Sensitivity

We are fourteen weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s really happening. Scout is the size of a kiwi, hopefully not as furry. The second trimester began last week so I decided to open up one of the books we have about pregnancy and brush up on what to expect in the next few months. It’s supposed to be a much “easier” trimester than the first- meaning nausea and fatigue should subside and Scout will start looking more like a little bump in the belly.

I was flipping around in the book and I ended up in the section for expectant fathers. It’s basically a section written for “dads to be” who are idiots and morons and lack common sense or compassion. I’ve looked at a few similar sections in different books and they all seem to assume that the typical male is a gleaming example of incompetence when it comes to relationships and pregnancy. I can’t say I disagree with that.

One paragraph really stuck out to me though. It was in the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book. There is a small section that let’s the father know what he can do after the delivery of the baby…

Once your partner is allowed to eat and drink normally, bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop. It’ll make her feel special.

Are you fucking serious? It’ll make her feel special. Are there men out there who would not think of doing something nice for the woman that just gave birth to their child? Do they really need a prompt? The fact that the Mayo Clinic had to write an explanation of why one would bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop is what astounds me. My anger is not even towards the Mayo Clinic for writing this, but at the fact that there are so many men out there who need this written out for them!

Funny though, reading that made me look at myself in the sensitivity mirror… I’m guilty too. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about what is okay and not okay to say. I actually had to learn it- super simple stuff too, but important…

  1. The little bump that is starting to form in the belly is called a bump- not a pooch. Don’t call it a pooch. Write that down.
  2. Just because Kylie is eating for two doesn’t mean it’s okay to point it out if she is. We made tacos the other night and I mentioned how she never built a taco so high before. We don’t talk about big tacos in this family anymore.
  3. If Kylie gets emotional about something it’s not okay to point it out, or laugh because it’s cute, or outwardly blame the pregnancy for it. Just empathize with the emotion at hand.
  4. If Kylie says she feels and looks bloated, she is not looking for someone to agree with her.
  5. It’s not okay to have Kylie help me lift a heavy truck topper off my truck anymore.
  6. Don’t comment on how hangry she may be. Just… don’t. Not even with a sparkling smile.
  7. Whenever I say or do something insensitive, go to Kylie’s favorite bakery or shop and buy her something… It will make her feel special.

 

 

Age

I picked up the book To Kill a Mockingbird recently. I figured I should read it since we’ve been calling that little thing inside Kylie’s belly Scout. I can’t say I remembered anything about Scout before I started reading the book a couple days ago- I read it a long long time ago but recently I had heard a reference to her (in the last few months) and I liked the name, so I decided to call our little thing Scout just to call it something and it caught on.

But boy oh boy is that Scout ever the tommiest tomboy and sassiest little girl ever! She’s way to smart for her own britches. She just runs the lot and gets in fights and questions every little thing someone says to her- for the sake of understanding- or proving her own point. It’s kinda what I’m hoping our kid to be like- well, minus the fights.

I read chapter ten last night of To Kill a Mockingbird. It began like this…

“Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected upon his abilities and manliness. He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries, and there was nothing Jem or I could say about him when our classmates said, “My father—”

Funny, I have been thinking about my age a lot lately- and doing the math- when Scout is… I will be… and when Scout is… I will be… It’s quite daunting and frustrating to think of some ages and realize when my Scout is really getting started with adulthood, my time will be really winding down. My own father was thirty-one when I was born. I can’t say he was ever feeble or low energy when I was growing up- quite the opposite. There’s a photo of me at about eight years old taking a shot on goal. The photo caught the ball midair with my dad as goalie- fully extended, fully in air, about to stop the ball. I wonder if I will be performing any diving saves for Scout when he/she is nine years old… I say yes, but only because Kylie is a physical therapist and will patch me up afterwards.

When Scout is twenty, I’ll be sixty. When Scout is my age, I will be eighty. EIGHTY! I mean, assuming I make it that long. Maybe one good thing that comes out of this is that Scout will have mature parents- well, at least one- I can’t say I have reached a level of maturity that can be labeled “mature”, but Kylie is an adult at least. Maybe we can use the term “experienced” for me.

