Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Princess (or Prince) and the Pea

My mom calls me the Princess and the Pea. You remember her, right? She could feel a pea under a mattress even when they put dozens of mattresses on top of it. I think the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t be so finicky. I think.

The reason she and I are kin is because I don’t like things like clothing tags touching me. Or a piece of hair brushing my cheek. Or shirts that come up too close to my neck. Or people touching me in general.

Apparently, BS is the same way. My little princess (or prince) and the pea does not like me to put anything on my belly. So if I’m sitting with my arms crossed over it, I get a big old kick. If I’m at my desk and my belly touches the edge of it, more kicks. But the absolutely biggest reaction comes when I read a book. I guess the corner of it starts to push down onto my belly and BS just goes nuts:

“Get that book off me, mom! I barely have enough room in here as it is!”

I’m not positive if BS is as finicky as I am but just to be sure, I think I’ll put a pea under the crib mattress and find out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Like a Paper Doll

The good news for moms-to-be is that maternity clothes are way cuter now. The bad news is that they’re still expensive. And who wants to spend a lot of money on jeans with a giant cloth waist band?

A friend in Atlanta told me about a store here called Izzy Maternity. “I went there and they dressed me like a paper doll!” she said. I went in there the day I found out I was pregnant, hoping to get one of those novelty t-shirts that says something like “Baby” with an arrow so I could break the news to Frank. However, when I saw the $50 price tag, I decided he would have to settle for a handmade sign that said, “BIG DADDY.”

So I decided to stay away from that store. But then I needed a dress for my baby shower. I meant to go to Mimi Maternity which has somewhat decent prices but my pregnancy brain cells got me all mixed up and I ended up at Izzy Maternity. As soon as I walked in I had flashbacks to the $50 tank tops. I wanted to run out but I was the only one in there and therefore, became the prey of the two employees: an overly made-up woman in her 50s and a young, flamboyant man.

They must have decided I was paper doll material because this is what went down:

“Oh, hello! How are you doing? You sure are getting big! When are you due again?” the lady asked.

“Um, April,” I said, and wanted to add, “Have we met?”

Since there was no turning back, I told her I needed a shower dress. She proceeded to lead me around the store, picking out items she thought would be fabulous for me and my fetus:

“Honey, you would look great in this one! Orange is really your color!”

“Is it a dress or a skirt?”

“That’s the best part! It’s both. It can be a skirt if you wear it like this. It can be a strapless dress if you wear it like this AND check this out: it’s reversible! It’s like three outfits in one!”

It better be, I thought, as I peeked at the $150+ price tag.

After she had chosen several dresses for me to try on (none of which I was planning to buy both because I didn’t like them nor did I want to spend that much money), I headed to the dressing room. As I came out and modeled each dress one by one, the lady and her male assistant gave me paper doll feedback:

“No, that’s all wrong. It looks like a nightgown on you!”

“Now that is precious. Look at her! You’re absolutely glowing in that one!”

“Love the dress. Hate the bow. We have to lose the bow.”

“It doesn’t fit right in the chest.”

“Gorgeous with a capital G!”

“I know you might think it’s weird that a man is working at a maternity store but I grew up with five sisters. Now let me unzip that dress for you!”

And then when I would go back into the dressing room to change into the next ensemble, they would continue to talk about me. I thought for sure they would drop the act and start talking about what time they got off work, what they wanted for lunch, etc. But no, it was all about me, their latest paper doll victim:

“Her shoulders are just so tiny! I’ve got to find something that will work.”

“You know what would look great on her? This floral-print strapless. It’s like it was made for her.”

When I came out after trying on the last dress (and thinking I was home free), they had pulled every dressy top they had off of every mannequin:

“We’re thinking forget the dress. Let’s go for pants and a top,” the guy said, pointing to the pile.

“Um, those all look great but I need to run and I think I’ll come back tomorrow with my husband,” I said, hoping they’d buy my story.

They didn’t.

Instead, they completely shut down. The smiles went away. The sing-song voices were gone. They began to gather up the tops. Another customer walked in and the guy went over to help her. Concerned that they would think I was lying, I tried to validate my story to the lady: “What time do you open tomorrow? I’ll be back with my husband to show him some of these great outfits!”

“We open at 10,” the lady said bluntly.

“Okay, well thanks for your help! I’ll see you tomorrow!” I said.

