How Not to Pack a Hospital Bag

“Did you pack your bag?”

“Nah, not yet. But I will.”


“Soon. It will only take ten minutes.”

“So just do it.”


This conversation happens about once a day between my husband and me. It’s not that he’s being particular. He does have a point. After all, I could deliver at pretty much any time now.

And I think that, really, he doesn’t want to be stuck with some made-for-TV scenario where I’m doubled over in labor and barking a series of packing list items at him in the middle of the night, while not waking up our children or neighbors. Which is fair. He will want to save his focus for testing the limits of our new minivan while getting me to the hospital. I mean, we were told it was a performance vehicle, so what better way to find out?

{Might I say that I am kind of loving the minivan? Sure, it rides nice. But I really am infatuated by the prospect of having a new place to put my coffee cup every day this week. It’s also fascinating to drive a car that clearly has more storage space than my first Manhattan apartment. And, really, I’m so relieved that my kids have a comfortable environment in which they can recline after an arduous day of play. But don’t worry, this isn’t a sponsored post.}

Anyway, the packing. See how distracted I get when I think about getting that bag together?

Maybe if I approach it differently, I’ll be motivated to get it done. Like packing for a little vacation.

After all, I get to sleep alone in a room. In a bed with multiple recline options. Also:

  • I get to have full reign over the remote control.
  • I can push a button and someone will come to ask what I need.
  • I will have Wi-Fi.
  • And pain medication on demand.
  • I won’t be allowed to do any household chores.
  • I even get a massage and dinner included with my stay. All that’s missing are the drink tickets for the all-inclusive bar.

So I’m totally packing those back issues of Us Weekly and People that I never got to read. And my most comfortable flip flops. My head phones. Perhaps a good book, too.

Wow, this is starting to sound fabulous, isn’t it? Do I need my passport?

I can’t forget my sunscreen, because I never go on vacation without it. OH, WAIT. I won’t be outside. At all.

I will be inside. Birthing a human. And while that will be the clear highlight of my stay, it probably won’t feel like a vacation so much — at least  from a comfort and relaxation perspective.

After I meet my baby and then sequester my husband in a closet until he finds a name he likes, that means I’ll have a tiny new roommate. One who will probably want to stay up all night during my vacation. That’s OK. We can watch bad TV together at 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 am.

But then, in between those intervals, the nurses will wake me up approximately every 27 minutes, just as I approach REM mode. Again, not so vacation-ish.

Also, my meals will arrive on a tray and its contents will jiggle in an unnatural state.

Oh, and those backless gowns. They’re not as much “Saturday-night-wedding-backless” as “Is-my-post-partum-bottom-half-hanging-out-backless.”

See, this is not productive. Who would be motivated to pack for this? Forget the magazines and the book. Now I’m all hung up on nursing supplies and hospital admission forms and contact lists and flip flops for the shower.

But still. I get to take home the best souvenir ever.

As long as I remember to pack an outfit and bring a car seat for my new roommate.

Today. I will pack today. Later today. Probably.




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Last Firsts

“You must be beyond ready.”

“You just want that baby out, huh?”

“Aren’t you so done with being pregnant?”

I get these comments a lot now. Probably because the size of my stomach is uncomfortable for the human eye to focus on without incurring optic muscle strain.

And that’s fine — I’m not offended. None of it is mean-spirited.

But I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve just never been terribly uncomfortable or miserable when pregnant. Overall, it doesn’t really bother me beyond the minor things.

I mean, yeah, I’d prefer to wear normal clothes and have a waistline that didn’t resemble the equator. And, yes, my body temperature is distinctly in the Thermonuclear range while my husband freezes with a 61-degree thermostat setting. And I miss sleeping on my stomach. I miss sushi. I miss multiple cups of mind-crushing coffee. And, for the love of all that is holy, I miss wine.

And I’m not all Mother Earthy and out in a meadow celebrating the wonders of the human body. It’s not that. I just don’t happen to mind pregnancy all that much. I think I’ve been lucky in that it has never caused me massive discomfort or, worse, any major problems.

And the bigger secret is that I think I will miss it.

I’m about 99.8% sure that this will be our last child. My husband and the Global Department of Advanced Maternal Age are both about 1087% sure. We are all in agreement. And yet I am filled with what I’ll call pre-emptive nostalgia. Everything is about to be The Last Something.

