Sunday, September 26, 2010

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

Notes from a Clueless Dad

As you can tell by Allison’s baby countdown clock, I am apparently going to be a dad in a mere 40 days-or-so. Until now, I have had a pretty easy go about it with this whole pregnancy. Sure, I have had to go to multiple grocery stores for the “right” ice cream. I have had to chase my dog through our neighborhood when her late-night craving for cheesecake provided Atticus with the perfect opportunity to chase a rabbit at 10:00 pm. But overall, nothing really too bad. Allison has really put in a little more effort at this point.

That clock, though, keeps reminding me that my part in this whole parenthood gig is about to begin, which for an only-child-never-been-around-a-baby-or-changed-a-diaper kind of guy is terrifying. I mean terrifying. I now walk around my house and only see one pit fall after another. Why did we buy a house with stairs? Why did we buy that rectangular wood coffee table? I mean come on, when the kid starts walking, I just know he is going to fall down the stairs and roll into that coffee table and hit his head on the edge of that we-never-should-have-bought-this-death-trap table.

Not to mention, how do you walk around and carry a baby? As many people know, I can be kind of klutzy and only to make things worse, we have wooden floors. On average, once a week have a vision of me walking down the stairs, stumbling and taking a tumble. Before baby, a comical event in which any spectator would get a good chuckle from, but after baby, a sure-fire trip to the hospital.

When I confided to Allison regarding my concerns about being a father and ultimately dropping our child, she laughed and told me not to worry, that I am going to be a great dad. But I can tell she is worried about me. Routinely, she reminds me that a baby’s…poop looks like pea soup and not to overreact when this happens. My reaction is an immediate flashback to the movie Exorcist. You know, the scene when the demon takes over the girl’s body and she spits up pea soup, and thinking where can I get me some holy water to stop this truly unholy event.

But at the end of the day, I take a deep breath and realize that many guys before me have been new dads with little or no experience and have proven to be very good fathers. And as we learned from the past presidential election, that experience thing is apparently overrated. Well wait, maybe not the best example of a successful outcome.

All I know is that even though I watch that countdown clock with growing anxiousness, my excitement grows exponentially more to be a dad and meet my son.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flashback Friday: Public Humiliation Edition

It has come to my attention that some believe I have embarrassed third parties sufficiently and it is high time I turn the tables and humiliate myself. And here I thought that being honest and admitting to food cravings, weight gain and poor wardrobe choices were all shameful enough.

This time we are going to discuss bad clothes and attractive hairstyles.

We all know I am not known for my styling abilities and I apparently have a particularly difficult time with raincoats. When my family visited Ireland in 1996, a raincoat seemed absolutely essential to my packing list. I found a lovely plastic number in a flattering shade of metallic blue. It went really well with my plastic shoes and white socks, don’t you think?
When I cut my hair short the summer before eighth grade, I had no idea I would leave the salon with curly hair. Puberty and less weight on my locks, left me looking like a late-blooming Shirley Temple, eight years too old and some sixty years behind the trend. I spent a year growing it out and started each day of my freshman year waking at 5:45 so I could tame those ringlets into submission. Some days my technique was more successful than others.

Picture it, Duluth, Minnesota circa 1996. It must have been summertime since Mary and I are both wearing shorts, but heavy outerwear still seems necessary. Obviously it was very humid, case in point:

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lucky One

For the peanut gallery, your 33 week baby bump picture. (Please note, I matched the napkins both in the talent competition for belly circumference and in the evening gown categories.)

I haven’t always believed I was one of the lucky ones. I tore my ACL dancing, both straps broke on my prom dress before we even took pictures and I was sent to detention for two days for throwing popcorn chicken in the lunch room when the freshman boys obviously started it. But this time the stars aligned and I was blessed with one spectacular weekend, reminding me that regardless of weak knees, wardrobe malfunctions and ornery assistant principals I am one lucky girl.

This past weekend, three of my college roommates and my mom came to town to celebrate B.B. King’s official Virginia shower. It was like a giant slumber party all weekend with some of my very favorite people there to eat, drink and be very merry.

Me and Mee-Maw (Unless someone can come up with a better name for the future grandma? Honestly, not sure there is one.)

The suitemates: Melissa in Spirit, Aubrey, Me, Chandni, Martha in Spirit, Sarah

Saturday was the big shindig hosted by Sarah, Chandni and my friends from my Williams-Sonoma days, Michelle, Karlena and Kate. Everything was simply flawless from the centerpieces to the french toast, to the favors all honoring the newest King.
The Martha Stewart's in Training, Michelle, Kate and Karlena.

The beautiful cake, Mini-Martha's, no?

Photographic proof that I am very spoiled, and still, no cankles!

