Don’t mind this ridiculously early post. I just can’t sleep. Nerves about the birth, I guess. Don’t worry, though, after the baby is born, I should be back to sleeping well in about another four years (just a little parent humor for you there). Seriously, though, there’s something magical that seems to happen around four years old. I think it must have something to do with the gradual (and often painful) transition of phasing out naps during the day where, after spending years of fitful night sleeping, the kids seem to reach some sort of sleep plateau and are suddenly sleeping like rocks through the night and even sleep late into the morning sometimes. It’s great! (too bad we are adding another baby right as Miles was about to reach that glorious milestone. That’s called “shooting yourself in the foot”).
That and these damn exuberant robins singing through the walls of my poorly-insulated 1950s house! What is their damn problem?! Just kidding, I love the sound of robins in the morning. It’s really hard to sleep through when you hear those first piercing chirps before the sun is even up, though, isn’t it? Couldn’t they at least wait until the ass crack of dawn before starting in? Guess not.
I had a midwife appointment yesterday and she said the baby is in a good position for birth, which I already knew because her head is causing shooting electrical nerve pain whenever I move and also some serious hemorrhoids. My belly has gone through a growth spurt since my last appointment less than a week ago, which is a good thing but is always kinda freaky as you near the end of the pregnancy and start to have thoughts about an actual baby emerging from your vagina.
Ruth has a girlscout field trip to the humane society today that I am somewhat dreading as I keep having visions of myself giving birth on the dirty concrete floor in front of an entire troop of nine-year-olds. This will probably not happen. Still. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t really go anywhere these days. I feel like I want to stay close to home base, my nest, and hunker down. The end of a pregnancy is always an incredibly vulnerable, open and intensely introspective time for me and the last thing I usually want to do is be out in society like a normal person, making merry. Some people may not be like that but I’ve learned to go with it and just let it be what it is.
I also have a women’s birth group meetup scheduled for this evening that I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I am like a recluse (see above) and want to shut myself into a dark, tight cocoon of introspection. On the other hand, I have a really intense desire to connect with other women over birth. So, I’ll see how it goes.
The other way that I am preparing for the birth, besides entertaining all manner of outlandish and tabloid-worthy fantasies, becoming a raging insomniac and shutting out the rest of humanity (all really valid and useful coping strategies) is to reread my favorite fiction novel of all time. In other words, add “escapism” to my list. Yup, I’m well-prepared for this life transition right here (note: sarcasm). Seriously, though, I really do have a lot of empathy and understanding for myself right now. And I do think that whatever a person has to do to work through really trying times is legitimate, short of drug and alcohol abuse, I guess, and compulsive over-spending. Though those things are probably ok and understandable in moderation in times of great stress (not for pregnant people, though, except for the overspending, which doesn’t cause any damage to a developing fetus as far as I know, besides a decrease in their future college savings fund).
Ah! My life! (This is where babies come from.) I’ll have to add in this part while giving my kids one of many “sex talks” in the near and distant future that I plan to have with them on a regular basis.
On the topic of that, I do have an unrelated rant about a video I saw at our local library about girls going through puberty. Ruth is almost nine, and, though some people might think this is a bit late to have any kind of introductory talk with her, she’s homeschooled and is honestly quite ignorant in many of the ways of the world. She’s no dummy and there’s no reason to shelter kids from the idea of human sexuality, it’s a very normal and healthy part of who we are, after all. The only thing I have a problem with is the way its portrayed in the media and the wider culture we live in (dare I use the term “rape culture”?)
I’m digressing and this is actually an incredibly serious topic for another day when what I wanted to say right now is actually somewhat lighthearted. This video piqued my interest so I took it off the shelf and flipped it over to peruse the content on the back. “Ok,” I thought, “What are they telling young girls about puberty?” I’m sure that you can imagine my total outrage to be greeted by a picture of a young girl wearing a towel in a bathroom in the process of shaving her legs (!!!) I snapped that thing right back where I took it from. I should have known.
That’s right girls! Your bodies are about to go through some really disgusting changes. So here’s how you hide them or get rid of them all together. Time for the self-hatred to begin! Oh wait! It’s already started from the day you were born! But now the really intense woman-hating programming can commence, now that you’ve left behind the somewhat safe and innocent though still detestable stage of being a female child and you’ve now entered into the territory of becoming an actual young woman.
It has taken me decades to undo even a fraction of the self-hatred that was poured down my throat as a young female in our society. How dumb would I have to be to unthinkingly turn around and start the cycle over again with my own kids??! Hell no, I will not be poisoning my daughter (or sons) with the idea that female bodies are not beautiful unless drastically altered and kept within the tight constraints of current beauty trends. Hell no, I will not allow my kids to adopt the ubiquitous and toxic idea that everything feminine is less than what is masculine (though this is a very confusing topic to thresh out of our thought processes and can be really hard to see and understand when we encounter it.) Just the other day, the kids were watching a Thomas the Tank Engine movie, which you’d think would be sort of a safe haven of sexism. Nope. One of the plots of the stories was about how James, a male engine, got painted pink and how embarrassed he was to be such a “silly” (note: feminine) color and how everyone laughed at and made fun of him. (See: “female-hating programming from birth”, above)
I don’t need your damn puberty DVD. I think I can navigate the waters of female sexuality and identity much better on my own, thanks, seeing as how I am a sexually mature human female with a questioning, not-hypnotized mind and I have been through and can see the portrayal of females and males in our society and the importance of recognizing clear and hidden sexism when I encounter it and can hopefully give those tools to my kids. Keep your damn DVD! I should have hidden it down a crack in the shelving where it wouldn’t be unearthed for a few decades when it would be brought out and laughed at as a relic of the blatant sexism of the past after we’ve (hopefully) moved forward as a society.
(Ok, that ended up not being that lighthearted after all. Shrug.)