Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swollen Toes, Sausage Fingers, and a Toxic Wonderland

The Setting: Propped up on pillows, sitting backwards on my bed, computer in lap, perpendicular to Hoosband who is soundly sleeping parallel to the headboard, I remain awake.

The Soundtrack: Sirens in the distance; vertical blinds agitated by the intensity of the AC; Hoosband's gentle breathing.

Steaming up the Oven: Yeah, right.

The Scenario: When I was little my parents kept some books in the hall bathroom...just in case someone got trapped in there, I guess. One of these books was titled Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...And it's all Small Stuff. I never read the book, but in my frequent gazes at its cover, I found its title wise and reassuring. I need that wisdom now.

Tonight, after two solid days of scouring the baby stores and the Internet, reading reviews, constructing and deconstructing pro-and-con lists with Hoosband, making up our minds and muddling them back up again, I want to wash my hands of the whole baby-product industry, put a firm pillow in the bottom of a laundry basket, call it a bassinet, and call it a day.

A few days ago we were quite excited to receive one of our most-wanted items from our baby registry, a (very expensive) BabyBjorn travel crib. We immediately examined it and were wowed by its excellently utilitarian design and the ease with which it could be popped up for use and broken down for storage or travel. I was thrilled and contented.

Then something sank in. This travel crib, essentially a playpen we were planning to use as the baby's bed, would be quite challenging for me to properly lift a newborn in and out of several times a day. With it's low bottom and high sides, I wasn't sure I could lift a 6-8-pound newborn out in any manor that could be considered to "cradle the head" or any other important baby-handling term.

Thus launched the hunt for the perfect "playard," apparently the term du jour for a collapsible crib/playpen.

We painstakingly came up with our criteria:

It must have a bassinet feature so that the newborn is easily accessible.

It must, I soon determined, have a detachable changing table because space is to us what fur is to a hairless cat, and the more functions we can fit into one unit, the better!

If it is going to be our only changing table, it must be sturdy and have convenient storage for diapers and diapering essentials.

Perhaps it should include an infant napper...many of the models feature these, so they must be useful, right?

After exhaustive searching, I thought I found one I liked, but I detested the Pepto-pink pattern and couldn't find the same model in a different color scheme.

I decided I didn't need an attached napper. I would get a Fisher-Price Rock N' Play Sleeper (launching an entire search into the dangers of newborns sleeping at an incline) to set up for kitchen/living room (daytime) naps and get a simpler playard with a changing table and diaper storage.

But maybe I didn't want one with a changing table after all. I could buy a changing pad (haven't figured out which one yet) and set it up on an existing dresser with drawers fully dedicated to baby.

So a simple, bare-bones playard with the elevated bassinet feature is all I would need.

Of course, I'd need one with a maximum weight capacity as high as possible so that little Ziggster can get maximum use out of the thing. Most of these max out at 25 pounds.

So perhaps I'd be better off just purchasing a legit convertible crib, wooden and attractive, that becomes a toddler bed when needed. Of course, I'd have to buy a mattress...and linens...and, sweet fetus, this is a lot of stuff!

Suddenly, in the fury of my searching, I became deeply concerned with the amount of toxins in all of the items I was preparing to purchase for my little one. Research into the matter is extremely unpleasant (, Did you know that basically everything is designed to kill your baby? I spent a few minutes looking for non-toxic baby gear in my price range before admitting defeat for the day.

I don't know if it can be attributed to the stress of these searches or the two sleeves of Thin Mints I consumed in as many days, but today for the first time in an otherwise belly-only pregnancy, my feet became so swollen the straps of my always-soothing Rainbow sandals began to dig into my flesh. My feet were like rounded clubs under the weight of my body.

Yesterday I had to remove my wedding rings, which only a month ago Hoosband suggested we have tightened (thank goodness we did not!), because my fingers became stubby little sausages overnight, and the skin beneath the rings became red and scaly from suffocation. I'll have to wear the rings on a necklace until the swelling goes down...or get used to the "tisk, tisk, tisk" and "what a shame" looks I've been receiving from the Costco shoppers and YMCA members who believe me to be (a very puffy) 15 and pregnant.

A friend told me today it looks like the baby is starting to bulge out of my sides.

So much for belly-only.

Oh well. Fully swollen and all-searched-out, for now I must attempt to gently reposition Hoosband so I can hit the sheets. Tomorrow I will attempt to remove salt from my diet to combat the sausage hands and attempt to hit the Internet once more with my search-efforts...if, that is, my fingers aren't too swollen to hit the keys.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waiting for Ziggy

The Setting: The Hovel. Overflowing with papers and partially completed to-do lists. Still not clean and orderly.

The Soundtrack: The Cosby Show.

Steaming up the Oven: Individual Amaretto Cheesecakes and a Porcini-Dusted Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart.

The Scenario: Having given up coffee once again (for the sake of the baby), I struggle to remain in an upright, eyes-open position as much as pregnantly possible.

My bouts of nesting are broken up by days spent almost exclusively in slumber, and bits of butter-smudged paper with shorthand-scribbled recipes waiting in purgatory to be typed up play hide-and-seek with the magazines, junk mail, and Wall Street Journals that compose the dilapidated structure of The Hovel.

Hoosband and I have had many productive cooking sessions in recent days, tapping the diverse South Floridian cultures to create our own versions of Cuban Ropa Vieja and Tostones and Caribbean Curried Goat.

We made an incredible key lime pie (thank you, Cooks Illustrated) with homemade graham crackers (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook) and delicious Kerrygold Irish butter in the crust, and we finally perfected our recipe for pumpkin muffins.

The cleaning, however, has come puttering to a stall on the shoulder of the road.

As the primary tow truck in town goes by the moniker of Caffeine, and I am trying to abstain, I pray I'll get a jump from the chair-yoga class I attended this morning and the chocolate chip cookie I just devoured.

Meanwhile, I try not to let the laundry or the dishes pile up too much, and I focus on naming my offspring.

Hoosband and I had decided on Ziggy Catalina, but after some reflection (and a phone call from family) he started getting shifty feet.

Now we are back to the fishing pond, where every name we pull out of the water is either too small to keep or so big it breaks our line...which is why we landed on Ziggy in the first place--it was the only thing we were able to fry up in a pan and devour for dinner.

I'm pretty sure that no matter what goes on her birth certificate, she will still be Ziggy to us.

Tonight, in between bites of tangy goat cheese and sweet, caramelized onions, as we cuddle on the loveseat to the tunes of Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, we shall ponder Ziggy names and maybe, just maybe, get a little cleaning in before dessert.