Wednesday, January 25, 2017

a year from now, take two.

A year ago today, I wrote a post about daydreams coming true, about how my hopes were starting to manifest and become real life. It felt precarious, so I felt wary, wondering whether or not I should actually believe it was all happening. 

So I'm back to tell myself, from today's vantage point, to believe it, baby.

I am fully enmeshed in this dream life I didn't even know I could wish for. Naturally, because it's me, my anxiety is sitting right next to me, leaning in to read my words and warning me that if I write about how happy I am, that happiness is automatically doomed to disappear. 

But what's taken me so long to learn (what I'm still learning) is that happiness isn't solely dependent on circumstances. I'm not sure how my happiness would fare in the face of illness and death and despair, but does it help to worry about that right now? Or is it better to practice gratitude for all that's real and true? Whatever the vehicle for my current happiness is - luck, hard work, big choices, prioritizing, randomness - what matters is that it's here right now. And instead of caving to my anxiety, who's shaking its head and clucking that posting this is a karmic strike against me, I'm going to indulge in a little exercise. 

According to my blog, here's how January 25, 2016, rolled along. 

  • My two-year-old woke up at her new-normal time of 7:15 (not 5:00!) and chattered in her crib for awhile.
  • I kissed my husband goodbye as he headed out for a job that didn't exist in January 2015.
  • I had a debate with my sweet girl about semantics...which kinda blew my mind. [I remember this - it was when we argued whether I was wiping the counter up or down, never mind off.]
  • Rowan and I went to story time at the library, where she was one of the "big kids."
  • At the library, I met up with a friend to drop off three paintings I made for her kids.
  • I spent nap time applying to a preschool for Rowan; commiserating with my mom group friends about toddler drama; and accepting a writing position with a local organization that I totally loved and admired.
  • While Rowan was at Grandma's house in the afternoon, I swung by the post office to mail off another painting order.
  • And I listened to an NPR segment about the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination, who was...wait for it...Donald Trump.
  • At 8:45 that night, while I was trying to finish a blog post (for the blog that I actually updated regularly!), I had to go upstairs to tuck my daughter back in, because she was still awake and her pillow was "too high."

It was an unremarkable day, ordinary and pleasant - and completely unbelievable to me circa January 2015. I couldn't believe that I'd been hired as a writer, that I was running an Etsy shop, that my baby was such a kid, that life was so...easy. Not that it wasn't hard at times. I mentioned parenting issues, deep worries, ongoing grief. But my day-to-day existence was exactly what I always wanted. Not only was it not a constant, crushing struggle, but it was enjoyable. Easy.

And so I dared to dream some more. I dared to imagine what today would be like, January 25, 2017. Bear in mind that a lot of these bullets really felt a little silly - like, how could these things possibly become my life? 

Here's what I dreamed, a year ago today, in comparison to how today actually went:
  • Your three-year-old will sleep past 7:30, which is great, because you're due with Baby No. 2 soon, and you need all the sleep you can get.
    • Well, we woke her up at 7:00, which is the best way to ensure that we all get work/school on time.
  • You'll kiss your husband goodbye as he heads out for the job that he still can't believe he gets to go to.
    • Yep.
  • You'll have a debate with your sweet girl about hurrying up on the potty.
    • Yep.
  • You'll drop Rowan off at her co-op preschool, and you'll head back home to do some quick chores. And, let's be real, to spend some quality time with Netflix.
    • Usually, yes, although today I accompanied her on a preschool field trip, which was super fun. Monday was exactly that, though: I ran some errands, worked on a painting at home, and prepped some quinoa and veggies for later before going to pick Rowan up.
  • You'll spend afternoon nap time counting your lucky stars that your three-year-old naps at all...and getting some work done. You have writing deadlines coming up and blog sponsors to respond to.
    • Yes and no. Yes, she still typically naps (and she puts herself to sleep, as opposed to me having to rock/walk her to sleep). But there are no deadlines or sponsors to deal with for now. I'm actually kinda cool with that - there are enough other irons in the fire for now.
  • While Rowan is at Grandma's house in the afternoon, you'll run some baby-related errands. You'll spot an adorable newborn outfit and you won't feel guilty dropping $20 on it, because you're no longer needing to pinch every single solitary penny.
    • Ha! Oh yes. Rowan is heading to Grandma's later this afternoon - for dinner...and a sleepover...and a trip to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow morning. YAAASSS. I probably won't run any baby errands while she's at Grandma's, but the fact is that if I stumbled on the perfect newborn outfit? I might just buy it. We're still pinching pennies, don't get me wrong. Just not every single one.
  • And you'll listen to an NPR segment about President Sanders's new student loan forgiveness policy. Hooray, you qualify!
    • Okay, swing and a miss on this one.
  • At 8:45 that night, Rowan will be long asleep, and you'll be finishing some more work (from the couch, natch). Funny how you spend just as much time writing/working as you did in January 2016, but that now you're making a respectable living from it!
    • Essentially, yes. At 8:45 tonight, I'll be just getting home from my last Mindfulness in Parenting class, which I've been taking with some friends since September. Rowan may or may not be asleep at that point, but I don't really care, since she'll be at Grandma's! I'll come home and hang out with J.J., go to bed, and sleep alllll night.


