We’re roughly 4-5 weeks away from meeting baby and I’m growing more excited — more ready — by the day. Sure, I’m nervous, but I’m becoming more and more OK with the idea of my nerves. Previously my nerves were around the idea of, “HOLY SHIT HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO THIS!” And now my nerves are more, “cool, I still have no idea how we are going to do this, but we’ll do it.”
Maybe I’m gaining some confidence, I don’t know. But I keep thinking about all that we do for Macky and Diggy each and every day, and you know what? We manage and we manage well. (Relax current parents, I’m not comparing my cats to your children.) We’ve sacrificed for our cats and seeing their happy tails each and every day makes it worth it. I’m grateful that we have learned so much from the kitty experiences; it makes me feel that we can certainly do this with a non-fur-baby.
Our good friends, Shannon and Dom, welcomed their daughter the other day and Rebecca and I got to visit on Saturday. I kept saying to Rebecca how I couldn’t believe they were parents already — and ultimately, I couldn’t believe we’ll be in a similar spot in a couple weeks.
Whenever I’m around newborns, I was never one to really want to hold one. I just never felt comfortable doing so, because heck, they seem so fragile. But on Saturday, I felt quite differently. Maybe because we’re about to have one of our own or because we’re so close to both Shannon and Dom. Regardless, it felt comforting being able to hold Allison and to watch all of her tiny expressions and movements. It was quite amazing.
We’re coming up on my grandmother’s birthday in a couple of weeks and then a month later, it’ll mark two years since she has passed. For the first time, I’m uneasy thinking about this. When she passed away, I was OK. I felt comfort knowing she was no longer suffering and I also knew she wasn’t exactly who she always was the weeks leading up to her death.
But now with Rebecca and I about to have our first, I’m missing her. I always felt she “got” Rebecca and me, and I feel now more than ever, I need that reassurance from her. Baby will more than likely be born sometime between her birthday and the day she passed away.
That has to mean something, right?
Mony Mony, you know the song by Billy Idol.
The song makes me cringe; always has, always will. You see, if I had to name one song that makes me think of a family member, it’s Mony Mony and my father. Thinking back — and he might totally disagree — it’s been the one track that got him out of his shell, got him dancing and singing. And it’s been the one track where we all roll our eyes at him and try to walk away, bravely acting as if we never knew him. Whether it was at family parties or driving down to Florida, my father loved (loves?) playing — and singing AND DANCING to — this song. And we all absolutely despise it. Cringe.
So when we discovered baby, I began thinking about my music collection and what kind of impact I might have on baby. Will baby grow up to love Jack Johnson, Ben Folds and Jason Mraz? Or would baby grow up rocking out to Kanye, maybe even some Timbo? Maybe baby would prefer some Tool or Nine Inch Nails.
But jesus, I just realized my track is SexyBack by Justin Timberlake. Our baby is going to despise this song. I’m going to be that obnoxious father who dances and sings whenever this song comes on.
Heck, I’m already that guy.
Earlier this week, I posted on Lil House that Mike and I will be finding out the gender of our baby next week, but we will not be telling a soul. I know this sounds a little unconventional since most people go one way or another, so I figured I’d share some of the logic behind our decision.
I always said I did not want to find out the gender of my future babies. I didn’t think it was something I’d want to know since, as I mentioned on the house blog, I never planned to paint a nursery pink or blue, I figured I’d create a registry full of practical items that can be used for multiple kids and I could have a boy and girl name ready on standby. I like surprises and I’m a patient person, I figured it was a given that I would not find out.
I also have this fascination with gender issues. I have a degree in psychology, I’m one week away from having a master’s degree with a heavy dose of educational psychology and I once considered going for a PhD in psychology with a focus on gender studies. I have taken courses in psych of women, psych of men (yes, my college offered this!), psych of gender, child psych and psych of learning. Through all of these classes, I’ve learned that gender differences are such a part of our culture and are ingrained in kids. I thought if I didn’t know the gender of my baby, I could protect my little one from this crazy world of expectations for just a little bit longer.
Then there’s Mike, who I wouldn’t call impatient, but he is less patient than I am. Early on, he was eager to find out the gender whereas I felt like I could wait. Before I was even pregnant, I had mentioned that I could see the practical use in us knowing the gender (though I admit they are often sort of superficial like nursery colors, names and clothing choices), but I didn’t think that anyone else needed to know. I personally have enjoyed the few surprise births that I’ve been exposed to. I think that as a family member or friend, it is way more exciting to get the phone call that the baby is a boy or girl on the day they are born.
