Hell, Hell is for Children

This Thanksgiving, Nate and I found ourselves seated at the children's table.

This is a great idea for Nate. This is a bad idea for anyone in the room who would prefer to enjoy dinner without hearing a resounding chorus of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song as the turkey is served.

Nate was teasing a sweet little five year-old, our host's goddaughter, about something or other, when she suddenly folded her arms across her chest, jutted out her lower lip, and exclaimed,
You said something mean to me! You're not going to heaven!
Now of all the people to say this to.

I was worried that Nate would respond by going off on a rant to a preschooler about heaven being a fabrication of man, created as part of a master plan from corrupt religious institutions to usurp power from the masses blah blah blah...but he showed remarkable restraint. In fact, it was me who demolished the awkward pause in the room with a (equally awkward) comment about how, since they were Catholic, at least we could say we were sorry before we die and then all will be forgiven. The little girl's mom laughed. Her aunt, not so much. But then, she was still sore with me for my earlier Bush joke. A Bush fan in the New York metro area! Mea culpa - I didn't know such a thing existed.

I hadn't thought much about the incident again until yesterday, when I read Julie's thought-provoking post at the Imperfect Parent about using the expression "oh my God" in front of children who have been told that this is a biblical violation. And I started wondering about religion and morality in children.

(Now in the spirit of disclosure: I'm not entirely reverent when it comes to institutional religion. I'm not quite as antagonistic as my sigOth, but I did do a little riff here a few months back on evangelical ice cream truck drivers that might not sit well with some of my more devout Mormon-in-laws. Extreme beliefs in any form make me uncomfortable, and I admit I include a five year old's ability to quote bible verses in that category.)

Based on this little girl's remark, I'm wondering whether the concept of hell--or at least not going to heaven--is used by religious school teachers as sort of an eternal naughty chair, a threat to keep kids in check: Be nice to your sister or you won't go to heaven. Stop picking your nose or you won't go to heaven. Scratch mommy's back or you won't go to heaven.

It certainly seems an easier way to parent than, say, telling your kid he won't go to his Little League World Series. Make good on that threat and he hates you. But who can he hate if you tell him he won't enter the pearly gates in 2096? God? St Peter? The Lucky Charms guy?

Then I started to think about (and I know, I'm getting on a bit of a slippery slope here) whether there's actually any downside in instilling a moral code in children that's based on eternal reward and punishment. Isn't it enough to be good for goodness sake? Can't children learn to be kind, be responsible, be charitable, because It's the Right Thing To Do, and not just because when you die you'll get to play with kittens and eat ice cream all day?

Don't we have faith enough in our own inner moral compasses--and in those of our children?


I'd like some other perspectives on this.


Why Yes, it WAS Just Like Romy and Michelle. I Even Wore the Pink Dress.

When you wake up with a giant zit smack between your eyes, it can only mean one thing--it's the morning of your twentieth high school reunion.

Twenty years. Two-zero. Which is impossible when you do the math, considering I'm hardly out of my teens myself. (Coughcough)

A twenty year reunion is a weird thing because at this point, you've actually been out of school longer than you were in it. Back in those days when even a summer--especially one spent away from a boyfriend--seemed like a lifetime, and your entire group of friends could change three times over the course of a year, twenty years was inconceivable. A lifetime. Ten lifetimes. We never could have imagined that two decades later, we’d still be alive and kicking without the help of artificial breathing devices. Hell, we thought we'd be teleporting by '06.

A lot of us, amazingly, are still in touch with one another, either directly or with a couple of degrees between us. Name any of the 350 or so people in my high school class, and relatively quickly, I could find out what most of them are up to. Because of this, I knew it would be a fun night, without too many surprises. At least it would be more fun than some of the other reunion stories I've read about. Although I do agree with Amalah on one count - I probably can't be as candid as I'd like to be about everything.

