Thursday, January 31, 2008
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
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.
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.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
“Your weight gain is perfect. You’re like the poster child for pregnancy weight gain.”
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.
For those of us who don’t text, receiving them is inconvenient since we don’t have it built into our plans. And even though I’ve never received a text message that was of any importance, I still can’t help but check them when that little “T” pops up on my phone. So over Christmas I, too, got about a dozen that just said, “Merry Christmas.” Thanks. Hey, why don’t you call me collect next time?
And I never know who text messages are from unless I hit reply, see the name show up and then hang up quickly before the call actually goes through.
I mean, if they don’t want to talk to me, I don’t want to talk to them.
So thanks to those generic Christmas messages, I had an extra $3.36 tacked onto my cell phone bill last month. I saw that and said, “That’s it! I’m not reading anymore text messages.”
You might say, “Why don’t you get a plan that includes text messaging?”
To that I say, “I don’t like it.”
So the point of this blog isn’t really to rant about my disdain for texting (for that, you can refer to my IM blog), but rather to explain to the person who texted me last night:
“Thanks for the text that I’m sure said ‘Happy Birthday’ but since I have a no-texting policy now I deleted your text without opening it so I don’t know who you are. If you want to wish me well, I accept many other forms of communication: phone calls, emails, blog comments and regular mail. Oh, and I wanted to also wish you a Merry Christmas…free of charge.”
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
And even though Frank plugged up the gas leak last night, this cable guy said, "Elisa, I think your kitchen smells like gas."
I gave him a candy bar. Least I could do after he had to sniff our fart-smelling kitchen.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I'm just hoping he can keep up this level of energy after the baby comes...you know, when it's not a stuffed duck.
It’s smelled that way for a few months now. Every now and then it causes concern:
“Hey, Frank, do you think our kitchen smells like a fart, right here around the stove?”
“Yeah, it does smell like a fart.”
“Do you think we have a gas leak?”
“Nah, wouldn’t the whole house be filled with gas then? And it would all smell like a fart?”
“True. And it would probably have exploded and killed us by now.”
But then we got a super high gas bill, which actually caused more concern than the fart-smelling kitchen.
I had an unproductive couple of calls with the gas company:
“Our gas bill is really high. I think something is wrong.”
“It’s really cold outside.”
“I know. But it’s also really cold in our house. We keep it at 66. We’re freezing but we’re paying way more than our neighbors.”
“You can’t compare your gas bill to your neighbors’.”
“But if they have a bigger house and are using more heat yet their bill is lower then how could I not compare?”
“I understand what you’re saying.”
To self: Do you? Because I don’t think that you do. I mean, I don’t mind paying $250 for gas if we’re actually warm!
Then I mentioned the fart smell in the kitchen. That got her attention.
“Are you saying you think you have a gas leak, ma’am? Because if you do, you need to call this emergency number.”
“No, I don’t think I have a gas leak. But if I call this number, will they send someone out to check our meter too?”
“Okay, then give me the number.”
When I called the number and tried to tell them about my non-emergency fart smell, things got even crazier:
“Do you have a gas leak or a gas outage?”
“Neither. It’s just that my bill was kinda high so I called to ask…”
“MA’AM, I REPEAT, DO YOU HAVE A GAS LEAK OR A GAS OUTAGE?”
“Um, I guess closer to a gas leak…but it’s been like that for awhile and…”
“GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! TAKE THE PETS WITH YOU. DO NOT LIGHT ANY MATCHES. LEAVE A DOOR OPEN FOR VENTALATION. STAY WITHIN A VIEWING AREA OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE WE ARE SENDING SOMEONE OUT WITHIN 30 MINUTES. DO NOT USE YOUR CELL PHONE. IF YOU ARE ON THE CELL PHONE RIGHT NOW THEN DO NOT HANG UP. JUST SET THE PHONE DOWN AND LET ME HANG UP.”
Then I set the phone down, let her hang up and picked it up again to call Frank. I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t take the pets (since we don’t have any) and I didn’t leave the door open (too cold)!
So a van comes with flashing lights and a gas guy walks up and before he could bust the door in I opened it and said, “It’s not an emergency! I don’t have a gas leak! I just want you to check my meter.”
