Sunday, December 14, 2008

Story Time! Week 26

We're within weeks of Christmas, the weather is cooling
down and baby-time is ramping up. We're collecting all kinds
of little clothes for you, and even looking for a new place to
live so that you have room to grow (and maybe share space
for Daddy's makeshift office).

And you are a little party animal these days. You move all the
time and I can feel you through your mother's tummy now,
bumping and nudging. I can't help but laugh out loud when you
kick me. It's an amazing feeling, with very little to compare it to.
It's weird in a way because it seems unnatural,
(nothing's ever moved around in your mother's tummy before), but
it also seems completely normal, like it's supposed to be this way.

You seem more active after your mother eats and just before bed time.
When your mother's turned on her side and getting ready to go to sleep,
you tickle her with little tap-tap-taps, like you're knocking on a door,
saying hello. Or else there's some baby in-utero Morse code that I'm
not aware of. Maybe you're saying, "give me more of that chocolate stuff"
or "baby want hamburger." The latter seems the most likely, it's still your
favorite food.

We've been reading stories to you a couple times a week. You seem to like it. If I get real close and read, you kick and nudge. I also introduced you to my favorite nursery rhyme:

In the not-too-distant future
Next Sunday A.D.
There was a guy named Joel
Not too different from you or me

He worked at Gizmonic Institute
Just another face in a red jumpsuit
He did a good job cleaning up the place
But his bosses didn't like him so they shot him into space

"We'll send him cheesy movies!
The worst we can find! (la la la)
He'll have to sit and watch them all
And we'll monitor his mind!" (la la la)

Now keep in mind he can't control
Where the movies begin or end (la la la)
Because he used those special parts
To make his robot friends

Robot Roll Call (alright let's go)
Cambot! (Pan left!)
Gypsy! (Hi, girl!)
Tom Servo! (What a cool guy!)
Crooooow! (He's a wisecracker.)

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
And other science facts (la la la)
Then repeat to yourself "It's just a show
I should really just relax

For Mystery Science Theater 3000"
by Joel Hodgson and Josh Weinstein

Your Mother had to help me remember some of the lines, that's why
she's the best.

Next month we're going to start playing some music for you.
Stuff like "The Beatles" and Billy Joel and Elton John. Maybe
your Mother will let me play some "DEVO."

This weekend I have to put together our first piece of baby-type furniture;
a glider for your mother. It's a kind of rocking chair that rocks smoothly,
and even reclines. I get to sit in it too. Maybe.

Pretty soon we'll be counting the days till your arrival.
Love you Baby.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shuf and Nudge! Week 22 P.S.

Right now, this second, 9:13pm, you are moving around in your mother.
As she sits and reads, she's yelling out to me, "Shuf" or "Nudge" depending on what you're doing.
She just said "Nudge", then again, "Nudge."
I think your ears are burning..."Shuf"...but I'm not even talking.
I'm writing about you and you can hear me...maybe I should type softer.
Hi sweetie. I hope you're enjoying your evening.


Baby Shuf! Week 22

So much excitement this past week! After finding out that you're a girl, we took a tour of the hospital where you're going to be born. It's a really nice hospital, with original animation art on the walls, the perfect place for my daughter to be introduced to the world, surrounded by good drawings and paintings! So cool!!

But I think you already know all that, because you certainly seem excited about it. Your Mom says you're moving all the time now, sometimes after she eats, and sometimes (it seems) after you hear my voice and/or I'm talking about you (even over the phone!).

I've asked your Mom to describe your movements to me and she says there are two types; "Nudges," a little poke of an arm or a leg, and when you shift positions with your whole body, which I've called "Shuf." It's a term I learned from "Jellaby," a wonderful graphic novel by this cool dude named Kean Soo ( ) something I'll be reading to you when you get here.

So that's you lately, Shuf and Nudge, Shuf and Nudge.

Meanwhile, we're in the midst of trying to come up with a name for you. We're testing out a few on you, letting you hear it, allowing it to roll around in our mouths and ears, seeing what sticks. It's tough. We don't want to let you down on this one. It'll be your name for your whole life. It's kind of a big deal. Just like you.

If you hear one you really like, just give us a little Shuf or a Nudge. That'll help us maybe narrow it down a bit.

Talk to you soon baby girl.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Got Labia? Week 21

I don't. But my baby does!

