Archive | January, 2008

Amigurumi for Kiddo

31 Jan

I usually make amigurumi for my friends, but it’s been hard to plan for a baby and make the time to make them for myself. But, a couple of months ago I asked Doug what kind of animal he thought I should make for Alex that was somewhat unusual. He thought for a moment, and then said,

A platypus!”

Since I’m not really a fan of patterns, I had to wait for a time when I could think about how to design and think of a way to make a platypus. I tried some fuzzy yarn but then realized that it would be harder to wash and for kiddo to chew on. I started and stopped several times because of holiday knitting. But, finally a couple of weeks ago I finished Polly the Purple Platypus.

ami pic

Polly

I then wanted to make a zany zebra with some leftover yarn from Alex’s baby blanket. I quickly crocheted up the head and the body. As I was working on the mane and ears, though, I realized that this amigurumi was destined to be something else — either a dragon or a martian. I put it to Doug, and he immediately said,

A Martian!”

So, a Martian it is. Don’t have a name for him yet, but have been kicking around a few. For now he’s just Little Martian.

Martian

Little Martian

Have another knitted amigurumi I’m working on. Might even have time to post the pattern (if kiddo doesn’t come within the next week or two!).

 

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One of The Most Annoying Preggo Questions

31 Jan

Okay. I was warned. People will ask and say really annoying things while you’re pregnant. It’s like the bigger my belly gets the more people think they have carte blanch to say whatever they like. (And from what I hear it gets worse with child-rearing — sigh!)

But I have to say that there is one question that is super amazing annoying, and it’s the first question that most people here in LA ask.

So, do you have the baby’s room decorated yet?

Room? Are these people crazy? Do they not read the LA Times? Do they not realize that in LA we have had an affordable housing shortage for at least the past 7 or 8 years? Not just that, but are they not aware of the idea of attachment parenting and how awful it would be for a little one who’s been nice and cozy in her mama’s belly for 9 months to be all alone in her own room!

My response to this question is…

“Well, um… we have the baby’s corner set up.”

For that’s how it is here in LA.

Expectant Partners

16 Jan

I never really thought I’d write a post like this — mostly because of my post-modernist feminist tendencies. But one thing I’ve noticed while being pregnant is the dirth of information aimed at expectant partners. I mean, no one else really ever asks Doug how he’s feeling, it’s always all about me. (Which, I admit truthfully is fun and — especially when I’m feeling funky, warranted — but still, it would be nice if others took a greater interest in this whole thing from his perspective too.)

See, all the books I’ve read and most of my friends have said that the partner’s job is to completely support his/her pregnant partner.

But here’s the rub, if you’re in a relationship, it takes two to go through this together in a healthy way.

We both talk about this a bit. When we found out we were expecting, I made it a point to look for books that would be interesting for Doug to read, but from a male perspective. I mean, face it, it’s totally weird seeing your wife/partner go up and down the hormonal scale, go off her food (making romantic dinners out passe since she’s too sick to even think about eating anything) and see such massive physical changes happen over the course of just a few months. (Not to even mention the sporadic and often waning desires for intimacy…) As women most of us talk these things over with girlfriends, moms, people in our prenatal classes.

But who do the guys turn to?

Yes, now there are a few books out there that address these issues. But, it’s often from a really stereotypically male point of view, peppered with cartoons about missing the latest game and such. Luckily there are blogs that touch on these issues (like New Father Blog), but you have to hunt for them. Male/female differences aside, I still think that it’s important these days to recognize and really acknowledge our partners — particularly since women recently have put men into the primary position of being our main support person not just during pregnancy but during the birthing process as well.

We expect a lot from our guys these days and, at least from the perspective of childbirth in western countries, there’s little or no schema for men to hold onto. Historically they’ve not been a part of this whole process, and now we expect so much for them without giving them the same kind of positive support we give women. Just think about it, how many books on pregnancy and childbirth are aimed at women? How many classes are offered that are just for guys?

Parenting is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But, in our nuclear families, it’s really important for expecting moms to take a few moments and realize that their partners may be going through a lot too — they just might not be articulating it in the same way. Sure, there are many days when I feel that Doug should tend to me, but I’m always conscious of the fact that there are times when he really needs some TLC too. My changes are so much more apparent than his are, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t going through things that are just as intense.

So, for you expecting moms out there, I hope this post starts a greater dialogue with you and your partner about how you both can support each other. Your partner may be giving more during this time, but in truth, it’s about both of you. For expectant dads, I hope that this generates more blogs and discussion about how you all can network and help one another in a way that works best for you.

From Vegetarian to….

12 Jan

Meat-eater!

God, how did this happen? I used to be a pesco-ovo-sometimes lacto vegetarian and now…

I’m eating Korean BBQ like there’s no tomorrow!

I guess I always intuitively knew that when I got pregnant my ideas about diet and what my body needs would change. I’ve tried being vegan, was hoping to make most of my vegetarian diet (keeping wild-caught fish in because of the benefits to my hereditary high cholesterol) raw this year, but that all has changed.

This topic comes up with some of my friends who were vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) and then become pregnant. What does a person do?

I have to say I have a few friends/acquaintances who remained on a strict vegetarian diet throughout their whole pregnancy. This is really admirable. But a lot of them are like me — there is just something inside of me that needs meat. So much so that it’s very rare that I’ll get that “my god, I’m eating meat” feeling. In fact, yesterday at lunch was the first time I’ve had that feeling in a while. This quickly went away after Doug and I decided to go to Korean BBQ last night.

At first it wasn’t easy going back to meat. I really try to still keep as much of my protein based on eggs, beans, nuts and grains. But, with gestational diabetes that’s been hard because of the carb load beans, nuts and grains tend to have.

