Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ostentatious Spazziosity. But I'll take it.

The belly is obviously impossible to hide. It's out there in a big way.

And the resulting waddle is unavoidable. I can't help having to slightly lean back when I walk, with my toes turned out and my steps wider than normal.

The boobs, never for the faint of heart, are reaching ridiculous proportions. When Elizabeth was visiting a few weeks ago, upon seeing me for the first time she observed, "your ass hasn't gained any weight at all, but your boobs are massive."


And there is nothing I can do about any of these things, and they don't impede my ability to be productive at work or to interact relatively normally with the people in my life, so other than feeling a bit bulky, and not being as nimble as my non-pregnant self, I don't feel particularly self-conscious about my physical state.

But while I absolutely love feeling The Joey kick, she does it so relentlessly and so powerfully that it causes me to jump and squirm and gasp in a way that makes me feel like a complete spazz.*

I'll be sitting in a meeting with coworkers and suddenly the baby, who has been relatively still for a minute or two, throws her legs out, catches me in the ribs, and then keeps pushing so that her foot will cause my belly to visibly jump and undulate. And I'll gasp and sort of sit up suddenly, and the people I'm meeting with will get these concerned looks and be all, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK????"

And I'll explain that it's just the baby kicking and I was a little startled and sorry let's get back to what we were talking about.

It happens A LOT. And it makes me feel really self-conscious and stupid. Like people will be annoyed because I'm drawing attention to myself, even though I try not to as much as possible. It's so silly, because I know nobody cares, but I still feel weird about it.

It's better than the alternative, though.

Last week when I was in my doctor's office for my weekly appointment, I had to wait a really long time. And when the doctor finally came into the exam room, she was unusually subdued. She explained that the patient she had seen before me was also 34 weeks pregnant and came in for a routine exam, but when they went to listen to the baby's heartbeat, there wasn't one. The baby was dead. And this poor woman would have to be induced to go into labor, so she could deliver a dead fucking baby.

As the doctor was telling me this, I started to cry. The doctor said, "I don't want to alarm you by telling you this."

And I said, "no, I'm not upset for myself. Believe me, if this baby doesn't have a heartbeat, there is something really strange going on, because she never stops moving. I'm not worried."

So I guess feeling like a goober at work for the next few weeks isn't such a big deal after all.

*And yes, I know that word is politically incorrect and inappropriate. Don't email me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reaching rock bottom, but hey, at least we have a date certain!

I read somewhere about a recent study concluding that the myth of pregnancy brain, i.e., that pregnancy makes you stupid, is just that -- a myth.  That there is no evidence that the phenomenon actually exists.

Au contraire, bitches.

Because I know I'm a smart girl.  Not a genius, maybe, but certainly smarter than your average bear.  My major accomplishments in life have largely been based on brain-power.*  

But I am certifiably stupid these days, and the only thing I can surmise is that The Joey is just sucking all of the brain cells right out of my head.  I get things in my hand and then lose them immediately.  I can't remember basic words.  I'll go to work having only remembered to put one earring on, or with socks that don't match.

This morning I reached into the fridge to get some cream for my coffee, and even though I could clearly see that the lid on the little carton wasn't on (God knows what I did with it), I grabbed it and tilted it waaaay over to the side so that it would fit over whatever was in front of it on the shelf .... and proceeded to spill cream all over the inside of the fridge and the floor.   Later when I went to take a sip of the coffee, I forgot that I had only gently placed the lid on the cup, but hadn't firmly affixed it onto the cup, so I spilled coffee all over myself.  

Then I couldn't find my glucose monitoring kit, which was really frustrating because I always put it in the exact same place in my briefcase.  I found it 10 minutes later stuck in a cupboard in the kitchen.  I have no recollection of putting it there.

Jason could only gape at me in astonishment.

The other day I was driving home from the grocery store.  I missed one turn that I was supposed to make, and didn't realize it for at least 3/4 of a mile.  So I wound my way back through the neighborhood (much winding is required because there are many one-way streets, so I couldn't just turn around), and then missed another turn-off.  And I wasn't talking on the phone or even listening to the radio or anything.  I was just completely spaced out.

