Monday, July 28, 2008

a conversation while nursing*

Iris: Isn't it wonderful that your body makes all the milk that Kai needs to eat?

Me [reveling in this spontaneous Our Bodies, Our Selves moment]: Yes! Women's bodies are amazing!

Iris: Do all women have nipples?

Me: Yes. You will, too, someday. [Then, deciding the time as come to correct a longstanding misnomer of hers:] Actually, you already have nipples. The full parts of women's chests are called breasts. The nipples are the pink parts at the tips where the baby nurses.

Iris: What are breasts for?

Me: For making milk and feeding babies.

Iris: Why aren't they called nursing plumps?

*Posted while nursing. Because that's my life right now: all nursing, all the time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

baby brother has landed!

Kai Oliver was born yesterday, Bastille Day, at 10:34 a.m. after a labor so fast and furious that it knocked the socks off of everyone present. Seriously. They're still sweeping up socks.

I'll tell that story soon. For now, let's skip to the happy ending:

He's such a pumpkin dumpling.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

here's hoping

Monday, July 07, 2008

the waiting is the hardest part

Actually, that is completely untrue – the giving birth is the hardest part. But I'm not sure waiting for it could make me any edgier.

Yesterday was my due date. On the one hand, I'm grateful to Baby Brother for hanging in there over the long fourth of July weekend while my doctor was out of town. On the other, I feel like a ticking time bomb. I'm trying to remain cool, calm and open to whatever his plans are, but somehow I don't think that is what has kept me awake since 3:30 this morning.

Just for a little variation from the theme, here is a gratuitous photograph of Iris on the fourth of July, standing in the middle of what appears to be a heart-shaped crop circle. Actually, J informs me that it is probably the outline of a below-ground fungus, but I prefer to think of it as a botanical magical mystery. That orb of light over her head, in case you're wondering, is either a firefly, a firework, or a UFO.

Friday, July 04, 2008

pins and needles

That's what we're on around here, as signs accumulate that Baby Brother is getting ready to make his move.

Now that I don't have my book to distract me, it's harder not to live in constant anticipation of The Big Event. What was that twinge? And that one? Do I detect a pattern? I'm trying to stay relaxed and busy myself with little things, like some last-minute quickie crafting.

First, some headbands for Iris, who has been begging me for some for weeks now.

These were so fast and simple to whip up, they'll probably become the new default birthday present for her friends.

I also finished a chicken applique on one of her old onesies, which will of course be handed down to Baby Brother. Lesson learned from this: those little pieces were really hard to machine-sew. If they don't survive the wash, at least I'll have this picture. Also, who knew chicken feet would be so hard to embroider?

I actually freezer-paper stenciled these little newborn kimono shirts some time ago, but it's been hard to get the colors to come out in a photograph (Sarah, I've needed your help!). I think this is as good as it gets.

More news soon, I hope. Happy fireworks, everyone!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

150 pages, 39 weeks, and 3 centimeters

So this morning I was trying to take the milk out of the fridge for my coffee when a huge spasm seized my back (no, not that kind of spasm or that part of my back) and I lost my grip and milk spilled everywhere. I wasn't so much crying over the, well, you know, as the incredible difficulty of bending over to clean it up. If I'm going to be hunched over my ginormous belly, forcing my lungs into my collarbone and cutting off my air supply, for that long, I'd really much rather be giving myself a pedicure.

But it's all good. I may have not had a baby via a painless, 1/2 hour delivery, but I did finish my book! It took a month of uninterrupted concentration and a back-to-the-wall self-imposed deadline, but I did it. I think we have all heard the comparisons between gestating a baby and a book so I will not go there, except to say that this book has been in the works for a lot longer than either of my babies, not to mention demanding a lot more willpower than the forces of nature that are pregnancy and birth, so the feeling of elation and relief at having finished is tremendous. (Also, I think my editor would be very surprised if I dropped Baby Brother off with him after he is born.) Of course, what I've written is a draft. I know there will be further revisions and other tasks after my editor has his shot at it, but I feel I will be able to make time for that somehow after Baby Brother is on the outside. I am just so glad to have all the big thinking work, the updated research and pushing to new conclusions, behind me. There are still a few things on the old to-do list that I would like to cross off before life changes forever around here, but basically now the decks are cleared for Baby Brother's arrival.

Which is a good thing, because at 39 weeks I am already walking around 3 centimeters dilated. No effacement action, though, and Baby's head is still floating. But still, free centimeters! I'll take 'em (who wouldn't?).

I am also pleased to report that Jasper is running and jumping around like his old self, despite the raw, gaping hole in his leg onto which J and I have to smear liquid skin daily (yuck). Furthermore, our regular mailman is back from vacation, which may not sound like good news to you, but his daily rounds – with his little box of dog treats – are pretty much the highlight of Jasper's life, so between that and the feeling better, we've got a happy hound again.

Here is Iris' zoo calendar for the month of July. Back when she first got it, we went through all the months and made special notes and decorations on all the family birthdays and other important dates. I told her July was the month we were expecting Baby Brother to be born, but we couldn't know exactly which date. She proceeded to draw a baby on the 11th and to scribble out every other day. So there you have it: in the world according to Iris, Baby Brother will come on July 11th.

Works for me.

PS. My friend Kat wins the Perceptiveness Prize for noticing something in my last post that even J and I had not noticed: when the refinishers put the handles back on our kitchen cabinets, they replaced them backwards. I can't believe it took someone looking at before-and-after pictures on the computer to see such a fundamental change in the kitchen J and I use every day, but there you have it.