When you get pregnant, and you really want that baby, all you can think about is how much fun it’s going to be.  Everyone around you is joking about how much sleep you’ll lose and how babies never stop peeing, literally never stop even though you are in the middle of changing their diapers, but you keep thinking about little stripey onesies and pajamas with butt ruffles.  Then you’re humbled by the pain and the intense watching that birth brings, and after that intense glaring at you in your most raw, the light switches off you forever and onto your baby.  And there it stays, night after night, as the baby grows up and more independent and yet still more dependent.  While you’re rocking a wailing baby at 2, 3, 4 AM, you tell yourself that soon they’ll sleep all night.  Then, while you rub clove oil on their gums to alleviate teething pain and they just scream at your efforts, you tell yourself you can’t wait until they’ve cut all their teeth.  When you’re going through endless rounds of potty training, trying 400 strategies and having them all end in pee pee on the floor, you keep saying how amazing it will be when they can go to the bathroom by themselves.

But really, it isn’t.  It doesn’t really get easier when they sleep all night or can go to the potty alone, because that’s not the nature of parenting.  It gets harder.  Do you hear me, pregnant friends?  HARDER.  Because suddenly caring for them isn’t only holding them until they stop crying; it’s layered, it’s complicated, and it’s illogical.  I have been walking through this semester, trying my best to keep Hazel, Julia, the house, and my studies all pulled together, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Hazel, who clings to me all day and would crawl back into my uterus for keeps – Julia, who’s so sweet-tempered and so much less needy than any other 10-month-old alive – the house, with its piles of laundry at various spots throughout – our food, which I try so hard to make super healthy and fresh and YAY, but is slowly involving more meals of just hummus and carrot sticks.  I’m so exhausted, and maybe parenting isn’t this hard for everyone else.  I concede that I have some factors working against me:  I’m a control freak, a neat freak, a non-touchy/feely loner freak who gets mad as hell when I can’t find my exact right highlighter and who, in reality, would probably have said “f*ck” instead of “hell.”  I’ve got some daddy issues, which are 1. being furious and 2. being furious.  Whatever the cause, whatever the complications, parenting, for me, is the most difficult, consistently inconsistent position I’ve ever held, and I mostly feel like a failure of a mother.  I WANT to go to school, want it so badly that I’m staying up until 1 AM reading articles and working on papers, and sometimes I get mad at the universe when I have to push it all off for the tiny humans in the next room.  Because I’m not mad at them, or at Amos or even me, it’s hard being mad.

But sometimes things unexpectedly clear, and, for a moment, it’s perfect.  Today I have had Julia home, still feverish, while a coughing but not feverish Hazel went back to preschool after several days home sick.  I’m super behind; I have to read Bleak House, which is like 900 pages of Dickens that I had never even heard of before, and having two sick girls has seriously affected my reading time.  So I have Julia in the sling, letting her doze on me whilst I read, and Hazel’s school calls with a suspected case of pink eye.  An hour later I settled a newly clean Julia, who pooped in the bathtub for the 3rd time this week (she has a bad diaper rash, so I put her in there to give her some non-diaper time) in her crib with relaxing nature sounds playing on my phone and a Hazel who’s half asleep and half irritated and just doesn’t know what to do with herself.  I put her beside me on my bed, hoping she would sleep.  She asked me to read to her, and because I’m so behind I started reading Bleak House to her.   What should have been a boring book for her was, for some reason, exotic.  That moment turned into Hazel stealing my glasses and book and reading the text to me.  That ordinary moment of maternal desperation turned into something so beautiful and refreshing, made extraordinary by the amazing little girl I have.  It gets harder as they get older, but the beautiful moments get exponentially more beautiful.



