Friday, September 3, 2004

Dirty Looks

Dirty Looks by Stacey Greenberg
Photo by Erica Carter

When dirty looks replace the pregnant glow on your wife’s/partner’s face after she gives birth, it is safe to assume that she hates you. At the very least, she hates your open display of freedom and your inability to comprehend her descent into motherhood.

Don’t believe me? Well chances are if you eat, sleep, poop, engage in frequent adult conversation, read the paper and/or leave the house on a regular basis, it’s true. Don’t worry, she probably won’t hate you forever. But in the meantime, here's some insight into what's behind those dirty looks. Let’s see if any of the following scenarios seem familiar.

Monday morning you wake up, yawn, stretch, and ask your wife if she slept well. She gives you a dirty look. What did you do wrong? Well while you slept soundly, your wife woke up ten times for a baby who either wanted to nurse or burp, needed a diaper change, or just desired affirmation of its existence. And along with that, she changed clothes at least once because she was drenched in spit up. After she convinced the baby to go back to sleep, she laid in the dark and listened to you snore. Ahhh, what a life!

Tuesday you, your wife, and your child are in a room together. You suddenly need to poop. You leave the room, go into the bathroom, and peruse your latest National Geographic. Ten to twenty minutes later you rejoin your family. Your wife gives you a dirty look. What is she thinking? Well, when your wife needs to poop, she has to finish nursing the baby, involve the two-year-old in an activity, and dissuade the baby from crying by setting up some contraption on the bathroom floor for it to remain in constant visual contact with her. This lasts for 15-30 seconds until the two-year-old comes in and wants to sit on the baby. In the end she has to poop with the baby in her lap while the two-year-old screams, “Get up Mommy! I want to see it. Get up!”

Wednesday you go out to eat lunch with the guys from the office. You have a big, juicy hamburger at your wife’s favorite restaurant. You come home to report that you might have a little indigestion. Your wife gives you a dirty look. Now what? Maybe you shouldn’t eat at her favorite restaurant and tell her about it knowing she probably ate Hershey’s kisses or if she’s lucky, toddler scraps, for lunch. (Or spent her lunch hour with her breasts rigged up to an electric breastpump.)

Thursday you and your family decide to go out for ice cream. While there you see a friend from your softball team. You chat with him for fifteen minutes. You join your wife and child at a table outside and receive a dirty look. The problem? First off, you are still on a softball team. Second, while you enjoyed a leisurely adult conversation, your wife chased your three-year-old around the restaurant narrowly avoiding several disasters. After only five minutes, she gave her ice cream to the him because his fell on the floor.

Friday your wife and three children are watching a movie. You aren’t interested in the movie, so you go in your room, put on headphones, read a book, and fall asleep. When you wake up, your wife is giving you a dirty look. Catching on yet? While watching the movie, all three kids crawled all over your wife's lap; one was on her boob, one was pulling her hair, and one was asking endless questions about the plot. The thought of lying down with a good book while the kids are awake doesn't even enter her mind anymore. And if it did, she’d probably make it five minutes before being tracked down by your offspring.

On a rainy Saturday you go outside, get the paper, and turn on CNN as if you have suddenly been transported in time to the land before children. Your wife pops her head in and gives you a dirty look. A no-brainer, right? While you temporarily played bachelor, your wife got everyone dressed, made breakfast, did the dishes one-handed, started the laundry, took out the trash, and then changed your toddler’s poopy diaper. (Or rather, she wrestled on a changing table with a screaming and writhing eighteen-month-old whose goal was to spread poop in all four quadrants of the room.) Meanwhile, the baby cried on the bed with abandon and your wife considered having a temper tantrum of her own.

Sunday night your wife tries to get the baby to stop crying for almost two hours by alternately rocking, squatting, walking, bouncing, snuggling, singing and nursing. She seems frazzled and gives you a dirty look. You take the hint and hold the baby on your knee, facing the television, for almost five minutes before saying, “I can’t get her to stop.”

No explanation necessary. Your wife is silently screaming, “I hate you.”

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