Posted tagged ‘Fatherhood’

Becoming a Dad – Bedtime Habits

August 5, 2009

Currently at 23 weeks. 17 weeks to go.

Before you read on, listen. I feel like I owe you a warning. This post is going to be intimate. Not in the way that you might imagine (shame on you), but rather in a very personal sense in terms of habits as a couple. So if you’re not in the mood for that sort of thing right now, that’s okay. There are plenty of other pregnancy & childhood blogs worth reading.

candles

If you’re still reading this, good. I’d like to tell you a quick bedtime story about mom-to-be and I. Just a small example of one of our habits as a couple. And if you’re in a relationship of your own, I know you’ll understand. After all, every couple has their quirks. This is one of ours.

My other half has developed a little bedtime routine for us. You might be wondering what I mean so I’ll give you the quick preface on our habits before I get to what I’m talking about.

1. I usually go to bed much later than her.
2. We both take our showers, brush our teeth, you know… all the normal stuff a little after dinner.
3. We both watch a little television or read before bed.

That’s where our similarities end. We’re completely different in terms of sleep schedules. To put it accurately, I like to stay up 2-3 hours later than she does. Always have.

Now here’s the nightly ritual I was talking about. Ever since just about month four, mom-to-be insists on me going to bed with her. Not to sleep necessarily but for me to ‘put her to bed.’ What this entails for me is crawling into bed after she’s done reading and soothing her to sleep. I run my fingers lightly down her back… the back of her neck… You know, that half massage, half petting thing. Sometimes I even entertain myself my drawing imaginary pictures or writing stories in invisible letters on her skin. I even made the mistake of telling her the other night that I write stuff like “I love you” on her back when I’m bored. Geez, now she’s trying to figure out what I’m writing every night. LOL. This is what I was talking about earlier when I said this post was going to be intimate. But it’s all quite sensual really, I guess. I know it seems silly but it really soothes mom-to-be. Thus, I don’t mind the sacrifice of my precious me-time so much.

The scary thing is that she’s gotten quite used to this routine. Whether by choice or not, my fear is that this routine isn’t going to go away. What the heck am I gonna do? And when the heck am I going to find the time to play my precious video games again? Sneaking out of bed after she falls asleep is getting to be such a chore. I guess I’ll have to gradually tone down the spoiling her bit and hope she gets weened off this habit of drifting off to sleep from touch. Or maybe I can develop more ninja ways of sneaking off for the next 60 years. I’m gonna figure this thing out somehow. Sigh.

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Becoming a Dad – Accidents and Emergencies

July 29, 2009

honda-accordianThe #1 leading cause of complication for pregnancy is trauma.

As you can see by the picture of my car on the right, this fact never became more scary than the early morning hours of this past Tuesday, when mom-to-be was involved in a traffic accident. Before you read further, I’ll spare you the suspense. Mom and baby are fine.

Now here’s the short version of the story.

When Megan went to drop me off at the park-and-ride, I had no reason to believe that morning would be unlike any other. After all, ever since her car got flooded, this had been our routine. She’d drop me off to take the bus downtown for work while she took my car to her own job for the day. No complications. But this time, it was different, drastically different.

I got the phone call right before the bus was about to pull away. Megan was on the phone crying hysterically. Through her sobs, she managed to tell me to get off the bus. Something about an accident but the details were unsaid or unclear. I can’t remember that part. All I can remember is pushing other commuters out of the way and running. Like my life depended on it, and it did. Megan had managed to pull into the next parking lot, or as I found out later, the impact from the collision had spun the car into the lot as the airbag deployed, probably saving our baby’s life.

I ran immediately past my deformed car to my Megan, thinking and saying nothing but, “Are you alright? Are you hurt? Are you okay?” The rest of the accident scene is inconsequential. I called 9-1-1. Spoke to police. Hurried off shady tow truck drivers. I just wanted to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. But how?

My brother is such an awesome guy. Always there when I need him. That goes for my entire family. Always there when you need them. Kris came and got us, since we obviously didn’t have a car. He took us all the way to the medical center. From there, it was five hours of waiting, tests, sonograms. The whole nine yards. I have to admit I was just as worried then as I was running off the bus the whole entire time. Pins and needles. It’s like your life flashes before your eyes. What would I ever do without her? What would I do if anything happened to our baby? This is my entire life we’re talking about here. Nothing else matters.

