Biker Ban

We live in a fairly sizeable apartment complex. Four kids have taken to riding their bikes in our part of the parking lot, which is no big deal except for two things: they come over here so their parents cannot see them doing stupid things on their bikes, and they do these stupid things without helmets. I’m not sure that in seven months of living here I’ve seen anyone, adult or child, on a bicycle or motorcycle, wear a helmet. Right now three of them are riding past the fourth while the fourth tries to jam a long stick in their back wheels or riding their bikes holding sticks as jousting rods, and I’m wondering what my responsibility as a reasonable adult and somewhat concerned neighbor should be.

Truthfully, my first reaction is a big fat judgy one–they aren’t even taking off their helmets after they get out of sight, they just straight-up don’t have them. So from that I conclude that their parents are lazy or don’t give a damn or both. Judgmental? Yes. But I think about my kid, and if my kid is going to be riding his or her bike in a parking lot where people routinely speed and ignore stop signs, they’re wearing a helmet, period, full stop, and I don’t care if the state of Hawaii doesn’t have a helmet law to enforce. Sneaking around and taking the helmet off when they can’t see me is one thing, not buying one and insisting they wear it is quite another.

So if they’re doing stupid shit like trying to knock each other off their bikes, can I assume from the lack of basic safety insistence that their parents just don’t give a shit and it wouldn’t be worth it to say something to the parents? Would it be worth it to yell something like “That’s really dangerous, kids, knock it off” at the kids themselves? I just don’t know. Both Tom and I are having trouble with the idea of being the curmudgeonly neighborhood narcs, given that the kids would probably just tell us to go screw ourselves. They’re pretty loud and snotty toward each other, and they see no problem with throwing pieces of driveway gravel at each others’ heads when they get mad, as Tom saw the other day. And neither of us are at all comfortable with going to the parents directly. How would you react if someone told you that your kid–whom you’ve made no real effort to impose safety rules upon–was doing mildly dangerous stupid stuff when out of your sight? Our thought would be that these parents would tell us to mind our own business, which, hey, we’d like to, but we’re the ones who’d have to call 911 and try to close up the bleeding if they bust their head on the curb over on our side of the complex while one of the little Schwinn’s Angels rode to come get you. You sort of want us to be paying attention.

And secondly, my other concern is pretty superficial: I drive a 2007 model year car. They routinely come within about a foot-two feet of the parked cars, often mine and my neighbors’. Despite the fact that I’m the primary driver and not known for my driving finesse, it’s managed to avoid both serious and superficial body damage and it still looks pretty good. And I’d rather they weren’t flailing around with sharp, splintery, pointy sticks that close to my virgin unscratched paint job. So I don’t know if I’m coming from a parental “I don’t want you kids to get hurt/I don’t want to have to be the one to call the paramedics and administer first aid if your dumb ass gets knocked unconscious” place or a selfish “You scratch my car and I’m going to follow you home and tattle” place. The third option is to alert the condo association (all the units are privately owned, about half of them are leased to renters like us) and ask them to enforce the no-biking-within-the-complex-allowed rule, but I honestly wouldn’t care about the bike-riding if they were a) wearing helmets, b) not trying to joust each other with pointy stuff, and c) threatening possible damage to our vehicles.

And a final note to my child: whatever else you may be, little baby, I promise to all the adults and neighbors and kids you will encounter in your life that we tried to raise you not to be an obnoxious little sh**head. We may not be successful, but we’ll have tried.

Hello

Hello, all. Hang-wringing aside, I think I just had to get that last post out of my system. A last regurgitation, if you will, as I have not been ill since I wrote it. I’ve felt kinda sick, sure, and the food/smell aversions continue, but I no longer fear the idea of eating because I know in about half an hour I’ll be sick. It’s a happy feeling.

The source of my nausea TODAY, however, is our first baby-related purchase. Cloth diapering is cheaper than disposables and we are lucky to be able to do that with our baby. However, the initial investment is far greater than with disposables, which are a more gradual suck on your bank account. We decided to go with all-in-ones, which are more expensive than traditional cloth anyway, because we are fundamentally lazy people. We also thought that all-in-ones would go over better with a babysitter should we have to put the wee sprout in daycare. We decided to buy a six-pack per month, starting now, to bring us to the recommended 30 by the time I deliver.

