In the features department, we have to print the edition a week ahead of time. Before Rigby was born, I wrote a column that was written as though he were born, but since he wasn’t by the time my deadline passed I couldn’t discuss him.
Of course, he was born on Jan. 17 (a Saturday) and I was able to write a column mentioning him before my Monday deadline. But while cleaning out my computer system today, I found that written-yet-unpublished column. Here it is for you to enjoy, in its unedited glory.
Free at last. Free at last. My wife thanks God that Little Lane No. 2 is free at last.
Our wait is finally over, as we welcomed our second child into the world this past week.
What are the gender and name? I can’t tell you now. This column had to be written before the delivery due to this section’s early deadline, so as I type I actually still await the baby’s arrival (the doctors promised that the baby would be induced if not delivered this past week, so that’s how I can write with confidence that the baby is here as you read this).
So while I eagerly await my first meeting with my second child — and begin to seriously ponder what this space will be called next time I write this column — I have a couple observations I’ve made over the past couple weeks to discuss.
• I am not just sucking up when I say my wife’s tolerance for pain is superhuman.
For weeks — months, really — she’s dealt with the immense discomfort of carrying our child. As I went to work each day, she took care of Penny while unable to find a comfortable position in which to sit … or walk, or stand, or lay down.
She had me feel her stomach a few weeks ago, and my hand met the baby’s foot as it pressed into my wife’s ribs — the leg fully extended and rigid, with not an ounce of give to it. I complain when I get a paper cut on my thumb, and she deals with being kicked in the gut on the inside while also straightening up the house and playing with Penny.
Is it annoying for me to make late-night sponge candy runs and call local eateries inquiring about the power of their eggplant parmigiana to induce labor? Maybe a little. But once my task is done the inconvenience is over, while her discomfort is constant.
She has to use the bathroom every 60 minutes or so, can’t sleep for more than a couple hours a night, struggles to get upright and has spent days at a time with insufferable nausea — and she’d do it all again in a snap.
Not to discount my love for my children, but a mother’s love truly is amazing.
• As Penny’s vocabulary has continued to expand, she’s begin to conduct basic conversations with us, most of her sentences being no longer than two words long (with an accompanying point toward what she wants) yet completely comprehensible.
Recent visits with family, though, have showed me that it might be as much the parental bond as Penny’s brilliance (and she IS brilliant) that leads to our interaction.
My family came over not too long ago, and even as I knew exactly what Penny was asking my mother prompted her to repeat it or quizzically pondered what Penny was trying to say (it’s OK for me to mention my mother in this circumstance because, like I said, a mother’s love allows for forgiveness).
I found myself a couple times defiantly repeating the blatantly obvious messages Penny was telling my mother, wrapped in disbelief that my mom couldn’t comprehend her granddaughter.
But then I began to re-examine the issue. My wife and I spend the most time with Penny, and we’ve gone through a great deal of trial and error to decipher much of what she’s saying (one example: When Penny says “dada,” she could be referring to me, Cookie Monster or Elmo’s goldfish Dorothy, depending on who/what she’s looking at).
We’re used to her speech, so it therefore is much easier for us to understand Penny’s meaning (which, judging by several fitful nights of sleep she recently had while stuck with a cold, we have yet to fully get). Heck, we’ve even helped her coin some of the phrases she’s adopted (”nana” means “The Backyardigans,” “mih” means “milk,” “teese” means “macaroni and cheese”), so it makes sense that other people might sometimes get lost when Penny speaks.
Actually, on second thought, Penny’s too smart not to be understood. My mom just needs to clean out his ears.