Those thoughts were so real what Dr. Ramos prepared us as doctors do after we told him about the accident. “Trauma is the #1 cause of complication in pregnancy.” My heart dropped. “You’ll need to take the following tests.” I know Megan’s did too. It’s really hard to be strong in crisis. And the wait was excruciating. I sent tweets about how everything was going to be okay for as much self-assurance as anything else. Finally, after my sister came, the three of us got to see the ultrasound and saw the baby moving around. The doctors said everything should be fine. Thank heavens for that reassurance. This whole experience was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through. And I’ve been though some scary stuff in my brief little existence.

floodedcarWe’ve got through quite a bit  together, Megan and I. One car totaled from a flood and another one that will probably be totaled tomorrow. This last one was just another occurrence in a series of life’s tests that make our relationship and will stronger. Yes, all this most definitely sucks. Every last bit of it. I don’t think we deserve any of it but no use thinking like a victim. Whatever, you know? C’est la vies. Just another proverbial ass to kick. And you know what? The one thing I’ve realized – I could be penniless and broke living in a steamy hot jungle somewhere. As long as I have Megan and our son, I can get through anything. So my advice to all of you readers – hug your husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and kids tonight. Appreciate every moment you have with them. Love them. After all, in the end, they’re the ones that matter. Everything else is just life getting in your way.

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Becoming a Dad – Showing and Growing

July 22, 2009

Pregnancy Ticker: 21 Weeks and 6 Days past. 18 Weeks and 1 Day left.

heartI awoke this morning and as my usual blurry-eyed look searched for signs of movement, the first thing to catch my eye was mom-to-be’s profile as she fixed her face at our bathroom mirror.

Now the more I began to wake up, the more I marveled at the size her growing baby bump. I noticed not-so-long-ago that its becoming more noticeably prominent. Mind you, I’m the type that may not notice you get a new haircut until you almost need the next one so this was was a pretty big deal for me.

One can clearly see that Megan is expecting now and its growing faster and faster by the day. Her complaints are growing too! It seems like our son-to-be is very particular about the way he likes her to do things. “Don’t lay that way,” he communicates with a swift kick to her tummy. “Don’t lay that way either,” he likes to say as he sits on her organs. Little ninja indeed.

I’m truly amazed by all this. It seemed like not so long ago when we saw the very-first sonogram and there it was, very ‘extra-terrestrial’ like, little tail and all. Megan called him “my little alien.” And as the OB visits with Doctor Ramos kept coming, the baby in the picture steadily grew bigger and bigger. A finger here. A foot there. A fast-beating heart. A little wiener, big for his age. Then along came the videos. Seeing the kick for the first time. Watching his little yawn over and over… The growth… It’s all happening so fast. Pretty soon we’ll have ourselves a little baby son. And I’m not going to know what to do! Will I want him to grow up? I do but not so fast.

And Megan, seeing her grow is amazing to me as well. I like to see it because to me, that’s a sign of good pregnancy health, seeing her belly grow. Even the vivacious kicks, albeit uncomfortable to mama, mean to me that there is a lively boy in there, waiting to grow up big and strong. Future BJJ World Champion, Footballer, and Track Star indeed. But seeing Megan grow so fast, I can’t help but to see it as a metaphor for our relationship, which has grown just as rapidly. Heck at this time last year, I didn’t even know what a Megan was. Much less predict one would encompass my world so thoroughly. And so there it goes, invariably, this growth is going to come to a head at some point and we’ll have our first child. And that child will grow and eventually ask us both, “Mom and Dad, how did you two meet?”

So here it is. An open letter to our son about how we met. A story to be told to him someday.  it’s very long-winded, I know,  but it’s okay reader, it’s not really for you.
Dear ________,

Son, you asked us how we met… Well kid, you should have asked twice. Reason being, that’s how it really happened. It’s kind of funny really, how we happened to fall in love and how you came to be. And it involves the help of many people, your aunts, a few uncles, even a German by the name of Jägermeister. (Kidding, I won’t tell him that part)

It started out when your Aunt Alaina, that’s right, Thales’ mom, worked with me at an engineering recruiting firm. Aunt Alaina and I actually worked together at our first job out of college also. That’s why its important to get your degree, so you can get a good-paying job and meet lifelong friends who make best friends for you like what Aunt Alaina & Uncle Jordan did when they had Thales.

