Reese’s Induction

Hmmm…thought I’d heard of and tried every trick in the book, but I guess I missed the chapter on Induction by Peanut Butter Cups.

Although I ache, I’m not yet desperate. Nor am I ready for the baby. I’ve got too many things to do first (like wash baby clothes, get the bassinet out of the basement, rearrange all the car seats in the van). And things like that just don’t work if a baby is really unripe.

However, that weekend before the baby is due is looking like a really bad time to have a baby. It’s a big scouting weekend with lots of daytime activities plus camp outs both Friday and Saturday nights. Bill and the boys will be local, but I’d hate to have to drag them out of sleeping bags in the middle of the night to come home. And I really don’t want Bill to miss another birth needlessly.

I met a woman last weekend with an infant. She was induced, but didn’t want her husband sitting around the hospital room and staring at her. So, instead, she sent him off to school, and he called every hour between classes to see how she was doing. Once she dilated to 3 cm, she took off and got to 10 cm in 20 minutes. He called toward the end of this, and she told him not to hurry because he was going to miss it anyway.

This is so wrong.

First of all, if I have to spend a whole day in a hospital room bored out of my skull waiting for a baby to come, a baby he helped create, the least my husband can do is keep me company making the time pass a bit faster.

Secondly, unless there is a really good reason, like being deployed 3000 miles away, my husband should be able to be present at his child’s birth. This is his kid too. And I’m his wife. What if something went wrong? Who would be my advocate? Who would be my comfort? And if all goes well, should he not be an active participant in the joy of that birth?

Lastly, I actually like my husband and enjoy spending time with him. Katie was induced. We spent the day in the hospital together. Since she wasn’t born until early evening, it was probably one of the longest stretches of non-sleeping, non-interrupted-by-kids time we had had together in the three years since we had become parents. In fact, I doubt we’ve had that kind of time together since.

I don’t want the boys to miss their scouting activities, but I’d rather that than have Bill miss the baby’s birth. So maybe that week before, I’ll have to chow down on some peanut butter cups. It certainly wouldn’t hurt!

The final stretch

A few weeks ago, I decided to change my screensaver to a photo slideshow. A few days ago, I finally made a folder in which to put the selected shots. This morning, I actually went through my dated folders and copied the pictures I liked into the slideshow folder.

Yes, that’s how long it takes for me to do things around here.

As I flipped through photos, I saw some of me taken last summer through this past winter. At the time, I didn’t think I was skinny. But compared to the person looking back from the mirror today, I can see why people would think I was crazy for wanting to lose another ten pounds.

I’m due in 25 days. Not that I’m counting or anything! It’s the final stretch: my skin is stretched, my clothes are stretched, my patience is stretched. I’m tired of being big. I’m tired of aching.

Other photos I saw included me in the hospital right after Jenny was born and other pictures taken in those first few weeks at home with her. I still looked enormous, and that depresses me. I guess I’ll be happy that we don’t have those HUGE mirrors in the bathrooms like we did in our last house. I’ll be spared a constant reminder of how far I have to go.


I’ve done this before, I can do this again.

Four Years Ago Today

Happy birthday to you.

You live in a zoo.

You look like a beauty.

And you smile like one too.

The kids have all been singing a different version. Bill told them that the lyrics were so old that he sang them when he was a kid. I suggested that Grandpa sang them when HE was a kid.

Jenny asked whose birthday was next. “The new baby’s,” I answered. The kids practiced a stanza of their happy birthday song intimating that they would sing it to the new baby next month. “Would it be nice to call the new baby a monkey?” I asked. “But what if it DOES look like a monkey?” asked Fritz. And when I think of my wrinkly newborns who take a few weeks to plump up, it just might be that they do look a bit like a monkey. But we aren’t going to tell them that.

A bug’s life

One downside to homeschooling is that you can’t blame someone else if your kid can’t read or spell or calculate the square root of 144.

