Sunday, December 30, 2007

How to compliment someone

So let's say your about to see a pregnant woman that you haven't seen in a while. You want to give her a compliment that will really make her day but what do you say? Listen up because I'm going to tell you exactly what to say to make her feel warm and fuzzy all over! Within two minutes of greeting her, look her up and down and say "Wow! This pregnancy has really made you balloon out all over!"

I promise you that the pregnant lady will remember your kind and thoughtful words for years to come. In fact, she probably won't be able to look at you again without remembering how your keen observation made her feel about herself.

For maximum effect be sure to follow up this compliment by later saying that one of the pregnant lady's kids is smarter than the other and then follow that up by saying "You don't have anything to worry about with this one." while the lady's autistic child is less than 2 feet away.

She'll be beaming for days.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The perfect solution

It's super early here and I'm wide awake. That might have something to do with the fact that I went to bed at 8 last night.

Now I'm wide awake and I don't know what to do with myself. My MIL is coming over today and I really need to get the house cleaned up.

If I clean though I'll wake up everyone else and I want to let them sleep.

So I'll just sit here and quietly play Zoo Tycoon.

Yes, that will be best for everyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Do you ever feel....

Do you ever feel like all you do all day long is wipe butts and noses?

Yeah. It's been one of those days.

Joseph has a cold accompanied by the runniest nose I've ever seen and Elle just won't stop pooping.

All of the sudden feel just huge. It's harder to do everything than it was before because I'm so big. And I'm only 31 weeks along! If I'm having this hard of a time bending over to tie my shoes now how will I do it when I'm 39 or 40 weeks?

Pregnancy hormones are making me sad and droopy. I cried this morning because I couldn't get the ring tone I wanted onto my new cell phone. The good news is that I knew it was a stupid reason to cry. That means I'm not going crazy (yet) I'm just pregnant.

Pregnant and facing a 14 foot tall pile of presents to put away.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ho ho holy crap!

Elle would not nap today. I put her down in her crib when she was very, very nearly asleep. Just like clockwork I heard her chatting and throwing her babies out of her crib 5 minutes later. I had promised Joseph that I would play a computer game with him while Elle was napping though so I figured she could just have some "quiet time" in her crib while Joseph and I played together.

Half an hour later Elle is still chirping happily away. I decide to go up and get her and oh, what a wonderous sight was there for me to behold. Elle was minus her pants and her diaper. She waved to me cheerfuly and oh my god, what was that all over her hands? And what was that smell? And why was there a SMUSHED POOPY LAYING ON THE FLOOR?!?!?!

Children, the gift that keeps on giving.

It's the most wonderful time of the ...... ah, forget it

Bah humbug.

Has anyone seen some extra Christmas spirit laying around? I seem to have lost mine.

I don't know exactly when it happened. Was it when the afternoon of mother/son cookie baking that I planned out got derailed because Joseph decided he would rather spend the whole day reading a video game strategy guide than interacting with people?

Was it last night when I hobbled to bed with an aching back after Jesse and I finished all of our Christmas wrapping that we stupidly put off until the very last second?

Was it this morning when I was woken up by Joseph screaming and sobbing into my face that "eve means morning and that means I get to open presents now and not later!" and "Why do we even open presents at night when we won't have time to play with them?"

Was it later in the morning when I had to break up not one, not two, but three screaming fights between the kids over an empty cardboard tube?

Or is it that I've spent the entire morning snatching half-opened presents out of Elle's hands and then having her cry and pout and yell "No presents later! Presents now!" at me?

I know it will get better. I know it will get better. I love Christmas. My family loves Christmas. I love my family. My family loves presents. This will be a good day.

I just have to remember to focus on the little things that bring me joy. Like the fact that when I went to the mall yesterday I somehow managed to snag the very best parking spot in the entire place without having to wait for hours or fight it out with anyone. Seriously, it was beautiful. I'm going to be telling my grandchildren about that parking spot someday. Ahhhh, I can feel the Christmas spirit returning even as I type this......

Friday, December 21, 2007

Too tired to type

Oh man, I forgot how much the third trimester kicks your butt. I am beat! You know how sometimes at the end of a really long day you're sitting on the couch and you want to get up and go to bed but you just can't because it takes too much energy? Yeah, I feel like that all the time.

Elle's been spending a lot of her time running around the living room and shreiking like a banshee doing animal impressions. She finds it very amusing and it is kind of cute but it does get old after 4 or 5 or 12 hours. I would quiet her down by turning on the TV but most of the time I'm too tired to get up and find the remote.

I don't mean to complain though. Most of the time I feel really good. Most of the time.

Yesterday I had a massive backache so I took one of the pain killers that I had leftover from when I had that migraine. It had a strange effect on me. It didn't make me loopy or tired. It made me ..... domestic. I actually made Christmas cookies with the kids. For a couple of hours. On purpose. No one who knows me is going to believe that. Even Jesse was shocked. He came home and saw what we had done and said "You did all this? With the kids? Really?" Yeah, I was suprised too.

Now I have to go and eat some leftover pizza. The baby needs pineapple and ham.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The best SNL commercial parody ever

Fear of a white ball

Elle has developed a massive and crippling fear of my birthing ball. At first she liked it but then it rolled towards her once and that totally freaked her out. Then she started to panic if she saw it roll at all. Now she screams in terror if she even sees it just sitting still. If she finds herself anywhere near it she screams and runs away. Then she sobs "I scared of a ball!"

Would it be cruel of me to leave the ball at the foot of the stairs to keep her from climbing up them when I don't want her to? (I'm really tired of chasing her off the stairs all day long.)

Now the fear is extending to other balls in the house too. Yesterday she was trembling and crying when Joseph was playing with a little rubber SuperBall. What's up with that?

What happened to Elle in a past life that has got her so scared of balls?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One more step in the process

I've scheduled my time to go to the hospital and meet with a "care manager" to discuss my birth plan. It shouldn't be too complicated, I know pretty well what I do and do not want. What I think might throw a wrench in the whole thing is that J is going to be there.

I can picture it now. I'll be there laying out exactly what I want ("No pitocin, no episiotomy, no monitoring device that keeps me strapped to the bed, no automatic IV") and J will be in the corner quietly freaking out. Once I finish talking he'll pull out some notes he made after doing research on birth online (at sites like and and start stressing out about some off the wall statistic he found that said 7% of the 12% of women who don't get at least 67% of the recommended blah blah blah blah and shouldn't I reconsider?

The good news is that I feel pretty comfortable putting my foot down and saying that while this may be his baby this is my birth and I am the one that has to be comfortable with how it goes down. I won't be pressured into doing something that I'm not totally comfortable with.

The big change between this birth and when I had Elle is that I'm going to try to go without an epidural. I know that might be crazy and I might change my mind halfway into it but I'm going to try. With Elle I was so scared of the pain that I would have gotten an epidural at 24 weeks pregnant if I could have. I don't regret getting the epidural but I do wonder how I would have done without one.

The other big change is that I'm going to refuse any artificial methods to move my labor along. With Elle I had pitocin (I really wasn't even asked, it was just given to me and I was informed after the fact) and I had my water broken. None of that this time if I can avoid it at all. I feel like I'm a lot more knowledgeable about the natural process of labor this time around and I think that it might be better to let my body do what it needs to on it's own than to force it.

So I can see how my go-with-the-flow and trust-the-process way of approaching this birth might stress out Mr MedicalInterventionForNorReason. Remember, this is the guy who wanted me to get an amnio just for the pure joy of it. Maybe I'll lessen the shock of it all by letting him in on my plans little by little now. That way when the meeting comes on January 12th I won't totally blow him out of the water.

Who am I kidding? He's gonna freak no matter what.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Balls will save the day

I just polished off a Mint Condition from Caribou Coffee and now I'm happily bouncing on my brand new birthing ball.

I'm feeling much better than I was this afternoon. I still don't think I want to do this for 10 more weeks but at least I'm feeling refreshed enough to tackle tomorrow.

Behold the power of balls.

30 weeks is long enough

Well, that's it. I'm done. I'm sick of being pregnant. I quit.


For the past week I've been really uncomfortable. My feet are swollen and my back is achy. I feel like I have a tight band strapped right under breasts that makes it hard to take a deep breath. I'm consitpated. I burp non-stop. I can't find a good position to sleep in at night. My eyelashes are all falling out.

Oh my god. Can I really have 10 weeks of this left? What in the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back when I didn't love Elle

When I was pregnant with Elle I would hear women say things like "I fell in love as soon as I saw my son/daughter for the first time" or "The second they put her/him in my arms I felt an overwhelming sense of love". I looked forward to that moment. But see, the thing is, it never happened to me.

When Elle was born she had to go right to the NICU because she was having a little trouble breathing. I only got to hold her for a very brief minute. In that time I didn't feel love. I felt ...... not a whole lot. I was tired, I was in pain, I was confused and I was hungry. Once she was whisked off to the NICU I really just wanted to get something to eat.

The next day when Elle was back in my room with me I wanted to get up and shower. It hurt to move so I slowly, slowly rolled her little bassinet over to the bathroom. I had trouble getting her bassinet over the bathroom door jam and for some reason I couldn't handle that. I sat on the edge of the tub and I cried and cried. At that moment I resented Elle for being there. All I wanted was a stupid shower and I couldn't even get one because this baby and her stupid bassinet were keeping me from it. Thank goodness Jesse showed up just then and he watched her while I showered. I wonder how long I would have sat there and cried if he hadn't shown up.

That night I had Elle sleep in the nursery. The nurses were suprised. "Babies don't usually sleep in the nursery!" they all said. I didn't care. I didn't want her in the room with me. I wanted to sleep. I wanted a break because every time I looked at her I felt guilty for not loving her the way a mother was supposed to love their baby. I felt like shit.

