Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miss Jackson is in South Carolina

I drove from D.C. to S.C. yesterday, a ten hour trip with two dogs that was surprisingly relaxing.  (It could have been extra relaxing because I used my pregnancy as an excuse to get a snack every time I had to stop to go to the bathroom -- I had a strawberry milkshake from Chick-Fil-A that was particularly delicious.)  Jake is flying down to meet us here on Friday, but in the meantime the dogs and I are at my parents' house and very much enjoying being home. There are several perks to coming home in addition to the obvious, which is just getting to visit with my family.  

To start, my mom is as delighted with my pregnancy and my baby belly as I am (and when it comes to the belly, she offers more positive reinforcement than Jake, because she does not think it looks weird, she actually does think it looks beautiful).  My dad reacts more like Jake does -- very proud and definitely interested, but maybe a tiny bit intimidated and a LOT protective.  My parents' miniature poodle Betsy was very excited to see me and climbed all over me as soon as I sat down last night, and as soon as she stepped onto my lap, my dad cried out, "Don't let her climb on the baby!"  He looked horrified, even though she is a small cuddly poodle and there is no chance of her, I don't know, crushing the baby or whatever he was worried about.  This is the same reaction Jake has whenever I poke my stomach or suck in for even a moment -- "Stop!  You'll smush her!"  It's very sweet, if slightly paranoid and not really biologically sound.  (It's especially sweet because in almost all other situations, my dad treats Betsy like a sacred and infallible human princess.)

So, I'm getting lots of attention and also lots of food.  All I had to do was mention that I was a little bit hungry today and my father was out the door to go fetch me my favorite Abbeville lunch (two Rough House hot dogs, all the way and a bag of chips).  This is not really any different from before I was pregnant, but at least now I do not need to feel the slightest bit guilty about the two hot dogs.  (MJ kicked appreciatively so I think she likes them too.)  

And, finally, I just talked to my cousin and I think I can look forward to borrowing some really pretty hand-me-downs from her daughter for our MJ.  This will go a long way in rectifying the woeful D.C. smocking drought.  Thank goodness.  

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Miss Jackson is Making Me Senile

I guess before I got pregnant that I had heard of "pregnancy brain," where you forget things a lot, but I hadn't experienced it in full force until recently.  Yesterday I can confidently say that I had quite a severe case. 

So, yesterday I had a baby shower/luncheon to attend (not a shower for me).  The shower was at 1, and I was bringing bread and a green salad.  By 12:30, I was dressed, lipsticked, and heading out the door with my food and my shower gift.  I happened to check my cell phone voicemail right before I walked outside and had a message from the hostess.  It was from two hours earlier; she was just checking that I was in fact still bringing the bread and salad and telling me the rest of the menu.  As I hung up the phone, I said out loud to Jake, "That was Emily; I guess she left me the message yesterday but for some reason I didn't get it until this morning."  The reason I thought she left it the day before was because she had said in her message, "See you tomorrow."  I proceeded out the door, accompanied by sweet Jake who was carrying my salad to the car for me (pregnancy has made me clumsier than before, which is to say, really really clumsy).  I was halfway down the block before I paused and thought, you know, I definitely checked my voicemail last night, and Emily definitely said "tomorrow."  I couldn't have the date wrong, could I? 

I stopped on the sidewalk and considered.  I was POSITIVE that the shower was Saturday the 26th.  I had just hung the invitation on the refrigerator that very morning.  Just to be safe, though, Jake suggested we run back inside so I could check the invitation one more time. 

Of course, you see where this is going.  Of course the shower was today, Sunday the 27th, and not yesterday, Saturday the 26th.  I almost showed up 24 hours early to a luncheon.  If Emily had not happened to call and I was not parked a block further away than usual, I would have knocked on Emily's door at 1 sharp and expected a party.  (Luckily I am friends with both the hostess and the guest of honor -- the last two baby showers that I have attended were at virtual stranger's houses and that would have been even more traumatic.)

Pregnancy brain -- in full effect.  Embarrassing party foul -- narrowly averted. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Miss Jackson's Daddy is Funny

Jacob has come up with some real gems this week.  

