Monday, April 24, 2006

The questions and observations of a good little nerd

Monday, April 24:

Another day, another doctor appointment.

I think I have narrowed down the main problem with the front-desk FBI to one person.

I walk up and sign in on the clip board.

"Good morning," I say.

"Do you want to make a payment?" she grunts.

I give her my card. She hands me the bill to sign without a word.

"Thank you," I say, giving it back to her.

She puts a receipt on the counter in response.

Joyful character, isn't she?

Fortunately, the others in the office are much nicer.

This was just my regular monthly checkup. I saw my beloved nurse practitioner again. To my great dismay, she will not be one of the medical people around on the Big Day. In fact, I learned from her, there are actually two days out of the month (one weekend) when I could possibly end up with a complete stranger Ob/Gyn. That's when none of the doctors in my doctor's practice is on call that weekend, and they "carpool" with a group of other doctors.

My husband says to me, "Did you tell them that the father would totally freak out if that happened? Are you kidding me -- you might see someone you don't even know?"

"You know," I say, "That's just reality. It could be worse. And the nurse practitioner said she knows all these doctors, and they're good. The chances are good we'll have one of the regular doctors."

I also bring a list of questions with me like a good little nerd -- I mean patient. (That's what the nurse practitioner suggested I do on my last visit. "Otherwise, you'll forget your questions." "Yes, I will." "Of course you will. You're pregnant.") What does she think about having a doula? (Fine.) When do I discuss birthing options? (Anytime; kind of vague; all the doctors are open and will let me do what I want.) Am I gaining too much weight? (No.)

Have I felt any baby flutters yet? I'm not sure.

And I find out not only has my doctor added another physician to her practice, but there are more rooms newly opened one floor up. My doctor, she's growing. Just as the baby is.

I'll finally get to see her during my monthly appointment in June -- the first time since conceiving -- half a year after conceiving. Sheesh.

Best news of all -- the spina bifida test came back just fine. It would be nice for them to call like the genetic counselor's office does (I elected to have the spina bifida test done at my Ob/Gyn's) so I don't have to wait a month to find out.

I guess with them, no news is good news.

After the appointment this time, I did not celebrate with a coffee or cupcake. Instead, I got a bird bath and a cotton sun hat.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shopping just breeds more shopping

Friday, April 21:

My husband had to travel three hours away for a conference, and he just can't bear to be without me, so I went, too. I mean, not to the conference -- heck no, I went shopping.

We drove to the conference hotel and I read one of my library books for a while in the lobby, then headed to a nearby mall. I investigated nursey items at Pottery Barn for Kids. I went through the racks at Baby Gap and Gymboree. (I think that's the name of the store.) I had a healthy lunch in the food court. Then I went back to the hotel and crashed in the on-site Starbucks because it had the comfiest chair, and by a window overlooking the lushly landscaped pool area.

Now home, I want to get one of the gloriously fluffy pillows that were on the bed back at the hotel ....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

See, I TOLD you babies are contagious!

Thursday, April 20:

So my friend who's giving the baby shower in a few months got a couple pieces of bad news this week. Another friend of ours suggested we cheer her up with a spontaneous barely-pre-lunch Starbucks drink. (We ourselves both indulged in blackberry green tea frappuccinos.)

For the surprise, we have to sneak into her office building (well, it feels like sneaking, anyway), try to remember the name of her company (it's a relatively new job) to do a look-up on the directory and head up there with her caramel frappuccino.

Our shower-giving in-office friend is surprised to see us and invites us back to see her cubicle and meet her cube mates. A co-worker tells us bringing the drink is a good thing because the coffee machine broke.

"Bringing the coffee is really just a ruse," our Starbucks-suggesting friend then says to us away from everybody. "It was really a way to get us all together so I could tell you I've caught her baby."

The shower-giving in-office friend and I blink. I turn around. Did I unwittingly give birth somewhere in the office?!

Then it hits us. (Big duh on my part.)

