The third trimester is officially here and I officially don’t recognize myself. It’s like natural instincts become more powerful than my own ambitions; in fact, it’s like nature replaces my regular ambitions with baby-related ones.

Like nesting.

I mean, check out this photo. It’s a sand nest large enough to hold both my five- and two-year-old! Sure, we were really going for a volcano, but I couldn’t help noticing its nest-like structure once we finished. And I wish I could say it was my kids’ idea and they talked me into helping. But no. I instigated the whole project.

And then there’s the nursery. Granted, it’s my first time having one (since we lived in a one-bedroom apartment with our first baby and the second one shared a room with the first), but still this is nuts. Hours cleaning, hours setting up the crib (two-and-a-half months in advance), hours clearing out the closet of all office-related boxes that will be moving to the basement, and hours looking at new crib bedding online.

Worse, despite my normal, rational self insisting that buying bedding is way easier than making it, this new, crazy, nesting Nikki has gotten it into her head that she wants to make the crib bedding and all the decor for the room, starting with these 12″x12″ wall hangings I put together last Saturday:

Yikes! If I could put that much energy into writing right now, I swear my novel would be finished and sent off to agents already. But somehow the nesting instinct has hijacked my priorities.

Here’s one more example: cloth diapers. Why is it that I can read and read and read all the options and features and reviews, etc, for every brand of cloth diapers available, spending an entire day at a time doing so, but I start to fall asleep after working on my manuscript for half an hour?

Maybe it’s because cloth diapers are much more fun and colorful than my black-and-white, 300-page novel at the moment. I mean, check out these names: FuzziBunz, Happy Heiny, Bum Genius. And all the choices: velcro, snaps, all-in-ones, pocket, one-size. Who wouldn’t be entranced? Okay, probably anybody whose biology hasn’t been taken over by nurture hormones.

But yesterday I recaptured some of my focus and managed to salvage some of the wasted hours by putting my new-found cloth-diaper expertise to practical, non-nesting use.

I needed a lesson plan that would help my students really understand about tactful rhetoric as opposed to demonizing the opposite viewpoint. I talked to them about how we aren’t “preaching to the choir” — or in other words, we aren’t trying to convince people who already agree with us; we’re trying to win over the other side, and a good first step is to try not to offend them!

So I wrote a role play. I’d never actually done that before and I had no idea if they would actually find it funny or helpful or what, but it turned out to be hilarious, maybe just because the two students who volunteered did such a great job with it.

Since my intermediate students create websites about an issue of their choice, I told them to imagine that these two students represent a website and a visitor and to notice everything the website does wrong in the first scenario and how it revises and mends its way in the second.

Scenario 1

Cloth Diapering Website: What? You use DISPOSABLE diapers?? Do you realize that those things take 500 YEARS to decompose in a landfill? Do you have no CONSCIENCE?

Visitor: (covering ears through entire conversation) There is no way you are talking me into using safety pins and plastic pants and all that. Plus it’s not like I have time to do extra laundry or money to hire a diaper service. Stop telling me how to parent!

Website: I’m telling you how to parent because you are obviously incapable of making informed decisions. Haven’t you even considered your baby’s HEALTH? Do you have any idea what kinds of CHEMICALS they use to make disposable diapers? What kind of parent are you??

Visitor: You are a totally insensitive human being! Haven’t YOU ever considered other people’s hectic lives? I’m a single parent! I’m just trying to make ends meet and do the best I can. Not all of us have the luxury of time to contemplate environmental impact or every ingredient on every baby product.

Website: You have to MAKE time! This is IMPORTANT! What kind of legacy are you leaving for your children? You want them to grow up in a world where landfills spill into the cities and poopy disposable diapers roll down the streets?

Visitor: I don’t have to listen to this. I don’t know why I even clicked on this website, but I’ll be sure not to come back.


Scenario 2

Website: Did you know that cloth diapering is becoming a big trend? More and more parents are switching to it every year.

Visitor: Are you serious? Why would they do that? Disposables are so much EASIER.

Website: That’s definitely the common perception. Lots of parents are afraid to even consider cloth because they have that image of safety pins and complex folds and white plastic covers, but there’s been lots of innovation going on in the last few years to make cloth diapers just as easy as disposables.

Visitor: Okay, but easy for one person isn’t necessarily easy for another. I’m a single parent. I don’t have a lot of time.

Website: Actually, there are far more options with cloth diapers than there are with disposables. You can choose cheaper ones that make sense for your budget (and, by the way, save you HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR versus disposables) or you can go all out and buy fancy ones that have every convenient feature imaginable. Look at the chart I’ve got here on the left to see five totally different cloth diapers along with picture, price, and features.

