My Pregnant Life

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Let’s talk about what people think of when they hear the term “bed rest.”

1.  Lazing around all day, uninterrupted.
2.  People to wait on you and bring you food.
3.  Not having to run any errands or take care of any domestic activities.
4.  Getting out of work for awhile.
5.  Time away from existing children who run around the house, screaming.
6.  A fancy-free vacation for the last bit of pregnancy.
7.  A time where your husband/boyfriend/SO/whatever will bring you things that you need to keep you entertained.
8.  A bunch of free time where you can catch up on reading and trashy television.
9.  A time when you have the ability to nap any time you want.
10. In general, a total holiday at which you will look upon fondly later in life, longing to have it happen again.

Now let’s talk about what bed rest actually is, because this seems to be a common misconception.

1.  Being prisoner to a bed…24 hours a day…no questions asked.
2.  You have to rely on others for everything, including something as simple as water.  That means you have to call a nurse, wait for them to finish with other patients, and then wait for them to get you whatever you need.
3.  Not being able to get out of bed, even for something as simple as getting the mail.  You start to miss doing housework after about two days of bed rest.
4.  Getting out of work/school for awhile.  Yes, this is a novelty for a hot minute; however, most people don’t understand exactly how boring this gets.
5.  Even if they scream 24 hours a day, you WILL start to miss your children.  I don’t have any existing children…and I’m actually starting to miss the noise of screaming drunk kids on campus.
6.  The whole “vacation” mentality lasts for about 48 hours.  After that, having to stay in bed all the time is a pain in the ass…not only figuratively, but literally as well.  You will develop a soreness that is indescribable, starting around day five.  It will momentarily get better, only to become excruciating around day 15…and you can’t do anything to make it go away.
7.  Having your husband/boyfriend/SO/whatever bring you things is somewhat entertaining…for a day.  After that you get pissed that (a) you can’t do it for yourself, (b) you have to ask for everything, one item at a time, describe where it may or may not be located, and have it brought to you.  This is the most inefficient way of doing things.  Ever.
8.  The reading is fantastic…for a week.  What you don’t understand is that when you lie down in basically one position for that long, you get excruciating headaches from all of the fluid collecting in one spot of your head.  This makes reading painful, if possible at all.  Also, unless you have unlimited funds, you will run out of books in a week if you read any faster than the speed of an eight year old.
9.  Yes, you have the ability to nap any time you want.  Unfortunately, after a couple days, you don’t *want* to anymore.  If the only thing you can do is nap, napping loses its luster very quickly.  Also, the more you nap, the more tired you are, and the more it throws off your circadian rhythms, making it so you’re barely aware of where you are and what day it is.
10. There is one good thing that will come out of this: a healthy baby.  Other than that, you will not look back fondly on bed rest.  You will not long to be on bed rest again.  Being on bed rest is the same thing as being an invalid, and anyone who wishes for that has a few screws loose (or Munchausen).

So here is my clarification: when most people hear the term “bed rest,” what they actually hear is “being lazy for the day.”  Almost everyone can remember a time when they got sick and were “in bed for a week.”  But you weren’t actually IN BED for the week, were you?  You got up to go to the bathroom, take showers, walk to the kitchen for some juice or food, walk to the living room to watch television, go take a bath…in fact, if you weren’t a young child when this happened, you probably even drove to WalGreens to pick up some TheraFlu or cough drops.  THAT is not bed rest.  That is being sick and/or lazy for the week.

Sure, after I have the baby I might miss being able to take a nap and spend the afternoon watching Law & Order; however, I will NEVER miss being a prisoner in a bed where I have to rely on everyone else for everything I need.  After I get out of here, you can pretty much bet that I’ll be one of the most active people on the planet.

My Week on Bed Rest

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After spending a week on modified bed rest (read: lying down most of the time), I thought I would write a blog about what I have done to pass the time.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time meditating, doing homework, and napping.  Most of the time, I don’t nap on purpose; however, many people don’t understand that the longer you lie down, the more tired you get.  What does that mean?  I nap for eight to ten hours a day and am still exhausted at the end of that!  Additionally, I’ve been having fun feeling Spaceman move around, and I’m at the point where I can start to see my belly moving when he kicks.  That alone can entertain me for hours.  At some point though, I have to find something else to do…and that’s where the trashy television has come into play.  I will go out on a limb and say that more often than not, daytime television programming is all trashy reality shows.  Some of them are just painful to watch.  Others, though, are so painful that you can’t turn them off.  I will talk a little about those…

