A Conversation With Coraline: The News

Noticing ABC World News Tonight With David Muir was on the TV:

“Can you record this?”

“It’s already recording. Why do you want to watch it?”

“Because sometimes I think the news is exciting.”

“Well, I’ll keep it recorded for you.”

“Yay!”

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Epiphany Revisited

Song Lyric of the Day:

I wish I knew you when I was young / We could’ve got so high / Now we’re here it’s been so long / Two strangers in the bright lights / Oh I hope you don’t mind / We can share my mood yeah

The Revivalists / “Wish I Knew You

The 13th anniversary of my first-ever blog post just passed. It’s not nearly as momentous an occasion as my cat, Buster, turning 20 in late September, but it’s still worth noting. For me, anyway. I originally started blogging to keep our family up on the happenings in our lives. Rich and I were living in Chesapeake, Virginia, at the time and most of our immediate family was here in Knoxville. It seemed like an easy enough way to share what was going on in our daily lives.

I had to re-read that first post to refresh my memory. (I’m an old — I’ll be 70 in a few decades.) I wrote how I was beyond miserable in my job at the time; government contracting is not for the faint of heart. Or for anyone who wants or needs long-term stability. Or mental stimulation. I wrote about wishing I could go back in time and not major in technical writing; now, I’m not sure I’d change that. It’s precisely because of my degree in technical writing that I ended up at HGTV. Who knows where my then longed-for degree in creative writing would have landed me, especially given how much the publishing industry has changed in the last decade. I’ve acted a few more times since that post, and it is still way more fun than being in a cube all day (dream role: Colin Farrell’s human blanket). I still remember seemingly irrelevant, unimportant things — dates, old phone numbers, dialogue, names of people I met once decades ago. Just don’t ask me what I had for lunch yesterday.

I still don’t think I’ve quite figured out what I want to be when I grow up, but I can tell you I would never have thought I’d end up a mom of two, married for 17+ years, a homeowner, with the same company for more than 11 years, yada yada yada. I can say with certainty, though, that I’m definitely happy with exactly where I am today.

I’m sharing the video for the song for today’s Song Lyric of the Day because it makes me all kinds of happy. I hope it makes you happy, too, and that you can find happiness in where you are in life at this moment.

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The New Dynamic

Song Lyric of the Day:

Yeah, I need you right now / So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down / I think I’m losing my mind now / It’s in my head, darling I hope / That you’ll be here, when I need you the most

The Chainsmokers featuring Daya / “Don’t Let Me Down

Over the years as I’ve watched friends add to their families, they’ve all told me basically the same thing: that adding a second child to the mix is more like adding three or four more kids, and that adding a third or even fourth is much easier than when the second was born. I am happy to say that did not turn out to be the case when Sebastian was born. Granted, as I wrote the other day, I felt like I was going to die from exhaustion, but I never felt like we’d taken on too much by having a second kid. I honestly think a lot of that is because of the age difference between Coraline and Sebastian; they’re a little more than six years apart. I think if Coraline had been even a couple of years younger that would have made things feel as chaotic as I’ve had friends describe, because she would have needed me much more than she does now. By the time Sebastian was born last year, Coraline was already little miss independent; she’s quite self-sufficient and great at entertaining herself. She had one jealousy-induced meltdown when Sebastian was around two months old, and so far that’s been it. I think she was just really tired that night — she started whining then crying that her daddy was “playing” with Sebastian and she wanted him to play with her instead. All Rich was doing was holding Sebastian so I could finish making dinner. We’re really lucky — and surprised — that she just had the one jealous episode. So far, anyway.

That’s not to say everything has been sunshine and roses since Sebastian graced us with his presence. He sees sleep as a suggestion, so working around the one good nap he might take during the day is always interesting. He used to scream his way through stores, making running errands even more fun than it already was; I think he was basically playing out his dad’s dream scenario of letting me know how much he didn’t want to tag along on errands. If it were socially acceptable, I promise you there would have been a few instances already where Rich just started yelling in the middle of a store — think Kohl’s during Black Friday shopping. Sebastian was also anti-bottle for the first few months, which meant I could only leave him with Rich, my mom, or another family member or friend for maybe two hours max before I had to get back so I could nurse him.

