Pregnancy Archive

Big Steps for Big Sis

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

A big sister must be prepared for her sibling duties, so just like my mom made me take an SAT prep course in my junior year of high school, we enrolled Madelyn in “Siblings R Special” at Los Robles Hospital to make sure she passed the ultimate test with flying colors.

Initially, she was scheduled for the class the weekend before. It’s only offered once a month, and I opted for the date closest to our c-section so that Madelyn would have all the information fresh in her head. I was so excited to watch her have a sister experience that’s all about her, so imagine my utter disappointment when we got to the class and it had been canceled due to the teacher’s illness. The high school volunteers at the hospital almost had to admit me to a room with rubber walls.

I called first thing Monday and begged them to reschedule the class. They did! So, four days before Eviction Day, Madelyn got to take her class and we enjoyed the little nuggets of information the teacher shared. Madelyn learned how to hold the baby properly, and the teacher also explained that the belly button would look funny.

Always place the baby on a hard table and  squeeze at the neck.

Always place the baby on a hard table and squeeze at the neck.

The baby will always be very still and quiet.

The baby will always be very still and quiet.

Even professional Daddies need practice. Also, it's totally OK turn your babk and leave babies unattended on tables.

Even professional Daddies need practice. Also, it’s totally OK turn your back and leave babies unattended on tables facing the wall.

Madelyn got to color a picture that would go on the baby’s cart-bed and — nice touch — the volunteers took a family photo of us at the beginning of class that was ready by the end, so we could affix the photo to Madelyn’s picture.

This is the first piece of art that Madelyn's little sister will see in her own little baby Louvre.

This is the first piece of art that Madelyn’s little sister will see in her own little baby Louvre.

The class ended with a tour of the maternity level and a stop at the nursery so she could see where her little sister would be right after delivery. We looked at the new babies in there and she recalled pictures she’d seen of herself in the very same nursery just over three-and-a-half years ago.

I definitely think she aced the class. The final exam is on Wednesday. We’ll see how all her studying pays off.

Madelyn recalled her entire experience in this nursery. Home videos are a magical device.

Madelyn recalled her entire experience in this nursery. Home videos are a magical device.

Oh, and P.S., I cried about 6 separate times during the class. That’s pretty much every ten minutes. I blame hormones. Either that, or there was an invisible kitchen in the classroom with an invisible chef cutting up onions in the back. Why would seeing Madelyn hold an oversized, plastic, lifeless baby doll without any of my DNA make me well up? Or walking past the nursery and seeing other strangers’ fresh, new babies? Psshhh. Hospital fumes.

After Big Sister Academics on Saturday, it was time for Big Sister Extra Curriculars. Madelyn, ever the ultimate girly-girl, has always admired my nails after I come home from a manicure or pedicure. She loves to rub her fingers of the smooth polish and analyze the color I’ve picked. She also likes to watch me put on my makeup every morning and regularly declares, “I’m not a big girl yet, but when I am one day, I will get to wear makeup and get my nails painted, right Mommy?” I always tell her that, yes, makeup is for grown up ladies and that painted nails are for super big girls. Honestly, I’ve avoided putting nail polish on her fingers simply because I haven’t wanted to open up a can of worms of vanity or set up expectations that it can be a regular thing for her.

But between solidifying the idea that she’s about to be a big sister — and, therefore, a “big girl” — and the selfish fact that I’m an emotional mess, holding on to every last bonding opportunity with my only child who made me a mommy in the first place, I decided that the week of the baby’s arrival would be a good time to finally treat her to her first manicure!

After school on Monday, I told her we were going to do a surprise. She immediately began guessing. “Trader Joe’s?” “The bagel store?” “Nordstrom?” I suppose she has me pegged. But I told her it was something she’s never done at a place she’s never been to. She guessed: “A new Target in a new city?”

This girl is a victim of routine.

