On Friday afternoon, my Mom called from Connecticut. "Are you doing anything this weekend?"

"Aside from possibly having a baby, no, not really," I said. "Why?"

"Oh, I thought I'd come down and stare at your belly," she said.

As it turns out, this is some kind of family tradition. When my Mom was pregnant with me, her parents came down to Louisiana to stare at her belly. Nothing happened, and eventually my grandparents decamped for Texas, and at some point later, I showed up. Was it the belly-staring that brought on labor?

"Couldn't hurt," my mother said. And I agreed. At this point, any visitor, any good book, any conversation is a completely welcome distraction from the never-ending game of Was That Something?, wherein the pregnant person scrutinizes every bellyache and back twinge to see if it's a sign of the impending big event.

Saturday morning I planted stuff in my little red brick garden, and Adam and I ran errands. By the time we got back home, my Mom was sitting curbside in her little green Honda, watching us try to park. And laughing. "I said to myself, 'That giant SUV will never fit in that spot! And then I saw that giant SUV was you!"

"It's not a giant SUV," I grumbled. "It's barely an SUV at all."

My mother ignored me. "Hello," she said to the belly.

"Ma," I said, "I'm up here.

"Whatever," she said, and handed me a Filene's shopping bag. "From Los Angeles."

My sister-in-law April, who lives in Los Angeles, has a baby, and also the greatest taste in the world. I sat on my bed, oohing and aahing over every tiny piece of adorable newborn clothing -- the little kimonos, the wee little hats, the tiny little tee shirts -- until I pulled out a ratty Ace bandage.

"What's this?" I asked. I dug further. There, at the bottom of the bag, was a pair of inside-out bicycle shorts.

I held them with my fingertips. My mother's eyes lit up.

"My bike shorts!" she exclaimed, and grabbed at them like Gollum going after the ring. "My bike shorts! I thought they were lost! I turned my bedroom upside down! I never thought I'd see them again!"

I rolled my eyes. She handed me a yellow Carter's onesie with a soft yellow duck on the chest, which was cute and sweet and a slightly larger version of the exact same yellow Carter's onesie I picked out three weeks ago.

"See," she said, sounding extremely satisfied, "you shouldn't laugh at me, because you're turning into me!"

But, turning-into-my-mother fears aside, it was a really nice weekend. We saw "A Mighty Wind," which I loved ("Spinal Tap" is one of my most favorite movies of ever, so I'm a sucker for anything those guys do), and ate Greek salad and gyros for dinner. Then on Sunday I headed to Manayunk for what will, God willing, be my last-ever prenatal yoga class.

It felt very surreal to sit in a room full of pregnant women and announce, "I'm due tomorrow!" (Of course it was a little less impressive, given that I've got three other classmates all due next week).

Then we all went out for brunch and talked about which pajamas we're packing for the hospital and where we're planning on changing the baby.

"I will have two changing stations," I announced. "One in the baby's room, and then one downstairs by the kitchen sink."

My mother started laughing. "Changing stations!" she said, wiping tears from her cheeks. "Pajamas?!?"

"What's so funny?" I asked.

She just kept laughing, and wouldn't tell me. I suspect I'll be finding out soon enough. And I'm wavering between feeling totally excited and ready and totally terrified and not ready at all.

Adam, however, is totally ready.

"I hope you realize that parenthood won't change who we are," he said tonight at dinner.

"Nah," I told him. "We'll be us. Only with less sleep."

Meanwhile, fun with the digital camera. Here's Wendell! Click to make a small dog larger!




And the fully-assembled fugly Dutalier rocker-glider!

Jen