We’ve all adapted well, though. Rich and I made it clear to Coraline early on that if she ever felt like we were ignoring her because of all the attention her brother needed, particularly early on, that she needed to tell us. We told her sometimes moms and dads are just so tired with a new baby in the house that they may not even realize how they’re behaving due to disruption of the old routine. She’s copped to things being different and missing doing as many things with just me as she used to, but now she and Rich enjoy some new daddy-daughter routines that were born out of me having to nurse and take care of Sebastian. I made a point of having a mommy-daughter day with her on the last day of her fall break this year just so we could enjoy some baby brother-less time together. She admitted that while she loves Sebastian lots, it was nice to have me to herself that day. I need to make a point of doing that more often with her as Sebastian gets older and the tether he has on me continues to lengthen and loosen. That day was good for both of us, for different reasons.

Mommy-Daughter Mani-Pedi

Coraline and I enjoyed our first-ever mani-pedi on our mommy-daughter day.

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Happy Halloween 2017 From Pubert Addams

Sebastian As Pubert

Drawing a mustache on your baby and slicking down his hair are some of life’s simple pleasures. Happy Halloween!

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Done Went and Had a Baby

Song Lyric of the Day:

Like when I close my eyes and don’t even care if anyone sees me dancing / Like I can fly, and don’t even think of touching the ground / Like a heartbeat skip, like an open page / Like a one way trip on an aeroplane / It’s the way that I feel when I’m with you, brand new

Ben Rector / “Brand New

I logged in to my blog the other day, trying to remember if my last post was in the spring (I could have sworn it was), only to be shocked to see the last time I posted was the day before Sebastian was born. That’s right – I now have a second kid, Coraline is a (fabulous) big sister, and Rich has his very own Mini Me. My unintentionally long, almost year-long blogging break reminded me of the short-lived show Up All Night, when Will Arnett’s character reminds Christina Applegate’s character that she last updated Facebook the night before their baby was born, and that people probably thought she’d died. As with me, that was happily not the case.

So what have I been up to these last 11 months? The first six weeks after Sebastian was born were all about surviving an ungodly level of exhaustion. There were nights he would wake up after only 20 minutes of catnapping; I can’t rightly call what he was doing sleeping. Why was he up so often? Because we didn’t get really good at nursing until he was about 6 weeks old. Once he started latching correctly each time, he would get nice and full and then he would sleep. It was such a relief to finally get more than 20-minute catnaps. We’d get two-, three-, even four-hour stretches. It was glorious.

In hindsight, I never should have said Coraline was a bad sleeper as a baby, because sweet 6-pound, 8-ounce baby Jesus, Sebastian made his sister look like a fricking sleep Olympian. But we survived. Although at times it felt like I wouldn’t. I had several days where I would cry purely from exhaustion, as well as days I’d cry that it looked like he wasn’t putting on weight no matter how much I nursed him. Once we hit that 6-week mark, though, everything improved across the board. And boy, has breastfeeding this time around been an experience. I’ll try to write more about that another time; I promise it won’t be 11 months from now.

I admit that I was ready to try for a second kid a couple of years ago, but needing the spouse to be on board with that kind of thing is a pretty big deal. And, you know, kind of important. Coraline had of course been lobbying for a sibling for about three years prior to Sebastian being born. Originally she wanted a sister we would name Elsa. Then she decided a brother wouldn’t be so bad. Then she decided one of each would be great. I shot that idea down pretty quickly. She’s a great age to be a big sister, though. She’s been helpful from the get-go, getting me things she knew I’d need (wipes, the Boppy pillow, a burp cloth) before I asked for them. She’s also great with Sebastian and has even been able to soothe him at times when Rich and I couldn’t; it makes me believe that she really can understand his baby talk and interpret what he’s telling her. Sebastian is also pretty fond of her. Watching them interact is one of my life’s greatest joys. They’re also not yet old enough to fight, so I’m enjoying every second of their current peaceful existence.

I hope to get back into updating my blog semi-regularly. I’ve missed it — and writing in general. (My sincere thanks to the one reader who still checks in occasionally.) For now, though, I’m going to call it a night as I haven’t slept more than six hours straight in almost a year. Luckily it’s been for a very good reason.

My babies

Cora reads to (then 3-month-old) Sebastian

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The Son’ll Come Out Tomorrow

Song Lyric of the Day:

Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow / You’re always a day away

Aileen Quinn / “Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day: We finally get to meet Little Dude. I will be 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy when he is delivered via C-section. I ended up having to have a C-section with Coraline because she refused to budge — my water had broken on its own at 9:50AM, and she was still holding on with grappling hooks come midnight. My doctor was worried about infection setting in, so they had to go and get her. This time, though, I have placenta previa, so a natural delivery was not an option. Combine that with my gestational diabetes, and Little Dude gets sprung from the hoosegow about six days early. I would have been fine trying a natural delivery, but I’m OK with having a repeat C-section. I’m all for whatever gets him here safely. Besides, my stubborn little boy is also transverse. Seems he didn’t care for the head-down position, so he’s breach anyway.

