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Archive for May, 2012

Remember how I wrote about things getting measurably better in my last post? Within 12 hours of hitting publish I came down with one of the worst sinus infections that I’ve ever had in my entire life and spent the next two weeks in some state of misery or another. After a whopping week and a half of feeling like a human again I was plunged right back into throwing up {this time all the mucus from the infection, because OF COURSE you wanted to know that} and the headaches brought on by the incredible sinus pressure just would not let up. All of this occurred during the epic week of dance rehearsals/recitals and school programs and preschool picnics so that was EXTRA fun. At least all the decongestants and anti-inflammatory meds helped a ton OH WAIT NEVERMIND I can’t take any of that shit while pregnant. So I wallowed for a week, taking only measured doses of tylenol, which by the third day had stopped bringing any relief. I tried to be a good little hippie, trying home remedies of hot packs and steam but they produced exactly zero results. Finally over a week in Bill called the nurse line to ask if I could at least try some musinex to get rid of some of the pressure but no, instead they made me come in and I was given antibiotics for the infection and vicodin for the pain. I am feeling…better…again…for now. Unfortunately the nausea is still sticking around so getting anything done has been hard but with the end of preschool, dance season and another karate belt graduation down, it’s definitely time to do an end of the year wrap-up of Mr. Sir.

*Preschool ended last week. Honestly, if I hadn’t gotten sick I would have switched Keaton to a different class at his school. He went through a year of preschool before this so he already understood the aspects of the routine and structure of a school day and also the social aspects of being with other kids like sharing and sitting quietly for group times. This group he was in just so happened to be on the young side, with many of the kids not even being three at the start of the year which is not something I was expecting since it’s not how it was structured when Rowan went there.

Though Keaton always got great reports, the class as a whole struggled throughout the fall and academically {yes, I know it’s preschool, but still, it’s not daycare, you expect a certain degree of learning to take place} Keaton was ready for way more focus which he didn’t receive until much later in the year than we anticipated. We talked about switching him to the afternoon class after Christmas, which definitely would have provided that, but knowing how sick I get during pregnancy we didn’t want to uproot him from something familiar during an already tumultuous time. I’m looking forward to next fall which will hopefully give Keaton a little more of a challenge and have a smoother start all around.

Mad chicken scratch, uh, I mean, handwriting skillz.

 

AAAAAIIIIIIIIIYYYYYYAAAAA

*Karate continues on as a fun outlet for physical activity. When I was sick I missed Keaton’s belt ceremony from purple to blue so last Friday when he went from blue to red, we were all very excited to attend. There are only two more belts to be had in the preschool program so by the beginning of 2013 we will probably have to start making some decisions about which activity Keaton wants to pursue as karate is expensive once you’re in the regular belt program and so is…

* Dance. Oh, dance, the bane of my existence {and checking account}. So, Keaton’s year at dance went really well. While he likes karate, he like likes dance. I know he’s four and this is bound to change but right now it’s his favorite thing to do. We took him to one of Rowan’s competitions and the boy was hilarious in between dances, putting on his own dance show for us to the dulcet sounds of “Every day I’m shuffling” and “I put my hands up in the air sometimes” {yes, I know those aren’t the actual titles but those are the parts that stick in my head and won’t fortheloveofchristalmighty come out for days and days on end sweet jesus please someone save me from this fresh hell.}

The "WERK IT" gene is strong with this one.

So anyway he had his first recital two weeks ago and it was equal parts adorable and hilarious. He’s never been up on the stage before so Bill and I were a little nervous how he’d react but he did great at the dress rehearsal {video below} and even better at the recital. He lost his way to his colored “X” on his way out for his jazz dance at the recital so there were a few tense moments where I thought he’d spend the entire dance wandering the stage but once he found it the audience cheered for him and he jumped right into the moves with a big smile. I got to pick him up right before intermission and I ran into Rowan’s teacher, who runs the competition lines and she gave Keaton a high-5 and told him he did great and that she’d be seeing him at summer dance. “Oh, SHOOT, he can’t do it in June, he’s got science camp.” I said, thankful for the legitimate excuse. “You can come in and tape and we’ll see you in August,” she said. “We’ll see!” I replied, the realization of two competition dance tuitions sinking into my brain. “Yep,” she smiled, walking away, “see you in August, Buddy!”

There are no words.

Honestly I don’t think he {or I} will be ready for competition by this fall {or ever, possibly} and he has a year of wiggle room since the youngest comp line is pre-k and kindergarten so I have a feeling we’ll be putting him back in the same class he was in this year but we’ll see, I might let him try the August workshop and see how it goes because I am a GIANT SUCKER for twee little boys shaking their booties on the dance floor.

