Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olive: Getting the Credit She Deserves

Birch and I began searching for a dog almost as soon as we got married. In November of 2008, we found Olive and she was perfect. She was being held at Andy's Pet Shop in San Jose, but that's nowhere near where they found her or the others in her litter. A rescue operation called GEPDA (Group Education to Protect and Defend Animals) had recently brought a litter back from Taiwan that had been found on the beach
there. It turns out that Taiwan has such a huge stray dog problem that it's become a serious health problem. Groups like GEPDA go there (and other places, too, like Mexico) and capture dogs, quarantine them, and give them the necessary care and treatment before transporting them back to the US for adoption. After some research of our own, we discovered that Olive is a Formosan mix, a breed just very recently acknowledged by the people that make those decisions. We were told by GEPDA that Olive was a lab/shepherd mix, but we think this was a way to give Americans an idea of their temperament (not to mention her physical appearance could very well have been a mix of those two types). Olive was the only girl left in her litter to be adopted and was being somewhat bullied by her brothers who were all a bit larger than she. Knowing we wanted to have children, we wanted a dog that did well with them children and other animals. Luckily, when we went to visit with her there were two little girls also looking for a dog. They were interested in one of her chestnut brothers, but she was completely unphased by their behavior which was somewhat loud and all over the place, so we were confident that she would do well with some training and love. As my family can attest, this nonchalance around children has almost completely faded at this point and poor Olive is shy and cautious. She is extremely pack-oriented and dearly attached to both Birch and I. She's very smart, almost too much so sometimes, especially when it comes to treats. She is not won over by being given treats. She likes people who are quiet, calm, and who don't expect her to like them right away. However, if you have a dog, she pretty much likes you right away. Olive absolutely adores our friends Miriam and Ben. She trusts and listens to them, all because they have a dog that she plays with on a pretty regular basis. They're best dog friends which is convenient because Miriam and Ben are our best friends.

When Olive first joined our family, she was not much bigger than a Dachshund. Her ears looked enormous and her tail crazy long. In the grass, she pranced about, lifting her paws very high with each step. After months of observation, I think this is because she's somewhat prim and doesn't like getting her paws wet. In fact, she doesn't like getting wet, period. But with Kegel, Miriam and Ben's dog, she'll do anything and often comes running back to us drenched in creek water, mud, and saliva. Lovely. Formosans are mountain dogs and it's amazing to see Olive transform personalities as soon as we get her out into nature, especially the mountains. She speeds up and down the steep sides of trails and on one notable excursion with my sister Sharman and her family, ran up a fallen redwood tree that was perched on at least a forty or fifty-degree angle up the mountain. To be fair, though, she only did this after Birch did it. She'll follow that man anywhere, I swear.

Olive is now a year and a half (strangely enough, we figure she
was born around the time we were getting married), and she has grown tall and thin. Her chest resembles that of a slinky hound as her belly curves up against her spine like a greyhound or something. Though she's grown into her ears a bit since puppyhood, they are still her most notable feature and we get comments on them all the time. In fact, we get comments from strangers all the time about how beautiful she is. We're very proud of our little lady. For the most part, she listens well and doesn't get into too much trouble. (Don't leave a stick of butter laying around though. Birch still hasn't quite mastered this and pays the price for it every time.) And even though she can be timid and spooked around kids, she never retaliates against them. She's never violent. Her reaction is just to get away and we are very grateful for that. (In fact, because she is never violent, it can be hard to teach the kids the right and wrong ways to approach her.) To be fair, usually when she sees kids it's at my parent's house during some family gathering where there are seven children all under the age of eight running around at once. It's pretty hectic, even for us humans. I can't imagine what she thinks about it. Though she's cautious around them and quick to get away if they move towards her too fast, she always checks on them if they fall or trip and won't ever pass up an opportunity to lick them in the face if they make it clear that it's okay to do so. This is her favorite activity with my nephew James and there are plenty of moments where they touch tongues and the rest of us simultaneously laugh and gag as James clearly thinks this is about the best thing in the world! (He's four.)

