Back to School Night

In Charlie’s case, it should just be called “To School Night,” because we’re new to this.

Grandad took some nice 1st Day of School pictures with his fancy camera, but I haven't seen those yet. Here's the one picture I got on my phone as Andy and I dropped Charlie off.

Grandad took some nice 1st Day of School pictures with his fancy camera, but I haven’t seen those yet. Here’s the one picture I got on my phone as Andy and I dropped Charlie off.

Charlie turned 2 at the end of July, which means he’s now old enough for PRESCHOOL. WUT. I have a preschooler. He started a few weeks ago, and he attends class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He’s been sick non-stop since then, and Andy and I have each caught two rounds of contagion off him. Last week, I had a proper plague where I spent a day wondering, “Do I need to, like, go to the hospital? No, that sounds hard. I’m just gonna lay here some more, where it’s nice and warm and sweaty.”

In that time, Charlie has also learned that it’s cool to hit me in the face, both for reasons of anger and for reasons of amusement. Our bedtime conversation last night:

“Ow, Charlie, it’s not okay to hit me in the face.”

“Yeah!” [He hits me in the face.]

“No, Charlie! Look at me. This is not a fun game.”

“Yeah! A FUN game!” [He hits me in the face.]

So we’ve got that going for us.

He also got no-foolin’ bit by another kid last week and had a perfect circle of little teethmarks on his arm for a solid four days. When I came to pick him up and his teacher, Miss Ann, said he’d been involved in a biting incident, my first thought was, “Please don’t say he was the biter, please don’t say he was the biter.” When Miss Ann said “He was bit by another child,” I responded with “Oh, thank fuck.” (Probably just with my inside-my-head voice, but no one can be certain.) I’m sure he’ll bite another kid at some point, but for now, I would much rather tend┬áto his bite marks than tend to “a biter.”

Last night, I got to see what he’s been working on in school besides learning to hit me and getting bit. First off, he made this baller owl.

Whoooooooo's picking up contagion at preschool?

Whoooooooo’s picking up contagion at preschool?

That’s worth the cost of tuition right there. He also painted a leaf and has a journal of schoolwork. AND: They’re learning to use the potty. Oh, heck!┬áMiss Ann explained that, since there are a lot of kids going potty at once, they’ve got the stand-up diaper-change assembly line, which requires a fair amount of cooperation from the youngsters. The system is that they stand by their poster in the bathroom while everyone gets washed and dressed, and if they stand nicely, they get a sticker. Charlie fucking loves stickers! Great plan; maybe I can use that at home.

On my way out of Back to School Night, I saw the posters in question. All the kids colored the apples on their posters, which had their names on them. There’s Max’s; he’s got like 23 stickers on his apple. Good for him! And Oliver’s got like 16– Fair effort; we’re pretty early in the year. Does Charlie have an apple poster? Yes. It has one sticker. One. I rushed home and told Andy, because we were both so proud to hear that Charlie stood nicely once.

So that’s been school so far. In spite of the contagion, the monthly dollars out the window, and the biting, Charlie fucking LOVES it. The have a SANDBOX, and TOY TRAINS (that are exactly the same as the toy trains he has at home, but still). And A FISH. OMG!


Caught myself double-screening it at the local Starbucks, where I can do things like write blog posts or maybe even do actual work while Charlie’s in school.

And Mom (that’s me) gets to spend nearly six guilt-free hours working on stuff without interruption. Boom.

Preparing for the Bugpocalypse


Buster sits on my lap while I type, contemplating what delicious spider he may eat next.

Buster sits on my lap while I type, contemplating what delicious spider he may eat next.

A summer pregnancy in the D.C. metropolitan area is pretty gross. There’s a lot of butt sweat happening, for me and for everyone else within at least a 100-mile radius. It’s also pretty buggy. Mosquitos and fire ants seem to be the things that like hanging out at our house right now, and these, unfortunately, do not list among the bugs that our cats enjoy hunting and eating. They’re way into spiders right now.

With this bugginess in mind, I recently realized that the birth of our firstborn will likely coincide with the emergence of the 17-year cicada. We get cicadas every year in this area, and I generally enjoy them. They chirp soothingly in their trees and remind me that I live somewhere with well-defined seasons, and I usually only see about two of them with my actual eyeballs each summer. We’ve been in the D.C. area for a bit over six years, which means we missed the last batch in 2004. (For those of you who are pro-math, there are different broods of periodical cicadas, so the fun isn’t strictly limited to every 17 years.) From the pictures I’ve seen of the 2004 brood, they might have actually been kind of neat looking, with neon orange and black stripes. Like a bite-size, winged tiger. As best I can tell, this year’s cicadas are just bug-colored, with bulging red eyes for flair. Neighbors and other folks who survived the last brood describe the whole affair as being downright apocalyptic. I’ve heard multiple and detailed accounts of cicada exoskeletons crunching under your feet like fall leaves from the moment you walk out of your house. Gross.

"Hello, friend. Have you heard the Good News? The time has come to accept Cicada Jesus as your personal bug-lord and savior." Photo from NorthJersey.com.