We walked into the nail salon and she didn’t seem to catch on right away. So I explained to her what we were doing and her eyes lit up. I told her to pick a color and she immediately picked up a sweet pink — shocker! — but then I switched it out for a better brand! OPI’s “Pinking of You” was the winner. I explained the pun. She was not as impressed as her mother. One day.

Some of the most important life decisions a girl will make.

Some of the most important life decisions a girl will make.

Pinking of You -- always, pinking of you, Madelyn.

Pinking of You — always, pinking of you, Madelyn.

I had my nails done first; a set of sparkly, soft pink gels to really ensure a good two weeks out of my paws. Madelyn stared at the UV box in horror and I reassured her that her manicure did not entail this exercise.

When it was her turn, her manicurist, Nancy, simply painted her nails pink and Madelyn watched with very big eyes. I had to keep reminding her to stay very still and to let her hands relax and stay away from touching anything. At the very end, Nancy added white flowers to her thumbs with jewels in the middle of the petals. Madelyn lit up. She loved it. She could not stop staring at her nails and I loved watching her awe.

She was nervous for the moments before, but settled into the experience pretty quickly.

She was nervous for the moments before, but settled into the experience pretty quickly.

A girl could get used to this.

A girl could get used to this.

These are the silliest milestones, yet those are the ones that are most memorable: "Baby's First Mani"

These are the silliest milestones, yet those are the ones that are most memorable: “Baby’s First Mani”

Mother-Daughter manicures forever! Mother-Daughter tattoos NEVER!

Mother-Daughter manicures forever! Mother-Daughter tattoos NEVER!

Having a daughter just got a little bit more expensive.

Having a daughter just got a little bit more expensive.

When we got home, she ran into Bryan’s office and was so excited to show him. She’s been staring at her nails all night and I made sure to remind her a few times that she got to have a manicure because she’s a big girl and it’s what we do for very special occasions — like becoming a big sister!

Next big beauty milestone will likely be an eyebrow wax in about ten years. That’s a little less exciting and glamorous, so I hope she savored today.

I’m so happy that all of the photos of Madelyn holding her sister on Wednesday will have a glimmer of our special, surprise mommy-daughter manicure day together.

Reunited With Some Old Friends

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner, Pregnancy

A few months ago, I climbed a ladder in the garage to grab bins and bags full of clothes marked “onesies 3-6 months” or “pajamas 9-12 months” or “dresses and leggings 18 months.” God bless my wife – she’s so organized. As we readied the nursery, we furiously unpacked the clothes and meticulously hung them in the closet, running out of hangers in no time. This girl is going to have some wardrobe! Alison was close to crying multiple times – either just from getting emotional about seeing Madelyn’s old clothing, or being sad that some of them were ruined by milk stains gone nuclear after three years to really seep in.

Then, a few weeks ago, it was time for round two of digging into the storage areas of our garage – this time to find and haul out all of Madelyn’s original baby gear. Mr. Jungle Gym Mat. Mrs. Swing. Dr. Bouncer. Professor Pack-and-Play. All of our old friends, tucked away in boxes, now entering the world again. Out of retirement. Back in service. I feel like it’s Toy Story or The Brave Little Toaster and these items are all secretly gleeful to be getting ready for use again.

All I had to do was remember how to put them all back together. Not from scratch, but from some variable level of disarray – just enough to have packed them nicely away in boxes. From upstairs I’m sure Alison could hear gasps of “Oh yeah! I forgot about this piece!” and “Argh! I remember this being a pain last time too,” and “What was I thinking packing it away like this?” But before too long, everything was back together, ready and waiting for the new resident to join our party.

But of course, before the new baby can use them, they must be tested by their previous inhabitant and current preschooler.

Wheel of Fortune: Before and After Category

Wheel of Fortune: Before and After Category

Hey Bouncer! Nice to see you again. Meet Mr. Rock-n-Play. I swear, you're not obsolete. We have a bunch of rooms now!

