My Mom is Here to Make Life Better!

Oh my gosh MY MOM IS HERE!!! 

A few weeks ago, Jordan and I decided that we needed to clean out our whole house in preparation for the incoming third human member of our family (fourth overall member, obviously). As we started to look around, the amount of stuff started to overwhelm us. Had it multiplied somehow?? How had we accumulated all these things?! 

So we called in a professional. We begged her to come see us and help us get our lives together. Our conversation was basically: 

Thankfully, she is the world's greatest and it didn't take much convincing. She arrived last night, we had dinner on the porch, got treated to a neighborhood movie night (thanks, Carlsons!) where we watched Spaceballs and passed around April (my mom)'s homemade caramel popcorn. QUITE the start to the week! 

Our goals are: 

- Clean out all closets and donate items to Goodwill
- Clean out, organize, and get preliminary designs done for the room that will be the nursery
- Attempt to start cleaning the basement (YIKES) 
- Buy me some freakin' maternity clothes

You guys, the struggle is real. I'll update more about that later, but I brought a dress that is normally my "fat" dress (you ladies know what I'm talking about - the dress you wear when you need a little extra room) to a wedding this past weekend, and put it on to discover that my fat dress has now become skin tight.

Turns out, being pregnant makes you gain weight. 

So much to do, so little time. Jordan and I may have to forego a podcast this week because of my mom's visit, but if we do, we'll double up next week. 

Wish us luck! 

We Need To Talk About Lee.

So, mine and Jordan's podcast will be up tomorrow covering the rest of the episode, but I wanted to stop and talk about Lee, the Nashvillian (and maybe Nash-villain?) singer/songwriter on this season of The Bachelorette

I want to kick it off by saying that here at DHDG, it's a priority to welcome readers of all ilks by making the content not only accessible across political, gender, and racial lines, but also respectful across those same lines of difference. It's for that reason that I'm writing this post at all, but it's also for that reason that I'm going to try to be as gracious as possible. Because that's my ideology. Hope you can dig. 

If you're a person who doesn't watch The Bachelorette,  let me begin by congratulating you. 

Now then. 

Lee, a 30 year old White guy from Nashville, has been flying below the radar for most of this season's four episodes. The last couple of episodes, though, he's stepped to center stage by being one of a few guys to pull a classic Bachelor Franchise move: throwing another contestant under the bus to woman whose heart everyone is trying to win. 

The problem with this is that the people he's targeting are all African American guys, and the language that he's using is steeped in racial injustice. It seems like Lee has some racial biases going on that he may not even be aware of, and I think this is a great opportunity for the White readers of my blog (and for me) to take a step back and look into how Lee's making mistakes we ourselves might make. It's also possible that Lee knows exactly what he's doing, but as I don't know him personally, I'm not going to make that call. Let's look at the evidence. 

ROLL THE TAPE. 

Problem #1: Unconsciously (or consciously, I don't have any way of knowing) targeting people of color

Last week's witch hunt started when Eric, an African American guy who hasn't had a one-on-one, got a little insecure and a little drunk. I'm gonna Reader's Digest/paraphrase it for you because I frankly am too tired to screenshot any more of this show:

Eric (talking to Anthony, who'd just come back from a one-on-one): How was your date? I'm worried this whole experience isn't genuine and I feel vulnerable putting myself out there. 
Iggy: (another contestant who sits down out of nowhere) Okay, so what's your point? 
Eric: My point is that I want some clarity from Rachel because I feel really unsure. I don't want to give my all if she's not really in this whole-heartedly. 
Iggy: Then why are you even having this conversation? 
Eric: ...what? I was talking to these guys and then you came and sat down. 
Iggy: You brought up this whole thing so I gave my opinion. 
Eric: ...nobody asked for your opinion though, because I was talking to just Anthony by myself. 
Iggy: Oh and people care about your opinion? 
Eric: I AM DRUNK AND RAISING MY VOICE BECAUSE THIS IS STUPID AND YOU ARE MAKING IRRATIONAL POINTS! 
Iggy: I'm sober but I'm acting like you've done something terrible to me and now I'm antagonizing you! 

Meanwhile, Josiah (left) and Lee (right) hear this happening and come downstairs to check it out. They don't involve themselves beyond eavesdropping, but they do overhear it. 

As a result of Eric raising his voice, Lee (along with another contestant) go on to tell Rachel's friends that Eric Wasn't Here For The Right Reasons. The friends report back to Rachel. 

