Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Dirty Dancing for Preggos

I have been neglecting my blog. And, if you have one, chances are I’ve been neglecting your blog, too. I’ve been busy. Busy getting ready for school to start, and busy going to school now that it’s started. Busy car shopping (yes, we decided six months ago that we need a bigger car to accommodate our soon-to-be-bigger family, and yes we chose to wait ‘til three weeks before my due date to start looking), and busy trying to sell our current car. Busy hauling baby clothes out of the attic and laundering them, and rearranging furniture to make room in our house for a changing table and bassinette. And of course, all this has to be fit in around the minimum of ten hours of sleep a night I need to function these days and the five meals a day I currently eat.

I’ve also been busy shaking my ass, grinding my pelvis, and thrusting my engorged nether regions hither and yon. In other words, getting ready for labor.

When I had O. four and a half years ago, I readied myself for labor in part by doing this sort of obscene hip-centric snake dance that my prepared childbirth teacher recommended. “Plant your feet hip-width apart, squat down a little, and pretend you’re writing your name in the sand in pee,” she advised. Well Hell, that sounded fun, and it seemed like a skill worth cultivating anyway. (I’d always envied my friend Amy C., who has successfully written her name in pee in the snow on more than one occasion. Though given that her name has three letters and mine has nine, I’m at something of a disadvantage.) I’d put on some slow, funky music and writhe my hips in the pattern of my first and last name. And middle initial -– I wanted to be official about this.

Now that my due date is fast approaching, I’ve started the pee-in-the-sand dancing again in order to loosen my pelvis for birth, plus I’ve added new obscene exercises to my regimen. At my last prenatal appointment, the midwife noted that my baby is currently head down and posterior (i.e. facing toward my belly button) instead of the preferred position (anterior, facing my spine). A posterior baby can lead to back labor (which is extraordinarily painful) and can slow the progress of labor and cause the baby’s head to get hung up in the mother’s pelvis, all things I’d prefer to avoid. To help the baby move into a better position, the midwife recommended “pelvic rocking.” Sounds sexy, no? And it is sexy, or at least sexual. It involves me getting down on all fours and thrusting my pelvis back and forth, which makes me feel like a bitch in heat. I mean a real bitch, in real heat. If I weren’t already so visibly pregnant, you’d think I was trying to get someone to knock me up.

To take things to an even kinkier level, my doula suggested that I have my Old Man give me daily perineal massages in order to help prevent tearing and avoid an episiotomy. The thing I always think of when someone mentions perineal massage is that in one of her books sex columnist Suzie Bright notes that “it’s just like fisting.” She says this like it will make me think “Oh, fisting. Well, then: no big deal!” I have to admit I haven’t gotten there yet. But I’m working my way, one pelvic thrust at a time.

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Keep on Rockin' in the Ninth Month

"Stop arguing! Let's just rock!"

These words came out of four-year-old O's mouth last night as he stood up from the dinner table. We had just made a plan to go down to the basement and rock, then go get ice cream, and the Old Man and I were engaged in an impassioned discussion (I wouldn't say argument) about what kind of ice cream to get later. O's priorities were focused on a higher goal. So we dropped the ice cream debate and went down to rock out.

O. now has a complete, real drum set. Little by little, we've replaced the various parts he's broken on the kiddie kit we got him for his third birthday with the genuine article: a Zildjian crash cymbal here, a Ludwig snare there. We've been promising to get him a high hat at some point before long, and a real kick drum and tom perhaps by his fifth birthday. But recently a friend who is leaving town offered to sell us his Pearl kick drum and toms and his Paiste high hat for a scandalously low price, and we had to do it. O. is dwarfed by this drum kit, but damned if he can't rock steady on it.

I myself recently entered the last month of my pregnancy. My baby is now officially full-term and theoretically could be born any day (though I'm hoping she'll wait 'til a bit closer to the due date to arrive). Feeling very waddle-ly and cumbersome, I'm finding myself winded by exertions that wouldn't have fazed me just a couple of weeks ago. But I'm still up for rocking, especially now that O's new and improved drum kit has brought about a renewed burst of enthusiasm for the family band. Last night, as I strummed out barre chords while my guys held down the beat on drums and bass, I found myself wondering whether we'll be able to keep this up when the baby is born. It's fun to play just me on guitar and O. on drums, and I like listening to my Old Man and O. play when they're in the basement and I'm upstairs, but it's just not the same as all three of us playing together. I tried to envision a little two-month-old in a bouncy chair smiling along to the beat of her brother's drumming, head haloed by a big pair of noise reducing headphones. Could that possibly work?

