September 1985

Some pregnancy notes

Still no morning sickness. I'm tired all the time, and my appetite is weirdly up and down (Ray's ham sandwiches on Saturday night turned my stomach, but I'm back to craving burned toast again), but otherwise I have no physical complaints. Yet.

Feels almost like fall today, sunny and cool. Jamie woke me up an hours ago. I could hear her out in the living room, frantically shouting "It's GARBAGE day! MOM, it's GARBAGE day!" and I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to put the garbage cans out last night. That's why she was so frantic. I dashed out to the carport (in my robe and disheveled hair and smeared mascara) just as the garbage truck came lumbering down the street. Luckily I managed to flag the guy down and he stopped for me. Jamie is feeling pretty smug now for having saved the day!

Kacie in the Terrible Twos:

... I keep waiting for some of the obstinance and negativity to level off, but instead she grows more balky and stubborn every day. The worst part is her destructive streak. She has single-handedly destroyed the entire set of Walt Disney storybooks ... drawn huge crayon murals on the walls of every room in the house ... peeled the cover off the crib mattress, pulled the ears off of most of her stuffed animals and mashed all the crayons into waxy dust. Dolls, books, soap, crayons, photo albums, houseplants and stuffed animals are among the items currently "off-limits" to her; "mischief" has become her new middle name.

If I may express one hope, it is that Kacie matures a little by next spring. This will crucial to my sanity once the baby arrives!! I hope that by then Kacie will be out of diapers, off the bottle and in better spirits over all.

October 1985

The Western Kraft picnic

(The Western Kraft company picnic was a lot of fun this year, especially when Ray won the grand prize in the raffle, a brand-new VCR. It was after we got home from the picnic that disaster struck.) ... The only low point of the day was that we lost Maggie, Jamie's rag doll. We didn't even realize she was missing until I was tucking Jamie in that night. Jamie said, "Where's Maggie?," and instantly I knew that she hadn't come home with us.

Jamie was devastated. For a few days we held onto the hope that Maggie had been left behind at Sheryl and Jeff's house, where we'd stopped briefly on our way home from the picnic. But after a week or so with no word from Sheryl, we gave up hope. I was at my wits' end. How on earth could I assuage Jamie's grief? She loved that doll so much: it was like a death in the family.

Never underestimate a child's ability to cope with disaster, I guess. Jamie's resiliency is amazing. While I was stewing and worrying about how to help her, she helped herself ... to Kacie's doll, a twin of the missing Maggie. "I'll take care of Molly until Maggie comes home," she told me. Kacie couldn't care less - she would rather play with her new fire trucks, anyway - so this seems like the perfect solution. Why then do I have my doubts about it? Am I making it too easy for Jamie?

October 1985

News of my pregnancy has finally leaked out. Mom hugged me and wished me well. I told her I've only had one bona fide day of morning sickness this time (as opposed to the persistent nausea I felt with the girls), and she said, "It's going to be a boy this time."

Whenever I think of the fact that there's a baby growing inside of me again ... another child I will know and love someday, the way I love Jamie and Kacie ... I get goosebumps.

The other night when I was laying in bed I thought I felt a faint movement inside of me: just one quick flip-flop, nothing more than that. Baby?

Sniff. I think Jamie is beginning to grow up, right before my very eyes. I'm not sure if I'm prepared for this!

If I had played this song for her a year ago - "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, which she used to request a dozen times every day - she would have been right here in the middle of the living room, dancing her heart out. This morning I played it, and do you know what she said to me?? "Oh no, not Cyndi Lauper! I'm sick of Cyndi Lauper, Mom!" Good grief.

Thank goodness for Kacie P. At least I've got one little girl in pigtails, whirling around my living room this morning. (I look at her, and she smiles and kicks up one chubby leg; "I DANCIN'!" she shouts happily.)

Jamie had a big adventure this weekend ... she spent three days at her grandparents' house in Bellevue. Peg and Don stopped by unexpectedly Friday morning and invited her. I hastily packed her a bag and sent her off with hugs and kisses. She was so excited!

