Stephanie Burgis
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5 Things
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1. Big, comfy, padded rocking chair? Best Purchase Ever! This morning I woke up with bad lower back pain (another joy of late pregnancy), tried to sit next to Maya on the couch, moaned, clutched my back, staggered over to the big, comfy chair...and ohhhhhh, the pain just melted away. (Not for good, sadly. But I don't feel it as long as I'm in the chair. I really may have to just take residence in this chair for the next 12 weeks.)

2. Yesterday I got my copy of the 1976 edition of Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care. I expected some parts of it to be outdated, which some are. I hoped for it to still be a reassuring and helpful guidebook, which it is. But what I didn't expect? This book was written at least 20 years before any other childrearing book I've read, and yet it is BY FAR the least sexist childrearing book I have ever read. It is the very first one I've read that doesn't take it for granted that the mother is (and probably should be) the primary caregiver, a blanket assumption in every modern parenting book I've read. (The modern ones tend to compromise by supplying sidebars to the main text, where they give examples of little ways fathers can "help out" the mothers so the mothers don't get too stressed with all that parenting work. Yeah.) Apart from breastfeeding, Dr. Spock wrote every single parenting scenario with the assumption that it might equally well be done by either parent, and he wrote that both parents had an equal responsibility to their child. I really wish this weren't so mindblowingly unique. It would be nice if that 1976 attitude still held true in 2008.

3. Via Janni Lee Simner, check out gorgeous and astonishing photos of the Aurora Borealis. This one is one of my very favorites, taken in a national park in Iceland - so eerie and magical and yet real. It's no wonder people have always told fantasy stories, with sights like this to inspire them.

4. On Sunday night I achieved heretofore unknown heights of bravery: I sat all the way through a horror film! I have a notoriously weak stomach for horror, which has led to many humiliations in the past. (It wasn't so bad when I had to abandon films that the rest of my family was watching with enjoyment. But that time in 8th grade when we had a horror film night, where everyone from my English class came into the school at 8pm with our teacher to watch Poltergeist, and I had to flee in ignominious defeat halfway through...ohhhh, that was painful. The other kids were surprisingly & universally nice about it afterwards, though - I think they were too startled that anyone could be that freaked out by a movie to even think of doing any teasing!) So the rule of thumb in our house is that if Patrick wants to watch a horror film, he has to do it on his own...but on Sunday night, I managed all the way through, and didn't even have to cover my eyes or ears once! (Of course, Patrick points out that the film we watched, Cloverfield, wasn't exactly real horror, anyway...but I say, if it includes scenes in pitch blackness with monsters leaping out at the main characters, it counts.) And lo, I am smugly pleased with myself.

5. I feel very, very lucky in my friends. This morning, the doorbell rang, Maya herded me over to answer it (I'd been upstairs, so she came racing up to find me, dancing with impatience - The door, Mom! The door!)...and it turned out to be a package of beautiful baby gifts, including one that we'd only put on our registry in a wistful sort of way, not expecting to ever actually get it. I was shocked in the best possible way, and for once the pregnancy hormones felt good, as I teared up a little in happiness instead of anything else. Having a baby is scary no matter how much you read or plan, and it means so much to feel so much love and support for us and the baby who's going to be arriving in just 12 weeks. Thank you!!!!!!!

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