a message from the bean

So today was the big day–the heartbeat. I guess I had it marked down as a big red letter day without really realizing it–I didn’t know I was nervous, but when the doctor squirted the jelly onto Leah and started moving that magic wand around, I caught myself holding my breath.

“Sometimes it takes awhile to find it,” she said. “It’s still pretty deep in there.” And the wand kept moving…and moving…and moving. I started to freak out a little, to imagine her telling us that she was going to go get the ultrasound machine and that it was no big deal it happens all the time don’t worry, and then:

Whup bup. Whup bup. Whup bup.

The coolest sound in the world.

Everything’s wonderful.

the coolest bed ever

So I dragged Leah to Babies “R” Us a few weekends ago. We have no experience with baby stuff at all, so I thought it would be fun just to look at the new world of expensive gadgetry that awaits us. I was certain that massive leaps had been made in baby technology since my brothers and sister were in diapers, and I was not wrong.

Most impressive to me is this thing called CRIB2QUEEN. For $800, you get a crib that turns into a twin…and then a full…no, wait, now it’s a queen!

I think other companies make them, too–they’re also referred to as “lifetime” or “legacy” beds. I know the price sounds steep, but when you consider that you’d theoretically never have to buy another bed for the kid, not only is this one of the most AWESOME INVENTIONS EVER, it’s also a bargain!


For anyone reading this who does not know my wife, she is one of the sweetest, most even-tempered human beings on the planet. I think probably the main reason we tend to never argue is that she’s just great at putting up with me, and BS in general.

It is for this reason that the havoc being wreaked on her emotional stability by these hormones has been so noticeable. I mean, she’s got moods all of a sudden. She’ll be cranky for no good reason, laugh hysterically, cry at the drop of a hat.

The other night, we were looking at houses online, and she was suspicious of the prices. “What kind of place can these houses be in?” she hollered.

“Hey,” I said, “don’t yell in my ear.”

Her eyes filled up. “Why are you getting so upset?”

So on and so forth. The best yet was yesterday morning, when she cried about feeling bloated, then laughed at herself for crying. I’m so glad I’m a guy.

Fellas, if you get your woman pregnant, be careful of those hormones. It’s a whole new world out there.

bein’ a dad

From one of my favorites, Loudon Wainwright III:

Bein’ a dad isn’t so bad
Except that you gotta feed ‘em
You gotta shoe ‘em and clothe ‘em
And try not to loathe ‘em
Bug ‘em and hug ‘em and heed ‘em
Bein’ a dad can sure make you mad
Man it even can drive you crazy
It’s as hard as it looks
You gotta read them dumb books
And you end up despising Walt Disney

Bein’ a dad starts to get radical
When they turn into teenagers
You gotta tighten the screws
Enforce the curfews
Confiscate weapons and pagers
But a daughter and son
Can be sort of fun
Just as long as they don’t defy you
They’ll treat you like a king
They’ll believe anything
They’re easy to frighten and lie to

Bein’ a dad (bein’ a dad)
Bein’ a dad (bein’ a dad)

Bein’ a dad can make you feel glad
When you get paperweights and aftershave lotions
Yeah it feels pretty great when they graduate
That’s when you’re choked with emotions
But bein’ a dad takes more than a tad of
Good luck and divine intervention
You need air-tight alibis
Fool proof disguises
Desperation’s the father of invention
So sometimes you take off
For a few rounds of golf
And you stay away for half of their lifetimes
The result of it all is
You’re captured and hauled up
Before a tribunal for dad crimes

Bein’ a dad (bein’ a dad)
Bein’ a dad (bein’ a dad)

Bein’ a dad can make you feel sad
Like you’re the insignificant other
Yeah right from the start
They break your heart
In the end every kid wants his mother

I hope I’m a good one. I know my child will mystify, annoy, and sometimes hate me. But fatherhood is something I’ve looked at as sort of the ultimate goal of my life, and I hope I can live up to the responsibility enough of the time.


So Leah has been reading nonstop since we found out she’s pregnant — she’s got a pile of four or five books, all of them different, all packed with information about this little creature we’re brewing.

The reading list for fathers, as you might have guessed already, is somewhat lacking.

All of the books I looked at initially were like expanded editions of the “Tips For Dads!” in Leah’s books, which all basically say, as Leah’s friend Angela puts it, “Don’t be an asshole.” You know, stuff like “Make dinner once in awhile” or “Do the housecleaning” or “Tell her she’s pretty.” Not practical in any way, and borderline offensive to the expectant father who isn’t an idiot.

This is a long way of explaining why I was so happy to find The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, by Armin Brott — a gift from my kick-ass mother-in-law. Brott has also written a book for dads-to-be. I avoided it because of the experiences I’ve mentioned already, but The New Father is so good, I think I might go out and get the other one.