Saturday, June 30, 2012

Honeymoon Memories

As promised, here's a quick rundown of what I guess I considered highlights from our honeymoon.  We took a ton of pictures, especially considering it was in the age of film, and these were the ones I pulled out, scanned, and posted on my now-defunct website.

We spent half our honeymoon in San Diego, with a side trip to Anaheim, and then finished up in Las Vegas.  It was such an awesome trip considering I hadn't been on a plane since I was nine.  Going somewhere so different from home was surreal, and it was just an added bonus that I was newly married.

As I said, our first stop was San Diego.  The weather was gorgeous and we stayed right on the beach.  We went to the zoo, of course...
I felt so bad...another couple offered to take our picture, and by the time we were done and they gave us their camera to take a picture of them, the giraffe moved!
We spent an evening on Coronado Island, enjoyed some time on the beach, visited an IKEA (sorry, I take my opportunities when I can get them), and we took a little trip to Anaheim so we could visit Knott's Berry Farm.  It's a great amusement park, and I figured I wouldn't get many opportunities to be that close to it.  It's also got some Peanuts themeing, which I figured Craig would enjoy...

The coaster I most wanted to ride was closed when we got there, but fortunately it opened right near the end of the day and I got to ride it.  Definitely a rush!  Mrs. Knott's chicken was delicious, and Craig had fun in the Peanuts store.  Too bad the trip there was marred by hardcore traffic, California style!

Then it was off to Vegas.  That was like another world.  We liked it so much we went back the next year, too.  Some of my favorites:
The view from the Venetian, looking out over the canal toward the Mirage.  We took a gondola ride, and it was pretty entertaining.
This was one of my favorite facades...very old school.  Too bad it's not there anymore :(

This is the ceiling of the Bellagio lobby.  I was very eager to see it because even then I was totally into Dale Chihuly's stuff.  So pretty...too bad the picture doesn't do it justice!
 
The view of New York-New York, including the roller coaster 
 
This was the view from our room in Treasure Island.  You can see most of the strip.  We got to watch 4th of July fireworks from our room, shot off from Caesar's a couple casinos down.  It was pretty fantastic.
The only downsides to the trip besides California traffic were the heat in Vegas (Craig mentions his issues with it often...or rather, how I walked him until he puked--not as bad as it sounds) and the trip home.  We got stuck in Chicago due to thunderstorms, had a long night trying to rebook our flight and find our luggage, then spent 2-3 hours in a cab line before finally getting to a hotel for a few hours of sleep.  We then got delayed again, missed our connection in Boston, and got home a full 24 hours after we were supposed to.  On the bright side, we did have this view on the last flight home...

It was quite a trip.  We had a blast and I was so happy to have the time away alone to enjoy each other's presence after the craziness leading up to the wedding.  Hard to believe it's been nine years today since we left on that trip.  What an experience...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nine Years

Nine years ago today, Craig and I got married.  It's hard to believe we're just one year shy of ten, because that seems like a really long time.  We're not that old, are we?  Nine sounds pretty substantial, particularly in light of some marriages we've seen that ended much sooner than that.  We have a long way to go to match our parents' high standards--my parents are over 41 years, and we're celebrating Craig's parents' 40th this weekend--but we're well on our way. 

Part of me feels like we were much different people when we got married.  And most likely, we were.  I was very young (not even 25) and Craig was 30.  We'd only been together for two years, and Jacob was still five years into the future.  Parenthood changes things a lot, because you have to work together in a way you never have before, and it challenges your very identity.  Hobbies and interests take a hit because you're so busy taking care of a helpless little human, and suddenly you have moments where you're not sure who you are anymore.  If you can get through that intact, you're got something special, no doubt.

Our wedding day was an amazing day.  Gorgeous weather, no problems, surrounded by friends and family, and me wearing the most gorgeous dress I'll probably ever wear.  Back then I wouldn't have changed a thing.  Now I look back and there's probably a handful of things I'd do differently, but I know that at the time, it was nearly perfection in my eyes.  Hindsight is 20/20 and in some cases I just didn't know any better, but still...it was an amazing day.  It almost seems like another lifetime, though. 

Since I've never done this before on this blog (at least, I don't think so!), here's a rundown of the day:

Me and the girls--my two best friends from college, my sister-in-law, my cousin, my oldest friend, and Craig's cousin as our flower girl--she's in college now!

The boys on the church playground--Craig's roommate at the time, our co-worker, Craig's brother, my brother, and Craig's friend from college, along with Craig's cousin as our ring bearer.  He's in high school now.  We're officially old.

Me peeking around the corner at the church, waiting for my moment!  I was nervous about the ceremony but totally at peace with the commitment I was about to make
One of my favorite pictures of the day...

Toasting at the head table...this is the picture I have at my desk.  Oh, and I loved the flowers.  So pretty.

Dancing...which we didn't do nearly enough of!  Between visiting with people and whatever else, the night went too fast!

Our cake...it was so pretty.  You can't really tell here, but in the "gazebo" is a little figurine of Charlie Brown and Peggy Jean, depicting their first kiss.  It was so cute and perfect that we couldn't pass it up.  The cake tasted amazing, too, both on our wedding day and on our first anniversary!

Gotta love Polish traditions!  This one included a crazy hat and a song.  Definitely a new one for my side of the family, but Craig's older relatives were old pros!
The day went so fast and before we knew it, it was over.  We spent the night at a hotel, where we promptly fell asleep while trying to enjoy a few minutes in the in-room jacuzzi tub.  We probably would have gotten in there sooner if it didn't take me so long to take the 80 bobby pins out of my hair!  We got to spend some time with some family the next day at a reunion, then took off the day after for our honeymoon.  Hopefully one of these days I'll dig into the archives and pull out some honeymoon pics!  I know I have a few scanned, at least, but they're saved on our other computer.  Our honeymoon was fantastic.  Absolutely heavenly.  Other than getting stuck in Chicago on the way back.  Nothing like an extra day stuck in oh-so-scenic airports.  Ugh.  But there's no doubt the first week of our marriage was fun and eventful.  And the last nine years have followed suit!  We've come a long way.  We're still happily married, but that doesn't stop me from wishing we could recapture a little of the whimsy and magic that were so plentiful on day 1.  Moments like that are hard to come by all these years later--it's more of an even keel--but I'd love to transport back just for a few minutes and remember all of the emotions that made that day so amazing. 

Nine years later we spent our evening at a Japanese hibachi restaurant and used a Groupon to give Jacob his first hibachi experience.  It was a bit of a risk, for many reasons.  Taking Jacob out is always a risk, and this would be new food for him.  We'd never been to the place before, and the reviews were iffy, generally because of the place itself, not really the food.  But I love hibachi and the Groupon was a good chance to try it out for cheap.  In the end the place was a little dated (I felt like we were in a weird, low-budget movie), but Jacob liked the show and even ate some food, and it wasn't a half bad night overall.  It's a far cry from the biggest party ever with all the people we love, but hanging out with our little boy while he made our fellow diners and chef laugh...well, that was pretty priceless, too. 