Jacob, staring at me in a nightgown that displays my prominent baby bump:  "Wow.  You're all the way pregnant." 

Me: "Some people think pregnant women look beautiful." 

Jacob: "Yeah, it's beautiful.  In a National Geographic sort of way." 


Jacob, staring/wincing at Miss Jackson, who was visibly squirming through my stomach: "Sick! ...  I mean, beautiful."


Jacob, staring at me while we were walking home from dinner tonight: "I believe your gait has changed."

Thanks, honey. 

UPDATE:  One more from tonight.  Scene:  we're sitting on the sofa staring at my stomach, watching Miss Jackson move.  After a particularly violent kick on my left side, Jake leans down and says, "Hey, [Miss Jackson's Real Name].  Stay put for now, but for future reference, that's not the way out.  The way out is DOWN."

Also, if we can spend this much time watching, feeling, and discussing her move while she's in utero, what in the world are we going to do when she is on the outside?  I guess we will have to take time out from talking about how cute the dogs in order to stare at MJ.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Miss Jackson is Demanding

I had first-trimester-like cravings tonight, and now if I don't get two glazed donuts in the next 10 minutes, something bad is going to happen.  I am even willing to go out in the rain to procure said donuts (although I am willing to go to the obviously lesser Dunkin' Donuts three blocks away instead of driving to the Krispy Kreme -- I do have some restraint).  

Miss Jackson Looks Like An Alien

We have officially reached the stage in pregnancy where we can actually see her moving from the outside. The other night she was poking out of my right side, then my left side, then moving back and forth.  I knew this day was coming but it's still strange to see it.  This morning I had waffles for breakfast and afterward I can only assume that she was practicing the "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" dance -- at least, that's what it looked like.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Miss Jackson Feels Enormous, and Warm.

So, several weeks ago, I was so ready to be visibly pregnant, with an obvious baby bump, and not just feel large and in charge.  When my belly popped out, I was delighted.  (It felt like it happened suddenly over the course of like three hours, which was surprising but wonderful.) And I still love feeling and looking pregnant, but Nora and I were just emailing yesterday about how on earth are we going to get four months larger?  I am still comfortable now -- I'm not having trouble sleeping or getting up off the sofa or getting in the car or anything, but I also can't really imagine getting progressively bigger and bigger and BIGGER over the next sixteen weeks.  I told Nora I supposed I would just wear pajama pants all the time and slip on a muumuu when I was forced to leave the house.  I'm not complaining, I promise -- just sort of wondering, I guess, what it's going to be like.  

Actually, the muumuu will probably be necessary not just for fit but for coolness.  Today is the first day it has actually been truly warm and springlike, and I was already absolutely burning up (unusual for me) even though I only had on jeans, flats, and short sleeves.  Is Miss Jackson part furnace?  Being hugely pregnant in July should be interesting.  Thank goodness for flip-flops.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Miss Jackson Went to New York

As you might have gathered from my last post, I was in NYC this past weekend visiting with my friend Caroline, who lives there, and meeting up with my friend Elizabeth, who was in town for the weekend to catch some Broadway shows.  Here we are on a random street in front of a random sign advertising for a psychic. No, we did not visit the psychic.  No need for that. 
You can tell Miss Jackson and I (23 weeks along) are now considerably larger than we were in the 20 week portrait when I started this blog.  

Elizabeth also commented that apparently I now talk in my sleep -- a LOT, and loudly, and distinctly, and cracked myself up to boot.  This is, as far as I can tell, a pregnancy symptom, as Jake has also informed me recently that I have started waking him up at night, talking spiritedly.  I have occasionally talked in my sleep before (I had a funny conversation with my mother in high school when I was asleep once), but I guess now it's a full-blown thing?    So weird.  And poor Jake -- like I don't talk enough when I am awake!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Miss Jackson's Cartwheels

If fetal activity is any indication, Miss Jackson is going to be a live wire once she's on the outside. I started feeling her kick early -- before sixteen weeks.  For the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling her on a regular and consistent basis, and can distinguish between kicks, punches, and general squirminess.  I believe that I have even felt a head butt a time or two.  

