My kiddo loves hats. Like, he LOVES hats. He loves actual hats and he also likes using other household items as hats. Hell, he even likes to turn things into hats that don’t look anything like a hat at all. So, you get the point. He also loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse right now. We have one DVD of that show that has multiple episodes on it, so as you can imagine, we’ve all seen those particular episodes (or just heard them while driving the car) many, many times. There is a scene where there is a big fan blowing wind, and it ends up blowing Goofy’s hat off of his head. They yell “Come back here!” and when he gets the hat back he says, “Gotcha!” Rowdy (he’s nearly 3) reenacts this scene using Jesse’s red hat (from Toy Story) and his little teddy bear. He says, “Come back here!” while making Teddy chase after the hat. He even throws his own hat in the backyard pretending that the wind carried it off just like it did with Goofy’s hat. So, anyway… he and I had to make a visit to his doctor the other day on an extremely windy day. Rowdy wanted to wear his black top hat into the doc’s office (he wore it in my step-brother’s wedding and he loves it), so of course, I let him. When we were on our way back out to the car I reminded him to hold onto his hat so that the wind didn’t blow it away. Well, what do you know? The wind blew that hat right off of his head (I think he let it happen on purpose) and began carrying it away rather quickly down the street. My initial reaction was to run after the hat (I’m 8 months pregnant…yeah), which I started to do. But when I realized that I was leaving my toddler on the side of the street alone to run after a hat I immediately turned around to go back to him. When I turned and look at Rowdy, he was beaming. He screamed “Mommy! Hat! Come back here! Mommy!” with a HUGE smile on his face. He was in heaven. We were living a real life Mickey Mouse Clubhouse moment. Weeks and weeks of watching that episode had preceded this event, and Rowdy couldn’t have been happier to see it all go down in real life. I quickly grabbed him up and began jogging down the road to fetch the still moving hat. Here I was, 8 months pregnant with yet another big baby, carrying a not-so-small purse, a not-so-small toddler as we cracked up laughing the whole way running after that damn hat. Thank god, we actually got it. “Gotcha!”, Rowdy said when I grabbed the hat. He wanted to hold it and I said, “Oh, no sir. I’m carrying it back to the car.” I’m sure anyone watching that scene was giggling. We had to have looked ridiculous. And believe me, I paid for it for at least 24 hours. My body hurt real bad. I was mildly scolded by both my husband and father for doing such a thing in my condition. But, hey. It’s done. I felt strong enough to make it happen at the time. I didn’t feel like I was endangering myself or my unborn child. And most importantly, I literally watched one of my child’s little dreams come true before my eyes. It was adorable, fun and hilarious. And quite a show, I’m sure.
Fetal movement is by far one of the most unique things that I have ever experienced in my 33 years of life. At nearly 33 weeks pregnant with my second child, I have been feeling baby movement for quite a while now. They say you usually feel movement a bit earlier with subsequent children, and “they” were right. I was still in my first trimester when I felt just an itty-bitty tiny little move inside of me. And this gal in my belly has gotten stronger and stronger as time has passed. So strong, in fact, that it’s the root of my what-am-I-in-for-with-this-girl jokes. For those of you that have yet to feel fetal movement, and for those of you that have but want to compare notes, here are my honest thoughts on the whole thing.
I remember being pretty terrified when I was pregnant with my first baby. I hadn’t been dreaming of pregnancy since I was 5 years old, and I didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of exposure to babies in general. So although I was thankful to be sharing something so incredible with my BFF/Husband, Ryan, I was still…scared. So just imagine my reaction to fetal movement. What? There’s a what inside of me? It freaked me the hell out. I remember when I first started to feel my little boy moving in there. Did it feel like butterflies? I mean, maybe. I’m not sure what butterflies would actually feel like inside of my belly (there’s another freaky thought for you), but I guess they might sorta feel like the soft fluttering feelings of a tiny little baby. It wasn’t so terribly scary at first because it was soft and subtle. But as time moved on and he got stronger, it got a little wilder. It’s almost like it’s a way for your body to remind you that you’re pregnant. I guess some chicks don’t really need a reminder, but there are days when you’re feeling good and you’re distracted and you kinda forget that there’s another human inside of you. But all it takes is a little KICK or PUNCH in the belly or ribs to remind you of your current reality. I recall one particular bit of movement with my first that literally made me jump in the seat of my car while I was driving. It was pretty major. This time around, not only did I start to feel movement earlier, but there’s certainly more of it. This little girl is busy. And as weird as it truly feels sometimes, I’m grateful that she’s so busy. It keeps me in the present and is a nice little way to make me feel like she’s doing okay in there. You eventually get to a point where you not only feel the strong movements, but you can actually see your belly moving.
