Monday, August 31, 2009

Introducing Kids to Uncle Andy and his Boyfriend

Now, here's a touchy one! With homosexuality being so hot-button in our society, and showing no signs of slowing, how does one broach this with children?

It came up at one of Andrea's Girl Weekends. One of the attendants 'came out' after high school, and though she's currently not practicing, she took it quite personally when another attendant said that she didn't want to explain homosexuality to her 3-year-old. I think that the latter's point was that she didn't want to explain ANY sexuality to her kid. That's fair, especially when they've just discovered their 'peepee,' and learned that you're supposed to leave it alone at the supermarket!

And how to explain the many faces of Love? I love Mommy, and we spend our lives together, and I love heavy music, but often listen to rap or instrumental jazz. I love Reese Bites, and they're sure not in the house all the time! I love the city I live in, and really enjoy visiting other cities. I love my nieces, but it's different than how I love my kids... All pretty deep & abstract, and difficult to explain to a child!

When it came up at work yesterday, someone (an older gent, with a love of his opinions, and no love of abbreviation) said “Kids with gay parents would have a hard time at school (granted) and they would grow up with a different set of values...” And another, younger, lad said “Yeah, they'd probably grow up to be more accepting of people in general.” I don't know enough such people to say for sure, but I'd bet he's right! (This is where the Comments option comes in handy; lets hear some feedback from kids, of their friends, of same-sex couples)

As for the bullies in school, If they're gonna target you, you'll deal as you see fit, just like the rest of us! Many of us went through it with Breeder parents, so “...For the Kids...” is a pretty weak argument against same-sex marriage! But I digress...

If you explain Gay to five-year-olds, won't they all think they're gay, since the other sex is 'Icky' and 'has cooties'? And if they all went through that, wouldn't they be more tolerant of 'That Kid' in High School?

Personally, I'd like my kids to be affectionately curious about those who are different than them. “Sikh? Cool! Where you from? How are your weddings different? How 'bout holidays?” “Gay? Neat..!” “Parachuter? What's it like..?” “You play the oboe? What's an oboe?..?” I guess my best hope is to live that way myself, and trust it to rub off.

And what if our child turns out to be gay? I'm plainly pretty liberal about the whole issue, and I've liked most of the gay people I've met, but how can I answer that before it happens? It's easy to say, “Of coarse my values will be totally consistant, but it may trigger something deeper that I'm currently not acknowledging. And I'm just as likely to say “Woohoo! Theater tickets for life!”

When I asked Andrea that 'what if...' she said, “that's fine, but they had better find a way to give me some grandchildren!”

P.S. Cheers to Crazy Texas Mommy for boycotting wedding in solidarity with our procreationally challenged Brothers & Sisters!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthing Room

Currently listening to: System Of A Down: “Toxisity.” Yet another awesome thing about writing: I get time to listen to all these CD's I haven't had time for in awhile

So, as I mentioned, Adam at is waiting for his child to be born, so I got to wondering, what does the father do when she's contracting & dilating? This could last for a lot of hours, and how many times can I repeat the same encouraging tidbits? I'm guessing that it would be pretty rude to bring a book. How much more so if I sat listening to my Ipod! I don't have a good phone for Twittering, and I'm guessing that she'd get sick of being fed ice pretty quickly.

Also, I'm not allowed to have hurt feelings. Since my wife comes from an Italian family, she can be pretty expressive, and I have to remember that when all's said and done, she'll be very happy & grateful for the bundle of joy I helped bring into the world. However, until all's said & done, I'm expecting a verbal fire-storm of biblical proportions. I'm sure it's nothing the nurses haven't seen before, but, being new to this, I'll confess to some trepidation. It may however make the “6-8 Weeks Off” a little easier! “Love you Baby, but let's dodge that bullet!”

And what of the medical horrors? When the water breaks, will I need galoshes? Will the afterbirth look like a brown-red wineskin? Will I be overwhelmed by nervous giggles? (yes, I'm that juvenile) If that come at the wrong time, I'm sure to get a punch in the throat!

One buddy at work had quite the story: He was speechless. No, really, here's this perpetual 14-year-old, who always has some smart-assery on the tip of his tongue, and has many, many write-ups for inappropriate jokes, but the sounds of birth (one vaginal, one C-Section) left him absolutely green! If I'm not mistaken, he may have passed out!

