Friday, April 29, 2011

Planned Pregnancies

As I am beginning to announce my pregnancy to more and more people outside our close circle of family and friends I have to admit that I've been taken aback by one common, recurring question:

"So, was this planned?"

Does this strike anyone else as just a tad impolite?  Or am I being too sensitive?

I thought three kids was still in the realm of socially normal but perhaps because we already have been blessed with one child from each gender they assume we've reached our quota?

For the record, all three of our pregnancies have been planned.  And yet, I feel guilty even just writing that out.  Because what if they weren't?  Does it matter?  Does the unplanned child matter less?  Is the unplanned child loved less?  Is the unplanned child a throw-away?  An excuse for us to walk away and say, "I'm so glad I'm not in their shoes!"?  A way to catch the parents in some "embarrassing mistake" that surly has a drastic, catastrophic consequences?

Unless the mother is a blithering mess of uncertainty about what this new pregnancy might mean for the future, what does the answer to this question matter?

While I, myself, have never experienced the emotions that come into play when a mother is surprised with a positive pregnancy test, I have experienced phone calls from family and friends in this situation.

Some conversations have started out with tears of exasperation.  Some have been delighted to be put in a situation they never knew they wanted.  Some of these situations have ended with the devastating discovery of a miscarriage.  But most have ended with a pink-skinned, squirmy, glorious new baby.  A new baby who is loved without end.  A new baby whose parents, by now, have long forgotten was not in their plan.  A new baby whose parents, by now, have realized this new life was in the bigger plan.

You should know that by the time any mother announces her pregnancy to you, chances are she's already known she's been pregnant for several weeks.  In these several weeks there's a good chance she's overcome any anxious emotions that can get the best of newly pregnant mothers, whether planned or not.  And most of the time that anxiety is eventually replaced by pure bliss. [I'm going to write about my own initial mixed feelings on my current pregnancy later.]

So the next time you feel the curiosity bug getting the best of you, do yourself a favor and bite your tongue and smile and be happy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Two-Year-Old

My two-year-old is extremely stylish.  She will put on and wear anything that has to do with being like a princess.
My two-year-old especially loves shoes.  But she hates her tennis shoes.  After I put on a pair of her Maryjane's, she will promptly run around outside and play in the mud like a tomboy. 
My two-year-old does not have a food that appears in a "dislike" column.  She is not a big breakfast or lunch-eater but she devours second and sometimes third helpings for dinner.

My two-year-old also has a to-die-for metabolism.  However, I was excited to learn this week that she has jumped from the tenth to twentieth percentile in weight for her age category.  She also jumped from the 65th to 85th in height.  She might just be walking a runway some day.

My two-year-old has a HUGE sweet tooth. Her favorite?  Cock-let.  Oh get your head out of the gutter.  That's her word for chocolate.  She doesn't yet know her colors but she can spot an M&M's package from a mile away yelling, "MMs! MMs! MMs!" when we're at the grocery store.
My two-year-old does not discriminate between her mommy or her daddy and she rarely, if ever, has any separation anxiety.  Except in the morning.  Then it's all about Dad.  "Daddy hold you."  "Go work with Daddy."  "Go see Daddy." 
My two-year-old has the verbal language of a three-year-old.  She will repeat and remember just about any word or phrase you tell her. 
MOST of the time my two-year-old has a sweet and carefree personality.  But when she doesn't, watch out.  She will not be talked or persuaded into anything.  (I kind of like this about her.)

My two-year-old likes toys a lot more than her older brother.  She is also much better at playing quietly by herself.

My two-year-old doesn't really like television.  Except for Sesame Street.  She will watch Sesame Street from start to finish without disruption.

My two-year-old goes to bed like a breeze.  And she sleeps from 7:30 to 8:30 almost every single day.

But my two-year-old is a picky sleeper.  She must have her pig pillow, nukie, Jellycat Bunny and blankie or she will not go to sleep.  She also does not like sleeping in the car or at anyone else's house except her own.

My two-year-old is a crazy light sleeper.  One creak in the floor boards and she's standing up.  She also still wakes up in the middle of the night at least once (usually more) per week.  But she goes back to sleep easily after one sip of water and being covered up again.