I have at least three or four incidents like this a day.

At least it provides a good excuse.  I was talking to a guy at our health insurance company about getting replacement cards set out, because even though they just send new ones out to us, of course I immediately lost them and have no idea where they are.

"I know we just got them, but you have to understand, I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and my brain doesn't work right now."

He laughed and said, "I completely understand.  I'll send new ones out today, don't worry about it."

Standards seem to be slipping in other areas as well.  

I went to wash my face this morning and couldn't find my headband that I use to keep my hair from getting wet.  So I used a pair of thong underwear from the back of my undies drawer -- hell, they're not getting any other use these days.

My sex life consists of having hot dreams about my husband and then telling him about them when I wake up, because God knows I couldn't be bothered to muster up the energy to actually have sex with him.  Poor bastard.

I'm constantly a mess, with crumbs and stains on my clothes, things stuck in my hair, stray pen marks on my skin.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

Technically, my due date was October 2.  But because of the gestational diabetes and my difficulty delivering Zeke, my OB has talked about inducing after I hit 39 weeks, just to make sure the baby doesn't get too big (though I delivered Zeke at 39 weeks and 3 days, so I might be in for a rough ride nonetheless).  

At my appointment yesterday, we were talking about scheduling, and I said, "my last day of work is September 25, which is a Friday.  Why don't I take the weekend to get organized and we can induce that following Monday or Tuesday."

"That Monday is Yom Kippur," she remarked after looking at the calendar.

"Hmm," I said.  "I don't know why, but it feels weird to plan to induce labor on Yom Kippur.  Let's do it Tuesday."

So, assuming I haven't already gone into labor by then, The Joey will make her appearance on September 29, 2009.  Only 5 1/2 more weeks of The Stupid.

*OK, the tits haven't hurt, but they didn't write the briefs that won me cases at the court of appeals.  Not all of them, anyway. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Apparently, the traditional 3-year gift is leather. Rraawr.

Happy blog-iversary to me, happy blog-iversary to me...

I just realized today that a couple of weeks ago was my 3-year blog-iversary. I started this little piece of the internet in Hawaii, when I was there looking for a place to live. It was my way of keeping a journal and keeping up with family and friends who wanted to know about the details of the impending move and my life as a newlywed.

Over the years, it has chronicled both the mundane details of daily life and the emotional highs and lows of going through life -- my relationships with my friends and family, births and illnesses and deaths and triumphs and sadnesses. Struggling with depression. Life in Hawaii. The birth of my child, and the joy and hilarity he has brought into my life. Moving to Denver. The impending birth of The Joey. Trying to be a good mom. Learning how to speak "Aussie."

In the process, this blog has brought me new friends and reconnected me with old ones. I went to high school with Lisa, and we found each other on Facebook before finding each other's blogs. And it turns out that her husband, Nick, is law partners with a good friend of mine from college, who is married to one of my sorority sisters. And by clicking on links on Lisa's blogroll, I became friends with DCup aka The Other Lisa, through whom I "met" Dawn, through whom I "met" Suz. I was friends with Elizabeth before she started blogging, but through her I became friends with Anne (whom I've actually met in person -- she's awesome) and her husband Fred.

Not to mention the regular readers, some of whom I know from my non-internet life, and some of whom I know only through this blog, who regularly comment or send emails.

Even just tonight, I got an email from a woman who was a couple of years behind me in school in India. Apparently she has been reading the blog for awhile (after finding it through Lisa's blog), but only recently did she realize who I am --the older sister of her first boyfriend.

I love shit like that.

Particularly when I was in Hawaii and feeling so isolated, this blog was something of a lifeline. A way of feeling like I had a posse, even if I had never met most of them and they were thousands of miles away. And now it's just a regular, wonderful part of my life.

As a blog-iversary present, I'd love to hear from you (you don't need to send me something leather). Share a crazy small-world internet or blogging story, or just leave a comment and say "hello." You all make my life richer, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It helps to have had a great role model

He's still a few months away from the official start date, but I do believe that Zeke has entered the Terrible Twos. 

