wine, raisin bran, & radishes

In ALL, FAMILY MATTERS, KNOCKED UP by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

Today is my 30th birthday. I was born on September 29 at 4:38 pm.  For a year, I had to listen to people ask me my age and say, "oooh, turning thirty soon, huh?"  My mother arrived from Florida today, asking the inevitable, "so how does it feel?  Are you depressed?"
I looked at her as if "depressed" were a word she’d invented.  "Are you kidding?  Depressed?  Why would I be?"
"Oh, I don’t know.  I told some woman I work with that I was coming to New York for my daughter’s thirtieth birthday, and she said, ‘oh God!  Thirty!  I remember thirty!  I was sooooo depressed.  Good luck with that.’ So I dunno; I was expecting you to be.  Well, you know, depressed."  I didn’t know. 
"What the hell do I have to be depressed about?"
She took a moment and looked up then back at me.  "Nothing."
"Exactly.  Now let’s go drink."  My mother did as she was told. 


photograph of mother, before I was born

We hit Bin 71.  My sister wouldn’t be arriving until 10pm.  We had some time to get our drink on. 
"You know when I was thirty, I’d already given birth twice."  Oh joy.  Thanks for that.
"Here’s the thing, Mom.  If I got pregnant now, I wouldn’t worry about it.  I mean, of course I’d like more money or space, more time, sure, but are you ever really ready?"
"No," she said as she inhaled the Rioja, "you really aren’t ever ready.  I didn’t want to have Lea, but your father made me.  You were a living nightmare, so I didn’t want another one.  I told your father, ‘I’m done.  No more.’ But, he said, ‘ooooh, no.  You can’t do that.  You have to give her a sibling to grow old with.’  So then we tried to get pregnant, and it took us six months before I was pregnant with Lea."
"Yeah, but Lea was a lump of sugar."
"Yes, she was, but I didn’t know that at the time.  I wasn’t really ready, but, well, it all works out." 
"Yeah, I’m not scared.  I love Phil.  I don’t worry about any of that.  I’d only worry about getting pregnant and not knowing it, like if I kept drinking without knowing that month.  I mean, they make those prenatal vitamins for a reason right?"
"Oh stop.  You worry and analyze too much.  Live your life and stop thinking so much."  She’s not the first to say it.  "Please, the day I gave birth to you Stephanie, I had wine and the bloody show."
"The bloody show?  What’s that?"
"You know.  The bloody show."
"Nooo.  I don’t know, what?"
She rolled her eyes.  "Some people have their water break.  I had the bloody show."
"Yeah, still not gettin’ ya Mom.  Talk to me.  Details.  What the hell are you–"
‘Oh, come on.  The bloody show."  She pointed to her legs and knees.
"What, like how much blood was dripping down your legs?"
"I didn’t know what was happening.  I was so naive, Stephanie."
"Yeah, I’m still naive.  Hello????  You were at dripping…"
"Dripping?  No.  It’s called a bloody show for a reason.  It pours, came gushing out.  I said, ‘Oh my God!  I’m going to have this baby!  I better sit down and have some wine and raisin bran, get myself all ready for the table.’"  I stared at her, setting my glass down.  "What?  It’s not like you pop right out.  There’s a lot of pushing going on, and you didn’t come out until the next day.  I remember being in the delivery room for hours, and I had such a craving for radishes.  I mean a CRAVING."  She bit down on her lower lip and looked at the ceiling, closing one eye a little more than the other, the same as I do when I like something.  "Two weeks before you were born, that’s all I wanted.  Radishes.  Once you were born, I looked up and saw your red hair in the mirror, and I said, "must be all those red radishes I ate.’  I was outside myself; it came right out of my mouth, without thinking.  I was so elated.  I didn’t think about the stupid things I was saying.  I just looked in that mirror and heard the doctor say, ‘what a head of red hair she has!’ And that’s all I could think.  Radishes.  You know, I still love them.  Every time I eat a radish, I think about the day you were born.


  1. Wow, neat Mom. Treasure her. Don't wait too long to "decide" when you want a baby. She's right, there's probably never a perfect time. I waited for that and when we were ready to start making babies there were complications. Years went by and then we couldn't. It was very hard and sad but luckily we have a great marriage and were able to deal with it. I used to cry when I saw babies, now I'm ok with it, but it's always still in the back of my mind…not having one of my own. Today I saw a newby from someone I work with. She's half mexican and caucasean. Beautiful. Dark black hair, beautiful skin. Could have tucked her in my pocket! So don't wait for perfect.

  2. Happy.. happy birthday Steph. Birthdays should be special. So should yours. Thanks for letting us get to know you and letting us share.

