Thursday, November 30, 2006

Underneath His Beard So Snowy White

I'm hiding upstairs. I have to stay up here until 7:30.

In case you didn't know, R is a singing teacher. Wednesdays are at the academy and Thursdays are here at home. I don't want the students to feel self-conscious, so I hole up in the office until the coast is clear. Tonight I've got the soundtrack from The Drowsy Chaperone to keep me company. It can get old to hear these students sing the same song several times in a row, so it's nice to have some alternatives.

Earlier this evening, R was getting ready for her lessons by practicing one of the carols on the piano. She was playing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, which has the following lyrics:
I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn't see me creep
down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked
up in my bedroom fast asleep.

Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white;
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night
Most carols are about things kids understand, things like snow, sleighbells, Rudolph and baby Jesus. Not this one. I remember singing it as a kid in elementary. All the students would gather in the gym and we would sing carol after carol. I still remember my confusion about this song every time we sang it.

When you are still young enough to believe in Santa, it is difficult to understand why he and your mom would be kissing on Christmas Eve.

My young mind would try to find an logical explanation -- perhaps Santa was standing under some mistletoe. If so, why the tickling under the beard? You can see how troubling this might have been for me. My confusion was compounded by fear... fear for Santa's safety. In the song, they say "what a laugh it would have been if Daddy had only seen." I think Santa would have a lot of explaining to do, and I don't think anyone would be laughing.

In fact, I think Pops would have decked him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sears Deal: Truth or Fiction?

In a comment to this posting, J&L said that they'd heard from their nurse that purchases on a Sears card are free if your baby is born on the due date. I am generally suspicious of this sort of thing, so I thought I'd check it out.

I searched all over the internet without finding any other mention of such a program. The Sears site doesn't have any information, and I couldn't find any bloggers talking about it. I think the only thing left to do is to call the baby department at a Sears store to ask them directly. I would do it right now, but the stores are likely closed at the moment.

Suppose that this is true -- do they have conditions covering induced labour? If not, you could buy all sorts of crazy stuff and then prevail upon your doctor to induce you on the due date. Then you could turn your baby's arrival into a big scam. What a way to start life -- accessory to fraud.

Is it really is true that Sears will refund you the value of your baby-related purchases should your baby be born on the due date? Has anyone out there heard anything more about this? I would like to know... for educational purposes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cradle Full of Thoughts

Some friends of ours (B&B) from church gave us a cradle. They dropped it off last night. It's our first item of baby paraphernalia. It's interesting that we should get it from them. They went through thirteen years of frustration before they finally decided to adopt two children. Thirteen years!. B&B have been good examples for us as we were dealing with our fertility woes. They also loaned us two books: one about coping with not having kids, and one about adoption.

Then today I found this blog about infertility, while I was looking up something else. The blog belongs to a pair of writers who are now authoring a book, to help educate the rest of society about "the feelings and needs of those experiencing infertility." Sounds like a worthy project.

All of this reminded me of the feelings that we had just a few months ago, when it was uncertain if we would ever be able to have kids. While we are relieved to know that it's possible, and now we have a bit of a reprieve, at times like this I can't help but wonder if we'll be able to have any more kids. Ideally, we would like several kids who are close enough in age to be friends and have fun together.

Well, for now, we'll just forget about our fertility problems and enjoy the excitment.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Large Onion

I have been advised that some responsibilities around the house need to take precedence over the blog for the next few days. I'll be brief.

According to, the baby is now the size of a large onion (5 inches). I think I know exactly what they're talking about. I've seen some big onions before. You might remember the picture of the enormous onion rings from the Iceberg Drive Inn, which I posted in week 11.

We also ran into some big onions Labour Day weekend when my brother T was in town. We went to the "Blooming Onion" chip wagon in downtown Ottawa and had their trademark dish. For those who don't know, they serve an onion blossom, which is basically a huge onion that's been cut, battered and deep fried so that it expands like a huge flower. I looked it up on wikipedia and found out that the onions used for this sort of thing are Vidalia Onions, which are large, sweet onions that are grown in Georgia.

