A bird in the hand

Our family had a bit of a scare this week: Megan, in her 19th week of pregnancy, experienced some funky business with Bubby's brother-to-be. So her doctor ordered an ultrasound.

Thankfully, all turned out well. Baby is alive and kicking and nestled firmly in (the right) place. And Megan and Preston were once again treated to an inside look at their second son ... which they then kindly shared with the family and I now share with you:

Bubby got a kick out of his baby brother's peek-a-boo stance and joyfully played a game of the same with PawDad and me during our Tuesday night Skype session, giggling and demonstrating how he and his brother will soon play.

The baby does indeed look like he's playing peek-a-boo in the photos. He also looks, to me, like a little bird, his wings still tiny and frail but soon to be strengthened then stretched as he learns to fly and eventually soar.

The thought of him being a little bird immediately brought a song to my heart ... and an earworm to my head. This is the song, the earworm, the empowering "Little Bird" the ultrasound pics bring to mind:

(Annie Lennox - Little Bird found on YouClubVideo)

In light of the way I see the little guy in the pictures and the gotta-dance-about-it song he's lodged in my head and heart -- and despite Megan and Preston not yet settling 100 percent on the baby's name, despite the cute monikers offered up when I asked for suggestions on Facebook -- I've officially chosen a name to call Bubby's brother here on the blog. Well, more accurately, a name has been chosen for me, for the baby.

So without further adieu, dear Grandma's Briefs readers, I hereby dub thee, my newest grandbaby ... Birdy!

Stay tuned for the further adventures -- and peek-a-boo games! -- of Birdy and Bubby.

(PS: Just for kicks, take a look at Birdy's mouth and nose in the first ultrasound picture, then scroll down to the picture of Bubby in the "Changes on the way" post from two days ago. Do they not look alike already?)

Today's question:

When did you last have a "shew!" experience, a moment of relief when you -- literally or figuratively -- wipe your brow, sigh "shew!" and feel like everything's going to be okay?

Changes on the way

At the start of a new year, everyone seems to have plans for how things will change in their lives in the coming months, whether stated aloud or kept private. One person I know has the biggest changes of his life coming his way, and at this point, he's thankfully oblivious to how those changes are going to rock his world.

I'm talking, of course, about Bubby.

As many of you know, Bubby has a sibling on the way. Sure, it all sounds fine and good when told "You're going to be a big brother" and "You'll have a new baby to share your toys with" and to be given a new babydoll to practice his big-brother skills. All those things make Bubby smile. (Well, not so much the idea of sharing his toys.) But it's the sharing of Mommy and Daddy that Bubby's not yet grasped, not yet even considered. But it'll happen, like it or not, and I'm crossing my fingers he does okay with it, remains the happy, usually silly, sometimes snippy (aren't all toddlers at times?) kiddo who has a firm and forever hold of my heart.

That's change No. 1. Although there's a lot of talk about it now, the true changes won't take place until the end of May.

Change No. 2, on the other hand, is happening soon. Which makes it the very first major change in the little guy's life. It's a move to a new house ... to accommodate change No. 1.

Bubby and his family will be moving into a larger home the first of February. Which is a good thing. But it can be a scary thing, too, to have one's world packed up in boxes, turned upside down, shaken here and there, then set down reassembled in a whole new spot, a whole new design. Especially scary for a 31-month-old who has never known anything but the happy little place he, Mommy, Daddy, and Roxy currently call home.

In the new place, Bubby will again have his own room -- no need to share with his new brother. He'll get a dedicated playroom out of the deal, too, and a new backyard that faces north instead of south like it currently does, with the scorching desert sun putting the kibosh on outdoor play most of the day, most of the year.

Even with all the good things coming his way with both changes, the changes mean stress. And, as we all know, high stress levels can do a number on mind, body and soul.

Based on the Social Adjustment Rating Scale, a list rating stressful life events, a new baby and a new home puts one's stress level at the "low" point (considering no other stressful factors are involved). That's for an adult. For a little boy who's always been the one and only child, the one and only grandchild and who has always and forever lived in only one home, I'd say the 'high" point as a more appropriate score.

The answer to high stress levels, according to the experts, is to create a "stress-management plan." The answer to high stress levels for Bubby, according to this admittedly non-expert grandma, is an "extra-hugs-kisses-and-attention-from-Gramma plan."

My advice when it comes to stress-reduction plans of any sort? They're far more effective when set into motion sooner rather than later. Which is why it's a splendid coincidence that I just so happen to have an airline ticket booked for a visit to Bubby -- just four days after his move into his new home. (Thank you, Preston!)

I say forget laughter being the best medicine, it's hugs from Grandma that are going to do the trick this time. And as I've been a little stressed out myself lately, I suspect my hugs-and-kisses-stress-management plan designed especially for Bubby is going to do us both a heap of good.

Photo by Megan's friend Alison.

Today's question:

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Sharin' the love

While Jim, Brianna, Andrea and I drove to the airport last Wednesday, Megan and Preston visited the doctor to find out the sex of their new baby.

While Jim, Brianna, Andrea and I sat at the gate waiting for departure, Megan and Preston sent us several goofy text messages announcing that Baby No. 2 will be a boy.

While Jim, Brianna, Andrea and I were visiting Megan and Preston -- and Bubby -- for Thanksgiving, we all wondered aloud now and then how Bubby will fare once he has a little brother with whom he must share everything. Well, mostly everything.

Of top concern was how Bubby will fare sharing the attention of those who love and adore him. For in the short three days we were there for the Thanksgiving holiday, Bubby was the star attraction, the one and only recipient of lots of loving.

He got love and attention from Gramma.

And (he of the great ear handles) PawDad.

(Great) Grandpa Wes.

And GiGi (Great Grandma).

Aunt B gave lots of loving.

As did Aunt Andie.

Even Mister Scott (of haircutting fame) dished out giggle-inducing attention.

Naturally, he's Daddy's little super star (and chief ear-holder).

And pre-Turkey Trot Mommy's good luck charm and more.

So with a baby brother on the way, my question is this: With all that love and attention dished out by Bubby's many admirers, would it be best for us all to taper off the adoration a tad now, in preparation for Bubby soon having to learn how to graciously share?

Or do we dish out even bigger portions now, making the most of these relatively few final months before Bubby becomes forever more a big brother, with a little brother getting his fair share (possibly even a rather unfair share at first) of all the love and attention we have to dish out?

Today's question:

What do you think: Slightly taper off the attention now so Bubby doesn't have to go cold turkey OR smother the boy and spoil the heck out of him during his last days as the one and only?