Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heartbeat--It's a Love Beat...

This morning, Lidia and I had our second meeting with Dr. Jackie Thomas at The Bloomberg Clinic at Mt. Sinai. Compared to last time, it was a breeze--promptly at 9 am, Lidia had a blood pressure test (impressive results: 120/73--woo hoo!). Then, we got to listen to each of their hearbeats! "Baby A" was at 147, and "Baby B" outdoing the competition at 149--their little "thump/thumps" sounding a bit like dolphin songs.

Of course, I planned to walk back to work with a spring in my step and got promptly drenched.

Our next ultrasound is booked for August 15 (just days before my birthday) and should the youngsters cooperate, we should be able to tell the gender of each. Get yer betting pools up and running now, true believers.

Those ebullient little heartbeats resonated with me all day (and it was a lousy day, even by work standards)...everything is starting to feel a bit more "real" and more than ever I can't wait until they're here!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Scares Us This Week...Pt. 1

I've managed to get through four-plus decades of my life and can honestly say that I've payed zero attention to anything in the media (or car rides, party chat, and lunch table round-robins) related to infants and child-rearing--I've long subscribed to the old adage that "there's nothing more interesting than your own kids and nothing less interesting than everybody else's". Although I thought "Mr. Mom" was pretty funny back in its day. But of course, with our own double-helping of unbridled infant instinct on the way by year's end, my antenna's a bit more tuned in to the subject than usual.

What I've happened upon is a 24-7 emergency broadcast frequency masquerading as nightly-news offering a glut of manufactured doom and gloom that rivals that montage of apocalyptic fear mongering that Michael Moore cut together to hilarious effect in "Farenheit 9/11" (if killer bees don't get you, killer escalators will!)--and my inner Howard Beale isn't terribly happy about it.

Earlier today, CityNews sent roving "health specialist" Laura DiBattista out into the urban wilds to unearth the latest threat to our comfortable, middle-class lives, and subject and timing couldn't have been more apt: Ultrasound! Specifically, the relatively new process of 3-D medical imaging, which Lidia and I were planning to do once the infants were farther along in their development.

Harmful? Health Canada, the story goes, has posted a warning about the use of ultrasound for "commercial and non-medical purposes". But while the President Of The Nova Scotia Association Of Radiologists admits that "there really has been no proven harm", he's quick to add a "who knows?" The operator of one private imaging service offered: ""There is nothing that shows in 40 years of studies that it's harmful to the fetus or the mom. But just to be on the safe side, I suppose Health Canada put that (warning) out."

So what the hell, exactly, was the point? It doesn't seem to be harmful, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be? So's taking a walk--damn it, if you're gonna terrify me, give me something I can use...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

OPKs (Or, Ode To Thargas Anvilmar...)

Let's face it, it's not that hard to win the affections of Other Peoples' Kids (OPKs): the real parents get saddled with all the hard stuff (like preparing meals, housecleaning, filling up the SUV weekend in/weekend out, cramming into those silly little school desks on "Meet The Teacher" night) while you show up once in a blue moon armed with gifts to MC some special trip to a mall or museum or theme park, gorge on junk food, take in a matinee or two, and engineer a few extra hours of overcaffeinated frivolty past their usual bedtime because, y'know, your presence is a visit from Willy Wonka or a reunion of The Eagles (on second thought...).

