Tag Archives: pregnancy

Let’s Panic About Babies!

Don’t know what to give that special friend or relative who just found out she’s pregnant? Or the one who thinks she might be pregnant, but isn’t really sure? Or the knocked-up coworker two cubicles down with the really nice dieffenbachia plant? You know the one. The unassuming waif who is decidedly in a state of panic over the news. The one consumed by a myriad of irrational fears revolving around the hideous changes her body is currently experiencing. The one who will drive you fairly berserk in her quest to fire inane pregnancy questions at you till doomsday—which, apparently, came and went.

At any rate, you need to purchase a slightly perfect gift for the baby shower that will inevitably occur in the coming months. Let’s Panic About Babies! (a rollicking, unabashed tome about the wonderment of being with child) is, indeed, that perfect gift. That said, it offers sage advice (translation: it offers none), intriguing accounts from the field (translation: practically everything chronicled in the book is made-up) and compelling data (translation: the statistics contained within are completely fabricated and anyone who quotes them is a moron). Plus, it provides hours and hours of blissful entertainment as it relates to the misery that is pregnancy (translation: that part is entirely true as it is a sinfully delicious read and likely to cause you to choke on your Skittles and whatnot).

Furthermore, this book, which was written by the insanely talented duo of Alice Bradley (aka Finslippy) and Eden M. Kennedy (aka Mrs. Kennedy), is equally valuable to those who’ve already had children and happen to be pregnant—again. Oh the horror! The seasoned-woman-with-child will certainly appreciate every syllable upon its 262 gloriously illustrated pages, praising its irreverence throughout all three trimesters—and beyond. There’s even a chapter that speaks to men!

In sum, Let’s Panic is a priceless body of work that reminds us how important it is not to take ourselves too seriously as parents and parents-to-be. Pick up a copy today. You know you want to.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (remembering well the days of being as big as a house). Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.com where I implore you to share your in-the-trenches-parenting-moments.

Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Let’s Panic About Babies!

Don’t know what to give that special friend or relative who just found out she’s pregnant? Or the one who thinks she might be pregnant, but isn’t really sure? Or the knocked-up coworker two cubicles down with the really nice dieffenbachia plant? You know the one. The unassuming waif who is decidedly in a state of panic over the news. The one consumed by a myriad of irrational fears revolving around the hideous changes her body is currently experiencing. The one who will drive you fairly berserk in her quest to fire inane pregnancy questions at you till doomsday—which, apparently, is tomorrow.

At any rate, you need to purchase a slightly perfect gift for the baby shower that will inevitably occur in the coming months. Let’s Panic About Babies! (a rollicking, unabashed tome about the wonderment of being with child) is, indeed, that perfect gift. That said, it offers sage advice (translation: it offers none), intriguing accounts from the field (translation: practically everything chronicled in the book is made-up) and compelling data (translation: the statistics contained within are completely fabricated and anyone who quotes them is a moron). Plus, it provides hours and hours of blissful entertainment as it relates to the misery that is pregnancy (translation: that part is entirely true as it is a sinfully delicious read and likely to cause you to choke on your Skittles and whatnot).

Furthermore, this book, which was written by the insanely talented duo of Alice Bradley (aka Finslippy) and Eden M. Kennedy (aka Mrs. Kennedy), is equally valuable to those who’ve already had children and happen to be pregnant—again. Oh the horror! The seasoned-woman-with-child will certainly appreciate every syllable upon its 262 gloriously illustrated pages, praising its irreverence throughout all three trimesters—and beyond. There’s even a chapter that speaks to men!

In sum, Let’s Panic is a priceless body of work that reminds us how important it is not to take ourselves too seriously as parents and parents-to-be. Pick up a copy today. You know you want to.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (remembering well the days of being as big as a house). Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.com where I implore you to share your in-the-trenches-parenting-moments.

Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel

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The Bright Side of Disaster

Dearest reader: I wrote this book review some time ago…but hey, this is a relatively newish site and I thought it was only fair to Katherine Center to feature my ramblings in praise of her first novel once more. Plus, her latest, Get Lucky, hits stores today!

Confession: I am a despicable creature. Despicable in the sense that I failed to fulfill a promise to Random House—the folks who believed I could, at the very least, string a few coherent sentences together in support of Katherine Center’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, within a timeframe that one would reasonably expect a one-armed Capuchin monkey to accomplish the same.

Let the flogging begin.

Needless to say, I’ve had said bookish wonder in my possession for 229 days (Gasp!) and until now have yet to utter so much as a syllable never mind an entire post regarding the worthiness of this extraordinary book.

Perhaps the monkey would have been a better bet.

Of course, I’ve been extremely busy harvesting all sorts of lame excuses to explain away my shameful behavior. The muse left me. Someone hid my thesaurus. The dog needed to be walked—some 700 times (a conservative estimate). I needed to buy some blue swirly stuff for the toilets (which I shall use one day soon). The children needed to be ferried to camp…to soccer…to dance…to swim lessons…to McDonald’s. Furthermore, 87 sidewalk chalk villages, 43 blanket forts and roughly a dozen worm cakes needed to be created.

