August 2011

I had a breastfeeding class after work yesterday at Kaiser, so I took the opportunity to do my lab tests at the same time. The results are already back — I am a bit anemic, which my OB already told me I would be because apparently all pregnant women are. He already instructed me to take iron supplements (I’m taking the non-binding liquid vegan iron supplement “Floradix.” Just 10ml a day. Yummy), and it would only be a source of concern if I’m extremely anemic and need more intervention. I’m not drastic, I came out close to where I was on my last iron test in April, when I wasn’t supplementing. I’m also NOT diabetic. Yay! I don’t know why I was actually worried about that. I guess cuz it would force me to change so many things. I don’t eat a lot of sweets, so if I had gestational diabetes, I’d have to cut out what little sweets I do eat — fruit, the occasional bread item, yogurt, juice. That would suck. But according to results, I tested better now than I did on my gestational diabetes test in April.

Now, the breastfeeding class. I want to write this stuff down cuz the 2.5 hours turned out to be SO much more informative and beneficial than I’d expected, and I don’t want to forget stuff. Mr. W and I know next to nothing about breastfeeding, since his kids’ mom didn’t do it (I don’t think she had the patience or the information), my mom didn’t do it, his mom didn’t do it, and neither of us have sisters we could’ve learned from. He thought it was an important class for me and encouraged me to take it, altho he expected to be bored out of his mind there. “I’ll probably be the only guy in the class,” he griped.
I perked him up with, “Think of all the boobies you’re gonna see in the presentation!” It was a full class and just about everyone, with the exception of maybe 2 women, came with their male partners. Some of the male partners had more questions and concerns than their female counterparts.

We learned (and practiced with infant dolls) three holding positions: cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, and football hold. Baby should be turned on its side, stomach facing our stomach, with baby’s top ear, shoulder and hip in alignment. Baby should be nose-to-nipple, so that it has to tilt its head back to suckle, which encourages better drinking positioning. If the chin is closer to the chest, it causes dribbling and poor latching. (Poor latching apparently hurts.) On the cradle-style holds, if the baby’s nose is pressed too far into the breast, we can wrap baby’s legs around our waist which tilts the baby’s upper body so that the face is away from the breast and it can breathe properly.

Proper latching is, surprisingly to me, a very wide mouth covering much of the areola. Some areola may be visible above the baby’s upper lip. I always thought babies latched onto the nipple, but not so. The nipple should be well deep inside baby’s mouth in the curve of the roof of the mouth, and breastfeeding doesn’t hurt or crack the nipples. If it cracks and hurts, the baby’s been latching too shallowly (at the nipple instead of at the breast). A proper latch will have the baby’s nose tip and chin making contact with the breast. Baby’s lips should be out and not pulled in. If a poor latch is established, we break the suction by gently inserting a clean finger at the breast and sliding it into baby’s mouth, and relatching baby. Oh, and don’t latch baby until its mouth is wide open, which can be encouraged by touching the nipple to its upper lip. When the mouth opens wide, pull baby onto breast quickly and fully for a proper latch.

We were shown how to recognize signs that the baby’s hungry BEFORE the baby’s a crying hysterical mess. We’re told to feed on the baby’s hunger schedule and not by timing a clock. If baby starts sucking on its fists, or starts “rooting” (turning toward your body and appearing to look for a breast with its face), or does an open-mouthed sucking expression with the tongue slightly out, feed it. The baby cries as a last resort when it’s hungry and frustrated that it can’t find food. When the baby’s in the hysterical crying fit, it often is so worked up it doesn’t even realize when it’s got food in its mouth and will refuse to feed, so we’re told to calm the baby down first (skin-to-skin contact, maybe putting the tip of our finger in its mouth), and THEN feed it.