What Not to Wear

This show is not trashy in itself, but the people who are on the show are just painful to watch.  If you haven’t seen this show before, people nominate someone in their life who is an exceptionally bad dresser.  Most of the people who go on this show are constantly dressed in pajamas, scrubs, clothes that are 40 sizes to big, or clothes that are 40 sizes to small.  Occasionally they have people on the show who are 50 years old and share clothes with their nine year old children.  I’m currently watching an episode where a 46 year old woman dresses like her seven year old daughter because “dressing like a grown up means you’re old and going to die.”  Crazy.  Anyway, this is a show that is painful to watch the people who are on it; however, I like to watch it to see how they turn out at the end.  That being said, I fully realize that the majority of the time I dress in yoga pants and some sort of long sleeved shirt; however, the difference is that I understand that and don’t think that I look amazing.  Also, while pregnant, this is the easiest thing for me to wear without going out and spending $500 on new clothes.  (side note: more stores need to carry maternity clothes…not just online.  PREGNANT WOMEN NEED TO TRY ON CLOTHES IN THE STORE!!!)

Toddlers & Tiaras

This is TRULY a painful show to watch.  It’s like a train wreck.  The children are horrendous, the mothers are RIDICULOUS, and once it’s on, I can’t turn it off.  This show follows around toddler beauty pageant contestants and [generally] their mothers.  These are mothers that take their children (usually daughters) to do things like spray tan, get waxed, get fake teeth (flippers), and spend upwards of $1000 per outfit in order for them to compete in glitz pageants.  Apparently the most cut-throat divisions in these pageants are the 4-5 age group and the 6-8 age group (or something like that).  These little girls (and their mothers) are one short step away from pulling a Tonya Harding at every pageant.  Just in case you haven’t seen this show, here is a clip of one of the girls who is frequently followed.  And yes, she’s almost five years old and flipping out about her pacifier (Ni-Ni).

Police Women of Broward County

This is actually somewhat entertaining (at least to me).  It’s a show that follows around the female police officers of Broward County, a la COPS.  The train wreck part of the show deals with the people who are being arrested.  Many of these people are…well…not the brightest crayons in the box.  My favorite quote of last week occurred when a female drug dealer was being arrested.  The officer was patting her down, and out of her bra falls some weed.  The dealer said, “oh, that’s not mine.  It’s windy out here…it must have blown in there.”  Okay really?  How windy does it have to be for weed to blow into your bra?  Also, this statement wouldn’t have been *quite* as heinous, if the weed that fell out of her bra hadn’t been SEVENTEEN PREPACKAGED quarter-ounce bags.  I mean…really?  17 quarter bags blew into your bra?  WOW.  If you’re going to lie to the police, at least make up something that MIGHT be plausible (although in that situation, there really isn’t a good lie short of alien abduction, which is only believable if you live in New Mexico).

Okay, so that has basically been my week.  Fortunately, most of the programming has been so terrible that I have finished most of my homework for the next five weeks.  Yep, motivated to do homework when nothing is on television!

The Music of My Youth

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I think that everyone has an affinity to the music with which they grew up.  I was born in 1980, but in addition to whatever was on the radio, at my house we listened to a lot of classical, Motown, Elton John, and the girl groups of the 60s (Whoopi would be proud!).  My mom and I used to sing Stevie Wonder’s music along with Diana Ross…and of course Mom’s favorite Elton John song, “Benny and the Jets.”  My favorite of my parents’ records growing up was Thriller.  That being said, when I was in my twos and threes, apparently my favorite songs were Abracadabra and Elvira.  Anyway, today is a musically nostalgic day!  Here come a bunch of my favorites from when I was growing up.  Oh, and if any of you want to share your favorites with me, feel free to post them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/249229558457541/#!/groups/249229558457541/249264608454036/?notif_t=group_activity

In no particular order…here we go!

Elton John–Benny and the Jets

Elton John–Crocodile Rock (the best performance is OBVIOUSLY from The Muppet Show!)

Stevie Wonder–I Just Called to Say I Love You

Otis Redding–I’ve Been Loving You Too Long

Jackson 5–I Wanna Be Where You Are (listen for Jamerson’s smooth bass line!)

Michael Jackson–Billie Jean (yes, the first time he revealed the moonwalk at 3:38)

Madonna–Vogue (I can’t NOT add this one!)

Gladys Knight and the Pips–Midnight Train to Georgia

The Supremes–You Can’t Hurry Love

The Temptations–Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell–Ain’s No Mountain High Enough

Bill Withers–Ain’t No Sunshine

There are many more than this, but at the risk of making this post thousands of pages long, I’ll save them for later.

Judging from this list, I think I should have been born about 15 years earlier…HA!

