Archives for April 2009

Objects in Womb Are Closer Than They Appear

Time is a very odd thing for grown-ups. Sometimes it seems to zip on by, and other times it seems to take forever. Well, at this point, it just hit me that we may have less than eight weeks before the two of you enter this world. Golly… maybe we should start getting our act together!

We took an infant CPR class already, and a class on car seats, and now we are enrolled in a “Caring for multiples” class. Unfortunately, the more we learn, the more unprepared it seems that we really are. As excited as I am to meet the two of you, well, I’m also starting to get more than a little nervous. Most of the other babies I’ve seen have probably been two months old or more. At the CPR class there was one who was only a couple weeks old, and it was just so TINY!! Oh, it was cute and all, but just to look at how incredibly small that tiny package of life was made me think how delicate and fragile you two must be at first.

The other thing that I’m starting to pick up on from other parents is that you two are going to be a lot of work. We’ve heard that all along, of course, so it really shouldn’t come as any surprise. At the same time, I suppose that it’s all just starting to sink in. Likewise, with the comments that our lives are going to change forever. In a very odd sort of way, statements like that are simultaneously “Well, DUH!!” and “Err… what does that really mean?”

For the most part, Momma and I lead relatively simple lives. We wake up, shower, eat, go to work, come home, eat, do stuff on the computer, snuggle, and go to bed. On weekends, replace “work” with more fun-stuff like going on walks, hikes, and in my case, running off the side of a mountain in a paraglider. Well, it looks like most of that is going to be replaced with feeding and caring for you, interspersed with brief periods where we get to take ever-so-brief naps, at least until you are able to sleep through the night. Momma will be taking a good chunk of time off of work to care for you, and I will probably do the same, except that we’re not yet sure how long I actually have the luxury of caring for you full time.

My job gives me two weeks off paid, and then another 10 weeks off without pay if I want it, except that at least one of us has to work just to pay the bills. I have no idea how old you two are going to be if or when you end up reading this post, and neither of you have any clue what any of this means right now. I guess I’m starting to ramble a bit… the point is that looking at momma’s growing belly, it’s increasingly clear that Objects in Womb are Closer Than They Appear.

Side Effects

Momma is starting to experience some interesting side-effects of the two of you getting bigger. The first one is not entirely unexpected: her belly button is almost gone. While some women have their belly-button pop out, it looks like momma’s is simply going to flatten out into oblivion. We can still see where it used to be, but at this point, momma is 108cm around the widest part, and for practical purposes, the belly button is gone.

It’s also more difficult for her to bend over now. A while back, she started to sit in a chair whenever she needed to put her shoes and socks on. She still does, but now she can’t reach her toes anymore to trim her toenails, which means that I just got a new job. Also, her ankle is starting to swell up. That’s right, just one ankle — the one on the right. Why it’s only one at this point is a mystery. It’s almost like she’s turning into the Hulk, but only in one foot. Fortunately, her shoes still fit. I understand that some women’s feet swell up so much that their shoes don’t fit anymore. That’s what happened with my mom.

She told me a story about needing to get new shoes every couple of weeks because her feet kept growing. Apparently, it got so bad that her mother (your great grandma) recommended that she just start wearing the box that the shoes came in.

Birthdays

Today is momma’s birthday. This probably doesn’t mean much to you yet, on account of you have yet to experience “birth.” But you see, being born is a really big deal. Even though we know you two are alive and well right now, the day you are born is the day that most people start “counting” how old you are. From the outside, both of us are eagerly awaiting YOUR birthday. We don’t even know when that will be just yet. Oh, we have a reasonable idea that it will be between the end of June and some time in July, but we can’t pin it down any more than that.

Once you are born, the day of your birth becomes something special. Afterward, each year when that day comes around again, we celebrate that day as special. We have some rather unique customs in momma’s family around birthdays regarding clapping and singing of songs. You two will probably grow up with these customs over at grandma and grandpa’s place, where they will invariably spoil you rotten. (That’s part of their job as grandparents, after all).

One of the things about birthdays is that on that day, we officially recognize that somebody is a year older. One one level, it’s a bit silly, given that we don’t actually gain a year overnight, but rather get one day older every day. Somehow, all those 364 days leading up to ones birthday are kind of like freebe’s. None of them really count until the next birthday rolls around. Then there are folks like my own mother, who resisted celebrating birthdays with a passion. Why, there must have been six or seven years in a row that she had her 30th birthday. Eventually, she had to take credit for all those years all at once because as I got older, it made it look like she had me when she was only 15 years old.

