Sunday, May 29, 2005

A new game

Matthew played a new game with Dad yesterday. [Note: I wrote this a while ago but didn't get around to posting it. "Yesterday" means "some time in late-ish May," not "May 28."]

We went outside and played on the neighbors' swings for a while. When he tired of that, Matthew took me over to where Rachel had hung a whiffle ball from our porch for him to swing at. "Dada hit ball!" Uh, okay. I'll hit the ball. Where's the bat? "Oh! Bat!" and he fetched the bat from its bin. Then he started running up the stairs to the porch.

Puzzled, I tapped the ball once, and twice. Then it started rising up towards the porch floor! Hey! Where's the ball going? Two-year-old chuckles ensued and Matthew grinned down at me from where he was pulling the ball up.

We played this for a while. He'd let me hit the ball a couple times, then raise it out of reach while I pretended to be puzzled and dismayed. He was enormously amused.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Four generations of ding-dongs

My father was a model of avoiding profanity. With the exception of one time I saw him clobber his thumb while nailing a project together (he lost most of the nail later), the worst he ever said was darn, dang it, or, perhaps most idiosyncratically, "ding dong it!"

I didn't realize I used the expression myself quite so much until I heard Matthew, exasperated with something, say, "ding dong!" in a tone just like my dad's. From father, to son, to son.

And my mother out here for a visit just told me that my father got it himself from his.

Makes me proud, it does.

Another one of those days

Watching Matthew outside. He started pulling at his butt. "Ow! Ow!" Do you need to poop? "Poop!" So we headed in. At the bathroom he decided he really needed to pee instead. Okay. Peeeeeeeeee. Move his stool over to the sink. Get up to turn on the water...


Pretty nasty. At least he didn't have diarrhea. Still, it was a fairly loose poop.

I wasn't pleased.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Cars and trucks and things that go

is the correct title of the Richard Scarry's book I mentioned.

It's the new "read this with me every time I take a nap or go to bed book."

The coolest thing is the "Find goldbug" minigame. So far I have found him on the first dozen pages or so, EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST. This is driving me a little bit nuts. But Matthew gets a kick out of finding him, and I guess I do too. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Revenge pee

Matthew peed on the floor 3 times today to get back at his parents. The last time was for me, after I spanked him for headbutting his sister. Before that, he did it twice when Rachel told him he had to pee in the toilet before having some gummi bears: once when she informed him of the way it was going to be, and again when she took him into the bathroom to get anything else out.

On a lighter note (although that's probably plenty amusing to everyone who didn't have to wipe the pee up), Matthew's already correcting his dad. I was reading Richard Scarry's "stuff that goes" book or whatever the title is, and pointed out a red truck. "Orange!" he said. On closer examination I admitted he was correct.

Not that this kid needs more assertiveness. But I'm told I was precocious that way, too, so I guess I can't complain.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Melissa has Matthew beat

in 11 days she has gone through over 130 diapers.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Peanut maturity

Rachel was putting Matthew down for his nap, a process that involves as much stalling as possible on his part. Meanwhile, Melissa slept quietly on my shoulder as I congratulated myself on my good luck. (I'd been all set to put Matthew down, but he said, "Mamma nap! Dada hold baby!")

Rachel's mom said that she remembered Matthew at Melissa's age, and there was no way he would just go to sleep like that, even as a newborn. Very true. Then she added, But you know, I wouldn't have been able to just leave the bathroom door open for any of my kids.

We couldn't leave it open for Matthew for the first couple years, either. Shredded toilet paper was about the tamest thing he did. But after he started potty training it seems that he understands that if he wants bathroom access, he'd better not pull any of that kind of crap anymore.

It's progress.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Melissa's Birth

I'm writing this several months after the fact (August), but I'll just slip it into May's posts...

Melissa was due the 7th of May, but on the 6th I decided to see the midwife, Rebecca, and see if she could "stir things up" as she described it. She stripped the membranes and gave me some blue and black cohosh to see if we could get things started. This was at nine in the morning. Rebecca greeted us in her scrubs- apparently another lady was in labor at the birth center. I thought this was a good sign.

