Monthly Archives: February 2008

T minus 10, 9, 8 …

I say there are 10 days left. Sarah says there are nine. I don’t want to argue over it, and math hasn’t been my specialty over the years, but either way we’re looking at delivering on March 6. And no, we’re not doing the “trendy” inducement thing that’s sadly becoming all the rage. Her doctor is actually scheduling ours for legitimate medical reasons. It’s precautionary and nothing major.

It’s kind of exciting knowing that in nine 10 days or less, I’ll be holding my son. Looking into his eyes. Thinking about playing catch with him in 2012, taking him to get his drivers license in 2024, watching him graduate from high school in 2026, sharing a beer with him in 2029 and, perhaps someday, watching him go through the joy and excitement of a pregnancy just like Sarah and I doing right now. It’s going to be cool. I can’t wait. Let the countdown begin.

Fatherly advice from an old friend and proud new papa

Mike, one of my oldest and closest friends, is now a father. His wife gave birth to a 8 pound, 6 ounce baby girl early Tuesday morning. Mary Cunniff is the name. She’s really a cutie (sadly, no skinny head like her daddy!). Sarah and I went to visit them at the hospital on Wednesday, and it was quite an experience. Hearing their stories about the delivery and hospital stay has given us confidence as we head into our final 11 (or less) days of “two-dom.”

Mike’s a much older and wiser man than I am (he was born on Dec. 28, I joined in on Dec. 30 — same year). And he’s already filling me up with advice about fatherhood. I’m sure that will continue to be the case, seeing as he’ll always have two weeks more experience than I will have. I’ve already been cracking up at his stories of sleeping on a rug due to exhaustion and the damage caused by loose-fitting, poopy diapers (“You need to practice putting diapers on a baby,” he advised me).

Well, I just can’t wait to join in the fun. It’s going to be awesome raising our kids together throughout the rest of our lives. Here’s a pic of the proud papa with “Pretty Mary Sunlight“:

And then we spoke His name … our son’s name, that is

Over the weekend, Sarah and I finally came to an agreement on our son’s name. Looks like we’ll have something to write on the birth certificate now. I bet you’d like to know what it is, right? Very interesting spot this puts me in …

Everybody has asked (over and over again) what we’re going to name our son. Right now, and as we’ve stated all along, we’d like to keep the name a secret. Really, it’s just something we don’t want to share at this time. Yes, we’re not sharing because you made fun of the possible names we discussed a few months ago (you know who you are). And we don’t care that you know some guy named Billy Bob who used to work at a pizza joint and smelled like he just woke up next to a gorilla keyboardist.

Now don’t sweat it too much — you only have to wait about two more weeks to find out!

Daddy’s c-section

As I mentioned in my last post, Sarah and I had our final lamaze class on Thursday. Apparently we are ready to be parents. Well, at least we’re as close to ready as we’ll be.

Anyway, something funny happened during our last class. We were going to do some role playing to learn about c-sections, and our instructor went around to each person, handing him or her a job description. There were nurses and doctors, all with technical job titles that I cannot recall. We were the last couple to receive a “job.”

I heard Kathy, the instructor, tell the couple before us, “I still need a mom. Oh, wait, I want you to have this one.”

So I leaned over to Sarah and said, smirking, “Ha, ha. You get to be the mom.”

Then Kathy handed me my name tag. The word on the card? “Mom.”

“Yep, that’s right,” Kathy said, handing Sarah the “Dad” tag.

With that, I was put into a surgery gown and was told to get up on the table in the center of the room.

“Will this table hold 200 pounds?,” I asked, hoping a scrawnier husband might need to take over my role.

“We’ll find out,” Kathy said, laughing.

Anyway, long story short. It was pretty nerve-wracking and embarrassing, but I played mom. I had the curtain blocking my business as Kathy described what happens during a c-section. Fun stuff.

Continuing the role reversal, at the end of class all the fathers got to try on a 50-pound sympathy belly (much like this guy, who is more daring than me, because I refuse to post the available evidence online). It had a belly and, um, some chesty lady parts. That thing was heavy. I don’t envy Sarah for lugging our son around for the next two and a half weeks (yes, that’s all the time that’s left!).

A Valentine’s Day feast even fans of La Choy meal-in-a-can dinners would refuse

Sarah and I celebrated our seventh Valentine’s Day together today, but this one was a little different. For the past six, I have prepared a special meal for my sweetie. Some of those meals were quite memorable. Like our first, when I bought a bottle of wine and then, minutes before serving the food, realized I didn’t own a corkscrew. So what did we do? We took out a screwdriver and tried hammering the cork into the bottle. As we were doing so, the bottle split in half, nearly slicing Sarah’s arm in two (she was holding the base of the bottle; real smart, right?). We had a good laugh, and Sarah stuck with me for some odd reason.

The Valentine’s Day meals were equally delicious and creative each year. One year, I made a Thai dish. Another we had a pork loin encrusted with my own mix of special secret ingredients (OK, Cavender’s and Italian dressing, so sue me). Most of the time, I’d steam some asparagus and have a fresh salad to start things off.

