Weight-listed

I had a doctor’s appointment this past Thursday. It’s the one where you have to drink the nasty sugar drink, wait an hour and then have your blood drawn to see if you have diabetes. I suspect that I do have some blood sugar issues (since I’ve had more than a few episodes of hypoglycemia both pre-pregnancy and recently…one of which involved me passing out backstage at the graduation ceremony last month), so, needless to say, I’m a little nervous about the test results.

Honestly, I’m not sure how the test would tell me anything about LOW blood sugar, since your blood sugar is higher after drinking that god-awful orange syrup.

Anyway, I mentioned that I’d had some bouts of light-headedness, shortness of breath and palpitations to my doctor. She said that she’d run a test for anemia since I was already having blood drawn. She also said that I should eat more…and more frequently.

This is not news.

People have been telling me for my whole life that I need to eat more. As if I don’t eat.

Um…I eat. Trust me.

I love eating!

I’ve just always been small. Even when I was pregnant with Leila, I only gained about 26 pounds total. And that was eating everything I could, and drinking at least 1 high-protein Boost every day. She was born full-term, 7 lbs. 4 ounces.  I can make a full-sized baby. Thank you very much.

With this pregnancy, I’m on the weight-list as well.  I’m not complaining.  Trust me, I realize that many struggle to keep weight off. But telling me that people “wish they had your problem” does not make it any less of an issue for me. It also doesn’t make it okay for you to lift my wrist between your thumb and forefinger and laugh (Yes, this happens) or for a stranger to offer unsolicited suggestions about what I need to do to gain weight.

Lady, I didn’t walk up to you and offer advice about how you can thin those thighs. That’s YOUR business. Not mine.

I celebrate my friends’ fitness accomplishments and remind them that they look FABULOUS just like they are.  I’d appreciate it if folks would do the same for me.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna continue to work every skinny limb I have, and carry my little bump with pride (which you may not touch unless we’re cool like that).

And though she be but little, she is fierce. – Shakespeare

at 25 weeks (6 months)
at 25 weeks (6 months)

 

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#becausebaby

I’m 23 weeks now. (for the not-pregnant, that’s 1 week shy of 6 months)

16 weeks & 2 days to go. Give or take a few.

So, what’s going on with me? Well, that depends on what minute you ask.  I’m blaming my fluctuating moods and cravings and body issues on baby. In fact, I’ve been using the hashtag to explain everything. For example, I don’t even have the patience to write a full blog post today. So here’s a brief rundown of the last few days. #becausebaby

 

June 7th, 2:30 pm

  • I just passed gas while waiting in the checkout line at the Valero in Olive Branch, MS. It came out of nowhere. I am not sorry.

June 8th, 5:00 pm

  • Plane perks = ginger ale, peanuts and pretzel packs. YES!
  • Plane problems = the seatbelt…and people staring at you sympathetically as you wobble down the aisle. Yes, I am pregnant. Look away.

June 9th, 4:00 pm

I just decided that I don’t want to wear pants for the rest of the day. Maybe forever. F**k pants.

June 10th

2:01 pm

  • “Miss. Your little belly is so CUTE!” – precious little 6th grader in my summer camp class. Aww. Bless her heart.

6:02 pm

  • I look like a potato. A potato wearing a shirt.

11:10 pm

  • How do you get heartburn from drinking water?!? UGH. Might as well eat this half a pan of brownies then. Nothing to lose.

heartburn

12:20 am

  • Maya must like brownies. Either that or she is practicing capoeira right now. Maybe it’s both. Probably both.
  • Also…heartburn.

June 12th,

4:15 pm

  • Tomorrow is my birthday! I’ll be 35. That’s not all that old. Right? I look good for 35. I could pass for 25 easy. Except for these gray hairs. But lots of people get gray hair early. So I could totally be a 25 year old with gray hair. But noooo. I’m a 35 year old who can’t drink on her birthday. 😦

7:15 pm

  • Are there any more brownies left?

 

My pretty parasite

I’m supposed to be blogging about my pregnancy. Posting progression pics. Describing new symptoms. Cravings.

