Friday, August 31, 2007

Caring for Baby

The other night Shannon and I were putting some finishing touches on the nursery and admiring the nice little room we have put together. We stood there for a minute looking at our handy work. “It looks really good,” Shannon said. I nodded in agreement. We were both facing the crib. It is completely empty except for the tiny plastic covered mattress and the little Pottery Barn patchwork quilt. Almost as if on cue, we looked at each other and the weight of the situation became evident.

Shannon was still smiling but her tone became more serious and her eyes teared up. “What are we going to do, Dan?” she said. I pretended I didn’t know what she was referring to, but I knew where this conversation was heading. “I don’t know ANYTHING about taking care of babies” she said. Always being the rock for Shannon to lean on I responded in the most logical way. “Well, don’t look at me” I shot back. “Uh oh, did I just say that out loud?” I thought to myself. Sure enough. I could tell by the look on her face.

“Don’t worry honey” I whispered as I slowly moved closer to her. “We are mature, intelligent, adults in a committed, loving relationship and we can do this…together” In an effort to bolster my argument, I named off some couples we know with children. “If they can do it…we sure as hell can do it” (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way referring to anyone who might be reading this blog. I am clearly referring to those other people. Come on, we all know who they are.)

With my arm around her I said the three words all pregnant women want to hear from their husbands. “Are you hungry?” I thought that distracting her with food would get me off the hook. It would only work for a few days.

Last night during the Cubs game (They are in 1st place by the way!) she presented me with a list of parenting classes offered by our local hospital. We discussed classes about Lamaze, Labor and Delivery for couples not practicing Lamaze, Infant First Aid and CPR, Boot Camp for New Dads, etc. Now when I say discussed, I mean she talked and I listened intently. (blah, blah, Lamaze, blah, blah, childbirth) When Matt Murton and Alfonso Soriano hit back to back home runs to put the Cubs in the lead, I think I agreed to attend any class the hospital offers.

In all seriousness, I eagerly await the arrival of my son. I want to be as involved as I can. I am not intimidated by diaper changing, bathing or feeding. If I get in a pinch…I will just call my Mom.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bedtime at our house

Where will the baby sleep? Wait!...where will I sleep?

These are dangerous times we live in…

The baby’s room has been painted and the furniture has been arranged. (for now)

With the nursery all but settled, I began to wonder what happens if the boy gets out. We have been so focused on his room that I hadn’t given much thought to what to do when he isn’t actually in there. I know what you’re thinking. “Why would he need to be outside of the nursery?” Well, according to several books and articles I have read, they are eligible for parole almost immediately. So, I do what most people getting ready for a baby do. I start reading and researching about child safety. Things like car seats, playpens and generally making the house safe for a child.

My head literally hurts now. Our baby will be lucky to make it to 2 without losing a limb. I had never given much thought to what children might get into. Yeah sure, I had considered the easy stuff like putting my pistol on a higher shelf, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface. (just kidding Mom…I’ll take the bullets out, too.) The book I was reading last night suggested that I get down on the floor and crawl around looking for safety hazards. You know...from the baby's perspective. How about banging my pumkin size head on the coffee table while crawling around like a moron? Would that be a safety hazard?

So, I guess I will spend the next 12 weeks getting my house sterilized and covered in bubble wrap. Then I'll only have to concern myself with the rest of the planet.

I’m not kidding. While I was out of town a couple of weeks ago I was watching Good Morning America in a hotel lobby. They were doing a story about the possible lead contamination of paint on toys made in China. Diane Sawyer or somebody was interviewing some child safety expert. The person honestly said that if your child has touched any of these small toys you should make an appointment with a doctor right away. I thought “How much lead is in that paint?” The person went on to say that exposure to lead could cause developmental problems and brain damage.

I remember when I was a kid my Dad had lots of duck decoys in the basement. Around the neck of every one of these big plastic ducks was a bar of lead used to weight them down. I would spend hours twisting those lead weights into shapes and toys like guns and brass knuckles. (sweet kid right?) I would pretend that it was steel and I was superhuman and could bend it.

Between that and using my teeth to clamp lead sinkers on my fishing line, I would say I was exposed to a million times more lead than one lousy Chinese toy.

Hmmmmmm. That could explain a few things.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Oh, no! My wife has swallowed a basketball!

Let me start off by premising this post by saying my wife looks beautiful while pregnant.

