Does having a kid make me an expert at the whole parenting thing? Some people seem to think so. Or why else would they seek my "expert" advice at the grocery aisle, in the comfort room, in church, or in the middle of a busy street? One kid, and suddenly I am a member of the "been-there-done-that" sisterhood. Licensed to start sentences with "When I was pregnant..." Forgiven for lugging around pictures, pictures and more pictures of the "pretty, pretty kid." Considered resource person on pregnancy matters (matters of pregnancy?) and things that have to do with mommyhood. :p
A friend, a mom-to-be in six months, sought my--ahem--"expert" take on what it's like to be pregnant. I won't even claim to have stock knowledge on trimesters and pre-natal charts and all. But there really are issues. Burning issues such as:
1. Constipation. Ugghh! Talk about long, long (and most often, futile) hours spent in the can. I did stock up on prunes and prune juice, and once or twice tried the old lactose-intolerance trick. To no avail. If anything, pregnancy is--for me--a moving experience. Literally.
2. Hormones. Have you ever bawled your eyes out while watching a documentary on emperor penguins on National Geographic? Or gone totally teary while Lolit Solis did her trademark "speaking-in-tongues" routine to wrap up Startalk? I did, and it had nothing to do with extinction or the state of local showbiz.
3. Blood sugar. I was in my late '30s, and my doctor wanted to make sure that she had all possible health concerns covered. She sent me to the lab with a request for oral glucose test. I had no idea that she was sending me to hell--and back. Downing a glassful of barely watered-down sugar--and hanging around in the lab for around four hours while they took hourly blood samples--was pure and simple torture. Barf, urine, puke, tears and cold sweat are just some of the things that came out of me in those four hours.
4. "Infanticipating." Now, that's one word I totally dislike. Along with "forlorn" and "nincompoop." For lack of an exact word, though, let me take that to explain my aversion to anything fried, to cologne and to a particular group of people at the office and my craving for this unusual combination of dark chocolate and dinuguan while playing round upon round of Text Twist.
5. The human touch. Weird, but when I was already showing, people I barely know would reach out a hand to pat my tummy. I was assured that this was a "normal" reaction, inexplicable though it may be. Still, I didn't like it one bit. Especially after I had already given birth and there would be this offending hand with an equally offending mouth asking "oh, how far along are you?" Hah!
As for pointers in raising a kid, okay let's call the bluff. Truth is, I'm just as lost. This whole mommy thing is forever a work in progress, a hit-or-miss, trial-and-error affair that is at times pure harassment and most times pure bliss. So there.