While You Were Away

A couple times a year Craig travels overseas for work. It kind of stinks. I can’t sleep at night and I find myself Googling phrases like “murder in London” and “explosion in Barcelona”. Last Wednesday night I stayed away from Facebook out of fear someone would post “Air Berlin plane crash”. I’m pleased and relieved to announce that he has returned safe and sound. While he’s away we don’t realty talk much because he’s actually working so I’m putting up a little photo diary of what we’ve been up to the last 4 days. Enjoy!

^^^Gabriella had thrush…again.

^^^Lisi cried when I didn’t let her take 3 pounds of candy outside.

 

^^^They hung out by the ice skating rink before it turned to ice.

^^^Annie got her first bike…for $10!

^^^Lisi cried when Annie took away her giant candy bag….again.

^^^These guys were pulling some crazy bedtime shenanigans.

^^^Lisi unpacked her bag minutes before we left for school and started eating her snacks.

 

^^^Gabriella had her tongue clipped in 2 spots!

^^^And then she learned a new trick!

^^^We got caught in a downpour at the park and hid in the bathroom for 30 minutes. Note to self: check weather before leaving.

^^^Then the sun came out and we had the park to ourselves!

^^^And puddles formed.

^^^I gave Annie an industrial sized pack of construction paper and she made an owl without any help!

^^^I let her drink a packet of sugar before we walked across Central Park.

^^^Judah climbed up the rock, I didn’t know he had it in him!

^^^I felt like I was cheating on you by going to a museum but we never made it inside. PS, that structure she’s holding makes farting sounds when you blow in it. Oh, and she lost her other shoe along the way. The only thing more annoying than losing her shoe is getting stopped every 5 minutes by someone telling me she lost her shoe.

 ^^^Only the coolest chair ever.

^^^The time I wished I brought our selfie stick.

Glad to have you back!

Til next time, over and out!

More B**bs

I’ve written about this topic before but here we are again. You might be wondering if I’m nursing Gabriella. Yup. How’s it going? Well, funny you should ask. Because to be completely honest, there have been some bumps along the way. We’ve had thrush which, if you haven’t had the privilege of experiencing, stinks.  I’m also starting to think she might need to have her tongue clipped. But otherwise it’s going along just fine. Sometimes I enjoy nursing. When I have the luxury to sit down and give it my complete undivided attention, it’s great. Sometimes I can keep feeding her until she stops and just gazes at me, occasionally cracking a dimply smile before falling into a deep sleep right in my arms. Then there are the times when I’m trying to get ready to go out and she just starts screaming bloody murder. Her screams are so pathetic that if the neighbors didn’t know me, they’d probably be calling CPS or ringing the bell to make sure everything is okay. So even though I could be halfway out the door, I have to run back inside and quickly feed her. And it’s not a pleasant feed, either — usually I’m walking around like a crazy lady with my shirt half up, grabbing some last minute snacks from the closet and picking up magnatiles before someone takes another spill. And when it ends, with me dislatching Gabriella, she winds up screaming louder than when we started.

Last week I was at Trader Joe’s. It was a little crowded and the “team member” (that’s TJ’s for “worker”) was holding a giant end-of-the-line sign pretty far back. I knew it was going to be a bit of a wait at checkout but I didn’t mind because it gave me a chance to do some impulse shopping while waiting. Gabriella started to fuss a bit as we shopped, so I figured I’d just feed her once I was on line. When the line was moving kind of slowly I took her out, gave her some kisses, latched her on and continued following the line. There was on older, well-meaning lady watching me. And by watching I mean staring. And she wasn’t smiling. She came over to me and suggested that I go sit down to feed her. Now, I don’t like advice. I’m really stubborn. It’s not one of my best qualities but I just wasn’t in the mood. Ha, I’d love to sit down and feed her but I don’t really have time right now. Uugh. I continued following the line, grabbing a box of heirloom tomatoes on my way. This lady, still staring at me, was now shaking her head.

