My Big-Girl Panties

Today I put them on.

I decided that it had been long enough. I mean, twenty-eight is pretty old to still be harboring hesitation. So, I put aside my long-standing issues. I gathered my confidence. And I did it…

I ate fish.

See, this all started last weekend. I read in my Pregnancy Propaganda that my baby is drinking amniotic fluid. AND that studies show that the baby’s first introduction to different foods is now. What I eat can affect my kid’s tastes for life. Almost immediately we went to Sam’s. Victor and I stocked up on salad, frozen veggies, and tilapia. No way my baby is going to be addicted to junk food.

Since then, I’ve been figuring out how to do it. I mean, my knowledge of fish comes in two forms: tuna in a can and tuna in a pouch. I’ve been known to drown my fish in ketchup to mask the taste and not offend the cook (guessing he saw through that though…) I avoid the smell and various Mexican fishy dishes like nobody’s business. But all that changed today.

It happened today because yesterday I received my blood tests from the doctor telling me that I have some anemia. I am on this quest to have a healthy little Meximerican, and therefore–my big-girl pants are really Mama-pants. I will eat whatever necessary for my baby.

And…It wasn’t bad.

Granted, I used butter to cook it. I used garlic, salt and pepper. AND I made tartar sauce. But…it wasn’t bad.

I also scored MAJOR brownie points with my husband, who I think is getting tired of chicken, and chicken, and veggies, and chicken. “Thank you for cooking fish!” he said (too) enthusiastically. No problem, honey. After all, what I am cooking on the inside is my first concern. The fact that both members of my family seem happy (baby is doing a little dance of approval) is just an added bonus!

This girl is growing up. It has only taken twenty-eight years for that to happen…

Baby Poop

One thing about being pregnant in the information age is that I have information at my fingertips. I signed up for these pregnancy e-mail updates about my baby back in July, and now I get almost daily e-mails. Sometimes they are really worthwhile, other times… Well…

So, the other day, my mind was on poop. I blame this on the fact that I plan on using cloth diapers. I’ve been researching since August the best diapers on the bottoms of babies everywhere. I gotta tell you, YouTube wins for truly demonstrating the effectiveness of diapers.

These diapering moms are serious about what they do! You can watch demonstrations for each diaper, watch reviews, and even see how to change a diaper. One mom showed us how to clean out poop from a gdiaper. I’ve watched videos on using pre-fold diapers, and listened to housewives with a lot of time explain and encourage others.

I was further encouraged to use cloth diapers today when at the grocery store I saw 200 peso packages of 30 diapers. I quickly determined that if my friends are being honest, we would go through thirty in three days. That means that we would spend around 500 pesos a week. 2000 pesos a month. Absurd.

Yes, I choose washing out poopy diapers.

Even with what I’ve learned recently about baby poop. See, one of the emails I received was all about baby poop. Seriously. There are even pictures to go along with what they describe as normal and abnormal. I have changed diapers of so many nieces and nephews–but somehow I never saw that black gooey newborn poop.

Oh, there are a lot of things I’m learning about thanks to Internet. And thank goodness too! I might have to buy one package of those throw-away guys for that black poop…

Five Things I Would Like to Blame on My Pregnancy

It’s become clear to me as I continue to go through these wacky hormonal changes, that I really have no idea what’s up with my body.  I keep thinking, “Maybe that’s because I am expecting.” Then reality comes knocking, and I remember that I had the same problems quirks before I conceived.

1)  My Attitude.

Remember when I told you about me chewing out the clerk at the Oxxo?  I really would like to believe that it was because I was hungry and in need of a snack.  And maybe it was!  But the truth is–even before this little guy took up residence in my uterus, I got crabby when I needed a snack.

2)  My Sweet Tooth

Before I get any lectures, know that I really do eat soooo much healthier than I have pretty much my whole life.  But the other day, I bought a six-dollar box of Captain Crunch Peanut Butter cereal.  Yummo!  I just said, “This is my favorite cereal in the whole world!” And when the girls encouraged me to buy it because I am pregnant, I said, “Okay!” Sigh.  I also now drink two glasses of chocolate milk a day.  In the morning, it makes me feel less like throwing up.  In the evening, I just really like it before bed.  This might ACTUALLY be a pregnancy thing.  I was never crazy about milk like my other sisters.

3)  My Memory

I forget everything.  In the last week, I have forgotten to take my kids to music, to take my kids to Computer, to send home reminders from the office, and to assign passwords for a reading program.  I want to claim “Pregnancy Brain”–and perhaps it really is worse.  Or maybe I have always been like this.  Probably…

4)  My Emotions

My mom tells this story about when she went to read to my sister’s kindergarten class.  She cried in the story, and a little girl sneered at her.  We used to always laugh at Mama when she cried.  Just the saddest little song or story would set her off.  Well, kids, let this be a lesson:  Don’t laugh at your Mama.  You never know when you will become just like her.

With that said, today I cried.  I was teaching a lesson on both writing personal stories and making connections to literature.  Who better to demonstrate those qualities than Tomie dePaola?  So, with a little Nana Upstairs Nana Downstairs action, the fun began.  I laughed off the tears, but made sure that I emphasized that sometimes when we make connections to text, we laugh.  Or cry.

The problem?  I also cried two years ago when I read When I Was Young in the Mountains to the kids.  I’ll admit: the baby had little to do with this.  This was karma paying me back.

