We racked up some memories this year. There was the trip to sit on Santa's lap at the fire department. You were didn't even flinch. The shopping trip while you stayed with mamaw and papaw. When we came back the house was filled with cousins playing together. The Christmas Portrait of the three of us that didn't quite happen. It was OK though, we got splendid pictures of you before your big meltdown! Seeing the cool pictures they took at school. Sending your picture in our Christmas cards. Making the cool ornament and package to send to your mamaw in Kentucky. Hearing her open it was so much fun. The lack of baking in our house. I had good intentions, even making a list of the things I hoped to bake but they just never materialized for lack of time, energy, and willpower. Reflecting on the test your mom took last Christmas Eve and the sudden turn of events that completely changed our lives. The bottle of wine we got for a friend on Christmas Eve. It was time for you to eat and we were looking at the bottle of wine when you got all big eyed and started reaching for it like it was your special big bottle. The look of frustration on your face when we took it away. How congenial and good you were around everyone at the Christmas parties. Then getting overwhelmed and having a meltdown opening your presents at home. We had to take a break and open some the next day. And the day after that. It is more blessed to give than recieve!
"twas the night before Christmas and we were all at home together. We napped on the couch. You actually let us sleep, being quiet as a mouse. The stocking were hung, filled to the max. We were all stretched out sleeping, just trying to relax. Your mom and I always open our gifts on Christmas eve. There is always so much to do Christmas day and so many places to go and people to see. We kept the tradition this year, opening our gifts to each other while you continued to sleep. We took a longer nap this year than we usually do before opening presents. We needed it. Christmas can be exhausting. Some gifts just didn't get wrapped this year. It is the thought that counts, right? This year there were more gifts for you under the tree than gifts for ourselves. Probably it will be that way for a long time.
Lamentations 3:23 says "His mercies are new every morning." That is a beautiful promise from scripture. The snow reminds me of that. Generally speaking, snow causes lots of people to get anxious as it is falling. There are long lines at the grocery stores and nervous drivers leaving work early to get in accidents and cause traffic problems. Snow is not something we experience often here. When it happens, or is forecasted, it can cause a panic in people. Then when we wake up in the morning we can see how beautiful it really is, uninterrupted and covering the world in freshness. It is pretty amazing once we just accept it and let it happen as we sleep, giving up trying to plan around or control it. If it is going to happen, it's going to happen and you cant stop it. Everything looks different covered in a blanket of snow. Dogs and children get excited by it. Cats and old people step through it tenatively. You saw your first snowfall this week. You gave a peek and seemed rather nonplussed by it. A dusting of snow is so fresh and perfect in the morning and then by the end of the day it has either been trampled on, melted, or turned into something creative like a snowman or a snow angel. People are fresh creations with God's mercy. Just like the snow covering the yard, turning it into something unexpectedly beautiful and totally different than what it was before.
Santa Claus is a controversial figure, but I want to raise you to pay heed to the spirit of generosity that this season reflects. If it takes a fat man in a red suit being led from house to hacienda all across the world by a team of reindeer to show generosity to All Men then, that is something that I can work with. Generosity sometimes needs a flamboyant larger than life example, and sometimes Santa Claus is that person. I'm all for examples of inclusiveness to show this point. You know there are a lot of bad children out there that don't deserve gifts, but they get them from Santa just the same. Even the children that we think of as being self-centered little brats. All they do is ask and they recieve. No, make that demand and recieve! Santa seems like a pretty generous fellow to go through all the trouble to do all this, but nobody ever thanks him or gives him a second thought until Christmas. Now I know that I'm not at all deserving of any of life's rich blessings that I have recieved, but they were poured out to me anyway. Not by any noble act or accomplishment on my part. Not by any right or entitlement, or even by demanding, but just by humbly asking for the gift. Then I even got some gifts that I didn't even ask for. Those turned out to be the really good ones. I'm all for the generosity that we show each other and even to total strangers, especially at Christmas. Angel trees, salvation army bell ringers, and even random carolers entertaining shoppers at the mall are all ways that strangers are evangelized to by people who love to give. Christmas is most definitely not about the gifts but the Spirit by which they are given and the kindness that we show each other in doing so. We may call these people crazy, roll our eyes, or try to avoid them, but we are glad that they care enough to do these kinds of things. All for total strangers. I'll bet that if these giving people put this much effort on total strangers then they must really know how to shower their own families with love. Sometimes these people are thanked for their giving, often they are not. They do it regardless. Giving just makes you feel good and people like to feel good. One year I went on a mission trip to West Virginia to deliver Christmas gifts to a very poor community. We collected bikes, baby dolls, any kind of toy you could imagine. We also gave coats and lots of clothing too. These people literally had nothing of material value and lived under a cloud of shame because of their living conditions. We gave many fuel vouchers so families could have warmth in their homes or even finally have their gas turned on for the winter. We also gave bags of groceries to each family. The hope they recieved along with these presents was life changing in that moment. Hope like that is what people need just to make it through the day. Giving those gifts was certainly life changing for me. Giving hope can change your whole perspective on gift giving. Undeserved gifts, gifts of generosity to fellow men, life changing gifts, and the gift of hope. These are what we really give and recieve at Christmas. Sometimes people will respond to gifts like that from Santa and noone else. For that reason, I put up with it...and yes, Virginia, it may even take Santa to help demonstrate God's unconditional love for us sometimes.
Over the river and thru the woods, off on a shopping date your mom and I went. You had your own fun at grandma's house. I don't think I ever seen the mall so crowded before. We got a cool ornament to send to your mamaw in Kentucky that said 'grandma's first christmas.' At the entrance of one store we saw at least 8 strollers parked with babies in tow and tired looking dads keeping their eyes on them. Most of the stores were so jam-packed that it would be strategically impossible to navigate a stroller through them. I don't think you are ready for that kind of outing yet. I know I'm not. Good thing grandma's house is on the way to the mall!
We took you to the local fire department to have your picture taken with Santa. There were plenty of babies there but none so cute as you. Some were dressed to the nines, at least as far as babies go. Newborn girls in tights, velvet dresses, shiny patent leather shoes, and those horrible headbands that look like some kind of garter belt on their little bald heads. Little boys in corduroy pants, sweater vests, button-down shirts and ties. Those kids were mostly all teary-eyed and flustered by the prospect of sitting on the lap of a man wearing a red furry suit in front of a fire truck. Hope they aren't scarred by the experience too badly. In your practical but stylish pink snowsuit, you just kept your cool composure throughout it all and shined like the diamond you are. Heck, you probably would have even ridden in the fire truck with Santa if we let them put your car seat in there. I would say that you 'glowed' for your picture, but glowing should be reserved for a more reverent experience.
This time last year I was in a baking mood. I baked and decorated soooo many gingerbread men for people's children that I lost count of just how many I made. The house smelled like Christmas on any given day because of all of the spices and molasses I used to bake with. I was also into wrapping presents. Some of them rather intricately in fact. I thought I was really in the Christmas Spirit. Your mom was settled down on the couch napping or wondering why she was so tired all of the time. This year the holiday baking has not begun yet though I do have plans, and your gifts are pretty much the only things wrapped and under the tree. Your mom would still like a winter's nap but it probably isn't going to happen any time soon!
About once a week we stop in Starbucks for coffee on your way to school. The place had just decorated for Christmas and everyone was in an extra chipper mood. Could have been the caffeine in the air or the Christmas Spirit, I'm not sure which. Suddenly Frank Sinatra came on the music system with his cool big band swing and you just lit up, beaming and bopping your head. Cool. We swayed since there were just too many people in there to dance. I could have put you in your carseat, we could have started dancing and swinging to Ol' Blue Eyes, and we could have knocked over people like so many bowling pins if we felt like it. I wasn't in the mood to be kicked out of a coffee shop this morning though, so we just swayed with you in my arms.
Ever want to feel important? Just let yourself be recognized by a baby. Move over Mr. President. Hollywood and the red carpet celebrities have nothing on you if a baby's face just lights up the moment you walk in the room. If you ever want to feel like a Superstar, just make a baby giggle and squeal. Then you are the funniest entertainer on the planet. You are the ready to sell out shows from coast to coast and maybe even play the half-time show for the Superbowl. That is the power of your entertainment. Ever want to feel loved and needed, just let a baby rest her head on your shoulder and then go to sleep. Then when you start to put her down and she whimpers to stay on your shoulder, that's when you know that you are loved and needed, that's for sure. All these things are great ego boosters, but if you ever want to feel really, Really, REALLY IMPORTANT-clean up after a blowout diaper. Your wife will be glad you did. You will be Number One in her book. And your baby will think you are cool too.
We got a card today in the mail. At first I thought it was a shower invitation but then I read it and discovered something great. Your grandma made a missions gift in your honor. Your tiny little fingers are exploring now, going into your mouth, learning to pick up and hold onto things. Pinching my nose, sometimes even pulling mommy's hair. Your little feet still shun shoes and will hardly tolerate a pair of socks. These little things of yours are part of a much bigger thing, and are being used as the hands and feet of Jesus somewhere far, far away. Still, you have delivered sermons to me here at home more powerfully than any preacher ever could. You have delivered to me Joy from your smile, Praise from your sweet baby babble, Peace from watching you sleep, Trust from your knowing that every need is going to be met, Passion from an uncontrollable tantrum, Desire from the way you look at me and Empathy from a tear glistening down your cheek.
