Monday, December 29, 2008

Fight or Flight: I'll Kill You, and Your Little Dog, Too

In my sister's little one street neighborhood in Mississippi, the neighbors all let their dogs run loose. If I go out walking or jogging, there are usually 4 or 5 dogs wandering around. They might bark at me from afar, but I think it's just to say "Hey, who are you?" Some of the dogs are big, but over the 2 or so years I've visited here, they've proven themselves to be harmless. They rarely come up to me.

Every few months, a new dog seems to appear. Today, a scraggly brown dog I hadn't seen before skulked near me as I was starting my 30 minute brisk walk. Strange dogs can be a little scary, but I wasn't too worried. I was fairly certain that if the dog bothered me, I would destroy it. I could completely see myself kicking it in the ribs, gauging its eyes out, and strangling it with my bare hands. That seemed completely feasible.

I attribute my ease of violence to the fact that pregnancy activates something where you are very defensive of your personal space. In the fight or flight, your flight is impaired by oh, 20, 30, 40 extra pounds, so you're ready for a fight. I truly think I am jacked up on some hormone. I feel ready to punch anyone in the face who bothers me or gets near my stomach.

I hope I never have the need to do that, but I'm just saying to the world in general, I will $&*@ing kill you if you threaten my physical safety.

Here's a pic of my sister's hood. Lots of open space between the houses, a cotton field at one end of the street, and a cow pasture behind the house on the other end. It's a little annoying and dull to walk up and down the road 5 times to get in my 30-40 minutes, but there is hardly any traffic. It's much safer and more pleasant than my neighborhood in CT.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random Pregnancy Stories: I Amuse Myself

1. Me to ladies at fancy maternity store: "Yeah, only one of the 3 pairs of jeans I bought here really fits perfectly, so I pretty much wear them every day."
Lady: "Oh! Do you want us to order you another pair of the same one?"
Me: "Oh, god no. I just wear them dirty. It's no biggie."
Looks of horror of both ladies' faces.
Me, trying to make her feel better: "I mean, I alternate them every other day."

It's sort of true, I don't usually wear them to work two days in a row. Only if I'm really lazy, or, if on the previous day, I wore a longer shirt that hid the identifying pockets. I do put them on almost every day, though. Even if I don't wear them to work, I'll wear them out to dinner. They are so comfy and, unlike the other 2 pairs I bought, actually stay up. This is the only full body shot I have of my fave jeans; I'm putting my hair in a pony tail here. 

2. My new favorite song, David Archuleta's "Crush," came on our radio in the living room.
Me to husband: "Dance with me."
Husband runs away.
Me: Fine. I'll just dance with the other man in my life.
I dance around holding my stomach.

Click here to see the video on youtube. Actually, I recommend not watching the teeny bopper video. Just listen to the music. The video imagery is cheesy and nauseating; my husband says the actual song is cheesy, generic and overproduced, but I like it.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mystery of Superior Earth Mothers Revealed

I find myself doing things that I found vaguely annoying when I saw pregnant ladies doing them.

1. Resting one hand on your stomach. That always looked fake maternal to me. Like, "Ooh I'm pregnant, i'm resting my hand on my unborn baby because I'm an earth mother."
Pregnant people are doing that because they feel the baby kicking. Or, the baby is moving and they're trying to figure out what he's doing, and that's probably more interesting to them than the boring conversation of the people around them.

2. Holding stomach wtih both hands. That looked obnoxious to me, like they were putting their belly on display. Now I realize the mom is thinking, "Holy shit, there's actually an almost full grown baby in there." Or, "What the %#$@ happened to my flat stomach?" Or, "Good god, is that hard structure in my abdomen a head or a butt?"

That's really all I can think of. But in general, pregnant people always seemed to act superior. Now I realize they were just:
-completely distracted
-thinking about how weird they feel
-thinking about how they have so much to do to get ready for a new person in the house and they are just too tired to do it
-uninterested in what I was saying because they had so much else on their mind.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts on My Other Blog

1. That I love posting about my husband. He is such a funny person, but so much more private and reserved than me, so I am always so gleeful when I mention him on a site that over 200 people read every day. For example, in today's post, I mention that he implied I burned down his favorite restaurant.

2. That it makes me tougher. My readers tend to be really positive (I have no idea why I get that lucky- I think I just happen to have cool readers), but occasionally, someone will say something rude. For example, the other day someone called me a sellout for considering buying a Mercedes crossover wagon (used!!! it's used!!! OK!!!). For an instant, I felt bad, then that was washed away by a "Whatever." Followed by "It's kind of funny to be called a sellout." I mean, to receive attention of any sort is pretty flattering!
Also, I like that other people have opinions.  I love expressing my opinions, and people read me because I have strong opinions. Why shouldn't they express theirs?

3. That I'm born to blog. I have a constant stream of words in my head. I'm always thinking, talking to myself in my head, thinking about what I'm doing and seeing and what I can do with that info. I've always done that, at least since college, and probably before.  I used to put all that in my journal, and it rarely ended up turning into any sort of writing piece. I would not call most of my blog post "pieces," but I've turned a couple posts into columns for a local paper, and I do think a few of my posts are well written. Now I only journal to get my feelings out. I miss journalling a little, but I tell my husband most of what I think, so I need my journal less now. Before the husband and blog, I had a LOT of thoughts floating around that I needed to capture and put into a semblance of order.

