Thursday, July 31

Makes Me Look Like the Perfect Mom

I don't normally post links to Boston Globe articles, because they are archived after two weeks, but this is a story too bizarre not to post. My mind just can't wrap itself around this one!

Wednesday, July 30

To Everything, Turn Turn Turn

So Brown Brown is officially stubborn or slow (let's hope for stubborn). Today was his deadline for moving into position. But nope, his head is still stubbornly in my side. Adam gave me hope with the story from a coworker about his baby moving into position at 35 weeks. Apparently, it happened when they were out to dinner and the guy could actually see the baby moving from across the table. So folks who will see me in the next week, maybe you'll get a show!

A side note: how did people have babies before the Internet? We've ordered furniture, nursing clothes, diaper bag, room decorations, and gotten more information than we really want to know from the Web. I can't fathom how it was done back in the days of yore, like ten years ago. It's almost like trying to envision life without ATMs. Impossible!

Monday, July 28

Newborns 101

So yesterday's all-day babyathon was much better for me than Saturday's. Nurse Nancy only mentioned the procedure that shall not be named once. We spent a while playing with dolls, putting on diapers, swaddling, and burping (note: I'm sure this is not indicative of his fathering skills, but Adam is a sucky swaddler. Hate to say it, but it's a fact. However he excels at diapering, and I will be more than happy to pass that chore over to him). We watched the sequel to Saturday's "Hello Baby" video, which was "Hello Parents." Only one visible birth and a lot of very tired parents. The amount of reading material and information was still overwhelming (must remember to measure slats around stairs, check with pediatrician about Hep B shots, buy a pacifier even if we swear we'll never use one...), but it was info we needed and one of these days, we may actually read everything they gave us (yeah, right). Not wanting to repeat Saturday evening (where I had a minor meltdown that consisted basically of "I'm sick and tired of being tired! I'm sick and tired of this head jamming me in the ribs! I'm sick and tired of being pregnant!"), we decided to head home right after class and take it easy. I'm in cooking mode--I made six batches of spaghetti sauce to put in the freezer; next week I'll start in on casseroles of some sort--to minimize cooking needs during the weeks after birth. It's weird that it's not too early to be doing this (as Pregnancy Weekly says today, "You have 44 days or 6 weeks left, and are 84% of the way there. "). Then, it was an almost relaxing evening--I'm close to done with the baby sweater I'm making and we watched Sex and the City (relaxing) and the Red Sox game (so not relaxing).

Now I face the work week with less excitement than normal. I have two stories to write, which means I shall be filling my days with finding new and inventive ways to procrastinate (it's always like that when the research is done and all that's left is the writing). I'm tired, and I'm way too preoccupied with baby to be thinking of anything else right now. My to-do list is a mile long and all I can think about is, I'd rather be checking things off my list. Although, "blog about weekend" was on the list. Check!

Sunday, July 27


As Brown Brown still hasn't turned and I'm becoming increasingly more desperate as his ever-growing noggin expands into the ever-decreasing room formerly known as my chest and now known as that friggin' parasite's cocoon (the term parasite left us for a while, huh? Well, it's baaaack!), I'm trying all the techniques I can find to get him to assume the position. I'm spending a lot of time hanging out in the living room on my hands and knees and rubbing my belly. I've tried talking to him--both in nice soothing tones and in that "I'm counting to three" tone.

Well, as long as I have my weekly swim, I figured I'd try the handstand technique. I felt like an idiot, because it's a normal lap swim, which means you aren't supposed to be goofing around. All around me, people are doing their rapid laps while I do my leisurely swim (I do nothing non-leisurely anymore. The only thing that has me moving quickly these days is my bladder), so between laps, I furtively try to sneak in some handstands. Have you ever tried to do a handstand when you are at your most floaty? Impossible I tell you! I could do two for maybe .35 seconds each before I'd float one way or another. So I quickly gave that up. Besides, it sounds like a stupid idea anyway. Wouldn't that just have the baby turning in the wrong direction? I don't get it.

Saturday, July 26

Childbirth 101

Driving into the parking lot of Beth Israel hospital at 9:40 a.m., you would have thought that everyone except pregnant women with pillows, trailed by dazed looking men, had disappeared off the face of the earth. It was empty out except for the swarm of us mutant women heading toward our weekend-intensive childbirth class. Adam and I made our way to the boardroom, which had hard-backed chairs in a U-shape and pictures of old men staring down from the walls, and sat with our two pillows and blanket on the floor. I couldn't help but notice that we were the only ones who didn't have matching pillowcases on our two pillows. Everyone sat awkwardly in his/her chair as the instructor set up. Our instructor, Nurse Nancy, was a funny, warm woman who would periodically drop her supplies as she was setting up, saying things (as she dropped the "baby in uterus" model), "We don't handle our babies like that."

