Saturday, May 27, 2006

6 weeks (or so) to go

[posted by Nat]
Where to begin? I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a month. And so much has happened. (Perhaps I'll be writing the same thing after Benjamin is born.) Here's a quick rundown, going backwards in time -- that is, starting with today and moving back towards the beginning of the month:
  1. We are well into the third trimester (Week 34 starts today! 6 weeks until Benjamin's due date!!)
  2. We have finally started prenatal classes at our hospital (more on that later.)
  3. I turned in my grades and am more or less finished with my obligations to my college (Still have an incomplete out there and can't get in touch with the student because her email bounces back to me. I also have a few student emails to answer -- people wanting to know how they did on their final papers.)
  4. We moved back to Charlottesville. (The paint job looks wonderful, but there are still boxes everywhere because I need to figure out where things go and what to get rid of -- I don't think that moving back into your old house is that much easier than moving into a new house. Of course, we also reorganized the house -- we no longer have studies upstairs.)
  5. I finished teaching on the last Friday of April and I finished in-house departmental obligations the first week of May (oral exams, a thesis defense).
During all of this, of course, the pregnancy has been progressing. Still having plenty of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which can get pretty unpleasant. And I still don't quite understand how I'll be able to tell the difference between the bad BH contractions and the "real thing". I've been told by one doctor that real contractions would hurt and that I'd feel like my uterus was trying to push the baby out (for me BH contractions feel more like my uterus is giving the baby a tight hug). Both my PA and Cville doctors have told me that real contractions have a rhythm, that they get longer and that the time between them gets shorter. And that a real contraction lasts maybe a minute or a minute and a half, whereas a BH contraction can last much longer (Cville doctor said they can last an hour or two and I know I've had some that have lasted about 10 minutes).

I'm also getting bigger -- as the pictures from last week show. I am not really aware of this when looking down at my belly, though I know that we are still growing right on target (weight gain and fundal height are normal). My mother came to help out with the unpacking and to spend her birthday and Mother's Day with me (fun celebrations for her! cleaning, unpacking, weeding...). I had told her that I didn't think I was very big and she basically laughed at me at the airport. The thing is, Benjamin is all out towards the front, like I have a basketball (or perhaps something bigger now) under my shirt. We don't have full length mirrors out in our house (the one we have is in a closet) so I don't look at "all of me" often. I did have a bit of a shock at Target last week when trying on maternity shorts. Yes, when I look at my profile my belly certainly juts out! And it's true that the muscles that hold up my belly are beginning to feel a little strained.

I also know that Benjamin has grown a lot because he's having a harder time moving. Brian may have thought of Aliens when he felt that first strong kick weeks ago, but now this is a usual occurrence that we can see -- some body part pushed up against the inside of my belly, a little protrusion, as Monsieur Benjamin kicks or rolls around. Kicks and punches are rarely quick little jabs these days and instead a tremor that makes my whole belly shake or change shape. Yesterday I was sitting on the bed reading and noticed my belly was moving side to side as Benjamin rotated in the womb -- it felt like he was crawling up the side of my belly.

(It's Tuesday morning now and I started this post several days ago, so I'm just going to post it now. I'll write about birth classes later!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


[posted by bkmarcus]
The pregnant missus and I have a nightly routine. We sing songs in French and I read (in English) a chapter of a children's book to her belly. I have a list of the books on the sidebar of the baby blog. Right now we're reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The other night, I read the scene where Injun Joe murders the grave-robbing doctor, not knowing that Tom and Huck are hiding out in the graveyard and witness his crime. Nathalie fell asleep and missed my dramatic reading.

I've never read Tom Sawyer before. I was recently remembering the first time I tried.

My father had taken me along on a business trip to Chicago. Don't picture anything involving airplanes or hotel suites. Picture a van and cheap motel rooms. Now picture the man away all day trying to make sales while the boy sits in the motel room and watches Bozo the Clown. (I'm sure Bozo's show didn't last all day, but it's the only thing I can remember specifically from 1970s local Chicago TV.)

After a few days of this, my father, in an attempt to steer me away from zombification, asked me to read a book -- Tom Sawyer -- during the commercials. I did exactly as he requested. When he got back from business, he asked me to tell him about what I had read. I said I didn't really understand much of it, that something or other was going on, and that there was some woman or girl or something, and I didn't understand what she was saying to Tom.

Looking troubled, he asked me to show him what I'd read. I opened the book and pointed to the beginning of the page, and then spent a while figuring out exactly which word I'd gotten up to ... on that same page.

I guess I need to explain that I never read a whole book until I was 14. This story takes place when I was closer to 10, give or take a year.

In 8th grade, I tested at a 6th-grade reading level when everyone else in my class (private school) tested at a 10th-grade level.

Anyway, my dad told me I couldn't watch any TV the next day. Enough Bozo, time for a day of Tom Sawyer. I had to spend the whole day reading the book. So while he was wherever he was, selling whatever to whomever, I left the room to make sure the TV couldn't tempt me.

I went and lay underneath the diving board of the motel's unused swimming pool and did my best. I think I got through the first chapter, possibly more. I eventually enjoyed it, and thought maybe I should try reading on my own when I got back to my regular life ... but I never did. Or rather: I did eventually start reading, but only several years later, and I never did return to Tom Sawyer until now.

Huck Finn, on the other hand, I read and loved my senior year in high school.

I quoted it on my page of the year book:
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it."

I was sick the day yearbook proofs came in, but I phoned my girlfriend and asked her to go in and double-check that "sivilize" was (mis)spelled (in)correctly, which she did.

But then the yearbook editor (who was an all-A student in my English class, and was supposed to have read Huck Finn at the same time I did) incorrected it back to "civilize" -- making me look less illiterate to almost everyone, but more illiterate to anyone who mattered.

She wasn't allowed to change the proofs after they had my official approval, but she thought she was doing me a favor, saving me from embarrassment.

- papa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

33 weeks

[posted by bkmarcus]

19 weeks28 weeks33 weeks

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

sign of the times

[posted by bkmarcus]

Sara Gould, a Signing Smart instructor, visited the blog this morning as a result of "searching for baby and Charlottesville related sites."

She must have visited our "review" of the Baby Signs book (on the right sidebar) because she says,
While Signing Smart is one of those ASL-type programs for babies, your friends have the wrong idea about the 'difficulty' of the signs created. That's one topic covered in the workshop, but basically, any motion you do will seem too complicated, the key is learning to recognize your child's imitations. ASL is useful because it's a resource, you won't make up a sign and then forget what it was you used. Especially problematic once your child has a large vocabulary. You can always pull out the ASL dictionary and remind yourself.
Thanks for the information, Sara. We have close friends who are doing an ASL-based sign language with their 7mo daughter, Squirmantha, and I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

If you do a Signing Smart workshop after Benjamin joins us in the world, we're likely to attend. We might even try for the one you're doing next month.

- papa

Saturday, May 06, 2006

suppressed smile

[posted by bkmarcus]
Someone's been reading Tom Sawyer: