Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tweet, tweet

We are now officially twitterfied.

I am of two minds on this twitter thing (how's that for an Irish-ism?!). On the one hand, I think it is freaking CRAZY that people are so interested in the minutia of other people's lives that they would follow anyone on twitter. Its like status updates on Facebook. "I'm going to bed now", "I'm waking up now", "I just sneezed". Who cares?!!

I do. That's who. (and don't think that admitting that doesn't come with a large dollop of inner turmoil and spiritual/emotional unease.) But I eat that shit up. I read People magazine, I watch E! News and I log on to Facebook at least once a day to see just who is "Getting ready for work", "Dicking off at work", "Getting caught on Facebook at work"... If you installed a webcam at your desk, I would probably sit here and watch you stare at your computer screen. Maybe not all day, but well, most of it.

Anyway, our twitter, or "tweets" if you will sing-o the lingo, will be for the express purpose of announcing the lead up and arrival of Baby Walsh. All the other dumb crap that happens in our lives I will reserve for full paragraphs of text in my blog.

I've replaced the Google Ads section with Twitter. Crazy! Right? I know, with all the mad money I was making from those stupid ads and everything! But, sacrifice I will. The good lord knows that's what a mother does (big sigh). So, you can just look there to see what's what or you can click on that "follow me on twitter" and after creating a twitter account of your own (easy, free and without obligation) you can configure things so that you will get a text message whenever Manus tweets about the baby.**

I don't think you will be inundated with texts from him either as he will reserve updating for the big events like:

Malinda's water just broke.
We are headed to the hospital.
Malinda's head just spun around like Linda Blair's.
The baby is here.
She says it's not mine.

If you want stuff like "Holy shit, I just stepped on the scale and it said 167.2 lbs so I chucked it out the window" you will have to continue to check in here every now and again. But ps, that whole thing about the 167 pounds... I just totally made that up. It's lies! All lies!

**How to get tweets on your phone
1. Click on the "follow me on twitter"
2. Click on Join Today! (create username and password)
3. You may then be prompted to enter your email and email password to search your email phonebook for contacts that have twitter. If you do this and Manus is a contact, just make sure that he is selected to "follow"
4. If #3 doesn't apply to you, go to your twitter "home" screen and click on "0 following" (on right hand side). Then choose to "add or invite more". then click "Find on twitter" and enter "brenock".
5. Once you are a follower of brenock, go to "settings" then "devices" and enter your mobile number and click to receive texts. (This apparently doesn't for Irish mobiles, but does work for the US and England).
6. Tell me if any of the above actually works. I can't get twitter to even find brenock and it won't send to my phone, so who the hell am I to be giving out directions?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting Ready for Baby

As we approach the 36 week mark, we are in full-gear Getting Ready For Baby! Well, not quite. Unless you count my inability to sleep longer than 1.5 hours practice for the early days' feeding schedule. Really, I don't need or want the practice. But my sore hips, full bladder and a pleasant, new edition head cold say otherwise.

I haven't packed a hospital bag. I haven't washed, ironed and sorted by size and color and style the baby clothes. I haven't sterilized the bottles and pacifiers. I haven't practiced my breathing. I have had daily anxiety attacks and a couple of complete meltdowns a la pre-post-partum depression. And I have just spent the last 3 hours cleaning the first floor of any and all reminders that we ever had two cats. Hallelujah those two furballs are gone. Off to the farm. Out of my house. I vowed as a child never to be as mean and heartless as my parents were about the "no pets in the house" rule. Alas, another promise to myself I will have to break. Until our live-in maid comes, no more 4 legged creatures shall grace my doorstep.

My first chore after doing the Dance of Joy as I watched Manus drive away with Black One and Brown One was to wipe up 3 hairball vomits and 2 plops of diarrhea from the tile. Then I attacked the spot on the chair that someone used as a urinal.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am soon to be responsible for 3/4ths of the ass wiping and episodes of fecal incontinence that will go on in this house and I think that is enough. In fairness, Manus had been on litter box patrol these last few weeks as I held strong to that whole "toxoplasmosis ploy" but I risked health and well-being today to ensure a thorough clean.

