The Supreme

As we wait for Vegas, I’ll confess.  It’s not just the changing table I coveted.  There was one other thing.  Not a small thing.  An absolutely unattainable, impractical, unaffordable thing.  I wanted it so badly (just like the impractical changing table) but given the expense and the, let’s be honest, REALLY unpractical nature, I could not have it.

I wanted a carriage.  A buggy.  A beautiful perfect canopied stroller with big round white rubber wheels, a fancy foot brake and a stature rivaled by presidents and kings.

There is some history here.  Though I was never rolled in one, my sisters both were.  Bill Cosby, whose stand-up albums I could recite growing up, has a riotous routine about stealing carriage wheels for soapbox racing.  I grew up with a tongue twister about baby buggies.  My mother hung prominently in her room a copy of Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and though there were no prams in the painting, as a child I was certain that one would be coming around the frame at any minute.  I loved Mary Poppins.  And I always pictured myself pushing a future babe in a carriage of my own.

So, nostalgia.  And given that modern-day buggies are both outrageously expensive and completely impractical, I should have been able to chuck the idea of owning one out the window.  But I couldn’t.  Even when looking at the sobering prices (anywhere from $800.00 to $3,000 new, with the average hovering at $2000 and $400 used) and considering the limited life span of a shallow, lay flat stroller.  Further, life has changed since the glory days of the carriage (and really, even since my mother stayed home with my sisters in the 70s) and I won’t spend days wheeling Vegas around the neighborhood in his cushy paradise.  Sorry, kid.  Perhaps if I had a nanny.  Perhaps if I stayed at home.  But the sad reality is, without a full house staff, no person in my family is going to be cavorting through town in a pram.  No $800.00 baby carriage for me.

We could stop there, but this story is going somewhere.  A dark somewhere.  Stay tuned.

With a Mask?

In an unbelievable twist of fate, I have gotten a cold.  This is the only speck of illness either one of us has had since our knock-down drag-out fight with the flu in November.  Last night I said to my wife, “Do you think they let people with colds into delivery rooms?”  and I wasn’t overly concerned.  At that moment I was feeling just a tiny tickle in my nose.  Something not quite right.  And then, like that, my throat started to hurt.

We chalked it up to allergies.  I downed some preventative herbs.  We went to bed.

I knew the second I turned out the light that it was more than allergies.  I tossed and turned to try and find a position that would prevent any dripping onto my throat.  I tucked my head into my chin and drifted off.  Except, I didn’t.  I cried instead, and wondered if it was too late to call my mother.  These are two main signs that we’re dealing with a cold and not allergies.  1) I like to  keep my crying to hallmark moments and not to self-pity; and, 2) I don’t ever want my mother when I’m crying.  She, Mayor of Sunny Sunshineville, is not very fond of tears.  So it was probably better that it was too late in her time zone to call.

This morning, I woke to painful swallowing and a runny nose.  I tried every resource I have.  Neti pot.  Herbs.  Gargling.  Tea.  Zinc.  Vitamin C.  Vitamin everything else.  Throat soothers.  Sheer will.  I am only getting worse.  Now I really am wondering, “Do you think they let people with colds into delivery rooms?”

And I’m stricken.

It’s a…Squirrel!

Overheard at the hardware store:

Man: So I see you’re expecting!
Very pregnant woman, at least as pregnant as D, rubbing her belly: Oh yes!  (giggle, coo) This is Chase and…
Us: serious, serious eye rolling
Very pregnant woman, at least as pregnant as D, rubbing her belly: and…he’s due October first!


This woman was easily as round as D. – if not bigger.  Between stifling laughter (mainly at her tone, I’m sure YOU don’t sound like that) and gaping at each other we realized the truth…

We’re not having a baby.  It’s a squirrel.


Looking back at the last 9 months, I feel like we handled the whirlwind of consumerism pretty well.  And now that the pre-baby gifts and pre-baby shopping seems to have come to an end, it’s getting more clear where we got lost in the baby registry shenanigans.  It’s also more clear that we did a pretty fair job sticking to our values, so that’s a relief.

