Labor Day

Well, so much for the eggplant parmigiana. Guess it’s not guaranteed to induce labor if you make it yourself. Or maybe I should’ve used fresh basil. In any case, it was delicious!

I had hoped Baby #2 would decide to be born on his own schedule, but so much for that, too. Just another example that when it comes to motherhood, you control NOTHING. I’m not thrilled about being induced, but the good news is that my mom is here now and Miles is taken care of. So no more panicked scenarios about having to drop off my firstborn at the scary neighbor’s in the middle of the night. Phew!

Miles will not let his grandmother out of his sight. Not even to let her use the bathroom. (Sorry, mom!) Knowing he’s in good hands is a huge load off my mind. And even though I know our life and our family are about to change forever, I’m aware but not overly sentimental about it. I’m excited. A new baby to love and hug! Another mini me (or mini C., as the case may be)! I can’t wait to meet the little guy.

The first time around, I was extremely anxious about having a baby. All those people asking if you’re ready (hell, no!), telling you your life is going to change FOREVER (no kidding, really?). I did way too much reading about, and worrying about, the whole thing. Because then it happened and all the preparation in the world couldn’t have prepared me one bit for the real, actual experience of having a real, actual baby.

In spite of all my preparation, I was still totally ignorant. And in some ways, ignorance really is bliss. I didn’t know people who’d had a stillbirth, who’d lost a baby to SIDS, who’d almost died in childbirth. Now I do.

Before, when people would get all misty-eyed about the miracle of life, I’d inwardly groan. Yeah, yeah. It happens every day, what’s the big deal? Now I know. It sure as hell IS a Big Deal, with a capital B and a capital D! Damn right it’s a miracle! It’s amazing any of us is here! It’s astounding that people don’t fall down and worship at the feet of every single woman in the world who’s ever given birth. (Come to think of it, why don’t they?)

OK, I’m getting a little grandiose here. I’ll calm down.

Still, it is nice to know that other people think having a baby is a pretty big deal, too. I love the well-wishes I get from everyone from the supermarket checkout girl to the old guy at the bank. The e-mails and calls and “good lucks” from family and friends and blog readers. The smiles and encouragement from other moms. Thank you guys!!

All this deep, miracle-of-life pontificating is making my head spin, so I’m off to a relaxing reflexology appointment. Heaven is having a skilled professional massage your feet with scented oils. And you better believe I’m telling this lady to go ahead and push every single birth-inducing pressure point she can find! I haven’t given up hope yet. 🙂

LINK O’ THE WEEK: A reader e-mailed me info about a class that may be of interest to parents-to-be in the greater Washington, D.C. area — L’Amazing Baby: Childbirth Preparation with a Jewish Twist. Click here or here for more details and to register.

FLICK O’ THE WEEK: A friend sent Miles the DVD, “Sesame Street – Three Bears and a New Baby,” which he’s watched daily since he got it.

READ O’ THE WEEK: He’s also been enjoying the book, “Little Rabbit’s New Baby.”


Sex & Pineapple

I am not a procrastinator. I am a planner, a list maker, a pre-packer. In my professional life, I pride myself on never missing a deadline. Too bad no one told my babies that. Like his big brother before him, this baby in my belly laughs at the concept of a due date. “Due date, schmoo date,” he’s snickering in there. “I’d rather stay here in my cozy womb and practice my kickboxing. Plenty of time to be born later.”

Clearly, the boys take after their dad. The guy who still has not installed the infant car seat or set up the bassinet. The guy who once called on his way home from work on Friday and said, “Hey, how about getting a sitter tonight and going out?” In what universe can you get a babysitter at 5 p.m. on a Friday?!

So I’ve been forced to take matters into my own hands, just like last time. I did some new research on how to induce labor naturally. Everyone and her mother has some homegrown method they swear by, from magical eggplant parmigiana to evening primrose oil. (You can buy this in the vitamin aisle at Trader Joe’s, BTW.) But the bottom line is that medical experts remain skeptical. Only a couple methods show any promise.

Acupuncture’s not for me. I’ve heard that castor oil can bring on contractions but may cause diarrhea so bad you wish you’d never bothered. So that leaves sex and pineapple.

