Thursday, April 4, 2013

Movement - When Art Imitates Life

This week my art classes are doing a unit on movement. As such, their project is a kinetic sculpture - a spiral mobile. The project is something that children from kindergarten through fifth grade enjoy as it involves a number of different skills and uses space differently than other types of art.

In other words, kids love things that dangle from the ceiling.

It amused me that in class we started talking about movement when last night at about 4 am I felt the baby move - without a doubt - for the first time. S/he kicked so hard my belly moved visibly. I couldn't help grinning at the sensation. I would have woken Christian, but I wasn't sure he would have been able to feel anything by putting his hand on my belly. The kiddo isn't big enough yet to make those spectacular movements  that actually hurt. S/he can jab his/her arm into a weird place so that a person could see an elbow sticking out of my belly. The baby is too small just yet.

But that little one isn't so small that s/he can't be felt.

I know now that I felt the baby move earlier - maybe this past weekend - once. At the time I wasn't absolutely certain. Now however, I've been feeling movement fairly regularly. It comes in fits and starts, but when that little one is squirming around, s/he really squirms.

At the moment I have to be still and attentive to notice any sensations. I know it won't be much longer before I'll be able to feel movement no matter what the situation.

Before I knew what it felt like, I had read descriptions of baby movement and it confused me. I've heard it described as "flutters," "pops," and "bubbles." These aren't quite accurate. These descriptions put me in mind of people who say "Women don't sweat - they glow," and "Women don't fart, they fluff." They are strange and silly words that make babies seem like butterflies, popcorn, and soapy baths.

When the baby moves, it feels like a tiny person has kicked you from the inside. The feeling is weird because it is so tiny, and it is from the inside. It isn't like gas or indigestion. The sensation is completely different, though the inattentive and unobservant might misconstrue the feeling (though I don't know how if you were paying attention at all!).

Now that I have experienced this sensation, I look for it constantly. I love it. It's a constant reminder my baby is healthy and present, instead of an abstract idea on a screen or strange whooshing amplified by a machine. I can't wait until Christian can put his hand on my belly and feel this too. For now, when I tell him, he just smiles wistfully. It is one of those things that isolates a mother's experience from a father's. I know the first time we share that sensation, his face will light up, and the whole thing will be that much more real. I also know, I'll cherish that expression in my thoughts the same way I do the one he had when it finally sank in that he was going to be a dad.

The baby just kicked.

It seems life never stays still very long.

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