Secretly, I was dismayed at the thought of her being gone for three days. It seemed like an eternity to me. When she'd been gone for a few hours I was suddenly hit by a whopping case of "the blues." The house seemed so empty and quiet with her gone. And when Kacie was napping, I found myself completely alone ... an unfamiliar (and uncomfortable) sensation! For the rest of the weekend, TV shows or newspaper articles about children brought tears to my eyes. One afternoon just the sight of Jamie's little red tricycle, sitting forlornly outside in the rain, completely did me in. Ray was amused. "She's having fun, Mom!" he scolded, whenever he caught me with that mournful look on my face.

Jamie had a ball all weekend. Billy (now age five) spent the weekend, too, so the two of them spent lots of time together. The folks took them shopping, out to eat, over to visit Aunt Judy in Fall City, even to a high school football game.

MAGGIE IS HOME!! Believe it or not, Jamie's long-lost doll has been returned. Ray came home and said, "I have an announcement to make," and then he reached into his grocery bag and pulled out Maggie! Jamie's mouth literally popped open in surprise, and me, big sentimental pregnant dope that I am, I burst into tears. As it turns out, she's been at Sheryl and Jeff's all along. She seems none the worse for the wear, and Jamie is elated. All's well that ends well.

November 7, 1985

It's official

I called the doctor's office yesterday for the results of my pregnancy test. Of course by now there is no element of surprise left ... I know I'm pregnant. Still, when I heard the nurse's voice say "The test results were positive," I felt a surge of joy I hadn't expected at all. It caught me totally by surprise. I'm pregnant! It's official. And I'm thrilled!

We had our first snowfall of the season this morning. The girls and I woke to find a very light covering of snow in the front yard, which (to their disappointment and mine) melted within an hour or so. Later in the afternoon we had another thirty minute snowfall, glorious to look at but more rain than snow. Now, at 3 p.m., it's just rain. The Winter Wonderland we were hoping for has been reduced to one big gray puddle.

Last night Jamie and I watched "Dumbo" on TV. I was afraid she might not sit through a full-length movie, but she not only sat through it, she followed the storyline better than I did! Her reaction to the movie was very emotional. When the mother elephant went crazy and started attacking people, Jamie was scared to death; when Dumbo and his Mama were separated, she sobbed into her popcorn. (But then again, so did I.)

Our wish has come true. The snow returned today, and would you believe: we are completely snowed-in?? The snowfall began early this morning, continued steadily throughout the day, and by nightfall we had six inches. Now it's 9 p.m. and the snow is still coming down, gently but persistently. The whole world has come to a standstill. Traffic is non-existent: the neighborhood is buried beneath a blanket of white, hushed and frozen. We are in silly, exuberant moods. Ray is down on all fours, giving the girls pony rides, while I sit here and watch the snow and write. I'm happy.

Things I Am Thankful For

Thanksgiving 1985

1. My husband. For all his faults (as I may perceive them), he is still a loving, loyal, gentle-hearted man. And he makes one helluva chili!

2. My beautiful, healthy, bright-eyed, sweet-faced little daughters, whom I adore wholeheartedly.

3. The baby growing inside of me, whose movements I am just beginning to feel, and whose presence I feel already in my heart.

4. Our home ... for the warmth, comfort, cheer and peace it provides.

5. Smooth, hot black coffee on winter mornings.

6. The beauty of our neighborhood this past week, blanketed in snow.

7. Cold turkey sandwiches with cranberries.

8. Things we have acquired over the past year which have enhanced our home and/or simplified my life: the washing machine, the collection of family photos on the living room wall, the armchair Ray's folks gave us, the new vacuum cleaner, the coffeemaker, the paint job in our bedroom, Kacie's new bed.

9. Freshly shampooed hair.

10. The opportunity - the blessing - of being able to stay home with my children while they are little.

December 1985

Assorted stuff

We put up the Christmas tree on Saturday night. Ray and Jamie went to pick it out, a lovely, full six-footer, fragrant and beautiful. I made a new ornament for the top, to replace the one Jamie accidentally broke a couple of weeks ago. It's a silver dove-of-peace (the front of an old Christmas card), mounted on a large silver star (tin foil and cardboard) and trimmed with baby's breath. Actually, I'm kind of pleased with it.

