March 2009

Posted by Fitz

Since the day she was born, The Bean has managed to delight me in countless ways that I anticipated and in more that I didn’t.  She is the light of my life, and manages to remind me of that every single day.  This latest development, though, has thrilled me beyond belief, and manages to crack me up just by thinking about it: she has a Boston accent.

I’m a born and bred Boston girl from the Home of Champions, and I grew up in a family with accents so strong that we didn’t think we had any.  Pahk the cah in Hahvid Yahd was nothing to my family – it was just where you parked when you went “to town”.   When I arrived in Connecticut as a freshman in college, I was surprised that none of my peers from the tri-state area thought things were wicked retahded or pissa.  I didn’t know that a canka sore was actually a canker sore with an -er on the end until the end of sophomore year…and yes, I’m serious.  Over the course of my four years at school and subsequent life in New York City, my accent has faded into one that is much more Connecticut.  The Boston doesn’t come out unless I’ve: a) been watching Good Will Hunting, b) had more than three glasses of wine, or c) visited with all of my uncles recently.  No matter what I sound like, though, it all comes down to the fact that Boston accents feel like home to me.  They are my favorite, and no one else can persuade me differently.

Given the above declaration of love to my home accent, you can imagine my delight when The Bean first pointed at my Jeep and said “Caaaaaaaaah!”  I thought it was baby talk – no concept of an accent entered my mind.  Then we got to her cereal “Baaaaaaaaaah!” and I chuckled.   She pointed to her elbow region yesterday and yelled “Ahhhhhhhm!”, and put the icing on the proverbial Boston Cream Pie when my mom brought out a Barbie (age inappopriate, but well meaning) and taught The Bean her name.  The rest of the day was punctuated by happy chortles of “Baaaaaaahbie!”  We laughed and laughed, talking about how you can take the girl out of Boston, but…well, you know the rest.

Now, I’m no fool.  I know she doesn’t truly have a Boston accent, and I know that her Rs will develop sooner, rather than later.  But hearing my Beanie talk this way reminds me of my family – especially my grandmother, who will never meet my Bean – and it just plain old makes me happy.  As I’ve said already, a Boston accent feels like home to me.  The Bean’s enunciation reminded me this week that my home was no where near complete until she came to stay, on so many different levels.  She has created a new Fitz, and I’m wicked, wicked proud to be her mum.  Now that’s pissa!


Posted by Fitz

Given that we’re all of childbearing age and likely know someone (or many someones) who have dealt with infertility, I thought I’d remind us all of what not to say when a friend is going through treatments, miscarriages, or a plain old difficult time getting pregnant.  Some of you will read this and think that no one with a brain cell would say these things to anyone, but they’ve all been heard by my friends or me.  So think twice, and be sure to read the end – when I tell you what you should say to someone in these painful, heartwrenching shoes.

1.  It must be God’s plan.  Don’t tell people that God doesn’t want them to fulfill their greatest dream – that’s just plain mean.

2.  I have a friend who did X, Y, or Z and it worked for them!  No one cares what your friend did.  Ever. Really.

3.  If you just relax, you’ll be sure to get pregnant.  Right, because relaxing will fix a damaged fallopian tube or make me ovulate when I don’t.   Thanks!

4.  If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.  While this could be true, it is also insensitive to say to a woman who is doing everything in her power – subjecting herself to constant poking and prodding, seeing multiple doctors, injecting herself with powerful doses of hormones – to have a baby.

5.  Why don’t you just adopt?  Infertility is a process, and some will absolutely end up adopting – if and when they are ready.  They have already thought about it, mark my words – and your suggestion will not be taken as helpful.

6.  I’d never do anything so invasive.  That’s great if you wouldn’t, but some people would – and you never really know what you’d do until you’re in those shoes.  So why bother saying something that could make a person feel bad about their own choices?

7.  Did it work?  You’ll know when your friend/sister/whoever is pregnant, finally.  You don’t need to ask for a play by play – it just puts additional pressure on the person.

