Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Wrapping Story

It’s not even Christmas yet and I find myself getting all emotional about Baby’s First Christmas -- an event McLean is not old enough to even appreciate or remember.  It’s way too late for me to be up and I’m sitting on the floor of the office, wrapping the toys and books and toy keys we got for him (he always goes after mine so I figured he should have his own set, like a mini-janitor).  Why I bother wrapping them, I have no idea, but it seems anti-climactic not to do so, and hey, the little guy can grab and rip, so why not add an element of mystery?

The Christmas Story marathon is on, a movie I so love.  It seems like the last couple of times I’ve caught it on TV in the background of my life, it always lands on that part when Ralphie is kicking the crap out of the bully kid, and his mama shows up to break it up and she pulls Ralphie off the kid and turns him to face her and he just looks up at her and starts crying.  Something about seeing his mama just turns the rage into tears, and then she takes him home and splashes water on his face and the back of his neck to cool him off even though it’s snowing outside and tells him to go lie down and calm down, and damn if that whole exchange doesn’t just kill me EVERY SINGLE TIME I see it.  It’s just so tender and an honest little moment of life and how a mother and son would interact in a situation like that.  It makes me wonder if the director or writer of the film had just such a moment as a little kid because the scene is handled with such sensitivity and beauty. 

It made me think about my little boy, how there will be similar times in his life when it just gets to be too much, and the anger will turn to tears.  And I will have to hold it together for him and calm him down so that he can learn to one day calm himself down and regain control of his emotions.  How do mothers do this?  Is there a book on how to do it?  I’m sure the mother’s first instinct would be to get in there and pound on the bully kid yourself because he dared to attack your baby.  But that’s not the right thing to do.  And I need to be an example of the right thing to do, difficult as that may be.

So I sit, wrapping his presents with cheap paper and tears, anticipating the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenthood that is yet to come.

Happy Holidays, dear ones.  I hope your holidays are filled with peace and love and the Air Rider Range Rifle you always wanted.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An Open Letter To Trader Joe's

Please stop putting crack in the chocolate chunk cookies for the love of non-elastic-waistband jeans.  A girl has a hard enough time losing the post-preggo gut.  Geez.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Listen To Your Valley Girl, M'kay?

This is going to be a weird post.  On the one hand, I’m going to tell you to be cautious, and on the other hand, I’m going to tell you not to give in to the fear.

Some of you longtime Valley Girl readers might remember the vicious, nasty, cuss-laden post I wrote to the person who burglarized our house nearly two years ago while Derek and I were at work.  Unless you’ve gone through a similar experience yourself, nobody can adequately convey the feeling of violation and rage that accompanies such an event.  It is nothing short of devastating. 

Though we have since gotten an activated alarm system and a doggie door so Big Brown Dog can satisfactorily patrol the entire premises, and though the police who investigated the crime assured us that “these people” who do these sorts of things almost never return to the scene of the crime for a repeat offense, the feeling of being unsafe never really goes away.  Most people end up selling the house and moving after being robbed for that very reason, but for others, that’s not really an option. 

One of my dearest friends of all time had such an experience last night, I’m sad to report.  Everyone was home and asleep and oblivious to what was happening in their home – even their mean, protective pit bull who would scare the bejebus out of anyone.  Some asshole got in, rifled through their most personal and expensive objects, picking and choosing what to take, and slipped out without being noticed.  All while their two kids slept in the next room. 

People, going through it myself was bad enough, but knowing someone you love is now going through these feelings is awful, and since you are likely someone I love if you are reading this, or even if I have never even met you, you are someone I care about, and I am begging you, BEGGING YOU—

Step up the home security right now.  Today.  I don’t care if your dog is Cujo and you sleep beside an insomniac Special Forces mercenary with Bionic hearing and a bad attitude.  KEEP YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS LOCKED UP.  Put motion detector lights on your roof or by the front door.  Don’t leave out valuable stuff that can be seen from the street.  If you are home and someone comes to your door selling shit, let them know you are home, but don’t open the door.  Tell them (as I do) that you have a really mean dog that will bite them on the balls.  And as the cops who took our burglary report told us to do, put wooden dowels in your windows like this…

… so that windows cannot be forced open.  Every single window, even ones you think nobody would ever know about.  You can get these at any hardware store for cheap and cut them down to size to fit your windows, or have the dudes in the store do it for you.  And you know those plastic thingies that lock onto the window sash?  Do you have those?  Forget them – they don’t work and can easily be forced off.  That’s how Assholio got into our house.  Basically do everything to make your beloved pad say “Move along, Mother-Effer.”  These are hard times economically, and people will get more brazen about trying to steal your shit.  And while I sympathize with anyone having money probs, stealing what belongs to another and violating their sacred space is never the answer.

Which brings me to my next point I really want to make.  Don’t give in to the fear.  There is a lot of panic and paranoia in the air right now that only gets worse when people start feeling threatened.  They perpetuate a vibe of hostility.  I’m guilty of this – after our house was hit, a neighbor of mine cast suspicion on a guy down the street since he is kinda street-looking and drives a douchey car.  Other than being annoyed with his noisy douchey car, I never thought twice about the guy, but now I was looking at him with suspicion and hostility as well.  This is not good.  In times like these, we need to be reaching out to our neighbors with love and a helping hand more than ever, and thinking of ways we can help one another.  Being afraid of our current circumstances doesn’t help anything.  Our beautiful country has been through way worse and it will get through this.

But in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with being a little extra cautious.  I’m just sayin’….

Be safe.





Friday, October 24, 2008

Baby, Interrupted

I feel like teething has taken over my life.  The first two bottom chompers are busting their way into the world, and poor little feller has been pretty miserable.  He gets fevers, drools a lot, and his booger production has launched into overdrive.  This makes it hard for him to nap, and the only thing that comforts him is nursing.  So needless to say, I pretty much nurse all day.  And he doesn't just pacify -- he consumes.  The boy is becoming a little tank.  My biceps are ripped from hoisting his sturdy little butt up.

