Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Greenwich, My Love

The story of the birth! (At a later date, I will post the story of son # 1's birth--which was downright medieval in comparison. Think flickering fluorescent lights, leering horse-faced nurses, and a breakfast consisting of a boiled egg and a sticky bun...that sort of thing. Plus a carrot-studded meatloaf of a frightful demeanor and consistency.)

This time, I was in Greenwich Hospital. The foyer includes tinkling water and a player piano, and the gift shop sells golfing togs so that patients can exit the hospital doors and head straight to the links with their IV bags attached. The hallways are pleasantly lit, carpeted, and adorned with paintings--of better quality that one might find in many major hotel chains.

I was scheduled to be induced, as all three of my boys have held on to their environs like barnacles. (And at least two of my three OBs have made a cringeworthy crack about babies not wanting to exit a place where they have "womb service.") Induction is good for several reasons, the first being that there is no crack of dawn drive to the hospital while one is in pain. The other is that you can schedule other children for a trip to IHOP with the babysitter, well in advance.

I'll keep the story short and to the point:
Check-in time: 8 a.m. My nurse, Terry, is delightful.
Attempt to break amniotic sac: 9 a.m. (failed)
Pitocin drip: 10 a.m.
Pain/suffering felt to a mild degree: 11 a.m.
Pain/suffering increases: 11:30 a.m. I am informed that the epidural man will not be available during the hours of 1-2 p.m. due to a prior commitment. Recommendation is to book the service now. I do so.
Epidural man arrives: 12:30. Randomly, while inserting a needle into my spine, he asks if I've done a lot of hiking. Yes, I happen to have hiked a lot. White Mountains in NH? Sure, you bet. (How did he know this? I'll never know. Maybe my back bears the telltale signs of having carried a 40 lb frame pack. Either way, I like the epidural man. He is cool! The doctor mentions that he wears a Rolex. I think one of his patients must have given him that Rolex, as thanks.)
Epidural in place: 1:00 p.m.
Husband and OB discuss cars: 1:00-3:00 p.m. I realize that if I were in pain during this time I would have thrown a brick at both of them. Because I am not in pain, I lie there idly and listen to them talk about "suicide doors" and other items of interest to car aficionados. The doctor shares photos of his favorite car.

At some point I suggested that I felt a wee bit of pressure and they checked and, sure enough, that baby is on his way out. And out he comes, after three meager pushes, at 3:11 p.m. He is purple, even down to his tiny purple fingernails, and vaguely out of sorts. As I hold him, wrapped against my chest, he turns from purple to pink and blinks his gummed-up eyelids and makes small noises. He is a fine hearty lad, all of 8 pounds and 12 ounces. Once he's out, I can't believe he was ever in. How did this fine fat fellow fit in there?

Upon assessing the service at Greenwich Hospital, he is well pleased. He decides to be a nice, placid baby (and three weeks later, he still is). Encouraged by his delightful surroundings, he latches on without a second's hesitation.

Despite having numb legs for the next couple of hours or more, I feel fine. I schedule a one-hour postpartum massage, book my celebration meal (filet mignon and champagne), and read a nice book. I also watch an hour of "Lost" on the hotel television (I mean "hospital," and actually typed "hotel" completely by accident). As a friend once said, Greenwich is so nice that it makes you want to go back and have another baby, just to birth it there! I think, however, that I will close boy-production services down for now, due to a surplus.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One in the carriage and one on the way!

Apologies for the blog going dark for the last two weeks. A brand-new boy arrived on May 15 at 3:11 p.m. and has been suckling the berjeezus out of me ever since. He is a delightful boy, and we like him very much! Like his elder brother as an infant, he is clearly his father's child. (Middle son, Fang, is another matter altogether--he came out like a wizened, empurpled gnome and no one wanted to claim even a passing similarity at the time.)

I intend to tell the story of his birth in greater detail, but for now, I will share this small story. With visiting Granny in tow, we decided to get a spot of lunch at the Golden Rod restaurant on the Post Road in New Rochelle. We had been there previously while baby was still inside, and our waitress recognized us. The boys ordered their $3 pineapple juices, scallion pancakes, and veggie dumplings.

"Oh, their brother came out!" she said, noting the car seat with the sleeping infant inside.

"Yes, he did."

"Oh, and..." (here she hesitated, clearly at a loss)"...another one come out soon, yes?"

