Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kids as Teachers

I can vividly recall 5 years ago, just before Scott and I met, like it was yesterday. The strange thing is, though Brodie is only 2, I cannot remember life without him. Mary, who is Scott's stepmom, is an amazing woman whom I am blessed to call my mother-in-law. When they were down here visiting yesterday, she and I were talking about how your entire perspective can change when there are kids involved.

As we chatted, I looked over to watch Scott's Dad pushing Brodie in his swing and said to Mary, "You know, I cannot believe that I spent 33 years completely convinced that I never wanted this," with "this" referring to a family. She never had any children of her own, yet she stepped into the role of mother and grandmother simultaneously. She loves her stepsons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren beyond belief. She said, "I think some people say they never want a family because they don't have one. Look at me. I'm not a religious person, but I am sure that God gave me this family." Such a true, beautiful sentiment. Kids taught her that lesson.

Every single day, Brodie amazes and empowers me more. One day, he is unable to do something or say a certain word, and the next day, VOILA! He accomplishes that same thing all by himself. We are taken aback by the progress, but he is unphased by it and moves swiftly on to the next challenge.

Last night was a prime example. I was on the phone with my Mom. I put it on speaker and put a picture book in front of Brodie and pointed to things I knew he could identify. With each word he stated, some far more clearly than others, he nodded his little head with confidence. I would point to things whose identity he does not readily know and state the name. He would, in turn, look at me and try to say the word, his eyes meeting mine and awaiting my approval. It doesn't sound like a big deal to most people, but I was so proud of him. Granted, the sea creature page features, in Brodiespeak, the following: "sark", "zeehoes", "owdoeputts", "skewd", "tingway", "duffin" and "tuttle". The words may not be succinct, but they make sense when taken in context.

Similiarly, when approaching a new toy, he just plays. In the process of playing, he figures the toy out, or make up his own way to play with it. There is always something going on in his head, and you can see the determination to learn constantly. it must be the most basic of survival instincts. We see it in animals yet many of us completely miss it when it comes to kids. They might not realize that they are learning at all times, but they are. And I have found that Brodie is constantly teaching me things about the world and, more importantly, about myself.

Kids are astounding like that. They just forge ahead, unphased by mistakes they might make. They are not embarrassed if they do not pronounce things correctly. They take everything in stride, find a value in every experience and embrace everything. As adults, we let our ego, pride, name it....stop us from letting go and letting loose. We all need to let the lessons of being a child re-enter our lives. We need to get over fear of the unknown, give up control and actually enjoy life. It wasn't until recently that I realized how little "living" was doing. I have reached the point in my life where pushing a swing and saying, "BOO!" at just the right moment have become things to which I look forward. Call me crazy, but there is a massive lesson in the smile and the laughter that they invoke. The lessons my son have taught me cannot be learned anywhere but in our heart. They make no sense to anyone who has never loved a child...son, daughter, niece, nephew, stepchild...more than life itself.

Thank you, Mr. Brodie Thomas Clements, for being the shortest, cutest, more endearing teacher I have ever had!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pregnancy Math for Dummies....or is it BY dummies?

As of today, I am 27 weeks pregnant. To the layperson, 27 weeks means 6 months, 3 weeks. Well, not according to pregnancy math....according to pregnancy math, I am in the final week of my 7th month. Next week, when I hit the 28 week milestone, I will be in my 8th month. I know what you are thinking! "But 28 divided by 4 is 7!" Yes, I know, but I defy you to argue with my uterus.

Let us begin at, well, the beginning. For starters, pregnancy is widely-thought to be a nine month experience. THIS IS WRONG! The standard pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is a total of 10 months. If you are confused, it is only because you are pregnant before you are pregnant. Well....not exactly. It's just that by the time you figure out you are pregnant, you have missed your period. They count from the first day of the last period you had, eventhough the egg was fertilized roughly two weeks later. So, eventhough conception had not occured until about 2 weeks before you MISS your period, you are already considered 4 weeks pregnant. Just when you thought you were TOTALLY confused, it gets worse!

Once you know you are pregnant, your first ultrasound will be used to determine your due date. Now, the doctors seem to take this as gospel, this very first ultrasound. Even if it differs from when you know you conceived (and when you are trying to conceive as long as we were and charting, documenting, counting and approaching it very scientifically, you KNOW when you conceived!) In my case, for some reason, my pregnancies get off to a very slow start. The embryos are smaller than they should be, the blood counts lower than they should be. Due to those factors, I am given one due date, but am actually due earlier. At the end of May, the medical staff was calling the ultrasound they were doing my 18 week scan. I told them it ws my 20 week scan. Convinced I was wrong, the sonographer and doctor checked every single measurement of the baby and guess what? He measured 19 weeks, 6 other words, 20 weeks. He was, as Scott called him that day, "Officially half-baked"! Are you totally confused yet?

