A Legacy of Belly Buttons



As mothers, we  are connected to our children by a legacy of belly buttons.  I look at my sons’ belly buttons and see how we are forever connected to each other.  My belly button connects me to my mother and she to her mother and so on, deep into a past of belly buttons, of women we have never met, but to whom we are connected from one generation of belly buttons to the next.

We are tethered by this silly indention in our abdomens that we trivialize, humorize and generally take for granted.  It collects dust as we go about our lives, a vestige of what was once our life line.

Then you have a child and the belly button becomes a stressful reminder of how much you can screw up.  The atrophying recession of a baby’s umbilicus causing anxiety that leaves us certain we are going to detach something from their insides if we are even the slightest bit clumsy with the thing while cleaning it.  It just looks raw and exposed and we are delegated the responsibility of seeing that it severs completely and sterily.

When it finally falls off, we keep it to press, dried and shriveled in a baby book.  But why?  Because it once connected us to each other.   Now it’s a metaphorical connection as our child drifts farther and farther from us, becoming less and less dependent from the time the connection is severed.

A legacy of belly buttons reminds us of our once symbiotic relationship, that might be considered parasitic if what we forfeited from sacrificing our bodies completely for them weren’t reciprocated with a love that endures into perpetuity as  innies and outies.

Breast feeding and sports


Ah, brestfeeding.  Such a pleasant experience in and of itself, but add physical activity to it and you have a recipe for pain.  The bouncing, the jiggling, the electrifying sensation of your milk letting down in the middle of a run. 

I train martial arts with a bunch of dudes that really don’t get the difficulty of training with milk jugs attached to one’s chest.  The worst is during jiu jitsu training when they smash on your chest or when you are passing and your abnormally large breasts gets hung up on their shoulder while trying to rotate into a north/south position.  Aside from painful it is awkward, but you roll on as if nothing happened.  I have tapped numerous times for no other reason than my boobs hurt so badly I couldn’t go on. 

They make chest protectors which are nothing more than sports bras with cups in them, like a man wears for his testicles.  I’m reluctant to smash their faces with my molded plastic boobs, though I have damn near chipped a tooth or gotten a black eye from their cups.  I think about how funny I’ll look with a cup for my chesticles, like a Nordic opera singer from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  The guys look silly in their cups too with their crotches protruding like a Shakespearean actor in a cod piece, but we’re all acclimated to that look- not so much with the breast plate. 

When I first began training, my oldest son was 4 months old.  I lasted about 6 weeks before I decided the pain of training while breast feeding was just too much.  I returned as soon as he was weened 8 month later.  I don’t want to do that this time, so I have to figure something out.  I think I’m just going to have to suck it up and wear the chest protector. 

As the only female in the dojo I’m just one of the guys, but I make sure to never shy away from the issues I face as a female amongst them.  I might be one of the guys, but I’m not going to pretend I’m not a female.  Besides, it’s lots of fun to make them squirm. 

Baby poop

I am writing this post from my iPad, pecking away on a touchscreen keyboard. Why? Because my 8 week old is having a hell of a time pooping today and cannot relax. If I want to write, this is how it must be done- on an iPad, getting hot boxed by the man sized gas expelling itself from an infant sized body. But this it how it goes.

He has relaxed enough for the time being to doze on my shoulder. If I were to try and put him down to free up my time to type properly on the computer, he would start crying all over again. So I peck away. Excuse me for a moment will I gag on this last bit of flatulance.

I just texted my husband this:


There’s absolutely nothing my husband can do to help me, which should probably make me refrain from being angry with him, but I’m pissed he gets a productive day while I wait for his son to take a dump. Annnnd he’s screaming again. Hold the line…

I’m back, until the next wave of discomfort attacks my poor baby. I feel sorry for him being in this much pain. This is one of those poops you and I would be sitting on the pot praying that God would relieve us of this burden- which is a similar prayer when we were hungover.

My mind begins taking inventory of what I have eaten to cause such intestinal distress in my infant. My mommy guilt tells me this must somehow be my fault, which pisses me off because my husband can eat and drink whatever he damn well pleases. So he gets another text message. I won’t include the contents of this text.

Still no poop yet. I just yelled at God to let my kid poop already. I believe that prayer takes many forms, let’s hope God agrees.

He’s lying in his bouncer now, fretting every few minutes. I can’t commit to switching to the computer. Murphy’s law clearly states that any attempt to return to normal activity when your baby finally settles will result in a reaction equal to or greater than (most likely greater than) the original emotive response of the child. So I continue to peck, peck, peck on the virtual keyboard.

I wish this story had a happy ending where in post fecal bliss I report that a bowel movement was achieved and I am now typing comfortably from my computer. Sorry kids, life isn’t a fairy tale, at least not the Disney version- more like the Grimms’ version. There’s still no poop and I’m running out of ways to describe the act of pooping. Guess I’ll spend the rest of the day sending bitchy texts to my husband as an outlet. If you could say a little poop prayer for my baby, I’d appreciate it.