Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wife: The last ____________ [insert activity] before the baby comes...

So we are in the holiday season.  Chris and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a great time seeing everyone.  Chris even felt Susan move on Thanksgiving Day.  I had just finished a snack that afternoon – what is lovingly known as “mo cake” – and the sugar must have spurred her on.  She gave three hard kicks (which based on her current weight were like the strongest little thumps, so cute) and he felt all three!  His whole face lit up!  I knew she was trying extra hard so that he could feel her.  By the way, “mo cake” is pound cake.  It got its nickname thanks to my little cousin Lilli, who when she was younger than she is now (she is 4), used to get this pound cake at my grandparents’ house.  She apparently would ask for “mo cake” (more cake) and the name has stuck since.

I think I love "mo cake" almost as much as Lilli.  Or at least, I did while we were in Tupelo!
 Chris also excelled during Thanksgiving at playing pretend.  I don’t know what he was so concerned about.  After we ate on Thanksgiving, Lilli asked me, Chris and Philip to play “airplane” and then we played “school.”  Playing airplane meant we actually pretended we were on an airplane.  Playing school is pretty self-explanatory.  Lilli wanted me to be the teacher.  So we all sat up in my grandparents’ family room and played school.  We practiced letters and writing names and we did math.  For example, I would hold one pillow, then pick up two more and ask how many pillows I had.  Lilli nailed it every time.  Philip could use a little remediation.  Then Lilli told us it was nap time.  Chris had a blast and did an excellent job as one of the students.  He is going to be an excellent dad.  And while he may not have much experience with little girls, he is fun and willing to learn.  And that is all that will matter to Susan.

Playing school.  They pulled out their mats and laid down for nap time!

While we were all together, especially on Friday the day we left, people kept mentioning that this was the last Thanksgiving without Susan.  And as my aunt Mimi pointed out, the next time I saw everyone, we would have a baby.  That was a little eye opening.  But now, I keep thinking about all of our last activities without Susan.  And the thing is, in my brain, last Thanksgiving was the “last Thanksgiving” without her.  Because while she isn’t here yet, she is definitely a part of the family already.  Pregnancy is kind of like being in limbo.  There was the time before Susan (before we were pregnant) and there will be the time after Susan (once she arrives and we are parents).  But right now, we are stuck in this weird limbo time in which she consumes our thoughts, never letting me forget for one second that she is in there, but she hasn’t made her debut yet.

So now we are preparing for the last Christmas before Susan.  Or really, the last Christmas before we are parents!  As many of you know, the Christmas season is my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love everything about it.  I love shopping for my friends and family, shopping for our angel from the angel tree, and listening to Christmas music so much that I will have heard each version of “Sleigh Ride” and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” imaginable.  I love eating off of our Christmas dishes, sitting by the tree at night while we read the Advent devotion, making cakes for my neighbors, going to the Nutcracker, and making a gingerbread house.  I especially love the Sundays in Advent as we light the Advent wreath, listen to the beautiful music and prepare for Jesus’ birth, the true reason for the season.  Thankfully, I married someone who loves all of these things too (or at least, he tolerates all the repetitive Christmas music because he loves me so much).  And I cannot wait to share all of this with our daughter.  I can’t wait until she is old enough to put on her Christmas apron and help make the Gingerbread House and make Christmas cookies to take to the nursing home.  I can’t wait until that first Christmas where she is old enough to believe and she sees how magical it is to come down the stairs that Christmas morning.  It is going to be so great.  So I am very excited that this is our last Christmas before Susan makes her arrival.  I cannot wait for all the new activities we get to do once she gets here. 
Not quite as good looking as one of ours, but you can se the general idea!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Husband: You don't want to see me in a leotard.

It's occurred to me that I know absolutely NOTHING about raising a little girl. If we were having a boy, I’d be set. Give him a ball, an action figure or a bucket of dirt, and he’s good to go for hours.

You are not helping the stereotype, Pigpen.

Girls, on the other hand, are a bit out of my realm of familiarity.

I have a younger brother, Zack, who was into all the same things I was – Ninja Turtles, bugs and getting dirty for no good reason. I had two boy cousins, Ryan and Mason, who were born when I was around 12 years old. Zack and I were just big toys for them. My experience with them wasn’t much different than when I was a kid.

I DO have a girl cousin, Lindsey, who was born at the same time as Ryan and Mason, but she was always forced into participating in whatever me, Zack, Mason and Ryan were doing. There was a whole lot of wrestling, football and video games, but sadly for Lindsey, no tea parties.

Now that I'm older and "more mature", I'm aware that little Susan is probably not going to be very interested in helping me and Optimus Prime defeat the Decepticons...or taking Nerf darts off of her forehead...or getting in a marathon session of Madden on Saturday afternoon. And turning down her tea party invitation so I can watch the Panthers on Sunday would put me squarely in the “Terrible Father” category. 

Pink mean its a girl toy, Susan, I promise.

I’m going to have to experience a completely new childhood once Susan gets here. I’m starting from scratch. All of the boy knowledge I gained as a kid is irrelevant.

Join your tea party? Maybe…is burping allowed? Should I bring a koozie?

Play with your Barbie dolls? What do you mean she doesn't come with jungle camo and assault rifle accessory?

Help you practice your ballet lessons? You don’t want to see me in a leotard, I promise.

Basically, I'm working from scratch here. Instead of trying to take down Skeletor alongside He-Man, I’m going to be asking Barbie to the prom. No more explosions, high speed car chases or gunfire…instead I’ll have to learn about words like “smock” and “doily” and “pliĆ©.” May the good Lord help me.