Here is his rehearsal video, as we’re not allowed to tape the recital shows. It is very crappy quality and I’m sure is only truly enjoyed by those of us who share Keaton’s DNA, but still, for posterity’s sake I’m including it. {You can’t make out faces but Keaton is the fourth from the left once they find their places… just look for his hair, which I’m pretty sure you can see from outer space.}

*Keaton still loves sword play and baseball and riding his bike. We got him his own razor scooter a couple of weeks ago which has brought him much joy along with many scrapes on his knees.

*Rowan’s preferred method of showing displeasure or negative reactions was pure, unadulterated anger. Tantrumy anger, quiet, plotting anger, seething anger, both rational and irrational. She got mad but she was not ever a pouter. Keaton? Is a pouter. It drives me BANANAS. And not a little pout, but full on arms wrapped around his chest until his hands are practically touching in the back, head thrown to one side at a slightly upward angle, stuck out lip that sometimes utters a whining “It’s Not Fair”, if the situation demands it, along with a “Humph!” Keaton’s been pretty dead on about hitting developmental sticky patches close to the half-year marks, so we’ve seen a very unwelcome upswing in this behavior as of late and while not-pregnant-christy tried to be patient and help him work through his hurt feelings, pregnant-christy tells him to “get over it” as I eat my pickle from the couch.

*His imagination is really blooming; the intricate storylines he and his sister come up with during quiet play time are truly impressive. He used to just follow Rowan’s lead during these elaborate scripted games but now he’s adding his own flair which sometimes goes over well with Queen Bossy Pants, and sometimes not. I love it when they feed each other lines, going back and forth with “Now you say this…” “And then you say THIS!” Sure these two can be giant assholes to each other but so much of the time they are so amazingly close, sharing mischievous smiles over jokes we grown-ups aren’t privy to, creating their own “secret dance move hand shake” which isn’t much of a secret since they do it right in front of me but is adorable none-the-less.

It makes me sort of sad for Sammy Davis Junior Junior. Although I know his/her siblings will love him/her, this baby won’t have a sibling close in age to share the years where magic is not only completely possible in their eyes but entirely, emphatically REAL. By the time this baby reaches three, Keaton will be nearly 8 and Rowan will be 10 and the age of logic will have firmly set in… so a true partner in play/crime just won’t be a reality for this kid. I know there will be other positive aspects about having older siblings that will most likely more than make up for it but when I hear the giggling and love between Rowan and Keaton I just feel so lucky, so happy that they so completely have each other.

Buddies 4 Evah. Or at least until someone steals someone else's toy.

*Keaton is standing on the precipice of four and a half and while he continues to grow and learn he still looks way too small to me to be staring down five years old. A few days ago he asked to put some temporary tattoos on. I helped him with the first two and then got up to grab something and when I had come back he had cut out the desired tattoo, removed the plastic, placed it where he wanted it, held the washcloth in place and was quietly counting to thirty. “Whoa, good job, pal!” I said when I saw his handiwork. “Now I want this one!” he said and when I went to peel back the clear covering he said, “No, Mom! I can  do it!” As he hastily grabbed the tattoo from my hands I realized that yes, he was perfectly capable of doing it on his own.

“I guess you’re right. Jeesh. What do you even need a mom for anymore, budders?

“Nothing.” He replied promptly, without looking up and without emotion.

I tried to explain what “rhetorical” meant to him after that but he was too busy being all grown up to listen.

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For whatever reason, two Fridays ago my body gave me a reprieve. Yes, things had been improving in the 2-3 weeks before that but being just a step or two above misery is hardly an ideal situation. Rowan had her last competition the night before and I was not feeling great in the hours leading up to it as I struggled though getting her hair and make-up done, and let me just tell you that the hour we were stuck in a traffic jam in Minneapolis did nothing to improve that. I tried to eat something after getting her settled in the dressing room but between the nausea and nerves for how the dances would go I was fighting off the puke most of the night. After her second dance {which went awesome} my adrenaline finally kicked in and I felt better so even though it was late and most of the other kids had left, I gave in to Rowan’s pleas to stay for awards {which I’m so glad I did because she got to go up and accept the plaque for placing 6th of the top 10 dances in their bracket- she was so proud!}.

