Archive for April, 2009

Babies are small

A statement that’s hard to argue with: babies are small. Now, I realize that there is a physical scientific reason for this (i.e. the baby grows from nothing to something, and inside my belly, and has to make its grand entrance into the world somehow), but I lean toward believing it’s for other reasons, too.

For example, he starts tiny to make it easier on people like me. Weaklings. People who, years after high school, have tried to do one honest real push-up (I can do that, we think. I can do loads in a minute. Remember? Gym class? Presidential testing?), and we’ve found ourselves shaking, elbows locked, unable to do more than the slightest of bends. People who shake when they pick up gallons of milk. Yes, us flabby-armed namby-pambies. So babies start little and wee and itty bitty and gradually get bigger, like increasing weights at the gym. A little at a time. Out of respect for their milksop mommies. (Everyone point in my direction. Together now, 1..2..3…”Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!”)

Plus, all I can think about lately is how tiny this little cutie is, but how much big stuff he comes along with. Crib! Dresser! Changing table! Play pen! Stroller! Carrier! (Okay, these exclamation points are getting annoying. I’ll stop.) Car seat! Bathtub! (I’ve found myself unable to stop. Sorry.) Toys! Diapers! Wally and I determined we’d need to carve out a significant portion of the baby’s closet just for a diaper supply. Is this true?

He has his own room, for crying out loud! This little single-digit-pounder has an entire room in our house. So baby is tiny, but the stuff that comes with him makes up for that. And this situation does not start the day he’s born. It’s already started. According to my sources, my little guy is the size of a medium shrimp this week. Smaller than a matchbox car. A racquetball. Around the size of the pacifiers he’ll eventually enjoy (Wally and I both had mind-farts trying to think of what those things were called. The best we could come up with was “binkies.” I had to look it up. Oh boy.)

Anyhow, the little guy is that small, and yet, he has a lot of stuff that comes along with him. So much so, that my belly has stretched quite a bit already. As of Thursday, I’ll be at the end of my 1st trimester. On to the second mester. So here’s a look at my belly then, and now:



Am I, though? Am I really? Oh, yes I am.

At my last doctor’s appointment (when I got to hear the little guy’s heartbeat for the first time), my doctor warned me that the time between that and the next appointment would be very odd for me: with food aversion/nausea fading and eventually going away altogether (yay, gone!), and some of the other future discomforts still in the future, I wouldn’t quite feel pregnant.

And it’s true. There are a lot of moments where I don’t remember…forget even. I’ll be doing some planning at work for something in December, and only after a conversation is over will I think, “Oh, yeah, I’ll be on maternity leave in December.”

But then I have a few constant reminders.

1. My expanding waistline. I’m not showing much yet, but there’s a definite bulge. Enough that last night, when I was sitting by my dad on the couch, he reached over and gave the side of my belly a poke. Of course, as my friend Molly says of her second pregnancy (when she didn’t even realize she was pregnant until around this far along), it could have just been all those donuts I’ve been eating. But no, Molly, it was your second daughter. (Thank goodness, right?) And my own little bulge is my little guy.

2. I am a teenager again. I find myself thinking of Twitter/Facebook status updates that are mean. But the people I want to write about deserve it! For example, “Who is more annoying at the workout place, the two guys who banter loudly swearing back and forth on machines, or the ladies in the workout room who turn the volume up on 2 separate stations.” I assure you, it’s the hormones talking, people! The other night, I tried tilting the seat in a stroller we just got to see how it worked, and 15 minutes later found myself still unable to work it, but perfectlly willing to yell at it, kick it, or rip it to shreds with my bare hands and teeth. (Luckily, I was able to pull myself away before any of these next steps happened. But it was close. Oh, so dangerously close.) When I feel like this, I just want someone to show me to the nearest door so I can slam it. Repeatedly. It wouldn’t solve the problem, but it would feel so good!

3. I am sleepy. At a one-on-one meeting the other night (as in, me with one other person), I did not pay attention to much of what we were talking about, as I had to concentrate my focus on keeping my eyes open. I likely had a constant look of startle on my face, eyebrows raised, eyes popped open, as I was taking no chances. (Wally had a meeting with a client once at work where this happened. Mid-conversation, the dude just took a brief nap. Wally could have offered him a pillow, shook him awake, clapped in his face, or threw a pen at him, but he’s too polite and so he just kept talking as if it wasn’t happening. I didn’t want to be that dude.)

So yes, I’m pregnant. Quite pregnant. Yay!

Things I don’t know

Jane, my sister (in-law),  had a baby shower this weekend. (Baby Ottenhoff’s cousin and future best buddy will be born late May/early June.) It made me realize several things that I don’t know as of today. (It reminded me of the Friends episode where Rachel has a baby shower, opens something, and says, “Now wait, that can’t be right. Is this a bong for a baby?”)

And I’ve thought of more things since. In fact, my main thought the past few days has been, “Hmmm…I really don’t know that yet.” We’ve already established that I don’t know how to hold a baby. Here are a few other things I just don’t know:

  • What the heck is a receiving blanket?
  • When the baby is a little lump of a thing that can’t hold its head up, do I dress it in outfits every day? If so, how exactly would one go about that? If not, what does he wear, PJs? Onesies? And do I have to get dressed every day, or can I stay in my PJs and onesies?
  • How often does a baby need a bath? And when he’s a lump and can’t hold his head up, is bathing a two man job? One to hold the lump in place, one to wipe him down?
  • How often will the little guy eat? And what is formula? My theory right now is, formula means Wally can get up at night when the baby’s hungry. If that’s right, I’m good with that.
  • Can you hug a newborn? My hunch is that you can’t. You just hold it.
  • When does he start to get teeth, stop being a lump of a thing and hold his own head up, crawl, walk, make vowel sounds, make sounds that could be swear words, say mommy, and start doing chores like scooping the dog’s doo doo?