Then it occurred to me that she was there, had been there and listening for every bit of rocking we've done since we returned from the East Coast. Can it be that listening to her family play loud, crashing music in utero will make her feel more amenable to hanging out while we rock once she's born? One can only hope.

So, does anyone know of a brand of really good headphones that come in infant sizes?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Farewell, My Feral

We’re back in the Midwest after our month with the Jersey Shore in-laws. Looking over the posts I wrote while I was there, you’d think that the wedding was all that happened during our visit. Of course, there were lots of other things: going to the beach, going to the pool, eating good Italian food of the kind we can’t get in our town. O. and my Old Man rode their bikes a lot while I sat on my ass reading and gestating. I also spent the month in total denial about a significant thing going on back home: one of my best friends was in the process of packing up her family and her house to move far, far away.

Today, Feral Mom and her feral family brushed the dust of our town off their boots and headed west to LA. My Old Man and I spent their final evening as residents of the Midwest with them last night. It was relaxing and fun, as hanging with them always is. But it was sad for all of us. We’ll talk on the phone. We’ll comment on each other’s blogs. We’ll make the long trip to visit when we can. But it won’t be the same as having the Ferals across town. I can’t say anymore about that or I’ll bust out weeping and never finish this post.

So instead, in honor of Feral Mom, let me sing her praises in one of her favorite genres, the list:

Ten Reasons I Love Feral Mom

1. I have a creative bond with her that’s unequaled in my lifetime. Not only were we in a band together for four and a half years, we were in our band together, creating songs together. We were the Lennon and McCartney of mid-nineties Midwestern indie rock, only without the late-career rancor. (We both agree that she was John and I was Paul.) I loved the songs she wrote, and totally dug writing, singing, and playing my parts for them. And she always got my songs, and wrote just the right parts to take them to another level. I feel honored and lucky to have had a songwriting partner and band mate that I connected with so well.

2. There is no sweeter drunk on earth. Who else would call me at midnight on my birthday to (in her words) extol me, and spend the next half hour saying the nicest, most sincere shit about me? (Sentiments that were clearly no less heartfelt because she was in her cups.) Feral Mom knows how to make a friend feel appreciated, and never more so than when she’s tanked up on vino.

3. She knows The Big Lebowski inside and out, alludes to it constantly, and gets every allusion to it that I or my Old Man might happen to make.

4. She makes a kick-ass mix tape. Many’s the mix tape (and, in recent years mix CD) that I’ve gotten from Feral Mom, and they are always full of previously unknown-to-me gems, they’re always eclectic and well paced, and they always contain a couple songs I already know but never appreciated enough ‘til I heard them on a Feral mix tape. (Recently she made O. his first mix CD, one that I hope will prove to be the first in a series.)

5. She’s the funniest friend I have. If you’ve read her blog, you know that she’s a comic genius and totally fearless in her form of expression. Believe it or not, she’s even funnier in real life (maybe partly because you can’t effectively convey a great impression in print, and more than anyone I know, she does hilarious impressions).

6. No one else appreciates my only impression (of the Irish angel from Touched by an Angel) quite as much as Feral Mom. And to have my one decent impression garner approval from someone who does such great impressions has always given me a very special feeling. (It’s almost like God wants me te do this impression, and he’s sendin’ Feral Muther te show me I’m luved.)

7. She’s an amazing mom. Her love for her girls is evident whenever she talks about them and whenever I have the pleasure of watching her interact with them. It’s quite a feat for a woman to be so raunchy and flat-out wrong in so many wonderful ways, and yet to evince a tenderness for her children that is so pure, sweet, and touching.

8. She has great taste in husbands. Mr. Feral is smart and funny, a loving partner and great dad. He’s unflappable, multitalented, and always looking for an opportunity to help a friend in need or to offer excellent advice that combines good sense with wide-ranging knowledge.

9. She knew before I did that my man was the right man for me. (For details, see part III of the How I Found My Old Man story.)

10. She’s part of my tribe, in so many ways. She’s Irish, and like me, she’s a fallen Catholic who still maintains some ineffable connection to that kooky faith and culture. She’s not either-or, she’s both. I am drawn to people who are cool and people who are nice. But if someone is cool without being nice, forget it. And if they are nice without being cool, something always feels lacking. Feral Mom is really cool. And she’s really nice. She’s humble, but she knows her strengths and how to make the most of them. She’s funny, and not afraid to be funny at the expense of others. But, crucially, she would never make fun of someone who didn’t deserve it. She’s wrong (in a good way), but she’s caring. She’s a freak and a geek.

I could go on and on. Feral Mom, you are loved, and you will be sorely missed in this little Midwestern city. Give us a call when you get a chance. And don’t you let LA change a single one of your many rare and wonderful qualities, you Irish bitch, you.