Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear birthday girl at the gym,

Today, when you said that to me, I sort of felt like I loved you. Just a little. In a very platonic way.

But when we both went for that same treadmill -- THE treadmill because it's next to the window and you only have to share your space with one other person -- you smiled at me and didn't even look annoyed. No, you had none of that I'll-kill-you-if-you-take-the-machine-I've-been-waiting-20-minutes-for look that fills so many eyes at our gym. At every gym.

Instead, you smiled and said, "Whatever you want, you can have."

But I didn't need that treadmill, and you'd been so nice to me (I loved you right away, remember?), that I let you have THE treadmill. And I didn't even mind being on the one next to it, the one without the little TV mounted on top. I didn't mind at all.

Because then you told me I looked cute. So cute, you said. And you stared at my bulging belly while you said it. And you smiled at me and at my belly bulging with baby girl.

A few other strangers have told me I look cute lately -- the girl at Rye's haircut place on Saturday, for example -- but none have said it as genuinely as you.

As we took our places on the treadmills, I thanked you and told you I appreciated that because I feel like everyone just stares at me. Like I'm a freak woman with a monster in her abdomen (yes, I might choose the noun "monster" as well when a. I can't get the child out or b. I can't get the child to please, please just sleep. For now, however, it is a sweet little girl that is yes, pushing my tummy into its own orbit. Still, monster she is not). "Noooo," you so nicely dismissed my paranoia, "You don't see many pregnant women here working out. You look great."

And then you told me it's your 30th birthday today. You don't have any children but worry that if and when you do, you'll be too tired to show up at the gym. You smiled, sort of apologetically.

You will, I said. You'll do just fine.

And then we put our earphones back on and punched those treadmill buttons and that was it. I noticed we were running the same speed.

I wanted to ask you what it was like to turn 30. And I wondered why you were at the gym on your birthday. But I didn't.

Maybe I'll see you again, though, birthday girl at the gym. I sort of hope I do.

But if I don't, thanks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday afternoon at the mall

Rye and I went to the mall yesterday -- at his request -- to make a puppy of his very own at Build-a-Bear Workshop.

We've never really done this, besides making a dinosaur this summer at T-Rex Cafe in Kansas City.

We may never do it again.

The experience wasn't awful really; it just wasn't fun. I think Saturday afternoon is probably the worst time to take your child to a place where kids run wild and lines are long. I realized this once we'd gotten there, of course.

We probably waited 25 minutes just to get the little dog stuffed with fluffy love. At one point, Rye even said, I don't want this anymore. (But then he quickly changed his mind.)

So about 40 minutes and $13 later, we left the "workshop" with a stuffed dog named simply "Puppy" and a tired 3-year-old requesting curly fries.

We stopped at Baby Gap (where none of the clothes that are on sale online are actually on sale in the store) and then at the Gap where Rye insisted I give him a piggy back ride. Have you ever tried to flip through clothes on a rack while giving a 3 1/2 year old a piggy back ride, carrying two winter coats and a giant shopping bag with a just-made puppy in it? Avoid it, if you haven't.

I ended up buying a purse on sale for $10.97 and I used a gift card I'd gotten for Christmas to pay. The cashier, some spoiled Millard West kid, I'm sure, said, "Big spender, huh?"

And I looked at him and said, "Are you making fun of me?"

Him: "No. Just a little."

I was pissed.

He handed my gift card back and said "Well, you've still got $38 left. You could buy some sale jeans."

And he was totally chidng me. He was also yawning and announcing how tired he was.

Several things ran through my mind to say back to him. The options:

"Not all of us have unlimited money to spend on clothes at the Gap. Some of us have day care and a mortgage and car payments and health bills and despite the fact we work really hard at full-time jobs, we don't happen to be doctors or lawyers or engineers like your dad must be. So I can't just drop $60 on a pair of already thin jeans, despite how great they might be."

"Maybe I'll check out the jeans after I have this baby that's protruding from my tummy."

"Where is your manager?"

I didn't say any of those things, though. I simply thanked him and left. Sometimes, it's easier to be the bigger person, right? To set a good example for the tired 3-year-old?

We left the mall soon after, both of us happy to be heading home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby growing

Somehow, in the last two days, I went from feeling great to feeling very ... pregnant.

Seriously. I think my left ankle is already starting to swell. Last time, my ankles basically disappeared so that my calves traveled uninterrupted into equally swollen feet. It was great.

But that wasn't until the last six weeks or so. Maybe even later.

Yesterday, though, just out of the shower, I checked out my ankles. Yep, left one looked slightly bigger.