Olive is an awesome dog. She takes up half the bed, but we'll break her of that soon. She's good at gauging a situation and adopting the mood. Ever since I've been pregnant, I've been exhausted in a way I wasn't expecting and Olive has made my life much easier by just being herself. During the day, while Birch is at work, the apartment is rather quiet and peaceful. Olive sleeps near me or goes out in the yard to chew on a bone. She doesn't get into trouble and I've
got her trained to actually help me up when I need it. She stands firm as I put a bit of my weight on her, rocking myself up from the floor. Sometimes she even actually pulls me up as I hold onto her collar (this has only happened twice when I was feeling especially needy and stuck). When Birch comes home, she greets him with crazy enthusiasm, but we've got her trained now to jump up gently and only when invited. Birch coming home is her biggest test, but even if she's misbehaving, it only lasts a few moments until she calms back down. Birch takes her out for a walk (which we now have to spell out or else she expects it to happen immediately), takes her to the park, throws a frisbee around with her, and the two of them come home happy as clams. I can't wait until I can join this ritual again. Indeed, I think Olive has become a little too used to me being sedentary and Birch being "the fun one." I used to take her out for three or four walks a day while Birch was at work and I miss that.

Like all new parents with a dog, we were a little scared of what Olive would do when she realized there was a new member of the pack, but we aren't so much anymore. Whenever we go somewhere the first thing she does is access who is there. If one of them gets up and leaves, she is noticeably unsettled until they return, as if she has created a new pack already in her mind for this specific time and place. She knows who is supposed to be there and she wants us all to stick together. Birch and I took her with us last Saturday to see Miriam and Ben's new baby girl, Sofia. We watched Kegel carefully and were pleasantly surprised to see how well he had adopted Sofia into his pack. He kept his eye on Olive and kept her in check. Olive, at first, was much more interested in Sofia's things than Sofia herself, but once the baby made a bit of noise, Olive was on it (not literally). She looked at us expectantly, almost as if she was making sure that someone was taking care of the little thing and doing it well. One interesting thing was that she seemed much more at ease when a woman was holding Sofia than she was when Birch or Ben was holding her. She checked on the baby much more while Birch held Sofia against his chest than when I did. And maybe she was tired from playing with Kegel outside for a bit or maybe it was because of the baby, but Olive was much calmer inside (Kegel as well) than either of them has been in the past. It was as if they knew that this was now a quiet place. Leaving there, Birch and I had gained a confidence in Olive that we were unsure of before. She will do well with our baby.

Olive has become a part of our family. We love her so much. We have gained her trust and I am so proud of that. She came a long way to be with us and has turned out to be one of the best decisions Birch and I ever made together. We love you, Olive.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Line-Drying the Research

As I mentioned before, fainting with some regularity led me to become somewhat of a hermit--a pregnant hermit who does a lot of research. It occurred to me that perhaps others could benefit from the hours I've put in and maybe even some company executive will see my blog and give me a free supply of goodies for all this free PR I'm giving them. Hey, one can dream, right?

Birch and I try our best to buy local, buy organic, buy eco-friendly, et cetera, et cetera. This may be where some people roll their eyes and think to themselves, "Seriously? Another blog about going green?" If this is you, I suggest reading something else because all the research I've done recently has at least something to do with having a baby without contributing massive amounts to landfills each year without going broke. I cannot stress this last point enough. Birch is a high school teacher here in Northern California and if you didn't know this before let me enlighten you: they don't make the big bucks. When Birch and I got married we decided that we'd make the monetary sacrifice of me being a stay-at-home mom. With me still in school and the economy the way it is, this decision seems to have worked out for now. With serious thanks to my older siblings and parents, that is. I'm the youngest of six and my siblings have helped us out so much by donating their old baby gear to us. A crib, a changing table, several different kinds of carriers, a car seat, a bassinet... you know, all that stuff that costs some serious cash to buy new or even used. And yes, that list does go on because we haven't even tapped the surface of what has been offered to us. We just need to clear out some room first before we bring anymore in!

So, armed with the big stuff and a budget for the rest, I went into the cyber-world to find the perfect necessities for our little boy.

First up: diapers and diapering accessories.

I knew right away that I didn't want to use brands like Huggies or Pampers purely based on the waste factor, both in landfills and in our bank account. (Note: Working on the assumption that because Birch is so prone to skin issues that baby Keats could very probably have the same, I only looked into sensitive skin options. Plus, it's a baby, so... yeah.)

