Thursday, April 21, 2011

When Did I Get Like This?

It's a first at Short Fat Dictator - this week we are featuring a guest post from author Amy Wilson. Amy is an actress, a writer, a former comedy partner of my sister's, and a mother of three. But what you really need to know about Amy this week is that she is the author of the very funny and thoughtful book When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be.  And guess what? It is available TODAY in paperback. 

Here's an excerpt:

People often told me, when I was pregnant, that I was “all baby,” meaning that I carried predominantly in front of me rather than an all-over increase. 

This is a very nice thing to say to a pregnant woman, whether or not it is actually the case, and I took great comfort in it the first time around. But by my third pregnancy, my stomach got so big so fast it looked like the baby was lying perpendicular to me, head at my spine, feet pushing my belly button improbably outward like the center pole of a circus tent. 

Months before I was due with Maggie, people would stare wide-eyed at me on the street, hoping my water wouldn’t break right there while we were standing there waiting for the light to change. I would attempt to ignore their gaze, thinking,

Please don’t say anything. PLEASE. Please allow my girth to go unacknowledged

And then:

STRANGER: What do you, have TWINS in there? 

I’d come home frothing at the mouth. My husband David would try to remind me that these people were only trying to be nice. And so I tried to take everything said to me in the generous spirit in which it was being offered, like when our Albanian neighbor said:

LINDITA: I think is girl? Because your face? ... is like-a thees...

...and then puffed out her cheeks as large as they would go, or when Uncle Daniel asked David, in my presence:

UNCLE DAN: Did she get this big with all of them?

Wasn’t that so nice of him? It was so nice I wanted to kick him with my cankles. The only thing worse than being as big as I was that summer was having all those nice people remind me.

Even though I looked ready to pop at twenty-two weeks, Maggie delayed her debut for a full forty weeks, plus another eleven days for good measure. The only person more disappointed than me about this was every single other person I encountered. Each morning, I’d duckwalk the boys into school to vociferous reactions of disbelief. It was like being Norm on Cheers, except that my arrival was incredibly disappointing. Since these were my children’s friends’ parents, I managed to smile and shrug. But when I passed the same group of construction workers I did every day on my walk home, and one of them called out,

Holy crap, Mama, you’re enormous!

I stopped dead in my flip flops, turned, marched back to him, and stood my ground.

That is not something pregnant women want to hear,” I said, “you beer-bellied blockhead.

I stomped away to the hoots of his coworkers, throwing them all the parting gift of my middle finger. I was doing a public service. Maybe they’d leave the next pregnant woman alone.

Before I ever had children, if I encountered a heavily pregnant woman on an airplane, in a checkout line, on an elevator, I thought it incumbent on me to acknowledge her impending joyfulness. I would smile indulgently at the stranger’s adorable stomach, and say:

Congratulations! When are you due?” 

Now, when I see a pregnant woman, the bigger she is, the more assiduous I am in leaving her the hell alone. I give her thirty seconds off from talking about her preposterous size.

The mommy jumpy castle is not there for my amusement.

Yes, Amy has nice hair AND managed to secure a picture of herself with all three of her children looking adorable. But we must not hold that against her. Because we're better than that. Or, at least we should pretend to be when we're out in public.

If this taste has not satisfied your appetite for all things Amy Wilson, check her out at any of the spots below. Tell her the Dictator sent you!

Hope you enjoyed this guest post. Tune in next week to hear an exciting update on how things are going with my own children  (SPOILER ALERT: Not that well!!!!)

Please note, it is now is the time to stop reading and go buy Amy's book. 

Off with you!

UPDATE:  I'm giving away a signed copy of the book on my Facebook page.  Please visit 

to enter!