Friday, December 30, 2005

I am a compulsive LIST person. I make lists for everything. I can't go to the grocery store or to Wal-Mart without making a list, even if the list is only three or four items long. I am not sure why this is. Probably because, when I am list-less, I end up purchasing multiple items I do not need and forgetting the items I came there to buy.

But I also make lists for other things. Such as what to pack for vacation - I can't just PACK, I need to make a list first. Kind of like... pre-packing.
I also make to-do lists. Each week I sit down and make a huge weekly to-do list. I list each day, and what I will be doing on each day. This is not only a way for me to make sure things get done, it's a way for me to make sure I don't have too much to do on one day... I tend to get overwhelmed very easily if I am not careful.

But lately my list making has gone out the window. I MAKE the list, but I don't even look at it. I can hardly get up off the couch, let alone find the energy to download photos off my camera or to work on Nicholas's baby album (oh, the guilt, the guilt...)
Besides that, I have to stop myself from adding "GIVE BIRTH" to my list. Of course, if left up to me, I would have put this item down for Tuesday.

So... I'm not sure if the lists make me feel in control of my life and by ignoring them I feel helpless, or if it's the other way around... I feel in control of my life and make lists to prove it, but now that I have LOST all control, the lists aren't doing it for me...
Or maye the lists DO help me feel in control of my life... but it's become painfully obvious that. no matter WHAT I put down, I have no control. I might have every intemtion of going shopping, but who is to say I will find the energy / time? Who is to say that I won't be in the hospital, giving birth? Not that I can factor that in, like many other things, because I actually have no idea when the painful contractions will begin again, this time for real.
My Brother JAMIE came to see us this week. He will be leaving for an 8 month stint in Thailand as an English teacher - he's leaving January 3rd.

I hated seeing him leave. Not only was it helpful having him around the house to watch Nicholas while I peed, cleaned, or got a snack, but knowing he wasn't going to be back for months really depressed me.

Anyway, I know he will have the experience of a lifetime in Thailand, and he will come back with pictures and stories to entertain us all.

As for me, I am so uncomfortable and tired I can't work up the energy to take a trip to the bookstore. Maybe later, I think. But then again, maybe later I will just be MORE tired and MORE uncomfortable, and we'll end up in front of the TV watching bad afternoon programming.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Today I ate almost a whole container of Onion Dip with stale tortilla chips. I would have eaten more, but Nicholas started begging for tortilla chips and dunking them in the dip... MY dip. Not only was I afraid he'd spoil dinner, but it's MY dip.

Monday, December 26, 2005

This was the best Christmas EVER!

And I'm not just saying that because I got cool gifts. It was because of Nicholas. He is too young to ask for anything, or to know to expect anything, but let me tell you... he knew he GOT something. It was so great watching him yesterday morning - he wasn't interested in opening gifts. He wanted to play with the fun stuff in front of him! I had to start opening each gift for him, and then he would only stop playing to open it if it was somethign cooler than what he already had. What is it? A sweater? Nope - this Elmo is way more fun. A bunch of toy cars? Gimme.

Anyway, opening gifts took forever - not only because he refused to open gifts, but because he had SO MUCH. I mean, we should have just donated half of what he had to Toys for Tots and all would have been well. I mean, HE didn't know how much we had, but between me and Steve, Aunts and Uncles, and the Grandparents...

Not to mention that many people gave gifts to the new baby - who hasn't been born yet, despite most of Christmas night being spent timing contractions. The contractions dissapeared just before 2am, and I spent today in my PJ's hoping they would come back, walking around, putting stuff away, dancing with Nick... ANYTHING to shake things up. I want this baby and I want it OUT. NOW. Especially if these contractions are going to fade in and out until the main event, because let me tell you, they are not fun.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Here's what I want to know:

How come, no matter how much planning I do, I always end up having to rush out and buy something to take to Steve's relatives on Christmas Eve?

Steve and I spoke, oh, about a week ago about what I should bring. I told him I wasn't up for anything huge. "But I can make a pie, or some bread or something...?" Steve never really responds to these types of questions. He kind of brushes them off, or says something like "you should bring bruschetta." Which is ridiculous because 1 - IT IS NOT BRUSCHETTA and 2 - you have to cook it just before you eat it and 3 - I am just not up for the hassle this year, having an 18 month old and being 8 1/2 months pregnant and all.
So the conversation never comes to anything close to anything that looks like a conclusion - to me, anyway.