Happy Anniversary to Craig...and here's to many more!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy

I mentioned briefly the other day that I'd had a minor run-in with another car in a parking lot.  Mine ended up with the worst of the damage, one big smile-shaped scratch (ironic) and a few screw head-shaped scratches, all on the bumper.  From what we could tell at the time, the only damage to the other car was a broken license plate frame and some easily removable black marks on the paint from the plastic rubbing against it.  It was minor, but annoying nonetheless.  I still need to find someone who can do touch-up paint well, because I'd really like to make my scratches less noticeable.  Anyway...

When it happened I was totally freaking out internally, but decided I had to do the right thing.  I walked around the restaurant until I found the person whose car it was.  That was awkward.  But, I felt like it was probably the best thing to do for my mental state, because worrying about later repercussions wasn't really something I wanted, either.  I honestly didn't even think of leaving a note, and I'm glad I didn't because it would have been an easy cop-out.  The girl whose car it was was very understanding.  And she was really relieved I came to find her.  Her car was a lease so she was obviously a bit concerned about making sure it would be in perfect condition when the time came to turn it in.  She praised me for doing it and was really nice about the whole thing, all things considered.  Heck, she felt bad for me because she could tell I was a little shaky when we were exchanging information!  She really wanted to avoid insurance at all costs, because she'd had an accident last year.  I did, too, of course, since I'm probably getting close to having my accident drop off my record. 

I emailed her that day just to give her any other contact info I hadn't in the parking lot, and emphasized that I'd be willing to pay for the license plate thing, at the very least, and to keep me posted.  Earlier this week she emailed me and said her husband was concerned so they were taking it into the dealer to get checked.  Ugh.  I was really concerned that they'd try to milk this for all it was worth, that even if the damage was minimal, they might try to eek a few bucks out of me, if only for perceived pain and suffering (or at least inconvenience and annoyance), you know?

Last night I accidentally left my phone in my car, and when I came out this morning there was a voicemail notification.  I didn't recognize the number but I listened to it as I strapped Jacob into the car, and it was from her.  And, hallelujah, it was good news.  The dealer found no problems with the car.  She said the license plate piece cost a just a few bucks, and said we could "just call it a wash."  She then went on for a while (again) about how great it was that I tracked her down, how she's not sure she would have done the same thing, and that it taught her a great lesson in honesty. 

Huh, who knew?

I don't feel like I did anything extra special, but I guess society has changed.  I'm glad she appreciated the effort.  It softens the blow of my stupidity a bit, and in the end I'm just relieved that mine got it worse than hers and happy that hers was pretty much fine.  Whew.

If there are any lessons to take from this experience (besides being obsessively aware of every angle of your car), they're a) if ever in doubt, err on the side of honesty; and b) if you're going to get in a car accident, make sure you hit a really nice person.  The woman I hit last time (four years ago) was also the sweetest, most understanding person.  She worked in the insurance industry, so she was well aware how much fender benders happen, and she was very concerned when she saw I was pregnant.  Both experiences have been relatively minor incidents, all things considered.  Yes, last time my car was totaled, but it was an eight year old Neon so it wouldn't have taken much.  Most importantly, no one got hurt.  The people have been easy to deal with and they both happened on lovely, warm days, so I guess I'm pretty lucky.  Still feeling pretty stupid, but lucky nonetheless.

I hope the honesty thing really did impact the woman whose car I hit, and perhaps her nice message will serve as a reminder for myself in the future that it pays to be honest, even if it's just the peace of mind of knowing you did the right thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Second Time Around

Going about this whole baby-making thing for the second time has been surprisingly different for me than before.  In some cases I guess that would be obvious, since I already have a child and that changes everything, but there are some differences that I guess I didn't expect.

Because I already have a child, my desperation to have another isn't quite as serious as last time.  I mean, I certainly want another baby very badly, but this time it's the difference between an only child and two kids, rather than a childless life vs. parenthood.  I'm grateful that I had a chance to have a baby at all, and while there would definitely be a period of mourning if we found out we couldn't have another, at least we have Jacob.  This is always such a snarky debate on infertility blogs because the infertile women with no kids get mad at the women with secondary infertility who already have a kid.  "At least you have ONE!" is a common refrain.  And I get that.  The women with no kids have every right to feel like they have it worse.  Whether or not they actually do is up for debate, since there are a whole new set of needs and wants that come with a second baby.  You know how amazing the experience is, and you want a sibling for your child...and knowing what you know now, the desire can be quite intense.  But in both cases (first or second time around) the woman believes her life will be somehow incomplete without a baby--but I'd side with the childless that that is the most heartbreaking path.  At least I know what it's like to be a mom, to see my genes take shape in another human being, to experience pregnancy and birth and the variety of emotions that go along with it.  Despite all of the insanity it brings, I know how surreal and amazing the whole experience is, and there's no way to communicate that to someone without them actually experiencing it themselves. 

Last time around I never really got to the point of "What lengths will we go to?" in the event that things don't go well.  At that time I wasn't as well-versed in the options, or as educated about the possible side effects or emotional roller coasters that come along with it.  This time around I'm more aware of that stuff, mostly thanks to blogs I've read in passing, as well as hearing stories about a friend-of-a-friend's infertility experience.  However, I'm still not sure I have an answer to that question.  So far things seem to be responding to the most basic of treatments, so hopefully I won't have to worry about it.  But if, under perfect conditions, things don't happen within the next few months, we're going to have a new heap of issues to discuss.  Do I want to go through physically-draining treatments?  Do we want to pay a significant amount of money?  Do we want to just enjoy the one child we have?  Or even, do we want to save up and adopt?  That last option would be a last resort, and I don't necessarily think that I'm the type of person to do it, but life is funny sometimes and you never know how your life might be touched and change direction. 

Needless to say, having actual confirmation that there's a reason why getting pregnant is more difficult for me (polycystic ovary syndrome, causing infrequent ovulation) changes so much of my perspective on things.  Last time I remember being so overwhelmed by the process in many facets of my life.  For example, I was nervous to buy clothes in the months leading up to getting pregnant because I was concerned about getting too big post-pregnancy to wear them.  This time around I haven't thought about that nearly as much.  I'm not sure if it's because I mostly got back into shape last time, or because I have more immediate wardrobe needs (as opposed to extra time for casual shopping), or if my clothing's generally more forgiving these days, or if it's just because I've subconsciously realized that nothing is a given and I just need to live in the moment, rather than worry about what might be happening months down the road.  I remember thinking about the process as a whole so much, constantly timing things out in my head or thinking that every little discomfort might mean I was pregnant.  I obsessed over taking pregnancy tests, and the letdown afterward was always harder than I thought it would be.  This time around it's definitely in my thoughts a lot, but I suppose I have far more to take care of in the meantime--Jacob, a bigger house, more in-depth tasks at work, this blog--and it leaves far less time to worry about things I can't control.