I went through two vacuum filters on my mission to rid the house of cat hair. There was more black pussy hair on the living room chairs than in the dumpster behind a Brazilian waxing studio the Wednesday morning after a Twofer Tuesday special.

Eww! How crass was that? Cleaning is a dirty, dirty job and it brings out the worst in me. It's a good thing I don't do it very often.

But I will say this, I was busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. (That's just one of my favorites and I wanted to add it in..)

The cats did teach us a valuable lesson - we must keep Katie away from baby. Watching her carry around the cats in a vice-grip headlock made me fear for the safety of my unborn. It may have been the day I saw her immobilizing kitty with a knee to the neck that I had my first panic attack. Having watched too many Criminal Minds, I know that serial killers often begin life as animal tormentors. We are watching Katie closely for any other antisocial tendencies.

My mom sent over a "I'm a Big Sister" book that we read every day, stressing the parts about how we have to be gentle with the baby and can only hold baby on our lap in a chair with adult supervision. In fairness, Katie is very excited. She knows that baby Michael is in mommy's belly and she is looking forward to helping change nappies and being a "great big sister". She gives my belly kisses and doesn't let us forget to "god bless baby Michael" during our nighttime prayers. Man I love that girl and she is going to FLIP OUT... I just know it.

Second child syndrome is so severe that I'm not even interested in shopping for baby boy clothes. But, thanks to the International Aid package from "Mothers for the Reduction Of Clothes-less Kids" (aka MOMS.R.O.C.K.), Baby is well on the way to a full closet. He already has Gator gear and his daddy got him Kilkenny Cats PJs. Nana slipped me another 50 quid to get some onesies (called "vests" here) and other newborn accoutremon as I see fit. Taking inventory of what we have already really is on my list of things to do this week. And packing that hospital bag... Have a doctor's appt tomorrow. Must get from them list of necessary items. Things are different here (and a blog post to that end is in the works) and the hospital doesn't supply you with stuff like diapers and wipes here like they do in the states. My MIL was talking about how she had to bring her own egg in for breakfast. I must confirm that's no longer true.

I have been feverishly searching the net for the best double stroller options and have decided that Phil & Teds is the way to go. Broke the news to my parents that they were the lucky ones to provide us with such a gift and its hefty price tag. Of course, I want the latest and greatest Vibe model, but am starting to consider accepting the cheaper Sport version. If anyone has any thoughts on double strollers, I welcome advice and comments.

My mom got her plane tickets for her trip over to help with the baby. She will be here Sept 8th-19th. Problem is, baby could be here AUGUST 8th... No scheduled C-section is such an inconvenience! What was I thinking? Even worse, Manus is booking his flight for a week-long series of Miami business meetings. He will leave on Friday.

Provided Manus is IN TOWN for the birth of our child, he is planning, ever the technophile, to Twitter the birth information. That's right... If you want to be a part of every grunt, groan and four-letter word of labor and delivery... then this is for you! I have to look up the particulars and will blog soon on how to sign up to "follow me on twitter.."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A collection of thoughts and updates with no apparent underlying connection nor snappy title.

Last Monday my cousin Sarah had her second daughter, Geonna Jenah. My sister-in-law's sister-in-law had herself a little girl yesterday. Don't know the name, but I know she was 8lbs something, which is toooo big to think about, vaginally speaking. But this makes me next in line. All the other preggos I knew due before me have popped. Please note the undeniable excitement in my voice. wow. gee whiz. yikes. no. no! not ready. My friend Debbie (and fellow blogger - see list) is due on MY due date. She has a little girl and they are expecting a boy this time. Just like us. I offered a friendly wager as to who goes into labor first, but I'm seriously hoping I lose.

Sarah and Geonna (any Pittsburgh Penguin fans around?)

