That’s me, B.round. It stands for Best Round. Sometimes I’m also Purple Round or Blue Round, depending on what I’m wearing. I love hearing Jeff call me that. While I’m sure I’ll be happy to get back to my normal non-round shape, I know I’ll miss being B.round.

Well, I’m done with work for a while. Remember how I teach at a year round school? It worked out perfectly that my vacation happened to fall right now. I have two and a half weeks until Sophie’s due to arrive and I just know she’s going to cooperate and give me a a week and a half more than that. We’ve been telling her that October 28th would be a nice date. That would be 5 years to the day that Jeff finally gave in and kissed me. And that’s only 8 days late, not out of the question. Then I’ll be able to take off November and December for sure. We’ll see what things look like in January. It’s great because even if I have to go back for a bit in January, February is my next scheduled month off. I’ll be back for good in March. I’m so thankful to be able to have that much time at home getting the hang of being a mom.

In the meantime, we’re trying to get things ready, but most of all we’re just being with each other. We are very well aware of how things will change. Can you believe how quickly the time has passed? We’ll blink and this part of our lives will be a memory. I think dirty bathrooms and cobwebs in the garage can wait.

Oh, we went to a childbirth class this weekend. I won’t go into details, but I’m glad we went. I left feeling a little excited. (Yes, for the birth!) It sounds silly, but I’m kind of pumped up. I’m going to feel so proud of myself and Jeff is going to be the best at keeping me calm. I love his voice. I just know we’ll do a good job.

Sophie’s moving around in here like the knobs of a massage chair. Just slow rolls and hard protrusions. Our midwife said she’s a nice little package. Her head is down and everything looks good. She’s been very kind to me, I don’t feel very uncomfortable at all. I just can’t bend over as quickly or compactly, fit into small spaces, or snuggle myself close enough to Jeff. Little inconveniences, that’s all.

I really love being pregnant.

a chance of showers

The baby shower was Sunday, so thanks to all of you who were able to make it, or who helped pile our tousled heads with this enormous stack of extravagant gifts. It was, in a word, overwhelming. I suck at getting gifts in the first place, and I’m also pretty bad at mingling, so it was actually sort of a stressful day, weird and ungrateful as that sounds.

All this stuff is wonderful. I just feel guilty for getting it. Then again, you guys didn’t give it to me, you gave it to Sophie, so I guess that’s totally unnecessary.

A real highlight of the weekend was my mom flying Leah’s mom out for the shower. I don’t know how I did it, but I kept it a secret from everyone but Felina and Rahul for two weeks. Go me. Leah was, as they say in Texas, gomper-jawed. It was great having her here, not only for the shower, but just to see Leah pregnant and touch her round belly.

A lot of us painted it after the shower — my mom bought Leah a belly-painting kit:

Yes, I’m the one who wrote “I DID THIS.”

We even got to see Dr. and Mr. Gupta for a few minutes — they were in Mendocino for a wedding and came over on their way to the airport. Things were getting a little woolly by that point (last-minute preparations for the shower and all that good stuff), but it was great nonetheless.

The shower itself was hosted by Mrs. Langy at Posh Langy Manor, in their freshly landscaped backyard wonderland. I think more than 30 people showed up. Oman and Sara-no-H even flew up from SoCal!

Like I said…overwhelming.

Anyway, thanks, everybody. We’re almost as dazed by all your good vibes as we are by Sophie’s impending arrival. Pictures of the shower are here if you want to see ‘em. I poached some from Denise…

Non-party life is being taken up increasingly by organization and *gulp* classes. We took the breastfeeding class a couple of weekends ago, which was much more informative than I thought it’d be. I didn’t understand why the nurses thought I should be there (or why they thought it was necessary to threaten me with gun violence), but I’m glad I went. Tonight is pre-natal care, I think, and then we’ve got another one Friday night and all day Saturday. I’m sure I’ll forget almost everything as soon as the classes end, but I guess we should take advantage of our health insurance while it still offers anything at all in the way of personal attention.

Less than one month now until we meet our Screaming Little Person face-to-face. Whoa.

she’s robust.