Once every 24 hours, probably in the wee hours of the night (when the baby is used to being awake in utero), the baby will likely go thru a “cluster feeding.” This freaks out a lot of new moms cuz they don’t understand why the baby is being so fussy — it wants to feed, and when done, it’s still clingy, then it wants to feed again, and you can’t take it off you, and it keeps doing this marathon feeding thing. Supposedly this is normal, and the consolation is that after a cluster feeding, the baby takes a long satisfied nap.

No pacifiers or bottles for at least the first month of establishing proper breastfeeding. The human breast is designed to nurse the baby until the baby is satisfied. The rate at which milk is delivered is identical to the needs of the baby to get the “full” signal from its stomach to its brain. Baby learns that to get the milk started, it needs a few shallow tugs, then when the milk starts, it does its deep pulls. Bottles don’t do this, and deliver milk way too fast, so the baby ends up full before it realizes it and will overdrink, then associate the overfull feeling with normalcy, which studies have shown may cause them to gorge themselves later on in childhood/life, too. Pacifiers train babies to make shallow short sucks, which is not how you want them to learn to take milk, which is wide open-mouthed deep sucks. So giving them pacifiers at the same time you’re trying to get them on proper latching technique works against some babies.

I used to think that direct breastfeeding would be too rough on my body, so I didn’t have a problem conceptually just pumping and delivering the breastmilk (full of nutrition and antibodies) via bottle. However, I learned last nite that a properly latched baby has so little contact with the nipple, which only serves to deliver the milk and is not the point of interaction, that it shouldn’t cause any discomfort or soreness. And, the Montgomery’s glands at the areolas keep everything antibacterial and moisturized. (For sanition, therefore, only gentle cleansing once a day with mild soap and water is necessary.) If there is some soreness for some reason, no ointment is really necessary; some of your own breastmilk can be rubbed onto the area and allowed to air dry for the best moisturizer and anti-bacterial treatment properties.

Yes, you can and should breastfeed even if you’re sick (assuming you’re not on meds that doctors tell you not take while breastfeeding), because the baby gets your immune defense immediately. This makes the baby even less susceptible to getting the bug that you currently have. However, if you have some alcohol, it’s best to pump and dump, cuz that gets infused into breastmilk. Even tho you can return to some of the food you had pre-pregnancy like sushi while breastfeeding, you should still avoid the high-mercury fish because mercury also goes into breastmilk.

Apparently for the first 1-2 days after birth, the baby’s stomach is the size of a marble. Therefore, your breasts produce quality over quantity. A thick concentrated breastmilk called colostrum, dense with nutrition and antibodies, is made during that time to feed the baby. At 3+ days, the baby’s stomach is slightly bigger, and your body is simultaneously making transition milk. It’s a blend of more liquified mature milk with colostrum. After that (which I think is around the 2-week point), your baby’s stomach is the size of chicken egg, and can take mature milk. The milk breasts make is now plentiful and very fluid to match baby’s needs. (This is so amazing.) Apparently each breast makes enough milk to properly feed a baby, so 1 baby + 2 breasts means more than enough milk. You can encourage the milk flow by pumping in between feedings. A baby will feed 8-12 times a day, so we’re told to make sure to switch breasts and empty out the breasts to encourage proper milk production (supply vs demand). I guess a lot of new moms don’t realize that they’re not gonna make mature milk immediately, so they think they aren’t making enough milk and just give up. Or they don’t want to pump to keep supply up, or find it too inconvenient to breastfeed 8-12 times a day, so they start supplementing with formula. After that, because demand on the breasts drops, the supply drops off correspondingly.

We’re also taught how to check for signs that the baby’s getting enough to drink. (Breastmilk exclusively for the first 6 months of life, no water or other foods until after, for proper GI behavior.) The first day, baby should make at least one poopy diaper and 1 wet diaper. Day 2, 2 wet and 2 poopy diapers. Day 3, 3/3. Day 4, 4/4. Day 5, 5/5. Then it will even out about that time. The first couple of days’ poopy diaper mess is going to be black and tar-like; that’s the bilirubin and amniotic fluid stuff the baby has in its system from the womb that it needs to expel to prevent jaundice and other complications. Next couple of days, poopy diaper is now greenish, as the last of the bilirubin stuff comes out. After that, poopy diaper is now mustard-colored, the proper color of processed breast milk. If the baby is making less than that, especially by beginning guidelines, we’re told to bring them in to the hospital to see if the problem is with lactation, or with feeding, or with baby. (Yes, we were shown photos.) We were also taught how to chart/track these diapers to make sure baby’s on the right track. Just for the first few weeks.

