All present and accounted for

Today was the “official” ultrasound; the one where we find out how the baby’s coming along and whether all the organs are there (rather than the one where we see the baby’s face and the only organs checked are the ones that tell us what color to paint the nursery). We’re happy to say all baby’s organs are doing just fine and dandy!

The ultrasound tech slipped and reaffirmed that he’s a boy, so the pink trim on the crib is definitely on its way out.

Our little guy didn’t like the ultrasound so much. Ordinarily he does a few little kicks and rolls and then goes about his (very quiet) business, but all that poking and prodding must have gotten him really riled up. The Bump thumped and squirmed and wiggled the whole time the transducer was on my belly, and for a good while afterward. He was so excited, in fact, that the technician had a hard time measuring things because everytime she poked, he darted away.

He did stay still long enough to discover that he’s measuring two days behind, just as he was at 10 weeks. So perhaps we will have a January baby yet! It’s easy to say this now, because I’m not humongously pregnant and uncomfortable, but I hope he comes later rather than sooner so that Christmas doesn’t overshadow his birthday so much. (And, a bit selfishly, so that Chris and I are not breathing through contractions on our anniversary!)

We found out last week that there is a third mom in Maddi’s playgroup who is expecting a baby. The first baby is due in mid-November, our boy is due Jan. 1, and the latest addition is due at the end of February. With two babies his age (that we know of!) and almost a dozen Maddi’s age, it will be like two playgroups in one. That makes me happy, because it will be really difficult to go to BabyTalk classes (where Maddi’s playgroup was formed) with a toddler in tow, but I don’t want our little boy to miss out just because he’s not an “only.”

This week, it started to really sink in that we are definitely more than halfway done with the pregnancy (after all, as much as I’d likethe bun to bake thoroughly, 44 weeks of pregnancy is a bit much!!) and I am now beginning to think about getting ready to bring a baby home.

We don’t need much, since we’ve just been through this, but we’re definitely going to need a double stroller, a bassinette, and some boy clothes. I’m also not too sure about the purple Bumbo, although there’s nothing in the rule book that says purple is only for girls. Luckily the pink carseat craze had not begun when we bought Maddi’s old infant seat, so our little boy will be riding in style in silver and black. It doesn’t get more masculine than that!

And here they are — the Week 22 belly shots!

Our bouncing baby boy

For awhile, we thought this baby was the calm and contented type, but for the last several days, he’s been bouncing up a storm. So now the question is: Is he going to be as active as Maddi? Or is this just a passing phase?

Up until recently, it was no contest. Maddi was in constant motion, while The Bump, as we’re calling him for now, might poke me gently two or three times a day, as if to remind me that he was still there and not to overdo it with the caffeine. But now, he’s thumping around in there a good five to seven times a day — sometimes even more. Granted, I am not experiencing the brutal bladder kicks that his ninjalike sister practiced every time my the offending organ filled more than halfway, nor the nightly “Riverdance” performance the fetal Maddi rehearsed without fail at 2 a.m. Little guy, if you could just keep doing what you’re doing and not “amp it up” any more than you have, I would much appreciate it!

It’s not that we won’t love him as much if he’s constantly on the go like Maddi. It’s just that with two under 2, it might be nice — instead of the search-and-destroy routine we’ve become accustomed to in the eight months since Maddi began crawling — if one of those two actually took proper naps (i.e. longer than 45 minutes) and played with his toys and had absolutely no inclination to tackle and depilate the cat. Just one is all I ask!

Of course, if the little one does turn out to be another CrazyBaby (TM), his daddy and I have no one but ourselves to blame. From what we are told, neither of us slept more than five hours a night, neither of us napped, and both of our parents have many a tale of the mischievous ways in which we took years off their life expectancies. We’re just saying … if he wants to be a calm, sleepy little laid-back guy, we’re certainly not going to stop him!

And here they are: the long awaited Week 21 preggie pics!

Mad Mad Maddux

Although she’s finally settled into the new house, Maddi has a whole new set of issues. Toddler issues. Now that she has discovered how to walk and run, Maddi is all about setting her own agenda. And when bothersome adults try to interfere with that agenda, they are rewarded, Zsa-Zsa style, with slapping and screaming.

