Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A sizeable leap of faith, for me

Yesterday my boss dropped by Jennie G's and I told her I'm not coming back to work after Ivey is born. She was so sweet about it--especially considering that when I first told her about the pregnancy, I assured her I would be coming back. She said she completely understood, that she actually expected it, and supported me 100%. Then she hugged me.

It would have been an easy choice if I cleaned toilets or wiped elephant butts or something for a living. But Jennie G's is the best job I could have hoped for. When I had Suzi, they let me cut back from full-time to half-time. Instead of five four-hour days, they let me do four five-hour days so I could have one day home with my daughter (which is what I'm doing now). The shop stays busy in the winter, when we're frantically setting parents of small children up with home nebulizer machines, but we've recently slowed down for the spring and summer. Now most of our business consists of hospital-grade breast pump rentals. We also carry all kinds of cute baby stuff, and it's so exciting when a new shipment comes in.

I won't miss the grandmothers who tell new moms, "Oh please tell me you're not going to put your baby in one of those things" (meaning a hotsling). I won't miss the people who think belly casting is stupid, or the stories from women who just hate being pregnant. I won't particularly miss verifying insurance, especially over the phone. Or hearing how funny and convenient it is that I work in the hospital, because soon I'll be having the baby there. And I definitely won't miss hearing from those same people how big my belly is, or how "gee whiz, my wife only gained 15 pounds!"

I'll miss Pam's potato soup in a bread bowl for lunch in the cafeteria. I'll miss my employee discount! I'll miss troubleshooting a "broken" breast pump over the phone and hearing the mom say "ohhh! Now it's working!" I'll miss helping a new mom and her baby find the perfect hotsling. I'll miss talking to my friends, especially Vicky and Kelly, and talking about breastfeeding, vaccines, and doctors with our lactation consultant (not to mention any breastfeeding issues I happen to be having). Most of all I'll miss the opportunity to help other moms, even if it's just in a small way--but I'm hoping more opportunities will come along.

I won't miss teaching the Intro to Breastfeeding classes--because I'm going to keep doing that.

I won't miss trying to force a bottle on my bawling six-week-old baby because I have to leave her far earlier than any mother ever should--nor will I miss knowing she's getting formula in my absence because I didn't give myself time to build a decent supply. I won't miss leaving piles of dishes and laundry in the morning when they need to be done right then. Or finding out that Jordan is wearing flannel Christmas boxer shorts in July because I left the laundry too long. I won't miss sending the girls off to Grandma and Grandpa's every day (although Grandma might miss getting them, so we'll probably still have Grandma Day at least once a week).

I can't wait to have every day at home with my kids. I want to have a laundry and dishes day, a cooking and baking day, a grocery shopping day, and a field trip day. Maybe also a "home blessing" day where I clean bathrooms and vacuum and dust. I can't stand the thought of hiring a maid even if we had money to burn, so having the time to actually keep our house clean will be wonderful. I will be able to stay with my family over all of Christmas vacation, and not rush back to work the day after. I won't have to work family time and special events around my job. If one of the girls is sick, I won't have to wonder if I'm inconveniencing my coworkers or customers by staying home with her. I'll really be there for my family in a way I haven't been before. I'll be giving my daughters something I never received myself past about three months of age, and desperately wanted.

I don't think we will miss the money--at least not seriously. When we were told our insurance wasn't going to cover a homebirth, we wondered if we shouldn't go to the hospital and just make the best of it. I realized a few weeks later that this was God preparing us to lose my income. Paying for a homebirth out-of-pocket by 36 weeks is a valuable lesson in frugality! We have made changes. We've cancelled our cable TV and garbage pick-up service. Jordan has become skilled at finding bargains on groceries, and we don't buy half as much junk food or go to fast food places. Our thermostat has been turned completely off since early March and will stay off for as long as possible. We open the curtains and use natural light. We've finally paid off our nagging debt of hospital bills from Suzi's birth and my sprained ankle.

Inspired by Amy Dacyczyn, the Duggars, and several bloggers, I've realized that anything is possible if you are committed to achieving it. Of course, God has met us halfway as well. There has been unexpected money sent to us when we needed it (the big one was a tax mistake for which we were owed a refund, which will allow us have our van repaired), reminding us once again that if we take that leap of faith to do what God wants us to do, He will take care of us.