Another funny thing is that I've been far more open about the process this time.  I don't think I told too many people we were trying last time.  Close family and friends, perhaps, but that's about it.  This time I'm broadcasting it here and certain close family members know the ins and outs of the fertility help we're getting.  I've even talked about it with my boss, which is ironic since my bosses were nearly the last people I told last time.  My boss has a close friend who's gone through infertility hell, so it's come up in natural conversation.  I've also come to the conclusion that the main reason you don't tell people is because you don't want to have to go back and tell the world in the event of a miscarriage.  Well, if I had a miscarriage I'd obviously have to tell my boss since I'd be out of work.  So, no need to keep it from her because she'd find out anyway.  But in general I feel like this will probably be the last time we go through something like this, and I guess I just want to embrace it--record it for posterity, feel free to share it with those I deem appropriate (like another co-worker who's currently pregnant thanks to fertility treatments), and not have to feel like I'm living some crazy double life.

The whole process is still scary as heck.  With all of the attention we've paid to the process of trying to get pregnant, I feel like I might be overlooking the other problems we could run into down the road. They still scare me to death, but I guess they just haven't been the first thing on my mind.  Part of me is looking at this as more of an adventure this time around.  I know the adventure could go horribly wrong, but I'm a big believer that there's a reason for everything.  It'll be hard to keep that in mind if something does go wrong, but I truly believe it and hope it'll be a comfort if I need it.  But assuming everything goes right, this whole experience could be one heck of a ride.  I have a better sense of how those dizzying newborn experiences are just a piece of a far larger puzzle, that eventually that screaming baby is going to turn into a walking, talking person who's going to bring so much into our lives. 

It's overwhelming, but it's also pretty awesome.  I want everything to go smoothly, but I'm also eager to get the show on the road and see where it takes us.  For now, it's just a waiting game...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh, the irony...

Have I mentioned that Jacob is obsessed with the "Red Solo Cup" song?  Well, he is.  He saw the video once, completely randomly, when we were watching a country music video countdown.  I don't know why he latched onto it so quickly, but he did.  And he's been singing it ever since.  He's taught his friends.  He's changed the words to fit circumstances.  And yes, I'm trying to see the bright side of that last issue, because that's got to be evidence for some advanced level of cognitive function, that he can change the words, to the tune, to suit current circumstances.  Craig does stuff like that to song lyrics all the time, and apparently his son has picked up the skill, as well. 

I find the whole thing a little embarrassing.  I mean, he's four.  No, he may not know what, exactly, is in those Solo cups, but I'm pretty sure he gets that it is for a party, and based on our initial reaction, he probably has an inkling that it's a grown-up thing.  Ugh.

Anyway...tonight I was showing Jacob some pictures of his first birthday party.  That was quite the day.  I had never really thrown a birthday party before, and it was a miserably rainy, cold day, so the party was mostly relegated to our garage, and to some degree our basement.  We managed, not without hiccups, and ended up with horrific timing when it came to the two most important points of the party--gift opening and cake smashing.  Jacob was getting tired near the end of gift opening and totally lost interest, and then was completely cranky when we tried to do cake.  He didn't eat much of his smash cake, but he did inhale my piece of cake much later in the day, after a nap.  Oy.  I just figured Jacob might enjoy seeing old pictures of himself, and then I came across this picture:


And this one...
We miss you, Great-Grandma!
Apparently he's been into red Solo cups all along.  Who knew?  The cup was a lifesaver during part of the party because it was the only thing breaking him out of his cranky, nap-deprived mood.  I guess I should have known that he'd take to that song immediately since he's apparently always had a thing for red, plastic beverage receptacles. 

Let's hope his affection for them wanes by the time he's a teenager.  That's a hard enough battle to fight without him already being a fan of the cup itself!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Party Time!

The last couple days have been insane!  I took off Friday to try to get ready for Jacob's party.  I had some cleaning, yardwork, and cooking to do.  I knew I couldn't get it all done otherwise.  It was a very busy day--a quick run in the morning (figured it would keep me in a better mindframe), lunch with an old friend, an unfortunate minor car incident (scratches on my bumper, just a broken license plate frame on the other car--darn terribly designed parking lot), and a bunch of yardwork that culminated in scrubbing our siding.  Ahhh, home ownership.  Craig gets out of work early on Fridays in the summer, so he came home and joined me, and by the end the yard was looking pretty great. 

That evening we went outside with Jacob to enjoy our very warm pool.  He's now totally into the pool, thanks to his basketball hoop and new Puddle Jumper float.  He's been in three days in a row, probably four today!  We had a great swim that night and I spent the rest of the night getting things ready for Saturday.  Oh, and we tried out Jacob's new clock that night, too.  It turns color in the morning to let him know it's time to get up.  That also meant we took the safety doorknob thing off his door in case he wants to use the potty at night.  It's a bit of an adjustment having him able to get out of his room without us.  So far he's been pretty good about staying in, though I'm sure we're going to get some surprises.  It's been nice to have him get himself up in the morning, though! 

From the time I got up yesterday, it was non-stop.  Second batch of pork into the slow cooker.  Second batch of cake baking.  Preparing jello.  Frosting the first part of the cake.  Oh, the cake.  Last year Jacob's cake was a disaster.  I tried to do a rice krispie treat lacrosse stick to decorate his cake.  It didn't go well, for a couple reasons.  In the end we had to get a store-bought cake and I even managed to mess up that one because the condensation on it ruined the gel writing.  Ugh.  Each year Jacob's cake has created problems--issues with sticky icing (and absolutely NO decorating experience) for his first birthday, problems with getting red enough icing for his second birthday, and then last year's ultimate failure.  This year I was setting myself up for a disaster because Jacob wanted a soccer ball cake.  The good news is that our nephew has outgrown part of his egg allergy, meaning I could make the cake according to the directions, which would give me a much sturdier cake than usual.  I bought the spherical cake pan, and decided to use only half of it, just to be safe.  No need to risk a cake rolling off the table.  Anyway, decorating the cake would be a labor of love and it was my main source of stress leading up to the party.  I'll reveal it later, but I'm happy to say that all went well.  It took a while, but it was worth it.

I had a ton of work to do once the party started, but I had great help from my mom and Lori.  I couldn't have done it without them.  I finally had a couple minutes (literally) to venture outside, and it was a beautiful day.  The kids were having a blast in the pool, the snacks had been eaten up, and everyone was chilling in whatever shade they could find.

My Uncle Bruce had brought a couple water guns, one of which the kids were loving.  When I came out of the house, we dragged Jacob out of the pool to open his water gun in my presence.  We tried to get a good picture, but alas...distracted child.
The water guns were a hit, and I retreated back to the kitchen to finish up.  We had quite the spread--pulled pork, hot dogs, salt potatoes, broccoli-cheese-rice casserole (family favorite), pasta salad, fruit salad, layered jello, and cole slaw.  So much food, and all so good!  We also had apple pie and amazing chocolate chip cookies waiting in the wings. 

