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. . . and Baby Makes Two: A Novel Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Judy Sheehan started her career as one of the original cast members and creators of the long-running stage hit Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Currently Sheehan is the playwright-in-residence at New York City’s prestigious Looking Glass Theatre, which produces her work every season. Excerpts from her plays have appeared in the popular anthologies Monologues for Women by Women and Even More Monologues for Women by Women. In 2000, Sheehan joined the growing ranks of adoptive parents when she traveled to China to adopt a ten-month-old girl. Judy and her daughter, Annie, live in New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Jane walked out of her apartment building and saw the Christ Child. She was on her way to the gym when she saw a baby of such breath-stopping beauty she had to remind herself to inhale. He had gray-blue eyes, Nestlé cocoa hair, and was destined to have thick eyebrows after puberty. He had no pores. He had bliss. His mother held him on her hip in a swaddling sling that matched his eye color almost perfectly. She looked pretty happy, for a virgin mother, not that Jane noticed her. This glowing god-baby was the reason wise men traveled across deserts and little drummer boys drummed. He blinked, and Jane, a reasonably calm person as a rule, nearly wept. She had to talk herself down. She pretended to check her watch, and then she walked away. She only looked back at him four times. But he had already turned to perform other miracles.

Jane moved on. She really did. She was a grown-up, after all, so she went to the gym and climbed the Stairs to Nowhere. She showered. She tried to do something with that hair of hers, and why did it seem to have a mind of its own? And those roots. They were an evil announcement of her lack-of-youth. Jane was morally superior to her lack-of-youth, but she still hid her roots, as best she could.

Jane’s life was pretty good for an almost-thirty-seven-year-old. She lived in New York City. She was of medium height and had pale skin, because she was afraid of skin cancer, and reddish-brown hair, of the Nice ’n Easy #110 variety. Her hair had given up being red all by itself years ago. At her age, it needed help. She still wore size six pants. She looked tense all the time, but she didn’t know it. She walked fast, but always gave directions to tourists trying to find Broadway below Fourteenth Street.

Jane was lucky. She had a cool apartment with more sunlight than most people might expect in the East Village. The small extra bedroom used to serve as a darkroom, when she had been dabbling in photography. These days it was a makeshift office/storage closet/ place to stash things when parents came to visit. She still took photos, but only on vacations or at family events where someone had to say, “I wonder when we’ll all be together like this again?” And she had the Indian guy on Bleecker Street develop the pictures. He was nice, and always found one shot in the roll to praise as “Oh, very pretty, very good! You should take more pictures!”

Her family was in New Jersey, the exact right distance away. Different area code, so she could feel separate, but the same time zone, so they could all feel close. Perfect. Her friends envied her out loud.

So why was there an ache in her life? Why did it feel like there was a hole in her middle? Most of the time, she walked too quickly to feel it, but sometimes it howled, and when it did, she walked faster.

After all, Jane’s life was pretty good for an almost-thirty-seven-year-old. The other side of the last cute decade of her life. She was starting to be not young anymore. Thirty-seven sounded old. Older. Agatha old. Too old to change her ways, find a husband, and make babies. Too late for that.

So Jane moved on. She really did. She had only twenty-three minutes to get to work, but she bypassed the subway and opted to walk. After all, it was a postcard of a morning in early May. Stray New Yorkers even smiled with late spring giddiness. She hit her stride and got a lucky stretch of green lights to keep the momentum. Nineteen minutes later, she would have just enough time to overpay for a double latte, smile as her elevator stopped at every floor, and then dive into the madness.

Jane always forgot to factor in the line at Starbucks for people who wanted to get brownie-coffee. And there he was. That same guy was there again. She had seen him last week, thinning blond hair, capped teeth. She noticed him noticing her. Why did she think he was an actor? And, even though Jane was going to turn thirty-seven in less than a week, he flirted with her anyway.

“Are you stalking me?” He grinned.

“Hey, a girl’s gotta have a purpose in life. Or a hobby. Or . . .”

She grimaced. Her answer was too long. The Christ Child sighting was still visible in her head, and still so distracting. And could she still legally call herself a girl? She didn’t schedule any time for a flirtation. The city was full of handsome, capped-teeth smiles, and here was another one, but she shouldn’t be late for the Monday morning meeting.

The actor looked pleased and settled in to flirt with her. Did he know that he was blocking the door? He was smooth.

