Monday, December 21, 2009

Congrats and Envy

I just got news that a very dear friend of mine is expecting her first child in July! This is wonderful news and I am so happy for her. Although she lives in the Pacific Northwest, we trade emails every week (all credit to her — I am a lousy correspondent when left to my own devices). She will be an amazing mother and her husband will be a very cool dad. Although I would be 100x happier if we were pregnant together, my continued disappointment does not cancel out my joy for her.

At least I can put my premature desire to buy adorable baby things to good use now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Adorable

Focus Features has a new documentary called Babies coming out next year. The film will follow four babies (one from Namibia, one from Japan, one from Mongolia, and one from the US) from birth through their first birthdays. It doesn't seem to be overly analytical —more of an extended awww opportunity than a hard-hitting investigation.

The trailer is beautiful.

I especially enjoy the Mongolian baby's squishy cheeks.

Also, the American baby's name is Hattie, which is another name I love but FB doesn't (even though he has Harriets in his family tree and I most certainly do not).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Naming Styles

Despite recent disappointments, I continue to indulge my love of names. We may not have a baby for years, but that just means I'll have years of fun thinking up names for him/her.

FB and I are generally agreed on naming styles, though I do tend to go for the obscure, while he is not as bothered by popularity. Neither of us likes the kree8tyv names like Mydyysyn or Bryler. I tend to like names from the 17th and early 19th centuries (as well as my Italian family names) while FB likes short names that are easy for English-speakers to spell and pronounce. These are not irreconcilable situations, but they mean that we will both have to compromise.

For example, I will probably never convince FB that Una is an adorable name, though I love it to pieces. Similarly, he will have a difficult time convincing me that Lily Evans is a perfectly acceptable name because Evans is a family name on his mother's side and no one will ever get the Harry Potter reference (yes they will!).

Even when we like the same names, we like different versions of them. He likes Claire, I prefer Clara. He'd like an Ellie, I'd choose Nell. He would call a Charles Chuck, I'd certainly go for Charlie. And on and on.

At least we don't need to decide right away.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bummer

Took a pregnancy test this morning — no go.

I'm headed to my parents' for Christmas in a few days, so I wanted to test even though it is a bit too early in my cycle to be sure the test was valid. With our holiday travels, I won't have access to medical care for the next month, so even if I did test positive later this week, I wouldn't be able to see a doctor until well into January.

Grumble.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Safety Hysteria

I generally object to the idea that all women under the age of 50 should consider themselves "pre-pregnant" at all times. However, since I am actively trying to get pregnant, I suppose that the term applies to me.

I've been taking a prescription prenatal multivitamin for a few months now, but other than that, I haven't changed my habits much. I don't drink, smoke, or drink coffee, so I haven't cut those things out. I do drink a can or two of diet cola on most days, but most recommendations I've seen suggest that pregnant women keep their caffeine consumption under 200 mg per day, and I don't think that I'm in any danger of surpassing that mark. I have not varied my (very moderate) exercise regime, and have generally carried on as usual.

Reading up on "experts'" recommendations for pregnant women is a frustrating experience. As far as I can tell, I should have wrapped myself in cotton and started an all-organic kale diet the moment I went off the pill. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to ruin my hypothetical child's life by eating California rolls, drinking tap water, or using glue to make Christmas ornaments. Here's my favorite bit of advice for pregnant women, courtesy of The Seattle Times: stay away from electricity.

Note that the authors are not recommending that babies steer clear of electrical outlets — they are arguing that handling appliances is "a definite 'don't'" for pregnant adults.

No word yet on whether it's safe to sit on my couch, in light of the risk of shocks from static electricity.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Acne

I've always thought that I had relatively clear skin. Sure, I had fairly regular pimples when I was in middle school, but they were generally isolated — a single zit, not a rash of them all at once. Since leaving high school, I have probably averaged 5-6 facial zits per year. I generally wash my face with soap and water.