Next week, I’ll be going to the last ultrasound I’ll ever have. {At least from an obstetrics perspective. If I accidentally swallow a rare gold coin sometime in the future, then back to Radiology I’ll go.}

The following week, I’ll check into the Labor & Delivery unit for the last time.

And then, I’ll bring home a newborn for the last time.

And all of those firsts that this baby will have — we will celebrate them and marvel over them and run with giddy parental excitement to capture them with our cameras.

But, still, I suspect I’ll be wistful that they will be the the last firsts.

{Yes, you can remind me that I said all of this when I am a sleep-deprived maniac in a few weeks.}

I’m beyond excited for this baby to get here — that’s an understatement. But I’m also not in a rush, if that makes sense. There’s something about the now that I love. The waiting. The anticipation. The holding onto this chapter just a bit longer, before things get a little more chaotic, complicated and crazy.

I feel this way even knowing — without a doubt — that our party of five will be fabulous, too. With new chapters that bring new firsts. I know this.

But that doesn’t stop me from also knowing that this giant stomach — in its last two weeks of clumsiness and eye-popping physics — is something that I’ll miss more than a little. Even if it’s the right time for it to be the last.



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The Curious Consumer & Restoration Hardware


Dear Restoration Hardware:

As a consumer goods company, I have to imagine you value market feedback about your products.

I recently received the latest edition of your Baby & Child catalog.

My, it is stunning. So chic and luxe.

And, after turning each super-fabulous page that made the paper stock of my holiday cards feel like unadulterated sandpaper accented with flecks of glass, I do have a few questions for you.

  • First and foremost, how do you feel about your employees drinking on the job? I ask because it’s clear — after looking at your prices and then making an optometry appointment to have my prescription checked — that your marketing team is probably hitting the bottle. Big time. Possibly with a side of hallucinogenics.
  • I’m also curious about where, exactly, you conduct your focus groups. Is it in a hermetically sealed luxury pod in Beverly Hills? Or perhaps at the Spelling Mansion? Or on the set of The Real Housewives franchise?

But of course I can’t look away. It’s like a car crash. Made of custom tufted silks.

And so I’ll admit, I did have my eye on a few specific items that I’d like to discuss with you.

Let’s start with this nursery. I am, after all, only about a month away from the arrival of my third child and on the hunt for some fresh ideas.

{Image courtesy: Restoration Hardware}


This was an eye-opener for me. All this time, I thought that my taste was more of the sensible/everyday/shabby chic {minus the chic}, but I see that I have been overlooking the Royal Infant/Salute to Will and Kate theme. Very interesting, indeed. Just a few questions, though:

  • Now, do you find it odd that this crib costs more than the monthly rent on my first Manhattan apartment? No? Maybe it’s just me.
  • If my kid’s personal butler is away on vacation when my order arrives, will you help us set it up? Or is concierge service extra?
  • Why not add a clothing line to the mix? I, for one, am dying to see how a babe living in such a nursery would be dressed. I’m guessing that the onesies I bought in bulk at Target last week might not cut it and may, in fact, burst into flames upon entry of such a room.
  • That’s genuine lead crystal on the sconces, right? Yep, the ones within the reach of a toddler standing up in the crib. Those. I was just trying to figure out the depth of the flesh wound my child might encounter from those pesky glass-to-skin punctures.


Moving on to the lighting department. So many choices!

{Image courtesy: Restoration Hardware}


Personally, I find this line to be a relief. Because, first of all, I was really worried about having the proper formal lighting scheme under which my young children can see which variety of Goldfish they are eating. It’s also critical for tea parties to have as much crystal as humanly possible in the room. And — bonus! — it works well with my son wielding ninja swords all over the house.

Again, just a few follow-up questions before I proceed with my order:

  • Can I place these on hold long enough to speak with my insurance company about putting additional personal liability coverage on our homeowners policy?
  • How is the child in the photo adjusting to the clear lack of furniture in her room? I mean, does she know that her parents blew all their cash on light fixtures and that’s why she has to sit on a pillow and store her books on the floor? She looks like she’s taking it in stride, although the padded walls give me pause. Is she OK? Or is she writing in that journal about what will prove to be years of pent-up resentment? Maybe just keep an eye on her.


