March 31, 2005

Now I Know Why 1+1 = 3...

In bygone days when I was single, I had times when I wondered if I'd lost my mind. Meeting people I'd only spoken with online, for instance. Well, I no longer wonder... I know.

Q: What kind of engineer agrees with Barbie that math is hard?
A: A pregnant engineer.

I've lost my ability to do simple arithmetic. We're not talking complex polynomials, here; I mean mistaking 328 for 330 or having totals off by more than 100. I'm even losing some of my language abilities - yet another argument for waiting a few years in my marriage before having kids: at least there's a prayer my husband can figure out what I meant to say.

"Did you let the corn out yet?"
"You mean the dogs?"

No wonder one of my friends calls the 2nd trimester the "Pregnant stupids" stage.

Humility, here I come.

March 25, 2005

What kind of world is this? Is just ANYONE allowed in?

Maybe there's something about impending parenthood that creates a lower idiot tolerance threshold... I'm with someone who posted a feedback comment on a blog I read who said, "It would be really handy if every keyboard was equipped with a 'Dumb---' key that we could use as a shortcut to comment on guys like this."


I know they make universal remotes to mute/turn-off TV's in public places; can they make a version that mutes/freezes/immobilizes people? I'd like one for my keychain. or situations like this one... or this one. (I'd personally like to use it on both parties in that last instance)

March 24, 2005

Saving the Chest for Last...

Pregnancy has, er, significantly altered facets of my physique.

I'm not suddenly an automatic implant suspect in the spirit of, say, Spamela Anderson, but I could technically give a believable interview at Hooters - at least until my stomach protuded from beneath the skimpy halter top. Do they have redneck-ian versions of Hooters?

Though I used to think it might be nice to be more well-endowed, now I'm not so sure. I keep running into these things. Rolling over in bed at night was never so fraught with peril. Before, things stayed put and out of the way of arms, pillows, other skin... Now? There's immediate pain if I forget to factor in added bust size - never mind that it's 2 a.m., when my brain is always on vacation and I'm never in a pleasant mood.

It's also dismaying to realize that outfitting these new features could cost a significant chunk o' change. I have plenty of serviceable bras - and they used to fit, and may someday fit again, post-baby. For now? I really don't cotton to the idea (or silk, for that matter; har har) of shelling out X times $20 to make sure I'm decently attired above the waist. I'm down to four that I can wear - and let me tell you how slim the wardrobe can get if all you have clean is a bra that's navy blue. Sheesh.

So... they're nice to have for test drives; I like a bit of the gratis 'feminine mystique' they grant me, but... can I have mine back? Please?

March 22, 2005

Sleep Patterns

I remember required Sunday naps during my childhood. I'd reluctantly go to my room and read (not too reluctantly, since I enjoy reading). There were a few times I ventured back out to the living room, only to be told I needed to go back to my room. It wasn't required that I nap, just that I be in my room so napping could take place if possible.

My preschool and kindergarten classes never had a 'nap period,' but I couldn't escape those Sunday afternoons... I quickly figured out that my parents were the ones who wanted to nap, and so they enforced the ruling on the entire house. I remember thinking at the time that grown-ups were crazy. Why on earth would someone choose to sleep in the middle of the day? Wasn't having to sleep at night bad enough?

Oh, to be back in those halcyon days... when the thought of getting a good night's sleep was puzzling, because what other kind was there? Neither uncomfortable position nor loud noise nor multiple bathroom trips stayed me from eight full hours (or more) of sleeping like a log, dead to the world.

Now? Ha.

We have a sleep number bed (which we both love), so I've actually been pretty comfortable as my avoirdupois changes its shape. All the same, I thought it'd be a good idea to get a pregnancy pillow to help me stay on my side rather than shifting to my back. Like a good girl, I researched online for others' experiences and comments. I managed to save myself the headache of paying close to $200 for the privilege of an adult-sized Boppy pillow.*

I'm technically an ethnic Euro-mutt, but a lot of my contributing heritages have reputations for being reluctant to spend money (Dutch, Irish, Scottish, German). I'm not willing to pay $200 for an item I plan on using for less than a year. We found body pillows at Bed Bath & Beyond for $10 apiece instead, which was much more in line with what I was willing to pay.