Yet, it occurs to me now that I may have had the pill to thank for my reliably clear skin. Ever since I quit the pill, I have been in a near-constant state of breakout. Every few days, I feel a hot, painful lump bubbling up on my upper lip or chin. My forehead is a solid mass of tiny bumps. I'm even getting some pimples on the back of my neck and behind my ears, which is both painful and annoying.

Today, I found myself in the skin care aisle of CVS, standing between two thirteen-year-olds and trying to weigh the relative merits of Clearsil vs. Clean and Clear. I ended up with a basketful of Aveeno products because they had more grown-up packaging.

Do other people have this problem? And am I in for worse if I do manage to get pregnant at some point?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bad Blogger

Most blogs run for a week or two before they are abandoned for good. By that standard, I did a good job by running for a couple of months before going AWOL. Let's just call it vacation.

Nothing has changed since my last post, except that my anxiety level is starting to go up a little bit. I turned 26 in October, making me officially older than average for a first-time mother in America (though still substantially younger than most first time moms in my liberal New England city).

FB and I said that we would try until Christmas before taking some deliberate steps. There's still a small chance that I might turn up pregnant in the next three weeks, but it's a long shot. FB has an extended business trip and I'll be going home to help my parents prepare for the holiday, so there won't be many opportunities for us to try between now and January.

I'm not panicking yet. But I'm getting a little anxious.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No News

There haven't been any developments on the conception front. I've only been off the pill for about six weeks, so it's not as if I'm expecting anything so soon.

FB and I have decided not to put too much effort into conceiving until after Christmas. By "effort," I mean all the measuring and ovulation prediction and having sex at particular times. For the next few months, we will carry on as the mood strikes us. If we manage to conceive by the end of the year, terrific. If not, I might break out a calendar and read some articles about cervical mucus.

Until then, I'm on a daily prenatal vitamin with lots of folic acid. It tastes like ass, but what can you do?

"Real" Christians

Apropos of nothing in particular, I would like to recommend Melissa McEwan's essay on Christian privilege and the designation of "real Christians." It resonated strongly with me.

As an atheist, I am perfectly happy to identify as "Christians" all those who claim that label for themselves, be they Catholics, Pentecostals, Mormons, unaffiliated home-churchers, Lutherans, Eastern Orothodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Christian Spiritualists, Quakers, Christian Scientists, Congregationalists, etc. etc. I include Unitarian Universalists who specifically identify as Christians, while acknowledging that not all UU congregants do.

Who am I to judge what constitutes a "true" Christian? Furthermore, as McEwan states much more eloquently than I,
Christianity has a 2,000-year history that has seen countless iterations of the religion based on countless interpretation of the text and shaped to fit countless times and spaces and needs in disparate cultures all around the world. Christians have done great things, and not-so-great things—and anyone who makes the personal choice to carry the Christian mantle associates themselves with a history that includes all the good stuff and all the shitty stuff, too. One can't say, "I only associate with the good Christianity—not the inquisitions and the genocides and the warmongering and the colonialism and the institutional misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism, anti-Semitism…"That's all part of Christianity's legacy, too—and it just isn't intellectually honest to say, "Well, those weren't real Christians." Yes, they were. And so are the Christians who do shitty stuff today.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Off The Pill

Let the games begin.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Conversation With a Doctor

Doc: Your BMI is a little higher than I'd like to see. A BMI over 25 puts you at risk for high blood pressure.

PB: Is my blood pressure elevated?

Doc: It's 108/68.

PB: Isn't that actually pretty low?

Doc: Yes, but you're at risk for high blood pressure.

PB: But I don't have high blood pressure.

Doc: No, but you're at risk.

PB: I see.

Names I Like Very Much, But FB Doesn't (Part III)

Miriam


Ruby


Una

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Proofreading

I saw these cute stencils on Babble and thought I'd see if the company ("The Simple Stencil") had any interesting floral designs.

Instead, I found some terrible proofreading:
How many innocent tots are being subjected to this poor grammar?

