In Her Good Books

Hours after I’d given birth to Cricket, I took Mr. Book’s hand and told him “Next time I will make a bigger one.” Hard to know why that seemed like such an awesome thing to strive for, but now I’m just past 34 weeks and I’m measuring big. Mission accomplished! The midwife was the one who suggested Atkin’s to me earlier—yesterday she encouraged me to stop eating fruit in order to shrink the baby. I was offered another ultrasound, which is apparently standard when you’re measuring ahead at this point, but I turned it down; I’ve heard too many “They thought she was huge and forced me to have a c-section” stories that often feature the inaccuracy of the size estimates.


I’m trying to sound cheerful and competent here, but things aren’t going well with my body. It’s very odd; I’m looking forward very much to meeting the baby, but I’m still not sleeping much and it’s really taking a toll. The midwives want me to try an OTC sleeping medication, and I guess that I will; I’m not thrilled with the idea, but I’m running enough of a deficit that things aren’t working the way that they are supposed to. Just a random example: last night I had to give up on eating dinner because it was burning my throat and giving me stomach cramps. It was a mild, not spiciness-or-temperature hot pasta that I’ve had many times before, and I couldn’t eat it. I gave up and wandered away. Of course, not having a real meal yesterday can’t be helping my physical state—but maybe the midwife would be pleased from a baby size perspective.


In other news, Ruth has asked to send us parenting books as a baby gift. I was a bit taken aback, and briefly considered the part of the email when she said that she wanted to know honestly how we would feel about that, but . . . I don’t believe her, so I gave the Miss Manners answer.:


On parenting books: we in fact have a huge stack of parenting books already, but if there are books that were particularly helpful to you, of course we’d be delighted. =) I’m not near the stack at the moment, but if it helps I can tell you that we have (among others) How to Get Your Kids to Eat…But Not Too Much, the Sears baby book, What to Expect the First Year, Unconditional Parenting, Real Boys, and How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. We’re also (if it matters) going to be doing bedsharing, and are firmly anti-CIO. My mother is a little baffled by the fact that many of our intentions are so crunchy and at the same time combined with, e.g., a love for baby windex and disposable diapers. You’d think that after 28 years she would be incapable of being shocked by my weirdness, but there you go.


First, though, I spent some time thinking about my really honest answer, which would have gone more like this:


Well, we disagree about a lot of parenting things, so I don’t know how helpful that would be. In addition, I’m (at least right now!) not looking for or really comfortable with advice from you—I’ve been really hurt by your response to the pregnancy and have an irrational desire to keep a huge mental distance between you and the little bird. That’s been easier than I would have thought, overall, since you’ve pulled back. Of course, what I really want is for you not to send a baby gift at all; I want that so badly, and I know that it isn’t reasonable or fair. The truth is, though, that anything you send will probably get jammed in the bottom of a drawer or stuffed into a closet and ignored, so in that sense I guess it doesn’t matter if you want to send the Ferber book or whatever unless you plan to ask me questions about it. Which I think you do.


I guess this is what manners are for; my “honest” answer isn’t very nice, and that’s no good to anyone. But darn it, I don’t want to get quizzed on the books she will send. Oh, well.


<3 Zutano

It’s my last day in California, and I’ve spent the whole trip feeling isolated and sad. This has led to me not answering emails, commenting on other peoples’ blogs, or generally acting like a decent and social person, so if I have neglected you, I apologize. There’s really no good reason for me to be feeling/behaving this way, either; California has been very nice, and it’s been great to see my folks. There have been a number of good things that have happened, as well, which I’ll try to write about over the next day or two. But today I’ll just talk briefly about going downtown with my mother.


My mom and I went to get something to drink at a coffeehouse and then wandered around for a bit and window shopped—it’s just lovely here, 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, so all you need is an excuse to go walking around outside. We ended up going first into a toy store, where we looked at every gosh-darned thing in the place and my mom reminisced about what my siblings and I liked best when we were kids. We each ended up buying a birthday card suitable for a little boy—mine is for Cricket next year (we have one for this year already, purchased last year), and I wanted to ask whether hers is, too, but couldn’t think of a way for that to not be awkward if it isn’t.


