Friday, April 15, 2011

The Belly Dance

You know what? My giant belly is really starting to come in handy.

It makes a great catcher for stains that would have normally ended up on my lap. It's a lovely conversation piece (now that people aren't afraid to acknowledge it as a pregnancy and not just an unfortunate over-indulgence of ice cream sundaes). It evokes smiles, nods, and--if I'm shlepping my children through a steamy parking lot and they're whining in harmony--looks of sympathy.

Most of all though, it gets me out of a lot of things I would normally have no excuse for. Now when I botch my parking job in the garage, leaving Jeff enough room to exit his car only if he possess the superhero ability to turn himself into a vapor, I just blame it on my belly. As in, I can't possible squeeze out of my own car if the door is too close to the wall. Sorry, honey.

Or like yesterday, when I brought the kids to the infamous Burger King play place so I could kill some time before Rollie's soccer practice and so they could pick up some cool diseases (hey, with flu season over, I really miss my pediatrician).

I let them loose on the series of germ-infested tunnels while I sat, ate a chicken sandwich and rued the heartburn that loomed in my future.

Rollie's voice echoed down the big twisty slide: Momma, come up here!

Me: Oh, sorry Rol Rol...I don't think I can this time.
Rollie: Why not?
Me: Well, my tummy's just a liiitle too big to fit through those tunnels.
Rollie: Please, Momma?
Me: Rollie, have you seen my tummy lately?
Rollie: Just come up one time?
Elsa: Come up here, Momma!
Me: You guys are doing great without me. You don't need me up there.
I heard banging around, and the entire structure shook as my children scurried around like ROUS's searching for some cheese.
Rollie: But it's super fun, Momma!
Me: I bet it is.
Rollie: I'll help you up!
Me: Wouldn't that be a sight? You'd probably need a lot of butter to get me through there.
Rollie: Why would I need a lot of butter?
Me: To squeeze me through.
Rollie: ...We could use some ketchup!
Me: Hmmm...
Elsa: Can't catch meeeee!
Me: I'm sure I caaaan't.

Back in the day, when I was relatively svelte and agile, I climbed around in those tunnels and tubes before. I've seen the shed skin cells, the grime, the skeletons of other parents who disappeared inside the labyrinth to retrieve their children long ago and never made it back out. I've crawled around on knees that groaned in protest and emerged feeling the overwhelming urge to take a five-day shower. I consider that one of the biggest displays of love for my children I've ever known. In fact, this should be the standard by which all love is measured. Forget songs about hoofing it for hundreds of miles, being faithful or even dying for someone. If you will spend ten minutes crawling around inside a Burger King play place for your love, you are one devoted soul-mate.

But now that I'm large enough to have my own gravitational pull, I can avoid such displays of affection.

I've also managed to worm my way out of other things. I can't climb to altitudes exceeding 5' 5" (meaning I can't even sport three-inch heels...not that I ever did....). Putting things away in the attic is off-limits, as is washing the roof of my car (which requires a step ladder and a Shawalla). I have begun relying on my children to bend down and pick things up that I drop. Or that they drop. Or that the dog refuses to eat off of the floor. I can't clean with certain cleaners, I can't paint, I can't clean out litter boxes, I can't handle Jeff's supply of Viagra (kidding! He take Cialis).

And I've perfected the art of kicking things into place. Like when I'm straightening the house, and I'm herding toys into my children's respective rooms, I now dribble them down the hallway like and through the open bedroom doors (and then remove my shirt and tear around the house shouting Gooooaaaaalllll!!!! Yes, being six months pregnant allows me to get away with all sorts of strange behavior...just ask my vacuum cleaner).  This kicking toys technique is one I learned from my own mother, who used to send books, clothes and other personal items I'd left around the house skittering across my bedroom floor with one swift kick of her foot as she hurried down the hall. I would swear she was a soccer star back in high school, but I don't think they had soccer for girls back then. Plus she claims to have been the Bernardsville Pogo-Sticking Champion of '58, so I guess her time was spent jumping up and down, not kicking balls. Right, Dad?

So yeah, I'm definitely in the honeymoon phase of my pregnancy. I love it enough to crawl through a fast food play tunnel for it. Does anyone have any butter?