Things didn't get a whole lot better once we got home. At the time I was scared that maybe I had PPD but looking back I don't think I did. I think I was tired and stressed and feeling guilty for not loving my child the way I thought I was supposed to. When she would cry during the night I would beg Jesse "Please, please, please don't make me get up with her again. I just can't do it." He would always say "Yes you can." and he was right, I could. But I did it out of a sense of obligation, not out of love.

That's not to say that I didn't feel anything for Elle. I felt protective of her. Sometimes I liked her. But I didn't love her.

I don't know when that changed. There was never a single moment where I fell in love. I think it happened in little steps for me. Nursing was so hard for both of us at first and then one day we just "got it" and that made things a little better. One night she slept for 3 hours in a stretch and that made things a little better. One day she smiled at me and that made things a little better. One day I was away from her for several hours and when I came back she clung to me and that made things a little better.

Slowly but surely I feel in love with my daughter. I stopped doing things for her because I felt like I had to and started doing them because I loved her, because I wanted to.

Looking back I don't feel bad about not loving Elle at first. What I feel bad about is that I didn't know that it's pretty common to not fall instantly in love with your child. I wish I had known that I was not alone. I wish I had known that someday the love would come, that someday this child would become half the reason my heart beats (Joseph being the other half of course). I wish I had know that someday we would have this.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The unexpected joys of motherhood

Elle: Mama, Mama, Mama, Mamamamamamamamamamama, MAMA!
Me: (To the person I'm on the phone with) Hold on one second please. (To Elle) What is it honey?
Elle: I tooted.
Me: You tooted?
Elle: Yeah, out my butt.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How did he get a stick in there anyway?

Sometimes this baby kicks me so hard that I feel like he's going to pop out of the top of my belly like that little creature in Alien. Ok, I know that's not a very original or interesting visual but that's what it feels like. I don't know if he's using his knee or his elbow or perhaps a sharp stick but it's really uncomfortable.

It's not like I can do anything about it either. Sometimes I rub my belly or tap on it and say "Hey, knock it off in there you little booger!" but it does no good. He just kicks harder. I think that's a surrobaby's way of saying "You can't tell me what to do! You're not my mom!"

So I grin and bear it. Or rather, I hunch over, grimace, say "Ohhhhhhhhowwwwww!" and bear it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The best granola bar I have ever eaten

I'm sitting in front of the computer stuffing my face right now. Because I can. Because my 3 hours glucose test came back totally, 100% normal. My numbers weren't even in the high end of the normal range, they were smack dab in the middle. I'm glad I asked about that because when I called J to tell him the results he asked me about that specificaly. "Normal" is not good enough for J. He feels better when everything is exactly average.

Before I left the house to go to the test I threw a granola bar in my purse just in case I wanted something to eat when the test was done. I'm glad I did too. 12 hours of fasting turned out to be a lot harder on me than I thought it was going to be. When my testing was done and I had gotten the results I rushed out of the lab area, grabbed the first spot I could find to sit down and inhaled that granola bar. It had to have been the best tasting granola bar that has ever been or shall ever be. I had to force myself not to lick the wrapper. It's cruel to make a pregnant woman go that long without eating.

So anyway, all is good. Now I have to go and eat some more. Because I can.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


You guys, I have a confession.

I am so scared about this 3 hour glucose test tomorrow.

I have to have four tests done and I have to "pass" at least three of them to be considered gestational diabetes free.

I'm worried that I'm going to "fail" and J will totally freak out and I'll have to take insulin and the baby will end up weighing 14 pounds and my agency will never work with me again.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Carbs are my enemy

Aurgh! I failed the flipping 1 hour glucose test. I was thisclose to passing it but I'm like 2 points over the "normal" range. That means I have to go in for the stupid 3 hour test on Thursay morning. Son of a bitch.

I asked the nurse if my diet from that day could have affected the results and she said it certainly could have. She asked what I had eaten that day and I was ashamed to tell her. Rice and cornbread. And that's it. She laughed and said yes, that could have done it.

Damn my love for carbs!

The good news is that I'm not having any gestational diabetes symptoms. I feel really good so I'm hopeful that this is just a fluke thing and that if I just cut back on the empty carbs a bit I'll be ok.

Now I have to call J. This will be fun.

Scattered thoughts

If you're a parent: Do you ever look at your kids, like when you're playing or reading or snuggling and think "I have the best kids! No one else can love their kids as much as I love mine because mine are the best!"? And then do you sometimes catch yourself thinking that and then realize it's probably a little bit obnoxious but then you know that you can't help it because it's true and your kids really are the best? Because that happens to me a lot.

In other news, I am so scared to leave the house today. I have to go get Joseph from school in half an hour and I'm worried about driving. It's been snowing pretty good all day and the roads are just a mess. I hate driving in snow! Why do I love in the great frozen north? I think it's because I never have the strenght to leave. I spend all winter long huddled up in a ball trying to stay warm and then I spend all summer long feeling weak from blood loss at the hands of swarms of mosquitos. It's hard to plan an escape when you have to work so hard at basic survival.

In yet other news, I just have to say this: I am not the best speller in the world. My grammer is not perfect. Having said that, if I read something that someone wrote and they mix up "you're" and "your" I knock my estiamte of their IQ down by 25 points even if I know nothing else about them. If I see someone use "LOL" I knock it down by 30.

Elle has started this thing now where if we say no to her she looks distressed and says "How come?" It's so cute that I want to say no to her all the time just to hear it. That's probably a little cruel.

That's all.

Monday, December 03, 2007

28 week checkup

I had my 28 week checkup today. All is well. I'm measuring at 30 weeks so either a) I'll go early or b) this baby will be massive. I fear b. Elle always measured a week behind and she was 8 pounds 8 ounces. Eek.

Blood pressure, weight, baby's heartbeat and my glucose/protien urine test all were great. I had to do the one hour glucose test too and although I don't know the results yet I'm sure they'll be just fine.

J was at the appointment and was his usual nervous self. He had 1 million questions about everything. He even stood and hovered over me as I was having my blood drawn. I guess to make sure that they didn't slip and puncutre my uterous as they were drawing blood from my arm.

I'm really starting to feel really pregnant. The baby likes to spend a lot of time firmly lodged under the right side of my ribcage. I'm starting to get heartburn when I lay down at night. My hands and ankles are getting swollen. All the fun stuff. I still feel pretty good though most of the time.

Thanks for everyone's get well wishes. My headache finally went away on Sunday afternoon. I can't beleive that I used to deal with that kind of pain all the time. I'm so thankful that I no longer have the kind of headaches I used to.

Catching up on blg reading, that's #1 on my to-do list tomorrow! Yes, I'm willing to skip laundry and dishes and floor scrubbing to find out how all my favorite people are. I missed you all!

Socky balls

The other night Joseph had put some rubber bouncy balls into a sock and was bouncing it around the room. As he did it he narrated it like a sportscaster. His monologue included him saying "That's right folks, I've really got my balls in a sock tonight!" and then later "I can't even believe how socky my balls are!"

He didn't understand why I kept giggling at him. Oh the innocence of youth.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Like hot needles in my eye

I'm on day 2 of a killer migraine that just won't quit. The good news is that I've got some pretty heavy duty pain meds that are (mostly) taking care of the pain. The bad news is that the meds make want to do things like sleep all day and fall over for no reason.

I had a migraine exactly like this when I was pregnant with Elle so I'm sure it's no big deal and it will pass and everything will be fine but for right now, jeebus cripes, this aint fun.

Yesterday I went to the ob to get checked out because I wanted to be sure that my haeadache was just a migraine and not pre-eclampisa or something because I'm totally paranoid about that this time around. I didn't get to see my regular ob because he's always booked (overbooked actually) so they had me see this total dingbat instead. She checks my blood pressure - fine. Listens to the baby's heartbeat - fine. Weighs me - ack! Then she says "Well, you look great and baby sounds great. Anything else I can do for you today?"

Um. Yeah. Can you do something about this SEARING PAIN IN MY TEMPLE? Please? She advises that I try some Tylenol. Lady, if Tylenol had worked for me I wouldn't be here right now holding my head in my hands and moaning in pain. Then she suggested caffine. Again, nice try. Then she started rattling off some other meds she could give me. This is where my time as a twice weekly migraine sufferer paid off. No, that kind doesn't work, no that one makes me naseaus, no, that one won't do anything for me. I recignized the look she gave me, it's the one I would always get in the ER back in the day. It's the "Are you a junkie?" look. I get that it looks suspicious but spend enough time in pain and you learn what works for you.

Actually getting the presscription into my hand was an adventure in itself. First I had to go to the lab to get blood drawn. Their computer system was down so they were reduced to comminucating via a system of hand gestures, grunts and post it notes. At one point the person drawing my blood said "And what tests are we running on this?" I guess my post it note fell off my folder and no one really knew why they needed blood from me. Wheeeee!

Once my blood was drawn (I'm betting no tests were ever done on it) I had to track down a nurse who tracked down another nurse who tracked down yet another nurse to give me my prescription. I went and got it filled and I've pretty much been in bed ever since. Until I came downstairs to write this that is. It takes more than a little head pain and a near fall down the stairs to keep me from my bitching and whining blogging. Hope everyone is doing well and I swear that one of these days I'm going to catch up on my blog reading.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The kids are insane. Joseph won't stop doing nonsense talk. Elle won't stop screaming. My back hurts so bad I can hardly walk. My hips hurt so bad I can hardly sit still. My ligaments hurt so bad I can hardly stand up straight. I've been reduced to serving frozen chicken patties and peas for dinner. Jesse won't be home for another two hours.

If anyone needs me I'll be sitting in the closet and crying.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can toddlers have sleeping pills?