But somehow, I can hardly bring myself to do it.

It’s all been said already. Hasn’t it?

I’m not the first woman to be pregnant, and I damn sure won’t be the last.

Because, sex.

Yeah, but all pregnancies are different, Faith.

Not really.

In every single one of them, another person invades your body and feeds off you for approximately 9 months (9 ½ actually). A tiny being exists by taking refuge and sustenance within its host.

Like a parasite.

A really cute, cuddly, chubby-cheeked parasite.

And I use the terms “cute” and “cuddly” loosely. They’re kinda weird looking until they’re born (and quite frankly, for a while afterwards). I mean, it’s not like you can even see your baby in utero anyway. Grainy ultrasound prints. Those Claymation-shaped Play Doh abstracts they call 4-D scans.

Not exactly cute.

But, if you ask me, my little parasite is BEAUTIFUL.

Seriously, look at those perfectly aligned vertebrae!

Check out the flawless curve of her giant head.

14-wk ultrasound

My point, and I do have one, is…

What IS my point?

God, I forget everything these days. Pregnancy brain is indeed a thing.

 

Oh yes.

My point is that I write about this experience because it is as old as human existence, connecting me inextricably to all that was before and will be after this, while at the same time, uniquely my own.

No one else in the history of the Universe has ever been me while pregnant with this baby.

Unless this is some type of alternate dimension where we all relive the same life over and over again (par exemple, Groundhog Day). In which case, we’ve got some bigger metaphysical shit to worry about, like…

What happens when people discover that their lives are on repeat?

Does knowing cause a rift in the space-time continuum? A wrinkle in time? Mass chaos?

Is the resulting chaos subject to constant replay? Or does mass chaos break the cycle (since chaos, by definition, is unstructured and non-cyclical)?

Is this what causes déjà vu?

Have I tried to figure this all out before?

Where did this thought, or for that matter, all thoughts, come from?

Who is John Galt?

head spinning

I can feel the baby move now. Well, technically, she’s still a fetus. But that sounds so impersonal. So clinical. Like the word emote. Or coitus.

She wiggles after I eat, jumps at loud noises or music, and randomly flips over. She even got the hiccups yesterday. It feels weird. Like something hiccupping …INSIDE you.

I’m 18 weeks in. So apparently that makes her the size of a sweet potato. Or a corner store pickle.

I swear, I didn’t make that up.  (read it here)

 

Anyway, appointment today with my new doctor.

Anatomy ultrasound (Level 2) next week.

That is all.

The Brand New Heavies

I don’t talk about my breasts often, but when I do, I refer to them as boobs. Less out loud than in my mind.  Caitlin Moran actually has a really interesting chapter about what women call their “feminine bits” in her book How To Be A Woman. I think she goes with “tits”, but she’s British, so…

Until recently, I really didn’t think about my boobs at all. There wasn’t that much to talk about. I mean, I have them, but they’re pretty average. A solid B.

Well, they were.

Now, I am acutely aware of them. Apparently, one of the major early pregnancy symptoms for me was breast tenderness or, what I like to call, boob-ache. I can only describe the feeling as being akin to having been whacked repeatedly in the chest…with a bat, then left in a ditch to die.

bat attack
bat attack

 

Things that seemed to make the boobs angry:

  1. Cold air
  2. Shirts
  3. Lying on them
  4. Me looking at them

Luckily, the pain has died down in recent weeks. Either that, or I’ve gotten used to it. What I haven’t gotten used to…their size.*

The other day, I was in the lobby area of our school office talking to a coworker. Mid-sentence, I dropped my keys. As I bent over to pick them up, I felt an unfamiliar, but instantly-identifiable sensation: boob slippage. One had popped out of the top of my now too-tight bra, and lay unharnessed inside my shirt.

The dilemma:

If I stand up now, will the boob be visibly free? Lopsided? Or worse…will it slide down the inside of my shirt and plop onto the floor?Brand New Heavies

I hesitated for what felt like a full minute (but was probably just a second), before trying to jiggle the offender back into the bra. Sometime during this effort, I realized that I probably looked ridiculous (or epileptic) and decided to just stand up and cross my arms over my chest.

