Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bedrest and Book Reviews


Well, I have been on bedrest/couchrest for almost a full week now, and it has been even less fun than I thought it would be.

For those of you who don't know, I thought I was having a miscarriage last weekend, but when I went to the hospital, we found that there was still hope. My one-centimeter-long baby had a strong heartbeat, and the pregnancy hormone count in my blood was still going up. There is just a hemorrage behind the baby--which could be the beginning of a miscarriage, or could have no negative effect on the baby at all.

So, I was prescribed bedrest to give the bleeding a chance to heal--and it seems to be working.

It is not easy for me to lie back and enjoy time off of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of Ben and Janae, though--I'm way too obsessive for that. I've had to surrender full control of the household to Jason--although, not being UNCONSCIOUS, I have been able to "instruct." Maybe I'd feel better if I had a little bell. . . .

Poor Benjamin has started to insist that he is suffering from "the same thing" I have, and that he needs to be on bedrest, too. He takes it a step further than I do, though, carrying a blanket and pillow to the dinner table.


Janae has finally agreed to wean, although she still asks for "nursie" some days. She is happy as long as I'm willing to sing her favorite line-up of songs: "Away in a Manger" followed by "Jingle Bells" and then "Feliz Navidad." At least I can do that while lying down!


Anyway, I've had lots of time to worry about the pregnancy, but also lots of time to read--so why not write a couple of quick reviews? There's not much difference between sitting up in bed and sitting on the computer chair . . . is there?


Before this all started I was reading Christopher Paolini's Eragon, which a friend sent me when Janae was still a baby. I wasn't really reading much at the time (except survival material--parenting books), but by the time Janae was one I was reading fiction again, and a month or so ago I picked Eragon up and thought I might really enjoy it. It turns out that I loved this story. At the beginning I thought it seemed a little unoriginal (it even had an entire monologue that seemed to be stolen from Shakespeare's Hamlet, of all places!), but the story was interesting, and it kept me going. My favorite part of this novel is the characterization. I became so intrigued by the people in the story, their identities and their relationships to each other, that I missed them as soon as the novel ended. Luckily there are two more books in this series (called Inheritance)--I can't wait to read them. Jason is going to get the second one, Eldest, for me today . . . isn't that right, Jason?

Eclipse and Breaking Dawn
Some of you remember that I didn't want to break the bank by buying the last two Twilight books in hardcover, so I requested them from the library at the beginning of January. Unfortunately, book #4 came in before #3 (and YES, the library did send me an email to let me know!). So I broke down and sent Jason out to buy Eclipse. Bedrest will do that to you. Anyway, I read it in two days, then Breaking Dawn in the same amount of time. I am so relieved to know how it all ended. My favorite thing about this story was the plot--I had to keep reading to find out what would happen, and it took on many different directions from what I would have predicted. I have to admit that I liked the characters, too, and found them interesting. My least favorite thing continued to be the love scenes--way too much detail in some parts . . . but never enough to make me stop reading. The series was very enjoyable, and I'm glad I finally gave in to my curiosity about Anita's recommendation.

Well, that's all I've got for now, but you can be sure more is coming . . . it's amazing what you can come up with while lying in bed!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Proof is in the Pringles

Some of you are aware of my relationship with Pringles--when they are around, I can't resist them. I discovered this when I lived alone and thought I'd buy some Pringles to go with my sandwhich at lunch. I took a few out of the container and put them on my plate. A few minutes later I went back to the cupboard and took out a few more. Then a few more. It was as though they were calling to me--I could picture them inside the cupboard, in that half-empty container. Finally I realized I wouldn't be able to focus on anything else until all the Pringles were out of the house--so I finished them off. I can never buy the twin packs, no matter how much more cost-effective they may be. If Pringles are in the house, I have to eat them.

A couple of years ago, when I was pregnant with Janae, I was shopping at Walmart and happened upon a large display of Limited Edition Dill Pickle Pringles. Since I like dill pickle chips, I thought I'd give them a try. Well, they turned out to be the most flavorful and addictive Pringles I'd ever had. The next opportunity I had, I went back to Walmart . . . only to find that there was not one package of dill pickle Pringles in the store. Had I imagined them? They couldn't have ALL sold out in a couple of days, could they?

From then on I was on a quest. Every time I went to a store that sold Pringles, I'd look to see if they had dill pickle. I told friends and family about my search, hoping someone would find them. It didn't happen until almost a year later, when I was shopping at Safeway. I did my usual walk past the Pringles aisle, and saw DILL PICKLE. The packaging was different, but I bought them, and as soon as I got to the car I opened them . . . but they were not the same. They were alright, but not at all what I remembered. Just your average Pringles.