Even more concerning, though, is the sciatic nerve pain I can already feel. It starts in my lower back as a dull yet very there pain and travels down my left glute into my left hamstring where it just sort of hangs out. All day. This is also great.

I'm only 20 weeks along. Pregnancies last 40, or they're supposed to.

And so I'm panicking, if just a little.

On the bright side, I ran three miles yesterday at a 10-minute mile pace, breathing comfortably through my nose the whole way. Then I walked a half mile and lifted some light weights. That all felt good.

But perhaps that's why my back hurts, I thought to myself yesterday.

So this morning, I went to the gym again. This time, I ran two and a half miles and walked another half mile. It felt harder today, probably because my back was still so stiff. But I felt like once I got going, it was fine. It's often like that with running for me. And the lower back pain isn't that different than the discomfort I remember feeling while training for my marathon in 2004. Only then it stayed in my back (unlike now where it just sort of keeps going into my left leg).

So I'm complaining. Yep. That's all this is.

I just can't believe I have five more months and I already feel this way. I'm scared how much worse it's going to get.

I'm also THE pregnant girl at the gym now. People look at me -- when I walk in, when I get done running, when I'm doing bicep curls or squats. It's strange for sure and just a bit uncomfortable.

But whatever. I'm glad I can still run three miles and feel OK. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that for a while longer.

And, yes, I know, in the big scheme of things, spending nine (more like 10) months growing a baby, is nothing.

And totally worth it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a ...



I had the 20-week ultrasound today -- "the biggie" as the nurses at my doctor's office call it. Rye came along, too, and the ultrasound tech almost right away asked him what he thought the baby would be.

"A brother," Rye said.

Two seconds later, the tech (who might be the nicest person I've ever met), said, "What if it's a sister?"

Me: "Seriously?"

She checked again. Yep.

I have felt like it was a girl growing inside there. I really did. But I was trying not to get my hopes up.

Now, my hopes can stay up.

I already have a perfect little boy. Now, I can do the girl things I always thought I'd someday do as a parent of a little girl, too: nail painting, hair-do-ing, shopping, etc.

I'm lucky.

Now, just five more months of baby-growing to endure...

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Once, there was this kid who got into an accident and couldn't come to school
But when they finally made him, his hair had turned from black into bright white.
Mmm, mmm, mmm. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Do you remember this song?

I didn't until my dad was visiting last weekend and he said the name Solomon Grundy.

Wait, I thought. I know that name. Who is that?

And I came up with, "Remember that "Mmm, mmm, mmm' song?"

Except it wasn't that song I was trying to think of. Just the artist, Crash Test Dummies.

The song I wanted was the second song on the single (remember when they used to sell singles? Cassette tape singles for like $1.50 in the store?): "Superman's Song."

It's about how great a guy Superman is, how far superior to Tarzan he is and how he didn't make any money saving the world from Solomon Grundy.

Sometimes, I despair the world will never see another man like him.

That's my favorite line.

I've been listening to the song over the last few days, thanks to iTunes. You can watch the video on You Tube here.

It's crazy that I used iTunes to reconnect with that old song because when I first started to like that tune -- back when I was in eighth grade, I think -- my family didn't even have a computer, much less the Internet. I remember listening to this Crash Test Dummies single in my friend's car as her mom drove us to play in a basketball tournament somewhere far away like Grand Island. I remember always sort of liking the Superman song better. That was rare because usually the second song on a single wasn't even worth listening to.

I also remember listening to Salt 'N' Pepa in that friend's car and singing those songs in the locker room before practice. I'm pretty sure I have that tape in a box downstairs somewhere, too.

But back to superheroes. They're really cool, aren't they?

Rye, who is 3 1/2 now, has been really into Justice League and Spiderman lately. Right now, in fact, we are watching the first Spiderman movie, the one where Tobey Maguire morphs from ultimate geek with a crush on a girl to amazing stud, all thanks to the bite of a spider.

Later, I'm sure, we'll watch another Justice League cartoon. If I could choose my own theme music, that'd be it. And if anyone ever sees bracelets like Wonder Woman's and knows where I can find them, let me know, OK?

In my fantasy world, I am a little more like her: strong, smart, determined, unshakable even in the face of some pretty mean-looking bad guys. She just takes care of them and gets on with business.

I have a sort of friend from college who was working on a documentary for his masters thesis about everyday superheroes -- actual people who think they are superheroes. Many of them were in jail.

And I don't think this friend is ever going to finish the documentary. But I'd like to see it if he ever does.

Who knows? Maybe Superman didn't die with Christopher Reeve. Maybe he is somewhere, quietly fighting the bad guys. Maybe Batman is, too.

And Wonder Woman.

I sort of like that idea.