this week in adult things

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Less baby talk, more tug of war, capiche?

Weekly ramblings about things other than baby:

In books

So, I sniffed a book the other day.

It was after I realized that my days of reading actual paper books might be long gone, seeing as my main reading time right now is when my hands are busy but my brain is idle. Holding a lightweight tablet and swiping at a screen to turn a page is doable; holding up a thick book with one hand and turning a page with the other is downright impossible.

I’m struggling through a book called The Fifty Year Silence, about a woman trying to solve the mystery of why her grandparents haven’t spoken for fifty years. It started out pretty promising, but never lived up to its potential. My next book is the light and fun Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.

In eating and drinking

Have you ever had a Cara Cara orange? I’ve eaten at least one a day since January. Usually three a day, which a nurse informed me was “not moderation.”  I don’t know if the oranges were a pregnancy craving or what, but I am pretty confident I will not be developing scurvy anytime soon. I just ate the last orange from our latest bag, and I don’t see them at the grocery store anymore, and I think I’m getting hives.

Unrelated: This weekend we tried a new restaurant called Revival specializing in your basic Southern cuisine: fried chicken, biscuits, grits, macaroni and cheese. This Southerner was into it. So into it.

In music

When you need to put a baby to sleep, you do what you gotta do, so there have been a lot of baby bouncing dance parties happening in our living room lately, to the tune of music from Stevie Wonder to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack to…most often… Carly Rae Jepsen. We just have so much in common these days — “late night watching television / how did we get in this position?” are thoughts I have nightly while cuddling with my breast pump. 

Also, I’ve been listening to the new Alabama Shakes album (now that I know the lead singer is female) and I’m instantly a fan.

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I met Y for lunch on the University of Minnesota campus and I was late because hoards of students crossing the street turned a 30 second right turn into a 15 minute situation. This would have been fine, but I got irrationally angry because these kids looked like they were taking part in a “Worst of the 90’s” fashion show. THERE WERE YIN YANGS. Get off my lawn.

on breastfeeding in public

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With some clever timing, I was able to avoid breastfeeding in public for the first five weeks of Dalia’s life. I know, I know. it’s natural, it’s beautiful, we need to normalize it, etc. I’m with you. But can you grant me that it’s a little intimidating the first time? Great. Moving on.

In an adorable neighborhood in South Minneapolis lives a bookstore called Wild Rumpus. Imagine the most magical independent children’s bookstore you can think of — that’s Wild Rumpus. A tiny child-sized door leads into the store. Animals roam the aisles, most notably a pair of fluffy chickens, and children’s book authors regularly drop by to sign books. The day we visited, the store was packed but quiet as an author read from her latest release.

So quaint. So magical. So WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WAHHHHHH WAHHHHHHHHH.

That’s what it looks like when your newborn fills a pleasant silence with screaming, FYI.

 My streak of good timing had ended. There happened to be an overstuffed arm chair ten feet away from me that looked like it had seen many nursing sessions, so we became its next customers. The sound of Dalia’s screaming was replaced by my inner monologue, which went something like this:

Oh god, this chair is next to the front window. Hello, passersby! It’s my first time! Enjoy the show! STOP SMILING AT ME. Pretend I’m not here. Wait, are they smiling because they can see everything? STOP FLAILING DALIA. This is so awkward. OW. I’m bored. I wish I could reach a book. Maybe if I lean a little bit to the left I can reach this exciting-looking chapter book? Okay, reaching… oh shit, I reached too far. WARDROBE MALFUNCTION. Wait, maybe not. We might be okay? Would it be so bad if everything was hanging out? Probably not. But yes? STOP LOOKING AT ME, CHICKENS.

Suddenly, a little girl ran toward me frantically.

“TITTY! TITTY! TITTY!” she screamed.

I froze. Oh god, I thought, Not only am I  exposed in a bookstore but a little girl is telling the world about it.

The little girl ran past me.

There was a cat sitting behind me.

A KITTY. 

peeing in a cup, spotify, and crop tops: some last thoughts before baby

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39 weeks // 2 weeks

A forgotten post from my 8 million months pregnant brain:

+ Everyone keeps telling me, “you must be ready to have that baby.” Technically, yes… we have a crib and a white noise machine and a car seat and a onesie with a hippopotamus. But in reality… even though my back hurts and putting on boots requires a crane, being pregnant seems way easier than making sure a child leads a happy life in a world with ISIS and crop tops and Snapchat. I mean, there’s no guarantee that my baby won’t someday get the urge to join ISIS (or snapchat, for that matter). These [admittedly ridiculous] thoughts are far worse than a little back pain. IT’S SAFE IN HERE, BABY.

+ Speaking of boots, recently I had something stuck in my boot all day. It was driving me insane, but the thought of taking my boot off and putting it back on again was just way too hard. At the end of the day, I finally took off my shoe, and out came a quarter. CHA CHING.