Anyway, the girls and I trimmed the tree that evening while Ray made our traditional tree-trimming supper ... tacos. It was a pleasant evening, just the girls and Ray and I.

The girls adore the Christmas tree. Each night Jamie watches out the window, waiting for the neighbors to turn on their porch lights: her signal that it it's OK to turn on the tree lights.

This year there is the special added joy of being pregnant at Christmastime. It gives everything a depth and significance that I find very moving. I sit here, looking at the Christmas tree, and suddenly the baby gives me a thump. It is a reminder ... physical proof of the blessing within me ... one more blessing upon many others this holiday season.


December 1985

Jamie is really throwing herself into the spirit of the holidays this year. She's making Christmas cards for the mailman ... humming "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph" under her breath ... drawing holiday pictures for the windows ... wrapping "pretend-presents" for Maggie and putting them under the tree. She sits through every Christmas cartoon on TV without blinking, without breathing practically. Her favorites are "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Rudolph." Every day she requests a re-reading of "The Grinch" ... we know whole portions of it by heart. She loves all the little treats of the season: the gingerbread men Judy S. baked for us, candy canes, tangerines wrapped in crinkly paper, hot cocoa with marshmallows, cranberries, homemade jam ... she loves everything. (Well ... almost everything. Last week we got a big fruitcake from Helene and Dora, and she gamely tried a piece of it - but spit it out.) She's all caught up in the fun and the mystery and the specialness of the holidays. Best of all, her belief in Santa is absolute. She loves him with a pure, wholehearted, unwavering faith that is lovely to behold.

Another Evening

I have plans for this Friday evening. Nothing earth-shaking ... certainly nothing like the Friday nights I used to know, back when I was single and childless and footloose. Tonight I'm going to serve my children their supper - my good fried chicken, and broccoli, and blueberry pie. I'm going to run one more load of laundry. I'm going to admire our Christmas tree, and play Barbies with Jamie, and sing "Old McDonald" to Kacie. I'll be the mediator of six or seven sibling battles, I'll feed the cats, and I'll review my Christmas shopping list for tomorrow. I'll watch all my favorite Friday night TV shows. I'll eat odds and ends, whatever I find in the fridge, and I'll drink one cold beer without guilt while "Dallas" is on. At the end of the evening I'll slip into bed, snuggled under the new electric blanket, and read "Baby Talk" magazine until I fall asleep. Then I'll dream. (Maybe I'll have another dream like the one I had last night, where a Celestial Being informs me, in a voice that sounds like my mother's, that the baby I'm carrying "will be a BOY.") And such will be my exciting Friday night.


January 1986

One thing remains constant throughout all the ups and downs: my anticipation of this baby. It's funny. Even with all the worries about finances lately, I have no regrets about getting pregnant when I did. It's true that this pregnancy came as a surprise, and that it took Ray and I a while to come to terms with the idea of three children. But now that the baby is just three months away, already an established fact of our lives ... Ray felt him move for the first time last night ... I wouldn't turn back, even if I could. I have a feeling that this baby is going to be very, very special to all of us.

The day after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded:

My sorrow over the tragedy lingers. It is a sorrow shared by the entire country: President Reagan has ordered a one week period of mourning, and all flags are being flown at half-mast. Here in our little home, life goes on. "Is that spaceship gonna 'splode again?" Jamie asked in exasperation this morning. She's tired of all the TV coverage. She knows that something terrible happened yesterday - every time they replayed the explosion yesterday she ran to throw her arms around me, to comfort me - but today is another story. She showed a brief flash of compassion for the little girl whose mother died in the accident (schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe), but other than that she's more concerned with her cartoons being interrupted. And I'm glad, I guess.

Gave the girls their bath this morning and washed their hair. (It needed it.) As usual, Kacie screamed so loud I was afraid the neighbors would call the police again. She just plain hates having water poured on her head. After the nightmare of shampooing was over, they had fifteen minutes to splash and play and shampoo their dollies' hair, and that seemed to cheer everybody up.