Anyways, Aunt Alaina worked with your father for awhile and eventually moved on to a better job, as most people do. Your dad did also and as it turns out, our offices ended up not so far away from each other. Since I introduced your Aunt Alaina, who I worked with, to your Uncle Jordan, who I trained with, we’d all become really good friends. We’d have lunches together and hang out and talk about the two of them and everything else in the world.

Before I met your mom, I’d call your Aunt Alaina’s office every day.  Like I said, we used to talk about everything. And when I called over, a cute little professional voice always answered the phone. Your papa always liked to play a joke on this voice, pretending to be someone else, trying to scare her. I had all kinds of tricks so don’t think I won’t know if you ever try to trick me. I know all of them son.

One day, instead of going to a restaurant, we decided to have sushi for lunch at their office with Aunt Melynda and Uncle Steve, who I also introduced, since Uncle Steve trained with us also and I met Aunt Melynda through Thales’ mom. See how that works? Let that be a lesson to you son, you bring together the right type of people and you can create love and all types of great things!

So that day when I came into their office for lunch, I found out who the owner of this voice was. It was your mom! And your daddy thought she was cute! Very very beautiful, the owner of this voice was. But I didn’t say anything. Not to her at least. But yeah, that’s how we first met, on February 22, 2007.

Now kid remember, I told you about asking twice. That’s because the second time I met your mom, that’s when I knew it’d be it. Fast forward almost two years. It wasn’t until October 2, 2008 that I saw your mom for the second time.

Your cousin Thales was already born and your Uncle and Aunt were already married. On that night, your uncle Jordan was fighting in his very-first MMA fight at the Hall of Fame, a country dance hall in College Station. Your Uncles Eddie & Vincent and I actually went up there early for the weigh-ins to be with your Uncle Jordan. We were going to be timekeepers for the fights later that night also and your Uncle let us know that Aunt Alaina would be coming to watch with a friend later on. Well when she arrived, it turns out she had your mom with her! I didn’t recognize her from before but again, I thought she was really REALLY pretty. I even asked your Aunt Alaina about her and would you believe it, she said I had no chance at all with your mom.

Now son, it’s never polite or gentlemanly to hound girls so I didn’t really bother her. In fact, I said hello and everything but we didn’t talk much throughout the evening. Your Aunt, your mom, and their other friends were right over the railing across from the timekeepers table so I frequently looked over just to check on them since it was crowded. It’s always polite to check on girls son. They may not need you to but they may appreciate the protection and its only gentlemanly to always make sure the women in your life are doing okay.

Now back to your mom, she swears she noticed me looking at her but I don’t think so. I was just checking on them. Anyways, from that night, your mom and I began something very beautiful. We’d call each other and ask how we were doing and talk about our jobs and all types of wonderful things. And your Aunts Lindsey, Melynda, and Alaina, they encouraged us to talk to each other because they saw that we had a lot to talk about, which was very special. And your Uncles, Kris, Eddie, and Omar, they helped us also, always asking your mom to stay and watch movies just to keep the two of us spending time with each other. And that’s how your mom and dad developed a great friendship with the help of our friends. And through time, that friendship turned into love and pretty soon after, that love turned into you.

So now you see son, that’s the story of how your mommy and daddy first met, twice. We both love you very much. Now go do your homework! 🙂

P.S. – Not for my son but just for you guys…. I actually met Megan more than twice.  It was three times to be accurate. Ask me about how I literally lost her and how, with the help of all those people I mentioned, found her again. This part of the story involves a lot of effort, lost makeup, a phone conversation while lost in a parking garage, and some olive juice. And it’s probably the sweetest story of them all.

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Becoming a Dad – Nice Little Sundays

July 19, 2009

Mom-to-be and I had ourselves a nice little weekend… We went to the Onion Creek farmer’s market, the antique store at Heights Station , even stopped a lotus garden. And we even managed to make it to Wholefoods and World Market… I knew we had to. I just didn’t know if we’d have enough time….

For those of you who with prego brain, that was totally a hit-or-miss joke from the movie ‘Old School’ but I promise you it was all true. We did all that this weekend plus more. Exciting huh?