Finally, thank you for resolving a major issue that has been pressing on my mind: What furnishings can I buy to help my kids relax?

{Image courtesy: Restoration Hardware}


Well, now I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. Were it not for your Vintage Cigar Leather Sofa, my kids would have to suffer the indignities of sitting on adult-sized furniture to unwind after a long day of playing. Where else would they plan their world travels like this young gentleman? I mean, I can’t just have them sitting on the floor while watching Disney, Jr.

Plus, the leather is ideal — I can just brush off most food and drink stains — not to mention blend in anything that a stray marker may leave behind. Truly, this is a lifesaver. And, priced at just under $2,000, the practicality of it really hits home. How the hell have we been getting by without this?


Last night, I finished thumbing through your catalog. But I must say that this been an education — not only in decor, but in home equity loans as well. I can only hope that you will begin issuing seasonal editions so that I have new decor aspirations at my fingertips on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Finally, let me offer my congratulations. Your latest line manages to make Pottery Barn Kids look reasonable and prudent, with bargain basement pricing. That’s no small feat.

Thanks in advance for addressing my concerns. If you start manufacturing strollers that will surely outperform my 2010 car, please put me on your mailing list straight away.

I must be the first to know.



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Target Always Wins

You know when you get all boastful and high-horsey about something and then you totally live to regret it? Or how about those times when you completely underestimate your adversary’s capacity for revenge?

Anyone? Bueller?

Well. It happened to me. And, as most well-intentioned-but-poorly-executed things in my life go, it started on Facebook.

Yeah, I recently bragged on Facebook about my medal-worthy performance at Target.

It went like this:

  • I went in to return some items.
  • I completed the return.
  • And then: I walked the fuck out. Without buying another single item.

Yes, that’s right. I left Target in the black.


{Brief applause break.}

I felt victorious. Invincible. It was clear that my life’s work in the retail sector was done.

But my joy was premature. Naive, even. Because, about a week later, Target had the last laugh.

It happened in the baby aisle, unexpectedly. I wasn’t there to shop for my unborn child. I was just looking for something very specific that I, uh, can’t seem to recall at the moment. Because, hell no, I was not just browsing aimlessly — that would be reckless.

But then, it began — the pull of Target. Before I knew what was happening, I was standing in the middle of the newborn supplies. This seemed harmless enough at first. I mean, it couldn’t hurt to have a quick look. After all, I’m about seven-ish weeks away from delivery and, while I have two children already, there are probably a few key supplies that might need replenishing or updating.

And that’s when things started to get weird. At first it appeared to be a straightforward case of simple Parental Amnesia. I realized that I didn’t even know what I needed. We hadn’t even looked in the attic to see what gear and clothing we still owned. Did I have the essentials? OMG, what are the essentials? I couldn’t remember but my options seemed to be displayed in an enticing array in front of me.

Out of nowhere, there was a sleek red empty Target cart right there in the aisle. It was in mint condition. All wheels intact and functioning. Very clean surfaces. All it was missing was the requisite 46 lb coating of hand sanitizer. Like a zombie, I abandoned the smaller, hand-held shopping basket.

I. Need. To. Buy. Things.

Many. Things.

What was going on? I was supposed to be in control. I was the woman who pulled off the Return-and-Run move just a week earlier. I wasn’t sure what was happ — oooohhhhh, look at those new bouncy seats. So much more compact than the one we had before.

But still, the rational side of my brain, though diminishing by the minute, tried to prevail. It pressed me to ask myself: Where the hell was all of our baby gear at home?

And then, like a bad flashback, I remembered what probably happened to everything: The Fordeville Garage Sale of 2010. The one where we made half-assed family planning decisions in the driveway at 6am, all in the name of profiteering.

“Should we sell the bouncy seat?”

“I don’t know. Do you think we’ll have another kid?”

“No clue. I haven’t even had coffee yet but someone wants to buy any and all baby gear we have. Should we keep it?”

“Uh, well, what are your thoughts on a third child?”

“Don’t know.”

“Me neither. But I hate clutter. Let’s sell what we can and deal with it another day.”

It can be said that, at times, we lack a certain finesse for long-term planning.

