There are a lot of rumors out there about Lola and I having another baby. Let me set the record straight: The doctor is wrong. The diagnosis itself is probably accurate – pregnancy explains Lola’s constant vomiting better than the runner-up theory, chronic alcoholism – but the projected due date is way off. This so-called “medical professional” mistakenly believes my progeny will arrive May 24. Our next baby will of course arrive exactly one week earlier. Children aren’t something you drop haphazardly into the world like cluster bombs on a third-world village. Instead, they’re precision munitions, used to surgically blow up the troublesome town elder while leaving critical infrastructure like the village whore house intact. Betsy detonated May 17th, so that’s the mark all of our future children have to hit. That way I can throw one party a year and buy one present for all my offspring to share, preferably something fun like a lawnmower or vacuum cleaner. In a perfect world, my wife’s birthday would also be May 17th, but she was born some other day I can’t remember, and my efforts to fake her birth certificate led nowhere. I’ll commit my next forgery in something other than purple crayon.
Yet another grainy black and white photo confirms the existence of a baby or possibly the Loch Ness Monster.
People act surprised when they hear I managed to knock up my wife yet again, but really this is old news. The timing of all this was negotiated long ago when Lola and I first discussed getting married. Her people talked to my people, and after our lawyers tossed some numbers back and forth we settled on four children spaced at two-year intervals. Child three and child four will be born May 17, 2014, and May 17, 2016, respectively. Consider this the official announcement. Seriously, I’ve already asked for the time off work. I only scheduled a few hours on the morning of each delivery since labor tends to be pretty quick and painless for me and I’d like to be back at the office before it’s time to change the first diaper. Children adjust better to neglect if you stay consistent right from the start. This is the last I plan to say about either impending pregnancy. In the future, when I show up places with surplus children and refuse to explain their origins, it’ll be up to you to remember this blog post. Or you can just assume I stole the extra babies and call the police. Your odds of being right are pretty good either way.
You might be thinking that no one can plan a child – and certainly not four children – down to the day. Some couples try for years without success to start a family, while even those who manage to have one son or daughter sometimes run into trouble in subsequent attempts at family expansion. Most of these potential parents are moral, hard-working folks whose reproductive desires are a selfless expression of love. That’s the problem. Look around you: The world is full of terrible people. In the procreation department, social deviants out-produce those good, hard-working folks at a prodigious rate. Clearly, human decency causes infertility. I had nothing to fear on that front. As an all-around awful human being, I’m roughly as virile as a rabbit on Viagra. If Lola is even in the same ZIP code as me, it takes a minor miracle for her not to get pregnant. Luckily for me, nobody’s been praying to St. Gunter, patron saint of please-don’t-let-that-guy-have-another-kid. This might be the first child caused directly by atheism.
Despite our unwavering plan for family expansion and unblemished track record of fertility, friends and relatives continue to act surprised when they find out we’re having another baby. Most thought we’d give up after we didn’t do such a great job with our current kid. At 17 months old, Betsy understands most words and can say many of them, but her favorite mode of communication is shrieking like a cockatoo that’s on fire. Given her mother’s recent behavior, I think it might be hereditary. While Betsy spends much of her time emitting hazardous levels of cuteness, her happy giggling can become enraged screaming in an instant if I pull down the wrapper on her cheese stick too far or she suddenly remembers it’s Tuesday. I hoped my parenting skills would enable Betsy to skip the temperamental toddler stage and transition directly from happy baby to well-adjusted young adult, but my fatherly influence had the opposite effect. When she screeches at me, I either ignore her or screech back depending how many times she’s erupted that day and whether or not Lola is within earshot. Getting into shouting matches with a one year old might not make me a paragon of maturity, but I’m not going to win over a toddler with constructive dialogue. I use the same guidelines for my interactions with Lola now that pregnancy hormones have destroyed her ability to function as a rational human being. I’m contractually obliged to say I love both my wife and my daughter, but that didn’t stop me from creating a second identity on the other side of the country in case conditions don’t improve. I like to keep my options open.
If I’m still around next May, our preparations for the new child should be pretty simple. All of the baby-related infrastructure we’ll ever need is already in place. Thanks to Lola’s love for the garage sale circuit, we have highchairs, strollers, and enough infant clothes to fill sixteen garbage bags, the basic units of measure for baby garments under the metric system. We’re set as long as we have another girl. In the event that I manage to produce a male heir, a highly unlikely scenario given my history for producing progeny of the weaker sex, I either have to let Lola spend more money or dress my son as a member of the opposite gender. If we do have a boy, I hope he likes wearing pink.