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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Every second pregnancy stereotype is true

We've all heard the jokes about first-time-moms versus experienced moms, and how the experienced moms don't care about germs or letting their kid put worms in their ears or leaving them with an 8-year-old babysitter or whatever. While I can't speak to that yet, what I can tell you is that those same attitude changes absolutely apply to pregnancy.

I am living proof that every single stereotype about first vs. second pregnancies is completely true.

The "big reveal" isn't really that big a deal

Announcing your first pregnancy is HUGE. It is huge for you, as it means you've made the decision to go public and let everyone in on your business. And it is huge for all the people you're close to, as it means your life is going to completely change and so your relationships with them might completely change as well. With close friends, a first pregnancy means no more going out drinking until 4AM. It means you might have to start tolerating the presence of my kid at dinner parties from now on if you want me in attendance. It means you and your boyfriend problems won't be my Priority #1 anymore. 

And with family, it means get ready to babysit and buy a lot more Christmas presents than you have been up til now.

"These aren't ALL for me, but ... like 65% of them are for me."

With a second kid, though, the big reveal is more just like "oh, neat!" You already have one at home. You already don't go out drinking til 4AM. People care, but they care only about a quarter as much as they did the first time.

And the same goes for the pregnant person. My life isn't going to completely change; it's just going to be the same shit but on Hard mode. I've already seen my body carry a child all the way through to birth, so I know my uterus has that ability. This means that the fear of miscarriage, while still present to a degree, is not hanging over me like a shroud at all times. If something happens to this pregnancy, I know it's probably because the baby had a hoof growing out of its forehead or something. Audrey will vouch for the hospitality of my womb.

"It was A-OK in there! The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is because they wouldn't let me check out late, which wasn't really their fault but I don't understand how reviews work so I'm docking them one star for not letting me break policy."
Ugh, they let f***ing anybody post on Yelp, don't they.

But embracing this terror of miscarriage is a crucial part of the Big Reveal the first time around. You know that if you announce your pregnancy and then the unthinkable happens, you'll have to announce that as well. And that can be a very frightening prospect.

This time around, the only reason I didn't just tell everyone the second I found out was because the earlier you tell people, the longer your pregnancy lasts (for them). It was bad enough when people knew I was pregnant for 6 months. If I had them up my ass for 8 months, I'd probably jump off a cliff.

At least once a day from ~6 months onward.

I assume everything is fine until proven otherwise

My first pregnancy, I took every opportunity to assume that the baby would not survive. I ordered a high-quality fetal Doppler to rent for a few months, and when I couldn't find the heartbeat at 6 weeks, I resigned myself to the idea that there was nothing inside me but a tumor or perhaps an old forgotten tampon. (sidenote: men, it is impossible for a tampon to "get lost inside" a woman. The cervix is closed. Like, all the way closed, with multiple padlocks on the door. The vagina is a dead end road with only one entry and exit. So just in case you never knew that ... now you do.)

When I had a dating ultrasound at 8 weeks, which was my first time getting any confirmation that I had a viable pregnancy, I assumed that the ultrasound would show nothing but a photo of some prankster's middle finger. I couldn't believe how nonchalant the ultrasound tech was -- "here's your uterus ... there's your bladder ... ah, and that right there is your pregnancy." UMM, HELLO? HOW ABOUT A LITTLE ENTHUSIASM! I would have happily settled for something like "WOW HOT DAMN, YOU ARE ACTUALLY LEGITIMATELY PREGNANT! I ASSUMED THERE WOULD BE NOTHING BUT AN OLD BOOT IN THERE, BUT IT'S A REAL HUMAN EMBRYO! INCREDIBLE!!!"

"Ugh, this happens more often than you'd think."

I obsessively googled miscarriage rates at various points in pregnancy -- what is the rate at 5 weeks? 5.2 weeks? At 6 weeks? How about at 6.5 weeks?

This time around, I also ordered a rental Doppler, since it was inexpensive last time and I really enjoyed having it. I didn't even look for the heartbeat until 8.5 weeks; found it at 9 weeks; nodded my head calmly and then put it away. Jesse was in the bathroom at the time and didn't hear it. Ehh.

I then found the heartbeat again at 9.5 weeks, as I wanted confirmation of living creature before telling my boss etc. When I finally went to my first OB appointment at 10 weeks, I was as nonchalant as that ultrasound tech was the first time round. Doc shows me the little bub on an ultrasound, and I was like "ah." Then I put my pants back on and went to Subway.

The first time around, any abdominal cramp was almost certainly my body miscarrying (OBVIOUSLY). This time around, I got the most savage cramp ever the other day, and instead of thinking "well, this is it," I thought "oh god I need to get to a bathroom this is going to be ugly." Turns out not everything is a miscarriage. Usually it's just diarrhea.

