Archive for July, 2008

What It Feels Like to be 38 1/2 Weeks Pregnant

Posted by julie on Thursday, 31 July 2008, 16:32

Warning: Contains pregnant belly shots.

In case you’re wondering . . .

Pregnancy doesn’t really feel like this anymore:

Julie doing an inappropriate cartwheel?

That was taken on Father’s Day. I think I horrified fewer than half a dozen people when this photo was taken. Maybe. I’d performed only three weeks before this in the Traduza show. If anyone was taken aback by a 6 1/2 month pregnant woman doing back shoulder rolls, they kept it to themselves.

This is what I look like now:

Julie at 38 weeks, fishie II

And, no, it’s not just the angle of the camera that makes my belly look so low. It really is that low — and has been for a while. When you have a seven-pound person pushing on your pelvis for so many weeks, it makes for occasionally painful hips, hip flexors, and lower back.

I alternately feel like this — because I’ve developed what’s known as PUPPP, or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, which is when a pregnant woman’s body decides enough is enough, I’m allergic to being pregnant, and I’m going to make you itch like you have a remarkable case of poison oak until you get this child out of me (some women are induced because the itching is so bad) — and this:

Big as a house

This look is also known as, “I’m almost as big as this house. Please finish my house.”

Really, though, this pregnancy is easier, aside from the wake-you-up-from-deep-sleep itching. My feet aren’t swollen; I can breathe easily, since my diaphragm isn’t pushing up into my lungs; I’m rarely in any pain; and I’m still riding my bike, even while pulling Sylvan (although for short stretches, nothing over two miles; 25 extra pounds on that little bike seat can be challenging).

And, if you’re a pregnant woman suffering from PUPPP: Grandpa’s pine tar soap and scaldingly hot water. Chris learned, from many years of hashing through poison ivy and oak, that hot water (just turn off the cold in the shower) will relieve the itch, usually for 5-6 hours. I’m not man enough to stay under the stream, so I just take down the showerhead and let a couple of jets spray tangentially against the itchy areas.

Sylvan’s fish names (or “ineffable effable”)

Posted by jonesey on Wednesday, 23 July 2008, 12:20

Sylvan loves to give names to things. We’ll ask him “What’s that bear’s name?” He’ll come up with a real-sounding word that is like no name in the English language. Atarash. Nuuamp. Gann. He has an endless supply. (Munkustrap, Quaxo, Coricopat, Bombalurina, and Jellylorum are right up his alley.)

On Monday, when I picked up Sylvan at school, his teachers Ellie and Stephen were laughing about the names he had come up with for their classroom’s new fish. They had never heard him name before. (It isn’t just one of your holiday games.)

They liked them so much that they wrote them down on a sticky note and stuck the sticky to the fish bowl. Without further ado:







The only acceptable thing to say to a pregnant woman about her appearance

Posted by jonesey on Monday, 14 July 2008, 20:19

There is only one acceptable thing to say to a pregnant woman about her appearance:

“You look beautiful.”

Practice it if you must. Say it in front of a mirror. It’s OK to lie if you don’t see the beauty.

But what about … ?

No. The answer is no. Repeat after me: “You look beautiful.”

But she’s as big as a house. A whale. A giant watermelon!

You must stop talking right now. If you can’t say “You look beautiful,” talk about the weather, or reminisce about the end of our long national nightmare (was it only eight years ago?). Or just zip it. Please. Everyone will be better off.

Happy Birthday: 34 Months

Posted by julie on Monday, 14 July 2008, 18:13

Dear Sylvan,

Yesterday, we went up past Diamond Peak to Timpanogas Lake, easily a two and a half hour drive (when you don’t get lost, which we did), during which you sang Pete Seeger songs, napped, looked for trains, and were just a fantastic little muffin. We stopped on the way up to buy a Northwest Forest Pass, the $30 per year parking pass for Oregon and Washington National Forest Service trailheads. It’s a bit of a racket, since we already pay taxes to provide for these public lands. I think if logging on public lands in the Northwest weren’t so heavily subsidized, I’d feel more inclined to “pay to play,” yet we buy our pass every year, obedient little eggs that we are.

Sylvan, don’t pull out those stitches!

Anyway, at the Ranger Station, you picked up a Smokey Bear sticker and a ring-shaped frisbee, which you proceeded to wear around your face. Smokey Bear is a Forest Service holdout from the 40s, and it’s obvious that the Forest Service is trying to reconcile their newer fire management policies (prescribed burns [to make up for past fire suppression, usually] and letting wildfires burn if they don’t threaten structures) with their older ”fire is always BAD” message: along with the frisbees and stickers, the Ranger Station carried a book entitled The Fire That Saved the Forest.

