Munchies

pizza

Week 15 – we’re officially into the second trimester now. God knows, it’s about fucking time.

Not only does this mean that my name is finally published in the “about” section on this blog, but it also signifies an end to Wifey’s incessant napping. What’s replaced it, however, is the single-minded pursuit of one simple thing: food. (Ok, maybe two simple things, with a close runner-up being a bathroom to pee in.)

Last week, as I witnessed a total pre-dinner meltdown, it occurred to me that the level of irrationality in play here is enough to hearken me back to my college days. After all, that’s the one other time in life when it somehow seemed appropriate to stumble around in one’s pajamas, attempting to satisfy totally random munchie cravings.

To take this this line of thought one step further, I’ve put together the following visual aid:

muchies chart

Now I’m not suggesting that my baby momma is smoking pot over here – although we do live in California; the truth is she won’t even go near a glass of wine. (Apparently all she can discern is the smell of alcohol, which the little guy is not [yet] a fan of.) You truly never know what this woman is going to eat next.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, early on in her first trimester my beloved partner suddenly stopped eating meat all together – I mean seriously, not even bacon. Then, last week, at brunch with my family during our recent visit to New York City, she went ahead and ordered a cheeseburger. You should have seen the shock on my face, and the look the waitress gave as I exclaimed:

“What the fuck? You’re having a cheeseburger?!?” 

I realize that if you don’t know us and our dynamic, this is exactly the kind of statement that is prone to easy misinterpretation. Rather than expressing concern for my wife’s diet, however, this was just a declaration of surprise (read: utter shock). As a wine professional I’ve dedicated a decade to learning the individual tastes of my clients – as well as friends and family – yet my own wife stumps me every time.

In response to my frustation, she’s got one simple response: “I’m going to keep you on your toes for the rest of your life, honey. You might as well stop trying to figure me out now.”

Hooters

Hooters-Logo

Wifey and I got just got home last night from a trip back East; we got to spend a long weekend in NYC and a enjoy a Passover seder in the suburbs. We also had a chance to take advantage of some practice parenting with our beloved horde of nieces and nephews, which expanded by one baby girl almost 3 weeks ago now.

When we arrived on Thursday evening and walked into my sister’s apartment – smiles all around – I was anticipating exclamations of delight at the adorable bump already growing on my rather petite baby mama.

My mother, of course, exceeded all expectations. However, the first words of out Paternal Grandpa-to-be’s mouth were in reference not to my wife’s tummy, but to that which lies slightly higher on her torso:

“Damn, girl! You should get a job at Hooters!”

(This is paraphrased, but only slightly.)

Notwithstanding the fact that such a gig might represent a step down from her consulting career, and therefore require the Winedad to go out and get a “real” job, this remark reminded me once again of the many reasons why I love my father.

I mean, if he can get away with boob comments, than surely I can too – right? The “breast bonus” is clearly the most exciting thing about pregnancy, from a dude’s perspective, yet our women have made mention of it as taboo as discussing their hormones. I say, speak freely, boys! It’s about time! One more point for our side, courtesy of Grandpa.

Man, I can only wait to hear what my Uncle has to say.

Solidarity

photo-1

Now that I’m spending a fair amount of time reading, writing, and discussing the subject of pregnancy, all kinds of advice has started coming my way from parents out there (both current and aspiring). Some have gone so far as to suggest that I place my own vices on hold for the next months out of solidarity with my lady wife – apparently, there are guys out there who have set such a precedent. (Those mother fuckers, ruining it for the rest of us!)

Clearly, none of those dudes work in the wine industry.

While I’m usually the first person to point out that I truly don’t spend all day consuming vino (really, I don’t, I swear!) the fact remains that it comes at me from all angles over the course of my work week. Besides being victim to an unquenchable thirst for more wine knowledge – always more, always just a bit more, I promise I’ll spit! Just a little bit more… I’m also in the process of actively developing my own wine business. So, call it what you will, but I’m not even pretending. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilt about it, though. My Jewish mother raised me well.

The irony is – as I’m sure many men can attest – I actually find myself drinking more. While I won’t deny that some of this is the result of a certain male instinct to numb oneself in the early stages of adapting to major life changes, much of it is purely logistical. There simply aren’t nearly enough half bottles on the market. Once the 750ml is open, what’s a boy supposed to do, pour that shit out?

I think not.

