My littlest.

At this point in my pregnancy, I find my thoughts turning to Charlotte more and more. She is unbelievably cuddly and affectionate, her favorite hobby is "helping" with anything I'm doing, and she is just incredibly enjoyable right now. Although, I think she could even be in the middle of a really tough stage, and I would be feeling similarly toward her.

Nostalgia is the best way to describe it. These are the last few weeks of her being the baby.

And I am absolutely enjoying every minute of this sweet baby before the next one comes.


Underwater cameras kind of rock.

And, as of today, everyone in my little family can hold their breath on command.  Which is kind of fun.

We went to Austin for the weekend.  Don't tell my OB.  Because she was a little freaked out when I traveled at 35 weeks pregnant.  Two weeks ago.

But we had a lovely time at (Paul's sister) Carolyn's house.  Really, seriously fun time.  Much of it involving the pool.  And the camera.  The rest of it involving yummy food that I didn't have to cook.  Win-win.


And then, all of a sudden, your birthday is over.

Last night I had a three year old, and today she is four. And thrilled by this evidence of aging.

I don't mind aging so much, either. Life just keeps getting better and better. I've been thirty for almost three years now, (December will bring the day that I will finally be telling the truth about being thirty), and so I have no complaints about aging so far.

My only complaint is how fast it is all happening. Maybe it is my fault. Maybe I need to slow down a little. But I honestly have trouble comprehending how I am even a fully grown human, much less the mother of a full-fledged child. (I think we can safely say that Ella is beyond her toddler years. There is no toddle anymore.)

I offer to snuggle Ella every night before bed. She started refusing my offer. I think because I require her o be quiet and still during snuggles, and she likes telling herself stories when she's laying in bed. There was about a month without snuggles. Which was kind of sad. Maybe really sad. So, I told her how I missed our snuggles. And so she has started asking for them again each night. And I stopped enforcing my lay still and quiet rule. I guess we have an understanding.

I must say, it's a relief that she is finally four, because when a girl walks around with a big belly like mine, and people ask how old her children are, andcage tells them three and two, she gets looks like she must be crazy. But Ella was very insistent that we all conveyed her age accurately.

Charlotte on the other hand could care less that she's two. When asked, she offers a blank stare. Or she says she's one. Or, as of today, three. And I quote, "Ella is four now! And I am three!" That child is so smart, I know it is not a comprehension problem. She is just outright refusing to be her own age.

I guess she gets it from her mother.


Paul win.

I love kissing my girls. So much so, that I probably request twenty kisses a day. Usually they oblige, but occasionally they don't want to kiss for whatever reason.

Instead of respecting their personal space, I say in a mock angry voice, "You have to kiss your mother," and I chase them down and kiss them. So, it has become a game for us.

Well, they started telling Paul that he couldn't have a bedtime kiss, I imagine, because they think it's kind of fun to be chased around. But Paul didn't feel comfortable making the girls kiss him, which I actually really resect. So, he started offering a choice, he told them that he needed a kiss or a high five before bed. They could choose which one.

Well, they now choose both, every single night. The kiss and high five must happen simultaneously (according to Ella), so it inevitably results in multiple failed attempts to coordinate the two. And it is darling.

I love that man.


Paul fail.

I got to the store the other day and realized I left Ella's shoes at home.

"What are we going to do?" I asked Ella, considering running back to the house.

"No, Mom, I don't need shoes at the store," Ella informed me, "Dad always just let's me ride in the cart without shoes!"

"Oh, he does!"

The game is up, Paul. Count on a long healthy life of your own children telling all your parenting secrets.


Ella prays.

"Please bless us to be safe from lions, monsters, and cheetahs, and that they won't eat us."

(A few days later, after I explained to her that lions and cheetahs are not really a danger in our country because we keep them in cages.)

"Please bless the lions and cheetahs not to get out of their cages."

"Please bless us that we will get bigger and not turn back into babies."

"Bless everyone I don't know, that I will meet them soon."

"Please bless everyone, the brown kids, the white kids, everyone."
(Where does she come up with this stuff?!)

"Bless us that we will remember to wash our hands after we touch our bottoms."

