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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baby B Asks What’s in My Name?

Once we decided conception was a go, the names were already in our pockets. The B in Baby B stands for something, you know. We’re not superstitious about sharing so here goes.

If it’s a girl, it’s Bumpkin. If it’s a boy, it’s Boondoggle. Boon for short.

You make fun? Check out some of your favorite celebrity baby names.

Name selection is different for everyone. Some parents want to ensure family names are passed down. Some want to ensure they bestow names that won’t be made fun of as the child gets older and starts school. Some want to be as original and creative as possible. Even middle names can have a mix of all of the above.

No worries, though. Bumpkin and Boondoggle aren’t the names we picked. (And no, we don’t want to the sex until we’re holding “it” in our hands.)

Bryce and Beatrice Dahlen Grossman are. Bryce because of our trip through Bryce Canyon in the Southwest last May when we first were truly conscious of our life-changing decision. Beatrice because Beatrice was Dante’s guide on his journey through the Divine Comedy – Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso) – and his one true love in real life, as Amy has always been my guide and one true love.

As Beatrice (or Bryce) will be ours.

Dante saw Beatrice as a saviour, one who removed all evil intentions from him. It is perhaps this idea of her being a force for good that he fell in love with, a force which he believed made him a better person.

Baby B says Amen.

(And if B is an alien/Cylon hybrid, it will be Brytrix 6 the Bug-eyed Benevolent.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mama A at Home in the Tub

Amy loves the water. Half of her work week is spent in the physical therapy pool working with patients and the other half of her home week is spent in the tub!

So it’s not surprising that when we discussed how she wanted to give birth, she wanted to be at home with a midwife and preferably in a birthing tub.

Hey, I love her, and because I ain’t the one giving birth, she’s got my vote no matter we decide. And there’s no better progressive birthing place in the world than Santa Cruz. No, we haven’t joined a coven, a cult or a commune. No worries.

Over 90% of births in this country are normal vaginal births (did I just write that?). But sadly cesarean rates in the U.S. have exceeded 40% by some counts. 40%.

Yes, there are emergencies when cesareans are absolutely necessary. My sister’s first birth was very difficult and she had to have one (and her second was scheduled). Amy’s good friend Danielle also had to have two.

That being said the incidence of cesarean is still unnecessarily high and the reasons include:
  1. Low priority of enhancing women's own abilities to give birth
  2. Side effects of common labor interventions
  3. Refusal to offer the informed choice of vaginal birth
  4. Casual attitudes about surgery and cesarean sections in particular
  5. Limited awareness of harms that are more likely with cesarean section
  6. Providers' fears of malpractice claims and lawsuits
  7. Incentives to practice in a manner that is efficient for providers
You can read more detail of each here. Don't get me started about Pitocin and the other drugs.

Today an old friend and colleague emailed me and recommended that we watch The Business of Being Born, which we already had watched a few months ago. Another amazing and unsettling account of what it’s like giving birth in this country and the benefits of going with a midwife for a home birth (and we really like ours!).

While we’re certainly not na├»ve enough to neglect the potential dangers of giving birth at home or in the hospital and know that anything can happen at any time, we’re confident that we’ve made the right choice.

Just say midwifery out loud. It’s like a cool breeze.

Midwifery.
Midwifery.
Midwifery.

Ah, now I float away...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Daddy K Goes to Jury Duty

I had to report for jury duty today. This would be the first time in my life that I actually had to report to the local courthouse.

Although this was not the week to miss work since we’re launching a new HRmarketer.com site (is it ever a good time?).

But, I definitely wanted to do my civic duty and actually looked forward to experiencing some of the selection process even if I didn’t get selected.

I went to the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and joined about 99 other folks as we waited to be escorted to our respective courtroom. On the wall hung a banner:

Jurors: Embodying Justice, Serving the Community

I liked that. I liked that a lot. (Later I reread the Bill of Rights.)

I waited. The first group was called. I waited some more with the second group. Then we were told that the parties in our trial came to an agreement earlier in the day and we were excused.

Sigh. Back to work (wink).

Maybe I’ll get another chance in two years!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mama A Bakes Some Lasagna for Baby Gemma

Our neighbors, Francisco and Kate, just had their third child – a beautiful little girl named Gemma.

Mama A decided to bake up some tasty lasagna for them, plus some brownies to boot.

