Still pregnant. Very tired of being so. It grows harder and harder to have the energy for anything, even to grieve.
Of course I'll be grieving the big white dog for years, if not forever. He was an absolute beloved and I'll never stop missing him. I cried a little one morning because there was so much dog food left in the bag, now that just Bingley is being fed. But it turns out that properly grieving - bawling and stomping and shouting that it's NOT FAIR - takes energy, and I don't have the faintest bit left.
What has produced the most tears, so far:
The day when I came home to find three cards from the local animal shelter (where we got Bingley), showing that three different people (none of whom talk to each other) had donated in Bear's name. So many sniffles.
The Paddington Bear onesie, from a work baby shower (thank heavens I didn't open it until I got home!), that says on the front, "Please look after this bear." Not so much sniffles, in that case, as the tears just exploding out of my face. (In both cases, of course, the tears were out of gratitude at others' thoughtfulness as much as they were of loss.)
So, I actually really like the new What to Expect When You're Expecting. They put all the terrifying stuff in a separate section at the end, and the restrictive diet rules in a separate section at the beginning, and I've been amazingly good at ignoring those two sections. I've gotten huge use out of this book through the pregnancy. But the other night it completely failed me, as I started reading up on post-natal exercise:
On one page: "Don't even think about exercising until six weeks after birth. Plus exercising releases toxins into your system which will poison your baby if you're breastfeeding."
Literally, no joke, five pages later: "You can start exercising twenty-four hours after birth! And, regardless of what you've heard, it doesn't make your breast milk sour!"
Me: WHAT THE HELL, BOOK.
I think that what happened here was that the authors, on the first page in question, conflated "exercise" with "diet restrictively and work out really hard with the sole goal of losing weight", and the latter was what they were saying you shouldn't do until six weeks after birth. And five pages later they were referring to a gradual building back up to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine. But you'd think an editor would have caught the whiplash there.
Things I am really enjoying hearing and not tired of at all:
"You've been pregnant FOREVER!" (I have stopped going to my town's Dunkin' Donuts because of this. I do like the friendly ladies who have my order ready for me when I reach the counter, but they started saying, "Ooo, any day now!" back in January, which was not only awkward but made me too self-conscious to request a donut with my coffee, and that is no way to live. The surly staff at the DD near my work couldn't give less of a crap that I'm pregnant, so I go there now. [New Englanders now know exactly how tiny my town is: it only has one Dunkin' Donuts.])
"A girl? Oh, no, you're definitely having a boy. I can tell by the way you're carrying." (This, daily, from complete strangers who have no idea what I looked like before I got pregnant and whose word I should apparently take over that of genetic counselors and ultrasound technicians.)
"Why are you still here??" (Also daily, from co-workers who a) have just demanded that I do five thousand things for them before I leave and b) apparently have no idea that our company isn't going to pay me for however much leave I feel like taking. I get paid for the vacation / sick time I have accrued. Period. If you can afford to be at home without a paycheck [while paying for your own insurance premiums] for an extra two to four weeks of leave, good for you. Don't assume everyone else can.)
"Your body will never be the same!" (Duh. But my body - being a human's body - has never exactly been in stasis, you know? My body pre-pregnancy wasn't the same body I had in my twenties, or the same body I had pre-cancer, or the same body I had when I was thirty-five as opposed to thirty-six. I wasn't walking around in some vampiric non-aging form for ten years before getting knocked up, and it doesn't come as a complete surprise to me that my body will retain signs of having gestated a human being. I'm not concerned with it being "the same". I'm concerned with getting back in shape, because with my health history and genetic risks, I am putting myself in danger if I'm carrying too much weight and/or not getting enough exercise. And because I have missed working out SO MUCH.)
ANYTHING that ANYONE has to say about daycare. We're just not having that conversation: not here, not anywhere. I know that I'm a monster; you don't need to tell me. I knew that when I decided to have a child despite being neither able to expose her to five languages* and six musical instruments** personally, nor to send her to insanely competitive, insanely expensive, private schools from kindergarten on, where she will be exposed to these things. My God, the poor thing will have to read Dante in translation! She probably won't even get into Vassar!
Oh, right, books!
Johnny Cash: The Life, by Robert Hilburn. A decently engrossing biography, though the writing's nothing to get excited about.
The Blackhouse, by Peter May. Ostensibly a murder mystery, but, as most such books are these days, actually much more about the characters and setting. I liked it a lot, though it was grim.
The Grave Tattoo, by Val McDermid. I think you have to care more about William Wordsworth than I do to find the literary-scholar-hunt aspect of this interesting, but it was still a fun distraction.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest, by Gregg Olsen. A "doctor" in early-twentieth-century Washington state set up a sanatorium purporting to cure people of every ailment known to exist by, basically, starving them. Unsurprisingly, there were many deaths. I found this book fascinating and horrifying.
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, by Timothy Snyder. Otherwise known as: Bloodlands: Oh My God, It Sucks to Be Poland. The sheer numbers of the dead became so numbing as to be soporific. I would recommend Judt's Postwar instead, if you want to read about poor Poland.
*Unless you count standard English, iambic pentameter, Dickensian hyperbole, creative swearing, and fluent dog. (Her father does speak Spanish, but my language skills are limited to preschool-level French in the worst accent you've ever heard.)
**Well, her father can play the guitar, the trumpet, the washboard, the harmonica, and...um... the spoons?... and sing, so there's that. But she may well take after me and my brief tragic oboe career. (Tragic for anyone who had to listen, especially our poor beagle.)