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The Phenomenon Known As the Push Present

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My gift-giving anxiety has just been moved up to Threat Level Red. Thanks to Oprah, the Internet, and my wife’s mothers group, I have now learned that I have just committed one of the most grave and selfish errors a new father can commit—no baby bling.

It seems the newest trend amongst new parents is the “Push Present.” It’s a gift given to a woman for the baby she has “pushed” out. The gifts can be fairly costly ($400–$10,000), depending on how much you love and appreciate your wife for the eternal “gift” she has given you.

Actually, the tradition has existed for centuries but it is only recently that American males have been made aware of the fact that flowers, stuffed animals, and shouts of encouragement during delivery are not enough. In England, men give fancy rings to their wives for their hard work and in India men are expected to purchase gold in some form or another.

Now if you are the kind of husband like myself who thinks nothing of giving your wife a porch swing for her birthday (practical and she likes the outdoors), you might find yourself sitting down with your first child and explaining why the stork won’t be making any more visits to your house.

After researching certain Web sites specifically tailored to help the ignorant father come up with a unique and special gift to express his gratitude and appreciation, I learned that diamonds (because of their symbolic quality and heirloom potential) have become the gift of choice for daddies who care.

This knowledge has added another round to the birthday and anniversary “steel cage matches” my guilt and I enter every time I see a commercial for Zales Jewelers. Sure, I want to prove my love is forever with a diamond broach, bracelet, or … toe ring. But I just can’t seem to stop that nagging doubt that whispers in my ear, “It’s all just good marketing.”

Isn’t being a good husband and father enough of a present? After all, a four carat diamond tennis bracelet can’t rock your baby to sleep at three o’clock in the morning or drive the baby around the block during naptime.

Then again, if childbirth were left to men the human race would have died out centuries ago.

The few men I know who have given Push Presents have informed me that my sense of practicality can still be served by giving gifts other than jewelry. For example, if my wife has been pining for a laptop computer and pricey piece of exercise equipment, this could be the right opportunity to splurge. (I secretly wonder if my wife would appreciate a sixty-inch plasma TV as a symbol of my love and appreciation.) But even knowing this, I drag my gift-buying feet like a man on death row.

Overall, I think I am a great husband (especially compared to my father, who spent all four of our deliveries at the local bar watching the Boston Celtics). Unlike him, I attended Lamaze classes, massaged my wife’s feet, ran late-night chocolate and burrito runs, and sat calmly while she threw a plate of spaghetti at my head for asking, “Can you please pass the grated cheese when you’re finished with it?” Yet, I know I won’t be able to stand tall as a father until I finally address the conundrum known as the Push Present.

I have decided to just ask my wife what she wants and if it’s possible, reasonable, and affordable, I will do my best to make the proper reparations for my costly error.

 So, summoning all my fiscal courage, I walk up to her, my right hand clutching our one un-maxed charge card so tightly my fingers bleed and ask …

“Honey, what would you consider a good push gift?”

My knees are bent, my feet are shoulder-length apart and I’m prepared to take the financial blow to the chin when I hear …

“Honey, our baby was my gift.”

Now where did I put that number for Zales?


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