In Which I Do Go On

“The cheeseblog sure went south after she had that baby. I hardly even go there anymore except to see if there are any more pictures.”
“I know. She used to write about reality. You know, even the posts about cheese were good. At least they had purpose.”
“But now – first she’s gone to, like, once a week posts.”
“…and then they’re all ‘Blah blah blah, babies, boobs, blah blah blah.’ Doesn’t she know there’s a war on? And public transit still sucks! And there’s shitty pop music everywhere you look? The world is ripe with interesting subjects to write about. Replete. Great word, huh? Replete.
“Right on. Yeah, you popped out a kid. Good for you. Like no one’s ever written about THAT before. And who needs more boob stories? Maybe 10 years ago, before the internet, but not now. I read so many blogs, I know as much about lactation as any nursing mother. And I’m a guy!”
“Totally. What she needs to do is 2.0 her blog. She really needs to take it to another level. There’s a path, right?”
“…and she can either take the right turn or just keep veering left.”
“The left veer is a dangerous road. I gotta say, that’s a killer road. I’ve seen a lot of good people go down that road.”
Today mommy took me to the petting zoo! I sure liked the rabbits! Then I crapped my pants again!
“Oh dear god. Don’t let her go down that road.”
“What would be better?”
“I’m thinking a change of voice. First person is so 1.0.”
“Maybe a voice-over. A written voice-over effect. That’d be rad.”
“Uh, man, ‘rad’ is, like, 0.5.”
“Shut up, it’s at least 1.5.”
“I don’t know…”
“Trust me. I was at Star*blogger ’06 last month and the keynote speaker was that kid who came up with the plugin that reads your plant’s mind and transcribes it into a blog post…”
“The interactive one?”
“Totally 2.0. Anyway, he said ‘rad’ like every third word. It was inspirational.”
“Damn right.”

The dudes in my head can be real asshats sometimes. But they’re cute, they mean well and they remind me to watch Beverly Hills 90210 every day.

In other news, “The Show Must Go On,” by Queen? Still makes me want to stand on a table, legs wide apart, punching my fist in the air and shouting along like a mad demon. (I don’t paint on the Freddie Mercury mustache, though. That would just be weird.) This is good news. It means my flamboyant rock star soul has not been trampled. The books don’t tell you to check that your flamboyant rock star soul is intact after having a baby but I thought I’d better test it out.

A couple of – weeks? days? who knows? – ago, Saint Aardvark commented that I had stopped taking pictures of my belly after Trombone was born. He thought – and I agreed – that it would have been as interesting to see the shrinking as it had been to watch the inflation.

Partly, it’s: just more interesting to look at the actual baby than the place where the baby was.
Partly it’s: because there’s a baby, who has time to photograph her own body?
Partly it’s: Saggy, empty belly? Enh. It’ll look like this forever – why do I need photographic record?

A few – days? weeks? who knows – later I came across a site called the shape of a mother, started by a woman who was tired of watching celebrities balloon up with “baby bumps” and then give birth and be back to displaying their flat, unscarred, unstretch-marked tummies 2 weeks later. She solicited photos (from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post-pregnancy) and stories from women who identified as mothers and the site is a result. It’s quite cool.

So at 5.5 weeks post-partum I went back to the bathroom mirror and took photos of my belly again. I even took a closeup of the peculiar linea negra-painted monkey-face in my belly button, which, frankly, creeps me out a little. The stories of those women is so much more interesting to me than any story about XY celebrity’s regime to “get her body back.”

(And: rambling-speed, Mr. Sulu!)

It’s a funny expression, “get my body back.” It suggests a) that you’ve lost your body, b) that you have some control over anything that happens with your body and c) that if only your body was the size & shape it used to be, everything about your new life mit baby would be just terrific all the time.

As though your body was taken hostage by terrorists and if you could only find a handsome, patriotic ex-con with a heart of gold to help you, you could get it back and it would be exactly the same as when it was taken. But really: even if terrorists wanted your body (which they probably don’t, unless you have some kind of superpower [pits of unstoppable power don’t count in this example]) and you could afford the services of the handsome ex-con (you probably can’t and he only does gratis work for chicks with great bodies…damnit!), I guarantee that a very different body would be returned to you. How could it be the same considering the experience it’s been through? No, you might recognize the body that comes back to you, but it’s bound to have a slightly different perspective on life. It might even be missing some parts. A finger or two, depending on how good it was at being a hostage.

In these weeks since Trombone was born I have come to terms with feelings of simultaneous loss and blessing, happiness and sadness and have realized they exist, in part, because I am missing my self. Me, who I was. She who stayed up late drinking beer and listening to music, she who had the attention span to read an entire article and then the energy to form an opinion, she who could take transit to another point in the city without making it a 4 hour offensive requiring a map and pins and a strategic planning session beforehand. (Of course, this person has not existed since last September, so I guess I was just too distracted to notice she was gone until I was able to see my feet again and had my brain de-addled.)

“What do I do now?” I kept asking myself in the first few weeks. Meaning: what do I do with this weird little animal that I’m supposed to take care of, as well as: what do I do for the rest of my life? EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT. I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM OR HOW TO FIND OUT.

The answer turned out to be to keep eating, breathing, sleeping. And slowly, it becomes a lot like living. Just like it was before, with some new stuff thrown in. I am still partly who I was before Trombone existed, and I am also partly a new person, just as he is an entirely new person who is partly me and partly Saint Aardvark and partly all the people we’re made of.

So I think, when faced with that hormone-muddied post-partum thinking, that it’s easier, by which I mean more socially acceptable, to say, “Gosh I wish I had my body back,” but it feels more treacherous to say what you’re (maybe) really thinking: “Gosh I wish I had my old life back.” Because doesn’t that mean you regret your decision to have a kid? In a way. But not in a long, lasting way. More in the way you instantly regret which check-out line you’ve chosen as soon as you choose it. You get through the check-out, you get home and you eat your ice cream and it is delicious and perfect and you forget all about the other line that moved faster.

Is that the worst analogy ever? Yes, yes it is.

I like who I was before. And I like who I am now. Those two people I like are not the same people, but they’re similar enough to be comfortable in a room together. Regardless of what size pants each is wearing.

OK, the hilarious thing about pants

– well, the word “pants” is the hilarious thing about pants, but –

the hilarious thing about MY pants is: I’ve been wearing elasticized waist pants for quite a few months now. And up until the other day, they’ve remained quite comfortable. Obviously I am filling out the pants less than when I was 7 months pregnant but that’s the beauty of elasticized waistbands. The other day I decided I wanted to wear real pants again but when I tried on the pants in my closet from last summer, well, let’s just say the terrorists have won. So yesterday I shopped for some pants and bought a pair. So comfortable! But though they are not maternity pants, they do have an elasticized waist. The new me, she doesn’t hold with fastenings.

Can a minivan be far behind? A post for another day.

What’s the hilarious thing about your pants?

So hey, guess who’s six weeks old today and has finally taken to the baby bjorn? This is great cause for celebration as 1. we paid full price for the sonofabitch and it would have really sucked if he hated it, which he did until recently but only until he finally unfurled his legs – apparently it is very uncomfortable to be in an infant carrier if you are an infant whose legs are still curled in the fetal position and
2. SA can have the wee beastie crammed up against his chest for a while, obviously what we’ve been doing this morning, or I wouldn’t have had time to go so deep into my own head I needed search & rescue to come in after me.

(taken shortly before a poopsplosion rendered the blue dot sleeper unwearable.)

(taken shortly before my first cup of coffee of the day. Gee, the kid has giant hands, you say? I wonder where he gets that from?)

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