The thing that kills me is that he is in pain, and all the goofy little remedies I try don't really do much.  He still looks at me pleadingly with big, fat tears coming out of his eyes -- Make it stop, Mama! -- chomping down mercilessly on his own fingers.  When I take him out in public and people come up to admire him and fawn over his cuteness, even though he is tired from lack of nappage and his gums are on fire, he will still smile at them like they just made his little day.

I remarked the other day that the teething would be much easier on me if he would just act like an asshole once in awhile.  But so far, he is just being his usual Golden Child self.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Return of Shaft

Exciting news, people.  Shaft is back in the hizouse.  After a long and pregnant hiatus from my stripper pole, Shaft was lovingly returned to me by his foster mother, Heddie, who took excellent care of him and did lots of twirls on him so he did not have to sit sadly and idly in the garage whilst I gestated.
Why am I posting a picture of myself with both a tiara and g-string on my head?  That was the last great Shaft night -- my surprise bachelorette party where several girls took their turn with Shaft and much debauchery ensued and much liquor was consumed and lap dances were performed and, well, those pictures are just too dirty to post.  This is a family blog, bitches.

And also because I miss that girl with the thong on her head.  It's been awhile since I've seen her.  But I feel like she is making her way back....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Dear McLean,

Some days you are just hungrier than others.  About once a week or so, there is a 48-hour period during which you must eat every hour and a half and you let it be known with your newfound strong lungs if the grace period for the current feeding has expired.  I suppose it takes a lot of food to maintain the title of Longest Baby In The World, which is why I don’t complain about it.  Somebody’s got to empty these giant milk jugs and it might as well be you.

But something sounded different when I put you down for your nap today.  You had already eaten and been changed.  You made this pleading cry that I hadn’t really heard before, and it wasn’t just naptime fussing.  You had just eaten, so it couldn’t be that.  I had just changed your diaper due to a huge assex (that would be ass explosion for those of you not familiar with my vernacular), so it couldn’t be that.  You were so very tired from being up half the night eating, but you just couldn’t sleep.  You can’t talk yet, but you kept repeating “ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma. . . “  I went in and picked you up and held you against my chest and sat in the easy chair.  You wrapped your long little arms around my neck and lay your head on my breast and promptly fell asleep.  You just wanted Mama, and that was all.

A few silent minutes went by and then suddenly Uncle Rufus came running in from the living room, whining anxiously like he always does when you cry.  Only this time he wasn’t whining at you.  He was whining at me.  “WHAT IS WRONG????” his wrinkled up brow and concerned eyes pleaded.  Your mama was crying like a baby.

I have long believed that we create our own heaven or hell right here on earth.  A shift in attitude can bring the greatest joy into the most hellish of circumstances.  And likewise, all the money and fame and accomplishment in the world cannot bring true happiness to anyone.  It’s an inside job.  This is something I want to teach you as you grow up.  You are not responsible for my happiness, but in that moment that you slept on me, I felt heaven on earth in the very depths of my soul.  The only other moment that came close was the day I married your father.  And as I sat there with you, I thought how incredibly fortunate I am.  I am the richest woman in the world.  I’ve been through some heavy times in my life and had terrible moments of despair.  But they were all like cobblestones paving the way for me to have you enter my life. 

When we made the decision to have a baby, I didn’t know at the time that I needed you, specifically you, one in a billion you.  But here you are.  To say “I love you” just seems so very inadequate, but it’s all I have.  I love you.

Of course, I couldn’t very well explain this to Uncle Rufus, so I just told him it was okay and, believing me, he curled up on the monkey rug and the three of us stayed that way for at least an hour until you woke up, ready to eat again.  Ready to hang out in our little slice of heaven.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Postpartum Woe #658

So not only do I have the big giant gelatinous belly to deal with which cannot be stuffed into anything resembling normal clothing, but now this.

I was warned this would happen.  I read it in the pregs websites.  I was told by friends who have been there and had it happen.  And hormones are hormones, after all; they don’t discriminate.  But I thought that by some little miracle, like, maybe because I am special, this side effect was going to skip my hairy ass.

No such luck.

And no, my ass is not hairy.  But my head is.  For now, anyway.  While I was pregnant, it was a rare day that a hair fell out of my head.  Srsly.  Even after washing and conditioning it, blow drying it, teasing it, whatever.  The preggo hormones stop the normal hair-shedding process, and my hair just got thicker and thicker and it was awesome and I never had that annoying thing happen, you know where you can feel a fallen hair on the back of your arm somewhere and it bugs you but you can’t quite reach it until you pissedly have to turn your whole outfit around to the front so you can pick the hair off and drop it on the floor in disgust?  Yeah, that didn’t happen for nine months.

Until last week.  And it happened all of the sudden, in the shower one day, and hasn’t stopped since.  Enough friggin’ hair falls out of my head per day to make a whole other Jennie.  It sucks.  I try to be gentle with it, not tug it, not even blow dry it or futz with it.  I still take my prenates every damn day.  How long is this going to continue?  It’s hard not to panic when I am clogging up the drain catcher completely TWICE PER SHOWER.  And I have to pull off of there something resembling a brown doily.

Ugh.  Do you think I would look cute bald?  

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Well You Took My Heart, And You Stomped That Sucker Flat

This is a line from an old country song my dad always used to sing.  And I am convinced it was originally written by a mother. 

I know you’re not supposed to run to rescue your kid after every little peep he makes, but it is SO HARD not to sometimes.  Our little guy doesn’t cry much, so when he does, it just kills me.  And when he does cry, it’s not the annoying, bitchy sound you would expect.  Imagine a little puppy who is heart-liquifyingly adorable, who never pees on anything he’s not supposed to, doesn’t chew your shoes, and loves to cuddle and make you happy.  Now imagine that puppy, singing the blues.  It’s kind of a sad, howling, heartbreaking kind of sound.  How long could you stand it?  And then to see his face while he’s making that sound, with these sad, pleading eyes.  I can’t take it.  If he makes that face while he is supposed to be napping, I have to hold him and make that face go away or I will die.