That's right, the wife and I made a little girl (see above). As I told the Doctor, this is her first (and last) centerfold. That indecent little arrow indicates where her action is (or isn't, depending on your perspective.)

This week has been a whirlwind. As soon as I posted last week, the wife started to feel the baby. Hah! She listened to her Daddy and kicked the mama! Way to go kid. Dad owes you an ice cream cone.

Then work was really intense (the DVD short I'm working on is on an aggressive schedule) which is good, just busy and tiring. Then on Friday, we had our second ultra-sound and voila, we know what flavor of baby we're having. She was very active during the appt. and at one point, she had her legs up, with her toes touching her face. (Already, I worry that she's going to be VERY popular with the boys).

And just like that, my world is PINK. Mother In Law is beside herself with joy at all the PINK she'll get to buy. PINK PINK PINK PINK PINK.

We have some names picked out, just some ideas, but probably won't nail anything down for a while. It is really really wonderful to know at least that much about the baby. I can say "she" and "her" instead of "baby" and "it."

I guess you could say I called it. I was thinking we were going to have a boy up until we knew we were pregnant, then, suddenly, I changed my mind. I figure it's because I am more terrified of raising a girl than a boy. But not by much.

I guess I see the world (and gender) in a very old fashioned way. Girls are treasures to be guarded and protected from the world and the dragons that hide in its shadows by the Boys that love them. Altho, some Boys (most) are dragons and some Girls (most) can knight-up for themselves just fine, i.e. my wife and some of our closest friends. Still, my instincts in this are hard to shake, even in this modern world which she will be born into. I know no sword will be sharp enough and no horse fast enough to protect her forever. But it's my job to try. I think that's what a Daddy does, so that's what I will do.

Truth be told, I just can't wait to hold her. I will be anything and everything she needs me to be, because that's my job. In a world where the worth of a Father seems devalued, and our rep has been tarnished by dead-beat-dads and worse, I have my work cut out for me. But I'm up to it.

I can learn to like PINK.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bored Now: Week 20 Begins

Seriously Baby, we need to talk. What are you doing in there? Are you bored? Cause I am. That’s why I haven’t written. I have a solution though.

Kick your mother.

Never again in your life will I ask you to do this, but pretty please, kick your mother.

I’m serious. Don’t worry about getting in trouble, this is a freebie. Kick and punch her as hard as you can. Just so I know you’re there. We’ve heard your heart-beat twice now, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m bored. I want you to be here. So that we can hang out and I can tell you all about why Godzilla and Tokyo don’t get along. Now of course, I want you to do all the baking you need to before you come out. But in the mean time, can you just let us know you’re still there, just a little heads-up for Dad?

This reminds me of when I proposed to your Mother. We were engaged for a little less than a year, and that whole time, she had the pretty ring on her finger signifying the promise of our bond and our upcoming nuptials. But what did I have to show for it? Nothing. Not a thing. And here we are again; an incredible event in my life just around the corner (you) and you wouldn’t know it from looking at me. I may as well be just some dude. She gets the pretty ring and the big, beautiful tummy (she calls it her baby fat; she’s so clever), I get to wait around and just do stuff (although, I am working on my own sympathy tummy that’s full of In N’ Out burgers instead of baking baby).

Your Mother says this is like that period in our engagement when there wasn’t a whole lot left to do to prepare for the wedding. Nothing to do but wait.

Your Mother also says she may be feeling a little something, but it also might just be gas. Which is funny. Gas is always funny (it’ll be one of the first things you learn when you get here) but this will be the only time in your life where you might be mistaken for being gas.

Sometimes I feel like you’re lost out at sea, and I want to send you a message in a bottle, in the hopes that you’ll get it one day. I guess that’s what this is, one very long message in a blog bottle. I do still talk to you through your mother’s stomach. I guess it’s a bit like praying; doing all the talking while your faith fills in the other side of the conversation.

We just reorganized our bedroom for you last night, making preparations for your arrival. Making room in our room, and our lives, for you.

I also just bought you a STAR WARS onesie. It’s so cool. It’ll be too big for about a year, but well worth the wait. I promise.

We’ve also got something else waiting for you when you get here. More from your Mother than me really, but, I know you’re gonna love them. I sure do. They’re soft and warm and wonderful. They’re called BOOBS. They’re going to be your most favorite things in the world. Likely, you’ll never get over how much you like them (even if you’re a girl, then you get your own. JEALOUS.). Say it with me now, “boobs.” Fun!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Afternoon with Baby - Week 15 begins tomorrow


Something surprised me this week; I'm anxious to meet you.
We're just starting week 15 and I wish you were here already. Never in my life did I think I'd want to SPEED UP this process, but I do. I can't wait for you to be here. I can't wait to see you.

