Friday, December 30, 2011

I Want a Syllabus:

--a common want,
When each semester seems to need two new ones,
And after slogs through books and sites I flaunt
My stacks of photo-copied true ones.
But this one differs: The course I must invaunt
Is opaque, obscure, like a few tons
Worn round my neck all winter. So I moan
And hope a draft arrives by fax or phone.

(OK, that's a pretty dreadful bit of doggerel, I admit, and I even had to make up a word. But I've had that first line running through my head for days and I had to do something with it.)

Actually, I want two syllabi: The first is for a writing course that is still a blank page, but I'm not going to talk about that one. The other is for my own benefit--to make sense of this:

I've been given or otherwise collected this entire stack in the last few weeks, and am more than a little overwhelmed. On the surface, it seems like there are pretty obvious ways of organizing all of this material: The pregnancy/nutrition/exercise stuff, the childbirth stuff, the breastfeeding stuff, the child-care stuff. But the breastfeeding books tell you what to do before birth in order to get ready to breastfeed, and there are childcare things to take care of before the baby is actually here, and at some point I need to look at birthing centers and talk to doulas and all that, right? So it's actually all quite interrelated and intermixed and I need someone to give me a syllabus so that I read the right bits at the right times and turn in all of my assignments by their proper due dates.


Admittedly, I'm making this out to be worse than it is, and worse than I actually feel. It'll be all right. Right? People manage these things.

The more pressing problem is what I can wear to MLA. My nicest pants are now out of the question, and I'm pretty well lacking in the spiffy-professional range of my wardrobe at the best of times. How can I pull together something to wear for my paper--something that fits over my now-somewhat-visible baby belly--without actually going shopping? That's the question....

(And so intellectual concerns give way to the sartorial. It is break, after all.)

(And hey--MLA meet-up? When/where? If there was a conversation, I missed it!)


Sisyphus said...

"invaunt" sounds like inventing while bragging simultaneously, or perhaps inventing a new form of bragging!

As for the MLA: no, there's been no talk of meetups. I think none of the established people are going. Send me an email.

Renaissance Girl said...

If I were to recommend only one baby-related book it would be _Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems_. Before you have a kid. It's more about how sleep works, and it gives you the sciencey reasons for bad sleep habits. Our kids never had any sleep problems, and I think it's because we read this book in advance on someone else's urging.

As to all those other books: you'll figure it out. It's good to know, as they say, What To Expect, but every pregnancy and every kid is different, and you don't need a PhD to instinct it out.

Anonymous said...

What RG said.

Sure, dip into those books as you feel inspired to do so. But take everything with a grain of salt because otherwise, it will be (a) overwhelming and (b) easy to add unnecessary rules and worries to what is already a confusing time. Good to get the lay of the land, so to speak, but know that you'll forge your own path through it when the time comes!

Good luck with the writing class, too. And I quite liked your poem.

Hope you are comfortable and feeling energized!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

MLA - I'm not going. But my suggestion might be useful. Do you have a dress that you could wear a suit jacket with? That might be the most comfortable thing on your belly. Personally, I'm not a dress person, so I get it if you're not leaning that direction. You might want to get some maternity dress pants, though, if you want something that will last you through the spring semester. Motherhood Maternity online (and in many malls) offers some good dress clothes, and they aren't that expensive usually. Good luck with that.

As for the books -- I had a lot of anxiety about all the stuff I should know, too, before my first kid. But I think you can get most of what you need to know from the What to Expect books. Everything else is fairly unnecessary extras. Plus, to be honest, every kid is so different that you only need a wikipedia version of baby knowledge in order to make your way. You're going to have to make your own rules and plow your own path. It's scary, but it's nice to know that you can make your own decisions about what's best for you and the kiddo. I will say that Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was a fantastic book for us in order to establish a sleep routine. Once we got that down, we felt like parenting was easy(ish). Until eldest turned 2. Then hell broke loose.

Now that I've scared you... Good luck!

Good Enough Woman said...

I'm with Fie on Wiessbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." It would be the only *required* reading if I made a syllabus. The rest would be optional texts on required themes (those you listed).

As for clothes, I love the poncho you recently made, and I think you should wear it everyday over comfy pants or skirts. ;)

meli said...

It's worth doing a bit of reading on breastfeeding if that's what you aspire to before the baby arrives, just to get an idea of what to expect. but if you're reading older books just note that they've changed the advice now and there's nothing actually you're supposed to do to 'prepare' your body for breastfeeding in advance. just expect it to be a little awkward and probably painful in the beginning, but it gets better and easier very quickly!

heu mihi said...

Thanks for the advice, all--I'll definitely check out the books on sleep (which seems like just about the most important thing, anyway). I've already decided that one of my books is NOT good for me to read; it's all about the evils of hospitals. Anyway, the book is maybe 15 years old, and my sense is that hospitals didn't have the fancy birthing centers that they now have in such abundance back then. I'm telling myself that the horrors they chronicle about insensitive doctors and nurses who won't let you turn the lights down are mostly things of the past.

A lot of what I've been reading these days concerns nutrition, since I'm finally feeling well enough to eat mostly normally. I don't think that I need to make many dietary changes, however, and don't we all love reading confirmations of our own virtue?

And thanks, too, for the maternity clothes recommendations! We also have a pretty good thrift store in town, and yesterday I found a wool skirt that would normally be slightly too big for me but that fits comfortably now; I think it'll be appropriate for MLA, even if I can't wear it in three weeks--it only cost $1.50! I love thrift-store clothing "rentals."

ntbw said...

First, congratulations! I hated getting pregnancy / birthing / nursing advice, because I always felt like a failure when it didn't work out for me, so mostly I refrain from offering such advice. Thus, my only real advice is do whatever works for you, feel no guilt about it, and don't apologize to anyone for it. You know your body, and you will come to know your kid.

Now, fashion advice, I always love to get and give. I'm tall and carried both of my boys "straight up and down" (so no cute basketball belly bump for me). I just looked progressively larger all around. And maternity clothes didn't fit until the very last weeks. So, my suggestions are drawstring pants and skirts, dresses, and long jackets and sweaters.