In this installment of Love, Recorded, preparations continue for the arrival of the Eun Chong and Cathreen stares at sushi.
We have been feeding Boise on the kitchen counter, because Bear doesn’t think he can make the jump. He still thinks of himself as a baby.
Maybe we baby him. We have a little girl on the way, so it’s easy to call this practice.
We put the cat tower on the porch, which is connected to our apartment by windows, and open the window for them. Bear cries under the sill. He stands up with his paws on the glass, but still doesn’t jump. We have to move an ottoman for him to climb onto first.
Though maybe he cries because we left the window closed once and he crashed into it. It’s hard to say.
My mother says we need to clean our windows. But then how would the cats know the difference between indoors and outdoors?
As soon as Cathreen gets home from my parents’ house, we go to Minado together, my wife and I and my brother. Minado is an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. We spend the earlier part of the day grocery shopping, staring at Korean food, starving ourselves. Then we storm over.
My brother has a plan to stay until we’re hungry again, entertaining us with his iPod. We try this for a while. We try to name all the U.S. presidents. Cathreen grows bored.
The first few nights home, she wants to go back to Connecticut. The cats lounge around purring; they know which place is theirs. The one thing Cathreen is happy about is that I am there to clean the litter box. My brother didn’t do so well. Boise pooped on the floor.
While my wife was gone, I was revising a thriller with a pregnant mother in it. I had forgotten the character was pregnant. I wrote a draft before Cathreen was pregnant, on a whim. On a whim that started with: why doesn’t my husband make any money?
Now I wonder if this was bad karma. I put my poor pregnant girl through so many shootings. Through torture.
Whatever money I can make from this torture will support our baby’s education.
When the weekend comes again, we take my two youngest cousins to the Children’s Museum with their parents. They are 4 and 6. We gave them the tickets for Christmas. On the wall over the ticket counter is a sign that says all visitors without children must provide identification.
The lobby is one massive climbing tree, three floors high. Brilliant planning. Tire the kids out immediately.
But my cousins scorn fatigue. They rush through the entire museum, and this on their best behavior. They are angrier when we have to leave.
I help Cathreen up the stairs. “You’re very protective of her,” my aunt says. The other day, we went to a noisy bar and I worried about the baby’s hearing. I wonder what I am supposed to do, just hand over our child to Michael Jackson?
My uncle looks tired. We take the kids for ice cream and the boy almost pushes his mother in front of a car.
One day this will all make sense, I hope.
The next day, my parents come up with furniture Cathreen found in Connecticut. Two bookcases, and the changing table my parents used when I came over from Korea. At first, I thought this was a good idea, a piece of my childhood. But maybe it’s a little weird. Her dirty diapers where my dirty diapers, etc.
We’re getting Eun Chong’s room together. My mother walks around, redecorating aloud. “We’ll see,” I say, with my own plans.
I’ve moved my office into the living room. In the end, I put the bookcases where my mother suggested. There is no other place for them.
The steroids Cathreen is taking for the rash mean we have another ultrasound. “We’re going to see the Eun Chong,” Cathreen says. I like her use of articles.
She is late, and we rush into registration, then a familiar face is asking my wife to scrunch down her pants.
“Is my baby okay?” Cathreen says almost before the gel is on her stomach.
“I have to take the measurements first,” the ultrasound operator says.
We see the head, hear the heartbeat. The head is the right size. The heart rate is perfect.
“Is the weight okay?” Cathreen asks.
I am starting to realize how nervous she was. She seemed to embrace the steroids. But she was worrying the whole time, like I was.
“The weight’s fine,” the ultrasound operator says. A little over two pounds, the 55th percentile.
Afterwards, my wife says we should see a movie that evening, she will cook and meet me with dinner. I go back to work. Soon, she calls to say she is too exhausted.
When I get home late that night, Bear is up on the kitchen counter. Cathreen says he has been jumping onto things all day. He has figured out adulthood all at once.
It’s just like snapping your fingers.
Our problem is where to feed Boise now that Bear can go anywhere. Bear is old enough to know better than to steal his brother’s food. He is old enough to behave himself, but he doesn’t.
—photo mapp : : tokyo/Flickr