And so today, after Steve got home (at about 3:30pm, since it's the holiday season and all,) I casually mention that I have nothing to bring to his Aunt's. Always helpful, Steve says "you knew this was coming up - didn't we talk about this?" I pointed out that talking about it doesn't mean we actually decided on anything, and then told him I could make a pumpkin pie ("on Christmas Eve?" he asked, as if the concept were similar to that of having candy canes in March) or that I could make shortbread cookies ("If it's a choice between the two, make the pumpkin pie.") His overall comment? "I still think you should make the bruschetta."

The thing is, I suggested these things because I HAVE THE INGREDIENTS! There would be no shopping! No dragging my 180 lb. self out the door and standing in line with french bread, picking through tomatoes, and wondering if the cheese I got is the good kind or the plastickee kind because I can never remember which is which...

But then I did some thinking while giving Nicholas his bath. These are HIS relatives. Why should I have to do anything, and I mean ANYTHING at all for this party. I was willing to make an effort, but Steve wants me to do everything and won't give me a hand - except, possibly, to watch the baby while I'm at the store, and I know when I start cooking I'll be running after the baby while I'm doing it.

So too bad. I may, in fact, go to the store tomorrow. And if I do, it will be to pick up some fudgy holiday treat that is pre-made. Fudge sounds good. I like fudge. And if Steve disagrees, he can always go back to the store to pick up stuff and make tomato mozarella melts.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

In a concentrated effort to be Jolly, as befits the season, I actually gave some thought to my post today.

Mind you, I had a doctor's appointment, and my Mother In Law, Lillian, came up to watch the baby - the baby still being Nicholas - so I also tried to fit in some last minute shopping and did some vacuuming. And Nick napped for about ten minutes ALL DAY.

So as I was making dinner, I was thinking about skipping the blog for today, thinking "why bother?" I mean, if my icky mood is catching, what if people GET it? If anyone DOES read this they will think "eww - she's so nasty and depressing. I'm not going HERE again!" And then I will have no friends.

And then guess what? Nicholas started running around the house laughing FOR NO GOOD REASON. I mean, he was THRILLED! Whatever was going on in his little head was just about the best fun he's had in his short little life. And he didn't stop. He ran, ran, ran, and when he came my way I'd shout "RUN RUN RUN!" and he's scream with glee and run into the hall, back into the dining room, and back into the kitchen.

I decided that was worth a post. It was also worth today. It made me feel silly for being grumpy and spreading anti-joy virus.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I don't know if it's late pregnancy hormones or just lack of sleep (have you tried sleeping with a bowling ball inside your uterus?) but I have turned into a total grump.

Not just a grump, either, and not just today. All this week I have been crying at TV commercials, at passages in books, at things I hear on the radio - one item made me cry so much I gave myself a bloody nose as I was wrapping gifts! That festive red stuff on the gift tag? Yeah - don't go there, and I won't either.
And when I'm not crying over some stupid thing I'm complaining. I heard myself speaking to Nick this afternoon and I thought "Does one usually get so upset at an 18 month old?" I mean, yeah, he may have just pulled all the books off the bookshelf in my bedroom as I was trying to fold laundry. He may be walking around with a zip-lock bag of sharpies he refuses to give up, and he may have just made a break for it while I made an attempt to put away the towels... but... I just hated the way I sounded.

I had pretty much figured out I was going to be grumpy by the time Steve got home from dinner. Nicholas was tantruming all over the place, as is his custom when he skips his afternoon nap (which I highly encouraged him to take by leaving him in his crib for 90 minutes - but he is stubborn.) And I was making Hamburger Helper... AGAIN. But it's something fast I can make while holding 25 pounds of screaming boy.

And now? Now I'm grumpy. I'm grumpy I got two christmas cards returned in the mail. I'm grumpy my electric bill is so high. I'm grumpy I have bills at all. I'm grumpy that I have to go up and wrap gifts before I can climb into bed and go to sleep. I'm grumpy because I know I'll spend the night waking up to pee, or trying to roll over to my other side, or reaching for the TUMS...