So, the more I worry about that day (or so), the less I'll worry about being a good dad. What's the worst that can happen? They'll need therapy? A job's been created!
So vote “Will” for “Prince of the Silver Lining!”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vanity & Jitters

Currently listening to: Prince “Ultimate” One of the half-dozen 'Hits' compilations of his, but this one came with a 2nd disc of re-mixes.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned Mur Lafferty's site, and sent her a corresponding email. Partly a courtesy 'heads up' that I was referring to her, part fan-mail, and part publicity for my Blog. Then I thought “What was I thinking?” Maybe I should practice this under-the-radar so when the attention comes, I'll be bringing my A Game to the table. Plus, I'm just getting used to the technology; and somehow, I listed myself as a follower of my Blog. “Wow! This is Super! I can't wait to see what I come up with next!” Yup, I'm that vain. Seriously, I hope that it shows that I'm enjoying this, and I hope I'm sharing some laughs, but who, outside of my social circle, really cared to be introduced to my dog? But dog-baby relations really is a valid concern. Now I'm just prattling.

On the parenting front, the jitters are starting to set in, and it will only get worse. We're at 4 weeks, 4 days, and in three weeks, I'll either be utterly useless, or I'll have laser-focus and Jedi reflexes (as I did the week before my wedding).So I thought it was a little funny that when I checked out another Blog I follow -- – he was in an advanced stage of what I've barely begun. Good Luck, Buddy (I couldn't find his name on the Profile, but couldn't look for long.) Well worth the visit to check out this blog, and he's got great business cards too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Appropriate is a Good Vent!

Currently listening to: Portishead, “Roseland NYC Live.” A band my wife turned me on to. Heard it on the radio today, and thought 'By Gar, it's been awhile...'

Yesterday's post has almost surely made me look like a cynical bastard, and I can be. But it's all part of a deeper trait, loosely defined as Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due. If that sometimes means calling someone on their bullocks, so be it. What's the point of having a public platform if one can't honestly vent. Add to that something of a Punk ethos of brutal honesty, and sod ya if you can't take it.

But I hesitated. I was at Mur Lafferty's site, which I got introduced to through ITunes, looking for writing Podcasts. I haven't heard all of the writing podcasts, but so far she's my favorite (“I Should Be Writing”) Asides from being entertaining and informative, she's good at lighting a fire under my seat to just park my arse and write. I also found her 3 recent video Podcasts to be laugh-out-loud funny! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on her books, as soon as I'm through my short-list of urgent fiction.

Wow, what a digression! Anyway, I was on ML's site, when I came across her 5 Rules for Writing. It was 4 rules, until recently, when #5 was added: “Don't Be An Ass.” (Full elaboration in her June 30 2009 Blog) Apparently, a certain author got a bad review, and went on a brutal Twitter tirade against the Reviewer. Now singling someone out like that is certainly being an ass, but did this advice apply to my “Hairstyle” rant? I did adhere to a managerial rule I learned from my wife (who is an office manager): “Criticize Generally, Praise Specifically.” So I went ahead with it. People will know, when the tide has turned, that someone saw these trends for what they were in the thick of it, and when the next novelty hoopla arrives, maybe, just maybe, someone will remember this, and say “No! I'm not falling for this, not this time!”

So what does this have to do with parenting? Well, I guess that having a child on the way has led me to consider how my parents have influenced me. I have no complaints in this regard, my folks are great people who did a fantastic job! Not perfect, and they'll be the first to say so, but I'd say they did a better job than they thought they were doing. I'd bet that that applies to most parents, which I'll find more heartening as time passes. But I have to re-think my cynicism. Will I pass a bitter legacy? I doubt it. I've got a pretty solid sense of gratitude, and I'm generally a pretty positive person, but every now and then, something sets me off, and I've got to be careful that my kid, with underdeveloped social filters, doesn't go around saying “My Daddy says your hair is stupid.” We all know not to say certain words in front of kids, but I guess there are some things we learn not to say the hard way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The World My Child's Born Into

Currently listening to The Tea Party: “Edges of Twilight.”