“This is, like, the third time I’ve seen you here. Do you live around here?”

“I work here. Not here, upstairs. In the building. I work in the building.”

Oh, my God, she sounded like an idiot! His grin turned condescending, like he was George Clooney and he always had this effect on women, like he was taking pity on a stammering female fan. For Jane, it was time to move on. Really.

“My name’s Richard. What’s yours?”

“Jane. And I—”

“Really? Are you giving me a fake name or something?”

Did lots of women give him fake names?

“No. I’m Jane. Really.”

He took her hand, nearly scalding it with his own latte.

“Look at us! We’re Dick and Jane! We’re, like, I don’t know, something out of a baby book or something.”

Jane smiled. This was no George Clooney, just a guy blocking the door when she had less than two minutes to get to her meeting.

“Me Dick! You Jane!” And he pummeled his chest Tarzan style. Jane smiled.

“See you in school!” she said and ducked around him.

“Wait!”

But she didn’t wait. Instead, she took long ballet leap-steps to the elevator, into the conference room, and the workday took hold.

Jane had seven employees and nine consultants on her team. She liked to take care of them. She bought them zinc when they had colds, she held birthday celebrations and baby showers, and she listened to love life sagas. Nice work and she got it. She ran IT Support for the high-profile investment bank Argenti. Wall Street. The Street. The nerve center of the city, the country, the world. Decisions here reverberated throughout the universe, and Jane had to handle their latest Microsoft upgrade. And handle the eternal complaints about her Help Desk. And find a way to supply cheaper laptops to senior management. And phase out the old contact database. And integrate technology with the London firm Argenti had just acquired. And answer the e-mails she’d been ignoring. And make birthday plans. And get the latte stain out of her skirt. It was almost noon when Jane noticed that the actor had missed scalding her hand, but he had stained her skirt. Look at that . . .

...

Jane wrote lists all the time. In the middle of a conference call, she’d add a stray item to the list. She lived by her lists and her schedules. She upgraded PDAs twice a year and had entirely too many opinions about them. Lists brought her order and comfort. Maybe lists could fill that hole in her middle. When it howled, she fed it lists. See? See how much you have? Why are you greedy for more? Be happy. Stop aching and howling.

“Do you want anything from A.J.’s?” Her staff was always diligent about including her in their lunch plans, and she was equally diligent about declining. No one was going to intercept her almost-break at lunch. Outside, in the absence of fluorescent light, there were no PCs, or at least, not as many. When she felt brave, she ate from the local food carts, and when she felt braver, she ate at the expensive delis.

“Mommy! Mommy, please? I want fries! Please? I can have fries, please?”

It was a technicolor Shirley Temple, ringlets and all. Jane watched and listened. How did little girls get that bell-quality to their voices? And why does it disappear? Jane wanted to be some beautiful fries godmother and make the girl happy, but she suspected that the mother might have a minor objection or two. Jane moved on to the deli line.

You may not believe it, but the Dick-Richard-Actor was there. Same deli.

“Are you temping too?” he asked. “I’m at Sloan. I told them I smoke, so I get, like, five breaks a day. Hey. You got something on your skirt.”

“Yes. Your coffee.”

Richard overflowed with apologies, with seltzer, with salt. He betrayed no trace of enjoying himself as he pulled her out of line and attempted to rub the stain out of her skirt. He was all business, but Jane was still not taking him seriously.

She wished she had stayed in line. Just then, a pregnant woman entered the deli. Very pregnant, carrying her pregnancy so casually with an arched-out baby belly. This would have been unremarkable, but she was followed by a similarly pregnant woman. And then another. And another. In the end, there was a string of six pregnant women, waddling up to the counter for chicken salads, bagels with vegetable cream cheese, and soup. Jane had lost her place in line. Dick-Richard was still babbling. He had a flier for a play—was he in it? Hah! He was an actor after all. She had been right. She was puffed with pride, and now it was time to move on. Again. Really.

“Would you look at that?” Dick asked as he pointed to the school of pregnant women. “What’s in the water around here? I hope you’re not drinking it!”

He was no George Clooney, remember? There was no call for stammering here. She just needed to tell him she was busy and she had to go now.

“Look. I’m really busy and I have to go now. It’s Monday—it’s a crusher day. You seem really nice, but I’m too busy to talk to you. I’m due. At work. I’m past due. I mean, I have to go now. Thanks for this.”

