Dear Baby

Dear Baby, 

Hi. It’s me, your mother. I don’t think we’ve been formerly introduced yet which I think is totally weird, given that you’re inside of me and everything. I won’t take up too much of your time…I just have a few things that I wanted to run by you, if that’s ok? 

I’m fully aware that you’re cramped in there. I appreciate the fact that you need to stretch from time to time. But seriously. Is all the kicking really necessary? One kick I can deal with, maybe even two…but the barrage of kicks at 3 o’clock in the morning is getting to be a major problem. And then there’s this thing you recently started doing that feels like you’re tickling or poking me with your fingers. That’s really cute and I’m happy that your fingers are in proper working condition but it feels really, really weird because your hands are directly above a very delicate area of mine (in about 10 years we’ll have a discussion about girl parts. ‘Delicate area’ or some other lame term will have to suffice until I find something else because this woman called Oprah who may or may not be relevant in your time, officially ruined the word Vajayjay for all of us). 

The doctor says that you weigh 4 lbs now. Congratulations! I must admit that I was secretly hoping for a ridiculous figure, say, upwards of 10 lbs to account for the 16 lbs that I’ve gained so far. Oh well.

I hear that you take occasional gulps of amniotic fluid (Euuwww) and can taste some of the food I eat. I hope you know that the ONLY reason that I’m currently eating my second strawberry filled donut and drinking hot chocolate at 11 pm is out of my deep, unfailing love for you.  Steamed broccoli would have been my preferred choice. *cough*

That’s all for now. Thanks for listening. You can go back to…to doing whatever you do in there when you’re not attacking my internal organs. 

See you soon,

Mommy

PS -> I know that I b*tch a lot about stuff, but in all honesty kiddo, you are TOTALLY worth it. And I mean that.

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Sleep (or the lack thereof)

Sleep. Oh, how I took you for granted! How I miss the days when I could jump into bed, lay on my tummy and enjoy the next 13 or so hours of bliss! (Yes, I have been known to sleep until 2 pm or later, without so much as a stir. Don’t judge me.) What has changed, you ask? (Ok, I know you’re not really asking but we have to move this plot forward people. Work with me.) Well, I’m pregnant now. You know how they say A Baby Changes Everything? I think it starts way sooner than that for women – PREGNANCY Changes Everything. Case in point: Sleep.

I haven’t had a single undisturbed night of sleep in 6 months. To start with, as soon as I lay down in bed, heartburn erupts in my esophagus like an angry volcano. It waits patiently all day, biding its time until the second I get into bed. So then I have to sit up for a while, or get a glass of milk before trying again. When I’ve finally gotten the heartburn at a manageable level, I begin the long arduous task of finding a comfortable sleeping position. Back and tummy are strictly forbidden by the doctor… something about smashing the baby or your spine or something. The question then becomes, what side will be less painful to sleep on or rather, which hip/shoulder will protest the least. This question can only be answered by trial & error, so for the next 15 minutes or so, I’m tossing from side to side hoping and praying that something works. And here’s the kicker, do you know what serves as the soundtrack to my torment? The exasperating sound of my husband’s snoring. Is there any justice in this world?! (Well, actually, yes there is. How do I know? Because this Saturday hubby started complaining that his nipples were sensitive and itchy. I happily informed him that he was experiencing sympathy symptoms of pregnancy and that he should prepare himself because he would probably start to lactate very soon but that he would be ok because I would buy enough nursing bras for both of us and that he should be happy because at least we know that our baby will be very well fed.)

Eventually, I do fall asleep only to wake up 3 hours later to pee. I grope my way to and from the bathroom in total darkness and then start the process of trying to fall asleep all over again. Laying there, awake and in the dark at 3 am can feel quite lonely, but I’m usually comforted by the Man Upstairs. Not God, no, I mean that literally – the man who lives above us. I’m quite sure that our bedroom is right below his bathroom. And many a time, he wakes up to pee at around the same time that I do (I think I have super-hormones or something because they seem to be affecting all males within a very wide radius. Exhibit A: My soon-to-be lactating husband). I’m confident that it’s a man because of the ferocity of his…umm…downpour. I’ve never met him before but if I ever did, I would tell him that I feel like I’ve bonded with him since he’s my pee-buddy and that I really appreciate him because he makes me feel less lonely at night. Ok, admittedly, I would need to find a much, much less creepy way of saying that.

