Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"She's two, and she weighs, like, twenty babies."

This afternoon, I betook myself and the latest Bust magazine to the tub in an attempt to counteract both the trash-ass Us Weekly I'd just read and the disappointingly low household temperature.  Not surprisingly, I was overwhelmed by the CD reviews that both evaluated and casually alluded to bands I've never heard of, so Bust was set aside till I had better lighting and perhaps a stout Mountain Dew to sustain me.  Lying back without the magazine to protect me, all I could see in the tub were roundnesses: thighs, belly, breasts (making their second, rapid-fire blog appearance), and all I could do was wonder why we didn't have a deep enough goddamn tub that everything would be fully submerged.

We get caught up in is-she-or-isn't-she (yes, we know she's gay; I'm not talking about that), but this morning Heather said, "What if I am pregnant?  Do you realize we're going to be parents?"

I said, "Oh, I know!  It's going to be awesome.  We're going to be great."  But probably most people think they're going to be great parents
till it happens.  Everyone sucks as parents, says Louis C.K.-- my role model, and yours, no doubt, in all things familial-- and those mistakes stick.  (C.K., Louis, "Daddy, I don't like chicken," Chewed Up, 2009.)  I don't want those mistakes to leave my own daughter yearning to hide her body under bubbles, preferring not to acknowledge its reality.  For that matter, I don't want her to think of her body as "a reality."  

How much control do we have?  I'm not sure.  I remember some ridiculous book coming into our house when I was eight about diet, exercise and health, prompting one of the short-lived but passionate enthusiasms my older sister and I shared (generally according to her instruction).   We made plain popcorn like it said, and tried to follow all of its other mandates.  Kristin was delighted, for example, when I had a minor injury playing in the backyard and she was able to put into practice the book's RICE system: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  At bedtime, I prattled to Mom about it, and, one night, she said, hesitatingly, that she didn't want me to become critical of my body or expect it to look a certain way.  I was eight and thought she was crazy.

Still, twenty years later, she has one daughter who hasn't publicly worn shorts since ninth grade, and another who's reached the too-skinny mark-- which should be offensive to say, but, I think if Kristin read it, she'd be perversely pleased.

Right now, our greatest fantasy is that there's an embryo snuggled into the lining of Heather's uterus.  In twenty years, I hope our baby's greatest fantasy won't be to hear that she's too skinny.  She will never be allowed to read Us Weekly.

No comments:

Post a Comment