Geeking Out About Baby: Fear The Crib

Geeking Out About Baby: Fear The Crib
 It’s been many months since the last Geeking Out About Baby post and, yep, that’s parenting for you. Babies needs lots of attention, care, cleaning, and time. We’ve been very blessed with Logan in that he’s actually a very easy baby compared to stories other parents tell us (though maybe our opinion is biased because we’ve never raised a baby before and all parents believe the best about their babies). If there’s one deciding vote on our nomination for Best Baby of the Year award, it would be how he’s been sleeping through the night since he was three months old. This would be where you curse us. Don’t worry, we can take it.

Bedtime is exactly what I’m here to share with you today because while he’s been an overnight angel, it hasn’t been in his crib. He has four beds available in our house (five if you count naps on top of Mama): a basinet in our bedroom, his playpen in the living room, his swinging chair, and the crib in his bedroom. The vast majority of the time, he’s asleep in his chair or the playpen with my wife and sometimes myself passed out on the couch. When he first started rolling onto his stomach, we always made him sleep in his swinging chair out of a SIDS panic. There was even a night when I woke up to the sound of his kicking in his playpen only to discover he was on his belly and face down on the hardened matt. No indication he has difficulty breathing, he was not blue, no medical emergency, but the adrenaline rush that kept me awake for the next 30 hours was enough to install a fear of the worst. Now that he’s doctor approved to be safe from any non-breathing dangers in his sleep, it’s time to move into his crib.

Wrong!

My wife is not prepared for that next step. It’s not about him sleeping on his stomach, it’s not even about which of his many beds he sleeps in. She is simply not ready to have him sleep in any room without her. Even if I try and take him upstairs when she’s already asleep on the couch, it changes in the middle of the night when I wake up the next morning to find she woke up and brought him back down to the living room. It’s a maternal instinct and this is what I’m writing about today, dads. Not just about the day when it’s time to move your child into their own room, but the day when you have to pry their mother away from them at night.

If Only We Had Boobs…

There’s a few key decisions about our son I feel eliminated from solely because I’m not the mother and it bites. Hard. It’s sexist even and while I’m sure every current or former mother would say, “It’s a maternal instinct, get used to it,” that doesn’t take away from the fact that it feels like us dads get the short end of the stick on bringing up baby. And I get it to a point. My wife’s around him all day, every day. They have a bond, a connection I don’t have with him. (This goes back to my previous post about the sucky part of going back to work.) But we have our own connection and dads have as much of a vested interest in a child’s upbringing as the moms of the world.

Those thoughts latched onto me for the last couple weeks of this ongoing debate on whether or not tonight was the night Logan would rest his head in his room. You know, the one we went to all the trouble putting together for him. And for him alone. The one he’ll eventually lock himself inside when he’s a teenager hating us because there’s no way we’re letting him go to that party that will “totally have adult supervision” because someone’s uncle is going to swing by a couple of times and make sure everything’s OK. That one. I felt bitter about how decisive and undebatable my wife stands on this position. I’ve even brought up the indisputable, historically accurate fact that she is the absolute last person to embrace change and is therefore not exactly the best person to make a reasonable decision on when it’s time to progress. Until I started to look at it another way.

It’s A Team Effort

Fundamental moments in parenting should only pass by an absolute 100% margin. Meaning both of you should agree to it, not one. And right now, she’s opposed to letting our son sleep in his crib. Will it be that way forever? No, it can’t be. And that’s how we’ve discussed this. When we’re BOTH ready for that night, it will something we do together. And that door swings both ways. Yes, she is his mother and while she may know the best way to change his diaper, which is his favourite plush toy, and decipher his needs based on the frequency of his cries, that does not give her a monopoly on the milestones of his life.

When you are two parents raising a child, it’s a team effort. One excels at certain responsibilities than others, one is best at handling particular crisis than the other… it happens that way with everything. And there are things she knows I refuse to budge on when it comes to his upbringing, such as letting him believe Santa Claus is a real person. (Aaaaaand let the jaw-dropped comments begin!) She doesn’t get how it’s a big deal for me, but understands that it is. Like the subheader says, it’s a team effort. There is no parent more important than the other.

Besides, it totally sounded like he said “dada” the other day. Take that, other moms.