I wasn't that far off from what I predicted, right? I mean, aside from the whole "President Sanders" thing. Polar opposite on that one. Otherwise? Pregnant. Potty-trained preschooler. Pinching fewer pennies. Alone time with J.J.

It's everything I ever wanted. (Again, aside from the United States crumbling to its death under the weight of pipelines and walls.)

So...how about next year? January 2018? Care to dream?
  • Your seven-month-old will wake up a little before 7:00, which is pretty typical. He mostly sleeps through the night, though not always. You'll snuggle in bed and nurse, which has been unbelievably easy this time around. Boob, bottle, breast milk, formula - he's not picky, just feed him. He won't wake up your four-year-old with his coos and giggles (seriously, happiest and most easygoing baby EVER), but your husband will wake her up anyway because it's a school day for her.
  • You'll kiss your husband goodbye as he heads out for the job he still can't believe he gets to go to. It blew UP this past year, in the best way possible, and there's still so much more potential.
  • You'll drop your daughter off at her beloved co-op preschool. You'll run a couple errands, and the baby will fall asleep in the car on the way back home. You'll bring his car seat inside and work on a few Etsy orders while he sleeps (or...you'll just nap, too. Either way).
  • You'll manage to sync the baby's afternoon nap with Rowan's "rest time," where she sometimes sleeps but mostly just chills and looks at books. You'll just be glad for some non-contact time, so you'll catch up on Facebook and blogs for awhile.
  • Grandma will take BOTH kids that afternoon, which is perfect because you'll have a consulting appointment at a child care center, which you'll be doing once or twice a week. Pennies are a wholllllllllle lot looser these days, which feels amazing.
  • And you'll listen to an NPR segment about how President Pence's cabinet is shaping up as the nation tries to recover from the Trump debacle. [I mean, the thought of President Pence is scary, too, but not quite as terrifying as Trump already is.]
  • At 8:45 that night, the kids will be asleep. You'll be relaxing with your husband, working on a blog post, and reflecting on how this entire day was last year's dream come true.


Instead of being scared to dream at all, now I'm wondering if I'm not dreaming big enough, if I'm not taking big enough leaps.

Maybe that's the best part of all of this - beyond the day-to-day happenings, I'm finding myself mostly in a state of equanimity. Which, by the way, is the opposite of anxiety, answering a question I posed awhile ago.

But more on that another time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

halfway there.

Somehow, I'm already halfway through this pregnancy. I've actually had two different people remark that my pregnancy is going so fast this time - for them. Ha! But really, it's going quickly for me, too. On the one hand, yay! Being preggo isn't quite as sparkly and magical this time around, so I'm cool with it going quickly. On the other hand...craaaaap. I know what's waiting for me on the other side of this belly. Sleep deprivation. Throbbing nipples (not just a punk band anymore!). Hormonal roller coasters. Sleep deprivation. Trying to soothe a sensitive new big sister. Brain fog. Sleep deprivation.

Also, you know, hopefully a sweet little baby to help smooth out all the rough spots. Because oy, those first two weeks...well, six weeks...well, six months - those can be rough. 

