Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Try Not To Be So "Judgy"

If it’s possible, I think the prospect of becoming a parent has made me even more judgmental. I was harsh enough before the pregnancy. Now, it seems that all I do is analyze parenting styles and outcomes, and since everyone came from a parent somewhere, that’s a lot of judging. It’s not intentional (it’s probably my parents’ faults); I do it without realizing I’m doing it. I know that most parents are just doing the best that they can – the best that they know how. So, I’m going to try something new. Instead of looking at others and noticing the kind of parent I don’t want to be, I’m going to look for the sort of parent that I DO want to be. I think I can do it...

80 days until baby.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Year From Now...

“Do you realize that a year from now, we’ll have a nine-month old?” Relaxing on our deck after dinner, my wife voiced this question, and I was startled by the fact that no, I hadn’t realized that fact. Most of my thoughts about the pregnancy have been trained on the months leading up to the delivery and the delivery itself, but every day, there seems to be more to consider, more to think about, more to plan. I heard a news story on the radio the other day, highlighting the effects of the stimulus package. The reporter spoke to a twenty-two year old who recently found a job, and the young man spoke of how, with his wife expecting in November, the job was a lucky break because now he could put money away for the baby. This instantly made me feel guilty. Should I be putting money away for my baby? Money for what? Food? Doctors? Supplies? College? Therapy? How much? How come he knows to do that and I don’t? What do we do if the baby doesn’t breastfeed? If they do, how do we know when to stop? When are babies supposed to start talking? Walking? Sleeping through the night?

It’s hard to imagine from where I’m sitting now that in one year I’ll know the answer to these and the countless other questions that spring out at me every few minutes. I can’t even picture myself holding a baby without also carrying a massive, unseen load of apprehension. Everytime I’ve held a baby in the past, there’s that moment when their face colors and screws up in pre-cry mode, and I immediately move to give them back to their parent as quickly as possible, thinking to myself, “ohmygodthey’recryingyouneedtotakethembacknow.” A year from now, there won’t be a parent to turn to. The parent will be me. Yikes.

81 days until baby.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Do babies dream of electric sheep?

We had our first belly movement today that was more than a quick jab with a foot or a hand. It was more like the slide of a heel across the tummy. Was the baby stretching? Maybe they were dreaming? The books say that at this point, the baby is capable of REM sleep and that means they can dream. That leaves me wondering - what does an in utero dream looks like? After all, the kid hasn’t seen anything beyond the inside of the uterus, so is that all they dream about? I don’t know enough about dreams to know if they’re completely reliant on past experience or if an infant, with a complete lack of experience, can still dream about flying and monsters in closets and talking animals. I hope they can.

PS – which is correct – “a” uterus or “an” uterus? The first one sounds right, but the latter should be grammatically correct.

82 days until baby.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Superpower is Regret

Last night, I took my nieces to the movies. I sat behind the wheel, trying to think of something to say, but any interesting or funny comments had scattered into the dark corners of my mind. My two nieces were in the back seat, and I could feel them waiting to be entertained. I had nothing, so we drove on in silence.

This is my chronic problem in dealing with children. I never know what to say. Yes, I am a teacher, but dealing with children in a teaching relationship is a completely different dynamic from informal ones. As a teacher, I’m in charge and I have goals (to teach them something and to keep them from destroying themselves or anything around them); there are known roles to fill on both sides of the interaction. In a situation like the one with my nieces, the roles are more ambiguous.

I know I shouldn’t think about it so much. Most kids are easygoing, they assume adults know what they're doing, and they don’t spend time analyzing conversation. I could ask them the easy questions like, “So, what grade will you be in this year?” or, “Are you excited about school?”, but I hear those words come out of my mouth and I want to roll my own eyes.

This is not a problem I have just with children. I never know what to say in conversation with adults, either. When I do say something, it usually leads to regret, so I tend to avoid conversation, and when cornered, I speak as little as possible. In most cases, it leaves people assuming I know more than I really do. Either that, or they think I'm a jerk. I don’t know if I have a clinical phobia, but I’m definitely a little goofy when it comes to social interaction.

All this leaves me wondering two things: 1. Will I be able to converse on a meaningful level with my child, and 2. How can I prevent my child from being like me? Luckily, my wife is in the picture, and that means both things are possible. Like me, my wife claims to never know what to say to most people, but I think she says that just to make me feel better. I’ve seen her carry on a meaningful conversation with a potted plant, and both of them were better off at the end of it. Also, her continued presence in my life is proof that I can have intelligent conversations with some people, even to the point where they’ll find me mentally attractive (at least I think she does). So I’m hoping the daily exposure between my child and me will take some of the edge off the anxiety, and if not, I’ll let my wife do the talking.

