8 month progress report

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you know that the very loose premise of this blog is that I’m trying to enjoy and document what might be my last few childless years. According to my “life plan,” I’m getting pregnant at 30, which means I only have a couple years to start liking babies and come to terms with the gruesome realities of pregnancy.

I know that most of what I post on this blog is actually not baby-related. It’s a loose premise, remember?

Also, I’m naturally inclined to write about the things that are currently on my mind. Believe it or not, I’m pretty much never thinking about babies.

I think about ways that I can get Gatsby to wear a little dog sweater about 20 times more often than I think about babies, if that gives you any indication of what is presently concerning me. (He freezes up and won’t move as soon as I put a sweater on him, making it impossible to take him for walks once the temperature dips below 50 degrees! He doesn’t understand it’s for his own good – stubborn (adorable) little bastard.)

But even though babies are on my mind about as much as the MLB playoffs (read: 0% of the time), I thought I would give you an update on my progress as far as warming up to the idea of having a kid goes.

If the end goal is being ready to have a baby, I have made approximately ZERO progress since I first started this blog.

In fact, I may have even regressed in the other direction and am now even less ready to get pregnant than I was 8 months ago.

This is not how I predicted or hoped this would go. I do want kids, after all. I just want them later.

I thought that once some of my friends got pregnant and had babies, I would see how wonderful it is and would want to have one too. So far, this hasn’t happened.

I will say that I’ve recently developed a fondness for the spawns of my friends. I’m even finding them to be slightly cute. I’m starting to appreciate how cool it is to hang out with little humans that were created by people I love and witness my friends assuming the role of “mommy.” I’m also really starting to appreciate the fact that I’m not them.

More and more, I’m enjoying the freedoms of a childless life. I’m enjoying going on weekend trips, hanging out at wine bars for extended periods of time, and just being married. Let’s face it – it’s pretty awesome NOT having stretch marks, NOT breast feeding, NOT smelling like poop and spit-up and NOT spending money on things that keep a baby alive.

If things continue at this rate, maybe 30 won’t be the magic age when I’m willing to surrender my uterus and my life to a baby after all.

NOTE TO MY EGGS: I know you’re going to start dying soon, but I can’t bring myself to put you to good use while I’m still not able to control my gag reflex at the sight of a drooling child with baby food up its nose. Hang in there, ladies.

Britney Spears, high school and babies

I know the title of this post is strange. But if you think that Britney Spears, high school and babies are three random things that are totally unrelated, then you would be wrong.

Here’s my explanation summed up in one sentence because I’m not feeling overly verbose today:

The Britney Spears episode of Glee last night was AWESOME, Britney was super popular when I was in high school, and I just had my high school reunion last weekend where I saw a lot of old friends who now have babies.

You see? It’s all very logical.

And to continue on this streak of organized mental clarity, I am now going to break that sentence down into three parts and expound upon each section. Kind of like a nice little five paragraph essay. Which I wrote a lot of in high school. Another logical connection!

PART 1: The Britney Spears episode of Glee last night was AWESOME.

This is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t watch Glee or missed the episode, I am so sorry. I feel bad for you like I felt bad for Lloyd and Harry at the end of Dumb & Dumber when they sent the bus full of bikini models toward town to find two oil boys that could have been them if they were smarter. But then of course they’d have to change the title of the movie. Anyway… you poor sap.

With the combination of Britney songs, Brittany’s awesome dancing, and references to Lady Bird Johnson’s tramp stamp and Kids Incorporated, I’d have to say last night’s episode might very well be the most entertaining hour of TV I’ve ever watched. All of that combined with television legend John Stamos (yes, I said that) had me entranced in a daze of happiness by the end of the show, muttering to myself “Is this real life…?” (Again, I feel bad for you if you didn’t see the show, because you totally didn’t get that reference.)

PART 2: Britney was super popular when I was in high school.

I was a sophomore in high school when Hit Me Baby One More Time hit the radio, maybe a few too many times (I did get a little sick of it). But pop culture would never be the same. And thus began a period in my life when Britney dance moves were routinely mimicked at Homecoming and Turn-A-Bout dances and her songs were included on every mix tape I made (yes, I was making mix tapes).

So you can understand why I was a little bit depressed when she became a vicious, bald, umbrella-wielding psychopath a few years ago.

I loved the Britney Spears of 1999. I feared the Britney Spears of 2007. And I’m on the fence about the Britney Spears of 2010. She may have made a somewhat successful comeback, and she looked decent on Glee, but she’s seriously not the same. If she was, she would have been singing and dancing along with the cast and had more than three empty lines on the show. Now she’s sort of just a puppet for her “brand” – the passion and talent are gone.

PART 3: I just had my high school reunion last weekend where I saw a lot of old friends who now have babies.

Let’s move on to something a bit happier, shall we? If you read my last post, I’m sure you were wondering how my 10 year high school reunion went. And if you weren’t, you’re going to find out anyway.

It was so much fun!

