0.9 Logic

headscratcherNow that 0.9 is a solid two-and-a-half years old and approaching three, his communications skills have evolved far beyond “cat” (his first word), “geh” (his go-to for several months) and “no” (although the latter is still his favorite). His ability to express himself has given me some insight into his logic, and it greatly amuses me. Here are some examples.

One of the first times that I had to both drop him off at daycare and pick him up, I explained to him that Mommy was on the choo-choo, since he’s obsessed with trains. The next time, Mommy actually drove, but when 0.9 realized that Mrs. 9’s car was missing from the driveway, it all clicked in his head: Mommy car choo-choo. Naturally, if Mommy’s car isn’t parked in the driveway, it must be on the train!

Also, if it’s dark outside, that is absolutely the only thing going on outside. It is not possible to be dark outside and raining outside at the same time.

On a similar note, only one person is allowed to be tired at a time. This conversation happens often.

  • 9: I’m tired.
  • 0.9: NO, I TIRED.
  • 9: I’m tired, too.
  • 0.9: NO!
  • 9: Both of us can be tired at the same time.
  • 0.9: NO! I TIRED!

Finally, illustrating my need to purchase this book, crackers, Goldfish crackers, cookies and cereal bars are perfectly acceptable for dinner, whereas fare such as chicken, macaroni and cheese and pizza does not please the fickle palate of 0.9

I’m sure there will be a post titled 0.9 Logic II soon.

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My one piece of advice for future parents

No matter how many people tell you how much becoming a parent changes everything else about your life, you have no concept, clue, or theory until you actually go through it. As the father of soon-to-be-four-month-old 0.9, I have one piece of advice to share with anyone contemplating the journey to parenthood.

My advice has nothing to do with parenting. Three-and-a-half months do not qualify me as an expert. Rather, my advice concerns the period before becoming parents.

Until you become a parent, you don’t have a clear understanding of just how many places you really can’t go with kids, or with a pregnant wife, for that matter. It’s not that you’re forbidden from going to these places, whether they are vacation destinations, or beer gardens (which count as vacation destinations to me), or events, or whatever. The logistical issues are what get you.

So my advice is as follows: Make a list of things you want to do before pregnancy, or before childbirth, and try to do as many of the things on the list as possible. You won’t get to all of them, but you will be happy about the things you do get to do.

If it sounds in any way like I regret becoming a father, this could not be further from the truth. 0.9 is the second-best thing to ever happen in my life, behind Mrs. 9, without whom there would be no 0.9.

I only have two regrets, one of which was beyond my control. I wish Mrs. 9 and I had met a little earlier in life, so we could have had a few more years to do things as a couple, before becoming parents, but such is life.

The regret that I could have done something about, however, was not following the advice I just offered. I had a mental list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go, but it’s so easy to get lazy and unmotivated, and to decide to stay local, and when all is said and done, had I actually written out a list, very few items on it would have check marks next to them.

Don’t underestimate how much your life will change. Make up that list, and start checking things off. I wish I had.

0.9 looms

The arrival of 0.9 is alarmingly close. When people told me the last few weeks would fly by, they were not joking.

I may have spent a few minutes in this place over the past few months ... just a few

My state of mind is pretty good right now. I’m a little anxious, and at this point, I would like to fast-forward to the point when 0.9 is out of the womb, crying for the first time, and (hopefully) healthy. But I’m not panicked, or on edge. I think I’m pretty ready for this, which is a good thing, because it’s not like I have a choice at this point.

My only personal worry is my complete lack of experience with babies. I am certainly not the only first-time father in history, but I have spent next to zero time around babies. My family isn’t very tight, and while I have friends who have become parents recently, I’ve never dealt with things like diapers, car seats, strollers, dressing and undressing, or anything of that sort. If they could assign a percentile ranking to parents-to-be, I’d be in the bottom 5 percent.

I have had many conversations along these lines over the past few months.

9’s Wife: See, honey, these are the swaddle blankets I want?

9: What the hell is a swaddle blanket?

Recent father: Hey, can you pass the Boppy?

9: What in God’s name is a Boppy?

Hell, when I first heard the term, “Pack ‘n Play,” I thought it referred to filling up a cooler with beer for a tailgate.

I am truthfully amazed by the sheer amount of crap that people purchase for babies. I will not poke any fun at spending money on a good car seat and a good stroller, for obvious safety reasons. But I am positive that when I was a kid, I didn’t have four different contraptions to sleep in, one-dozen different types of blankets, and all of the other various items we registered for. I mean, seriously: swaddle blankets, receiving blankets, nursing blankets? I need a security blanket!

The baby industry is a worse racket than the wedding industry. I swear, there are people sitting around a conference room right now, inventing more unnecessary crap for parents to spend money on.

Everyone says it will all be worth it in the end. I believe they are right. I am ready for go time.