Then I made brunch: sausages, scrambled eggs with cheese, fried potatoes and toast. We sat at the table and ate together. Jamie gamely tried some of the scrambled eggs, but then she quietly pushed them to the side of her plate with a slight shake of her head. Kacie wasn't nearly so polite. "YUCK!" she announced crossly. "I HATE potatoes!" And then she started stabbing them with her fork.

January 1986

Amusing things heard around P.ville

Jamie: "I'm fixin' the stroller. What did you think I was doin', catching a fish??"

Kacie: "Good morning poo-poo Mommy!"

Jamie: (showing me her sick dollies) "This one has some pain in her cheeks ... this one is really sick ... and this one had a heart attack."

Kacie: "Good pupcake!"

Now the girls are outside playing. I washed their faces and brushed their hair, put them in socks, shoes and ski jackets ... and now they are puttering around the yard and in the carport, shouting and tossing plastic balls into the air and fighting over Jamie's trike. I'm sitting next to the living room window, watching them. I could probably spend hours just watching the two of them play. Even their fiercest battles (from a nice quiet distance) are comically endearing. These two impossibly small, impossibly cute little people ... my daughters. I just love them so much.

Jamie turned my coffee on for me while I was showering, so it was fresh and ready for me by the time I'd dressed. Now she's sitting here at the kitchen table with me, coloring and gluing pieces of paper onto a calendar for her Grandma. "Keri is so very!" she says, under her breath, mimicking the skin lotion commercial on TV. She is so pretty today: clean shiny hair pulled into long braids, bangs neatly trimmed, purple sweatshirt, gray sweatpants, huge brown eyes with brows slightly furrowed as she works ... sweet, guileless face ...

Kacie has joined us here at the table ... crooked ponytails, chubby cheeks, dressed in clashing pink and purple, all chatters and giggles. "Want some TAPE!" she says, struggling to pull a piece of masking tape from the roll Jamie is using, but she succeeds only in tangling in hopelessly. "Mommy get Sissy some TAPE?!" she shouts at me, and I pull off a small piece for her, which she sticks onto the table and then pulls off, over and over.

The girls are sitting on the living room floor, playing with toy dishes and having a "pretend tea party." I've spread some bath towels on the floor beneath them so they can use water for the "tea." Jamie has neatly arranged six tiny cups and saucers on top of one towel, and is carefully pouring water into each one. Kacie is enjoying the simpler pleasure of pouring her share of water back and forth from one plastic pitcher into the other. They are each completely absorbed in their play. Jamie barks out an occasional order to her sister. "Now this is hot burn. Don't TOUCH." But for the most part Kacie ignores her. I sit here on the sofa and watch them in frank, naked adoration. I never realized how much was missing from my life until they arrived. They fill up my days with their imagination and their sweetness and their energy.


January 1986

Jamie dressed herself this morning, to surprise me: a gaily-striped new T-shirt under maroon overalls (on backwards). She came into my room at 9 a.m. and gently woke me up. "Mom," she said, "Sesame Street is on ... it's time a'get up." My room was so dark (it's a gloomy rainy day) that I was confused for a minute: it seemed more like night than day. Then I came out to the kitchen and opened the curtains and saw the rain, and my spirits lifted a little. I'm not doing cartwheels and laughing, but I'm in a decent mood. With any luck the feeling ought to prevail.

Jamie has wandered out here to the kitchen now and is sitting beside me at the table, coloring pictures "for Santa." (She colors a page in her coloring book, then tears it out and stuffs them into a paper bag. Presumably, when the bag is full I am to mail it to The North Pole.) Kacie now has the toy dishes all to herself ... she is pouring water from one dish to another ... whenever she thinks I'm not looking she takes a furtive sip or two. "Arr, arr" she says (water, water) - "Daddy taste dis!"

