Saturday, June 28, 2008

Okay, who flipped the two switch?

Some Charlottisms from the last week:

While eating pancakes: Ripping off her bib, she shouts, "NO! I don't want any!" A minute later, she says, sotto voce, "Okay Char-char! What do you want now?" Nice try, kid.

Prompting us with what she thinks should be our lines is a big thing overall. She'll sidle up to me and say, "What do you want?" I'll respond with, "Okay, baby. What do you want?" Her inevitable response is "Huh?" That means she wants chocolate, a word to sacred to be uttered aloud. Besides, she knows we'll say no. But perhaps by repetitively responding with "Huh" she'll drive us crazy enough that we just give in! (Hasn't worked yet).

Cruising through the grocery store yesterday, she was in full-blown two-year-old mode. "Ooh, look at that! I want it. I NEED it!" That last one made me laugh. No way she really needs Fruity Pebbles, taco shells, or a colorful pack of adult diapers. Marketing, I tell you.

Arguing against logic is another big thing. At her bedtime, I tell her it's time to get ready for bed. "It's starting to get dark, baby. Let's get ready for bed now." Her response: "No, mama! It is NOT getting dark now. It is NOT night."

She's having lots of imaginary conversations with her stuffed animals. "Oh, hello Bear! How are you today? I am fine, thank you! Oh, you are very naughty!" Ultimately, every one of her toys is very naughty.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big congratulations to my cousin Amy, husband John, and daughter Joclyn who welcomed Jack Myers Tracy into the world at 3:48 this morning. He is a nice, chubby baby in the Terlouw tradition. I also understand that Amy may have beat my 3 hours of pushing time by a few minutes. My sympathies! We'll have to compare notes soon.

Welcome to the world, baby Jack. Your cousin Charlotte is already eager to read you some books.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

We had a fun, low-key birthday today. There were cupcakes.

There were presents.

And, of course, there was corn on the cob.

And this little girl turned two.
Happy birthday, sweet girl. I'm so glad you're here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Right off the bat, I felt like this time was different from the last time. Sure, I had morning sickness (misnomer: all day sickness, really) with Charlotte. But this felt like...more. I thought I might just not be remembering clearly. But some of the symptoms just seemed unfamiliar.

I felt tired and weak all the time, even long before any weight loss and appetite loss should have made me feel that way. Walking up the hill from the parking lot to my office had me completely winded. My heart would pound and race for fifteen minutes after I unlocked my office door. Walking up the stairs required a break. I started taking the elevator up the two flights to the copy room. I still couldn't catch my breath.

Then the insomnia struck. I would be completely, utterly exhausted, and yet I couldn't fall asleep. My legs would twitch, my joints would ache, and I would toss and turn until 2, 3, 4 a.m. And then I would want to sleep all day. If I let myself, I could sleep 12 hours every night. And then go back for a nap a couple hours later.

When my doctor today told my that my blood work indicated I had hyperthyroidism, I was surprised. But when he started to list the symptoms (including feeling nervous, moody, weak, or tired; having hand tremors, or have a fast or irregular heartbeat, or have trouble breathing even when you are resting; and losing weight even though you are eating normally) something clicked.

We did some more blood work today just to check my levels, but I'm going to start taking some medicine to help regulate my thyroid. The meds can pose some risk to the baby (although that is rare), but not taking the meds is apparently worse.

What I'm curious about is whether many of my nausea symptoms are actually related to or caused by my thyroid.

Interestingly, my dad had hyperthyroidism when he was in high school. I talked to him on the phone today and we compared symptoms. Perhaps concerned that I was going to inherit all his medical maladies, he asked how my blood sugar is. So far, so good...

For some more information on hyperthyroidism and pregnancy, here's a website I found particularly helpful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some scenes from teaching

September 2005--It is my first day of graduate school, and my first day of teaching. My class, an English 151 Composition course, starts at 9 a.m. I am awake and ready before 7, the butterflies in my stomach flying laps around my breakfast. I spend hours preparing for this first class, which will essentially be introductions and reading through the syllabus. Nonetheless, I do everything up to writing out a script for what I will say. I have never been so terrified of 20 18-year-olds before.

November 2005--I have been teaching for weeks now, and feel a relative ease in front of my students. I still spend far too much time prepping for each class, but since it's my first time in the professor's seat, it's not too surprising. But something else has come up--I'm several weeks pregnant, having some spotting, and am ordered to take a week of bedrest. I teach every day. Fortunately, one of my friends is available to teach my class, and I learn for the first time the glory of a well-chosen movie. She stretches the movie out over three days. It's a snap.