I know about large onions. I've seen 'em. I hope you believe me, because I really shouldn't write any more.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


They say the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. It had better be, because there is NO WAY you could cram more people into Macy’s without crowd-surfing. On a whim, we decided to meet up with Kage and J for a morning of shopping and admiring the festive window decorations in the big stores. The only store we went into was Macy’s. We were carried along through the surging humanity, bouncing off displays of jewelry and neckties until we were spewed out into a bit of stillwater near one of the walls. I felt particularly bad for them, because they were trying to navigate the floods with a baby stroller and two little kids.

The people who lined up outside BestBuy for the 5am doorcrasher sale probably got some sweet deals, but we did all our shopping for free. In the end, the only shopping we did was window-shopping. More than fifty blocks worth. The further north you go, the thinner the crowds.

No trip to NYC would be complete without a night at the theatre. This time, we saw The Drowsy Chaperone. I’d read a lot about this one when it made its start in Toronto, and I was pretty excited to see it. I recommend it to anyone who likes musicals and likes to laugh. All of it was funny, but I have to say the bride’s song about the monkey on the pedestal was one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the stage. It makes me laugh just thinking about it.

We’re on our way home now, so it’s all over for this year. Looking back on our six years together, we couldn’t help but notice how much better we are getting at this. When we got married, we were clueless and in love. Now we know much more stuff, and we love each other more than ever.

This time next year we’ll have a 6-month-old baby. Amazing.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Through their 5 years of experience, my cousin (kage) and her husband (J) have figured out the best way to see the Macy’s Day Parade. I shouldn’t give away all their secrets, but I’ll give you a few tips:

Go early.
Go early and dress for the weather.

The plan was to meet J at 6:30am near the intended position on the west side of Central Park, so that we could stake out front-row seats for the parade, which would not begin until 9:00am. Unfortunately, it was cold, rainy and windy at 6:30 … and at 7:30 … and at 8:30 … etc. Instead of a front-row seat on the exposed sidewalk, we opted for a second-row seat under the shelter of some scaffolding. This turned out to be a good move, because we were spared the worst of the rain, but we still got pretty wet traveling to our destination.

From our position, the view was somewhat limited, but we still got a great look at SuperGrover, SpongeBob and the rest of the crew. We also saw such celebrities as Emmitt Smith, Julie Andrews and the Harlem Globetrotters (not all on the same float, however). It was really good, but after several hours, the wet and cold took its toll. We finally had to bail out.

When we showed up at Kage’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner at 1pm, we could still feel the chill in our bones. That didn’t last long, as we tucked into a legitimate FEAST. Kage really knocked herself out preparing it all – literally. As we lingered around the table, nibbling on rolls and wishing we had the capacity to eat one more helping, we noticed Kage had disappeared. She went to check on the baby and crashed. Poor girl had worked so hard. Rightly so. She had cooked up every conceivable Thanksgiving dish.

We spent that night in a hotel near Times Square. We were pleasantly surprised. Not only was it nice, it was a good deal. We were particularly impressed/intrigued that they used a funky yellow lamp to backlight the headboard. The only unnerving thing was the mysterious knocking.

In the night, we heard a knocking at the door. When I figured out what was going on and got to the door, there was no one there. We really weren’t expecting anyone, so I was confused when it happened again a little while later. Only half-dressed, I stumbled to open the door to find what looked like a repairman, standing in the hall with a bucket of ice. He asked, “did you order the ice?” We didn’t order any ice. What circumstances would require a express delivery of ice in the middle of the night?

The Mansfield Hotel: They get plus one point for the yellow light and minus one point for the ice debaucle.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NYC Part I

The blog was on hiatus while we were out of town. We decided to celebrate our sixth year of marital bliss in the Big Apple. We figure, it’s easier to make this kind of impulse trip now (before we have kids), so we should take every opportunity. And this was a perfect opportunity, really. Our big day corresponded with US Thanksgiving, so we could go down and see the big parade and have a big turkey feast with my cousin and my little brother, who both live there.