The house is a cheery jumble this morning. Toy dishes and rumpled bath towels are heaped in a pile near the door. Crayons and color books are scattered across the kitchen table. Dirty dishes and remnants of last night's excellent supper clutter the countertops. Magnetic letters and numbers are on the floor in front of the TV ... Jamie's "children" (Maggie, Rosie and Jennifer, the three dolls she lugs EVERYWHERE) are temporarily abandoned on the sofa. One laundry basket stuffed to overflowing with dirty clothes parked on the floor, cereal boxes from this morning (Fruit and Fiber for Mom, Corn Flakes for the kids) still sitting on the counter. My house. My clutter. I'm in no big hurry to get things picked up ... I think the rain is having a calming effect on me, because all I really feel like doing is sitting here, sipping my coffee, watching "Scrabble" on TV and waiting for the baby to kick ...

Today I will do all the things I love: some leisurely cleaning, a bit of laundry, maybe write a letter or two. Eat. Watch "Dark Shadows," "Divorce Court" and "All My Children." Play with the kids. Nap. Read. Enjoy my life, my family, my home. Count my blessings.

Aha! (Or as Jamie would say, "Too-DAH!") Baby is finally awake and thumping ... he just gave me a healthy jab on the right side, just under the ribs. Youch!

February 1986

Now the girls are in the middle of Argument No. 2,785,632 of the morning ... sigh. Honestly, the noise level around this house lately has been unreal. Kacie has a very short fuse, particularly when she's being pushed into doing something she doesn't want to do, and she simply explodes. This happens an average of four or five times an hour, and it's deafening. Lately she has also learned that it's fun to annoy Jamie. She'll deliberately grab a toy away from Jamie and run with it, or interrupt a game that Jay is playing, just for kicks. When this happens Jamie dissolves into ferocious temper tantrums, equal in decibel level to one of Kacie's. And once or twice an hour they'll blow up simultaneously. These are the moments at which I feel my grip beginning to loosen ...

Kacie is cute today: bouncy pigtails, bright yellow sweater, faded Levi's that droop a bit in the seat, purple Cabbage Patch Kids slippers. She's filled one of my saucepans with magnetic letters, and she's stirring them with a wooden spoon, making "tacos" and "pizza." "No TOUCH, it's ferry ferry hot!" she warns me very seriously.

Jamie has slipped off to her bedroom and is laying in bed with the door shut and the curtains closed. "I'm takin' a NAP!" she says crossly. She's not quite herself today: I don't know what it is. We've already clashed unpleasantly on two occasions today. (Once when I mentioned that I made root beer popsicles, and she got mad because I hadn't left any root beer to drink; and then when I caught her trying to bite Kacie on the ear.) When I went back into her bedroom just now to take her dollies in to her, she was almost asleep. "Wake me up when Kacie takes a nap," she mumbled sleepily. I tucked the dolls under the blanket next to her and tiptoed out of her room, closing the door softly behind me.

March 4, 1986

A scene from our day

Afternoon. Lunch is finished, the dishes are washed, the soaps are done for the day. Kacie has quite agreeably allowed herself to be put down for a nap (along with a bottle of Strawberry Kool-Aid and the last chocolate cookie), and now Jamie is looking at me with hungry-to-play-with-somebody eyes. "Why don't you go over and play with Michele?" I ask her casually. I saw Michele, the H.'s niece, arrive at their house earlier in the day. Jamie fetches a pair of clean socks and her muddy play shoes, and sits quietly as I dress her and brush her hair.

"I know a good way to get into their yard," Jamie says. "I can climb over the fence." She looks at me hopefully.

"No way," I say sternly. "That would be rude. You go up to the front door and knock."

Jamie bursts into tears: I am astonished by the force of her emotion. "I don't wanna KNOCK ON THE DOOR!" she wails. "They might say NOOO!"

I keep it as light as possible. "Well ... you can either do it the polite way, or you can stay here and spend the afternoon with Mama."

Still sobbing, Jamie wanders out the kitchen door, clutching her sweater in one hand and swiping at tears with the other. She stands in the front yard and cries for a minute, while I watch from the kitchen window. Mrs. Pierce across the street hears Jamie's anguished sobs and stands at her door, watching. I'm a little embarrassed, and a little impatient with Jamie, but mostly I feel for her. I seem to recall, dimly, feeling the same way at her age. It's hard to ask a grown-up for something you want. They might say no!