I was pretty anxious to have this baby soon, because it is very uncomfortable being nine months pregnant. I do believe that the last month exists to get women to look forward to labor. In addition, my mother was in town for two more weeks, and I really wanted her help for after the baby was born.

I played soccer with Matthew and did some weeding that morning, but didn't feel any contractions until sometime around 1 pm. Unlike my son's birth, these started far apart and mild. I walked, jumped, and swayed back and forth in an effort to bring them on harder. Around 3 I needed to pause and relax to get through them. At 4:30 I called Jonathan and the midwife. Rebecca suggested I come to the birth center just to see how things were going after I mentioned I wasn't sure if I was being premature in calling. Jonathan came home and we scurried through the house to pack last minute items for the birth center (contact lense cases, hairbrushes, rice sock, things of that nature). I also laid out things for my Mom for Matthew's bedtime and with lots of kisses and hugs we left for the birth center.

We joked and laughed in the car between contractions and the pain and discomfort blissfully faded after each contraction (another major difference between my first and second's births- no constant backache!). Then we got stuck in traffic and the contractions increased duration and lessened in recovery time. It got to be pretty uncomfortable. Jonathan called the midwife and told her we were running late due to traffic. We arrived at about a quarter to 6. Before getting comfortable in our room, our midwife wanted to monitor the contractions and record the baby's response to them. That meant more sitting in a chair with monitors strapped across my belly. Yuck. Our little one must have been asleep though, because it took a while to get three accelerations of the baby's heart rate in response to the contractions. With a warm rice sock strategically placed, we interrupted our baby's slumber and got the last acceleration on paper.

My first request was to enter the tub. The water was heavenly for the contractions. Rebecca called the warm water "a giant rice sock" which I feel is an apt description. Jonathan held my hand, just loving me, which is what i needed. He is a wonderful support to me during labor, and I don't know how I'd get through it without him. When I entered the water I took off my watch and lost all contact with time. I didn't look at a clock until some time after the birth so I'm a little hazy about the timing of events. After a while even the water didn't help as much so I thought I'd try the birth ball. I sat on the ball and rested my head on the bed. Jonathan supported my back with his hands, but I didn't need much pressure on my back (unlike Matthew's birth). After a few very intense contractions on the ball I opted for the tub again.

At this point the contractions were right on top of each other with no rest. Jonathan continued to hold my hand and I rested my head on the side of the bathtub. I tried to will all of my muscles to relax and let the water support my body, but it got to the point where relaxation was impossible and endurance kicked in. Before Matthew's birth we learned visualization techniques such as envisioning each contraction as a wave, or the cervix as a beautiful flower opening- but those aren't helpful to me in the thick of things. Damned flower! This hurts! (I'm not a swearing woman, so I didn't say anything, but I confess that I thought it). Instead of visualizing, I just thought with each contraction, "I can do this one, it will be over soon." I know Rebecca kept Jonathan supplied with crackers and juice and made the surroundings more comfortable, but I was focused pretty inward at this point and not entirely aware of what was going on. Jonathan and the midwife also chatted between contractions, but I have no idea what they discussed.

I don't think much time had elasped since I returned to the tub when a wave of nasuea hit me. Jonathan handed me a wastebasket just in time. I then asked Rebecca to check the dilation because I was getting tired and discouraged. She said she would, but she thought I was fairly far along. If I was still at a three (what I was when she stripped the membranes that morning) then we would discuss other options. (What I really needed was encouragement that birth was soon). I stepped from the tub, lost my lunch again (in the wastebasket) and simultaneously felt my membranes break. Not a glamorous sight.