The thing is, I shouldn’t have to defend myself. There was no skin showing, and even if there was, why would she look? I’m not an uberboober at all. I don’t know that “breast is best” and I don’t even know if it’s cheaper or more convenient. I do know that for now it’s working for us so even if I’m standing in line at Trader Joes, you bet I’ll be lifting up my shirt to feed my baby. I went on to grab four delicata squash. I was pretty psyched to see those bad boys back in season. I was directed to register 23, where I paid and headed toward the elevator. Another lady with a stroller pulled over next to me. “I saw that move you did in the line before and it was awesome.” Wow, talk about making my day. And I guess sometimes nursing can be pretty darn awesome.

 

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Cracked

Apparently, iPhones don’t like being precariously balanced on a stroller canopy next to the concrete ground. So in case you were planning on doing that, well, you probably shouldn’t. I was lucky enough to get an appointment at the Genius Bar that night. It felt as though this phone was my child and I had failed at keeping this child safe and protected; the least I could do was rush it to a top specialist. I was told that my phone didn’t sustain any serious injuries other than a cracked screen, and so they recommended that I could either check my phone in overnight or come back early the next morning. I opted for the overnight stay — I mean, how much do I really use my phone?

As it turns out, I use it quite a bit. I really try not to. In theory, I try to live in the moment. If my battery is low by the end of the day it means I’ve used it too much. I used to pride myself in not being a slave to my device. But I was totally kidding myself.

I dropped my phone off that night at the Apple Store on 14th Street. My first thought walking down the street was I’m hungry, maybe I should order Chop Chop now so it’ll be waiting for me when I get home. D’oh, maybe not, no phone, right. Unsure of the time, I decided to just head home. I walked along the subway platform. I saw a rat on the tracks and stared at it. I spotted a bag of kale in some guy’s Whole Foods bag and then remembered that I had the exact same bag in my fridge. Hungry. I normally would have reached into my pocket to Google a fun kale recipe… ugh. Okay, this is going to be a long night. And seriously, what time is it??? As I walked to the northern end of the platform, I passed person after person staring at their devices, all oblivious to this rat walking along side me on the tracks. I got on the train. The only person not on a phone was the homeless guy sprawled out on the other side of the train. I read all the ads. I even switched seats to read the ads on the other side. I peeked over at the guy next to me playing Candy Crush and thought about gently reminding him that it’s not 2012, but then I remembered I’m not mean. I hummed some songs in my head. At last it was my stop. I got off and walked home.

I ran to my iPad. What did I miss? And what time is it? Seriously? It had only been an hour? What’s wrong with me?

The next morning was equally tough. It was my kids’ first full day of school and I had no way of documenting it (which was probably for the best, as there were some ugly tears). Luckily, I rode the train down with Craig otherwise I would’ve gone crazy reading the exact same ads I had stared at the night before. I considered stopping at Coffee Bean before my phone and I were reunited but I was too excited.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have lied and told them I had backed it up, but that’s kind of my problem. I was told that, even though they had taken extraordinary measures, they couldn’t save my phone so they’d be replacing it with a new one. The last time I had backed my phone up was March so that’s pretty much where we stand. 

Now what? Am I an addict? Should I disconnect for a bit? Let’s see, up until this incident all was good. I still enjoyed life and my phone was still charged at the end of the day. So as they say, “if it ain’t broke….” Unless it’s cracked, that is, in which case bring a book and a watch.

Tough Day

It was a rough day. Not because the kids were driving me crazy, and not because I ate some questionable liver the night before (it tasted excellent going down!). It was the day our best friends moved to a different continent. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. We had seen this move coming for quite some time, so you’d think I would have been prepared for this big day — but not so much.

                                                                              7 years ago.

I was newly married and had just started working at an in-home daycare. It was my first job outside of fashion, but I thought I’d give it a shot since I’ve always liked kids. It was a pretty good gig. One of the kids was three month old, Dahlia. Her mom Emily was pretty cool; I even friended her on Facebook. I’d send her pictures during the day — which was actually a much bigger deal then than it is now! We started going to each other’s houses for Shabbos lunch and then spent Purim together. We totally bonded. She was one of the first few people I told I was pregnant with Annie. And the fun hadn’t even started yet!