For all my talk about not sweating the small stuff and not getting into power struggles with your kids I have to say that right now Elle is doing the one thing that drives me totally batty. She's not napping.

I've tried explaining to her that at her age she still needs to nap. I've tried letting her cry it out (well, it's more like whining it out). I've tried changing her nap to a later time of day. I've even tried snuggling her until she falls asleep. Nothing is working.

What the hell? Why won't she just fricken sleep already? Joseph stopped napping long before he turned two but that was different somehow. He seemed ready. Elle doesn't. If she doesn't nap it throws her for a loop and she's really cranky in the evening.

I've heard of kids napping into their pre-school years. Why do my kids have to be the non-napping freaks?

Experienced parents, I need your advice. How old were your kids whent hey stopped napping? What did you do when they wanted to stop? Anyone ever have success getting kids to start napping again after they thought they were ready to stop? If Elle refuses to nap would it be wrong of me to lock her out of the house for an hour or two a day so that I can still get a break?

To whom it may concern

Dear baby,
We've got a long time left to spend together. Please, for the love of all that is holy, please dislodge your head from underneath my ribcage. You're not even that big yet but I already feel like I can't take a deep breath. Oh, and while your at it could you please stop tap-dancing on my bladder?
Thanks in advance,
your prenatal nanny

Christmas mania

Help me! I am out of control! I cannot stop buying Christmas presents for Joseph!

I keep going out intending to buy for the other people on my list but then I just end up with a crat full of stuff for Joseph. I can't help it though. He's just really, really easy to buy for and just about everyone else I have to buy for is really, really hard.

I get great satisfaction out of finding the "perfect" gift. The problem is that I keep finding the "perfect" gift for one person over and over while everyone else on my list remains unbought for.

I think I might be acting out on some guilt I feel over Joseph's first Christmas with us. He was still our foster child at the time and we were being told on a weekly basis "He's going to go back home any day now. Expect it to happen at any time." I went to a used children's clothing store and bought him a big bag of clothes. I thought it would be of good use when he was back living with people who didn't know how to provide for his basic needs. About two days before Christmas I realized that he would be with us for the holidays and I went and got him a coupleof cheapie baby toys somewhere. And that's all he got for his very first Christmas. Yeah, I still feel a little crummy about that.

So now I need to make up for it by buying him everything that he expressed even a mild, passing interest in. Movies, computer games, Wii games, a Nintendo DS, art supplies, Tech Dudes, Cars cars, puzzles, board games, I'm out of control!

I hope Elle won't mind watching Joseph open presents for three hours while she sits there with her new pink bike and pink helmet and ..... not much else.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks for the memorWiis

The other night my brother came over for dinner and to play a little Wii. Like the good sport that he is he agreed to watch some MST3K shorts with Joseph. He didn't complain once when he couldn't hear a single word from the movie because Joseph was lauging and talking so loud. Then he agreed to play the Wii game that Joseph wanted to. Then, as he was getting ready to go home I showed him the Thanksgiving card that Joseph had made in school. The card read:
I am
Happy tha
Love Josseph

Joseph writes like a toddler and didn't know if Ben would be able to read it but much to Joseph delight he read it without missing a beat.

I had a lot to be thankful for this year but one thing that I am most thankful for is my brother. I'm thankful that Joseph has an awesome uncle who will play Wii with him, watch MST3K with him, share corny jokes with him and sing the SpiderPig theme song with him. I'm thankful that Elle has an uncle that she calls "Uncle Friend". I'm thankful that he's no longer with the Wicked Witch of the North and has gone back to being his old self. I'm thankful to have back the brother that I missed so much.

So what were you "thakful" for this year?

The medication game

Urgh. Medication is so frustrating. We were trying something new out with Joseph to help him with his anxiety and it has become very clear that it's not working for him. It was causing some strange behaviors that he couldn't really seem to control. He spent a good part of our Thanksgiving family get together crawling around on the floor looking for little bits of dirt and debris. Why? Who knows, he couldn't explain it. And when we asked him (over and over) not to do it he would say "Ok!" and then be back on the floor within two minutes.

It hurts to see your child acting "odd". It especialy hurts if he's acting that way as a result of a choice you made. We put Joseph on the medication to try and help him but it obviously didn't work and in fact made things worse. When we have setbacks like this it makes me want to give up on ever finding the right meds cocktail for him.

I swear that I'm not trying to make him "normal" with meds. I just want to make things better for him, make it easier for him do cope with day to day life. But days like yesterday make me wonder if I'm doing more harm that good.

I just want my boy to be happy. Why does it have to be so flipping hard?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One of those days - part II

If keeping your kids quiet and happy by coloring on them with markers is wrong then I don't want to be right.

One of those days

Do you ever have one of those days where you would be willing to pay someone to come over and watch your kids so that you could take a nap?

Today is one of those days.

I will pay anyone who is willing to watch my kids $200 so that I can lay down for an hour.

No, seriously. I mean it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Womb for rent - the family matter

Picking up where I left off here and here I'm going to answer another one of my most asked questions about surrogacy. One thing that I get asked a lot is "How does your husband/kids/family feel about this?"

Jesse is very supportive.Of course when I first brought it up he was kind of like "What the hell?" but once we researched it a little bit he was all for it. He mostly just wanted some assurance that I would be ok with all the meds I would have to take. I think he's proud of me and he's happy to support me in something that he knows is important to me.

The kids are an interesting factor in all this. Joseph knows what's going on and he likes to tell people his version of events. "My mommy is having a baby but then she's giving it away so that we can go on a cruise." I always try to remind him that I'm not really giving the baby away, that it's not mine to begin with. I explain that I'm just helping B & J by giving their baby a place to grow and after he's born he'll go to live with them because they are his parents. I think he gets it but some of the language involved is sort of hard for him to understand.

Elle is too little to understand what's going on at all. I haven't even tried to explain it to her. If I do this all again (and I hope to) I'll let her know what's going on but I think this time around she's just too little. I'm not trying to hide it from her but I don't want to confuse her. She's very perceptive so I wouldn't be suprised if she had figured out that something is going on. If nothing else she has probably noticed that my lap is getting smaller.

At this point in my life my parents are probably used to me coming up with kind of wacky ideas. So I imagine that when I first brought this up they thought "Yeah, we'll beleive it when we see it." I also imagine they were pretty suprised when I went ahead with it. It seems like they're ok with it though now. I guess neither of them has ever really said how they feel about it but I'm taking that as a good sign. (As in, I would hear about it if they didn't like it.)

My extended family is largely supportive. As are my in-laws. Mostly. The only people who have really expressed some negative feelings about this whole thing are my father-in-law and his wife. They're really convinced that I'm going to fall in love with this baby and be heartbroken after it's born. I haven't been able to convince them otherwise so I guess I can't really worry too much about what they think. I also suspect that my FIL might have an issue with the fact that I'm doing this for a gay couple. He's never said it but it's just a feeling I have.

So there you have it. Everyone has been (for the most part) pretty suppportive. I consider myself lucky to know such great people.

Next time I'll answer the big question: Won't it be hard for you to give up the baby?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Double digits

I just realized today that (assuming I give birth on or before my due date) I have less than 100 days of pregnancy left. Where did the time go? It really just hit me today that pretty soon I'm going to be giving birth to someone else's child. It's exciting and crazy and strange and wonderful and really just can't wait. I look forward to being able to hand J & B their new baby. I think it's going to be awesome.

A new direction

I'm going to be starting a new blog to talk about some stuff that I don't feel comfortable talking about here. I'll still use this one just like I have been and this new blog will be more of a side project. If you would like to follow me there just drop me a line at or leave me a comment. I'll let you know once I've got the new blog up and running.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Rose by any other name

I have a confession. Well, two really. The first is that I should be doing some transcribing right now and I'm not. After so many years of being a SAHM the idea of doing work for someone on their schedule frightens and confuses me. (Don't worry Ben, I'll get it done.)

The second confession I have is this: I don't like my name. I think a lot of it stems from the fact that from first grade on I was always one of three or four Jennifers in each of my classes. No one ever called me just "Jennifer" or "Jenny". All through school I was called "Jenny S.". Well, at least till high school when I got a lot of "Hey you" and "dyke" but that's a whole nother can of horrible, scaring worms.

Legend has it that my name was going to be Katelyn until shortly before I was born when my uncle said to my parents "Katelyn? Don't name her something like that. Go with something nice and simple like Jennifer." I guess my parents responded by saying "Oh, ok." and naming me Jennifer.

The only time people call me Jennifer anymore is when I'm at the doctors office or during telemarketing calls. My family calls me Jenny and I'm cool with that but I really hate when anyone outside my family circle calls me Jenny. It seems too personal and assuming. Most people outside my family call me Jen. I used to hate that name but back when I was working (before Jesse and I were married) everyone I worked with called me that and it just seemed to stick. Now when I meet people I tell them to call me Jen because I've grown to like it and it seems to fit.

I like my middle name. Rose is a nice name I think. You don't hear it a lot but it's not so unusual that when you hear it you wonder if the person who came up with it was high at the exact moment they picked it out. I also like it because when I was a kid my grandma (a Rosie herself) would say "Jennifer Rose sat on a tack, Jennifer rose". That always cracked me up. I like Rose so much as a name that it's now Elle's middle name.

My last name is an issue too. Growing up I always thought my last name was clunky and awkward and I never liked it. My goal was to marry a man with a nice last name like Smith or Jones. I ended up marrying a man who's name was three letters and a whole syllable longer than mine. I considered keeping my maiden name but I decided against it. I'm a pretty traditional gal and keeping my maiden name just because it was easier to pronounce seemed kind of silly to me.

