Flutterbug

Is there a force in the universe that makes a man tell dad jokes as soon as he is an expectant father? I swear there is and I cannot escape it. I used to be a funny guy- well, to me. But recently I find myself shaking my head at myself when I attempt a joke. Really guy, did you just say that? I should slap you upside the head. 

Take yesterday for example, we were just wrapping up our first visit with the OB

GYN. We all had a great conversation, well, I mostly sat there and listened to her ask Kylie questions and Kylie ask her questions. Really I just felt I was a bit of an inconvenience as the nurse had to go find a chair for me to sit on. But then when she asked us if we had any more questions at the end of the session I decided to display my wit, “I’ve been suffering from Couvade syndrome and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me.” Kylie laughed. Our Obstetrician nervously laughed, probably only because we were both laughing and she didn’t want to be left out. Then she asked, “What’s, what is that?” As with any other joke that becomes unfunny when you have explain it, this one unraveled quickly. I explained what it was and she said she didn’t know there was a name for that condition. Awkward!

We also had our first ultrasound done yesterday and it’s absolutely true- we saw it with our own eyes- Kylie has a little mexican inside her! And that thing was moving around like a jumping bean! And we saw the heart beat holy shit! It was a little flutter bug! We got to see it in 3-d, which quite frankly looks a little freaky to me but Ky thinks it is cute. I’d post a picture but it looks pretty much like the one I drew in the last post. They were also able to give us a more refined due date- June 8th!

They gave us tons of pamphlets and magazines and options for chromosomal blood testing and a big book that had some way too graphic pictures of childbirth. Seriously, it was a photo of a guy holding up his squatted partner by the armpits, then you gaze down and there is head sticking out of her vajay- it didn’t look like either of them were having any fun. Anyway, it’s a lot sift through. It’s a lot to talk about also- there are certain windows when some tests are better, some can’t be done for a while, and they are all optional. It seems to me that all these tests should just be included, but we have to decide whether or not to get them done. And even if we do they are not one hundred percent conclusive- there is a risk of false positives and false negative that then get confirmed with more tests that could still be false positive/false negative. I don’t know what we will decide to do, but you won’t hear about anymore of that here. I am just surprised by all the little but huge decisions we have to make before Scout even scoots its way out.

So that was our visit- a very positive one. So far, so good, and that was the only news we wanted to hear.

Babybrain

This is not about Scout’s developing baby brain, it’s about my distracted one. Scout is a little over nine weeks now- the size of a grape- or an olive. I’m pretty sure it’s brain is not really there right now. But! Scout will apparently be developing gonads or or ovaries this week- and a four chambered heart! And toes! Cute little toes the size of engorged fleas I imagine. I would show you a general picture off the internet but it’s more fun to imagine a snail without a shell or antennae, floating around in a uterus the size of a grapefruit. Oh what the hell, I’ll draw you one…

 

 

As Scout is growing and progressing, I seem to be losing myself a little at a time. Sure, insert hair joke here but this is serious. My brain is losing focus at home. Weird little things keep happening and I blame Scout. I’m still to young for dementia I think. As of now it seems mostly to do with food. Here are a couple examples:

  1. Mazzy and I shared some smoked salmon a couple of weeks ago (her idea, not mine). But when I went to look for it a couple days later I found it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. I know, small thing, but not like me.
  2. Another fishy example- we baked some cod last week. I grabbed some tupperware out of the cabinet and put the leftovers in it. When I couldn’t find it in the fridge the next day I figured Kylie ate it. I was surprised to find it a couple days later in the tupperware I put it in, inside the cabinet I got the tupperware from.
  3. Last night we made pizza. My job is to brush oil on the crust so it gets crispy (it’s about the only thing I can handle). Well, last night after putting some oil in a small bowl, I forgot I was holding it in my hand and started moving around like an inflatable wacky waving tube man (the kind hooked up to a fan outside a failing business). Needless to say I got oil all over the floor an we slipped around making pizza the rest of the night.
  4. Kylie found empty candy wrappers in the freezer. It is actually normal for me to put empty candy wrappers in the freezer- I don’t want Kylie to see the wrappers in the trash can the next morning- she doesn’t need to know how much candy I eat! But the abnormal thing here is I have been forgetting to throw the wrappers away the next day- I never forget to secretly dispose of my candy wrappers. Embarrassing!

