One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Life Inside

Footsteps or handsteps, perhaps elbow or knee; baby inside nudges, turns, floats, flips. What passes through the tiny mind that has no English thoughts to think? My voice heard now, but how it sounds I know not. Muffled? Like underwater at the pool, the echo of lifeguards and people laughing and splashing? If only sound for memory- no thoughts, no words, no pictures- then does the brain delete it all over time?

What's it like in there? I wonder. Spinning around like an astronaut on the space station? Then it slams into me: I know what it's like! I've nudged and kicked; I've squirmed and swallowed the fluid. I've curled my body around itself. Does my brain hold any of that memory? Where is the sense of closeness to my mother's heartbeat rocking me to sleep? Where is the sense of something, someone, a presence bigger than myself?

Each person around me also came from such a place. This growing belly, moving up and down as I breathe, home to a miracle. The 7-foot basketball player, 300-pound man, old wrinkled woman walking with a shuffle, angry driver flipping me off. A baby! tiny and faultless in the womb. No unkind words uttered. No jail time served. Content once. Each person who ever lived! Miracles. Do we grow up just to forget? Our happy place. Our comfort. Our dependence on someone else for life. We grow up and start depending on ourselves. Mistake! We don't realize we're still floating in space. We're still small and helpless. We still need that presence, that something bigger, to surround us and love us.

Go back, I plead. Remember. Remember, baby.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cupcakes and Wine

     "Today's my birthday!" The freckled redhead cheerfully reminds me as we settle around a table for reading group.
     "That's right!" I say. "Happy birthday!"
     "We have cupcakes."
     "Oh, for your class at the end of the day?"
     He nods.
     "Well, I'll just have to stop by your classroom then," I tease.
     "We'll have extra," he assures me.

     "You can't eat a cupcake," another student at the table tells me, gesturing toward my baby bump. (She loves to talk about my baby, hoping it's a boy because "boys are cuter.")
     "I can't?" I ask.
     "You can't have wine!" She modifies it.
     "Oh. Is there wine in the cupcakes?"
     "No. Well my mom sometimes puts wine in cake," she says, grinning.

     We start our class and time goes by and I forget all about cupcakes. Several hours later, after school has been out for about ten minutes, I'm sitting at my desk in the reading portable and talking with a coworker when a breathless boy pokes his head in the door.
     "Did you want a cupcake? We have three left!"
     "Oh wow! I was just kidding, but that's really nice of you. OK." I put on my coat and try to keep up with him as we slip across ice and snow back to the main building and race down the hallway to the front office. There his parents wait with the remaining cupcakes. His mom hands one to me.
     "He made the cupcakes," his dad tells me proudly.
     I admire the pirate flags and tasty-looking frosting. "That's awesome! Thank you so much." I tell the boy to have a great rest of his birthday and then watch his smile carry him out the door with his family. Then I slide back out to my desk and devour the cupcake. Bump agrees that it was delicious.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You Just Might Be Canadian!

It's winter benchmark testing time; the wonderful week where we drill the students on reading and math to discover what they have learned over the first half of the year. Once again I sat down with kindergarteners and 1st graders to do some one-on-one assessments, and once again they filled my cup to overflowing with delight.

Snuggled at home on a snow day, I think about my adorable little students and the humor they have poured upon me the past three days. Let me share!


Scene 1: I sit at a table opposite a 5-year-old girl. She's my "are you stranger-danger?" child- the one who previously asked if I was someone she should be talking to! I faithfully read verbatim the directions for her assessment and then ask, "Are there any questions?" True to form, she responds with the delightfully expected off-the-wall comment.

Nods her head. "The backpack that I wear to school, that's my old backpack."

I see. Shall we begin the test?

She nods again.


Scene 2: Different kindergarten girl, same tests, same directions, same "Are there any questions?" from me.

She nods. "I got a puppy for Christmas."

I can't resist continuing this conversation. "Oh wow, what kind of dog?"

Instead of answering me, the girl turns her attention to the paper in front of her and starts randomly calling off numbers.

"Wait, wait!" I say. "We haven't started yet!"


Scene 3: 6-year-old boy, 1st grader. "Do you have any questions?" I ask. (I wish I had had a recording device to catch the following word-for-word, but here is my attempt.)

"Yes. So this doesn't make sense in my family but I'm kind of Canadian. And no one knows why. And my dad was like, 'Why is my son Canadian? Why isn't he English?' And it puzzled him and it puzzled him. And it puzzled my uncle. And I think it puzzled my brother. So I was speaking Spanish but then I finally started to speak English."

I interrupted him at some point and asked, "So where were you born?"


Creative Commons: waferboard

Monday, January 7, 2013

Baby Shower Downpour

With three baby showers on the horizon for little Bump, I hardly know whether I should accept the bounty with open arms or get out my umbrella and run for it. It isn't that I'm not appreciative that so many want to offer their blessings/congratulations/words of advice/adorable baby booties and burp rags, but I'm incredibly overwhelmed by all the baby "necessities" out there. What do I really need? What do I really want or not want? What will I most likely be exchanging at the store if I get it or donating to the local thrift store because I got five too many?

So far in the pregnancy I have been very practical and my planning has been limited. The baby room will not be decorated in any theme. We are not finding out the gender before Bump's birth; therefore, no one can buy any gender-specific clothing or other items for these baby showers (which suits me just fine). I only have one maternity shirt and one pair of maternity pants. I realize this will have to change as Bump continues to grow, but I'm trying not to go crazy buying clothes that I won't wear for very long. Luke and I plan to research cribs, car seats, and cloth diapers before deciding what we want, so these items can't yet go on any registries.

I think I know the basics that I will need for Bump's first weeks, but when I go online to find the stuff it's like a mom admiring her daughter's tidy room and then opening the closet and having everything tumble out all over her.

Take baby bath tubs for example. First, do I really need one? Can't I manage using the sink just fine? Can't Luke and I work together if Bump is too squirmy for one set of hands? One tub online had hundreds of reviews and most were very positive, but the negative ones sounded concerning. "Drowning hazard," they said. Wait, their babies didn't actually drown, so why did they post that in their review? I mean, yeah, anyone in water could drown, but clearly the parent is right there doing the bathing of the baby so chances should be very slim. Still, reading that makes me unsure it's a great choice. Then of course it costs less than $20. Would the $40 one be better? After scrolling through 20 types, I quit looking at tubs.

How about baby shampoo/lotion/body wash? I won't know if Bump has extra sensitive skin until Bump is out in the world coming in contact with irritants. People used to live quite well without any name-brand hair and skin products. If I asked my dermatologist, I'm sure she would recommend the brands they sell at her office, which cost a bomb. (Not that she doesn't have her patients' best skin needs in mind).

Don't even get me started on cloth diapers. So many types now! Heck, there's quite a variety of disposables too.

Sigh. Well, Bump won't go without, and for that I feel truly blessed. Blessed to have so many loving, caring, giving family members and friends who will not only provide things but also love, support, guidance, and free babysitting.