First I did some research on which of the eco-friendlier disposable diapers were the best. Which had the best reviews both for performance and its ultimate effect on the environment. Mostly, I looked into Seventh Generation, Nature Babycare, and Earth's Best brands. Here are some sites I came across (definitely not all, but I bookmarked these):

Nature Babycare came out on top in my opinion and so that was the brand I ended up using in all my pricing scenarios. Here is the link to their website:

So let's go over the numbers. It became apparent very quickly that buying in bulk was a great way to save money no matter what kind of disposable diaper we were going to buy. I looked on Amazon and their subscriptions (which were very good), but ultimately found that had slightly better deals. I put together a spreadsheet that included the price of the necessary number of diapers, wipes, diaper pail refills, and any other necessary items that were unique to that product or service. For this, though, I will just include the differing diaper costs as that was the most variable. (We decided to go with Nature Babycare wipes no matter what diaper scenario we found ourselves in, and we received a Dekor Plus Diaper Pail from one of Birch's friends/colleagues, so we knew what kind of refills we'd be getting, too. The biodegradable ones from that brand.)

Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive Economy Size Pack:
Size 1: 8 - 14 lbs., 180 diapers. Price: $41.99 ($0.23/diaper)

Nature Babycare Case of 4 Economy Pack:
Size 1: 8 - 14 lbs., 160 diapers. Price: $44.99 ($0.28/diaper)

So, the eco-friendly ones are more expensive, but for us, the peace of mind concerning their ultimate demise made the price difference bearable, even understandable (desirable? No, just understandable).

Because Nature Babycare diapers are 100% biodegradable/compostable, I began looking into diaper services that compost diapers and there are a few. However, these services do not allow you to buy your diapers from another source, claiming that they cannot guarantee where the diapers have been... or something to that effect. This seems somewhat ridiculous to me, but they gotta do what they gotta do, I guess. This revelation somewhat diminished my enthusiasm for the services, but I looked into the pricing anyway. Maybe it wouldn't make a big difference. Maybe the services would have deals just like/close to the ones I'd found.

Earth Baby: The Compostable Diaper Service and Tiny Tots Composting Service were the two in my area that looked the best. However, Tiny Tots uses only one brand of compostable diapers and it comes all the way from Canada. Seemed kind of backwards (and it was expensive!) so I looked into Earth Baby more closely.

For the first month, I figured I would need at least ten diapers a day and one or two wipes per change. Nature Babycare Size 1 diapers come in packs of 40, so I figured I would need seven packs for the first month alone. Ouch. Earth Baby sells these packs at $11.79. Their service is $29.99/month. Nature Babycare wipes (a pack of 70) cost $3.59 and I figured I'd need at least four packs. Through this service I'd have to buy compostable bags through them, not Dekor, and those cost $4.99 for a 12-pack. All together: $161.86/month. Wow. Yeah, that wasn't going to work with our budget. So, disregarding the months of service after month one, I looked into their Starter Pack and how that would help lower the cost of that initial month. The Starter Pack includes 2 packs diapers, 2 packs wipes, 1 pack diaper pail bags, 1 box diaper bags for purse, and Baby Bum Balm all for $46.74. This meant that in addition to the Starter Pack we'd be paying for the service ($29.99), five more packs of diapers ($58.95), and two more packs of wipes ($7.18). All together: $142.86/month. Going with the Starter Pack saved about twenty dollars, but that number still seemed a bit too high and it was going to mean some serious rearranging of other budgetary needs to allow for it. So the search continued.

I thought to myself, "Okay, maybe we just can't afford a service and we'll just have to content ourselves with biodegradable diapers that end up in the landfill but that won't last as long there as Pampers or Huggies would." In my mind, it was an ideological sacrifice, but one that our budget might have to make for us. So, I went back to and figured the numbers there. How much would it cost to get the same products without any composting service?

Two 4-pack 40-count diapers: $89.98
Ten 70-count wipes (special deal, more than needed for one month): $34.99
Two-pack of 240-count Dekor Plus refills: $10.99
All together: $135.96/month.

Okay, so this didn't save us that much money a month. I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that just diapering the baby was going to be more expensive than Birch or I had realized and that a serious discussion was necessary once he came home from work.

Frustrated, I ended my search for a week or two, trying to readjust my brain away from factoring together costs, environmental implications, daily performance, and a computer screen.

When I came back to the search I decided to look into cloth diapering again. Birch and I had thought this impossible for us as we have no personal laundry system in our apartment (it costs $2.25/load in our communal laundry without doing a pre-wash, etc., that is necessary for cloth diapers) and we hadn't found a service that cleaned and sanitized the diapers without the use of chlorine bleach. But, on a whim, I looked into Tiny Tots again, this time at their cloth diaper service and boy was I overjoyed at what I found. They are locally owned and operated and have been awarded first place as Best Resource Reduction Program in the State of California and first place in Innovation in Industry Water Conservation in the State of California. More information can be found here:, now onto the money...

