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March 2007 Archives

March 1, 2007

Invasion of the Gabber Robots

baby stuff

At night, this pile of baby goodies will multiply.

We are currently being inundated with boxes. I am on a first name basis with the UPS delivery guy, who hates me because he always delivers on Tuesdays and I’m never home on Tuesdays. The Postal Service has so many boxes for us, they instituted a special Sunday truck delivery to handle the amount of boxes we were getting. That’s right, the Post Office had so many packages, the dude actually came to deliver on his day off. Today IKEA delivered the Swedish pinnacle in wardrobe engineering in twelve boxes.

We are scoring because I’m married to a beautiful, intelligent, warm and caring woman who has lots of friends. And I have a lot of friends, despite being kinda grumpy (“snarky” in the language or our household.) So Terry and I are overwhelmed with the expression of love from our family and friends. We love them right back! It’s so exciting! People are so interesting!!

baby clothes

Some of the clothes waiting for Ronan. Note the preponderance of tops.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, our house is being taken over by aliens. The aliens are coming in boxes, and I’m not always sure of their intentions. For instance, we are top-heavy (as in baby T-shirts and upper body coverings, not what you’re thinking.) We suddenly realized that Ronan had very few leg coverings. We’re not sure how that happened, but the kid has a month of shirts and two days of pants. “He’s going to be cold.” Terry sagely observed. So we got more leggings and booties and pants.

There is a giant, bright red ottoman in the other room. It is designed to put stuff in it. It’s from IKEA so Terry used her degree in Swedish furniture engineering to put it together. Now, in the Ikea store, this made a lot of sense, because the unit looked like an ottoman. However, when we assembled it in the back office, it clearly was the size of a small raft, perhaps we could use it as a crib if we could find small rails and bolt them to the side. It’s gorgeous, which is great, but at the IKEA store with its wide open spaces crowded with weekend shoppers, it looked normal size, but in the delivery truck the thing grew huge with its weird alien/Swedish hybrid powers. I fully expect that it will grow to the size of the entire room overnight.

ikea pax

The IKEA Pax wardrobe waiting for assembly.

Like all the other parents who are concerned about the environment, we are facing the dilemma of what to do with our baby’s shit. For our baby care instructor (same person as the birthing class) pampers are just fine, because hospitals use them. However, we are trying to think of ways to not deposit plastic diapers in landfills. There’s the cloth camp, which favors cloth diapers that you wash, and the disposable camp, which throws the diapers out. There’s a new movement from the attachment parenting crowd that listens to the baby for the key sounds of pooping and peeing, and takes the kid to the toilet when they start to make those sounds. Apparently much like a cat, you can train a baby to poop when they are over the toilet. I am so thrilled about this method because it involves not having anything on the baby to catch the poop, and I am so confident in my parenting skill that leaving the diapers off doesn’t intimidate me at all. (I am totally lying; I can’t handle this right now. I would totally freak out watching the baby for any sign of imminent poop-dom.)  We have elected the wussy way out of the poop conundrum; we have elected to use chlorine-free diapers to start with, and then possibly disposable inserts. If you don’t know, babies poop 8-12 times a day, so we’re looking at a box of diapers every other day. Fun!

Enter the diaper genie. This device seals the diapers in plastic, which doesn’t help the environment, except in our home, which will have 8-12 soiled diapers per day. It’s probably going to get smelly. So perhaps that will improve the environment in our home. It’s so hard to know what we’re able to do and what would be the right thing to do. I do know from personal experience that babies can appear to poop out their entire body weight in one diaper, which is pretty amazing. And totally horrifying.

But we will suffocate long before the poop overtakes us, because of the alien boxes that seem to multiply in the dark of the night.

March 6, 2007

Ikea Assembly

pax ahh-ahhh

The IKEA Pax Wardrobe in all its glory

So, we assembled the PAX wardrobe and the DICKTAD crib last weekend. My brother and I have the broken fingers to prove it.

