There’s a stereo on our bedroom dresser, and on top of that stereo is a little space where I’ve always kept Man Stuff. My wallet. Wedding ring. Deodorant. A few CDs. If I lose something, most of the time I find it there. However cramped that space may be, the top of the stereo has always been my neighborhood, and mine alone.
Shortly after Sarah got pregnant, I came home from work and found a thick copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” on top of the stereo. It was an ominous sign. Alarmed, I put the book on Sarah’s desk. The next day, another book: “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy.” Again, I moved it without a word. But the message was obvious. Baby Stuff was moving into my neighborhood, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
The onslaught kept coming, and little by little, my things were forced elsewhere; eventually, the amount of space allocated to Man Stuff had shrunk to roughly a square inch. Last week, I gave up. The top of the stereo has now morphed into an unofficial “baby bookshelf” with a dozen pregnancy guides holding court. The last holdout-my poor wallet-was forced, along with the rest of its former neighbors to move elsewhere. Mostly to the low-rent area on the other end of the dresser, over by the alarm clock. Gentrification, man. It’s tough.
Then I began leafing through the books with the guilt of a man shopping at a Walgreens where a mom-and-pop store used to be. I learned that the thing growing in my wife is more than an inch long and has slightly webbed fingers. He/she/whatever has developed earlobes, and a heart with four chambers; shoulders, knees, elbows, and ankles are starting to move about in there. Sarah knew all this already, of course. But she interpreted my interest as a generous gesture, and soon, every time she saw me reading one of her books, I got a big kiss. Then, of course, I had to overdo it.
“Did you take in 1,500 grams of calcium today?”
“If you don’t sit down you’re going to get varicose veins!”
“Your farts stink because the progesterone has slowed down your digestive process.”
“Why aren’t you eating the Total? For god’s sake, folic acid! Have you forgotten about folic acid?”
The books started to disappear. For the life of me, I can’t find them anywhere. The good news is I got the top of my stereo back.
Because of the hormonal change in their bodies, most pregnant women experience a heightened sense of smell. Remember that movie where Jack Nicholson turns into a wolf? (A minimal metamorphosis for Jack.) Well, that’s Sarah. We were driving to dinner in with Tricia and Jason the other night, and Sarah complained about an overwhelming “skunky smell.” The rest of us couldn’t smell it. A couple of miles later, she looked green, and I was about to pull over when Jason said, “Wait, now I smell something.”
There it was, a dead skunk on the side of the road. And she had sniffed it out from two miles.
Last night on our walk, Sarah suddenly stopped. She smelled egg rolls.
“Where?” I asked.
Three blocks later, we came upon a noodle house, whereupon she ate four egg rolls. I didn’t even smell them when they were on the plate.
The same smell that provokes extreme hunger one day may cause debilitating nausea the next: the next night, the smell of egg rolls was public enemy number one. At the moment, the following foods-and their odors-are on Sarah’s good list:
• fresh baked bread
• Whoppers (chocolate, not Burger King)
• corn on the cob
The following are currently vomitous:
• corn anywhere other than on the cob
And there’s a weird vinegar smell in our car that, I predict, will make Sarah throw up at some point in the next month.