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 🙂

Life, Limb, and Labia: Grooming while pregnant

I told my husband I was going to write a new blog post. He put on an interested smile and asked me the topic. I responded directly and without hesitation: shaving my vagina. He just shook his head and left the room. So this is my disclaimer: this post is going to be about my (mis)adventures when it comes to grooming while pregnant, especially as related to feminine care. It’s been a humorous part of this whole process, and as such I find it necessary to share with a whole host of strangers on the internet, so you’re welcome. It won’t be that bad, I promise, but if you are offended, here are my sincerest (slash not) apologies. Read on at your own peril!

I recently hit a new pregnancy milestone, and oh what a terrific (see definition number three; learned something new, eh?) one it is. I didn’t even know I had hit/far surpassed this milestone until I attempted to go through my standard shower routine (apparently I should shower more). Allow me to elaborate:

Around six or seven every morning, baby starts her daily womb-rampage around my uterus, so sleep becomes akin to trying to get Sydney Leathers to keep her clothes on, aka impossible. On this particular morning, I flopped out of bed, waddled my way to the bathroom, peed, brushed my teeth, and jumped in the shower where I immediately peed again (oh, you know you do it too; stop judging).

Post-pee, there I am in the shower working my way through the standard pregnant lady shower protocol in which one must attempt to slather and lather as many body parts as can still be reached without toppling to the ground or utilizing a loofa glued to a Nifty Nabber. I do the hair and belly, and then move on to my legs. While we are on the topic, let’s talk about how hairy your legs get during pregnancy: if Chewbacca were to develop male pattern baldness, we would be twins from the waist down, though I have never seen wookie parts, so I’m going to assume that might be a noteworthy distinctive difference. But I digress..

I successfully hacked back the bulk of the hair emanating from the parts of my legs within striking distance, and then moved north to the taming of the va-hoo-ha. Now, we aren’t talking anything fancy here: I’m not attempting to sculpt an English garden down there, I’m aiming for minimally socially acceptable should I be struck by a sudden breeze or find myself in that scene from The King and I where she herds the children in her petticoats. We don’t need anyone losing an eye, so really this is more a public safety concern than anything else.

Here’s where the full extent of the terrific milestone was realized: I CAN NO LONGER SEE MY VAGINA. AT ALL. And I mean nothing. It’s been more fully eclipsed by the mountain of breast and belly than Bonnie Tyler could ever have imagined. Total panic and chaos ensue in the shower as I frantically contort myself into every position possible searching for the elusive glimpse of my lady parts. Still nothing. Goose, we’re flying blind up here.

So now I’m faced with a precarious dilemma: do I forego the shaving and add it to the list of unsightly things Lonnie has to just deal with (Chewbacca male pattern baldness being the least of his worries), or do I risk life, limb, and labia to take a crack at it?

After serious thought, I was persuaded by the realization that at some point a doctor, my husband, and countless nurses will be forced to stare at my nether-regions for an extended period of time; I imagine birth is one of those things where you want the pilot to have as clear a runway as possible. Additionally, my baby will be emerging into this world through that fuzzy portal. I am assuming she will not be brandishing a machete nor lightsaber on her way out, so I should probably make it less force-field like.

Razor in hand (this is where I intensely regretted my decision to buy CVS brand razors), I decide to give it a go. I ended up utilizing the “Shaving by Braille” technique: you just feel your way around and hope for the best. (Internal dialogue went something like this: “That is either my bikini line or I forgot to take off my underwear…Nope, definitely bikini line.”)

When it was all said and done, my body parts were mostly intact and slightly more socially acceptable. But the big take away here is that shaving while pregnant is kind of like asking all your body parts to sign up for a rousing game of Russian Roulette: it’s only a matter of time before one of them takes that hit. My guess is it’s going to be an armpit; I’m probably overly confident with the pits since they are within my range of vision. It’s always the one you least expect! I’ll keep you apprised.

I wouldn’t sit there…

20130710-161326.jpgHowdy y’all! I’m writing from Texas, where we just relocated, which we thought was a splendid idea whilst in the third trimester of our first pregnancy. In case you were worried, I have already purchased a Texas size bottle of Aquanet and I took a bath in straight White Rain this morning while eating ribs and listening to Merle Haggard, so I’ll fit in just fine.