Exclamations, hugs and congratulations all around. We can't believe it. Here we are, the same three of us together again as when I told them I was expecting that Saturday we went out to lunch.

Our friend is due toward the end of December. A Christmas baby. We couldn't be happier.

Then we two pregnant people celebrate with lunch at a small cafe.

It's a very long lunch, punctuated by a stop at a bookstore for a pregnancy magazine (for me) and a blank journal (for her).

Now I have two pregnant friends!

And the uproarious thing about this whole scene is that we're all in or connected with the same band! People are really going to wonder ....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shop before you pop

Wednesday, April 19:

Hey, I went shopping sooner than I thought I would.

Two of the tops my husband's aunt gave me on Easter are from Motherhood Maternity, which has a 10-day return policy. I don't think I've ever shopped at a clothing store that gives you only 10 days to return something! Anyway, I realized my time was about up and decided to take a breather and make a quick exchange on one of the tops, which isn't really my color. Besides, five maternity tops and no bottoms do not a wardrobe make, so I wanted to get some bottoms.

And bottoms I got. I exchanged the top for a pair of khaki shorts. Then -- as long as I was there -- I snapped up simple black pants and a below-the-knee tan skirt that has vertical strips of ripped fabric all the way around. Everything was so comfortable, and to my surprise, they actually already fit. I guess I am surprised because I walked in wearing my regular clothes. But, nobody freak out, because I made sure the shorts, pants and skirt had plenty of room for the baby to grow. I eyed the jeans but decided to wait until I'm bigger to get a better fit.

Speaking of fit, in the dressing room, I think I even spied the belly enhancer thing my aunt was talking about. It looked like a giant maxi pad with straps. I avoided it completely, avoided even looking at it. Who knows where that thing has been? Sheesh.

The maternity clothes are so comfortable they made me wonder for a fleeting moment of madness if I will ever want to wear anything else again. ("Maternity clothes for everyone, yay!")

But now that I've passed the fourth month mark, I have a feeling it will be only a few more months until I come to my senses and want regular clothes again.

Shake your groove thing

Wednesday, April 19:

Getting into a pregnancy groove. Loving the second trimester. I'm not as tired as I was in the first three months, and my innards actually feel better -- I'm less bloated or something. I don't have a giant appetite anymore. Plus, a lot of the pregnancy stuff isn't as mystifying as it seemed to be before. Most people know I'm expecting, and it's all good.

Of course, I know it can't last. Life is just like that. Work your way up to 8th grade, and the next year you're a freshman. Graduate college and start feeling like an adult, then start at the bottom rung in a new job. Climb to the top of a mountain, and you just have to go back down again. Finally get your head together and start being a somewhat decent human being, and your body starts to fall apart. So I'm savoring it now.

Then again, every morning is a hunt for clothing that still fits. But that just means a shopping trip is in order.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A stinky situation

Tuesday, April 18:

I just found out newborns need their diapers changed about 100 times a week. Feeling faint ... must ... lie down ....

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's the second-most wonderful time of the year

Sunday, April 16:

Easter. A time for celebrating by going to church. For adding tying ribbons to the waistband of your pants because the zipper won't close all the way. A time for forgetting to wear the hip shoes you bought for the occasion and instead absentmindedly wearing the casual sandals you slipped on to walk outside to feed the birds. For getting together with family and sharing a meal. A time for answering unending questions from family about the unborn baby.

My husband and I meet his family -- the only relatives in town -- at his aunt and uncle's club. We haven't all been together since Thanksgiving: aunt and uncle, mom and dad, sister, brother-in-law and adorable 5-year-old nephew, and dear widowed step-grandmother.

In the parking lot, we arrive at the same time as my husband's sister and her family. She gives the adorable nephew an Easter basket to give to my husband. I barely get a chance to notice it has baby items in it before my husband whisks it into the backseat. (Turns out to be a nice basket she must have put together herself, with a cute thermal receiving blanket and a little stuffed green elephant.)

