The ‘Would You Rather’ game was one of my favorites growing up (a span of time that extends until the present day.) I could go on for hours: would you rather be an astronaut or a rodeo clown? Both are dangerous jobs that require a high level of physical fitness and a tolerance for costumery, and both have serious drawbacks: adult diaper rash versus a constant assault of really offensive jokes from the rodeo announcer.
I’m still deciding between the two although at the ripe old age of 34.95, and with no discernable astro or rodeo skills, it’s probably a moot point.
It turns out that pregnancy breeds a host of Would You Rather scenarios (as well as an infestation of double entendres related, not to sexuality, to parasitism.) Here are a few of my favorites:
Would I rather accept a challenge to get my daily allowance of calcium through cottage cheese alone OR invent a time machine to take me back to yesterday (Saturday) when the stores were open?
Would I rather keep having these new, astonishingly vivid dreams about raptors made out of school buses and bologna-textured sidewalks OR be able to sleep on my back again?
Would I rather be able to cross my legs OR have a daily game where I try to make out new shapes in the ever-changing constellation of abdominal freckles?
Would I rather put off holiday shopping and planning until the few weeks before the baby comes so that I can get things done when I’m already out trying to find size 0 bamboo-based cloth diapers OR would I like to get started on that now?
Ha ha ha ha. Just kidding. I started my holiday planning weeks ago. 23 weeks ago.
Would I rather take a hiatus from potentially teratogenic harsh chemicals (a.k.a household cleaners) and take a nap on the sofa as Herr R cleans the entire flat OR not feel like a total slug?
Would I rather name the babe a pleasant-sounding, easily pronouncable, slightly-but-not-overtly German name that both Herr R and I liked immediately OR admit that ‘Ida’ is a man’s name?
Ida’s pronounced “Eedah” in German, with a little more emphasis on the first syllable. Whaddya think?
I am a bad patient. Not the kind that lies on my medical history (I am forthright about my weekly units of alcohol/nicotine/crack consumption, especially since those units are holding steady at zero,) or the kind that makes up symptoms to get drug prescriptions, or the kind that doesn’t show up for cancer/HIV/shock treatment because they are in denial about their condition. I am cognizant of my condition, but I can’t seem to control it: every single time I go to the doctor, I mistakenly think that the staff will be interested in hearing theories born of 11 years of experience pushing paperwork in a tangentially health-care-related industry. Today’s outburst came at the end of a fairly lengthy 22-week OBGYN visit, where the staff are calm, caring and professional. I had two ultrasounds, two blood draws, and a weight and blood pressure check. Nearly everything was perfect, but I couldn’t help but notice that my hemoglobin was significantly lower than last visit, indicating some level of anemia, and that the medical assistant hadn’t properly capped the container of hemoglobin cuvettes. Given this situation, the patient has a few options:
-take iron pills to treat the anemia, get tested again at the next visit,
-increase consumption of iron-rich foods, get tested again at the next visit,
-don’t increase iron uptake, grow paler and more wan, get tested again at the next visit, or
-explain that when the cuvettes are exposed to air, they can get little bubbles in the sample that result in artificially low readings, and that if the practice is seeing a high rate of low hemoglobin readings and/or if the readings don’t correlate to the hemoglobin results in complete blood counts sent to the lab the same day for the same patient, that they might want to open a new bottle of cuvettes or recallibrate their machine or do two tests on the same patient or send a sample to the lab to make sure and I only bring it up because I know those cuvettes are really expensive so I’d hate to see them wasted but I’m sure their internal quality control testing is just fine, I’m sure it is, you’re nice ladies, but taking iron when you don’t need it is punishment indeed for already constipation-prone pregnant ladies so I thought I’d mention it but I’ll go now, OK?
You can imagine how well that went. In my halting German and then babbling English. Ugh. Luckily, I only have to go back to the practice eight more times in the next four months.
