Preg Etiquette

I know what you’re thinking, and of course I’ve been slacking around here; I’m 34 weeks preg with a 350lb linebacker whose only interest is seeing how far into my ribs a foot could possibly be jammed (answer: the foot feels like it’s coming out of my ear).  Every time I sneeze, I’m afraid I’ll pee.  Every time I pee, I’m afraid my water will break.  Every time I look at the carseat now installed in my backseat, I fuh-reak the freak out.  So I promise to be back with more regularly scheduled nonsense, but in the meantime, I’ve gathered a list of things I’ve been asked/told over the past few weeks that were not well received.  Thankfully, I have also provided you with a list of replacement phrases and questions.  Learn it, use it.  THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Things Every Preg Hates to Hear:
  • Are you having twins?
  • You haven’t had that baby yet?
  • You’re carrying your baby weight really well.
  • Better get your rest while you still can!
  • That baby will be enormous.
  • Do your boobs hurt?
  • I bet you can belch like a trucker.
  • Those are some serious dark circles you’re sporting.
Things Every Preg Loves to Hear:
  • The cook accidentally doubled your order of onion rings.
  • No charge for the extra hot fudge.
  • You look like a beautiful, glowing Earth Mama.
  • YOU LOOK SO WELL RESTED!
  • You’re so tiny!
  • Would you like an extra scoop of ice cream?
  • Would you like a brownie?
  • Please, eat the last slice.
  • Would you like a foot rub?
  • You should go take a nap.
  • I WILL CLEAN THE ENTIRE HOUSE FOR YOU.  And then I will bake you a cake.
  • DELICIOUS FOOD, THIS WAY!
And so, in summation, it’s food.  I like to hear about food.  Keep your opinions about belly size/nipples/dark circles/gas to yourself, and give me a brownie.
 
OMG ONLY SIX WEEKS TO GO,
K
ACCURATE.

ACCURATE.

Kid Two = Jumping Out of an Airplane, AGAIN.

I read a really great post recently about skydiving and parenting; the author truly hit the nail on the head in terms of relating your pregnancies (and impending children) to jumping out of an airplane.  The first time you go skydiving, it’s thrilling and exciting.  You think you know what to expect, but aren’t quite sure until you’ve jumped out of that plane, and taken flight (also, like with skydiving, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK WITH CHILDBIRTH).  You had so much fun, you’re just crazy enough to decide to do it again, only this time it’s lost some of that sparkle.  Because this time, you sort of know how it will feel and what to expect.  Maybe this time you have a little more anxiety, because know that you understand how things are supposed to work, you worry about whether they actually will work the way you’ve anticipated.

Having kids = Jumping out of an airplane.

You see, with Kid One, you’re so superduper excited.  You stare in wonder at your weekly fruit/vegetable update from The Bump (Poppy seed!  Blueberry!  Prickly pear!  Jack-O-Lantern!  Baby Orca!)  You eagerly anticipate each week, moving further along in the club of expecting moms.  You cannot WAIT to begin wearing maternity clothes!  And you read an overwhelming volume of articles, books and blog posts on labor and delivery, because you have no clue what to expect, so you’d like to be prepared.  You are glittering, sparkling ball of OMGBABY!  You write your birth plan with stars and hearts in the margin of your notebook!  And you are terrified; so afraid of birth, of what will happen, of what could go wrong, of how bad it could hurt, blah blah blah.  Then IT HAPPENS, and the baby is HERE.  You officially jumped out of the plane, and survived, and it was awesome and exhilarating and everything you’d hoped it would be and LET’S DO IT AGAIN!

You also don’t know about the three week growth spurt, four month sleep regression, teething, various forms of poop, and being up every three hours for those first mind-numbing weeks (or months).  You know, the “jumping out of a damn plane” part.  But you know what?  You figure it out.  You pull the ripcord (or google “WHY IS MY BABY DOING THIS WEIRD THING?!”) and you become a full-fledged parent.

Then, if you’re like us, once Kid One turns about a year old you decide…yes, really, LET’S DO IT AGAIN.  You’ve officially joined the Parenting Circus (not the same as the Family Circus; PC has way more profanity and wine, trust).