It takes Jamie five minutes just to walk from our door to the street. She takes a step, turns and looks back to see if I'm watching (I duck out of sight), lets out another sob, wipes her eyes and looks uncertainly at the H.'s house next door. Part of me longs to run outside, take her hand and walk her over. It would be so easy. It seems so much kinder. Another part of me realizes that this is one of those tiny battles only Jamie can fight and win.

Ten minutes pass before I see Jamie emerge timidly into the H.'s backyard. (Now I'm spying on her from my bedroom window.) She has ignored my instructions to knock on the door and has gone around to the back by herself. Oh well ... at least she didn't climb over the fence. She is still crying. She stands there forlornly, waiting for someone to notice her. Finally she says, in a shaky little voice, "Nichele?"

Michele Inman, age five, is at a loathsome stage developmentally. "Hey!" she says, nastily. "You're not supposed to be here! I'm gonna tell LORI." Jamie's little shoulders sag, and she takes a step backward, as though to leave. (I feel like strangling Michele. The brat.) Michele, fortunately, appears to relent a moment later, and she runs to ask Lori if Jamie can play. I hold my breath and wait for the verdict. "Yep!" Michele shouts, running towards the swings. "She says you CAN."

Jamie, suddenly joyous, runs after Michele and swings her sweater in the air. "Oh GOOD!" she shouts. "Now we can PLAY!"

I've had the same nightmare twice this past week:

I'm in the driver's seat of a car that is slowly sliding off a cliff. In the dream I'm thinking, 'If I can just get the car started, everything will be OK.' But then I turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens. At the very last minute I realize that my children are sitting in the back seat behind me, and as we begin the slow slide over the edge I feel grief, terror, guilt, helplessness, wrenching love for my children ...

March 1986

Baby has been rolling and kicking vigorously, off and on, since Ray left for work this morning. I'm amazed by this kid's relentless energy. (And a little fearful: does this mean I have another little dynamo on my hands??)

We've reached a decision on the baby's name: if it's a girl, she'll be Kimberley Jeanne, if a boy, Jesse Taylor.

Jamie just pinched me on the toe because I'm not wearing anything green! (Today is St. Patricks Day.) She surprised me this morning by dressing herself ... she picked one of the dresses Grandma Beeson brought her last week, a beautiful blue plaid. "You look like a school girl!" I said admiringly (refraining from mentioning that she wasn't wearing any green, either!) and this pleased her. She pulled on some matching knee socks, brushed her hair and filled up a plastic bag with storybooks. "This is my school bag!" she announced. All morning she's been pretending that she's at school, complete with lunch hour and recess and an argument with her imaginary classmate, Julie.

"Can I have some more milk?" she asked me a little while ago. "I want to GROW." So she can go to school for real, I guess.

Kacie is unbelievably grumpy today ... it is really getting on my nerves. One minute she's yelling because she can't figure out how to use her scissors (her chubby little hands can't maneuver them yet) ... next she's stubbed her toe on an end table ... then she's hollering for "Runch! RUNCH!" even though lunch is an hour away. The living room is spread end to end with toys she has brought out and abandoned ... clock puzzles, a toy phone, the "people" from her playhouse, a Viewmaster, a doll, the afore-mentioned scissors ... nothing holds her interest for long.

But she's so damned cute. In spite of her bursts of temper and fluctuating moods, this is such an appealing age. (Next week she'll be three.) There is a sweetness and vitality about her, a sauciness, a flirtatiousness, that I just love. An adorable zaniness. It's hard to stay mad at her for long.

Jamie and Kacie have both been sick since last week. It's just a touch of the flu, but of course I'm still worried. Jamie threw up her breakfast an hour ago, and now is complaining of a sore throat ... I've got her bedded down on the sofa, quietly watching TV and playing with her Colorforms. She is unnaturally pale and listless, but at least her fever is down. And her sense of humor is intact. "When I make my lips wet, that means I'm giving them their bath," she said.