December 2005--I finished filing my grades weeks ago, so I check in on my teaching evaluations from my first quarter of teaching. They are surprisingly good. I am relieved. This scene will repeat itself every quarter, except for:

December 2006--My first quarter back teaching after Charlotte was born was a minor disaster. This will go down as my biggest teaching disappointment. I had the opportunity to teach a 200-level literature course for the first time. A combination of not enough time to prepare (infants take up all your time, I found), an unclear idea of the goals of the class, and a group of underprepared and underwhelmed students led to my worst teaching experience ever. I dread reading my evaluations. They are not uniformly bad, but almost each one is critical of the course, the materials, and (gulp) me. I go into winter break determined to make my next class a success.

June 2007--My last two quarters of teaching were the most fun I've had as a professor. Each quarter I taught one section of junior composition focused on the theme of women and nature. My students were bright, articulate, and JUNIORS! I cement my love for 21-year-old students as opposed to 18-year-old newbies. They know what a thesis statement is! They understand the difference between paraphrasing and quoting! I love them!

July 2007--Ugh. I hate juniors. Teaching a summer course in junior comp was a huge mistake. My students have jobs and other obligations, and don't understand that they're required to do as much work in five weeks as they normally would in ten. I never have perfect attendance. Several students stop coming at all. For the first time, I give multiple students an "F." Why do I feel like the failure?

April 2008--I receive an email from the graduate director at KU offering me a first year fellowship. That means one year without teaching, only taking graduate courses and doing my own academic work. But...I love teaching! Do I really want a year off? Uh, yes please.

June 17, 2008--I head to the office to finish up grading for the quarter. Most of the papers are already graded. I have some extra credit to calculate, some revisions to read, and then I just plug it all in to Blackboard to calculate. It takes less than fifteen minutes to finalize all 60 of my students' grades. Then, with the push of a button, I'm done. I'm done! I'm all alone in the office, so I take a moment to do a happy dance.

So now my teaching cap is off until fall 2009. I hardly know what to do with myself!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Wait...fathers'? Fatherses?

Anyway. Thanks to all you dad-types out there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catching Up

In case my last post was too cryptic, I'm happy to say that last week I picked up my anti-nausea meds. Hallelujah. The judicious use of said meds kept me human this past weekend, during which we were busy with this:

That's Miss Charlotte, cutting a rug with Uncle Steve and her new Aunt Katy. Holy cow, did Charlotte have a great time this past weekend. She was surrounded by doting grandparents, uncles, and soon-to-be aunts (and honorary aunts, a.k.a. Mindi) who wanted nothing more than to color funny man after funny man with her, read her endless stories, and listen to her sing her own slightly fractured versions of lullabies. And to top it all off, on Saturday she got to put on a pretty dress, go to a wedding and a party, and dance her fool head off.
She was very reluctant to leave the wedding reception, and wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the night, if not the rest of her life, rockin' out on the dance floor with her various willing relatives. But finally Aunt Mindi, the evening's designated babysitter, tore her away from the festivities around 9:30 p.m., only to have her car stall out after driving through standing water less than a half-mile away. Yikes. Mindi, I salute you. (They made it home safely after waiting out the torrential downpour in a nearby parking lot).
We had been talking up this wedding and reception for a while to get Charlotte ready. I don't think she actually got the concept (she maintained that "we all getting married" and I didn't have the heart to tell her that Calvinists don't condone group marriage) but she sure got into the spirit. My favorite memories of the night: her ridiculous fake laughter during Jeff's best man toast; saying "I listen to Uncle Mark talking" during Mark's best man toast; her confidence on the dance floor (she walked right out onto the floor as soon as she saw other people dancing and started her bizarre head-bobbing, shoulder-shrugging jive that is her signature dance move--if only I had video!).
For a few more of the photos I took at the wedding, click on the Flickr link at right. I'll be posting more this week.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ode to Zofran and Phenergan
(with apologies to Wm. Shakespeare)

Shall I compare thee to a normal day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough heaves did shake my stomach all of May,
And naptime’s lease had all too short a date:
Sometime too strong the stench of husband shines,
And often is his nuk’d dinner rank;
His willingness to tolerate declines,
As day by day my soul grows weak and lank;
But my eternal relief shall not fade
Nor lose possession of my stomach’s cache;
Nor shall Death brag I wander'st in his shade,
When I no longer to the toilet dash.
So long as I can eat, your eyes can see
So long live I since you gave life to me.