Apparently, dairy products make the baby gassy or colicky. If you’re giving the baby exclusively breastmilk and the baby’s having these problems, cut your own dairy intake cuz cow’s milk stuff is getting into your breastmilk and affecting baby’s sensitive GI tract. We’re also taught about burping the baby, and told that breastfed babies may not have gas (no air in breasts to transfer), so if we’re patting for 5-10 mins and nothing happens, we can assume the baby doesn’t have an air bubble.

We’re also told how to manage sleepy babies. Some babies are so drugged up when they’re born due to the epidurals and other stuff administered to mom during delivery, that they aren’t as responsive and sleep the day away. This is not good, because they need to eat. We’re taught how to wake them up, establish bonding, how to burp them in a way that doesn’t put them to sleep, how to encourage sleepy babies to feed.

And apparently, some women leak and some women don’t. The instructor told us not to buy a ton of breast pads unless we know we’re the leaky women. (Did not know that.)

Also interesting, babies are not designed to be away from mom. They’ll go into complaint mode and cry for mom, then if they don’t get mom, they go into despair, and then they eventually shut down and metabolism drops, vitals drop, etc. This is nature’s way of protecting them; baby will cry for mom to let mom know it’s lost or abandoned, and mom’s supposed to find the baby. If mom and baby aren’t reunited soon, baby goes on shut-down to keep it alive as long as it could until mom can find it. Babies are supposed to be with mom at all times until they can survive longer periods of time without mom (we see this in animals all the time), so Kaiser doesn’t put them in nurserys away from mom anymore; if mom so desires, the baby is in the room with her until discharge. That way bonding can be encouraged between mom and child, and mom can start learning her baby’s body language for hunger or loneliness or sleepiness, etc.

They really put things into perspective by saying that babies only need 3 things: to feel its presence is acknowledged, to be fed, to be secure. All the other stuff out there is just marketing.

Signs that the Universe wants you to take better care of yourself:

I found myself invited to an amazing birthday spread this morning on behalf of the judge next door. Some of my favorite things were there: lemon meringue pie, chocolate silk pie, chocolate cake, tiramisu in individual cups. But today after work is when I’d planned to have my gestational diabetes test. *sigh* I had some provolone cheese with 2 crackers, some grapes, orange juice, and half a bagel instead.

My lunch at California Pizza Kitchen (spinach & mushroom flatbread) came with a soup or a salad. I knew I should order salad, but ordered some sort of cream soup instead. The waiter brought me the salad anyway, and not the soup. So I just asked for some dressing on the side and used it sparingly. *sigh*

My old friend Edgar and his long-time girlfriend of 13 years Ruby just got engaged last nite. I’m going to tell this story, cuz it’s not the kind of engagement I’m used to seeing and it’s cute.

The two have been dating since Ruby was in high school, and they’ve managed to keep a teen-love-esque charm in their relationship. For example, because they got together November 20, they always make a point of doing a mini anniversary dinner or just something special every month on the 20th. Yesterday was also a 20th, so it wasn’t unusual when Edgar told Ruby he was going to make dinner reservations for the two of them at a favorite restaurant, Owen’s Bistro. (BTW, I Yelped this place and it’s got one of the highest ratings I’d ever seen in local restaurants.) Then, shortly before they were to leave for dinner, Edgar received a planned call from a buddy. I can’t remember the buddy’s name, so we’ll just call him Steve (wouldn’t it be funny it if actually WERE “Steve?”).