“Hello, friend. Have you heard the Good News?”
Photo from this place.

It may shock you to learn that this post isn’t about how I’m concerned that the swarming cicadas will descend upon my baby’s face and lay eggs in his ears that won’t emerge until the moment that he’s blowing out his candles on his 17th birthday (though the thought has crossed my mind). Mostly, I’ve just realized that the bugpocalypse will coincide with various members of our Southern California-based family coming out to help with the baby, half of them (my side of the family) visiting us for the very first time since we moved. The women in my family, myself included, have always been the types to prefer an air-conditioned hotel room to the disgusting majesty of nature. I’m imagining my mom and sister landing at Washington-Dulles International Airport in late July or early August, stepping out into DC’s late-summer swampiness, and immediately having 25 Jumbo Tootsie Roll-sized bugs land in their hair. They will then head back inside and take the next available flight to anywhere else, and I’ll get a text when they’ve safely landed in, say, Minneapolis, saying that my child will be welcome to stay with them if he decides to attend UC Irvine for his undergraduate work.

So we’ll see how that goes. There’s always the possibility that we’re going to narrowly escape (or perhaps already have escaped) said bugpocalypse; if this handy map from the Official Website for the Mid-Atlantic Cicada Database Project is correct, I’m nestled safely just outside of the blue zone. Suck on that, Virginia!

In Which I Freak Out

Here’s the email I just sent to my OBGYN:

‘I’ve been taking Tylenol for fibromyalgia pain since finding out I was pregnant, but JUST NOW noticed on the giant generic bottle of it that we bought from Costco after I got knocked up, the label says “Acetaminophen 250 mg” in big letters, and then in tiny letters below that: “Aspirin 250 mg, Caffeine 65 mg.” So I’ve been unwittingly feeding my fetus about 500 mg of aspirin most days for the last 6 months, because I’m a genius. On a scale of one to a million, how completely freaked out should I be right now?’

But it turns out that I passed the glucose screening, so I’ve got that going for me.

Conquering the Nursery

I did it! I’m a beautiful genius!

I had big plans to do all the things today, but, after waking up at 11:45 am after nearly 14 hours of antidepressant-side-effect-induced sleep (maybe more on that later), I was pretty sure I’d blown it. However, BEHOLD!

The most amazing tree painted on any wall in the history of painted trees.

The most amazing tree painted on any wall in the history of painted trees.

I finally painted the damn tree for the damn nursery so I can do a damn pictorial family tree for the damn baby. Damn. Note to the many family members who have not yet provided photos for this amazing and admirable craft project, in spite of exactly two months of gentle nagging from me: The next phase of the nursery project is me going through shoeboxes looking for that picture of you at my wedding where you are in the middle of eating cake and sneezing at the same time, and you have red eyes and that weird double-chin because it was “taken from a bad angle.” To those of you who have already submitted your completely appropriate pictures: Thanks! The baby will like those.

Non-Adventures in Glucose Screening

I had wanted to post this immediately after my last doctor’s appointment, but I was on my way to a fabulous Florida vacation & wasn’t able to get my act together. These are the dangers of having a super-fabulous lifestyle.

Apparently at my March appointment when my doctor told me they would give the the glucose drink at my next check up, she meant they would physically hand me the bottle of orange goo. And then they’d tell me to remember to drink it an hour before I show up at my May appointment. And then, in May, they’d draw my blood and tell me how much gestational diabetes I had. So I did waste a good donut-eating morning on rice cakes, but the good news is that I get to eat all the donuts I want on this vacation, because no one has yet told me that I can’t.

For the image to go with this post, I’d wanted to take a picture of the giant orange drink, but I left it in my work fridge. Then I was going to do an artist’s rendering of said drink in crayon, but I forgot about it until I was already at the airport. Then I was going to make one on some kind of a drawing app, but then fuck it. So use your imagination. And if you’re real nice, later I’ll instead post a picture of me in my amazing, hand-me-down, maternity swim suit.

Adventures in Glucose Screening

I do my 25-ish week checkup in four hours. This is the one with the glucose screening, where they have you drink a bunch of jelly bean juice, wait for an hour, and then they tell you you’re diabetic now. At least that’s how it seems to go with my lady friends. The risk factors for gestational diabetes include being overweight pre-pregnancy (check) and having a family history of diabetes (double-check: both sides of the family! So, Yahtzee?)

Goodbye, sparkling lemonade. I'm heading out; I hope I can drink you tonight.

Goodbye, sparkling lemonade. I’m heading out; I hope I can drink you tonight.

I apparently don’t have to fast in advance of this test, but dry toast is the only approved food. I’m having rice cakes; I hope that gets the job done. (I say “apparently” because I was stuck in meetings all day yesterday and couldn’t call my doctor to find out if I had to fast. I texted my mother-in-law to see if she’d call my doctor to see what the deal was for me. So officially, this is second-hand information.) I’m going to bring a bag of rice cakes along with me during my travels today, but I’m prepared to be super hungry. Because I don’t want rice cakes; I want 27 chocolate donuts. And some sparkling lemonade.

Fingers crossed that everything comes back negative; I really want to have some lemonade this afternoon.