Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pushy Parenting

It took me only a few days of being a Momma to two kids to realize that although Abigail gave me tons of parenting experience, she didn't give me any experience parenting Anna. Being a parent before doesn't mean you know what you are doing with each new child that comes into your life, wether they are biological or adopted children. My girls are so very different from each other and I sometimes feel like I have split personalities... Momma to Abigail and Momma to Anna.

Potty training has been one of those issues. I think I wrote before that Abigail basically potty trained herself before she was even 2 years old. She loved big girl panties, hated the feeling of poop or pee on her body, and thought it was the coolest thing ever to go potty on the big potty just like Momma!

Anna... well, not so much. While we have been successful with daytime potty training, she would almost always take advantage of her overnight pull-up. I mean, she could wake up dry, but if you left the pull-up on her, she would do her business. Even if she pooped, she was in no rush to have you change her or clean her up. But she still could hold it overnight... she just didn't.

So, I decided that she needed to be pushed just a little. I find with Anna that she will be the "baby" as long as you let her... she will whine and not use words and drink out of a sippy cup and poop in a pull-up- even though she is capable of not whining, using words, drinking out of an open cup and pooping on the potty. She needed a nudge with each of those things, until we established that the new "norm" was her big girl behavior, not her baby behavior. Abigail was in a rush to be a big girl, always asking and trying to exhibit big girl behaviors before I thought she could/would. Anna is the opposite. So, we gave her a little push.

Last night she wore big girl panties to bed. We woke her up twice to go potty before we turned in, and at 7am this morning, I heard her climbing down the bunkbed set and going to use the potty. She was clean and dry. I was excited:) She acted like it was no big deal- and really, it probably wasn't, because she had been capable of staying clean and dry overnight for a few months now. We just didn't make her do it until now.

With the new baby coming, I am torn. I don't want to push Anna too much, but she also is so much more capable than she wants us to think she is. I don't want her to feel like this baby is making her grow up, but at the same time, I don't want her to miss out on the fun experiences her peers are having simply because she wants to be babied. I think she will really like being a big sister, but only if she decided it's okay not to be the baby anymore. How do I help her achieve that?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bump Check- 18 Weeks

My sister says the bump looks smaller than last week, and I kind of agree. But the Nugget is actually measuring a bit larger than we expected... at our 17w5d visit, Nugget was measuring about a whole week larger. And my belly numbers are measuring exactly as they should. I think it's just that the bump keeps getting longer instead of sticky-outer-er. Does that make sense?

My cousin remarked that this is not really a baby bump so much as it is chips and pizza. John now wants to call the baby "chips and pizza." Um... no.

Did I mention that the baby thinks my bladder is a trampoline? I know you are jealous.

In other news, I am getting tired of showing you my shower curtain every week. Maybe I should put some subliminal messages up on Cinderella's skirt to see who picks up on it?

Things that go bump in the night.

Anna starts whining in that tone that is somewhere between crying and freaking out. I assume it is because she has seen a bug of some sort and is on the verge of loosing it, because her fear of bugs is about the only fear she has, and therefore contains all the energy of fear that most of us spread out over a myriad of fears.

"Anna, what's wrong?" She already has tears streaming down her face, and she has a hunched over look to her shoulders, as if she is trying to implode. She turns and looks at me, but is unable to name her fear. She points her still toddler-chubby finger at the wall.

"Is there a bug?" She looks suddenly, to make sure she hasn't missed seeing her nemesis, then turns back and shakes her head no, bringing her hands together in front of her and rocking her weight from foot to foot. I don't know if I have ever seen her this frightened.

"What is it? What should I do?" I stare deep into her wide brown eyes framed by black lashes that are clumping with the weight of her tears. She shakes her head again, as if her fears are too frightening to say out loud. I reach down and grasp her dimpled hand.

"Dat... monsters." Her voice is whispered, barely audible, so as not to draw the attention of the scary beasts to her small self. So quiet, in fact, that I don't think I heard what I did.


"In da laun-ree basement." She nods her head emphatically, daring me to deny their existence. But her tears have stopped and she seems to be calming, he breath uneven but no longer with the high-pitched squeal of fear behind it.

"Honey, that's Daddy. He's in the basement getting the laundry to that I can fold it. He'll be right up, and you can ask him if that was the noise you heard." She shakes her head again, and the tears come back. Her mouth is contorted into the exact opposite of her widest smile, and her eyebrows shoot towards her hairline. Her fingers grip my hand more tightly, and she begins to shift her weight back and forth. She is unconvinced, and I have just told her that Daddy is down there... with the monsters.

"Anna, there's not any monsters." No change from her distressed little body. "Daddy wouldn't let there be any monsters. Just like he gets rid of the buggies, he would get rid of the monsters, too! He would squish them!" Her eyes squint a bit at the sides, and she clearly thinks I am nuts.

