The misadventures of a first time father

Tag Archives: Child Prep

baby toys“You’re never going to truly be ready.”

That was a piece advice given to me some years ago by a friend when I asked her how she and her husband knew when they were ready to have their first child.

And she was right. No matter how much running we did to prepare for our little guy more than three years ago already, when the moment comes, you’re never quite ready for just how much life changes after that.

Now, we’re here all over again.

Three years have gone by and the little baby I once held in my arms at the hospital is a walking, talking, potty-using little boy who wants to talk to me about animals and superheroes, and “all that stuff” (his all encompassing catchphrase). And very, very soon, we’ll be back in the hospital all over again, welcoming another little life into the world and into our lives.

Yet, it seems as though this has, for lack of a better term, snuck up on us. Like a whirlwind, these nine months have breezed by, snatching us up in its winds of craziness at the tail end, sometimes leaving us with that crazed “how can we possibly be ready?!” feeling.

Before our little guy, it was just Meg and I (and the cats, of course). So throughout the nine months leading up to his arrival, it felt like all the time in the world to prepare, to get ready.

crib in progressNow, though, it feels like we’re all just trying to keep our heads above water, be it work, life, or just keeping up with the little guy. And it’s with that hurried-rush of each day that nine months went by in the blink of an eye.

Here we are. Any day now it happens. Sure, we’ve done a lot. We cleaned out the office. We moved in the crib. We’ve put up shelves. Pulled out baby clothes. Decorated. Made the house a home for a baby once more.

I’ll admit. No matter how much we cross off the list, how much running around we do to get things ready, it never feels like we’ve done enough, been ready enough, but ready or not, here they come.


© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationBefore our son was born, my wife and I were very active in community theatre.

Heck, that’s even how we met, both cast in the same show many, many moons ago. We were both, whether separately or together, in usually two shows a year, but devoting a lot of our time to the theatre where we met in other ways – working on sets for other shows, helping directors with auditions, clean-up days. We both even served on the theatre board in different capacities over the course of several years as well.

I have seen that place in so many ways – as a refuge for those in need of a place to fit in, a historical heritage carried on by one successive generation after the next, a source of frustration (mostly during some of my time on the theatre board, which at times felt like a second job with the amount of time spent there), and as a social hub.

Most of all, though, it was a tradition, a sense of history. The particular theatre where my wife and I met was formed in the 1920s and has continuously put on multiple shows a year ever since. To walk through its rooms, hand-made posters dating back almost a century hanging on its walls, you can’t help but feel a sense of history as you stand there. When I would see a poster from a show Meg and I were in I’d think, ‘we’re a part of that history now.’ It’s a pretty darn neat thing.

We were actually in rehearsals for a show the night Meg found out she was pregnant. I came home to find her unique method of letting the cat out of the bag (notes with clues, tied to the collars of our actual cats) and we didn’t have much time before having to race out of the house to rehearsals for Arsenic and Old Lace, this completely new world of impending parenthood freshly dropped into our brains.

We had spent the better part of our lives on stage in some role or another, be it at that theatre or elsewhere. Soon after we found out we were expecting, though, we realized, this was not going to work as-is. So, as much as we loved it, we decided it was time to dim the lights on our theatre participation, at least until the little guy is old enough to come with us, or heck, possibly join us on stage if he wants.

It wasn’t easy. When something has been such a large part of your life, it’s hard to suddenly not have a show to be rehearsing for or not go to those monthly meetings and see everyone. At first it was weird, now it’s become even weirder to think about trying to get back into it at some point.

A lot of people will ask us “are you doing any theatre?” or “are you coming back to the theatre anytime soon?”

The real answer is, we don’t know. I’m sure we’d have fun. It’s in our blood. Heck, it seems to be in our little guy’s blood even at the age of one. Who knows, maybe we’ll get him up on stage one day and we’ll be a family of performers.

It’s one of those things, though, that I think only time will tell. I mean, come on, all theatre people, deep in their hearts, no matter how much they say they’re done, are just waiting for that right script or show for the “comeback performance.”

In the meantime, my stock answer for people is always “well, he’s our big production at the moment.”


During one of our favorite weekend rituals (a cup of tea and watching CBS Sunday Morning), I came across this report that I really found interesting. I thought you might too:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50137957n

(sorry. WordPress won’t allow me to directly embed the video, but please give it a click and a watch)

It’s amazing to see how truly color blind (and that’s a good thing) we were when it came to our children. Leave it to the marketing folks and the manufacturers to find a way to not only make some extra cash on our kids, but change an entire cultural mindset to do so.

It’s sort of like mass-hypnosis when you think about it. Quite frightening when you think about it too much…


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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