November 8, 2006

Knock knock

The last two weeks have been rife with milestones.

I crossed the halfway point of pregnancy. I bid farewell to pants with zippers, sleeping through the night, and lying on my back. I ventured into the baby megastore and settled on a color scheme for the nursery.

But the biggest milestone was also the tiniest.

Somehow, I imagined that when I felt the baby move, it would be a cinematic moment. She would reach out with her tiny hand, give me a nudge, and I would jump up in amazement. Sam would rush over and feel her movements, tears in his eyes. We would stand in a long, lovely embrace, dramatic music swelling in the background.

In actuality, it went something like this:

"Either I just felt the baby move, or I drank that Sprite too quickly."

For a week or so, every gurgle and turn in my body was a potential greeting from Rasbaby. I spent a lot of quiet moments analyzing: Grumbling stomach or baby on the move? Miracle of life or digestive distress?

As the days went on, I started to notice a pattern of cause and effect.

During a quiet moment of folding laundry, I was caught off guard by a hearty, full-body sneeze. The sneeze was immediately followed by a couple of noticeable nudges.

"Hey, I think I woke her up!"

Sam rushed over and placed his hand on my belly. Nothing. Maybe she woke up, stretched into a different position, and went back to sleep. Or maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Flash forward to another quiet moment, this time watching a movie on the couch. Looking for a semi-healthy snack, I grabbed some pistachios. They were the spicy Cajun kind, seasoned right up to the delicate line between delicious and painful.

A few minutes into my snack, I was startled.

"The baby has an opinion about the spicy pistachios," I told Sam.

"Is it a favorable opinion?" he asked.

"Good question."

This much, I know: Rasbaby has taste buds. She eats what I eat. And either the zesty Cajun seasoning was a long-awaited and welcome burst of flavor in an otherwise ho-hum diet, or I had introduced major drama into her peaceful existence.

"I think she's dancing... or she's trying to activate the escape system."

It was a moment of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I finally knew for certain what the baby's movements felt like. On the other hand, I had no idea what to do with the rest of the pistachios. Did she love them? Did she hate them? Could I continue eating them without feeling guilty?

As the days went on, I continued to notice her movement, and I tried desperately to interpret it. Apparently, a 21-week-old fetus moves 50 times per hour. I only notice Rasbaby a couple of times each day. The movements that catch my attention must be the grandiose, sweeping gestures, dramatic enough to surely convey a message.

She was very active during last week's seminar on "Making Training Interactive," but rather blase about the movie Borat. She danced a little jig throughout church, but was still as a statue during the corporate All-Hands Meeting. She has poked me a couple of times during the writing of this blog... perhaps to prod me along, perhaps to say hello, or perhaps to adjust herself into a more comfortable napping position.

Someday, she will be a fully formed person with clearly defined opinions. Someday, she will cry when she is hungry or tired. Someday, she will be obsessed with fairies or princesses or maybe something unconventional like the Spanish-American War. Someday, she will have political leanings and spiritual values and deeply-held convictions.

I'm excited to meet my daughter. I'm excited to find out her favorite color, her favorite way to spend an afternoon, and what the world looks like through her eyes. I'm excited to see that perspective change through the years, and to allow her to teach me and influence my own world view.

I know those conversations lie far in the future, and that I can't possibly know this little person-in-progress who hasn't even taken her first breath.

I'll be patient. I'll take whatever information she will give to me.

Right now, I would be content to know how she really feels about pistachios.

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