I'm reading a great book, Michaela Wrong's In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz, which is about Zaire/Congo in the waning days and wake of Mobutu. Yes, shocking though it may be, I have a young child and can still read. I did have to retrain about 6 months after her birth, as entire sections of my brain had been damaged from PPDPTSDSD (that's Post Partum Depressive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Sleep Deprivation). But after years of therapy, I am now able to once again read an entire adult book, as long as it isn't too literary or academic, those are still too much for me. I'm trying to do a lot of reading now since I am not sure I'll bounce back as well from another bought of PPDPTSDSD. I may only be able to handle People magazine for the next couple of decades.
But I digress, back to the Congo. She has a chapter called "A Nation on Low Batt," which plays on an expression used by Congolese cell phone users when their phones run out of batteries ("I'll ring you back, I'm Low Batt") and refers to the barely-functioning state in which Mobutu left the country. This includes mountains of uncollected garbage, 20 story buildings with out-of-order elevators, hospitals that act as prisons for patients who can't pay their bills, and, most terrifying, a nuclear reactor (that's right) with almost no security and uranium rods on the verge of corroding.
Well, I am the motherhood equivalent of the Congo right now, definitely A Mom on Low Batt. Everyone poo-poos when I say that I am humungous, but this week it became official. I got on the scale, and my normally laid back OB--who answers almost every question with, "If if makes you feel better," as in, "Should I avoid feta cheese?" "If it makes you feel better"--almost fainted. After he collected himself and examined me further, he concluded that I probably have a condition called polyhydramnios, or excess amniotic fluid, which I also had with Charlotte and which basically means I am breeding oceans in my uterus. And it means that I am officially humungous, and will become ever more so, so you can save your "You look great!"s because we both know you are lying, and last I checked, that was still one of the 10 commandments, right up there with Thou Shalt Not Enact Universal Health Care and Thou Shalt Not Believe in Global Warming. So you know it's bad.
When a person is carrying around not only a small human but an Olympic-sized swimming pool so Baby can practice his butterfly stroke, she finds herself slipping easily into a Congolese state of mind and body. In practical terms, this means Charlotte watches so much TV, if one of the yuppie, over-achieving moms that litter this area gets wind of it, I'm probably looking at a visit from Child Protective Services. She also hasn't had a bath in over a week, because washing her hair is pretty much the Mt. Everest of my physical activities right now, along with putting on socks (on myself or her). My own personal hygiene is rapidly descending in my priorities, not that it was that high to begin with (see a previous post on that topic), but I can't even see a large portion of my legs, much less shave them. Like Kinshasa, my house features uncollected garbage on occasion, and my kitchen counters would probably incinerate the Dateline NBC ultra-violet germ detector (I hate those shows. If Jane Q. Housewife and her family have been living with those germs and no one has died, then their presence is not a news story. Go back to busting sex offenders). Fortunately, when we redid our kitchen, I specifically chose a pattern of granite for the countertops that does not show dirt or debris, even if you are looking for it. Seriously, I could scatter a bag of raisins all over it, and they would be mummified before anyone discovered they were there.
My brain is also on low batt, book reading aside. Today I broke an egg into the sink (as opposed to say a dish where it might be edible). And that's really the tip of a massive iceberg of absent-mindedness. I am really questioning the wisdom of my decision to attend a month of full-time language training for my job in November. I did it last year, and it was really fun, so I thought, what a great way to close out this pregnancy. Plus I will have childcare 5 days a week rather than just 3 days a week, not to be sneezed at. But I am increasingly having a hard time speaking English (writing in this blog is truly tortuous at this point, but I can't let my fan down so I am writing through the pain), much less any other language. I fear this could be quite humiliating.
I'm also having to drastically scale down my extra-house activities I had great hopes of taking Charlotte a nearby farm's Fall Festival this autumn, because as everyone knows, it is obligatory to take small children to places where there are animals, hay, and pumpkins in the fall. But, alas, there will be no pumpkin farming for Charlotte this year, unless I can convince Kevin to buy me one of those Hoveround scooters they advertise late at night on TV. Those things are awesome! Did you know they are lightweight, highly maneuverable even in small quarters, and have lumbar support? And their founder's name is Tom Kruse, which adds even more credibility. I want one of those bad, even just to cook dinner. Or to go to a pumpkin farm, either way. But seeing as we are not on Medicare or Medicaid, I don't think Hoveround is in my future. I'll have to console myself with my "Stork Parking" permit for work, which truly make pregnancy almost worthwhile. If I were like an in shape pregnant person, like super model Gisele Bunchen--who brags that she did yoga the day before giving birth, never wore maternity clothes, and, sealing her position on my Most Hated People in the Universe list, just behind Robert Mugabe, says she thinks breast feeding should be mandated by the UN--I would sell that permit on the black market for a year's worth of formula.
Well, I'm stopping now because writing this has pretty much depleted my mental energy supply for the rest of the week.
Je suis Low Batt.