The OB appointments are no big deal

Pregnancy #1: Jesse attended all my OB appointments and ultrasounds until around week 30, when the appointments were basically lasting five minutes and consisted of me saying "everything is fine and I have no questions." 

Pregnancy #2: Jesse has yet to attend anything with me, as his work schedule is not as conducive to joining me at the clinic as it was last time. I could go out of my way to schedule appointments at times when he can be there, but why? I'll just schedule them for when they're convenient for me, and then text him a picture of the ultrasound with the caption "bub lives."

I suppose I'll try to schedule the Big Anatomy Ultrasound (the 19-week appointment where they tell you the gender and everything) for a time when he can be there, but if it doesn't work out ... ehh. I'll just text him a photo of a P or a V and he can text me back a smiley face. That's kind of where we're at.

I don't think about it all the time

Pregnancy #1: Hardly a moment went by when I didn't think "I am pregnant." It was bizarre and hard to explain if you've never experienced it. I'd wake up in the morning and think "omg I am pregnant." I'd get hungry and think "I'm so hungry because I am pregnant." It was just never more than an inch away from the front of my thoughts. I think that this is very common with first pregnancies.

Pregnancy #2: I often completely forget about it. I'll think something like "we should get some sushi as a special treat this Friday night," and it will take me an embarrassingly long time to remember that I'm not actually supposed to be eating sushi because duhh, I'm pregnant.

I often forget to look into my "pregnancy this week" update, which was my special treat every Monday morning the first time around. It was like Christmas morning every week, reading up to find how big the baby was that week and what changes I could expect. Now I often forget to read the updates until days into the new week. Oh shit, the size of a lemon. Uhh ... neat.

I haven't remembered to weigh myself in weeks. Have I gained any weight so far? I honestly don't know. Probably? Am I supposed to be tracking this?

Time is flying. A watched pot never boils, but a forgotten pot boils over in the blink of an eye. My first pregnancy lasted for at least two years. This time around, I'm already almost out of the first trimester and I feel like it's only been a couple of weeks since I found out.

It's strange.

Coming up with names is a chore, not a treat

Pregnancy #1: Jesse and I loved having name brainstorming time. We already had names picked out for both genders long before we found out if we were having a girl or a boy.

Pregnancy #2: Ughhhhh. We've got nothing. I don't think we'll have anything until it's almost time for this baby to be born.

If it's a girl, then I don't really want this baby's name to be in the same "category" as Audrey's name, because it makes it harder for people to keep them straight. For example, say we have a girl and decide to call her Natalie. Natalie and Audrey SOUND different, but they're in the same category (classic, pretty names that have been around for a long time). So if you met a family with two little girls named Audrey and Natalie, would you be able to remember who was who? It might be a challenge. But if you met two little girls named, say, Audrey and DREAMCATCHER FIRESTORM, you'd be less likely to call them by each other's names. (and no, I will not be naming anyone "Dreamcatcher Firestorm." If she wants to use that as her stage name for her one-woman sword-swallowing act later in life, she has my blessing)

Look, would I have preferred she actually finish medical school rather than washing out after three years and doing this instead? Maybe. But if she's happy, then ... I'm ... I'm happy too.

And then there are the boys' names. Jesse wants to go with the name we had picked for if Audrey had been a boy ... but I'm not so sure. Is it too much of a firstborn kid's name? Is it already Audrey's name in another dimension where she's a boy, in which case we can't use it again? Is it the male equivalent of naming the kid Natalie?

Eff it. Just name the kid Max Power regardless of gender.


So, in conclusion, being pregnant for a second time is a lot less interesting than being pregnant for the first time. Which I am absolutely fine with, because being pregnant for the first time was entirely TOO engrossing, if you ask me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Things that make me smile

I've read/seen entirely too many sad and heartbreaking things recently. The internet can be a dark place ... especially if you, like a moron, click on links that you know lead to things that will upset you.

So I need to clear my memory cache with some hilarious nonsense instead. Join me if you'd also like to replace sad things with stupid, happy nonsense!

Happy Thing #1: This Ridiculous Photo

I don't care who you are: if this doesn't make you laugh, you have no soul.

Happy Thing #2: At Least You Don't Have Boneitis

I have no idea what this is or where it came from, but watching that guy writhe on the floor has made me happier than ten thousand ice cream cones ever could.

Happy Thing #3: This Cat Wearing Glasses

I didn't make this, but I want to hug whoever did.