So despite the fact that I'm not going to tell you which classmate was an absolute train wreck, or who slurred my ear off about his lame career, or which former acquaintance made the catty comment about me having good hair (gasp) that I might have actually (gasp) spent time on before heading out for the night, I'll try to keep things interesting.

(Psst - high school friends reading: Email me. I could be convinced to spill.)

Going into the evening, I had three strikes against me, not counting the zit, which really should count as two strikes on its own, considering its sheer enormity:

1. I am pregnant and jiggly.

2. I can’t drink.

3. Officially.

Thank God for that one awesome old friend who let me steal sips of her Magic Hat No. 9 all night. Not that I ever got a buzz on, because that would be WRONG, WRONG. But it did make me feel just a little rebellious, as one should feel when surrounded by people with whom she once shared bong hits instead of going to French class.

While there were maybe only 75 of us there, the group contained the all the characters mandatory at high school reunions.

There was The Drunk Girl Who Rambles On About People You Have No Memory Of--Hey, have you seen Marla lately? She looks AWESOME! Smile and nod. Hey, remember that big party at Jenny's house sophmore year? That ROCKED! Smile and nod. You know what's crazy? Tony now works in REAL ESTATE! Excuse yourself to find Magic Hat friend.

(The truth is, I have an insane memory for people and faces. If I don't know what she's talking about, no one does. In fact I don't think those people even went to our school.)

A few of us got a kick out of The Couple Who Is Way Too In Love - the one who doesn't let go of each other's hands while arguing about who got luckier. "I did, Schmoopie." "No, I did, BooBoo!" Maybe it's just cynicism, but I can't help but wonder whether the performance was scripted for the benefit of ex-girlfriends in the room, or whether they were a real couple at all. I imagined a sitcom moment where a recently divorced and heartbroken classmate pays a cousin to play the part of devoted spouse for the night.

Then there was the Too-Young Girlfriend Who Drunkenly Mistook Her Boyfriend for a Stripper Pole.

And of course we were joined by everyone’s favorite reunion archetypes: The Geeky Kid Who's Now Cool and The Hot Girl Who's Now Geeky. The former gives us all hope. The latter gives us all hope. Tell your teenage daughters.

On second thought, you can't tell them. They won’t hear it. The same way you can't tell them that those guys on Laguna Beach are grade-A losers with the personality of toe fungus, they’ll never believe that the captain of the football team will grow up to have a huge beer gut and a dead-end desk job at his uncle’s construction company; or that the guy who can’t hit a baseball is going to be a famous Hollywood producer who looks great in jeans.

But it’s truuu-uuuuue.

Despite my mild cattiness here (although I prefer to think of it as observational humor), the evening as a whole was not divisive or cliquey in the least.

I recall at my ten-year reunion the mild undercurrent of competitiveness, the need for people to prove that they’d made something of themselves as adults. I distinctly remember being thrilled that I could go back to my reunion having just been promoted to vice president. There were still some unkind glances thrown between former cliques as we whispered, eyebrows raised, about who had gotten fat and who was still living at home. Few people were married. Still fewer had started families. The competitiveness was only heightened by the sexual tension in the air, as guys who had since discovered hair products and women who had learned the joys of brow sculpting grinded on the dance floor with old crushes formerly out of their leagues. And why not. We were twenty-somethings. We played the parts as they were written for us.

What a difference ten years makes.

Now as thirty-somethings pushing (eek) forty-something, it was a different game entirely.

The former hippies, the former druggies, the former cheerleaders or athletes or theater kids or band geeks—most of us are now someone’s mom or dad. That’s what we were all proud of most. There was a little career talk. But mostly there was family talk. Home buying talk. Marriage and remarriage talk. Committed partner talk. Preschool talk. Even the child-free had nephews or nieces to gush about, or future family dreams to share.

And then I realized that my growing belly seemed less like the hindrance I thought it woudl be, and more like social currency. A conversation starter. A unifier. Even better, it was one of several in the room, each one tied to a beautiful, glowing, 38 year-old face above it.