I prepared for this role by going to the food coop Saturday morning. My shift co-worker is, ah, ahem, easy on the eyes. She gets a lot of support from the coop staff, who come by to see if she, not we, needs anything.

Coop shift leader to my co-worker: Could you carry this sprig of dill to the produce aisle?

However, I’m big, fat, and tend to wear a baseball cap backwards in frat boy fashion to hide the fact that I haven’t washed my hair before sorting broken and rotten eggs (yes, that’s my coop job!) My easy-on-the-eyes partner gets people checking in on her regularly, but me, I'm manual labor. I have this kind of conversation with my shift supervisor:

Coop shift leader to Jason: Could you carry these 60 bags of 50-pound bundles of carrots to the cooler downstairs?

So to warm up for building IKEA furniture I moved heavy boxes for two hours and sorted broken and raw eggs for 45 minutes, just so I would feel and smell wonderful during construction.

We accomplished this construction yesterday in a marathon 10-hour assembly line. The roles were Ryan, master lifter; Jason, master complainer; and Terry, master engineer. The assembly went something like this:

Terry: I have the plans. Take the top and flip it over and drive three screws into it and count to ten and then hammer the peg into the top hole.

Jason: (whining) Let me see the plans.

Terry: In a moment, when I'm done.

Ryan: …

Jason: (annoying tone) Please let me see the plans.

Terry: No. I’m looking at them right now. Hammer the peg into the hole.

Ryan: … ...


And so on until we built the room you see here. (Before you say, “Wow! You have a lot of media in your nursery!!” Terry is a video editor and I am a multimedia teacher.)

The DICKTAD crib (what a name!) was the worst, because we were tired and IKEA engineers devised the cruelest torture device ever. Slats are affixed to the base of the crib with plastic nails that you hammer with a dowel because the nails are recessed to allow the mattress to slide in. Really this is fun for the Swedish as they imagine all the hapless IKEA crib customers that will bang the hell out of their thumbs and fingers as they drive these plastic nails in. So that part of the day went like this:

Ryan: (Drives plastic nail into slat and crib base) I think I’ve got it.

Terry: Can I help?

Ryan: (Drives plastic nail into slat and crib base) No, I’ve got it. (Hammers thumb) Ow! Fuck!!

Terry: Can I help?

Jason: I’ll do this side. (Hammers index finger) Goddamn it!

Terry: Can I help?

Ryan: (Hammers thumb) Ow! Shit!!

Terry: Can I help?

Jason: (Hammers thumb) Mutherfuckin’ IKEA!!

Terry: Are you okay?

We did this 14 times each, with only a brief interruption when Terry realized there were 14 slats in real life, and only 12 in the crappy IKEA illustration, so she pointed out that we were going to run out of parts before we ran out of IKEA instructions. So we had to have a part count.


The damned slats of the IKEA Dicktad Crib

Once we got the 14 slats hammered into the 28 holes with only four broken thumbs, we then had to stand the crib on end to insert the crib base into the crib frame. That part of the conversation went like this:

Terry: (Simultaneously with Ryan) Stand it on end!!

Ryan: (Simultaneously with Terry) Stand it on its side!!!

Jason: …

Terry: (Simultaneously with Ryan) Stand it on end!!

Ryan: (Simultaneously with Terry) Stand it on its side!!!

Jason: ... ... ...


The ottoman/raft. It’s almost the same size as the crib

Nevertheless we were able to successfully construct the crib, the PAX wardrobe, two more media BENNO shelves and a giant red raft in case Brooklyn ever floods (we’ll use it in its designed purpose as an ottoman until the day of reckoning.)

Afterwards we all dealt with our IKEA recovery in different ways. Terry reorganized our entire CD/DVD collection and then loaded up the PAX wardrobe with clothes, labeling each location on the shelf so we could always return the clothes to the proper location.

