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Thursday, May 08, 2003
Day 80: do I 'feel pregnant'?

It was one of those weird Elisa quotes that forces me, against all efforts to the contrary, to roll my eyes dismissively:

"I don't feel pregnant"
I'm not sure what she was going for, but considering that I had just rubbed her increasingly swelling belly and had seen her puke for the 1,523,332th time, it was pretty obvious that she had to be "feeling" pregnant.

But the statement got me thinking -- do I feel pregnant? Considering my lack of excercise as of late, my swelling gut rivals Elisa's, so in that regards, yeah, I feel pretty pregnant. Perhaps even more so than Elisa. But that's cosmetic. The question is, do I realize that a metaphorical 10-ton Mack Truck is speeding toward me in a literal 8-pound package?

Contrary to what Elisa thinks, I am preparing for the impending birth. I've spent time drumming up new work to help costs (and hopefully spare Elisa from having to work full-time after the birth), researching life insurance, spending time poring over Consumer Reports on car seats and baby carriages, paying attention when baby-themed commercials appear on TV, and debating the finer points of effective parenting, like

  • how will I keep from laughing if I hear my three-year-old say the word "fuck"?

  • How soon before I can start feeding my kid hot salsa?

  • Is Lord of the Rings too violent for a 2-year old?

  • Are the Teletubbies not violent enough for a 2-year-old?

  • Is it a good idea to dangle a baby from a fourth story window?

  • If I have a 16-year-old daughter, what's the best way to scare the crap out of any potential boyfriends?
Lots of tough decisions, But those are essentially the mechanics of parenting. I may as well be drafting a contract for all the emotion inherent in those preparations.

Elisa dreams about holding the baby. Loving the baby. I dream about kicking my daughter's boyfriends' asses. So when Elisa accuses me of not "thinking about the baby", perhaps she's got some justification.

I focus so much on all the accolades that will be showered on our child (concert pianist at Madison Square Garden, World Series MVP, and Nobel Peace Price, circa 2034), but never say, "I can't wait to hug my baby".

Don't get me wrong, I do see what's coming. I'm a deer stuck in that Mack Truck's headlamps, fascinated by the impending collission. I'm intellectually aware of what impact will do, but I haven't come to terms with the emotional repercussions.

So despite my obscene gut, perhaps I don't feel pregnant after all.

But I won't know for sure until after my ultrasound.

by Kos | May 08, 2003 02:32 PM


I'm the father of two daughters. And I'm the primary caregiver here--my wife has the "real job", I work part-time nights--and let me let you in on a secret, Kos. You *are* preparing for the emotional effects of fatherhood. It's just that you're preparing for the emotional effects of a *child*, not a baby.

Elisa's going to find out something quick--that "hug them, love them" phase is short, short, short. Because as *soon* as Sprout becomes *mobile*, you'll be lucky to get a three-second hug. My younger one, who is a bit older than two, deigns to give you the quick hug-and-kiss, and then she's off to destroy more CDs or randomly dial some number in Vladivostok on the phone.

And you can *not* keep from laughing if your three-year-old says "fuck". So don't even try.

As for boyfriends, sixteen? Who are *you* kidding? My oldest announced the other day that she has a boyfriend. She's *seven*. You're in for a rude awakening, my friend .

As for the accolades, good luck. Being a singer and musician, I hoped to get musical kids. My oldest is a fine dancer--she's been taking ballet since she was three--but can't carry a tune in a dumptruck. I keep asking my wife (who can also sing), "How in hell did *we* produce a tone-deaf kid?!?!?!?" You got to take what you get. She's a bright kid, a good *visual* artist (which she got somehow from my brother, I can't draw worth crap), and has a delightful and quite keen, for her age, sense of wordplay. It is a trip living with the world's youngest surrealist.

I got lucky with the little one--she *can* sing. At 26 months she boofs on the lyrics, of course, but she can half-mumble about 37 Springsteen songs and the entire soundtrack of The Sound Of Music, in tune.

Posted by: Frank Downey on May 8, 2003 10:36 PM

I can confidently tell you that, as a woman who has experienced two pregnancies, you do *not* want to feel pregnant. I love my two kids, but I'm soooooo glad that I'm done with that part of my life.

Instead, you should do what [it sounds like] you are doing and be very supportive, make sure your wife gets a lot of rest, and uh... bake things with a fair amount of bran in them.

You guys will do great!