When Annie was born, she came home from the hospital on Craig’s birthday. Emily  and Dahlia came over to our house with a Happy Birthdays! cake for the two of them. We started going on dates to Starbucks every Friday morning. When Annie was three months old, Emily gave birth to their second daughter, Zoe.  We visited her in the hospital, obviously bearing the largest cup of frozen yogurt ever. We continued with our Friday morning coffees and added trips to the playground. This standing date went on for a few years. And in school, Annie and Zoe were in the same class and they were besties.

                  

    

We started doing Sundays together — that’s a big deal, since it meant that the mommies and daddies and kids all had to get along nicely. Holidays were often spent together, as were afternoons after school. It was during the polar vortex of 2014 (remember that one?) when Emily and I discovered that we were food soulmates. Rarely a day passed without us talking or seeing each other.

Which brings us back to today, seven kids, seven years later. After the movers came to get their stuff we had a big family sleepover. I wish we would had thought of that sooner! Up until today I’ve kept my cool. We stood there as they loaded the taxis, said our goodbyes and watched them ride off to the airport. And then they were gone.

We started walking up the block. Annie started telling random people we bumped into that her friends just moved. I’m thinking Wait, so did mine. And then I lost it. I started crying and couldn’t stop. All this time I thought I was dead inside yet here I was, ugly-crying in the middle of the street. We went to the park and I sat down on a empty bench. I watched the kids play and fed New Baby. The bench stayed empty the whole time. I guess no one wants to sit near weepy mom. (Fine, I’m being a little dramatic; no one sat there because all of our crap was on it.)

I may have spent the night crying.

The next day I packed everyone up and went to a playground downtown that we hadn’t been to in about a year. The kids loved it — they played with each other and made some new friends. We stayed for about five hours and getting out of there may have involved a spirited game of chase-Judah-around-the-sandbox-then-physically-remove-him-and-place-him-in-the-stroller. It was a good day. When we came home that evening my phone started buzzing. It was a FaceTime from Emily and the gang! Everyone was so excited! I do wish the kids didn’t hog the phone so much, as it would’ve been nice to talk to Emily. Still, I was in the other room dumping sand out from under the stroller while listening to all the kids talking and it just made me so happy. These little phone dates are becoming a regular thing. This is going to work.

And if one Friday morning you see me at a coffee shop with an empty seat for my phone so I can pretend E is actually there with me, well, don’t mind us…

Hating on the Tooth Fairy

Today’s blog post is brought to you by: kids’ dentist appointments. I’d been putting them off for months. I was on top of it at one point but between freezing weather, bad chafing or just not feeling up to it, there was always some excuse to cancel. Not to mention, just the idea of taking three kids to the dentist was a bit unappealing. Don’t get me wrong, we have a fabulous dentist who gives out great prizes, there’s a TV to watch during the exam and the exam chairs have — wait for it — massagers! The first time I sat in the chair I thought it was tickling me. It wasn’t. I don’t know what was going through my mind when I scheduled this appointment. We usually go on a day when Craig can join us but I thought this could also double as a super fun Camp Mommy field trip. Wrong.

It started out as such a promising day too. We had a pretty leisurely morning just walking around on the Upper East Side. We visited my OB’s office to say hi and drop off some thank you cookies, grabbed brunch, went to Sephora, painted our nails and bought myself the most fabulous latte from Petite Shell. Everyone was pretty well behaved and we got to the office six minutes early. Annie went in first. She casually walked into the exam room when her name was called; at first I didn’t even notice she was gone. When I went in to peek, she was comfortably sitting in the chair wearing some sunglasses, schmoozing with the hygienist, and totally uninterested that I had come for moral support. While it was a proud mama moment it was also an OMG, my baby! moment. Let’s just say it was downhill from there.

I could see through Annie’s neon yellow shades that I may have been cramping her style. With a crying baby strapped to me and Lisi curiously touching EVERYTHING I decided to head back to the waiting room. Judah was hovering over a big kid playing a video game screeching my turn, MY TURN, MINE! Baby needed to be fed so I remove her from the baby carrier revealing a Gabriella-shaped sweat stain. I started feeding her on one side and immediately saw the other side leaking through my shirt (it kind of blended in with the sweat). Then the nanny sitting next to me gestures at Lisi, is that ok? She was drinking my latte. Oh sure, I joked, it’s only her first cup, haha. Lisi precariously balanced it on the activity table she was playing with. Um, Lisi, careful, it’s gonna…… It was the sound of my $5 iced latte falling on the floor. Crap. I gestured to the secretary. I still had Gabriella attached to my boob. I could have grabbed wipes from under my stroller and pretended it had never happened but I’ve learned that there’s no shame in asking for help. I felt the nanny totally staring at us, thinking told ya so. The secretary came out with paper towels and a mop. Lisi helped. By helped I mean made it worse. Like took a paper towel and started spreading the ice everywhere. I unlatched the baby and decided to go peek in on Annie just in time to find out that she had her very first cavity.

