Moby Dick Lego Activity

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I’ve finally made it to the last page of Moby Dick; naturally, I’m wearing a wool blazer adorned with leather elbow patches. Excuse me while I set down my wine goblet and pack my pipe with artisinal tobacco. Can’t you just smell the richness and grandeur? I want to share this literary experience with my 4 year old (minus the wine and tobacco), and I know just how to do it.

If you’re like me, you occasionally search for fun, brain-boosting activities to do with your child. And if you’re like me, you also want those activities to be effortless. I stop and peruse all of the STEM, sensory, and site word activities on Pinterest as often as the next parent, but I rarely pin them and often keep scrolling. Why? Because they typically require me to do one or more of the following:

  • Print a set of cards, labels, or word images
  • Cut out a set of cards, labels, or word images
  • Glue something
  • Create a labyrinthine structure using yarn and blue tape
  • Make a huge mess that I must then clean up

I’m not lazy. Really. But I don’t have time for all of that. Also, I just don’t want to do it. I’d rather hop in the car and take a family trip to the nature preserve, which already exists, than create an intricate sensory scene with water, food coloring, pine cones, and fake plastic crap that ultimately ends up making something wet or stained or sticky. I’m not saying making dioramas isn’t fun. I’d just rather wait until the kids are old enough to cut, glue, and – most importantly – clean up the resulting mess themselves. Go ahead, mom-judge me. I’ll just be over here doing this super FUN and EASY lego activity with my kid that only requires three mess-proof ingredients:

  1. One bin of Legos
  2. One copy of Moby Dick (or any book you like)
  3. A dash of imagination

Before I reveal this simple activity, I must confess: I’m not wearing a smarty-pants jacket or savoring Merlot. Heck, I’m not even wearing smarty pants. I’m actually wearing dollar-store flip-flops and sipping a 4 oz. juice box with Big Bird’s face on it. Also, the version of Moby Dick that I just finished is this one (*SPOILER ALERT* Ishmael floats):

cozyclassic

Have you seen these? They’re called “Cozy Classics” and there are plenty of classics to choose from. We also have the “War and Peace” Cozy Classic but I just couldn’t get into that one. I found the plot to be a little untidy if not convoluted.

Anyways, thanks to Hubs, who has actually read Moby Dick Proper, I had a pretty good grasp of the story before reading the Cozy Classic (thanks to his retelling, which included every banal exciting detail). We’ve been reading the board book version to my son since he was about a year old, so he basically needs his own tweed jacket and readers. He gets the basic points of the story and knows it involves a boat, a whale that bit off a guy’s leg, and a crew of sailors that goes in search of the whale. And, really, what more is there to know?

[pause for malevolent glares from Melville aficionados]

So one rainy Saturday morning, the kid wanted to play with legos. I agreed, but I had to suppress a massive eye roll when he said he wanted to build robots.

Robots. Again. For the gajillionth-millionth time.

“Let’s make something else!” I suggested.

I spotted the Moby Dick board book.

“Where’s the lego boat?” I asked.

I set to work constructing the ultimate Moby Dick lego configuration. Soon, we had an ocean made of all the blue and purple legos. We put the Pequod in our “ocean” and before we knew it, Captain Ahab was after that whale, which we also improvised, complete with blow hole foam (in case you were wondering about that white block on his head.) Is Ahab a smiling bear, still in possession of both legs in this scenario? Sure. Does it really matter? Nah.

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So, if you’re looking for a simple, fun, and educational activity for your pre-schooler that involves literacy and creative role-play while facilitating dialogue about some pretty complex themes like loyalty, empathy, bravery, and vengeance, it’s time to get out the lego bin and start devising the stage for this really long and monotonous exciting and celebrated tale.

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We played for most of the morning and we all had fun. He was so preoccupied with this activity that I actually finished a whole cup of coffee while it was still hot. The best part: cleanup. Just toss the legos back into the bin and Voila! On to the next rainy Saturday exploit.

As we ended our Moby Dick adventure, I glimpsed something quivering faintly in the corner of the room. I looked up and Behold! – the ghost of Herman Melville himself. A knowing smile played upon his lips. He winked and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up, as if to say, “Well played, my good marm. Well played.” When I rubbed my eyes to reexamine the specter, he was gone.

And now you have a Melville-approved activity to pin on Pinterest that doesn’t involve wasting half of your day cutting, gluing, and getting sticky or wet. You’re welcome.

If you like birth stories

**Warning: This post contains profanity*


“The second one is so much easier!” they said.