Another downside is that you can’t defer the teaching of certain subjects that you really don’t want to teach to other people. I guess this is why some people do co-ops. But that’s not my scene, not with the rest of the zoo along too. To me, two or three hours in one facility that isn’t necessarily geared to the entertainment of toddlers, generally at hours that aren’t convenient for toddlers, and without a toddler’s personal kitchen with all the usual snacks and drinks and special cups, plates and bowls that a toddler “needs” just means two or three hours of a developing headache that lasts all day long.

No, thanks. For the foreseeable future, if my kids are to learn something, it will be because I, or their father, or they themselves, have taught it to them.

And so I find myself curling up on the couch with Fritz to read his science book, and the subject is insects. And the book is a good one, meaning it has lots and lots of photos. And the photos are closeups, so you can really see clearly those chomping jaws or the sensilla or the ovipositor of the female cricket. I find myself saying things like, “The female lays her eggs on the male’s back as shown in Photo Five – do you see them, Fritz? Good, because I’m not looking!”

Yesterday, the dog managed to track in a caterpillar and deposited it, unharmed, on the kitchen floor. I frantically called to Fritz to take the thing outside.

A week or so ago, Fritz was walking through the house with cupped hands and told me he had a cricket. “Outside, NOW!” I try to keep the near hysteria out of my voice, but usually fail.

And the piano teacher told me, as we were leaving her house a few weeks ago, that her husband had found a dead beetle that was rather unusual and did I want it? “No,” I replied honestly, “but my boys probably do.” She retrieved it and gave it to them in a ziplock bag. Of course they think it’s the coolest thing. But I had to lay down the law after the third or fourth time I found it in the living room. They can have their dead bug, but he absolutely must stay in their room, or it will go in the garbage.

The science book suggested ways for students to capture bugs and make an insect zoo. Every so often it encourages the capture of more insects to add to this collection. I told Fritz that we would not be doing this project. Maybe if we had a barn, he could keep a little menagerie out there. But not in my house.

I used to think I was a bad homeschool mom because I didn’t do much by way of arts and crafts. Now I know I’m a bad homeschool mom because I don’t do crafts and I don’t do bugs.

I completely agree that the best learning comes from experience as compared to reading. I’ll try to control my guilty feelings. But I know, should the curriculum ever tackle dissections of insects or animals and my husband happens to be deployed at the time, it ain’t gonna happen.

Geometry, trigonometry, algebra, calculus? No problem! Ants, spiders, crickets, silverfish? No dice!

On a mission

For the record, I don’t like beer. Well, one – Bill found one beer that I would drink. It was some raspberry flavored Belgian ale, I think. I liked it because it didn’t taste like beer, so I really don’t think that counts.

But I can appreciate the fact that not all beers are alike, and some are of a higher quality than others, and if you aren’t a poor college student or on a strict budget, then spending a bit extra and getting something good is better than forcing yourself to drink garbage. And since some of the worst morning afters I’ve had were caused by cheap wine, I assume beer is much the same way.

When we moved here in July, I stopped at the Class VI to pick up some beer for Bill, because I love him very much and knew a good beer would make him happy. A quick glance around and I knew it was going to be a tough year for him. Finally, he has the leisure to enjoy beer on a regular basis, and the store has NOTHING. Well, if you like American beer, you’ve got a huge selection, but the imported section was, I think, two shelves inside one refrigerated cabinet. I went home and reported on this sad state of affairs. He’s been a trooper, but is not so desperate that he’s been drinking typical American beer. Mainly, he’s been trying the locally brewed stuff.

But it’s Oktoberfest time, and what is a German party without German beer, right? He went to the Class VI to see if he could order our usual brand: Spaten Oktoberfest. Swing and a miss: strike one. He came home and called a few local liquor stores. Nope, strike out.

Today’s mission for me has been to find some German beer. I’ve been trying to find Spaten, but I’ve gotten so desperate that I’m just looking for something German. I’m calling as far away as Kansas City, but I think I’d even drive farther than that. It’s almost become an obsession, and I have a pretty wild look in my eyes aided by the dilated pupils caused by the concussion I’ve given myself from banging my head on the desk.

