my week in objects (mostly).

November 15, 2019

1. these prunes.

{because pregnancy is no joke and i’m not here to sugarcoat it.}

2. this projector.

{a birthday present for james (and all of us). for family movie nights et cetera.}

3. this bracelet.

{made for me on a night when i wasn’t home for bedtime.}

4. this handy heating pad warmer.

{because now it’s ready and warm whenever i need it (always).}

5. these “flashcards”

{in hopes that the pride in and enthusiasm for learning new things never goes away.}

other things:

letting boys be (emotional) boys.

seek and find comfort and laughter and riotous good times in each other.

related: i’m wondering what purpose my grim restraint has served.

20 billion a year.

throw down your ladders.

self-care, visualized.

a gold standard of menschiness.

how extraordinary, how totally bananas.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply Dorothy November 15, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Not sure why you think that anyone wants you to sugarcoat pregnancy. Not asking you to perform either. I just like your blog and I think that you have great taste and good ideas. I hope that you feel better soon. and I wish you the best.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 15, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      The sugarcoating is a reference to the fact that we live in a culture that generally wants women to sugarcoat and romanticize pregnancy and childbirth. Thanks for not asking me to perform and thanks for the well-wishes!

  • Reply Dorothy November 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Ok. I understood the reference. I just don’t understand your tone.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Hmm. I guess the tone you’re picking up on is a generalized frustration with how pregnant people get policed for how they talk about their pregnancies and a tongue-in-cheek reference to the uncomfortable reality of constipation during pregnancy. I don’t expect folks reading this blog to want me to sugarcoat anything. The mention was only ever to serve as a reference to the not-so- glamorous realities of pregnancy in hope of giving and receiving a sense of solidarity for those who might experience the same!

      • Reply Dorothy November 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to write. I have a better understanding now.

      • Reply Ashley November 15, 2019 at 2:51 pm

        I liked it–made me chuckle! A more writerly way of offering a caveat like TMI, even when the speaker’s underlying point is that it shouldn’t be so.

        • Reply Roxane Johnson November 27, 2019 at 7:17 pm

          I also loved it! I thought the tone was rather cheeky & smarty pants. Pregnancy is real. We all know there is no way to sugarcoat it!

          • Roxane Johnson November 27, 2019 at 7:19 pm

            I mean “smarty pants” in the best sense of the word. The charming sense.

  • Reply Jocelyn November 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    35 weeks pregnant over here and prunes have been a constant requirement. This time around I have made zero effort to sugar coat my misery 🙂 Wishing you all the best, with as few discomforts as possible! Btw, I woke up this morning with carpal tunnel like, hmmm this is new.

  • Reply Maddy November 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I’d love to hear more about your experience with the projector! We’re been considering one for a while because we don’t want to have a big black TV taking up significant wall and mental space all day everyday but do love a bigger screen for movies. Curious if the one you got provides a big and bright and clear enough image!

    And thanks as always for brightening up our fridays with these links.

  • Reply Erika November 15, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Just birthed a human and was in the ER during this pregnancy for hemorrhoids- our bodies are capable of so much, but sometimes the side effects are no joke. I was on bedrest and completely embarrassed to tell ppl why, and then mad at myself for not wanting to tell people. I guess, all I have is solidarity.

    Signed, someone still dealing with hemorrhoids.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      Omg, yes and yes. Solidarity to the moon and back!

    • Reply Sarah November 15, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      Your sign off had me chuckling aloud while reading on a very stressful day, thanks 🙂 My varicose veins and stretch marks have made even L&D nurses/OBs gawk. Side effects are indeed no joke. Wishing you swift hemorrhoid recovery!

      • Reply Erika November 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm

        Sarah- thank you! ❤️

  • Reply Abby November 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Always happy to see some realistic pregnancy talk (as someone who, 4.5 months postpartum, is now collecting the gobs of hair falling out of my head on a daily basis). I wish more people would talk about the less fun aspects of pregnancy. I don’t enjoy pregnancy at all, and it was frustrating to deal with other people’s expectations that I savor these “precious moments.” Anyway, kudos to pushing back on performing pregnancy in a certain way or at all.

  • Reply hannah November 15, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Your weekly article round up is always great, but this week was especially fantastic! Thanks for finding the brighter corners of the internet to share.

    • Reply claire November 17, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      I just wanted to second this! You really did an amazing job this week finding some compelling writing. Thanks so very much!

    • Reply mado November 18, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Yes, so much love for the vibe this week!! something is in the air.

  • Reply Angy Braine November 15, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    I too would love to hear how you find the projector that you bought for James (please)
    We are downsizing (yay + eee + excited + challenged) and ideas that save on space and bulky items are being devoured on a daily basis. Your blog is of course my go to! (Smiley face and grateful hands)

  • Reply Mj November 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    5 months postpartum and Turkish figs where necessary everyday!! Thank you for not sugar coating it. It’s beautiful and challenging and so much more

  • Reply S November 16, 2019 at 7:07 am

    I keep coming back to The Cut piece. I get where the writer lands in the end, I do, and I go back and forth on how much hand-wringing is really warranted. But mostly it just makes me sad and a little bit anxious to think about my daughter someday spending childhood afternoons like that. (Also: the idea of a kid having a public social media account… “sharing images with friends and acquaintances, both real and imaginary…”?) Being 49 is so different from being 13. It’s a weird time to live in, I guess.

