Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Announcement Tactic

The way I chose to tell my co-workers about the pregnancy was sort of cheap and hands-off. Sure, if someone were to flat out ask me if we were expecting (now), I would tell them Yes. But I chose to be more ironical and post an enlargement of the most recent ultra-sound on my office door, making people sort it out for themselves.

The effect, like our family photo gag, wasn't immediate, of course. The first problem was, when the door is completely opened, the front of it is not easily seen unless you're looking at it. Along with this problem, most of the people entering the room my office is in aren't coming into it looking for me, ha ha. I work with nurses and doctors who have much more important things on their minds (usually), or at worst, come in to grab a handful of M&Ms that have been kept in the room for ages.

It didn't take TOO long for someone to notice, and the first was a young mom who recently had her second child. I'm sure she can recognize an ultra-sound from several doors away. She only needed confirmation from me in person before being able to "spread the news." From there the news has trickled around this week and the well wishes have ensued. It's nice getting the news out instead of fibbing, and now the weekly "How's your wife doing" queries will begin. But that's okay because we are doing pretty well with it all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Joining the Club

For the past year or so, before the pregnancy, I/we have been feeling sort of "left out" by some of our friends with children. Now, while some of these feelings are probably partly paranoia, I do believe we were looked at differently because we (still) didn't have kids like them. Some, if not most, of our married friends had kids even though they got married a year or two after we did. We were like a dying breed, the kid-less.

There are obvious reasons why we may have been left out of some situations. People with kids enjoy having other people with kids around because all the kids can play together. Since we don't have any kids, why would we be invited to a kid's play date? I get it!

This week we have started telling our closest friends about the pregnancy, and more than half of them have children. I now feel I am gaining the password to this exclusive club! Soon we will be walking into the Masonic temple in robes and reciting Latin chants, getting indoctrinated into the secret society. Along with this inclusion will be all sorts of sage advice, support and gifts that only having a child could warrant. Now that I think of it, maybe this new club is more like that movie "The Firm" where it's a club that the only way out is to be killed off, haha.

A few of the friends we have not yet told have been our "go-to" single friends without children. There's a gay couple who we always enjoyed because (among many other things) they did not have children and were not burdened by all the scheduling conflicts that will soon arise (except they have dogs, which isn't much different than children, depending on the owners). Then, we had a couple who just last week called us on their "kid-free" weekend because they figured all their other childrened friends would not be available! Little did they know what we already knew, that the hazing period had begun and we would be getting the keys to the secret door...

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Delivery

The man's role in the delivery room has a come a long way from the smoke-filled waiting rooms of our father's time. I actually like the image of waiting with a bunch of other guys in a similar predicament as mine: "Now what?" Offering each other a cigarette, pacing back and forth (or, in cartoons, creating a hole in the rug from all the pacing), then passing out cigars when the big moment finally arrives.

That hands-off approach went away almost around the same time as smoking in hospitals did. Now waiting rooms can feel almost like a spectator sport, with only a bleacher section missing. The father nowadays is expected in the delivery room, a willing participant in his child's birth. He is there not only as moral support and breathing coach, but gets to witness the baby coming out of the birth canal and cutting the umbilical cord. Maybe in seven month's time I can even circumsize my son (were it to be a boy, obviously)!

Along with my other father-to-be hangups, this new role in the delivery room will surely cause me the stress of performance anxiety. Should I speak, should I cheer, take photos? Apparently I am there at my wife's whim, to be whatever she needs me to be. I think I can do that...

I remember a story about my birth my parents told me long ago. Shortly after I was born (and probably spanked on the bum by the doctor, another relic of birthing past), my father held me up high in his arms (for an inspection of the chassis?). I guess he was pleased to learn the plumbing worked since apparently I promptly peed down on his face!

I look forward to a similar experience with my child, right after passing out the cigars.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The In-Laws

I have been lucky enough/blessed to marry into a very decent group of in-laws. Amazingly, they seem to really like me, even to the point of using the word "love." I enjoy calling my parents-in-law Mom and Dad or Mutti and Pop. They did a swell job with their daughter (my wife) as well as my sister-in-law and the care of the rest of the family. At least once a month I feel my in-laws (sis, parents, uncle/aunt) do some sort of act of kindness that makes me say "wow" yet again. This comes in the shape of a big food spread, picking us up/dropping off from/to the airport, or just plain volunteering themselves for something no sane person would usually care to do. My wife has this crazy affliction in spades. By crazy I mean I am not afflicted, so it must be crazy to care so much about others, ha ha.

After announcing the pregnancy to the family on Sunday, my sister-in-law seemed to take the news the greatest (not that I viewed it as a contest, mind). She was the first to make my wife cry, which seemed to make more women cry, and even might have choked up Pop (I do not cry at happy moments - yet - I smile). During dinner she told us about all the great stuff we could use that she had for our nephew, who is only a bit more than one year old. I guess we timed things pretty well. This stuff includes a car seat, as well as a lot of other baby furniture I am sure is in decent shape and quality. She even said she wouldn't be offended if we didn't like it and donated the goods to the proper agencies.