Ryan and I met some friends and saw a movie and got blind stinking drunk. I got home at 7 AM the next day.

We'll buy stuff like a crib mattress later, I guess.

March 9, 2007

Urine Is Good

The state of health care in the United States today is totally frightening. I know this because the radiology doctor in charge of Terry’s ultrasound told me I should be frightened. Apparently there will be no more medical care available after 2017.

There are some days when the complete obliteration of medicine would be okay with me. I’m a little nervous about being a good dad, and I’m not doing as well as I think I should with my business, and there’s lots to do for the baby, so I’m depressed. Not lay-on-the-train-tracks depressed, but a little depressed. So I asked my primary care physician if it was normal for expectant fathers to be depressed. She looked at me as if I had just told her I was planning to kill the baby the second it left the womb. “Oh no, that’s not normal. Most fathers don’t get depressed, the mothers do. I think we should wait a month and see if it goes away. If not I’ll give you drugs.” In case you’re not familiar with depression, that’s about the worst way to handle it. In a few sentences, she told me: 1.) You’re abnormal, 2.) Suffer for a month, 3.) I don’t need to evaluate you or recommend counseling; I’ll just give you drugs. Needless to say I’m looking for a new PCP. I seem to be always looking for doctors these days.

Lately our whole life is about doctors. Terry has needed the services of several specialists during the pregnancy. All determined that she is doing fine; whatever the issue was, it ended up not being a big deal. We have been talking to pediatricians since once the baby comes out, the OB is concerned with just Terry and the pediatrician takes over for Ronan. Apparently pediatricians charge you for meeting with them beforehand, so we’re skipping that part and going right to the post-partum meeting. This is apparently kinda weird, according to the pediatrician’s nurse. I wondered while I was on the phone with her if maybe the pediatrician was interviewing us as much as we were interviewing them. Maybe, like ministers, there are pediatrician parties where the gather and diss their crazy parents and share their names so that they can pretend to be too busy when they call.

We did have an in, supposedly, in that our selected pediatrician treats the children of a close friend. I’m not sure what this does for us if the close friend is one of the crazy ones, but I’ve met her and I’d be extremely shocked if she was a nervous parent. Hopefully her good name will get us some recognition during the first visit in the maternity ward.

Later the same day as the appointment with the really terrible PCP Terry had an OB/GYN appointment. Everything is normal, as it has been since the pregnancy started. We know this because the nurse came in and said, “Your urine is good,” and left.

Terry looked at me.

I looked at Terry.

Then we both burst into laughter. “How does she know? Did she drink it?” When the OB came in, I said, “The nurse says urine is good.” Laughing, the OB responded, “We drink the blood, but not the urine.” Terry’s OB has a good sense of humor. That, and the approximately 1,000,000 babies the OB has delivered (all of them are posted on every vertical surface of her office) make her a good OB.

Too bad there’s not a “sense of humor” indication in doctor finders. Sometimes a sense of humor, and the ability to listen to patients without making them feel abnormal, is just as important as a degree from a well-known college.

March 12, 2007

Be Cool

So I’m beginning to understand how people transition from being cool, down-wid-it twenty-somethings into boring, hapless forty-something parents. I know this because I’m slowly transforming into someone none of my friends or family want to hang out with. Last Friday I met my brother and some friends for dinner and movie. All was fine until we broke into the alcohol-seeking and the home-seeking groups.

“Goodbye,” I said to the sleep-bound. “The next time you see me, I’ll smell like baby shit.”

Okay, I admit, it’s not my finest moment or my best joke. And, I’d never met about half of these people before. But I had earnestly (relentlessly, according to some) talked about being a father, and in a momentary lapse of judgment, I chose to say that. I didn’t immediately regret saying it, because, well, it’s probably true. People laughed until my brother completely freaked out.

“Nobody wants to hear that! Why did you say that?!?” I shrugged and said, “Because it’s probably true.” “SHUT UP!!”

