Monday, May 28, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Lives Hand to Mouth

You have no idea how tempted I am to include pictures in this post.  However, considering not everyone shares my fascination with medical gross-ness, I'll spare you.  Instead, I'll share this image-- a face all of you will undoubtedly make upon reading this story:

Here's a chronology of events.  Warning:  No details have been spared.  A woman in her thirties shares, so here you go:

Two Wednesdays Ago:
I have a conversation with another Mom at Little Gym.  'Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is going around.  Be careful with Anna.'  I smile, nod, and do a couple extra swipes with the hand wipes before leaving.

Last Saturday morning:
AB wakes up with a fever, and is strangely inconsolable all weekend.  I take her in to the doctor on Monday, who confirms she's got the 'Mouth' version of Hand Foot and Mouth.  Poor Pumpkin.  But by Tuesday, she's just fine.

Wednesday morning:
While sitting at Little Gym, a fever hits me like a semi. I turn to my mother-in-law and say, 'Something is wrong with me; I think I'm sick.'  By the afternoon, I am begging her via text to come over, bring Tylenol, and take care of AB.

Thursday morning:
Blisters begin forming on my fingers.  Just a couple.  I can handle this.  L calls from Oregon to tell me he's not feeling well.  I close my ears and try to think about other things.

Thursday night:
Blisters are covering my fingers and are forming quickly on my feet.  Throat feels like I have swallowed knives.  L comes home from his business trip flushed with fever. Oh crap.

Blisters have formed in my nail beds. My feet have swollen to epic proportions, and walking feels like stepping on chards of glass.  I call my Mom in the afternoon and cry.  L discovers his first blisters.  I wonder if we are in the movie Contagion.

Friday night. 1:00am:
The swelling and pain are so bad that I call my doctor.  She tells me that I might have a blood clot and I need to go to the ER.  I spend all night in there, each and every doctor telling me how rare it is that an adult gets Hand Foot and Mouth.  Then they tell me there's nothing they can do, especially since I'm pregnant.  I resist the urge to throw punches.

L and I are a sight.  Neither of us can walk.  Blisters are forming on my ears and elbows. The bottoms of my feet look like someone took a blowtorch to them. AB, however, is doing just fine:

A little leisurely reading with Dan while Mommy and Daddy suffer.

There is hope.  The blisters are changing colors from pink to purple, and they don't feel quite as horrible.  I discover that wearing L's flip-flops helps. Suicide is looking less likely.

L and I are better.  Not 100%, but the fact that I can type this post without wincing is a big step toward recovery.  And for the first time since Wednesday, I am able to stop and be thankful that it was us that got it so badly, and not Anna.  That Yoda is fine and still baking nicely despite all of this.  That I have in-laws who come over at our beck and call when we need them.

And that this, along with this unendingly dramatic pregnancy, is almost over.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Says Cheese

It's true what they say about kids being sponges. I'll refrain from listing Anna's most recent accomplishments (SHE CAN COUNT TO TWELVE!) but I can't resist sharing what she learned recently from Sesame Street.  Elmo's World had an episode about taking pictures, and she learned that in order to take a picture, one must say cheese.

Fun fact-- in Chinese they say 'eggplant', which sounds a lot like 'cheese'.  

Anyway, here's how picture-taking now goes in our house, thanks to Elmo and his cheese-teaching:

Believe me, there is no woman in her thirties that loves Elmo more than I do.  In fact, I'm thinking the Corporation for Public Broadcasting deserves a sizable donation from the C family, in thanks for all their great programming.

But seriously, Elmo, how do we un-teach this?

Oh well.  A woman in her thirties makes do.  My pictures are now sneak attacks, along with a few pilfered images like this one from my mother-in-law:

And as for Elmo, well, he got us through a rough weekend of fevers and unhappiness.  He is forgiven.  Cheese.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is Mom Enough

Full disclosure:  I'm really scared of having a second child. It's not the labor. It's not the breastfeeding (well, maybe a little). It's not even the inevitable sleepless nights. It's the being Mom to two, when there is only one of me. It's the worry that I just don't have enough hands to do all that needs to be done for them. It's the fear that my children might someday feel like there wasn't enough of their Mom to go around.

I have about six weeks left before Yoda makes his big appearance, and while I could be obsessing over what he might look like or what more we can do for his nursery, I've spent the majority of the last week consumed with how Anna is going to handle this change. Will she be mad when she sees her brother for the first time, or will she wait a few days before she unleashes her wrath?  Will she cling to me like a monkey or not want to look at me for doing this to her?  Will I ever stop feeling guilty for dividing my attention between two equally perfect children?

This week I decided to maximize my time with my girl, the last for a very long time where it is just us.  We went to the park:

Checked out the ducks at Centennial Lakes:

Snacked on Cheerios while watching the boats on Lake Bryant:

Went on long walks searching for acorns and ants:

Spent a couple of lazy mornings snuggling in bed:

And I would (and I'm not kidding) find a few moments each day to say, 'I'm sorry, Bubbie, for all the ways I'm not going to be good at this.  I love you, I love you, I love you.  Please find a way to remember it, even when it's hard.'

