Archive for May, 2009

Part II: I Say Traditional, You Say Pohtahtoe

May 27, 2009

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After I warned him last night that I would be using him as the Lucy to my Ricky in this morning’s post, my husband mounted an indignant tri-part defense, starting with, “Any man who says he wants to be in the delivery room is lying.” Other attempts: “You don’t want to be in there either!” (Response: No, but if I’ve got to be, you’ve got to be.) “So you’re saying that if I were having surgery on my prostate, you’d come stand there the whole time?” (Response: If I was allowed, of course.) Steeee-rike three.

However, in his next at-bat, he swung for the fences. And to borrow a line from The Royal Tenenbaums, “Immediately after making this statement, [Bird’s husband] realized that it was true.” He looked at me, his expression softening and his tone now serious, and said, “I just don’t want to be in there, seeing you in pain, and not be able to do anything about it.”

Heart. Melts. Here.

I Say Traditional, You Say Pohtahtoe

May 27, 2009

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Last week, my husband and I got into a discussion about how things will go down in the delivery room when this baby decides to grace us with her presence. I had told him previously that I am all about “traditional” and that I in no way need him loitering about anywhere south of my bellybutton when it’s go time. I’m a firm believer that the sight of such, er, complex goings on during birth can haunt a man for years and besides, I’d want him within grabbing distance so when I’m imploring, wide-eyed, “ICHANGEDMYMINDIDON’TWANTTODELIVERABABY” he can calmly say, “Too late, Sweet Pea,” feed me an ice chip, and smooth back my hair.

However, when he heard “traditional” in my original shpiel he interpreted that somewhat differently, as I learned in last week’s conversation. A rough transcript:

Him: “I’m actually going to be in the room for the delivery?”
Me: (double take) “Yes. Why?”
Him: “I thought you said you wanted it to be traditional.”
Me: (triple take) “I did, but I meant you staying up with me by my noggin’.”
Him: “I thought you meant I’d be out in the waiting room.”
Me: (quadruple take) “WHAT?! No, you cannot be in the waiting room! I said ‘traditional’ not 1950s!”
Him: “Oh. OK.”

And apparently after we had this conversation he actually went and conferred with other dudes at work to see if this was a normal request on my part. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. I’m married to the entire male character lineup on Mad Men.

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[STAY TUNED FOR PART II LATER TODAY: Briefed last night that this post was coming (hey, I’m nothing if not fair, especially after he sicced his PR firm on me last time), my husband provided a mock-incensed defense that gave way to what was clearly the heartfelt rationale behind his thought process…]

The To Do List

May 26, 2009

to-do-list-padAn odd paradox arises when one hovers near the 30-week mark of a pregnancy. It seems as if the big day will never arrive, yet the minute you glance at the list of things that need to be done between now and then, it sets off alarms and flashing red lights akin to a “zee priz-oh-naire has eeescaped” scene in a Bond flick. Here follows the list of things that we have roughly 75 days to accomplish:

* Parenting class — Apparently this baby’s not going to diaper, feed and bathe herself. And a quick poll of the residents of our house reveals that neither I nor my husband nor the dog knows how to do any of these things. Although I believe if pushed to pick one, the dog would take the lead at this point due to her doting maternal attention to her stuffed egret toy.

* Breastfeeding class — You’re probably thinking, “A class? Really Bird, how hard can it be?” If you’re thinking that you’ve probably never done it. As one mother told me, eyes widened, “You think ‘Oh it’s the most natural thing in the world,’ but it is not!” She seems to have a point. Just because tribal women in the jungle do it without the aid of a class doesn’t mean it’s easy. It just means they don’t have message boards to complain about how hard it is.

* Baby shower — We’re going casual and co-ed. No flying-solo, diaper-on-the-head party games for this gal. I believe beer, barbeque and a baby pool for the kiddies will be involved.

* Knocked-up women and their husbands be shoppin’ — Unlike wedding registries, where it doesn’t matter if you don’t get everything on the list (oh but right, that silver chafing dish would have been incredibly handy for all those dinner parties you will never, ever throw), you typically need everything on your baby registry. Which means that there will be loose ends to tie up after the shower.

* Chandelier installation — We’ve opted for a decidedly they-better-be-right-about-it-being-a-girl nursery decor approach and this involves a small chandelier hanging from the center of the room where currently nothing but a lone cobweb string hangs. A visit from the electrician is in order. If the sonographer was wrong and it’s a boy she can come uninstall it.

* Complete nursery decoration — Great strides occurred this past weekend, what with the purchase of said chandelier, wallpaper and a rug. Now I just need to wiggle my nose like Samantha Stephens and pull it all together.

* Reading Dr. Spock, The Happiest Baby on the Block, So In Spite of a Mushrooming Global Population and Environmental Impact Studies You’ve Decided to Procreate, etc. — Reading is a bit of a stretch here. It’s more like, skim such passages as “Sleeping Through the Night,” “Potty Training at Two Months” and “Guaranteeing Harvard Scholarships.”

