Friday, January 18, 2008

Feminism

On the subject of my child's gender, I found I had my first baby related gender equality moment today.

I was looking at a very cool website of baby stuff. Taxi-car baby booties? Book of sci-fi baby names? You have me intrigued.

But then I come across this bullshit.

Boy's snapsuit? Boy's? Why can't a girl wear that shit, because it's fucking blue? My girl can pull that off. What if my girl is born with the power of motherfucking flight? You don't know! I'm looking right at the photograph of the super-costume, and yeah the manufacturer drew a cartoon boy baby on it, but it says boy nowhere on the fucking package. You inferred that bullshit. Who are you to narrow the options for a couple who only wants for their baby the impossible dream of soaring through the air and fighting crime? Even if she can't fly, I hope she has super speed so she can crawl around you at the speed of sound, which will make you cry because you're boring. You don't know a goddamn thing "Spoon Sisters". That's the worst part, you're an adorably feminist sounding organization. How did you convince yourselves of this masculine archetype? Do you think it's inherently "male" or even "wrong" to want to fly? Something stupid and male about it? To hell with you. I don't care how wonderful your organization is, or how badly I wish my friends and relatives would buy me the entire of your catalog at the baby shower. I am furious.

Girls can fly too you... you... motherfuckers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Relenting

At 9:30 AM on Saturday, we went ahead and got the "special" elective ultrasound. This means it wasn't at a doctor's office, but at a loft office where people got to make a "memory" out of the experience. It was really cheesy, but I confess I loved it. I got to see the baby in 3D, which was crazy. It looks like a person. It is indeed a girl... or at least this woman at the ultrasound loft said so. Victoria is still skeptical that not enough time and science was spent coming to the conclusion. Unlike previous ultrasounds where the procedure was more to check on heart rate and development than gender, this woman spends every day staring at this thing with couples begging to know the gender. She was confident. I trust her. I'd say we're up to 99% certain.

When we got home at about 10 AM, I crashed into a heap and didn't get up until Monday morning. Something started happening in my skull and throat on Wednesday, and by Saturday it was so bad that I basically lost all of Saturday and Sunday. I'm not an idiot who thinks he can "power through" a sickness. But when there's a baby that can't feed itself that takes on a new meaning. No more laying in a blanket cocoon while watching my Shark Week DVD collection. No, the next time I get a sinus infection I will be on my feet, boiling bottles or changing diapers, all the while with some kind of mask over my face because I'll be terrified of giving the girl my disease. Should I see a doctor? Of course. But it better work around the baby's schedule.

That's right. I may never get to have a traditional, lazy "sick day" again.

Yikes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Survival

Knowing that you're about to be a parent when you're a loud, obnoxious man-child with no social skills can be pretty scary. But nothing is more assuring than knowing how many 5 year olds you could take down in a bloody scrap to the death.

32



I figure I have at least 10 years before my child truly poses any sort of threat.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Weather

The winter before you were born was a little different.

This is typical of Chicago, where we live now. None of the seasons follow the standards society imagines them to have, and if people think otherwise it is a tradition to make fun of them.

Lots of snow came down really early, then in early January it all melted and got really warm and rainy. Cold and snowy! Record snow! Then freezing winds! Then mild! Nice! Humid and warm! Record high temperatures! It will probably be cold and snowy again. It will shift, and people will blame various things. They'll all be wrong, because weather is amorphous and bizarre and we never get it right. Weather is massive, chaotic. And here we are just north enough for a lot of snow but south enough for blistering heat. Far from the ocean, on top of a lake. Too many factors for the tilting of the Earth to indicate what to expect.

But lots of people talked about this winter. It will be and has been debated. What pressure situation was there? Are good things melting? Oceans rising? How will this winter effect everything? Even though the forces at work are powerful and impossible to manipulate, we are desperate to throw in our two cents, to obsess, to define what we're going through when it's nothing but curveballs.

See, last winter was very snowy and cold. It stayed fairly consistent. No anomalies. No big shifts.

About four mild winters before that, all with very little snow. Unexciting.

Winter's my favorite season, and this one was exciting.

Soon after this winter ends, you'll be born. I'm pretending you somehow affected the winter with your development. That from the womb you summoned and banished glaciers at a whim. I imagine this because you're about to affect everything else in my life and I need to get used to ideas like these.

The 80% Pronoun

So we had an ultrasound a while ago, and with the technician at our side we stared really hard at the monitor.

80% chance that it's a girl.

But here's the thing- they tell you that you can't really know a girl 100%. You can know 100% if it's a boy because there's not a lot of weenis-shaped debris floating around to confuse you. And this baby was very tumbly. I thought I was sure I saw a girl, that we went over the criteria the silhouette needed to meet. We gave the technician this knowing look that she returned.

"We know what we saw there!", the look said. "A whole lot of nothing, if you catch our drift!"

In that moment we were so certain. But as time goes on my wife and I fall into that 20% of uncertainty like it's a black hole. Anti-matter sucking us in.

We're calling it she. Her. We're preparing for a girl too; everything purchased is very gender neutral, but our brains default to the 80% chance that it is a girl. We're telling people about the 80%, but they aren't listening either. It's like if we keep calling it a girl, the percentage will fatten up somehow. All of us hear 80% and we just ride that fact like it's a luck dragon.

But there's a 20% chance it's a boy with a tiny, obfuscated dong.

There's an advanced ultrasound we can take that will eliminate the doubt, but of course insurance doesn't pay for it so we're trying to talk ourselves out of it. It would be so silly, yet so comforting to know the gender. Because when they do that ultrasound they ask you "if you want to know". When you say "yes" to that question, you want an answer! What is this 80% shit? You didn't ask me "would you like to be 80% sure"!