I know God wants me to stay home with my kids, so I'm not worried. This is a major lifestyle change, though, and I don't know exactly what it will feel like. What does it feel like being a stay-at-home mom? What do you love about it? What would you change? What do your kids think?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hair extensions on a three-year-old? Negative.

Ever since our Disney trip I've been thinking about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The psychology behind a business such as this fascinates me for several reasons. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go here for more info.) Here's a quick run-down: They take your daughter, if she's at least three years old, and "magically transform" her into a little princess. How? Well, for $49.95 they apply shimmering makeup and style her hair. (And no, that doesn't include the dress. You have to buy the dress.) For $54.95 you get nails painted too. If you really want to spoil her, there's the $189.95 Castle Package, which gives you all those things and a complete princess costume and a photo shoot and a princess-themed photo holder to take home. What more could a girl want?

Well... several things. First I want to say that, surprisingly, I think the BBB is a great idea. What is it, in essence, but a game of dress-up that Disney took three times around the dance floor? We went to Disney for the first time when I was four, and I would have begged my parents to take me to the BBB. There is nothing wrong with playing dress-up. There is nothing wrong with hairstyling, nail polish and glitter if a little girl wants it. And the Fairy Godmothers-in-training as stylists? How cool!

However. I wish I had a picture to put on here but I don't, so I'll just link instead. First, a lady posted some great pictures of her daughter in this review. Her little girl opted to be Cinderella (a popular choice). Therefore, the hairstyle suited her, she looks cute and evidently had a fabulous time. But what happens when you want to be Sleeping Beauty? This is what. They don't have a hairstyle for you. All they've got is a tight little bun, or a tight little bun with tacky extensions (see picture on website). You are forced to decide between being a "Fairytale Princess," "Disney Diva" or "Pop Princess." The little girl mentioned in the review who wanted to be Sleeping Beauty sat through the makeover, but insisted that her hair be taken down a few minutes later. They bought her a Sleeping Beauty wig instead, but most of the time this is not going to be an option. It's in Florida! Way too hot for a long wig. Besides, you paid $50 for hair and glitter! They ought to say "yes ma'am, Princess! One Sleeping Beauty 'do coming right up!" Why can't the Fairy Godmother pull out her magic wand and turn the pile of crappy extensions into a curling iron?

And oh dear, the dresses. After seeing so many pictures of little girls sporting princess costumes, I figured it would be fun to get one for Suzi. Then at the store I got up close and touched one. They are so stiff and scratchy! That's fine for Halloween, but I really don't see how a three-year-old could be expected to wear one from dawn to dusk at a 90 degree theme park. (Some of them did, by the way.) Also, the shoes that go with the dresses were like the plastic dress-up heels I played in as a child--which could account for the inordinate number of little girls in strollers who were plenty old enough to be walking.

The one other thing I don't understand is why all those little girls would want to look exactly the same. I've heard it can get pretty busy in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and I just can't imagine looking at all those girls in the same dress as me getting the same hairdo as me and being happy--even when I was four. My mom made me a princess costume for Halloween when I was in first grade, and I was proud of it. It was hot pink (because it was actually a hand-me-down, I mean vintage, flower girl dress) and my mom added sequins and bought me a pretty gold tiara. Then she put a little makeup on me and ta-da! I was a princess, and a unique one. For practically free.

When we do take Suzi to the BBB--because we probably will, one day--I hope they've come up with some way to bring out the natural beauty of a little girl's hair. I also might try to sweet-talk my mom into sewing Suzi a fabulous costume out of decent quality fabric so we can surprise her with a special dress when we get there. We can tell her that her Fairy Grandmother had it magically appear. (Sound good, Mom? You don't mind at all, right?)

Because, seriously, Cinderella would've died of embarrassment if she had spotted another girl wearing her dress at the ball. And it would've confused the heck out of the prince.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Black-Eyed Suzi

I am pretty ticked off right now. I'm supposed to be walking every day (or, let's get real, every two or three days) during this pregnancy. For Ivey and Ivey's birth. But Suzi is being a gremlin right now. I told her we were going outside and she got excited. I changed her diaper and she even let me take her apron off of her and wipe the after-lunch chocolate off her face. All systems were go... until I started walking toward the front door and she ran to the back. Then we realized we were going to have a difference of opinion.

Suzi: Nooooooo, I wan go in da backyad!

Me: I'm sorry, we're going for a walk right now. But if you bring your bag you can collect sticks and rocks and...

