Monday, March 31, 2008

"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

So sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because I need to pee for the third time and I decide that I will try to mentally prepare myself for having a baby and I force myself to think, What if... what if instead of just taking care of my own needs and then falling back into bed I had to walk down the hall right now and pick up a crying baby and walk back and forth and sing and breastfeed and rock in the rocking chair and change a diaper and swaddle the baby and sing some more and clean the spit-up off my t-shirt...and what if that were happening for the fourth time tonight?

And then my brain shuts down and I don't remember much after that.

By the way, I finally broke down and bought a Snoogle this weekend, a product previously snubbed because I thought $50+ was a ridiculous amount to spend on a special pregnancy pillow. But after many nights of tossing and turning and waking up with a creaky neck, I sped to the store and plopped it in my cart. Now I want to put a collar and leash on Snoogle and take it everywhere I go.

Verdict? Worth every single penny. Alex agrees.



Comfy!


In other news, our crib arrived, a gift from my father-in-law, and Mike assembled it on Sunday. Thank god the hardw are was clearly labeled.


I did a lot of research and read lots of reviews before selecting this crib (of course I did! you would expect nothing less!) and the majority of the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Still, it always amuses me how people can be at completely opposite ends of the opinion spectrum.

"This crib was impossible to put together! It took forever and the directions suck and I had three bolts left over and I've already called my attorney! BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"This crib was so easy to put together! I did it in ten minutes while giving birth!"

And then there are the reviews that require some translation:

"dont buy this crib 2 ne one. 2 manny splaches allover! horible stupid directins. WORSE CRIB EVER!"

Mike put it together in a couple of hours and we think it's great. But I have a carefully-researched lawyer on retainer just in case splaches become an issue.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

oh hai

I don't have much time for posting this week; just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive. Quick updates:

Gestation:

I just ate an apple and the baby gave me an appreciative jab in the tummy, so things are going well in that department. Hopefully the baby will be a fruit lover like its mama- god knows I've eaten enough to stock an entire farmer's market since I've been pregnant. The baby likes to move around while I'm sitting at my desk. It's fun to sit still and wait for the little pokes (and also a little BIZARRE).


Belly size:

Growing in a way that is now noticeable from week to week. Before you could only tell that I was pregnant when I worn certain form-fitting clothes. Now I've graduated to a couple of maternity tops which accentuate the belly, even though I don't fill them out yet. People who didn't already know look, then look again, then say, "Are you...?" And I can SEE their thoughts floating in bubbles over their heads, like "OMG, I'm totally going to ask, but what if she's not, and then I'll feel like a complete moron, and maybe she'll punch me!" Sometimes I have mercy and bail them out with a cheery, "Pregnant? Yes!"

But sometimes not.


Mike:

Doing well. Has been taking fencing classes, did I tell you? Still cutting up pineapples for me and offering to run out for anything that qualifies as a "real craving" whenever he's not swinging a sword/lance/foil around (what are those things called?). Is eager to do his part, even calling a long list of area doulas since my first choice is already booked for August. Labor support doulas in this area can run $1,000 or more. I'm still cringing at the thought of spending that much money when there are so many other baby-related expenses, but we'll see. Maybe I can barter? Find a cheap intern? Find a less expensive one in rural Iowa and beam her into the birthing room via web cam?


Alex:

Still cute. Still cheeky. Eagerly runs up to me the minute I stir in bed in the morning, hoping that I'll reach for the delicious bag of saltines that's stashed in the drawer of my bedside table. If I don't, he places his paw on my face as if to say, "Look, I can be reasonable. One for you, and one for me."



He was once blessed by a Catholic priest, and it shows.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

best friend

I am sick, heaving and gasping, head hanging limply over the toilet bowl. Eventually my watery eyes open and there is his fuzzy face next to mine, chin on the toilet seat, eyes full of concern.


Are you okay?


I'm okay.


I'm just asking because this is not what you're usually doing at 11:12 p.m.


I’ll be fine. It’s just the baby.


What baby?


It'll be at least a year in dog time before it get here. Don't worry.