Rich and I are as ready as we’re going to be. My last day of work for the year was last Tuesday, and I’ve been in hard-core nesting mode since. Coraline is beyond excited that she will finally not only be a big sister, but that she will get to meet her baby brother instead of having to settle for hugging and kissing my belly. She’s been singing lullabies to him most nights, during which he stretches out and moves in response to her voice. I’m pretty sure he’ll know who she is as soon as he hears her. Coraline has been a little bit more subdued than normal the last two or three days; we think it’s finally hitting her that everything is about to change. She admitted that she’s more happy than sad, though, so that’s good. Tonight Rich and I enjoyed a last family-of-three dinner with her. Tomorrow we look forward to spending time together as a family of four.

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Soon to be filled …

 

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Fun With Gestational Diabetes

Song Lyric of the Day:

I want candy / I want candy

Bow Wow Wow / “I Want Candy

I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Coraline. Apparently age and ethnicity play into the likelihood of developing it during pregnancy. And while one of my OBs tried to be optimistic about me not having it this time around, he was wrong. I failed the one-hour glucose test so spectacularly — I got 203 when the highest they wanted was 130 — that I didn’t even have to take the three-hour test like I did with Coraline. It was straight from failing the one-hour test to the high-risk OB. Do not pass go.

While pregnant with Coraline, it was easy-peasy to manage my gestational diabetes. I took Metformin. That was it. Well, I also didn’t overeat or go crazy with carb- and sugar-heavy foods, because once the doctors explained that a lot of those giant babies who make the news were the result of moms who let their gestational diabetes get out of control, I vowed to be good. But one magic pill and everything was under control. For that pregnancy, anyway.

Unfortunately, this time around thanks to my super-high score on my one-hour glucose test, the docs could tell my body was not producing/managing insulin the way it was supposed to. Which meant no magic Metformin. This time around I have to take Glyburide at bedtime and — the horror — inject myself twice a day with insulin, once before lunch and again before dinner. So managing gestational diabetes has been as fun this time around as it sounds. The Glyburide was causing me to have scary-low fasting blood sugar levels when I woke up and to have fogged vision every morning, which would last anywhere from a couple of hours to up to about six hours one day, so I was told to cut the already tiny 2.5 mg pill in half. I was still having fogged vision even with the lower dose, but — knock on wood — my body seems to have finally decided to play nice with the Glyburide.

The insulin … oofta. That was a problem from the get-go. I was originally prescribed 10ccs per shot. That turned out to be way too much. I was told to go down to 8ccs per shot. That was still to much, so I had to go down to 6ccs. That seemed to almost still be too much, so I tried 4ccs, which ended up not being enough. I am now back up to 6ccs and that also seems to have stabilized. But at the wrong (higher) doses, my blood sugar levels were way too low. I was getting shaky and woozy, which, after having fogged vision to deal with, was not making me a very happy camper. Not to mention I was worried what that might be doing to Little Dude. Fingers crossed that at my next high-risk OB appointment they’ll be happy with the numbers I have had since sticking with the 6cc shots.

This is where I should mention that I hate needles. HATE. THEM. I can’t even watch injections or blood draws on TV shows and in movies. So being told I had to inject myself twice a day was not something I wanted to hear. Thankfully, the needle is teeny tiny on the preloaded insulin pen. And since I have to inject it straight into my belly, I usually don’t feel the shot. Now, having to draw blood to test my glucose levels four times a day — that hurts. Some days my fingertips won’t stop bleeding right away; I’ve gone through a ton of Band-Aids these last few weeks. Other days I forget which hand I was taking blood from and end up with bruised fingertips when I double-draw from them. Good times.

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The perfect accessories for the woman with gestational diabetes: a testing kit, insulin pen, and blood-sugar log.

So while gestational diabetes has been a royal pain in my ass this time around, I’m happy to take a tiny pill and inject myself with insulin to keep my little boy healthy (and non-gigantic). Still, I would kill to be able to have a second helping of pasta now and then. God, I miss carbs. And candy.

