While it was expected that people would notice my baby belly, it is apparently also common for Italians to comment on the region above a woman’s “pancha” that is also growing. The first time it happened, I was delivering Christmas cookies to one of our Italian friends, the owner of a market we frequented last year. She was in the company of another of our acquaintances and, together, the two complimented me on my belly before also complimenting me on my “grandi tette”. It inevitably averted the attention of all the store customers from their baskets of food products to my reportedly large chest. This probably could have made for an uncomfortable situation. Fortunately, I was raised in an extended family of jokesters who occasionally enjoy making their loved ones squirm with an embarrassing joke. I’ve therefore acquired the ability to laugh off potentially awkward moments, and quickly deliver a diffusing remark or playful retaliation if necessary. In this case, I laughed and celebrated before replying that I’ve waited over 26 years to hear those words. And so my standard response to every reference about my blossoming bosom was born. But, recently, at a lunch with Kevin, his teammate, and a group of our Italian friends, the topic arose again. And this time it was brought to a whole new level…
First came a comment about my purportedly impressive new curves and then the deliverance of my tried-and-true diffuser. But the topic didn’t die there. The co-ed group of diners proceeded on with a conversation about a mother-to-be’s expanding bra line. A few of my favorite quotes (in order from least to most effective at making Kevin visibly embarrassed):
“E buona per il latte” (It’s good for the milk)
“E bene anche per il papa” (It’s also good for the father)
“ ?” (something about how we’ll have to keep having children so that they remain at the same size)
For me, the conversation was too entertaining to be embarrassing. This is really happening, I thought as I ate my sausage and mushroom risotto and listened to the men and women contributing their thoughts about pregnancy boobs. It was such casual jabber that my Italian friends may as well have been talking about the weather.
While my breast size is apparently indicative of the fact that I am having a baby, we still don't know whether that baby is a boy or a girl. Everyone who has anything to say about my belly has an opinion about the gender. Problem is... I keep getting mixed results. “It’s a girl”, one will say because her daughter looked like me when she was carrying her baby girl. “You are carrying all in front”, says another “so it’s definitely a boy”. The Chinese calendar in one baby book says girl, but the Chinese calendar online says boy. My cravings for salty foods are consistent with women pregnant with boys, but my morning sickness in the first trimester matches with those carrying girls…
When I ask Kevin whether he thinks we are having a daughter or a son, he looks at me as though he is taking the question into deep consideration. “I’ll tell you something about our baby” he finally says. And I look to him expectantly hoping he will shine some light on the mystery “I bet you there is a 50% chance that it’s a boy”. Really, Kev? You’ve got nothing? I wish he would just humor me with a guess, however unsubstantiated it may be, because the truth is… I’ve got nothing either. Everyone else has strong opinions one way or another, but the mommy- and daddy-to-be have no inclination whatsoever. Are we already falling short on our maternal and paternal instincts?!
Though playing the game of Guess Who? Womb Edition has been a fun way to pass the time, we are both ready to learn the truth. The question of the year is: Maschio o femmina? Luckily for us, the wait is almost over. In 10 hours and 26 minutes (but who’s counting?), I have my second trimester ultrasound. This is the ultrasound where the doctor will try and find out the secret the little baby has been hiding. So here’s to hoping that Baby R isn’t feeling shy tomorrow morning. The anticipation is more than I can bear.