Sunday, October 12, 2014

Outside The Box

Before taking our newborn baby home from the hospital, we attend an information session for new parents. The head nurse of Labor & Delivery – a petit woman in her early forties – speaks directly to the mothers, though some information is clearly aimed at fathers as well.

“Ladies, for six weeks, nothing goes in your box.” In case we are fuzzy on the definition of nothing, she rattles off a list of things that could reasonably be placed in one’s box. “No penis, no tampon, no douche, nothing. I mean it.”

“Sleep!” she follows with misplaced enthusiasm. “This is where dad’s ears perk up, right?” I don’t correct her, but in the paraphrased words of Renee Zellweger in the climactic scene of Jerry Maguire, she had me at “nothing goes in your box.”

Six weeks is enough time to draft a novel, lose three pants sizes, or learn the foundation of a foreign language. I suspect it will also be enough time to go batshit when denied my favorite recreational outlet.

Week 1. Summer had a C-section, so most of our first week is spent in the hospital. The image of my son being pulled from a gaping whole in my wife’s stomach is burned in my mind. A miracle, sure, but not exactly a turn-on. The pullout couch in the cold hospital room is like sleeping on a pile of rocks in a walk-in freezer. So we’ve both been emotionally and physically tested. And only one of us got killer pain meds. One week of celibacy is in the books. Piece of cake.

Week 2. Summer’s pain fades and her enthusiasm and energy are back. The woman of my dreams has never looked better. Motherhood adds a unique grace to her already amazing personality. Also, her boobs are humungous and I am not allowed anywhere near them. How long has it been? Just two weeks?!?

Week 3. Summer was in a wedding less than 21 days after giving birth. It’s hard to appreciate how insane that is if you haven’t been through childbirth. She spends the week thinking out loud about her appearance. “Ugh, I am so fat. Nothing fits. This is seriously the most pale I’ve ever been in my life.” She doesn’t know how beautiful she is. I tell her repeatedly, but she thinks the lack of sex has made me overly complimentary. That's not it. Her hotness is effortless. She rolls out of bed looking beautiful. We spend so much time in sweatpants, I actually forget how stunning she is when she is all done up. It nearly takes my breath away when I see her at the wedding.

For the next week, I find myself enamored by Summer the way I was when we started dating. I wonder how long it’s been since I looked at her this way. I wonder if she feels that too.

Week 4. Summer calls me at the office. She just left a check-up with the lady parts doctor to make sure everything was healing appropriately. 

He said I can start exercising…and having sex.”

Already? That’s…nice.” If I weren’t sitting amongst co-workers, it would have sounded more like, “Start undressing, I’m quitting this shitty job right now and I’ll home in 22 minutes.”

I don’t quit my job. I sit at my desk for another three hours, doing a pretty spectacular impression of someone not daydreaming about sex. On my drive home, my mind races despite the distribution of blood to another organ. My excitement, among other things, came back down to Earth when I remember we have two children, one of whom I need to pick up from daycare.

I walk into the house and three typically chaotic hours follow. Feed the baby, chase the toddler, change the baby, make dinner, do the dishes, build a Lego tower, feed the baby, give baths, brush teeth, change the baby, read a bedtime story, read it again, one more time for good measure, and feed the baby

When both boys were finally asleep, I walk up to Summer, put my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck. 

Baby…I’m exhausted,” she says. “Do you hate me?”

Eh, what's another day?