Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Going into labor at Ikea

Is it a problem that I've blogged as much about Ikea this year as I have about children's literature? That its one of my most frequently-used tags? What can I say? I'm beginning to believe I am actually really hooked on that insanely delicious chemical smell in the warehouse. I can not get enough.

David thought our Ikea trips were completed. So did I. But on Friday, I began to feel a desperate, relentless urge to solve the lighting deficiency above our desk area. There is, of course, only one way to do that and it involves Swedish meatballs. Somehow, I managed to get David on board for an impromptu Ikea trip. I don't know why I say "somehow." I know precisely how I did it, by bartering sex which also offered the promising possibility of jump-starting my labor, the which I am eager to do. Yes, in the course of a few hours, I received acupuncture, had sex and went shopping at Ikea, and that regimen is commonly accepted as the labor-induction trifecta.

So there we were in Ikea, perusing lighting options. I knew something was up because the elated, out-of-body feeling I usually have while walking through the model rooms was absent. Even rifling through the Children's Ikea puppet bins was offering me any satisfaction. And I walked straight through the marketplace without so much as picking up a bunch of place mats or measuring cups or a handy grater Also, I had to keep stopping in the aisles to huff and puff through contractions, which were coming like crazy.

Still, I preserved. We were so close to solving the lighting deficiency. Also I wanted to replace our coffee table. And while we were there, maybe a few more shelves. One can never have too much storage. Finally, we were on line waiting to pay and David asked if we should pick up some cinnamon buns to take home to the kids.

"Ohhhh, I don't know," I moaned.

"What's the matter with you?" he asked, "I've never known you to say no to cinnamon buns."

"I don't know," I said, "I may be having the baby. Like, right now."

"Well, should we leave?" he inquired.

There were two people in front of us on line.

"No," I said, "We've come so far. And we've almost solved the lighting problem. Let's just pay and then we can go to the hospital if necessary."

David pointed out that if I did indeed go into labor at Ikea, maybe they'd give us a free nursery. I didn't that it was that easy to score a free nursery. I'm guessing dozens of women go into lobar in Ikeas world-wide each year.

As it turned out, I was not, in fact, in labor. The contractions subsided, giving us ample opportunity to install the overhead lighting and put together the new coffee table. Still, would've been a good story. And I could've given the baby a middle name of Ikea.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Worst Pregnant Lady Ever, That's Me

I'm the worst pregnant lady ever. Everything's gone smoothly so far and I haven't stopped whining and worrying and bothering everyone with each and every detail of my physical maladies for a millisecond. The good news is, this abysmal behavior on my part will work as great insurance that I never get knocked up again. Even if I lost my mind and tried to procreate another time, and even if I hypnotized David and got him on board, the extended community of friends, acquaintances, pediatricians and OBs will never, ever let it happen. An intervention would surely take place, if only to spare them the pain and suffering of listening to my lamentations.

The other thing I've realized in the past few months is that I am going to be a really shitty old person. If I can't handle nine months of mild, temporary discomfort, which will be more or less instantly cured after childbirth, at the end of which is waiting the gleaming, spectacular reward -- that I craved so dearly - a baby, then there's no freaking way I'm going to be able to handle old age. Its not temporary, for starters, and the only reward at the end of all the accumulating agony . . . is death. David has already decided he's going to go before me, just so he doesn't have to listen to me whine. I don't blame him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How you know you're officially Uber-Pregs

The first sign is when you start wearing your 6"4' husband's T-shirts featuring graphics of a corn dog on them to parent-teacher conference, because that's the classiest thing you own that covers your mid-section.

That's a pretty good indication you're getting Mondo Preggo.

But its not til you wear your GRANDMOTHER'S clothing that you're Uber-Pregs. When you wear the ankle-length, long-sleeved white polyester nightgown your grandmother bought at the 99 cent store, that's when you know your water's gonna break soon. Particularly if you wear that nightgown to bed as a means of seducing your husband, the sole motivation being that you're trying to induce yourself into labor. The grossness on so many levels will indicate to you that you'e 40 stinking weeks preggie and about to enter a whole other realm of grossness, an alternate reality of physical grostequerie known as childbirth and post partum.

And that's where I am right now folks. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nesting Disgust

I wonder if birds ever get as disgusted with the nesting process as I feel right now. Like, at this moment is there a ratty-ass pigeon across the street with her wings behind her head, taking in the jumble of sticks and leaves and garbage she is trying to cobble into a cozy home on top of a too-small air conditioning unit, who's just saying in pigeon language, "Oh, fuck this."

The nesting starts out nice enough. About a month or two ago, when I began to feel the craze to organize build to a breaking point within me, it felt delicious to give in. Throughout the first three trips to Ikea I was high on my pregnancy hormones. I felt so gratified when I renovated our recycling center. The day I sorted out my pen and office supply drawer was one of the best days all year. I found the deed to our house. I mean, come on, that's a major win.

But now I'm at the point in the nesting craze where everything is shit. I'm at the tail end of these big home improvement projects which are all intended to miraculsouly convert my 900 square foot one bedroom apartment into a palatial home where five people can live happily without grating on each others last nerve. Now that the projects are nearly complete, it is clear that will NEVER happen. 900 square feet remains 900 square feet no matter how many floor-to-ceiling bookshelves you get. Ikea is great but it doesn't magically add an extra bathroom onto your house. So there's that somber realization.

And also, since I have completed the projects, I'm at the stage now where I've gotten rid of all the old furniture but haven't yet finished assembling the new shit so I just have piles of clothes and books and Easy Bake Ovens littering every corner of my house, right next to the piles of boxed up shelves and furniture. Not to mention, since I'm full term now, I could have the baby at any minute, so I've filled my apartment with all the baby shit - strollers and car seats and bassinets, oh my! - but haven't found a place to put any ofit yet. Because there IS no place.

So, I'm that aggravated pigeon who opts to flip on her bird boob tube and watch reality TV instead of dealing with the mess of shit that should be her home. I'm sure that pigeon tells herself she'll find the magic solution at the next trip to Ikea.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grumpy Mommy, Guilty Mommy

Kids know your weaknesses and they exploit them. My kids, for instance, know that my Achilles heel is my extreme suspectptibility to guilt.

The other night at the tail end of bedtime (yes, bedtime is so protracted that there are various stages to it, like the life cycle of a caterpillar) I climbed up the bunk bed with my massive nine-month-pregnant belly swaying on the ladder, to sing lullabies to Primo. That sentence alone should make it clear why I was not chipper. I can't even believe I am still climbing into that damn top bunk in my gravid state. I watch myself doing it and I think, "Lady, you're nuts. Cease and desist this coddling immediately." Yet I continue. And as I continue, I grow more and more annoyed.

So I heaved my gargantuan mid-section up to the top bunk, huffing and puffing like I'd just ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, and I curled up next to Primo, very begrudgingly, and sang -- with little enthusiasm -- my usual repertoire of Ein Klein Nacht Musik, the which would be better-termed Go-The-Fuck-To-Sleep Music. Then, pierced with self-imposed guilt about my lack of enthusiasm, I told Primo that he was a good boy and I really loved him. And he, touched, and feeling similarly warm and fuzzy, issued this rejoinder:

"I love you too Mommy. But do you think you could stop being so cranky once the baby is born? Can you make it your New Year's Resolution?"

I succeeded in biting my tongue and not saying out loud, "Sure, I can stop being cranky. Just as soon as you can manage to GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP BEFORE 10 O'CLOCK AT NIGHT."

Of course, I felt guilty just for thinking it.

Catholic guilt, man. There's nothing quite as powerful.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My love affair with maternity clothes

When I was pregnant with Primo, my first, I remember maternity clothes being SUCH a drag. All the stuff I could afford was so frumpy or generic, so utiliarian, and the fashionista in me balked. So besides some cheap jeans and black pants from Old Navy, I mostly culled my maternity wardrobe from the $5-$20 rack of Urban Outfitters, where I bought empire-waisted stuff a size larger than I'd normally wear. Since I was minutely small, that meant buying a Medium. The reason I can share this with you without fear of you being so disgusted you un-follow my blog is that I am as disgusted as you are. The clothes I sported as maternity in my first pregnancy didn't fit me in my regular non-pregnant days before I got knocked up this time. What can I say? That's youth for you.

This second time around, not only was I too big for those Barbie-sized non-maternity-maternity clothes, I was still too poor to buy a real maternity wardrobe and way too belaguered with a two year-old in my charge to give a shit. So I wore David's long underwear. He is 6'4" and the sleeves were about five inches too long but it got the job done. It provided warmth to my physical form,

This pregnancy is a whole new ball game. Finally, after seven years, my peers have joined in on the baby racket and all my girlfriends have recently had babies. Since they waited til thier mid-thirties to start a family, instead focusing on thier careers, they have enough money to buy nice maternity clothes, and since they live in NYC apartments, they have no room to store them. So they've all been incredibly helpful and generous, handing over bags full of Motherhood Maternity apparel for me to borrow. Thus outfitted, I have discovered something: I love maternity clothes.

Though I complain almost non stop about the discomforts of pregnancty, there is one thing I have no beef with and that is the way my pregnant body looks. The upside of relentless morning sickness is that I am actually thinner as a pregnant person than non-pregnant. Not weight wise of course, but in general appearance. Its not on purpose, and if you'd have witnessed me putting away a nutella and strawberry Belgian waffle five mionute ago, you'd be convinced of that. Its just the progesterone poisoning lasts for so long so intensely and then keeps me vaguely nauseous for my whole pregnancy that it keeps my appetite lower than when I'm not having a baby. Yes, I'm green in the face and have aged thirty years in nine months from the strain of it all, bur if we're just looking from the neck down, I do great in my pregnancies. Big, bulbous belly and a huge rack. Hell, I feel like a damn Venus Hottentot. Suddenly, instead of hiding my belly (which I've been doing ever since someone asked me if I was pregnant a few months after having Seconda (and, to clarify, I WASN'T)), I get to flaunt it. I can suddenly sport tight-fighting tees again because hey, my belly is SUPPOSED to be huge. I love my massive mid-section. I'm proud of it.

But the other reason I love maternity wear is that I am totally off the hook about my wardrobe. If I manage to cover my massive belly without wearing my husband's XL clothing, well then I'm a fashion success story. The bar is so very low. I find people expect me to look like shit warmed over and if I look even slightly better than that - like if I'm wearing a clearn button down that actually fits me -- they are wowed.

"You look amazing!"

What they really mean is, "its amazing you don't look as bad as I thought you would." Same diff.

The other great part about a maternity wardrobe is no matter how well appointed your pregnancy closet, its going to be limited which means getting dressed in the morning is a cinch. Its all basic pieces which enable you to more or less get dressed in the dark. As someone who's never filled my closet with basics, I find this simplicity wildly liberating.

Also, the elastic waistbands. They are God's gift to women, not just pregnancy ones, either. EVERYTHING should be made with an elastic waistband. I love elastic waistbands so much, I may just cave and purchase those pajama jeans I've seen on infommercials. People would make fun of me but really, I think the euphoria would overrride my shame.

For all these reasons, I may never stop wearing maternity clothes. Never.