My senior year in high school I worked at Expressly Portraits in the Ashtabula Mall.  I didn’t work there for very long; in fact, I frequently forget that I worked there at all.  But I was reminded last Friday when we drove Puddin’ to the Lakewood Mall to have her picture taken at JC Penney.

In this digital age, mall and department store photo studios find themselves seriously endangered.  With easy-to-use, high quality photo technology available, why pay a whopping $9 per person to have a “professional”– a high school senior, in my case– take photos of the family?  But Andre and I come from the South and the Midwest, respectively, which means we were raised with more appointments at Olan Mills than at the dentist.  Photos of our child selves line the walls of both our mothers’ houses, with subjects posed precariously over draped stools and boxes against a faux-nature or generic gray backdrop.  The expressions on our faces range from beaming to puzzled to enraged and upset.  Professional mall-quality photographs are a family tradition we intend to uphold.

I know now that my parents went through hell to get this picture.

I know now that my parents went through hell to get this picture.

Plus, we wanted good lighting.  We wanted coordinated outfits.  We wanted wallet-sized photos we could send to relatives without smartphones.  And more than anything, we wanted a picture of our new family.  Thus far, one person had invariably held the camera to capture the other two.

But why we thought Puddin’ would be down for this at four weeks old, I’ll never know.

“Good luck with that,” my mother said, chuckling, when I told her our plans.  For those who don’t have children, let me explain four weeks old.  The first two to three weeks, the baby sleeps a lot.  If she isn’t sleeping, she’s easily lulled to sleep by the stroller, the car, or the rocking chair.  At six weeks, apparently babies fall into a little schedule, with (slightly) more predictable nap, feeding and wake times.  (Or so I’m told.)

But four to six weeks is hell.  “You’re IN IT,” my friend Stephanie, mother of two, explained over the phone.  “But it gets better, I promise.”

By noon Andre and I were ready for a drink.  All three of us were washed, fed and ironed.  We packed Puddin’ into her car seat, where she screamed for ten (avenue) blocks.  We were hitting too many red lights for her to fall asleep, plus she felt like being difficult.  In the diaper bag we had fruit and protein bars, her elephant pacifier, burp cloths, a change of clothes (for me), water, and of course, several diapers.

We arrived on time for our 1:00 appointment to be told we had one more family ahead of us.  Puddin’ was in a good mood by then, cooing in her stroller like an angel, despite the fact that she’d only had a ten minute nap on the way over.  She would be hungry soon, so I took advantage of the lull to feed her.

Mistake!  She resented her lunch-time getting cut short once the photographer announced that it was our turn, and she resented being posed tummy-down on the (adorable) baby-sized wagon we brought along that had been a gift from our friends in Australia.  Within minutes she was screaming.  The overworked, exhausted photo professional, who had the advantage of being over 18, suggested we take a break while she took in the next appointment, a two-year-old named Madison who was also running behind.

Puddin’ continued to scream until she fell asleep on Daddy’s chest, then she went in her diaper, woke up, and screamed some more.  I took her to the women’s room to change her, then returned.  Meanwhile, the two appointments ahead of us were reviewing their digital photos, with the sole employee/photographer attending. A line of people picking up photos was forming.  After about 30 minutes, Puddin’ got fed up and started crying again, so Daddy walked her some more.  Thirty minutes later with Puddin’ still screaming, I opted to feed her.  Three minutes after Puddin’ really got going, it was our turn in the studio.

Once again Puddin’ was furious to have her meal cut short, so after trying to take one or two shots, I asked if we had time for me to finish nursing.  That took about 15 more minutes.  But even after eating, Puddin’ was not happy to be there.  “Maybe she had a problem with JC Penney,” my friend Annie suggested when I relayed the story.  Puddin’ whimpered through every shot, and though she was not crying outright, she was giving stank face. Puddin' giving stank face. Andre pulled the plug at 2:30.  “We’re done,” he announced.  The photographer looked relieved.

