Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This morning, heavy-eyed with sleep, my wife and I worked together to clean up a dirty diaper of epic proportions (We haven’t yet gotten down how to do the really dirty ones solo). Pulling the fourth washcloth out of the closet, my wife said to me, “I never thought I’d be happy cleaning someone’s ass at .”

10 days old - Violet's first bath today (she was not amused) and she's back up to her birthweight!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Tin Man Cometh

When I was little, I would cry at the drop of a hat. I don’t know if I was always that way, or if it started when I went to school. Crying was a chronic problem for me when I was in the first grade. I would cry because the day was too long (this was in the days of half-day kindergarten, so the transition to a full day of school was a tough one for me) or because I missed my step mom. One of the most frequent reasons for me to turn on the waterworks was when someone else was getting yelled at. I hated for anyone to yell. My dad’s a yeller, so maybe my aversion started there, but I can remember my first grade teacher getting particularly frustrated as the school year went on. She would be yelling at one of my classmates, I would start to cry, and she would start yelling at me for being so silly, which would only make me cry all the harder. I didn’t want to cry – I would put down my head, squeeze my eyes shut, and try to think of something happy or funny, but the tears would inevitably press through. At some point, my parents got involved. I don’t recall the specifics, but I remember some sort of deal being struck, and I think the terms were that for every day I didn’t cry, I got a pack of gum. It worked, but it worked too well. I became a person for whom tears were almost an impossibility. I don’t recall a single instance of tears all through my teen years – no funeral or sad movies would elicit a drop, not even when the first girl I thought I loved dumped me (okay, maybe I misted up later that night while listening to Journey’s “Faithfully”). It bothered me as I grew older. Instead of feeling like a “tough” guy – real men aren’t supposed to cry, right? – I felt more like a robot. There were a few times over the last few years when I have been able to cry – truly sad times – but they were rare, and I usually had to work to make the tears come. But when the nurse put Violet in my arms, I was crying even before I realized it – crying with relief for Linda that all the labor we’d stressed about was over, crying with delight at the tiny collection of mingled genes in my arms. Since then, there have been a few more times where a story on the radio or a song will catch me off guard and I’ll get a lump in my throat. Have I now gone too far in the other direction? I don’t think so. The emotional roller coaster of the last eight days was intense, so things are somewhat raw in my head right now. Maybe, as things settle down and life with Violet becomes more real, my emotions will settle down, too. But maybe not. A friend of mine recently sent me a message and marveled at how parenting is akin to growing a new heart. I knew my old was one a bit messed up, but I like the feel of this new one. I think I’ll keep it.

9 days old.

The friend who told me about the new heart? She's a poet/writer/teacher with a great blog called The Poem Farm. Check it out at: http://poemfarm.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here's Hoping

Did you know that newborns hate to be naked? I had no idea. The first time we took off Violet’s clothes to change her diaper, she screamed the high-pitched cry that pierces the panic center of a new parent’s brain, and her arms and legs flailed as though she was in free fall. Several nurses and our doctor confirmed our observation that newborns are a modest bunch. We mentioned it to Linda’s lactation consultant - Violet’s aversion to being nude - and without missing a beat, the woman said, “Just hope she’s still that way when she’s 15.”

8 days old.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

About Last Night...