This reminds me of a bulletin board in my grade-level leader's classroom. It said, "We Are All Writer's!" I was the new teacher, so I bit back the urge to say anything. It still makes me a bit sad that none of the students ever noticed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Driving

Today, FB and I went out to a deserted school parking lot so that he could practice his driving.

Somehow, he managed to escape teenagerhood without getting a driver's license and now finds himself at age 27, unable to go grocery shopping. Most of the time, this is not a big deal — we live in a walkable city with excellent public transportation. On a few occasions, it has been more of a problem — for instance, when we moved from Rhode Island to California and I had to drive the whole way or when I woke up with a 104 degree fever and he had to call friends to take me to the emergency room. It all evens out in the end, though. For example, I am hopeless when it comes to computers, whereas he is a genius, so he uncomplainingly provides excellent, prompt tech support.

Since our city is so pedestrian-friendly, it is not easy to feel a sense of urgency about learning to drive. You could live here forever and only occasionally encounter driving-related inconveniences.

At least, that's true as long as you don't have an infant.

I have never been one for issuing ultimatums, but I have put my foot down on one thing: I will not drive myself to the hospital/birth center when I am in labor.

In preparation for that hoped-for day, FB has kindly consented to start the learning-to-drive process. So far, he's gotten his permit and played a lot of Mario Kart.

Today's excursion was his first time behind the wheel since a previous, aborted attempt to accomplish the same goal about 4 years ago. He did very well. His spacial perception and hand-eye coordination puts mine to shame, so I'm sure he'll pick it up quickly. He just needs enough confidence driving at speed to brave the real roads. The streets of our city are pretty busy, but there are many quiet, leafy suburbs just a few miles away, so he can practice there.

There really is a lot to be said for learning to drive when you are young and feel incinvible. At 16, you're much more ready to jump in and try something without contemplating the dangers. I learned to drive on my family's only car at the time — a 1991 Chevy Suburban — and I can't imagine getting behind the wheel of such a tank now. My first major driving experience (other than noodling around my hometown) was a trip to Nova Scotia with FB. I look back now and wonder how we survived.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bagpipes

FB has a new alarm clock that plays a pre-programmed selection of music in the mornings. It's very cute and he spent all evening fiddling with it until he had everything set up the way he wanted it.

This morning, we woke up to bagpipes.

We're going to have to have a little chat about that.

Health Care

I have very good health coverage. I'm on FB's plan at his very solid job and am double-insured by my university, which allows me free, unlimited doctor's visits at the on-campus clinic. Also, we have some savings, so we could afford minor medical care even if our insurance fell through.

I am very lucky.

Most Americans are not nearly as fortunate as I am. Everyone in this country (including me) knows someone who has been shat upon by an insurance company. My complaints have been minor — my old insurance would only pay for birth control if I picked up the Pill at their pharmacy, one goddamn month at a time, their customer service reps were completely unable to deal with changes of name and address, they diagnosed FB with pneumonia by sending him a snail mail letter nearly a month after performing the tests, etc.

Other people have bigger problems. Some get their claims denied outright. Some die as a result.

But most people who get suffer at the hands of insurance companies aren't murdered — they're robbed. Take Sarah Wildman, who purchased maternity insurance, only to get stuck with a bill for $22,000 after the plan that promised to cover pre-natal care, delivery, and post-natal care covered none of those things. As a self-employed writer (some would say entrepreneur), she was not protected by the regulations governing employer-based insurance. Luckily, she was protected by having a soapbox from which she could tell a few million readers about the bandits at Blue Cross.

The point is that health care in America is broken. You may not like the Obama reform bill, but the cost of doing nothing is too high. What alternative have the Republicans offered? The status quo is not good enough.

