Updated weekly. Usually on Tuesdays. Unless some small person eats my blog post.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How a Baby Moves

My children are delightful and (of course!) unique and special.  I can only assume it will be the same with number three whenever she chooses to make her appearance (please not any time before February, Butterfly, thank you very much).  And from what do I make my assumptions? 

No, not that kind!  Tsk.

I refer to the way in which babies move while in the womb (although the way they dance after is pretty darn funny too).  Before having my second child, I assumed there was a fairly uniform two-step each baby performed.  Not so, and may I present exhibits A, B, and C for your perusal: 


While in the womb, Ladybug liked nothing better than stretching out as far as she could go.  But as she got longer and longer, this whole pushing boundaries thing became a problem. And a wrestling match. DB often laughed at me all through church as I say next to him, pressing valiantly on my belly and not gaining even a centimeter of give. 
Ladybug has displayed these same tendencies in her everyday personality quirks.  She likes to see exactly how far she can go, find that line, then stand there and not give any in one bit. It is officially her job to remind us of exactly how things are done--how we eat breakfast, how we pray, and she doesn't forget promises we make to her.  She finds where she can be and sticks to it. 


StrawBee's fav rave was circles.  She liked to flip over and over and over and OVER. It was a lot like having a spin cycle going on in my belly.  I wasn't supposed to be going on any carnival rides but I felt like I was on one most nights.  It did something very uncomfortable to my guts (something about her little ankles catching on them over and over, I imagine) and created the oddest feeling of discombobulation.

From the moment of her birth StrawBee has never been one to sit still and let life happen to her. She is a mover and a shaker; a strong child who sees what she wants and goes to get it. This is a particularly effective personality to have as a second child, I like to think, because she has Ladybug to watch and learn from--and thus always a goal to strive for. 


I first started feeling this little firecracker moving around 11 weeks gestation (and for the uninitiated, that's about 8 weeks sooner than what's considered average). I heard many comments that this child must certainly be a boy for all of her activity, but unless something truly unusual happens between now and her birth I am quite sure this is not the case.  She punches and kicks like a regular boxing champ; I've even wondered on occasion if I'm actually giving birth to a kangaroo.  Ultrasounds can be so inconclusive, you know.
It'll be interesting to meet her in February. If nothing else, we know she's getting plenty of practice in so she'll be ready to stand up to the other two. 

I love being pregnant, though. No really, I do. Something about feeling like you're being invaded by a small alien is really life-affirming. Not to mention frighteningly like having super powers. Trying to interpret the ways the child moves into what they might actually be like as a little person has got to be one of the best guessing games ever. 

Has anyone else seen a correlation between baby movements and personality, or am I making these insightful connections on way too little sleep?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Playgrounds are Not for Wimps

...Or pregnant women. Just to clarify that they're not the same thing.

Not always, anyway. 

Moving on--

It was a fine day in October. DB had the morning off and had helped me take the kiddies to the doctor's office, and once the shots were over (brave girls!) Ladybug demanded "Go down swiiiiiide!" 

Translation: Let's go to the park. 

Given that we had all morning, we said sure. I expected to sit and watch the girls run in wild circles with their father like they usually do, but that day Ladybug decided that this was not an option.

"Mommy, 'tum on!" she shouted at me, gesturing wildly. 

How do you say no to that? 

Even if you are 6 months pregnant. 

First was the slide. 

I pulled my knees up to my chest, and inched down hand over hand.  Ladybug clapped with glee when I thudded to the bottom.  It took me several minutes to unbend completely as my back popped repeatedly.

Then there was a rock wall. Normally I'm pretty good at rock climbing--with a harness, ropes, and climbing shoes, that is. Oh, and minus the extra bottom/front-heavy weight.

I couldn't make it off the ground on that one. Swollen toes in slippery Halloween toe socks don't grip any better than shoes bought half a size too large in preparation for swollen feet. Ladybug settled with me shoving her up the rocks to the top before making me move on to the tunnel. 