Well, this year was a little different. Due to a little snowstorm that blew through the area two weeks ago (thanks a lot, Mother Nature, you heartless wench!), our lamaze class got pushed back an extra week. So our final class was tonight, Valentine’s Day.

With only an hour or so between work and the start of class, we decided to share a romantic dinner out — at the St. John’s Mercy Medical Center cafeteria. I helped myself to a large serving of sweet and sour chicken that even the most ardent fans of La Choy meal-in-a-can dinners would have probably not found overly tasty (see the photo below and notice the fake smile smirk). Sarah had some pizza that reminded me of a ketchup-on-bread sandwich.

Yep, it was a holiday for the ages. And our last together as just the two us. I’m sure this meal will be ingrained in our memories for all of eternity. The things we do for love …

Molly, you’re going to be a big sister soon

If only Molly, our sweet but spastic goldendoodle, could comprehend words other than “biscuit,” “ball,” “poo-poo,” etc., this is what I’d like to tell her right now:

“Molly, you are going to be a big sister soon. Being a big sister requires big responsibility. You will be 2 years old in a few weeks, so I expect you to be a big girl and act your age.

“Though the 90 percent of the attention this family receives now falls squarely on your hairy back, that’s going to change soon. It’s no longer going to be about you, 24-7. You’re going to have to share, and often give up, the spotlight. But I’m sure you’ll find the attention sharing to be worth it, because you’re going to have a new buddy in your little brother. You’re going to love him as much as you love mommy and daddy. I’m sure of it. He’s going to look up to you (only literally for a few years), and will learn from you throughout his life.

“You have a lot of positive traits to share with our son:

  • I’m sure he’s going to have a great sense of humor from all the times he laughs at you, whether you are chasing your tail but just can quite get a grasp, or diving headfirst onto your bed in anticipation of a tasty rawhide.

  • I’m sure he’s going to be the baby with the cleanest feet, as you’re quite generous in doling out your little wet kisses. In fact, you’ll be happy to note that you’ll finally have somebody who cannot say “no” to your advances. How awesome will that be?

  • I’m sure you’ll teach him about good hygiene, as you sprint to your rug to have your teeth brushed or up the stairs to leap into the tub for a bath.

  • I’m sure you’ll be his constant companion, awaiting flying Cheerios and carrot sticks when he’s sitting in his high-chair. Just please eat everything that falls, OK? We don’t want to raise a picky eater.

  • I’m sure you’ll be there to show him how good little boys and girls are potty trained.

  • I’m sure he’s going to want to learn to swim after watching you paddle across the lake after a stick.

  • And I’m sure you’re going to teach him how to be obedient when you’re asked to be a good little girl.

“Of course, I know that with the good comes the bad. I can’t change you, try as I might, but good little girls need to lead by example. We don’t want our son to learn bad behavior by watching you:

  • Stand at the back door and bark at blowing leaves or just because you’re bored.

  • Run up to strangers and tinkle on their feet.

  • Take treats from strangers.

  • Run away when we yell, “Come here” or “Get in the house.”

  • Hop around in the back seat of the car while mommy and daddy are driving.

“Later in life, as you grow from a good little girl to an upstanding adult, I expect you to have a long-lasting and positive impact on your little brother:

  • I expect you to sit with him while he watches all the cartoons and Disney programming that mommy and daddy cannot bear.

  • I expect you to be his best friend, even when he’s going through his awkward phase. Just never rub it in that you can grow a long, full beard but us Lopinots cannot.

  • And I expect you to teach him about the importance of lifelong learning. Yes, that phrase about old dogs not being able to learn new tricks won’t apply to you. You’re too smart and you have too much fun learning new things.

“But the biggest subjects I expect you to teach our son are love and life. Yes, someday, Molly, you’re going to be an older sister. A much older sister, in fact. You see, dogs just don’t live as long as humans. It’s a sad, sad thing. All that joy that you will have brought into our lives over the next 10-12 years will be taken away from us at some point. I’m sure that mommy and daddy will cry. In fact, I guarantee it. But I’m also sure that our son will cry even more. He’ll be entering a new phase in life. It will be the first time that he has to live his life without his little buddy, his big sister.

“So cherish your time with him. Lead by example. And be a good big sister, Molly. Though Sarah and I won’t always be looking at you, we will still love you just the same. You have a lot of responsibility in raising a good little brother.”

Home alone for the last time in a long while?

Today’s high was about 18 degrees in the St. Louis area. There was snow and sleet, though not much of either. It made for a dreary setting for what could have been my last day home along for quite some time.

Yes, I took a sick day today. I needed it, actually. I feel like total crud, and I have hardly done a darn thing. It’s been great. However, it kind of freaks me out that the next time I take a day off from work most likely will be for paternity leave in a few weeks. I won’t be alone anymore. I’ll be with Sarah and our newborn son.

