Time to Re-tile the Kitchen Floor

November 30, 2007

Thank you to those of you who commented on yesterday’s post.  I feel a little better about favoring my sweet baby over my disobedient toddler over the last couple of weeks.  I’m sure it will change eventually, and I’ll like PJ more again.  At least I know I’m not the only one; thanks to those of you who were courageous enough to admit you sometimes have favorites too.

And now I just have to tell you the story of M’s boss’s daughter’s birth the other day.  He finally got back to work for a few minutes today, so M got to hear the story firsthand at last.  Now keep in mind that this is a true story and not one I’ve ever seen on TV.  Because it sounds like it could be.

On Tuesday night, the mom was about a week overdue with the doctor finally starting to consider an induction.  She’d had one for her second daughter a few years ago, so it was totally expected to be needed again.  They were tentatively considering Thursday, depending on how crazy things were at the hospital.  But then at about 11:15, she mentioned that she was feeling some pretty severe back pain, and they decided it was probably worth heading to the hospital because it was likely the start of labor.  The husband gathered her bags and put them in the car while calling the baby-sitter who lived two doors down from them.  She left her house immediately.  By the time the husband got back to the kitchen where the wife was, she was a bit panicked, telling him that the baby was coming really soon.

He didn’t really believe her, but he checked her to be sure.  He has a history as an EMT, so he had an idea what he was looking at.  He saw her bag of waters but no baby, so they continued with the plan to head right to the hospital.  But before they could get out of the kitchen, she had a serious contraction and bear hugged him to hold herself up during it.  He could tell by the way she hugged him that it was serious pain.  To be sure, he laid her down on the kitchen floor again to check her one more time.  He could see the baby’s head crowning this time.

He grabbed the phone to call 911 just as she had another contraction and couldn’t help pushing.  He barely got his hands out in time to catch his daughter.  This is when the baby-sitter walked in, a mere five minutes after he’d called her–a mere five minutes after labor started.  He had to clear the baby’s throat of meconium and tie off the cord, both of which were taken care of before the paramedics got there about three minutes later.

They got home from the hospital yesterday, both mother and baby doing remarkably well.  And because we had to ask, yes, the baby-sitter had cleaned up the kitchen as well as all the towels, etc., that were used during the birth before the older two daughters woke up the next morning.  Now that’s a great friend!

Can you imagine?  Honestly, I’m jealous.  That’s a story nobody will ever forget, even those of us who don’t personally know anyone involved.  My own birth stories are forgettable and textbook compared to that (BabyN’s in particular).  And I’m terribly annoyed that I had to push through incredible pain (despite an epidural) for two hours with BabyN while she had five minutes total of pain.

But on the other hand, it would be awfully scary to realize you’re going to give birth on your kitchen floor without any medical personnel present, especially when you’d gotten yourself prepared for a long, drawn-out induction.  I guess PJ’s birth was close enough to the made-for-TV version for me.

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Favoritism

November 29, 2007

It’s taken months to admit it to myself, but I do have a favorite child right now.  There’s just something so loveable about a baby–and so frustrating about a toddler.  Every so often when BabyN is having a real crying spell and PJ is being particularly good and cuddly, I consider the two of them equal again.  But most of the time PJ drives me crazy and I can’t help but love my second son more.

I feel like a horrible mother for admitting this.  I can remember asking my mother when we were young which one of us children was her favorite.  At the time we didn’t believe her when she said she didn’t have a favorite, but as I got older I did.  Now I have to wonder.  There were probably many times she liked one of us over the rest, although I’m certain that changed often.  But never once would she let on if she had a favorite for even a fleeting moment.

I don’t know if I can conceal my feelings that well.  I’m just hoping that PJ outgrows the worst of the terrible twos soon so that he’s a whole lot easier to love.  And BabyN will probably be growing into them about the same time, so I’m sure my feelings will switch then.  Or maybe I’ll grow up some and love my kids more equally despite their behavior at the moment.


Twiddling My Thumbs

November 28, 2007

Goodness, I’m bored.  I’ve read all your blogs a million times today and have run out of things to do.  Now that BabyN is fairly consistently going to bed about this time of night and sleeping most of the night, I’m finding myself with evenings to myself again.  What did I used to do with my evenings?  Surely I didn’t actually watch this pointless tv I have on in the background.

I know I used to read voraciously, but I didn’t do that in the evenings, did I?  I don’t have anything new to read right now anyway, and I don’t want to buy anything new until after Christmas.  I typically get a whole stack of books every year.  Is anybody reading anything really good right now that I should make sure to have on my list?  It’s been long enough since I’ve been in a bookstore (the horrors!) that I don’t really know what’s out there right now.

