Suburban Turmoil 

Baby Fat

Anyone in Bellevue can tell you the Dollar Tree is a major neighborhood hotspot.
Anyone in Bellevue can tell you the Dollar Tree is a major neighborhood hotspot. I actually have to get dressed up when I hit the Tree because I’m guaranteed to run into at least a dozen familiar faces while I’m there. The aisles are filled with the cacophonous tones of gossiping hausfraus, standing alongside carts laden with gift wrap, sodas, toys and home pregnancy tests. In fact, while we’d rather you not know it, the Tree’s absurdly inexpensive pregnancy tests are the reason at least half of us are there. That’s how I ended up with five of the tests in the bottom of my Dollar Tree shopping bag the other day. There was a slight possibility that I was pregnant, and I wanted to be able to drink the last Miller High Life in the fridge that night without feeling guilty. I came home and began running around the house in my usual frenzy, chopping onions, feeding the toddler, boiling pasta, cleaning up the mess around the high chair, taking a pregnancy test, screening a phone call, browning some ground beef, glancing at the two lines on the pregnancy test, checking my e-mail, pouring some juice into a sippy cup…. Wait just a damn second. I made my way back to the pregnancy test sitting on the counter. Two lines. Didn’t two lines mean positive? But…. No. No way. I read the instructions. I re-read the instructions. I re-re-re-read the instructions. I burst into tears. And then I took every single pregnancy test I had in the bag. Two lines. Two lines. Two lines. Two lines. Pregnant, I thought, choking back a sob. I’m pregnant! It’s not that this pregnancy was unplanned. In a mad attempt at world domination, we had already decided to add one more Ferrier to our family. But I guess I was hoping a baby would just appear on our doorstep one day in a hand-woven basket with a note pinned to its swaddling that said, Please take good care of this lovely infant (who never cries and sleeps through the night). You see, I’ve been pregnant before. And to my great horror, I wasn’t pretty and rosy and round like the women you see on the covers of pregnancy magazines. No, I was one butt-ugly pregnant woman. For one thing, rather than the recommended 30 pounds, I gained nearly 60 pounds. Not only was I miserably uncomfortable the last few months, but I noticed by the number of averted glances when I entered the room that my puffy face and grotesquely swollen ankles were making everyone else uncomfortable as well. “You’re only six months pregnant?” a former co-worker asked me during this “special” time, after I ran into her at a ritzy awards ceremony. I had worked on my hair and makeup for hours and was feeling quite glamorous for someone who could’ve doubled as a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “My best friend is nine months pregnant and you’re way bigger than she is!” she shrieked, letting one hand flutter to her oh-so-bony clavicle. As my smile faded, I fought an incredible urge to punch her in the nose. Because while I can watch the ice cream consumption this time around, the fact remains that incubating a future Ferrier makes me one tired, queasy, totally pissed-off bitch. Woe to ye who dares to cross my belly and me. “What is wrong with you?” I screamed at a driver the other day who swerved in front of me on I-40. “I’m pregnant, you moron! Isn’t it completely obvious? Can you not see my freakin’ glow?” And don’t even think about cutting in front of me in line or failing to hold the door as I enter a restaurant, because you will surely receive the patented knocked-up-stare-of-death. I might even cruelly pat my bulging belly for good measure as you melt, screaming, into a puddle of remorseful goo on the floor. About the only people I’m nice to during pregnancy are the members of my family. They tend to come in handy when I need a second helping of spaghetti or a foot rub. More importantly, they have blackmail photos of me dancing in my maternity sweats about a week before the last baby was born. And I would rather the public view a homemade sex tape starring me and, say, Gene Shalit (not that there is one, I’m just sayin’) than get a look at those photographs. So readers, you have been warned. If you see me around town, don’t tell me you bet my husband’s hoping for a boy. Don’t look me up and down and say that I must be having twins. And for the love of God, don’t rub my belly. Instead, say something like, “Wow! You’ve only gained baby weight in your stomach. Heidi Klum has nothing on you.” Point out the nearest restroom. Offer me a hand. Or better yet, a pastry. And we’ll all get along just fine. Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com or on the Scene’s blog at www.pithinthewind.com.

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