the adorable tiny people

December 17, 2010

Babies. Even though I have had one for 1.25 years now, I have hardly blogged about motherhood. Which is quite odd considering how important it is to me. And in my new life, as a law student, which is also ending just about now, it’s a huge part of my identity. I am “the one with the baby.” Not the only one, mind you, but one of them. That’s how people who do not know me at school might know me. Which is a funny thing, all things considered.

I always knew I would probably have kids, but I was honestly never that excited about it. It seemed like a lot of work, and like a big loss of independence, and a major sleep depriver. I have always cherished my independence, even in marriage. I don’t like being too attached to anyone, not because I want the freedom to pursue other relationships, but I just enjoy being alone sometimes. I like peace and quiet. It’s when I can sit quietly, drink a cup of coffee, write a little blog post. I don’t want to go everywhere with someone else. I also love to travel, and were I richer, I don’t really think I would have nicer things in my house, I would just travel more. I would see more things, go more places, meet more people.

But when I turned 30, I really wanted to move in the general kids direction, because I knew I did not want to wait until I (re)started my career or was over 35 or whatever. So we had a baby.

September 9, 2009.

December 2010.

Changed my life? Yup, but in totally different ways that I expected.

Before Gabriel, I never really got why some people went so crazy for babies. They don’t “do” anything, and sometimes they aren’t even that cute. And they cry, and they smell sometimes, and there’s a lot of poop and snot and drool involved, and you have to like, teach them stuff. But that’s so not the whole story. Because they are amazing.

A good friend used to comment on how newborn Gabriel would sometimes look so human. I mean, obviously, right? But there’s something in that description. The fact that babies are tiny, primitive beings, untrained, undeveloped versions of us, especially the first year. They suck, and they eat, and they stare, and they scare easily, and their little tummies hurt, but then they start to focus on objects, they smile, they babble, they hold their heads up, they grab things, and somehow, because at birth they are developmentally like a tiny baby mouse, all sleepy and wrinkly and strange, they just get more and more human, and it’s amazing.

And truthfully, until I had my own, I never got that. And now, ha, I want all the babies. I want to hold them, especially the tiny ones. They are too funny to me. And their tiny developmental steps are so great. And I never even liked babies before. So that’s what’s really changed.

Do I have less independence? Heck yeah, but I still have a lot more than I thought I would. I used to just like getting out and going to browse a book store or take a walk on my own. Now, I still do those things, but I get to see them also through Gabriel’s eyes too. Lots of things are better. You interact with more people when there’s a baby around. It breaks the ice. He smiles at random strangers, you chat, laugh, etc. We ride the bus a lot in Madison, which is the funniest because Gabriel will attempt eye contact with everyone on the bus, which often involves long bouts of staring.

In many ways, Gabriel makes my daily life less mundane. We can have a little adventure just going to school – a bus ride, a little walk, a trip to see professors who remember him when he was tiny, walking the halls, cheering up the stressed students. I know I am lucky. He takes good naps, I can survive on much less sleep than I imagined, and he’s a very good child in public. Sometimes it’s a total hassle, but it couldn’t be any other way. It’s just another human that needs you, and you have to make the most of it.

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some stuff has happened

January 30, 2010

Although it is Friday night, and it’s only 11:00 pm, I should be sleeping. These days, I am usually sleeping at 11:00 pm. My baby is sleeping. My husband is sleeping. And the later I stay up, the less sleep I will get. Because although tomorrow is Saturday, and a year ago I would stay up until whenever and then sleep until eight hours later, I am a parent now. I don’t get to keep my own sleep schedule anymore, which has both up- and down-sides.

But today I also partook in the pleasure of napping with my baby. For the entire lengthy (2+hour) afternoon G-baby nap, I slept. Thus, it is 11:00 pm Friday night, I am not so tired, and I was just reading immigration law. But then I got distracted on facebook. So I read an old friend’s blog, and then it dawned on me that this was the perfect moment to return to my own blog.

So where am I at? I’m a well-adjusted 2L now, have been for some time. Last semester was all about adjusting to law school and motherhood, just in time to finish finals and realize, OMFG I’ll be an attorney in one year! (Gah!)

