Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Nothing! Or Something! I Dunno!

I have been feeling funky the past couple of days. Exhausted. Anxious. Crampy. A lot of lower back pain. Alternately famished and queasy.

All of this could mean this baby's arrival is imminent.

Or it could mean I will feel like poopy for MANY MORE weeks.

WHO KNOWS. The more pregnancies I live through, the more I realize that every little thing could mean anything. Or nothing.

I would like the little stinker to hang out for a little while longer; I would like to avoid the NICU (I'm still just 35 1/2 weeks), and - well, I want my MOMMY. I will feel much better going into labor if my mother is here to help PVT with all the chaos and minutiae that transpire daily Chez VT. Thankfully, my mom arrives late next week.

So I spend my days in an odd, distracted haze: I alternately want this baby to come NOW, so excited I am to meet her and to NOT be pregnant. And then I think, HUH? Don't you want a few more weeks of relatively uninterrupted sleep? And time with the four you've got, who don't seem to get enough of you even now?

You see the futility of all this circular thinking. And I couldn't even distract myself on
HUH? Even is down? So feel free to call. Stop by. Email. I will just be sitting here, feeling funky, ignoring my children and staring into space.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Guess what my friends?

MY HOUSE IS BACK! (Except for putting out the area rugs; we have to allow time for the stain in the floors to seep in. This is inexplicably driving me bonkers; by GAWD I just want to roll out those rugs.)

I am so happy I could weep. A few days ago, when they finally put the carpet in, it was like I was suddenly living in a posh Beverly Hills mansion. Not walking on cold, dirty concrete really makes you feel like a celebrity.

And so with all the furniture back in its place, courtesy of Oklahoma Disaster Recovery, I was finally free to unpack all the boxes of STUFF. It was just like moving in to a new house - when you're 8 1/2 months pregnant. The nesting hormones were both a blessing and a curse: I would get a burst of energy to do the work of 39 people on meth, and then suddenly want to curl up and DIE. And have my trademark mental breakdown.

PVT has REALLY been enjoying this Jekyll-and-Jill behavior.

So now that the house is liveable again, I can actually contemplate getting ready for this baby.

Which really just involves dusting off the carseat and buying some ugly nursing bras.

And buying this ensemble:

Sure, I'll be a lumpy postpartum wreck, leaking milk everywhere and sporting under eye bags the size of Texas, but at least I'll be wearing a cute nightgown ensemble.

You never know who you might run into at 3 am.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wanted: Escapist Fluff

Ah, late pregnancy. Last night's insomnia was brought to me by...jaundice. I spent over two hours tossing and turning, wondering whether this baby would have jaundice.

Some background: our first son, born at 37 weeks, was suctioned out with a vacuum after 4 1/2 hours of unsuccessful pushing. Little did we know that the vacuum delivery led to a pooling of blood in his head. We were sent home after two days with our healthy son. At his two day check up, his bilirubin level was 28. TWENTY EIGHT. For some perspective, a normal bilirubin level for a newborn is around 6 or 8. So the doctor sent us promptly to the nearest NICU, where his levels were taken again - they were 32. The neonatologist scared the bejeezus out of us when he told us there was a possibility the bilirubin toxin would cross the blood brain barrier and leave our new son with brain damage; he recommended a double blood transfusion, which Keane promptly received. After a week in the NICU under the bili lights, with constant monitoring of his bili levels, Keane was sent home again. I had not left the NICU for 7 days and nights.

THAT, my friends, was my first week as a mother. Maybe that's why I've been a wreck ever since.

So when our second son came, BY GAWD we were ready for the jaundice. Rory, too, was three weeks early, and after MORE unsuccessful pushing on my part (I don't know, people. I have a weird pelvis. Or maybe I'm just a wimp), the doctor attempted one - then two - vacuum suctions, which were both unsuccessful. (Rory has a BIG head.) So he was delivered by emergency c-section. And then, lo, before he was discharged, I thought he was turning yellow; his level was a 17. Nothing like Keane's yet, but he needed to go to the NICU to sunbathe under the bili lights. After 38 pricks to the heel to test his blood, he was discharged 5 days later.

