Friday, March 30, 2012

Review Lesson 1, What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Just in case you a) have never been pregnant, b) have forgotten what it's like to be pregnant, or c) derive sick pleasure in kicking a gestating female the size of a teenage rhino when she's down, here is a review of what you really shouldn't say to someone whose wildly fluctuating hormones are clouding her ability to think straight:

"Gee whiz, your pregnancy is going by so fast!"  (Um, are you pulling on compression hose every sweaty freaking morning, and finding that you can't sleep at night because the gravitational force of your tummy is pulling you down through your bed to the center of the earth?)

"You look a lot BIGGER with this pregnancy!"  (This is akin to asking a non-pregnant person if she is on the Cheesecake and Crisco diet.  Just.  Don't. Say. This!)

"How do you DO it?"  (I really don't know.  I cry every day?  When you ask me this question it makes me feel like I either have really low standards or a really pitiable existence.)

"You look like you're going to pop!"  (Don't jinx me, s'il vous plait.  If I pop right now, I would have a very premature baby.  Please don't worry a pregnant chick prone to imaginative neuroses any more than she already is, or I will sit on you.)

"You just can't keep up with those kids these days, can you!"  (No, not when they're riding bikes at 35 miles per hour.  You try running with a large pumpkin between your legs -  one of which is mottled with lumpy blue like a topographical map of the Himalayas.)


"You look great!"  (OK, OK, you can say this, but I'll know you're lying.)

***

So my latest article on how to combat a mom funk is up at Tulsa Kids. Fortunately my own very long - LONG - mom funk has started to lift. The spring weather has helped; getting out of town - even to BRANSON - helped; looking forward to a long Northwest trip this summer has helped. Being busy with stuff - in a good way - has helped me not to focus on all the gripes I have with this town. And the little hope that maybe, maybe, this isn't forever has helped, too.

You may not want to talk to me when we get BACK from Nordstromland, however.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink Purse Push Present - Say That Three Times Fast!

For the past nine years, I have dropped the word "push present" into conversation whenever possible to alert PVT to this very important cultural phenomenon.  Wholly theoretically, of course, since we don't have the budgetary wherewithal for a push (or slice, in my case) present worth much more than a cubic zirconium pendant.  Which is mildly depressing.

With this pregnancy, I figured we can pretend we have more money than we do, because hello, SIX!  Maybe all my subtle hints ("SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO GET ME?") have sunk in, because last night PVT asked me warily what I might want for a push present.  Of course, I've used up any budgetary slack we have for the dang nesting projects I've felt compelled to undertake:  crap like getting the carpets cleaned, the windows washed (because newborns really care about dirty, mud-spackled windows), and replacing the outdoor patio cushions.  But PVT and I agreed I could have a little mad money to spend at Nordstrom when we head north this summer.  Woo hoo!

But today I found this: 

Oh how I adore pink leathery purses.  Doesn't that just scream Summer 2012?  Or Push Present for Six? 


That's what I thought too! 

(Don't worry, PVT.  I don't really need this.  Unless, of course, I pop out a twin.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lasagna Rave

So I somehow conned PVT into cooking lasagna for an "End of Spring Break" celebration - an excuse for a party, if you will.  Why?  Because that's the only way I'm going to see any adults, of course - bribe them with food to come talk to me!

So PVT spent almost two hours on Friday night chopping tomatoes, and then the better part of Saturday - in between soccer games - working his magical Italian alchemy in the kitchen.

I invited quite a few people, because I am always sure that a) people have more interesting things to do than come hang out with us; and b) I thought a lot of people would be out of town.  But apparently people were pretty hard up for entertainment, because I think we ended up with about 34 adults and 48 children here throughout the evening.  As usual, I meant to take more pictures, but didn't, because I was dealing with my 18 month old scaling the playset and our last minute running out of FORKS, but I took this picture here of some of our junior guests:
Yes, that's my baby drinking COKE out of a CAN.  Someone else's Coke, to boot.  I really don't let my children, let alone toddler, guzzle soft drinks.  Really.

I think everyone had a good time, besides dealing with one jillion muddy kids and having to scrounge for a fork.  Except possibly the very dear friends who showed up towards the end of the party, after it looked like a lasagna-and-chocolate tornado had ripped through the kitchen - I'm not sure if they actually ate, but they stayed and CLEANED.   Sheesh.  I am a lucky girl. 

