Baby’s a Pumpkin, Mom’s a Manatee

So there’s this thing in pregnancy where people like to use fruits and vegetables to give an approximate comparison for the baby’s gestational size. Some of the fruits/veggies are totally normal, meaning you can find them in an actual grocery store, but others are weird and exotic.

For example, at Week 33, the baby is the approximate size of a durian fruit (I know, spell check doesn’t even recognize it). What the eff is that? It sounds like something I would order if I were with Harry Potter at The Leaky Cauldron: “I would like a pint of Butter Beer, a Golden Snitch Cake, and a Durian Fruit, please.” “Thanks, Hagrid. Next round’s on me.”

Are there not enough fruits and veggies at Sprouts to use ones we don’t have to Google? Although you would lose the cutesie factor that comes with calling your baby a poppyseed, common household objects would be much more helpful as a means of analogy. Plus, it would eliminate the whole “I’m eating my mango baby for breakfast” ordeal. That makes for an awkward meal. For example, instead of a papaya, at Week 22: Baby is a can of Pledge!” or “Week 33: Baby is the size of your cankles after walking around the block!”

Knocked up ladies across America love to compare their babies to produce. They will make these cute chalkboards with swirly writing that say things like “Week 23: Baby is a mango!” or “Week 37: Baby is a winter melon! (again, what the heck is that).” They take pictures, hand on belly pose, holding these little signs and post them on Facebook so that everyone can track their increasing fatness. All well and good, but would it not be much more entertaining/useful to see preggo ladies holding up signs that say things like “Week 37: Baby is the size of a bottle of Merlot!” Then you could look down at your bottle of Merlot and contemplate it being wedged in your belly. Cheers to that.

Well, at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, our baby is the size of a pumpkin, and I’m venturing a guess we have one

This is not me… I promise.

of those big pumpkins from the state fair, not the kind in the five dollar boxes outside Walmart on October 30th.

So that got me thinking: they use these adorable little measurements for the baby, but there’s nothing to help moms figure out to what their weekly growth should be comparable. I think that needs to change. Here’s what I’m thinking: most women start to show sometime around 12-15 weeks (if you are one of those biatches who didn’t show until you were 37 weeks pregnant at which point you sneezed dramatically and out popped your six pound baby, save it. We don’t want to hear about you and your three pounds of weight gain).

At around the 12 week mark, baby is the size of a lime. How cute. Reminds me of the time I used to be able to snuggle up with a Corona. Mom, meanwhile, at 12 weeks is about the size of a kangaroo: starting to get that little pouchy pooch, but still all cute-and-cuddly-pregnant. At Week 20, when overnight your clothes get tighter than the thong of a streetwalker in Amsterdam, you are the approximate size of a baby seal. Week 32: Giant Panda. Week 36: Polar bear hibernating for winter. At Week 38, I’m a cranky manatee.

This scale would bring so much relief to the suffering of poor, swollen pregnant women everywhere. You too could make cute signs announcing your growth, week by week. Perhaps you could take a monthly trip to the zoo to be amongst your weekly spirit animals and feel the kindred connection of your waistlines. Or at least it would be a nice dose of reality at a time when the world is inundating you with images of smiling pregnant women who actually do their hair and put on mascara. Or pregnant women who are out for a casual jog in the mid-afternoon wearing spandex. Or pregnant women eating salad without a pound of garlic croutons and ranch, then staying up past 9pm to hang out with their girlfriends. Seriously people, get it together. These images are not helping anyone. I like to consider it a good day if I take a shower and make it outside to get the mail.

The end of pregnancy is pretty rough. For all the advances we have made in science and health, why can we not figure out a way to speed this process up a bit? It would be awesome if you could tell your baby was fully cooked the same way you hard boil eggs. If I spin around on the ground and wobble, fair enough, baby needs a bit more baking. But once I get that nice tight spin, boom! It’s time to meet my baby. I hope you are now envisioning pregnant women break-dancing to see if they are ready or not for labor, hard boiled egg style. Hang in there, pregnant people! Ready your loins, the end is in sight (supposedly).

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Pregnancy Super Powers 101

I am pregnant therefore I have superpowers. No, really, I do. It’s probably the coolest thing about being pregnant, especially since aside from the whole growing a human thing, there’s not much else to place in the Cool Category. I have many items to place in the Icky, Swollen, Expensive, Embarrassing, and Terrifying categories, but Cool consists primarily of “growing a human.” So add superpowers to that list and call it complete.

Superpower Numero Uno: Spidey Senses

One of the first superpowers I acquired by virtue of successfully harvesting sperm was a super sniffer rivaling that of an Israeli airport dog. Seriously, want to stop the flow of drugs into the United States from Mexico? Stop using sub-par German Shepherds and hire pregnant women to sniff around those tail pipes. Problem solved. Anecdotal evidence is as follows:

Around three months into our pregnancy, at a time when staying up past 7pm was a wild night, Lonnie and I cultivated a little ritual. He would sportingly trek up the stairs with me, read a chapter out loud to me from some crazy pregnancy book until I began drool-snoring, then creep back downstairs to watch endless episodes of Futurama until it was the bedtime for real adults. One night, being of the petite and svelte figure that he is, Lonnie decided to make a quesadilla. Normal people make quesadillas the lazy way: take a tortilla, throw it in the microwave (no plate needed; after receiving radiation on par with that of Fukushima, the tortilla becomes its own plate) toss some processed cheese-ish product on top, and wait 30 seconds. Lonnie, however, having a refined quesadilla palate (read: this is the same man who once took a piece of pizza, wrapped it in a tortilla, and squirted in Ranch dressing to make a “pizza burrito”), insists on using the oven to make his ‘dillas. So he did.