I started this blog last summer, late on an August night. I wanted to slow down my wife’s pregnancy. It was rushing by, and I wanted a way to capture this slice of time for myself, for my wife, and for our new baby. Won’t we want to look back on it for the rest of our lives? I thought when I started that once the baby came, I would have no end of things to write about. Each day would bring some new insight into parenting and the baby’s antics would provide a wealth of inspiration. Reality is much different. Sleeping in two hour increments is not conducive to deep thought and reflection. Currently, my days are a string of bottle feedings/meeting baby needs, making food, cleaning dirty dishes, and talking to friends and relatives on the phone about the first three things. Any spare moment I find I spend holding and staring at Violet. I am not complaining at all and I’m exaggerating a bit, but the point is that now that Violet is here, things are not exactly how I thought they would be – not better or worse – just different, and more often than not, it’s still a struggle to come up with something that I deem worthwhile to type up (and that Linda will allow the world to read – the next time I see you, ask me about her hands-free, breast pumping tank top). Part of the problem is that I’m a – for lack of a better word – snob when it comes to what I’ll put down here. I could go on and on about how beautiful Violet is and how every movement she makes is art, but so many others have done that before when it comes to babies. It’s like the songs that musicians write when they become parents – in my opinion, it’s always dangerous territory. Unless there’s some unique take on the subject, I forget it the moment after I hear it. If someone (or me) is going to spend the time and energy creating a song (or a blog entry) about their child, I want them to come up with something more than a variety of ways to say, “My kid is so awesome!” or “I love being a parent!” I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Maybe I just want to apologize for last night’s entry – it was the best I could do in my semi-conscious state. Part of all this comes from the fact that during today’s feeding, I put on Colin Meloy’s live CD. There’s a song called “Wonder” that he wrote about becoming a father. It’s a song I’ve mentioned here before, and it’s worth doing so again because it’s a good example of what I’m talking about – someone who worked hard to put down something thoughtful about their kid  - something that stuck with me long after first coming across it. Please take three minutes and twenty four seconds to listen to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwwEccxMPIY Ten years or so from now, I'll play it for Violet and tell her, "You want to know how I was feeling when you popped out of mom? Listen to this, 'cause Colin nailed it."

 7 days old.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look, She's Smiling....

Was there ever a bigger spoilsport than the scientist who figured out that when a newborn smiles, it's probably just gas?

6 days old.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Know There's Something I'm Forgetting...

Every day since coming home from the hospital, I have been amazed at what I can accomplish on just a few hours of sleep. We’re still settling into a skeleton of a routine – figuring out things like the baby's feeding schedule, how and where we can sleep and still be in arm’s reach of Violet, how to fit making dinner (or any other meal) into the day. Prior to Violet’s birth, I needed 7 hours of sleep in order to function properly. Anything less and I’d be yawning all day. Now, I chug along without really thinking about it. Maybe I’m still on a high from Violet’s birth. I’m too much in love and there’s too much to do and think about. Sleep will have to wait. Unfortunately, there are some side effects to my lack of sleep, one of them being forgetfulness. Things that were part of my everyday routine – necessary things - have slipped my mind in the face of baby-related tasks. But for some of these things, I’ll have to make time. Today, I realized that I haven’t showered since Sunday.

5 days old.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


There are few times in my life that I’ve felt as happy as this morning, when the pediatrician told us that Violet was doing much better. Her weight was back up and the signs of dehydration were gone. It caught me completely off guard, the strength of that relief and with it, the realization that I had been more or less holding my breath since the previous afternoon, when the pediatrician confirmed our fear that something was wrong. Walking out of the pediatrician’s office, it felt as though an elephant had just raised itself off my chest. It’s strange how even though I don’t really know this 20 inch long person, even though we’ve never really had a conversation, her well-being means as much to me as Linda’s and much more than my own

4 days old

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Too Much Too Quickly

There are few times in my life that I’ve felt as scared as this afternoon, when the pediatrician told us that Violet was dehydrated and losing too much weight. We came home from the hospital yesterday, excited to start our new life of little sleep, dirty diapers, and a baby girl, but this morning, we had to admit that something was wrong. Every time we looked into Violet’s diaper, it was dry and empty, and with every feeding and unfilled diaper, we grew more frantic. The pediatrician echoed our concern, and wanted us to bring her in immediately. She weighed Violet and found 10% of her birth weight gone – not an unheard of amount, but too much too quickly. Linda’s milk wasn’t coming in yet, so Violet’s breastfeeding wasn’t giving her enough to eat. The doctor said we needed to supplement with formula, and we did.