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Geeking Out About Baby: The Burden of Responsibility

Geeking Out About Baby: The Burden of Responsibility
By the time you read this, I’m either one day away from returning to work (meaning you’re one of my assorted social media followers, friends and family) or it’s already too late and I’m back in the office. Yep, paternity leave is coming to an end and it’s time to face facts – I’d rather be a mom right now.
First, let’s clarify something seeing as blogs can reach an international audience and not every country has the same parental benefits as others. (America, I’m looking at your substandard perks in particular, if you can call them that.) Here in Canada, mothers receive up to a full year of maternity leave to stay home with their newborns while fathers can do the same, if they so choose. For fathers, your job is guaranteed to be available upon your return and while you do collect a form of unemployment insurance payment during your leave, it’s only at 50% of your regular pay to a maximum amount per biweekly period.

As sweet as the prospect of taking a full year may be, it was not a feasible option for our particular clan. First off, I’m the sole breadwinner of my household as my wife has struggled with epilepsy and biological depression for many years. Not serious enough to receive government benefits other than assistance with a federal drug plan, but we made the decision a couple of years ago that in the interest of her mental and physical health it was best she stay at home and let me deal with the grind of the work-a-day lifestyle. That means taking any time off would result in only having half the income coming to the house and while we have some savings set aside, a full year would drain us dry. After some number crunching and cashing in my year’s worth of vacation pay, we decided a month at home to help young Logan (and ourselves) settle into a new life would be best. Not preferred, but best.

Taking It All In

And now we come to it. It’s been a month and duty calls. To be honest, I dreaded the idea of going back up until a couple of days ago and now I’m at the point of grudging acceptance. Ok, I’ll go, but I’m insanely jealous of my wife and the time she’ll have with our son. But my family needs money to help that little guy grow up, enrol in sports, try out music, wear new clothes, eat solid foods, play with new toys, learn to drive, go to college… in other words, it costs money to grow up. In my family, the burden of providing those means falls squarely on my shoulders and if that’s what must be done, then so be it. Right? That’s how I should be feeling, yes? Then how come I would cut off my right arm to stay home and watch him grow up.

I’ve done my damnedest to experience as much of my son as possible during my time off and in those moments when I’m feeding him and his eyes lock onto mine with that split-second moment of awareness when it looks like my identity is dawning on him right before he lets out a roar of crap into his diaper, I think about what I risk missing. Hearing his first word the moment it’s spoken. That first giggle. Crawling, then walking. Even being nearby when he hurts himself. It’s a kick in the nuts to think that I’ll learn about these fantastic moments when my wife calls me at work or discover them when I get home and he’s already done is half-a-dozen times.

It’s a toss-up between responsibility and satisfaction. The thing about it is that every parent – mother and father – goes through this in today’s North American society. But that’s what sacrifice means, I guess. I’m sacrificing those experiences so that I can ensure my wife remains home for him. We can afford to exist on one salary because we took steps over these past few months (moving out to the country, cleaning up our expenses, setting aside savings) for this very purpose. And now that it’s D-Day, I’m feeling the weight of that decision.

I know some people in my life, particularly those at work, believe in the value of hard work and long hours at the office because it pays off in the long run and I salute those who see things that way. Maybe it’s because of a near-death experience that I see things differently and think about everything I could have lost if things had truly gone sour. How I wouldn’t be able to know what it’s like to have a son if not for one split-second reaction. Maybe that’s why I don’t see working to live as living, maybe that’s why this feels difficult. Or maybe every parent, every dad, goes through the same thing in their own way and it blows chunks for each of us.

Hey, Where’s The Advice?

You know, when I intended to write this post, it was to continue on as advice for other upcoming or new dads on dealing with the inevitable return to work. And I guess if there is any advice, it’s that it sucks. But it has to be done. And that’s what comes with being a parent. Sometimes taking care of them means not being there with them, sometimes you have to set a good example. That’s what being a parent is all about and it’s moment like these when that responsible burden truly hits home.

Returning to work after paternity leave is a lot like going back to school after the summer break. And unless you were one of the weird kids looking forward to a return to the halls of education, you didn’t look forward to it then either. Same here. Every Labour Day weekend, when the Jerry Lewis Telethon would act like a church bell of doom, I would have the same reoccurring dream that I was transferred to a school bigger than the West Edmonton Mall and while it felt magical and exciting like it was for Harry Potter’s first tour of Hogwarts (now you see why these topics are placed under the title, “Geeking Out About Baby”), it slowly turned sour when I felt overwhelmed and alone in a giant building filled with people who fit in seemlessly. I wonder if I’ll have the same dream tonight, it does feel the same. And Logan will feel the same way in the near future and it’ll be my job to tell him there are things you have to do even when you don’t want to. Like going to school after the summer off. Like going back to work after your son’s been born. Hmm, maybe I’ll even pull up this very post and get him to see how it’s something we all deal with at different times in our life and it all comes down to the same emotions and with the same payoff in the end. Go school, get a good start in adulthood. Go back to work, get your kid’s life off to a good start.

