Monday, December 27, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Believes in Magic

A woman in her thirties is not a believer of quick fixes are easy ways out. She was in her twenties, at least I was, but by this time of her life she's figured out that what Mr. M had on my high school physics board every day was dead on: There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Most of the time.

As I said in my last post, I've been reading a lot about how to be a Mom. How to swaddle. How to schedule. How to supplement. How to deal with one bionic boob. And while I've said to myself that every baby is different, and that A and I will figure this out in time, I think subconsciously I've been searching Dr. Sears, Gary Ezzo, and any other so-called experts to give me some magic formula to be a good Mom. Maybe not even that-- a functional Mom. A Mom who isn't afraid of giving her daughter a bath and finds time to brush her hair every day.

It was a conversation with L, mother of three (gasp!) children, that got me thinking. I was telling her about A's inability to sleep in her crib, and how the stress of it was going to result in a need for Botox in a few years, when she said, 'You're just going to have to try a bunch of things, and see which one works for her.'

Creativity is not my forte unless it involves sarcasm, but I figured that a woman in her thirties should always listen to a fellow WIHT who has done this three times before. So that night, when it was time to put A in her crib, I remembered that she slept really well one time-- on her back-- when she was wearing a snowsuit after we'd come home from a trip to the lactation consultant.

See? Proof:

So then I thought that maybe it wouldn't be all that crazy to break that snow suit out again, and see if it worked.

The result?
(Taken right after waking up from a long nap-- she was just as surprised as I was that she was still in her crib!)

This snow suit, not surprisingly a hand-me-down from L herself, has been dubbed the Magical Snowsuit by yours truly. Time for bed? Magical Snowsuit. Time for a nap? Get me the snowsuit. Baby being fussy? Maybe she just wants Magical Snowsuit action.

More Magical Snowsuit action (other snowsuits have proven slightly less magical):

The snow suit idea is no where to be found in any of my books, but it works. At least it works for me. For those of you who might still be doubting the wonder of this discovery, 1 snowsuit + 1 cute baby = successful sleep experience. Successful sleep experience for A = successful sleep experience for Mom. And that, my friends, is magic.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is Changed

Dear Anna,

Today you are four weeks old. That means that when I walk through Target and people stop and ask how old my baby is, I can say ONE MONTH. It is a big deal, moving from weeks to months. God help me when I move from months to years.

It's been a crazy four weeks, little one. Most of the time we have spent just trying to figure each other out. Newborn babies are supposed to sleep, eat, and poop, right? I thought this was going to be a fairly straightforward gig for the first month or so. Not so much. In your first week you got too little, I couldn't figure out breastfeeding, and you wouldn't sleep anywhere but in someone's arms. We've come a long way since then (you are now tipping the scales at almost SEVEN pounds!), but you're still not into your crib for sleeping. Just so you know, your Dad agonized over the selection of that crib, and if you could please figure out how to sleep in it that would be really great.

A woman in her thirties is a realist, and I'm just going to say this so we're clear: you are the spitting image of your father. I figured you'd look mostly like him based on our ultrasound photos, but this is kind of ridiculous. There are two things you have that are mine: detached earlobes, and this big toe:

Sorry, Pumpkin. A lifetime of holes at the tops of your Keds awaits. Sometimes people are funny and say that your eyes look kinda-sorta-maybe like mine... but we both know they're just being nice. You are your Daddy's girl.

That's not to say we haven't got a pretty good thing going here, you and me. There have been times when you've cried in anyone's arms but mine-- sad for everyone else, but so happy for me. When you nap long enough for me to throw in a load of laundry or make lunch, I pick you up and smother your baby cheeks with kisses and say, 'Thank you for letting me eat, oh thank you thank you!' You're too little to laugh yet, but I think you like it.

Our feeding times are the best, maybe because we struggled so hard to get to the place we've come. Sometimes after you feed you get this look on your face:

And I melt completely away. Then you fall asleep on my chest and I hear you breathing and I know what it means to be in love with someone unconditionally. Then you splatter fart and spit up on my boobs.

Daniel is doing okay with your arrival. At first he was skeptical, even a little sad, but now he's become quite protective of you. He often sniffs your hair and then licks your ear, and I like to think that's how he's getting to know you. Here's my favorite picture of the two you together:

As you know from your first outing, I'm a pretty avid reader. I've read lots of books about how to take care of you, all of which contradict each other. To schedule or not to schedule-- that seems to be the question. Despite the advice found in books, doctors, advice nurses, lactation consultants, moms, dads, and fellow women in their thirties, I can only say one thing with confidence: I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Each day I wing it. I guess that makes you my wing-baby.

What I do know is that every night since you've been born, when I have a couple of seconds to wash up before going to bed, I touch my face and it feels different to me. How could that be? But I now realize what it is-- I've spent so many hours in the last four weeks stroking your cheeks, telling you that I'm here and everything is going to be okay, that when I touch my own face I expect to feel yours. It takes me a second to realize that it's just me, and then I think about how I can't imagine what my life was like before you came into it. I guess that's one of the many ways you are truly a part of me, as I am of you.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Gets It

I've been a Mom for three now, and I think it's safe to say I've learned more in the last three weeks than I learned in 17+ years of schooling, three years in China, and in any book I've ever read, combined. I keep telling people that nothing and no one could have prepared me for how wonderful and difficult the first weeks of Anna's life would be, and it's true. Women in your thirties... Moms especially...I get it now. Here are some of the 'it's I'm talking about:

To the Moms who go straight to formula after a couple of days attempting nursing. Last month at this time I would have said, 'Gee, it's natural. How hard can breastfeeding really be?' I get it.

To the Moms who drop off their children at school wearing robes, slippers, and/or curlers in your hair. There was a time in my elementary school years when I would have made fun of you. I get it now.

To the stay-at-home Moms who I thought lived a glamorous life of cookies, naps, and All My Children. Um, yeah. Hardly. I get it.

To the Moms who have cried over spilling pumped breast milk or having to pump and dump after one too many. Before I would have thought, 'Gee, just pump some more.' I get it.

To the Moms I've been annoyed at for coming to work late with excuses of sick children, spit up in hair, and/or other feces-related issues. I'm sorry I judged you. I get it.

To the single Moms and Dads. YOU ARE HEROES. I get it.

