Where We’re At

After a few stable weeks, S is back to growing pains, as baby’s running out of room in there. Tonight we were able to see the claustrophobic little guy protruding out of her–his butt bulge went up and down, like a little alien head about to pop, as he shifted around. Even a jaded baby watcher like me, who long ago stopped rushing over at the slightest sign of life, got a thrill out of that.

Recently I heard about a couple who rented a prenatal heart monitor to keep tabs on their baby at all times. The family listened to the baby’s heartbeat while cutting the Easter Ham. Me, I’m on the other end of the spectrum. Usually when S calls me to bear witness to one of our son’s amazing feats of fetal strength, he’s stopped by the time I get my hand to the spot. And while she gets excited when his questing feet reach new heights (excited and uncomfortable), most of the movements are the same to me. Sure, they’ve gotten stronger, but a kick is a kick. Until he starts communicating in sign language, I’m not impressed. And the thing is, he kicks all the time. That’s why my favorite time to feel him is in bed in the morning, when S is sleeping and it’s just me and him. (I’ve written about this before.)

I’m playing the cynic here, but that’s where I’ve been at the past couple of days. Can you blame me? My wife’s 25% heavier than she was at the start of the birth, and to use her words, she’s lost her typically bouncy spirit. After dinner, while I did the dishes and she propped her aching feet in front of the telly, she told me I should feel free to leaver her at home and go out more.

I know: what a great partner, right? And also, we’re extraordinarily lucky that rather than worrying about other, more important things, we’re concerned with our lifestyle. But really, it’s not my lifestyle that has me anxious or down. I haven’t been craving the late night living of former semesters. Saving money sits better psychologically than drinking and eating it away, and I get a lot more work done when I wake up early with a clear head.

What I miss is S’s old energy, her ability to stay up past nine o’clock, her varied appetite for food other than that which we cook, her libido — in short, my usual partner in crime. I worry that these are only signs of what’s to come, that the baby’s going to change our relationship so drastically, nothing will ever be as good as we had it before.

These aren’t new sentiments, but they’ve reared up again, stronger than before. Feeding the fire is that most parents we know tell us to enjoy these last few weeks, since it’s downhill from here. But the vibe around here is already pretty far from where it was a year ago. Sometimes, especially at the end of a long day, I just want my old wife back.

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