January 2007

I was skeptical about posting a poll for our baby’s name because I felt somewhat dismayed at myself for not being able to just choose between Jori and Elise. I read another blog that convinced me that maybe it was a pretty cool idea to get feedback from a close community of good friends and family. Also, when forced to vote ourselves, Chris and I actually both voted for the exact same name. (first and middle). When discussing names, we couldn’t force ourselves to pick one over the other, but when forced to vote – we did. It’s very lucky that we both voted for the same one!

More amazing to me is the 19 to 2 response for Elise. It really is a good feeling that everyone else also likes the name. (Or, at least prefers it to Jori.) I feel like it’s a mandate and meant to be. Since this took a lot of the suprise out of what we’ll name her (Nana already has plans to visit monogramming shops this afternoon), we may have to keep the middle name a secret. That’s also a surprise, how split the middle name vote is. Who knew? For those that don’t know…. Christine is after Chris, Shay would be after my mom and Grace is taken from the church where we were married. My brother suprised me with his sentiments and suggested that we should name her Elise Grace because Joelle’s middle name, Danae, is in honor of where we sort of started our relationship (Greece) and Grace would be in honor of where we began our marriage together.

Joey, I have racked my brain for cool names that would be representative of Wimberley where you and Maria were married (and the true place where Chris and I begin our relationship) and the best I’ve come up with is “Hayes” for a middle name for a boy. It’s an interesting middle name for a boy that Cara mentioned to me once. Good luck finding names if you go down that sentimental path yourself!


My friend’s innocent proclamation that she should, “read now,” because she won’t have time after her new baby is born has brought back some unexpected funny memories for me.  I distinctly remember reading “The Lovely Bones” while nursing, or trying to nurse Joelle.  She would be propped on one side of the Boppy and the book was on the other.  I enjoyed watching my baby, but she would take SOOOO long.  (I think this is more proof of my issue with nursing in general – I just don’t make enough.) 

I haven’t totally decided not to nurse and some signs still point to the fact that I might be guilted into it once again (When Dr. Levin mentioned nursing today, I didn’t correct her or mention that I might not), but I will be a lot more laid back about it this time.  I will not be bullied into it and will supplement right away.  Also, no pumping.  If it doesn’t work naturally, it’s not going to happen.   

Furthermore, Babywise, the most evil book I have ever read and should have burned, will not be considered this go round.  Chris promised to fish out our detailed logs of diaper changes and feedings this week as a reminder of what we can expect.  Perhaps he can post a sample day in the early weeks of Joelle’s little life.  Fun times ahead….    

Are some people just inherently bitter or mean spirited?  Or, are they just so clueless that they bumble through life making complete idiots of themselves?  I don’t mind when people ask, “When are you due?”  They’re making small talk and, most of the time, they’re very surprised when I say, “a week.”  That’s a good feeling.  I do, however, mind when someone starts off the question with a negative vibe, “Oof, you look like you’re about to pop, are you ready?”  How is that helpful?  Some other ‘favorite’ comments I’ve received lately:  “Boy, now your life is REALLY over (this person knew that I already had one kid.”  “Well, you should be enjoying life now before the sleep deprivation.”  Again, thanks for these seeds of wisdom, but a. if it’s true, then it wouldn’t be nice to say anyway and b. it isn’t even true.  First, I can’t imagine how going from one kid to two kids is that life altering.  Zero kids to one, maybe.  (still wouldn’t be helpful to mention that to a pregnant woman about to give birth…. too late, folks, too late.)  Second, yes, I will be tired after the baby gets here, but at least it’s a different kind of tired.  I’m getting worn out from the physical tiredness.  I’d like to move on – focus on the positive, people!

The icing on the cake goes to the people who feel like they have the right to bring to Joelle’s attention how her life is going to change.  Yes, people actually do.  After a woman inquired when I was due in the grocery store, she looked down at Joelle and said, “You’re going to be a big sister.”  (all ok so far, right?)  She proceeded to ask her questions like, “Do you know where the wipes are?  Do you know where the diapers are?  You’re going to have to know where all that is to help your mommie.  Your mommie is going to be very tired because she’ll be up all night……”  She went on and on.  I was trying to give her the death stare, but she just kept looking at Joelle and talking.  Wow.  Joelle looked like she was about to cry.  When we left the store, I said to Joelle, “hey, you’re getting tired of hearing all this baby stuff, huh?”  She said, “yeah.”  I said, “it’s ok, me, too.  I can’t go anywhere without people talking about it.”  I told her the important things in life weren’t changing and that everything would be ok.  Unfortunately, there are things that I wish could change that won’t either – strangers and casual acquaintances minding their own damn business!