I get so angry when I see things like this:
Conservative economist Arthur Laffer went on CNN today and said,
If you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they’re run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.
A few points:
  • WTF is your problem with the Post Office? For less than the cost of a pack of gum, I can send a letter anywhere in the United States. All I have to do is lick a stamp and put the envelope in the mail slot 10 steps from my front door. There's a fairly compelling argument to be made that American democracy could never have flourished without the efficiency of the USPS, so lay off.
  • Waiting in line at the DMV sucks — it's the worst system, except for all the others. FB's mentor is an immigrant from India and he has repeatedly professed his undying love for the DMV. In the US, everybody waits in the same line and fills out the same form and, if you pass the tests and pay the very reasonable fees, you get the ID or license you wanted. In India, you have to know someone who knows someone and pay exorbitant bribes just to get a chance to bribe someone who might give you a license if he's feeling charitable. The DMV is a drag, but it's democratic.
  • Medicare and Medicaid are already run by the government. Since I am unwilling to believe that Laffer doesn't already know that, I can only conclude that he is trying to muddle the issue in the minds of the elderly.
  • If you're going to moan and complain about the government mismanaging everything it touches, intellectual honesty demands that you go on CNN and tell everyone just how shitty the military is.
The current state of health care in America is unsustainable. We can have honest debates about the type of reform we want, but the need for reform is indisputable. People who are screaming bloody murder about fascism and euthanasia need to take a good hard look at their own motives.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Space

Last summer, FB and I made one of those big-time life decisions that makes you feel like a real, live adult — we bought a house. We figured that the market was suffering and we had some extra money, so it seemed like a good time to buy. We found a lovely little row house with a nice kitchen (having a dishwasher was a dealbreaker for FB), a postage stamp of a yard, and a garage (I'll never clean off the car again!). All this and our mortgage payment is only $45.00 more per month than our rent for the crappy little apartment we used to have.

I love our little house. It is warm and comfortable and has an ideal location. It's near several parks, walking distance to the grocery store, and did I mention the garage?

Yet, as I contemplate the possibility of Snapdragon, our little house seems . . . little. At 750 square feet, it is, objectively, a small dwelling. That's fine for the two of us — it means there's less vacuuming and a built-in limit on the amount of crap we can accumulate.

But is there enough room for a baby? What about a toddler?

As I understand it, babies are quite small, but they come with rather a lot of accessories. Cribs, changing tables, high chairs, toys, bouncy seats, carseats, strollers, adorable little outfits with ducks on them — all of it has to go somewhere. Our house is already snug and I'm getting a bit worried.

When I start to panic, I always look to history for some perspective. After all, the average house in 17th-century America was even smaller than ours and those families had way more kids than we'll ever have. An 18th-century family wouldn't fuss about cramming another kid into a crowded house — just swaddle him and put him where the dog/pig/cow/ten other kids won't trample him. I read once that colonial-era parents sometimes put swaddled babies on shelves or hung them on hooks on the wall.

I know we'll manage. We'll shuffle things around and get rid of junk we don't use. In a few years, when we're ready to start looking for a long-term house, we'll look for somewhere where Snapdragon can have her own space.

Until then, we'll just have to keep the volume of unneccessary crap to a minimum.

Is that possible when a baby will be the first grandchild on either side of the family?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"I Shot a Man in Weeeno . . ."

Proof That a Helmet Can Save Your Life . . .

I'm not sure that this was what my mom meant when she insisted that I wear a helmet while riding a bike:
A driver, now identified as an Asheville firefighter, shot a bicycle rider because he was angry the man was riding with his child on a busy road, Asheville police said.

The shooting happened Sunday morning on Tunnel Road.Officers said the victim was riding with his wife and had his 3-year-old son in a child seat attached to his bicycle when a driver approached him. Police said the driver, Charles Diez, claimed he was upset that the victim was bike riding with his child on the heavily traveled Tunnel Road.
Diez pulled a gun and opened fire, hitting the victim in his bicycle helmet, according to police. They said the bullet penetrated the outer lining of the helmet but did not actually hit the victim's head. 
Remember, kids, riding a bike on the road can be dangerous. Because someone might think it's so dangerous that he has to protect you. By shooting you in the head.

via Free Range Kids

Monday, July 27, 2009

Har Har

Today, CNN has an article featuring 43 strange or inappropriate things that people have said during job interviews. Though these remarks are billed as "laugh-out-loud hysterical" and "jaw dropping," most of them are pretty innocuous. Asked to describe himself in three words, an honest candidate says, "I hate questions like this." Who doesn't? Another admits that he is homeless and living in a "gypsy camp," so he cannot give a permanent address. Are you shrieking with laughter yet?

