One of the highlights to my week is getting the weekly email from babycenter.com. Sure, it’s nice to know that the baby is normal and get tips on what kind of anxieties I should surely be experiencing (paint fumes, not gaining enough weight, gaining too much, decreased sex drive, names, unsupportive husbands, financial problems, etc.) and the obsessions that should haunt my dreams (finding the right crib, sleeping schedule, disciplinary strategy, daycare, preschool, college, etc.) as an expectant mom. But, believe it or not, I like these emails for two far more enjoyable reasons: the produce of the week and closer-to-human moments.
The produce of the week is really quite simple. Each week the email approximates how big/long/dense your baby should be by comparing it to something they assume most people can identify. This week, for instance, Juniper should be about the size of your average rutabaga. While the produce of the week is a helpful measuring stick, those folks at baby center often pick produce that isn’t exactly easy to visualize. How big is a large heirloom tomato or a kumquat or a lychee? To make matters worse, their produce scale clearly hasn’t been calibrated in quite some time. At 23 weeks, babycenter confidently stated that she should be about the size of a large mango, which seemed puzzling since the week before she was supposed to be about the size of a spaghetti squash. Granted, I have a natural aversion to spaghetti squash but I’m pretty sure they’re a hell of a lot bigger than mangoes. So, I read on hoping for some clarification. Apparently, according to babycenter, a large mango is somewhere around 11 inches long and, while that explains the bigger-than-spaghetti squash evolution, I have to say that an 11 inch mango is not a large mango; it’s a mango that’s clearly been exposed to dangerous radioactive chemicals and is probably even plotting to take over Manhattan.
Almost as much fun as puzzling over the average size of various kinds of produce is reading about the developmental milestones of a fetus. I save the best of them for Patty, which undoubtedly adds to her discomfort with pregnancy in general. I was particularly proud when, at 8 weeks, Juniper finally lost her tail (having a tail would be convenient, although I still say that it makes it look difficult to ride a bike; at 10 weeks, Juniper could bend her limbs (I like to imagine that she was some kind of stiff-limbed Barbie floating around my uterus, unable to propel herself up to that point); at 12 weeks she, she began to look unquestionably human (an important milestone if I ever heard one); and, at 16 weeks, her eyes began to move closer to the front of her head (her peripheral vision will undoubtedly suffer).
Yes, these moments should remind me of the miracle of birth and human evolution, but mostly I just think it’s weird and oh-so-awesome. And, undoubtedly, Juniper will end up being an adorable, human-looking (oh-so-blonde) bundle of joy, but, if she looks like an overgrown piece of produce, it’s Josh’s fault. I make lovely, beautiful children.