Monday night party blogging*!

I have gotten the boy into the car and out of the house a couple of times these past few days, first when my sister visited (he slept through our lunch at Chili’s and then let us cart him around the Dollar Tree and Burlington Coat Factory — what a sport!) and again Saturday and today as I let Ray sleep in and I went around town, visiting friends and reacquainting myself with the world of the living. It is getting easier, the maneuvering with an infant in tow, and it doesn’t feel as unnatural as I thought it would. When we are out together, Holden and I are a team, and I love that he is mine and that if we were in a room of 100 other people, he would seek me out and I him. He is the wild card of our little team, of course, who at any moment could unleash screams were he to decide he was uncomfortable, but for the most part he travels well and is lulled to sleep by being in his carrier either in the car or in a shopping cart. Plus he is usually pretty mellow and will fall asleep in just about anyone’s arms if he’s nice and full. He won’t keep like that forever, I realize, so I better milk it while I can. (Hurf hurf, milk.)

This evening we got home from visiting several friends and stopping by Wal-Mart — THREE stops in all! — and Ray had cleaned the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and was cooking dinner. Amazing how a good day can rocket toward great the minute you walk through the door and smell dinner and see all the clutter gone from the coffee table. I think he vacuumed too. Swoon.

And that is life now. It really is the little things. The littlest. A clean table and the smell of the baby’s hair. A minute to sit and write while sipping a cup of tea.

I could use a shower, of course. But let’s not push it.

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My brother and his fiancee found out that they are also having a little boy. My stock joke is that the Turner family is like China. Zing! And then tonight my cousin Keri called to tell me that she is also pregnant, due in August. Fourteen years with no babies in the family and now we’re rolling in babies. Our holidays are about to get 300 percent more awesome. Wait, is that math right?

*this post contains no actual partying

To the boy: Your dad

4oct1
Still life with bored, meditating man and dying flowers

It has been a tense few months of anticipation, little one, but today we found out that your dad passed the bar, bringing him one step closer to his dream of being a slick shyster who works out of the back of his Honda.

It’s important to chase your dreams, son, even if your clutch goes out.

The Honda lawyer

We watched The Lincoln Lawyer the other night and now Ray wants to work out of the back of a car. He decided it’d be the perfect opportunity to use a tagline — “The lawyer who comes to YOU!”

I suggested that the forgo a car altogether and just get an unmarked white van.

I’m here to help.

This has to become a nursery

mission: make this a nursery is now officially a go

The Babytime people are delivering the crib tomorrow morning and an electrician is coming to repair some outlets so I can move all this stuff into the back bedroom, which needs to be the new office. I’ve got yardsale stuff stacked everywhere and it’s impossible to move stuff when there is no spare room to move other stuff out of the way. I cleaned a spot for the crib and decided I’d had enough, and fell asleep on the couch. I’m completely exhausted — mentally, physically, emotionally. This past week roughed me up in ways I suppose a single afternoon won’t heal.

Ray takes the bar exam this week. The tension around here is palpable. We both need a break but there is no spare money, there is no spare time.

Week twenty-three

This week has been blessedly free of medical freakouts and frantic internet searches leading to endless threads of panicked women posting their diagnoses and speculating about what they mean.

In other words, this week has been a breeze.

Okay, sort of. My body is starting to do some crazy shit that is taking its toll on me. It feels sometimes like my organs are in danger of falling out, either through my gut or through my ladyparts. There is so much pressure in the area sometimes that I feel like something is going to pop. When I walk, the tiny jolt of each step vibrates my bones and in the crevices of the joints in my torso and pelvis. My lower stomach/pelvic area has been so sore that I make old-lady noises and crinkly faces every time I roll over in bed, which is a lot since I’m switching between right side/left side and trying not to pause too long on my back. I am a lifelong back sleeper, so this sleeping-on-my-side thing is a real pain in the … everything. My extra-long pillow gets a workout every night and sometimes, when I fold it in half to put it between my knees, its corner accidentally pokes Ray in the ass, sending him out of a dead sleep and into a frenzy of manly self-preservation that is pretty dang funny. Dudes apparently really don’t like it when foreign objects press up against their butts in their sleep. This is useful scientific information that I am happy to contribute.