Perhaps the best part of the day was looking around at my guests and knowing how truly lucky I am to have made such amazing friendships. People traveled hundreds of miles to celebrate B.B. and I can also say that I have a strong circle of friends from work, church and husbands.

Such a supportive group of friends, they don't mind posing for B.B. King pictures!

The weather was perfect. The food was divine. Planes, trains and automobiles all cooperated in a timely fashion. Atticus didn’t run off with anyone’s underwear. I really couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. It was such a lovely reminder of just how lucky I am to have been able to find such thoughtful, caring, smart and funny people in my life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flashback Friday: Prideful

I spent one summer interning for Congresswoman Betty McCollum in Washington and the following summer interning for her campaign in St. Paul. I helped to coordinate fundraisers, staffed her at community events, and updated a whole lot of spread sheets.

I have to admit though that the highlite of my summer was joining her for her appearances at the Minnesota Gay Pride Festival. That year Betty was the Grand Marshall. It is safe to say I had never experienced an event quite like it before. I walked the parade and handed out stickers as she waved and shook hands. There was tons of energy and they even seemed happy to be celebrating with a politician. I was so proud to be working with a woman who was getting such recognition from the crowd. Of course, it was interesting when I bumped into a former classmate from high school who was more than a little surprised to see me there.

This might be one of my all time favorite political photos. Shown above, former Minneapolis Mayor, R.T. Ryback, current Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congresswoman McCollum, and two "Jackie O's." Simply priceless.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things that may or may not have caused me to cry in the past week

Let’s play a game. You comment and tell me which ones are true or false.

1. My boss asking me to pick something up on the printer. True, it was on my way, but I again
made a poor footwear choice and the ten feet seemed so far…

2. The priest mentioning Tennessee in church on Sunday.

3. Contemplating the deeper meaning of replacing the brakes on the SUV.

4. Rocky had the sniffles and I couldn’t sleep.

5. Atticus doesn’t need a mid-day walk anymore and we had to let the Greatest Dog Walker In
the World go.

6. I ran a load of laundry and couldn’t remember if I used soap.

7. Realizing that my mom cannot quit her job to come take care of me for a month. That’s right,
I said me. I obviously need moral support here. The baby can fend for itself.

Hormones yo! I got them. I can share. Really, I don’t mind.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flashback Friday: Baby Atticus

One hundred and four weeks ago today we brought Atticus home. When we went to pick him up, we discovered that ours was the one that had been peed on by one of his littermates. They were recently groomed, bathed and pristine, except the one with a stain on his leg. But then, they handed over this two pound pile of fur and I instantly knew he was just perfect.

All of the dog preparation books said to take your new puppy for a long walk around the neighborhood so he would know this was a new location and it would simulate the migration of the pack. That wasn’t really happening. First, the collar we had picked out was about eight feet too big and he simply shook his head and the thing slipped off. I hurriedly got back in the car to go to the pet store to pick out a new one, one made for a cat. Even that one was too long and we had to trim a few inches off of it so he wouldn’t chew the end. When I made it back home, secured the collar and we tried again he wouldn’t budge. He planted his legs in the ground, lifted his head and stood there. We eventually gave up and went back inside without a walk. According to the books, we were off to a great start.

The next several weeks were quite the adventure. He didn’t sleep through the night and would cry because he was lonely in his crate. Rather than using the puppy pads to potty train, he would pick them up and run around the house with them. He loved to chew on flip flops (thankfully,the only shoes he ever paid any attention to). He certainly took his time wanting to eat, seriously worrying this new puppy parent.
Just three days after we brought him home, Rocky had to go out of town and I was alone potty training, feeding, and stressing. I would get home from work and watch his every move. Since his bladder was likely the size of a thimble, you had to watch him like a hawk because neither of you had any warning when the mood to urinate would strike. In the following weeks, I would be so grateful when Rocky could get home from work so I didn’t have to do all the staring alone.

I learned a lot in those first weeks with Atticus. I learned that it was hard work caring for another creature. I learned that I take out my frustrations on Rocky (leading me to wonder how many people contemplated divorce over an untrained puppy). I learned (for the umpteenth time) that I don’t handle stress very well. These are all very big lessons I will carry with me as I become a new mom. Honestly, it scares me. But I think without the experience I wouldn’t believe that we’ll both learn, we’ll all cope, and “this too shall pass.”

Poor Atticus has no idea what is about to hit him. A coworker loaned us some baby gear and Atticus is seriously concerned. We left out a baby seat for him to see, smell and get used to having around the house. When I come back to the living room, I’ll find him slowly creeping up to it and smelling it. He’ll bump the toys with his nose and get scared when they swing back. I have no idea what we are going to do about the other toys in the house. He would really like to believe those plush lambs and rattles are meant for him.

