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Baby McFidgets

Our unborn baby is a veritable battering ram.

I am not stating this in a bragging way. No. I am quite certain this is relatively average fetal behavior. Instead, as with all things baby-related, I am coming to you from a place of deep and enduring ignorance.

Yes, I was aware that when babies “kicked” they weren’t really just kicking – really, they were doing any manner of nudges and somersaults in the womb that could be felt from outside of it. I did edit our maternity program manual that one time, you know.

However, I was under the impression that this was mostly after said fetus had feet larger than a quarter, and that you couldn’t get a visual on the kick activity from outside the belly until pretty far down the line. Oh, and that it was not a constant internal artillery barrage that would keep my wife awake for months.

Actually factually, E was being “kicked” by Project Sidecar as early as 15 weeks into our joint venture in genetics. Possibly earlier, but at that point any sort of interior motion seemed more a fit of whimsy than of unborn baby breakdancing. Yet, around 15 weeks the kicking became quite distinct. If I watched extremely closely I could see E’s stomach make the tiniest of jumps.

Now we’re nearly twice that far along, and  Sidecar is all motion, all the time. Kicking, punching, twirling, and apparently hiccuping several times a day, because that is also a thing.

I honestly had no idea about the whole range of motion we’d be experiencing, and so I had no expectation of the result: that the baby has become quite a character in our lives. She or he already has nicknames and favorite times of day, as well as activities that wake her up or put him to sleep.

While I’m sure the little thing probably cannot help causing such a commotion, I also wonder about the evolutionary role of it. Our eventual baby is reminding us all of the time that it’s on the way. Every kick is another chance for E and I to worry about where it will sleep or if we have any clothes for it. In that way, the kicks are pretty good for our eventual babies eventual health. Sure, these days even America’s shamefully high infant-mortality rate bodes well for a baby’s longevity outside the womb, but what about in places where it’s even higher? What about 100 years ago? Did a more kick-tastic baby wind up with better-prepared parents?

Of course, I was going to worry about everything anyway – it’s not like I was going to take a more lackadaisical approach to parenting if it had kicked less. This is just one of those child-rearing topics where my mind wanders away from the neverending how-to books and parenting blogs to a time when someone as ignorant as me really was at a disadvantage when it came to being an eventual father.

The kicks can’t teach me how to diaper, though. For that I’m going to need diagrams. And coaching. Possibly anxiety medication.