Friday, August 29, 2014

My baby does the hanky panky.

35 Weeks

I had a Benny Hill moment yesterday as I left work carrying empty boxes at my waste. I passed two men with beers in hand (the boxes between me and them) standing outside on the patio of the restaurant adjacent to my office. One of them yelled an excited, "Hi!" I laughed and said a sheepish, "hello" back. The other said, "How are you doing?" I said a subtle, "fine and you" and he responded, "Great! You have a good night!" "You too." They mumbled while tracing my walk to my car. I felt their stare and set the boxes down to open the door. They laughed (right on cue) and it made me smile.

1. I got flirted with. I'll take it.
2. I'm pregnant. Gross.

One of these days we are going to have to talk to our son about sex. When I found out we were having a boy, I have to admit part of me sighed with relief for the notion of how much easier I perceive it might be to raise a MAN rather than a WOMAN within this Anglican-American looking society, but in truth, I have no real perception to which that notion is relative. Of course I think being a woman is complicated. I am one. The social dichotomies abound. And... they do for men as well.

Greg is on an Elvis kick. We've been streaming concerts and videos—completely enamored by his presence and power. There is and was no one like him. Who else could pull off that jump suit, and not only be taken seriously, but adored? If you were hanging out with ANY other human being on this planet and he/she walked out of a shopping mall dressing room in that get-up, you'd giggle yourself silly and tell him/her they need help. He was truly King. Whenever I hear Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water", I admire the genius and picture a fuzzy-headed nerd singing to his bell-bottomed, waifish girlfriend on a bridge in Central Park. She has flowers in her long hair and tears in her eyes. They hug as the sun sets. When Elvis sings his version, my eyes roll back into my skull and I see GOD as a giant, male, faceless, linen-draped torso laughing like Santa Claus, gathering and wrapping his city-sized arms around hundreds of thousands of tiny people running to him for comfort, safety, and love. "...I will ease your miiiiiiiiinnnnnnd..." That's power. And damn sexy.

You could argue that in today's world, the ability to control one's power, sexual power—indefinable confidence—is key to just about everything. As a parent, how do you nurture that instinct in a world that is losing instincts as fast as the rain forests?

I have about a month to work on that.

I might be getting ahead of myself. Burping after meals first, then extolling the virtues of men like John Lennon. This kid can learn about flirting somewhere in between.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

34 Weeks

Over a month ago, Greg called me at work to tell me he had a high fever and needed to lie down. Two weeks later he was finally able to get through a day without being horizontal for most of it. He had a nasty case of strep throat. This was a tough time on us since I've become increasingly dependent on Greg as the hours pass*(1). During those two weeks, I did what any loving wife and mother-to-be would do: I quarantined him to the bedroom, slid meals under the door, and disinfected everything but the dog's face as often as possible. I developed a rash from hand sanitizer. Greg and I remember the moment we felt it was safe for us to kiss again on the lips—as good as our first, it felt new and adventurous. Pretty romantic, actually.

At the same time Greg was focused on healing, we had a bee infestation and a minor flood in the basement, many baby prepping responsibilities to fill, and a lot of paperwork to give the mortgage agent helping us to buy our first home*(2). I felt like a real mom. I worried over Greg's health*(3) and nursed him as best as I recall my own, kind mother doing for me when I was small with flu. I cleaned, and cleaned, and then cleaned some more. We ate homemade chicken soup until we choked on it. I was the MC of the circus—all with a smile on my face. It felt good and like a taste of the hard work ahead and also brought Greg and I closer together than ever*(4).

Things have changed. A little. I have changed. A lot.

This past Sunday, we returned from a Long Island weekend journey that started with Greg's 25th high school reunion and ended at a celebratory shower in honor of our progeny, hosted by my mother-in-law, and attended by wonderfully generous allies. There are boxes and piles of baby clothes in every corner of our home and I'm penning thank you notes like I'm doing homework between classes. It's a busy week in the land of pre-parenthood and I'm in a constant fog. I've slept very little, given up on housework, injured my foot to the point of limping, snapped at a friend, repeatedly monologued to the heavens cursing "the man" and "big banks", cried twice at work, dropped and left under furniture a variety of things from my numb, swollen, Shrek sized fingers, forgot I let the dog out, forgot I was boiling rice, forgot my own middle name, and made demands on Greg a blind, starving, flower-selling, polio-stricken, angel-faced, singing orphan wouldn't dare*(1).

Hard days make life interesting and I always learn something useful. Things aren't boring right now, that's for sure. I like a challenge*(2). I just hope I don't do anything I'd regret if I were in my right head. Even as I watch my body expand*(3) knowing "every bite of food should contain only essential elements", I cannot find a good reason to give up my new-found addiction to egg salad followed by vanilla ice cream. I'll deal with it later. They make girdles*(4).

*(1) Last night I was undressing for bed and couldn't bend over far enough to get my pants off over my toes.
*(2) Why not throw in another life-changing milestone?
*(3) I've never seen Greg so ill and lifeless—scary.
*(4) You've never loved until you've witnessed your half nude partner in various phases of bizarre behavior. (i.e., a grown, fever addled man stumbling over furniture while chasing bees out a door.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"...don't drink, don't smoke—what do you do?"