Then there’s a friend of mine who was so traumatized by turning 40, that it took her nearly a year to get over it. So you see, birthdays can be a funny kind of thing for us people, and you’ll get to learn all about that as you get older. In the long run, however, birthdays are good for you. The more that you have, the longer you live.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Normally, the phrase “Things that go bump in the night” refers to scary stuff. In your case, however, you two are the ones going bump, and from inside of momma. On its own, this would be not much different from the prior two or three posts on this blog. The difference is that the bumps are definitely getting bigger. Momma will be engaged in conversation, then all of the sudden her eyes will bug-out and she takes a deep gasp of air. Those momentary reflexes, of course, are when one of you two starts getting a bit more aggressive from the insides and takes momma by surprise. It’s important to remember this, because by the look on her face, the uninitiated might think that somebody just put an ice-cube down her shorts.

And that reminds me of a story…
Many years ago, I worked at an environmental education center in New Hampshire. I got paid $40/week, plus room and board in exchange for teaching 2nd through 6th graders about the environment. There were twelve of us all living together in an old farmhouse that occasionally had mice, bats, and rats. This fellow named Eric made some toast in the toaster oven, but it started to vibrate. That’s when he realized that there was a rat in the toaster at the time, and it was starting to catch fire. He opened up the door, and this little bugger goes scampering across the floor with it’s tail still ablaze. We were lucky it did not set the whole house on fire.

But what reminded me of that was that Eric was deathly afraid of bats, and we had lots of those. One of them went into the community area of the house, and Eric was afraid to go into the room because he thought the bat would swoop down from the ceiling, grab his hair, and suck out his brains. There were two other women standing right next to him, one on each side, trying to coax him into the room, telling him everything would be fine… it was just a harmless “little brown” bat. He was literally shaking in his boots. And this is where the “ice cube” comes into play.

I’ll be the first to admit that even to this day this was not a moment that I am particularly proud about. While he was standing in the doorway, I dropped an ice cube down his back. I don’t know just what I was thinking at the time. OK, I was not thinking much at all, and in retrospect, my actions were truly cruel. That poor fellow spun around so fast, writhing and flailing his arms amidst screams of abject terror that one would think he was running from Dracula himself.

Fortunately, when you two let loose with a particularly forceful punch or kick, momma’s eyes don’t really bug out quite that badly. But you get the general idea, and you two still have another two or three months to go before your birthday.

Big as a Bowling Ball

You two have been growing again. this photo of Momma’s belly last week shows that she looks like she has a bowling ball in there. That was when she was 103 cm around the middle. This week, she’s 107 cm.

At night, when we lay down to go to bed, you two become our evening’s entertainment. We just keep quite for a little while, then one or both of you start rolling around, kicking, punching, or otherwise moving inside there. Between the two of us out here, we literally cover momma’s belly with our hands, waiting to see when and where you are going to poke. It’s kind of like we’re “pinging” for a submarine, except that you’re the sub.

Writing about it here, it sounds like such a simple thing, but this activity literally has us enthralled every evening. Every now and then, if we stare at momma’s bare belly, we can even SEE the little ripples from inside that you two make. It’s not at the point that we can see a hand, or a foot, but you’re definitely making your presence in there known. Also, when one of you wiggles, I’ll go “Hooray!” on the outside, but there’s no telling if you recognize it as praise in any way. It’s still probably just “Hrmfoooorrraaaa” from where you are, but we’re giving you love, praise, and affection from our side already.

That’s one of the other fascinating parts of this journey so far. Even before the two of you are born, you are oh so very real, tender, and loved. You are tiny little human beings already, and out here, we’re already thinking about your future, your upbringing, your schooling, your care and feeding, and all sorts of things. On the other hand, we don’t actually have squat really READY for you just yet, but we did get a list of things that we’re probably going to need. Sure, it’s a list from Babies-R-us, and it’s all about them selling stuff, but you know what? You two are going to need just about EVERYTHING! Sure, momma and I try to be real “green” in lots of ways, but from what I understand, you two are going to be much more into brown for a year or two.