The house across the street from us will always be known as Ben Franklin’s house.  Ben (his real name is Harry) and his wife are original homeowners that have lived in this neighborhood since 1968.  They originally bought their house for $22,000 and their backyard used to stretch all the way to I-10.  After all these years, they’re moving on to a retirement community off Eldridge and are very excited about all the opportunities that will bring to them. 

For our part, we’re sad to see them go.  They are extremely kind and interesting.  I’ll admit not knowing that much about them, but we do know that he dresses up as Ben Franklin for schools and other events (such as at the Natural Museum of Science), which is why we kindly refer to him as Ben.  We think it’s cool that he’s found such a niche that he’s interested in. 

…so, if my kids wonder why 20 years from now we still refer to that house as the Ben Franklin house, this is why.   

No, she is still not officially named. We seriously may resort to a poll! I’m hoping we’ll have some sort of revelation between now and January 30th or that when she’s born it will be so obvious that any question over her name will be comical. It will be Elise or Jori – I guess it’s better to love two names than none at all?

Anyway, I was reading Saturday by Ian McEwan (thanks for picking it out, Chris) and found this passage quite appropriate:

“It’s commonplace of parenting and modern genetics that parents have little or no influence on the characters of their children. You never know who you are going to get. Opportunities, health, prospects, accent, table manners – these might lie within your power to shape. But what really determines the sort of person who’s coming to live with you is which sperm finds which egg, how the cards in two packs are chosen, then how they are shuffled, halved and spliced at the moment of recombination. Cheerful or neurotic, kind or greedy, curious or dull, expansive or shy and anywhere in between; it can be quite an affront to parental self-regard, just how much of the work has already been done. On the other hand, it can let you off the hook. The point is made for you as soon as you have more than one child; two entirely different people emerge from their roughly similiar chances in life.”

We wait with eager anticipation to see what baby #2 will be like. Perhaps it will be very obvious if she is meant to be an Elise or a Jori.

* More on pretending: We retold the story of John and the playground to daddy. In summary, she agreed that it was ok to pretend, but that she was a “real” princess when she had on one of her dresses. Right?

* She’s caught on to the fact that daddy loves football. She saw a commercial for football while she rewatched the Disney Christmas parade. In a singsong, sad voice, she said, “if daddy were here he could watch that.”

* It’s no secret that we have a picky eater. She’s figured out that daddy loves meat… So, she is slowly adding a few meats to her diet. Ug, if only we had known ahead of time and made daddy LOVE fruit.

* Her new artwork projects, aside from utilizing any and every kind of trash to make collages, is to put lipstick on and “kiss” the paper. Where did she pick that up!?

* When the teachers at school asked Joelle when her baby sister was coming, they told me she said, “After Nana’s birthday.” Of course, we’re the ones who told her that, but I think it’s still infatuating that she can really communicate and pick up what we tell her.

* For my birthday, Nana and Joelle went to the store to pick out a cake. Of course, they had no white cake with the icing roses on top. Joelle was distraught. So, the lady added roses to the confetti and ribbon cake option. I had a very decorated cake. She remembered that I was turning 31 and insisted on buying the three and one candles for my cake. Of course, when she put it in the cake, she put it as 13. Close!

* She hates that daddy is younger then me. For some reason it takes some of the greatness that is daddy away from him. Sigh, I wish I could make myself younger!

* Recently, Joelle has learned to hit pause on the tv remote when she needs to go potty.  Likewise, she knows to hit play when she returns.  The other night, we showed her how to press channel up and down to change channels.  She smiled at us and said, “I can do anything!”  She loved the power. 

Joelle and I have this ritual where she climbs into bed with me in the morning and we chat a bit together while we both wake up a bit. I never know what she’ll come up with to chat about, but it’s generally pretty entertaining and a magical way to start each day. Although the topic of our conversation, being dead, could be disturbing, please recall that these are four year olds and I seriously doubt they really understand what it is they’re saying…. At least, I choose to believe in their innocence.

This morning, I innocently asked her about school yesterday. She told me this story:

Joelle: We went out to the playground. I climbed over some tubes, up a wall, through the slide, to the top of the house. There were kids laying on the ground. Annie… (can’t recall the other names). They said they were dead. John had made them dead.

Mommie: Oh, that sounds sad. Did you want them back awake?

Joelle: Yes.

Mommie: Well, next time… tell them you’re the bring-back-to-life fairy and wave your magic wand.

Joelle: …but I won’t have a magic wand.

Mommie: You can pretend.

Joelle: No, I need a magic wand.

Mommie: Did John have a real weapon?

Joelle: (long pause) No, I guess not.  …but what if I don’t want to bring them back to life?

Mommie: Then, they’ll stay dead.

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