Of course there were other options. I could have hyphenated my last name. No, as it I have a hard time squeezing my name onto forms and into signature boxes. I have a family member who got married and he and his wife put their last names together to make one name. Look, no offense to anyone out there who has ever done this but that seems kind of dopey to me. Maybe it's just their name though. It doesn't look like a real name, it looks like two last names smashed together. Maybe it could work for some people. Not for me though. If I had done that my last name would be 24 letters long. I get a hand cramp just thinking about it.

Speaking of hand cramps, this was a pretty long post. I should probably rest my hands for a little while. I don't want to overdo it and injure myself by doing any transcribing right now. I better rest and play some Zoo Tycoon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I doula, you doula, we doula

I haven't posted about this very much but I have been trying for a while now to find a doula to attend the baby's birth. I've had zero luck for a long time. There aren't a whole lot of doulas in my area and the ones I've been able to track down have all turned me down. Several have refused because I am working with a gay couple. A few have refused because I'm not willing to commit 100% to a medication free birth. I was pretty sure that I had exhausted every avenue availible to me but then something really great happened.

On the day I was supposed to have my 24 week ob check up I got a call from my doctors office telling me that my doctor was way overbooked for the day and asking if I would mind seeing a certified nurse midwife instead. I agreed and I'm so glad that I did.

The nurse midwife was awesome. You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just click right away? It was like that with her. We talked about everything pregnancy and birth related and in the course of the conversation I told her about my difficulity in finding a doula and she told me that she had been a doula before she became a midwife. Before I left the office she gave me a list of a couple of places where I might be able to track a doula down. I was glad for the suggestion but as I was leaving I thought "She's the one I really want as a doula!"

I thought about it for a few days and decided to just go ahead and call her at the office and ask her to be my doula. She called me back yesterday and said "I'm so glad you called! When you left the other day I was thinking 'I would love to be at that birth!'"

Hooray! I found my doula! After searching all over Minnesota I finailly found her in my own doctor's office. I'm so happy! (Can you tell?) I feel like this is such a big weight off of my shoulders. The next big step will be at 28 weeks when I go to the hospital to meet with someone to discuss my birth plan. Hope they don't mind me bringing a whole crowd of people along!

Pack it up, move it out

We are having a realator come and look at our house tonight to give us an estimate of it's market value. It's just the first step in a long journey towards moving to a new house and this is about the worst time of year to take this on but we've got to do something. There's a lot I can put up with but drug dealers moving in across the street is just too much. There is some crap up with which I will not put.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Well, it's beatings all around then*

As an Aspie Joseph has a hard time understanding emotions. He's just starting to get a handle on his own but other people's leave him completely befuddled. He often tries to guess how people will feel about certain things and he's very often wrong. He'll say something like "You would think it was funny if Elle fell down the steps." Now, he doesn't say that because he thinks it would be funny. He's seen her get hurt before and he's always been very upset by it. For some reason though he thinks I would think it would be funny. He doesn't make the connection that tells him that if he finds something upsetting, someone else might find it upsetting too.

Anger is really hard for him to figure out. He's constantly misunderstanding what makes us angry and how angry it makes us. He always waaaay overestimates how upset we're likely to be about something. One day after school he was just in tears because he was certain I was going to be so upset at him because he took too long in the bathroom. He said that no one else had been mad at him but he was so sure that Jesse and I were going to be. He couldn't even explain why he thought that but it took a lot of convincing to get him to believe that I wasn't upset about how long he had spent in the bathroom.

I used to think that maybe Joseph thought these things because maybe we sometimes over-reacted to things. Maybe he had some reason to think we might just fly off the handle for no reason. I didn't really think that we did but I worried that he was getting this fear from somewhere.

Then not too long ago he told me he was worried that my mom was going to hit him for not eating enough lunch. Now, if you know my mom you know that there is no one in the world less likely to hit Joseph than her. She would probably cut off her own hand before striking either one of the kids. Nobody has ever hit either one of the kids so I don't know why Joseph had this sudden fear that he was going to get smacked over his eating habits.

He just doesn't seem to understand the way other people feel. Lack of empathy is common in Aspies. It's not that Joseph doesn't care how other people feel, it's that he just doesn't understand. We try to verbalize our feelings a lot so that he understands how we feel and why we feel that way. "I feel angry because...", "I feel happy that you...", "I feel sad when..." and so on. I feel like it's helping but it does lead me to say some strange things.

This last weekend I took Joseph to see A Bee Movie (I give it a solid "meh") and when it was done I had him come into the bathroom with me. (Because I am a paranoid mama who does not let my seven year old wait outside the bathroom for me.) I had him wait right outside the stall for me and when we were done I said "I'm proud that you did such a good job in the bathroom. You didn't complain at all and you were very respectful of my privacy**. I'm happy that you did so well." As I said all that I saw this woman giving me a look that said "What in the hell are you talking to him like that for?"

I just smiled a smile that I hope said "I understand. I would have made that some face a few years ago too if I had heard someone saying that. It's what my boy needs right now though."

*Extra credit for anyone who knows where I got this title from.

**I've caught him trying to peak at me in bathroom stalls before. He can't help it, he thinks my fragina is hilarious.

Friday, November 09, 2007

He's proud to be an American

Joseph's school had a Veteran's Day program today. I knew right away it made a big impact on him because for once he was willing to talk about something that happened at school without me having to harrass him for details. He told me that there were people that showed them how to fold flags and then they sang some songs. Then he told me that he cried when they sang "Proud to be an American". He explained it like this "It wasn't sad crying, it was like happy, proud crying because I was thinking about veterans. I was the only one crying but I wasn't even emberassed."

Of course after that I was in tears. Sometimes Joseph's such a little goofball that I forget what a sweet and sensitive little boy he really is. I don't know a lot of seven year olds that are moved to tears by patriotic songs and feelings. He's one of a kind I think.

I'm so lucky to have him.

Anyone care for an itchy potty?

Elle and I are playing together today when all of the sudden she asks me "Achee potty?"

Um. Huh? "Itchy potty?" I ask her.

"Yeah! Achee potty!" she replies.

"Itchy potty?" I am confused. "Does your.... do you have a diaper rash honey? Did you go potty and it hurts?"

Now Elle is confused. "Achee potty? Pease? Achee potty, Mama?"

What in the hell is she saying to me? "Sweetie, I don't understand. Do you need a diaper change?"

"No diaper! Achee potty!" Now she's getting angry.

"Elle, can you show me what you want?" That works sometimes.

She runs over to her play kitchen, grabs a teapot and with a big grin on her face exclaims "Achee potty!"

And then it clicks. "Yes sweetie, we can have a tea party."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Please stop saying fish

I loooove watching the Food Network when I am pregnant. It's like porn for me. I just can't get enough of it.

It occured to me today as I was watching it though that there is one food that no on on the Food Network should make or eat or talk about ever again.

I'm talking about fish tacos.

I don't care how good you say they are. I don't care how easy they are to make. I don't even care if they contain magical powers that enable me to fly and become invisible and turn things into chocolate just by touching them.

None of that matters because I can't even hear the phrase "fish taco" without feeling a little ill. Show me someone cooking one and I'll alternate between giggling and feeling sick to my stomach. I cannot bring myself to watch someone eating one.

Is it just me? Or is "fish taco" just about disgusting sounding?

Return of the Giant Purple Mumu

I've broken out the Giant Purple Mumu. Yes, it's come to that.

I acquired the Giant Purple Mumu when I was about 7 months pregnant with Elle. It was on super-mega-clearance at Target and cost less than $5. It's not really surprising that I got it so cheap. The thing is a size 4X and ugly as sin. By the time I was 9 months pregnant I had taken to wearing the thing every second that I was at home. Even when I was at my biggest, pregnantest size the Giant Purple Mumu was huge on me. It made me feel comfy no matter how bad I felt.

Now the Giant Purple Mumu has seen better days. It has a small hole in the front. There are new loose threads appearing at the hem and armholes.

I recently had a giant clothing purge. I sent three big bags to the Goodwill and one bag to the trash. For a long time I considered pitching the Giant Purple Mumu.

Then I have a day like today and I'm glad I kept it.

Last night I crawled into bed at about 9:30 because I was feeling like absolute crap. This morning I woke up aching from head to toe. If I blink too hard my head throbs. If I walk across the room my legs get wobbly and jelly-like. I can't think straight or even really see straight.

I am wearing the Giant Purple Mumu. My plan is to wear it all day and then lay on the couch as much as I possibly can. This means that I won't be able to take Elle to school today or pick Joseph up from school later. I would like to get dressed and attend to my kids but ...... the Giant Purple Mumu, she calls to me.

I am powerless to resist her.

Update - I still feel like crap but I am going to scrape myself up off the floor, get dressed and take Elle to school. Wish me luck. I can't feel my left leg or see out of my right eye.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I'm feeling very sad today.

Someone I love was hurt very badly last night. I'm scared for her. I'm worried about her ability to heal from this. I'm sad for her family who will have to find a way to deal with the aftermath of these events.

Out of respect for my loved ones I won't go in to any more detail than that. But I will ask one thing of you kind people out there. If you're the praying sort please take a moment to pray for every child out there who is lost, that they may somehow find their way safely back home.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Don't touch my babies

I know that I'm biased but I think Joseph is a really awesome kid. He's funny and sweet and smart and interesting. It's not just me who says that though! Most people who know him feel the same way. All of his therapists have really liked him. His teachers have all loved him. My family (for the most part) is crazy about him. So it's always a little bit of a suprise for me when I come across someone who doesn't like him. I'll never understand it but apparently some people are immune to Joseph's many charms.

When Joseph was three he and I took a parent/child class at the same school where Elle and I now go. The teacher in the class really, really didn't like Joseph. The fact is that he and never cared for her much either but I always wondered what in the heck a baby could have done to make this woman dislike him so much.