Judah’s turn. Oh boy. I had to rip him away from the game he was playing in the waiting room. He got in the chair. It started going up. He did not like that. I was sitting there helplessly burping the baby. He wanted to get down. He didn’t care about the sunglasses, or the TV screen on the ceiling. He most definitely didn’t like the massage. Open your mouth like a shark! Ha, not a chance. He sat there with his mouth closed tight. What’s that I feel? Sweet. Gabriella just burped, and cheesed down my shirt. The hygienist tried to get in his mouth and it just made him angry. He was now kicking and flailing his arms, pushing her away. She poked her head outside for backup. I finally put the baby on the floor and put Judah on my lap. I restrained him pretty forcefully. For a 26 pound guy he’s strong. I definitely see some wrestling in his future, like his daddy.  And needless to say there was some more sweat to add to the cocktail of bodily fluids on my shirt.

When he was done he happily hopped out the chair and claimed his prize. He sweetly said thank you and ran back to his game in the waiting room. Lisi’s turn. She screamed and wiggled but was otherwise fine, at least in comparison to Judah. My favorite part was when the dentist was counting her teeth and got to the one that fell out and said skip. Glad we can laugh about that now. Then Judah comes back. HE looks a bit agitated. Mommy? Mommy? I have to poop. So go poop! Annie? Can you please help him? He starts running and comes back holding his butt. Mommy? I finished. In mine underwear. Oh, come on!

*          *          *

Dental hygiene might not be something I’ve always taken seriously. I kind of thought it was one of those things where you either have good teeth or you don’t. I’ve always been a poor brusher. I’d mouthwash every morning and brush the night before I went to the dentist and I’d laugh at the idiots who floss. You know how many cavities I had? Zero. I decided that the whole dental industry was a fraud.

Let’s go back to last October. Craig and I realized that we have a great dentist and insurance that covers two dental visits a year and yet we haven’t gone since we got married. If you know me at all you’d know that I love free stuff. So I was thinking, it’s been six years, $200 a visit for each of us, $2,400 in dental care down the drain? Oh no no no. Sign me up for my free cleaning and checkup. Now that I’m a grown-up I’ve stepped it up on the brushing, gotta set a good example for the kids and all but still, if I was doing a good enough job my gums probably wouldn’t bleed as much as they do. The night before my appointment I brushed, then flossed (I know, I judge myself), mouthwashed and repeated.
The next morning I was sitting in the chair at Dr. G’s office. He started poking around in my mouth. Uh huh, cavity. Hmmm. Cavity. Oh, there’s another one. Seriously? I don’t get cavities. I’m supposed to be immune to them! There were 5, and that was without X-rays. I was a little bummed, I felt kind of defeated, like the Tooth Fairy was looking down laughing at me and the folks at Crest were high-fiving. But you know what? Five cavities in 31 years? Not too bad, right?

Skip to July. Yeah, you bet I’m going twice a year. I’m sitting in the chair, fiddling with the chain on my dental bib. Dr. G starts poking around. Cavity. Cavity. WTF? Are you kidding me? Since there was no chance I was pregnant I finally got my X-rays. They appear on the screen. Look at that. You see where it’s red? Those are cavities! Four of them. I have six?!?! I give up.

What have I learned here? You know what? I don’t know. Eleven cavities in 31 years is pretty bad. As for Annie? One cavity in 5 years? Not great. In her defense she does brush and mouthwash. There’s also a dinosaur-shaped flosser in her bag that she hasn’t stopped using. Do we have a flosser on our hands? Only time will tell. For now my greatest lesson here was never take four kids to the dentist without backup. Make that don’t take Judah to the dentist without backup.

