Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Top of Spaghetti....

all covered with cheese! I lost my poor meatball...when somebody sneezed! 


This was the song I was singing all morning as I stood in my kitchen, for the first time since I was 7 weeks pregnant, making a giant pot of homemade meatballs, tomato gravy and sausage. I'm calling this one an official pregnancy milestone.

I had some of the strangest aversions to food when I was in my first trimester, and some of them stuck around until just recently. You may recall from posts long ago that leftovers were the most disgusting thing ever to me up until I was about 14 weeks pregnant. There was just nothing appealing to me about them. In fact, before my husband left for 9 weeks of training, I made him clean out the fridge, ridding it of all things leftover, vowing never to refill with last night's dinner again.

My other food aversion was a real devastation to me: meatballs and tomato gravy. It was a sad, sad day at 7 weeks prego when I made a giant, delicious pot, ate 2 meatballs for lunch, 2 with dinner...and then gagged the rest of the night. After that, just the thought of meatballs and gravy nauseated me. It was a serious blow to my list of favorite things to cook.

Recently though, I've discovered that leftovers really aren't that bad, especially homemade mac n cheese and chili....and spaghetti and meatballs suddenly seems overly appetizing. It's an exciting idea to me. So today I set out on making a delicious dinner...and belting out the children's song I used to sing with my preschoolers every day while I cooked it. My apartment is filled with the rich, delicious smell of garlic, tomato and spices, and dinner can't come soon enough. Thankyou, prego food gods, for restoring my love of Italian cooking!

it rolled off the table...and onto the floor. And then my poor meatball rolled straight out the door!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Art of Baby Naming

As a Sociology major in college (go Pitt!), my senior thesis was centered around baby-naming. I spent an entire semester researching the history of baby-naming practices, traditions from around the world, and even interviewing parents and expecting parents regarding how they had or were choosing names for their children. My research ended up in a kick-ass twenty page paper that outlined all kinds of baby-naming arts and trends, and I had the pleasure of presenting my work at the Penn-York Undergraduate Research Association conference in October of 2008, and again at my university's Honors Convocation the following spring. I was, and still am, proud of the research I conducted and the work I produced, but I have to say it made me a little cocky about naming my own children before I got pregnant...

My research concluded a multitude of things. Firstly, I had found that in current years, a major trend in baby-naming was to name a child based on who the parent thought or wanted that child to become in life. However, if you've ever read "Freakonomics" (best textbook I was forced to purchase ever), you'll recall the story about Winner and Loser (sadly, the story and names were true). Winner went on in life to become a criminal with a rap-sheet the size of "War and Peace" and Loser went on to become a big hero in a police department. Ironic, I know.

Secondly, another major theme in my research became the fact that boys in American culture tended to be named after something or someone special more so than girls. It was actually more common for girls to have names that I referred to as "trendy" because the parents thought they were cute or sweet. Where a boy might be named a family name, or saintly name, a girl was more likely to be given the name of a pretty flower than to be named after great-aunt Gerty.

When I found out we were expecting, I automatically assumed that because of all the research I had done, I would have the world's easiest time choosing names for my baby. I vowed to stay away from self-proficizing names (for fear of ending up with a Winner) for sure, and to make sure that my names had some kind of special meaning behind them somehow for both a boy and girl. And while I am getting what I want out of both of my names, it certainly took a while to get there.

I don't really want to delve into what the names are that I've chosen just yet, but let me tell you that my over confidence was truly a devil for me. I think I ended up having a difficult time, especially with my girl's name, because I was so over confident. It's funny how you think you may know so much about something, and just how you're going to to something...until you actually go-about and do it. It's the beginning of parenting lessons, I supposed....and it's the art of baby-naming :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Think I'll Pass on That Needle in My Belly, Thanks.

If you've ever been pregnant and had your care done through an OB office, you've probably been offered the option of genetics testing in the first trimester. While for some women and families this is an important step in preparing for a new baby, it was not a step I was anxious to take...and so I opted out of it.

Throughout my life an important theme I've seemed to learn and work with is rolling with the punches. I've learned that things rarely go as planned, and there's nothing you can do but go with the flow when things don't work your way. While it's something I've often found frustrating and a lesson I've struggled to learn (out of my own stubbornness and need to plan things centuries in advance), it's a concept I've actually chosen to work with in starting my family.