We’ve Arrived

We have been in Kansas City for a week now.  I should be able to tell you something about the place, but so far it’s been a seriously uncommon moving experience.  After major hassles with all FOUR moving companies who surveyed our stuff, we ended up having to drive the goods ourselves.  Actually, here’s what happened:

  1. Major electrical storm knocks down three trees onto (yes, ONto) the power lines in our backyard.
  2. Power is out at the house for three days, which means we move into my mom’s house.  Amos and I pack at night, when the girls are sleeping and the inside temps of the house are not in the triple digits.
  3. We get it all packed, Amos and some friends load up, and he takes off.
  4. The girls and I spend the next four days at Mama’s, making a total of nine days at her house.
  5. Aunt Laura (Amos’s sister) flies to Huntsville to make the drive to St. Louis with us, which was immensely helpful.
  6. We spend 2 days in St. Louis, then I drive to Kansas City with the girls (Tuesday).
  7. We arrive, get groceries, get Amos from the airport, get settled down for the night, and Amos starts throwing up.
  8. He’s sick all night with a fever, chills, and of course dry heaving.  He still goes to work the next day (Wednesday).
  9. Thursday I start throwing up, have a fever and chills all day, and watch the girls all day.  Did I mention we had just arrived and had barely unpacked?
  10. I get mostly better and am starving, so we get Vietnamese (Friday night).  We make it home just in time for me to be sick again; Hazel wakes us up at 1:30 AM, noodles in her hair, because she’s thrown up for the first time in her short little life.  Amos hits Wal-Mart at 2 AM for Motrin and Pedialyte while I keep Hazel awake, reading stories, so I can rush her to the bathroom when necessary.  They fall asleep around 4 AM, and I do around 5:30 AM.
We had such a crazy, crazy, insane, weird time moving here, and as you can see family involvement was integral to the process (thanks again, people)!  So, do we like Kansas City?  Um, yep!  Although Saturday we spent mostly around the house, since people were still kind of pukey, on Sunday we managed to have a right lovely time.  We drove up to Loose Park, which is this gorgeous 75-acre gleaming hamlet smack in the middle of the city.  Hazel, Amos, and I pushed Julia through the trees and over bridges while we talked about the things we saw, and we just enjoyed being outside together.  Plus, it was Julia’s first time riding in an umbrella stroller, and I was majorly excited about it!  It was VITAL to my baby time with Hazel; she and I walked all over Clinton, so much so that I actually wore out the first umbrella stroller we had.  We had to rig up a little scarf under Julia’s armpits, though, in case she tried to lunge out.  When Hazel was this age it was the freezing beginning of winter in upstate NY, and she was so wedged in by blankets, snowsuits, and knit sweaters that she couldn’t have leapt out if she’d tried!
Following the park we treated ourselves to small cups at Glace, the best ice creamery I’ve ever visited.  Each small cup has space for two flavors, which I just love.  I got Fleur de Sel Caramel and Basil Lemon Sorbet.  Amos tried Lemon Verbena and Pineapple Cilantro Sorbet (those two were my favorites!), and Hazel chose Blueberry Cream Cheese and Blackberry Chocolate Chip based on their colors.  We all had a grand time trying each other’s.

The House that Sickness Built

Dudes, we have been sick up in this house.  I mean feet dragging, no appetite, taking really hot showers just so you can cough up stuff sick.  First Hazel came down with something respiratory and nasty.  After she spiked a fever at 102 I took her in to the doctor, who diagnosed her with a sinus infection.  Ok, not too horrible – two missed days of daycare spent on the couch watching movies and hanging out with Corduroy (her bear).  Kind of nice, actually, to have her home and snuggly with me, although it sucked that she was feeling bad.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a strong cough medicine, and within a day of the first dose she was noticeably better.

And then I got sick.  All during this pregnancy it seems like I’ve kept a cold, or a sore throat, or a stomach bug.  My immune system has just been in overdrive since last June (yep, I’ve been pregnant since JUNE), so any tiny virus or bacteria that was on anyone’s anything has made me deadly ill while everyone else sailed merrily along.  At Christmas, in St. Louis, I got a pretty bad virus that presented like the flu.  The doctor there told me that no medicine would help, so I just weathered it out for two weeks or so.  Last week I felt the same – absolutely fatigued, no appetite whatsoever, hard cough, difficulty breathing, and no voice.  I didn’t go to a doctor here, expecting s/he to tell me the same thing I heard at Christmas.  When I visited my midwife, though, she sounded concerned at how hard it was for me to breathe and prescribed an antibiotic, saying that if it had been a cold it was now a bacterial infection in my lungs or chest.  I just finished the z-pack yesterday, and while I still have a hacking cough I am otherwise better.