With Tiny Tots, you don't buy your cloth diapers and then have them launder them, instead it's as if the diapers are on loan to you, so there is no one-time cost to buy the diapers initially and then you pay for a service. The diapers are part of the service price. Tiny Tots recommends 80 diapers/week (about the same that I expected, thankfully). This amount is $22/week and you pay every four weeks, so $88/month (approximately). I then added the cost of wipes (from somewhere like or Amazon) at $15.16/month and the cost of pail refills ($10.99). All together: $114.15/month. Phew. Okay, I could work with that. Of course, there's the added "one-time" cost of diaper covers and clips (about $11/cover and $8/pack of clips), but even with that, our monthly cost of diapers had become much more manageable and the stress level that had been building in my brain dissipated as soon as I saw what this did to our monthly budget. Deep breath, sigh, deep breath... Thank you Tiny Tots.

So, that's my scoop on diapers. I could say more but I've said enough, I think. More feedback will come as I actually use the darn things, I'm sure. In the meantime, I hope this was helpful for those of you that are in the same boat as Birch and I. If you have any questions be sure to ask as it's very likely that I have the answer written down somewhere in my research notes (or at least know of a way to find the answer. Haha, or merely an opinion on the matter).

Christmas: Seriously Overdue

Birch and I finally took down our Christmas tree a few weeks ago and I was missing it today so I thought I'd use it as a catalyst for a blog entry. Here we go:

When Birch and I first got married a year and a half ago, we weren't sure what new traditions lay in store for us. Each family makes their own traditions and adopts some old ones as well. Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. My parents go all out every year, putting money away in a separate account purely for gifts and when December rolls around my mom hauls out box after box of decorations. She takes down my dad's fossils and the various artifacts from Scandinavia and Central America (a seemingly random combination, but really very telling) and carefully places them all in boxes to be replaced with creche after creche, a macrame Santa face, a felt Advent calendar, and tree ornaments obtained year after year from Germany, Guatemala, Norway, Peru, Costco, Grandma, Denmark, and who knows where else. Come Christmas day and the entire living room is filled with presents for all of my parent's six children and all of their grandchildren as well. It is a sight to behold.

Though Birch and I have not mastered the extreme Christmas organization that my mom displays every year, we did manage to start and organize one Christmas tradition which will hopefully last for many years to come. We love to garden. We love plants and although we both display moments of impatience with watching things grow and come into their own, we love to create a natural setting with flowers and yummy things to eat. This fascination led to our first Christmas tradition: the acquisition of any kind of living tree or bush that would first be decorated and kept inside, then moved outside, planted, and allowed to grow. Our first Christmas, we bought a Redtwig Dogwood. Being December, it was in its dormant stage, providing lots of empty space for ornaments. Starting around August or September, I began picking up ornaments wherever I found them. Birch laughed at me, but I think that it was his first real introduction to my somewhat obsessive decorative side which he has come to know and love. This year, we searched for a gardenia or a Japanese Maple, but were disappointed by the choices available at the nurseries so we went with a Yellowtwig Dogwood. (Note: there were no Redtwig Dogwoods to be found. I guess the nurseries shifted color trends. Did you know that they actually follow the fashion world to know what colors are going to be fashionable the following year? Learned that in a horticulture class when a high-up employee of Monrovia came to talk to our class. Remember a year or two ago when chartreuse and purplish-brown plants were everywhere? Very interesting.)

We moved last July to a place with a sizable yard (especially for an apartment in the Bay Area) and we've been transforming it every since. Both dogwoods now reside outside on either side of a small fence Birch built for some pea and bean plants.

Due to the whole, you know, baby thing, Birch and I decided that we'd keep our actual Christmas-gift-giving for after Keats is born. This was mostly decided based on budgetary needs, but all-in-all I think it will be nice to include him in the festivities. Perhaps I'll put an ornament back on the tree outside, perhaps not, but either way our small family's real Christmas is coming late this year. Personally, I'm angling for a beautifully knit wrap from Hipknotz on Etsy (pictured above, can be found here: Birch has yet to make his true desires known on the subject. I think his mind is just a wee bit preoccupied these days as he spent his entire week-long break fixing and setting up things around the apartment and murmuring about IEPs and sub plans. I've made it my goal for the next month to be extra super patient with him as his constant need to be getting things done proved stressful for me (mostly because I can't really help in any meaningful way). So, what to get Birch for Christmas? And his birthday? It's two days after Keats' due date and although I know Birch is hoping against hope that this means I'll just forget his birthday for the rest of his life, he's in for a big surprise. I have no intention of just letting his birthday fly by unnoticed. So, any ideas on what to give a man that's not really into stuff, is having his first child, and is the best husband a woman could hope for?

So we'll be having Christmas in April. We're happy with our little tradition. It's fun and somewhat different. The place doesn't smell like pine which is unfortunate (perhaps the addition of creating a wreath would suffice Birch's desire for said scent), but we like that we get to keep our tree forever and always instead of chopping it up for compost and mulch.

And yes, I'm already thinking of what I'd like to get for Christmas 2010...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Six Weeks Left

So today marks the beginning of my 34th week of pregnancy. I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday which was all-in-all uneventful, but she did measure my belly and we talked about various important matters. Apparently, Keats is somewhat of a big boy. Not super big, but “a bit big.” My doctor noted that besides my large belly, I didn’t look all that pregnant, something I’ve been hearing quite a lot of lately. Here’s what I say to that: “Wonderful.” Water retention levels are down, belly button is out, and besides the occasional fainting spell, I’m feeling great.

Oh, right, the fainting spells. You don’t know about that, perhaps. Well, I fainted once during the first trimester but we’re pretty sure that was because I hadn’t eaten anything in far too long (I have since started a regimen of eating small meals and snacks every two or three hours). However, in just the last month, I’ve fainted or nearly fainted three times. Once while I was doing some part-time data entry work, once while I was at my in-laws, and once while I was standing around doing nothing in my living room. The most common denominator in all of these moments is heat. At work they had set the thermostat to seventy-four degrees to help warm up someone who had been freezing all week in the snow. At my in-laws, I was standing in the sun talking about the local birds that come into their garden. And in my living room, well, I don’t actually really remember what happened there. One minute I felt fine, the next I felt strangely hot, I felt dizzy, I sat down on the couch, told Birch I felt dizzy, then fainted and was out for about three seconds. Luckily, I’ve felt the dizziness coming on before fainting every single time (some women don’t get any warning at all apparently and just faint out of nowhere – scary!) and so I haven’t had a bad spill like that first time in Whole Foods where I collapsed onto the concrete floor and was sent to the emergency room in an ambulance. Yeah, don’t want to repeat that experience. Both the advice nurse and my doctor suggested that I refrain from going anywhere or doing anything by myself, so I’ve cut myself off from driving, going on walks alone, etc. And yes, if this seems like it would limit my movements quite a bit, you’re right. While Birch is at work (thankfully he usually gets home by 4:30 or so), I’m home. Period. I’ve reorganized my baby binder completely, written and re-written “the birth plan,” made a list of things to do, a list of things to get, I’ve made a budget for February through March, reorganized the clothes closet, made a to-do list for Birch when I go into labor, a list of presents we received at our first baby shower (we’re having another one next week) so that I can organize thank you cards, watched lots and lots of nature videos, sketched some ideas for drawings, paintings, and appliqués, and yes, played quite a bit of Farmville and Zoo World so as not to go completely insane with all this list-making.

So, all this de facto house-arrest nonsense aside, I’ve felt fairly calm and relaxed ever since last Friday when I met Miriam and Ben’s brand-new baby girl, Sofia. Though it was a long and arduous task, Miriam was a champion and has renewed my faith in myself that I, too, can do this. With loving care and support from her man, her mama, and a couple of good nurses, Miriam was able to deliver completely naturally and her and Sofia are doing great. I can’t believe she’s already a week old! Sometime this week I’ll go take some pictures, but until then imagine big cheeks, a full head of dark brown/black hair, scrunched up little hands, inquisitive dark eyes, and a baby who likes to be bundled and snuggled. That’s Sofia. When I first heard Miriam was in labor, I had my first twinge of anxiety towards going into labor myself that I’ve had all through the pregnancy! It was a weird feeling to all of the sudden feel nervous and apprehensive, but as soon as I walked into that room with this beautiful new family inside, Miriam smiling up at me, and Sofia understandably fussing during some routine medical checks, I was immediately at ease again and I remembered a feeling I’ve felt before—it’s the hardest physical thing you’ll ever do, but it’s not as hard as you imagine it to be. Some women may scoff at a remark like that, but I found it to be true for myself and I’m hoping that this time around it’ll be a little easier and a bit faster. I already know it’ll have a much better ending because I’ll be able to take little Keats home with me forever.

