Greetings, KuKd/TTC Mommas, Daddas and Guests!
This is a two-part "story" with an upbeat, bean-related ending. Got that?
First, how do you explain the relationship a woman has with her growing fetus? Intimate, strong, kindred, private? It's such a mother-fetus partnership, the immense job of growing a clump of cells into a living, breathing human. Doesn't matter who else is involved -husbands, parents, siblings, friends, doctors. At the end of the day, it's you and fetus hanging out together - and that's it.
Which means - for me - that things going on with the fetus are fodder for my most private anxieties, joys, and imaginings every day. This particular bugger is an active fetus for the most part, much more active than Zachary ever was. He bumbles around in there all day, doing whatever fetuses do. I don't question what he's up to, or spy on him with a home-ultrasound device to check for beer and bongs in his "room." I just trust that he's having an okay time.
Without even requesting it, I was given the job of raising and protecting this particular fetus. It came like a memo from Mother Nature, out of the blue: "This notice is to inform you that you have been tranferred from the Booze-Guzzling, Sex-Having Workaholic Department to the Responsible Baby-Growing Department, effective immediately. Please report to your new post starting today. And for fuck's sake, quit drinking so much coffee."
I feel like somethings just come to us that way: grim medical news, happy medical news. Things just hit us by surprise and boom, we're expected to deal with it. Now that it's my nature-imposed duty to keep watch over this fetus, I have no choice but to take my job seriously. Well, as seriously as a serious slacker like me can possibly take something.
There were several days in a row last week when I stopped feeling the fetus kickin' it in the womb. Oh, I could've gone in to the doctor for a fetal-aliveness check, but I'm trying so hard not to be the sort that goes in for aliveness-checks all the time. Instead, I decided to sit this one out before jumping to conclusions, which cast a film of dull, translucent fear on my mood - probably not unlike what it must feel like to work for a big company and then hear rumors of massive lay-offs. You just go through the motions of the day - in this case, the pregnancy, knock on wood and hope that everything isn't about to end. Even breakfast at Denny's didn't taste as splendid as it usually does, because usually, I can feel little fetal flips while I chewing on my prime-rib-n-eggs special. Somehow that makes the food taste extra-good.
I was missing those flips, man.
Then, this bizarre picture unfolded in my mind, a scene of myself getting yet another surprise memo from Mother Nature. A little, heavenly-white colored sheet of paper folded into a square, suddenly dropping out of the sky and fluttering directly into my hands. I saw myself unfolding the sheet of paper and reading its contents:
“Due to a company-wide reduction in force, you have been demoted from Baby-Grower to a lower-grade position, effective immediately.”
That “lower-grade” position was different every time I thought about this absurd scenario, but always something horrible that I’d never want to do. Something like telemarketing sub-prime loans, or soliciting Green Peace signatures on the street corner. And it never involved the enigmatic, fluttering little fetus I’ve been raising in my pelvis for the past 19 weeks.
Hey, knowing Mother Nature, I wouldn't put it past her to pull some shit like that.
* * *
Plot shift! Plot shift! Things returned to normal on Thursday, when BOOM - the fetus returned to his normal, ever-wiggling self. Who knows what accounted for that brief period of stillness. Anyway, I felt the world had been set right.
Which leads me to the promised bean-related ending. With fetus back in full swing and my fears of getting laid-off from the Baby-Growing department alleviated, I was able to relax and shift my attention to the cooking experiment I'd had lined up all week. I wasn't in the mood to try it earlier, because when I'm nervous, I lose all inspiration to cook - subsisting instead on bowls of cereal.
This particular cook-job had to do with a bag of Trader Joe's pre-sliced strips of sweet potato, which I'd bought on a whim but was suddenly clueless about what to do with them.
I'd decided to try high-fiber vegetarian burritos from scratch, not just to use up those sweet potatoes, but also to lend a helping hand to the Poop Elves in my colon. You may recall my earlier reference to Poop Elves, the little men who I imagine living inside everyone's colons, pushing waste out of your body with synchronized chants of "heave-ho!" They need help, sometimes - and there's nothing like a high-fiber meal to give them the support they need to do their bowel-moving job.
First, I sauteed some onions in a great big pan with olive oil.
Next, I added the sweet potato strips, plus some cut-up zucchini for some extra je-ne-sais-quoi, sauteeing everyting together.
Of course, beans had a starring role reserved in this dish, just for them! No high-fiber burrito is complete without a heaping helping of "fart-causers," as Kevin affectionately calls them.
I decided to throw in the rest of this bag of sweet roasted corn, which had been lurning in my freezer for an unknown number of months (or years?).
All of that got tossed in the great sautee, along with the juice of a full fresh lemon, cut-up tomatoes, a bit of frozen spinach, plus vast quantities of cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt.
After all this fibery goodness had been sufficiently sauteed, I had mine over a bed of rice with sour cream and guacamole on the side, and fresh cilantro sprinkled on top. Even Kevin, the ultimate skeptic of all-veggie dinners, enjoyed this one - opting to eat his like a real burrito, stuffed into a great big tortilla. I decided not to tell him about the high fiber content. Best he (and his Pool Elves) figure that one out on his own, which I'm sure would happen during his next run to the bathroom.
* * *
And now: Poop Elves happy, fetus happy, Monica happy. And no unexpected memos from Mother Nature. How simple is that? :-)