First, there’s the sex suggestion. After another disappointing internal at my doctor’s appointment today, I wailed, “Is there anything else I can do?” Now, this doctor happens to look a little like Freida Pinto from “Slumdog Millionaire.” This will become relevant in a second. With a smirk she says, “Have lots of sex.” HA. Easy for you to say, Dr. Divalicious. But LOOK AT ME. Nothing’s sexier than a beach ball with legs, right?! Throw in some stretch marks, hemorrhoids, and scary National Geographic nipples. In the mood yet?? All I’m saying is, even Angelina Jolie probably looked more like Jabba the Hut than a Victoria’s Secret model in her third trimester with the twins, OK?

So let’s do everyone a favor and move on to tropical fruit, shall we? On some non-medically accredited web site, I read that pineapple can ripen the cervix. Something to do with prostaglandins. So I thought, what the heck, why not give it a try? Fresh pineapple is YUMMY, people. (At the store, I showed Miles a whole pineapple and asked what he thought it was. He said, “A palm tree!”) It’s so yummy that my son and husband have been gobbling it up and making smoothies with it, leaving none for me and my poor, unripe cervix. Thanks a bunch, fellas.

Nothing left to do but jump on a trampoline and chew on some jalapenos, I suppose. Or road-trip to Georgia for some of that eggplant parm.

QUOTE O’ THE WEEK: “Long naps are a gift from God.” –Mom2Miles

FLICKS O’ THE WEEK: I finally made it to the movies! “He’s Just Not That Into You” was cute but mildly depressing (more for single or married people, I can’t decide) and “Confessions of a Shopaholic” was laugh-out-loud funny, even though it was nothing like the book at all.


What’s On My Mind, Part XVII

What I am happy about right now:

  • HGTV, specifically “Design on a Dime” and “Find Your Style”
  • Pecan braids and mango Ceylon tea at Panera
  • Having someone besides me clean my house while I am at Panera

What I don’t have the time or energy to think about right now:
  • Facebook — pros & cons. (Even my dad is on it now!)
  • Twitter — what’s the point?
  • Renovating our basement into a guest room
  • Pull-out couch vs. Aerobed vs. futon

What I am stressed out about right now:

  • When this baby will arrive and/or if I will have to be induced (again)
  • Post-partum depression
  • Miles deciding to take potty training seriously a week before his baby brother is due
  • Where our houseguests will sleep

Funny stuff Miles said this week:

  • “Hooray for Dada! Hooray for trucks! Hooray for sharks!”
  • “That look like a seahorse.” (Pointing at some bird poop on the car window.)
  • “Mom, do you like the scary lady (aka Cruella De Vil) when you’re a little girl?”
  • “I don’t like crabs.” (He’s developed this strange crab phobia. At bedtime he’s convinced there are crabs on his ceiling that are going to pinch him. This is all the more funny because we live in Baltimore. Crabs are big here.)

Stuff I bookmarked this week:

  • McMommy’s Q&A on blogging and social networking. Plus, the very funny “Stages of Facebook” (I’m currently at Stage 2).
  • These cute birth announcements. No @#$&?$ WAY am I making them myself again!
  • Pregnancy magazine’s birth stories. (You can even submit your own.)
  • The Potty Boot Camp. I downloaded and read this in one night. I actually think the chapter on “reluctant poopers” helped. (Tip: lock your kid in the bathroom with no pants!) No overnight success, but well worth the $5.95.
ice creamLESSON O’ THE WEEK: Motherhood can be such a demanding and gut-wrenching job (in the best possible way, of course!) that you won’t survive unless you replenish yourself regularly. This is a lesson I have to keep learning over and over, but I ALWAYS feel better after I do something just for myself. Sometimes that means an hour-long massage or seeing a movie with a friend. Other times, it’s running to the corner store for ice cream and a trashy magazine after my kid’s in bed.

BTW, did you know Tiger Woods just had a baby boy? And Salma Hayek got married?!


Stuff That Might Be Helpful to Someone, Somewhere

I’m in a slump, people. I’ve temporarily lost my blog mojo. I’m sure there’s plenty of interesting and entertaining stuff going on in the world, I’m just too [insert adjective here: distracted, sluggish, anxious, pregnant] to notice or care, let alone comment on it twice a week in witty prose. But that’s my problem, not yours. Why should my dear readers suffer? So this post is a random collection of information that may be helpful to someone, somewhere.