Now that we are settled (read: I literally hurdled over seven boxes in a row this morning on my way to the bathroom. I was the pregnant version of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, only whiter and sweatier), I thought it appropriate to relay to you all a few lessons learned from our travels. This way you will know what not to do should you ever decide to move your pregnant butt across the country two months before a child springs forth from your nether-region. Or you can just laugh at me: I’m cool with both options.

I should start by explaining to you our chosen method of travel, emphasis on the fact that we knowingly and willingly made a decision to travel in the manner I’m about to tell you about… oh the things we will do to save $300. Afterall, what could be more enjoyable than driving a 24-foot Budget rental truck (which leaked through the cab when it rained) with all our belongings heaped inside, followed by a crew cab Silverado containing our wolf-like-squirrel-loving-stressed-out-wildebeest, towing a Jeep unlimited, 1,500 miles from DC to Dallas? Yep. You read that right. We were the coolest (most dangerous) caravan ever.

Here’s the set up: Lonnie was our fearless leader and pace-setter in the gigantimous Budget truck and blazed a trail down route 40 at a top speed of 50mph. Behind him was the extended cab Silverado driven by Momma Weingart and co-piloted by our dog who decided periodically to unleash a barrage of nervous farts. I was in the front seat with my contribution to the trip going as far as trying not to squish my unborn child and/or pee on the seat when we hit a big bump. I was successful at one of the two, so I wouldn’t sit in that passenger seat just yet…

Being towed behind the Silverado, up on a U-Haul trailer, was my beautiful Jeep. I thought it was a good idea to put all the nursery stuff we had acquired in the Jeep so I could keep an eye on these precious possessions at all times from my position in the passenger seat. What this ended up meaning was that when BOTH Jeep tires came unstrapped from the U-Fail trailer, I almost got a front row seat to watch as all our nursery stuff, lovingly loaded with care in the Jeep, nearly became fun obstacles for anyone dumb enough to drive behind a Budget truck followed by a Silverado with a dog’s head flapping out the window, towing a Jeep at 50mph. It would have been just like real-life Frogger.

By the grace of Bob, the Jeep, with all our future child’s essentials (remember the Kitten Mittens? Those were in the Jeep) did not fly off the trailer, even with both wheels coming out of the tire restraints. We pulled over; Lonnie did a quick assessment of our options (involving some words I’m sure even in Yiddish weren’t appropriate in front of polite company) while I took inventory of all the Kitten Mittens. We decided to split the caravan into three separate vehicles. This now meant yours truly, previously only concerned about the amount of urine leaking from her body each time we hit a pothole, was now in charge of driving a car the next 1,300 miles. Yippee! What could go wrong?

Lonnie got the car off the trailer, returned it to some lovely country bumpkins at a shop in Radford, Virginia who “reckin’d” the e-brake alone was likely an insufficient way to keep the car on the trailer for the duration of the trip, and we called it the end of Day 1.

Day 2: Prepared to drive, I waddled myself over to the Jeep-mobile, got a good grip on the “oh-shit” handle at the top of the door, and hoisted my pregnant self on in to the driver’s seat. I was wedged in tighter than the last stubborn Jenga block, but in good spirits. Off we chugged down the highway toward our new lives as red-blooded, Amurica-loving Texans. But then I had to pee. And when I have to pee it goes from a moderate desire to tinkle to a Class 1 System Failure Emergency in about the span of, oh, two minutes. Whole caravan gets off the road, I use a little WD-40 to wriggle my belly free from the car, waddle-jog in to pee at the closest gas station, and get back on the interstate. Off we go, bumpity-bump; then twenty-ish minutes later, repeat emergency peeing process. This pattern continued much to everyone’s chagrin for the rest of the journey, and though thoroughly annoyed (no one more than me, I assure you), it’s hard to be pissed at a pregnant lady who just has to piss, so no one said anything. What should have been two eight hour days of driving quickly turned in to 12 hour days. I also ran out of WD-40 after about hour six.

We did eventually make it, dog, Kitten Mittens, and leaky Budget truck, to Dallas. It’s good to be settled even though I’m writing from within a fort made of boxes and bungee cords. I’m pretty sure I have successfully barricaded myself in… I may be stuck in here until Lonnie gets home from work. At least I have pretzels.