33 Weeks

Many moons ago, a counselor once described Greg as a turtle and me as a rabbit. Thanks to Aesop, we all know the pros and cons of identifying with either lifestyle. And thanks to the Chinese "yin and yang" philosophy, we all know the advantages and detriments of being opposites. Greg and I are very lucky. Our core beliefs and interests are almost identical. It's just that our processes begin with one of us in the east and one in the west. Took us a while to learn how to respect that, but our obvious animal avatars really helped us figure it out.

Now that we are focusing on preparing for our new little guy, things have shifted. We're both starting more in the center of things. It's nice. It feels natural. It feels like real progress. It feels right and good and like real teamwork. Productive collaboration. It feels solid and safe and loving and powerful. It also feels kind of dull.

Every week I punch in the number of weeks of our pregnancy into a browser and read all about what the average of my demographic can 'expect while expecting'. As per the usual Internet surf, I receive waving flags for ads relating to my search. They're mostly ignorable but once in a while a few lines of copy will seep into my questioning head like when perusing ingredients. "Corn syrup in chicken?" This week, I barely recall seeing a kitschy, stock photo of a frowny pregnant woman with one hand on her head and the other on her belly. "Bored Being Pregnant?" I didn't give it a second thought after the first: "How on earth could anyone be BORED with this? Are they selling fireworks to pregnant ladies? That seems dangerous..."


Lately... and really only since we got to this week... I think Greg's tortoise and my hare have caught up to the middle only to sit and stare at the same cocoon. And we both sit. And we both stare. And both look up and smile. Pat each other's heads. Look down again at the cocoon. Sit. Stare. Smile. Stare. Sit. Smile. Stare. Stare. Stare.

I think we're... well... bored.

If the baby arrived now, we'd be scrambling like contestants on a game show where naked men and women are released into a killer storm and get to keep anything they can carry. Tornado Trek: Do You Need It or Do You Want It? We don't even have a diaper in the house. Yet, some instinct must be taking over at this stage—we cannot wait to meet our new family member and we both want to meet him NOW.

All mammals go through a gestation period in order to multiply and now that we've joined those ranks, nothing zaps the human curse of 'wisdom' like reproduction to remind us of our equality with all living things on this planet. It is another one of the universe's impressive designs. Yet every day, humanity comes crashing in to battle it out with the natural order of things. Logic must prevail. We have to prepare and control this. We have to get wiper warmers or surely someone will die.

At least Greg and I are going through this together at the same pace. I'm not the lone rabbit waiting around for the sun to come up and Greg isn't crawling through quick sand with a predator on his tail. I hope our baby gets Greg's hawksbill shell and my big, fuzzy ears. Those are useful. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Saint by NUMBers

32 Weeks

"Honey. You'd be proud. I wasn't even adding it up and it was $65.07. I only went over by seven cents."

"Yeah... that's good sweetheart. But I said 60."

"You did?"


"Oh. Well, I was still close."

"Ha... yes, true."

"So now for the bad news."

"Are you OK?"

"Oh yes, fine! But I did it again. Baby brain."


"I have no idea how it happens. There is some sort of vortex between the cash register and our refrigerator."

"What was it this time?"

"The soy milk and yogurts. I'm sorry."

"It's OK. Thanks for doing the shopping, sweetheart. Where ever this stuff is going, I hope it's appreciated..."

I forget EVERYTHING now. EVERYTHING. I was once a woman who couldn't bear to leave a closet door open and these days I walk into rooms, forget why I'm there, get caught up in something shiny, and leave behind whatever was in my hands to search for later. It's amazing I arrive at work each day wearing shoes. In the last few months, I have destroyed two frying pans, two cookie trays, and a pot. You know, just cooking and baking things for Satan. Our garbage collector must think I'm a fickle sculptress making kitchen themed works out of dark steel and coal. Jet-black baking pans with a dozen spot-welded, lumpy tar discs placed just so. Three times now, I've come back from the weekly grocery-run with items missing. I make a list, pick things out, put them in a cart, take them for a ride around the store, pay for them at the register, and an hour later, stand dumbfounded over an unloaded car trunk having no idea where/how/when I lost the breakfast cereal. THREE times.

Third time's a charm. They happen in threes. Knock three times...

Both Greg and my father are men that pay attention to details and both are men who use those details to show their love. Greg works his tail off to meet our family budget while keeping the bills paid on time and the ledger organized to the penny. My father once worked a second job as the night shifter at a convenience store and went through a period of years where he saved cans for recycling cash so he could send me extra money for college. Their IQ's are as high as their credit scores. It's nice to share my recent brainless generalities with them. They come to the rescue with a big "S" for "Specifics" on their chests. I'm a lucky wife and daughter.

"do u know what this week is," my father texts.

"Week 32!"

"yes! and it is also the 32nd week if the year"

"How cool!"

"that means something"

"Surely, it has to."

"dOne call me shirley"

"OK Laverne. Cool number thing. You love that."

"i do. numbers are specail."

"Like your wedding date on your license plate."

"yes. your week 32 is alos week 32 of the year! a good number. cuz you'r special and i Love you"

"Aw, Daddy. I love you, too."

"my thumbs are too big for this phone"

"These days my brain is too dumb for mine." 

"don't worry daughter. it only lasts fore  the rest of your life."