(And JP, if you’re reading? You win the prize for dedication, mama, showing up 8 ½ months pregnant. Your kid's going to come out of the womb singing the MHS fight song.)

The small social circles that formed around the dark bar glowed with the backlighting of family photos flashed electronically on ipods, on cell phones, on digital cameras. The reactions looked gracious. And genuine. It’s hard to hold a grudge against a beaming new dad, even if he did make your life just a wee bit hellish 21 years earlier.


There were definitely a few highlights throughout the evening: A friend who noticed a party-crasher wearing a Mike Hunt name tag, who asked me in all honesty whether he actually went to our high school. (I love her, but she hasn't changed a bit.) Chatting up my sophmore year crush, the one who busted up my best friend and me (that kind of happens when you discover your best friend making out with your crush at lunchtime), and finding myself entirely unattracted to him. Having the class clown tell me she's read my blog and it’s funny. (So sue me, I’m insecure.)

Oh, and can't forget--learning that a guy in the class below ours is now a big porn star.

I am not making that up.

But the best part of all was realizing that I am very much at peace with who I am and how my life has turned out--and enjoying spending the evening with a roomful of people who, for the most part, seem to be in the exact same place.

And also knowing, however it was presented, that I had good hair.

If you knew me in the 80s…well let’s just say that’s a very, very big deal.


Update: I have since been informed that we have not one, but two male porn stars from our high school! Take that, Valley High.


Black Friday Gets Just a Little Less Black

You're wondering why I've been such a terrible blog commenter and spotty poster lately, aren't you.

(That's right, because I am the center of your world. The axis upon which your proverbial planet spins.)

Well besides the travel, the full-time job, the pregnancy exhaustion, the toddler, and routine beauty upkeep, I have another excuse:

As Seen at Cool Mom Picks


I swear, it beats hitting the mall this Friday with the eight million other psycho shoppers.

Meanwhile, if you have the inclination to add this very purdy and appropriately non-demoninational--C'mon Zoroastrians, get in on the action!--button to your blog, email us at info[at]coolmompicks.com with your url. We'll enter you in a drawing for a big bagful of goodies that we've featured on our site. You'll find the code by clicking here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Have a big glass of grog for me, will you?


A Very Mommyblogger Kind of Entry

I am home--home at last!--from two exhausting weeks in Florida. Nine of those days I worked like a dog on a commercial shoot. Five of those days I raced from Orlando to Pompano Beach to Tampa with Nate and Thalia, trying to visit everyone we knew along the way.

In this time, I stayed in three hotels. I switched rooms once. I ate forty mediocre meals and two very good ones. I walked out of one restaurant. I stepped off a flight so turbulent, it led to the most violent pukefest of my pregnancy to date. I fell asleep during every movie I tried to watch. I endured sober dinners with rowdy, heavy drinking colleagues. I humiliated myself by squeezing into a bathing suit. In front of co-workers. I brought four magazines--I found time to read half of one. And probably as many blogs. I survived two work nights that went past midnight. My drunk, obstinant coworker and I argued about single moms and their right to have children. My boss and I argued about wardrobe on one actor who would be on camera for roughly .5 seconds. Nate and I argued about directions, about who gets sick more often, about how to dress the baby, about arguing.

In our final couple of days, our hotel room was directly above "Carla and Anthony's" wedding reception. It was also across from an elevator from which drunk, loud wedding guests poured in and out all night while our room shook from the bass booming below. The concierge was so incompetent, his suggestion of something to do in Tampa for the afternoon was "drive to another city." The restaurant service was heinous enough that Saturday night we ordered in a pizza. The pizza was inedible--and this is coming from a pregnant woman. We ate candy bars instead.

And yet those days were among some of the most amazing, glorious, memorable in my life.

Because I absolutely fell in love.

(Gushy mommyblogging post hatahs, feel free to make your quiet and swift depart right now. No offense taken.)

