Friday, September 25, 2009

The Growing Belly and Shrinking Window

            All day I tried figuring out when I could get some exercise. My first attempt was before work, but my mind was such a puddle I couldn’t quite get off the carpet as my daughter crawled all over me.
            At work I caught myself daydreaming about playing soccer. The guys in the neighborhood would be playing that evening, and it would be so simple to slip on over there… I stopped myself before it would become too painful. I haven’t played in weeks, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to change that because Michelle would want me on baby duty.
            By the time work was done I knew what I’d do. As soon as I would arrive home, I’d take my lovely little bundle of joy, strap her into the baby jogger and run around the local lake with doggy park. It was a perfect plan. I’d get the daughter out of Michelle’s hair, plus get my exercise and get out while the weather’s still nice.
            Unfortunately, on the drive home it became clear rather quickly that Michelle had other ideas.
            “I want you to cook dinner tonight,” she said.
            “Sure, we can cook tonight,” I replied.
            “No,” she paused. “I said you.”
            “Of course,” I replied with a faltering grin. Somehow I knew my plans were losing their stability.
            When I walked in the house Michelle handed the baby to me. “Celia!” I greeted her with a smile.
            “You need to start cooking for her right away. She’s tired.”
            I turned to Celia, “Do you want to go to the park? Should we go to see the doggies?”
            Michelle said, “You need to get groceries and cook first. It’s getting late.”
            I quickly bundled up the baby, packed her in her new one-year-old car seat, and scuttled off to the supermarket. By the time I was home and cooking, Celia and I had spent over an hour together and I could see my window slipping.
            “She needs to eat now,” Michelle said.
            “Okay.”
            I set aside a portion for Celia while I continued cooking the rest. Michelle fed Celia, then gave her a bath as I finished cooking and cleaned up the kitchen. By the time I’d finished cleaning, it was time to read Celia a few bedtime stories.
            After Celia finally fell asleep, Michelle took a deep breath, looked at me and said, “Let’s open a bottle of wine tonight.”
            At that point I knew any exercise hopes were shattered. I lit a candle and we had a pleasant dinner. By the time we finished, a friend stopped by, who we fed, then three more friends, and with them lots of distractions.
            Of course, this morning I didn’t manage to peel myself off of the carpet, and at this very moment I sit and look at my growing belly with frustration.
            There’s no question that ever since I’ve had a baby, my world seems to be expanding. Yes, one can definitely say that having children is a growing experience.

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