Did you know that it only takes 7 hours to drive from Ottawa to New York? Do you know where Ottawa is? Not everyone does. A lot of people asked us where we were visiting from. When we said “Ottawa”, we got quite a few blank looks. We did our best to be ambassadors for Ottawa, telling people about all the great activities that Ottawa has to offer. More than once, we talked about skating on the canal and enjoying Winterlude. In retrospect, this may be a weak selling point. There are probably few people from New York City who are looking to travel north during the winter. We’ll have to come up with some more ideas.

Wednesday was mostly just a travel day. We drove down quite casually, and met up with T (my brother) at his apartment. He and a roommate share a two-bedroom place on the Upper East Side. It’s nice enough, but man is it small! T’s bedroom is big enough for a loft bed with a chair underneath. He moved the chair to the living room so that we could put our inflatable mattress on the floor under the loft bed. Once it was set up, there was almost enough room for two people to stand in the doorway. His roommate had a visitor sleeping on the couch, so we had 5 people jammed into that little place.

I guess they have a lot of visitors – cheap people like us. A decent hotel in Manhattan is at least 100 bucks / night, but usually more like 200 bucks – and that doesn’t include parking. By mooching off these guys, we saved a ton of cash. I did the math, and it costs them nearly $50 each per night to live there. Not a cheap place to live, not a cheap place to visit.

R didn’t do so well on the inflatable mattress. She never sleeps well the first night away from home. It always takes her a day to adapt to a new bed. She didn’t have a lot of time to adapt anyways, since we were getting up early for the parade.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Little Feet Get Bigger

I was reading an excerpt of a male-oriented pregnancy book on yesterday, and it said that a woman's feet can grow by half a shoe size during pregnancy. They don't just get swollen, they actually grow bigger. I found this difficult to understand. I searched the term "pregnant feet grow" in google and guess where it took me? --!

According to the article on, the hormone that helps your bones get ready to deliver a baby also loosens the ligaments in your feet, causing the bones to spread out. As a result, your foot can get noticeably bigger. Get this: it's permanent. Wow.

An article from a rival site ( quotes an expert who says that the "weight of pregnancy lowers the arches, further adding to the foot's length and width." This site emphatically warns against wearing shoes that fit too tightly. They give some brilliant advice on how to determine whether your shoes are too small: trace the sole of your shoe on some paper. Now trace your foot. Now compare the two. Guess what it means if your foot-tracing is bigger than the shoe tracing -- Yep, it means the shoes are too small. Genius!

These guys are going to give a run for their money.

R's feet are tiny (size 6). She has REALLY high arches, though. If her arches were to come down, her foot would probably double in length. Between that and the magic hormones, she's probably going to need to wear my shoes (size 12) before long. Then I'll have to go out and get some more.

Maybe I should get some now, just in case...

Monday, November 20, 2006


We've been telling people that we're just a little past the 3-month mark. We've been saying that for a few weeks, and just yesterday we realized that we're actually closer to the 4-month mark. With this realization, R felt better about the recent expansion of her stomach. At 3 months, it wasn't really supposed to show, but at 4 months, she's right on track. must have taken notice of my previous complaints about imprecise fruit-based measurements. This week they say that the baby is "about the size of an avocado." At first I was confused, because I thought that an avocado was smaller than a softball, meaning we had actually lost ground.

But then I looked up wikipedia's avocado article, which says that an avocado can be 7-20 cm long, and can weigh anywhere from 100g to 1000g. Very clever, babycenter. They picked a fruit that can cover the baby's development for the next 2 months. Very clever, indeed.