I was looking forward to getting back to normal this week, but that’s not in the cards.  Hazel woke up with a rash on her face and lightly sprinkled across her chest; by our 11 AM doctor’s appointment it had spread all over her body, even to the soles of her feet and in between her fingers.  It was FREAKING ME OUT.  She’s never been sick like that before, and I swear every time I took her in to potty I could see it growing down her legs.  The doctor told us it was either an adverse reaction to the antibiotic she is on for her sinus infection or the hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is just a virus that makes a small fever and a rash that covers those parts of the body.

Since it got worse this morning she’s actually gotten a little better.  It’s not in her mouth and it looks a little better on those last parts of her affected, so I think it was a reaction against her antibiotic (which we gave her like normal this AM before the appointment).  I feel so sorry for her little body!

So that’s what’s been going on in the Confer household.  We have been sick, and Amos has had to make very small, very boring dinners.  I am still knitting for the breast cancer shop, although I’ve put it on hiatus until after Julia is born.  I have had some special requests via email, so I’m still working on those!  It’s been awesome, you guys.  I’m so happy people are willing to pay for these things – we’re going to raise a killer donation for the walk!

Tomorrow we go to have another ultrasound, hopefully the last one, to double check my little acrobat’s position.  We are 99% sure she’s head down, but my midwife suspects that she’s also facing up (as in facing out the same way that I do, not back into my spine like normal).  This isn’t such a big deal except that it is usually the reason behind “back labor,” which you may have heard of.  It’s supposed to be more painful.  My midwife says this is because the baby’s spine contracts down along my spine, with all those nerves getting a constant pressure during the labor.  That sounds more painful!  Anyway, I don’t really care as long as we avoid a c-section!  Tomorrow I’ll put up a picture, maybe even a video of the ultrasound!  About three more weeks (and hell, maybe less if I’m lucky)!


Quick like a bunny!

I am sick.  Hazel is sicker.  Amos is not (lucky dude!).  So this will be quick fast like lightening!

This week was productive in that I got new yarn and started knitting with it.  Oh also the house was clean for one whole day.  PRETTY COOL.  Friday I got a crazy number of house-stuff done:  groceries, dishes, sweeping, mopping, bathroom-sink-cleaning, plus I made a tofu/kale supper pie, which was phenomenal.  But then I got sick yesterday, and all I did before Amos got home was feed Hazel and pick up a couple of promised books at the book sale.  And today it's been mopey, snotty, headachey, orange-juicy shuffling from room to room.
Thus, the promised quick run-down:
I'm making the shawl on the left with the yarn on the right.  This will be a kind of last-minute Christmas gift for my grandma.  I'm making one that is a little bigger than the one here, since I want her to use it like a shawl.
Also, because Hazel was sick, Amos bought some Crayons for her.  She's a little young, really, but he found these plastic-covered ones and she loved them!  She didn't try to eat them once.
fast fast fastshare?crayoning

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Busy Week…Doing Nothing.

This past week was hectic, except that I didn't actually get anything done.  Go figure!

I spent the first of the week just trying to catch up a little on housework.  Hazel has been getting so much better at crawling that I have to really keep an eye on her.  She now crawls around and around the living room, stopping to touch all the same stuff.  She goes magazine rack, bookcase, stroller wheel, records, my shoes, rocking chair, DVDs, my feet, and then starts all over again.  I have little tiny baby fingerprints all over the place.  I'm also considering attaching Swiffer sheets to all her onesies.

I did manage to get the house relatively clean by Wednesday, but on Thursday Amos came down with this nasty bug, so everything went downhill faster than Fat Albert on a black diamond run.  Our house was t.r.a.s.h.e.d.  I did dishes Friday morning; by that evening every single juice glass was dirty because Amos told me, "You can't reuse cups when you're sick; it just makes you more sick."  This is not true, internet readers.  This is baloney.  I contributed to the dish pile in my own right, too.  I just didn't have time to worry about those while caring for the baby all by myself, trying to keep her quiet so Amos could rest.  Hazel and I spent a lot of time out of the house the past few days.  Amos never gets sick.  Never.  He never has a sore throat, doesn't get queasy, isn't affected by headaches, so when he does fall ill it seems like it's considerably worse.  Thursday he was throwing up at school and came home, Friday he had a hacking cough and achey joints, which carried over into Saturday.  

