Ok so back in early April, it was time to return after my two-week invasive medical test recovery break to take one last ballet class and break the news to Smirnoff.
Which I knew was gonna be rough.
But whatevs! I’mma have a baby! Wheeee!
Got did up in a cute get-up: black tights cut off at ankle, favorite black camisole leo with the ruched front, black shortie-shorts, thin dark red cardigan,
Swaggered into class feeling super-hottie and proud of my new round belly,
Didn’t know that in an hour and fifteen I’d stumble outta there feeling Hugely Fat and embarrassed and frustrated and yucky.
So, what happens is I tell Smirnoff, before class while I’m handing over my money and he’s writing my name in his big ledger, that I’m having a baby in October and that my doctor has recommended that I take a break from ballet while I’m pregnant, so this’ll be my last class until after.
And he’s like, “well that’s wonderful news, My Dear, a baby is wonderful! But I don’t understand, why does your doctor want you to stop ballet?”
And I explain about how my midwives (which I refer to as my doctor, because he probably believes in midwives even less than he believes in doctors) don’t want me to pull up and be tight and closed through the abdominal muscles.
He is not convinced.
Lé Assistant comes in and I tell her, and she’s all like, “Well that’s wonderful! And look at you! You’re just as big as Other Pregnant Girl! And she’s already at five months, how far are you? Only three months?! Why look at you, you’re just as big as she is! And her doctor says its ok to keep doing ballet! Why does yours say no?”
So I try and emphasize that I’m at three And A Half months and repeat the thing about pulling up and tight abs while feeling very annoyed with Other Pregnant Girl for not showing up to class so I can’t actually stand beside her and say, “look! See this mess? I am so Not just as big as she is already!”
Go to my spot at the barre, classmates are all yay and congrats and but why no ballet? and barre starts and it is hard, Gentle Reader. My knees feel achy. They’ve never felt achy before. I wonder if this is part of the whole joints-and-ligaments-becoming-looser-due-to-crazy-new-hormones thing. And I’m exhausted already. So I’m totally relieved when Smirnoff stops the music between exercises,
except that he stops it to say,
“My Dear. I am worried that you will become very fat. You have a tendency to become fat, and I’m worried that if you do no exercise at all you will become very fat.”
And in my head I’m like, ‘tendency to become fat?! You Don’t Know Me, Old Man!!!’ and then I’m like, well, I guess he has been keeping an eye on my body for the past two years so I guess he Does know me… but then I was like, but my weight’s been stable! It’s gone up and down within about a seven pound range, you know, the occasional dip down or spike up but always returning to the middle of that range! That doesn’t sound like a tendency to become fat to me!
But it’s not a tendency to become skinny either, which is maybe what he prefers, being an elderly ballet teacher and all.
So I reassure him that I will Not become very fat, because of all the walking and yoga and all the not eating refined sugar I’ll be doing, and he’s like, “well, maybe the baby needs refined sugar!” and I’m like ok now you are just being contrary, Old Man, nobody needs refined sugar, you need complex carbohydrates that slowly break down into sugars, and I’m getting plenty of complex carbs, so there, and meanwhile Lé Assistant is freaking out about the yoga thing and being like, “but do you even Do yoga?! You shouldn’t start doing anything new while you’re pregnant!!” and I’m like, yes of course I do yoga, this is the twenty-first century, dogs do yoga, babies do yoga, everybody does yoga!
But anyway I just try to reassure them and we move on to the barre pirouettes, and on the first en dehors I seriously almost fall over. Like, swing wildly, step way over, grab for the barre. Balance has seriously changed in two weeks. Next few pirouettes I give much less power and manage to go around without hurting myself or others. We do the other side, the en dedans and other side, and Smirnoff stops the music again.
“My Dear. I want you to be careful not to gain more than fifteen pounds while you are pregnant.”
And, Gentle Reader, I do my best to not lol.
I mean fifteen pounds?! I will for sure gain more than fifteen pounds! I garauntee it! I mean srsly: seven and a half pounds is not outrageous for a new born, and that would only leave seven and a half more pounds for all the support structures, the increased blood volume, not to mention all the boob stuff that’s going on, which is impressive.
Fifteen pounds may have been the norm for Soviet Era ballerinas, but I am not a ballerina and this is not the Motherland.
And I kinda want to remind him that just a month ago he’d been telling me I’d lost weight! Which was not even true as I was two and a half months pregnant at that time and he didn’t even know it!
So anyway, music goes back on, we manage to finish barre without any more talk about how Enormous I am going to be, move on to center, where I’m still the only one in class who can do all the “little jumpies” as he calls the jumps in first position, second position, then first-first-first-second!-repeat then first-first-second!-first repeat then firstfirstfirst again. It’s at least thirty-two counts of music, maybe sixty-four, maybe a million and thirty-two, I’ve never counted, each beat with a jump, and I am a super-star and totally winning despite my Tendency To Become Fat, and then he stops the music again and says,
“My Dear, you bear a resemblance to Kyra. Nijinski’s daughter. She was a dancer and choreographer too. I knew her. She became very fat.”
Which is a very conflicting thing to hear because on the one hand omg he just compared me to a Nijinski, and on the other hand, for fucks sake, enough already!
Looked up Kyra Nijinski on the YouTube later, found this interview, which is interesting but definitely not like looking into a mirror.
The rest of center is just kind of a blur of me trying to keep things light and cheery and not leave my last class in an angry huff. Lé Assistant is complaining about how she just doesn’t understand why my doctor would say no ballet, and I’m explaining about how in their experience dancers have very strong abs and she’s saying, “Oh, that’s probably true. Other Pregnant Girl’s abs didn’t pop out for a long time, they were very tight, but now she looks about like you do.” and I’m trying to find a way to roll my eyes without anyone seeing it in the mirror.
Finally we reverénce and I gather up my stuff and say goodbye to Smirnoff and Lé Assistant and they congratulate me and tell me to hurry right back to class after the baby comes and that they’ll miss me and I tell them how much I’ll miss them too and then suddenly wonder if Smirnoff has given me an amazing gift by making my last class So Annoying that it’s actually easy to walk away?
And also make a mental note to maybe take like a month of cardio-barre before coming back, so they can’t be all like You Are Fat I Told You So.
Then I go to the lobby to put my shoes on and be interrogated by my classmates and compared to Other Pregnant Girl some more. They’re all, “But she’s still coming and she’s fine! Her doctor says its ok!”
And I manage to not blurt out something mean like, ‘yeah well her doctor’s not trying to help her avoid a c-section.’ or, ‘right, has her doctor ever taken a single ballet class ever?’ and instead go with self-deprecation and says something about how Other Pregnant Girl has so much more experience in dance than I do, that she is much more aware of and in control of her body and knows how to do ballet with out over-engaging any particular muscle group whereas I’m just a big out of control mess.
Plus every body is different.
Drove home, a friend came over with champagne to toast Mr. Adult beginner, and fake champagne for me.
She was like, “how was class, was he ok with you leaving?” and I was like, “he says I’m fat and I’m gonna get fatter.” and she was like, “Ha! Well hey, I know the midwives said you might as well apply all sweets directly to your ass, so I brought us each a ThinMint, would you like to stick this on your ass?”
And I was like, Yes Please.
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