My husband and his sister, they can be too efficient and too practical sometimes.

After meeting and hugging everyone inside the club, we stand around the circular table for 20 minutes because nobody is impolite enough to claim a chair first. That, and the Easter bunny impersonator is making the rounds from table to table -- wouldn't want to get too comfortable in a chair or end up standing in the buffet line when there's a photo opp with a giant rabbit to be had.

Then we stand in line for 15 minutes to get to the buffet. Every possible kind of food is here: shrimp cocktail under an ice sculpture, salads, fresh fruit, cheeses, eggs benedict, bacon, waffles, pancakes, pastries of all kinds, smoked fish, prime rib, leg of lamb, duck, chicken, turkey, ham, steamed vegetables, a table of nothing but Easter chocolate, a table of nothing but desserts like tiramisu, chocolate tortes, white chocolate ganache cake, cobblers with French vanilla ice cream, fruit pies and pina colada cheesecake. It's a hungry pregnant person's heaven. A few weeks ago, I hardly would have been able to contain myself with the selection and amount of food, but I find my appetite is leveling off and isn't as supercharged as it was in the first trimester. I can't even finish my slivers of cake for dessert; my stepmom would gasp. Besides, there are the pants being held together by ribbons to think about.

My mother-in-law asks various questions about the baby and the baby's room. No surprise there. I have brought the framed sonograms to show everyone -- not the most recent ones, which don't look that great, but the second set -- and I worry she's not going to give the frame back. (My husband has claimed it, anyway. He can be the one to fight her for it.)

My husband's aunt, though -- besides thinking the sonogram is an artsy photo of a dog (sister: “They’re having a dog!”) -- takes the cake. She brings a large bag with three boxes and insists I open the gifts right there. One is for the baby. My husband opens it, and it's a set of soft blocks by Baby Einstein. I can't believe my good luck: I added the same blocks to my secret registry. The other two boxes are full of maternity tops for me, one from Motherhood Maternity and one from Old Navy. The aunt proudly explains how, even though she's a size zero and never had a child, she tried on the clothes using a fake pregnancy stomach (they actually have those?!) and also asked for input from mothers-to-be who were shopping in the stores that day. I have to say, all the tops are lacking in hideousness. They're actually very wearable. And the aunt has provided gift receipts if I want to take anything back. I look around at the gifts everyone has brought for everyone and think, This is almost like Christmas.

She and my husband's uncle also want to give us a nice (ahem, large-ticket) piece of baby gear: a car seat, playpen, stroller or a highchair (that's what they gave my husband's sister and bro-in-law when they were expecting, and the aunt and sister spent the day shopping and researching the best to buy!) I tell the aunt it's my husband's job to pick out the car seat and stroller. So we have to wait on him. He’s actually really good at picking out the best X.

We go outside to photograph the adorable nephew during the frantic Easter egg hunt. He is so good his gift bag is full by the time it’s over. But he’s so generous he wants to share the toy- and candy-filled eggs with everyone. (We put them back in his bag when he’s not looking.) We photograph one another. We ask a nice stranger to photograph all of us.

And the weather is beautiful.

And if all goes well, this time next year, we’ll all be back to do this squishystressfulsmiley get-together again. With a new little person garnering attention at the round table where no one will sit.

Did you say ... ?

Saturday, April 15:

My friend who is expecting (who just had the baby shower) is wearing full-fledged maternity clothes. She even has the jeans with the stretchy waistband. Her poor ankles are swollen. And she talks about getting back to running again as soon as possible.

She reaches out to touch my tummy and asks how things are going in there.

She is the only one I have let do this other than my husband. I guess I just can't deny another pregnant person.

Not that anyone else has tried (yet).

One night last week, she had bad cramps and went to the hospital, thinking maybe the baby was coming too soon. Waaaay too soon.

The doctor said nope. But she should pack her bag just to be sure.