To the Moms who bring 1000 pictures of their little one with them wherever they go. I skimmed those pictures all too many times. Your baby is a perfect angel, just like mine. I get it. That, a woman in her thirties 'gets' the most:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Remembers

When I was twelve, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was given six months to live, and fought hard during all six of those months. Today marks 20 years since he died.

Writing that down, that very life-changing truth of my life, is very strange for me. Firstly, I can't wrap my head around the fact that I am old enough now to say, 'twenty years ago...' anything. And secondly, I really don't talk much about my Dad. Something happens when a girl in her teens and a woman in her twenties and thirties shares with others that she lost a parent at a young age. People get uncomfortable, they offer awkward condolences, and change the subject. I got used to it after awhile, and my Dad has lived in quiet recesses of my mind for a long time now. It has been easier that way.

Twenty anniversaries of a death don't all come and go the same. The first few were hard. I remember my teachers being very concerned about me during the holidays the first couple of years. I remember being very angry on the fifth anniversary-- for some reason five years seemed eternal. But after the seventh, eighth, tenth, fifteenth passed, I noticed that December 4th came and went the same-- always cold, always blue-skied, almost always solitary (except for K, who always remembers). It's only been in the last few years of reflection that I've come to think of today as a 'good' day-- a day of release from pain.

But it is more than that, isn't it? My Dad was so much more than his six months of suffering, yet this day is the one carved out as the day to remember him. I don't want to remember him on December 1st or 3rd of his final year; I don't want to define him by the illness that took him. A woman in her thirties remembers the whole person, and here are some of my favorite memories:
  • My Dad and I had a song. 'Kokomo', from the Cocktail soundtrack. I had that tape and played that song over and over in my Dad's orange truck. We sang it at the top of our lungs. Today, if I hear that song, I smile and think of him.
  • My Dad was a sucker for his girls. Mom was constantly pinching pennies and would never look past K-Mart or Mervyns for our school clothes, but Dad could be talked into anything. Case in point: My white and pink LA Gear sneakers, the ones with the flowers on them. Dad got a stern talking to for that one, but did I ever love those shoes. Thanks, Dad.
  • I loved laying under the piano when my Dad played. He pounded on the keys fiercely, almost angrily, and the echo from under the piano was somehow very comforting to me. It still is, though I haven't napped under a piano in a long time.
  • Dad knew the streets of San Francisco like the back of his hand. We went every weekend to see our Grandparents, and he would always take us the hilliest ways and speed up so we'd get 'funny tummies'.
  • When Dad came home from work he would sit on the orange chair in the living room and let us slide down his legs. I can still smell the starch from his work shirts as I climbed on him, still feel his cold badge pressed against my back as I slid down his long legs to the floor.
  • Dad loved to laugh. When my brother and I giggle for hours over the same Airplane! jokes, I think of how we both got our love of slap-stick from him.
  • Dad helped me practice basketball. This picture is my favorite of the two of us. I'm sure he knew that I was hardly the next Michael Jordan, but I couldn't tell it by the way he would sit on the sidelines at my games and cheer me on.
I don't think of my Dad the way you might imagine I would. I didn't get sad at my wedding (my brother was the perfect escort down the aisle). I don't need a few minutes alone to compose myself before speaking of him. I don't spend every December 4th in mourning. It's the small things that throw me; the unexpected moments. I thought of him a lot in China, and wondered how he would have taken that life adventure of mine. I thought of him during my pregnancy, comparing L to him in the most subconscious ways. And I'll admit it-- I think of him when I'm making what I know is a bad decision. There have been times when I have thought, 'Dad, if you're watching me now... don't.' It is in those ways that my Dad has lived past his 49 years.

A woman in her thirties has had her share of loss, and if she hasn't she is the luckiest schmuck in the whole wide world. But for those of us who have lost and will eventually lose people we love, we prioritize the remembering. Not the pain, not the suffering, and definitely not the death. The spirit. It is of utmost importance for a woman in her thirties who, unexpectedly and blessedly, has been charged with the task of living. It's the final gift we give to those who've gone before.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Restores (some) Sanity

This post is dedicated to Optimista C-- graveyard shift operator, laundry folder, resident photographer, and breakdown-watcher extraordinaire-- without whom L and I would not have gotten through the last week. Wo men ai ni!

Last Wednesday night, when contractions started in earnest, I got an email from the library saying the book I had on hold was in and waiting for me. I was a little distracted at the time, but kept the email in my inbox during the last week of newborn-baby craziness. Why? Did I honestly think I'd make time to read the next book club pick in between feeding every two hours, wiping spit up from the changing table, and leaking breast milk all over the place?

I think it was a subconscious thing, a reminder to myself that I do still have a life now that I...don't have a life anymore.

I cannot begin to list all the people that have come to help us over the last week. From L's parents cooking us pretty much every meal, to L's sister, to the neighbors, to friends blowing up my cell phone with messages of, 'Please, please let us come help', you would think that a woman in her thirties would become hopelessly spoiled as a result of all this generosity. But what happened to me was a tug-tug in my gut. The stubborn Taurus in me has accepted all this help over the last week while thinking, 'Okay, great. But what happens when I have to do this on my own?'

Which brings me to the restoration of sanity. Today I decided, despite being horrifyingly sleep deprived, despite not being able to put on a shirt or sit down without wincing, that Anna and I were going to go out on our first adventure together. I was going to do this. By myself. For no one's sake but my own.

And where else would we go? The library. (Come on, she might not look like me, but she's still mine...)

Here's Anna at the start of our trip:

The library is about three minutes down the road. I spent about two minutes inside the library finding my book and checking it out, and then headed back. It's the kind of trip I've done a million times. But this time, I did it with my daughter.

Here is Anna at the end of our trip:

I realize that for the average woman in her thirties, picking up a book at the library is not exactly an earth-shattering event. But to me, it was. I. Did. It. I can DO this. One book, one adventure at a time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is a Mom

Wow... so many ways to begin this post.

I could start with the birth story, but I think I'll save that for another day. Maybe next Thursday, which I'm dubbing the Feast Day of Whoever Invented the Epidural.

I could start with boobs, but maybe I'll save that for a post in poetic form. It will start, 'Oh, Mother Nature. What in Sam Hill were you thinking?'

I could start with sleep, but maybe I should save that for a more creative post. Maybe an interpretive dance that starts on a Wednesday and goes on and on without a break for 18 years.

