Sunday, July 25, 2010

49 Days and Counting....

I made a startling discovery today when I logged on to my iGoogle homepage. A few months ago I started a countdown to my due date, which I then promptly forgot about until today when I got a little notification:
Congratulations! Less than 50 days until Your Little Asian Baby is Born!!!
It took me a minute to remember that I had set up the countdown, and to figure out how Google knew that I was pregnant. I was worried for a moment there.

So blow a kazoo, throw some confetti or eat a piece of cake today if you have the chance, because we passed the 50 day mark, and life just got a little more real.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Snoogle Schmoogle

I had no idea how much displacement a baby-filled uterus could cause. Lately I've been suffering from back pain at night. Not wanting to rely on pain killers, I went in search of alternate relief. Enter The Snoogle!

After a little research, I discovered this seemingly amazing gem, which aligns your neck and knees to reduce pressure on your spine. So the next day, off I went to town to find me a Snoogle! Unfortunately, I did not do quite enough research to discover that an average Snoogle (while fun to say to unsuspecting customer service personel) costs somewhere between $45 and $60. To quote my dear friend, Maddie, "That's too much to pay for some funky pillow."

So for $9.99 I bought myself a body pillow. (It was a cheaper one. I could have gotten a firmer body pillow for $10 more.) While it isn't cool and curvy, it does the trick, and when coupled with a normal pillow for under one's head, it can do anything a Snoogle can.

The moral of the story is this: don't waste your cash on the gimmick of the week. Just because it has a fancy name, doesn't mean it's the only option out there.

The Search for Snacks

The last few routine pre-natal check-ups have been exactly that: routine. The only thing that has really surfaced as a problem is my weight gain. I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh right now because, frankly, it's embarrassing. I'll tell you in six months, when I hopefully don't weigh as much as I do now.

The first time it came up, I shrugged it off. "I'll eat right, give up soda and go walking." Right.

The second time it came up, I had just gone to Culver's and was trying to hurry through the appointment so that I could get back to my chicken strips and deep-fried cheese curds. (I did get bottled water with my chicken basket... just sayin.)

Today I am making a change. Just to make myself feel better, it should be noted that I made (some rocking amazing) kielbasa and sauerkraut for dinner last night, and am probably retaining a lot of water as a result. But what I saw on the scale today definitely made my jaw drop, and something must be done.

I was pretty hungry when I left the doctor's office. So I started looking around for some healthy snack options. Fast food restaurants were completely out of the question. Even the salads aren't that good for you, and who ever heard of eating a salad while driving? That left pretty much... nothing. Amazing what happens to variety when you rule out fast food. (It's better that way, really. The last few times I've gone to a "grease station," as my friend likes to call it, the food hasn't sat well with me later.)

Rule #1 of shopping is never go into a grocery aisle on an empty stomach, but I had no choice. I needed to pick up a few items anyway, so off I went to Meijer to find a healthy snack. After doing my more important shopping (a pirate-ship inflatable pool, will blog about it later), I walked past the soda to the refrigerated area where I picked up a single-serve bottle of Tropicana. It was a start. Then I walked the snack areas. I had to constantly keep myself in check, reminding myself that the goal is to cut down on the sugary and the salty, but really, what does that leave?

My answer came in the produce section. Buying a whole bag of baby carrots or an apple or banana didn't appeal to me, but I came across a teeny-tiny spot in the very back where the "miscellaneous vegetables" hide. (Miscellaneous, by the way, is code for "vegetables we have to stock but hardly anyone buys.") There, next to the bok choy and giant mushroom stalks were the "Take-a-longs." There were a variety of these indevidual snack trays, including but not limited too, apple slices and yogurt, bruschetta and toasted baguette toast, and cherry tomatoes with ranch dip and cheese cubes. After much consideration, I landed on a tray with grapes, snap peas with ranch dip, and a mini Babybel cheese round.

I admit, it was still difficult walking past the soda in the check-out lane, but having my Tropicana staring at me as we walked past helped a lot. And honestly, I was so excited about the tiny cheese round, I didn't even realize I walked past the candy bars! So I feel successful. Not because I ate a healthy snack, but because I found a healthy snack.

Want a snap pea?

* * * * *

Addendum: Today, 7/25/2010, I went to the Country Buffet and ate a very large and amazing salad, immediately followed by a bowl of ice cream, half a cupcake, half a cinnamon roll, a large piece of fudge and a bite of cheesecake... Needless to say, I don't have the hang of this yet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bad baby! No more coffee!