Trust me, it’s very ironic just how much I’m starting to enjoy these little outings on my new-look weekends. Just 7 months ago, the last thing I thought was that I’d be the next out of our group to be expecting a kid, much less enjoying the weekend trips to Home Depot and such. Back then, it would have been a magnificent feat to find me awake before noon or know what I was doing that night, much less actually going out in the sunlight doing something productive on a regular basis. I kind of just flew by the seat of my pants doing what boys do like the rest of our crazy westchase chapter of ninjas. Then mom-to-be came into my life and everything changed.

Back to the present day, I just noticed about a week ago that my entire routine has changed. I keep a personal diary so I compared date-to-date from this year to the year before. What I’ve come to find is that I’m damn near unrecognizable from previous self in many ways.

Being involved in drunken nights and war stories have been converted to the weekly brunch meetings just to hear about them from the other guys. Nightly trips to Wendy’s for dinner has been substituted for protein shakes and ‘portion control.’ And waking up at noon is a distant memory. I cook breakfast on most weekends now and I’m working out more often.

I’m happy to report that I no longer miss the bad food, crazy nights out, and not getting up until noon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all the way there yet when it comes to being the stay-at-home-dad but what I’ve come to realize is that I’m appreciating home life more and more nowadays. It’s just amazing to me that this transformation is happening so naturally that I didn’t even notice it until I no longer minded the change. Now I’m beginning to understand why my parents had all those routines, cleaning, going places, etc. on weekends when I was a kid. Scary thought, this whole growing up business.

Below are some pictures I took of mom-to-be from this past weekend

In other news…. thanks to everyone who participated in the casino night charity for the VCSA and the Hoang Nguyen Foundation this past Saturday. Our very own ninja Eddie Corrin took home the grand prize, which was a rather large plasma television. And from the looks of things, it looks like the charity took home a good amount of change from a very fun event sponsoring an invaluable after-school program for tutors. Also, thanks to Cathy P. for having Megan and I over for the housewarming on Saturday afternoon. Dude, Cathy, your new house is amazing! And I never realized all this time that you were an art teacher. The work we saw at your place was amazing and Megan and I would be honored to buy a piece off your hands to put over our two fireplaces. 🙂

One last thing, this journal is currently #11 on Top Baby Blogs. Please click on the link and help vote us up. It’s be pretty cool for me to be the only man writing to ever crack the Top-10 of the baby blog ranking. Yes, I’m a dork, I know. LOL.

Becoming a Dad – Grandfather’s Revenge

July 15, 2009

fredsavagepeterfalkThe Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: That’s right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I’m gonna read it to you.
– from The Princess Bride

Isn’t it funny that sometimes when I reflect back on my own childhood, I think back on all the lessons I should have learned quicker? I was always the contentious one when it came to listening without being a contrarian, always rebelling like a stubborn fool. And my dad, he’s always been the type to give me just enough rope and freedom to learn (and hang myself in the process). Actually, he’d teach me the right things initially, then I’d invariably rebel for no discernible reason, and only after that did he really take the opportunity to drive the point home. I call it learning by experience, since I did learn through experience (and that’s invaluable) but most people call it learning the hard way.

disciplining-kidsIt is ironic that oftentimes it takes “getting old” to realize that all the “important” things were actually just that, important life lessons we should have learned the first time, aka “the easy way.” I mean, ultimately its true in many respects, the “like father, like son” quote that’s been repeated throughout the ages. Eventually you see the principles of life the same way as those that instilled them into you in the first place. That’s your job as a father right? To teach your kid right from wrong by passing on your own knowledge… I’m almost laughing my face off because now that I’m having my own son, I’m really hoping he’s not going to be as damn stubborn and hard-headed as I was. I definitely don’t wish that headache on anyone, much less myself. Sigh… it’s going to be ironic, the  day when I start repeating the same stuff my Dad told me over and over. Maybe I’m just being paranoid but something tells me that all my past rebelling will come full-circle and bite me in the ass soon enough…. Poetic justice indeed.

By the way, I think I know what I’m going to do with this whole Becoming a Dad series when it’s all said and done. At first, my initial idea was to gain enough of a readership to warrant some advertisers for expensive day-cares (more on that next month). But throughout time, this whole thing has really become a passion project for me. Now when our son is born, I’m going to take this series offline and turn it into a book to be put away. And when my boy is old enough  to the point of going through this experience himself, I’ll dust it off and pay the lesson forward to him as well.

