Last night as the Panda’s child latched onto her breast for the 2nd hour in a row, I tried to break the news gently. “Panda.” I whispered, because we all whisper these days. “Your baby is a milk vampire. You gotta do something or you’re going to end up green. That little vampire is going to suck all the white right out of you.” The Panda cursed me (as much as one can curse in a whisper) and told me that the Baby Panda was just hungry. Looking at the little butterball, I’d say so.
Most babies lose almost 10% of their body weight in the first few days after birth. It’s a scary and stressful time and parents agonize over their slowly emaciating newborns. When the mother’s milk comes in (or when the parents stop the madness and head to the store for a package of formula), it usually takes another few weeks for the baby to regain his original weight. Well not so for Giant Pandas. The Baby Panda went in yesterday for her 2 weeks of life check-up and the results were astounding. Not only had the Baby Panda gained back all of her original mass, but she had surpassed it by leaps and bounds. The doctor asked the Giant Panda about her milk supply and it was all I could do not to start mooing. The Panda is a two-legged cow if ever I saw one.
Needless to say, when the Panda told the doctor how much milk she was producing a day, the doctor’s eyes widened as much as mine do every time I see it. While not necessarily saying the words ‘milk machine’ out loud, I knew the doc was thinking it. I don’t know about human babies, but Panda Babies never seem to stop eating or drinking or whatever you call it when 18 hours out of 24 hour day are spent guzzling milk.
Last night my formally pregnant friend, The Giant Pudgy Panda called and asked me to go with her to the movies. “I’ve got to get out of the house.” she told me. “It’s been two weeks and I forget what fresh air smells like!” So I agreed, which was a huge mistake. The mental capacity of a new mother is fairly close to that of a two year old. Note to readers: if your pregnant friend wants to go on the lam from motherhood do not take pity on her and say she can pick the movie. You’ll end up in a debate between something from Disney and something with Will Ferrell.
The Pudgy Panda is completely losing her memory as well. Not more than two weeks ago, I heard her say multiple times that being pregnant was the worst thing in the world and that she was never, ever, ever doing it again. Last night at the movie however, she was practically humming with mother earth vibes and talking about how much she loved having a baby and that she couldn’t wait to do it again. I stopped at the refreshment stand to grab a napkin and clean my ears. “Pardon?”
The Panda had the worst pregnancy. Seven months of severe morning sickness (we’re talking like 15, 20 episodes of vomiting a day until she got on this terrible medicine called Zofran and don’t get me started on that mistake), painful, bloody tumors in her mouth, a rash all over her body that was so bad her midwife had (in 30 years of practicing and nearly 30,000 births) only seen one case similarly as severe that was due to liver failure, weeks of being overdue, and if all that isn’t enough to convince to you use contraception, the baby sat right on her bladder for a good month and a half and kept her in one nasty public restroom after another. It was truly 10 months of hell that even her doctors couldn’t believe. And now this same woman was talking about doing it again? Had she forgotten how miserable she was? I mean, I’m all for a stiff upper lip, but this was ridiculous. Her exact words when I reminded her of all this (and I quote), “Oh, Sara. It wasn’t that bad.” I looked at her double chin and shook my head. Oh but it was…it really was.
I’ll be monitoring this situation closely and reporting what I find, but as far as I can tell, you’re safer doing heroin.
My dear friend, The Giant Pudgy Panda finally had her baby and I was there to witness the entire event. 87 hours, 2 ice pops, and a room with a view later…and The Pudgy Panda revealed the most glorious creature I have ever set my eyes on. I won’t lie, being a spectator at a birth is like picking crabs on the Chesapeake – you gotta get your hands dirty. Picture National Geographic meets Jacque Cousteau. You must go where no man has gone before.
So I strapped on a headlamp, rolled up my sleeves, and exchanged my Ferragamo’s for a pair of Nike’s. It was Baby Time! The thing no one tells you however, is that birth isn’t like how they make it out to be in the movies. I’d seen Knocked Up, I knew what I was getting myself into. And then I didn’t. The Panda turned on her iPod and got in the zone. She had a midwife, a fantastic nurse named Wendy, her husband, and me…and then she had a baby. All of us walked away shaken not stirred.
And now for the past two weeks I’ve been at The Panda’s pudgy side helping her get acclimated to life as a mom. No sleep, dirty diapers, no sleep, and a truck-load of questions and worries and fears. I keep telling her that if a woman in the Amazon can do this mother thing with giant anacondas, hungry jaguars, and disease ridden mosquitoes swarming everywhere, then she can do it too. I’ve been told my comments aren’t appreciated and that until I have a diaper explode down my leg while nursing I should just keep my mouth shut and go walk the dogs. I think the lack of sleep is making her grouchy. I will say though that in my opinion, it’s all worth it. That teeny-tiny Baby Panda is one cute little sucker.
This morning at 4:38 my phone rang. It took me a moment in my sleep to connect the noise with what was happening. Eventually I fumbled in the dark for my phone, which was somewhere on the bedside table.
“Hello?” I said, slowly sitting up.
“I’m having a contraction!”
“Who is this?”
“It’s me, The Giant Panda! I’m having a contraction.”
“Do you know what time it is?” I asked her.
I heard something crash on the other end of the line. “About 4:30am.”
“Yeah so why are you calling me? I was sound asleep.”
“Well who else am I going to call?”
“I don’t know. Wake up your husband or something.”
