Sunday, March 23, 2008

Parental units on the fritz

As I was speaking with my buddy Josh on the phone yesterday, his pregnant wife Jaime came home.

“Jaime says ‘hi’,” he said.

“Say ‘hello’ to Jaime and her stomach for me,” I said.

“Mike says ‘hi’ to your stomach,” he said. But that didn’t sound quite right, like I was medically confused about her condition.

“Well, actually, I guess you should say ‘hi’ to her uterus,” I offered, waiting in silence as he demurred on passing that message along.

The reader(s) of this column may recall that when last we saw Josh and Jaime, they had decided on having a pug instead of a baby. Turns out, there’s room in their lives for two drooling, incontinent creatures.

Since acquiring their pug Lou last year (eschewing my much-more-masculine name suggestion, “Pug-of-War”), Josh has spent the better part of his life standing in their backyard, saying, “Go potty, Lou!” with levels of enthusiasm and encouragement that have surely prepared him for the little league bleachers. Incidentally, saying “Go potty, Lou!” when the pug is standing on their freshly installed carpet gives his owners more wings than a whole case of Red Bull.

“Are you ready for the baby, man?” I asked him on the phone.

Specifically, I was wondering if he was ready for the more unpalatable aspects of child rearing. I remember my parents talking about changing my diapers before they had become accustomed to the singular challenges that come along with changing a baby boy. If left naked and face up on the kitchen counter, for instance, baby boys predictably imitate their favorite geysers. Thinking of this story the last time I hung around with my friends who were changing their baby boy, I regarded the child with the same caution you might use to approach a Roman candle that had failed to ignite.

Josh replied, “Remember how we used to have twenty-page papers in college that we wouldn’t even think about until three days before they were due? That’s how I’m handling this, too.”

Even though all the excuses in the world won’t help negotiate an extension on this particular due date, Josh and Jaime wouldn’t need one anyway. They’ll be excellent parents. Their baby is only in its second trimester and it’s already reading at a third-trimester level.

Now that my wife Kara and I are entering our late twenties and early thirties (respectively, unfortunately), we’re beginning to see a clear line between our friends who have decided to start families and those who have decided that they need another decade or two to think about it.

Those who have decided to wait should probably start stocking up on the energy drinks now. Hanging out with a house full of in-laws last weekend, I was amazed at how quickly some of the kids had gone from Fillers of Detachable Car Seats into Little Humans with Personalities and Inexhaustible Reserves of Energy.

“You can’t get me!” our little cousin Sophie yelled while running around a single bush in the front yard for three hours straight.

Every now and again, the game would reverse, and whichever adult was next in the rotation (we worked in five-minute shifts) would become the target.

“I’m gonna get you!” Sophie would yell. Then she’d take about four steps in the running adult’s direction and say, “Hey, stop!” After complying with this directive, the adult would get gotten.

Explaining the inequity of the rules for this game did little to quell Sophie’s enthusiasm for it. Her little legs never stopped churning. One by one, the adults retired to the basement, feigning interest in the basketball game on TV long enough to attempt a quick nap, blissfully unaware that their status as ungotten individuals was soon to be revoked.

You can swaddle Mike Todd at


  1. This Sophie sounds like quite an impressive little lady - wonder if she gets it from her parents?

    Also, happy birthday to Kara (and me) ;-)


  2. I'm waiting for you and Kara to start squeezing out little one's. hehehehehe

    Yeah my son had a game like that, he would run around a partition in my sisters kitchen/living room, and scream when he saw someone then go the other way.

    That was when he was much younger of course, now he's turning into a moody pre teen.

  3. Hey Gregg! Thanks for stopping by, and happy birthday to you for another 15 minutes. Tell Sophie thanks for the material :-)

    Burf -- We'll do that just as soon as I run out of things to write about, which, come to think of it, actually happened two years ago. Good luck with the kiddo -- I recommend buying him Elder Scrolls 3. Then you won't see him again until he's ready for his driver's license.

  4. Dear Mike, you have a weird attachment to video games. Maybe you should talk to someone about this.

    PS. If you ran around a tree, getting "gotten" by little Sophie? You are class A in my book, little adopted brother.

  5. Miss Ann -- I'd love to put some time into a nice response, but I just reached conjuration spell level 75, so of course you understand that I have to go find someone to sell me a summon daedra spell.

  6. Dude!

    It's been ages. Got to thinking about you and looked you up. Glad to see you're still doing your thing (and getting awards for it, too!)

    I'm working as a staff reporter for Cox Ohio Publishing--a real gig!! LOL

    I've spent the past few months working on a book and finding my job.

    I've been thinking of getting back to my blog. It's been so long, though...

    Anyway, I need to catch up with your posts.

    My email is now--drop me a line when you can!

  7. Just so you know...I would totally name my pug "Pug of War". :)

  8. Marie -- Awesome to hear from you again! Congrats on the gig, and please holler if you fire up your blog again. Very cool.

    Mama Schmoo -- That rocks. Thanks for letting me know, and if you do ever get a pug, I hope you'll only let it outside if it's wearing a metal helmet with horns on the side.