I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A science experiment in my tummy

We went for the 20 week sonogram last week, and although it's our third time - it is always fascinating. In a previous post, I had written that the first months of pregnancy feel surreal. The test was positive, you're feeling sick, but a growing baby? It's hard to wrap the mind around it.
That is, until you see a small 12 ounce person kicking and moving around on the screen. You can see bones, arms, legs, the four chambers of the heart, the inside of the brain, a profile and a little heinie! It's the reality check that every parent needs. It's the reward after being nauseous for months. And if every measurement comes back "normal", it's a relief.

It must be a relaxing and rewarding 45 minutes for the ultrasound technician as well. A lot of their time is spent investigating tumors and unpleasant health questions. To see a healthy baby and check off all of the worries: brain development perfect, four even heart chambers, good ankle measurements, intact palate, etc. - I'm sure is a perk of the job.

Ayla came as well - to see the baby on the screen. She lost interest after the first few minutes because it wasn't in color.... oh well, I'm happy that she is even conceptualizing this baby. She could not have cared less when I was pregnant with Jackson.

So we finally got a peek at this little science experiment that I am brewing. I am constantly amazed by how little involvement we have in development after that initial conception. (You know what I'm talking about!) Forty weeks after becoming pregnant - a grown baby pops out! All I have to do is wait, take my vitamins and pray. How every little joint and muscle and fingernail falls into place is, to use a cliche, a miracle.

Although, I think these 3D images can seem a little creepy in all honesty.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A "Blue-Out"

Jackson has a very distinct habit of "blue-outs", i.e. almost losing consciousness. It's not quite a black-out, but he comes extremely close. On a good day we can expect at least one. On a bad day we might see them every hour. But how does it get to this? Let me explain.

Step 1: Start to cry.
Step 2: Deep breath in, turn red... then purple....then blue....
Step 3: Continue to breath in, become too upset to breath out.
Step 4: Lose all energy, go limp and finally let out a weak cry/breath.

Such an event is usually triggered by either myself or Gregory leaving the house (or the room, for God's sake). It can also be as minor as Jackson not being picked up immediately or his being yelled at for any reason. He will do this anywhere: on the steps, in the kitchen, bathtub or crib. He will also do this with any family member or babysitter.

Over the weekend, I witnessed the most severe blue-out yet. Gregory has seen them several times when Jackson has fallen over due to the lack of air. The dramatic event that inspired this particular blue-out? Washing his hands in the sink.

I was holding Jackson as the tantrum began and he held his breath for probably close to a minute. But the terrifying part was that after his breath returned and he had cried a little, his eyes rolled back into his head and he appeared to just fall asleep. He laid in my arms, non-responsive (but breathing) while I tried to get him to look at me. He would open his eyes, a little blurry but then close them again. Absolutely terrifying. I knew that he hadn't hurt himself or had a seizure, but to not be able to revive your child - even for 10 seconds - is panic inducing.

How safe is it to let this continue? Or the more realistic question is: how can we possibly do anything to prevent it? Any extreme measure to snap him out of the tantrum would only make it worse. This is something Jackson has always done, even as an infant. The most we can hope for is to always be close enough to hold on to the poor boy so he doesn't blue-out in a dangerous position.

Will I be warning his 1st grade teacher about said temper tantrums? I know life can be dramatic for a toddler, but these blue-outs really take it to the extreme.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who throws a cat?

I throw cats.

Koko, specifically, when he has crawled onto my pillow for the 18th time at night. He cozies up - stepping on my hair with claws out, breathing as loud as a rabid dragon and somehow always puts his butt right next to my face.

He NEVER gets the hint. So my throws get progressively more violent through the night and into morning. He just waits about thirty minutes before trying again. I don't feel badly about this; there are some sacred things in my world: and the privacy of my pillow is one of them.

Bu-ut I think I went too far just the other morning. Let's just say, without intending to, I threw the cat and hit my daughter.