Rachel confronts Eric about it, they resolve it, and all is well. But Eric, confused, wants to talk to Lee about why Lee went after him. Eric calmly brooches the subject, and Lee tries to pacify him while not actually owning the fact that he's hurt/upset Eric. After a moment, Lee diverts the argument by jabbing at Eric (who is completely calm) about his disagreement with Iggy:

Major thing of note for me here: apart from race, Lee is slick. He doesn't want to ever own a mistake or appear as though he's in the wrong. This is made clear when Eric is still very involved in the conversation, trying to get to the bottom of it, and Lee responds with, "If you don't want to talk about anymore, that's okay." That sort of manipulative tactic in a debate is designed to frustrate the other person, who clearly does want to keep talking about it. 

Takeaway: Though Eric did raise his voice in frustration, he was neither aggressive nor out of control. Lee's repetition that Eric was "screaming" at Iggy when Iggy was trying to admonish Eric for "not letting him making a point" and "interrupting," is re-writing history. Iggy inserted himself into a conversation he wasn't originally involved in, which is why Eric was so frustrated. Lee's actions look simply manipulative here - they don't look manipulative AND racist until the next day, when he does exactly the same thing to Kenny: 

Kenny, upset that Lee took advantage of their friendship in order to get more time with Rachel, pulls Lee aside to talk. Things get heated as Lee, once again, maintains his cool and refuses to acknowledge that there's a problem:

Again, Lee is avoiding the subject and playing dumb to watch Kenny get more and more upset. If this interaction wasn't enough, he says as much in a conversation with someone later in the evening: 

Look, Lee is a gross TV villain. He's probably being put up to this by producers and what we're seeing is obviously an edited version of all these conversations. We could chalk everything up to that, except that then, this conversation happens between Lee and Rachel. 

Problem #2: Racially inappropriate language. 

DINGDINGDINGDING we have a microaggression! 

Almost 100% of this retelling is straight-up fiction. Kenny did not scream, "F-ck you," he did not give Lee the finger (he did say, "Read between the lines,"), and Lee was not silent in this interaction (in fact, he agitated Kenny from the beginning by gruffly saying, "GET TO IT," as Kenny was gathering his thoughts). 

Here's where we really need to pay attention, though. 

Lee paints himself as a victim here. "I just didn't talk at all." "I love the guy, but that confused me." "There was a side of him that was very aggressive toward me." 

Everyone's major problem with Lee's sliminess should be that he's straight up lying, but if we dig down deeper, Lee is using a hundreds-of-years-old trope to cast himself as the victim of aggressive African American behavior. We can CLEARLY SEE that what he's saying did not take place, and yet, in his telling, Kenny "screamed at him" for no reason as he silently sat there and took it.

You may be thinking, "Mary Catherine, you're reading WAY too much into this -- this is a reality show. Chill." 

But hear me out. 

Lee is doing something called gaslighting, which essentially means that you give someone lots of reasons to form an opinion about you, then, when they actually form that opinion, you treat them like they're nuts. They get more and more upset, and you play it cooler and cooler, essentially watching your victim, who you totally manipulated, self-destruct from frustration over your duplicitous behavior. It's a terrible tactic always, but it's even worse when the person striking the match is White, and the person being manipulated is Black. 

Imagine living in a world where the stereotype "Angry Black Man," and "Angry Black Woman," exists. Would you feel a little more pressure to keep your reactions between the lines? Would you feel that you couldn't freely respond to things without people around you thinking, "Here we go. Here comes the Mad Black Woman." I certainly would. 

So for Lee, who we already know has some racial biases and is prone to generalization, to start using the word "aggressive" about a Black man's response to his shady behavior, is not just cringe-worthy, it's actually problematic. And as White folks, we can't sit idly by and let another example of Black people being portrayed unfairly slide. 

Now look: it may well be true that if Lee had had this same interaction with a White person, he'd have described it in the same way to Rachel. My bets are that it would be pretty close, because I don't think Lee is a person of strong moral substance. But y'all - the difference is that White people in this country aren't stereotyped as being "aggressive." So if he did use that word, it wouldn't be a problem. But for him to describe a Black man that way? Problem. 

Quick story (may have told this before, so stay with me):  

When I was in Teach For America, I went to a conference where we listened to several high school senior girls, all of whom were Black, talk about their plans for the future. There was a Q&A at the end of the seminar, and I stood up. 

"First, I just want to say that y'all are my heroes. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or be when I was 18, so the fact that you guys have 5-year plans is so impressive. You are beautifully articulate in the way you describe what you want for yourselves, and it's a quality that most adults don't even have." 

If you're a person of color reading that, you already see the problem. 

Using the word "articulate" to describe a person of color (specifically a Black person) is a no-no. It assumes that we expect Black people not to be well-spoken, to be less capable of expressing themselves, to be "ghetto." I had no idea at the time, and so I was floored when several of my African American colleagues told me that I'd offended them. At first, I was really indignant, because that's not how I meant it at all. 

