The baby is post-vag, so this marks the end of Avocados at 3am, for now. Wife and baby are healthy and exchanging coos.

At least now I have a legitimate reason for being too occupied to post. Laziness just doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But now I can milk the fatherhood angle.

Here’s a quick list of the things I can’t wait to teach my child:

  1. Popeye’s is way better than KFC
  2. Mommy’s hugs are poisonous
  3. Santa Clause does exist; he just dies when you turn 8

I may be just a burgeoning father, but I think that about covers every conceivable opportunity for generational insight.

Two nights ago, my wife told me to stop breathing. Don’t tell her this: I kept breathing.

Three nights earlier, she told me to sleep on the couch. Her reason: I was breathing.

Apparently, breathing annoys her. Since the pregnancy just about everything annoys her, but for sure, I thought, she wouldn’t touch my addiction to oxygen. Breathing has been in my family for generations. Ever since my great grandfather braved battlefields during World War I to deliver oxygen tanks to field hospitals, we’ve dedicated every Thanksgiving and Christmas to air. (Side note: in a hilarious moment of irony, one of my great grandfather’s oxygen tanks exploded, sending shrapnel through his lungs, killing him by suffocation)

I approached her days later, cautiously, about these requests. To which she responded: “I have no recollection of that.” She was asleep; I’ll grant her that. But unconscious or not, I don’t believe wives should passively murder husbands. I’m a romantic like that.

I’ve been warned of many things in regards to housing a wild pregnant woman—the smell and the extreme unresponsiveness to house training being two of the more concerning items—but never once was I informed that my wife would one day encourage my own suicide. I’m honorable when I screw up, but breathing isn’t seppuku worthy.

There was one time, during a spontaneous moment of compassion, when she told me that in lieu of holding my breath I could simply turn my face away from her. I was both already facing away from her and greatly confused. I tried reading between the lines for an alternate version of “away” but came away empty. I’ve been empty ever since.

I haven’t lost her completely to the uneven battle between hormones and logic. Once while asleep she farted, and followed the act immediately with a quick, unconscious chuckle. Moments those make her suicide demands bearable.

The Hormolial Pregnaramous are a sneaky beast, I’m learning. What started early on as passable requests for simple things—back massages, foot rubs, foot rubs, human flesh, foot rubs—swelled almost imperceptibly into something slightly more disconcerting, and I’m pretty sure, illegal. Didn’t Jim Jones get in trouble for something involving suicide back in 1978? He should have used the now obvious “I have no recollection of that” excuse to escape persecution. “Nine hundred people you say…I don’t know. I was pretty hammered.” Or he could have just gotten knocked up, I guess.

We managed though week 12 with flying colors; those colors being Burnt Hooray and Neon Fuck Yeah. The “M” thing, it shan’t be fueling our nightmares any longer.

For those of you outside the know, the “M” word stands for the one thing most expecting parents fear above all else. More than premature birth, more than most defects, more than even the pain of childbirth itself, parents sweat at the very mention of…it. So, it will be called The “M” Word.

12 weeks is the understood point at which parents can breathe a little easier. Once past this time, the chances of the dreaded “M” word are greatly reduced. Sort of like airplane flight in that take-off and the initial climb is where 22% of all plane related deaths occur. Most of the remaining 78% occur during the landing in which case the cabin becomes like a giant coffin. A Steel Berth, if you will.

During the 12 week period I often considered asking my wife’s smart friend Jess for guidance in dealing with the potential “M,” as she’s never steered me wrong. I think of her as my own personal Professor Xavier. But then I realized that this seemingly mild mannered, smart friend has a degree in Metallurgy. Such a degree is good for just two devious things 1) urgying metal, and 2) building diabolical weapons. Never mind Jess, or should I say Dr. Jess McSinister. I don’t need my kid persuaded by your evil talk. Good beings turn bad sometimes. Remember the “Enemy of the State” series of Wolverine comics back in 2004 when Wolverine was brainwashed by The Hand into being evil? Yes you do, nerd. Most expecting parents dread The “M” Word, but all expecting parents dread an arch-nemesis.

I say “most expecting parents dread” for a reason. I, for one, was actually a bit excited by the prospect of having an “M.” Don’t get me wrong, I would be happy with a normal kid, too. But a normal kid is a shitload of work. With an “M” I could be super lazy. I wouldn’t have to teach it to fight. I wouldn’t have to pay for it to go to college. And depending on what type of “M” came out I might even be able to avoid nasty things like funerals altogether.

