Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can you repeat that? (Why yes, yes I can.)

Years ago, I worked at an auto parts store as the token admin-type person. I was the youngest person there by a good 20 years, 40 in some cases. The woman I was taking over from was retiring and had three kids older than me. So needless to say, I didn’t have much in common with any of these people.

One of the tidbits passed on to me during my training was that sometimes, the boss would ask her to pick up a box of donuts for the staff. “When he does, I always get them from the grocery store, not the donut shop – the ones from the donut shop repeat terribly.” It was the first time I’d heard that term, and I asked her what it meant. She told me it meant that the donuts would make everyone burp “donut flavour” for hours afterwards.

That was the first time I heard that term, and in fact it was the last time I thought about it for many, many years. But these days, I have occasion to remember the phrase often. Some might say constantly. Because these days, in the glorious second trimester of pregnancy, it seems there isn’t a food on the planet that won’t repeat on me.

Cereal. Muffins. Rice cakes. Fruit juice. Salad. Hash browns, for Pete’s sake – how bland can you get? And when I actually eat something spicy, like the chili I had the other night – oh Lordy, watch out. I’m sure glad I ate that on an evening when Chris was out so I didn’t have to try and maintain any level of decorum. Even my prenatal vitamins make me burp.

Actually, let’s be more specific. All these foods (and vitamins) make me feel like I need to burp. And in general, the entire happiness of my day and the physical comfort of my being rests on whether or not I can manage to do so. If I can’t, there is no joy in Mudville. Perhaps this is to help me relate to my newborn in coming months, when s/he doesn’t know how to burp yet and is in great discomfort and I have to help?

This seems to be just one more way in which pregnancy makes me feel, not young and vital and alive, but about 25 years older than I actually am. Along with the heightened progesterone which makes me warm enough to act like a menopausal woman – it’s November and I still can’t stand to wear long-sleeved shirts – I can now finally relate to a bunch of fifty-year-olds who had to be cautious about where they bought donuts so they wouldn’t be paying for the experience all afternoon. And let’s not forget the bone-tiredness that makes me pause as I slowly get out of bed and say, “Oh, I feel so old.”

I guess it makes sense that pregnancy and old age would feel similar, as they are both experiences wherein your body is no longer under your direct control.

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