Diplomacy, it seems, is practiced by moms and dads. But what happens when you’re the one who has to be the diplomat?
“The spine looks… uhhh… puhh-retty… gah-oood” the technician with the wand on my wife’s gelatin covered belly said in the slowest way possible. The room that we were in for our 20 week anatomy scan was smaller than my first dorm room and as dark as a December night except for the glow coming from the black and white screen.
I was getting impatient. We had double checked every aspect of Child #2 except for the sex and I’d come to this shindig to see some damn genitals. Child #1 (or Poppy) wriggled around in my sister-in-law, Michelle’s, lap. Michelle had given the child the attention that she could, two pacifiers and my wallet but Poppy had hit her being-still-in-a-dark-room limit.
“There…”, the words somehow traveling forwards and backwards, “are… the… legs… ahh-gain”.
All eyes were still craned up to the awkwardly placed monitor high up in the corner. It was strange to be in this dark room with my wife on a table, goop on her belly and pants half-off exposing her preference of “down there hair care”.
I’d been wanting another girl. I yearned for a friend for one-year-old Poppy as much as I feared having a little boy. Much of these fears were based upon the unknown (keep a look out for our upcoming podcast: Penis’ & Vaginas). My name list in Notes on my iPhone was very heavy on the girl side and only had a few names like Calvin, Joseph and Leo for boys.
I’d not been praying for another girl or sacrificing chickens to the sacred god Yoni or anything. A girl didn’t scare me. I wouldn’t have to deal with unknowns like finding a circumcision guy (do I Yelp! that?) or buying a Pee-Pee TeePee or cleaning poop from a scrotum.
Diplomacy, it seems, is practiced by moms and dads. How many times have you heard someone say,
“As long as the baby’s healthy…” or “We’ll love it no matter what” or “I’m just happy to be pregnant” or “cats always love mustard in a Cadillac”?
Okay, so I made the last one up.
My wife, it seems, was on the diplomatic side when talking about the child’s sex. I knew that she’d wanted a boy to some extent but she always tended to cover it by saying that it would be good for Poppy to have a sister close in age. I imagined my two girls attentively listening to stories in daddy’s lap and splashing in the pool with mommy. I’d smell their heads as I put them to bed and I’d complain about sleepovers and silly movies but I’d secretly like those movies… even though they’re dumb.
“Ohhhhhhh….”, the technician began as she twisted the odd plastic wand, “Kayyyyy…”
The child’s legs were pressed together Buffalo Bill style. Baby #2 had a little more class than Poppy who mashed her genitals directly on the machine like a drunk secretary on the Xerox machine at the company Christmas party.
“I think we haaaaaaave…” oh MY God, is this woman on Valium? “… a little baby girl”.
“Good, good yes. Oh good.” I stammered.
At the moment that Lynette’s hand slipped from mine I knew that she had wanted a boy way more than I had thought. Her face tightened against the glow of the flickering screen.
“Are you happy?” she asked.
“She’s healthy.” my inner diplomat said.
“I really wanted a boy this time”
There was nothing else to say. I felt guilty and a little ashamed. I already had my girl and she was everything I wanted in a little girl. I felt greedy. My X’s and Y’s were… wrong.
Lynette toweled off her stomach and we collected all of the things off of the floor that we had tried to keep Poppy entertained with. Michelle handed Pop to me and said that the girls would be best friends and that they’re going to be so cute together.
The ride home was quiet except for the sound of phones not being picked up via Bluetooth. After the 3rd unanswered call the cabin of the car became silent.
“Maybe you don’t make boys, huh?”.
“Yeah, maybe my boy sperm are lazy hipsters that just want to drink PBR”.
The rest of the morning went by very slowly and at noon it began to rain. At 5 I came home from work and Lynette was preparing fajitas and Poppy was in the middle of a very long dreary day nap.
“I like ____ as a name for a girl.” she said and smiled at me.
It was my favorite name out of the 20 I’d whittled down to.
“We’ll call her that from now on” I said and put my arms around her.
As I stood there in the kitchen feeling my wife’s belly putting me in awkward hug position #4 I thought about how lucky we are and how lucky I am. It wouldn’t have mattered much to me if this one would have been a boy. Heck, it would give me more material.
I smelled the fajitas cooking as the rain continued to fall. We’ve been in a drought here in Northern California for as long as I’ve lived here and I was happy to think of the pavement glistening in the night and the leaves pulling the water in. The browning grass in our front yard will turn green and the lemon tree in the back will grow wider.
We’ll be having more children. We want a larger family than most people these days. I often get teary eyed thinking about the future and there are so many unknowns… but there’s one thing I know for sure…
I know what I’ll be hoping for next.
Originally posted at daddyissues123.com.
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flickr