I think this is another picture I took of the adults:


Party on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Next Up: Buttered Pop Tarts and Trampolines

Oh what a happy day it was for the VT medical annals:  first my OB called to let me know I had passed my stupid three hour glucose test!  Woo hoo!  Now I can waddle my way through the third trimester eating every truffle, donut and cookie that comes within my peripheral vision.  Thank GAWD.  No one would have wanted to be within an eight mile radius of me, sober and sugar free, for an entire TRIMESTER. 

And then:  Colette got her cast off!

Thankfully, the bone healed beautifully, with no damage to the growth plate.  Colette wanted to know if she could jump on a trampoline again, and the doctor looked like she wanted to punch me - apparently she hates trampolines, since she sees so many serious injuries from them, injuries that children never fully recover from.  Great!  Another thing to worry about!

I'm not so sure our Colette minded that cast though; something about the red hair and pink cast made people swoon with solicitousness everywhere she went.  She would smile coyly every time someone asked, "Oh you pooooooor thing!  What happened to your ARM?"

She loved it.

But I suspect she'll continue to charm the pants off people, castlessness notwithstanding.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Can I Go to Cabo Now Please?

So you may recall I said I would NEVER, EVER go here again.  But we VT's just returned from a little spring break getaway to this very vicinity!  Now before you accuse me of turning all old lady Okie on you, and suddenly developing a penchant for crappy buffet food, second rate performances, and god-awful knick knacky schlock, I must reassure you that we were heading in that direction anyway (I auditioned for this show, and was selected for the cast - woo hoo!  Probably about as close to fame as I'll ever get!), and then we stayed at this lovely Chateau, which was definitely un-Branson-like:

The kiddies enjoyed the view from our balcony, although we spent a lot of time neurotically monitoring them lest they suddenly became as skinny as noodles and slide through the rails to their deaths:

Then we brought these lucky children to Silver Dollar City, which is sort of a hick's version of Disneyland.  The boys had a marvelous time doing stuff like this: 
While the boys were enjoying kid boy paradise, I was cursing my aching legs, trying to prevent Sylvie from throwing bark dust at passerby, and fielding Colette's requests to go back to the HOTELLLLL (where she wanted to go after bonking after her chin on the teacup ride). 

So I won't say I had a wonderful eight hours, but these scenarios are something you just have to suck up when you have 18 kids:  someone is ALWAYS 18 months old, an age where it is best just to hunker down and not leave your house for a year or so.  Of course if we did that, our older boys would rot in front of Sponge Bob until high school.  Compromise, compromise:  the boys had a blast, the girls survived.

Success all around.  And just another drink or ten to add to my postpartum tally.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sugar Free Limbo

So here I am, trying to mind my own business, hoping the pregnancy gods would feel that they had given me enough to deal with what with the ever-worsening varicosities  and the unsightly weight gain.  I wasn't even worried at my appointment yesterday; I had been feeling the baby moving; the ultrasound looked good.

And then I failed my stupid glucose test!  Huh?  I've passed that thing five times now, and time six I flunk?   So now I have to take the three hour test, which involves fasting, and then drinking vials of vile sweet stuff (although I have to admit everyone says how awful these tests taste, and I really don't mind them!), and then being pricked intermittently.  For three hours.  At the doctor's office.

I guess the good part is I get three kid-free hours!  Whatever will I do?

Of course I want this baby to be healthy, and if I do indeed have gestational freaking diabetes, I will follow the whole darn sugar-free protocol.  But holy shizer - sweets and sugar and cookies and chocolate are one of the SOLE pleasures of pregnancy.  If I have to give up my morning chocolate truffle and my 20 ounce French Vanilla Coffee and my two or seven daily cookies, and prick myself multiple times per day for kicks...how will I endure trimester three?  What vice will I have left to lean on? 

Smoking.  I'll take up smoking.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sore Loser

Like most women (except my mother - she doesn't like to be touched), I cannot imagine any greater bliss than spending a day at the spa, being rubbed down, oiled, cossetted and fretted over.  Like many women, I do not have the time or disposable income to indulge in this solipsistic past time.  Unlike most women, however, I have a grand sense of entitlement, and figure that I DESERVE to be able to go to the spa, since I have 5.6 kids, am suffering from the "worst case of varicose veins" my doctor has ever seen (although bless that man, he keeps saying how "tiny" I am - even though I have gained 25 pounds and still have an entire TRIMESTER to pork up), and live in Tulsa.  Such are the grave troubles of my life. 

