Monthly Archives: December 2011

On Lampreys and Dragons

Dear Amy,
So, it’s official: You have a baby!  That’s so weird!  Like one day there was the idea of a baby and the shape of a baby but now there’s this squooshy little proto-human with flailing limbs and squinty eyes and this strange purple “O” for a mouth.  Were you surprised there was an actual person in there after all, and not, say, some sort of alien lamprey?
Love,
Annie

Dear Annie,

It was indeed a surprise. I’m not sure if I had mentioned this to you, but I was fairly certain I was growing a dragon. There were just some shapes she was making in there that felt as though they could not possibly be human.

Anyway, it turns out the baby comes out of your VAGINA. Sometimes, after hours and hours of contractions that get increasingly more difficult to work through. I had read all the hippy propaganda. I was ready for some sort of transcendent experience. Instead, it was pain upon pain for a long time on almost no sleep. But do you know what? After all the labor, I PUSHED THAT BABY OUT IN THIRTY MINUTES. Most first-babies require two to three hours of pushing. I screamed like a banshee the whole time. 

To be honest, Annie, after forty hours of labor, I was relieved to have ANYTHING come out of there. The fact that it was a perfect little girl was the icing on the cake, but somehow made it seem even more impossible that she was ours. I can’t tell you how many times during our hospital stay that Jason or I lamented aloud about how sad we were to have to give the baby back when we left. There just seemed no conceivable way that they were going to let us take this delightful little creature home with us.

I should go get back to it. “It” being laying around in my pajamas and snuggling with the baby and my husband. It’s a tough life over here these days, by which I mean to say it’s the best and most wonderful thing EVER. So far, the best part of being a mom is that I have this innate ability to make this tiny thing happy and calm. It’s not even, like, “I’m such a good mom,” it’s just that, as her mom, I’m the thing in the world she’s the most comfortable with. It’s…pretty cool.

Love,
Amy

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On Opinions

Dear Annie,
Okay, we are at Week 39 now. I’m officially on maternity leave, and the baby is due in a week or so. This will probably (possibly, hopefully) be my last post as a pregnant lady. I actually wanted to talk about something else, but it seemed like my last real opportunity to post about the pregnancy. I won’t say I’m sick of being pregnant, but I will say it has gotten incrementally less comfortable, and I’m ready to be done with it.

Maybe it’s fairer to say I’m ready to be done talking to people about it? I have spent most of the pregnancy, even these last days, honestly, feeling pretty great. But I have encountered a great number of people with a great number of opinions. MOST of them, I refer to as the Just Waiters. (The best group of people to talk to when you’re pregnant, it seems worth mentioning, are people whose children are grown. These are the people who glow with excitement and talk about how magical your life is about to become. This seems worth holding onto as a new mom. This seems ACTUALLY USEFUL.)

The Just Waiters do not care if pregnancy is going well or not, they need to remind you NOT TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT. If you are four months and feeling baby kicks, just wait, later you’ll see an actual foot — A FOOT! — slide across your belly. OR, just wait! Soon enough you won’t be able to tie your own shoes — YOUR OWN SHOES! If you are feeling crummy or tired, JUST WAIT! YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.

The people who tell me to “sleep while [I] can” are the worst. Here’s my sleep pattern last night: Fell asleep from 11:30-12:45am. Watched TV from 12:45-2:30am. Fell asleep until 4. Woke up, checked facebook (by the way, you guys need to be doing A LOT MORE on facebook in the middle of the night), walked around my apartment to loosen my hips up, watched for cars (two drove by), read a book. Fell asleep from 6-9am. Listen, I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I don’t mind it. It’s neat to be up at odd hours. But does it seem fair and right to tell someone with that sleep pattern to sleep while she can, because soon enough SHE’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN?

Furthermore — and I may regret saying this later — babies SLEEP. So can’t I sleep while the baby sleeps? I am quite adept at napping. (You want to do over/under odds on how soon into being a new mom I post about how I haven’t slept since the baby was born and you can, for your response, just link to this?)

But then! Last week, I went to a liquor store to buy liquor for a work event — I did not drink any of the liquor, thank you very much — and the clerk, pretty ballsy, I thought, made some comment about how I couldn’t drink any of my purchase. (Similarly, the waitress at Zola the other day chastised me for ordering a COFFEE, not decaf.) He mentioned that his girlfriend was four months along, and that she was constantly complaining about how uncomfortable she is, and how hard it is to go up stairs, and it took everything I had, Annie — everything — not to say OMG AT FOUR MONTHS? THAT’S THE EASY PART! JUST WAIT UNTIL SHE IS NINE MONTHS, GOOD LUCK, BUDDY, YOU’VE GOT A REAL PIECE OF WORK THERE!

AT ANY RATE, I have decided to try harder to just be excited for everyone, whatever they’ve got going on, just in general. That’s what people really want to hear anyway.

In your last post, you mentioned that you are “less inclined toward the polite pretenses that pepper a life spent servicing and socializing.” What are the Most Annoying things people say to single girls?

Love,
Amy

Dear Amy,

People need to SHUT UP!  You are carrying an alien around in your belly and you DESERVE a cup of real, delicious, caffeinated coffee.  In fact, the next time someone feels the need to chastise you for whatever you as a pregnant lady are eating, drinking or purchasing, you should respond with “Oh. OH. You haven’t read the most recent study, HAVE you.”  And then stare at them pityingly.  And then cram an entire sushi roll into your mouth.

And yeah, I never understood the sleeping thing either.  I thought babies slept like, A LOT.  Like more than regular humans.  Can’t you just nap together?  I mean I understand that if you’re a working mom and trying to keep a 9 to 5 or something, but if you’re just home all day?  DUDE.  Sleep whenEV.