As the class settled in, we had to pick up a pile of handouts and make name tags. Despite threats otherwise, Adam decided to remain "Adam" for the day. In the pile of handouts was what you'd expect--car seat safety info, a guide to contractions, poison control numbers, a Red Sox schedule. Yep, that's right. A Red Sox schedule. Not only do I have to worry about identifying labor and making it through my contractions, I have to worry that Brown Brown doesn't decide to make himself known in the middle of a Red Sox-Yankee series at home as Fenway is all of maybe six blocks from our hospital. We were advised to head to the hospital a little earlier than we think if the Red Sox are playing at home. We went around the room and introduced ourselves. Out of the fourteen couples there, Adam and I--with the exception of the one lesbian couple--were the only ones to have different last names, which I thought was odd. I also thought it was odd that Nurse Nancy brought in a cooler of ice water (that's not the odd part) and carafes of coffee (that was the odd part). She announced they were there and said, "Although this will already probably be your third cup of the day." Am I the only one who's doctor said to curb the caffeine?

The first thing we had to do was take a quiz in which she described various parts of the female anatomy and we had to write down what they are. Adam, I'm sorry to say, scored only an 80 percent, and I won't embarrass him here by saying he didn't know what the perineum or colostrum is and he didn't know how long the average labor lasted. Adam's response to his not knowing these things was, "I don't think it's fair for me to have to know that," which I'm sure you all know scored major points with me.

Next it was on to relaxation techniques. We started with the coaches (that would be Adam) laying on the floor and doing relaxation techniques so they know what they're looking to do with us (that would be the laboring moms). Nurse Nancy instructed, "Think of a special place, a place that has meaning for the two of you, some place beautiful and wonderful." I don't need to finish this thought, do I? You know where it's headed. Adam grinned and whispered, "I'm thinking of Fenway." When I questioned how that had meaning for both of us, he pointed out that she never said it had to have positive meaning. Harumph.

The rest of the day was a blur of funny breathing, trying out odd positions, and listening to Nurse Nancy say the procedure that shall not be named way too many times. I cringed during all of them. The video wasn't too bad--only a few parts where I couldn't look--although it made me very grateful that I didn't have my baby in the 1980s. All that pain with those hair cuts to boot is just insult to injury. Tomorrow we cover drugs (yeah!) and newborn care.

We ended the day with a quick trip to Costco, where we stocked up on diapers, and Babies R Us, where we bought our car seat. So now, we are ready. We have a way to get Brown Brown home from the hospital, we have a way to catch his poop, and we have the co-sleeper to rest him in. All else is gravy. Bring on the baby!

Friday, July 25


Don't get me wrong--I'm very grateful that I'm able to get freelance work so easily. It's a great help now (as our crib finally is orderable, and order it I did, and I need to earn something to fuel this Pottery Barn Kids obsession I seem to have), and it's going to be a great relief when I'm not working in an office every day. However, there's nothing quite so blissful as that feeling of turning in my last assignment and knowing I'm happily freelance work free for the next bit. I can do as I like after work and enjoy the weekend without a project hanging over my head (or three projects, as the case may be--this past week I turned in a 538-page copyedit job, a book review for a 576-page book [which was a fabulous book, I might add], and an author Q&A). I've been working on these jobs for the past three weeks, so every night and morning has been focused on work. I have such a long to-do list (including e-mailing almost everyone I know back--I owe the world an e-mail) and it keeps getting longer. This weekend, though, it's all about the baby (I know, I know. You thought it was always all about the baby. Well, this weekend especially). Childbirth classes. Two whopping full days of them. From 10 to 5 tomorrow and 10:30 to 4:30 on Sunday. I'm a little scared by what I'll learn. I've been watching videos on Baby Center and I'm terrified. Right now Brown Brown doesn't seem to be wanting to get into position, so I watched the video on how they do the external version and then--just in case--how a C-section is done. For the C-section video, there's a choice between "a live surgery" or "illustrated guide." Knowing my low tolerance I went for the illustrated guide and still felt a bit sick to my stomach (arg, just thinking about the incision and how they separate the abdominal muscles is making my stomach churn! Or is that just the baby moving about? Hard to tell). But I'm hoping the classes will put an end to my obvious anxiety dreams (last night I dreamt that--no joke--Adam and I accidentally turned the babies [yes, there were two of them in the dream] into bookmarks. Bookmarks!!!) by making me feel a little more prepared.

One thing that I have decided is that my social engagements from here on out are going to be dwindling. I'm just simply not as mobile as I once was. Anyone who wants to hang out at our house is more than welcome, but no events that require my being more than fifteen feet from a bathroom and nothing that involves my walking more than about fifty yards. I called the Tweedle Twirp yesterday as I was on a work errand, and I was complaining about my waddle and my sausage feet and that yet another pair of shoes doesn't fit me anymore. She said, "Well, you're learning a valuable lesson. You don't ever want to get extremely fat." Um, gee thanks. You know, I'd say there are a lot of lessons that it would be important for me to learn, but I think I figured that one out all by myself a while ago. It's true that every errand I now run takes twice a long, but in fairness to me, that's not just because I'm slower; it's because it takes that long to listen to all the advice everyone (especially strangers) now wants to give me (yesterday's advice was don't bother getting a changing pad for the top of the dresser; just change the baby on the floor and even if I think I'm ready for a baby, I'm really not, because I have no idea what I'm in for. Thanks, guys!).