+ Frequently seen  cliche on social media: comparison is the thief of joy. I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about how blogs and instagram and pinterest are making us all unhappy and I’m proud to say that I haven’t been sucked into it. You have a beautiful home and adorable dog that never sheds? Good job. You do you. I like my perfectly imperfect house and pulling tiny Ike hairs off of my clothes all day.

Then the other day, I peed in my little plastic cup at the doctor’s office, put it in the cabinet next to another cup of pee, and spent the next five minutes beating myself up because my pee was darker than the other person’s. Why don’t you drink more water? I asked myself. Then your pee wouldn’t be such a gross color. That person probably has a way better life than you do.

+ I realized that I’ve been wearing a maternity uniform: a $7 Forever 21 dress, maternity leggings, boots, and a cardigan or blazer. Editor’s note: Still wearing it. I might wear maternity leggings forever.

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I feel like those five photos of me need to start a girl group. Is that weird? Maybe don’t answer that.

+ Modern love is sharing a Spotify Premium account. Editor’s note: Fast forward 7 weeks; now our arguments concern which one of us interrupted Dalia’s white noise playlist. 

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this is not a birth story

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

“As soon as you hold your baby in your arms,” they tell you, “you’ll forget the pain of childbirth.”

Listen up, They.  Your advice is always iffy at best, but this time you’ve really missed the mark. Six weeks later, I still remember everything. For instance, contractions. They feel like a giant reaching down and twisting your torso like a wet dishrag. Tell me, They, would you forget that sensation?

I’m not really a “birth story” kind of person, but I am a “bulleted list” kind of person:

+ My water broke on my due date while I was lying in bed reading Girl on the Train (my quick review: overrated). A few weeks prior, I had asked my doctor, “What if my water breaks and I don’t realize it?” HA. I realized it.

TWO HOURS earlier, I had been walking on a treadmill in the middle of a crowded gym. I’ll spare you the details of my water breaking, but trust me when I say it is NOT an experience I would want to have a) in front of people, and b) ON A TREADMILL. Thank you, baby Dalia, for waiting until I was safely in my bed to begin your entrance.

+ Did I wait until the middle of this post to mention the baby that came out of all of this? She’s pretty terrific. Welcome to the world and our little family, baby Dalia.

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

+ I wanted to know what a contraction felt like (I know how to have a good time), so I went into the hospital fully intending to get an epidural after I got the gist of the whole contraction situation. Sure enough, 4 hours into my (15-ish hour) labor, I decided I was getting to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. For the next three hours (which is like 400 years in labor time), various medical professionals attempted to put an IV in my arm to start the epidural process, culminating in me on all fours wearing an oxygen mask as I had contraction after contraction with no break while an anesthesiologist put in the IV (which I’m told is basically the equivalent of the pilot passing out peanuts). On the plus side, I now know what “10” feels like on the pain scale and bow down to anyone who gives birth naturally.

+ If you’re ever thinking about going into labor, here’s a tip to distract yourself from the pain: pretend you’re a professional tennis player. Instead of writhing in pain, you’re serving an ace. What’s your signature sound? Perfect it.

+ The next day, my arms were so sore. When I mentioned it to Y, he told me I had been bracing myself on the sides of the hospital bed during my contractions. Could this be the next workout craze?

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+ Things got a little scary and I delivered in the operating room — thankfully no emergency C-section was needed. One of my friends saw the picture above and asked, “did you get a C-section or did Y just wear scrubs so everyone would know he was a doctor?” and the mental image of Y doing that still makes me laugh.

+ I think this little anecdote sums up my feelings on my epidural: 12 hours after I got the epidural and a few hours after I gave birth, Y and I were on the hospital elevator with a woman in a baseball cap and jeans. She and I nodded at each other in recognition. “Congratulations,” she said, smiling, as we reached her floor.

“Did you know her?” asked Y.

“That was Sue!” I replied, “Our nurse anesthesist.”

“Wow,” said Y, “How did you even recognize her?” I stared at him.

“Are you crazy? I WILL NEVER FORGET HER SWEET SWEET FACE AS LONG AS I LIVE.”

+ For the first few days, Dalia and I bonded by wearing matching mother daughter diapers.

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Beat that, Lorelai and Rory.

+ Dalia had some problems at birth that needed to be monitored, so for the first four days of her life, we sadly didn’t get to see her or hold her all that much. When they gave us the all clear to go home, Y took her out of the crib and we sat and stared at her.

After a few minutes we realized that “Endless Love” had been playing on the radio the entire time we were sitting there holding our newborn daughter.

And so began our adventures in parenthood. Stay tuned for more ridculousness.

maternity pictures + our first major parenting fail

We all know Y’s photography track record isn’t exactly stellar, but because we were too lazy/cheap/ambivalent to have maternity photos done, I asked him to try harder than he’s ever tried at anything ever and take some pictures of me. I think he did a pretty good job. mat1

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In pretty much every photo ever taken of me, I’m looking down and smiling at something. Hint: It’s Ike. It’s always Ike. In the photo above, he was crouching on the ground, moving back and forth in a way I’ve never seen him move before.

