Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm A Believer (Kinda)

So last night I went to the Neil Diamond concert. "Well, Lindsay!" you must be saying right now, "I had no idea that you were a Neil Diamond fan!" That would be because, to be truthful, I am not a Neil Diamond fan. But Dearest's mom is, and we got tickets for us all to go. So there we were. I have to admit, the show was entertaining. It was in a giant arena, and we were on the floor, and when we got there I was starting to feel a little stressy: what if I have to pee 45 times? what if things get rowdy? what if everyone is standing up all night and I'm too tired? So you can see that I was really not at all familiar with the core of Neil's audience, most of whom are 60-70 years old. Things did not get rowdy. It was a sitting down concert. There was a band and an impressive lighting and audio rig, and little hot cocktail waitresses bringing drinks to those of us on the floor, whom I tried not to hate.  

I DID know that Neil was older, I knew that his first albums were in fact RECORDS, and that he has a song "HeartLight" that is about E.T. (yes it is!) which came out when I was about 4. At some point during dinner I made a comment about him being like 90 years old, in response to which my mom-in-law (who, mind you, is, not unlike Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way) helpfully pointed out that he is the exact same age that she is. Oh. Oops.  And I did know "Sweet Caroline" and also "America," but that was about all the background knowledge I went in with. 

At first, I felt very old, going to see Neil Diamond. Well, he is like 90. Then we got there, and I felt very YOUNG seeing Neil Diamond, because looking around, we were really on the whipper-snapper side of the demographic. Then I started snickering, thinking about how my mom-in-law had seen him many times throughout the years and thinking about Dearest and I, like 65 years old, at an Incubus or Blink 182 concert. "Oh, we've see 'em 11 times! We were just kids the first time they came through Orlando! We love their greatest-hits album!" and they will come out on stage, all old, and everyone will comment that they look pretty good (like they did with Neil) and we will sit down the whole time and watch them and be taken back to our youth.

It was also funny to think that the twins just grew ear drums last week, so this was, technically, their first concert going experience. Wish I could feel them move so I could tell you if they enjoyed it or not. 

One of my favorite movies, What About Bob, has a great line: "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." As with all things, I kind of fall into the grey area in between. I don't dislike him, for sure. He seemed likeable enough. I did enjoy going to the show, and having the ENERGY to go to the show, but as for ol' Neil-y? Not sure if I'm A Believer.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Remind me Again How I am Qualified to do This...

And by this I mean teaching Kindergarten. Because there are some moments, the ones not covered in any textbook about teaching early elementary, that I wonder how it is possible that an actual Principal hired me, and let me be responsible for the education of a couple dozen five year olds. Sometimes... they just get me. 

Actual conversation between 2 of my kids, in line, on the way back from recess.
Fellow teacher steps out of teacher's lounge, Coke in hand.
 Little Boy: Oh look, Miss J has a Coke! My family is the kind of family who loves God and stuff, and we read the bible and say prayers and everything, and so we only buy sugar-free Coke.
 Little Girl: We love God and go to church, but my mom drinks regular Coke.
At this point, the two trusting, innocent children, look at each other and then at me. "Well?" their looks say, "Who is right?" I told them I had never asked God his opinion on soft drinks, and pretty much left it at that. Zoinks.

Last year, one of the kids in my class had a grandparent die, which lead to the ever-so-touchy-in -a-public-school-setting dialogue about exactly what happens when you die. The kids all tossed around their understandings of what happens: you go to heaven with God, you get to be an angel in the clouds, you go in a hole in the ground forever until the worms eat your guts (keep in mind I had 17 boys and 6 girls last year-- we talked about guts a lot). Then when they had all shared their ideas, they looked at me, perched up on high in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair like the oracle, and wanted the answer. Well? What happens, Mrs. F? Uh... help? I am the final authority in this moment. I told them, simply, that I have never been dead and so I am not exactly sure what happens. Once again, they were pacified (if not disappointed) with this answer.

Where I REALLY may have blown it was about a week ago when one of the little girls in my class came up and gave me a big hug. Keep in mind that their little heads are right at belly height. She looked up and me and said "Why is your belly getting so big Mrs. F?" and I said it. I know I shouldn't have, I knew it as it was coming out of my mouth. I went home and considered putting my teaching certificate in an envelope and mailing it back to the state with my apologies. I shouldn't have said it, and if I could take it back, I would. 

"I must have swallowed a watermelon seed!"

That is what I said. I know that was not the right thing to say, but please, someone, tell me what I SHOULD have said. Before the state finds out and I lose my insurance. 

I won't even MENTION last year's unpleasantness when I was introducing the concept of "symmetry" and one of the kids wanted to know when we were going to talk about the dead people. I was like what? The other kids echoed him: yeah, when do we talk about the skeletons and stuff? You know, in the symmetry? In the graves at the symmetry? Shit. I actually laughed out loud on that one.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Their Idea of Perfect

I read everybody's pregnancy-annoyance horror stories, and came to the conclusion that I am above it all. People touching the belly? Doesn't faze me. Commenting on my growing girth? Ain't it cute? Asking me if twins run in the family? I reply with a simple "nope" even though I know what they are getting at. Telling me twin pregnancy, labor, infancy stories with glum endings? Can't get me there- already read all that on the internet.