If that’s advice that works for you, great. If not, that’s fine too. Sometimes it’s just good to know you’re not alone.

Geeking Out About Baby: Sometimes Hollywood Gets It Right

Geeking Out About Baby: Sometimes Hollywood Gets It Right

A week ago, I was going over ideas for my next fatherhood-inspired post and there were a couple of candidates. Considering how late I was into the daddy blogging game before I actually became a dad, this post was originally going to focus on the prep work for your first child. I was bouncing back and forth between the pros and cons of cloth diapers or what you should and should not buy for baby’s room when a call from my wife in the upstairs bathroom changed everything.

The reason I babble on about all this is that the one lesson you should immediately take away from this post (if lessons are what I’m teaching and I guess so considering the topic in general), it’s that babies eat plans for breakfast and poop out chaos. It’s not intentional, there’s no teenage-style angst over forcing them to live in a cramped womb for so many weeks or anything like that. They simply have no clue whatsoever what’s going on. They do it because that’s just what they do. That’s why my son was born four weeks premature; not because something went wrong or it was the reaction to some unexpected trigger, he simply ended up being born early.

Readers, meet Logan... my son.
Readers, meet Logan… my son.

That’s right! It’s official and my wife and I are the proud parents to Logan Michael Hamilton-Crapper, born on July 7, 2015 at 1:23am, weighing in at 5 lbs, 10 oz. Four weeks premature, which as far as premature births goes is a little league softball game compared to other premies we met. It’s something I’ll write about later on, but I’m happy to say the little dude is home safe and sound and looking handsome.

It Started With A Sploosh!

My wife and I were leaning on the tail end of a nice, legitimately relaxing weekend. There were no major chores on our list and I had been able to not only completely finish all the yard work I’ve been psyched to do in a 24-hour period since we moved to our new house, but also put a nice little campfire together for friends expected the following weekend. Around 6:30 pm that Sunday, I went inside to wake my wife up from a nap as her parents were expected for dinner when she noticed she was incredibly wet around the crotchal area. She went upstairs not assuming what you’re likely jumping right into, I thought nothing of it and returned to playing outside with the dogs.

That’s when I heard her calling my name from the upstairs bathroom window and something just clicked. Not a full click, more like when you turn on fluorescent lights and they hum dimly for a while before completing the transition to bright light. Upstairs, my wife was packing and she told me that her water broke.

Now here’s where the title of today’s post comes into play. In prenatal class, we learned that a woman’s water is not the first thing to break. You see it in movies all the time. The mom-to-be is standing in the midst of a tense situation when all of a sudden, sploosh! “Uh-oh, my water just broke.” And the romantic leading man rushes her to the hospital while the hilarious foreign cab driver rambles on about getting the back seat dirty before barely making it to the hospital in time for the baby to be born minutes afterwards. In fact, labour is an incredibly long and gradual process and that sploosh (so we learned) is not the trigger to start the entire labour process. We were told the water breaks before active labour starts and you should already be in the hospital at that point because your partner started feeling a slight build up of contractions hours before. Hearing my wife say her water broke BEFORE contractions told me it was not a concern… until calling the hospital told me otherwise.

“If your wife’s packing, you should pack too and be ready for the real deal. It sounds like her water broke.”

This is why we’ve nicknamed our son “Hollywood” due to this ironic twist of fate. We’ve been spending the past month mocking how bad movies portray something as seemingly widely known as the birthing process and yet that’s how we came to ate a bit of mud. Just a bit. I drove, we didn’t have to call a cab and we were remarkably calm about the whole thing. If anything, we were laughing about it all and reflecting on how everything would change soon. Or in a few days.

10 Simple Steps To Becoming A Dad

As I read over what I’ve written thus far, it’s clear I could carry on forever with a regaling story of how my son came into our world and as tempting as it is to detail 31 hours of labour (yep, arrived to the hospital on Sunday and Logan was born on Tuesday), that’s not really my goal today. Hit me up in the comments if you want to learn more about that time in between, but what I really want to focus on is what to expect when you’re no longer expecting, you’re happening. And to do that, I’m going to list some of the key facts I learned from my time in labour.

