Happy Feet

While pregnancy may not be the ideal situation for an expectant mother’s feet, other feet are doing just fine, thank you. Yes, the wee one lets me know each and every day how great her feet feel by dancing gleefully upon my bladder and flexing his or her healthy soles against virtually every surface in my uterus.

While I have become accustomed to the baby’s thrice-daily exercise routine, in which the playful fetus performs what appear to be flips, round offs and back handsprings for 20 minutes at a time, the dancing is relatively new. At first it was kind of cute — here and there, a foot would thump outward and Chris or I could feel my belly jump. Of course, since this began, the baby has grown from the size of a gerbil to the size of a small Chihuahua — and has the activity level to match.

While the uterine gymnastics remain only mildly distracting, the uterine ballet practice — or whatever is going on in there — has gone from barely noticeable to something that causes me to jerk with alarm. Our baby, who has impeccable timing, rarely chooses to dance while I am riding in the car, eating or watching television. And the baby definitely doesn’t perform when Chris has his hands on my tummy. No, aside from a few practice kicks here and there, the baby has two shows daily, and neither of them are particularly convenient for ticket holders.

Both shows are performed at the end of gymnastics practice. There is a matinee performance, which usually takes place about an hour before I would like to wake up. Then there is the moonlight performance, which is after Daddy has fallen asleep and usually right about the time I would like to be drifting off into slumber myself.

The moonlight performances are particularly rousing. For instance, last night’s show featured what must have been about a dozen backup dancers (where they came from, I have no idea) and possibly a guest appearance by Michael Flatley, who was wearing what I assume were very heavy clogs. It lasted for a good 20 minutes, every second of which was filled with stage-rattling choreography. Then, as quickly as it began, the show came to an end, and the baby innocently went about its normal, relatively quiet everyday business as if it had not, just minutes before, staged a Radio City Music Hall-worthy event.

And then, of course, we have the impromptu dance practices, which invariably occur when my bladder is full. These dance practices begin with a few little warm-up steps as my bladder begins filling. By the time it is relatively full, these warm-up steps have become exuberant grand jetes and triple sow cows (hey, no one has provided conclusive proof that this baby is not wearing skates).

Naturally, this is what the baby was doing earlier this week when Dr. Goncalves tried to check the gender. Full bladders are good for ultrasounds, unless you have an obnoxious baby who goes breech and stomps on the offending interloper. Dr. G said it looks like our little dancer is a girl, but he couldn’t tell for sure because the perfect tap-recital pose the baby had adopted isn’t very helpful when you’re looking for baby’s goods.

So here’s where we are. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and my feet are too fat to wear nine-tenths of my shoes, and reading Vogue makes me sad because I could not possibly balance my huge self on any of the adorable little numbers featured on its glossy pages. But while my back aches, ankles swell and metatarsals spread, at least someone in this body has happy feet. I just wish that little someone would pick different times of the day to exercise them.

And here I am, while the baby sleeps sweetly in preparation for its big moonlight extravaganza, in the Week 24 belly pics:

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