Tom Petty told us that the waiting is the hardest part. He’s probably right about that in terms of a lot of different scenarios, but not with birth. With birth, I’m fairly sure that the hardest part is where you squeeze a small human out of an extremely sensitive part of your body. But we’re waiting, and that’s a thing, too.
We successfully negotiated with this child to be born after Otis’s birthday party, which we celebrated on the 17th of August. The ins and outs of the deal were pretty straight forward, I thought, but when you’re making arrangements with the unborn, there’s no certainty there. You’re never going to get them to make a firm commitment. So you press, you make sure they know what you want. We might have done that a little too well. We’re heading into the 41st week of this pregnancy.
Elizabeth is great at many things, and being pregnant is one of them. She continues to look and feel amazing, despite having inside her a fully formed human being that could easily survive in the world, but chooses not to. Don’t get me wrong, she’s ready to deliver. There are times when it looks like the baby is trying to push its way out through one of her sides. “Go down!” we urge. No use. It looks like it’s trying to find a zipper.
I’m entering the third arrangement of my beer intake. It went from a solemn, preparatory Hardly Any a couple weeks ago to Why Not A Few? in recent days. I was playing a little fast and loose with it, I realize. The last two births have come in the middle of the night, and with every sip of a delicious IPA, I tried to gauge how waking up at 11:30 to be up the rest of the night would feel. “A pot of coffee erases all sins,” I told myself. This morning, after last evening’s ill-advised Old Fashioned + Large Bottle Beer, I concede it’s time to go back to “Hardly Any, If At All.” Maybe birth adrenaline would have taken care of this nagging little headache, but who knows? Maybe the baby’s waiting for me to sharpen up. It’s worth a try anyway.
The last thing that’s really hanging over my head is the John Williams concert at the Hollywood Bowl that I’ve promised to take Otis to on Saturday. While denying him the pleasure of watching Star Wars, we’ve been unsuccessful in keeping the detritus at bay. He loves Darth Vadar and light sabers and Chewbacca’s bandolier. And when we play Star Wars – i.e., Otis and Luke chase me around with light sabers while I hold them off with foam nunchucks – we blast the Imperial March. He’s also grown quite fond of the Jurassic Park theme, the E.T. flying bikes music, the Superman Theme and the Raider’s of the Lost Ark theme.
A friend of mine, also a father to a young boy, has become a big wheel in the world of the people who made those movies and has scored us seats down front for J Dubbs show at the Hollywood Bowl. Otis can’t wait to get blasted in the face by that music, and for the video clips he thinks might play, and for the fireworks he’s been promised at the end. So there’s a window of time in which I’m committed to a mass of people, a child’s expectations and bad parking options thirty crucial minutes from my house, and I’m considering entering into new negotiations with the unborn. But I think I’ve learned my lesson.