It's no fun being sick. You got to experience that today firsthand. To your credit, you tried to carry on as normal as possible in spite of congestion. There was a grin here and there. Still a little time to play and enjoy yourself between naps and coughing fits. You probably haven't been programmed yet to milk being sick for all the pity that it is worth. I don't like to honor pity. A pity party is usually a party for one, and that person is the guest of honor. You don't seem preoccupied with things like that. Even though you are sick you would rather continue on as though nothing was wrong, making the best of it. When you get to be an adult they call that 'denial.' I call it showing us what you are made of!
I now have proof that your grandma always liked me best. She came to school and saw you. She didn't do that with your cousins. She said she was going to be coming to town and asked if she could come visit you at school. I gave her our code to get in the building and told your teachers that she might visit. She did. They said that you had a good time playing with her and introducing her to your friends. More proof that she liked me best is that I have her cell phone number. Your uncles don't. Maybe I will get 'Mom' tattooed on my arm inside of a heart. It will be our secret.
Today was your first school pictures. And they were Christmas pictures! Of course we had to try you in three different outfits for the occasion. Everything had to be just right. I took my own pictures of you in the different outfits too. Cant have too many pictures, now can we? When I dropped you off at school I couldn't believe my good luck. They were ready to take your picture and I got to see the whole thing. You were giving it your all! Big smiles here and there. Lots of personality. A couple of different poses. I Cant wait to see the results, even though I know you are beatiful already.
I just love to watch you sleep. I love waking you up too, just to watch what you do. I like to tickle your neck and chin. Blow in your ears and face. You make some of the most fascinating expressions during these times. Sometimes your brow get furrowed, like you are thinking about something really hard. I'm not used to you looking so serious and contemplative. Sometimes you puff our your cheeks and make fish lips. When you do this you usually raise your arms high and draw your knees into your chest. Sometimes you roll your eyes sleepily and then drift back away into sleep. The dreams you have usually lure you back to them unless I am persistent in my attempts to awaken you. If I am really lucky I catch you smiling in your sleep. I wonder what kind of dream you must be having when you smile in your sleep. Is it a dream of something we are doing together? Maybe reading nursery rhymes or playing in your swing? Are you and mommy playing together? Tummytime perhaps? Dancing to your lullabies? Your arms sometimes move as you sleep. So do your feet and legs. Off come those socks! Could it be that you are not in a dream at all, but in the company of Angels worshipping in the Throne Room of God?
You must have been having serious growing pains this weekend. The plan was to do some Christmas shopping Friday night. Cancelled. Due to Fussiness. Then Saturday the plan was to do some Christmas shopping. Cancelled. Due to Fussiness. Then Sunday you were fussy in Church, and that is something that is just not typical. Then we discussed doing some Christmas shopping. Discussing the plans seemed the prudent thing to do, considering the stalled state of our plans so far this weekend. Then, you guessed it, Cancelled. Due to Fussiness. At this rate we just might be doing our shopping online or risk becoming like Scrooge. Bah Humbug! I told your mother you must be going through some Growing Pains. Just don't grow up too fast because of them. One question. Because we are so entwined in your growing pains, does it mean that we are growing too? If so I'd really like grow up instead of out. We'll probably 'grow as parents' or 'grow in parental wisdom' or something like that. Why can't our gratification be instant instead of being squirrelled away like some hard bit of gleaned knowledge to pass along to you? I guess these are my Growing Pains.
Your the kid whose dad... -Drops you off in the morning, making sure to let you greet all the other infants in your daycare class. I don't care if you are the most popular, but I do want you to know how to socialize and communicate. You being the best dressed is my perogative. -Chooses to carry you in a carrier rather than use a stroller, just so we can be extra close. You seem so far away in a stroller. -Sends cards for every holiday and "just because" with your latest and cutest pictures to grandparents, cousins, and friends. -Always has new pictures just developed and showing them, hot off the press. -Holds you in my arms during Praise and Worship at Church so we can do it together. I even color coordinate what I am wearing your outfit so we don't clash. -Reads Mother Goose in different voices and sings the rhymes whever possible to make it more fun! Reconnecting to my childhood is soo much fun! -Hung a "Baby on Board" sign up in the car weeks before you were born. -Makes music mix-tapes to listen to with you in mind. Not lullabies either. -Calls people when you hit milestones, such as laughing, rolling-over, etc. It is just fascinating to me and I can't help but share these things. -Doesn't call you 'princess' because I don't believe in that, but will always be your knight in shining armor.
For a little girl, you like to do things big. Who would want to sleep in her crib or bassinet when you can sleep in the comfort of our big Queen sized bed? You have this knack about waiting for just the prime moment after nursing when everyone is resting. Then you get this angelic look about you that makes it hard to put you back in your bed. I keep waiting for a halo to pop up over your little sleeping head. You have figured out how to playing our heartstrings like a fiddle. Who would want to wake the sleeping baby, right? Just look at her. Awww! Now how can a little girl take up so much room in a big bed? Stretching arms and legs. One morning I saw your mother on about a two-inch wide edge of the mattress with you all sprawled out in the middle of the bed. Still waiting for that halo to appear.
Another thing you really love to do big is bathtime. Sink baths are for babies now that you have been in Deep Water. We still have a brand new infant tub just for you that has never even been out of the box yet. It is quietly tucked away on a shelf in the linen closet. The deep water of the big bathtub is where you want to be and I dont blame you. Afterall, daddy wouldn't fit in the sink or your infant tub. Even if I were able to fit in the infant tub with you there probably wouldn't be room for the ducks. Or penguins. You really love it when I hold your head and support your shoulders and let you float. Kicking and splashing are also so much fun in the big tub while mommy gives you a nice shampoo. Afterwards we both smell so good. So far you haven't pooped on me in the big tub. Even if you do it will be easy to clean up!
You learned how to roll over on your own, hurray! At daycare, AKA "school", one of your teachers told us that she thought you would be rolling over any day now. Well it turns out that she was right. We were lying in the floor with you playing last night and you rolled right over. You were so proud of yourself for figuring it out. You had been quite frustrated during the process, trying to get your arm out from under your belly and not quite being able to roll over completely because of it. You were so happy when it all clicked that once we put you on your back you rolled over again. And wiggled. And giggled. Holding your head up proudly. So defiant! I told your mother that you were going to be dangerous now. We thought we were the first to witness this and I was excited to tell your teacher the next day. She said that she forgot to tell us that you did it yesterday in the crib. Killjoy!
Dear Reader, There has been a gap of about twelve weeks since the last posted vignette. Let's just say I've been a little distracted; preoccupied, if you will. Not that this past quarter hasn't been without it's own daily stories. I will get on to telling those tales eventually. Until then they will be mulled over and made ferment in the tumblers of my heart and mind, eventually becoming a series of midnight vignettes. Soon the memories of those times will become all smooth, like stones from the river of life. One slight problem...the details and rough edges are what really happened and what make things interesting. The truth is you were born the way we live our lives: naked, covered with blood and screaming! This is your story. Life on the outside.
You were born on Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:32 p.m., weighing 8 lbs and 4 oz, being 20 and one half inches long. It was a remarkable day. Your mother was very ready for you to come. You were already a couple of days late. I had heard from some latino friends that spicy foods could trigger labor so we had Wendy's chili on Wednesday night. At 5 a.m. on the dot the next morning your mother's water broke. She harbored a fear that this would happen during a most inappropriate time such as at work or while we were sleeping. We had bought a mattress pad just in case it happened while we were sleeping. I don't know how we would have managed the situation if this had happened anywhere else but while we were sleeping. Your mom likes to tell people that she has never seen me get out of bed that fast before. She probably never will again.
If labor has two sides I saw both that day. Your mother looked absolutely beautiful. The contractions were manageable, meaning few and far between. We took our time getting ready. Siezing the opportunity that may never surface again, I asked her if she was sure that she didn't want a picture of her pregnant belly. It could be just for us I told her, and it turned out beautiful. In fact, we were proud to show it off to people. This was the pretty side of labor: giddiness on the way to the hospital with packed bags, birthing ball, and carseat secure in place. Hair and make-up done perfectly and wearing stylish albeit comfortable clothing. We listened to worship music during parts of your labor. The other side of labor was not so pretty. Helplessness and pain from a rough patch of chemically enhanced contractions that just would not let up, but were not producing the much desired effect. An epidural that did not properly take. A second epidural administered between a series of hard contractions as she was sitting on the side of the bed. Coping. Breathing. Crying. After such great efforts, a C-section was the birthing method that was performed. The C-section was pretty neat in some ways. I was in the Operating Room next to your mother's head comforting her. The doctor asked me if I wanted to "see." "Sure", I said. I stood up and witnessed the whole thing up-close-and-personal. Note to other dads, don't worry about passing out if this happens to you. It was so fascinating that I told your mother that they could put me on the payroll at the hospital. Then they held you up and you cried. Your mother said it was the most beautiful cry.
When you were declared a girl we were thrilled! All during the pregnancy we just knew you were going to be a boy, but we are delighted that you are who you are. Before we left the hospital I tied a garish pink ribbon to the antennae of the car. It's still attatched and blowing in the wind freely. Your grandma brought two "coming home outfits." One for a boy, one for a girl. Although you are a girl, we will not be dressing you exclusively in pink. I quickly tell people that you look good in ALL COLORS! Ruffles and frills are not our style or yours, and neither are those ridiculous and impractical little dresses that certain people love, and that I love to hate. I also hate, Hate, HATE those headbands they place on little girl babies and will not permit them to be in your presence. Those things are for bald babies that don't look like little girls or boys.
The first thing I saw when you were born were those fingers. They were moving, clutching air as your arms waved wildly. Then were the toes, oh my, I've never seen such toes. Toes that resist shoes and socks almost as much as mine. Our Auntie says you are the only one she knows who can give the "peace sign" with their toes! It has been established by family members that you will be a piano-playing swimmer by virtue of the length of your fingers and toes, and by how much you like to kick.
After you were born (and we recovered) I made sure to spend lots of time playing with you, moving those little arms and legs; Making you "ride the bicicyle" and playing "Pat-a-cake." Nibbling on those little ears, fingers, and toes. I did this not only because it was fun and you were irresistable, but also to demonstrate that you weren't some delicate china doll. I had to show that you were a real live little person who needed lots of playing with. I needed to prove that you weren't going to crumble and break into a million pieces like some piece of glass. You needed touching to be stimulated and we needed to touch you to become confident that we could actually do this. The more relaxed and comfortable we became with you, the more relaxed and comfortable you were with us. All of this touchy-feelyness has been good, and we still haven't stopped.
I have learned how to take a good picture, thanks to you. I have taken more pictures the last twelve weeks than I have in the last twelve years. I even photographically preserved your first shot at the pediatricians office, tears and all! It seems like you learned pretty quick how to pose. Not just some dumb,stiff-looking "cheese" photo pose either. You have developed a knack for giving me expressions and natural poses.
Now it's time for the thank-you's. Thanks nurses in labor and delivery. We wouldn't know how to change a diaper without you! You all were wonderful. Except for the one that was stupid. Thanks OBGYBN. We are going to miss those appointments! Thanks lactation consultant. You are awesomely encouraging. To everyone in our childbirth and breastfeeding classes...let's have a reunion! Bring the babies!
Oh and for anyone who thinks that you have me trained and wrapped around your finger, or that you are spoiled already, I have a famous phrase that I keep repeating. "I don't believe in spoiling children. I only love and take good care of them. We never spoil them, because I dont believe in spoiling children!"
That was the whole ball of wax, in a nutshell. More daily midnight vignettes to come.
We went for your appointment today. They did a non-stress test on you. You started out like a galloping horse. Then you got bored and took a nap. Baseline heart rate was perfect, 150 beats per minute. Next we had an ultrasound and were checked to see if your mom's body had started changing enougth for you to be born. The doctor kind of had us thinking that today just might be the day. Your mom got excited and asked me if I thought we would be able to go home first before being whisked away to labor and delivery. I told her I thought so. Well, the doctor broke it to us as gently and tactfully as possible. She said that if there were any sign at all that you were in distress or not getting what you needed that they could help you be born today. There was no such sign. The good news is that you are just perfect. It was still a letdown. Today just wasn't going to be your birthday. What a rollercoaster ride of emotions we were riding. We did see a cool ultrasound picture of you with chubby cheeks though.
I was talking to a friend after church about you moving around and stuff and how cool it was. She declared that anyone who wanted to see evidence of God just needs to witness the miracle of a baby being alive and moving around in the womb, kicking and growing like crazy. This truly has been a life changing and life-affirming experience. And that is just from my point of view. Just ask your mother about it one day. I'll bet she could just go on and on and on about it.
I promised your mom I would take her out to breakfast this morning. We had a delicious breakfast at Panera Bread. It is not the first place to think of for breakfast or for kids, but we were surprised by the number of people with kids there. I definitely want you to know the taste of good food and not just horrible happy meals. There is much better food and we want you to eat a variety of stuff. I also want you to know how to handle being out and about in public without misbehaving. Not too badly anyway. Social graces never go out of style. You will thank us for it one day. And we will thank you in advance for not acting up!
Your mom got a massage today to ease the pain in her hips. She didn't get a tattoo. It wasn't that kind of massage parlor. It was a very nice massage therapist in a respectable office downtown. And it provided some needed relief, which was the main thing. Your mom was walking faster than she had in several days. Mall walkers, watch out; She could give you a run for your money! Speaking of massage, I have heard that touch therapy is very effective on infants. I'll have to read up on baby massage. Sounds like a good way to spend some quality time with you. A few years ago your mom actually went to a dog massage therapy class and she sometimes does those techniques on our dogs. Maybe she will do some massage on you!
I hung the blinds in your room tonight. They are very cool, made of bamboo, and give the perfect jungle effect that we were looking for. And then your mom and I put some decorative animals on your closet door. That was right after I hung some cool monkeys that have hooks for things like diaper bags, your outfits, and anything else with a handle. All these finishing touches are in place. You have got to come soon. I'm running out of things to do.
Your mom is pretty darn uncomfortable. 39 Weeks into pregnancy and this hip pain has put a damper on her activities, both walking and diving. Her "big nights out" this week have been 1.To the library. 2.To Dairy Queen and the drugstore. Tomorrow-I will take her to the hairdresser. We're quite the jet-setters, eh? It is so unlike her to be immobile and inactive. I kidded her and said I would check the mileage on her car to see if she went anywhere while I was at work. She replied that she was saving gas money for daycare. If she didn't laugh, she'd cry!
I'm taking the advice a friend gave me: shave before going to bed. Just in case you decide to come in the middle of the night I will look like myself in the pictures. So I am giving myself the "babyface" before going to bed. I got to admit it is a time saver in the mornings. Maybe you are just waiting for the chance to come in the middle of the night when I didn't shave so I will look like a wild man in the hospital pictures. My friend said that his brother looks crazy in his pictures when his baby was born in the middle of the night. I sure wouldn't want that to happen to me.
The Doctor says that your mom hasn't dilated any yet. That's right, not at all dilated. Zip, zero. None whatsoever. So... they told us that they wouldn't let her go over 41 weeks before inducing her, if needed, to get you to come on out. As if that is supposed to be any consolation! What makes it worse is that persistant hip pain that she is experiencing makes it hard for her to move around. We had to go get a few things after the appointment and her movement had slowed down tremendouly. She even pushed the cart to help take some of the pressure off her hip. The mall-walkers could probably pass us at this point if she had the stamina to walk the mall. She is used to being active and not in pain whenever she moves. Baby, please hurry up and get here and stop with the lessons on patience already!
Well, despite several contractions during dinner in the Chinese restaurant and some coincidental lucky numbers you did not choose to come. It is OK, I guess you are teaching your mom and myself patience. I made sure most of the laundry was done and thought about any necessary things to take to the hospital that weren't packed before we went to bed. I even got some sleep. When I woke up I knew that it was business as usual. The business of the past 9 months, that is.
Tonight we ate Chinese food for dinner. Between random contractions we enjoyed egg rolls and cashew chicken. Did I mention contractions? Well, there were a few but they were random. The lady at the restaurant was also expecting around the same time we are. It was nice talking to her and comparing the experience. I ate my fortune cookie for dessert, which I hardly ever do. My fortune read "You will inherit a large amount of money." My "lucky numbers" were 0-8-8. Could this mean that tonight is the night? Afterall, this is the Eighth day of the Eighth month. By the way, did I mention contractions?
Today your uncle helped me put a ceiling fan in your room. It is a very cool fan, picked out just for you. It has small blades but they can create quite the cool, chilled out effect that we want. The light is bright enough without being blinding. Cozy, yet practical. It is the perfect overhead lighting system for your room. If we need stronger light we also have the lamp that I designed for you with the animals on the shade. We thought you might like a little "atmosphere" and "mood" enhancement in your room. As if we haven't created enough atmosphere in there already. You can supply the mood. Preferably a good one.
Are you going to howl at the moon tonight? Someone told us that the full moon just might ease you into being born. Well, tonight starts the full moon. The moon causes the ocean tides to rise and fall. Will it be the same for you? They also say that when the moon is full strange things happen. Hospitals are busier than usual. I don't think I want a bunch of superstitious people hanging out at the hospital when you are to be born so hold on for a few more days, please!
We made it to another Wednesday, and you know what that means! Only possibly 2 more Wednesdays to go before you are born, if you can hold out that long. Mom's been feeling a little more bulky this week so she has worked from home some. It is a nice option for her. Especially at a time like this.
I heard an interesting stastic today. It was that in this country births are actually on the decline, down 2%. It seems that you will be a maverick, a real rebel. A trendsetter instead of a trend follower. In a time when births are on the way down you will be on your way to making your mark in this world. This stastic will ultimately means less competition for you. You are going to be another statistic in our family too. You are going to be the tie breaking kid. You have 4 cousins. 2 boys and 2 girls. Statistically speaking it is also strange, me being the oldest having the youngest child. I was the oldest child, oldest grandchild, and oldest great-grandchild. Now you will be the youngest grandchild and youngest great-grandchild.