So hell yeah, bring it on. I’ve got my own personal limo driver, DUIs won’t get me down! However, I do sometimes fear that my odds of conceiving a second child may decrease with every sip I take.

 

Competition (Or: An Ode to the Body Pillow)

DSC_3298

Week 12.

Of all the dubious decisions I’ve made in the first couple months of impending fatherhood, the one I most regret is the body pillow that I bought for Wifey early on.

I suppose there’s a case to be made for inevitability; obviously, Wifey’s comfort is paramount for the next 6 months or so. But now I’m in the awkward situation of living with a very petite woman who somehow already managed to take up more than half the bed, and to top it all off, now there’s this pillow taking up space.

It doesn’t help how much she loves the damn thing. She climbs into bed at night – warm, soft, scented. She smiles, reaches closer to me… and wraps all of her limbs around that fucking body pillow. 

I know it’s not another man – God forbid. She tells me she doesn’t love the pillow, that it’s only a marriage of convenience. She says she’ll end the relationship when it’s run it’s course.

But you look at them together and tell me it doesn’t seem serious!

I thought it was the baby in her belly that would drive the wedge between us, after it’s been carried to term. But instead I had to go buy this stupid pillow, in the middle of the first trimester, no less.

Unfortunately, unlike many of the other paternal errors I am bound to make, this one is less easily brushed under the carpet. After all, it sleeps in bed with us.

Taboo

bacon

Forgive me for all the clichés that are about to ensue.

As has often been remarked, nobody is ever “just a little bit pregnant;” this baby thing is all or nothing. Contrary to popular belief, there’s very little about the process that is gradual, other than the growth of the bump itself. In some cases – like ours – even that seems to happen rather quickly.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get myself into a whole lot of trouble with this one, but there are some things that all fathers-to-be have in common. It’s do or die out there, after all – you either develop a whole new kind of patience, or a bunch of new kinks in the the neck from being forced to crash on the couch due to a lack thereof.

What I’m really talking about here, of course, is precisely what all men are instructed to never, under any circumstances refer to within the hearing of their female partner: the monthly – or in this case rather longer term – affects of their crazy, out-of-control hormones.

So, at risk of eternal damnation, but on behalf of fathers-to-be around the world, I’m going to just go ahead and say it, so that we can all pretend we’ve gotten it out of our systems:

“I’m sorry (first name here), I love you like crazy, and I can’t thank you enough for carrying our child. I know it takes a lot out of you. But for God’s sake, darling – some of the shit you’re trying to pull on me here is fucking ridiculous.”

(Now, don’t you feel a little better?)

I mean, just so you comprehend the extent of the madness at hand: the lovely, goddess-of-a-woman who I am blessed to share my life with said no to bacon this weekend. Bacon, I tell you! This, the morning after ripping me a new one for daring to suggest that she perhaps allow herself to breathe for a moment and digest the changes occurring in our lives, by interjecting a lighthearted novel into the growing pile of pregnancy literature on the coffee table.

Now, I consider myself to be a pretty damn supportive husband. One of the better ones, even. I’m happy to run any errand, to go just about anywhere to track down just about any kind of random-ass food that Wifey is craving, as long as we can afford it. Or to avoid using just about any ingredient when I cook, even if the blacklist changes from day to day and is impossible to keep track of. (Hour to hour?)

However, just because I’m not growing a person doesn’t make me any less human. So don’t you treat me like I am, meanie! Ha. So there. Take that.

Oh shit, look at the time. It’s getting late, and I’ve got this shopping list to take care of. Not to mention those new nursing bras I said I’d pick up for her. I’ve gotta get out of here. Later, boys.

 

Growth

photo

Yes, that little astronaut is my child. (The right side of the image represents his/her heartbeat.)

What appears in this photo to be a short person in a spacesuit seated on some kind of cool-looking rocketship chair is actually our developing baby, 22 mm long from “crown to rump” at the time it was taken last week. (“Crown to rump” being a term I can honestly say I’ve never heard before, but which I assume I will quickly be getting used to.)

While doctors tend to speak in metric terms, all of the books, apps, and blogs that Wifey and I are reading these days like to use their own thematic reference points to measure the developmental process. Her favorite app of the moment, My Pregnancy Calendar by The Bump, uses a different fruit or vegetable every week – all the way from poppyseed to jackfruit (with stops at pomegranate, rutabaga, and coconut along the way). My “man app,” mPregnancy (“for Men with Pregnant Women,”) uses, well, “man stuff:” a match, beer cap, cigarette, beer bottle (12 oz, presumably), football, and eventually a large pizza.