I am officially requesting an intervention. You may recall in the last post, I boasted of how I've not touched a french fry in months. Well...

I'm having a horrible time in the caffeine department. I've been trying to be good, but lately...

As far as I can tell, the only real complication caffeine really causes is a hyper baby. It's true, studies have shown that babies exposed to large amounts of caffeine will have such-and-such problem, but in order for the baby to absorb enough caffeine to be affected, I would first have to drink myself into a coma.

This is what I told myself yesterday when I drank my coca-cola after having two cups of coffee in the morning.

I'm accustomed to one cup of coffee. What I overlooked yesterday is that we are out of half-caf. So when I had two cups of coffee, I actually had four times my regular dose of caffeine. Plus the soda. I was no better behaved the day before, and single-handedly drank an entire Dr. Pepper.

Needless to say, I've not slept well in several days due the little energizer bunny within the womb. And last night, I was downright punchy.

I repeat my opening statement: I am officially requesting an intervention. Besides my one cup of morning coffee (if you take that away from me it will not go over well for you), do not let me drink caffeinated beverages. This does mean that you might have to take it out of my hands. I will probably be miffed, but if you say something to the effect of, "Remember, you asked me to," I'll give in.

Soda has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I, Pregnant Lady, do so solemnly swear...

I realize that, not actually having a child yet, I am not really in a position to judge the mothers I see in passing, at a restaurant or at the mall. I do it anyway. From things that I have seen in the last few weeks, I have made myself these five promises:

1. I will never spank my children in public.
I realize I might recieve some flak from my readers when I say that I firmly believe in spanking. It's something that Meng and I have discussed at length and we have rather strict rules that we plan to follow. "Never spank a child out of anger," "Once spanking stops working, find a new consequence,*" and, "Do not spank a child in a public place."

There are some very specific reasons for this third rule. First of all, spanking a child in public can humiliate the child, causing psychological pain in addition to the sting of a spanking. Humiliation should never be a punishment. Also, and this is what I'd love to tell the woman I saw at Meijer last week, it makes you look like a tactless and ignorant person, and everyone around you sees you as the woman who got angry and spanked her child in the canned goods section.

2. I will actually count to three when I start counting.
Another thing that is important is that a child knows that you mean what you say you mean. When I was a kid, I never let my parents get to three because I knew that it would go over poorly for me if I did. This must mean that at some point (though I do not remember it) my parents counted all the way to three before I changed my attitude/obeyed, and I was punished for not following instructions.

On Tuesday I watched as a woman yelled at her son in a restaurant to sit back down at the table. She watched him as he threw down a napkin on the floor and ordered him to pick it up. When the little boy didn't, she started to count. My back was to them, so I heard "1..." There was silence. I thought the kid had picked up the napkin. I was wrong. "2..." Another silence. I stole a glance almost 30 seconds later, only to see that the mother had picked up the napkin and (of course) spanked her son... without ever reaching three.

It was a double mistake, actually. Not only did she fulfill her own order before counting three, but the spanking was ineffective.

3. I will not bargain with my children.
I'm not referring to a reward system, "If you will do this chore that is not usually assigned to you, I will give you extra allowance." That's great. I condone that. Reward away. But don't reward poor behavior. A child is misbehaving in the check-out lane. "If you settle down and be quiet, you can go on the pony ride." No. Don't do that.

I guess to me the whole approach is wrong. What should be said, before the trip to the store begins is, "If you behave while we're at the store, you can go on the pony ride." If you say this and follow through, you're rewarding good behavior. But trying to coerce your child into behaving by offering a reward they do not deserve is an automatic fail. Especially if the child does not behave when you offer the bargain and you still let them ride the pony."

4. I will follow through with warnings.
This one kind of goes a long with the last two. How often do you hear a mother in the store telling her child what will happen if they don't stop misbehaving? "If you don't stop I'm going to take you out to the car and spank you." An hour later, you see the pair, child still wailing or whatever, mother still threatening. And please, don't give them a cookie at this point. They don't deserve it.