  1. Prenatal Class, Why Bother?: The only useful fact I can recall from prenatal class that came in handy during all this time was that it was going to take a lot of waiting. Otherwise, I feel like I could have skipped those classes and simply asked a buttload of questions to the nurses, but there’s no mistaking how helpful those classes were to my wife. Many of my other dad friends agree with me and never found much use from prenatal classes either.
  2. The Waiting Game: As #1 mentioned, there’s a lot of waiting. Overhearing some of the other parents in the post-delivery ward talking about the trials of 12 hours labour and 10 minutes pushing lead to some major eye rolling from yours truly, but it’s all still a lot of waiting for go time. Be prepared with some reading material, playing cards, whatever you feel you need to pass the time. I did that, yet strangely the only thing I did was playing some cards with my mother-in-law at 2:00am. The importance of the whole event was enough of an attention grabber for me, so keep that in mind as well.
  3. Nurses Are Awesome!: Sure, doctors get all the credit, but nurses are the ones in the trenches and the ones you bond with during this experience. We had incredible nurses and I’d like to take a moment to highlight Lisa for helping us get settled, Tasha for her companionship and assurance during those painful contractions, and Flora for being there when Logan came into the world. Seriously, guys, be prepared to hug your nurses and shake hands with your doctors.
  4. Eating Out: Unless you’re pre-packed for a scheduled birth, you’ll need to buy food and drinks. Even with hospital food delivered straight to her bed, I was still picking up snacks, iced cappuccinos, sandwiches, and much more for myself and my wife. Even with the snacks we packed ahead of time, the duration was longer than anything could be packed or last in our tiny cooler.
  5. I’m Not A Coach, I’m A Team Owner: All this talk about dads being the coach during delivery was not how it went down for me. The nurses were the coach. I felt more like the team owner. My role was to make sure the real coach had everything she needed to call the plays and inspire the players. I simply sat in the box with a grim look on my face until someone finally scored a goal. Mind you, that was right up until it was go time and so we move to #6…
  6. Getting Into The Action: Dads have a variety of options for how involved they wish to be in their child’s birth. I know a guy who actually got in the tub with his wife and pulled their daughter out – he fucking delivered his child! That was not my plan, I wasn’t even interested in cutting the umbilical cord. Despite my love of horror movies, I’m a bit squeamish about real gore and the birthing process is GORY. Yet when breathe came to push, I suddenly had a nurse tell me to hold my wife’s right leg and stand in a position where I was able to witness my son’s birth. Looking back on it, it was amazing. Correction: During the birth, it was amazing. What I saw afterwards as the doctors needed to apply some stitching will haunt me for years to come.
  7. The Walk of Pride: At our hospital, the dads escort their newborns to the nursery for observation and it’s quite ceremonious. Not like trumpets and ribbons flying through the air, but that was the moment it all truly hit me. His eyes were open trying to take in this massive amount of information and I could see, touch, and smell him. I could lay him down in his first bed, strapped on his first diaper, even got to feed him his first bottle. (My wife and I planned to breastfeed Logan from moment one, but exhaustion and the thrill of the moment temporarily changed that. See #8 for some advice on that.) It was exhilarating. Something about that moment brought it all into perspective and I was so wired that I couldn’t sleep for a few more hours afterwards, even after obtaining only 6 hours sleep during labour.
  8. Stick To Your Goals: As I mentioned, Logan’s first meal consisted of formula despite the fact that we wanted to breastfeed from the very beginning. While this may not have panned out for medical reasons (Logan had not yet develop enough muscles in his throat to feed properly and ended up being fed through a tube for the first couple of days), we were annoyed with ourselves for not making the breast his first source of food somehow. My wife could have pumped and then bottle fed or at least suckle his up to the breast to give it a whirl. There are other reasons why this was important and became an issue of contention during his five days in the hospital, but it will be saved for another time.
  9. Prepare To Let Some Things Go: On the other hand, other plans get shot out the window. My wife, like many other moms, planned to avoid any pain meds during labour. As an epileptic, she was already passing on enough medications to our son that she didn’t want another drop more going through that cord. Yet when we had to induce labour after there was no significant progress, it all caught up to her when the contractions when from a 2 to an 11 on the pain scale. She caved and in the end we were glad she did. Without altering that plan, she may not have been able to endure through the 90 minutes of pushing. So while plans are good and best set ahead of time, some things are simply out of your control and nothing goes according to plan in there. Nothing.
  10. Media Relations: See that cellphone? It’s going to become your business partner and worst enemy. Simply by default, I was the communicator between us and all the family and friends wishing us good fortune, asking when they could visit, and looking for updates and photos. Honestly, my experience in social media marketing really came in handy as I was working on multiple platforms across multiple devices. Text messages are fine and dandy, but Facebook is a godsend for moments like these because you can hit everyone all at once. That being said, there were two problems with FB. One, my wife HATES Facebook and despises its very use. She detests the fact that I use it professionally and that it inadvertently pays the mortgage. Two, the nurses have told us stories about how other dads and relatives have used FB so inappropriately (such as the dad who was posting pictures of the newborn before grandparents in the waiting room were notified or the guy who shared a picture of his wife’s flaming vagina). Now while I did make one screw-up and posted to FB when I should have send a text (and that was only to announce Logan was finally coming home), seriously have a locked down plan for how you’re going to handle announcements, dads. It may save your marriage.
There’s far more to discuss and I’m not sure I can compose enough words to fit on a blog post or conceive of the proper words to convey the emotional journey taken on this glorious moment, except to say that it was truly something to behold. It’s an instinctual joy to experience… when it’s all said and done. Is it easy? Hell no. But when I look at that little face, even when he’s fast asleep and knowing he has no clue who I am or who he is, I can feel that connection. He’s my son, dammit, and it’s going to be a fun and bumpy ride to see him become a man.