First off, “pregnancy brain” is real. I have long suspected as much, but here’s scientific proof. Also known by the catchier term “momnesia,” this is the phenomenon of forgetting simple things like your keys, where you parked, or your children’s names due to your hormone-addled brain during pregnancy. Another possible culprit is loss of sleep.*

Although I can’t cite any medical studies, I believe that pregnancy-induced clumsiness is also very real. Several times a day, I bump into things or drop them, which then requires me to lower my considerable bulk to the ground to retrieve them. Does that count as exercise? Because I’ve stopped going to the gym. First, because I get winded walking from the parking lot, and second, because I’m sick of the stares and comments. Has no one ever seen an 8 ½ mos. pregnant lady on a recumbent bike before??

It could be that my clumsiness is due to fatigue. And my fatigue is most certainly caused in part by an iron deficiency. If you’re a vegetarian, like I am, it’s very common to have low iron, especially during pregnancy. So in addition to my prenatal vitamin, I have to take a 65 mg iron supplement twice a day. That’s like 1000% of the RDA for a regular person. And since iron can, um, “slow things down,” then you have to take pills (or prune juice) for that, too. What? TMI? Like I said, just trying to be helpful here!

OK, on to non-pregnancy stuff. It took many, many sleepless nights and trips to the pediatrician and a pediatric allergist to discover that my 2-year-old’s persistent nighttime coughs were due to asthma. Turns out, a chronic cough is sometimes the ONLY symptom of asthma in children. This was a huge revelation because a) this cough was keeping everyone in the house up all night several days a month, b) since cough medicine is not recommended for toddlers there wasn’t a damn thing we could do, and c) we never suspected asthma since Miles has no problems breathing or exercising. Now he takes Singulair every night before bed and the problem has virtually disappeared.

So did I help you yet? No? You need assistance finding stylish, affordable, insulated shades for your child’s room? Try these. Looking for some quick, tasty recipes for dinner? Here you go. Need a spy fix now that “Alias” is off the air? Try “Chuck” and let this lovable geek fill the void. Tired of stumbling across inappropriate Elmo spoofs on YouTube when you’re trying to entertain your toddler? TotLol offers only kid-friendly videos.

There, that should hold you for awhile. Now you’ll have to excuse me. I have to go do something. If only I could remember what it was …

*RANDOM THOUGHTS O’ THE WEEK: This is what was running through my head as I lay wide awake in bed at 4 a.m. the other day: Did my husband always snore, or do I just notice it now that I’m always awake? Why does his body temperature drop to sub-zero at night while mine goes up? Did we remember to lock the back door? Are there skunks in Baltimore? Because I’ve never seen or smelled one. Am I going into labor, or is that just a gas pain? Should I buy a new nightgown for the hospital, or just make do with the backless gowns? Do I have travel-sized deodorant? Did C remember to get the camera fixed?

If you, too, need help getting back to sleep, try these helpful tips.


Gestating Makes Me Grumpy

I’m running out of shirts. Only the biggest and stretchiest cover my midsection anymore. Good thing the weather’s gotten warmer lately because it was starting to get a little drafty now that I can no longer zip my coat.

All along, people have been telling me, “You’re so tiny!” and “Wow, only X weeks to go? I looked like that at 5 mos.” Liars, all of them. Anyway, in the past week the comments have changed to, “You’ve gotten a lot bigger since I last saw you!” and “You just keep on growing, huh?” Yep, that’s pretty much the way it works, Einstein.

I had a sonogram this morning to make sure the baby’s growth is on track. There I am, grunting and straining to get comfortable on the exam table, and the lab technician’s saying, “Oh, look at that poor baby, all squished up in there! He’s got no room to move.” That’s right, feel sorry for the baby when I’M the one with sharp body parts protruding from my belly. Apparently, it’s a non-stop dance party in my womb.

No one can believe it when we say we haven’t finalized a name yet. I’ve started testing out potential ones on strangers. This only serves to remind me why you should never reveal baby names before said baby is born. This morning I told the lab tech one of our top picks and she said, “For a boy?” Poof. That’s the sound of my bubble bursting.

Besides, these days everyone’s playing fast and loose with gender-specific names, anyway. I know girls named Ryan, Hayden, and Morgan. Names like Rowan and Cameron could go either way. And what about guys like Tracy Morgan and Leslie Nielsen? Those are closer to girls’ names than anything we have in mind.

According to a quick scan of the name tags at Miles’ gymnastics class, Oliver and Grace are quite popular among the preschool set right now, with Jack and Isabella following closely behind. But really, the names run the gamut. It seems anything goes these days.

Well, people, I’m starting to bore even myself, so I’ll direct you to these blogs at Parenting.com. Maybe you’ll find some more stimulating material there. (Look, here’s proof I was boring and irritable this time in my last pregnancy, too.)