I think has some sort of Avocado Agenda. This week's article discusses how to manage weight gain (you should gain 12-14 pounds this trimester). If you aren't gaining enough, they recommend that you "Add avocados to a lunchtime salad (they're nutrient-rich and full of "good" fat.)" Why the sudden preoccupation with avocados?

Perhaps they have constructed their fruit-meter carefully, so that each fruit reminds you of something you are supposed to eat or do to maintain proper health and development. Or perhaps they are funded entirely by the corrupt avocado lobby (called "Big Guac" in certain circles). I think it's Big Guac.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


During this week's reading, R discovered this segment in YPWBW (p179):
Short of taking up a reclusive existence on a desert island, there's no way for a pregnant woman to escape the unsolicited advice of those around her. There's just something about a bulging belly that brings out the "expert" in everyone.
People will see you running and say you shouldn't run. The same will be true about carrying heavy bundles, or stretching. According to the author, most of what you hear is nonsense -- old wives tales, myths, etc. The book recommends that you just take your advice from your doctor. This sounds fine, but the author is not our doctor... does this mean we are to ignore the author's recommendation, as well? What a dizzying conundrum.

The book forewarns the expectant parents of "gratuitous advice and inevitable predictions about the baby." It is interesting to note that every person who has decided to make a prediction about the gender of the baby has made the same prediction. I find this slightly eerie. What do they all know that I don't know?

I would like to solicit your predictions regarding the baby's gender. Please comment below. These are just predictions, not advice, so you are not obligated to become our physician in order to comment.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Good news. The tummy has arrived.

After three months of reading about the baby's growth without much physical evidence, we can proudly say that R is beginning to show -- even if just a little bit. She had already noticed the difference at her waistline in some of her slimmer-fitting pants, but until now it had not been very visible. I guess it's still not very visible, but I can tell. I think it's very exciting.

But remember, just because the tummy is there, that doesn't mean you should rub it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

swallowing spiders

We have an inordinate number of spiders in our house. It's not like "Arachnophobia" or anything, but we probably find one crawling on the wall weekly. Spiders totally freak R out, so I have to deal with them. I have now learned to recognize the sharp intake of breath that is her trademark reaction to seeing a spider. Without exchanging a word, I can follow her gaze to locate the invader. I guess it's nice to feel needed. However, when I'm not around, she somehow musters up the courage to take care of it on her own.

Recently, we found one crawling on the bed. I'll admit, it's quite startling, but I couldn't understand the absolute terror. I asked, "What's it going to do to you? It probably doesn't bite or anything."

R said, "I don't know why it's so scary, it just is." She also mentioned the disgusting possibility -- no matter how remote -- that you might swallow one. This idea had only occurred to her recently, because someone told her that you swallow, on average, eight spiders per year.

I thought that sounded ridiculous, and I went on this long rant about it. Eight spiders? That's nearly one per month! Ridiculous, I tell you.

I looked it up and yes, it is bunk. This is one of the articles I found:

What self-respecting predator would hurl itself into the jaws of a sleeping foe on a regular basis? Just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you hear. R wants me to make it clear that she didn't believe the spidercide stats, but it grossed her out all the same.

(This posting has nothing to do with babies, pregnancy, doulas or layettes.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Married Party

We went to a birthday party on Saturday for a friend who had turned 30. He had just gotten married in October, so this event also served as a housewarming of sorts for him and his wife. Predictably, many of the guests were married couples as well.

I wasn't sure if I would know very many people (since we've not known this fellow for very long), so I put in a call to a friend of mine who I knew would be going, just to be sure we'd have someone to talk to. I've been to a lot of gatherings where I knew the host, but no one else. Those can be awkward, because you spend the evening building relationships from scratch (I rely heavily on lame jokes). R performs well in those circumstances (she's good at "bubbly"), but an evening of it tires her out. Fortunately, we knew most of the guests, so I was able to relax and enjoy the tour around their recently-acquired home and the large selection of finger foods.