All of this brings me to trimesters. The definition of trimesters varies from one source to another. Logically, a 40 week pregnancy, when divided by 3 trimesters, means that each trimester is 13 weeks, 2 days long. Most sources concur that trimester 1 is weeks 0-12, the second trimester is weeks 13-26 and the third trimester is weeks 27-40. Some sources differ, but for now I will savor the thought that today began my third trimester. The sacred, uncomfortable, miserable rollercoaster toward the delivery of this amazing little creature within me. In all likelihood, he won't be "allowed" to remain in the womb for the full 40 weeks. Due to my high-risk status, I will probably deliver him about 3 weeks early like I did with Brodie.

Hmmmm....does that change the math? Dear God, I hope not. I've finally got it all figured out!!!!! Now, if I could just figure out how to get this abacus, calculator and protractor back into the womb!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

No Greater Loves

This afternooon, we ventured out to a July 4th celebration in Duanesburg. It was a small, informal gathering, but well worth the trip out there. It was a wonderful history lesson, wherein Barbara Watt reminded us of the sacrifices the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence made - most of them, their lives. I was aware of their sacrifices, but am sure not many people are. Truth be told, it is not anything we were ever taught in school, because it does not fit into the agenda of the liberal masses controlling American education. I love my country, perhaps to a fault. I cannot say the Pledge of Allegiance, hear the Star Spangled Banner or thank a soldier without tears welling up. If I am at home, and I hear TAPS or the Star Spangled Banner on the television, I stand, silently, out of respect and gratitude, tears almost a certainty. I am a rarity, I am afraid, as far too many people take everyday freedoms for granted and do not realize that the line between what we have now - thanks to the courageous men who selflessly risked their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence - and not having those freedoms is being erased by our own inactions, ambivalence and arrogance. People have become of the mindset that voting is an expression of their rights, which, though partially true, is also a gross underestimate of the power and purpose of democracy. Voting is an obligation; To those who provided and defend, to this day, the very ideals upon which our great nation was founded. It is an obligation to our children to ensure that we keep a firm grip on those ideals. It is a duty to vote to maintain the entire American dream. For generations, people from all over the globe have given everything to become Americans, yet many Americans totally lack appreciation of the gift it is to be an American. As I said, I love my country.

I also love my family to a fault. Our day at the picnic was cut short when Brodie, in a typical display of 2-year-old agility, launched himself off a picnic bench and met the concrete with his face. He ripped his lip open and let out a scream. I am a non-reactionary Mom, because I have learned that kids feed off of our anxieties. I scooped him up and held him while Scott cleaned the blood from his face and assessed the injury. Barb got him ice to stop the bleeding and he was calm as could be. The swelling made it hard to determine a need for stiches, so we erred on the side of caution and headed to the emergency room. The trip there made me sick to my stomach. I thought of the possibility of having to watch him have stiches. My heart sank in the way only a parent's can as I thought of how scared he would be. Once we got there, they determined that he didn't need stitches, but we discovered that he broke one of his front teeth off. It could have been so much worse, but, once you see your child bleed, it takes some time for that to sink in. He's no worse for the wear, but it was another reminder to me that my entire world is my family. The love I have for them is more than any one heart should be able to produce. There is no greater love.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things You Should Not Say To A Preggo....

In the grand scheme of life in the fattest society in the world, it is not a good idea to ask a woman if she is pregnant unless you witness her water break. Now, I admit that I was no delicate orchid prior to this pregnancy. Quite the opposite, really. But it is fairly obvious to most normal people that I am pregnant, not just tubby.

A woman asked me tonight, "When is your baby due?" I replied, "October 7." Her eyes widened, her jaw hit the floor and she said, "Twins, right?" Not even close. I explained that there is only one baby in there, to which she replied, "Well, I think they are wrong." Really? Thank you, Dr. Loudmouth. I am sure that 9 ultrasounds were wrong....

Then she asked, "Have all of your other babies been huge? This one is!" Really? Huge? He weighs about 2 pounds, Damn heifer! I need to have a GI tube installed so I can start feeding him Slim Fast. I'm down 12 pounds and am simply all belly. Isn't is my body's job to look like that right now?

She's not the only one who asks dumb questions or says dumb things. Pregnant women encounter them all day long. One of my favorites...."Does Brodie want a brother or a sister?" WHAT?! He's two. His outer limits are all about Elmo, Cheez-Its and drool. He has no clue what is going on. He does not know the difference between boys and girls at all. How many 2 year olds really do? It's not like we have Sex Ed classes here.

I am sure I am not the only one who gets this: "Are you going to have an epidural?" What the hell do they care? Do they ask men, "Have you felt your testicles for lumps this month?" Honestly, why do people really care about epidurals?

When I tell people I am a scheduled c-section, many ask why. What does it matter? Are you doing the surgery? I swear I want to say, "Well, the sex that led to this conception was REALLY kinky, and we are having a c-section in hopes of retrieving the garage door opener."

