Whew. We're four months along in this magical growing process, but I'm still working on accepting the whole reality of the situation. Clearly, there is a tiny Batman in there: ultrasounds, Doppler heartbeat-listening-thingys, morning sickness, and a slew of dubious other hormone-related side effects don't lie. I'm even fairly sure I've felt you kicking around a few times (although it might be so early that what I think is you is just, I dunno, dinner or something), but the idea that a pile of cells is rapidly turning into a human being inside me is just...well, it's almost too weird to wrap my head around. At least you're only in there for a bit over nine months, rather than the almost two years it takes for an elephant baby to grow, right?
I've been feeling a weird kinship with elephants lately. In fact, I keep feeling like I see them everywhere, and have developed a powerful affinity for anything with elephants on it (there may or may not be an elephant-patterned, erm, lotsa stuff on your registry). I'm sure, like so many pregnant women before and to come, this is just a funky side effect of feeling kind of huge. Now, my butt is not about to take over the living room, nor am I running for the store to buy a muumuu or dramatically oversized ironic t-shirts. While I have been eating a lot, I don't think that I'm in any danger of accidentally consuming a cat in a fit of indiscriminate inhalation. Your father (bless his heart) told me the other day "you know, you actually look good." I really needed to hear that, since I've been going over again and again and again in my head the fear that embracing my inner elephant is some subconscious - or not so sub-conscious - reflection of my rapidly expanding waistline. I've always been fond of elephants, but growing up with a body type that didn't immediately evoke comparison to a swan or antelope, appropriating the elephant as a personal icon seemed ill-advised.
When I was in seventh grade, my amazingly cool art teacher (whose name I feel just awful for having forgotten, but I guess that's why I need to keep better journals or blogs or something) set everyone the assignment of creating a dreamcatcher-esque representation of what we believed to be our spirit animal, as ascertained from a comprehensive list of animals and their totemic traits. Partly to be unique, and certainly because I trusted how good I smelled on a day-to-day basis, I chose the reputable skunk. Anyone who knows me well knows that my two REAL spirit animals (as they are) are a goldfish and a fox. More on them later, I'm sure, but my point is that the skunk was really just appropriated to avoid any negative flak that I perceived I would have gotten from my peers, had I selected an animal that I found more appealing, such as an elephant. That would have ended poorly for someone, either for me (crying in the bathroom after that jerky boy I had a crush on made some snarky comment) or for that jerky boy I had a crush on (dry-heaving in the cafeteria after I punched him in the junk).
Granted, I'm not sure I've been nearly as active as an elephant lately. It's been kind of a force of will to get up in the morning, eat something (which is a whole other affair in and of itself), and drag myself into whatever task I need to undertake that day, whether it be driving forty-five minutes to teach summer pottery classes (why the hell did I sign myself up for THAT?) or working on reorganizing our apartment, both so you have your own space and so we don't go insane trapped for weeks under a pile of books and extra empty boxes from all the appliances we got for our wedding. This summer has been kind of rough on the proactivity front, and I can only imagine that the school year will be rougher in it's own exciting way, not least of which being because I will need to wake up about four hours earlier than I have all summer just to get to work on time. What would an elephant do? (WWED...?)
Well, first off, an elephant would probably have a much easier time of things. Elephants don't have to go to work, but they do have to spend a massive portion of their days eating (to consume up to 5% of their body mass' worth of food, which I feel like I have been doing lately), often needing to wander around in search of plentiful food and water for their herd. While their gestation period is massively longer than mine will be, they do give birth to babies that can get up and start rudimentarily fending for themselves almost instantly. They don't have to deal with morning sickness. They might have babies that grow tusks, but they wean their young as soon as those tusks show up. They spend most of their time with their loved ones, just hanging out and snuggling. Seriously...I'd be an elephant in a heartbeat.
My personal connection with Ganesh aside, I'm thinking elephants might be our new thing. You might arrive home to a somewhat elephant-filled world, Batman, and I apologize in advance if this is just my kind of alternative version of splattering some crazily specific (and possibly hideous) theme all over your living space. I promised myself never to force any affinities upon my child (aside from a love of diverse foods, passion for all things literary, and probably a hefty nerdy/dorky/geeky streak), but you may not have much of a choice here. Just don't grow tusks, okay?