Daddyhood

This whole prospect of becoming a father has affected me in ways that I hadn’t really planned on. It’s made me want to double / triple / quadruple check the oncoming traffic when pulling out onto the highway. I’ve become a little obsessed with learning about mutual funds, IRA’s and other financial security issues that used to just make me glaze over. And most disturbingly, I am becoming increasingly aware of my own mortality, and am assessing how I eat and exercise. I think the whole notion of bringing another human into the world and having to be responsible for him and provide for him for the next 18 or so years has been a serious “gut check” for me. It’s not that I don’t think we can do it, I guess its just the reality of having to do it.

But all that doesn’t get me down. I am so looking forward to meeting Davis. I’ve tried several times to send morse code messages to him by tapping on Michelle’s belly, but all I ever get back is an elbow roll or a kick/punch. While I am not fluent in the uteran dialect of the rolling fetus language, I believe he is saying “Mommy, please tell him to stop tapping me in the face.” Oh well, I guess we’ll speak after he arrives.

We’ve finally finished packing the hospital bags. That has been my responsibility.

  • Blankie? Check!
  • Diapers? Check!
  • Snacks for daddy? Check!
  • Rocketship onesie with matching space boots for Davis to wear home? Check!

So I think we’re finally ready or as ready as we can be.

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow begins my 34th week of pregnancy. It’s so hard to believe that Davis could make an appearance anytime now. I’m not real certain that I am ready, although Tracy seems very ready. He wants to see what he looks like. I feel a little fear and trepidation because I am the one that has to birth this person. I am also a little anxious about all the changes that are going to take place. For me, change is a huge dilemma. I don’t like it. I like to be able to know what’s coming so that I can prepare for it. But having a baby… I’m pretty sure there’s no way I can prepare. Reading books, getting weekly pregnancy newsletters and attending classes has not really been that reassuring. It seems that the more I know, the more nervous I am.

Tracy and I had a conversation about how you don’t really remember pain. I can remember smells and tastes and pleasurable things, but pain somehow escapes me once it’s over. I guess God designed us that way. If he hadn’t, we’d all be only-children I suppose. If I could recall pain, I could at least, maybe, prepare myself for contractions and stitches healing and all that, but I can’t. Last week was a long week at work for both of us and as we stood in Wal-mart on Thursday evening, trying to decide what to have for dinner, I could feel myself getting very frustrated. Tracy was frustrated too, but he was trying to maintain a level of calm. We both were exhausted. When Tracy looked at me and said, “I’m tired,” I responded, “we don’t really know what tired is just yet.” I’m really afraid we are going to be so tired and grumpy and cranky and weepy that we are going to explode on each other. I know we’ll get through it all and we’ll adjust, but the idea of it all is a bit frightening.

Despite all the worry and anxiety, I am enjoying this part of my pregnancy. My belly is BIG and I can tell that Davis is growing. He is so active. He squirms and kicks and flips almost constantly. The feeling of life inside is incomprehensible. I am enjoying chocolate pop-tarts and tall glasses of ice cold milk every morning. Davis enjoys this meal too.

Last week I saw the midwife and she thinks that Davis is in position and will be arriving earlier than they first thought. The new expected date is somewhere around mid-October. In a week and a half, we get a final ultrasound to make sure everything is in place for the arrival. Tracy and I are so excited that we get to have another glimpse of the life that we managed to create. If the midwife is right, we only have about 4 more weeks till we all get to say hello and see him in person. Until then…

Personal Space

Any woman who has been pregnant before has told me that strangers will come up to you in public places and touch your belly. I didn’t believe them because that had not happened to me. I wasn’t even experiencing that from people who know me pretty well. Tracy said I must have a “Touch me and die” look that I give to people. Well apparently, that “look” was not what was detouring people, maybe it was just that my belly had not yet reached the point that says, “Hey – here I am – feel free to encroach on my personal space.” We were in Wal-mart on Wednesday evening, standing in the produce section, trying to decide what side dish we should have with our grilled burgers. Tracy wanted something green, I just wanted potatoes, of course. We had finally decided to just buy some cucumbers. We had almost made it out of the produce section when this lady walks by me, stops for about 5 seconds, reaches out and pats my protruding belly, giggles, and merrily goes on her way. Tracy looked at me, perplexed and said, “Do you know her?” I looked at him, equally shocked and replied, “No!” “Oh no,” I thought, “It’s happening.” My belly has officially become this public space for absolute strangers to offer their up-close congratulations.

Even my students are trying to get in on these belly rubs. The other day I was walking around my classroom, assisting the children, with my hand on my stomach. One of my little girls looked up at me and asked, “Is he kicking?” When I said yes, she immediately asked if she could feel it. I said no, but at least she asked before attacking me. That same day, I was leaned over a desk answering a question one of my little boys had. Instead of paying the least bit of attention to my response, he was staring at my belly. Before I knew it, he had the eraser end of his pencil coming toward me and began gently tapping my belly with it. I gave him the “What in the world are you thinking” look. He looked up and said, “Sorry.”

