Waiting for Godot

We wait. We are bored…. No, don’t protest, we are bored to death, there’s no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do?

— Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

We are now T-minus 6 days to the actual due date. We were convinced that Baby would make her grand entrance this past weekend. There were several close calls, with contractions down to 7-minute intervals (at 5 minutes apart we make a beeline for the hospital). But instead, nothing. Life anticlimactically marches on. It’s yet another working Monday.

Really, it’s rather pathetic. We’re still earlier than the due date, and I’m totally bugging out. I have already mentally blocked out this time for diaper changes, burping, and sleepless nights. Instead, I find myself hopelessly scouring the web for peer-reviewed literature on likely delivery dates and labor-inducing factors. I come up with nothing. I keep annoying my wife for pre-labor bulletins. I’m really tempted to drive to our designated maternity ward and just hang out there. I know, creepy. Either way, this whole thing is all very unhip.

Meanwhile, back at the household, things are heating up. My for-now-only untethered daughter has been acting strangely these last few days. She’s sensing changes in the house, thanks to all the nesting. She’s also sensing changes in our behavior. My wife is virtually incapacitated; family discussions revolve around the fetus; and we remind her that she’ll be a Big Sister soon. She has become increasingly oppositional. On one occasion last week she threw her worst tantrum in her 3½ years on this planet. She’s been exercising her screaming muscles, and making proclamations typical of a teenager (“It’s not very fair!” and “I am leaving this house!” are her newest quips). Maybe I’m anxious about the arrival because I can’t deal with all the uncertainty of how we’ll operate as a family unit. And maybe my daughter is sensing the tension and feeds off of it.

On the other hand, this prolonged pre-labor gives us the opportunity to enjoy the last few days as just the three of us. Just as the last few days leading to my wife’s first delivey, when we both knew that it won’t be just the two of us again for about two decades. So in between melodramatic episodes of defiance, we’re having a good time together. We spent the entire weekend together, visiting relatives, painting, playing music, and even going to a movie. Most other weekends feature at least several non-family diversions. A nice, at-home, quality family weekend was the diversion we needed from the forthcoming mayhem. And I’m not living some absurdist play. Oh yes. The mayhem is coming.