And now, with Kid Two, you probably aren’t as excited.  What fruit am I this week?  I don’t know, I feel like a watermelon but I don’t think that’s accurate until week 473.  I started wearing maternity clothes before I even got pregnant again (because in reality, I never actually stopped wearing some of my favorite things from when I was pregnant with Kid One).  I only want to advance in weeks because I would like this child to exit La Hacienda de Uterus.  I have read zero articles on delivering Kid Two because I know how it works, and while I know some crazy situation could always arise, I also know that there are people more knowledgeable and trained than me who will handle figuring all that out.  My birth plan is simple: BIRTH THE CHILD.

Something else I’ve found with Kid Two that also happens when you jump out of a plane for the second time: This time, you know.  Like, you know what’s going to happen, what it will feel like, what the end result will be.  And that is what terrifies you this time.  Because you know what the jumping out of the plane part is like; you know what pulling the ripcord is like.  You know to be afraid of the witching hour, or cutting those first teeth.  Maybe it’s a blessing that first timers don’t really know.  And it’s a frightening blessing for us second timers in that we do know.

But it’s more than just the care of a newborn; that part isn’t really that terrifying, because once you’ve parented a toddler, you can do anything in the entire world with one hand tied behind your back AND blindfolded while singing Wheels on the Bus for the 782nd time that day.  The greatest anxiety I feel right now?  It’s still in the knowing, but it’s not in the care, that much I know we can do…it’s in the emotion.  Knowing how much you love Kid One, and wondering if it’s truly possible to love anyone as much as that.  Knowing that your life is about to be turned upside down (again) while in a good way (again) but a very, very different way, because it’s not just Party of Three any longer, it’s Party of Four.  How will Kid One handle the emotional process of gaining a sibling?  Better yet, how will a toddler handle it?  If you are unfamiliar with how well a toddler can handle a change in routine, try giving him the Big Bird sippy cup instead of the Elmo one.  Go ahead, try it.  I DARE YOU.

When we had Miles, I regarded newborns with a healthy amount of fear and joy combined.  It’s safe to say that those same feelings (is fearjoy a thing?) are still present and accounted for as we countdown to Kid Two.  I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll make it.  I mean, it’s not like we’re the first parents to have *gasp* two children.  So we do the normal sibling-prep things.  Miles talks to “his baby”, and kisses my belly (and will also remind me, “No, Mama, no baby”)  We talk about BIG BOY things, the important job of being a BIG BROTHER, and how much fun this will be.  We read books, sing songs, make crafts, things to incorporate the idea of becoming an older sibling.  And we do a lot of extra extra snuggling.  Is it enough?  I don’t know; I’m sure we’ll still experience the ups and downs of change, just like we did the first time around.  But we’ll handle it with grace and love and a fair amount of wine when necessary (and cookies…and chocolate…so much chocolate).

I’m hoping we’re semi-prepared for this next ride.  I hear it only gets wilder…

OMG,

K

Definitely parents.

Definitely parents.

Naming Your Unborn Child: More challenging than naming your cat.

Things that are difficult to do: picking out a name for a girl, sitting through 20 minutes of Around the Horn on ESPN, 8th grade Algebra, birthing a child without drugs.  (Those things are listed in order of difficulty, for those unaware).
 
People, names are important.  Like really super super important.  The name you give the child is the name they will have to live with for all of their lives, unless they head down to the courthouse when they turn 18 and spend $50 to change their name to something else.  I assume most people are as lazy as I am, so legal name-changing is off the table, which makes the task of choosing the *perfect* name even more daunting.
 
And because we didn’t find out what gender Kid Two will be, we’re tasked with choosing both a boy name and a girl name.  Some of you are thinking, “Well, that should be super easy, just use the girl name you had picked out for Kid One.”  And to you people I will pose the question: Do you even know me?  The favorite girl name two years ago was for potential Baby Girl 1.  The names for Thing 1 were chosen early, but became the names over the course of that pregnancy, because I could feel the personality radiating from my uterus.  And it seemed a little weird for me to use a “leftover” name for Thing 2.
 
You should know that when it comes to names, I am picky.  Very, very picky.  Spelling, pronunciation, number of syllables, current popularity, characters with the same name, pets with the same name…those are all things my overly OCD mind considers.  I don’t like common names that are misspelled for creativity.  If you like the name Bob, then spell it BOB.  Don’t spell it BAUHB, because your kid is going to have to explain that for the rest of his/her life.  I should know; my name is definitely not unique or unusual, but there are 487 ways to spell it and its variations, and I rarely have someone get it right the first time. 
 
