Strange Feelings While Checking Out At Wal-Mart

I went to Wal-Mart the other day to buy Valentine’s Day cards for Vale to take to daycare, even though she has no idea what’s going on and no teeth with which to eat candy (haha! all for me, then!) I was standing at the self check-out kiosk, scanning items, and debating between the hologram dinosaur Valentine cards versus Peppa the Pig (I have no idea who the hell Peppa is). As I scanned body wash and York Peppermint Patties I also wondered whether these days it is considered negligent to give candy to classmates on Valentine’s Day, as opposed to organic, non-GMO fruit or some shit. I pushed these concerns aside with some thoughts of back in my day! and Fuck it! Candy is awesome. Be a little festive for Christ’s sake! But my fears would later be confirmed when I saw a friend’s Instagram of the tangerines she had wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow a-la-Pinterest, for her son’s classmates.

As I internally railed against non-GMO, grass-fed, gluten-free, vegan fruits, I was only vaguely aware of an infant crying in a carrier a few kiosks away. The crying baby briefly triggered my recall of a time I was excited to make it all the way through a shopping trip with a happy Vale when she started fussing right as I pulled up to the check-out line; I sympathized with the poor mother.

Right when I decided on Peppa Pig, the woman in the kiosk next to me angrily muttered, “You know, that baby has been crying for two hours.” My first thought was, as to both the mother with the crying baby and the woman currently addressing me, who spends two hours at Wal-Mart? I responded generically, “Oh, that sucks,” assuming she was complaining about the noise, and also internally questioned, Wal-Mart is pretty damn spacious. Couldn’t you have like, moved three aisles away? Who stalks someone in Wal-Mart for two hours? But then she added, “Seriously, two hours. Screaming. Don’t you think the baby might be hungry or something? Ugh!”

Much to my surprise, the word, “hungry,” evoked in me a sudden, foreign, and involuntary feeling of deep sadness for the baby, and for a few seconds I felt quite horrible. I know of women who can pinpoint the exact moment they truly felt like a mother. I wouldn’t go as far to say this was my moment, because I don’t really ever have defining moments of that sort. Perhaps my emotions are so dulled, or my tendency to ruminate is so acute, that I let such moments pass for months before realizing their significance. In any event, for me, life is a series of small incidents melting together on a spectrum of experience; there are no “aha!” moments I can identify, in which I suddenly realize something profound. But still, I felt unexpectedly unsettled, as if an unfamiliar chamber of my heart had been revealed.

January 20, 2018

Dear Vale,

Today, we spent all day together. You fell asleep after eating at 6:30 pm the night before, and slept longer than usual. You slept until it was almost your bed time. I was concerned your chubby little ass would be hungry, so I woke you up at 9:45 p.m. to eat again before sleeping for the night. You ate vigorously, fell promptly asleep, and slept until 8:45 a.m. today. Again, I questioned how your usual gluttonous self could possibly still be going without food, and woke you up, all smiles, for breakfast, but you wouldn’t drink breast milk, after many heroic attempts.

I eventually gave up, and went downstairs to feed myself, but did not get past the coffee. You were a bit fussy, even though I gave you your doll and como tomo, so I got distracted from my own food and decided to try my luck with your new sippy cup (failure), and then with your Dr. Brown bottle (expected failure), and then I decided I might as well make a breast milk avocado puree with the 3 ounces I pumped at 11:15 a.m. during my mediation the day before. You made a mediocre attempt at the avocado puree, though I suppose I should consider it fortunate that at least half probably made it into your mouth.

Eventually, you were convinced into breastfeeding at approximately 10:45 a.m., two hours after you woke up. The moment you were finished, I whisked you off to run errands before hunger struck again. You enjoyed browsing the aisles at Target, where we used my gift card from work to buy face powder, shampoo, baby sunscreen, and a sleep sack (pink fleece, with owls, 50% off, only $5). We went to Ross next, because I was hoping to buy a professional-looking name brand purse large enough to occasionally hold pump supplies, but I didn’t find anything that wasn’t completely boring.

I tested the limits of your patience, and took you to Barnes & Noble, where I spent many days of my youth, so you could be exposed to books. We then cruised into Starbucks, where I craved sweets, since I still hadn’t had breakfast, but I resisted.

We went home and you weren’t hungry for a while, so I took you on a walk. I called Ana while we walked to catch up, and see how things are going with your buddy Luka. The goal was to walk 4 times up the steep hill by our house, but you got bored on round 3, so we went home and I did a few half-assed squats instead. After your next feeding, you seemed to have fallen asleep, so I left you to rest, and practiced a Chopin Etude. I started on the Fantasie Impromptu, when I saw you squirm and flail on your baby monitor – quite a short nap – not even 30 minutes.