But my favorite was this one:

"Can I get a tour of the breast pumping room? I heard you have a great one here and while I don't plan on having children for at least 10 or 12 years, I will definitely breast feed and would want to use that room."
LOLZ! A woman betrays an interest in the company's accommodations for mothers of young children, then realizes her mistake and assures the interviewer that she has no immediate plans to become a mother (because she wants the job). What a "weird" thing to say in a job interview!

I don't know why this stupid little article hit me so hard — maybe it was the tone of unbridled, compassionless glee at the hapless job candidates who do things like ask about benefits or reveal that they're going through hard times. At a time when so many people are looking for work, it seems in bad taste.
Bite me, CNN.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nicknames

When I was in high school, I had a friend named Molly and I remember being shocked when I learned that that was her whole name. I've been doing a bit of research on names and am surprised by the popularity of nicknames as given names.

According to the Social Security's list of the top 1000 names of 2008, the following names are fairly popular given names:
  • Jack (#39)
  • Jake (#112)
  • Andy (#211)
  • Frank (#278)
  • Charlie (#307)
  • Danny (#330)
  • Chris (#348)
  • Ricky (#365)
  • Larry (#375)
  • Joe (#411)
  • Sam (#458)
  • Molly (#104)
  • Kate (#139)
  • Ellie (#167)
  • Maggie (#214)
  • Abby (#259)
  • Angie (#340)
  • Annie (#392)
This is not a new phenomenon — almost all of these names were also in the top 500 in 1908. I guess I just didn't realize just how many people named "Abby" or "Jack" aren't really Abigails or Johns.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New York Gov. to Sign Unshackling Law

Holy shit.

Yes, by all means, sign the law that prohibits laboring women from being chained to the bed during childbirth if they are prison inmates. How barbaric.

Names I Like Very Much, But Could Only Choose One Of

Amalia


Oliver

I have cousins named Jeffy and Steffy*, and I refuse to make my kids Molly and Olly.

*I haven't spoken to them in a while. I imagine that they go by other names now, though Jeff and Steph is not much better. Jeffrey and Stephanie is fine.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shallow Worries

 pb (B-Day +1) and her dad

At this preparatory stage of motherhood, I have many substantial worries: Will I be able to get pregnant? Will I be sick for nine months straight? Will the baby be healthy? Will I be able to hack childbirth? Will I manage to keep my baby alive once it's born?

All of these epic worries make my shallower worries seem unforgivably petty — so much so that I hesitate to mention them. But, if this blog is going to be useful as a record, I can't hold back.

One of my shallowest worries is that my baby will be . . .  unattractive. Not ugly exactly — but not within my frame of reference for attractive babies.

I should explain — my family are all dark-eyed, dark-haired, and olive-skinned, while my husband is the pastiest of redheads. All of my siblings have been adorable, round-faced, coal-eyed Mediterranean babies born with copious amounts of black hair. I hear that other babies lose their birth hair — none of us did (though mine did recede a bit from my forehead and shoulders).

Whenever I see a chubby, dark-eyed baby, I want to swoop in and kiss it. But I don't have such a thing for blond, blue-eyed babies. They're cute enough, but my brain doesn't seem to register MINE.

I'm sure I'll think that any child of mine is the cutest, sweetest, smartest baby alive, but the possibility of having a child who doesn't display the physical characteristics of my ethnicity is somewhat troubling. I imagine it's part and parcel of my larger guilt over not transmitting my heritage to my kids. I've taken their father's hyper-Anglo last name, I've abandoned my Catholicism, I've moved 100 miles away from my family, etc. I'm going to have to name Snapdragon Giovanni Giuseppe Luigino in order to assuage my guilt.

