The Put-On: An Excerpt
Matt had heard about pregnant women and their cravings, and he prided himself on being sensitive and giving, so he worked hard to bake Lily’s needs into bite-sized morsels. Running out to the grocery store for Cherry ice cream was easy. Trying to stop her from opening another credit card so they could buy more things for the baby’s room was hard.
He knew the stress in the house had reached a flood point when they came home one day to discover Lily’s childhood Raggedy-Ann in shreds in the new baby room. Its face was ripped off. The dog had gotten to it. Lily squatted on the floor sobbing loudly as she gathered the stuffing, pleading “Will she do this to the baby, Matt? Will she?” in a thin tone that got all wrapped up in one of her screams.
It didn’t do to talk about what was going on at home and Matt distilled the nuttiness into light-hearted stories about pregnancy, getting the house ready and looking forward to their first child. His sisters, all still childless and newly married, called with enthusiastic and curious questions, as if Matt and Lily were not only stewards of the first member of the next generation, but explorers who had been sent to bring back a map of a wild and unexplored country.
A couple of weeks after the Raggedy-Ann massacre, Matt was telling his sister Jillian about Lamaze class. The actual session had ended with Lily walking out and waiting in the car because Matt was breathing too loudly and throwing her off her rhythm.
“We’re starting Bella’s Lamaze classes next week,” Matt said.
“Yeah, they recommend it for your pets. After she ripped the face off the doll, we thought it would be a pretty good idea. It’s all about getting the dog comfortable with the idea of a baby so they don’t freak out when you bring the new baby home.”
“Really? Do they have real babies…”
“No, they have dolls and tape recordings and stuff. You pretend to care for a crying baby and they train your dog to be calm and stay away. They started it up because people are having kids later and their pets become just like their kids. Like your Molly, you know?”
“Is Bella doing well in the class?” Jillian asked tentatively.
“She’s acing it.”
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