Monday, September 29, 2008

Sore Thumbs

Saturday I spent a few hours putting together our new changing table (with drawers) and the baby's convertible crib. I thought it would have taken longer, considering the size of the boxes and number of screws, but overall it wasn't that bad of an ordeal. The stuff looks and feels as advertised: sort of modern and fairly strong, like we may have actually gotten what we paid for (in a good way).

My gripe, and this has been ongoing for some years now, is the tools needed (or not needed) to put together furniture nowadays. I recall "back in the day" seeing furniture put together with a hammer, screwdriver, nails, actual tools. Now, as in the case of the baby furniture, all you need is the provided Allen wrench and maybe a Philips-head screwdriver, at best. It makes thing simplified, I suppose, but it's terrible on the hands, especially fingers. Also, I worry I didn't get some screws put in as tight as I can with Allen wrench like I can with a screwdriver (or the use of a drill with a screwdriver bit). At certain angles it got really tough to turn the wrench and was really a pain since I rarely was able to turn the screws more than a semi-circle at a time. Now the pads of my fingers are killing me...

But it was great to get this accomplished and the "nursery" is really starting to come together with the pieces in place. I know it's early but I just want the room done so I can seal it off for a few months and not have to think about it anymore. I still feel there's more space to be had in our place, even with multiple trips to Goodwill, etc. I think we may need a dresser in the room, as well as a toybox. This would alleviate the need for closet space, I hope, since the status of those in our place: FULL. We haven't even given a ton of thought to the space we'll need in the bathroom for the baby tub and all the stuff that goes with baby bathing. Sigh...

And no, the photo is NOT of our actual nursery. If so, we'd be a little bit more Amy Coe obsessed that we already are! But that is the crib and changing table I put together.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kickin' It

The past few days my wife has told me that the boy has been moving around a lot inside her belly. I take this as a good sign, obviously, meaning he's there and checking out his reflexes. I'm really happy he's developing and getting bigger.

I'm still getting the full-court pressure to talk to him (or talk to my wife's belly) but I have hang-ups about the practice. I feel I want to talk to him in there but for some reason still think it's too early for it to make a difference. I guess because I'm not carrying him around I have a bit less of a connection to him so far. Before I leave my wife for the day and before we go to sleep, I rub her belly and say a word or two, but I have not yet been able to read to him or carry on a chat. When considering the steps of pregnancy we would go through together I did picture myself talking to her belly, but in my head she's at like 8 months or so. I know the urge will come on stronger and I will find things to talk about with him. Books tell us to read the paper to him, just so he gets used to the voice, though with our countries current issues, I wouldn't want to scare him!

On a related noted, I asked my wife the other night to not let the heavy book she was reading (yes, a baby book) sit on her belly because I thought it would be pressing onto the little guy inside. Granted, she had the book quite low but while the book was on there the baby moved, and I felt it was trying to make some room for itself since it's womb was being pressed. This caused her to laugh and she tried to assure me it wasn't being crushed. While I tend to agree and I might have been being a bit facetious, I"m still curious if anyone knows more about this. Can pushing on the belly impact (not literally) the baby? Obviously if a woman takes a terrible fall the baby might be affected, but I'm more curious about simple pressing. Anyone have a thought?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Babies 'R Us is Large

Saturday was Babies 'R Us day. We went because we had issues with our crib and changing table ordering, which is another post in itself, practically. Suffice to say, don't trust the "in stock" notation online; order from the store and pick it up there to save shipping costs and headaches.

Anyway, the store is large but thankfully laid out pretty well. I'm not sure how the prices stack up against other box stores offering baby wares, but a lot of the products seemed pretty fair. The depth and breadth of product offerings can be staggering, however. How many brands of "binkies" should we be able to choose from? As a first-time parent, this all felt a bit overwhelming, the plethora of choices we have to make, from bottles and car seats to swaddling blankets and baby monitors. OH, and the mattresses! I couldn't get over how large the mattresses were, and how important coil count is...

We accounted for pretty much everything we need (for now) except for the bottles. We are going to have to do more research on what works well for infants/toddlers, and how glass bottles compare to BPA-free plastic bottles. Also, there's a ton of bottle nipple choices to wade through!

I mentioned the Amy Coe collection at Babies 'R' Us before but here's the crib we chose:

We like the more modern design of the crib, as well as the extra storage underneath. The "pecan" color is simple to match with other furniture from different vendors, too.

And this crib set is so cute!

So now the nursery is coming along rather nicely. We created the space by getting rid of quite a bit of "stuff." The wife has taken over some of the space for her sewing machine, but she's been starting to churn out some great stuff for the baby, like bibs and booties.

