There are other differences. Our pregnancy expertise — pregnantise? — has led us to conversations and decisions that we didn’t make or have with the boy. Like having our ultrasound technician poke around a little bit and find out the gender of the currently percolating peanut.
Our reasoning? If we let ourselves take care of some of the practical considerations for this one in advance — room readiness, clothes buying, naming — we will be able to more fully appreciate the quiet, joyful, yoga studio-like calm that we are certain two children will bring.
Our twenty-week appointment on Monday was the day that we could find out. Lara woke up that morning with a premonition.
“It’s a boy,” she said, firmly.
We’d had two disagreements over the weekend and I ended up right on both of them, so I figured-slash-hoped my string would continue and it would turn out to be a girl. Which could then be used to my advantage during future debates.
I would be a benevolent king, but would trot out the “Remember when you said we were having a boy?” line whenever I needed it.
We went to our appointment with a plan. We would have our technician write down the gender on a piece of paper. She would put that piece of paper inside of an envelope. She would hand the envelope to me. Then Lara and I would go off some night this week to have a quiet dinner, open the envelope , raise a glass and start tossing out names.
Our grand, romantic vision lasted until the elevator ride to the lobby of our doctor’s office building. The doors pung closed and I looked at Lara. “What are we doing here?”
“What do YOU want to do?”
“I could get a coffee.”
We walked the two blocks to a Starbucks. Placed our orders. I snagged a table, set our places and pulled the envelope out of my coat pocket and set it down.
Lara sat, plucked the envelope up and held it to the light. She handed it to me.
“I think I want you to open it and not tell me.”
I laughed. “Really?”
I shrugged, willing to play along. But I know my wife. She starts asking me in October what I got her for Christmas. I ripped it open, held it to my chest like Kenny Rogers playing poker.
“What is it?”
“I thought you didn’t want me to tell you.”
“I don’t.” She smiled at me. “What is it?”
“Are you telling me you want to know?”
“I don’t know.” She nibbles at her scone. “Maybe.”
We do this for about five minutes.
She and Jack and the dog pick me up from the train station that night. We take Jack for dinner, as he had greeted me with, “Dada. Cheeseburger.” We eat and suggest names to each other, some serious (hers) and some not (mine). We hit on one that sort of came out of nowhere that we both end up liking quite a bit. It’s a contender.
After we get home, I take Jack upstairs to get him ready for bed. It’s late for him and he’s tired, but he wants to hang out. After one story, he’s done but isn’t ready for his sleeps. “Dada. Sit. Lap.”
“Do you want to talk for a while, buddy?”
“OK.” We rock for a bit. He leans his head back into my chest. “You know what Mom and Dad found out today?”
He kind of turns to me, considers.
“We found out you’re going to have a brother. You guys can play together. And you can teach him about things you already know so they might be a little bit easier for him. Would you do that?”
“Yes. You can play football and basketball with him. Will you like that?”
Us too. We’ll like that very, very much.