There are a lot of reasons to welcome an “M” into your life. A few of the best:

  1. There’s a lot of crime in this world; having an “M” would help alleviate that.
  2. Regular kids get regular names. With an “M” we could choose any number of crazy names. Or even pay homage to greats like Sleepwalker, Angel, Deadbolt, or even Black Womb from Gambit #4.
  3. We could put it in a crime-fighting vehicle called The “M” Carriage.

I’m not asking that everyone jump in the “M” Carriage with me. I don’t expect everyone to be as accepting as I am. Perhaps my ability to see past human flaws and glimpse the potential hidden within this different kind of birth is testament to my own genetic superiority.

EDIT: Hoooly shit. I was just informed that the “M” word refers to MISCARRIAGE as in death, not MUTANT as in super hero.

It’s been a while. I’m sorry. Why? Laziness. I’ve taken a tip from the U.S Constitution’s preamble and deliberately misinterpreted it in order to satisfy my crippling lethargy: I take the “perfect Union” referenced by “in Order to form a more perfect Union” as the union of my ass with the couch. Thank you forefathers.

Now for the true post…

Impending fatherhood has encouraged me to hoard my time. Where once I may have used my few spare minutes to craft a blog post and sweat through a sit-up or two, I now requisition that time toward more lazy endeavors. Do you have any idea how many sit-ups I haven’t done in the past month? Neither do I. Counting is for active suckers.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posting blogs. But I enjoy, perhaps just slightly more, having become so habitually lazy that I get winded just typing this sentence. There’s a morbid style of pride associated with being so out of shape that exercise may actually kill you. I’m not there yet, but I will cross my fingers (though not without first stretching to warm up those tendons).

Exhaustion could be a part of it. My wife and I haven’t slept well in a while. Since the pregnancy our cat, Burrito (or as my wife has named her, Your Fucking Cat), has taken to early morning choir practice at the foot of our bed. I, for one, encourage her participation in extra-curricular activities. My wife does not. We responded initially by shutting the cat away in other rooms, but the pitch of her wailing just grew in proportion to the number of doors and walls we put between us, and the volume in direct correlation to the number of pillows and hand grenades we threw at her.

Apparently this sort of strange behavior around pregnant women is normal for cats . And studies suggest also that the behavior is really fucking annoying. Why can’t cats respond to pregnancy in less aggravating ways? How about reacting to the hormones with 2am Taco Bell runs and free karate lessons? Do you have any idea, cat, how much extra Meow Mix you would get if you were to surprise me with a Chalupa and frenzied martial arts action? Lots. That’s how much.

And, though it is primarily my wife who is angered by Your Fucking Cat, it is I who must take care of the problem each night. Something about a cat’s toxic poop changes fetuses into retarded unicorn babies. Her inability to physically remove the cat from the room based on a fear of fecal contamination of course assumes that the cat had recently submerged itself in a tank of its own shit, turning every visible hair toxoplasmic. This is ridiculous, obviously, as Your Fucking Cat has yet to display intelligence enough to construct a feces dunk tank. She did once build a urine Slip-n-Slide, but the feat becomes less impressive when considering that she purchased the Slip-n-Slide pre-built and borrowed most of the urine from our dog. After all that work she wouldn’t even use it. She forgot that cats hate getting wet.*

If anyone has any ideas to shut a cat up, please let me know. I’m also open to adoption: Your Fucking Cat could become your fucking cat.

*Yes, the cat could have rolled around in its litter box, and therefore coated herself in the parasite. But by that logic I could be contaminated with the Kick Ass Itchies and Awesome Pox. Yes, I am saying that I often roll around in piles of Kick Ass Itchy and Awesome Pox-causing substances.

My wife asked me to stop smoking cigars. So I’ve taken up heroin. It’s not so bad really. I have an audition next week for an early 90s grunge band.

Based on her request for me to cease smoking one might imagine me as the typical aficionado, chewing on a giant salami-sized toro while I discuss, with my similarly equipped friend/CEO/ol’chap, purebred dog shows and the acquisition of my newest negro. In this scenario I’m likely wearing a tailored suit made of poor people, too. The truth is, I enjoy a cigar every few days and always outdoors. Besides, any discussion of purebred dog shows necessitates a monocle, which I don’t own.

The fear of possible medical complications is a valid one, but one I argue is not justified given the aforementioned distance I keep between my delicious cigar smoke and our delicious embryo. I fear fathering a child with 2 ½ balls and more hands than fingers as much as the next guy, but I’m certain that slightly smoke-tainted clothing just won’t deliver those sorts of results.

I love my wife for her caution. It’s likely that if both of us were as passive and nonchalant about the process as I am, our kid would be born with hemp skin and a bongo drum. Luckily, we aren’t, and it is this very caution which prompted a recent sonogram and the resulting assurance that our child will always be safe.

