JJ’s little sister, Alicia, turned 21 yesterday. She loves to give me shit about me being old, although I did win a small victory. A few years ago I told JJ that while Alicia was out at 4am taking her 21st shot, I didn’t want to be at home, also awake, except up to my elbows in shit filled diapers. Granted, I’m only a few months away from that, but the point still stands– I wasn’t that old on her 21st birthday.

So as Alicia embarks upon drunken weekend after drunken weekend, what have my weekends evolved into? Babies-R-Us.

We made our first pilgrimage last Saturday night. We decided not to register that night and instead use it as a first pass research trip. It’s a good thing too, since we weren’t really as focused on specific decisions as we were in general awe of the sheer amount of baby related shit out there to buy.

“Is that ‘Baby’s First Toilet Brush’?”

That one drew not just looks, but full on comments from anyone in the near area. In hindsight, I think the two margaritas at dinner were just enough to raise the volume of my voice. Apparently the device was for scrubbing baby bottles, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t look like a miniature toilet brush.

“What? It could have been for the training potty.” I retorted to stunned onlookers before being forcefully dragged by Meg into the next section.

The next section contained breastfeeding bras (complete with Janet Jackson quick access panel), “breast shells”, and a rather creepy looking milking device. As I inquisitively reached for one of the suction cups Meg once again forcefully decided it was time to move on. Fear not, I’m sure I’ll have another blog entry in the future on breastfeeding, since the phrase “milk my wife” is entirely too funny to ignore.

We reached what was lovingly described as a “grooming” section. If the… uh, utensils weren’t colored pastel yellow, blue, and pink, I’d have been sure I stumbled into the seventh ring of hell. With as much as I exaggerate, I’m not far off the mark on this one, as the majority of these devices were designed to be inserted into at least one orifice on the child’s body. We saw nasal aspirators, which is a fancy term for a vacuum with a tube attached to it, a rubber thimble with a brush on it for brushing the kid’s teeth, and a digital thermometer (three guesses where that one gets stuck). I apologized to Meg’s growing stomach in advance and we moved on.

The car seat and stroller were two of the more challenging items to evaluate. Both came in a variety of sizes, features, brand names, and naturally, prices. Yes, I did say brand name, as Eddie Bauer has a line of car seats. I’m told Coach also makes diaper bags, but I digress.

*CRASH*

They were a bit heavier than I anticipated. I tried to one hand taking a stroller off of a raised platform and learned very quickly that these aren’t exactly made of lightweight materials. I informed more stunned shoppers that I was testing the unit’s durability as Meg hid her head in shame.

My head was entirely in the wrong place. Meg was determining whether or not it would be feasible to one-handedly collapse and store the stroller, understanding that she would likely have to do this with a baby on the other arm. I, unsurprisingly, was wooed by the models that contained anything electronic, succumbing to my normal attitude of “More buttons is better.”

I’m very disappointed to find that baby bumper cars are no longer deemed safe. Not that I remember mine, but it just looks fun to be suspended in a round car based on the Flintstones Propulsion Mechanic (i.e. your feet stick out the bottom and you just run). In their place they have a similar toy, whereas instead of moving you can rotate around inside of the ring and have toys scattered around it. A bit disappointed, I still like the idea, and was having fun until one of my durability tests resulted in me being removed from the section.

We ended the trip by looking at bedding. Nothing for me to break or play with, so I really don’t have much to say on that one.

Perhaps I’ve been brainwashed by my own old age, but it was actually a lot of fun. Neither of us realized just how much there is to buy, but at least now we’ll be more prepared when we go to register (sorry Jenn, you don’t get to use the scanner gun this time). It’s just going to be a matter of deciding between things we need and things that I just want to play with.

Sunday morning I parked my ass in my family room firmly intent on finishing my morning coffee and playing Guitar Hero. I could hear the flurry of Meg upstairs. She was wide awake and active since 7am, having gone to sleep at 8pm the previous night.

She comes downstairs. For lack of a better word, she looks pouty. I was 30 seconds into Carry On Wayward Son and was hoping she would be content to sit and listen to the music.

Actually, before I go on, I should probably explain what Guitar Hero is. It’s a video game. Anyone who is surprised by that should feel free to stop reading this site all together, since you obviously aren’t paying attention. Instead of using the normal controller, it comes with a surprisingly well put together plastic guitar that plugs into the Playstation. Instead of strings, there is a bar you flick on the fat part of the guitar to simulate strumming it. Up on the long skinny neck thing, there are five colored buttons. Try not to be too awed by my obvious mastery of all things musical and keep up. The game is a timing/rhythm game; you hold down the appropriate color (or colors) and strum at the right time. It plays along to real songs, and naturally some are harder than others.

Meg surprised me with the game for Christmas based on it getting great reviews and word of mouth from friends and coworkers. It turned out to be a great gift, it’s addicting as hell, and even Meg really likes playing. As you can probably tell by now, I really don’t know shit about guitars. But I do know video games, so I can reasonably hold my own.

