Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Fish is Dead. Long Live the Fish.

Sometime early on the morning of Friday, January 17, Ben's pet fish, Cutie, died. I found him as we got ready to leave the house for the day, but let the matter lie. There was some question of how we'd handle the situation. We considered the Kia Optima solution. Most betta fish look mostly the same; we totally could have pulled it off. But we didn't. For one thing, it would have been logistically complicated–getting from work to the pet store to home in time–and for another, more important thing, this seemed like an important moment, and one I didn't want to be disingenuous about.

So shortly before bed, we sat Ben down and told him that Cutie had died. I felt particularly bad because we'd had such a good evening. He cried. A lot. But we read a bedtime story, and sang songs, and I held him and rocked him and sang to him some more. He cried himself to sleep, but he was better in the morning. We had a trip to That Fish Place planned for Sunday afternoon anyway (they let you feed the stingrays on weekend afternoons), so we used the opportunity to let Ben pick out another fish. And so we brought home Cutie II.
I've been informed that when referring to the new fish, I am to call him just Cutie,
and I can distinguish the old fish by calling him Cutie I.

Meanwhile, Cutie I was still waiting for his final rites. We asked Ben if we should flush him or bury him. He chose bury, which was fine, but the ground was frozen, and besides, I had (what I thought) was a better idea. So on Sunday night I prepared a pyre and invited the family to the back yard. Ben is a very big fan of Star Wars, and I thought honoring Cutie the same way Darth Vader was honored at the end of Return of the Jedi (according to Ben, "firing him") would appeal to him. Unfortunately, the wind was strong and I couldn't get the fire to light properly. Ben requested to go inside, tears forming in his eyes. I felt bad, but what could I do? I stayed outside until the fire burned the pyre (not so much the fish), then I buried the remains (in ground that was not as frozen as I thought it would be).

Cutie Rezendes


Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Very Best Thing

Back in September, over Labor Day weekend, we spent the night in a cabin in the woods. It was a lovely little place that belongs to a friend's family, and we had a great time simply relaxing and enjoying each other's company. The cabin was comfortable, but it was a cabin, and as such, barely qualified as having more than one room, apart from the bathroom. And so the night spent there afforded us a rare and special opportunity to watch Ben sleep.

Since he got old enough to go to sleep without one of us holding him, neither Karin or I gets much chance to see Ben sleep. He has never been one of those children that will simply fall asleep anywhere when he gets tired, so pretty much all of his sleeping gets done behind the closed door of his bedroom. And, as any parent knows, you don't go into your sleeping child's bedroom unless you really, really have to risk it.

So there he was, sleeping, and Karin and I were staring at him, and I had a thought: "He is my very best thing." He is the very best thing I have ever made, ever done, ever had. We had found out about baby number 2 only 3 weeks earlier, and I stood there joyous in the knowledge that I would have another such thing, another precious, beautiful, deeply flawed, but still perfect little person. That baby was so far off then, but in the meantime we have seen pictures of her, we have found her name, and, just tonight, Olive kicked me for the very first time.

These days Ben tends to get yelled at if he kicks me, but 5 and a half years ago, it was all I wanted him to do. I felt Ben for the first time when when he was 22 weeks and some odd days along, and so I was a bit anxious that Olive hit 23 weeks today and I still hadn't felt her. But tonight after dinner she was doing a bit of a jig, so I just laid there with my hand on Karin's belly, and watched Elf, and let the happy tears run down my face.

This picture is actually from a trip we took last February. It was a similar joy watching him sleep then,

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reveal Pie

I had never heard of the concept of a "reveal party" until last spring when my boss's wife was pregnant. Someone asked them if they were going to have a reveal party. For those not familiar, the idea is to host a party at which you reveal the gender of your unborn child, usually by way of baked good or other items that may be colored either pink or blue. I have heard ideas involving balloons, light bulbs, Easter eggs, clothes, etc.

Frankly, I find the whole thing a bit ridiculous. When one coworker asked me if I was going to be bringing in a cake when we found out the gender of our baby, I said "no, I think I'll just post it on Facebook."
"Come on,” she said “at least a cupcake or something."
"What I'm hearing you say is 'I'm hungry.'"

So I relented. Of course, that meant that when she texted me on Monday night: "I am dying!!!!!" She didn't get to find out.
"You wanted food, you're getting food. I'm not telling."

I stayed up entirely too late on Monday night baking a pie. It was a cheesy (in the slang way, not the food way), but very tasty, pink vanilla cream pie.

In related news, Olive got her first gift yesterday. A different coworker brought in an outfit for her. It is pink and adorable and makes the fact that I am going to have a little baby girl in a few months real to me in a way that nothing else has yet.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You're Looking For…

It's infuriating, the way ultrasound techs refuse to tell you the gender of the baby, despite the fact that they clearly know what it is. I understand why they're not allowed to tell you, and I understand that, technically, that post 18 week ultrasound isn't about identifying gender, it's about making sure all the baby's parts are where they're supposed to be and doing what they're supposed to be doing.
"Do we know if it has a penis yet?"