But sometimes, it's about the impact of our words rather than the intention behind them. I didn't intend to be offensive, but I had been. And now I know better. It costs me nothing not to use that word when describing my former students, even if I mean it sincerely that they ARE articulate and well-spoken. There's no reason to even go there, because I am inadvertently offending my friends and contributing to a stereotype that I don't want to feed. 

The impact of Lee's words is greater than whether or not he meant for it to be racially offensive. And though I don't know him and can't judge him, it doesn't appear to me that the intention was that great, either. 

Lots of people are up in arms about ABC's decision to cast Lee, whose Twitter feed is a minefield of racist and xenophobic material. And lots of people are upset that the show is using this storyline, steeped in racial undertones, as a plot line for this season. 

My own personal hope is that the contestants, especially White contestants (thank you DEAN!!), will start sniffing out Lee's racist behavior on the show, and that we as a country get to watch while that happens. I think this could be a really important moment, and I hope that the White viewers can learn something about how the subtleties of our actions and words sometimes have implications we're unaware of. 

And if we needed another reason for Lee to go home, anybody who gives Queen Rachel this busted ass wood carving has got. To. GO. 

...bye. 

 

First Trimester Bumpdate

I've been joking with people that I'm finally out of the closet!! YAY!! 

It is such a huge sigh of relief to have finally revealed that we're pregnant! Keeping secrets is so hard! 

I thought I'd share a few special memories that we've made along the way so far. I want to do a whole separate post on telling our parents, so that'll come later on. 

How I found out.

Jordan and I are very careful, Type A planners, so we certainly weren't surprised by this news. ;) One morning in early April, I took a pregnancy test before I jumped in the shower. After I dried off, I checked it out (pretending that I had any sense of cool and FORCING myself to not jump out of the shower mid-shampoo and look), only to find that there were two faint lines. "I let it sit too long," I thought. "I'll take another one." 

I'll let my journal do the talking from here: 

 

4/10/17  

WELP I’M PREGNANT.

Holy hell. Can you believe it?!?!? I can’t. But really, I can’t. It’s the strangest thing - I know I’m pregnant (I’ve taken 9 tests in the last few days and all have read extremely positive), but nothing else physical has changed. Well - that’s not true, I’m exhausted, etc. (more on that in a minute), but I don’t have a bump. There’s no physical representation of this baby yet. It’s easy to feel crazy.  

The baby is the size of one grain of fleur de sel, the salt on top of caramels. On my pregnancy app, it asks you what you’d like the theme to be: baby animals, flowers, or French bakery. Um, easy choice, hello. So I have been getting updates about the size of my baby in relation to French food. Jordan has been calling it, “Little Salt Flake,” which I find totally adorable.  

But let’s back up for a minute:

So much to report on. The short version is that 2 days before my period was due, I took a dipstick pregnancy test. While I was in the shower, the test activated and there was a very faint second line. I thought, “Okay, well, I let it sit too long. It’s probably inaccurate.”

I took another one with the same result. Then I took a “real” pregnancy test and it said the same thing.

Wut.  

The next morning, I took a few more with the same result. I was going to the 8:30 Pure Barre class that morning.

After PB, I called my doctor’s office. “So, I’ve taken six positive pregnancy tests,” I said. “Do I need to come in for a blood test or a urine test or something??”  

Nurse: *very country accent* “Well, if you’ve taken 6 positive pregnancy tests, I’d say you’re pregnant.”

Me: ...REALLY??

Nurse: Yep! Congratulations! Let’s go ahead and get you scheduled. When was the date of your last period? 

Me: (Told her) 

Nurse: So it looks like you're about four weeks along. 

Me: FOUR WEEKS ALONG?!?!?! HOW?!?! 

Nurse: Well, we track pregnancy from before you were pregnant to now. So you haven't actually been pregnant for four weeks. Probably only about two. But you're still four weeks along. 

Me: You're melting my brain. 

Nurse: You'll come in at eight weeks. 

Me: Okay ma'am, I totally understand what you're saying, but I feel as though there are about a thousand ways for me to screw this up between now and eight weeks. Can I come in sooner?? 

Nurse: *typing* ...actually, it looks like your doctor put a note in the chart for us to see you at six weeks. 

Me: *silently high fiving my awesome doctor who always has my back* 

Nurse: Okay - so we'll see you for an ultrasound on ________. 

Me: But like, do I tell my husband?!

Nurse: It’s totally up to you, honey.

Me: ...okay. I just have no idea what I’m doing.

Nurse: Mmhmm. No one does. 

It was the most surreal (still is) experience of my life. 

