Number Two.

Ohhhhh blog, how I’ve neglected you. It’s been days since I posted anything fun here, days! And to be honest, with each blog-less week it was starting to feel like my well of inspiration had run dry, just a few sad months out of France. I mean, really–there’s only so much I can say about cleaning bananas out of the ears of a sweet child who looks increasingly like Marlon Brando circa Apocalypse Now.

But I missed writing! I missed sharing the sometimes hilarious everyday insanity that made up my life in Paris. I felt committed to jumpstarting this blog again, if only I had some good material: A funny story. A goofy encounter. Or, you know, another baby.

Yes folks, that is in fact another baby human in my uterus. That’s how far I’m willing to go to keep this blog alive! At least until the baby comes out and I have no time to do anything but wipe other people’s butts.

I know what you’re thinking: I am super dedicated to my readership (all 4 of you). So dedicated that I’m going to have this bébé all the way over in Austria, which means I’ll most likely have some big nurse named Helga barking at me in stern German to poooosh! And if that won’t make for good blog material, I don’t know what will.

So enjoy! I’ll promise I’ll be posting more updates about Number Two and The Babe and my exciting foray into the world of Irish twins. While getting ready to move abroad. Again. You’re welcome!


Parisian pregnancy privileges.

indecent exposure

I think whoever says pregnancy is beautiful is full of crap. I assure you that it is miraculous, incredible, awkward, uncomfortable, amazing, and interesting. Kind of like a science experiment. Or puberty. But it ain’t pretty, people. Your feet turn into sausages, your boobs get all out of control, and there are lots of strange bodily functions involved. It’s gross.

But that’s not to say growing a baby human doesn’t have some perks. Especially if you live in Paris. People here seem to go above and beyond the call of duty when they see me waddling their way, like the helpful store clerk who told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to take the stairs and led me to the elevator.

Or the very nice lady who watched me haul myself up onto a barstool at lunch, then marched all the way across the restaurant, pulled me off the chair and gave me her table.

People everywhere are very concerned about me sitting, which I have to say is pretty awesome, even if I don’t feel like sitting. Folks on the metro can’t wait to give me their seats, and they look downright offended if I tell them non merci.

I also get to cut in line, which is a miracle in and of itself in this land where people are notorious line-cutters. Pre-bébé, the Parisians would have no problem running over my foot with their cart as they pushed their way to cash register, ignoring me and the 50 or so people waiting patiently.

But oh how the tables have turned! Mwwaahhahahahaha! Now I get pulled out of the bathroom line and allowed to go first, called from the rear of the queue at H&M to try my clothes on in an extra-large dressing room, even ushered through the VIP security check at museums. I knew this baby was good for something!

But the joke is that the Parisians are happy to help out a pregnant lady, but as soon as le bébé arrives, no one wants to see you again. Restaurants especially. Watching a waiter look at an incoming stroller is like seeing one of Roald Dahl’s witches sniffing out a nearby child. Zay smell of dog poo and vill disturb our foie gras!

So I better enjoy my premier status while I can.

Vocab Friday: Aiiieeeee!

It’s a good thing my French teacher spent part of Tuesday discussing les interjections. You know, the French equivalent of those little exclamations and phrases you shout when you’re stuck in traffic or stub your toe or step in dog poo. Because when in France, you should be able to say WTF?! or UGH! or Geeeeeezus! so everyone can understand you.

Husband must have sensed that I needed practice with this new vocab, because promptly after dinner he stumbled across a video of a water birth, and suggested we watch it.

Of course, my first reaction was beurk! Gross. No thank you. I’ve seen the miracle of birth firsthand (thanks sis!) and that left me with enough graphic images to last a lifetime. But I was kind of interested in seeing what the heck a water birth was anyway, so we gathered ’round the computer and hit play.

The video followed a nurse who was having her 3rd child. She talked a little about the calming effects of the water and having good water birth experiences in the past. And indeed, when she arrived at the hospital in labor, she was kind of like bof! no big deal.

Then allez-hop! It was time to jump in the tub. There this woman sat in complete zen-like silence, waiting for the time to push. This seemed absolutely crazy to me. Ah la la, c’est pas possible! I shouted, to which Husband said chut! Be quiet! I can’t hear what the midwife is saying!

And then out of nowhere, with nothing more than a slight grimace and a barely audible ouf!, this lady gave (under water) birth to a human.

Ah la vache! C’est super cool!  exclaimed Husband, who turned to me with a big goofy grin on his face.

To which I replied Aiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee! and promptly burst into tears.

Zut, these hormones are out of control.

*     *      *

beurk (berk): uggghhhh! or ewwwww!

bof (bof): huh! or pffft! Like you’re not impressed.

allez-hop (ah-ley op): alley oop! Used when an action starts.

ah la la (ah lah lah): oh my god/gosh!

chut (shoo): French equivalent of shhhhhh!

ouf (oof): Phew! Like when you’re done with something hard.

ah la vache (ah lah vahsh): holy cow!

aie (eye): similar to “oy vey” or “aye aye aye!”

zut (zoot): crap! or shoot!

I can’t stop thinking about poussettes.

That sounds really dirty, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not. It’s just sad. I’ve been inexcusably bad at updating the old blog and teaching you vocab over the past 2 weeks, and I have nothing to blame other than uncharacteristically spectacular weather and a complete obsession with baby strollers.