But maybe age won’t really even be a factor in all this for me. I look at people around town and a lot of the men my age look as though they are already fifty now. They look unhappy, worn out, overweight, and just plain older than they should. I’m a little bit ahead of the curve. Isn’t there a saying that you are only as old as your wife? If that’s true then I’m only… no, I’m not going to go there but let’s just say- nope- I won’t say anything.

I think age is just on my mind a little more today because I woke up and walked around like a decrepit this morning. I’ve had an achilles problem on one foot for a while now that causes me to limp in the morning until it stretches out. Yesterday I topped it off with an inflamed IT band on my other leg from over-running. So both legs wanted to crumble under me this morning. I didn’t crumble, mind you, I just hobbled into the kitchen and Kylie gave me a sympathetic hug and kiss, and offered to make me a cappuccino. As I watched her make the cappuccino I admired her youth, and then I felt young again- well, at least not so old.

 

P.S. Mom, if you know what photo I am talking about and have it around somewhere feel free to email it to me and I’ll include it in this post. Thank you!

 

P.S. UPDATE:  So, my mom found the photo I was referencing and it wasn’t quite as I remembered it, but this is the one I was thinking of- sorry dad- you still look good though… just not as good as me!

1986

 

 

Case

I lost two small pocket knives in the span of a week. One was confiscated at the airport because they thought I would use it to make tiny stabs in people on the airplane. The other knife fell out of my pocket somewhere in between home and work. Neither had any sentimental value to me, they were just small tools I liked to carry around to assist me with little jobs that require a little knife. Mind you, I’m not the guy that likes to carry around a big knife to show off how much of a man I am- quite the opposite actually- those kinds of guys like to make fun of me and my little knife.

So I needed a new knife. Sure, a custom made one by a local craftsman would have been nice, but considering my track record with the last two I decided I should opt for a cheaper mass produced knife. So off to Cabela’s I went. Whenever I go to Cabela’s I always expect there to be a camouflaged man at the door to stop me and say, “Hey, you aren’t a hunter, maybe you should go to REI instead”. But, he wasn’t there, and I walked right in.

Cabela’s had a great selection of knives! (I swear they are not sponsoring me). They had everything from Rambo knives to machetes to small pocket sizes that fit my personality. As I was looking in the knife cases Gary approached me and told me about a real deal, three knives for $10. I let him lead me that way but I didn’t have great expectations on quality- they ended up being a random camouflaged set of three that had the Cabela’s logo on them. I imagined the blade getting dented as soon as I tried to cut a piece of tape. I thanked Gary and told him I would keep looking.

As I looked over the knives on the wall I realized I wasn’t buying a knife just for me, but a knife that one day I could give to Scout. I remember my dad gave me a knife when I was a kid, just a simple no frills folding pocket knife with a yellowish handle. It was small and had a timeless look to it, unlike all the fancy springy and edgy designed ones out there today. I think I carried it around for a year or two before I lost it. You didn’t think I still had it did you?

My eyes finally rested on a small orange and silver folding knife with a small oval logo on it that read Case. This was the one, I thought, this is the one I’m going to give Scout one day. It had the classic look that reminded me of the one my dad gave me. Gary told me it was forty dollars and when I told him I wanted it he shot me a look that said, I just showed you three knives for ten dollars but you’re gonna get this little one for forty dollars instead? I immediately shot him back a more pronounced look that said, Keep your thoughts to yourself Gary and just sell me the damn knife.

Admittedly, I wasn’t planning on spending forty dollars for a pocket knife. It was a bit more than I had planned- but for a family heirloom? That’s pretty cheap if you ask me. (I used this same justification when I bought my truck- I told Kylie, “Just imagine, one day our first born will drive this”- that was way before Scout was in the picture.) As Gary boxed up the family heirloom he told me I could save twenty dollars just by signing up for a Cabela’s credit card. I told him I didn’t need another credit card. Gary insisted that I did, and it would only take a couple of minutes. A couple of minutes? I’ve got that kind of time…

Twenty-five minutes later I was finally walking out the door with our new knife, some paperwork, a credit card, and a ball cap that read Cabela’s Club. During that twenty-five minutes of frustration, I had a lot of time to think. My mind wandered to the movie Pulp Fiction. Specifically the scene where Christopher Walken’s character is describing to the kid how he hid the watch up his ass for years, just so he could give it to him when he got home…

captainkoonsThe way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you. 