Back in the present day at Target, in front of my shiny red cart, I held my hand over my mouth and gasped audibly at the memory reeling back at me, while staring at 637 varieties of pacifiers in front of me.

What is that in my cart? Oh, well, it’s just a Target circular with the words SPRING BABY SALE all over the front.

I knew then that I was in an epic battle. It was Me Versus Target.

Every fiber of my being told me that, with our third child, we really don’t need much. Not like the first two times when we had checklists and tons of baby items. No, no. This time, there were probably about five things we needed to purchase — and would probably do so en route to the hospital.

But it was abundantly clear that Target was fucking with me. Like a Jedi mind trick on steroids.

Target is bigger than me.

Bigger than all of us.

You can’t play Target, people.

Target always wins.

Surely I don’t need most of this stuff. Although, everything has seemingly become smaller, slicker and more efficient in the four years since I was last pregnant. Wow. And, look, there’s the friendliest Target employee I’ve ever met, standing squarely in front of me. She claimed to be there for assistance but it seemed more like she was trying to prevent my escape.

I was overwhelmed with choices. With pre-emptive retail guilt. And, most importantly, with the aroma of the in-store Starbucks near the check-out lines.

And ultimately, that is where I went — with my impeccable cart and my nearly-personalized circular — to clear my head with a mind-crushing dose of caffeine. I needed a safe haven in which to regroup. I clasped my latte and slowly began to feel like myself again.

In the end, I held my ground. Mostly. My cart wasn’t empty when I left by any stretch, but it wasn’t a newborn supply overdose either.

But we all know that this was just one battle in the bigger war. Target is on to me and they won’t rest until they recoup the cash from my previously returned item.


I see their mascot dog with the bullseye on TV and wonder if some rabid version of him is outside my door.

It’s on, Target.

And the sad truth is, I’ll be back.

{Tip: Don’t ever sell all of your baby stuff at a garage sale unless you’ve really thought it through first. Or until you’ve had some coffee. Just saying.}



* * *

In other news, I survived my first published Q&A session as part of my participation in the upcoming production of Listen to Your Mother. As you might expect, my answers are full of deep thoughts and meaningful insights. {You all know better than to believe that, right?}

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When 40 is the New 78

Last year, as I prepared to turn 40, I did a fair amount of worrying. And complaining. And venting. And polling about effective yet reasonably priced anti-aging serums.

But everyone told me not to worry.

“40 is the new 30!”

They all said it in unison, with the same chipper inflection, as if it was the mandatory response that karma dictated.  The delivery always had the very rehearsed and highly forced enthusiasm of a bad high school glee club audition.

And I noticed that everyone who chirped these niceties at me fell into one of two camps:

1) They were in the same, now-departing-your-30s-forever boat {Is that desperation I smell? Oh yes, I know that scent}.


2) They were clearly younger and unable to conceive of such old age — probably while wondering with concern if an elder like me could be suitable as the class mom.

But as my milestone birthday approached, they all cheered me on anyway.

“Have a party!”

“Celebrate you!”

“This is the best time of your life!”

“Go big!”

And so I did. I had a party. I took the trip of a lifetime. I embraced 40.

Because The Anti-Aging Glee Club told me it’s the new 30.

Here’s the thing:  They were not being totally honest with me.

How do I know?  Well, fast forward about eight months into my 40th (or, my new 30th) year. I started telling people the great news that I’m pregnant with our third child. I was touched by all of the good wishes and enthusiasm that I received from so many. People are so lovely. So kind-hearted. So thoughtful in the words they choose.


And then there were the age-related comments. Suddenly, some of my formerly chipper cheerleaders found a way to let me know that 40 is not the new 30 at all.

What some were now saying was that, when it comes to my ancient reproductive system, 40 is the new 78.

When it was birthday party time, everyone said 40 would be the new 30.

But I didn’t read the fine print in my birthday cards. That After 40 Pregnancy Clause seems to have made me jump from The New 30 to The Clearly Geriatric 78. I missed that caveat.

I’ll be 41 when I deliver. I know it’s not exactly the average age for childbirth, but it’s far from a biological rarity, wouldn’t you say? I mean, I’m not getting a Michelle Duggar perm. I don’t suggest we have girls’ night out at the 3pm buffet. And, as far as I can tell, I don’t feel close to death. Except for the moments when I have to suffer through limited caffeine intake. Or when I hear a Taylor Swift song on the radio.