All of a sudden, every source of frustration that might have been cause for some mild fussing is now the impetus for despondent, arching-the-back, throwing-himself-on-the-floor, hard crying. Not being allowed to jump up and down on his booster seat when he's supposed to be sitting at the table to eat.  Not being given a cup of water without a sippy-cup top, when, if I give him a regular cup, he takes a sip, pours it out on the floor, and then says, "more water?" as if the disappearance of the water from his cup were some big mystery.  Having to come in from playing outside because it's getting dark and starting to rain.  

He'll stand at the door and plead, "outside?"

"No.  It's time to get ready for bath.  Plus it's raining."






"No.  Stop asking."

"Outside?"  The lower lip is quivering and he's starting to whine.

"No.  It's late and time to start getting ready for bed."

And this will go on until he hurls himself, crying, onto the floor.  

"Well, that's an unfortunate reaction.  That floor is hard.  Seems kind of dumb to be throwing yourself down on it."  And I'll walk into the other room.

When he follows me into the other room so that he can once again throw himself down, quite dramatically, I'll hold a magazine in front of my face and pretend to read so that, a) he sees that I'm ignoring the behavior, and, b) he can't see me laughing.

But there are times when I don't find it funny, and it takes all of my will power to not yell, "Jesus CHRIST, Zeke, it's enough!"

In the end, though, he'll calm down, and I'll give him a hug and wipe his tears and tell him I love him, and we'll snuggle up and read a book or play with trucks or something.

Maintaining that balance between calm, tough love and nurturing is hard.  I'm not always as successful at it as I'd like to be.  And I wonder how parents do it when they grew up in households in which annoying behavior was met with screaming or even violence.  When they never saw conflict that was dealt with constructively.

Jason grew up like that, and I think it's a testament to his incredibly even temperament that he's such a wonderful, patient dad.  

I'm not quite as blessed.  I don't have a bad temper (a sharp tongue, yes, but I'm not a hot-head), but I do find myself having to take deep breaths to calm myself down when Zeke is being particularly trying.  

But I also had a great role model in my own mother.  Who also was able to combine unconditional love and nurturing with a certain "no bullshit" attitude.  

It sometimes resulted in her challenging us on things we didn't need to be challenged on.

The winter break of my first year in college, when my folks were still stationed in India, we went to Thailand for Christmas vacation.  We were on the island of Phuket, and my mom and I were in the hotel gift shop looking for a bathing suit for me because I had left mine hanging on the back of the bathroom door in the hotel in Bangkok.  My brother Sam, who was 10 at the time, was with us.

"I don't feel good," he said.

"Mmmm-hmmm," my mother replied.

"My stomach hurts."

"Wendy, what do you think of this suit?  It looks like it will fit you."

"I have to throw up."

"Then go outside."  I guess she thought he was just being whiny because he was bored of shopping with us.

He went outside and puked on the sidewalk in front of the store.


Chagrined, she went outside and tended to him.

When I was five, I started first grade.  I knew my letters and some short sight words, but it hadn't really progressed into full-on reading yet.  Then I went to my first day of first grade, and something clicked.

When I came home, I told my mother, "I know how to read."

"No, you don't."

"Yes, I do!"

"You do not."

"Do too!!"

"Prove it."

"Fine!  I will!"

And I sat down and read her a book.  Much chastened, she congratulated me and showered me with kudos.

I find myself making similarly argumentative pronouncements at my own child.  For example, I'll take a book away from Zeke because he's ripped one of the pages (which drives me INSANE).

"Mine!" he yells.

"No, actually, it's mine.  I paid for it."

This is an absurd thing to say to a 22-month-old.  But hell, I come by it honestly.

Thanks, Mom.  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another victory for the single-slice toaster

I am not a cuddler in bed.  I don't mind brief periods of cuddling, but for the most part, I don't like being touched in my sleep.  

