I don't know why I continue to insist on making such a spectacle of myself. It's enough that Miriam and I trek around campus and town, attracting the stares and raised eyebrows of strangers. A significant part of me wants to just stay at home all day, every day, from now on, until the baby is born. And yet, there we are, Miriam and I, walking downtown every single day. And the spectacle continues.
At least today we were an adventurous spectacle. I had a visit with the midwife (everything is fine, and I appear to be very ready to have a baby) and afterwards, Miriam and I walked to Shaw's to catch the bus back into Middlebury. The great thing is that the Shaw's complex is not surrounded by a tall cement wall as so many businesses these days are, making them completely inaccessible to pedestrians approaching from anywhere other than the main road. The midwifery practice happens to be located across from and behind Shaw's, separated only by a large field. Another great thing is that someone cuts the grass of the field in the shape of a path so that instead of having to walk all the way to the main road and around to Shaw's via the main vehicular approach, I can cut through the field and be there in about two minutes.
So Miriam and I set off through the field to Shaw's to catch the bus, as usual. I noticed there were lots of mosquitoes stalking us, and that they were huge mosquitoes. In fact, they were so huge that the movie Jumanji actually came to mind. (What also came to mind was the time some friends and I were watching Jumanji at a beach house and during the movie, a bat came flying out of the fireplace. True story.)
Then, we turned the corner, very close to Shaw's, and came upon an extremely large, extensive portion of a tree, lying across the mowed path, apparently downed during a recent storm. And there was no way around it. If we wanted to get to Shaw's, we had to hack our way through its foliage.
Looking back, I should have thrown principle and economy to the wind and turned us right around to walk to Shaw's via the main road. But in keeping with my habit of making a spectacle of myself, I folded up the stroller, put my backpack on my back, and told Miriam to start climbing through.
Meanwhile, the mosquitoes were eating us alive. I kept urging Miriam on through the increasingly brambly, awkward, difficult passage while simultaneously trying to keep the worst of the mosquitoes off of her. Right when we were in the middle of the tangled branches, Miriam decided she no longer trusted in her mom's sanity (don't know that I blame her) and started to whimper, and also refused to move forward.
I couldn't lean over very well to help her, what with being 38+ weeks pregnant. I couldn't maneuver between the branches very well, what with carrying a folded stroller in my arms and a backpack on my back. But somehow, we hacked our way through the fallen tree and emerged, one of us crying and one of us frazzled, both of us extremely disheveled, directly onto a corner of the Shaw's parking lot.
And right there, watching our every move, was a lady sitting in her parked car. She must have seen the whole thing. I ended up having to basically rip the stroller from the tangly vines of the tree and then remove the shreds of foliage from the wheels, all right in front of her. And then, as nonchalantly as possible, Miriam and I walked toward Shaw's as if to convince the lady in her car that to see a massively pregnant woman and her toddler burst out of the underbrush swatting like maniacs at mosquitoes is a totally normal experience.
Though to be honest, I can't be sure she was entirely convinced after all.