My main Christmas present was shipped to me today and should be here on Friday.  I can’t wait!  After seeing my brothers’ professional level cameras at Thanksgiving, M started thinking it might be time to upgrade mine.  He talked to my older brother who is actually a professional photographer in his spare time (mostly sports) and decided that if we found a good enough deal, he would get me a very low-end SLR.  Sure enough, my Canon Rebel XTI should be here in a few days.  I am so interested in seeing how it helps my obviously amateur photography.  (On the bright side, though, my little brother paid me a huge compliment by acting surprised that all the pictures I’ve posted on the other blog of BabyN were taken with my point-and-shoot and weren’t professional.)  I also have ideas for accessories that should compensate for some of my photography issues.

So all of you other photography addicts, what kind of cameras do you use?  Now that I have a clue what options are out there, I’m finally curious.  And have you learned any tricks for getting good pictures, especially of toddlers that never stop moving?


Because You Know My Love of Lists

November 28, 2007

Although I could probably ramble on about BabyN finally sleeping through the night or my toddler driving me crazy–or how my husband’s boss delivered his third daughter on his kitchen floor last night–I’m actually going to do one of these memes I keep getting tagged for.  For the record, I love getting tagged for memes and I love doing memes.  But I get lazy when it comes to all the copying, pasting, and linking, and I give up on doing a meme until so much time has passed that it’s embarassing to go back and do it.  So Kristin, feel flattered that I’m getting around to this meme before the turn of the next century. 

Rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven random/weird things about me:

1. When I smile at you, you’re not looking at any real teeth.  I come from some stellar genetics that don’t necessarily guarantee all the adult teeth developing.  I was missing the two top teeth just off from the middle and the bottom two middle ones.  They simply never existed.  I now have two bridges on the top and one on the bottom to compensate for the missing teeth.  So when I smile, you’re either seeing the caps on the real teeth or fake teeth filling in the gaps.

2. I have some weird fears.  The first is fire.  I have never lit a match, worry at night about the house burning down, and never even used a lighter until college and then only sparingly.  I also hate hot things, like the oven and stove.  Thank goodness I have an understanding husband who does most of the cooking because he knows I can barely handle it.  The second is train tracks.  When people stop their cars on the tracks, I nearly panic that a train will come and hit them.  And God protect the soul of anyone who stops on the tracks when I’m in the car.  The third is sharp things like knives.  I have better control over this fear, but I cut things very rarely because of it.

3. When I was young, I had this feeling that I was going to grow up to marry a minister (preacher, pastor, whatever you want to call him).  That’s why I focused so much on the young men in the Bible department of the college I attended.  It seems I was wrong, though, because M is not exactly the minister type.

4. I have always wanted to be a superlative person–the best at something, or if that can’t happen, then the worst.  I wanted the longest hair or to be the shortest person around when I was younger.  I wanted to be the smartest in high school and college.  I don’t know what it is now, but I still hate to be topped by anyone in any area (smarter kids, longer or shorter labor, bigger kids, smaller kids, you name it).

5. I have always had a good memory for things grammar-related.  I was proofreading the books I read by the time I hit junior high, and it still bothers me to see glaring spelling or grammatical errors in the things I read.  I know I’m anything but perfect in what I write (chalk it up to too much time out of an English classroom), but when I make choices to write using incorrect grammar, it almost hurts.

6. I have an obsession with numbers and patterns, and especially patterns with numbers.  I look for those patterns in phone numbers, times on the clock, dates, anything with several numbers in it.  I get overly excited when I find a cool pattern in something commonplace.  Oh, and did I mention I’m a total nerd?

7. I’m anal about some things and could care less about others.  For example, I am so careful about how I keep my closet, with all my shirts in one place, arranged by color in a mostly rainbow order.  Pants are somewhere else, skirts in another place, etc.  But I have never once cleaned our tub in this house.  (M has a few times, but not as often as it should probably be cleaned.)  I can’t stand it when M puts dishes in the dishwasher somewhere other than I’d put them, and I get equally annoyed when he doesn’t put them in the dishwasher at all.  But I can ignore grime all over the kitchen floor and counters.

I suppose I’m supposed to tag people now.  This is always the hard part because almost everyone I know reads this has done it recently, and I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to do it again.  So if you want to do it, go for it.


