years weeks pregnant today. People keep asking me how I’m feeling, and because it’s impolite to answer, “like a bowling ball is about to fall out of of my ladyparts”, I keep asking them if they’ve read Midnight’s Children. Mostly they haven’t — which is awkward, because then I have to explain why I asked. Like a joke that falls flat, the reference doesn’t survive the explanation well. So I’ve decided to put it here. This is exactly how I’m feeling:
By the time the rains came at the end of June, the fetus was fully formed inside her womb. Knees and nose were present; and as many heads as would grow were already in position. What had been (at the beginning) no bigger than a full stop had expanded into a comma, a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter; now it was bursting into more complex developments, becoming, one might say, a book — perhaps an encyclopedia — even a whole language…which is to say that the lump in the middle of my mother grew so large, and became so heavy, that while Warden Road at the foot of our two-storey hillock became flooded with dirty yellow rainwater and stranded buses began to rust and children swam in the liquid road and newspapers sank soggily beneath the surface, Amina found herself in a circular first-floor tower room, scarcely able to move beneath the weight of her leaden balloon.
…and in the years to come, whenever she looked back at that time which was the end of the time before she became a mother, that time in which the ticktock of countdown calendars was rushing everyone toward August 15th, she would say, “I don’t know about any of that. To me, it was like time had come to a complete stop. The baby in my stomach stopped the clocks. I’m sure of it. Don’t laugh: you remember the clocktower at the end of the hill? I’m telling you, after that monsoon it never worked again.”
(Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children)
Alas, although the passage of time seems strangely irrelevant and disconnected from the lived reality of these latter, hazy days of pregnancy, it is indeed passing. Little Stormageddon will be here soon, and whatever kind of nose-and-knees he brings with him, he (and I) will still need basic baby stuff.
So my friend Martha, having finally succeeded in yanking me out of my literary contemplation of my pregnancy and ordering me to set up an Amazon baby registry, is throwing me a virtual baby shower on facebook. Please note that this is a task she’s been attempting for at least two months now, and she deserves massive accolades for her dogged persistence in the face of my apathy towards all things practical. Here is your invitation to attend (her words, not mine, because it would be weird if I called myself lovely and I want to make sure everyone knows that I’m aware of that):
The lovely Calah Alexander is going to have Baby Stormageddon soon – well, hopefully not too soon, but at least by the beginning of February. Although we’d love to throw her a big baby shower with all her nearest and dearest, it’s rather difficult when everyone lives all over the country! So instead we are throwing her a virtual baby shower.
Babies need things, and Calah graciously let me bully her into making an Amazon wishlist, if you’re so inclined. (Here is the link)
Baby showers have games and this game is guess Stormageddon’s size and arrival date. For guessing purposes, I can tell you that Calah’s previous minions all arrived early (the only exception was born ON HER DUE DATE, which is amazing). You can also suggest names, but I guarantee that either Calah – or the Ogre – or both – will hate them.
Get guessing and thanks for ‘attending’!
(Click here to leave your guesses on facebook, or you can do it in the comment section)
I have to agree that either the Ogre or I will probably hate any name suggestions, because we’ve basically hated every suggestion we’ve given each other over the past nine months. We’ve finally agreed on exactly one name, but we still have a middle name quota to fill, so leave your suggestions anyway. Who knows? Maybe one of you will suggest the one name in the English language that we’ve forgotten to develop ridiculously strong opinions about.
Oh, and the baby is due on January 23, if that helps your guesswork at all.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. If you need me, I’ll be immobile on the couch, contemplating the philosophical implications of being crushed to death by my own offspring. Happy guessing!