This "holiday" is for kids, in my opinion, like Christmas and Flag Day (kidding). Many of the adults who celebrate this day scare the dickens out of me, whatever "dickens" entails. I think it gives those adults a reason to act/dress as they wish they could everyday.
Kids, however, are very cute with their costumes and all. The excitement they build up about the impending CANDY is hilarious, at least until you make them go to a door and ask for it. It's something I surely look forward to with the boy. I'm sure I'll go too far in trying to think of ironic or less-kid-appropriate costumes, but that's just part of the fun. "Dad, who's Ross Perot, and why do I have to dress like him and not a Power Ranger?"
Anyway, to you and yours, Happy Halloween!
P.S. Picture is from the real deal. He has his mom's smile, haha...
Starting last week, after returning from my trip, I've been feeling pretty lousy. What started off as a sore throat now has turned into a cold with a stuffy nose and a lot of lethargy. It has soured my mood and made me a pain to be around at times. I guess it gave me writer's block, too, since this is my first post in about a week.
I've been starting to wonder: How does one who is ill and not feeling "up to it" take care of a baby/child who needs me to be at the ready 24/7? Everything I've been reading has ignored this situation, and given the penchant for kids getting sick from other kids and/or day care, etc., it seems to be an important issue.
I don't know what I did to get my current cold except the plane ride. From what I remember, there wasn't a lot of coughing/sneezing but obviously there are germs everywhere on a plane. My doctor told me a new strain of flu was going around (as I was getting my flu shot), which is also bothersome, but I haven't seen anyone at work who was ailing. I guess it doesn't matter; I have it and now I need to recuperate.
My wife says I'm a big baby when I'm sick, which is probably true. I told her last night I just get so disappointed that I'm illin' and it really makes me upset. So I act out and get really moody, which I know isn't fun. But today was the realization (finally) that a little person will be coming soon who will depend on me/us and I will have to get over myself and take care of him. I've been so self-centered for so long that it will a slap in the face when the reality hits. I look forward to it, actually, because I believe I will finally be able to feel some compassion and show some emotion towards something other than my own interests.
So please let me know how YOU coped with feeling down, out, sick, hurt, pissed, pooped, etc., and putting that aside to care for your needy child. Did you sweep it under the rug? Were you truthful to your older kids about how you feel or did you say you were okay, that nothing was wrong? How did you find time to care for yourself?
On Sunday afternoon I got back from a trip to see my best friend in the pacific northwest. His wife was away with our godson so he had the house to himself. He suggested I come up to help celebrate my birthday and the timing worked out well. I considered this my own little "babymoon" and it was fun to get away.
The odd part of the trip for was how the topics of our conversation have changed since his son was born and now that I will be a father, too. It became almost a teacher/student thing since I had quite a few questions about what he has gone through or what I might expect. We used to spend a ton of time talking about "Seinfeld," music or films, but this weekend it was strollers, sleeping sacks and his son's recent trip to the ER. On Friday we invited two other guys out with us, one having a baby only a month or two before. Sitting at a bar with music blaring talking about babies is quite hilarious, looking back on it now.
My new nagging question is regarding when to take my wife to the hospital for the big moment. My friend's situation was a bit different due to certain complications, but it seems the story is the same: it comes down to contractions. My favorite comment was "It's not how it is in the movies," which was actually sort of eye-opening. Not that I thought we'd be in a taxi cab driven by John Travolta but I did imagine the water breaking and me grabbing the pre-packed suitcase and speeding to the hospital. Then a cop would pull us over and realize what was happening and give us a police escort straight to the door. Apparently it's not that simple...
It was good to get away, but good to be home. It was tough not thinking a lot of the little guy, even though he's not yet born. Also I worried about my wife since her personality doesn't allow her to take it easy (though I think the fact she needs to is fast approaching). While shopping around my friend's town I found myself looking for stuff for the kid, even getting him a little sweatsuit from American Apparel! I wanted to buy myself a wallet but opted to get him something instead, wow. I don't have a problem shifting my budget to caring for him, of course, but making the shift this early sort of surprised me (but felt good anyway).
I doubt another trip like this is in the cards for me. Any other trip would have to involve the wife but with the holidays fast approaching who knows if it is a reality. We're working on something for the week after Christmas but we do have to consider her state when it comes to options. Flying is out, and the doctor told us even the high altitudes where we snowboard is probably not a good idea, either. But it doesn't matter; I just want her and my little man close by from now on...
My wife has been going on and on the past few weeks about having the ability to feel the baby moving around inside her tummy. For at least two weeks she has been trying to get me to feel the punches or kicks with her, though I've been skeptical since it's still early and we've been told the placenta is stuck in the front. To appease her I half-heartedly hold the belly in the area she feels it, but alas, I don't get the same pleasure.