  3. Thank you for sharing! Your mom is so beautiful, as are you.
    Been reading for awhile and love it. It would be hard for most of us to share everything like you are able too, and I just appreciate it, never judging.
    I'm 28 (and 1/2 if you wanna get technical!), a wee worried about the impending 30, but seeing how you've embraced it has made me open my eyes to it a little more. I have friends of all ages, which helps me stay true to myself so age hasn't really been a worry.
    I too see girls barely 20 with new babies, and long for that sometimes, but thinking of all I've been able to do (pick up and go to france twice in 6 mos. is cool!), I've learned patience.
    I wish you a wonderful year to come! P.S. I love your mom's shirt!!

  4. I love that pic of your mom…
    She has that same expression that you do sometimes, like she's about to say something shocking. ;)

  5. Happy Birthday Stephanie! Welcome to the world of 30 somethings.

    Regarding the "bloody show", it sounds grosser than it is. It's just a "plug" – a little blob of blood and mucus – that usually precipitates the release of the amniotic fluid (as in "your water broke") surrounding the baby. When you see the bloody show, you're close to delivery, probably within the week. (but not everybody sees it, because it might get flushed when you're not looking). It shouldn't gush, unless it comes out at the same time your water breaks. It's usually just a neat little package you'll find on your underwear, a few days before you go into labor. However,when your water breaks, get to the hospital! (That will usually gush!) You still will have plenty of time usually, but I had what they call precipitous labor, so I had my first baby in 5 hours, my second in 1.5 hours, my third in 30 minutes, and my fourth in 1.5 hours. (I don't know why he was so slow!!) With my last baby, my water didn't even break after I was nearly completely dilated, so the doctor reached up and poked it with his fingernail to release it. He was born shortly thereafter. And no matter what, the pain is worth the joy you feel when you hold that little angel in your arms. Don't be scared, but ask for lots of drugs! I never had any, and I begged, believe me. But because I delivered so fast they wouldn't give them to me!! I had to bite on a stick and grin and bear it. Those breathing exercises? Don't work!! No picnic, but at least it was fairly quick!!

    I'm glad you had a good visit with your mom.
    Best wishes on your special day.

  6. I'm still confused. What's the bloody show? And what month does Brook Shield's take over the lead. I love a bitter radish. Not enought radish recipes. Your mom is hot. I AM SENOR NUMBNUTS

  7. This is a classic, and as always, you always hit themes that run through all of our lives. My mother and I had almost the same conversation this year(sans me being 30), and her thing? Raspberries. The summer that I was born was really hot in Eastern Washington, and my mom, and 2 of my cousin's mothers were pregnant at the same time-all boys, and as she put it-"f–king miserable"(my mom, the english professor).So her vice was raspberries, and she couldn't get enough of them. She went as far as befriending people who had raspberry bushes(for example, the lady who taught me how to swim like a fish a few years later, and the nuns who had the great bushes out in the Spokane valley near the river). And on my b-day, she still craved them, interestingly enough.

    Fast forward a few years(28 to be exact), and in the summertime, I routinely get flats of raspberries, and they don't last much more than a week at the most. And my mother said, like your mum, that she will always think of me when she has raspberries in the summertime.

    Great post, Stephanie. I am dealing with the thought of being 30, and I should hope to slide into those shoes as gracefully as you have. And for the record, you are your mother's daughter in many ways, and you both are stunning and obviously elegant women.

  8. So what did your boyfriend get you for your birthday? Those pictures were fantastic. It looks like you have some great people in your life who love you very, very much!

  9. Happy Birthday!

    Oh, thirty is the best! Life really begins at thirty.

    Your Mom sounds like fun.

  10. At first I thought that the picture in the post was of you. Wow, you look so much like your mother. You probably already know this.

  11. Happy Birthday Stephanie! That is so exciting!

    My 30th birthday was 2 years ago and I *was* depressed. Since then, I keep forgetting how old I am (conveniently)

    I LOVE how much you look like your mom! It makes me very happy because my daughter looks a lot like me, and I am so close to her. Somehow when I saw this photo, I was warmly reminded of my relationship with my daughter and how much I love being a mother.

    So, that's all, that photo made me smile a lot, inside and out!

    I hope you have a fabulous birthday, it looks like your birthday weekend was a blast.

    L'Chaim and L'Shana Tova also…

  12. Happy Birthday Stephanie :) and isn't it Michaelmas today? (it was in this Jane Austen novel I am reading). Very nice story from your mom, made me smile.

  13. 30 is the new 21…my life really began to congeal after 30…seems like your life is blossoming and coming together. Happy Birthday!

  14. Happy birthday from Italy!!!!!! I love reading your writing…….Also for me Today is a special day….my daughter is 10 months old…..Now when I'll eat radish, I'll remember you and your birth…….Many wishes!

