Cordelia Margaret Winton Brown was born on Tuesday, September 27th at 4:28 pm. She weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Here is the completed birth story, and pictures.

I am sorry it has taken me so long to update -- having two children reduces your spare time to absolutely none -- even less than you thought you had before.

Two More Mysteries

Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander MacCall Smith was nice but I am going to have to spread these books far apart, because I seem to get tired of them quickly. I'm not sure why.

Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt was really good. It's nice to read a book set in Canada, and this guy is a hell of a mystery writer. It was kind of gruesome, but I seem to be sensitive to that these days, so it was possibly no more gruesome than most murder mysteries. I will read more by this guy.

Birth Story

Even though there is no actual birth of yet, and I have started working on the birth story. It is here (updated on Saturday September 24th). And of course if there is anything to announce we will put it here in the blog as well.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

I read this in high school as part of a Black culture and racism section. At the time I thought it was weird and stupid that we should study black culture and racism in a school in a town that was forty percent Native and very racist, but now I wonder if they were smart enough to know that studying Native culture and racism would be close enough to home that most kids would just shut down, defensively, and ignore any potential lessons, whereas studying Black culture would be distant enough for comfort but still make the brighter kids think about issues closer to home. I may be giving the school administration too much credit here.

Anyway, I thought it was time for a re-read because the book made a big impact on me when read it the first time, and indeed I am still very moved by it. I feel like I should have something more intelligent and cynical to say about it now, but I don't. I haven't really studied or considered race relations much in the intervening fifteen years so maybe that accounts for my lack of insight, or maybe it's just still a really good book.

The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science by Horace Freeland Judson

I think I should have enjoyed this more than I did, but perhaps I am more interested in science itself than in when the processes that make up modern science go wrong. Still, the book is an examination of the current state of science: peer review, refereeing, and so on, and it was good to get an overview of that along with an analysis of how it's not really working, and what is going to change it. (Hint: the Internet is going to change it.) Also I can't be too annoyed with a book which spends a couple of paragraphs talking about TeX and LaTeX.

Judson is an impeccable writer and not afraid to put together really long (grammatically perfect) sentences, which means you can't read this book in a half-assed manner, when you are watching TV or half-asleep. I haven't read a book that required actual concentration and focusing on the words on the page for a while, so it was a bit of a shock. I need to read harder books more often.

Some Light Reading

I took a break for my brain and read these books:

  • Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
  • Babes in the Woods by Ruth Rendell
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America by Morgan Spurlock

This is pretty much a retread of the material in Spurlock's movie Supersize Me and in Fast Food Nation. There is some background information about the filming of the movie -- or rather Spurlock's health during the filming of the movie -- which is pretty interesting.

All in all I enjoyed the book; Spurlock is a funny and natural writer (by which I mean he writes in a conversational, easy style). He is a little hysterical about the subject matter, but I guess that's the point -- this isn't meant to be a science book.

Home Alone

I am home alone. I finished work last week and I'm now off on maternity leave, or I will be as soon as the company I worked for gets the Record of Employment forms I requested two weeks ago. Delphine is still in daycare, though; we are going to keep her in daycare even after the baby comes because she likes it and it will provide her with some nice stability and routine in what will otherwise be a bit of a shocking time for her.

So for the first time in two years, I am not beholden to anyone. I don't have to structure my days around naps and meals and diapers and activities, or work to someone else's list of things to do. I feel adrift and confused and a little guilty.

I have gotten a few things done today, and I have many many more things to do, but I am procrastinating pretty badly as evidenced by the very existence of this weblog entry. Today I still need to empty and load the dishwasher, put away the vegetables that were delivered, clean the tub and the toilet, and take out the recycling. I would also like to hang a tapestry of my dad's that has been sitting at the back of a closet, because now I have a really good spot for it in Delphine's room.

The good news is I am not due for another couple of weeks, so I have lots of time to get things done.