Suddenly this pocket knife didn’t feel too significant as an heirloom. The only story I had to tell Scout was about my twenty-five minute wait to save twenty dollars. I guess I can dramatize it and tell Scout, “But it was a long twenty-five minutes”. I can also tell Scout how pushy over-the-hill Gary was. Not too exciting though.

I suppose I could hide the knife up my ass just for a good ol’ family heirloom story, but I don’t know who I’d be hiding it from. It would probably be a good idea to do so though, because most likely I will lose the knife before Scout is even born- that’s what Kylie thinks- and she’s usually right about that type of stuff.

As a matter of fact, yesterday we were tearing apart some boxes in the garage. I was working on a particularly difficult one and Kylie asked me if I needed a knife. I looked up and in her outstretched hand rested my new orange pocket knife. “Where did you get that?” I asked. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye, “I found it on the floor”.

Dinner

A couple of days ago Kylie and I went for a trail run. The trail is a short out and back that meanders up and down along Rattlesnake Creek. We like it because it’s beautiful (especially in autumn) and there is water for Mazzy (our dog) to drink and soak in. Also, it’s not too taxing on the lungs and we can talk about our past week and our week ahead and usually what we want for dinner.

This was our first run together since we found out about about the little Scout. *From here on out I will refer to the growing thing taking refuge inside Kylie’s body as Scout- not for any particular reason, I just need to call it something- and since everyone (about two people) made fun of me about this name idea, I will use it. It’s going to grow on all you haters!

Let me start that paragraph over- This was our first run together since we found out about Scout. We jogged and talked about our future and before we knew it we were at our turnaround point. We had been so focused on our conversation that we were already halfway finished with a run we felt we had barely started.

We talked about our work schedules and how we could move them around and adapt. We talked about painting a room with characters on the wall. We talked about getting the carpet cleaned in that room. We talked about how spring runs we enjoy on this exact trail will next year be spring walks, and then summer walks with one of those bicycle wheeled stroller thingies (I’m real new to this jargon obviously). We talked about the fact that there would be no riding our bikes up the Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park next year. We talked about how Scout will be six monthsish next winter and it will be a perfect age just to cozy up for the season. Following that, when Scout is one year old, it will be summer again- perfect time for Scout to start exploring the world. We talked about what we wanted to be called. We placed bets on which grandparents were going to move to Missoula. We talked about the cloth diaper service I found that washes and delivers. We talked about how Kylie was afraid to use a safety pin with a cloth diaper so close to a baby’s new soft skin. We talked about hospitals and delivery options. We talked about how to tell people. We talked about how protective Mazzy is going to be that she probably won’t let me near Scout.

We talked about a lot of stuff. And then we asked the question to ourselves, “What did we used to talk about before we didn’t have this to talk about?”  Dinner. We talked a lot about our next meal- and where we should go to get a post run beer or cider. And dinner,  we talked a lot about dinner.

 

First…

It seems awkward to me to begin this blog about my (future) kid and not mention what led up to this- well, besides- you know. I am married to this amazing woman holding on to me in this picture. This was our wedding day, about 2 1/2 months ago. Before you do the math let me do it for you- the fetus (eww, gross word) is 6 weeks, 4 days old (according to my handy dandy app). So, no, she was not pregnant in this photo- not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In short, as you can tell by our bare feet and my cuffed pants, it wasn’t the typical wedding. There were six attendees (us included) and it was twelve miles into a twenty-six mile hike in the wilderness of Montana- Oh- and the bride didn’t know about it.

The bride, let’s call her “Kylie” from here on out, didn’t know a thing. I proposed to her about a mile before this photo was taken. She said yes. I said yay!

Then I said, “We can get married out here if you want to- right now! I have rings for both of us, your brother got ordained, and your sister in law has a dress for you in her backpack!” This caught her a little off guard to say the least, but after a few moments, she happily agreed. So, in front of her parents, brother, sister in law, and our dogs, on that rock, in that lake, in the middle of The Beartooth Wilderness, we got married. And the green grass grows all around and around, and the green grass grows all around.