But the masses have come up with something that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was blind-sided the first time it happened. And it has happened no less than a dozen times since.

Here comes the part where I sound really irrational.

People (could be the custodian at school, or the waiter at a restaurant, or even a casual friend) say "Oh, you are expecting? How exciting!" and of course I tell them that we are having twins. And, naturally, they ask if we know the gender yet. And I reply that it won't be long, probably in November. And they say "Oh, if it is one of each, that would be so PERFECT!!!" or "If you get a boy and a girl, you would have the PERFECT little family!!!!!"  

And something about that really bothers me.

Because, if I am having two sons, is that somehow less than perfect? I mean, I understand their point I guess, their desire for a genderly-balanced family (yes, I just made up that word, so what?), but I really don't feel that drive. I feel like my family is going to be perfect even if I have 14 sons or (gulp) 2 little girls. I understand people do gender-selection of embryos, we could have done it to for about $4K more, but I am SO UNSPEAKABLY grateful to have 2 beautiful, healthy fetuses (feti?) that I can't possibly think that things will be less than PERFECT if they are of the same gender. 

Dearest thinks I am over the top in my sensitivity about this subject, especially considering that I have NOT been bothered by most other things people say, and I'm sure he just chalks it up to hormones or something, and maybe a little part of him agrees that one of each would be just grand. But now I am riddled with this complex that I will somehow be letting everyone else down if we are carrying something other than a boy and a girl, and if they are the same gender, I am going to be watching people's reactions too closely when I tell them "two boys" or (gulp) "two girls." 

Good thing I am not a perfectionist. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looooook into my Eyeeeesssss...

So here's the thing. I have always been the kind of person who, when having a conversation, has experienced the luxury of having the person to whom I am speaking look at my Actual Face whilst we are conversing. And it was not really something I gave a lot of thought to. I kind of enjoyed it, people looking at my Actual Face while we were communicating. But now... things have changed. I have heard others (particularly my friend D) complain about people looking at Parts Other than Face, particularly people of the male variety (just her luck!) while she is trying to make important points. I can see how, for her, that would be quite annoying. But I always thought it would just be so great to have BIG BOOBS that I would live with the small issue of people looking at Parts Other than Face while chatting. 

Well, now I have actual boobs. But they are not on display for all to see, as one might think. First of all, I teach 5-year-olds, so it would hardly be appropriate. Second of all, they are not beautiful lush bosom, they are like 2 veiny grapefruits that someone hot glued to my chest. Seriously, they are covered in these blue veins, and the skin is like translucent and they look like I had some unsuccessful breast enlargement procedure. Clearly they do not belong on my body.

But the problem is not my boobs. It is my little baby bump. I CAN NOT have a conversation with anyone looking at my Actual Face the past 2 weeks. Their eyes keep wandering down to the bump. Those I know will actually acknowledge what they are doing (In a "GOD you are getting big fast!" kind of a way) but others, not so much. And you know what? I kind of miss conversations where people looked at my Actual Face. This has come up a lot this week because of parent teacher conferences. I know parents are not thinking "Oh, it looks like she's expecting, how lovely for her!" they are thinking "Shit, if she's preggo, this is going to interrupt my kid's academics." I totally understand that. But what's funny is that I am not actually big enough for people to be 100% sure yet (because how mortifying for them if they say something and are wrong!) so they just stare at my bump.

Today, for the first time, the bump actually served me well. I had to stop at the store to buy puffy paint and cheetos (don't ask) and an older guy looked at the bump and let me go in line in front of him. So sweet! I'm not quite ready to start parking in those "Reserved for Expectant Mothers" spots at BJ's yet, but maybe before long...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Poem to Ponder

I've been, naturally, thinking a lot about parenting lately. At first I was obsessed with the survival-oriented technical details about how I am going to parent. How will I logistically function? What will I do if both babies need me at the same time? Will I love one more than the other? But lately, that thinking has turned a little more philosophical: How can I keep these kids safe without raising fearful children? How can I teach them to enjoy every moment when sometimes I am so wrapped up in the past and the future? How can I raise spiritual kids in this material world when I can be so out of touch with my own spirituality? This Mary Oliver poem really hit home with me. Does it speak to parenting, to spirituality, to living life for you?

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear? 
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another appointment under our (expanding) belts!

We are victoriously back from another OB appointment, and I will sleep much better tonight than I did last night. Everything went really well- the babies both measured big again (A at 14w5d and B at 14w4d) and their heart rates looked great (A at 146 and B at 148). And, as per usual, B was posing beautifully (so much so that the Dr did a 3-D shot of him/her) and A was completely uncooperative, mainly showing us his/her butt every time we tried to see its little face. Hmm. I gave A a big lecture, but it did not seem to make much of a difference. 