* Napping, eating out, going to the movies, general canoodling — Suffice it to say, we’ve been attacking this particular item dilligently already. No plans to stop in the next few months just to get the allegedly important stuff that precedes it on the list accomplished.

And Yet You Need a License to Fish…

May 21, 2009

Nicole_Richie_smoki_380971aBy now everybody’s seen the website Why the %#@& Do You Have a Kid?, which is the most disturbing thing on the Internet, and that’s saying a lot considering Michelle Malkin’s on the Internet. From its humble beginnings featuring snapshots of people too young for parenthood, WtFDYHaK devolved into a depressingly well-stocked catalog of ridiculously bad parenting photos and videos. I can’t even go to it anymore because it’s too disturbing. Surely many visitors mutter, “This can’t possibly be real,” as they scroll through.

But once you dip a toe into the gestating world you realize that this type of stuff does really happen. Idiot parents are out there. They walk among us. Specifically, they walked into my doctor’s office waiting room the other day and sat across from me. I’m going to peg her age as early 20s. As her friend burbled about all the best part about being a parent—getting to name the baby and getting presents seemed to be the sum total—she sat there shrugging, face conveying utter disinterest, and saying, “whatever.” What did finally grab her attention was her friend’s cheerful prediction, “And you’re going to get a big belly!” At this the girl stated loudly, “I’m not gaining more than 15 pounds.” My head, along with that of the woman waiting on the adjacent couch, jerked up at this. [Editor’s note: For those of you who don’t know the score on this, getting pregnant means a healthy weight gain of about 25-30 pounds. Fifteen poses serious health risks to the baby.] The girl ranted that she’d already lost five pounds since becoming pregnant and she didn’t intend to gain anything over 15 for the duration and she was sick of people giving her junk about this.

Then the reason for their visit to the doctor that day became apparent. Although the pregnant girl had already had her first sonogram, the friend wanted the doctor to call the sonographer’s office and get her in right away so she “can get a new picture of the baby for a baby book.” The friend wheedled and whined on this point to one of two receptionists behind the desk. The other receptionist? She’d been on the phone for about five minutes with the sonographer’s office already, trying to schedule an emergency appointment for the woman in Exam Room 7 who was having contractions at 18 weeks.

I suspect the woman in Exam Room 7, had she been in the waiting room with the rest of us, might also be contemplating, “Why the $#@& do you have a kid?”

Baby’s First Spokesmodel Gig

May 19, 2009

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sonogramAs you can clearly see from the pictures above, our tiny baby two-pound-one ounce daughter wants to hire Rob Young. Who is Rob Young you might ask? He’s a chum from down South who was caught up in an unfortunate series of events known as The Collapse of the Economy and The Newspaper Industry Phantasmagorphic Fubarpalooza.

In short, as he points out on his blog, he went from this:

rob1 to this: cheetos4, employment-ly speaking.

Most recently a writer for The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., Rob also worked for the same paper as yours truly during the golden age of newspapering in eastern North Carolina—1999 to 2003. (Read whatever significance you will into the fact that those dates directly correspond to my time newspapering in eastern North Carolina.) I could say a lot about his gifts as a writer but in the interest of brevity I’ll say only this: Dude once conducted an interview with a Miami Subs drive-thru window employee by asking one question, recording the answer, and then driving around again and asking the next question, repeating this process until the interview was completed.

Our baby knows talent. If you do, too, you’ll hire Rob Young. Or at the very least read robyoung4hire.com. Because if you don’t, you’ll make our baby cry. And you don’t want that on your conscience.

Navel Gazing

May 18, 2009

It’s not often that I get a flood of emails but during the past week I received just that. (For those pondering what constitutes a “flood” here, it’s five. Beat that, Drudge!) All thanks to this Jezebel post on belly art and this one. A few of the highlights:

BellyArtSpongebobBellyArtBaseballDolphin

Presumably, those who sent me the items on belly art thought they’d be releasing the hounds. “I’ll send the Bird this ridiculousness and wait for her to unleash her scorn,” they figured. But when I look at this I see young women merely interested in passing on to their offspring their love for drug-referencing cartoon characters, sub-par baseball teams, and undersea exploration (and public displays of mismatched underwear) through the majesty of art. No, judge not these women as Twinkie-cream-for-brains harbingers of the apocalypse with their flagrantly bared “look at meeeee!” bellies smeared with toxic paints leaching into their bloodstream and further loosening their mental underpinnings. They are today’s young patronesses of the arts! Huzzah I say, huzzah! As such, even the Bird has decided to let down her hair and have a little fun.

Oh wait. No she hasn’t. This is as close as I’m getting to “belly art.” Little nipper better understand the significance of Toulouse-Lautrec’s rapid work style and visible brushstrokes by the time she arrives.