I know those seem like small things- but they are huge in my world- and they’ve never happened before I’ve had Scout on my mind. Luckily I’m too busy at work to make these kinds of mistakes. It’s only been happening at home while my mind wanders. Hopefully it will stay at home and not enter my bartending life. Can you imagine getting a White Russian with raspberry puree instead of cream- because that’s the kind of stuff that might start happening.

But there actually is a syndrome that the partner of a pregnant woman can suffer called Couvade syndrome. I do not suffer from that as far as I can tell. It is also referred to as sympathetic pregnancy. The partner may gain some weight (which I have- but very little), experience nausea, and can even experience labor pains and such. I watched an episode of House once that portrayed a guy in the midst of Couvade syndrome. He was in more pain than his pregnant wife. I’m pretty sure that episode ended with a football coming out of his anus or something- but that could just be my babybrain remembering things wrong- go figure.

California

Scout went on it’s first trip with us this weekend. We flew. We stayed at my brother and his partner’s (Isaac and Sarah’s) house on the remote side of Nevada City with my sister (Nina) and her husband (Haygen). Isaac picked us all up from the airport in Sacramento and drove us an hour and a half away on winding roads to his house on the Woolman compound. I say compound for lack of a better word. He lives on the grounds of what was once a Quaker school, but is now divided into dwellings and places to meet for social progress and ceramic gatherings. The weekend we visited there happened to be a non-violent communication gathering just outside his kitchen window and a ceramic wood firing just a stone’s throw away. Perhaps some people participated in both events but I didn’t inquire. I suppose if we had been there during the heat of July we could have been witness to a nudist gathering and a vegan chili cook-off for peace; but that’s just what I imagine- beans and hair everywhere.

When we pulled up to my brother’s house from our drive there were a few barefoot thirty-something year olds standing on the porch staring at us, one of them pregnant and ready to burst. I immediately began wondering about my brother’s living choices. As I got out of the car I waved and passed an awkward smile towards them. They were about twenty feet away, but did not respond like they saw me say hello- instead, they just stared at me as if a penis had sprouted out of my forehead. Luckily at that moment, Sarah walked out of the house directly behind this one to greet us and I was able to direct my attention elsewhere.

Sarah and Isaac led us into their house where we sat and talked about our next few days together that would include some hikes and meals, games and drinks, and an apple crisp that would unknowingly elude us our entire visit. We learned that the pregnant woman next door would be giving birth soon at her house, which shared the duplex walls of my brother’s. We all hoped it would not happen within the next few days, as we preferred  not to hear the miracle of life. It wasn’t so much the muffled sounds of a television hospital drama that would bother us, but more so the sounds of an intimate moment the family would be experiencing. Kylie especially wasn’t too excited to listen to what she would be experiencing in seven months.

We didn’t know exactly how were going to break it to our gathered family that we were pregnant. I had an idea, and began to try to accomplish it by sending everyone present a group text with an image of our dog balancing the “pregnant” pregnancy test on her nose. I learned quickly that there was not enough cell reception in the area to send an image. And then I realized I couldn’t even get a text out at all. My only idea was a failure. Luckily, within minutes of conversation and planning the weekend, Sarah offhandedly asked Kylie if she would be partaking in any drinking this weekend- more as a joke than anything else- when Kylie replied no, she was pregnant, there was quick silence, and then a few “Reallys?!” and “You’re joking right??” And then the expected excitement and questions followed. The cat was out of the bag.

The weekend wasn’t affected too much by Scout though- so I say. Kylie was a little more tired than usual and it was noticeable. She fell asleep to the world on the couch the first night with all of us playing games and bottling kombucha. We did a nice six mile hike along the Yuba river the next day that felt great for all of us. The next hike, a day or two later, was along some cliffs over Lake Tahoe. Scout got the best of Kylie here- she gets tired easy right now. We stopped about halfway and decided to turn around. On the walk back I wondered how many times I, as an unborn thing in my mom’s stomach, affected her day to day.