I have so many friends who talk about how hard it is for them to sleep when their husbands are out of town and they're all alone in the bed.  I can't relate at all.  To me, having the bed to myself -- as well as all the pillows, particularly at this point, when I arrange about 4 them, plus my Snoogle, around me to get even remotely comfortable -- is the picture of bliss.  It's the one positive aspect of Jason being out of town during the week.

Some of it is that it's hard for me to get settled in bed.  I need to be physically arranged just-so, with pillows strategically placed to alleviate pressure on my back (which is a little twinge-y), and if someone is trying to arrange their body around me, the weight of a leg or an arm can throw everything off.  

Much of it is that I am an incredibly warm sleeper.  I generate enormous amounts of heat.  When I was growing up, my mother used to crawl into bed with me on cold winter mornings and stick her cold feet on me to warm up.  Whereas many women perpetually suffer from having cold feet, I always have warm feet.  Unless it's below 40 degrees in the room, my feet will be sticking out from under the blankets.

So adding someone else's body heat to my own can make things stifling for both parties.  I once dated a guy who would put a king-sized pillow length-wise between us as a heat shield.  

"Nothing personal, sweetie," he'd say.

"It's OK.  I understand," I'd respond.

Jason is a cuddler.  And a bit of an overwhelming one.  He'll settle himself in against my back and throw a leg over me.  He has big, strong, muscular legs, and they're heavy.

It's not terribly comfortable.  "Honey, this isn't working for me."

"That's a shame, baby, because it's working great for me."

I don't put up much of a fuss, though, because I know he won't be able to take the heat for long. After a few minutes, he'll scoot back over to his side of the bed.

"Jesus, your ass is like a single-slice toaster.  I'm roasting."

"Mmm-hmmm," I'll reply.  "'Night, babe."

Some nights -- OK, many nights, because I'm a pussy and I'd rather get back to sleep quickly than listen to him cry -- I'll let Zeke come into bed with me at around 3 in the morning.  Sometimes he'll sprawl and move around, the way little kids do, but most nights he settles in and sleeps relatively unobtrusively.

But the other night, just like his father, he nestled himself up against my back, with his face pressed up against my shoulder blades.

"Cute," I thought to myself.  

Then, just like his father, he threw a leg over me.  Which, given that my body is obviously much wider than his, took some effort on his part, because it meant having to reach his leg up high to get it settled.

"Mmm-hmmm," I thought.  "He'll learn."

And just like his daddy, he did.  He returned to his spot in the bed within 5 minutes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's the little things

As with anything else, being a parent has its ups and downs.  But just as the downs can come out of nowhere -- a tantrum mysteriously erupting with no apparent cause, a sudden scream because a corner was taken too tightly and somebody hit some body part on some immovable object, like a wall or a table -- the ups can take you by surprise as well.

Yesterday afternoon was a perfectly average day.  I picked Zeke up from school at about 5:05 in the afternoon.  He was outside on the playground, but when he saw me walk into his classroom to pick up his lunchbox, he sprinted toward me with a huge grin on his face and gave me a hug.  I handed him a water bottle, because he was hot from playing, and he grabbed my hand with his free hand as we made our way down the hall and out to the car.  

The trek down the hallway is often a lengthy ordeal, because there are a million distractions for an almost 2-year-old.  
  • Windows that look into other classrooms with fish tanks right on the other side of the window, so Zeke has to stop and a) observe that there are fish there ("fish!  FISH!!"); b) describe the fish ("orange!" - or more accurately, as Zeke pronounces it "arzhh!"); c) say hello to the fish ("Hi, fish!"), including waving at the fish; and then d) say goodbye to the fish, again with a wave ("Bye, fish!") 
  • indoor play areas with little slides that must be jumped off of at least 3 times, soft structures that must be climbed in and out of multiple times, baskets of toy farm animals that must each be individually named along with an explanation of the sound they make ("cow!  cow!  Mooooo!")
  • windows that look into the infant rooms, so Zeke has to stop and a) observe that there are babies ("beebees!"); b) say "hi" and "bye" to the babies, and c) count the babies ("waaaaan, choooooo, eight!")
  • Every adult we pass must be identified as either a "man" or a "lady," and then he either says "hi" to them, or just says "wow!" (which is actually pretty freaking funny)
And all of these things are adorable and cute in their own right.  I know that he's not trying to stall or annoy me -- it's just that the world is so damned interesting to him, and he wants to tell me about it, which is awesome.  But some days I'm tired and the daycare only validates my parking in the garage downstairs for a certain amount of time and I'm all "come on, sweetie, mommy's on the clock downstairs" and he just won't move it along and so I end up having to pick him up and he gets mad and starts to fuss and then we're both grumpy for a little while.

