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

 

 

Cliché

Scout!

What’s going on in there little thing? You are eleven weeks, three days today. Congratulations, you are the size of a fig. Your great grand-nana loved figs. She had a tree in her back yard in Chula Vista. I used to watch her pick them off the tree and eat them- I thought it was disgusting- I think I just don’t like seedy things. Anyhoo, she died over a year ago. I would have loved for you to meet her- mostly because I would have loved to watch her scare the shit out of you. She was an absolutely loving grandmother, but she also like to yell at us as kids. “IF YOU KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO ME I’M GOING TO BEAT YOUR BRAINS IN!!” On occasion she followed it up with, “IF YOU HAVE ANY!”  We, as children, would scream, scatter, and run away. The adults in the room would laugh out loud. As an adult, I got to watch her yell at my younger cousins- I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Her husband, on the other hand, your great grandpa, was the polar opposite. He would sit quietly in his chair and just observe everything. Every once in a while he’d quip a joke out and everyone would laugh. He died about six years ago while your mama and I were living in a shitty apartment in Flagstaff.

You have one great grandparent left right now- Red. Red is your grandpa Jared’s dad who lives in New York. You’d like him- I had the pleasure of meeting him this year in June. He’s quite the character with stories galore. He reminded me a lot of your late great grandpa Harvey from West Virginia. In fact, both of them had messed up a couple of their own fingers by the time I came around. Your great grandpa Red mangled a couple of his with a chainsaw (they are still there though). Your great grandpa Harvey lost one at the knuckle while working at a sawmill. He used to draw a face on it and move it around to entertain us.

But let’s stop talking about your late Greats. Let’s talk about your balls! Or your vagina! That’s right, I went there. By now you are forming one or the other- and quite honestly, I don’t care which! As long as you are healthy- I know, how cliché of me. But it’s true. I will let you know right now, if you are a girl I’m going to try like hell to raise you like a tomboy- and if you are a boy I’m going to try like hell to raise you into the most sensitive and caring man I can. And if you end up being gay, I’ll be absolutely happy and supportive with that too.

If you can help it though, please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or a bully, or a football player, or in a fraternity or sorority… This will be a longer and more defined list some day, but this is all I can come up with right now on the fly. Actually, if you follow this list of don’ts then you should have a good foundation for being a good person.

Okay, I am about finished with my cappuccino, so I will bid you adieu. I hope you are warm and well inside your mama’s belly. I might put a stethoscope to your world tonight even though the internet says that it is pointless this early in the pregnancy. I wish I could come in and hang out with you for a bit but you’d probably freak me the fuck out with your creepy underdevelopedness at this stage- so I am perfectly happy to wait till June. Hugs and kisses little one.

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.

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.