But instead I'll start with my baby girl. A woman in her thirties has so few moments in life where she knows-- right there-- what the purpose in her life is supposed to be. Anna, you are my moment forever. Thank you for choosing me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is Powerless

We were told that it was going to snow this weekend. A lot. This woman in her thirties has come a long way in the last year, and I was actually kind of excited for it. Not for the driving, the sliding, or chapped lips, but for the prettiness of it. So when I woke up on Saturday morning and saw this, I got all warm and fuzzy inside. For reals:

I went to yoga, got all zen-hippie, and left there feeling like life was good, and I was ready for my second Pleasantville winter.

Then I walked out to my car, which in the course of an hour and a half had been surrounded by more than three inches of snow. Guess who hadn't thought to bring her brush-thingy to get all the snow off? The next thirty minutes are a convoluted mess, beginning with an eight month pregnant lady pushing another pregnant lady's car out of a ditch, me rolling down my window and dumping about a ton of snow on my lap and down my boots, and ending with lots and lots of expletives.

A woman in her thirties should know better than to think things can't get worse than they are, but I did. I was sitting at brunch with my friend K (laughing at myself for the snow-in-boots debacle) when L sent me a text. 'FYI- the power's out.' I kept my cool, thinking, 'It's okay. We'll run some errands this afternoon and have the heat back on by dinner.' Here's how it really went:

Saturday: Reading. Conserving cell phone batteries. Snuggling under blankets. Power should be back any minute now. All the neighbors crossing fingers.

Saturday night: Silent prayers of gratitude for our very heavy down comforter. Surely we would have power by morning.

Sunday morning: Butt cold. Thank goodness Chewy didn't make her appearance yet. Rush to L's parents' for shu mai and hot chocolate. Jealous of Dan's fur coat.

Sunday afternoon: Kill time at the Giant Mall of Midwestern Craziness. Stop back at home to give Dan some love and store frozen gwottles in a neighbor's freezer who still has power.

Sunday night: Shower at L's parents'. Wish I'd go into labor so we'd be assured a warm room to sleep in. L and I fight to share Dan's body heat.

Monday morning: YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS WE STILL DON'T HAVE POWER. Rush out of the house to get to OB appointment, okay with being early if it means we can sit in the warm waiting room.

The power came back on about 10:00 this morning, and I spent the whole day alternately basking in the glory of central heat and admiring our fridge, which has never looked so clean:

I was thinking about it as I did laundry and restocked the fridge today. My weekend was supposed to involve last-minute nesting and reflecting on my last day of school. My OB appointment this morning was supposed to involve an assurance that I'll be having a baby (painlessly) by the end of the week. Neither thing happened, and that's because no matter how much control a woman in her thirties thinks she has, she simply doesn't.

I think this card I got from a group of students this week summarizes this point perfectly. Forget the bunnies, the sentimentality, and the wishes of peace and harmony. What it boils down to is this:

Power or no, I'll do my best.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Transitions

A woman in her thirties has likely transitioned. A lot. Sometimes I look at the transitions I've made in my life and think, 'Was that me? Did I really do that?' Oftentimes, I say that with pride. Sometimes, not so much.

Here I am-- 38 and a half weeks pregnant and at the cusp of some serious transition. Friday is my last day of teaching for the rest of the school year. A week from Sunday (or sooner? or later?) I will become a Mom. Soon I will become financially dependent for the first time since I was... 18? I will be giving up and getting a lot in the next few weeks, and I don't think there's an honest woman in her thirties out there who could say she's 'ready' for this type of change.

No matter how many times she's done it.

To prepare myself, I've been doing what I do best: avoidance. I secretly wished I would go into labor last weekend, so I could avoid any awkward hugs or well-wishers at work. And I definitely didn't want to face a goodbye with my students, who simultaneously give me purpose and drive me completely insane. In my experience, the best type of change is one done quickly and without sentimentality. As little thinking as possible.

And then I was called into a 'meeting' during 6th period on Monday, which turned out to be a surprise baby shower thrown for me by some former students. That's right. My high school students threw me a shower and gave me things like this:

And this:

And this:
As I sat with my students eating something they call 'Puppy Chow' (it's a Midwest thing, apparently) and talked about how they all knew I was pregnant before I announced it, I was struck by those yucky, icky tugs that start in your chest and lodge in your throat. My lip began to quiver and it hit me that this is really happening. No, it wasn't a boo-hoo sob-fest. But it was a rare show of emotion from a jaded woman in her thirties whose transitions have taught her how high to build the walls around her heart.

The last couple of days have been quiet ones, at least internally. No new progress in the labor department. Nursery is just about ready. Carseat is in place. And I, while busying myself with yoga, The Daily Show, and thank you card writing, am left contemplating this transition. One more in a long, thirty-two year series that will undoubtedly open the floodgates to more change than I could possibly prepare for.

Ready or not...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Talks Good

Yesterday, during a conference with a parent, I received a complaint. This is rare for me, considering I am a contender for the greatest teacher that ever walked the planet, but a woman in her thirties must deal with these occurrences when they arise. The complaint was that I am teaching her daughter vocabulary words that 'no one ever uses in real life'. While it would be tempting for me to just make a list of the words so you all judge for yourself, I'm not sure that would be sufficient. Instead, I will regale you with my story.

My first instinct was to think back to the list of words I'd been testing my students on, words taken directly from the text we are reading. 'Really?' I asked, bewildered. 'Really,' she said. 'I read a LOT. I even called a friend who has a college degree. And SHE didn't even know half of those words.'

As a teacher, I must provide justification for what I do in the classroom. I have always considered myself fairly adept at this, and I think it's one of the best ways of reaching an indifferent high school student. Why do we have to learn the five paragraph essay? Because when you entreat your boss for a raise when you go into the workforce, he or she will be appalled if you can't provide evidence supporting why you deserve it.

So it was a little disconcerting that this parent would assume that I was teaching these words on a whim. However, a woman in her thirties thinks about things from other people's points of view. Perhaps these really were difficult vocabulary words. Perhaps she is not enticed to use a large profusion of vocabulary to express herself. I tried to understand her anguish, and assured her that the more vocabulary her daughter could learn with me, the better.

No matter how useless the vocabulary was.