Steve claimed he’d tripped and injured himself while on a hiking trail behind Edgar’s neighborhood, and wanted to know if Edgar were at home so that Edgar could go get Steve and help Steve to his car. Edgar explained to Steve they were on their way to dinner reservations, but that they would go help Steve before they went. Earlier, Steve and Edgar had already set up 300 LCD tealight candles on a part of the hiking trail so that it spelled out “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” The words were clearly visible from an upper section of the trail that looked down over a drop, and that overlook section was cemented with a railing, like a balcony. That was the proposal site, and when Edgar and Ruby got on the path, Edgar called Steve to let him know they had arrived. That was when Steve activated the hidden camera in the bushes pointing at the balcony section of the trail. Steve then ran and hid. The plan was for Ruby to get to the balcony section, look down to look for Steve, see the candles, then turn to Edgar. Edgar would then be on his knee with the ring out. (I’d told Edgar to spell out “Ruby” with the candles, too, so she doesn’t assume it’s someone else’s proposal, and so others on the hiking trail didn’t think their significant other were proposing and then have an awkward moment. He didn’t do it, and apparently there WAS a couple that crossed that section shortly before they did, and it did create an awkward moment between them. Ouch.)

This is what I saw on the video of the proposal (no sound, as I watched it on the camera): Ruby comes on the scene (balcony) on a cell phone talking to Steve, as Steve tries to tell her where he is (allegedly) sitting so that she would look over the balcony railing and see the proposal candles. She has a concerned look on her face as she looks around the place in a circle. Edgar appears on the video as Ruby’s back is turned, and stealthily takes out the ring box, making sure it’s facing the right way in his hand. Ruby walks to the balcony railing and looks over. Edgar positions himself on his knee behind her. She turns back around, still on the phone, still looking concerned. She sees Edgar and stares at him in confusion. He appears to be saying something. She starts laughing, then doubles over laughing with her face in her hands.

Okay, so what happened was that she was so busy looking for Steve that when she looked over the balcony, she completely missed the candles. Edgar meanwhile assumed she saw the candle proposal, so he was making his verbal proposal. She couldn’t figure out why he was on his knee, and appeared to be proposing in the middle of their hunt for their injured friend. What odd timing. Awkward! What about Steve? And she also wanted to know who the guy was who was standing behind them on the hiking trail, staring at them with his mouth open. This whole thing was a set-up? So Steve’s okay? Is that guy part of the proposal? What’s his role? Edgar turned and saw the guy for the first time shamelessly taking in their personal moment. Ruby wanted to know if this whole thing was a joke, and whether Steve was really okay. She was so distracted and confused that she forgot to say “yes.”

So Steve soon appeared (walking just fine!) and helped put away the tea light candles, then agreed to join Edgar and Ruby for dinner. Meanwhile, about 16 additional friends of theirs (us, included) were already at Owen’s Bistro waiting in a private room. Ruby walked in the room for their private reservation, recognized everyone, looked confused, and suddenly looked a little tearful as her hands went up to cover her face again. We swarmed them and congratulated them, she got to show off her ring right away…

…(superb quality round brilliant center stone with many smaller glittering rounds down each side of the platinum band, very nicely designed by Edgar), and we all had a very nice 3-course prix fixe dinner that Edgar REFUSED to let any of us pay for. =P

Mr. W and I sat at the end of the long table across from Eddie & Michelle, who had just returned fairly recently from their 2-week Paul Gauguin cruise to the French Polynesian Islands (same cruise we went on, only twice as long and with huge raving reviews from us). I felt slightly antisocial because the 4 of us (Eddie, Michelle, me and Mr. W) mainly just gushed about our experiences on this amazing cruise (see our series here!), but we had been waiting to hear about this cruise and were excited and jealous the entire 2 weeks they were on it.

I didn’t have any photos of Edgar & Ruby’s engagement or dinner at the time I first wrote this post, but I did have these! =D

But I digress.