My two-year-old's favorite books are "Olivia" and "Harold and Purple Crayon."  I love the way she pronounces Olivia, "O-lib-ya."

My two-year-old's favorite activities are singing, dancing and anything to do with being outside.

My two-year-old does not walk. She prances.  And when she falls, as prancers often do, she hops up quickly and declares, "I'm OK!"

My two-year-old has cheeks the size of Texas.  And every one comments on them.  I hope they never go away.  I'm sure she might hope otherwise when she gets older.

My two-year-old truly lights up my life.  Contrary to what others might say, two really is my most favorite age.  Frustrating, for sure, but a thousand times more hilarious, sweet and can't-stand-it cuteness.

Happy Birthday to my Little Lucy Girl!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Breathe

There is A LOT going on in the Nash family as of late. Unfortunately not much of it can be shared here. I hate cryptic sentences like that. Don't you? Twitter, Facebook, Blogs. Why do people do it? Just say it! Right? But this time I really have to hold my tongue.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to share all the details.

So, because of that, there's not much else to say before we leave for my Mom's house for the Easter Triddum. However, I did come across these funny photos from last week of my kids doing their best yoga poses. I'll leave you with that.  Enjoy!
Downward-facing Dog

Three-legged Dog

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On A Soap Box

Vaccines are a hot button issue to be sure.  It's a topic I've written about before and one that can be dangerous for bloggers to pursue.  There are many different stances and many different reasons for a stance.  I can respect that.


...I get upset when incorrect information about vaccines hazes the judgment of parents and thus leads to poor decision-making.

Of course, I'm speaking about Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent study suggesting a connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.

Just this week the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed a 17th case of measles in the Twin Cities.

If a parent chooses not to vaccinate his/her child it's easy to say that's their choice.  It's their right.  And it is.  But it's careless to say that that decision doesn't affect anyone else.  Because, you see, the MMR vaccination series does not begin until a child's first birthday.  So any infant under the age of 1 year is at risk of acquiring the infection.

And that's exactly what's happened here.  Six of the 17 reported cases were under a year old and thus too young to receive the vaccine if that were the parent's intentions.  And, of course, being that young makes the infected infant that much more vulnerable to the serious complications that can occur with the measles.  Learn more about the measles from the CDC website.

I want to be pro-choice when it comes to vaccines.  I certainly can understand the fears and worries on the other side of the fence.  But when it affects someone who is too young to have a choice, there has to be a better answer.  Certainly popular opinion and fear-mongering cannot replace scientific evidence, can it?

OK, getting off my high horse now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All About Lucy

Two quick stories about my almost 2-year-old on this Wednesday morning.

1. Check out these pictures.

To me this just explains so much about what it means to have more than one child. Here she is doing everything William hates and she's loving it. (a) She's eating dinner. A lot of it. (b) She's eating chicken. A lot of it. (c) Her favorite part of the chicken-on-the-grill is the fatty, scorched, crunchy, salty skin. Which, I must say, she could definitely use in that tiny little body of hers. [Don't let those big cheeks fool you. She is tiiiiiny.]

Sometimes I find Brian and myself teetering on that fine line of still treating her like the baby because, well, she still is the baby. For now anyway. So yesterday I pulled all the meat off a chicken drumstick for her and cut it up into nice bite-sized pieces. And she ate them. All of them. And when she was finished she was asking for more and pointing to another drumstick on the platter.

By now the rest of the family was finished eating so instead of taking the time to cut up another piece of meat I told Brian to just give her the whole thing. I think she thought she'd died and gone to heaven. It was like her equivalent of a lollipop. While the rest of us had moved on to chocolate chunk and almond cookies, Luce was still mawing down on her chicken leg. My little lady.

2. Lucy didn't get a chance to nap yesterday until 3:00 which meant she was still wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 9:30 last night. She ran around the living room in her pajamas while Brian worked simultaneously on the phone and on his laptop on a time-sensitive project for work. I sat next to him on the couch trying to place toothpicks on my eyelids to stay awake.

Lucy went back by our radiator and grabbed a couple of magnetic alphabet letters we keep there and brought them to me.

I held one up, "What letter is this?"