It's only been in the last few days (right before I left for New York) that Jake has been able to feel her kicking, though.  He is simultaneously thrilled and somewhat icked out.  It is hilarious when he has his hand on my stomach and feels a particularly strong one -- his eyes light up and he smiles a huge smile and then his face drops and he snatches his hand away.  Like lots of things related to pregnancy and childbirth, it is both awesome and not just a little bit weird/gross.  (I mean, personally, I love it, but when you stop to think about it -- that there is a creature in your stomach moving around, rearranging your insides, poking and prodding and elbowing you -- that's a little alien-like, right?)

One thing I don't know, however, is whether her squirms and kicks means she likes or dislikes something.  So far I have been assuming that it means she likes it, but obviously the opposite could be the case.  Maybe when I was eating gummy candy while watching a play on Saturday night and she was going crazy, maybe that wasn't because she was so excited for a snack of Haribo Fruit Salad.  Maybe she's a health nut and she was pummeling me because she hated it.  Surely not, though, right?  I mean, she is my child.

Incidentally, the play was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and I am sorry to say that it was NOT GOOD. Miss Jackson's first Broadway experience was quite disappointing.  Even Terrence Howard couldn't save it (in fact, he was one of the weak links).  And while Anika Noni Rose (from Dreamgirls) was a passable Maggie the Cat, I think the role could have been performed equally well by Brenda, Kelly, or even Laura Who Almost Falsely Accused Steve Sanders of Date Rape.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Baby Friends

I just found out that one of my very best friends and very favorite people is expecting this fall, and I am so excited I almost can't handle it.  There might just be a pregnancy epidemic out there, what with how many people I now know who are pregnant, and I could not be more thrilled.  Two of the most fun things about this pregnancy have been going through it with pregnant friends of mine and hearing invaluable advice from my friends and family who already have children.  The women I know who are also expecting range from way old friends to fairly new neighbors, and it's very exciting.

One of the craziest things so far has been that one of my oldest and dearest friends is pregnant with her first, too, and is due six days before we are.  Although, that's not THAT crazy for us, considering that we have lived weirdly parallel lives ever since we were fourteen, and actually got married only a week apart too -- and were each other's maid/matron of honor.  I had to be the "matron" because I got married the week prior.  "Maid" sounds so much better.  Anyway, she's having a boy and I'm having a girl, and it has been so fun to have someone who is exactly the same amount of pregnant to discuss things with -- not to mention the fact that her son will likely be Miss Jackson's first peer and friend.  In fact, she and I are having dinner tonight with another pregnant friend -- another of my oldest friends -- a friend that I met when she and I had just finished the eighth grade and roomed together at summer camp.  The fact that the three of us now live in D.C., that I am still close to both of them, and that we are now having actual CHILDREN, is enough to make me cry.  It's probably mostly the pregnancy hormones, but not entirely.

Anyway, all that is just a tangent to what I really wanted to say, which is a big congratulations to my latest friend who just told me the news. (Incidentally, I think she's having a girl.  I feel like she and Miss Jackson are going to get in a lot of trouble together over the years.)

P.S.  I have a lot of beloved friends who AREN'T pregnant, too, thank goodness.   I talk about babies right now enough as it is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baby Names

Probably my favorite baby-related things to talk about before I got pregnant were baby names. I could then, and can still, talk about baby names for ages.  We had a girl baby name picked out for, well, years, before recently deciding against it in part because of the aforementioned "northerners might not go for a double name" thing.  (Totally fine, because I like our new baby name even better anyway.)  

But, while I love talking about baby names, we've decided to keep Miss Jackon's name a secret until she gets here.  (We're calling her Miss Jackson in the meantime because I didn't like referring to her as a bean or a bell pepper or the fetus or any of those things, and really, is there a funnier name for an unknown, in utero baby than "Miss Jackson"?  I don't think so, considering our last name isn't Jackson.  Our male equivalent was "Sheriff Taylor," and I liked that one enough that I still refer to her as Miss Sheriff Taylor a lot too.  I know.  We are total, total dorks.)  We figure that because we already know she is a girl, it will be just a tad more exciting for everyone else to have at least one mystery upon delivery, other than her weight, which is really not that interesting to third parties unless the baby is exceptionally large (please don't be exceptionally large, Miss Jackson!).  