Speaking of cute, this product at the store made us laugh out loud, and can only be created for boys:

The boy looks like he's going to be trying out for catcher on a little league team! We've seen the "Pee Pee Tee Pee" but this is just as funny.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sleep, Sleeeeepppp

Every since announcing the pregnancy, people have been giving us the "your life will change" meme, in all sorts of incarnations. "Your life is over," "kids are life-suckers," "kiss your money good-bye," etc. Now, I made up two of those but the point is similar: kids throw a large monkey wrench into the thing you considered a life...forever.

I understand the sincerity of the point, but recently I've been wanting more from the platitudes. Now I want details. How will it change? What new thing will happen to us that hasn't happened millions of times over to others? We are reading the books, getting ready, trying to prepare. "You're never 'ready' to have a baby" is another line we hear all the time. Well, I'd like to disagree. I've done plenty of great things in my life and feel now is a perfect time to start raising a child. But I don't want to just read books about what to expect, I want stories, anecdotes, experiences, nightmares, the whole lot, from real people (you).

Being prepared for what's to come can maybe never be complete, but having a better feel for this big impending change will help a ton to avoid surprises. Things change at any moment, but knowing what most of those "things" might be should come in handy when a decision is needed. This can be regarding the water breaking, the delivery room, cutting the cord, baby car seats, being a man whose wife is breastfeeding, sexual relations after giving birth (sorry in-laws!), and most importantly -- SLEEP. Please let me know how the waking up at any hour of the night REALLY is, not just "value your sleep now while you have it." It's important to me to know the WHY.

I look forward to being inundated with stories. Maybe I'll post some of the better ones!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Part of the Wait is Over

So we're at the OB-GYN on Friday, where the wife is getting the ultra-sound which will help determine the gender of our baby. The technician asks if that is the plan, do we want to know the sex. We say yes. First, however, he has to go through a litany of measurements and photos, though I suspected he did all that just to keep us in suspense.

We did find out the baby is doing great, and the measurements are all normal for this point in time. We got to hear the heartbeat (which I used as a clue to the kid's gender) and I saw it fluttering away like it should. He showed us the kid's lips, making my wife think (to herself) that the technician was giving us the gender in a rather crude fashion! But alas, it was the mouth's lips...

Finally, after the battery of tests and measurements were completed, the technician blithely says, "Oh, right, you wanted to find out the sex." Again, I think he was secretly pulling our chain. After a few movements of the scope over my wife's belly, I could see the legs pretty clearly and realized we were starting to look up the kid's bum area. Then, even more clearly, I suddenly saw the writing on the wall, and shouted "That's a boy!" even before confirmation from the guy. He saw the same thing I did and agreed, then the wife saw it, too. The baby was on it's back (I guess) with his legs bent but spread wide open, and there was his little twig and berries, with the twig part practically standing at attention for us to take notice.

After we all saw what it was, we asked the tech to go back and see if he could get a picture for us, I guess for bragging rights. When he tried to get into the same position, we saw that the boy had clammed up and lost his bravado. We did end up with a photo, but not nearly as good as the first glimpse.

I think we were both pretty surprised at the outcome. A poll of our family and friends was about equal, but we both thought it might be a girl. When I heard the count for the baby's heartbeat (132) I had a good feeling it was a boy. Traditionally, or so we have read, boys have heartbeats up to 139, whereas girls are 140 or over. It was a lame clue, but hearing the number popped the idea into my head that we could be seeing a boy on the screen.

So far everyone is pleased, of course. Both of our fathers thought it was going to be a boy and they turned out to be right. I told my dad our family name would be carried forth proudly, which may be slightly important since I am pretty much the last/only hope of that happening naturally (besides a brother adopting, I mean). We were excited enough to make a quick trip to the Baby Gap and Gymboree sale racks! We found some cute things, and it just made the whole day's news end on a sweet, thrifty, and happy note.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Boy or Girl?

We are heading out to another baby appointment today, and the wife will get an ultrasound that MAY determine the gender of our baby (cross your fingers). Apparently the baby has to cooperate and be in a good position to find out, especially at this juncture of the pregnancy (18 2/3 weeks). If the baby's legs are crossed, we might have a difficult time making a proper determination. At the least, we'll get another picture of the growing baby and make sure he/she is coming along well.

The wife and I both agree that we don't have a preference if it's a boy or girl (or, girl or boy for the feminist crowd, haha). When I picture me with a child I have had images of a boy alongside me, as well as daydreams of a little girl holding my hand (please, no pervert comments). So I think I would be comfortable either way. We also have agreed that little boys are sort of terrors when young and grow to be calmer (you hope), while little girls are so sweet when young then grow into teens and the "women issues" start coming into play.

