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Friday, September 23, 2005
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.
When my water breaks,
I just know I'm gonna rust...
And so it is that we return in grand style to America's Worst Mother who is just minutes away from giving birth to Muffaletta DuBois Gurdon, possibly through Megan's chest (ala Alien) which is certain to further traumatize the other Gurdonettes: Ravenna, Marquis de Sadie, Marfantasia, and Dijon.
As we check in on Meghan we find her heavy with child and homeschooling Dijon, teaching him how to conjugate (i.e. I biff, I have biffed, I have been boffed and now I need to crap this kid out):
The table is strewn with fine fat books (The Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer, some Dorling Kindersley art and mythology volumes) and thinner, meaner ones (workbooks, chiefly), but right now Paris is engaged in a process known as squeezing blood from a stone.
“No, no, no,” I say, poking a pencil at him. “Wait, remember. Sentences always begin with what?”
“A capital,” he sighs, scrubbing out a lower-case “f” and starting over.
“And they always end with?”
Which reminds us that if Meghan had ended with a period about eight months ago she wouldn't be carrying around, as she puts it :" an antelope in my torso".
“Let’s see what you’ve done so far,” I say gently, reaching for Paris’s composition book. This is the most grueling part of his new home-schooled day, when he must extract a series of words from deep within himself, organize them into sentences, and commit them in passable cursive to the page. It’s been three weeks and his writing is undeniably improving — fatally wobbly lines daily grow more stout and distinct; short, jerky sentences are slowly giving way to longer, livelier ones — but it cannot be said that he takes pleasure in it. The subject of today’s composition is our family’s mad new enthusiasm for taekwondo, the Korean martial art. Biffing and kicking? Now that is something Paris enjoys.
“Oh my,” I laugh out loud. “This is good work, but I think we’d better fix some of the spelling.” In his careful script, Paris has ended one sentence with: “Fling Kike!”
“Definitely no flinging kikes,” I murmur, hastily erasing the offending phrase, and explaining, “the name of the studio is spelled F-l-y-i-n-g K-i-c-k.”
(i.e. I jew, she jews, we have all flung jews)
“Look, Paris,” Violet says, stepping away from the easel and pointing to a colorful feminine tableau. “Look at the belly-button showers.” She pronounces this ‘show-ers,’ as in those who show.
“Oh Violet, that’s gross!”
Violet nods. “I hope Molly doesn’t grow up to be a boyfriend/girlfriend/belly-button-showing kind of girl,” she says, returning to her work.
“Me, too,” he seconds, shaking his head with disgust.
(i.e. She ho, she has hoed, she's a big slutty belly-button-showing ho)
But in the midst of all of this conjugating (i.e. I conjugate, I have conjugated, I need a drink) "Granny" shows up in full Bob Livingston BDSM regalia, with a bit of discipline in mind:
And at some point Granny arrives — arrives, indeed, for a long-term stay — brandishing a fat paperback copy of “Nanny 911” and a pair of handcuffs. The sight of these objects makes me laugh nervously.
“They were good-bye presents from my work colleagues!” Granny cries, jangling the handcuffs in jovial warning at the children.
“Cool!” says Paris, automatically reaching for the shiny things. Violet and Phoebe jump up and down in place. Molly’s eyes narrow and she takes a small step away, separating herself from the herd.
Ravenna, of course, remembers that fateful night when she got up to get a drink of water and caught Mummy and Mr. Meghan playing the policeman and the nightcall nurse and how the white uniform dress made Mr. Meghan's ass look really big.
“So watch out!” Granny continues loudly. “There’s going to be order around here, or else!” I know she’s just having fun, I know this is just grandmotherly repartee; still, it is all I can do to keep from objecting that our household is plenty orderly without restraining devices or the intervention of fat TV nannies. Not to mention that, as ever in the breathless interval before a new baby arrives, the children’s unconscious anxieties are producing a bumper crop of nightmares,
See previous cop/nurse fantasy.
And it is true: Within Granny is pitching in on household tasks such as the bathing of children and the packing of hated lunchboxes with such zeal as to make her something like an angel to the heavily pregnant among us.
Did I say “heavily pregnant?” Ha. In the past two weeks, acquaintances have suddenly gone from exclaiming, “Oh, but you’re so tiny! Why when I was about to have a baby I was the size of a — “ to remarking ruefully, “Any day now, eh?” or grimly, “Still here, I see?”
On the whole I am able to meet these pleasantries with equanimity, or at least I was, until a well-intentioned friend e-mailed me with some advice he’d read once in a book about childbirth (written by a man who delivered his wife’s babies — at home) and had passed on previously to another expectant mother: “IMAGINE A FLOWER OPENING UP.”
(i.e. I episiotomy, I have episiotomied, I have kids with bowling-ball heads)
Argh! In a passion, I wrote back: “I am not surprised that the author was a man. That metaphor was told to me, too, before I had my first child, and I was so outraged by the falsehood, once I had actually delivered a baby, that I wanted to find the person who told me and punch them in the nose. It is no more true than saying that having your leg amputated is like being a dandelion, letting go of your fluff!”
As you can tell, dear reader, I may be immobile, but I’m ready to pop.
(i.e. I shoot, I have shot, I am ready to kill the next person who touches my abdomen)
In two weeks: Kids, Put the Placenta Down and Come Meet Your New Sister This Instant.