But, nonetheless, a handful of my acquaintances were ready to submit me to the Guinness Book of World Records. Or to the circus. Or to a nursing home with on-site child care.

Remember 40 is the new 30?

Noooooo. Turns out they meant for skin care. And parties. Not for obstetrics and diapers and breast pumps.

  • Those who said “Have a party!” were now saying, “You’re seeing a specialist, right?”  
  • “Celebrate you! ” became  “Holy crap! How did this happen? Was it planned?”
  • “This is the best time of your life!” was replaced by “I can’t believe you’ll be looking at kindergarten in five years instead of colleges.”  
  • The “Go big!” crowd was now prodding, “There goes retirement, huh?”  

At the risk of sounding like a late-night ginsu knives infomercial: Wait — there’s more!

How are these for your next Hallmark-inspired greeting card:

  • “That’s some serious fertility you have there.”  
  • “How old will your husband be for this child’s high school graduation?” 
  • “I could never start all of that again at this point in my life — but I’m so happy for you.” 

I smiled and tried to address their questions and comments politely. I mean, sort of. At least on the outside.

But you know those moments when you want to go back in time and revise your response to someone? When you always think of something better to say after the fact? Well, I’ve been having those lately. Rather than my cordial/smiley/wtf nod, I wish I had answered a little differently. You know, in my own special way. 

Like this.

“Why, yes, I am under the care of a top geriatric specialist studying my miracle uterus. We may bury it on ancient ground after I deliver and singlehandedly preserve mankind.”

“I’m a selective overachiever. My SATs were mediocre, but clockwork ovulation is really my niche.”

“High school graduation? Oh, jeez — that math hurts my brain. But, don’t worry, we’ll wheel my husband up to a good seat in the front.”

“Hey, thanks for your support! Where can we get those BFF half-heart necklaces?”


OK, yes, I’m being hypersensitive. Or hormonal. Probably both. I know. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, we are low on ice cream and that may or may not have a substantial impact on my state of mind. If you don’t want me to cry, you’ll send over some Edy’s Slow Churned Mint Chip right fucking now.

To be clear, most people have been overwhelmingly nice and very excited for me. Those who suffer from I Can’t Say The Right Thing Syndrome have been a mere handful, whose names I will remember forever.

See, there I go again. I need the ice cream.

So, it’s all good — I’ve got this. It’s not my first time at the childbirth rodeo. And this time I’m going with the older=wiser angle.

Oh, and the next time I run into the Anti-Aging Glee Club, I can’t wait to show them the perfect place in my new stroller to store my eye cream. And my AARP card.


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The Dessert Bar Baby

During pregnancy, there’s a whole host of resources you can seek out about your unborn child’s development. They really run the gamut. You have the casual, woman-to-woman-insider-advice. You have the straightforward medical stuff. And you also have the more alarmist and stiff guides to pregnancy that would have you wearing a Hazmat suit to get a pedicure.

I’ve noticed a disturbing common trend in several of these resources. Not the constant reminders about how your body will morph into an unrecognizable expanding vehicle of life. No, I’m talking about how they measure the size of your unborn child each week by comparing it to a piece of food.

For example, in the last four weeks, my kid has been — respectively — the size of a mango, an ear of corn, an average rutabaga, an English hothouse cucumber and a head a cauliflower.

What the fuck kind of buffet do these writers frequent?

An average rutabaga? Incredibly helpful.

English hothouse cucumber? Where do I find one of these? HOW BIG IS MY KID? I have no idea. And isn’t this starting to sound racy?

I guess I’m not foodie enough to grasp my child’s development. And I suspect I’m not alone.

Also, what kind of marketing jackass decides on these vegetable representations? Am I supposed to be excited about a head of cauliflower?  “Ohmygod, I cannot wait until my little garden salad is born.”

No, my kid sounds shriveled up and smelly. Oh God, there goes my pregnancy gag reflex.

If you want to get my attention about the size of my child each week, try this: Compare him/her to a highly appealing dessert item instead.

Let’s compare models.

Week 23


“Your baby is more than 11 inches long and weighs more than a pound (about as much as a large mango).”


