Sweet Emotions, Like an Onion in My Pocket . . .

So.

   Gonna be a DAD. It keeps hitting me at random times. And when it hits me I am forced to swallow the pit I get in my throat and try not to get all teary. I’m a man. The only time I cry is when I’m dicing jalapenos and onions with karate chops for a delicious dip. (That’s not even true, I have an AMAZING chopper/cutter/dicer thingie-ma-doo that I LOVE. Seriously guys, this thing rocks, but anyways, back to the point)

   I have never had an experience where just the thought of it gets my eyes all watery. I am so overwhelmed with love and excitement for this kid already. But it can come at the, not best, of times.

   I am a wedding photographer. Well, I am an anything people photographer, but I was shooting a wedding this weekend and it hit me again, while shooting the parent/children dances. The mother/daughter, mother/son and in particular, the father/daughter. I watched as both of them in every dance are overcome with emotion and love for the other.  It didn’t help that they had songs like “Butterfly Kisses” playing and all I could think about was holding my kid for the first time. My eyes were getting all watery, my chin was wobbling like an elephant on a tight rope. It was a sudden madhouse of emotion in my head. The people watching hopefully didn’t notice  ME…. “I think the photographer is a little unstable. He started crying during the dances . . . . . a little odd, that one. . . .”

   It made me realize that while I would love my child regardless of its gender, ( well, regardless of anything but for the sake of my next statement we’ll go with the simple statement of regardless of gender)  I am incapable of wrapping my head around how much I would love and in a sense fear for having a little girl, and I think it’s one of the reasons I want a boy.

   With a boy, you want them to get out there and experience the world. Fall off the bike, eat the dirt, ask the girl out, “learn to accept rejection, boy, that’s called the harsh reality of life and unless you want to be a pansy your whole life, you better learn to deal with it.”

   Toughen them up for the world. It’s rough out there and you have to get ready for it.

   But, with a little girl, it seems to be such an opposite concept. I’ll want to run next to the bike to keep her safe, put a blanket over the dirt for all her dolls and keeping her clothes clean and dating isn’t an option until she’s 20 and even then they aren’t leaving the house until I’ve gotten the background check on that boy back from the FBI. (It’s ok, they can leave now, I’ll just wear a dark outfit and sit in the back of the theater with a flashlight ready for that hand to creep up in a stretching position. “HANDS OFF, BUD. . . .”)

   I think one of the reasons, maybe subconsciously, that us guys want a little boy is that, at least the way I see it, the fear of that extra emotional need to shield a little girl from the harshness and hurt that is, or can be, life.  That’s a terrifying responsibility that you HAVE to fail at if you want your kid to grow up and function in the world. The only way to call it a success is how you allow it to happen; if you manage to make it to certain ages before certain realities occur.

   Either way, boy or girl though, I can’t help but get a little choked up every time I think about it. I am going to be a Dad. I have looked forward to having kids since I was like 14. It’s an exciting thought. Yeah, there’s the first year where it’s just changing diapers and being up for, well, what I hear is pretty much the entire year. But then you get a little buddy to do stuff with. Someone who thinks you are one of the two coolest people in the whole world.

   See, even now, getting all emotional over it.

   Dammit. I need to carry an onion and cream cheese in my pocket at all times.

Co-worker: “What’s wrong with you?”

Me: “Oh, nothing, these onions get me every time”

Co-worker: “You keep onions in your pocket?”

Me: “Never know when you’ll need to make a good party dip…”

Co-worker (walking away): “So weird. . . . I hope he doesn’t take ME hostage when he loses his mind…”

   Jokes aside. I am still discovering my excitement. I think I am excited, and then I realize, I hadn’t even realized, and that keeps happening over and over.

   But when things around me happen that involve my thinking about it being a girl, I get extra choked up. I have come to the realization that I do want a little girl, even more than I want a boy, BUT . . . I don’t know that I am ready for that extra feeling of responsibility. Boys are hardy. They are more like a test run for parenting a little girl because as a man I can relate more to him, he’ll be his own person I’m sure; but a boy is more like me, and a boy can handle a scratched knee and learn to outwit the kids when they make fun of him at school. A little girl, I’m going to be on the doorstep of those kids’ houses demanding apologies because no one is going to treat my little girl like that.

   Every kid gets put on a pedestal by their parents, boy or girl. But, the boys are more apt to fall off, take the pedestal apart and figure it out. A girl will sit there and proudly be.

