Weíve decided to have another child.
Okay. Thatís fine. Despite the absolute exhaustion Iím feeling right now and the fear that I could never love another child as much as I love the first, I guess I could get used to the idea of two kids. It makes for good symmetry. Theyíll be forced to share, interact, compromise, and so forth. Yes. Iím okay with a second child.
In fact, I anticipated this decision, which is why Iíve been compiling the following notes so that I donít forget any of the critical lessons I learned during pregnancy and through labor. Youíd think I wouldnít need a reminder, I know, but my memory is short so I thought it best to preserve these by putting them on paper.
- When your wife asks if she looks fat, do your best to change the subject. Weather, sports, European politics and astrophysics usually provide the desired disorienting effect. If changing the subject doesnít work, pretend to faint suddenly. If none of this works, tell her "no" and be prepared to explain what you mean by that.
- Comments on food should be limited to "Did you get enough?" and "Is that the right kind of ice cream or should I run back to the store?" Reciting from the nutrition label on a recently emptied container of Chubby Hubby ice cream doesnít help anybody.
- Your job re: baby dťcor and fashion is to look as if youíre considering every decision with the utmost gravity Ė and then agree with everything your wife says. You should be used to this process by now.
- Pre-natal classes are mostly a waste of time and neither of you trusted the teacher. If you feel the need for a formal review, watch the Discovery Channel.
- Never mind what the books say about the birth partner (i.e., you) needing to be well-rested for the final stages of the birth process. It is NOT a good idea for you to tell your wife that youíre going to go have a nap to "rest up" when she is beginning active labor.
- Your wife has a mean right hook.
- Yes, the hospital room has a big TV, a VCR and a DVD player. No, itís not a good idea to bring your favorite action movies and PlayStation 2. (I hope I donít have to mention this but the hospital room is also not a good place for laptops, cell phones or other recently acquired electronic doo-dads that may exist in the near future. You were thinking about it, werenít you?)
- Remember your role in all of this and keep self-congratulation to a minimum. "We" donít give birth. She gives birth and you tell her she looks beautiful while doing it. Well, maybe after doing it. Oh, and that thing you say about wishing you could carry the baby to have the experience and contribute more to the process? Donít.
- The diamond earrings were a good idea. She loved them and theyíre paying dividends even now. It might be a good idea to wait just a few moments after the baby is born. As a general concept, try not to treat the birth process as if it were a game show.
- Get ready to fall in love all over again.
P.S. A newborn doesnít need a remote-controlled anything and you should know better.