We went to the doctor today to see "just how big that baby is." Well they said what I knew all along, that you weren't the monster baby they thought you were going to be. The ultrasound said you were 7 lbs, 1 oz. The doctor said that you would be around 8 lbs at the time of delivery. So there you have it, a good size baby. Enough weight to be able to hold body temperature well but not huge either. Big enough to hold and play with and not be afraid of. We are using one of the dogs as a reference point. He is 8 lbs too.
Today after church we got the much craved hamburgers. They were so good. I'll bet you grow up liking them as much as we do. Once I got mine topped with BBQ sauce, mushrooms, and jalapeno peppers. If you have extravagant taste you will take after both of us. Don't get me wrong, simple things are wonderful, but special things are just our style. I like many special things. Fish tacos, tomatoe and cheese sandwiches, grits with hot sauce, peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, potatoe chips and catsup, pizza with hot sauce. These are just a few special things I like. Your mom likes special stuff too but her taste is not as unusual as mine. She calls my taste "acquired" but I call it "refined." A general rule of thumb to remember is that if catsup doesn't make it better then try hot sauce. If hot sauce doesn't help, then it must need cheese. Maybe if you get fussy about your food I'll dip your pacifier in peanut butter or hot sauce and see if that pleases you (just kidding)!
Baby, I don't know much about changing a "blow-out" diaper but I know how to change a blow out tire. In fact, I had to change a blow out on my way home from work this very afternoon. Either way, it is something that requires immediate attention. When you get a blow out tire, there is nothing to do but change it unless you just want to sit on the side of the road immobile. You can either do it yourself or call a roadside assistance service to come and change it. With the blow-out diaper, if you don't change it you may regret it. Either with a bad case of diaper rash, leaks running down the babies leg, or a screaming baby and a mad mommy, there is bad news if you don't do something quick. From the horror stories about blow-out diapers it is too bad there is not a service like AAA to come take care of it! Either way it helps to have a spare. Whether it is a spare tire or more diapers in a diaper bag, you need supplies to change it. Blow out tires are not an everyday thing. Hopefully blow-out diapers aren't either.
Mom said you were a little mellow today. She said that at work you moved around a bit but not as much kicking and boxing (or tap dancing and jumping rope)as normal. We hope you are a mellow baby and not a fussy baby. I have seen my share of fussy babies. Babies who scream bloody murder and throw a tantrum whenever they are in public. The parents of these babies either look stressed or indifferent, no matter the fuss that the baby is creating or the dirty looks that they are getting. I have also seen babies who are just happy as a clam looking around at the big world and being a part of the scene. Those parents look peaceful and attentive to the baby. All parties look like they are enjoying themselves with this kind of baby. We are shooting for the latter of these two extremes. I can be peaceful, can you?
Got some more stuff for you. This stuff was stuff from me. A lion clock that looks great in your room and a monkey hamper for your dirty clothes. Also the green Baby Bjorn carrier for me to carry you around in. Also a pillow designed to prevent "flat-head synrdome." We want you to be in all dimensions, not flat! I also picked up the perfect "bring me home from the hospital" outfit. Hope you like it!
Your mom said that she was tired of being the center of attention today. Not that she is a spectacle or anything, but she also said that she is feeling Very Pregnant! This came after a restless night and a very muggy day. There are just so many times that you can answer the same questions over and over again. People keep coming out of the woodwork asking her how she feels, remark that you are coming early, and can't believe she is still working. She is still running into people who didn't even know that she was expecting. I have a feeling that once you are born we will both fade into the background though. We will just blend in with the scenery and you will be the star. At some point we will lose our names. We will just be X's mom and dad. One day in the not so distant future we will actually long for someone to ask us how We are doing. And when they do ask us that question we will probably eventually make You the subject of the conversation.
Don't tell anyone. It can be our secret, OK. Nobody knows it but I'm practicing up on my superman skills. I have been working on my cat-like reflexes. Who knows when I may have to use them. You may challenge me to save you from falling once you start getting mobile. I also have been working on my hearing. I've got ears like a bat. Not a sound will be made that I don't hear. Even in the middle of the night. I also have been working on my eagle eyes. Well, I do need to go to the eye doctor in a few weeks. Maybe he can help me out with that one. But for all other superman deeds, see me. I don't wear a cape. Capes just get in the way and cause you to be recognized. I am superman, incognito.
We went to your doctor appointment today. Doctor says you are just dandy. Next week is another ultrasound to check your size and everything, but today your mom was measuring right where she ought to be. She was measuring a week ahead last time and we had to watch certain foods. So that meant fewer things like cake and bread. We managed to sneak a bite of ice cream here and there but we paid for it by being good the rest of the time! The doctor checked to see if there was any dilation and there was none. So to all who say you are coming any day now, we listen to you and the doctor!
We made it through a long night. You mom was sick and had a few contractions. They were not the 5-1-1 type(five minutes apart, 1 minute long, lasting for 1 hour), but we wanted to be as ready as possible just in case it was time to go. I guess this was a dress rehearsal of sorts. At least now you have a freshly laundered outfit and your mom has a few things in her hospital bag. All the excitement was over as the doctor pronounced over the phone that it was a virus, not pregnancy related. Your mom caught a few Zzz's as side effect of the medicine to settle her stomach.
We went shopping today for a few things that we didn't get at your showers. It was fun, picking up a few things that we picked out when we registered. It seems like so long ago when we went through the stores with a list of things and a scanner to pick them out. All that is over, now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. Your mom got sick tonight and I started packing a bag, just in case. I washed a little outfit for you to come home in and some things for her to wear in the hospital. We have tried to plan things all along, and now that it is crunch time we don't want to be caught by suprise if you decide to come a little early.
Today I thought about your appearance, how I imagine you to look. I would like for you to have my brown eyes and eyelashes, but not my eyebrows. My nose would be fine, but not my ears. You can have my toes but not my wide feet. Either my curls or brown hair, but not both. And definitely not my forehead. Some freckles would be nice, but fairer skin than mine. You will be a beautiful baby girl, or a handsome little man.
Baby it sure has seemed like Christmas in July around here lately. Tonight is the last of the parties and showers. A group of your mom's friends are taking her out and celebrating you. If you get very much more stuff we will be taking your room and you will need ours! It is nice to have such a big circle of people who are happy for us. Every baby should be so lucky.
Baby your almost here. Got 4 more weeks. Just enough time for us to do some final things and then relax until it is time. People get me nervous sometimes with their constant talk of you coming early. I will go with the signs that you are giving your mom and the wisdom of our doctor and not popular opinion. Afterall, you will be the one calling the shots. You did start to drop a bit though. Don't listen to the crowd. Come when it best suits you.
We had the breast-feeding class tonight. It was a very informative class. We hope to be able to feed you this way. It is supposed to be better for you and for mom. Found out some things I did not know. Breast milk cannot be microwaved. It can be frozen for several months. There are three stages of milk. The instructor compared them to skim milk, whole milk, and cream. The first milk produced (cololstrum)is like cheesecake. Babies are not usually starved immediately after being born. I personally think that I would be hungry after going through something like that. A babies stomach is smaller than their fist when first born. In the first few days it grows a lot. It goes from the size of a marble to the size of a golf ball pretty quickly. Babies feed from a bottle completely different than a breast, so breast fed babies should not be bottle fed for the first three weeks. That way they dont get confused. The texture of a rubber nipple can also confuse them if they aren't used to it. Don't worry baby, I plan on feeding you once you are able to take a bottle. You just learn how to do both and we'll have it made.
Your mom said it felt like you threw a tantrum today! She said you pounded in the same spot several times. What were you upset about? It has been harder for her to get comfortable lately. Maybe it was you throwing the tantrum for her!
Today was the day for the family shower. Your mom's friend who is a baker made a lovely cake with the same animal theme as your room. The shower was very nice and well attended. You got some cool things that we needed. Everyone seemed happy for us and can't wait to meet you.
Baby, the lists keep coming but this may be the final one. So far the lists I made have kept us on target in preparation for your arrival. The newest one includes: a plan for the dogs, more thank-you notes, packing a bag, a trip to use a soon to be expiring coupon, touching base with daycare, and a class tuesday night. Oh, and did I say PACK A BAG! According to a lot of people it wont be too much longer!
Had one of our last Friday night date nights as a couple. Well, technically you tagged along too. Wasn't exactly dinner and a movie, but we managed to have a good time as usual. Your mom got a few new things to wear for the final few weeks.
People have lots of opinions about you. Everyone tells us that your mom isn't going to make it for 5 more weeks. The doc didn't say anything about you coming early though. Lots of people have asked if there is more than one baby. There are a couple of twins on my family tree, but there is only one baby due for us in 5 weeks. Ultrasound confirmed this. People have a pool going on whether you are going to be a boy or girl. We have our suspicions, but everyone has a fifty-fifty chance of being right. That's the word on the street.
Only 5 more weeks to go! As another week rolled by I thought about all the preparations we have made since first learning about you. It seemed so long ago. Your mom and I have done so much to get ready for you. There were all the "to do" lists I made, getting the nursery ready, picking the right daycare, name discussions. The doctor visits, lamaze class, our trip to Charleston, registering, showers. The birth ball, hospital bag, a plan for the pets. The list goes on and on. It seemed like we had plenty of time, but not a whole lot of time. Now there is only 5 more weeks to go. We are so looking forward to it.
