Gut Check

There are a great many things about having a child that are reportedly mindblowing. The moment you first meet your child is the most often cited moment. It’s been lauded to the point that I’m nervous I won’t be as floored as everyone says—sort of like all your best friends saying that the movie you’re about to see is the best film ever made. Ever. Well, even if you still think the movie is great, if it’s not the best ever… then…

But that’s all still in the future for me. We’ll hear more about that after I’ve lived it. What I’m talking about today is a gut check. A reality check. One of the things that I find fairly mindblowing is how a fetus, something that is very clearly a human but is not really quite yet what most people would call a person, can develop foibles and habits.

Babies have a type, even in the womb, even before they really have a mind that’s been fully formed, before they have anything relative to their existence to define themselves. Maybe a baby kicks a lot. Maybe a baby punches a lot. Maybe it doesn’t move at all. Perhaps it likes to be upside-down, or favors one side over the other. How does a baby choose to be like this? Is it an instinct thing? Are they already wired to be the way they will be? Are preferences actually being formed in utero? The thing that really blows my mind are babies, all nestled away in someone’s tummy, that suck their thumbs. Maybe I’m able to anthropomorphize a bit because we associate thumb-sucking with a child seeking comfort—but it really makes me stop and ponder that, at negative months old, a baby will do something to make itself feel better. Even if you think of it as just something to break up the monotony, there’s a level of awareness there that is a bit of a trip.

It’s making me think more and more about the importance of talking to your baby and paying it some attention before the grand arrival. It’s not just a little person in there, it’s a little personality, too.

Our little person, who apparently likes to chill out with hands raised by either temple, is apparently pretty punchy. I’ve only felt one confirmed bump, but Janelle gets a fair bit of pummeling throughout the day now. This is fun for a few reasons. It’s like a treasure hunt and, ever the gamer, I’m excited for the chance to “discover” a thump through a chance rubbing on Janelle’s belly. I’m also eager for the first time I can convince myself a thump was because I said something or did something outside the womb to get a reaction from inside of it. For Janelle, it’s the reassurance that she wants without having to go to the doctor. A belly grows so gradually that it’s not really a reassurance that the baby is health and moving along. A punching baby is a live and lively baby, though, and that makes Mommy feel better.

Perhaps this is an idea that was best placed at the top of the post, so it would get more eyeballs, but I’ll probably put up reminders later. We have, incoming via some FedEx or UPS or whatever service, a set of pre-natal headphones. Basically, it’s a wearable belt and strappy system (it looks like a 4-point weight belt made to surround and support a pregnant belly) that has speakers inset in the fabric. You may say it’s a silly purchase. I may tell you to shut your talkhole.

Anyway, the idea: if you would like to read a favorite story, or just plain record a fun message for our upcoming Mystery Guest, do so and send it to me and I will load it into mine MP3 Delivery Unit and forthwith play it for the infant, therefore the child will emerge into this world knowing a bit about the world around and the people who have helped to so graciously lay out the welcome mat.

I hereby dub this a fun idea.

  1. #1 by Badmoodman on January 15, 2010 - 9:02 AM

    “Basically, it’s a wearable belt and strappy system (it looks like a 4-point weight belt made to surround and support a pregnant belly) that has speakers inset in the fabric.”

    – – Apple will soon release an ‘in utero’pre-loaded version:

    If you hear faint sounds of Muse, lemme know.

(will not be published)