It’s the little things, the heartfelt brick and mortar approach to building bridges between neighbors and nations. A little comfort food never hurt either.

One I was little, the street my family lived on seemed as wide as the Mississippi River, but I was never afraid to run across it.

It’s a pretty small street actually, although I’d rubber-neck check both ways before I’d cross it today; it’s sad how we lose the bridge-building skills with age.

Let’s eat.

The Crushing Gravity of Planet Baby

This past Easter we went to Babies R Us first time. It was like stepping out of a spaceship onto a planet with extremely heavy gravity; I became a shorter, stouter man that sucked his thumb and spoke with a Gungan accent.

Overwhelming, but the gravity improved when we started looking at strollers, particularly jogging strollers with iPod hook-ups. Sweet. After that Amy (with help from niece Kimberly) zapped the registry gun at products like Princess Leia taking out Stormtroopers (yes, I love Star Wars – dork power rules).

And so begins the acquiring of all things baby. In fact, this weekend we set up the crib and bassinet. I did it with minimal cursing and berating of inanimate objects. Baby B thanked me by flipping over and pushing on Mama A’s bladder. Then mine.

A special thanks to Amy’s sister Jill, our friend Dani, my mom and dad, and some of Amy’s patients and co-workers for the baby stuff to date!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Retro B: And now for something completely different

I can’t believe it’s been almost five months since we took the first pregnancy test. It was New Year’s Eve morning, early as it always is for me, and as I lay reflecting on the previous six-month roller coaster conception conundrum, Amy woke up and asked:

“Should I take the test?”

It was still three full days from her next cycle, but she wouldn’t have asked if she didn’t think maybe. I told her let’s do it and she popped out of bed into the bathroom. I followed.

I don’t envy women and home pregnancy tests; peeing on a chemically-treated stick doesn’t appeal to me (although targeting a bug on the ground while peeing in the woods does).

She took to test. Positive. We were thrilled. And completely scared out of our minds. I think I wet myself.

We left the pregnancy stick on the bathroom counter and went about our day. Periodically I’d be in the bathroom, glance down at it, and call out to Amy, “It’s still positive.”

Just to confirm, you know.

Family and friends have asked us why we decided to have a child since we’d decided the previous 10 years not to. What changed?

Until our Southwest road trip a year ago, we were pretty adamantly against it. We had discussed it before on rare occasions, one of us always ending it quickly with, “Are you frickin’ crazy?!?”

But something in early 2007 was changing within us. No major epiphanies or our biological clocks keeping us up at night. Just little changes within each of us that culminated at sunset in Bryce Canyon, Utah; a synchronistic shadow play seeping into our hearts; little things from literature, movies, people we know and don’t, had all added up in a matter of a few months that actually encouraged us to consider the possibility.

And so we talked about it upon our return from the Southwest, just enough to incorporate it into our dialogue without overwhelming each other.

We were playing Scrabble at 99 Bottles and I asked Amy:

“So, do you want to have a kid?”

Without missing a beat or looking me as she formed her next word on the board, she said:

“Okay.”

And that was it. We didn’t talk about again until the next morning. A week later we started. In other words, we changed our minds. It’s the next big adventure for us. And we thought The Amazing Race would’ve been a tough gig (we applied years ago but never got called).

Many folks have told us we have no idea what we’re in for, it’s life changing, things will never be the same, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – but isn’t that the point of a true adventure?

We’re six months in and we got game. Bring it. (We watch too much T.V. and too many movies – that’ll change!)

We’re putting a playlist together for a CD called “B Notes” that I’ll be giving away in lieu of cigars, and one of the songs is “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis:

Oh, you know, all our friends seem to be in a hurry
But darlin' we'll just keep on taking our time

We're living such a sweet life, oh what a neat life

Sharing my love with you

We're living such a sweet life, oh what a neat life

Making our dreams come true

We're making our dreams come true


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Daddy K Runs with Rocky then Sings the Preamble

I just returned from a business trip this week in Philadelphia, and man did I miss Mama A and Baby B!

I’m back safe and sound and that’s what’s important. It was a whirlwind trip, but I did get to see a few sights.

My colleague and I did an early morning run around the Philadelphia Museum of Art and up and down the steps Rocky Balboa worked out on. Whoo-hoo!

More importantly, I was truly moved (again) by this great country we live in. We walked to Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell.