Buuuut let's back it up to now and let Future Cathy deal with the newborn phase when it's here. For now, I'm halfway there, even though early June seems much farther away than 20 more weeks. In general, I'm feeling good. No more sickness at all, thank god. The heart palpitations that were getting increasingly annoying have waned, and the cardiologist said they were nothing to worry about. Not much pelvic girdle pain yet, and not really any pain in general. The only time I get super uncomfortable is when I drink a lot all at once. It's especially bad if I'm active after drinking a lot - then I get fairly intense contractions. GOOD. TIMES.

The hardest part right now is dealing with how big I feel. Rationally, I know I'm not huge, but my belly feels huge all the time - as if I can feel it actively stretching. Which, duh, it IS. But I don't remember being aware of the feeling so acutely when I was pregnant with Rowan. The constant stretching sensation makes me super self-conscious, like everyone must be staring and watching my belly expand in real time. I feel like my belly is just hanging off of me, rather than being attached to me - and it's not such a comfy feeling, you know? My bellybutton is already popping out (more like flopping out), thanks to being all stretched out from the first time around. I distinctly remember feeling cute at this point with Rowan; right now, I do not feel cute. I feel like I did at the very end - like I am 10% me and 90% BELLY.

Like I said, rationally, I know I'm not enormous. I'm pretty sure I weigh more at this point than I did 20 weeks in with Rowan, but I don't remember the numbers, and it can't be that much more. And, real talk, it's often around this point of every winter, pregnant or not, that I start feeling like a stranger in my own body, following a few months of being shut inside and avoiding movement and snuggling with chocolate chocolate alllll the chocolate. I also know that if I really cared, I'd get up and starting moving more often. Instead? Netflix. 

It also helps to look at photo comparisons.

(last week)


(at 20 weeks with Rowan)

So, whatever. It's in my head. I realize that. Either way, getting off my ass once in a while probably wouldn't be a bad thing. OH. And there's the matter of my one pregnancy craving: McDonald's french fries. I mean, look. I eat well in general. Whole foods, clean foods. This is my breakfast pretty much every day:

That would be a hardboiled egg and avocado, mashed with fresh lemon juice and dijon mustard, on rye bread, alongside an orange julius green smoothie - full-fat vanilla yogurt, half an orange, and a bunch of spinach. DELICIOUS. Lunch is usually a salad, dinner is usually veggies and quinoa in some combination. I do have my sugar vice, but french fries? The last time I had french fries from McDonald's before this pregnancy was...I literally can't remember. It's not that I never eat fast food; it's just that McDonald's has no options for me as a vegetarian, unless I want a meal of french fries and a milkshake (not gonna lie, I've definitely done that). These days, though, I have large fries like once or twice a week. 

For your viewing pleasure: a series of text messages I sent to J.J. a couple weeks ago, after Rowan was in bed one night. He was in the other room when my craving hit.

Thank you, J.J., for fulfilling my french fry needs, that night and so many other nights. (That sounds way dirtier than I meant it to. I really just mean that he went to McDonald's and got me lots of french fries.)

Finally (apparently less important than my body image issues and my french fry addiction, based on the fact that I'm mentioning it last), we had our big anatomy scan last week. We already knew the sex, of course, but we were excited to see what Baby Boy's looking like these days, and hopefully to get some reassurance that everything looks typical. Which it does! No weird bilobed placenta this time, measuring right on schedule, and nothing of concern to docs. 

It looks like he has Rowie's chin (aka my chin)! In fact, he looks a lot like Rowan's ultrasound pics around this point in general. He was super cooperative for pictures - the tech called him a "model baby" - so I'm just going to project that personality trait onto him and assume that he is and will always be cooperative. Let me have my dreams, okay? My dreams...and my fries.

Friday, January 20, 2017

thanks, Obama.

I was scrolling through Facebook on my laptop this morning, and pretty much every picture was of President Obama. Rowan looked up and started asking questions. This is our conversation (I started typing it while we chatted).

Rowan: Who's that?

Me: That's President Obama.

R: Oh. Is he the good one or the bad one?

Me: [Trying not to overstate things and also trying to hold my tears back] He's the BEST one.