“The second one is so eeeasy, dahling – why, it’ll just be so eeeeeeasy!” they said.

Lies. All lies.

First, I barfed more. A lot more. At one point I thought I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It was the day I couldn’t even keep water down and I was puking yellow stomach acid mixed with a little blood from all prior puking. I didn’t have HG, thankfully. I was prescribed the highest dosage of a certain drug and henceforth only puked one or two times a day instead of all day until finally, around week 20, it went away. Disaster avoided.

Second, I hurt more. My body felt broken and rusted and old. Everything hurt. Perhaps that’s because I was “Advanced Maternal Age.”

Third, I was miserable and had an awful attitude the entire 41 weeks. Actually, that first week or so when I wasn’t sick was pretty cool because I was pregnant and actually wanted to be.

So as my due date approached, armed with the knowledge that second babies just appear out of nowhere, I sat waiting to go into labor while Googling “what to do if you’re pulled over for speeding while on the way to the hospital” because I was infinitely sure that the baby would drop right out of me before we ever arrived this time.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I had to be induced. Again.

6 p.m. Wednesday

I came in to be induced with Cervidil. I originally thought I was being admitted at 5 p.m. so I ate my last meal, which was very light, at 4 p.m. (Save this vital information for later.)

8 p.m. Wednesday

The nurse inserts the Cervidil. Think of it as a tampon for uncooperative cervixes (cervices?) inserted by a complete stranger. It’s not pleasant. Or maybe my nurse had really long fingernails covered in sandpaper decoupage. Who knows? It was uncomfortable to say the least.

7 a.m. Thursday

After a super fun night of tossing, turning, racing thoughts punctuated by pee breaks, and relatively no sleep, I turned on the lights and made lots of noise so Hubs would wake up and be miserable and exhausted too. Except he slept like a damn baby all night, so he was perky as ever.

8 a.m. Thursday

I was given Pitocin to get my contractions going. I’ll remind you that I had no problems whatsoever being induced with my son four years earlier. They gave me Pitocin, and I was like, “Yeee-haw, let’s have a bay-bayyy!”

12:00 p.m. Thursday

Nothing is happening.

3 p.m. Thursday

I’m starving. I’m fucking starving. I’ve had no food for 24 hours, remember? Unless you count generic jello and broth from a packet served in cheap styrofoam cups.

Meanwhile, Hubs was like:

8ouh2ljvhejrs

Have you ever wanted to punch someone in their stupid face?

5 p.m. Thursday

I’m getting worried. The Pitocin is not working. My contractions are mild and inconsistent. Baby’s head will not engage – her head won’t drop down into my pelvis. Every time they come and check my cervix, her stubborn head just floats away. She doesn’t give two poops about coming out, clearly. I’m starting to feel some anxiety.

Please, please, please not a C-section. Please…

Things weren’t looking good.

8 p.m. Thursday

I’d been on Pitocin for 12 hours. My contractions were still small and scattered. Baby’s head was still floating out in la-la womb. Every time they increased the Pitocin, her heart rate showed signs of stress, so they had to dial it back.

Fuck. I’m going to have a C-section. I just know it. 

I’d stopped bouncing on the birth ball, stopped dancing, stopped doing squats, stopped all of the things I’d hoped would engage my stubborn baby’s head. Hopelessness crept in. I was exhausted, hungry, depressed, and all-around super fun to be around for Hubs, who had just finished eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes with cheesecake.

9 p.m. Thursday

Doc comes in to check my cervix.

Side note: Having your cervix checked isn’t fun, but I can handle it during routine check-ups – you know, when you only have to have it done maybe once a week. When you’re trying to induce labor, and you’ve been laying there for fucking ever over 24 hours, your cervix gets checked. A lot. When I had my son, the Pitocin worked like a dream, and I’d had my epidural by the time they started checking my cervix, so I didn’t feel it. This time, not so much. Having my cervix checked a thousand or so times in one day by multiple people was a real treat. And by “treat” I mean I withered into a pitiful state of misery and despair when they put on “the glove.” Even Hubs looked at me with discernible pity in his eyes when they peeled open the sterilized glove packet. In other news, one of my nurses was a fellow alum from my high school. We chatted pleasantly and gave family updates as she shoved her whole hand up in my business. It wasn’t awkward.

Anyways, Doc checked. And nothing.

This is it. He’s going to prep for a C-section. Why me?

He sighed and put his hand to his chin thinking.

