Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday 42nd, Lidia

After years of passing it by every day on my way to-and-from work, we finally got a chance to sample the fine French fare at the Amuse- Bouche restaurant, literally just minutes around the corner from us on Tecumseth. Here's Lidia--in an admittedly horrid cameraphone pic--midway through her very tasty main course of lobster and scallops (and her first glass of red wine since last spring, to wash down her appetizer of foie gras and creme brulee for dessert), while I had some wildly inventive beef variation. From now on, it's burnt breakfast-in-bed and homemade birthday cards. But really, what could be better?...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Class 2: The Grand Tour

Tonight's class began with a tour of Mt. Sinai--specifically, the 7th and 10th floors where it's all gonna go down come December. Nadia also suggested that I scope out the area around the hospital and find the best spots to dump the car in event of an emergency.

Triage is on the 7th, post-partum on the 10th (where our classes are being held). Wheelchairs are available at the Murray Street entrance. And there's a Tim Horton's in the hospital--somewhere.

On D(delivery)-Day, we can expect a shortage of private rooms, no matter what we're willing to pay, so it's going to be a bit of a luck of the draw--and I'm confident to realize that I certainly haven't used up all of my luck on lotto winnings, so fingers-crossed. Semi-privates are in steady supply, but I'm such a misanthrope that I can't even stand to have strangers near me in a movie lineup--how the hell will I ever cope with someone else's crying brat and boorish relatives in the same room?

I also learned what a doula is, and that we can't afford it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prenatal Classes Begin

Tonight we attended our first prenatal class at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the esteemed medical institution that will host our youngsters' arrivals. It's a special class for expectant parents of "multiples", and of the ten couples enrolled, all but one are expecting twins (that lucky duo will hatch triplets!).

Our instructor is the wonderful Nadia Prendergast--who also works at the hospital and who is a mother herself. As couples slowly shuffled in (what's with the 6 PM start time? The era of the 9-5er is long gone), Nadia kicked off the eight-week session on an informal note by simply having us introduce ourselves, chat about our excitements and fears (about the subject of parenting--otherwise I would've gone on about the Hadron Collider, the impending financial crisis, and giant coconut crabs), and any specific subjects/queries we'd like to see addressed.

As expected, we're all pretty much on the same page, alternately worried about doing too much or too little, privy to too much information and much of it inaccurate or inconclusive, wondering what to buy and what to rent, and just wondering, in general, what the hell we're supposed to do once these little mysteries arrive and we're discharged to the cold Murray Street parking lot...

The women in the class--stuck with the bulk of the work, obviously--spent much of the evening communally sharing their strange behaviors and various bodily manifestations while the men couldn't really do much else but nod sympathetically. However, I did have a lively conversation with the triplets-people. I was blathering on and casually mentioned our cats, and they jumped right in. Seems most of us in the class are wondering what to do with our four-legged friends. I guess that sooner-than-later we'll have to kick Maggie and Minnie out of their cozy spots in the bedroom--for a few months anyway--and condition them to stay out of the babies' room unattended. Yeah, like that's gonna work--to them, a crib will be a cool new box to play in, and think of the fun they'll have with the mobiles and all those ssoft blankets! So instead of trying to train them now--really, who on this earth outside of the Moscow Cat Circus has ever trained a feline to do anything?--I figure I'll just save my strength and deal with it then as needed...unless anyone reading this has any ideas, of course.

The first class ended with a touchy-feely video on the stages of delivery, all very polite and Oprah-friendly.

A short drive and we were home with McDonalds drive-thru right on time to take in the second episode of the new sci-fi/horror series "Fringe", which began with a baby that grew into adulthood and died of old age in four hours. Weird coincidence maybe--but I thought the video in the class was scarier...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Boys' First Story! (98 3/4% Approved)

The boys now have their first story, and it's a classic: Dr. Seuss' Oh, Baby, The Places You'll Go. It's a variation on Oh The Places You'll Go, of course, adapted by Tish Rabe, to be read in utero! Perfectly-timed, too, since at this point--23 weeks--BabyCentre informs us that the boyos are beginning to discern sounds, although I'm sure my vocal stylings sound more like Charlie Brown's parents than Morgan Freeman.

I wasn't familiar with this one--by the time the original was published in 1990 (Dr. Seuss' last, too), I was well out of its intended demographic, although I loved almost all of Mr. Geisel's 50s and 60s classics as a youngster--who of us of a certain age didn't thrill to the annual broadcasts of How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Horton Hears A Who? Places is every bit as timeless and wonderful, and I'm glad to have discovered it, even if I didn't have children on the way!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A(n original) Song For The Twins!