Last night we attended a social event held at the National Constitution Center, not far from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We mingled with conference attendees, vendors and bronzed life-size statues of the founding fathers. There was a “keep it real” multi-media presentation about the founding of America and the meaning of “we the people” over the generations that has made (and makes) this country so amazingly vibrant, diverse and independent. I was practically brought to tears (well, I was, so don’t make fun of me).

We the People of the United States,
in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,

provide for the common defense,
promote the general Welfare,

and secure the Blessings of Liberty

to ourselves and our Posterity,

do ordain and establish this Constitution

for the United States of America.


Schoolhouse Rock rocked my world and I can still sing the preamble today.

We can’t wait to take Baby B to these historical places including our nation’s capital. My dad loaned me a book by David McCullough titled 1776 and I’m knee deep in our nation’s history and loving it.

This is also an exciting year for democracy!

Rock the vote, baby!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baby B Bangs on a Drum; Daddy K Don’t Wanna Work

I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day.

That’s a line from a fun Todd Rundgren song. And the fact that I’ve been self-teaching myself the drums and I don’t really want to work (wink), is more than apropos. (Baby B has been banging away at Mama A’s uterine drum!)

Music has always been a huge part of my life and Amy’s, and along with reading, is vital sustenance for Baby B and beyond.

I thank my Mom for instilling the muse of music in my soul and my sister’s. From Janis Joplin to the Ohio Players, Mom had it goin’ on as the kids used to say. (Kristen got the dancing gene, but at least I can keep a beat.)

My niece and nephew, Celeste and Nick, got the music torch passed to them from their mother and father and it’s certainly lit a fire in Nick’s belly.

Here are some of his favorite things (no dog biting or bee stinging)…

Nick Santos's Top Bands of All Time:
  • The White Stripes
  • The Arcade Fire
  • The Beatles
  • The Killers
  • The Strokes
  • Bruce Sprinsteen and the E Street Band
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Modest Mouse
  • Aerosmith
  • The Cars
  • The Animals
  • ELO
  • The Offspring
  • The Arctic Monkeys
  • Cake
  • (He forgot Rush but I’ll forgive him this time.)
Nick Santos's Top Bands at the Moment:
  • Los Campesinos!
  • The Mars Volta
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Black Kids
  • The Last Shadow Puppets
  • M.I.A.
  • Sonic Youth
  • Tokyo Police Club
  • Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears
  • Spoon
  • The Night Marchers
  • The Arcade Fire
  • The National
  • MGMT
  • The Kills
  • The Killers
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Dead Kennedys
  • British Sea Power
  • Against Me!
Sweet. Rock on with your bad self, Nick.

Sigh. Right now I’m in Philadelphia missing Mama A and Baby B and hummin’ the words to “House on Pooh Corner” by Loggins and Messina.

“It's hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all's said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, kissed him, and as I was going
I swear that old bear whispered, ‘Boy, welcome home’”

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Baby B Graduates from College – Mama A Longs for Cake

Well, not really. The college part that is, not the cake (gotta get that 529 plan started soon). Baby B is a long way from graduating college, but our niece Kimberly was not. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno this weekend and we were there to celebrate. (In the picture from left to right – Mama A, Amy’s mom Diana, Amy’s sister Jill, and Kimberly.)

Congratulations Kimberly!

A special thanks to Jill for all the cool stuff for Baby B!

Kimberly had some yummy cake at her graduation celebration and Amy had planned to take some home with us.

But after we packed up the baby stuff and headed to breakfast, Amy had forgotten the cake. It went something like this…

Sitting quietly in the car and then suddenly:

“Noooo, I forgot the frickin’ cake! $#@%$!!!”

Expletive.
Expletive.
Expletive.
Expletive.

Crying.

Sitting quietly in the car and then suddenly:

Daddy K pooped his pants.

B Lessons

My attempt at being part of the larger positive conversation stalled painfully last year, but I’m back at it starting much closer to home – as in my wife’s womb.

I’ve been sending family and friends updates related to our unborn child, Baby B, but now I’m bringing it online and I’m back in the blogosphere (although never really there except professionally).

It’ll be a work in progress. Like our unborn child. Did I tell you about Baby B? Oh, we must catch up real soon!

The following is from the best-selling book Happy for No Reason.

***

One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside people's heads. He said, "My son, the battle is between the two 'wolves' that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth and compassion."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied --

"The one you feed."

***

This is what Amy and I strive for daily and what we will instill in Baby B. Amen.