Sylvan is silly

We arrived at Timpanogas Lake, only scraping the “cute little car’s” (your term) underside on three melting piles of slushy snow on the way in. I pulled into a parking space, and the mosquitoes simply swarmed in through the open windows. Your father, who is by most accounts a happy, positive guy, turned into Grumpmaster Flash in a matter of moments. I quickly reversed the car and started to drive back down the road while your Dad looked for an alternative, lower-elevation hike.

This trip was ill-conceived anyway. It was my idea, hatched from the desperate knowledge that I am now chained within an hour of Eugene for the next month as I await your little brother or sister’s arrival. I needed to get to the mountains since it’s been an extraordinarily long time since we’ve been up there. Early July, though, especially in a year with huge snowfall, is just mosquito heaven. We headed down to 3500 feet to Chuckle Springs, a really short hike right next to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. No mosquitoes swarmed the car, which, we learned as we started down the trail, was because the car was parked in full sunlight. On the shady trail, the mosquitoes found your soft, sweet flesh and chowed down. I’m sorry. I’m especially sorry that it made you crazy in the middle of last night. You were very sad.

Still, on the hike, we found a nice spot on the river to eat, cool off our feet (I mean “numb our feet”), search for stonefly nymphs on the bottom of river rocks, and throw rocks into the river. Apparently, Sylvan, you are a boy. You climbed down that riverbank, picked up rocks, and started chucking them. I’ve seen 60-year-old men do exactly the same thing. While I enjoy tossing rocks into streams, I’m not overwhelmed with the same biological urge that you folks with a Y chromosome seem to be.

Sylvan throws rocks into the Middle Fork

I suggested to Mr. Grumpmaster that he might want to dunk his head in the river to restore his spirits. It helped.

Daddy takes a chill pill

Last year, when we climbed Mt. McLoughlin with Leslie and Wendy, you were an unstoppable little machine, hiking a good two miles on your own, quite sure-footedly. In the past year, your confidence in walking in general means that you fail to look at your feet when it would behoove you to do so. You slipped a few times yesterday, which led to a good deal of whining and even real tears. It’s true we need to hike more so that you’re familiar with it; my belly has put an end to our hikes, since I can’t carry you very far if you decide you’re done. But, in a detached, anthropological sense, it’s just interesting to watch you develop as a hiker. You’re certainly much more likely to want to explore with me now, but you’re not as likely to actually walk for any real distance.

A couple of weeks ago, the Olympic Track and Field Trials were held in Eugene, and Sylvan enjoys the Track and Field Trialsyour Dad and I had tickets. You joined us for most of the events — to your dismay, really. The pole vaulting, which was in front of us near the 200-meter mark on the track, struck your fancy; you liked it when the athletes knocked the bar off. You were also pretty taken with the method of discus retrieval — remote controlled toy pick-up trucks. Silly, but toddler-friendly. Anyone who appreciates a good race should watch these three Oregon runners — Nick Symmonds, Andrew Wheating, and Christian Smith — come from positions 6, 7, and 8 and, well, have a good race (minutes 2-4:30 are the most exciting). Your Dad let me stay that night while he took you to bed, and I’m trying not to rub it in — but that race was so good. I think you’ll enjoy the Trials a bit more in 2012 (when your little brother or sister is, yikes, nearly four!).

Sylvan shares a moment with Alan Webb

We had a Birth to Three potluck in the park last week, and you brought your tricycle, which you just recently started to pedal, a year and a half after you got it for Christmas. A couple of other parents asked why we didn’t have you on a bicycle. Well, because you’re diggin’ the tricycle — and do we have to rush all of your developmental stages? You’ve been riding your tricycle to school, which is two blocks from our summer home, and you and Daddy lock the trike to the bike rack for the day. Very cute.

Sylvan pedals away from school

At the potluck, your Dad went to find me some tasty calories at Sweet Life while I Sylvan jams with Bad Mittenheld a two-week-old baby (because she’s one of twins and I was being helpful, not because baby-holding is my favorite activity in the world; your Dad holds babies because he’s a fan). You wandered, squirted a water gun, and kicked other people’s soccer balls. I watched your meanderings until finally you started to venture too far. I called you back, and you proceeded to tell me where you were going — loudly, but not loudly enough for yelling across the park. I came over, and you told me you were going to listen to the music. A band, Bad Mitten, had started to jam on top of the little sculpture hill in Monroe Park. We’d heard them the week before, playing on a street corner after the Trials, and they rocked — women with guitars, a fiddle, a ukulele, a trumpet, a saw blade, an accordion, a couple banjos, and a stand-up bass. You, little musician you are, walked right up with a borrowed harmonica to Bad Mitten’s circle and started playing.

Sylvan drinks the sprinkler

You’ve discovered the sprinkler, and you like to lap at it like a dog. You’re a silly boy, and I love you.