Monday, October 27, 2008

God bless Mrs. Ditchman, who, in her vast and infinite wisdom, scheduled an easy week for me! It may not be -for you never know- but she is 9 months pregnant, and her chances of having an easy week don't even register on the scale of odds. (It's called "labor" for a reason, you know.) So it's all on me.

By "easy week" I mean in terms of aluminum patio cover business operations, but I know my week will consist of me 1) being thoroughly agreeable, 2) being impossibly attentive, and 3) being altogether cool-headed, cheerful, and calm. There's no room for slacking off on fatherhood or husbandhood this week. (I may not make it.) Meanwhile, Mrs. Ditchman is exhibiting acute nesting behaviors.

It's Monday! And our baby is due on Friday, which is Halloween. We didn't plan it that way. I have a sister who is due to have a baby on Christmas, and the Little Ditchman almost came out on St. Patrick's Day, and Mrs. Ditchman herself celebrated her birthday on Easter a while back, so perhaps this holiday thing is running in the family. I guess it makes things easy to remember, but it makes planning for pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating and things like that a little tough on the original Little Ditchman. To her, that's what Halloween is all about. The fact that we're bringing a baby home is an afterthought, and is more on the "trick" side than the "treat".

For me, it is squarely a treat! When I consider the sum joys of the past few years from raising this little family, I lift my chin and tilt forward into the happy future -something rarely felt previously. Still, there is a certain amount of "it's nine months already?" that's going around. We were chatting about it yesterday, and I think with your first child there is so much anticipation and planning and thoughtful analysis about how life is going to change, that when the baby finally comes (and tosses all those plans out the window) at least you were watching it barreling down on you. With the second baby, you're so busy with the toddler and twice-the-life and you've seen it all before and then -wham- it's time! Mrs. Ditchman said yesterday, "In a couple days we will have two children," and it was like ringing a bell by firing at it with a shotgun. "We'll have to brace ourselves," I think I muttered.

So we're very excited. I miss my baby, who is now a little girl down the hall whining about putting her clothes on or some such torment. In some ways, I believe we will enjoy this new baby more thoroughly, without all the stressful unknown quantities and accompanying frets and worries that come with the first. Babies are only here for a moment, and then they wistfully vanish. It happens right before your eyes, but you can barely catch it happening, and then one day... where'd the baby go?

We're very much looking forward to having another baby around. How are we going to manage the business? No clue. How is our family going to look? Not sure. Are we ready? Ready as we'll ever be. (Read: Yes.) There have been a lot of redundant questions lately, so let me try to answer them now, once and for all:

-Mrs. Ditchman is due on Friday, 10/31, which is Halloween.
-No, we don't know if it's a boy or girl. We're old-school like that, I guess.
-Yes, we have a few names we like but we're not telling you, so don't ask. All the same, suggestions are welcome.
-Mrs. Ditchman feels great, except that she's nine months pregnant. She just left for Jazzercise.
-The Little Ditchman seems to be taking it just fine. The cat we're not so sure about.
-No, we did not have the baby yet. When the baby comes, YOU WILL KNOW.

[Re: that last one. Look, you don't have to call ten times a day and ask, "Did you have the baby yet?" Family members, all, will get phone calls just as soon as said little digger pops out and shows off its dongle, or lack thereof. Friends and support group will all get emails. Everyone else can read this blog. There will be pictures, stories, visiting hours, and everything. Seriously, you jackals, as much as we would love to steal away and deliver the baby in secret at some sleepy convent in the middle of the night on All Hallow's Eve, it's just not going to happen that way. Any family member who calls more than ten times between now and Friday and asks, "Did you have the baby yet?" will have their information clearance status denigrated, and may be lucky to receive an email. And to the person who found that we were not answering our home phone or cel phones last time, so they took it upon themselves to call the hospital and somehow got a line to ring in the delivery room where the nurse handed me the phone while Mrs. Ditchman was pushing -try that again and you lose all holding-the-baby privileges for the first nineteen months. I'm serious.]

It's an exciting time!

P.S. And to those who have asked, "How can I help?" God bless you. We appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Let Mrs. Ditchman know what a wonderful mother she already is. If you really, truly, seriously feel the urge and desire to offer some literal help, please come over and clean the house. Meals I can handle, but the responsibility of cleaning the house is one that evidently falls on incapable hands. I clean the place like a bachelor. Yesterday, I caught Mrs. Ditchman down on her hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor in all of her nine-months-pregnant glory. I told her to stop what she as doing and let me do it. She said I didn't know how.