Thing I’m most happy to have bought: Sun hat. This was a late, late acquisition and one I almost didn’t make since the redneck childbirth class tried to convince me babes under one year should never see the sun.

Thing I’m most happy to have received: Calendula diaper cream, lotions, etc.  Herbs are my thing and pot marigold is known for its soothing and healing properties.

Thing We Spent the Most Time Agonizing Over: Car seat. We researched and tried out and carried and pushed and pulled and swung and criticized and spied on billions of car seat brands.  We must have gone to Babies R’ Us six times alone just to look at car seats and strollers (and not buying anything else).  We ended up making a completely different choice than our chosen seat at the very end, and all because some designer, somewhere, thought to give my wife a racing stripe.

Thing We Spent the Most Time Agonizing Over That We Could Have Decided in Three Seconds: Stroller. We are baby wearers, baby carriers, and baby bossers.  We’re eventually going to go through a set of strollers and there’s no way I’m deciding on where to start until I can see the little darling sitting in one.  To start, I knew I wanted the snap in frame.  That didn’t stop us from constant sampling.  And rolling.  And turning. And spying.

Thing I’m Most Concerned We’ll Never Use: A tie – a family cradle and a playpen. Both gifts.  I’m worried that their life expectancy is short and simultaneous.  Will we get any use out of either?  Time will tell.

Thing I’m Most Concerned We’ll Wish We Had: A tie – a glider and a jump swing. We have a recliner (gliders made me seasick) and the jumper would mean a hole in our wood trim.

Thing We Received the Most Of: A three way tie – camo diaper bags, books and hooded towels. That should tell you what our friends think of us.

Thing We Wish We’d Returned: A bowl and plate set from the local eco-store. A  non-dishwasher safe item with the word ‘mara’ emblazoned over a frog.  What does that even mean?

Most Indulgent Thing: Full-price Santa Monica Sheets from Pottery Barn Kids. I just couldn’t resist this gorgeous sheet and we hadn’t spent any of our own money on anything fun.  Too expensive but we only had one sheet so totally worth it.  Now we have two sheets!

Cutest Thing: A closet full of tiny clothes on tiny hangers. I don’t care if it doesn’t last even one hot second.  Even the memory is gorgeous.

Ugliest Thing: That strap hanging off my changing table. I hate it.

Thing I Shouldn’t Have Bought: A lot of bottles from CraigsList. I was a novice at baby buying.  I admit, it was a bad decision.  But!  It came with an adorable rocking toy.

First Thing: 3-6mo. Redskins onesie. Bought Christmas Eve when D. was 12 weeks and Vegas’ first gift ever.

Most Useful Thing: Doll baby.

Most Ridiculous Thing: Doll baby.

Thing That Made Us Laugh the Most: Doll baby.

By my tally, $20.00 spent on doll babies to fake diaper and fake carry and fake strap in the car seat is worth twelve hundred times the cost of playpens and non-dishwasher safe dishes.  I have no idea how we’ll feel about things after Vegas is born, but for right now I feel like we’re sitting pretty.  On a fleet of hooded towels.


Dear Vegas,
As a former diplomat, I’ll be the one responsible for your social behavior lessons.   I’ll remind you that the salad fork is the smaller, wider one and that if you are given an even smaller fork, you probably should have declined the invitation.   I’ll nudge you to remove the lint from your clothing and to toss your shoes when they lose their shape.  You and I will discuss life’s bigger questions: how to tell your girlfriend she looks great in those jeans, how to break up with your boyfriend without making it personal, and that both of them need to come into the house to pick you up and not sit in the drive and honk.  You’ll learn how to make small talk and how to apologize.

But first, we’re going to talk about what hand symbols are appropriate in what countries, when not to show the sole of your shoe and why sometimes you shouldn’t use your left hand.   Most importantly, we’re going to talk about timeliness.  It’s an art child, when to show up for something and how long to stay.   In some places, it’s perfectly acceptable (and appropriate) to arrive for a 8 pm dinner at 11 pm (Argentina, I’m looking at you).   In other places, you can assume that a 10am brunch won’t really get going until 10:45 or so.  Picnics are flexible things, breakfasts, usually not.  Showers, birthday parties and other celebratory events have a short window (you don’t want to miss the cake).  And in some places, if you want to be fed (or catch the train, or make the meeting) you must arrive on the second.