There is no doubt that we are in a dire state when it comes to education in this country. It is easy for a student to succumb to peer pressure, and for a parent to feel overwhelmed watching their savings account dwindle as they help their child through college. But at the end of the day, I believe that the high school experience is about opening doors. My quest as a teacher is to work every day to help each student make that happen. It is a ponderous burden, and ultimately one of the most important jobs in the world.

But here's the thing: even the wiliest teacher can't do it herself. She needs the support of the parent community. She needs to open the doors of communication and be able to take constructive criticism. And maybe this woman had a point. Who was I to look upon her with disdain? Perhaps I have been locked in my own bubble of academia for too long. Perhaps I am the vile teacher I never wanted to be, teaching my students words that will be of no use to them in their lives.

It's hard to know for sure, but upon considerable reflection I have come to the realization that I need to stand by my teaching. Call me crazy, but I think the words I've been teaching these kids come up in daily life. Maybe not in the 'LOLs' and 'WTFs' of Facebook, but in other ways.

I can't think of them right now, but I'm sure I will eventually.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a picture of my formidable belly, in words I hope will be intelligible to the masses:

37 weeks tomorrow- OMFG!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Supports Herself

This week's checkup resulted in no additional developments in the labor department-- yes! So Friday I cheated on my modified bed rest (with the doctor's blessing, of course) and went to purchase the one item I'm still missing from my hospital bag: A maternity bra.

I am sensitive, literally and metaphorically, in this area. While there is a woman in her thirties in me that is so cheap I've bought only four pieces of new maternity wear (everything else has been from the second hand store), there is also a woman in her thirties that knows the two areas of her wardrobe where she cannot skimp: shoes and bras. Shoes I have covered, thanks to the geniuses at Dankso. Bras are another story.

If you are one of those girls who can go to Victoria's Secret and pick out a couple of T-shirt bras at two-for-$20, please stop reading now. I don't want to hear about how you can wear button down shirts and strapless dresses. I haven't been one of those girls since junior high, and pregnancy has only... compounded the issue.

On J's advice, I went to Nordstrom to be fitted. It was cute how the girl was concerned about me wanting my privacy. I snorted at her, referred to my nine-month preggo belly, and reminded her that a woman in her thirties who's going to give birth in a matter of weeks doesn't worry too much about modesty. She left the dressing room and came back with about six for me to try on.

The money I spent on two bras on Friday more than makes up for the money I've saved on other maternity wear. Seriously-- how does Elle Macpherson sleep at night? But I'll admit, when I'm not looking at the size of them and I'm not thinking about the money I spent on them, I'm pretty darn happy with my purchases. A woman in her thirties cannot put a price tag on comfort, and she certainly can't put a price tag on support. Feet, boobs, and otherwise.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is Grounded

(35 weeks... tomorrow. Bird's eye view of cutest dog on the planet)

A woman in her thirties should trust her instincts, but I tend to have a problem in this area. My instincts are often wrong. If you need further proof that this is true, check out some of the dating choices of my early twenties.

But this Thursday, however, I woke up feeling... off. Funny. I drove into work and felt nagged by it. Not pain, not really. But not good. It's hard to describe in words, but I think 'wonky' comes close.

I taught my first period class and thought, 'I could make it through the day. I'm fine.' But I couldn't get rid of K's voice in my head, her voice when she was describing what early labor feels like. And if I was going to be honest, I felt a little like that. After much hemming and hawing, I got a sub together and started to drive to the doctor, convincing myself I'd be home for lunch.

Things happened fairly quickly there, since I'm at a point in my life where people really, really care about how I feel. After a probing and twenty minutes strapped to machinery that reminded me of the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, here are the words the doctor said:

'Your contractions are two to four minutes apart. We have to admit you.'

Ummm.... WHAT? I have seen lots of movies and know what contractions are supposed to look like. I'm supposed to be gripped with pain, cursing my husband, breathing through my teeth. Not teaching essay writing. Before I knew it I was in a WHEELCHAIR, being pushed through a secret passageway to the hospital (creative writing juices were flowing then by the way. A secret passageway to a hospital? I can think of a million first lines...). But really, all of this was just masking the fact that I could not be in labor, Chewy couldn't come today, this was not the way it was going to happen. Was it?

A couple hours of IV fluid, an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos, and one container of cottage cheese later, the contractions subsided to more than 30 minutes apart. The nurse used the word 'normal', and L and I both breathed a sigh of relief. Crisis averted... kinda.

I've been put on 'modified bed rest', which means I can go to work as long as I'm sitting the majority of the day, and that's about it. Guess who has to do all the grocery shopping, laundry, Dan-walking, cleaning, and cooking without any help from his wife? L... I owe you lots of beef and broccoli for this one. Believe me, women in your thirties, as romantic as it sounds to sit on the couch and watch Oprah while your husband does all the chores for you, it really just sucks.

L's Mom will be disappointed to hear that I did go to work yesterday. However, I sat the whole day and took the elevator to my classroom. When I spilled a drop of water on the floor, I literally watched one of my sophomores FLY from his desk to the bathroom so he could get a paper towel to clean it up. L is currently at the dog park with Dan, and I'm sitting here slapping my hands to keep from getting up and starting a load of laundry.

I think T said it best yesterday when she said, 'it's kind of like you're grounded'. That's exactly how it feels, minus the facebook posts about how unfair my parents are. If Thursday's episode happens again I'll be on full-fledged bed rest, which is pretty much my worst nightmare. So a woman in her thirties takes her grounding seriously. She relaxes. She sits. She allows her husband to do stuff for her. She focuses on keeping her baby baking a little while longer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Considers the End

Guess who has two thumbs and is more than eight and a half months pregnant?

This woman in her thirties:

(Yes, I realize there is only one thumb visible in this photo. I have had this camera for three years and still have not figured out the self-timing feature. Don't judge me.)

It's all happened so fast, as things tend to do, and recently it's dawned on me that all this pregnancy business will be coming to an end rather soon. No, I will not spend this post highlighting the mental breakdown I had recently over the purchase of a Boppy. Instead I will do what a woman in her thirties with mild OCD does best: make lists.

