The Other Side of the Fence for a Change

>> Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today was the "big sonogram" day in our house.  To give you a little background, by the time we got this far with Bubba, we had already had genetic testing, been to see a fetal cardiologist, and had numerous warnings that things were not quite what they were supposed to be.  As it turns out, all of the "authoritative" tests came back negative, but the pregnancy was, in the words of one of the doctors, "harrowing, and not the kind of thing you can sit back and enjoy."

Of course, as many of you already know, when Bubba was born, he had a lot of problems breathing.  None of his problems, though, were in any way related to all those screening tests he flunked.  Those, apparently, were just random coincidence.  Gotta love it.  Thanks again, Murphy.  Really.  Love ya.  Mwah.

So, as exciting as prenatal sonograms can be, DH and I find ourselves this time around approaching them with at least a small amount of reservation.  We aren't accustomed to hearing much positive news.  Today was no exception.  While I was largely convinced that lightning wasn't going to strike twice, I wouldn't want to know for sure what my blood pressure and pulse rate were when I was sitting in that waiting room.

First of all, the place we were going was run by some of the finest neonatal diagnosticians anyone could ever hope to meet.  Unfortunately, all of this talent comes with the compassion of moss.  They are just the folks you want to go to to be sure you've found all that could go wrong, but the last people you want to actually tell you what they find.  Yes.  What a lovely combination, no?

Today, I had a lot of time to observe the other people in the waiting room and the hallways.  Why?  Well, of course our little baby refused to cooperate.  When they wanted to see a face, s/he turned away.  When they finally convinced him/her to turn back, s/he covered her face with her hands.  We were set to rolling around, walking to the cafeteria and back, and lots and lots of shoving around on my belly.  Do I even need to mention how close they had that stupid sonogram tool on my belly button?  Of COURSE they did.  Of course they did.  I have belly button issues.  Of course they did.  S/he is going to be a stubborn one.  Are we surprised, in this family?  No.  No ... no.  No.

While we walked, and while we waited, I saw hopeful moms, and fearful moms, and I could guess maybe what they were thinking while they waited.  One mom walked past me with tears in her eyes and a tissue in her hand.  I don't know what she was told, but I could empathize with how she was feeling.  That was me four years ago.  Of course, me being me now, I felt like running over, putting my arms around her and giving her a big huge hug.  I didn't want her standing there all alone, sad and fearful.  Then again, she did not look like the kind of woman who would appreciate being randomly assaulted by a short pregnant woman in the middle of a hospital.  I couldn't help but think of what she might say if I did come over and invade her personal space like that.  With my luck, the poor thing wouldn't even speak a word of English, she'd call hospital security, and I'd find myself on the psych ward before my appointment was even over.  For all I know, she hadn't even been back to the rooms yet and was sniveling about something completely unrelated to where we were and what we were doing.


Better restrain myself.

No good can come from randomly hugging crying women in hospitals without warning. 

So, we waited, and walked, and poked and prodded the baby, and I did not hug anyone whatsoever. 

Finally, we got all the pictures, they wrote up all the reports, and we walked back to meet the doctor, and I had yet another out-of-element experience. 

What are the parents supposed to talk to the doctor about when they call you back and tell you everything is fine?  Honestly, I stared at the doctor and tried (unsuccessfully) to make small talk. (Well, in my case, small jokes, you know.)  Questions?  No, no.  How can I have a question about nothing at all?  What am I supposed to say?  (My friend @kadiera suggests that I say, "Are you sure? I've never had a doctor tell me that," just to see what they say.  I'm thinking that could be fun to try.)

I guess when they tell you the second kid is the opposite of the first, they really mean it.  Bubba wouldn't hold still.  This baby won't move when you ask.  Bubba liked medical drama, and this kid wants to be left alone.  Bubba was an extrovert, and this one seems pretty introverted.

Now what?  Not that I'm complaining, but what's a mom supposed to do with all of this waiting around and nothing to worry about?  Well, for starters, I will try to remember not to hug any random strangers.  That's a good start.  I also know by now not to expect this baby to act like the last one.  Beyond that, I'm at a loss.  I'd better be careful, though, because I'm sure Bubba would be happy to step in and bring a little excitement to the proceedings, like by knocking another tooth out or something.  He's very accomodating that way.


