Thursday, July 17, 2008

Entering my confinement

In the olden days, women used to retreat to their homes and bedrooms to "enter their confinement" for the last month or so of pregnancy. I'm sure there were many reasons for doing so, including inexact due dates, the societal indelicacy of pregnancy, and the need for a change of pace - for the slower - in the woman's life (for those who could afford, not necessarily monetarily, to do so).

It's this last aspect of a confinement that I find particularly appealing, perhaps because with this pregnancy, I've been able to do exactly that: take a time-out, as it were, from the everyday hustle and bustle of our life in Tucson. And friends, it has been wonderful. The biggest part of the slow-down is probably not having to cook, at all, but there are other things contributing to it, too.

Think about it - since I don't have to cook, I don't have to seek out, shop for, buy, prepare, or clean up after food, either. We don't have a car, so everything Miriam and I do is either walkable or bus-able. I'm disconnected from friends, a (nice) house (that we totally miss) to take care of, church obligations, and regular old routine stuff that we do just because. Money has become almost meaningless to us since we never have to spend it, at least not in small, day-to-day amounts (unfortunately, things like cell phone bills continue to exist).

Similarly, time, at least for Miriam and me, is worth less. With small exceptions for activities like dictionary work, laundry, and midwife visits, our time here is leisurely and unstructured. Basically, we play outside all day long on this gorgeous campus that is our backyard, taking breaks only to eat meals that other people prepared for me or - gasp! - take a nap. There must be something in the water here because after a 9-month abstention, Miriam takes a daily nap again. Of course, her bedtime is now 10.30, but what woman - pregnant or not - doesn't relish the chance to take a rest in the middle of the day instead of pressing on desperately to 8 o'clock with an increasingly cranky child?

Here are some photos from a day in the life of Bridget & Miriam:

The main bridge crossing downtown, as seen from the Marble Works farmer's market. There's a place to go down to the water and throw rocks in, as Miriam was happy to discover. Also downtown: the library, lots of quirky little shops, a village green (with three family-friendly concerts a day all this week), a playground, etc.

The swings by St. Mary's Church, at the foot of campus. If Miriam ever converts to Catholicism, I think it will be somehow related to this church and how beautiful she thinks it is. Every time we pass it, she wants to go inside. And when the bells ring on the hour, every hour - well, she's in love with the building, what can I say?

This is "the close church" - on campus, not far from our house. It may not be as pretty as St. Mary's, but Miriam is an ardent fan of its weekly carillon concerts.

One of the best things about having a campus for a backyard is that besides the wide open green spaces, Middlebury has stocked its common areas and quads with Adirondack chairs. Miriam calls them "silly chairs," and they are a life-saver for me. Wherever we go, I always have a place to sit down. Also wherever we go, we have a potty readily available, in some on-campus building or another.

I am really enjoying my modified "confinement," especially the part where Miriam and I spend lots of time together. I think it will be a fitting way to welcome a new baby to the family, having had a chance to teach, nurture, and love Miriam so intimately and so immediately beforehand.


Shannan said...

Hi Bridget!

This doesn't relate to your post today, but I wanted you to know that I finished Parenting, Inc today and LOVED it!! I never would have found it if it wasn't for you (where do you find your books? they are always a good read!)

I never partcipated much in the over consumerism of parenting with my older two because I couldn't afford it. Now with Chase, I was feeling a little guilty that I wasn't "giving him enough" but thank heavens for reading that book. Except for the fact that I bottle feed, I feel much better about the underconsumerism we parent our children with.

I'll give examples later, but baby is screaming his little head off while I type.

I'm dying to know Sasha 2.0's name. I used all the name wizards and nymbler and such - I like preppy, solid, sports names and they were great tools.
see ya

Katie said...

I must tell you that I throughly enjoy reading your blog. You write so well, and you make me want to live where you do. It seems as though you are living the stereotypical New England College life. Like something out of the 50's. Good luck on the new baby. By the way, when are you due and what is the story behind the Sasha 2.0 thing? I must have missed that page.

Liz Johnson said...

That is so wonderful. I'm so excited for you to be done! May your confinement end soon. :)

mle said...

A nicely written description of a dreamy life that will never come again. I'm glad you are having this opportunity and you obviously recognize and appreciate its rarity. It's a privilege for Meme to have this respite too, just before her life changes.

Meme will definitely be interested in converting when she sees cousin Maureen's monastery! Acres & acres of grass surround a huge stone church, and the nuns will fawn over from the moment she steps inside.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Sorry, that last post is from SBW. Didn't realize someone else was signed into my account!

Lilianne and Jason Wright said...

Sounds pretty good to me! Enjoy it while you can!!

Mikael said...

your life is amazing! I am JELOUS! Soak up all that one on one time with Miriam, it will go away once the baby is born (actually, nevermind. You are only having 1 baby, so it will still sort of be there). I cry just because I want more time with Makenzie. Now my days are filled with holding 2 fussy babies and trying my hardest to make it a "fun activity" for makenzie! But again, it is easier than my pregnancy


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