The festivities started with the Homecoming football game on Friday night (where they had fireworks – seems the booster club has become a bit more profitable since I was there!), and ended with me dancing at a bar in Chicago until 2 am with old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. And everyone had babies. But not at the bar. (I was sort of hoping to be able to use Reese Witherspoon’s “You have a baby! At a BAR” line from Sweet Home Alabama, but alas…)

And you know what was weird? Besides the fact that at least three of the babies were named Tyler? (Is it really that common of a name??)

Everyone was pretty much the same. Most people looked and acted exactly the same, except maybe a teensy bit more mature.

In conclusion (that’s how I always ended my five paragraph essays), I love Glee, and even though Britney Spears has changed (in a bad way) since high school, it seems that most people haven’t. In a good way.

Funny how easy it is to hang out with the people you grew up with, even if it’s been years since the last time you talked. I guess when we spent every waking hour together in high school, we got to know each other pretty well. And that will never change.

Now entering Phase IV of Post-College Life

So far, this has been the most relaxing summer I’ve had in a long time. Last weekend I read my book (Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan – pretty good chick lit summer book), watched some HGTV, tried streaming Netflix through Wii for the first time (and ended up watching a few episodes of the first season of Laguna Beach, as if I needed to prove to myself how pathetic I really am), and actually got to the point where I was a little bit bored.

I was forced to make pina coladas on Sunday night just to spice things up a bit.

It was wonderful.

Then it hit me. The reason why this summer is much less busy than any other summer in recent memory is the staggering lack of weddings and wedding-related events. And that is a result of this:

We have now entered Phase IV of Post-College Life.

Here’s a rundown of the Phases of Post-College Life, in case you’re not familiar with them (which is likely since I pretty much just made them up in my head about 2 seconds ago):

Phase I: You recently graduated from college and have begun the job search. This basically means that you and your friends are all living with your parents, going out every night, and checking out online job postings during the day whenever Mom is around so she won’t feel like you’re taking the free food and laundry service for granted. This phase can last anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. (If you remain in this phase longer than two years, you are dropped from the Phases of Life for Normal People and enter the downward spiral to Loserville. Sadly, only a decently-paying job can save you now.)

Phase I

Phase II: You found a job! Or got into grad school! You move out of your parents’ house…eventually. (There is no shame in taking advantage of the free room and board until the 2 years before the downward spiral to Loserville expire.) And now you and your friends are busy working, going to happy hour, and hitting up the singles scene on the weekends.

Phase II

Phase III: Ahh, love. People are coupling off left and right. There are engagements, marriages, and commitments to same-sex partners. And you spend the months of April – October attending weddings, showers, and bachelorette parties like it’s your job. Much of your salary goes toward gifts, bridesmaid dresses and flights. But the open bars and regular opportunities to get all of your friends together are totally worth it. This is the phase I thought I was in…until recently.

Phase III

Phase IV: Here’s where I am. The deluge of weddings/commitments/”we’re moving in together” parties have slowed to a mere trickle. A majority of your friends have adopted the “we-speak” and are officially part of a couple. Then come the pregnancies, baby showers and actual babies. And here’s the cruel reality of life: the one BAD thing from the previous phase follows you into this phase – shower games. Except now instead of making wedding dresses out of toilet paper, you’re sniffing little turds of melted chocolate candy bars in diapers. So yes, it gets worse.

Phase IV

After that point, you enter the Phases of Family Life. This bores me, so I will not be discussing it here.

Here’s proof that I have officially entered Phase IV of Post-College Life:

2006: 7 weddings; 0 friends with babies

2007: 9 weddings (including my own!); 0 friends with babies

2008: 7 weddings; 2 friends with babies

2009: 8 weddings; 3 friends with babies

2010: 4 weddings; 6 friends with babies (and 3 on the way)

The tide is rapidly turning in favor of the babies!

(Coming up with that count is 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back – but it’s kind of interesting, no?)

I’ll definitely miss the parties, free booze and chance to see all of our friends together on a regular basis. But if it means more relaxing and reading my book on the front porch with pina colada in hand…then welcome, Phase IV! I think I’ll be kicking back and enjoying this phase (and other people’s babies) for awhile.

Adventures in Chi-town pt. 2: In which I hold a baby and get sort of drunk. Not at the same time.

You guys. I held a baby last weekend. And I returned him to his mother, unscathed (I’m referring to myself, not the baby).

The baby (one mini Mr. Tyler Hoff, son of my high school friend Stacey) also survived in one piece. His head didn’t fall off, and I want to say he lasted a whole five minutes before bursting into tears. I also have to admit that he was sort of cute in a wrinkly, tiny person kind of way.

Is this a sign? Am I coming around? Do I maybe want a little baby Tyler of my own?

No.

At least not yet.

How do I know this? Because later that night Carlie the newborn baby holder met up with a group of her college friends and turned into Carlie the I’m-not-in-college-anymore-but-that-doesn’t-mean-I-can’t-act-like-it sorority girl and did some things (like stay out until 3 a.m.) that are soooo not mom-like.