   I’m not ready to have a daddy’s girl. Because I am too emotional I think. I’m never going to be able to say no to my little girl, and she’s going to get spoiled rotten and I’ll happily let her wrap me around her finger.  

   They say (you know, they, the all-knowing people we learn from on the internet) that when looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, life-long kinda parter, we subconsciously look for someone like our opposite gender parent. I will want to spoil my little girl because that’s what her future husband should be compared to when she thinks of how she was treated as a kid and wants to be treated her whole life.

 

   If, by now in the post, you are still here, thanks for listening. This is a rambling post for sure, more meant to be a documenting the process and capturing my feelings in the now, kinda thing. It’s part of this blog’s purpose.

   So, as I continue to realize the concept that I guess is “A Father’s love . . . “ I’m sure I’ll have a few more posts just letting the world, mainly my family and friends, as well as those looking for a new Dad-to-be’s views and opinions, into my brain. I’ll make a “ramblings” category so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you even start the blog ;) Stay tuned!

 

-30-

Advertisements

Shopping Smartly, Because “I Ain’t Rich” . . . .

   OK, so the most frustrating thing I have encountered to date, aside from waiting on the visual results  of this pregnancy . . . . is not yet knowing the gender of this kid! (I mean, confirming that it’s a boy…)

   The first thing we have wanted to do is run out and buy stuff. I’m excited, I want to get stuff and start preparing now. I want my kid to have a thousand different outfits so he looks differently cute every day of the year, and a badass stroller that we can go anywhere in, and a cool spinny sit-in toy station… I want to discover a way to make tons of money so I don’t have to budget and only buy so much at a time. . . . . . Any of you that might be filthy rich reading this, send me a DNA sample. . . . I know we are related somehow, you know Uncle Frank, right????

   Anyways. We have been taking to the yard sales for things like onesies and the newborn type clothes. I have had mixed responses when telling people that we are buying used baby clothes. Some are less than excited to hear such a thing and I am forced to have a battle of wits with them, which I always end up winning. . . .

Me: “Yeah, we are having a kid, I am super excited. Don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet, so we have started getting ‘neutral’ kinda stuff at like yard sales, just basic preparations, you know? Onesies and stuff like that.”

Random Irritating-Opinioned Person (RIOP): “YARD SALES!? Like, USED stuff?? For a BABY?!”

Me: “Well, yeah. Once you wash it, what’s it matter. The kid is just going to puke all over it anyways and it’s only going to fit for a couple months…”

RIOP: “It’s not CLEAN and NEW.” (I’d like to point out the all caps are that irritating stress people put on words, like you are an idiot and need EXTRA EMPHASIS on CERTAIN WORDS which are spoken a LITTLE BIT SLOWER so that their point is REALLY MADE. . . . .)

Me: “Well, they make detergents that kill bacteria nowadays, it’s not like the 1800’s where you washed clothes in a creek bed. And NEW just means expensive in terms of clothing. We don’t really do useless expensive…”

RIOP: “I guess if you want your kid wearing secondhand clothes with puke stains all over them…”

Me: “Oh, I know right. The baby fashion police are totally going to arrest us. And also, a newborn’s opinion SHOULD be considered in what they WANT to wear. You know how picky kids are today. It’s like, BAM!, out of the womb for twenty seconds and already complaining about not having Armani suits or Gucci dresses. And clearly I am going to buy shitty raggedy clothing, the more holes and puke stains the better I say. There’s not decent stuff out there at all for reasonable prices unless it still has the chunks on the front and poop stains on the back. . . ”

RIOP: ” . . . . .  . (nasty look and lip/eyebrow  raise combo) kinda rude…”

Me: “As is your opinion of my buying habits. Have a great day!”

   Most everyone else I talk to though gets it. Find good-looking clothes that the seller’s kids only wore for like 2 months until they outgrew it for hardly the price of a single onesie new. Have you looked at new onesies? 8 bucks new on the cheap side. I found 17 pieces of clothing, to INCLUDE an H&M coat/suit/winter hiking Mt. Everest thing for $12. (hold for applause at my haggling abilities . . . . . . . . )

   No we don’t know the gender, but yes we bought a Batman shirt. Don’t even think about telling Marie that you have to be a boy to like Batman. She made the call that if we have a girl, she is still wearing that shirt. (And she’ll like fishing, and working on cars, and hunting. . . . . . )

   I bet that winter jacket suit alone would cost like $30 bucks. Yeah, ok, a few of them lean towards “boy colors” but they are neutral enough.

