Sunday, March 04, 2012

Second time’s the charm

“So you’ll try for the girl next time?” the lady at the pizza shop said, while her husband, standing by the ovens, smiled and nodded.  I’d just told them that we were expecting our second son within the next month or so, and they were already filling my wife’s uterus before its current occupant had vacated the premises.

Our pizza man once bragged about having four children without ever changing a diaper.  Easy for him to smile and nod at me.

“Taking care of lots of kids is simple!  Just be born before 1940, and then let your wife do everything,” he said, with his eyes.  This is a generalization, of course, but I suspect that a father born after that date who attempted to navigate parenthood without changing a single diaper would end up with at least one pizza box inserted into at least one orifice sideways.

The husband and wife at the pizza place are sweet people, and they make a delicious pie, but it was the second time that day that someone had made a comment about me and Kara trying to have a girl “next time,” which implies that we’ve achieved an undesirable result on this go-round.

When I came home with the pizza and told Kara about our conversation, she just shook her head from the couch, which has been her home/prison for the past three weeks, ever since her doctor put her on bed rest.  When she gets up to go to the bathroom, you can still see her perfect outline on the couch, like when Bugs Bunny runs through a wall.

“I am NOT doing this again,” she said, pointing at me with her needle.  Some people, when faced with daunting life challenges, get driven to drink, or to do drugs.  Kara’s situation has driven her to something even more unthinkable: crochet.  

Our friend Anna came over last week to teach Kara how to make a blanket using nothing but yarn, needles and vast, unending stretches of time.

As Anna showed Kara how to do it, Kara had a look on her face much like she was being shown how to pickle an anchovy.

“Once Anna leaves, those needles are never going to know the touch of a human hand again,” I thought.

Kara then blazed through crocheting her first baby blanket, and is halfway through her second.  She crochets as she knocks TV shows off our DVR queue, which makes her blankets the most enduring thing ever to come out of The Bachelor.

She continued looping thread around her needle as we discussed the imminent addition to our family, and how we’d agreed many years ago that two seemed like the perfect number of children for us, despite the family planning advice we might receive with our pizza.

My parents never had to deal with the “next time” comments, since they had one boy and one girl.
“One boy and one girl is the rich man’s family,” my dad used to say to me and my sister.  I always thought that expression meant that as a parent with a boy and a girl, you couldn’t ask for a richer family life.

When we found out that Kara was pregnant again, I asked Dad, “What does that expression mean, ‘rich man’s family’?”

He paused for a moment.  At that point, we didn’t know the new baby’s gender.

“It means that you’d better be rich, because you’re going to have to buy all new stuff,” he said.

I don’t know if that’s the truth or if he was just hedging his bets, but either way, I’m glad they don’t have any pictures of me in my sister’s “Daddy’s little princess” bib.

You can crochet Mike Todd a homemade email at

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