Playing catch up... 06/26/2010
I've long intended on keeping some sort of journal for Charlotte. Something that she could have when she's older, perhaps a collection of stories about our lives together, or my memories of her. I will admit that up to this point I've failed pretty miserably at doing this but now I'm glad to have this blog to keep up with it all. While I aim this at my wider audience, know that most of what I have to say here is for her.
Anna tells me that the day she told me we were pregnant, I didn't say much... I believe that. (While I always thought that I didn't have a problem expressing my emotions, I know now that I'm not all that great at it and it's something I'm working on.) We were riding in the car, on our way between home or work, or somewhere we would regularly go. I remember being overwhelmed and worried about whether or not it would really happen, worried that something bad might happen... In the days and weeks to come I wanted to be excited all the time, but a little fear always remained in me. I guess that's a feeling that may never go away. I'm always a little worried. Cautious. Attentive. That's okay, though. I feel like it's healthy to carry that around. If it were any less I think I'd feel careless. Back to playing catch up...
I felt really awkward at first about telling people we were going to have a baby. They were mostly surprised and the people my age were like "really, on purpose?" looking all the while puzzled and confused by the notion that anyone would make that choice. It was still a great feeling to see people smile back and say how great that was, and/or how good of a parent I would be, even though they had no clue about how I would parent in any way. I looked forward to having Charlotte in our lives and as the days and weeks passed, I paid less attention to how people reacted about anything related to me or parenting, or babies, etc. I think I was just a little stressed out, in a good way, and I tuned out anything that messed with my focus.
I really looked forward to having a child all through our pregnancy. We planned a lot, mainly due to Anna's amazingly obsessive behaviour. (It's great being with someone who must know all there is to know about everything she finds important. I get the cliff's notes and do trust that I love every second of it! The more you know me, the more you'll know that my attention span, well, sucks. It's something I thought about working on once, or twice. It didn't last long...) We went from getting a few books, to visiting the OB's office, browsing the web (a lot), talking a little to people we knew that had kids, getting a ton more advice than we ever wanted, or asked for, and settling in on the idea that we would be parents sooner than we knew it. We went to awesome birth classes, I learned about all sorts of crazy stuff, like how babies are born. (novel huh?) We made some friends and laughed about some of the things we did or didn't know (for me I found that I really didn't know much about anything pregnancy related, like "amniotic fluid" is really baby pee). 8 weeks or so of the class and I knew what a doula was, I remembered some nifty birthing positions, I mentally noted that moms should eat during labor, and.... yeah, did I mention my attention span? I did crack a lot of jokes, even one or two about heroin. I got in trouble for that... by Anna, of course. (love you).
I took a vacation to Las Vegas with our friend, (whom I consider to be a higher classification than that of friend or family) Neal, in September. It is the only vacation I've taken by myself in my lifetime. It was weird to be away from Anna. We'd only ever spent a few days apart, except for when I moved to Colorado. It was still extremely different this time. She was at home working, thinking, planning, doing what she does best (preparing is her thing). I spent a lot of time in Vegas thinking about becoming a dad. I found myself looking at things differently, seeing myself as someone to be looked up to, it was weird. I wondered a lot about what kind of father I'd be. What limitations I would run into, and I became fairly disgruntled about gender roles and how messed up a lot of things in our society have become. I wanted to do more than be a dad for Charlotte. I want to be a teacher, a mentor, a friend, an accomplice. I decided that I would never place a cap on what I would be for her, only that I would always do my best to be there for her, however she needed me to be. (more to come)
Wondering how messed up my kid will be.... 06/11/2010
Anna and I have a 4 mo. old baby girl named Charlotte. Being a parent is really not all that difficult, for the most part, at least for me, but I wonder sometimes about how effective my influence on her will be. In a world where we are quite different from the social norms, I can see how Charlotte will be faced with challenges when confronted by the numerous other children who think she's weird or can't wrap their heads around why we would keep her from eating processed foods and anything with corn syrup in it. If we even ever send her to public school, I can see how upset it may make her if she's picked on or made fun of, but I'm very conflicted by doing the right things for her when I know it can inevitably bring her some pain. My hope for her and for me is that I can instill enough knowledge and confidence in her that she we be able to overcome and even change some peoples minds about who and why she is the way she is. -Jeff
Some the best parenting advice I've received is "Save for college, and save for counseling." I'll think we'll do that. :) -Anna