R: Why is he the best?

Me: Because he's the kindest and smartest president we've ever had.

R: [A pause] Not like Donald Trumpet? He's the mean one. [I didn't even know she remembered Trump's name, let alone his association with Obama.]

Me: Well, I hope that Donald Trump can change his behavior, because everybody can change their behavior. He can choose to be kind and smart.

R: Yeah! Can I make a letter? Write a letter?

Me: Yes. Do you want crayons or markers?

R: Crayons.

[I set her up next to my laptop with crayons and paper.]

Me: I was saying I hope he chooses to be kind and smart. Don't you?

R: Or bad. He can choose whatever he chooses! I bet he chooses to be bad, bad, bad. Do you think?

Me: I think he might sometimes be bad, but hopefully we can all help him choose to be kind. How do you think we can help him?

R: I thiiiink...by being kind to him like Cindy Lou Who was kind to the Grinch, so he could stop being so grouchy.

Me: [Dying inside] That sounds like a great idea. Is that what you're writing in your letter?

R: Yep! What else?

Me: Well, what else do you want to write in your letter?

R: I know what will help him! By being kind to him. To Donald Trumpet.

Me: What kinds of things can we do to be kind to him?

R: To be helpful and make lots of money.


Me: How will making lots of money help?

R: To feel better.

Me: I don't think just making money makes people feel better.

R: Why?

Me: Well, what are things that help YOU feel better?

R: Taking a deep breath. And also by having a hug to help you feel better.

Me: So maybe if we help him take a deep breath? And give him a hug? [EW FALSE]

R: Yes. Mm-hmm. I'm going to write those down from you [I think she meant "for you"] so I don't forget. [Continues writing her letter for awhile, then turns the paper over.] I'm drawing pink on this side. Because it's my faaaavorite color! In case we're ever scared and I can just look at this in my big girl room!


When Rowan's playing with her friends, I remind her of these things: If someone is doing something you don't like, tell them to stop. If they don't stop, yell NO as loud as you can. If they still don't stop, ask for help. Let's set that example for her, for all of them. If someone is doing something you don't like, tell them to stop. Then yell it. Then ask for help. Join forces and carry on the legacy of President Obama that we claim to be so proud of, the one he charged us with advancing. As he said, "The single most powerful word in our democracy is 'we.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.' Yes, we can."

Yes, we can. We care because we're good people. We're afraid because we know what's possible. But those are also the exact reasons why we'll fight: Because we're good people, and because we know what's possible. Like even the impossible - say, eight consecutive years of a Black president. I don't know what the fight will look like yet, but it starts with each of us.

Today, we grieve. Today, we fear. Today, we say good-bye.

Tomorrow we march. Tomorrow we fight.

President Obama: "I'm asking you to believe - not in my ability to create change, but in yours."

Yes, we can. Still.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

internet karma strikes again.

I should know better than to write a post about our nine krillion doctor appointments. Especially when I'm whining about all those appointments, most of which are well-checks. And especially at a time when 20 million people are at imminent risk of having zero health insurance AT ALL.

But I did, and was rewarded with a long weekend (emphasis on the loooong) of Rowan and the Mysterious and Unpredictable Recurring Gastro Illness. I'd spare you the details, but then this post would just be a string of random photos, and also you'd run the grave risk of surviving your day without hearing all about some vomit, and what fun would that be?

The above picture was taken about 12 hours before the first...incident. It was Thursday, which is just an annoying day in general since we have no regularly scheduled morning activities, and since by Thursday we're both pretty sick of each other and everything in the house. Plus, it's been freezing outside, but there's no actual snow to play in, so we've been outside, like, none. Being the resourceful woman that I am, I decided to bust out the above activity (which, it turns out, I also did almost exactly two years ago). I figured it would keep her busy most of the afternoon, and then we'd be golden until bedtime.

Which we were.

But I didn't know I should have saved my energy for dealing with activities like this for the next few days. I SHOULD have known. Full moon, Friday the 13th, a recent blog post wherein I whined like an insufferable twat about all our doctor appointments...