If I thought I was bonded Thalia before I had been mistaken. I am now deep, deep, deep. I am obsessively, dangerously, knocked off my feet in love.

It may have been the time we spent together, or maybe just the time beforehand that we spent apart. Maybe both.

It's the way she pops up in front of me and yells "hi!" before throwing her arms around me and pressing her lips to my face in a toddler kiss. The way she makes me cycle through the entire array of animals prompts over and over again -- my favorite being when she flutters her eyelashes in response to "what does the butterfly say?" It's every new word, new sound, new awareness at something around her; her recognition of a dog, a tree, the sun, the Ernie on her diaper.

It's how she brightens when we take her from her crib in the morning, and cuddles up in my arms at night before bed, during the sixteenth consecutive reading of Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (Answer: Yes. But you have to know her really well to know that that mmmmmmmm sound is a moo.)

It's how she insists on dipping her own spoon into my food. Or into her food. Or into the water glass on the table.

It's her energy, her essence, her purity and goodness. It's unlike anything I've ever known. I feel as if I'm suddenly smack in the middle of that phase in a romantic relationship when you can think of nothing but your beloved, you start believing all the sappy lyrics in the Lite-FM songs, and all your writing turns to crap.

I would die for this little girl. I don't know that I ever could have said that before and meant it.

#2, you've got a hard act to follow. I'm just sayin'.


Don't Mess With a Pregnant Woman When Her Blood Sugar's Low

To the bitch in the hotel restaurant yesterday morning:

When we walked in the door, my daughter was not screaming. She was not whining. She was not misbehaving in any way in fact. But judging from the disdainful expression on your face when you saw her walk in, the dramatic eyerolling, the exaggerated head shaking from side to side, you'd have thought she was reaching into her own diaper and flinging crap right into your eggs benedict.

I tried smiling at you but was met with the most pinched, sour, evil expression I have perhaps ever experienced while holding a smiling child in my arms. It was as if I came face to face with the real live witch from all those fairy tales--the one who, in the end, gets baked in an oven or drowned in a lake while all the townspeople cheer.

Only this time she held not a broom but a USA Today and a cup of lukewarm tea.

What I really wanted to do was grab a chair at your table, sit down across from you and your equally uptight husband and say, You see this baby here? She's glorious. She's beautiful. She radiates goodness. She brings happiness into every life that she touches, if only for a moment. But your anger and negativity means will never get to experience that joy, and that, my dear, is your own sad loss.

Then I fantasized (as we neared seven minutes waiting to be seated) about taking a more confrontational approach. To walk right up to you and ask you what the fuck your problem is. And when you looked shocked, shocked at being called on your shit, I would say, see here's the thing: Your plan backfired. People like you, you count on being the only rude person in the room, and that all the polite people will allow you to get away with your attitude. Not this time. You're messing with the wrong mommy this morning--I'm pregnant, I'm hormonal, I skipped dinner last night, and I've got twenty years on you. So let's get it out in the open right now: What the fuck is your problem? And if your answer doesn't include some sort of story about being held captive and tortured for six days back in the 60s by three crazed toddlers in a makeshift prison made of barbed wire and Play-Doh, then you'd better take a good look in the mirror and give your attitude towards kids another thought.

Next my inner highschooler chimed in and I thought about just coming out and telling you how ugly you were (as we seated ourselves at a table, dragging the highchair loudly right past your table even if it was the long way around), how the ugliness just radiates from inside to out. But Nate beat me to that one. Out loud, and not in much of a mumble. But you already knew that.

And so I dealt with you in the first way that sprung to mind. As we walked out the door to forage for food elsewhere, I stood right next to you, and sweetly told the baby to wave bye-bye to you. Which she did, good girl that she is. Then I told you to have a nice day.

Let's just say you got off easy this time.

PS We greatly enjoyed our meal at IHop. It was cheaper, it was friendlier, it didn't take fifteen minutes to get a damn waitress to acknowledge us, and Thalia got to play with the little chihuahua poking his head out of the purse of the lady next to us. Oh yes...there was a dog in the restaurant. I bet you would have had a field day with that one.