A couple of days later I received an emergency call from a friend on her cell phone--she was shopping at Save-On and saw Dill Pickle Pringles . . . she wanted to know how many I'd like her to buy for me. I had to tell her that it had all been a mistake . . . and she blamed the change on pregnancy.


Yesterday, I was at Walmart with Jason, waiting for my anti-nausea prescription to be filled. I said, "Let's see if they have Dill Pickle Pringles," and of course, they did (the "new" kind). And since I'd just lost 5 pounds with the flu, I thought it would be safe to pick up a package. When we got to the car I opened them and . . . they were AMAZING--just like the first ones I'd tasted. They had so much more flavor . . . they were impossible to stop eating. I don't know if it's because I'd only eaten crackers, toast, and rice for the previous week, or if it was because the pregnancy hormones were kicking in, but these were the Pringles I'd spent a year searching for.

So, this started me thinking. Dill Pickle Pringles could be used in place of a pregnancy test--at least for me. They are less expensive, seem to be 100 percent accurate, and they may even give earlier results. . . . I wonder how they'd taste with ice cream :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life without Mommy

Well, you can imagine what it's been like around here the past few days with me completely incapacitated by every imaginable aspect of the flu--combined with the regular nausea of early pregnancy.


Yes, pretty much a free-for-all, non-stop party with back to back Disney movies, bottomless hot chocolate and popcorn for the kids, and who knows what else!

Of course Janae has been trying to do her share of the housework.


And I think some of the dishes are getting done.


I'm pretty sure Ben has taught himself how to read by now.


But seriously, it's been a bad combination--and today is DAY 5.

(You know I must be feeling a bit better, though, because I'm writing about it!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do Girls Really Have More Fun?

Yesterday Ben, Janae and I were looking at pictures and came across one from Auntie Tina's wedding. Anita and I, wearing our bridesmaids' dresses, were standing with Tina, giving her a hug from both sides. Janae, who has lately become obsessed with anything "pretty" or "beautiful" was commenting on the dresses in the picture, so I went to my closet and got out the long blue satin bridesmaid dress I'd worn. Janae then went and got one of her "fancy" dress-up dresses and wanted to put it on.

It was then that Ben said, "I want to dress up in a fancy dress, too." I told him he could dress up in his "fancy vest and tie." But Ben replied, "I wish I could be a girl . . . girls get to have all the fun."


Benjamin has expressed this point of view a few times before, and it is not difficult to see why. Since birth he's been surrrounded by fun-loving girls who like to laugh, dance, and dress up--they go to ballet, put on performances, and make up plays. They make being a girl look very fun.


And now there's Janae with her necklaces, dolls, and fancy dress-up dresses. Putting on a dress is a lot more transforming than putting on a vest and tie. Of course there are cowboy hats, pirate costumes, etc., etc.--we just haven't collected any yet--and (being a girl from a family of all girls) I don't know if they would hold the same magic.


So, what did I do? I let Ben put on the dress.

He smiled so big that I almost started to cry--it's not fair; girls do get to have all the fun, at least when it comes to dress up.

I didn't take a picture, but I wish I had.

It's funny, though, I always thought it was boys who had all the fun!


Monday, January 12, 2009

MUST Have Ben's Stuff!

Over the past two years, Janae has developed an extreme fascination with all things Ben. Everything from his trucks, trains, cars, and Lego to his boots, shoes, and underwear.


Lately, Janae insists on sitting in Ben's carseat, even though it is older than her own and sits much lower in the car. Whenever we are going out, she runs to the door and says, "BEN'S SEAT!" (This seems to be our family's equivalent of calling "shotgun.")

Now Ben's carseat alone is not enough--Janae has to have Ben's blanket, too.


Not even his teddy bear is safe--Janae will grab it and run, or pick it up when Ben is still sleeping and try to pass it off as her own.


So, where does this leave Ben? Well, not always in a happy place. He's a pretty good sport, but he's starting to feel the injustice of it all.

I try to tell him that it's just because Janae admires him so much. Still, we're going to have to draw the line somewhere. . . .


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Correction: "Don't Offer . . . REFUSE!"

My efforts to wean Janae are finally making some headway, now that I’ve realized there has been a seriously misleading typo in most of the literature published on the subject of weaning: Where it says, “Don’t offer; don’t refuse,” it should say, “Don’t offer . . . refuse!” (At least when it comes to Janae. . . .)