Puddin’ did her Baby Jesus routine the entire ride home.  Perfect behavior.  (Still no nap.)

Once home I collapsed on the bed, exhausted.  Not Puddin.  She could eventually be cajoled into sleeping on Daddy’s chest for about 20 minutes.  Then she was up, crying.  I fed her, not because it was her time to eat, but because I needed to get it out of the way so that I could have a drink.

We still haven’t gotten a good picture of the three of us.  Maybe sometime soon we’ll take one of our visitors to the beach with our digital camera in coordinating outfits on a not-too-sunny day.  But for now, I need to wrap up this blog.  Puddin’ is starting to cry.


Day 5:  2.23

Homeopathic Remedy:  Evening Primrose Oil

I woke up Sunday morning feeling very much Over It.  I had posted the first part of my blog the day before, and the advice I got was that Puddin’ was going to come when Puddin’ was ready to come.  Irrefutably true, but still just as frustrating.  While I couldn’t do anything about it, obviously, I could adjust my attitude towards it.

So on Sunday morning my attitude was that I was done putting my life on hold and just waiting.  I texted two friends about lunch plans later in the week, I swept and mopped the floors, I cracked out my to-do list.  No more wasting afternoons watching Hepburn movies.

I also started to take evening primrose oil in capsule form.  I added it to my pre-natals, which I purchased from Wal-Mart that make me sick, but I’ll be damned if I spend one more dime on pre-natals when Puddin’ is overdue.  Evening primrose oil worked for my friend Jamie, so I’m hoping it will help me.

Day 6:  2.24

Homeopathic Remedy:  Oh, fuck it. 

By this point I’d pretty much resigned myself to Puddin’ being induced ten to 14 days after her due date.  According to Facebook, pretty much everyone who’s had a baby in the last ten years has been induced, so I tried to stop caring.  At my doctor’s appointment on Thursday, we can plan a time.  It’ll be nice to have a definite date for her arrival.

Meanwhile, I scheduled a visit to the dermatologist, the dentist, the accountant, and the acupuncturist for the days and weeks coming up.  I still did pre-natal yoga and took a hot bath and drank some raspberry tea and took my evening primrose oil.  If Andre doesn’t have too much work, maybe we’ll go for a roll in the hay.

Day 7:  2. 25

Homeopathic Remedy:  Spicy Food

The one thing, other than sex, that everyone recommends is spicy food.  So today on our way home from fetal diagnostic testing– which annoyed me since I could have told them that Puddin’ is plenty active without having to haul our cookies out to the hospital– we stopped to get a burrito at our favorite taqueria.

“What’s the spiciest one you have?”  I asked.

“We’ll put extra green chile sauce on whatever you want,” the guy replied.

But unfortunately the burrito didn’t seem all that spicy.  Maybe they tempered it for the pregnant gringa, I don’t know.  Tomorrow I’ll head to Panda Express for their firecracker chicken, which set my mouth on fire the last time I had it.  Screw the calories these days!  I’ll lose at least six pounds if I can just get Puddin’ out.

Day 8:  2. 26

Homeopathic Remedy:  HOT HOT HOT HOT Bath, Sexy Sex

I had enough time Wednesday morning to take a hot hot hot hot hot hot hot bath.  Our auto mechanic had recommended it.  I was a little annoyed at the time– I mean, I had been taking hot baths, but the words used were “as hot as you can stand it.”

So Wednesday morning I got in the bath and boiled myself.  I had a short story lasting approximately 80 pages, and I thought I would get through 40 of those pages, then get out.  I got through ten.  Then I made myself stand up, take a shower, and shave my legs in equally hot shower water.

I had my short hair about halfway dry by the time I burst out of the bathroom to get some water.  I felt weak and thirsty, very seriously overheated.  I was sweating all over.  I lay down on my still unmade bed in my bathrobe.  I could see Puddin’s heart beat pulsating through my stomach, and suddenly I was worried that I had put Puddin’ in danger.  We lay there very still, waiting for our hearts to stop racing.