And with that, we were off. He decided he would make me shut up and I decided that I would make him hear every gross detail about babies. Together we virtually guaranteed that neither of us would enjoy the rest of the night. Any time he brought up shutting up, I brought up babies.

Scene #1 – Cab on the way to the bar 1:30 AM

“Bro, seriously, you’ve embarrassed yourself. You didn’t even know those people and nobody wants to hear about baby shit. Ever!”

“Did you know that the baby in the womb drinks its own urine? We’ve all drunk our own urine.”

The cab driver looks uncomfortable.

Scene #2 – Lunasa on 7th Street 2:00 AM

“Dude, do not talk about the baby stuff anymore. I don’t want to hear it. Please stop.”

“If the baby breathes in its own poo when it’s first born, it could get pneumonia.”

“Please, stop, I mean it.”

Scene #3 – On the way to One and One on 1st Street 2:45 AM

By this point another friend, who was interested in learning more about newborn babies, joined the group, much to Ryan’s chagrin.

“I will run away and leave you here if you do not stop talking about distgusting baby facts!”

“The newborn is covered in a cream cheese-like substance called vernix.”

“Dude, stop. Just stop.”

Scene #4 – Mona’s on 14th and Avenue B 4:30 AM

Interested Friend: “What’s baby’s first poo called?”

Jason: “Meconium.”

Ryan: “I am sitting at the bar by myself!”

Scene #5 – Dynasty Diner on 14th Street and Avenue B 5:30 AM

Jason: “Hi, Ryan!”

Ryan: “Do I know you?”

The point of the story isn’t that I’m an asshole, which of course, re-reading this, I clearly am. The point is that I’m kinda self-centered and I’m thinking about the baby, so I talk about it. To everyone. Until they want to kill me.

Ha! Ha! No, clearly the point is that even the strongest among us will quiver in the face of baby poo, even if it’s just mentioned, and not even in sight or smell. I can torture my brother, because he’s stuck with me, no matter what, even if right now he wishes he wasn’t. I was actually surprised at how freaked out he got about gross baby stuff. Then I remembered that I changed his diapers – but I’m not sure he’s ever changed a diaper before.

By the way, I only brought up baby stuff if he did, except for my first comment. And if someone asked about babies. Or if someone asked why Ryan was so upset.

About the only people I can chatter away to about baby stuff without them batting an eye is other expectant parents. We joined an expectant parent group here in Park Slope. They are real nice folks, and all of us are expecting around the same time. When you get fourteen expectant parent couples together, people are going to think it’s an invasion. The first place we met at was a coffee bar, where two patrons kept wondering if it was a coincidence that seven pregnant women all arrived at the same time, or if it was a mommy meeting of some kind. Now we meet in a burger bar that has a back room with comfy chairs, which is important. I wonder if the waitress is bothered by our conversations, which last week consisted of discussing how toddlers use potty training as a weapon.

So, since I’m sure you’re wondering, when did I stop being cool and turn into a parent? There are some who would argue that I was never cool. But clearly, judging from Friday night, I have passed some sort of rite. I am no longer cool enough to hang out, because I talk about expecting a baby.

The thing is, I’m sure Ryan and his friends will also become parents one day, and they will no longer be cool either.

March 16, 2007

What An Excellent Day For An Exorcism

We have, somewhat belatedly, finally completed our six childrearing classes. Which means we are totally ready for Ronan’s birth. (Please note: we are in no way ready for Ronan’s birth.)

Tonight’s class, baby safety, was much like the other five. A nurse led the class and read off all the things we’re supposed to do or not do, which, being expectant parents, we immediately committed to memory. These factoids will be instantly accessible when the baby is in medical distress, say choking to death. I am perfectly prepared to slap the newborn on the back five times, because four times is not enough, and six times is just plain abuse.