Congrats, Edgar & Ruby! It’s not everyone who puts so much effort into proposals anymore. Aside from boys trying to be creative to push the odds in their favor when asking a girl to Prom, this much work in popping any question is virtually unheard of, and we’re so happy to have been a part of it.

This is the horrific way I was woken up this morning:

The bedroom window faces the back yard and given the warm weather, was open all night. Bursting through my slumber was the low-pitched yowl of a cat outside. Soon following was a second cat snarl, this time louder and longer, sounding like an angry violent cat scream. In my mind’s eye I saw a cat form, crouched low, ears plastered back, teeth revealed, and I thought, “cat fight.” Simultaneously I felt a wave of peace and gratitude that Dodo is an indoor cat and doesn’t get involved in stuff like that. Within seconds of the cat scream, I heard Mr. W’s voice coming in from the window, saying, “Dodo!!”

Sleep was immediately a lost cause. I listened carefully, and heard the sliding door leading to the back yard close. I half-expected Mr. W to run upstairs into the bedroom in a panic, holding a bloody black-and-white cat, but instead, only heard “normal” morning sounds of dishes and utensils clinking in the kitchen below. I got up, went to the restroom, and crawled back under the sheets, staring into the foggy sky outside. I guess I was hoping Dodo would walk into the bedroom to greet me with his higher-pitched wails, like he does to wake me up and announce himself in the mornings. No Dodo.

Eventually, Mr. W came upstairs and walked in. I was still catatonically staring into space. “What are you doing?” he asked. I turned my glazed stare in his direction. “Dodo is now a battlecat,” he announced rather proudly. I gulped back the resentment I felt, as I had trained Dodo to be an indoor-only cat, but had only learned in the last week or so that unbeknownst to me, Mr. W had been letting Dodo out into the back yard unsupervised in the mornings. According to Mr. W, Dodo just walks around the brick path, sniffing flowers and chewing some lily leaves, sometimes taking tastes from puddles of water made by the early morning sprinklers, and when Dodo was ready to come back inside, he’d meow by the door and Mr. W would open it for him. (I’d seen Mr. W encourage Dodo to go outside before, but Dodo wouldn’t stay there for long, only venturing a few steps out and then running back in within minutes.) This morning, Dodo did his usual round but didn’t yowl at the door to be let back in. Instead, he went for a second round. Mr. W had come back inside, and then heard the fierce yowls that I had heard. When he went to investigate, he found Dodo squared off facing another cat, which Mr. W recognized as a smaller gray tabby belonging to the new people next door (“I guess their cat ISN’T an indoor cat like I’d thought,” he said). When he approached the two cats, the gray tabby turned and ran off onto the low wall. Dodo sprinted after it, which was when Mr. W called out “Dodo!!” and my cat, knowing it wasn’t allowed to go much farther, froze in place. Then Mr. W picked up Dodo and brought him inside, closing the door behind them.

“You shouldn’t leave him outside unsupervised,” I said after his story, frowning.
“I know, I won’t anymore. This is the first time I’ve seen another cat in our yard.”
“He probably smelled the other cat and was being territorial.” I didn’t like the idea that my 13-year-old indoor cat felt the need to defend his house from random younger cats, which cats I don’t even know were properly vaccinated against rabies.
Dodo came strutting in at this point and greeted me, jumping onto the bed as usual, albeit later this morning.
“And now that cat taught Dodo how to get on the wall.” Great, just great. “Dodo kept going back to the glass door and looking outside,” Mr. W said almost gleefully. “He’d take a drink of water, then turn back to the door and look around.” Mr. W imitated the suspicious alert looking-around movements he’d seen in Dodo earlier.
I leaned my face toward my cat, who touched the tip of his damp nose to mine. I rubbed his soft head, telling him, “I know you’re a tom, but you’re not young anymore. Don’t go out there trying to fight stupid little cats, okay?” Dodo didn’t make me any promises.

