13 October 2009

Snips and snails

Last Thursday we went to our 22-week midwife appointment and ultrasound, eager to know what variety of human we would be having in February, eager to have a pronoun to use when referring to this child of ours, eager to narrow down our name speculation by half. The Mister had a feeling that it would be a boy, while I had absolutely no intuition in one direction or another.

As the technician rolled the rolly ultrasound thing over my belly, she pointed out kidneys and brain hemispheres and heart chambers, a nose and fingers and toes, femurs and ribs and the umbilical cord. At last, hovering over another grainy image of round shapes, she typed BOY in big yellow letters on the screen. The Mister was right! It only sunk in, a few tears escaping of their own accord, when the technician started talking about "his legs" and the way "he's kicking." And kick he did! It was rather wild to watch him kick and feel it at the same time, hard enough that the little ultrasound wand bobbed up and down too. We watched him (him!) swallow amniotic fluid, we admired his little feet waving around, and found his little curled fist tucked under his jaw.

We were able to tell all four grandparents in person, since they were all in town over the weekend. As the Mister's only sister does not plan to have any more kids in addition to her two girls, the news was greeted with special joy by the Catalan family. But a new baby is always joyful, and since my parents adore their three grandsons (and surely have quite a few more grandchildren on the horizon--there are five of us, after all), they were just as thrilled with the boy-baby news as all of us.

I surprised myself by feeling both thrilled and a little let down, too, sad about the girl that we don't have, even though I had no preference one way or the other and was equally excited about the possibility of both. I was puzzling over this to my friend, and she told me: until now, it was like I had two imaginary babies, and both were equally present in my mind's eye. Now there's just one, so it makes sense that I would feel a tiny bit of loss for the other. If it were the day of birth, the emotions of meeting our son would probably wipe away any lingering regret about a daughter, but since it's all still so abstract, I've lost one world of possibility, one of tiny dresses and a mother-daughter relationship.

But those feelings were short-lived. After all, I may still have that daughter some day. And for now, we are looking forward to *this* kid, the one who will wear stripes and gurgle and fit into the crook of our arms.


I don't know if I can chalk it up to pregnancy cravings, or to my annual obsession with fall foods, or to the awareness that next year we may again be without easy access to pumpkin-flavored goodies, but I have been on a pumpkin streak over this past week or so. It helped that we ate out and cooked a lot, in the name of giving my parents-in-law a taste of a broad variety of American foods (items they had never eaten before this week: quesadillas, French toast, breakfast sausage, grits, portobello mushrooms, pecan pie, zucchini bread, dill pickles, jumbalaya, bagels, fudge, grilled cheese sandwiches, and yes, pumpkin-flavored things, with the exception of the pumpkin desserts I made last year for Thanksgiving).

The list of pumpkin foods I have eaten over the past week alone:

pumpkin cream cheese muffins
pumpkin spice doughnuts
pickled pumpkin salad with crunchy pumpkin seeds
spicy pumpkin soup
pumpkin cheesecake
pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese
pumpkin pie fudge
pumpkin ice cream (two versions)
pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce (which I made from scratch!)
pumpkin bread pudding (this is the most delicious and easy dessert ever: it impressed my guests and I'm considering making another pan of it just for myself)

When everybody began to notice my penchant for nabbing any pumpkin item from every menu and making as much pumpkiny food as possible, they started to joke that we should name the baby (oh! the name debates! they are raging) Pumpkin, or Carabasseta (little pumpkin, in Catalan). It's not half bad, at least as a placeholder until we have a permanent name. Our little pumpkin baby, round and chubby and scrumptious.

03 October 2009

Week in review

It's been a good week at Can Cant d'Ocell (=Chez Birdsong). It started in Boston, where I made a quick trip to attend my nephew's baptism and first birthday party: a beautiful occasion and a great chance to spend time with my family. I figured I should take advantage of being nearby and childless--two situations that won't last much longer. My flights went so smoothly and quickly (what a novelty: a direct flight landing in the same time zone one takes off in!) and the new Indianapolis airport is so work-friendly that I actually hung around after arriving to take advantage of the comfy seats and free internet.

The highlight of the week was finally having the Mister home, waking up at 6:30 am the next morning (he was jet-lagged; I was restless) and discovering that the baby was restless, too: we could both feel those tiny extremities making sturdy bumps and thumps against my stomach.

My parents-in-law also arrived from Spain for a visit, and their first day here was the perfect kind, a real fall day with a chill in the air and warm sun, all the better to show off the lovely corners of campus. We were invited to my thesis director's house for dinner, which I was a bit nervous about but turned out to be a fabulous dinner party, and probably the only possible event in town that could allow my (non-English-speaking) parents in-law to converse with other Catalans.

Today we went to the Farmer's Market and enjoyed taking in the bounty of southern Indiana's fall produce. My in-laws were charmed by the Amish and other local farmer types, the folk music, and the abundance of pumpkins and gourds. And for further exposure to Bloomington's back corners, we drove to a few yard sales and found some bargains for our kitchen (glassware), closets (shoe racks and one baby item, a gender-neutral yet adorable pair of denim overalls), and winter preparedness (snow shovel). Total cost: $2.00. Tonight we're headed to the opera, which should be a nice ending to a great week.