Tonight, Violet’s taken in a good amount of the formula, and I was never so excited to see urine as I was when I opened her diaper at 9 PM. We have an appointment at the pediatrician tomorrow morning, and I know tonight will be a long one (I tried  - without success - to stand her on the bath scale to she if she gained any weight).

The other bright spot tonight came after Violet’s 10 PM feeding. It was one of the few times she was awake and not eating, just observing the world within the twelve-inch scope of her vision. I read her her very first book, The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. She stared in my general direction the entire time. Maybe it was the sound of my voice that kept her eyes on me, but the weight of her gaze was like no other.
3 days old.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A-weeping and A-wailing

We were able to play our own music in the delivery room, and we set it to shuffle through various songs on Linda's iPod. A few moments after Violet was born, this song happened to come on...

"Blake's View" by M. Ward

Death is just a door, Blake said it first
It's just another room we enter, it's a threshold that hurts
Birth is just a chorus, death is just a verse
In the great song of spring that the mockingbirds sing
We come and we go, a-weeping and a-wailing
Our heads in the hands of the nurse
Well, put your head on my shoulder, baby, tell me where it hurts
You say you lost your one and only, could it get any worse?
I said, "Death is just a door, you'll be reunited on the other side"
Yeah, death is just a door, you'll be reunited by and by

It made me think of my mom, wondering what she might think of her grandaughter, and how it felt to be in that room at that moment, holding my daughter in my arms.

We are home. Tired, happy, and very much in love.

2 days old.

I also wanted to thank everyone out there for all of your heartfelt comments, congratulations, and compliments. We feel blessed to have Violet and all of you looking over our shoulders.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's a Girl!

Saturday, November 20, 2010
Violet Judith Michalek
Born 2:54 AM
7 lbs. 15 oz.
20 1/2 inches

Friday, November 19, 2010


Out of the 1:30 AM darkness, Linda said, "I don't think you're going into work today."

0 (?) days until baby.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

The due date is today or tomorrow, depending on which doctor we talk to, but either way, if the baby has his/her pocket calendar, they’ll be out before sundown tomorrow.

It seems fitting that I keep thinking of seven months ago - the evening of March 22nd. I was on the phone, and Linda came out of the bathroom, wide-eyed and serious. “You need to get off the phone now.” I did, and she pulled me into the bathroom and pointed to two plastic sticks on the bathroom counter. “I took two just to be sure.” She’d been late and had picked up a pregnancy test. Over the years, the same thing had happened a half dozen times – always negative – so I hadn’t thought much about it this time around, figuring that it would be the same as all the others. I was wrong. Those two little pink lines said it all. And now here we are.

1 day until baby!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trust Me

Linda went to the doctor today. We were really hoping for some sign that the baby was getting ready to budge, but no such luck - Batman is not ready to leave the Batcave. Her next appointment is on Monday, and it's an odd mixture here of disappointment and excitement. Frustration, too, on more than one level. Linda and I have talked a lot about labor and the drugs they might give her. Beyond the epidural, we want to let her body do its thing (as long as the baby's not in distress). We've read up on what's popular, the side effects, and what's necessary. When Linda asked the doctor about it today and expressed her concerns, the doctor said, "The most important thing to remember is to be flexible." Gee, get defensive much? I can see the logic behind the doctor's statement, but I can also see it as another way of saying, "Just do whatever we tell you. We know what's best," and I get nervous whenever I hear that.