The balance of the day was spent pleasantly. I strapped you to my chest and folded and put away laundry. You watched me eat pasta and salad for dinner with great interest (you should be jealous – it was damn good!) I read from your Tang dynasty poetry book, and started reading Madeline and the Gypsies, but you started to get bored. I put you in your jumper while I did some ab exercises.

Your daddy called from New York and I realized the whole day had slipped by and you had barely napped, so I put you in your sleep sack, placed you in your bassinet hoping you would go to sleep at 9:00 p.m., and turned on your mobile You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray… I went downstairs to chat with your dad on the phone and make some tea. I heard you yell and scream bloody murder, and let you have at it for a few minutes, but then you began to cry, and I felt bad, so I came back upstairs to check on you. I cocked my head to one side and examined your behavior for myself. I asked you what could possibly be so tragic and smiled at you. At this point, you couldn’t help but start to smile back, yet you also clearly wanted to continue your act, so for the next 15 seconds you involuntarily vacillated between smiling and wailing while I laughed at you.

I picked you up and we sat next to the heater for a few minutes to warm up, and I put you in bed. (Daddy spoils you this way sometimes, so I can too!) I sang two songs in Chinese for you, but you were still wide awake, so I started singing Hallelujah. I had not gotten past the first verse when you decided you were just a little hungry. You had a night cap, fell asleep, and that was the end of our lovely day.

Your daddy misses you tons and will be back tomorrow.

Huggies Diapers Are The Worst

Huggies diapers are the fucking worst. Literally the worst. I make fun of Honest diapers for being all crunchy and organic but Huggies are so much worse. I do not know how they have managed to stay in business all these years. I know they have been around at least since my brother was a baby; how a  company that makes such incompetent diapers can be around for at least three decades is totally beyond me.

When she peed while sleeping next to me and it soaked through a receiving blanket and two towels? Huggies.

When she was sitting in my lap eating, gave a little poo and it shot out of the diaper, and got on my shirt, the bed, and the carpet? Huggies.

When a young guy was shopping for diapers for a baby shower in the baby section at Wal-Mart asked me my recommendations for diapers? I said not Huggies. Go for the Pampers.

You think you got me with those cute Winnie the Pooh designs? Get outta here!


The New Typical Saturday

Weekends have changed a bit since being pregnant. Waking up late hungover is no longer an option, and since I don’t party all night, I don’t sleep in as much. Even so, I love sleeping in, so it was sort of a big deal that I woke up at 8:20 a.m., drank some coffee, had husband snap a “Week 23” picture, brewed some caramel macchiato flavored coffee, and headed off to yoga. I’m not in the habit of taking pictures of myself half asleep in gym clothes, but I noticed that my outfit was unintentionally extremely pink and obnoxious (hot pink shirt, purse, yoga mat) and husband found it amusing.


After yoga, I played some Chopin for Fetus: an etude and the Fantasie Improptu. She wasn’t impressed. No kicking, no response. Sort of like how my cats flee the room when they see me reach for the guitar, except Fetus is imprisoned inside me and has no choice. Afterwards, I finished up some chores. Husband had to go into work on a Saturday, so I went to lunch with Tony and Belen (also preggo). We first went to a smoothie shop in San Marcos called Disfruta. I got there a little before them, and scanned the menu, which was entirely in Spanish. This was exciting because it makes getting a smoothie near your house feel like a foreign adventure.

Fortunately, I had learned lots of fruit names on DuoLingo, and further, have a shortcut to Google Translate on my phone. I ended up ordering a Jugo Berry (berry juice) and Belen and Tony ordered smoothies. The berry juice was basically pure blended berries, probably consisting of strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. I didn’t think any sugar was added, and it was totally amazing. Belen and Tony ordered smoothies; I tried theirs, and they were really good, though I am partial to the simplicity of pure juice.

Next, we hit up Mi Rancho Market in Escondido again for the best tacos on the face of the earth. This award as determined by me has been stripped from Tacos El Gordo and bestowed upon Mi Rancho. I ordered the adobada and lengua, which I had last time and loved. They were just as good this time. On this day, Belen also pointed out they had birria de chivo (goat) tacos, and so I had to get one of those. The first and only time I had birria was in Rosarito in November, and this was a pleasant surprise. The birria taco was juicy and delicious and I wished my stomach was bigger so I could have a few more.


We went to the mall afterwards, where Belen wanted to check out the maternity section at Macy’s. The maternity section was fairly predictable. Everything was boring and frumpy as fuck, and the sale items weren’t very cheap, so I changed strategies. I went to the junior’s and women’s section, and bought items in larger sizes and/or stretchy material. I ended up getting a a $6 dress, a $7 sweatshirt, and another $7 dress. I did splurge just a little and buy a really pretty maxi dress with cherry blossoms on it for $24 (gasp!)