We didn’t get home until after eleven pm and by the time we got the kids down and settled in it was well after midnight and then I just couldn’t turn off so I laid awake most of the night. The next morning, we were all wiped so I let Rowan stay home from school and after Bill went off to work I was left in charge of both my kids for the first time in almost three months. Internet? We had the best day. I could tell that I felt better right away that morning but I just kept waiting for the nausea to creep back in like it normally does, but nope, I was able to enjoy the shit out of that entire day and wow, what a difference that makes. We had a picnic outside and took a sun nap. The kids rode their bikes and played baseball. I wasn’t just watching them be happy, I was participating in the happiness which is a distinction that’s hard to make unless you go through something like this where it’s just so hard to feel good about anything.

Things have still been up and down since but I’ve had a number of days that I could actually classify as “good” without any qualifiers as far as the nausea goes. The fatigue, on the other hand, is a whole other story. You know what happens to you when the only exercise you get for 12 straight weeks is crawling to the bathroom to throw-up? Your body sort of forgets how to work at anything besides fighting the puke, which is decidedly a core exercise and does nothing for the appendages. Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to slowly build things back up by going for short walks around our block but even that exhausts me and I’m telling you, I have to sit down to catch my breath after I go up or down our stairs. Pathetic. The anemia is not helping this. I get terrible dizzy spells that sometimes verge on black-outs when I get up or try to move too fast which makes me scared to do any amount of walking/exercising while I’m alone or just with the kids- what if I black out? What would they do? {I mean besides check my pockets for loose change and head to the nearest candy store.} If I don’t stay hydrated or fed or rested my body and brain seriously just start to shut down. I feel like a flippin’ tamagachi- someone really should be regularly checking my body stats to make sure I don’t die a horrible electronic death.

Okay this is getting whiny, when the whole purpose was to talk about how things have been getting better, let’s try this…

Things I can do today that I couldn’t do a couple of weeks ago:

…drink water. If this baby comes out with an extra eyeball or two, I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the fact that up until very recently I could only stomach caffeine free diet coke. Water? PUKE. Juice? PUKE. Ginger ale? OH GOD PLEASE, DOUBLE FUCKING PUKE. People love to suggest this, along with soda crackers, like I hadn’t thought of that at this point and I want to throw cans of the shit at their face while crumbling saltines in their bed. Partly because I’m frustrated that these go-to morning sickness cure-alls didn’t do a damn thing for me and partly because I’m just a little bit of an asshole. Anyway, I started integrating flavored vitamin-fortified water into my diet a few weeks ago and now I can safely drink water or lemon water without gagging so, you know, progress.

…take a long enough shower to actually shave my legs without fear of having to jump out stark naked and soaking wet so I could dry heave into toilet. Oh my shit you guys. My legs had never reached such epic hairy proportions. I’m one of those assholes who always had fine, blond leg hair that needed shaving one, maybe two times a week if I was feeling ambitious, but this time the pregnancy hormones brought out the thick, dark, wiry leg hair and I very seriously considered ordering a machete online to get rid of it after weeks and weeks of going untamed. I admit to being a little bit of a hippie but long leg hair? Not for me. Just no.

…pick Keaton up from preschool. Seeing him run out to the car with a big smile is one of my favorite things of always.

…feed my kids lunch. Admittedly, Bill makes the lunches in the morning and so I just tell Keaton {and Rowan if she’s home} to get it out of the fridge and I’m just in charge of drinks, but it’s a start. My sense of smell is still so incredibly heightened that just being able to smell their lunch is impressive at this point.

… go for a walk around the block with my family. Watching Rowan ride her two-wheeler is still just not getting old. When I think of how far she has come in the last year…well, it’s just amazing.

…eat pickles and nachos and rainbow sherbert without having to thoughtfully ponder what they will taste/feel like coming back up. I admit to not feeling awesome after consuming any of these but at least I have the option to make dumb-ass food choices that I didn’t have a week or so ago.

…integrate small amounts of coffee back into my morning routine. I’m not going to lie. This has made a HUMONGOUS difference. I weaned off coffee while trying to get pregnant because some study or other showed the acids in it could contribute to early miscarriage, but since all the sciencey people are in agreement that once you’re safely in your second trimester coffee is just fine, I dove head first into a small 4 ounce cup last week and have been in heaven ever since.

Friday I had my 17 week OB appointment where my main concern was not feeling the baby much at this point. Like I said before, Rowan and Keaton were early wigglers which is why I opted out of buying an at-home doppler so of course this time Sammy Davis Junior Junior is not being wiggly at all. After finding a strong, healthy heart beat, my midwife guessed that this is probably because the placenta is hanging out in the front of my uterus this time around, causing a barrier to the kicks that will no doubt be felt in full force from 1-4am every night of my third trimester.