2013 ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Code V28.81

Encounter for fetal anatomic survey

  • Short description: Scrn fetal anatmc survey.
  • ICD-9-CM V28.81 is a billable medical code that can be used to specify a diagnosis on a reimbursement claim.
  • You are viewing the 2013 version of ICD-9-CM V28.81.
But let's be honest, we want to know what parts it has. That's certainly why Ben was there.

After lots of looking at the heart, and the spine, and the kidneys (I couldn't see them) and the brain(!!!), the tech said she had to go check on something. Before she left the room, she froze an image on the screen and drew an arrow. "You're looking for either something sticking out right here, or three little white lines." As when we learned Ben was a boy, Karin was quickly confident about what she saw, I, less so. But you can look for yourself:
The only situation in which it's acceptable to say proudly, "look at my child's genitals!"

In the end, we agreed (and the tech subtly confirmed that we were correct), there does not appear to be anything "sticking out" in that picture. And so it is with great pleasure that I introduce you (however prematurely and imperfectly) to Olive Rezendes. Coming next Spring!

(And look, I finally get to use the background image variation that I cooked up back before we found out that Ben was Ben and not Cordelia!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Don't Think It's Possible To Have the Hiccups If You Don't Breathe…

…but that's certainly what it looked like our little Fig was doing in there.
A note on terminology. While in-utero, Ben was Tadpole. This baby's nickname has changed week to week based on a size comparison chart in the pregnancy app I downloaded. The chart runs from poppy seed to watermelon, and we started with sprinkle (as in the ice cream topping), although this chart actually uses rice for that week. Our little one has been feeling a little Middle Eastern lately; it was a date last week and is a fig this week. Next week it moves up to plum.
On Tuesday we went to our first prenatal appointment. We heard a nice steady heartbeat (just one, thankfully; Karin had been getting a little paranoid about twins), but the midwife said that she likes to do an ultrasound all the same, just to make sure everything looks ship shape.

So we walked over to Lancaster General's Downtown Outpatient Pavilion today and got a look at our little one. Ben went along, but he wasn't too impressed. It could be because we had to wake him up from his nap in order to go, or it could be because, judging by his interactions with other babies, he's not going to be too impressed with this baby until it's old enough to run around and play with him.

I am happy to have pictures of our Fig, though they're not great. I think the pictures from Ben's early ultrasound were clearer. Also, I am surprised that Lancaster General isn't set up to email you pictures–or even a video–of the ultrasound. Just as they did five years ago, they simply print out a couple of screencaps. But thats OK; that's what I have a scanner for.

Friday, August 30, 2013


If you ask me, I will tell you that I am not superstitious. But lately I have begun to wonder if I am, a bit.  Funnily, most of this subtle superstition seems to surround clothing. I mentioned the luck I attach to my red socks, and in a post to Facebook last week I said "Today is both the first day since finding out we’re expecting that I haven’t worn a bow tie and also the first time I haven’t had a stunningly good day. Coincidence? Probably, but you can never be sure about this sort of thing." I have worn a bow tie almost every day since posting that, including at least one day on which I didn't work.

Then, of course, there's the work related superstition. I don't know how it is in other businesses, but in pharmacy you never ever mention the fact that "it's kind of slow today" lest all Hell break loose. I think most of the pharmacists and technicians I have worked with over the years would suggest not even thinking those words, let alone saying them aloud. Do I really believe that observing the fact that it hasn't been a busy day will turn it into a busy day? No?

And, finally, though I am trying very hard not to be, I am very concerned that tomorrow is the last day of August. I posted two years ago about how little I like September, and last year didn't change that opinion. I know, intellectually that it's just another 30 days on the calendar, but, try as I might, I can't help believing that bad things happen in September. I am happy right now, and through prayer and perseverance I hope to be happy right on through September. Still…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Batter Up

Ben played baseball on Sunday.  Sort of. We were at Owen's 8th birthday party and all the boys (and Isabel) and their dads started up a game. I, being me, didn't join in, but Ben wanted to. A few moments later, however, he came running back to me, clearly about to burst into tears. My assumption was that the other boys, all 3-4 years older than him, had refused to let him join. I was wrong. "Daddy," he whimpered, "I can't play because all the bats are gone." After I explained that only one bat at a time was needed, and that everyone would share, his smile returned and he headed back over to the field. It turned out, however, that he had no idea how to actually play. He understood that one was to stand in a certain place and hit the ball with the bat, but beyond that he was clueless. It's my fault, I suppose. Though I can enjoy myself at a baseball game, I have no love of sports, and so haven't passed on any skill or knowledge or interest in that area. In that picture there it looks like he knows what he's doing, but in person it was clear that he would have been more comfortable with a lightsaber in his hands.

If Ben would like to play tee-ball, or any other sport, as a child, he will be welcome too, but I fear that it may never go too well for him. It certainly never did for me, though I kept trying right on up through middle school. When I took the picture to the right, I wondered to myself if he would be spending a lot of time on a bench in his future. Then he promptly fell backwards and hit his head on the fence.

As I carried him, crying, away from the field, he told me, "I don't like baseball. It's boring!" Don't worry kid, you're in the right family.