I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I’m not really into football; this is, after all, Winedad.com. So guess what we’re going to do??

First, though, a few disclaimers:

  1. All of the below measurements are totally estimated (I primarily used The Bump for basic reference). Please don’t take this exercise too seriously.
  2. For the sake of ease, I am disregarding the weight of packaging, which is extremely difficult to evaluate accurately without some pretty complex mathematics (or actually weighing each bottle). This is supposed to be fun, and that kind of math is not. However, remember that this skews things pretty heavily – I don’t recommend that you start using actual bottles for reference, as you may scare the shit out of your partner. (Sometimes, the glass weights a lot.)
  3. The images I am using this time around (with the exception of the one above, of course) are not my own. (If you’re interested, each links back to the source.)

INGMRF-00105349-001

1 shot ≈ .83 oz ≈ right around week 13. (Which happens to be when most people start spreading the word about their pregnancy. I got a little ahead of myself with this one, but when our baby is this size – in just a couple of weeks! – I will put my name on here.)

pip

50 ml “nip” (AKA “airplane size” liquor bottle) ≈ 1.67 oz ≈ week 14.

After that point, things start to look a little more like this, relatively speaking:

  • 187 ml “split” (also usually found on airplanes, and/or sparkling) ≈ 1/2 pound ≈ week 18.
  • 375 ml “half bottle” ≈ 1 pound ≈ week 24.
  • 500 ml bottle (most likely dessert wine) ≈ 1 1/2 pounds ≈ weeks 25 – 28.
  • 750 ml bottle (standard wine bottle) ≈ 2 pounds ≈ weeks 25 – 28.
  • 1 L Carafe ≈ 3 pounds ≈ weeks 29/30.
  • 1.5 L Magnum ≈ 4 pounds ≈ weeks 32/33.
  • 3 L Jeraboam ≈ 8 pounds = now that’s one bigass baby.

I hope this helps provide some context. Now, next time you want to get fucked up with your buddies at the local wine bar, you can tell your wife you’re “studying your baby’s development.”

Anticipation (Alienation?)

Week 9 (almost).

As we anxiously anticipate our fist official visit to the baby doctor this afternoon, I’ve decided that things would be perhaps simpler if Wifey had only waited another week or two to pee on that damn EPT.

For most people, the early pregnancy “schedule” looks somewhat like this:

  • Miss period
  • Panic for (approx.) one week
  • Take pregnancy test
  • Freak out
  • Take second pregnancy test
  • Laugh / Cry
  • Purchase What to Expect When You’re Expecting
  • Schedule OB/GYN appointment for 6-8 weeks

Now, generally by the end of this process, you’re already somewhere in week 6, which leaves just a week or two of anxiety before that first Doctor’s visit, where you get to hear your child’s heartbeat and lay most of your early fears to rest.

However, our agenda more closely resembled the following:

  • Take EPT test(s) one week BEFORE period
  • Laugh / Cry / Etc.
  • Schedule OB/GYN appt (for week 8, day 6, due to availability)
  • Watch Wifey be obviously, visibly, happily preggers
  • Twiddle thumbs and struggle like hell to stay silent – and balanced – for more than a month

Not to be redundant after last week’s post, but the waiting – and keeping silent – really, really sucks. On top of which, as the man in the equation, there’s a certain sense of alienation that starts to set in at about this point as you watch your wife undergo emotional and physical changes that you can really do bupkus about other than bear witness to – and try to comment on as LITTLE as possible. (Some of these changes are pretty awesome – wink, wink – while others are slightly less so).

This feeling apparently comes with the territory. However – according to friends and my favorite new iPhone app “m Pregnancy,” (as well as required reading material Dude, You’re Gonna be a Dad) – it may dissipate somewhat when you see the ultrasound and hear your baby’s heartbeat. In other words, when you first come face to face with the little bugger who is inevitably going to sideline you in your own marriage over the coming months and years.

So yes, all of this is happening today.

Silence

Photo: www.citymusemagazine.com

Apparently, this blog is destined to be about Daddy bloopers. (Or Hubby bloopers, for the moment). In a sense, you’re reading one of them.