So... bought two of the things and got them home, only to realize we had no pillow cases which fit. Not a big deal: safety pins and a few fleece blankets, and voila! Insta-body pillow cases. I thought I'd work my way up to using one for front and one for back by my due date. I imagined a sort of pillow cocoon, from which I'd emerge gracefully each morning.

The factor I missed in my imaginings was the size of our bed. One queen-sized bed minus two body pillows does not equal space for two adults. We finally kicked both of them out of bed and slept peacefully without them. I've tried a couple of configurations since then, but I always end up fighting the pillow, feeling frustrated or claustrophobic (or both), and subsequently dumping the pillow overboard to the floor on my side where I can trip over it the next morning.

I'm told that the problems with sleep during pregnancy are one of the ways God gets people ready for sleepless nights with infants. The thought isn't terribly reassuring from where I try to sleep during week 16.

*[Note: I won't insult your intelligence or mine by delving into the mysterious etymology or definition of 'Boppy.' Suffice it to say that the term is one of the many terms apparently necessary to the syntax of parent-speak.]

March 18, 2005

Parental Roles

Some things have yet to be determined in our little family-to-be: Who will stay home with Baby? Who will be the primary wage-earner the first year? Who will teach our children to cook (since my husband's really better at this than I)?

One thing has become clear over the last several days, though: I'll be the one instructing our offspring about the finer points of sports, tournaments and playoffs. There are reasons my husband isn't a basketball fan - many years and a number of hours spent concentrating on swimming, no pressure from parents to participate and be highly competitive in contact sports, not a whole lot of interest, etc. Whatever the primary reason, I was the one using polls and statistics from sports articles to complete my NCAA tournament brackets. He sometimes used the criteria of "which team is closer to the state I consider my home state" to complete his.

We went out for dinner last night (pregnancy has only increased my desire for meat, and lots of it; medium-rare to medium hamburgers sounded really, REALLY good). On the way home from the restaurant, he demonstrated his love for me by telling me I could turn on the TV to watch basketball when we got home, and that he would actually watch them with me.

Greater love hath no husband.

I can see it now: I'll be the one in front of the TV on a Saturday hollering at refs (I'm a college sports fan, be it basketball, football or wrestling); rather than asking what Daddy is yelling about, our kids will be tugging on my husband's pant leg asking what Mommy is so upset about. At least I never cultivated the taste for beer; shouting, "Honey, would you bring a cold one? I don't want to miss what's happening with the game!" across the house is a mental image of role-reversal that makes me shudder.

I do have my limits. I have never (even during college student days) painted my face for a game. -I'm not saying I wouldn't ever, but it hasn't happened yet, so there's hope...

I have seen a frightening glimpse of my 'soccer mom' potential, though. I was reading in a book for expectant parents about the Apgar test that's given to newborns shortly after birth. While reading the breakdown of the scores (responsiveness, degree of oxygenation, etc.) I felt a primal urge that our child would get a 10 out of 10. Fortunately, the rational side of my brain kicked in shortly thereafter and scolded my competitive side. I mentioned this to my doctor during my next check-up, and he started making cracks about, "What do you mean, 'blue?' Nah... that's the light in the room, Doc; you can just mark a '2' down for that oxygenation score."

I foresee years ahead of me of restraining my competitive impulses so my children can have peace. What are my chances that this is just pregnancy hormones?

March 15, 2005

Formulaic Strictures

Math/science majors should not get pregnant. -This has nothing to do with gender issues; this is about peace of mind, even sanity.

Ever since getting pregnant I've wondered if I could just come up with the right combination of foods to eat, foods to avoid, optimal sleep time, number of trips to the bathroom and a host of other variables - if I just get it right, I could avoid nausea, insomnia and other bad things associated with early pregnancy.

Last night I confess I actually started thinking in mathematical terms. --If I take an integral over time from zero to nine months and make sure there are multiplying factors for family history and difficulty of pregnancy, factor in the variables... --

I'm sure some researcher somewhere would get a kick out of the resulting trial equation I created today:
[av(i)^2][w/x)^2x + avi(b/xy) + av(cz) ≈health
0 i

I won't bore those of you who aren't math geeks, but there are actually terms there for how compounds like raffinose affect me, the way milk seems to help, and the impact of drugs on my ability to sleep through the night.