The tunnel was the greatest indignity. Mostly because it seemed like the easiest thing to do in the entire playground. To crawl through it: How hard is that?  Um....almost as hard as putting jelly on the underside of your bread. Without flipping it over.

By the fourth time through the tunnel, I couldn't catch my breath and my knees popped every time I stood.

I had failed at the playground.  I felt like I had a big, fat red "F" printed on my forehead.

Ladybug watched, crestfallen, as I walked away from the playground equipment.  Thinking quickly, I looked to see if there wasn't something I could manage.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I would redeem myself on the swing.  And it wouldn't just be a normal swinging experience--no, no; I was going to introduce my child to Superman swinging. I was going to do this while pregnant and thus earn the Most Epic Momma Ever award. 

Without giving myself another moment to do something reasonable like think it through, I called for Ladybug's attention and dove onto the swing with abandon.

The first moments were fantastic. I was SuperMom and I knew Ladybug and StrawBee would be so impressed. I had no idea pregnant women could do this kind of thing!

Turns out they can't. .

...It was definitely epic, in that post-it-to-YouTube-because-you-FAIL kind of way. 

DB, after ascertaining that I hadn't broken myself or the baby by being such a... well, I'll let you insert the appropriate epithet here, kindly suggested that I just stay where I was for a  minute. Since I couldn't very well move I took him up on the offer. As it turns out, tanbark is really quite comfortable. 

But eventually the bliss had to end. We had promised the kids ice cream after the park, and chocolate sauce did in fact sound better than more wood chips in my back. So off we went. 

DB holding me up, and tanbark stuck to my backside. 

Epic Mommyhood: Achieved.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to be Pathetic: Practicing Pregnancy Helplessness

Some women are so darn empowered these days that they actually have the gall to openly enjoy their pregnancies. This is a shame, leaving behind the golden age of ignorance in which pregnancy was viewed as a shameful, embarrassing medical condition. At this rate, people will soon have a respectful understanding of what being pregnant entails and actually treat pregnant women according to their real limitations! 

Just. Terrible. 

Being on my third pregnancy, I thought it might be useful to hand out some guidelines to the rising generation of first-timers. To make sure we can perpetuate the image of pathetic suffering people so often associate with pregnancy.


Make sure to grunt. People will then feel awkward for you and do everything in their power to make themselves feel better about your condition. Mostly this includes picking stuff up for you, but I have heard of this awkwardness leading to free food, clothes, and trips to Europe!


These include tomato based foods such as spaghetti (or anything else acidic), spicy food, chocolate, and lots and lots of soda pop.  This will guarantee perpetual puking or horrendous heartburn, depending on the stage of pregnancy. And when people ask why you insist on eating these things, reply "The baby wants it." 


Some waddle is unavoidable when you hit that last month, but this "look at me I'm dying" walk is a classic pregnancy posture that's adopted more out of tradition than necessity. Not only will it make you look tired and worn, guaranteeing plenty of help and sympathy, it also helps sustain that pregnancy backache people covet so. 


Practice using pathetic faces and doe eyes, especially as relates to any medication that might help with the above conditions. Also, never question a medical professional, and never try to learn things for yourself. If you start sounding educated it ruins your credibility as a victim of an uncomfortable condition. In fact, don't try to converse with your medical provider at all. Regardless of what they say, just repeat over and over: "The doctor says I can't."


Preach this constantly, no matter what the situation. If possible, burst into tears while trying to explain it. 

Every. Single. Time.

I mean sure, you could probably exert some effort and keep the mood swings to a fairly tame minimum, but what good does that do you?  Docile responses to such offensive questions as "How was your day?" never got anyone an extra box of chocolates for dessert. 