I think that a lot of new parents wonder what kind of world they're bringing their child into. My generation was brought into the Cold War, so I'm sure many of our parents wondered if we'd live to see adulthood. But having watched The Terminator, we were more excited than frightened for the post-apocalyptic world. Ah, blessed naivety. But there's always been something – wars, plagues, tyranny's, witch-hunts – to make expecting parents nervous. But I'd imagine it's like public speaking; if you're not a little scared, you just don't care enough about what you're doing, and it will show in your performance.

On the up-side, my child is coming into a world with a Brother in the White house, to which so many people just like me said: “I never thought I'd see the day!” (If you'll forgive a brief digression, I was reading Jeffery Deaver's “The Twelfth Card” the week of the election, and about three days after Obama won, I came to a scene where two characters were in Harlem, one asking if someone was out of prison. The response was “there'll be a n***** in the White House before he gets out.”) There are plenty of reasons why this is a great time to bring a person into the world, and focusing on the negative surely won't do anyone any good.

However, we are in a time of women's hair styles that are just awful. Let's look objectively at this reverse-mullet, short-back with long sides. I've seen beautiful, wonderful women who look just stupid, and I'm sorry if anyone takes offense, but honestly, people! I just want to tell them “Make sure you get lots of pictures. Dozens, even, so that you will never, ever forget just how cool you look right now.” Now, if you're younger than 22, you're expected to follow the fashions. That's what young people do! But if you're older, as many of these short-long wearers are, haven't you had a few regrettable style faux pas'? Don't you have pictures that make you say, “I can't believe I thought that was cool”?


Same with it's close relative, the forward-sloping bob. You've been warned. And I'm not too keen on the “BumpIt's” either. More novelty silliness, leaving yet more photos in it's wake to be brought out when the subject's due to be embarrassed.

Wow, that was quite the vent! Again, sorry if you're offended. It's just my opinion, and apparently, many disagree. I know many women bearing this style, who are great people, and some dear friends, who happen to look ridiculous. I also have two friends who bore these styles before it was trendy, one with short hair & long bangs, one with a subtle forward-slope bob, and it was cool before everyone was doing it. Both have altered their style in the last year.

If you're really POed at this point, and you're running for your Voodoo Doll, allow my to offer a truce: Let's agree that it's high time for the young lads to start pulling up their pants. As a former boss said, “I don't want to see anything I didn't pay to see.” (Hope you see this, K M) I was optimistic when studded belts became fashionable, but apparently, they didn't come with instructions!

The only other regrettable thing about bringing a child into this time is “Reality TV.” I sure hope that it burns itself out, and, like Variety Shows, is seen as a product of it's time.

Crazy Drug Dream

Currently listening to: Disturbed, The Sickness. (Not terribly relevant, it's just been awhile.)
It does bring a concern to mind, though. Since Baby spends two hours a day in the car with Andrea, (s)he will arrive with an appreciation for her music, while my music will be foreign and probably frightening. My work is cut out for me...

A few weeks ago, I had a crazy dream (is there any other kind? Well, it's the only kind we hear about. Who starts a conversation with “Hey, did I tell you about my dream? I was making a tea! Neat, eh?) In the dream, I was at my grandmother's house with Carrie, a friend at work (for context, Carrie got back from Maternity leave for her first child about a year ago). She suggested that we go do some cocaine, so off we went and snorted some blow.

While I have known several people who have used coke – both dabblers and addicts – I've never used it myself. My first real bad-ass friend in high school said “I'll never do Chemical drugs, I'll just stick to naturals,” and it stuck with me. Plus, an addict I knew is BC really turned my off when I saw her trying to use me when I barely knew her. Besides, a nice beer-buzz is enjoyable enough, no need to get too nuts.

When I told Carrie, we had a good laugh. When the conversation turned to parenting, she made the comment that having a child “makes everything seem to matter more.” to which, I replied “Kinda like being high!” Then with a stunned/wide-eyed look, “...this is SO significant...” The difference being that coke would give one much more energy than the inebriates I'm more familiar with. Just like parenting; you learn to function on three hours of sleep a day. Or so I've been told.

Of coarse, dream interpretations are far from exact. In fact, it would be hard to find something more subjective. As far as the “Dream Interpretation” books go, you can ask ten people and get seventeen opinions, so at the end of the day, you just gotta stack with what's comfortable for you. In this case, I'm pretty comfortable with this heightened-energy-and-significance interpretation. The blood-lineage past was well represented (Grandma's house), and future (recent parent) and community (friend from work, sharing the experience). Cool, eh?

