The misadventures of a first time father

Monthly Archives: June 2012

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No, there will be no pillows in here once the baby arrives.

Time is moving by at an alarming rate.

I am unable to fathom the speed with which the past nine months have flown by. It seems like only a week or so ago that it was Halloween night and we sat there, slightly late for our rehearsal of “Arsenic and Old Lace” at a local theatre house, realizing what a life changing moment that little “plus” sign on a stick was.

We recorded a video that night for our kid to one day see, letting them know that, yes, their parents were once young, and what an amazing day this was for us.

As the months moved along, I went through phases of checklists, worried more about what had to be done around the house before the baby than their actual arrival. Then it hit me a few months ago that this was the one shot we get at a first child, that our lives will forever be changed, and that this time together, before the child’s arrival, should be savored.

I took a step back and have been smelling the proverbial roses of each day as best I can.

I admit that this past weekend, as we put the semi-final touches on the baby’s nursery – a few sheets down in the crib – it suddenly just seemed so incredibly real.

It’s happening and happening very soon, and before we know it, we parents-to-be will just be parents.

Where did all the time go?

It’s fascinating that a few sheets on a baby’s mattress could make me feel this introspective, but well, there you have it.

If time is moving this fast now, I’m a little frightened about the years ahead.

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I have an obsession with the website, shirt.woot

For those of you not in the know, shirt.woot is a website that allows artists to submit designs for a t-shirt, and web users vote on their favorites. Each week tends to revolve around a different theme, although you’ll find the occasional random design. The winning entries are then offered as that day’s woot, and you can purchase it, with free shipping, on that particular day. After that day, the clock starts ticking and unless it’s popular enough in sales in the weeks that follow for it to continue, the shirt disappears and your chance is gone.

It makes for some very unique threads.

I became aware of woot because of my brother, who had purchased a few shirts from there over the years and would often send me a little note if that day’s woot was something we’d both find particularly funny to look at (even if neither of us bought it).

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve bought a few for myself, including this great shout-out for fans of the TV show, Arrested Development:

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And as I mentioned, the woots change each day, making their website a bit of a daily destination to see what’s gone up for sale that day. I even added it to my web browser shortcuts at work so that I can take the daily peek at what woots are wooting. 🙂

But, here’s where the slippery slope came – some of my favorite shirt designs have been absolutely perfect for kids, and woot DOES offer them in a child’s size.

Sure, even their smallest child size won’t fit my kid for probably a year or two to come, but who could resist the “Okey Dokey, Artichokey,” “Family Portrait” (get it? it’s the planets), or “A Day at the Loch” with Nessie in her swimmie-gear?

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I admit it. I’ve got a handful of woot shirts for the kid already, stashed away in the nursery closet, as I know there’s still quite some time before they can wear them. How could I pass up getting my hands on such absolutely adorable shirts that are almost as unique as my soon to be born?

I just couldn’t resist. I was powerless in the grip of their cuteness.


Last night I read to our unborn child.

This is nothing new. For months, I would randomly grab a book from the small collection we’ve amassed since we found out we’re expecting and read directly to Meg’s stomach.

On this occasion, though, it wasn’t “Puss in Boots” or “Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?” Instead, I picked up the book I was sitting there reading anyway and just began reading aloud to Meg’s stomach. That book happened to be a collection of old All-Star Comics from the 1940s featuring the Justice Society of America. Issue #14 to be exact.

For those of you who may be uninitiated into the geeky world of superheroes, you may have vaguely heard the term “Justice League” bandied about in pop culture. However, The Justice Society, or JSA as they were often referred to, were roughly 15-20 years prior to the League. Amid America’s impending entrance into World War II, several second-tier superheroes of the time came together in the world’s first super team, The Justice Society of America.

On this occasion, the team’s mission was simple, yet oh-so-complicated: to get food to occupied European nations and overthrow the occupying Nazis.

Okay, okay, so a little bit harder than Dr. Seuss, but I was reading it anyway and I figured doing so aloud may be just as fun, doing my best to provide distinctly different voices for Hawkman, Starman, and the like.

Although, admittedly, both my German Nazi voice and Polish soldier voice need work. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I get to the chapters in Norway and Holland.

The odd part? Odd, yet exciting?

The baby really seemed to love it. Meg couldn’t believe how much the baby was moving around, and the more it moved, visible through her stomach this far along (36 or 37 weeks!), the more excited I got to keep reading chapters to this wondrous little soul I’ve yet to meet.