Okay, I'm going to waddle off for my lunch time Jamba Juice. Mmmm, Orange-A-Peel smoothie!!

Tuesday, July 22

What's On My Mind Today

  • On NPR this morning: "Last night the Red Sox pounded the lowly Tigers, fourteen to five, at Fenway. Tonight they complete their two-game series." Do two games really a series make? Wouldn't you say that two games is more like a game and its sequel?
  • I know that the Rabbit I drove in high school didn't have cup holders. I would prop my morning can of Diet Coke between my legs when I had to shift gears (no power in this car--it took two hands to do everything, even, practically, change the radio station), hoping it wouldn't spill. Now I can't live without my car cup holder. But I don't remember when they became ubiquitous. When was the first time I saw a cup holder? These are the important things in life that slip my mind.
  • Adam's getting a little tiny roll of fat around his waist. (Adam has heretofore been known as the skinniest man alive). I can't think of anything that's made me happier than Adam saying, "Ohmygod, I'm getting fat." Welcome to my world. Of course, I have an excuse. He just has an ever-increasing tailor's bill as he goes in to have his suit pants let out.
  • Is anyone else as over-the-top excited, can't-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-it thrilled that the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is out? It's such a pleasant surprise--I had no idea it was on its way. I looked at my tenth edition--which is inscribed "from your little sister, June 1993"--and was shocked that ten years had gone by. I remember how exciting it was when the tenth came out. Looking the book over, I noticed it was pretty worn. The cover is loose, some of the pages are bent (I have a bad habit of having to look the same word up over and over--some words just look wrong to me no matter how many times I see them). I guess it's time. You know, I hear dictionaries make great baby gifts. Maybe I should put in on our baby registry. Oh, who am I kidding. I can't wait that long to get my hands on it.
  • My knitting teacher said to put flat buttons on the baby sweater I've made. "It will be more comfortable for the baby." "Why," I asked, "should I be worried about his comfort? He's not worried about mine? Payback, you know, is a bitch." I think I threw her a little and she said, "Oh, he doesn't mean to make you uncomfortable now." To which I said, "You don't know the baby's father. I'm betting this is completely intentional." Rounded buttons, anyone?
  • If Harriet the Spy had been born in the '80s, she'd be a blogger, too.
  • How long do I have to spend on my hands and knees with my butt in the air before this baby turns himself (the pediatrician's suggestion)? Do I really need to shine a flashlight up there? Blah.
  • When the microwave instructions say, "Leave in microwave 1 to 2 minutes after cooking," does anyone really do that? Doesn't everyone have a line behind them at the office microwave? Who has this luxury?
  • Who knew that Hershey's Kisses now come in dark chocolate! Mmmm, dark chocolate. Ohmygod: crafts from Kisses. Maybe next holiday season I'll make a Kiss Menorah. Oh, if I only were a goy. (Hey, that can be sung to the tune of "If I Only Had a Brain"!) The centerpiece I could make!
  • Will this guy ever be able to live down being the guy who made Lance Armstrong crash? It makes me feel better. No matter how much I may screw things up, at least I didn't make Lance Armstrong crash. (Link courtesy of Eugene.)

Monday, July 21

Furnishing a Life

I've been walking into rooms and then forgetting why I've entered them. It's incredibly annoying and I generally remember three seconds after I've left the room. So now, when I enter a room, I don't leave until I know why I came in in the first place. It's leading to long moments of my just standing around, with my hands on my hips and my brow furrowed as I scan, scan, scan, trying to remember--the car keys? a book? my glass of water?--exactly what it is I wanted. Why I bring this up now, I have no idea. But there it is for you.

Maybe it's my excuse for not blogging so much lately. I've forgotten everything I want to say. But really, that's not it. I haven't blogged because I've been very focused on getting things done. This past weekend was a check-list weekend. Finish freelance copyediting job. Check. Buy maternity dress that's fancy enough for a wedding. Check. Write first draft of freelance book review. Check. Go to yoga. Check. Take a swim. Check. Start reading library book that's due back soon (Cooking for Mr. Latte). Check. Finish knitting pieces of baby sweater that need to be done for final knitting class on Monday night. Check.

Of course, there's always time to add a few things to the list. This weekend, it was Panic about Impending Arrival of Brown Brown. Um, check! In precisely 4 1/2 to 9 1/2 weeks (does life get anymore precise than that?), Brown Brown will be appearing at our front door wanting a place to sleep, clean diapers, and all sorts of other things that apparently babies require. As I finished freelancing, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder what still needs to be done for the baby." I wandered into the nursery and--gasp!--realized everything still needs to be done. This is our nursery. Do you see anything missing? Like, furniture? Clothes? Diapers? Toys?

the empty nurserymore of the empty nurseryyet more of the empty nursery

Yes, the baby's room is bare. The one crib that both Adam and I loved apparently is the most popular one at Babies R Us and has been out of stock for weeks now (so much for us being hip and independent--really, we just run with the masses). I'm paralyzed over whether we need a hi-low dresser or just an ordinary dresser (I know, ordinary dresser, but the ordinary dressers don't have all the safety features, such as rounded corners, drawers that don't pull out all the way, and all these other things that I had never for a moment considered before). I have no idea how to make storage work in this room with the low-dormered ceiling. Did you know that you're supposed to launder a baby's clothing before he wears it? And in special nonallergenic detergent? Neither did I! (And if you answered yes to that, then go away. I don't want you reading my blog.) I've been very focused on this pregnancy thing, but apparently, you're supposed to also be preparing for the delivery of the baby and for bringing the baby home. Who knew?

