The misadventures of a first time father

Monthly Archives: May 2012

For being at 34 weeks into this pregnancy, finding possible names has only recently come to the forefront of our activities.

First off, I should mention we are not finding out the sex of our child ahead of time, so that automatically means any list of names was immediately two lists – one for boys and one for girls.

People often thought we were nuts, or that I was lying when I’d tell them “nope, no names picked out yet.” It was often met with a look of disbelief or a raised eyebrow that I was being secretive. My own mother said to me once when I had no answer on names that “you guys are so secretive.”

People just have an incredibly hard time believing that we didn’t have our final names picked out within the first two months of pregnancy.

So, here we are. 34 weeks and only last week did we come up with roughly four possibilities for each – found through the use of exercises in “The Perfect Baby Name” by Jeanine Cox.

We never thought we would be “baby book” people and in the beginning scoffed at the idea, to be quite honest. “We can figure it out on our own,” we thought. “Who needs a book.”

We did.

Sure, we had no trouble naming our cats – Beardslee, Winston, Jasper – but they all have names that sound like British butlers. We soon found that trying to come up with names for a human being we have yet to meet is not so easy after all.

So we bought the book, we did the exercises, ranging from names of friends who’ve made a difference in your life, to family names, to names from your family ethnic backgrounds, we had pages and pages of names. Then, both mother and father are asked to go into separate rooms and jot down the ones they liked best from those lists. So, we did.

So, we have two lists of names we both had jotted down…but afterward we both agreed, none felt like “the one.” You know, that moment when an idea strikes you and you just know “this is it.”

That just wasn’t there.

This morning as we woke up, my wife said to me “what if we meet the baby and they don’t look anything like any of the names?” It’s a thought that has occurred to me time and time again. However, as is often the case, there’s things that I don’t verbalize (but probably should) until I realize she has the same fear.

I never thought the question “who are you” would carry so much weight to it.

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About a month to go.

Seriously? As I type that first sentence, I just can’t help but ask myself, has 34 weeks really gone by that quickly? Why has it taken me this long to finally sit down and put my thoughts to page? My wife and mother in law suggested writing about the process of fatherhood to be months ago, yet, here I am at 34 weeks before I even typed out a single word. If this is how far behind I am on writing about it, how far behind am I going to be when the kid actually gets here?

These are the thoughts that went swimming through my brain the minute I started thinking about this tonight. It’s just how my mind works. Always a handful of questions, always doubting what I didn’t accomplish or why I didn’t do it sooner. It makes me worried for what kind of a father I’m going to be.

I sit up a lot at night and get lost in my thoughts. I wonder what are child will be like. Will it be a boy or a girl? Will they take after Meg or myself? Will they want to read comic books or go to a baseball game? Then it’s not long before my mind goes to a darker line of questioning that’s just downright frightening. Will they a good person? Will they be kind to others? To animals? What kind of friends will they have? How will they be influenced? Will we live in this small house forever? Where else could we possibly live? What kind of role models we be for the child? Will they even care?

You see what I mean. I thought getting cats made me a worrier. The prospect of another human being that is going to grow into a adult one day, a living breathing member of society, is just plain frightening, and loaded with questions that I don’t have answers to.

And now there’s only four weeks to go and I feel woefully unprepared for this.

Sure, we’ve been taking classes to understand the birthing process. We’ve been, little by little, getting things done around the house – putting shelves up in the nursery closet, assembling the crib, painting a dresser and putting it in the nursery. Tiny steps towards the little one’s arrival.

But yet, I keep having this nagging feeling that I’m supposed to be doing more. It haunts me, this feeling that, if I don’t have x y and z done in plenty of time for this baby’s first step into the house that I’m starting them, and us as a family off on the wrong foot.

It’s because of that feeling that I feel I wasted the first 8 months of this pregnancy. I was so busy crossing things off of lists and running around to make sure “things were done” that I never stopped to take in and appreciate what is going on – the life that is being created and the family that is being created. Now, there’s only one month to go before that child is here and our lives are never again the same. And yet, it’s taken me all this time to stop and realize it, leaving me with four weeks to cherish it while it is here.

You only get one first. Don’t waste it. Take the time to stop, slow down, and appreciate it.



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