Will it be scary, like thunder and garbage trucks?


Probably. But it will throw food on the floor. You'll like that.


Should I get the saltines?


That would be lovely.


Can I have one?


Just a half.


Okay. By the way, you look great right now. You always look great. You tell the best jokes and play the best tug-of-war and are the best belly scratcher in the world!


You're not so bad yourself.



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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

One of what I hope will be many sighs of relief



Spring is on its way. My crocuses are up and the tulips are hot on their heels.

Exhale.

I feel like I spend every winter holding my breath and waiting for it to be over. Of course, this year my pregnancy has provided a handy distraction, and I've not noticed the dark, cold days as much. First there was the constant worrying that something would go terribly wrong, and then there was the fun of telling everyone, and now there is researching of biodegradable diapers and day cares and wondering how I will manage to convince my employer to let me work part-time.

Especially that last thing. It is a major distraction right now, if "occupying my thoughts morning, noon and night" qualifies as a major distraction.

Part-time feels like the right choice for me. If you can pardon the cheese, I don't think I'll be the best me that I can be if I'm home all the time. I know myself well enough to know that working full-time isn't the answer, either.

I like my job. I'm also looking forward to being a mother. I want both.

I'm not going to drag out the tired old debate about SAHMs versus full-time work-outside-the-home moms. It's been done a thousand times and that's not the point of this post, anyway.
Here is the point:

After my three months of unpaid maternity leave, I want to reduce my work week to 20 hours. I want to do a job share, an arrangement in which my employer will hire someone else to work the other 20 hours. However, I want to retain rights to the full-time position so that I can go back to it, should I decide to do so.

(I would also like a private place to pump at work, and "bathroom stall" does not count. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a chance in hell of getting that last one, so if you ever walk into a public bathroom and see an orange extension cord snaking from the wall to a locked stall and hear strange noises from within, please don't assume the worst. Hi, it's just the librarian, milking.)
I don't think that's too much to ask, but I'm worried they'll say no.

And while there are soooo many wonderfully sane people out there who would slap me on the back and say, "Why worry about something that hasn't happened yet?" Har har har! Er, they don't know me very well, do they?

Anyway. I'm calling HR tomorrow. Wish me luck.

In other news, we painted the baby's room over the weekend. This elicited many gasps from people who wanted to know HOW WE COULD POSSIBLY PICK THE COLOR IF WE DON'T KNOW THE SEX OF THE BABY, since nurseries can only be blue or pink, of course.

We went with black. We're planning to hang a disco ball and put some blacklight posters on the walls- it'll be super awesome. Mike is campaigning for a Bob Marley theme, but I've already found a Psychedelic Mushrooms 'n Friends crib bumper that I'm crazy about.

New color at Benjamin Moore:
Mommy's Worst Nightmare.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Blinkers: A Manual

Blinkers serve a number of useful purposes. Blinkers say, “Heads up! I’m planning to turn at the next intersection, so I’ll be braking soon!” Blinkers also announce, “Yes, I am deliberately changing lanes! Don’t worry, I’m not drunk or asleep at the wheel!” They tell others, “I’d like to get into that lane, so please leave me some room.” When you think about it, blinkers are one of the only lines of communication between one car and the fifty thousand other vehicles on the highway. They are the true heroes of the road.

In addition to being a good communication tool, blinkers are surprisingly easy to use! Using your blinkers requires only a stretch of the index finger and a flip of the wrist. This takes only one second of your whole day, which really isn’t much at all! Think about it- even if you change lanes ten times on the way to work, that is only ten seconds of your day. DON’T WORRY- if you realize that you have made a mistake and you do not wish to turn or change lanes (it happens to the best of us!), it’s quite easy to disengage your blinker using the same motions. In sum, using blinkers is quick and easy.