I was very impressed by the immediacy of her volunteering these goods, and it will be a huge help, of course. Since then she has expressed her excitement about her impending aunt-hood, and gave my wife the "I'll do ANYTHING you need" line. I hope she knows what she may be in for... ; )

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To Day Care or not Day Care

This saga will invariably go on for some time, fretting over a day care. After talking to my wife more last night about it (and over the course of the day in IM), I now worry the kid will be neglected in a morass of snotty kids and tired, teen-aged caregivers whose cell phone ringtones will be more important than the kids' crying. I picture walking in for a pick-up and seeing full diapers dragging on the floor while the teen minders' poor thumbs are still furiously picking away the details of their new hair color (in lousy shorthand).

I was assured (somewhat) that these places are mostly reputable and one of the centers she likes was voted one the "best" for the area. Thankfully we have a good family support system in the area to help in emergencies and/or pick-ups. Obviously this will work out and the gentle fact that we can even consider day care in this area should assuage my guilt pangs some. Apparently these places are in business to help care for our child and would be quickly blackballed if they were lacking in their main focus.

On a slightly unrelated side note, the first of MY family to respond to our announcement (via card and copy of the ultrasound) was my sister. After one or two lines of congratualtions, the rest of her e-mail was nothing but bad news. My dad is in rehab, and I can only imagine it's for his bad legs/hip/knee; we have no idea since no one told us. And on top of that, her husband's son has passed away from cancer, leaving a pregnant wife behind.

I'm getting a bit tired of cancer and its indiscrimination. My sister made a subtle hint about the circle of life, but the vulnerability of our body to this disease and its blindness to the good things we do or have in our lives is starting to piss me off.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One group down...

Well, yesterday we told the immediate family about the pregnancy. We had a great idea of setting everyone up for a family photo and instead of saying "Cheese" we would have everyone say "(my wife) is pregnant!" After a couple of practice shots, the moment came and...fell sorta flat, haha. No one really got it so the photo I had in my mind of everyone's surprised faces didn't appear. It took a few moments to get them to realize I didn't just want them to parrot what I was saying, but it was actually the truth. Finally, the tears and hugs ensued! It became a nice moment and we even got a decent family photo out of it (not to mention a great dinner made by the wife).

This morning the subject of day care finally came up. The costs are ridiculous so it will be tough. It seems our choices are pretty unlimited, so we just have to find a good location and hopefully get some referrals (after we tell the friends and extended family). We would love a good nanny or family member to watch the baby for a while, but who knows if/how that would happen, or if that would even be a cheaper option. Belt tightening has become the name of the game...

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Room

Last night was a discussion about what we should maybe register for and what we would need to buy. We don't feel right having our families spending a lot of money on us so I figure we will be shelling out for most of it in the end (though, yeah, we are the parents and it IS our kid). I look forward to being able to style our child in cute clothes and care for it in what I call "Yuppy" baby products. I don't think we'll go overboard and get all the latest gadgets, but some of it might actually be worth it: (

Sort of on topic: I read a good quote yesterday from the Kite Runner, something like "Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them in with your favorite colors." I might revisit that sentiment soon...

More worrying for me is the space we have to work with in our apartment and the furniture (or lack thereof) we have to use or buy. Yes, we have a 2BR apartment where one room is an office, and yes, we have a second bathroom with a tub. BUT, the office has a large computer desk for her and a small desk for me, as well as various other drawers and shelving, blah blah blah. The 2nd bathroom has a great tub but that is being used to hold our dirty clothes "hampers." Anyway, we talked about the serious need of whittling away at our closets and getting rid of much of the excess baggage. There is plenty of room in the place, we just need to use it accordingly.

So, I guess it's time to start investigating all the new baby goodies to put on a registry: the right car seat for our car(s), the lightest stroller, a convertible crib, swaddling items, and many things I hope have directions/manuals/little assembly required. Might even accept some hand-me-downs, especially those yuppy things I keep laughing at our friends for using ; )

BTW, we haven't even started hunting for day care... Should I be nervous?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hi there, I'm home...

Blog Post, number 1:


I will attempt to pour out my feelings about my impending fatherhood here, rather than on a therapist's couch (cheaper). My wife and I have not yet told anyone about her pregnancy since the technical twelve-week mark has not come and gone (though we will be informing the family(s) this weekend, which will be the official mark).

I am excited and increasingly nervous about the prospect of father-dom. I will be looking high and far for advice on NOT creating a mini-me, as I do not consider myself an exceptional role model when it comes to certain facets of my life. The old adage of me making a better life for my child than I had will be a major goal. I also worry, though with less trepidation, that my wife and I will differ on ideas for raising our progeny (discipline, food, TV, etc.). We already disagree on one thing: She thinks I will make a great dad and I worry I will be an amalgum of my own parents, who were older and hands-off.

Anyway, I hope this is a start of something _____ (blank to be filled in later, haha)