During the summer, when this issue first arose, I followed the “don’t offer; don’t refuse” suggestion that I found in all the books. But when I found that requests were being made 8-15 times in a 24-hour period, I realized I would have to refuse . . . if I wanted to get any sleep (or avoid the feeling that I was starting up my own line of dairy products). So, I refused ALL night feedings (see my post on “Tough Love”), and after a few nights, Janae was used to the new routine.

Well six months passed, and nothing changed. Janae let me know—in very loud and screechy terms—that her daytime feedings were non-negotiable. I didn’t dare refuse, especially after cutting her off at night. All of this changed yesterday, though. . .

Now, please keep in mind that Janae is 22 months old—and while it might seem that I’m trying to deprive her of her babyhood, she really is quite a “big girl” in many ways—she talks very well, listens to long storybooks, and even uses the potty sometimes. She has no problem drinking water, milk, or juice from a cup or through a straw, and she will take a bottle occasionally—she even sings a sweet little song about her “warm milk bubba.”


So, yesterday at Janae’s usual nursing times, I told her I had a tummy ache and said I could give her a snuggle, and a bubba, but not a nurse. She took this okay in the afternoon.

At bedtime, Jason tried to distract Janae, but she was crying for Mommy—so I went into her room and rocked her in her rocking chair. She screamed and cried when I gave her my “tummy ache” excuse, but only for about 5 minutes. Then she flopped against me and said, “Songs.” I started singing “Away in a Manger,” but she said, “No.” I tried “I Am a Child of God,” but she said no again. Finally she said, “Jingle Bells” (such a beautiful lullaby, isn’t it?). Next, she allowed, “Morning Town Ride” (a Wiggles song). She sang along with both songs, loudly and cheerfully. Finally she got tired enough to close her eyes and fall asleep.

Today has been much easier. I actually think she is weaned!


Don't offer; refuse. It makes perfect sense.

I’m glad I got to the bottom of that typographical error. Hopefully it won’t cause too many problems for too many mothers out there. I really should write to La Leche League. . . .

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You Could Call it an Eclipse


I finished New Moon last Monday (i.e., over a week ago), and all I can say is that I really enjoyed it (after the first couple of chapters) and couldn’t wait to read the third installment. So, on Tuesday I went to the mall to buy Eclipse. I was shocked to find it was only available in hardcover (costing about twice as much as a softcover) until MAY 2009 (this is where I show how much of a late-comer I am to the Twilight saga). Anyway, I had two options:

1. Squander our Disneyland fund on a book that would last me only a week (and which would be followed by another similarly priced hardcover that would also only last a week)


2. Wait until May and buy the softcover.

Option 1 was looking inevitable since option 2 would be impossible, but then I began to draw upon my background in postmodernism—which says that when there is an option A and an option B, there is always an option C as well.

It didn’t take long to come up with it . . . the Library.

I was on my way when I started picturing the lady at the circulation desk—who sees us every week as we attend story time and check out our stack of children’s books. Did I want to tell her about my Twilight addiction—or . . . um . . . interest? No.

So, I came up with another idea. I could request the book online. Of course, I’d have to pick it up, but I could act casual about it and pretend it was for “a friend.” On the library’s online catalogue I found that Eclipse was due back in the middle of January. I thought I’d better request Breaking Dawn at the same time, since it was checked out and already had another hold on it (just a casual interest, I swear!).

Before you start thinking about how clever I am at finding this solution, I have to admit that I’m still not sure how it’s going to work. I haven’t requested a book from our public library before (as far as I can remember), and have no idea how I will find out when my books have arrived. Will someone call me when they come in? Should I be checking the reserve shelves weekly . . . or daily? (I’ve seen these shelves—they have the requestor’s name printed on a white paper cover—maybe Eclipse is sitting there right now with LISA across the spine . . . ). Or, maybe my request for the books was lost in cyberspace.

Anyway, I am learning to be a bit more patient—after all it has been OVER A WEEK!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Can Keep a Secret . . . Just Not for Very Long

You all remember young Benjamin, born in 2004 . . .


and baby Janae in 2007 . . .


Well, our 2009 model is scheduled to arrive at the beginning of September.

We found out on Friday, and I have actually kept it a secret for two whole days.

We told Ben yesterday, and he was so happy . . .


Janae will find out soon enough.


(Shh--don't tell anyone else--it's a secret!)