I just got back from the OB. It’s pretty obvious now that I’m going to blow the 24-lb limit. If we use my one-time abnormally low weigh-in as the starting weight (120), which is on my OB’s record, then I’ve gained 19 lbs as of this morning’s visit. If we use the highest weight recorded by Kaiser within the few months before I got pregnant (127), then I’ve gained 12. Either way, with a whole 14 more weeks to go before delivery date, there’s no way I’m only gonna gain another 5-12 lbs in that time.

My OB brought up the point that my build/genetics isn’t designed to comfortably carry and birth a large child, but since Allie’s father is “a strapping tall Caucasian man,” and we can’t alter either party’s genetics, the only thing I’m able to do to help make delivery uncomplicated as far as baby size is concerned is to mitigate weight gain. He said ideally the baby’s weight would be in the high 6s, low 7s (lbs) at birth.

On the brighter side of things, Allie looks “happy” and “healthy” on her ultrasound. I asked my OB if he could confirm her gender before we buy too many girl items. He tried, but Allie was laying on her side with her legs in a semi-Buddha pose so that one foot clearly and completely blocked her genitals and we couldn’t see anything there. The doctor thought the position was a little odd, saying “that’s weird, it’s not quite cross-legged,” but it makes sense to me cuz I’ve laid that way comfortably since childhood, with the lower leg’s foot propped up on the upper leg’s raised knee. (Mr. W once called it weird, too, when he walked in on me lounging that way on the bed.) Maybe this means Allie and I can do yoga together, I dunno.

Other random stuff I learned about being pregnant:
* It’s not that my boobs are sagging; it’s that the stomach is now rising to meet them. =P
* Moving around during the day lulls the baby to sleep with the assistance of the amniotic fluid, but when I’m laying motionless at night, she wakes up in the stillness well-rested and full of energy to play and dance. Rocking myself to and fro on my side lulls her back to sleep.
* People see what they want to see when they look at me. Just about everyone complains I’m “teeny tiny,” barely showing, especially when looking at me straight-on or from behind. This could be because they expect/want to see me looking very obviously pregnant at 6.5 months along. I’ve seen photos of friends’ friends who at this point have their bellies extended way beyond their breasts, belly button popped out (neither is true for me, and I’m still smaller than some coworkers who are not pregnant). But there were 2 people, a female coworker and our pilates instructor, who both said that it’s obvious I’m carrying a girl because I’m very wide out the sides and back. The two accounts are contradictory. *shrug*

Sometime this week, Allie decided to have a growth spurt. Not only does my stomach feel tight the moment I eat a bit of food, but her movements are so distinct and coordinated that I now know she’s a night owl like her mommy (“owl” in Mandarin, by the way, literally translates to “cat-headed hawk”). She’d wake me up dancing at around 3am. If I curled up in fetal position, she’d waste no time in tapping against each of my quads (with perfect aim, one thigh after the other) until I lowered my legs and gave her extra space. I wish a fetal psychologist could tell me whether she’s tapping me in play (Mr. W: “Like how if you put your hand up on the glass, a monkey would put up its hand to match yours”), or being a spoiled brat and pushing away anything that infringes on her personal space. I tend to think it’s the latter, cuz she pushes away anything — my arm, the stethoscope head, my purse, my magazine, the pillow. Oh well, good thing I’m always up at night anyway cuz I sleep like a donut (with a hole in the middle), and Dodo does his territorial yowling thing around the same time as Allie’s dancing (they’re on the same schedule), so looks like the three of us will be up together often.

For the past 3 days, if I ate a normal-sized meal, I’d feel like I want to burst. I also would have trouble getting air into my lungs, but gasping repeatedly for air hurt my abdominal muscles and would give me minor sharp cramping sensations all over the area between my belly button and my ribcage. I remembered learning that at this point, the stomach is pushed up into my diaphragm and cramped, so anything more than a small meal IS very hard on my upper abdominal muscles/lungs/diaphragm. I finished a meal at dinner with hubby and the stepkidlet this evening (she’s back from Haiti now, armed with photos, stories, inspiration, and appreciation for life), and wobbled away from the table, gasping for air, thinking that if something accidentally went into my mouth now, my stomach would explode and Allie would fall out onto the floor. Mental note: no more full meals; stomach capacity has shrunken this week due to increase of uterus size.

