Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vacation's End

So, we're home from vacation, which is both good and bad.  It's good in the sense that I always like being back at home, in my most comfortable surroundings, where I always have everything I need.  It's bad, though, because I already miss the friends with whom we vacationed, and also because David has to go back to work tomorrow.

Now that I'm not working, there was a part of me that wondered what "vacation" would really feel like.  We were heading up to Harbor Springs, Michigan, with Arwen and Bryan and the kids, and we were staying in a big, three-story condo that Bryan's parents own.  We wouldn't be lounging poolside, drinking cocktails and sunning ourselves.  In fact, life on vacation would, in some ways, be very much like life at home:  We were planning to cook most meals at the condo; we'd clean up after ourselves and do some laundry while we were there; and we'd of course have a toddler and a four-month-old demanding our attention.  (Well, mostly Arwen and Bryan's attention.  But David and I really did help!)  Without a break from an office job, would vacation really feel, well, vacation-y?

In a word, yes.  I realized in the days leading up to the trip that the thing I was perhaps looking forward to the most was simply being around my husband for nine days straight.  David works so very, very hard, and is often at the office so very, very late, and I knew it would be a treat to get to spend so much time together.  I was also excited for him, because I knew how much he needed a break.  I was so happy to see him able to sleep in, read books, play with the kids, and spend hours talking with our friends.

And, of course, we loved spending time with Arwen and Bryan and their adorable kids.  Camilla has reached the age of utter hilarity, and she cracked us up all week long.  She is whip-smart, too, and interested in everything you're doing.  Blaise is just too sweet and gorgeous for words; I found myself just starting at his perfect little face more than once during the week as he slept in my arms.  I think our little guy must have known when I was holding Blaise, because every time I did, he started kicking like mad.  I think the two of them are going to be great pals.  

We can talk to Arwen and Bryan for hours and hours on end . . . and we did.  We read books and ate good food.  The weather didn't exactly cooperate-- the ten-day forecast had promised sunny weather in the mid- to upper-60s, and instead it was rainy or overcast and only in the 50s-- but we didn't really care.  None of us felt the need to pack our days full of sights or activities.  It was enough just to relax and enjoy the good company and the break from everyday life.  

Tomorrow, I'll share a piece of drama from our first night in Harbor Springs, when we feared we'd need to call the fire department to rescue David and me from our room.  But tonight, I'll just try to keep myself in that vacation frame of mind for a little while longer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Name Game

Today's topic is The Name:  Why Does Everyone Want to Know It?

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that there's a standard set of pregnancy-related questions ingrained in our brains that we must ask, in a particular order, whenever we make conversation with a pregnant woman.  I'm quite certain that I'm as guilty of this as anyone, although I might try to reform myself now that I've been on the receiving end of these queries .

Question One:  When are you due?

I don't mind this question at all.  It's simple, straightforward, and has a (sort-of) definite answer.  (Note:  I do mind the follow-up comment I tend to receive, as a woman who is due in September-- "Oh, you'll have to put up with that summer heat!"  Um, okay.  Yes, it will be hot when I'm late in my pregnancy.  I COULD NOT CARE LESS.  I know people are well-meaning, but what is there to be gained by this comment?  I can't move my due date.  I can't control the weather.  I do have access to a fully air-conditioned house, fully air-conditioned car, and a multitude of air-conditioned stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and the like.  Besides, I'm just so freaking GRATEFUL to be pregnant at any time of the year that I'll happily waddle and sweat through a scorcher of a summer, thankyouverymuch, if it means a baby in the end!  I also have plenty of friends who would be utterly ecstatic to be similarly expecting at any time, so heat = not exactly my biggest worry.)

Question Number Two:  Are you having a boy or a girl?  

I also don't mind this question, because it's easy to answer.  I'd love to know how any ladies felt who did not find out the baby's sex, because I have a feeling that telling people you're not finding out throws them for a little bit of a loop; after all, they can't then easily segue into Question Number Three.  There's a part of me that thinks it would be fun to be surprised at the birth, and when David and I first got married-- during those heady early days when I presumed I'd get pregnant within three months, not after three years-- I thought we'd at least want our first to be a "surprise."  Ultimately, though, there was no way on God's green earth that I wanted to wait to find out-- I figured I'd waited long enough already.

Question Number Three:  What are you going to name him?

This is the question that bugs me, and I started receiving this question literally the day we announced that we're having a boy.  People REALLY don't seem to like it when I don't offer up a name for their approval.  I've been able to slide by so far by saying that "we're still deciding," which is completely true.  We have at least five different names on the table, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't make a final decision until we meet our son face-to-face.  

But suppose we had actually made up our minds, but didn't want to share the name with anyone yet?  People can be really judgmental about silly things-- MYSELF INCLUDED, HELLO-- and the last thing a pregnant woman needs is name criticism.  Once the baby is here, his name is just his name, and I think folks are a little less apt to be judgy to your face about the name.  It's on the birth certificate; it's done; get over it.  They might question your sanity behind your back (again, HELLO:  ME), but they're highly unlikely to ask whether you're sure that choosing Lemonjello was such a good idea.  