I object- no, I strenuously object*- to sudden, willy-nilly lane changes and unannounced turns. Remember, folks, this isn’t NASCAR, it’s rush hour! You don’t win any points with the crowd when you smash into me and turn my Subaru into a spectacular ball of blazing fire. Actually, drivers from at least three states will be cursing both you and your mother because you are the cause one of those horrendous back-ups as seen on the morning traffic report. And don’t think that it’s just the northbound drivers that will hate you, because we all know how the folks on the southbound side like to stop and see what’s going on. Presumably, I will be dead as a result of the fiery crash, but even in the afterlife I will haunt you on behalf of the many squirrels and other creatures that were displaced as the car fire spread to the surrounding area.

Therefore, I strongly urge DC area drivers to reconsider their ongoing boycott of blinkers. As you can see, it would save us all a lot of trouble in the end.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where are my blinkers located?

A: Good question! In most cars, the blinkers are controlled by a lever that sticks out to the left of the steering wheel. If you push the lever UP, you are indicating that you want to move to the right. If you pull the lever DOWN, you are indicating that you want to move to the left.


Q: I have a social anxiety disorder. Can I use blinkers?

A: Yes. In fact, you will love blinkers. They allow you to communicate effectively without talking to a single person.


Q: My mom told me that only pussies use blinkers. Is that true?

A: No. Your mom is an asshole.


Q: I stopped using my blinkers because other drivers speed up to prevent my lane change!

A:
Trust me, as they are speeding up, at least fifty other drivers are noticing and thinking about what assholes they are. Besides, I never said that blinkers were the ONLY form of communication. See Bird: flipping of.


Q: I was in a freak accident as a child and don’t have any middle fingers. What should I do?

A:
Make a sign that says FUCK YOU. Display when necessary.


*Bonus points if you recognize this movie quote

(manual edited by Devilsadvocate and J.M. Tewkesbury)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dog, as in "sick as"

I'm home sick today because I have this nagging feeling that I will be really sorry if I get more than five feet away from the toilet. I got up, got dressed, and was about to leave for work when I realized that I just couldn't do it. Currently I am not wearing pants, because my nauseous tum can't stand to have anything touching it right now.

Anyone still here?

Just in case, I will not go into further details. Except to say that I am looking back on last night's vomit session with a warm fondness, because I've always been the kind of person who prefers action and efficiency to indecision and dilly-dallying. If my stomach wants to rebel, fine, but LET'S GET ON WITH IT.

My mom and I had great success on Monday. First we met Mike at the midwife's office, where we heard the baby's heartbeat going nice and strong. Naturally, my mom burst into tears. The midwife seemed compassionate but not alarmed, so I took that as a good sign. Then Mike went back to work while the ladies embarked on Operation: Maternity Clothes.

I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. My expectation was that I would try on thousands of pieces and not find anything that I liked, because that is my typical shopping experience. I also expected everything to be to be hideous and way overpriced, but that wasn't the case, either. The prices were mostly okay for what I was buying: fairly cheaply-made clothing that I only plan to wear for a few months. 100% organic Egyptian cotton designer maternity socks were certainly not on the list.

(Mike and I are chaperoning a high school prom in May and my sister said, "Well, you might as well buy a really nice dress so you can have it for the next baby, too." If you have any questions as to your future reproductive activities, give her a call!)

We had a good howl over the fake bellies. Maternity stores have these rounded pads that you can strap around your waist to see what the clothes will look like when your belly is larger than the state of Delaware. The first belly they gave me in the Motherhood Maternity store was oddly-shaped and made me look like I was trying to smuggle a breadbox under my shirt. I looked in the mirror and started laughing, which made the breadbox belly jerk up and down, which set my mom off, and eventually the sales woman found me in a heap on the dresssing room floor, gasping for breath as tears streamed down my face.

I'll take parenthood more seriously, I promise.

We even found a pair of shorts and some jeans, which are the items that usually have me banging my head against the dressing room wall. Jeans, how I've missed you!

(by the way, I've gone to two Old Navy stores and neither one carried maternity wear. I'm assuming that only certain locations have it??)