Happy Thing #4: This Youngster's Dog

I'm not a fan of this particular f-word either, but I feel like if there were ever a time when it was truly the right word for the job, it would be right now in describing this dog's facial expression.

Happy Thing #5: This Absolutely Senseless GIF

Happy Thing #6: This Dog

Apparently, he was very offended by his haircut and would only walk on his hind legs for several days until he got used to it.

There you go, friends. I hope all your frowns have been turned upside down. I know mine certainly has!

Friday, January 23, 2015

My daughter is kind of a jerk sometimes

The transition from baby into toddler is both incredible and a little bit heartbreaking to watch. It's incredible because you start to see these flashes of intelligent thought in a creature who previously was 100% guided by instinct. I love that I can tell Audrey "please put this in the garbage" and she will walk over to the garbage cupboard, open it, and toss the item in the trash. My baby is finally smarter than most dogs!

But it's heartbreaking because TODDLERS ARE ASSHOLES. They have zero empathy, little understanding of consequences, and no ability to control their emotions. And Audrey is rushing headlong into that stage of her life.

With that in mind, here are a few recent examples of Audrey being a big ol' dick:

She knocked a kid over at daycare because she was mad that I took away her apple several minutes earlier

I put a Granny Smith apple with my things to take to work recently, and Audrey took it. I figured she thought it was a ball, but I should have given her more credit -- she knew it was food, and tried to eat it like some kind of grown person. 

Haha look at her go! Eatin' it just like you or I would!

It was so hilariously adorable that I just let her keep it in the car on the way to daycare. When we arrived, the apple looked like it had been in the possession of a beaver for the past twenty minutes. I laughed and then took it away from her and carried her into the daycare center.

At this point, my sweet darling baby transformed into the Incredible Hulk. Furious, she shouted, cried, and swung her arms around trying to hit me in the face. We entered the toddler room and I put her down, taking her jacket off. She seemed to be calming down -- perhaps the memory of the apple being taken from her was fading.

But then a little girl toddled up to us, grinning and opening her arms for a hug. This little girl is Audrey's best friend at daycare -- they're only a month apart in age and have been together since they were both still in the infant room.




She scribbles out all my drawings

Audrey hates to share her crayons with me. Well, she likes to share the crayons themselves (with my mouth), but she does NOT want me drawing with her.

Whenever I pick up a crayon and start drawing something in her doodle book, she rips the crayon out of my hand and immediately scribbles over whatever I've drawn. Like, scribbling over it in a different color isn't good enough -- it has to be the same color I used so that the picture REALLY gets erased.

I meant to take a picture of an actual example of this, but I forgot so here is a dramatization.

I work hard on some of these pictures, but she just doesn't appreciate it.



She intentionally does things that she knows are bad, and then scolds herself

She used to pretend that her slip-ups were accidents. Throw something behind the dryer? "Uh oh!" Dump food overboard from her high chair? "Uh oh!"

Now, she's taken a different tack that is even more infuriating (and cute): she acknowledges that she was wrong and agrees with me when I scold her. But then doesn't change her behavior at all.

For example, this morning she was sitting on the floor with a little bowl of Cinnamon Life cereal. I was sitting next to her eating a bowl of bran flakes. Suddenly, I looked down and saw that she was completely covered in smashed Life cereal bits. She must have filled a whole fist with cereal and just pulverized it and rained it all over herself. The minute I saw this mess, I said "Audrey! What have you done?!"

Her response? "No, no, no." She scolded herself before I even had a chance to.

When she doesn't want to eat any more of her dinner and starts squishing stuff with her fingers instead?

Me: "Audrey!"
Audrey: "No, no, no."
Me: "No squishing food."
Audrey: "No, no."

Then she does it again, looks me right in the eyes, and says "no."

When she pulls a roll of paper towels out from under the sink and unrolls it for half a mile?

Me: "Audrey!"
Audrey: "No!"

Okay, child ... so if you know this activity is filed under "no" ... WHY DO YOU INSIST ON DOING IT?


But dammit you're cute. Now to spend some time Googling "how to discipline a very young child in ways that they actually understand." Wish me luck, friends.

Audrey, do you think this will be a success?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to create the perfect pregnancy announcement

First, let's just get this out of the way: I'm pregnant again. I announced it on Facebook with the help of this horrendously shitty infographic I made using MS Paint (of course):

Cool. Now that we've gotten through that part, we can get back to the point of this post.

Putting together a good pregnancy announcement is like asking someone to the prom: you'd f***ing better do a good job or else everyone will secretly be really disappointed in you. They'll be like, "yeah, I'm happy for her, but couldn't she at least have made some sort of clever pie chart showing how her free time spent sleeping off hangovers was about to go way down or something? I mean, I could slap something like that together in Excel in like two minutes!"