Though the trip tried our patience, my bladder, and the Jeep’s e-brake, I ultimately learned a few things:

1. Pregnant people should not be allowed to drive for more than 15 minutes at a time. There are days when I cannot handle crossing the street on foot without nearly dismembering myself, let alone operating a motorized Barbie Jeep on a highway when the only thing that runs through my head is “OMGIhavetopeeIhavetopeeIhavetopee”. Or “where can I buy Depends” and “Would the truckers at Denny’s be able to tell I was wearing a pair?” FYI: once your spouse has heard you seriously debate out loud the pros and cons of wearing Depends, it changes your relationship a smidge.

2. Driving with a giant baby inside your uterus makes your legs go numb. Driving when your gas pedal leg goes numb isn’t the best idea. To combat the numbness that set in after sitting for five minutes like a normal human, I tried moving around to a new position where I was still able to keep my foot at least in striking distance of the gas pedal (while assisted by the greatest invention ever: cruise-control). I freaked out at least a dozen truckers who looked in and observed my most creative driving-while-pregnant-positions.

First there was The Levitator: this was an attempt to pick myself up off the seat a little bit by keeping one hand on the wheel and lifting myself up ever so slightly by rolling down the window and grabbing the top of the roof. My left bicep is the better for it. Then there was Lowrider: I reclined the seat as far as possible so I could still see over the steering wheel and slide my butt as far forward as nature would allow while bending my legs at the knee and shoving them outwards. If you know yoga, it looked like I was trying to do a pregnant version of Happy Baby pose in the front seat at 50mph on the highway. Then lastly, my favorite numb-leg combatant driving pose, The Sideways Plank: I turned ninety degrees on to my side so my hips and shoulders were nearly square with the door. I craned my neck to see the road and rested my big old belly on the seat facing the window. It looked like I was practicing for a fiercely competitive jet-ski tournament there on the interstate. That was the one that most alarmed my fellow highway travelers. Betcha weren’t expecting to look over and see that Mister Trucker! And you thought you had seen it all.

3. Denny’s pancake poppers are overrated. Don’t order them. And it’s also hard to dip fried dough in syrup while driving in the pregnant Happy Baby pose.

So here we are in the suburbs of Dallas about to start this new chapter of our lives. Our baby girl will be born a Texan in just two short months. It’s hard to believe she’s going to be here so soon and I’m actually going to be in charge of this new life (thank goodness I hear those things are resilient and bounce a little if dropped). I still think there should have been something more rigorous than drinking wine on a Saturday night and seeing what happens to serve as a screening process of our parenting abilities. Ready or not, she’s a’comin soon! Ok, I’m going to go pee. Happy trails!

Pregnant at the Pool

I did it. I went to the pool while pregnant, and I’m about to tell you all about it.

To say it gets warm in DC over the summer months would be like saying the squat toilets in rural China just need a little all-purpose 409. To put things mildly, it’s friggin hot. And humid. And right now, at seven months pregnant, I am like a fat kid wearing wool in a sweat factory.

I used to be one of those girls who could giggle and say, “Girls don’t sweat, they glisten” as I pranced along in my spandex jogging outfit and primped ponytail. Unfortunately, I now look like I survived a battle with the Viet Cong each time I walk from my car to the front door in the DC humidity, so to say I am “just glistening” seems a bit desperate and sad.

Exercising is one of those things people claim is good for you, especially when pregnant, so I needed to find a way to do it without losing gallons of bodily fluids, or at least hide the fluid loss more discreetly. Solution? Friendly neighborhood pool.

Going to the pool was a big decision. I announced to the husband that, this weekend, we were going, and he had to go with me for support/so I could hide behind him. At this point in the conversation he innocently suggested I go buy a maternity swimsuit. Cue total hormonal breakdown/freakout and within five minutes he adamantly retracted his words and offered to buy doughnuts. I accepted.

Step 1: Try on swimsuits that formerly looked pretty bangin’ on this bod. Or at least used to not make me look like a narwhal in My-Size Barbie outfits. I strongly resembled the latter and decided mirrors were unnecessary household objects for the next three months. Ours was promptly taken down. The main issue was my boobs. I used to think I wanted bigger biddies, but oh my gosh was I wrong. It’s like the first time I went through puberty my body just forgot to grow boobs, realized it when I became pregnant, and is now trying to make up for it in Excessive Booby Growth Syndrome (EBGS). Trying to put on that swimsuit top was like trying to stuff four pounds of jello into a sandwich-sized Ziploc baggie–they were everywhere! I managed to get the girls locked and loaded, kind of (at the very least, my nipples were sufficiently covered), and I walked downstairs to show husband the end result. His eyes got a little big, but he remembered well the hormonal fit from 15 minutes earlier, so he said I looked “great”- all the while staring, alarmed, at my bulging breastesses.