So maybe not that shallow. Still, in the scheme of things, a petty worry.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Confused

My mother-in-law's best friend's daughter, C, had a baby recently — a little girl.

C is into all sorts of sci-fi and Ren Faire type stuff, so I was keenly interested in her choice of names for her newborn. I was definitely expecting something Celtic or fantasy-inspired: Arwen or Raven or Guinevere or something along those lines.

Then, MiL mentioned that C was telling everyone that she wanted something "beautiful and unusual" for her precious snowflake. That changed my thinking. Not only was it going to be an unusual name, it was going to be something that even C considered unusual. Seraphina? Iolanthe? Boudica?

When the baby came, MiL emailed to tell us that mom and baby were both healthy and happy and that C had chosen the name . . .

. . . Emma Isabelle.

Major disappointment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary, FB

Two years ago today, FB and I finally moved out of the living in sin phase and into the legally-recognized family phase of our relationship.

While I haven't noticed a very stark contrast between our pre-marriage and post-marriage relationships, I'm very glad that we had a wedding. It was a beautiful day — about 200 of our friends and relatives gathered in my aunt's back yard and joined us in celebrating. We had delicious barbecue, kegs of Sam Adams, and an extensive cake buffet. Our dads (and many uncles, friends, etc.) are musicians, so people brought guitars, fiddles, and bodhrans and sang until dark.

Most importantly, everyone we loved was there, which was especially important because my beloved grandfather suffered a massive, fatal stroke just a few weeks later. He lingered almost a year before dying, but he was not himself during that time. Because of our wedding, everyone in the family has dozens of pictures of themselves spending time with him just before he left us.


We don't usually make a big deal out of anniversaries — we're going to dinner tonight, but after that, FB's going to watch the All-Star Game with friends. Last year, we went to Cape Cod for the weekend around this time. The trip was notable only because FB lost his wedding ring while we were playing in the very cold ocean (finger shrinkage). He has since gotten a replacement.

I love you, FB. Hopefully, we'll have to get a babysitter in order to go out for dinner next year!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Everything's More Fun

On a recent business trip, FB had a chance to hang out with his brother in San Francisco. After visiting the Exploratorium, FB sent me a text:

"This would be so much fun with kids."

Over the past few years, I've found myself thinking the same thing over and over. Christmas is lovely, but it would be so much fun with kids! We love the New England Aquarium — imagine how great it would be with kids! The beach, our garden, birthdays, rainy afternoons — all could be vastly improved by the addition of happy babies/toddlers/kids.

I can't wait to get started.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Twins by Surprise

Last night, sleepless, I found myself watching a TLC special called "Twins by Surprise." The show recreated the stories of four women who thought they were carrying singletons, but ended up with surprise twins. One of the mothers had her babies in 1979, before ultrasound was routine, two more were assisted by midwives (one home birth, one hospital), and one one had an unassisted homebirth.

It was an upbeat show — all the twins were born full term (or nearly so) and healthy — but the final story really bothered me. The woman who had the unassisted homebirth had no prenatal care and was relying on her obviously clueless husband's help. Both parents assured the camera that they had done all the necessary research and preparation, but I was skeptical.

I went and read some freebirth websites to find out what she could have been thinking. The sites I read had some good points, but also some very flimsy reasoning. I agree that routine birth is not a medical event and that doctors and hospitals do not always provide the best care. All five of my mother's children were born with the assistance of midwives, without drugs, and I fully intend to find a birth center for my own little Snapdragon.*

The part where the freebirth websites go off the rails is in their assertion that unassisted birth is a reversion to a natural state/historical norm. They cursorily acknowledge the existence of midwives, but all of the sites I read portray the choice as a stark contrast between strapped-down, knocked-out c-section and giving birth serenely and solitarily in a field of daisies. They draw facile analogies between quadrupeds and humans, implying that solitary birth is natural for women.