In fact, Terry and I have complete recall of all of the classes we’ve taken. After twelve hours of birthing class, four hours of newborn care, four hours of breastfeeding, and 90 minutes of child safety, I believe it will take four, perhaps five minutes after Ronan is born before absolute panic sets in. This totally surpasses the previous estimate, where I expected to panic as soon as his head crowns.

Actually, like all parents who can afford to give birth in a hospital, we have two days to actually deal with our panic before Ronan comes home and we’re totally on our own. The nurses will take care of everything. Then two days after that, our friends will drop by unannounced to see the baby, and at that point we’ll have to feign being in control, because we can’t freak out over coffee, it’s just not done. So, there’s four days there where we won’t have a chance or be allowed to freak out. And then we’ll start killing everyone who comes by unannounced, so Ronan will be raised by the state, and we won’t have to worry about it.

Ha! Ha! I’m kidding, except about killing unannounced visitors. Tonight’s class really gave me the confidence to perform baby Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. After reading her cue cards to us, the nurse passed out fake babies and we practiced our technique.

Everyone else got the angelic choking baby, with the content, happy face and the beautiful, open eyes. Terry and I got exorcist baby, a poor, possessed, tortured plastic soul. This baby had dysplasia, crying eyes shut tight, and its mouth frozen in a strangled cry for help. Exorcist baby also weighed about 30 pounds, while the other happy fake babies weighed about five pounds. Also, because of all the CPR gizmos in exorcist baby’s belly, he had a rock-hard, nipple-less torso straight out of 300, except that exorcist baby would have been cast aside as freakishly unworthy of being a Spartan.

Normally, when a baby is choking, you check its airway; gently place it on its stomach on a flat surface, protecting the head; wail on it five times to knock out the obstruction, and then check its airway again. If that doesn’t get your kid breathing again, you find the sternum between the nipples and press five times. If that doesn't work, press thirty times to keep the heart going while screaming for someone to call 911. Then you gently inflate the lungs twice, forming a seal with your mouth over the baby’s mouth and nose.

With exorcist baby, you have to add an additional step. If it’s a plastic doll, you have to rotate its head so it faces the right way. It felt a little weird that the first thing we did was to gently break your baby’s neck, but it was even weirder to try to do anything with a twisted head. The baby looked at you while you pounded its back and stared at the floor while you tried to find the sternum. It was disconcerting to see exorcist baby’s contorted face as you walloped his back strongly.

The nurse gave each of us a nightmare scenario to diagnose, which would have been helpful if they actually had different outcomes. Everyone had the same CPR to perform, so I’m not sure what the scenarios were supposed to do. Terry and I drew having our baby choke at the fairgrounds when grandpa fed the baby popcorn. I’m so angry with grandpa for doing that, because I had to hold exorcist baby and straighten out his twisted hips and rotate his head. I half expected fake pea soup to vomit out his mouth and cover both of us. And you try locating the sternum between the nipples when your possessed, tortured baby doesn’t even have nipples. Damn you, grandpa!

The comedy of the situation belies the importance of the lesson. If Ronan starts to choke, it’s likely that it will happen on my watch, since after Terry goes back to work I will be the primary caregiver. All kidding aside, I feel like my 20-year-old CPR courses actually prepared me for performing CPR on an infant. It hasn’t changed much since then, and I actually practiced for weeks on a working CPR dummy baby. Tonight’s course we faked actually breathing.

If the other parents in the class didn’t have CPR in high school, then they are shit-out-of-luck. I’m sure their beautiful angelic dummy babies lulled them into a false sense of security. CPR is so much more urgent when your practice dummy has a frozen look of distress and terror on its face. No matter how much CPR you perform on exorcist baby, he’ll still have hip dysplasia. That’s enough to cause expectant parents nightmares.

March 19, 2007

Hooked on Similac

I used to think expectant mothers went with Doulas and breastfeeding for the natural, eons-old reason of understanding your own body and communicating with nature. As an expectant parent I’ve realized the real reason is that some people don’t like Similac pressure.

