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Sugar Baby

Ever notice how big things happen when you least expect them? You settle into a routine, and you go along like that for years, but then, suddenly, the bottom drops out from under you? I used to think these sort of jolts happened to other people, and not an "old reliable" like me. Not true, it turns out!

It all began a couple months ago. Hubby Rick was having a red-letter day: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500, and then Rick found a roll of $10 bills outside the Ruby Tuesday on Nightingale Road. Well, I pitied the poor waitress who had apparently lost her hard-earned tips, but there was a side benefit to Rick's good mood, and this time, I didn't even have to ask for it! (These days, I don't lure Rick into the bedroom so much as I dare him by questioning his ability to carry out his, uh, "hubby duties," shall we say? Hey, whatever works, right?)

A couple weeks after the big event, I started to feel funny. For one thing, I was tired a whole lot. I tend to be a sleepyhead anyway, but this was just plain, solid fatigue. I also felt lightheaded and all numb in my fingers and toes. I was parched and dehydrated, and visiting the little-girl's room a bit too often. I assumed I had the flu that was going around, so I laid low and caught up on my Suddenly Susan reruns.

Then my time of the month rolled around—or didn't, rather. (Usually, it comes like clockwork.) It didn't take me long to put two and two together! Could it be, after years of my wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, that America's youngest Jeanketeer would be making her big debut? I've had false alarms before, but this was the first time I felt sick, too.

So, I did what any prospective mom-to-be does—I went to the mall and marched right into the Gymboree! If you don't have a Gymboree in your neck of the woods, I feel sorry for you, because they sell the most precious kid clothing you could ever imagine! If you've ever wondered how your toddler would look dressed like fruit, a circus clown, or one of the cuter species of insect, Gymboree is the place for you!

Even though I've been to Gymboree many times before, I always felt like a bit of a fraud browsing. But on that day, I strutted into the store with my head held high. Unfortunately, I was taken aback to see the snooty woman on duty that day. I don't know her name, but she's middle-aged and always has a sour look on her face, which isn't helped by her short, spiky haircut and narrow-frame granny spectacles. The younger girl who works there knows I'm only there to browse and leaves me alone, but this older woman always gives me an attitude.

So, like clockwork, the lady walked up to me and asked, in her usual way, "May I help you?" I know she meant it sarcastically, but I was ready for her this time. I drew myself up to my best posture and replied, "Yes. I'm looking for newborn attire. Do you have anything in a honeybee?"

"Honeybee?" she asked. She seemed surprised. "Yes, a honeybee," I replied. "I don't follow you," she answered. (Jeez, Louise! Didn't she know her own store?) So I told her I wanted anything black-and-yellow striped, but she said the only things they had striped right now were tights.

She asked if the bee outfit was for a boy or a girl. I said I didn't know, as it wasn't born yet. She suggested that I purchase a gift certificate instead, but I said that would be pointless, since I would be the one spending it. When I told her that, something amazing happened: For the first time ever, Ol' Pruneface smiled! "Oh, congratulations!" she said. She was all sweetness and light. She gave me tips on creating a full layette and showed me some darling booties and onesies. She even told me that she could contact their warehouse and special-order any available bee-themed babywear they might have. Maybe I had misjudged this woman!

The clerk also recommended that, instead of jumping the gun, maybe I should wait until my baby shower. She moved me toward the front desk and began to sign me up for a Gymboree registry. "When is your shower?" she asked. I told her that it hadn't been set yet. "Well, when is your due date?" she asked. "Baby showers usually take place within the last month of pregnancy," she said. I told her it would probably be in a little more than eight months, then.

I could see her eyebrows lowering behind her granny specs. "So how do you know..." she began, but her voice trailed off. We stared at each other. I knew where this was headed. "Look, I know it's a long way off, and it's true that I haven't taken a test yet, but I just gotta be preggers!" I said. (Actually, I think I kinda shouted it.) I explained how I was late and had morning sickness all day long and couldn't stop peeing. I asked how she would like it if someone second-guessed her? I felt dizzy, and my heart pounded and my eyes smarted like they did when I used to stare at a computer screen all day at my SouthCentral Insurance job. Then I did the weirdest thing: I sat down right on the floor! I felt so weak, I couldn't move a muscle. Everything was blurry, and I could barely talk. All I could do was sit there, with my back against the front desk, for about 10 minutes. Just as the clerk was about to call an ambulance, I started to regain my senses.

Well, long story short: I'm not preggers. I went to Dr. Plimm's office the next day, and he informed me that I have Type-2 diabetes. My blood-sugar levels were dangerously high. Dr. Plimm gave me some pills, referred me to a dietitian, and handed me a pamphlet called "Diabetes & You" with a smiling jogger on its front. "You're going to have to be much more physically active and eat better, Jean," Dr. Plimm said. "You have a family history there. I used to treat your dad, you know." (True, but my family also has a history of making babies!)

Well, Jeanketeers, I guess it's literally true that I'm a real sweetie! (Give me a call if you need some sugar for your tea—I'll send you a blood transfusion!) You see, even though this diabetes thing means a lot of big changes in my life, I'm trying to have a sense of humor about it. But I wish hubby Rick would see things my way! He constantly badgers me to take my pills, and when he sees me sitting on the sofa watching television, he tells me to get up and move around "so you don't lose a leg!"

Sheesh! He has me so on edge lately that I wouldn't mind leaving for a walk! Trouble is, the only good place to walk and not get hit by a car is the mall, but I'm not sure I'll show my face there until Gymboree goes belly-up.

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