But before this luxury came along, we, like other families, had to deal with some interesting scenarios involving babysitters: a phone left outside in the rain, entire bags of potato chips disappearing, cigarette butts found in a flower pot and the ballsiest move of all -- fruit snacks being served at 10:30 to a kid that doesn't want to go to bed. It was after the fruit snacks incident that I thought "The next decade of my life will be absent of any social life and I am never again going to have the luxury of a kidless night of drunken glee." And then I met Mandi.
Mandi wasn't just any babysitter; she was the babysitter. She didn't smoke, drink, talk on the phone, eat my food, invite boys over or cancel at the last minute. She lived six houses away, loved my boys, took care of the dog and cleaned up the kitchen. Because she was so great she was also in high demand, so of course we hogged her all to ourselves and used her virtually every Saturday night for several years, until she had the audacity to graduate from high school and head off to college. For the next couple years though, she still babysat when she was home for weekends and holidays and not only was I fine with this schedule, but I hoped it would continue, well, forever. But then the unimaginable happened: she got married and started a family of her own.
A couple weeks ago, Mandi and her husband welcomed their second boy. And by "welcome," I don't mean it in the same terms as I "welcomed" our kids. For me, it involved labor starting a couple weeks before my due date, being driven to the hospital, pain managed with drugs and eventually an epidural, and then shoving out either a five or six pound kid with the aid of that little vacuum suction thingamajig. Piece of cake, actually, especially the taking drugs part.
Mandi, on the other hand, carried that baby a full 40+ weeks, chose to have her babies at home rather than drive to the hospital and her newest arrival took his first breath of air weighing 11 pounds. Yes, that's correct. No typo involved. In the double digits, almost a dozen pounds. And she shoved this Thanksgiving turkey-sized infant out of her hoo-haw without drugs. Not even a Tylenol. I mean, I guess I can sort of comprehend what she experienced, if I had shoved two of my kids through my vagina, at the same time, without yelling "Give me the goddamn Nubane you slow pieces of shit and where in fuck's sake is my epidural!? Stab me in the back already! And you, over there. Quit staring already!"
I wasn't always so pro-dope-me-up. When I was pregnant with our first kid I was so sure that, with my high pain tolerance, I would be able to give birth without drugs. But now after having experienced labor a few times, I can safely say that if hell were to freeze over and I found out that I was pregnant again, I would make damn sure that an epidural was already ordered before I so much as timed my first contraction.
I realize that I'm leaving out an important piece of the labor story: my husband. After all, he's half the reason I had to wear a hideous gown and then spend several hours huffing and puffing and swearing and wincing. And I know that when he made that face of pain while he held my hand he wasn't really in pain at all -- he was just trying to make me feel extra strong and powerful so that I would have the confidence to shove our future hellions out of my crotch and into this world. I know he was kidding because how could a tightly squeezed hand even compare to the pain of having a watermelon up your ass? Doug, please tell me you were faking it. You weren't really in pain, right?
Recently, as I watched my first and second born kids gingerly chew on a cookie, it made me wonder. They both recently had spacers put in at the orthodontist in preparation for their braces and I am receiving pain updates no less than once every 2.4 minutes. This tooth is sore, it hurts to bite this way, I can't chew the crust on this bread, this other tooth aches, ow, ow, owie and ow.
And that's when the reality of the situation is confirmed: Men are kind of wussy.