I could think of a lot more, but it's 3 am, and I should get back to bed because I am not really sure school will actually be cancelled tomorrow due to snow. Cough woke me up, plus, when I go to bed before 10, I tend not to sleep through I've been up since 12:30 or so, blogging, reading my google reader, etc.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hyper Fetus?

I'm getting ridiculous movement in my stomach the past few days. Not only can I see my stomach moving through my clothes, the movements are much more than kicks. They're like, rolls, and palpitations, and super-fast tapdancing, and pushing on my ab muscles. It's fun, but it's a little freaky because it's impossible to ignore. I can't not say, "Whoa!" when I feel a totally new type of movement. What will he think of next?

My husband keeps telling me he was a hyper child. I can't help but wonder if this baby is going to be hyper. I have a little ADD going on, so I hope this kid is not a total space cadet. I mean, I don't mind if he is, but his life will be easier if he's not head in the clouds hyperactive.

That's a photo of my stomach while I was doing this blog post.
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Coughing, Blogging, Not Sleeping, Rectal Kicks

Why lie in bed coughing at 3am, clutching your right boob, when you can be out in the living room blogging and eating a bowl of your favorite cereal with 2% milk?

That's what I say. I'm trying to remain positive despite coughing for close to 6 weeks now. Oh, the boob thing. Yes. I appear to have pulled a pec muscle from coughing, so now when I cough, my right chestal area has sharp pains. If I put pressure on the area, it feels better. Unless I'm holding a pillow, I can only apply pressure with my arms, resulting in boob clutching. I'm sure my students are wondering what the hell I'm doing, but at least I'm at work. You have to give me that.

Two weeks ago, I had a pulled side muscle. Just as that got better, the pec started hurting! Huh? I guess coughing a lot yesterday started it. Darn it, I thought I was better. I am feeling better, but I'm still coughing, and it's just getting OLD. I'll ask the pulmonologist about this tomorrow, since he only appears to work on Wednesdays.

Me to my stomach just now: "What are you doing?" Because I can see my stomach jumping around in the 3:20 am light of my laptop.
I've been getting some impressive kicks, and repeated nudges in low-lying areas, that make me say, "Yikes!" I really did not know the baby was going to kick me in the rectum and the cervix, but uh, I guess that makes sense. I'm sorry to have used the word rectum, but it had to be said.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Discussing Pregnancy (and My Butt) with Students

Last week, at 27 weeks (close to 7 months), I told my students I was pregnant. Turns out 11 year olds are pretty funny to discuss pregnancy with.

Me, pointing to my stomach: Hey, have you guys noticed this?
They stare at me blankly: Huh?
Me, turning sideways and poking my stomach: This. Have you noticed this?
Kids are silent.
Me: There's a baby in there!
They start shouting at me. "You're pregnant? Is is a boy or a girl? How far along are you? What are you going to name him?"
I let them shout at me for a while, then we got back to work. (Note: In this photo, you can see I look pretty thick around the middle, rather than hugely pregnant. You can see why people would not assume I'm pregnant, but rather, just porking up.)

When I told my other class, they also started shouting things at me, but they shouted funnier things than the other class.
Two of the boys said, "I did notice, but I didn't want to say anything in case you weren't."
One girl said, "When did you find out you were pregnant?"
Me: "Uh, July 1st." (Did she really want specific dates? I was surprised by the question so I answered honestly.)
Another girl: "Are you tired? My mom said she was really tired when she was pregnant with me."
Another girl: "Why do people gain weight when they're pregnant?"
Me: "Oh, well, there's more than just the baby in there. There's more fluid, and there's more blood in your body, and... there's other stuff." (I was not prepared for that question, and other kids were shouting things, so I gave sort of a bad answer.  I guess I also wasn't sure if I felt like teaching them what a placenta is, either.)

Then, I told my study hall, which is only 3 kids, and one was absent, so it was just one boy and one girl. We were doing some work, and I said, "So, guys, my stomach is getting bigger. I'm pregnant."
Kids: "Oh cool, is it a boy or a girl, when are you due, etc."  We chatted a bit, then I got up to go get something from my desk.
Boy: "No offense, but your butt's getting bigger too."

No kids ever say stuff like that to me, and I never let kids do that, but you know what, I brought up my stomach size, so I can't really fault him for commenting on my body size. Anyway, my butt's not getting bigger, so his comment didn't bug me. I thought it was funny, but all I said was, "You are ridiculous." I don't want to give his antics any encouragement. This is the same kid who asked me if he could call me by my first name. He's a great kid, but a bit fresh!