After dinner, we started into presents.  Jacob noticed golf balls attached to one card and gravitated to those immediately.  Next up was the hit gift of the day--my aunt got him a tank top and ironed on the letters "REF" to the front.  There was also a whistle in the bag, which finished off Jacob's referee outfit perfectly.  Jacob loves to be a referee--he has for years--and this was perfect.  He had it on first thing this morning and we've been hearing random whistle blows all day!
He put on his shirt and whistle right away.  Here he's showing off the second thing he put on this morning--his Spider-Man mask and jumpsuit.
 He also got a Lego fire truck...

And a Lego Batcave!

He got some clothes, a sprinkler toy, some football guys, and a nice boost to his bank account.  All in all, it was a fantastic haul.  It was great day, the pool was perfect, the food was delicious, and the company was lovely.  My biggest regret of the whole day was that I didn't get to spend much time enjoying it all.  I barely got to see people, but I did take a few minutes to eat dinner (lunch was basically a piece of excess cake!) and talk to whoever I could near the end.  It's fun having everyone to our house (a handful of guests hadn't been here before), and the house got rave reviews.  Nice to get that reminder now that we've been here a couple years.  So, the party was a lot of planning and a lot of work, but it was worth it.  I just wish I would have had a few more minutes to sit back and enjoy it all. 

So...back to the cake.  Fortunately the pans I bought to make the soccer ball came with really good directions, and by some miracle I actually did it right.  I made a two-layer yellow cake base, had good luck frosting it (minimal crumbs and no breakage), and then baked half a ball and made cupcakes with the rest of that chocolate batter.  Lots of frosting later, we had this:
Not gonna lie, I almost had tears in my eyes when I finished this.  It took four years to get a cake I was proud of.  This one was truly a thing of beauty.  Fourteen hours after posting the picture on Facebook it has over 40 "likes", so that was cool, too.
Jacob did well blowing out his candles...

...and ended up preferring his cupcake to the cake itself when it came to eating.
Must have been the sprinkles :)
I had a great clean-up crew and we got most of the mess taken care of pretty quickly.  It was awesome to not have the massive mess to clean up later, because we headed right out to a lacrosse game after the last guests left.  Craig actually left right after cake because he had to work the game.  The team he works for, the Hamilton Nationals, were playing against Craig's former team, the Rochester Rattlers.  Going to a game was probably the last thing we really wanted to do by the end of the day, but it was a gorgeous night and games are always fun, so we prevailed.  Lori came with us and we had a nice time. 

Today has been a lazy day.  We hung out in bed, put together Legos, and relaxed.  The fruits of our labor:
I put this one together--the middle panels flip up (DeLorean style), and the white doors open up, too.  It came with a flaming tree, as it's a forest fire-fighting vehicle.
And Craig's task...
The Batcave, complete with Bane's drill and a Batcycle, a jail, command center, "magic" quick change room, and a few characters.  Pretty awesome.
Maybe we'll motivate ourselves to do something later, or maybe we'll just play in the pool and nap.  Either way, it's been a full but fantastic weekend.  And it couldn't celebrate a more awesome little boy.  Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Big 4!

Well, yesterday was Jacob's 4th birthday.  As you may have gathered from yesterday's letter, his birthday dinner was a little on the challenging side.  Fortunately, the lure of gifts was enough to get us through the morning routine with minimal resistance.  I always remember waking up the morning of my birthday and heading into my parents' room to open my gifts.  I'd like to do that with Jacob someday, too, but our morning routine is pretty tight on time so we had to get ready first and open gifts last, as long as there was time.  And there was...

His first gift was an Otto the Orange (Syracuse University) Pillow Pet!  He's always admired Pillow Pets in stores, and he loves SU, mostly because of lacrosse.  I happened to find this one on major clearance at Walmart and snatched it up for a third of the normal price!
HUGS!  He loves him!
He also got some Legos that Craig bought a while back and had been holding onto for the right moment.  It's Lex Luthor, his giant robot, Superman and Wonder Woman!
He also got some Mega Bloks.  He got a big box of them last year and enjoys building stadiums with them.  Then I happened to win a Mega Bloks prize pack through a blog contest, and decided Jacob could have the big pack of blogs to allow him to build even bigger!  The other two prizes are waiting in the wings, either for another baby or a gift.

He also got some cool clothes.  My theory on clothes at this point is that anything that he would have an interest in can be a gift, whereas boring old clothes that he needs are not given as gifts...yet.  I feel like it's my job as his parent to provide the functional clothes, so they're not really gift-eligible.  That may change, but right now he's totally disinterested in anything not sports or superhero related, so there's just no point in wrapping them up.  But things like the soccer jersey shirt (with a 4 on the back!) and the Gorilla lacrosse shorts I randomly found at Children's Place last weekend are totally fine to give as gifts. 
Man of many sports...
He also got an inflatable basketball hoop for the pool, as motivation for him to actually want to go swimming.  We got him cool Superman trunks last weekend, and coincidentally yesterday his new floatation device arrived--a Puddle Jumper, which many of my Facebook friends swore by.  Since we didn't have time after dinner last night to swim, we did make it out there tonight.  Jacob LOVED it.  It probably helped that the pool was so warm (almost 90!) and he discovered that his Puddle Jumper helped him float pretty well.  He's still got a long way to go to learn how to keep himself balanced and try to swim, but he had a blast in the pool and kept talking about doing it again tomorrow.  Such a far cry from a couple weeks ago, eh?  Thank goodness.

As for his day at daycare, I opted to buy his classmates each a cool funky straw water bottle.  He's got numerous allergy issues in his classroom--no nuts at all in the whole center, a couple classmates with egg allergies, and one teacher with celiac disease--so food treats are tough.  I'm not really a fan of the goodie bags full of crap, so instead I wandered around the dollar store and Walmart with a budget of about $1 each (there were 17 kids, after all).  In the end I thought the water bottles were the best bang for my buck (or 98 cents, actually).  They went over well, at least with the teachers! 

We went to Red Robin last night to get Jacob's free birthday meal, because it's his favorite place to go.  He loves their corn dog (I know) and mandarin oranges.  He was quite difficult to get ready to go, and then gave us fits in the restaurant.  Makes me miss the days of high chairs, let me tell you.  What I wouldn't have given for a strap-down seat last night!  Despite all of his antics, he ate his dinner like a champ and eagerly awaited his birthday ice cream.  I was primed and ready with the camera since I regretted missing the big grin on his face last year.  And a year later, here it is...
Happy boy who loves being the center of attention!
He ate his ice cream all by himself, and insisted that while he wouldn't share his, he wanted to share mine on my birthday!  Hmmm...not sure I like that deal!