It is breaking my heart enough that he is growing up so fast already.  This past Sunday while I was sleeping in and Daddy was manning Tummy Time, McLean rolled over for the first time on his own.  I heard about it later, and was sad I missed it, but happy that Daddy got to have the first big milestone since he doesn’t get to spend much time with the little guy during the week.  

But then relaying the event to Jen on the phone the next day reduced me to sputtering tears.  It’s like, you want your baby to grow big and strong and develop and gain independence, but why does it hurt so much when it happens?


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Agony And The Ecstacy

So I took Little Man to his 2-month check-up at the pediatrician the other day.  The agony over whether or not to vaccinate, and when and which ones to use, rages on.  I had hoped by now I would have a much clearer opinion on the subject, but basically have narrowed it down to this:  I know there are a few nasty things out there that my child could actually still contract and I am okay with giving him vaccines for those specific diseases, in two-month intervals, and in mercury-free, single-dose injections.  I just don’t want him injected with anything just yet.  He is so young, and the first two years are when so much brain development takes place.  I’m just not okay with it.  Add to that the thought of someone taking a needle to my precious little baby’s skin and the thought just makes me want to fly into a Mama-Bear hysterical fit. 

But my pediatrician, God bless her, has been really helpful in grappling with the indecision.  Not one to take the “I am Doctor and know best” approach, something I really hate, she explains the risks and benefits of everything thoroughly without the hard sell and adds a good dose of sympathy:  she, too, is a mother, and has had to wrestle with the same issue and feels my pain.  She also relays the information in a mother-to-mother respectful way, which I reciprocate to her.  I am quick to tell her I am not some shithead who reads a few things on the internet and suddenly thinks they have a medical degree.  I take my opinions from several sources, keep an open mind, and settle on whatever makes the most sense for me.  But this issue is really making me nuts and I would appreciate any feedback from others who have also struggled with this.

Meanwhile, our little boy is doing great.  He is now up to 11.1 lbs and 24.5 inches long.  He is a tall boy!  He still breastfeeds with gusto and is having more awake time during the day where he smiles and kinda does this little giggle thing.  It kills me, it’s so cute.  He sleeps about 12 hours per night, except for two feedings, after which he conks right out again.  So I get a good deal of sleep, it’s just broken up into three and four hour sessions.

And now for the hard stuff.  It’s hard for me to even talk about it because I will break down into tears like some deranged mushmonger (yes, I did just invent that term).  I love him so much, it nearly breaks my heart, every minute of every day.  There is no respite from the pain of loving him – it is always there.  I remember reading a quote from Erma Bombeck that said something like deciding to have children was like deciding to have your heart go permanently walking around outside of your body.  And now I understand what that means.  And he is so sweet and loving and trusting that the rare occasions he actually cries feel devastating to me.  This part of motherhood is something I never could have prepared for, and is something I struggle with every day.  I’m not used to that weight on my heart yet, and don’t imagine I ever will be.

It is also heartbreaking how fast it all goes.  When friends who have children see my son, they remark how tiny he is and how it seems like just yesterday that their son/daughter was that little, while I am thinking holy crap!  He is two months old already and is HUGE compared to when he was born and has changed so much in so many big and little ways.  My days are full of nothing but feeding him, feeding myself, and getting a shower and maybe a walk in there, but they seem to be rocketing toward unpacking his college dorm room with lightning speed.  Every morning when we get up, it seems he has grown taller, has a new facial expression, makes a new cooing sound, has more hair on his head, has a different color eyes.  It just happens so fast and you want to have the presence of mind to savor every single minute.

Uncle Rufus also loves the baby, and as I expected, has not demonstrated an ounce of jealousy over being unseated as the #1 baby of the house.  He whines painfully whenever McLean cries, he gives him a good sniffing-over every time I set him down between boobs during feedings, he parks himself in McLean’s room for most of the day and considers himself to be a vital part of the McLean Care Team.  It’s really cute.

The pug, on the other hand, just can’t be bothered.  But she’s old, and is far more concerned with the timely delivery of her chicken leg in the morning.

I would have to say that all around, we are one happy little family, and I thank God profusely every day for all that I have.  I have finally found an occupation that I really and truly love.  Mommy.  It suits me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Baby Boy Arrives!

Finally! I know, this post is SO three weeks late, but to say I have been busy would be such a ridiculous understatement. First, the details:

Our boy McLean, a whole ten days late, finally decided to vacate the McLean Condo in his own sweet time without being induced. It was the classic scenario: Got up to pee at 2:30 in the morning and my water broke and contractions started almost immediately after. I got to have the “Honey, it’s time!” moment, and in retrospect, I am SO HAPPY we waited for him to come out when he was ready. Even my doctor at my post-partum check-up said that he was happy I listened to my body and we didn’t induce. He said he now brags about me to his other patients and how it has taught him to step back a bit in certain circumstances, rather than intervene – something that is “scary and humbling” – his words -- for a doctor to do. It was cool knowing I had some influence on this man’s 25+ years of doing this job. Anyhoo….

Turns out the boy wasn’t as big as had been predicted. He was 8 lbs., 3 oz. – WAY smaller than we had been told, but my va-jay-jay was not complaining. He was 21 ¾ inches long, didn’t cry much when he came out, and bravely tolerated all the poking and prodding a newborn endures when they first come on the scene.