You're reading with your mother right now. I'm sure it's already your favorite thing to do.
Reading about warrior babes and talking animals and adventures and things.
She started reading at four, you'll probably start before that. You'll be a nerd for books and movies, just like us, but don't worry, it sounds worse than it is. Nerd-dom has completely over-taken popular culture in the last ten years, and by the time you grow up, coolness will have been redefined once again, and it'll be second nature for you.

Right now you're in her tummy, just kind of floating, growing organs, doing stuff, resting, swimming, unborn-child type things. You get to be with your mother ALL THE TIME. Lucky.

I talk to you, though you're not supposed to be able to hear me for some time. I read that I'm supposed to speak clearly and loudly, like you're on the other side of the room. It's kind of funny, but I like to do it, and your mother likes it too. I really like the sound of my own voice, I hope you grow to like it at least half as much as I do.

This week I got excited about sharing video games with you, particularly SUPER MARIO BROS. 3 (remember that nerd thing I mentioned before?). When you get here, I will tell you all about it's above-par graphics for an 8-bit console, the cool storyline and wonderful game-play. It is a joy of pixel-based bliss. Sometimes, I'll even let you play.

I have to go get some rest now; I've been sick for two weeks. No fun, and trying desperately not to get you and your Mom sick too.

We'll talk soon,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Email to Baby

Some things to catch you up on:

On August 2oth, we saw you for the first time.

Put first sonogram picture of you (bean\rasberry sized oblong thing in a dark pool) in a comic book sleeve with board to keep it safe. (You are as valuable to me as my comics, probably more. Remember that.)

This is the very first picture of you, EVER.

Found out that eventually your amniotic sack (your temporary home) will become filled with pee. It's your pee, so I don't know what to tell you about that.

The last few weeks you've made us laugh a lot A LOT. Once I made your mother laugh so hard she farted (but don't tell her I told you).

She also sneezes out loud now, something she’s never done before…she says it’s because her rib is still a bit sore from the accident.

I think it’s you. You make your Mommy happy and you inspire her to live out loud.

No real morning sickness, just some mild queasy spells. Thanks for that. You're a very agreeable child already.

You make your Mother want meat. Everytime she sees hamburgers on TV or smells them, she needs them NOW.

You also communicate clearly with your Mother; you tell her right away when you're hungry, completely skipping "I could eat" and proceeding directly to "I'm starving!"

Today we heard your heartbeat. So strong and powerful. Your father is very proud of you.

Talk to you soon, Baby.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Week Two - Pregnant Out Loud

"My Wife's 300 - Gonadatropins on the march !"

The wife has been laughing out loud more.

This is just one of a few indicators that things are different. Ever since I've known her (going on almost twenty years now) the wife is a "laugh on the inside" kind of gal. I've gotten used to it, though it took a while for me to not take it personally when she didn't laugh at my jokes.

It's not entirely her problem. Most of my jokes aren't funny, but when I happen to crack a good one, it has to be an amazing joke for her to laugh out loud. Lately though, I'm batting a thousand. I think I have our unborn child to thank for that. Even more reason for me to be in love with this kid.

This last week has been filled with...stuff. We're waiting on our first OB-GYN appt to roll around later this month. We have lots of questions and it'd be nice to talk to a doctor about these things in person. There are some concerns, but mostly, we're trying to pin down just how far along she is and if her large Gonadatropin count (HCg) is because she's really far along, OR because there's more than one fetus in there.

Tuesday night we went out and bought lots of baby books, some serious ones, and a few funny ones. This week I've learned that my wife will be experiencing "heightened closeness" at this stage of her pregnancy, which is good for me. She smiles at me a lot, wants lots of hugs and kisses and is giving me plenty of attention. I'm taking it while I can get it. I'm expecting this to ebb and flow with her hormones, and fearing the time when she feels ugly or uncomfortable or just doesn't want me around. I am a big fan of "heightened closeness."

Also, there will be gas. Another thing the wife doesn't tend to do out loud.

At the bookstore, the wife showed me things I didn't want to see in a delivery book; swollen women bursting at the seams, excreting purple and white human-raisins, ugly and pissed-off, that look more like Quato from TOTAL RECALL than adorable bundles of joy.

