TErrific Twelves: Amphibibaby's Rollicking Rambling Rattletrap Ruckus and the Home Quest of Mordor.

In prior weeks of first-trimester tarantaras, Fonzarellie jumped the tuna nigiri with Brussels sprouts and beetroots trailing a merry path behind. Moods are modified and screen time goes blank as the portended mommening commences with delusions of betterment and apotropaic askesis. And with a daunting angry whir, the truculent trainer makes its return to Wrightlandia, breathing fire and demanding heatless nights and shots through the heart.

As WEEK TWELVE divulges its little secrets, plums and passions pullulate with frolics and acrobatics in the belly of the beastly Ms. Wright. Bumps battle for priority and houses are threatened with looming lease-ends. Mysterious oases of comfortable living promise more than mirages, but are they trusted? And new tests and photos for that Facebook mommy deluge come spilling out of BOGArific screening check-ups.

UltraWednesday TUNEZ Nuchal Translucency Tarantaratarantara

Today I get to go in for what is often the very first ultrasound regular folks get. My Fonzie-fig is oh so over exposed with all those early ultrasound images. Good training for parenting in the digital social media age. Apparently, my duties as a good mother will entail the following: (1) posting at least one video of my child with a voiceover from me encouraging the child to do whatever it was doing until the camera came out - this should be done at a frequency of at least every three days; (2) posting 2-4 pictures of my child - at least half of which will show my child doing something naughty or thoroughly vexing to dangerous - to be done on a quotidian rotation; (3) posting 1-2 status updates a day about horrific and/or horrifically cute things my kid did or said; (4) throwing in some food photos and a few reshares about how great and/or miserable it is to be a mother from people with slightly more brains left than myself, and who are thus able to still form coherent sentences - at a frequency of whenever the heck I can remove myself from the triage and photo sessions to find them. 

Good practice, having all these ultrasound photos and the occasional "belly shot." This is a new thing, I think. Pregnant ladies these days are encouraged to take a photo a week of themselves to watch how they've grown large with child. Bump photos or belly shots. One of those. I'm mostly keeping those to my private pregnant lady group where these things are encouraged and socially acceptable. There's even a day for it to happen: Bump Wednesday (like Hump, but bump...) Since I have yet to develop a belly, it's sort of just a parade of awkward selfies in which I look scared, offput, and in possession of brobdignagian digits. 

But these ultrasound photos. I need to be milking them a bit more. Maybe doodling little adorable baby outfits on them and reposting them semi-daily, whilst tagging all my friends and relatives. 

Hopefully today I'll have my third ultrasound, lose some blood, and continue to be told that Fonz and I have graduated to mundanely dull (from a medical vantage at any rate). Then hopefully I'll eat something because my appointment is right at my lunchtime and I am going to be rabid yet faint with famine by that point. 

Last night was the debut of the mid-week trainer. I don't particularly like that it means Andrew doesn't eat dinner until 7:30 p.m. and then we don't really see much of each other with my even earlier bedtime. Nor do I like that all that activity and computer stuff right before bed plus a big mound of food shoved into the digestive track at about 7:30 p.m. theoretically impacts his sleep, which in turn impacts mine (grrr). BUT, I actually found the evening's arrangements to be quite pleasant, overall. I retreated upstairs with my music, my kindle, and a plate of non-nauseating munchies. Bananas, fiber one, milk, and peanut butter. Apparently that is the peak of pregnant lady dinner cravings. With the music and the humidifier going, I could hear the trainer only as a distant rumble. And I enjoyed holing up in my bedroom fort. So it will mostly work out pretty well methinks... once a week. Let's not go nuts here. No early labor prompted by trainer road cannon fire, so far. This is promising, but I'll definitely keep a good distance when I'm further along... 

... and in a new house! That's right. We knew we'd have to move sooner than later, but it's been bumped up in priority faster than my actual "baby bump" has time to emerge. Beate's family is moving back this year, and they want the house finally. We're out on April 3rd. Meaning we'd like to be thoroughly moved before April 3, which is both Easter and a visit from MIL Lisa and her consort Tom themselves. Already have started looking and possibly found a few leads, knock on wood. Hopefully we can look in earnest this weekend. 

