Wednesday, February 06, 2013


My wife's pregnant. Which is great, although I get aggravated when people ask questions like "were you trying for long?"

That makes it sound like we weren't very good at getting pregnant. What are they implying? That every day, my wife and I would sit on the sofa, sighing, and trying to figure out if the right way to get a baby was to fill out the DBS credit card application form, or to do the laundry, or to stand on our heads while listening to uplifting music, or to run outside with a big net to catch a stork?

That last idea would never fly in Singapore, or at least not in Chinatown: the only birds that live here are INCREDIBLY LOUD ones that caw at the top of their voices at five a.m.

Or perhaps they thought we had a basic idea about procreation, but were rubbish at the specifics: like I was sure it was something to do with bodily fluids, but we didn't know if I was meant to sneeze and rub it on my wife's head, or lick each others faces, or we were just putting the wrong thing in the wrong orifice.

To be fair, a lot of those so-called "educational" videos are nothing like what they suggest. Unless you can get pregnant from bukkake. No, we didn't even think about that. Thanks for not asking.

But anyway, trying? The very idea. Like Yoda said, there is do, or do not. There is no try. And if you're going to take reproductive advice from a science-fictional muppet ... then you're really in trouble, aren't you?

(I feel an utter shame mentioning Star Wars while I'm talking about pregnancy: one is for producing children, the other is strictly for children, and if you disagree, shame on you, and all your pristine boxed Luke Skywalker dolls. Sorry, action figures.)

That's not the only strange conversation we've had. There was the one when we went for our most recent scan. My wife wanted to know the sex of the thing she's incubating inside her body. I was blithely unconcerned, but hey, she's going to have to carry it around for nine months*, she can find out if she wants.

The doctor pointed out our baby's private parts (no, you don't get to find out, all in good time). I was beside myself. Some guy in his late forties, pointing at my child's groin and making remarks, while waggling some strange sonar device over my wife? What sort of pervert was this? Did he have any idea how old my kid was? I was going to knock his block off, until I remembered that's not the done thing.

Still, that's a strange sort of culture, isn't it. If I went up to your spouse, squirted goo on his or her belly and then remarked on the genitals of your son or daughter, you wouldn't be cooing and ahing, you'd be in a rage, and rightly so. Once again it's one rule for eminently qualified, trustworthy medical professionals, and another for random idiots on the street.

Anyway, baby kicked for the first time today. Hope that's not a sign that we're going to have a violent child. And that's another thing: it's ok to ask if you can feel it kicking, but not to ask if it can feel you kicking. Once again it's one rule for unborn children, and another for disturbed, violent misogynists.

My wife was excited: I wasn't sure if we should do something special to celebrate. I mean, this was a new event for us and perhaps it should be marked, but on the other hand I don't want to set a precedent. What if baby thinks we condone random kicking? That could be very bad twenty years down the line.

Or we're going to birth a highly successful martial artist. Life is nothing if not mysterious.

Anyway, we didn't do anything special. Unless you count me jumping up and down in front of the Kinect to prove how fit I am, followed by demanding my wife cook me some dinner, to be special. Improbably, my wife did cook me dinner, which shows she's a wonderful and tolerant soul. (I did mop all the puddles of sweat I'd produced, which helped clean up the floor, so I suppose I'd done *something* to get back in her good books.)

Still, maybe those kicks are an attempt to communicate. If our unborn child manages to tap out the first line of Hamlet's monologue from Act 3, then I promise to purchase its mother a delicious ice cream, which I'm sure (through the miracle of the placenta) she'll share. You can't say fairer than that, can you, little one?

* I mean she's going to have to carry it around for nine months after it's born, because I'm lazy and won't lift a finger to help. Yeah, I'm a New Man alright, an indolent and feckless one.**
** I wonder who'll take that seriously.


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