So, what's a sheep-like, conformist, hormone-mad woman to do? Why, drag her husband to Pottery Barn Kids to stock up for the room. Sigh. We still don't have a crib for Brown Brown to sleep in (but, hey, we won't need one right away--he'll use the cosleeper, which we actually already bought!, for the first couple of months), but we do have an adorable mobile to hang over it, beautiful sheets and a fleece, a lovely valance for the window, a cute-as-can-be nightlight, a soft book to use as a wall hanging (nonpersonalized so don't think you can come over and get an early peek at the baby's name), and a gosh-darn-who-would-have-guessed-it nursery theme (which would be wild animals, if you haven't actually clicked through on any of those links). The crib bumper and the rug are on their way. All I can say is, thank goodness Adam's summer internship is a paying one.

I have to say, though, I think that many of the magical moods of me really have nothing to do with the hormones. I think it's more the sleepless nights and the haze of junk food I've been wandering around in. "Comfortable" is no longer a word in my vocabulary. Although Adam is under the misguided notion that we've just entered the third trimester, the fact is we've been there for a while, and I'm ready to be done with it. I won't chronicle the discomfort, but it's there, and Adam can't quite grasp the fact that the only thing that seems to alleviate the misery is Double Stuf Oreos. At my last doctor's appointment last Thursday (we're now up to seeing the doc every two weeks), I saw a nurse practioner. As you know, the baby is wedged in sideways, which is so less than pleasant. I said to her, "The baby can turn at any time, right?" She said, "Yes, but at some point the baby will run out of room and won't be able to turn." What? No one mentioned that to me! And sure enough, I check the sites, and see that the baby is supposed to assume the position by 34 weeks (the end of the eighth month). That's one week from Wednesday. Great. We've got a procrastinator on our hands. Or in my womb, as the case may be.

Anyway, things may be a little sparse around here as I buy diapers, finish the book review (and conduct/write an interview to go with it), wash baby clothes, take childbirth classes (this weekend) and breastfeeding classes (next week--who knew you needed a whole class on something that's supposed to be so natural?), decorate the room, and generally go into panic mode. But I'll make up for it. I always do.

Tuesday, July 15

Forgetfulness to the Nth Degree

On our wedding day, everyone treated me with deference. When Adam and I walked into the reception, the caterers handed us glasses of champagne, and I remember thinking, "That's odd. We aren't serving champagne yet." A waitress came up to me and said, "We saved you a plate of hors d'oeuvres," and again I thought it was strange. Strangers in the hotel lobby would smile at me and give me their best wishes. How does everyone know to be nice to me? I thought. Then I'd look down, see the big white dress and feel the veil on the back of my head and remember, Oh, yeah. They can see that I'm the bride. Duh. But I would constantly forget that I was wearing this big symbol that screamed, "I just got married!" (So much for everyone telling me I'd feel like a princess on my wedding day. I mean, I felt great, but definitely not princess-like.) I've now hit that point with my pregnancy. I'm wearing this baby in full view, but I sometimes forget it's there. A Home Depot installation guy came this morning to install a new back door for us. I had papers to sign, but I'm losing them right and left. "Where did I put that paper? Where are my keys so I can move my car for you? What did I just do with that paper?" I thought to myself, Pregnancy brain and I was about to say it out loud, when my next thought was, Well, that's dumb. He doesn't know I'm pregnant. Of course, a moment later I looked down and remembered not only am I showing, I'm really showing (how much am I showing? Here's a bare belly pic at 31 weeks for those not afraid), and of course he knows I'm pregnant. So I voiced my thought aloud. But seriously, every now and then, I just forget that the world knows I'm having a baby, that it's not just a secret between me and Adam.