 “This week, your child is the size of a magical, zero-calorie double fudge scoop of ice cream wedged between two rich, freshly-baked chocolate, chocolate chip cookies.”


Week 24


“Since he’s almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point.”


“Good news/bad news: You are what you eat! Your adorable kid has taken on the size and shape of that chocolate eclair you doubled down on at the Italian bakery this weekend.”


Week 25


“Her weight — a pound and a half — isn’t much more than an average rutabaga, but she’s beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat.”


“Your sweet unborn baby now resembles a masterfully crafted portion of tiramisu. Have you had your gestational diabetes test yet? Yes, you with the blog over there and the relentless sweet tooth.”


Week 26


“He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel.”


“Holy shit, your kid resembles a pile of churros. If you are not excited about this baby now, I don’t know what to tell you.”

Week 27


“This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended.”


“This week, your baby is the size of that giant bowl of rice pudding you had a few nights ago. Actually, that’s not true — we all know that bowl of rice pudding was more in line with the size of a toddler.”

Doesn’t my way sound much more relatable? I know it makes me feel more connected to my child. And to my full panel maternity yoga pants.

I think one thing is clear: When I’m looking for a follow-up project to I Just Want to Pee Alone (You’ve bought your copy, right? See how I slid that in there?), I have a clear future in pregnancy guide authorship. Or tri-state dessert reviews.

In the meantime, I have a lot to look forward to. I’m about to hit Week 28 — when my child will weigh as much as a Chinese cabbage. I mean, an extra-large pound cake with chocolate frosting.



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My Cirque du Soleil Audition


The residents of Fordeville are on Flu Lockdown after my son was diagnosed over the weekend.  Since he has sneezed on me no fewer than 487 times in the last week, it’s only a matter of time before I get it.  So, as a warm-up to my clearly impending misery, let me tell you about another form of torture I experienced just before lockdown.

In a few weeks, I’m attending a very nice event that requires me to dress up.  Usually, I embrace something like this.  It gives me an opportunity to go shopping and find something to wear.  And even shower.

It’s a little different at 20 weeks pregnant.  My options are far more limited.  I mean, I don’t want to spend much money on something that will fit me for all of four days.  As for going the Duchess Kate route and famously re-purposing something I already own — well, I don’t think my yoga pants are acceptable, even in a bedazzled state.  And I’m saving my muumuu debut for the town pool at about 38 weeks pregnant.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find a simple, elegant — and of course, black — maternity dress that I felt comfortable in, yet was not shaped like something out of the Breaking Amish Mother-To-Be Collection.


Having completed my purchase, I felt victorious and relieved.  And then, I saw them.  On my way out of the store — on the rack out of the corner of my eye.

Maternity Spanx.

At first, I was confused.  I mean, what’s the point?   There’s no pulling in this stomach, at least not without industrial or surgical equipment.

But, ever the curious consumer {and clearly stalling to drag out my alone time in the mall}, I took a closer look.

Hmmm.  Why, yes, I would like to pull in my bottom and streamline my legs — all while giving my growing mid-section some forgiving room for expansion.

In what I can only describe as a second trimester moment of low blood sugar, I was sold.  I purchased the Maternity Spanx.

Anxious to witness their slimming effects, I immediately took them out of the package when I got home.  I began to try them on.

After gently sliding them over my hands, I wondered if maybe I purchased the wrong size.  I  mean, I’m no stranger to regular Spanx, but these — they seemed awfully restrictive.  Like barbed wire.

I checked the package.  Nope, I had the right size.  And so I started again, gathering them carefully around my ankles.  The trip from big toe to ankle took about six minutes.

Wow, I had a long way to go.  I checked my calendar to make sure I didn’t have to be anywhere for the next 25 minutes.  Did I have anything on the stove that could burn while I’m trapped in this compromising, chain-gang-like position?

I continued.

By the time the Maternity Spanx were up to my knees, I was winded.  Yes, my legs were slimmer, but I was concerned about my circulation.  I wondered if I should talk to my OB about this before proceeding.  Or maybe a hematologist.

The knee-to-hip journey was perhaps the most challenging.  Now, I work out about three times a week, and yet this task had me in a full sweat.  In fact, I only have to exercise twice this week after the calories I burned in my Maternity Spanx application.  And I feel I’ve earned that extra cookie, if not an alternate spot on the US Women’s Gymnastics team.  Better yet, I think I have just mastered the audition process for Cirque du Soleil.