83 days until baby.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I am jealous of black bears.

I am jealous of black bears. A mother black bear gives birth in her den, in the middle of her winter slumber. She wakes up long enough to cut the umbilical cord and clean off the near-hairless cubs (usually one or two), and then she goes back to sleep! One book I read actually says, “…it’s not known how aware she is of the birth itself.” God must be very fond of bears if they can give birth and not even be aware of it. I imagine the bear rolling over and thinking, “Oh, look. The babies were born.” The cubs stay warm in her fur, suckle, and grow. Two months later she wakes up and leaves the den, and by this time, the cubs are big enough to follow along behind her, watching and learning from her. If everything in nature evolved for a purpose, what’s the reason for bears having such a smooth birthing process and ours being 6-24+ hours of pain?

84 days until baby.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking

Godparents. The official reason for a godparent, as I understand it, is to have someone waiting in the wings so, in case something fatal happens to their parents, a child will have someone to raise them up “in the church.” I don’t know how many parents consider that when making their list of potential godparents, but having gone through thirteen years of Catholic school, it definitely figures into my decision. Not that I’m a good Catholic. When asked about my religion, I feel guilty and avoid the question by joking that I’m a “recovering Catholic”. My wife and I don’t go to church, and I have a distrust of organized religion (As Woody Allen said, I don’t want to be part of any group that would have me as a member), but this consideration of godparents begs the question of how we will approach religion with our child. Even though I don’t go to church, I still consider myself a religious person, and the basis of my religious beliefs, as well as my morals and ethics, is rooted in what the nuns and priests taught me when I was in uniform at St. Pete’s. The conflict lies in the fact that I’m also full of questions and uncertainties about many of the things I learned. My wife is the same. So, what do we do for our child? Do we teach them as we were taught, in the traditional manner, ignoring our adult questions? Do we allow them to find religion on their own once they’re old enough to begin looking (what if they never do? I find that notion upsetting.)? Or do we find some sort of muddled middle ground?

85 days until baby.
My wife went to the doctor today. All systems are go. There are ten fingers and toes. From now on, she needs to go every two weeks, and soon the appointments will be weekly. The end is nigh!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When An Armful of Books is Not Just an Armful of Books

My wife started nesting tonight. I came upstairs to find her standing by our bookcase with an armful of books, more in a jumbled pile at her feet, and a wild look in her eyes. She was muttering, “We need to throw everything out. We need the room.” I went back downstairs.

86 days until baby.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Remember the Mountain Bed

Maybe it's obvious to most people, but it's more apparent to me every day how becoming a parent changes your perspective (I imagine it will be even more so when the baby's actually here!). Everyday routines and situations that I move through without thinking suddenly give me pause as I visualize how the impending arrival of such a small person will change them in ways numerous and large. In one way, it reminds me of falling in love. Doing so usually causes songs to take on new meaning, and that's precisely what's happened to me, but from a parental perspective. This requires some explanation: like many young males, I acquired an acoustic guitar during my high school years, took a handful of lessons, dropped them because they weren't teaching me Zeppelin, and used the small bit I had learned to amuse myself playing poor imitations of my favorite songs. I play for myself and by myself, too embarrassed to even play in front of my wife (I usually practice when she's not home, keeping one eye trained on the window, watching for her car, and if she arrives, I quickly set the guitar back in its stand and pretend I was reading. Why I do this, I don't know.). One song I have loved and played for years is "Remember the Mountain Bed," a song written by Woody Guthrie, but not set to music until the band Wilco did so in 1998. The lyrics are of the chill-inducing sort; so good that you wish you wrote them, but I always thought the song was about a man reflecting on his love for his wife and recalling a long ago afternoon on a mountainside. Playing through this song today, it hit me. The stuff I thought this song was about? It's in there, but now I think what Woody was really trying to tell me was that the act of creating a family - that is what life is all about. It might just be why we're here, and if you understand it, it can make you happy and give you purpose.

