This is an expression that has been aimed in my direction quite a bit lately. Not from monkeys, of course, but from humans that I see in my grocery store excursions, walks about the neighborhood, and my navigation through school hallways. I need a tee-shirt that answers these glances. It could read “no, I’m not the Octo-mom” and “no, my singleton baby is not three months overdue”. To the little kindergartener that I subbed for two months ago and couldn’t stop commenting “That’s a biiiiiiiiiiig belly”, if only you could see me now. Even my husband, who sees me on a daily basis, is not immune to this response when he catches glimpse of me from the side and realizes I exceed the capacity of his peripheral vision.
My belly is huge! Enormous! Of epic proportions! Students are especially candid in their responses to seeing me at work every day. “You’re STILL here, Miss?!” is a common question from my regular batch of students. One young lady was kind enough to program the number for emergency ambulatory services into her speed-dial should it be needed during a lesson. I reassure them that I’m not as big as I look, that almost two weeks remain before my due date. And I am enjoying the work, probably now more than ever. I have been getting lots of assignments in my old stomping grounds of high school math, and it’s fun to be back in the world of SOHCAHTOA and the quadratic formula. Besides, with everything ready for baby at home, I wouldn’t have anything to do but wait if it weren’t for subbing. And the kids are wonderful to me, most likely because of my “condition”. They retrieve erasers that I accidentally bump off the ledge of the whiteboard, knowing that if I bend down myself there is no guarantee that I will be able to get back up. They keep their classmates in check so that I don’t have to deal with traditional behavior issues. I’ve told them that I will need to invest in a fake pregnancy belly before I take on my next sub assignment to ensure I have such a pleasant experience.
As much as I am humored by the students playful concern for my own exponential growth, I can understand where they are coming from. Just when I think my belly can’t get any bigger, it does. Forget about seeing my blue-polished and pedicured toes, or the line of dry erase marker that forms on my shirts as I write on the board and my underbelly brushes along the marker tray. I feel like every day is a battle against gravity, and a losing one at that. When I stand, my rib muscles strain to support the belly. When I sit, the belly rests uncomfortably in my lap. And, when I lay down, the belly digs a crater into our mattress. (Kevin’s newest duty is essentially that of a car jack, supporting my stomach as I extract myself from bed.)
Looking back on the last 38 weeks, I know that I am blessed to have had such an easy pregnancy. But, I understand now why mothers at this stage get so excited for the baby to come out. We are ready to meet you, little-big guy, so whenever you are ready….