In this corner, weighing in at 6 lbs 3 oz, THE CHAMP! That is what I thought when the doc told us your weight yesterday. We want you to be just the right size and we know that you will. It is amazing how much information that they can get from the ultrasound, like your weight and size. If you do wind up being a little bigger than some babies, the doctor told us that bigger babies can maintain their body temperature better.
Got a little more prebirth facetime with you today at the OB's office. We couldn't decide if you have my nose or your mom's. When the doctor did an ultrasound you were so very active that it was hard for her to get a good picture! It was so cute to see you suck your thumb. Then you put both thumbs in your mouth at once! I bet you knew you had an audience and wanted to put on a show for us, demonstrating your motor skills and self-soothing techniques. Show off!
There was another party to celebrate you today. This time it was given by my employees. It was fun. My employees can be very entertaining. There was impromptu dancing, singing, and food of course. Also a few presents to go along with the stock pile that has already been assembled for you in your nursery.
Well, time for another contraction! It was a quick one. Happened as your mom hopped out of the car when we finished getting groceries. She sat down and then got the ice water just like her friend told her to do. In a moment it was over. I got to feel it. Her stomach got hard as a rock. No worries though, they are normal at this point. You still have a few more weeks to go. It's just her body doing its thing, preparing itself for delivering you...its contractual obligation.
This is more advice to you when you are older than anything related to your development, adventures of your mom and myself during this time, or actually anything having to do with babystuff at all.
You are going to be a wonderfully talented child; a true individual with a strong sense of knowing who you are, and that you are well loved. You are going to have special and unique giftings and it is going to be up to your mother and myself to nurture and encourage them. No matter the measure of talent, skill, or material possessions that you may possess, none of it- not even on your best day, will be anything more than mere fishes and bread in your own hands. Once is passes from your hands into God's, there is no limit to the possibilities or potential.
Had another workout with the birth ball tonight. After I made your mom laugh, that is. I got on the birth ball, threw one hand up, swiveled my hips and rode it like a mechanical bull. I even wore a straw hat. Then after your mom cracked up we did the exercises like we were supposed to. You seemed to like the bouncing motion of it. Or maybe it was all that laughing.
I put together your stroller tonight. It is nice: lightweight, green and grey with cup-holders built right in. A set for me and a set for you. The directions were of no help at all in putting it together. In fact, they seemed to be mocking me. Thank goodness your mother helped me figure it out until she fell asleep in the floor and left me to finish it out alone. I had it done when she woke up. We will have to teach you to yell out, "Drop and roll, I'm coming through!" for those trips through the mall when we want to be obnoxious. Maybe I can find a way to hook up a horn or some lights to it until you become vocal. I guess I'll have to design a license plate for it too. I told her we should practice walking the dogs with the stroller before you get here so they would be used to it. Before long you can help us walk the dogs.
Today was the monthly meeting of the Managers of the company I work for. We had our usual meeting and then, Surprise! They had a little party for me celebrating You. I have known these people for a long time and they were so excited and happy for us. There were gifts and cake. It is nice when your friends celebrate with you. I have a feeling you are going to make friends quickly. It is important to celebrate your friends as they achieve their milestones and support them when they need you.
Well, baby, I did a bit of nesting of my own today. Some things around the house that I have put off for a while. I put some new mulch in the flowerbeds, scrubbed out the garage, found some "touch-up" paint and worked on covering a few spots on the walls. Living in a place 6 years you tend to make your mark on a wall here and there. All this nesting is things that I wanted to get done before you come so we can just focus on YOU and not anything else.
Today during Church you were so active. Either you like Pastor's voice and what he said or couldn't sleep through it. Pastor was talking about the pursuit of happiness and gave some information about it. He said people need 3 things to be happy: someone to love, something to take care of, and something to look forward to. I couldn't help but to think of you. Your mom had a dream about you last night but couldn't remember much about it.
Today was the Fourth of July. This is celebration of the birth of our country, America. Everyone celebrates. Cookouts, picnics, fireworks. I grilled for us and then after dark I ran through the backyard with sparklers while the dogs chased me. It was a party. Next year we will have a celebration for your birthday. Maybe I will run through the yard with sparklers too.
Tonight we picked up some more stuff for you. A ceiling fan for your room and lots of batteries. We needed batteries for your brand new stuff. I have never bought such a large amount of batteries at once. After we got home I put together one of your bouncers and we watched the lights and listened to the music it that played. I can see how it will entertain you. It had me entertained.
Baby I got a call at work today. Your mom had a contraction. This must be a normal thing at this point in the game because the OB asked her earlier in the week if she had experienced any yet. A co-worker got her a glass of water after it happened. She gave another co-worker instructions that if it happened again the next day to get her some water. I don't know if the water actually did anything or just gave your mom a private moment. Mom sounded kind of excited when she called me. She described the feeling as her stomach tightening suddenly. Then it was over. We all made it through.
Just in time for your 33rd week the Birth Ball arrived. We had great fun playing with it. I dribbled it like a big basketball, danced with it, romanced it (demonstrating the Tango), and dipped it. These may not have been the practical functions of a Birth Ball but it sure was entertaining to your mom. I haven't acted that silly in a long time. People actually sit on them at their desks in offices. We saw pictures. I demonstrated how she should dribble it across the parking lot, go through the turnstile, past her boss, then act like she was going to take a free-throw shot, and suddenly plop it down on the floor and sit on it. She may have to work up her nerve a little bit to do that.
Baby, I had to help a man with a medical problem today. He was disoriented and wasn't doing so good. He told me he was going to die. I told him that he was going to be OK. I kept him focused and talked to him, keeping him alert and as comfortable as possible. Found out his age, medicine he was taking, and condition. Then I called for some help. 911 to the rescue! I couldn't help but to think about you as I was helping this man. Staying calm under pressure can help save someone's life. It is best to know what to do rather than wait for someone else to do it. That someone else may be waiting for you.
We got your "travel system" today. It is pretty cool. We may put a bit of mileage on it. It would be interesting to have an odometer on it just to keep track of that. Your first set of wheels. Still has that "new stroller smell" to it. I just may have to get a pair of fuzzy dice to hang from the mirror. Oh, wait, there is no mirror. I'll use one of those handy dandy clips that we got to hang it from wherever I can. There may be benefits to the stroller, but I think I'll be more of a babybjorn/carrier kind of guy. Less bulky and obnoxious, although I do like to be obnoxious at times. I hate it when I see the HUGE stroller coming and have to duck out of the way because the parents aren't watching where they are pushing it. This is where a skillful "drop and roll" technique comes in handy, to escape from being ran over by an out of control baby carriage. The kid is not usually in this 8 wheeled steam-roller anyway. It's always just full of all their stuff. Sigh, I could rant on for hours.
This afternoon your mom and I were sitting in the swing on our deck trying to catch a breeze. You liked the motion of the swing as it moved. We would swing. You would kick. Then we would swing some more. Then you did more even kicking and moving around. I tickled your toes. You liked that even better. You were making lots of motion. The pattern on the dress that she had on moved like waves on the ocean. Maybe with those feet of yours you will become an olympic swimmer. What a great way to spend some time together on a dog day afternoon!
The Roundtable previously mentioned was once again in the paper. They said that there were still spots available for the seminar/discussion. In the article they described the topics. We already knew about the dangers of co-sleeping and about the shaken baby syndrome. The Period of Purple Crying was still somewhat mysterious and vague. Now I cant decide if it is refering to the infant or the parent who is doing the crying until they turn purple. If it is your mother and I turning purple from nonstop crying, develop a strategy for helping us get through it. You can even try my trick-distracting us.
You needed "stuff" and our friends sure came through With an abundance of love in a shower to honor you. For any possible occasion your every need was met, It was an event not likely soon to forget. Toys for playing, Books for reading, my old "Oxfords" too; A Sleeping Wedge, a Diaper Bag, Dreft and Diapers for you know who.
Your new clothes to wear were all hung on a line. I got my own special apron just for diaper-duty time. All the details were perfectly in place: Diaper cake for decoration, meatballs to stuff our face.
Handmade stuff, Store-bought stuff, Practical stuff and Cute stuff. Bathtime, Chow time, Dress-up time and Just For Fun-time; Changing time, Dress-down time, and yes, even Toenail Clipping time!
Friends both old and new, from near and far Church family, even my mom-all arrived by car. A wonderful celebration held just for you. Many gifts to open-Shemiah helped with that part too. Not simply presents and mere ballyhoo, But more importantly-Prayers and Blessings spoken over YOU!
I've been working in the yard again. Trying to get it looking nice. Flower beds, mulch, stepping stones...that's the fun stuff. Mowing and weedeating is the real nuts and bolts of it. Like anything else you just have to put your mind to it. Visualize the end result. That is what I'm gonna tell your mom in the hospital during labor...visualize the end result. When your big enough to help we can do these kind of things together. Until then just relax and let me take care of it.