I ask if she's done that.

"Yeah, I got everything ready," she says. "I washed and ironed all the baby's clothes," she says with a smile, "And I got the car seat strapped in the car, and I got my bag ready."

Rewind ....

"You ironed the baby's clothes?!" I ask.

For the briefest of moments, this bold person looks sheepish.

"Do you have those pajamas with the little feet?" I ask.


"How did you iron the feet?"

"I didn't iron the feet," she says. "I stopped at the leg."

She tells me her husband is set to record the birth.

"I told my husband he wasn't allowed to bring a camera to the hospital!" I boast.

Then she tells me her friend who gave her the shower claimed 24 people were in the room with her when her son was born, and by the time the baby was ready to come out, she didn't care who was there -- she just wanted that boy out.

Rewind ... 24 people ... taking deep breaths and thinking thoughts of tall amaretto sours on ice ....

I don't know if motherhood will ever stop surprising me. Ever.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rock-a-bye preggy

Thursday, April 13:

My body -- or the baby's? -- is up to its old tricks. I took a two-hour nap today. I wish I didn't have to. But my friends, particularly those with kids, would be proud.

Part of me wonders if I'm so tired because, as I've been led to believe by physicians, I'm an older mom. But the other part of me doesn't care if that's why or not.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How to lose a job in 10 days, unless you're lucky

Wednesday, April 12:

Here I have been obsessing over calling the acquisitions editor at the publisher that did my book. I gathered my courage and called once but could only leave a message.

Seems the book is doing so well they want another one. (Let me say it: hooray!) But talks have focused on a book that would require extensive travel. After some research and discussing it at length with my husband, we decided a book like that would be best in a year or so. It's almost summer -- and pregnant people and heat don't mix. When the kid gets here at the end of summer, I'll probably need a while to adjust to taking care of a baby before trekking around with him or her. The writing isn't so much the problem as the travel is.

So, how to tell the publisher? How to turn down the chance to write another book without turning it down? How to discuss the book like a professional who knows what she's doing and not leave the impression I'm just a female having babies who wants to be catered to? How do mothers-to-be handle this kind of thing? That's why I'm sweating it.

But he calls me today, so I didn't have to work up the courage to try calling again and face certain career suicide.

We go over the book possibilities again. There was another idea that surfaced once that didn't involve so much travel; could I work on that book idea instead? Because here's the thing: I'm having a baby.

Oh sweet joy of relief, turns out I worried over nothing. (Isn't that usually the case?) The acquisitions editor is fine with me working on a proposal for the not-too-travely book idea, and he has two young children of his own, so he's sympathetic. He even congratulates me. Twice.

This burden has been lifted, and I'm so glad. Of course, the book isn't a sure thing yet, but it's a strong possibility.

And I couldn't have gotten a better professional compliment than to have been asked to write another book.

Chocolate works, too

Tuesday, April 11:

No blackberry green tea frappuccino gifts. But what should my darling husband bring me but two Lindt dark chocolate 70% cocoa bars. Completely unprovoked.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Small comforts are alien to the pregnancy police

Monday, April 10:

Yesterday, a friend gave me a Starbucks gift card. Today, I promptly used it on a new blackberry green tea frappuccino. It's delicious. It was so good that tonight I said the phrase "blackberry green tea frappuccino" at least three times in my husband's presence and mentioned if he were in the vicinity of a Starbucks and wanted to do something nice for a pregnant person, he could bring me one of those.

Yes, I know there are pregnancy police out there who would be shocked at the thought of anyone carrying a baby drinking green tea and probably high-fructose corn syrup. I am a reasonable person who does things in moderation (other than sleep). And I've given up enough other things and made plenty of sacrifices to warrant a treat now and then. After all, I'm pregnant, not a non-human.

I've eaten feta cheese and blue cheese without knowing a pregnant person should avoid non-pasteurized cheeses. I've never slept a night completely on my left side so as to provide the best blood flow to the baby. I've consumed beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners. I do drink a cup of coffee some days (organic half-caf). These are nothing compared to what my mother did when I was just a fetus.