It was a positioning of events that led to one priceless moment. Ayla just happened to be standing at my side of the bed. She sometimes comes in quietly and stands waiting for me to notice she is there. On this particular day I was wearing a sleep mask and obviously didn't have a clue that Ayla had graced me with her sleepy presence.

The poor girl was staring at me, waiting for an invitation to crawl into bed - and what does she get? Her mother throwing an overweight cat at her!

I knew that something wasn't right when I didn't hear the usual cat-squeak and thud as Koko lands on the floor. Instead, I heard some muffled soft brushing of fabric and then Ayla yelling, "OW! Koko hit me!!!" At least I didn't get the blame!

Luckily, this was a virtually painless incident. (I haven't asked Koko how he feels about it, though.) He didn't have his claws out and seems to have just bounced off of Ayla's fuzzy. No one was scratched or traumatized. Except for me, of course. Only I feel guilty about throwing my cat at my daughter.

Really? Is that how I am going to start my day? Throwing a cat at a toddler?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only in dreams

I've heard that people have weird dreams when on a nicotine patch or on some types of medication. But I contest that pregnancy dreams are the weirdest. A combination of hormones, a full bladder (all of the time), conflicting emotions and strange signals from the womb cause some ridiculous nighttime imaginations!

For example, right after I found out about this third pregnancy - and freaking out a little bit - I dreamt about Michael Jackson. It's no secret that I'm a big fan, but my dreams would usually involve attending a concert or making funny music videos with my friends. But in this dream, I was chosen to be one of his back-up dancers and then had to decline because I was pregnant! Talk about devastation.

The runner-up for weirdest dream took place after this baby was born. We came home from the hospital and our house looked like we belonged on Hoarders. Crap was piled high against every wall, old food wrappers, garbage, toys - we were tripping over items all over the floor. Then my mother came over and accused us of being illegal aliens. The baby, in particular, was the worst offender. A hoarder AND an illegal - who knew?

And in general - I have more emotional dreams than usual. When I had Ayla in my tummy, I would wake up frequently crying over some sad dream that I couldn't remember. I wasn't sad about being pregnant and it certainly wasn't an unhappy period in my life. But there was something about those girl-baby hormones that really brought out the deep unconscious stuff! This never happened when I was pregnant with Jackson.

I've had a few of these crying dreams lately - so if I had to bet, I'd say this next baby will be a girl! Here's to dreams and babies!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Dilemma

I'm not broaching a new topic in any means when I bring up the subject, trials, complications, negotiations and angst of part-time work and full-time parenthood. It's a tricky subject for everyone involved and therefore opinions and emotions run rampant.

For 3 1/2 years, I've balanced work and motherhood. Now I'm beginning to question the worth of that damn paycheck. When in the end, your boss doesn't even appreciate the 30 hour work weeks, why am I crunching the remainder of my time with household/motherly duties that I could happily spread out over the course of a week without the added stress of work?

As evolved as society pretends to be - there is still a huge stigma over the value of part-time workers. In the American work-a-holic mindset, many people get ahead by sacrificing all life balance to be available 24 hours a day, whenever, wherever for their jobs. Forget family, forget vacation, forget any sort of life outside of your job.

I HATE that mentality.

It makes the rest of us (who happen to put value on quality of life) appear lazy and unmotivated. And no one is going to make me feel like I'm a loser because I won't abandon time with my kids for a thankless boss. Because do you really think your boss appreciates all of the time/effort put into the company?

In my book, if someone puts in effort 100% of the time for 15 hours a week - their work is valuable. But if someone is "present" at a job 40 hours a week but is unproductive half the time (hello, corporate America!), somehow the perception changes. They are considered more devoted to their jobs and rewarded for it. I call it useless face time. It's the suckers that stay an hour later than everyone else, pretending to check email and doing the work that could have been completed in eight hours. Only they're missing dinner with their families to impress the boss.

Of course this doesn't apply to everyone. I do know people that work 60 hours a week and pack every minute with useful contributions. But don't look down on the working parents who choose flex-time or part-time to cope with the demanding needs of home. Our lives are complicated too.

And dear bosses of the world: try saying thank you every once in awhile.