So...now we have a four year old.  An energetic, enthusiastic, stubborn, athletic, defiant, enigmatic, curious, talkative, determined little four-year-old boy.  He keeps us guessing and doesn't make it easy, but he also brings us a lot of joy and keeps things entertaining.  It's been four years since we've felt well-rested, since we've eaten meals in peace, since we truly slept in, since we've had abundant free time, since we realized how a baby really does change everything.  And aside from the aforementioned selective listening issues, we wouldn't change a thing.  Happy Birthday, buddy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Four

Dear Jacob,

I can't believe you're four.  Where has the time gone?  Oh, wait...I've spent much of it trying to convince you to eat your food, get up from the potty, wash your hands, put on your clothes, and go to sleep.  Even still, on one hand it seems like you've been here forever (what one earth did I do before you were around?), and on the other I can't believe it's been four years since the crazy week or so surrounding your birth.  We've been through so much, and yet we've only just begun.

I read through last year's letter and it was interesting to see how some things have changed, and how some other things have stayed the same.  Late last summer you got into superheroes, and that has been a big part of the last year.  All of a sudden we have Batman and Spider-Man and Captain America everywhere, which I guess isn't a bad change of pace from all sports, all the time.  But you're still way into sports, though which sport continues to change with the seasons.  Right now I'd say your favorite is soccer, but you like playing baseball with Daddy (and you're pretty good at it!).  Hockey wasn't a big deal this year, probably because we only went to a few hockey games.  Lacrosse was huge during the season, and it was pretty awesome when you got to go down on the field when the Knighthawks won and touch the cup!  This year you'll probably get to join a real team, which is going to be an interesting challenge for you. 

We're still having a lot of trouble with your behavior these days.  You absolutely refuse to listen most of the time, and some of the things that come out of your mouth are beyond rude.  I blame that mostly on your friends and the natural four-year-old desire to get a rise out of people.  However, the listening thing is definitely the problem that wears on me the most.  We waste an obscene amount of time trying to do anything, just because you're content to do it on your own terms, no matter how much I insist it needs to happen right now.  It's certainly frustrating, but ultimately the stuff you don't listen to now is just little stuff in the grand scheme of things.  It'll be worse if you're not listening when we talk to you about drugs or bullying or reckless behavior, because those would be truly life-altering bad decisions...as opposed to right now where you're mostly just making us a little nuts.  I like to think that our persistence will pay off in the end and you'll listen when the time comes.  For now, excuse the yelling and just maybe try to listen once in a while to let us know we're not failing completely. 

Tonight you almost managed to ruin your own birthday dinner with your stubbornness.  You wanted to play soccer before we left, but there just wasn't time and you had a fit.  You didn't want to change back into your clothes from your soccer clothes.  You were difficult at the restaurant, throwing crayons and stacking items on the table until they fell.  At least you ate good and got to enjoy being sung to.  But there were moments where you were fixin' to get a birthday spanking, and I don't mean the ha-ha funny kind.

One of the goals for last year was potty training, which has gone relatively well.  You're pretty great during the day but nighttime is a problem still.  The doctor says it's fine.  Still, daytime is relatively worry free, and perhaps once we let you out of your room at night (we have a safety thing on the doorknob to prevent wandering), maybe you'll be more inclined to get up and pee.  Another goal was learning letters and all that, and you're definitely a rock star at identifying them.  Writing is still a challenge for you, though, but I can't tell if that's a) stubbornness; b) the unfortunate result of being ambidextrous; or c) that it's just not your thing yet.  That is what preschool is for, I guess.  You moved up to the four-year-old room a couple weeks ago, and you handled it like a champ.  Other than a couple minor incidents, it's been a seamless transition for you.  Thank goodness.  I just hope you respond well to the challenges of Pre-K and end up primed and ready for Kindergarten next year.  God knows I'm not ready for that yet, either.

You and Daddy are two peas in a pod, at least when you're behaving.  You play sports, build Legos, and play with his old pirate ship and all your sports guys and superheroes.  You even like to poop in the same bathroom as him, though he doesn't so much enjoy the company.  He thinks you're the coolest kid ever (as long as he's not yelling at you), and he really wants to give you the world.  So do I, of course, but I suppose I'm a little more conscious of the ramifications of spoiling you.  You have moments where you want me, but most of the time I'm an afterthought because Daddy's coolness reigns supreme.

Hopefully in the next year you'll become a big brother and we'll get to see a whole different side of you.  I hope it's a good side, because sibling jealousy scares me.  I hope to see the side of you that wants to teach your sibling everything and be a great helper.  It'll be a rude awakening, I think, but I hope you embrace it and find a side of you you never knew you had.  Channel that side of you that loves your stuffed animals and enjoys having "meetings" with them at night.  Sometimes you're so cute with them it's ridiculous, and I can only imagine how great it would be with your sibling.  In the meantime, though, please stop inadvertently kicking Mommy in the stomach every time you come hang out in our bed.  That's not gonna fly when your sibling is in there.

Despite our frustrations, I'm so proud of all you've learned and look forward to watching you grow and learn even more.  Thank you for all of the joys you bring into our lives.  Remember how great it is when we have those fun moments together, and strive to get more of those.  I can never give you enough hugs!  I hope you had a wonderful birthday and wish you many, many more.

Love,
Mommy (and Daddy, too!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Everything's coming up roses...

The weekend Jacob turned one, we took a trip to the Maplewood Rose Garden here in Rochester.  I think I was intrigued because a) it was something different to do; and b) we saw the most amazing rose garden in Portland and I was interested to see what Rochester had to offer.  I just checked to see if I posted pictures of that trip, but surprisingly, I did not!  I guess it got lost in the shuffle of Jacob's first birthday and all that.  Or maybe I only had a picture or two of Jacob so I didn't think it was anything special to share.  Anyway, as you may recall if you were at the party, Jacob's first birthday was a rainy mess.  It was cold and wet all day.  When we went to the Rose Festival the next day, it was starting to dry up but the damage had been done.  Most of the roses were destroyed or droopy, though I did get a couple pretty pictures of water-spotted flowers. 

In the years that followed, I always wanted to go back and see things looking a little more lively, but between Jacob's birthday, other birthdays, and more crappy weather, it just hadn't happened.  This year Jacob and I were flying solo for part of the Rose Festival weekend, and I decided it was worth a stop.  It was a gorgeous day and it was a good excuse to be outside.  And sure enough, the roses were gorgeous!
Perfection.

This one reminded me of frilly ruffles!

Never seen one like this!

So gorgeous!

Jacob wasn't particularly into the flowers, but he's always up for an excuse to run around outside!

