Valentine's Day, as interpreted by the Nordstrom Brothers:
Of the past 10 Valentine's Days, I have been pregnant for 6 of them. So feel for PVT, you all; I look nothing like these chickies. In fact, given my 20 + pounds and the swamp monster leg, I will be lucky if PVT takes me out to dinner, let alone feels merciful enough to give me any action.
There is one upside to all this gestating, though: I desperately need to upgrade my bra! D all the way, baby! So Happy Valentine's Day, PVT.
Ahem. What are your Valentine's plans? Hotter than mine, I hope?
Speaking of action, my latest article - searching for hip maternity clothes - is up at Tulsa Kids. Should you ever find yourself knocked up in Tulsa, Oklahoma - there are worse fates, really - do check it out.
These painful, retchingly disgusting veins travel all the way up leg. ALL THE WAY. And that's all I'm going to say about THAT.
Now if I ever start waxing poetic about adding a seventh child, please pour a bucket of cold, liquid jello on my head and refer me to this post.
Of course I know a few ugly veins are nothing to complain about. Everything else seems to be going swimmingly, and some minor physical indignities aren't really worth mentioning when you consider the grand 9 Month Prize. But seventeen weeks to go feels about like the length of the Jurassic era right now.
I guess this must be like mile 14 of a marathon. Something I likely will never know.
I've recently read a couple books about large families, in the hopes that maybe they would give me a bit of a clue on how to be a better mother, a calmer mother, a more patient mother, a better organized mother, a mother who does not want to scream "Just go to BLOODY SLEEP ALREADY!" at 9 pm at night and wish fervently for a large White Russian.
Alas, the two books I read just thoroughly DEPRESSED me. First I read St. Michelle Duggar's "A Love that Multiplies." No, I don't have 19 children, but I figured some of her insights into how she manages to raise what appear to be lovely, well-behaved children who have never heard of an Xbox could be valuable.
Well, it is really too late for me to emulate the Duggar family life. We've introduced all the gadgets, and if I started quoting Bible verses all day long my children would look at me as if I were from Uranus. I am trying - TRYING - to raise them Catholic, but it isn't in my second nature to quote the Bible all day long. And she is too perfect! She never yells! She speaks in a quiet, loving voice! She never confesses that she is tired, or that if she has to break up another fight she will hop in the family van and drive far, far away from Arkansas...ugh. I just can't begin to measure up.
The second one, Large Family Logistics, was even more depressing: of course this woman, like Michelle, homeschools her nine, and drops little phrases like "lest you want to ship them off on the SCHOOL BUS" - as if this were akin to launching a kid off to a Pakistani terrorist camp. Why is it assumed that if you have a lot of kids, you of course home school? Isn't it more likely that the more kids you have, the more likely it is you will NEED to ship them off just to think, just to sift through the rubble? I greatly admire homeschooling; I wish I had the stomach for it, but I don't think I could do it. And while I understand the sentiment that one wants to protect one's children from the potential dangers of the secular world, in the end I do want my children to live in the world, and give them the tools to discern right from wrong when they're out there. Because despite its dangers, the world is a whacky, wonderful place, full of people and stuff from which you shouldn't necessarily sequester yourself.
Ugh! And this woman! "Ask your husband when you wake up what you can do for him today" is one of her pieces of advice. AAARGH. Now I love PVT, but when the alarm goes off in the morning, and I have to drag my arse out of bed for the breakfastathon, I am not too concerned right then about my husband, who after all is able to dress and feed himself before he goes off to work. And "A wife should seek to make her husband's goals, not her own, the focus of her labors." Sheesh. I'm no hairy feminist, but if PVT had goals that were divergent from my own, we would probably have an issue.
And: "If you sow into your mind things that promote discontent...irrelevant reality shows, worldly magazines - then you will reap discontent in your life." AARGH Sure, an addiction to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and US Weekly are probably not my greatest attributes...but who would you rather have a glass of Pinot with, me or this chick?
Clearly I just don't measure up. So where's the book for the wine swilling, reality-TV-addicted, shopaholic mother who happens to have a lot of kids?
Three out of my five children were thrown baby showers, and I can't reveal the two who were not, lest the poor two shower-less babies grow up feeling deprived in yet another one of the myriad ways children of larger families are slighted. But really, that isn't too bad, given that once you are whacko enough to announce your third pregnancy in this country, people avert their eyes as if you had announced you have a newfangled contagious combination of leprosy and cancer.
But one thing I have always insisted on for each baby is a new take-home outfit from the hospital. Yes, each baby will get a ton of hand-me-downs, but that one new outfit is such a treat - well, I guess it's really a treat for ME, since I am pretty sure a 6-pound newborn doesn't really care what he or she is wearing.
So I've been allowing myself to browse newborn delights, and while it's too early to buy anything - I have to wait until I am REALLY sure this baby is going to be born - I have stumbled upon a few little things:
Ugh. Deadly adorable. As is this:
I just love this little ensemble. I didn't know Petunia Pickle Bottom made stuff besides oddly juvenile diaper bags.
