Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Waiting for Baby B: Quick tips for new fathers during the 9-month dance

Where the heck is the baby? We wait and wait, and nothing yet. Although the signs are all there that Baby B is getting ready, it's moving at a glacial pace.

Mama A says, "Baby, get moving! Time to get out of there!"

Daddy K says, "Baby B, save yourself! Get out now!"

Baby B says, "Gurgle, gurgle, hiccup" – kick.

So there you have it. All we can do is keep busy and stay active and do the things we do. No, no more strenuous hikes like in Yosemite. This weekend we went to the Greek Festival, the Santa Cruz Library had a book sale and we bought a big bad of books, the Capitola Art & Wine Festival was fun – good times.

But no baby yet, which leads me to some quick tips for new fathers during the 9-month dance:

  1. Be involved in the pregnancy. This is your child too and you made it with your wife and/or partner. Go to as many of the baby check-up appointments as you can, whether you're having a hospital birth with an OB or a home birth with a midwife. Ask questions and be informed about what's coming. Work conflicts are one thing if you don't have much flexibility, but complaining because you have to miss a ball game on T.V. or because your global buds are ready for the next video game level – that don't cut it.

  2. Don't push the pregnant one's buttons. Even with a mellow pregnancy like we've had so far, the hormonal witches' brew can boil over at times. Case in point, early on in the pregnancy Amy was looking for her favorite sweat bottoms and couldn't find them. So I reluctantly helped to look for them. We realized they had probably fallen behind a dresser drawer, but I was worried about breaking the drawer, and I said that out loud multiple times. I tried to pull it out gingerly while Amy stuck her hand behind the drawer and – snap, ouch – her hand got caught. Then, she cursed repeatedly and removed the drawer with the same kind of adrenaline that saves kittens and children under burning buses.

  3. Read and read and read some more about being pregnant and having babies and caring for them (I got a whole list of books if you want 'em). Listen to others' birth stories as well. Rinse and repeat. And then when you're at 39+ weeks, you wait and pray. You're as ready as you're ever gonna be.

  4. Stay active and healthy. Don't be a sloth, especially if you're going to be an older parent. Eat right and exercise regularly. Workout and walk with your pregnant spouse. We haven't experienced it yet but we've been told that we're going to need every ounce of energy we can muster in the first 3 months (18 years).

  5. Intimacy, intimacy and more intimacy. Kissing and hugging and you know what I mean. Enough said. The baby needs to "know" that Mama and Daddy love each other. The baby's in its own insulated spacesuit, remember that. You're good, unless the water breaks, and then you've got a birth a-comin'.

  6. Talk to your unborn child. Read to your unborn child. Poke your unborn child. Good times.

  7. Plan for maternity leave, health benefits, baby expenses, wills, guardians and other financial and legal mumbo-jumbo before the baby comes. For parents who need dual incomes to support their families, it's really important to plan as far ahead in the first 12+ months as possible. Leave a bubble of income if possible for unexpected expenses.

  8. Be mindful of every moment during pregnancy. It's a pretty fascinating journey. Be aware and actively present in the moment. You should always reflect on your past and plan for your future – but always be mindful of the present and live in your presence.

All right, B. What's up? Or when's down?

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