Suzi: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHuuuhuuuuh, huuuuhuuuuuu... (tears streaming down pitifully)

Me: We can go in the backyard later, but right now we're going for a walk. (I picked her up and carried her out, hoping she'd find an interesting leaf or something in the driveway and forget our argument.)

Suzi: NOOOOOO! (Lies down on the front walk, continues crying.)

Me: Suzi, Mama needs to go for a walk right now, and she can't do that in the backyard. Now would you rather go for a walk or sit inside?

Suzi: (Heck, I don't know. Apparently she'd rather sit inside. Probably just to spite me.)

So, anyway, that's where we are right now. Yes, I could have just caved and taken her in the backyard, but I didn't want to go in the poopy old yard and watch her play. I wanted to go for a walk, and I thought kids were supposed to enjoy walking!

And to add injury to insult, this morning she was running around with the stick that came with her xylophone and either fell or bumped into something and hurt her face with it. She now has a black eye, and it looks like I slugged her, but I didn't. (I was doing the dishes when it happened.) That'll be fun to explain to all the nosy strangers who enquire about it for the next three days!

Maybe she will be more agreeable after an afternoon nap. I think I might put my little Fussymuggins in the stroller and see if she'll fall asleep in the sunshine while I get some exercise.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ever so much more than twenty

Some Mary Martin Peter Pan facts Jordan and I discovered on the IMDB...

You'd never guess the age of some of the actors. Wendy--the young one--was 22. Grown-up Wendy was only 29. Tiger Lily was 30. Liza, the maid, was only 12 years old. And, of course, Mary Martin was 47 years old when this was filmed.

$200 is the going rate on Amazon to own this on DVD. $200! Apparently it was released a few years ago and has been discontinued. We did find another copy for much cheaper (like the price of a normal DVD) and ordered it. I'm hoping it arrives and is what we are expecting. I want Suzi and Ivey to be able to watch it and our VHS tape is on its last leg.

There have been Peter Pan movies since this one which really should have replaced it. In 2003 a brilliant new Peter Pan came out. Peter was really a little boy, Tinkerbell wasn't just a flashlight, and you couldn't see the cables during the flying scenes. The special effects were top-notch. I loved it, but somehow, I still wanted to watch the old one from my childhood. Suzi has seen the new one as well and didn't pay attention to it. It didn't capture her imagination like the old one. And strangely, the rating on the IMDB is exactly the same for both movies: 7.1 out of 10.

So tonight Jordan blew the dust off the VCR, hooked it up, and we watched the old Peter Pan for the first time with Suzi. It was probably my all-time favorite as a child. I was three or four when I first watched it, and my grandparents were visiting and watched with us. I distinctly remember, during the "I'm Flying" scene, my grandfather commenting that Mary Martin was going to fall and "bust her ass."

Nevertheless, I tried to fly countless times. I dreamed about it. I stood on the third stair up from our den and jumped hopefully, always landing awkwardly on the carpet below. The fourth stair was as high as I'd go. No matter how "lovely" my thoughts, it never worked.

And tonight, Suzi's little face lit up as she watched the children in the movie. "They flying!" Sliding off the couch, she said "I fly!" After taking a couple of unsuccessful leaps, she enlisted Daddy's help. He threw her over his shoulder and she flew giggling around the living room for a couple of minutes. She'll find out the truth in a few years--that people can't fly. But for now, like Wendy, I'm the one who is too grown up and that's my little girl asleep in the bed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Already hanging out together, doing sister stuff

Well, maybe not quite yet. But Suzi does, I think, get the fact that her baby sister is in there. If you ask her what her baby sister's name is, she'll say "name Ivey!" When I ask where Ivey is, she points to my belly. I've tried to get her to feel the baby kick, but her little hands can only stay still for so long before she's running off to the next fun thing.

I can't wait to put both of them in the tub together for a bubble bath. Maybe one day they'll share a bed and we'll have to keep telling them to stop giggling (or fighting) and go to sleep. I hope that one day they go shopping together, paint each other's toenails, cut each other's hair, and share clothes... I even hope they get in trouble together. I hope that someday when they're older they go out and get good and drunk together and laugh all night. I want them to have stories to tell when they grow up.

But so far, in this picture, Suzi is taking a nap and Ivey is not.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Magic Kingdom (magical parts only)

One day in the Magic Kingdom. 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Grandma rented an electric convenience vehicle and was able to party all day long. The Dunedin Highland Games the day before were a different story in the Florida sun; we went home at about lunchtime.