During the time we were in this class we were also starting some initial assesments of Joseph through the school district. This teacher was asked to fill out some forms about him and when I saw her answers I was livid. She made him sound like a holy terror who was mean to other kids and rude to teachers. It didn't fit in at all with what every other teacher who knew him said. Across the board they all said he was a smart, polite little boy who seemed to prefer playing on his own and occasionaly engaged in repetative behavior. Her answers were so out of whack that the person who compiled all the data said that this one teachers answers should not be considered in the final analysis because they appeared to be based on a personality conflict and did not truly express Joseph's personality.

I don't know if she got ahold of that report or what but as soon as it came out I noticed a real change in her demnor towards me. Where before she had been unfriendly and cold now she be was downright rude. Whenever she saw me she would shoot me a nasty glare and then move away from me. No skin off my nose since, as I said, I didn't really like her but this continued for a long time. Joseph had two years of preschool at this school (not with this teacher) and we always seemed to run into each other in the hallway.

Now that Elle and I have started going to this school together I've been running into this same nasty lady. I actually made an attept at a friendly smile the first time I saw her but all I got back was the same mean glare. Whatever lady, I don't like you either but I wasn't going to be such a bitch about it.

Yesterday when Elle and I were at school yesterday we were informed that there was going to be a fire drill. We were told that when the bell went off we should grab our kids and their coats and head out to the sidewalk in front of the school. Pretty simple right?

So the bell goes off, I grab Elle ("What that sound?") and her coat and we go out to the sidewalk. Once we're on the sidewalk I move off to the side and set Elle down so that I can put her coat on. We're standing well out of the way and a good 100 feet away from the school itself. All of the sudden the nasty faced teacher herself comes barreling down the sidewalk yelling "Clear out of the way! Keep moving down! Don't block the way of the fire fighters."

Um. Ok. First off, no one is blocking anyone's way. Second, what fire fighters? The ones that won't be coming since this is just a drill and not an actual fire?

Nasty faced teacher keeps waddling down the sidewalk, waving her arms and yelling about people blocking the way. When she gets to Elle and I she puts her hands on Elle's shoulders and tries to physcially move her.

Oh no. I don't think so. You don't get to put your hands on my kid even if it is for a really important reason (like to free up the 1/2 inch of space we were taking up that belonged to the imaginary fire fighters).

I snapped my head up to look at her and said "Oh cool it! I'll move after I put her coat on!" I enjoyed the flustered look on her face for one split second before turning back to Elle and finishing up with her coat. I gave her a big hug, scooped her up and then deliberatly moved one over one step. The nasty teacher turned on her heel and started yelling at other people to move. Elle and I smiled at each other until I realized all the other parent/child classers we standing there watching me and had seen me snap at the teacher. None of them looked to impressed.

Something tells me that Elle and I won't be invited to any after school playdates any time soon. Oh well. Bitch shouldn't be touching my kid.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I wonder if Adoption Guy likes airplane peanuts?

Ok, I'm having a hard time with the parent/child classes. I go because Elle really likes it but I fricken hate it. I can acknoledge that this is totally my own issue and my own fault. If everyone in the class is getting along great except for me then I can accept that I'm the one with the problem. But I don't know how to fix it and I don't know how to make it easier so I just have to suck it up and tough it out.

See, the thing is that I actually like a couple of the moms in the class. Some of them seem really nice. The problem in the class is not with them, it's with Adoption Guy and that fact that everyone else in the class seems to think that Adoption Guy is just as awesome as he claims to be. I don't understand this. How does everyone else hear this guy say the same things I hear him saying and not think he's a total jackass? Even the mother who a few weeks ago seemed to dislike this guy now seems to think he's the neatest thing since sliced bread.

Last week I was talking with two of the other mothers in the class about potty training. It was a nice discussion and I felt like the three of us had a nice give and take going. All of the sudden Adoption Guy swaggers, plops down in the chair next to me and says (and I swear to god this is true but I know no one will beleive me) "You know, a lot of times when kids are first adopted they get constipated from the stress. So when we adopted M she was......."

I got up and walked away. It took everything in me not to scream "You know who else gets consitpated? Every other kid in the world! It's something that happens! It's not all about the damned adoption!"

When I looked back at where I had been I was disgusted to see that pretty much every other parent in the class was now listening to this guy with looks of awe and admiration on their faces. They really cared about his constipation story! I was in shock. No one looked bored or annoyed or bothered at all. It was just me. I just don't get it.

Today during the parent discussion part of class we were talking about travling with kids. Guess what story Adoption Guy told. Yeah, how he and his wife had to take a 17 hour flight when they went to adopt their daughter. We heard every damned detail of the whole trip. What shots they had to get, what food they ate, what the hotel they stayed in was like, it just didn't stop. I know for a fact that I was openly giving this guy a "what the fuck?" face about halfway through his story but I didn't even care anymore. Come on! The topic of the day was "travling with kids" not "what Adoption Guy thought of the room service at the hotel he stayed at when he went to adopt his daughter".

So why is it just me? Why am I the only one who seems to have a problem with this guy when everyone else seems to think he's nifty neato keen? And why can't I get past it? I think that part of it might be that I'm offended on behalf of this little girl who's father likes to wave her adoption around like some kind of major award. Part of it is that I just don't like blowhards. I have to accept thought that part of it is just me and my inablity to just relax and let things go.

I need to find a way to get over it or this guy is going to ruin the whole class for me. How in the world do I do that?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween overload

Let me just say that Joseph can throw one hell of a Halloween party.

Yes, the party was a big success. To wrangle eight kids we had six adults (me, Jesse, my parents and two moms who stayed during the party) and I don't think we could have managed with even one less adult. My parents did a lot of the "behind the scenes" stuff like getting games ready and cleaning up after each activity. Jesse and I ran the games and activities and the two moms jumped in whenever needed. It all went really, really well.

The kids really seemed to like the cookie decorating and the pumpkin decorating. I'm sure their parents loved having them come home with their Halloween costumes covered in glitter glue and frosting too. We got very lukcy with the weather because it ended up being such a nice day that we were able to do a lot of the games outside.

The most important thing was that Joseph seemed to really enjoy himself. I think he really got a big kick out of playing host for his very first party. He's already talking about doing it again next year. We'll see what my parents think about that idea. (Thank you again mom and dad for all that you did for the party. The food, the decorating, the dressing up, the fact that you allowed eight 7 year olds loose in your house - it all meant a lot to all of us.)

Other Halloween activites so far have included:
My dad and I taking the kids to a Halloween carnival where they ended up with (and I am not exaggertaing here) a grocery bag full of prizes.

My dad and I taking the kids Trick or Treating at the college where he works. Kids get to walk through the dorms and students pass out candy and ohhhh and ahhh over the costumes. Joseph's Harry Potter costume was a huge hit. Everyone thought Elle was Eeyore. Not a single person knew that she was Stitch. Also, she refused to say "Trick or treat" and instead opted for "I want some!". But both kids always remembered to say thank you.

Upcoming Halloween events include:
My parents taking the kids to a local grocery story that puts on a big Halloween party. There's trick or treating, a cookie walk (whatever the hell that is) and more.

Actual trick or treating on Halloween. My mom and I will be taking the kids to my grandmother's apartment complex. We figure it's better than wandering around our increasingly yucky neighborhood and praying that we don't stumble across a meth lab. Plus, we already have 8 million pounds of candy and at this point trick or treating on Halloween is more of a formality than anything else.

Man, when did Halloween become a two week event? I'm beat already. I better go have some candy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Womb for rent - the matter of money .... again

After my previous post about surrogacy and money I got a couple of questions. I'll answer them here.

First off: "how do people pay for it? Where do they get the money? Are they rich or did they save up? Can you get a loan for this sort of thing?"

I don't know a whole ton about this but I do know that surrogacy can be amazingly expensive for the IPs (intended parents). On top of paying the surrogate you have to pay agency fees. There might be the additional cost of insurace if the surrogate has none or has insurance that does not cover a surrogate pregnancy. Then there's the fees for an egg and/or sperm donor (if needed). There's the cost for the reproductive specialist who creates the embryos and implants them. There are countless medical tests and procedures that have to paid for out of pocket.

Of course, not everyone has all those fees. If you know someone willing to be a surrogate then you don't have to go through an expensive agency to find one. Some people have friends or family who are willing to be a surrogate for free (or nearly free) for them. Some people won't need egg or sperm donors. Some people use a surrogate who is the spouse of someone in the military because the insurance they use covers surrogate pregnancies. (By the way, I disagree with this 100%. While I think all members of the military and their families should have free medical care I don't think that the goverment should be paying for the medical care for someone who is carrying a child for someone not in the military. It's a hell of a way to work the system and I find it almost offensive. This is not a popular point of view in the surrogacy world.)

Even if you find a way to cut costs, the whole thing is mind bogglingly expensive. I don't know how people do it. I think that in most cases IPs are kind of well off. It could be that I just have the wrong impression but know for sure that surrogacy is something that your average paycheck to paycheck family could never afford. And that's just one reason why I would never use a surrogate myself. There are more but I'll go into those another time.

Another question: "I'm just wondering how you would want to be pregnant and then know that you don't have the "reward" at the end of a new baby to love and care for. I mean, for most people being pregnant is not exactly fun. So is it just for the money or do you have other reasons?"

It's not just for the money but yes, the money is a big part of it. I wouldn't do this for free, not even for a friend or family member. It's just too much to put myself and my family through without some sort of compensation. But, as I said, it's not just for the money. As crazy as it might sound (to anyone who knows what my last pregnancy was like) I really liked being pregnant. I loved, love, love giving birth. I found it empowering and exhilerating. As soon as it was done and I had a little bit of rest I thought "Wow, I want to do that again!". Surrogacy seemed like a good way to get to go through that all again.