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30 Weeks

Song Lyric of the Day:

You don’t need direction, you know which way to go / And I don’t want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow

Carole King / “Child of Mine

A few months ago I had started a 30 Day Blog Challenge. I didn’t finish it for a couple of reasons. First, the questions weren’t as interesting (I thought) as the ones I did for the 31 Day Blog Challenge. The 30-day one felt like it had questions written by 14-year-olds. Second, Rich and I got hit with some really disheartening news, followed quickly by some very surprising news. Bigger fish to fry and all.

The surprising news was actually very good news: We are pregnant with our second child, due on November 28. What was surprising about it is that we didn’t think we’d get pregnant so quickly. Now, we know how the sex works, and we’re awesome with birth control (see: daughter it took us 10 years to have), but we didn’t think once we started trying to get pregnant that we would succeed so quickly. After all, we are six years older than last time. I’m also again considered high risk due to my age (I’ll be 75 in several decades). Alas, it turns out Rich and I are sitcom fertile, so we are now eagerly anticipating the arrival of Little Dude sometime around Thanksgiving. And no, we do not yet have his name picked out. We’ve got a long list and have to do some whittling down. I’m confident that by the time he does arrive we will have a name chosen, something simple, something he can live with and not hate. Like Pubert.

Bend It Like Little Dude

He’s a flexible little guy (taken at 28w, 2d)

Feet in the Face

Yes, those are his feet right up against his face. It must be more comfortable than it looks. (taken at 28w, 2d)

 

 

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One Year Gone

Song Lyric of the Day:

Oh the tree of life is growing / Where the spirit never dies / And the bright light of salvation / Shines in dark and empty skies

Bob Dylan / “Death Is Not the End

Today is the day after my birthday. Which means that today is the anniversary of the day my Abuela Tulita passed away, what seems like a lifetime ago. Today also marks the first anniversary of the day our dog Caleb died.

I like to think my abuela was the reason Caleb died the same day she did. Because, to be honest, the woman was a klepto when she was alive. So why should the afterlife keep her from snatching something else — say, a beloved family dog. When Caleb died it felt like we wouldn’t get past the shock and grief. We were completely blindsided by his passing. The worst thing for me personally was seeing the horrible depression his brother, Troubadour, was plunged into. It took weeks for him to come out of it.

Caleb and puppy Troubadour

Caleb getting to know his new little brother, Troubadour (May 2008)

Six months after Caleb’s passing we happened to see an adorable little Chihuahua listed on Facebook. His family was looking to rehome him because they felt like he needed more attention than they could give him. When we showed Coraline his photo, she held up a hand, looked away, and said, “He’s so cute I can’t even handle it.” We contacted the little dog’s mom and arranged a meeting so we could see if and how Capone would fit into our family. He and Troubadour hit it off immediately, to the point that Capone barked his head off once he was put back in his carrier to go home and Troubadour got mopey when he left. That was a Sunday. That Wednesday Capone came to live with us for good.

We’ve never owned such a small dog before, so that was an adjustment. I have to laugh thinking how this little guy, who is literally one-seventh the size Caleb was, would have terrified Caleb. I also have to say how grateful I am that Original Mom chose us to be his new forever family, because we all love him so much. Especially his new big brother, Troubadour.

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

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15 Years Later

Song Lyric of the Day:

I thought a light went out, but now the candle shines / I thought my tears wouldn’t stop, then I dried my eyes / And after all of this, the truth that holds me here / Is that this emptiness is something not to fear

Mary Chapin Carpenter / “Between Here and Gone

I’ve written before about what this day means to me. This year it meant a new, fresh fear: Would Coraline ask me about it? Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell her about it without becoming a blubbering mess. How could I explain to my 5-year-old what I still don’t understand myself 15 years later? Thankfully, she didn’t bring it up, likely because she still hasn’t heard about it. When she does, though, Rich and I agreed that he will be the one to tell her about it. I’m sure I’ll be sitting right there with them both, but he’ll be able to maintain his composure where I wouldn’t.

Today, as always, I’ve been thinking about Adam. And Adam’s family and friends, which leads me to think about Ryan and his family and friends. To be honest, though, I think about both Adam and Ryan a lot, not just on this day.

Earlier this year my sister and parents went to New York City. While paying their respects at the World Trade Center Memorial, they took a picture of Adam’s name etched into the stone for me. They also brought me a little card showing the location of his name. I keep it on a shelf above my home desk so I see it every day. Because I, like so many others, will never forget.

Adam's memorial

Adam’s memorial

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