Little Suzi met Pluto, Daisy Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Minnie, and finally Mickey. She hugged and kissed some of them too. I never cared about meeting any of the characters before, but this time watching Suzi do it was my favorite part.

Near the end of the day we went to a shop in Mickey's Toontown Fair. Out of all the toys in the shop, some of which cost well over $50, Suzi selected one little $12 Piglet doll. She didn't even make a fuss when I told her the large-size Eeyore couldn't come home with us and (after hugging him) she put him right back on the shelf with his friends so he wouldn't get lonely. Suzi seemed to have more fun "shopping" than she did doing anything else. She loved having a chance to walk around and do her own thing, playing with all the stuffed animals. (The shops are the least crowded places in Disney, because they involve spending yet more money.) It made me wish we'd put her down and followed her around earlier in the day, rather than running her rapidly from one attraction to another.

From about 9:30 to 10:00 pm we were waiting in line to meet Mickey. We had told Suzi she would meet Mickey and didn't want to go back on our word even though it was really time to go home. She was so sleepy. A sweet newlywed couple behind us in line made friends with her, talked to her and helped keep her awake. Suzi wants to be friends with everyone, so it's nice when she can be. Not everyone waiting in line wants to play!

If every kid took as little time as Suzi did to meet the characters, there wouldn't be a line at all. Kiss kiss, hug hug, run back to Daddy. She was starstruck. I will probably eat these words in a few years, but I don't see the point of those silly Disney autograph books.

Suzi fell asleep during the 10:30 pm fireworks show, and I've never seen her sleep so hard. She didn't wake up when we put her in the car or when we got back to the hotel and put her in bed. She didn't wake up for the day until about 8:00 the next morning when we were over an hour into our trip home. She was so sweet during the ride back, playing with her new Piglet and calling to him like Pooh does in the movie. Her version is howloooooo, Piggit!

It wasn't all perfect, but these are the parts I'd like to remember. Maybe I'll blog some of the rest later. It may be helpful for someone planning a trip.

Before I forget, since it may be a couple of years... Game plan for next time:
1) Stay at a Disney resort to get Extra Magic Hours.
2) Lie in bed or around the pool all day while the masses swarm the park in the ridiculous heat.
3) Get up around 7:00 pm and head to the park.
4) Stay until 3:00 am or however long the Extra Magic hours last, enjoying mild weather, pleasant dim lighting, short lines, and thin crowds.

Glad I figured that out.

Thanks for taking us to Disney, "Wanma and Wampa!"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Product Review: B'Mums Pregnancy Relaxation CD

I am a sort of high-strung person, and relaxation has never come naturally to me. Especially when pregnant, I have days when nothing particularly bad has happened, but I am just in one of those moods. Or perhaps there was a customer at work I just couldn't please no matter what I did. Or maybe Suzi, for instance, screeched for half an hour because I made her take her shoes off before going to bed. By the end of the day, I feel like this:

That's why I loved Sinead Hoben's B'Mums Pregnancy Relaxation CD. I started listening to it before bed. Jordan agreed to watch Suzi downstairs while I went to bed a few minutes early. Sinead has a calming voice and a beautiful accent, and the background music with nature sounds is perfect for unwinding after a stressful day. The directions and suggestions on the CD (relaxing different parts of your body, thinking of your baby, etc) were great for distracting me from nagging thoughts. The only problem with doing it at night was that I never got to listen to the end of the CD. At some point I woke up thinking what? When did the CD end?

I decided I should test it out in the morning before reviewing it, and this morning Suzi slept late so I was able to. I thought it was an equally good way to start the day. It cleared my mind and helped me relax before getting started on my long to-do list. It would also be a good way to re-energize after lunchtime, or (if you are already a mom) whenever your child is taking a nap. I know I will enjoy using it throughout the rest of my pregnancy, and probably during labor also.

I felt Ivey moving a lot when I listened to the CD. It made me feel connected to her, and I think the CD would be especially helpful during those times when a mom is concerned because her baby hasn't moved in a while. I think most moms experience this at least a couple of times during a pregnancy, and it's recommended that you lie down on your side and wait to hear from your baby. Ivey does seem to move more while I listen to the CD, but in any case, listening and relaxing sure beats worrying in silence!

If you'd like to buy a copy of the B'Mums Pregnancy Relaxation CD, visit this website. You can even listen to a sample of it. Sinead also has a CD for breastfeeding relaxation (which I may have to get later).