Maybe I'm strange but I don't think of having a newborn to care for a real "reward". I didn't like the newborn stage. I never got enough sleep and I was always stressed out and tired. Frankly, this time around I'll be glad to say that I don't have to be the one worrying about diaper changes and feedings every two hours and the umbilicl cord stump falling off.

I do get a reward though. I am thrilled to help someone build their family. I'm very excited for B and J getting to go through all the fun baby stuff. I'm happy to be a part of it all. I feel like I'm giving someone a really special gift that not just anyone would be willing or able to give.

Wow. That was really long and I haven't even gotten to my other top two questions. Stay tuned for those!

Elle is awesome, just ask her!

Elle has been doing the greatest thing lately. She'll "read" a book or do a puzzle and when she's done she'll look up and say "I did it! I so smart!". Or she'll put on a hat or a necklace and say "I so pretty!". She'll cuddle up and give me a hug and say "Awww, I so sweet!".

God, I wish I could bottle that. I wish I could find a way to hang on to some of that self confidence so that somewhere down the road when she needs it I'll have it right there to give to her. She's such an amazing person and I just always want her to know that.

I also want her to know (and I'll share it with her sometime when she's older) is that when she was two she would fart and then say "Oh ho ho! I tooted! I so cute!".

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The whole famn damily

We're not stretching Elle out nearly as much as it looks like we are.

Womb for rent - the matter of money

The number one question I get asked when people find out that I'm a surrogate is "How much are you getting paid for that?"

Sometimes I explain that I'm not getting paid, I'm getting compensated. I know it's probably splitting hairs but "compensated" sounds better to me. Sometimes I say that I can't go into those details because of my contract. Sometimes I give an average of what a surrogate might make. A couple of times I've been honest. It depends on who's asking me and why I think they're asking me. If I just think someone is being nosy and rude then I don't give any details. If I think they're asking because they're genuinely interested in the process then I give them a little more info.

I understand why people ask. It's interesting. There's a lot of misinformation out there about surrogacy though. Just a couple of days ago Lisa Ling did a report on the Oprah show saying that US surrogates can make between 60,000 and 80,000 dollars. No. That's not true. I have never heard of a surrogate making anything anywhere near that.

A first time surrogate working with an agency will make an average base fee of somewhere between 18,000 and 23,000 dollars. On top of that there are extras like fees for the embryo transfer and money for maternity clothes. A surrogate who is not working with an agency (independently matched) might make a little less on average.

So there you have it. Stay tuned because I'll also be answering my other top asked questions: 1) How does your family/husband/kids feel about this? 2) Will it be hard to give the baby up?

If there's something you've wanted to ask but you've been too shy/tactful/polite to ask it, please do so now. I'm in a sharing mood.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mama doesn't give a crap if you're mad

I don't feel like I'm really able to relate to the other parents in my and Elle's parent/child class. I'm the only person in the class who has a child older than the one enrolled in the class. I don't know if this helps to explain why all the other parents seem so uptight. They all talk about power struggles and temper tantrums and how sometimes their kids just drive them crazy. I feel like I never have anything to contribute to these conversations. When it's my turn to talk I almost always end up saying things like "I really don't have a problem with any of that stuff."

I know it makes me seem like I think I'm a superior parent but that's really not the way it is. It's just that when it comes to tantrums and power struggles I just try not to sweat the small stuff. Today in class we were talking about power struggles again and when it was my turn to talk I said "I try to avoid even getting into power struggles all together. If Elle's mad at me because I put white socks on her and she wants red socks then I give in and give her what she wants. If she's mad at me because she doesn't want to be buckled in her car seat, well then, I'm a lot bigger than her and one way or another she's getting buckled into that car seat. Some things can be debated but others obviously can't."

One of the other parents looked suprised and said "But what if she gets mad at you?" Three others echoed "Yeah, what if she gets mad?" I paused for longer than I probably should have as I thought "Are they for real? That cannot be a serious question can it?" Finally I slowly responded with "Um ..... Then she gets mad at me." It was all I could do to keep from adding "Duh!" at the end.

Maybe it's just me but I don't consider it my job to keep my kids from getting mad at me. I mean, of course I don't want them to be mad at me and I would love it if they were happy all the time but that just ain't gonna happen. I have to accept that sometimes I'm going to piss them off. I don't think you can be a very effective parent if you're walking around afriad that you might make your child mad.

I don't think it's such a bad thing for Elle to be mad at me once in a while. She's learning her own mind and figuring out how to assert herself. Hopefully she's learning that sometimes she'll be able to get what she wants and sometimes she'll have to go along with what someone else says. And if I'm being totally honest I have to admit that I find Elle's temper tantrums a little bit cute. Her little face gets red and her little back arches and she does her best to squeeze out a tear or two. I find it adorable.

What do you think? Do you have to keep your child happy all the time? Can power struggles ever be "won" or have you already lost by just getting into them? What in the hell is up with the goofy ideas some of the other parents in the class have?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The event of the season

Joseph will be hosting his very first party on Saturday. He's never had a birthday party with friends before partly because his birthday is during the summer and it's harder to get ahold of the kids he would like to invite and partly because the whole idea of a party makes him kind of anxious. So now we're taking away the pressure of it being a birthday party and we're throwing a Halloween party instead. Joseph is very excited.

He invited nine kids and eight (including three girls!) are coming. Thank goodness we're doing this at my parents house. I think that many kids at one time in our place would probably give me a nervous breakdown. We're going to be decorating pumpkins, playing games, decorating giant sugar cookies and giving out prizes for costumes. I think it will be a lot of fun. I know Joseph's looking forward to it.

The only dilemma I have is what in the heck kind of costume I can wear to this thing. Somehow I don't think the kids will appreciate what I had originally been planning to be - The Woman With the Every-Expanding Ass. Help me out here people. What can I dress up as for this party? Keep in mind that it has to be relatively inexpensive and must accommodate my glorious midsection.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

If you can't blog anything nice.....

.....don't blog anything at all.

Good advice but it leaves me with not much of anything at all to say. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what but man, am I ever moody these days. Every time I sit down to blog all that comes out is "Augh! I hate everyone! Everything is stupid! My back hurts! I hate Avon ladies!" and on and on and on.

I suppose that entry after entry of that might be somewhat therapeutic but it might make everyone who reads this blog (including those people who know me in real life) dislike me intensely. Since I'm already feeling fat and cranky I don't think I need to add "unlovable" to the list.


But I really do hate Avon laides.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't you wish your girlfriend was a bitch like me?

I was being a total wench to Jesse this afternoon for no reason at all. He came home to watch the kids while I went to the chiropractor and I did nothing but snarl and snap at him. Then I broke his razor. That part was an accident but I didn't really feel bad about it or apologize or anything.

When he left to go back to work I started to feel bad about the way I acted so I tried to call him. He didn't answer his cell phone when I called and that's my number one pet peeve. I hate when I cannot get ahold of him. Every time I dialed and he didn't answer I got more and more annoyed.

Now I'm sitting here totally pissed off and thinking I should probably stop trying to call him because if I do get ahold of him I'm just going to start bitching him out again.

Don't I sound like a fun person to be around today?

Blah and ouch

I don't have anything to say really. I'm really only updating because if I don't it apparently makes some people think I've died. Unfortunately all I really have going on in my life right now is some lower back pain and an increasingly bad mood. Jesse and I are going out to a fancy-shmancy dinner with my dad tonight so I'm hopeful that will help to break me out of my funk. We'll see.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Advice my mother never gave me

When you were a kid did your mother ever say to you "Always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident."? Mine never did.

That's why yesterday when I got dressed I thought nothing of putting on my oldest, rattiest pair of underwear.

It's funny then isn't it, that as I climbed into the ambulance last night after our car was rear-ended at a stop light my first thought was "Oh no! Everyone is going to see my grundgy underwear!"

Long story short, everyone is ok. Jesse is ok, the kids are ok, the baby is ok, the car is ok, the 21 year old that hit us probably learned a valuable lesson about not paying so much attention to your car radio when you're pulling up to a stoplight, I have a pinched nerve in my lower back that a couple of days of rest and painkillers should take care of and despite being seen on the labor and delivery floor and the emergancy room, not s single person saw my ratty underwear. And now they're in the trash.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Multiple choice quiz for buttheads

This is a simple quiz, just one question: You and your spouse are having a tough time getting the kids to bed one night. It's turning into an hour and half long process. There are tears, raised voices, kicks, and shrieks. And that's just from the seven year old. At one point you go to get yout two year old yet another healthy snack since she seems to be acting hungry. You heave a mighty sigh on your way out of the kitchen. You wife smiles at you and says "It'll be ok" in her best encoureging voice. The proper response is to:
a) Say nothing. There's no time for small talk.
b) Smile back on your way out of the room.
c) Stop and say "Thanks, I needed to hear that. It's really been a rough night."
d) Roll your eyes and (in a louder than nessecary voice) say "I can sigh if I want to!" then storm out of the room.

Answer key: a, b or c would be acceptable. d is what Jesse did. Color me annoyed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry

My babies are growing up. How does this happen? I remember the day Joseph came to our house like it was yesterday. And I remember the day Elle was born like it was .... this morning. And then I blinked and they grew up.

Elle turned two yesterday. I can't even wrap my head around that. I can so clearly remember waking up the night before she was born and thinking "Is that a contraction? I think that's a contraction. A real contraction!" I was so excited that I was going to be able to meet my little girl and now she's here and she's more amazing than I ever would have dreamed she could be. She's soft and girly, feisty and rough n' tumble, sassy and sweet. My funny little monkey.

