Archive for August, 2010

August 25, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

I‘ve learned a lot about myself over the course of this pregnancy.  I’ve learned about my body, my faith, and my relationships in ways that have been at times troubling, at times comforting.  I’ve experienced many moments affirming various traits I’ve always known about myself, while other moments seem to be precursors of how I’ll approach motherhood.

One of the lighter revelations has been realizing that I love, love, love baby safari animals.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Now, a few years ago, I decided that my favorite animal is the duck.  Think about it—ducks can walk, fly, and swim.  That’s one more than I can do.  Plus, I used to feed the ducks pieces of bread off the dock behind our shore house when I was little.  So it’s safe to say they’ve always had a special place in my heart.

It wasn’t until we started to shop for décor for the baby’s room that I realized I also have a major weakness for cartoon-y renditions of baby monkeys, giraffes, lions, and elephants.  Somehow, everywhere we looked at Babies ‘R’ Us, my eye instantly went to the baby jungle creatures.  Just like I always pick out the dark blue patterned tops in clothing stores, I could not get enough of round, smiling little monkey faces.  I was surprised, for sure, but also so overcome with cuteness that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.  Was this a reflection of who I am somehow?  Or of what I will become as a mother?

Interestingly, this theme worked its way into many of the shower gifts I was given at home, without anyone having heard about my new passion from me, my mom, or anyone.  Those close to me must have also recognized this exotic yet adorable tendency in me, though I’m not sure I’ll ever know how.

The people at work, however, do know about my new love, and this week they really took it to heart.  Yesterday my colleagues threw me an incredibly thoughtful baby shower.  There were lots of glowing smiles when I stepped into the room, and they’d even gotten John to come!  What was especially touching was what folks, especially those who are parents too, wrote on the card they gave me.  They offered short and sweet reminders to enjoy the very special (and exhausting) days ahead. I am grateful to work with smart, loving, and funny people, and also encouraged by their willingness to share their wisdom with me.

But that has nothing to do with baby safari animals.  The cupcakes they got from Nine Cakes in Brooklyn for the celebration, however, do.  Try to tell me these are not the most adorable cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Really, go ahead.

Baby Safari Animals + Cupcakes = Double Sweetness

See?  Impossible.  Hands down, cutest cupcakes ever.  Yes, they were as delicious as they look.

Having a baby really brings out the cute in people.  And in safari animals.

August 18, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

Anyone get the Jennifer Love Hewitt, I Know What You Did Last Summer reference?  No?  Okay, well, that’s not what this post is about anyway.

As I’m nearing the end of this pregnancy (gasp!), I’ve started to get questions about what I’ve missed the most over the last eight months or so.

The other night, someone, who clearly doesn’t know me very well, asked if I’d missed alcohol.  I am looking forward to a nice post-delivery glass of white wine—over sushi, of course—but drinking in general has never had a big draw for me.  Plus, I think the only way my smell buds (taste buds in your nose?) have intensified is in their sensitivity towards wine.  I’ve been getting more of a flavor experience out of smelling wine these past few months than I used to get from sipping a glass.  Or maybe this just means John’s been drinking better wine lately. . . .

What I am looking forward to is wearing a real pair of jeans.  Perhaps this goal is a little farther off than that glass of wine, but I’m certainly more excited about it, and not just for the body image factor.

When I first went shopping for maternity clothes, I found an awesome pair of jeans.  They were just my size, even petite, and fit me perfectly right off the bat.  They have continued to fit as I grew, and for a long time I was convinced that I would wear them forever.  The big (and hidden) elastic waistband was so darn comfortable, I couldn’t ever see myself going back to “normal people jeans.”

However.  I didn’t anticipate the fact that this baby is due to arrive about the same time as autumn—one of the very best times of year for wardrobe-switching.

I’ve always lived in a place that experiences all four seasons—often with winter seeming to take up a good two-thirds of the year—and I always look forward to summer and warm breezes on the beach. But my love for sweaters is strong, and every year I get to a place where I can’t wait to wear jeans again, to layer a t-shirt and a cardigan and enjoy a slightly chiller temperature.

This year, I’m not sure my maternity jeans are going to cut it.  I’m utterly surprised with myself, but I want to wear regular jeans, with a regular button and zipper.  Jeans that don’t extend three inches above my belly button.  Jeans that can be worn with a belt!

Lately I’ve been picturing myself going on errands and taking walks through Prospect Park with friends. It’s a beautiful picture, in more ways than one. In every scene, I’m wearing jeans and my favorite blue cardigan, with my baby in a sling.  But I’m not just wearing any old jeans—they’re the jeans stacked on the highest shelf in my closet, which I can’t even reach.

A girl’s got to have goals, right? And with this belly sticking out in front of me all the time, collecting anything this messy eater drops at lunch, just about the best thing I can imagine right now is a good-fitting, worn-in but just washed pair of good old-fashioned blue jeans.

August 15, 2010

Smile . . . you’re in Brooklyn!

Ever since I’ve been noticeably pregnant—and probably subconsciously a while before that—I’ve found myself making a special effort to smile at other pregnant ladies and ladies with small children when I see them.  For some reason I have a strong sense of pregnancy team spirit; I feel like we’re all in this together and there’s something special and beautiful about bringing children into the world at the same time.  What an extraordinary opportunity to have and what an amazing connection we share, even if our interaction is simply a passing moment on the street, right?

The women in Manhattan don’t seem to take the same view.

I admit I harden my face when I walk through Manhattan.  Let’s be honest—I push my way through the subway system, too.  Without a doubt, I fall into the category of people with a singular drive to get to where they need to be, and not to let anyone else get in their way.

I suppose some of this could be chalked up to the year and a half I commuted to and from New Jersey, and about ninety-five percent of the time ran from the subway to Penn Station in order to not miss my train home.  My behavior might also be somewhat justified by the fact that I work in Rockefeller Center, where The Today Show is filmed live outside in the summer and an ice skating rink framed by a ginormous Christmas tree reign in the winter.

Truthfully, though, this is a manifestation of what can be my tremendous impatience.  I guess it’s also a sign of my not feeling a sense of unity with the people around me.  In midtown, unfortunately, my instinct is to subscribe to the belief that it’s every person for him or herself.

But when you’re pregnant, everything changes—even in midtown.  Strangers give up seats on the subway.  People let you go first in lines for public restrooms.  Other women unabashedly guess the gender of your child based on the shape of your belly, and you get the warmest smiles you’ve ever seen from people you’ll never meet again.

For some reason, this is not the case among pregnant women.  Whenever I try to smile at a fellow pregnant lady in Manhattan, I am given the same hard glare people get for being with screaming children on a bus or holding the doors open on the subway.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m considered a threat to future preschool admissions.  Should tell people that I intend to be back in New Jersey when my children are in school?  Without that barrier, might we find common ground?

In Brooklyn, on the other hand, I have not only seen other women return my smiles, but I have seen them initiate smiles.  I even had a woman say hi to me today.  That’s right—real, honest-to-goodness verbal communication.  What a relief!  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the brazen sense of camaraderie I’ve experienced in just two weeks.  I very much hope this is a harbinger of what’s to come over the next year and beyond.

When people ask me why we moved to Brooklyn, my response is generally something like, “That’s where the babies are.”  Really, this is where the moms are.

%d bloggers like this: