Sunday Firsts

Yesterday was Zinger’s first day in nursery at church. Since our ward meets at 11:00 AM, our strategy was to get Z to sit long enough for us to take the sacrament, take her for a ride so that she can nap for about half an hour, then bring her back in time for nursery.

We were able to get her to sit for the first 25 minutes of sacrament meeting. She wanted to walk around and play in the chapel, but we held her close and whispered to her how important it was to sit still. As soon as the bishop dismissed the priesthood after administering the sacrament, Reilly took Z on a ride while I listened to people bear their testimonies. I may have also briefly scrolled through Facebook and read comments in a Salt Lake Tribune article about black women in the Church.

When sacrament meeting ended, I walked out of the chapel and found my family. I asked Reilly if Z got a nap. He said no. I was nervous. We walked our daughter to the nursery room. We let her walk around, and there were a couple of times she tried leaving the room. Once the tables were set up the nursery workers put out some books and puzzles, and Z began to play. She also saw some blocks and played with those as well.

The nursery leaders asked for her name. We told them Z was tired and wasn’t really used to other children yet. They assured us they were good at getting the babies to calm down in case of tantrums.

Before we left her, we decided to change her diaper so that the next two hours for her wouldn’t be interrupted. So I took her to the mothers’ room and changed her. Reilly and I took her back to the nursery room. We opened the door, we said goodbye, and there were no tears.

Suddenly, we were free.

Reilly and I headed to Gospel Principles class. We sat down in the middle of a story the teacher was telling. One of the first things we heard the teacher say was, “And [this guy], he was homosexual.” Then she wrote on the board: [guy’s name] – homosexul [sic]. Then she continued telling the story, which offered a few more highlights:

  • “Many of their kids were homosexual. I don’t know if it’s hereditary or what.”
  • “And [another guy] was 70 years old, and he’s still homosexual.”

The teacher kept making eye contact with me, so I didn’t want to give even the remotest sideways glance to Reilly to express how weird I thought the lesson was.

But then came a story that had some context:

  • “My son came to me and said, ‘I have to thank you for something, but I’m not sure it was even you. My brothers were always beating me up. I was always on the bottom of a pile. But there were times I felt someone lifting me up above the pile, and I could see my brothers below me, and the next thing I knew, I was at the table and there were milk and cookies. I want to thank you for that.’”

My impression was that the lesson was about families, but we missed the first ten minutes, and with 20 minutes left in the class, someone came in and asked us to be substitute Primary teachers. So we walked out of our Sunday School class, being somewhat amused but not knowing for sure what we were being taught.

We found out that we were teaching the CTR4 class, which consisted of three boys. They were rowdy, as boys between 4 and 6 years of age typically are. Between Reilly and me, our combined powers of persuasion made classroom management pretty easy. (If other parents saw us, they probably would have disagreed.) We had a short lesson about missionaries. We colored pictures of children holding Books of Mormon. One boy looked at the other boys’ coloring jobs and said, “Dude, that’s scribbling.” We folded these pictures into paper airplanes, and Reilly refereed the races. We also played football because that’s always an appropriate Sunday indoor activity. I interrupted their fun to remind them if their moms ask what they learned in class to say they learned about being missionaries. Wishful thinking, I know; I should expect them to tell their moms that they played with paper airplanes and threw a football in class. The final activity was drawing on the chalkboard, which surprised me with how long they kept quiet. We ended the class with a prayer. While one boy was giving the closing prayer, another boy was talking. To whom, to what, I don’t know.

I tidied up the classroom while Reilly picked up Z from nursery. I asked how she did, and Reilly said that when he opened the door, one of her shoes was off. One of the nursery leaders was blowing bubbles, and Z was trying to catch them. I imagined her reaching above her head, trying to grab those clear, drifting orbs. I smiled.

It seems Z had a great first day at nursery, with nary a tear. She also didn’t nap the entire day. (Reilly and I each took two naps.) And she cried for about a minute when she had to go to bed.

It was an eventful day for all of us. If today’s gospel principles lesson was about families, then maybe we could take our day and talk about how our respective experiences have brought us closer together, either because they were fun (stacking blocks and catching bubbles) or slightly chaotic (teaching small boys) or didn’t make very much sense (listening to bizarre stories in Sunday School). I don’t think there will ever be another Sunday like this one. I really liked it.

My Worst Complaints

My main complaints are not that pregnancy has cramped my style, or even that I really get very many cramps at all. Because I don’t. My experience so far would hardly register as a pregnancy. Do I even look pregnant? I feel pregnant, I guess. But why don’t I feel more so? Maybe the pregnancy fairies wait to unleash bigger symptoms on my being in the next four months.

I haven’t gotten sick. Already almost halfway through this pregnancy, and I have yet to get legitimately sick, like catch a cold. Or vomit for real. I’ve gotten a couple of headaches and occasional heartburn, but usually more water and rest make them go away. I hear about pregnant women suffering because they can’t take certain medicines while they’re sick, and since I haven’t gotten sick, I feel somewhat left out of this crowd. What do I have to do? Eat more junk food? Drink less water? Sleep less? Get more stressed out? Hang out with more sick children? There’s got to be something.

Everything still tastes delicious. Aren’t some foods supposed to taste gross by now? If I have aversions to certain foods, it’s because those foods digest weirdly and not because of their taste. For example, spicy foods are so delicious, but they make my stomach hot for hours. Like Popeye’s chicken. But at least I can say that I have cravings for salty things. And vinegary things. But those aren’t the only things Baby and I love. We still love fresh fruits and vegetables. I mean, I made this fruit salad the other day with mangoes, oranges, apples, and pomegranate. I secretly want to hate it because I feel I’m supposed to hate a lot more food than I do, but there’s nothing more delicious right now.

My hair is too shiny. And it’s thicker. What the heck? And it’s the biggest waste of time because I spend way too many minutes in front of a mirror passing a brush through my hair. With every stroke, the hair gains luster, and I keep brushing to see if it will keep getting shinier. And it does! I feel that maybe I’m developing a weird Marcia Brady obsession and Jan will appear at any second and tell me to shut up about my vanity. Thing is, even if I don’t brush my hair, it’s still shiny. My life is so hard.

My nails grow too fast. This is pretty much the same issue as my hair. Instead of trimming and filing my nails every week and a half or so, I now do this almost twice a week. I’m used to typing with shorter nails, and now the tips of my nails tap against the keys, and it feels funny. Also, now there’s heightened enjoyment from Reilly when I scratch his back. So now it seems that he wants me to scratch his back all the time. He says his back itches, and I wonder if it’s the dry weather or if he just wants to feel my nails. This burden is almost too heavy to bear.

It takes longer to get cold. Although cold itself is not a cause for illness, I believe it’s a major part of why I haven’t gotten sick yet. I’m producing extra heat from gaining weight and the energy it takes to grow Baby. The added warmth generally deprives me of a complete pregnancy experience. At night, I end up kicking off the covers while I’m sleeping. At the end of the day when I’m in the privacy of my own home, one of the first things I do is bare my tummy and fan it with cooler air. I want to be cool all the time, but I can’t. If I could bare my tummy on the train or even at the grocery store, I wouldn’t have this complaint.

My wedding ring still fits. I guess there’s still time for swelling to take over my whole body, but I had expected to have trouble sliding my ring on and off by now. It still fits as well as the day Reilly proposed to me, and I worry that when people look at my hands they won’t even know that I’m pregnant. I guess since I’m craving salty foods, I could eat more salt and retain a lot of water, and that would aid the appearance of a real pregnancy. Then I would get the all the attention I seek! Because attention is all I want, ever! And then maybe more people would try to rub my tummy.

Only two people have touched/rubbed my tummy. And they asked first. Who knew that I would feel so excluded or less pregnant because not enough complete strangers have tried to touch the baby bump? Who knew that I had such a yen to slap away unsolicited hands that came near me? This seems a pretty easy fix. I’ll just slap people’s hands regardless of their trying to touch my tummy. Or to give these strangers some context, I’ll grab their hands and bring them close to my tummy and then slap them away. Yes, that’s a much better solution.

My linea negra is crooked. The bottom half runs perfectly down the middle of my abdomen below my belly button, but the upper half is about an inch off-center to the left. This could indicate that Baby will be a rebel, a noncomformist. Baby will draw lines incongruous with society’s expectations or worse, Mommy and Daddy’s. But we will be prepared for when Baby won’t color inside the lines. Baby will be a bad driver and discourteous double-parker. If Baby takes up gymnastics, Baby will purposely land outside the lines and accumulate deductions that result in lower scores. And Baby will develop an affinity for asymmetrical hairstyles.

My belly button looks like a circle. My navel used to look like a little coin slot, and now it appears definitively wider and round. The only explanation I have for this is that Baby needs more ways to get nutrients and another passage for feeding. I will start putting food in my belly button and hope for the best.

I usually try not to complain unless I can come up with productive solutions. While it feels so much better to get these issues off my chest, I’m glad that I can take positive actions to address these very legitimate and real-life concerns that will affect the world forever. I guess the biggest thing to do is just give it time.

The Effects of Butterbeer

Last month Reilly and I visited family and friends in Florida. Part of that trip included three days at Universal Studios in Orlando. Everyone who has visited Universal Studios since June 2010 has explored the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you’ve never been, it’s as amazing as everyone says it is. Even those who haven’t been enchanted by this ubiquitous enterprise will have a wonderful time at the park. The Hogwarts ride is inside a giant Hogwarts-looking castle. Portraits of various HP personalities adorn the heavy stone walls, and a lot of the people in the paintings move and talk to you, just like in the books/movies. Harry, Hermione, and Ron holograms come out to tell us what to expect during the ride. The effects impress, the ride thrills, and I talked to (at?) Harry during the whole ride experience. Both times.

We also rode the Dragon Challenge roller coaster twice. Two dragons go out at the same time on different tracks, and they chase each other, twist around, and pass each other at high speeds. It’s one of my favorite rides.

Harry Potter World teemed with lots of British tourists. Some may ask why British people would come to a place that simulates where they come from, but having so many of them around actually added to the authenticity of that part of the park, especially the Londony town. You can wander the town and browse various toy and souvenir shops. Ollivander’s wand shop is very popular because many children buy into the idea of a wand choosing its wizard. (We didn’t go inside the shop; the line stretched endlessly, and I wasn’t sure about the open carry laws for magic wands in Utah.)

After our first time riding the Hogwarts ride, we decided to split a butterbeer. You can find butterbeer stands scattered throughout the town, and you can choose to drink it hot or cold in a throwaway plastic cup ($3.75) or a souvenir mug ($7.50-ish). I remember from the books how delicious butterbeer seemed. It sounded so creamy and sweet, and it was one of the most popular beverages the Hogwarts students drank whenever they visited London. I got the impression that because butter was so delicious, it was also very addicting, and kids would drink it until they nearly exploded. This was my impression. Butterbeer was magical because its bubbles tickled the taste buds, and the sugar went straight to the brain.

However, I did not know about the intoxicating effects of butterbeer. Your brain does not recognize the tipsiness it causes, but apparently you can capture proof of being utterly lit on camera. Neither Reilly nor I felt drunk while we drank the butterbeer; we walked in straight lines, we didn’t pocket-dial anyone; we felt no nausea, we woke up without hangovers the next day. As much as we wish we could deny being under the influence, we know that the camera doesn’t lie. The camera has no mercy. While Reilly and I are generally a photogenic couple, the camera caught us quite out of sorts while we drank butterbeer:

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2Doesn’t it look like we were having a great time? Notice the level of the butterbeer in the cup, and you can figure out what lightweights we are. (Remember that we split that cup between us!) I mean, we did arrive at the park around 9:15 that morning, and we had been standing in line in ponchos so we wouldn’t get soaked from the rain for nearly an hour. So while I didn’t know we’d get sloshed at the time, I’m glad we treated ourselves so early in the morning.

I just don’t know why it didn’t affect any of the kids around us that way.

Another Book I’m Reading

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach

I just started reading this, and asterisks twinkle sporadically throughout the text. Because the content is so interesting and the style is so quirky, it’s actually quite hard to not look toward the bottom of the page to see what the asterisks mean.

So far, the book is about eating. Later on, I’m sure the book will also be about pooping, because that’s a part of the “adventures” in the title. I’m currently in a chapter about how organs are very, very nutritious and American culture grimaces at the thought of eating narwhal skin, for example.

But, footnotes. Chapter 3–entitled “Liver and Opinions”–describes an experiment where scientists served children 16- to 29-months different things to taste, for “until kids are around two, you can get them to try pretty much anything.” Among the lowest-accepted items was human hair. An asterisk bedazzled the word hair, so I rushed to read the corresponding footnote and now I have to share it with you. If you’re squeamish, I suggest you ignore it, but if you can detach, here you go:

Compulsive hair-eaters wind up with trichobezoars–human hairballs. The biggest ones extend from stomach into intestine and look like otters or big hairy turds and require removal by stunned surgeons who run for their cameras and publish the pictures in medical journal articles about “Rapunzel Syndrome.” Bonus points for reading this footnote on April 27, National Hairball Awareness Day.

I read that last sentence and felt I’d missed out on serious bonus points. Still, I feel that I shouldn’t be giving myself so much credit for reading a book with so much  gross-out potential, because it’s actually a lot of fun to read. If you’re in the mood for some fun science writing and need a break from dense literature (like I do), check out this book.

Back to reading before dinner.

Part of a Conversation on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed — SPOILER ALERT

The movie won four Academy Awards. It’s dark, but it’s funny in the right places. It’s vulgar, violent and bitter. It’s not for viewers who like blatantly happy endings. Or even subtly happy endings. If you like rats, though, this is for you.

The following is an online chat about the movie. It has been edited for clarity. Skip the rest of this post to avoid spoilers.

person 1: you watch de-potted?
person 2: yiss
person 1: whatchoo fink?
person 2: he shooted him!
  they all shooted!
person 1: he shooted weo in da heed!
  did mawk wahboag and awick bodween meek you waff?
person 2: yiss
person 1: they funny–but they say the f wodes and the c wodes a lot
person 2: wots of bad wodes!
I don’t know why these people chat in baby talk. They seem pretty darn cute, though. And insufferably awesome.

Stupid Parking Job

Macey’s is a Utah grocery store with a pretty good bakery and super cheap soft-serve ice cream, and they have free Smarties and Dum-Dums or Chula Pops at the cashier. Reilly and I got blue raspberry Dum-Dums tonight. We had just seen a father pushing his two kids in a cart. The daughter was around two years old, and the son was about 4. We were in the frozen foods aisle when I heard the son say to his dad, “Why are you talking back to me?” just before the daughter dropped her sucker on the floor and cried because the dad wouldn’t pick up the dirtygross candy for her. We quietly laughed far enough behind this family.

This evening, Reilly and I came out of Macey’s and wheeled our cart of groceries to the parking lot. Reilly walked in front of the cart, and I was pushing it. As we neared our car, we noticed a small grey SUV parked next to us. Reilly saw how the Jeep/Forerunner/similarly objectionable vehicle with a Washington state license plate was parked, and he looked back at me with an expression that made me look at what he noticed. The vehicle’s left rear wheel was on the line, and the left front wheel was in our parking space.

I immediately reacted. “I hope he [the owner of the SUV] comes out soon so I can kick him in the nards.”

Reilly agreed that the parking job was bad.

We loaded the groceries into the trunk of our car, and I wheeled the cart to the nearest cart corral. The perfectly cool air braced my hot, angry face. Yet, I still wondered how I could push my neatly into the corral when I had a normal cart and the other carts in the corral were a mini-cart and a car-cart that kids could sit in and pretend to drive while parents pushed it. Then I just decided to make sure my cart was at least out of the way, because I’m incredibly considerate about these things.

When I returned to the car, Reilly had unlocked my door, but he hadn’t opened it because the space between our car and the dork car next to us was too narrow. But he also looked at me as if something was funny.

I opened the car door and slipped inside, and I happened to glance inside the Jeep/Forerunner/whatever. The driver happened to be in the car, and the driver happened to be a woman. Blonde, ponytail, appearing to avoid looking to her left at her condemners.

It occurred to me that she could have heard what I said, but once I closed the door, I told Reilly, “It’s a girl in that car! I’m still going to kick her in the nards!”

Then Reilly said, “I have a little trick for when I park like that. I park the car again and fix it.”

Seems simple enough.

Don’t Look for Content Here

This combination is primo. My favorite is the one about the fur pillows. The bike stores one is pretty great, too.

***

In other news, the semester is almost over. I really hope this isn’t news to you. I’ve only announced it somewhat consistently this past week. Finals start Saturday. They end Tuesday.

In yet other news, I’m slowly coming to terms with some hard truths in my life. I wish my heart didn’t have to break.