Mrs. Fortune, this one's for you.


The SanctiMommy

A business trip to Universal Orlando Resort may sound awesome, and compared to some of the locales I've traveled for work (sorry, Milwaukee readers--nothing personal), I suppose it is. But when you're away from your kid for an entire week, it's a tough place to be. Everywhere I look there are kids. And sippy cups. And diaper bags. And more kids. And other reminders of how while the mommies of the world are being mommies, I am here missing my daughter's new words and wobbly steps and awkward kisses.

Resilient as I am, however, I making excellent use of this opportunity to silently observe mothers and their children from the sidelines.

And judge them.

I don't consider myself a particularly judgmental person. I am opinionated, indeed, but not entirely judgmental. There's a difference. The opinionated mom says, "all mothers should at least try to breastfeed." The judgmental mom says, "if you don't try to breastfeed, you will be doomed to whichever circle of hell forces you to listen to David Hasselhoff crooning Muskrat Love for the rest of eternity." (You may also be forced to have sex with Danny Bonaduce, which, according to the hilarious comments on my last post, is apparently the innermost circle of hell.)

Yesterday in the gift shop of the hotel, a trio of boys were whining for "just one Snickers" before breakfast. "Well, okay, just one," the mom said finally giving in. "I don't want you too hyper before breakfast."

And I couldn't help myself. I rolled my eyes big--really big--with the hopes that anyone looking in my direction at that moment could see just how awesome I am.

Oh my God - I acted like a Sanctimommy.

I had first heard about this breed of mothers on message boards. She's the type who snorts in your direction when you feed your daughter french fries in the diner, or who tsks you as you walk past her with your pacifier-sucking three year old. She won't hesitate to comment on you kid's lack of hat when the temperature dips to 59, or to make a scene over the non-organic produce in your fridge. She has read every baby book, and has decided that her expert of choice is the expert and that heeding any other parenting theories is akin to worshipping false idols. Don't even get her started on the real hotbutton mommywar issues like Ferberizing or circumcizing or ear piercing.

I hate this woman.

And yet once in a while, I think I am her. Just a teeny bit.

I'm sure some degree of judgmentalism is natural; an easy way to level our own insecurities about the choices we make as parents. Well I can't be all that bad--my daughter might not own a winter jacket yet, but at least I don't let her go to the playground with snot running down her face like SOME people.

But when it's taken to the level that I took it to yesterday--a big dramatic eyeroll for the benefit of bystanders over a candy bar--well that's just wrong. It's not who I want to be.

The best advice I ever got about parenting was from my own mother. She told me that every decision you will make as a parent is right, and every decision you will make as a parent is wrong. Once you learn that, you're golden.

And boy, she nailed it.

There is no one right way to do anything. Hell, we could find out in fifty years that the levels of mercury and lead in our own bodies is so high that breastfeeding is actually far worse than formula. Science changes, parenting theories evolve, new experts spring up with ideas that we never considered before.

Which is partially why I get absolutely incensed when I see some of the Sanctimommies springing up on controversial blog posts or message board forums, attacking others in the cruelest fashion, under the protective veil of internet anonymity. I have observed the abhorrent "I feel sorry for your kids" response applied equally to working moms, single moms, and moms who feed their children American cheese singles. I've seen women who sleep train called child abusers (raising hand here). I have even seen a blog comment in which a woman insisted that those who choose to circumcise their sons deserve to have their children taken away. Taken away!

Where's the perspective?

Here's the great irony: The true Sanctimommy, the really sanctimonious, dogmatic, holier-than-though, unyielding type--there is no breed of mother more deserving of an eyeroll than she.

While the Sanctimommy is quick to deem others unfit mothers based on (really, in the end) superficial decisions like the cleanliness of a child's nose or the YoBaby in the grocery cart, she's reluctant to look as closely at herself. At her own attitude. At what seems to me to be anger and angst and a general unhappiness directed at a world around her which she can't control.

