Friday, August 28, 2009

Looks and Desires

Garry’s mom, Sandy, recently asked a question that completely caught me off guard. She inquired whether I had wondered about what the baby would look like – it’s hair color, eye color, complexion. I suppose Sandy’s question took me by surprise because honestly I haven’t thought that much about the baby’s physical attributes.

Parent’s expressing their desires for their children’s looks is something I hadn’t noticed before Sandy’s comments, but now I hear them all the time. For example, at our most recent birthing class, the instructor’s assistant, who brings her 5-month old daughter to class, was talking with another student in the class about how she hoped her daughter would be tall, but feared she would not. [An aside: I found her fear interesting in itself as this woman is fairly tall, taller than I, and she stated her husband was over 6 feet tall. It seems likely her daughter’s adult height will be above average, and if not she was unclear what perceived disadvantage she saw in her daughter’s putatively decreased stature.] Desire for specific genitalia seems to be the most common and most often stated parental wish. I have noticed that several expectant parents when sharing the sex of their unborn, state that’s the sex that they had hoped to have. Are the others disappointed?

I do not believe or mean to imply that I am less superficial than other parents, but while I have been preparing a great deal for the birth, thinking about the changes to my relationship and my life with Garry, trying to develop at least the beginnings of a parenting philosophy, and preparing for having a baby in my life, I have not had much time to think about how the baby will look. I guess I don’t care so much because we have no way of knowing. I do have desires, of course, and I hope that we have a child who is thoughtful, empathetic and happy and we will do all we can to teach it to think, to ponder ideas, to consider their emotions and the emotions of others.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weeks 30-31: Getting to know you

Amanda commented several weeks ago that many parents, with their offspring still in utero, talk about their baby's personality, behavior, likes and dislikes. At the time, Amanda felt we did not know much about our baby.

Since then we have developed a temporary personality for the baby until it is able to articulate its own. This personality is based upon the limited amount of stimuli it has been exposed to (it has only been able to hear outside the womb since week 23) and its reaction to that stimuli.

The baby is energized by spicy foods. It is fascinated by the life of Teddy Roosevelt. It likes poems and songs about animals. It is not frightened by the roar of a lion. It thinks Neko Case is part of our car pool. It enjoys yoga. It finds the sound of fans soothing. It thinks fathers mostly talk about NPR, how the house needs cleaned and painted, and the lawn needs mowed. It thinks mothers mostly talk about how one must keep themselves in a head down position.

Stats for week 30: 10-3/4" and 3 lbs.
Stats for week 31: 11-1/4" and 3-1/2 lbs.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is It Bigger Than a Bread Box?

We, or more accurately our baby, has a pediatrician. We had a consultation with a local baby doctor the other day. This is in and of itself not too interesting, but it does touch on another issue Garry and I have been talking about recently. The question of infant size or more accurately our complete unawareness of how small babies really are. I’m not quite imagining a toddler springing from my womb, but when I think about parenting and raising our child I tend to visualize the toddler years. This probably comes from previous experience. I’ve been around very few babies and am much more familiar with toddlers. Garry’s mom purchased a high chair for us, we put it together, and I still can’t believe how small it is. At the consultation with our baby’s future pediatrician there were two newly born babies (one a homebirth baby!) and they were tiny, tinier than I would have imagined. Of course I don’t want our baby to be too big as it will be coming out the birth canal hopefully, but I told Garry he’d have to hold it until it was bigger because I’m worried about dropping it. I expect I'm going to have a steep learning curve the first couple days.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


David and Kim, Amanda's brother and his wife, are hosting a baby shower for our unborn on Sunday, August 23. Amanda and I based our invitation on children's books. Here are my illustrations.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Birthing class

Amanda and I began taking a birthing class a few weeks ago, and the class has somehow become the most challenging part of the pregnancy so far. The class itself, offered through Bloomington Area Birth Services, is wonderful, and I would not hesitate recommending it to any expectant parent in our area. The instructor is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The other students are friendly and interesting. Even the provided snacks are better than average. The class itself is not the problem. The class is doing a great job of helping us prepare for the birth and the new baby. Unfortunately, this is causing near panic attacks in at least one of us each class.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week 29: The belly battle

The baby still has a couple of years before entering toddlerhood, yet in utero it has already, unintentionally, begun to annoy one of the cats. Though not yet capable of pulling tails or chasing Stella around the house, the baby is occupying what was once prime real estate in our household. Stella’s favorite place to sit is on our stomachs, and she is not happy with Amanda’s expanded belly. She paws it, thinks about climbing it, sighs in disgust, and reluctantly sits on Amanda's legs. (Note her grumpy face.)