Wednesday 18 May 2005

Our Brand New Shiney SUV (Stroller Utility Vehicle, that is...)

For the past few weeks I have been developing my morning routine. I get up, have breakfast while checking email and the websites I usually visit. Then I dress in shorts and a t-shirt and put on my mp3 player and listen to a relaxation script while gathering up dirty dishes, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, sometimes vacuuming and otherwise tidying up. This takes about half an hour. The relaxation script I listen to is forty minutes long, so for the last ten minutes I do some exercises on my exercise ball. These days I am mostly focusing on lower body exercises, for obvious reasons. After this I generally move on to the rest of my exercise routine which usually consists of a walk somewhere or other, or going up and down the stairs in our building.

Having this routine in the morning seems to have finally gotten things under control around here! The other day I actually got rid of the last of our boxes from moving and now our hallway is completely clear. Now that the hallway is free of junk, however, I’ve noticed that it is very barren looking. In fact, the whole apartment looks rather unadorned. I mean, we are seriously lacking art. Tim did put up our Cupid and Psyche print above the piano while I was away in Orillia, but we have so much wall space. I miss Sandro’s Klimt prints from the old, old apartment. I’ve looked into getting some prints, but at this point I feel guilty spending money on decorations because we don’t really know what the future holds for us right now. Sure, we can make a good, educated guess at it, but neither of us really know how much a baby costs.

I do have a little fantasy though of getting a bunch of Waterhouse prints. I really like his stuff and feel that it would be good for a baby to be around it. I also really like how so many of his paintings are from either Greek or English mythology and literature—Shakespeare and the King Arthur legends and things like that. I remember growing up in my room with the fairy-tale themed wallpaper. I used to look at the maze-like pattern on the wall—the spiral staircases going up to the little castle, the dragon sleeping on the stairs leading up to the princess in the tower—and I would make up stories to go along with the pictures. I want to stimulate our baby’s imagination in the same way; it would be nice if she grew up to be a storyteller of some kind, or at least someone who thinks about these kinds of things.

What does this have to do with our shiney new SUV stroller? In a word, nothing. I was talking about my morning routine and got distracted by the barrenness of our walls. The morning routine, as I was saying, also seems to have led to more afternoon and evening productivity. I’ve been doing things around here that I’ve put off for ages! I actually scrubbed the bathroom floor yesterday, which I’ve been dreading since we moved into this place, which was not cleaned between tenants. Today I mopped all the floors and dusted the bookcases in preparation for the Weber’s visit. While I was waiting for them to call I also assembled our shiney new stroller. I’m usually not very good at doing things like that because I hate reading instructions and often just skip ahead and then get everything confused; but I took it slowly, read the instructions a few times before attempting the assembly and everything went off without a hitch. Now we have this gigantic SUV-like stroller sitting in our dining room area which we actually can’t use for at least a few months because the baby needs to be able to support its own bobble-head before it’s safe to be put in the stroller.

While I was putting the stroller together, something interesting happened. I was standing in front of the table, reading the instruction booklet with my one hand resting on the top right side of my belly (typical pregnant woman pose, I know). As I leaned over I felt a little pointy movement directly under my hand and it immediately popped into my head that that was the baby’s foot. It felt like a little foot sticking out; and in fact, now that I think of it, it was in approximately the same area where Elizabeth pointed the foot out to me at our last appointment. For some reason, feeling the little foot and recognizing it all on my own created a pretty intense surge of emotion and I actually started talking to the baby unselfconsciously—just for a few seconds and nothing interesting; but for that brief, sweet moment I felt more attached to the thing than I have probably for the whole pregnancy so far.

I wonder if it is this feeling of attachment and detachment that makes so many women seek to fill their homes with baby-associated stuff even though most of it is not needed. As we accumulate things—both bought for us and by us—perhaps it becomes easier to imagine the being that will eventually use these things. I wonder if the reason both Tim and I feel detached is because we are so far removed from (and really intensely dislike) how so many families respond to pregnancy—by buying stuff. I wonder if our resistance to this aspect of pregnancy has inadvertently created or propagated our detachment. I admit that I have been buying stuff lately; but this is stuff that I’ve considered for a long time and am just now buying because there’s only three weeks left! I have resisted the impulse to buy things for the baby for quite some time and maybe also resisted forming the attachment that makes one want to buy the stuff—maybe out of self-defense! I don’t know; feelings are complicated, and I really don’t want to believe that my emotional attachment to my child is bound up in my feelings of consumerism; but sometimes I wonder what’s really going on!

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