I’m pretty sure all of us felt sympathetic towards Kylie this weekend. We are used to her having all the energy and keeping us on the move, so of course we poked a little fun at her. All in all, she was a great sport and kept up with us and had some non-alcoholic drinks when we were out. She played pool with us at a racy old people bar. She ate her burger well done. Her intolerance for my stupid jokes was only slightly noticeable, but that’s to be expected- my stupid jokes. But all in all we had a fantastic trip and can only be summed up by this smile…

 

 

Routine

Mazzy and I have a morning routine. Well, I have one, she kinda goes along with it. I usually wake up, but not get up. I’ll lay in bed fighting against the morning wondering if I can fall asleep again. Usually the morning wins and I resign to it ever so slowly. My step towards getting up is usually some phone screen time with the news (The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet for some quick catchup).

I will then get up, put on whatever clothes that are in the pile at my feet, visit the toilet, then brush my teeth. I did exactly that today. Then I walked down the hallway and opened some window shades as I headed towards coffee. Today, Mazzy stopped me for food before I got to coffee. She did it by encompassing the entire area where her food closet is and stared at me like she was about to maul. Most days she trots out from the bedroom when I am in the middle of making coffee and stares at me with a not so subtle head swing towards her food closet. I feed her, then she goes outside to bomb the yard.

I find my routine quite boring most days, but it also has a comforting quality that I like- it also allows me not to have to think too much before my mind actually wakes up. As I finally got to making my coffee today, my mind began to wander into the future on what sort of routine, or lack of routine I may be in for. As I poured hot water over the grounds I realized that coffee might not necessarily be one of the first things I do. I most likely will already have been up for two hours- or three or four. I may have to begin using pre-ground coffee as not to wake Scout if he/she is napping.

I believe we will have a routine, and I will learn it. It won’t be my routine, it will be me adapting to Scout’s routine. And it will gradually change week by week I’m sure. I can only imagine what it may may be like. I realize at first I’ll be up for diaper changes and feedings. That will evolve into face time and reading. Then real time watching because Scout will be rolling and crawling. Then I’ll be getting up to chase Scout around. Soon enough I’ll be getting Scout ready for school. So weird to think about considering my immediate situation.

I’m sitting here in a pair of ratty sweats, a soft orange sweater that I bought at Target for $3, and a cozy pair of slippers on my feet. I still have a half cup of warm coffee sitting at my left hand and the last thing I feel like doing is going outside into the cool autumn morning and doing some yard work.

I say that because as I’ve been writing this post I’ve been looking up and taking occasional glances out the window. The whole time, my neighbor has been mowing and blowing fallen leaves. He’s a dad. He has two or three kids (I’m really not sure) around the ages from five to eleven (+-6 years). It just makes me wonder, am I going to have that “dad drive” to take care of things outside before it gets warm? Will being a dad automatically trigger a switch in me that makes me hate fallen leaves and long grass so much that I don’t mind going outside early to take care of it? I can see it being something I have to do for lack of time- but his kids already went off to school for the day. He could be having some coffee and writing in his blog right now too- at least he wouldn’t be making me feel bad for doing it.

Damn, he’s really getting after it too. He went from mower, to blower, and now back to mower. Go Peter.

I glance from his yard to mine. I wouldn’t say my grass is long, but it’s not tight- I’m hoping I mowed for the last time this season. There is a light amount of leaves strewn about- it’s good for the grass I say. The hammock stand is still up even though it hasn’t been used in weeks. I see a couple Mazzy bombs out there waiting for my attention. There is a flamingo that got knocked over by the wind as well as a billion marble-sized crab apples. And then there’s Mervyn, the lawn merkin. That will be a fun one to explain to Scout.

And he still mows. I swear he’s mowed over the yard four times now.