So with that in mind, here are a few popular categories for pregnancy announcements, and how they can go wrong:

The incredibly subtle announcement

This one can go wrong with ease. I mean, you're relying on your Facebook friends to notice something subtle. Has that EVER been a good idea?

For example, everyone knows that pregnant women can't drink alcohol. So maybe a picture of all that non-alcoholic beer and wine you just bought will tip people off?

I took this picture during a Total Wine shopping trip, and in case you're curious, the Beck's non-alcoholic is the best of the beers and the wine is almost universally grape juice in a fancy bottle.

Here's how it usually turns out in real life:

If you want to be subtle, just remember that most people are idiots. It's not their fault. They were born that way.

And then they drank a lot, and did drugs, and dyed their hair in the bathroom with the door closed and the exhaust fan turned off.

The picture of you looking pregnant

Oh nelly. I hate this one. It usually goes something like this:

If you're pregnant, please don't do this one. We spend so much time and effort conditioning everyone NOT to say anything if they suspect that someone is pregnant:

And now you wanna undo all that hard work in a second? Please don't! It's like asking someone how much they think you weigh or how old you look: it's only gonna end poorly for everyone.

Unless you've waited 8.5 months to finally make your announcement. Then you'll probably get a good reaction out of people.

Then again, at that point, you might as well wait until the baby is born. REALLY throw people off.

Bless you, Mike, for boldly saying what we've all been thinking.

The announcement that involves the existing children

These can be great if they're done well:

Haaaaaa get it? Because the youngest is getting replaced as youngest and he's pissed about it? Tell me you're not laughing. You can't -- you'd be lying.

The problem is, sometimes the kiddos refuse to cooperate.

Take Audrey, for example. The other day, we were rearranging some things in my closet and I came across a newborn size sleeper suit. It was so tiny compared to how huge Audrey is, so for a moment I thought "this could make a great pregnancy announcement: have Audrey hold the tiny sleeper suit and make some joke about how it doesn't fit her anymore, but we liked it so much we made a new person to wear it instead."

But instead of holding it up, Audrey kept trying to put it on her head like a hat. Over and over again, trying to put the tiny sleeper suit over her giant melon.

That would not have made a good pregnancy announcement at all.

"Look how dumb my kid is! Also, I'm pregnant."

The ultrasound picture

Some people have problems with these. They think they're "too boring" (because they all look the same) or "too personal" (since it is technically a photo of the inside of your body). 

I have no objection to ultrasound pictures except for the fact that they really don't look like anything at first. I mean, check out this picture of Audrey when she was a 10-week-old fetus:

WTF even is that.

This time around, I got a comparatively good first photo:

Or at least, it was good once I aliened it up a little:

I feel like if you're gonna do it, at least make a sweet "deal with it" GIF:

"I'm pregnant -- DEAL WITH IT." 
I love it! Puts everyone on the defensive. Makes them kind of afraid to congratulate you. "I don't want her to yell at me any more."

The positive pregnancy test photo

This one also gets a lot of hate, mostly because, well ... we all know how pregnancy tests work. You don't stick it in your mouth, know what I mean?

I guess at least make sure you clean all the pee off it before taking the picture??

The "guy laughs at girl's misery"

This one was kind of "in" for a while recently: a picture of a girl hanging over the toilet looking miserable while the guy grins in the foreground and gives a big "thumbs up!" to the camera.

For this one to work, the woman has to be suffering from pregnancy symptoms that are at least slightly photogenic. Hanging over the toilet is funny. Eating a big plate of steak and ice cream is funny.

However, for those of us who have pretty symptom-free pregnancies, how would this work exactly? A picture of Jesse grinning as I sit on the toilet peeing at 3 in the morning yet again? A picture of Jesse grinning while I stand in front of the fridge trying to decide what snacks to eat?

... a picture of me struggling to overcome constipation?

No. No, no, no. This one simply won't work for us. But if it works for you, I salute you.

The pun

Come on. You're better than this

So, in conclusion, there's no right way to announce a pregnancy. Just a bunch of wrong ones. If you really want to play it straight, you could always just announce it outright without trying to be cute at all. I mean, what could possibly go wrong there??

Sigh. You know what? Maybe just stick with the pee-covered pregnancy test after all. At least it's foolproof.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A series of dumb things I have done recently

I've been trying to come up with something good and funny to blog about today, but I kept coming up short so instead I'm just going to point out what a dumbass I am so we can all have a laugh at my expense.