When Will came along, I was so grateful that I would just be having a C-Section; none of this sweaty, awful WORK. So he came at 37 weeks too; a simple lovely snip snip job - like being at the SPA, my friends! Of course I had his bilirubin tested before we left the hospital; it was just a 9, so they sent me home. As soon as I got him home, I was convinced he was starting to yellow like an overripe banana. PVT thought I was nuts. But I was NOT going to mess with the jaundice. I rushed back to urgent care, had his levels tested, and - he was merely an 11. Apparently the main bilirubin culprit had been all those awful vacuum suctionings.

But did I remember my overreaction when Colette was born? Nooooooooo. She was baptized at 6 days old; she had only been home three days. I was sweating bullets at this baptism, thinking SHE looked like a lemon popsicle. Neither PVT's reassurances, nor the PRIEST'S reassurances, could sway me. I rushed my newly baptized girl back to the hospital...her bili level was a nine.

Will I do the same thing with this baby? Eh. PROBABLY.

So, to keep my mind off all of these odd nighttime ruminations, I need a favor: I'm trying to fit ONE MORE book in before this baby comes and even US Weekly becomes too cerebral for me. Any recommendations? Has anyone read THIS book that has been so overpromoted it makes Britney Spears look reclusive?

I haven't read it yet; I'm scared it will send me into pre-menopause and give me an overwhelming desire to collect scented candles. Or even buy a CAT, for cripes' sake. Have you read it? Is it any good? Any other recommendations that aren't too brainy (I can't handle Proust right now. Maybe in 20 years)? But that aren't too, em, prepubescent (yes, I'm thinking Twilight. I have just offended 49 readers, I'm sure. But COME ON. My 8 year old writes more complex sentences!)....?

OK, I'll skulk away now...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Return of Mama's Brasserie

Our house is still in flux. We don't yet have carpets downstairs. Boxes are everywhere. Repairs and painting still need to be taken care of.


AND: ONLY ONE MOUSIE CORPSE FOUND in the last few days!


So last night I made a simple meal that the kids inhaled; my GAWD I could have wept to see them eat something besides french fries and hot dogs. I almost got down on my knees when Rory started vacuuming up the sugar snap peas.

MUMMY BLISS, my friends.

So now that it's still 9,918 degrees and I'm 34 weeks pregnant, I get to start cooking again.

I think that's a good thing, though.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of Mice and Mental Breakdowns

A little background:

I haven't been sleeping well due to recurring nightmares that our grand piano, now standing on its side in my daughter's room, will fall and crush one of my children.

I REALLY don't like mice.

And have I mentioned I am hotly, hugely, hormonally pregnant lately?

BAH haha.

So occasionally we will see a mouse in our garage. PVT, the resident mouse murderer, will set out a trap and dispose of it efficiently and unemotionally. I luckily have very little to do with it, aside from the occasional Sarah Jessica Parker-esque squeal.

The other night, however, I could swear I saw one running into one of our upstairs bedrooms. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM! AAH! So PVT stuck a trap in there, and a while later - ugh! Yes, there was indeed a mouse. So PVT took care of it. And I promptly put the whole matter out of my head.

But the NEXT night, I saw one coming up the STAIRS! I can't tell you how much this disturbed me. I don't know why. And WHY were they coming upstairs? INSIDE? Had they been displaced by all the construction? Was I not doing adequate crumb duty? UUUUUUUUUGH.

So that night we set out many traps.

I was relieved in the morning when the traps were all empty, thinking we had gotten them all.

But as soon as PVT left for work, I saw one - then TWO - then THREE - all in that same bedroom where PVT, Colette and I are currently sleeping. So I BRAVELY put a few traps in the room, shut the door, and tried to barricade it so they wouldn't get out.

But of course they CAN get out, the little buggers - occasionally they would pop out from under the door, mocking me while I hollered and yelled and had several small heart attacks. I would try to muster my courage to trap one, but before I could, they would scamper back underneath.

