Monday, November 16, 2009

The solid lines

I made four different friends touch my belly button this weekend.

My belly button, it’s popping out a little. It’s not really an innie anymore. It’s not really an outie, though. At best it’s a mini-outie nestled in the vacant warehouse of a once-thriving innie. I think it’s having an identity crisis. I rub it absentmindedly like hair twirlers or bunny rabbit foot keychain fondlers do. It’s my talisman, my lucky charm. It’s not a dismissive phrase but literal truth: I’m navel gazing.

So here’s the thing about my confused belly button: it didn’t abandon inniehood during either of my previous pregnancies. And as such, this new phenomenon fascinates and confounds me. And so I may have grabbed the fingertips of others and rubbed those prints across my not-innie in confirmation and exposition of this curious happening.

It should be noted that when you say to someone, “feel my belly button,” you should be sure that you are saying it to a good friend, and not, say, your bank teller or mailperson. It should also be noted that if the Someone shrugs, says “okay,” and extends a finger or two (quizzical looks optional), that Someone is a good friend, and also Someone is someone who knows you well and recognizes that this is just the kind of thing you might say to a friend.

I did not speak with any bank tellers or mail carriers this weekend.

But! One of my button-rubbers said something to me that has had me thinking ever since. He said: “Wow. [My wife] would hate that. She would never let someone touch her belly button.” Huh! Because he’s right! She never would! But she’s a hugger-kisser…

I am emphatically not a hugger-kisser. With the exceptionary exception of my little monsters and lovely husband, I do not kiss hello. I do not kiss goodbye. I do not hug unless there has been very good or very bad news, or unless you are one of a Very Select Few whose proximity I need to drink into my soul.

Some people are hugger-kissers. To me, those acts almost always feel claustrophobic, a betrayal of my physical integrity. But my belly button? That’s one square inch while the rest of you and the rest of me do not get entangled at all. It felt positive to share my freaky button with friends.

But I do understand that even though I feel a need to lobby button-rubbing as the new kiss/hug, with placards proclaiming Button Rubbing is the New Black!, most of you would like all hands off of your abdomens and instead around your shoulders.

We all have our boundaries.


Boundaries, they’ve been on my mind. (Can you tell?)


A close relative asked a question in response to the news about this pregnancy: was it planned? I haven't managed to forgive that question, nor its tactlessness, nor its implications, nor my overly generous decency in not hanging up the telephone. Boundaries are verbal, boundaries are physical, boundaries are visual, and boundaries, when trampled, cause lasting injury.


And to the question of mommyblogging: is this exploitative? They're too young to draw their own boundaries, the little ones. As such I blog with caution. My stance is to tell the stories I want to tell but with an aura of plausible deniability. Thus I don't show their faces, don't use our names, don't divulge our address. By contrast, on Facebook I show their faces, use their names - but my privacy settings are set very stringently. I know who's looking. Here? What I share with the world? They can swear it's not them, if they so desire.


And thus, I am okay telling this story. I had a sonogram today. She said, boys, well, their pieces, they look big - they're swollen now. The pieces won't always be so big. Don't be alarmed by what you might see.

And then she said, Whoa, you really won't need me to label this image, will you?

November 16, 2009
Portrait of the Groundhog, and all his glory.

The parts on the left, those are his apparently exceptionally robust boy parts. And the protrusion to the right - that's the cord that will be his belly button. You see it sticks out, just like mine. Pin It