Later we ended up in a store specializing in clothes for little kids—my mom mentioned that she had stopped in earlier, when we thought the little bird was a girl, and that she had found some cute dresses. She wanted to look at the boys’ clothes this time, especially at the baptismal outfits, since my current plan is to have him baptized in the gown I wore and she thinks that somewhat unsuitable (I should say that a male cousin of mine was also baptized in this gown; it’s hardly covered in little roses or what have you). She at first thought I should use the outfit my brother was baptized in, but it is much too small (he was six and a half pounds at birth, more than three pounds smaller than Cricket) and also not at all warm; the little bird is most likely going to be baptized in the Pacific Northwest in January, so the outfit worn by a Los Angeles baby in June is really not going to fit the bill. Plus I think it is kind of ugly, but that’s almost entirely beside the point. Anyhow, at the shop she kept pulling out and admiring these stiff little onesie-like suits with peter pan collars that I thought semi-awful and, again, really inadequate for January weather outside of Southern California. We looked at all the other boy clothes in the store, and I realized with faint horror that our tastes in baby clothes are diametrically opposed, and that I will probably hate whatever she gives the little lad—she loves tiny collared things, starched one-piece outfits with masculine embroidery, and sweater vests. Me . . . well, you’ll all see what I like soon enough, but perhaps it’s enough for now to say that I have a pile of Threadless onesies and tiny t-shirts, and that I have not bought a single thing with a collar. The things I’ve picked tend to be soft and flexible rather than being textured like fancy napkins. My mother will be horrified.

Gathering Twigs

Well, I’m thirty-three weeks in a couple of days, and the nesting has begun; I’ve put together a dresser/changer, hung mobiles, and done more baby laundry than any reasonable person would undertake in a weekend. The nursery is starting to really look like one, which is satisfying. For whatever reason, I really enjoy seeing things that look as though they are ready for the arrival of the little bird—I’ve put a few diapers on top of the changer, and there is a toy in the crib. Mr. Book is supposed to assemble the glider rocker my parents bought us for Christmas while I’m gone this week, so my next big project may be packing a bag for the hospital. I’m thinking the best part will be picking out a coming-home outfit for the little dude.

I took a tour of the maternity ward on Friday, and it was an oddly mixed experience. When I first arrived, I thought I might have come to the psych ward by mistake—no, those security doors are to stop people stealing the babies, which is commendable but makes for something of a grim entrance. The woman who showed me around was just sweet as anything, and showed me a row of patient satisfaction awards they have received; she told me that people who have delivered elsewhere and then have subsequent babies at this hospital tell the staff what a wonderful difference it makes. She asked if this was my first, and then where I had delivered before. “Um, a freestanding birth center in California?”

“Oh. We’d love to have one of those, but we can’t. Oh, well! This may not be as impressive for you.” Yeah, sure enough.

Don’t get me wrong—this is clearly much better than the hospital my mother delivered in all those years ago, and there was plenty of good news (babies stay with moms in the rooms except when getting blood drawn or being circumcised, the rooms have a place for partners to sleep, they have a Jacuzzi, birthing bars, and birth balls to aid labor), but I kept making little mental notes of things that seemed less good. The bed they have for the baby is this odd, open-top glass box; I have already told the Mister that we will have to sleep in shifts so that one of us can always be holding the baby rather than leaving him in the bizarre box. They don’t, apparently, allow laboring women to eat or drink, but I’m hoping to get there extremely late and planning to bring my own food and drink anyway. We will have to change rooms after the baby is born, but we won’t have to go far. Altogether, a mixed bag, but it’s what I’ve got. Time to get really and truly used to the idea.


This morning I was showing some children’s books to the Mister (we’re thinking about Cricket’s Christmas gift) and I mentioned one Christmas children’s book that I have that I think the Mister would really like. He said “I should read it to you this Christmas . . . Oh!!” And the look on his face in that ellipsis, as he remembered that there will be a baby to read to, was beautiful.