-- I went out to lunch today and got a Chipotle burrito to eat back in my office. I was so hungry and so excited to eat it that I actually tried to walk out of the office elevator before the doors were quite open enough for me to fit through. But then I realized that I kind of had to pee, and in order to truly enjoy a giant Chipotle burrito, I need to be starting with every tank empty. So I knew that the right thing to do was to swing through the bathroom and have a quick pee before continuing on to my office and Burrito Heaven. I stepped into the bathroom and set my bag of Chipotle down on the little shelf near the door, because I wasn't about to bring my lunch into the stall with me and set it on the floor. That's nasty.

But then I started worrying -- what if someone came in the bathroom and saw my burrito sitting there in its bag unattended, and they decided to steal it? That would ruin my whole day so completely I don't even have words to describe it. So I did the only rational thing: I also set my purse down on the shelf by the door, arranging it in such a way that my purse hid the bag of Chipotle.

You know, my purse, which has my wallet and my phone and my keys in it? The thing that is far, far more valuable than the $7 burrito I just purchased (using the credit card that I keep in my purse)?

At that moment, I would have preferred that someone come in the bathroom and steal my purse than steal my burrito.

It was so f***ing delicious.

-- I was listening to a CD of kids' songs while driving Audrey to daycare one morning, and Skip to my Lou came on. I apparently didn't remember all the lyrics to this song, because I was very surprised when the singer suddenly threatened to find a new dance partner "prettier than you." 
"I'll find another one, prettier'n you! I'll find another one prettier'n you. I'll find another one prettier'n you! Skip to my Lou my darling."
 I was a little upset by this, and didn't like the message it was sending my sweet little girl. So I told her to disregard those lyrics, explaining that she should never allow herself to be manipulated into doing something she's not comfortable with, simply because her partner threatens to replace her. "You don't wanna do anal? Fine! Plenty of girls out there who will!" F*** you, buddy.

Satisfied with my lesson on self-respect, I took a look in the rearview mirror and saw that Audrey was asleep. And also is a baby who doesn't understand concepts like "threats," "manipulation," "dance partner," "pretty," or "anal."

It was a great speech, though.

-- I have somehow trained Audrey that it is a funny game to shove random objects into my mouth. I guess I thought it was funny the first time she did it, so I didn't stop her ... but now she is always testing the capacity of my mouth by trying to shove her toys in there. She's so convinced that Jenga blocks belong in my mouth that her first order of business after taking the lid off the package is to bring me one to chew on. No passing Go or collecting two hundred dollars -- just bring Mommy a Jenga block to eat, and bring it now.

Last night she tried to shove a crayon into my mouth and I stopped her. I told her "no, Mommy does not want a crayon in her mouth."

And she LOST. IT.

Crayons were flung, pages were ripped out of the doodle book. All hell broke loose. But, you'll be glad to hear that I did not cave in. I let the temper tantrum run its course (which, at this point in her life, usually takes 10-15 seconds) and then we moved on to another activity.

Because there are two things I don't do: 1) negotiate with terrorists, and 2) eat crayons.

I do still eat Jenga blocks, though. Whatevs; they keep my teeth sharp as f***.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Drawing Practice: How to draw a horse

For previous drawing practice posts, learn how to draw a shark, an elephant, and a bird

Greetings friends! Today, we are going to learn how to draw one of the hardest animals out there: the HORSE.

I have had a lot of struggles in the past with drawing horses. Oftentimes, they turned out something like this:

But no more. Today, I'm going to learn the proper way to draw a beautiful horse that I can be really proud of!

We'll start by learning how to follow this guide here:

So easy, even an idiot could do it, right? Let's put that to the test! Here goes an idiot, trying to draw this horse:


Ummm ... okay, so ... it has a few problems. But! I think I know exactly where I went wrong. So I'm just gonna start over and see if the second one turns out better.

I'm already really concerned about the direction this one is headed.

Phew! I saved it by making it a psychedelic horse. Keep that trick in your pocket for when things start to go wrong for you: make it all trippy and people won't notice how bad it is. Life lessons for ya.

But I know I can do better. I just know it.


Whatever. Horses are stupid anyways. Does anyone even like them? No. Nobody does.

I'm not giving up, though. Because that would be wrong! So instead I'm just going to try a different tutorial. Clearly, my struggles are the tutorial's fault, not my own. So let's see if we can't draw ...

... this guy!

Personally, I can't think of a single reason why this wouldn't be an unqualified success. So off I go!

Nailed the three little balls. Couldn't have done a better job. Feeling good so far.

Okay, so ... little bit duckish, but I think we're still good.

Uh oh.

It's not good. It's not.







You and I both know there's only one thing we can do now to save this:

And that, friends, is how you draw a horse.