As I said, math/science majors shouldn't get pregnant. It does weird things to the brain.

My husband has been a saint in all this - making his own meals (which he usually does anyway, since he cooks more often than I do), putting up with accumulating dirty laundry and clutter, and insisting on helping out wherever he can. He says he's made a discovery about the 'protect/provide' switch that flipped on in his head the day we got married: it isn't a switch, but a dial. Apparently impending offspring crank the dial 'to eleven,' to quote Nigel of Spinal Tap. He's completely remodeled the upstairs bathroom, drawn hot baths for me, provided shoulder rubs, and willingly reads through pregnancy books with me. I married a prince among men, beyond a doubt.

I've grumbled a bit (to myself, spouse and friends) about the changes necessary during pregnancy; some have been harder than others. Though I like food, I'm not terribly keen on eating regularly - I'd rather read. It's hard for me to make myself eat throughout a day. Pregnancy requires me to be on a more structured timetable that's not really under my control. Though I like structure, I like it when I create it. Too often I consider freedom to be what's outside enforced structure...

Today I was reading some of Madeleine L'Engle's book, A Circle of Quiet, and I came on these words:
'It is our bones, our structure [the skeleton] which frees us to dance, to make love. Without our structure we would be an imprisoned, amorphous blob of flesh, incapable of response. The amoeba has a minimum of structure, but I doubt if it has much fun.'

So... I must confess I don't want to claim as offspring a creature formed outside of the structures of gestational period, uterus, and human developmental cycles. If I accept the structures, there are strictures [restrictions] that result.

Upshot? I'll finish with this line and munch some ever-present unsalted soda crackers to carry my stomach through the early evening hours. Buenas noches, lectores.

March 14, 2005

And So It Goes...

Why on earth is there a need for yet another blog - particularly one about motherhood?

I just read a Slate review of the recent genre of 'mommy-dom' iconoclastic books (shattering the myth about women who do it all), and feel I have a unique voice. In other words, I don't juggle the corporate world and children, my husband isn't insisting on a second income to maintain our WASP status, and my husband's electrical tools effectively disqualify our house from any mention in a Pottery Barn-lookalike contest.

Yup, we're average.

In all honesty, this is more to feed my writing itch and help keep friends updated at the same time without sending out annoying distribution emails with loads of email addresses included.

And so... it goes.

This morning (week 14 of a first pregnancy, for those playing along at home) started with flashbacks of weeks 7-13. Insomnia at 1 a.m... insomnia at 5 a.m. (forget going back to sleep; the alarm went off at 6 a.m.) Morning sickness? That's a misnomer if I've ever heard one - pregnancy-related nausea can strike at any time. This morning my digestive system (or the baby, I can't figure out which) decided it had an aversion to taking water on an empty stomach.

OK, fine; we'll try something else. Cheerios? You like Cheerios with milk?

Well... I guess those are acceptable.

I'm still feeling queasy; better take some of those ginger root supplements my doctor recommended.

Ick! No! [empty stomach]

Note: ginger root in capsule form is SO much nicer on the tongue/throat/esophagus than ginger root straight - particularly when combined with hydrochloric acid.

My list of possible food items gets smaller as smaller, since I avoid foods that have seemingly induced nausea like the plague. Call me paranoid, but I now have bad experiences with broccoli, onions, carrots, sugar, grapes, greasy food, prenatal vitamins, B vitamin supplements, water and ginger supplements.

I really wish there was something helpful my husband could do: he's reduced to watching me lean over the sink and retch, agonizing as he tries to help. I asked if he could get me a second body, as this one seems to have been usurped by an intruder outside of my control; he thought that a little beyond his ability.

Overall, I've retained my sense of humor, which I'm told is essential for parenting. I mentioned to my husband that I might just be one of the lucky ones who stays nauseated through all nine months.

He thought I seriously meant that would be lucky; now he's worried about my mental health.

: )