At last place I called, I asked if they sold imported beer. “Sure”, she said. “German?” I asked. Heinekin,” she offered. I shrieked and nearly dropped the phone.

Kansas was beginning to grow on me. But I just don’t think I can deal with this.

Kids and movies and reality

This weekend, we went to a birthday party for a boy turning 4. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. Billy especially enjoyed donning an eye patch, bandanna and two gold hoop earrings. “Don’t worry, Mom,” he said, “They’re not putting holes in my ears.”

The adult host confessed to my husband that he was a bad father and had allowed his still 3 year old son to watch the movie 300. They both enjoyed it. They wanted to do a 300 theme for the party, but The Mom said no. I agreed that a 300 theme for a 4 year old’s party was inappropriate. Bill replied:

“Oh, so instead of honoring brave warriors who gave their lives to defend all of Greece and civilization, we’re encouraging our children to dress up as common criminals?”

He has a point.

At this party, the movie The Cat in the Hat was playing. My kids had never seen it, although we had just recently been reading the book after a several month long hiatus. The next day, Jenny told me:

“Mommy, the book got it wrong.”

Oy vey.

We like to watch old movies around here, and even the kids enjoy Roy Rogers and other classics. I don’t even really notice that these flicks are in black and white. These movies combined with a recently read Calvin and Hobbes comic inspired Billy to ask:

“Dad, did the world really used to be with no color?”

And finally, like teens who have learned a few curse words in a foreign language and think that their parents won’t object to foul mouths if they can’t understand what is being said, my kids think the word schnook is permissible. Thank you, Foghorn Leghorn. I’ve argued it before (here in Nutmeg’s comments section) and I’ll say it again: just because you use an arcane word to call someone stupid doesn’t make it any better. My husband disagrees and thinks the kids’ use of the term is really funny, especially when Billy quips:

“Schnook…chicken….they both look great in our oven!”

Random day, random kid: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: Loud-mouthed schnooks.


Adoro te Devote put this joke in my comments, and it made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t leave it there languishing and unappreciated:

The CEO’s of Guinness, Budweiser, and Coors were at a convention and went out to dinner together at the end of the day.

The guy from Budweiser ordered an MGD, the guy from Coors ordered a Coors, and the guy from Guinness ordered a Coke.

The latter withstood a certain amount of ribbing, and finally said, “Well, I just figured that if you guys aren’t going to drink, I won’t, either.”

Party time and alcohol loving neighbors

Bill and I went to a grown up party last night. It was a German-food themed progressive party: appetizers at the house across the street, a sit-down dinner next door, and dessert at another neighbor’s house. It was nice not to have little people constantly interrupting me with their pressing needs.

Of course, my two youngest children are doing everything possible to convince me that I should never do anything like that again. Both were up multiple times last night in utter misery. Pete spent two hours in my bed fussing and fidgeting before I put him back in his room where he screamed for a good five minutes before returning to sleep. Jenny is on the floor right now in tears because she doesn’t know where her backpack is. Going to bed at 10 pm is never a good thing.

And, unfortunately, there is only one convenient Mass around here. Today would be a good day to go in shifts.

Perhaps the nicest thing about this party last night was discovering that I have a good number of neighbors who like to drink. In military communities, you usually find a good chunk of people like that, but you also find an unhealthy dose of teetotalers. They are generally good, Christian folk who are most likely to be seen heading for church on Sunday morning.

Of course, my family has the appearance of being good, Christian folk and we can be seen heading for church on Sunday mornings, too. And we homeschool to boot. I’m quite certain that many neighbors over the years have confused us with these non-drinking types. “No, no,” I want to say, “We’re Catholic! We use real wine at our church!”

Generally, actions speak louder than words, but with an 8 month old gestational baby along with me, I was drinking water. Fun, fun. Full responsibility for showcasing our drinking philosophy fell on Bill’s shoulders. I think he did a good job. I was left to pathetically insist that I really do like alcohol, honest, do I have to tell you some drinking stories? in an effort to not look like Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes. Geez, you’d think I was nineteen again.