In fact, solo childbirth among humans is an historical anomaly. Social birth and bipedalism go hand-in-hand. In my other life, I am an historian and I can say for sure that throughout recorded history, solo births have never been the norm. It has been much more typical for women to be assisted by mothers, sisters, neighbors, and experienced midwives. Skillful helpers have soothed and served women in labor, encouraged them, and dealt with emergencies.

I am sympathetic to some of freebirth advocates' points: labor is natural, we are inappropriately socialized to expect suffering rather than competence, we need to listen to women and trust them.

But I don't think it follows that freebirth is the logical end of these beliefs. Many midwives and mothers — and even some doctors — are respectful and helpful, rather than overbearing and meddlesome. I don't think freebirth should be illegal because I'm staunchly pro-choice, but speaking for myself, I wish to be surrounded by caring, competent women, just as my ancestors were.**

*I have nothing against homebirth and think it's probably best for a lot of people — my major reason for prefering a birth center to a home birth is that I want to leave as much mess/bodily fluids elsewhere, rather than in my 700-sq-ft house.
**I do hope to have FB there with me, too — a feature of modern birth I fully embrace.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lilypie

Lots of mommy blogs have those little Lilypie counters that show how long until their due dates or how old their kids are. I think they're cute. FB laughs at me, but then, he likes those little white stick figures people put on the backs of their vans, while I think they're tacky as all hell.

I checked out the Lilypie site and played around with the counters, hoping I'll have a chance to use one soon. Some of the sliders are babies dressed as flowers, which would be perfect for Snapdragon.

I didn't realize that Lilypie had other counters — some of them are a little creepier. Do people really want to publicize how long they've been waiting to adopt or trying to conceive? It seems like it would be torture to see the days and weeks ticking away if you wanted to adopt or conceive but couldn't.

One in particular made me laugh out loud. This is the icon for one of the "Trying to Conceive" counters:

I suppose if you look closely, you can see that the bunny's tail is over to the right, but at first glance, it's a little . . . on the nose. Maybe I'll get one of those counters after all, just so I can put some bunny porn on this blog.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Subaru Commercial

I hate commercials and, because I have a TiVo, I can usually avoid them. The only time I'm a sitting duck is at the gym, where reruns of ER help me through my cardio.

The worst offenders when it comes to dumb/formulaic/offensive ads are generally car companies, beer companies, and Burger King. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a Subaru ad that was not only true to life, but actually made me slightly more likely to consider buying a Subaru.

The ad opens with a teenage boy who says something along the lines of, "I'm the youngest, so I always get hand-me-downs." Then, it shows the boy with many discarded items — a bike with pink streamers, an old boombox, an ancient computer — that he modifies and uses cheerfully. At the end, he says, "Now, I don't mind" as another young man tosses him the keys to a gently-used Subaru. The line at the end is something about Subarus lasting.

Maybe they're running this ad because of the state of the economy. Maybe their ad agency hired someone from a large family. I don't know how they came up with this ad, but I found that it spoke to my experience exactly. This is precisely how my family deals with expensive items like graphing calculators, computers, and cars. The old white Buick that was originally my grandfather's went to my dad, then to me, then to my two younger brothers before it died for good. Since FB has a good tech job, we always have good, new-ish laptops, and my siblings (and dad) have been the recipients of our Macs whenever we upgrade.

Usually, car commercials show the product on a mountaintop or speeding through the desert — I just tune them out. This one captured how my family actually uses things. Good job, Subaru. The next time I'm in the market, I'll keep you in mind.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Confidence

In all this baby planning, I am assuming that I will be able to get pregnant within a few months of trying. I know that that is not necessarily going to be the case.

I have several factors in my favor — I'm 25, in good health, and my mother is a champ at the whole pregnancy and childbirth thing (5 kids, 5 no-med births). Still, there's no guarantee that I'll be able to conceive at the drop of a hat. I've read enough blogs by hopeful women who have been frustrated by their inability to conceive or a carry a child to term to know that the road is not always smooth.