Step 2: Go to the pool. I put on a pool wrap, corralled the nervous-and-slightly-embarrassed-but-can’t-say-anything-about-it-lest-he-risk-imminent-death-husband, and set off toward the pool with utter terror in my heart over the judgmental whispers and glances I was sure would come my way in about three minutes. We got to the pool, found a spot by ourselves with two lounge chairs, and laid down. I sat in my wrap for about ten minutes gauging the level of bitchiness that might be lurking in my fellow pool dwellers. So far so good, whew, and there was even another preggo person there, albeit in a maternity suit. Damn it. I worked up the nerve to take off the wrap, and voila! For better or worse, it was all out there.

There I was, at the pool, in my boob-stuffed bikini, still sweating, but much cooler. I decided I needed to keep my hands on my belly at all times so people would be assured I was pregnant and not just storing cookies for the long winter. I sat like that for about five minutes and then looked over at dear old husband. There he was, grinning back at me, with both hands on his stomach, just like I was doing. Instantly embarrassed, I hissed at him, “What the heck are you doing?”

Still grinning, he proudly answered back, “Being supportive! You were doing it, so I did it too.”

And there we sat, hands on bellies, like total idiots, but whatever. It was funny and sweet.

I eventually got into the pool and did some paddling around so I could say I exercised, and discovered that one perk of the EBGS is some nice added buoyancy. Those things float like champs. Armed with my new confidence and floaties, I now plan to visit the pool on a more regular basis. It’s so much better than hiking up and down the hill in the humidity, plus I have a goofy sidekick in my hubby. Happy swimming!

Training for the Iditarod

Photograph by Alaska Stock Images

We have a dog, or at least what we think is a dog. When we bought her, in the boonies of rural Warner Robins, Georgia, the woman outside Petsmart told us she was a husky. At this point in the story it bears mentioning that our fur-baby was the last puppy left of the day. She was flopped down with all four legs and tongue splayed out when we stumbled upon her. The woman told us if we took her she would only charge 20 bucks, so we left with what we would from then on refer to as our “Clearance Puppy.”

Clearance Puppy is now five years old and much bigger, except her legs never really grew in proportion to her barrel sized body so she kinda looks like a huge corgi. One ear doesn’t really work so it flops over. Oh, and her front legs are shorter than her back ones so she is always walking downhill. How nice. She might be a chow chow since her tongue is spotted black. (My husband Googled this at least a hundred times thinking our dog had a weird form of doggie leprosy affecting only her tongue.) In reality we have no idea what breed she is, except that it has to be some combination of the fuzziest animals ever to live because she is so fluffy. Whenever we take her to the groomer the poor woman emerges after two hours, sweating, and apologetically tells us she did “all she could.” It’s like a scene from a soap opera where someone dies tragically after hours of surgery, and I always expect to go into the back and find Georgia rigor mortis style clutching lilies over her chest. Instead she bounces around happy to be a full four pounds of fur lighter. In time, we have come to the conclusion this Chow/Furby mix of ours must be at least part husky, as promised by Sally Sue from Petsmart, because all of our walks resemble some type of training for the Iditarod.

We tried everything with Georgia when she was little. She went to Doggie School. And Doggie Daycare. And Doggie Boot Camp. We tried choke-chains (I know, I know), Flexi-Leads, and most recently a “Gentle Leader” which really turns your dog into a donkey by clamping a harness over their head. All she needs is a bit to look like a complete ass (Haha. I crack myself up…). Each pet product we purchase promises to tame the unruly beast we cohabitate with, but every time we leave the front porch we are immediately hauling ass down the street seeing how many things we can pee on and how many times we can chase invisible squirrels around trees.

With baby arriving soon, we knew something had to be done if we were to even survive an outing with baby, buggy, and Husky Beast. We decided to practice walking Georgia with the stroller up and down our street; if she was going to insist on running 30 miles per hour down the road, I wanted to make sure I padded my baby with the right amount of bubble wrap, so these things needed to be calibrated prior to trying with actual baby. To ensure people thought I was legitimately crazy, I took the empty stroller and placed a big blue teddy bear swaddled in a blanket inside it–more realistic, I thought.

