Perfection on a Plate (The End is Near)

Add to the list of “Things I Will Buy When I’m Incredibly Wealthy” these fantastic, life-fulfilling plates. I wanted an entire life based on Blue Willow when I was younger, and these blend that Blue Willow life with a post-apocalyptic sensibility that comes with (my) age.

UFO Invasion

Plates (and bandanas!) available at http://calamityware.com/. If you’ve got some extra pocket change, go and buy some now (for me.)

Prototype(Images via Calamityware, of course.)

 

 

awake

it’s true
i
empathize
i would get drunk and
google you too
if circumstances
were different
i would ask a million questions
designed
to get a better look at your face
not
because i want to but
because i am like you

but things are as they are
and if the baby sleeps,
i am not
shining light in dark places
i am not like you
but
not by my own virtue

Procrastinator

I stay up too late, even when the option to sleep is granted by the baby. I have the opportunity for four and a half hours and consider myself lucky – it is so much more than the two, or three, or one or none that it was for months. Is this how everyone feels with a baby? It can’t be, all those other people seem to get so much done. I am under water all the time, and hold him cuddled for too long at night after his night wakings, hold him cuddled when I should let him sleep in his own little wooden shoe. IMG_1559

He is my ever-present everything, the best part of my days. Our time together is so limited – I am gone twelve hours a day for a 9-5 job, that commute, I swear – that cuddling him while he sleeps seems sane, seems rational and also seems like I’m probably going to ruin him. In a million different ways, we will break each other’s hearts forever, I am sure. I know I will forget it all in the wash of sleep deprivation – forget the way he pets my neck as he drifts off to sleep, forget the way he arches his back in protest as I put him down drowsy but awake LIKE ALL THE BOOKS TELL ME TO, forget the soft sweet humming to himself along with the lullabies I sing to him.

We are here. They are sleeping. I should be, too.

 

Return to.

Return to everything. To the world! To blogging! In a couple of weeks, to work! It’s horrifying. What’s been going on the last couple of months?

Well… This guy:

IMG_0926Our little chrome dome, Lex Luthor wannabe, all around smooth guy. His two month birthday is tomorrow and I’m both baffled by how fast it’s gone and also good lord it has been the longest two months ever. If I could go back and tell myself of two months ago what this was going to be like, I still wouldn’t believe it. Or even myself of two weeks ago, I wouldn’t believe it, either. This whole process, of becoming someone’s mother, is strangely terrible and wonderful, a transformation I couldn’t possibly have prepared for, even if I had been open to it.

Somehow, we’ve managed to get from entirely helpless, squawking, sleepy newborn to still entirely helpless, squawking, refusing-to-sleep, hilariously personable 2 month old. Every skill he learns has me texting a friend or calling my sister to say “oh my gosh! He rolled over from his stomach to his back! He can rock his own bassinet!” I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one who cares, but everyone has been delightful about humoring me.

I already miss little newborn Theo with all my heart:

IMG_0601I hear that it only gets better from here.

(Also, I just came across this ridiculous picture from when he was 5 days old. OH MY GOD MY HEART EXPLODED.)IMG_5278

 

 

Try to remember

I read somewhere (and really don’t remember where) that the later part of the third trimester can be like a return to the first, only larger and gruntier. Based on my experience of the last couple of weeks, I’d say that’s pretty spot on! I have never felt more attractive than when trying to tie my shoes these days. Meow.

But another feeling has set in, and it isn’t just pervasive nausea. It’s a sadness, a regret, the knowledge that I am already forgetting my first experiences of this baby’s life, that I will never be able to remember the experience of growing a human with any accuracy at all.

I will forget, if I haven’t already, the way that first trimester shaped up. The cherry blossoms that were blooming on 1st Avenue after the appointment where we had the first ultrasound, the one that confirmed the viability of what I already knew to be a fact. To be real, I knew it was a fact from the second it was a fact. And if I’m right, this baby will be here a week before the “due date.” As in, four weeks from now.

I will forget how tired I was, falling asleep sitting up after work, sometimes even before finishing dinner. I will forget the different ways my skin has felt, dry or tingling or, now, stretched tighter than I would have thought possible. No stretchmarks (yet?) but I’m not counting those chickens until we hatch.

I will forget the first tiny flutters that I didn’t recognize as quickening. (I love that word, quickening, in this context.) It wasn’t any of the other feelings the books suggest (“It might feel like gas, or little bubbles…”) – it was certainly a feeling I’d never imagined or felt before. But neither did it feel like another person kicking me.

