Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jack went up the hill to fetch a beer

When we told some of our friends that my wife Kara’s impending baby shower was to be a women-only affair, my buddy Sergey turned to me and said, “Aw, you mean we’re not allowed to go?”

I stared at him for a moment, trying to tell if he was putting me on.

“What do you mean, allowed to go?” I asked. Of all the things I’m prohibited from doing, having to sit out baby showers is the one I have the least problem with. It’s definitely not one of the more draconian measures I’m subjected to on a daily basis, like the unconscionable bans on putting empty Rice Krispies boxes back into the pantry and clipping toenails onto the carpet.

“Free food, presents. I don’t know. It sounded like fun,” he said.

I assured Sergey that we’d made alternate plans for the ditched significant others, hosting a barbecue at our house that will allow the temporarily womanless men an entire afternoon to do what we do best, namely drinking beer and scratching ourselves.

If guys like Sergey don’t watch out, though, pretty soon they’re going to get the rest of us invited to all of these baby showers, where we’ll be forced to play games with names like “Guess That Gerber’s.” Any game that involves blindfolds and baby food is a game that I feel blessed not to know anything else about.

Apparently, driven by guilt about excluding men from their festivities, some women have started conducting baby showers “Jack and Jill” style, inviting men to participate as well. I’m pretty sure I speak for my gender when I say, ladies, don’t spend another moment worrying about Jack. Jack doesn’t mind being left out. Even if he doesn’t have anyone else to hang out with while Jill’s gone, Jack will be perfectly content stress-testing the PlayStation 3 all day, though it might take a few minutes for him to adjust to decapitating zombies without anyone walking through the room and saying, “Boy, I’m sure glad you didn’t outgrow your video games like all the other guys.”

Of course, it won’t be the same as a blind taste test of blended prunes, but Jack will do his best to muddle through.

All this talk about baby showers around our house lately reminded me that we never properly celebrated the arrival of a friend’s baby.

“Did we ever get an invitation to a shower for I-ball’s second baby?” I asked Kara. As you get older, it becomes only slightly less strange that someone known to you as “I-ball” could, in the course of little more than a decade, evolve to parenting multiple children from lighting bottle rockets in his bare hands.

“People don’t usually do showers for a second baby,” Kara explained.

As the youngest sibling, I’d like to formally register a complaint here. The first baby is greeted with a parade of cute embroidered bibs and car seats that still have that new car seat smell. The second baby gets, what, a few greeting cards and some hand-me-down T-shirts with barf stains on them? Something smells rotten, and it’s not just the old Spagettios stuck to the second-hand high chair.

A few nights ago, Kara reminded me what all of our current fussing was about. She silently grabbed my hand and placed it flat against her belly. I felt, for the first time, quick little kicks against my fingers.

“Wow. You’re really not faking this whole thing after all, huh?” I said.

Kara smiled, and we stayed there for a while longer, our hands pressed together, feeling our little boy pushing out towards the world that he’ll be joining shortly. I bet the little guy will be a much better “Guess That Gerber’s” player than his old man.

You can feed Mike Todd puréed carrots at


  1. Hope you got lots of good loot at the shower! Wish we could have been there for the festivities!

  2. Hey hey, Sergey finally made one. I bet he is tickled pink.

  3. Hey, it's not my first, either!... maybe if you actually read them, you'd know that ;)