Sunday, July 13

The Power of the Buffer

As many of you know, the Tweedle Twirp is the Human Buffer Zone. Originally, it was her job to keep the peace between my mother and me. However, over the years her role has expanded as necessary (especially with pregnancy hormones) to buffer between me and my father, me and my grandparents, and basically me and whoever looks at me funny. Yet, I've noticed that she's taken her job a step further, and she just buffers whoever happens to be around her, occasionally my parents with each other, family members who are starting to get antsy with one another, and probably random strangers on the street who are looking a little tense. Lately, though, she's been letting her power go to her head. She's been making declarations and rules in the name of buffering that really are just her own pet peeves that she wants stopped. For instance, my parents are singers. I don't mean they can sing (although my mother can hold her own; my father is as tone deaf as a rock). I mean they do sing. Frequently. It doesn't take much to set them off into song. Coming back from the airport, my mother was driving and my father was in the very back of the van (there are only four seats and there were five of us). Adam mentioned he changed planes in Copenhagen, and the next thing you know, my mother is singing the song about Copenhagen from Hans Christian Andersen. My father can't hear a thing that's going on in the front, and yet he, independently, starts singing the same song. Adam and I have an extremely off-kilter stereo thing going on, with neither side knowing what the other is doing. And then, remarkably, they both simultaneously segue into "Inchworm." I'm just staring out the window, Adam is amused, and my sister is groaning. So when we get home, the Tweedle Twirp makes a declaration in the name of buffering. "There shall be no songs sung this weekend that are pre-1985." The choosing of the year was brilliant on her part, as my father knows many songs that are just pre-1985. But this rules out anything from Glass Houses, Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and, obviously, anything by the Beatles. Now, frankly, the singing doesn't bother me. Not at all. But I let the Tweedle Twirp's little charade go on, as it's only fair that I play the part in return for all the years of buffering. My father, of course, is going crazy, and he keeps asking things such as, "Are the Thompson Twins pre-1985?" He finally did a Web search, determined to find a post-1985 song that he can learn so he has something to sing this weekend. It failed, and TT quickly cuts him off the minute he begins humming anything: "That's not post-1985!"

The Almost Birthday Party, Saturday Night

On September 22, my grandfather will turn 90 years old. However, that's awfully close to Brown Brown's due date (which is September 10, for those of you who have forgotten), and obviously Adam and I would not only be unable to fly home, but we'll have commandeered the Tweedle Twirp as our in-house nanny and my mother will most certainly want to be in the Boston region (no one other than the TT will be permitted to actually stay with us during the first month or so of Brown Brown's appearance). So, after much family debate about possible dates (a trauma itself, not to be delved into here), this weekend was decided upon for my grandfather's almost birthday party. Yes, mid-July in Miami Beach is not the most comfortable place to be, but it's what worked out.

Adam had the ultimate out for this party. Not only was there a mandatory social event for interns at his company on Saturday, but he was going to be flying back from Oslo the very day we were to fly to Miami. But, as he loves to declare, my family is great entertainment for those not actually related to it by blood, and he wasn't going to miss the show. His flight left Oslo at 7:30 a.m. and he arrived in Boston (via London) at about 2. Our flight was at 6, so figuring in time for customs and needing to be at the airport an hour before our flight, it just didn't make sense for him to leave Logan Airport. So Friday was airport/airplane day for Adam. That's a lot of torture for some family entertainment (although, truth be told, my family is more entertaining than most families, however, it's nothing I can write about here. Some day, a few people will die off, and I'll write a novel based on the family. It will be made into a prime-time soap opera, and everyone will say, "Oh, please. Like anything like that could ever happen in real life." But I'll know. I'm sure you're thinking, "C'mon, my family's dysfunctional, too," but I assure you, mine brings new meaning to the word. [And I am of course referring only to extended family. My immediate family, while immensely weird, is depressingly normal]).

The main party was last night, with a follow-up brunch that will be happening in about another two hours. Dinner for twenty-two at Smith and Wollensky (my grandfather is a steak and potatoes kind of guy. Well, really a steak, potatoes, and Jack Daniels kind of guy, but there's no Jack Daniels restaurant in town). The room was fantastic--a gorgeous water view of a narrow channel that the cruise ships pass through (right across from Fisher Island).

Getting ready at my parent's place, I put on my navy blue matronly business-y "Hey, there's no doubt about it I'm pregnant" dress, complete with the tiny bow on top of my belly and my black flats. I commented to the Tweedle Twirp, "These really aren't the best shoes for this." TT said, "They're fine for a pregnant lady." I said, somewhat indignantly, "I wore these shoes before I got pregnant." Barely even looking at me, she said, "Yeah, but I bet they looked a lot better when you still had ankles." This was after seeing me only half dressed and bursting out with a laugh, TT said, "Ohmygod, are you HUGE!"

The party itself was a tremendous success: the food was delicious (the steaks were gigantic), the skits we put on were a hit with my grandfather (too many in jokes to list them here, although my cousin Oliver and his kids, Milo and Annie, gets a shout-out for best performance of the evening), and he was delighted to have everyone together. My mother did a nice job setting the room up. As party favors/decorations, she scanned in twenty-two different photos of my grandfather over the years and put them all in different frames at each place setting. My grandmother (the one who called me fat on our last visit home) surprised me by raving over how terrific I looked. "You are the model pregnant woman," she said. I think it was the dress. Some folks got a little loopy. One cousin, who made a point of not kissing me hello because she's sick, said in the middle of the evening after tripping over her words, "Wow, that Nyquil really packs a punch." I questioned, "Weren't you just drinking vodka tonics?" "Well," she replied, "now I am." The one failure was my grandfather and the big-screen TV. More than anything in this world, my grandfather wants a big-screen TV. My grandmother won't let him have one (they're too ugly or something). My grandfather asked for the rest of the family to put pressure on her for the TV. Didn't work. I think we only made her more set in my ways.