Success!

I guess I need to buy some new bras.

And some pants.

And some banana split ice cream sandwiches.

#becausebaby

 

Also, I just felt something itchy, dug in my bra and pulled out an earring. Wonder how long that’s been in there. (shrug)

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************

*People who know me…please do not look at my boobs next time you see me. It is unlikely that you will notice anything, but I will notice you NOT noticing and become self-conscious…and possible hungry or have to go to the bathroom. Because that happens a lot.

Eat ALL The Things

Feb 24, 2014

Hello. I’ll be 8 weeks tomorrow ( I think…depending on what the doctor says at today’s appointment), and I am completely driven by eating.

Unlike when I was pregnant with Leila, all I want to do is eat.  I’ve had very little nausea, usually only 1st thing in the morning…but I’ve only puked twice. Fingers crossed.

Every 3-4 hours, my stomach literally starts burning. If I don’t get food in there right away, the burning increases and irritability sets in.

I turn into an irrationally cranky person. But it’s not my fault!

This baby is a bully!

Sunday morning, I was lying in bed at 9 am negotiating with the bully.

Inner Dialogue

Me: Mmm…I’m just gonna stay in bed all morning

Bully: grrrrrrr

Me: Shhh…I can eat later

Bully: No! Nooooooooowwwww!

Me: Look here…

Bully: GRRRRRRRrrrrr (twists my stomach into cramps)

Me: Alright!

 

This is ridiculous y’all.  Eat all the things

Positively pregnant

Thursday, February 6, 2014

10:00 am

I’m sitting at my desk at work, counting and re-counting the days.  It should have happened by now. Actually, I should have started like around the 1st. It’s the 6th.

12:30 pm

Leila is home sick, so I stop in at lunch to check on her before going on to the next campus to teach my afternoon class. She’s fine.

I’m not.

I’m nervous.

I remember that there’s a pregnancy test under the cabinet in the bathroom.  I grab it, stuff it into my purse and head out the door. I call Charles as I’m driving, but he doesn’t answer. Good. It’s probably nothing anyway.

2:30 pm

Charles calls me back, but I’m in class and can’t answer the phone. I text him back to tell him that I’ll call him later. He responds “just text it to me”. So I do.

Me: “I’m late.”

Him: “Holy ****”

I rush to reassure him that it’s probably nothing, and I should have just waited until after I took a test. I tell him that I’ll take one later today.

4:15 pm

In the staff bathroom at work, I pull the test out of my purse, unwrap it, and do my thing.  Then I wait a few seconds.  My heart is pounding. Pretty quickly, a blue cross appears in the first circle, and a straight blue line in the 2nd.

Wait. What does that mean?!?

I don’t have the box or the directions, and I can’t remember if the cross just means the test works and the single line means NOT pregnant. Or is that a plus sign? Plus for pregnant?

I rush out of the bathroom and flip open my laptop to look up the test results for that particular brand online.  My eyes lock on the picture on the screen. The blue cross means yes.

Oh. My. God.

Implosure

It takes about 6 1/2 hours to drive from Houston to Arkadelphia.  That’s a lot of thinking time, and that’s what I do whenever I make that drive. Think and sing along to my 90’s R & B playlist made especially for the occasion. (Ooo yeah)

Arkadelphia (no relation to Philadelphia) is a small town in southwest Arkansas. Population 11,000. There are two universities there, literally accross the street from each other, planted in perpetual face-off.  State school against private Southern Baptist institution.

It was in Arkadelphia that I lived out my formative dating years, in spite of the fact that I am related to at least a 25% of its residents. No, I never dated a cousin. In fact, most introductions began with “are you related to any Knox’s, Bullock’s, Jones’, Newborn’s or Hunter’s? Are you sure?”  You see, in Arkadelphia, there are only about 3 degrees of separation. Any person I see driving along Pine Street or pumping gas at the Tiger Mart or watching their children play at the Arkadelphia Aquatic Center is either a relative, or lives next to, works with, dates or has dated, hates or is related to someone who knows someone who knows me.

This makes it home.

Every time I go there, I imagine myself running into a former love interest.