The image of Carrie's mom springs to mind.

Call me crazy, but I'd rather raise my kids in a happy, loving household with Dora on the tv and Cheerios on the dinner table than to have them grow up in the presence of an uptight, judgmental mom with her shoulders up to her ears and no ability to distinguish the grey areas that comprise 90% of life.

And so I'm going to try and do better. When I find my eyebrows suddenly raised an inch above their normal resting position upon seeing a five year-old with a pacifier, or a toddler taking a sip of her parents' Coke, or a little boy sporting a mullet (oh God, this one is going to be the hardest) I'm going to remember my mother's other great advice: Will this matter in a year? In ten years?

It won't matter to me, that's for sure.

But there will still be no Snickers before breakfast. That right is solely reserved for the pregnant among us.


Last Night's Pregnancy Sex Dream Guest Star Was...

Danny Bonaduce!

I will say, he wasn't half bad. Although he did try to inject me with steroids afterwards, which was kind of scary, what with me being pregnant and all.


Our House is a Very Very Very Fine House

The following is a transcript of an actual phone call last night, taped surreptitiously and obtained through purely illegal means. Take that, Novak.

SFX: Ring, ring

Female Voice: Hello, Nancy Pelosi.


Female Voice: Hello, Nancy Pelosi.

Male Voice: Uh...

(long pause)

Female voice: Is someone there?

Male Voice: Land shark.

Female Voice: Excuse me?

Male Voice: Avon calling.

Female Voice: Who is this?

Male Voice: Uh...Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Because um...oh wait, is that how it goes? No wait...

Female Voice: Mr. President? Is that you?

Male Voice: No! I mean, Land Shark. Did I do that one already?

Female Voice 2: (Quieter, off the receiver) Oh stop it George. Just stop it.

Female Voice: Mr. President?

Male Voice: Is your refrigerator running? Better catch it. Ha!

Female Voice: Mr. President, I know that's you. I can hear Laura in the background.

Female Voice 2: Just say it George.

Male Voice: (whiny, childlike, insincere) Congratulaaaaaatiooooooons.

Female Voice: Well thank you Mr. President. I know there's been some tension between us in the past but I certainly hope that...

Male Voice: Hey! Van Wilder is on the comedy channel. Gotta go.

SFX: Click

Female Voice: Mr. President? Mr. President?



That is all.

My name is Mom101 and I approve this ad.

This message paid for by the Committee of the Vast Majority of Americans With Common Sense Who Know That This Country Needs a Big Fucking Change Like, Yesterday, but Today Will Have to Do.


NaBloPoMo Dropout

NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month is a cool idea, in which its participants are posting every day in November with the chance to improve their writing, gain readers, and win valuable prizes.

Huge apologies to those readers who are finding Mom101 through some sort of NaBloPoMo randomizer, looking at my last posting date and thinking, that cheat! That fraud! However I regret that I am not one of these participants nor have I ever intended to be.

I'm perhaps as busy as I ever have been, which is exascerbated by the first trimester narcolepsy that's been stealing many formerly productive hours from me each day. Kristen and I have been swamped with an incredible but time-consuming opportunity for Cool Mom Picks. Oh, plus there's that pesky full-time day job which is sending me on a weeklong business trip to sunny Orlando on Tuesday--exciting "I miss my baby" and "there's nothing on pay-per-view" posts to follow.

So while I would love nothing more than to dazzle you daily with my overuse of double-dashes and italics, I regret that this is not possible right now.

Although the whole exercise certainly has got me thinking.

Living in New York, if I had the ability to put an illustrated gun to people's heads and force them to do something every day this month, I'm not entirely sure it would be blog posting. Here are some alternatives I would consider endorsing:

Take a Shower Daily (and Use Soap) Month.
Required of all cab drivers. Because if you have ever lived in New York for any period of time, then you know the feeling of hanging your head out of the rear window of a cab in sub-zero temperatures for forty block, which is preferable to braving the unbearable putrescence inside the car.