Geeking Out About Baby: Dads Need Love Too

Geeking Out About Baby: Dads Need Love Too
Among the many, many, MANY things going over in our lives right now, the upcoming birth of our son is fast becoming the pink elephant in the room. Not that we haven’t been looking forward to the little fella arriving onto this plane of existence, it’s just been so damn busy with clearing up other affairs such as purchasing and moving into his first home, doctor appointments, professional demands, freelance work, Skyrim… You know how it is.
With six weeks until his expected due date (and we are very aware of how little that actually means to the kid; they didn’t mention anything about a calendar or watch included with the placenta), we’re finally diving into all the prep work that comes with bringing a new bundle home. Personally, I’ve been a bit disappointed at how little there is specifically for new fathers in the way of dedicated websites and time set aside in prenatal classes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to get an understanding of what the mother’s going through, will go through, and wants from us pappies. It’s just that I expected there to be more of a support structure for expecting fathers in the modern era of involved fatherhood.

(I’m going to shift off topic for a moment to rant about something that really offended me at the time. No, fuck that, it still does. The City of Ottawa has an online prenatal class and there is a section for fathers. Great, I thought. Let’s have at it. Second chapter in – following a pleasant little blurb about how fathers go through pregnancies with their own concerns and issues, equal partners, all that I’m hoping to learn more about – I’m suddenly reading through a significant portion of this “Becoming A Father” section on how fathers should not beat up the mom. Significant in that it comprised one page out of the 8 total pages for this “in-depth” section for expectant fathers. While it’s staggering that such a thing has to be explained, spousal abuse is out there and there are some assholes who have major issues with insisting on inflicting their dominance on others… but to cover this topic before even learning what it means to be a father? What made it worse was how little information came afterwards, nothing more than the standard coaching recommendations on how to support the mother, which was the complete opposite of what the introduction promised. What made things worse was how this was a running message on a lot of online prenatal courses I found. As much as it’s really, really difficult to be publicly upset about this for the sheer reason that hitting a woman is incredibly wrong – let alone a pregnant one – is it such an epidemic that we all have to go through it in class? As the first lesson? That’s like the first lesson taught in driving school is how not to intentionally run over pedestrians before you learn how to start the car. It’s insulting to me as a man that it’s assumed I need to learn this… but I can already feel myself diving way off topic on this one. I’ll simply let it spill into the comments section as someone inevitable agrees with me while sounding like an asshole themselves or makes me feel like a piece of shit for even thinking it doesn’t need to be taught. You know, what the Internet does every day.)

A few months back, I put out a call – maybe even a desperate plea – to my online friends for any valid sources of information specifically for fathers by fathers. Something beyond the mere “coaching” aspect of pregnancy and back-up quarterback options I was finding on most sites and resources. There were some helpful blogs here and there, but only as a good start and they left me wanting more than answering my questions/concerns. The biggest answer I got back from my friends was a common one: “You’ve got a blog. Write about what you’re not finding online for other dads.”