You like the same kind of stuff we do! At least it makes you active. Case in point-salsa. Your mom and I like salsa and chips. When she eats it she says it makes you jump around. Your palate is forming now. There are tiny taste buds on your tongue. Your mom is eating lots of different type things for you to taste. Before you can say you don't like something you should try it. That is going to be my mantra for you. We don't want you to be a picky eater. No bland stuff for you either. And veggies-I love them all. Most of them anyway. I taught your mom to love sweet potatoes.
Saw something I never heard of today in the paper pertaining to newborn care and coping with a newborn. There is going to be a roundtable discussion on infant care in our fair city. It includes the importance of not co-sleeping with the child, the shaken baby syndrome, and the "period of purple crying." Your mother and I have never heard of this last one. We determined that it must be a bout of nonstop crying in which you would turn purple from holding your breath. I have a strategy for if this happens. I will distract you by making a loud noise. Maybe I will hit pots and pans together or ring a bell or something. I could even sing, whatever it takes. If I can get your attention then you will be distracted and forget about whatever it was that you were crying about. Purple is our favorite color but don't want a purple child. People might ask questions.
It was strange. This was the first free monday night we have had that I can remember with the exception of Memorial Day. No Lamaze or dog training, nothing planned. Just dinner, a movie, and your mom finishing up some thank-you cards. It was nice not to have to be rushing off. Just staying at home is fine with us. Counted a few kicks, and then took a nap on the couch. Up again before midnight and then finished off the night in our cozy bed. I was so comfy that I snored. That is the opposite of Jet-setting!
Today was Father's Day. Thanks for the card and shirt and for the nice dinner last night. At Church I was part of the slide show honoring fathers. There was a picture from our wedding(from my "skinny" days) and a picture of me with the dogs in the backyard from last summer. It was cool to be a part of that. Looked like I wasn't the only one who had changed over the years. Some of the dads looked a lot different than they do now. Then they announced the shower for us this weekend, and how I ought to be a candidate for "father of the year" next year. We'll see about that, I just want to be a good father to you and not everyone's good example. I would hate to have to make a speech or something. "I'd like to thank ..."
Summer seemed to really be here in full swing today. It was so very hot. Got me thinking about the wintertime and about snow. Your mother would really appreciate a nice cool winter's day right about now. A snowfall is a really beautiful thing. Each snowflake is unique and one of a kind. You will be unique and one of a kind also. Just like a snowflake.
At all the big award shows the winners make a speech. It usually starts with "I'd like to thank..." Well we didn't win any awards or anything, but your mom did some thanking this evening. She did a bunch of thank-you cards to all the wonderful people who gave us such nice gifts for you at the showers. Writing thank-you notes is just plain good manners. Thank You notes should be done in a timely manner too, before they snowball into something like a chore or task instead of being something meaningful and joyful. Both of us go out of our way to thank people when they do something nice for us. We are going to teach you to be well mannered and polite. Maybe someday one of the three us will be on an awards show and have to make the infamous speech. I wonder if the winners on those shows ever send out thank you cards. Somehow I think their assistants get that responsibility.
Today when we left your mom's work shower I felt like one of the Children of Israel leaving with the Treasures of Egypt! She has worked there for a long time and has terrific friends in many different departmants. It took us an hour to open all your gifts! We got several nice things off your registry and lots of other stuff we will use. We also got a bunch of giftcards to get things we might need later on too. I loved showing off pictures of your room. Everyone loved it. I got a bunch of requests for doing the same thing for their kids rooms. "Just yours." That's what I told them. Then when we got home of course we had to look at everything and play with it in that awesome room of yours.
We had your check-up today. Dr. said everything was A-OK. You mom said you haven't been in the ribcage as much lately. The doc felt her belly and said that you were already properly turned with your head down. Just like you are supposed to be. I can imagine you hanging out in there. Just standing on your head. Waiting.
I've been thinking about some of my favorite nursery rhymes and children's books to read to you. Hey-diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle; the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such a sport and the dish ran away with the spoon. It must have taken someone with an unbelievable imagination to come up with something like that. I hope we get some mother goose nursery rhymes and some little golden books. I liked Dr. Seuss too when I was a kid. Green eggs and ham was my favorite.
It was our last class and I suppose we graduated. The instructor had a cake for us anyway. We toured labor and delivery, the nursery, and the rooms. Found out that they can deliver 9 babies at once if need be. We practiced breathing and counter-pressure. We also scheduled an infant CPR class. We found out where to come when it is "time" depending on the urgency of the situation. I could always burst through the doors of the ER with your mom flung over my shoulders and scream out "She's having a baby!" But if the situation is less dramatic we can just park in the parking deck, cross the street, and go directly to the third floor and be buzzed in by the nurse. It's your call.
I felt like a pirate today bringing home all the bootie from your first shower. This is going to be a busy week. We have your final Lamaze class, another shower, your doctor appointment, and about a million other things. Your mom said you have been very active lately. A good pirate knows how to keep moving.
Your first shower was today and you managed to take in some very cool stuff. Mom and your 2 grandmas had a good time too. They ate some good food, played some games, and opened some presents. Noone wore a lampshade at this party. Maybe next time.
I'm the coach...well, at least that is what the t-shirt says. Got a feeling you will be the one calling the shots in the delivery room though. Thanks for the awesome new t-shirt proclaiming my new title. I will wear it proudly, yet humbly. Gonna wash it and wear it for our final lamaze class, a shower or 2, and then in the delivery room.
So much to do today. I painted a sea scene on one of your walls. A pre-shower gift came in the mail all the way from Minnesota for you. We made preparations for a trip to Kentuck for your first shower. Everything was right on track until the power went out for 3 hours. No worries though, we managed to get everything done. All the important stuff anyway.
Only 10 more weeks to go before you will be making your debut. Every journey has detours and bunny trails on the way from point A to point B. Sometimes the most direct route is not the right path to take. The Journey of You was a long and winding road. It took 18 years of marriage until just the perfect time. I have a sneaky suspicion that as a family we will venture down many more bunny trails. The road less traveled has better scenery and all who wander are not lost.
The instructor was talking about not feeling guilt over storing cord blood and medical stuff at class. We were talking about emerging medical technology, and she said something I hadn't even thought of. She said that You, baby, will be an old person at the turn of the next century. 91 years old, to be exact. I remember when I was 33 years old the coming year 2000 was being hyped up with the threat of Y2K computer crashes and global chaos. Hospitals, airports, national security, the banking system, and pretty much anything else was at risk of failure. In the end, nothing memorable happened as a result of this. People worried over nothing. Many people made life-changing plans though. Lots of people did what they do every day: get married, have children, gather the courage to pursue their dreams. What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to wait for milestones such as the turning of a new century to do something meaningful or make plans for a rainy day. Every day is important. Good things happen and so do bad. Your great-grandmother lived in 3 centuries. She was born in the late 1890's, lived through all of the 1900's, and died early in the 2000's. She really knew how to live!
At Lamaze we were talking about handling/coping with the newborn baby during the middle of the night for feedings, and how we would know if the baby needed to be fed during those times. One of the women said that with her firstborn, "I remember the crying..." It made me think of the times I sometimes wake up hungry in the middle of the night and have to get a snack or something to drink. I have not been doing that lately though, but if you wake up hungry in the middle of the night I might just have to have a snack with you. I like peanut butter for my midnight snack but it leaves you with terrible breathe in the morning. Your mom never snacks in the middle of the night. She has willpower.
Over the river and thru the woods we went to see your Grandma and Grandpa today. We also saw your Great-Grandma and your Uncle, Aunt, and 2 Cousins. It was a birthday get-together for your Grandpa. We ate some homeade ice cream and pound cake. You stole the show again, as usual.
We took you to your first concert tonight. The Salisbury Symphony had their annual outdoor Pops concert downtown at the Salisbury Post loading dock. The theme of the concert was Fantasy and Finance. The Symphony sounded awesome. The weather was perfect for an outdoor summer concert. We couldn't believe the number of people tailgating and families just enjoying themselves listening to the music. They even gave us this cool fan which also served as a program. I hope you enjoy music. We hope to expose you to music early. You seemed to like what what you heard because you kicked!
Started working on a new scene for your room. This one is an underwater one. I drew a whale, a crab, and a starfish. I just need to draw a few fish and then paint it all and you will have something new to look at in your room. I am most happy with it. Maybe I will even draw an oyster with a pearl inside.
Got an invitation to the first shower in your honor today. It was from your Grandma in Kentucky. She is throwing you a party next saturday. We are looking forward to going to see her and celebrating with your mom's family. This is a "ladies only" old fashioned shower so I won't be going. I described some games that they would play. Like walking with a clothespin between your knees to imitate the mommy-to-be. Someone will probably give us a training potty with unwrapped tootsie rolls inside. She laughed. I don't think she quite believed me. Women really do things like this at baby showers that are "ladies only."
According to the developmental update you can now suck your thumb. It also says that you have the ability to cry. These are both essentials to any newborn for coping with life outside the womb. We would prefer laughing over crying but realize that crying will be your chief method of communication. Cry when your hungry, cry when you need to be changed, cry when you just want to see us or be with us. Not to sure about the thumbsucking. I've heard it leads to crooked teeth. The cost of braces might make us cry.