My God, this was exhausting.  Despite leveraging my years of intensive ballet training, I. just. couldn’t. get. these. things. all. the. way. on.  And where was that bottle of water I swore I had on my nightstand?

Finally, success!  The Maternity Spanx were fully in place.  I took a minute to rest from the cardio impact of my efforts and regroup.   Once I adjusted to the lack of oxygen flowing to my brain, I thought the result was pretty good.  I looked at least eight ounces lighter than I did half an hour ago, when I began this P90X situation.

After all that, I considered just sleeping in them, as I was far too exhausted by the thought of reversing the process.

Thinking ahead to the lovely event I’m attending, the fate of my Maternity Spanx is unclear.  I hate to waste the money I spent on them, but I’m just not sure I can repeat this exercise in torture.  Plus, it would cost even more to have the ER cut me out of them if necessary.  Do you think my co-pay would cover that?

But, then again, looking eight ounces lighter is appealing in my current state.  Maybe I’ll take what I can get — even if I can’t get up from my seat without medical assistance, just for the night.



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I Was Here First


TO:            Residents of Fordeville

FROM:       Señor, Head Household Pet and Chief Bacon Officer

DATE:         January 11, 2013

SUBJECT:   Family Expansion

* * *

I know the last time I wrote a letter, I got a little heavy-handed and involved my legal team, which may have been overkill.  I admit, I did that in a moment of rage.  This time, I’ve decided to take a more personal approach with my plea by using the family member-to-family member approach.

{But please know that I will call in counsel if I have to.}

Sooooo, I hear that you’ve decided to bring a third human child into this household.  Congratulations.

I’m sure remotely hopeful that we can all live together in peace, but you won’t mind if I suggest a few ground rules, right?  Because, honestly, I don’t remember you ever mentioning any of this family planning when you brought me home nine years ago and I was the center of the fucking universe.  You remember those days, right?  Treats on demand.  Long walks in the park.  Saturday afternoons at the dog run.  Birthday presents that entailed more thought than a crappy drive-by at Petco on your way home.  Yes, the glory days.  Or, more specifically, The Bacon Years.


Anyway, shortly afterwards, you went on to marry that nice guy who always gives me treats.  And he has been a very good addition.  We totally have a mano-a-mano thing going.  But then, things changed.  To be precise, it was at the moment the two of you started bringing home unauthorized human children.  And I really thought that two was plenty, but clearly my vote counts for nothing anymore.

The point is this:  I think I have been fairly adaptable up to this point.  But, I am aging, and I have become a little more ornery over the years.  So let’s just get a few things on the table about how I’ll survive this new arrival.

1)  I’m going to need my own room.  I mean, I totally appreciate the various beds I have stationed throughout the house for my personal comfort {that last one, at Christmas — the memory foam gig — nice touch, but it’s not going to keep me out of your bed at night}.  But, look, much like the concept of the man cave, I just need my own area to relax and decompress from the events of the day.  Ever since your kids became mobile and vocal, I can barely get in 20 hours of sleep a day.  Do you know what that does to my mental health?  So I was thinking — that new basement you guys pimped out?   I’ll just take that and make it my own.

2)  Again, I’m not a pony.  I hear you, now and then, casually telling your two children to remove themselves from my back and that I am not, in fact, a passenger vehicle.  It’s a nice gesture, but maybe you could put some real effort behind that message — you know, like when they try to scale the Christmas tree?  Surely you realize they both outweigh my 22 lbs.  Are you trying to kill me?  Let’s just nip this in the bud with the third kid and give me a three-foot radius of solitude on a 24/7 basis, OK?

3)  More bacon.  I hear that, in your pregnant state, you are craving bacon.  This is good news that warms my little heart.  It seems that we’ve finally found an aspect of this situation that is mutually beneficial.  As you know, bacon is my favorite thing on the planet.  And yet, you deny me in an ongoing effort to have me maintain a healthy weight.  Lady, we both know that ship has sailed.  I don’t want to hit below the belt, but can I assume that I won’t be the only one around here with a few extra rolls soon?  So let’s just enjoy the next five months of Fordeville Baconfest together, shall we?  It may be an opportunity for us to re-establish our bond, like the good old days.  And don’t try to fool me with that bullshit turkey substitute.  I want the real deal.