In the meantime, a Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Gorge yourself on chocolate and conversation hearts, and graciously accept the necklace made from string, dried Play-Doh and glitter that your child made for you at school. Tiffany’s is overrated, anyway.

LINK O’ THE WEEK: Good gravy, here’s an over-the-top baby name if I ever heard one! Those crazy celebs.

READ O’ THE WEEK: Who knew redheads were in danger of becoming extinct? Not this one.


This Movie’s Just Not That Into Me

I don’t know about you, but a night out with my husband or friends is a rare and precious thing. So can you imagine how annoyed I was when my attempts to see a movie this weekend were foiled, not once but TWICE??

First, C and I had planned to go out to a movie on Sat. night. This was supposed to count as our Valentine’s Day date, our last hurrah before the new baby comes. We lined up a sitter, read movie reviews, cross-referenced them with showtimes at our local theaters, bought our tickets online, debated whether or not we could fit in dinner, too … More preparation went into a simple date night than planning the presidential inauguration.

Once we weeded out foreign films (not C’s favorite), depressing films, and really bad films, we were left with the romantic comedy, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” C agreed to this chick flick because it was filmed in Baltimore and he can tolerate Ben Affleck. Plus, his arm was twisted by his heavily pregnant wife who claimed it was her “last night of freedom, possibly EVER.”

So the sitter came, we dashed out the door, headed downtown—and ran smack into the worst traffic I’ve ever encountered. Gridlock everywhere, horns blaring. Dammit!! Later, we’d find out there was a water main break and a major road was closed. Super. So we get to the theater half an hour late. C used his powers of persuasion to convince them to give us vouchers for another show. Staying up till 10 p.m. was not an option, however, so we decided to get dinner instead.

Disappointed, I allowed myself to be cheered up by Thai food and virgin mojitos. Yummy! I felt like quite the spectacle with my giant belly at a place populated by hip, young pretty people with normal-sized abdomens. But hey, a night out’s a night out.

The next day, my neighbor friend and fellow preggo called to suggest an afternoon out. Like me, she felt her days of freedom were rapidly waning. (And she’s on her THIRD kid!) Hey, I told her, I have these vouchers from last night. Wanna go see a movie? She did, so we headed downtown.

The theater wasn’t even open when we arrived, but I grabbed an employee coming out the door. “We don’t open for half an hour,” she told us, but assured us there was no way a 1:30 p.m. showing would sell out. So we went to lunch. An hour later, we came back, eager to enjoy the dating foibles of Jennifer Aniston et al—only to find the movie was SOLD OUT!!! If there’s anything worse than one pissed-off pregnant lady, it’s two of them. But what could we do? We went shopping instead.

If there’s anyone out there who’s single, childless, or has a built-in sitter at their disposal and can see a movie whenever they feel like it, consider yourself lucky. There may come a day when this simple act becomes an impossible feat. As for me, I guess there’s always Netflix.

PIC O’ THE WEEK: Rapper M.I.A. performed at the Grammys last night ON HER DUE DATE. That’s gotta be a first. And it answers the question, “Where can I find a black mesh maternity mini dress?”


No Dad-Bashing Here

Apparently there’s some unwritten rule that you can’t talk smack about your husband on your blog. Even though I try to be mindful of my hubby C.’s feelings (really, I do) I have gotten in trouble for this before. Like the time I blogged about him accidentally unplugging the freezer full of breast milk. (And, no, I will never, ever let that one go!) Or the time I said he was so immune to clutter he wouldn’t notice if a stack of dirty sippy cups fell on top of him. What? Is that so harsh?

Most recently, my mom got mad at me because I called C. a “lucky bastard” for getting to go to work while I was stuck in the house with a sick kid for the fourth consecutive day. Lighten up, people!! It’s my blog and I’ll complain if I want to.

Everyone who knows C. knows he’s a great guy and fabulous father. My intent is not to bash him, ever. But I’m a writer. A blogger. A harried, work-at-home, full-time mom who chronicles the good, the bad, and the sticky about life with a husband and kid. And some of those chronicles happen to include anecdotes about people who put plastic on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and leave boat-sized shoes in the hallway for pregnant people to trip over in the dark.