2 days until baby.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

C is for Curious

I was five years old and a friend of my aunt’s gave me a Curious George ABC book. I remember thinking that I was too old for an ABC book, but I liked Curious George, so I gave it a chance. My aunt’s friend was named Kathy, and she had a son about my own age. My mom was gone and my dad hadn’t remarried yet, so I spent more than a few days hanging out with my aunt, her friend Kathy, and Kathy’s son. I don’t remember much at all about those days. I’m not sure I would remember them at all if not for that Curious George book. Inside the book, on the page for the letter K, (I can still picture it clearly) the text proclaimed that K was for kangaroo, and above it was the disturbing illustration – a blocky K with the face and arms of a kangaroo sticking out of the front and a kangaroo tail protruding from the back. Below the text, Kathy had written in “…and K is for Kathy, who loves Billy sooo much!” I recall feeling immense pleasure at reading those simple words. It was a small gesture that Kathy probably didn’t think about too much, but it blew my five year old mind. I had always been taught that writing in a book was wrong, but somehow I knew that this was okay. No, it was better than okay, because what she wrote made me so happy. I must’ve opened that book a thousand times growing up just to look at that page. For what, I’m not sure. Reassurance that someone loved me? Maybe it had something to do with my mom? I’ve been thinking about this book lately because of something a friend wrote in response to one of my posts – that a child’s environment is more important than lessons. It made me think of a quote that I’ve come across in various forms over the years – “Much more than what you say, children remember the things you do.” Some nights, I find this idea terrifying. I picture some foolish, thoughtless gesture or action of mine filed away in my child’s mind, the seed that grows to scar them later on in life. I know that’s overly dramatic, but hey, that’s me, and for the most part, I do understand that any parent who truly tries to do their best day in and day out is allowed to hope that it’s effort well spent. So that’s my plan. Just to be safe, I’ll be picking up a copy of Curious George’s ABCs when my child is 5 and writing a little something on one of the pages.

3 days until baby.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wait...What Was I Saying?

I came home from work tonight, and Linda asked if I could get dinner started. She wanted to take a shower “in case tonight was the night.” She said she was a little “leaky” today (I’m think I know what that meant). So, I made dinner, and I’m lucky I didn’t burn down the house. It’s hard to concentrate on anything except this thing that will happen sometime in the next 1-13 days. I’m not even sure what I taught my students today – I’m sure it must have been something, but the day is a blur. I try to focus on something, and somehow I end up thinking of that one more thing that needs to go into the hospital suitcase or one more phone number we have to add to the list or if our baby will have hair. If I’m this distracted about the baby’s arrival, how much worse will it be when the baby arrives? I’m hoping it will lessen. Right now, I’m dealing with unknowns, so there’s a million different scenarios and outcomes to imagine – a thousand eventualities to plan for and anticipate. Once the baby’s here, I’m told life settles into a routine again – at least some rough semblance of one. I'm looking forward to that, but what I’m really looking forward to is those first few hours when we come home from the hospital, when it’s just the three of us – the labor behind us and everything else in front of us.

4 days until baby.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Firsts and Lasts

I didn’t want this last week of posts to turn into a long list of “lasts” – our last Saturday night as couple, our last “sleep-in Sunday,” the last time Linda tweezes the hair out of my ears (I’m sure she won’t have time to notice them once the baby’s here). Not because I’m not thinking about these things; it’s because the baby’s impending arrival overshadows every one of them. They don’t matter. How could they when the baby is so close?

And with the baby being so close, I figured I’d better get the car seats installed today. We have a set up where we have two car seat bases – one for each car – and the baby carrier clicks into either one. My sister-in-law warned me that installing them is a Herculean task - one that would leave me red-faced and sweating. I mentally primed myself for a struggle, but I had both bases strapped in in under twenty minutes. This left me wondering if I did it right and I spent another twenty minutes looking through the little manual, pulling on the straps, and wiggling the bases in every possible direction. I stepped back, looked at the back seats of our cars, and thought, “Holy crap, we have car seats in our cars.” I lifted the carrier, and guided it into the back seat of my wife’s car, leaning in the car to click the car seat into the base. How many more times would I do this over the next year? The next two years? This was the first time. No baby, but it still felt big.