Hey Bouncer! Nice to see you again. Meet Mr. Rock-n-Play. I swear, you’re not obsolete. We have a bunch of rooms now!

It took me three years to finally get The Animal Fair out of my head, and only three seconds to get it back! The sight of Madelyn pushing the buttons and flipping the switches on this stuff was really something. The last time we saw any of it in person she could barely hold her bottle, let alone push buttons or flip switches. I think with Madelyn in the house, I will have to replace these batteries a little bit more frequently.

There’s only one week to go before the pack-and-play, swing, bouncer, and jungle gym mat are officially reenlisted into active duty. And of course, I look forward to meeting up with Miss High Chair and Colonel Jump-a-roo again real soon too. Needless to say, I’m excited for all the brand new experiences to come, but it sure is nice to have some familiar old friends around.

  1. sharon
    2/24/2015 7:59 PM

    I LOVED reading this blog entry and seeing Madelyn in the then & now pictures with all the baby gear. Great idea. It looks like you’re ready. Let the countdown to next Wednesday begin!!

Not Over It

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

It’s at this point in any pregnancy, when you grunt while simply getting out of a chair or you massage your own lower back as you shift weight when standing or you run to the bathroom in a Niagara Falls-like pee-mergency only to encounter two measly and underwhelming drip drops that people give you a sympathetic look and say, “You must be so over it!”

And yet, I’m not.

At 36 weeks pregnant with three weeks to go until scheduled eviction day, I am not over it. I’m not ready to be done. I’m not hoping for the days to fly by so that March 4th can hurry up and be here. I am actually wanting more time, more kicks, more 4:45 a.m. on-the-dot potty wake ups.

This is our second* and last baby. And then that’s it. Babies grow up; I get old. This phase of my life will be over. Yes, I know, then have more babies. But damn. College is expensive. So no, the fiscally responsible thing to do is to quit while we’re ahead. Two heads, to be exact. Two precious heads of girly, curly cuteness.

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes being pregnant. And I come with my own fair share of weird pregnancy symptoms, so it’s not even like I’ve had the most perfect and painless human-making experience. I’m suffering from an itchy belly that makes me want to go to town on my skin with a fork, turning it fifty shades of red, which is a whole new brand of a hurts-so-good franchise.

My leg is also going numb now, so that’s fun. If I stand for more than five minutes, a chicken breast-size area of my lateral quad goes tingly and cold and I can’t feel anything superficially. It is SO. FREAKING. WEIRD. My little bundle is sitting on a nerve, I guess, which is really a lot of nerve.

And, in an act of betrayal by my own girly parts, I also suffered through some pretty gnarly procedures and pains that went so far as to motivate me to buy an undergarment I endearingly called the Over the Shoulder Vulva Holder, so there’s that. I promptly returned it, in case you were wondering, because my condition was beyond this device’s capabilities, and minor vascular surgery was a more direct remedy. Really good times. Really.

And yet, here I am declaring that I don’t hate pregnancy. Clearly, growing a human has also made me delusional because why else would I enjoy it even with these symptoms? I just do. I’ve never felt more female and feminine. Creating life makes me feel powerful. I find a growing belly to be extremely beautiful. Also, not caring about the combo of jeans and a muffintop is always nice, and I really love maternity clothes (my credit card does not).

But even more than the pregnancy experience, becoming a mother was what I always wanted. The mystery and miracle of pregnancy had always intrigued me and, by the end of this second daughter’s gestation, I will go from having experienced 18 months of this wonder and then never to experience it again in my life. My job as a woman will be over and then I’m not cooler than my male parenting partner. He’s pretty cool, though, so I don’t mind being on his level, but the parts that make me a lady, the ones that will have hosted two healthy and happy girls will essentially have no reason to do their jobs. They will be “displaced,” no longer with the company, fired, actually (and I will still have to pay severance once a month, which seems even more unfair). Yay for being almost 32 with a completed family.