Say Thank You When Someone Holds Open the Door Month
I am not a professional doorman. As such, when I am holding open the door of the movie theater, assume it is so that I can enter it myself, not so that 87 of you can stream out while I stand shivering in the cold, missing the previews.

Stand Up and Give The Pregant Woman a Seat, Asshole, Month.
Violators will be forced to sit in the one subway car at rush hour with no air conditioning. See also: NaTaShoDa(UsSo)Mo

Reasonable Price on Groceries Month
In which a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is not allowed to top $1.19, even if it's available the only Tribeca grocery for blocks.

Clean Up After Your Dog, Braniac, Month
Here's a secret--when you let your dog crap in a snowbank? It doesn't melt along with the snow.

The New York Post Is Not a News Source Month
For every page of the New York Post one reads--sports, gossip and comics excluded--the reader must also read three stories from a credible news source. The success of this program could lead to a nationwide push with NaFoNoNewSoMo - National Fox is Not a News Source Month, in which Fox News-viewing drones will be forced to watch BBC World News while loofa-ing Bill O'Reilly's private parts.

We Got it, You Like Rap Month
If you'd like to blow out your eardrums with the latest unintelligible, mysogynistic offering from someone I'm not cool enough to have heard of, feel free to use headphones. Not your car speakers, not with your windows down, and certainly not after midnight. Some of us have sleeping children. And taste.

"Fugeddaboudit"- Free Month
In which no NYC tourist is permitted to say fugeddaboudit as an imitation of Brooklyn dialect. You wanna hear people say fugeddaboudit? Hop a PATH train to Jersey. You'll be in heaven.


So, what would you like to see instituted this month?


I Have A Dream...

All I want is a spicy tuna roll. Just one little inside-out spicy tuna roll from Iron Chef House, doused in soy sauce with just a dab of wasabi. It's all I can think about. It's all I can daydream about.

Fortunately it's not all I can actually dream about; the most recent unconscious nightly sex romp was with none other than Jay Mohr. So Yvonne, if you're reading? Tell your buddy Jay he was awesome--maybe even better than Jon Stewart. Also thank him for bringing the red wine.

I insisted on ordering Japanese food for dinner tonight, perhaps to torture myself (or test myself?) since I know that Nate, that scallywag, that scamp, will order my taboo dish for his very own. The eight beautifully composed pieces taunt me from the take-out container, where they nestle cozily against my own pathetically unsatisfying vegetable rolls. They're already touching, I try justifying. They're already touching!

I fantasize about pilfering a single piece when Nate's not looking, distracting him by switching the channel from Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Wife Swap. While he rants and raves and makes a big show of snatching away the remote control, I will swoop in, downing one of his precious rolls in a single bite.

I know he's onto me. I know he's keeping count of his pieces, mentally subtracting one each time the chopsticks hit his mouth. The cretin. The bastard.

Today, I turned down chocolate cake. I ate a single Pepperidge Farm Cookie off a cookie tray at work (and Greg will back me up on the difficulty of that). Nate brought home a black and white milkshake for me the other day that is yet untouched and congealing at the bottom of our freezer drawer. I have yet to eat a single Pop Tart since the pee hit the stick that one fateful morning in August. But for some reason, the true forbidden fruit taunts this pregnant woman and her vulnerable immune system above all else.

Why, spicy tuna rolls? Why?



C'mon, Everyone Get Happy!

I am nearly at a loss for words. (I did say "nearly." Or else, well, that would be a first, wouldn’t it). The kindness, the good wishes, the positive vibes, the concerned emails, the tentatively offered prayer--each and every one is joyfully and humbly accepted.

You rock, blog people, really you do.

