It’s been a sweet time with SJ, my provider of intercourse — still! What a champ! — since last May. A couple Sundays ago, I lay on my back on SJ’s bed (fully clothed — it’s not that kind of a transition) and pressed a stethoscope against my belly — and the baby kicked the stethoscope! SJ came in and we lay together for a while beyond his gauzy curtains (THEY MAY EVEN HAVE RIPPLED IN THE AFTERNOON BREEZE), trading the stethoscope back and forth and just feeling the baby kick.
I love being pregnant. It has completely shifted my idea of time. I feel like I already got a lifetime — 40 years! — and now I get to do it all over again. But in this one I’m happy and in love and pregnant instead of bulimic and slutty and “entertaining.”
Although it’s an endless amount of work, we’re also enjoying preparing for this guy to shoot into the world like the Jamaican bobsled team (at least that’s what I’m hoping — I am going for a SIX-POUND BABY. NO MORE FOOD FOR YOU. SIX POUNDS).
Jenny: When he’s born, I want to make sure to listen to the music I like. Otherwise how is he going to learn about hip-hop and electronic music?
SJ (who was born in 1967 and whose only musical preference he’s expressed so far is Johnny Cash): (Tight smile)
At the same time, my appetite has had a weird dip and I’ve been ridiculously tired, like first-trimester tired. I’ve also had the beginnings of Other Symptoms, including swollen hands and feet and the tiniest bit of acid reflux. I worked from home one day last week and took TWO ONE HOUR-NAPS and then two days later took an HOUR-AND-A-HALF NAP. All three times, I lay down, expecting to pop back up in 10 minutes and instead found myself swimming groggily out of long, intense, vivid dreams of, among other things, narrowly escaping intruders in a house in the middle of the woods at night and (separately) having sex with Donald Trump (NOT A JOKE. AND IT WAS PRETTY GOOD. WHAT THE FUCK, SUBCONSCIOUS MIND).
Also, last week, sitting at work, I kept getting this worrisome feeling, like something was about to come out of my vagina. When you’re 22 weeks pregnant, you don’t want anything to come out of your vagina. NOTHING. But this vaguely felt like my period. Blood is the No. 1 thing you don’t want to come out of your vagina. Well, your baby is No. 1. But blood is a close second. So I sat very still, and after a moment I realized: That little fucker is kicking downward. Not against my belly with his hands and feet like he’s been doing. It’s as if he’s standing up straight in my uterus and trying to kick his way out (takes after his mom — always looking for an escape hatch!). I winced for the first time.
On top of everything else, it’s TAX TIME. At the beginning of March, I called out to SJ from his kitchen:
Jenny: I can’t believe I still have to do my taxes. I’m never this late with them.
SJ: (Starts laughing from the other room)
Jenny: Well, by now I usually have a rough draft. I do them twice.
SJ: It isn’t even August yet.
(Want a microcosm of us as a couple? There it is. Here’s another one:)
SJ: Can I eat your last pickle?
Jenny: Did you just ask a pregnant woman if you can eat her last pickle?
SJ: I take it that’s a no.
Jenny: That’s a no.
SJ: You’re like a cheese vacuum cleaner.
Jenny: Why do you say that?
SJ: I had all these little pieces of cheese at my house before you came over. Now they’re all gone.
One day my mom texted me to ask for SJ’s address so my sister-in-law, who lives in China, can apply for a visa for her first visit to the U.S. She and my brother are going to visit my family in Chicago and then come out to California after the baby is born. I texted Mom the address and got this in response.
Thanks Jenny. We got a new record player and I am playing the mamas and the poppas.Next up is the muppets.
I realized, I really feel like talking to my mom. This doesn’t happen very often, so last Friday I decided to call her as I took one of my last after-work sunset hikes in the Oakland hills (before moving in with SJ in San Francisco in TEN DAYS).
Rose: I didn’t really feel you kick until the end.
Jenny: What do you mean, the end?
Rose: Well, the last eight or nine months.
Jenny: Mom, the whole pregnancy is eight or nine months.
Rose: So the end. Like the last couple months.
Jenny: You didn’t feel me at all until the last couple months?
Jenny: You keep telling me these things about your pregnancies that are not normal at all. I think you’re just not remembering.
Rose (laughs): Maybe.
Jenny: So when are you coming out to visit?
Rose: Well, your dad and I haven’t really talked about it.
(This is a partial truth. My parents called me on speakerphone in FEBRUARY and demanded to know when they could come out. My mother is the only person who’s more of a harridan about making plans than I am. “I need to use my miles!” she shrieks. “We can’t buy plane tickets at the last minute!” But besides my due date, which is in JULY, the single thing Mom asked about — and this she asked TWICE — was whether SJ’s house was walking distance from Tartine, my mom’s favorite bakery and the only reason she visits San Francisco. It’s not within walking distance, so that’s the last I heard of a visit. In the meantime, I’ve spent the last month and a half getting them used to the idea that a parental visit after the baby is born will include laundry, cleaning, and cooking.)
Jenny: Well, we’ve established that you’re going to help, so you can come out.
Rose (bursts into laughter): Oh! OK, then! We’re trying to coordinate with Jesse and Agua. They’re going to fly here and then we’ll go there, and then we’ll go back and they’ll go back.
Jenny: Can you repeat all that?
Rose (sighing peevishly): They’ll fly here.
Rose: And then we’ll fly there.
Jenny: San Francisco?
Rose: And then we’ll go back.
Rose: And then they’ll go back.
Rose: Yes. Do you know a photographer named Catherine Opie?
Rose: A photographer in the Bay Area.
Jenny: Not that I know of.
Rose: OK. When you were doing that online magazine.
Jenny: Which online magazine.
Rose: Well, I don’t know if it was online. You were an editor of a magazine.
Jenny: Not narrowing it down, Mom. I’ve worked at a lot of magazines.
Rose: (Big sigh) Was there a magazine called On Your Backs?
Rose: Didn’t you do a magazine that was in the same space as this other magazine?
Jenny: On Our Backs. (WHAT NOBODY IS SAYING IS THAT ON OUR BACKS IS THE LESBIAN PORN MAGAZINE I WORKED NEAR AND REVIEWED SEX TOYS FOR, SINCE IT SHARED AN OFFICE AND AN OWNER WITH GIRLFRIENDS, A CONSUMER LESBIAN MAGAZINE I EDITED IN THE LATE 1990S.) Yes.
Rose: OK. Well, Catherine Opie did something for that magazine.
Jenny: Got it. Well, I’m back in the parking lot. I should go.
Rose: I love you, Jenny. Oh, I really enjoy talking to you.
Jenny: Yeah, this was nice. Love you, too, Mom.
For these Saturday-morning crepes, you need:
- A man like SJ “I don’t have a recipe” to mix them all together and fry them in a cast-iron skillet and then put frozen plums from his father’s trees in Oregon into a pot with corn starch and cook them down so you can have them on the crepes as you look out the kitchen window onto a garden of blossoming Japanese plum, orange, apple, and loquat trees as your baby kicks, kicks, kicks to let you know he’s there and you’re there.