L'Alpe is no match for him....

Just had to post this pic of Eric riding up L'Alpe d'Huez a few weeks ago while he was in France for a school conference. I watched the riders in the Tour ride up it this morning while I slogged away on my trainer. This baby has decided to live INSIDE my pelvis, so I've been temporarily sidelined from running:-(. I'm far too shaky on the bike under the best of circumstances, so I stick to the trainer, which, when you're watching the Tour de France on TV and can pretend that you're riding in the Alps instead of your bedroom, is not all that bad. Anyway, I was impressed to note that Eric had done it faster than the slowest Tour riders today. Of course, they'd already ridden over a hundred miles and two other mountains, but still. He looks so cute:). He thinks I tolerate his cycling because I know he would never give it up, but I really am so proud of what a good athlete he is. I'll always remember arriving at the start of a race we did together last fall and being ready to tell anyone who looked at me funny, "I'm with him!"

Another random note- while eating dinner the other day, little Eric asked if we were poor. I laughed and told him no, but Eric, ever the economist, launched into an explanation of relative wealth, explaining that if you compare us to the average Brazilian, who has a dirt floor, no car and plastic furniture, then we're very rich, but if you compare us to someone with tons of money, like.....like.....and as he struggled for a name the kids would recognize, Brigham cheerfully blurted, "Tom Selleck?" That made our night.

One more random note- I really don't know how much longer I can take being ostracized in my own home. Lately, whenever Eric or one of the boys approaches me, they start to speak and then pull the neck of their shirt up over their nose and back away in disgust. This is because for about an hour after every meal I can be found at the computer, the sink, or wherever I happen to be with cup full of regurgitated food close by. Yes. Regurgitated. My favorite reaction to this lovely pregnancy symptom (separate and distinct from vomiting) was from our friend Rod, a Radiology resident who said, without missing a beat, "yeah, that progesterone's a killer isn't it?" It certainly is. I long for the day when my stomach returns to its normal capacity. I've been told to eat six small meals a day. I refuse to do that. I'm pregnant. I get real hungry. I want a MEAL, not a wimpy little snack.

So, for the next 11 weeks I plan to eat like a normal person, not graze like some cow, and then proceed to upchuck a good ten percent of what I've eaten. Don't worry, my weight gain has not been affected in the least since I always eat whenever I'm hungry, it's just really, really gross. And a bit of a problem when we eat out or with friends. You should see the warning looks Eric shoots me as I reach for dessert. I should really go though, my cup is about to overflow, and not with love....


Well, there goes another one

Brigham had his first day of kindergarten on Wednesday. Interestingly, he was much less concerned about it than Eric. I think he started to get a little nervous, however (and so did I) when his teacher repeatedly called him Chandler when he walked in the room: "Welcome, Chandler!....Let's find your desk, Chandler!" I agonized over this all the way home- why, WHY didn't I correct her?! Because she's been teaching for almost thirty years and although she seems very, very nice, she instructed us on what brand of scissors to buy with such specificity that I confess I'm pretty intimidated by her! Apparently she figured things out when the real Chandler showed up. His parents probably have backbones.

Brigham had an accident and had to use the change of clothes I had sent in, but other than that, all seemed to go well. He told me that there were two "options" for lunch, and he chose a baked potato with cheese sauce, broccoli and chocolate milk. As his eyes were closing in sleep that night, I asked him what he was thinking about, and he said: "a potato". Eric, for his part, raves about the salads in the cafeteria- complete with cucumbers! Today they wore red for red day and Brigham made an apple puppet, which I'm dying to see when he brings it home on Monday.

I miss them. Don't get me wrong- our house is pretty darn clean right now. Everyone has clean clothes- folded and in their drawers, even. The dog has been bathed. But tomorrow is Saturday, and for the first time in my life as a mother, I'm looking forward to it not because my husband will be home, but because my kids will be home. I find myself FIERCELY guarding the precious moments we have to be together as a family. This is part pregnancy hormones, I'm certain, but also part not realizing what you have until you've lost it. All those unscheduled minutes in which I could have snuggled and done puzzles and sung songs. I've tried to console myself with thoughts of the daughter growing inside me right now. In a few months I'll have a new little friend to keep me company. But, strangely, that never works. Even though our two bodies are one, I don't know her yet. I look at my boys and try to think how one day she'll inspire the same overwhelming feelings of love and protectiveness that they do....but that day is still to come. So for now, the dog is getting LOTS of love and attention, and I'm learning how to be alone again.


Letting go

Today was little Eric's first day of first grade. He did go to Kindergarten last year, but it was private and half day- a world away from the large public elementary school both boys are going to this year. We went in Thursday to meet his teacher, who is, apparently, the most loved teacher in the whole school and, if that weren't enough, a man. Eric was delighted to discover the existence of male teachers.

Yesterday he asked me several times if he would have any time to play in the first grade- the first hint of reluctance he'd shown. He was worried because he hadn't seen any toys in the classroom. I told him honestly that I didn't know, but that I thought the work would be fun. Then on the way to school this morning he said that he'd woken up on the middle of the night and stayed awake for a long time thinking about school. And then he let me hold his hand in the hallway. It's like he read a book on how to break your Mom's heart. He was the only child in a class of 23 who was new to the school, and I had to resist the very strong urge to ask the belovedmaleteacher to keep a special eye out for him.

It's nearly impossibly to get Eric to keep his eyes open when you're using the flash. I took two pictures of him at his desk- eyes closed in both, but I was the only Mom in the room and I could feel him silently begging me not to embarrass him, so I desisted.

When I picked him up he looked shaken- he'd skinned his knee and been hit by a baseball on the playground, but he perked up in the car and I ended up with the impression that it was a pretty good first day. There was a puppet, some animal crackers and some old preschool friends.

The playground, however, seems incredibly dangerous. Eric described it as being made of cement with "thousands of kids running around". Add to that baseballs whizzing through the air at lightening speed and a deranged second grader who kept coming up and yelling inexplicably in Eric's face. I'm taking a lot of deep breaths and revisiting the story my Mom and aunt told me my first summer at camp. One of them, I can't remember which, had written home to my grandmother from the same camp, 30 years earlier, that they were learning how to swim through burning oil and stand up in the saddle during horseback riding. What they meant was, they were learning what to do INCASE they ever had to swim through burning oil (swim under water for as long as you can and splash wildly before coming up for a breath to disperse the flames), and they were standing up in the STIRRUPS while trotting. Nevertheless, my grandmother phoned the camp director in a panic- thoughts of her daughters swimming in a flaming river and balancing on one leg atop a galloping horse making her sick with worry. Perhaps someday I'll laugh and tell the story of the treacherous elementary school playground. But if that second grader touches one hair on my son's head, I will hunt him down, so help me.

While Eric was gone, Briggie (who's first day of Kindergarten is Wednesday) and I sullenly cleaned the house and made some cookies for an after school snack. This:

is what we got. As you can see, I left something out. Luckily, that didn't stop the boys from eating them. Or the dog. Or me:).