Human Bowling Ball: The Sequel

Someone please tell me that it gets better than this.

I am a human bowling ball: now 35 weeks pregnant with nearly as wide a circumference as I am tall. Everything was just peachy when I was pregnant with my son, who is now at a 19-month culmination of chocolate-induced hysteria, crayola wall murals and toddler tantrums. Everything was novel and fun during the first pregnancy. It was amusing when I couldn't tie my shoes because my fat, swollen feet were spilling out of the creases. It was HILARIOUS when I couldn't get my pants on at the end because I couldn't lift my legs up high enough. I embraced the extra chins I tacked on the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I was fat and happy.

This time is an entirely different ball game. It's not just my shoes that I struggle stuffing my feet into, but I now also have to shoe two swinging toddler feet. I never had to worry about playing defense with my belly before - but the second I lay down my guard, my little soccer player is kicking a goal directly at the remnants of a stretched out belly button - which also happens to be baby girl's tiny heiney. I'm convinced this sweet baby girl will be born looking for an older brother to target her revenge.

I also fondly remember cursing each of the 13 steps in our old condo. Every bit of the 48 lbs. I had gained during the pregnancy had piggybacked onto my thigh muscles, screaming, "Carry me, weakling!" But I would make it up the stairs and chuckle between gasps of air.

This time, I make the impossible climb up a flight of stairs while carrying a sleepy 25-lb. mama's boy, in addition to my 6 lb. womb princess and the extra umpteen pounds of cheeseburger helper and chocolate goldfish scattered throughout my veins. By the time I reach the third step, every muscle fiber in my legs is quivering and crying out, "Have we died and went to hell!?", my heart is thumping to the rhythm of Zoot Suit Riot and I'm gasping for air like an asthmatic smoker in a marathon. And I'm thinking, I wish I could jump in a time machine and slap my previous pregnant self in the face with a twinkie and tell myself to lady up and stop complaining. I had it made. One baby to spoil and love on...then we had to go and drink a bottle of wine. And everyone knows, wine grows babies. Just like the Grow-a-Dinosaurs we had as kids, where you place a peanut-sized foam creature in a jar of water and it expands to 5 times its size, a Grow-a-Baby lies in the bottom of every empty wine bottle. The Grow-a-Baby, however, will continue to expand in your belly thousands of times over and suck out every ounce of youth left in your body.

The first time, I also never had to worry about sharing my sweetest pregnancy cravings with a walking garbage disposal. Now every time he hears the sound of a candy wrapper or the fridge door, he's tugging on my pant leg. NO, you cannot have mommy's chocolate kisses. There's only half a bag left.

Today I indulged a craving for Taco Bell and bought my little guy a churro. I tried to hand it to him in the back seat, but my prince had fallen victim once again to the backseat coma. I carefully placed the stick of warm cinnamon goodness back in the bag, with every intention of giving it to him later. After polishing off three soft tacos on the way home, and little man was still naively snoozing through a mid-afternoon snack, my mind wandered to the churro now cooling in the bottom of the taco bell bag. And within a moment's time, I realized that I was now holding an empty churro wrapper. I learned today that guilt tastes a lot like sugar and cinnamon. But in my mind, I kept trying to justify it - all those times I had to share my chocolate kisses, my strawberry yogurt, my jello...

I had it so good the first time around and I had no idea. When pregnancy fatigue kicked in, I could lie down on the couch without worrying about a small child playing with knives and prescription meds while I snoozed the day away. I didn't have someone trying to shove toilet paper between my legs when I would have to empty my pancake bladder every four-and-a-half minutes. I also didn't have to crawl around on the floor to pick up 200 plastic balls - and who ever had the brilliant idea to fill a play tent with those god-awful balls deserves to waddle around half-crippled with a youth-sucking grow-a-baby tucked snugly under his or her rib cage.

Why oh why didn't someone warn me!? Please, someone, anyone, tell me that it gets better than this. That all the sweat and tears and half-eaten chocolate kisses will all be worth it, that it gets easier. For the love of everything good in this world! Please tell me that I'll be able to pee in peace one day and that I won't be stuck living out the rest of my days as a human bowling ball!

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