I’m going to enjoy the itchies and the numbies in these last three weeks before Baby Girl Friedman 2.0 comes because I will never associate them with such a happy thing ever again. Future skin rashes will just be annoying, and potential numbness of body parts means something might actually be wrong. But now, these inconveniences I’ve endured are simply battle wounds from a great victory.

And while I am trying to enjoy the ups and downs of my final pregnancy, I am also holding onto the greatest gift of my first go ’round: one-on-one time with Madelyn. It’s hard to imagine she’s closing in on her experience as an only child, one that I know all too well. She’s the light of our lives and the center of our universe. Sharing it with another little girl seems impossible and I can’t wrap my head around how that works, but I’ve been told it does. Each cuddle session and hug we exchange every night and every morning are becoming more and more special, that I regret not breathing them in even deeper for the past three-and-a-half years.

I know she’s about to also enjoy a new adventure and title as Big Sister and I’m excited to watch her blossom, which is what’s keeping my eye on the prize as I count down the end to our perfect little threesome. I just keep telling myself that being Madelyn’s mom is like getting to eat one giant piece of chocolate cake and that adding to our family is getting TWO giant pieces of chocolate cake, and really, who doesn’t want more than one piece of chocolate cake?!


Especially because they don’t require paying for college tuition.

So no, Nosey Lady At Trader Joe’s, I am not miserable or looking forward to being done with pregnancy. I am savoring these last bits of what I believe to be my greatest purpose. And then I suppose it’s time for Phase 2: raising two well-adjusted girls who will only slightly hate me as teenagers. And I’ll be so old, I won’t even care about tight jeans and muffintops again.

*Princeton is under the impression I am concluding my third pregnancy.

Over the Moon from the Familymoon

Last December, Bryan and I went to Maui for a week sans Madelyn. It was really wonderful as any Hawaiian getaway should be. We hadn’t been back to the island since our honeymoon, and it was our first big trip being non-parents since we became parents. We felt young(ish) and it was liberating and, in all honesty, we went thinking we’d end up with a newborn 40 weeks later. The baby make-cation ended up being unsuccessful, yet here we are, almost exactly a year later, leaving the state of Hawaii again, this time, 7 months pregnant.

Obviously, we didn’t need Hawaii to get our pregnancy (as it happened six months later on the mainland), and in hindsight, I’m so glad it didn’t happen when we planned for it to happen. That was our big mistake: planning!

To think that THIS December, right now, we would have had a three-month-old if our Maui antics had worked makes me sigh in relief. This past week in Kauai with Madelyn, who’s three years old and four months, was the most magical and perfect week. Having an infant in our lives would have made this trip nearly impossible, and if we’d taken this “familymoon” before Maui Baby was born, Madelyn would have been just over two-and-a-half, and, well, not nearly as fun.


Timing and circumstances have a funny way of working out. This is hard for someone like me to understand if I wasn’t living it first-hand. As a planner and self-labeled control freak, the concept drives me bonkers. Strangely, though, motherhood has taught me to relax a little, and while that stick is still firmly planted up the rear end, being a parent has enabled me the power and advantage of ignoring it on occasion. Stick, be damned! So what that I didn’t get my way when I wanted it… or for five more months after that. So what that we didn’t end up with an autumnal baby, who would have been a blob to carry around for Halloween. So what that we can’t make bad wink-wink jokes with finger quotes about Bryan’s “COCONUTS” or that we did the (more finger quotes) “HULA DANCE” for the baby to start out life in Maui. The timing was not right. The circumstances were not right.

I’m not one to think about higher powers having any influence about how things have happened. I choose to believe that chemistry and biology were not BFF during our week in Maui last December or the months that followed. Then, boom, science yada yada. Also, maybe wine. But still, science.