It's ironic that that ridiculous Time Magazine cover came out this week.  While I couldn't care less who breastfeeds for how long or how Blossom co-sleeps with her children, the title of the article hit me pretty close:  'Are You Mom Enough?'  No, was my initial response.  Other Moms are, but clearly I'm not.  Thanks, Time, for reminding me of that.  Tear.

But then tonight, while Anna flipped through a book on her bedroom floor, I took a second to look at all the pictures I'd taken over the last week of us together.  A woman in her thirties may not be on the cover of Time, she might not have (yet) realized her personal career goals, and she may not exactly be the best-dressed Mom that's ever walked through Target, but she is, in fact, doing some pretty great things.

How does she know that?  Because when she looks at pictures like this:

She will always remember how this was the day that she and her baby girl sat next to each other on a bench, and she described to her how the ducks didn't go away forever; that they would be back.  And in her own, baby way, Anna understood, and smiled.

And in doing so, told her Mom that she was enough.  That she always would be.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Hosts Book Club

I resisted joining a book club for many years.  I've been asked a few times by different people, but I've always come up with an excuse not to.  It hasn't been for lack of time, or even for lack of want.  It's more that I'm a big fat book dork, and I know it.  While I often don't have a preference on, say, what country I might live in or what restaurant we might go to for dinner, the one thing I do have an opinion on is books.  They're kinda my thing.  I always imagined book club to involve having to read books I hate and pretending I like them.  Like college.

The move to Pleasantville coincided with my first joining book club.  P, who's married to L's BFF from since they were in diapers (fine, Underoos), asked me to join, and I finally felt ready.  A woman in her thirties joins book club, right?  But I have to admit I was a little nervous, considering I think The Book Thief is one of the most overrated books of the last several years. (Blasphemy, I know!) I was pretty sure I was going to offend this nice group of women with my first rip on Barbara Kingsolver.  And God forbid they did not share my love of Jonathan Safran Foer.  GOD FORBID.

Three years have passed, and I haven't missed a single book club meeting since joining, not even when AB was three weeks old and I was sure I was going to bleed to death through my nipples.  Book club is once a month sanity for me, a reminder that I do still have the ability to speak intelligently about books even though I'm not teaching anymore.  When I'm not pregnant (which has been only a small percentage of the time in the last  three years), it's a great excuse for multiple glasses of wine on a Wednesday night.  But most importantly, it's a chance to get together with thoughtful, smart women, and do what we do best- talk.  And eat.  And drink. (The stereotypes are true.)

Anyway, last week I hosted.  Usually the host has chosen the book, but in this case the book was chosen by P, called It's All About the Dress. It's a memoir written by Vicky Tiel, who apparently is a big time fashion designer and invented the mini-skirt.  To know me is to know that A), I know nothing about fashion, and B), I care nothing about fashion.  But I have to admit that I enjoyed reading about life through this woman's extraordinarily rose-colored glasses. The word 'orgy' appears several times, which always makes for interesting reading.  And in the middle of her stories about Elizabeth Taylor, Warren Beatty, and Woody Allen, were random recipes she picked up during her very charmed life.  Perfect!

The recipes included a pink tuna salad (dud), a simple vinaigrette (okay), and Fettucine Alfredo (good, but definitely not for the woman in her thirties watching her waistline).  But the real winner to me was Vicky's friend Lisa's Dartois, which is a French apple pie.  Here you are, modified by yours truly, for your eating pleasure:

Lisa's Dartois
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter (cold, but not super cold)
3 large apples (cored and cut into small chunks)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix flour, sugar, butter, and egg with your hands until it's in a big sticky ball.
3. Sprinkle some flour on the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish.  Take half of the dough and cover the bottom and sides of the pan.  No need for a rolling pin-- just use your hands.  Don't worry about making it pretty.
4.  Add apple chunks and sprinkle with cinnamon.
5.  Flatten the rest of the dough into little pieces and cover the apples with it.  Again, don't worry about making it neat. It will all bake and mush together.
6.  Sprinkle more cinnamon on top and bake about 45 min, until the top is lightly brown.

When it comes out it's all apple-crumbly and delicious.  And it seriously took about 20 min to put together.  I served it with ice cream.  Fab!

Thanks, Vicky Tiel!  I never would have read your book if it hadn't been for book club, but I'm glad I did.  Now if only you could send some of those Hollywood connections my way... I've got this book idea, see, and...

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is 8... outta 10

I won't say who, but someone called me a blog snob recently.  No one calls a woman in her thirties a blog snob.  So this one is for you.  HEIDI.

10 on 10:  10 (or eight, fine, I suck) pictures on the 10th day of the month:

After breakfast walking practice... after 17 months she's FINALLY almost there!

Thursday morning prenatal yoga.  Look! I still have toes!

Having a tree removed in our front yard... necessary, but still sad.

After-nap yogurt-time.

Play date with (future babysitter and BFF), H.

Focused Elmo time in the bathtub.

Birthday dinner with C and P- YUM!

Inappropriate stencil art.  You're welcome.