So when a local spa was sponsoring a Mother's Day giveaway for an "Absolute Peace Spa Package," which included a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, haircut, eye treatment (what IS that?), style and LUNCH, for freak's sake - you would have to spend the WHOLE day at the spa - I was determined I was going to win this sucker.  The contest started in early March, and had unlimited entry; all you had to do was type in your information ad nauseum.  So about 10 times per day, I entered my name, address, et cetera, every time I passed my darn computer. 

Today was the day they drew the winner.  I was sure that with all my entries - who else would be so silly and bored to enter as many times as I had?! - would guarantee that spa day was ALL MINE.  I had even tentatively picked out my day to go.

I didn't win.  Some wench named Jamie won.  GRRRRRRRRRRR.

So Jamie, I hope you are pregnant with your seventh child, have gained tons of weight, are exhausted and, like me, have no money to spend on spa treatments. 

If, however, you have 1.8 kids, a trust fund, and will be scheduling your spa day after a grueling session with your personal trainer, I hope you feel VERY VERY guilty for cruelly wrenching this day at the spa out of my hot little hands. 

Of COURSE I'm kidding. 

Mostly.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Days in the Trenches

Yesterday was one of those LONG long days with five children.  The big boys had a day off (for parent teacher conferences, but no teacher ever schedules a conference on her day off!), and from the beginning, it was ugly:  one boy was in one of his moods - which meant anger, thrown Wii remotes, and frequent hurling of the word "idiot!" and "you HATE me!" in my direction.  Colette was living her own three year old version of "As the World Turns."  Sylvie was perfecting her latest circus stunt, which involves scampering outside (when I have forgotten to lock the back door) to scale the top of the playset, a habit which makes me seasick with images of her catapulting to her death from 15 feet up.  And then PVT had an after-work shebang for a departing coworker, so it was all mama, all day.

It was grueling, it was ugly, I lost my temper with the angry one and physically fought him for the Wii remote at one point and gave him the vinegar in the mouth treatment for one too many "idiots."  Finally, towards the end of the day, all of them became enchanted by the idea of digging for buried treasure in the vacant lot next door.  We ordered pizza; my dear neighbor blessed me with her presence for a while so I actually spoke to an adult; and I got the the whole litter of them to bed alive, clean-ish, and exhausted.

When PVT came home from his dinner, he was highly amused at the trials of his cohorts:  all of these guys are very well educated, with salaries to salivate over.  They have plenty of support in town; a few have nannies or semi-permanent babysitters.  And they were so STRESSED out over their one, or two, kids.  And they can't believe that PVT has 5.6.  At one point, fed up with the relentless bellyaching of these very privileged fathers, PVT said:  "Another kid is never a bad thing," or something to that effect (yes, I got the right one!).  This stopped the conversation cold:  either none of these guys had ever thought of children like that, or they thought PVT was some nutcase, or a combination thereof. 

But gosh, this little snippet made me feel better about my rough day:  if even these guys, none of whom are their children's primary caregivers, all of whom have plenty of money and support, find this parenthood thing rough, then it's hardly shameful - indeed, it's probably quite RIGHT - that I find a full day with my entire brood rather exhausting. 

So, who knows?  Maybe we're doing better than we thought.  But that's much more than I can contemplate right now.  So I'll leave you with this spring jacket.  If I were not currently currently carrying an extra 25 pounds and suffering from the effects of CHAFING thighs (eeeeww!  That's never happened before!), I might actually buy this. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What? Not a Genius?

But at least we got some use out of the playset, dammit!
Yesterday was one of those days that shake my confidence to the very core of every decision I have ever made as a mother (do only I have those days?):  I endured my first less-than-glowing parent teacher conference.  I staggered out of that room like someone had punched me in my oversize gut - what?  One of my kids not doing well in school?  While this reaction may seem dramatic, I take the school stuff personally:  I have less than zero athletic ability, was a mediocre ballerina and perfunctory pianist, but SCHOOL?  THAT was the one thing I could do.  (PVT, he of the many advanced degrees and encyclopedic knowledge of just about....everything, was no slouch himself.) 

Slowly I replayed my son's short little life in my head, like a bad Lifetime montage:  did I sniff glue at six months gestation?  (No!  Sure, there was a verboten glass of wine or two during that particularly endless nine months, but I've snuck some of that naughtiness with ALL of them!)  Did I leave him in a cardboard box for a week during a critical phase of development?  (No!  I am never going to win Mother of the Year, but I don't totally suck!)  What did I do wrong?  I breastfed him for over a year!  PVT and I read to him religiously; I've bought every Batman book ever written!  He didn't even languish in day care like his brothers!