Have I mentioned that I am ready to have this baby?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We Tried To Beat The Rush

This morning Nick and I left the house at 7am so that we could make it to Wal-Mart before it became totally insane. We DID get there in time.

However, our trip was dissapointing.

I had four things on my list:
1 - Nicotine Gum for Steve
2 - Electric candles to replace the ones I broke.
3 - Diapers for Nick.
4 - Gloves for Steve so he will stop telling me how cold it is for his hands.

I left with the following:
- Nicotine Gum
- 4 Ornimental Stocking Hangers (we'll have 4 stockings next year, right?)
- Two things of Beef Jerky
- A Magna Doodle
- One 20 oz bottle of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper
- Diaper Genie Refill
- Men's Socks - Black

The thing is, WAL-MART FAILED ME!
I know it's a busy time of year. I know all places sell out of things... but...

There were no electric candles. None. Well, the kind with Three candles to a plug, but the other ones I have are ONE candle to a plug, and the whole point is IT HAS TO BE EVEN.

As for diapers... well, Nick wears a size 4. They had a billion size 3 diapers, and a billion size 5 diapers... guess what they were sold out of? How is that possible? Are all children in Southern New Hampshire suddenly wearing size 4 of this particular brand of diaper? I was too nervous another brand wouldn't work as well, and I remembered just in time what a mess pull ups can be - I mean, if you like them, good for you, but in my experience the velcro straps make poopy diaper removal much easier. I opted to buy diapers elsewhere. I hope the other size 4 children have not invaded the Brooks down the street.

And gloves... Wal-Mart was out of men's gloves. Well - OK, not completely. They had driving gloves. And leather work gloves. But not COLD gloves. Unless Steve will be doing yardwork in the snow, what they had was useless. I mean, seriously? I DIDN'T KNOW THIS COULD HAPPEN. I thought they had it all figured out, this supply - demand stuff, and the new ones would arrive before the old ones were gone...

So... there you have it. My morning of shopping. May your Holiday shopping be either over or smoother.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Visit with Santa

Nick didn't cry. He sat on Santa's lap quite happily, once we bribed him with m&m's and a stuffed bear. What he REALLY wanted to do was to play with the prop toys in Santa's "workshop." Of course, they were all fake, so we had a little trouble there.

Where can I buy tiny helmets?

No, seriously. I want one. Or two. I never considered myself a paranoid parent. I like to think of myself as laid back and relaxed - I mean, I make sure my kid naps and I'll try to keep sharp and poisonous items out of his way, but I'm not one of these mom's with the energy to sterilize everything, to lock all cabinets with childproof gadgets, or to freak out when he gets a hold of a paper clip.

And yet I would seriously consider forcing my child to wear a helmet 24 hours a day.

I mean, he falls that much. He's always bumping his head.

And tonight he fell - he was running and just fell, didn't trip, just FELL... and usually he gets up and says "ouch!" to let us know he fell. He sometimes cries that fake "heh, heh, heh" cry so that we'll pick him up to comfort him. But this time he let out a real scream. He was so upset. And Steve got to him and picked him up but he was still crying...

Best as we can figure out he fell on his face - FLAT on his face. For a few minutes, a few terrible and horrible minutes, we actually thought he broke his nose. I thought my 18 month old baby had broken his nose. It was awful. I was very close to just throwing him in his carseat and driving us all to the emergency room. Without turning off the stove, putting on my shoes, or otherwise preparing myself for the cold.

It only lasted a few minutes, though. There was no blood that we could see. Nick wasn't interested in milk, but he laughed a little bit when Steve put him on his shoulders. In five minutes he was playing with his toys, back to normal. My blood pressure, however, was just starting to come down.

I know kids get hurt, and that this is part of development and life and that I can't keep him from every little thing, but the thought of something like that happening to my kid...

So again, if you know where I can get baby helmets, ones with face guards...

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Today was the day for Holiday parties. I have to say that I am SO TIRED of people commenting on my big huge belly. But they do. I mean, it's like meeting someone with a beehive hairdo. How do you not comment? There's THREE FEET of it out there!