Besides, for everything I read or hear what I'm not supposed to do, I read or hear that a little bit of the very same no-nos is all right.

So if you have a spare Starbucks gift card you want to unload, just let me know.

Friday, April 07, 2006

There's nothing to see here, folks

Friday, April 7:

I'm at the stage where people are checking my middle for signs of baby. I hate it. It makes me feel like a spectacle.

"Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, to see the woman whose stomach keeps getting bigger!"

Little comments here and there. Grrrr.

For everyone's information, not that my midsection is anyone's business, I have yet to wear any maternity clothes.

So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, all you baby growth commenters!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nora Jones and the beautiful spine

Thursday, April 6:

Back to the genetic counselor’s office. This time, I go by myself. Mainly because I’m not sure what this appointment is for.

All I can think about is today is the JC Penney chocolate sale preview -- you know, where you go in and get a free chocolate bar whose wrapper gives you 30, 35 or 40% off -- and that’s where I’m headed after the appointment. But I’m not so shallow as to be forgetting about my baby. Nope, I plan on buying a few small items I didn’t know the small one needed before reading some of these dern library books. I also need some bigger shorts because my current ones are squishing me.

The office wait is hardly nothing this time, and I’m instantly in an exam room, pulling my pants down low for the ultrasound glop.

“Before we get started, do you want to know the sex?” the ultrasound tech asks.

I smile. “I’m supposed to say no. My husband and I made a pact. So I guess I should stick with it. We’ll let it be a surprise.”

(We didn’t really make a pact. But we have over-discussed it.)

The ultrasound takes longer this time because the technician is pointing and clicking on her screen to take measurements of everything: the head, the arms, the legs, the spine.

“That’s a beautiful spine,” she says spontaneously.

Note to baby: when you are old enough to appreciate this statement, I will tell you about your beautiful spine. If nothing else, you have that.

“What are all the measurements for?” I ask.

“That will tell us the weight,” she says.

Which turns out to be 10 ounces. Perfect for its age, she says.

That’s not even a can of soda.

When did I start caring about minutiae like this?!

Then I wait again, this time to see the doctor. The wait is longer than the first wait. Instead of seeing the genetic counselor, though, I see the physician assistant, a quiet, tall man -- the same young guy who pricked my finger last time I came in.

He is kind and is going over the results of the first test, which I already know about. The baby’s chances of having Down’s syndrome or one of the trisomy problems are way low. He tries selling me on amniocentesis anyway, telling me it’s the only test to take to be sure about these results and also other chromosomal problems not included in the first test. Because of my “advanced age.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do it. I know there is a risk of losing what could very well be a healthy child just in the amnio procedure. My husband also doesn’t see the point because the idea behind the test is that if something’s wrong, you can end the pregnancy as long as you do it before the time is up allowable by the state. And we just don’t want to make a decision like that.

I have to go back in a couple weeks because the baby wasn’t cooperating (ah, my little rebel), and the ultrasound technician didn’t get a good look at the face. Apparently, if you see a cleft lip, that can indicate chromosomal abnormalities. So there’s another copay. But I guess it would be pretty cool to have a good picture of the kid’s face. Which my husband would keep all to himself, the baby ultrasound picture hoarder!

While I’m standing at the appointment desk, the physician assistant (PA) says to me, “You look a little like Nora Jones.”

I smile because people are always telling me I look like someone they know, and I haven’t heard this comparison before. ("You look like my cousin Odalis from South America," "You look like my best friend Felicity from elementary school," "You look like that Victoria person on my soap opera," "You look like Helena Bonham-Carter in A Room with a View," "You look like Charlotte on Sex and the City," etc.)

“I like Nora Jones,” I say.

“Do you sound like her?”

I decide his question isn’t too creepy and he’s just making conversation. “I like to sing her songs.”

