A couple weeks ago, my wife came to me with a grave expression. "I need your opinion," she said, slapping down a alarmingly thick sheaf of papers.
It turned out to be a printout of the baby registry - things for other people to buy at the upcoming baby shower. For the next half-hour, a barrage of unfamiliar images and concepts flashed before my eyes -- cribs, carriages, carry-ons, car seats, onesies, twosies, footsies, diaper bags...
"Is this all really necessary?" I said when she took a breath. "I mean, why do you need a crib?"
She gave a look - the look. "What do you think Dominic's gonna sleep on?"
I ruminated. To be honest, the subject hadn't occurred to me. I suppose I had some dim half-formed idea involving newspaper--but I decided, after some consideration, not to reveal this.
"Guess what theme I picked?" my wife said eagerly. "Classic Pooh!"
And this is when I made my first mistake. I laughed, and said the first thing that came into my head:
"Why? Were you constipated?"
Now, how do you think my wife reacted to this? Did she applaud my rapier wit? Did she say, "hey, that's a good one! You should should use it in your blog!"
No. Not exactly.
My wife's reaction came in three separate and distinct phases. Phase I ("Murder") consisted of muttered threats involving gerbils and a constant stabbing of my abdomen with a plastic spoon. Phase II ("Insanity") began with my wife declaring that she was Shiva, destroyer of words, and pronouncing that I would shortly be annihilated by the unearthly fire from heaven. Phase III ("Hysteria") began when my wife collapsed on the bed, weeping uncontrollably and making the ridiculous accusation that I would be happy to see our infant child sleeping on newspapers.
Now, it's essential that I offer some perspective: My wife was, and is, a beautiful, intelligent woman. And yes, she is looking over my shoulder right now. So naturally I was confused by this philistine's response to my waggish jibe. I was troubled - I honestly searched my soul deeply. And I came to the conclusion that this was an isolated incident, probably brought about by some unfortunate hormonal concoction in my wife's bloodstream.
I write all this to explain what happened afterwards. My wife and I live in an older apartment building, and the elevator sometimes "dips" a little after you enter it. Well, a couple of days after this, we entered the elevator, and it "dipped" - that is, it sank down half a foot immediately after my wife got on.
I turned to my wife and said with a smirk, "Wow. You really are putting on weight."
Now judging from what I've told already, I'm sure that some of my readers would fear that my personal safety would be in jeopardy after this remark. I'm also sure that some other readers are hoping my personal safety would be in jeopardy after this remark.
Well, never fear, my readers (and sorry to disappoint you, my other readers). I'm fine. True, the doctors had some trouble picking out the broken glass from my left eye, and I seem to have lost some depth perception as a result -- but depth perception is highly overrated, in my opinion. So is having the use of all ten fingers - I've recently discovered that I do just fine with seven. Makes it a little harder to type, though.
So, what's the point of this charming little anecdote? Merely to extend a friendly warning to other fathers-to-be, especially those with wives who are in the "carrying low" stage: if you hope to ease your wife's travails with a couple "well-placed" comments, you might do well to hide anything sharp, hard, or poisonous beforehand.
Also, you should really find out what "Classic Pooh" means.
(Editor's note: Except for the two bad jokes, this blog post was almost entirely fictional. No eyes, fingers or other appendages were mangled or amputated in the course of this blog post's creation. However, many nights on the couch were spent in research.)