Anyway, our last stop was Steve's uncle's place where his family was having a Holiday get together. Steve's Aunt looked at me and told me she was confused because she had heard I was having a baby next month. I think she was trying to be kind, meaning that I looked trim and fit, but let's face it. I have a beehive hairdo coming right out of my stomach. I am NOT trim and fit. In fact, there is a three inch gap between my shirt and my pants. Ick.

Not five minutes later, as I am sliding my body in between the couch and the ottoman and trying to find a good place to stash my diaper bag, one of Steve's uncles startes making "oh, mamabagambaga!" noises.

I honestly wasn't sure at first if he were making those noises at me or at Nick, who had made himself at home with his cousin's toys. I decided the best thing to do would be to ignore him, mostly because the only other response I could think of would be to hit him in the head with the diaper bag. He later told me he didn't think I would make it to my due date. I actually agreed with him on that. I mean, how much more can my tummy stretch out? There's only one kid in here - if he actuall has another 4 weeks to grow, he's not going to be able to come OUT.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I broke my bread machine.

I always thought if I broke my bread machine it would be some cooking error. Like, I would accidentally put in Elmers glue instead of milk, and the resluting cement-like mixture would cause a circuit overload. Or I would try to make bread with something like dried cranberries, which would stick to everything goo everything up.

But no.

I just broke the machine making white bread.

My second loaf of white bread in over a year.

I'm so upset, too. Because I was finally putting this machine to good use. I really, really wanted this machine when I got it, and I was so happy that I was using it again, and that it was so easy to make good bread. My parents got this for me for Christmas, oh, many years ago. It is a really nice breadmachine. William-Sonoma. It can make dough, bread, cake... almost anything. And until last week we were using it as a barrier we could put the cat food behind, so that dog wouldn't get to it up there on the counter.

And this afternoon, not half an hour ago, I put in all the ingredients for white bread. I did not use cranberries or Elmer's glue. I set the machine to the right settings, and I pushed it back so that it wouldn't tumble off the counter.

Guess what?

It tumbled off the counter anyway.

That's right. It jumped and shuffled a full foot in under fifteen minutes and landed head first into the dog's water dish. It was still running. Pressing buttons to stop ot wouldn't work. The plastic casing is broken. I tried unplugging it and replugging it, but then it picked right up again where it had left off...

One day, when I have a bread machine to replace it, I will laugh at this. But in the meantime I wonder why, why, oh why, can I not have one machine that does not fall apart on me, or that I do not accidentally break.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Today I got a Treadmill!!!!

It might sound strange, but I have wanted a treadmill for a long, long time. When I worked a "day only" job I would use the treadmill they had there every morning. When I became pregnant, of course, I stopped.
And when I tried loosing Nicholas's baby weight I missed it. Instead, I tried Tae-Bo. Tae-Bo worked for me a few years ago, when I had just seen The Matrix and was just getting in shape. I becamse obsessed, and would sometimes do two hard core workouts a day. It was great! I was never fitter. Or possibly more insane.
But after Nicholas... well, I tried. I was bored with Billy, who always says the same things, and who had started irritating me. Also, Nicholas insisted on interrupting the workout for silly reasons - like needing to be fed or held or changed and stuff. It was hard because jumping back into a Tae-Bo workout doesn't always work.

Getting a treadmill in our very own place means I can hop on and off whenever. I can walk, run, jog, whatever. I don't have to worry about getting to the hard core part because I WILL BE IN CONTROL. I choose the incline, I choose the speed! If I only have ten minutes, I can run for those ten minutes without waiting for Billy to explain what we're doing. Hooray for me!

This was a gift from my parents. This afternoon, when my husband showed it to me, I couldn't grasp what I was seeing. And I hopped on to take it for a test drive.

I'm not insane. I know I can't run. So I pressed the "WALK" button. And the thing turned on and I started walking! I was so excited! So VERY excited, in fact, that I paid no attention when the speed started picking up. Suddenly it was going too fast. There I was, waddling at a speed of, oh, two whole miles an hour probably, but it was TOO FAST, and I couldn't find the right buttons to slow the thing down.
It never occured to me to press the big red STOP button.

Anyway, I survived. I can't wait to hop back on the treadmill once I'm baby-free (and by that I mean with no baby INSIDE.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am ready for this to be over.

