I was a Disco Ball

...and Peaches was a raver. There was a wolf and a pirate, a 17-lb lobster baby and the lucky lobsterwoman who caught him, a Ghostbuster and a witch, and a rockin' punk trio. That's right, my baby shower happened this weekend. The end was bittersweet. I was tired, yes, but it was probably my only baby shower, and it happened, and ended. It almost didn't happen at all, first because I didn't think I wanted one, then second because my original hostess couldn't do it. In the end, my mom drove 400 miles each way, bringing her friend Janet, sumptuous homemade food, mini pumpkins and fabulous cake, and my cousin Mindy. They put on a great party attended by people from all areas of my life, which made for little jolts of contrast: there was my college roommate talking to my friend from the gym, there was my fellow fitness instructor walking in with the HR director from my work, there was my life coach meeting my mom, my friends, and taking it all in. Throughout it all, there was my baby, rolling and kicking in my belly under 440 pieces of mirrored glass glued to a Bella Band. One of my favorite moments of the afternoon was turning off the lights in the living room as Peaches lit me up with a flashlight. I became a working disco ball, scattering light through two rooms and across the beautiful faces of friends, babies and children.

That night I couldn't sleep. Even though I didn't have to do much of anything for my shower (a true blessing!), I still spent a few days working on the playlist, thinking through the invites, and getting excited and uncertain. Then all these people I loved came over and showered us with wonderful, wonderful gifts. When they left, the feelings washing over me had to unwrap themselves in layers. Many of the guests had tough circumstances, and with them present, I felt an edge of the power of their struggles. In pregnancy, I've been able to isolate myself, insulate myself, against the emotions of others, or at least I have tried to not be so ripe and raw in the face of it. I don't even listen to the radio so that I can avoid the emotion of others. Like taste and sound, it seems louder than usual, like someone turned up the volume. Emotion gets too visceral, too real and present, for me to comfortably handle. But with all of those dear faces in the room, even in my joyous state and truly enjoying their love, I couldn't ignore the stark life and death health scares of two people, unblinking despair of another, the anger and fear of fighting personally wrenching legal battles (two others), weight struggles and consuming, spirit-changing unhappiness. All these people came together to give me pure, sustained, generous love, in spite of the simple fact of life, life both as it happens to you and as you make it. I say 'in spite' and yet here I am about to bring someone out of the safety and security of my womb and into the human condition, which bears with it the truth of pain. It's not in spite, I guess, it's all part of it. I have a mantra which I thought of many times on Saturday: Breathe, Believe, Receive--It's All Happening. I love the action items in that mantra and also the closer: it's all happening.

I played Punk Rock Girl at my shower partly in honor of my spirit self. When I played it for Peaches recently, he listened to the lyrics and shook his head, trying to understand. "What is this song even about??" he asked. "It's ABOUT being fifteen and living in Rochester and trying to have fun in the winter!" I told him.

One Saturday I took a walk to Zipperhead...I met a girl there and she almost knocked me dead! Punk Rock Girl!
We went to the Philadelphia Pizza company
and ordered some hot tea,
and the waitress said, "Well no, we only have it ICED."
So we jumped up on the table and shouted ANARCHY
and someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox
and it was California Dreamin
and so we started screamin
on such a winter's daaaayyyyy!!!
We got in her car and away we started rollin
I asked how much you pay for this
she said nothin man it's stolen!
Punk rock girl
You look so wild
Punk rock girl
Let's have a child
We'll name her Minnie Pearl
Just you and me
Eat fudge banana swirl
Just you and me
We'll travel round the world
Just you and me
Punk rock girl


The 5 s's are giving me a headache

31 weeks, and we're already knee-deep in baby. Baby dreams, baby names, baby books. Last night, we lay in bed, Peaches reading BabyWise and me reading Happiest Baby on the Block, and suddenly realized we were getting very different messages about baby care, but those messages had one thing in common: the advice was annoying. "There is nothing you can do about colic," he sighed, shaking his head. "Try to give the baby to a family member." "What?" I asked. "What about the 5 s's? Shhh, swaddle, side-lying...and two other things, I forget. The baby must feel like it is in a womb and be coddled at all times, just like the people of the !Kung tribe do with their babies. You should feed them 100 times a day." "NO!" he said vehemently. "You will spoil the baby! It says so in my book! Feed every three hours! We want parent-centered parenting, not child-centered parenting!" "MY book says that the baby CAN'T be spoiled!" "Well, MY book cites the Creator," said Peaches. "My book quotes the Bible," I said. Peaches and I are rarely swayed by the Creator or by the Bible, so at this point we had to both put our books down. "Each of our books could be distilled down to one sentence," said Peaches, "...and those sentences would be contradictory."

I think it's time we find a good pediatrician and get some advice. Baby land is getting swampy.


The Goat Who Needed Me

We were standing outside of the goat pen of Ward's Berry Farm when we saw her. A goat in late pregnancy is in a special predicament; carrying multiple mini-goats inside, and they have hooves(!). We always feel for these ladies. This one in particular looked at us longingly, maybe demandingly?

She angled her bony goat head between the slats in the fence. We offered her food, thinking she must be very hungry. Without eating, she kept sticking her head out until we began petting her. Scratched behind her ears, under the chin, rubbed her hard, flat forehead. She loved it! She just wanted petting. She was so pregnant and just needed some love. Not food, people, love!

That goat is me.

I have an active baby inside of me and somehow that fact negates all my ability to handle neediness in others. I don't need neediness...I just need love. I guess that makes me needy. In the past couple weeks I've gotten overlooked, forgotten, stood up, and ignored. It's not personal, but yet I feel it with a little extra veracity. A little lost at work, a little lost in general. I want my friends back, and I want it in a new way.

I don't really want to hang out and talk about problems. Sure, maybe it's over a nice lunch, but still. I want to be with someone in a fun way, an interesting way. I think being married actually counteracts this impulse, since a lot of fun things are "reserved" for doing with my partner: movies, fairs, walks. It's not because of him, but it's because of the structure of our lives, and suddenly it seems kind of wrong. It seems like it sets me up to be sitting somewhere, in a chair, in the car, or driving and on the phone, listening to some wonderful person present yet another problem in her life. Not really fun! I got my own little problem, and it's that another person keeps taking all my food and sleep. Of course, this person is a mere three pounds, and I'm very excited to be sharing all my food and sleep with the baby, but damn it, it makes me needy.

Maybe this is why people join book clubs. If only I could read books on demand!!