December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Destructo Girl !

Last night, I sat in my dining room, thinking of what my life was like two years ago in the months before my second daughter was born. It was a crazy time - and it produced a fun, crazy little girl without whom I cannot imagine my life now!

The Ultimate Nester
For some reason, pregnancy always pushes me into high gear. I don't just "nest", I remodel. The first time I was pregnant, I painted (the entire house) and bought new furniture etc. With my youngest, I decided I could NOT bring another baby into a bedroom covered with that nasty carpet from 1971! I envisioned my new baby crawling around on a beautiful, uncluttered, eco-friendly bamboo floor. Aaaannnndddd, we really needed to get that upstairs bathroom done while we were at it!

I tackled the bathroom with military precision. Calendar appointments with contractors were cushioned with time to spare (um, so I thought). We demo-ed the bathroom ourselves (and when I say "we", I mean - mostly Rob).
My hero!!!!

Bathroom after demo

Then, my then 2 year old daughter and I lived through weeks of dust everywhere (well, on the tarps I'd put everywhere) while I gritted my teeth through morning (Haha! ALL DAY) sickness. Everything would be done in plenty of time. And then, as is typical in a house filled with DIVAS - drama hit!

My Big Mistake
One day the contractor, who was supposed to widen the bathroom door and install the new one, called to say he wouldn't make his appointment the next day because he was stuck at a job in Northern Arizona. He offered to send a friend - NOT a contractor - to replace him. Ignoring the nagging feeling in my stomach (intuition, not pregnancy), I agreed.

The next morning, my daughter and I were downstairs when suddenly we heard shouts of horror and some pretty impressive profanity from upstairs. I leaped up those stairs - only to discover that the door guy's "friend" had sliced into the wall without checking what was behind it first and managed to cut through my a/c water pipe. Like a bad movie, water was spraying everywhere and pouring through the floor into the downstairs.

I ran to my neighbor's house to ask him how to shut it off and he raced back to my house and took over. He shut off the pipe and then barked orders at all three of the guys who were there - to clean up the mess. Thank goodness for great neighbors - and the men who cleaned up for me! Never, ever ignore your wise stomach!

The Second Big Surprise
Undeterred by the dust and the waterfall through my ceiling, I pressed on to the new flooring. (Think I'm crazy? It's HORMONES people!! Geez!) With 1 month and a half (maybe slightly less) to go, we ripped out the carpet (well, Rob did - hehehe...) and had the bamboo delivered. It was BEE-Utiful! But when the installation guys arrived, they promptly informed us that our sub-floor had dry rotted and we'd have to replace it before they could install the wood flooring. We found a contractor and after only a week's delay, we were ready to we thought.

The installation guys returned, checked the humidity levels of the bamboo and the floor but they weren't close enough yet. But, we had chosen materials they'd never before used so they were unfamiliar with it. But in the meantime, knowing I was close to delivering, they assured me they'd come every few days to check it. Weeks went by and the wood wasn't acclimating (so we thought). Later we'd discover the special wood required a special humidity monitor.

In the meantime, ALL our stuff from upstairs - furniture, dressers, clothing & linens etc - was packed into our two downstairs rooms - along with us. Just imagine. It seems unbelievable now! We slept on an air mattress (actually, we went through three) for at least 2 1/2 months. You try rolling off an air mattress in a hurry to reach the bathroom when you're nine months pregnant. Hahaha! Not a pretty sight!! Our stuff was everywhere and chaotic at its neatest. I would show you pics but I couldn't find them.

Did I mention we were planning a home birth?

Then it gets worse
Two weeks before D-day, our oldest woke with stomach flu. She slept all day, running a mild fever. We kept her hydrated and watched her closely. She slept on the couch while I rested on the air mattress. That evening, she woke up and crawled over to me to snuggle. Then, promptly emptied what little was in her stomach all over me and the mattress. Ugh. After we got her all cleaned up and changed the sheets, she fell asleep. In moments, she began having a bad dream, shouting "NO! I don't want to go with you!!!" (Yikes!) and her temp shot up rapidly - resulting in a febrile seizure. It was pretty scary. But, after several hours in the hospital, we came home exhausted and she was ok.

I finally listen...
The weekend my youngest was born, I called in reinforcements. My sister Susie came over and helped me paint the two upstairs bedrooms and bathroom (no way was I delivering in a bathroom painted an ugly color!). Once we finished painting, my intuition spoke up again. I heard - "Just straighten up. Make sure you can find everything you need for the baby." This time I listened. So, Susie helped me clean up - and I ignored everything else I'd planned to do.  (Thank you Susie!!!!)

Sure enough, when I woke the next morning, those Braxton Hicks felt different. That night, my daughter arrived - a week early - in my own bathtub. (Good thing I did that first!) We had everything we needed. The next morning we woke - on the air mattress with our newborn - to the sound of the doorbell. We'd forgotten that the floor guys were coming to check the floor again! And you know what? We were just fine - in the middle of the craziness - without a perfectly installed eco-friendly bamboo floor. You can read about our homebirth here  and why I chose homebirth here.

Thinking of those days makes me laugh. We learned so much about being together - I mean really together. We learned to be patient and content with where we were in that moment, to take deep breaths and trust that things would work out in the end. We learned to laugh at the ridiculousness of the circumstances and enjoy the process.

I think that's what we see most in our youngest - besides her ability to keep our home in a constant state of chaos. We see her laughing and enjoying every moment. From the time she wakes in the morning till she falls into bed at night, she is smiling or laughing and trying to draw us into her fun. She tells us "jokes" all the time and laughs uproariously at herself.

I love so much about her -
her laughter
her smile
her ridiculous jokes, "what does a turkey say? Bok, bok"  Huh??? 
her determination to figure things out and get where she wants to go
her sweet little phrases - "I hold you mommy"
the tiny hands she slips into mine all day
her favorite nighttime story, "Can we read Pinkali-cious, Mommy?" (well...when you say it like that!)

I even - dare I say it? - love the chaos she adds to our life and the clutter she spreads on that beautiful bamboo floor. Our lives would be so boring without it!

Happy Birthday Destructo Girl!! I love you.

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