After about 20 minutes I got up and SLOWLY got dressed and pulled myself together.  I felt fewer kicks from Puddin’ throughout the day, like the experiment had worn her out.

I did not go into labor.

Andre and I did try to remedy the situation later that night.  (Masturbation had already proved ineffective for inducing.)

Day 9:  2. 27

Homeopathic Remedy:  Membrane Sweep

This one almost doesn’t count as homeopathic because it requires a medical professional to execute it.  At my most recent checkup, as we were finishing up the cervical check, I asked Dr. McNulty if she would do a membrane sweep.

“I just did,” she said.

Dr. McNulty is nothing if not efficient.

“What’s a membrane sweep?” my husband asked.

Basically, a membrane sweep is where the doctor takes her finger and detaches the amniotic sac from the uterine wall.  A lot of people had recommended this, citing good, consistent labor-inducing results within 24 hours.

A day later, I’m still pregnant.  Sigh….

In my twenties when I was waiting tables in New York, I worked with a lot of Irish bartenders.  I don’t mean Irish as in ancestry, I mean Irish as in born and raised in Ireland.  This particular breed of bartender is dying out, even in New York; every time I sit down in front of some hyper-cool “mixologist,” my heart breaks a little. Anyway, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the classic Irish bartender is that he or she can find a cure for any ailment behind his or her bar.

Nagging cough?  Brandy.  Sprained ankle?  Vodka compress.  Indigestion?  Bitters and soda.  Toothache?  Whiskey (to be swished, not swallowed, but whatever).  Hangover?  Heineken and raw egg.  (I never had the strength to try that one, but I watched people do it plenty of times.)  Induction of labor?  Shot of gin and a hot bath.

Homeopathic remedies for inducing labor are not solely the Irish bartender’s domain.  There are dozens upon dozens, and curiosity, coupled with impatience, has me determined to try them all.  Women in my family tend to deliver late.  My sisters and I were all induced when we were about two weeks late.

Perhaps if my mother had known some Irish bartenders, I would have been a Capricorn instead of an Aquarius.  And maybe if I give Puddin’ some natural stimulation, she will be an Aquarius too, instead of a Pisces.  (Lord knows what to expect from a Pisces!)

So herein I attempt to record every labor-inducing wives’ tale– er, homeopathic remedy– until Puddin’ comes out.  Almost none have been validated by science.  I started two days before Puddin’s due date because I scheduled a massage that day, and Mimi, my masseuse, got the party started by doing some pressure point work that “maybe might help.”  Then she suggested I have some tea and a hot bath, so that kicked it off.

Day One:  2.19

Puddin’s Due Date:  2.21

Homeopathic Remedy:  Pre-Natal Massage, Gin, Hot Bath, Red Raspberry Tea

Mimi did a great job releasing pressure in my lower back, and throwing in a little sacro-cranial massage at the end, which is supposed to induce labor according to the internet.  However, Mimi was skeptical, claiming it only really helps with headaches.  Puddin’ was thrown by all this and kicked the entire time.  She hates when what she considers her “space” is invaded.  She can literally kick a book, a lap desk, or a ukelele off my belly at this point.  This time, the pressure was coming from a different angle– the back– and I sensed she wasn’t happy about it.  Good.  I don’t want her too comfortable in there anyway.

Since Mimi instructed me to take a hot bath to relieve the soreness I was already starting to feel, I decided it was time to test the bartenders’ theory.  I had bought a bottle of Hendrick’s earlier in the week, but I was a little nervous.  I hadn’t had hard spirits in nine months, and I don’t particularly like gin.  I wondered why the Irish don’t propogate whisky and a hot bath, since I’m much better off with whisky, but maybe Irish moms don’t give up whisky in the first place, so the gin is something new?  Anyway, the hot bath part I knew to be true because throughout pregnancy you’re not supposed to get in a hot tub because there’s, like, a 2% chance it could induce labor prematurely.

