i used to have interests and hobbies, like, i used to write a blog and stuff. now, i am obsessed with labor and birth. it consumes me like fire. every morning, i do pivoting pelvic exercises on my birth ball, and do the equivalent of 50 sit ups with my pc muscle. i visualize joel with his head down, facing the rear so that my labor and birth will be as uncomplicated as possible (“get your damn head down, joel”). my goal is the moment when he is snuggled against my chest. if i can just get there….then what? i can’t think past that point. it is the focal point of my entire existence right now. all of my inertia is to get to that place. ricki lake told me i can get there without drugs. she told me it’s a completely natural process that i am strong enough to handle. i was made for this. i just need to keep asking myself, “what would ricki do?”
i ran into the quintessential old lady at the drug store yesterday in front of me, in line for prescriptions drugs. she had a perfectly clear, glinting drop of snot dangling off the tip of her nose as she turned to me, in regards to ruth, “she’s gonna be gorgeous when she gets older. you’re really gonna have to watch her.” i smiled an awkward smile at her (i’ve become really good at giving these to strangers who comment on my kid) and thought to myself as she ran around the lady behind me in circles and nearly crashed into a toy display case for the twentieth time in about five minutes that at least when she’s sixteen i don’t have to be concerned that she’s gonna get smashed into and tripped over by some large dude with slow reflexes that she darts out in front of. i might have to worry about her getting dealt pick-up lines to by that same large man, if that’s what she meant. i cursed cvs once again for not having any carts that i could deposit her into and the feeble, pathetic sound of my own voice as i said, “ruth, no running. you have to stay by me.” i thought i caught the lady behind me roll her eyes as ruth ran down the aisle again, smiling like a maniac, seeming to be getting fuel from the stressed and somewhat angered look on my face. besides, i thought to myself, i don’t need to worry about that once i put project burqa into effect. by the time she hits middle school, she will be wearing nothing but burqas. what’s wrong with burqas? i like burqas. take your damn women’s liberation elsewhere, mmkay? did you ever notice how old people seem to linger at prescription drug counters like the younger crowd lingers at bars? i swear the old lady in front of me stood there chatting up the pharmacist for a good ten minutes and left empty-handed. what the hell? i just want to get my prenatal vitamins and get the fuck out.
a couple nights ago, ruth woke up in the middle of the night with croupe. for anyone who doesn’t know, it is a signature sound like a seal barking that babies and young kids make when they have some type of illness that restricts their immature vocal chords. the first time it happened when she was 6 months old, we rushed her into the ER in the middle of the night, only to learn about this very common and 9 times out of 10, perfectly harmless condition that they eventually outgrow as their body and esophagus grow to regular size. well, every time ruth has a cold or virus, it seems like she gets this really wheezy condition, but this was the worst i have ever seen. she sat up in the bed coughing and gasping for air, to the point where it looked like she couldn’t breathe. we did what our pediatrician said to do in instances like this and took her into the bathroom with the shower on full hot to get the steam into her throat, then took her outside into the freezing night air. the whole time, she was really upset and seemed to be struggling to catch her breath. i was two seconds away from another ER trip. she finally calmed down when we got back in the bed and read some stories. we all drifted back off into a disturbed and watchful night of sleep. the next morning, i asked her if she was scared the night before. she said yes. i asked why and i expected her to say she couldn’t catch her breath or something. no. she comes back with, “i was afraid you were gonna give me medicine.” that’s what upset her to the point where she was practically hyperventilating. she didn’t want to have to stomach the children’s tylenol (she hates that stuff). well.
greg and i are signed up for a breastfeeding class tonight and i think i mentioned it a few times to my mom over the phone and stuff like that. the other day, ruth colored a picture and handed it to me and said, “this is for you to take with you to your ‘mama moot class’.” (i forgot to preface this one by saying that, although perfectly capable of saying the word milk, ruth calls breast milk “mama moot”). i tried not to smile because that is the surest way to have her suddenly tear the picture up, storm into her room and slam the door. ruth is not to be laughed at. it was hard, though. “i will,” i said, “i’m gonna take this to my class and think of you the whole time.” i mean_____! how fuckin’ cute is that?
ruth won’t potty train. why? i have a few ideas. mostly, i think she can’t deal with the pressure of trying something new and possibly failing at it from time to time. she will still sit on the potty now and then. for candy. there’s never any pee. “i don’t see any pee,” i say. “it’s hiding from you,” she returns. i have had the experience of her standing not six inches away from her potty seat and emptying her entire bladder onto the floor. “just sit down,” i say. she makes no comment, just finishes up and then takes off her wet clothes. she loves to sit on foreign potties. everywhere we go, she comes with me into the bathrooms and sits, for a couple seconds, on the toilet. she drags out mass quantities of toilet paper and stuffs them down into the potty. she likes to flush. and wash her hands. all of the pieces are in place, but the essential part is missing. the pee. liquid gold in the potty. “relax,” people say, “she won’t be going in a diaper when she’s fourteen.” i have my doubts.
a letter to joel:
get your damn head down. also, don’t worry about labor and birth. it is a totally natural process that you and i were made for. don’t worry about what to do with your hands and stuff, just go with the flow. don’t fight it. i’m pretty sure you won’t get squeezed to death on your way out. and, good news is, when you do get out, your dad and i will be well-trained on how to feed you (we’re taking classes), so there will be a buffet reception first thing. all you can eat. more good news: ruth is very excited about being your personal stylist. she can’t wait to start picking out your wardrobe. and don’t worry, she has really good fashion sense. like, yesterday, when she wore a pair of inside-out, backwards tights and a backwards t-shirt to preschool. at least her shoes matched. she also can’t wait to show you all of the things that she can do that you can’t. so that’ll be fun for you guys, i’m sure. hours of entertainment. she’s gonna be your best friend. as long as you do everything she says. if you happen to come out as a unique human with your own personality, feelings, and agenda, however, and not a baby doll, there may be a problem. but, don’t worry. i’m sure you guys will grow to be good friends. in your twenties. your dad and i can’t wait to meet you and hold you, but make sure you stay in there until you’re cooked all the way through. may 6th is a good date, i’d say. let’s aim for that. i’m gonna pencil you in. so breathe with me now (you can’t actually breathe. not air, anyways) and visualize it with me, joel. a solid but short-ish labor. short pushing stage because, of course, your head is in the optimal position, chin tucked to the chest and facing rear, just duck on out, then we are both in the clear. just don’t mess too much with your umbilical cord. it’s not a toy. grow big and strong now (not too big).