To abruptly change the subject, today Andrea and I were having lunch, when she suddenly left for the bathroom. (Don't you love a story that starts like that?). When she got back, I said “that seemed urgent.” she replied “It always is these days. It's like the baby has a foot on my bowels, know when you step on a hose, then take your foot off? You don't have much time. Yeah, laugh it up, chuckles.” Yeah, I'm that juvenile. If you're wondering how appropriate this is, I did ask, “Can I put this in the Blog?”
“Go ahead.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baby Shower -- Thank You All!

Yesterday, Andrea had the second of her Baby Showers. Like any other baby showers, it was attended by many of our family & friends, and when I got home, I found our dining room table filled with gift bags (I think that whoever invented the gift bag should get a medal, wrapping presents is a pain in the ass!). Thanks to everyone, all of the gifts were wonderful, and we are going to have one of the best-dressed babies ever! More importantly, though, thanks for attending! It's heart-warming (and no small relief!) to know just how much support we're getting from our community! “It takes a village...”

I can't mention everyone individually here, so I hesitate to single anyone out, so as not to exclude the others. But I hope you'll forgive me for mentioning two who knit blankets. The first, a dear friend who learned to knit, just so she could bestow this gift to our child, then wrote a beautiful note for our baby in the card.

The other couldn't attend. She knit a blanket shortly after our wedding, when we started “trying,” knowing that our family would grow soon. My grandmother, Violet Walker, passed away last November, half way through her 90th year, and the blanket, already in a gift bag, was then passed to us. Thank you Gramma! We miss you, and think of you often.

Naturally, I didn't attend the Shower, I had something else to do – ANYTHING! Papa & I got together to move heavy shit. Our basement is now larger, and Mom has her exercise equipment back (I honestly was quite consistent with it, for about a month). And our garage is roomier, and Jody (my sister) has a bar-b-q. Whatever it took to be busy that day! Papa & I had some good hang-out, guy time, which was great, because it's been awhile. He still isn't tired of laughing at me, saying that I have no idea what I'm in for!

In all honesty, she didn't expect me to attend. We've got a healthy respect for certain things; I don't subject her to seasons of sports, and she doesn't ask my to hold her purse in public.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Visiting Kids II -- The Dog's take

The Visiting Toddlers brought another concern into sharp focus; a concern named Kuma, and this seems as good a time to introduce him as any.

Kuma, as I mentioned yesterday, is our dog. He's about 13 ½ months old, and indeterminate breed. His mother was an outside dog, you see, and had a lot of “Gentleman Callers.” To look at him, our guess is that he is mostly Collie, with some Shepherd, and Rotweiller coloring (I don't think I spelled “Rotweiller” properly, but my Spell Check suggested I spell it as “Rototiller.” Our flower beds would agree with this). He's about 66 pounds, and two feet tall at the spine, and about 3 feet from nose to bum.

Kuma s one of the sweetest animals you'd ever want to meet, and just as obnoxious as you'd expect from his age. As a Collie, he's bred to be a herder, so when these delightful angels moved faster than a normal walk (Which is more often than not, 'cause everything is just so darn exciting to these kids), Kuma had rein them in. The poor fella spent much of his weekend barking and grabbing at clothes & hands, which, quite justifiable, freaked the kids out! “Kuma's biting me again...” became a mantra (he's got no thumbs, how else is he gonna grab?).

So how's he gonna be with our kid(s) when the time comes? Protective? Almost certainly. Protective against self-induced speeds greater than 'stride?' I sure hope not, that's liable to make a lot of people crazy. And how about jealous? For all of his memory, he's had us all to himself (the cats leave us to him – they sneak in some affection when we're in the basement, the no-dog zone). Point being, we're wondering how to get him to take all of this in stride. Feel free to post your experiences.

To digress, I apparently won't be able to post everyday, but I'm having a lot of fun doing it, so it won't be hard to write almost that often. However, life happens, and new-life-happens seems to come with 3-4 doctors appointments a week (Gestational Diabetes adds two a week to this regiment). In case you're not familiar with GD, it when the pancreas is producing insulin, but the placenta is producing a hormone that interferes with it, so Mom's blood-sugars get high. It will pass after birth (yes, I did just giggle at my own pun), but for now its light insulin and heavy diet-control. Pain in the ass, but with a light at the end of the tunnel. Andrea's first meal after delivery will be a Caramilk and a Pepsi!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Three Visiting Toddlers -- What are we in for?!