So a six-pack of these lovelies in assorted colors (butternut, grasshopper, clementine, ribbit, moonbeam, and zinnia for the curious–I have no problem dressing a girl in blue or a boy in pink, gender isn’t defined by Crayola after all) and a dozen of these wipes just ran us about $120 after shipping. And yes, Virigina, I am going to wipe my child’s ass with Egyptian cotton, and probably then wonder 16 years from now why my child is asking me to buy it a brand new car. Can you spell P-R-E-C-E-D-E-N-T?

When compared to a $700 billion bailout, it’s not that much, but my goodness, babies are expensive. Especially mine, it would seem.

Week 12

Warning: discussion of morning sickness ahead.

My obstetrician says I’m in week 10, going into week 11. What To Expect’s website does their math differently and says I’m at the end of week 11, starting week 12. I vastly prefer What To Expect’s calculations because it means I’m THAT MUCH CLOSER to be done with the first f***ing trimester.

There is a lot of crying, mostly in tandem with being sick. Many women do pregnancy well, and I salute them. For a while I took comfort in my sister’s experience because she was much sicker than I have been and she was a trooper about it. But now I’ve hit her level of discomfort, and nothing stays down and every strong odor triggers my gag reflex and my breath is horrible because the taste and texture of toothpaste is enough to make me gag. I buy ice by the seven pound bag and eat ice chips and crackers all day, mostly just to give me something beside stomach acid to expel. It’s difficult to reconcile wanting a baby and being excited to have one with feeling so miserable from actually being pregnant. One thing that makes me feel better is imagining the fun things we’ll do with the baby once it’s here, and I have to keep that at the forefront of my mind to keep from curling up into a ball of self pity. I also have to think of that to keep from roundhouse-kicking those who point out the sucky aspects of newborns. I lived through Baby Boot Camp with my sister, I know the highs and the lows, and I would be happy to bury my heel in the face of anyone who doesn’t have EXTREMELY GOOD THINGS TO SAY ABOUT BABIES to me.

Anyway. Where was I? Ah, yes, babies and rainbows and nausea.

It may be normal, this constant nausea. But I think it’s safe to say that the idea I once had that we’d have four children has been put to rest because when I think of being pregnant more than once, I ask Tom to hit me over the head with a hardback copy of The Stand. FOUR TIMES? Was I HIGH when I thought that was a good idea? And then I think about my worry about six weeks ago when I was bursting with energy and didn’t feel sick at all and was worried that meant I would miscarry. And then I laugh bitterly over my cup of ice chips.

Ending on a note of levity, I had to laugh when I realized the one liquid (besides half-melted ice water) that soothes my stomach is none other than Perrier. Not juice (my God, orange juice is of the devil), not Vitamin Water, not sugary seltzers (not a Poland Spring bottle for 5000 miles), and only occasionally Powerade or Gatorade. Now, my father has always called me his “expensive” child, and I guess he’s right. Went to a high-falutin’ private university, the only sport I’ve ever been good at is skiing, and most of my hobbies revolve around nice wines and technological gadgetry. We don’t live beyond our means and we adhere to a strict budget, but I guess you could say I tend to have expensive tastes.

So, I hope my father is as amused as I am by the fact that his unborn grandchild is only satisfied by imported French mineral water. What goes around comes around. Thank heavens it’s sold in bulk at Costco.

It’s good!

Second big doctor’s appointment today. Weight the as last time, so based on the funhouse mirror version of my torso that’s taken up residence, I assume I’ve lost weight in some places and redistributed it all to my front. Official due date: April 4. And the blob of yolk sac actually resembles a person! A teeny, tiny person, to be sure, but a person with a heartbeat and arms raised “touchdown!” style. I found an approximation of the position the fetus has taken:

Football not included.

So, all’s well. Next appointment in 4 weeks, but we’ve passed into the magical “less than 3% chance of miscarriage” range. And I was so excited to see the baby on the screen that I managed to suppress vomit for the whole sonogram. Go Team Sea Monkey!

And one more thing…this video is awesome.

I’m registered as an independent, although I definitely skew pretty far to the left on most issues. Overall I like the Mind Your Own Business philosophy of the libertarians, but it’s not an exact fit. I would vote, and have voted for, moderate Republicans (the Senators from Maine are great), assuming I believed in their policies. But I think McCain/Palin is a serious mistake, one that chills me down to my toes when I think about four more years of ultra-conservative, fundamentalist “leadership.” The video is a more lighthearted look at things, but I’ll happily punch the Obama/Biden ticket come November.