She left the flier on the table and left the actor and the pregnant women in the deli, late for another meeting. Kendra, her manager, didn’t speak English. She spoke only Corporate Speak, and though it took twice as long to say anything, she seemed to love it.

Kendra gave a five-minute speech about “levels of granularity as we ramp up the London integration” and suggested that Jane could “add value to this critical process.” Jane translated it in her head and smiled: “We have programs, they have programs. Make them work together.”

“I’m on it,” Jane said, and it was true.

Kendra seemed confused by the brief reply. Didn’t Jane know that she was at work? Why wasn’t she using Corporate Speak?

Kendra talked about “server maintenance” and “time-sensitive issues.” Jane sifted through the words and realized that Kendra was saying: server maintenance. Why the delays? It was a big issue, and they were going to have to schedule a power outage over the weekend. Saturday night? Jane, can you supervise? Of course she can. Jane’s a team player. Go, Jane, go.

As the group shuffled out of the conference room, Kendra pulled Jane aside.

“You know, London offers lots of growth opportunities. If you’re interested, I can escalate.”

“Of course,” Jane said before she finished translating. All it meant was “Wanna work in London?”

...

Jane phoned The New York Times where her best friend, Ray, would be stumbling into work right about now.

Ray was a theater critic, but people loved him anyway. He recently became a second-stringer for the Times, but still published in lots of tourist publications. Tourists loved his ability to identify which audience was right for which show, and publishers loved his ability to beat a deadline. His career expanded to include hosting seminars at the New School, where he interviewed the very people he had skewered in print. Lots of people attended just to see if there would be an ugly scene. Once in a while, they got their wish. Philip Seymour Hoffman spat at him, but Madonna hugged him. Go figure.

Jane loved Ray’s broad appetite for the arts. Seated next to him, Jane saw gems and rip-offs. She shared his dislike of all those microphones, and she wondered aloud why there were always naked people on stage at The Public Theater. Ray explained that everyone calls it The Pubic.

“Hey, Ray. I have to work Saturday night. How did I let that happen?”

Silence. Why wasn’t he clucking in sympathy, or trying to outdo her?

“Are you listening? Are you multitasking? No e-mail when you’re on the phone with me. That was the deal, remember?”

“Janie. I’m not multitasking. I’m barely tasking. Auntie Mame’s hung.”

No one likes to say “Again?” when they hear that a friend is hung- over, and no one likes to hear it. But Ray’s latest boyfriend lived in a Ketel One world, and Ray wasn’t up to the challenge.

“He’s young. He likes to party. I try to keep up.”

“He has more brain matter to spare.”

“He had a gig at Arlene’s Grocery, and it didn’t go well. The audience wanted something more . . .” Ray couldn’t finish that sentence. He didn’t understand his boyfriend’s music, so he really didn’t understand his boyfriend’s music’s audience. So he said, “. . . else. They wanted something else. And then, there were all those sorrows to drown. Tell me about your wonderful, normal life, Principessa.”

“They want me to go to London.”

She could hear Ray sit up straighter.

“When? For how long?”

“Soon, I think. For forever, maybe. I don’t have any details.”

“Who needs details? Go. The London theater scene is so much more interesting than New York’s. Go, and take me with you.”

Ray described the last seven plays he had seen in London, while Jane multitasked and read e-mail. Ray could tell, and he interrupted her.

“Let’s continue this conversation next week at that Alice in Wonderland we’re going to see. Saturday night. No e-mail. You’ll have to pay attention.”

“Ray. I told you. I’m working Saturday night.”

“Next Saturday. Pay attention, you dope.” ...


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 441 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 10, 2008)
  • Publication Date: December 10, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEGDWW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,847 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

...AND BABY MAKES TWO is my first novel. And yes, it really is a work of fiction, even though it's based on my real life experience. In September 2000, I traveled to China to adopt my baby daughter. That journey, and everything that led up to it, was such a rollercoaster of emotion, drama, comedy and joy -- I knew that I had to find a way to tell the story.

