While walking the dog a few weeks ago, I bumped into a neighbor whose wife was expecting twins any day. Walking the dog is a great way to meet neighbors. We’ve only had Memphis for a year, and already I’m on a first-name basis with Nicki, Brendan, Bailey, Lex, Misty and Trinity. For the most part, I have no idea who their corresponding humans are, but on this day, there was some chatting to go along with the posterior sniffing.
“I don’t walk too far from the house anymore. And I keep my cell phone handy, just in case,” the human said.
Once he discovered that I, too, had ditched a pregnant woman to create a moving obstruction in the street, he became interested to know if my wife Kara and I were still getting along as well as we had before passing our pregnancy test.
“Do you guys find yourselves getting into ridiculous arguments? My wife and I just had a fight about spoons,” he said. “At least I think that’s what it was about. There’s no way to be sure.”
Fortunately for us, Kara hasn’t been experiencing the traditional pregnancy mood swings that we had been bracing for. It would be better described as a mood trapeze, really.
“Babe, I know you’re not really mad at me,” I tell her after she catches me putting bowls onto the “wrong” rack in the dishwasher. “It’s just temporary insanity.”
“It’s not temporary insanity!” she says (insanely).
“You mean it’s permanent?” I ask, horrified.
In all honesty, living with a pregnant woman is every bit as wonderful as living with the non-pregnant variety, and even though she’ll try to blame it on the baby when she cries during an Adam Sandler movie, you’ll remember that this is the same woman who cried during “X-Men 2” and the preview for “I Am Sam.”
Kara is just hitting the halfway point of her pregnancy, where passersby might think she looks kind of pregnant, but will still generally exercise the good judgment not to say so out loud. If Kara were on the cover of US Magazine, the headline would read: “Does my wife Kara have a baby bump?” But then the article wouldn’t tell you, because if a headline ends in a question mark, that means the author doesn’t know, either.
The four month mark seems to be the eye of the pregnancy storm, when Kara gets to feel normal again for a few weeks, though the previous months have been instructive about how it feels to go to sleep at 9pm, a bedtime I hadn’t experienced since the 80s. Now that her exhaustion has gone into remission, we have settled back into our normal routine of me hassling her to stop reading and turn out the light.
“I’m almost to the end of the chapter,” she says.
“How much more?” I ask. She flips five pages past her thumb.
“Five pages,” she says, hoping that I haven’t noticed her subterfuge.
“You know that I know that pages have writing on both sides, right?” I reply.
“Okay, ten pages. Will you scratch my back?” she asks. Now that her tummy is expanding and making her skin itchy, her back requires constant attention. It takes less back scratching to fill an Illinois Senate seat.
“I just stopped scratching your back twenty seconds ago. My fingers need a break. Ask me something else,” I say.
“Will you rub my neck?” she asks.
Of course, I comply. While she’s dealing with changes that make her skin feel like The Incredible Hulk’s shirt, it’s the least I can do. For the next several months, though, it’s probably best if we avoid the topic of spoons altogether.
You can help Mike Todd load the dishwasher at firstname.lastname@example.org.