The cake was yummy and they actually brought one out with ninety candles on it. Milo (a ten year old) announced after the candle-blowing, "I know what you wished for!" It was a beautiful moment, and we all expected Milo, a sensitive boy, to say, "Ninety more years" or "For the family to get together more often." But what he said was, "I bet you wished for a big-screen TV." I thought my grandmother was going to strangle him.

There were a few wandering hands on my belly. I was caught off-guard by three different people who felt a need to--unannounced--pounce on my belly and give it a rub. I held my tongue in deference to keeping the family peace, although I definitely was not happy about it. There are only two groups of people allowed to touch my belly without asking first: those under the age of twelve and those I am married to. Everyone else: hands off without asking. I realize that the lump that's obviously a head that's sticking out of the side of my stomach is just a hands' magnet. Restrain yourselves, people.

So now the family is bustling about the condo trying to get ready for the twenty-two people about to descend here for brunch. I should probably be helping, but it's hard to do anything when you have to excuse yourself every 5.36 minutes to use the bathroom. So instead, I'm sitting at my father's computer catching all of you up. That's just the kind of lazy person I am.

Friday, July 11

Helpful Advice

Good news. Just because Starbucks doesn't have their mammoth chocolate chip cookies on display at 9:30 a.m., doesn't meant they don't have them. You just have to ask. They keep them in the back. Not that there's any special reason I know this. Um, no, not at all. I'm finding those carrots and grapes I brought with me to work just as tasty as can be. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Was I just saying that I wish Brown Brown would get the hell out of my ribs? Well, for forty-five minutes starting at 3:07 a.m., he did. He discovered a brand new toy: my internal organs. Bam bam bam bam bam bam bam. He's finally back at my ribs. And I'm alarmingly grateful.

Make Mine a Tab

Do you prefer pop or soda? Me, I'm a soda kind of gal, which is probably why I made my way back to the East Coast.

Thursday, July 10

Pregnancy Musings

  • I am starving. I mean ravenous. Contemplating going out and getting a burrito. Which would be fine if I hadn't just half an hour ago polished off a rather large tuna fish sandwich, a bag of chips, and five cookies. I'm supposed to be eating less now that my Brown Brown is pushing my stomach into a tiny ball, not more.
  • You can now call me the crumb magnet. Of coures, I've always been a crumb magnet, but before the crumbs fell delicately into my lap where I could discreetly brush them off before they were seen. Now the crumbs fall to my belly and stick. Which, come to think of it, isn't that bad because I see a good-sized hunk of cookie on there right now that's mine for the eatin'.
  • At 6 a.m., I went for a swim at the Y. Swimming is rapidly becoming my favorite exercise because it just feels so gosh-darn good to float about. For a blissful half hour, I'm weightless. However, I dread that moment when I get out of the pool, when every ounce of my 1XX-pound body bears down on me as if somehow gravity has been turned up a few notches.
  • The pregnancy hormones do have some positive side effects. Our house is being painted (the exterior) and I haven't been pleased with the work ethic and quality control of some of the workers. Normally, I tend to get a little shy about these things, and I let Adam deal with the unpleasantries. But with Adam gone and my hormones raging, I had no issues telling the job foreman exactly what I thought of his work. And when I didn't like the response I got from him, I called the main company. Don't mess wit' me now!
  • In my preparation for transitioning to freelance writer/editor (does everyone know that I will not be returning to an office after the baby is born? Well, I'm not), I've started taking on what could actually be seen as excessive amounts of freelance work now, so that I have my contacts in place when I'm ready to go full steam. But it means not a lot of time for anything else (which is good--less time for worrying and panicking as well. Did you know I'll be having a baby in just 8 1/2 weeks? YIKES!). I have this long list of projects that I want to get done before Brown Brown, and I haven't made much of a dent. But I'm psyched to know that, yes, I will actually be able to have an income when I quit my job. Hell, at the rate I'm taking work on, I may end up making more.
  • One of the things I'd like to do is add baby links to this page. I've been reading a lot of great blogs lately from other mothers-to-be, especially those of Christine, Roni, Anathea, and Alisa. It's really reassuring to know that others are having the same feelings I am, although perhaps a tad less psychotically. Okay, more than a tad.
  • There's nothing like the validation of a sonogram. I knew Brown Brown was jamming his head into my side (visibly so on many days). But this ultrasound made it clear that he was just parked there, with his head by my rib cage and his arm waving around in front of his face (he's been really active lately). The doctor said he should be turning himself at any time--the sooner the better, because it can't be any more uncomfortable than this. Sitting down is painful because he ends up smushed into my ribs. Standing is bad because it makes me have to pee every five minutes. The doctor also assured me that the baby is very well padded, so despite Adam's dire predictions that the baby will be born bruised from my trying to move him down, the baby should be just fine.
  • Speaking of moving the baby, I have this bad habit of rubbing the baby's head without even thinking about it. I mean, wouldn't you rub a giant lump protruding from the side of your belly? But it's kind of embarrassing when I realize that I'm petting my baby--aka my belly--in public.
  • I just had to correct in the above sentence "move it down" to "move him down." It's hard to believe that this thing in me will be a real live human being someday. A real live human being who will someday grow up, go to college, meet a woman, move across the country, and never come to visit. How can my son leave me? Why doesn't he call more often? Excuse me, I need a tissue.
  • Have I mentioned lately that I'm big? I mean ginormous. Hello world, this is my belly!
  • How about tired? Have I mentioned how tired I am? I mean extremely. Hello world, this is me falling asleep at my desk.
  • Things I ponder these days: animal valances with a matching rug from Pottery Barn Kids? Or homemade cheapie curtains and bare carpet? Cord-blood banking: Lifesaving necessity? Major scam? A bowl of strawberries? Or three more mint chocolate cookies. (And in case there was any doubt: the former, the latter, the latter.)