Unfortunately he had a Lego robotics thing scheduled for Saturday and since he was the only professor, he felt obligated to go.  Fortunately, he had hired a babysitter for Hazel at the school, so I had the majority of the day free!  I was sorry he felt poorly, but was so giddy about my free time I couldn't really think straight.  I had a blast doing laundry, dancing with my ipod, then lunch & shopping with Care and Emma.  I even had some time on my own yesterday too; I read about this yarn shop closing in Manlius, close to Syracuse, so I loaded up Hazel and we went!  I found some awesome yarn, which I'm going to get my hands on tonight, and Hazel flirted with everyone there and was just adorable.

It didn't last, though.  Our poor baby woke up at 4 am with a blistering fever and hacking cough.  She's been feverish all day, hovering around 102 degrees, with a runny nose, cough, and sometimes vomiting.  Still, though, she's been in a generally good mood and hasn't cried much, which makes me feel even worse for her.  Amos stayed home today from work as well, and having him here to help out was great, even if he's not at full capacity.  Unfortunately you can't really do much for a baby who is sick like this, except try to keep them comfy and let them nurse a lot.  She's such a good baby, and seeing her sick just breaks my heart.  Hopefully it will have run its course by tomorrow, but until then I'll be too soccer-mom-from-the-80s embarrassed to come out of my house!

ETA:  It took me three days to write this out.  I started on Saturday, then got distracted by Hazel and bedtime, and the next day she was all sick and gross and so was Amos.  So pretend I wrote this Monday.  Also, her fever is gone now, and she's just kind of wimpy and coughing, but better than yesterday.

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Boo :(

Hazel has her first little cold!

My baby girl is super sleepy, with a runny nose and these weak little pathetic cries that are breaking my heart.  Daddy's picking up a humidifier on his way home, so hopefully our girl will be back on track in the next day or so.

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Last Twenty-Something Week to Post!

I'm at 29 weeks, people, crossing the linea negra to the thirties on Monday!  I can hardly believe it.  Sometimes I feel like she can't get here fast enough, other times I want to delay the pain for ALAP (as long as possible…that should be the new ASAP).  I went to the doctor today and everything is fine.  I don't have gestational diabetes, yay, I gained another mother$&%!ing six pounds, which puts me right around a hot 20 lbs. total, lame.  Next Tuesday I get to have another ultrasound to make sure the placenta is out of the way and just to check up on cutie pie in there.  So new photos next Tuesday!!!  She has gotten so unbelievably active in the past couple of weeks it's amazing.  Amos and I can see her moving in there, which is both weird and cool and earned me the nickname "Ripley" around the house.

My first week of maternity leave couldn't have happened at a better time.  Monday morning I woke up with a sore throat, which quickly escalated into a full-blown upper respiratory infection.  I'm at the runny nose/stuffy ears/stare at you with my mouth open phase.  Tomorrow night I'm supposed to hostess, so I hope I don't look like a zombie then.  That isn't attractive when you're trying to eat dinner, although I don't think I'm contagious, since Amos is untouched by the sickness.

All the house projects I wanted to do have been put on hold, obviously, but next week I'm going to TOWN on her part of the room.  We are so close to having everything done that I can't wait to get it all set up and take some photos.  Oh and I got my hair cut today, nothing drastic, just fixing it up so it can continue to grow longer without looking all choppy weird layers, but seeing as how I've got the zombie face I'll post a photo later.  I LOVE the new hairdresser I used and will use her until the day I die…or actually probably till the day we move.  Anyway I love her!

Sorry for the stream of conciousness post…being kind of stuck in the house/in my brain for the past few days has left me a bit loopy, and Amos won't talk to me anymore since I've made him rotate Junior and Shrek 2 in the DVD all week.  Whatever, both those movies are hilarious!  ;)

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