The third trimester is officially here and I officially don’t recognize myself. It’s like natural instincts become more powerful than my own ambitions; in fact, it’s like nature replaces my regular ambitions with baby-related ones.
I mean, check out this photo. It’s a sand nest large enough to hold both my five- and two-year-old! Sure, we were really going for a volcano, but I couldn’t help noticing its nest-like structure once we finished. And I wish I could say it was my kids’ idea and they talked me into helping. But no. I instigated the whole project.
And then there’s the nursery. Granted, it’s my first time having one (since we lived in a one-bedroom apartment with our first baby and the second one shared a room with the first), but still this is nuts. Hours cleaning, hours setting up the crib (two-and-a-half months in advance), hours clearing out the closet of all office-related boxes that will be moving to the basement, and hours looking at new crib bedding online.
Worse, despite my normal, rational self insisting that buying bedding is way easier than making it, this new, crazy, nesting Nikki has gotten it into her head that she wants to make the crib bedding and all the decor for the room, starting with these 12″x12″ wall hangings I put together last Saturday:
Yikes! If I could put that much energy into writing right now, I swear my novel would be finished and sent off to agents already. But somehow the nesting instinct has hijacked my priorities.
Here’s one more example: cloth diapers. Why is it that I can read and read and read all the options and features and reviews, etc, for every brand of cloth diapers available, spending an entire day at a time doing so, but I start to fall asleep after working on my manuscript for half an hour?
Maybe it’s because cloth diapers are much more fun and colorful than my black-and-white, 300-page novel at the moment. I mean, check out these names: FuzziBunz, Happy Heiny, Bum Genius. And all the choices: velcro, snaps, all-in-ones, pocket, one-size. Who wouldn’t be entranced? Okay, probably anybody whose biology hasn’t been taken over by nurture hormones.
But yesterday I recaptured some of my focus and managed to salvage some of the wasted hours by putting my new-found cloth-diaper expertise to practical, non-nesting use.
I needed a lesson plan that would help my students really understand about tactful rhetoric as opposed to demonizing the opposite viewpoint. I talked to them about how we aren’t “preaching to the choir” — or in other words, we aren’t trying to convince people who already agree with us; we’re trying to win over the other side, and a good first step is to try not to offend them!
So I wrote a role play. I’d never actually done that before and I had no idea if they would actually find it funny or helpful or what, but it turned out to be hilarious, maybe just because the two students who volunteered did such a great job with it.
Since my intermediate students create websites about an issue of their choice, I told them to imagine that these two students represent a website and a visitor and to notice everything the website does wrong in the first scenario and how it revises and mends its way in the second.
Cloth Diapering Website: What? You use DISPOSABLE diapers?? Do you realize that those things take 500 YEARS to decompose in a landfill? Do you have no CONSCIENCE?
Visitor: (covering ears through entire conversation) There is no way you are talking me into using safety pins and plastic pants and all that. Plus it’s not like I have time to do extra laundry or money to hire a diaper service. Stop telling me how to parent!
Website: I’m telling you how to parent because you are obviously incapable of making informed decisions. Haven’t you even considered your baby’s HEALTH? Do you have any idea what kinds of CHEMICALS they use to make disposable diapers? What kind of parent are you??
Visitor: You are a totally insensitive human being! Haven’t YOU ever considered other people’s hectic lives? I’m a single parent! I’m just trying to make ends meet and do the best I can. Not all of us have the luxury of time to contemplate environmental impact or every ingredient on every baby product.
Website: You have to MAKE time! This is IMPORTANT! What kind of legacy are you leaving for your children? You want them to grow up in a world where landfills spill into the cities and poopy disposable diapers roll down the streets?
Visitor: I don’t have to listen to this. I don’t know why I even clicked on this website, but I’ll be sure not to come back.
Website: Did you know that cloth diapering is becoming a big trend? More and more parents are switching to it every year.
Visitor: Are you serious? Why would they do that? Disposables are so much EASIER.
Website: That’s definitely the common perception. Lots of parents are afraid to even consider cloth because they have that image of safety pins and complex folds and white plastic covers, but there’s been lots of innovation going on in the last few years to make cloth diapers just as easy as disposables.
Visitor: Okay, but easy for one person isn’t necessarily easy for another. I’m a single parent. I don’t have a lot of time.
Website: Actually, there are far more options with cloth diapers than there are with disposables. You can choose cheaper ones that make sense for your budget (and, by the way, save you HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR versus disposables) or you can go all out and buy fancy ones that have every convenient feature imaginable. Look at the chart I’ve got here on the left to see five totally different cloth diapers along with picture, price, and features.
Visitor: Okay, that’s actually pretty helpful. And I like how you’ve got links I can check out, like this one about the company offering 30-day free trials. I’ll bookmark this site and keep reading more when I get the chance.
Anyhow, trying to conquer the nesting instinct is an uphill battle, but I’m determined to win . . . somehow. Somehow I will get my novel sent off before this baby is born, even if I have to do it by writing cloth-diaper scenes. Or not.
Anybody else suffering from hijacked ambitions, like maybe because of summer weather or some other enticing trap?