Monthly Archives: January 2008

Lopinots have big heads, and our son appears on his way to being a true Lopinot

Lopinots have big heads. It’s true. We have noggins much larger than you’d find on a typical American male. I’m unaware of many people with heads larger than ours, other than alleged steroid users. Yes, I have cried myself to sleep at night in a huge pillow (thanks, Mike Myers for some classic “HEAD!” jokes).

Well, it turns out that Chester Justin Jr. Wallace Michael Christian my pending son appears well on his way to become a true Lopinot, at least in terms of his giant melon. Yes, his head is looking quite large. “How large?,” you might ask. Well, let me tell you.

Sarah and I went in for a sonogram today (see the sonogram picture below — his left ear is in the Mountain Time Zone, while his right is here in the good old Central), and the kid’s head is running just over two weeks ahead of his body in terms of growth. If we interpreted the numbers on the computer screen correctly, he’s at the 99th percentile in terms of space occupied by a cranium at this point in the pregnancy.

Sarah is a few days beyond 33 weeks pregnant. Right now, his estimated weight is 5 pounds, 6 ounces. I’d venture a guess that at least 4 pounds of that total weight can be directly attributed to his giant chrome dome.

Oh well. As my friend Susan said today, “You know what they say about guys with big heads? … Big hats.”

(And please, no jokes about delivery here — Sarah’s already worried and she reads this blog religiously. Well, OK, maybe she reads it once a week, but still.)

Putting my ineptness aside: I actually fixed something

Let me start this post by first explaining that I am in no way, shape or form what some people like to refer to as “handy.” If something breaks, I’m pretty good at examining the damage and, in most cases, exacerbating the problem.

Like the time I took apart my fancy, 10-second skip $200 CarDiscman around 1993. I tried to put it back together and had quite a few mystery parts left over. And a couple months ago, when it was about 30 degrees in St. Louis and our heater stopped working, I removed several screws, banged the unit around a bit and ended up spending the night sleeping two feet from our fireplace before having a repairman come out the next day.

Well, today I put my ineptness aside for a few hours and did the nearly unthinkable: I fixed our washing machine. It was actually quite easy — just had to shut the water off, remove and replace a few parts. Yes, we no longer have to make 20 trips from the sink to the washing machine to fill it with hot water. It’s such a nice luxury

Now I’m ready to take on other challenges, but still not quite ready for the “handyman” label.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be

Sarah and I had a good cry tonight after reading a book together. It was like we were 5 years old, watching “Old Yeller” for the first time. I started the book, and the cry built up and up. Sarah had to take over with a few pages left.

The source of tears wasn’t some classic masterpiece tearjerker. It was a children’s book, and we were reading it to our unborn son. The book is titled “Love You Forever.” My sister and her husband mailed it to us, which was pretty cool. The crying? Not so cool.

So what, exactly made us cry? I don’t know.

Perhaps it was the emotion of being just a few weeks away from being parents to a sure-to-be beautiful son.

Perhaps it was the song the mother sang throughout the book:
    I’ll love you forever,
    I’ll like you for always,
    As long as I’m living
    my baby you’ll be.

Perhaps it was the fact that this mother and her son continued to get older together with each turn of the page, and she continued to hold her son and sing this song to him. Just seeing that kind of love and thinking about being old and and still so much in love with our son brought joyful tears to our eyes.

Or, perhaps it was the end of the book, when the mother was too old and sick to finish the song, so the son, now a young man, picked his mother up and sang the song to her. Then he went home … [hold on, I’m having trouble typing – please give me a minute] … and sang it to his new baby daughter. Whew…

Is that weird? Are we freaks for getting so emotional? It’s a children’s book, for christsake. I totally need a blast of testosterone tonight. Wow.

Holding a baby like a football and other key learnings

Today was our marathon infant care class at St. John’s. Nothing like getting up early on a Sunday to spend six hours in a classroom setting. It was rough, too, considering I didn’t get home until nearly 2 a.m. this morning after an extremely long game of poker (and don’t get me started on the 0.045 percent odds against the final card that turned up and knocked me out – ugh!!!).

We learned a lot of interesting things, such as how to wash the baby, how to clean the his nose, how to swaddle him up in a Houdini-esque fashion and how to how to hold the baby like a football (Heisman Trophy style, and not like this). There also was a pretty lengthy video on breast-feeding, which was, ummmm, a bit risque. It was a little funny, too. Felt like I was in fifth grade sex-ed class, and nearly burst into full-on laughter a few times. Very mature, I know.

They also shot down a lot of wive’s tales and practices that used to be supported when I was a baby. For example, tickling Sarah’s feet will not turn our baby into a stutterer. And no baby powder on junior’s tush.

So what about you? Got any advice that’s probably been debunked over the past 20 to 30 years? Got any actual infant care advice that works? It’s really starting to feel real … just seven-ish weeks to go!

At 32 weeks, our son’s just about ready to show himself

Today is an awesome day. Yes, Sarah is now 32 weeks pregnant. That means that Chester Justin Jr. Wallace Cleveland our son is now fully developed. Yep, he’s now just baking in there, getting bigger and bigger until he’s ready to head for the light. We’re really excited and so happy to be at this point.

Tonight, we have our first lamaze class. That should be interesting — or at least I hope so. I thought I’d be done with classes when I earned my master’s degree a few years ago, but that wasn’t the case.

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Memories of the infamous “bulls##t ticket”

Saw an interesting story the other day. It’s about a man who wrote a vulgar message on the memo line of a check he submitted as payment for a $5 parking ticket. According to the account, a bunch of clerks were offended by the message and a disorderly conduct charge was filed against the man. Here’s what the man’s attorney had to say:

“The F-word isn’t what it used to be,” attorney Keith Williams said. It doesn’t have a sexual connotation anymore and so can’t be considered obscene, he said.