I think I did a pretty good job carousing--dareIsay corrupting?--with my nephew and niece for a good part of the Clinton era (and the early Dubya years), each of whom were once enchanted with my various interests and indulgences and saw me as an escape from the Stalinesque rule of their parents' regime.
This weekend, we hooked up with Robin, one of Lidia's long-time friends, whom I had not seen since her wedding a good decade ago. She brought along her son Simon, who at the age of eight is already brimming with imagination, intelligence, and even a sardonic wit that instantly endeared him to me (and, no doubt, anyone else he meets!).
We introduced him to our personable felines, Maggie and Minnie, and then I showed off my sizeable collection of "cool stuff": autographed movie posters, my impressive DVD library, comic book collection, and smattering of limited edition statues scattered about my office and the TV lounge here and there. He seemed most impressed by my bust of "Hellboy", considering he was pumped for that afternoon's downtown trip and matinee: "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" (let me take a moment to reference, once-again, the fact that I worked on Guillermo Del Toro's second feature, "Mimic", too long ago now). Parents, take note: cool statues always work...anybody can pick up a cheap plastic action figure at Wal-Mart...
The weather held out (for a change) and made for a gorgeous summer afternoon for our leisurely stroll along Queen Street West to the new AMC digital theatre complex at Yonge/Dundas. Of course, we had to make a detour into Mecca--aka "The Silver Snail"--where Simon got a glimpse of what wonders his future could hold the instant he starts pocketing a steady paycheque--for instance, those collectible statues. Alas, the array of ridiculous choices brought about the day's first--and welcomely, only--dilemma: whither Hellboy 2, or World Of Warcraft? That is, which was the superior action figure to purchase: the one-time Anung un Rama, or Thargas Anvilmar, armoured dwarf berserker?
Thargas won, but thankfully, Hellboy delivered on the cinematic front. Del Toro delivered a dazzling, superior sequel, which everyone enjoyed. Back at our place, over dinner, our kitchen table became a battle arena as Thargas took on Shaun Of The Dead, Bill from "Kill Bill", and a tag-team of Superman and Captain Marvel from my collection. Krypton's only survivor won the melee by throwing Thargas into the sun. These Warcraft thugs sure are impressive, but they're no match for the Golden Age Of Superheroes. OPKs--meet the DCU.

Lazin' on a sunny afternoon... in the summertime...

It’s a fine Sunday here in Toronto, sunny and warm, and for once Bob and I have a day for ourselves; nowhere to be, nothing that has to be done, just a day of sheer laziness. In a word, bliss.

Well, not exactly. Once upon a time, before getting knocked up, this would be the type of day when I would crack open a bottle of Plymouth Gin, pour a couple of ounces over some ice in my cocktail shaker, swirl some vermouth in a glass (and pour the excess back into the bottle), drop in a bit of lemon rind and pour the chilled spirit over top. There, I just gave you the recipe for my ideal martini, which I am missing like gangbusters today.

I have been, in the AA vernacular, properly clean and sober since the little window of my Clear Blue pregnancy tester showed that little plus sign. Most of the time I’m fine with it, since it’s a very small sacrifice to ensure the health of our Dynamic Duo, but it brings to mind some of the other things I’ve been instructed to lay off of as the kids get ready to make their auspicious debut.

Take, for instance, steaks. I am the type of person who loves her steaks rare. Yes, seared on the outside, practically raw on the inside. I find well done steaks – a staple of my childhood in deference to my parents’ preferences – rubbery and tasteless. Well, now supposedly I’ve got to make sure it’s all cooked to death. So I’ll compromise and go to medium territory, and I’ll probably just stick to having them at home where I can ensure it’s done to order. Sorry, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” there just has to be some pink inside that meat for me.

And while I was happy to learn I wouldn’t have to cut shellfish out of my diet – shrimp and scallops are particular favourites – I am missing fish in the raw. Yes, sushi is officially out, those lovely little bite-sized morsels of rice and seafood made complete by garnishes of ginger and wasabi. Sayonara until the new year!

Oddly, my least favourite sacrifice at the moment is not being able to take Advil. It was, pre-pregnancy, the pain reliever of choice, easily taking care of headaches and backaches and even sore throats. Last weekend the atmosphere was leading up to a huge thunderboomer that eventually arrived Tuesday; through Saturday, Sunday and Monday I groggily worked through a migraine that a couple of Liquigels would have beaten down in no time. But since Advil is a blood thinner, and our little bundles of joy-to-be need my blood to be thick and iron-rich, it’s a no-no.