The next time I saw my study hall, the third student, another boy, was there.  I pulled out my cold medicine with codeine, because I was feeling like crap from my cough.
Boy, alarmed: "I thought you couldn't take medicine when you were pregnant!" (How do they know all this?)
Me: "Nah, that's just your first trimester."
Boy: "What? Your what?"
Me: "Trimester- first three months."
Boy: "What the- how many months are you?"
Me: "Almost seven!"
Boy: "Really? You don't look it. How long have you been pregnant?"
Me: "Um, since June?"
Fresh boy: "What day? What day in June?"
Me: "Um, June 11th?"
Fresh boy: "Oh my god my birthday is the 13th!"
Me, trying to get over the fact that I'm somehow discussing, with preteen boys, the date I conceived my child: "Uh... cool!"

I took some photos of my butt the other day,
a) because I like these jeans but they are too small and I don't think they ever actually fit me- they're medium and I should have gotten large
b) because I am pretty sure my butt's not really getting bigger. I'm putting on a layer of fat from my knees to my shoulders, but the butt is not getting disproportionately larger.
c) and because I just sort of wanted to get a look at my butt.

Turns out it's pretty challenging to photograph your own butt.

Here's a pic of my stomach, actually looking pregnant, but my stomach rarely looks like this. The way I was turning made my stomach stick out more. Usually, I look sorta normal, and I can still get away with just looking like I've gained weight. For real, I can.
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28 Weeks: 3 Months to Go

I find it hard to believe that this is actually what's in my stomach. I feel so good, except for this cough, that it's hard to believe I'm pregnant. If it weren't for the kicking, I'd just think I was plumping up. I probably am plumping up, because I have not exercised in oh, 6 weeks, because of my cough and icky feeling. And I ate a lot of sugar cookies this weekend. And a lot of Mexican food yesterday. And two cookies from the school cafeteria yesterday. And one today. Plus mac and cheese. My arms are looking fat for the first time in years. That's OK. I don't care too much. As long as my maternity jeans keep fitting.

I passed my glucose test, so I don't have pregnancy-induced diabetes. COOL!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Napping: Difficult But Worth It

"A cup of strong coffee might make you feel wide awake, but a small study suggests that for improved physical and mental performance, an afternoon nap works better." OK, but then the short article goes on to say the subjects napped from 1-3pm. That's not a NAP, that's a full on siesta. Of course you're going to rock out on cognitive tests after going through a full REM cycle, but how is that going to be applied practically? Who's gonna nap for two hours on anything but a weekend?

The weekday is when you need a nap to get all the annoying money-earning cognition done. But in a weekday, you're lucky if you can find a way to close your eyes for 20 minutes. You have to have an office door you can lock- or, if you are really desperate, be the type who can recline the driver's seat of the car and sleep.

Luckily, I can do both, and I always have a free period in the afternoon. (Well, a period with no students where I'm supposed to get actual work done.) I used to get sinus infections a lot, and I had to nap to make it through the day. I need that less, but I still keep all my napping supplies handy. Sometimes, to survive that last hour of work with 26 energetic and/or lethargic pre-teens, I just have to lie down and let my brain rest.
Here's how I do it:

1. I always put a rug in my classroom so I have a good napping surface- I kid you not.
2. At 1:05 pm, I lock my classroom door, shut the shades, and get out my napping pad and pillow. The napping pad is a superthick exercise mat.
3. I set my phone alarm, cover myself with my jacket, and curl up and try to fall asleep. My closet is a little too small to keep a blanket and a pillow, so the coat works fine.

Sometimes I don't actually fall asleep, but the full-on body relaxation helps me feel better, and at least I know I tried. And, even if I wake up feeling groggy, I know I got a little rest, and I take solace in that and muddle through.

Occasionally a co-worker will ask to borrow my napping pad and/or just lie on my rug, because for some reason, teachers insist on going to work when we're sick, or maybe we're just sick a lot. I'm freaking sick right now. I managed to sleep for two hours tonight before my coughing took over. That's why I'm writing this at 1:33 am. I couldn't stop coughing and I felt bad for keeping my husband up, so I might as well enjoy myself out in the living room. My friend/co-worker is sleeping in our guest bed, because even though I'm still sick, I feel better than I have the past few weeks, so we did our weekly Tuesday "Biggest Loser" girls' TV and gossip night.

If I go to work tomorrow, which I think I will, I can guarantee you I'll use that napping pad. Just knowing I have it makes me able to go in to work, because I know there are two parts of the day where I can try to nap for 30 minutes. It involves skipping meetings and/or not getting work done, but it means I can make it through the day- and maybe even be a good teacher while I'm at it.

I love napping. I have always been very good at it, and have even been known to set my alarm and get into bed for just 5 minutes at a time in my life when I really needed some extra sleep (counselor at an amazing writing camp for high schoolers). Even those few minutes of eye closure refreshed me, and then I was off to teach my Irish dancing or video magazine elective- two things I knew almost nothing about, but learned enough to teach. 

I can nap anywhere- Starbucks, outdoors, my car, the couch, in front of people- I don't care.

Shoot! I Just saw this napping kit, and got excited, then I realized it's for a BABY! Adults need napping kits too, and that's why I keep my napping arsenal at work.

Related article:
"Some Respect, Please, for the Afternoon Nap" by Lisa Belkin about napping at work.
Click here to read full entry.