Maybe for my next appointment, I’ll work on my rendition of “Sunrise,” “Come Away with Me” or “What Am I to You?”

I head evilly to Starbucks for a treat, but then I notice a Jamba Juice a couple doors down and go there instead for something healthier. Then I hit the mall, get my chocolate bar and use my sale wrapper to find the kid some cute neutral (praise the Lord!) stuff (finally!) in the newborn section full of Carter’s (shegotityeahbabyshegotit!).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

'This kind of excitement can only mean one thing'

Wednesday, April 5:

My friend and former co-worker e-mailed me a video of her new baby, whom she and her husband flew to China last week to adopt! Yay! The little girl is so beautiful and seems so happy.

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that a couple Saturdays ago, I met with this friend and another co-worker (who was actually our boss) for lunch. Our boss had adopted a girl from China about six years ago, and she came along, as well as her adopted brother of the same age, who is from the states. Confusing enough?

So there we all were in the restaurant, saying hi and congratulating my friend on her then-upcoming adoption and trip to China.

"I don't want to take away from your big event and your exciting news," I said, reaching into my bag, "but I have some exciting news, too."

I showed them the ultrasound, and they literally squealed. Now we were all going to be mothers.

My boss friend enjoyed telling her children what an ultrasound was and explained that's what they, too, looked like before they were born.

After we calmed down a little, a woman in a flowered dress one table back came over.

"I'm a neonatal nurse," she said, "and I know this kind of excitement can only mean one thing." She smiled.

My boss spoke up. "She's expecting a baby," she said, indicating me, "and she's going to China next week to adopt a baby," she said, talking about our other friend.

The neonatal nurse congratulated us then, and again as she and her friend left the restaurant later.

It was great to see my old friends again, and fun to see how happy they are with their children.

That makes three couples I know personally to adopt children from China -- one of my older brothers will be next, sometime soon.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bemoaning hormones

Sunday, April 2:

My husband wants to watch a movie tonight, and the one he wanted was out of stock at Blockbuster. So I pick up a different one, which he hates so much we turn it off, and resort to watching the last 20-30 minutes of Desperate Housewives. Out of desperation.

Gabrielle and Carlos are adopting a baby and rush to the hospital when they find out the birth mother is about to deliver. The baby is already born when they get there, though, and she gets wrapped in a soft pink blanket. Tough, sexy Gabrielle unnaturally melts at the sight of the baby in her arms.

“I’m going to cry,” I say. Why do I have to wait for six more months?

The show ends, or a commercial comes on or something, and my husband looks over at me. “You really are crying,” he says.

Just a little. Just one little tear, actually.

Dern these hormones!

Does not play well with others

Sunday, April 2:

A good friend who is also going to the baby shower today suggests we meet for brunch and then head to the shower together. Great idea! We are hoping the shower won’t be four hours long, as shown by the invitation. There's just so much to do.

After arriving and waiting for more than an hour doing not much more than talking with the other guests, however, my friend says to me, “I think we’re going to be here for the entire four hours.”

It’s the daylight savings time change, see, and the hostess doesn’t want to get started just in case some of the guests who haven’t arrived yet have forgotten to turn their clocks ahead one hour.

Hmm, what would Miss Manners say?

Anyway, my friend the mother-to-be looks great, and it’s fun to meet her other friends. We are roughly 50/50 “old” and “young,” and for a while, it looks as though the older women and younger women are going to keep to their respective conversation groups. Interesting social dynamic.

Even though it’s her shower, my friend is kind enough to ask me how I feel and to consider my possible pregnant needs. Her friends at the shower tell me, “You don’t even look pregnant,” which I have been told by the pregnancy books I’m reading to believe is a lie. But that’s OK. Most of the people in the house have been there, done that. And I suppose it doesn’t matter if I look pregnant, anyway, because I am pregnant.

(“You throw like a girl!” “Well, good, because I am a girl.”)

