2015-01-27 13.08.47

It’s a delight. It’s a distraction. I work in all of the spare moments. When he abandons his second helping of oatmeal to play with his Lincoln Logs. When he’s napping. While they’re having bath time, after I finish the dishes. Often after I put him to bed. I’m driven not by greed so much as the delicious knowledge that I will most likely earn more money in the first quarter of this year than I did in nearly all of last year, money for groceries and gas and toddler clothes. I’m driven by the satisfaction of a job well done, the items on the checklist crossed off one by one. I’m driven by the prospect of all of the tasks before me. I haven’t been able to do this, to just work to my heart’s content, in I’ve no idea how long. Since college?

But then a certain someone rolls through my belly, digs into my pelvis, pushes against my sides, and I remember that I’m driven, too, by the ticking clock, the pages falling off the calendar. I’ve no idea what this baby’s birth will mean in terms of this work, whether the child will be easygoing and snuggly and sleepy or a sensitive, wild creature, or someone in between. Will I have naps aplenty for working away, or will I be exhausted and strained?

And so I work while I can. Make hay while the sun shines. The days and weeks dissolve, the baby grows, and the spring I’ve made in little pots and planters around my house, though seemingly buried so very deeply under the blizzard snow outside, makes its way nearer.

Full

The slump into three o’clock. The house warm and and the light soft, wood stove having been going for hours now, the light through just beginning to dissolve away.

My hips creak and snap like aging timber. My eyelids brought low by the fatigue of five loads of laundry, a long walk with a toddler and dog, a clean kitchen, growing a new and active person. I’ve work to do, plenty, and finally an interesting assignment after two that were dull and poorly written. I’ve an hour of nap time left, if I’m lucky. My body wants it full of yoga. My brain wants it devoted to sleep.

I open the only spicy ginger ale we have left, switch the music from quiet classical to the mid-90s alternative of my adolescence. Palms laid upon the table, I bend my upper body low, stretching back and hips and shoulders and hamstrings. This baby. This body.

Third Eye Blind comes on and I dance through it, stretching hips and thighs. I admire the legs that carry me through the days, belly that has made such a happy home for the child to be. I take time to notice that my body has not abandoned me, not altogether. My hands, my face, my shoulders, my ankles, these remain unchanged. The same freckles, the same muscles, the same bones, they are constant, what they were when I first heard this song and the ones that come after. This blood ran hot the first time I loved, and the next, and the next, and on the night this child was conceived, and every time since. These feet have walked and hiked and run for miles. These fingers have stitched possessions of comfort and beauty. These cheeks have blushed with drunkenness, and they will again.

I may be full of this baby and my life may be full of tasks, but the body is my own, still and always.

Traveling

I hear them after the bath.
Indonesia.
Cambodia.
Moldova.
Chad.
Big Australia.
Switzerland.

I picture the steamy room,
his small, sturdy frame
draped with terry cloth and
slung around his father’s hip
so that he can reach the
northern hemisphere.

In a moment,
teeth to brush,
pajamas to button,
the same old books and songs,
but for now they have the
whole world,
printed on a
fifteen dollar shower curtain,
to explore.

Siren Song

My hands smell like charred wood. My toes are cold. My belly is full. My body is edgy.

My own eyes in the mirror frighten me. They are still and empty and cool. Where am I? What am I missing?

The mountains, says a voice in my head. Always, always, whenever given the chance to speak, that’s what it says. The mountains. The hills. Ridge lines and valleys and wilderness and shadows. Clouds sunk down in the lowlands, clouds gathering above. Hiding places. We haven’t been since last summer. We talk uncommitedly of going soon, soon, a babymoon. Maybe in February. To western Massachusetts. To Vermont. A getaway.

I don’t know if my pregnant body could bear to leave if we did get there.

Cold Moon

Commas and italics. Periods and margins. Sample sizes and hermeneutics and research ethics. At least for a few hours a day.

The rest of the time, it’s “please clean up your trains so mama does not trip on them,” and “do you need to go potty?”* and the fourth reading in a row of Clifford Barks or The Ox-Cart Man. It’s endless cups of tea and endless logs on the fire and endless washing of dishes. It’s bundling up in wool and fleece so we can walk the dog without frostbite. It’s a baby that twitches and kicks and shivers under my skin.

When I have a moment to myself, it’s simple, animal sensations I crave. Hot showers. Thorough stretching. Words that feel right even when they don’t make intellectual sense; the poetry of rhythm and consonants and implication.

Cleared off tables. A made bed. Tasks checked off the list.

That’s all one can really ask of January, anyway.

*he’s potty trained during waking hours, running around the house in shirts and socks and superhero underwear, so proud of his accomplishment. we’ve had no (*knock on wood*) accidents outside the house since we started diaper-free a week and a half ago. it’s such a pleasure not to wash a mountain of diapers every three days, especially knowing that it’s just an interlude before we’re back to it in a few months. “baby brother/sister will need to wear them,” he says of his diapers, one of the motivations we gave him to give them up.