And for those wondering, our first stop after the dentist was Petite Shell, where I bought another iced latte. Lisi grabbed it, took a sip and carefully gave it back to me. Aaaah, refreshing.

Camp Mommy

So today was the first day of Camp Mommy (the week between camp and school — I’ve never really been a fan of the name, but for now I’ll hop on the bandwagon). It was a big deal for me. This whole summer has been a bit of a blur so far. Rant: I say ‘so far’ because, even though camp is over and back-to-school season has gone into effect at every single store nationwide, there is still well over a month of “summer” left! You’d better believe I’ll still be wearing white and carrying sunblock under my stroller at all times, and you won’t be seeing me with Lincoln Park After Dark on my nails for a while. Rant over.

Why has this summer been a blur? For those just tuning in, I had a baby in the middle of July. The weeks leading up to her arrival were filled with extra pounds to carry, a decrease in the speed of my strut, varicose veins, frequent trips to the bathroom (more so; I’ve always been a frequent flyer in that category) and a Unisom addiction. On the other hand, for almost three weeks I had all three kids in day camp, leaving me six hours a day to myself in what I fondly refer to as the Summer of Al. I’ve also heard it  called “Mommy Camp”, not to be confused with the title of this post. Mommy Camp is awesome. You can nap. You can get your own 16 Handles. Go ahead, have an adult conversation without interruption. Take a bus. Sit by the pool and don’t worry about the fact that it goes up to nine feet. Go to the bathroom without a toddler eagerly hovering until you’re finished so she can hand you a dime-sized piece of toilet paper. You can go shopping, wander aimlessly, sit on a bench, people watch and a personal favorite, cross the street even when the red hand is still lit. Gasp. Mommy Camp is the best; please sign me up for the early bird rate for Summer 2017.

Mommy Camp came to a halt when this baby was born. Don’t get me wrong: she’s a joy. And I could still do many of the activities I used to do back at Mommy Camp. Granted, there was this tiny human following me everywhere, but she isn’t grabbing the slurpee out of my hands just yet. Up until last week there was always an extra set of hands. Whether it was Omi (Craig’s mom) or Craig, who had four weeks of paternity leave, I didn’t truly have all four boogers to myself except maybe for a couple of hours between camp and bedtime. But then day camp ended. Or should I say, Camp Mommy began.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant with baby G, I’ve been trying to figure out logistically the best way to ride the subway. Every kid is different. It happens to be that my 3.5 year old still rides in the stroller. Maybe that’s an issue that needs to be worked on but for now, making him walk isn’t an option and Lisi can’t be trusted. The plan was that Annie would walk, the middles would sit in the double stroller and the baby will ride in the carrier. I grabbed my Metrocard and hit the road.

I decided to start with a bang while I had the energy. I didn’t really have a plan when we left in the morning other than taking the train to the opposite end of the city. I fell in love with Battery Park last summer and thought we could head there. When we successfully made in down to Bowling Green, a trip that required two trains and five elevators, I felt a rush. The kids were happy and we had plenty of food so I announced, Who wants to go on a boat? Three hands enthusiastically shot up into the air, Meeeeee! At the end of last summer, we all went to Governor’s Island. In all honesty, it sucked. It was crazy hot and super crowded, and we were cranky and hungry. Terrible mix. I thought we’d redeem it.

Of course the ferry ride alone did it for them. It’s a $2 trip, and we sat downstairs with the bikes on the lower level. I nursed the baby, Annie stood outside totally mesmerized and Judah was giddy while staring at the Freedom Tower, the inspiration behind so many of his Magnatile creations. 

When we got to the island it was a lot different than last year. It was empty. Almost all of the stands were closed and maybe a couple dozen people were there total. It was as if we had the island to ourselves. We picnicked and chilled. There was no line for the swings, the hammocks were pretty much empty and the porta-potties were clean. I think it may have been just as hot as last year, but Starbucks gave us venti ice waters so we were happy.