Other than that, she recommended some books on unmedicated birth options {no need to tell me I’m an idiot, I’m already fully aware of that fact} and we set up the ultrasound for next month, which will hopefully tell us if in a few years I’ll be vacuuming up tiny princess shoes or having to sit through that goddamn Jar Jar Binks Star Wars for the 3,985th time.

So! Onward. I can’t explain why my hormones finally decided to level off, or why the medication decided it was going to start taking full effect but honestly, I don’t care. Being able to take care of the kids again has been huge and while I’m definitely not 100%, I feel like a functioning human being again which is, you know, kind of important.

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For most people spring is a time of new beginnings. Fresh grass, chirping birds, renewing rain, tiny buds. For us spring means learning to sew one kind of unforgiving material onto another type of unforgiving material, hour after hour of sequining, stoning, glittering and long hours at the studio. It is a time of HURRY UP, oh just kidding wait, NO SERIOUSLY HURRY UP and wait some more. It is a time to part with money, and in Bill’s case, a good part of his dignity. It is dance competition season.

I have to say I couldn’t have timed this pregnancy and its accompanying sickness better or worse. On the one hand HA HA, GOOD LUCK, BILL. On the other hand, I could tell Rowan felt bad that all the other moms were there every week, working on costumes and watching the kids’ progress. “But I want YOU to take me” was a familiar theme on Saturdays when Bill was getting her ready and I had to explain for the 416th time that no one would appreciate mommy throwing up all over the shiny waxed dance floor.

For his part, Bill was a complete trooper. He had no desire to keep Rowan in comp dance- he was definitely pushing for her to join her brother at karate- but he kept most of his frustrations to himself and hardly complained at all when he somehow found himself in charge of an incredible amount of sewing for Rowan’s two costumes. It also helps that there is a HUGE learning curve to being a part of this studio’s comp dance lines and the utter unpredictability/chaos of it all, but having been initiated last year, we were old pros and rolling with the punches definitely came easier this year.

It also helped that this time around there is a room mom whose main purpose is communication and she is so super organized and lets everyone know exactly how they can help, what they should be doing and where they should be at, leaving no one guessing which takes away much of the mystery. This was obviously a huge help since I couldn’t be there to ask questions.

As far as the costumes went, because the communication was so clear and I felt like each task was given a manageable time frame, I felt like the assembly and bedazzlement was way easier than last year. After reviewing what was actually done though, it probably had more to do with the fact that Bill did a HUGE amount of work while I was praying for death in the next room.

Pictures? Of course.

Jazz Costume, "Smurfs*".

This costume was custom-made by the studio’s sewers. The good part: It was made out of pre-sequined material! The not so good part: See all of the blue? That was lovingly hand sewn on by us, as the only thing pre-made was the white dress shell and also the flowers were assembled and glittered by two brave moms from our group. Before I got sick I sewed two long blue ruffles together and then sewed them along the bottom of the dress. This was the first time I sewed since I got a D+ on a pair of boxer shorts in 7th grade home ec. so I was pretty proud of myself. It was also the only major contribution I made to this costume besides stoning the collar. Bill was stuck with: Sewing a very full tutu to a petticoat, then sewing both of those to dance briefs; sewing three teeny tiny snaps onto the dress to connect to the teeny tiny snaps sewn onto the petticoat so the dress wouldn’t fly up during the dance; sewing snaps onto the gloves and dress and all of the flowers; sewing the thin blue belt onto the dress; sewing the ruffles on the socks and the hair flowers onto the barrettes. And this was the “easy” costume.

*I cannot count the number of Saturday mornings my little sister and I would torture my father by jumping on his bed at 8am while loudly belting out “La-la-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la-laaa”. I’m pretty sad he’s not here to be serenaded by his granddaughter’s dance, but I think it might be one of those few times he’s probably happier where he is, adding the booming back beat and hip-hoppity lyrics to an already annoying song is almost too much for anyone to bear.

On to tap! This costume was ordered from a costume catalog which for some reason made me think that we would get away without having to do as much to it. WRONG.

This is what it looked like upon purchase:

Cute, huh? Well not cute enough. Admittedly, in real life the skirt was not nearly so full and poofy but hung rather limply and those little shiny sparkles someone added in Photoshop were actually not included {I know, what a rip-off!}.

After we were through Dr. Frankensteining it, this is what it looked like…

Tap costume, "Mr. Sandman".

And assorted accessories for feet, hands and hair.