From stories I have heard over the years, including some from both our families, it seems girls and their moms go through some sort of "I hate you" phase and just can't seem eye to eye for a while. This is basically because they are more alike than they care to admit, in my opinion. Eventually they come around, though it might not be for a few years, in some cases, and finally the women start respecting each other. I don't know if boys go through this with their mothers or fathers. Obviously there are differences over the years but I don't recall hearing of any major differences that took such a long time to mend.

My wife LOVES all the clothes available for little girls, while she sees all the boys stuff as similar, like a lot of jeans and shirts. I know she's not seeing having a girl as an accessory, but I worry having a little girl would be rough on the proverbial pocketbook after hearing a lot of "This is SO CUTE" when we are out looking at baby stuff. This doesn't make me want a boy more, but dressing him might be easier.

So I'm really hoping we can learn today what we'll be given in February, boy or girl. It will be nice to decorate for one or the other, and whittling down our baby names list will be a load off my mind. While I enjoy daydreaming about my potential little boy or girl now, being able to focus on one will allow me to map out the kid's first 18 years all in one sitting ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To See or Not to See

Last night I prompted a short discussion about some things I read regarding watching the baby make its initial entry (exit?) into the world from my wife's pootenanny. I was worried that if I left her side to go see the big show, she would feel left out or maybe unsupported, while I was the first between us to see our new kid. I know some places have a mirror set up so the woman can watch, too, and maybe our hospital will have that. It would be a great event to witness together, in my opinion.

From what I read, the experience is something that will stick with you for a lifetime. I'm sure that can be taken a few ways... One, I could see it as the (over)dramatic "miracle of life" and be floored (not literally) by the experience. Two, I could be horrified by seeing how the woman's body changes to allow a child to be birth and forever turned off by the sight of it (even after it returns to its natural, flowery look). Or third, I could be literally floored by seeing the action and pass out.

I'd like to think, as my wife does, that I will want to watch the baby exit. At least for now, I can't see myself getting too grossed out by what is happening to her body to make room for the kid, nor be worried how I'll feel about that area afterward.

I do, however, need to know what I can/should be doing when looking over the doctor's shoulder. Should I be filming or photographing it? I doubt the wife will want photos of that area being put up on the internets for family and friends to gawk at, so that's out. I guess it's just something to behold and relive through storytelling, just like it should be anyway.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Watch Me Get Injured!

Sunday was the first match of my men's adult soccer league season. This is the fourth season (not in a row) I've taken part in this league, which has been around since the late 1970s. It's comprised of men up to a decade (or more) younger and older than me but we all give it a go every Sunday.

One of the guys on the opposing team had his wife there watching along with their young daughter. Over the few years I've been playing I've noticed spouses and kids, parents, and pets watching their loved ones play. Once in a while my wife comes to watch me play (or bring my boots when I forgot them once!), but she has had a running event or her Nike Run Club on Sundays, so the timing often didn't work out.

Upon seeing this little girl, the thought of my wife and new child coming to watch me run around in a futile attempt at glory never found in my earlier life. Obviously he/she will not know what I'm doing (for a while), just the recognition of my kid will be great and inspiring. Maybe it will lead me to my first-ever goal in the league! But I guess that's getting a bit ahead of myself.

Like I said before, I don't want to use my child to re-live the things I couldn't experience when I was younger. But I would like to use my athletic endeavors to perhaps get the child involved in sports. I feel comfortable enough playing all sorts of sports to be able to teach him/her how to throw a baseball, football, shoot a basketball or kick a soccer ball (maybe heading the ball, too, though I'm not a fan of it). These skills won't get the kid elected to public office, but it might lend a hand in some coordination and FUN.

Yesterday I sort of attempted to teach my 1.5 year-old nephew how to throw a ball, like pitching. His idea of throwing is holding the ball up over his head and dropping it off of his head and the ball rolling down his back. I got behind him when he was holding the ball and moved his arm for him in a pitching motion, whipping the ball out of his hand in front of him. He seemed to be pleased with this result so we did it a few more times, but it didn't take. I imagine it will take a few more sessions to see if he's into it. I was pleased with my effort, however, since I never tried to teach a child anything, at least not that young (getting our nieces to use a napkin notwithstanding).

Maybe there's use for me in all this yet...