At least until I let him push the buttons on the elevator.

But yesterday, he held onto my hand and walked, saying hello to the fish and the babies without stopping for long, saying hello to everyone without turning around and following them, and we made it to the elevator in record time.  He pushed the button and giggled, jumped up and down in the elevator and giggled, got into his car seat without a fuss and proceeded to settle in to read a board book.  


We then had the greatest trip to the grocery store in the history of trips to the grocery store.

Because for the first time, we used one of these:

It seems like such a simple concept, such a little thing, but really, the car-cart is a work of genius.  I want to thank whomever thought of it.  I want to thank Safeway for stocking them.  

Because Zeke climbed in, a HUGE smile on his face, and then sat there for 25 minutes saying "vroom vroom" and turning the steering wheel as I shopped.  When I stopped from time to time to take things from the shelves and put them in the cart, he would look out the window back at me, grin and laugh, and then sit down again to resume "driving."  I never had to rush, I never had to admonish him to sit down.  We just went through the store, chatting and smiling, and clearly enjoying ourselves so much that everyone we encountered smiled at us.

It was nothing but a run-of-the-mill trip to the store, but it made for a lovely, lovely afternoon.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Pregnancy Skinny

Who knew that it would take getting pregnant to hit on the surest, fastest weight-loss regimen I've ever used?  Not that the whole low-carb/high protein diet is a mystery to anyone, but even when I've done it in the past (with some success), I've never had an incentive quite as powerful as "no, you can't eat that or YOU'LL HURT THE BABY, YOU IRRESPONSIBLE HAG!!!"

So in the past week, since seeing the doctor and going on medication, I've been super, super vigilant (except for the ice cream cone I ate when Elizabeth and her family were in town, and we went with Kathleen and Rich and their monkeys up to Boulder to hang out for the day -- and believe me, I was shamed straight by my sky-rocketing glucose levels afterwards).  My breakfasts have consisted of either EggBeaters omelettes or protein shakes (made with water rather than milk).  I've snacked on protein bars and diabetes-friendly shakes.  My lunches and dinners are meat or fish with veggies.  I eat alot of Cobb salads.  I haven't had a piece of fruit or bread in what feels like dog years.

In the process, I've lost 4 pounds in a week.  And while it's not great to lose weight while you're pregnant, apparently it's not unusual for women monitoring their glucose intake to have some incidental weight loss in the process.  I'm still in the normal range as far as weight gain, so my doctor wasn't too worried.

And hell, it's nice to know what works, for purposes of losing baby weight.  I figure at that point I'll be so used the regimen that it won't be too difficult to continue it, assuming I can resist the urge to have Philly cheesesteak subs and strawberry rhubarb pies delivered to my hospital room the minute The Joey is out of my body.

In any event, I got my reward (or at least, some of it -- the true reward will be a reasonably-sized baby that I can deliver with 1 or 2 pushes).  I went in for an ultrasound this morning to check The Joey's growth, and she is perfect.  Like, exactly the size she should be, to the day.  And her brain is forming properly and her spine looks beautiful and all four chambers of her heart are doing what they should be doing and her little bones are the right size.  Her girl parts are still girl parts.*  Just like her older brother, she likes to hang out with her hands up by her face.  She's already head down and the placenta is up at the top of my uterus (and thus not blocking the cervix).   Perfect perfect perfect.