We eat and play games.

Wait. I should mention I don’t play well with others. When it comes to shower games, I am waaaaaaaay too competitive. I mean, I make a fool out of myself.

Today turns out to be no exception. When I don’t win one particular game, I point out my wonderful performance to the hostess, who offers me to take a gift bag.

Then I gulp. What an idiot I am! I knew it! “Oh, no,” I say, “That’s OK.” I already won one gift bag.

There is another game I still think I should have won, or at least tied with the eventual winner, but I struggle not to say anything.

As penance, I try to lose the last game on purpose to the advantage of the friend I came with. That way, she can go home with a gift bag, too. Besides, seeing as the game was tied among three of us women at the time, it was better for one of us to emerge a clear winner.

Truly, I think about these things too much.

When it comes time for my other friend to give me a baby shower, I will insist she not let me play any games.

The good friend I came with is right, and we are there through the gift opening, photo taking and cake eating -- all four hours of it. But it’s nice to see my expectant friend revel in her special pre-baby time among friends.

One for you, one for me. One for you ...

Saturday, April 1:

Tomorrow is my friend’s baby shower. So, naturally, I have waited until the last possible moment to buy her gifts.

She is registered, like every mother-to-be I have encountered, at Babies ‘R’ Us. Fortunately for me, this superstore is just down the road.

In the past, I hated going to this store to buy my girlfriends gifts for their showers. I wandered around the fluorescent-lit warehouse feebly, lost and not having a clue where any of the items on the registry are located. It was like the Home Depot or Costco of baby stuff: good for a bargain, lots of items, but hard to find anything. And bad ambience.

When I walk through the doors, though, I see the store has improved. I don’t know if it’s just a fresh coat of paint or what, but the store just looks better. I have to wait in line at the registry kiosk, and when it’s my turn, I see my friend’s registry is 10 pages long. A line has formed behind me, and I feel sorry for all those women who have to wait for me to get the printout.

Most of the items on the list haven’t been purchased yet, and I hope my friend will be getting what she needs. I gingerly venture to the area closest to the kiosk just to get out of everyone’s way, keenly aware of the women who sit at the grand registry reception area like vultures ready to greedily swoop down on parents-to-be with lists of all the baby items they are going to “need.”

That could be my husband and me in a short while. Gulp.

I am able to find a starter kit of bottles before a saleswoman asks if I need helping finding anything. Yes! She points me to certain areas of the store when I show her the 10-pager, and I find a few more items on the list.

Officially done shopping, I now am free to wander the store for myself. I decide to check out the baby clothing selection for the second time in my life to see if the pink and blue tyranny reigns in this store, too.

And it does! It’s just as distressing today as it was several weeks ago. When a salesman asks if I need help finding things, I complain about the lack of neutral baby clothes, and he waves his hand over his head and says, “There are some yellow and green things over there.”

“Yeah, but even those you can see are really for either a boy or a girl,” I tell him. I want to point out the yellow outfits with pink flowers on them and the green outfits with blue stripes and sports symbols, but he is answering some little device on his hip that is beeping. I walk away.

Eventually, I find and buy the entire collection of newborn neutral clothing in the store, which isn’t saying much.

See what kind of business you are losing out on, companies?

Then I spot nursery furniture sets that are arranged to look like real nurseries, complete with bedding, lamps and wallpaper borders. They are irresistible. I walk among the cribs and armoires, brushing my hand against the wood and feeling the fabrics. And I think, “I am going to have one of these in my house!” Of course, I realized this before, but standing there in the thick of the baby accoutrements, it really hits me.

I can’t wait to drag my husband back to the store. We could spend a whole day! Or, at least, I probably could.

Then I get a card and gift bag for my friend, and check out.

I’m so gushy when I get home and show my husband the items for his baby.

Roses for me

Friday, March 31:

T.G.I.F. My husband brings me a dozen yellow roses when he comes home. For no reason at all. I’m so lucky.