Resolving Errors

Well, now there’s a bit of slightly better adoption news. Ruth has said that we should come next Saturday, and even better—she’s been having this conversation with Mr. Book. Perfect. I still don’t know whether I’m supposed to bring food, but I can worry about it next week. Of course, I’ll be into T3 by then and even huger than I am, but that’s going to keep goin’ on regardless, I suspect.

I got a coupon code for a free photobook (less of course shipping, so not as free as it might be) and had a bright idea. Mr. Book only very rarely will look at a picture of Cricket; it’s hard for him, and the emailed links don’t come frequently enough to have a very good chance of showing up at or near a good time for him, and then they just sort of melt into the archives the way that all old emails do. The photobooks that Ruth and Nora make are much appreciated, but don’t tend to include the pictures we like best—this isn’t about who is in them, either, although we are both baffled by the inclusion of pictures that do not include Ruth, Nora, or Cricket—we just seem to prefer different things. So I decided to make a private book for Mr. Book of Cricket’s birth through eighteen months, which I have creatively titled Cricket’s Babyhood. I put in a bunch of pictures of the two of them together, birthfather and son, as well as a couple of Cricket with most of his other important people and a bunch of solo shots. I really hope that this is a good idea. Mr. Book loves that kid so much, but it’s hard for him to find places to express or experience that aside from visits, and those really don’t come frequently enough for him. But I think that maybe a book of his own that he can keep wherever he likes and look at when he feels moved to could be a valuable addition. We’ll see.

The little bird is over two pounds now, and thumping around constantly, and tons of fun. Earlier this week he was (I suspect) kicking some terrible nerves in my back—I was getting scary and unprecedented back cramps, too high up to be organ problems, I think—but he has since rolled away and gone back to practicing the tarantella in my guts. He either likes or hates grape juice.

I hope everyone has a good weekend; mine should be quiet, which sounds pretty good right about now.

I Appear To Have Survived the Glass!

I’m feeling very fortunate this morning. That might sound weird considering that I’m up at 3 a.m. after trying unsuccessfully to sleep for a few hours (this acid reflux is really out of control. Would that I had an easy chair to sleep in!). But tonight Mr. Book and I are having a date for the first time in a few months—I think it’s the second date since I had a positive pregnancy test, come to think of it—and that’s pretty exciting. I’m feeling blessed by stupid things; the other night, I woke up at right about this time absolutely certain that I needed to barf, and lay there for a few minutes trying to figure out what on earth was going on, and finally realized that the little bird was kicking me in the stomach—really giving it his all. And I rolled over and he slid away to cheerfully kick other parts of my gut. And while I really don’t want to wake up that way again, the kid is doing great, and he’s also apparently very strong and very bored late at night. My little dude.

Recently I’ve been feeling really frustrated with adoption stuff, as y’all know—a major part of that has been the feeling that I am the one trying to make this visit happen and the one who least wants to actually have the visit (probably; I might have to arm wrestle Nora for that honor). I haven’t wanted to bother Mr. Book with that because he was having such a rough time at work, but while he was gone today I went ahead and wrote an email to him about my feelings. It took me awhile to get to the point where there wasn’t any hint of ultimatum in it, because my conclusion was: Maybe we should cancel this visit. I think I’m still glad that I waited for him to be feeling better to start this conversation, and it went really well—and we’re not cancelling the visit. There was one point where I said “I waited two and a half weeks for you to do something about setting up a visit and then you didn’t and Ruth emailed me with a date and it was my problem again!” and he said “Yeah, I didn’t really get why you thought that.” And you know, it’s true that it never occurred to me to write back with “Actually, Mr. Book is going to be organizing this next visit, so let me send this on to him and he’ll get back to you.” My controllingness is everywhere.


Mr. Book felt the little bird move for the first time last night. I drank a glass of cold juice (suddenly I’m crazy for apple juice) and then I lay back and let him put his hand on my stomach and wait. I’m so glad that I got to see the look on his face; he’s in love already, bless him.