Like I said, the company largely consisted of married couples, but there were a few singles in the group -- seven to be exact. Four of them were engaged, so that doesn't really count. One young pair have been engaged for a few months, and will be married during the Christmas break. They seemed quite comfortable in their surroundings. You would not guess this was their first venture into the world of "married parties."

I spoke to DM (the groom-to-be) the next day, and asked him how he had enjoyed himself in this new milieu. I mainly expected comments about the quality of the food -- because it was pretty good. DM said, "When I walked through the door, I immediately felt five years older." He said the experience felt completely different from single life. He pointed out the following differences about a married party:

1. Nobody sits on the floor.
I take this mean that single people like to sprawl about, wherever there is room for them. I had not noticed this before, but it makes sense. You rarely see your grandparents lounging on the living room floor. There must be a transition point somewhere. Apparently, that transition is matrimony.

2. People don't talk or shout across the room.
They speak only to people who are closer to them, making the whole atmosphere much quieter. I was surprised at this comment as well, but it is absolutely accurate. Why is this the case? No idea.

3. They all go home early.
It makes sense that the couple that brought their baby would need to leave early, but they weren't the only ones. By 11:30pm, the place was desolate. The hosts themselves were completely surprised. They must have expected us to linger in various corners of the house until we had to be forcibly removed. I have a hypothesis here:
The event started at 7:30pm. All the married people arrived within 20 minutes of the appointed time, but the singles trickled in until 10:30 or so (DM had to work until later, so he was justified showing up later). By 11:30, we'd been there four hours. There's only so much artichoke dip you can eat in one evening. Eventually, you have to give up and go home.

Well, welcome to married life. Sometimes it may not appear that wild or crazy, but the food is excellent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

maternity clothes

Here's a little quote from this week's article at babiesonline:
Your regular clothes may begin to feel a little snug now so don't try to force your body into them. You can wear elastic top pants such as stretch pants or sweats until you can either invest in or borrow some proper maternity clothing. If all else fails, borrow some of your partner's clothes if needed or just unzip your pants.

This is remarkably similar to the advice on p. 177 of YPWBW*: "Your spouse's closet will be your best friend."

It is certainly possible that R will require access to my wardrobe, but probably not yet. There is still a substantial size difference between us. For starters, I am 11 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than she is. The way I see it, it will probably take a few more weeks of pregnancy to make up for that difference. I can't really think of anything that she could wear. I don't have any sweat pants, but maybe she could try on a pair of shorts (men's XL). My shorts are long enough that they'd likely pass as capris on her... sporty, baggy capris. Here's a picture of R wearing a pair of "one size fits all" parachute pants that I got from surplus store a few years ago. As you can see, she has 5 or 6 inches of excess waistline in those pants.

The parachute pants are quite adjustable, but they fit me almost perfectly. There is a drawstring on the waist, but I don't really have to use it. The legs are maybe an inch or two shorter than I'd like. Well, we cinched them up wherever they would cinch, and we rolled the pantlegs up a bit. In the end, they looked like they might not fall right off. R tried one of my sweatshirts, but we took it off for the picture -- you couldn't really see the pants.

So, she'll have to find some of her own maternity clothes until she gets to 8 months or so. Then she can raid my side of the closet all she wants.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pink Softball Cocktail

Can you think of a fruit that is 4 inches across? If so, you need to send an email to and to Neither of them had any comparisons for us this week. Luckily, YPWBW* came through for us, suggesting that the baby is about the size of a softball. I found this website that lets you print baby pictures onto softballs, perhaps for people who can't wait to coach little league. You probably wouldn't use those softballs for batting practice.

We have a softball sitting in our shed that we received a few years ago. In the middle of the night, we heard a crash, but we couldn't figure out what it was, so we went back to sleep. In the morning, we realized that someone had thrown a softball into our bedroom window. Luckily, the screen was in place, so the ball and the glass fell into the yard, instead of the bedroom.