My first post-toddler encounter with Similac was in 1993 when I was working at a pediatric hospital. A salesman came by to work out a contract with the director, and stopped by my office, where we taught the interns and residents. “Do you want Similac? I can get you cases if you want.” He said.

“What?” I said.

“If you need cases of Similac, I can get it for you.” He said.

I said, “Cases? What would I need with cases of Similac?”

“You could distribute it to the doctors and residents. Or to the patients. Whatever you need.” The friendly, and persuasive, salesman said.

“Okay, I could see having a bottle or two around, but cases of Similac? What would I do with cases of Similac? Where would I put it?”

“That’s up to you. This is a fantastic offer to get free Similac.” The salesman said.

“Uhhh, Thanks. I don’t think I need Similac.”

“Are you sure? Perhaps you should ask around. Lots of mothers want free formula.”

“Yes, I’m sure they need it, but I’m not really able to distribute it.”

As a single man, I just didn’t see a need for Similac in my life right then. Fast forward 14 years – I’m married, my wife’s expecting, we need stuff – and I’m still not sure I need Similac.

Unfortunately Similac disagrees. Since we’re medically insured, middle class consumers seeing a licensed OB/GYN, Similac wants us to know that Similac cares about our baby. Enough to send us a huge box of formula via UPS. Enough to send us coupons for more Similac.

In fact, coupled with the memories of the Similac salesman, I’m beginning to think that these actions are strikingly similar to drug pushing. I mean, how often does Coke or Pepsi come up and offer you unlimited cases of their product? Or deliver it via UPS? Wouldn’t we all love a free case of Dr Pepper?

But of course we don’t get free soda, because Similac is technically not a beverage, it’s food for babies, and it doesn’t come from food conglomerates, it comes from drug companies. So they can Fedex you samples until your baby is hooked, and then they’ve got you for a year. Hopefully your baby will reject Enfamil and then they’ve got you!

Similac isn’t the only one – Pampers sponsored our birthing class, providing full-color layouts of birthing positions and baby information, along with free newborn diapers. Apparently newborn babies develop preferences, and Pampers is sure hoping that if you start using Pampers, you will stick with Pampers. The birthing class instructor also recommended them. Why? Because hospitals use them, so the baby’s already used to them when they go home, so don’t freak out the baby by switching diapers.

Now, I don’t have a baby yet, and I haven’t inquired among mothers, but that seems pretty sketchy to me. Three days, and baby has a preference for Pampers. It seems a little weird to me. Six months, a year, okay. But in three days that kid is going to be fixated on Pampers? Seems to me a little self-fulfilling truth stretching is going on. The same thing happened with the baby safety class. “Buy only flame-retardant bedding and clothes for your baby,” we were instructed. Why? Is it because hospitals and baby corporations are in league, and most flame retardant stuff is made by corporations that can handle the chemical treatment processing?

All this corporate pressure leaves me wondering about pricing. I’ve decided the baby industry is a captive market, because we don’t have to buy Coke or Pepsi every day, but we damn well sure need diapers. Or something like diapers, or something that replaces diapers.

The thing is that with some exceptions, corporate baby stuff is crap. It’s poorly made, it’s poorly designed, and it lasts a lunchtime. Our TinyLove mobile didn’t make it to Ronan’s birth, and is now lying in a pile on the floor waiting for the company to respond to my angry E-mails. After frickin’ weeks of trying to assemble this piece of shit, when we finally get it together, turn it on, the frackin’ thing explodes, ejecting the entire mobile off of the rotation rod. If Ronan was in the crib at the time, he wouldn’t have noticed because he’s a baby, but his grandparents would have had a global thermonuclear meltdown, that only would have ended with the death of the entire company staff.