Kacie was very sick on Friday - her day on the sofa - and today she's still got a runny nose and a charmingly froggy voice, but she's full of vigor and hijinks, per normal. Her energy supply is inexhaustible: it wears me out just looking at her.

March 1986

The morning after Kacie's third birthday. We had a pleasant, low-key celebration for her last night; we took the girls to Pietro's (Kacie calls it "Pizza's House"), and then afterwards we came home for cake and presents. We gave Kacie a box of Mr. Bubble, some crayons and a Richard Scarry colorbook, a package of balloons, a toy wheelbarrow with a set of plastic garden tools, and -- the BIG gift -- a Cabbage Patch Kids Power Cycle.

April 1986

I walked over to Terry's house this afternoon to use her phone, and I was surprised (and amused, and embarrassed) by how cumbersome I felt, walking down the street. Like an arthritic old elephant.

When this baby moves, it measures 9.5 on the Richter Scale. My ribcage, on the right side, is sore from the constant battering. I plan to get even with this child someday. How does MEATLOAF sound, Baby???

This week Kacie has discovered the fun of drawing. Her favorite things to draw: "Number Snakes" and "faces with eyebrows." She especially enjoys drawing a picture and then folding it up and giving it to me as a "present." It totally delights her when I tape one of her "presents" onto the fridge for display.

Jamie's most recent discovery is that she's entitled to her own opinions, and she is exercising this newfound freedom like crazy ...

Everything at the doctor's office went OK. I asked Dr. Bell if it looks like we've got another three weeks to go, and he said "Yes." Secretly I was hoping he would say, "Geez, we'd better get you over to the hospital right now!" The next three weeks of this pregnancy loom ahead longer than forever.

The nurse said, "It still sounds like a girl." When I told my mother about it, she said "Well, all I can tell you is that my doctors and nurses were never right about the sex." I am serenely unconcerned about the sex of this baby. The first two pregnancies I desperately wanted girls - and I got them. This time if it's a girl, fine. If it's a boy - fine. Either way this baby will be as deeply loved as my other two children.

April 14, 1986


I've changed my mind (again) about a boy's name. I've decided that I just can't name him Jesse. I've tried really hard to warm up to the name because Ray likes it so much, but I just plain don't like it.

April 18


(After several paragraphs' worth of complaining about everything):

... Do I sound like a total sourpuss today? Griping about this and bitching about that. Sorry. These little problems are nagging at me, and I feel damp and uncomfortable and I can't quit coughing, and I don't really feel like going to the doctor today, and I know I've got another long lonely Friday night ahead of me ... The girls are picking at each other, fighting over toilet paper and toy dragons ... the house needs a thorough vacuuming and polishing and I just don't have the oomph to do it.

Not exactly a zippety-doo-dah day.

The funny thing is that underneath it all I feel a pure, warm glow of happiness, expectation, calm, contentment. The baby is almost here! (Who knows? Maybe it'll happen tonight!) In spite of my external grumpiness, I am really quite marvelously happy! A wonderful experience, a landmark event in my life, is just around the corner. One of those red letter days that stay in your memory forever. And I'm going to try my damndest to enjoy every single minute of it.

Experiencing a manic, almost painful desire to clean everything in sight. Trying to get the ol' nest in order.

April 20, 1986

Sunny spring day. Kacie is sitting here at the table with me (messy pigtails, "Central Tavern" T-shirt pulled over her blue Care Bears nightgown, bare feet). She has just demolished her second plate of pancakes and sausages. Now she is patting her fat tummy and saying "I got BA-bee in dere!"

Jamie is glued to the TV, watching her beloved Rainbow Brite cartoon ("It's a real scary one, Mommy!") and leisurely putting forkfuls of pancake into her face. I bustled around this morning and made a nice big breakfast, plus a huge pot of coffee and a pitcher of Sunny Delight, and now all of a sudden I'm feeling queerly nauseous, unable to force down a single bite. This is partly due to my cold, which lingers today, and partly (mostly) because I don't know when I might go into labor and I don't want to get caught with a full stomach when I do.

It'll be one of these:

Kyle Christopher

Brett Andrew

Jesse Taylor (yuck)

Continued ...


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