Later, the wife shared with me that during the ninth month, she will need a pillow between her legs while she sleeps in order to relieve pressure on her pelvic bone. Apparently, much like a werewolf, my wife's pelvis will be transforming into a new shape, something resembling those gaping shark skulls you see at aquariums, allowing for a larger birth canal. She laughed when I told her she was going to be like a werewolf. Ah, the magic of "heightened closeness."

There've been a few times when she's felt weak this week, so we're keeping on her blood sugar and eating/snacking habits. I'm doing my best to calibrate my reactions to the situation. But when she feels weak or "off" as she puts it, inside I tend to jump into panic mode, but only on the inside. I think this process of moderating my tendency to over-react is going to be a challenge, but a good muscle to strengthen for the coming months and the raising of our little raisin baby, however ugly and pissed off it might be.

Work being so close is a huge blessing and I was able to actually pick her up some lunch (a sandwich, her fave) this week when work was slow and bring it home to her. It felt good. I was being the provider. I like that.

More and more people at work and where we live have heard our good news; the joy is contagious. I've even altered one of my HALO 3 profiles; from ZOMBIEgeddon to ZOMBIEdaddy. It's the best I can do. The wife refuses to entertain the idea of naming our first-born ZOMBIE. I think it'd be cool. She didn't agree. And she didn't laugh.

In little ways, our lives are changing. I'm trying to be more supportive, encouraging her and helping out with little things, tag-teaming with household responsibilities and dinners and such. We're sharing a car now, so we're having to coordinate our lives in a whole new way, which dove-tails nicely into our baby-making. We're a team.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It Begins

On Wednesday July 3oth, my life changed; I found out I'm going to be a father. And I was THRILLED.

My reaction was much more surprising to me than the news actually. I felt good about it; genuinely happy. In my experience, happy is hard work. My brain tends to spin the world around me into worst-case-scenarios that I then waste hours trying to circumvent emotionally, like climbing a mountain that isn't there.

But this news, this good news, has manged to flip-flop my built-in ass-backwards modus operandi. Instead of walking the Earth seeing the worst in everything and imagining horrific doomsday scenarios (it's what I do, I am a writer) I'm walking around with a big dumb smile on my face. I'm happy.

Wed. afternoon my wife had gone into the doctor's to get a pregnancy test. She'd done three take home test on Tuesday, and got positives on all of them. Needless to say I was a bit distracted at work. She called me just after 3 with the results and called me "Daddy" over the phone. It freaked me out. I loved it, but it freaked me out too.

She wanted to drive home (San Diego county) and tell our parents in person. I thought it was a great idea. She came by and picked me up from work and off we went on our 2 + hour trip south.
It gave us a plenty of time to talk, and there was plenty to talk about. First, the imperatives; how was the baby and how far along? She has yet to see an OB-GYN but we had some concerns. My wife had just been in a car accident (t-boned, jaws-of-life, only bumps and bruises, miracle) and we were concerned about her x-rays and cat-scan having an effect on the baby. Doc thought it was probably fine as by their calculation, the baby was only just forming. We'll know more next week.

Next, who do we tell? EVERYONE. We decided not to wait the customary 3 months before dropping the baby bomb on friends and family. I've had close friends and family go through the tragedy of miscarriage, and generally, they had been cautious, choosing not to share their good news with very many people. Then, when the worst happened, they had to explain their sadness, and give people the double-whammy; there was a baby, and now there isn't, all at once. This is a very personal thing, and my wife and I decided to share the joy while we had it to share.

Our take on it was if a baby is in need of something, is missing something (developmentally or otherwise), and 100 people know it exists, love it already, can't wait to meet it, and are sending the baby prayers and good thoughts from day 1, maybe it could make all the difference. And if not, then we've shared the gift as soon as we got it, and when we need help through that (God-forbid) tough and terrible time, friends and family can give that gift back, in love and support.

How do we tell? We went through some hilarious scenarios about how we could try and tell both sets of parents at once (fake birthday dinner, loaning lawn tools) by getting them together, but they all kind of fell through. We each called our parents and made casual conversation, trying to determine whether they would be home when we arrived and if both of them would be there, not letting on that we were together or that we were driving down at all. We knew that as soon as we said "We have some news" or "meet us for dinner, we have something we want to talk about," it was all over.