People Should Just Be Quiet When Standing In Line

So, last week I decided to reward myself for enduring yet another week of pregnancy by going to Starbucks on Friday afternoon. I firmly believe in rewarding oneself for feats of perseverance. (Yes, perseverance. Between the heartburn, aching hips, facial acne, fetal kicks to the bladder and lack of alcohol, I feel damn right entitled.) And so off I went, happy as can be to fetch myself something rich and indulgent. I took my place in line, patiently waiting for the barista to get to me so that I could order a Cheese Danish AND a large Strawberries & Crème Frappucino. (You can close your dropped jaw now and before you rush to judgment, remember that this was meant to be a REWARD and I’m pregnant so I should be pitied and I’ll be on a miserable diet as soon as the baby comes and also, since you’re reading this blog you should be inclined to be on my side on all matters.) So, anyway, I’m patiently standing in line when a mother and her daughter of about 5 years of age join the line right behind me. The following conversation ensues between them: 

Mother: Do you see anything healthy here?

–          As soon as these words escaped her lips, I was pissed off. Here I was, about to fling myself into frappucino-danish ecstasy and she was bringing up the H word? I had a good mind to give her a Hot slap. 

5 yr old: Noooo, not really.

–          I kid you not people. The little horror of a child actually studied the display case for a few minutes before declaring that all pastries therein (including MY CHEESE DANISH) were unfit for consumption. Now, of course I knew that my beloved cheese danish wasn’t the healthiest thing on earth but I didn’t need to HEAR IT from a 5 yr old!

Mother: Well, maybe you can reeeeally spoil yourself today and get a Rice Krispie Treat. But mommy will just have some of yours coz mommy has *slaps hips*.  

–          Now, CLEARLY, ‘spoil yourself’ means different things to different people. This tiny girl and her skinny mother, who looked to be at most a size 4, were actually debating over “treating” themselves to a shared Rice Krispie Treat while there I stood, at size 100 with my stomach peeping from underneath my t-shirt (thanks to yet another tummy growth spurt) about to order NOT JUST a Cheese Danish but a Crème Frappucino to boot! And what did she mean slapping her hips? Yeah woman, you have hips. We all do, it’s part of our anatomy and eating won’t change that.

 The last thing I wanted was to be a cautionary tale told every night to the little girl, “Remember the giant pregnant woman who ordered ALL those unhealthy things at Starbucks…”  And so with a heavy heart, when the barista finally got to me, I ordered a slice of banana nut bread (FYI Miss Know-It-All 5 yr old: Banana = Fruit = Healthy. So there) and a soda.

I know, I know… I suck. I should’ve been like So, what? and gotten the danish –frappacino combo but I’m a wimp. And all wimps deserve to be shot at sunrise (along with people who enjoy going to the gym). Putting the question of wimpiness aside for a moment though, I do feel like the moral of this story is that people should just be quiet when standing in line.  

I make milk. What’s your superpower?

As I mentioned before, we had yet another seminar to attend this past Saturday. This time, the topic was breastfeeding. Thank goodness it was 3 hours long and not 8 hours like the last seminar…I think hearing the words breast and nipple repeated over and over again for 3 hours is quite enough.   

Here is my list of key points gleaned from the seminar:

1. My boobs will get larger.

This alarming news caused me to blackout for a few minutes. I have already told you guys about my current state. And now they are saying that this problem is about to get (for lack of a better word) bigger? At this rate, I might as well call Playboy or more suitably, the Guinness Book of World Records and earn some cash on the side.

 2. My vocabulary is about to change dramatically.

Here are a couple of terms I learned on Saturday: Breast SandwichNoun. Two (or more) fingers with a bit of breast between them. Hand expressing – Verb. You know how they get milk from a cow? Now imagine that the cow was a woman. And she was milking herself. 