We stopped a few chapters in (I promised to read more in the nights ahead), but it led to a wonderful discussion (obviously one-sided, as her belly doesn’t verbalize too much) about fictional heroes written to inspire, and the real-life heroes (like the baby’s great grandfather and great grandmother, our next door neighbor, George, and our other neighbor, Geno) who put it all on the line during that very real war so that they, we, and our unborn child, could come into a free world.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with that era in history, and it was comics, just like these old adventures of the Justice Society, that got me interested in what was going on in the real world at the time of WWII.

It was truly a remarkable moment to see and feel my child, still in the womb, getting excited as I read and acted out this 1942 adventure for them. What was even more exciting was knowing how much they have to learn about their past, their family history, and the history of the world around them. They have a lifetime of learning ahead, and I’m lucky enough to be there with them from the very start of that journey.

And hopefully, we’ll have many other Justice Society Adventures to relive together. 🙂


I think my wife thinks I’m too social sometimes.

The other half the time, I’m sure I come off as a recluse or a grumpy old man, but sometimes, just sometimes, I get a little burst of excitement from meeting new people.

We just completed our childbirth class, and in it we’ve come across a multitude of other couples. One of those couples, we’ve had the occasional side joke or chuckle about something, and they just seemed like nice people. They’re due within the next week or so, and with last night being the last class, it’s likely the last time you’ll ever talk to these people.

So, during the class break I decided to ask them to exchange emails and let us know how they make out when the baby’s born in the days ahead.

Okay, sure, so maybe it’s the grown up, internet-age equivalent of that high school yearbook greeting, “Have a great summer! Let’s stay in touch!” but I figure eh, you never know when you’re going to make a new friend or friends. Sometimes the older we get, the harder that can get.


One of the things about the hospital that we’re registered at to have the baby is the multitude of “extra” educational offerings they provide. For the past six weeks or so, my wife, Meg, and I have been attending Childbirth Classes at the hospital one night a week, where we’ve learned all about the process of child birth, contractions, etc. Made up of roughly 20 or so other couples, it provided us with the opportunity to take yet another “extra” that we attended this past weekend – Breastfeeding Class.

We’re both very big advocates of breastfeeding our “soon to be,” and I admit, the class made me even moreso, if that’s possible. I know some people will tout how far science has come, but by my humble estimations, there’s only so much that science can replicate in baby formula, and certain things that can only be found in breast milk. These unique characteristics include immunities, anti-allergens and all kinds of other great nutrition that they can’t get elsewhere. So, I’m all for it.

We’ve had people in the family who have had some trouble with breast feeding, and that gave Meg a sense of caution – one of the reasons she wanted to make sure we attended the class. I didn’t mind, as I really want to make it work.

Of course, that’s said as the relationship-half that isn’t going to actually be having a child sucking on its chest, so perhaps I’m out of place with my enthusiasm.

While I found the class informative, it also was a bit daunting. Between the video that shows you all the problems that may arise for you to troubleshoot, to the intense “lactation specialist,” it can feel a little stressful and could easily push some people off of the whole concept all together.

That is the slippery slope, I think. Here’s why…

One of the things they press upon you in this breastfeeding education is that a child has to latch on and breastfeed within the first two hours of their birth. It’s crucial. Introducing a bottle at any point in the first few weeks can kill the entire process of breastfeeding.

But when a mother is feeling scared, and a specialist, nurse, whomever, is so intense that they enhance those fears, it can often lead to some difficulties for both mother and child. It’s pretty detrimental to what a lactation specialist is trying to accomplish in the first place, wouldn’t you think? So the key is calm. Calm. Calm. Calm.

That’s where I, as the spouse, realize my place. I can not offer the physical nutrients that the child needs, but what I can offer is support to Meg, and to the baby as we head into this venture together. Yes. All three of us. The baby may be latching on, but we’re a family, and we’ll get through it all together, even this.

As I sat in the breastfeeding class, I could not help but notice that I was one of only a few spouses that were in attendance. What’s more, directly across from us at another table was a woman who was very eager to try this when her baby is born, and next to her was her spouse or boyfriend, who at first was sleeping during the class (very blatantly), and then got up and left, leaving her on her own until class had ended.

I felt terrible for her. Here we are, learning how important support of the spouse is to a mother who is trying to breastfeed, and this guy can’t even sit through a class with her. I just felt bad.

So, husbands to be, I say to you this – don’t brush off the idea of breastfeeding, and don’t be so quick to hand over a bottle if they haven’t latched on right away. Stick it out, it can happen, and you can help – simply by being there, being supportive, and being the partner that you’re significant other needs you to be, for her sake and the sake of your baby.



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