The problem is that while some of the new clothes look okay on me right now, I'll have to grow into the rest of them. So I'm still left with very few things that fit. I did buy a knock-off Bella Band (they called it a "Belly Sleeve"), so I'll try that with some of my regular pants. In the meantime, I might also buy a couple of button-down shirts in larger sizes, because seriously, do the boobs really need to spring into action so early in the game? It really would be better if they could just sit back and relax until the eighth or ninth month. I guess they just get super-excited at the thought of achieving their life's purpose, kind of like when I was a little kid and I kept an alphabetical index card file of every fact I ever learned. Only later did I realize that I was recreating the encyclopedia.

Oh well, it was a good idea. Twice.

Edited to add:

I forgot to mention Project Runway! Okay, it was sort of touching when Christian cried upon winning, but still. Don't you hate the way the runners-up are so unceremoniously dumped? Poor Jillian! She puts days of work into something that ultimately makes the TV execs lots of money and all they say is, "Jillian, YOU'RE OUT." Harsh, man.

Also, I liked Rami's collection more than I expected to. That is all.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shlump

Okay, FIRST THINGS FIRST. I fell asleep well before the Project Runway finale last night, so do not mention anything about it, please, HMMM HMMM HMMMMMM, I CAN’T HEAR YOU. We taped it (yes, we actually tape things with an old-fashioned VCR, aren’t we quaint?) and will be watching it tonight. Tonight! For today, I’m sporting ear plugs and a blindfold.

(and if Christian won? Oh god. I can only imagine that he will be completely and utterly insufferable. I heard him say that he just acts like a diva for the camera, but COME ON. No one could fake that level of condescension.)

(okay, now shhhh!)

And now for my big announcement: Paste a gold star on my chart, for yesterday I managed to put together a comfortable, attractive outfit!

I’d purchased two cap-sleeved empire-style tops at an Ann Taylor when we were in Florida for Christmas. Naturally, everything in the store was geared toward Florida winters, so the tops we more like something I’d wear for spring in the DC area. I’d tucked them away for warmer weather and forgotten all about them until yesterday, when the sun was shining and the temperature was predicted to reach the mid-60’s. It was still too chilly to wear them alone, but I paired the berry pink-and-black print with a black cardigan, my favorite black pans (deemed “favorite” because I can still wear them and they are not the tan pair), and a chunky beaded necklace, and I thought I looked pretty fierce.

Well, as fierce as I can possibly look these days, anyhow. Mike was all excited when I got home because for the first time, I really looked pregnant. At fifteen-plus weeks, I guess it’s time to look pregnant. And hey! I still look pregnant today, so I guess it wasn’t just my huge bladder. Still, I remember a friend of mine crowing at five months that she could still wear all her regular pants.

(yes, she’s an alien)

Yesterday’s Outfit of Heavenly Alignment was in stark contrast to Monday’s outfit, which was thrown together out of sheer desperation. Tan pants (the other pair that’s still wearable, but I hate them) and a shlumpy sweater that’s about four sizes too big for me.

Trust me, it was not good. I looked and felt shlumpy all day. I don’t think shlumpy is even a word, but somehow it is still completely accurate. I shlumpily sat at the reference desk all day, then I got into my shlumpy car and drove home.

(I guess it’s time to invent a new word, since I can’t blunk anymore)

I’ve heard many pregnant women say that from the moment they announced their blessed state, others jumped in with unwanted advice. Strangely enough, I haven’t really encountered this, but my husband has. I think it’s because he works with lots of women, most of whom are currently gestating and raising kids, so they feel that they have a lot to contribute. I work with lots of women who are done raising their kids (dun dun DUN, the graying of the profession!), so my pregnancy is something of a novelty.

The thing I find disheartening is how eager some people are to jump in with dire warnings and grim predictions.

We enjoy traveling.
- You’ll never do that again!
- Just wait- even the local grocery store will seem like too far to go.
- Hope you took lots of pictures in Europe

We enjoy cooking and eating good, healthy food.
- Ha! You won’t keep up with that.
- Chicken nuggets! You’ll have to buy them because that’s what kids like to eat.
- I’ve heard of babies that have died from vegetarian diets!

We have hardwood floors.
- Oh, man- kids will tear those up in no time!
- That’s going to make it difficult when your kid learns to walk.
- I heard of a baby that was killed when it fell and hit its head on a wood floor!