So what do you say when someone you know is experiencing the heartbreak of infertility?  It’s simple, really:

“I’m sorry you’re going through something so awful.  I’m here for you.  How can I help?’

Posted by Duff

1. Leaving your baby’s sex a surprise is fun – except for the time you spend going through newborn and 0-3 month onesies and sleepers you had in storage and everything is white, yellow or mint green.

2. It looks like I have more white newborn and 0-3 month onesies than anyone should have, but in reality, it will be no match for a baby’s bodily fluids, and that’s scary, even the second time around.

3. You may get a spit up stain out initially, but two years of storage will tell a different story.

4. It can be difficult to feel attached to the names you’ve chosen when you don’t know the sex of the baby.

5. That’s still no reason to question your husband on his agreement of the girl name you fought to use (and lost) for your first child.

6. And you’d be crazy when he says, “It’s grown on me, I can’t think of another girl name I like more,” to question the enthusiasm in his tone.

7. And it’s your own fault when the next day he says,  “What do you think of the girl name <insert alternate girl name that you like but don’t love>?”

8. The second half of the third trimester is a time when some people will tell you you are carrying so small and others will say, “You must be due any day now,  huh?” It’s best not to take either opinion to heart.

9. The maternity tops that were long enough to cover you the first time around may not do the job this time. Attribute this to laundry shrinkage.

10. No amount of my wearing maternity jeans or ballet flats is going to make  me either more comfortable or less crabby. Some people just can’t wear certain things, and that goes double for me when pregnant.

Posted by Fitz

What is it about pregnancy that is contagious?  Why is it that, when one friend announces a pregnancy, the rest either get going on theirs or start thinking about it more seriously?

This is a phenomenon that first occurred to me when I was pregnant with The Bean back in 2007.  While I had already been trying to conceive for two years at that point (thanks, faulty reproductive system! ), one friend was a few months pregnant when I found out that I would actually have a child.  Another friend then announced that she was due two weeks after me, two were due six weeks before me, and yet another made her announcement a mere month later.  It was insanity, but one that was incredibly comforting to all involved.  We now had a few people to relate to, to learn from, and with whom to commiserate.  When the babies were born, it was more of the same – and thank goodness for it.  Looking back, I’m not sure how I would have coped with the influx of change and emotion without the support of these wonderful women.

Fast forward to 2009, and all of our kids are around 18-months old.  We’ve all started to get the question of when #2 will be arriving, and I’ve noticed that the answer to the question has started to creep into our daily conversations.  “Are you going to try?” “Do you think you guys are ready for another?”  We laugh nervously, and with excitement, and take solace in the fact that we’re not alone in our thinking. 

Some of us are more ready than others, but I feel confident in saying that we’re all secretly hoping it happens for all of us at the same time again.  Only time will tell – we obviously can’t predict what the future holds for us and our wombs.  One thing is for certain, though: there is strength in numbers, support in sisterhood, and safety in friendships….and that is why I thank goodness every single day for my mom friends.

Posted by Duff

Dear Women Who Left the Hospital In Pre-Pregnancy Jeans:

STOP TELLING PREGNANT WOMEN. When you make us feel bad, we’ll be less likely to award you a medal.

None of us is immune to body issues. A baby is a beautiful blessing, and I will never stop feeling fortunate that I have one healthy child and (they tell me) another on the way. I know how lucky I am to share my uterus with my children and have felt them moving and growing and wonder who I will be meeting at the end of the ride.

Maybe I am naturally slim, maybe I’m not. Whatever the case, I’ve gone through several periods in my life where I had a daily date with a pint of ice cream and it was normal to eat past ‘full’.  I watched the scale climb and shopped for larger sizes, baby NOT on board. I saw dimples in places you shouldn’t see dimples.

I see them again, now, despite surprising self-control against cravings and following rules like “don’t drink your calories” and “frequent small, healthy meals”.  It brings back memories of feeling less than comfortable in my skin, but knowing I could change that.