"Anna, have you ever seen a monster?" She nods her head slowly, releasing her grip on my hand.

"What did it look like?" She stares at me a moment more, deciding if she should trust me with her secret. Then she licks her lips, nods her head for emphasis, and whispers to me.

"Like Daddy."

*I tried not to, but I did burst out laughing. I don't think Anna understood what was so funny, but she started laughing, too. And then all was well, especially after Daddy arrived with a basket of laundry.

The Myth of the Greedy Doctor

If there is one thing that marrying a doctor has taught me, it's this: it's not all it's cracked up to be. But if there is one thing that marrying a doctor has made me really frustrated about, it's this: the myth of the greedy doctor.

I won't pretend that there aren't doctors out there who are greedy. There are doctors, some of them convicted of crimes or stripped of their medical license, who absolutely used their position for greedy purposes. They did prescribe one drug over another because they got some sort of free vacation and they performed expensive but unwarranted procedures to increase their insurance reimbursement. They absolutely exist. But overall, they comprise only a very small portion of the doctors in this country and this world.

And there are also doctors who go into a sub-specialty and make millions. It takes years to get there, but they end up quite wealthy. But again, this is a very small percentage and is basically going to stay that way, because the only way they can really be profitable is by remaining as elusive expert specialists. Also,  there are the plastic surgeons of Hollywood and the like, who make a killing because there is such a large demand and they are dealing with cash-paying clients, rather than insurance reimbursement. But, again, these comprise a small percentage of the doctors out there.

Instead, let me tell you about what it is like for "most" doctors- or at least the doctors who are most in demand. These are the doctors that you think of as "your" doctor. The doctor who, once you find a good one, you rave about and recommend to everyone. These are the doctors that, when your insurance changes and you can no longer see them, you get upset because they know you and you trust them. These are doctors like your internist, or family physician, or OBGYN, or pediatrician. These are the doctors you turn to when things go wrong, because these are the doctors that do the most for you.

Let's imagine you are pediatrician. You have completed 4 years of undergraduate education, at a cost of about $100,000 which you paid for primarily in loans. Maybe you went to a less expensive state school and your undergrad was not as expensive, but you found out that to be accepted into a good medical school, you needed to improve your resume, so you did another 2 years of graduate school. Either way, you probably have some substantial school loans. You are, at the youngest, 22 years old, but maybe older. You now enter 4 years of medical school, at a cost of $40,000-$50,000 per year, leaving you with a total of about $250,000 in school loans when you complete your education. You are 26 years old and have more debt from school than you probably will from your first mortgage. And then you get to fly about the country, spending money you don't have (because no one has time to work during medical school) to interview for residency.

Well, now the fun begins, right? You get a "real job." As real as a paid internship is real... You work at least 80 hours a week, and your salary is about $45,000 year. By the time your taxes and what not are taken out, you are bringing home $10 or less per hour. Thankfully, your student loan payments can be deferred, but you are basically making enough to keep a house you rarely see. You work 24 hour shifts some times, and 10 hour shifts on "good days." You get four days off per month, total. In a 12-month year, you have 28 extra days that you can use for vacation. Holidays mean nothing, and you know that you will be working on the days when your family is getting together to celebrate.

You finally finish residency. You are maybe 29, if all went well, but probably 30 or older. You sit for your boards and start your first independent job. $90,000/year salary is not bad- not as good as some of those investment bankers or corporate lawyers, but firmly in the "upper middle class" range. Sure, the government is taking 28% of your salary, and you are probably contributing 5% or more to your retirement, so you are bringing home only about $60,000/year, but again, that's not bad, and actually is a lot better than many US families. A paycheck of $5,000 a month is nothing to shake a stick at...

Until you have to start paying back the 250K of student loans you have. At a government-regulated 6% interest, your monthly loan payments are about $3,000/month. So now you really have only about $2,000/month for "disposable" income. Your rent, car payment, food, gas, etc is all to be covered by that 2K. But at least you are helping people, right? And, eventually you will be rewarded for all your hard work. One day, you will probably be making long the lines of the "average" pediatrician salary: $135,000. Probably about when you are 45. And then it won't be too long before you have to worry about paying your own children's school expenses.

Of course, doctors outside the world of academia earn more money than those within that world. In exchange, they make sacrifices. Some of them may be more idealistic (if employed outside of academia, it is rare for a physician to be granted "protected" time for research), but some of them more real. A doctor in private practice does not have residents to take overnight calls and to cover patients once they leave the hospital for the day. They get the midnight calls or the calls in the middle of Jimmy's birthday party or Sally's softball game. They work 12 and 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It's no wonder that, back in the day, doctors used to accept the "perks" that were considered part of the job. Free vacations sponsored by drug companies if you were a top prescriber of their drug. Free equipment for their office, fancy dinners, maybe clothes or things for the house, cash prizes or in a few circumstances, cars. But, since all of that is illegal now, it's not happening as much as some people think. At our institution, we are not even allowed to have pens, notepads, or coffee cups that have the name of a drug/vendor company on them. And why on earth would a doctor accept something like a free vacation when it could mean the stripping of his medical license and his earning potential?