Visitor: Okay, that’s actually pretty helpful. And I like how you’ve got links I can check out, like this one about the company offering 30-day free trials. I’ll bookmark this site and keep reading more when I get the chance. 

Anyhow, trying to conquer the nesting instinct is an uphill battle, but I’m determined to win . . . somehow. Somehow I will get my novel sent off before this baby is born, even if I have to do it by writing cloth-diaper scenes. Or not.

Anybody else suffering from hijacked ambitions, like maybe because of summer weather or some other enticing trap? 

Leave a comment! 


25 thoughts on “Help! My Ambitions Have Been Hijacked!

  1. Summer weather is brainwashing meeeee~ At least it waited until late June to show up here in Portland.

    I really like your role play scripts. You did a good job illustrating tactful rhetoric. When will you come back to the Northwest where I can take your classes? 😛


  2. I loved your post, especially the giant sand nest. I think you should sit in it for the next pic.

    Right now my ambitions have been hijacked by someones super cute blog. 😉 So, I must log off the internet and forge ahead with my WIP. Why is it so hard to get motivated?


  3. I keep derailing myself too–I have two birthday parties (including one for my youngest) and a wedding reception for a very close friend tomorrow, and then girls’ camp starts on Monday (and, no, I’m not even close to ready for that). Anyway, I can ignore it all and work for about five minutes of writing before I freak out again. It’s not helping the writing much.

    And, see, I can’t even focus long enough to make a comment on your blog coherent!


    1. Maybe that explains me, too, somewhat. I kind of started freaking out that the office was full of chaos rather than baby stuff, so I just started attacking it, putting the crib together and throwing everything into the middle of the room. It was like I couldn’t write or do anything until I felt like I’d made a good dent in that.

      Good luck with girls’ camp! I hope you can focus more on writing once you get back. 🙂


  4. haha. This is fantastic. Were you this crazy with the other 2? I definitely was way worse with #3. I love the wall hangings! And have you picked a cloth diaper brand yet? I should probaby just email you, but I need to go to bed…


    1. Well, the especially crazy thing is that I made Kid 1’s crib bedding, so I remember exactly how much work it was and how ridiculous I was for doing it that way. And yet here I am doing it again. So yeah, pregnancy just makes me loopy.

      I’m leaning toward FuzziBunz or Bum Genius, but I can’t buy them until right before babe’s born because I want to use the 30-day trials on my six favorites and send back the ones I don’t like. 😀


  5. I am a former student and just happened to take one last look at all the websites we created for your class when I stumbled upon yours again. Congrats on the new babe 🙂 I am expecting as well AND using cloth diapers HOORAY 🙂 My days have also been consumed researching and “nesting”. It is a lovely thing. When are you due?


    1. Congratulations! That’s so exciting! You’re lucky to start with cloth diapers from the first. I hate that I wasted all that money on disposables with my other two kids. I’m due September 7th. What about you?


      1. Yes I am excited for cloth diapering. . .(did I just say that : )) now if i can just get the husband to see the many pros to cloth rather then the fact that he may have to scrap poo into the toilet! I am due August 30th


        1. The biggest selling point for my husband has been the promise that the baby’s room won’t smell like poop anymore. Disposables smell terrible, even with a diaper genie pail and air fresheners all around it.

          Also, I’m totally sold on using flushable liners so there’s no scraping involved. My neighbor says they’re great. Just drop it in the toilet! 😀


        2. I thought about using the flushables but couldn’t find anyone who had used them to talk to, I like feed back before I can make a whole hearted decision! And I also needed to compare the prices of the flushable liners vs. cloth, so your neighbor uses them. . . Has she ever had problems with a clogged toilet or anything like that?


        3. I don’t think so. I think it’s the same as flushing toilet paper. The feedback I got from her was basically, “Yes! You definitely want the flushable liners. They are the best thing.”


        4. I see well that is really nice to know. Have you decided which trial pack you are going to do? I can’t decide if i need to get a trial pack that will allow me to do cloth full time or if I just need a few to determine the style I like. . .


        5. Yeah, I’m still thinking about that too. I really really wish I could find a store that stocks them so I could actually hold them and get an idea which would work best for my skinny babies.


      2. I found this swell little website, they have a booth in the quilted bear in Provo, I’m going to go check it out I think. It might be handy to actually SEE and HOLD the diapers, they have quite a few different brands to look at. Hope this helps!


  6. The names of those cloth diapers make me embarrassed for you. But I love you anyway and at least you have some kind of ambition, even if I can’t possibly comprehend why you would want to make crib bedding ha ha. Just wait and see, you say? Yeah I know.


    1. Embarrassed? You’d be embarrassed to have a nephew wearing Happy Heinys? I’m shocked. And I’m totally buying you some when you get to that stage of life (first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby . . . you’re only three steps away!). 😉


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