Monthly Archives: May 2010

Dear Spring: An Open Letter

Dear Spring,

All I See is Pollen

I love you. I do.

But if we are going to make this work, you have got to stop trying to pollinate me.

Now, usually, our month of turmoil should have long come and gone, when your gorgeous dogwoods blossom and invade my nasal cavities. We both know this should have ended in April – and, may I point out, every year I wholeheartedly put up with your thirty days of petulance because I love you and your blooms and your mild weather and warm rains.

But do you realize we are now creeping into June? June, Spring, June! Summer’s month! The month of stifling heat and golden tans and lazy days at the pool and books by Nicholas Sparks! I feel like we’ve lost some significant time together, Spring, and I am disappointed.

No, not just disappointed, but tired.

Tired of being able to use one nostril at a time, if I’m lucky. Tired of having a constant cough and itchy throat from being a mouth-breather these past couple of months. Tired of living life with a tissue wadded up my nose. Tired of looking at the beautiful pastels and vibrant colors of your season and only being able to see that sickly yellow pollen like a plague.

Did I mention I’m nine months pregnant?

Have a heart, Spring.

Your friend,

J-Butt

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All My Bags Are Packed, I’m Ready to Go

(Alternately Titled: All My Bags Are Packed, I’m Big as a House)

Only five more days until our due date. I’ve been vibing June 5th, though, since the beginning, so we’ll see. I thought Hubs was going to make fun of me for already packing our bags, but it turns out last night, he said, “We should probably pack our bags.” (Check!)

Although, I have to admit – I have this nagging feeling that preparation = waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Like, if we weren’t prepared, and in fact, completely drowning in unpreparedness, we would actually see Bean swimming her way out tomorrow.

But nonetheless, since two pairs of grandparents are currently on vacation, and my mom won’t be rolling into town any earlier than the 1st, it’s probably best not to go into labor for the next few days.

So Bean’s adorable diaper bag (a generous gift from my beautiful hostesses, two sisters and a bestie – ew, I have never used that term before, and probably never will again) is stocked with newborn diapers, wipes, baby toiletries, onesies to wear in the hospital, and her homecoming outfit (I’m currently torn between two).

And I spent a good hour at Target the other day stocking up on mom-and-dad travel-sized toiletries so I can pack-it-and-forget-it.

And we just came back from touring the birthing facilities where I’ll be having little Bean. (I mostly just wanted to know the quickest way to get from parking lot to birthing bed.)

BAM! In your face, procrastination!

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The Homestretch…Hopefully.

We had another OB check-up yesterday, and another ultrasound, to determine Bean’s weight. (I think the nurse ordered one at my 37-week check-up to try and convince me to move our induction date up.) As she’s grown, she looks more and more like bunched-up static on the ultrasound screen and less and less like a baby. Although, we did get a funny little picture of her waving. (She’s all, what up, home slice?)

While we were squinting at the screen, wondering how the heck that blob of white noise is an actual tiny person, Bug asked the technician, “Is she bald?”

No, she’s not! We got to see little tufts of fuzz around her head – which looked strangely like her belly, and vice versa. (Bug said she looks like a basketball. Agreed – on the inside and the outside.) And so Bean has hair. So. Freaking. Cute.

She is also estimated at about 8 lb. 1 oz., but the technician said the estimates get more and more inaccurate as baby grows. So she could be up to half a pound off. If Bean makes it to her due date (which is pretty likely…sigh…), she’ll probably be around 8.5 lbs. – slightly smaller than Bug. If we go all the way to our induction date of June 11, she’ll probably be about the size of Bug, maybe a wee bit bigger.

I’ve been willing contractions into existence. So far…fail. Bean has dropped really low, but alas. No dice. A lot can happen in a week, medically speaking, but still – patience is not my strongest virtue. And after washing a basketful of newborn clothes just this morning, my patience is wearing even thinner. (I can’t help it – I just can’t wait to see her chubby limbs poking out of the impossibly tiny onesie that says, “Berry Cute!”)