We’re having our Oktoberfest party in two weeks. The German beer is always a big hit, but I think the various schnapps and J├Ągermeister shots do much to demonstrate to our new friends that, among the church-going crowd, Catholics have the best parties. I’m not sure the boys have lederhosen that fit, my dirndl doesn’t have a maternity cut, and I fear this apron wouldn’t get here in time from Germany, so some of our usual ambiance will be lacking. Hopefully our decorations and the German food will make up for lack of decent clothing.

Just before I left the party last night to come home and let the poor teenaged babysitter go to his own bed to sleep, I was explaining to one neighbor that having a party a week or two before giving birth was no big deal. This is our fourth Oktoberfest, and we’ve got it down to a science, I think. Plus, having a party with an infant is much more difficult. She insisted that she thought I was pretty crazy for such an endeavor. As I walked away, I told her that Bill and I do everything we can to prove to the world that we are, in fact, the craziest neighbors they will ever know.

And now I need to go deal with three children who are in lousy moods from lack of sleep and get everyone out the door for Mass. We Catholics can’t let a little thing like a late-night party get in the way of giving glory to God.

Palm trees and polar bears

My sister is an Army wife too. For the last year (or is it two?), she’s been living in Alabama. Before that, it was North Carolina and before that it was temperate Monterey, California. She hasn’t seen much snow in the last five or six years.

My BIL, her husband, has just finished one school and is doing another short course, but then they’ll be off to their next assignment. They’ve been waiting for weeks to find out where the Army would send them. Their top pick was Hawaii, and I think even I was beginning to envision a tropical island vacation in the future.

No such luck.

The other picks on their list were Colorado and Kentucky, but they didn’t get them either. Nope, sometimes you just go where the Army wants to send you.

Like to Alaska.

No other state is as diametrically opposite Hawaii than Alaska. But being a good soldier’s wife, my sister is embracing this new adventure with good humor.

Did I mention he reports in January?

Looking on the sunny side, all four hours a day of sunny side that there will be in Alaska in January, they will get there when it is coldest and darkest, so things will only improve. My husband was up that way in June, and he said it was stunning. And since the sky is still pretty bright at 10 pm in the summer, you have plenty of time to see it all.

Of course, living in Alabama, resources for cold weather gear are pretty scarce, and so I offered via email to see if there were any winter coats for her kids at the thrift store here. She emailed back that she was going to do some research since winter temps can get to 50 below and most winter coats for those of us living in the Continental US just won’t cut it. Even the squall coat I’ve offered to loan to her is only rated to 35 below with a sweater.

Nonetheless, having a normal winter coat, especially if I can find one for only a few bucks, is probably not a waste of money. After all, I emailed her, the kids need something to wear in the spring and the fall.

Ahem. Perhaps it is only her older sister who is truly in a good humor about her husband’s assignment?

It’s going to be a long football season

Billy, our renegade Bengals fan, has been conducting indoor football scrimmages with Peter. One of Peter’s earliest words was “HIKE!” Despite the Halloween dresses and tap shoes and his sisters putting barrettes in his hair and pink ranking among his favorite colors, he really is ALL BOY. And he loves football.

It’s bad enough for this Browns fan who is married to a Packers fan to have one offspring go off the deep end and pledge his loyalty to the Bengals. {Apparently, the Ohio teams are playing this Saturday, and I’ve already been informed that the Browns have no chance.} But as I dodge my little football guys who are using the hallway and the staircase for their field and I hear the littlest one, currently in possession of the ball, put the pigskin down and state firmly, “I the Bengals,” I really must draw the line.

Worst of all, my husband places the blame squarely on me as the one who spends the most time with these kids. Just before he left for school, he strictly exhorted Billy to tell Peter that he loves the Packers and to stop mentioning the Bengals. Perhaps I should consider team loyalty indoctrination as a part of my core curriculum. I’m quite sure Bill would have little objection if I decorated the schoolroom with this or this or this.

As for the game this weekend, perhaps my young football pundits are right. Even Bernie Kosar said of the current Browns team, “So many things need to get better. If Jesus was the quarterback, they’d still be 0-1.”