I lied down on my side on the bed for a few contractions with a pillow from home between my knees. Our midwife offered to cover the pillow with chux pads lest any blood get on it, but the last thing I wanted was the pillow moved for even a moment. If the pillow got ruined, so be it, at the time it would have been worth the sacrifice. (It actually escaped unscathed.) Lest there be any doubt I informed Jonathan and the midwife that it hurt. I also kept thinking that this had better be transition because I couldn't take much more. Rebecca told me that she could tell that Jonathan would labor for me if he could. I responded that I knew that. She then checked me - a ten. I asked her if she was sure. She said she was sure she couldn't feel any cervix. This brightened my mood considerably. Rebecca then suggested I try sitting on the toilet to bring the baby down. She informed me several days later that the baby was at a -1 when she checked, so pretty high. I still wasn't feeling any urge to push.

Jonathan helped me to the bathroom and the midwife stepped out for a minute to deal with her seasonal allergies. May brings cottonwood here. I gave a small, experimental push between contractions and then a big contraction hit and I could feel my body pushing and a great deal of pressure (no pain). I looked down and saw half of the baby's head! I was a little surprised, as was Jonathan. I reached down with my hands and simultaneously stood up. She was born into my arms and I held her next to my body. Jonathan's hands were right below mine so if I had missed he would have caught her. She was born pink and crying. Such beautiful sound! I remember making cooing and oh sounds to her. I wasn't able to call out to the midwife, being somewhat preoccupied. However, once Jonathan saw the head emerging he called out. She didn't hear him until he cried out REBECCA! for a third time. Our midwife and another midwife came rushing into the room. She had only left for a minute, but our Melissa was born fast. They placed a towel over our baby and asked what we'd had. I replied that I didn't know yet. It had happened so fast that I hadn't even had a chance to look yet! I was delighted to find out she was a girl.

Melissa was born at 9:24, 19 minutes after my water ruptured. It wasn't quite how we'd envisioned the birth going, but it went well. I thought it was great to be the first to hold her and welcome her into the world. I wouldn't have chosen to give birth over a toilet, but oh well. It was very good nontheless. I had no tears requiring stitches despite Melissa's hasty entrance, and she was a healthy 8 lbs 3 oz with 9/9 apgars. She latched on well to nurse right from the beginning and is not a baby to miss a meal. On top of that she is a delightfully mellow, happy baby.

I loved the hours after her birth. It was so sweet and peaceful holding her in the night. I had a tremendous amount of energy and would have moved mountains for Melissa if needed. I walked her around the room and hallway. Her Daddy made up some songs to sing and rocked his baby girl while I showered. After a brief rest, a shower, and a meal (birthing is hard work and I was hungry!), I decided that I would prefer to sleep in my own bed. (I was also anxious to return home to Matthew and wanted to see him when he got up in the morning.) We left the birth center around 3:30 that morning, just as another couple entered. Our midwife had 3 births in 24 hours. She really earned her Mother's day rest that Sunday. As for myself, I enjoyed my Mother's day with my precious newborn and (most of the time) charming 2 year-old. My sweet husband and my mother made the day a special one.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A word from Uncle Grant

(I watched Matthew on Saturday while his parents went to Rachel's cousin's wedding.)

I gave Matthew his choice of games to play with me, and he insisted on playing KOTOR II. Uncle Grant's opinion was that there were a plethora of games more suitable for two year old intellects (up to and including Soul Calibur II, but that's a different topic). However, Matthew was adamant, and because the whole point of the exercise was that video games were to be the opiate of the masses, I did not insist.

Our first task was selecting a character model. Matthew did not seem to understand the point until I asked him, "Do you want a mama or a dada?" "Mama," was his immediate reply, and he then proceeded to get moderately peeved that Rachel's face was not one of the character models he could choose from.

I ended up choosing a blond one with longish hair, which somewhat mollified him, and that was that. I didn't think more of it until he started referring to the character as Mama throughout the game. On another note, Matthew understands the concept of "Bad guys." With 'bad guys' meaning, noun, the things that you press the green button repeatedly when you see. (I had to handle the dialogue for him, but he could handle pressing the green button
repeatedly without problems. I tried to teach him about the blue button [queue action] in fighting, but with less success.)