I am tired of not fitting into my clothes. I know, I know, boo hoo for me, but really. All my pantns ride down. All my shirts ride up. No matter what I put on in the morning, my stretch marks are exposed by 10am, like it or not. And let me tell you something. IT IS COLD!
Also, my pants cling to my body so that when I get undressed I can see the red impressions of the material weave... all over.

I am tired of acid reflux. And yeah, OK, maybe I could cut out the chocolate, the cookies, the coffee, the soda... but what about WATER? Should WATER give me reflux? Well, it does. I spend half the night chewing tums.

I am tired of not being able to pick things up when I drop them. Like, oh, forks. Or sip cups. Or the billions of toys and books that Nick insists on spreading around the house. I don't know why - I think he finds it festive. All I know is that I dislike looking under all the furniture for that lost sip cup of milk I KNOW he had this morning but somehow went missing and what if we can't find it in a few days it will turn to HARD CHEESE!

I am also tired of people asking me when I am due. "When are you due?" The supermarket lady, the people on line at the mall, the icky guy at the pet shop... I guess I just hate telling them that I HAVE A MONTH TO GO! So leave me alone, people!
Also, YES, I KNOW I will be very busy with a toddler and a newborn. Please don't keep reminding me, because the one thing I'm looking forward to right now is actually getting this thing out of me so that I can get part of my body back and won't have to pee every 20 minutes. Telling me the "fun" is yet to come will seriously make me consider heading for the nearest cliff to throw myself over.

Pant, pant, pant, pant...
OK. I think the ranting and raving is pretty much over.
For now.
Just know that I am really looking forward to going into labor. Crazy? Probably. But true.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Child = Paradox

A Paradox, a paradox, a most ingenius paradox...... Ha ha ha ha ha ha..... forget it.

In the book Peter Pan J. M. wrote that children were "gay and innocent and heartless." I don't think he meant much by the "gay" part except that they are lighthearted or happy or whatever it is we hope children to be. It's the "innocent and heartless" part I've been thinking of. This is part of the paradox. It's how a kid can hand you a bouquet of flowers and then tell you they hate you and you're ugly ten minutes later. It's how a kid can hurt your feelings without even knowing it.

For me, it's how Nicholas can say "Dada? Dada?" all freakin day and then refuse to give his dad a hug when he comes home. It's how this 18 month old can make it up the stairs in less than 10 seconds when I'm behind him yelling "No! Stop!" but when I'm behind him with my arms full of laundry it takes him about 20 minutes, and he pretends to slip every third or fourth step. And if I'm carrying hot tea he refuses to climb at all and needs to be carried up.
It's how, when we're headed to his bedroom he always rushes into mine instead, and when we're headed towards my bedroom he rushes to the bathroom. If you want to stay inside he carries his coat around as if he's being held captive, but as soon as I hold his coat out for him to put on, he runs away. Probably to the stairs.
It's how he can yawn and rub his eyes and fuss, and once in his bed cry for over an hour without drifting off to sleep.

It's especially hard because these are my final days with Nicholas as my only baby, and I want to make them sweet and memorable. Instead he's asserting himself, and I have to fight the urge to give in to him. Easier said than done.

Anyway, these are the thoughts of the day. Tomorrow is Santa, take 2. I'm sure it will be interesting.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Just call me Grace...

Today was one of those days when I never got dressed. I dressed my KID, which I considered a miracle and an accomplishment. But the rest of the day I was either napping, cooking, folding laundry, or sitting in front of the TV trying to think of something I could do with an 18 month old which wouldn't be a disaster (Scrabble - out, wrapping gifts - out, being on the computer - out.) We settled for watching too much TV and touching the low hanging Christmas Tree ornaments with our toes.

It was during one of the quieter moments that I almost went into labor.

There I was, sitting on the couch, flipping through the guide. I was not eating or drinking anything. Remember that. I WAS NOT EATING OR DRINKING ANYTHING. I was very tired, and just thinking about how nice it would be to close my eyes when I felt the spit run down the back of my throat.
I mean, I actually noticed it and thought about it.
And I sill didn't swallow.