It was also 4:30 in the afternoon.  Having had a small lunch, I decided to eat a banana with some peanut butter, so the gin wouldn’t go down on an empty stomach.  I poured myself a shot and eyed it cautiously.  It didn’t look remotely tempting.  But I slammed it anyway, the way my ancestors would have, and climbed into the tub with the short stories of Daphne DuMaurier to keep me company.  (Side note:  I nearly returned that book to the library the next day.  I’m kind of high-strung these days, and her short stories are beautiful, but creepy and terrifying.  I was scared to get out of bed at night to pee.)

Mimi had also suggested tea post-massage, since fluids are essential for flushing toxins released from deep in the muscle tissue.  So I brought a mug of raspberry tea into the bath with Daphne and me.  There is no scientific evidence behind the tea, either, except that midwives have been recommending it since the Dark Ages.

Unfortunately, labor did not begin on February 19th.  But the combination of massage, bath, gin and tea gave gave me a Zen-like sense of relaxed euphoria.  And that’s good for both me and Puddin’.

Day Two:  2.20

Homeopathic Remedy:  Organic Raspberry Tea Leaf, Hot Bath

The next day I woke up sore from my massage, so another hot bath was in order.   However, thanks to the massage I had slept very well for once.  I would have slept even better if I weren’t worried about dead midget children murdering me in the bathroom when I got up to pee, but that’s what you get when you pick up duMaurier.

This time before my bath– as I write this, in fact– I decided to try the hippy dippy organic red raspberry tea I had purchased, instead of the Zingers brand raspberry tea that my husband already had.  He was running kind of low on it anyway, so I didn’t feel that guilty about opening a new box.  (I didn’t realize we already had raspberry tea when I bought the organic shit.)  I didn’t do the gin shot this time.  I actually felt kind of guilty about it, which is not like me.  I have done enough research to know that alcohol in moderation, particularly with food, has not been proven to harm one’s baby, but I just felt a shot a day was a little excessive.  If she’s still here ten days from now, I might be guzzling the stuff, but for today, I decided to skip it.  I also upped the temperature on the bath.  We’ll see what happens.

Day 3:  2.21 (Puddin’s Due Date!)

Homeopathic Remedy:  Walking

No studies have been conducted that prove that walking induces labor, but just about everyone recommends it.  It has something to do with gravity.  Additionally, it was 75 and sunny on Friday, so a great day for a walk, regardless.  I spent about an hour tooling along the beach, then came home and had a hot bath, this time with lavender epsom salts,  a mug of the organic raspberry tea, and what the hell, a shot of gin.  I felt wonderful when I got out, and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in front of a Tracy/Hepburn movie.

Unfortunately later that night I was incredibly sore.  Walking kills my lower back and inner thighs these days due to Puddin’s (and my) extra weight.  I had an extremely uncomfortable night.

Day 4:  2.22 

Homeopathic Remedy:  Sexy sexy sexy sex

This was the one you were waiting for, right?  Everyone recommends sex as an induction method.  It sounds so fun and carefree!  The catch is that at 40 weeks pregnant, sex is not fun and carefree.  It requires elaborate choreography.  And, unlike my second trimester, when I was in the mood all the time, by 40 weeks I just didn’t feel like it anymore.

However, sex is one of the few methods that has been proven to have some scientific benefit.  There’s a chemical in semen that causes the cervix to soften and dilate.  But for those women without partners, or for women who feel like sex is too much trouble, masturbation is supposed to be effective as well.  Orgasms are key, apparently, regardless of how they’re achieved, because they cause the uterine walls to contract, giving your body a hint as to how to get the baby out.

For the sexy record, nipple stimulation has also been scientifically proven to be helpful.  Stimulating one’s nipples releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that is supposed to trigger labor.   Sounds like fun, right?  The catch is that in order for it to work, the nipples must be stimulated for, like, a full hour every two to three hours.  Who has that kind of time?  I’d rather drink gin.  So we’ll be skipping that one.

As of Saturday night the 22nd, still no Puddin’…

Baby BooksThe combination of being an avid reader and a total sucker makes any trip into a book store or library as dangerous for me as, say, a trip to Claire’s for the average tween.  Eight months ago I bought up a slew of baby books, excited that this time the main character’s journey would be mine.

That’s when I discovered that baby books are dumb.

I wasn’t expecting brilliant writing.  The overtly sentimental, how-to style of the books allowed for clear, concise, and mostly stupid advice.  There’s only so much to be said about pregnancy and the developing baby, so each book had more filler in it than an American Idol finale.  To pad out the book or possibly to terrify new mothers, each book also went to great lengths detailing every possible disease, defect, or abnormality before revealing that such affliction affected 1 out of every 200,000 babies.  I also felt that each book operated under the assumption that women know nothing about basic diet and nutrition.  (Or maybe some women really don’t know about basic diet and nutrition.  Do some women still live in caves?)  When each book ran out of things to say, we were given glaringly obvious advice.

Here are some jewels of wisdom taken directly from the pages of various baby books:

“Wear your seat belt every time you drive, never drive while ‘in a hurry,’ or when you’re distracted, stay within the speed limits, and drive defensively, watching out for other motorists.”— from “The Pregnancy Journal:  A Day to Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy.”  It should be entitled “The Pregnancy Journal:  A Day to Day Guide for Privileged, Idiotic White Women.”  This book attempts to tell you something new about your baby every day, like the quote listed above, just in case you thought your baby bump was a good excuse not to drive with your seat belt on.  However, the book is  as addictive as crack, I’m not gonna lie.  I open it every day, and invariably roll my eyes.

“Eat tree nuts every other day (just not daily.)”— from “The Pregnancy Journal.”  I swear to God.  Are they trying to drive you crazy?  No information is given as to why daily tree nuts create a health hazard.  I happen to know that while nuts are in many ways very healthy, they are also high in fat, resulting in about a gazillion Weight Watchers points per handful.  So maybe that’s why you shouldn’t eat them every day?  But baby books in general love to give you a rule with no explanation.  I hope the same editors don’t work on parenting books.  (For the record, this nut issue is one of Weight Watchers’ flaws.  Believe me, if you’re doing WW, you can go over your Points eating nuts and still lose weight.  Sometimes on WW, you have to use common sense.  Has anyone ever said, “God, what a fatso.  She really should lay off the tree nuts.”  No.  No one’s ever said that.  Partly because who says “tree nuts?”  But also because no one ever got fat eating nuts.  I digress.)

“The peel on fruits like bananas, melons, and oranges is not an absolute barrier to pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizer.  Eat organically grown fruit whenever possible.”  –“The Pregnancy Journal.”  Obviously written by Gwyneth Paltrow.  Also, wrong.

“I worry that our cat, who has always slept with us, may be jealous of the new baby.”  — from the Q&A format of “What to Expect the First Year,” which, after perusing for a day, I informed Andre that I no longer wanted Puddin’, and he informed me it was too late.  I’m sure I didn’t read the answer to this question because why would I do that.  I mean, I love cats, but cats can deal.

“Food-borne illness occurs when you eat food that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins.” –from “You and Your Baby Pregnancy:  The Ultimate Week-to-Week Pregnancy Guide.”  I don’t know how anybody could get to child-bearing age without realizing where food poisoning comes from.  The book then goes on to offer helpful tips to prevent food poisoning, such as:  washing hands, cooking meats thoroughly, and checking expiration dates.  Filler.

Of course, all my books weren’t duds.  The most useful ones I read were “Bringing Up Bebe” by Pamela Duckerman, “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster and “The Shitty Mom Handbook” by four hysterically funny comedy writers.

