Push

7 years
ago

 

Week 26: Harvest Moon

We were in need of a good adventure, something to get us out of the house and break up these 40 weeks. So on Sunday, we drove 223 miles for a hamburger. I had heard about a general store in Moonshine, Illinois, that served what many called the best burger in America, and Sarah, typically gung ho, piled into the car with me.

We made it 42 miles before she demanded Taco Bell and a bathroom, both of which she got. The rest of the drive was uneventful—apart from a bad omen near Rantoul, when a birthday clown driving a white Dakota passed us doing 95. As he sped past, he glanced over, his face painted into a chilling smile, and you just knew…

7 years
ago

 

Week 26: Raw Deal

You always hear about these wonderful men who give up whatever foods their pregnant wife has to give up for nine months. I am not one of those men. I love my wife, but I also love food. If I were to be senstive, it would mean no more sushi, which contains a risk of parasites; blue cheese (listeria); coffee (miscarriage); peanut butter (allergies); tuna (mercury); rare meats (toxemia); or deli meats (more listeria). Most of these verböten foods have been eaten throughout history with no ill effects to pregnant women. (Of course, for most of history, the life expectancy was roughly 35.)

The other night, we were out to dinner at some hipster restaurant where the menu is printed in all lowercase and every waiter looks like the bass player from Weezer…

7 years
ago

 

Week 25: Tragic Bus

Had a primo seat on the bus today, and was enjoying my space and my sports page when I noticed an overweight woman get on. She scanned the bus, saw that there were no seats left, and picked me to stand over and sigh exaggeratedly at. Great.

Normally, I give up my seat as often as the next guy, but I was so comfortable and I had a heavy backpack and was wearing tight shoes. Why am I always the one who gives up his seat? Let that dude over there with the big hair give up his. And something about the woman’s intrinsic grumpiness rubbed me the wrong way—screw her for making me feel guilty—so I ignored her and turned up my iPod…

7 years
ago

 

Week 25: Indulge the Bulge

Sarah didn’t get the chicken pox. (Exhale . . .) Of course she didn’t. She’s a genetic freak, thank God. It was a huge relief; I’ve always been a worrier. Everyone is quick to tell me that I don’t know what true worrying is because I’ve never faced any real adversity, that I’m nothing but a minor leaguer who has never seen a big-league curveball. To which I say, some of the pitchers in Triple-A make it to the majors, too.

OK. No more baseball metaphors.

The morning after our shopping spree in Indiana, lo and behold, Sarah woke up with a belly…

7 years
ago

 

Week 24: The Benchwarmer

I had one goal for Sunday: to spend as much time as possible watching football. My plan was to invite Kenn and Drue over and eat cheap pizza in the basement and fart and complain about the Bears offense until we fell asleep. Then we’d rouse ourselves in time for the late game on ESPN. It would be heaven. Instead, I found myself in an outlet mall in Indiana, maternity shopping.

Apparently I had promised a long time ago, and Sarah had it on her calendar for weeks. I don’t have a calendar, so I had no recourse. My only plan was make the experience so miserable for both of us that she would never make me do it again…

Advertisement

7 years
ago

 

Week 24: Trial of Tears

What do you do when you hear a baby cry?

My first instinct is to run in the other direction. I don’t want to have anything to do with it; the whole thing is the family’s business, not mine. But when my child-to-be starts screaming in four months, I honestly don’t know how I’ll react. I certainly hope I don’t run away. This is a hot-button issue, I’m told, this crying thing, especially as it pertains to sleep. It tends to polarize new parents, most of which fall into one of three camps…

7 years
ago

 

Week 23: Bridge Over Humbled Waters

More bad news. At synagogue, I saw Nate, an old guy whose daughter’s pregnancy was two weeks ahead of Sarah’s. His daughter miscarried. Her cervix had basically opened up and the fetus came out early, which happens in about one percent of all pregnancies. I practically burst into tears right there in the sanctuary. Nate, who’d been giddy at the prospect of being grandfather just a month ago, now looked miserable. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could say to him.