The most annoying things people say to single girls, hmm?  Well, I’m sure you remember some of this from back in your single days: it’s not so much specific things that are said, it’s the assumptions that are made.  Instead of the Just Waiters there are the Well That’s Okays.

“Are you seeing anyone?”  
“Not at the moment.”
“Oh.  Well.   That’s OKAY.”
I KNOW IT’S OKAY
“There’s still plenty of time”
OMG PLENTY OF TIME TO WHAT I’M NOT DYING OR ANYTHING
“It must be nice to have so much free time.”
YES I AM WHITTLING DOWN MY NETFLIX QUEUE QUITE RAPIDLY THANK YOU FOR MENTIONING IT

Obviously, to many, the traditional expectation is that such a single lady as I should be (or should long ago have been) getting married and making of the babies, but I think I’m fortunate to live in a time and place where the traditional expectation is less…well, expected.  I don’t feel particularly pressured.  This may be (probably definitely is) because I’ve cut or lengthened ties to anyone who has ever tried to make me feel like my anti-child/ehh-marriage stance is anything but appropriate and awesome.  Also my parents are very understanding, and while they may secretly SEETHE inside at my reluctance to provide them with grandchildren they are very good about not showing it, or putting me on the spot at large holiday dinners.

And though it may not need saying here in the vast redundancy of the internet, I’ll say it anyway: happiness comes in all shades and sizes, and it is no one else’s place to be annoying and tell you differently.  Being judgemental doesn’t help anybody, and I say this as a one who has often pronounced sentence on those who had babies when I didn’t think they should, or got married when I didn’t think they should, or bought a motorcycle when I thought they should probably pay rent instead, or got a fifth dog when they should have gotten divorced.

Anyway, these final days are exciting for me as well.  I can’t wait to meet the little wonder who resides in your belly and start having uninformed opinions about how you should raise her.

Love,
Annie

On Baby Animals

Dear Amy,
As I get older, I find that I am less inclined toward the polite pretenses that pepper a life spent servicing and socializing:  to laugh at unsuccessful jokes, to listen pleasantly to an extremely boring story, to bear patiently the muddled ramblings of an elderly family member, to pretend to be delighted by other people’s largely undelightful children.  Sometimes I feel pretty awesome about this facet of my personality (I’m “real”!  I’m grounded!  I suffer no fools!) and sometimes I feel terrible about it (I’m ungracious!  I’m a giant jerk!  I will die alone!) .  Mostly though, I have grown to accept that I am who I am and I CAN ONLY CHANGE MYSELF SO MUCH TO PLEASE YOU PEOPLE.

For the purposes of this blog, let us discuss children.  A child is not a puppy.  Children are not inherently delightful.   Puppies are inherently delightful.  No one can dispute this.  By example, let me propose this choice: would I rather wake up to find a box of puppies at my doorstep, or (disregarding the horrifying implications) a box of toddlers?   EXACTLY.   While both creatures are illogical, gross and absurdly needy, puppies possess some ineffable X-Factor that keeps me from wanting to sit on them until they calm the hell down and stop asking for stuff.  Children possess no such X-Factor.  Do you think it is the fluffiness?  I suspect it may be the fluffiness.

Amy, when your baby is born do you ever forsee a day when you will want to sit on her until she stops asking for stuff, or do you think that I should probably go to jail?

Love,
Annie

Dear Annie,
Puppies cannot be denied. This is the first thought I had when I read your letter. My friend Karen is in the process of buying a golden retriever puppy. Because I am judgmental, I do take issue with not RESCUING a puppy. However, about once a week, she sends me a picture of the litter her puppy is in, such as this one:
Or this one:

Even at my most judgmental, I cannot deny those puppies. In fact, all I can do is my best to quell an overwhelming urge to scream “EEeeeeee!” and then to jump into that top picture, and make the puppies lay all over me. They are older now, about eight weeks, and just about to be taken from their mother. That must be hard. Being pregnant with twelve babies, having a couple die, hanging out with the rest of them, and then watching them scatter to different homes, never to be heard from again.
I love toddlers, so I think I’d be as delighted by a box of them on my porch as I would a box of puppies, but I see your point. Certainly there will be days that I just want to tell my daughter to BE QUIET or SIT STILL or JUST STOP JUST STTTTTOOOOPPPPPP. I mean, at some point — not to be morbid, but IF ALL GOES WELL — I’ll be living with a teenage girl. I did that once. The girl was me, and she was A REAL PIECE OF WORK, and probably the worst roommate EVER. But my parents put up with me, because that’s what parents do.

That’s the difference between puppies and children. Children — let’s even say MOST children — have parents who love them and are biologically programmed to do so, and puppies have parents from whom they are stolen, and then they are sent to live with OTHER, human parents. Who, in fairness, might call them “fur babies” and love them as their own, just like human parents of children, or who might kick them and leave them tied up in the back yard. Just like some human parents. What was my point here? I don’t think I’ve made it. I guess there is no difference between children and puppies, except that puppies ask fewer questions. And yes, Annie, they are fluffier.

Love,
Amy

PS: For what it’s worth, the first paragraph of your letter describes me, like, perfectly. Perhaps we have not grown so very different at all, and a woman in her thirties is a woman in her thirties, single, married, mom, not mom, etc.

Dear Amy,
The more I think about it, the thing I would prefer most to discover a box of on my doorstep would be this:
A BUCKET OF BABY OWLS
That, or a box of hundred dollar bills.
Love,
Annie
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