First, I took him to the kitchen and said, “Do you think it smells like gas?” He said, “We’ll let this do the talking” and he pulled the stove out and dropped some gas-leak reader down the back of the stove. I was grateful to get an opportunity to clean down the sides of the stove which were looking a little funky.
But as I was wiping down the stove with a paper towel he said, much to my surprise, “Yep, you’ve got a leak.” Well how about that? He cut off the gas and now we have to get it fixed. I gotta tell ya, I was a little relieved. It’s kinda like if you feel sick and then the school nurse confirms that you DO have a fever. It’s like, “See? I’m not just imagining this!”
It's comforting to know that the reason my kitchen smelled like a fart was because it was probably going to explode one of these days. Let that be a lesson to all of ya.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
But if you live in Dallas or Atlanta you’re at the perfect latitude. In both cities you can expect at least one to four occasions during the winter where the following will happen:
-The weather people start to warn of impending ice and snow, causing mass hysteria/excitement
-Chatter begins about school and business closings
-People pull out their winter gear: hats, scarves, gloves, thermal underwear
-Sales of hot cocoa spike
-Folks leave work early to avoid the wintry weather
-Families huddle together in front of the fire to watch the news, praying that everything will be shut down the next day and they can linger in their thermal underwear longer
And the absolute best part is that the news stations give these occasions a name, not a hurricane name like Katrina or Gilbert but a cool, scary name like “Freeze-out ’04” or “Ice Storm ’06.”
Here are some dramatic photos from yesterday’s “Snow Blast ’08” in Atlanta:
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:
The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy
Safe Baby Handling Tips
40,001 Best Baby Names
Preparation for Parenthood (Six CDs we listened to on our road trip to and from Texas)
The Happiest Baby on the Block
A Baby Story
Jon and Kate + 8
Classes (signed up for, haven’t taken yet):
Breastfeeding for couples
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:
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
Dancing when you’re pregnant is sort of like dancing in a wedding dress. You look like a big old dork. The only good thing is that people assume you look like a dork because of your situation (i.e big, poofy dress and veil or protruding tummy) and therefore don’t necessarily jump to the conclusion that you actually dance like a dork.
The truth is, I dance like a dork in all scenarios—in a wedding dress, in a regular dress, with a big tummy, without a big tummy. I’m extremely uncoordinated. But if I practice something enough, I can get it.
That’s why I thought this would be the perfect time to take up Zumba. (Yes, it is something I’m writing an article about but I actually took the class before I decided to write about it so I’m okay with that.)
Zumba is this sexy style of dancing that has a lot of Latin-salsa-style-hip moves and it’s a really good workout. Sort of like aerobic-salsa. Everybody at the Y here was buzzing about it. When I went to try the class last week, I was one of like 40 women!
The two instructors are superhot and super-ripped. If these girls got this way from doing Zumba then I will Zumba my brains out every day for the rest of my life.
This is not one of them; just some Zumba instructor’s pic I found on the internet. Her bod is almost as hot as my instructors.
So anyway, I am like the worst Zumba dancer in the class. Under normal circumstances, this would be embarrassing considering most of the people know me as an instructor there. They would probably assume that I’ve got some rhythm or that I’m at least a little bit coordinated. And then when they saw me dance—always a step behind, always going the wrong way—they would think, “I’m never going to her class again!”
But I totally get a free pass because I’m pregnant. In fact, people come up afterwards and tell me how good I am at it. I completely fooled them! Their expectations are so low that if I can even do one or two moves correctly, they’re impressed. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror (okay, I pretty much always watch myself in the mirror) and I look like a hip-gyrating penguin.
So my plan is to master all the moves over the next few months so that when I’m not pregnant, I can be an expert Zumba dancer. I may even venture to the front of the class. I’m just grateful I didn’t know about Zumba on my wedding day.
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!”
Thursday, January 10, 2008
For instance, today I interviewed someone about salsa dancing. At the end of our phone interview he said, “So what about you? When are we going to get you out here to do some salsa dancing?”
