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Hooray for maternity leave! I am home now until approximately February. Baby Two is due in two weeks. Last time I was pregnant, I worked almost up to my due date because I could only get two months of fully-paid time off (only six weeks of that being after the baby arrives, citing medical necessity, assuming a "normal vagnial birth"). This time I can get three months, so here I am, parked on the couch with a stack of class materials studying until I dream of enolates and their transition states. The final exam is next Monday, after which I hereby give Baby Two permission to make his/her entrance if s/he deems it necessary. Any movement by Baby Two towards the cervix prior to December 12th is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

What else is going on? Toddler fun! Peanut is sitting beside me on the couch with her copy of "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb" dictating a very thorough analysis of the subtleties of this fine piece of literature:
Anna: Sis? [translation - What's this?]
Me: Monkey.
Anna: Sis?
Me: Another monkey.
Anna: Apple?
Me: Mhm, that's an apple.
Anna: A noisy chicken! It's scary! It won't hurt you. You're fine. Chicken. It's scary, chicken. Scary chicken.
Sis? Drum? Monkey feet? Monkey butt? Noisy chicken!
Sis? Blankie? [covers self and baby doll with blankie] I'm cozy. Baby cozy. I'm cozy. Anna.
Me: Why don't you put your socks on, okay?
Anna: Okay. Socks sad. Socks cry.
Me: No, your feet will cry if you don't put socks on.
Anna: A noisy chicken! Noisy chicken fine. [gets off[ couch, points to dog] Woof woof! See? Woof woof sleeping. [proceds to climb on the couch next to the dog, who is only minorly perturbed. Anna covers dog and self with blanket, and announces they are both sleeping.]

For Easter last year, my mother found the world's most annoying chicken toy. It's a big, fluffy chick about 8" tall. When you squeeze the button on it's wing, it crows, launches into a raucous rendition of "The Birdie Song", and does a little dance (or topples over, depending on how solid a surface it's on). It terrified Anna last spring, and worked it's way to the bottom of the toy heap in her room. Last weekend we cleaned her room and moved furniture, installing a "big girl bed" to start the transition from crib to bed. In the process, the "noisy chicken" turned up, and apparently is still the stuff nightmares are made of. It's been a major topic of discussion for three days now. We have established that:
1. The chicken is noisy.
2. It's okay, he won't hurt you.
However, in no circumstances are we to turn on the chicken or allow it to come anywhere near Anna at any point.

The housecleaning for the holidays (also nesting) is slow going. I'm fortunate in that I manage to avoid most of the routine discomforts of pregnancy. However, this does not change the fact that I have a spare person hanging around in my abdomen. This makes it difficult to reach, bend over, stand for any length of time, cary toddlers, cary buckets of water, move quickly enough to keep toddlers out of buckets of soapy water, lug vacuum cleaners, lug much of anything, sit comfortably, lie down comfortably, sleep, not sleep, etc. But what about your spouse, you might ask? Well, I did manage to enlist him in cleaning/rearranging the kids' room. The less said about that, the better.
All of the unisex baby clothes are out of storage, washed, and waiting in the dresser. Today I installed the infant seat base in the larger of our vehicles and made sure it fits in the smaller vehicle along with Anna's convertible seat. The cradle bedding has been washed, but the cradles are still in storage until we've cleaned and I'm done sewing (the sewing machine is in the space that the upstairs cradle will occupy, and we're not ready to start tripping over the downstairs cradle just yet). There's a package of itty bitty newborn sized diapers stashed upstairs, so the bare necessities are covered. We can clothe the baby and get him/her home. BUT NOT UNTIL AFTER THE 12TH!

Knitting: I hate these stupid cabled socks. Hate them. Honest. The sooner they're finished, the better. I hate the cable pattern. I hate the splitty yarn. I really hate the size 0 needles that dig into my hands no matter how I hold them and make my left ring finger go numb. Anna and I broke one of my size 1 needles (used for the top of the sock) while horsing around on the couch. I started seaming Baby Two's coming home outfit, and in the process broke my last darning needle. I've bought yarn for a "Kiri" shawl, but forbid mysef to start it before the 12th. I've been propositioned to do another quickie Christmas project after the 12th, assuming the baby hasn't arrived. The thought of so much "free" time to enjoy my family, knitting, napping, cuddling, baking, eating, and making merry is the light at the end of the tunnel for me right now. Until then, back to the enolates.

Noisy chickens seems to be a theme -- when we took our oldest to the Big Butler County Fair, he hated the chicken barn.

"Don't like chickens -- too loud." That's what he'll tell you every time the subject of chickens comes up.

Best of luck with the debut of Peanut II.

Cheers,
Bob

Hey - I was going to post that comment. You must not be working as hard as I am ;-)
It's true, he did not like those chickens. Can't wait to see how he relates to Muy Loco, the Dancing Lizard.

All the best,
Wife of Bob

Yes. I was there for the purchase of the noisy chicken. It scared me, an 18 yr old. Our mother has a twisted sense of humor. I had the most delicious cheesecake in the universe today. I think I might attempt to recreate it when I get home. If I do, and it is good, I may end up sending you some.

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