Yesterday at my field site, I helped lead our youth education for our middle schoolers. There were about seven of us in a smallish conference room and rather than going over the lesson for the day (from a curriculum that is just a tad too Arminian for my tastes), the CYF director suggested that we do a “Hot Topics” session. With the Trayvon Martin shooting in the background of the news, we thought it might be smart to take their pulse, see what they’ve heard, and just provide a space where they could talk about it.
Now, like most groups, there’s no way that we’re only going to stay on one topic for an entire hour. We covered a lot of ground – from video games, the problems downloading from X-Box live through some local news events and the last episode of “The Walking Dead.” We did get around to Tryvon Martin and we had a great conversation. I asked them about hoodies, fear, stereotypes, and what they thought that happened. Now, I’ll admit that I have a certain perspective on what happened and that my view did infiltrate the conversion – but I really tried to focus less on what happened in Florida and more about what happens in their lives in New York. I was impressed with how up-to-date on local events they were. They knew about the controversies we’ve been having over the stop-and-frisk policy of the NYPD. They had all experienced or witnessed the ageism associated with their being young kids and whenever they are “in packs.” And since they all live in a large city with a huge variety of people, they did share some common sense experiences of how they handle each other and other people. They also were honest about times when they felt discriminated against. We also shared what racism and stereotypes were. It was great being able to share my own experiences of being on the negative end of stereotypes and racism. Eventually, one of the kids even brought up what it means to be an American and I asked each of them what that meant. It was great because race, skin color, class, gender, sexuality, or anything like that didn’t show up in their definitions. They sounded so optimistic, I almost got emotional. I just wanted to tell them “NEVER CHANGE! Keep being open! Don’t limit your definitions to ‘a look!’ America should be bigger than that! My olive toned future kidling will greatly appreciate it!” I didn’t say that, of course, but I guess I’m optimistic about the future too.
K and Mr. Bear try out our new Moby wrap.
In the wider scheme of things, K and I are one of the few folks we know, our age, who are having a child. This being New York, your late twenties is just not right to be building a family. But we’re all about breaking the mold. And, lucky for us, we’re not the only ones in our wide circle of friends who are entering parenthood. A few friends of ours recently gave birth to young, strapping boys. And since all our apartments are small, our friends want to get rid of the stuff their kids have outgrown – which means free stuff for us.
I guess I never realized the incredible movement of clothing, beds, and devices from one baby generation to the next. Over the weekend, we picked up more clothes and a co-sleeper from a friend. The weekend before that, a car seat; the weekend before that, more clothes. We’re stocking up and it feels oh so good.
Another plus for us is that the newborn boys we met are incredibly HUGGEEE. On the growth charts, they are all at the 120 percentile – they’re toddler sized, driving cars, going to college – it’s wild. Our friends had to switch into new wardrobes which means their little guys were unable to wear quite a bit of their clothing. That’s great for us because we’ve been given entire stockpiles of normal sized, completely unworn, clothing. And this has led my daily prayers into a new direction. Besides my usual prayers for a safe pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby, I’m also praying for a NORMAL sized kidling. And if he wants to be a little small and grow into his new clothing, I’m okay with that too.
On Sunday night, I felt my kidling kick.
That was wild.
With K 21 weeks along, I didn’t expect to feel the little guy quite yet. She keeps telling me that the little guy is moving around (especially when it’s time to go to bed). And there it was! Right there! Kicking! And I could feel it! And then I got to tell it to settle down cuz mom’s gotta sleep.
I have a feeling that last bit will become old hat pretty soon.
Today after church, K and I took a trip to the Lower East Side. We visited our favorite dumplings place (Vanessa’s), ran a few errands, and then popped into a new store: Jane’s Exchange: Children & Maternity Consignment.
With K being 19 weeks along, the need for new clothes is rather high. Luckily K was raised by a mother who loved thrift stores and passed those genes on down. While she rummaged through the wide selection of maternity clothes, babby clothes, toys, and games, I sat and read for Seminary (a feminist perspective on Matthew and Luke-Acts anyone?). The longer I sat, the more clothes, books, and other items were piled on top of me to “hold”. Before you knew it, I was buried in babby goodness. A book about pregnancy, a couple of Richard Scary board books, two really tiny books about Noah and King David (sadly missing the Goliath and the Bathsheba incident), and a ton of onesies covered me. With my reading done, I called K to dig me out.
As we headed to the check out, we noticed behind the counter a used Sophie Giraffe. As its maker claims, it is the most famous baby toy IN ALL THE WORLD. This Giraffe that squeaks (Twinkie is under the mistaken opinion that it is for her) will run you around $25 retail (a little cheaper on Amazon). It is the toy that when I run into expectant mothers at seminary, I ask whether they received one at their baby shower. Most think the toy is silly but we all agree that we must have one and Lord have mercy on the woman who does not get one. So there it was, behind the counter, staring at us, for only five bones. We snapped it up, no questions asked. A used teething toy that’s in great shape and looks like it never was used? Heck yes.