You don’t even want to know some of the other things I thought of that I am too embarrassed to put in print. But I do have a confession to make. I realized this the other day: I have never changed a diaper. Really. I was trying to think back to any baby I’ve been around, let alone been in charge of for any period of time. And I can’t think of one. I’m hoping this diaper thing is a trick I will pick up on very quickly, though. I’m sure all it will take is a few leaks before I make myself learn it well enough that I could teach a class on it.

This baby is in for a real treat!

3 observations: 2 canine, 1 celebration

1. We brought home our first baby toy. Both dogs saw it, and did their, I’m-a-good-girl-and-being-patient-for-what-you-brought-me tail wag. It’s clear we’ll have to set some strong baby/doggie boundaries.bctoy

2. I woke up this morning and told Wally, “I know what it’s like to feel normal again.” I do! No more mental stomach monster! The doc was right, yet again, that it would fade.

3. I believe Ellie knows I’m pregnant. Up until the last month, she worshiped Wally, and otherwise her toys. I never got any attention. But she’s been following me around the past month. If I’m out of the room for more than a minute, she shows up. If it looks like I’m staying where I am, she parks herself nearby. Perhaps she feels protective. Buttercup, of course, doesn’t notice yet. It will be intersting to see how they react to the little baby when he comes!

I’ll take one boy, please!

I have been getting slack for calling him a he, so I’d better ‘splain myself. Wally is Walter Ben Ottenhoff IV. And while there’s no pressure from Wally’s family, I feel very responsible for carrying on the roman numeral! It wouldn’t be so bad if we were only the 3rd generation or so. But we’re talking 5th! There have been 4 successful traditions of Wally Bens, all with their little Y chromosomes, hanging out, showing off, and in true Ottenhoff fashion, winning. So I want to be successful also. I want to win!

Don’t get me wrong. I will be just as excited for a little girl. We plan to have 2 kids, so we’d have another try. I just don’t want that second try to take on all the pressure!

We have a beautiful name picked out for a little girl. If she is a she, I will dress her in pink, paint her nails, and put bows in her hair. I will take her to ballet, and laugh at her like my mom laughed at me, if she is as ungraceful as I am. I will love her and hug her and tell her I’m so glad she ended up being a girl, because I can’t imagine anything more perfect than her.

But for now, he’s a he, until we find out otherwise. We’ll find out in June. Here’s to hoping!

The first noise, if the baby had ears…

img_1035My Mama May (one of Baby V’s future great grandmas) and mom have been cooking up a plan to tell my Aunts, Uncles and cousins for some time. They’ve had a few weeks to work out when and where, and they picked last night when everyone would be at an Easter dinner in Sun City. I was excited to tell, but I have to admit, my mom and Mama May could not be beat in that excitement. Here’s my evidence at how much they were looking forward to the night:

  • I showed up late to the event, so everyone had arrived by the time I got there. My Mama May came over to hug me, and gave a HUGE obvious wink. Then while hugging, she whispered loudly, “We’re going to tell in a few minutes!!!!”
  • The HUGE winks continued every time I looked her direction as I greeted the rest of the folks there.
  • My mom apparently had been taking Wally aside since he got there a few hours before and showing him the Easter egg she’d be giving me that had onesies in it.
  • Wally claimed to have gotten about a hundred HUGE winks in the hour before I arrived.

Finally the moment arrived, and my mom handed me a large Easter egg. I pretended to not know what was going on, and proceeded to open it up. It had a onesie inside (doll size, really! The baby will only be able to wear it the first day!) that said, “Grandma loves me.” I held it up over my belly. There was a moment of silence. Then my Aunt Becky burst out with, “Wait, does this mean…?” I shook my head yes.

Then it happened. If the baby had ears yet, I’m sure this would be the first noise she ever heard. My mom, Aunt Sara, and Aunt Becky, all whoop-scream-laughing in unison, for a good few minutes. Enough time for me to hug my Aunts, Uncles, and for about 200 tears to be shed. And it confirmed what I suspected. This baby is so loved already.

My Grandpa’s hope

My Grandpa is a great man. He’s sweet, quiet, gentle, a good storyteller (like all respectable Mays), and when he says, “Hey, beautiful,” you really do feel beautiful. The day after he found out about the baby, I called his house to ask my Mama May a question, and she wasn’t around. His first comment on the phone was, “So, how’s the future mommy?” Since he found out, that has been his first question every time I’ve seen him. But I didn’t realize exactly how important the baby was to him until tonight.

At dinner (more on dinner tomorrow), Wally and I got to sit by him. In the middle of dinner, he called the table to attention (“I have something to say to Mollie and Wally,” and when he says this, people listen intently). He gave us a memorable speech:

“Over the past year or so, I’ve been reading about WWII vets. They are dying at the rate of 1,000 per day. So I have just been living each day, day to day. But ever since I heard your news, I have a longer term goal. I have to stay around until at least October 30, because I need to meet my great grandbaby!”

We’re lucky because the doc recently told him he’s the healthiest 85 year old he’s ever had as a patient. And the baby can’t wait to meet him!

April 2009
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