Getting back to the story, as Meg walked up to me, I could tell she was on the verge of tears. For some reason, I thought of my first fight with Meg about the wedding. If I was still in those days, I have a feeling her sullen look would be because of something entirely self-imposed and completely unnecessary, as is everything when it comes to weddings. And my first reaction, had I actually been in that situation, would be to turn the guitar on its back and hit myself as hard as possible, El Kabong style, in the head in an effort to render myself unconscious and not have to deal with the impending wedding-inspired breakdown.

With a small snicker at the mental imagery of the inevitable news story of “Man uses Playstation controller as self-mutilation weapon, receives 12 stitches” I snapped back to reality and prepared myself for what was to come. I figured I was in store for another baby induced breakdown. For as much as I have to deal with crying caused by this kid already, the little monster better not cry once he’s born.

“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.”

This would go on for about three minutes, so I’ll skip past that part.

“I’m just stressed. There is so much to do and no time. *sob*”

Great, the first sob and I still don’t even know what the hell the problem is. I look at my Guitar Hero avatar paused mid-strum and realize it’s going to be a while before she moves again.

“Ok. What all is there to do?”
“Well, we have to start looking at day care.”
“Ok….”
“…….”

I was waiting for more in this insurmountable list of things to do. I didn’t get any. Convinced that I can deal with this without having to first imbibe alcohol, I query further into why this is scaring her so much.

“You have to look early… you have to interview all the people there… you have to get on a waiting list. You can’t just sign up one day and then show up.”

Mind you, we haven’t even decided if Meg’s going back to work at this point, but I realize that at this juncture in the conversation, pointing out that little fact probably isn’t wise.

“And if I don’t feel like doing anything in the last 14 weeks that means we only have 11 weeks left.”
“Ya, but… wait, what?”

What the hell is she talking about? She stumbled over repeating it, and I realized that even the second time, I had no idea what this comment meant.

“I, uh… well… ya, ok, but if you don’t feel like doing anything in the last 10 weeks, that means we still have 15 weeks to do stuff, so it’s ok.”

Ok, it was thin, and probably the result of trying to apply rational thought to an otherwise irrational situation (to say the least).

The absurdity of that comment managed to get laughter to break through the curtain of tears that had begun as rapidly as they ended. She felt better, hugged me for helping (admittedly, I really don’t know what the hell I did), and left.

I returned to Guitar Hero appreciating the irony of the situation. If I had this game before she was pregnant, there is no way seeing me sitting in front of the TV playing a plastic guitar would have ever inspired Meg to have sex, and I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation in the first place.

We’re sitting at dinner the other night when a thunderous fart rips through the quiet majesty of our kitchen.

“Don’t look at me like that, I’m pregnant.”
“No you’re not Jay, I’m pregnant.”

It was worth a shot. Meg has become so masterful with that excuse that I wanted to see if had the same Holy Grail effect with me. For the record, it didn’t.

“Can you get me a glass of milk? I’d do it myself, but I’m pregnant.”
“I’m tired. Carry me to bed since I’m carrying your damn kid.”
“I think you should drive to your parents for Christmas because I’m pregnant.”

The driving thing in particular is a low blow. When having to drive somewhere, we typically fight over who has to drive. I used to be able to win at least part of the time. Not anymore, as she busts out the pregnant card and I end up having to drive to wherever it is we’re going. My only plausible strategy is to get really drunk at our destination, thus rendering me incapable of driving home.

“Am I gaining weight?”

Let me explain to people how evolution works*. Something happens that starts killing off a good percentage of the population of a species. Through evolution, the species starts to change their genes to adapt to whatever it is that is killing them off. Over the course of many years, the species then becomes capable of handling the bad situation and not dying as regularly.

This might be more clear with an example. Many, many years ago, a woman asked her husband if she looked fat. He replied with a factual answer. Historians differ in their interpretation of the events that followed, with some arguing he died from blunt force trauma to the head while others maintain that the woman actually reached into her husband and stole his soul.

Whatever the means, droves of husbands were wiped off the planet by the same force. However, men still get married, so scientists believe that through evolution, males developed a gene that would immediately and unequivocally reply with some variation of the word “no”. Not surprisingly, in the face of a Bridezilla, more extreme derivatives of no are used.

I, being a husband with no known genetic variations nor any memorable exposure to radiation, share that gene.

“Am I gaining weight?”
“No!” (our hero proudly exclaims)

Meg started crying.

I was not prepared for the fact that when a woman transitions into a Pregnasaur, the rules change. To my recently married male friends, pay careful attention to the next statement, as it will go against your very nature to which you have become accustomed.

Apparently, at 14 weeks pregnant, the Pregnasaur wishes to be gaining weight.

Please take a minute to let that soak in.

Meg has replaced “hello” and “goodbye” with “Does my belly look bigger?” and “I think I look more pregnant today.” I have to summon quite a bit of energy to overcome years of genetics and actually answer yes to those questions.

26 weeks left. Tick tock.

* I didn’t read a single line of actual scientific research before spouting off about evolution, so don’t hold me to any of this.