While it’s never good to arrive too early for an event, it’s often acceptable (if not strictly appropriate) to arrive a few minutes before.  If it’s you and your date and she’s already waiting at the restaurant, early is much, much better than late.  Vegas, your mother and I are your first date.  And we’ve been in this goddamn restaurant since Tuesday.  Although we don’t expect you til next week, in this case, it is PERFECTLY GRACIOUS and SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE to get your tail out here and order your first meal.  Don’t stand us up, baby.  Don’t make us get out a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You (or rather, he’s TOO into you and I’ll be the one to teach you that isn’t good either).

But, I can’t teach you one single thing until you get your heinie in gear.  I’m waiting Vegas, and you should never make your mother wait.  No Ma’am.



I’m a live in the now sort of mom.  I didn’t used to be.  When I was a tiny little squint of a thing I was always thinking of the next big event.  My birthday.  My sisters’ birthdays.  Christmas.  Fourth of July.  Thanksgiving.  Any celebration.  Any party.  Let’s be honest, any time there might be dessert.  I was barely looking at where I was, I was so busy looking at where I wasn’t.  And that’s because where I wasn’t there was always cake.

Now, I’m more of a pretty much only a today or tomorrow mom.  I know it would be sexier to say I am a this second mom, or a minute by minute mom, but I actually am still always 24 hours ahead.  Because let’s fact it, if I lived in this moment, there’d be practically no chance for cake, and if only one thing is certain, it’s that I’m a cake mom.

So all the way through your development so far, I’ve been happy to be right where we were.  Sure, there was a teensy bit of impatience at the 10 day point and some hurry up around the 12 week mark but until now I’ve been happy to appreciate my time with your mother, every last second of quiet and long afternoon lazing around a chilly house.  Well, let’s be honest, that lazing around happened only once, on Saturday, because we’ve been behaving like banshees for months.  But soon you’ll be here and we’ll have to keep the house warmer, we’ll scurry more and banshee less and there won’t be quiet.  Not like it has been.

Frankly child, I’m not a nostalgic sort and I’m getting impatient.  I’ll be happy to trade in our current brand of peace for the incoming make and model so long as it happens RIGHT NOW.  I know insisting that you hurry up please come on already now now now has no impact whatsoever.  You’ll come when you’re ready, when those hormones open the door, and when you’re finished screwing your head into your mother’s cervix.  And I’d probably be happier sitting here peacefully, living in the moment, especially since your due date is a week away.  But Vegas, I’d so like it if you came right now.  Or tonight.  Or even in the morning.  Please?

And it starts…the years of my pleas falling on deaf ears.

Love, Mama

P.S. That’s the first time I ever called myself a mom.  And I cried.

Nursery? Check.

With the exception of my monthly poker game and a trip to buy popsicles, I have stayed in with my very pregnant wife this weekend.  Very, very, 38 weeks and four days pregnant wife.  Considering the weather (HOT) and my aches and pains (MANY) I’m happy to be in watching the Cup games and picking up the scattered clutter in the house.

We accomplished three significant things this week: signing the legal paperwork (a relief), putting away the baby books (ahhhh, peace) and wrapping up the nursery (at last).  While there are no pics of the legal docs or the baby books (hidden, gone, tucked away), here are some photos of our awesome nursery.

14 days

Dear 50% effaced, one centimeter dilated baby Vegas,

I’m nervous and a little green.  I can’t believe you’re on your way and I can’t believe we’re actually going to take care of you.  It’s not like we wouldn’t, I mean, we’re fit.  I promise.  It’s just that I’m pretty sure we’ll be good mothers and terrified that you’ll be a bad baby.  Wait.  That probably already makes me unfit.  I’m worried you’ll be so awful we won’t like you, that’s what everyone tells us anyway.  How frustrating you’ll be, how you won’t sleep, how you’ll scream.  Then, the well-meaning ones say that you’ll make it up to us by gazing into our eyes.  And by this I think they mean your mother’s eyes as she’s feeding you.  I gather you’ll pretty much hate me til you’re 12 and then I’ll hate you, so that’s awesome.