Joseph is another one. Yikes. Sometimes I forget he's getting older because he always seems to stay the same size. Then he goes and does something that reminds me he's not a baby any more either.

The other day we were in the car and Joseph started talking to us about some girls at school he likes. He told us there's one little girl in class that he loves (because she's smart) but that he can't talk to. He explained "When you talk to a girl in school then everyone in your class will know that you love her and that's embarrassing." (I thought that was a pretty astute observation for a kid who so often misses the finer points of social interaction.) He said he sometimes tries to talk to her after school but then her brother is always with her. I suggested that he just try saying hi to her sometime in the hallway, that that would probably be ok. That led to this conversation:
Joseph: It's hard to talk to girls when you love them.
Me: Yeah, that can be hard.
Joseph: Kayla told me to stop telling her that I love her all the time.
Me: Oh, um. Yeah, it's ok to have those nice feelings about someone but sometimes people aren't comfortable hear stuff like that.
Joseph: (long pause) How do you know when a girl wants to hear "I love you"?
Me: Uhhhhh.....

Crap. I didn't think I would have to have this conversation with him for anther 20 years or so.

Joseph also told me that he loves a little girl who he always sees at our family functions. He told me "I do everything I can think of to make her fall in love with me to." When I asked him what he did he said "Things like making sure that my hair is laying flat on my head when she's around so that I'll look handsome. And sometimes when I see her I just hide behind a post so that she won't see me." I'm baffled by how she's managed to resist his charms so far.

Sigh. He's too young to be having all these girl problems. I'm too young for him to be having all these girl problems.

Isn't there some way that I can just keep my kids little for just a little while longer?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Did someone mention adoption?

I don't like know-it-alls. Well, let me clarify that. I don't like certain kinds of know-it-alls. I don't mind people that really do know it all and have interesting things to say. I don't mind know-it-alls like myself who sit back and quietly think "I know more about this than anyone here but I also know enough to know that not everyone wants to hear every single thing that pops into my head". The know-it-alls I can't stand are the ones who think they know it all and when they sense that they're around someone who knows less than them it makes them feel all puffed up and important. I've found though that if you give this type of know-it-all enough rope they will almost always hang themselves.

One of the dads in the parent/child class Elle and I go to is one of these obnoxious know-it-all types. He seems to consider himself the expert on all things relating to adoption. His daughter is adopted and that seems to be all he wants to talk about. I heard him bring it up 7 times in the first hour of class. And no, I am not exaggerating at all. It makes me a little uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong. I think adoption is wonderful and it's ok to talk about it. But when it becomes more about the adoption and less about the child, it makes me very uneasy. A lot of people that we have known for a while don't even know that Joseph is adopted. It's not because we hide it but because we don't relate everything about him back to the fact that he's adopted.

This guy though...... I don't know. I feel like he's showing off. He seems more interested in filling everyone in on all the aspects of raising an adopted child than he is actually raising his child. Today his daughter had a poopy diaper for nearly an hour and he never even noticed. He was too busy blathering to anyone who would listen (or rather, anyone who found themselves unable to escape). Finally another mother and I clued him in to the fact that his kid needed to be changed by making a big show of checking our own kids diapers right in front of him and saying lots of things like "Uh-oh! I think someone is poopy!"

During parent discussion time we were talking about mealtime difficulties. Mr Adoption decided to fill the group in on how feeding an adopted child is different than feeding any other child. He said "One thing that anyone involved with adoption will tell you is to always eat with your children. Every expert we talked to has said that it doesn't matter if you adopt your child when they're 10 days or 10 years old. You never let them eat alone. Eating together is a good way bond so if you have an adopted child you always eat with them, even at snack times. That's just how it is with an adopted child."

I tried to disguise the look of disgust on my face and I turned to him and said "I've never heard that. I have a son who's adopted and I've never once heard or read that we should eat with him every time he eats. I think we're pretty bonded even though he sometimes eats snacks on his own."

Adoption guy backpedaled like crazy and claimed that's just what his family did and not every child needed that even though just 30 seconds ago he had claimed that exactly. I don't think he thought there were any other parents there with adopted children. (And why would he? I hadn't mentioned it 50 times at that point.) He probably thought it was safe to play the all knowing adoption expert because no one would be able to refute what he was saying. I also think I probably came across a little rude but I was just grossed out by listening to this guy and his weird adoption fixation.

After the class one of the other mothers and I were talking and she said she was glad I said something. It seems that she and a couple of other people in the class are sick of this guy too. We agreed that if one of us noticed the other getting cornered by the guy we would try and help each other out. It's nice to have someone like-minded in the class with me. It's nice to know that not everyone thinks this guy is the bees knees. Just knowing that I'm not alone in my dislike of him makes him a little easier to bear.

But he's still a dope.

Edited to add: Just to be clear, if this guy really thinks that siting with his daughter every time a bite of food goes into her mouth will help them be more bonded than more power to him. I think it's kind of a goofy theory but it doesn't bother me at all that that is what he believes. What bothered me was the way he said it. "Everyone who knows anything knows that this is the way it is and if you don't eat with your child every time they eat then they will grow up to hate you and adoption adoption adoption adoption and my daughter is adopted!"

Monday, October 08, 2007

The halfway mark

I'm 20 weeks pregnant today. That's crazy. Part of me feels like I've been pregnant forever. I think it's because I've been involved with the process of trying to get this pregnancy going forever. Part of me feels like I just got pregnant yesterday. I'm only just now starting to feel pregnant. When I look down I can see a definite baby belly and now I can feel the baby move all the time. Every time I eat he starts moving all over the place. Elle always moved a lot. She stretched out, turned around and got the hiccups a lot. This kid kicks. Hard. It's a very different sensation than I ever felt with Elle. It's kind of neat but it does make me worry about how it's going to feel when he's got a little more weight on him.

Here's a meal idea for those times when you find yourself having to feed a pregnant woman: Melt shredded cheese on a piece of bread in the microwave. Slather on ketchup. Add another piece of bread to complete the sandwich. Repeat those stepc because just one of these yummy melted cheese and ketchup sandwiches is not going to be enough. In fact, just thinking about it right now makes me hungry. I've got to go now and ...... eat something .... healthy. Yeah, healthy. That's the ticket.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Does this fat make my butt look big?

A story on the MSN homepage: "It's in the bag: Pick the perfect purse for your body type"

Great, not only do I have to worry about my jeans making my butt look fat and my fat butt making my butt look fat but now I have to worry about my purse making my butt look fat. Don't we already have enough to worry about? Women (and by "women" I mean "women other than me" because I don't give a flip about any of this stuff) already have to be sure that their purse matches their shoes and their outfits and their hair and the season. When picking out my last purse I also had the added criteria of it being a) big enough to hold all my regular crap plus a diaper and a box of finsens and about 12 pounds of change b) reasonably cute c) on sale for less than $20. Do we really need to worry about making sure that we have the right purse for our body type? Does anyone really care about that? Really?

Speaking of big butts ....... my derriere is growing larger by the day. Do you ever see those pregnant women who look totally normal except for the fact that it looks like they have half a beach ball attached to their tummy? Yeah, I'm not one of those women. In fact, when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Elle my mom said "You don't look pregnant. You just look ..... fat."

I don't carry pregnancy in my tummy like a normal person. Everything on me widens and grows and expands. I've noticed that I've started running into things. I misjudge how much space I have and I bump into doorways, chairs, display racks and small children. Poor Joseph has probably taken more hip bumps and butt checks to the head in the last month than anyone should in their entire life.

Thinking about my growing backside is making me depressed. I'm going to go have some ice cream. I wonder if there's a purse with a little freezer inside it so you can carry ice cream around. Now that would be the right purse for my body type.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A very rude little girl

My mom told me once that when I was at the age where I had started school and my brother had not he would always look forward to me coming home so that he could ask me what I had for lunch that day. Every day when I came home he would run to me and say "What did you have for lunch today?" and I, being the loving older sister would yell "Augh! Stop asking me that all the time!"

God, what a little bitch. Why didn't I just tell him what I had for lunch? Was it really so much to ask?

Ben, if you're reading this, and if it makes you feel any better (because I'm sure you're still wounded all these years later) I seem to remember eating a lot of pizza, mashed potatoes, soyburgers and corn with black flecks in it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A fun tip for those looking for casual sex

Here's a tip that's great for the whole family. Let's say you're a guy seeking a casual sexual encounter for you and your wife. Don't go posting an ad on Cragislist where everyone in the whole world can see it. Everyone. Everyone including your cousins wife who already thought you were sleazy and gross and nasty and now has a way of proving it to everyone. You may especially want to heed this advice if you look like a drowned rat on a three day meth binge.

WARNING: This link is NSFW. Do not click it if there are children, elderly people, small pets, houseplants or tropical fish in the room.

Asperger's is not a bad word

A while ago I found myself reading several blogs by parents who had children like Joseph. Extraordinary children who were facing some difficulties in school and social settings. Some of these parents readily embraced the fact that their children were living on the autism spectrum. Others did not. I found myself bouncing between the two schools of thought.

Some days I was angry when I thought about being told that Joseph had Aspergers. I didn't want to accept that his differences were there and I didn't want to accept that those differences might put a lable on him. I didn't want him to have Aspergers and I didn't want everyone looking at him a certain way and expecting certain things out of him because he of it.

Some days I was ok with the whole thing. Not most days though. Most days I still thought things like "There's nothing wrong with him at all! He's not out of order! The system is out of order! Who cares if he's different! Different is better and everyone one just needs to accept it!"

Right now I feel like I'm in a pretty healthy place as far as dealing with and accepting Aspergers goes. A while back I was talking to someone about Elle and I was saying how different it is raising her, "a neurotypical child" than it is raising Joseph. All of the sudden it just hit me. Elle is neurotypical. Joseph is not. And that's ok.