My cool little dude

Showing me a pretty one

He saw this mound of mulch and decided it was a pitcher's mound!  Look at that form!
There's a pretty fountain on one side of the park, and we had to wait our turn to go see it because a giant wedding party was getting pictures around it.  Finally we got our chance, and I managed to get Jacob to sit still long enough for a couple attempts at a self-portrait.  And we actually got a good one:

We had a great time at the park and on the walk to and from the car (where you can see the Genesee River gorge and a giant waterfall (the Lower Falls, I think).  We had a lovely dinner together and a very successful shopping trip--Super Hero Squad summer PJs and superhero swim trunks that I hoped to find, both on clearance, as well as a cool pair of lacrosse shorts on clearance that were a spur-of-the-moment purchase!  We had a great evening.

Sunday we went to Buffalo for our niece and nephew's 10th birthday party (I remember the day they were born!  Craig and I weren't even engaged yet, but it was only a few weeks away!), and we had a great day there.  Jacob had fun playing with his cousins, dressing up in wacky costumes (again), and playing soccer as much as he could. 

Tomorrow is the big day--Jacob's 4th birthday.  I can't believe it.  The presents are wrapped, I have the day off on Friday to plan his party, and I've spent the last couple days reminiscing as usual.  It's amazing to be at this point.  I'm sure I'll have plenty more to report in the next couple days!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Well Visit

Well, today's well visit was...interesting.  Some of it was expected.  The doctor said that the night potty training isn't a big deal, and that it's normal through age 6.  The thought of 2-3 more years of full, wet diapers isn't ideal...but perhaps we'll have a breakthrough one of these days.  Jacob's in the 75th percentile for height and 50th for weight, so that was good to hear. 

He was such a good boy for the hearing test, which was a new element to the well visit this time.  They put something in his ear and he had to say beep every time he heard it beep.  He seemed to think it was a game and he did great!  I could answer almost all of the skill questions about him positively, except for pedaling a bike, which is a skill he's still not entirely mastered.  He's too busy doing soccer drop kicks and shooting hoops to perfect that, I guess.

One of the surprises of the visit was his vision.  For a preschooler, they use symbols on an eye chart instead of letters.  He showed that he knew all of the symbols and did well telling us what they were down the first couple of rows.  But then when it got down to smaller ones, the 8-10 foot distance seemed to be too much.  He said he couldn't see them.  He said it with a smirk on his face, so I wonder if he thought he was being cute by not being able to see them.  After all, he's the kid that can pick out the tiniest sports ball on a cereal box halfway down the aisle in the grocery store.  His eyes were different, too, which made the nurse wonder what might be happening.  Regardless, they recommended we get him checked.  If he need glasses I'm going to be pretty cranky about all the DHA supplements I took during my pregnancy.  That stuff wasn't cheap!

The other issue was the one I mentioned last night.  I prefaced my question but saying that I didn't want to sound like the crazy mom who believes everything she sees on the internet, but explained my concerns to the doctor about Jacob's oxygen level.  I explained how it kept happening when we went to pulmonary appointments, and how his level never got high enough when he got his breathing treatments for pneumonia.  I told her the story about the blog recounting the baby that died, and said that I didn't want Jacob to be one of those kids who plays sports and drops dead far too young from an undetected heart problem.  She went off to get a portable pulse oximeter and said that even though he's all congested from the virus he had the last couple days (fever was gone this morning), his lungs were clear so there was no reason it should be low.  My heart sunk a little bit when it struggled to get up to 96-97, but at the same time, it was a validation that I wasn't entirely nuts. 

She agreed that it's a bit odd, and while she wasn't particularly concerned based on all she could hear, she said it made sense to get it checked out, if nothing else so we're not worrying about it.  So, we get to add another "-ologist" to Jacob's resume--pulmonologist, dermatologist, and now cardiologist.  For a seemingly normal, healthy kid, he's sure had to go to a lot of doctors.  I got a little emotional on my way into work thinking about all he's had to go through.  It doesn't seem fair, but then again, he didn't have to get tubes, doesn't need his tonsils out, and he's completely able bodied.  He can run, play sports, and has had a relatively normal childhood.  He doesn't have cancer.  He's a smart little boy.  So I know he's so lucky.  But it stinks.  And God help us if they find anything.  The thought of my baby having to get heart surgery...I can't even fathom.  It's better than the grim alternative, but it's definitely a scary road to walk down nonetheless.  In the end, I was so grateful that his doctor was willing to listen to my crazy theory, and thankful that she was willing to give us a chance to explore it further.  The fact that it's even gotten to this point at least makes me feel like I'm not totally nuts, but one way or another I just want to know why it might be happening. 

Anyway, it was an interesting trip and we're left with more than usual to look into.  It's hard to believe how far we've come from that first new baby visit nearly four years ago.  It's truly amazing and I look forward to officially celebrating four years of Jacob in the coming week.  My goal in the meantime is making sure that we have him around and healthy for many, many more years to come.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sick :(

Jacob is sick again.  He and Craig went to Strong Museum of Play yesterday with Craig's brother's family, who was in town for a field trip.  I'd like to blame it on that since we all know those places are germ nightmares, but it came on a little too quickly for that, I think.  When I got home from work Jacob felt warm, and sure enough, he had a fever.  He's congested and coughing, too.  He's been pretty lethargic and quite difficult at times.  We're enjoying the quality snuggle time, but he doesn't want to sit at the table to eat, and put up a major fuss tonight when I went to rinse the shampoo out of his hair (back to the pool issue, maybe?).  Craig and I split the day today and Jacob specifically requested multiple times that I sit on the couch with him.  He only napped about an hour, but fell asleep again on the couch for 30-45 minutes a couple hours later.  Craig was concerned about his breathing tonight--we're both a little scarred by the whole pneumonia debacle we went through in January--so we gave him a dose of albuterol before bed, just in case.  He's definitely not himself, though he does have moments where he's desperate to go outside and play sports.  It's just sad to see him so pathetic at times.

The good news is that he has his four-year well visit tomorrow morning, so hopefully we can get him checked out.  My major talking points tomorrow are:

1) Night potty training - He's not even close, and I'm not sure what to do about it.  Just let him keep going in his diaper?  Put undies under the diaper so he feels the wetness?  Wake him up at 11pm and have him go again?  At this point I'm wondering if there might be other issues at hand.  He's a good sleeper, but perhaps too good to wake up.  I've also heard people swear by tonsil removal, though I'm not sure if that has to do with changes in breathing impacting sleep patterns, or some sort of infection-related body response.  It's worth asking.  I can count the number of dry nights he's ever had on one hand, and most mornings his diaper weighs a ton.  He's nearly four and I don't want him to be the kid that wets the bed at the sleepover, you know?  I did buy him a special clock that tells him when it's time to get up, so I may start using that and take the doorknob safety thing off of his door and see if he can handle the responsibility of an open door all night, if only to encourage him to use the potty.  Speaking of which, I think I'm about ready to move the potty out of the bathroom and get him using the toilet full time.  I can't say I'm ready to have him standing up full time, but perhaps we can practice at bedtime or something.  Ugh.

