Songs for Children

Our first day in Florida was a pleasant affair, eating snacks by my mother’s pool and pizza for dinner, enjoying the company of family. Maggie in particular was excited to see her grandparents. I don’t really know what we did on the second day, which is a good thing. We over-scheduled ourselves badly in DC and needed time to really unwind. We may have gone to the playground; there was definitely time in the pool and I crashed–HARD–for a nap. At some point over dinner and conversation my mother asked (in a very non-intrusive, pleasant sort of way) if we were considering a second child. I said yes, perhaps looking at the end of 2011.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, an alarm bell went off in my head. “Self,” I pondered. “WHAT DAY IS IT?” Tom and I had lost all track of the dates on the calendar in our weeks of moving insanity.

Which is how 24 hours later I beheld two of the cheapest generic pregnancy test that Wallgreens had to offer, each sporting a jaunty blue “+” sign, and wished I had not washed down raw oysters with $1 mimosas at brunch a week prior.

In reality we’re thrilled to pieces, even though the only thing that can possibly make our trans-oceanic-continental move more stressful would be the addition of a first trimester of pregnancy. You may need to be a woman to become pregnant, but friends, it takes balls of steel to make it through a ten-hour flight with a toddler in the midst of crippling nausea and exhaustion. Try eating a hunk of United Airlines banana loaf without vomiting under normal circumstances. You’d cry too.

I actually can’t decide if this pregnancy is better or worse than with Maggie; I’m not erupting like Vesuvius at the merest provocation like last time, but the constant nausea and exhaustion is draining me in a way that it didn’t before. Tom has been a saint; pulling Super-Dad duty and handling 90% of Maggie’s needs (especially now since preparing Maggie’s morning yogurt is out of the question. I can’t even TYPE yogurt without feeling whoopsy in the belly). Next week I have to find it within myself to power up as Tom resumes his full-time work schedule for the first time in almost six weeks, but I really only have about a month of the first trimester left and all things considered, we’re rocking right along toward our due date of…11-11-11! We do it right around here.

The next part of our UK moving adventure is using a British midwife service (and possibly the NHS midwives as well, if necessary). This is a part of cultural immersion most people don’t get to experience. And sadly, no–this baby will not qualify for dual citizenship as that loophole was closed long ago. I’m not worried about it. Frankly, if either of our children run for President one day, I think the one born in Honolulu will probably have more problems proving citizenship.

One question, though: think we should send a birth announcement to the winery responsible for this baby? Yeah, tacky, you’re right. Too bad we already did it with Maggie and her winery. Thank you VERY much, Napa wine industry, for blessing our family twice. You’ve given us far more than we could ever give you.

Burrito, all meat, no rice

WHAT A MONTH.I would give an explanation for our absence, but we’ve been in the process of moving to England. Surely your blog might take a hit on Ye Olde Prioritie List if you were in the same shoes, said shoes traversing two oceans and a continent. I’m writing this from our temporary flat in Harrogate, which is a rather comfortable two-bedroom multi-level dwelling in a VERY nice neighborhood, a mere ten minutes walk from one of the best playgrounds I’ve ever seen. Inexplicably, “Friends” is on quite a bit so a decade-old sitcom has become the soundrack to our evenings.

What I WILL promise is that I’ll update rather frequently this week with a tale from each leg of our journey, and I’ll start with our last day in Hawaii.

I suggested to Tom that after the enormous stress of getting out of our apartment and getting our stuff shipped to England, he may wish to avail himself of the hotel’s spa and get a massage. He agreed and being the nice guy he is booked me an appointment as well. He scheduled a basic massage for himself and a skin treatment with massage for me, which was one of the most indulgent experiences I’ve ever had. I wish I had realized that the locker room with the steam/sauna/whirlpool was open all day long to spa users; probably for the best that I didn’t lest I take up permanent residence in the locker room. I was led to the private spa elevator, where a few other guests cut in front of me without realizing that was the spa-only elevator. I actually hadn’t noticed they did that, so absorbed was I in the waffle knit of the robe (light waffle knit AND fluffy? How do they DO that?) until my hostess started telling me a story about a guest who spoke to the hostess’s manager because she was so furious that someone had cut in front of her. That actually happens to me a lot. Maybe it’s the wrist tattoo or the perpetually unkempt hair but service professionals love to tell me their stories of the Posh ‘n Bitchy. I like that people see me as a friendly face, sad as I am that I’m not immediately recognizable as someone of the upper crust (which is because I absolutely am not).

Aside from that, I was spoiled rotten every second I was in the spa and ready to renounce my family and American citizenship in order to stay there forever as a resident of Spa-land. The service I booked was a body scrub with an ultra-moisturizing skin treatment and wrap. The tech started with a mixture of spices and lavender for the scrub and moved on to a coconut milk and fragiapani lotion, which was left on the skin for the wrap. I’m pretty sure they do something similar to the pig before the luau.

To get it all to soak in, the tech wrapped me in a Mylar blanket and covered me with a hot towel. Nestling in I thought to myself “This is how burritos feel before they get eaten!” Except burritos, tubes of magic though they are, don’t get massages that are so exquisite that I felt like my head was lifted straight off my spine and put back on correctly. It was like a full spinal transplant.

Alas, Tom’s appointment started fifteen minutes after mine ended, so I rushed out to the lobby to meet him and my mellow was UTTERLY harshed by the enthusiastic and happy howls of the toddler in the stroller. In order to maintain what was left of my mellow I immediately filled her yappy little face with ice cream, which turned out fantastically until I spilled chocolate ice cream down my shirt.

Like I said…upper crust, I am not.

The District

I said something to Tom on Sunday that was so strange, so out of character, that I almost had to repeat it. But after almost a week back in the National Capital Region, it’s still holding true:

I think I could live in DC again.

When we left DC in late 2007, it was under a cloud of extreme stress scented with my first big professional failure. DC is a tough city in which to find your way; we have wonderful friends here and enjoyed a lot about our lives but there are a lot of really intense, driven people in DC. It’s hard to explain why it’s different here than in any other major city, but if you’ve lived here, you know it’s so. It’s not a bad place to live and it’s actually a wonderful place to visit. But for a long time, our personalities just didn’t match up.

Driving around and heading in and out of the city this past week, I felt something odd inside. At first I chalked it up to gas. But then I realized…could this be…fondness? Was I feeling nostalgic for this city? Affectionate, even?! I was. It was strangely disorienting, like falling asleep when the sun is up and waking up to dark skies, but…nice. Familiar. I started thinking “Won’t it be fun to come back when Maggie is a bit older to do X, Y, and Z? Oh! And then we can…”

I like to think I’ve grown up a little. (Not enough to hear the name Boehner without snickering, but that’s neither here nor there.) If nothing else I have a better sense of who I am and what our goals for our family are. DC is still the same, but I think we could get it together. I can stand up for myself; I’ve learned to love my type-B grasshopper tendencies. And with all the free resources, the DC metro area is a pretty damn good place to raise homeschooled kids.

Because of job commitments, our paths will surely cross with DC’s again. The current plan is to stay in the field for a while, then come back to the region when Maggie is about fifteen so we can start considering the college thing. It was something I had dreaded. But now I think it will be okay. It’s a nice way to feel.