5. I will not give my child a sippy cup of soda.
This is actually just the front statement for an entire list of things I have seen other parents do, but the one that always comes to mind first is soda in the sippy cup.**

I see it with unfortunate frequency. In fact, last week I saw a woman giving pop to her infant by holding it in the straw and doling it out in drops. Where is the logic here? This was topped only by the young (quite skinny) mother I saw only moments later, who unwrapped an entire Three Musketeers bar and handed it to her (chunky-monkey) daughter. The kid barely had teeth to chew it!

I think that this is something most seen in America. I read an article in American Baby over the weekend that said over a third of children eat no vegetables besides french fries. This is horrifying! Give the toddler green beans! Carrots! Cucumber! One of my favorite foods when I was small was lima beans!

My comforting thought is that my daughter will never have the chance to be a poor eater. I am proud to say that it has been months since I've touched a french fry. Besides, the way Meng in all his Chinese-ness loves his veggies (some of which I don't even like), this baby (like me) will have to either learn to like mushrooms and asparagus, or starve.

*Meaning, when the child is old enough to rationalize whether or not the crime is worth the punishment, a new punishment should be found. Many resort to spanking harder, longer, etc. This is not acceptable to me. When a child is old enough that spanking is ineffective, discipline should come in the form of the loss of privileges or something similar.

**Incidentally, when I was little I had these hard plastic sippy cups with snap-on lids. The cups came in various sizes and the lids fit them all. It was easy for me to transition between a sippy cup and a normal cup using these because 1) they were my own special grown-up cups and 2) if drinking without a lid was going poorly for me, all Mom had to do was reach in the drawer and snap on a lid for me. These days, all I can find are the cups with lids that screw on. Does anyone know where you can get the snap-on ones? Or are they a thing of the past? I can only find the disposable kind.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Parenting Fail

My dear friend Natalie got me hooked on this website that has lists of things. Today I came across 15 Worst Parenting Fails. Amongst car seats in trunks, children playing with plastic bags and toddlers at strip clubs came this lovely shot:

*face palm*

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Psychic Traveling Baby

This child is going to be so well traveled by the time she's born! Last Friday I took the late train to see my (studious and very responsible) boyfriend, along with lots of friends for the 4th of July! We had a great time with barbecuing and beer (*downcast* no beer for me) and fireworks! What's amazing is that you don't need to go anywhere for fireworks in Chicago. They come to you! We had three or four displays going on around us, and it was really quite spectacular. The best part was definitely when a larger rocket hit a street lamp and shot yellow and blue sparks in our direction. By the end of the night, Meng's deck was covered with ash and shrapnel, but it was an amazing time.

People kept on asking how the baby was doing with the fireworks, but she really didn't have much of a reaction. I think she jumped a few times, but I think those were the few times that a rocket went off unexpectedly, in which case she could have just been startled by my being startled.

I took the early Monday train back to Michigan, only to re-pack my bags on Wednesday and head to Kentucky with my mom. We're here for the next week or so and my goodness is it ever hot! I lived down here for 13 years, but you just never get used to the deadly heat/humidity combo. All I have to do is walk down the sidewalk to develop a sweat. The fact that I'm gestating probably doesn't help.

I've been noticing an interesting phenomenon in the last couple of weeks. I've mentioned it before, and people tell me it's just my imagination, or that it's coincidence. I really do think that the baby knows when I'm around or talking to her father. I'm officially in my third trimester (31 weeks, to be exact), so her movement is very observable. When he is around, she doesn't kick. She might move, stretch, turn, but she doesn't kick.

During the entire train ride to Chicago, she didn't kick. Barely moved at all, actually. I think she likes train rides. Meng picked me up from the station after 11 at night. Needless to say we didn't stay up late. I got settled in my room (Actually his room. Very sweet of him to take the couch. There's a spare room but it's upstairs and the basement is cooler.), Meng kissed me goodnight, and as soon as he was out the door, the baby started kicking. It was like that every night I was there.

I'm rather accustomed to feeling the baby move early in the morning. Each morning in Chicago, not the case. I had to get up very early on Monday to catch the train (early for me, not so early for Meng or the baby). We got around, packed up the last few things, and then Meng drove me to Union Station. I settled down into a good seat (facing forward, very important), and waited. The instant the train started moving, the baby kicked. It wasn't just a, "Hi! I'm here," kick, either. It was a kick of discomfort.

I find this pattern to be true when we talk on the phone with him, too. As soon as I hang up, she gets fussy. And it's not like I move around a lot. Often, talking to Mengyao is the last thing I do after brushing my teeth and climbing under the covers. How could she possibly know?