Things I will miss about being pregnant:

1. People caring about how I feel

When I was about 10 years old, my orthodontist slipped when trying to adjust one of the spacers in my mouth and split the bottom of my tongue open. She split the bottom of my tongue open. During three years in China, I threw my neck out about four times, leaving me in such agonizing pain that I could not breathe without tears bursting into my eyes. A woman in her thirties has many examples of enduring through excruciating pain. And yet I can say without hesitation that no one has ever cared as much about how I feel than they have in the last eight months. Tired? Lay down and rest, sweetheart. Heartburn? Let me go out and get you some Tums. Emotional? It's going to be okay, honey, I promise. Being pregnant rules. I'm trying not to think about how, very soon, no one is going to give one you-know-what about my aching feet.

2. Movement

I always thought that a pregnant lady felt a baby kick a few times during her pregnancy. Either that's not true or I'm giving birth to the next Mary Lou Retton, because this little one is doing visible gymnastics in my womb about 20 hours of the day. How do I know it's visible? Because yesterday, while trying to lecture on Patchett's use of characterization in Bel Canto, one of my Seniors raised his hand and said, 'Um, Mrs. C? Your stomach is moving.' Creepy... but awesome.

3. Androgyny

Let's just say it's been a few months since I've been able to see... one of the parts the make me female. It's weird, this break we are taking. It's like we both know the other is there, but Chewy is standing in the way of the picture. It makes me feel very Athena-like. If it weren't for my giant boobs, I'd be Shiva his/herself. In other news, I've made acquaintance with the inside of my belly button for the first time in thirty two years.

Things I will not miss about being pregnant:

1. Plumber Butt

If pants don't have the word 'yoga' in front of them, I have no interest. This is a problem, because yoga pants are not ideal when trying to command respect from a classroom of high-schoolers. So I'm stuck with jeans, slacks, and other so-called comfortable maternity wear that I spend the majority of the day hiking up to my ribs in hopes that they don't fall down mid-lecture.

2. Breathlessness

I think many of my internal organs, mostly my bladder and my diaphragm, will be pleased to see Chewy make her exit. In the time it takes me to hoist myself out of bed (four times a night) to get to the bathroom, I'm out of breath. Walking Daniel at a 90-year-old lady pace around the block also leaves me winded. Breathing really is such an under appreciated activity. I've missed it.

3. People's stories

As a reader and wannabe writer, I am a lover of a good story. But in the last few months, all the stories I've heard have been of the 'horrible childbirth' variety. I have bitten my tongue through them because I figured they'd be ending soon, but have found recently that they are now being replaced by 'just wait until you have a colicky baby' stories. I'm kinda done with the stories about how hard this is going to be. I think this little one is, too:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Loves her Dog

A year ago tomorrow, I wrote this post about the day Daniel came into our lives. I am not one for mushy sentimentality so I will say this: the anniversary of Daniel's addition to our family has been more important to L and me than our actual wedding anniversary and both of our birthdays combined.

That's how much we love this dog:

I had aspirations of a doggie birthday party, complete with Walter and friends, but between work and the eighth month of pregnancy I have barely found time to wash my hair, let alone plan an event. The best we could do was decide to set today aside for Daniel time-- a day for us to give back to him a teeny tiny fraction of the happiness he brings to us. Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

Chillin' with homies at the park

Showing Daddy just how good he can be for a treat

Taking a leak during Mommy's 33-week photo shoot

Capturing and destroying other dogs' tennis balls

Panting adorably when it's time to go home

We don't know what Daniel's story was before he came to us, but it doesn't matter. I think that if Daniel could talk he would say the same thing. Sometimes it's better for a woman in her thirties not to know the profound significance of every twist and turn in her life. So, in the absence of knowledge and the absence of words, we keep doing what we're doing. We go on our walks, we cuddle on the couch when watching TV, and we show each other every day how happy we are to be family.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Reflects on Marriage

Today is my 2nd wedding anniversary. 'Well whoop-dee-do,' I can hear some of you out there saying. 'Two WHOLE years? I have shampoo in my shower older than that.' Fine-- I am hardly an authority on making marriage work. But a woman in her thirties knows a thing or two about a thing or two, so here's my thing. Or two.

In my twenties I worked at a bank to get my butt through college, and met a wonderful customer named Mr. T. (Many readers of this blog will remember him.) Mr. T was pretty much the kindest, most patient man in the world. Even after decades of marriage, he spoke about his wife as though they were teenagers who just met at the high school prom.

One day we tellers asked him the secret to a happy marriage. I was particularly interested in his response, as I was watching my own unhealthy relationship at the time crash and burn around me.

'People say marriage is 50/50,' he began. 'But that's not true. Marriage isn't 50/50. It's 100/100. Each person needs to give 100% all the time, otherwise you're in trouble.'

My first decade on this planet I don't think I knew of a single divorced couple. The only blended family I knew was The Brady Bunch. I thought marriage was one of those things that happened naturally for women, like growing boobs. Then my teens came, then my twenties, and with those two decades a realization that the Beaver Cleaver idea of marriage that I had in my youth was far from reality. I could wish it and hope for it, and I could judge the hell out of other people for the decisions they made in their relationships, but in the end no one owed me the life I saw on Growing Pains.

Damn you, Jason and Maggie Seaver.

While L and I have only been married two years, we've been together for almost eight. (Yes, I can still hear some of you groaning and moaning. 'Eight? I have jeans older than...') Regardless, I still think Mr. T's advice is the best I've heard. Marriage is 100% effort, on both people's part. Sometimes, some days, that's been easy to do. Sleeping-in-on-Saturday easy. But sometimes, and I'm sure I can speak for L when I say this, too, it's been hard. Really hard. Root-canal-while-watching-Jersey-Shore hard.

My point is that a woman in her thirties celebrates anniversaries. Not with gifts (though those are nice), and sometimes not even with physical presence (L is currently out of town on business). She celebrates them because she knows how wonderful and how difficult marriage can be. She celebrates them because, once a year, she and her partner can look at each other, and say, 'Phew. We made it one more year. Let's kiss real quick before we get to talking about replacing the water heater.'

Anniversaries are achievements, and we've achieved one more year. MP, L. Now about that honeymoon...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Sends In the Clowns

I think my husband's best quality, aside from his striking resemblance to Brad Pitt, is his sense of humor. L and I share the same dry sarcasm, but he is much quicker with his wit than I am. Let's just say we have gotten through many, many challenging situations spanning several continents by making each other laugh.

When I signed up for childbirth prep classes, I knew that L would be taking this sense of humor with him. He would need it, because while I see this whole pushing-a-baby-through-my-vagina thing as very fascinating, he sees it through more... squeamish lenses. L can't even watch CSI without turning his head during the autopsy scenes. How, I have thought many times during the last 31 weeks, is he going to make it through this with me?