Now, I hate the fact that my existence has been overtaken by poussette-mania. I wanted to be able to nonchalantly pick out the first thing on wheels that came my way. But there are so many choices! And so many factors to consider! Like will it fit in my elevator? (Nope.) Does it have a bassinet attachment so le bébé can sleep in it? (Maybe.) Will it cost more than a used car? (Probably.)

And if I ever want to leave my apartment again, it will have to be a sturdy cobblestone-proof version that’s still light enough to haul up 3 flights of stairs and maneuver on the bus. Bright colors might also make it easier for strangers to spot me stranded at the top of the metro stairs, waiting for help carrying that sucker down to the platform.

So I’ve thrown all former coolness and street cred to the wind, and devoted disgusting amounts of time to stroller gazing. I hate myself. Bébé, you better be reallllly cute or funny or something to make it all worth it.

Spontaneous conception.

Last week Husband and I had to go in to the American Hospital for something called the One Day Test. Since I’ve never been preggo in America, I have no idea if the equivalent exists there. But here it’s a big deal. You go get blood work done, then get an echographie with a specialist that lasts for a good half an hour. If you’re lucky he doesn’t speak a lick of English and you spend the entire time wavering between absolute awe for the alien up on the big screen and absolute panic when you think the doctor says “See here? He’s got seven arms!”

Then you wait for 2-3 hours for your blood work results to come in. Why they make you wait rather than just come back the next day is totally beyond me, but hey, it’s France. Even when you’re sitting in the American Hospital.

So we waited. And waited. Long enough for me to have several code red hunger attacks and only a bag of peanut M&Ms to save the day. But finally the results came in and we were ushered into an office to go over them with a genetic specialist.

She was a lovely older blonde woman who mercifully spoke English, although with a very, very thick accent. That, on top of code red hunger, made it nearly impossible for me to understand anything she said. Which isn’t ideal when you’re there to figure out if your unborn bébé has wackadoo genetics or not.

The specialist first let us know that all the preliminary results pointed to an absolutely healthy child. Bon. But she still wanted to know a little about each of our family histories and such, just to rule out any risks. She proceeded to sketch out a family tree, and asked where my parents where from.

“Uh, America?” I replied.

Husband slapped his forehead. The specialist smiled politely.

“Oui, bien sur madame. But where do they come from before that? Where are your grandparents and great grandparents from?”

“Um, America. Maryland. They’ve been there a really long time.”

The specialist looked annoyed. I didn’t know what she wanted to hear. Husband was shooting me death stares.

“I mean, I think about 300 years ago some of them came over from England…or Scotland. And I think Poland. Oh! and my mom’s family is French! And German. And probably a few other things.”

That seemed to appease her. Husband, ever one to outdo me, simply said “Irish and Italian.” Showoff.

Moving on, the specialist peppered us with questions about illness, family members with rare diseases, our general health. I answered those well enough. But then she popped the big one.

“So, was it a spontaneous conception?”

I looked at Husband. Husband looked at me. His eyes said I’m not touching that one with a ten foot pole. So I asked for clarification.

“Spontaneous…like the Virgin Mary?”

The specialist blinked. Husband probably slapped his forehead again. I started to giggle.

“No madame. Was it spontaneous? Or did you have problems getting pregnant?”

About a thousand other inappropriate responses popped into my head, but I got her drift. So I kindly told her it was shockingly easy and left it at that. Le bébé got a clean bill of health. And I surely got the most hilarious genetic counseling session known to man.

Vocab Friday: A croissant in the oven.

Oh how I wish there really was an actual croissant in my new oven. Because that one up there? I ate it. And I could really use another one.

Why? Well, I can tell you it’s not my usual appetite for pastry at work here. There’s something far more serious going on. And franchement, I don’t know whether to be honored or alarmed that no one’s called me out on it yet.

I mean, have you read my blog lately? First of all, I was completely missing in action for the month of December. That’s because I was busy walking around in a nauseous stupor, contemplating whether or not I was eating enough Ritz crackers to get their corporate sponsorship.

Then New Years came and went without one single mention of champagne. Not one! And nobody thought to check and see if I still had a pulse?

And what about all the obsessive talk about eggs and chocolate pudding? Do I scare you enough with my normal eating habits that the news of me eating nothing but huevos rancheros and Jell-O wasn’t even a blip on the radar?

Sheesh. I guess I’m going to have to spell it out for you.

Je suis enceinte.

That’s ehhn-cehhhnt. As in preggo. Knocked up. With child. Scared out of my mind.

Ok that last one isn’t entirely true. Husband and I are actually really excited about this little alien growing in my belly. What I’m scared of is not being able to eat a good rare steak until, oh, August or so. And letting go of smelly, unpasteurized cheeses. And the champagne! Oh the champagne. It’s a travesty.

And while I’m overwhelmed by the miracle of life and the pregnancy glow and all that crap, what strikes me as truly momentous is the growing list of things this baby is going to owe me when s/he comes out. Oh, I’m keeping track. Right now we’re up to about 6 bottles of bubbly, 4 steak dinners, a big wheel of brie, one ski trip in the Alps, all of my muscle tone and 2 pants buttons. And most likely a boob lift.

I think that’s fair, don’t you?