Oh, well – I guess I just have to resign myself to waiting her out. But that won’t stop me from trying to entice her out with Tollhouse cookies. (See what we have on the outside, Bean? Guaranteed to taste better pre-digested!)

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Eleven Eleven Eleven.

Hubs asked me today how many days we have left.

(It’s funny how he can ask something like that completely at random, given the season we are currently in, and I know exactly the answer.)

Eleven.

Eleven days.

Eleven days left.

Eleven days from now (give or take), I will be able to paint my toe nails, shave my legs, sleep on my stomach, slip off my sandals without a semi-permanent imprint on my fat feet, move the wet laundry into the dryer without contorting uncomfortably to get the last few socks in the back of the washer bin, and climb my stairs without stopping for a breather halfway up.

In (roughly) eleven days, I will no longer be playing the waiting game with my husband, my son, and my doctor.

In (approximately) eleven days, the little Bean that has been growing inside my skin, quiet, safe, and warm, will burst onto the set of our lives and into this noisy, germ-ridden, pollinated, dangerous world full of UV-rays and sharp objects.

In (hopefully) eleven days, my son and my husband will get to hold the little person who has intimately belonged to me alone these past nine months. My parents and his parents will cradle her and watch their blood and legacy sprout all over again in her brand-new life. She will be passed from grasp to grasp, blinking curiously at the big, blurry faces swooning over her. We will marvel over her and cry over her. Hubs and I will glow over her, and stare at each other and wonder, How did we make something so beautiful…again?

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Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Okay, so my Fifty Books a Year project fell by the wayside. I don’t actually know how many I read last year (not nearly as many as the ones on my list), but I still want to properly review the stuff I have read.

The last ones I remember reading were the Gemma Doyle books – another young adult trilogy. Eh. The writer has some beautiful prose, but for the most part tends to be overdoing it. And the mysteries aren’t all that intricate. But, on the other hand, you can’t stop reading them. I guess that’s what makes them successful?

I’m currently reading Christopher Moore’s Fool, which is basically Shakespeare’s King Lear from the point of view of the king’s most favored court jester. (Hence, the blog title, one of my favorite out-of-context quotes from King Lear.) Christopher Moore is, in a word, brilliant. I freaking love him. I’ll let you know how this pans out. (That is, I will love it.)

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Sentimentality Be Damned.

I just dropped my Kindergartner off at school for the last time. The. Last. Time.

At 11:15am today, he will officially be a first grader. (What the!) Bug told his dad this morning, “Bye, Dad! It’s the last time you’ll be saying good-bye to me as a Kindergartner!”

I’m not a sentimental person – not overly, anyway. I have kept a majority of Bug’s kindergarten artwork and math worksheets and journal entries (the ones that weren’t crumpled at the bottom of his tote bag anyway), but I don’t have any qualms about throwing stuff away. I used to be quite the memory-hoard. I used to keep every little memento, from classmates’ notes, to my ninth grade prom corsage. (Maybe practicality as a wife and mom and limited space cured that ailment.) For the most part, sentimentality be damned.

But durgit, I want this year back.

Hubs told him this morning, “You will never, ever, ever be a Kindergartner again!” (Thanks, hon.)

If nothing else, Bug’s educational career is off to a winning start – mostly E’s (for Excellent) in behavior (he’s come home with maybe three or five S’s [for Satisfactory] over the past nine months) and straight E’s on his report card (except in handwriting – he suffered an S in that as well…).

But it seems like fifteen minutes ago we were walking out the door on a hot August day, Bug in his ironed polo shirt (so he could be like Dad), confident and excited and ready to meet new friends. And fifteen minutes from now we’ll be sitting in a stuffy gymnasium (or grassy lawn, weather-permitting) for his high school graduation. (Kleenex, anyone?)