“You know what? Let’s just stop. Let’s take a break. We’ll take you off the Pitocin, give you a rest, give Baby a rest, you can eat a little something. We’ll give it about 5 or 6 hours and start the Pitocin again and give you your best shot at this, OK?”

I decide that I love him, right then and there, for not wheeling me into a C-section when I know many doctors would have.

10 p.m. Thursday

I’m inhaling mashed potatoes, green beans, and grilled chicken from KFC.

I still felt a bit hopeless, but I prayed and prayed and prayed all day for this to happen vaginally. It’s not every day you use the term “vaginal” when praying to God Almighty. I’m sure he’s heard worse. I had one more chance.

Tummy full, I finally fell asleep.

2:30 a.m. Friday

They start the Pitocin again sometime in the wee hours. I barely notice. I’m exhausted and go back to sleep.

6 a.m. Friday

I wake up with cramps. I’m feeling some contractions. I look over and the Pitocin is still on a very low dose.

Holy crap. This might be working. 

7:30 a.m. Friday.

Oh yeah. It’s working all right. 

8 a.m. Friday

Holy shiitake mushrooms, Batman. This is kind of starting to hurt a little. 

8:30 a.m.

Holy fuck balls, Batman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to die! WHERE is my MOMMY???

Ok so here’s the deal. First, all kidding aside (even though he did eat like a raging hog for a majority of our stay), Hubs was amazing. He was so calm and supportive. He held my barf bag(s), held my essential oils under my nose, encouraged me, and tried to help me through the pain and loved me the whole time. (Love ya, babe. You earned that meatloaf. But just so we’re clear, I earned 20 meatloafs. Cuz, I had our baby, sooo…yeah.)

Second, I made a birth plan this time. I had a great experience last time without one, but I’ve learned a few things since then and wanted to advocate for myself a little and make my specific wishes known. I was pretty proud of my little birth plan. It was tidy, brief, and to the point. You see, when I was in labor with my son, after the first two or three contractions I was like, “Ouchy boo-boo! Can I have my epidural now?” But this time I wanted to experience labor and really work through it, so I included the following bullet point in my birth plan [ehem]:

“I would like to wait as long as possible before having an epidural administered, or when the pain is unmanageable to me, whichever is first.”

Ha.

Haha!

Bwah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Do you want to know what it’s like to “experience” labor while on Pitocin? It’s like having the worst cramps of your life, then all of a sudden the walls explode into dust as the Incredible Hulk erupts into your hospital room in the midst of smoke and debris and screams “HULK SMASH!!!” as he takes his massive green hands and shoves them up into your lady biz, grabs your uterus and just squeezes the shit out if it while you sob, and all manner of “breathing through it” while visualizing a beach with palm trees goes flying out the window he just busted.

giphy

Meanwhile, during one particularly lively contraction, I felt a pop followed by a gush of what I can only describe as hot vomit exploding from between my legs while half standing, half sitting on the bed trying to endure another sadistic contraction.

That’s right, friends. My water broke au natural. It went everywhere, including all over the nurse’s shoes, mingling with the flow of my tears as I howled, “Oh my God, this is the worst day of my li-hi-hife! This is so gro-ho-ho-sssss! Ewwww!” There may have been some F-bombs sprinkled into my despair and other choice words becoming of a lady. For that, I’m sorry. My poor nurse. My poor poor nurse. I’m a million percent sure I scared her  a little.

Oh! But you guys, I only puked once this time. Well, twice, but the first time was the night before so I’m only counting one.

8:45 a.m. Friday

The anesthesiologist flies in from Abu Dhabi or the Antarctic or wherever the hell he must have been that took for-effing-ever for him to arrive. I wanted to punch his stupid face.

Then he administered this fun shot that made me feel woozy and relaxed.

Then he gave me my epidural.

Then I wanted to marry his stupid face.

9:15 a.m. Friday

My mom arrives. I’m laying in bed, in and out of sleep, reveling in my newfound numbness below the waist.

10:00 a.m. Friday

I feel nothing. I’m sleeping half the time. My mom makes some comment like, “You don’t feel that?” while looking at the monitor that shows my contractions. “You’re having some big contractions,” she said.

“Huh.” I went back to sleep.

10:30 a.m. Friday

Doc comes in. They’ve readied the room for delivery while I was in my stupor the zone. Doc mentions something about practice pushes while he gowns up. I tell my friend who’s come to watch that it’ll probably be a couple hours and mention that someone should tell my dad he can go home for a while if he wants to. It took nearly two hours to push out my son, after all. Just as my mom is about to tell my dad he can leave, Hubs double-checks with the doc.

