A cheerleader, a girlfriend, a big kid, and a sick, overworked mom

This last week, I have been siiiick. Just a cold, but it felt much worse due to 1) not being able to sleep well and 2) crazy working. My job is one of those jobs where if you stay home sick, all it really means is that you work 9-11 hours from your couch, rather than your desk. Wah, wah, I know. But it did result in some crazy googling of whether the baby could tell I had a cold (what if little poopsie also had a tummy ache and a stuffy nose in there?).

The big one has started high school, and has made the cheerleading team. At first my wife was opposed to this, because of misogyny. I agreed for this reason but thought that her finding something she enjoyed where she could make some new friends in high school was more important. She has really enjoyed it this far, and cheered in the first football game last night. I was proud of her – you could tell how hard she had worked. And the big smiles when she came home made it seem like this was the right move (for now anyway). Kids are hard.

The Boo is now in middle school and has… A boyfriend. A boyfriend that the big one tells us is not all that nice to her. They take themselves so seriously, even though they are only is the sixth grade, and their entire relationship seems to consist of texting each other the word “hey” a few times a day and the occasional slice of pizza on the weekends. And yet, it does seem like he leaves her waiting around a bit. And Boo is so quiet about things that it’s hard to see how she is doing with all of it. If it was the big one with the boyfriend, we would have already analyzed their relationship 10 times over by now. But Boo is more reserved. If he breaks her heart, which seems a tad inevitable, it’s going to be a tough job consoling the kid who doesn’t like to let on that she’s suffering in the first place.

Our little guy turned 9 yesterday. Nine! As in, almost 10. For his birthday, he has received so far some video game thing from his grandma, and what appears to be his favorite gift so far, a fake mustache from his babysitter. The girls also have him a Spider-Man graphic novel, which he loves and we love, because he’s actually reading something. Who would have thought I would have a reading-averse kid? I have to say that the weirdest part about having kids is that it sometimes doesn’t matter how much you chirp about your own values, or model things, or whatever. Sometimes they don’t like reading, and sometimes they want to be a cheerleader. Who are these little people living in our house? We got him a laser tag game, which we realized only after it arrived was actually a gun thing where you try to shoot your friend in the head. Whoops. Too late now – apparently we are also parents who buy toy guns for our kids. We’re giving it to him anyway after we get back from the other part of his present, which is a trip to the Renaissance fair this afternoon. Yes, we are that nerdy.

As for me, the only other thing that has happened, other than the cold and the working all the time, is this:

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My stomach has spent the week feeling very tight and funny, like the top of a drum, and then boom. Yesterday, I was hugely, undeniably pregnant looking. I have looked pretty pregnant for a while, but could kind of hide it in certain clothes if I wanted to, so it just looked like I was sort of fat. No more! Definitely a high, round, firm belly full of baby. Which had been delighting my wife and me by kicking and punching as if it’s already trying to bust it’s way out. At 21 weeks, we have had our anatomy scan. Over-analyzing of reasons for learning or not learning the baby’s sex are for another post. Continue reading

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kicks

Over the last couple of weeks, I have felt our little one’s kicks, punches, and flips growing stronger and more regular.  This past weekend, my wife was out at the bar dancing with my sister and some friends.  I decided I would rather go to bed than go out dancing (go figure).  I was lying in bed, reading, when I felt the strongest kick yet.  I looked down at my belly, and a little bump popped its way out.  I could actually see it!  From the outside.  This wasn’t a “bubble” or a “flutter” or a “twitch.”  This was a FOOT.  I was so excited, and so sad that my wife had missed it. That was the first kick she could have felt.

It happened again a few times over the next couple of days, always at times she couldn’t feel it.  The more it happened, the more I found myself wanting to ignore my pregnancy apps and read about my baby.  Something about these very real kicks suddenly made the baby itself real.  This is not just a pregnancy, there is actually going to be a baby at the end of it. I know that sounds sort of obvious, but I guess it hadn’t really sunk in, despite the fact that we had talked about names (boy names are hard, y’all), and decided which bedroom would be our baby’s nursery. But I felt my shift focus over the weekend, from bad skin and big boobs and maternity shirts to the actual human baby that I am growing.

My wife did not seem that bothered that she kept missing the kicks.  Last night, she said to me something along the lines of, “I know I don’t seem that excited about the kicks. It will happen when it happens – there will be lots of kicks for me to feel over the next couple of months.”  We curled up to go to sleep, with her arm around me, and just like that, she felt one.  She laughed out loud.  It turns out she is going to have a real live human baby too, and one with a really great sense of timing.