But I digress. I had G-baby on the 9th day of the 9th month of 2009, which is über-lucky in China, if nothing else. It happened like this:

I had some contractions during the evening of 9-7-09. I went to tax class in sweats the next day, preparing to maybe have to go to the hospital at some point. I was about a week late at this point, it was hot and humid, and I was ready to have the baby. I waddled up my school’s venerable hill to the non-law school classroom where tax class was being held thanks to its 200-person enrollment. The undergrads — as I quickly remembered, with a bit of nostalgia — they don’t have the air conditioning in their buildings, (at least not the 150-year old ones).

So I sweat, and started to contract, but it didn’t hurt too much. So I did what anyone would do, I listened to the crazy tax professor and surfed the web. I had another class that evening, and since it still didn’t hurt that much, I went to that one too. By the time it was over, it was hurting more. Pretty sure I was grimacing about every five minutes, and I had put some times in my notes to keep track of how far apart my contractions were:

5:56
6:01
6:07

etc, etc.

And then I got a ride home, and the next morning I went to the hospital, and at 6:40 pm the next evening I had a brand-new 7 lb. 7 oz. G-baby. And yes, if I keep blogging, I plan to call him G-baby.

G-baby is really cute. And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom. EVERYONE says it. People stop me on the street and smile at him, and these days he smiles back. They ask me his name and how old he is and say things like: “Like babies aren’t cute enough, and then you put them in suits with ears like little bears.” Yes, I dress my child in little brown, fuzzy suits that have bears ears (and feet!) You probably still think I am overstating the cuteness, but you are just going to have to trust me, because I’m pretty sure I’m not going to post photos of him on this blog.

To keep things mostly law school around here, I will share that when F went back to work in October, G-baby came to tax class with me two times per week, two hours each class for the rest of the semester. He was both comic relief and welcome cuteness in the otherwise drab world of Title 26 of the United States Code. When he occasionally woke up and cried in class, I would walk around and feel embarrassed to be an indirect source of noise and disruption. But then later a classmate would say, “It’s okay, I want to cry in tax too.” At least eight different people said that to me during the semester. What none of us knew was that when we took the final exam, we would all cry. Seriously. But let’s not revisit that terrible 24 hours.

These days, the baby law students, (as I will call those who think it’s amusing and fun to have a baby around – note: I was NOT one of those people before I got pregnant, so I’m not at all dissing the non-baby law students) say they miss seeing G-baby. He still makes some appearances, but he doesn’t have a regular class schedule this semester. Tax law was enough for him, at least for twenty or so years.


tick tick tick

August 8, 2009

The other day a friend asked me why I’m not panicking. Hard to say, really…. but it’s sort of because I don’t have time to panic. Eight months ago, while considering the reality of my pregnancy, I didn’t exactly panic, but I was certainly scared and nervous and overwhelmed. More than anything I was mourning the end of my independence, and today, magically, I’m not too worried about that anymore. I’m too excited to see my baby, something I never really contemplated before being pregnant, or before I started to feel his regular movements really.

Things have come together, and the time is flying. All things considered, my summer has been pretty great. I love my clinical work, I have felt amazingly good, it hasn’t been too hot and I’ve felt extremely blessed by friends and family – holding baby showers, giving gifts, offering much-needed advice.

I’ve got a few days left of my internship and then I can mostly focus on moving and “nesting.” F and I went to a day-long childbirth class at the hospital where we’ll have the baby today. I learned a good deal, and it was really nice to see the birthing “suites,” which are actually quite homey and designed in a way that promotes comfort and bonding. I’m not sure what it means that I fear the extremely rare and unlikely side effects of the epidural more than going through the whole birth experience (completely guaranteed to be excruciating) with little or no medication. I think it means that on some level, I am fundamentally illogical and unreasonable. But I’m leaning toward a natural labor completely, or at least as long as possible, depending on the circumstances. We’ll see how that goes.

In other news, I just found out law school classes start before Labor Day, which could be good. I may get to attend one of each class before I have the baby. I guess I’ll take the risk of going into labor at the law school, but at least I’ll have a syllabus and a feel for my professors.


and then there were six weeks…

July 21, 2009

Six weeks until I have a baby, six weeks until school starts again. Six weeks ago I was in the second week of my summer clinical experience, and that seems like just a minute ago.

