Pregnancy Confession No. 10

[I underestimated the 4th trimester.]

I have a big, dumb confession to make.

I (foolishly) thought I would write a screenplay on my maternity leave.

I (foolishly) assumed not working would free up more time for writing. I figured I would spend my days in a glowy haze writing as Henry slept. I pictured myself perched contently at the computer knocking off scenes during uninterrupted stretches of newborn sleep.

I pictured Henry waking from his afternoon slumber, myself sailing from computer to baby like a modern-day Donna Reed. I pictured myself tending to my motherly duties — nursing, diapering, rocking, singing and cooing to my little lamb — as if these things are as predictably routine as brushing your teeth.

Silly rabbit.

I underestimated the fourth trimester; this period I’m in now: the early weeks and months of motherhood, of baby development.

The first time I heard someone mention the fourth trimester I was newly pregnant and blissfully naive.

“Fourth trimester?” I choked. “There’s a FOURTH trimester?”

I was filled in by a woman in my neighborhood who had just given birth to her first baby, a hairy boy who at the time was nestled in a purple wrap tied elaborately across her chest; a baby barnacle clinging to his mother’s bosom.

“Yeah,” she said wearily. “The baby adjusting to life outside the womb. You adjusting to the baby.”

Oh yes. The fourth trimester. Cute.

[Read more...]

Seven links

Good morning!

So I was tagged by Cynthia over at It All Changes in this Seven Links thing. It was sweet of her to choose me, so I’ll do my best to wade through years of writing to find posts that (in my humble opinion) fall under the following categories:

♥ Most beautiful post

Ah! This feels so self-aggrandizing! Since I wrote them for my boys, I’m choosing two: For Henry, four days after Mother’s Day and Pregnancy Confession No. 6: My husband keeps me sane.

♥ Most popular post

Without a stat counter, comments are my only means of measuring a post’s “popularity.” So with that as my gauge, I’m going to have to say Crawlout Shelter: Baby Cave. I typically use the Lance as an outlet for long-winded stories. Yet it was a post that consisted of photos of Henry’s baby cave that generated the most comments. Go figure. I think that was your subtle way of telling me to just shut-up and post pretty pictures.

 ♥ Most controversial post

I hate to rehash it, but this idiotic post (and my irreverent attitude toward St. Petersburg’s homeless population) generated my most scathing comment ever: Tree frogs, bums & the dress I didn’t keep.  Just because I use the word “bum” doesn’t mean I’m cold and judgmental. It just means I’m crass and politically incorrect. I never claimed to be Mother Teresa.

♥ Most helpful post

The Lance is nothing if not helpful, especially in the ways of bug extermination (ie: How to kill a cockroach in a your sleep.) This advice post however, written in the throes of planning my 2009 wedding, seemed to resonate most with readers across the Internets. Originally written for the now-defunct daily news blog The Stimulist, it was picked up by The Huffington Post and countless other “news” aggregating sites, most of them of the wedding planning variety. I give you Even tombrides have their moments.

 ♥ A post whose success surprised you

Pregnancy Confession No. 7: I’m vain. I felt icky writing it, but when it was off my chest I felt oddly validated. I was afraid I’d come off sounding like a brat, which maybe I did. I wrote it because I was feeling insecure about my pregnant body. (Gasp, right?) I wondered if other women were as uncomfortable with their pregnancy weight gain. It turned out I wasn’t alone. After airing my grievances I was pleasantly surprised that no one chastised me for having a bad attitude.

♥ A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bras. Check it out. It’s a cute little story that comes courtesy of my amazing mom. Oh, and A clothesline for my mothership — another mom post and a personal favorite because it’s an ode to my upbringing.

♥ The post you’re most proud of

I actually cried while writing this post: Home on the strange.

PS. I’m supposed to ask seven bloggers to share their links. If you’re up to it: Ricci, Laurie, Sara, Sarah, Heather, Rebecca and Leslie. And while we’re at it, Caitlin too. I know that’s eight, but I like to break rules.

In the blogosphere

Hey Lance-alots!

Henry and I are featured today on the posh baby blog Stella & Henry.

I’m not much into peddling baby products and/or baby cave decor, but when my friend and fellow blogger Meg (from the always-posh Mimi + Meg) asked me to share my “Mommy Faves,” these six items immediately came to mind.

PS. Coincidence alert: Henry happens to be Meg’s favorite boy name. It’s also the name of Joe’s dad and thus the name of our king. We’re only copycats if one day we conceive a girl and name her Stella, which is oddly my mother’s nickname. Weeeeeird.

PPS. Like the new header? I’m working on getting a pic of Joe, Henry and Cub sleeping together. It shouldn’t be too hard. It happens all the time.

When words fail: a movie for my baby

Writer’s block is a funny thing. Whenever I come down with an especially paralyzing case, I usually end up funneling creative juices into something else. In this case, I made a movie. (I also painted and redecorated our bedroom, but that was because I was inspired by how AWESOME the king’s lair, ie:  The Baby Cave, turned out.)

For Henry at two months is a compilation of short video clips shot in the weeks before and after Henry’s birth. It illustrates everything I’ve struggled to articulate lately.

It’s 12 minutes long, which might seem ridiculous given that Henry can’t sit, speak or crawl. Yet with the proper music and edits, the seemingly mundane life of a newborn suddenly becomes much more enchanting.

You might be asking yourself how shitty diapers and curdled puke could possibly be enchanting.

Well, I’m here to tell you the magic happens in the breakthroughs in between; in the moments of joyful firsts and simple (yet herculean) milestones that sneak up on you when you’re knee-deep in life-altering muck. They make the diapers, vomit and sleep deprivation all worth it. You hear parents utter this nonsense all the time. Now that I’m a parent I can tell you it’s clichéd, but true.

My baby giggled today for the first time. It happened while I was playing THIS movie for him. We were dancing to the last song, an infectious little ditty by Lykke Li called Dance, Dance, Dance.

His giggle was so adorable it didn’t sound real.

“Henry!” I squealed. “You found your laugh!”

I was hoping he’d do it again, but no amount of prompting seemed to spark another one. I guess I’ll just have to wait for it to occur as it occurred the first time: organically and delightfully without warning.

PS. The shot of me dancing was taken during a senior citizen pool party at my grandparent’s mobile home park in Nokomis, Fla. Talk about fortuitous sunbathing! You can thank Joe for capturing it.

PPS. Music by Norah Jones (Man of the Hour), Grizzly Bear (Two Weeks), Scott Matthews (Eyes Wider Than Before), Van Morrison (They Sold Me Out) and Lykke Li (Dance, Dance, Dance)

Captive audience

OK. So I still haven’t written anything noteworthy on motherhood, or on ANYTHING for that matter.

Mothering has obviously compromised my writing attention span. To make up for my lollygagging, I offer you this short video clip of the King watching his father on TV.

Oh, and I’m not a TV watcher. When I met Joe I didn’t even own a television. So yeah, I find it pretty unbelievable that we’ve got this monstrous flat screen in our house. I know parenting experts suggest keeping your kid away from the boob tube until they’re older and wiser, but that’s an unrealistic measure in our house. The TV takes up an entire WALL in the living room.

Besides, how can I not let a child watch his father on TV?

In case you’re new to the Lance, you absolutely must read about my husband’s EXPLOSIVE love affair with our first flat screen.

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PS. My baby turns TWO MONTHS OLD today.