“Expecting Better” somehow became very controversial because economist Oster actually relied on scientific studies to debunk a whole lot of myths, and America hates that.  I found it incredibly informative, especially the chapter on A, B, C, D, and X category drugs, and the details on how studies of pregnant women and babies are actually conducted.  (Did you know a doctor is more likely to prescribe Vicodin to a pregnant woman than Advil?  And that, in one frequently-flouted study, 45% of women who drank once a day during pregnancy also admitted to using cocaine?)  Anyway, I frequently refer back to that book, and I will reread some of the final chapters again soon, now that I’m closer to my due date.  I think I’ve forgotten why I’m supposed to resist an episiotomy.

“Bringing Up Bebe” (I don’t know how to make accent marks on my keyboard, but there should be one over the final E) was written by an American woman raising her children in Paris, where apparently kids behave a lot better than they do in New York.  It had a lot of parenting advice I’d like to try out, but mostly it addresses the culture of self-sacrifice that American mothers seem to embrace, which, frankly, I’ve always found annoying and resulting in spoiled, entitled kids.  So I felt like someone was speaking my language.   Also, since the title riffs on my favorite Katherine Hepburn movie, I was obviously going to read it.

But the best book by far was the Shitty Mom handbook because it made me laugh.  It featured chapters like, “Yes, the Babysitter Is Judging You,” “How to React if You Think Your Child Might Be Gay (Hint:  Celebrate),” “He Wants Sex, You Want to Sew Your Legs Shut For Ten Years,” and “Is Your Child Slow or Is He a Boy?”

In fact, I’m going to re-read that book right now.

“Every blog you write isn’t going to be about pregnancy, is it?”  my sister asked when she came to visit this weekend.

“Um, no…,” I replied, as this blog was writing itself in my head.  This is the second entry under my new “Baby” category, but I promise it will not be the only category I attend to.  (Make that a 6th thing I promise not to do.)  You will eventually be able to read more about my auditions in LA   or maybe, if I really pull it together, a critique or two.  But for now, here are five annoying things I promise NOT TO DO as a pregnant person.  Sorry if this offends any of my friends who do/have done these things, but it’s time you knew… this shit’s really annoying.

1.  I will not refer to my pregnancy or baby in terms of weeks.

I go to great lengths not to do math.   So when a person tells me his or her baby is 20 months old, you can practically hear my eyes roll.  Same with pregnancy, which everyone knows last nine months.  So if people ask me, “How far along are you?,”  I’ll say, “Four months,” or whatever the case may be.  (Update:  I’m four months on Friday.)  Yes, I might have to approximate a bit for those weeks in between.  But you know what?  No one cares.

2.  I will not take my kid to a restaurant where the average entree is over $12.  

The last time I was at Fig & Olive on the Upper East Side, a woman came in with her toddler.  She was also wearing sneakers, jeans, and was most likely a tourist.  But still.  I’ve spent enough time in restaurants to be able to differentiate which ones are for double strollers and which ones are for double cappuccinos.  (As Samantha once said on Sex and the City.  Wish I’d thought of that, but I didn’t.)  This doesn’t mean Andre and I will never eat at a nice restaurant again.  It just means we will find someone to watch our kid while we do.

3.  I will not throw elaborate birthday parties.  

When I was growing up in southern Ohio, birthday parties were held at one of three places:  McDonald’s, the bowling alley, or Chuck E. Cheese.  I am not a good enough writer to describe the pure bliss of biting into the sugary Grimace that sat on top of a McDonald’s birthday cake.  Ronald McDonald HIMSELF would show up at these parties, and anybody who was anybody (read:  pretty much the whole class) was there.

I promise I will never make grown men and women, no matter how inebriated, watch my two-year-old open presents.  I will save that particular torture for my immediate family.  When the child turns six or so, he or she will be given an age-appropriate, economically prudent, sugar-filled shindig at his or her favorite restaurant, which, due to the constraints of #2, will probably be McDonald’s.  It may be the only time that year my child gets to eat there, depending on the number of road trips we pack into that year.  When Andre and I were kids, McDonald’s was the exception, not the rule.  We intend to pass that particular strain of anti-Americanism on to Puddin’.