I find myself in a place where it’s not wise to cut calories further. My hips have widened, as they should. They NEED to. My body is storing the extra it requires to support breastfeeding. It KNOWS what it’s doing. I’m not going to mess with that, even though it causes me stress to watch the bar on the scale move further and further to the right. I could turn away during my weigh-ins and let my chart bear a secret number, but I don’t. I have to know. And what I know is I’m on track to gain the same amount of weight as last time. Exactly.

Somehow, it just feels like more.

There is no way in hell I’m getting into my pre-pregnancy jeans before the clock chimes 2010.  It took nearly a year last time, and I’m a realist.

Acceptance and logic aside, I’ll be sad when my life-giving baby belly has done its job and instead of carrying sweet MC around in my mid-section, I’ll be sporting The Pooch.  At that point, anyone with the cajones to remind me they wore their pre-jeans immediately is not welcome within earshot.

Recommended alternative comments:

“You look fantastic.”

“Your baby is beautiful.”

“You’re such a good mother.”

“What a well-behaved Dervish you have. Such an excellent big sister.”

“Here are some things I’d like to do to help. And I left food in the fridge.”

“Don’t get up. You need to rest.”

I may seem mild-mannered now, but hand me a newborn and crank up the hormones, and I can hold my own.

P.S. Muffin-top is only an appropriate term to toss in my direction if you’re referring to freshly-baked pastry you’ve brought and recommend that I eat to maintain my strength.

Please note that this post and its related postscript is not directed at my husband, a huge fan of pregnancy and the pregnant form, who has been quite generous in his compliments of late.  This is what we call ‘laying groundwork’.


Posted by Fitz

Take a look at this article from Atlantic Magazine.  The author was featured on the Today Show this morning, and they raised some interesting points about the benefits of breastfeeding.  What rang true for me the most, however, was the NBC expert’s claim that pediatric guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months have pitted women against each other in their efforts to best nourish their babies. 

Let’s say it again: everyone makes their own choices for their own reasons, and no one needs to be judged for doing what is best for their family.  I fully plan on trying to breastfeed again for #2 (whenever that happens), even though doing it for The Bean didn’t work out all that well.   It’s my choice to try again, and your choice to a) breastfeed exclusively, b) formula feed exclusively, or c) a combination of both.  No matter what your choice is, I love you for it.

Posted by Fitz

Be honest, dear readers: who is in charge of your house?  Would an objective observer agree?

I think we all set out to be the leaders of our households, but our children can sometimes end up being our bosses.  It happens slowly, usually, and without the parents’ permission (or most of the time, knowledge).  We try not to let it happen in our homes, but we all know some households that are ruled specifically by the child’s whims, tantrums, preferences, and the parents’ fear of how said child will react if things don’t go his way.

Before I had kids, I boldly declared (along with a bunch of other things that I had no business declaring) that my kids would fit into my life, and not the other way around.  I wanted to create a family in which the kids knew that the parents were in charge, and I wanted to be a parent, not just a friend.  The physical presence of The Bean has made it difficult – although not impossible – to keep to this declaration.  It would be so easy to let her have her way, and it would be so easy to have her be the sun that our moon revolves around.  But while our lives do focus on her almost more than anything else – and we wouldn’t change that – she is the child.  We are the parents, and we’ve worked hard every single day to create a family life that supports these roles.

I don’t mean to come across like we are this strict family with rules that don’t bend, because that is far from the truth.  There are times when I give into The Bean because the outcome really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.  There are times when she is so cute that I laugh at something she has done, even though I shouldn’t (and am working on keeping a straight face).  There are times when I worry about how she’s going to handle going to a party that will be a little past her bedtime, or whether I should make a bowl of mac and cheese after my homemade chicken nuggets have been thrown on the floor, or how she’s going to do at the restaurant.  You know what, though?  She’ll be fine.  She’ll adjust, and in the meantime she’ll learn what life is all about – winning some battles, losing others, and learning how to compromise in a world that doesn’t always let you have your way.

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