The funny part is that I LOVE iron-rich foods! Swiss chard pie with a side of calf liver, yes please! Molassess is my favorite sweetener! Spinach + pig liver = birthday dinner! Steaks and chops and pates, oh my! I just don’t like to fail tests, and I am apparently convinced that the side effects of a pent-up opinion rotting away inside me are worse than a mild case of anemia.
With that, I’m off to the butcher for some chicken livers!
…a post from last Tuesday that I just realized I hadn’t actually posted…
Where’s the Betster?
From the hints below, try to guess what town I was leaving this morning.
-On the way to the airport, I ate leftover Mexican rice and black beans with the last of a chile relleno stuffed with cochinita pibil from Curra’s.
-When I got to the airport, the rental car check-in attendant was absurdly friendly even at 5:50 am.
-The person who went through the security line directly ahead of me was the great Willie Nelson. He was recognized but not accosted, which was either a show of respect to the man himself or to the early hour. He wears New Balance sneakers, which doesn’t have much to do with anything but is such a sensible choice I thought I’d mention it.
-The lowest temperature in _ _ st _ n last week was 10 degrees higher than the high in Hamburg.
Got it? Good!
It was a great week in Austin, with lots of time with friends, and the heat wasn’t too deadly, but I’m a little glad that it was my last trip for a while because you just don’t beat a send-off like that: cinnamon-scented slow roasted pork-stuffed green chile for breakfast and a “Mornin’” from your favorite (living) country musician. So long, Austin. Ya’ll come visit, now.
p.s. the television coverage this morning is split between Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy announcement and a tutorial on pet CPR in the event of heat-induced cardiac arrest. It IS time to leave.
Today, in response to a somewhat bleary-eyed man’s feeble attempt to cut ahead of me in the security line, I gave him a gentle elbow and pointed…pointedly… at my soon-to-be-outie belly button, making the “chu” noise with my mouth that means “as if”. Yeah, mister, as IF I’m going to let anyone get between me and that x-ray machine. Can’t you see I’m pregnant?
Over the weekend (a lovely one in England with old and new friends,) I applied a similar ‘but I’m preeeegnaaaant’ logic to my food consumption. I’m only supposed to be eating an extra 300 calories per day, so one serving of meusli is plenty, but the baby gets so little exposure to clotted cream that it seems unfair to deny her a second serving – she’s building teeth now*, she needs the calcium! See also: baby needs curry! baby needs cashews! baby needs seafood pancake! And my favorite, baby needs a nap.
I read somewhere that some tastes are acquired neonatally, so in addition to wearing comfortable but ugly shoes and setting a good example by voting in every election between now and December, I am trying to eat a variety of foods in hopes that the Smidgen will develop a taste for them. My understanding is that without some neonatal exposure to the bitter realm of flavors, a toddler/child/teen/adult won’t enjoy that flavor profile. I had lots of good orange marmalade this weekend, and have been picking raddichio and endive salads rather than the usual meslun mix. Herr R and I both love mustard, and I like the idea that the daughter would have the same mustard affinities as her father, so I loaded up on dark yellow mustard at the breakfast buffet this morning. I was pleased to find it unusually bitter for the first few bites, then less pleased to find it inedibly bitter for the next few. I mentioned it to the restaurant staff, who tasted it and pronounced it rotten. Hilarious. After avoiding any cheeses that may have possibly been made with unpasteurized milk that may possibly have been contaminated with bacteria that may possibly have undesirous effects, I eat a quarter cup of (rotten) mustard from an airport hotel breakfast buffet in a country with an add-more-hops approach to food conservation. Rotten mustard! Who knew there was such a thing?! I should have known there was something wrong with it. Even at first bite, it was more bitter than crow.
*p.s. this probably makes me a bad mom and will result in some serious lashing out come 10th grade, but the idea that there are tiny teeth growing inside me creeps me right the fuck out. Clotted cream helps calm me down, but the jam that comes with it reminds me that those tiny teeth aren’t going to be brushed for months. Eww.