Week 21 - Kicking and Screaming

Dear Kaylee,

The month of October has been a whirlwind, as it almost always is. It seems as if each month that brings us closer to your debut manages to fly by with even greater abandon than the previous one. This month we celebrated my birthday and your mother’s; we learned that you were a girl and not a boy; and I held a baby for the first time in years. As unprepared as we would be for your arrival right now, having purchased almost nothing for you to wear and having done absolutely nothing to prepare your nursery, I still feel as if you could be dropped into our arms at this very moment and we would be just fine. As you drew ever closer to that next milestone, the date at which you could be born prematurely and still stand a good chance of surviving, we drew closer to our own milestone. Having celebrated our birthdays, and having finally identified a small piece of who you are (your gender), we finally began to feel as if this parenting job was one we might be able to pull off.

This was the week where your mom began to feel you move around the womb in earnest. She tells me that you were most active just after meals. But, try as I might to feel your mother’s ever-enlarging belly for some sign of you, I was unable to feel you myself just yet. My reading indicates that this isn’t out of the ordinary, that it will still be some time before your bones are strong enough for your kicks and other movements to be felt from the outside. So, I don’t worry too much.

You measured seven inches from crown to rump this week, or thereabouts (your crown being your head, your rump being your butt). And you weighed about a pound. Your hearing was developing as well. Though it seems to me, from what I’ve read, that you weren’t yet able to hear me, or anyone else on the outside, you were now able to hear your mother’s end of conversations, as well as her heartbeat and the rumbling of her stomach. Popular opinion suggests that the womb is as noisy as an airport runway during takeoff. I certainly hope that’s not so, but I guess the idea is that you’re being prepared for the noisy, busy world you’re about to be born into. So, in that sense, I guess I’m glad for the deafening roar.

Perhaps you’ll read this and one day use this anecdote as an excuse for why you’re blasting your music so damn loudly—“I was living in a place as loud as an airport runway for nine months, so don’t tell me I can’t handle this!” It makes me smile to think of how clever you might be in using these letters I’ve written to you against us. It would make me proud to have spawned a bigger smart-ass than myself.

Love, Dad

LettersE. Christopher Clark