As I mentioned before, I'm a planner. Ask anyone who knows me well...I like to know what's happening, when, where, why, what's the backup plan and who's going to be there. It's a quality that has suited me well when it came to planning things like Student Government events in college, parties galore (especially my wedding) and even billboard decorating in my pre-school classroom. Yes, I'm the girl that needs a plan....except when it comes to my kids apparently.

When the topic of genetics testing came up at my first few appointments, I knew right away I was going to refuse the option. For someone who is such a planner, I even surprised myself with this one. I've decided that if there is going to be some issue or exceptionality with my child, we will deal with it as it comes. I don't want to be worrying about those things, or stressing about them while I'm pregnant. And while some may feel that genetics testing will help them be more prepared for a child with exceptional needs, I feel that the testing, for me at least, would be more of a stressor and a set-back. I want to enjoy my pregnancy and enjoy getting to know my baby without worrying about results from tests that aren't always accurate. I'd rather roll with the punches.

Besides, some of that testing is scarily invasive. Among the testing options I was offered, one testing strategy suggested that if abnormal results were found, an amniocentesis would be performed to further analyze my baby. Call me crazy but the idea of having a giant needle stuck in my belly, that could potentially poke my child if not done correctly, is not so appealing. In fact, I find it down right scary.

And then there's always the ever pleasant false-positive results that so many women experience. Again, call me crazy but I'd rather not spend my pregnancy worrying about an abnormality that I'm being told my child has, only for my baby to be born perfectly fine. I think I'd much rather have the least-stressful pregnancy possible, with the least amount of worry possible (other than the worries you already experience in pregnancy), and handle things as they come. For me at least, not stressing over those things, I think, is helping to keep myself and my baby happy and healthy.

Genetics testing is a personal decision, and while it's right for some families (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that), it's just not right for mine. I think I'll pass on having that needle stuck in my belly, thanks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blankies

Call me weird or whatever you want, but as a child I had a special attachment to a yellow blankie with satin edging...and still today that blanket is in existence and something I consider to be one of my most prized and priceless possessions. I just don't think you can put a price on something that has been in my life for so long, been a comfort when needed, or been an item with such special history to me.

Ask my mom. She'll tell you that as a child there were multiples of this yellow blankie in the house, and mom even altered one which she nicknamed "piece-o-blankie" that was a blankie cut in half so it wouldn't drag on the ground when we went out. She'll also tell you just how particular I was with my blankies. I had this thing...on those particular blankets (that with some research, I discovered were called Baby Morgan blankets...and are now virtually impossible to find) there was a spot where the satin edges met. Appropriately, I named this part of the blankie "spot", creative I know. Let me tell you, if someone handed me a blankie without a spot, this girl knew immediately that it wasn't mine, it wasn't yellow, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

It's funny to me that my blankie has meant so much and been so important in my life, especially as a child. For one reason or another I developed a bond with the blankie that neither of my brothers ever seemed to have with a blankie of their own, or even a stuffed animal at that. It makes me wonder what it was about that yellow blankie that I became so attached to, and what really made it so special to me.

Funnily enough, that blanket it no longer really yellow, more of a grey from years of use and fading....and sadly the satin edging is long gone. But every time I look at it, I'm reminded of how long it's been in my life...and I never really see the grey, old rag that some may look at it as. It's still, and always will be, my perfect yellow blankie.

Having it in my life makes me wonder what my baby will attach to. Since finding out I was pregnant, I've been on the hunt for a blankie just like mine, with the hopes that maybe this baby will find his or hers as special as I found mine.

Just call me Linus. Blankies rock.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hands Off the Belly, Stranger!

Now that I've got myself a nice baby bump going on, I'm finding people, especially strangers, having this impulse to ask me when I'm due, what I'm having...and to touch my belly.

You know, I don't mind it so much when it's someone I know, especially because my friends have the good sense to ask or forewarn me that they want to see if they can feel the baby moving. And I actually enjoy sharing that with my friends and family. My issue, I'm learning, is when strange people see my prego self and without forewarning put their hands on my bump. This is evidently a no-no with me.