"You ARE going to breastfeed, right?"....always accompanied by a self-righteous, holier-than-thou, crinkled-nose expression. In my case, yes. I will nurse, pump, supplement....whatever. Whatever it takes to be sure Taran gets the nutrients he needs to thrive. If he's not a good sleeper, perhaps I'll throw some Glenlivet into the mix.

I really don't know why strangers ask the things they do. They seem to feel the need to make conversation about the miracle that is occurring in my body. I am fine with that....God has blessed us once again, and for that, we are eternally thankful. I am happy to answer polite questions, let sane people touch my belly and share the joys of this whole experience with them. Now, if God could bless me with fewer weirdos who want to know about conception, dilation, effacement and other intimate details, I'd be REALLY happy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Idle Minds think Bloggable Thoughts

I admit that I am not entirely sure that, "bloggable" is an actual word, but in a day and age when someone can, "Tweet" your, "Twitter" and not be bashful about it, I guess almost anything goes. I originally had a blog devoted entirely to our pregnancy with Brodie and his early life, but stopped updating it when he was about 6 months old. I began this blog the week we discovered we have again been blessed, but never did anything with it. I spend a ridiculous amount of time awake when normal people are sleeping and I get extremely bored. (I say that as if I know any normal people!) My friend Rose reminded me that blogging is fun, and, as a terrific blogger herself, she would know. That having been said, here goes a whole lotta nothin' in a whole lotta words!

Now that Brodie is two, each day his desire for more independence grows. Likewise, his abilities are blossoming. Sadly, I am one of those preoccupied Moms on whom the subtleties of his growth are often lost. Though I am sure that he has reached for the railing before when we are climbing the stairs, last night, he just let go of my hand, declared, "I do it, Momma!" and climbed the steep stairs unassisted. Sad, yet liberating. As I walked right behind him, listening to him count, "1,2,5,3,9,B,2,up,D", I asked myself, "Who are you, and how did you get so grown up?" Oddly, i took solace in the three-foot-long string of drool that nearly tripped him and said aloud, "Nope! You're still my little baby!"

We are now 25 weeks, 3 days pregnant. In a way, I wish I was scared, anxious and nervous about having another baby, another c-section, another mouth to feed, another person to always put before myself. If I had any of those fears or anxieties, time would be flying. It sure as heck isn't! We had a distinct advantage with Brodie in that his bedroom was already a baby boy bedroom when we moved in. Scott set up the crib four months before he was born and we were ready to go. I haven't done a single thing to get ready for baby Taran to arrive. The bedroom that will be his is still a storage/catch-all room. I haven't even chosen paint colors, though Scott chose an adorable monkey theme for the nursery. I'm much mellower this time around. I assume that by the time women have their 5th child, they just give the kid $20 for their 5th birthday and let them go buy their own damn paint and a roller.

The dogs continue to keep us occupied and laughing. And yelling. Oh, yeah, there's yelling. Macey Jayne is perfect. There really is no other way to describe her. Even people who don't like dogs at all like her. Reilly is certifiable, sweet and adorable in a so-ugly-she's-cute sort of way. Reagan? Well, Reagan is one of the most handsome dogs I have ever seen. He is brilliant, handsome, loving and incontinent. Yup, this boy goes outside, pees 6 times and comes in, looks at the water bowl and pees. Don't even ask how many times per day we mop!

Taran is tugging on the umbilical cord now, begging for food. Time for a snack and another bottle of water. IHOP is open....and I might just go to breakfast, go grocery shopping and be back with many hours to spare before Scott and Brodie....the world's only hibernating humans...awaken for the day and wonder what I am going to feed them today. Pssst.....boys....the kitchen is down the hall.....God gave you thumbs for a reason.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"What's with the name?"

Welcome to our new family blog. I am sure you are asking yourself, "What's with the name? Isn't this a blog about the family? Brodie? The new baby?" Yes, it is. The name is a tribute to my Mom, because of something she said back in 2007, the day we told her we were pregnant with Brodie. We had just had the ultrasound that confirmed the pregnancy and we called her on the way home. It was very early in the morning - around 8:00 or so. She answered the phone and I asked her, "Guess what I am holding?" Silence. She then blurted out, "Oh, you fools didn't get another damn dog?!" The disgust in her voice was laughable! Then I told her that I was holding a sonogram printout of her next grandchild. Again, silence.

Who would have guessed that the unexpected existence of Brodie would have made our lives so rich and wonderful? He is a star that guides us through all that we do and gives us reason to keep on keepin' on.

And so, in the same week wherein we are thrilled to announce that our family will be growing by two feet, we begin this new blog. The Brodie Blog was a great way to keep our family and friends informed of what was happening with the pregnancy and his early life, as well as our life in general. Now that Brodie will be a big brother (unless we have a girl, in which case he'll be a sister, right? I'm Polish, you know!?), we think it is a good idea to start blogging again.

There will be ups and downs. There will be mention made of our four-legged kids. There will be laughter and tears. There will be curse words in reference to our four-legged kids. There will always be something to share with you - the people we love and hold dear. We invite and encourage you to comment on posts and suggest things for blog topics.