We probably won't let you eat dessert for supper. Not at least until you have grown nutritionally and dentally (is this a word?). That is not going to stop your mom and me from occasionally having ice cream for supper just like we did tonight. We aren't heartless, so we won't taunt you if we do. We will just wait until you are sleeping. Or do it clandestinely and just tell you we are dieting or fasting or something. If we tell you we aren't hungry, or had a big lunch it just might mean that we are secretly going to have ICE CREAM for supper. Don't strained carrots sound just yummy right about now?
All of the expectant fathers were talking about the same thing last night in our lamaze class: How much weight they had gained. The mommies to be all looked great. We thought that they might have really blossomed since it had been two weeks since we seen them last, but it was the guys who had really plumped out. Since they were the ones who mentioned it, the dads were a rather husky looking group. Glad to know I'm wasn't the only one in the room who had added a pound or two over the course of the past six or seven months. Nice to know that I'm not alone in having to navigate the closet for the best fitting pair of pants, and circumventing tee-shirts on a hanging rack that aren't too tight based on my last meal or the very necessary in-between-meal snack. I used to think that it took women longer to decide what to wear. At least the women in this group get to use those special pants with the belly-hugging material to help support added body mass from pregnancy. All us poor guys have are belts which accentuates our pot-bellys hanging over it. We may have been a little husky, but I am proud to say that none of us in our group were at the point of needing suspenders. Yet. Another thing that the guys were all bonding over is how glad they were that the in-laws were in other cities and states. Most of the women even agreed to that one too. I'm going to miss these couples once we finish the class and deliver the babies. Maybe we can schedule a reunion or playday or group birthday party for them or something. Funny how common experiences can unite a group of strangers. Since we had these common threads going, I felt like I probably wasn't the only guy in the room who had been commissioned to paint a pregnant woman's toenails. I wasn't going there, however; some things are sacred. Even in a natural childbirthing class.
We had been on the run all day. Church, Petco, Sticky Fingers, Concord Mills, Lowe's, Food Lion for a gift card for a Shower at Church, back to Food Lion for our groceries. We were so hot and tired from everything. Even in the third trimester pregnancy she could still walk faster than most shoppers at the mall. Her social skills were superb in talking with people about the baby, and she was such a trooper at the shower. We even talked about a baby shower for you from people at Church, but she definitely had a touch of Pregnancy Brain when she told me at the grocery store "I'll remember you." What she meant to say was "I'll remind you." It was sooo funny. I told the cashier that we were expecting a baby together and she tells me she would remember me. I told her I hoped that she wouldn't forget me! Then I told the cashier not to put all of our eggs in one basket.
Today we went to your cousin's birthday party. We got there after the cake and pinata, but still had fun. She turned 4 and had a princess party. We won't subject you to that kind of party unless you really want it. Creativity is in your genes and my specialty. Your mom and I can come up with something perfect and individualized just for you, just like any hipster dad would do. It was nice talking to family about you, all that we have been through so far, and what is still left to come. They even talked about having a shower in your honor. Cool. I'll pick out the music. And the theme. It will be hip.
"Naming a child is a monumental task. You hold in your hands the power to determine middle school taunting, roll-call giggle fests and graduation pronunciation flops. A name must be able to carry your offspring through childhood, but still be dignified enough to work for your little future CEO. Or rock star. Or president. You have to consider various nicknames, derivatives, abbreviations and its rhyming potential with any parts or noises of the human body."
I found this quote from an article on babble.com. The author and I have the same philosophy of choosing a name to last a lifetime. Sounds like we hold "the power" now and the rest of your life is devoted to "payback." Your mom and I will mull over the list again this weekend, then wait for the moment when you first open your eyes as we hold you to bequeath unto you the name.
This week's developmental update says you have eyelashes and eyebrows now. It also says that the hairs on your head are growing. People make a big deal about hair. They curl it, straighten it, grow it,cut it, dye it, wax it, and pluck it. They are never satisfied with it the way it naturally grows. People get mohawks, faux hawks, rat tails, rooster cuts, mullets and buzzcuts. There are more hair products than you can imagine. Just don't become a slave to your hair. It's not worth it. When humidity strikes it does what it wants anyway.
It's the last trimester, we should celebrate! Kicking things off we will start counting the kicks. You are supposed to kick at least 10 times in 2 hours. I think you pretty much nailed that one. This weekend we will likely do something. Maybe go to Sticky Fingers for ribs since you are crazy about being in mom's ribcage. We are also going shopping for the dogs. Lately it has been all about you, but we still do stuff for the dogs too.
I used to think that the daddy having sympathetic symptoms along with the mommy-to-be was a bunch of baloney. Not anymore. Your mom has gained a couple of pounds. So have I. Her back started hurting. Sciatic Nerve is what she said. My hip was killing me after lying on the floor putting together your furniture. She had to drink some sweet stuff for a glucose test and got sick. I had a gross sweet taste in my mouth and felt a little woozy myself after she threw up. I'm just waiting for that first kick in my ribcage!
No Lamaze for us 3 tonight, baby. It's Memorial Day. Your Grandpa Phipps was in the service. So was your Great-Papaw Barney. I don't forsee an end to wars anytime soon, or the need to slack off on matters of national defense. Regardless of politics, service to one's country is a noble thing to do. Too bad it turns into a political game. I thought of myself as a Peace Corps kinda guy as a young man.
Finished putting the last piece of furniture together tonight, yeah! Your room has a crib, a dresser, a bookshelf, and a clever corner seat that turns into a twin sized daybed. There is also a huge palm branch to put over your crib. All the pieces are in place except for the most important one...YOU!
Tonight we were a fam, just sitting on the couch watching a movie together. I talked to you. So did your mom. Your mom and I talked to each other. The only silent one was you, but you did some movements for us to contribute to the conversation in your own way. The dog sulked from atop the couch. Sigh.
You need stuff and we know how to pick it out just for you. Stuff for daytime, stuff for nighttime, stuff for in-between-times too. Stuff to powder and primp and smooth onto you. Stuff to wipe you off with and change you into, Stuff to shampoo and bubble and make you go coo. Stuff for washing and drying and hooded bathrobes too.
A warmer to warm all of your wipers And hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of diapers. Stuff to wear and act cute or tough, And even stuff for just being in the buff!
Fun stuff, boring stuff. Cute stuff and ordinary stuff. Playtime, naptime, breakfast time and on the go-time. Leisure time, temperature taking time, and even toenail clipping time.
From Bibs and Cribs, High Chairs and Washcloths, To Beanies and Onesies, Booties and Burpcloths. Good thing we are having a babyshower or two With lots of family and friends who are excited about you! And after this rhyme if they still haven't a clue, a nice giftcard will always perfectly do!
Just about got your natural habitat (nursery, not jungle) finished. Got the crib and the bookshelf shelf put together. Had a little help with the dresser and almost got it finished too. Just have the day-bed left to put together. Soon we will be done with your natural habitat. Now people just gotta start buying all the stuff to fill it up with! Your mom and I have done the hard part-picking out all of it.
Your mom said she looked down at her tummy today and saw what looked like 3 ripples or waves go across it! She said it was so cool, like you were doing the wave. The wave usually takes more than 1 person to do effectively, but it sounds like you knew exactly what you were doing. Whenever you want to do the wave, just let me know. You can start it and I'll do it too. We can get a whole bunch of people to do it. Imagine that.
Tonight I got the honor of painting your mom's toenails. She thought she could reach them and paint them herself by sitting cross-legged but you were in the way inside of her belly. Even though I did it in the dark, I think it was a pretty good job for an amateur. Too bad it wasn't going to be warm enough for her to wear open-toe shoes tomorrow and show them off! The real trust issue comes when I have to shave her legs.
From Lamaze last night: The burst of energy and desire to get everything ready right before the baby comes is called "nesting." This is also a coping mechanism- looking forward to the prize, the pot of gold at the end of this pregnant rainbow, instead of the reality of the present circumstance; you have been carrying a child for the past 9 months that is almost ready to come out and you don't have a clue how to handle it. Seeing beyond the current circumstance into something better by keeping yourself busy. I guess I have been doing a little "nesting" of my own. Got the crib put together at least.
Baby, friends are important. You can't learn and relearn this lesson enough. A good friend will see you through milestones in life, good and bad. They will rejoice with you when you have reason, and weep with you too. They will pick you up when you are lower than dirt and keep you grounded when you start to break through the clouds as your spirit soars. The lesson is this-spread your joy with a friend because it grows when you share it, that same person will be the one to help lighten your burdens when they become too heavy to carry by yourself.
Today we took one of the dogs for a check-up. He is 8 lbs., and we imagine you to be about that same size after you are born. I had to hold him while the nurse drew some blood. He did not like it. Afterwards your mom told me I was going to have to hold you when it's time for you to go to the doctor and have your shots because it would just break her heart. If that's not love, I don't know what is. Shoot!
So, I hear your current favorite past-time is this: hanging by your toes from your mom's left rib. How charming. I can just imagine you swinging around in there. You must have quite a grip with those toes to hear her talk! The problem is this- you are neither a monkey, nor is she a banana tree. Do her a favor and relax. Please.