I've always had an issue with odd people touching me...I hate even accidentally bumping into someone or being in a crowded place where a stranger is sure to graze my arm. The idea of someone I don't know making even the slightest physical contact with me skeeves me out and makes me uncomfortable. Now that I'm pregnant though, people apparently feel entitled to making this physical contact and grabbing the belly...and I am just not a fan. I think part of it is coming from the aversion I've always had to it, but another part is out of protecting my kid. I know that my baby is safe in my belly, but the idea of a stranger touching my child's safe-keeping doesn't sit well with me. Especially when it comes without warning. It doesn't matter to me how friendly you may seem or how many kids you may have....if I don't know you and you don't ask, touching my belly is asking for the lioness to come out and bite your head off. We teach our children not to talk to strangers, shouldn't that begin with not allowing these strangers to touch our kids, whether they're still growing in mommy or not?

So please, strange people, ask all the questions you want, I'll answer you politely...but when you're talking to me remember, keep your hands off the belly!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Perfect Father's Day

Derek wasn't too into the idea of it being his first Father's Day today, but none the less we had a pretty perfect day. And really, it was his first Father's Day whether he liked it or not.

I think his aversion to celebrating anything is coming from the fact that he doesn't really feel much like a daddy yet. I think in his mind being a daddy means holding our baby and taking care of our baby and all of the physical duties, and of course emotional duties, that come with parenting. Little does my sweet husband realize, he's already an amazing daddy. 

To me, his daddy duties began the minute I told him I was pregnant. He sat there and stared at me with stars in his eyes, his jaw on the floor and a completely bewildered look on his face. Clearly, neither of us was expecting it (my reaction can be found within my very first post). But then a smile came over his face and his arms wrapped around a completely freaked out me. And then he took me on a date. Ever since that fateful day, March 3rd to be exact, my wonderful husband launched into the mode of being an even more nurturing, loving, and supportive person.....a daddy.

And so for his first Father's Day, I took the opportunity to spend the day relaxing and enjoying my husband for the amazing man he is. I watched his favorite show all day, flopped on the couch with him, talked about our baby, our soon to be man-turned-baby cave, and our life. We shared a great meal, prepared by both (but mostly him...he insisted!) of us, and a great day together. I took the opportunity to enjoy him not only as being my husband, but the father of our tiny little one.

It was honestly a perfect Father's Day...for both of us...or really, all three of us :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Well, We Know He Won't Poison Your Kid...

Last weekend was my friend Jen's birthday, and myself and our friend Chantel took her out for a little birthday dinner and movie action...leaving my wonderful husband with the task of watching a two year old and a four year old. That statement alone should draw you right in to this story :)

My husband is always pretty exceptional with children, probably because he's nothing but an oversized kid himself (no lie. The man has Nerf guns and Legos)...but I can't say that I've ever known him to baby sit two little ones at the same time...nor two little girls, at that. Not that I was concerned, but I was extremely curious to see what state the kiddos would be in...and what state he'd be in by the time we got back. Well, let's just say he handled an explosive diaper for starters and by the end of the night Jen's apartment looked like an atomic bomb had hit it and the two little girls were passed out, sleeping peacefully, after what I expect was crashing from a major sugar high.

Though amongst his interesting style of babysitting and playing like a boy with a couple of little girls (hence the disastrous apartment), my husband did something that night completely unexpected...and incredibly smart.

Let me preface this by saying that I make the world's most phenomenal cupcakes and buttercream icing, and my most requested flavor is my chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream. For her birthday, this cupcake was Jen's request, and as per usual I shared the extras with the neighbors and sent some with Derek to ease his babysitting duties.

My thoughtful husband didn't know if one of the little girls was allergic to peanut butter or not, and she was begging him for a cupcake after we had left for dinner. Instead of just mindlessly giving her the cupcake, he made about 20 calls to my cell phone before I picked up, just to see if it was ok for her to eat one (which, it was).

I couldn't help but be proud of him. It's not something I would have expected him, or any other person really, to think of. Personally, I know better from years of working with kids...but I wouldn't have expected the average person to think about that before handing a child a cupcake like that. It makes me happy to say that I have a thoughtful husband in more ways than one...and if he ever babysits for you, we know he won't poison your kid :)

It's just one more way I know he's going to be a great daddy :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

No Offense, But I Don't Want to Hear Your Horror Story...