The Year of Entropy, Part II -- Where Will We Put Another One?

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yesterday, DH, Bubba and I struggled to sort through Bubba's endless supply of toys in order to find a way to have them all fit inside the toybox (except for those toys that are bigger than the toybox all by themselves, of course).  We had to get pretty creative. 

If it was part of a "costume," then it could go into a costume box in the closet.  Okay, that helped a little.

If it was a "game" and not a toy, then it could go into the closet on the game pile.  Okay, that helped a lot, especially if we were liberal with our definition of "game".

Then we had the delicate discussion of what toys we were going to put aside to give to  "my new baby brother and sister," as Bubba likes to put it.  We've tried to explain to Bubba that there is only one new baby coming, not two, but I'm not sure he is getting the picture.  Either way, he agreed to part with some of his things for the sake of no longer being an only child.  Boy, is he going to be surprised, I think.

Then, sometimes openly, and sometimes clandestinely, we discarded some "toys".  We were successful in dumping a lot of unopened McDonald's prizes, but we were not successful in parting with a rather beat up box that used to contain 12 K cups of Chai Tea.  Apparently, this box is still a very treasured dog house for the ever-so-important Pluto. 

And that was it.  With precious little (read "no") room to spare, the toybox is closed.  At least, it is closed until I find the next stash of toys that we missed from some other room.  Unfortunately, all of this work has lead me to some troubling questions.

Where are we going to put that new baby's stuff?  In a family where three people sometimes struggle to fit into a four bedroom house because we have an unnatural attachment to crap, where will we fit a whole new person and all of his or her accouterments?

Of course, the fact that we are almost at the bottom of a hand-me-down chain right now (and will be at the bottom when the baby arrives) is both a blessing and a curse.  The good news is we have a whole bunch of neat things we might not otherwise be able to get, like a work bench, a child's table, an art easel, a big giant castle to crawl in, and a teeter toter.  On top of that we have a tent, a slide, a ball pit, and miscellaneous other toys that Santa has brought over the years.  The bad news is we have all that stuff in one house, for one kid, in a family that can barely stand to part with calendars from 5 years ago.

You see, it was more than the Christmas chaos that made me think Entropy was moving in for an extended stay.

I think we're doomed.


Nonverbal Social Cues

>> Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Recently, I have had several conversations with various people about "nonverbal social cues."  You know, those things we do with our hands and face that tell people without words what we think about what just happened or how we are feeling.

What I have learned recently is that some people are no good at reading nonverbal social clues, and others just take them for granted.  Putting someone who fails to recognize nonverbals into a close relationship with someone who uses them all the time and expects that everyone knows them is a recipe for conflict.

Have you ever thought about nonverbal social cues?  I'll admit, until recently, I never gave them much attention at all.  I just assumed that anyone who missed the obvious frowns, head shakes, or nudges were just being rude or not paying attention.  It never occurred to me that some people didn't "get" nonverbal social cues.  My Darling Husband also has seldom (dare I say never) even thought about this topic at all.  When a mutual friend asked about them one day, DH said, "nonverbal what?"

So, after talking about these sorts of things for awhile, we decided to put our heads together and come up with a little quiz to see how much you know about nonverbal social cues in common family and social situations.  Let's see how well you score.

1.  You are lying on the floor playing a game with your son when your wife throws a box at you from the next room.  What is the message?

A.  She is really mad at me.
B.  She was really aiming for my son and missed.
C.  She wants me to do something with the box.
D.  Nothing.  It was a random act of box throwing, and I don't need to know anymore.

2.  You are standing in a crowded hotel lobby, looking at a sign for directions for your company meeting, when your office mate comes up behind you and strikes up a conversation.  While he is talking, he places his hand on your upper back and gently begins pushing into your back, in the meantime, he takes a step away from you.  What does he want you to do?