Our conversations usually go something like this:
 
Person: And your first name?
Me: Kristin.
Person: And do you spell that C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N?
Me: Sigh.  No, it’s K-R-I-S-T-I-N.
 
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh big deal, you have to spell your name.”  I have to spell my name a lot.  Because most people don’t just say, “Oh, is it IN or EN?”  They think I actually said Kiersten, Christian, Crystal, Cristina, everything but what my actual name is.  And so, after 31+ years of name spelling, my conversations now go something like this:
 
Person: And your first name?
Me: Kristin.
Person: And that’s K-R-Y-S-T-I-A-N-N-E?
Me: YES!  Amazing, no one ever gets it right on the first try.
 
I give up.  Sometimes I’ll tell them my name is something simple, like Jill or Sue.  I don’t dislike my first name; I dislike the frequency with which I am forced to spell it for people.  And no, I won’t go by Kris, because after Rule One of naming (it must be a standard spelling) my Rule Two is this: NO NICKNAMES (other than cute nicknames I give my kids, but that’s not for roll call at Harvard in 2021).
 
I’m not going to name a child Elizabeth and call her Betty; if I want a Betty, I’ll name her Betty.  Nicknames are confusing to me.  Our children won’t have to worry about their first names every being converted into nicknames because Rule Three on my Crazy Train of Baby Names is this: One syllable first names only.
 
I know, weird right?  We like one syllable.  We have a one syllable last name, and I think the BOOM BOOM of simple syllables sounds strong.  And if there’s anything my kids will be, it’s strong and independent (and probably smartasses, because that’s an inheritable trait, as I’ve learned with Miles).
 
Rule Four: The name must have some sentimental appeal.  Our son’s name is Miles Clark.  Miles for Miles Davis, my favorite musician, and Clark for my grandmother. 
 
Rule Five: Unique.  The name needs to be unique, but not weird.  When Miles first started school, his infant room had 12 babies and five of them had variations of “Aiden.”  The other 7 were usually McSomething.  I went to a teeny tiny school in a teeny tiny town, and I still shared my name with at least one other classmate.  Of course, no matter how unique your name is, you’ll probably run into at least one other person at some point in your life carrying the same name.  When I chose Miles, I had a specific and sentimental reason.  I did not know that Miles was a name shared by 1. A college football player and 2. A character on some semi-popular sci-fi TV show that has since been canceled.  And so, lo and behold, Miles actually has another Miles in his classroom now.  My victory is this: my Miles was born first.  But you know what?  I have seen at least two other Miles in my Facebook newsfeed.  Clearly this is a name that could be popular.  I hope not, but if it blows up in five years, well I guess I can appreciate my own unique coolness for choosing it first, and also in knowing that it was chosen for a special reason.
 
Rule Six: Not weird.  When we consider names, I always like to put Dr. in front of it, just in case I birth a neurosurgeon.  Then I also consider whether the name is too stuffy, because if my kid wants to be a pineapple farmer in Hawaii, it still needs to be a cool name.  Dr. Miles and Pineapple Farmer Miles both sound pretty awesome, in my opinion.  I couldn’t name my son Blackjack Dangerson because no one would ever take him seriously as a pineapple farmer.
 
We also avoid names in the Top 100 list in the Social Security database and baby name sites like Nameberry.  So yes, I have a lot of rules, but like I said before, the name is super important.
 
I have found that boy names are super, super easy.  It took maybe two weeks to narrow down our boy names, and only a few more days to decide on what we liked for sure.  Girl names?  Totally different story.  I feel that with a girl name, I could be a little more unique and different, and she could pull it off, but I still want something that fits our other requirements.
 
If you give your kid an exceptionally offbeat name, like Apple or Moxie Crimefighter (both actual celeb baby names, FYI) then it works just fine if you happen to be a celebrity.  If you are celebrity, I’m 99% certain that your child’s future will be different; the children of Mick Jagger aren’t exactly donning police uniforms or drawing blood or selling insurance.  Your child could have a relatively normal career, like me, in which case having a super weird name would just mean constant explaining (like having to spell it all the time isn’t bad enough…)
 
Trust me, if I were a brilliant and well-paid writer/musician (like I am in my dreams) then I would totally name a girl something like Barefoot Stevie Juniper Moonbeam.  But we would probably also be living in a cabin in the mountains, and I’d never wear shoes and do lots of twirl-dancing and singing and tie-dyeing in my spare time. 
Me on the weekends.