The days that followed at home are now a blur. I was one of the lucky 1 in 100 women who suffers severe headaches from the epidural. I’m talking such intense throbbing, not even Motrin makes a dent. The only thing that helped even slightly was lying down with a cold compress to the head, but that was not possible to do most of the time with breastfeeding every two hours. And the headaches lasted for the first week. It was like the pain I didn’t have to suffer from contractions showed up to torment me later in a different part of my body. Plus my back and neck were killing me from the pushing, so being comfortable was not happening. So while my baby was sleeping, well, like a baby, I was not. I had to wake him for feedings to keep up my milk supply. He is VERY much my boy – he sleeps like he is in a coma, and waking him would just break my heart because I know how he feels. Waking up sucks.

On top of this going on, there was the crying. Not him – me. He never cries unless he has a poopy diaper or is too hot in his snuggy-wrap. But his mama on the other hand, oh boy. I would stare at him and start crying because he is so beautiful. I would be overcome with love that is so intense and excruciating, I would burst into tears over dinner (mid-forkful – I’m serious!) I would start thinking about his delivery and that last push right before he came through my body and into the world, how light and relieved I suddenly became physically, but how emotionally flipped out I was that this little person I have been so connected to and close to and safeguarding all these nine months is now out of my body and loose in the world. It is a moment I will never, ever get over as long as I live. And they wiped him off and put him on my stomach and he was looking at me all quiet and I was looking at him and saying through my tears, “Hi. Hi. I’m your mommy.” And I would think of the way he looked at me and start crying all over again. I would look at myself in the mirror, dirty hair, dark circles, bloodshot eyes. But because my baby looks like me, this has made me see myself as beautiful, and this makes me cry too.

Eventually, the crying settled down (until now, writing about it) just in time for me to get the awful cold that everybody and their dog has had, which turned into bronchitis, so I’ve been sick and gross for the past week and a half. Again, sleeping doesn’t happen when you’re breastfeeding and then coughing while trying to sleep, so getting well is a slow-going process. But I’m feeling better now and cough less every day, just in time for Father’s Day, which brings me to….

Friggin’ Dad and Husband of the Year. I don’t know how I would have survived any of it without him. He took care of me and handled everything that I couldn’t cope with (and I couldn’t cope with anything, people), he held me when I cried and didn’t make me feel stupid, he changed a bajillion diapers and just clicked into fatherhood so easily and with such a good attitude. It has made all the difference in the world. I am a very lucky woman. A family woman. And I couldn’t possibly be happier. In spite of the bumps and challenges along the way with everything that has happened, we have this incredible little son who is part of our family now. I love spending my day with him and caring for him. He is such good company. Such a sweet little fella who smiles at me with his whole face and just makes me glow inside.

Coming up in future installments: Uncle Rufus and his reaction to the new family addition. Here is a visual teaser for you: Imagine a Big Brown Dog trying to inhale a baby through his nose and you have a pretty good idea.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Vadge Update

41 weeks and counting. I am really hoping this is my last post as a pregnant person. For the last few weeks, there has been this constant tantalizing knowledge that it could (and should) happen any second. You never know when your body is going to decide to go into labor, so you just make as many preparations as you can and try to limit your exposure to the public to avoid the risk of having your water break all over the produce section of Trader Joe’s. I have done every project imaginable that involves sitting with my feet up – even finally constructed my wedding album AND baby shower album. A piece of advice to other moms-to-be: save up all that crap you’ve been procrastinating doing for the last two weeks of pregnancy. You want busy work, but nothing you have to focus too heavily on since you are brain-damaged at that point.

So we went to the doctor today for the third time post-due date to confirm that yes, the wee babe is still fine in there, yes, he still has enough fluid to wriggle around in, yes, the placenta is still functioning properly, etc. But today (our one-year anniversary, BTW) is when it starts getting dicey. I am not dilating or really having any labor signs other than some irregular contractions, and you have to weigh the risks of waiting against the benefits of letting the little feller cook on his own schedule. In my case, according to the doc, it is becoming clear that waiting much longer means adding more bulk and heft to an already larger-than-average baby. This would raise the likelihood that he could get stuck in the birth canal and necessitate an emergency C-section, something I REALLY do not want. All this sitting around being incapacitated and 50 lbs overweight is making me crazy enough without adding the prospect of six weeks of recovering from major abdominal surgery. Not to mention the benefits of the vaginal birth: The fluid gets squeezed out of the lungs on his way through the birth canal; the milk production hormones get released, etc. It’s just the way I feel the birthing process should go for me.

So . . . we come home and wait some more. But we decided to only wait two more days if my body hasn’t started the labor process on its own by then, and then we'll go in to induce. It’s not as exciting as just letting nature take its course and having the fun surprise of “Honey, it’s time!” but there is some relief in knowing the grand prize is in sight. I know a lot of women in my position would, at this point, be losing their minds and screaming for the baby to be taken out by any means necessary, but I really haven’t gotten to that point. Yes, I am huge and really uncomfortable. My feet are so puffy and swollen, they look like little hams with sausage toes. My low back hurts if I stand for any length of time. When I do have contractions, they aren’t necessarily painful, but the way the baby is positioned makes it feel like there is a lead weight squishing my bladder for about a minute. This doesn’t feel good. I would love to walk, but the nearly 100-degree heat is making that prospect really unattractive. As it is, I sweat like a pig just by sitting in the easy chair and doing this.

So physically, I think I’m handling it fine. It’s my mental state that is getting icky. I think it’s a combination of things. The waiting around does get to be excruciating. The hormones are kicking the emotions into overdrive. The lack of sleep and the constant interruptions to sleep due to my enormous size and frequent bathroom visits are enough to make anyone batty since I have had no REM sleep for months now. And yes, I am WELL AWARE due to constant reminders from about a bajillion people that there will be sleep shortages after the baby arrives, but dammit, at least I will get to sleep fairly comfortably whenever he sleeps (which is often for newborns) and feel some measure of energy from having a ton of baby and fluid lifted off my person. Besides, I started sleeping through the night my first night home from the hospital and Derek did at two weeks old. I can’t help but think some of that might rub off on our offspring, maybe? I don’t know, call me crazy. Because I am starting to feel that way.