A. He is hitting on me!  What do I do?
B.  His wife made him read a book about attachment parenting, and he is confused.
C.  He wants me to walk with him in the direction he is pushing.  He must know which way to go.
D.  It's some new metrosexual thing I don't understand, and I'm going to try to ignore it.

3.  Your son is tugging on your pant leg and saying something incomprehensible.  When you don't respond to his words, he begins pulling on your hand.  What does he want?

A.  He has invited me to wrestle.
B.  He wants me to turn him upside down.
C.  He wants me to come with him to the other room.
D.  I don't have an obligation to answer until he can speak English.

4.  Same as #3, except instead of pulling on your hand, your son is attempting to climb your leg by pulling on your arms and your belt loops alternatively.  What does he want?

A.  He needs to go potty.
B.  He's hungry.
C.  He wants me to pick him up.
D.  "Honey?  What does the kid want?"

5.  Your mother points to a box of batteries that you left on the piano bench, in reach of small children.  Her head is tilted to the side, and she is not smiling.  She says, "You know how I feel about batteries left out in the open."  What does your mother wants you to do with the batteries.

EXTRA CREDIT:  You and your spouse go to your child's teacher-parent meeting. The teacher says your child has trouble with nonverbal social skills. The teacher and your spouse both look at you. Write an essay on what they are thinking.


Okay, how did you do?


The Year of Entropy, Part I -- The Attack of Christmas

>> Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  (Sure, sure, I'm a few days late.  I woke up this morning feeling like it was Monday. I know that's not a good sign for the rest of the day, but it's a good excuse for a late blog.)

Entropy and Chaos came for Christmas and Entropy has now effectively moved in. You should be receiving a change of address cards from him soon, and  I don't see us successfully kicking him out in all of 2011.  (But I sure as heck am going to try.)

See, it all started when DH and I struck a deal. The house would be spotless by Christmas morning (his part of the deal), and then I wouldn't bug anyone else about cleaning until after New Year (my part of the deal).  This was a very Faustian bargain, without all the upside.   According to Entropy, our deal was an open invitation to take up residence, and he accepted immediately on behalf of himself and Chaos. Chaos arrived quickly, with the wrapping paper on the floor on Christmas morning, but for the most part, he has retreated to the basement. Entropy, however, is living large in the family room, playing with the toys, eating the food, and in general making a pest of himself.

Before he got so bold, I honestly missed Entropy's arrival. I thought it was just Chaos roaming free, as so often happens at the holidays. You know -- small children, wrapped presents, singing holiday decorations -- it's a great big party of Chaos. I figured, if the house was spotless on Christmas morning, then except for finding a place to put all the new toys and games that arrived, we shouldn't have all that much to do to keep the place looking nice. Granted, things weren't tidying up quite as quickly as I thought they should as the day progressed, but I had made a deal -- no harping on the mess until 2011.  I kept my peace and tried to focus on the great family affair of holiday-gathering.

So, in the middle of all the excitment, I somehow missed the exact moment when the dishes began multiplying in the sink and the laundry began breeding in the basket. I failed to notice that the number of mismated socks was increasing to an improbable number (how can you have more mismated single socks than you had pairs to begin with?). Of course, since DH will do all laundry when necessary except match and fold socks, I didn't think too much at first about the increasing pile of footwear growing on top of the dryer. Only when I went to mate the little suckers myself did I realize we had some sort of extra-dimensional problem.

As I began "undecking" the halls, I could not figure out why it was taking more days to "undo" than to "do." I also could not figure out how there were now more ornaments than could possibly fit into all of these boxes, and we didn't even buy any new ones.  Then I figured it out.  That was Entropy hanging out there on the couch.  I thought it was Uncle Steve. 

Every time I turn around, there is another holiday decoration that managed to hide itself while we were packing things way. I'm sure we will keep finding them until February at this rate. Hopefully they will be the red ones, becaue at least that color goes well with Valentine's Day.  With luck, though ...

Yeah. I have a feeling that Entropy has really got my number this year.  Take a look.  What do you think?

Attack of Christmas


  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by 2008

Back to TOP