Immediately after that project, I set about shutting down our vegetable garden, pulling up the last of the collard greens and the kale, the dried up remains of tomato and pepper plants. I cover my garden with leaves for the winter. They keep out the weeds and protect the asparagus from the cold, but I don’t have many big trees around the garden. So, I trudge up the big hill behind my house, garbage bags and rake in hand. At the top is a flat ridge covered by maple trees, and the level ground makes for easy raking. I pile up the leaves, stuff them into the garbage bags, and carry them down to spread over the garden like a blanket. I’ve done this each year for the past three years, and I always enjoy it. It reminds me of playing in leaf piles as a kid and it’s an excuse to be outside on a fall day, but this time, I kept thinking about all the things that will be put to rest, shut down, and closed away once the baby arrives. I don’t write those words with regret, but as an observation. A baby brings with it chaos, love, and an unavoidable reorganizing of priorities. That baby has to come first, so maybe next year, I won’t have a chance to open the garden, to till the leaves into the ground and plant some seeds. It’s likely that I’ll be too busy playing with my kid to even think about it.

So today was about firsts and possible lasts. Maybe today was the last time I’ll close my garden down for a while. If so, I’ll miss it, but believe me, I’m looking forward to that baby a hell of a lot more.

5 days until baby.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Mother's Intuition

In fourth grade. Paul Z. sat behind me. He was a Boy Scout, and on Tuesdays, he was allowed to wear his blue and gold Boy Scout shirt instead of his school uniform. That shirt was more than just a shirt to my nine-year-old brain. It stood for all the outdoor adventures that a fourth grader could imagine. I used to stare at that shirt and picture Paul and the other scouts on camping trips, deer eating out their hands, owls perching overhead, and everyone sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories. I had to have a shirt like his and everything that went with it. So, I convinced my stepmom to take me to a Boy Scout meeting. Ten minutes into it, my heart was thumping. I leaned over and whispered, “I don’t want to do this. Can we go?” I don’t know what I would have done in her shoes, but she didn’t question me. She just said, “Okay.” We got up and walked out, and as we did, I remember feeling relieved and ashamed, as if I’d made them stop the roller coaster and let me off because I was too scared. I’m not sure why I panicked, but I was never a joiner. In the car, I asked my stepmom if she was mad. She said no, that it hadn’t looked very fun, and then she changed the subject. There was no guilt or talk of trying again, and my shame drained away, leaving only relief. I’m sure some people would say that she should have made me tough it out, that I would’ve gotten over my fear, and that I would’ve gained a great deal from being a scout, but I know me. I wouldn’t have liked the Boy Scouts – the structure, the meetings – I would’ve been miserable. Did my stepmom know that? I think she did, and it makes me wonder about me and my own kid. In a similar situation, I can see myself saying, “No. They’re just scared. This will be good for them. Even if they’re scared now, they need to tough it out.” My stepmom didn’t do that, and she was right. I hope that when the time comes, I’ll know when to push and when to stand back.


Well, we thought labor was coming tonight, but so far, the baby is staying put.

6 days (give or take) until baby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Good Weekend for Labor

Linda’s been feeling, in her words, “off” today. Her stomach felt funny for a good chunk of the day yesterday. Tonight as we sat on the couch, the baby was moving as if it wanted nothing else but to climb out and dance. Our little pregnancy book said these could be signs of impending labor. Although, to be honest, it also lists “feeling bad” as a sign. I know I said before that I didn’t want the baby to come early, but I’m willing to overlook that if the baby is willing. This weekend seems like a good one for having a baby. Nice weather. We don’t have major plans. I just got a haircut. Why wait?

7 days until baby (or maybe less).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time Capsule

In my first post, I said that I would write one post a day until the baby turned one. That's still the plan, and I realized today that my last post is a little more than a year away. Once jack (or jane) pops his head out of the box, it's 365 more posts to go. So, in thinking about that, I tried to imagine what life will be like in one year. The presidential campaigns will be in full swing (ugh), the last of the Harry Potter movies will have come and gone, and my kid's first summer will be a memory. There's a lot that I can see coming, but there is so much more than I have no choice but to wonder about. I tried to think of the biggest questions I have for the coming year. Some are baby-related, some not, but really, in the end, they're all baby related.

Will we find a new place to call home? Will we be moved in? 

What will be the color of our baby's hair? Their eyes?

Will our baby be sleeping through the night? Will we?

Will Linda and I still have the relationship that we do now, or what changes will the baby bring?

