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Parenthood, Young Married Mom

May 29, 2010

On Why Painting Your Own Toenails when Six Months Pregnant Should Qualify as an Olympic Sport

Being pregnant during the summer may not seem like the most enjoyable experience a girl could ask for.  But with a couple of swingy summer dresses I’ve found and air conditioning in the two largest rooms in our apartment, so far even these sweltering days of May haven’t been so bad.  I have high hopes for the days ahead, and even more so on account of my latest discovery: being pregnant during the summer is a fantastic excuse for getting a pedicure.

In the past few weeks, as my trimester count slowly and somewhat painfully shifts into third gear, my feet and back have started to ache.  I feels silly every time I think about it, because really, a twenty-three-year-old with an aching back?  Seriously?  Then again, I imagine constantly lugging around an extra twenty pounds or so would make anyone’s back hurt.  Except maybe a competitor for the World’s Strongest Man who pulls eighteen-wheelers with only his body and a couple of heavy-duty chains.  Perhaps I should have more thoughtfully considered that as a hobby in college.

A couple of common sense remedies have made me more comfortable and more mobile.  First, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of not straining to lift, push, or reach anything beyond my capability.  A co-worker told me her rule is that a pregnant lady should never lift more than half of what she thinks she can handle, and I’m doing my best to remember that rule when I need it.  I’ve also started to wear shoes with built-in arches more often than my more simplistic flats.  Having John rub my feet every now and then has done its part, too.

But I think there’s still another solution, more obvious and more enjoyable: a pedicure!  One of the first things we noticed when we saw our apartment for the first time is that it is surrounded by nail salons. I rave every other day about how wonderful pedicures are and how John and I should both go and enjoy the magic together.  While he encourages me to go myself, he remains adamantly opposed to joining me.  His loss, I say!

Yesterday, I had finally planned to go for it.  But as so often will be the case in parenthood, my mothering duties demanded a change in plans.  After walking around a huge bookstore and a farmer’s market in Union Square all morning, I was beyond exhausted by three o’clock.  I considered my carefully laid plan, then put it aside and resigned myself to an afternoon nap instead.

I woke up about an hour before a dinner we were attending.  I planned on wearing sandals that evening, and it had been a while since my nails has been painted.  Thus my now foiled pedicure plan.

Whatever, I thought.  I can pretty much still reach my feet.  I’ll paint my toenails myself.

Once I was settled with nail polish, remover, and a nail file in the bathroom, I realized the task I’d set myself was going to be much more difficult than I expected.  First I’d have to find a new way to sit.  Rather than pull my feet in close to me, knees fully bent, as I usually would, now I had to rest each foot on something a bit farther away.  Okay, not ideal, but not impossible.

As I reached out to touch my feet, I discovered this also was more of an ordeal than it used to be, seeing as there is now another person between me and my feet.  Said person does not appreciate being smushed.  I considered asking John to help, but we didn’t have a lot of time, so I had to try my best.  Thankfully, I was able to make it all the way through two coats and now I sit with toes in a happy shade of “Berry Boucle.”

I wish I could say there was some kind of secret I learned, but really the most important lesson, as lame as it is, is to keep breathing.  I needed a break after every other toe, just to catch my breath.  In my book, painting my toenails is now equivalent to trying a new pose in a yoga class just beyond my capability or lifting a small elephant that may or may not equal me in weight.

So from this point forward, I am capitalizing on the opportunity to have someone else paint my nails—and massage my feet at the same time—without feeling like it’s a totally unnecessary expense.  I just hope I can restrain myself from going every single day. . . .

  1. Mom says:

    So far the best read of my summer.
    Great visual from the nail painting description.
    See you soon.

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