Judging by Peter’s “dad drive” I feel pretty confident that I will not have it- at least not about my yard. I do think I will have it for other things. What? I don’t know yet- hopefully playing with my child, doing laundry, and vacuuming. Kylie would love it if my “dad drive” included picking up my piles of clothes and a lost interest in collecting weird stuff. I assume my “dad drive” is within me somewhere just waiting to be triggered. When will it be triggered, I don’t know. Will it be early when Kylie starts showing? Will it be when I first meet Scout? Will it just happen when I just have to have it happen? Or maybe it will evolve, just like my routine will, when it has to.

 

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.

 

Booger

The little thing is six weeks and six days old according to the app I installed on my phone. How did everyone do this before? I kinda like knowing all these little things- like the fetus (yuck, that’s the last time I use that word) is the size of a grain of rice- or a lentil. That keeps the visuals all nice and neat I guess- you know, cute, but really it probably looks more like a booger- a wet, red booger.

We have only told close family about this wet booger. Kylie’s parents, her brother and sister in law know. We told my parents yesterday (my mom let out a squeal like no other- she has been waiting on this for years and years). Three kids of her own, all in their thirties with no children between them. I haven’t told my siblings yet. It works out well that we will be seeing them in two weeks- so we will wait and tell them in person.

I will say it has been hard for me not to mention my new life with this booger at work. If you are new to my life, I am a craft bartender- I see and talk to lots of people everyday. I have a pretty close relationship with my co-workers. I’ve found myself quite quiet around them lately- not really knowing what to talk about- not that I talk a lot anyway. But once the drinks start flowing and I get distracted with orders and ticket times, I forget, and I am unconsumed by my excitement for some moments.

We won’t tell too many people for a while. I know the first trimester is a slippery one. And it’s nice in a small way to have a little secret.

Kylie is queasy today. She hasn’t had the morning sickness yet really- just a few days of headaches that I attribute to caffeine withdrawal (she loves strong strong coffee). She is tired a little more too. But she is being strong and fantastic and everything I want the future mother of my child to be.

But I told her I wouldn’t talk too much about her symptoms here. And I don’t think I’m going to make her feel any better when she find out I called our baby a wet, red booger.

 

*Editors note: This piece was supposed to have published yesterday- but for some reason it did not- I was in a hurry or something and overlooked the actual publication. So today it is actually seven weeks. The little thing popped into a new weight category- it graduated from a booger to a blueberry. That’s a lot bigger booger!

Pregnant

We looked at it together- at the same time. “I think you’re pregnant,” I said. “I think. I mean look at those lines- that one goes that way- but that one is faint- is that a plus? Is that line supposed to be that color? I don’t know what the hell is going on here- let’s read the directions again.”

We were excited, a bit dumbfounded, and the slightest bit unsure that our test was broken- so off I went to the store to get another pee stick. I went for one thing, just a pee stick. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t browse the aisles looking at chips. I stopped in the “Mexican” section to see if they had my favorite salsa- still no. I continued walking and turned onto the aisle I have managed to mostly avoid my entire life. Shuffling down the aisle I passed diapers and nipples, bottles and creams, Kotex and condoms. Well, I didn’t really pass the condoms- they live right next to the pregnancy tests. I stood there for an hour and contemplated the varying attributes of pee sticks. To others it looked like I was having a real hard time picking out a favorite condom that was unique and tailored just for me.

I picked the more expensive digital one- no lines or dots on this one- I didn’t want to try to read analog hieroglyphics this time.

As I walked through the store making my way to the check-out I began trying to figure out how to make the cashier feel uncomfortable- just for fun. It was a young kid with pimples- a high-schooler still learning the ropes of adolescence. I watched him ring up my chips. When he got to the pregnancy test I intentionally made a false laugh and nervously said, “Oh, that? That’s not for me, it’s for a friend”. He didn’t even flinch- not a smirk, not an eye crinkle. Wasted humor.

When I got home and walked in the door Kylie asked me what sort of awkward joke I made with the cashier. “What?!” I said, “I would never use our probable pregnancy to make cheap jokes with a stranger. You don’t even know me”.

“Oh yeah? What kind of chips did you get”?

So I ate some chips, Kylie drank some water, I ate some more chips, and Kylie peed on a fancy new stick…

EPT Mazzy