Baby boy is 11 inches long this week, and weighs as much as a large mango. He should have some sense of movement now, which I’m sure makes my daily commute more fun for him, as it involves traveling over some poorly maintained Memphis streets that have every ounce of me jiggling. And he can hear! So no doubt he is already starting to judge my awful taste in music.

He has been kicking a lot lately. The other night I sat and felt what had to be barrel rolls in there, like a crocodile. Sometimes I’ll be trying to have a conversation and he’ll do a little dance move on my cervix and it takes my breath away. Such a weird sensation. I’m still not quite able to feel him move from the outside, thanks to my generous amounts of padding. Speaking of the padding, it’s actually kind of great not being a waif, because so far even though it’s poking out quite a bit, the skin of my stomach hasn’t really even started stretching yet. That has saved me some discomfort, I’m sure.

I love feeling him move around in there. It really is this intense moment of magic to me every time. I can be so caught up in a moment at work or doing something at home, and then the flutter will happen, and then again, and I have to just smile. I always ask him, “What are you doing in there, mister man?” and he just squirms. I don’t want the novelty to wear off.

I am getting too spherical to fit into my old skirts, which I was relying on heavily since my old pants are waaaay out of the question now, even with the BellaBand. Tuesday I could barely get my long white skirt up over my hips, probably because THEY ARE SLOWLY SPREADING OPEN AS WE SPEAK. So, boo to needing new stuff.

Recently I got my hands on some of Ray’s childhood pictures, courtesy of his dad, who scanned in some film and mailed me prints. I had never seen any pictures of Ray as a kid, so it was so awesome to see his sweet face and his big ol’ blue eyes shining. Look at this beautiful boy:

feeding the goat

If I wasn’t already pregnant, that photo right there would have gotten me knocked up, I’m pretty sure.

Week eighteen

9june2

I had a hormonal hissy-fit yesterday while making a third batch of test cupcakes. I had piped in the colored filler and was ready to top them all off with the canned frosting I bought a week ago, when I realized the can was deliriously lighter than it had been the last time I had used a mere week ago on my first test batch. The top was messy and full of icing, and I couldn’t find three of the five piping tips. I knew my dearly beloved boyfriend had used the icing for something, but I didn’t realize just how much he had used until I piped two cupcakes’ worth of icing and poof! the container was spent. There were 10 more cupcakes to go and I just fucking lost it. Yelling, slamming cabinets, throwing the canister down, woe-is-me-ing — the whole dramatic crazypants bit. It just felt so incredibly insulting and defeating to have busted ass and run around town all day getting the ingredients and tools needed to finally make these mothereffing cupcakes work, and then to run out of got-danged frosting THAT I JUST JUST BOUGHT, without being able to finish the batch. I don’t know what dear boyfriend has been putting frosting on. He told me something very lewd but I am almost positive he was kidding. Almost.

Anyway, it was my first double-over-in-heaving-sobs moment since very early on in this pregnancy, when I was bona fide batshit crazy for about a month and a half. I’m not beating myself up about it too much, though, because, you know, feh. And I hope this will serve as a “I am just going to get crazier so please think before you do ANYTHING that might annoy me” warning to darling boyfriend, who really should fortify himself against the hurricane of insanity that is about to come ashore.

As for what non-pastries are cookin’, this week I should be sheltering a baby that’s as long as a bell pepper or a sweet potato, depending on which food metaphor-producing newsletter you prefer to believe. It is very difficult for me to imagine something that size inside of me (no jokes, please), but I suppose I see how it could fit in there and be relatively unobtrusive. I just have to accept that my organs are no longer contained solely within what I’m used to thinking of as my torso, which is a real loopy thing to think about.

Since that first unmistakable bloop, I’ve felt faint twinges and flutters here and there, but not much where I thought, I know what THAT is. More question marks than exclamations so far. But something’s happening in there.

Today we had a big, important ultrasound. Sweet potato was cooperative (more or less), and we found out the sex. I have to keep mum until Monday night, when we’ll be going to Saltillo to visit my family and bring them each a sex-reveal-cupcake-o-gram. I am getting tired of saying “gender-reveal cupcakes” because it’s actually the sex we will know (gender is so much more complicated than the bits between your legs), but every time I talk about the cupcakes, I don’t feel like getting into that discussion. Tamara suggested I just start calling them Sex Reveal — Gender Is a Social Construct — Cupcakes, which I think is a great idea.