I think a grapefruit is pretty close to the same size as a softball. In fact, I just looked it up in wikipedia and it says that it's 10-15 mm, which is 4-4.5 inches. Perhaps babycenter skipped the grapefruit because they don't really like it -- maybe it's too sour for their tastes. I don't really like it either, but R loves it. Watching her squeeze out the juice and slurp it up with a spoon gives me the shivers. Did you know that grapefruit was grown mainly as an ornamental fruit until the 19th century? That was probably for a good reason. The only real way to have grapefruit is in Noname Brand Pink Grapefruit Cocktail (which probably doesn't have any grapefruit juice in it at all).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scarce Heard Amid the Guns Below

Growing up, every year we would have school assemblies on Remembrance Day (Nov 11), and we would have a minute of silence at 11'clock am. There is a national memorial service in Ottawa every November, at the war memorial near Parliament Hill. Today we watched it on TV. Before the memorial, there was coverage from a funeral service for a servicewoman who was recently killed in Afghanistan. I always find these types of services moving. The most poignant of these experiences was in France two years ago.

In June 2004, as part of a tour by the Carleton University Choir, R was invited to sing in an international choir that would perform on Omaha Beach, on the Normandy coast of France, for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. I had the opportunity to go with her. The concert on Omaha Beach was great, but the real highlight was a visit to the Canadian Cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, near Juno Beach.
In the cemetery were buried more than 2000 Canadians, killed during the first weeks of the Normandy invasion (nearly 400 were killed the first day). While we were there, a charter-bus of Canadian WWII veterans arrived. The University Choir began an impromptu concert, singing (a capella) a musical adaption of "In Flanders Fields". The choir finished the number with difficulty, singing through tears. I wept like a baby.

In case you haven't had a chance to read it again this year, here is the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian field surgeon Colonel John McCrae during World War I. McCrae wrote the poem in May 1915 near Ypres, France, the day after he had conducted a funeral service for a friend and former student from Ottawa.
In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

If you had been in that cemetary -- if you had seen the veterans walking among headstones, row upon row -- you would have felt the same. Although the names of the dead were etched on most of the headstones, those who could not be identified say simply:

"A soldier
of the
Second World War
A Canadian Regiment

Known Unto God"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Father to None, Uncle to Many

Uncle to fifteen, in fact.
-- As of Tuesday.

Congratulations to R's sister J, who had a new baby boy on Tuesday. That's their second (first was a girl). In addition to these two, we have four nephews and nine nieces on my side of the family.

We happened to speak to J (and her husband L) Sunday night, less than 36 hours before J went into labour. She said that her due date was Tuesday, but she was predicting that it would be another week before the delivery. She was counting on having a few extra days to get ready. No such luck, the baby came right on her due date.

While she was in labour, we happened to be visiting with our doctor, as I noted before. The doctor pulled out his little calendar-wheel to confirm that May 7 was the predicted "big day", but he also mentioned that only three percent of babies are actually born on the due date. According to one site, 80 percent are born with 10 days of the date.

You basically have a window of 20 days when the baby is likely to be born. That's almost a whole month! When people ask us when R is due, I might as well just say, "spring-ish 2007". Maybe I will.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Interpreting Heartbeats

Today we met the specialist for the first time. We will meet with him several times between now and the due date. If schedules align properly, he might also be the doctor who delivers the baby.

He was an exceptionally nice fellow. In fact, I've noticed that all of the doctors we've worked with have been very nice (almost too nice). I think I can see why. Every day they work with women (and their husbands) to allay their concerns about issues that are completely loaded with emotion. At the fertility clinic, I imagine they see a lot of tears -- both kinds. It seemed like our doctor always handled us with padded gloves. I'm not really used to that.

The doctor mostly asked us questions about our medical history, so that he could inform the technicians who will carry out the next set of tests. In four weeks we'll have an ultrasound (that's probably when we'll find out the gender), and another ultrasound two weeks after that. The second ultrasound will be a close examination of the head and neck.