Around three in the morning on Friday, Rowan called me into her room. She started doing this a couple times a night towards the end of this past summer, and it has been a BITCH of a habit to break. This time, she told me she had to pee, which is super rare for her in the night, but not unheard of. Then she called me back in about 20 minutes later and said she was coughing, so she needed water. We have a strict no-water-after-bedtime rule (instituted only after such privileges were heinously abused), so I denied her, and she started wailing and complaining that her tummy hurt. Honestly, I didn't think much of it. She has middle-of-the-night annoying episodes like this every once in a while. Plus, I was selfish and tired. I tucked her back in like the evil hydration-withholding witch that I am and went back to bed.

Aaaand was promptly called back in about five minutes later to find her sitting in a pile of vom. Which, of course, is gross for anyone to experience, but being pregnant just ratcheted the awesomeness factor WAY up for me. Luckily, it wasn't too gross (KIDDING, IT WAS MEXICAN QUINOA FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE AND I WANTED TO SET EVERYTHING ON FIRE TO MAKE THE SMELL DEPART MY NOSTRILS). Not only that, but as soon as I walked in - before I even had a chance to process what was happening - I could see that she was about to hurl again, so I plopped onto her bed -  you know, right in the pile - and caught the next round in my hands.

For those of you thinking you'd never do such a thing? Well, friends, these hands are my hands, these hands are your hands, and I can pretty much guarantee that if you ever have kids, you'll eventually be in a situation where your instincts guide you to catch some puke in your easily-washable hands, rather than deal with the aftermath of having a yarf-soaked bed or car seat or rug.

My poor girl. This is only Rowan's second time having "the throw-ups," as she calls them. She looked all tiny and miserable in her big bed while I scraped the first layer of spew off her sheets (note to self: order a waterproof mattress protector already, good lord). Then she perked up a little and said, "Last time I had the throw-ups, I got to watch A LOT of Daniel Tiger, right, Mommy?" Sweet baby, always finding the bright side. "Sure, honey bear," I said. "But it's still the middle of the night, so we're just going to clean up and go back to bed. We'll watch LOTS of Daniel Tiger in the morning, okay?" She was cool with that plan and fell right back to sleep after a quick sheet change (note to self: order an extra set of twin-sized sheets already, good lord), a baby wipe bath, and fresh jammies. 

I tossed a load of laundry in and went back to bed, too, but I never fell back asleep. Somewhere around five or so, she called me again, and I think I was in her room before she even finished the second syllable of "Mommy." She seemed fine, though, just awake for the day, and we ended up snuggling and giggling until a little after six. Then, suddenly, she got super quiet and sat up straight. "Rowie, do you have some throw up coming?" I asked. "Yessss," she said, and hurl she did - but all in the trash can I had at the ready! Woooo! Talk about underrated parenting milestones.

After cleaning up Round Two, we set up camp on the couch and ended up watching hours of Daniel Tiger, as promised.

She didn't barf again that day or that night OR the next day, so I figured we were in the clear. On Saturday night, I had the best sleep I've had since the summer, no joke. Between Rowan's nighttime wake-up habit and frequent pregnancy-related wakings, I haven't slept through the night - like, the entire night, without even checking the time or thinking about having to pee - in recent memory. But I did on Saturday. In fact, I was sleeping so deeply that I didn't hear Rowan call for me a couple times between five and six on Sunday morning. J.J. heard her, but he said it didn't sound urgent and she quieted down right away both times, so he figured it was all good.

It was not all good. She called again close to seven, at which point J.J. went to get her, which finally woke me up. I went in, too, and she said she had to pee. I took her to the bathroom. She was in a great mood, and we chatted about what kind of cookie she was going to eat as a reward for sleeping all night without calling me unnecessarily (because yeah we stooped to bribery, and you know what, it freaking works or at least some of the time so you hush right up). Then we went back to her bedroom, where all of a sudden she collapsed on the carpet and started wailing. "What's the matter, honey?" I asked, not sure if I should be annoyed (at her tantrumming over something unknown and probably ridiculous) or concerned (at her level of upset). Just to be safe: "Rowan? Do you need to throw up?" "Yeahhhh!" she moaned. 