But then, a miracle happened.

There we were, braced for the ensuing chaos that was to strike as soon as we opened the door. I was pretty confident this experience was going to resemble that one time I walked Georgia while wearing my roller blades, so this time I was prepared with my wrist guards and a healthy dose of wide-eyed terror. Stroller in one hand, beast and leash in the other, I kicked open the door and winced. But then, nothing! My ferocious, precocious squirrel hunter was sitting pleasantly and waiting for me and the teddy bear buggy to go through the door first! Cautiously we set out, and by the grace of Bob our dog was walking, not mushing, alongside the teddy-bear laden stroller. I nearly cried.

This is now our daily ritual. We load up the stroller with bear (I keep adding accessories to the Bugaboo buggy… there’s now a hanging rattle thing on top. I think I saw a documentary like this where old cat-ladies pretend their dolls are actual babies and take them for walks and crap like that. But our neighbors already think we are crazy so whatevs). Stroller, with flair, dog, husband, and I set out each day on this trek in preparation for when there will be an actual baby in there, and so far, so good! She walks nicely alongside us. Who knew walking the dog could be a pleasant experience. I think even when our child outgrows the stroller we will still use it to walk the dog; it’s the only thing that has worked. I’m calling Petco. This is the next big pet product craze.

The reason (in part) I have 23,529 unread emails

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This week let’s start by playing a little word association game. I will put down the name of a baby registry place, and I’ll tell you what comes to mind (this is less interactive than I had hoped).

1. Babies’R’Us: Gimmicky–something about offering parking for pregnant people right next to the handicap spaces. I saw a man with three fingers, an eye-patch, and a wooden leg get out of the car next to Suzie Cream Cheese who was approximately 3 months 4 days and 7 hours, give or take 12 minutes, with child. She nearly dismembered his remaining leg with the auto-spring door to her BMW/Hummer/Armored Tank in that neat little spot for those poor pregnant moms-to-be. Can those expectant among us really not walk that extra 30 feet? If not, get thee to thy healthcare provider and have them check for gestational diabetes complicated by excessive laziness.

2. Buy Buy Baby: Can you actually buy the baby? That sounds illegal and illicit. I’m intrigued.

3. Target: WalMart but with less obesity and really good cheese dip. Archer Farms, you have succeeded. Although something about shopping for cheese dip in aisle 6 and then a breast pump in aisle 9 has me hesitant.

4. Amazon: Newfandangled and techie, thereby “cool”. But I think older people will get confused when they google “Amazon address” trying to go to the Amazon store and find only this. That’s quite the distance to travel to buy a SwaddleMe.

5. Pottery Barn Kids – Pastels, an alarming lack of pottery, and preppy white people.

So, if you haven’t guessed it, we have been looking at baby registries. I have officially started like seven of them, immediately gotten overwhelmed, and quit. So now I get emails from each of the aforementioned places nine times daily and have taken to just not checking my email to see how many emails I can rack up before Google decides I am a robot or other form of internet safety hazard. I currently have 23,529 unread emails, no joke. I have a littttle problem with joining mailing lists–the free shipping’ll hook ya every time.

I think we are going to end up registering at Babies’R’Us and Amazon. I really do loathe the baby-in-a-can feel of Babies’R’Us, but I think we need an actual store on the list. Amazon is cool and I like that we can put anything on there from any website. All I want is that Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag and then I can call my life complete!

After deciding where we were going to register, we came to the problem of what to put on the registry. Let’s do a little math, but I’m not going to make actual calculations because that would mean getting off the couch which is not happening, so let’s say this is “Erika math”. A baby is like two cubic feet when born (sounds reasonable so far, eh?). That two cubic feet of newly formed life matter requires, according to baby-whoosie-whatsie-bloggy-bloggy-moms online, approximately 72,000 cubic feet of stuff (slightly less reasonable sounding, but go with it). That one little baby needs a crib, and diapers, and clothes, and bottles, and creams, potions, lotions, and goop. Then there’s bedding, and strollering, and bouncing contraptions that vibrate?… There are at least nine kinds of blankets these websites say I need lest I risk my baby staying warm in a blanket otherwise intended for an alternate purpose. Gasp! Is that a “receiving” blanket I see in your stroller?! And sleep sacks can’t be made from the leftover burlap Costco potato bag, I am told. So that option is gone.