Hope your humpdays are happy and mellow. 

Amphibibaby and the (Almost)-Twelve Week Nuchal Nuclear Trans-Awesomeness Test

I think I'm giving birth to a salsa dancing frog. This little fig-fonz kumquat beastie has got legs!! Plenty of 'em. And possibly is feeling a little cramped, given how it appears to be pushing out on all sides. 

But as promised, I had my very exciting third ultrasound where this may usually be most women's first. I'm precocious like that. And, as equally promised, I got myself more photos! Albeit, no photos just yet of my food and/or chiding but chuckling comments on "kids!" and how they drive ya crazy but ya gotta love 'em... This is largely because I can't feel the thrashings of my little froggy spawn just yet. But boy could we see them! Somersaulting, stretching, waving, and otherwise boogying down in a way that consistently evaded my patient ultrasounder's magic wand.

 I really, really think this bugger is a highly caffeinated two inch frog of some sort. Whatever else, it's already got my legs! Down to the restlessness and constant motion. 

And whatever else, I am so in for it when baby Brussels sprout beetroot gets big enough that I can actually feel all that locomotion.

It was my first over-the-stomach ultrasound after several bajillion more invasive kinds. I like them. They're kind of easy. And I got a real sense of geography about where this mad little tuna nigiri happens to be thrashing. And we heard a heartbeat. A rapid heartbeat made for salsa or samba or something relentlessly upbeat and fast paced. 

I kind of expected a grand celebration of such events, it being date night and all. But such things were not exactly in the cards. It was an experience! Quite. Since I still get blurg when eating much of anything past 6, I suggested Fiamma Burger, it being a place that offers food Andrew likes and a modest salad for me. It's kind of an upscale fast food joint. Popular with families and stoners alike. And kind of sometimes a little too popular. They're not so fast when they're glutted with all those families and stoners... we ended up waiting in a din of screaming conversational roar for about 40 minutes before we got our food. We took dinner home because I was getting a headache. Andrew scarfed his garlic fries in the car and then was stuck with garlic greased hands for the remainder of the return since we hadn't gotten any napkins. At home, we "dined" at about 7:20, which didn't do wonderful things for my internal flora and fauna.

But that was ok, because we were both oddly chilly and wanting to just curl up under several blankets in each other's arms. Romantic I know! And odd, since I usually get too warm just in my robe and Mr. (W)right's body heat exceeds my tolerance if blankets are involved.

 But yesterday, the tricky bastard had thought ahead. Or failed to do so. Turned out we were both cold because the house was 60 degrees! Further turns out that Andrew turned off the heat the night before when he was on the trainer and neglected to turn it back on (or, say, mention to me that he was planning to do so, which maybe explains why I suddenly thought the bedroom was awfully chilly that evening). Fortunately we do have that unseasonable warm spell going on, or else that could have gotten ugly in January. I can't say I fully minded it although changing into pajamas was a panicked rush that evening and I might have gone to sleep with my heated slippers on. 

But, hey, way to save energy! We are so going green! Save the planet for our little amphibian and all that. 

Or something. 

At any rate, surreal to realize that I've got a little dancer begging my tummy to make a little more room (and I swear there's the beginning of a bump, even if it just looks like I'm not engaging my core muscles)!

And today, having survived a very easy blood draw (huh time and space between pricks actually helps!) I think I get a full on normal day! Weird!

As if anything in my life is normal. Ha. I predict elephants and dancing elves by noontime!

The Passionfruit of Amphibibaby Fonzie Leaps the Giant Plum

The least creative entry for the "your baby at twelve weeks": yet another lime! Apparently between about nine and twelve weeks (possibly longer), your fetus is just kind of a gradually growing citrus fruit. I can't wait to see week 39 "your baby is a tumid towering lime with gigantism!!" Other entries that work better for me include a plum and a passionfruit. The plum was the most popular of parallels. Which is satisfying in that longer story arc kind of way. What once was a prune has rehydrated and plumped right up to lush and fruitful! And passionfruits are nice, if a little funny looking. Adios Brussels sprouts and beet roots. We've returned to the land of sweets. 

