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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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The Diaper Champs.

Sometimes I try and just eat the pain. I waltz up to Life's Buffet and take a few chilled shrimp, a couple dipping carrots, some onion rings. I pile on fried mushrooms if they have them. I take soup ladles full of olives, dump them down on my dish. Then I come up to the Hurt. The Pain. Big salad bowls full of coppery bullets for shooting yourself in the foot. I scoop some out. M-80's with nipped fuses for blowing up in your face. A couple of those. Then I move on, I guess. Over to the taco bar or wherever.

Still, its the self-inflicted explosions where I tend to make my mark.

Sitting on the couch the other night, I'm sipping on a glass of wine, letting the buzz roll uphill into my head, when I decide that now is a good time to let Monica know that I went ahead and created one of those baby registries on Amazon. You know: for free shit in the name of the unborn. I pop open the computer all smooth and cool and find the little list I made and then ease it on over to her lap. I'm feeling good about what I've done. I'm feeling confident that this is somehow a charming piece of husbandry I've accomplished, planning ahead for the birth of our boy by sitting on my ass and selecting material goods that we don't really need or even want. Still, I get dazzled by my own notions sometimes. I get to thinking that, Hey...this is what people do...and so here I am doing we must be just regular people afterall, huh?

That's when I fuck things up, it seems.

Monica looked down at my creation for a second. This was during a commercial for one of her true crime murder shows, mind ya. I don't try and just introduce my notions when she's in the middle of watching some story about someone's swollen bloated grey body being discovered in the upstairs bedroom after the neighbors called the cops to complain of something ripe drifting down the damn street from the house with nine rubber-banded morning newspapers stacking up on the porch. No sir. I time this stuff, or at least I fancy myself timing this stuff, with impeccable precision. The truth is, though, that I don't know what the hell I'm even up to.

Anyway the detectives spewing all their bullshit gves way to a commercial and Monica is looking intently at the items I've decide we need in order to properly welcome a boy to Earth.

"Why do you have another Diaper Champ on here?" she asks me, without looking up.

We already have one of these things, where you can hoard dirty diapers until you can't even lift the damn thing anymore it's so weighted down with your laziness. I figure, hey: Two Kids=Two Outhouses.

"Well, I thought we probably want one in each room, right?," I tell her. See, there I am thinking ahead again. What a guy. What a beautiful thoughtful guy.

"No," she announces bluntly. "We have one already. Why would we get another one? One is enough for both kids."

This throws me off a little. I mean, yeah, of course one is enough. But I had the notion, you see, that two would be better than one. Three would be overkill, naturally, but two, in my mind, seemed perfectly rationale. A nice seventy dollar item someone could buy us so we could store up twice as many kid shits inside of our house.

"And why are you getting the pink model for a boy?", she says.


"They didn't have any other colors. I figured we give the pink one to Violet and the old one to the new kid."

"We don't need two," she says again, putting the kibosh on it.

I let her comments slide off me. I'm a little bruised, but we're hiking down into the list now. And there's other stuff.

That's just when she comes at me with :" We don't need another changing table, Serge. We HAVE one already. That's ridiculous to get another one!"

That's it.

Now, I'm bleeding all over the place, all over the fucking Micro-Fibre. Wounded. Rattled. Cornered.

I scramble for words.

"Yeah, well don't you think we should have one for each of their rooms, you know, in case one of 'em's napping and we have to change the other one?"

I throw this out there, feebly, I guess. Everything in our house is loud. Taking a coffe mug out of the cabinet sounds like carpet bombing going down. Sneaking into the room with the changing table probably wouldn't be any real disaster/any louder than anything else, but I don't need to fess up to that this minute. I'm insulted. She's questioning my whimsical list.

"No," she gurgles. "That's completely dumb."

Inside of my head: I rise from the couch in slo-mo and rip my flannel open/buttons flying and make an Incredible Hulk noise as she notices the thirty pounds of explosives I have taped to my torso on a wintery Saturday night; her eyes bug out of her face and KA-BOOYA! I jihad the rest of the night due to her sound reasoning (aka in my world: Bad Rudeness).

I bite my tongue but I'm warm from the wine and my simple-minded attempts at great things have proven my downfall. I'm embarrassed and ashamed; although, in truth, each of those emotions seems a bit of a stretch for this particular situation. But that's me. When cool and dapper might bring me the world, I get out the Flame Throwers.  In the ephemeral moments, when a man made of strong stuff would assess these offhanded comments from his wife and maybe parlay them into some sort of reckless animal sex with her, on the coffee table or up against the front door, I instead invite all of my demons down from the Heavens, to come and hang out with us, The Bielankos.