The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me

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Have you noticed that they just don’t make children’s programming like they used to?  I say that at the risk of someone leaving a comment of something like, “every generation complains that new shows aren’t like the shows with which they grew up!”  But really, it’s true.  Children’s programming after 2000 just went downhill.  The early Disney cartoons, even though I used to find them boring, introduced children to refined music.  I’m not talking about “Little Einsteins” we-play-the-first-eight-bars-over-and-over-for-30-minutes kind of introductions.  Disney, Warner Brothers…they introduced children to the real, non-bastardized, actual instrumentals, as-intended-by-the-composer recordings of this music.  I’m sure this isn’t a big deal to many of you; however, I would venture to say that for those of you don’t care about the real versions of refined music being in children’s programming, probably don’t like it anyway…and maybe it’s because you didn’t watch enough of (or any of) those cartoons as a child.

So, let’s discuss what I consider to be the best three children’s shows of all time: Sesame Street (original, not current), The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.  On the surface, none of these shows are (what I call) Pokemanimation.  What is that?  The insane form of animation found in Pokemon that is super bubbly with no details whatsoever.  You know, the same kind found on the avatars in World of Warcraft.  I’m convinced that this has become a popular style of animation because the artists got lazy, eventually making the eye-brain connection of young people lazy.  That is, if they see too many hard edges and details, their brains will explode.  All three of the shows that I previously mentioned utilize(d) puppets, costumes, and actual humans (and not humans in front of a green screen, a la Blue’s Clues).

Sesame Street, created in 1966, was the first show that had a researched, comprehensive curriculum for its age group.  The whole purpose of Sesame Street was to prepare two to four-year olds for school–especially those who came from low-income families.  The show had educational segments interspersed with short segments of entertainment.  Other than teaching numbers, letters, words, and small amounts of Spanish, the show had underlying themes of social competence, non-aggressive conflict resolution,  and tolerance of diversity.

Fraggle Rock had three main types of characters: Fraggles, Doozers, and Gorgs.  Fraggles are the funny looking things in the above picture.  They spent most of their days exploring, playing, and creating…though they also had responsibilities in their society.  Doozers, on the other hand, lived for work and work alone.  They spent all day building structures out of radish sugar that the Fraggles would then eat.  They relied on the Fraggles to eat these structures so they could continue building.  The Gorgs were a self-proclaimed royal family (though in actuality, they were a farming family).  They grew radishes in order to make anti-vanishing cream.  The show as a whole was fun, had lots of music, and was entertaining.  The underlying messages were that of race, social responsibility, and environmental care.

The Muppet Show was Jim Henson’s attempt to break away from the “children’s programming” niche, and in doing so, he stumbled upon a format that was a hit with all age groups.  The puppets (Muppets) and basic storylines kept children entertained (along with the music), and the deeper jokes kept the adults entertained.  Musically speaking, everyone who was anyone was on The Muppet Show from Elton John to Ethel Merman, and everyone in between.  Though this isn’t considered strictly children’s programming, I lumped this in anyway as it had all of the stimulation involved in the other children’s programming.

So why all of this animosity toward current children’s programming?  Maybe it’s because the programming doesn’t have any deeper messages than “be nice” and “don’t hit people”…  Combine that with pokemanimation and you just might be able to raise a child who is extraordinarily good at drooling on themself.  In an age where parents use the television as a babysitter (and then put crap on like Dora the Explorer or Handy Manny), it’s no wonder that we are raising a group of children who can’t write their own names or read basic sentences by the time they are graduated from high school.  When we eventually have children, they will watch Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Muppet Show.  Hell, I’ll even throw in some School House Rock.  Why these shows?  Because there is just not a household cleaner strong enough to take melted brain out of the carpet.

Change

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Have you ever found yourself stuck on a particular thought that just won’t go away?  It could be a positive thought, a negative thought, or even a neutral thought…but it stays there, much like a song stuck in your head.  Negative thoughts, especially, seem to stick around in a really annoying way.  If a person isn’t adept at just “letting it go” (which is harder than it sounds), these thoughts become even more frustrating.  They begin as a random thought that brushes against the mind…and then many times quickly take over the entire thought process.  For awhile we wallow in these thoughts.  We think “well, if I marinate in it for awhile, it’ll just go away.”  Wrong.  At this point, they become annoyingly present at all times.  The wallowing actually made it worse.  So what is it that we do to get rid of these thoughts?  We have to consciously decide to push them away–negative thoughts have a way of snowballing into something larger than we ever thought possible, and there is no room for that in our lives.

Louise L. Hay says, “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.”  There is so much truth in that statement, however unattainable it may seem at the beginning.  Different things work for different people.  Meditation has always worked for me, where it doesn’t work for others.  Affirmations work for other people and don’t seem to work as well for me.  Some people run, bike, swim, or dance (all forms of moving meditation); some people write, paint, play an instrument, or sculpt (all forms of creative meditation).  Whatever you do that works for you, keep doing that.