I am a little usure of what exactly compels people to touch a pregnant woman’s belly. I don’t know if it’s the baby that’s growing inside or if it’s just the mystery of the miracle that’s taking place. I’d like to believe that my belly is my space, but I think for the next seven weeks or so, I am just going to have to accept the fact that people are going to reach out and touch.

Showers

I have now been blessed with two showers. So, it got me thinking, where exactly did showers originate. I went online and found out this much:

In the very late 1800’s, Victorian ladies began having teas for mommy but not till after the baby was born because pregnant women did not appear in public. In the early 1900’s, the teas transformed into “showers” (based on the “showering” of the bride before her marriage) and umbrellas became symbolic because it was customary for ladies to carry parasols when they attended these afternoon gatherings. Almost all of the gifts were handmade except the silver that was given to the babies by the grandmothers.

Thank goodness for those Victorian ladies!

My first shower was actually a tea given by Rachel, Obea, Kim, and Laura. Everything was absolutely beautiful. From the flowers to the food to my favorite, the mint iced tea. Obea’s mother-in-law even allowed us to use her china for the occasion. I cannot get over how generous everyone was.

At the tea party, everyone arrived looking like a million dollars. Aunt Carol even asked if all my friends were beautiful. Upon arrival, everyone was given a number – actually one of Davis’s birthdays – and asked to write a birthday note to be opened on that particular birthday. I watched as some people excitedly penned their best birthday wishes and advice. There were others who were left feeling overwhelmed by this activity. Kathleen for example looked like she was having a moment of total dread. I walked over to ask which birthday she had been given. “SIXTEEN!” I told her to write things that swayed him away from girls. I left Kathleen and returned awhile later to see if she had made any headway on her well-wishes. She had – she had written, “Dear Davis,” That’s it.

After much pondering over birthday advice, people then made their way to the food table. Yummo! The food was delectable – everything was great, from the tomato basil tarts to the chocolately chocolate cookies – wow! After eating, the attention was turned to me and my gifts. Everything was going quite well, until I came to Tracy’s mom’s gift to Davis and me. I reached into the gift bag and pulled out a piece of paper tied with ribbon. When I opened it, I found a poem that Tracy had written in second grade, entitled “BOO!” (see below).

2006-tracy-boo-poem

As you can see, it’s a silly little second grade poem – nothing to get emotional over. But, the fact that it was in Tracy’s second grade handwriting and those were his second grade words, got the best of me. I couldn’t even read it out loud. Kim finally read it and it brought tremendous laughs from everyone. She also gave me some of his best drawings. Immediately afterwards, I opened a present from Kim which was a bonnet/handkerchief. There was a note attached explaining that you bring it home with Davis from the hospital. Then it continued to say that he gives it to his wife on his wedding day. Mercy – how much can one pregnant woman take. It was all very overwhelming. I cannot believe how gracious and giving everyone was. It was like being a little kid on Christmas morning.

My most recent shower was a cookout at the Floyd Farm. Tracy’s whole family was there minus Aunt Janice and Uncle Homer. We feasted on wings and salads and CAKE! Again – Yummo! This shower was a little different than the tea. We actually played a few shower games. Everyone had to guess the size of my belly by measuring off a piece of ribbon. It was interesting watching some people roll and roll and roll the ribbon off. You definitely get a sense for how super large people think you are. Tracy’s dad actually rolled off ribbon, wrapped it around his waist, left a little extra room, then cut and tied it. He was way off – much too long. Brant actually won this game. I am especially thankful for the people who underguessed my size. Tracy’s aunts also thought it would be cute to see which person could buy me the ugliest outfit. I wasn’t in on the joke, however, so I just kept opening these outfits and graciously thanking everyone for their thoughtfulness. We got a camouflage onesie, a onesie with a rebel flag that says pee all you can pee, camo pants with a “matching” striped onesie, and my favorite an Elmo sports ensemble. After the shower was over, Tracy and his dad assembled Davis’s new ride – his stroller.

I love throwing parties for special events or showers for other people, because I love being in the kitchen – behind the scenes. But, for some reason having a party thrown in my honor is a little overwhelming. First of all, before the party, I always wonder if anyone will show up. I guess I just figure people have more important plans and better things to do. Secondly, when people are there, focusing all their attention on me, I really don’t know what to do with myself. That’s when I usually say dumb things that get me into trouble. Finally, the whole idea of receiving is difficult for me. I always feel that if someone gives me a gift, I have to repay them somehow. I know all this sounds crazy, but that’s just the way I have always been. So, these showers leave me at a loss. I am just extremely thankful that we have so many people that care so much about us and Davis. What a lucky little boy he is going to be.