After all the paperwork, he checked the baby's heartbeat, using a little device that looks like the one used in an ultrasound. It amplified the heartbeat so that we could all hear it.

Hearing the heartbeat again was amazing.

The heart was just thumping away like mad. It was 155 beats / minute. In folk medicine, he explained, such a heartbeat indicates that the baby is a girl. Being trained in the lab, he doubts such interpretation. I don't know much about it, but I'm inclined to take his side on this one. I think any method of guessing the gender could appear effective, since it's bound to be accurate 50 percent of the time. (I found a reference to a lab study that disproved this method.)

I heard somewhere that there is such a thing as the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which uses the lunar month of the mother's birth and the predicted due date to determine the gender of the baby. I tried it out and here's the result:
It's a girl! (Chinese Age 30 at Lunar month 7)
From another page on the same site, I learned that the length of the baby's name can be lucky or unlucky (8s are lucky!). Given the length of our last name, the first and second names would have to fit 9 possible combinations of length. The first name could be as short as 4 letters or as long as 24 letters. 24 letters?! That's like going once through the alphabet, or Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx! What would you shorten that to, Abby?
From the Chinese Fortune-Telling view, a perfect name is a lucky name with lucky numbers and with the implication of lucky elements...Chinese I-Ching philosophy is the foundation of Chinese astrology. The theory of I-Ching is very profound and difficult to understand by ordinary people.
Once we have the next ultrasound, then I'll start thinking about gender and names. In the meantime, we'll just stick to lemons and limes.

Monday, November 06, 2006

From Lime To Lemon Lanugo

According to the careful calculations of the Babycenter fruitmeter, the baby is now the length of a lemon -- the yellow fruit that they put in drinks, etc. This is significant progress, because a lemon is obviously bigger than a lime (even a large lime).

Fruit comparisons are becoming old hat, but there is something new about the baby's development this week: lanugo. This is the layer of fine hairs which cover the baby's body. Apparently, the baby will shed the lanugo during weeks 37-40 in favor of vellus hair, the peach fuzz that will remain after birth.

My younger brother was the king of peach fuzz. He had blond peach fuzz on the back of his neck that grew 4 or 5 times faster than the darker hair on his head. He usually kept his hair short, and by the time he needed another haircut, his peach fuzz would be nearly twice as long as the rest of his hair. It twisted and curled all over the place. It was wicked. Now he has impossibly coarse curly hair that obscures everything, which is sad. He can grow a mean goatee, though.

Babycenter also notes that the mother may begin to show a little bit. This is because it becomes harder to conceal progressively larger pieces of fruit in your abdomen without someone noticing. Bigger fruit = bigger tummy. I hope you understand this concept, because I really can't explain it any clearer than that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Expectant Mothers Parking

We went to Zellers today, hoping to buy a new skillet.

We have been married long enough that some of our wedding presents are starting to wear out. Some kind soul gave us a Black & Decker electric skillet as a gift, and it has served us very well for 6 years. Unfortunately, it now needs to be replaced. We were headed to a nearby store anyway, so we ducked into Zellers to browse the merchandise.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed an empty parking spot that said "Parking for Expectant Mothers and Mothers With Small Children". For the last few weeks I have been wondering about these parking spots. When will it be appropriate for us to begin using them?

Perhaps you have to be obviously pregnant to be eligible. One sign I saw somewhere has a picture of an enormously pregnant woman on it, so you get the impression that is the type of expectant mother they had in mind. Someone who is only 3 months along is not under the same kind of burden. But techically, they are both "expectant mothers" and entitled to the parking spot.

Does it matter if you are alone? If I am driving the car, I can assist my expectant wife with her parcels and packages, so she may not NEED the spot as badly as another, unescorted expectant mother. Would it look weird for an able-bodied man to emerge from a car parked in one of these spots?

A few months from now, when R is more obviously pregnant, I think I'm going to make use of these parking spots. If nothing else, it cuts down on the distance R will have to walk on her aching feet (I know they are going to ache, because she has impossibly high arches that ache already). That would make shopping a real pleasure.