But why not write a memoir? Fiction allowed me to streamline characters, simplify events and avoid offending the innocent and the not-so-innocent. It also helped me avoid sitting in the James Frey seat. So, the circumstances of the story are fiction, but the heart of the book is true. And I truly hope that you enjoy reading it.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was amazingly brilliant. Judy Sheehan has a distinct style that makes the dialogue and even the narration read like real life, which, in turn, makes the characters come to life even more fully. Because this is very much a character-driven novel, you are pulled into Jane's struggles and deluged with her life as if you were living it. Sheehan captures the daily life of a single woman living in New York perfectly and more wonderfully describes the adoption process. Personally, I never knew that much about adoption, but after reading this book, I feel as if I was introduced to another world, and coming away from that, I now have a newfound respect for anyone who chooses to adopt. All in all, it's hard to read this book and not be drawn into Jane Howe's struggles, friendships, and bad dates, all of which are described with delightfully witty imagery.
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By A Customer on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Almost thirty-seven years old Jane Howe lives the perfect single woman lifestyle in Greenwich Village. Her apartment is the best; her job pays extremely well and she is treated with respect; she has terrific family and friends who are always there for her. Everything seems so right until she steps out of her apartment and sees "The Christ Child" being held perfectly by his mom.

She suddenly has a need for her own child, but even if she could find the right stud that still takes nine months if they score the first time. Unable to move on since the vision, Jane decides her best course is to adopt a baby. To her shock her always been there family objects; worse she finds herself attracted to a man who she considers as a daddy. Still Jane goes through the adoption gauntlet along with other frightened females considering single parenthood until they go to China to meet and bring home their respective children.

AND BABY MAKES TWO is an emotional warm character driven tale that in some ways feels like a biographical fictionalized account of the author's real adoption. Fans feel the ups and downs that drive and frighten Jane especially when her family objects and her time in rural China. Filled with pathos, humor and intelligent insights, this is a powerful and perceptive look at a single person adopting an infant overseas that fans of contemporary tales will want to read.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
The biological clock is ticking at an ever-faster rate for almost thirty-seven-year-old Jane Howe of Greenwich Village, New York. So when Jane steps out of her apartment one day and sees the beautiful "Christ Child," her biological clock shifts into overdrive.

Jane identified the emptiness she feels. She has a nice apartment, a good job, and friends. What she doesn't have is a child; or a father for the child. Her true love, Sam died six years earlier and there have only been dates since then. So how does one have a baby without a man? Jane explores her options, while she dances around the typical family dysfunctions the world experiences if they have a family. And she meets a man just as she has decided on adopting a little girl from China.

And Baby Makes Two by Judy Sheehan is the tale of a woman who thought she couldn't be a parent, but underrated herself. Jane also found a man who wanted to be a boyfriend but couldn't be because he was still unhappily married to someone else. Then there is the sister who eloped and became dead to the family, but works at returning to the family while helping Jane with "life." And Jane's newly widowed father couldn't understand his daughter's choices but learned how to accept.

And Baby Makes Two is the warm, poignant, humorous adventure of a woman who wanted a child--and despite the lack of a man, made a family through adoption. It was new territory and she was fearful but she reached deep within herself, faced her fears and grew up and into a mommy. It is a happily ever after story.

As an adoptive mother of four Asian born children, I say this is a book long overdue for the bookshelves.

Armchair Interviews says: And Baby Makes Two is a fast, fun read but also will help women who want a child but didn't know about all the options.
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Format: Hardcover
I found Ms. Sheehan's use of language quite entertaining. The characters are neatly drawn, vibrant and real. I have recommended it to several friends already. It made me want to go to the florist and get flowers for all the people in my life I love.
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Format: Hardcover
As someone who just emerged from the 'thinkers' group, I love this book. As other's have mentioned Ms. Sheehan can really turn a phrase. Her character's jump off the page. I loved getting to know Teresa, Ray, Sheila, Peter and Karen, and especially Jane. I saw a little bit of myself in all three ChinaMoms (telling friends, telling family, having a Greta moment!).

I do wish Jane had a little more difficulty chosing a country, but only because that is where I'm stuck right now (China isn't as accepting of Singles anymore).

Anyone considering Single motherhood will love this book. Anyone not considering Single motherhood will love this book.

Here's hoping Ms. Sheehan will honor us with a sequel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't retell the story, there's too many delicious moments to miss this gem of a book. Lovely story, compelling writing, wit, and humor. I couldn't put it down. Perfect gift for a mother-to-be, a single mom, or a new mom.
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