That being said, I had my first “Holy Moly!” moment.

I was getting ready to go to the gym this morning. Shannon was in the shower getting ready for an early appointment. I was packing a change of clothes into a bag when out of the corner of my eye…there it was. Right out in the open. My little wife’s swollen, pregnant belly. I had caught glimpses of the elusive bulge before, but never a full on, totally naked, side view. “Don’t stare at it,” I kept repeating to myself. Too late. Shannon saw me. “What are you looking at?” she said. “My beautiful wife” I immediately spouted. “It’s really big, huh?” said my wife. Trying not to appear shocked I mumbled “it is barely noticeable”.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been paying attention all along. I see her in the mornings getting dressed. I see her in the evenings in her jammies. It is just that I have been traveling, off and on, for the better part of a month and have not spent so much time with her. All of the sudden BAM! there it is. Pregnant belly. No doubt about it now. What on earth is it going to look like in 14 weeks when the timer goes off? (I’ll see if I can get a picture.)

She had been complaining lately about bumping into things because she was not used to having her stomach poking out so far. (tell me about it) I assured her that it is something she will get used to. On the bright side, it is helpful for catching things like salsa and cashews.

Sorry honey. That’s what you get for marrying a big man.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Little League World Series

This is the week when 12 year olds from all over the planet invade Williamsport, PA to play in the Little League World Series. Shannon thinks I am crazy, but I watch as many games as I can on ESPN. I love the stuff. As a baseball fan, it is refreshing to see these little athletes play for nothing more than pure love of the game. No million dollar contracts at stake there.

One of my favorite parts of LLWS is the things we learn about the boys when they are up to bat. Unlike Major League Baseball stats, we learn things like the second baseman's favorite food, the catchers favorite school subject or the left fielder's nickname.

This year I have been especially interested. As I learn about the young men I can't help but think about my own son. What will his favorite movie be? (Happy Gilmore, Dodge Ball or Blazing Saddles) What about his favorite food? (BBQ Ribs) Will he like baseball?(Go Cubbies!) Will he have a nickname? How tall will he be when he is 12? Will he look more like Shannon or me?

I can't wait to find out.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

He'll make a fine rugby player...

We went to the doctor’s office yesterday for a routine check-up. I say WE because I like to tag along and stand silently in support of my wife. It’s not that I want to act like a scared deer caught in the headlights. In fact, each month I prepare a list of questions in my head that I plan to ask the nurse or doctor during the exam. You know, to show that I am caring and involved. Sure enough, the second I walk into the OB/GYN office, all rational thought escapes me. I can’t think of a single question. (must be all of the estrogen floating around) I just stand there grinning while the doctor measures, pokes, prods and examines the mother of my unborn child.

Anyway, Shannon’s blood pressure is great. She feels fine. The baby’s heartbeat is strong and fast. He is growing at a rapid pace. All in all a very uneventful checkup.

The only highlight coming when the doctor measured Shannon’s belly yesterday and said “Well, he is going to be a big boy”. I thought to myself “no duh”. “Have you seen the father? He is the gorilla in the corner not saying anything”

“A big boy” was the last thing my tiny, five foot nothing wife wanted to hear. I may have to rethink my position on "push presents".

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cruisin right along...

I am happy to report that Shannon is doing fine and the pregnancy is flying by. We have been very lucky. Apart from a few days here and there, the "mom to be" has felt really good.

Shannon was in south Georgia on business this week. We talked on the phone every night about her day and how she was feeling. She told me Monday that she could feel the boy moving. Shannon said that her belly is bigger, her back hurts and that her feet and ankles had started to swell. All week long she would mention her feet and ankles. So much for not really feeling pregnant.

I took a few days off from work and drove down to Augusta to pick her up. We thought it would be nice to drive down to Jacksonville and spend a day or two relaxing with our friends Kim and Jim. I was excited to see my wife after a week apart. I wanted to check on the progress of my boy.

When Shannon got in the car she threw her feet up on the dash and again complained of her sore, swollen feet. Being the sypathetic husband I am, I simply said, "They look fine, now just sit back and relax. You can soak them in the pool when we get to Florida." Of course in my mind I was thinking, "OH MY GOSH! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF HER ANKLES. WHERE DOES HER CALF END AND HER FEET BEGIN?"

Anyway, I am happy to report that a couple of days relaxing, shopping and eating have helped her. We have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday. I will give you the update afterward.