Next, I went across the way and bought a large stretchy pencil skirt at Cotton On, and another dress for $15. Seriously, fuck maternity clothes. They are hideous, and a total rip-off (but maybe check with me again in 3 months to see whether this strategy is still viable at 7-8 months pregnant). While I was trying on about 20 items, Tony and Belen wandered off to Brookstone and other stores, then made their way back to me. I told them I was at Cotton On, but I happened to be in the changing room when they showed came back:

I met them at Spencer’s. I probably had not been inside a Spencer’s since high school and had no recollection of this store stocking sex toys, but there it was – a big wall of dildos indeed, in pretty much every color of the rainbow.

Work and Pregnancy: Be Careful With Your Professional Wardrobe

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling great. It was not awful, like it can be for some women, but I tired easily and would without fail start to feel nauseous in the early afternoon each day. Thus, unless I had to be at court or in a deposition, I started rolling into work in yoga pants and T-shirts. I’d like to say this is something I have only done in pregnancy, but that would not be true. However, the frequency of this certainly increased when I was pregnant. That’s one of the best parts about working in a law office 2 blocks from the beach – the casual atmosphere.

This worked out quite well for a couple of weeks. The night before I had a big conference to attend, I decided to try on my suits, just in case. Good thing I tried, because I found that in the 2 weeks I’d exclusively been wearing yoga pants, I had grown a belly in what felt like overnight. While I could zip up most my skirt suits and pants, I could not breathe in them if I sat down, which is not good for attending a conference during which you are sitting down 90 percent of the time. My shirts could be buttoned, but I was also pushing the limits in this regard.

I grew momentarily a bit frantic. Not only did I have a 2-day conference, I had an oral argument in court right after. Being suitless was not an option! Fortunately, I recalled a cheap suit I had from law school days, made of a stretchy polyester, which was up for the task. Lesson learned. This shit creeps up on you fast.

“I could barely button this shirt, but at least the skirt fits!”

Once I made it through the week, I immediately booked my ass to Ross and Target to buy some pencil skirts and larger shirts before the next stage in expansion caught me unawares. I found from browsing online that professional maternity wear is a rip-off, especially considering the fact I will be constantly growing for several months and will hardly get much use out of these items. I ended up supplementing my professional clothes with a mish-mash of shirts, dresses, and skirts from Target, Ross, and Wal-Mart. Some of these items were actually maternity clothes, while others I ordered were either a loose-fitting style or a larger size than I normally wear.

So far so good, but we’ll see what I’ll have to adjust once I get to 8-9 months. Or maybe it will be a good excuse to avoid court appearances and depositions? Just kidding.

Preggo Shopping

Over the weekend, I drove down to Pacific Beach to my husband’s cousin Amy’s pad, where she had laid out a beautiful spread of snacks and drinks on her dinner table for a ladies’ day. Her smorgasboard included sweet peppers, a whipped garlic spread, brie, homemade fig jam, plum preserves, baguette slices, tapenade, among other treasures that sang to me. These were paired with champagne and beers for others (so jealous), but Amy was incredibly thoughtful and had a couple of fancy non-alcoholic options for me. After gorging on the snacks, paired with a coconut (mango?) oolong tea, and an elderflower and rose lemonade, we went shopping with a crew of ladies.

The first stop was a store I’ve been to on a couple of prior occasions. Half of it contains normal clothing. The other half is most accurately described as an awesome costume/stripper store, featuring wigs in all colors of the rainbow, garter belts, masks, S&M collars, corsets, animal ears, steampunk goggles, and things normal people do not wear out in public. Every time I am here, I Snapchat a glimpse of this wonderland to my stripper friend. If I lived closer, I’d be here all the time. Being about 5 months pregnant, I briefly felt reminiscent browsing through slinky dresses I could have previously worn. Amy assured me I could buy them anyway because I would eventually fit into them again, but I am vehemently against buying ill-fitting clothes many months in advance (especially considering how fickle I am in my style). However, she did plant a seed in my head, and without much further deliberation promptly decided I could still wear these things if I bought items made of stretchy material, and in the largest size available.

So I left the store with a form-fitting black spandex dress (size L) that was not made for pregnant people and a gray, over-sized, shirt featuring the classy slogan, “ALCOHOL YOU LATER.” Although this may not have been the shirt’s intent, I figured this was entirely appropriate for me, since indeed, I cannot alcohol until many months from now. Additionally, I picked up a black, lacy, billowy dress with spaghetti straps for $5 that seemed perfect for preggos, which is also probably why it was on the sale rack for $5 in a stripper store. I wore the black spandex to the bowling alley with 5-inch wedges the next day, because fuck it. YOLO.

On a side note, in our shopping adventures, I noticed an abundance of choker necklaces, ribbed shirts and dresses, and floral prints. Holy shit, are the 90’s back in? Goddamn I am getting old.