You get the idea.

In any event, you need to buy this book. Immediately or sooner. Abandon your beloved computer this very instant, sprint to your local bookstore and demand that Center’s debut novel be placed within your hot little hands at once—lest you die not having savored this 225-page nugget of remarkableness. It is a positively scrumptious read, in every palpable, plausible and profoundly irresistible sense of the word. Indeed, I was smitten from Paragraph One till the bitter end and completely wooed for a host of reasons: I was charmed to death by its cast of characters, intrigued by the narrative’s wealth of unpredictability and awed by Center’s sheer brilliance as it relates to the telling of tales.

Perhaps more importantly, for a few delicious and utterly decadent moments solitude was mine. The harried pace and unrelenting hustle and bustle of my child-filled world faded to black as I sank deeper and deeper into the pages of this literary gem. There, in the glorious window of stillness just before my house began to stir, and in the quiet of night when day was done, I dissolved into the woodwork of life—having been transported beyond the realm of bickering matches and breakfast cereal dishes. I’d like to think I emerged as a better parent, or at least as one who is less likely to go ballistic upon discovering yet another unflushed toilet or yogurt surprise.

Truth be told, I was physically incapable of putting the silly thing down once I started, although I had to lock myself in a closet a few times in order to fend off the barrage of distractions (i.e. needy children and pets) that periodically rain down on me like a scourge. Hence, the delay in providing the blurbages here before you. Confession: I read Bright Side two sinfully indulgent times. Okay three. It was that good.

At the risk of sounding completely cliché, I felt as though I knew the fictional people that Center created. I could hear them saying whatever it was they said. I could imagine them doing the sorts of things she had them doing and by all accounts, the trip to Breastfeeding Hell she so vividly described made my toes curl. By the same token, her portrayal of the warm and wonderful kisses her knight-in-shining-armor so passionately planted made me melt. Okay, I was a puddle upon the floor. A veritable pile of mush incapable of rational thought.

Jenny, the central figure in Bright Side, was a wholesome and impossibly optimistic creature, yet at her very core a womanchild whose raw and perilous journey to the banks of motherhood made all who have ever ventured there both pity her plight and celebrate her triumphs and joys. I loved her unconditionally and wanted so desperately to whisper some advice into her ear. By contrast, Dean, that slothful, smarmy bit-of-slime that Center painted as her match-made-in-hell, made my blood boil. Like Jenny, I felt an overwhelming compulsion to light him on fire. Many times over. But of course, she made us peek through our fingers to see the good in him, the part that she fell in love with, the part that helped her picture the family unit they would ostensibly become. Later, I came to understand she had merely fallen in love with the idea of being in love. Dean was convenient, but a fucking train wreck nonetheless. Reading Chapter Five was like buying a first class ticket to that train wreck.

Then in Chapter Seven, she introduced us to Dean’s mother, that feculent and oh-so-haughty beast filled to the very brim with evil. I wanted so badly to choke her. To death. Or very near death, but perhaps not so close that she couldn’t crawl away to a far corner of the earth. Where she would rot.

And then there was Gardner. Earthy. Solid. Nurturing. Downright edible. If a movie is ever spun from this tale, Hugh Jackman must play his role—and he positively must wield a deck of playing cards and a beloved dog like Herman. Likewise, someone Mel Gibson-ish ought to be in the running for Jenny’s dad. In my less-than-professional opinion, it all makes perfect sense.

Needless to say, Center did a marvelous job letting us get to know all the colorful characters woven throughout her story. Jenny’s stylish yet sensible mother, her adoring and infinitely charming father, her thick-and-thin friend, Meredith, her sounding board, Claudia, her nemesis, Tara, the entire cast and crew of her Mommy Group, Dr. Hale, Herman, Dr. Blandon and, of course, Maxie.

Not surprisingly, I fantasize about being holed up in a forgotten corner of a bookstore, swallowed by a cozy chair and forced to read 200 pages of literary goodness like the aforementioned in one sitting. That being said, the notion of consuming something Wally Lamb-ish, curled up like a cat on my couch is unthinkable. Okay, intoxicating. I can now add Katherine Center’s material to my list of that which makes me drunk with joy. Then again, chocolate is equally redeeming.

In sum, books like Center’s are my refuge from the torrents of parenthood, an intimate retreat from my inundated-with-Legos sort of existence and a source of pure salvation not unlike becoming one with my iPod, bathing in the sweet silence of prayer and journeying to the far shores of slumber—where the din cannot follow, the day’s tensions are erased and the unruly beasts within are stilled.

Perhaps the bright side of disaster here (pun intended) is that I’ve redeemed myself somewhat in the eyes of Random House. There’s a modicum of hope anyway that they will be kind and compassionate enough to overlook my ineptitude as a blogger and zip me a copy of Center’s soon-to-be-released second novel, Everyone is Beautiful.