Birch and I are going to be (and are) so happy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Classic Pregnancy Hormones Strike Again

Some days my eating schedule is seriously off-kilter and for whatever reason, be it an unexpected nap, the need to take Olive out for a walk, or just a lack of food in the apartment, I find myself in the midst of a too-long gap where I haven’t eaten a thing for a few hours. This may seem innocuous to some, but understand that Keats is sucking me dry, despite not even being born yet. The longest I feel full, even after a large meal, is approximately ten to twenty minutes, thirty if I ate phở '(all that broth helps).

It was on one such day, at the end of January when our funds had been depleted to literally a few dollars each and then gloriously replenished with Pay Day, that I had gone about an hour and a half without eating. This was no cause for alarm but I knew that in about half an hour I would start to feel Keats barreling around inside me, signaling that food was again necessary. Birch came home from work at about 4:30 in the afternoon and as usual prepared to take Olive out for “Frisbee,” “Walk,” and “Field.” All words that Olive understands very clearly and which Birch was now saying to her as she freakishly jumped up and down and ran back and forth from her leash hung up on the wall to Birch in the kitchen, all the while being reminded to be “Gentle” when she jumped up. Just as they were leaving, it began to rain. Birch decided to go anyway but claimed he’d skip the field and just take her around the block.

Thirty minutes later, they still weren’t back. Suprisingly not worried, I figured Olive had not accepted this compliance to the weather and that Birch had taken her to the field despite the increasingly heavy rain. This all would have been, of course, fine and indeed a welcome break from Olive if the combination of Keats kicking my diaphragm and my stomach rumbling for food hadn’t started a few moments later. Within fifteen minutes I was cleaning the living room, hoping to get my mind off of it, not wanting to eat because I had since set my heart on pho at our local haunt downtown and I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. (Even though I’m still not sure whether that is even possible). So I waited and when I heard Olive sprinting down the pathway to our door ten minutes later, I grabbed my coat, slipped on my shoes, slid my keys into my pocket, and greeted Birch as he came through the door (strategically holding my hands out to keep an extremely wet Olive from jumping up on me). Birch then did what was perfectly acceptable for him to do and yet completely unbelievable to a hungry 8-month pregnant lady—he began disrobing out of his wet clothes. Fifteen minutes and several fidgety paces later, we were out the door, rain pouring down but not caring, my only thought being, “Phở, phở, phở, phở, phở.”

Then I made the mistake I’ll never make again—I went down Moffett ten minutes before six towards downtown. Only two cars behind the line it started—the seemingly endless repetition of trains pulling into the Mountain View Station and trains pulling out. Now, if you’ve never been at this spot before, let me explain the order of the light changes. If a train is going to move, the light headed from downtown and across Central Expressway turns green to allow the few cars that could fit to move out of danger from the trains. Then both directions of Central traffic are allowed to go, then the light favors our direction, the one going into downtown from Moffett, or, at least, it should. However, when it came to be our turn, another train signaled the gates to go down and our light never changed. Instead, the cars opposite were allowed to move, then Central, then… another train signaled the gates yet again. This pattern continued for literally another fifteen minutes as Birch and I watched with envy all the other people that were allowed to get on with their lives and forget this intersection even existed. Indeed, all the other cars rotated so perfectly, I doubt they ever realized that there was a section of us who hadn’t moved since they left the restaurant or the office or wherever it was they’d come from.

And then it struck—Pregnancy. Without warning I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Then another. My cheeks were wet with tears and I realized that I was crying over not being able to go through an intersection (although to be fair, my stomach was at this point in actual pain from hunger). I could feel Birch watching me out of the corner of my eye trying to decided whether he should try comforting me or not. He opted not to, which was the right decision as a loving hand or a comforting glance would have set me over a dangerously embarrassing precipice. At minute thirty-five our light turned green and stayed green long enough for Birch and I and a few more lucky souls to get through and finally make our way to our destinations.

We parked, walked to the restaurant, and sat down. I ordered a small number sixteen as usual and when it came the tension left. The ridiculous not-so-well hidden idiocies within pregnancies’ tantalizing guise were all-too apparent and the only thing to do was laugh, and that’s what we did.