I think a few of my friends felt guilty at first eating meat. I know I felt strange, but not really guilty. Just less healthy. I initially gave up meat for health reasons 9 years ago (high fat content, BGH, method of killing). I don’t necessarily feel badly for going back to meat in term of eating an animal, it’s more in terms of what other things I’m putting into my body and the heaviness it makes me feel after a meal.

But, such is life. I think that there are definitely times when some of us need to revisit our diets and take an open view of what we need to eat but to do so with greater awareness. Honestly I would rather not have the craving for a huge hamburger, but when I do, I know that it’s not an everyday thing and that my first priority is to listen to my body and see what it (and of course, kiddo) truly needs. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of nice leafy green veggies with some nuts and avocado, but other times it’s a big hamburger loaded with dijon mustard.

Get your glucose checked early, sugar!

11 Jan

I was really lucky — when I first got pregnant I had no health insurance. Now, you might think that is a bad thing, but here in Pasadena, we have an amazing free clinic system (sadly not as accessible for those not expecting), and there is a lot of support for mothers-to-be.

Unlike with PPO or HMO doctors, on my first clinic visit I was screened for everything right away — including for gestational diabetes (GDM). Every patient also saw a nutritionist (who was extremely well-trained and teaches/researches at colleges locally) regardless of her background. It was because of this early screening that I knew I had pregnancy-related glucose intolerance before the end of my first trimester and was given the tools to manage it easily.

Unfortunately, most pregnant women are not screened for this disease early — the average screening takes place at 28 weeks — already 7 months into term. What this means is that if someone has actually had this problem since the onset of her pregnancy, she has to change her eating and exercise habits (not to mention learning how to test her glucose or even use insulin) during a time when her body is starting to get more unwieldy and when she may have established a routine that gives into her cravings. This really makes it harder to modify an already set pattern.

When I became pregnant, I suspected that I had GDM because of my age and family history. Some of the signs to watch out for include:

  1. History of Type 2 diabetes in immediate family (my dad and maternal grandmother developed this disease late in life).
  2. Being over 35 (I got pregnant at 38).
  3. Having a history of high cholesterol (I have a hereditary high cholesterol disease and have been on a low-fat diet my whole life).
  4. High triglyceride levels (related to high cholesterol, researchers have found a link between these and developing diabetes, but are not quite sure of how or why it happens).

These are 4 of the risk factors that were relevant in my case (quite a lot, when you think of it!). Here are a few others:

  • Being overweight.
  • Ethnic Background.

So, it was a good thing I took that god-awful screening test early!

While it’s been a pain during the past 5 or so months eating low-carb and trying to satisfy my pregnancy cravings, this whole process has been made easier by the fact that I am now acclimated to my diet. It really helps, especially now that I’m only 7 weeks away from my due date and am starting to feel bigger and more hormonal. It also means that Alex’s and my weight have been kept in check and that we both are normal in terms of weight gain.

So, for any of you who are pregnant or who are expecting to become pregnant and two or more of these risk factors describe you, you might want to encourage your doctor to check you early. I find it hard to believe that GDM in many women only shows up late — I think that those of us who are predisposed to getting it do get it early. Even if the test shows normal glucose levels early on, you can always retest at week 28 when the placenta starts producing more glucose. Personally I’ve found that since I’ve been watching my diet for so long, my glucose levels have stabilized and are actually lower than they were at the beginning of my second trimester.

Living with GDM is not a cake walk (umm… cake…). But learning to live with it early on definitely paves the way for a healthier pregnancy, birthing experience, and ultimately healthier baby.

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Can I have a little whipped cream with that, please?

9 Jan

It’s become a running joke between Doug and me that one of these days I’ll start putting whipped cream on my main course. I guess in a way, though, Doug’s lucky. Remember the cliché about the pregnant woman who sends her husband out at 2 in the morning to get ice cream, dill pickles and sardines? I want none of that (although I’m never one to turn down dill pickles, but that’s something else all together).

I just want whipped cream.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the frothy feeling of the white creamy tufts that come swirling so neatly out of the can melting in my mouth. It could be the sensation of slightly fatty sweetness as it hits my tongue. But, if I don’t have whipped cream (light or non-fat, of course) at least once a day I start to suffer what may actually be defined as acute withdrawal systems.

[And, it’s not just whipped cream. I also long for peanut butter and dark chocolate too. Although not all of them together – or at least not always — for one can’t really have peanut butter without it being dipped lusciously in chocolate!]

I’ve always loved whipped cream but have never really made it a staple in my diet before. Having to watch my carbs, though, has made me feel really unsatisfied each time I eat a meal. I am a whole grains type of person with a mostly vegetarian diet who has been reduced to eating just a few starchy carbs a day and a lot more meat products.

My body’s gone into a small revolt in the process.

Turns out, though, that whipped cream, while having little nutritional value, is super low in carbs. So, not only does it make me feel good, but it doesn’t spike my blood sugar at all.

I don’t know what it is, but whenever I put it on my food (or in my decaf – that’s a must too!) I instantly feel full, sated. Happiness fills not just my tummy, but my entire being.

In spite of Doug’s jokes, though, I think for now, it might just be easier to treat whipped cream as just a side dish — a little dollop straight out of the can is often just right!


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Snow and a few FOs

7 Jan

Woke up this morning to snow on the mountains outside our window…

Snow

And a few holiday FOs from 2007… (For some reason, on December 8, I decided to knit for a few of my family members — what was I thinking???)

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless Gloves (made one other pair in plain blue as well)

Mittens

Mittens for my niece

I didn’t really have a pattern for any of these. The mittens were done seriously at the last minute and didn’t turn out as I really wanted them to — have no idea what was going on with the right mitten, but oh well — that’s what happens when I decide to make things at the last minute, I guess! Also made a hat for Doug, will post that when he’s ready to model it for me.