A great day was had by all. I’ll leave out the part about the giant baby-shaped sweat stain on my shirt from wearing Gabriella. And the part where Lisi had a meltdown and insisted on standing in the stroller. Or the time when I almost left Judah on the island because he refused to get out of his hammock. But hey, I did it. I did it by myself and I’d do it again. I can’t wait to see where Camp Mommy takes us. And by Camp Mommy, I mean life. 

That’s Just Nasty

When it comes to kids, I’ve done some pretty unsanitary things. For example, I’m a firm believer in exposing my kids to germs at a young age. Heck, all them were introduced to the subway before they turned two weeks old. I’ve been known to wipe their boogers with their clothing, and hand-washing with soap isn’t necessarily the first thing they do when come back from a long day. They pee in bushes and might drink sprinkler water (Note: Is that a thing? I’ve heard kids getting busted by their caregivers for doing that, but it looks clean to me. And if it actually contained deadly micro-bacteria, wouldn’t the Parks Department post a warning sign or something? Okay, rant over). They love to open packets of Sugar in the Raw, lick their fingers, dip and repeat.  The five-second-rule doesn’t exist in our house.  Believe me, I’m not bragging here. In fact, a friend of ours swears that her husband gets diarrhea every time he comes to our house without fail.  Personally, I think he’s a weakling. But yeah, not everyone is a fan.

I have this thing where I love dirty kids. If we come home from a long day out and they look like they did when we left, I consider the day to be a failure. I like it when they splash in puddles of mud and dig in the dirt with their hands. I even used to polish Annie’s nails just so you wouldn’t see how much dirt was embedded in there. I don’t mind if they run around barefoot outside.  In fact, I can usually be found with my shoes off as well, both so I can see for myself just how hot the ground is, and because I like it! Relax, I’m no hippie. I happen to love shoes — I’m an avid collector — but you get my point.

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On the subject, let me share one incident with you that happened a couple weeks ago. You see, Craig is very sentimental. Or should I say, more sentimental than I am. One of Craig’s most prized possessions is his collection of our kids’ umbilical cord stumps. You know, those raisin things that fall out of a baby’s belly button at around a week or so? Well, he saves them and keeps them on the shelf of his closet, and will occasionally pull them out to show guests. Anyway, when New Lisi was about 9 days old, I was sitting in our backyard and my friend who was holding her noticed that her umbilical raisin was missing. I panicked; where’s the damn raisin? A second later my friend excitedly pointed to the concrete ground. There it is! Relieved, I grabbed it and stuck it in the front pocket of Judah’s backpack, the only safe place I could think of. I eagerly called Craig to spread the joy and, believe me, he was over the moon.

I played the incident over in my head a few times. What if my friend hadn’t noticed it had fallen out? What if no one saw it on the ground? Lots of what ifs, but it didn’t matter because stumpy was safe and sound in Judah’s backpack. Or so I thought. Later that night, Craig asked for the raisin. He said he checked the backpack and it wasn’t there. Trust me, it’s there — it was the only safe place I could think of (I still stand by that!). He checked again, totally not believing me. I checked for myself, totally not believing him. But he was right; it was gone. Alright, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s where I put it. The poor guy was so disappointed. 


On to the next morning. Lisi has been coping with New Lisi in her own two-year-old kind of way. The first week was her climbing out of her crib around 5:00am, sprawling herself on top of me in bed, and loudly sucking her thumb. If you think this sounds cute, it kind of was, but it would have been a lot cuter three hours later. Well, that particular morning she woke Annie first, so I had both of them in bed with me. Wonderful. When the sun came up I suggested that we go outside and look for the raisin. Needle in a haystack, right? Wrong. We went outside at this ungodly hour and I headed toward the bench I was sitting at the day before. Without looking too hard, I saw one of those giant armies of ants. You know what it looks like when you see hundreds of ants on a lollipop? Same thing. And amongst that army was a little raisin rocking back and forth. It was beyond nasty. I found an piece of cardboard and started flicking at the raisin. I kept flicking until all of the ants were off. Success. Apparently, ants like human flesh.

      

^^^^Some before and after shots. My picture does it no justice.

I came home beaming, holding this raisin stump. I woke Craig and told him the news. His smile was worth it. I still don’t know how it escaped Judah’s backpack, but now there’s a great story to share. I’ve done many nasty things but this one might take the cake. And for what it’s worth, I will likely never eat a raisin again.