My parents have one sister and one brother apiece. Both of my aunts had devastating infertility issues. After years of disappointment and commiseration, Aunt M, Aunt D, and their husbands decided to adopt. Both couples met with an agency in South America and were matched with children: Aunt M with a baby girl, Aunt D with two siblings — a baby and a toddler.

Aunt M and Uncle R went through with the adoption and brought home my cousin. Two years later, *surprise* Aunt M was pregnant and had a second daughter. It's always been a point of humor in our family — Aunt M's first daughter fits right in with our short, dark, Italian family looks-wise, while her little sister takes after her tall, blond, blue-eyed dad. Aunt M revels in her daughters and Uncle R is the ultimate soccer dad. They are supremely happy, but they didn't get there easily.

Aunt D and Uncle J backed out at the last moment. I was a child at the time, but I've heard that his family disapproved of adoption in general and of adopting Latino children in particular. Their story has not been so happy.

I try to think happy thoughts and plan for an easy conception and a healthy child. I plan for the best, but I really have all my fingers and toes crossed. If I were a praying person, I'd pray.

One thing I must say: If FB and I turn out to be infertile, I'll be pissed off that I took the Pill all those years.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Eldest

I come from a big family. Not converted-schoolbus-for-trips-to-the-grocery-store big, but larger than normal: two parents, five kids, and a substantial menagerie.

I'm the first-born of five siblings:
  • me, age 25
  • brother BJ, age 23
  • brother G, age 20
  • brother W, age 17
  • sister B, age 13
I always loved being part of a large family because our house was always humming with activity and no one ever lacked for playmates, sparring partners, or rides to school. We never had any money, but I didn't really realize I was missing out on anything. Besides, I always had a baby to play with or a younger sibling who wanted a Harry Potter book read aloud, so I was perfectly happy.

As I take my first steps toward starting my own family, I wonder whether I will be able to give them the sibling experience I had. I've always assumed that I'd have at least three children, but that was before I contemplated the reality of having to balance pregnancies with work and caring for more than one child at a time. I'm looking forward to a first pregnancy, but how do you do it when you're juggling a two-year-old and a kindergartener? Maybe there's a reason why BJ and I were born almost exactly two years apart, but the gap widened with each subsequent sibling . . .

In any event, Snapdragon will be our eldest child. Not only that — s/he will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. I do feel a little bad about trying to bring a baby into a babyless family. Barring a catastrophic failure of latex, little Snapdragon will not have any cousins anytime soon. I'll just have to hope that the adoring attentions of a phalanx of adults will fill that void.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two Packs Left

I am not pregnant.

I have been on the Pill since I was 18 years old — seven full years this summer. I have two packs left, which will carry me through August and then . . .

I don't know how my body will react to the sudden withdrawal of its beloved hormone candies, but I can guess. The Pill has lessened my cramps, bleeding, headaches, and many of the other joys of female biology, so I can only assume that they will return in full force when I am Pill-less.

Of course, my goal in ceasing this hormone regimen is the ultimate in biological adventures. I understand that pregnant women look back on their pre-Pill cramps with fondness.

Two more packs and then,

the adventure.

Why Snapdragon?

A few years ago, FB and I discussed the relative merits of flower names over frozen yogurt outside of Willow Street Pizza. Rose was too Golden Girls, Lily too common, Iris too punk.

As we widened the scope of discussion — Dahlia? Lavender? Pansy? — we dissolved into giggles and one-upmanship. From the plausible (Azalea, Zinnia) to the unwieldy (Chrysanthemum, Rhododendron) to the ridiculous (Venus Flytrap, Tuberose), we spiraled out of control until I choked out, "Snapdragon."

Have you ever had frozen yogurt shoot out of your nose?

From then on, our hypothetical future child has always been called Snapdragon. S/he can only hope that our enthusiasm for the name wanes sometime before we sign her/his birth certificate.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009