And so I scooped her off the rug (practicality first!) and deposited her on the wooden hallway floor, snatched the trash can from our room, and thrust it under her chin just in the nick of time. (This time, it was pesto pasta that somehow looked and smelled exactly like the burrito bowl with queso that I sometimes get at Qdoba but will never even think about again except to write it here in this blog right now). 

Thus, another day of Daniel Tiger and movies.

J.J. was a good parent and actually got her involved in a few activities during the day, including her current favorite board game, Hoot Owl Hoot. It's a cooperative game and it's super cute, even though it goes against my every instinct to beat everyone I'm playing with, including my preschool-aged daughter.

She didn't barf again all day Sunday or during that night, so I thought - THOUGHT - we were in the clear to go to an indoor play place on Monday morning, more than 24 hours since her final retch sesh. She had a great time pretending to be Rey from Star Wars and flying a space ship at Kidopolis in Ann Arbor:

She also tried on various masks and dresses, played with fire hoses and toy phones, and generally spread her germs on EVERY SINGLE SURFACE in the joint before going home, eating lunch, and refusing to nap. Refusing, as it turns out, because her stomach was roiling once again.

The next six hours were spent pretty much toilet-side for me, while I explained what "diarrhea" was to my three-year-old, who was quite concerned that something vile was exiting her body that had the word "die" in it. Once again at bedtime, I lined her mattress and floor with towels, and I actually put a diaper on her for the night at my sister-in-law's genius suggestion. That way, if we didn't quite make it to the potty in time overnight, we wouldn't have such a mess to clean up. Or, at least, the mess would be contained. 

I really thought I was in for a night of frequent toilet trips with Rowan, given that she'd felt the urge every five to 10 minutes since two that afternoon. Thankfully, though, the lack of nap and the rough afternoon wore her out enough that her body let her rest for the night. She woke up this morning cheerful and thrilled that we were having a random January thunderstorm, and she shared her theories of electrical conductivity with me. (She actively opposes my assertion that her yellow lamp is not exclusively powered by lightning, claiming that, "The electricity in lightning is the same electricity in our lights. The lightning gets sucked up into a pole, and then it slides down the pole and turns into lights and goes into our house!" With that kind of knowledge, she's probably overqualified to be Trump's Energy Secretary. Maybe just a consultant?)

I did NOT take her public this morning, having learned my lesson yesterday. Instead we...wait for it...

...watched some MORE TV (she's moved on from Daniel Tiger to Curious George over the course of the last few days). To be fair, she also played in her sensory table...

...and practiced using the edge of our kitchen stair as a balance beam, complete with pole-dancing interludes.

She's napping now, and I am crossing my damn fingers that the plague has left us. I've never been so grateful for (1) on-site laundry and (2) bleach wipes. Oh, and, you know, the fact that my family is not in danger of losing our health insurance simply because certain politicians are more interested in dismantling an imperfect program for the sake of making a statement than they are in coming up with an alternative plan to replace the imperfect plan before cutting off TWENTY MILLION PEOPLE from health care, which will actually, LITERALLY kill some of them. To those politicians, I say, I hope you catch Qdoba-scented vomit with your face, and that it makes you sick, and that you are forced to recognize how important it is to have access to medical care.

And that's part of why we'll march this weekend. Still choosing between Lansing, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and staying home to avoid the super weird contractions I've been getting whenever I exert myself physically, but the plan is to march. Also, to stay healthy in the meantime.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

an apple a day, a doctor a day.

Apparently this is the month of nonstop doctor appointments for my family, and there are two things I now know for sure: one, thank the employment gods that we have stellar insurance and easy access to top-notch health care; and two, I. am. so. over. going. to. the. doctor. I feel like I've gained a little (LITTLE) insight into what (this teeny-weeny segment of) life might be like for people with chronic illnesses. Multiple times a week, we're rearranging our schedules to accommodate doctor visits, many of which are with specialists - meaning, if they say they can see you Tuesday at 1:45, you're gonna be there Tuesday at 1:45, naptime and clients and traffic be damned.

