1) PILLOW. Not for me but for my kids, as I can’t quite pull the loose flab up to the side of my own head at this point. Not quite.
2) TRAMPOLINE. While not as resilient as the full-size trampoline in my neighbor’s yard, my gut at least poses no threat of head injury should my baby topple to the edge of the jumping area. And stuffed into certain pre-pregnancy, low-rise jeans I still own, it would look just as at home in a trailer park as any other trampoline does.
3) TOY. Had I known how much my preschooler was going to enjoy mashing her hands and face into it, I’d have totally done away with her playroom and just sewn a little satin show-curtain around my belly button, with splendid gold tie-backs.
4) FOCAL POINT. Yes, stranger in the park, I do see you looking at it every time I nurse. You know who you are. Glad you found something more interesting than the outer periphery of my boob to gawk at.
5) FUEL. Whenever I’m out trying to TCB with the kids, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I start to think to myself how long it’s been since breakfast, how I’m going to starve to death if I don’t pull over somewhere and eat, I just look down. And I know my fuel tank’s full: I could drive this body for weeks on that roll alone.
6) EXCUSE. If I’m not feeling amorous when confronted with the candlelight my husband’s lit in the bedroom, I can linger for a moment in front of the mirror in my unders, squeezing the roll between my thumbs and forefingers as though I’m preparing to heave so much pizza dough to a work slab. Then I almost don’t even have to say, “I’m really not in the mood.”
7) MOTIVATION. To get up and move. This one occurred to me last night as I stared down a bottle of Pinot sitting atop the adult lap-swim schedule at the indoor pool. I looked down at my gut and went swimming. Then I had the wine.
8) REMINDER. To my husband and me, to follow up on our vasectomy and ablatian plans. You know, kind of like that old tie-a-string-around-your-finger trick, except it looks more like I’ve tied a dead manatee around my waist.
9) SOUVENIR. A post-partum gut is to women as Mickey Mouse Ears are to children. This soft spot, right here, means I’ve been to the real Happiest Place on Earth, the birthing suite.
10) PERSPECTIVE. As in, I have created life with my own body. I grew not one but two human beings, from their very smallest incarnation, within that space that now taunts me when it spills like so much gelatinous Tofu over the tops of my pants.