The news came months ago, delivered via scribblings on a Starbucks coffee cup.
Smiling excitedly — secretively — my wife, Kim, handed me the drink. She’d asked if I’d meet her inside Target in Tiger Town after work. She wanted me to get a good look at something.
That “something” was a surprising, and well-welcomed, message:
I’m going to be a daddy again.
Months later, an ultrasound revealed that I’m going to be a daddy to a son.
Naturally, our family is thrilled — especially Kaleb, my and Kim’s 5-year-old son. He’s super excited to be getting a little brother.
It’ll give him a smaller human, a blood-kin minion, to boss around.
In fact, Kaleb is so enthused about the whole thing that something fascinating has been going on in our household. I’m assuming you’ve heard of Couvade syndrome, a.k.a. “sympathetic pregnancy”? It’s when men experience similar pregnancy symptoms as their child-bearing mate.
I reckon I went through a little of this when Kim was pregnant with Kaleb, particularly in sharing her difficulty with getting enough sleep and the inevitable weight gain. Of course, the increase in weight was expected of Kim.
I, on the other hand, should have set healthier boundaries with calories.
But, this time, things have taken a drastic turn. This time it’s Kaleb who’s being sympathetically pregnant with Kim. And it’s certainly a situation that’s giving plenty of amusement to help pass the time as we all await the arrival of Kason Michael Huffman.
This all started shortly after we explained to Kaleb that his baby brother is in mommy’s tummy. Not to be outdone, Kaleb has since claimed that there’s a baby in his tummy, too.
But not just one, mind you. Initially, there were two babies. Then three. Now, he says there are five, and they all kick around so much in his bouncing tummy that I swear those munchkins must be playing leapfrog.
That, or Kaleb’s got a belly full of hyper kangaroos.
It appears my wife may have one of those, too. Or at least that’s my assumption each time I feel little Kason’s movements. Intrigued by these moments as well, Kaleb is prone to grabbing my and Kim’s hands, then quickly placing them on his tummy — the little tummy he sticks out as far as he can.
Hard to believe that five babies can fit in there.
Maybe he’s having puppies. At this point, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
Either way, Kaleb and Kim’s food cravings are worth noting as well. Lately, Kim has been obsessed with sushi. In fact, a mere utterance of the word sends an electrifying surge of joy through her, instantly lighting up her face and eyes like yard decorations at Christmastime, her mind set on devouring sea creatures wrapped in rice and dried seaweed.
Kaleb, meanwhile, has been obsessed with his own special sushi — cheese Goldfish crackers. Minus any soy sauce or wasabi.
Then there’s the agonizing heartburn, bearing a heat so intense that I’m often torn between fetching Kim some Prilosec or a fire extinguisher.
Mimicking his mommy, Kaleb is prone to clutching his chest, whimpering with the utmost dramatic sincerity, “Oh, it burns! It burns!”
There’s the nausea, the cramps and the headaches as well. Plus their inability to get up off the couch without rocking back and forth like turtles.
And the mood swings… Perhaps Kaleb says it best, usually after I tease him in ill attempts to win a smile:
“You’re killing me, Daddy. You’re killing me.”
As I said, the whole thing has been very entertaining, so much so that I’m not at all aware if I’ve been sharing any sympathy symptoms with Kim. I reckon Kaleb has shared plenty to cover the both of us many times over.
But there is one thing I know the three of us definitely share: our excitement and high anticipation for welcoming our family’s fourth recruit. The joyful looks on our faces summed it up as we observed little Kason’s face during the 4D ultrasound last Wednesday.
Kaleb beamed as he looked at the image on the screen.
Then, slowly, he put his hand on his tummy.