It’s really impossible to fathom – until you’ve successfully knocked somebody up – just how much time and energy you are going to put into NOT sharing this happy news with your loved ones. While there’s a certain twisted logic behind this, it’s snowballed culturally to a ridiculous degree. Talk about something you want to shout from the rooftops! But no can do – society has decided that instead of allowing others to partake in our happiness, we are now to focus on the SCARY shit.

There is a straightforward rationale behind all of this: the odds of miscarrying decrease dramatically after the first couple of months of pregnancy – 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. So generally, in the United States at least, people wait until their Week 12 ultrasound to get the medical “all clear” before they send the witty announcement to their friends. After all, it’s one thing to scream happy news at the top of your lungs, and quite another to publicize sadness. (Even for those of us who are by nature “sharers.”)

What irks me, though – aside from the challenge of keeping my mouth shut for another month or so – are the larger ramifications of this mentality. After all, this goes way beyond the glass being half full or half empty; only 15% of (recognized) pregnancies result in miscarriage. Just to clarify: this means that the other 85% result in babies.

So, is “cautious optimism” really being responsible? Or is it just like dressing your pessimism up in a really nice three-piece suit? When you consider that a baby’s healthy development is also effected by its mother’s emotional well-being, things get even more complicated.

For the most part my wife and I are all about “better safe than sorry,” so we are allowing ourselves to be guided by the presiding cultural norms – you will have noticed that this blog is (so far) anonymous. But that doesn’t mean we have to be thrilled about it. So last week, when I found our growing seed distracting me from my usual responsibilities, I decided to start writing about it all.

However, I’ve never been very good at journaling. Call me what you will, but I’ve always preferred writing when there’s an audience of some sort (or at least I can pretend that there is an audience of some sort – which the internet is great for). I got approval from the Mrs. to take the blog live – without our names on it – which makes this less of a rooftop to shout from and more of a virtual confession booth, but nonetheless allows me to feel slightly more productive. What I forgot is that sometimes the web has a mind of its own.

(I’ll spare you the technical details here – let’s just say that Daddy fucked up).

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to receive at least one congratulatory email the following morning, and luckily the one I that I did get came from somebody who would have been among our first post-ultrasound phone calls. I’m thrilled – and relieved – to be able to talk to her about this now. So why does it feel like I betrayed some terrible dark secret, instead of letting slip the happiest news of my life?

Yesterday, I asked a friend in Italy how and when this is typically divulged to friends in his culture. He didn’t quite understand the question –

“What do you mean? It’s such wonderful news! We tell our friends and family! Ma come no? Why wouldn’t you?”

When I followed up with a question about miscarriage, his response was much the same:

“Well, then we share that with our friends and family, too. What are true friends for if they can’t share both joy and sorrow?”

Now how’s that for food for thought?

Discovery

EPT test

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we saw that fateful blue EPT cross (twice). The scene went something like this:

I was on my way to the gym to swim a few laps when my phone rang.

“Hi Baby. Um….. I may have just taken a pregnancy test. And um…. It may have been positive. I’m pretty sure. I took a picture.”

Me: “Oh. Ok. Wow! Shit. Do you need me to come home?”

Wife: “I don’t know! I don’t know what to do with myself! I don’t know why I took the fucking test when you went out! I’m supposed to be working, and now I can’t stop pacing back and forth!”

Me: { long pause } “I think perhaps it’s better for the both of us if I still go to the gym. Breathe. I love you. I’ll see you in an hour.”

Shockingly, that all actually went over ok.

When I got home after my swim – pulse rate back on the charts – we took test number two. Not really surprisingly, this one also showed perpendicular lines.

“Yay! How exciting! I can’t believe it! I love you so much! Let’s go celebrate!!!”

This is when it hits me that the person I most enjoying celebrating with can’t really drink alcohol for the next nine months. (It doesn’t quite dawn on us until a bit later that she can’t eat sushi, either. Or burrata. Or caviar. Not that we eat all that much caviar, but still – talk about a bummer). However, there are two immediate silver linings:

  • I will have my own personal designated driver for the next year or so.
  • I can now order as much Riesling as I want. Wifey hates Riesling, in all forms. (Yes, this defies all logic, and yes, believe me, I have tried. The only one I’ve ever been able to get her to drink might as well have said “Sauvignon Blanc” on the label.)

So now what? Like any other shellshocked, newly-minted parents-to-be: why, we kept our reservation at the sushi restaurant, of course.

Bad call, Hubby. First lesson learned.