Monday, July 7

The End of the World as I Know It

As I called Adam in Vienna (he finally got a world cell phone from work) to give him the sad score of the Red Sox-Yankee game (1-2), a horrifying, evil thought occurred to me. This must be a sign of the apocalypse. We're talking evil of biblical proportion. Old Testament, real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fires and brimstone coming down from the sky, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the graves! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

What is it that has signaled the end of all that is good, you ask? Well, I realized I can now name more Red Sox players than I can Miami Dolphins. There's no saving us now.

I Don't Even Know What a Regression Is

My pregnancy hormones have been more or less in check except when it comes to Adam and his reading. He's great about reading to the baby (our favorites are the two Sandra Boynton books we have: But Not the Hippopotamus and Barnyard Dance!, although I personally love reading him Let's Nosh [a present from Kara] so he's indoctrinated young about his culture. The culture of eating, that is), but I feel like he's been less than stellar on reading about the baby. We'll be taking a weekend intensive childcare/birth class that I don't think is going to be able to cover all the bases, so I'd like him to be gaining a little knowledge on what to do when the labor pain goes to eleven, how to deal with a psychotic post-partum mom, and how to shut up a screaming newborn (you can tell I'm going into this with rose-colored glasses on). Well, he's on yet another business trip and this time he brought along the Sears' The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby. I'm pleased. Very pleased. But also becoming slightly frightened. He e-mailed me the following while waiting for a connection at Heathrow: "I read a bunch of attachment parenting- pretty interesting- a little vague, but seems to make a lot of sense to me. I'm gonna strap the baby to me and read him cases and numbers. he'll be doing regressions by the time he's 2." Sigh. Brown Brown doesn't stand a chance of turning out to be a normal, non-geeky kid, does he?

Sunday, July 6

Quack Quack

Ok, so now I officially owe Debbie H. an apology. We took a duck tour. Yes, I the anti-duck not only took the duck tour, but it was premeditated duck tour trip (it had to be--those things sell out way in advance!). Pam, Tim, Adam, and I headed to the Museum of Science for a 10:30 drive/boat trip around the city. Ensign X was our captain aboard the tour, and the excursion was more informative than cheesy (although Pam and Tim thought Boston was a wee bit egotistical in its constant boasting of being the "first" and the "best" in everything). It's really fun to play tourist in your own town. I learned a few new things about the city, and I would tell you what, but I've forgotten them already (blame the baby brain!). A great introduction to the city, I'd recommend it to folks coming to Boston for the first time (although I think going on it once was enough for me).

Friday, July 4

Have Yourself a Merry 4th of July

We were lame. Our ambitions for the 4th of July were grand. Our day kicked off with an auspicious start, as we had our house guests Pam and Tim from Seattle staying with us. We began with waffles (the good kind from Mark Bittman's recipe that has to let the batter sit overnight to rise) and then began our mini-patriotic tour of the Boston 'burbs. We spent most of our time in Concord, where we explored Author's Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (which I don't think is related to the Washington Irving story--I think that one is in New York). We pondered how it is that all these famous authors (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau) all lived in the same area and all had their family plots right next to each other. The cemetery was beautiful and the day was gorgeous (a tad on the warm side, but that seemed to please our Seattle guests tremendously). Another delightful thing about Concord? Excellent, air-conditioned public restrooms.

We took the long route to Allston where we parked at HBS and said hi to some folks having a barbecue. Then we went off to Cambridge for Mexican food at the Border Cafe, ice cream at Toscanini's, exploration in Harvard Yard, and a bit o' shopping at the Harvard Coop (that's pronounced "coop," for you foreigners. Never mind that it is a co-op. Call it a coop). We thought we'd retreat home for a quick recuperation and then head back to the Esplanade for fireworks. But then we started to think about it. The Esplanade. For fireworks. Hundreds of thousands of people (later reported to be 700,000) crammed on that little stretch of land by the water. Um, no thanks. So the next on our list was to watch from Arlington, where on a hill in a park they set up a screen and audio so you can see/hear the Pops. Except, why sit on the grass and watch the fireworks appear like tiny dots in the distance when you can see them up close and personal on your own 32-inch television? I told you we were lame. But it was great fun and, really, what's more all-American that watching TV with your butt parked on the couch and a beer (or an O'Doul's as the case may be) in hand.

Thursday, July 3

The Clock Is Ticking Down...