Today’s ultrasound found that I’m measuring almost right on track — about three days ahead. Sweet potato is a hefty 8 ounces (average for 18th week is nearly 7 ounces), and I’m pretty sure it’s because that big ol’ head is housing a big ol’ smart brain, which is slightly heavier than a less smart brain, because knowledge is very heavy. Probably.

All the organs are there and we’ve got a nice, complete spine. Sweet potato was pretty lethargic during most of the exam — the tech said (s)he was probably dozing — but started squirming there toward the end with a few more vigorous pokes. We saw that little heart just pumping away (143 beats a minute, yes I asked) under that translucent skin. I cannot explain how unbelievably weird and amazing it is to see that. I looked over to see Ray beaming at the display monitor. I think it gets more and more real for him the more we get to glimpse what’s going on in there.

I am so relieved to finally be able to use pronouns (even if I will be avoiding using them online for a few days) and to think about practical things like nursery stuff and registries and names and preschool and college plans and whatnot. Oh god, it’s all happening really fast, but sort of in slow motion right now.

So excited.

One year

I met him on a Friday night in front of the Saucer. He was wearing a muted green polo shirt and his hair had gel in it. He offered a warm smile and a nice, easy hug. I was nervous beyond all reason; I’d never even heard his voice and I am bad, baaaaad at dating. We’d just exchanged a few Facebook messages and then some texts so I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. Somehow I had gotten enough liquid courage in the wee hours of the morning to suggest that we get those drinks we’d talked about when we flirted briefly on some shamefully meat-markety dating site. He took me up on my offer almost immediately and there we were, less than a day later, sizing each other up.

The Saucer had some crappy cover band playing and we didn’t feel like shouting over them. So we walked over to Beale Street and procured a couple of Big-Ass Beers and walked around in circles, chatting awkwardly and trying to sip gracefully while navigating the bricked street (not easy), until we spotted two folding chairs in some shrubs in an alley close to Fourth Street. We sat there and the minutes then hours ticked by as we talked. Our conversation was easy and comfortable. We had the right kinds of things in common and we made each other laugh. He was smart and funny and cute and within that first hour I had developed the kind of breath-sucking big crush that I have only had a few times in my entire life. I couldn’t believe how nice and normal and good looking and charming this guy was.

I knew that night that I had met someone special, someone I hoped would be important in my life. I can’t say he thought the same thing about me, but I think I made a pretty good impression.

He kissed me in one of those well-maintained alleyways off of the Main Street Mall, and I didn’t care who saw.

It didn’t take long after meeting each other for us to become inseparable. Hours spent together turned into days then weeks then months. Our lives stitched together nearly seamlessly until I couldn’t remember what it had felt like before I got to spend every night with him.

I knew I loved him long before I actually had the courage to tell him. He had become my best friend, my bad-joke sounding board, and my verbal sparring partner. He’s as stubborn and hard-headed as I am, and he has that lawyerly way of loving to argue for the sake of arguing. (I have that journalist’s devil’s advocate way of loving to argue. Also I think I’m always right. Aaaand so does he.) His personality has helped me tease out the things about my own that I would like to change, but it’s also helped me learn how to stand fast on the things I believe in, and fight for those things even when pushed so hard it hurts. He’s sweet in a way that is often quiet but that suits me. He attacks me with hugs while I’m oblivious to the world, working on the computer. Some nights I come home from work, flustered, and he has dinner on the table and candles lit everywhere in the living room. He’s passionate about justice. He likes poetry and sports. And he’s so goddamn goofy sometimes that I wish he would let me film and broadcast every thing he does, because the world needs more of his antics. And he’s so easy on the eyes, I would be doing the world a favor.

I never expected to get what I have gotten out of meeting that dude on Beale Street a year ago. Never. And yet here we are, building a life and a family together.

Three hundred sixty-six days ago, I had no idea how quickly so much love could grow in my life. Today, I couldn’t be happier about that surprise.