Follow the link. Read the lyrics. You won't be sorry.
87 days until baby.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Know Something

Well, we're grown ups now. My wife and I met with a mortgage rep at a bank today. Scary stuff, but we realized that our one bedroom house - which we love - is an eventual recipe for disaster when we add a baby into the mix. It'll be do-able for a little while, but come a year or two from now, this kid's gotta have his/her own room. Wow, at times like this, I wish I could go back in time one year and find myself; find the me who thought he knew how the rest of his life would go. I would just look at him, smile, and shake my head while he asks, "What? Do you know something? What?"

Also - our friend had a good suggestion for a baby name: boy or girl - Optimus Prime.
88 days until baby.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do they make sleeping bags in 3M size?

I was in the Adirondack Mountains for the past few days, far away from internet access and a computer, but not wanting to ignore my intention of daily entries, I brought my journal with me. Below today's entry are excerpts…

We came back from our camping trip today (I still can’t believe my six-months pregnant wife wanted to sleep in a tent in the middle of the woods). We talked a lot on the trip about how much we’re looking forward to taking our kid camping; how we want to make sure they grow up unafraid of bugs and knowing how to go to the bathroom in the woods. I can already picture showing them how to start their first “no-match” fire with flint and steel. Apart from rare sleep outs in the backyard, I didn’t go camping until I was eighteen. My wife didn’t go until I took her after we’d been dating a few months, but we both look forward to it now – to opening our eyes in the middle of the night and seeing stars overhead, to waking up and seeing the first threads of pink in the eastern sky, to crawling into a warm sleeping bag on a cold night, to escaping all the distractions and complications of the indoor world for a few days and allowing life to just be about meeting the basic needs of food, water, shelter, and letting the rest of our time be all about whatever interesting thing nature throws into our path. In other words, we get to be kids for a little while, in the truest sense of the word. So, how young is too young to take a baby camping?

89 days until baby - we've passed the three month mark!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Prenatal Camping - Part 2

I tore along the dirt road, the waning blue light of twilight making every shadow deeper and every hole in the road harder to see. My headlights illuminated the small road sign: Speed Limit 15 MPH, and I spared a glance for my speedometer – 40 MPH. Too fast, but I wouldn’t slow down. I had to get back.

My wife and I were camped in the Moose River Recreation Area in the Adirondacks, a wilderness stretching for miles and crisscrossed by rough, dirt roads. Primitive campsites were spaced out far apart along the roads, and ours was four miles from the nearest main road. We wanted seclusion and quiet, and we got it, but tonight, while sitting by the campfire after a nice dinner, we realized that we’d forgotten to bring enough water to the campsite with us. “Let’s just drive into town. It’s only 20 minutes away. There’s a gas station right on the main road.”

“You go,” my wife said. “We can’t leave the fire.”

So I hopped in the car and drove down the dirt road without really thinking. About a mile or two down the road, I realized that I had the headlamps in the car with me, so if my wife wanted to gather more wood or find a tree to go to the bathroom, she wouldn’t have a light to do so. But it wasn’t dark yet. In fact, twilight was newly fallen, and the eastern sky wasn’t even dark yet. I told myself she would be fine.

By the time I got to the gas station, it was much darker, and I was getting nervous. I grabbed a jug of water from the cooler in the back of the store, threw some money at the clerk, and pulled out of the lot.

By that time, my imagination was chugging at full speed, pumping out every unfortunate turn of events possible. What if she decided to go look for wood and became turned around in the woods, wandering away from camp instead of towards it? What if the fire got out of hand? What if some guys wandered by and decided to have some fun with a lone woman at a campsite? I’d read the seldom-patrolled Moose River area was sometimes known for partiers. I cursed myself for leaving her. I should have doused the fire and made her come with me.

Over the past two days, our trips from the main road to our campsite took about 15 minutes, carefully maneuvering the car down the dirt road, around rocks and potholes at about 15 miles an hour. Coming back from the gas station tonight, I made it in about 5 minutes, and as I skidded into the site, I cried out in relief. Linda was sitting by the low campfire, looking over her shoulder at me, evidently wondering why I came in so fast.

I ran up to her and hugged her, so thankful that none of my imaginings had come true.

She hugged me back and asked what was going on. I told her what happened.

I could tell my concern flattered her. She said as much, but she also pointed out that I wasn’t usually this concerned about her well being, and that I was probably really concerned about the baby.

I dismissed the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized she might be right. She’s a strong person who can take care of herself. I know that. It’s one of the reasons I love her, so where did the terror I felt come from? I don’t like the idea that I’m more concerned about her because she’s carrying our baby. Shouldn’t my anxiety for her safety be the same regardless of whether she’s pregnant or not?

