Wednesday, 17 September 2008

No Smoke Without a Baby

My husband is a wonderful man. I know, I know, I would say that - I married him (and he reads this -hi honey!) - but it's totally true. He washes up every night, he does all the hoovering, he builds stuff, he fixes stuff, he likes my parents, and (joy of joys) he brings me coffee every morning. Truly, he is a paragon among men.

However, there are a few chinks in his armour of perfection. As befits a manly man, he is not very interested in health and safety. In fact - he is not even SLIGHTLY interested in health and safety. My attitude is that everything is a bit risky, and you should analyse those risks and take steps to minimise either a) the harm from a potential risk or b) the likelihood of the risk occuring or c) preferably both. J's attitude is that, if something is fun to do, imagine how much MORE fun it would be if he made some adjustments so that the speed / voltage /number of blades was even higher than before.

This has led to a few minor conflicts over the years we've been married. But mostly, we've kind of learned to live with it. He accepts that I'm a bit dull, and I accept that eventually, he's probably going to land himself in hospital.

So what does this have to do with our adoption? Well, J's favourite shop is screwfix - a mail order nirvana for the DIY enthusiast. It's not unusual to find him poring over the pages of this catalogue, finding out the price of 2,000 nails or a push-fit U-bend for a friend's bathroom. But about two weeks ago, I caught him looking at this section: the man was voluntarily checking out specs on smoke detectors. For OUR HOUSE. To keep our baby safe*.

I cannot possibly overemphasise how out of character this was.

Being the calm and competent person he is, he bought and fitted them without making any fuss. While I'm being uber-emotional and teary, he's getting on and doing stuff, and it's stuff he wouldn't normally do. These little changes in him, and these little changes in our house, start to make me feel like this is all actually real. Sometimes I feel like I'm living a bit of a double life - I'm thinking about this adoption all the time, but most of our circle don't know about it at all (some of the reasons for this are in other posts) so from the outside everything just looks pretty normal. Our upstairs, secret bookshelf is full of literature on adoption and Ethiopia, but we're far, far too far from the finish line to have actually bought any baby stuff. So our house has no stair gates. No crib. No plastic toys. No outward signs that we're hoping to be a family of three. Except for one thing that nobody but me is going to notice:

We've got the smoke detectors now. I'm sure the baby can only be a matter of time.

* In the interests of fair representation, I should point out that he said it was just to improve our changes of getting through the homestudy. But I know the truth.


  1. LOL! This was so funny - your husband was get along famously with mine. Mine would eat a piece of gum off the tarmac. He has no fear whatsoever of germs and or hazards, usually. Thankfully, he decided not to fix the garage door spring once he read the mortality rate of those DIYs re: garage door springs. I am also incessantly hounding him about wearing goggles when he cuts wood and uses his drill. I'm such a hen.

    I agree, the smoke detectors can no doubt mean your babe is coming home soon. :)


  2. I love this post. So now "showing" for adoption is the sudden and frequent appearance of smoke detectors in the home...very cool...

  3. There truly is something so endearing about watching a man prepare for a child. And then just wait until you see him *with* the child. Ted is a handy guy as well and always lets Abe work with him, even though Abe is only 15 months old. He hands Abe a paintbrush or stick or something and shoos away my offers to take Abe off his hands so he can work more efficiently. As Ted says, "no way, Abe's helping" as he continues on with his task.
    (oh, and we didn't buy a thing until we had found out about Abe. I know some women need to "nest," but for me, it felt weird/torturous to prepare the room when we were early in the process. I'm not knocking anyone who wants to do that; it just wasn't my style either.

  4. Sounds like men must be the same the world over (I am still cracking up at 'gum off the tarmac' - arrghhh, so true!)

    Love the ted / abe story - J is making big plans for all the things that he's going to drill / hammer with his ethiopian son. I've tried telling him it might be a GIRL, but that just gets me blank looks. Although lately he's started saying he doesn't mind a girl, so long as she likes to drill :)

  5. Awwww, this is just too sweet. I love watching our big tough men get all protective over our little ones to be. It sounds like he will be a great daddy.

    At the description of your relationship I kept thinking of "Along Came Polly". (:

    Thanks for the sweet comment and the book suggestion. I will have to check it out too. (:

  6. He doesn't mind a girl so long as she likes to drill - lol!!!



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