So, what does fetal movement actually feel like? Fetal movement. I know it’s nice to have a comparison, but I really can’t come up with one. Butterflies? Maybe – but only at first when the movement is soft. Gas? Sure – I guess early movement can sorta be compared to a gurgling tummy. An alien? Yeah. I can see how it would be compared to an alien, but that freaks me out more than a human, so let’s just not go there. Bottom line – it just feels like a baby moving inside of your body. That’s it. It truly is weird, wild and wonderful. And no matter what, it’s some pretty cool shiznit that an actual human being has been forming inside of your body. I mean, come on. Even us gals that claim to be “not baby people” can appreciate that fact.
If you’ve never been to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, let me paint you a picture. The HLSR is the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition. It’s enormous, basically. The rodeo events take place inside Reliant Stadium, which is, you guessed it, huge. And the carnival and livestock show take place on the surrounding properties. My OBGYN happens to be just down the street from the rodeo festivities. So since I had a pregnancy check-up the other day, we decided to take our 2-year-old (he’ll be 3 in June) to the livestock show and carnival after the doctor visit…on a Friday…during spring break. We were intentionally skipping the actual rodeo events due to our assumption that Rowdy isn’t quite old enough to patiently sit and watch something (anything) for 3 hours, even if it is loud and exciting and full of cows and horses. But he loved riding the kiddie ride at our local county fair and he definitely loves farm animals, so we were looking forward to a great time at the carnival and livestock exhibits. First of all, we had to park what was quite possibly 2 miles away from the festivities. And then we had to stroll on up to the front of the parking lot to catch the tram that drove us onto the rodeo property. Of course I’m thankful for the tram, and the folks were super nice, but still. Parking always seems to be quite the ordeal at big events, doesn’t it? And it was $12. Oh, and we had only used our new stroller once before so we fumbled with it trying to fold it up for what seemed like forever before boarding the tram. In all reality it was probably only 30 seconds, but when you’re holding up a line of 100 people, every second seems like an hour. We arrived, paid our entry fee and headed directly toward the livestock exhibits. The good news? They were indoors in a huge building with REAL bathrooms, not porta-potties. As you can see in the photo above, Rowdy loved watching the chicks. In fact, after we left them he said “chicks?” numerous times. I truly think we could have just sat there in front of those chicks for the next hour and he would have been thrilled. But, no. We had to go, go, go. Our next adventure was lunch. After discovering that the place we ordered food from took cash only (seriously?) we had to get out of line. I mean, we had cash on us, but eating at these things isn’t cheap. I didn’t have enough cash to pay for lunch. I began stressing (I’m 7 months pregnant – FYI) about feeding Rowdy and finding something he would like because he’s so picky. Thank goodness I packed plenty of snacks. And thank goodness for that nice lady that told me I was a good mom for bringing grapes. I needed a little positivity at that precise moment. Mommy and Daddy ended up settling for something that wasn’t all that great, but whatever. We survived lunch…barely. Continuing our “fun”, we purchased $20 worth of carnival tickets so that our little guy could ride a couple of rides and maybe play a game or two. The pink elephant ride only took AN HOUR of our time. That guy had to be competing for the slowest carnival ride attendant ever. But there were benches for this pregnant chick to rest on, and when Rowdy rode that little elephant with his daddy, his huge smile made it all worth it. And even though our sweet little bud thoroughly enjoyed the ride, we decided to move on to games so that we didn’t spend the next 20 years in long lines. We proceeded to blow the rest of our carnival credits on games, and managed to win a few little stuffed toys. At this point we had been there for 3 hours. We were tired. My body ached. It was time to go home.
After an excursion that lasted a total of 7 hours, included one 2-year-old breakdown, multiple pregnant lady breakdowns, a few miles worth of walking, some fabulous baby chicks, a thrilling pink elephant ride and enough money spent to buy a dinner for two at Smith & Wollensky, our adventure was over. I laugh out loud now thinking of my husband having to deal with all of this. I must say that he did pretty well and never snapped. And this is yet another lesson we learned as parents – the ones you learn after experiencing something with your child the first time. There are only certain places and activities suitable for very young children and babies. Don’t get me wrong. We were one of many families there that included a child small enough for a stroller. But that doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to take a 2-year-old, who doesn’t even know the Houston Rodeo exists mind you, to the biggest damn rodeo carnival known to man. We could have bought him a chick and let him watch it in a cage in the backyard all day long for less money, less pain and less effort. But even though we wouldn’t recommend this specific type of “fun” for a family with merely one toddler to take, it doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the time together. And it certainly doesn’t mean we won’t be laughing at ourselves over this one for years to come.
P.S. I didn’t even get a damn funnel cake.