Same Same But Different

Same same but different. That was a familiar saying along the backpacker circuit in Southeast Asia when I was traveling a decade ago and it came back to me this afternoon.

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Four weeks ago I was out in the woods with Oliver, feeling very pregnant and knowing that I’d be induced the next morning.

Today I was out in the woods with Oliver again. But this time I was carrying my baby on the outside. We took our first full family walk: Oliver slipping and sliding on the ice, Adrian hobbling on his crutches, and our little baby sleeping soundly against my chest.

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Dylan Michael Hicks was born at 7:21pm on December 20th. His birth, a C-section after two days of induction and the doctor-on-call’s assessment that the baby wasn’t tolerating the contractions very well, was far from the natural, non-medicalized experience I was hoping for. But the result was a healthy beautiful baby, so I’m not dwelling on disappointment.

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We, of course, think he’s remarkable. He scored a 9.9 on the Apgar Test, was already nursing on the operating table as they stitched me up, and had gained a half a pound over his birthweight when he was ten days old. And, best of all, he started smiled at two and a half weeks.

A prodigy, clearly.

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Oliver doesn’t seem too bothered about the baby. He sniffs Dylan’s face now and then, and thinks the car seat was installed as his personal headrest, but is, for the most part, studiously ignoring the new addition.

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We’re all doing well, adjusting to life as a family of four and enthusiastically watching Dylan’s personality emerge. What an adventure.

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Milestones

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Adrian and I got married on a cold and icy day five years ago. I ducked out of work a little early and we headed down to Charlotte Town Hall just before closing. Other than a few curious people who happened to be renewing dog licenses or paying town fees, it was just us and our Justice of the Peace and a town select board member who happened to be in the building and got roped in as a witness (and then admonished by the JP for not taking off his John Deere hat).

Like our wedding, our anniversaries have been quiet affairs, marked by a frigid walk in the woods with Ollie.

This year it was even more low-key than anticipated, since we thought we’d be getting to know our newest family member. But the baby has yet to make an appearance. Won’t be too long now, as I’m facing an induction in the morning. But for tonight we’ll try to relax and just enjoy our last child-free moments as a couple, thinking about five great years of marriage and the more than ten years since we first met on that beach in Thailand.

And here’s to all the adventures we have in store.

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Not Amusing

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It was a frustrating early morning. I thought it would be great if Ollie and I could go for a walk and then get in the car and go home so I could go to work. Ollie thought it would be cool to find a partial carcass of a deer and drag it off into the woods to munch on it for a while. And then to play the fun game where I chase him deeper and deeper into the woods trying to get him on a leash while he just drags the treasure a few feet away in the dense underbrush.

At 40 and a half weeks pregnant, I was not in the mood for games. And I really wish I knew who dumped this butchered deer in a trash bag in the parking lot of our popular dog-walking trails in Bristol. It is legal to dump a deer after you’ve butchered it (providing it’s a legally caught deer in the first place) but it’s pretty damn rude to dump it where lots of people and dogs are going to be romping around.

At least Ollie thinks it’s the best thing that’s happened to him in months! Ever since the dead raccoon in the woods froze or was eaten by other animals, he hasn’t had a carcass to roll around with. So he spent most of the weekend running around with pieces of this deer, running up and down the trail with it and burying one quarter or another in the swamp. So one of us had a great weekend.

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For my part, I enjoyed seeing several live deer and a couple of herons on our walks. And on Saturday night the elusive beaver slapped its tail in annoyance at us a few times, letting me know he’s still hanging in there!

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Happy Thanksgiving

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A quiet day today for our little family. I took Ollie for a walk in woods filled with a light cover of snow that sparkled in the cold sunlight.

With a week to go ’til my due date, we didn’t think it would be wise to go to Maine for the family meal. Likewise, planning a big meal and inviting lots of people seemed dicey. So we settled for a low key turkey day on our own and a steak dinner in place of the bird.

I’ll admit that I was kind of hoping the baby might make an early appearance. Adrian is punctual to a fault and prefers to be early. But this baby is half Lindholm and Lindholms are not known for their great sense of timing, to put it kindly. So no baby today.

But I’m feeling thankful for all we have. Given that Adrian found out last week that he tore his quad and is looking at a 3-6 month recovery, I’m grateful just to be able to make my way around the trails, even if it does require more huffing and puffing than it used to.

We’ve got wonderful friends and colleagues. Neighbors helping us out. And family that loves and supports us. I’m thankful for all of them.

And I’m working on being thankful for however many more days we have as just the three of us. Ollie has no idea what’s about to happen to him. For that matter, neither do Adrian or I!

Whether you celebrated with friends and family, or spent the day alone or working, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

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Proximity is Everything

If you’re not actually allowed in the front seat of some specific cars, just get as close as possible. It’s practically the same thing.

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Such a Wimp!

After my doctor’s appointment this evening I thought if take Ollie for a quick nighttime walk on the trail just so he could stretch his legs off-leash (and give me a break from his pulling). We started down the trail, Ollie ahead and me with a flashlight bobbing behind, when out of the darkness a howl erupted. Then the yips, and a quickly amplifying chorus of yowls. A pack of coyotes, somewhere beyond the trees, getting closer.

Ollie looked at me and we both had the same idea: hightail it back to the car!

I feel like I’ll lose all of my country cred, but it’s pretty creepy to feel so exposed! I love the sounds of the local coyotes, but I guess I have to admit that I like them better from the safety of my own house.

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Limping Along

We’re limping towards the end of the year in our household. Three invalids. Ollie has a new set of stitches from a scuffle over a ball at daycare where another dog bit him. Adrian tripped over a log running in the dark with Oliver last night and landed on his thigh on a protruding root. After a trip to the walk-in clinic this morning, the x-rays revealed no fractures but he’s got a nasty contusion and will be on crutches for the next several days. (I should report on his behalf that Adrian said from the start no bones were involved. He figures that the x-rays were ordered to boost the insurance bill.) He’s trying to ride the painkiller wave to at least a couple of hours of sleep right now, since the pain has been so severe he’s otherwise had trouble getting comfortable enough to get any rest.

And I’m, well, I’m not an invalid, but with less than 4 weeks to go to my due date, this protruding belly is starting to get the better of me! I always thought it was an exaggeration when pregnant women in movies were depicted struggling to get off the couch. But it turns out it was no overstatement. Everything feels hard! It’s hard to breathe; it’s hard to bend over; it’s hard to get in the car. The walks in the woods take longer than they should. It’s all joyful and I’ve had such an easy pregnancy that I have no complaints, but it’s been eye-opening to understand how many physical changes there really are.

The bottom line is that at this moment neither Adrian nor I can put on our own socks!

(As for Ollie, he doesn’t seem slowed down by his latest wound at all and just steals whatever socks he can get his teeth on.)

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