Actually, salsa dancing would be sort of fun. But if I go and DO everything that I write about, I’ll never have time to write. And I had the pregnant excuse this time.
A couple of weeks ago I was writing about circus workouts. “When are you going to come fly on the trapeze with us? We could give you a free lesson on the tight rope!”
Since I write about health and fitness, the sell is usually about some type of work out. If it’s necessary to the subject of the story, I’ll usually do the thing at least once. But then they always want me to continue:
“Will you be back for next week’s karate class?”
“Should I sign you up for the entire yoga series?”
“Ready to train for your triathlon?”
“You can do prenatal Pilates even if you’re not pregnant!”
“Why haven’t you joined our running club yet?”
“So we’ll see you at boot camp every morning at 5am, right?”
"See you at Zumba tomorrow!"
I always end up feeling guilty for just wanting to do the interview, write the story and move on to the next wacky workout. But it just doesn’t make good business sense to get wrapped up in Gasan Ryu Kenpo martial arts when I need to be writing about the hula hoop workout. When they start to put the pressure on me (“Well, if you want to really learn about indoor rock climbing, you should come to our twelve week beginner class”) I want to scream, “It’s just a 500 word article; I’m not writing a damn book about it!”
I might actually need to use that line later today. There’s no way I’m becoming a Cajun Zydeco dancer.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil
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
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
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?”)
Grandma’s friendship cake
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.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Frank and I took a love test. He says that we won. So we must be in love pretty good.
Over Christmas I heard about The Five Love Languages from my mother-in-law, Joanne, and Laura, my future sister-in-law. Basically, there are five ways of showing/receiving love and everybody differs in which language they prefer:
1. Words of Affirmation: “I love you” “I think you’re pretty”
2. Quality Time:'"I like hanging out with you."
3. Receiving Gifts: “I got this for you.”
4. Acts of Service: “I cleaned the bathroom because I love you.”
5. Physical Touch: "I can't keep my hands off you."
Joanne explained that she ranked high on quality time while her husband, Frank, prefers physical touch. Laura is big on physical touch while David (Frank’s bro) likes…I can’t remember which language he speaks but it was something besides physical touch.
So there’s this test you can take to see where you fall. Since Frank’s dad is a counselor he had plenty of copies available and we were eager to take the test. I thought for sure I would like Acts of Service because I love it when Frank does chores around the house (especially when he actually finishes them ).
Joanne told me before we took the test that it’s not necessarily better to have the same preferences. It’s just good to know where you stand so you can understand the person.
We took the test. At the end we tallied our results and it prioritizes the languages. We had the EXACT same preferences in this order:
1. Quality Time: we like hanging out together the most
2. Words of Affirmation: we like to tell each other how pretty we are
3. Physical Touch: Sometimes we hold hands but not all the time
4. Acts of Service: Apparently I didn’t care all that much if Frank did chores around the house; and he didn’t care if I did either.
5. Receiving Gifts: Big surprise that a couple of cheapskates ranked this last
Frank was thrilled that we had the same results: “We won!” he said.
“That’s not necessarily better,” I told him and explained what his mom had said. “But how cool that we had the same results,” he said, ignoring me. While I interpreted the results to mean we like to spend time together, I think he saw that he doesn’t have to do any chores or buy me gifts.
Now is that speaking the same language?
“I have to remember to tell Laura and your mom that we took the test,” I said to him later.
Frank had to add, “And be sure to tell them that we won!”
Thursday, January 03, 2008
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!
So on the way back we raised the bar. No trucks. Only cars. To our surprise we still found a versatile assortment of regions. By the time we arrived back in Atlanta, we had reached the 24 mark! But then a sad thought hit me: what do I DO with this list? Is there some sort of prize? Some sort of license plate game grand council I could submit it to?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any of that. So I have to settle for posting it on my blog. Here it is, our truck-free license plate list!
Pretty exciting, huh? We would get extra enthused when we saw one from far away like Delaware. And if you want to add another element of fun to the game, you can do this which I picked up from dad: “Now let’s look at the people in the car. That is what everyone in Delaware looks like.”
So if you’re out on the interstate on a road trip, try to be well-groomed and smile. You’re representing your state.