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What Was She Thinking? : Notes On A Scandal, Zoe Heller

I am loving this book.

Check out:

Romance novels - remixed.


I just now realized it's Friday, not Thursday like I've been thinking. O FRABJOUS DAY!


Friday, May 27, 2005

I was in our neighborhood grocery store last night when one of the more friendly clerks asked me where I got that pretty dress I was wearing. The 'pretty dress' is essentially a colorful, bead-gilded potato sack, with miles of voluminous fabric in the front to encompass a swelling midsection. I hemmed and hawed in front of the mirror yesterday morning after I put it on, because in my eyes I looked so huge, so enormous, a comical figure with normal arms and legs and a dirigible for a stomach, swathed in a tent of linen.

I ended up sternly telling myself that I didn't look fat, I looked pregnant, that there was really no mistaking the baby girth for a Haagen-Dazs binge, and why else would someone wear such an unflattering sundress unless they had a HUMAN BEING growing in their body, anyway? As the day went on, I kept catching glances of myself in window reflections and thinking how I finally looked With Child, not just Retaining Water.

UNTIL, that is, my grocery store conversation. "I got it from an online maternity store," I told her. "Oh!" she said, clearly surprised. "Well, it looks like something that you could find at Pier 1 Imports or something! Or even on a beach in Mexico!" (Maybe you can get great deals on decorative potato sacks in Cabo San Lucas, I don't know.)

Later, I asked JB, "Hey, do you think that lady had no idea I was pregnant until I mentioned where I got the dress?" "No, I don't think she did," he said. My response went something like "wuuuuuuurrrrrgggghhh" while he hurriedly tried to change his answer ("Yes! I meant yes!").

The idea that even in maternity clothes I look more overweight than knocked up is, I don't know, kind of depressing.

The five months or so during which your body starts really changing in pregnancy is not enough time to get used to a drastic figure change, especially when said figure keeps growing all the time. You know when you see pregnant women with their hands gently pressed to their bellies? I used to think that was sort of an unconscious protective gesture, but now I know what they're really up to - they're feeling their stomachs with a sense of disbelief: christ, I'm even HUGER today.

My body image is all over the map, really. Sometimes I feel sort of amazed and blessed and pleased with my own flesh; I see my naked body in the bathroom mirror after stepping out of the shower, and I spend a few minutes sort of preening - turning this way and that, admiring the rounded swell of skin, this temporary housing for our son. I lie in bed at night and stroke my Buddha stomach, watching in (slightly horrified) fascination as my abdomen jumps and bulges with tiny baby kung fu moves. I proudly show JB how I can actually push my belly button inside out now, and I tell him to feel my how unbelievably soft my new flattie (not quite an outie yet) is.

On the other hand, every morning means a desperate rootfest through my closet in search of some elusive article of clothing that will be comfortable but won't be dumpy or add more pounds to my frame than the twelve I've already gained; I gaze with despair at my wide elastic waistlines, so big from stem to stern, and my heavy, unpretty breasts that stretch every shirt I own to pudgy proportions. I walk to and from the bus and around the office and I can't stop thinking about what I look like, that I just keep getting more and more unattractive as I get larger, that I move awkwardly (that I lumber), that I should have been in better shape before I ever got pregnant.

It's silly, overall, when the more important issues have to do with my health, the baby's health, and the upcoming life changes in store for us, but the body panic is inevitable, I think. Like leg cramps or a stuffy nose or the overwhelming desire to eat salt-n-vinegar chips until the roof of your mouth is decimated, it just comes with the territory.


Seattle is in the midst of a heat wave - it's supposed to be around 90 degrees today. Gorgeous, summery, wonderful weather, I love it. Except at night, when it's time to go to bed and the room feels like a pottery kiln. Then, the love....not so much there.

I've been on a campaign to get an air conditioner ever since the second line appeared on the stick, basically. I mean, giving birth in September - you can't really time that any better, can you? Assuming your goal is to be the size of a narwhale during the hottest time of the year, that is. So on Wednesday JB and I went to Home Depot and purchased one of those small air conditioners you put in a window, and he installed it in our bedroom.

The air conditioner? Is bliss. Crisp, cool bliss on a stick. When you walk from the rest of our too-warm house into the bedroom, the chilled air hits you like a palpable wall. At night, I can actually sleep with the covers on, instead of kicking the sheets to a sweaty tangle at the bottom of the bed. Bliss, I tell you.

There's just one problem. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the fact that the unit cost all of $78 and is the size of a microwave, it's loud. It makes a motory humming sound, which JB has described as "standing next to an airplane". Most annoying of all, it switches between two different noises - as soon as you're used to Hum #1, it goes through a gear shift or something, and Hum #2 starts.

Now, I don't really mind this. To me, it's white noise - kind of a LOT of white noise, but nothing I can't sleep through. For JB, it's a different story. He claims it's impossible to deal with and he plans to spend the summer on the couch.

I feel bad about this....sort of. I don't want my husband sleeping on the couch, but on the other hand, do I really have to give up the air conditioner and add "impossibly hot" to my growing list of nighttime complaints? I already can't sleep in my favorite facedown position anymore, I have to clamp a pillow between my legs so my back doesn't get all wonky, I snort and snuffle like a potbellied pig, I wake up every two minutes to pee, I have 'restless leg syndrome' (AKA Jimmy Leg), my boobs moan and complain if anything touches them including the sheets, I have to listen to JB's endless snoring, and I was too damn hot when it was 60 degrees out - this makes me a touch unsympathetic to "I can't sleep because there's a hum".


Anyway, if you have any thoughts for making things more comfortable for HIM, please let me know.

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