Will Linda let me touch her again (y'know, in THAT way), or will she be sleeping with a baseball bat?

Will I still have a job? (Our district might have to cut teachers and I'm near the bottom)

What will a day in our life look like?

Will we be going out one night a week, like I'm planning on now?

So in one year - November 11, 2011 - if I'm still around, I'll revisit these questions. If the baby lets me.

8 days until baby.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Watched Pot Never Boils

The advice I've received today on making the baby come sooner:

1. Have sex. (I told Linda we'd have to rig up a pulley system. Luckily, she found my comment funny)

2. Drink a special blend of herbal tea and go for a long, long walk.

3. Drink raspberry tea and take a hot shower while stimulating the nipples. (I'm assuming they meant Linda's and not mine)

4. Go for a walk on railroad tracks

5. Eat spicy food and then have sex.

I got home late tonight, but I still ran these by Linda. She had some chocolate and went to bed.

9 days until baby

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are You Excited?

The phone rang in my classroom today while my kids were in gym. I was busy getting things ready for the next lesson, and when that noise came out of the phone, my stomach did a cartwheel. I felt it before I knew why. “This could be it,” I thought. “It’s time.” It wasn’t, of course. It was the office with an attendance question – not nearly as exciting as a baby. For some reason, I’m not someone who gets too outwardly excited about things, and it’s frustrating. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited about anything, but I have to go through the day as usual - washing dishes, brushing my teeth, cleaning the litter box. It’s like knowing you’re going to win the lottery at any minute, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to hurry it along.

10 days until baby.

Monday, November 8, 2010


One thing I bring to the daddy table is my teaching experience. Specifically, I can bring the use of the word “no”. I know parents who frown on the use of the word, and I can’t blame them. One study out there claims children hear “no” up to 400 times a day, and some believe that the word has a bad connotation. I don’t know enough about psychology or spirituality to know if it’s true. There are some interesting arguments out there for minimizing the use of the word. What I do know is that as a teacher (and as a parent), I’m going to do my best to make sure that when I do say it, “no” will actually mean “no”. Growing up, that’s what it meant in my house, but every year, I have students who seem to think that “no” means, “Let’s have a conversation,” or, “Try harder to convince me.” In looking through some parenting articles recently, I came across a great quote by author/psychologist Dana Chidekel: “Children,” she says, “learn that some parents can be played like slot machines. Put enough whines in and eventually they'll pay out.” I like to think I will avoid that trap, but Linda likes to point out, “When that little face looks up at you with you with those big eyes and says, ‘Pleeeese, Daddy,’ you might not be so tough.” Only time will tell.

11 days until baby.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Sort of Homecoming

At a funeral today, I watched a family come together and mourn the loss of one of their own. I watched fathers and mothers with their sons and daughters, old and newborn. It was a sad occasion but it was beautiful, too. From my seat in the balcony, I saw husbands place their arms around their wives’ shoulders, relatives lean in and cling to one another for comfort. I watched fathers plant gentle kisses on the foreheads of their newborns. There was mourning in that church, but it was also a celebration of sorts. There are days when I wonder if we’re doing the right thing, bringing a child into this world that can be so horrific. Today was not one of those days.

12 days until baby.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Scary Part

I have been to Babies R Us more times in the past two months than all the previous months of my life combined. The scary part? I’m starting to like it.

13 days until baby.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Trifecta

I hate feeling powerless. Today, Linda was grimacing, describing a pain deep in her leg where it meets her hip. It fires up whenever she sits for more than a few minutes. She gets up, and combined with her late-pregnancy waddle, there’s a pronounced side-to-side sway in her stride. “I walk like the guy from Gunsmoke!” she jokes, but I know she’s in serious pain. She refuses to take even Tylenol, and so there’s not much I can do for her except listen. “That completes it,” she said. “Now, I’m uncomfortable standing, sitting, and lying down!”