  15. Like a good wine, we get better with age…

    Thirty is just a number, it's all about how you feel in your heart and your head.

    Think about it this way: would you ever trade who you are now for who you were at 22, 23, 24 – young, naive and clueless about so many things…

    Embrace thirty – it's a fabulous time – I've been there a whole six months now ;-)

  16. Good times.

    But why wine and raisin bran? It just sounds like a dreadful combination. Although, it seemed to help yield the coolest raddish ever. ;-) Happy Birthday.

  17. Just found out something important. You look like your mum…Everything has an explanation.
    Happy birthday and after 30's, remember life is more beautiful.

  18. Hello Stephanie!
    Today it's the first time I saw your homepage.
    I have to congratulate you to this great page!
    And I've just read that you celebrate your birthday today. So "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!". I wish you all the best!

    Greetings from Switzerland, Caterina (your brandnew fan:-))
    P.S. I have to apologize for my terrible English! Sorry! :-)

  19. Time and Tide wait for no man,
    but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.
    – Robert Frost

  20. Your mother is gorgeous!
    Happy Birthday Stephanie! I hope I am as beautiful, sucessful, and in love as you are at 30 years old! Happy Birthday, be proud of all your accomplishments and where you are going in life!

  21. Happy Birthday, girl! Hope you have a wonderful day! You should make it out to the Hamptons for one last weekend before it gets too chilly! Want to tour the North Fork wineries with us this weekend?! Ciao, Lauren Nicole

  22. Coño! you look just like your mother. Happy birthday!!
    The 30's are very special for us woman because here is where the sexual pick and the finding yourself and our purpose in life start plus we get to look more beautiful than ever!

  23. Your mother is beautiful. I can see where you get your looks. Remove that black and white photo, Steph, it doesn't do you justice, you look old in it, and you're so not!

  24. Sundry-

    On the baby timing, while you'd like to have everything perfect, most of us are a little more ready than we give ourselves credit for. More space and more money certainly help, but more love and more stability are far more important.

    And your mom is your twin.

    And how about we all give Caterina a little friendly hello? Let her and the rest of the world know that they are always welcome here.

    And every age is a fun age. You have more energy when you're 20, more maturity when you're 30, more money when you're 40, more security when you're 50, and more time when you're 60.

  25. Happy Birthday! also, saw the article on about muppets getting their own stamps and I thought of you, b/c Sam the Eagle is one of the muppets featured. Have a fantastic day.

  26. Happy Birthday!! Thirty was a shock to me in a good way — I thought it was going to be bad but I loved my thirties and am loving my early forties even more. There is something sensual and powerful about knowing yourself that much better. I am more self assured now and I definitely know what I am capable. And my wonderful husband says I get prettier as I age. What could be wrong with all of that! By the way, you have your Mom's nose and mouth!

  27. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! Have a wonderful day and a great year! With your Sun in Libra, your key word is responsibility-the ability to respond. You are able to find yourself in others, in relationships, rather than when alone.You can be peaceful, calm and undisturbed. You are a genius at bringing out others and getting them to do things. You are a born strategist. Your Moon is in Cancer and you can sense the moods and feelings of others and you are excellent at counseling and you would be a great caretaker of others. You can be overly protective, but would be good at parenting and making a home.You are quite emotional and you have a natural sense of that which pleases.Your Ascendant or Rising Sign is Aquarius and you are a social animal. You communicate best when in a group or when working towards some worthwhile goal. You come across as impartial, tolerant and open. Your idealism is apparent to all who know you. I guess you already know all this, but here it is again, in writing on your birthday!

  28. Steph, Let me quote Steven Wright about time: "I went to a restaurant with a sign that said they served breakfast at any time. So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance". Happy Birthday from Tel-Aviv.

  29. Happy Birthday, Stephanie!

    I was a little freaked out (not really depressed, just scared I think) about turning 30 for a few weeks before the big day. But spent the day with my amazing friends and family, and it was the beginning of a great year… with each getting a little better, since. So enjoy!

  30. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! 30 is great, and it only gets better because you really start becoming who you are suppose to be. Enjoy your day!

  31. Happy Birthday Stephanie! You mother looks so cool and confident in this picture. I've been reading your blog for awhile and I absolutely love it. Thank you for being so candid. On your next birthday don't forget to tell us what you wished for this year. (Wink!)

    Babies, Books and Birthday I wish all the best.

  32. Girl Happy Birthday!

    Just wanted to let you know that i love your page!
    Look forward each day to reading it, along with some friends. :)

  33. I am only 24 and already feelin' old…! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag / Happy birthday, Steph!

  34. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! Hope today and the entire upcoming year is full of gifts for you.