Advice from 4 new dads

Here is a great article my wife sent me this morning.  It's four new dads being interviewed by BabyFit.com.  Check it out.  I found it pretty much dead on.

Advice from 4 new dads

Pregnancy Hormones

Pregnancy hormones are a wonderful thing.  They allow your partner's body to change so it can accommodate a small growing human, but they also have the added bonus of making them act crazier than a trapped badger being poked with a stick.  For example, my wife went to DEF CON 2  because of the amount of dog hair on the couch and my sweat pant's ability to transfer said hair.  All I need to do is stop static energy and the world could continue to spin.  But I digress. . .

Pregnancy Hormones; they aren't just for women anymore.  Yes, that's right it seems as though your hormones can change as well guys.  Studies have shown that levels of testosterone, prolactin, estrogen and cortisol all change in men (the percentage affected ranges from 20% to 80% depending on who you believe) while their partners are pregnant.  Many researchers believe this is what leads to Couvade Syndromem (from the French for "to hatch") or Sympathetic Pregnancy.  Guys who experience this can "share" in the morning sickness, weight gain, decreased energy etc.  It can also manifest itself in mood swings and nesting.

I'm pretty sure I have not experienced any of the physical symptoms.  At first I started to pack on some lbs, but I think that had more to do with the change in eating habits.  Often the Mrs. would have cravings only to get sick and there would be a lot of extra food laying around. . .which I refuse to waste.  However, I have not been immune to the emotional effects of hormone changes.  I have definitely experienced nesting with my OCD cleaning habits these days, but something even more bizarre was right around the corner.

I'm not one to get too emotional about much.  I can count the times I have teared up in a movie on one hand (if your eyes don't mist when Tom Hank's and Paul Newman have their show down in "Road to Perdition", you are a heartless bastard!).  Yet right after I found out I was having a daughter every single sappy, cheesy or even remotley touching tv or movie scene wells my eyes up.  Case in point: I was watching one of my new favorite shows "Sons of Anarchy" on FX (awesome show about an out law motorcycle gang).  The main character has a son who was premature and had to be keep in the incubator for a couple of weeks.  When he was finally out, Dad got to hold him.  He says to him "I got some bad news kid. . . .I'm you're old man".  Cheesy and sappy right? But I misted up and had to do the "look at the ceiling" move us guys pull when we're trying to keep it all in.   What the hell?!

My wife thinks this is both "cute" and funny and likes to take any opportunity to make fun of me.  Luckily, a lot of this wuss behavior has subsided recently, so maybe the hormones have ebbed.  Everyone joked that me having a daughter would "soften me up" and judging from this I would guess so.  Maybe this is nature's way of preparing me for tea parties with teddy bears and unicorns that I am sure I will be a guest of in a few short years.

As long as I don't get morning sickness and swollen ankles I can deal with it.

Nesting

People who have lived with me can attest to many of the interesting aspects of my character; I love to sleep in, I enjoy a Bud Light or two or three, I am a connoisseur of Chili Cheese Fries and I'm not quick to clean things up.  Now I'm not going to go as far as to sayI am slob, as some ex roommates have claimed, but I put off all things cleaning related until they need  to be cleaned.  That's just how I have always operated.  I tolerate my mess until I feel it's time for a cleaning purge.  At which point I clean up everything and start all over.

About four months into the pregnancy this all changed.  I have become obsessed with cleaning and organizing.  It's more than a conscious thought "Oh the counter is dirty, I need to clean it." It's an compulsion, which once fed spreads.  I will start cleaning the counter, only to notice the dishes need to be unloaded, then I see that under the sink is disorganized, then trash needs to be taken out, which takes me to sweeping the floor. . . .and it's impossible to stop.  I want to clean, disinfect and organize the world!  If I let myself go wild I'd be at home all day with cleaning gloves on.

None of this is helped by my wife's unique cleaning methods.  She apparently subscribes to "Shove it in a Drawer" cleaning magazine.  So when I open our kitchen cabinet and I find recipes, batteries, head sets, ipods, stationary, plates . . . .my nesting infected brain almost short circuits. 

After some research and reading "The Expectant Father" it seems that this kind of activity is semi-normal.  Most new dads or dads-to-be want to organize the house, fix stuff around the house, put together baby furniture and so on.  It's nice to know I'm not going crazy, or that I have adult onset OCD.

Much like my favorite side effect of pregnancy for my wife; she has little sympathy for my plight.  She continues to adhere to her cleaning method of "out of sight out of mind" while I continue to dart around the house muttering to myself like Rain Man,  "Headphones definitely don't belong in the kitchen. . . definitely".

Does this happen to anyone else?  Any ideas on how to put the sponge down?

