Sticker Charts and Schmidtlets

I’ve always been a rules girl. Sticker charts were made for people like me. If I set the table I got a sticker. If I made my bed I got a sticker. If I went a whole day without a time out in the Naughty Chair, that was worth at least three stickers. 

I’m not going to say I never tried to manipulate this system (comforter pulled up over a tangle of sheets never works, does it?) but this method of rule à reward had always worked well for me.

Um, it still works well: Revise one page, get one Revision Skittle…

Which is why bed rest baffles me.

I’ve followed the rules. I spend all of my time confined between the headboard and footboard of my sleigh bed or down on the couch in a flurry of pillows. Bathroom visits are a field trip – but only require a couple dozen steps. Food is the same: St. Matt emptied and carried our wine fridge up to the bedroom and stocks it daily with a large enough food and liquid selections for a woman who’s carrying at least quintuplets.

All that’s required of me is that I stay put – and the payoff is healthy babies who also stay put.

Which is why bed rest baffles me.

I’ve done my part…

… the Schmidtlets don’t seem to want to do theirs.

I may gripe a bit and I may complain of BedRestlessness, but, in truth, my role is easy.  I’ve got an engrossing WIP to play with, shelves of books we’ve stockpiled (I read seven last week alone), TV’s with DVR, friends a few keystrokes or phone digits away, and a saintly, saintly, truly saintly husband who has gone out of his way to envision things I might want, before I’ve even dreamed them up.

What’s not easy:  knowing I’ve followed the directions with NASA precision, and the results aren’t in my control.

We’ve started steroid shots to advance the Schmidtlets’ lung development. We’ve started packing our hospital bag. We’ve started prioritizing the to-do list for the what-if?

Preparation is great, of course, but it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t grant me a second more of pregnancy if the twins decide that NOW is when they want to arrive.

But they haven’t picked Now, or Now, or even Now and every second they continue to grow is a blessing.

So, stay put little ones. The world is waiting to love and cherish you, but it will still be waiting in a few weeks. And your momma will put extra stickers on your sticker charts if you make it a month or more. Stay.

Do not pass Go. Report directly to BED

 My last day of school was Friday. I’ve spent the past seven weeks very conflicted about today – the battle of exhaustion versus my desire to teach. I wasn’t surprised to discover that I woke up this morning feeling a little lost soul-ish.
I spent the morning as a flitterbug —  popping from one task to the next without accomplishing much of anything. Any progress I might have made was hindered by Biscotti. She’s been a wee bit overprotective as of late; she will not let the Twin Belly out of her sight. Today she added a new trick:  doing her dangdest to herd me back to bed.
I should’ve listened.
This afternoon we had our first NONstress test. They hooked up monitors to capture the babies’ heartbeats and a third monitor to my uterus.  In typical Bean Sprout fashion, he showed off for the doctors by doing all sorts of barrel rolls and squirm-worm maneuvers. And in typical Twin Belly fashion, my uterus reacted to his movements by having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions.
They weren’t. Apparently they’re the real deal.  And regular.
The doctor took one look at my printout and announced: Bed Rest.
St. Matt and I exchanged a look that said everything: But wait! We’re not ready yet. It’s my first day off work. You said I’d have some time to run errands and take it easy. I was going to make cookies tonight. We were going to walk the dogs. I have plans tomorrow. We have plans this weekend. We’re NOT Ready.
Out loud we said, “Okay, what do we need to know?” because none of that matters. And we’ll do just about anything to make sure these two little boys stay put and stay safe for as many weeks as possible.
So now I sit. And wait. Thursday AM’s our next NST and I’m hoping for better results.
In the meantime, Biscotti, bodyguard puggle extraordinaire, is thrilled that I’m taking her advice and lying down. If a puggle could gloat, that’s what she’d be doing, from her supervisory post at the foot of my bed.

This is NOT a Post About Italy

So, I tell you we’re having some babies, I accept all of your congratulations, and then I disappear again. Bad Tiffany!

I was actually unplugged and off-grid for a ten days, enjoying a “babymoon” in Italy with St. Matt. And believe it or not, I didn’t go through Petunia-withdrawal or whine about missing my laptop – not even once. *pats self on the back*

And while there are plenty of Italia stories to tell – look! I even included a teaser picture – today all I can think about is names.

Baby names.

When I’m writing a story I go crazy picking the perfect names for my characters – they have to match temperament, appearance, background, etc. But luckily, I know the character before I know the name and if I need to change it halfway through the book, that’s what the “Find and Replace” command is for.

Not so much for the Schmidtlets in my belly.

And right off the bat, there was going to be none of this “Baby A” and “Baby B” business that the doctors insist on using. We weren’t even in our car, and I certainly hadn’t recovered from the news it was twins, when I was already paling and saying: “Now we need twice as many names.”

But, seeing as we had a good four months before we’d find out gender, interim names were a must. St. Matt suggested Alpha and Beta

What can I say? He’s an engineer.

I countered with Alcott and Bronte and was resoundingly shot down. Why? Because, as St. Matt so wisely realized, “You’re going to get attached and want to actually name them that.”

He was right. Later that night I woke him up: “Alcott’s kinda cute, isn’t it? For a girl? We could call her Ally for short.”

So you can see why NON-NAME interim names became essential.

After a week of what-about-this? and what-about-that? We settled on two: Acorn, and Bean Sprout. (See how they’re still A and B words… St. Matt is SUCH an engineer).

But now there comes a bigger problem. REAL names…

I have post-its of possibilities everywhere. I’ve just about worn out Baby Name Voyager. In Italy – look, another teaser picture – I stopped St. Matt at every playbill and construction sign so I could read the names of contractors and actors.

He’s learning not to get too attached to any name, because as soon as we find something we both agree on, I change my mind.

I’m learning not to wake him up in the middle of the night when I come up with potentials – because the interrupted-REM answer is always, “No.”

The fact that we’ve got roughly five more months to find the perfect combinations of first and middle names has not prevented me from lying awake and whispering ideas at the ceiling. Or turning to the bookshelf beside my bed and scanning for ideas.

… you know, now that I think about it, Bronte’s kinda cute, too.

An Explanation and An Announcement

It’s been a heckofa long time since I blogged. Normally I don’t make excuses for blog lapses; you just can assume I’ve been: A) busy B) lazy C) uninspired or D) held hostage by a band of wild sixth graders who insist I grade their personal narratives thisveryminute.

This time my blog-absence was absurdly long. But I have a good reason.
very good reasons:

Baby A
Baby B

St. Matt and I are expecting our first children — twins — early next winter.

Go ahead and jump up and down in glee for me — the doctor says *I’m* to refrain from impish dancing. Do you know how hard it is to refrain from impish dancing and other hijinks when you’re this elated? WICKED HARD!

And while the Schmidtlets (lettes?) will be the very best things to happen to us, they are also terrible nausea-monsters. I’ve spent most of the past 3 months in varying shades of green.

Luckily green is my second-favorite color.

Even more lucky is the fact that The Queasy is finally, finally starting to pass.

Until it’s completely gone, however, I’ll keep rocking my sea-sickness bracelets and wearing a pea-soup completion with a smile. They’re the latest trends, you know.