3. My boobs have a higher calling

They are NOT pointless features of my anatomy intended for amusement or adornment (or astonishment as key point #1 warns). No. The time has come for them to fulfill their destiny (cue the Rocky music…). In a few short months, they will assume their rightful place as the most spectacular sources of nourishment that the world has ever seen. They will be bastions of nutrition, purveyors of good health and embodiments of maternal perfection. *takes a bow* Thank you, thank you.

PS -> This seminar was called Beautiful Beginnings. Once again, they went for a fluffy sounding seminar title instead of giving us something more factual e.g.  From Now On, Your Boobs Belong to Baby. Get Used to It.

PPS -> Wow. I just realized that I use the word boobs about a hundred times in this post. Some lonely guy in a dark room will be very disappointed with this particular Google search result when he types in boob. Sorry perv, try being more specific next time. 

PPPS -> Seriously though, I pledge not to talk about boobs again for at least 2 weeks. Let’s call it a Boob Ban.

Too random? Probably.

I often wonder if my husband secretly suspects that I’m mad. Sometimes, I manage to surprise even myself with how random I can be. Take Tuesday morning for instance. He had just kissed me goodbye and was about to head out to work when just as he reached for the door handle, I told him that I wanted a pet turtle. Now, the thought of owning a pet turtle has been on my mind for some time now but I have no idea why I chose this particular moment to tell him this. A turtle? he asked (and let go of the door handle as he no doubt realized that this was a conversation that I intended to have right there and then, whether he was late for work or not). Ya, a turtle. Not a tortoise? No! A small turtle that I can keep in an aquarium. But turtles grow big and can get as big as tortoises. No they don’t, you can get miniature turtles that you can keep in aquariums and they won’t grow big. (I have no idea about the validity of this last statement, I honestly pulled that bit of info out of my a*s. At this point however, all I wanted to hear was that it was a great idea and that I should go right ahead and get one) Well, I’ve only seen huge turtles, he persisted. Ya, but I saw on TV this one lady who had a small pet turtle that she kept in an aquarium and it was so cute… but the only thing is that turtles live for so long which means that when we move to Kenya we’ll have to leave it here.  We can take it with us. (The sweetness of his response was completely lost on me at that moment. But thinking about it now, the poor man was actually offering to fly this imaginary pet turtle of mine to Africa! All this time by the way, he was standing patiently at the door, waiting for me to release him). No way! Take it with us and pay for its flight? Plus it will be in an aquarium! But maybe we can just wait until we move back home and then we can go to Mombasa and find one in the ocean. (Because there are just thousands of miniature turtles floating along the shores of the Indian Ocean) Okay fine then. That’s something that you can do with your daughter.  -> Having nothing else to say on the matter and feeling adequately pacified with the prospect of making a trip to the Indian Ocean in several years’ time to find my pet turtle, I bid him adieu and he left for work. 

He must think that I’m a complete nut. Or maybe he’s used to me now. I don’t know. I never think about it long enough to ask. But every now and then, I wonder.

Great Expectations

This past weekend we spent our entire Saturday attending an 8 hour pre-natal seminar for first time parents. Yes, you read that correctly – 8 hour seminar. The length of the class is a direct representation of how thoroughly dense we are about the process of childbirth. Not wanting to offend us, they named the seminar Great Expectations instead of something more appropriate like, You Have No Idea What Kind of Sh*t Storm is Coming Your Way – which would have been my suggestion.

God bless our instructor, she really did try to be reassuring even as she assaulted us with image upon gory image of birthing scenes. It’s the most natural process in the world. Just remember to keep breathing, it helps with the pain. Trust your body, it knows exactly what to do. Umm, I’m sorry lady but after 25 years of experience with this body, I’m pretty sure that it’s clueless 99.9% of the time. Believe me, I’ve given this body plenty of chances to prove its prowess and self-control – at the gym, at all-you-can-eat buffets, the list goes on and on. Bottom line is that so far I’ve seen nothing from my body that would make me trust in it with such reckless abandon. Also, I see nothing natural about an 8 pound mini-human coming out of the itsy bitsy opening of another human…that sounds like the most unnatural thing in the world to me. And breathing? Really, you’re going to tell me that breathing helps with the pain? Breathing is also something that I’ve had a lifetime of experience with. I breathe every day, all the time in fact and it has never EVER taken away any type of physical pain. Nope, I think you’re just blowing smoke up our backsides missy, but thanks for trying. 