Shopping at Zellers today was good enough that I didn't mind parking in a normal spot. Although we didn't find the skillet, they had this sweet 2-for-1 deal on pillows. Not only that, they had something like 20 cashiers working the tills, and there were no lines at all. I can't even imagine what a complete nightmare it would have been to go to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. Actually, I've done it. And each time I swear to myself that I'm not going back to Walmart, pregnant parking or not. What a total zoo, that place.

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm a Zellers man now.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dinner And A Movie

Who ever thought it could be so hard just to go out for dinner and a movie?

The first obstacle came in the form of car trouble. 95 percent of the time, our car starts just fine. But one time in twenty, you turn the key and nothing happens. Nothing. No flickering lights, no clicking, no wheezing. I can always push start it to get it going, so I haven't found it to be a terrible nuisance. R is of a different opinion, especially since she had it happen to her twice this week. Petite pregnant ladies really shouldn't be trying to push-start their cars all alone, so she tries to make sure she parks on a hill.

She finally prevailed on me to get the car looked at (I poked around under the hood with a screwdriver but it didn't seem to fix the problem). I dropped it off Friday morning, but they said they probably couldn't look at it right away. We only have one car, so I knew I'd have to come back for the car at the end of the day, whether they'd fixed it or not. I was worried we were going to miss our night on the town. When I went to pick the car up, they said they'd found the problem -- someone had been poking around under the hood with a screwdriver. I told them I'd bring it back on Monday and they could keep looking for the real problem.

I left work late and I had to ride my bike to the shop to get the car, so we were going to be late for our intended movie. I was pretty unhappy about how things were going. In fact, I was sulking. You can ask R -- I was a full-fledged crybaby. We ended up picking a different movie that we'd never heard of ("The Prestige"), because it was playing later.

When we left the house I realized I had taken my car key off my keyring to give to the mechanics, so I went back in the house and grabbed it. When I was halfway back out to the car, I realized I didn't have the key anymore. R got a flashlight and helped me look in the grass and the bushes. Twenty minutes later, when I was ready to give up, we finally found it nestled in the pine needles.

We had looked up the general location of the restaurant, but I hadn't written down the exact address. I thought I could find it easily. After circling the block several times, we finally stopped at a gas station for directions. It was just a little farther down the road. When we finally got there, it had taken us more than an hour to get from our front door to this restaurant -- a trip that should take 10 minutes. Then the place was so packed that we had to wait 30 minutes to get in. R was a good sport all along, but I continued to sulk. I think I was hungry.

Dinner was great and we made it to our movie with lots of time to spare. I was very, very pleasantly suprised at how much I liked the movie. It was quite different from most films, and completely unexpected. All we knew about it was the title and the names of some of the actors. It was a little intense at times, but I think I can recommend it. I couldn't stop talking about how much I liked it. That's the great thing about going to a movie with no expectations.

Well, the sour mood didn't last long. It was a great evening, and I have to give credit to R for being so patient and upbeat during my dramatics. You're a doll.

Go see "The Prestige". But bring a map ... and make sure you keep close track of your keys.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

33 Percent Peachy

Well, last week I tried to convince myself that we had hit the one-third mark, even though it really hadn't been one-third. It sounded better to say that we were a third of the way through. Well, if it wasn't quite true last week, it is completely true now. As of today we have passed the one third mark in a 40-week pregnancy.

According to YPWBY*, the baby is about 3 inches long and approximately the size of a peach. I much prefer comparing it to a peach, rather than a shrimp. I like shrimp, but I'd rather stick to the fruit.

The baby is well into a stage of extremely rapid growth. Until this point, the head has grown faster than the rest of the body. It accounts for half of the overall length of the baby. Now, the body will begin to catch up. I think it took my body neary 20 years to catch up to my head.

Week Thirteen -- One third and peachy.

*Your Pregnancy Week By Week