Not being allowed to leave my house or spend more than 20 minutes on my feet may be the best preparation for parenting that I could have asked for. Having lived by the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” adage for my entire life, it’s hair-pullingly aggravating to surrender even the simplest tasks to other people. Every time I take a peek into Sugar Lump’s room, for instance, I burst into tears. Such plans I had! That room was going to be a childish wonderland that would land on the pages of home decor magazines! Now that the child’s father is in charge of decorating I am convinced that the walls will be covered in Star Wars decals, the crib bedding will be wrinkled and mismatched, and the curtains, which he will be in charge of picking out, hung lopsided. Who am I kidding, I don’t even have a crib yet.
My cat seems to know I am on bed rest since he has started brazenly pushing the limits on everything he is not allowed to do. He jumps on the countertops and drinks water out of the sink in plain sight, staring at me insolently as I yell and scramble around for something that I can throw at him. Leveling me with an even, rebellious gaze he reaches out a paw and tips over his water bowl, drinks some off the floor, and then throw his food into the puddle to create a mushy cat food pudding that looks like runny poo. He knocks candle holders off the bookshelves and claws at the upholstery. I think he hates the fact that I am home all of the time now, and wants to escape as badly as I do. Several times during the day he will attack the front door clawing and scratching at it frantically. Cats can’t really be “controlled” but my current condition seems to have damaged my credibility with him.
On Monday my husband asked if he could drive my car to work. This was the ultimate test, as the only time he had driven my car unattended to date was to back it out of his parents driveway and re-park it, and that little maneuver gave me heart palpatations. He is new to driving a stick shift, and my little car is one of my greatest loves. We’ve taken several outings together with him at the helm, bucking and stalling our way around parking lots and angering other drivers at intersections. These white-knuckled outings always gave me a surge in blood pressure, but at least figured if I had to teach teenaged Sugar Lump how to drive there was a strong change that he would inherit my reflexes and peripheral vision instead of his father’s. On Monday then, I shakily handed my keys over and listened to my car stall as he backed it out of the driveway. I felt like a mom sending her child to school on a school bus for the first time.
Perhaps the hardest control issue for me to tackle, however, is the fact that this means I have completely lost control over my body. Without my permission, my cervix has begun to efface, putting my baby in danger. Yes, I am tired of being pregnant, but at no time did I order my body to begin preterm labor! This bold defiance of my orders by my cervix makes me wonder what else other body parts will start going rogue now that I am 31 years old. It feels like an ominous beginning to a slow decline that ends with me living in a nursing home.