Again, we thanked a benevolent god/universe for providing us with an already sequined bodice. My contributions: Sequining the top three layers of tulle on the original tap skirt {which ended up being mostly for nothing because in the end we gathered the pink layers at the waist, hiding many hours of sequin work. On the plus side this tulle was very soft and pliable, making it relatively easy to sequin, so no great loss.} Next? Sequining the entire top layer of the GIGANTIC blue tutu {that was at least 5 sizes too big for Rowan} plus sequining three rows up on the next two layers. This took approximately forever because this tulle was suuuuuper stiff. In some alternative universe I am still sitting in bed trying not to throw up all over her costume as I try to affix countless sequins to the stiff, unforgiving fabric that was in no way made to have things glued to it. Here is where I admit that I actually don’t mind sequining, in fact I find it almost enjoyable {I SAID ALMOST}. The biggest problem here being that when you’re pregnant you cannot drink alcohol and I really can’t in good conscience recommend sequining without it. Lastly I sequined the socks which though tiny were complete assholes about the whole thing. Bill tried to do a row and I swear to god he almost started crying in frustration because the sequins will not stick and *PING* go flying off the sock after you spent two long, agonizing minutes lovingly and gently trying to coax it on, praying that it will stay when you pull the toothpick away, but haha no, it doesn’t feel like it, sucker. So I took over sock duty as Bill had his hands full with the sewing. I also stoned the shoulder straps.

Work Bill was stuck with: carefully seam ripping to remove the original pink sequin straps, the pink sequin top border and the light pink top ruffle. Sewing on two new tan straps, gathering and re-sewing on the light pink ruffle and sewing on a new blue top ruffle {which Rowan will not hesitate to tell you itches like a mother and will be the first thing to come off after the season is over so she can still wear the costume for dress-up}. For the huge blue tutu, he had to re-size and sew the waist to fit Rowan and then tack it under the pink skirt. He then gathered and tacked all 6 or so layers of the pink skirt and the top layer of the gigantic blue tutu to give the poofy effect. Sewed the snaps to the gloves and accompanying flowers. He then had to sew snaps on the dress to affix the 2 shoulder and two waist flowers to, plus sew a number of pedals of each of the flowers to the dress as well, to ensure we don’t have any flying/floppy flower accidents during a performance. All the flowers were {thankfully} hand-made and glitterfied by another brave mom, so we were {YAY!} spared that.

I actually love her costumes to pieces this year as I think they are adorable and age appropriate. Last years’ were cute as well but Rowan is just not a big Mickey Mouse fan so while the tap dress was cute, it has stayed hanging in her closet since last May. She still likes to wear her tutu from the jazz costume {which BLEEDS colorful sequins all over my house every time she puts it on} but the jean vest is not super practical for dress-up or regular wear and I was just NOT a big fan of thigh highs with bows on a five-year old. Thigh highs, I’m sorry…they are solely for strippers in my book. I know Rowan will love to dress up in this years’ costumes which definitely makes it more worth it when you know the kid is going to get some extended use out of them, even if that just means pirouetting around the living room.

***I actually started this post a few weeks ago, working on it intermittently since things have been so up and down, but sort of forgot about it as things have been decidedly down the last week or so. Since I last updated…

Rowan had her first of only two competitions this season, the second being tomorrow evening {the rest of the studio is heading to Las Vegas in June for Nationals but we opted out because of me being sick with Sammy Davis Junior Junior}. She did a really great job, though like last year, on her first dance she looked a little nervous to be up in front of so many people, but by the second dance she was ALL smiles. For that dance she has a little part where she comes up front, circles around the center boy and does a Russian jump. I was a little confused why her teacher picked her for this solo move since Rowan is not known for her flexibility, but she worked really hard all year on it and to be honest I didn’t care how high she got her legs or how pointed her toes were, I just PRAYED that she wouldn’t fall because she has a tendency to lean over too far when reaching for her toes, causing her to fall forward and this move takes place at the front edge of the stage- the last thing I need is a trip to the ER for a freak dancing accident. She, thankfully, did a beautiful job and I finally got to exhale after holding my breath all morning in anticipation- now I just have to get her through one more competition and two recitals in one piece.

So! There you have it! Bedazzlement 2012 is over and it remains to be seen if there will be a bedazzlement 2013. Rowan had previously decided she wanted to be done with dance, but like last year, as soon as the fun and bustle of competition season hits she remembers that she actually likes and enjoys it and has now requested to go on to the next level. The time commitment is… intense, to put it nicely, and it conflicts with her school day so I honestly don’t know if it’s even a possibility at this point but we’ll most likely put her in the three sessions of summer dance and decide in August if she can/should continue on.

I have to admit, if she doesn’t I will miss the adorable costumes…

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