Which is that pregnancy is freaking amazing. And it comes with an awesome snack tray.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Awkwardness in a Can

I hate it when I find myself trapped by an awkward conversation. Inevitably I find myself backed into the proverbial corner and unable to articulate anything more intelligent than "Er..."

If I can see the trap coming, I will find ways to cleverly sidestep it. Like a quick, heart-attack prone bunny rabbit I dodge the upcoming verbal onslaught like so:

Sometimes this just isn't possible. Either I've already mentioned that my cell phone battery is dead after being masticated by a teething toddler or (more likely) my brain just freezes. It's like the complete, sudden awkwardness shuts down all normal function and leaves me with nothing but blushing and stammering. 

Even worse is when the awkwardness completely blindsides you, coming out of nowhere to make your life a misery.  A particular conversation is emblazoned in my memory forever, so painful was my embarrassment and so suddenly was the trap sprung. 

One moment, I was innocently submitting to a grilling by another woman about whether DB is good at "kissing butt," (as she put it) when he made mistakes.  A stupid topic, but harmless enough. Still, I started trying to break away as the conversation appeared to be rapidly morphing into one of those "and men are" slam sessions. I failed. And then the conversation took a sudden, wildly inappropriate turn. 

The trap slammed shut.

My brain shut down. 

The worst part is that she, like so many of this sort, took my inability to respond as a sign of my complete lack of sophistication and cheerfully laughed in my face while I struggled.

I wish I could say I had a Kathleen Kelly breakthrough and zinged the other girl into oblivion.  


Some people just wield their social ineptness like a club, leaving blunt-force trauma to the psyche. Polite people (and I generally like to think I fall in that category) have no such weapons. 

Until now. 

Introducing: Awkwardness in a Can

Got problems with being backed into a verbal corner and left to writhe?  Not anymore!

Spray the social neanderthal in the face and all the awkwardness they should be feeling will be amplified ten-fold and brought down on their pointy little heads. Feeling such awkwardness for the first time will turn your opponent into a quivering mass of patheticness, leaving you free to walk away and engage in more pleasant conversation. 

This could change the structure of our entire society. Instead of those who ignore social rules dominating conversations and locking up the brains of polite people everywhere, polite people would rule! It would be like mace for the Everyman. 

Heck, it might even be better than mace. Use it against all sorts of evil villains.

The bad guy will feel so awkward about assaulting you that he will apologize and leave. 

Who knows, it could even lead to total reform.  I know that much awkwardness would keep me hiding under the covers for a year or two. 

So buy it. Use it. Free the world. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Word Play

I considered myself a tomboy when I was a kid. I made no forays into femininity until late high school. I assumed I would have a son first because I had no idea how to relate to girly girls. But God has a sense of humor, and here I am incubating girl number three.

Girls one and two, meanwhile, are into princesses.

This despite my best efforts to keep them far, FAR away from what I like to call "the Disney Princess Conspiracy"--that program designed to teach young girls that princesses get everything they want, and that they get it while wearing pink and sparkles. Not that I have anything against princesses who enrich and educate themselves all while accepting their immense social responsibility despite possible unpleasantness to themselves.


I do support that my girls, particularly Ladybug, call themselves princesses at the moment. I may take every opportunity to remind them that a real princess is kind, well-behaved, polite, and well-educated, but I will never deny that they are princesses.  As a show of this support, I have drawn (and I use that term loosely) the following word play. Enjoy.


As many of you know, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this November. Seeing as this puts an extra strain on my time budget, this means adjustments had to be made. Don't worry, the blog is not dying for the month!  Rather, I've written some posts in advance. What does this mean for you?  Not much, except that these posts will probably actually be posted early on Tuesday instead of just before I go to bed. Because I won't be scrambling madly with the blog; I'll be scrambling madly with my novelling.

If you write at all, try WriMo out! If you don't write, you might try it anyway. Or else send care packages to my poor husband. If you are trying it out, good luck; may the force of much writing-ness be with you.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.Creative Commons License
This work by Carolynn Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.