Recently I have gotten back into the habit of daily meditation along with a physical practice (either swimming or yoga).  It has come to my attention that instead of waiting for something to happen and then going back to meditation, I should be meditating and practicing all the time in order to buffer those situations in the first place.  I guess it’s similar to taking care of your car.  If you have the oil changed regularly, put gas in it, and keep everything tuned up, you won’t be going into the shop every month because the engine has fallen out and the tires keep exploding.  Of course, there are always the fluke accidents…but they shouldn’t be a regular thing.

Open Heart, Open Life

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The sun bathes everything on the planet–not all at once, but at some part of every 24-hour period (barring dark periods during certain seasons).  It seems as though the sun disappears every day; however, it is the Earth turning away from the sun…not the sun moving away from the Earth.  Just like the Earth turning away from the sun, we tend to do this in our relationships. 

Why is it that this happens?  Because we tend to enter into relationships with closed hearts.  For some reason, whether it’s past jading or low self-esteem, we completely block ourselves to new possibilities.  Ani Pema Chödrön said “The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.”  So what is it within this statement that rings so true?  Really…it’s everything.

We must enter any relationship with anyone, including that with God, with an open heart, in order to experience the fullness of our spirit within that relationship.  Entering with a closed heart only blocks the possibilities of what may come out of that relationship.  I submit that it is equally as important to enter into a relationship with ourselves in this same manner.  This, I would imagine, will be harder than any relationship with any outside person. 

 

Me?  I am deciding to enter into my life with an open heart.

Il nostro Ambiente

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After living in the desert for a year, I have come to gain a new appreciation for the environment.  In the midwest, environmental responsibility is almost strictly limited to recycling (though admittedly, a very small percentage of people either take the bus, ride their bike, or walk to work).  The desert version of environmental responsibility is vastly different, partially because of the region and partially because of the people.

I’m sure it comes as no shock to all of you that in the desert (even the high desert) we have quite the shortage of water.  I’ve never lived somewhere that I actually looked forward to the rain; however, New Mexico is a whole different playing field.  In the midwest, it seemed as though it rained two or three times a month, and when it did rain, it would pour for a week.  The rain was so intense that we would sit inside for hours, just hoping that it would stop so we could go outside.  Many times it would be raining so hard that we couldn’t see even a foot in front of the car, making it impossible to drive.  It used to be somewhat of a joke that as soon as it started raining, we would see more people pulled over on the side of the highway than actually driving on it.  Here, that isn’t the case.

We are currently in what is supposed to be our monsoon season (my favorite time of the year here).  It rains pretty much every day for about 20 minutes and then goes right back to being sunny.  This year, however, that hasn’t happened yet.  Sure, it has rained a few times in the past two months, but nowhere near as much as it’s supposed to.  This lack of rain leads to extended periods of incredibly high fire warnings (for those of you playing the home game, most of our part of the state has, at some point, been on fire in the last two months…and most of that area is still closed).

So here in New Mexico, it is amazing to see how the people treat the earth on which they live.  The entire theme around which everything is based has to do with the natural state of the desert.  All of the architecture reflects this, the art reflects this, and even the music reflects this (keep your ears open in November for the premier of one Desert Faith Mass which promises to be amazing…or, I promise it’ll be amazing…I should know, because I’ve heard most of it).  In a discussion with a friend the other day, we both noted that in many places in the country, people landscape with plants nonindigenous to their region.  The more things you can fit in your yard, the better–especially if the plants are “out-of-towners.”  In New Mexico, for example, there isn’t a lot of grass.  If you have a yard full of grass, people actually look at you like you are insane (which honestly, if you have grass, you ARE insane).  We both said the same thing: “Do you know how much water you’re wasting by trying to keep that grass alive?”

So when is it that we decide that taking care of the environment is more important than bending it to our whim?  When do we stop treating the earth like our personal molding clay and start treating it with respect?  It is our job to take care of the environment, not destroy it.  It is our job to live amongst it, not radically alter it in order to make it something that “works better” with our lifestyles.

We’ve been singing this song at church for the last month or so, and I feel like it’s pretty appropriate to put right here.  Maybe it’ll make you think–maybe it won’t.  At any rate, at least it might make you vaguely more aware of the larger picture, even at a subconscious level.

Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently, nourish the life of the world in our care;

Gift of great wonder, ours to surrender, trust for the children tomorrow will bear.

Let there be greening, birth from the burning, water that blesses, and air that is sweet;

Health in God’s Garden, hope in God’s children, regeneration that peace will complete.