WEEKEND BRIEFING
Moron TNG

Mar. 26 - It's already Week 20. At the end of this week, we'll be halfway through the pregnancy.

Having taken some time to reflect on yesterday's ultrasound, the DMG and I have decided that our parental intuition was way off—a feeling we probably need to get used to. "A visible penis obviously denotes a boy," I wrote last Friday, "lack of a visible penis does not necessarily denote a girl." The hell it doesn't. It's a girl.

Here's a comment on one of those pregnancy websites: "I think by 20 weeks they would see [the penis], if it were going to be there. From what I have read, sex becomes easily distinguishable at 17 or 18 weeks. I know some people who have been told boy at 16 weeks and been right. If they said girl for a second time at 20 weeks, I would be pretty sure it's a girl."

And if they said nothing—three separate people, one in Week 17 and two in Week 20, and all of them said they couldn't see anything—is absence of evidence in this case not evidence of absence? I believe it is. So does the DMG.

It's a girl.

* * *

A regular correspondent wanted to know if the Bean would have a title once it became a human being—the way my wife was the Danish Moronic Babe (DMB) until the transfiguration of pregnancy rendered her the Danish Moronic Goddess (DMG). I like "Moron, The Next Generation," which could easily be abbreviated as Moron TNG, or even just TNG. What the hell, we're Star Trek fans. But I'm a little wary of having all these acronyms. I think they disrupt the flow of a sentence—they're like visual speedbumps. I don't want the Almanac or the blog to start reading like a government report.

I think I'm going to stick with Bean—and female pronouns.

* * *

Will the DMG revert back to DMB after delivery? Not immediately after delivery, obviously... but say, you know, a few hours later? After a shower and a good night's sleep? Surely a wife can't be a goddess forever, can she? (I ask husbands, not wives, for guidance on this one.)

* * *

According to The Literature, the DMG's belly button will be "popping" soon. Many of these pregnancy sites seem to have been written for nine-year-olds and therefore try to "spice up" their prose with exclamation points and onomatopeia. This can have discomfiting effects. From the preceding link, for example, we get this entry in Week 20:

POP! Your belly button may pop out and stay that way until delivery as your uterus presses upwards.

On top of all the other horrors of pregnancy, I'm now cowering in bed each night (at least, on nights when the snoring hasn't driven me into the living room) dreading the sound of that pop.

Many aspects of pregnancy that aren't terrifying or disturbing are simply mystifying. For example, sticking with the same link for the time being, what am I to make of this:

Lanugo forms from sebum and skin cells to create vernix.

As an experiment, I read that sentence aloud to the DMG without giving her any context. I had to repeat it for her three times before she finally asked if I were speaking Chinese.

"Rumor has it," the site observes, "that nursery nurses use [vernix] for hand lotion, because of its smooth, protect quality."

Nursery nurses want quality of protect! It does sound Chinese—or Chinglish, anyway.

* * *

The DMG claims to feel the baby moving fairly regularly now—nothing like a solid kick, but a general sort of swishing around. This is apparently normal. The Literature also tells us that she may begin to notice an actual wake-sleep cycle from the Bean. Here's a less provocative assessment of Week 20 from WebMD:

The fetus measures about 5.6 to 6.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 9 ounces. Your baby can hear sounds by now — your voice, heart and your stomach growling, as well as sounds outside your body. It will cover its ears with its hands if a loud sound is made near you, and it may even become startled and "jump." The baby is moving often, too — twisting, turning, wiggling, punching and kicking.

The Bean can hear? How exciting is that? Very exciting. Being who we are, the DMG and I couldn't help but put that one to the test.

My mother has been dying to buy things for her unborn grandchild, so on my birthday she sent me a CD of children's songs. As you can imagine, I wasn't in any particular hurry to play it. Last night, however, after fifteen minutes of playing Danish children's songs for the Bean, I decided it might be nice to play an American children's song.

"Baby's First Sing-A-Long" is the name of the CD my mother sent us. The title is spelled out in colorful block letters on the front of the jewel case, over a photograph of four multi-culti, diaper-clad babies. A smaller pic of the same babies appears on the back of the jewel case, along with a track list. You've got your "Alphabet Song," "This Old Man," "Heads & Shouldes, Knees & Toes," "If You're Happy & You Know It," and the like.

We started with the Alphabet Song. The track began with someone with a strange British accent pretending to fumble his way through the start of the alphabet before being set straight by the uber-children of this CD, who would inevitably sing him straight on his ABCs. The kicker was that he said "zed" instead of "zee" for the letter Z, which he seemed to think came after B or C.

Zed?

I hopped around to other tracks and we noticed the same strange accent emanating not only from the silly adults, but also the earnest chorus of uber-children. And instead of an "Itsy Bitsy Spider," they sing about an "Incy Wincy Spider."

Incy Wincy?

I scrutinized the jewel case for clues and noticed something that my mother probably missed: MADE IN CANADA.

This kid's going to be screwed up enough with languages and accents as it is. We're not going to exacerbate the problem by administering a series of prenatal lessons in Canadian, of all goddam things.

Incy Wincy Spider indeed...

History Etc.

On March 26, 1997, thirty-nine members of the Heavenís Gate cult were found dead after a mass suicide that was supposed to unite them with aliens following the Hale Bopp comet to paradise. Instead, it united them only with millions of other idiots who've followed lunatics to the grave.

At least they didn't try to take a bunch of infidels down with them.

On March 28, 1930, Constantinople changed its name to Istanbul.

Birthdays and Holidays

March 26 is the birthday of Marcus Allen (1960), Curtis Sliwa (1954), Martin Short (1950), Vicki Lawrence (1949), Steven Tyler (1948), Diana Ross (1944), Bob Woodward (1943), Erica Jong (1942), James Caan (1939), Alan Arkin (1934), Leonard Nimoy (1931), Sandra Day O'Connor (1930), Tennessee Williams (1911), and Robert Frost (1874).

March 27 is the birthday of Mariah Carey (1970), Quentin Tarantino (1963), Michael York (1942), Sarah Vaughan (1924), and Gloria Swanson (1899).

March 28 is the birthday of Reba McEntire (1955), Dianne Wiest (1948), Ken Howard (1944), Dirk Bogarde (1921), and Anheuser Busch, Jr. (1899).

March 26 is Independence Day in Bangladesh.

March 27 is Resistance Day in Burma.

March 28 is Queen Ingrid's Birthday in Denmark (she's dead, alas—no holiday).

Enjoy the weekend!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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