Where will the next big epidemic come from?
A word about nonfiction.

Imperfect in so many ways.

The slim book The Imperfect Mom: Candid Confessions of Mothers Living in the Real World has been sitting on my table for at least a month now, which indicates, I think, a lot about the imperfections going on in the house of this mom. Procrastination? Check. Poor cleaning routines? Check. (I promise you this book hasn't been moved or touched, even to dust around, in at least four weeks.) Poor time management and lack of regular blogging? Check.

I don't see that big picture turning around any time soon, but it is time to get this book out of here. I got it from the library, of course, because of the title, and it turned out to be a collection of mostly engaging essays on the practice of imperfect mothering (which I am perfecting over here). I see it's got a bunch of bookmarks in it--let's see what I thought was interesting enough, at least a month ago, to bookmark, shall we?

The entire chapter by Jenny Rosenstrach, titled "Take Back Your Stereo," about the inanity of "children's music," and how to get around it: "We'd listen to our music with two sets of ears asking ourselves, 'Would this make a good Phoebe song?' It was amazing to discover and in some cases rediscover the songs that did. Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits had probably been in the CD case for ten years without airtime when Andy decided to play track 14 in the car. It was love at first listen. For three months straight we'd barely be out of the driveway before the rapid-fire questioning would begin:

'Cecelia, Daddy?'" (p. 75.)

I enjoyed that because we just listened to that song the other day and CRjr rocked out. It's a good question: is there anyone who doesn't like the song "Cecelia"?

And this, from the opening essay:

"I should have eliminated caffeine completely from my diet during the first trimester of my pregnancy with Katherine. Maybe that was the cause of her irregular heartbeat. And why did I fly with her when she was a wee two months old? Did I really think her immune system could fight off the nasty bacterial infection she caught on the plane, which almost had her hospitalized?" (p. 4.)

Whenever I hear women saying their pregnancies made them feel stronger, I just marvel at them. Have you seen the list of what pregnant women either flat-out can't eat or "should avoid"? It's ridiculous. Being pregnant made me feel like one huge crisis waiting to happen.

And this, from an essay on a woman's pre-term labor, particularly her reactions to her husband's and doctor's reactions:

[After feeling her water break and trying to rouse her husband] "'Don't pregnant women have bladder issues? Maybe that's what it is,' he said.

'I think I would know if I had only wet my pants,' I growled, my irritation increasing exponentially.

'Yeah, but I remember reading something about...'

He noticed my hands moving to wrap around his neck.

'I'll get ready to go."

Just then the phone rang. It was my doctor. As I was explaining what happened, he interrupted me and asked to remind him how far along I was.

'Thirty-two weeks.'

'Are you sure?'

Oh, gee, now that you ask, ha, ha, silly me, I thought it was December, not February--of course I'm sure, are you kidding me?

'Yes, I'm sure,' I said with great restraint." (p. 24.)

I really got a kick out of that, because CRjr was a high-risk pregnancy, and trust me, you are not only counting weeks, you are counting days. Days to being closer to being full-term, days to being closer to bringing that baby in "safe." And how many mothers HAVEN'T had these conversations with doctors? Honestly, doctors. I know they care and try and we need them and all that jazz, but it feels like I have had to stop myself from saying, "Look, asshole," in more of my conversations than not with doctors.

So: I found a lot to relate to in this one, and I enjoyed it. I liked the variety of viewpoints, and it was refreshing to hear other mothers tell stories about how they had muffed things (and yet everything turned out fine, or at least workable). I always think this is the sort of gift, along with perhaps The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting, that someone should get for mothers-to-be at baby showers, just for a change of pace.