Sunday, June 29, 2008

Backflip Mamma

Saturday had Sugarpop, Oh*, Happy Elf, and I traveling to visit my brother and his family in Bloomington/Normal. The occasion was June birthdays of which I am a celebratee, along with two nieces.

We arrived around one and it was decided that the kids and all available parents, aunts, and uncles would attend. Sugarpop came along with her fancy maternity swim suit even though I knew her swollen feet and aching uterus longed to stay behind. But with Happy Elf and Oh (both 2 and 4 respectively and the youngest of the swim group) we needed all the supervising we could get.

I don't know what the pool was called that we went to, but it has a submarine in the children's pool so we've always called it the Submarine Pool. There is one thing one must know about the children's pool---the water is freezing! Not just a refreshing temperature on a hot summer's day. I'm talking Looney Tunes freezing where if you just stuck a toe in your whole body would turn to ice, tip over, and shatter into thousands of tiny icicles.

The boys braved it as only kids know how . . . they're having too much fun to be bothered with the temperature of the water. Me? I was Daddy-Sissy-Swimsuit. Whenever the wind blew water from the water spouting periscope I flinched and ran away trying to find a mist free zone.

Thankfully the other pools were much warmer and we spent the better part of our time there frolicking in the 3' 6" to 5' 6" depth pool. The Oh and Happy Elf were having fun. They love to jump in off of the side and there was always a willing cousin there, with us watching over them, to catch them and turn them back to swim to the side.

A couple of the cousins, including the Oh, wanted to go off the diving board. The diving well is right next to the pool we were in so we were able to watch them go off the board from where we were at. 

Waiting in line were two sisters probably about 3 and 5 years old. They had matching suits and matching flotation vests. They'd each walk to the end of the board and then plop into the water; then kick back to the ladder to do it all over again. Watching them was their mother fitting nicely into her white bikini. Se stood and watched like a nervous mother wondering if she was letting her kids out of the safety zone that we parents construct  around our kids.

The Oh and cousins jumped off the board a few times and then rejoined us in the pool. Shortly after we noticed that bikini mom was on the board. We watched and wondered what she was going to do. She kind of cautiously approached the edge of the board and we thought, "Isn't that cute, she's going to jump in like her kids." Then she suddenly turned around and balanced on the edge of the board with her toes and proceeded to due a very decent back-flip. She rung her hair out while waiting in line and when it was her turn she did another back flip.

We were all impressed and it was fun to watch a mom who still thinks and shows to others that she is "all that". 

So here's to you "Backflip-Bikini-Mom". When others are so self conscious of their bodies that they keep their chin and below beneath the waterline of the pool you confidently "strut your stuff" and show that even after pregnancies and mini-vans you've still got it!


* Changing the O's blog name to the Oh, because that's the expression he's been using lately. 

O: "Do I have school today?"

Parent: "No O you're on a summer break."

O:  "Oohhh."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Four o'clock today and I drop Sugarpop off at the circle drive of the clinic of the baby doctor. We were right on time, but I had to go park the car and then trek back to the clinic. Construction around the clinic has reshaped and relocated the entrance several times in the past 9 months and we are forced to the clinic down a chain link fence corridor. I took the stairs two at a time to the fourth floor. I always think I'm in better shape than I am (and I'm not). Those last few stairs always do be in!

I'm hustling because for most of the visits we've been called back right on time and I didn't want to face a Sugarpop-less waiting room and then try to find her amidst the rooms of crinkly papered exam tables and paired knees pointing to the ceiling tiles.

But I enter the waiting room to find her sitting in a chair. The room is crowded with every gal seemingly near full-term. Only two doctors are running late; but HUZZAH! ours isn't on the list. I take a seat next to Sugarpop and we start discussing middle names (I'll post on that later). Every time the door opens we expect to hear us called, but after eight callouts we are still sitting. It's nearing 5 o'clock and our name is finally called. It's a new nurse and she does the usually routine (blood pressure, urine test, baby's heartbeat--a nice calorie burning 142 bpm) and leaves. Normally we may have a 15 minute wait until the doctor comes in, but 30 minutes pass and nobody. I step out into the hall and find Sugarpop's P.A. She comes into the room to chat for a minute, but it's now after five and she's heading home. 

We hear muted "Have a good night." "See you tomorrow." "I'm so glad tomorrow's Friday!" through our door and I poke my head out again and ask a nurse if we've been forgotten. "Oh, no we won't leave you overnight, we're just really stacked up right now." 

I return to the exam room and Sugarpop has depantsed and is wrapped in a sheet on her bottom half. We are now one hour and forty-five minutes into our visit. We're not upset. The wife is a little uncomfortable on the exam table and we ponder whether it's proper etiquette for a patient naked and wrapped in a sheet to sit on the doctor's chair. W decides not to and stretches out on the exam table.