14 days until baby.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hurry up, Baby

My wife called me at school today to tell me how her doctor’s visit went. I could tell as soon as I heard her voice that something wasn’t right. “They’re telling me it’s no big deal,” she began, and I felt as though the air had been sucked out of the room. Conversations that start out that way are never full of good news. A sonogram had been part of the visit, and they detected a level of amniotic fluid that was on “the low side of normal.” Other tests followed, and she’s scheduled for another sonogram next week. By the time she left, the doctor told her that the tests looked good and not to worry. Gee, thanks. That’s like telling someone not to think of pink elephants. Friends at work told her not to worry, too; some of them were diagnosed with the same thing and everything turned out fine. That is comforting, but I get frustrated when there’s a problem that I can’t do anything about. Hurry up, baby – if I’m going to worry about you, I’d rather do it while holding you.

15 days until baby

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gimmie Some Truth...When I'm Older

Have you heard that there are two kinds of parents in the world? Apparently, there are the ones who shelter their kids from the horrors of the world as long as they can and then there are the ones aren’t so concerned about boundaries. I don’t completely buy the idea – about there being two kinds of parents, I mean. It brings to mind another saying about there being two kinds of people – those who believe that there are two kinds of people and those who don’t. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’ll tell my child and what I won’t – what I’ll let them do and what I won’t. For now, I’m planning to take things on a case by case basis. If this baby came along 10 years ago, I would have been all for revealing the truths of the world to them as soon as possible. At the time, I was enamored of a famous quote that went, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” It seemed so simple and straightforward, it just had to be right. It is, I suppose, but once I became a teacher, my viewpoint changed. I’m not sure how much truth a seven year old needs to hear, at least when it comes to the world beyond our backyard. I’m always telling people that I never realized how sheltered I was until I went back to school to be a teacher, and I’m grateful my parents sheltered me. It gave me the chance to be a kid, and I wouldn’t trade that for truth.

16 days until baby.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Month From Now

A month from now, our baby will be about one week old. Labor will be over and hopefully forgotten. We will, I am sure, be smitten with our new lodger. A month from now, instead of us, parents will live in our house, and our house will contain a family. 

17 days until baby.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Want to Be Your Human Epidural

Everything in nature has a purpose - every odd animal behavior, the number of petals on every flower, even our pinkie toes (to be accurate, I believe that the pinkie toe used to have a purpose but now it’s on its way out). We humans might not have worked out the reasons for everything that’s out there, but chances are good that the reasons exist, just waiting for us to work them out. I’ll be the first one to pony up a donation for any study that can figure out the purpose behind labor. What possible reason could there be for such a disagreeable experience? People tell me that it’s beautiful, that it’s a life altering experience, that the baby will make it all worth it. While that all may be true, couldn’t we have that without the pain, the yelling, the sweating, and the swearing (I know my wife’s gonna swear like a sailor)? Why are mammals the only animals that have such a dramatic and painful birth? Have you ever seen a chicken or an alligator lay an egg? They stare off into the distance, glassy-eyed and serene, and boom, the egg drops out. Their facial expression doesn’t even change. They’re squeezing something pretty big out of a small hole, just like us mammals, so why no hysterics? I know there’s no answer for any of these questions, and that, in the end, it’s silly to ask them, but of all the things coming at Linda and me down the baby pike, labor is the one that concerns me the most. I’m not even the one doing the actual work, but I’m still worried for both of us. I’ve already had friends tell me what not to do when labor is coming on strong. They said, “Whatever you do, don’t pet her hair,” and Linda has told me, “Just don’t keep telling me the same thing over and over again, like, 'You’re doing great!' I don’t need to hear that.” So I’m compiling a list of subtly encouraging phrases like, “You know, you are so pretty when you’re pushing. You should do it again.” I have no doubt that Linda will make it through. She’s tough, and she would probably be okay no matter what, but I want to be the one who makes things easier for her. I want to be her human epidural, and no matter what people tell me or what I read to prepare, the bottom line is that it’s like going into combat: I won’t really know how I’m going to perform until it’s happening.

18 days until baby.