Pretty funny, right? Well, to me, it’s amusing for another reason: I can relate. Yes, about 10 years ago I did something equally brilliant stupid. I was driving back to my dorm after a late hockey game. I believe it was around 3 or 4 a.m. I was cruising along and noticed a dark vehicle tailgating me. The car’s headlights were off. Nervious, and too tired to mess around, I hit the gas on my 1987 Ford Mustang and left the guy in my dust … well, for a few seconds at least. About as soon as I hit 75 mph, that car’s headlights flashed on. And they were accompanied by other flashing lights — of the red and blue variety. Turns out it was a black undercover highway patrol sports car.

After the whole charade of “do you know how fast you were driving,” “license and registration” and “sign here,” I was fuming. Man was I livid. I had about $200 to my name at that time, didn’t work much, was in school full time, and I had been set up by some shady police work.

So when I wrote the check for $75 to pay for the ticket, I paused, looking at the memo line. A lightbulb went off in my head. “I should write down my true feelings about the ticket on the line,” I thought to myself. So I did. I wrote the words “bulls##t ticket.” I tore the check out of the booklet, admired the words, and inserted the ticket and check into an envelope to be sent out the next day.

About a week later, I recieved an interesting letter back from the court in the jurisdiction in which I was ticketed. There was a note on official letterhead, saying that the clerk was offended and the judge had required me to be present on my court date. Oh yeah, and the original check, with the words “bulls##t ticket” still emblazoned on the memo line, also slid out of that envelope from the court. I probably still have it somewhere.

“What am I to do?,” I asked myself. “I’m not some kind of tough guy. I’m not somebody who can withstand the public humiliation I am sure to endure in court.”

So I did what any other self-described pansy would do: I got a lawyer. It ended up costing me another $100 (leaving me with about $25 in my shrinking account), but I didn’t have to show up in court. And I learned my lesson, too.

I feel your pain, David Binner, 45, of Doylestown, Pa. I tried to fight the law, and I wussed out, too.

UPDATE: Detached retina leads to emergency surgery for daddu

Arriving home from work tonight, I went upstairs to swap out my work attire for something more comfortable. Then I heard an unusual sound: Our answering machine was chirping. “How strange,” I thought, as I went over and tried to figure which button would play back the message. My mom had left a message for us, and she spoke in a quiet, tearful voice, asking us to call her cell phone.

My heart sank? Something terrible had happened. I knew it.

Of course, I picked up my phone and called her to get the scoop. I was so nervious that I was on the verge of tears myself. Thankfully, no one had died or been maimed by a wild boar. However, she told me that my dad’s retina became detached and he’s having emergency surgery at 8 p.m. (right about now, actually). I’ve been reading up on it (click here for a good description), and the success rate for this surgery is 80 to 90 percent. It still makes me nervous, and I can understand why my mom is a little freaked out.

Anyway, I hope it goes well. Please keep your fingers crossed for him.

UPDATE (10:25 p.m.): The surgery went well. He’s still knocked out, but my mom and sister are supposed to be bringing him home tonight in about an hour. For the next two weeks, he’ll have to keep his nose pointed down so this little bubble in his eye will help the retina heal/reattach. Scary stuff.

It’s not easy being green (at least in terms of eye color)

Poking around the Internet earlier, I saw a mention of eye color, which got me thinking: What color eyes will Chester Justin Jr. Wallace my pending son have?

Sarah and I have run the formula found here. With my green eyes, Sarah’s blue and the combination of parent and sibling eye color, it turns out that our son has a 50-50 chance at having green eyes like mine. The remaining 50 percent chance is for blue.

Green eyes are rare, with only 1 percent to 2 percent of the population having them according to Wikipedia. I think it’d be pretty cool to have a son with green eyes, but really either choice is fine by me. At least we’re keeping the “fair” eye gene pool going, eh?

Can we shudder red-light cameras at intersections?

Finally, somebody in the St. Louis media has come out with some information about the “I-can-believe-they’re-not-illegal” red-light cameras you see at just about every intersection in the St. Louis area. The piece, an editorial in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, can be read here. However, I don’t think the editorial goes far enough.

Though I’ve never received a “nonmoving” violation for running a red light (knock on wood), there has to be a court somewhere that can put these clown companies out of business. (Yes, American Traffic Solutions, I’m talking about you and similar firms.) Cities and, sadly, these parasitic companies, make a ton of money off of these tickets, and the cameras have shown that they don’t even reduce accidents (click here). It’s all about the money. And, my god, a $100 fine for a nonmoving violation in which you are actually “moving.” Plus the owner of the car is fined and not the driver??? Absurd. How can this possibly be legal?

Whew… Well, that’s my rant for today. What do you think?

“The Squirt incident” or “Sharing a first alcoholic drink with my son”

After a long week, I often relax on Friday by downing a beer with dinner. Since my wife was at the store and the beer supply was low after a Stokes-filled weekend, I decided to break into the liquor cabinet for some vodka. After rummaging through the fridge, I settled on a can of Squirt as the mixer. I poured the concoction into a pint glass, sat down at the island in our kitchen to eat and read a magazine, and in walked Sarah from the store.

We chit-chatted for a few minutes before I continue with my routine. As I read the magazine to my left, I caught some commotion in the corner of my right eye. Sarah was sneaking a sip of my Squirt. Turns out she took three huge gulps before realizing the glass wasn’t pure corn syrup and water. She freaked out for a minute or so, but it’s now kind of funny.

Turns out I just shared a first alcoholic drink with my son. And I thought I’d have to wait until the year 2029!