So before I was pregnant, Mike proposed an idea. Why don’t we find out and keep it a secret?
At first I felt incredibly guilty about this. I thought people were going to be angry. I thought we wouldn’t be able to hold it in. Over the past 4.5 months we have gone back and forth with our decision, trying to figure out if we should just not find out at all. But as our appointment has gotten closer, I find myself wanting to know. My it-shouldn’t-matter self wants to pick out a name, shop and just know. I think part of this comes from the fact that I want everything ready when the baby gets here, since I have to go back to work fairly quickly. I won’t have much time for tweaking, shopping or anything else after the fact.
As we were on the fence, I asked other people about their experiences. Most influential were the opinions of two moms who had 3 children each. They both found out the gender of their first one, were surprised for their second and then found out again for their third. I heard the stories and the reasonings and decided just this week that we were going to find out.
That settled that issue, but then there’s the element of not telling anyone. Not even our parents, best friends, no. one. We decided we couldn’t tell some people and not all, so it was all or nothing. And all was honestly never an option for us.
Why we decided to do this wasn’t because we’re mean, or shady, or weird (maybe weird). In an age of oversharing, we love the idea of keeping something to ourselves. While we are addicted to Facebook, Twitter and blogging (obviously we have 2 now), we still remain relatively private people. Yes, my entire newsfeed knows that I am not a fan of Chobani, but some things I want to keep to myself. Mike and I have always been this way- we got engaged while on vacation and I didn’t tell my friends until we got home. Not that I wasn’t excited to tell them, but I wanted to enjoy my vacation with Mike rather than spending the remainder on the phone. We also kept our baby a secret for nearly 13 weeks. We like the idea of enjoying our personal moments together before telling the world.
So next week, I plan to take the day off from work, go to our ultrasound, then spend the day cut off from the world with our little secret. Maybe we’ll get breakfast, maybe we’ll do some Christmas shopping or maybe we’ll just plain spend some time together. Nothing is more fun then having something to share with someone you love, something that know one else knows.
I don’t think for one second that feeling that way is wrong, in fact, it makes me all giddy with excitement.
Before Rebecca got pregnant, I often told people about the 5 year plan about having kids. I’d joke with just about everyone – when I was 23 years old, 25 years old and even at my current age of 28 years old – that we’ll have kids in 5 years. So it was no surprise that when we told our parents about the phantom baby, they all kind of looked at me and said, “what happened to the 5 year plan?”
It’s wasn’t so much that I wanted to wait 5 years to have kids, but I never felt ready to have kids of my own. I just didn’t feel like I was at that point of my life where I was comfortable and responsible enough saying I’m a father. Friends and family often told me I would never feel ready nor would ever really be ready – and I agreed (and still agree). But something changed when our little orange guy, Diggy, got diagnosed with cancer.
When we learned about Diggy’s situation, it immediately brought up old feelings about Sunny. Rebecca and I went through a crazy and scary experience with Sunny, our first orange fur-baby, and ultimately lost the battle with his illness.
And while the severeness of Diggy and Sunny were quite similar, our reactions were quite different because of timing. We had time to digest what was going on with Diggy. We had time to think of best – and worst – case scenarios for him. We didn’t have that with Sunny; he got sick too fast and while we tried everything imaginable to save him, it was ultimately too late.
With Diggy, however, we were able to determine to do X and if X didn’t work, we could try Y. And if Y couldn’t work, we’d venture into Z. And while Rebecca and I were extremely nervous and scared, you know what? We held it together. The both of us knew we were together in whatever decision we had to make; we knew each other would do everything possible for Diggy.
So while Diggy began chemotherapy and his future still extremely uncertain, something inside of me clicked. If I could hold it together while making uncertain decisions for Diggy, I began feeling that I could do the same with a baby.
Diggy is doing much better these days and his cancer is in remission. He’s gaining weight, adding muscle mass, purring again and playing almost non-stop with Macky. While I know his cancer might come back at any moment, I know we can handle it with the best of our abilities. It might not be easy for us, but I know we can do it.
And I know we can do the same with a non-furbaby.