If I tell someone that I have trouble sleeping at night, they tell me that maybe I should try sleeping in the day. After I tell them that that won't work, that I'd miss breakfast and lunch, they ask if I'm perhaps worrying about something, that there may be a weight on my shoulders or a weariness in my heart that keeps me up.
Of course we all have much in our life to not worry about, and much of us spend our life worrying about what we shouldn't worry about, and we have plenty of time during the day to worry about these things. At nights when I lay awake and Maria lies asleep I think, and I think, and I think. This time could, I suppose, be dedicated to something a little more productive, like finishing carpentry, building a bookshelf, going to night clubs and volunteering myself as a designated driver.
We've been practicing things. We carry eggplants in our arms. Maria and I speak to each other in cooing sounds, our faces contorted in smiles that match the cooing sounds. Mornings we sprinkle cheerios across the kitchen floors, and then, on our hands and knees, we pick them up. When I do finally succumb to sleep, Maria wails until I wake up to comfort her.
I've stuck my tongue as far into my cheek as I possibly can, there's no more cheek, but I can't find any clever way of expressing my excitement over the prospect of being a father. I don't want to downplay it, but I also don't want to be one of those people who use multiple exclamation marks (e.g. "We're having a baby!!!"). I shudder when I see emoticons, and they never look like real people anyway, so those are out. I've tried to keep all sentimental notions that may creep from my fingertips and into the keyboard from being insipid or maudlin, hence the cheek and the tongue. I've been careful with previous posts so that our "blog" doesn't achieve "Dear Diary" status or become one giant "tweet."
As some may have gathered from Maria's previous post, and to officially disseminate the natal news, Maria and I are expecting our first child. Maria discovered three months ago that she had a growth in her stomach. We discussed the growth with doctors, shamans, and the Aztec calendar, and they told us not to worry, keep your hair, this growth will go away in nine months.
Maria has been working hard; she's three months into production, and she's given the baby the deadline of March 21st. Both mother and baby are fine and healthy, although Maria has found that some of her senses have heightened.
Maria: Is that chocolate? (Looking at Steve, who is eating a chocolate bar)
Steve: Uh, yes?
Maria: It smells. Get rid of it.
The new Maria, the one with the little person inside of her, can't stand the sight of melted white cheese, and you must be wary to not say the word "calzone" within her earshot, because apparently that's some sort of nausea catalyst. The new Maria, the one with the burgeoning belly, now watches all the TLC reality baby shows. The new Maria, the one with "the glow," flitters and flutters amongst the babies clothes at the store, the little onesies, the miniature jackets, the pint-sized sundresses, and the baby booties, we can't forget the baby booties. And the new Steve, for surely there must be a new Steve to match the new Maria, smiles and chuckles as he feels his heart expand and expand, a la Grinch, until he feels he could float away with it, take it on a trip around the world, but he won't, he can't, because if he gets too far away he'll deflate and fall until he's back with two feet on the ground, and can't you just taste the tears and the emotions? Can't you see the emoticons? Aren't you expecting the multiple exclamation points to line up like a row of overdue parking meters?
All this means is that when we hear that first cry in the night it will be me who is sent to soothe. We all know I can't sleep anyway.