People have been asking me for Allison’s middle name, and I tell them it’s undecided. Mr. W decided unilaterally today that it should be Allison Catherine. Why? Allie Cat. “Don’t do that to her!” Stepkidlet said. Coincidentally (or unfortunately), while we were shopping for my cousin Jennifer’s baby shower gift earlier in the week, I bought a really cute cat ensemble for Allie.

Allie’s wardrobe is growing…she got some cute onesies from her Auntie Jordan in Florida, and yesterday, I received a strange package in a manila envelope through courtmail. Turned out it contained a cute little ruffle dress with matching bloomers from her Auntie Erin in Beverly Hills Court. Thanks, Aunties! Now, I just need some place to put Allie’s stuff until we replace the guest room with her room.

(…like our late President FDR’s Fireside Chats, as I’m likely drinking as much coffee as he was sitting in front of an actual fireplace on air.)

WORK: I turned in my doctor’s note about the driving and public transportation restriction yesterday. The “powers that be” here at work kept me in the building, telling me to cover for a late-arriving clerk in Family Law in the morning. I went in there and was a fish out of water, but I was going to fudge my way through it. Luckily, a floater clerk heard about my being in there and came up of his own volition to relieve me, since he was trained in Family Law and I wasn’t. I totally owe my awesome coworkers. I ended up getting caught up on desk work in my own courtroom. We’ll see what management decides to do with me today.

PREGNANCY: I’d always wondered why pregnant women rub their hands and fingertips repeatedly on their swollen bellies. I’ve never gone up to a pregnant belly-rubbing woman and asked, but I’d filed the question away in my mental filing cabinet in a section called, “You’ll find out when you get older.” My mom started that file for me when I was very young. “You don’t need to ask me about grown-up stuff. You’ll find out/understand when you get older.” I’d put tons of stuff in there in the past, like the lyrics to “Star-Spangled Banner,” or why it was inappropriate to share a bed with one’s stepdad (thank you, soap operas that play when 6-year-olds are home from school). Now that I’m 6 months pregnant and definitely “popped,” I pulled out that belly-rubbing question again. I still don’t get it.

PHILOSOPHICAL PONDERINGS: I’m having an e-mail conversation with Dardy, and we’re discussing expectations leading to disappointment. This applies to anything, from my let-down trying a Magnum ice cream bar for the first time after seeing the most incredible advertising for them, to his meeting people face-to-face for the first time. His perspective is that generally, he’s learned to stop having expectations because those can skew how one perceives an otherwise perfectly fine situation. He brought up as an example, “that damn 99% rottentomatoes rating made me think that _toy story 3_ would blow my mind, but it didn’t, so i walked out disappointed despite it being a perfectly decent movie.” So it made me think a little.
I think anticipation is natural and kinda fun, but I do agree that expectations ruin a lot of things. We as humans can’t be so cocky as to think we know exactly what would and what should happen in our paths. When we get cocky, the Universe decides to show us a thing or two. 😉 I think rolling with the punches is an excellent skill, as with being able to see beyond the mismatch of expectation-to-reality, so that instead of griping and being upset that things weren’t as we’d wanted, we can see the beauty of things being MORE than we’d anticipated. There are learning experiences everywhere, and not everything is a black mark just because it wasn’t what we’d expected. That’s one of those things I seem completely incapable of teaching some people, as those people are continually aggravated by things not being exactly as they’d expected/wanted them to turn out. I can’t seem to make them see that the way things do turn out is still okay, and in some ways better, and in some ways needed in order to improve oneself. I think one has to be open-minded and introspective to see that.