90 days until baby.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Prenatal Camping - Part 1

Our baby is camping. He is sleeping in a tent. Earlier this evening, a campfire warmed him, and as I write this, barred owls serenade him from the branches of a balsam stretching over our sleeping bags. The baby, still inside my wife, is most likely unaware of the adventure they’re on, but I’m counting it all the same.

91 days until baby.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Crime of the Only Child

"How can you do that to your child?" This was a question posed to a friend of mine with a single child, after they had informed the asker that they were not planning on having any more children. The asker went on to list all of the ways that children with siblings are happier and more well-adjusted and why it would be cruel to subject a child to a lifetime of loneliness. Am I alone in finding this point of view completely ludicrous? Ignoring all of the population-related problems in this world, since when is it immoral to have just one child? My wife is an only child, and I can personally vouch for the fact that she turned out beautifully. I'm lucky to be a teacher - for many reasons - but it also gives me the chance to see kids from diverse backgrounds. I can't say only children are worse off than those with siblings; I can't say they're better off either. I can say that almost every student I've had mirrors their parents on many levels, sometimes clearly and sometimes in a distorted fashion, but any questions I have about why a child is this way or that way are usually answered after the first parent-teacher meeting. Not always, but usually.

My wife and I didn't plan on having a child, but here we are and we're ecstatic about it. We're not, however, likely to have another, and I won't feel guilty about that. Of course, I can't really say that until our baby arrives because until then, I have no realistic idea of what I'm talking about. Everybody loses their mind on some level when they have a baby. So who knows? Maybe next year at this time, I'll be sitting at this computer, crazy-eyed and typing about how I want 5 more kids.

92 days until baby.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When I'm 64...

I've gotten used to thinking of my death as the end. Before getting pregnant, with just Linda and myself in the mix, the only question was who would go first (she said it had to be her) and that would be it for our lives - a definitive period at the end of the timeline of she and me. It struck me today that now, that reality has likely been erased. It happened as I was listening to the radio and heard about something that was going to happen in 2030, and I thought to myself, "Hey, our kid will be almost 20 by then - in college, the owner of a heart that has been broken a few times, their first car a few years old." I enjoyed thinking that thought, and then it dawned on me. I'll be 56 then. Not too old, but still a senior citizen in some restaurant situations. And it went on from there - when my kid's my age, I'll be 72. (The strange part? My dad will be 72 this year.) I may no longer be around, but if I am or not, they'll (probably?) be thinking about me after I'm gone. Not every day, I'm sure, but more than the average friend or relative, and hopefully, I'll be influencing them in some way. Something I said to them or did with them, something that reminds them of me. Maybe there will be grandchildren, too. So, now, the period has become a question mark. I can't help but feel a little self-centered that I find the idea comforting.

93 days until baby.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Do I Keep Reading This Thing?

What to Expect When You're Expecting should be retitled, You Have No Idea: Everything That Can Go Wrong With Your Pregnancy. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

94 days until baby

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scared and ready

I never wanted to be a dad. Maybe I was too selfish or too scared. Most of it proably stems from my habit of taking a really long time to make a decision. It took me six years to work up the smarts to ask my wife to marry me, and it took us thirteen years to get pregnant. And we didn't decide to get pregnant. It surprised us both, but we'd had a few possible pregnancies in the months leading up to the real one and I remember feeling surprised at how calm I was at the prospect. Why wasn't I freaking out?  I was even more surprised at the twinge of disappointment when the pregnancy test came out negative. So why the change? I like to think that I'm older and more prepared to deal with fatherhood or that I have traveled and experienced the freewheeling couple's life and I'm therefore ready, but I don't think that's it. Those ideas don't ring quite true in my head. They sound like a put-on. So, I have no idea what or who is to blame for my new absence of apprehension, but now I know that it's possible to feel scared and ready at the same time.

95 days until baby.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday 2.0

"Sundays when we can do whatever we want are rapidly coming to an end." My wife stated this today offhandedly, but it struck me as the truest sort of statement. Sundays, for us, are a day for sleeping in, making a fancy breakfast, reading, watching movies under the blanket; we can be unproductive without feeling guilty about it. On Sunday, we are captains of our own ships, but a new captain is arriving in a little over  three months. The new captain is small, does not speak english, and I've heard he's a yeller. He's a high maintenace sort of guy who expects everything done for him and done right the first time. And he's not a patient man. He hates to wait.