Once I talked to PVT  (oh thank God for that one other person who loves and cares and obsesses about your children as much as you do!) and calmed down a little, I began to think a bit:  this little guy is by far the youngest in his class (since I don't believe in red-shirting boys with summer birthdays just because everyone else does it).  He is also very reluctant to guess or answer a question unless he is absolutely sure he is correct.  And I think that after being a 24/7 witness to the often brutal competition between his brothers, he has perhaps unconsciously developed other skills just to set him self apart - his improvisational comedy act, his penchant for dropping big, dramatic words into conversations, and his knack with the ladies, for instance.

So in the end, I don't think there is a huge problem; I think he is just developing a little later than his trailblazing brothers.  But if there really IS a problem?  Or if school just doesn't turn out to be his "thing?"  Argh.  This is where I must remember (oh how HUMBLING motherhood is) that it is not my job to hammer and mold all of them into eventual Silicon Valley titans, or neurosurgeons, or flashy Beverly Hills divorce lawyers sporting $3,000 Gucci suits.  It is my job to help each of them develop whatever talents they have to eventually become good, responsible, productive members of society.  Success, especially with many children, will not be breeding a bunch of hothouse flower concert pianist computer scientists.  It will be seeing the day that they are all out muddling their way through the world, on their own, hopefully making good decisions and not, say, getting DUIs or robbing liquor stores.  Success will be not supporting a 28 year old son still living at home whose only hobbies are playing Wii and venturing out to snort things with his mates behind Quiktrip.

So PVT and I will continue to prod and gently encourage and adore the freak out of our goofball boy as we always have, but in the end that's all we can do.  Hopefully it will be enough.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bad Shoes, Good Hair

Can you all do me a favor and just give a pair of shoes to a kid in need - that's what the Tom's shoe guy does, you know, instead of buying and wearing these ugly, ugly shoes?


OK, I guess the third shoe down is not terrible, but the underlying principle is the same:  DO NOT buy ugly shoes for charitable purposes.  Just give to charity!  

***

And if late winter is leaving your mane in a sad state of repair, you can read about the three hair regimes of some enviable hair here.  Hopefully some of their sage tips will propel you to a more trichophilic state.  (I think I made that word up.  Love of hair?  It works, right?)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Ode to Our Baby

I cannot believe that our sweet luscious slab of Mexi-baby is only going to be our "baby" for a few more months.

Well, insufferably long, interminable months, but anyway.
Sometimes I think it's happening a little too fast; our poor Sylvie - she'll only be twenty months before she has to contend with another screecher.  These two girls (did I mention #6 is a girl?  Oh yes, the Brady Bunch here.  Except I cranked out ALL of them my own self.  Take that, Mrs. Brady!) will be our closest in age; yes, instead of decelerating our dizzying reproductive rate, we are AC-celerating.  Whah?

But I only worry about this close-ish spacing for about five seconds; Sylvie has gotten quite a bit of attention in her mere seventeen months on the planet.  And I think she will get a kick out of another baby.



She's a feisty little bugger.  She can take on three brothers at once, and can crack them up just by saying "Sponge Bob" in Sylvie-speak.  How we adore this little firecracker - I don't think she'll let anyone upstage her.  Oh, and Sylvie?  If you could start sleeping through the night before your little sister arrives, that would score you some serious points. 

Grazie.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pregnant Pause

So this weekend I am down to three kids and zero husbands, the "big boys" having escaped Tulsa for a soccer tournament.  I am trying to decide if this is MORE or LESS work than usual, but I am just not sure!  At least I will be able to hog the remote when the kids are in bed and watch crap like Parenthood and stupid chick flicks without making PVT wince. 

I promised the littles we would "live it up" while the big boys are away.  Alas, this does not mean getting an hour-long prenatal aromatherapy massage; it means we will go to a frozen yogurt joint.  And Red Robin.  And go crazy in the Target dollar area.  And have many playdates.  But of course these things are fun too. 

Right?

So I will spend time refereeing the littles, gazing at gorgeous espadrilles, and try my darndest not to wish that this pregnancy would just GET ON WITH IT already. 

OK, they've been gone about an hour now.  How can a house with three kids seem QUIET? 

Well, I guess because it's not FIVE!