Gabriella’s Birth Story

So I’m lying here in a hospital bed in the middle of the night, less than 24 hours after she was born, and I can’t sleep. Maybe I still have that post-partum high, or maybe it’s just my first night in about seven months without Unisom? Who knows? In any case, I’m literally lying here in a silent hospital room with my eyes wide open. Normally around this time, I can be found shoveling a bowl of cereal and chocolate milk down my throat while shopping online (have you checked out the 60% off J Crew sale? They update that quite frequently!).  But here I am, awake with nothing to do, so who wants to hear Gabriella’s birth story? You know me, I love over-sharing.  And in the meantime, nurses, please feel free to refill my ice bucket and contribute to my stockpile of incontinence panties.

I’m not one for birth plans. The plan is to have a baby. A healthy baby. With minimal pain. In a hospital bed. Hmmmm… well look at that, I had a plan after all! All of my babies have been pretty much on time. On Monday, four days before my due date, I went to the doctor to “get checked”. I was a two (that’s two centimeters dilated). I had been holding steady at that two for the last couple visits, so basically there was nothing doing. I was pretty disappointed but then, in the middle of the night while devouring some Berry Berry Kix in chocolate milk, I felt a contraction. I bounced up and tapped the green button on my contraction timer app. Then I woke Craig. Craig, I think it’s happening! (It was like 2am.) How far apart are they? I dunno. Oh wait, there’s another one! They’re 20 minutes apart. He chuckled and went to sleep. Oh no you don’t. Go get dressed — I refuse to have a taxi baby! He reluctantly complied, then went back to sleep again in his clothes. Clearly, he wasn’t convinced that this was labor and, in all honesty, I wasn’t convinced either. Sure, they hurt and all, but there were no other symptoms. I tried to go back to sleep, but of course I was waking up every 15-20 minutes to hit the green button.

By the time it was 6am I saw that they were like ten minutes apart. F this; I’m going to the hospital. I’d rather chill in the waiting room with a bag of Cheez-Its than futz around with my contraction app any longer.  This time, Craig was on board. I called the cab and was ready to run out the door. Do I have to time to make myself a tea? Really, babe? REALLY? Then I thought about it. Fine. I need a happy husband in case this is fake labor. And then off we went.

   

^^^^Later, cankles!

It was one of those really quiet summer mornings. No traffic on the West Side Highway, I could smell the humidity, hear the birds chirping… WAIT, another contraction! Damn. I tapped the green button and focussed on the dashboard.  It wasn’t terrible. We pulled up at the hospital. Actually, it was the Dubin Breast Center. I know it’s immature, but we always get a kick out of that. The guard quickly looked at me. 2nd floor. Oh come on, how’d you know?!?

Hi, I might be having a baby? I’m not sure. No problem; we checked in and chilled. I was thinking about where we’d grab breakfast if this wasn’t the real deal. Then the resident came. We followed him into the room, where I changed into the gown and he checked me. Yeah, you’re a 2. No fair, he had big fingers!

So can I get my epidural? CHECK.

We chilled some more, and I wondered if they’d give me Pitocin to induce labor. All I could think about were the Milky Way bars I had stashed in my hospital bag. And then my doctor showed up. She’s the best. She checked me. Oh, this is totally Alison style… What, am I still just a two? Nope, you’re a nine! Now I’m totally smug. I knew it was the real deal all along! She broke my water, which is kind of the coolest feeling ever. She changed into scrubs and set up the table. Hey Craig, wanna help? He totally helped; heck, he practically delivered her. In fact, he’s still talking about how slippery she was. And that was it.

Gabriella totally redeemed any negative feelings (sorry Lisi, kisses!) I had toward labor. It was really awesome and uneventful. It totally went according to my plan!

  


  

Expert

Here ma’am, have a seat.

It sure must be rough being pregnant with a summer baby.

I’ve heard that your body is ten degrees hotter when you’re pregnant.

Bless you, honey.

All well meaning comments I get from strangers. They don’t bother me.

Is this your first? “No, it’s my fourth” I say proudly.

Fourth? On purpose? (That should be your response if you promptly want our conversation to end.)