And here we are, a whole year later and a whole lot of me knocked up. I am so thoroughly glad to have had this extra time with Madelyn. So fortunate that those months of frustration over not getting pregnant happened. So high off of our wonderful week away with our greatest treasure (so far) (Unborn Daughter: when you read this when you’re older, please understand we had a treasure before you, but then you get to show up 3+ years later and make the bounty grow, OK? Apparently, this is how it works with siblings. This is not second-child complex-worthy and I refuse to pay for therapy due to this blog post).


The opportunity of no-such-luck Maui Baby made it possible for us to have the most aloha-tastic time with our first daughter. Silver linings. It was hard to see them all those months ago, but now I am pinching myself with glee and gratitude.

I am also extremely thankful for my hard-working husband who made it possible for us to have this vacation of our dreams, our last one as a family of three (Princeton makes us, technically and currently, a family of four, but he’s not allowed in Hawaii, so for purposes of this vacation, we were a family of three) (Also, I shouldn’t have to defend this because my dog, while brilliant, cannot read and thus, will not incur therapy side-by-side with his youngest human sister).


I will write more about our week’s adventures, but for now, I savor these memories, our last collection of such before a whole new adventure await which will surely entail a little less R & R but a lot more sweetness and love. For all this, I say mahalo.


Farming Family Fun

Halloween came and went and between Bryan’s work travels, weekend crowds, and uncomfortably hot temps, we never made it to our favorite local family spot for fun on the farm. In past years, we’ve gone to the Fall Festival at Underwood Farms in Moorpark to take photos with pumpkins and scarecrows, but every time we tried to make it work around Halloweentime 2014, it just wasn’t in the cards. Fall on the farm can be a magical time, though, so I didn’t want time to get away from us.

With a seemingly appropriate Thanksgiving harvest digesting in our bellies (and thighs and tush and chins), we decided to pick our own harvest during Thanksgiving weekend after the turkey had worn off. Visiting Underwood Farms after the rush of the Halloween/Pumpkinfest craziness was a huge relief — no crowds, nice weather, cheaper admission.

We hopped on a tractor ride that took us way out into the fields so we could pick our own vegetables. We weren’t sure yet what was out there, but decided we’d cook with whatever we picked in the days to come. Lennie and George would be so proud of us living off the fatta the land. If only Gary Sinise was out there with us to make it really cinematic (and sexy).

My two [human] loves on their way to earn their dinners.

My two [human] loves on their way to earn their dinners.

We picked some carrots straight out of the ground — dirt and all — and I already began seasoning them in my mind, ready for roasting. (Olive oil, Kosher salt, cracked pepper, 375 degrees for 30 minutes — you’re welcome). Then we found the broccoli and navigated our way through the rows of tall, flowering bushes/plants/trees. This was much more nature-y than the produce aisle at the market with the little sprinkler mist that comes on every 30 minutes. We knelt down and only Bryan was strong enough to twist — with two hands — the broccoli head off the bush/plant/tree. The rows were so tall with crops, we had to really climb through to find the perfect pickings. Even Princeton was not too sure about the leaves that were triple his size. We also ended up with butter lettuce, beets, and green beans, and already felt healthy and detoxed just carrying our loot, especially after three consecutive days of Thanksgiving meals and leftovers.

What's up, Doc?

What’s up, Doc?

So thankful that my child runs happily toward vegetables.

So thankful that my child runs happily toward vegetables.

You'll remember me. When the west wind blows. Upon the fields of broccoli.

You’ll remember me. When the west wind blows. Upon the fields of broccoli.

Hey Underwood Farms, I think I know where you're hiding the remaining pumpkins.

Hey Underwood Farms, I think I know where you’re hiding the remaining pumpkins.

The Jolly Green Giant has certainly become more handsome.

The Jolly Green Giant has certainly become more handsome.

If Princeton was an Anne Geddes greeting card...

If Princeton was an Anne Geddes greeting card…

Madelyn inspects her broccoli bounty.

Madelyn inspects her broccoli bounty.

