Thursday, September 18, 2014




Life happens: Nesting is for the birds

By Victoria Advocate
Jan. 2, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 1, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.


But then a few weeks ago, I innocently went to pick out a new book to read from my bookshelves when I noticed that all my Harry Potter books were beside all my Norman Mailer books. And "Infinite Jest" was beside "Game of Thrones." And Stephen King? That guy was all over the place.

So, naturally, I snapped. Suddenly, I found myself pulling book after book off the shelves - faster and faster, eventually just chucking them over my head, covering the entire floor of the living room, dining room and part of the kitchen.

Five manic hours later, every single book I own, which is not an insignificant number, had been taken down, cleaned, mentally recategorized and put back on the shelves using a system that made absolutely no more sense than the original system. Some books were organized via genre, some by how much I thought the authors would get along (Mark Twain and Dave Barry? Besties for life.) and some by how smart I thought they made me look.

Needless to say, it was a system that would have made any librarian's head spin around, "Exorcist" style, and then explode.

But despite the fact that it didn't make any sense and that it didn't actually need to be done, I couldn't help myself. I had to do it. It was a compulsion - a compulsion no less powerful than what I imagine compels my dog to roll around in dead things on days when I am running late for something.

Yes, I had apparently unwittingly begun the phase of pregnancy known as "nesting." Generally, nesting is when a pregnant mother feels the overwhelming desire to deep-clean her home and prepare said home for the imminent arrival of her baby. As I discovered, pretty much all expectant mommas go through this, from animals tearing up newspapers and birds building actual nest, to human women who scrub their entire house with a toothbrush and then organize their spice rack alphabetically.

But in my case, my maternal instincts told me I couldn't have a baby in a house where the books were shelved all willy-nilly. Never mind that there is food in my fridge that expired in 1997 and the bathroom tub hasn't been scrubbed since I could wear pants with buttons. Oh, no. No, it was far more important that my home be a home where Dorothy Parker took her rightful place beside Robert Benchley.

Luckily, not all is lost for this kid. Because while his mother is currently about as useful as a fish with a bicycle, he has a father whose instincts are actually geared toward keeping his tiny butt alive.

For example, that following weekend, my husband spent hour upon hour putting together the crib, the changing table and rocking chair, organizing all the tiny, tiny clothes by size and cleaning out our attic of all the useless crap that not only did we not need, but also no one would ever need in their lifetime, to make room for all the new baby crap we would actually need. I watched him, mesmerized, as he did thing after thing that would, you know, actually be helpful once this little bladder-kicker was out in the world.

He was doing the male version of nesting - or, as I like to call it, "mesting."

Not that I was completely useless during this time, mind you. I helpfully did things like hold up random tools while saying "This one? This one? This one?" when he asked for a Phillips head screwdriver. And I put together a mobile for the crib all by myself. Granted, it doesn't work now, but that could be for any number of reasons.

It just goes to show you, everyone approaches parenthood differently. But believe you me, someday that kid will be over the moon about the fact that all the Stephen King books are not only together on the shelf but stacked chronologically.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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