Friday, July 23, 2010

A simpler blue morpho butterfly

I think this will be the last Etsy item for a while, as the baby seems to be on his way, if these are real contractions...
I love researching the creatures I paint. Once again, hitting the Wikipedia!

Tidbits gleaned from Wikipedia:

The blue morpho anaxibia butterfly lifespan is approximately 137 days, and it's wingspan is 110-120 cm. The adult body is covered with iridescent tetrahedron scales on the back, with a brown exterior. The larvae eat plants that produce toxins, and are thus protected from predators. The chrysalis, when touched, emits a sound to repulse predators.

They were once used by the people of the Rio Negro in Brazil to decorate ceremonial masks, after having been lured by blue objects on the ground; now they are raised for use in jewelry and interior decoration around the world. “Morpho” is another name given to Venus or Aphrodite, and means “changed” or “modified.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

The myth of due dates

I have decided to stop working on my painting. I think I have a sense that it is the last I will ever do, so it needs to be perfect. I'm fighting against that impulse, and keeping it in its final, flawed state.

The End of Pregnancy?
People in this area are really into inducing labor and having C-sections. Over the period between 1996 and 2007, Rhode Island had an 82% increase in c-section rates, according to USA Today. It's over 30%, I think! And across the nation, the induction rate may be 21%, according to this 2007 article by Gail Braccidiferro.

I didn't agree with my due date (thought it was too early) and now I am a few days over, so I went to do a little searching on the "science." What I saw in this article by Henci Goer made me laugh:

How long does pregnancy really last?

You might be surprised how the idea of a 40-week pregnancy came into being. In the early 1800s a German obstetrician simply declared that pregnancy lasts ten moon months counting from the start of the menstrual cycle prior to the pregnancy. (2) It took nearly 200 years for researchers to investigate whether this was, in fact, true. It turns out that it wasn't. When researchers in the late 1980s followed a group of healthy, white women with regular menstrual cycles, they discovered that pregnancy in first-time mothers averaged eight days longer than this, or forty-one weeks plus one day (2). The average was three days longer than forty weeks in women with prior births. The researchers also refer to other studies suggesting that other races may have average pregnancy lengths that are shorter than white women.

As you can see, the due date was only a probability that labor would begin sometime around that day. It was not a certainty, much less a deadline. Until recently, obstetric practitioners defined a full-term pregnancy as extending anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks. Today, many obstetricians call any pregnancy lasting to the beginning of week 41 "postterm." This, you will note, is one day less than the average length of pregnancy in first-time mothers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raspberry raccons, enjoying your kids

I have been hearing a lot this week about children making women less happy than they were when childless (see Jennifer Senior's article, All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting.) I won't argue with the data, but wonder about the causes. Maybe it's the loss of personhood? The never ending requests for candy or a winter jacket in 100 degree weather? I'm sure each woman feels differently about her children, but I have a vague feeling that the happier mothers fall into two camps: those who love being children themselves, and enjoy entering their kids' worlds, and those who are extremely determined to bring the children into the enjoyable parts of the mother's world--movies, art, swimming, whatever she likes to do.

What do you think? I think someone needs to write a manual for mothers: How to Enjoy Your Children. Oh, wait, there is all kinds of advice about that-- mostly focusing on bubbles and blocks, I have to say, not very much on bringing kids along to do more adult things...

In painting, I am still struggling with the heat as I try to finish my painting before the baby arrives.

And my Raccoon On Strike painting got included in this lovely Etsy Treasury: Raspberry Martini, curated by SnowInJune. My favorite item is the felted bag.

We went to the Barrington Beach to swim this last Friday, and Laurent took this photo of the sky. It was a beautiful evening, just the two of us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trying to finish a painting before the baby comes

It feels like a painting of just the three of us will feel less urgent once the baby arrives. I hope I have a couple more days...

On the self-discovery front, I think I have nearly decided that I am a 5 on the enneagram:

  • You see many possibilities but often do not know how to choose among them or judge which is more or less important. When you are caught in your fixation, a sense of perspective can be missing, and with it the ability to make accurate assessments.

  • Notice when you are getting intensely involved in projects that do not necessarily support your self-esteem, confidence, or life situation. It is possible to follow many different fascinating subjects, games, and pastimes, but they can become huge distractions from what you know really need to do. Decisive action will bring more confidence than learning more facts or acquiring more unrelated skills.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The end of pregnancy

Hugely pregnant, I am bowled over by this heat wave. Baby may come any day, but hopefully the two small window ACs we ordered will come first...
Yes, for the first time in my life, I have broken down and voluntarily chosen air conditioning. Our bedrooms are in the hundreds every night, and I don't want to have a sweaty toddler and a sweaty newborn in bed with me.
We looked at portable ACs, aka swamp coolers, but decided against them, as they seemed to have similar energy efficiency ratings (EERs), and only lower the temp by 10 degrees or so-- not enough today!
I found a website giving the EER of hundreds of window ACs, and was fairly overwhelmed: they were listed alphabetically, of all things.