Some part of me laments the loss of Sunday as we know it, but I'm surprised to find that a bigger part of me is looking forward to the new incarnation of Sunday. I imagine Sunday will still be an unproductive sort of day, just with the stack of pancakes a little higher. I know many things will be different (it might be truer to say that things will not be the same), but that's okay. There's room under the blanket for one more. 

96 days until baby.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Best if Used By...

Did you know that car seats have expiration dates? I did not. I found it in the process of trying to figure out a hand-me-down car seat given to me by a co-worker. My wife was turning the thing over and noticed the words "DO NOT USE AFTER DECEMBER 2010" (Our baby's due in mid-November). I pictured myself placing our baby into the car seat on January 1, 2011, and the child bursting into flames.

97 days until baby.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pink or blue or neither?

My wife said today that she thinks we’re having a girl. Our yoga instructor, one of those people who “knows things”, agreed. I have no insight into the outcome. They say to pay attention to your dreams, but in mine, my wife's given birth to boys, girls, monkeys, and in one dream, a puppy. People ask which one I would prefer to have. I respond with the truth - that it really doesn’t matter to me. The idea of either one scares the hell out of me.

98 days until baby.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eat Like You Give A Damn

"Just make sure you know what you're doing. Make sure you do your homework." A friend spoke these words to me after I told them that my wife and I would be raising our baby vegan (vegetarian without the eggs and cheese). At the time, I didn't think much about it, but it stayed with me and the words kept repeating in my mind. I eventually figured out why it was bothering me. How many people give their kids fast food dinners, doughnuts, blue jello, sugar-saturated yogurt, and the like, yet we're the ones who need to "do our homework"? For God's sake, I've seen kids have a can of pop and fruit snacks for lunch, but no one assumes that the child won't meet their nutritional needs. No one would dare tell the parents, "You need to make sure your kid's getting everything they need. Your diet may not be adequate." Yet, I've had people say as much to me several times, as if raising a healthy, vegan child is akin to sailing around the world, requiring massive amounts of research and preparation. Why is it so unthinkable that you can eat like you give a damn about the world around you (and your own health) and still get everything your body needs? It's not hard! It's really, really not, and it's so wonderful, to sit down to three meals a day, knowing you're doing something positive in such a simple way, and we want our child to share in that. Yes, there are certain needs to be aware of, but how many non-vegans do you know who have health problems that could be improved if they just ate better? These people are told what their bodies need, and what do they do? They shrug their shoulders and say, "But I could never give up _________ (insert scary, tasty food item here). Does anyone say, "Oh my God, you're so irresponsible."? No. It's accepted, but we're the crazy parents. "Make sure you do your homework." I have and I will, but shouldn't every parent - vegan and non-vegan - do their homework when it comes to what their kids eat?

99 days until baby.

FYI - What the Mayo Clinic has to say: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/HQ01596

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Watching the Belly

Last night, I watched the subtle, sudden rise and fall of my wife's belly as the baby went about her/his evening, doing whatever it is baby's do for all those hours inside. It's too soon to tell elbow from foot or hand; being able to really see the movements is a relatively new thing for us, but seeing my wife's smile and her eyes grow wide with each new push from that tiny body, the reality of the situation struck me: She really has another human being inside her. A human being that will grow and change this world in some way large or small but for now is only pushing and bumping around inside her, unaware of how much those simple movements delight us.

100 days until baby.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A House With Woods

When I was seven, my best friend Joe Baskin and I got lost in the woods behind my house. I don't know how long we were lost for, but it was long enough for fear to burn the memory of that afternoon into my mind forever. I can recall wiping tears away so Joe wouldn't see and saying Our Fathers in my mind in the hope that God would cut us a break. I also remember eventually spotting my backyard through the trees, and the elated rush of joy at realizing we were lost no more, like coming up for air from the bottom of a cold lake. I think Joe and I even hugged each other. I never told my parents about getting lost - at least I don't think I did - and it didn't stop me from going in the woods. I loved those woods and I have no doubt that the time I spent there - the adventures big and small - influenced my life on every level. Now, Linda and I need to find a house because the one we're in has no bedroom for the baby.  I'm not too picky - old or new, big yard or tiny. I have only one requirement that I won't budge on - there has to be a good-sized woods behind the house. It may sound strange, mean - whatever, but I want my child to have the opportunity to get lost in the woods, too. Maybe not like Joe and I did, but like I did on so many other days, when I walked out my backdoor and the only thing I had to accomplish was to build a fort or find a crayfish.