🙂

Becoming a Dad – A Chance Meeting

July 10, 2009

bus

So I stepped on the park-and-ride bus this morning and sat down in my usual seat, just two row back front the door against the window. Every morning when I get on, I usually notice random strangers idly chatting. I can always hear it but usually ignore them. After all, these are not my conversations and I want to sleep anyway. But this morning was very different because just when I’m about to doze off I hear a man remark to the bus driver, “Yeah man, we find out on Tuesday.”

Naturally my ears perked up immediately and spontaneously, my voice bursting  out of nowhere to ask the man, “Are you and your wife were having a baby?”

From there happened the most fulfilling bus ride of my life.

He and I must have talked about everything relating to impending fatherhood. He told me about his experience the first-time around… About the struggle of trying like hell to have one baby with a wife that wasn’t able, only to discover the miracle of finding out he’s having not one but two. About having twin babies born three-months premature and driving to the hospital (same as ours) to see them every day, despite living 45-minutes away and working ten hour days…  About how, looking back at it all seven years later, he still looks at his boys sometimes and thinks, in his own words, “I still can’t believe I’m a father.” And finally about how he’s fortunate enough now to be able to do it all over again.

It really motivates me to hear stories from other parents.

I learn a lot from them and experiences like today’s. Like how scooping the bubbles out of the milk and how that will help avoid colic. And how taking walks in public places with mother-to-be will make them seem much less tedious than walking in the neighborhood. And how not to splurge on a crib because the baby will sleep more in the bassinet anyway. And finally that the baby should learn his schedule right away, so he knows day is day and night is time for sleep so we can actually get some rest.

Goodness, we must have talked the whole thirty minutes into downtown like dorks without even noticing it.

Thanks man.

Becoming a Dad – Find Out the Sex of Our Baby

July 7, 2009

image016

For those of you wondering – I saved my immediate reactions earlier from while I was in the waiting room and immediately after I found out the sex of our baby while mom-to-be was getting dressed.

July 7 – 10:30am

Megan must be inside getting her ultrasound done. When they called her name earlier, we were walking in together and I was immediately accosted at the doorway by this cold and unfeeling nurse, who said they were “only taking patients. we’ll call family when we’re ready for you.” &$%@… So I’ve been waiting outside imaging for almost two hours now. Thankfully, I’m actually not as nervous as I thought I would be… That probably has something to do with the fact that I barely slept last night, brooding of life’s possibilities and the differences between having a son or a daughter. Well, actually it was alternating between those thoughts to playing video games and back that kept me occupied. I wore myself out. And now, I think I’ll be at peace either way. After all, ultimately I guess no matter what we have, we’re going to have to raise this child the same exact way, the best we can. We’ll see what happens in a few minutes.

July 7 – 11:15am

Oh my God – words can’t express how happy I feel right now! Inevitably, I knew I’d be emotional during this but whatever I thought I was going to feel at this moment pales in comparison to the joy that is running through me. I never cried such tears of happiness in my life. When the nurse came and got me, it felt so suspenseful, the walk back towards the exam room. I felt almost tunnel-visioned, and if I could have quieted down my thoughts to a non-screaming level, I swear I could have felt my heart beat out of my chest. And when I got to Megan and saw the nurse moving the ultrasound stick thing around, I was so mentally prepared to hear that our baby was a girl. Then it happened. The nurse found what she was looking for and told us so matter of factly that our baby was in fact a boy! Oh believe me, it was a big blur from there. All I can recall was clapping my hands loud and sort of leaping up in an immediate and spontaneous reaction. I think my feet actually left the ground for a second before I hugged and kissed Megan. Now mind you, I actually tried to promise to myself that I wouldn’t cry. I actually held together pretty well other than a tear or two, but then the nurse left the room and I completely broke down in tears all over poor Megan. Crying like the little girl that I thought I would have. Happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. And as we were leaving the Doctor’s office, I just wanted to tell everyone I saw as I walked by. Walking out the door, I actually made eye contact at some poor guy that was probably waiting for his own spouse. Fist pump, “It’s a BOY!