Simple Advice

I'd like to share some really good, simple advice I got a little bit ago.  My friend John passed some advice on that his dad had told another one of our friends when they found out they were going to be a dad.

"Congratulations.  You're now the 3rd most important person in your life."

That really boils it down doesn't it?  You can read thousands of pages of baby books but never get something so refined.  I remind myself of this whenever I don't put my seat belt on right away, when I think about skipping a work out, or when I really don't feel like reading more baby stuff.  I also think about it when my wife reaches into her big bag of crazy and pulls something mind numbingly frustrating out.  It's not about you and what you want.  It's about helping your wife and baby be happy and healthy, and doing the same so you will be there for them.

The Big Ultrasound

Ever play pong?  Yeah, the original home video game that consists of a ball being bounced between two paddles.  That was my wife on the subject of whether or not to find out the sex of our baby during the ultrasound at 20 weeks.  First it was yes, then no, then I would find out and not tell her, then I would find out and decorate the babies room and pad lock it (?) so she couldn't find out, then no, then yes.  Back and forth, back and forth for weeks.  The entire time I knew she would have to know, so I just smiled and nodded until she finally landed on "Yes".

I have said from the minute I found out about the pregnancy that our baby was going to be a girl.  See, up until pretty recently I was a raging asshole to women in my life.  I made huge mistakes, acted very inappropriately and did not care too much about the ramifications of my actions.  In the process I hurt the feelings of women from my past who cared a lot about me and did a lot of emotional damage.  I knew there is no way that Karma wouldn't let all of that just go by without some sort of cosmic balancing.  And truth be told I owe a debt that can never be repaid.  So I see it as only fitting that I have a daughter for my first.  Chances are I will have all girls!

On the other hand my wife said it was a boy.  She "just had a feeling" and some dreams that convinced her.  I know, very scientific methods used by both of us.  Not to sound cliche, but despite whatever we thought we just hoped for a healthy baby.  I'd be happy with either sex and so would she.  My wife and I sat in a darkened room, watching a tv screen while the ultrasound tech took all of the measurements for our little one.  We got to see the baby's feet, hands, face (which looks like a skeleton) spine etc.  Finally, the tech said "So, do you want to know the sex now"  Yes!! The suspense was killing us both (and she knew this so I think she was messing with us a bit).

She rotated the ultrasound wand and an undiscernable grey blob appeared on the screen.  "See those three white dots?  Those are herlabia forming".  OH SHIT I AM GOING TO HAVE A DAUGHTER! And ewww, I don't want to hear about her labia.  My daughter doesn't have women parts and isn't going to date until she's 30.

My wife erupted in tears!  She had secretly been routing for a girl  and only claimed it was going to be a boy just so she would "win" either way.  I love my wife; she cracks me up!

So without further ado:  Here is my daughter!

Awesome Side Effect

Although I deviate from the norm sometimes, for the most part I am an average American guy.  Like a lot of my fellow Americans I often adhere to the mantra that is "The bigger the better".  Give me a big ass gas guzzling truck that uses more fuel in a day than 20 tree huggers can save taking mass transit.  I'll take the 20 oz. porterhouse that could feed an entire African village. No room for my oversized fully loaded baked potato?  Put it on it's own plate.  I want to go to a 100 theatre multi-mega plex , get lost on the way back from buying a giant tub of popcorn doused in artificial butter going to the latest blockbuster that cost more money to make than Holland's GDP.  It's just something ingrained in the American male psyche.  I can't help it.  Of course nothing exemplifies this more than our obsession with the most wonderful of god's creations; women's breasts.

You can blame it on evolution, society, or personal preference but it's a fact of life.  Large breasts are wonderful, and if you look at a line up of my wife and past girlfriends a pattern emerges.  My wife often complains about the size of "the ladies"; they cause her back pain, she needs a back rub, blah blah blah.  She has even gone as far as to say she is getting a reduction after we are done having kids.  But like Jonah Hill says in Super Bad "That is like slapping God across the face for giving you a beautiful gift".  Yeah we won't be having that. 

So you can imagine my pure elation when I started to notice that the already wonderfully large boobs started to grow even more.  Yes gentlemen, if you didn't already know, your lady's boobs will grow to wonderfully awesome sizes, never thought possible before (without surgery).  I was beyond excited!   

But at the peak of my jubilation, proof that God truly hates me and all men robbed me of my greatest prize.  Yes, your partner's boobs are huge, yes they look awesome, but NO YOU CAN'T TOUCH THEM.  They are so sensitive that they can not even be touched; let alone bounced, jiggled etc.  Oh the sweet irony!  It's like running back a kickoff only to find out there was holding and it's called back.