It turns out we are giving birth to Jesus. Jesus, jr. technically. So ef-you grilled cheese lady and frying pan guy, the days of inorganic manifestations is over. I reveal unto thee, Embryo Jesus. The image was hard to see initially, but after a sprinkle of Holy Photoshop the face of Christ revealed itself to us (LEFT).

Assured now of the health of our child I’m more relaxed and consequently more susceptible to some other manifestations that have recently come to me. I’m amazed by all that I simply overlooked before. I found the commandment “thou shall not steal” on this milk crate that I stole (BELOW LEFT). He appeared in an x-ray of my cigar-blackened lungs (in which he seems to be enjoying a stogie of his own; I knew Jesus was cool with it) (BELOW RIGHT).

And perhaps strangest of all, after taking a picture of my wife wearing her favorite cross-strap shoes, a vague impression of the crucifixion appeared (BELOW RIGHT). Look close.

We haven’t given up on prenatal vitamins in lieu of this godly support, though I do suspect their continued use comes across as a slightly condescending: “no, really Jesus. I believe in your power to heal. I take the vitamins because I love the cherry taste and the way they turn my poo orange.”

But you know, now that I think about it we probably should have recognized the signs as soon as we learned of the pregnancy. The positive peestick seems strangely revelatory in hindsight (BELOW):

I absolutely, 100% cannot wait until I can do this with (to?) my kid…

Other prank ideas:

1. Fun with Object Permanence -or- “The behind-the-back disappearing hand” (complete with fake blood)

2. Poop or pudding

3. The monster who brings you food

4. The mother who eats your face

5. Replacing baby’s bottle with a non-alcoholic version (and laugh as the baby can’t seem to stop the tremors no matter how much he drinks)

Comment back with other great ways to keep those babies on their toes…

I’ve accomplished many things in my life by moving little more than a finger. I’ve pointed at things; I’ve held onto plastic bags; I once fell asleep in an empty parking lot full of concrete and bricks, and I woke up inside a 42 story apartment complex with barely more than broken sweat and a strained flexor tendon. The biggest minimal-movement accomplishment: becoming the World’s Greatest Dad. Earlier this week my wife and I attended the first physical exam, and I did nothing more than follow my wife into a testosterone-deprived women’s clinic waiting room and sit. I was the only male in this room. Later, because of this, I’m told how great I am.

The father’s role so far seems to be just a glorified version of the schoolyard favorite, Follow the Leader*, which, contrary to the patriarchal stereotype, I embrace. This is something simple, something I can do. I once followed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping through a cornfield for six hours. Why? Because it was simple, and I could do it.

While, the domestic version of Follow the Leader may involve fewer world leaders, the measure of success is surprisingly similar between the two forms. Victory is determined simply by the amount of following a single player will endure. And when that number of players drops to one (or starts at one, as in my case), the remaining participant is declared “Father of the Day.” If playing with political world leaders, the remaining participant is more appropriately declared “Martyr of the Day.”

Many of the preggies were far enough along to perhaps justify an absent companion. After enough of these checkups I can imagine becoming numbed by routine, and where there is routine there is a perceived unimportance. I’m sure the husbands had reasons for missing the appointments: work, kid hating, or maybe forced overtime at the kid hating factory. Despite the reasons, though, one fact remains clear: I am the greatest father in the world.

EDIT: Remained. Was.

Like too many great men of our time, when presented with a choice between maintaining the status I had so lazily acquired, and risking it all for potential gains otherwise, I chose the funnier option. After the examination, my wife stepped from the room, proudly walked back through the waiting area, and entered a separate laboratory office. She completed this entire journey with her pants left unzipped**, in what I contend was an animalistic approach at boasting that she is “with child.” Female Huntsman spiders accomplish this by filling their jaws with egg sacks. She insists otherwise; that it was a way of boasting that she is “with a jerk.” I’m not sure what that means.

This is sure to remain a constant battle in both this blog and in family life: play to the audience vs. play to the inherently funny.

*My history of competitive playground games doesn’t stop there. I once battled Joseph Stalin in a marathon game of four-square, which elevated quickly…too quickly, some journalists say. The resulting blood stains are how the city of Red Square got its name. True story.
**My wife is really embarrassed by this part. I am a jackass.

A safe assumption would be that preparedness is a goal of any couple expecting their first child. I can imagine the embarrassment of bringing home a baby for the first time only to realize that instead of stocking shelves with diapers and talc, the child has shit itself and the mildly resourceful new parents must rely on old towels and, let’s say, baking soda to MacGyver their way out of this literal mess. Hell, baking soda is promoted as a way to absorb orders; I’d go that direction in a pinch.

