Congratulations! You’re expecting a child! Whether it is through adoption or birth, there’s a waiting period before the child arrives. What a joyous time, I’m sure you’re enjoying every moment of it.
Wait, you’re not? You don’t want to wait anymore? Co-workers asking you stupid questions? Limbo not the place you want to be? Here’s my guide to getting through those awkward moments during “the wait”.
“Do you have your kid yet?”
This question is not intended to be difficult. The person who’s asking probably has a genuine affection for you and wants to know how things are going.
Really though, it’s a dumb question. Unless it’s a friend that’s been in China and hasn’t had contact with you for a while (Hi Katherine!),the answer should be pretty obvious.
To tackle this question, here’s a list of answers. The scale rises on sarcasm as the answers list, and the ire increases at the end.
“Not yet, we’re still waiting, but thanks for asking”
“Um, don’t you think I might have mentioned something about that?”
“Oh crap! I knew I forgot something this morning.”
“Yes, he’s kenneled up with dog at home.”
“No, but thanks for reminding me that I am still without child.”
“Shut the **** up” (Not typically appropriate, unless its a milestone, such as one year waiting, mother’s day, or it’s the tenth time they’ve asked today.)
If you like it then you should put a ring(tone) on it.
While you wait for the phone call, each time the phone rings you are equal parts excited/terrified/disappointed. The phone rings, your heart stops, you read the caller ID, and then sink. Wells Fargo again? Ignore. Mom’s calling? Sorry, can’t tie up the line. Even though you’ve been waiting for 3 weeks, you’ve successfully scared yourself into thinking that the hospital will call, get a busy tone and go “Well, a busy tone. Let’s call the next family.” Never mind that you have call waiting and 7 different numbers for them to call (my cell, her cell, home, my work, her work, agency, and emergency).
I recommend you have a baby ring tone for your cell. That way, when you get a call, you know if you can wait, or if you need to plow over anyone in your way to take the call. The cell is a wonderful tool to keep you in constant contact. It’s also a horrible tool because it keeps you in constant contact.
I’ve encountered three situations that require pre-planning:
1. At work and in meeting. Politely excuse yourself, run to the hall and answer quickly.
2. At church. Make sure you get the end of the pew, so as to not knock over grandma on the way out. Pre-wait, I would turn my phone off, but now I just set it to vibrate.
3. In the bathroom. This is the number 1 worst place to get the call. There are two levels: home and public. At home, you can risk it and answer the phone. This requires some skill and ruins the story for the child going forth (I received the call about you when I was…um…doing the crossword). Public bathrooms are a disaster. At no time can you guarantee that nobody will come in and flush a toilet, blowing your cover on the phone, and forever marking you as the guy who takes the call in the bathroom.
What can you do? Well, the easy answer is to let it go to voicemail, finish up and call back. The problem is this says “Hey, getting a baby is a little less important than what I’m doing right now,” not the first impression I want to make. The other option is the “I’m losing you…”. Answer, and hang up quickly. This buys you precious seconds to scramble out. It says “I’m Here!”, which is so important.
Its best to decide your methods beforehand. I’m probably going to let it go to voicemail. I don’t trust myself that much. It will be a minor miracle if I answer with my correct name and without dropping the phone into something… hopefully not the toilet.