I don’t think I got a 4.0 in my classes for 0.9

In addition to soaking in advice from friends and family on our upcoming addition, my wife and I have taken three classes, covering the actual birth process, infant care, and breast feeding. I’ve definitely learned a lot, but there were also a few things that made me chuckle.

I would not be shocked if 0.9 does this

The birthing class included a few documentary-style videos of actual births. God bless the women who agreed to participate, because, while most males are smart enough to not even try to act like we know what women are going through while giving birth, I wouldn’t want a camera anywhere near me if I were going through about 10% of the discomfort involved.

The instructor tried to show a balanced selection of videos, including natural childbirth, giving birth with medication, and the dreaded C-section, and she also showed both relatively easy and very difficult births. Yet one of the participants in the class felt that the videos were skewed toward persuading mothers-to-be to choose the medication. So the instructor picked one more video of a natural childbirth to show the class.

This video was sort of laughable. There was nothing physically remarkable about the subject — she wasn’t particularly young or old, and didn’t seem to be either athletic (yes, pregnant women gain weight, duh, but they still keep some of their muscle tone), or non-athletic. Yet, when she began to deliver, her baby came out in exactly three pushes.

Seriously? Three pushes? She should have headed straight for the nearest casino, because luck like that is beyond crazy. I turned to my wife and told her she got a maximum of five pushes, and then I was heading to the bar. She did not appreciate that. I don’t know why.

When we took the infant care class, we got some advice that I’ve also heard from my friends who recently became parents: Use the last few weeks before the due date to get all of the sleep you can get. I don’t agree with this.

Everyone’s body is different, but I have found that my body does not have the ability to bank sleep. On the rare occasion when I have a Saturday or Sunday with nothing going on and the cats leave me the hell alone and let me sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I definitely feel more refreshed, but it only makes a difference for about a half-day. It’s not like a good, 15-hour slumber powers me up for the week. The effects are very short-term.

So, my philosophy runs completely counter to all of the advice. I am taking these last few weeks to get in as much fun as I can, because I know that when 0.9 becomes a reality, opportunities to go out drinking, play softball, go to Yankees games, and things of that sort will be nonexistent for quite some time, and limited thereafter. In the words of the great Warren Zevon, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” And after my wife reads this blog, I may be getting some sleep pretty soon!

Our last class covered breast feeding, and one of the mothers-to-be cracked me up. She asked more questions than everyone else combined, which was fine, because they were actually good, relevant questions, and not, “Can I give my baby jet fuel if I want to make sure he doesn’t sleep too long?”

What made me laugh was that every single one of her questions was aimed at helping her achieve one goal: having her husband feed the baby. It was comical. This woman seemed like she could not wait to hand her husband their baby and a bottle, and head out on the town.

Again, as a male who likes to avoid getting shoes thrown at him, I will not try to pretend I know anything about how much work breast-feeding is, or how draining it is for mothers, but I have a feeling her husband is in for an interesting ride. I hope he was paying attention.

We are one day closer to the arrival of 0.9. Wow.

Anxiously awaiting the arrival of 0.9

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

Um, yeah, I'm pretty sure I already knew not to do this.

Sometime in the vicinity of April 21, my wife and I will welcome a new addition to the family, and for once, it’s not a cat. It’s not an it, either: His name will be Jack, and he will change our lives in a seismic way. I am so excited, yet so nervous.

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

I keep telling myself that, but the concept of being a parent is just so nerve-wracking. I’m sure we’ll be fine. Will we be perfect parents? No, because there is no such thing. There is also no one right way to do things, so no matter how many books, magazines, blogs, websites, or stone tablets we read, we’ll have to figure things out on our own, like every other parent since the first time cells split.

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

We are close friends with the parents of one boy who just turned two, and of one boy and two girls who were born very close to each other and are all past the newborn stage but well under one year old. All four of their experiences have been completely and thoroughly different. Are there things we can learn from them? Sure, but there are also things they’ve learned that won’t help us in the least. There may be many and several so-called experts, but there’s no child-specific instruction manual.

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

Like I said, I’m sure we’ll be fine. We will make mistakes. There is no doubt about that. All we can do is hope that the mistakes are the type that we can laugh about later, no matter how catastrophic they may seem at the time. “Hey, remember the time Jack grabbed your Jack and Coke instead of his bottle?” Um, yikes.

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

I guess my biggest fear is making the sort of mistake you hear about, but never think can happen to you. I get the sense from my friends who have taken the parenthood plunge before us that when you become a parent, you develop a sort of intuition, almost like another sense, that really accelerates your awareness about where your child is, what he or she is doing, and whether he or she is getting into some type of danger. I really hope I develop that, as well, because I’d be horrified to be “that parent” who wasn’t paying attention when, God forbid, something horrible happened to their child. But just the same, I also don’t want to be “that parent” who watches over their child’s every move and doesn’t let him or her live at all. I suppose it’s a balancing act that we’ll learn as we go along.

Plenty of people a lot dumber than I am have raised kids who turned out a lot smarter than I am.

Repeat as necessary. Yeah.