I'd also mentioned in a prior blog about some friends' ill parents. Our friend's mother died this past Saturday and we were up again in Belfast for the second funeral in 5 weeks. Irish funerals are very different to any I've been to in America. Northern Irish; even different-er. The deceased is waked in the house for two days/nights. This means the person dies, they are whisked off to get their hair, face and nails done (and I guess they are embalmed as well)... then brought back to their house that same day. They will be laid out either in their coffin or in a bed(!) in the living room. Then friends and family come over to visit and drink tea and eat butter and ham sandwiches. Someone stays with the guest of honor the whole time, shifts at night. The room in which they are placed is lined with chairs and apparently, that is the room to be in (though I imagine, preferably, as one of the upright inhabitants). The morning of the funeral, many gather at the house and the coffin is carried out of the house and down the street, pallbearers being switched out at assigned intervals. At some point it is then transferred to the hearse and the mourners then walk behind the car as it makes its way to the church. As the procession made its way down the main street of Randallstown, shops drew their shades and passersby stopped and stood, genuflecting. It was beautiful and moving. I bawled my eyes out. Though it may have had something to do with my current hormonal upheaval.

Things on the homefront have been fairly uneventful. Poor, poor Manus had to to go today on a free two night cruise on a brand new ship out of Southampton. I was invited, but sadly, too pregnant to fly and/or cruise. Strange how Im not too pregnant to be left at home... all alone... to take care of Katie...all by myself... It is to be an "excellent networking opportunity" as it is a "great honor" to be invited, one "not to be turned down" and made up of executives and company bigwigs. Ahem. Spoke to Manus this afternoon after he'd had his nap in his king sized bed in his corner suite with private balcony and a workout at the gym and he said, quite to his surprise, that many of the attendees appear to be, in actual fact, travel agents. Young, buxom travel agents. If he knows whats good for him he will mind just how he "works" his "net" and all his other tackle too.

So we two girls are on our own here. You know what that means... Yep, the place is an absolute mess already. I feel like a bachelor again! Beds unmade. Dirty dishes stacked in the sink. And the great debate: mac n cheese or popcorn for dinner? Later Katie and I are going to crack open a few brews and fart on the couch without fear of reproach.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A New Do (For the few that grew)

We read a lot of Dr. Seuss here.

Katie had what I am considering her first haircut on Friday. It wasn't the first time she'd sat in the salon's chair and it wasn't the first time scissors had been taking to her head with the express purpose of shortening locks, but this was the first all-over, style changing, make a mound of hair on the floor kind of cut.

I didn't want to do it. We have been working for two years on having enough hair to twirl and curl and band and bow. But it did need it. She always had that just out of bed look about her. Ends were split and frayed and our recent chlorine treatments weren't helping matters.

Now we have healthy ends and almost a bit of a style, but it's too short for me. Manus loves it. Katie couldn't care less. And I didn't keep a curl for her baby book.

Okay, you got me... what baby book? Since this blog is my virtual baby book, here is Katie's virtual first lock of hair. And the keepsake box? Nothing short of an extremely valuable family heirloom. My grandmother gave it to me when she told me that she loved me the best of all the grandchildren.Katie models her new do (and the pictures; we snapped a few for you to view)

Speaking of things that have grown...
It really looks like I am sticking my stomach and butt out, but I'm not. They are just... protruding.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

25.73 Month Checkup

Dear Katie,

It seems like only yesterday I couldn't wait for you to start talking.

In actual fact, yesterday I was silently wishing you would shut up for just a stinking minute! Holy non-stop chatter. Sometime between your second birthday and today you started talking in complete sentences. Not all the time, of course. You don't even use words found in the English language all of the time. I'm pretty sure you are bilingual, just not sure what the other language is. For posterity' sake, I wish to record that your first full sentence was "I want tickle Daddy". Gag me with a spoon, but how adorable is that?

I've started to wonder if language development is some part genetic. There are some weird similarities between you and the me I've heard of in stories from my parents.

The moral here is; Turnabout is fair play. Or in the words of my father; "The cosmos is in balance".

Apparently I used to inundate my mother with, "Hi Mom, do-din?" (meaning Hi Mom, what are you doing?") I would ask it repeatedly and without regard to answers given. You have your own broken record. The kittens, which you have quite aptly named "Brown One" and "Black One", are still at our house. Now whenever you are sitting in your highchair and can't see the cats you ask, "Oh Brown One doon?", "Oh Black One doon?". Over and over and over. And over and over and over.
Here is an excerpt from last night's dinner conversation:

"So dear, how was your da--?"
"Oh Brown One doon?"
"Oh Black One doon?"
"Oh Brown One doon?"
"Oh Black One doon?"
"Oh Brown One doon?"
"Oh Black One doon?"