I got my answer this morning, during Part I of the childbirth prep series. The first part of the class included a video on basic anatomy-- namely my anatomy. It wasn't anything you wouldn't find in a 7th grade science book, but I still squeezed L's hand afterward to make sure he was okay.

'I like how she said vagina 10 times. Awesome,' he whispered in my ear.

Next, we got a lesson on the mucus plug. 'Mucus plug' is definitely not the most euphonious of phrases, but the accompanying descriptions had L's face scrunched in pain. I was starting to wonder who was going to be the support for whom during this whole childbirth process, when the teacher brought up the subject of feces. 'It isn't uncommon,' the teacher said, 'for a woman to have a bowel movement as she is pushing.'

'What if I have a bowel movement while you're pushing? I might,' L whispered to me.

L was starting to get pretty tired by the time we got to the end of class. The only problem was that the teacher had saved the best for last-- we spent the last 30 minutes on breathing exercises. I am only a recent convert to the hippie-yoga movement, but this is new territory for L. The teacher said, 'Where else to people store tension, besides their neck and shoulders?'

'Butthole?' L whispered in my ear. L's hands were on my belly at the time, and Chewy gave him a swift kick for that one.

It's hard not to go to a class like that and compare your life with the people's around you. I think a woman in her thirties does that quite a bit, probably more often than she cares to admit. I compared L and me to the serious couple next to us, the ones who had obviously been doing their homework. I compared us to the couple behind us, who kept interjecting with what I thought were pretty silly questions. And I'm sure everyone else was comparing themselves to us-- we were the couple that couldn't stop shaking with laughter all morning.

You read that right-- we. I am scared of giving birth, anxious about taking time away from my career to stay at home, and terrified that I'm not going to be any good at my new role as mother. But one thing I do not ever have to be afraid of is that my husband won't be there to make me laugh during the process. A woman in her thirties, at least this woman in her thirties, is grateful for her class clown.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Pees her Pants

I read it might happen. I was told it would happen. And it did. Friends, family, be warned: the title of this post is not ironic.

Today I peed my pants.

Thankfully, I don't need to be a doctor to explain the physiology of this. Today I am thirty weeks pregnant. I have gained 23 pounds in the last seven and a half months, three of which belonging to the baby that dances upon my pancake-shaped bladder all day and all night. I have to pee all the time. And while it is annoying, I thought I had pretty decent control over this bodily function.

Apparently not.

L and I were leaving Target when the urge came upon me to sneeze. Not pee. SNEEZE. I covered my mouth like a good woman in her thirties, and sneezed once. Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary. I sneezed again, as I am wont to do, and this time it happened. I peed. Not Niagra Falls pee, but still. It was enough.

I gasped and looked at L, thinking maybe I could make something up. I saw a rat. I forgot toothpaste. I need a bean burrito. But I was so horrified by what had just happened that I was frozen in the truth.

L did not know what to do with the information. 'Um... gross,' he said. To his credit, he left it at that and allowed me my shame.

But here's the thing: a woman in her thirties doesn't have much time for shame. I certainly don't. I spent a couple of seconds wondering if I should run back into Target for some Depends, and then L said, 'maybe you should start bringing some clean underwear to school with you. And pants.'

That was it. I burst out laughing. The kind that sends tears down your face. The kind when you can't catch your breath and your whole body is convulsing. That kind of laughing. The thought of explaining to a classroom full of Seniors that I might have to leave the room in case I pee my pants is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever thought of in my life.

So a woman in her thirties is an enigma. This morning, I correctly answered a trivia question involving the artist Edward Hopper. This afternoon, I compared car seats for side impact safety features. And this evening, I peed my pants. I guess, for a woman in her thirties, that's just kinda how it goes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Loves her Girls

I’ve taken a lot of things for granted in my life, but the most flagrant of these fouls has been when it comes to my girlfriends. I’ve spent most of my twenties and early thirties surrounded by girls I’ve known since grade school and high school, some of the most thoughtful, funny, and caring women (!) in the world. No matter where my travels have taken me, what boy has broken my heart, or what bone-headed decisions I may have made, these girls have been my constant cheerleaders and keepers of secrets.

I came to a realization a few years ago that startled me—not all women in their thirties have these types of friendships. In fact, many women in their thirties don’t have these types of friendships. They’re lucky if they have one or two people to go to in a crisis, let alone a group of girls who have their back, no matter what. How is that possible? Is there a handbook for finding wonderful girlfriends? And how do I get a copy to my daughter?

Chewy was welcomed into this group of women over the weekend. My jie jie and BFF did the ‘honors’, and by that I mean to say they chose to put up with me for the last few months while I gave them orders about what I did (and more specifically did NOT) want. Yet they did it happily, because that's just how lucky I am.

I thought about it this weekend as I sat surrounded by many of my favorite women. We aren’t all that much alike—in fact, I would argue that there are more dissimilarities between us than there are similarities. But I think that’s what makes us good for each other. We are the missing pieces to each other’s puzzles. The candy in each other's candy shop, if you will.

A woman in her thirties loves how her baby's closet looks after being showered with pink, she loves how her stomach still hurts from laughing all weekend, and she loves loves loves her girls.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Reconstructs

Remember when apartment and/or house hunting consisted of you, your friends, and a lease that did not include a sizable security deposit? I miss my twenties sometimes. Now, as a woman in her thirties and SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT HOLY COW, my priorities have changed. L and I bought our first house last year, and buying a house built during the years of Prohibition comes with its challenges.

It would be safe to call this the summer of reconstruction. It's just too bad that the planned portion coincided with the unplanned portion.

I will admit that everything I know about construction can fit into one Chinese New Year hong bao. Here's what I knew going into it: Our master closet situation was not working.

Here's a 'before' view from the front:
And here's a view from the back:
If you can tear your eyes from the cutest dog in the world, you might notice that there are no rods in the closet. No shelves. No drawers. Basically, our master closet has been a secret passageway to what will be the baby's room for the last year.

Where did we hang our clothes, you ask? We hung them here, in the guest room:

I am hardly Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to needing closet space, but this was less than optimal. Especially at 5:15am, when I'm feeling my way through the house without my contacts in to pick my outfit for the day.