Many doctors I know work more than one job. They become a slave to the debt that their education created, and it can take years to climb out from under it- to feel really free, or at least to have that extra $3K each month. They do finally get ahead, eventually, and then they are subjected to the insults of people who have NO IDEA what they went through to get to that point in their lives... they are mocked by people who say they "sold out" or "aren't doing enough to help others" or accuse them of being just plain greedy.

Which is a myth, if ever one I did hear.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Babies and Stuff

I was in Target today to pick up a few items. Happened to stroll past the baby section.

Holy cow, babies these days use so much stuff! I had forgotten that diapers and wipes and onesies and blankets and sleepers took up room... not to mention the bouncers and toys and monitors and whatnot that babies supposedly "need."

I generally take a "less is more" approach to life, and am fairly conservative in the amount of "stuff" I have in my house at any given time. My kids pack up a bag of stuff to donate to charity before they open birthday or Christmas gifts. Besides the items we consume (food, diapers, toilet paper) we don't buy much. I don't keep Abigail's clothes for Anna because it would mean keeping them at least 6-8 years and by then, she probably won't won't to wear them.

So, I think like many children around the globe, this new baby will get the joy of a more "essential" lifestyle. With sisters and cats and the whole of nature and everyone to love him/her, I don't think Baby will be missing much.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Medical Update and a Photo

Good news: more medical tests and doctors appointment continue to reassure us that my shortness of breath and chest pain are not from a major heart/lung problem or blood clots. We don't think the symptoms are causing any harm to me or the baby, and the most concerning symptom (low oxygen levels) seems to have resolved!

Bad news: I continue to have intermittent shortness of breath and chest pain, even with minimal exertion. It's sometimes accompanied by lightheadedness, which could mean a low blood pressure or low oxygen level during the episodes. We still don't know what is causing it.

So, we are following up with the doctor tomorrow to see if my bedrest can end and if I can return to work, etc. Today we had an ultrasound that showed a good cervical length (> 3cm) so that is reassuring, too. Go cervix, go! We also saw the Nugget waving at us on the ultrasound. Aww!

Anna has decided that the baby is a boy. She keeps insisting that it's a boy, and will grow up to be a big girl, just like her. She also approves of the names Ryan, Momma, and Daddy for the baby.

Abigail still likes the names Claire and Walter, although Drexel and Daisy came up today. Hmm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've been enjoying...


Just found him. 2 years ago, I would not have stopped to read beyond the post that led me to him, but 2 years ago, I would not have read the post that led me to him to begin with.

Politics have become an ever-increasing discussion point in our home. Race, class, culture, economics and the stock market (not that I really understand all of that financial stuff, but John dumbs it down for me) are hot topics, too. Maybe not so much gaming and computers, but hey, no one said Cobb is perfect:) He hits our majors and brings another viewpoint to the table that I find I can respect. I like it.

Bump Check- 17 weeks

So, how jealous are you of my princess shower curtain? I thought so.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bumps in the Road

So, we knew going into this pregnancy that there was a higher likelihood of experiencing some difficulties than a normal woman of my age and relative health would have with pregnancy. We consulted with several physicians before attempting to conceive, and came up with plans for how to approach and manage these potential complications.

And so far, everything that we thought would be a problem has turned out okay. Just had a cervix check yesterday, and everything looks healthy and fantastic and my body is keeping the baby way it needs to be.

But, there have been some other bumps in the road:(

I had been having some shortness of breath- not unusual in pregnancy because of the extra blood volume and weight, etc. But on Monday, that shortness of breath was also accompanied by some chest pain. Off we went to the ER, where we also found that my oxygen level was much lower than it should be when I was walking around (but okay when I was resting.)

A slew of tests, doctors appointments, and labs ensued ... and we still have no good answers. We know what it's NOT, but we don't know what it IS. This is frustrating, although knowing that the worst case scenarios have been ruled out is reassuring.

So, as of today, I am officially on bed rest until cleared by more specialists and my OB. Hopefully, these symptoms will turn out to be transient, perhaps related to a virus or something like that which is not immediately apparent but easily resolved. Only time will tell.

In the mean time, I will leave you with a few happier thoughts:

When we told the kids we were having a baby, I gave Anna a lemon to show her how little the baby was. For a week, she carried the lemon around- in pockets, purses, or just in her hand- and referred to it as her baby. Then she kind of forgot about it, as 3 year olds are prone to do. Until the other day at the grocery....