Me on the weekends.

The rest of our kids would be named after jazz musicians and Grateful Dead songs and plants that flourish during Summer Solstice, and we’d all shake tambourines and make fruit leather.  Then on Saturdays, we’d go into town for Dairy Queen because I’m only like 60% hippie and I need chocolate sauce – the REAL chocolate sauce, none of that carob-raw honey-seaweed stuff.  I still need sprinkles in my life.  And yes, I am fully aware of how specific my daydreams are.
 
But I’m not a brilliant and well-paid writer/musician.  I have to wear shoes and normal-ish clothes and I cook things like homemade chicken nuggets for dinner.  So this potential baby girl needs something less Moonbeam-y and more Murphy Brown-y (but not Murphy; too many syllables and I don’t like things that end in “Y”).
 
So we have names.  Both a boy name, which was super easy and chosen MONTHS ago, and a girl name, which has changed half a dozen times but we sort of think is definite now.  And both are names that we think are cool and unique and strong and pineapple farmer worthy.  And of course I’m not telling you what they are, because only three people know other than Evan and me, and even that is three people too many. 
 
Let’s be real…I will probably have to give my favorite girl name to our next cat, because after all these months of deciding, I have sealed my fate in birthing yet another boy.  Fo’ sho’.
 
Moonbeams and fruit leather and Y chromosomes,
K

Four Degrees of Burritos

Food.  It’s something that most pregs either love or hate.  Usually, you kind of hate it during the first trimester (never had that problem) and maybe a little bit in the second (still never had that problem) and by the third, you love it.  Even as a non-preg, I have always loved food, so the relationship with food only deepens when I’m also growing a tiny person inside my uterus.  It’s Friday night; I’m a 30-week preg mom of an almost two-year-old (read: I am clearly a crazy person).  Now seems like a good time to talk about how my brain works in terms of food relationship.
 
I’m sure you’ve heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (a play on Six Degrees of Separation) in which any person can be connected to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less.  Don’t believe me?  Go to your google machine and search any celebrity’s name with the phrase “bacon number” and you’ll see what I mean.
 
Results straight from the Googlemachine:
“Vince Vaughn Bacon Number”
Vince Vaughn’s Bacon number is 2
 
“Steven Spielberg Bacon Number
Steven Spielberg’s Bacon number is 2
 
“Joe Biden Bacon Number”
Joe Biden’s Bacon number is 2
 
“Queen Elizabeth II Bacon Number”
Elizabeth II’s Bacon number is 2
 
My own personal Bacon Number is 3.  In the 90s, my husband met Matt Dillon in NYC; Matt Dillon was in “Wild Things” with Bacon.  This makes my husband’s Bacon Number 2, and as his wife, my Bacon Number would be 3.  Just by knowing me, your Bacon Number is 4!  Feel special and famous?  You should.  And you can thank me later for sending you on the enormous time-suck that is googling Bacon Numbers.
 
So, food.  With pregs, food sort of works like a Bacon Number.
 
Earlier this week I needed to replace the garbage bag in our kitchen trashcan.  I opened the new box of bags my husband purchased, only to find that he had purchased vanilla scented.  After inhaling the scent of vanilla, I then needed a cupcake.  Luckily we had cupcakes because HELLO I’M PREGNANT.  So that’s like three degrees of separation:
  1. Need to replace garbage bag.
  2. Open new box of bags; smell vanilla.
  3. Eat cupcake. 
See?  THREE DEGREES OF CUPCAKES.
 
A few nights ago, we decided to watch something on our OnDemand (Alaskan Bush People…do you watch this?  YOU SHOULD.)  Evan pushed the OnDemand button, and Comcast’s superior technology took us to QVC’s channel.  And so began FOUR DEGREES OF BURRITOS:

 

  1. QVC makes me think of Lori from Shark Tank.
  2. Every Friday night, we watch Shark Tank.
  3. Every Friday night, we get take-out from Moe’s.
  4. I NEED A BURRITO.
There’s your small glimpse into the mind of a third trimester preg.
 
And now, if you’ll excuse me, a burrito is calling my name. (Also, all this talk about Bacon makes me hungry).
 
Always hungry,
K
Greatest Bacon film, ever.

Greatest Bacon film, ever.