Monday, September 20, 2010

A Dog's Breakfast

My uncle once wrote a novel (unpublished) entitled A Dog's Breakfast.  The title referred to the messy variety of odds and ends that can compose a meal for a dog.  The story shared bits and pieces of a life that began in an Irish-Catholic family of ten, moved in and out of a stint in the seminary, and spent a few years in the Peace Corps in Africa, where he met a native woman who became his wife.  She now lives in Southern California, where she finished raising their three sons in his absence after he died of cancer a few years ago.  I read the novel in a makeshift office in an industrial wasteland where I served as secretary for an eccentric small business owner one summer home from college.  The job was such that I wore boxer shorts and tank tops to work every day, and never encountered another human being, outside of the business owner himself and a handful of confused coworkers, none of whom understood the nature of the business or the haphazard methods the man employed.  Some mornings the motley crew of us showed up outside the gates, waited awhile, and then went home when he failed to show up at all for the day.  When he did come to work, his office phone number was shared with his home, and the only person who ever called was the three year old friend of his daughter who lived next door to his family, to ask me every day:  Can you pwease open da gate so we can pway?  I had to explain each day that I wasn't at the house, and that she had to ask her mommy to take her over and knock on the door to play.  I had plenty of time to read my uncle's novel.  And today is a dog's breakfast sort of day in my mind.  Don't say I didn't warn you!


This pregnancy is so much easier than my last one!  Part of it is probably that I taught about fifteen hours a week of fitness classes last time, and pushed up against my limitations on a regular basis.  I do a lot less this time around, and don't feel particularly limited in my day-to-day life.  I'm just beginning to feel twinges of discomfort while moving about, and I'm entering my last trimester.  Also, I've gained as much weight in two trimesters this time as I did in my first last time!  I'm really hoping this is an indicator that my girl will be smaller than my boy.  I'm not hungry with the ferocity that I was last time, but it recently occurred to me that this could also be due to the fact that I'm not constantly working out either.  I'm trying to psyche myself up mentally for a VBAC, telling myself that I can do this, and that it will be easier than it was with my son.  But at the same time I'm trying to keep a certain sense of detachment from the birthing process itself.  It's a funny balance to try and strike!  Although I'd like a VBAC, my interest in the birth, and how it plays out, pales in comparison to my excitement about the baby.  Honestly, if she's healthy, I'll be happy no matter how she gets here.  It's a bonus that the pregnancy is relatively easy and stress free.


I fall more in love with my two year old every day. His personality is unfolding before our eyes, and I get a huge kick out of watching it happen.  I babysat a little friend of his this past weekend, another two year old boy, and they had a lot of fun together.  His friend is a louder, more exuberant child and it was a lot of fun to watch the two of them play.  We went to the park, and it was full of kids running and climbing on the playground.  Mu husband and I sat on a bench keeping an eye on the two boys in our care, surrounded by older children.  Suddenly I noticed my son standing off to the side in a funny looking position with his neck arched forward and his eyes on the sky.  What's he doing?  I asked my husband.  I don't know!  he replied, and we laughed together and agreed that he looked awfully silly standing there in his weird little stance while all the other kids whirl-winded around him.  After a minute or two he looked over at us and announced:  Lotsa clouds in da blue sky!  Then he slowly bent down to rub his fingers over the grass and told us:  And da grass a yittle bit wet!  He sat down, sunk his hands deeper into the damp grass and slowly rolled down on his spine until he was supine on the ground, looking back up into the cloudy sky.  Da clouds and da grass...  he murmured aloud in a voice full of marvel, and my heart filled up so fast it overflowed, spilling over the park like a tidal wave, drowning us all in a sunny, blue certainty that parenthood is the most beautiful thing ever, more marvelous even than the clouds and the grass.


Fall has fully arrived, no matter that the calendar might say not until tomorrow.  We're experiencing the busy bustle of the start of the school year, such a regular rhythm for a family of teachers.  I feel like we've really found our footing with the toddler, and our work, and the constant needs of the household.  The passing seasons are starting to develop their own rhythm in our family, and we're adjusting to that rhythm, figuring out how to move to it.  And waiting for our daughter's arrival in December: a delightful cog to toss in the wheel of our rhythmic progression!  I'm predicting that she will have to adapt to our family slightly more than my son had to.  As our first baby, we adapted entirely to him.  All our friends ended up leaving the city while I was pregnant, and then we moved into our new house with an eight week old, so we effectively started a new life with our baby boy, and his rhythms set our tempo.  Our daughter will be born into a slowly moving marching band.  It will be so interesting to see how all of us adapt.  I'm curious about her, and can't wait to meet her!  But in the meantime, fall is here, and I have this last season of harvest to work through, steady dawn to dusk tasks to prepare for the long coming winter.  Driving with the toddler each day we talk about the leaves changing: yellow, and orange, and red, and purple, and then they'll all fall down off the trees I tell him.  And then winter, and the baby comin'?  he asks.  Yes, little sweet.  Fall, and then winter, and then the baby, I say.  And so we watch the leaves begin to turn, and keep working on finding our footing, marching to our own little family rhythm, and marveling in the moments we have left, before fall goes, and everything changes again.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear you are having an easier time the second time around. I'm also finding the second one (a girl, with the firstborn a boy) much easier. And I'm also taking a similar joy in spending time with the two year old. It's a great stage.