luca went pee on her potty today!!! We went to get a carwash/oil change, and when we got home, she was tooting in her carseat. I asked if she needed to go poo poo and she said yes. So we came in and took off her jeans and diaper, and she sat on her potty. A minute later she asked for a 'clean' (her word for clean wipe) and when I gave it to her she rubbed her leg with it (we'll need to work on where we wipe....). I didn't smell poo, so I had her stand up, and sure enough while there was no poo, she had gone pee!

I told her how awesome she is, and she clapped and said "Good girl!". Then she wanted to sit back on the potty for a bit. When she decided she was done, we took the potty up to flush the pee, and she said bye-bye to it."

Yup. I officially speak Toddler. AND I have a Master's Degree. I'm waiting for Obama's offer of a Cabinet position.

In other Luca news, we had a blast celebrating Christmas this year. She was the belle of her own ball, getting spoiled beyond belief by our families and opening every gift with abandon (even one of Uncle Bob's). She has so many new toys we haven't even opened all of them up, and she's still got a swingset that needs to be put up in the backyard from her Grandma. Not to mention her big girl room, which her other Grandma completed for her. Did I mention she is spoiled?

We did some park trips and a zoo trip this month as well. We have to take advantage of our amazing weather while people across the country are at home shivering. She's really loving the zoo these days, as she recognizes more animals every time, and can even tell us what sound most of them make. She loves riding in her wagon around the zoo, and getting ocassional breaks to sit on Daddy's shoulders.

It's been a great month, and a big one, for Luca. Between her new words, her new big girl room (and bed!), and her growing independence, she's more kid than baby these days. On one hand, it makes me sort of sad, as I look back at old baby pictures of her and marvel at how it's been 20 months already. On the other hand, she makes me SO proud my heart feels like it might explode, and I know the best is yet to come.

Happy 20 months, Luca!!


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