We were going to her parent's first, but her mom didn't answer her cell (she doesn't like to) and was m.i.a. at Target, her favorite place (ours too). So we went to my house. I broke the news to a neighbor through miming so we'd keep our voices down (wife wasn't thrilled with me telling her first) then opened the door and surprised my parents. Mom was mid-bite when I said, "you're going to be grandparents!" She almost choked. My dad gave me a very manly handshake, almost a job-well-done kind of thing, and my Mom was a mess of laughter, crying and pure joy. This will be their first. I'm the oldest, so it's another pioneering move on my part (my little brother did everything first, car, girlfriend, EVERYTHING; so this is my turn, as my wife so astutely pointed out). Mid Mom-freak-out, our neighbor and her newborn appeared at the door, camera in hand, and captured my Mom's first reaction to the good news. Priceless. The wife changed her mind about my blabbing and was happy to have the paparazzi after all.

Next, we had to stall for the in-laws. Mom-in-law still didn't seem to be home yet as far as we could tell (we could see their house from mine, one of thousands of benefits of growing up on the same block), so we decided to get some dinner. Starved and exhausted, we first tried Submarina, the wife's fave, but it was closed, with a sign on the door that read "closed due to unforeseen circumstances." Rubio's was next up and did the trick. Both of us were a little nervous; we just wanted to get the word out as soon as possible, but not before the parents knew.

I've known my in-laws since I was 9 years old, and have always felt a part of the family, so I thought I had a good bead on what their reaction would be. This will be their fourth grand-child, so I thought they'd be happy, hand out the requisite hugs and handshakes and that would be that. When we finally made it back to the house (and discovered Mom-in-law had actually been there the whole time, doh!), I was blown away. Dad-in-law laughed until he cried, and was so overwhelmed as he came down the stairs, he had to sit down before he fell down. Mom-in-law clasped her hands together and did a little dance and said "thank you!" It was amazing.

Dad-in-law shook my hand and hugged me, and I could swear his eyes were saying "good job knocking up my daughter, I'm proud of you." Grandpa and Auntie were there too and were just as thrilled. Then Dad-in-law dragged us up the street to Uncle and Neighbor's house where we were again greeted with dropped open mouths and exclamations of joy.

Don't get me wrong, I know that people react positively to baby-news, I was just not expecting this LEVEL of joy. It's not something I've ever seen up close. And certainly not something I've been this much a part of. It was AWESOME. Truly.

Next we stopped by my brother and his wife's place, and just collected another truck-load of love and hugs and kisses. It felt like winning the lottery.

Hilariously, almost all of our friends whom we tried to call on the way home weren't around to answer their cell phones. I managed to get the word out through email, a poor substitute, but efficient.

That night we didn't sleep much or well. The wife was headed out to Minnesota for a wedding for four days, and I had to get her to LAX by 7am.

Since then, I've had some major separation anxiety. The big baby-bomb had been detonated and as the fall-out cleared, life went on and my Wife was not at my side. I spent Thurs and Fri sharing the news with co-workers, explaining our choice to tell early, and fielding questions about the hows and whens. Emails came in that I've saved with hilarious name suggestions and plenty of joy-filled expletives.

Like a genius, I made some bad food choices two days in a row (I have Reflux) and have been suffering through, alone and missing my Wife and Unborn Child. On Thurs night, I had to make an emergency run to Target (see, our favorite place too) and pick up some antacids etc.
The pain from reflux is difficult to describe, somewhere between the dull ache of a donkey's hoof to your stomach and the heat of a volcano bubbling lava up your throat. During these bouts, my worst-case-scenario muscle tends to kick in, and this time, the onset of father-hood provided all the material necessary to really send me over the top. Sweating and chilled, I drove to Target, repeating "Man-UP" mantras and trying to stay focused on the task at hand.

Inside, with my goals clear, I made my way through the store. While freaking out mentally, and my body following suit, my heart managed to win the day. This was a new experience for me. It was triggered as I stumbled past a newborn in a shopping cart.

On any other day, I'd have either ignored the kid, or simply took a quick snapshot for my internal artistic reference file. This time though, I was overwhelmed, and in spite of myself, my discomfort and my better judgment, a smile broke out over my face like a rash, feverish and unstoppable. I was excited about being a Dad.

In the weeks and months to come, I know I will be thinking and feeling a great many things, and I hope to keep them here, in this living journal, the kind of thing I can share with my Wife, my friends and family, and one day, with my child.