   And also, like I said before, the kid is just going to puke ALL OVER THEM ANYWAYS!!! It’s time to accept that we can’t have anything nice for at least six years now. (I know, all the ‘already parents’ probably laugh right there, “heh, SIX, boy is he in for a surprise”) Nothing is safe unless it’s kept in a man-room behind a triple locked door. As will be ALL my photography gear. 

    I say all that to point out this. We are looking at a ‘well-rated for safety’ car seat and stroller combo that costs more than $200. That’s a LOT of money. But that’s where it counts. Drop the dough on things that have to do with the safety and well-being of your kid. Until my child is probably four or five, the bulk of their clothes are going to be hand-me-down or bought-used clothes. Because kids are expensive, and I don’t even know yet, but at least I am aware. Eight bucks is a box of cheapo diapers, and I bet you the cheapo diapers suck, which means $13 for a box of good diapers. Look at what I got for that same amount in USED clothes. (Go ahead, scroll back up a bit. . . . . . that’s like $100+ in “new” clothes. . . . . . and they are all in good clean shape. No stains or anything. No one will even know unless they ask, or unless I brag about my great deal hunting skills. . . . ok, so, everyone will end up knowing, but I really don’t care.) Imagine how many diapers I’ll be able to buy with all the money I save from not buying that stuff new.

   But, on the flip side of that, You bet I won’t be buying a used car seat. Who knows what kind of stresses were put on that thing. I don’t know how safe that used seat is after a year or more of use. Not worth the risk. That’s my kid’s life. You can’t wash use out of stressed plastics and metal. I’d rather be dropping good money into the safety of my kid than his or her fashion sense. They have me as a Dad. Fashion sense? psshh. Gone already.

   Another thing that we have been looking at buying as a money saver is the Baby Bullet. I don’t know about you, but, spending two bucks on a glass jar with a half of a carrot in it doesn’t make much sense to me. I’ll keep a full opinion on the thing saved for when we actually get it, but, here’s the quick lowdown I have on the Baby Bullet idea:

   It comes with a reasonable set of plastic jars, something like ten of them. That’s plenty enough to only have to puree stuff up like once every couple of days. You know exactly what your kid is eating, it’s not made in some factory who knows where where who knows just WHAT has gone into it. . .  and hasn’t sat for who really knows how long on the shelf.
I am not knocking on baby food companies here. All I am saying is just as YOU should be aware of what you are eating, you should care even more what your KID is eating. After all they are probably sucking up way more of the nutrients and contents of that food than we are, as they are growing at a crazy fast rate and need every scrap of nutrient they can get. This I do know. I live with a 12-year-old girl, she is like I was at that age, an endless pit that consumes everything and doesn’t stop growing.

   Also, with this thing, think of all that glass that gets thrown out with the jars of baby food. The jars that come with it are reusable, so you are doing an environmental favor too. I know, I know, who cares, blah, blah, you are hoping there isn’t a rapidly approaching segment on global warming. All I am saying is I hate driving by the local landfill and having it stink the place up. If we can find a way to not contribute to the trash piles, be giving our kids fresher, better food and feel like a mad scientist while grinding carrots and broccoli up with Dr. Horrible’s theme song playing in the background, why not?

   Bottom line in this side track? Baby Bullet. We are getting one.

   So to wrap up a rapidly approaching 1,300 words post. Buy smart. Don’t waste money on clothes the kid is going to outgrow in like 3 months, (1,300 words, hit) save money where you can and drop it where it matters, like a stroller that will stick with you for 3-5 years and a car seat that will save your child’s life in the terrible event that you are in an accident, or a crib designed around your child’s safety….. At this moment in time, and for the rest of it, your life becomes forever second to the life you have created. Spend the money you have now wisely to ensure your kid’s safety and future. Besides, it’s fun to argue with RIOP’s about second-hand stuff and how gross of a person you are and already how terrible of a parent you must be for shopping at a thrift store :) More of my opinion to come, stay tuned!

-30-

Hurry up and Get Fat Already. . . .

So, about three months into this pregnancy. I am the kind of person that likes to watch the bag grow as the popcorn pops in the microwave, likes to fish in a well fish-populated lake, I like digital photography because the photo pops up right on the back of the camera as soon as you take it . . . . . . We are about three months into this thing and she still looks just as good as she did before it all started.

No “baby bump” yet, no gaining visible weight, nothing. The best I’ve got is that her stomach is all firmed up, but I’m hoping that she isn’t misleading me with constant constipation just so that I have some sort of progress . . . . . (and that’s why she’s not allowed to read the blog. . . .)