Any woman in her thirties knows that there are easy ways and hard ways to do things. This woman in her thirties often chooses the easy way. Without boring you with plans, ideas, and quotes, let's just say that L and I decided to fix the closets the hard way. It involved sealing off a wall, creating a wall, creating storage, and adding doors to THREE rooms in our house. And while I did spend the majority of the month of August ready to scratch my face off, I'm pleased to say that we're finally done.

Here's the finished product:


(Chewy's room)

(Guest room)

It is a very woman in her thirties thing to get excited about closets, but I am, in fact, a woman in her thirties. And as of today, finally, an organized one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Sees Angels

I'm not a big 'guardian angel' kind of person, but I think that happens with age. A woman in her thirties likely believes more in the healing powers of Oprah than some other-worldly presence. This week, however, I've changed my tune a bit. 'Cuz I saw me some angels.

Angel #1
Saturday evening, waiting in line to board my plane to CA, holding my ticket with my middle seat. Middle seats are never optimal, but considering I get up to pee every 20-25 minutes (not joking), this was not going to work. The attendant at the gate took a look at my tummy, probably seeing the pee welling up in my eyes, and said, 'Oh, no honey. Let me see what I can do.'

She gave me first row, bulkhead, aisle, with a promise not to put anyone in the middle seat. God, it's good to be pregnant sometimes.

Angel #2
The girl sitting in the window seat on my flight had her leg in a brace from a recent knee surgery. If there is one person gimpier than a six and a half month pregnant lady, it's a woman who's just repaired a torn ACL. A (gorgeous) guy about our age was helping her load her crutches into the bin and said, 'I'll be back later to check on you.'

Turns out this guy happens to be a masseuse. Who charges $250 an hour for massage. Who is in his last year of med school, specializing in acupuncture and sports therapy. When he saw my neighbor waiting to board the plane, he offered (FOR FREE) to massage her leg to bring the swelling down. Who does that?

He sat with us and chatted for awhile. He is married with kids, not creepy at all. He just wanted to help when he saw someone in pain. And when he got up to leave he turned to me and said, 'You're just about the cutest pregnant lady I've ever seen.' Yeah. Needed that.

Angel #3
Because I booked my flights using miles, I had limited options for flying home. The only flight I could get was going to take me from SF to Phoenix, Phoenix to Chicago, and Chicago to Pleasantville. This flight sucks if you're not pregnant, let alone dealing with an achy back and feet that won't stop falling asleep. I was hopeful I could pull the preggo card and work something out at check-in.

Let's just say that didn't happen-- at first. When I printed my three boarding passes and asked as sweetly as I could if there was anything possible that can be done, pretty please my baby thanks you, I was told, 'No. Sorry. Next time don't travel when you're pregnant.' (Yes, she really said that.)

I walked dejectedly to the gate and found another angel waiting for me. I prefaced with, 'I already got rejected downstairs, but...'

Within seconds, my boarding passes were ripped up in favor of a direct flight leaving in twenty minutes. 'I've had two kids,' the attendant said, 'and you are getting a direct flight home.' And yes, I had an aisle seat.

So a woman in her thirties sees angels, if she looks for them. This week mine came in the form of a few strangers, L, my family, my girls, and Gina at United.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Goes to her Happy Place(s)

Since this summer did not turn out to be the leisurely experience I was hoping for, I put a lot of expectations on this week to make up for what the last month has lacked. My agenda included Wallace Stegner, lots of yoga, and a few naps on the couch with my Dan.

That... um... hasn't happened. I will spare the gory details, but between the 7:00am construction calls, paint-picking and re-picking, and a lemon-poppy muffin debacle, it's been a little chaotic. Special thanks to Kim and Heidi, who have taken the brunt of my tears of frustration. Your fruit baskets are in the mail.

So for this week's post I'm going to do what the yogies have been suggesting all summer, which is visualize my happy place(s). I was thinking about it this morning, and a woman in her thirties has likely collected quite a few in her years. Here are a few of mine:

This photo was taken on the deck of our hotel room the first time we went to Thailand. Because L was a member of the you-travel-way-too-much club at the Sheraton, we got the kind of room featured on MTV Cribs. At this moment, I was laying on a lawn chair reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the first time. I remember thinking, 'Okay, God. If you're gonna take me, now might be a good time.'

This is the sun rising over the Great Wall. I had just rolled out of my tent after sleeping on one of the watchtowers at Jing Shang Li. I am shocked my legs held me up to take the photo-- that's how sore I was from the previous day of hiking. But man, was it ever worth it.

This is the Maltese Grandfather I never met, strolling through Chinatown. I can't explain what happens to me when I look at this picture, except to say that I'm pretty sure if I look at it long enough he will walk right through the paper and into my living room, saying something like, 'Hey-ya, kiddo, we've got some catching up to do.'

No commentary necessary.

And lastly, for those of you who have never seen the face of yours truly, me. (Circa 1985...) I distinctly remember wearing socks and dirty sneakers with this dress, which was pinned on me since it kept falling off my shoulders. Usually pictures from elementary school send me into fits of hysteria, but this one is different. Check out the sun bleached hair. And that GRILL! This is a girl who knows nothing of the curve balls life will throw at her, who couldn't care less about anything past today's recess. A woman in her thirties should re-aquaint herself with that girl sometimes. Today's that day for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Needs (some) Explanation

I'm amazed by the generosity of people. Since announcing my pregnancy, I have been overwhelmed with hand-me-downs, advice, books, and gifts for Chewy. I know these acts of kindness are less exciting than, say, Lindsay Lohan's drug addiction, but I really think Dateline should do a story on nice people every now and then.

What does a woman in her thirties do for someone who does something kind for her? She does something kind in return. I decided yesterday on the way to book club to stop and get couple bottles of wine for some especially generous friends.

One thing I can't seem to get over about living in the Midwest is the absence of alcohol in grocery stores. We are hardly heavy drinkers, but I get annoyed every time I'm shopping for a dinner party and realize I have to make another stop at the liquor store for alcohol. Especially now, when I can't even enjoy a glass of whatever it is I'm purchasing.

This was the thought in my mind as I placed two bottles of Merlot on the checkout counter at Pleasantville Liquor. And then I looked at the people around me, who were staring alternately between my booze and my giant preggo-belly, and realized this was one of those situations where things were not what they seemed.

'It's not for me!' I cried, loud enough for the people in the back of the store to hear. 'I swear to God!'