Yes, Maddi has hit the terrible twos early, it would seem. Simple mealtime slights such as giving her the food she pointed at (rather than the one she meant to point at) result in sippy-cup hurling and a very rapid and angry tray-clearing ritual that results in the total destruction of our dining area in five seconds flat. Heaven forbid that we should exit the car to run a quick errand and then re-enter the car too early for our princess’ liking. Or that we should not take her outside to play ball at 3 a.m. If such offenses occur, Maddi will make her feelings known by slapping our chest, flinging herself backward and wailing. If she happens to be on the floor, the display is of even more melodramatic proportions.

So far, her tantrums last approximately 20 seconds if she’s fed and well-rested, but if we don’t nip it in the bud, it could turn ugly. After all, this is a child who is capable of keeping herself awake from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. sans nap when she’s so inclined.

In other news, I can occasionally get her still long enough to put really poorly constructed ponytails in her hair.

It’s a …

Some people can go without finding out their child’s gender until the doctor holds it up. Not us! (Especially since our crib currently has pink trim.)

When I was pregnant with Maddi, Chris and I had to travel to California to get a 3-D ultrasound and find out the gender. This time, luckily for us, the same services were available a mere three hours away in Langley. So yesterday, we loaded Maddi and half her toys and food into the Highlander and hit the road.

Now, for a bit of background, I was convinced from the very start with this pregnancy that we were having a boy. But Chris and everyone else insisted it was another girl. In fact, by the time the appointment rolled around, I was mentally prepared to hear that we were having a girl (after all, I was convinced Maddi was male, too!).

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. The ultrasound technician brought up the baby’s nether regions on the screen right away, and it was obvious to all.

We are having a bouncing baby boy! And since everyone else was so adamant that he was a girl, even though I’d never thought of this baby as anything but a boy, I was still a little shocked. Funnily enough, Chris told me afterward that he’s thought all along it was a little boy, too, but told me it was going to be a girl just because someone needed to be pulling for Team Pink!

Now that the news has had a day to sink in, I’m finally beginning to imagine three kids — an imaginative grade-school girl, a spirited little girl and a slightly-younger, laid-back little guy. What kind of relationship will they have? What mischief will they get into? It’s exciting to finally have a picture of what our little family will look like in a year or two.

It was difficult to make out the features on our little boy’s face, partly because I think the tech wasn’t very experienced and partly because he is so young and has so little fat and muscle. If I had to guess which parent he looks like, I couldn’t. (Unlike Maddi, who looked just like her dad in both the regular and 3-D ultrasounds.)

However, he’s definitely a laid-back baby. Even after a Frappucino with an extra shot of caramel, his period of activity waned quickly over the course of the session. Our little boy has about three active periods a day — four on a “busy” day — and they don’t last more than 30 minutes. Unlike Maddi, who practiced Tae-Bo religiously in utero, our little boy is content to merely conduct various rolls and repositioning maneuvers, as if he is trying to get comfortable rather than burst out a la “Alien.”

So now, we have about 19 weeks to get ready to welcome our little boy into our family. Cover the pink parts of the crib, find non-pink clothing and bedding, and pick out a nice boy name or two. Even though I’ve known it was a boy for several months, it’s weirdly final to know the baby’s gender. But that’s why I like finding out early instead of in the delivery room!

And here they are, the shots you have all been waiting for:

Baby belly

Well, no doubt about it, I’m definitely starting to look and feel pregnant. I threw my back out last week and had to go to the chiropractor a few times, and, beginning with our chiropractor’s receptionist, I’ve finally been asked by a few strangers when I’m due.

In order to get Maddi used to the idea of a sibling, I’ve told her there’s a baby in Mommy’s tummy and when asked where the baby is, instead of pointing to herself, she points at my growing belly and laughs. I’m not sure whether she thinks I ate a baby or the belly is the baby, but apparently the concept (whatever it is!) amuses her.

The baby is getting more active, although it’s hard to use that word because Maddi’s activity level was so much higher. Basically, we have a very considerate fetus who lets me know he or she is there approximately three times a day (not more, not less!), but in a helpful rather than painful way. Knock on wood.

I’ve been going to the gym and so far this pregnancy has been much more comfortable in many ways than the last. I hope this is a sign of things to come and our new baby will be easy as well!