* * *

I don’t mean to be harsh.  It’s not that I don’t get any enjoyment out of your kids.  In fact, I’ve really come to appreciate the benefits of their horrific table manners — because they result in a gold mine buffet for me on the floor {I believe you call it The Swiffer Effect}.  And they are total suckers for my “go get me a treat” face.

We’ve reached a pretty good place, I think, overall.  Even if they have no concept of volume control.  I count my blessings many days that my hearing is going.

Anyway, I think my requests are simple enough.  We can all co-exist if everyone remembers one important thing:  I was here first.

Otherwise, I’m so out of here.


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Secrets & Lies

I decided that I should start out 2013 on the blog by coming clean.  Because there are some things I’ve been keeping from all of you.

One big thing, really.


No, we did not order a tadpole online.  I know the photo isn’t great, so let me spell it out.

Yes, coming in June:  Chaos, Party of Five.

I’m pretty impressed with myself that I’ve kept this under wraps for 17 weeks.  And, while I’m at it, here are the other secrets that go along with it.

Essentially, if I’ve talked to you in person in the last three to four months, you should know that these things were all happening:

1) I almost vomited on you.

2) I probably fell asleep at some point in our conversation.

3) I seriously considered stealing any food you were holding right out of your hands.

Because the first trimester was pretty much like being simultaneously narcoleptic, carsick and starving.  24/7.  I was in a constant fight with myself over whether I was going to throw up or eat my own hand.  But then I’d fall asleep mid-thought until this cycle repeated itself every six minutes of the day.

So, those are my secrets.

There were also lies.

Mainly, any and all ongoing references to alcohol consumption.  Lies.


That was just my feeble attempt to not totally blow my cover.  {And this is where we could debate how sad it is that not having a glass of wine nearby would easily sell me out.}

So I’m a fraud, basically.  I’ve been stripped of my wine glass and weaned down to one normal-sized cup of regular coffee a day.

As for life without wine, the truth is this:  Every time I am pregnant {and this is my third ride on this Carousel of Madness}, my body develops a strong aversion to wine.  As in, I can smell it from across the room and I am repulsed by its existence.

This is what is known as Divine Intervention.  And this is what allowed me to get through things like Hurricane Sandy, the chaos of the holiday season and the release of the new Taylor Swift album without consuming alcohol.

You should know by now that I’m not what you’d call a religious blogger, per se.  But I think I just offered you proof of God’s existence.  If you’re looking for that sort of thing.

There it is.  Now it is all out there.

{Except for the part where my husband said he’d leave me if I had twins.  But don’t worry, it’s just one baby.  Which is good, since him moving out over the Christmas holiday would have been awkward.}

We might be a little crazy to have a third child.  I am considered — according to the very prominent red letters stamped across my medical file — Advanced Maternal Age.  If you missed the incessant reminders back in May, I turned 40.  I will be 41 when I deliver.  For those of you not trained in the medical field, that’s apparently the equivalent of about 113 in fertility years.

And my husband is older than I am.  I can’t talk specifics, because it’s not really polite to disclose another person’s age.  I am classy like that, so I will just give you a range.  He is currently somewhere between 45 and 47.

Yeah, we did all that math about how old we’ll be when this kid graduates from high school.  We crunched the horrific numbers about the cost of college.  And we discussed the concept of retirement {retire-WHAT?}.

But, at the end of the day, it was really the simplest math of all that spoke to us:

4 + 1 = 5.

You may accuse me of doing this for blog fodder.  I mean, it’s true — it does provide for really some good material.  But as much as I like all of you, I’m not sacrificing any remaining definition of my waistline merely for your personal entertainment.  For bacon cravings, yes.

Or, you can say I’m always trying to keep up with the Kardashians.  Or copy Duchess Kate.  But I’m due before both of them, so let’s just be clear:  This was my idea first.  Minus the media sensation part.

It was none of that.  We just wanted one more passenger on our journey to Crazytown.

And we’re really excited.

So, stay tuned.  I am feeling much better now.  I won’t throw up on you and I probably can stay awake through our conversation.

But, be warned:  I am still going to steal that food right out of your hands.


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