4.  Substitute a picture of my child for a picture of myself.  

If you are reading this and you’ve ever sent Andre and me a Christmas card that only pictured your child/children, I suppose now is the time to tell you:  we hate that.  (It’s particularly obnoxious if we’ve never actually met your child.)  Now, we love it if you and your child are BOTH on the Christmas card/Facebook profile/Skype handle/etc.  We want to be able to say, “Oh, so and so looks more like his father,” and so on.  And as adults, we really do care about the parents as individuals, not just in their new role as mommy or daddy.  We do realize that’s a huge part of your life, but we do care about you… and we want to know what you look like, dammit.

5.  Post pictures in which my child looks adorable, and I look heinous.

More so than usual, that is.

I am far too vain to really worry about doing this.  But I see it as yet another indication that a new parent is losing it/going over the edge/one step away from Mom jeans.  Five months from now, my mantra will be, “Would Beyonce do that?”  And in this case, SHE WOULD NEVER.

Now, here are some things I will definitely do.  Brace yourselves.

1.  I will complain that I’m fat.  

Andre will bear the brunt of this, of course, but if you see me during the course of my pregnancy, it is your job to tell me that you would never be able to tell I was pregnant from the back.  Lie to me.  I don’t care.

2.  I will embrace the mocktail, and then some.

Fact:  I really, really, really miss drinking.  For the next few months, I can only pretend I’m drinking.  Hence:  the mocktail.  However, prepare to be shocked:  I intend to have at least a glass of wine a week, which is okay by science.

3.  I will create adorable Halloween costumes.  

This year Andre and I have already discussed going as black Jesus and (pregnant) Madonna.  Never year I think we will go as a whole family of flappers because baby flappers are, obviously, adorable.  (Back up:  a family of cows, but I might have a hard time convincing Andre to wear a bull costume.)

Andre and I got our second look at our baby last week.

The baby, (or Puddin’, as we’re calling it until we know the gender– oh yes, we’re going to find out) has grown by leaps and bounds from the last time we saw him… her.. it… (see how annoying?)  But the most thrilling thing is that to us, the proud parents, Puddin’s personality has already begun to emerge, as well as Puddin’s innate (and many!) talents.  For example:

1.  Puddin’ gives you duck face.

Puddin' pouts.

A favorite among supermodels and Instagram users, duck face incorporates pursed lips and “I-take-this-shit-seriously” eyes.  Even though Puddin’s eyes are still closed, and will be for several more weeks, Puddin’ gives you one fierce duck face.  Andre and I debated whether Puddin’ knows she/he is being photographed, but regardless, Puddin’ was working it.  I’m betting she/he would be smizing as well.  I’m currently on hold with Wilhelmina.

2.  Puddin’s feet.

Puddin's FeetA baby’s feet are easily its most adorable feature– and this is coming from a person who hates feet.  Andre and I have been married for almost three years, and I still don’t let his feet touch mine.  I’d seriously rather be a garbage collector than a foot doctor.  I mean, I hate feet.  But seeing Puddin’s feet for the first time literally made my jaw drop.  Such precious little toes!  So tiny and magical!   Then I noticed something…

“Oh dear,” I said, turning to my husband.  “Andre, look.  No turnout.”

The nurse, concerned with my disappointment, immediately said, “Oh, no.  All baby’s feet look like that.”  Obviously she’d never studied dance.  I mean, don’t tell me my child’s going to have unexceptional feet!  At least tell me there’ll be hope for Puddin’s turnout when her hip joints start to form.

Not that I want to enroll Puddin’ in a dance class.  I don’t think dance studios are healthy environments for little girls.  Little boys, totally different matter.  Puddin’ can only take ballet if he’s a boy.  But if those feet are any indication, we’d best not enroll him at all.

3.  Puddin’ works out.

Throughout the ultrasound, Puddin’ would not lie still.  She/he kept raising and lowering his/her head and upper body.  Puddin’ does crunches in the womb.  Andre and I are very proud.  We want a child who can work it in front of a camera AND make fitness a priority.  And I cannot wait to see what happens when she starts to grow legs.