Fourth? You’re an expert! Why thank you, but I’m soooo not.

Sure, I have the confidence that a first-timer might not have and I kind of have an idea of what I’m in for, but expert? I’m definitely not an expert. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that just like every kid is different and every birth is different, every pregnancy is different.

There are lots of lists out there of things you wish someone told you about pregnancy or childbirth or the aftermath. They’re all pretty much similar versions of each other but thought I’d share some of my experiences this time around.

Morning sickness and exhaustion

Sure, I was nauseous with the others but dang, this one got me. At around four and a half weeks I thought I had come down with a stomach virus. Oh yeah, it’s totally a stomach virus, I think it’s going around. I honestly thought it was a virus despite my positive pregnancy test. What’s four and a half weeks? A ball of cells? I took a Zofran every 8 hours and I think it worked like maybe the first hour. Then I met my best friend Unison and vitamin B6. I still take them.  Every night. Am I addicted? Maybe. But guess who’s sleeping through the night?

Varicose veins

Okay, so I thought I’d had them before but no, no, no. These are bad. They hurt after a while and then they start to swell and itch. Yeah, I’ve done compression stockings and they help a little bit. I’ve also made another best friend, my Birkenstocks. I’ve always been a flip flop person in the summer. Y’know, the kind with zero arch support. That never bothered me before this pregnancy, but now I find that I can’t walk ten steps without my cankles swelling.  So now I almost exclusively wear my Birkies. Partially because my feet don’t quite fit into them but they’re also so darn comfortable. I have a new appreciation for good arch support.

Sciatica

Well that doesn’t make me feel old at all. At around nine weeks I had terrible hip pain. By the next day I couldn’t get out of bed. It was bad. I even made Craig stay home from work. I spent two weeks limping around, going to PT, and then it was gone, as though it had never happened. Go figure?

Incontinence panties

TMI. Deal. One of my favorite postpartum hospital freebies is the disposable underwear. It’s one of those things that I would hoard each time there was a new nurse on call. I hoard them the same way I’d save some limited-edition holiday chocolate. Well I broke into my stash the other day and they were heavenly, so I decided to just order some on my own. I was kind of bummed to see that Amazon calls them incontinence pants but F that. I’m wearing my incontinence pants now and I feel great.

Fear of a taxi baby

I love birthing babies. That’s something I truly believed until Lisi was born. Annie hurt; I labored for nine hours, pushed for about two and the floor was a bit of a bloody mess when we were finished.  Judah was induced and was out after maybe three hours of labor and a push or two. It was oddly great and I expected Lisi to go just as smoothly. She didn’t. She flew out shortly after arriving to the hospital. With no epidural (which totally gives me street creds with all he hippie moms at the park, but still). My fear this time is that I won’t make it to the hospital. It’s your fourth, you’ll know when you’re in labor. Really? REALLY?? I’ve been having contractions for weeks now. How am I supposed to know?

Now, I’m not complaining here. Actually that’s totally a lie.

Confession? This pregnancy totally kicked my butt. Maybe it’s because I’m older or maybe it’s because there are three other boogers flying around. In the meantime there is still about a week to go and for many reasons I can’t wait to meet this little snot rocket.

31.

With a few hours left until I turn 31 I find myself not really caring that much. Last year was a big deal. Or so I thought. I thought 30 was huge. I had a party. I don’t have parties. I remember dreading my 30th, asking my peers how they were handling 30. But 31? I don’t really care, just another birthday, another day. I got this.

Last month Annie went to a friend’s birthday party. As a gift I bought her the unthinkable. A nightie. Thought nothing of it. I bought Annie a similar one a few days before and she hasn’t taken it off so I figured why not? Then I realized I just gifted a nightie. A nightie! But you know what? She LOVED it. Then it happened again today. That’s become my go-to gift.

Why is this a big deal? Why am I even talking about it and who cares that I gifted a nightie? Growing up I was the kid who gifted nighties. Obviously they weren’t Frozen ones with sparkly tulle and a detachable cape, rather they were the plaid itchy kind that hang out in the bottom of your drawer until you outgrow it. But now I think about it and I’m like F*** that, it’s just so practical! And then I’m like wow, I am growing up!

So hey, 31, bring it.