I walk into Walmart and, lo and behold, there he is, standing in the express checkout lane, fat and ratchet wife in tow, surrounded by a half-dozen raggedy kids.

He sees me. Radiant and confident after all these years of big city living, my figure unphased by having carried a beautiful, talented daughter who is not his. His eyes are full of regret, and I glide past, vindicated at last.

Of course, this never happens.

Ever.

I don’t see anyone I dated or had a crush on. No matter how many times I go to Walmart. But it feels good to think it could happen.

(return Walter-Mitty-style hallucination)

Yes. We’re in Walmart. No…Tiger Mart.

No. It has to be Walmart. Bigger crowd.

We’re at the “eyes filled with regret” part. He falls to his knees, rends his shirt from his chest, piles ashes upon his head, throws his hands up to God and cries out.

“Faith! Please forgive me. Please. You are so amazing. I was so blind and stupid.(pounding fists against the sides of his head)  Stupid. Stupid. STUPID! Ahhhhhh!”

Then, overcome with regret, he impodes*.

Implosure

This, I think, would bring closure.

Implosure.

But, the thing is, I realize, that I don’t need him to implode for me to have closure. I mean, it would be nice, but unnecessary.

With the same power I have to conjure up the Walmart scene, I can call up the memories that haunt.  I can return to the door that I left ajar, ghosts slipping in and out at will. I can close it.

So I do.

Because you don’t need anybody to give you closure. You close it.  It’s your move.

But imagine the imploding thing first.  It’s fun.

 

* I realize that the gif is an “exploding” man, but I couldn’t find an imploding one. You get the idea though.

The Things I Couldn’t Teach You

(An open letter to my former students)

When you were my students, I taught you how to use a comma, how to develop an argument, how to analyze literature.  I taught you how to cite your sources, how to recognize logical fallacies, how to converse knowledgeably, how to identify anaphora, tetracolon, asyndeton.

But there were things I couldn’t teach you. Things that were not part of the core curriculum. Things I’ve learned about life and love.

Not until you have begun to develop your true self, the self stripped of peer influence and false impressions and solipsism*, can you expect to experience high-definition love.

We use the term high definition to describe a level of resolution and clarity that is substantially higher than the standard. There is love like this.

Relationships you have before this are trials; preliminary tests intended to teach you how to be you in the presence of others.  People might tell you that this isn’t love. That “you don’t know what love is”.

But to an infant, milk is food.

To a teen, babysitting is a job.

To you, now, it might be love. It is, at least, an early version.

In any case, I cannot give you the answers. Only my perspective.

 For my girls

Know that you can catch a man’s primal attention by flirting, twerking, or even playing hard-to-get.  But this is no accomplishment. It requires no substance to be bait. You are not bait.

Making it your mission to catch a man (or a girl) derails you from your true mission: to become a woman of substance.  Instead of devoting your time and energy to the game of cat and mouse, focus on exploring your passion and purpose. Live, give, learn, share, travel. Listen to the wise ones around you.

How can you pursue another person before you have studied and learned yourself?

Let yourself blossom.  Only then will high definition love come to you.  And even if it doesn’t, so what! Look at what you have!

For my boys

You are not a man because you have the parts, the car or the clothes. You are a man when you know without doubt or denial that these things are irrelevant. Side effects, at best.

Real swag comes from accomplishments.  Seek out your purpose and pursue it as one with blinders on.

Money will come to you.  You don’t have to chase the big break. Chase instead the knowledge of self and values that will ultimately power your mission.  Once you have devoted your time and energy to building a life for yourself, there will be something worth sharing with someone else. A partner.  Otherwise, how are you going to share what you don’t have?

My former students, my greatest hope for you is this… that you dedicate this time in your lives to the pursuit of greatness.

No matter where you are right now, I’m here believing in you.

Love,

“Miss”

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How to make the world suck less

It smells like pee in here.  Pee and hopelessness.

I sat clutching my call number, scanning the room for the source of the sour smell.

I turned to my husband, nose wrinkled in disgust.

“Do you smell that?”

“What?”

“It smells like pee.”