We have a dog.
- I hope the baby doesn’t have allergies.
- I knew a couple who had to put their dog to sleep after the baby was born.
- I heard of a baby that drowned in the dog’s water dish!



And on and on. A father-of-three friend of Mike’s stopped by the other day and had completely deconstructed our house within three minutes. “Yup, you’ll have to get rid of that and move the plants and put a safety lock on that and cover that up and blah blah blah.”

People think they’re being helpful, I know this. Look, we’re not idiots. We know life is going to change, and we’re even smart enough to realize that we won’t fully grasp the magnitude of that change until after the baby is here. Yes, we’ll have to rearrange our house. Yes, we’ll have to make do with less sleep. No, we won’t be able to afford to travel as much. Yes, I’ll probably want to kill myself at some point. Thank you for warning me.

But I will not be serving chicken nuggets every night. I know that for damn sure.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Why?

I’m sorry, I know this question has already been asked millions of times by frustrated drivers everywhere. Why, WHY, do people always have to slow down to a near-stop and crane their necks to see what’s happening when there’s a flashing-lights cop car anywhere in the vicinity? WHY? WHY? WHY?

a) it’s not their fault- they’re hypnotized by the pretty blue lights
b) they’ve never seen a cop car before
c) they’re hoping to see a politician getting busted
d) maybe COPS is filming. Hi, Mom!
e) they are new to the area and don’t understand that during rush hour, people are in a rush.

WHY? DRIVE, people, put your foot on the gas pedal and assert gentle pressure and MOVE ALONG.

This has been a public service announcement.

I just went to Whole Foods and had to use all my willpower not to buy my weight in fresh fruit cups. God, they looked really good, all bright and dewey and winking at me from the refrigerated shelves. I bought just one and felt quite disciplined. I plan to attack the strawberries first.

In other news, it took me twenty minutes to find something to wear this morning. Heads up- I’ll be wearing it again on Thursday, so I’m sorry that I can no longer be the fashion diva you’ve come to expect. I am not looking so fierce these days, as Christian would say.

I tried on a pair of pants that were wearable just one short week ago, and I had to suck in my breath (which is mighty hard to do when you’re swearing) and use every ounce of finger strength to get them buttoned. I felt victorious until I realized that I couldn’t sit down without damaging my internal organs.

My mom is coming for a visit this weekend and we’re planning to go shopping on Monday and possibly Tuesday. It’s not a moment too soon, but I’m sort of dreading it. It’s not the maternity clothes themselves, honestly. I am fine with the fact that my belly needs to expand to make room for a baby, and my pants must follow suit. But now that 95% of my work wardrobe is unwearable, I feel as though my ability to, you know, go to work fully clothed is at stake. Avoiding the title of Naked Librarian hinges upon two days of shopping. I’m not the world’s best clothes shopper, as I’ve surely documented previously, and man, am I the only one whose hide gets pretty chapped when I think about paying $$$ for clothes that I can only wear for a few months? MY DADDY DIDN’T RAISE ME THAT WAY.

Anyhow, I’m going to buy as few new items as possible, and get the rest at thrift stores and from friends. Mike’s cousin in Jersey just had a baby and will loan me some clothes at the end of the month, but she’s five feet tall and I’m not counting on everything fitting. Although maybe I could wear her maternity pants as capris. Or shorts. Or hot pants. Heh. Maternity hot pants! I should totally invent those.

Or probably not.

Anyhow, does anyone have suggestions on the best things to buy for this awkward in-between stage? I’m too small for a mumu and too large for regular pants and shirts. I thought I would be sly and buy a couple pairs of regular pants in a larger size, but someone told me what a stupid idea that was. Naturally, I didn’t believe her until I tried on some larger pants and they fit better in the waist but looked clownish everywhere else.

I’ll believe you, though.

And if you don’t have any advice to share on maternity clothes, or you could care less (and really, who could blame you?) please comment on the first part of this post. If you’re one of those people who always slows down to look at the flashing lights, please EXPLAIN YOURSELF.

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