But at least the time is drawing close and of course I take a lot of comfort in the knowledge that my little boy is still kicking ass in there and is coming out soon into a world full of such incredibly loving family and friends that already love him and can’t wait to meet him. That is the prize I have to keep my eye on. Meanwhile, I wait. And wait. And wait.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tourettes Guy

This is how bored I am while waiting to go into labor:

There was a South Park episode not long ago where there was no more internet, and Kyle's father was having withdrawals from his daily dose of Brazilian Fart Porn.

So.  You guessed it.  Today I googled Brazilian Fart Porn.  What?  Aren't you the least bit curious to know if it really exists?  I will let you solve that little mystery on your own, but in my quest for the South American flatulence fetish, I came across quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen on video in my life:  Tourettes Guy.  I CRIED from laughing so hard, and then promptly watched the thing again and laughed even harder.  I would love to have this man over for some wine and cheese.

Obviously, don't watch if you are offended by coarse language.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The nursery is finally complete.  And it looks darn cute, I must say.  Again, artistic credit goes to Bunnie and Erin for creating the adorable vines over the crib.
The McLean Library:

I just love this painting that Derek's mom dug up out of storage.  It is a jungle safari scene featuring Derek, his bro and his sis from when they were little.  It is magical, and I love that we get to have it in our kid's room:

The ceiling.  The stars glow in the dark:

Baby's First Hat Rack, conveniently located above the Poop Deck:

Another Shitbiscuit

So now we wait. It’s only a matter of days now and could happen any minute. I’m not having any real signs of labor aside from more intense Braxton-Hicks contractions and have taken to doing as many activities as possible that involve sitting with my feet up: Eating Lucky Charms; eating a Chipwich; messing around on the computer; watching the TV; eating a Chipwich; fielding a jillion phone calls (“Are you STILL pregnant?”); and of course, eating a Chipwich.

And just so the Universe is sure I am kept on my toes, I get a call from my gyno’s office Thursday afternoon, four days before I am due to pump a chil’ren out into the world: Their office had been robbed that day. A nurse’s purse and checkbook were taken, along with 18 medical charts that were sitting out for the next day’s appointments. Mine was one of them. So not only does some nameless, faceless, chicken-shit asshole have my entire vaginal and reproductive history, but my address, social security number, date of birth, insurance info, you name it.

To say I did not react well would be kind of an understatement. Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time for even the most bad-ass of us women. I’m a pretty tough L.A. chick who does not adopt a victim stance in any situation. I consider myself to be pretty street-wise and I don’t put myself into compromising situations.

But this is a strange time in a woman’s life. Not only are you in a hyper-vigilant state because of the life you are nurturing inside you, but you are physically weaker, unbelievably tired, and waaaaaay more emotional than usual due to hormones and feeling out of control of your own body and mind.

Add to this the fact that there are a lot of sick puppies out there who do terrible things to children and to pregnant women, the knowledge of which is difficult to escape when the stories are all over the news and even entire shows are dedicated to such crimes on the crime and court TV channels and such. You can only filter out so much of reality, but some of it still seeps in and keeps you up at night. Because of this vulnerability, home security takes on a whole new meaning in a pregnant woman’s life. And when that security is messed with, it’s not difficult to completely lose it.

A couple of weeks ago, our alarm system was set off by accident and neither Derek nor I received a call from Protection One asking if they should send the police. When I called them to ask why, they informed me that we had changed the primary contact numbers several months ago. They rattled off two phone numbers I have never had nor even heard of in my life. As the maddening conversation with this “customer service” person went on, it became clear that Protection One had made some sort of clerical error with our account, and it was rectified and our correct contact numbers placed back on the account. I’m always saying it is extremely rare to find someone who does their job meticulously well anymore. I’m like Mr. Hand from Fast Times: “Are you people all on dope?” I am convinced that everyone in customer service is medicated, mentally-challenged, just doesn’t give a crap, or all three. Rare is the person you can get on the phone who comprehends the problem and knows what they’re doing, and can execute an efficient resolution. And this point was proven even in the security business, where being extremely detail-oriented is of extreme importance. So it was a stupid clerical error -- it's really no surprise.

But I was hysterical. What if the alarm hadn’t been set off by accident, but by another thieving asshole? As some of you may remember from a year and a half ago, we only have this alarm system in the first place because we have had our house broken into before and several important items stolen, not the least of which was our computer with a ton of irreplaceable personal photos and information on it. At the time, my only solace was to remind myself that they had not harmed my dogs, who were locked in the backyard and thus, unable to defend their house. You dickheads can take whatever stupid material things you like, just don’t touch my loved ones.

But the sense of being raped and blatantly pirated was devastating. Some stranger of God-knows-what origin had seen fit to invade our home, take whatever they wanted, look at our faces and those of our family and friends in our pictures, see where we sleep, what we ate for breakfast, what kind of toothpaste we use. The outrage you feel in that situation is indescribable. And it had all happened in broad daylight while we were at our jobs, trying to earn a living.

And here I was, faced with that icky, powerless feeling again. Somebody has stormed in and taken what is rightfully mine on the eve of the most important event in my life – bringing my first child into the world. Seriously, WTF?? Who the hell does this to people? What happens to them in life that this is an acceptable solution to a money shortage?

Of course I placed the fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies and with my health insurance and so forth. Had a good “Why Me?” cry on Derek and my girls. But where is the lesson in all this? I used to enjoy being the person who would walk the dogs and leave all the doors and windows unlocked. I never looked over my shoulder at the gardener or worker on the street I didn’t recognize. I freely gave out my social security number when I visited a health practitioner and didn’t think twice about it. Is the lesson here that I am too trusting? That trust is bad? I hardly think so, but it’s hard not to feel that way with all these security breaches happening.