The kicks and hiccups and rolls and pushes and stretches were the most unimaginable part of pregnancy, before experiencing them. Weight gain, nausea, appetite loss, appetite gain, sore feet, sore back, sore everything – those were imaginable and manageable, and really nothing much to notice. I’ve had it easy, compared with pretty much every other pregnant lady I’ve talked to. But these flutters and rolls and, lately, lurches are something else. Terrifying in their realness. Surprising in their strength.

I will forget the evening, probably, when I was washing dishes and looked down at my growing belly and saw it move, a surprise lurch. After which I marched into the living room and got Raven’s attention and pulled my shirt up, crying out “LOOK AT THIS IT IS MOVING.” I will forget the weekend afternoon during Fashion Week (when I have to entertain myself for a few weeks without much of Raven’s presence) when I was lying on the couch with a book resting on my belly and the little one kicked hard enough that the book slid to the floor. September 2013, the first time my baby disapproved of my reading choices.

October 2013, perhaps it was October 10 or 12, the first time we annoyed each other, the baby and I. It poked a foot up under my stomach, right in the center, sharp and aggressive enough to see an outline. I lightly pushed that foot back because hey, I’m working, and I had a glimpse of the future as the kicker responded by simply poking somewhere else, slightly to my right. So I lightly pushed that foot back again, and we played chase around my belly as I imagined that little one rolling his/her eyes in 12 or 13 or 14 years because I am just so annoying. Sorry, baby, but I have to work or else we don’t eat or have nice things.

The baby, the baby, the baby. In a way, it’s all there is and all there has been for the last several months. My thickening body, setting off every old alarm in my crazy head; the ultrasounds where we see the face developing, the hands, the feet, the tiny tiny feet. That one ultrasound in August when we got to watch a bout of hiccups. The very sensation of someone inside you having hiccups.

The way Raven and I curl together at night, my belly between us, and the little one takes a turn kicking him in the kidneys and he laughs or smiles or just puts his hand on my skin and we are a family, and that’s unreal. All of this is incredibly rich, and I have been inattentive, I have had my head down, powering through an experience I will probably (here’s hoping!) never have again, and experience that should have been shaping my life and my brain because after a few more weeks, there is going to be another human in the world, a tiny human, and I’m going to be so responsible for it, and someday it might ask about what it was like before it was born and I’ll have so little to grasp at, other than “you were perfect from the second you came into existence.” And then that child will laugh at me, but I will never be able to explain the strange beauty of having someone grown inside you. I shouldn’t even try.

Self-congratulation is the path to…something else

Just a couple of weeks ago, I congratulated myself on being someone who has not really sprained or broken any limbs or appendages as an adult. I was a very active klutz as a child, so I was in a cast of some kind almost yearly between third and eighth grades, but it has been a long time since I sprained something. And all those folks who have to walk around New York in air casts or with crutches do not make me jealous.

So it goes without saying that something was going to happen, since I actually took the time to be mildly pleased about this. And that something happened last night, at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan at the tail end of rush hour, while I was waiting for Raven to meet me so we could go home together.

I had come from the gym, which yes, I am still doing at 30 weeks pregnant. The boys who work at the gym are absolutely adorable about it, since they are about 25 and just can’t wait to meet the baby. I doubt I will actually take the baby to the gym, but who knows? One of them asked me if I’ve come up with names yet, and the other one has wanted repeated explanations of why we chose to not find out whether it’s going to be a boy or a girl. It gives me a serious case of the cutes.

So I was wearing my gym pants and sneakers, carrying a giant bag of clothes, and maybe feeling a little woozy or dehydrated when I walked up to the gate to see if Raven was waiting for me. He wasn’t, so I headed back down the stairs and just sort of… missed the last few. My eyes told me I was stepping down to the main floor, but my body learned that I was stepping into space, and I landed with my left foot rolled very firmly into a wrong position, and fell to the floor.

Not a single person even glanced my way, and I made myself stand up again.

Maybe I didn’t really hurt it, I told myself, even as nausea started welling up. My vision was turning gray as I started breathing faster, and my ears felt full of cotton. It can’t be very bad, I told myself, I am standing up. Even as I thought that, the room seemed farther and farther away as I stopped being able to hear at all. If my brain serves at all, I was staggering in a small circle at that point, trying not to throw up.