The only problem with the "name is a secret" thing is that, well, I'm not so good at keeping secrets, at least not my own.  I can keep other people's secrets just fine -- I promise!  I am so trustworthy! -- but when it comes to stuff about me, I'm an open book.  Plus, I love, love, love her name so much that I want to go telling everyone about it already.   I'm going to try to resist, though.  And don't try to guess what it is, either, because I am really bad at that game and Jake gets mad at me because I give too many hints. 

Our First Two Babies

I couldn't very well start a baby blog without posting pictures of our two poodles.  This beauty is our four-year-old standard poodle Fiona.  She went to a new groomer last week who told me that Fiona is "quite the little lady."  Indeed.  Fiona's current favorite things are: cookies, cheese, being complimented by strangers on the street, keeping watch from our living room window, and her stuffed toy Larry the Lobster.
This is our toy poodle, Little Sammy.  We've had him for five years and we estimate that he is probably at least eleven.  He has a lot of health problems and some personality issues, but we think he is the greatest.  Sammy enjoys: his bed, his other bed, our bed, his red sweater (after it is put on him and before it's taken off), and hotel rooms.

We have been trying to warn them that soon there will be another human in our 1000-square-feet* of cozy home, but we don't think they get it yet.  

*We love, love, love our house, but D.C. housing was definitely another culture shock.  Our old (modest) house in Columbia had room to spare, whereas here we only have two (small) bedrooms and one (tiny) bathroom.   The great thing about a small space, though, is that we love every inch of it and it's inspiring us to be more organized and stream-lined every day.  (And our two bedrooms and one bath are so cute!)  Our baby girl won't grow up playing in this yard very much or riding bikes in the middle of the street, but she will have a park three blocks away and a view of the Capitol building.  Trade-offs!

Well, Hi There.

The above picture is when Jake and I were young, childless, and much, much thinner (at least, I was).  

The below picture is me two weeks ago, totally pregnant.  I'm even bigger now.  I'll have to post an updated shot so you can enjoy the expanding tummy as well.  

I have so enjoyed reading my friends' baby blogs (and the blogs of their friends as well) that I decided to abandon my pop culture blog in favor of a baby blog.  Well, "abandon" is probably too strong a word -- there is no way I can write about any subject for any period of time without working in a few opinions about what is going in the world of television, movies, and celebrity -- but maybe it's time for a slight change of focus. 

When the baby is born -- when she is born, I should say, because we know she is a girl -- I will probably move this to a password-protected site and maybe something a little more sophisticated than Blogger.  I don't mind putting myself out there, but I am well aware that there are a lot of different kinds of people on the internet and while most of them are harmless, some of them are crazy, and some of them are just plain mean.  I don't want those people to see pictures of our sweet girl (she'll be sweet, right?) or, frankly, even know her name.  So.  If you start reading this and think maybe you will want to continue reading, at some point drop me a comment or an email so I will know to include you on the private site after her birth.  I don't care if I know you or not, if you just tell me how you got here (chances are if you have a baby blog and know one of my friends, I already stalk -- I mean, read -- your blog anyway)... but we have 18 weeks until that time comes anyway, so I am really getting ahead of myself.

Oh!  And the blog title.  Well, it's a little misleading.  We're not exactly expatriates.  We're Americans, and, in fact, we live in our own nation's capital.  But, even though we have been here almost three years now and even though we absolutely love it (we really, really do), I'm a South Carolinian and it's a little bittersweet for me to realize that I am having a baby who probably won't grow up in South Carolina, or even in the south.  I am eminently grateful for all the opportunities this city will afford the baby girl (and me as a stay-at-home mom, which I will be), but there will be some differences.  We eschewed a double-name because we didn't think D.C. folks would call a baby by two names; we have to start worrying about applying to pre-schools at a distressingly early age; we almost assuredly will not be able to send our child to public middle or high school if we want her to feel safe and get educated, at least not unless things drastically change in the next ten years; and there is a woeful lack of smocking in D.C. baby clothes.