That said, other restrictions I’ve heard about from other mothers seem to be OK now. For example, I can have one caffeinated beverage a day, so I don’t have to give up my morning Tim’s (which, as a client of our ad agency, is generously provided for free in our kitchen, complete with official Bunn coffee maker just like in the stores). And while one friend was told anything herbal, including chamomile tea and herbs used in cooking like sage and oregano and such were out, when I asked Dr. Thomas about this she just rolled her eyes and said no, that’s all just hooey. So if anyone out there reading this is pregnant and feeling ill, go ahead – have your chamomile!

So for now I’ll just stick to Perrier (the current beverage of choice), keeping the diet balanced and healthy, and finally, learning other ways of dealing with headaches besides popping pills (cold washcloths seem to be the best alternative at the moment). And when the kids are finally citizens of the world, being cooed over by proud grandparents, family and friends, I’ll have a little celebration of my own: order in a little sushi, have a glass of Chianti Ruffino, and enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Spawn Of Brangelina

So the world's most beautiful, talented, altruistic couple have finally given birth to their long-awaited twins--no, we're not due until Dec/January, remember? Rather, Brad and Angelina welcomed Knox and Vivienne into the world today from a seaside hospital in Nice, on the French Riviera. A C-section was required, and the twins were born a minute apart. As expected, there's already an insane bidding war amongst the tabloid dirtbags on who will claim the first snapshots of the youngsters--but have no fear, loyal readers: our photos will be frequent and many, and won't cost you a dime...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

14 Weeks In Lanugo

Today, Lidia got her weekly alert from the ever-reliable The little ones are now 14 weeks along in their journey, which means that they're now growing hair (and if they take after me, they'll have a lot of it--I've made it past 43 without losing a strand, but those little gray numbers are increasing)--on the head, brows, all over. They're also covered in something called lanugo, an ultrafine down that'll disappear before birth. Some muscles are starting to work--the youngsters can grasp, squint, frown, grimace and even suck their thumb, if so inclined. Lidia thinks she can start to feel them moving around, and with that, I'm making more of an effort to talk to them on a regular basis. But right now, I'm sure their favorite sounds are Minnie and Maggie's can I compete with that?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Road Trip?!

While technically not a long weekend (Canada Day lands on a Tuesday this year--thank yeeew British North America Act), we thought we'd make another quickie jaunt to the Ottawa Valley since by the time the next official LW comes around (the August "civic holiday"---yawn) Lidia will be a lot "farther along" as they say, and cramming her and the youngsters in an automobile in the blazing hot sun doesn't seem like the smartest or safest idea. Everyone's just gonna have to get used to coming down our way a lot more often after this one.

So, with Minnie and Maggie left once again in the capable care of Donald from VIP Sitters, we loaded up our "little green turtle" and embarked, for the second time in under a month, to brave the indignities of the Oshawa 401 bottleneck, and then along the snaking 37/7/41 blacktop to Pembroke (that's "Minnie Road", near Eganville).

We were able to properly celebrate my grandmother's 85th birthday (you'd never know it--I do hope I've inherited her DNA!), catch up on a few movies ("Get Smart", "Wanted") and unload some books and CDs on various takers.

A pleasant trip all around, and not terribly eventful (in a good way): I tossed a baseball around with my nephew and didn't throw out a hip (although running up and down Everett Street in leather dress shoes didn't do much for my inner Willie Mays), and decided, somewhat reluctantly, to return the snazzy little Jazz HD camera to Canadian Tire (for a full refund) because its memory card transfer was screwing up suspiciously on the drive up.

Just about everyone I ran into knew about the twins and seemed genuinely happy for us--which was very nice, because it's been an awfully long time since I lived at home. The only person I missed was a former coworker from my high school years, when I worked after school and weekends at The West End Mall. According to my grandmother, he asks about me all the time whenever he sees her. Which is encouraging, because last month, he won a million dollars in the lottery.

You know, naming rights are still available...