"P!" She exclaimed.
I looked at the plastic letter and indeed it was the letter P.  I thought it might be a fluke.  So I held up the next letter and asked her what it was.

She took a little longer this time, thinking quietly.  Then she yelled, "Q!" with a giant smile on her face.

What was going on?!  Where have I been while my 1-year-old had learned her letters?  [Of course when it comes to genius-like activities her age will suddenly go from an almost 2-year-old back down to a 1-year-old to make it all seem so much more impressive.  Don't pretend you don't do the same thing with your own kids.]

After I quizzed her on the rest of the letters I discovered she knew about 75% of them.  And I'm not saying that we should start her application for Harvard now.  Certainly it's not earth-shattering that a girl of her age knows her letters.  But I am slightly in awe that she somehow learned these all without any formal teaching exercise.

Maybe she's a good eavesdropper when I'm going over phonics with William.  Or maybe she watches too much Sesame Street. (Or maybe, based on the outcome, she's not watching enough Sesame Street!)  Whatever it was it made me feel proud and slightly guilty all at the same time.

Is this a second-born thing?  Have your second-, third-, etc. born children surprised you with something they knew without you knowing how they learned it?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A 4-year-old and 2-year-old [Almost]

Living in Minnesota, with such long winters, it is easy to see distinct differences in age development when it comes to outside play from summer to summer. No year is exactly the same. There's the stroller stage, the crawling/dirt-eating stage, the climbing stage, the riding-my-bike stage, the independent stage and so on.

We have the perfect house location and backyard to accommodate all those stages. We live on a corner which provides ample sidewalk space to ride one's bike/scooter within the agreed upon boundaries.  For backyard play we've got two things going for us: (a) it's completely fenced in and (b) my kitchen window faces every possible angle. I can prep for meals and supervise all at the same time.

At nearly two-years-old Lucy now pleads to put her shoes on as soon as she hears her big brother utter the word "outside." And this year I've obliged. She can play in the backyard by herself as long as the fence gates are tightly closed and I'm stationed at the kitchen counter.

But yesterday I took this picture and my heart wept for her for just a bit.

She's finally got the green light to join her big brother outside and what does he do?  Leaves the confines of the yard to join the big kids to do big-kid things.

She never complained once.  But she did stand there for quite some time.  Just watching.  I don't know what was going through her head.  I was never the younger sibling.  As the eldest I was always the one who got do things first.  I was never left behind but I'm sure I did a lot of the leaving behind without thinking twice.

I don't want to dampen William's spirit.  He's four and he should be able to embrace the small amount of independence I've given him.  He's never once broken an outside rule.  He stays within the boundaries I give him and he always comes as soon as I beckon.  I don't want to take away privileges that have been so well respected.

But at the same time I want him to have empathy for Lucy and her small-ness and her inability to have as much independence as he does.  How do I do that?  How do I keep things "fair"?  And how do I keep from always trying to keep things "fair" because I know they never will be?

Such is the internal debate of a mother with multiple children.  I better get used to it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

7 Things from this Weekend: Spring/Summer Edition

1.  We ate lunch outside.  This is a popular tradition in our house nearly every single day when the weather allows.

2.  We raked.  Two weeks ago we were shoveling six inches of snow.  Now we're raking.  Because it snowed so early this season, there was still a lot of leaves and sticks to be picked up that was covered all winter long by a thick blanket of snow.  Here's hoping the beautiful new lawn we put in last year comes back again this year!

3.  We went on a long walk.  It really wasn't that long.  For us, anyway.  According to MapMyRUN it was three miles.  We've been known to do double that on a nice night in the summer with our Phil&Ted's stroller.  But whatever the distance I am hur-ting today.  Maybe it's the pregnant body or maybe it's just dusting off all the cobwebs from a long winter of too much inactivity.  My knee was absolutely screaming at me when I tried to get out of bed this morning.  And I've never been one to have knee troubles.  Yowch!  But the only way to work out the kinks is to keep going so I'll be out there again this week chugging away.

4.  We grilled.  In fact, we had quite the summer dinner.  Brian grilled brats and beef hotdogs that were served on whole wheat buns with ketchup, mustard and dill pickles.  For a side I made roasted cherry tomatoes, a staple in our house during the warm months.  If you offered my kids a cookie or some cherry tomatoes, I seriously think they would pick the tomatoes.  We heart these!