It's ok that he has Aspergers. It's ok that he does things differently and feels things differently and acts differently. I don't have to change that. I don't have to fix that and I don't have to hide that. But I do have to accept it. And I have to accept that as much as I would like for the rest of the world to get in tune with Joseph it's not going to happen. And Joseph is never going to get in tune with the rest of the world. Because he has Aspergers. And that's ok.

Aspergers is not a bad word. Knowing what my son has going on with him and putting a name to it doesn't have to be scary. The way I see it is this: A diagnosis doesn't change anything about Joseph. It's just a tool to help me help him. It's a stupid sounding word that has helped me to get Joseph extra help at school when he needs it. It's a cue that lets other adults who work with him know that they might need to adjust the way they deal with him. It was a stepping off point for me when it came to learning about how to deal with his melt-downs and sensitivities.

Aspergers is not a bad word. A lot of the things that go along with it can be reframed as real positives for a child. Denying that is exsists deosn't make it go away, it just keeps you from dealing with the truth. The good truth and the not so good truth.

So I've been pulling away from some of the blogs that I used to find a lot of comfort in. I get tired of hearing them repeat over and over "My child doesn't have Aspergers and I won't listen to anyone who says he does. He's just special and he's going to change the world."

I much prefer to read about the lives of people like me. People who say "My child has Aspergers and I'm glad I know that he does. He's special and smart and yes, someday he's going to change the world. And it won't be in spite of the Aspergers. It might just be because of it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hi sweetie!

Elle and I had our first day of parent/child school today. Every Wednesday for the next 19 weeks we'll go to "school" for 2 hours in the morning. Elle really seemed to enjoy herself. I think her favorite part was snack time. All the parents sat in a circle for discussion time and all the kids sat at a table and had crackers and watermelon. She really got a kick out of having snack with the other kids. She kept standing up and calling "Mama! I have snack! I eating! Fun! Mama! I have lunch!" It was very cute.

Even cuter though was when she came running over after snack to check in with me. She hugged me and said "Hi sweetie!" Awwwwww. Couldn't you just eat her up.

Of course classes like this do have their drawbacks. Everything like this that I've ever done with one of my kids seems to have at least one stupid parent in it. This appears that it will continue that streak. I had to bite my tounge a couple times during discussion when some of the other parents were asking things like "My kid will only eat a bite of dinner and then they'll ask for dessert. I always give it to her. Should I do that?" I don't want to seem like a know-it-all but come on! Logic! Common sense! Those things go a long way in parenting!

I'm the only parent in the class who has an older child (than the one enrolled in the class) so I'll just have to try and remember that parenting is a learning process and I didn't know it all back then either (I still don't!) and I probably asked my fair share of stupid questions once too. That will help me to not blurt out things like "Are you kidding me!?!?"

Even worse than the know-nothing parents are the know-it-alls. Specifically two stay-at-home-dads in the class who both seem to think they've learned everything there is to know about parenting. Neither of them is afraid to spout of long lectures about any petty little subject. They'll help me to. I don't want to come off like one of those guys.

So Elle and I will both learn something in school during the next 19 weeks. She'll learn how to drink out of a regular cup (she dumped hers out several time during snack time) and I'll learn to button it up sometimes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good times, good times

You know what's fun? Spending the day watching 3 kids under the age of 3. You know what's even more fun than that? Being 2 minutes into your day of babysitting and finding yourself up to your elbows in a poopy diaper with a baby screaming at you in the background and a kind of urgent sounding message being left on your answering machine. You know what's even more fun than all that? Listening to that message (after you've gotten the kids cleaned up and calmed down) and hearing the voice of the school nurse telling you to come and take your kid into the ER because they got their head cut open during a freak accident on the playground.

Thank goodness for mothers. I called mine up, she came over to watch the babies and I drove to the school to get Joseph. He had a small cut on his head that just wouldn't stop bleeding. I guess he was standing next to a little girl on the playground when she started to twirl a jumprope around. The handle swung around and hit Joseph right on the head. You know, a tiny little cut on the head can bleed a lot. The poor kid had blood on his jacket, his shirt, even on his jeans.

I took Joseph to the emergency room and 5 hours later we left with one teeny, tiny little stitch. He was so brave. I was so proud of my boy. First off, I was so proud of the way he handled the 3 hours that we had to spend in the waiting area before we even got a room. He was so good that two ladies sitting near us came over to tell me what a great kid he was. One of them even bought him a snack from the vending machine. (This made Joseph comment that from now on he's always going to be good in public so that more people will buy him treats.) Second, I was amazed at how brave he was when he got the stitch. He whimpered a little bit but he laid very still. I think he handled it better than I did. I had to look away and concentrate very hard on not passing out.

So we go home and the kids I was supposed to have been watching have been picked up. My mom leaves. End of story? No. Two hours later I'm lying on the couch, moaning in pain and breaking out into a cold sweat.

Out of nowhere I developed this massive pain in my lower right abdomen. I couldn't stand up straight or even move without making it much worse. Jesse insisted that I go the the ER. Like hell! I just spent 5 hours in that place. I was determined that I was not going in. I'll admit that I also had a fear that the pain was being caused by gas and if I went in to the ER they would take one look at me and tell me to go home and fart.

20 minutes later I'm sprawled out on the kitchen floor and crying. My mom came back over and Jesse and I went back to the fricken ER.

Long story short: I got some lovely painkillers that made me warm and happy. And a little nauseas. An unltrasound revealed that the pain didn't appear to have anything to do with the baby. We got a really neat picture of the bottom of the baby's feet. (That kid has got a massive big toe.) We found out that the baby is growing fantasticly and is actually measuring a week ahead of it's due date. A doctor with the beadside manner of an oyster told me "It's too early in your pregnancy to monitor you to see if the pain you're feeling is contractions. Even if it is contractions it's too soon to do anything about it so if you're going to lose the baby, there's nothing we can do about it." Gee doc, thanks. I beg my very nice nurse for another shot of painkillers and he gets it for me. I go home a little after 2 AM and sleep.

Today I feel just fine. No pain at all. I'm chalking it up to the fact that sometimes bodies do strange things and sometimes pregnant bodies do even stranger things. I was told to follow up with my own doc this week but he's out of town until Monday. I have an appointment with him that day anyway so I'm not going to go in and see anyone else in the meantime. I think the instructions to see my regualr doctor were kind of pass the buck tactic on thepart of the ER doctor. He couldn't find anything wrong with me (probably because it was just gas) and he decided to be all "Well, I think what's going on is .... Hey! Look over there! It's a monkey!"

Whatever. It's all good. I'm fine, Joseph is fine. That's what's important.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Elle Girl

Elle will be turning two soon. It seems that someone has clued her in to the fact that she's supposed to start being terrible now. She really is trying her best. She'll throw herself down on the floor and shriek "Noooooooooo!" for no reason at all. Then she'll lay there very quietly and watch to see what my reaction will be. Poor thing, she doesn't know what she's up against.

She doesn't know that there is nothing she can throw at me that I haven't already seen 100 times over. She doesn't know that living with Joseph for the past 7 years has prepared me for tantrums, melt-downs, over-reactions and general moodiness of all kinds. I don't think she'll be able to phase me at all.

You see, Elle is my refresher child. When I've had a really rough day with Joseph and he's got me ready to tear my hair out and scream "I can't do this anymore!" I just have to spend a little time with Elle to remind myself that hey, I can do this and I'm really not half bad at this mothering thing. Elle recharges me.

Where Joseph is difficult, Elle is very, very easy. Unless we're having pizza, mealtime with Joseph is always an ordeal. He whines, he cries, he has to leave the table several times, he often only ends up eating two or three bites total. Elle is always eager to try whatever I put in front of her. Often she's right there next to me when I'm cooking, demanding a taste of whatever I'm working on. Whatever I serve he she tries and then says "Yummy!" and asks for me.

Joseph is very difficult to put to bed. Either Jesse or I has to stay with him until he falls asleep. Once he's asleep he doesn't stay asleep. He wakes up several times a night to come into our bed and when we put him back we have to stay with him until he falls back asleep. Again. Whe he wakes up in the mornign he is an absolute bear, almost impossible to deal with. Elle is happy to lay down in her crib after he bedtime stories. She snuggles in with her baby dolls and we don't hear another peep out of her for 12 hours. When she wakes up and I go in to get her she greets me with a big smile and sasy "Hi sweetie!"

Joseph doesn't like affection. He won't hug or kiss or snuggle on his own. He'll do it when we ask him to but spontaneous affection is almost unheard of with him. Joseph will never greet anyone with a hug or a kiss or even a "hello" unless you remind him to. (Although to be fair, he is very verbally affectionate. He tells us he loves us all the time. Just out of the blue he'll say things like "I like you. I'm glad you're my mom".) Elle loves to snuggle and kiss and hug. When you walk in the door she'll run to greet you and hug your legs as hard as she can.

It goes on and on and on. The cold hard fact is that Elle is a really, really, easy kid and Joseph is ..... well, not as easy. Oh, don't get me wrong. He's worth it, he's more than worth it. But he has taught me well. I no longer fear the terrible twos because I have lived the terrible sevens, and sixes, and fives and fours.

So Elle my girl, do your worst. You're little attempts to get a reaction out of me are as welcomed as a cool breeze on a warm summer day. I have lived through seven years of Hurricane Joseph and I have lived to tell the tales. "Noooooo!" doesn't scare me anymore.

(I hope this doesn't come off like I'm trashing Joseph. In truth there are a lot of times when parenting Joseph is hard and tiring and frustrating. But those moments are far out-weighed by the ones that are lovely and sweet and lout-out-loud funny and weak-in-the-knees wonderful.)