Chapter One: TMI
If you’re a guy, you might not want to read this. I’m just saying. You’ll email me later and be all like, dude. That was way too much information. Information which I did not need to know about you. Stuff like biological clock angst and periods (yes, I said the “P” word. Look: I’m going to say it again, multiple times, just to rattle you. Period.Period.Period.Period.) Plus cycles and other scary things of that nature. Ick.
However, if lady things don’t give you the willies, then by all means keep reading. You’ll definitely acquire an education at the least, and hopefully, a healthy helping of compassion for the woman in your life.
There’s this show that the husband and I like to watch every now and then when there’s nothing else on t.v. called The Middle. It’s set in middle America in, appropriately enough, the middle of nowhere, in the home of a middle-class family. The married couple, who behave suspiciously like we do with their good-natured sniping and at times semi-bored, haven’t-we-been-here-a-few-hundred-times-before interactions, have three offspring, Axle, Sue, and Brick. Axle is your normal apathetic teenager, Sue a complete mess with braces on the brink of utter disaster. It’s Brick who makes the show, though. A bookworm introvert who plays with sugarcubes, he looks kind of like Eddie Munster but slightly less porky and with shorter hair. He has this little social quirk where he’ll be engaged in perfectly normal conversation and then he’ll dip his chin to his chest and repeat the last two or three words of his last statement in a stage-whisper.
(in a stage-whisper)
Just like that.
My husband and I have taken to stage-whispering around each other when we have something less than nice to say, or the other just doesn’t want to stop talking and listen. Case in point:
“And so anyway, I was telling Barbara about how this clerk—“
“—had left the sensor on the pair of pants—“
“—not once but twice—“
“—and I had to go back into that store—“
Well, clearly sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Duane’s latest favorite usage of the stage-whisper, though, is crazytown. He uses crazytown as a general stop action anytime I start to nag at him about a third baby.
And if I’m honest, I would admit that I understand. I’ve taken nagging to a new level.
I’m doing my own variation of the Chinese Water Torture, and no one does Chinese Water Torture like women, small children, and babies. This is perhaps part of the reason my husband has said he does not want a third child–he’d be utterly surrounded.
I’m working on Phase Two of the Lori Wants Baby Campaign (Phase One being a simple, open petition), whereby I basically assault my husband’s every waking moment with all things baby. I stealthily leave seemingly random photos of our children as infants in seemingly random locations around the house. Like, beside the toilet. Nothing says daddy needs a third baby like a picture of Lawson eating cheerios while he makes a deposit.
Phase Two also involves seemingly random conversational interruptions designed to break his concentration and focus it on said infant. Example: “Don’t you think it’s strange how neither of our other children ended up with dark brown hair and blue eyes? Our next could, though. Because I have a gene for brunette hair, and you have a gene for blue eyes, and I think that works, even though I’m not a geneticist. Wouldn’t that be a lovely combination?”
Then comes the mutter, accompanied by a flick of the wrist that turns the volume on the radio up a notch. “Crazytown.”
Phase Two also involves random, but entirely logical attacks of pure unadulterated reason. Case in point. We’re in the middle of discussing…I don’t know. Something. Dinner. “You how there’s that one buck that you haven’t gotten yet?” He looks at me warily. “That Pope and Young or Brooks and Dunn or something? That raison d’etre that’s just waiting for you in the woods? The reason you can’t stop deer hunting yet?”
“Well…I don’t know about a raisin, but it’s more the challenge than anything else…”
Hmm. I try to figure out how to work this into my speech. The reason for motherhood is not the challenge. Definitely not. I decide to ignore it. That usually works. “Whatever. If I told you that you had to stop hunting tomorrow, how would you feel? If you fell out of a tree and had to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, how would you feel? Would the longing go away?”
“Yeah–when you were eighty!”
He laughed, and I lunged. “That’s how I feel about having another baby.”
He gave me a pointed look. “What’s to say you won’t continue to feel that way after you have another one?”
I don’t really have an answer for this. Except–“Well, I’ll probably be old by then and have more sense. And if I don’t have more sense, I probably won’t have many more eggs to play with.”
That effectively ended that random attack.
Phase Two also includes the immediate and completely annoying dispersal of any and all notifications of the presence of infants and/or large families in my immediate vicinity. This can be as simple as a “Ooooh, look–someone’s having another baby on Private Practice!” when we’re watching t.v. (which can backfire when that same someone has a miscarriage or goes haywire and kills their husband or something) or it can get a little more complicated. For example. The other morning when I was dropping the kids off at school, I noticed I was behind a van with those little white stick-figure families on the window. The family had three–count ’em–three children, and the license plate said “HVNSNT.” How perfect. So I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to him with a text that said something along those lines. “Family of FIVE. How adorable.”
For a while there was no response. Around thirty minutes later, though, I got a call.”What the heck? Why are you sending this stuff to me at work?”
“I just thought you’d like to share in my suffering, honey. I’m being assaulted by reminders that other people—hundreds of millions of happy other people—are out here having cute babies. I just figured since you’re the reason I’m not having a baby, the least I could do was share the love.”
“Crazytown, Lori, just freakin’ crazytown.” Clickup. This time it really wasn’t a stage whisper.
I think I’m wearing on him. Feel the drip. Be the drip.