Me immediately after hanging up with the doctor's office when I realized I really was pregnant. I realize it feels a little "milennial" of me to have taken a picture of this moment, but I was the only person on Planet Earth who knew I was pregnant at this moment, so I had to document it. Otherwise, it felt like it wasn't happening. It was such a precious, almost sacred, time to be the only person who knew that I was bringing this baby into the world. Well - me and the nurse. :) 

Me immediately after hanging up with the doctor's office when I realized I really was pregnant. I realize it feels a little "milennial" of me to have taken a picture of this moment, but I was the only person on Planet Earth who knew I was pregnant at this moment, so I had to document it. Otherwise, it felt like it wasn't happening. It was such a precious, almost sacred, time to be the only person who knew that I was bringing this baby into the world. Well - me and the nurse. :) 

 

Telling Jordan.

At first, I wanted to wait until the entirety of my missed period (I know that I've said "period" twice but y'all, we've just got to move past that being unacceptable because it's biology and I'm sorry I said it and that's as graphic as it's gonna get) to tell Jordan just so I could be super super sure it was actually happening. But once two days had passed, I couldn’t stand it. I asked one of my best friends, Katie, if she thought I should tell him and she said to go for it. So I set up my camera as though I was making a video for my blog and pulled up a Google Doc we've been working on called “Before We’re 30;" basically just a list of all the things we hope to have accomplished by the time we both turn 30, since Jord is a year older than I am. I sneakily added, “Have a baby!” to the last line.

I convinced him to read each item on the list out loud so that my blog readers could hear our list, and so as he read each line, I'd say, "Check!" or "Haven't done that one yet." When he got to the last line and read, "Have a baby," I just stared at him grinning like a maniac. He said, "Um...have a child?" As though his wording was the problem. HA! "WE'RE GOING TO," I said." "No...really?? No. Really?? No!! Really?????" was his general reaction. Then there was a lot of maniacal laughter (me), disbelief (him), general panic (me), and hugging/smiling/crying. I'll admit that I got a little bit panicky and started crying at not only the intense sweetness, but also the huge gravity, of the moment. Something about telling Jordan made it real for me and caused me to realize, probably for the first time, that we were going to be SOMEONE'S PARENTS.

(These are screenshots from the video! The brightness had to be edited because we're redecorating our living room so everything, including the lighting, is "in progress" in there. I know, how could I not have had this moment professionally lit?) 

 

How's it all been going? 

The first trimester was a dream come true. I was VERY fortunate to avoid the morning sickness bug altogether -- while I definitely experienced nausea and food aversion, I never threw up. 

Actually, that's not true - about four days after we found out we were expecting, I was violently sick for 24 hours. Then, three days later, Jordan got it. I felt guilty over how relieved I was that I was totally delighted he had a stomach virus! It meant it wasn't morning sickness after all! 

I've had all the normal symptoms - fatigue, having to jump up and use the bathroom every 5 minutes - but nothing that has been horribly unpleasant. No bump to speak of, yet. My OB said that because I teach Pure Barre and am (relatively) in shape (deteriorating by the minute, may I add), that I probably won't show until between weeks 18 and 20, which will be around the end of July. It feels totally cruel not to be able to show right away when you're pregnant, because all you want is some outward and visible sign of what's happening inside your body. I truly feel like a crazy person half the time because I can't see or feel the baby, but I physically experience the symptoms every day. 

Quick little survey: 

How far along? 13 1/2 weeks, due December 15th! Baby is the size of a little mouse, or, as the French Bakery section described it, a Napoleon. 
Are we finding out the gender? Negative. We're going to wait until that sweet little thing makes an appearance in the world! But of course, we'll have two names cooked up and ready to go. :) 
Total weight gain: 7 pounds. Hoping to keep it between the lines, but we'll see. You know ya girl loves to eat. 
Stretch marks: Nope! And I found out from my doctor that those suckers are actually genetic, not based on anything you personally do/don't do. Thanks, April! 
Best moment of first trimester: Oh gosh - so many. Finding out, telling Jordan, telling our friends and families, hearing the heartbeat (!!!) for the first time! 
Food cravings: Early on it was all sugar, all the time. And I mean like, the richest things you can think of didn’t phase me a bit. I also was really put off by room temperature liquid (which I used to love and do again now that I’m over the first trimester hump), so I could only drink beverages that were ice cold.
Anything making you sick? Not really! Although Jordan was letting his assistants practice dentistry on a pig skull and brought that home in a brown paper bag the other day and SET IT ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER. So yeah. Did not love that. Although I think it’s fair to say that would’ve made most people sick.  

I want to keep up with all of these things via the blog while still promising not to turn it into a "mommy blog." At the same time, there are so many things that are sacred and precious that I want to keep to myself, like the actual video of me telling Jordan. 

And seeing as I have no bump photo to show you, all I can manage is this picture of me going absolutely HAM on a cheeseburger at my sister-in-law's wedding. Eating with abandon = my favorite freakin' thing. 

YAY BABIES!!