“Sure,” she replied.

As I passed by the guy who was now enthusiastically sizing up the next paper doll victim, I said, “Thanks so much for your help!”

He completely ignored me.

So I didn’t go back. Now I get all my maternity clothes at Target where they just say, “How many you got?” and hand you a number when you go into the dressing room. And Kohl's--where they won't even help you with your zipper, even when you're clearly stuck. Those are my kinds of places.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Competitive Edge

I hope I’m not a crazy stage mom or one of those parents who jumps out of the bleachers at soccer games and beats up the coach. The reason I fear that a little is because I’m slightly competitive. I like to be the best, even in silly things. And yesterday my doctor fueled this fire in me when he told me some really fab news:

“Your weight gain is perfect. You’re like the poster child for pregnancy weight gain.”

I beamed.

I told Frank what he said (extenuating circumstances caused Super Dad to miss this appointment) and added, “Do you know what that means? He thinks I’m so awesome that I should be on a poster!”

So this is what that poster would look like:

Except I’d have a stylist and better lighting and I probably wouldn’t be in my pajamas.

Now, there’s one downside to being perfect: there’s no wiggle room. If he had said that I was a little under, I could pig out. But still, I took his comment to mean that a little pigging would be okay:

I go back in two weeks and I’ll see a different doctor. If he doesn’t give me any compliments I’ll have to prompt him:

“Notice anything about my ankles? Would you say they are the best pregnant ankles you’ve ever seen?”

“How ‘bout that baby’s heartbeat? Pretty strong, eh? Strongest you’ve ever heard, perhaps?”

“Did you get a look at my belly button? Probably never seen one pop out so prevalently, have you?”

“Damn that’s some low blood pressure! Wouldn’t you agree?”

And if he doesn’t bite, I promise I won’t jump off the examining table and beat him up. But I might show him my poster.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Dad

People ask me if I've felt tired during pregnancy and I like to brag that I'm full of energy; nothing's changed; I'm like Halle Berry and could be pregnant forever!

But now I'm in the third trimester and I think it's finally beaten me down. I'm tired. I'm achy. I'm big. I'm grumpy. It seemed to all come on suddenly yesterday. And if you, like me, are wondering where all my energy has gone, I know the answer.

Frank stole it.

He's gung-ho daddy.

"Let's watch the Baby Story!"

"Oh, you found a web site with cribs? Show me! They've got ribbit bedding? I've gotta see this! "

"Can we watch the video of the baby shower again?"

Yesterday we did more nesting and organizing of the baby's room. Then he decided it would be fun to put the Pack N Play together. I watched.

After he got it all put together I went to take a nap. He woke me up awhile later to show me how he had taken it down and put it in its travel carrying case. Impressive. Now let me sleep.

"Now I'm going to take it out of the bag and put it back together again!" he said enthusiastically.

I think he did this a half a dozen more times. The website says it should only take one minute for set up and one minute for take down. I think he's trying to break the record. I'm pretty sure he's going to ask me to come up there with a stop watch.

I'm just hoping he can keep up this level of energy after the baby know, when it's not a stuffed duck.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Baby Rentals

Whenever Frank and I go to some event like an outdoor festival and we see a lot of families we say, “We should have rented some kids for this!”

Now I think we need to rent some “practice babies” to prepare for BS. When it comes to parenthood, we’re all book smarts, no street smarts. Just look at our impressive education:

Baby Bargains
The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy
Belly Laughs
Safe Baby Handling Tips
40,001 Best Baby Names

Audio/Visual Aides:
Preparation for Parenthood (Six CDs we listened to on our road trip to and from Texas)
The Happiest Baby on the Block

DVR Recordings:
A Baby Story
Jon and Kate + 8

Classes (signed up for, haven’t taken yet):
Breastfeeding for couples
Baby CPR

Where we’re lacking is hands-on training. In fact, these are the only babies we’ve even spent time with since we found we were having one ourselves:

Baby Riley:

Baby Nathan:

Once I babysat two-and-a-half year old Reagan down the street and that went pretty well until Frank showed up. She started screaming so I said, “But Frank is going to be a daddy too!” She said, “That’s right. He’s just like daddy.” Still, will our kid scream at the sight of him? Or at the sight of me?