I look forward to the day when I can see her tummy move from the baby's kicks, punches and shifting. I feel that then I will finally be able to more closely connect with him and be more confident he can hear me, etc. (Yes, I know he can hear me now...)
So last night when the wife told me to feel her tummy again for movement inside I went along with it. After a few seconds, the moment finally came: I FELT HIM MOVE, finally! It was a fairly solid thrust which surprised me, and a lighter one followed. I waited anxiously for another but I guess he tired himself out with the previous flurry. I admit it was a cool sensation...
Now I'm not sure this means I will rush to put my hand on her tummy every time she feels him squirm, but I do look forward to copping a feel during bed time, kind of a "good night" tap from the boy ; )
Yet another reason people should also need a license to have a baby:
Carter County man surprises wife, names baby Sarah McCain Palin
I love being cynical (those who know me can attest to that) but I can't comfortably put into words how this stuff makes me feel. Maybe as a gag, however, I can find a fake Birth Certificate and come up with some ridiculous name to shock the wife (and get my name in the paper), like "Sarah McCain Palin." It's the craziest name I could think of!
Tomorrow night the wife and I will be taking a tour of the birthing area in the hospital where she will deliver the baby. Tomorrow is also my birthday, so naturally this is the best way to spend it, haha. My wife asked me yesterday where I might like to go out to dinner for my birthday and I reminded her the tour would take up two hours of prime time so we will have to rush home then grab a quick bite to eat. It might not be fast food, but it will have to be fast...
I'm not complaining. I'd much rather learn about where we will be going for the birth than eating too much food in an over-priced restaurant, celebrating a "non-important" year like a 40th or whatever (which is too-fast approaching anyway). I hope the tour will be really informative, especially since it will be almost two hours long. How big can the place be?
This will be, for me, another one of those steps that should help prepare me for the big day. I'll be able to picture where to go and what it might look like during the delivery. Like with all my reading, I'd really not like to be surprised by anything to avoid freaking out (and/or freaking out my wife in the process). If/when I have to rush her to the hospital I want to know where I can park, what desk to go to first, where family can wait, where I might be standing helping the wife push and breathe, where our little boy will be cleaned up and then cared for afterward. I'll have to remember to ask if I can shower there, make phone calls, sleep, etc. It would be great if my wife had her own room so I wouldn't have to worry about using the loo or shower, so we'll see.
I guess there are worse ways to spend a birthday. I'll celebrate properly over the weekend with friends and family anyway, so I'm not missing out. I got a nice gift already from the wife, too. I'll really be looking forward to next year's holidays though, since we'll be able to spend them with our new little guy, and create some new traditions of our own.
For people like my wife, this news will be most welcome:
"States ask baby product companies to avoid BPA"
Though the states in question here are three back east, it's likely others states will soon follow suit if there's widespread agreement by the baby companies. Some companies have already begun producing non-BPA products, and store like Babies R Us are carrying them. It makes too much sense for these companies to see the research and not connect the dots. If they can produce BPA-free products that are proven safe, these companies and stores, not to mention nervous parents, will all win in the long run.
From the "Where Did Things All Go Wrong" file, here's a story from Nebraska that shows you can't send your kids back where they came from but you can just get rid of them. Parents are using a law intended to avoid the horrific practice of "dumpster-dumping" babies (and hand them off to a hospital instead) and are dropping off their unmanageable teenagers.
As much as I'd like I try to avoid obvious political takes while writing this blog. The election is very close upon us and the differences between the two major party candidates is fairly great (for better or worse). With the economy taking over most Americans' thoughts recently, my wife and I are a little worried about our financial future given corporate cut-backs and layoffs, as well as a new baby coming in a few months. If one of us lost our jobs, the biggest hit would come from our potential loss in health care benefits.
The two plans posed by the presidential candidates is very different, and both have potential problems associated with the implementation of such plans. Barack Obama's plan calls for only subtle changes in the current health care system, especially for those who enjoy their current benefit program. It will work with employers and insurance companies to lower premiums, saving Americans up to $2,500 a year. For those who would like a different option or have no current benefits, an Obama administration will "establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage." (See the plan here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/)
This plan will cost money, of course, a major sticking point made by Obama's opponent John McCain. But imagine the money that could be brought into government coffers if the administration stopped one of our wars and collected the proper taxes from corporations while closing tax loopholes. All of which is part of Obama's plan, as well as only raising taxes on those earning over $250K a year. Some may call this socialist, like it's a terrible thing, but where "health care for all" is implemented around the world, it seems to work. A healthy electorate is one that has money to earn and spend to help keep our economy growing.