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Why Charlotte’s Web Isn’t Happening and Happy Gilmore Tops My Netflix Queue

May 12, 2009

Much like watching The Graduate the week before one’s wedding is probably not a good idea, so too are there entertainment options to be avoided during one’s pregnancy. In the past week I’ve managed to partake of two of them. Scanning our library the other night for something to read, I landed on The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I knew zilch about it other than it’s one of those Books You’re Supposed to Read and that it also falls into the subcategory Especially If You’re a Woman. So I did, in abject horror. Short version: in a near-future dystopia, women’s worth is tied solely to their ability to pop out babies. Children they had before the social revolution are taken from them and children they produce post-revolution are given to more important families. Well isn’t that just a comforting little page turner when you’re in a delicate condition?

Last night, my husband and I hit the Georgetown googleplex for Star Trek. Don’t get me wrong. It, like The Handmaid’s Tale, is well crafted. But its opening sequence involves a harrowing labor and delivery scene and a larger outcome that is utterly depressing.

This pregnancy-in-pop-culture flagellation has me thinking about what else I might want to avoid for the next three months. My Netflix Non-Queue thus far:

children-of-men-theo-kee1_1166716426Children of Men — A co-worker raised this point and while I’ve already seen it, I’m not thinking a replay any time soon of a movie where the one pregnant chick left on the planet is hunted down is a good idea. We’d like to continue thinking that the most challenging hurdle we’ll face in devising our route to the hospital is whether to take Rock Creek Parkway or the Key Bridge — not how we’ll navigate barbed wire, bombs, and jack-booted totalitarian law enforcement.

Sophie’s Choice — No or no? I’m going to go with no. There — choice made!

Steel-Julia-Roberts-Field_lSteel Magnolias — I do love the idea of little seersucker-decked Southern boys named Jackson and my kidneys are just fine, thank you, but this is off the list. Given the choice between 30 minutes of wonderful and a lifetime of nothing special I’ll split the difference and settle for another 70 years of pretty cool and not watching this movie for the next three months.

rosemarys-baby-17488Rosemary’s Baby — You know all those articles in the magazines and online about how reading to your unborn baby can help you bond with it and increase its verbal ability or how eating certain foods can mean the difference between it being accepted early admission or wait-listed at UVA? Helpful, to be sure, but really I just need to know what I have to do to keep my unborn baby from being Satan’s spawn.

my_life_dvdMy Life — Under ordinary circumstances I find this one hard to watch for reasons ranging from subject matter to saccharine cinematic hamfistedness. But now, spending two hours with the concept of a terminally ill husband recording video diaries for the unborn child? Yeahnooo.

beautifulmindA Beautiful Mind — For those with absent-minded spouses this movie’s bathtub scene is a tad squirm-inducing. I’m trying to reduce my nervous laughter and shifty eyed paranoia while curled up on the couch with my spouse. That said, my man is also wicked smaht.

curious_case_of_benjamin_button_baby_posterBatman Returns/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — Will my baby have flippers? Be a 90-year-old homunculus? Who’s to say?! Those are just two of the questions that pregnant women get to have a ball obsessing over for nine months! (nervous laughter, shifty eyed paranoia) Regardless, those are not questions I want to ponder during the time I’ve set aside for escapist entertainment. Movies are mommy’s no-thinkin’ time.

And although Trainspotting may seem to be a glaring omission from this list, it’s really not. I’ve always prided myself on being able to hold my heroin.

BumpWatch! Week 27: Talk About Your Construction Zones…Zing!

May 8, 2009

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When neighborhood road work hands you lemons, you make blog lemonade. What else could I possibly add to this week’s BumpWatch? (My husband’s idea, this, by the way.)

A Public Service Announcement

May 7, 2009

Courtesy of my ladybird K. (Who of course included the necessary disclaimer that this in no way applied to me. Natch.)

And don’t these adorable little pixies remind you of some sort of female Flight of the Conchords?

Registration Hesitation

May 5, 2009

babyregistryrestorationIf you think creating a wedding gift registry is an overwhelming headache, wait until you have a child on the way and ponder the creation of a baby registry. Because while it may be mentally taxing deciding whether to go with the Imperial Scroll or Gilded Lace rim pattern for your salad plates, it’s nothing compared to the one thing that runs through your mind every time your finger hovers over the “Add to Registry” button on a baby registry: “Gee, I wonder if this product will kill my child.”

Before making its way onto the list, every car seat, crib sheet, and crap receptacle must be cross-referenced with Consumer Reports, non-profit safety advocacy associations’ online reports, the federal government, parent listservs, and the Vatican. The latter, incidentally, offers on its website a handy pamphlet titled “Products for Which We Are Frequently Called Upon to Perform Exorcisms.”

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Like Dan Akroyd trying to explain to Jane Curtin that any product, even the simple average every day telephone cord, can be dangerous, you suddenly start mulling all possible mishaps. That said, it was a fairly easy decision to pass up the Baby’s First Lawn Darts set. Those just seems unsafe.