“What is he doing?” I asked Y calmly. “IS THIS A SEIZURE?!” I thought to myself, less calmly.

Turns out Ike was physically preparing for this feat:

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I may be new at this, but It’s totally safe for your dog to jump in your baby’s crib, right?

(No, he won’t be doing that again.)

Girl or Boy

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Do you want a girl or a boy?

The “correct” answer here, I’ve learned, is “It doesn’t matter as long as he or she is healthy!” (add #blessed for bonus points). I suppose that’s true, but if we’re being honest, I have some personal feelings on the matter… and there are some obvious pros and cons I think we can all agree on. (see: 4, 6, 8)

1. I’ve always thought it would be fun to grow up with an older brother, so if I were to create that ideal scenario we would need to have a boy first, and then a girl. POINT: BOY

2. We have a couple of girl names we really like and I’m worried they’re all going to become popular before we get the chance to be the trendsetters. POINT: GIRL

3. If we have a boy, and he ends up being anything like that OTHER boy I live with, my house will forever be filled with the sounds of gunshots, explosions, and other loud noises. POINT: GIRL

4. SPARKLY HEADBANDS. POINT: GIRL

5. We have a boy name that we really like. POINT: BOY.

6. Teenage boys are gross. Teenage girls are beautiful princesses. Exhibit A:

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POINT: TIE.

7. I hear moms of girls complaining about their little girls giving them attitude as early as two years old. POINT: BOY

8. My daughter and I could totally have a Rory and Lorelai Gilmore relationship. POINT: GIRL

9. Everyone seems to think we’ll be having a boy, and the rebellious part of me wants to prove them wrong. POINT: GIRL

10. I have saved all kinds of stuff — journals, love notes, dresses — “for my future children” and if I can make a sweeping generalization, girls tend to appreciate that kind of stuff more than boys. At least, none of the boys I know care about that stuff.  Plus, the odds are more likely that my girl baby would grow up to treasure my wedding dress than my boy baby. POINT: GIRL

11. If we had a boy, I could call him, Ike, and Y “my boys.” That’s just cute. POINT: BOY

WINNER (by a hair): GIRL.

#blessed

Mama loves you: Unflappable

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Dear Sir or Madam,

A few months ago at work someone called me “unflappable.” I tend to think that’s true as far as work matters go. I don’t usually get stressed about deadlines; I have a lot of experience with procrastinating and no disasters have ever come of it, so now that I’m more of a planner I feel downright invincible. Also, thanks to some perspective from living with a resident, I can clearly see the bigger picture that an “emergency” in my office is never truly an emergency.
Apparently, this colleague of mine used the word “unflappable” to describe me to a few people. I was starting to be slightly proud of this reputation until a few days later when a bird smacked into my office window. He fell to the ledge and sat there, motionless, unable to fly.

HE WAS LITERALLY UNFLAPPABLE.

And I lost it.

I started sobbing. I don’t DO hurt animals, I managed to tell my friend/co-worker that happened to walk in at that moment. I was convinced I was going to have to watch the bird die on my window ledge.

You’re probably wondering, sir or madam, what this has to do with you. Honestly, I just threw the thing about the bird in there for your first lesson on irony. The real lesson here is that at one point, your mother seemingly had it all together. People complimented her on it.

I fear that might not last long.

Other than animals getting hurt, the thing that sends me into hysterics is, well, silly, but it’s something I’m truly worried about. I get flustered, anxious, angry, and sometimes even frustrated to the point of tears when… wait for the dramatic reveal… I have a lot to carry.

Stupid, right? But if I have more than a few things in my hand while I’m, say,  checking out in a store, I get flustered and start to sweat. I pay, and then put my credit card somewhere completely random with no recollection, and then panic later when I can’t find it. Having a certain place for anything doesn’t help… I temporarily lose my mind when I have a lot of stuff.

From what I understand, babies require JUST A FEW additional accessories and do things in public that may or may not make me flustered and on top of all that I hear I won’t be getting a lot of sleep. And while pregnancy and giving birth comes with SO MANY FUN PERKS, I am here to tell you that no extra hands are grown during the process of gestation.

I’ve been carrying things around for close to 30 years and still haven’t figured out how to leave my house with a purse, gym bag, and lunch without forgetting something, dropping something, sweating, and/or crying. I imagine I will be a flustered mess for your entire childhood what with all of the crap your existence is going to require. When it embarrasses you and you wonder why you couldn’t have a more composed mother, I just want you to know IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

Mama loves you (almost as much as she loves injured birds),
D

P.S. We named the bird Elmer and he slowly but surely got his groove back and flew away. I think he had a better day than I did.