Apparently, my body thought it would be fun to choke on my own saliva. And I hope that somehow my body had a good laugh at my expense. I ended up rushing to the bathroom, remote control still in hand. I wasn't sure if I was peeing, or throwing up, or what, but each time I coughed I tried to stifle it because I was afraid my water would break. Of course, then I still couldn't breathe, so I would just keep coughing. All I know is that I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor. I was so loud that I drew Steve away from his football game to see what the heck was wrong with me. (For the record, I yelp, wince, or cry out at least once a day in a way that makes him ask me what's wrong with me.)

It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't felt so stupid about the whole thing. I mean, who chokes on their own spit?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Who are these Savages?

"Life Among the Savages" is a book written by Shirley Jackson in - I think - the late 40's. Remember Shirley Jackson? She wrote the short story "The Lottery" we were all forced to read in high school? Remember? The one where the town residents pick someone to stone to death for apparently no good reason?
If you remember the short story, you might remember that it was a little twisted.
"Life among the Savages" sounds like it might be that twisted.
But guess what?
It's not.
People trying to find blogs about savages or dark and evil satanic rituals will be very dissapointed.
Actually, it's about this woman and her husband who move with their two kids from the city to a rural Vermont town. She must deal with snow and cars and kids and shopping, and the flu and a billion other little things we all actually have to face sooner or later (unless you live in Florida - then the snow thing doesn't really apply, and I am jealous because there is a foot of snow on my lawn at this moment.)
Anyway, I picked this name for my Blog because I found these stories funny, and very true to life. I live in a house in New Hampshire - not that far from Vermont. I also have a husband and a child and soon will have two. I may complain about the fact that I spent hours making a gingerbread house that looked like a shack, but I can still get angry when the dog eats it. And that's OK. It's life.
My goal is to find humor in the everyday things that irritate me. Not that I could express it as she did, but still... I do my best.
We decided that today would be the perfect day to take Nick to see Santa.

Make no mistake. This trip wasn't for Nick. We might tell people it was for Nick. We might tell each other, and even ourselves that it was for Nick. Who are we, as parents, to deprive our child from the joy of sitting on Santa's lap? The thing is, Nick is 18 months old. He couldn't care less about Santa. He has no idea who this old guy is.

But regardless, Steve and I made plans to meet at the mall at 11:40 so that we can catch Santa and, with luck, get a photo of Nicholas screaming as a helpless Santa tries to keep him from leaping off his lap.

What a bad idea.

I should have known we were in for trouble when I couldn't get Steve to understand where to meet me.
"Where is Santa?" he asked.
"Under the stairs."
"I think so, yeah. Right next to H&M."
"I have no idea where HMC is."
"OK.. then don't meet us there... what about the food court?"
"Where is that?"
"On the second floor..."
"OK - on the first floor," I said. "By those ride-on toys. Next to Ruby Tuesday's? At the end of the mall?"
"By Jordan Marsh?"
"Who? No - by one of the Department stores - I don't know which one. At the entrance to the Mall - the one at the end. You know where the pet store is? And CVS? The other side."
The mall is one long strip. So I assumed he'd know where I was talking about. How foolish I was.
Steve went to every single one of those stores. H & M. He went to the pet store. He even found ride on toys on the second floor.

By the time he found us on the first floor it was noon. We had been shopping since 10am, had visited the puppies, seen the short line for Santa, played with the toys at the Disney store and spent about 30 minutes inside KB Toys... We were ready to see Santa and go.

Santa was on a Lunch break. So we never did see him. I think I'm supposed to try again tomorrow. By myself. Which, by the way, would have been WAY easier than trying to to involve Steve in this rite of parenthood.

I thought the day couldn't get worse, but then Nick peed through his pants as he was sitting on my lap as I was coaxing him to eat Burger King fries (I know, I know - but HE HAD TO EAT!) Of course his change of clothes was in the car, and nice walk from the mall.

By the time we got home, Nicholas was asleep. I managed to get him out of his carseat and into the house. I changed his diaper and placed him in his crib... and that's when the screaming started. He's been in his crib for about an hour now. Not screaming, but talking. Playing. Just - and I want to be clear on this point - NOT SLEEPING.

And now I am off to a playdate involving a pool, which means there is a very good chance I will be attempting to squeeze my 8 months pregnant body into a swimsuit and then pretend that I look normal as I try to convince Nicholas that he is having the time in his life in the water, which is not scary at all.