My mother-in-law will be arriving in a week. That’s pretty much the last thing we’re waiting on – aside from the actual baby. When she arrives, we’re pretty much ready to go. I’m pretty excited about this (the baby arriving more so than my MIL). My wife, understandably, is not so much. She’s more… how would one put it – in a constant state of blind, unrelenting terror. Basically she’s got an operation to look forward to; an operation whereby they’ll cut through layers of her abdomen, until they reach her womb.
Then they’ll keep cutting until they find a baby. While she’s awake! Let that sink in for a moment. When they performed a C-section on her to spelunk for my son, she remarked that although numb, she could feel them tugging and pulling at her insides. It was a fucked up sensation for the eyes too. Like one of those magic tricks where they put the body in a box, saw through it, and separate the feet end from the head end: where my wife’s torso should have been, were two surgeons rummaging away at the table like two bums in a trash can. A very bloody trash can.
I made the unfortunate comment, a few weeks ago, that I was nervous about being in the room with her while they cut her in two. There little point in me telling you it didn’t go down well. I do feel genuinely bad for her though: where I’m beginning to get excited – up at 4 am excited – she’s essentially paralyzed with nerves.
But the thing that gets her through it, the thing that gives her a beacon of joy at the end of her painful, mentally draining ordeal, is the knowledge that for the four or five days she’s going to be recuperating, I’m going to be housemates with her Mom.
Now, I have nothing against her Mom. My MIL and I get on just fine. We interact when we have to. We make polite conversation, we both enjoy willfully corny jokes, and she stays out of my business the exact right amount a Mom-in-law should – which is totally. She can be a little passive-aggressive at times, but show me a lady in late middle age that isn’t. We get on perfectly, which is to say we keep each other at just the right distance to never have to argue or, I dunno… hug and stuff.
But now… now we have to decide what to have for dinner together, we have to coordinate getting ready in the morning, which may involve me knocking on her bedroom door and maybe seeing things I never wanted to see. We’ve got to watch TV in the evenings together, and go grocery shopping together. And we have to do these things together. We can’t just ignore each other for nearly a week; then the charade is blown. There’s no going back from that. Ultimately, it’s akin to saying “I’ve got nothing against you; I just don’t like you.” So we have to do all these things together. And I have this irrational fear of us walking through Wal-Mart together hand in hand.
Of course my son is the delicious filling in this crusty tasteless sandwich. He’ll fill all the awkward silences. He’ll be an unending topic of conversation when the only sound is the clock ticking in the background. And that moment when we’re watching a movie and the sex scene comes on and me and my MIL are silently dying on the inside, well, that’s bedtime.
And then when my wife and newborn child return home, myself and the MIL will go back to being polite strangers, casually avoiding any genuine commitment to a shared relationship. But every once in a while, we’ll catch each other’s eye, and share a knowing moment… that we’ve been to hell and back, but that we shared it together.
On a totally unrelated note (because right now my options are: keep writing, watch reality TV with my wife, or tidy up), my wife and I have been getting up super early lately, and I have no idea why. The past two mornings I’ve been up before 4.30am, and my wife usually follows me down the stairs an hour or two later. My son meanwhile, stays sleeping until after eight. It’s like bizarre world. When I was a small child, I can’t think of one incident when my parents were up before me.
In part I suspect it’s because my son climbs into our bed in the early hours. He doesn’t do this sometimes; no, he does this EVERY. FUCKING. NIGHT. And he fidgets. It’s like having a three foot tall, somnolent break-dancer under the covers.
But it’s more than just that. He’s been disturbing our sleep since he was born, and the effect has, hitherto, been me draining every last second of time until my alarm clock goes off. So it can’t be just that. As I mentioned above, it could be excitement, but to be quite frank, I’m not very excitable in the mornings. It usually takes a not-insignificant amount of caffeine before I’m able to raise a smile.
It could be the fact that I’ve been falling asleep while putting my son to bed, the last few nights. Why am I falling asleep while putting him to bed, I hear you ask? Well, aside from the fact that I’m waking at four fucking am, my son has started to take sometimes more than an hour to fall asleep. We think it’s a phase he’s going through – I believe the phase known as “being a little shit” and it lasts until he’s about 18. He stays awake by playing little games with himself. We make sure to remove all toys from the area, we turn out all lights, we don’t engage him at all; it’s full-on like sensory deprivation for the little guy.
But like some middle-eastern political prisoner, the kid bears his solitary confinement out, by keeping his mind active: he’ll wiggle his toes and feet for ten minutes. Then he’ll play with the corner of his pillow for a while, flicking it back and forth, back and forth. Then he might make little shapes with his fingers. How he gleans entertainment from this is beyond me, but it’s the kind of thing that could have me punching myself in the eyeballs with frustration, if I hadn’t learned a coping mechanism of my own: it’s called sleep. Yup, I just clear my schedule for the evening, and lay there in the darkness until I get drowsy. He probably caves around 1am, I have no way of knowing, other than I stumble back to my own bed around 2, and he follows me not long after. Then squirms and kicks until I’m awake again, downing cup after cup of tea and coffee, waiting for the sun to come up. Ad infinitum.
As you can see above, I’m super-fancy now and have my own domain name. No more “.blogspot” for this go-getter. I’m on my way to the top. Unfortunately, this had two nasty side-effects. One, I think I may have an ulcer from the fucking frustration of trying to redirect my domain through my blogger domain name. Seriously, I’m fucking gray now. And two, it erased my blogroll (why did it do that, you might wonder? My money is on spite. It makes no other sense to me than Google wrote code to erase my blogroll out of spite, for removing the “.blogspot” from my address). The upshot is: I need the names of anyone who may have been on my blogroll, and now isn’t, and wants to be again. Or if you were never on it, and want to be anyway… we can do that too. I’m desperate. As long as you’re not trying to sell penis enlargements, or some shit like that.