As always, summer flies. Between working full-time, commuting each weekend and pregnancy in general, it seems to be going extra fast. At the same time, I feel anxious. I want to move into my new apartment NAO. Mostly because of the baby, we’re going to rent out our house in home-town and live in an apartment in college-town while I finish school. I don’t mind moving in general, but moving in the 9th month of pregnancy is not exactly ideal. Unfortunately, leases here tend to go from Aug. 15th to Aug. 14th, so I’ve got to wait until just two weeks before my due date to really let the nesting instinct run wild.

I’m also getting anxious to see this little person. For those of you who don’t already know this: pregnancy is bizarre. Feeling a mini-person kicking your ribs and hiccuping from inside your abdomen is one of the strangest and most amazing things ever. During the last 7.5 months I’ve felt indifferent, scared, paranoid and now, mostly – totally excited for him to actually be here in the world with us. I also can’t wait to just see what he looks like, considering how entirely different my husband and I are in appearance (mutt-American + mostly indigenous-looking Mexican = ?).

My internship is great. It’s a wonderful learning experience and  definitely the right choice for this summer. I’m also enrolled in professional responsibility, which is quite the cushy law school class. The reading is relatively brief and easy to understand – perfect for the summer version of a student’s brain – the professor is straightforward and accommodating, and it only meets once per week for two hours.

It’s also a bit frightening to take PR. You start thinking about all the serious responsibilities a lawyer has to other people. You start to internalize that in two years you will be a lawyer. You realize how much power you will soon have to either help or screw over other people. Then you learn all the different ways others can punish or discipline you if you screw up. You also (at least in my class) have to think a lot about unpleasant things – like the percentage of lawyers who are wealthy, but also dissatisfied with their work, or depressed, or raging alcoholics.

But let’s not get all pensive about the law profession, it’s time for dinner!


looking pregnant

June 7, 2009

For the last two months, since I could no longer comfortably wear my regular pants, even with the help of the amazing, highly recommended Bella Band (or the slightly cheaper Target Be Band version), I’ve been asking my husband every weekend whether I look pregnant or just fat. The verdicts are mixed, depending on what I am wearing, although in the last two weeks, it’s become obvious that I finally look overwhelmingly pregnant.

Two weeks ago when I was at the prison (for my summer clinical/internship), sitting at lunch talking to the legal assistant who helps us organize our inmate interviews, she asked: “So when are you due?” I’m not 100% sure she hadn’t heard me or one of my colleagues talking about me being pregnant earlier, but it was possibly the first time someone had mentioned my pregnancy just based on the sight of my growing “bump.”

A few days later I was shopping for furniture with my mom when the salesperson asked me the same question, then quickly following with “I think there’s a baby in there…” I reassured her there was — certainly stopping her heart from racing at the thought that she made have just committed the ultimate social faux pas — and we chatted for a few moments about it being my first child and a boy.

Last week, back in college town, I ran into a fellow student who was in my legal research and writing section this spring but who I don’t know well. We were in the bathroom and she looked at me and said, “Wow, I didn’t even know you were pregnant.” I hadn’t seen her in a month, and I noted how quickly “he” got huge between the week before exams and now.

Two days ago was I walking down a crowded, pedestrian-only shopping street in college-town when an older woman walking toward me saw me, stared at my belly for a second and then beamed at me as she passed by.

For me it’s interesting to have people stare at my stomach, and particularly to have strangers unabashadly smiling at you. No one has come up and tried to touch me yet (thank god) but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

As my doctor says every visit, I’m just sort of chugging along here. I still feel great, except for a modest increase in backaches, and so far it hasn’t been hot for more than two or three days, which this summer anyway, is a huge relief to me. Back to working the 9-5, time is flying and before I know it it’ll be time to evict my parasite and become a mother!