Even though Pregnancy Weekly tells me, "This is day number 211 and you're 30 weeks pregnant! You have 69 days or 10 weeks left, and are 75% of the way there. Baby's age since conception is 197 days or 28 weeks," it still feels like a ways off. I mean September. That's like, what, ages away. But today, in the mail, I got this packet from Beth Israel that made everything seem just a bit closer to home: "Dear Mom-to-be: This letter should serve to confirm that your physician or nurse-midwife has registered you to deliver here on or near your expected due date." In this package is a form we need to fill out with our pediatrician's name (GAG! Have yet to find pediatrician! Have yet to think about finding pediatrician! Can't even spell pediatrician without spellcheck! Must find pediatrician NOW!) and with information that will be needed for Brown Brown's birth certificate. Hello? Birth certificate? It just feels too, well, soon!

Of course, you'd think I'd be anxious to have him outta me, as Brown Brown isn't making me feel any more comfortable these days. He's apparently gotten too big for his britches--or my womb, as the case may be--and he is just sticking out wherever he feels like with no concern to my comfort, no siree, Bob. My belly is lopsided as he apparently is trying to push his way out through my belly button (I guess the exits either aren't clearly marked in there or he's just not a very bright baby). It's not a happy feeling. In fact, it could be described as downright painful. Adam's convinced that Brown Brown is going to be born with bruises and marks all over him from my trying to push him back into a more comfortable position (although, in all fairness, sometimes I'm just feeling around to see if I can identify body parts. I can't. In my right side at this moment is either his head, his butt, his back, or really, for all I know, some limb. I can just tell there's something there!).

So, we're looking at ten weeks (from yesterday). That's actually not so long when you think about it. It's even shorter when you think that if he can figure out a means of egress in seven weeks (from yesterday), then this sucker is a full-term, honest-to-goodness actual baby. Of course, with my luck, he'll wait a full twelve weeks, just to keep torturing me. After all, his father was a slow learner (and if you don't know the story of how Adam and I got together, then you'll just have to take my word that Adam may be Hah-vahd smart, but he's rather slow in other areas), and I have a bad hunch it's going to be like father, like son.

Way to Get Someone's Hopes Up

At the supermarket today, I restocked my supply of O'Doul's, which according to my OB, is as wild as I can get with my drink choices (although, interestingly, if you go to the O'Doul's site and enter in a birthdate that makes you younger than 21, you get a message that reads, "Sorry, even with 0.5% alcohol you still must be 21 to enter O'Doul'" Yet, it's sold in grocery stores that don't have liquor licenses [which is any liquor store in the dry town of Arlington--I was in Watertown] and I'm pretty sure you can buy it as a minor. What's up with that?). The clerk was a chatty, pleasant kid, and he asked me, "Is this an alcoholic product?" Excitedly, I said, "No, why? If it was, would you have to card me?" He looked at me and said, "Oh, no. It's just if it's alcoholic, I'm not allowed to ring it up. By Massachusetts State Law, you have to be over eighteen to ring up alcohol." Hopes dashed. I had thought maybe he mistook me for a white-trash teen mom-to-be boozing it up. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 1

The Bell Tolls

Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be a steady stream of well-known people dying lately? It seems to have begun with Gregory Peck and David Brinkley and continues daily. Leon Uris. Strom Thurmond. Katharine Hepburn. Today it's Buddy Hackett and--probably not noted much outside the New England area--Robert McCloskey (of Make Way for Ducklings fame; that book, by the way, was declared the official children's book of the State of Massachusetts last year. How many of our tax dollars went into making that happen, I wonder?). I find it intriguing how the New York Times (registration required to see the site) allots coverage as if they are trying to measure a person's worth in terms of column inches. Hepburn and Peck both got front page treatment with pics (I'm referring to the online edition), although Peck only had a link to his obit, whereas Hepburn had a link to her obit, stories about her, and reviews of her film. Leon Uris got below the fold coverage. Buddy Hackett isn't apparently worthy of front page coverage--not even a text link under Arts. McCloskey gets a front page text link and blurb at the Boston Globe.

But what is even more morbidly compelling is that the New York Times has listed in its obituaries section a "greatest hits" of death. Along the right-hand column are selections from the obit archives, people who have died in the month of July. I wonder how they determine who is truly famous enough to make it there. Does that signify some sort of life-after-death success that ranks beyond just the everyday front-page coverage? I mean how famous do you have to be to make the "best of"? Selections from July include: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Adlai Stevenson, James Steward, and Ernest Hemingway. Maybe that should be a life goal: "I hope to become famous enough that someday I'll make the 'most famous deaths' column in the New York Times online version." Hey, everyone needs a goal, don't they?

You Know You're Getting Big When...

Adam wakes up anywhere between a half hour and two hours before me, depending on how exhausted I am. This morning he was up and downstairs when a crash came from the upstairs bathroom. I leaped up to look, and it was just a mirror that fell to the floor (the mirror didn't crack). Later, Adam came up and I mentioned the mirror falling. "I wondered what that noise was," he said. I was surprised he had heard it: "Why didn't you come up to investigate?" He replied in complete seriousness: "I peered upstairs and saw you walking into the bathroom, so I assumed the noise was just you lumbering out of bed." Nice....