The McCain plain is much different. He announced this week plans this week for reductions in Medicare and Medicaid, two important social programs that provide health care to the elderly, poor and handicapped (my father falling into at least one of those categories). Independent analysts estimate this idea could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs. (Read about it here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122315505846605217.html)
But the hallmark of McCain's health care plan is to give individuals $2,500 and families $5,000 in tax credit toward insurance premiums. The fine print, which Obama enjoys reading for us to dig at McCain's plan, is that McCain will tax your health benefits through your employer. Just like paying for social security and other taxes, you will see a new line on your pay stub taking money out for health care. So you will, in essence, be taxed for the tax credit you'd receive for health care. The worry with this plan is if you lose your job and health care benefits. Apparently the average health care costs for a family per year is over $12,000. That means you have to make up the difference after spending your $5K.
Both plans have obvious faults and consequences, and I've hardly explained them in detail. It's just something we all need to consider when thinking about the next four-plus years. This is only one piece of the puzzle we need to put together when choosing the right candidate to lead our country. I only hope we all dig a little deeper and find out how these issues will really effect our lives and those of our fellow citizens. Some of us have it pretty good right now, but a lot has happened in the last few weeks that should give us all pause and we need to pay attention.
Please excuse this rant; it's not something I will get into much here but having a child has made me think about an issue like this a little more. My name is Daddy In Waiting and I approve this message.
Since the news was literally put in my lap that we were having a baby (by way of the positive home pregnancy test being tossed at me), I've been reading as much material about what's to come as I can get my hands on. Actually, I started reading Neal Pollack's Alternadad in May, a couple weeks before the news hit, as if I knew what was coming. But once the news did come I started reading this sort of material in earnest, needing to know my place and responsibilities in this "journey" of parenthood.
The first book I completed, after Alternadad was Dad's Pregnant, Too, which was a list of tips for expectant fathers on what's to come, how to react, and how to treat the pregnant mother throughout the pregnancy. The bottom line of the book seemed to be: Keep her happy! The more comfortable you can keep the mother of your child, the easier the nine months will go by. While I feel I'm doing an okay job at this, there are parts of pregnancy that still bug me (like the gas, e.g.). But because of the book, I knew it was coming, so I'm thankful (for the book, not the gas).
I enjoyed this book because I knew when my wife felt pains or had other symptoms conducive to pregnancy, I knew not to overreact. I could assure her that she and the baby was more than likely doing fine, and the little things cropping up were all normal. The book also showed and explained what changes the baby was going through, and its amazing development inside her belly. Knowing what to expect, along with going to her doctor appointments, has really put me at ease since all signs point to a healthy baby.
I also signed up for two newsletters from the Parents.com website that also runs through the steps of development, as well as helpful tips for coping with the changing pregnant body (mostly geared towards women, but informative). I often read interesting tidbits that I forward to my wife, or I read things that we have already gotten to or done. This is great because it shows we're staying on top of things and preparing well. At the same time I signed up for the newsletter I started reading dad blogs, trying to get at what my place was in all this, and if the sudden apprehension I was feeling was normal. Realizing there was a large community out there with guys like me was comforting, and prompted me to start this site and share my feelings in the hopes of showing even newer dads that we're all in the same boat. I've learned a ton from these guys and have gotten really good feedback from them about my experiences so far.
At the moment I am kind of in a reading frenzy, reading one book on colic while commuting on the train for work, another book about baby's first year at home, as well as a plethora of baby magazines that are showing up at our house. My wife laughs at me because I try and "steal" the magazines from her before she's even finished with them. Like the newsletters, they are geared towards women, which is a shame given the dad's bigger role in child raising, but often informative. With the help of these magazines, I feel I know better what's out there for babies, like the different choices of baby bottles. The colic book is really interesting, called The Happiest Baby on the Block, which was recommended by the writer of Dad's Pregnant Too. It's a huge concern to me about getting through those first few months after the birth, trying to get the baby used to being out in the world. Most get through it okay but there's a percentage that have a hard time of it. Reading this book is showing how important it is to make the baby as comfortable and nurtured as possible to avoid colic and create the close bond needed to show we will always be there for him.
I like the baby's first year book (part of the What to Expect When You're Pregnant series) because it goes through the steps to caring for the child properly, like holding, moving, feeding and cleaning. These are skills I never aquired in my life since my family had no babies in it. Only recently, because of my wife's family and our collective friends, have I been exposed to infants and toddlers. I still haven't ever changed a diaper but I feel a lot more comfortable holding and being around children. Handling my own child will be a lot different, I'm sure, but at least I've gotten some exposure and know to just be myself with them.
All this reading has opened my eyes to the world I've entered just by getting my wife pregnant. There's a lot to know but even more to really experience. I won't claim to be an expert of child rearing by the time our son arrives but at least I can say I'm aware of what could happen. I haven't taken most things in my life too seriously, but this I'd like to get right. Of course I know you can get everything from books (or the classes we'll be attending), but being prepared has become very important to me.
I would love to hear some feedback about resources you used before or after birth. At the rate I'm going, I have at least 3-4 more books I can get through!