The radiologist said robust, but I keep hearing rotund. Robust is a better description for a fetus. If she was described as rotund I’d be afraid. I’m the one that’s getting rotund. But before I tell you about me, look at our baby:

Can you see her? Don’t worry, it took us a while too. She wasn’t very cooperative…all scrunched up against my side with her hands in front of her face. She was so snuggled up that no amount of rolling and prodding could coerce her into a more photogenic position. So her head is sort of horizontal across the picture. Her forhead is on the left and you can see the eyelashes on the right eye. Her two hands are in front of the rest of her face. They are the white things in the middle. See her now? She’s kind of cute, I think. This is the last time we’ll see her until she’s born.

I’m almost 29 weeks pregnant and everything I read calls this the homestretch. Homestretch? I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m just getting round and I really like it. I love round things, and now now I’m one! I get to feel Sophie move every day and I can rub my own belly whenever I want. I also like it when people come up to me and put their hands on me. It has made me smile every time. I feel so lucky.

At this point, I’d like to be pregnant forever. I’m comfortable and rotund. (Okay, there were a few 100+ degree days when thought my head was going to start spinning around, but just a few.) I always feel special and excited. I do want to have our own little family, it’s just that the future seems so unimaginable. It’s weird to think that this life that I have been so happy with will go away. I’ve been told that soon I won’t even remember what it was like before Sophie was born. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I kind of don’t want to budge from this warm little spot.

One more thing about this homestretch- no more size comparisons. I know, just boring measurements. Do you know of anything that is about 2 pounds 10 ounces and 14.5 inches long? It could be anything. We’ve had enough produce comparisons, though. Try for some kind of animal. That would make me laugh.

a bag of flour

I didn’t mean to take a month off from writing here. It just sort of happened.

First, I finally graduated from college, and upon doing so discovered that my degree is essentially worthless in the job market. So I moped around for a couple of weeks before deciding to try and make a full-time proposition out of the graphic design consulting firm I own with Rahul. Ever since then, I’ve been wandering around wide-eyed, freaking out about how foolish I am to even think about working for myself with a baby on the way.

At least when Sophie is old enough to bug me about wanting me to buy stuff for her, I can just sit her down in front of this entry and let her read about why her dad doesn’t have a pot to piss in.

Actually, allegedly, by then I’ll be a Real Live History Teacher. The credential program starts in September. I should have everything, including my master’s, a little over a year from then. Hopefully we can get out of California before Sophie is old enough to remember how mild the winters are here.

Also eating into my writing time has been the fact that we are now living with The Boy. The Boy is six. The Boy is smart. The Boy has bottomless reserves of energy. You must always be paying attention to The Boy. So, quite often, I’m pooped. Explaining to a six-year-old what it means to work out of the home is something I encourage everyone to try doing. It’s a lot of fun no matter how many times you do it — regardless of the tactic you use to attempt getting your message across, the conversation always ends with him pleading with you to install something called Chicken Attack on your computer.

It’s good training for our own children. I like having him around; also, the situation being what it is, I’m confident that I won’t ever get any kind of credit for whatever positive influence I manage to dribble out on his little psyche. Just as I won’t from my own kids — at least not until I’m too old to remember them giving it to me.

So our little bean continues to get bigger every day. I might be remembering this wrong — I always do — but I think this week she’s a bag of flour:

Leah and The Boy

I don’t understand it. I mean, I’m feeling the first dim stirrings of what all this means, but I can’t take it all in. I don’t think anybody in this position can. I put my hand on Leah’s stomach at night and feel Sophie bouncing around, and I look at the ultrasounds, and we do stuff like going on our hostpital tour, but it’s still sort of pretend. I think, after October 20 or so, I may not write here (or anywhere) for awhile. My brain may shut down.

So I’m trying to take care of everything I can while it’s still functioning. Like restoring my old cradle:

My grandfather built it and gave it to my mother when I was born. I used to sleep in it:

In a stroke of total awesomeness, my mom held onto it, and now it’s here. It’s as old as I am, though, and looked just as dirty, scuffed and beat up as I do:

My mom suggested steel wool and linseed oil. Having never used linseed oil, I imagined this project would be something that would take me weeks or even months. It would be super manly. I might have to build a shop in the garage to do it. I could be like Joel.

But no. It was incredibly easy. This stuff is supposed to be really combustible as it dries, so I didn’t do the whole cradle all at once, but the entire project took me maybe an hour. Linseed oil, as it turns out, is magic.