Anyhoo, I post this not just to bitch, although I do feel better having released it into the internet ether, but to warn you all: Don’t give out your social to anybody. ANYBODY. Most people who ask for it on forms and stuff don’t really need it anyway. Leave it blank, and tell them to have the insurance company contact you personally if there is some problem verifying your identity. Run your credit report periodically to be sure there are no strange items on there that you did not sign up for. When I worked doing massage at the chiropractor’s office, patients’ charts with all their most personal information were left out on the front counter every single day in front of God and everybody, and nobody ever complained. I’m begging you – please complain. According to the police who handled the theft from my doctor’s office, this is becoming more common: Identity thieves will hire some petty pissant to specifically take medical files because they are a goldmine of information. And there are always people in and out of a doctor’s office. It is impossible to keep track between specimen-drop-offs, patients, lab workers, etc., not to mention medical care workers who are shits and will sell your information to the highest bidder. They will harvest your information and use it whenever they want. And that is just a hassle you don’t need, whether you’re about to have a baby or not.

So do me that favor, m’kay? I think I just figured out what my lesson in all this was….

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chained Heat

There is a boredom that sets in toward the end of pregnancy that has a certain powerless restlessness to it that is really disconcerting.

I’m too exhausted and huge to do anything physically productive, be on my feet for any length of time or run errands, not to mention the heat in the valley right now is preventing my doing any of that anyway. It has become abundantly clear in recent months that I am just not cut out for a sedentary lifestyle. I am starting to go nuts and it is strictly due to lack of physical activity.

My brain doesn’t work so great due to being hyperfocused on the impending arrival in the weeks to come, so getting any kind of meaningful work done is out of the question.

I am sick of reading about baby stuff. There is just too much information out there, much of it conflicting, and it starts to get annoying after awhile. My usual pleasure of reading and researching something I care about is squashed because it has just gotten to be too much, dammit! I have decided I will be largely relying on motherly instinct and that will have to suffice since you just cannot possibly know everything there is to know about parenting.

I can’t even take that much pleasure in pigging out anymore since there is not much room in my stomach for anything, so any would-be oinkfest is over before it even begins.

Add to this the fact that I am SICK TO DEATH of everything on TV. Even movies. Even indie movies. I have seen them all (some repeatedly) or tried to see them and determined they were unwatchable.

Enter Chained Heat.

Have you ever seen this movie? With Linda Blair? How this gem of a confection missed my Awesome Bad Movie Radar is anyone’s guess. It was on one of the movie channels on a recent quiet evening at home (WTF am I talking about – every evening is a quiet evening at home) and was enough to jolt me out of my jaded I Hate TV But Am Too Tired To Do Anything Else stupor.

Imagine chicks in prison, in the early 80s, none of whom has any acting skill whatsoever. Imagine this prison being corrupt, where the warden has a hot tub in his office and videotapes himself having sex with prisoners. Imagine that in this prison, a can of Aqua Net, rattail comb and buckets of purple eyeshadow are standard issue upon entry. Imagine the shower scenes in this prison involving full-frontal shots of not only boobies that are subject to the laws of gravity, but massive amazon jungle bush action. Imagine Linda Blair being all pouty and pissy and complaining to the warden about the way she is treated in the prison. Now imagine all this with horribly choreographed fight scenes amongst the chicks thrown in. You guys, it is friggin’ AWESOME. YOU CANNOT LOOK AWAY.

Remember that episode of Charlie’s Angels, where the girls go into prison to investigate the murder of one of the inmates? Where Kelly (aka Jaclyn Smith) utters the best line EVAR after the prisoners get hosed down with the nasty anti-lice spray or whatever it is, and she turns to the prison guard all snotty and goes “When was the last time YOU were sprayed?” and the guard gives her this sneery bitchy look in return and I think billy-clubs her ass but I don’t remember. But I digress. Remember how the girls get dressed up and taken outside of the prison to be hookers to wealthy businessmen? Oh yeah, that happens in Chained Heat, too. It’s just one big giant ball of awesome. Please, if you are severely pregnant or just incredibly sick of everything on TV lately, look for it in your movie channels and tivo that bitch. You will be so glad you did.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh So Tired

I know, I have been so absent lately. It’s not for lack of wanting to write, trust me. There are a bajillion thoughts and feelings coursing through my pea brain these days as I wrap up my tour of pregnancy duty. I mean just my crazy-ass dreams alone would have me coming up with volumes of raw and freaky Freudian material to analyze. But the tiredness. Oh, the tiredness. It’s all I can do to simply get my huge ass in the shower some days.

As Jen has warned me in the past, the ninth month is ass. And she was right. I recently read Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy (my new personal hero after I saw her rip that doctor a new bunghole on Larry King about the childhood vaccine issue), and she mentions in the book something that I have tried but failed to articulate in my whining about the tiredness of pregnancy: “Imagine staying up all night, then running a marathon, then doing three hundred loads of laundry and raking leaves off a football field all in one day. How tired would you be?” That is exactly how I feel, every day. Sometimes more than others.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I don’t sleep more than two hours at a time at night because I either have to get up and pee three times or more (sometimes within a half-hour of the last time!) or have to roll over and change positions to relieve the pain in my hips – an acrobatic feat that is at once time-consuming and uncomfortable to accomplish because so much of my personal real estate is occupied by Baby.

Or if it is just the exhaustion brought on by lugging an extra 45 pounds around throughout the day. That is some serious weight, people! And by the end of the day, it feels more like 100 pounds!

I remember less than a year ago when we were in Italy and schlepping luggage around from one town to the next. We purposely packed very light, but just getting that little carry-on suitcase and my tote bag from train to taxi to hotel or whatever was SUPER exhausting. And that thing was on wheels! And that was after having had blissful nights of pure, uninterrupted sleep! And I could set those things down and rest! You can never set down a big giant baby surrounded by a crapload of amniotic fluid! You’re stuck with it until he decides to bust out!

