My hump. My lump. My lovely baby bump.

OK, the finger pointing can begin! I know I deserve it. I’ve been MIA, pregnant-style, for more than a week and that’s just not fair. But, I’m laying my excuses here on the table for you: A) I’m 30 days from D-Day. B) I have a lot going through my mind. C) I am T-I-R-E-D when I’m A-W-A-K-E. And, D) This blog is supposed to be humorous and, trust me, there is a lot less humor in things when it gets down to the wire. It’s like you hit mile 25 in a marathon and all you want to do is walk and/or vomit because the reality of what you’re really doing is washing over you. But, you still have one mile to go, so you TRY to smile and sprint it out, but you just want to lie down on the pavement and wave a white flag as if to say, “I came. I tried. I did not conquer.” So, please accept my apology for being slow on the postings. It’s more of a nervous thing than anything. The reality of mommyhood is like a cloud hanging over my head. Sometimes it lets a little rainbow through and sometimes it pours buckets, but as unpredictable as it’s been, I thought it safer to not attempt blog-writing. That being said, I’ve had this one running through my head for weeks…Enjoy!

My stomach. My blockage to all table-served dining. My newfound bodily obstacle course. My catcher of all things colorful. I recall complaining about how big my stomach was in month six, and I could slap myself for being so ridiculous. Month nine. I’m there. That six month belly would look like an ant hill compared to what I’ve got going on under my shirt today. It’s more than a “baby bump” – it’s a “camel hump.” I have no idea where it came from and when it got there, but it’s sooo there and, day-by-day, I’m learning of the irritating handicaps that come along with it. People think they’re “brushing past me” but they’re practically knocking me over (I know, the size is disillusioning). Getting up from a deep slumber proves to get more complicated the bigger you get too. It’s like, the ONE time in life I would be thankful for the abs I DO have, and I have NOTHING to work with! Sitting up? Really? I can’t SIT UP? Nope. I literally roll off the side of the bed four to six times a night now because my potato sack of a mid-section lacks any muscle whatsoever. It’s really a good time. The constant sensation to urinate + a forty-inch stomach = a daily unpleasant Nicki.

But, the worst and most embarrassing big-tummy effect is the inability to pull myself up to any sort of table anymore. You learn it when you’re two years old – place your napkin on your lap, pull yourself up to the table, use your silverware, and eat over your plate. I’ve always followed these rule but watching me try to do it now has GOT to be hilarious.

1) Place Your Napkin On Your Lap. Ummm…what lap? I fan my napkin out as large as it will go and place it on whatever thigh area I have showing (slim to none, usually). But, I’ve learned that really does no good, so do I face looking like a complete headcase in a public restaurant and wear it as a bib? I have not done that yet, but I have attempted to do the full-stomach coverage where I pull the napkin up to my boobs and see how long it can stay in one place before it just flops over onto the table into my plate of food. My record is about 12 seconds (and those were spent holding completely still – shhhh…don’t wake the giant!).

2) Pull Yourself Up to the Table. This, my friends, is why I’ve become a booth sitter. Sure, it’s harder to get in to initially, but no one can judge you when you are slightly far from the table because, hey, the booth and table are cemented into the ground and I just can’t help it. But, at a table, you have all the power to pull your chair up as tightly as necessary, which for me, is, errr, not so tight. I go as far as I can, but once that belly button hits the table’s edge, I’ve got about 12 inches of potential exposed stomach spillage area.

3) Use Your Silverware. Silverware is made for people who dine properly, elegantly, and non-pregnantly. Balancing something on a skinny fork is much more difficult when your only direction is not straight up from the plate and into your mouth. When you’re prego, you’ve got to go up, around, and in. This is not easy when dining on items such as corn, beans, cereal, macaroni, or anything else that really SHOULD require a utensil. Silverware has become one of my greatest enemies, and lately, if you catch me eating in my own home at my own table in front of my own self, you will see (washed) fingers digging through the milk bowl for the last of the Fruit Loops. It’s just so much easier when you’re hungry, robustly round, and most importantly, alone.

4) And, finally, Eat Over Your Plate. Your mother taught you this one, right? Lean your chin in ever-so-slightly and scoop the food into your mouth. That way, in case anything falls out, it will land on your plate and no one will notice you lost some unless they actually saw it happen. Screw that. You think THAT would be mortifying? Woe is you!! Try thinking that you are doing well at eating over your plate at an in-law’s picnic and looking down post-meal to see strawberry juices, corn-off-the-cob, four humorously-placed ketchup blobs, and cake frosting spread like a Jackson Pollock painting across your new white shirt that you bought special for this fun family event. Try that on for size. We all know how embarrassing it can be to spill a little coffee on your work shirt first thing in the morning. Now multiply that be a trillion and that is how I feel after every dinner out.

Nate has learned quickly that I no longer think it very funny to be the homeless man’s dreamcatcher. I miss the days when I could wear something nice and come home with it looking the same. Maybe it’s preparation for baby. I guess that’s what I am using as an excuse for a lot of things nowadays. Why do I need to get up to pee six times a night? Well, it’s good preparation for sleepless nights with baby. Why do my hormones make me so exhausted? Well, you won’t have a lot of energy left at the end of the day when baby comes. Why do I clumsily miss my mouth and bring half my barbecue ribs home on my belly-top? Well, a baby will puke, drool, and poop all over your clothes, so you better get over being so vain now. Easier said than done, but I’m trying. I’ve always been vain when it comes to my clothing (I’m a girl – remember that before you judge me too hard), and giving that up will be quite a challenge for me. I’m not going to lie and say I won’t get angry at the little guy the first 100 times he rolfs on my favorite scarf or gets poop on my SAK purse, but I will try my hardest to understand that he is clueless and has not one ounce of vanity in his tiny little body, and that can be a good thing. I will try to take pointers from Baby Brunner and just roll with it.

I know I will bask in the irony of this ridiculous complaining when I’m sitting at a slightly unkempt Denny’s restaurant celebrating my little boy’s 2nd birthday, trying to teach him to place his napkin on his lap and use his spoon to eat his ice cream. And, I’m pretty sure I’ll be soiled in cheeseburger grease and boogers, but I hope it will not be quite as big a deal as I’m making it today. I will still have my name-brand dress-up clothes hanging in the closet, but will choose to wear them for adult nights only. And, when I slip on my favorite silk dress and sit down for a decadent dessert at The Cheesecake Factory, I will look down at my stomach as Nate pushes in my chair and smile because, hey, look at that – I can eat over my plate.

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