Our latest trip to a baby superstore only confirmed my belief that this stuff is overpriced and under-made. Looking for a glider, we were told that one model had a giant metal bolt sticking out of it because “the recliner lever was around here somewhere, under the other merchandise…” Which shouldn’t worry us at all, because the glider was very well made. Yes, of course, Mr. Salesman, “parts that are essential to the operation of the expensive furniture just falling off and no one notices where they went” seems like a great sales technique. Where can I get one?

It’s not just that the $149 Ikea DICKTAD crib seems just as well made and solid as the $599 buybuybaby crib, or that sometimes I can actually hear the clock ticking on some baby merchandise. It’s that we don’t seem able to stop buying it. The most well-made thing we bought so far was the Amish-made organic crib mattress, that seems so well made that Ronan’s children may use it because it will last that long. The woman who made it, who obviously took a lot of pride in making it, signed it. Technically we got it from a corporation, but they sell hundreds of mattresses each year, not millions. It was about the same price as the corporate flame-retardant ones, but somehow I like it more.

Ronan will be able to use it until the DICKTAD crib breaks or he outgrows it. (DICKTAD cribs turn into beds when the child is too big for a crib.) Ronan never got to use the TinyLove mobile. It died before he was even born.

March 21, 2007

Holding Pattern

I have nothing to write about today, because thankfully we’re having a boring pregnancy. We’re a week away from our due date, and things are fine.

I can’t call anyone, because they immediately think I’m calling them to say the baby’s due. I called my parents on their cell phone (which I do quite regularly) and they pulled over and made plans to turn around and go home just because I called. I ended up screaming into the phone that Terry WASN’T in labor. So most of Brooklyn heard me, but somehow my parents seemed to be in DEFCON 5, heading for the airport or something. I got them calmed down. But now when I talk to them, the first thing I say is “Terry’s not in labor!”

I called my brother late at night (which I do quite regularly) and he announced to the bar that Terry was in labor and he should he come to Brooklyn? No, not yet. She’s fine. Fine.

People from all over the United States call every day, and I have nothing new to tell them except that Terry’s fine. If I really want to get adventurous, I’ll tell them that not only is Terry still going to work, she’s walking every day. Which is apparently a shocker. Terry goes crazy that I tell them is such a salacious way, but it’s all I’ve got.

I feel bad for depressing people who call, but I sometimes I get the feeling that they’re worried about being left out of the birth notice. My evil twin part of me sometimes wants to say “Oh, the baby? We had Ronan two weeks ago. Didn’t we tell you?” except they would feel bad and Terry would so kick my ass if she heard me saying that.

The other part of that is the need for doctors and others to know absolutely that I will be there for whatever meeting or appointment they have scheduled. I’m in eye therapy for staring at my computer so much over the past ten years. My eyes aren’t working to together; it’s possible they hate each other. So every week I go and play video games and read Calvin and Hobbes wearing weird glasses that make my eyes work together. I left yesterday and said, “If the baby comes, I won’t be here next week.” Which made everyone in the room stop and look at me funny. What? You’re going to choose the birth of your baby over eye therapy?

People who have no tolerance for your upcoming baby: Utilities workers. I’m trying to have cable come before the baby arrives, and getting Time Warner cable to meet a deadline is like parting the Red Sea – you’ve heard it’s been done, but only with a close relationship with God. First, you have to explain your wife is pregnant; then you have to explain she’s due next week; then you have to explain why this week is really best; then you have to wait until someone explains that to a supervisor. Then start the whole process over again. I guess that’s par for a company that came last week, removed one part of our cable installation and is scheduled this week to bring it back.

So all scheduling for the next few weeks is with the caveat “if the baby doesn’t come that day.” Because you don’t want to leave people hanging. We’re developing contact lists based on the day of the week and which appointments we have to cancel.

Yet with only a week to go, there are a million things to do. Some of them are trivial; some of them are really important. If someone could look at my list and tell me which will end up being trivial and which are important, I’d really be grateful!

