Siri Says

We knew we wanted to have a baby a year before I became pregnant. We were ready. I read the books, the baby blogs, and Pinterested everything from swaddles to bassinets. It felt like the right time for our family to expand. I am not sure there is ever a perfect time, but I was comfortable in my career and knew it was the right time for us. When we found out we were expecting, the joy we felt was indescribable. If you know me, you know times like these are when I enter the deep rabbit hole of research and planning. My google sessions were ridiculous. Just imagine that I had on a white lab coat and chalkboards all around me like a mad scientist. It got real, folks. I was truly shocked by some of the answers to my seemingly simple questions, however.

Q: How many extra calories can I eat now that I am pregnant? A: Medical professionals advise you to only have 300 additional calories per day.

What the heck?! How is that even possible? I thought I was supposed to be eating for two? Two of me should be able to eat a whole pizza, right? Let’s be honest. I can polish off an entire pizza by myself just because it’s Friday. Are expectant mothers supposed to eat like college girls getting ready for spring break? How else am I supposed to get that “pregnancy” glow without consuming multiple slices of NY style pizza. The meat sweats can be attractive with the right filter! Trust me.

Q: Can I still get a pedicure? A: No!

Well, that sucks! The only way to counteract the look of swollen toes and ankles is a pretty shade of Deborah Lippmann polish. I am sure there are plenty of scare stories associated with pedicures and pregnancy. However, I put pedicures in the “mama needs this category” and ignored all the internet shaming. I can’t hear your complaints when my toes are on fleek.

Q: What sushi rolls can I eat while pregnant? A: Veggie rolls.

This was the saddest realization of my pregnancy because sushi was my number one pregnancy craving. However, since I am masochist, I ate hundreds of fish-free rolls  while Calvin had all the tempura. One day I will punch him for that. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day. Also, avocados are a superfood. If you close your eyes, the buttery goodness  of avocado can help you forget you’re eating an inferior roll and drown out your husband’s commentary about how good his spicy tuna rolls taste with wasabi.

Q: Is it safe to attend a concert while 8 months pregnant? A: Yes.

We bought tickets to this show before we knew Emma was coming along, and I was really excited to attend. But as we got closer to the due date, I began to get sleepy somewhere around 3:00PM every afternoon. But, since I vowed to stay “cool” during my pregnancy I was committed to going to the show unless I could find something on Google that told me not to… I begged Google to help a girl out and tell me that it was silly to go to a concert that far along in pregnancy. Siri could have  at least pointed me towards some fear mongering site that said concerts are too loud and might hurt the baby. Despite a great performance, I was far too pregnant to stay awake no matter what. As a result, I fell asleep 30 minutes after the lights went dim in the arena, and I woke up with a little drool on my face. Not a big deal. Emma, you definitely got the “cool” mom.

Q: How can you reduce heartburn? A: Avoid caffeine and spicy foods.

Many highly regard researchers have found correlations between caffeine, spicy, foods, developing baby hair growth, and heartburn for expectant mothers. Apparently, Emma  grew every single one of her long strands of hair at conception. Prior to pregnancy I drank coffee like a beat cop who works the night shift. I can’t live without that sweet, sweet nectar.  So, I was already on thin ice as far as heartburn is concerned. My love of spicy food didn’t help either. Little Serrow in D.C. is my favorite restaurant in the entire world. They serve northern Thai cuisine. Each dish has flavor blessed by Jesus and spiced by Satan. Needless to say, I had horrific heartburn during pregnancy. At least Emma has a head full of hair. At least Emma has a head full of hair. That’s not a typo. I have to say that over-and-over again to make myself believe those Zantac sandwiches were worth it.

Google kept me sane during  my pregnancy. However, I don’t want to parent via a search engine. So, I’ve decided to stop my urge to Google ALL the time and just parent. I don’t have all the answers, but thankfully, there is always a lady in line in the grocery store who can tell me if I’m not doing things the right way. HAHA.

**Mo picks up phone, holds down the home button** Q: Siri…

Air Jordan

Traveling with a baby is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s a cruel sport where the winner doesn’t receive accolades or acknowledgment. Your only reward is being alive when you reach your destination. Thankfully, we have been really lucky with Emma. She takes after her papa and enjoys lengthy naps on planes, in cars, and around people trying to make small talk about the weather. Prior to being a parent, my worst nightmare concerning air travel was being seated near a crying baby. This is coming from a guy who was once detained by Egyptian airport security in Cairo. Sitting in a flimsy plastic folding chair under a flickering fluorescent light in a windowless room while people discuss your fate in Arabic is somehow more comforting than hearing a baby wail while struggling to reach coasting altitude in a confined space. At least the Egyptian airlines gave me drink vouchers for the inconvenience. Screaming babies on planes just reward your suffering with more tears.

With that said, kudos to the brave men and women who take kids on long trips with or without a partner. Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes wear drool, food, goldfish crumbs, and their least stained clothes. Fortunately, I have the MVP of parenting as a partner to help transport Emma around the world. To save yourself some tears and trips to the wine rack, you have to form a team to win at the travel game. Mo and I’s team is just the two of us. Everyone else- TSA, other travelers, our own sweet baby- is the enemy. Each team member has to play his or her position flawlessly. In this game, moms are Michael Jordan. They have all the skills, resources, and intuition needed to win. Dads are, at best, Scottie Pippen. I don’t say this to assign gender roles or to diminish the value of fathers or Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen is one of the greatest NBA players ever, but his primary role was to support Michael Jordan. When we hit the road, I consider myself helpful when I can just fill in where Mo needs help.

This strategy has gotten us through five different flights, countless metro rides, too many car trips, and one lazy river cruise. We are far from experts, but we haven’t had (fingers crossed) a bad trip yet. Here are two hacks we’ve used to avoid major disasters on flights. Mo has a million more that she’ll gladly share with anyone who wants them via email or PM, as well. Hopefully, we can help someone else raise a glass in celebration of a successful trip instead of pouring out breast milk for your fallen homies.

Make It Rain: We will literally pay any price for any resource that will make travel easier. To that end, having TSA pre-check, buying preferred seating/boarding on direct flights, and checking every bag we don’t need makes air travel a (relative) breeze. Having free hands means everything while you’re navigating crowded airports with a squirming human and direct flights reduce the amount of time you’re hurdling through the air inside a sardine tin with a tiny person. It also takes away any excuse dads have to wear cargo shorts during travel. You’re welcome, ladies.

Is That A Baby In Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy To See Us: For us, baby-wearing is the most efficient way to go through TSA. A wrap allows us to have four hands instead of two; it comforts Emma, and keeps our little one calm. Mo prefers the Solly wrap. Although the initial cost for the item is rather expensive, the breathability and ease of storing it is well worth the price.  We don’t have a ring sling, but we are debating adding this to our baby-wearing repertoire. Emma doesn’t really like the bulkier carriers and we found our Ergobaby was difficult to stuff into our carry-on bags.

We have flown with Emma several times and each time has been a bit different. We have flown as a couple and as individuals. Each scenario has its own unique challenges. We’re not experts, but we’re still alive. If you have helpful tips, please share them with us. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to be Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.