Just as it was nearing baked awesomeness, my spidey senses (while drool-snore-sleeping) detected that ‘dilla. Instead of registering as an “oh, Lonnie must be using the oven to make a snack”, the message came blaring through to my hormonal body as a Grade 10 Air Quality Index Emergency to which I responded by jumping out of bed, grabbing my poor, unsuspecting pooch by the butt, and screaming for everyone to get out of the house immediately. Safely outside, I was certain I had just saved my budding little family from imminent doom until my confused husband, quesadilla in mouth, opens the front door to find out why I had rushed outside while carrying our dog upside down (or, butt-side up). My new super power clearly needed some fine-tuning.

Super Power Numero Dos: The Hand on Belly Power

This power is one that gets stronger as you get fatter, kinda like my inability to avoid Double-Stuff Oreos. This power must be exercised carefully, as it can easily be used to fulfill some hormonally driven mal-intent (or general laziness).

Here’s the situation: Your husband bought expensive walkie-talkies from Best Buy because he thought they would be really cool to use while caravaning from DC to Texas. You remind him about the modern invention of cell phones with Bluetooth and implore him to return the walkies seeing as they cost more than an average trip to Costco (I don’t care if you just went in for eggs, you are leaving with twelve catalouples and a flatscreen that hangs on the side of the bathtub). He argues back that Best Buy has a thirty day return policy, even if the box is open, so voila! Use them for the trip and they go back upon arrival in Texas.

Thirty days (predictably) comes and goes, and the walkies are still sitting on the kitchen counter. Urgh. Fighting the “told-you-so” urge with every fiber in your being, you take matters into your own hands, grab the 1960s version of the cellphone your husband insisted on having, and walk into Best Buy. The customer service agent politely explains the policy, to which you nod woefully in understanding… but then, you take your hand, and ever-so-lightly rest it on that big ol’ belly of yours, and MAGIC! You walk out of the store, refund in hand and walkie-talkie-less once more, just as the 21st century intended.

You may be tempted to whip out this power and use it for evil (like when you really don’t want to wait your turn in line at the DMV), but you must resist! Or give in only occasionally (okay, I tried it at the DMV and those people could have given a rat’s patootie. I swear they have been genetically modified to be free of normal human emotions, like compassion or happiness).

Last, but not least, I leave you with the Power of “Lightening Crotch”

This one sounds awesome, but is actually friggin’ awful. I saw this on a blog and thought as I approached my due date, electrical rays were going to shoot from my loins. Furthermore, If I were able to learn to control this crotch lightning I could do cool tricks like zap Lonnie when he won’t get out of bed the fourth time his alarm clock goes off (If I had heard “Timba” one more time this morning, I would have resolved to buy a stun gun in case my lightning crotch malfunctioned or was otherwise insufficient).

Call it my poor reading skillz, but it turns out “lightning” is a far different thing than “lightening”. What I thought was going to be the world’s coolest pregnancy superpower actually super-sucks. Lightening crotch, come to find out, is a term for when the baby drops down into your pelvis and proceeds to punch you in the vagina whenever she feels like torturing you, including in the middle of introducing yourself to your neighbors. Judging by their responses to the faces I must have been making as my baby went all Mossad on my cervix, we will not be invited to the next block party.
So there you have it. Pregnancy superpowers 101. We are just a few weeks away from D-Day! Won’t that be a fun experience… we are planning a natural birth, so prepare yourselves for the blog post that will follow that life event 🙂

So, I put the baby in the crib naked, right? Immediate panic.

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So here I am, four months pregnant, a little fatter, and a lot gassier.

Four months have come and gone faster than my students on the Friday before Spring Break. What the heck happened? How did I get here already? I had a little panic attack this weekend reaching Week 15 (baby is an orange!) and realizing I had no idea what I was doing and how I was supposed to be doing it. I keep hearing women tell me, “your mother’s instinct will kick in honey,” or “don’t worry. It will all be natural once the baby comes.” I, however, am less than certain this will be true. Point in case to follow:

Lonnie and I were home over Spring Break to visit family, announce our pregnancy at Passover (what better time to answer “Who knows nine?), and get a rapid tutorial in mothering from the two people I know who have children (my mother and my mother-in-law).

While browsing the aisles of Babies’R’Us with my mom, sister, and husband, we stopped alongside the cribs. I proudly announced to my family that I knew how to put a newborn to sleep. I had just learned about when to start Tummy Time (a no-no until they can flip themselves over, I hear). So, I proceed to declare babies sleep on their backs. With nothing in the crib. And they should be naked. My mom and sister look at me, laugh hysterically, then freak out that I will be 3,000 miles away giving birth to this poor child whose mom is probably going to put it in its crib totally naked and make it fend for itself. This is the extent of what I know about parenting, and so begins this adventure.

I will probably be the only woman whose maternal instinct decides to malfunction for the first three years of my baby’s life. Poor kid.

So here’s to my learning curve, which will truly be more of a right angle. I plan to blog my way through it to mask my sheer terror, and it may prove an amusing read for all you other naturally maternal mothers out there. Rawr!