(Is it any wonder I’ve never told my in-laws about my blog? Far be it from me to break it to them that they raised a son who climbs into bed UNDER a pile of clothes rather than put them away first! Although — heh, heh — I’ve been known to do that myself if I’m tired enough…)

So even though I believe in honesty and freedom of expression, I read something recently that made me rethink the (occasional, light-hearted) swipes I take at my husband. In a recent issue of Parents magazine, single mom Lori Gottleib writes “I Heart Your Husband: Why Your Guy Is Better Than No Guy at All.” This blogger has reprinted the article here. (Though notice how she prefaces it by saying how thankful she is for her “sweet, stellar, awesome, stud-of-a-man, who’s never backed away from changing a dirty diaper.” OK, OK, we get it: your hubby’s perfect. Moving on.)

I think about how hard it would be to be a single parent all the time. Gottleib’s right: anyone who lets you sleep in sometimes, pitches in with the diapers and laundry, and can mow the lawn and fix stuff deserves props. So maybe in the grand scheme of things, putting plastic plates in the bottom of the dishwasher is not such a big deal. (Although they will TOTALLY melt and make a huge stinky mess, just so you know.) And leaving shoes and laundry around certainly doesn’t qualify as a character flaw.

I suppose I should thank Gottleib for reminding me how lucky I am. I mean, how many husbands clean up a diaper blowout at 2 a.m. and then get up and make kick-ass banana pancakes? So I will try to be more careful of C.’s feelings and image in the future. (Just so you know, I have extended him an open invitation to guest post and defend himself at any time! Hear that, honey?)

But all bets are off if there’s ever another breast milk/freezer incident.

TIP O’ THE WEEK: As part of the ongoing window-treatment saga, I found some light-blocking shades for Miles’ new room at JCPenney.com. But I didn’t want to pay for shipping. So I called and asked if they could waive the charge; they said no. (In this economy? Dumb.) But thanks to Google, I found a free shipping code within minutes. So there, JCP!


9 Months Is 2 Too Many

What I’d really like to do is rant for half an hour about how sick I am of being pregnant. About how I can’t sleep, walk, or digest properly because my internal organs are sharing space with what feels like 20 lbs. of angry kittens in a 10-lb. sack. About how if one more person makes a stupidly obvious comment about my belly or tells me how much they LOVED being pregnant, I am liable to punch them directly in the face. But that’s not that entertaining, now is it?

So instead, I’ll tell you about my weekend. We watched my 2- year-old niece while my brother and SIL went away for the weekend for the First. Time. Ever. since having a baby. (I know, what took them so long, right?)

Despite her parents’ fears, Chloe settled right in to our household routine and even slept like a champ. While Miles was mostly thrilled to have his 7-mos.-younger cousin stay with us, he did express a range of emotions. Among them:

Regression. Chloe slept in his old crib in what will soon be the new baby’s room. Of course, as soon as Chloe moved in, Miles developed a renewed fondness for the crib and insisted on climbing in himself. Also, his (spotty at best) interest in using the potty while Chloe was here diminished considerably. The “diapers are for babies” line doesn’t carry as much clout as it used to.

Competitiveness. There was some jockeying for position on laps during story time, and if Chloe was carried down the stairs, Miles wanted to be, too. If we applauded her rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” Miles immediately burst into song, too.

Bossiness. Nothing like having a little mini-me echoing your every word: “Chloe, come let’s change your diaper.” “Chloe, sit down and eat your dinner, please.” Thanks for the backup, Miles. Anyway, Chloe refused to be bossed by anyone.

Heartbreak. Miles had his first taste of female rejection when Chloe refused to take a bath with him. He broke down into dramatic, tearful sobs. Fortunately, she relented the following night and fun with bath crayons was had by all.

Exhaustion. My son is a pretty active and social little fella. It takes a lot to wear him out. So it was kind of funny to find him lying on the couch by himself on Sun. morning, like, “Dude, I need some alone time.”

Abandonment. Not surprisingly, tears were shed upon Chloe’s departure. By Miles, not her. No, she clung to her parents with a death-grip as if to say, “I finally got my peeps back. No WAY am I letting go to kiss these clowns good-bye!” It’s been 2 days and Miles is still saying, “Where’s Chloe? I miss her.”

A good sign for the impending arrival of his younger sibling? We’ll see. Until then, I’ll be waddling around, grunting, burping, and scratching my stretched abdomen, the very picture of maternal beauty and grace.

“Big Newton”: the classic fig-filled cookies.
“Wapkin”: what you wipe your mouth with during meals.
“Last morning”: all-purpose measure of time meaning yesterday, last week, or once in a dream.

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