It was Sunday, November 7, the first day of daylight savings time, and I was fired up about the extra hour. In fact, I stretched it to two by sleeping til 8 as opposed to my regular 7. True to form, Lovie did no such thing. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, the tiny trio were already finished with their breakfast and out of their highchairs, roaming about like diminutive tyrants as my industrious wife cleaned their royal carnage. The sweet scent of syrup told me it was pancakes the monarchs had devoured.
I felt like such a deadbeat for not being a part of the culinary efforts that I offered to assume full responsibility for two-thirds of our toddlers. With Pookie at her dad’s house, that would leave my wife just one child with which to contend. And one child? That’s a flat-out layup.
Biggs wanted to stay with Mommy, so I corralled Monster and Peanut and took them upstairs to the playroom where, by complete coincidence, there happened to be a television tuned to ESPN, thereby allowing me to preview all the day’s upcoming football contests. In front of said TV sits a blue couch — an extremely comfortable blue couch.
The table was set for some good ol’ fashioned multi-tasking via a controversial but effective supervisory technique known as sleep-parenting. I, um, read about it. In a book. Or magazine. Somewhere.
Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, sleep-parenting on the comfy blue couch in the bonus room with Monster and Peanut playing contently nearby (and quietly—which is critical for sleep-parenting), when Biggs stumbled in with the phone.
I quickly dialed her cell, concerned that my often misinterpreted sleep-parenting was about to be called under attack (yet again).
“Hello,” she said from the kitchen.
“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked, in my best wide-awake voice.
“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”
“What’s that, honey?”
“I think I’m pregnant.”
“I think I’m pregnant.”
Holy, holy, holy shit. As in the very most holy of shits — I’m talking Mahatma-Gandhi-type fecal matter, here. Okay, stay cool. Obviously a false alarm.
“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?” I asked, suddenly no longer worried about my voice. I was confident that it was far from sleepy-sounding.
“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”
“Stop worrying, then. I’m sure we’re good.”
“I don’t know,” she countered before continuing with my boobs, this and my body, that.
“Well what do you wanna do about it?” I asked.
“Take a pregnancy test,” she answered.
“HELL no,” I replied. “That’s WAY too much drama for a Sunday. I am NOT signing up for that.”
Twenty minutes later, my candy-ass was double parked in a blue handicapped zone outside of Walgreens while Lovie was busily be-bopping along the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither one of us wanted to have another child.
“Sorry,” Lovie said as she got back in the car. “Couldn’t find it right away.”
“Did you take it?” I asked.
“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside of a drug store. I’ll wait til we get home.”
“No you won’t,” I answered. “You’re taking it now!”
“What? You’re the one who didn’t even wanna do it today to begin with.”
“True,” I began. “But since you overruled me, I’m all about finding out as soon as possible. So, chop-chop, Pooh Bear. Where do you wanna take your test?”
“You’re getting coffee, right?” she said.
“You’re gonna rock a pregnancy test at Dunkin Donuts?” I asked.
“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts? There’s usually a line for the drive-through. I can take care of business while you’re waiting.”
Which is exactly what my beautiful wife did. And it timed out perfectly. Just as we were pulling away from the pick-up window, she was walking out the door. And by the time the dust settled, I wound up with a large coffee (cream and sugar), a bagful of glazed donut holes, and…
and a fifth child.
In what can best be described as complete role reversal, for once, the triplets were quiet as church mice, kindly leaving the crying to Lovie and me, which we did as quietly as we could, stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center consul, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter of Dora and Diego.
Onesies. Baby gates. Johnny Jump-Ups. Bodreaux’s Butt Paste. Those velcro things that attach to and dangle from the car seat handle.
Boppy pillows. Blankets. Diapers. Bottles. Burp cloths.
Gliders. Bouncy seats. Vaseline. Baby Bjorns. Rattles. Exersaucers. Those plastic, squeezy bugger-extracting dealies I’ve never seen anyone use.
Eventually we pulled it together and went to a different Walgreens, one where we had understood we could get an actual blood test. But the pharmacist said we were misinformed. They had no such test there. She did, however, look at our pregnancy test and confirmed what we had suspected. It appeared as if Lovie was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.
Three hours earlier I had walked into the kitchen feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Lovie compared two different brands of prenatal vitamins.
Unplanned child number five. The one we thought was impossible to have. The one we thought could have only come about with the assistance of fertility treatments. The one our calendars say will arrive just in time for our 42nd birthdays. The one that…
Holy shit. What if there’s more than one?
The first ultrasound’s next Tuesday. I’ll make sure to provide y’all with regular updates as this is sure to be a wild ride. But I can promise you one thing. Lovie, Pookie, Monster, Biggs, Peanut, Briggs (our dog), and me? We’re up for it.
We’re good like that.