And this 'oh' thing... It replaces all question words. So, "where is the car?" becomes "Oh the car gone?" And "What is that?" becomes "Oh that is?" I used to do that too. (I think...right mom?)

"I yike dat" versus " I yike dat"
One is in the affirmative and one in the negative. Visual cues are required to distinguish. (My dad will still scrunch up his nose and declare, "I yike dat" from time to time. A throwback to my childhood days). Seems strange to me that you do it too. No, not strange... difficult. How many times a day I have to look at you and say, "wait... you do or you don't like it?" And then you answer me, "yes".

For the last two days you have been going around asking, "Oh zat comes?" I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE ASKING ME. It seems to be a catchall question, appropriate in every situation. Its making me crazy.

But, by far these days, your favorite words are "No" and "Doan wan-tut" as in don't want a nap, don't want school, don't want dinner, don't want...don't want...don't want.

And you lie. All the time. For example, I am sitting here catching a whiff of something specific and distinct after watching you walk over to the corner of the room and grunt a few times and so I ask you, "Katie, did you poo-poo?"

"Nope. Doan wan tut."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Mom Chronicles: Chapter 6

Its been a while since I've had a real what-the-hell-do-I-do-now? parenting moment. And this one, like others before, is about poop. Looking back on the Chronicles, I have panicked and strained (pun intended) over pee, poo, vomit, snot... what is it about bodily functions that baffle me so as a mother? Should I not be more concerned over emotional fortitude and scholastic advancement?

Perhaps. But don't try to elevate me to some higher level. Poo. It's what I do.

Katie and I go to the gym with Manus on Wednesdays and while he works out, we play in the pool. All was going well until she wandered over to the side, stared blindly into space and her mouth took on that all-to-familiar ampersand/apostrophe/question mark shape I've come to know and fear. I actually begged her to stop. Splashed her with water to distract the process. Bribed her with a pony. But that train had already tooted its horn and was heading out of the station.

We'd only been in the pool for about 15 minutes. We had another 30 before Manus would be ready to go. What do I do? My friend Leslie said her daughter ALWAYS poos when she first gets in a pool, like some Pavlovian reaction to water. She is prepared for it with a second swim diaper. Was I? Nope. Was I prepared for the holy war that would ensue when I told Katie that we had to get out of the pool already? Nope. Did I end up making the right decision to protect the water quality in the kiddie pool?


So I'm thinking - well, damage is already done, right? What's one more minute in the pool with a happy kid while I think this through? What are swim diapers for if not for holding in such things? She'd been pretty backed up so this would be a hard one - it won't leak, right? What would Leslie do? What would a responsible parent do? How many friggin kids have crapped in this pool???? Why am I swimming in this sesspool of sewage? When's the last time they tested the water? Can everyone tell my kid has a load in her shorts?

She swam and splashed and undoubtedly trailed a murky brown poop cloud for another 15 minutes. When I actually saw a chunk seep from the TOP of the bathing suit, well...

I scooped up my screaming, flailing child and carried her out of the pool. The other mothers were staring. Did they know? Could they tell? I will swear I didnt know it had happened until just that second.! What kind of mother did they take me for? Dont. you. judge. me!

I locked us both in the handicapped bathroom in the changing 'village' as they call it. Thank god there was a shower with hand-held water spout in the corner of the room. As I peeled down the wet swim diaper, my many errors in judgement over the last half hour revealed themselves: There is no poop so solid that it will not be affected by being submerged in water. There is no way that we didn't just irreversibly contaminate 3000 gallons of pool water. And kids do not completely digest peas.

The community pool where my Grandmother used to live had a sign up that read;
"Welcome to our ool
Notice there's no 'P' in it?
Please keep it that way"

There was also one there that said,
"If you sprinkle when you tinkle,
please be neat and raise the seat."

I just think that if the gym wanted to be a little more clear regarding their expectations, they should have some signage such as;
"Welcome to our L
Notice there's no poo in it?"

Or maybe, for the slow-reactors like me:
"If you toot in your bathing suit,
Get the fuck out of the pool IMMEDIATELY"