The first part's a timely screed about the Iraq War, but stick throught it: the Buffalo-Springfield-of-felt offer up an original song composed exclusively for our dynamic duo! Not even born yet, and already, they're the stuff of Queen Street West history...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Growing, kicking, charming all the ladies...

Wednesday, September 10 saw the latest visit to 700 University Ave. for a new ultrasound and quick visit with the doctor. I was lucky enough to get to see the boys throughout this time, wriggling about, swallowing fluid, and generally being silly. The technician commented several times on how active they are -- well, I know that already and all too well. Sometimes it feels like I have the entire Brazilian soccer team in my belly, although usually the kicks come from one at a time. Baby A on the left tends to go during the day (hence his new nickname, "The Day Shift") while Baby B is usually on "The Night Shift" taking evenings. Ultimately, my fluid's good, my cervix is holding up (making it less likely that I'll go into premature labour) and all continues to be well.

After the ultrasound we hiked it over to Dr. Thomas's office for the weigh-in (I'm 70 kilos now!) and the requisite peeing on a stick (for blood sugar and proteins, so far so good) but Dr. T was nowhere in sight as she was called to the labour ward at the hospital. So we had a chat with another doctor (whose name escapes me now) who promptly declared the little guys "beautiful", growing equally and normally with no concerns whatsoever. I will never get tired of hearing that.

I then battled a bit of a traffic jam (thanks, crazy Toronto drivers) to visit my dad in the hospital (Trillium Health Centre Mississauga) to show him the latest and greatest ultrasound printouts. Baby A was a bit camera shy this time, turning down, but the shot is still cool, as you can see his spine, ribs, and his little legs curled up. Baby B was definitely performing, as it looks quite distinctly like he's blowing bubbles. Dad's face lit up like a spotlight hit it, and as he continues his recovery he's sure to keep those images in his head. Mom and their friend Lidia (one of only two other people I know who share my name and its spelling) showed up and also fell in love with those little black and white blobs, amazed at the detail that ultrasounds render these days. Lidia has twin grandchildren too, a boy and a girl. She told me her daughter-in-law got so big she couldn't wrap her arms around her belly, and that she endured a 60 hour (!) labour. Note to self: tell Dr. Thomas I'm not really interested in three days' worth of pain.

On a side note, Robert and I have been doing our usual annual cinematic pilgrimage all the way to downtown Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and it looks like the little guys are joining in. Seems that the louder and more action-oriented the scenes, the more they let me know they're there. So the 80s heavy metal that populates Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" got them going, as did the power chord soundtrack of the Australian B-movie documentary "Not Quite Hollywood," as well as the scares of "Sauna" from Finland and "The Burrowers" from the US. Wonder how that'll translate when they're born? Will I have to play Quiet Riot to get them to stop crying? Hmmmm....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Parenting Manuals, Or, Really Obvious Stuff You Should Already Know

Had some time to kill between TIFF screenings today at The Manulife Centre, where most of the press/industry screenings are held, so I skulked around the "Parenting" section of the Indigo bookstore for something of a bit more substance than of the "For Dummies"/insta-book variety. What an exercise in futility that was--there's certainly no shortage of touchy-feely tomes for moms-to-be, but my cursory browse revealed that 99% of books on the subject of fatherhood are inane and condescending--I took a casual flip through the few meager offerings and found countless references to having to skip watching "the Big Game" and jokes of the "Home Improvement" variety and felt like I'd be better off reading "The Road" again, which despite its bleak setting and nihilistic world view is, at its heart, a moving tale of a father's love for his son, and not a collection of obvious "to-do" lists ("bring lots of snacks!", "don't tell her she's fat!") aimed squarely at an audience whose lips move when--if?-- they read.

I decided on "The Expectant Father"--second edition--by Armin A. Brott ("America’s most trusted Dad™"!!!) and Jennifer Ash, which came highly recommended by not only Family Circle but also Sesame Street Parents magazines! Nothing terribly revelatory here, and providing more food-for-thought than anything else, as most of the resources offered and financial advice pertained to Americans, it left me with some subjects to pursue, like education funds, the safety of ultrasound and 4D imaging, consumer safety reports on items like car seats and strollers, and what to expect the first few weeks at home with the newborns. Straightforward and light-hearted without being too cutesy, it was worthy read after all, and I'll probably follow up with the duo's "The New Father: A Dad's Guide To The First Year".