I came to almost immediately after I fell again, hearing myself make a strange squawking noise through cotton-filled ears. I was convinced, for a moment, that I had my headphones in, since everything was still so muffled and far away. I tried to pull them out – to no avail, since they were attached to my ipod which was in my bag, and nowhere near my ears. I had passed out entirely on the floor of Port Authority, and not a single person seemed to notice. No one looked my way, or seemed to think anything of it. Perhaps I looked crazy, half leaning against the wall as I tried to get my breath back, and perhaps they wrote it off for that reason. But if I had ever imagined passing out while third-trimester pregnant in a busy bus terminal, I would have also imagined at least one person saying “are you OK?” or even being overly solicitous and trying to stay with me until Raven arrived.

Don’t get me wrong – for my own self, I am glad that didn’t happen. I don’t do well with strangers getting involved in my business, and what would they have done, anyway, but ask questions that I was too nauseated to answer? I could tell it wasn’t broken (again, I have some experience with injuring myself!) so there wasn’t any need for a doctor or anything at all other than the all-consuming wish I had to be at home, right now, without the 45 minute bus ride and a third of a mile walk between be and my front door. I tend to get thick-skinned in times of crisis, so I found it a little shocking how much mental whining there was. I wanted a hug. I wanted a hand. I wanted someone to hand me an ice pack.

I texted Raven “I think I sprained my ankle?” and then gave up trying to stand and sat on the floor of the bus terminal, my back against a wall that smelled like cigarette butts. A few minutes later, I saw him across the passage, stepping into the deli across the way for (I imagined) a bottle of water or some such. He came out empty handed, and was clearly surprised when he saw me sitting on a public floor.

“I guess you didn’t get my text?”

He hadn’t, but everything he did after that was perfect. He went back to the deli and got ice, which we made into a makeshift ice pack. He helped me up the stairs, and carried my bag, and it was nearly the first time in my life that I have felt taken care of in the wake of something unpleasant.

I have never let anyone take care of me, but the life transitions of the last year – and the last seven months, particularly, as I have less energy and freedom than at any previous point in my life – seem to have shifted something in my brain. I may let someone take care of me, and it may even work out for the best. There are occasions, apparently, where the whole human race doesn’t let you down.

Who knew?

Testing the water

I am caramelizing onions and baking double chocolate cookies as I type this. My house smells… weird.

How’s that for a reintroduction?

Oh, internet, I’ve been absent. I know that’s been my story for lo these many moons, but apparently, I am sticking to it. It’s not the way I want to be, but I have rearranged my energy, and blogging and knitting fell right out the window. They probably landed on someone’s car and now I’m responsible for someone else’s misery because of my inattention to my hobbies.

Because that is still how my brain works.

I suppose that some of my energy is going toward nesting, also, but I am perhaps the worst nester ever. If I was a bird, mine would be one of those nests you find on the ground. Perhaps in the middle of the sidewalk. People ask “oooh, how’s the baby’s room coming along?” and I say “…it exists?” It’s a combination of superstition/fear and laziness that fuels this situation, and I’m not intending to change until the middle of October. (It’s not like this baby is going to be early, I mean come on…) But anyway, we have a co-sleeper (inherited) and a weird collection of onesies, so we’re probably all set anyway, right? Oh, I guess we probably need a couple of diapers or something. And I guess I’m supposed to have a car seat for leaving the hospital? Geez, so much planning.

Most of my energy goes toward commuting, working, reading about babies, keeping up with cleaning the house (barely), the gym, cooking actual meals and the all-too-occasional nap. I could use a lot more naps. If there were more naps, then there might be more blogging. (Lies. If there were more naps, there would just be more napping.) And sadness and regret. An exorbitant amount of energy is going toward that.

This, I am trying to change.

I read somewhere something about how if you fall in love with someone from far away from where you’re from, you’ll spend the rest of your life missing someone. And it turns out that that’s true. The missing that I’m doing seems unbearable most days, but I know that the alternative missing would be worse. People say “oh, but there is skype” or “there are always airline sales” but when the people you’re missing don’t use the internet and, frankly, there aren’t airline sales (and besides, I have a job?) then this terrible black hole is just going to live on.

So I will make cookies and sweep and mop and think about baby sweaters, and hope that everything will turn out for the best. I think things usually turn out for the best, but that could just be because things turn out the only way they turn out, and what can you do but make the best of it?