2) Low pulse-ox - This is where the doctor is going to think I'm nuts, but perhaps his current illness may help my case.  So, I read this story on a blog about a baby that died suddenly at only a few days old because it had a heart defect.  The mother is now crusading to make pulse ox checks on babies mandatory, because it can catch heart defects that restrict good oxygen flow.  In theory it would have saved her baby.  Now, Jacob probably could have used one of those as well, judging by the fact that a few hours after he was born a nurse whisked him away when she noticed his breathing was off.  The diagnosis then was fluid in his lungs, and I have absolutely no reason to doubt that.  However...in the years that have followed, we've noticed an odd trend.  Seemingly every time we've gone to a doctor and they've done a pulse ox check on him, they've had a heck of a time getting a good reading.  They always blame it on something, but it's happened so frequently that part of me wonders if it's not a coincidence.  Then, back in January when he puked and was diagnosed with strep and pneumonia all in the same week, he and Craig were at the doctor's office for hours because his pulse ox didn't come up to where they expected it would despite numerous breathing treatments.  I know he was sick, but the fact that his body didn't respond like they thought it would makes me wonder if there isn't something else happening here.  Maybe we're just more nervous now, but the fact that this illness appears to have made him similarly lethargic is weighing on our minds.  Anyway, knowing that Jacob has a long life of sports ahead of him, I want to make for darn sure that there's no way that his pulse ox problems could be related to any sort of heart defect.  So many kids die of undetected defects while playing sports, and the fact that this could be our only hint makes me think it's wise to ask.  They'll think I'm one of those crazy moms who Googles every illness, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I'm also very interested to see where he is on the growth curve, because he's really outgrowing his 4T clothes quickly! 

In other news, I got some positive news on the baby-making front today.  Nothing to officially report, but my body seems responsive to some of the treatment, so it at least sets the stage for possible success.  There's some other stuff that plays into it, of course--timing, luck, another treatment, GOD--but if nothing else this was a good sign.  Even if it doesn't work this time around, it makes me less fearful of having to do it again because everything seems to be working right so far.  On a related note, I find the experience of going to a fertility doctor a little odd.  It's just weird to know that everyone is there for a reason, though you don't know what level of reason--slight dysfunction like me, major problems, already pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy--there's just no way of knowing.  And that's fine, of course, because it's none of anyone's business, but it's weird knowing that everyone there shares some form of the same problem, but you don't know to what degree you may have that problem in common so there's no comfortable way to be social in the waiting room or anything like that.  It's fine, and thankfully not life-threatening or anything awful like that, but it's just different.

Anyway, wish us luck all around :)  Just hoping for Jacob's sake that he's better soon... 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A little golf and #800!

Over the weekend, Jacob and I spent some time with my parents while Craig was up in Hamilton.  We won't see my parents for Father's Day weekend (their fault, not mine!) so it was nice to get a little time with them while we could.  Saturday was a pretty good day, despite some unexpectedly questionable weather.  It was supposed to be a gorgeous day after some morning rain, but much of the day turned out to be a dud.  We got some outside time in in the morning--Jacob played sports with my mom and I took a quick run, which was great.  After nap, the weather was cool but the rain had stopped, so we headed off to the golf course so Jacob could get some practice in on the putting green. 
Look at the big boy carrying his own clubs!

I don't know what it is about this picture, but something about Jacob's face is totally reminding me of something genetic--but I can't really tell if it's me, specifically, or throwbacks to my parents' younger days, or what.  Genes are so weird.
Jacob was having a little trouble taking direction this time, but when he decided to listen, the results were pretty good!  Here he is taking a shot just off the green, using his driver...
You can see the ball just off to the right, about halfway up...not bad for a not-even-four-year-old!
Back on the putting green, Jacob's antics were cracking us up.  All over the green there were little piles of dirt, smaller than a dime.  According to my mom, it's where the worms pop up out of the ground.  Here's Jacob studying one a little more closely...
Getting a closer look...
And the best part--most of the time when he made a putt, he did this:

The kid already knows how to salute the crowd...even if he doesn't know that that's what he's actually doing.
That kid is something else.

So, in other news, this is post #800!  It's hard to believe, but that's quite an amazing feat, I think.  When I started doing this, I did it because I thought it would be great for out-of-town family and friends to follow my pregnancy.  I hoped to continue it once Jacob was born, but even back then when I wasn't that into the blogosphere, I was well-aware that the best of intentions for blogs and websites often aren't enough to keep things going.  I've seen a lot of blogs get started and then trail off when people get bored of it or too busy, and I just didn't want to be one of those people.  Turns out I shouldn't have worried.  Even if I stopped blogging tomorrow--which I won't do because things are hopefully just about to get good again (fingers crossed)--I've put in a good 4-1/2 years of this, enough to give Jacob some reading material years down the road.  I've covered the first four years of his life and his time in utero.  I just hope I can do the same for another baby one of these days. 

What I do here isn't exceptional--mommy bloggers are a dime a dozen and many of them are far more eloquent than I--but I am proud of what I've done here.  I treasure the fact that I have a chronicle of this life-changing period of time.  It's part diary, part baby book, part therapy.  It's been quite a ride over these last 800 posts, and I can't even fathom how things might change in the next 800.  Only time will tell...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Epic Battle

If you're a parent, you've probably heard the advice, "Choose your battles wisely," more times than you can count.  And sure, it's good advice.  You don't want to battle your kid on little stuff when there are bigger (and far more important) fish to fry.  However, when the time comes it's sometimes pretty hard to distinguish between little stuff and seemingly little stuff with bigger implications.  It may not seem like a big deal if your kid wrestles out of your grasp in a store, but if you don't make an issue of it there will it come back to haunt you in the parking lot?  If you don't stop your toddler from still-age-appropriate food-throwing, will they have evidence to think it's OK when they're older?  Long story short, there's a gray area there where it may not seem like a big deal at the time, but over time, the implications aren't good.  So where and when do you actually draw the line?

Two years ago we bought a house with a pool.  I never wanted a pool...ever.  In fact, there were times I filtered my real estate search results to houses with no pools, and during our most recent hunt two years ago, I loosened that to no in-ground pools, just because they're harder to take out.  At least if we found the perfect house with an above ground pool, all it would take is some time, a Craigslist posting, and some grass seed to get rid of it if need be.  Well...we found the perfect house....and it had an above ground pool.  Ugh.  We've spent the last two summers battling it--from a stubborn algae problem one summer to constant debris on the bottom last year, from sprung leaks and stolen covers to opening and closing issues--and it's been a tough ride.  But on those days when it's 90 degrees out and the pool is a perfect retreat after yard work, or when I take a quick dip on a quiet evening after my workout, it's absolute bliss.  Those few moments are not necessarily good enough reasons to keep the pool and spend what we spend to keep it running.  However, I'm hesitant to take it down because I worry that one day in about five years, Jacob will be like, "We had a pool and you got rid of it?!"  Because what all-American kid wouldn't want to spend every waking moment during the summer swimming?  Well...ours, apparently. 