And let’s talk about what all that tiredness does to the ol’ noggin. You guys, it’s embarrassing. I can’t even watch an episode of Law & Order anymore without asking Derek dumb questions every 10 minutes. “Wait… why are they at that guy’s house now? I thought the other guy was the one where they found you know, the forensics and stuff and the note with the thing on it…. Wha??? And who is this guy again?” I can’t keep the names of the characters straight or remember what evidence was found in the last scene that led to this scene. I might as well have watched the last scene last year for my amount of comprehension. And watching TV is like, one of the few things I can do well anymore these days besides putting away Trader Joe’s ice cream sandwiches.

The other day on 30 Rock, they were all enraptured with this fictional reality show called MILF Island. I swear if that show existed, I would be watching it right now. It sounds like exactly the level of intelligence I would be able to keep up with.

The good news is, my Obsessive Pregnant Brain seems to have gone away for now. There is just not enough brain juice to obsess on anything or even focus on a semi-intelligent TV show, and so instead I find myself thinking constantly about how soon it will be that I get to meet the little guy living inside me. That thought is distracting enough. I’m just so darn excited. No, excited doesn’t really cover it. Anxious doesn’t really do it either. I’m so looking forward to getting to know him and take care of him that sometimes I just can’t think about anything else. There are so many things I want to tell him, so many miraculous things about being pregnant with him that I want to share, so many wonderful moments that I want to tell him about his family and his aunties and uncles who are all excited to meet him too.

But I’m just too tired and need to go lie down.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Preggo Watch '08

I’m in the home stretch, as it were.  Only about six weeks to go.  I’m doing pretty good.  Baby Mac continues to kick the crap out of me on a daily basis.  He usually gives a few kicks and squirms right after I eat, but he doesn’t really get going until around 5:00 p.m.  I have taken to calling it “Junior’s Happy Hour” although really it lasts about five hours.  He starts up with the grooving and doesn’t stop, especially when Daddy comes home and he hears his voice.

I started a prenatal yoga class in Sherman Oaks at Black Dog Yoga and love it.  It has helped calm down my obsessive psychotic pregnant brain a LOT.  Not to mention all the stretching really helps my poor overstressed joints and muscles.  I have gained over 40 lbs., people!  Heaving all that weight around is not easy!  I have to do things a lot more slowly and carefully than I am used to, and that has made me much more patient.

Bending over or getting up off the couch or turning over in bed are still a world of suck, but now it’s just part of daily life.  Speaking of daily life, here are a few of my favorite things that I will get to have back again before too long:

Things I miss about NOT being pregnant and am really looking forward to:

  1. Shaft.  I miss my pole, y’all.  I miss blasting Korn and spinning around on that thing at mach 10 with my hair on fire (yes, that was a lame Top Gun reference, but it kinda works, no?)
  2. Going running and hiking.  Rollerblading, riding my pink bike.  Just being active in general.
  3. Dirty martinis.  Mojitos.  A cold Hefeweizen with lemon on the Venice boardwalk.
  4. Sushi.
  5. Sleeping on my back.
  6. Sleeping through the night without having to get up and pee four times.
  7. Sleeping without waking myself up snoring, snorting, drooling, or with an excruciating charlie horse in my leg.  Ever had your calf sliced open with a dull butcher knife?  That’s what it feels like.
  8. Not having to ask my poor husband to fetch me water or a glass of milk or a chipwich (the ice cream sandwiches from Trader Joe’s, OMG you have not LIVED until you have had one) because dammit, it is just too friggin’ hard to get up off the couch once I am there.
  9. Not having to go to the doctor’s office every stinking month – ugh!  And now that I’m in the third trimester, it’s every two weeks!  I would SO not made a good hypochondriac.  I love my OB and his nurse, but me and the medical establishment simply do not mix.
  10. Sex without needing a forklift.  Need I say more?
That being said, here are a few of the things I will really miss about being pregnant:
  1. How nice and helpful total strangers are to me, especially the Trader Joe’s guys.  Sometimes they will even pull me out of line and open up a cash register just because they see my giant pregnant ass standing there looking non-plussed.  It’s super nice to be a VIP.
  2. Cutting myself a slackburger with cheese about stuffing my face.  This is the only time in my life I can really let myself be such a pig and not feel guilty, and lordy, am I embracing it!
  3. Not having to hold in my stomach.  My belly is large and in charge and is just out there, bitches – deal with it!
  4. Having a valid excuse to lie down every day.
  5. Thick, luxuriant hair and glowy skin.  Those preggo hormones really rock when it comes to that.
  6. Feeling my little baby kick and move.  I get kinda teared up when I think about it.  There will come a time very soon when he will be outside of me, and I won’t have that motherly luxury of feeling him close, so close to me, knowing all the time that he is safe and warm and protected in this quiet bubble of love inside my body.  Yeah.  I’m really going to miss that.

[Photo of me courtesy of Jen.  Yes, I know, she is brilliant, but try telling her that.  We took a bunch of nekkid photos over the weekend and they are amazing, but you don't get to see them.]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm Sad

I had to take out my belly button ring the other day.  I had been hoping against all hope that I could leave it in  for the whole pregnancy because, well, I'm attached to it now after six years.  And I had read that unless it was causing me any discomfort, I could leave it in.  I only have two months left to go, so I figured I was home free.

Well, suddenly it started feeling stretched and tight and kinda itchy one day, and Derek agreed that it was looking kind of wonky and should probably come out.  I took it out, and now have the saddest-looking belly button.  Since my belly button is an "innie" in the process of popping out from my bulging belly, I now look like I have a small cat's butt on my belly with a weird slit above it where the piercing is.  It is bizarre.
And if you think that's a funny visual, you should see me trying to put lotion on my lower legs after a shower.  Since my belly is so big, I can't really bend over properly, or even put my legs up on something to bend over and lotion them.  So I have to spread my legs really far apart to lotion up both legs at the same time, and assume a position that can only be described as "Sumo Wrestler Doubled Over Trying to Look Up His Own Butt."  And then I start laughing at how goofy I must look and almost fall over.
Yeah, I amuse myself.
Oh, and the Lucky Charms feedings?  Back in full effect.  In fact, I think I'll go hook up a bowl right now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Thing That Pisses Me Off

How the flu shot is pushed onto people at every turn, especially children and the elderly.  