Ok, let’s do it. Mind you, it’s going to be an ongoing process and will only be about my personal experiences and viewpoints on parenthood, but isn’t everything about raising kids subject to personal interpretation? Cloth diapers vs. disposables, breastfeeding vs. formula, stay-at-home moms vs. stay-at-home dads… if there was one way to raise a child, they’d all be done by a totalitarian government and we’d have visitation rights once a week to see how they’re doing.

So You’re Going To Be A Dad

I’d like to start with something simple and yet so vitally important every expecting father should know: it’s all going to change, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to change. Here’s what I mean by that.

My wife and I were not planning on having kids. At all. If anything, we were committed to never having them. I was 40 years old without any spawn to call my own and had assumed it was never to be. If the call of procreation had not been given, it was probably never going to happen. On the day I found out my wife was pregnant, I had just returned from my doctor for a vasectomy referral. Oh yeah, it was that much of a surprise.

That initial shock remained for quite some time and the kicker was that I had to be the calmer-downer. There’s a stand-up comedian (we follow many mantras from stand-ups, by the way) who talks about how only one person in the relationship can be the frantic one and the other has to be the calmer-downer. It can rotate and in this case it had to be me. My wife was a wreck at first because our pregnancy came with complications: she has a severe form of epilepsy and is medicated like a bear in the circus. Even after her doctors and the new prenatal doctors assigned to her assured us the risks to the baby were low and that it was her health was the concern, she was still freaking out. (Side note time: if you’re going to be pregnant, be a high risk pregnancy as you get the full works without question and more ultrasounds than you can shake a stick at. I swear our kid is going to be born with X-ray vision, we’ve had so many ultrasounds.)

I had to be the soothing voice and that meant I had to reflect on what was to come. Talking to my friends, many of whom are already fathers, was a big help and also a massive waste. I remember standing in a circle of them after seeing a movie and being barraged with tips, hints, and being should on left, right, and centre. I also spoke to some women and one of my wife’s cousins was incredibly helpful. She had panicked too when she found out she was pregnant – all women do. All men do. Even when they plan it because suddenly this massive event is slapping you across the face saying, “What were you thinking, man?!!” Yet when the moment arrives and you’re holding a little miracle in your arms, it all just clicks. In fact, everyone I spoke to said the same thing.

It’s instinct and that was comforting. It’s not going to be perfect and you’re not going to be a perfect dad. You’re going to fuck up, I’m going to fuck up, some of us are going to really fuck up. Babies are born with personalities already in place; all the next couple dozen years will do is shape him/her into a bonafide adult capable of making a selection of choices and functioning in society to some degree. You do not have be YOUR father; you only have to be your baby’s father. Something about that has been my comfort.

It Starts In The Womb

If there’s one thing that’s been helpful in accepting this new person in our lives, it was treating the baby as if he was already here, just stuck inside the womb. By the time a baby hits around the five month mark and begins to kick, you have an opportunity to interact with him/her (albeit to a limiting degree). We also made a conscious choice to learn the gender as soon as it was possible not only to plan ahead but to learn more about this little human we created. The moment we learned we were having a boy, our attitudes and worries almost instantly shifted from anxious to prepared. This fetus was now a person and we made a point of naming him.

A preview of my son (in comic book form).
A preview of my son (in comic book form).

If there’s one thing you need know about my wife and I, it’s that only one of us is a geek. Me. She’s a jock. We’re a sitcom given breath. Yet each of us have made a point of providing our son opportunity to live an athletic life while also appreciating geek culture with the other parent being equally supportive. For example, my wife looks forward to signing him up for hockey and so we started watching the recently-concluded NHL playoffs. And I’ve made a point of watching with her to create a bonding experience from the get-go. On my side of the coin, my wife has been incredibly supportive. Just check out his name and you’ll see what I mean.

Logan. Yep, we’re naming our son after one of the coolest characters in all of comicdom, Wolverine.

I get that not everyone wants to learn the gender of their baby and names are a tricky business. For us, however, it was an essential step in helping to accept and embrace this big change in our lives. And we made it fun, it’s helped us shape how we make other decisions too, such as the colours for his room: yellow and blue. We both adored the original Disney film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and so picked up a copy on eBay and have since used it as the main theme for his room. During the painting, picking furniture and assembling the crib, we’ve looked at it as something the three of us are doing together. Sure, he has no clue what’s going on other than mommy’s moving around and grunting a lot and daddy’s voice is really angry while building the crib, but it’s a moment for us parents to bond with our child. It’s all a mental effort, yes, but it’s been fundamental and has helped us move into the other crucial choices of pre-parenting… but those will be for next time.