TODAY STARTED with the ultimate frustration for news junkies like oursleves, especially on Sunday. The Post was not delivered. Sort of a shame, considering we had taped an envelope to the door the night before with the carrier's tip.
The absence of morning reading material allowed us to prepare the house for a brunch we were having for two of my husband's old high school chums and our closest friends in the neighborhood, Steve and Louise.
This week will be the end of semester break at the University of Maryland and the respite it brought from the most uncertain time of our five-year marriage. To resume the long-postponed doctoral pursuit, I had to give up about $10,000 in annual income as an instructure in radio-television-film at Maryland, teach two undergraduate courses during the week and one at night, polish long rusty research skills and work under the tutelage of faculty, who until August had been my colleagues.
At Maryland, like most other universities, you could out-teach Socrates and find yourself without even a student paring sticker if you don't have the appropriate degree and publication credits. We were prepared for the academic travail. We were not prepared for me to get pregnant just after getting admitted to the doctoral program. As Jonathan, our-4-year-old, has been taught to say when he loses a game, "C'est la gurre." Monday
To make infant care easier this semester, I have arranged a schedule allowing me to be home on Tuesdays and Thrusdays. Also, we have found a new school for Jonathan close to our home in Silver Spring and with hours that coincide with mine, 8:30 to 2. Johathan has now been in three schools since last spring, but he adapts well, and neither of the first two, we felt, was serving his educational development. But the fact, and the guilt, remains that he spends his day where and when it is most convenient for me.
After dropping Jonathan off, I went of my first day of school, registration at Maryland -- the most horrendous experience of any college student's career. How would I cope with a possible four-hour traipse through that miserable armory nine months pregnant? A teaching colleague raised the possibility of my delivering right there on the basketball court somewhere between "architecture" and "zoology." I told him I would gladly do so if the only alternative were the university's dreaded infirmary.
As it turned out, I ran into an administrator I had met during my 15 years as student-instructor-student at the university, and he signed off on forms that got me through the process in a mere hour and a half. Tuesday
No school for Jonathan today -- Martin Luther King's birthday -- so had to find a neighbor for him to stay with while I went for what 2 had hoped would be an unnecessary visit to my obstetrician. Originally he expected the baby at the end of January. The doctor, not being able to located the baby's position with his hands, sent me for a sonogram at the first of the month. We had the incredible experience of watching our new son or daughter sucking its thumb. The hospital technician would not tell us what sex the baby is. Based on the sound echo pictures, the doctor suggested it might be due by mid-month, or really any time. We were peaking for a Capricorn -- like Ira and me -- and hoping for delivery before the semester began. Certainly by this week so Ira, a newsman, could go with clear conscience on a reporting assignment to New Orleans next week.
(He was at Three Mile Island a month after last spring's accident there, a trip he made about the same time our accident occured, and he has been joking about how many heads, arms and legs the baby will have. I don't think it's funny.)
Damn! Can't we get some cooperation. "Amanda David," as I have taken to calling her-him, has been kicking and punching in odd places lately. The doctor tells me it looks as if the baby might be born breech, and although he is considered an expert at "turning" a baby for head-first delivery, he is preparing for a Caesarean, if necessary. But I'll have to go through labor first -- it lasted 18 hours last time -- before he decides if an operation is necessary. I am wondering if a woman obstetrician would require that. Wednesday
Classes don't start until tomorrow, and I expect this will be the easiest day in some time. I go to White Flint with Louise but can't fine what I want. Only one of several minor things that go wrong today. It's Ira's 32nd birthday, and while he professes not to be concerned with age at all, he threatens to punch me in the mouth if I tell him "Happy Birthday" one more time. That was at 6:30 a.m.
My birthday was last week, and while we don't believe in fibbing to Jonathan about our age like our parents did to us it is still disconcerting to hear him tell a perfect stranger in the store, "My mommy is 34 and my daddy is 32."
I find a babysitter, pick up Ira at Metro and we head out for dinner. Just an hour, because we are both tired and disdain an extra drink. Also, Ira had ppomised to read Jonathan another chapter from "The Wizard of Oz" before bed. thrusday
Ira and I start off the day with a fight, a vitriolic, name-calling match over something inconsequential. Still seething, we both calm down long enough to caution Jonathan, understandably on edge because of the shouting, not to take sides.
"Why not?" I wonder later. He took my side this morning for the first time.
In the huff, Ra accidentally takes my set of keys and phones sheepishly from the Metro station. He talks the station attendant into holding them for me until Louise can run me over. Another babysitter to be found for tonight, and with the beginning of my night teaching assignment, our front door will be getting more traffic than that Metro terminals 5 minutes away.
Helen, our most reliable babysitter, arrives a few minutes early, allowing me to race to Metro to pick up Ira from work. He is going out to the university tonight for a meeting of the board of the nonprofit corporation that publishes the campus newspapers and magazines. A neighbor is taking a night journalismcourse on Thrusdays so we double back to pick up Diana.
In the back seat, Ira munches the sandwiches I packed for him while Diana and I disciss, with disgusting detail, our previous birthing experiences.
Since Ira finishes his meeting first, he grabs a ride home with a friend on the board who lives nearby and who agrees to drive Helen home so that Ira can stay with Jonathan. I drop off Diana and get home a little earlier than I will on future Thursdays, about 9:30. Friday
Since I haven't had the baby yet, I am glad to meet my television writing class, just so they know who I am before guest lectures (that is, faculty colleagues who owe me time) take over for two weeks. I am gratified that four students I had in another course as freshmen are in the class as seniors.
Louise's 4-year-old son, Ben, invited Jon to spend the night, and we eagerly agree, knowing there will be very few more chances soon to see a movie.
We eat out and then see "Kramer vs. Kramer." We may be the only two people in Washington, or anywhere, who think the movie stinks. We welcome the privacy that Jonathan's night out affords. Saturday
Instead of cleaning up or shopping, we both loll around this morning. Finally, after Jonathan's pestering, Ira plays with him indoors for a few hours. I fall asleep again in midafternoon. All three of us are coming down with something. Frustratingly, I am still not coming down with child.
Leaving Ira and Jon in bed watchin "CHIPs," I gather myself up for the weekly shopping at Giant, trying to stock up on staples for the two of them if I go to the hospital tonight. Ira, who likes grocery shopping but who spends too much money at it, had volunteered to do it tonight. But I remember that almost 4 1/2 years ago, Jonathan finally decided to be born after I scrubbed the kitchen floor and taken a long walk around the block. I hope lugging the cans of soup and giant-sized Coke bottles will do the trick. But no such luck. Amanda David will not be a Capricorn.