Posted by: Sara R-C on May 8, 2003 10:49 PM

1) You can't keep from laughing, which of course will encourage the little shaver to repeat the word. Then you explain about appropriate times and places to say fuck, and let him get it out of his system at home. He'll get over it.

2) As soon as she wants to try it. She won't like it the first couple of times, nor will she like it when it gives her the screaming godawfuls.

3) The Lord of the Rings is not too violent. Rambo is. Bob Roberts is definitely too violent.

4) Teletubbies are too inane for a genius like your child.

5) Dangling kids out of windows usually only results in paperwork to fill out. Don't do it.

6) Sharpen a machete in the presence of your daughter's boyfriends. Ask them if they think it's sharp enough to castrate a pig with. That should work.

Buena suerte.

Posted by: Stephen on May 9, 2003 07:53 AM

Y'see, I don't think Teletubbies are inane. I think Teletubbies are the product of a group of people who repeatedly watched "Yellow Submarine" under the influence of too many mind-expanding drugs.

Then again, to *get* this, *you* might have had to watch "Yellow Submarine" under the influence of mind-expanding drugs.


Posted by: Frank Downey on May 9, 2003 01:53 PM

if u want a daughter and Elisa wants a boy, make absolutely sure you *don't* find out the sex of the baby in the ultrasound. You will avoid many disappointing moments and enjoy many idly speculative ones.

Oh, and no matter what you do, *don't* get an amnio. not you- you can't have an amnio. I mean that lady who sounds so elegant just throwing up.

Posted by: cynic on May 10, 2003 09:47 AM

As someone who went through my first pregnancy solo, only to end up with TWINS (they outnumbered me from the beginning, not a good sign), I can relate to the "feeling pregnant" thing.

So your wife is just living her life, doing her thing, working, studying, whatever, and then WHAM it hits her. While she's doing all of these mundane feeling things, this MIRACLE is at work inside her. She's pregnant! ohmygosh! She's going to have a BABY! It's startling. Even though you know. It's like for a while, when you're not paying attention to it, you kind of forget. Or it's not at the forefront of your mind. And when you remember, you're AWED.

It's wonderful that things take time. You find out you're preggers, but it's a while before you start to show. Then it's a bit before you feel the kicks, then it's a bit before you can't fit behind the wheel of the car and still reach the pedals....

Then the baby is born, and it doesn't DO very much at the beginning, but that's good, cuz you get a chance to get used to the idea of this tiny person.

The story of your life from now on is, just as you get used to one stage, it all changes and you have to get used to something new :)

Posted by: K Long on May 13, 2003 07:01 AM

I wanted a girl, and she wanted a boy, and we found out recently that it's a boy, and to my immense shame, it did cause some moments of dischord. I'm getting over it, though.

I've always thought that men were supposed to want sons, but I just don't get that. Girls are so much cooler.

Posted by: Realish on May 13, 2003 05:33 PM

No, Lord of the Rings is not too violent for a 2 year old, although I would distract them when the Balrog comes along. One of my sons is 2.5 and has seen most of both of them.

Posted by: Dave Buster on May 14, 2003 02:13 PM

oh, the fuck thing.

I would like to introduce you to the concept of earnest boringness as a tool in childrearing. What you do is, you explain. Explain what the derivation of the word is, explain that while no word is bad in and of itself, people will be bothered by it and it's better to find a way to say what he-or-she wants to say without using a word that will make those people hear one word instead of what he-or-she is trying to say, explain about words anything you can think of, at as great length as you can possibly manage.

HM (my seven-year-old) is positively wistful at the idea that there are some kids who just get punished and don't have to listen to explanations. A good explanation will drive her into her room with a book for hours.

They only do it to piss you off anyway. Let them know you see it as an educational opportunity, the bloom is off the rose before it has a chance to properly open.

Important early-pregnancy distinction: you are not, actually, pregnant. The sooner that very silly meme gets kicked to the curb, the better. You're a pregnant person's support system. The time to appoint yourself as an equal partner is about a week after Junior appears, when the first giddy thrill is gone and the baby still needs walking with at three in the morning.

Also maybe wait until she stops vomiting to plan stuff so she can enjoy it with you, k? Candied ginger from the health food store works wonders for that...

Considering that I don't, technically, or any other way, really, know you folks, I'm ridiculously pleased for you.

Posted by: julia on May 16, 2003 06:45 PM
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