I recently heard a baby name HORROR STORY from a girlfriend of mine.  A friend of hers was pregnant with her first child, a girl.  She and her husband had decided to name their daughter Harper Paige.  Now, I happen to think that Harper Paige is a completely adorable name for a little girl; it sounds distinctly Southern and reminds me of Harper Lee.  The poor woman's mother-in-law, however, was less enamored with the name, and said so to everyone who would listen, including the parents-to-be.  

One night at a big family dinner, the mother-to-be asked her mother-in-law whether she and the father-in-law were still planning to get a new dog; they'd been talking about it for a while, but had not yet pulled the trigger.  Everyone at the table broke out into giggles and snickers, as the poor mom-to-be and her husband looked around in confusion.  Apparently the mother-in-law had been telling the rest of the family that she was going to purposely get the new dog earlier than planned-- before her granddaughter's birth-- so that she could name the dog Harper and thwart her son and daughter-in-law's plans to bestow the name on their new baby.

Thankfully, the father-to-be gave his mother a good talking-to (I'm all for honoring your father and your mother, but I think in this case the son was completely in the right to stand up for his wife and soon-to-be-born daughter), and the baby was indeed named Harper Paige.  

I cannot imagine anyone in my family or David's family or any of our friends behaving so appallingly.  But I still feel really strongly that our son's name should be our decision, without any outside influence-- no matter how loving or well-intentioned.  So don't be offended when you ask me what we're naming him, and I completely dodge your question.  We truly haven't decided yet, and even if we had, I want to reserve the right to change my mind right up to the last minute.

I can say this about our son's name:  It will be traditional.  It will be a biblical name and/or saint's name.  It will be spelled properly.  Beyond that, well, let's meet the kid first.  Then we'll know whether he looks more like a Polycarp or a Sixtus.  

Kidding!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What You Can Get in Fifteen Minutes

Okay, I have officially been reprimanded by at least two people for not posting nearly often enough.  (Well, one of the reprimands came from a friend THROUGH David, but I'm still counting it.)  So I'm trying Jen and Arwen's 15-minutes-at-a-time plan for forcing yourself to blog.  Here goes-- I promise nothing of great interest.  (Certainly not as interesting as Blaise's birth story, which Arwen is blogging 15 minutes at a time.  Go read about how my adorable godson was born!!)

Yesterday was David's birthday.  My wonderful, amazing, brilliant, charming, adorable husband has reached the ripe old age of 34.  Considering that he jokes that he's been 45 since he was a kid, he still has more than a decade before he catches up with his "real" age.  (I wonder-- what happens once he actually reaches age 45?  The curiosity, it KILLS ME.)  We went out to a lovely dinner on Saturday night at Restaurant Eve, just the two of us, and then scarfed Tex-Mex last night with his brother.  I also made him birthday chocolate chip cookies.  His amazing secretary brought in cupcakes to the office and rounded up a bunch of his colleagues for a mid-afternoon surprise.  Love you, Ann!!

In other news, I've been totally enjoying hanging out with the baby lately.  I say "with" the baby, because I'm now feeling him move around on a regular basis, so I'm reminded more and more than I'm never alone these days.  I can't tell you how much I love this.  I remember back during the first trimester and early second trimester, when I looked forward to each doctor's appointment with baited breath because it was the time when I got reassurance-- via ultrasound or doppler-- that everything was still going well in there.  I thought at the time how nice it would be when I could feel the baby move myself, each and every day, and not have to wonder until the next appointment whether things were fine.  And now that time is here!  It's truly amazing.  There have been a couple of instances when David has been able to feel him, too, but his kicks aren't generally strong enough yet.  I'll sometimes feel him randomly, when I'm just sitting with my hand or arm across my stomach, but his bigger jabs are generally random and isolated, so I don't have the chance to grab David's hand and squish it against my midsection.  (Not that I haven't TRIED, just that it doesn't actually WORK.)

I recall Arwen telling me back before Blaise was born that she and Bryan had a conversation about the fact that it would never be so easy to take care of Blaise as it was right then, when he was snugly ensconced in her belly.  I've been thinking the same thing as I look around our totally-not-baby-appropriate house and try to figure out what the heck kind of equipment we're going to need to purchase to take care of this kid.  Even back before I got pregnant, I remember that the impact on our home was one of the (admittedly minor) things I worried about when I thought of having a child.  We are a little fastidious when it comes to our house, and I really, really can't stand the look of a lot of plastic-y toys and childproofing equipment.  I know a lot of that stuff will be necessary, and I'm well aware that it won't bother me nearly so much once the baby is born and the whole he-is-my-first-priority-and-decor-pales-in-comparison instinct takes over.  But still.  I've already told David that I will purchase a coffee table with no corners before I will subject myself to one of those coffee table bumper thingies.  

Ah-- fifteen minutes are up!  You get a post, but probably not a very good one.  And for my dear sister, who has been giving me much-deserved grief about not providing and recent photos of myself, I present:  Me At 22 Weeks Pregnant, courtesy of the computer camera: