Archive for April, 2009

The Rules of Attraction

April 29, 2009


To clear up the confusion that seems to be lingering out there, following is a handy Baby Bird belly touching outcome tip sheet.

1. Are you a stranger who has just come into proximity with me for the first time on the Metro, at a movie theater, or in a media briefing?
Result: Do not touch the belly.

2. Is our only relationship that we happen to work in the same building?
Result: Do not touch the belly. Especially on an elevator where we’re all up in each others’ business, spatially speaking, under the best of circumstances.

3. Did we once meet at a party thrown by that chick’s boyfriend over on the Hill? You remember him, right? The guy who works for that rep from Colorado. Yeah, I think it was his ’07 Octoberfest. Yeah, that’s definitely where we met.
Result: Nice to see you again but do not touch the belly.

4. Was that you I just heard with the hacking cough and sneeze rumbling down the hall?
Result: Do not touch the belly, Swine Flu Sally.

5. Are you a child unknown to me whose hands are smeared with a fine paste of peanut butter, finger paint residue, and something that used to be in one of your nasal passages?
Result: Keep your grimy little mitts off the belly, shortstack.

6. Are you the parent who has just authorized your besmirched child to touch my belly without conferring first with me?
Result: Don’t mind me while I force myself to sneeze all over you and your child. Ah-ah-ahchooodon’ttouchthebelly!

7. Are you under the impression that rubbing a pregnant woman’s belly will bring you good luck?
Result: Get away from the belly and go find a chimney sweep, genius.

8. Are you convinced that you can “read the baby’s aura” by laying hands on it?
Result: Do not touch the belly, hippie.

9. Are you a family member or a friend who has first asked to touch the belly?
Result: Congratulations, you are more than welcome to touch the belly.


She’d Move, But That Just Smacks of Effort (Spoiler: This Story Has a Happy Ending So Don’t Panic)

April 28, 2009

bellymonitorOur baby is either really lazy or a ninja. The medical community proved this to me today during an unscheduled visit to the sonographer for something called a non-stress test. Incidentally, that’s a bit of a misnomer if it’s attempting to capture the experience of hearing, “You need to come in in an hour so we can monitor the baby’s heart and determine if you’re having contractions. If you’re having contractions, we’ll send you to labor and delivery.” A better name for this perhaps is the SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY BABY Test.

In brief: after the wee one spent last week tenderizing me from the inside with regular whacks, thwacks, and swats, I felt zilch for the entire weekend and all morning. I’m not an alarmist but common sense (and our trusty pregnancy book which makes up for what we lack in common sense) indicated this was a situation in which one would call a doctor, as opposed to say, relying on random chicks on internet forums writing “i think ull be fine. my baby did this to me and it was totely okay.”

When our last option failed to yield results–that would be my husband saying directly into the belly button this morning in his best stern voice, “Sabine, this is your father. Start moving around,”–I rang the doctor.

As soon as they strapped the monitors on, I heard her heart beating. For the next 30 minutes I lounged in a comfy recliner in a pleasantly dim room while listening to her. Everything checked out. She was fine. She was either relaxing with a chilled beverage and the new Vanity Fair (the lazy theory) or she’d maneuvered herself into some position that prevented me from feeling her movements (the ninja theory).

And tonight she’s foxtrotting around in there like she’s listening to Cole Porter’s lesser known tune, “I Get a Kick Out of You (Hitting Your Insurance Deductible).”

BumpWatch! Week 25

April 24, 2009


Here’s what I’m noticing as we continue our march toward parenthood:

* In an odd confluence of events, Obama’s 100th day in office Wednesday will coincide with the 100th day until my due date. Swear I didn’t plan it that way. But I will be staging a prime-time press conference that evening to answer questions from the media regarding the impending belly bailout.

* I buckle up automatically in cabs now, no matter how long or short the trip. This does however involve some quick cost-benefit analysis as I consider how many germs I’m roping across my torso in relation to the lives and limbs saved if we crash.

* Turning pages of storybooks I haven’t touched in 25 years to do bedtime reading completely blows my noodle. Seeing the illustrations you loved as a kid all over again is like smelling something you haven’t whiffed since childhood–your kindergarten classroom or nana’s perfume for example. Instantly takes you back.

* Seeing your stomach move of its own accord never gets less hilarious. Or weird.

From the Handhelds of Babes

April 16, 2009

th-10_dsocoreyandellenA friend called my attention to something that, were it being produced for sale, might have been the greatest Why the Baby Industry Hates Us Friday product of all time. It’s the Kickbee, designed by a dude who wanted to allow his unborn son’s kicks to register on Twitter so he could partake in the development along with his wife.

The Kickbee relies on sensors hidden in that stylish obi his wife’s wearing in the picture. The sensors do something technical-y and transmit via a Bluetoothish thingamajob and somehow through the magic of nerd science it all ends up on Twitter as:


I find no fault with the inventor dude. Sure his device is vaguely weird but at its core it’s sort of sweet. And Lord knows I’m not about to risk losing my loyal contingent of engineering school alum readers here.

No, I find fault with the baby. “I kicked Mommy,” over and over? That’s the best this kid can come up with? He’s in there for like five months at this point and he’s got nothing else to share with the world? Little guy’s not exactly on track for a Pulitzer, if you know what I’m sayin’.

So I picked up the phone and asked the Kickbee inventor to send me one, lest the world be robbed of my own child’s tweets. Here follows her Twitter feed for the last 24 hours:




It’s about bloody time she let me talk on this blog. Last I checked, it was about me, no?
4 seconds ago from Twitterbelly feed

Fresh OJ for breakfast. A 2009 California. Excellent year, busy but never precocious bouquet, the flavors opened up nicely.
about 1 hour ago from Twitterbelly feed

What the what?! Why are we getting up now?! I had a lot of work to do around the bed today!
about 1 hour ago from Twitterbelly feed

Boooooring. I’m going to start poking her in the bladder so she has to get up. She’ll enjoy that. It’s my signature 3 a.m. move.
about 4 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Why are we going to bed?! Blast! I’m not tired! Stop singing that…lullabye…I can’t resist its charm…zzz.
about 9 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

@jimmyfallon #LateNight God bless you for trying.
about 8 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Wonder who Colbert’s got on tonight. Oh sweet fancy Moses it’s Jonah Goldberg! GAH! Change the channel! Change the channel!
about 8 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, Colbert is a genius. “You’re on notice!” Heh heh, I wouldn’t want to be a bear right now.
about 8 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Speaking of tea, I could go for a nice decaf oolong. Send it down, woman!
about 12 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Pity these tea party buffoons don’t realize the taxes they’re protesting were the same under that last nincompoop.
about 12 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

@rachemaddow Enough with the juvenile teabagging jokes. We get it, it also means something dirty. Move on dot org.
about 12 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Orioles in first place. Sox in last. That’s a world I want to be born in. I’m assuming there’s no historical precedent for that ranking changing by my August arrival. Capital.
about 16 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Can’t help but notice the flow of Cadbury Creme Eggs has slowed considerably in the last two days. What gives, woman?
about 19 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Take a memo for me, mother. Convey to that chap who just spoke that that’s literally the dumbest idea I’ve heard in my five months of existence. And I’ve heard you suggest that you want to try using cloth diapers.
about 22 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Meeting time = kickin’ time. Good luck with the poker face, woman.
about 22 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

@barryobama No, I was being serious, guy. Bo is a stupid name for a dog.
about 23 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

God, again with the working. “Ooh I’m an important writer making the world better for children blahbity blah,” Puhlease operate that rodent-like clicking device and see what Auntie Jo has on Elle.
about 24 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

You tell Judy that if she stays a doormat he’s never going to propose to her. Also tell her not to forget the new cover sheet for her TPS report. Also tell her that shade of red isn’t working for her.
about 26 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

Wheee! We’re in the motor coach! Bouncy bouncy! Off to the office to earn 1/80th of my future daycare expenses!
about 26 hours ago from Twitterbelly feed

It’s Like They Knew…

April 14, 2009

Because of its focus on three of my favorite things—candy, hard-boiled eggs, and Jesus getting the last laugh—I am a huge fan of Easter. One of our family traditions involves the Easter Bunnies (as in, my father and mother) heading to a chocolate shop in Baltimore called Rheb’s Candy and purchasing many, many delectable sugary confections. Our chocolate Easter bunnies for our baskets come from here of course.

This year, the Easter Bunnies returned home after ordering eight regular bunnies and found that the shop had given us eight of the following:


I guess the Easter Bunnies just had that soon-to-be-grandparents glow.

Navel Gazing

April 10, 2009


My bellybutton is starting to do something odd. Previously a round cherubic choirgirl’s “oh” it is now flattening to a disaffected teenage girl’s “meh.” If my bellybutton were a movie character it would be Juno. This better be temporary.

That is all.


Peeps Show

April 9, 2009

Spring means many different things for many people. Easter for some. Passover for others. Secular Cadbury Crème Egg consumption for all. For me, it means Peeps dioramas.

For the second year, I’ve tried my dainty hand at making a miniature tableau with that most divisive of Easter candies, the Peep. My last outing, two years ago, resulted in a finalist spot in the Washington Post‘s inaugural Peeps diorama contest. I parlayed that into a freelance writing gig for the Post. Call me a nerdlinger with too much time on my hands, but the Bird got paaaaid as a result of that little box. Here are the goods from that year:

marpeepantoinette1Marpeep Antoinette

This year, I stuck with a subject currently close to my heart, literally: babies. This wasn’t for the Post‘s contest. Rather, it is for work where my colleagues are getting in on the Peeps diorama action just for giggles.



It’s much simpler than the last one but it was also a heck of a lot cheaper. (Do you have any idea how much a miniature candleabra costs? Oye vey. May my daughter grow up to be in the miniature home accessories business.)

So there it is, your own rite of spring: annual confirmation that I am a nerdlinger with too much time on my hands.

Dad Tip: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

April 7, 2009

yourpregnancyMy go-to book thus far has been Your Pregnancy Week By Week, which you will notice is most certainly not What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the book that is practically a required purchase within 14 seconds of learning you’re pregnant. The problem with What to Expect When You’re Expecting is that it was written by evil gnomes who hate pregnant women. As my sister-in-law tried to warn me, “They should call it What to Freak Out About When You’re Expecting.” I found in Week by Week a much better alternative.

One of the great features of this book is the “Dad Tip,” a small box that pops up in each chapter and offers exactly what it promises–a tip for the fathers to be. But I noticed this week that the Dad Tips are starting to take a little turn in tone. Here’s the typical entry thus far:

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 5
Clean or vacuum the house without being asked.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 7
Buy a present for your partner and the baby.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 14
If you go out of town, call your partner at least once every day. Let her know you are thinking about her and the baby.

OK, so far so good. Nothing too unexpected or unusual. All very sweet and practical. But then last night we hit the following.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 22
When you ride together in the car with your partner, ask if she needs help adjusting her seat belt or the car seat.

Help adjusting her seatbelt? More than what this might be presuming about me being an invalid at 22 weeks pregnant, I think this tip represents a turning point in what it assumes most wives’ view of their husbands are as this process enters the back nine. Here’s where I imagine this is heading:

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 25
Wait, why did you just look at her like that? It’s totally fine if she wants to plow through two Whoppers with cheese and a Hot Pocket. You know you’re not exactly at your fighting weight either.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 30
Ever since she laid off the trash elves, the garbage doesn’t take itself out, pal. Just sayin’.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 32
Hey, remember back in Week 7 when we advised you to buy a present for her and the baby? Yeah, we meant with this pregnancy. Because it’s been like six months and you still haven’t done that. Cough it up, guy.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 33
If you wake her up one more time with your snoring she is well within her rights to make you sleep on the front lawn. Seriously, is there a hamster on a wheel jammed in your nasal passages?

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 35
She said open the goddammned window right now! It wasn’t a question!

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 38
What look? She didn’t look at you like anything. God, she does not need your paranoia right now.

helpfulhintDad Tip, Week 40
YOU DID THIS TO HER YOU %&$#ing @%&*ity %*&@er!

Luckily for my husband I harbor no such animosity. I am the very model of the loving, blissful pregnant wife. Dad Tip: don’t toy with me, because I can always stray from that approach.

Someone’s Got Some ‘Splaining To Do, George Clooney

April 6, 2009

A co-worker told me on Friday about a website called, where you upload your picture and your partner’s to get a prediction of what your offspring will look like. Ever the Impatient Idas, we uploaded ours and perched on the edge of our seats, peering with giddy expectation at the laptop screen. Visions of Gerber babies, or at the very least Jolie-Pitt babies, danced in our heads.

And here, according to MakeMeBabies, is what our child will look like:

Uh, there seems to be some sort of mistake. Perhaps the Stork had his delivery address labels wrong. We seem to have gotten Biggie Smalls’ posthumous love child. Perhaps I put a bad picture of myself in for this scientific tabulation.

I uploaded a new one and we got the following result:

OK, come on! This is getting regoddangdiculous! Although I suppose there’s no time like the present to let you in on this little chestnut: for the first few months my husband knew me he thought I was half-black. I who am so white I am practically transparent. His explanation, which I only partly caught because I was on the ground convulsing with laughter, had to do with spray tans, hip dress pants, and J-Lo sunglasses. Don’t ask.

Another great feature on the website is that you can digitally mate with celebrities. The site indicates that some of their most popular options are Zac Efron, Chris Brown, and Miley Cyrus, which worries me slightly in that it appears the average person contemplating mating at the site is 12. Not being in middle school, I had no interest in what my offspring would like with any of those folks. Instead, I pondered the following much more logical and mature options, using my own photos.

Me and Barack Obama

obamaSo when we actually put a black person in the equation it gives us a white baby. Apparently this site, like Stephen Colbert, doesn’t see race.

Me and George Clooney

clooneyApparently this site also doesn’t see Clooney’s face, save for his eyebrows.

Me and The Dude

dude1Hmm, looks like the Dude might be having some words with Clooney. Something along the lines of, “The dude minds, man. This aggression will not stand, man.”

Me and circa-1983 Cal Ripken Jr.

babyripkenEeech. Should have cast my lot with Boog instead. Yankees fans would have a field day if we brought that kid to the park.

Me and Homer Simpson

littlehomerOK, now I’m convinced. The people at MakeMeBabies enjoy smoking copious amounts of herb. Although I do love that a colossal cranium translates to “Yikes! Slap a turban on that kid’s noggin!”

[Try yours and for the love of God email them to me at brunchbird(at)yahoo(dot)com and I’ll upload them here.]

UPDATE: We’re getting some goodies!

From Bridal Bird reader Tessa and her husband Darryl. I think it’s fair to say that the site’s “AutoDetect” feature on race is broken.


From reader Beth and her husband Justin. Twins!:



From blogger Erin of Players to Be Named Later, who sent photographic proof that her adorable twins look nothing like this:

Why the Baby Industry Hates Us Friday

April 3, 2009

babysnuggiesingle And now this is why all of your ocular cavities hate you.

The Peekaru

This picture has been making the rounds this week and many alert readers and friends sent it to me. Momentarily forgetting I live in America in 2009, I assumed it was a joke. Of course it’s not. The Peekaru by TogetherBe is a vest that zips over baby carriers, allowing your baby the freedom to stay warm as he pokes his head out and pleads with passersby, “Call the Department of Child Welfare. Call them now! Wait, where the $&@% are you going, dude?! Help meeeee…” Ad copy on the company’s website focuses more on the fact that it’s made from 85 percent recycled material than the actual benefit of using it for your child. Each one “keeps approximately 25 plastic bottles from reaching the landfill,” according to the folks at TogetherBe. Super. Environment first. Baby’s mental health second.

Interestingly, the much-mocked photo above is now missing from the company’s website. Only those showing the baby with its head totally out of the hole—a marginal improvement—are available. Perhaps the company realized when faced with heaping bowlfuls of Internet scorn that something evocative of Total Recall and Alien isn’t likely to ring up a lot of sales on Main Street. This photo is available though and I think the baby’s expression comes closest to capturing the product’s je ne sai qua:


“This is my life isn’t it? First it was the organic, fair-trade baby wipes she ordered from the Guatemalan village co-op. Now this. She’s going to write all my college entrance essays isn’t she? Next thing I know I’m 40, my wife is wondering why I have that obsession with gophers and I’m staring in the bathroom mirror wondering where my life went. Someone get me a double bourbon. I beg you.”