5.  We had root beer floats.  I added vanilla ice cream and root beer to the grocery list and no one complained.  Imagine that!  Does anything remind you of summer more than a icy, refreshing root beer float?

6.  We undressed.  Well, not all the way, people!  But it was so nice for a change to get ready for mass on Sunday morning and not worry about a coat or putting an undershirt on the kids or getting tights on under Lucy's dress.  And the time-saving difference in these small tasks is really incredible.  It's so easy and quick to get out the door.  (By the way, I think this is the biggest difference between parenting in the North and parenting in the South.)

7.  We kept our eye to the sky.  High humidity, wind, incredible temperature changes.  We all know what it means.  Tornadic activity is one of Brian's favorite phrases.  It is kind of fun to say.  Try it.  We only ended up with some lightening and rain here but other parts of the Midwest weren't so lucky.  Can you believe it was just a couple of weeks ago that they were issuing blizzard warnings and now the tornado sirens are going off?  I seriously love where we live.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nash, Party of Five

The Nash family is expanding. Well, first I'll expand, then our family will expand. Come October.

Happy Friday!
Note: Not my baby.  Photo credit here.
More details coming soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Young Watson

William:  Call me Detective William!

Brian: OK, Detective William.

William:  Hmmm...I need a mystery to solve. [Looks around and suddenly spots our recycling bin.] I know! I'm going to figure out who drank all these beers!

Brian:  Hmmm...

William:  Daddy, did you drink all these beers?

Brian.  Maybe...

William:  I have solved the case!

Monday, April 4, 2011

To Summer Days Ahead

There is one small patch of snow left in my backyard.  And with rain (like acid on snow) and some afternoon sunshine, it should be gone by the end of the day.  I thought about taking a picture but I don't want to submit you to the mess that is the yard.  Every year I wonder just how all that dirt and mud will disappear.  Will we ever be able to run through green grass in our bare feet again?  But somehow, every year, it works out.

William dirtied the wheels of his brand new scooter this weekend.  And as I watched him glide up and down the sidewalk, amazed at how he's progressed with balance and all that, I noticed just the tiniest hint of a tulip or daffodil trying to push through the cold, damp earth.  It gives me hope and it gives me faith.  There's a cycle to all this madness.  Some years it's early, some years it's painfully late.  But it never ceases to happen.

This morning I may have agreed to overschedule myself a bit.  The Spring Parks & Rec brochure is out and registration is open.  William is at the beautiful age of 4.  Old enough to do a lot of the activities.

"Do you want to do T-ball or swimming lessons at an outdoor pool?"

"I want to do T-ball AND swimming!"

"OK, but if you could only choose one, which one would you choose?"


"Really?" I asked, a little forlornly.  I had dreams of baking in that gloriously warm sunlight during his 10 AM lesson followed by lunch and a day at the pool for the three of us.

"OK," he said, "I guess I want to do swimming."  (He's getting to that eager-to-please stage.  It's convenient but a little guilt-ridden all at the same time.)

I looked at the calendar on my phone.  I looked into his eyes.

"OK," I said, "How about we do both?"


It's true.  I might totally regret this come summer.  Isn't it supposed to be one of the most dreaded jobs of being a mom?  A chauffeur?  I'm not there yet.  And he's my first.  And right now he doesn't have any sibling schedules to compete with.

I dream of being up early.  The hot breeze sifting in through the window screens.  Breakfast is done, beds are made, heads are combed, teeth are brushed and bodies are dressed all by 9:30.  It's going to be so hot that only thing we can wear is shorts and a tank top.  My hair is pulled back into a ponytail.  Outside we are greeted with endless blue skies and not a cloud in sight.  I don my oversized sunglasses and so do the kids.  We head up to the ballpark or swimming pool.  William does his thing and Lucy and I bask.  Of course in my dream Lucy isn't at all squirmy.  She just sits beside me and contently watches for the entire hour.  It's going to be pure bliss, I tell you.

Or so I tell myself.  Don't ruin my summer dreams just yet.
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