Once out of Eden, we decided to enjoy some time with animals. Madelyn rode a pony named Candy and is ready to star in City Slickers III. She loved going around in circles, and I know Candy appreciated it when the official handlers stopped the wheel so she could take a dump. It was especially exciting when this happened in the first of 12 rounds so that all the kids could remark on the smell for the rest of the rodeo. Madelyn was like, “Whatever, guys. This is way more realistic than the horse you can ride for a quarter outside of Rite Aid.”

Jessie from Toy Story should totally be shakin' in her cowgirl boots for her job security.

Jessie from Toy Story should totally be shakin’ in her cowgirl boots for her job security.

All she's missing is a cap gun and a plastic sheriff badge.

All she’s missing is a cap gun and a plastic sheriff badge.

Woooo! Yee haw! Look Ma! No hands!

Woooo! Yee haw! Look Ma! No hands!

Once Hopalong Madelyn’s ride was over, we decided to take in more wilderness with the petting farm. It was a little weak on inventory; usually there are sheep and chickens and rabbits, but this pen was only populated with goats. It took everything in me not to steal one in my purse. I really want a goat. I hear they make great pets. How cute would Princeton and a goat be together frolicking in my backyard?

Madelyn loves to play Goat Beauty Parlor every time she visits the petting corral. She makes a dash for the brushes and then goes to town on their coats. The goats are so patient and tolerant, especially when she brushes their hair in the opposite direction — gah! Kill me! I can’t handle that! — but they really don’t seem to mind. Goats, like Candy, also happen to be extra poopy, so we had to watch out for the deceptive chocolate chips that piled out of them on the go. I’m always impressed by animals who can make doody while walking; no magazine or anything. Those guys are efficient. One little girl in the petting area wasn’t as swift about avoiding the poop avalanche. Thank goodness Madelyn has been well trained or she and her wardrobe would’ve been enjoying a spa treatment in a bucket of Lysol by now.

Oh, honey. Your roots are in need of a good touch up.

Oh, honey. Your roots are in need of a good touch up.

Move over Von Trapp marionettes. There's a new goatherd in town. {insert yodel here}

Move over Von Trapp marionettes. There’s a new goatherd in town. {insert yodel here}

The sun was starting to set and the vibe was calm and peaceful at the farm. Madelyn played on a few more of Underwood’s attractions. Meanwhile, Princeton relaxed in the wagon and waited patiently for his sister to burn off her energy. He got lots of smiles and compliments from the people who passed by as he watched Madelyn play and his beard blew in the breeze. I swear, that dog is a constant source of happiness for me. I think he would’ve made a really good farm dog, but I’m so glad he’s with us in suburbia.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

One more because... I mean...

One more because… I mean…

Farmer Maddie drives the tractor and goes from 0 MPH to 0 MPH in 3 minutes.

Farmer Maddie drives the tractor and goes from 0 MPH to 0 MPH in 3 minutes.

She -- and time -- just keep running away.

She — and time — just keep running away.

Princeton waits. My heart goes ba-bump, ba-bump.

Princeton waits. My heart goes ba-bump, ba-bump.

It's like finding a Maddie in a haystack.

It’s like finding a Maddie in a haystack.

The farm folks began to gather the wagons that peppered the grounds and close shop on the various attractions as they prepared for their evening work. As we purchased our produce and wrangled our own fruits of our labor — our human and canine children — I was reminded again how thankful I am for my growing family and our special days of togetherness.


  1. Cathy
    12/1/2014 7:05 PM

    This is my favoritest post ever!! I love Underwear Farms and the Friedman Family!! You were wise to wait until after Halloween.I rode past there on Saturday (on my bike) and remarked on the lack of cars backed up to the freeway!! That place was INSANE! I know, Underwear and I share the same zip code. Princeton is adorable and I love how Madelyn is practicing her mechanical bull/pony skills so soon!!