"There aren't any more in there, no."

"Your belly still BIG."

"It takes it a while to shrink down again," said my husband.

"Oh, she said, flustered. As if to cover for her embarrassing gaffe (which also demonstrated a rather thin understanding of biology), she leaned over the baby in his car seat.

"He sure is red!" she pronounced. "And he is white, too! But really red."

She gave my tummy a last parting glance as she went off to the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Little Minivan, Now in Big People Size!

This weekend we decided to test out the theory, heretofore unproved, that three car seats (a booster, a toddler, and an infant) will fit in the back of our Passat W-8 wagon.

They no fit.

Well, there was one way they could have fit: Have the four-year-old climb into the booster in the middle, then go and fetch the Britax and install it, before asking the 2 1/2-year-old to climb in. I could see my husband considering this possibility, faced with the dire knowledge of what the alternative might be. A dreaded, emasculating minivan. Then he asked sadly: "Can't we just always go places in two cars?" I sadly replied: "No."

The next day we went to what I affectionately referred to as "The Minivan Store" to check out the rambling, rolling storage facility/ aka mobile megaplex known as the Chrysler Town and Country. This car has everything! According to the ads, your kids are going to want to take their Thanksgiving dinner out to the vehicle while it sits in the driveway, and eat it at the table that you can install in the middle of the van. (The seats swivel around so that your entire brood can face one another!) There they can watch multiple DVD screens, play a game of Monopoly, or indulge in some light aerobic activity.

The storage capacity in this beast is so vast that you could open the back hatch, roll in your double/triple stroller with babies strapped all over it hither and thither, and drive off. I really wanted to love it, because of things like the doors that slide open automatically when you press a button. That's cool, when one is a mom. The doors also shy back when they sense little paws in the opening, preventing squished fingers. Also cool!

Sadly, it's on the road where the minivan starts to reveal its true lameness. If only it could just sit in the driveway, providing entertainment for the kiddies and extra seating for those busy holiday affairs. Driving around, it feels oddly like a big bucket of American plastic--almost like a toy car devised by a child and zapped to super-size via a ray-gun. The stuff inside, like the so-called fancy three-tiered console, looks flimsy, like it wouldn't last one incident of an exuberant toddler clambering over it. The turn signal seems to click the tune "rinkydink, rinkydink, rinkydink" as the minivan ponders its elephantine way around a turn. The sales rep wouldn't let us take it on the highway (he said that was saved for "special circumstances"--huh?) but we really felt that punching it up an access ramp onto 95 would not be a confidence-inspiring experience. (Maybe that's exactly why they don't allow highway test-drives?) All I can picture: Oofh, oofh, OOFH, like a fat lady trying to hoist her way out of a really soft mattress.

I wanted to love it, so I was sad. It had no verve, no oomph. During the test drive, I felt the onset of Frump. Mom haircut and bad jeans, included with package!

So, we went to look at the Mazda CX-9. Yeah, it's an SUV. What can I say? It may still be a gas-guzzling automatic, but it drives nicely and has enough power and control so that one doesn't feel trepidation at driving anywhere but the Stop 'n' Shop. I rather liked it, actually. After all, a vehicle is for driving first and entertainment second, right? We have a DVD player at home, and it works just fine. (The Mazda has a DVD option, but we've decided to decline it. Do we really want to be subject to Thomas and Friends on the road, too? How about learning to read, kid?!)

Plus, the Mazda seats seven and still has a fair amount of cargo space. Not as much as the minivan, but at least it allows you, as the husband says, to retain at least one ball. And one ball is better than none!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Jets and the Sharks

Rather than leave matters to fate, we have decided to take prophylactic action when it comes to the sale of our home. To that end, we have hired a troupe of out-of-work actors to stage a few discreet arguments on our street--just to add some color and verve to the neighborhood, without going over the top. But rather than have them trade fisticuffs like common urban offal, we've instructed them to get into heated discussions about literature, politics, and the theatre.

Fights around here are classy matters indeed! Sometimes the actors stand around sipping sherry, debating the merits of Ayn Rand and dissecting modern poetry. They know an awful lot about turn-of-the-century architecture and make extensive and audible commentary, such as, "Look at that Gambrel roof--what a beaut!" and "This house is as solid as when she was built, and they built 'em right in those days!" We pay them handsomely.