So much so that I fear I’ve used up all my blogworld good will for the next eight years or so. Or maybe that’s a good thing? Yes! That’s exactly how I will take it. I have used up all my blogworld good will, and thus, nothing bad can happen to me ever again. Take that, nefarious forces of the universe. Hah. I win and you suck.

I feel this would be a good time to share with you some very positive things about this pregnancy. After all, I don’t want to be that whiney pregnant chick who’s always like, wah my feet. Wah my back. Wah my wiggly tricep fat. At leat I don’t want to be that person here--since I spend more than enough time being her at home, thankyouverymuch.

For one, the bionic nose? Not so bad. Certainly its scifi-esque powers kick in during the occasional diaper change or wind direction change that carries with it unusual aromas from the Greek diner up the street; but otherwise I feel somehow, mercifully, thankfully spared from many of the gag-inducing smells of the last pregnancy. Perhaps it’s that I’ve stayed away from cooked green peppers and tuna melts. (Oh God – gagging just typing those last two words.) Or maybe it’s just that having a toddler on hand gives you those permasniffles that somehow counterbalances the bionic sense of smell and renders your olfactory system somehow normal. Either way, I’m just fine not being able to detect a White Diamonds violation from across a crowded restaurant or a bike messenger who feels that bathing is somehow against his god.

Also, at this, the 14 week mark, the affliction known as Gross Pendulousness of the Boobs (Mamarium Distortium) just kicked in. Considering I was sleeping in a Bravado at 6 weeks last time--you should have seen the look on the saleswoman’s face when I casually mentioned my due date 8 months later--I’m delighted. Of course, now the things are swollen and tender and easily heavy enough to snap right off my body should I bend forward too quickly or hit a pothole on the FDR, but that’s to be expected. I’m just happy it took this long to get to this stage.

(And really, my small-boobied sisters, do not covet thy neighbors overinflated pregnancy boobs. The DD garments I own were taxed to their limits before I got knocked up. I'm avoiding getting resized now for fear of letters so high they have yet to be added to our alphabet. It's not attractive, I assure you.)

Last and most definitely not least, I must do a little happy dance that I’m not heaping on the poundage nearly as fast as last time around. I know part of it was due to my mandated physical inactivity. But if I am to be honest, my 45 pound weight gain was thanks in large part to the Frosted Flakes Factor. The Pop Tart Factor. The Chocolate Chip Scone Factor.

“I’m craaaaving it,” I’d say, interpreting my desire was a sign that my body somehow "needed it." Right. .

And so our pantries were filled with the cereals your mom never let you have, our counters overflowed with croissants and shortbread and all manners of flavored popcorn. There were telltale toaster cake crumbs at the bottom of the toaster, and a plentiful supply of ice cream in the freezer. Bad ice cream, too. Like, Chipwiches and Good Humor Chocolate Eclairs. The stains on my maternity shirts—the ones I wore way to early I might add—were definitely not from salad dressings. Except maybe blue cheese, which generously doused the French fries I ate nearly daily, accompanying my grilled cheese sandwiches and black and white milkshakes.

This time? Things are different. In fact just last week--I swear it's true, I have witnesses--I managed to eat a vegetable.

[pauses for applause.]

So the fact that I'm up five pounds today instead of sixteen gives me a forbidden, totally un-pc, feminist-betraying joy.

Not that I look good, mind you. You can see the pregnancy in my face before you see it on my hips, and that's saying something.

I’ll never be one of those skinny little things with the chiseled arms and the cute bumps that you don't even notice until the day before the elective C-section. Being The Cute Preggo just isn't the cards for me. However I’ll happily settle for being able to stand up from the couch at 14 weeks without leaving two humongous impressions in the fabric. In fact, I’m happy I can stand up from the couch at all without the help of two burly union guys.

So the way I see things, they could be worse. They have been worse. They could get worse--who knows. And now with the awareness of what real pregnancy stress can be, I’m not going to get crazy about forgetting a vitamin (or six) or the big zit right next to my nose or even a chocolate croissant binge.

For now.

I reserve the right to go whiney at any time.