The people behind me snickered and gave me a sympathetic look, but I was not convinced.

'Seriously! It's a gift! See? I HAVE GIFT BAGS!' I held them up, like trophies. Like this was the evidence that was going to exonerate me.

We all shared an uncomfortable laugh, smiled and nodded through the obligatory 'When is your due date?' conversation, but I still left a little shaken. A woman in her thirties should not, as a general rule, have to explain herself, but this was most definitely the exception. Maybe next time I'll get cupcakes-- a pregnant lady needs no explanation with those.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Ignores her Expectations

When I first moved to China, I developed a series of expectations about what it would be like. My expectations were based on SF Chinatown, The Orient Chinese restaurant in Carmichael, California, and the one Jackie Chan movie I'd ever seen.

To put it in the largest understatement ever, I was incorrect in many of my expectations. I thought the food was going to be the hardest thing about living in China. I've been home for two years now, and not a day has gone by that I haven't missed Beijing cai. I had heard about the pollution, but didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal. The pollution was, by far, the hardest part about living there.

What I'm saying is that a woman in her thirties has expectations, but they are often... wrong.

So it has been with pregnancy. I knew to expect certain things, and have been reading books catered to understanding those expectations, but in the end it's all been pretty shocking to me. And continues to be:

1. Weight gain.
Isn't this supposed to be the time when you are encouraged to 'eat for two', pack it on, and enjoy that healthy I-just-stuffed-my-face glow? No. Gaining weight has been one of the most emotionally taxing parts of this whole process. And speaking of emotions...

2. Uncontrollable crying.
I cannot watch 'A Baby Story', 'The Today Show', or several other TV shows I'm too embarrassed to mention without shedding a tear. Or a hundred. Thousand.

3. My eyes.
That's right. My eyes have changed shape. My contacts don't fit right. It's like my eyes have become pregnant, too. With little eye-babies.

4. My feet.
My feet haven't grown, as many of the books have warned me they might. Instead, they fall asleep if I'm sitting for more than... five seconds.

5. My teeth.
I have the kind of oral hygiene that should be documented in dentistry textbooks. This woman in her thirties has never had a cavity. However, pregnancy has made my teeth sensitive to hot things. So I buy Sensodyne and ACT and hope the checkers at Target aren't judging me.

Alright, universe, I get it. Life cannot be scripted. A woman in her thirties must roll with whatever comes her way, no matter how unexpected. And when it comes to Chewy, and all the expectations I have for her, I promise to keep it in check. If she doesn't want to pursue medicine at Harvard, fine. I'll settle for Yale. If she doesn't become a concert pianist, it is cool. The cello will do.

See? I'm learning.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Can't Plan Anything

I am a planner, and I think many women in their thirties can relate. My to-do lists are long and plentiful, and I derive great joy by checking things off one by one. This goes for tracking meetings and yoga in my iPhone as well as such lofty long-term goals as 'learn to cook more than three things' and 'develop an appreciation for British literature'. (Sorry, Dickens, but you bore me.)

I've always been this way. When I was a kid my life plan included a career in TV news journalism, a completed family by the age of 28, and a house in the Bay area because that's the only place in the world. But things don't always go according to plan, as any woman in her thirties can also relate to. A move to China? A first baby at 32? Brad and Jen split up? None of these things would have been fathomable to me ten years ago.

However, despite knowing in my head that life doesn't always follow the plan you lay out for it, my heart still has a hard time computing that message. Case in point: at my last ultrasound the tech told us that my placenta is too close to my cervix (sorry for all the yucky girly-words, guys reading this). It's not a big deal, it could still move on its own, and the worst case scenario is that I will need a C-Section. But here's the thing: a C-Section is not part of my plan for November. Here's what I'd envisioned:

Nov. 1-19- Continue teaching, comfortably. Swollen ankles are not going to work for me.
Nov. 20- Manicure, pedicure, haircut. Leisurely dinner with family. Maybe a movie-- I'm flexible.
Nov. 21- Water breaks in the morning, in the bathroom, so as not to damage the hardwood floors. Go to hospital. Labor for 15-20 min, then become 'comfortably numb'. Push twice. Out comes our perfect, potty trained child.

I am kidding... kinda. What I'm trying to say is that I have all this mapped out, and I like the way I've got it in my head. So today, at another ultrasound when the tech said my placenta still hasn't moved to the right spot, I got that familiar surge in my gut that said, 'Wait! This isn't part of the plan! There must be some way you can control this!'

Of course if a woman in her thirties knows one thing it's that there are many things in life she can't control. I never would have thought I would become a teacher, and yet it's the one career I've had that I feel really good at. I never would have planned my time in China, but in many ways it made me into the woman in her thirties I am. I'm not preaching about some Great Being here, I'm merely reflecting on the smallness of myself (despite gaining 19 pounds as of today).

So a woman in her thirties doesn't put away her to-do list, she puts it in perspective. My birth plan is now revised:

Today: Be thankful for this little face:

Tomorrow: Repeat.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Dogsits

I realize that some women in their twenties dogsit, but I was never one of those women. I reluctantly watched Carlos the Cat while K lived in Switzerland for a summer, but let's just say I'm pretty sure Carlos was unhappy with that deal. Pet-sitting is new territory for me.

Meet Walter:Walter is my friend K's dog, and he comes from the same shelter as Dan:The resemblance is striking, no? The same furrowed brow, the same expressive ears... In my mathematically challenged brain, one Daniel plus another dog that may or may not be related to Daniel equals two Daniels. Right? Wrong.

The last couple of weeks have been eye opening for me. While Walter likes pooping on trees, Daniel prefers wide open spaces. Walter likes sleeping on the bed, Dan likes is own sleeping space. Walter is totally okay sharing attention, Dan not so much. Daniel loves other dogs, Walt has trust issues. Walter is perfectly content having little kids pet him all day, Daniel is a little leery of little people. It must have been how my Mom felt with two daughters so close in age-- how could they be so different?

The reality is that, despite the differences, it's been fun having two dogs around. I get all kinds of cute play pictures:

And dress up becomes more fun:
How great is that look on Daniel's face? He's like, 'Jeez, Mom, you're embarrassing me.'

So I guess when a woman in her thirties dogsits, it's kind of like life. One plus one still equals two, and while two doesn't necessarily means the same, two almost always means better.