Right now Jacob would probably be thrilled if we took down the pool and turned our backyard into a tiny Field of Dreams.  Put second base where the pool filter sits now and we'd have a happy kid.  Of course, if the pool keeps pulling stunts like it did overnight (filter was on when some tubing split, sending six inches of pool water spraying into our backyard), it might not be there for long anyway.  But regardless...suffice it to say that Jacob has no use for our pool.  In fact, last summer I don't think he went in it at all.  He's been in pools here and there since he was born, and while he wasn't particularly adventurous, he always seemed to like it.  Once he got too big for the little inflatable baby boats but not quite skilled enough to keep his head up with just floaties on, I honestly wasn't quite sure what to do with him.  So, last summer, when he was more interested in playing sports than getting in the pool, I decided the battle to get him into his suit just wasn't worth it and let it go.  Now, for many reasons, I'm kicking myself.

Craig's parents have a pool, too--a nice, warm, heated pool--and Jacob's cousins spend a LOT of time in it.  They're absolute fish!  His cousin that just turned six doesn't need any floatation devices anymore, and even the almost-five-year-old is fearless, jumping in and playing around with a life vest on.  And then there's Jacob.  Jacob is absolutely petrified of the water.  Now that we own a pool I'm kicking myself that we never did the Water Babies swim class when he was a baby, and I'm not even sure I know where to begin on teaching him to swim.  Why?  Well, because he will not willingly go in the water.

We'd been telling him for a while that he needed to start learning to go into the pool, and yesterday we were determined to make it happen, if only to get him in, show him it was fine, and be done.  It took a good TWO HOURS of arguing and physically forcing him into his suit and into the water.  He was so tired from the first round of fighting us that he fell asleep in the middle of the battle!  The second he woke up and realized he was in his swim trunks (that we put on him after he fell asleep, since he fell asleep buck naked!), he immediately started whining and insisted again that he wasn't going in.  Oh, and in the midst of this, Craig and I were having a battle of our own about how far to push things and possible punishments for him if he didn't go in.  It got that bad.

Now, here's the thing.  Why should he have to go in the pool?  Obviously this was getting to be borderline traumatizing for him.  He had a fear--an irrational, unfounded one, as he's never had a memorably bad pool experience--and it was obvious it was bothering him.  Perhaps it wasn't wise to push the issue.  BUT...there were two things nagging at me telling me we had to do this.  First, if he has a tantrum this big and eventually gets his way, he'll only learn that tantrums work.  Second, he's not going to be able to go through life without having to confront the pool issue.  Particularly since there's one in his backyard, and his grandparents have one that his cousins spend a ton of time in.  As he grows up, he'll have friends that know he has a pool and will want to come over and expect to swim.  He will be invited to pool parties.  He will probably have to swim in gym class.  And in the event that he's ever around any body of water, we want him to be able to swim, just in case.  He can't avoid it forever, and it seemed to me that if we let him off the hook this time, it would continue to be a worry, the worry would build, and the next time we pushed it, it would be even worse.  We just wanted to get him in, let him see he was fine, and hopefully build on that for next time.

After his impromptu nap, I continued to talk to him as calmly as possible, explaining to him that I would hold on to him the whole time, that he wouldn't get splashed, and that he'd be fine.  Somehow I got sunscreen on him, and then had to drag him outside, kicking and screaming the whole way.  He continued right up until we were in the water, at which point he realized it was funny to splash his hands in the water and then eased up a bit.  He still wouldn't let go of me for anything, which was fine with me because I didn't mind the bonus hugs.  By the end I did manage to get him on his belly and kicking a bit, so hopefully he's up for more of that once we get our pool back up and running. 

I made sure to praise him a lot for his bravery, and I'm hoping the experience at least got him past his initial fear.  I don't know if that will translate to him actually wanting to go into the pool (he's insisting he'll just go in that pool, not ours), but at least now he's got evidence that we're not going to let him off the hook easily when he doesn't want to go in.  I'm planning to get him a highly rated flotation device, a cool new bathing suit, and a pool basketball hoop, so hopefully those things will help. 
To be fair, I wasn't much of a water person back when I was a kid, and I'm still not a fan of getting water in my face unexpectedly.  I spent much of my childhood sitting on the ladder of my grandma's pool, and only got more comfortable in the water when our neighbors had a pool (a COLD pool) and I spent a lot of time there.  I can go under okay but I still have to plug my nose and can't open my eyes.  So I know where he's coming from, and he apparently comes by it honestly.  But I'm not asking him to be a scuba diver.  I just want him to be able to swim safely and have fun with other people when the opportunity arises.

Not gonna lie, though...it was a pretty horrible experience to get him in there.  After it was all over, there was a pretty good sense of satisfaction on both sides. I'm just praying we don't have to do that again.  But if I do, I will.  There's no turning back now.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

You know it's time for another baby when...

...you miss having a good angle from which to wipe a little butt.

...you yearn for a child that will not talk back, yell, or ask a million questions in response to everything you say to them.

...you miss having a child that stays in one place for more than five seconds at a time.

...you miss being snuggled and having the power to rock your child to sleep when it's convenient.

...the mere sight of a cute baby instantly makes you forget about sleep deprivation and labor pains.

...every newborn photo session you see on Facebook makes you want to take notes, hoard possible props, and figure out your camera's best settings so you can save money and just do it yourself.  Ha!

...you start feeling guilty or anxious about the bins of clothes taking up space in the basement (or in my case, the crawl space.  There's room for them, but there's just SO many.).

...you're getting bored with your workouts and need a change (and/or an excuse to do less).  Just think of all the goals you can set for yourself once you can go all out again!

...you miss your maternity clothes.

...your kid is definitely acting like an only child.

...you're hesitant to unsubscribe from all of the baby store emails you get, because you dread the thought of resubscribing all over again in a few months.

...your "baby" has stopped calling you "Mommy" and "Daddy" and has moved on to "Mom" and "Dad" much of the time.  Seriously, you're not even four and you're that grown up?

...you figure that if you're going to go through pregnancy, sleep deprivation, energetic toddlerhood, and all of the other stresses you've been through in the last few years again, you really should get them out of the way now, because you're just not getting any younger.

...you freak out about all of the hard parts of new babies that you're not thinking about and the crippling fear of having to manage a challenging, energetic child and a newborn baby...and decide you still want to do it anyway.  What's more, you're willing to resort to decidedly unsexy measures to try to make it happen. 

So, judging by this criteria, I guess it's time for another baby.  Some stuff is happening this week in our quest, so needless to say I am hoping to take extra good care of myself and hope my body does what it's supposed to do, with a little help from the medical community.  There are a lot of things that could go wrong--or less than ideal--so I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic.  We have up to six  tries with this method before things get a little more desperate.  Let's hope it doesn't take that long.  On the bright side, if we do need a few tries, maybe all the waiting will make summer feel a little longer than usual!  Always looking for the bright side...