Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby Talk, Part Duex

Dear Baby Girl,

In a matter of days, you and I will finally end this uncomfortable and miserable final stretch of pregnancy and finally meet face to face. Can you believe it?

38.5 weeks_1 38.5 weeks_2

38 1/2 weeks

Yeah. Neither can I.

I have heard these rumors of taking advantage of pregnancy, as if the last nine months were meant to be filled with unlimited backrubs, long naps, and indulging in cravings of pizza, milkshakes and other sweets. However, our past nine months have been filled with none of the above. Okay, so maybe I did partake in my fair share of backrubs and down a strawberry milkshake or two, but we also included bouts of insomnia, endless miles of marathon training, packing, unpacking and nausea lasting far longer than the first trimester.  

The truth is, kiddo, that while many of these last nine months have bordered on the brink of miserable, I wouldn’t change it for the world. So, I am trying to take pleasure in these last few days, and enjoy the little perks pregnancy does offer me. Like, when I slathered peanut butter onto my chicken wrap, so I could make it “Thai.” No one said a word (well, except your dad who laughed). The bottles of OJ that I drink while doing the grocery shopping. Or not feeling guilty when the lady at the farmer’s market offered me an entire slice “sample” of her boysenberry pie and then her blueberry pie, of course, she explained, I’m eating for two (although, I did have to share with your older sister. I guess this is something we both have to learn to deal with.) So, when the little irks of pregnancy appear, irks like waking up every 30 minutes for another bathroom run, or the realization that some of your kicks and squirms are quite painful, I remember that growing a tiny human is tough work, but the rewards are oh, so worth it. I can’t wait to inhale your perfect, sweet newborn scent. I can’t wait to snuggle you against my chest. I can’t wait to introduce you to your amazing older sister. And, as importantly, I can’t wait for someone else to hold all 6-8 pounds of you.

In other news your father and I (and sister, naturally) helped finish your room this weekend. We cleaned, and built furniture, washed the tiny baby clothes, folded cloth diapers. We pulled out the infant car seat, washed the baby bathtub, and filled your bookcase with board books, burp cloths and handmade quilts.

So, little Rossini, you are welcome to come at any point and meet the rest of the family: your daddy, older sister and puppy (along with all four of your adoring grandparents) are incredibly anxious to meet you.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A suburban weekend

I think it should be a requirement that all happy families pay a visit to IKEA – extra credit for a weekend outing, and double extra credit if it’s because you are frantically furnishing a room for a baby arriving in less than three weeks. Really, there’s nothing quite like it to guarantee an abrupt end to that sickening lovey-dove behavior you’ve been exhibiting up until now. Besides, forget those wedding vows you made to each other, if you can handle a visit to IKEA, you’ve proven you can handle anything. Pulling out of the parking lot without intentionally leaving your spouse on the curb or trading your toddler for a plate of day-old Swedish meatballs equals success in my book!! With a formula of eight digit numbers and products you can’t pronounce, organized in aisles and bins stashed in a warehouse the size of the Grand Canyon, I ask you: What could go wrong? You know it’s a bad sign when, in order to survive, IKEA staff is handing you pads of paper and tiny pencils like you are about to take the SATs on a mini-golf course.

I bet you can’t guess where we went this past weekend? After a lovely relaxing Friday night consisting of homemade pepperoni pizza and finally watching our latest Netflix movie mailed to us in October, we spent Saturday AND Sunday morning tooling around IKEA like a bad middle-class cliché, buying a two EXPEDIATs, a HEMMNES and several KASSETs, or bookcases, a baby dresser and trash cans to the uninitiated. We also spent a bit of time at Buy Buy Baby, which we saw while passing a freeway exit. Nothing like shouting to your partner while cruising at 70 mph in the fast lane on an unfamiliar freeway: “Exit here, Exit here! A baby store, I bet they have cribs!” While I efficiently sought out a place for the impending new family member, J chased Daisy around the store as she wildly tore items off the shelves. When exiting the store (listening to the cheering and clapping of the team members charged with Hurricane Daisy clean-up), several hundred dollars poorer, J looked at me and innocently asked: IS this what they mean by Terrible Twos?

IKEA and Buy Buy Baby are funny places. Nothing will make you feel more like a suburban grown-up than a weekend visit with your significant other and toddler. There you will find five hundred other families, all identical to you, arguing over sofa beds, or shelving units or changing tables and chasing their whining children around the store. While pulling out of the IKEA parking lot, congratulating ourselves on a job well done, I looked at J and said that I hoped I didn’t step in an IKEA for a long time. He reminded me that we never did find the BJURSTA.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Here’s to a New Year

Another year, come and gone. I always take time to reflect on the past year, all the wonderful things I’ve experienced and learned, and my goals for the bright, shining upcoming year. This year I kicked a movie star, experience a loss of a truly amazing friend and cousin, and celebrated keeping my daughter alive for one full year. I took more plane rides than my budget allowed, travelling from San Luis Obispo to the coast of Maine.  I watched Daisy take her first independent steps. I raised money for Lung Cancer, got pregnant, battled several bouts of gastroenteritis, and walked a marathon while 28 weeks pregnant. And, oh yeah, put my house on the market and moved to San Francisco’s East Bay. Indeed, it’s been quite a year. A hard year, but one full of adventures and many, many lessons learned.

And as I’m writing this, three days post 2011 and still trying to articulate any goals for 2012, well except to find a place for the new baby to sleep (coming in four short weeks!), sort and wash newborn baby clothes, finally pay off my graduate student loan debt, and adapt to a family of four in a brand-new part of the state. I keep wondering what 2012 will bring. My 2012 horoscope promises a glorious year, a year of new beginnings and more time for self-expression (and romance! I’m not sure where that will fit in with a toddler and newborn though!) 

Ernest Hemingway had once said that his best work was a story he wrote in only six words. I recently stumbled upon an old contest the UK’s Guardian ran back in 2007 in which challenged contemporary authors to do the same, and the one six-word story that grabbed my heart the hardest was this one by Ali Smith: “In the end, everything simply began.”

And, I can’t think of a better way to describe my 2011 or the beginning of 2012, how things just do happen, no matter how long I lie awake worrying about them. Sure, I can obsess about what I’ll do when I get there. Where I’ll look for a new teaching position, how I’ll go about the complicated process of putting down roots, setting up camp, and jumping over any hurdles. But in the end, time keeps ticking, things have to be done, and I’ll do them. You make a list, and slowly cross everything off. You wash the baby clothes, buy a crib. You find a job, you go to the DMV, you make some friends to share a bottle of wine at playgroup to learn the tips and tricks of mommyhood. There’s no choir of angels, no thunderbolt from above, no round of applause as you segue from scared to settled. Everything simply begins. And then you just keep going.