Bumpity bump

The Bump at 20 weeks

So there are a ton of celebrities who are pregnant right now,* which leads to one of my least-favorite tabliodisms: The Bump. Firstly, ‘bump’? Really? I guess it has more zing than “pregnant belly” but it sounds like some sort of accessory. Which is exactly how it’s treated by the media, which seems to think that The Bump is something akin to a really gaudy engagement ring or a new tattoo. A celebrity is “hiding her bump in a thick winter coat” or “showing it off in a fitted maternity dress.” Just…really? It’s part of her body, dude (the media doesn’t mind if I call it dude, right?).

As I am currently sporting a Bump all my own, I can unquestionably say that it is impossible to leave that thing at home. When it’s cold, I wear a jacket over it, which I suppose does serve double-duty by hiding it from potential paparazzi. When it’s warm, The Bump is more visible, and I guess that could be construed as showing it off, though I am not entirely sure what choice I have. Personally I wouldn’t say I was showing it off unless I had festooned it in garlands or painted it neon or something, but YMMV.

I feel bad for celebrities, is what I’m saying. Except for the part where they have more money and (generally) better hair than I do.

*Yes, I know, there are always pregnant celebrities, and indeed pregnant non-celebrities, but I always notice them more when I am also pregnant because obviously they are copying me. What.

So this happened.


So, I’m up the duff. Bun in the oven. Etc. (Only one bun; the two tests are for OCD purposes only.)

That’s right, we’re having another baby! Here are the deets:

  • I’m due at the end of August
  • Not nearly as pukey as last time
  • Kid = VERY excited


Just put ’em in a box and be done with it

Yesterday in my feed reader I saw these articles one after the other:

1) 5 Places NOT to Take a Toddler (Rants from Mommyland)
2) Less Outdoor Playtime for Preschool Girls (NYT’s Motherlode)

Go ahead and read them both. I’ll wait.

Right, so you’ve got one article – which I almost think has be a joke – saying that you should never bring your child ANYWHERE EVER. Seriously, she lists the pediatrician’s office and the library as places that should remain child-free. I can almost understand the library argument IF she were referring to the adult section, but no, this is the kid’s section she’s talking about. And the ped’s office? I ASSUME she means siblings here, and what, you’re supposed to get a babysitter every time you need to bring your other kid for a checkup?

Then you’ve got the other article, which is all YOU ARE RUINING YOUR GIRLCHILDREN BY KEEPING THEM INDOORS (I’m paraphrasing). Apparently the parents of boys are 16% more likely to take their children outside daily. O…kay. This is my favorite bit:

This is a statistic that comes with plenty of caveats. More than 80 percent of the children were in some type of nonparental childcare arrangement, and may have gone outside daily as a part of that arrangement. There was no information available as to the season during which parents responded to the question (one that many people would answer very differently in August than in February).

Yes: don’t trust this statistic, but LET’S TOTALLY TRUST THIS STATISTIC. Because “sometimes kids don’t play outside” doesn’t sound as link-baity as “girls are withering away to nothing while boys run amok in the streets.” (Again: paraphrased.)

The two articles side-by-side, though, pretty much exemplify everything you’re told as a new parent. Don’t bring your kid anywhere that they could bother anyone, but don’t keep them in the house, either. If they make any ruckus in public you’re creating a nuisance, but if you don’t bring them out into the world you’re coddling them. NO MATTER WHAT CHOICE YOU MAKE, IT’S THE WRONG ONE.

Here’s what I think: use your judgment. Bring your kid to the library, YES PLEASE, but don’t drag them through the reference stacks with you. Teach your child to use a quiet voice even in the children’s section, but seriously, anyone who is annoyed by the sound of children’s voices in the children’s section is a dick. (That doesn’t mean your precious snowflake should be shrieking and bopping the other kids with board books; again, judgment. Use it.)

And kids should play outside, YES, but let’s dial back the panic stats, okay? Parents don’t need to hear all the ways that they’re MAYBE POSSIBLY failing their kids. Encourage your children to run around, whether you bring them outside that day or not. Look, I just solved your problem. YOU’RE WELCOME.

The Six-Year-Old Teenager and Other Stories

Is this thing on?

So I know you’ll all be shocked, but parenting a 6 year old is HARD. Here I thought that as soon as he started school it’d be all smooth sailing, but he has all these opinions and ideas and stuff. Also energy. My kid will literally run around in circles, for fun. We make jokes about hamster wheels. (They are only partly jokes.)

The kid is a teenager in disguise. He tells us, quite seriously and often, that he knows more than we do and that he’s always right. We explain things, and he dismisses our words out of hand (“You’re wrong. I know.”). There are many, many episodes that involve storming off to his room.

And then he comes and snuggles up and argues about who loves who more, and we wonder how we could ever have thought he was anything other than a very little boy.

mama and ellison Those are my days: hair-pulling frustration followed by heart-bursting affection. Was this what I expected when I was so desperate to be a parent? I barely even remember what it was like to not have a kid. How much free time I must have had! How much sleep I must have gotten! Except I do remember being terribly busy and terribly tired, so there goes that theory.

I do know that I thought it would be easier. Or maybe not easier: more intuitive. Like, for example, the way I know he’s sick by the smell of his breath. That’s something that just happens, without my having to try. Whereas when my hyperactive, physical, reading-averse kid tells me things like “sometimes I just get excited and then I don’t know how to stop,” I honestly don’t know what to do, and I feel like I should. I should just know. I should be able to adjust my parenting style to fit my kid’s learning style, and instead we both just get frustrated and upset. (A really good mom would look at this as an opportunity for personal growth. A challenge, in the best way.) (I am not a really good mom.)

