Week 17: Sweet Child O’ Mine

Sarah ordered a bunch of maternity clothes from gap.com, and when the first shipment came in, I thought the shorts, with their elastic waistband, looked like Sansabelts™. The shirts looked like tablecloths at a church picnic. The timing of the shipment was perfect. Sarah is starting to complain that she feels out of shape. She’s sad that her clothes are starting to get tight. “You’re not out of shape, Sarah,” Dr. Harth said. “You have a baby inside you…

Sarah ordered a bunch of maternity clothes from gap.com, and when the first shipment came in, I thought the shorts, with their elastic waistband, looked like Sansabelts™. The shirts looked like tablecloths at a church picnic. The timing of the shipment was perfect: Sarah is starting to complain that she feels out of shape. She’s sad that her clothes are starting to get tight. “You’re not out of shape, Sarah,” Dr. Harth said. “You have a baby inside you.”

Though I’ll never understand, there’s a disconcerting psychological element to pregnancy that many women go through that no one talks about. Sarah, like most of her gender, has spent much of her life worrying about her weight and her complexion. Now she’s been thrust into a bizarre world in which neither matters so much. In fact, if she’s not gaining weight and breaking out, then something’s wrong. That’s a hard thing for women to get used to.

Duff and Sukoshi [He of the Empty Gas Tank, and She of Wifezilla Fame] had their baby. The product of a C-section, Francis Duffy Watson IV was a healthy 7-pound, 5-ounce kid, an absurdly good-looking baby: no purple splotches, no misshapen cranium, no Churchillian grimace. Considering the kid’s parents had made faces and giggled throughout their wedding, it was hard to imagine them as parents, so when Duff sent me a note from the hospital, I thought, This should be good. What happens when a man incapable of having a serious moment comes face to face with the blood and guts of parenthood? His words:

“So you know, and with your pending fatherhood coming down the pike, this is the craziest deal of my life. I was a bit jaded about the whole transaction, and then we’re in the operating room, and one minute you’re terrified since they’re slicing into your wife, then the next this naked slimy kid comes out that is like the most beautiful thing ever and this wave of emotion just envelops you, bigger than anything else ever. It’s an instant change and like nothing else in the world. I’m a huge fan of the kid already.”

I almost started crying at work.

Then, today, Matt and Suzanne [friends in Evanston], had their baby too, the 8 lb, 5 oz. William. Matt is a lot like Duff; he often signs off his e-mails with “best wishes and shit,” so when I congratulated him on becoming a father, I was surprised at his response:

“All I ever heard from people was, oh it’s a nightmare and you don’t sleep and you’ll be a zombie. It’s not so bad. Worse for Suzanne than me obviously. But last night he slept 5 hours. That’s almost unheard of. And he’s so adorable and tiny and helpless, I just want to do anything for him. I don’t mind the diapers, any of it. Mostly I feel lucky that he’s in perfect shape. It makes me feel lucky in general.”

Amazing. These guys, two of my favorite sarcastic bastards on earth, have been fathers for a few days, and both of them are already talking like Oprah. This gives me hope.

Even Slash, the legendary Guns ‘N Roses guitarist who was rarely seen without his sunglasses and top hat, gave up his implacably cool veneer after his baby was born. “It’s hard to explain,” he gushed on sheknows.com. “I look in his eyes, and he’s laughing, and I think, ‘Wow—he’s real!’” Whether you’re an average guy or a hard-living, snake-loving rock ‘n roll gunslinger, it’s tough to be cynical when you’ve got a new baby who needs you.

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