So when I sat down at work this morning, I took a deep breath and it hitched.  It hitched all the way up my spine and through my lungs and sprang out of my eyes in tears.  I’m not at all surprised.  People who get past the glassy eyes keep saying the same things:  Are you ready?  Getting ready?  How is D? and, sometimes, Are you excited?  And I am, Vegas.  I am all of those things.  Ready.  Getting Ready. Excited.  And I also know the answer about your mother, she’s doing just fine.  However, given your mother’s general good humor, “fine” is probably something you should be worried about.  When you’re out here, you’re shooting for “good”, not “fine”.  Got it?

I hear babies live in the moment, which is good, because that’s the way we’ve been doing things around here lately.  I’m eager for you to come, but I’m just as happy you aren’t here yet.  You’ll understand when you’re having kids of your own, or maybe when you ask out your first date.  It’s that kind of queasiness that makes you want to run, but has such a shiny reward at the end that you can’t help but work through it.  I promise the throwing up feeling will go away right after you ask her.  Can you promise me the same thing when you get here?  The before and after are just parts of life.  Just like I’m not mourning my last day of sleeping in (long gone by now, anyway), I’m not celebrating my first moments up with you.  Each thing in its time.  Remember that when you want my banana and I give you a bottle.

Vegas, these are the things I am: terrified excited apprehensive worried happy ill nervous delighted overwhelmed frantic paralyzed joyful.  I’ll bet you can hardly wait to join me.


Awake and Restless (Again)

I’d say being awake at 3:30 am was nesting, except that it’s not a completely irregular thing.  All it takes is something to wake me up a little past coherent (and sometimes it takes nothing at all) and my mind predictably soars into awareness.

I can feel it coming.  Once I realize I’m awake, then I have to quietly fight to keep from thinking about the baby, a glass of water, the dog, the computer, my wife, work and then…it’s over.  I’m awake and it’s impossible to lay there.  Every sound is sandpaper.

I know she’s having more trouble sleeping and that her wrists sting, her nose is swollen and she probably has to pee.  Tonight, you can throw in a restless dog with inexplicably swollen eyes, fresh sheets (can you believe I get distracted by clean sheets?) and restless anxiety that manifests as noise intolerance, a tight jaw and worry that mosquitoes are biting me.  Vegas, you are in for a treat.

In fact, if he were out here now, this is what I’d tell him: today we said an almost goodbye to your great-grandmother.  It seems like days instead of weeks and my heart breaks for you and for your mother.  Your other great-grandmothers aren’t far behind and it would be terrible to go from three to one (or none) before you get here.  Not even on the same plane of terrible is the heat, your mother’s swollen feet and the unbelievable clutter in the house.  Vegas, honey, I love you, but all your not-so-tiny things are bringing me down.  Or rather, keeping me up.  It’s dawn and I shouldn’t be thinking about your playpen.

That pretty much sums up life right now.  It’s dawn and I shouldn’t be thinking about a playpen.

Oh Honey

I’m tempted to write a book called Things My Parents Did To Me so that I can give a signed copy to my child for comparison.  I think I’ll make out pretty good.  Though, for the record, I have awesome parents, they have their spectacularly weird moments.  Since I’m not going to write such a book, here is a complementary list of chapters:

Sleep Under a Plastic Tablecloth While We Camp While We All Sleep Inside.
Dad Says, “J-O-B Job”.  Starting From Five.
What Makes You Think You’ll Have a Place to Live if You Don’t Go to College?
Grandpa Was Not a Mobster.  Repeat After Me.
I Only Dropped You on Your Head Once.
Oh Honey, We Didn’t Know Back Then Those Things Would Stunt Your Growth.
(sub headings: Oh Honey, I’m With Your Sister That Weekend, Oh Honey, I Didn’t Know It Was BROKEN, and Oh Honey, There’s No Such Thing As Migraines)

Maybe I should just name the book Oh Honey.  While you’re taking that in, let me recommend a site that has absolutely captured my attention 1001 Rules For My Unborn Son.  The Random Rule feature in the right column is particularly terrific.  Go, enjoy.