And my dear friend Kappa Kappa Karen, who has actually mastered Pinterest, alerted me to this little bauble for which I might actually need to take up knitting:
Wow. Isn't that just awesome - especially for a brazen hussy like me, who has never donned a Hooter Hider in her life, and just lifts up her shirt and goes for it?
Even we mummies need to be a little naughty and subversive sometimes.
Today is the start of Gymbucks redemption, dear friends. Oh, how I have waited for this day! I have $275 in Gymbucks, which means I can buy $550 of kiddie clothing for $275. Hooray!
Here is my pressing problem: do I go to the mall in PERSON to redeem my precious Gymbucks? Even though I rather detest our local mall (it has kiosks of CRAP in the aisles), and I will have Sylvie, who will either be writhing impatiently in her stroller, or alternatively, running all over the store or out into the mall? In this case I will have to quickly pile clothing with a mere half of brain, since one half will be occupied with Sylvie, but I will get the endorphin rush of REAL LIVE shopping, and may see things that aren't online - the serendipitous find you won't stumble upon via a website.
OR do I simply shop on the website, methodically checking off my list, where I will be sure to get everything I need, avoid the trip to the crappy mall, but potentially have a little less FUN?
Oh the angst! Oh the trial - how do I DECIDE?
The update you were awaiting with bated breath: I wussed out and stayed home, ordering everything online. I figured it would take me a LONG time to buy $550 worth of clothing, so I happily clicked and added to my basket for a while. When I went to review my basket to see how MUCH MORE I had to buy - EEECK! I was up to $890! I guess even an obscene amount of Gymbucks doesn't go far with 5 kids.
Argh, I have been a grump, lately, haven't I? Perhaps a particularly potent combination of the January/mid-pregnancy blahs. Thankfully I got something today which brightened my sourpuss-ness a bit:
Yes, another beauty gift with purchase (well, $125 purchase)! I will be looking for products that combat the awful bone-dry winters here. EVERYTHING is dry, you all. My knuckles are crackling and scaly. My hair is liable to go up in flames from an errant spark of static. Why can't some of the dripping, sweating, lava-like humidity of summer be magically recreated in winter? What kind of sick joke is this climate?
OK, OK, I'll stop. But my next article in Tulsa Kids is about how to keep your hair healthy and somewhat hot and lustrous during these terrifying winter months. Luckily I conned a few mummies with ravishing hair to (I hope) disclose their secrets. I also got a "Damage Remedy Hair Spa" treatment at a local salon - I'm pretty sure my $55 did squat.
So how do you keep your hair from growing up in flames in the winter? Do I really have to wait until summer?
PVT has been out of town, and here is what he will come back to:
- An exhausted, grouchy wife with matchbox-dry winter hair who has managed to gain FIFTEEN pounds. The baby weighs about 8 ounces. HMMM. Someone needs to stop inhaling Cheez Whiz and liquid lard, apparently.
- Disrespectful, shitey kids. Exhibit A: when they woke up to a dusting of snow the other day, they were sure they were going to spend the day playing Nintendo and throwing snowballs. When I broke the news to them that the roads were perfectly clear and hence that meant YES, there was still school, I might as well have told them that their dog, XBox and Nintendo DS had all been decimated by an errant lightening strike, so distraught and stupefied were they. And the names they called me! IDIOT! DUMMY! You know, because I'm in charge of the weather! What am I doing WRONG, dear friends?
- A house that is covered in little red spots and stains. No, I don't have a dog in heat. Sylvie has been on breathing treatments for a dry little hack (I keep thinking it's going to turn into pneumonia, but the doctor will throw me into the street if I bring her back). Apparently breathing treatments deplete one's supply of potassium, so the doctor told me to give her Gatorade. Sure, OK - she loves it! Except of course I buy the RED Gatorade - WHY, people? After a jillion kids you would think I'd buy the most innocuous color, like yellow! - so red she has dribbled all over her clothes and the carpeting with her bottles and sippy cups.
The great irony about all this is that I'm tentatively starting a book about why I think people should have bigger families. Ha! Ha! I can't even handle my OWN family - who in the freak is going to listen to me?
Oh, I need to stop complaining. So I think I will content myself with shopping: since I can't wear flip flops anymore - how dorky would that look with my hose from hell - I think these flats will make a lovely everyday mom shoe:
With all the money I'll be saving in pedicures, they'll pay from themselves, oui?
So Sunday I almost passed out in church. Good times! Well, not so much for me, or the poor guy next to me who thought I was going to yak all over him, but at least I provided a bit of intrigue for my section of pews, and my boys were thrilled to leave early. Win win!