These pictures don’t look all that dramatic, now that I see them next to the originals, but trust me when I say that there’s a big difference between the way the cradle looked when it got here and the way it looks now. If you’ve got anything that needs restoring — old furniture, antique knicknacks, a car — linseed oil will do you right.

Now I just need to find a mattress that will fit in this thing…

a banana?

Week 23: Your baby weighs a little over a pound and is about 8 1/2 inches long — the size of a banana.

These weekly updates are silly. From fruits to crustaceans and rodents to bags of coffee beans, they have compared the size of our baby to the the weirdest things. And it’s inconsistent too. Don’t you think a bag of coffee beans is bigger than a banana? (A bag of coffee beans or a box of sugar was last week’s size.)

But anyway, she’s a pound now! I have been feeling her move around everyday. It’s so comforting. It makes me feel warm and happy. Every morning right before the kids come and then in the afternoon and always when I lay down for bed. Just this week Jeff felt her with his hand and his face. (Way to go Sophie! She’s already kicked him in the face!) My favorite time of day is when Jeff and I settle down for bed and he has his hand on my belly while she’s bumping around in there. Before that her kicks were just enough for me to feel from the inside. They are getting so strong now that I actually saw my stomach move this morning.

I just imagine her floating and flipping like an astronaut. When I was little I watched that movie Space Camp and I was fascinated with being weightless. That’s how she lives now…inside of me! She has enough room to bounce all over the place. I love it.

I also went clothes shopping for the first time. My thoughtful and generous friend, Laura, has sent me a ton of maternity clothes to borrow, but I couldn’t resist getting some for myself. I am not quite ready for moo-moo tops, but my regular clothes have been squeezed into for the last time. It was fun going shopping. I even tried on girly dresses. I used to see pregnant women in whispy summer dresses with protruding bellies and think they looked so cute. I always wanted to look like that when I was pregnant. Well, it’s like what happens with my clod-hopper feet. What looks adorable on other people doesn’t quite look the same on me. I felt like a big wrapped present. And it doesn’t help that most of dresses were pink and frilly with bows. Like I was a baby myself. Except for this one dress…And I bought it! (But only after finding it on the sale rack and trying it on twice, then going back a week later and trying it on again.) It’s not exactly me, but it’s kindof cute. I’ll send a picture the first time that I wear it.

My body has suddenly started to transform. I’m not sure what to make of it. My belly is definitely round and getting more so by the day. I’ll spare you the details about my breasts, but they are also morphing. Ah! I kind of like it, but it’s strange to be so out of control of what happens to my body.

I guess that’s all for now…I’ll try not to let so much time pass before the next time I write.

Oh! Good news! I found out that my weeks change on a Thursday instead of a Sunday! So now I can say that I am into my next week 4 days sooner!

he’s saying “mom, nice rack”

Our friends Joel and Laura have an adorable little girl. Really, she is. I’m not just saying that because she’s little and chubby. But that isn’t the point of this post. The point of this post is that Joel and Laura decided to teach baby Abigail sign language.

We found out about this last year, when they were here visiting Joel’s folks for Christmas, and I was…what’s the word I’m looking for here? Impressed? Surprised? Taken aback? Well, whatever, what I’m trying to say is that I’d never heard of teaching a baby sign language before. When we found out Leah was pregnant, I started looking into doing the same thing with our little bean.

Turns out there’s a whole bunch of people doing this, for the very simple reason that a child can communicate long before he can speak, and by giving him the tools to tell you what he wants to say, you help to cut down on a whole lot of frustration (both the child’s and your own).

I don’t know sign language–well, aside from the kind you use behind the wheel of a car–but I’m fascinated by this idea. I think it’s terrific. The only thing left to do is select a good, solid teaching program. This one looks good:

Any parents out there who have gone the sign-language route with their children? Programs you’ve looked into? Stuff you’ve heard?

one quick thing

I was all ready to type up some warm and cuddly thoughts tonight, but then I sat down and read my latest weekly pregnancy update. Week 15: Your baby weighs about 2.8 ounces (79 grams) and is about 4 1/2 inches from crown to rump — roughly the size of a small gerbil.

A small gerbil?!

Apparently we are past the fruit stage and into the rodent stage. Yippee!