I believe, however, that there is a limit. When cleaning the bathroom today I discovered a plethora (I’ve checked with my lawyers, I can legally use the word ‘plethora’) of baby hygiene products. For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning—the beginning being 2 days ago—you know that 1) my wife has wanted children for a very long time, and 2) is a mere 6 weeks pregnant. This latter fact has severely crippled my ability to safely assume anything.

I believe that when exploring general infant preparedness there are certain items that can be reserved for after the baby grows past the gross embryonic stage; items like baby shampoo, baby lotion, and baby cream—i.e., items that necessitate skin. But as the old saying goes, “to assume makes an ass out of you and me.” The ‘you’ in this case is me. The ‘me’ in this case is apparently me as well. And the ‘ass’ is mine, though supple and soft it may be due to a frightening concentration of baby products already coating our bathtub. I planned on later asking about this premature accumulation of products. Until then, I allowed my mind to wander.

Anticipating a logical reason for the products, I wasn’t initially jarred enough by their discovery to call upon my plethora of lawyers. However, upon closer examination of the products themselves I did find a valid reason to be disturbed. A solid 3ozs of the baby shampoo had already been used. My immediate—and admittedly over-reactive—response was to assume that, during the hours I spent away from the home, my wife bathed Cabbage Patch dolls and wads of cat hair in order to fulfill her motherly instincts. And to complete the image, I imagined she probably knitted an umbilical cord out of squirrel carcasses and feces.

I planned to ask my wife about this too, though with warranted caution; cell phone in hand and 9-1-1 on speed dial. “Yes,” I pictured myself reluctantly telling the asylum employee. “That’s my wife, the one in the corner teaching her blanket paddy cake.”

She came home. I asked. The products are for her friend’s child, whom she cares for on Tuesdays. Good. I anticipated a bit of trouble sleeping with one eye open.

Something else that I hope isn’t prevalent enough to warrant becoming a regular feature on this blog: products with gross names. Baby Cream, for example. Are they de-boned before puréed, or are the bones left in for calcium fortification?

My wife woke me up at 4:30 in the morning to tell me she was pregnant. I think I kissed her. I can’t remember; I was tired. And I’m pretty sure I was dreaming of something naked.

Later, when recounting the news, after waking up a second time to my wife’s glowing yet still-spastic face, I had only one honest question: “why did you choose 4:30 in the morning to pee on a stick?”

Knowing me well, she was ready with some logical response about having to capitalize on the first—i.e., cleanest—pee of the day. Though still tired and confused, I was excited by the opportunity to add to my list of things for which clean pee is needed: friend’s drug test, dehydrated in the desert, and now, pregnancy tests. Of course I was excited by the test as well, but, come on; I had been searching for years to find a third CLEAN PEE APPROPRIATE situation to round out my list.

Though this was the first time I’d been woken up by news involving urine, this wasn’t the first occurrence of an a.m. stick-pee in our household. For weeks leading up to the positive test, the bathroom had been converted into a makeshift bulk peestick warehouse bunker, leaving little room for toilet paper and oxygen. Our nuclear war readiness kit suffered: 1) food: nope. 2) water: nope. 3) peesticks: regular and extra crispy.

She praised those peesticks the way most men praise their own biological peesticks, waving them around in other people’s faces and challenging anybody willing to step up to the porcelain to a swordfight. Remind me to throw a crazy party the next time I have a vagina. Get strippers. Probably both sexes.

Logically, she should have at least waited until a missed period before hosing down her peestick stockpile. Then again, logically, I should just shut up and let her have her moments…her many, many moments waiting for those many, many peesticks to Magic 8-Ball our future. Eventually, I did shut up (until this blog, of course).

My wife has wanted children for a long time, since her own conception, I swear. And as is common with the potential for any realized dream, all ideas of logic die immediately. Restraining orders solve this dilemma for most people. For those in committed relationships, the party sans-dream must learn to endure the chaos.

I can remember the exact moment I had come to accept that, during the next nine months, I would have to abandon logic in favor of disarray: the moment I was shaken awake at 4:30 in the morning with a stick of urine above my head, by a wife who couldn’t have been happier about the situation.

About this site:

These are the words of a man learning to be a father with nothing to guide him but the wisdom of friends, his wife, his family, and some pretty good hunches…like, really good hunches, though.

Action Montage:

4 weeks

8 weeks

12 weeks

16 weeks

20 weeks

24 weeks

28 weeks

The Goal (replace dotted line with actual profile)

Read this…

"A Mean Utility" short story from Craig Davidson's collection, Rust and Bone.(This goes to an excerpt; the full story deals more with fatherhood, I promise)

Shit Yeah, Another Baby. by By Amber Richardson

Archives: A history of things I’ve likely already forgotten

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