101 days until baby.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Talent

My wife sneezed today and said, "I know I'm pregnant now. I peed my pants a little."

102 days until baby.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Arguments...sans baby

Linda and I had an argument today about the baby shower. Nothing serious, but we hardly ever fight, and when we do, it always seems like such a big deal. On top of that, the infrequency of our arguments leaves us both ill-prepared to deal with them; even a fight like today's over something relatively minor, left me feeling awful for hours. Even now, we're more or less  made up, but the knot in my stomach is still there. It's unwinding, but it's still there. It all leaves me wondering how we'll deal with disagreements when there's a baby in the mix. I worry that the stress, stress, and more stress (on top of a lack of sleep) will just heighten our lack of combat skills. We're both too sensitive - me a little more than her, I think. Maybe we can practice arguing with each other...

103 days until baby.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthing Class Today

"Does anyone here know what a contraction is?" The teacher started the class with that one and spent the next six hours trying to show how painful labor was going to be while telling us not to worry too much about it. She said that knowing what to expect would lessen our anxiety. Hmmm...it sounds good in theory, but I feel even more anxious now, and I'm just a bystander. My wife isn't reassured either. If anything, the look in her eye tells me that when she looked behind the curtain, she didn't like what she saw. Not knowing might have been better.

Even the answers to other questions were frustratingly vague - How long will labor last? "Anywhere from 6-24+ hours." That narrows it down, huh? I know the teacher has no control over how long labor is - I don't blame her, but what kind of sadistic evolutionary turn caused humans to have such a schizophrenic birthing process? Do all animals vary so widely in the length of their labor? How come we have apps for every damn thing on the planet, but no one has figured out how to get a handle on labor. Wouldn't it be great? Punch in your height, weight, age, answer a few health realted questions and boom, your cell phone could tell you how long your labor will last. Did you know that doctors have no idea what actually causes a woman to go into labor?

The discussion on pain medication was equally fuzzy, but my wife is planning on the epidural. I can't blame her for wanting it, but after the teacher went over the potential hazards of the procedure, including the likelihood that labor would be extended by a half hour, I asked my wife if she would consider going without it. She said, "Sure, as long as I can hold onto your scrotum for the entire labor process. I'll hand it back to you when it's all over."

I know it sounds like the I didn't like the class, but I did. Not for the intended reasons, but it did give us the chance to see the hospital, to get a clearer mental picture of the entire labor process (however long it might be), and above all, it got us even more excited about having our baby. Watching the videos in class helped me better imagine what it will be like when labor is over and they plop that newborn onto my wife's stomach, in all of its beautiful, messy glory.

104 days until baby.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are we all just genes?

I was at the grocery store today. There was a man about my age dealing with his son. As I watched that red-faced, rampaging toddler scream in the middle of the store, I was both horrified and terrified. I imagine all new parents scope out other parents with their kids. We watch. We judge. We tell ourselves, "I'll never let my kids do that," or "Oh my God, I hope my kid's not like that," or "What's wrong with these people?"  I know it's unfair, but come on, we're human and as new parents-to-be, I suspect that since we have no idea what we're in for,  it's a way for us to think, "It won't be so bad. I'LL be able to control MY kid."

Along with all the other new parents, I do realize that, at times, my kid WILL behave like that boy did today, but I'm hoping I'll do something about it. I want to believe that from the beginning, I'll be nipping that kind of behavior in the bud, setting clear expectations, and following through on consequences when my kid crosses the line. I know it's easier said than done - I'm a teacher, so I know how kids can wear you down, but I know I've seen well behaved kids in the world. They can't all be the result of good genetics, right? Please tell me I have some control over how my kid behaves in public.

105 days until baby.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Post - Best Advice Received Today

OK - no big fanfare here - one post a day until my kid turns one. Here goes:

People are going to buy my baby lots of unnecessary gifts. My wife and I will buy our baby lots of unnecessary gifts. I can see this coming and it is unavoidable (We've already bought a mustard-yellow, Captain Kirk onsie - it's very cool).  I can try to fight it and come out looking like a cheap and ungrateful husband, son, friend, etc., or I can try to set some ground rules. Today, a mom of three told me her rule for all friends and relatives who wish to buy her children gifts: nothing that needs batteries. Any toys should do 10% of the work and the kid should do 90%. I realize this probably means that I will step on Legos for many years to come, but I think I can become a slippers guy.

106 days until baby.