But lest the prospective buyers become too suspicious at the apparent lack of physical altercations in the neighborhood, a dose of Broadway may be just what the East End is missing. We don't want anyone saying, "It's just too durned quiet around here. Suspiciously quiet!"

Just this very weekend, the actors (after much sweat and rehearsal) staged a full-fledged theatrical production of West Side Story on our lawn, with Shuffles cast in the role of Maria. (Hence the grocery bagger you've noticed at Stop 'n' Shop who keeps insisting that "she feels pretty.") As the Jets and the Sharks dueled in a complex, choreographed ballet, realtors and clients streamed in to view our home. The dancing and the general excitement resulted in unprecedented showings!

"Does this happen often around here?" asked one client.

"Every day!" affirmed one of the actors playing a Jet, as he leapt from our front porch and began to Mambo fiercely with a female relative of a Shark.

Unfortunately, while the performance was underway some of the "real" residents of our neighborhood came out and stared, mouths agape, as if this sort of activity did not happen every day.

"Is dat guy wearing toights?" said one of the locals.

"Yeah, he must be one of them homersexuals!" shrieked an old, toothless fellow who hasn't left his front porch in 50 years.

After the locals beat the actors with bats and bricks and the helicopters began circling, the scene became less than appealing. We have now instructed a new group of actors to choose something less riot-inciting, such as No, No, Nanette or Thoroughly Modern Millie. Something with short skirts and a zippy sense of style! Shuffles will no doubt be practicing for her audition in the fruit aisle.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

15 Surefire Ways to Sell Your Home

1. Dogs humping on front lawn, preferably when one dog is actually being raped/molested/touched inappropriately against its will
2. Pile of vomit on sidewalk before stoop
3. Missing child poster stapled to tree
4. Bleached skeleton emerging from chimney
5. Rodent carcasses (plural) on front lawn
6. Gun trained on home from neighbor's window
7. Frank Gehry "look" in home not designed by Frank Gehry
8. Drunken old slut soliciting business from a lawn chair in the front
9. Two posters of Mussolini: One in master bedroom and the other in the basement workroom [We viewed a house in which this was the case]
10. Pile of stained undershirts and panties slowly burning in the street
11. Large portrait of devil above fireplace
12. Rabid prairie dog colony in back yard
13. Clown paintings, framed psalms, and a gynecological table in the basement
14. That weird albino kid from Deliverance, stationed on the front porch
15. House slowly sinking into large pit

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nothing Like a Good, Honest Fist Fight

Our luck holds out! Someone came to view the house just this past Saturday, and apparently felt positive enough about it to tell the realtor she intended to bring her mother back in a couple of days. Indeed, the mother would be a vital asset to help finance the purchase. All was well. Then, as the realtor and client were exiting the house, their attention was arrested by the sight of two juvenile men of a swarthy complexion. The boys were engaged in a pitched and noisy fist fight, just up the street.

I don't think this was a "just for kicks" type of fist fight. I think this was the type of activity during which, if it occurred in a schoolyard, other kids might gather around and chant "Kill! Blood! Etcetera." Fists a-flying! Bones a-breaking! And both young men suspended immediately and indefinitely.

The reaction was just as you might expect.

"Aw, look at the cute boys horsing around! That means this is a great family neighborhood!" squealed the client.

"And a great investment," echoed the realtor.

"We'll double our money!" said the client. "I'm calling mumsy right away; she'll be thrilled to help out with the purchase of this home in this fine neighborhood, which is clearly just lousy with family values."

As the boys continued to pummel each other, taking turns slamming the other's head into the sidewalk and staining it a bold crimson, the client smiled gently.

"I like the fact that this neighborhood is diverse, too," she said. "It would be a shame if it were just a bunch of boring, law-abiding lawyers and finance fellows."

"How tiresome such people are!" laughed the realtor lightly.

"Yo, MoFo!" screamed one of the boys. "I'm a-gonna f-up yo ass!" He tossed his rival into one of the handy shopping carts that litter our neighborhood, shoving him in the path of a banged-up, bass-blasting hoopdi driving about 75 down our quiet, tree-lined street. Someone--it could not be certain whom--shouted "pigfucker!" as the car swerved to avoid the boys, punched through the front of someone's house, and burst into flames.

We expect a bid shortly.