So that’s the end of that. But overall, last weekend I had a great time back in Chicago (and surrounding suburbs). And here’s another shocker – I hung out with not one, but TWO babies! At the same time! Willingly!

That’s Tyler and Brooklyn, the offspring of my friends Stacey and Kristen, who seem to be handling motherhood swimmingly. I’m hoping to be able to learn a thing or two from them. They hold their babies like nobody’s business, and that’s not easy for Kristen. Brooklyn is a very healthy 6 months old and my forearm nearly snapped in half when she offered to show me how heavy a baby in a car seat can be. Lesson learned. I better start on the protein shakes now.

After a fun lunch with that crew at Stacey’s house, I headed out to Naperville to begin my baby-free part of the day and catch up with two more friends, Anna and Sarah. We went to a Mexican restaurant and did NOT get margaritas because a night of drinking copious amounts of sangria was in our future. So there’s proof that I don’t act exactly like I did in college (and that my fear of hangovers is almost as intense as my fear of sharks. Which is really intense. Have we discussed that yet? I HATE sharks).

Anyway, after a Diet Coke, chips and salsa and a bite of Sarah’s chicken quesadilla, I was fully fortified for a night on the town!

First stop: Café Iberico! Frequenting this place has become somewhat of a tradition for my college friends. The food is awesome but the sangria…oh the sangria…is purely magical.

And perhaps a side effect of the delicious Iberico sangria fruity goodness I speak of is big scary-ass bug eyes.

I don’t know.

Let me introduce you to the girls. Here we have Megan, Kim and Sarah.

And this is Laura, Emily, Jeannine and Sheena.

Now you can put faces with names when I talk about them again. Because I’m sure I’ll be talking about them again. You may recognize them from my original Adventure in Chi-town.

After downing about 6 pitchers of sangria, we thought it would be a good idea to drink some more.

So off to Clark Street Ale House we went! And we spent about 6 hours there. Almost a full work day. The best part was that I didn’t spend a dime thanks to a generous fellow named Stephan (with a soft “ph) who felt compelled to buy drinks for a bunch of people at the bar that he didn’t know. I hope Stephan remembers how grateful we were when he gets his next credit card bill. I’m sure that will make it all worth it.

The next best part was that I was introduced to a completely addictive game called Photo Hunt.

Basically, they show you two pictures that are slightly different and you have to point out the differences. The money we would have spent on drinks if it wasn’t for Stephan was quickly poured into this machine.

Then it was a quick detour to El Famous Burrito and off to bed (aka deflating air mattress on Megan’s floor)!

Ah, Chi-town. Thanks for yet another great weekend!

I have a feeling the spending-time-with-babies to going-out-drinking ratio in my future weekend trips will start tipping in the babies’ favor. But for now, this was a great balance! And that means something since my preferred balance in the past would have been 0% babies and 100% going out.

This is big – I’m making progress!

5 ways I might screw up my future kids

I know, I know, I’m jumping the gun a little – you have to actually have kids (or want to have them) before you can screw them up. But I’ve always been the type of person who worries plans in advance. Some might say I need to be more spontaneous, but I just take comfort in the fact that not much ever surprises me. And if it does – I freak out.

By thinking of all of the things I could do that might possibly turn my children into horrible people before they become actual people, I feel like I might be able to avoid them (the things I could do, not the children…although avoiding your children seems like a great way to screw them up…didn’t crack the top 5 though). We’ll see.

1. When Gatsby is sleeping on my lap while I’m watching TV and a catchy song (usually an iPod commercial) comes on, I like to pick him up, stand him on his hind legs and make him dance until he bites me. I’m truly concerned about how difficult it might be to control this same urge with a baby.

2. One time, this thought actually crossed my mind: Even if I have a boy someday, what’s the harm in dressing him in girl clothes when I take him out in public for the first few months of his life? They’re so much cuter than boy clothes. And I think I might like my baby more if I can put bows in its hair. No one will know the difference…

Cute, right? Sure it's a girl...?

3. As an adolescent, I had glasses, braces, bad skin and was a spelling bee champ. Will also had glasses and bad skin and was a geography bee champ . In other words, our nerdiness knew no bounds. Our future kids are already facing uphill battles based on genetics alone!

4. Will and I were both pretty good students, so if our kids don’t do well in school, I’m either going to accuse them of being lazy and not trying hard enough or seriously consider how likely it was that the hospital gave us the wrong baby. These kinds of expectations may be a tad unhealthy to put on a child who I haven’t even met. And yet, here they are.

5. I watch all of the Real Housewives shows on Bravo. I really hope those shows get cancelled (what am I saying!?) before my kids are old enough to watch TV because they really shouldn’t be watching that stuff. And I don’t trust myself not to watch it just because they’re in the room. The excuse, “they don’t understand it anyway” would probably escape my lips and then, before I know it, they’ll be walking around talking about “bubbies” and asking why we don’t have a house in the Hamptons. Also, I really don’t want them thinking that Kelly Bensimon is what normal moms look like. Lets leave the unrealistic expectations to me, ok kids?