I'm noticing a lot lately that women have a no-holds-bar approach when it comes to speaking to pregos. From the best birth stories, to the horrific ones, I'm pretty sure I've heard it all by now...even when I didn't particularly want to....and though I may think I've heard it all, I'm sure someone will manage to pull one over on me.

For those who don't know me all that well, I'm never the one to stop you in the middle of the story and tell you to just "stop". If you've got something to say, I'll listen, though I can't promise I'll want to get into conversation with you for a while again, especially if you've shared your horribly scary pregnancy or birthing story with me. For someone who is becoming a mommy, I'm still on the squeamish side when it comes to hearing about how awfully sick you may have been or how many times you were stuck with a needle during an epidural....as was the conversation a strange woman at the PX chose to engage me in last week. I shudder at the memory of this clueless woman telling me her experience...and totally freaking me out.

Lucky for me I've got a great support system of people who are incredibly reassuring when it comes to me wigging out a bit over the idea that I have to push out a kid in November and all that comes with. But still, pregnancy enough can be a scary and nervewrecking time (though it sure has it's wonderful points as well) without the well-meaning people who feel so compelled to share unfortunate stories. And while I'm sorry that those experiences may have happened, and any other time I'm sure I would compassionately listen...now isn't exactly a time when I want to hear things that will scare me, make me shudder, or just completely blow my mind.

If you ever want to say something to a pregnant woman, how about just telling her that her bump is cute?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Knowing My Baby

These days, I'm finding that I'm learning more and more about my baby...and it often makes me laugh. I'm learning to know my baby, before I really know my baby. And I love it.

I've learned that my baby is moving around the most in the morning...and later at night (we're working on this one :) )

I've learned that my baby loves the sound of his or her daddy's voice

My baby loves Sugarland (just like Mommy!), Katy Perry, and The Kinks

My baby has a sweet tooth (we discovered this yesterday after I had eaten a lemon popsicle and it was like fireworks in my belly...and then again last night when Derek made me an Eggo ice cream sandwich)

My baby really, really likes it when Daddy rubs Mommy's back (just in case Derek happens to read this one)

And my baby is beyond the love of my life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hairy Memories

The other night, as I was popping Tums and chugging milk in an effort to soothe my ever fiery heartburn, Derek and I discussed the wives-tale that lots of heartburn means a baby with lots of hair. I'm actually a huge believer in this one. My mom had heartburn with all three of us, and I've had a good head full of hair since the moment I was born. Same with my two brothers...and countless other friends who have had babies who needed a trim at two days old.

Talking about our baby having a good head of hair sparked an interesting memory for me. When I was home for my birthday, my parents pulled down my "baby" box and for the first time in 24 years I was able to revisit all the things that have been special in my life. One in particular, that I couldn't believe my parents had saved, was a little wooden stroller with a little wooden doll in it that my dad had brought home for me from a business trip to Mississippi. As I examined the little doll, I spotted one orange dot on the very top, center of the doll's head...and remembered my five-year-old self putting it there with purpose.

When I was five, my father was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Hodgkin's-Lymphoma. He is now healthy and working on 20 years of surviving, but that little doll holds a special reminder of when my daddy was sick.

I was sitting at our kitchen table, coloring with my dad, who was allowing my little curious mind to ask all kinds of questions about him being sick. I had asked my dad why he had bought a new baseball hat, and he was explaining that because of his medicine, he was going to lose his hair and the hat was to cover his head. Well the wheels in my mind apparently started turning about my daddy losing his hair, because a few minutes later I exclaimed to my dad that he didn't need the hat. When his hair fell out, I would color his head for him with Magic Marker. And when my dad asked what color I would use, I quickly replied "orange".

I remember fondly that same day playing with my dolly and stroller, and noticing that my little wooden dolly didn't have any hair. Well the dolly came from my dad, so maybe he had lost his hair too. My solution? To take my orange Magic Marker and put one orange dot on the top of the baby's head so he had a little spot of hair.

I brought that stroller and doll back to Washington with me, with the intentions of giving that special toy to my baby, orange dot and all. It's a funny reminder to me that if all this heartburn doesn't produce a baby with a head full of hair, I can always color it on with orange Magic Marker :)