I kind of enjoy being here by myself, doing my own thing all day. I mean, OK, the dog is here, but she’s extremely well behaved when it’s just the two of us. She mostly just sleeps at my side, all curled up and cute. Maybe when Chester Justin Jr. Wallace our son grows up a bit and starts school, I’ll get another day home alone. Or maybe even tomorrow, if my condition doesn’t improve, will provide me with one more day of solidarity. Who knows?

First of many babies due tomorrow

My two best and longest friends are now, like me, married with pregnant wives. I’ve known Jason since the summer before third grade, and I met Mike within the same year. It’s amazing that we’re still as close as we are. I’m also amazed that we’re all 32 and on the brink of becoming first-time dads. How cool is that?

Mike’s wife is due tomorrow. The wait is getting tense. Out for beers last night, Mike had to keep his cell phone in the clear, just in case that magical call came in from his wife. At one point, his phone buzzed and lit up. Also lighting up was his face. However, it was a false alarm: just his dad calling to check in. The wait for them continues …

I wish Mike and his wife nothing but the best. They’re going to be great parents. I simply cannot wait until I get that call from Mike, telling me that they’ve delivered a health baby (and then I’ll finally find out the sex of this darn kid, too!). It’s going to be awesome.

Sarah and I are the next couple due for parenthood. Jason and his wife will join us a few months later. It all should add up to an awesome 2008 for all of us. I’ve known those guys for more than 20 years. Who knows what the next 20 will bring, but it’s exciting that we’re all in the same situation. The countdown begins for the year 2028.

Baby shower bounty

Sarah’s big baby shower was on Saturday. Man, what a haul. I cannot thank our friends and family enough for all the wonderful gifts. Our living room went from (somewhat) clean:

To jam-packed with all kinds of baby stuff (ignore our photo-friendly “look-at-me, look-at-me” goldendoodle and look closely, the differences are much more noticeable in person):

There were even more items strewn across the floor and boxes everywhere on Sunday, but we’ve actually cleaned up a bit. Most of the clothes is in another room, and the highchair is in the dining room, for example. Anyway, thanks everybody. We really are grateful for all that you have given us.

Pregnancy Q&A

Sarah’s baby shower is tomorrow, and I’m sure she’s going to be bombarded with question after question, many of which will be repeats. Since I’ve been hit up with a repetitive series of questions myself, it got me thinking … I should put together my own list of frequently asked questions and responses in regards to the pregnancy. So without further introduction, here is the official Q&A:

Q: Are you and Sarah having a boy or girl?
A: You do live on this planet, right? I have told you several times already. We are having a boy. Please don’t forget. It’s a simple fact, and it’s one that tries my nerves when I must repeat it.

Q: Have you picked a name yet?
A: Are you sure this isn’t the fourth time you’ve asked me this question? Well, in case I haven’t told you before, my standard response is, “We have not picked a name, though we’ve narrowed the list down. And even when we do finally pick a name, we plan on keeping it a secret until the delivery.”

Q: Come on, man. You can be serious about not sharing the name with me, can you?
A: Yes, my friend, I am being extremely serious. Think about my face right now (close your eyes, it’s easy) and now imagine it with the most serious expression you can think of. That’s the look I’m giving you right now.

Q: Can you at least tell me some of the names you are considering?
A: Again, the answer is no. You are starting to drive me nuts. but to calm you down, here are a few of the names we are NOT considering as they have been eliminated from our massive list: Fletcher, Wallace, Chester, Ernest, Caleb and Aiden. Oh yeah, and we also ruled out Michael Christian Cunniff Jr. Lopinot and Robert Jason Bergfeld Jr. Lopinot. We were thinking about claiming those names so my friends couldn’t use them.

Q: When’s the due date?
A: The official due date is March 13. However, our doctor doesn’t want Sarah to go past 39 weeks, so it’ll be at least a week earlier than that.

Q: How’s Sarah feeling?
A: Am I chopped liver? Have you no concerns for my feelings? Am I already relegated to a back seat? Well, Sarah’s feeling fine. Every once in a while the baby gives a big kick, but he’s been pretty well behaved.

Q: So Sarah’s not experiencing morning sickness anymore?
A: Again, I’ve answered this question a million times. As I told you on all those previous occasions, she hasn’t had those feelings for at least five months. And even then, it wasn’t that bad.

Q: Are you ready to be a dad?
A: No.

Q: Are you excited?
A: Yes, very much so.

Q: Are you going to have more kids?
A: Please, please, please. Let’s get through this first delivery before we start up on that subject.

Q: Is Sarah going to go back to work or is she going to be a stay-at-home mom?
A: Do you want to pay our mortgage? Do you have special seeds we can plant out back to grow a money tree? This isn’t 1950, and I’m not some rich dude. The wife will be working again.

Q: What are you going to do about childcare?
A: Procrastinate, most likely, and then panic when we realize we only have a few weeks left to make a decision. At least Sarah’s mom has agreed to take our son for a few days a week. We just need to find childcare for 1-3 days a week.

Well, that officially wraps up this Q&A. If you have additional questions, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. If there are enough responses, or we get bombarded by new questions in our daily lives, I may do this again soon.