Hint. Hint.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (sometimes hiding from my children deep within the bowels of a closet, devouring books, of course).

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

P.S. Dear Random House Folks: For the record, you’ve already zipped me a copy of Everyone is Beautiful and I’ll likely re-post my review of that as well. Thanks again!

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A Little Pregnant

Practically everyone, I’m sure, has heard of Kelly Bottom, the 32-year-old Harrodsburg, Kentucky woman who last month gave birth in her home not knowing she was pregnant. I repeat: NOT KNOWING SHE WAS PREGNANT. For the life of me, I cannot imagine her surprise. Nor can I wrap my mind around the absurdity of such a notion. Translation: I am incapable of envisioning any living creature—save a house plant—claiming to be genuinely unaware of the presence of a 19-inch, 6-pound 15-ounce writhing entity wedged anywhere within. Truly, how does one miss that kind of memo?

Admittedly, I have frequented the Land of Oblivion on numerous occasions, but apparently this woman receives her mail there. Looking back on both of my pregnancies and considering the great multitude of words I could choose to describe them, I’d have to say they were memorable if nothing else. Granted, my most recent one—having resulted in twins with a combined weight of nearly 10 pounds—was perhaps BEYOND MEMORABLE; however I very seriously doubt I could ever fail to notice I was expecting.

More specifically, from Day One every fiber of my being felt pregnant. From my nose to my toes, from my fickle mood to my muddled thoughts, something was decidedly different. Maybe it was my voracious appetite and the fact that I made impossible demands of my husband—for black raspberry milkshakes and filet mignon mostly. In addition, I devoured cottage cheese by the tubful and drove the poor man to distraction with my incessant (and sometimes hostile) pleas for the curdy wonder. “Pull the van over NOW!” I once insisted in a sleepy little town that thankfully had a mom and pop grocery store, wedged amid a cluster of row homes. “GET ME SOME COTTAGE CHEESE BEFORE I DIE!” I ordered. The weirdish cravings alone (and especially when they were coupled with bouts of belligerence) would have served as a little red flag regarding the very real possibility of pregnancy, methinks.

Another obvious sign had to have been my intolerably acute sense of smell which caused me to retch if I happened to breeze by anyone who had given up deodorant for Lent (read: pretty much anything off the Putrid Scale made me retch). Moreover, my body was a raging inferno day and night—even in the dead of winter. Furthermore, I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy dwelling on this fact, not to mention my aching feet, breasts and back—wishing like crazy said horribleness would leave me and instead torment some other wretched soul on the planet. Worse yet, I couldn’t sleep comfortably no matter how many pillows I jammed beneath my ever-expanding belly—the unwieldy mass of flesh I clutched and cradled with every toss and turn as if it were some sort of monstrous growth, separate from myself, that I had to hoist with my hands in order to move anywhere. Perhaps this was an even MORE apparent sign of impending parenthood.

Indeed, in the nothing-will-fit-me-but-a-circus-tent stage of my pregnancy, my enormity became difficult to ignore. It was as if I had swallowed the Dominican Republic whole, but only because the panhandle of Texas was unavailable. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t tie my own shoes nor could I see my feet, which I found profoundly disturbing and yet, strangely amusing. Then I happened upon the day (which will forever live in infamy) during which I couldn’t fasten my seatbelt had I been convinced that the fate of the entire world hinged upon my success. My belly was simply too large. As I recall, it was a moot point because I couldn’t reach the pedals anyway, having been forced to move the seat back in order to stuff my sorry self between the seat and the steering wheel. At that juncture in time, driving became something I used to do. Yet another sign, I’d surmise.

Apparently I wasn’t the only individual who took note of my newly adopted Behemoth-like qualities. It’s rumored there was a twisted little pool at work in which people bought chances on my final weigh-in, although I suspect that guessing my girth would have been more of a challenge. At any rate, it’s likely the pool-at-work thing would have led me to question thoughts I might have previously dismissed about unexplained weight gain and/or a sudden proclivity toward rotundness. Or at least I would hope so.

Another not-so-subtle indicator, for me anyway, would have been the impossible-to-ignore, round-the-clock, profusion of activity taking place within the swell of my belly. That said, waves of movement were evident throughout the latter part of my pregnancy, ranging from tiny flutters here and there to giant undulations rippling across my entire midsection. More specifically, when Thing One or Thing Two shifted position, it was as if the earth had moved. Of course, it was insanely fascinating to watch, too, and I recall parking myself on the couch so that the peanut gallery that had gathered could witness my freakish sideshow firsthand. Elbows distinctly flashed, as did knees and a flurry of tiny feet. “Kewl,” my oldest daughter mouthed again and again, struck by the wondrous stirrings within.

All things considered, I still struggle mightily with the Kentucky woman’s pregnancy-related oblivion. Translation: I’m beyond skeptical and fast approaching contemptuous.

A bit envious, too. There, I said it.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (remembering well the days of being as big as a house).

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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