That night, I held Sarah tight. But not too tight…

7 years
ago

 

Week 23: A Pox on Our House

Our cushy little pregnant world, where the deepest problem to this point involved sharing the bathroom, exploded today. The phone rang at my desk, and it was Sarah, who had that amused-but-troubled ring to her voice. “You’ll never guess what happened. I just got exposed to chicken pox.”

The inside of my stomach dropped so fast, I checked my shoes for my lower intestines. Sarah is always showing off about how she’s never had chicken pox…

7 years
ago

 

Week 22: Chat Womb

Three interesting developments this week:

1. My wife’s gross motor movements have gotten worse. Sarah has many strengths, but grace ain’t one of them. Her fingers are starting to swell, so it’s hard for her to hold onto things, and her vision sucks, which means every time I look over, she’s spilling soup or bumping into walls or poking herself in the eye. It’s like my own personal episode of the 1 1/2 Stooges.

2. She can’t remember a damn thing. Recently, she lost her driver’s license, and when I suggested looking in the black hole that has become our car, she insisted it wasn’t in there. I bet her a dollar…

7 years
ago

 

Week 22: Weight, Weight … Don’t Tell Me

This week, Sarah had her third OB visit, which she said wasn’t mandatory for me, so I skipped out. (Come on, I’ve been to all the other ones.) The appointment included a triple screening for spina bifida and hydrocephalus and dwarfism and chromosal abnormalities (i.e., Down’s syndrome). We get the results next week, which seems like a long time to wait on such scary stuff…

7 years
ago

 

Week 21: Back, Belly, Diaper Smelly

The groom’s parents at this Ohio wedding, Larry and Maureen, are honest, modest Midwestern folk, the kind who eat lots of red meat and never say anything nasty about anyone. After a few glasses of ginger ale at the reception, Maureen’s tongue loosened, and she laid some baby wisdom on us. When she had her first child, little Jeffrey, she did all of the child rearing, as was the norm in 1960s Kansas City. One day, Maureen went grocery shopping, and left the baby with Larry for the first time. When she returned an hour later…

7 years
ago

 

Week 21: Kicking and Scheming

You always hear about babies being born, or conceived, in the back seat of cars. I believe Tom Waits was both. Babu’s first kick came in the rear of a rental car in a driveway in Warren, Ohio.

It was the night before Brad and Anne-Marie’s wedding and we were locked out of Anne-Marie’s dad’s house, trying desperately to reach him on the cell phone so Anne-Marie could get inside and go to bed, it being the night before her wedding and all. I was equally interested in finding him, because I’d had too much to drink and needed to use his bathroom…

7 years
ago

 

Week 20: Gender Surrender

Should we find out the baby’s gender? That’s the question of the moment. Babu’s sex organs would be visible on an ultrasound, which is to say that Babu could officially become little Babbo or Babette—if we are interested in such information. Here, the pros and cons of finding out:

Why we should wait:

  • We’re looking forward to the “surprise.”
  • We could be bummed out by what we find out. (We both want a boy.)…

7 years
ago

 

Week 20: Ving Rhames, Dumb Names

Sarah and I have had baby names picked out since before we were even married. I think she brought it up on our third date. We haven’t told anyone what they are, but they are classic, timeless Jewish names that call to mind centuries of history and heroics and pay homage to various beloved family members. Trouble is, everyone else in America suddenly started picking these names. In short, the names have become the one thing you don’t your name to be: trendy.

The good news is in five months the names we’ve chosen will most likely be so in that they’re out again, while all those MacKenzies and Jaydens and Madisons will someday be adults named MacKenzie, Jayden, and Madison…

7 years
ago

 

Week 19: Flowers Good, Flu Bad

In Sarah’s pregnancy books, there’s a lot of space dedicated to the importance of flowers. Flora seems to represent life, growth, and beauty, and a Devoted Hubby is expected to have FTD on speed dial for nine months.

I have always bought my wife a lot of flowers, and not just when I screw up. Problem is, my taste in flowers sucks. Carnations, it turns out, are as romantic as nose hair. But every time I brought them home, she smiled and kissed me, because at least I was trying. “That was so sweet of you,” she’d say in a syrupy voice that sounded familiar because it was the same one she used when a family member sent a really awful sweater…