I don't remember what I say. I'm a grenade launcher. I'm launching grenades.

Monica's trying to make amends as her murder show comes back on. I hear her through the lapping flames, through the collapsing timbers and beams.

"This crib bumper is cute, we could use that," she offers, her voice barely cutting through the roaring inferno.

And she's right. It is fucking cute.

It's way fucking cute: airplanes and ships and trucks and cars. But it's too late for me. I leave a trail of oathes. I march over the burning carpets. Gobs of smoke get in my eyes. And bursts of fire too. I storm off into the nether regions of the house, into small caves up in the hills: a broken man.

No, actually, a broken fat sack of cheap wine, but whatever.

Dear Son, you are going to have to share a Diaper Champ with your big sister. Deal with it.

I love you and so does Mommy.

Hurry up.

Reader Comments (15)

You were just being a good dad and it makes sense not to have to tiptoe into his room to change her diapers. But how long will she really be in diapers anyway? Both valid points!

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

oh gosh it's a marriage post. I clicked on to 'the girl who' and thought I was reading Monoca's blog...thinking she came up with an interesting blend of first and third person styling...a little difficult to follow but nevertheless clever and interesting. Sorta writing like her husband tonight...sipping on wine? okay. who am I to judge? Hmm..picking out stuff and then arguing with herself..well I do that all the time. .FINALLY come to realize that it's the Thiunder Pie. Dof!!!!
So I go back and read it again. Okay. Thunder pie's jodphers are in a pinch again? Over a changing table and a diaper thing. Okay. Don't feel bad Mr TP, spend the money on cool stuff. Not poopy things you can get at a thrift shop! are being just as practical as she is shooting it down. That's okay. You will have many opportunities for whimsy in the days and years to come. Poop bins and crap tables. You meant well!

PS. I get shot down all the time by my frugal logical BF and meanwhile ONE criticism in the tiniest degree sends him sulking in a heap of self pity. So I've learned to Sandwich my comments between 2 pillows. ew...I mean positives. .

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

Genius, Classic, work of art! Dads thoughts and opinions count too!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

It all made sense to me; are you going to move the changing table into the hallway? I declare you to be the diaper champ! (Sorry, Monica.) If my husband ever made a registry or ever thought to organize anything, I would a. pass out and 2. praise jeebus. Besides, if people are willing to buy you things, why not? Gift horses, mouths, etc.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

Great post- it captures the heartwrenching miscommunications/(mis)assumptions of marriage. We don't have kids, but this exchange is familiar nevertheless. I've been in Monica's shoes, oh, so many (too many) times. Hopefully, I'll stop and think the next time. But probably not.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

Fantastic post, Serge! I enjoy each of your posts thoroughly. As Saffoula said... you capture one of the most stupidly common bits about marriage (mine, at least).

"... I instead invite all of my demons down from the Heavens, to come and hang out with us, The Bielankos."

Genius. I thoroughly enjoy Monica's writing, and am grateful for yours as well. A welcome addition. If you write a book I'll buy it.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Your writing is killing right now, dude. Perfect rhythm; unique, colorful, beautiful metaphors; loud and clear voice; great humor and insight. Really tremendous work.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermclusky

How you manage to be so eloquent when describing something so simple, and without being pretentious on top of it. Amazing. It's rare to find truly good writing on a personal blog, but here it is.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I love Monica's writing and am so glad you write, too. Great stuff, particularly this line, which I read about 10 times because it hit me in a way that felt good:

"When cool and dapper might bring me the world, I get out the Flame Throwers."

We all do this, and it's such a shame. Why is it? Is it insecurity, pride, some other emotion? Does it stem from caveman days? Have we evolved it as a defense mechanism? Whatever the case, it's totally human and totally infuriating.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I went to buy something for you on your Amazon registry and it says that you guys have NO ITEMS on your list. That makes it hard to choose something ;-) - Katie

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie allison granju

That's because SOMEONE deleted the list. And it wasn't me.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who

Okay, since I totally stuck up for you on Monica's post, let me say...great writing as always. But you know, be right or be happy works here too. Put the damn list back up and reveal in the second diaper champ. :-)

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz aka EDW

You seriously need to get into writing novels.

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJust Me

Maybe submit one of your posts here to your favorite periodical. See what happens.

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

@The Girl Who: I would've deleted it too. And I'm neither a hothead nor prone to drama. (Although I may have let out the world's longest, most martyred sigh as I was deleting.)

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterR

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