Anna: look Momma, a baby!
Me: that's a lemon, not a baby.
Anna: yeah!


Anna: Momma, I take the baby for the roller.
Me: what?
Anna: for the roller.
Me: the what?
Anna: the roller! Like this! (and proceeds to push her baby stroller into the bathroom.)


Me: Abigail, what should we name the baby if it's a girl?
Abigail: Um, I like the name Anabelle.
Me: Don't you think it would be confusing to have an Anna and an Anabelle?
Abigail: No, because Anabelle is spelled A-N-A and  Anna is spelled A-N-N-A.
Me: I see.


Teta: Abigail, what should we name the baby?
Abigial: Well, I thnk Claire for a girl or Walter for a boy.
Teta: Those are nice names. Anna, what should we call the baby if it's a sister?
Anna: Take a nap.
Teta: And what if it's a boy?
Anna: Eat. And poop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bump Check- 16 weeks

Bump check- 16 weeks. Naked belly + clothed belly.
And a princess shower curtain.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bump Check

Because my sister won't stop harassing me to post a picture of my bump, I am giving you the 2 pictures that exist of said bump. Both taken by yours truly on my iPhone while wearing old PJs in the dimly-lit bathroom at my in-law's house (read: high quality photographs, people.)

Photo One: 14 weeks (taken Saturday, May 1)

I could tell there was something there, and promptly sent it off to my hubby in a text message, since he was half a country away. I think the kids have a name for those provocative text messages...? (that was a joke.)

Photo Two: 15 weeks (taken Saturday, May 8)

I will admit, the noticeable difference in bump size really got me excited. Along with the news I received earlier in the week that I had only gained half a pound in 4 weeks. Although, in scrubs, you still can't tell anything is there. Which is okay, I guess. I'm sure I will be waddling around soon enough.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dear Nugget

Dear Nugget,

I understand that you are living in pretty cramped conditions. It's probably fairly boring in there, and the constant thumping of my heart must be monotonous. I am sure you wish you could see the vibrant spring colors and smell the heavy weight of lilacs in the air. I get it- you need a hobby, because there's not much else for you to do right now.

But please, Nugget, could you consider a hobby other than giving Momma constant heartburn? Honestly, feeling like my esophagus is burning a hole through my throat and an angry wad of fire is about to errupt from my neck and strangle me is surprisingly unpleasent. And when I lay down and that that firepit in my throat ALSO happens to burn in my nose and ears? Yes, also very unpleasent. Not to mention, Momma is quickly running out of Tums.

If you would be so kind as to look for another hobby, I would be happy to provide you with more stimulation, such as the sound of your father snoring- a sound which you might be missing right now, since I can't lay down in bed. Other hobbies that would be appropriate right now include: karate (for the next 10-15 weeks, then we would probably have to look into a new hobby), swallowing your own amniotic fluid, or writing poetry.

Hope you are as comfortable as possible. Hope you know your sisters kiss you every day. Hope you find a new hobby!


What I'm Up To

Gearing up for a baby due to arrive in 5.5 months or less. Cleaning out the basement and guest room, sorting (yet again) through the clothes that Abigail and Anna are outgrowing, studying baby name books.

And, entering this giveaway from MB Sprout.

Being one of those hippie momma's (as John calls me), I do plan to go the drug-free natural childbirth/breastfeeding/delaying vaccination route. And you all get to read about it here (lucky you.) So, I could use a cute nursing cover:)

And being thankful that we have met our deductible for the year, so no matter what kind of crazy stuff the docs need to do to me during the rest of this pregnancy, at least THAT is all paid for:)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Birthmother's Day

I tried to explain to Anna that there was a baby in my tummy, and in a few months, we will be able to hold and kiss and love our baby. She didn't get it. I handed her a lemon to show her how little the baby is now, and I am pretty convinced that she thought the lemon was the baby. She carries her lemon around and kisses it and calls it "my baby."

We were talking last night about the baby in my tummy, and Anna said "in your tummy, just like me." I explained again that Anna didn't grow in my tummy, but that she came to live in our family so that we could love her hand hug her and kiss her. This was the first time I think she really understood the difference between a baby that grows in your tummy and a baby that comes to your family another way.

Then we talked about Anna's first mom, her birth mom. At 3, I really don't know how much she understands, but I hope she understands how much I love, appreciate, and respect this woman who trusted me with such a wonderful child.

Today, the day before Mother's Day, is Birthmother's Day. Today we honor the first mothers, who, through their gift, gave us the blessing of motherhood through adoption.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Oh My

Is it normal for a family of 4.5 to have met their 3K health insurance deductible before May 15?

We're having a baby!

On Monday, we took Abigail to my OB visit to tell her that we are having a baby:)

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