There are few surprises in my life when it comes to babies. My offspring arrive right on time every time because the only thing I do well is curse the world with miniature versions of myself. I’m like a disease, but less personable. I’ve never been caught off-guard by a pregnancy because my wife Lola and I plan children with the precision of a laser-guided bomb. My wife also gives birth with the same devastating consequences as one, but that’s a discussion for another time. After being in the delivery room through the births of two children, I now understand why men used to wait in the lobby. My consistency at knocking up Lola has nothing to do with my skills in the bedroom. If anything, my ineptness forces her to conceive easily as a defense mechanism. By ending up with a baby on the first try, her body ensures I won’t have to touch her any more than is absolutely necessary. See you in two years, honey.
|Sperm are nature’s guided missiles. They’ve ruined more lives than all the explosives in the world combined.|
The one facet of our children we can’t plan is their genders. We have an ultrasound scheduled for this afternoon to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl. Some mothers still wait until birth to learn the news, but such people only exist in Amish communities and on reality shows about women who didn’t know they were pregnant. The fact there are enough of these ladies to fuel an entire TV series tells foreign viewers everything they need to know about America. People who actually attend prenatal doctor’s visits don’t have the luxury of staying gender-ignorant until the due date. With modern imaging technology, it’s almost impossible to avoid the truth. When expectant parents look at the huge high-definition computer monitor, either there’s a massive baby wiener or there’s a noticeable gap where one should be. If a father doesn’t recognize what gigantic sex organs look like, then he should demand a paternity test because clearly he had no role in the creation of that child.
Lola won’t openly admit it, but she’s hoping for a boy. We already have two girls, and we’ve amassed enough supplies to keep them dressed in pink, frilly clothes until they’re both in nursing homes. Hopefully fashion trends don’t change any over the next 80 years. If this new child is a girl, we won’t have to buy any more outfits, which would delight me and devastate my wife. Her two great joys in life are spending money and gushing over baby clothes. I have a feeling we’ll keep having kids until she finally ends up with a son. Painful labor is evidently worth it if it gives her an excuse for a 10-month-long shopping trip.
Our current stockpile of hand-me-downs will only work if our next daughter is as small as our other kids, but I’m sure she will be. There isn’t exactly any giraffe blood in her maternal line. Lola isn’t tall enough to ride most roller coasters and still still wears some of her clothes from eighth grade. Then again, maybe she stayed small specifically because she wore undersized T-shirts, kind of like how a fish never grows larger than its tank. Maybe if I keep my kids in toddler outfits, they won’t get bigger, either. Miniature children would be way cheaper to feed, and I could downsize my yard as well. I’m sure they’d be willing to stay indoors year-round if I gave them a wheel to run in and a fresh layer of wood chips.
|If Lola’s bloodline did include giraffe genes, that would only raise more questions. I watch her very closely when we’re at the zoo.|
Given all the advantages of staying consistent in the gender department, it’s only logical that I’m rooting for a girl. Long ago, I accepted that I’ll never, ever have any sons. I’ve completed the grieving process, and I refuse to get my hopes up only to be hurt again. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with women, especially when they wake up unexpectedly and start reading this blog post over my shoulder. Go back to bed, dear. If we do have a boy, he’ll be offended if he learns I wanted a girl, but the odds of him ever reading this paragraph are remote. I can’t imagine any scenario where a child under my supervision survives to adulthood. His chances would be considerably better if he ran away into the woods to be raised by wolves.
Some feminists argue gender is an artificial construct of society, and maybe they’re right. My daughters can’t seem to decide if they want to uphold or defy stereotypes. My 3-year-old Betsy loves princesses and everything pink, but she’s also fascinated by zombies and dinosaurs. If Mattel ever comes out with a Barbie who rides an undead T. rex, I’ll be obliged to give them all of my money. I thought daughters would be calmer than sons, but that theory fell apart as soon as my 1-year-old Mae learned to walk. I can no longer keep track of how many times a day I tell my two girls not to tackle each other. It’s a good thing there isn’t a legitimate female football league because they’d definitely kill someone.
|If you’re going to break each other’s bones, at least do it quietly. I’m trying to play Xbox.|
The biggest reason I’ll hold my breath at the ultrasound today is this appointment determines what my house will be like a decade from now. With daughters, my job as a parent is pretty much done when my kids hit 13. I don’t do female puberty, period. That sentence alone makes it clear why I shouldn’t be trusted around anyone who is menstruating. It’s hard enough to tolerate me under the best of circumstances. Add in hormones and teenage angst, and my daughters won’t speak to me until they need me to pay for their weddings. We’ll see if those actually happen. My one duty when my daughters are in high school will be to scare away boys, which shouldn’t be too hard. I’ll just tell them about what it’s like to die a little more every day at a job I hate. Nothing is more frightening to young, hopeful kids than the truth.
Check back here tomorrow for the official gender announcement. With any luck, my wife isn’t carrying a boy or a girl, but instead some unexpected third option like a robot or an octopus. I’ll love whatever we end up with, but I’ve heard invertebrates are super easy to deal with during puberty.