Basically, the take home message for me was this: Ladies, this baby is coming out one way or the other. So put on your big girl panties and quit whining because there’s no turning back now. Gents, you’re pretty much useless after conception and when the big day arrives, you’ll only be allowed to respond to the tirade of abuse from your angel-turned-monster wife in one of two ways: “Yes, Ma’am” or preferably “Should I massage this side now honey?”

PS – The seminar was strongly recommended to us by my doctor. Clearly, we’ve made a great impression on her.

PPS – Next Saturday we’ll be attending a breastfeeding seminar. Surely, is there any part of this whole child rearing thing that doesn’t require the assistance of an expert with a PhD and 20 years of experience?

What’s for dinner?

Dinner. Ugh. Usually by the time 6 p.m. rolls around I’ve worked myself into a serious depression over the question of what I’m going to make for dinner. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. I can go for a few months where my cooking is exciting and inspired and filled with love and generally awesome. Other days (like every day for the past 7 months) I want to burst into tears at the very sight of my kitchen and it’s a wonder that my husband hasn’t choked on my hatred-laced meals. 

Honestly, if I could I would choose to go out for dinner 7 days a week. Unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of money (or any kind of money for that matter). Also, my husband really enjoys a home-cooked meal – and why wouldn’t he? It’s not like HE has to cook it. Why not, you ask? Because that would mean that I have to do the dishes. I don’t do dishes. 

Now that I think about it though, my fondest memories of cooking have involved the consumption of extraordinary amounts of wine and some loud off-key singing while pottering away in the kitchen. For obvious reasons, alcohol consumption – extraordinary or otherwise – is out of the question at the moment. Singing on my part should always be out of the question.

So where does that leave us? With a whole bunch of uninspired stews. (The hubs knows better than to say ANYTHING negative about my cooking because he would most likely get a fork shoved into his eye and then be forced to eat the very food he had dissed everyday for about a month. With his one eye.) Stews are great because I can just leave them to simmer while I do more productive things with my time, like check Facebook.   

To show you that I’m not lying, here’s a photo of Tuesday night’s stew – chicken. I’m kind of hoping that a photo will make up for how excessively random this post was. Everyone likes photos. So, yay.

Yikes. Chicken looks kind of scary in photos. That one piece looks purplish-grey. In any case, egg noodles accompanied these multicolored drumsticks.

Making Room for Baby

This weekend we finally got around to buying a crib and holy crap are those things gigantic or what?! A ten year old can fit in that freaking thing. It has completely and utterly taken over our bedroom. So now, we’re mourning the loss of our lusty love shack, our steamy sex cove, our…who am I kidding? That room has always been as unexciting as a monk’s library. But at least before it didn’t look like a daycare center! Nothing says romance like a heap of pink onesies piled onto a stroller, sitting in the middle of your bedroom. 

In any case, this got me thinking about all the other changes we’ll need to make in the apartment over the next few months: this place is a DEATH TRAP. Between the electric cables lining every wall, the tall unstable lamps, the razor sharp corners on our furniture and my husband’s 100 pound golf bag balanced precariously beside the bathroom door, I wonder if we might have to lock the baby in our bedroom for the first few years of her life.

AND THEN my wardrobe will also have to undergo a makeover since as a nursing mother I’ll be obligated to whip out a boob at any given moment to breastfeed. So, I’m on the hunt for suitable shirts because can you imagine the commotion that I would cause at Target if I had to strip off an entire sweater dress to gain access to a boob? No, thanks. I’m uncomfortable enough with the notion of breastfeeding in public without adding complete indecent exposure to the mix. In fact, I’ve become so obsessed with this issue that I recently bought this thing that’s supposed to cover your bosom while you breastfeed but do you know what the brand is called? UDDER COVERS. I mean, really? REALLY?  

What have I gotten myself into?

(Well, technically I didn’t get into this all by myself, I had some help. And when I say “some” it’s just as a manner of speaking, I don’t mean that the amount of help was negligible. Because it wasn’t negligible, it was significantly large. The amount of help, that is. You know what I mean. Crap. I’ll stop talking now.)