You knew there was an also, didn't you? 

Since A was so busy showing us its little butt, we got lots of money shots. And the Dr said, even though it is very early and please do not hold her to it, that she just might see a thing. And by thing she meant a BOY thing. :) But again, NO guarantee, as that little one was not still for a moment and it was hard for me to see much, but she said there might be a thing. Yay!

The other cool thing was that my mom in law and dad in law got to be there for the ultrasound, and my dad in law had never been in the room for an ultrasound before, so he was pretty blown away by the technology and by how much detail you could see on the babies. 

Speaking of seeing the babies...

B is upstairs, being photogenic. A is downstairs, doing backflips and bouncing off the walls as per usual.
Here is the 3-D of B, who was being quite cooperative and even gave us a wave when we were all peeking.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let's Talk About my Privates!

But first, let's talk about my parents' visit. Because it was great. My dream of feeling miserable on the couch and being taken care of by my mom came true (complete with brown and orange blanket, which she brought from Iowa), and we stayed very busy with all manner of planning and preparation, including... wait for it... my first maternity clothes. Maybe to you this seems like no big thing, a pregnant woman buying maternity clothes, but to me it was huge. It was a public acceptance that all of this sticking my self with needles and getting intimately acquainted with the "dildo cam" might, at some point, have resulted in me being actually pregnant. And furthermore, that this pregnancy might do something CRAZY like continue, possibly even featuring a baby or two at the end. Again, if you have not struggled with month after month of dreams of having a family crashing down, the idea of getting pregnant, buying maternity clothes, and having a baby might not seem like the kind of thing that would inspire massive denial and pessimism. But to me, I think I may be standing at my childrens' high school graduation still not believing that I could have possibly ever gotten pregnant.

So it was great to be with my folks, who have never doubted that the IVF would work (what the heck else could happen?) and that this pregnancy would continue uncomplicated and result in happy healthy babies. I have to admit that there were moments (like in Babies.R.Us) when I felt like I was playing into the fantasy of  2 completely delusional people, but still it was fun. To think about real babies.

I felt a new dimension in my relationship with my mom, that's for sure. I always knew that there was a massive bond between women who have had kids, but, um, I have not really spent a lot of time trying to bond with other women, because generally I can't stand them, so it's not a connection I ever yearned for. But I was always aware of it. Never more so than 5 years ago at the birth of my nephew Jet. I will NEVER forget the moment he took his first breath, the moment that my mom and I saw him, and the distinct feeling at that moment that it was just my mom and my sister in the room. I was there, but I was suddenly a shadow. I was not someone who could possibly relate to the enormity of what had just happened. I was an aunt. Not a mom. I could not understand how they had suffered, how their hearts had been carried across the room by a nurse, because my heart had never left my body. At the time I just felt useless, like a fool. What advice could I give? What comfort? I have come to understand that there is a union between women who have had to endure the stress and passion involved in placing another soul on this earth. But even though I eventually understood it, I never thought I would be a part of it. It's another idea, like maternity clothes, that I will just have to get used to.
Now. On to my privates. Because I know you can't wait to hear about them. 

So since the embryo transfer, I have been on these progesterone suppositories. The first ones that I got from my RE were capsules. Like, with the plastic-y coating on the outside. Let me please tell you. Those things do not belong in your privates. But my Dr had other ideas, so I religiously shoved them up there, one each morning and night. The plastic coating probably dissolves beautifully in something like stomach acid, but it was very comfortable staying largely intact within my nether regions. The result was... well... have you ever seen a hamster shove his cheeks really full of those pellets? I think you know where I am going with this. To the point that I (WHO NEVER ask Doctors ANYTHING) actually e mailed my Dr and told him that I was really running out of space to cram these things and that some kind of shoe horn was about to be involved. He said "No, they dissolve slowly, it's what we want them to do, keep going." Oy. It got to the point that if I sneezed, three of them would shoot out like bbs. He insisted though, so I trucked on through weeks of that discomfort. 

Then... then I got referred out to my OB, who wanted me to stay on the progesterone. Hurrah. But, BUT, her pharmacy had a different deal. These are not plastic coated capsules, these are bullet-shaped cylinders of slime which must be refrigerated in order to maintain their shape. The GOOD news is, they sure do melt quick. The BAD news is, they sure do run down your leg when you least expect it. The first night, I must have gotten up 4 times because I was SURE something TERRIBLE was happening because STUFF was coming out of my CROTCH all night. Are you KIDDING me? I went from googling "Progesterone suppository won't dissolve" to googling "Progesterone suppository won't stop dripping" over night. Sigh. Guess I will stick with the crotch bullets until I hear otherwise from her. Why can't there be a middle ground?

Thus ends the writing about my privates for this evening. Go in peace.