Thursday, May 20, 2010

Little Eric

I had a very reassuring and happy OB appointment today: no more irregularity was detected in Eric's heartbeat today. It has either repaired itself, or it was a fluke to begin with. I've been mostly at peace this past month, knowing that life unfolds the way it is meant to, but the past few days I have been a little more stressed as I wondered what kind of news I would receive today. I am so happy that his heartbeat is regular and strong. My intuition told me that he would be fine, and he is. He has been kicking around so happily...

I do need to be more mindful about what I am eating, though. Dr. Elfelt was very tactful, of course, but he did mention that my weight gain for this month was a bit more than he expected, based on how I had been doing so far (I'd really been keeping it under control). I know that I have been a little more permissive with my diet this month and with skipping exercise, and I knew I felt bigger... But it is time to get back into stricter habits so I don't become absolutely ginormous. I was thinking about printing out a picture of Dr. Elfelt's face from the office website and attaching it to my fridge so that his words could be a constant reminder.

Also, I received my RhoGam shot today. I was thinking it would be next time, but I am pretty far along with Eric now (this pregnancy is zipping by, so I am trying to savor it all). It feels good to have one of those out of the way. We'll have to see what his blood type is when he is born to determine if I need the second dose. Katie's Rh factor is negative like mine, so I only needed one preventative dose with her and not one after she was born.

So my next appointment is in a month and then I am finished with the 4-week schedule and start seeing the OB every couple of weeks and then weekly until birth. I can't believe how quickly it is all going! For the most part, I really enjoy being pregnant, and I am trying to impress upon my heart and mind all the sensations and happiness of this phase of my life. It is a phase that is too short-lived in many respects. Pregnancy is a very special time.

Eric and I stand outside of our OBGYN office after our appointment today.

Katie and I started our morning with a walk, and I am trying to return to my routine. We've had a few too many lounge-around-in-our-jammies-before-breakfast-mornings this past month. We need those now and then, but I also need to make sure I fit in daily exercise. Although I take the stroller with us, Katie loves to walk alongside me---or, as was the case this morning, jog alongside me. I thought she might have trouble keeping up with me, but I actually was making my best effort to keep up with her! She went from our house all the way to Meadows Parkway (so, for those who don't live here or have never lived here, several blocks) jogging most of the way. After that, we used the stroller, and I love pushing her because it is more exercise for me.

Here is Katie walking along...

As we neared home, she started asking about the pumpkin we had carved last Halloween and what has happened to it. This sparked an entire existential conversation. I told her that we had let it become part of the earth again, and we talked about Boppa's compost pile. Well, she wanted to know all about that process and why things decay and wilt. I took her home and showed her some roses and rose petals in various stages of life and decay. I told her about the soil-making process, the role of oxygen and nitrogen and roly-polies and worms. She started asking why plants die. We talked about living matter and cells and how cells die off. After that she made the jump to PEOPLE dying. Then of course she asked, "Why do our cells die?" Then she wanted to know where Grandpa Don and Uncle Eric were "going back to the earth." I talked about Nana's roses (where Uncle Eric's ashes are)... Next she said the inevitable, "But I don't want to die." I tried to be as reassuring as possible without making it scary but without embellishing.

It was a pretty heavy conversation in theme, but she was totally fascinated by the whole thing and I seemed to dodge potentially terrorizing her (miraculously...thank goodness for being able to choose my diction wisely). I was astonished that she was asking about such topics and seeming to process some of what I said at 2.5 years old. I don't think I thought about plants, cells, or death, or the life cycle until I was very much older. She continues to surprise me and challenge me as a parent---and as a teacher. How do you explain such complicated processes to a 2.5 year old and make it understandable? On the other hand, I take the Atticus Finch approach with her: in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus always answers Scout's questions with precise language and never talks down to her. We don't use baby talk with Katie and we have always tried to embrace her questions with full explanations. Still, when she asked "Why do our cells die?" I had to reach back to high school biology. I can see how she expects me to know an array of topics, and I am challenged to make sure I do---and am ready when she asks.

I see some more lesson plans in my near future. After I used the roses as an impromptu visual this morning, I thought of about a million more things we could do with them as I revised the teachable moment in my head... I bet the library has some bio books, too. I also realized that we could extend into some mathematics with the rose petals and collect our samples and then use graph paper to graph how many of each we found... And see what kind of petal (healthy or decayed) is more prominent on our yellow bush...or even take a sample from all the bushes and see if any bushes are further along in the life cycle than the others... I mean, the potential for extension never ends... It is such an amazing gift of time to be able to pour my passion for teaching into my own children. I know that if I ever do back into the public field for any reason, spending time teaching young children will make me a 1000% better of a teacher than I was before: she constantly pushes me to explain and keep explaining, and to use examples from outside of my main discipline and to tell narratives. I feel I am much stronger at my craft than I was even a couple of years ago. I love teaching so much.