Also, we just learned that newborns need the equivalent of “Kitten Mittens“, which is hilarious. We now have registered for baby kitten mittens in every color. Apparently it keeps them from clawing their own eyes out, or something like that.

Any advice mothers to be, mothers of old, mothers of mothers, or just people who have held two/plus babies before? (that would give you more experience with babying than myself. Double, to be precise. Again, not kidding.) If not, Kitten Mittens it is!

PS. Email count at the conclusion of writing this = 23,537. Bring it on, Google.

Pink and Blue BBQ

balloons

This past week at our ultrasound we learned whether we were to be spending our summers on the softball field or the baseball bleachers, and to celebrate the news, we threw a little party in our postage-stamp sized backyard. Lonnie was so excited to announce the gender (there’s even a Lebron James themed video, for your viewing pleasure), and he had been planning all the details for two weeks – and by “he had been planning” I mean he would email me midday with a new idea I was to execute upon arrival at home… I have never been to a craft store so many times. There are 1,500 miles on my car and I think 700 of those were from trips back and forth to AC Moore. Also, glitter has a habit of sticking to one’s unmentionables in a not-so-fun way.

The idea was this: invite all our friends in the DC area over for a summery BBQ. Require everyone to dress in either pink or blue, depending on what they thought we were having, then unveil the gender in some excitingly dramatic fashion. Turns out, nothing is more exciting and dramatic than cake pops (Google it. Cake pops = the most exciting thing ever), so that was the method through which we would convey the chromosomal identity of the little alien residing in my uterus.

Cake pops

It rained in the morning, and we freaked out about how we were going to fit people inside our tiny little townhouse. But nature had other ideas and brightened things up for us. It was beautiful, sunny, and pleasantly muddy by the time people started coming by.

We had so much fun (read, stress and panic) setting things up and getting ready. Lonnie iced down cases of St. Pauli’s Girl and Blue Moon (clever, eh?), I made a pink and blue pennant chain (as cutesy as I get), and we bought 900 pounds of fruit from Costco. Finding fridge space for 18 cantaloupes is really, really challenging and I feel like I should now be qualified to work as some sort of spacial engineer. Resume builder, check!

Pink Lemonade      Lonnie Grilling

Drink station   penants

Around 3 o’clock we were set for the big reveal. Everyone grabbed a cake pop and bit in to find out we were the proud, albeit terrified, future parents of a baby GIRL! Cue the special playlist Lonnie made (Beastie Boys “Girls” seemed appropriate at the time), jokes about a near-future trip to a gun store, and mazel tovs all around. My new job as a professional headband shopper has just begun!Jenny with Cake PopMe and Lonnie in front of tree

Pregnancy Brain: Patient presenting with symptoms

First, I want to point out like it’s like 5am on a Saturday. And I’m awake mostly because the next time I wake up for an emergency pee, I’m just going to wet the bed instead. Getting up was easier than explaining a pee-spot to Lonnie, so here I am.

Pregnancy brain was one of the litany of “common pregnancy symptoms” I read about in my books but didn’t think was a real thing (right up there with pregnancy-induced snoring, which I thought this was a mean lie husbands told their pregnant wives in order to have an excuse to fall asleep on the couch watching the Kings game, until Lonnie recorded the evidence. Not cute or romantic). But this whole pregnancy brain thing, come to find out, is legit. I probably just forgot about my forgetfulness because it’s definitely there and is currently playing whack-a-mole with my sanity (there it is! quick, do something! dang it, it’s gone… what am I doing here again? and whose angry mole is this? …anyone else hungry?)

There have been one too many amnesiac events in my life lately. Take this embarrassing example from work this week:

Every other day my work schedule is pretty light. On “blue days” I teach until my lips fall off and white board smudge is covering my belly, which now rubs against the board as I write, but the flip side is that on “red days” I run out of ways to keep myself busy by 10:30 in the morning, at which point I get hungry and eat my lunch secretly at my work station in the work room. It’s only slightly embarrassing to microwave beef stew while your colleagues wait in line to warm their coffee.

Anywho, it was a red day and I was grading papers, stealing longing glances at my lunch until the aforementioned acceptable-ish hour for pregnant ladies to chow down, and getting up to pee every 13 minutes. There I am, plugging along, thinking myself to be exceptionally productive given I was within 6 inches of my fruit snacks and they remained sealed, and I hear a polite, “Um, Erika?” from behind my station. I turn and see a colleague looking at me with some curious concern.