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I feel like I need to be properly sentimental about the past year, that if I don’t pause long enough and reflect, it’ll be like standing in a wind tunnel with each day swirling viciously around me like a hurricane. I feel like I’ve failed in properly chronicling his Kindergarten year in a way that he will remember it forever. I think I might have documented photographically three? four? events that happened at school this past year: the Family Night Sock Hop, the Spring Walk-a-Thon,  the end-of-the-year Field Day…there’s a whole lot of meat missing from this sandwich.

I, on the other hand, remember the days in-between – the day he came home with his first S and spent practically the whole day crying, the day he announced his first girlfriend (there were three, actually), the days I showed up for lunch (coincidentally, they were always serving square pizza those days…), and the many, many other days that are only evidenced in my memory, and cannot be condensed into one witty, touching, properly nostalgic blog…

I am a little sad that it’s over, that the newness of being in school for the first time (real school, not day-care school, as Bug put it once) is gone, and that one day, Bug will only remember a tiny handful of the past 300-ish days of Kindergarten snapshots.

But a bigger part of me is excited for the pending months of summer, as Bug transitions from fresh-faced Kindergartner to weathered First Grader, and more importantly, from just my baby boy to my baby boy plus Bean’s big brother.

For a moment though, I thought I’d reflect.

First Day of School:

The year begins

 

And to be fair to Bug when he’s an adult, here’s one for the record books. My Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Davis and a few of her Kindergarteners, circa 1988.

(I’m the only black-haired one who looks uncannily like Data from The Goonies. Thanks for pointing that out, Maia.)

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Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

I am a math nerd at heart.

It only makes sense that one plus one will always equal two, and never, ever more.

The theory of “emergence,” in the fields of art, psychology, philosophy, religion, and all other things right-brain-lumpable, identifies the times when one plus one equals more than two…sometimes, even infinitely more than two.

That is, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So anyway, I was talking to a friend the other day, recounting some of the hundreds of funny and/or sweet and/or touching and/or amazing things Bug has said and/or done recently, and after a few laughs and comments, he said, “Wow, his baby sister has a lot to live up to, doesn’t she?” (Yes, she does.)

My son is witty and smart and tender and good. He is everything I have spent a lifetime trying to live up to, and he’s only five years old. Sure, he has his moments (like today when, as a surprise, I bought him some animal-shaped rubber bands – they’re all the rage at school…think Pogs for this generation…and instead of saying “thank you,” he said he would have rather had the jungle animal ones…boo…) but he is so much more than anything I could have contributed. (Enter: The Theory of Emergence. Ah-ha! We’ve come full circle!)

I am really looking forward to watching how he’ll ease into the role of big brother. He is tremendous already, and I have high hopes for Bean with a role model like Bug.

When I consider Bean, and wonder about her and the dynamic of our family – the explosive love and affection already pulsating through each of us for her – I often stop and think how she will feel about us. And I know – I wholly know – that she will ridiculously adore her big brother Bug. (What little girl doesn’t worship her older, stronger, tougher, wiser, smellier big brother, for better or for worse?)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not under any illusions – there will be the screaming matches, the fighting words, the rolled eyes and biting remarks. There will be a time when Bug will find his razor ruined in the shower because Bean wanted to practice shaving her legs for the first time (guilty), or when Bean will wholeheartedly resent him for not driving her to the school dance or football game so as not to suffer the embarrassment of PARENTS…

There will be days tougher or tragic, irritating or forgettable, and on this side of things looking out, I can say with (relative) certainty that the end product will be nothing short of divine, that being a mother will exceed the heartache and worry and fatigue and frustration…that parenting cannot be reduced to merely the sum of each of these, but will be immeasurably more than its unlikely components…

I look forward to stepping aside and watching the bond develop between my two children.

I look forward to seeing the glint of fierce protection in Bug when a boy shows interest in his sister, or the subtle awe roll off Bean in waves when she watches her brother achieve. I look forward to bearing witness to the memories they will share under the same roof and hopefully relive in laughter and nostalgia, the mutual respect that will (eventually, I’m sure) grow between them, the identity they will cling to as our son, and our daughter…

I look forward to sitting in the front row of something I can only imagine will be glorious…

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