6 posts

The Smug Parent Game

Smugness is a key tool in modern parenting. You can’t be any kind of effective parent if you don’t feel morally superior to the parents around you. The good news is that through the right methodologies, you can increase your smugness “account balance”. There’s no need to settle for off-the-cuff parenting when you can lord your superior decisions over other parents.

Your smugness score is based on many factors. Here are some point guidelines. The higher your score, the better your standing among the Smug Parents of the world. Be careful! You can easily lose points by making bad decisions. Continue reading

Crass Gossip: Expecting Celebrities

Guess who’s pregnant? EVERYBODY! No, seriously. All the celebrity ladies have signs “ESTOY OCUPADO” over their middles in Hollywood (shoutout to Michael K). Here’s are some of the pregnant celebrity ladies roaming the streets of Los Angeles (Sorry men, you don’t warrant your own post as the sperm donors).

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Pregnancy: What no one tells you ahead of time

I’ve had several people email me and say things like “I just heard the word episiotomy for the first time” or “I didn’t know that your face blew up into craters when you were pregnant!”. The emails invariably end with the phrase “Nobody told me that.”

Indeed. That is part of the gestation initiation: There’s a whole bunch of stuff they don’t tell you before you get pregnant. Then, when you’re pregnant, slowly, the mysteries of gestation and birth are revealed to you. It’s highly unsettling and, I think, a little bit unfair. There should be a bit more disclosure for the potential recruits. I doubt knowledge will change much. Most people will still have kids anyway, thinking “I’ll be the exception to the rule”. Knowledge doesn’t stop lots of people from having second or third children. Look at Michelle Duggar. There can’t be much she doesn’t know at this point and it’s no deterrent for her.

In the interests of full disclosure, here are a few things about pregnancy no one ever tells you about. Some might happen to you, others won’t. However, at least two of them will.

  • Pregnancy zits: They can put adolescence to shame. You can get them on your face, chest, back, nose, wherever. By this point in your life, you’ve probably forgotten how much zits can hurt. You’ll remember.
  • Food aversions: You hear a lot about morning sickness, which is something you usually get over after 12 weeks. Food aversions can last the whole pregnancy. I was personally so freaked out by chickens during one pregnancy that I had to stay away from the rotisserie chicken section of the grocery store. I couldn’t even think about the shape of a chicken without wanting to vomit. I know a woman who had the same problem with lettuce. She was convinced she could smell lettuce if it was in the same room. Common food aversions include eggs, meat, milk and salad.
  • Hair loss: This might happen after your delivery. Or it can happen when you’re first pregnant. Or both. If it happens afterward, buy the Rogaine for Men. The kind for women isn’t as good (of course).
  • The advice and the touching: They say it takes a village to raise a child and I will vouch for the fact that the village certainly seems to think so. The moment you show signs of gestating, the village will be up in your grill nonstop and the customary boundaries of personal space will cease to apply to you. People love two things in life: Dispensing advice and touching pregnant women. They’ll come up to you with all kinds of advice, some good, some weird and then their hands will creep towards your belly. They’ll get more aggressive as you grow. By the time you are in the 3rd trimester, you can’t fight people off with a blowtorch. Sometimes a woman, with her hand on my belly, would relate a gem of wisdom from her years of parenting and what I really want to do was not to ask for more advice but to ask “Have we met?”
  • Bad jokes: Around the third trimester, people start making hysterical jokes. Look how huge you are! Do you beep when you walk backwards? You don’t walk, you waddle! You’ve been pregnant since God was a boy! Do you think you are ever going to have that baby? Are you eating lots of pickles and ice cream? You still haven’t had that baby? Oh boy, are you in for some sleepless nights!

Yes, the people around you turn into standup comedians and they all recycle the same jokes. I firmly believe this is at the root of all pregnant women’s grouchiness. The swelling, the exhaustion – these are all things a person can cope with. However 9,878 jokes about the same damn thing will make a woman want to slap everyone she sees. Fortunately, people will write any and all bitchy comments you make off to pregnancy crazies so feel free to tell people to go to hell. For once, you can get away with it.

There are many, many more untold stories of pregnancy, birth, and child rearing. I’ve barely scraped the surface. Unfortunately, I got so annoyed thinking about all the irritating jokes that I’m going to need a glass of wine to calm myself down and think clearly again.

Pregnancy – The Home Stretch

Do you remember waiting for Christmas or your birthday as a child? The wait seemed eternal, especially the last couple of days. You felt like you were going to spontaneously combust because of excitement. When you’re pregnant and near the end of your term, this is often how you feel. You’ve had enough of being pregnant and you really want to meet your baby. Plus, you feel like a whale and you would really like to see your feet again.

At the very end of pregnancy, you stop fearing labor. Instead, you begin to worry that you will always be pregnant. Forever. This is your main fear and it replaces any concerns you had about delivery. You want the baby out and you want it out now. I think this is nature’s way of making moms brave enough for labor.

When you’re in the home stretch of pregnancy and complain, there are evil, sadistic people who say things like “Relax, get some sleep and enjoy the end of your pregnancy.” They counsel that you won’t get sleep when the baby arrives so you should stock up on sleep. This is ludicrous advice because sleeping in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy impossible for the following reasons:

  • You can’t roll over
  • Your skin feels like it’s being stretched over a drying rack
  • You have pee every 7.8 seconds
  • You have occasional contractions that keep getting your damn hopes up
  • You are so swollen that you somewhat resemble the Pillsbury Dough Boy

I don’t mean to sound negative about pregnancy. I really wanted to be pregnant both times. I was thrilled to be having the children. However, my pregnancies became difficult and uncomfortable due to some health problems that were exacerbated by pregnancy. Also, I am a stunningly impatient person. Waiting for 9 months was almost unbearable for me. I would have preferred to place an order and receive a baby within 48 hours. But, nature does not operate that way.

So, when I was within a week of my due date, the sole focus in my life was labor. I wanted it to happen so bad. I would have welcomed labor pains like a child welcomes candy. I began to look for ways to induce labor. The most popular approach, from what I read, is sex. I’m not even going to comment on the feasibility of sex at the last phases of pregnancy. There are logistical issues which are complicated by the fact that by the end of pregnancy, many women have completely lost their minds. Therefore, most men are terrified of their wives and would rather chew glass then initiate sex.

I decided to investigate a different approach – spicy food. I convinced my husband to take me to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. I ordered spicy black beans and nachos with salsa that I believe was called “El Culo Diablo.” I picked the hottest peppers out of the salsa and ate them raw with no chips.

“This,” said my husband somberly, “is what desperation looks like.”

Indeed, it was desperation. The Mexican food run did not pay off. I did not go into labor after the meal, but my husband reported that he was able to make the paint in the bathroom peel. I tried several other strategies, including Red Raspberry Leaf tea (tastes much worse than you’d think), long walks (I logged miles), acupuncture and laying on the couch weeping because I was so ready.

The baby, like all babies, came when he felt like it and not one minute sooner. This is the way babies are. They do what they feel like doing and you have little to no control over their behavior. It’s a theme that starts with the birth and continues pretty much for the entire time you are a parent. I suppose pregnancy at least teaches you some patience which is something you really need as a parent.

Photos here and here.