    • Reply Helen November 16, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      I’ve been wrestling with this too. I don’t have kids that age yet, so still a bit of a mystery, but I know that sometimes as a kid/teen (and even as an adult) it’s really nice having people you can blame when something that seems like a necessary social behavior actually makes you sad or lonely or nervous. That is, I think it could be helpful to be able to say, “ugh, my mom is so annoying, she won’t let me have a phone” etc. I tell my (college) students sometimes to blame me for various things that make them nervous or uncomfortable or lame. I don’t mind being the fall guy 🙂

      • Reply S November 16, 2019 at 5:11 pm

        So true! I’m sure I sound like I’m ninety and not the thirty-one that I am, but man, I don’t envy kids these days. Participating in, opting out of (voluntarily or not), being made to feel excluded on social media… all of it seems so awful, and at such a tender and complicated time in life. (Being “cancelled”? What the what the what.) Hoping things change for the better before my kiddos hit adolescence… who knows, maybe Elizabeth Warren will dismantle the Facebook empire after all! 🙂

    • Reply Samantha Kirkpatrick November 17, 2019 at 1:26 am

      So glad to see similar thoughts about The Cut article! I understood her message, but was not persuaded. If anything it made me feel worse about my children approaching adolescence and how social media will undoubtedly impact their lives, whether they participate or not. I just have such an aversion towards children using social media it’s really hard to see any beneficial reason.

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 17, 2019 at 8:31 am

        I personally remain conflicted about social media use in general and in all kinds of ways, for young people especially, but I appreciated Heather Havrilesky’s framing here which is about the hand-wringing regarding teenage girls and vanity and how they spend their time. While social media wasn’t a part of the landscape when I was in high school, spending hours dressing up and taking pictures we’d develop (with doubles!) at the hour-photo, swapping clothes, experimenting with makeup and hair and dressing in a different way were all a part of us finding our place, testing limits, etc. It was never all we did, but I’m grateful for the small bit of leeway we had to experiment without judgement. There was plenty of that of course, from the way our clothing was policed at school or at home or at work.

        • Reply S November 17, 2019 at 9:50 am

          Yes! Same! And 100% agree with her message about teenage girls (all girls, all women) being singled out as shallow and vain for simply, joyously experimenting with clothes, hair – all of it. But to me the piece seemed really self-contradictory, conflating that free-of-judgment fun and exploration with something that’s totally judgment-seeking – looking for positive affirmation through an Instagram post, as in: “It didn’t matter if my daughter’s party was glamorous and fun; it just needed to look that way…on social media.” // Thanks for nurturing this happy space for reflection and dialogue, Erin!

          • Stephanie November 18, 2019 at 10:15 am

            Yes! I was thinking about that article all weekend, and wondering why it bugged me so much. I took away that HH wants to feel better about making a choice that gives her pause, but maybe she should listen harder to the pause! Buck the trends! That old parental saw comes to mind: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should, too. Some varieties of restraint, grim and otherwise, kinda come with the territory of parentland. There has to be interrogation and discernment. It’s essential to have safe ways to explore who you are and who you want to be; but is letting a thirteen-year-old loose on a monetized public platform oriented toward “likes” a great way to do that, where they can see that popularity/appeal literally has cash value? And are the selves teenagers present online helpful explorations or just experiments in commodification? How something makes you “feel” is a really dicey standard to use as a standalone metric in life, and platforms like IG are oriented toward manipulating and amplifying feelings through addictive interfaces. It’s a tough enough environment for adults to navigate, and they have the benefit of off-screen life experiences and perspectives.

          • helen November 18, 2019 at 1:21 pm

            Just a note to say: I love your commenters, Erin! I so enjoy the subtle and smart conversations that your thoughtful posts prompt (in addition to the content itself!). Thanks for supporting it here, especially now that I better understand what you also need to navigate in order to do so.

  • Reply Clementine November 16, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    My midwife recommended 6 dates a day – this is an old practice for preparing women for childbirth, but it’s also helpful as a source of fiber (and a great snack). I also found salt baths to be great help, (Dead Sea salt and epsom salt in a 1:1).
    Best wishes and feel well!

  • Reply steph November 17, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    im just so surprised by the things people feel comfortable saying to you – it’s crazy! i guess that is what anonymity/our technological time has created. we have similar radiators in our apartment and they are the freaking best for winter/warming things. hoping to create a spa like atmosphere by warming rocks or making myself a heating pad? we will see. in the meantime my summer memories are tiding me over:

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 17, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      ha, i know it. yes to the spa! warming rocks! my heating pad is a super simple rectangle i sewed up by hand from scrap fabric and filled with rice!

  • Reply Rebecca Ringquist November 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    I miss living somewhere with radiators- it really is the perfect place to heat up a heating pad and transfer that warm cozy feeling to your bones.

  • Reply TB November 21, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    I have suffered from chronic constipation since my first pregnancy (6 years ago). Have you tried Fruit-eze? It is a great product! I think you can only order through their website. I was pregnant again this year and succumbed to miralax, colace and the occasional suppository. Although I HATED taking the meds they really did make this pregnancy more manageable and the labor and delivery seemed less painful for me as well.

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