“Do you have a class right now?” colleague asks.

“No, it’s Tuesday, so I’m in here,” I retort, thinking he probably just wants to distract me and steal my fruit snacks.

“Well, it’s Wednesday, and I think your students are waiting for you in your class.”

Quick check of the calendar, then: “Right you are.” Damn it.

Scurrying to my room with fruit snacks in hand, I find my little angels politely waiting for me in their desks. They only hassle me slightly, asking if I brought a late pass, and the day moves on. I had just sat through like the first twenty minutes of my class. Thank goodness someone reminded me lest I would have sat through the whole gosh darn thing –  just grading, eating, and peeing the day away.

Anecdotal evidence #2: We went shopping the other day and bought glazed almonds for spinach salad. I went to make the salad that night and was so upset that the checker at Harris Teeter forgot to put the almonds in the bag. This morning I found them in the refrigerator. Oh, so there they are… oops. These will taste good on an onion bagel, right?

Lessons learned: patience is a good thing, and so are lists, even though I found three lists I made two days apart with the same to-do items on them. Apparently, I forgot TWICE I had already made the exact same list earlier. I might go buy one of those old-people bracelets and put my name and home address on it, just in case this gets any more out of hand.

Anyone else out there losing brain cells by the minute?

The Baby Name Game, or, how to hone the art of disagreement until the day your baby is born

            Vs.  

Choosing a name for our unborn child has been our topic of conversation as of late. And this feat has proved to be akin to choosing to embark on one of a thousand fancy looking Carnival Cruise liners but knowing that on some of those ships the toilets are going to stop working and the whole thing is going to smell like doo-doo; it’s just a matter of time. And then you have to try to figure out which ship everyone else is getting on because you don’t want it to be too crowded on the sun deck, but on the flip-side, being the only one chilling on your cruise ship is no fun either as it’s kinda hard to play bingo by yourself… I really need to stop with the drawn out analogies; yikes. Moral of the story is that there really is no right, or rather wrong, name, but the enormity of the decision has nearly paralyzed my poor pregnant mind.

I’m grateful we aren’t grappling with every name in the baby book, thanks to my husband’s Jewish culture. Judaism has a beautiful tradition of honoring a past life with the creation of a new. In keeping with this tradition, we will name our child after someone in our families who is no longer with us by using the first initial of their name. We get to give our baby not only a name but a legacy of the beautiful person after which he or she will be named.

After establishing the letters we were indeed going to use to bestow grace and good wishes upon the little snugglefish, we were all set for massive disagreement. Cue hours of “discussion” and a few (fine, a ton) of hormonal fits. Our home at times has entered into a state resembling the Cold War, only slightly less nuclear, and Lonnie only wishes he could rock spectacles Harry-Truman-style. Other than those things, pretty much exactly like the Cold War.

Maybe it’s the hormones, but I still don’t understand why “Waverly” is not a good option (our ultrasound tech literally laughed when we told her it was on the list), but plenty of tears were shed along the way to that decision… something about naming your child after a brand of curtains just isn’t sitting right with the hubster.

If you are also in the baby name market, you may have discovered nameberry.com. This is an awesomely overwhelming website.

PROS:

  • really cool stats on name popularity
  • name meanings
  • nicknames that go along with said name
  • at the top there’s a bar where you can see what name everyone else is searching for at that moment
  • names are grouped into “lists,” my favorite of which is “Mermaid Names” one of which my baby obviously needs. Shellina, anyone?
  • According the the site, Waverly is set to make a comeback (or a premier, I suppose?). I’ll get to say “told ya so” in twenty years; I can feel it.

CONS:

  • You can spend HOURS on this site
  • Those hours bring you no closer to finding a name and simply confuse you with the idea that your child is perfectly suited to have a mermaid name.
  • Waverly is on the mermaid name list (wait, shouldn’t this be a pro?).

Lonnie, being far more romantic than I on account of the fact that he possesses a human soul, wants to wait until our child is born to bestow a name. There’s also something about it being bad juju to name a child before it’s born (or perhaps more appropriately this would be bad “Jew-Jew”). So we will continue debating the virtues of different names until this baby makes an appearance. I can only hope in my postpartum hormonal drugged up state we choose the right cruise ship. And if the toilets stop working, well, there’s a whole ocean out there for that little mermaid, or merman, to use instead.