Holiday Drama, Part 2

November 27, 2007

Normally I don’t need a second part to the family drama, but my own family couldn’t cooperate this year.  We are a loving family who gets along famously–but not anymore apparently.  It started the first time M met my younger brother several years ago.  M felt judged by him because of M’s previous divorce and our fast relationship.  Things only got worse when SIL entered the picture.  Sweet and loving on the outside, she was hiding a selfish, judgmental attitude on the inside.  With the two of them living close to her family, the family’s issues have bled over into my brother’s behavior.

The first hint that this year’s holiday was going to be ripe with tension was when M was having a pointless conversation with them and disagreed with something they said.  They immediately got defensive and had to leave the room, with one of them muttering, “What a moron,” to the other as they left.  For the first time, I could find no excuse for their behavior when M told me the story.

From there things just got worse.  M could barely be in the same room with either one of them and had to hold his tongue when he was.  We all noticed how much calmer everyone was when the two of them weren’t around.  One of the other comments they said that was meant to be overheard was criticizing M’s and my parenting skills, referring to PJ running around everywhere and getting into everything.  He’s two!  Of course that’s how he’s going to behave, especially in a house that is not remotely baby-proofed.  It didn’t matter how closely we chased him; he was always two steps ahead of us.  Needless to say, we didn’t get a break at all.

That comment was particularly offensive because of its hypocrisy.  My brother and SIL were in the habit of grabbing the keys to my dad’s Mercedes without a word to him (that’s a BIG deal around my parents’ house) and leaving for long periods of time, leaving their daughter for all of us to take care of–but without letting us know they were leaving or giving any instructions for her care.  More than once, we were lucky to find some pumped breastmilk in the fridge so she wouldn’t starve.  We just hoped it was that SIL’s milk and not the other.  Even when they were around the house, they would pass off the daughter to anyone around so they could do their own thing, regardless of whether or not that other person had something they were doing.  They were a huge burden and did not seem accustomed to caring for their own baby.

They were also a burden in that they expected all of us were there to be their personal maids.  My brother would disappear anytime there was work to be done and leave dishes and trash behind him all through the house.  At one point, M and my dad watched him get everything out to get a piece of pumpkin pie and then leave everything out.  My dad was clearly upset about it but wouldn’t say anything to my brother.  (We’re a very passive-aggressive family.  Can you tell?)  M and I spent any non-PJ-chasing time helping my parents keep up with dishes, laundry, etc.  You can see why it would upset us that my brother and SIL were taking advantage of everyone.

I think what burns the most about it is that M and I recognized how stressful it would be to fly across the country with a baby, so we offered everything we could to help them out.  We paid for diapers and wipes for their kid and packed lightly so we could fit in an extra carseat for them to use while they were there.  It stings to be so thoughtful to be taken advantage of and insulted.

And the worst instance happened shortly after dinner our last night there.  Most of the family was in the habit of having a drink or two with dinner and after (M and I don’t drink at all, so this was kind of annoying to us).  My dad was getting a bit tipsy, although he’d never admit it.  My brother didn’t finish his second–or third?–drink, so he put it on the coffee table to drink later and then disappeared.  I was helping clean up while M was walking BabyN to get him to stop crying.  PJ was on his way to bed as soon as I finished in the kitchen, so he was running free for a minute.  I happened to be peeking in on him in the living room at the exact moment he picked up my brother’s drink and tipped it to his mouth.  M saw it too, so we leaped to catch him.  He got a small sip of alcohol and spilled a bunch down his front as well.  My mom claims he couldn’t have actually swallowed any, and my dad got mad at us, saying he should know better (after saying all week that we couldn’t expect him to behave because he was only two after all).  M and I were so upset and worried about PJ that we just had to escape from the house as soon as both kids were asleep.  We spent most of our “date” driving around and crying.

It was very stressful with my little brother and his family around.  It’s sad because we were so close growing up and now he’s not the same kid I used to love.  He makes it very hard to love him anymore.  I’m glad now that he lives across the country and I only have to see him every couple of years.  How ironic that he was worried about my choice of a husband when his own choice of a wife has seriously harmed his relationship with us.


Holiday Drama Part 1

November 26, 2007

I think I’ve decided to start with the stories about M’s family, purely because the drama with them started earlier in the week.  On something like Monday or Tuesday, he was checking his e-mail when he discovered a note from his aunt, the one with the house in town who was hosting his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  She very rudely informed him that we were neglecting his family, were being selfish, and would be required to attend the family events at certain required times.