It felt like the female version of Under Siege - well, without the guns, violence and death.

To complicate matters, we were scheduled to leave the house for the hotel in an hour so that the final coating on our wood floors could be applied.

My friends, I was a disaster! I kept thinking about MOUSE DROPPINGS! LICE! TICKS! And mice having SEX and BABIES all over my house while we were gone!

But I still couldn't bring myself to open the door to the bedroom.

So I finally did what I do best - CALL FOR HELP and OFFER MY CREDIT CARD. I called several mice guys, took the first one who could get there, and apologized profusely to the floor guy, who impatiently waited for the mouse guy to set some professional traps and assure me that I wouldn't come home to the Mouse Four Seasons.

Then I loaded up the kids, the dog, the suitcases for our brief exile, dropped off the dog, stopped at Wal Mart, picked up the big boys, checked into the hotel, unloaded our car, got all the children and bags into our hotel room, and PROMPTLY HAD A COMPLETE AND TOTAL BREAKDOWN. And had some pretty strong contractions to boot (which fortunately subsided after lying down while drinking copious amounts of water).

When PVT called to coordinate getting Keane to his soccer practice, I started sobbing like a premenstrual SJP. I am pretty sure I could hear his eyes roll from across town.

After a while I felt good enough to get the kids to dinner, but Keane did not make it to his practice. Ah, well. I figure I am allowed one breakdown per pregnancy.

Well, maybe TWO, depending on the mice and construction outlook in the next week.

Speaking of a scary mouse situation, take a look at Motherhood Maternity's latest line:

HUH? Whoever thought putting Minnie Mouse on a pregnant chick's belly was a good idea needs to be promptly fired. And forced to go home to wage her OWN battle with the little vermin.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Pregnant Pause

Over the past few weeks acquaintances have seen me trudging/waddling along, sweating profusely in this Hades-like heat with my four children in tow, and kindly ask me, with a mixture of pity and thankfulness that THEY ARE NOT ME, "How are you feeling?"

I always answer truthfully - surprised and grateful that this is indeed the truth! - that I am feeling good.

And I have been! Big, hot and ungainly, but still energetic.

Until today.

Suddenly I am just exhausted. And this baby suddenly feels like...a BABY, and not just some pleasing little hummingbird fluttering about my innards. She has shifted somewhat, and seems to be pressing up against on all my internal organs. Especially my bladder, which is too much information.

Now don't get me wrong; I'd rather be pregnant for 42 weeks than 32 weeks. But I am looking forward to the day when a walk across a soccer field is not something that requires 39 minutes and losing forty six gallons of sweat, while the rest of my family lingers by the car, waiting for me and shaking their heads.

And I'm sure PVT will be happy too when this is over; apparently I have the attractive habit of snoring like a 68 year old overweight guy when I'm hugely pregnant. So he spend about eight minutes with me each night before retreating to the four year old's bed.

I'm sure the seventh VanTrease will be worth it.

Most of the time.

Now, a rare treat for you: the other six VanTreases, caught in a rare moment where no one is crying, snarling or pinching each other:

Yes, all of the sweating, potty trips, varicose veins and snoring are worth it - for each one of these buggers.

Most of the time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

School Starts - And a Free Gift! It's Jillapalooza Time!

Today my two big boys started school:

And I hardly teared up at all! Well, just a little when I dropped off Rory - I could tell he was a bit nervous - but I sat him next to a good friend and he was fine. It's when they start kindergarten that kills me. When Will starts next year, I will cry buckets and probably want another kid.

SHAKE ME HARD, my friends!

And now with just two here? How TRANQUIL it is! How SERENE and relatively fist-fight free!

Rory did ask me if I could come bring him lunch today since he didn't like their hot dogs. How do you say "NO EFFING WAY" to a six year old?

