I figured after driving around for hours, she'd be asleep when I got back, and I'd have one less round of bad sex to deal with. No such luck.
I am not 100% sure if the world's most cautious animal is the male black widow spider. Steve Irwin would have known that, but the silly putz stuck his head once too often in a crocodiles's mouth and, short of a seance, can't come to the phone. I am however, pretty sure that the most politically adept living creature on the planet is the female black widow spider: she has to convince a wary partner to mate with her and stick around for a re-enactment of The Last Supper – he as the main dish. Thus, despite due diligence and caution, male black widows rarely die of old age. I couldn't shake off that visual as I climbed up the stairs that morning to the apartment.
When I walked in at 3:00 a.m., she was wide awake and ready to pounce. Damn! She wanted another baby; I was integral to the process. Never mind that my future ex-wife and I had just had the verbal – we were never physical – knock down, drag out battle of the year. Now she was lovey-dovey, expecting me to throw a switch, grow a woodie, fill her with lactescent goo, and not worry that she'd stab me fifty times afterwards.
Wariness and weariness aside, that's exactly what happened:
(3b) No stabbing;
(4) Bull's Eye!/Pregnant!
The older we get, the faster time flies; before long, it was April of 1987; the pregnancy had come and now, thanks to modern medicine, was about to go, electively. Sharon waddled into the hospital for C-section, Round Two , this time in Jersey. Once again, I huddled with Mom's head and shoulders above the surgical divide. South of the drape, her Ob/Gyn cut her open and extricated Baby Girl Smith.
I already knew it was a girl based on the ultrasound. I was thrilled, because we could now shut down production with no regrets at having missed something by not having enough (two kids were plenty!) or by not having one of each sex.
We didn't have the naming war with Number Two that we'd had with Number One – Wolfgang vs Joseph. I thought Monique (Greek for Only one) was a nice name, and Monique it would have been, had I not let slip that I'd had a lover named Monika when I lived in Germany. While I didn't see how that made any difference, I let it slide. On the one hand, we wanted something unique – hospital nurseries were then awash with Allisons, Brittanies, and Heathers; on the other hand, we didn't want a frankly bizarre name – e.g., Acantha – Greek for Thorny; Apirka – Gaelic for Pleasant; Awentia – Cherokee for Fawn. We settled on Renate – German for Reborn, which we shortened to René.
Colicky babies: either you've heard about them, or had one. Pray that it doesn't last long. René's colic began when she was three months old. She was miserable. No amount of rocking or singing to her in the wee hours helped. " How much is that doggy in the window?" became our song; she was inconsolable and only slept in snatches. Her misery and sleep-deprivation became mine. I won't deny resenting Sharon for not breast-feeding, as it would have reduced René's risk of colic. I was still the snooze button: baby detonates, jab Joe in ribs, return to Slumberland. That rule hadn't changed. I take care of them during the day, you get them at night. Parenting is a partnership, rem