I shall now give you a short list of the weird social peculiarities that a woman is forced to experience during pregnancy, interspersed with a series of photos of the punk. They really have nothing to do with each other, except that I was pregnant with the punk once. And this is what he looks like now, while I am pregnant with his little brother. Besides, you'd rather see photos of him than me, right? Well, that's what you're going to get because I'm better with the camera than he is so if there is any photo-taking around here, I'm the one doing the shooting.
Shall we begin?
1. Tummy touching.
When I was gestating the punk, the amount of annoyance this act created in me was surprising. I really, really hated it. Especially at work. "Hello, person from Accounting that I've never actually had a conversation with. I've never even shaken your hand, but yes! Feel free to place your hand on my protruding abdomen. That's not invasive at all! Better yet, why don't you stand behind me and we can spoon!"
This time, I'm not as annoyed. Maybe it's because I've already been through it once and I know that some people just really love touching the tummy of an expectant mother. It makes them feel close to the magic or something. Or maybe it's because I know that being annoyed isn't going to do any good because tummy-touchers will be tummy-touchers. Either way, I'd rather you didn't invade my personal space if we don't have that kind of close relationship. (If you are a friend or family member that I regularly hug, you're in the clear.) But if you insist on rubbing my belly, I will try not to karate chop your wrist.
2. Gender expectations.
When I found out that I am having a second boy, I was genuinely thrilled. I felt like I had all the fortune in the world. I have high hopes that the punk and his little brother will have a close bond. It's not that he wouldn't have a great relationship with a sister, but I get excited thinking about two little Bell boys running around together. Some other people, however, seem to have different ideas.
When a close relative found out about the second male, she smiled a sad smile and said, "I'll bet you would have liked to have a girl this time, huh?" Um... no. Not really. I found it a bit strange that having two of the same gender was a cause of grief for this person. Is it that once you have one of each, your family is complete? Will I be an incomplete mother if I never have a variety?
At another time, someone else said, "Oh, well I guess you'll definitely have to have another baby. You have to try for a girl next time, right?" Um... no. I'd be completely happy with all boys. Maybe we'll have another one, maybe not. But if we do, it won't be so we can "try for a girl." How would one go about doing that anyway?
I find it very amusing that people even have opinions about this sort of thing, and that they share these opinions with me. Which brings me to number three...
3. Unsolicited opinions.
Especially when it comes to names. We all know someone who has decided on a name for their little bundle months before the birth, but refuses to share the name with anyone. I used to think this was kind of silly, but after hearing a few stories, I have a new respect for this method. If you tell someone the name(s) you are considering for your baby, you WILL receive a positive or negative assessment, even if it's just an accidental facial expression. Usually, the general public will hold their tongue if they don't really love the name as much as you do, but occasionally, you'll find someone who just has to tell you why you can not, under any circumstances, give your child this horrible name!
I especially love the concerns regarding possible nicknames or childhood taunts. Yesterday, my friend told me that her friend was considering the name Tate for her baby boy. Then some loud-mouthed character blurted out, "Tate, Tate, masturbate!" And that was the end of that.