So, my impatient ways have led me to wanting to SEE my baby. Especially as a photographer, I wanna get our first set of the baby bump photos. Also an exciting next step.

But for now, the best I get is hauling ass through Toys ‘R’ Us with jogging strollers trying to decide which one corners the best and handles well. Also, I think I have disassembled most all of their selection trying to determine just which one will fold compactly enough to fit into both the Patriot and the Fiesta. Also, guys, if you haven’t gone stroller/car seat shopping yet, I highly advise this. It’s like car shopping condensed:

 

Plus, at Toys ‘R’ Us, though they are insanely overpriced by internet comparison, they have these two aisles with all these things on either side. I was grabbing them and pushing them all over the store, breaking them all down and lining them up to see which one deflated the best. A lady with like four kids came around the corner while I was struggling to get one folded down and I swear she was standing there laughing inside. As soon as I got it figured out she walked off. . . . . Curse you and your four kid knowledge lady.

Anyways, I need to see results. I had always thought it was a constantly evolving process. Pregnant, immediately start showing, get huge, have kid. It feels like it’s been MONTHS already. Like 10 months. We are just coming into month three. I hate waiting. At least give me some sort of visual progress. 

So, to all the other guys out there hovering around this period of the beginning stages of pregnancy, be patient, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see when she finally starts getting fat ;) To all the guys who have tiny little girlfriends and wives that are showing on month nothing, curse you and your lucky visual progress.

-30-

The Big News and the Telling of the Fam. . . . .

OK, the first blog post about becoming a Dad. We have known for about a month or so now. I remember when we first did the pregnancy test like three months ago. My general thoughts were “so…. you pee on it and we are supposed to trust whatever it says???”

Then she came out and it was positive. I didn’t know what to do. I, of course, doubted it. That’s not the kind of news you want to be a “PSYCH” kinda joke. So, after she talked me out of making her use the second one, and convincing me that it’s definitely true because she missed her. . OK! Got it, totally trust the pee stick. No more info needed here!

So, I am going to be a Dad. I was so excited. Still am. I couldn’t wait to tell the fam. We decided to wait a few weeks. Get a good couple months into the pregnancy, in case something happened. Turns out something like 25% of pregnancies don’t make it through the first few months, or so I read on the internet…. Good ole’ internet. I was really stressed. 

So, after a couple of months into it, and with April Fool’s day right around the corner. We knew it was time to tell everyone. On April Fool’s day.

Marie’s sister, Renee, took all day to convince. I sent her photos of Marie’s pre-natal pills and the workout DVD Marie got as proof that we were serious:

Renee quickly texted back “Google images.”  She wasn’t to be tricked on April Fool’s day. So, the only thing in the entire house I could think of that only we owned that I could put in the picture to validate our ownership of prenatal vitamins:

Ah yes. The female weightlifting champion award Marie found at an estate sale. This overly sexy statue would certainly validate my argument.

“The statue does the job! Only an epic statue for an epic moment!”

The only other person that really took convincing was my mother. Partly because I have a history of April Fool’s events. Nothing spectacular, but, when trying to convince your mother that she is about to be a first-time grandmother on April Fool’s day, every possible previous time of joking comes up in her argument to why she shouldn’t believe me.

Her point was simple enough “I know you Matthew, this is the kind of shit you pull, and you KNOW I KNOW you would try to do something like this on April Fool’s, so why would I believe you?!”

Me: “Because, Ma, it’s WAY funnier and ironic when you realize that it’s NOT a joke on April Fool’s day.”

My mother: “If I believe you, and I get excited and start telling people that I am going to be a grandma, and then you say it’s a joke, I am going to be very upset and then I am going to fly out there and hurt you. . . ”

Me: “Ok, well, first, It’s not a joke. Secondly, a little angry are we?”

So, everyone but my father was told. Mainly because I knew better than to even attempt it on April Fool’s day with him. He either wouldn’t believe me or would lecture me about how I am “already proving my immaturity by using the first weeks of my child’s life as a joke and not taking it seriously…” or something just as ridiculous.

So, that was almost a month ago. Putting us right about three months along. We are both excited. Waiting for the first doctor’s appointment stinks. Marie is in the Navy, so we are waiting on an appointment set forever away. We are scheduled for the 8th of May but won’t know if it’s a boy or girl for quite some time still. I am really hoping for a boy, but, whatever, I guess if it’s not I’ll have to take some nail-painting classes and learn how to french braid hair. ugh. She’s not dating until she’s twenty.

-30-