Atticus has been such a joy and a pleasure to have in the house. Our parents love him and routinely press for updates. Friends and neighbors often ask how we think he’ll handle the baby. Visitors who don’t mind a few puppy kisses really enjoy the company too. The hard work and effort that went into domesticating our puppy paid off into having such a fun addition to our little family. I know that caring for a newborn will be ten times harder but I can only dream of the reward.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Y'all Ready For This

Cause we're obviously not.

Last night was our first birth and baby class at the hospital. It became rather obvious we are very ill-prepared for this whole having a baby thing. First, we were the only ones there without pillows and a blanket and a yoga mat. Who didn’t pass along the memo (or read the memo?) that we were supposed to bring basically an entire set of bedding? I could grin and bear the hard floors, but poor Rocky was mortified that we were the only ones going without. We were already failing as competent parents. Then, I showed up in a skirt. To a class where we were sitting on the floor legs bent. Smart girl.

Overall, Rocky and I have no problem getting a job started, the problem is the follow-through. The room is painted, but the closet is full of china. The crib is assembled, but we have no mattress. The dresser is full of itty bitty onesies, but there is a large bed sitting in the middle of the room. We successfully made it to class on time, but I had both dressed and packed inappropriately. I am having visions of making it to the hospital with our camera and snacks but no clean underwear or anything to dress our little B.B.

My plan for the whole process is just to be knowledgeable about what is normal and what to expect. I will show up, ask for the drugs, and do my best. I am not about to write a twelve page birth plan or have a tantrum if the doctor suggests that a c-section is what is best for me and the baby. That seemed about all I could hope for and the best I could do.

Thankfully, we are in a class with a bunch of prepared but still mildly moronic future parents. When the teacher asked us what questions we wanted her to cover over the next six (ack!) weeks. The very first question a mom-to-be inquired about, elective c-sections. The nurse/instructor/coach couldn’t even get the words out for a good thirty seconds, she just stared at this woman. When she was able to choke out an answer, she asked if her doctor even allowed them. I think you have to go to L.A. and fine a physician to the stars to schedule something like that. Then again, ask me in seven weeks if I’d be willing to make the trip.

Other lovely observations?

Eight out of eight couples in our class want a medicated birth. I have to admit I did look out of the side of my eye before raising my hand. I was convinced their were more natural-green-alternative medicine folks on the east coast.

DC is such a diverse and transient town. Almost all of the people in the class had their showers out of town and very few have parents in the area. I won’t be the only one flying solo post baby!

Even in a birth class where we talk about anatomy and feelings and pain, you shouldn’t talk about your pelvis. I learned that one the hard way!

Items still on the agenda include drugs(!), hospital tour, and the dreaded movie. Here is to hoping we make it through til the end.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Flashback Friday: Moonlight Serenade

Chandni was my first friend in AOPi beyond the girls I knew prior to rush. I remember her introducing herself the first night as "Sean, like the boys name, duh" (slapping her forehead) "knee" pointing to her joint as if to say, "I know you all go to Vandy, but you are a sorority girl now and I don't know if you know what I mean." You could imagine she had lived most of her life as the only Indian girl in town and had spent a lifetime pronouncing her name this way. But I was so excited! I had left behind a circle of Indian girlfriends in Minnesota and here was a girl who either had a great sense of humor, or was just as overwhelmed as I was. I was lucky to learn she was both.She is warm, charming and her humble attitude makes her endearing to everyone she meets. She knows her talents are going to take her far. After a silly argument in college she warned me that when she was the next Oprah I was not invited on her private plane. I told her I wasn't so worried since I'd be flying on Air Force One anyway. Like I was saying, we were both very humble.
The girl has listened to hours of boy drama, bad dates, whining about jobs, whining about finances, whining about moves and houses and leaking roofs. The poor thing is a good listener and gets stuck with hearing it all. She's been my champion for nearly a decade. Telling me to brush myself off and get back on the horse, but not on the dance floor since I happened to tear my ACL at her 20th birthday. When I had to miss our first party of the year since I was one day post-op, she filmed the party for me so I wouldn't feel like I had missed a minute. She walked around the party interviewing the guests and recording all the music and food and crazy outfits I was missing. I'm sure her date appreciated the fact that he was being upstaged by a gimpy roommate.The best part is everyone feels lucky to be around her, your parents, your husband, your overly enthusiastic dog. Even homeless men on the street can't help themselves from interrupting her. She is one of those people you just want to be around because she makes you feel good about where you've been and where you are going, despite poor clothing/date/career choices.

Chandni likes to celebrate birthdays even more than I do. And I know many people feel just as honored as I do to celebrate the day with her. She could invite her mail man and they would be more than happy to attend. In thirty-two years and one day, when we are roasting her in honor of her sixtieth birthday, I sure hope some of these photos make the show. Happy Birthday Cpatel!