“I will right after I get off the phone with you.” I sighed and reached over to turn on the lamp. Blinking in the sudden, bright light I waited for whatever was going to come next. “Are you still there?” She asked.
“Unfortunately. So you had a contraction and decided I needed to know. How can you even tell it’s a real contraction and not one of those Badgley Mischka ones?”
“You mean Braxton-Hicks? I guess it could be, but I don’t think so.”
“Is it painful?”
“Not as bad as the itching actually. If this is all there is to it, I’m golden.”
“But I thought you decided you wanted the baby to come out on Monday so the birth date would be 08-09-10.”
“Yeah that would be cool too, but if this is it, this is it.” The Panda sounded excited.
“I wouldn’t get too pumped up. Knowing you and this pregnancy, I bet this contraction is just a false alarm. Have you had another one?”
“See? It was probably just a gas pain. Let’s go back to sleep and pretend like this was all nothing but a horrible dream.”
“You’re a terrible friend. You know that right?”
“Yes, that’s great. So I’ll talk to you tomorrow and don’t forget, wake up your husband next time.” I hung up and turned the light back off. Damn Pandas. I’d probably never get back to sleep.
2 weekends ago I saw Salt, the movie not the spice, and last weekend I saw Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the ultimate secret stealer. Both movies were good, but only one left me thinking about it afterward.
Salt, starring Angelina Jolie as the ‘is she or isn’t she a Russian mole in the CIA,’ was originally written and designed for Tom Cruise who bowed out because he felt it was too close to his Mission Impossible character. Despite being intended for a man Jolie made the role her own and nailed it. She’s an absolute beauty to watch on the screen and her stunts were flawless. My only complaint is that the stunner has become a praying mantis; someone needs to get that woman a pizza and fries. The plot of the film is complex, but easily graspable and the director does a stellar job of leaving you hanging as long as he can as to whether Evelyn Salt is a good guy or a bad guy. And then after the bombs and the shootings and the many karate kicks, the movie is over in the same manner as Jason Bourne’s Supremacy with a freezing body of water and a sequel. I’d also like to mention that the start of Salt is like a kick in the chin so if you haven’t seen it yet, brace yourself.
Inception, on the other hand, is like a dream. The main idea is not terribly hard to understand, but it’s the maze of getting there that keeps you from wanting to blink. The cast is integral to the film and each player moves like a chess piece across the board to tell the story. It’s a bit Matrix-y in the special effects department, but I actually didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would from the previews. Honestly, I wasn’t that excited to see this film and if you haven’t guessed by now, this was the film that kept me intrigued for a good hour or so after the movie ended. The director makes an obvious and predictable choice at the end that leaves the audience hanging, but it’s a good choice nonetheless because the clues are endless. Leo and his crew infiltrate your dreams to steal ideas and in one particular case, to plant an idea. So is this a sci-fi story about reality or just a dream of a man who has lost his children…or is it perhaps none of the above? I won’t tell you what I’ve come up with except to say that the 2.5 hours of film had me in the palm of its hand every single second.
There’s a salad in Los Angeles that’s rumored to start birth, BAM! just like that. Called The THE Salad, it’s been around for years with the newspaper articles and news reports to prove it. My dear friend, the Eternally Pregnant Panda called me up yesterday and begged me to join her. It required a trip out to the valley, but I was game. It was the least I could do since the poor old girl has been pregnant for a couple of years now.
Caioti Pizza Cafe began in Laurel Canyon by the man known as ‘The Pizza Prince’ of San Francisco who was wooed by Wolfagang Puck to invent some of the greatest gourmet pizzas of our time. The BBQ chicken pizza, my personal favorite, is just one of his many creations. When he left Spago to open his own pizza cafe, he stumbled upon a salad made of romaine, watercress, walnuts, Gorgonzola, and a zesty balsamic dressing that seemed to push pregnant ladies over the edge. One happy new mother told another and soon word got out that The THE Salad would help those poor Giant Beasts who were overdue with child.
The Panda was like a wild-eyed, rabid dog when we arrived. She’s covered in hives these days and I think trying not to take a cheese grater to her body is about all she can think about. We sat down and I ordered a BBQ chicken pizza and a coke. She ordered The THE Salad and nothing else. I tried to start a conversation with her, but it was like talking to a wall. She just kept mumbling something about “out out damn itch” and “miracle-salad-blah blah blah.” That part I wasn’t too sure about because I got distracted by her twitching, blood-shot eyes rolling around in their sockets. Don’t repeat this, but The Panda is becoming increasingly more and more frightening to be around.
The kind waitress brought out the salad and The Panda dug into it like a starving man from Borneo. Dressing was flying in all directions and I sent up a prayer that this thing did the job. My pizza came and The Panda tucked into some of that as well. It was not a pretty sight. After the meal she signed one of the many guest books (I counted at least a dozen) filled with stories and affirmations that The THE Salad really works. She also read all of the literature that the staff brings out to you when a Huge Giant Panda orders the special salad and she devoured those as well.
Unfortunately, I spoke to her this morning and there is still no sign of Baby Panda. Looks like The THE Salad only works on humans and not Colossal Pandas who have been pregnant since Regan was in office. Today she is remaining in a bathtub filled with ice and oatmeal until it is time for me to fetch her and take her to the doctor’s office. I’ve read something about a shaman and bat poop that’s had some success with inducing babies…I might just run it by her.