“Oh, is that what that is? Maybe some kid couldn’t wait to go to the bathroom and went in the chair. “

This chair? Gross.

There’s nothing pleasant about sitting in these kinds of offices. The IRS, DMV, SSA, DHS, USPS, traffic court.  All the same.  Ambivalent, if not outright disgruntled, employees. Long lines. Unnecessary restrictions. I mean, why can’t you read in traffic court? No reading? Seriously?

They must be afraid that we’ll learn something.  Knowledge is power. And this, my friends, is why it is regulated by those determined to keep it for themselves.

I’d had to come to the IRS office to get a copy of my 2012 tax return transcript to send to the student loan company. They were trying to charge me $1500 a month to pay back my grad school loan.  Fifteen hundred dollars!  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This experience offered its first sign of insult in the form of, well, a sign.  One-hour limits on free parking (at an office that averages a wait-time of 2.5 hours).  In fact, the IRS employs a whole person to sit on a scooter, hiding out in the paid parking garage, to monitor the visitors, presumably to note when your one-hour limit is up so that he can scoot over and slap a ticket on your windshield.  Want to avoid a ticket? Then you have to come out of the office every hour and move your car to another spot. Hopefully, your call number won’t come up while you’re outside, and the numbers aren’t called in order, so…

Upon entering the office, you have to go through security: three surly guards, a conveyor belt, and a walk-through metal detector.

My husband and I had been directed over to a long line in a narrow hallway to await permission to enter the actual waiting room, where we’d have to stand in another line to get a call number, sit down and wait some more.

“Hey! Hey!  Don’t sign the sign-in sheet! DON’T sign it”

I leaned out of line.  The security guard was essentially shouting at a woman who, instead of being clairvoyant enough to know that the sign-in sheet is for other guests of the building, not for those going to the IRS office, had stopped to sign-in.

Really, was all that necessary?  How was she supposed to know?  Why not a simple, “Excuse me ma’am. If you’re going to the IRS office, you don’t have to sign this”?

Moments later, I heard the same guard rudely inform another entering family that they could not bring in more than 3 electronic items.  “You gon’ have to take that back to your car.”

You’d think they were paying her to be an asshole.  If she had been polite, maybe coming to the IRS office wouldn’t suck so much.

I realized that this is what makes going to places like this so unpleasant. It’s not the place.  It’s the people.

People aren’t nice.

Maybe it’s because they think it would take too much to do it.  Maybe it’s because some are actually assholes.  There’s not much one can do about the latter.  Thank god & the universe for karma.

In response to the first possible reason, I offer you Exhibit A.

Benefit-Cost Chart

*cost-benefit ratio for “giving away money” is circumstantially dependent (i.e. giving a crackhead $5 may result in a BCR <1, while paying off the hitman who is targeting your family has a significantly higher BCR…at least on TV.)

Conclusion:  Being kind is an ideal investment.  Low cost. High potential return.

I want to live like my default setting is kindness and courtesy instead of cruelty or complaint.

In an effort to be kind, here are four things I’m going to do. On purpose.

  1. Smile at someone who looks serious, sad, worried or angry
  2. Pause and sincerely thank people with service jobs (servers, cashiers, receptionists, tellers… anybody who does stuff for me).
  3. Compliment a stranger (nothing creepy)
  4. Surprise somebody with something thoughtful

It’s tempting to say that one person can’t make a difference in a world full of stupid people.

Stop waiting on the world to change. You are the world. Change yourself.

Are you gonna try it? What are some other easy ways to show kindness?  Post below.

Wait…What?

Yes, my friends. The woman who audibly scoffed at the idea of having another child is indeed having another child.

This should be rich.

Thus the slight redirection of this blog.

Not to say that there aren’t still lots of stupid people out there about whom to write (or more specifically, my encounters with them). But becoming a mom again at the “Advanced Maternal Age” of not-in-my-twenties, is definitely worth writing about, too.

Especially since that means that I’ll be responsible for the nurturing and guidance of a

  • tween and a two-month old
  • teen and a toddler
  • a college student and a kindergartner

You get my drift.

So hang on. Here we go.