5)  My Sleep Schedule

They say pregnant women get tired.  I know it’s true.  It was pretty much my first clue that I wasn’t alone.  I remember taking my little travel blanket (it was given to me when I came to Mexico by a friend who said it was her favorite travel accessory–I seriously use it weekly…) to school and curling up on the tile floor away from the video camera to take a little nap.  But then again, little naps are my forte.  And if that is all you need as an indicator, well then, my dad, Master Napper, has been pregnant my whole life.

I’ve proudly crawled into bed by nine o’clock three nights this week.  And when invited to birthday parties or soccer games, I have to plead tired-pregnant-women-needs-her-rest.  (It works…)

With that said, I guess it’s safe to say that this mess of a woman has always been a mess.  With or without a baby-to-be, some things will never change.

Raising a Reader (I Hope…)


I have been studying literacy since I became a teacher. What to do, what not to do, etc.

But suddenly it is all becoming so real! After all, this little guy inside me can now hear my voice. And so I read. Aloud.

I remember reading somewhere how important it is to hold your babies which reading. What you’re reading matters less–after all, they can’t yet understand. But they do begin to associate love with reading.

And so I read.

I read my bible at night when I read for myself. Hearing Proverbs outloud helps me too. I read daily to my students–all the while thinking of my most precious student. And I read her very first book to her. A book I begged Victor to let me buy (it was a little pricy).

I bought it, of course with baby in mind. Because I also read how important it is for babies to be able to interact with books. Hence the reason why baby books are soft, hard, textured and able to be chewed. This is a soft book–it crinkles and has a horn-like squeeze toy inside.


And I am training my husband. Literacy isn’t a priority here in Mexico, and I won’t be having a Mexican child who can’t take advantage of all those scholarships available to him (joking). So Papi reads too.

Oh, baby-of-mine, listen, will you? This world is full of adventure, and oh! the places you’ll go!


Time for Change

My word.

Today, the Jania-beast was released on a helpless clerk at Oxxo.  Wait.  Not the regular Jania-beast, but the pregnant Jania-beast.  (She’s a lot more ferocious…)  Oxxo is similar to 711, and has a location within walking distance to the school.  So, this pregnant lady needed a pick-me-up during the day, and decided to scoot on over to Oxxo for some snacks.  Little did I know the fuss that would ensue.

I made some wise choices (a banana) and some not-so-wise choices  (BBQ chips), and carried my arm full of goodies up to the register.  I was buying all my stuff with a debit card, but I had a separate purchase that I was using cash on–as I had agreed to pick up some cookies for a co-worker.  Not too difficult, as I kept the cookies and the cash in one hand, and passed my card over to the lady (young girl) behind the counter.

And then the words that fill me with rage in Mexico.  No tengo cambio.  I don’t have change.


You don’t have 40 pesos?  I said in spanish.

No, she continues, unless you want one cent pesos.  This would be like me getting four dollars in nickles…

I just couldn’t let this one slide.  Actually, who am I kidding?  I never let it slide.  This is a problem, I said.  This is a store, you should have change here. 

I honestly don’t feel that I can properly relay my frustration to you.  There. Is. NEVER. Change. In. Mexico.  NEVER.

So, in my true fashion, I told her that I didn’t want any of my purchases.  I proceeded to buy the cookies for my friend–and I left.  Now, I know that I just made a super horrible impression on that poor Mexican girl.  She is probably blogging about the crazy American chick who threw a fit because she couldn’t use a fifty pesos bill (Around four dollars).  She will undoubtedly remember me when (if) I return.  Sigh.

Couldn’t they just make life a little easier for this expat?  Come on, Mexico!  Make a little change!

Another Year–Another Class to Love

Not too long ago, one of my students asked me if I had kids.  “Not yet…” I replied, not yet ready to make the big reveal. Another little boy piped up, “Yes, you do!  You have nineteen!”

My students are quite amazing.  They are always surprising me.

This past Tuesday, after visiting the library.  One of my sweet–but quiet students came up and was SO excited to show me the books he had checked out.  One of them was about Tennessee.  He said, “Look!  This is where you’re from!” I felt throughly chastised, because sometimes I forget how important teachers are to students too.

Yesterday, I was playing my class playlist on the speakers.  I actually don’t play music too much with this class, but it was one of those days.  My playlist consists of mostly songs they don’t know–singers I love, but I feel are underappreciated with the Justin Beiber generation of the world.  Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors came on right after Fly Me to the Moon by Sinatra.  I sang along, then stopped–and told my class about Dolly Parton.  The same little boy said, “I read about her in the Tennessee book!” Sigh.  This teacher’s heart melts on a daily basis.

The little boy in the photo who is grinning sooo big while standing in front of me–he said the other day, “Miss Jania, you’re the best teacher in the world and espace.” (Mexican English speakers often add an “e” before their “s” words–because in spanish this is how they are pronounced.)  I couldn’t figure out what he was saying at first, but quickly caught on.

Really, I can’t wait to tell them about my baby.  They are the perfect class to have a baby with.  I was reading how some teachers have revealed that they’re pregnant by telling the class they will have a new brother or sister.  For some reason, I have a feeling that my kiddos will welcome this.  It will be like my own version of Nineteen Kids and Counting.