Currently listening to: Pearl Jam, Yield.
Over the last weekend, Andrea's best friend and her three girls (a four-year-old, and three-year-old twins) came for a visit. While they're all sweeter than a monkey holding a puppy, there were still three of them, and the sheer chaos of it all was a little overwhelming. Actually, I found it quite manageable, since I had to work, and really only had cameo-appearances throughout the weekend.
The exception was on Saturday morning. I was up early, so I had about half an hour before the kids got up, but when they did, it was en masse. I figured that the thing to do was to get them breakfast – no problem. But first, one of the twins is fiddling with her unmentionables and fidgeting. “Do you have to pee, Sweety?”
“Well, go ahead.” No problem, they're recently toilet-trained, and I should be able to point her to the throne and wait for the magic to happen. A moment later, she's still in the bathroom door, grabbing-away, shifting foot-to-foot. “Do you have to pee?”
“Well, do you need help?”
Of coarse, I couldn't help her relieve herself. The technical term for that is 'Sexual Interference,' and it's a world of trouble. I'm sure her mother wouldn't make an issue of it, but there's certain laws I just won't question. No court would turn on her four-year-old sister, though, so I appealed to her. “Could you help your sister, please?”
“Sure. I'll help you.” She really is a marvel; I'd expect a child her age to be jealous. Not only competition for family attention, but the novelty of twins would surely draw all eyes from her. I would have been off, by a long shot! She loves her sisters, and has slipped seamlessly into the helpful Big Sister role, and in that moment, her full-bladdered sister would have none of it.
I should have know better, but still, I tried to reason with her. “I'm sorry, but I can't help you. If you need help, it has to be your sister.” All while trying to do crowd-control on the other two girls, and my thirteen-month-old dog. “Do you want to use the upstairs bathroom?” Thus was my desperation for ideas.
“Yeah.” Alright, but after I whisked her upstairs, she said, “I can't, there's no stool.” This is where the twitch developed. I searched for something suitable, oddly in short supply, and finally found Andrea's get-her-pregnant-ass-into-our-stupidly-tall-bed stool.
“Here you go Sweety. This is Andrea's Super Special Stool, so be very careful!” Somehow, this did the trick, and she was able to drain herself, with no laws transgressed on my part. To sweeten the moment, Andrea got up. THE CALVERY HAS ARRIVED!
By the time their mother had had a little sleep-in, I had taught the fussy tinkeler to say to her “You deserve a medal!”
All this left me wondering what the hell we were in for! Everyone assures me that it's easy to learn as you go along, and that their slow development allows one to acclimatize gradually. For now, I have time to be scared, soon enough, I won't be rested enough for such an indulgence!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My First Blog

Hi! I'm Will, and like many of the other's you'll find here, I'm an aspiring writer. So to get my daily writing ya-ya's out, this seemed like an ideal venue. I can do the kind of therapeutic thought-regurgitating one usually saves for a private journal, while sharing with anyone who cares to share.

Among other things, I will be focusing on the biggest issue in my life right now: my impending fatherhood. I am just over two years into my marriage to the most beautiful & clever woman I have ever known, Andrea. As I write, we am six weeks from bringing a new person into our home, and it scares the bejesus out of us. Seriously, before that pee-wand said “Congratulations!” (to paraphrase, of coarse), we were both chock-full of bejesus, and now we have to work at mustering a smattering of bejesus between us!

I wanted to start now, because I think that in a year, or five years, or when the baby's a graduating near-adult, it would make a fascinating read for all involved. I'd also like to relish this brief time of still knowing everything I need to know about parenting. Observe: “Eat your broccoli!” “Use your inside voice!” “Stay in school” Whip them up some cereal, and wait for the scholarships to come rolling in. I get to spend six more weeks in this ignorant bliss, and no experienced parents will shake me from it. Frankly, none of them have tried. I think that they're quite understanding, and are kindly letting me relish these last weeks of peace. My most sincere thanks to all of you!