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Last night I watched the wife (and many other, older women) take part in some aqua-aerobics at our gym. The gym is supposed to have an aqua class for pregnant women but, of course, right after we joined (one reason being this class), the class sort of disappeared from the schedule. It was suggested the regular aqua-aerobics class would do similarly for my wife, so last night was the inaugural voyage into the heated pool to bounce and hopefully not get the incubating baby too seasick inside.

In between my daddy exercises, I went to check out the class (mostly without her knowing, until the end) and saw a lot of bouncing, rotating and the use of the "noodles" for floating. My wife mentioned afterward that she talked to the instructor beforehand to explain her situation, and the instructor was very helpful and would inform her if/when something might be too strenuous for a pregnant women to perform. Wifey was pleased with the class, which pleased me. Side note: she tried roping me into trying this class, but I had caught a glimpse of it when we were signing up for the gym, and I knew I could not hold my head up anywhere in the world had I gotten into that pool to do aqua-aerobics with a class full of older women and a pregnant wife...

Now, I'm not worried that my wife will gain too much weight and I will not be attracted to her pregnant body, thus prompting her to workout to keep the weight gain to a minimum (I got a short glimpse of her after class getting out of the pool and thought she looked really cute with the baby-belly in a bikini!). I am confident she knows that (90% confident). I try not to comment on how much she eats because I understand WHY she needs to eat more, and even more often. Reading books have schooled me on that, which surely helps me keep my foot out of my mouth, for the most part. I do, however, try to limit some of the less healthy choices she might make when satisfying a craving or hunger pangs. I'm sorry, but I don't think pregnancy should be an excuse for women to eat whatever they want and not think this won't impact them or the baby. Yes, I get the need, but if certain things are bad for the baby (wine, raw fish), how good can super-size french fries and milkshakes be? ;)

For me, personally, getting myself back into shape serves several purposes. My parents weren't much older than I am now when I was born but athletics surely weren't part of their lifestyle. I never played catch or ran around with them, and that will be a major part of child rearing for me, so being able to "keep up" with the kid as it gets older is important to me. The past year or more I have sort of "let myself go" and let injuries make me more slothful. Joining the gym, and it being near our place, has been great and I feel more motivated than ever about losing a few pounds (and hopefully the Joe disappearing -- my gut).

I also love the idea, after the baby is born, of baby yoga and other forms of exercise involving the kid. It seems to be a perfect bonding experience for parent/child, and another way for new parents to meet others in the same situation and network. We've already talked about keeping our child involved in athletics for not only the exercise but also the camaraderie with other kids and parents. I'll have to touch upon the 21st Century idea of "everybody wins" in kid's sports for another day, since I think competition is important. But I like the idea of the Little Gym ( to aid the child develop balance and motor skills. Don't worry, I'm not going to be one of those parents who will try to live my shattered athletic dreams through my kid, hollering at the referees or starting brawls. Though a bad call is a bad call, come on...!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Getting Somewhere(?)

First off let me say that our first "babymoon" was pretty nice. It's always good getting away and being able to make a mess and not have to clean it up later. The weather was great and our dinner was even better. I said "first" babymoon because we might need at least one more: This one was short and the holiday traffic and crowds made it less desirable had we gone almost any other weekend. That's the one thing we would have changed, the timing of our getaway, but we're not complaining.

We've been busy whittling away and paring down our accumulated mass of stuff to make room for the baby. While no big items have been removed from the office-cum-babyroom, we have gotten a lot of items taking out/off of said furniture. Besides making the furniture lighter to carry, hopefully it means it, too, will be taken out for recycling/donation/sale.

For me, it's still not enough, of course. If we could afford it we would go with one computer, a laptop, that we can anywhere in the place, and be rid of a desk. But then what do we do with all the desk items, the in/out paper holder, the pens, stapler, paperclips? All the things needed for an office, it just accumulated and now still needs a "home" somewhere. It's difficult for me to feel we "need" all this, but somehow maybe we do. Finding the right spot/drawer for it all has been the biggest headache for me.

I can see it all coming together but perhaps later rather than sooner. I know there's still time, but how long will I have my wife to help out before getting too tired or sore. I don't want her to be bending over a lot in a couple more months, nor do I want this to be one more thing on her mind. Again, if it were up to me I'd take out the screen from the window and begin tossing!

To change the subject once more, this is pretty infuriating:

One of my recent pet peeves is companies moving their costs to the consumer to buffer their bottom line. My anger is mostly pointed at oil companies but we are ALL feeling the effects of a weakened economy, and I feel it's totally unfair of large corporations not to help out. I'm sure I'll get lambasted by you MBAs out there, but there's no reason, morally, to not take a few bucks off the bottom line and help out Americans in need. Oh sorry, you only made $32 billion, not $33 billion, silly me!