When you're pregnant, and particularly when you're pregnant and you've practiced special education law for 10 years, you become hyper-aware of all the things that can go wrong. Genetic abormalities.  Down Syndrome.  Malformed limbs.  Spina bifida.  The list goes on and on.  And even though the odds of everything going just fine are overwhelmingly high, it seems miraculous to me when the wonders of modern medicine allow me to go into a doctor's office and have the nice ultrasound technician show me my perfectly formed, perfectly developing little girl.  

*Apparently, when they determine the sex at 16 weeks, they make no guarantees, though with The Joey it was unlikely that the "it's a girl" verdict was going to turn out wrong.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Must. Purchase. Pink. Crib. Bumper.

So far during this pregnancy, I've been pretty sane about the shopping thing. And I mean specifically, shopping for The Joey.

Some of it is superstition. In Judaism, it's considered bad luck to buy things for the baby before it's born. Even thinking about such things would have caused my ancestors back in the old country to spit "ptoo! ptoo! ptoo!" and throw salt over their shoulder, in an effort to ward off the evil eye or whatever. So it's cool to buy things for the mom, but it's tempting fate to load the baby up with too much stuff before it's born.

Because this isn't entirely practical -- I wasn't going to wait to shop for a crib until I was on my way home from the hospital with Zeke -- I try to appease the superstitious side of me by limiting purchases to the barest of necessities before the baby is born. (Unless the opportunity presents itself to load up on tons of baby gear for an insanely low price, of course. My mother gets around the problem by just buying the stuff but not giving it to the baby until after it's born.)

And plus, this time around, I already have tons of shit. Even after culling out the stuff that has spit-up stains or that was overtly boys' stuff -- onesies covered with "Daddy's Little Quarterback" or similar -- I have mountains and mountains of clothes, blankets, crib sheets and towels. Not to mention a crib, a little infant bathtub, rattles, teething rings, etc. etc.

My mother, who loves shopping for baby stuff, kept insisting that The Joey needed new stuff that was just for her.

"All babies like having new things!"

But I maintained that babies don't care. They just want to be held and to be warm and fed. They don't give a shit if the PJs they're sleeping in are 5-year-old hand-me-downs purchased from the the "irregulars" bin at the Carter's outlet.

I wasn't trying to be churlish or to kill anyone's buzz. I said, "if you want to buy her new things, I think that's lovely. Get her anything you'd like to see her in. But she doesn't really need anything new."

But with less than 8 weeks to go,* the hormones are taking over. All of a sudden I have overwhelming urges to buy cutesy, girly stuff.

This past weekend, my friend Elizabeth was visiting with her husband and her 5-month-old baby, Elliot. Kathleen and I went to Target before their arrival because I wanted to get some new pillows to put on the guest bed.

As I walked past the baby supply section, I grabbed a really cute little bouncy seat. It was beyond my control.

"It's for Elliot," I thought. "They're probably not traveling with one, and it will be useful if they want to put him down someplace other than the floor."


The fact that a bouncy seat is the one piece of gear I don't have had nothing to do with it.

And then I thought, "Zeke's crib sheets are getting a little tired. I'll get a new one for Elliot to sleep on."

What color did I pick out?

Pink, of course.

Today I started fixating on other bedding. Now mind you, the crib stuff I have that Zeke used is in perfectly good condition. It's not particularly masculine. It would look just fine in a baby girl's bed.

But I've got the sickness.

I e-mailed my mother. "I want to buy some crib bedding for [The Joey], but I don't want to duplicate your efforts, so I wanted to make sure you haven't gotten her any bedding."

She called within 5.7 seconds. "Let's look at some websites."

So we went online and found some really cute stuff that isn't even particularly girly. It's just new. It's all quilt-y and soft and covered with elephants and lions and sweet-looking jungle animals. When I think about having a new little peanut and putting her in her crib with her soft new pink sheets and her new little soft blankie, I just about melt.

Oh, I've drunk the Kool-Aid, I have.

*Technically, it's almost 9 weeks, but with the gestational diabetes diagnosis, my doctor is likely to induce me if I haven't given birth by 39 weeks.