I have never had a flu shot in my life, mainly because it never made sense to me that I be vaccinated for one or two particular strains of flu when there are so many strains out there, not to mention those strains mutating and becoming something else -- the very nature of what a virus does.  Add to that getting some of the symptoms of the flu after you get the shot because your body doesn't like the crap you just injected it with and reacts.  And there's no guarantee I won't come down with the flu after getting the shot?  And I pay $20-30 for the privilege?  No thanks.  

This article addresses the money-making sham of the flu shot, and talks about how the recent death of a little girl in Minnesota is being used to hype the shot even more.  Back to the children and the elderly part -- the flu shot contains tons of mercury, in levels that are extremely toxic for anyone who weighs less than 550 lbs.  Why, why, why would you want to put that into the body of a little person or older person who has low immunity to begin with???

I'm pissed!  When does it stop?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This Just Boils My Blood

Pun intended. 

I am currently reading this book, The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination Is Not Immunization, by Tim O’Shea, which was loaned to me by the chiropractor I was doing massage for when I asked him why he didn't have his kids vaccinated.  To say it is incredibly disturbing, well-referenced and researched common sense and hard to put down would be an understatement.  Just ask my husband – I would not shut up about it the other night over dinner for at least an hour.

This article is in the same vein, concerning the Hep-B vaccine that is routinely administered to every infant born in this country, and something that most people just don’t know about or think to investigate.  Ya know, I have to say, as a parent-to-be, you have enough shit to worry about without also throwing in what our own government deems safe to inject into your baby’s body so that Big Pharma can make billions.  

And if you think the government gives a rat’s ass about your health or that of your child’s, think again.  Can you say Massive Meat Recall?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Movie Minute

Yes, there is preggo news, but I am so bored talking about it and it doesn’t amount to much more than the following:

 1) I am friggin’ ginormous.  So much so that I had to get new maternity clothes so as not to be forced to run around nekkid in the remaining 2.5 months and possibly frighten passersby who happen past the house.  It’s true that boys sit lower in your midsection, so now am I not only pregnant in my belly, but also in my hips and am now sporting Jabba The Hut-like jowls.  Yay!  I saw a recent photo of myself and just about barfed.

2) Getting up from a sitting position just blows.  The grunting, the groaning.  It’s like being 90 years old all the sudden.  Even Grammy doesn’t complain this much when she stands up from her easy chair, and she’s a hundred and freakin’ two!

3)  Still as tired as ever – with a new and exciting crabby twist!  My worst enemies:  “Customer Service” phone personnel and medicated/stoned drivers on the road.  I think they all just need to die.  Before I kill them myself.

But this post is not about pregnancy gripes.  In my limited mobility, waking hours, and lack of tolerance for the public at large, it has been a great opportunity to get caught up on movies.  Here are my latest critiques in case you are wondering what a psychotic pregnant person would have you put in your Netflix qeue:

1) The Last King of Scotland.  Oh my god.  This one blew me away.  Not like I’ve ever been that up on the history of Ugandan leadership, but Forest Whitaker scared the SHIT out of me in his portrayal of Idi Amin, the brutal dictator who ruled Uganda in the 70s.  This movie is not for the squeamish, though.  There were two visuals in particular that will haunt my nightmares forever (if you’ve seen it, you know which ones they are), but I am so glad I saw this thrilling rendering of the story and learned a bit about this important time in African history.

2) Lucky Number Slevin.  My new favorite gangster movie, hands friggin’ down.  Or at least it’s now up there in the top three along with Goodfellas and The Departed.  Not only a taut and slick mystery, but hello, you get Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley as two colossal baddies each intent on screwing each other over so bad, you could cut the tension with a butter knife.  Not to mention a beautiful love story that allows you to fall in love with Lucy Liu all over again.

3) Sleeping Dogs Lie.  This poor girl admits to her fiancĂ© the most disgusting thing she ever did.  If you can get past the first five minutes of the movie where that thing is revealed (don’t worry – they don’t show it), you will find a tender and heartbreaking little story about honesty in relationships, and laugh your ass off at the meth-head brother.

4) Notes On A Scandal.  I have always marveled at Cate Blanchett’s range, and this movie is no exception.  And of course, Judi Dench just rocks the friggin’ house no matter what she does.  There were a couple of scenes in this movie where a look from her shot violent chills down my whole body.  She is THAT good.

5) Spanking The Monkey.  Yes, yet another movie involving a main character doing something really pervy, in this case, sliding down a slippery slope into Oedipal tendencies.  But a sweet and relatable coming-of-age story for anyone who has ever felt put upon and unable to break out of a toxic cycle.  I love how good indie films will take a microcosm situation and really examine it and explore it, and this movie does just that.

6) Just Friends.  Okay, this is not a movie I have just recently seen for the first time, but rather, seen many times for its neverending ability to make me laugh my ass off (Kristi, you know what I’m talking about – one night when we all shared a motel room after a wedding and this came on, she and I cracked up over it even though we had both seen it many times).  Not only does it have the funniest sibling rivalry scenes I have ever seen, but has permanently cemented Anna Faris in my mind as the best comedienne of our time.  Oh, and adorable love story, for those of you who are into that crap.

That’s it for now, until I remember more and feel the need to share my thumb position with you.  Meanwhile, I leave you with this quote from Jeff Spicoli of Fast Times At Ridgemont High:  “People on ludes should not drive!”