Really, though - how embarrassing. But somewhere in the midst of all the Catholic calisthenics, I just started feeling hot and claustrophobic, as if the blood were not reaching my head. Which it probably wasn't, given my gimpy ET leg. So reluctantly, yesterday I pulled out my compression pantyhose from the maternity store. Such great irony: I detest pantyhose of any kind so much that when I was working in an accounting firm I would routinely get called in to HR for not wearing hose. So I launched a "no hose in the summer" campaign, and yay! - I was successful, although I think I pissed off HR when I interpreted summer to stretch into November.
ANYHOO, these dang hose didn't really seem to work at all yesterday. My leg still throbbed and ached: how in the freak was I supposed to get through the next 140 days without the ability to WALK? And what if I develop a blood clot and leave all these children motherless in Oklahoma....wwwwwwwwwwaaaa!
Ooooh - sexy!
So today I pulled out the big guns and put on the super strait-jacket compression hose I was required to wear after my surgery - hose you might see on a 83 year old nursing home patient - and phew, my legs feel a bit better. But I guess that means I'm going to be tugging these bitches on for the next FIVE months. Awesome.
In another great stroke of irony, my article about gym couture is online at Tulsa Kids. Of course I have not set foot in a gym since I found out I was pregnant. Yes, I saw those Cross Fit mommies with their big pregnant bellies and lithe muscular bodies. Of course I was jealous. But I also want to tell them that they have the rest of their lives to exercise their spleens out. Now is your time to nap, lay back and let your body have its way with you.
Yesterday was one of those days that just sucked donger. Why? I don't know! I was really, really tired, for no reason I could discern. Colette was being extra annoying. Sylvie, who has had a not awful, but irksome cough for a while, spiked a fever last night. One child barbarically BIT another. None of the big ones could agree on where to sleep. Oh, and I have been pregnant forever, my freaking leg is starting to be ache, and I am going to be pregnant for another 93 years. Any of these things are completely and totally normal and manageable but yesterday I just could not face any of them without being a screaming lunatic bee-yotch. I had to sit on the driveway in the dark for a while just to regain my composure.
But today? I woke up and was my normal happy-ish self again! Sylvie had slept through the night, and the nurse I called just told me to keep an eye on her. The sun was shining; I didn't hate Tulsa; I got an email from an old contact in Portland, which made me very happy; and all the monsters were getting along reasonably well.
So what gives? Is it just the hormones? Or am I mildly schizophrenic? Beats me.
And now for more that has nothing to do with anything: I know that Marc Jacobs is uber-cool, but please don't buy this bag. It just screams Dalmation, now, doesn't it?
Yesterday my parents returned to Seattle. Boo! So blissful it was to have four on five coverage for two whole weeks! My only variance with my parents? We have very different standards on what constitutes edible leftovers. I will simply say that my standards are HIGHER. And now my refrigerator is starting once again to look like my own, without 321 little Tupperwares and Styrofoam containers of mystery mush. I felt like we were arming ourselves against a nuclear winter in which our only recourse was leftover, soggy blueberry pancakes and week-old sweet potatoes. But I digress! Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Thank you for all the babysitting and food subsidies!
And then today - miracle of miracles - 4 of the kiddies were back in school today. It was 30 minutes after I dropped Colette off at preschool that I realized I only had the baby...and suddenly my muscles relaxed, my mood brightened, and I felt both giddy, drunk and ready to book a trip to St. Bart's.
But since St. Bart's is not really a destination for unwealthy child-ridden types, I contented myself with a bit of very light cleaning, a short nap so deep when I woke up I not only didn't know where I was, but WHO I was, and some online oogling:
What a lovely tote. No, I won't be sporting it in St. Bart's; but maybe at the Great Wolf Lodge? Hmm.
And these lovely springy sunglasses:
It would be the height of idiocy for me to buy for me to buy $150 sunglasses. If I don't lose my sunglasses first, one of my children fishes them out of my purse and breaks them.
Back to all mama all the time. A girl's gotta dream a little, right?
It is really hard to make New Year's resolutions when you're pregnant. I'm not going to start training for a triathlon. I've already had to cut out sushi, booze, street drugs, and casual sex with strangers. What else is LEFT?
But there are myriad ways in which I could improve my life and be a somewhat more lovely person. So I've gone and made my own little list of resolutions, boring though they might be:
1) Write at least 15 minutes each day. Whether I blog, work on my article, or work on my "novel," it's something I enjoy; it's cathartic; and it forces me put all the little things in perspective.
2) Eat less crap. I have a terrible sweet tooth, made even more pronounced when I'm pregnant. I'm going to try to eat less chocolate, cookies, cakes, danish and sugar-laden meth. Because I am packing on these baby pounds faster than you can say recommendedthirtypoundweightgain.
3) There comes a point in every day when I am just DONE. Done with my kids, the house, everything - and don't try to cross me after that point. I need to summon my inner Mother Theresa and try to get through this point of day with a bit more patience and alacrity. Particularly where a certain unnamed three year old is concerned.
4) Try my damnedest to enjoy these last months of having ONLY five children; try not to wish away every minute of the slow, crawling clock of pregnancy. And hopefully, hopefully, I will be rewarded with another happy little one this summer of 2012.