“How long do you think it’ll be?”

“Oh, you’ll have a baby in fifteen minutes.”

Huh?

10:31 a.m. Friday

Suddenly, I’m wide awake.

10: 35 a.m. Friday

We decide to try a few “practice” pushes.

“Can you tell me when to push? I can’t feel anything, not even the contractions.”

“Yep!” Nurse says. I like this nurse. She has good energy.

They tell me to push.

I push.

They tell me to push.

I push.

We wait for a third contraction. Seems to be taking a while. Finally…

They tell me to push.

I push.

This is so eeeasy! I had no idea it would be this eeeasy!

I push again.

10:45 a.m. Friday, July 15th

For the second time, the most beautiful love of my life emerges into the world.

They place her naked, beet-red body upon my chest. It’s hot and sticky and lovely. I hold her close and cry and all of my anxiety splits into a million butterflies.

We’ve been together ever since.

 

Meeting her for the first time. Last memory for the day, promise. #skintoskin #childbirth #bestthingever

A photo posted by Chris Treber (@incredulousmom) on


 

 

Sundays.

Have you ever thought you might just hate your baby for making you so miserable during pregnancy, only to have her placed upon your chest in a rush of adrenaline and slimy goo in just such a way that your eyes meet her squished up, pissed off little face and the hate just drains out of you in an instant, and your head and heart and body fill up with so much love that you’re certain you’ll combust?

Yeah. Me neither.

Ok. All kidding aside, that was me. Several folks have inquired about my “birth story” and I promise I will write a post detailing the grueling 48 hours we spent in the hospital (with me starving as my husband had three square hospital meals a day) awaiting her arrival, followed by two more days of the mandatory postpartum stay. I want to get it down before I forget, after all. But not today.

Today is an ode to Sundays. Because I love them. Small moments twinkle on Sundays.


On lactation cookies:

Boy: Can I have a bite?

Me: Oh, buddy, these are special cookies for Mommy to make milk.

Boy: Can I just try one bite?

Me: [gives bite]

Boy: Mmmm, your booby cookies are GOOD!


On birds and bees:

[Out of the blue, in the car]

Boy: Mommy, how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?

Me: Uhhhhh…well, when mommies and daddies love each other very much sometimes they have a baby.

Boy: Yeah, but how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?

Us:


On losing belly buttons:

Little Squirt’s umbilical cord stump fell off on Sunday. When W’s fell off, I gushed and promptly got a baggie to put it in. I probably cried. I don’t remember. When Squirt’s belly button stump fell off, I grabbed it and tossed it onto the coffee table and went back to changing her diaper. I made a mental note that it looked similar to a dried piece of food and hoped that no one would pick it up and try to eat it.


On flying planes:

Months ago, W went to a nearby market with Hubs. He saw a toy airplane – the dime store kind you shoot with a rubber band. Hubs told him no. When they got home, I told W he’d have to buy it himself (at a whopping $1.50 or so). We figured he’d forget. A few weeks later, Hubs was leaving for the same market.

“Is it the place with the airplane toy?” W asked.

We were shocked he remembered.

A few minutes later we were counting out quarters and dimes from W’s piggy bank. He was  so proud. But his pride quickly became frustration when he came home and couldn’t shoot it properly with the rubber band. The plane has been collecting dust on the buffet cabinet in the dining room ever since.

But on Sunday… on Sunday, it flew. He flew it. All by himself.

“Look Mommy! Look! I did it all by myself!”

PicMonkey Image


Other noteworthy quotes:

Boy: Mommy, is that your tummy where the baby ripped through?

[His words. Not mine.]


Sundays.

We listen to Wilco. We start the day slowly and enjoy what life offers when there’s no cable television. ♥

 

5 HIIT Workouts for Pregnancy

At 37 weeks, I can post this amazing list of 5 HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that will not fail to bring your heart rate right on up to super speed. Hubs has been getting into these faddy HIIT workouts lately, and I often pout when he leaves to go outside for 10 minutes to do them. Why?  Because that means he’s not inside with me, in the air conditioning, feeding me and rubbing my giant marshmankles. Because I’m a little jealous. He can run without feeling like his uterus is going to fall out from under him. He can jump without fearing a double hip replacement. He can do a pushup without a monstrous growth and two inflated boobs hitting the ground first. He can bend over without feeling every organ inside his body be crushed by a miniature version of himself that’s sucking his life force from within. You get the picture. My day will come. Soon. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, I have my own HIIT exercises to keep me at peak performance. Cheers.

HIIT