A long time ago I worried that he hadn’t learned to clap. Other kids could clap, but not my kid. Was he clap-deficient? Had I failed to properly teach him how to smack his hands together in a rhythmic fashion? Would he forever lag behind his applauding peers?

He claps just fine now, of course. Surely that can’t be a metaphor.*

*Or is it a simile? I can never remember.

obamacare can’t come soon enough

A couple of weeks ago the kid was sick. Not sick like sniffles and cough, or even sick like yarfing all over our bed (which, WTF, kid? Mama’s lap is the only place suitable for vomit?) – he was sick with a fever, and fevers mean trouble.

I mean, right? Beth in Little Women dies of a fever. (Was I supposed to spoiler tag that? SORRY, EVERYONE WHO HAS NOT READ LITTLE WOMEN BUT WHO ALSO READS MY BLOG. Beth dies, and also Amy is a bitch.) The Velveteen Rabbit gets set on fire, because of a fever.* Helen Keller. BLIND AND DEAF. Why? FEVER.

So as you can imagine, I was a little bit, shall we say, concerned. About the fever.

But here’s the other thing: we don’t have health insurance. We haven’t had health insurance since the Poorpocalypse of ’10, when all of the money in the world spontaneously decided to opt out of being part of our income. So instead of fretting to an advice nurse, I fretted about on the internet (which, I hasten to point out, sort of universally said that unless his fever went over 106 for any length of time it was probably ok) and felt like the World’s Worst Parent while fever-kid lay on top of me and was feverish and also I couldn’t work. True story.

And of course if his fever had gone over 106 or if it hadn’t gotten better after five days we would have brought him into urgent care immediately, or possibly faster than that. The money part of it wasn’t the issue – the accessibility part of it was. If we’d been card-carrying insured people, I probably would have brought him to the doctor, just because I could – and the doctor would have checked him out and given him some Tylenol and told us to get some Pedialite and bring him back if he got worse. Which is what we were doing already.

It would have made me feel better, being told that we were taking the best care of him that we could by an actual M.D. instead of Dr. Google.

But we pushed fluids and encouraged naps and snuggled with him nonstop and the fever broke on its own, finally, and the kid perked right up and was running around like a crazy person again. So looking back, we did just fine.

But it still bothers me. I dislike the feeling that I was making a choice – the choice to wait it out and see if he got better – based on the fact that we didn’t have insurance rather than any deep-seated belief that the kid was going to be fine.

And he is fine. But UGH.

*It is possible that my memory of childhood classics is a bit hazy.

quick update before the xmas explosion

So you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering how the birthday thing went, right? I kept you waiting out of sheer wickedness. Wickedness, and the fact that I am both lazy and sick with a cold. What’s up with all these damned colds? They’ve been rotating through our house like some sort of white elephant gift, passing from one person to another and, frankly, making me rather pissed off. I AM THROUGH BEING SICK, DO YOU HEAR ME? Also, I am running out of tissues.

Anyway: the party was a success, if a little under-attended (one group of guests had apparently been sure it was the next weekend, at which point they e-mailed me going “Um, did you know that your party was a week ago? You probably did.” Which was funny, and I may have LOLed, but only very quietly and to myself). The kid had a fabulous time. He helped me decorate the littlest cupcakes (which he decided were meteors). No one else had any idea what the cake/cupcake spread was supposed to be, which was fine. I guess.

Also a (qualified) success: the rocket softie. I made some modifications to a pattern I found in One Yard Wonders (which is a pretty fabulous book, if you’re into that sort of thing) and it turned out kind of awesome. The kid likes it, which was the important part.

In other crafty news, I finally slipcovered the Fabulous!Rocking!Glider! (the exclamation points are to emphasize the fact that I love the lovely glider and am not going to get rid of it despite the increasing impracticality of having it in our house). A favorite snuggling spot for both kid and cats, the F!R!G! was sort of disgustingly stained and matted with cat hair, and since the cushions were both a) cream-colored and b) upholstered, cleaning it was a pain. ENTER CRAFTY MAMA, with her IKEA fabric and her barely-passable sewing machine skills! Given that I don’t have the first clue what I’m doing, I think it turned out pretty well.

All those other grand ideas I had? Not going to happen. I was totally going to make garland, and ornaments, and stuff. But what did I do instead? I caught a cold. (I did make gingerbread men. I’m not dead.)

preschool preparedness

Today I dropped off the paperwork for Ellison’s preschool. Paperwork, I’m telling you. It was somewhat unsurprising that I had to make an exhaustive list of the kid’s immunizations (which are thankfully up to date), but then there was this parental survey in which we were to wax lyrical about “things you appreciate about your child” and “what makes your child joyful?” Dude. When I was in school, no one gave a damn what made me joyful. (Hint: it was reading.) They just cared whether I showed up on time and sat quietly during class. This whole new-age preschool thing is nuts.

Even so, I can’t wait. Ellison is so excited he can barely stand it. I have a feeling preschool is one of the things that is going to fill my child with joy.

premiserable syndrome

I keep finding myself trying to describe what it feels like to get depressed. Which is ridiculous, if you think about it, because it’s not like I sit around trying to find the words to explain not being depressed – and, let’s face it, if you look at the averages that’s how I spend most of my life. But the Prozac (you knew I’d talk about the Prozac again eventually, didn’t you?) has been working, so there has been much less of the doom and gloom and somewhat more of the hey, look at that, things don’t suck entirely! which is a very nice change and I hope it stays that way.


So I just snarfed a huge piece of really gross cake and I feel elephantine and miserable and I really want to sit in a quiet room where I have no projects (over)due and no one is demanding that I console them while they pee on me,* for christ’s sake, and maybe, just MAYBE, I can sleep for more than two hours at a stretch, please, yes?

*The kid is having a slight potty-training relapse. I mention this in case you were entertaining notions of a more adult nature, which, ew.