Posted tagged ‘parenthood’

Becoming a Dad: Gratitude

October 25, 2009

Fatherhood is vastly approaching. An estimated 36 days by the official count and about 25 days by prediction.

2009-10-24 18.36.06The past eight months I’ve been blogging about everything that has to do with the ups and downs of becoming a first-time dad, and everything sideways too. From pregnancy hormones and car accidents to hospital visits and baby showers, I feel like I’ve written about almost everything. Now we can all relax. The big day is upon us and soon enough, you all will no longer have to hear all my non-stop ramblings. lol.

As I think beyond the changes I’ve made and how I’ve grown throughout this journey, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the support and love of the friends and family, All of you who have chosen to share in the experience of my becoming a father.

In my last entry, I remarked about feeling overwhelmed at the show of love & generosity our friends put on at our baby shower. In hindsight, I guess I’ve been feeling this way all along… completely amazed at gestures of selflessness thrown our way. Friends, family, teammates, co-workers… You’ve all been there for us and we deeply,deeply appreciate it. I’d name names but there’s just too many of you and admittedly, I don’t want to leave anyone about. But you know who you are.

There’s just no greater feeling in the world than knowing you are loved and cared out. We’ve gotten a lot of gifts but that’s the one we appreciate the most.

Thank you cards and all that are coming but Megan and I plan on repaying your gratitude in the best way we can – through being the best parents we can be this little boy. Guys… seriously… I want you all to know exactly how much Meg and I love this kid but I wouldn’t be able to find the words to do it justice.

One thing’s for sure though – After spending this past weekend washing clothes, putting furniture together,  and generally nesting – I can truly say I am ready and excited for my boy to get here! (and not a moment too soon!

Thanks for reading. Love you guys.

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Becoming a Dad – 50 First Days

October 12, 2009

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Today marks the 50 day countdown to our anticipated due date! You know what that means? It means this baby could be coming in just a few weeks, depending on when he decides to make his way into the world. Based on how stubborn and impatient his parents are, mom-to-be and I are both thinking that time could be sooner rather than later. So yeah…. every day from now on is going to be filled with anticipation.

Wow. Two months shy of having our baby baby with us. What a sobering thought. So much still left to get done.

Laying in bed last night, Megan and I had a quiet chance to reflect on the past 7-8 months of this experience.

We’ve been so blessed within this pregnancy to not have experienced many of the common complications of many pregnancy. Stuff like gestational diabetes, kidney stones, and hemorrhoids… Or even nosebleeds, infections, H1N1, or illness of any kind. What a blessing it continues to be to not have to deal with any of that stuff. For that we feel so fortunate. It makes every other sacrifice and committment we’ve had to make seem so trivial.

 It’s nice to reflect on the good stuff every once in awhile. Now we can face the these last fifty days with strength knowing that the wind is on our backs for the rest of the journey!

One last thing – Megan and I went to a 4-hour ‘Life with Baby’ course this past weekend that gave us a lot of material. Gone is the fear of the unknown. Now I know what I’m scared of. lol. Cue dirty diaper powerpoint in my mind.LOL. In all seriousness, this class covered everything from infant characteristics & diapering to safety, breast feeding, and how to deal with crying. Very helpful indeed. I’ll be covering all those in my next blog so don’t miss it.

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Becoming a Dad – His and Hers Days

August 15, 2009

Currently at: 24 Weeks and 4 Days.

Megan and I are lounging at home tonight after a “His & Hers Movie Day” in Sugar Land. Vince Vaughn’s “The Goods” fulfilled the masculine requirement so I was happy with that. Immediately after, we ducked into “Julie & Julia” a movie Megan heard good reviews about and wanted to see. No problem here but imagine my fear when I looked up the plot synopsis on my phone only to discover that it was *gasp* a Meryl Streep movie that read like this:

Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that’s going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother’s dog-eared copy of Julia Child’s 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes. In the span of one year.

julie-julia-2Okay, so at this point, I pretty much think I’m screwed. The theater was crowded and we ended up sitting next to a few lovely sextagenarian ladies. I asked one of them,  “Is this one of those girly movies?” As if I didn’t already have that idea in my mind right? I just wanted to amuse myself. Convincingly, they all said yes but also that I might actually enjoy it so I looked at the movie with an open mind.

Surprisingly, I really liked the movie! Julia Child and Julie Powell are interesting. Cooks and Writers. Two types of people I readily admire. And the basis for the movie, Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I think I’ve seen it before at my mom’s before but never bothered to open it up. Who knew there was such a cute back story? I sure didn’t.

So yeah, thanks Megan for taking me to the movies. I guess the unexpected can be enjoyable if you look at things with an open mind.

Other than chick flicks, here’s a quick update on where we are at with life and pregnancy.

We’ve been car shopping for both of us recently. I actually found and bought mine last week. It’s not an SUV like I thought I was going to get but it is extremely reliable and safe. It’s sporty too but it fits a car seat so it’s fine. As for Megan’s next car, I think she’s getting close to a deal. That’s good news because being at a dealership practically every night for the past week has been a daunting experience. But hey, might as well tackle all this stuff now right?

Our little boy is due in just a little over three months! I can’t believe… it’s coming so much faster than I thought it would. Time moves so fast after the fourth month of pregnancy! We’ll be looking at daycare options already next week. Those things don’t have finance offices like the car dealerships do they? Baby’s kicking so much now I think he wants us to hurry up and pick a name, daycare, everything!

Well enough of my rant for now. I smell fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen so I’ll take that as a sign. Back to some more quality time for mom-to-be and I.

P.S. – I stole Megan’s finger earlier and had her size rings. Maybe that information will come in handy at some point. 😉

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Becoming a Dad – Putting Away Groceries

August 6, 2009

baby-in-grocery-cartFunny story from earlier tonight – So I’m at the grocery store (Kroger) right after the gym… You know, doing normal stuff like picking up organic milk and ladies speed stick. Typical night until I’m back at the car putting the groceries in the trunk.

As I’m putting bags away, the owner of the next car, who obviously just got done shopping,  gets back to his spot as well. Mid-thirties Nigerian man. Friendly-looking enough fellow. But he wasn’t the one that caught my eye. He had what looked to be his  year-old son sitting opposite the hand of his shopping cart. This kid was the most adorable little boy.

Well the kid was just having a ball. He was flapping around, laughing, just having a good old time. Sure enough I look over at him. I know the boy probably wasn’t laughing at my mundane task of stacking five grocery bags on my arm. I mean, what’s so funny about a guy struggling to put groceries in his car right? But I see the kiddo and start making faces at him, with my cross-eyed goofy look and everything to try and make him giggle again. As I’m doing that, his dad catches me making faces at the kid and sure enough, I’m about as embarrassed as a sheepish schoolboy caught red-handed looking at a pretty girl’s butt for the first-time!

What more could I say to the guy? Proudly I beamed, “Having one of my own soon man! I stare at babies all the time now!” Probably not the coolest thing to say but hell it was true. So the guy laughs and replies back in his accent about how its normal and how he did the same exact thing before his kid, also his first, was born.

So we stood and talked while we were both putting our groceries away. Nothing big, just chatting about the weather, that sort of thing. I helped the guy a few minutes later by pushing his cart back to the return while he put his boy in the car seat. Short interaction but as I drove away, I couldn’t help put think of anything else other than how happy I am to be a dad soon. Feels sooooo great. 🙂

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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.

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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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