More about your birthday. You are going to be a Leo. Your mother and I are both Libras. You are a fire sign. We are both air signs. I don't really read horoscopes, but I looked at yours today for a laugh. This is part of what it said. "Leo children are rays of light - playful, willing to be the center of attention, always ready to put on a show. This child is highly entertaining and able to assess the presence of an audience with surprising sophistication. In infants you may notice his showmanship just by their alert and pleasant nature, like stars ready to go onstage." http://astrocenter.astrology.msn.com/msn/GoChildProfile.aspx?Af=-1000 Sounds like a rock star to me.
Just been thinking about a chestnut from the Lamaze Class. The instructor said "Your baby will only have 1 birth day." We're not gonna listen to the horror stories about labor pains or stories about them taking the baby. She saidthosestories about incredibly difficult labor are always about the mother wanting to be the center of attention again. If the doctor "takes" the baby it sounds like they are abducting it or something. We are gonna be sure and not get all stressed out on the day you are to be born. I can keep the whole lot of us as cool as cucumbers.
Your eyes are now beginning to open. This is so very exciting. I read that all babies, including you, have blue eyes in the womb. The colors change and settle a few months after birth. Your mom has blue eyes and I have brown. I think you will probably have brown eyes like me. Someone told me one time that your eyes remain same size from birth until you get old. Maybe that's why babies always look like they have big eyes.
We walked the walk and talked the talk tonight. From the hospital parking deck-to the third floor of the hospital itself, we took 3 pillows and a yoga mat to our first Lamaze class. To the naked eye it must have looked like we were moving in or something the way we were carrying all that baggage across the road. I told your mom we could burst through the emergency room entrance and yell out "she's having a baby...where's the Lamaze class." It was a really informative class. We learned that you will move in 7 different postitions to get out once it is time. We also learned that your body is designed to have a baby, not to have it cut out of you. She took a skeleton and a babydoll and demonstrated. I'm glad we took this class. I can't believe anyone having a baby wouldn't want to know what to is going on with the whole birth process and what to expect. At the end of class we lay on the floor and learned how to relax. Your mom propped herself up on 3 pillows. I told her she looked like Cleopatra gliding down the Nile.
Your mom was surprised by the matching shirts I designed for the 2 of you. Then at church she was surprised again by the slide show of the mothers. I gave a picture of her and your ultrasound picture to be included in the presentation. It was priceless. We also began registering for stuff. Now our friends and family will know what we want and need for you.
Here is the t-shirt I designed for you. I designed one just like it for your mom for mother's day too. I also designed one for the dog. The three of you can wear them together. I based it on Psalm 91:11 "for he will order his angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go." the Complete Jewish Bible
Baby, if barking dogs make you go up in your mom's ribcage, will purring cats coax you back down to a more comfy spot? She said she can sometimes feel you way up in her ribcage and then all of a sudden you move around down a little bit lower. One of her co-workers asked if she was sure you aren't twins. I think you are just all stretched out like you own the whole world.
Today your mom and I had lunch with aunt D. We had a great time talking to her about your state of being, speculated the whole 'boy or girl' thing, and talked about my childhood. She told a story about how I bit through my lip one time and went to the emergency room when the two of us were playing a bit rough. She also told us some stories about her own pregnancy, how my mom talked her into going to an amusement park with several of us kids. To put it mildly, we got on her nerves during that trip! Maybe her condition had something to do with it. She also told the story about how her little girl got named. She is looking forward to your arrival, wants to plan a party for you, and has already bought you a wagon to play in.
I was playing with Fasb tonight just the way he likes to be played with. I get down on the floor with him, rough-house, then pick him up and rock him a little. Then we play with a toy. Mom said it looked like I was practicing for playing with you. I don't think you will start out in life as squirmy as he is though.
Tonight was the last dog obedience class for a while. Starting next monday night that time will be all about you with Lamaze. Both mom and Nexus did well in class tonight. During the course Nexus had to sit close directly in front of your mom. There was a slight problem-Nexus was sitting so close that she couldn't see your mom's face because of you! Problem solver that she is, Nexus peeked around her belly to see your mom's face. We all laughed because it looked so cute.
Today at church while Pastor T. was getting us ready for communion you gave the biggest kick ever! It caught your mom off guard and she even jumped. Of course my attention to Pastor T. was completely blown and I could only stare at her belly for the rest of the time. Waiting. We told Pastor T.'s wife about it at the end of the service and she said it was the Word Of God you were responding to. I told one of my employees about it and he said you "caught the Holy Ghost."
I am making a new list of things to do before you are born. Things such as...a plan for the dogs, plotting the quickest route to the hospital, lists of people to call, packing the hospital bag. I dont want to put the horse before the cart, but I dont want to be caught unprepared and off-guard either. Your mom is afraid everything will happen at 3 a.m.
Went to that place(babies R us) again to look at stuff. Got your mom a neat looking total body pillow. It looked like a big candy cane or a small anaconda. She was more comfortable sleeping last night, at least until I stole all the covers! Guess you cant have it all.
Today your mom held another baby. She said when she held it against her stomach you kicked! Could you tell it was another baby and you wanted to play, or were you a bit jealous. They say that jealousy is a green-eyed monster. Brown eyes run in my family.
One thing your mom craves now is ice cream. No pickles please, just ice cream. We have had ice cream, milk shakes, blizzards, frosties, ice cream sandwiches, and sundaes. I even found chocolate covered frozen bananas for her. That is the best of both worlds. Tastes great, good for you, and frozen ...just like like ICE CREAM. If it had a cherry on top it could be the coolest banana split ever.
Just found out our Lamaze class schedule. Monday nights from 6-8:30. Someone told me to pay attention. I told them I wanted to sit up front. Maybe we will even be the teacher's pet. That doesn't sound creepy does it? I will be the valedictorian of our Lamaze Class. Graduation ceremony will be held in the delivery room. When your mom and I first met we got in trouble for passing notes in class. Can't do that now!
I'll bet you were one dizzy rascal tonight. Your mom did a rally course tonight with a bunch of turns. Mom and dog did great. You should be born with a great sense of balance. Maybe you will be an olympic gymnist. Just don't forget about it got started.
You must have wanted to stretch out tonight because it felt like you were trying to kick me off the couch! I can identify with that because I hate to be crowded myself. We both must be a bit claustrophobic. It was funny because I have never felt you move so much before. From the way it felt you are either headed for a sports career as a pro soccer player, or to Radio City Music Hall to be a rockett. Either way, I won't cramp your style.
Today was Bark in the Park, an annual event raising awareness for dog parks. You probably heard some barks that you havent heard before. Afterwards we went to a local restaurant to get a bite to eat. The waiter actually sat down at the table with us when he found out we were expecting and told us lots of anecdotes about his wife and their kids. He even told us an old wive's tale that we havent heard before. According to him, the way to tell if it is a boy or girl is to sneak and sprinkle some salt in the mother's hair. If she doesn't notice it then the baby will be a boy. If she brushes it out then it will be a girl. Never heard that one before.
Grandma Crotts visited us. She wanted to see your fabulous nursery. She approved. She also brought my old baby book. It told some funny stuff about my early days. I giggled at 2 1/2 months. One entry said I was "getting mean." Another said I was shy around family members. On both sides. Another said I didn't like girls. Another said I had to be brought home at 4 a.m. when I attempted to spend the night with my granny and papaw. I was born October 20, 1966 at 11:54 am, weighing 8 lbs. Is nothing sacred?
Another week has past. It seems like time is flying by one minute and standing still the next. Someone I know asked about your mom and said it seems like she has been pregnant longer than 23 weeks. I agreed, but I don't want to rush things. We are going to let you take your sweet time.
I've been told by your mother that I may have to paint her toenails pretty soon. Translation-She may soon not be able to reach them to paint them herself. This could be interesting. I could paint them some unusual color and she wouldn't even know.
Baby, today is our anniversary. 18 Years ago your mom and I were married in a gazebo in the park, hopped a plane to New Orleans , started our married life together. We have had lots of good times and some sad times too. If we had a child then it would be a full grown adult by now. Instead we are having you at just the perfect time.
Home, and glad to be here. We had so much fun on our trip but home was a sweet place to return to. Back in the day-there were these things that parents put on car windows that said "baby on board." You don't see them much anymore. I'm going to have to find us one. We can go lots of places, the three of us.
Baby, in case you were wondering about those new sounds you heard...we were on the beach, then in a swamp, and then on a horse drawn carriage. And we did a lot of walking. We love to explore and experience things like that. You got a taste of that today. Traveling all over the city with a 7 pound dog gave us practice for traveling with you.
Last night I gave Fasb his bath to get him ready for our trip to Charleston. Sometimes it takes 2 of us to bathe a 7-pound dog, but I'm pretty good at getting him to cooperate and come clean. He looked and smelled so clean. When it's your turn-I will be the King Of The Bathtub! We can splash and make soap bubbles and have fun. I can even teach you to swim someday, but we will need more water for that.
Your mom and I are going away for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. Charleston is where we are headed. She wanted to see the water, and Charleston is a lovely city. On monday we will be married 18 years. We want to spend a little time for ourselves in celebration of this. Heaven knows that we have had lots of little trips like this, just the 2 of us, but knowing that this may be the last one for a while makes this one more special and endearing.