Never once have we noticed any strained relationships with her, although her daughters and M don’t get along (they pick on him relentlessly yet get defensive and upset easily if he picks back at all).  We couldn’t believe where this attitude was coming from.  How could she be upset that we don’t spend all of Thanksgiving over there when we’re spending all of Christmas with his parents?  How many grown children get to see their parents for both big holidays every year?  Her expectations are a bit much and clearly selfish with her not considering my family or parents.

She also took it upon herself to hijack the mini-party I’d mentioned throwing for PJ.  M’s mom was the one behind it all as I’d stopped caring whether it even happened.  I figured that if they really wanted to celebrate his birthday, they’d push the matter.  They did, so it was going to happen.  But then the aunt decided that it wasn’t fair to celebrate just his birthday and changed the party to an “everybody had a birthday this year” party.  I was seriously offended that she decided on her own that we shouldn’t have a party for PJ, without ever mentioning her problems with the party to me.  I’d specifically said that I didn’t want to have any gifts for PJ since he has too many toys already, but her new party required us to go spend $30-40 on gifts for everyone.  Needless to say, we didn’t go.  Neither did M’s parents or brother and sister-in-law.

The funny part about the stress with the aunt is that when M told them about the e-mail, they were just as offended as M and I were.  We made every effort to see them, M’s grandparents, and brother and SIL, but without ever making it over to the aunt’s house.  We actually spent more time with them this visit than most.  It seems that the purpose of her e-mail ended up happening, if not in the way she’d intended.  It was much less stressful than normal, too, without the rest of the family around.  And we were on the same side against somebody; that always bonds people.

But that’s not the end to the drama.  Surprisingly, M’s parents weren’t really a part of the other issue either.  M’s SIL is about 21 weeks pregnant and suddenly got violently ill on Thanksgiving.  She stayed in the hospital overnight, apparently to get rehydrated, and was released the next morning.  When I heard more details about it from M’s mom, it seems that the drama queen who can’t stand when she isn’t the center of attention (funny because M’s mom is usually the same way) probably exaggerated how she was feeling.  She was so weak after being sick a couple of times that she had to be carried to the car and into the hospital.  She couldn’t even sit up in a wheelchair in the hospital and had to use a bedpan while she was there.  M and I both agree that she probably puked once but told everybody it was repeatedly just to get attention and that she made everything sound much worse than it was.  I bet all the nurses at the hospital were rolling their eyes at her overly delicate condition.  They may have even admitted her just to make her (and M’s mom) happy.

Do I sound bitter?  I know it probably sounds that way, but I’ve been around the SIL enough now to know that while she comes across sweet, she will go to great lengths to make sure she is getting the attention she thinks she deserves.  Even if she really was that sick this week, she’s cried wolf enough times that it casts a real shadow of a doubt on her story.  Yeah, and M’s brother totally married their mother.  The two must have fed off each other for this drama to make it sound as bad as it really did.  Sigh.  Why can’t we have one single holiday without all this drama?  And why the heck did we agree to spend Christmas with them this year?


I’m Ba-ack!

November 25, 2007

Did you miss me?  I missed all of you lots.  I didn’t get much time on the computer at all since we left last Saturday.  I went through some serious withdrawal.  I will probably spend the next few days catching you up.  There are some crazy stories from the week.  Let’s just say that I never realized how much stress our family really has until shacking up with all of them in a tiny house for a whole week.  And of course the week couldn’t pass without some ridiculous moment with M’s family.

It was neat seeing the other babies, though.  I’m totally biased, but BabyN is definitely the cutest of the three.  The oldest girl is chubby, chubby, chubby.  Her cheeks are huge, and her eyes are way too close together.  She seriously looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid.  She holds up her head well, though, and “talks” a lot.  That’s pretty cute.  Her parents were in the habit of just leaving her with all of us without a word, though.  M and I get the feeling that they don’t do a lot of parenting at home since they are usually hanging out with her parents, who dote on that baby.

The younger girl is tiny and dainty.  She’s just now BabyN’s birth weight, at nearly two months old.  She’s the one I thought was ugly based on her pictures, but I was wrong after seeing her in person.  She still has the unfortunate nose, but she has the most beautiful eyes.  They are huge with the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a baby.  You totally don’t see the nose when she opens her eyes.  And her daintiness makes her look much more adorable.  Her parents are typical first-timers too.  They are doing everything by the book.  It’s cute.  I had to fight the urge to give advice all week, though.  They’ll learn when they can be more relaxed on their own time.

Okay, I think I’m going to go finish unpacking now.  Come back tomorrow for family rant #1.  Hmmm, I wonder whether I should start with my own family or M’s.  Don’t you love holidays?