I usually see the doctor zero times per year. Obviously, that changes when I'm pregnant, but even then it's typically just my monthly OB checkups. Somehow, though, in the span of a few weeks, I ended up with a bunch of appointments: regular OB checkup, big anatomy scan for Baby, nephrology follow-up, and cardiology. Oh, and some of these require lab samples ahead of time or 48-hour follow-up visits, bumping my appointment count up some more. That cardiology appointment tomorrow, FYI, is to see if the heart palpitation episodes I've been having multiple times a day are just a normal pregnancy symptom, or if they require more attention. They do not, in my esteemed medical opinion, require any attention, but better safe than sorry. And if there's a way to make them stop, thaaaat would be great, because they're freaking annoying.

As for Rowan, she decided to hop on the doctor bandwagon, too, and has a ton of doctor visits close to each other. We have appointments with both ophthalmology and cardiology to make sure her hypopigmentation isn't associated with a more serious condition, tuberous sclerosis. Basically, they're looking for benign tumors around her eyes and heart. They also checked her kidneys back in September, which were clear, and we just found out her eyes are all clear, too. Hooray! Plus, she was a total champ at the eye doctor. Huge relief, since she still gets a little nervous about going to the doctor. She passed the regular eye exam with flying colors, making the doctor crack up at her enthusiasm for answering all his questions, and she recovered quickly from having to be pinned down to get eye drops for dilation. She thought it was hilarious that everything was getting blurry from the eye drops. Finally, she sat totally still while the doctor examined her enlarged pupils (I was impressed with her, because the doctor smelled funky, and *I* was having a hard time sitting still as a result). 

I might be craning my neck to find a pocket of fresh air.

Next week is her cardiology appointment, which Rowan's actually thrilled about because she still maintains she wants to BE a cardiologist when she grows up. And we narrowly avoided a trip to the ER last week, after Rowan fell off her high footboard (is a footboard a thing? Like a headboard, but at the foot of her bed?) and caught herself on the wood floor with the side of her head. I've never heard such a sickening thump before. Thankfully, she was fine and is now appropriately wary of sitting on forbidden parts of her bed. Although she did manage to fall asleep like this last night:

Hopefully the doctor saturation will ease up once we hit February - which, by the way, is approaching alarmingly fast. We're already almost halfway through January! On the one hand, YAASSSS, get this horrid season of freezing gray slush OVER with. On the other hand? The weeks are flying by. I mean...I'm almost halfway through this pregnancy.

I finally started wearing maternity clothes full-time, which is heavenly. Mostly what took me so long is that I had to sort through five enormous garbage bags and three huge bins full of maternity clothes (mine, my sisters', my friends', plus more that I think just started spontaneously multiplying in our basement because holy shit how did I end up with SO MANY maternity clothes?). I'm not complaining; I'm psyched (and super lucky) to not have to buy any new clothes for this pregnancy. It just took me awhile to muster up the energy to sort through everything. My closet is now stocked with more maternity clothes than it usually is with just regular clothes, and my trunk is currently overflowing with everything that I'm passing on. I should've taken a picture of my sorting system for those of you who are awesome and love that kind of stuff...but just so you know, all the maternity clothes were sorted into categories: will work to wear now; will work for warmer weather; might work for work; and fancy. That was the stuff I KEPT. The rest I'm getting rid of because: they don't or won't fit right; they're not my taste; they had holes or tears; or - and this is a frequent clothing category for me - I just don't know how to wear that. 

Speaking of clothes, my Person, Kristen, who I've mentioned on this blog like twelve jillion times, sent me the absolute sweetest package: freaking adorable baby boy clothes. 


That, coupled with the fact that I can now definitely feel Baby squirming around in there, is making everything seem more real. And, yes, more awesome. I'm starting to feel like I always knew we were having a boy next. I've gotten some of the most heartfelt messages from friends who went through a similar period of cognitive dissonance after finding out the sex of their baby, and it's so helpful to know that it's not just me. Plus? Thinking about some of my favorite big sister/little brother pairs has actually brought me to tears a few times. It's not a bad thing, having a boy; it's just something I needed to get used to, you know?

Stuff like this always helps, too, of course. She's singing specifically to the baby. And try not to get creeped out at the laughter part.

Really hoping all our appointments are uneventful - especially the anatomy scan and Rowan's cardiology check - and doing our best to stay healthy in the meantime. 


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