Hands Off

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Week 40.

We’ve made it to the official end of month nine; Little Dude will be arriving any day now. As Wifey and I try to stay busy and struggle to keep our anticipation in check, I figure this is as good a time as any to finally start reintroducing a bit of wine back into winedad.com.

In hopes of a graceful segue I wanted to start with something that’s been very much on my mind these past few months: Believe it or not, I’ve found there to be a lot of conceptual crossover between winemaking and baby-making. The subject of “natural childbirth” is an explosive one, as is that of “natural winemaking,” so I’ll do my best to steer shy of the more controversial aspects of both. But they’re thought-provoking any way you look at it.

For mothers-to-be, “natural” generally refers to unmedicated birth with no drugs to dull the pain or speed the process along. You could say that the word is used pretty much the same way in the wine world – as far as most folks are concerned, “natural wine” is that which is produced without the intervention of outside yeasts, extra sulfites, or other foreign compounds to alter its chemistry. (By implication it’s also usually considered to be organic.)

In both arenas, the primary case to be made for “natural” lies in the the existence of countless precedents for end-results that were healthily conceived/born/guided with no scientific intervention whatsoever. The counterargument is equally straightforward: despite all of them, things can and do occasionally go wrong. Whether it’s the fruit of your loins or that of your labor that’s at risk, wouldn’t you want to leave as little to chance as possible?

At the end of the day, I myself don’t have that much experience either making wine or birthing babies. My exposure to the production side of vino has been broad but still relatively shallow, and the part I played in baby-making was neither drawn-out nor painful. But I do know from the little that I’ve seen so far that barring dramatic and unforeseen circumstances, both processes seem to go more smoothly the less we mess around with them.

SMS

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Week 39.

My mother asked me yesterday if she should start leaving her cell phone on when she goes to bed. I responded with a question of my own:

“Would you be upset if you woke up in the morning to a photo of your Grandson?”

“YES!”

“Well then leave your phone on, Mom. I don’t know what to tell you. Honestly I don’t think I’ll be making any phone-calls while Wifey’s in labor – even to you – but I promise I’ll text when things start to go down…”

A few days before that I had called my mother-in-law, seeing as I was nearby with some free time. She answered the phone breathlessly:

“Hi! Is everything ok?? Is the baby coming???”

“Um, hi. No, we’re not in labor. Breathe. I just wanted to see what you’re doing for lunch…”

“Oh. I’ve gotta run. I’m in a meeting. Sorry, can’t do lunch.”

These ladies are not the only ones – it’s now begun in earnest. The inquiries roll in daily, and not just from the grandparents-to-be. When Wifey’s iPhone lights up on the table it typically reads:

“How are you feeling??? Any contractions yet? Is the baby on his way???”

Yup, of course. She’s giving birth, just texting away on her iPhone… Words With Friends, anybody?

As the man, there’s just one question that comes my way (hourly):

“Are you a dad yet?”

Sure dude. Totally. My son was born yesterday and I’m sitting here tasting a bunch of Pinot Noir. No worries, my wife doesn’t need me around…

Joking aside, it makes us both feel extremely loved to know that you’re thinking of us. Please don’t stop checking in – we’d be pretty devastated if we weren’t getting those messages.

Seriously, though  – we’ll keep you posted. Has anything about this blog indicated that I’m shy?

 

Names

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Week 38.

The end is near. (Or, rather, the beginning!)

It could be tomorrow that we finally meet our baby boy – or it could still be a month away. Now that we’ve made it this far and our midwives have repeatedly assured us that he is healthy, the question on both of our minds all day is, “what do you look like, Little Dude??” (Honestly, we’d totally settle for his hair color.)

However, the query that most often comes from those we encounter over the course of our day is a different one:

“OMG a BABY! What’s his name??”

Call me crazy – or maybe it’s just because I’m a Jew – but I’m amazed by how offended some of these folks seem to be when we refuse to divulge. Wifey and I have both always known that we’d follow the Jewish tradition of naming our children for those no longer with us, as well as the superstition about not sharing their names until birth. But you’d be shocked by how many people over the past few months have actually said “Oh come on, you can tell me. You don’t even know me! What do I care?”

My point exactly – why do you care so much?

It’s one thing for those close to us to inquire – in fact, I understand my parents’ frustration when we wouldn’t even let them play the guessing game with us. (I’m sorry guys, I love you; but I just don’t trust myself to keep a straight face once we venture down that road.)

But as far as strangers go, old school superstition aside, there’s a practical element in play here as well. You see, everybody’s got an opinion.

All of my sources concur. Apparently, when expecting parents do proudly proclaim their child’s name before birth, the following type of conversation becomes quite common:

“His name is Abraham, isn’t that exciting??”

“No way man, fuck that name, I’ve hated it ever since that shmuck Abe dumped me in high school.”

“Well, our backup name is Isaac…”

“Eww, that’s my Dad’s name forget that one, too.”

Now imagine the same scenario, with a real live baby involved:

“His name is Jacob, isn’t he precious??”

“Awwwwwwww…..”

You see what I mean? We don’t really expect people to stop asking. But please, allow us some room for dignity when we choose not to reply.

 

Meltdown

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Week 37.

When I got home last Friday evening, all pumped up with excitement for the long Labor Day weekend, Wifey was sitting on the couch – crying hysterically – with an ice pack on her head. I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I had done something terribly wrong.

“Oh my God! Baby, are you ok??”

“I’m fine,” she snapped.

“What did I do??? Are you mad at me?”

“No.” she replied (unconvincingly). “You didn’t do anything. I’m just fucking huge and it’s TOO DAMN HOT!!”

“What can I do to make you feel better? Should we go to dinner somewhere air conditioned? Do you want to go to the movies?”

“Nothing. I don’t even want to move. Just leave me alone.”

I vacillated for a second then did what any dude would do: popped open a beer and sat down on the deck to enjoy the late summer evening. Incidentally, it was much cooler out there than on the corner of couch from whence Wifey refused to budge.

I gave it an hour or so, leaving her to her misery, then quietly prepared dinner and set the outdoor table. Cautiously, I approached the pregnant woman.

“My lady, might I have the pleasure of dining with you tonight?”

She eventually joined me outside, and after the food, wine, and cool(er) nighttime temperatures had begun to take effect, I broke out the heavy ammo:

“Hey, how about we take a little stroll and have some ice cream?” Just like that, the temperature dropped another 10 degrees.

Guys, I’ve gotta tell you – if you’re thinking about knocking your lady up before summer comes, invest in air conditioning. Then again, if that’s too much for you, can always fall back on ice cream.