Nevertheless, there are days when I am tired and my back is sore and I just can’t wait to finally have the baby out and be comfortable again! Of course, the little one will need to stay in there for at least another 17 weeks and hopefully a bit more.

And with that said, here are the 19-week belly shots, in which I am finally beginning to look a bit pregnant (but, funnily enough, still with killer obliques for a pregnant lady since I am still doing ab work at the gym!):

Moving on

Sometimes I wonder what Maddi must think of our new house. Chris and I arranged the move so that Maddi would have her crib and her favorite toys set up on her very first night here. Her routine has been kept exactly the same (only, since we now have a fabulous backyard, with more outdoor play). But still, she knows that it’s not the same room she’s slept in for the past 15 months. She keeps a happy smile on her face, but there are cracks in the facade.

The first few nights and for the majority of her naps, she’s wailed for several minutes after being tucked in in her new room. For the first week, she resorted to her old hobby of finger painting the crib after waking up from sleep or a nap. This happened four times in two days, actually. She knows she’s not supposed to do it, and she had stopped for a few weeks before the move (as opposed to the olden times when it once occurred daily for a month running), but it seems the stress of dealing with a new house and unfamiliar bedroom made it impossible for her to control the urge to remove every single, solitary clump from her diaper after her post-nap poo.

She’s also stopped handing me all those random pieces of lint and dirt she finds on the floor. For several months, she’s been so accustomed to the words, “Give it to Mommy” that she would automatically give me anything smaller than a golf ball that she happened to pick off the floor. Even if it happened to be a Cheerio, which of course are perfectly acceptable for her to have. But in the past week, she’s not only not volunteered her finds, she’s run in the opposite direction with them.

But the thing that really made me cry (yes, I literally cried!) was when we were cleaning out the old house after everything had been moved. Maddi and I went in to get one last look at her room, which had been empty for about a week. But she recognized it nonetheless. As we walked underneath her light, she reached up to touch the ceiling fixture “goodnight” as she has done every night before bed for half her little life — something she doesn’t do in any other room. Our little girl was saying goodbye forever to her first bedroom. After she saw her old room for the last time, the poop-painting ended as quickly as it had resurfaced.

Of course, it’s not all tears and sadness. Our old backyard was difficult to access, abutted a mountainside, measured about 100 square feet and was full of weeds, rocks and pine needles. The backyard at our new place is right off the family area and is maintained weekly by someone other than me. There’s lots of room for our little one to run around, and she can do so barefoot because the turf is the softest and smoothest and most weed-free grass imaginable. There’s not a pine needle to be found, and all the rocks are neatly contained in the many not-maintained-by-yours-truly flowerbeds. In short, it’s baby heaven!

Maddi spends a sizable portion of each day playing with an assortment of rubber balls on our lush lawn. When she’s tired of bouncing balls, she has a half-dozen varieties of flora at her disposal to pick and bestow on family members — or, as is her recent wont, to shake until the petals fly off. And if that gets boring, there’s a chain-link fence that makes a satisfying clanging noise when smacked, and a golden retriever next door at which Maddi enjoys panting.

Indoors, since the new house is all on one floor, she is no longer segregated from the kitty habitat, which means Maddi can chase and pet Deva to her heart’s content. In fact, her play yard is situated about a foot from the kittie feeding and litter box pen, and yesterday I caught her standing precariously atop the seat of her little ride-on toy, hanging over the side of her play yard to tease the cat, who was sitting atop her litter box and eying the wee one suspiciously.

Of course she is still moody, so who’s to know whether she likes the new house or misses her old one (or both)? She’s got plenty of words, but none that can express feelings of homesickness or loss. The most eloquent way she’s expressed her feelings so far has been by touching her old light goodbye.

On the word front, nothing new lately. She’s still working on “butterfly.” However, she hasn’t been a lazy girl; Maddi’s really got the hang of this walking thing now. She almost never crawls, and if she’s anxious enough to get to something, she breaks into what could almost be called a run, but which I will simply for now call the “power toddle.” Walking on the grass has really steadied her gait on land, and she’s pretty much unstoppable at this point.

Coming soon: Pics of our 15-month-old playing ball in the backyard.