And what do little girls even wear? I don’t even know the difference between a shirt and a blouse…and apparently there’s a big one. When I was a kid, I had a Pee Wee Herman sweatshirt that I loved. It was badass. Kids and teachers alike would high five me in the hallway when I wore it. Is Pee Wee still cool? Can Susan wear that on her first day of kindergarten? 

We couldn't figure out why nobody came to Susan's birthday party.

I’m sure I’m exaggerating a bit as to what little girls are like, but that’s my point. I don’t really know. Hopefully she’ll like to watch baseball with me, shoot some hoops or play with the remote control car that I’m going to insist on getting her for her 8th birthday. Those things, I know I can handle. It’s everything else that I’m worried about.

What I really need is someone in my life who’s had experience being a little girl…who knows what little girls should wear out in public…who can remind me that I sure as hell better not dress that Barbie doll in white after Labor Day. OH WAIT. My wife probably knows those things. I can honestly say that I would be 150% unprepared for Susan if not for my wife. She has already started a wardrobe for her that is currently devoid of Pee Wee Herman merchandise.

When it comes Tea Party Time, I won’t be flying solo. It’s daunting enough having a kid, but even more for me personally because I don’t really know how to connect with a little girl. So since it’s Thanksgiving, I want to say that I’m thankful for my wife who is making sure that Susan is going to have the best – and most appropriate – clothing, bedding and toys. We have girly bedding, nursery decorations and clothes. It’s not even all pink either. I should also say that I’m thankful that I have in-laws, aunts and uncles and a ton of friends who have raised little girls and are still alive so I can ask them questions. Even further, I’m thankful that my parents, grandparents and my entire family will be there to help out and calm me down when Susan has a rash, a cough or a boyfriend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wife: Baby Thumps

So it is my fault that we haven’t blogged in a while.  We have just been really busy lately, but we have agreed to turn over a new blogging leaf.  We started this so we could share this fun time with everyone, and I have definitely dropped the ball.  But from here on out, I vow to do better.

So last time, Chris revealed how we “cheated” to find out if we were having Susan or Charlie.  For those of you who know me at all, you know that I don’t do well with 1) surprises; 2) change; and 3) patience.  Everyone thinks it’s funny that I don’t handle change well – considering what is about to happen in our lives in about 4 months – but it’s true.  Since I got together with my better half, I have learned how to go with the flow much better.  So I feel better equipped to handle our little bundle when she gets here mostly because Chris will be here too!

Susan Louise Cook at 17 weeks!
 Anyway, so we cheated to find out that we were having Susan.  I use the pronoun “we” loosely, because I called Chris on a Friday afternoon and said that Prenatal Peek could see us the following Monday morning and talked him into it.  I really just could not stand to wait any longer.  And let’s face it, he was ready to know, so it’s not like I dragged him kicking and screaming.  He was pretty excited too.  So the ultrasound revealed that our little bundle did in fact have lady parts.  The day of that ultrasound, she was completely upside down, as though she was standing on her head.  It was amazing.  We also confirmed her lady parts a week later at the doctor's office.

Very impressed with her flexibility.  She did not get that from me!
 That was 3 weeks ago.  She has grown a lot in these last three weeks.  Or really, we have grown a lot.  I can no longer see my feet when I stand up straight and look down.  I have to bend at the hip to get a good look at them.  Also, bending down has become a little more difficult and kind of uncomfortable.  Try securing a basketball to your belly and do a little bending down.  It is kind of like that only my bump doesn’t move at all. 

Very early 3D shot.  That is her arm covering her face - she is telling us that she is tired of taking pictures.  Diva!
 As far as my weight gain goes, I have no idea how much weight I have gained.  Weight gain was my biggest fear with pregnancy.  That may sound horrible, but it is the truth.  I have always been conscious of my weight, so the thought of packing on the pounds made me super scared.  The first 8 weeks, when the hormones were getting going and it was still August, I got really bloated and swollen.  I also OBSESSED about my weight and what I was eating.  Finally, my mom and husband told me to chill out.  My mom suggested that I ask the doctor not to tell me my weight unless it became a health concern.  So I did.  When I go for my appointments, I weigh backwards and the nurse writes down my weight but doesn’t tell me what it is.  (They were not that surprised with my request, apparently a lot of pregnant women don’t want to know how much they weigh.)  I feel like my weight gain is on track, but I have no idea.  And not knowing has let me enjoy the pregnancy so much!

Susan has grown so much that yesterday, for the first time, I could feel her move when I put my hand on my belly.  It was absolutely the neatest thing ever.  I first thought I felt it when I was driving to work.  Before when I felt her, the movements felt like flutters or butterflies.  But yesterday, it felt like a thumping.  So I put my hand on my belly and felt just the slightest vibration.  Since I was in the car, I wasn’t sure that it was here that I was feeling.  But apparently, Susan was just getting started.  She was very active.  I definitely felt her later on, and one time, she moved so big that she moved my finger.  Now I just need her to wiggle some when I get home so her dad can feel her too!

Waving goodbye!
 I probably won’t post again until after Thanksgiving.  So I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with friends and family.  We are flying to Mississippi for a quick visit with my extended family.  And we definitely have a lot to be thankful for.  I am thankful for Chris, Susan, my family, Oscar, my friends, our Sunday School students, our church and for my job.  We are truly blessed.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!