It moves! and other updates…

April 16, 2009

I’ve been a blog slacker. I haven’t felt much like writing. And I’m busy.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I tend to slack a bit in the start of the semester and start the real learning later. It worked surprisingly well in fall and so far so good this time around. The goal is to not feel overwhelmed on April 30, the last day of class, a few days before exams begin. I’ve gotten most of my property and constitutional law outlines done, but I’ve worked hard on those the last two weeks. Next, I need to tackle administrative law, which of all my classes, I find very confusing and difficult to grasp. I’m hoping once I start reviewing there will be many moments of clarity.

In other news, it is finally real spring! True to college-town form, as soon as the temps rose into the 50s and the sun came out, the kids started wearing tank tops and flip flops and laying out in various grassy open areas. I have to laugh, because in F’s hometown, this is like the winter weather, and people wear hats and parkas and down hot beverages from sun up to sun down. After many months of dark, cold weather hell, though, it’s nice to be outside with a light jacket.

Back in my apartment, enjoying the sound of birds and natural light that actually lasts past seven, I’m relaxing after completing my oral argument this afternoon. I didn’t even suck. It was much better than last semester. That had a lot to do with: 1) already having done an oral argument once, 2) not being intimidated by my professor and 3) not being in the scary court room at the law school. I thought I was well prepared last fall, but my nerves really got the best of me. My co-counsel, who was literally shaking the whole time, didn’t exactly help. It’s a sad day when I have to encourage someone else not to be nervous about public speaking. This time around, I knew better than to trust my own skills (well, lack of) at talking off the cuff and wrote the entire argument out. I didn’t need it all, which was good, but it was there for reference.

Last but not least, just five days until our ultrasound and we find out what our baby is! I’m excited and nervous. Nervous only because we’ll also get information about how he/she looks and if there are any problems, but excited definitely to attach a gender to it, now that it moves around and seems more realistically like a living thing. I’m feeling very lucky to have a lot of energy and feel really good, now let’s hope that will last into the third trimester, also known as, when I get huge and it’s hot outside. Stay tuned!


shocking my classmates

March 12, 2009

I have to say, one of the more amusing things about being a pregnant law student is telling other students about the impending baby.

The first person I told over gmail chat very early on. She is my closest friend from law school, and we g-chatted a lot last semester, venting about classes or asking each other questions about whether a professor really said this or that. So it seemed  strangely appropriate, while I was back in hometown and she elsewhere during winter break, to tell her during a quick chat. A flurry of adorable gmail chat emoticons appeared in response (they really are very cute  , see?). She was very happy and excited, which was really to be expected.

Then there is the shock. Like during the first week of classes, when I was standing with a couple girls I know pretty well, and they asked me if I was coming to bar review that week, and I said, “aaaaactually, I’m pregnant.” And it was more like: and then a delayed, “Wow, congratulations.” (Still looking shocked and confused). Later, one of these girls sent me an unnecessary apologetic message about her reaction, because she had just been so shocked.

Another girl, who I sat next to in Contracts last semester (we bonded over our great love for our hilarious and adorably disheveled professor) was surprisingly excited. She mentioned I was the first person (well, I assume she meant the first person in her generation) that she knew for whom having a baby was an exciting, planned thing, and not an “oops, oh crap” sort of thing.

Then, there are the guys. I haven’t been feeling the greatest this week, and I missed some class. So when I went to class yesterday and my neighbor in property asked how I was doing, I said, “well, I’ve been better.” I also figured he already knew I was pregnant since I’ve been out about it on facebook for weeks, but apparently not. He said: “Well, what’s wrong?” And I said, “I’m pregnant,” and he looked totally shocked: “Are you serious?” “Yes. I have baby-induced illness.” LOL “Well, kudos to you.” Hahahahahaha. He didn’t say anything else. I think I terrified him.

Like I said, I find all this amusing. There are plenty (well, maybe five) pregnant ladies around the law school. But if I were 22 or 23, I’m sure I wouldn’t know quite what to do with my 30-year-old pregnant classmate either. And I suppose, because I went out and drank heavily a couple times with all these people last semester, they don’t really see me as someone who’s 30 and been married for 5 years. And I certainly have taken my return to student-dom as an opportunity to dress like a student again.

I’m kind of looking forward to looking more pregnant, and maybe having a teacher randomly comment on it. That will be fun. But for now, spring break awaits!