While walking towards our next appointment, we got to joking with each other. K said, adamantly and loudly on Avenue B that our kidling “deserves all the best things! … Well, used best things.” And it’s true. He does. And based on the pictures I took of K while waiting for the L train, he’ll get them.
THERE ARE SHARKS ON PANTS.
And pirate sharks on the shirts
And frogs and bears holding out on all the onesies.
Last week, K and I went in for the anatomy scan. Well, she’s the one that was being scanned. I was there for moral support and coat holding. The idea behind everything was that they would poke around using the ultrasound machine and take measurements of the little person growing inside her. We arrived at the office, checked in with the ultrasound technicians, hung up our coats, and BAM! time for the examination. K laid down on the examining bed, with a screen above her, letting her watch what was going on. I sat at the foot of the bed and tried to look over the technician’s shoulder. I got comfortable on my little stool and waited. But I didn’t have to wait long.
And then I saw a spine; a femur; a heart; a head; more spine; and then a hand. It was awesome.
Babby stynxno was curled up, resting, and seemed to be using the placenta as a pillow. The technician took the measurements she could but we weren’t able to see the face. The little baby wouldn’t uncurl. The technician tried everything, going in from the left, the right, the underside, and even asked my wife to wiggle around and see if it would wake up. But every time the technician tried to take a scan, babby stynxno would raise up its first and try to push the annoying thing away. It refused to uncurl.
“It’s stubborn!” the technician said.
“That’s my kid!” K cheered. It seems our kid got both our stubborn streaks.
At the end, we were told that K would have to come on back to try and get more measurements of the face. We were given a stack of 8 sonograms in one long strip, like what you’d get at a photobooth on the boardwalk. We weren’t asked what pictures we wanted – the technician just tried to take the best ones she could. And, in the middle of the batch, was a picture that I didn’t expect. Because, you see, we found out the sex of the child. And they took a picture of it. So right there, in the middle of the strip of pictures, right there, is a picture of my babby’s nether regions.
I don’t think that one is going up on the fridge.
Ever since I found out that K was pregnant, I’ve started reflecting on some of the things I do. I realize that there is a chance that some of my habits might end up being passed on to the kidling. And it is strange because my immediate response is to immediately wonder if my kid will do the same thing – and how I’ll take it when they do.
A few minutes ago, after washing all the dirty dishes that were taking over the kitchen, I announced to k and the animals (really, anyone who was in the room), that these dishes – these dishes – had been done! The way I announced it, you would think that I cured cancer or walked on Mars. K has learned to humor me about it. But if my kidling does it…well, I think I have some time to develop some witty comebacks.
A few nights ago, I realized that I had misidentified my dog as my son rather than my daughter. This was a mistake that she demanded that I rectify (or she was hungry – with dogs, it is hard to tell the difference). While editing our relationship, I noticed that facebook had finally added “-in-law” options. YES! With joy, I finally fixed my status with all my in-laws. And it was during that little journey that I discovered something disturbing: you can label a relationship between you and another profile as expected: child.
I know, I know. I have heard, and seen, fetuses having their own facebook profiles. Mothers and fathers, in their excitement, quickly create a profile for their not-yet-born. They are excited and want to post their sonograms everywhere (changing their own profile picture to it isn’t enough). I can’t hate them too much for that. But…well…I can say that it’s a little strange. I mean, as a creature living in the digital age, all current children are going to be digitalized, photographed, iphoned, blackberried, smartphoned, tweeted, facebooked, and blogged for their entire lives. My parents have a suitcase in their basement containing photographs of me, my brother, and some documentation of our finer moments during our earlier years. My future kid is gonna end up having a digital suitcase online. It’s a different world and I think I’m going to let them have their own facebook, created on their own terms. I figure, with them being a future pk (pastor’s kid), they already have enough things counting against them. I’ll at least give them their own online identity – but they better friend me. That’s all I
Late last night, my wife and I shared some news with the internet: we’re gonna be parents! Our first child is due the first week of July. We’re very excited and I think the internet world needs to know my experiences of Fatherhood. If I’m going to embarrass my future children, I should start now.
Anyways, here are some highlights of our spreading the news this Christmas season.
- My mother continually is asking me if we’re really sure my wife isn’t having twins.
- My wife’s grandmother almost fell out of her chair once we told her.
- We shared the news on Christmas morning with my wife’s family by having her parents unwrap presents on Christmas containing “I love Grandma/Grandpa” baby bibs.
- The love we’ve gotten on Facebook has been great.
- The name suggestions we keeping getting is a lot fun, mostly because folks aren’t taking it too seriously.
- Everyone who has already offered to babysit – watch out, we’re gonna remember that.
- One of the first questions we usually get ask is “was it planned?” That’s a pretty terrible question to ask and I think Ms. Manners would not approve.
- One of my wife’s aunts said “oh! it’s like the old days. I thought maybe you’d wait till Marc was out of school but you’re going ahead anyways without planning!” Uh huh.
- The more I share the news, the more excited I get about it.
- Mephibosheth is currently in the name lead.