We may soon be graduating out of produce metaphors entirely. Seems like fewer and fewer pregnancy sites are daring to speculate, and others are becoming comfortable with just measurements. I guess once an ultrasound reveals a fairly humanoid little monster, the impetus to analogize ebbs.

I've reached the beginning of the mythical twelve week's pregnant mark!! If I were plenty of other people, I'd just be announcing this nonsense now (instead of several weeks ago). 

Twelve weeks rocks so much that I daresay it rawkz!! For one, it signifies the end of the dreaded first trimester. Sure, we'll see if I really do become impervious to nausea, filled with fairy dust and ready to conquer the world with my burgeoning belly... perhaps the promises have been slightly overblown on how awesome the second trimester is. But, the gradual abatement of the worst symptoms gives me hope. I admit that much of that has as much to do with lifestyle changes (not eating much after about 5, getting plenty of rest, five bajillion servings of wheat bran and Fiber-One and a small orchard of dessicated plums, etc. etc.), but even in that context things continue to look uppish if not wholly uppity. 

And on a "things to freak out about in a given moment" note, the risk of miscarriage is down to about 1% now. So I can officially freak out about other things. Sure there are chromosomal abnormalities to discover, complications to debilitate, a lifetime of learning and caring for a special something that won't ever quite be like the other children. And then there are the practicalities. Oh me oh my. The mommening of course. The budget-panic at the mere thought of those mountains of diapers cavalcading our way...

But for the meantime, I can rest easy (while waiting for the results of that Wednesday screen anyways) and enjoy the fact that "if I poke my belly, little Fonzie will start to squirm." HA! You'll be kicking my insides black and blue in a few months, wee one, but for now I can't feel you but you can feel me! I admit to maybe having given my lower abdomen the sporadic loving squeeze these days. Hopefully it isn't doing any long term damage to those developing brains. 

And in perhaps less comforting news, the little amphibi-fig is developing those vocal cords. Dun dun dun.... 

Forget diapers, let's start stock ordering those ear plugs pronto!

Verily the Valensocks Oddly Amass Sunday Burbles and Weekend Whimsies

Happy February! We survived that pesky hurdle that is January in all its tempestuous tyrranies. The hiemal harrangues. The New Year torpor. The resolution rushes. Let us dally a spell with the guilt and glee of Valentine's Day on the horizon, before settling like larks upon a snowy pine and awaiting the advent of spring! Or maybe just several inches of March mud. 

Yesterday, Andrew and I went to see the 1926 movie The Black Pirate. With Original score by local folky klezmerish band, Rattletrap Ruckus. I hadn't remembered this, but my dad engaged them to perform at a party of his a few years back. And the accordionist is good friends with a guy with whom my sister worked and with whom she (and by extension me, because we were that age) was very close for about a summer. Technically, screen time I suppose, but really different. A silent movie with music is... a special treat in my world. Live performance. Nifty. And about a billion times more entertaining than movies today, which are usually overcrowded, over-prices, over-serious or overly-hokey, and painfully overcrowded with sensory-flooding volume on every scale but odor. 

Andrew was skeptical to say the least. More like he did the "ok, we can go" thing he does when he really doesn't want to do something, but figures it's better to just say yes and see if it's as dull/bad as he expects. I used to immediately retract any suggestion that got this response. I imbibe the moods of those around me and have no desire to experience something with somebody who isn't enjoying himself. But, I've learned since then. Sometimes. And we're both idly trying (or at least he suggested we go out a few weekends ago in lieu of hanging out at home) to do more stuff out together. Especially with this baby looming and our lives about to churl up in turmoil. 

Plus, the likely alternative was for me to sit downstairs reading and Andrew to remain upstairs staring at either his computer or his tablet. Because, although he did confirm that he agrees it would be preferable to limit our usage in front of the baby, he reasons there is no baby as such just yet, and so we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Along with an intensive training calendar and lots of trainer rides, this is his version of "living it up." 