And my personal favorite:

"Please bless everyone in the whole wide world."

I just love that girl.


Bokums and cheese

Charlotte spends her days talking about anything and everything happening. Her articulation isn't perfect, but it is pretty good most of the time. But somehow, she has picked up the word 'bokum' instead of 'bottom'. We think it is the cutest thing ever. So I only do a half hearted job of correcting her. In fact, every member of our family has been know to use the word bokum. Hopefully we are not sabotaging her future speech. But I think she will pull through.

My favorite speech intonation of Charlotte's is when she talks about anything small, and she calls it "a little, tiny" whatever. In a ridiculously high pitched voice. So funny.

I hate the word booger. I don't use it. And I haven't given either child a vocabulary word to replace it. So Ella used to say "Mom, I have dirt in my nose." I was happy with this arrangement, and would gladly oblige her with a tissue. Charlotte calls it cheese. As in, "Mom, I have cheese in my nose." It sounds a little weird, but it still does the job. And I have made it very clear that we never ever eat the cheese from our noses. Ever.


We weren't trying for a a boy.

I'm just going to send that out into the universe, because I have heard from far too many cashiers, salespeople, and random strangers on the street that it must be a relief that we finally got a boy.  "I bet you're glad, huh?!" They say to me, every time I take my children and my large belly out in public.

It drives me crazy.

Because I have yet to find a nice way to say, "Not really.  We're just glad it's a baby."

Don't get me wrong, we weren't trying for a girl either.  But we were trying for a baby, and so all our dreams have come true.  Because ultrasounds have definitively confirmed that it's not a puppy.

We went into the ultrasound pretty sure it would be a boy, because this pregnancy was so different from the girls.  Neither one of us really thought that we cared one way or the other.  And the funny thing is, Paul was really excited it was a boy.  And I was kind of disappointed it wasn't a girl.

It has taken me a while to get used to the idea of a boy running around.  Which is also kind of funny, because I really don't believe in that whole "Boys are just different from girls" line.  I get that a lot too.  Mostly from people I know.  "You'll see," they say again and again.  And that's fine I guess.  I'm sure Max will be different from Ella and Charlotte.  But as it turns out, Ella and Charlotte are pretty different from each other, too.  And, another interesting fact is, just because a child is a certain gender does not guarantee that they will act in accordance with the stereotype for that gender.  Even if there is some evidence that the stereotype is a somewhat accurate representation of said gender.

So stop labeling my child.  He is still unborn.

I think that I must, somewhere in my subconscious, believe that the relationship between a mother and daughter is different from mother and son.   When we first found out Max was a boy, I had four or five dreams that I was getting married to a variety of men from my past.  I didn't tell Paul about the first couple of dreams, because, well, that's weird.  Why am I dreaming about marrying someone else?  And then I started seeing patterns.  All of these guys are people I knew relatively well, but never dated or had any romantic feelings for.  They were people I respected and admired.  And every single wedding was not a wedding of love, but of duty.  Often the proposal would go like this, "Well, I guess we should get married, it seems like the right thing to do." Finally, I realized that this must be symbolic of me committing to another man(child).  I just wasn't all the way on board with having another man in my life.  When I worked that out, the dreams stopped.  Weird, huh?

We are thrilled about this baby boy coming to our house.  And the closer it gets, the more exciting it is.  I'll be thirty-five weeks on Wednesday.  I had an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, and he is measuring average in every way, which is wonderful.  Because with Ella's birth weight at 8 lb. 12 oz, and Charlotte's at 9 lb. 3 oz., let's just say that we don't worry about my babies being big enough at term.  (They also measured average at all their ultrasounds.)

But since I don't get sassy with strangers, I just wanted to lay it all out here.


Whose knees are these?

Currently Charlotte's favorite book is centered around knees. Not just any knees. These particular knees belong to a little black boy. Some of my favorite lines include, "So brown and so strong, to whom do these fine knees belong?" and "They belong to that cheerful chap sitting on his Mommy's lap!"

We have had it from the Dallas public library for no less than three months. Possibly more like six. Thank you Dallas public library for allowing 99 renewals. This ensures that we will be able to read Whose Knees Are These for approximately the next seven years.