March 22, 2007

Blue Meanie Meyers

Because so many people have called to see if Terry is doing okay in the last weeks (days?) of pregnancy, we've asked Blue Meanie Meyers to step in as Ronan. Just because so many of you are Jonesing to see this baby, this is what he will look like, only probably (hopefully) not blue:

blue meanie 2

Blue Meanie Meyers is smaller than Ronan, which disappoints my parents, who want a large baby so they can lord it over their friends that their grandchild is bigger out-of-the-womb. So these photos are not to scale. However, they will give you an indication of what Ronan will look like in his crib.

blue meanie 1

The odd pillow-shaped device will keep Ronan from getting flat head syndrome from sleeping on his back. Also, Ronan will probably not be able to stand like Blue Meanie Meyers.

Blue Meanie Meyers will be adopted by a good friend, some say a third McDonald brother, who is a rabid beatle fan, even more than Terry.

Finally, these images were taken with my new camera phone. So if you can receive multimedia mail, please E-mail me and I will send you a Ronan photo from the hospital.

March 26, 2007

Fed Up

Wednesday March 28th is our due date, and I for one will welcome our new baby overlord.

It’s not just because this is a very exciting, life-changing kind of thing, it’s also because we are so ready for this to happen. Personally (not speaking for Terry) I’ve moved beyond the excitement phase into “c’mon, hurry up!’ phase.

I’ll try to explain this without sounding like the worst Dad ever, but at some point, even the expectant father is done with pregnancy. There’s the glowing and the strangers asking to touch your wife in a way that would be actionable if she wasn’t pregnant, and there’s the building the crib and buying the first baby clothes, and at some point you just wish he would just come out already.

We have joined a lovely group of parents who are all expecting around the same time. At one point we were actually worried that we would be the first. Now we may be nineteenth or so and we are so ready for this baby to be born already.

Terry has her own reasons for wanting the pregnancy over that I won’t go into. I just want Ronan to come out so that I can stop worrying that she’ll experience too much pain or the baby will be deformed or dead (!!) or worse, alive but brain dead. (Yeah, I’m a sick person sometimes. Deal with it. These are the emotions I’m feeling.)

Of course Terry has the worst of it because the kid is actually inside of her. Supposedly the emotional and physical changes the mother experiences are partly taken out on the father, but she’s been pretty easy to live with the past nine months. We’ve had a very low-key pregnancy, and I thank Ronan for that. But dammit, I just want him out.

I know what you’re thinking. In two weeks, I’ll want to back him back in. I admit I’ve said to Terry that it would be great if a fully toilet-trained and speaking person emerged from the womb, but that would mean the kid weighed forty pounds at birth, and I value my wife too much to really want that. I’ll just have to suffer through piles of diapers.

But right now I want the kid in my arms now. As a kid I have vivid memories of my brother being born. I was eight. My maternal grandmother came to visit for the birth; Ryan was due around Christmas. Well, Christmas came and went, and so did grandma. She had to go back to work. My Mom laid in bed and beat her stomach in frustration. “Out! Out!” she cried as my Dad packed my grandmother into the car for the ride to airport. I never really understood that feeling until now.

Thankfully Terry and I aren’t at the point where we want to beat her stomach. But Ryan was two weeks late. I can’t imagine going that long. I feel like we’re on low-key alert. Terry gets the flu – could be labor. I call someone – “Is Terry in labor?” We’re waiting… We’re waiting…

At some point a week after the due date passes, our OB/GYN will talk about inducing labor. Apparently the baby’s skin starts to slake off and the nails grow long, which could cause scratches on the baby and I presume in the womb. When the birthing class instructor told me about that, I pictured some zombie newborn crawling out of the womb and killing everyone in the room. Yes, I’m seeing a counselor. Why?

Anyway, I can’t wait for Ronan to be born. Also, I’m out of ideas for the blog.

About March 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Freaks & Geeks Parenting in March 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2007 is the previous archive.

April 2007 is the next archive.

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