Which is reasonable, except I really feel that there's a compulsive nature to the habitual internetting, and in the middle of a five week sleep deficit is maybe not the time to start channeling mindfulness and cutting back on an ingrained habit cold-turkey. That's my philosophy. His is "cross that bridge when we get there." My addition to that is "by battling with the wife-troll who will exorcise her mommy-stress by shrieking every time the tablet or phone compulsively comes out and then gets crosser because she hates being forced into the position of a nag when she thought they agreed on things." There, I'm channeling my "half full with plague water" father there! We'll cross that bridge when we get there too! 

But, yes, in the meantime, in the spirit of living things up, going out together and doing fun stuff seems... fun. And it actually was pretty awesome for both of us. Douglas Fairbanks makes a nice pretend-pirate who's really a lord with a magical aquatic fighting squad (the original navy seals) all in skimpy outfits. And during the dramatic kissy scene, they subbed in his wife Mary Pickford. Hard to catch, but we were warned in advance. Alack, we didn't have time to dress up as pirates and earn our free popcorn, but somehow we'll survive. 

Back to today. The yogurt is setting. The music is jaunting through the modal mysteries. And it's about time to start selecting chocolate for our morning laze about in bed!

House-stalker Saga and Groggy Brew of Feb First Shot Wide

According with the mildewy adage about things that seem too good to be true, we had our first little "gee gawsh darnit" fingersnap of an apartment hunting experience yesterday. On the list o' Craig, I'd been idly sending links of various vacancies to Mr. (W)right, when I - mostly in jest, given his stated distaste for apartment living (the faceless Borg-like mire of suburban anonymity that just reeks of despair to my little urbanite) - included a link to a pretty bang-up deal of an apartment complex. For the same square footage, the rent was about $150 less, and came with a workout facility, a playground, on-site maintenance, a great location, three or four bedrooms, and the dearth of those peripheral costs of renting a home (lawn care, water/sewer/garbage). 

I'd prefaced the link with a "too bad there wouldn't be a garage to keep your bikes." He adazed me with the response that he could actually just use one of the extra bedrooms as a bike chamber. I was chary of the ultimate success of this proposal. There just had to be a catch. I scoured the apartment web-site for mention of housing authority, income qualifications, age minimums, and other potentially glaring defects. Didn't find any. Beginning to assume that the apartments were merely junky, I thought we might check them out post haste to see if we'd stumbled on some fantastic exception to the usual rules. 

Alack, 'twas income assisted housing. To qualify for those stunning little apartments, I'd have to quit my job and Andrew would have to cut his work salary in half. Which, all considered, turns a really good deal into a comparatively expensive endeavor. We were handed a list of other apartments that were not rent controlled and Andrew suggested stopping by a few. I was more in favor of returning home for internet research, but we were out... we attempted one of the places, were brusquely rebuffed by a sour old woman who felt that their absence of availabilities implied potential renters were pond-scum, and called the whole thing off.


Of course, we had the inevitable potato/potahto discussion based on Andrew's interpretation of a few stray remarks in which I thought I was indicating that considering I may be working less and a baby increases our costs significantly, that maybe I wasn't super into renting a poorly insulated fixer-upper palace in the most expensive part of town on the off-chance it had a bike dungeon. His interpretation, I believe, was something more akin to we shall be destitute and therefore must live in a scrofulous skeez-slum of a cramped apartment in the brothel district of town and by golly if there isn't one yet, we'll create a brother district to shove the rents down!!

After some re-introduction of the previously acquainted minds, we agreed that (1) while I preferred apartment complexes for a variety of extraneous reasons, I also agreed that I didn't think they were a feasible option given our scenario and Andrew's preferences, (2) although that complex really would have been amazing, (3) and house rentals seem only to be viewable during the weekday, so (4) guess Andrew will take a day off so we can look at other rentals, but I still think (5) that condo for rent seemed to be a nice compromise, with a decently lower rent, no additional yard fees, a garage and a goodly amount of storage... too bad it probably won't be available by February 19th when Andrew will be available, but (6) we don't really want a place until March anyways, so we probably shouldn't hurry.

So back to darting eyes and panicky fantasies of purges of all material possessions. The new home hunt shall commence again in a week or two. But for now... maybe just a slow trickle of Goodwill runs.

And belly poking. Wake up little Fonzie!! Time to practice your can-can while I can't-can't feel it!!
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