In the Home Stretch

I am officially done with this pregnancy. I am full-term, meaning if the baby was born now that would be cool. I am also two weeks from my due date, meaning the baby probably won't be born for ages yet. I can say with certainty that this baby will be born before the end of the month, but that is about all I can say.

I am very big, though, and very very tired of being pregnant. I feel much more weighed down by this pregnancy than I did with Delphine. I can't move very fast, I can't bend over easily. I have to reach over my belly to change Delphine or to turn on the kitchen tap. The other day I gave myself a nasty scrape on the belly when I misjudged my size as I was brushing by the corner of our new dresser. I am constantly running into people with it.

I hope that I feel as small and nimble after the baby comes as I feel big and cumbersome now. That would rock.

I am about out of clothes, too. I have two pairs of shorts and one pair of pants that fit and are cool enough for the weather. To go with those I have one maternity top. Until just recently I have been able to wear some of my longer tops, but now I am too big and I get a little horizon of belly between my shirt and pants if I try anything except the maternity top or one of Blake's shirts. It's a good thing I don't have anywhere important to be in the next couple of weeks because I look like a slob.

On the other hand when winter comes I will have a huge wardrobe of many-sized things to choose from, from the last couple of years of constantly changing sizes.

I asked my midwife if there is anything I can do to encourage my body to actually go into labour this time around. She suggested evening primrose oil. I am to take a capsule three times a day, and apply one, ahem, topically (to my cervix) at night. I don't know if it will make any difference, but it feels good to be doing something.

I have a pretty good feeling about having a natural birth this time; this pregnancy has seemed really... active and it seems like my body is responding more to the hormones. I am talking shit, of course, I have no idea whether I will go into labour this time. I don't really care either way; it will be kind of cool to go through labour like a normal person, but on the other hand having a c-section is sweet because you don't get all stretched out and incontinent, and you get to miss out on the sweating and vomiting. The main reason I want a vaginal birth is so I can come straight home from the hospital and not have to sleep on their plastic mattresses and pillows for three days.

Late Summer Reading

Here are some books I have read lately.

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud To Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. I did not love this book. Mem Fox is convincing, nay evangelical, on the subject of reading to your children, and I am all for that, but I found some of her recommendations intimidating. For example, she says you must read books with the same intonation every time. Well, sorry, but sometimes I just don't have the energy to do Green Eggs and Ham with full vigour, and sometimes I do. Poor Delphine will have to deal with the horrible ambiguity of it all.

Also Fox wants you to stop and point out rhymes and play "find the letter" games and stuff, which seems kind of tedious and teacherly. Ironically she insists that this stuff isn't teaching; she calls it "enriching the reading experience". You're playing! You're having a good time! To me it seems annoying and forced.

I would heartily recommend Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler over this book. Butler's book is not only convincingly evangelical and encouraging about reading to babies and little kids, but it also provides pages and pages of actual book recommendations. I found it didn't take me long to be able to pick out a good kid's book after I had read a few of her suggestions.

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, Coyote Blue, and Practical Demon-Keeping by Christopher Moore. I don't usually gorge myself on multiple books by one author like this, but Blake has been off work and I have been working full-time for the last couple of weeks, and he has been in charge of going to the library, so this is what has been new around the house. The books are good; they are funny and the characters are engaging.

The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This is a science-fiction romance packaged as a ... I don't know, what do they call them. Contemporary fiction? Those books that come in trade paperback size and have the kind of fuzzy matte finish and a picture of feet on the front. It seems like it should be really confusing, because it switches back between one point-of-view and another, and hops back and forth in time, at every chapter. But somehow it's easy to follow. The story is effectively manipulative, so if you like a good cry you will like the book, and if you hate to be handled like an emotional marionette you may find yourself a little annoyed by it.

I feel like I should have read more, but lately I have been sleeping instead of reading. I have a couple of weeks off work with Delphine in daycare, though, so I am hoping to get some reading in before the baby comes.