So now with just two children here, I can reflect on this creepy sentence I just read in a novel (narrated from the perspective of a spirit floating around):

"Jill, a fraught woman with energies so given over to others - her four children, her husband, her elderly mother - that there was almost none left for herself. Apart from a thin line of pulsing fear, her life force was so depleted that for a short time I thought she was dead."

HOLY CLAIRVOYANCE, Batman. It felt like someone was walking over my grave when I read that. Although, thankfully, I do not have an elderly mother - my mother is quite YOUTHFUL and healthy, thank goodness. But just in case, to avoid flatlining, I rushed online and bought myself a bit of Jillapalooza:

Nothing like buying a buttload of cosmetics - with a free gift! - to reassure oneself that you do indeed have a life force.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Alive. And Happy Birthday Will!

I am ashamed, my friends. I have avoided my blog like the plague lately, for the simple reason that I don't want to write about my life, let alone inhabit it. But it really isn't as bad as I think it is. In short, for the past week and a half, we have continued to hunker down in our game room, all of us bickering and sniping at each other and watching interminable reruns of Caillou. This game room imprisonment was temporarily relieved by a short stay at the local Residence Inn, which at least had a kitchenette. During our hotel stay, PVT ran away on his annual Golfapalooza trip (which is, as it sounds, a buttload of golfing and male bonding), and my dear friend Ravishing Red Ann and her family were frolicking at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas.

Really, I'm not bitter. The Residence Inn does a mean scrambled egg breakfast. And thankfully my sainted mother came halfway across the country to provide me with moral support.

But things are looking up! We only have two weeks to go living like squatters! School starts Thursday! And PVT says his friend's wife can get me a "push present" - a Coach purse for 50% off! Is this too juvenile?
And I must mention that our third son, the often maddening and always irresistible Will, turned four today:

Will is a delicious little charmer. He is a little too fond of being the "baby" boy in the family; his requests for me to hold him lately, I'm ashamed to say, irk me, since I can barely lift the two year old at this point, let alone him. But Will is an addictive little bundle of mischief, and I can't wait to have a little time with him alone (erm, relatively) when the "big" boys go to school.

Happy Fourth Birthday, William Xavier. I love you more than margarita salt.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yet Another Pity-Drenched Post (But Isn't That a Pretty Dress?)

Sorry about the light posting around these here parts, my friends. I am trying to pull myself back from the abyss that is our house. Two good things: I don't have to make my weekly soul-sucking pilgrimage to Walmart. And two, since we are down to only one computer - no Wii - my children are forced to play together. Which sometimes leads to some very violent fights, but sometimes yields some lovely results: the other day, they spent quite a while constructing different "boats" out of chairs and blankets to sail on. A Webkinz soccer tournament also took up a lot of time one day.

No, we can't go outside. It's one hundred and forty effing degrees. AARGH.

So when I want to cry after my ninth trip up and down the stairs for drink requests, or trip on the black, smelly tar-like substance we are walking on now that the wood floors have been stripped, I repeat my mantra: Kids are healthy. I'm still pregnant. PVT has a job. All will be fine.

Now do any of you have a kitchen table I can invite myself to this evening? State Farm is providing the food! I'll clean up after the kids, I promise...

Ah, that's all right. You don't have to make excuses. When one has four children, three of them male, it's about as easy to get an invitation into the INSIDE of someone's home as it is for Osama bin Laden to get invited to Camp David.


ANYHOO, the Anniversary Sale is now over. Alas! But the Brothers Nordstrom won't quit. I got an email for occasion dresses yesterday, which made me cackle rather deliriously, an "occasion" of any kind not looming in my foreseeable future. Well, there is one occasion: the wedding of my dear sister in law. It's her third - I get to tease her about that, because it is ONE more than I have had. Alas, the wedding is in a few weeks, when it won't be terribly prudent to travel. And it is in Branson in this god-awful heat...perhaps you remember I have, ahem, mixed feelings about Branson. So we won't be going.

But Gayle, I'm happy to come celebrate your marriage when you're home in Dallas. And we'll go here.

Now that's an occasion to look forward to.