Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sponges... sort of

Ok, so there’s this thing about information. I want to know stuff. Right now, mostly stuff about birthing babies, because… yes, I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies. Which isn’t exactly true.  At the moment I know a lot about what is supposed to happen and lots of things that might happen, but no idea what will actually happen.

Be that as it may, this is just the latest in a long line of things that I want to know about. My brother and I have this in common, but he’s much better at it than I am. More follow through and charisma. He likes a thing, he researches that thing and becomes an expert. Example: He likes wine. Now he’s a sommelier.  I mean, I guess by extension, I’m doing something similar. I like babies, now I’m going to be a mom, but it’s not quite the same.

ANYWAY… so, information. Here’s the thing about it. You’ve heard the expression “to be a sponge” right? Where someone just sucks up all the information about something that they can get, like a sponge absorbing water? Well, there are lots of levels of that situation that I’m going to ramble on about.

See, a totally saturated sponge is actually pretty useless if we’re talking kitchen-type sponges and not the things that live in the ocean, which I am, so keep up, ok? If you pick up a saturated sponge, you just make a mess—water everywhere and then you need a sponge to clean up the mess you just made with the sponge you have. It’s really not that effective. I guess this is what you call “analysis paralysis” if you’re one of those people who are keen on naming things that people do with easily remembered phrases to explain away the oddities of human behavior. I am one of those people and I want to avoid this. The internet is FULL of information. Not just forums (which seem mostly full of the extreme cases) and my Twitter ladies (who are mostly full of the reasonable), but we all know the dangers of Googling your symptoms, right? Too much information.

You want a damp kitchen sponge, right? If, for example, you’re going to use the scrubby side of the sponge to get something that’s dried onto a dish or counter, what you really need is very little liquid and a lot of brute force—for the scrubbing. I don’t need a lot of knowledge to move furniture. Some understanding of physics, gravity, and simple machines is enough.

Also, you need the right kind of liquid to get the most use out of your sponge (which I’m using to talk about my brain here, in case this has already gone completely off the rails). Plain water is fine if you’re just planning on wiping up a few crumbs but if you need to sanitize something (well, first you need a clean sponge, and I’ve always been a little uncertain as to how one cleans a sponge exactly, but I think a dishwasher is involved), you probably want something more potent. Like bleach or Lysol or that Mr. Clean stuff that comes in the purple bottle. So when my brother decided that liking wine was going to become a hobby he wanted to get better at, he had to know who to ask to get reliable information about things, like the wine guy at his local liquor store, not, you know… me because I still describe the way wine tastes in colors more often than flavors.

The point in all of this? I’m not sure. I want to be a useful sponge. I think it's like this--you hold the sponge under the water and let it get good and soaked, then squeeze it out to use just what you need. I’m learning as much as I can about birth, and babies, and how to take care of them and myself, how to be both wife and mother, cut myself some slack, rest now, nest now, enjoy these last few days when it’s just J & I with the critters in the house, be ready, knowing that I’ll never be 100% ready and remember that I’m more than just pregnant since lots of things will go on the back burner once Freckle decides to make her external debut. Filling the sponge, as it were. Then there will be some squeezing and hopefully what I'm left with is what I need to do the job at hand. I’m really kind of glad that I’ll be unemployed* in a week or so. 

*anyone else hear that in Vicini’s voice and have to restrain themselves from adding “in GREENLAND!” on the end? 


Elise M. Seaton said...

I have no yet been pregnant, so I cannot say I know EXACTLY what you mean, but I remember something similar on a much smaller scale when in college and prepping for a final. MUCH smaller scale. And like you, once I get a hold of a metaphor like this, I run it to all of the obvious (and not so obvious) endings. Which is just another reason I like you, by the way.

You're going to be a great mother. I can already tell, because you're TRYING to find out more. And that means you WANT to be good AND that you already love your daughter. So you'll do splendidly. I say this fully understanding that these words mean very little in the face of LEARN ALL THE THINGS. But hopefully a little bit will get through and stick to your sponge. ;)

Oh, and? I clean my sponges by putting a damp one in the microwave for ten seconds. It kills all the germs and it steams up the microwave for easier cleaning. Just be careful when you grab it, because the stuff BURNS!

Swistle said...

Ooooo, I like it! A little knowledge is a very useful thing!

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