My wife and I decided the day she discovered her pregnancy: we don’t dig “it”.
It’s a whatdyacallit. A conundrum. This is your very own special stork delivery. Your precious little bundle from Jesus. The fruits of your love and the keeper of your legacy. Someday, this blessed little embryo will have both a name and a gender, but for the moment you don’t know what to call “it”. So you say “it”, even though you feel guilty about calling it “it”, because what else are you supposed to say?
You could do what a lot of people do and assign the kid a gender before you know for sure, just for convenience’s sake. (And 9 times out of 10, people seem to use “he”.) But, be honest, you feel guilty about that too. After all, if “he”s a girl or “she”s a boy, it almost feels like a subtle piece of pre-natal psychological warfare. What, are you calling your little lady butch? Are you trying to say your little guy is a weepy little princess? Consider your parenting permits revoked, losers. You’re in violation.
So you go back to “it”, but you can’t help but feel like you’re describing a gerbil or a napalm casualty.
So we decided on a different approach. Stolen wholesale from an episode of This American Life, we started referring to our first-trimester cluster as POTUS. If you, like us, have The West Wing: The Complete Series DVD boxed set at home (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll already know that POTUS is an acronym for President Of The United States. We may not have a name or a gender just yet, but we’re already dreaming big.
It quickly caught on in our everyday lingo and it became an easy way around “it”. Plus, it has the added bonus of sounding legitimate when, say, you’re on the phone with your spouse around work associates and you’re trying to talk in code, since you haven’t quite blown your pregnancy news out into the ether just yet (“How’s POTUS?” “Did you tell Jennifer about POTUS?” “Can you come to POTUS’s appointment on Friday or do you still have that meeting?”).
Okay, so we’re slightly less tricky than we think we are.
One good thing about finding out you’re having multiples, though, is the “it” issue disappears. It’s “they”. Always “they”. And listen: when it comes to triplets, you don’t get a lot of One-Less-Thing-To-Worry-About moments, so take ’em and treasure ’em.
For some reason, though, it seemed a shame to give up on “POTUS”, so now our little ones are collectively referred to as The POTI. It’s unlikely they’ll all three be United States Presidents, but we’re living in hope that at least two of them get there. The other will have to content himself with a governorship or maybe status as Poet Laureate.
Or herself. Content “herself”.