I've discovered that I can carry on a normal conversation with my togaed, pregnant wife, in a doctor's exam room surrounded by pamphlets on strep B and clamidia, for approximately one hour, seventeen minutes, and forty-nine seconds. Then I just stop. I've got nothing. Nothing to say. Nothing to add. Again not upset, just shutting down. I entertain Sugarpop for the next 30 minutes by reading to hear from an Osteoporosis pamphlet about an 81 year old widow named Anne. It starts out with her fracturing her hip and becoming afraid to go out and be active like she once was--thereby isolating herself from her friends. Don't worry. By the end of the tale Anne has made a full recovery and pamphlet closes with a picture of her playing shuffle board.

For the next 20 minutes I read to W from the June 2007 O magazine about the 4 Love Types. We can't decide if we are Builder, Navigator, Explorer, or Director. Thanks for nothing Oprah!

After bumming about not discovering our Love Type we hear a wrap on the door and it's the doctor. She apologizes and says today is just crazy. We've known the good doctor for years--the W taught her kids in school--so we chat a bit and then the doc gets down to business.

End result? Because we were in the waiting/exam rooms for 1/10 of an entire day the W has dilated to 2 cm getting close to 3. Last week she was less than one. Gotta think all that dilatin' happened while we waited.

And though we are no closer to knowing our true Oprah sanctioned Love Type, today we moved a couple of centimeters closer to meeting our baby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Stretched

According to my cipherin' the W is about two weeks from birthing our bambina (due date July 11th). The end is in sight! We've taken the "Birthin' ur Baby" refresher course; filled a closet and a dresser with lots of pink girlie things (what are these hair clips and hair bows and how do you install them?); packed the bag; prepped the boys on who's going to stay with them when the baby is ready to be born; and piled infant diapers next to the Happy Elf's diapers on the changing table.

Still to do: buy new digital camera; install co-sleeper next to our bed; re-review our birth plan and practice some breathing techniques that work for the W in labor; and create a label for W during labor that says: "Hello! Give Me Nubain!"

So we are turning into the home stretch and in just a few days I'll be an everyday dad of three! And I realize that the stretch part extends to our budget, living space, shelf space, car space, and just about every facet of our life. 

And I love it.

Can't wait to meet you Lil' Dragon (name that O originally suggested for his baby sister). Mom will be doing all the hard work, but you'll come to find that I'm always standing by her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Camp Cousin

For the past 4 years the W and I have hosted any and all cousins of our two boys at our house for an extended weekend that we have called "Camp Cousin".

The boys, the O and Happy Elf, have a total of nine cousins. Two live in New Jersey, one in Chicago, one in Texas and the rest in Bloomington/Normal.

This year our numbers are down a bit, but we are hosting four cousins from Bloomington and, for a few hours, the 5 month old cousin from Chicago. The O and Happy Elf love, love, love their cousins, or "the kids" as O calls them. O spent his first two years being cared for during the day by my sis-in-law so he was with "the kids" in the morning before school and for a few hours after they got home from school. So though at the time he was our only child, in his mind he was growing up as one of seven!

We try to make camp cousin as "campy" as possible. Good meals, arts & crafts, talent show, swimming (it's nice that the W's parents have a pool). Some years we camp in tents in the backyard. This year we are in the house as the W and lumpy ground under a tent was not going to happen. The past few years we have done tie dye shirts and this year we added the creation of a camp flag and window art with these cool "write on glass" markers.

Today was our first full day and consisted of a big camp breakfast, tie-dye, camp flag-raising ceremony, swimming, quiet time (take a nap or read a book), and pizza, park, and a movie and root beer floats to close the day.

Tomorrow are trips to the Farmer's Market with all of us wearing our tie-dye shirts, Taste of C-U, and we take over the in-laws house for the afternoon and night to have our pool-party/movie night. Movie night is extra fun because we have "concessions". Popcorn, candy, soda, nachos---all the snacks. The kids make signs and have "cousin cash" (their faces on $1 and $5 bills) that they can spend only at the concession stand. They love creating the concession part more than watching the movie!

Sunday will bring a close to camp and we'll have a camp flag-lowering ceremony, a big farmer's breakfast, and singing and dancing to the soundtrack from "Hairspray" (this year's favorite soundtrack of choice).

Camp was an extra day this year and it is never long enough. We are all already planning for next year and the addition to camp of our soon to arrive baby girl!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Take One Down, Pass It Around

Apologies for the long absence from the blog world, but ya' see yesterday, the Happy Elf, our two year old, became a man.

We were at my parents' house for Sunday dinner (mom's spaghetti is the best!) and we were joined by my brother-in-law from San Diego who was in St. Louis for business and drove up for a visit.
He and my father cracked open a couple of Coors Light and were pulled into the family room to watch some baseball action and left their beers behind on the kitchen counter.

Happy Elf sensing that there was soda to be had, climbed up on his little stool and while our backs were turned for the proverbial two seconds, wrapped his little hands around that Rock Mountain Silver Bullet goodness.

Sugarpop saw him first and hauled her 10 month pregnant vessel over to the Elf. It appears that he probably got a taste, but didn't like it, but was just about to sample it again to see if maybe it would taste different when it was whisked out of his hands.

Just to be safe we've scheduled an intervention with the Elf and instead of enrolling him in a summer art program he'll spend the summer in detox.

So we're taking it one day at a time and our proud of the Elf's one day of sobriety.