It’s a possibility if we don’t hone our skills. I mean, we know the steps to swaddling but have never tried it out. We know what color a baby's poop should be at two weeks but have never actually seen any evidence. We know that babies like to be bounced and moved but we haven’t held one long enough to test that theory.

So if you have a baby you’d like to loan us, let me know. It won’t be a true rental in the sense that we won’t pay you. Really, you should pay us. We’re providing babysitting and a wealth of knowledge. But don't worry, we won't take your baby to a festival. We haven't read the book about that yet.

Monday, January 14, 2008


When I first heard pregnant women say they were nesting, I thought it basically meant they were sitting around on their butts. Maybe watching Oprah. No, something trashier like Dr. Phil.

But then people started giving me examples of nesting like, “I had to get all my recipes in order” and “I changed the nursery theme three times.” Well, this all sounded like work. That’s when I realized that nesting did not equal resting. Frank said, “I think it’s like building a nest.” Maybe that’s right.

All I know is that this weekend, we moved all the guitars and guitar paraphernalia out of the empty bedroom that will soon be the nursery. We went through all the baby stuff we already have and organized it. At one point when I was thigh deep in onesies, cards and bottles and Frank was setting up his electric guitar in the guest room, I yelled, “Frank, do you know what I think we’re doing?”


“I think we’re nesting!”

He came in the room, wearing his Baby Bjorn and said, “I think you’re right!”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

BS’s Resume

I don’t know the sex of this baby. I don’t know what he/she looks like. I don’t know if he/she will be a sogger or a cruncher. But I have some ideas on BS’s career path based on recent activity:

Tap dancer
Kung-Fu fighter
Trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil
Pro Cheerleader
Pro Wrestler

If none of that works out, we’ve got a couple of fall-backs:

Guinness Book of World Record Holder: Most Somersaults in One Minute
Total Spaz

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Big Mama

I didn’t gain a lot of weight in the first trimester…or the beginning of the second. And since I don’t weigh myself at home, I just assumed I hadn’t gained a lot of weight since my last doctor’s visit.

But I didn’t take Christmas into account.

Wait. Let’s not blame Christmas. It’s not Baby Jesus’ fault. Or even Santa’s. (Well, a little bit Santa. I mean, he doesn’t set the best example.)

Instead, let’s blame:

The long road trip with hours of sitting
The frequent stops at McDonald’s (Mmmm…Egg McMuffins)
The frequent stops at Wendy’s (Mmmm…Dollar Menu)
The Peppermint Bark (which we’re still eating)
The mini candy bars my mom puts in our stockings (“They’re so little! I can eat twelve! And isn’t dark chocolate as good for you as broccoli?”)
Nana’s cookies
Grandma’s friendship cake
Laura’s scotcharoos
Mexican food
More sitting in the car

So I had a doctor’s appointment today—a mere week after the gluttonous and sedentary holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ—where I got weighed. It’s been four weeks since my last visit and I had this little fantasy that the doctor would say, “Well, you know, everything looks good but you could probably stand to gain a little more weight. You might want to try eating more. Maybe more sweets. Maybe more Mexican food. And have you tried sitting around on your butt for most of the day?” And I would say, “Well, if that’s what you think I need to do, doc. I guess I could try.”

That didn’t happen. I won’t go into specific numbers here but I’ll just say that after the nurse weighed me she said, “Well, you seem to be going in the right direction.”

That’s right. The same direction as Santa.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Repetitiveness is not my favorite thing. But when you’re having a baby, you tend to hear the same advice and “wisdom” over and over again. It’s not their fault; they don’t know that I just heard a similar (albeit often slightly varied) tip only hours before.

So just in case you were itching to add to my advice and comment pool, I’ll fill you in on the ones I hear the most. (You can thank me later for opting not to include any childbirth comments on this list.)

Oh, you’re carrying high, it must be a girl.

Are you going to breastfeed?

One day you’ll see a foot move across your belly. It will be so freaky!

Don’t you hate it when people touch your belly? Can I touch your belly?

You’re not due until April?

You’re carrying low, it must be a girl.

You’re going to breastfeed, right?

One day you’ll see a hand move across your belly. Totally weird!

Wow, you’ve really popped. Really? Not until April?

Breast feeding burns lots of calories!

You’re carrying high, it must be a boy.

You’re carrying low, it must be a boy.

One day you’ll see a butt move across your belly. It’s so strange!