Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Shower or Not to Shower

Some of our friends want to give Kendra a shower. At first I was a bit confused and thought that it might be bad etiquette to have a “second” shower. What does Mrs. Manners have to say about this? Or is “Ms.” Manners the proper way to refer to her? It can get confusing.

For Campbell, our first, Kendra had a lovely shower and we received many much-needed (and some not-so-much-needed) gifts. As a guy, I’m still a bit befuddled by the practicality of silver rattles and cups, and crystal items for infants. However, we were very thankful for the shower. Now, five years later, not just one, but two showers are on tap. From what I’ve gleaned, it’s okay to have a second shower if the births of the children are around four or five years apart. Throw in a different sex for the second child and you’ve laid to rest any breaches of etiquette. So, last weekend we sallied forth over to Babies R Us to put our registry together. We made a big deal out of trying to include Campbell in the process and telling her how she was going to help us pick items for her little brother and scan them. How cool! Once we got there, it was a mix bag of feelings, from “been there done that” to “dang, we are SO unprepared for this.” The very nice lady that reviewed the process with us did not see Campbell on the floor engrossed in princess books. So she assumed this was our first child and went through her entire “new parents” spiel. We quietly nodded and smiled as she explained that we would be changing LOTS of diapers, we would probably need a stroller and a car seat, and we should start back in the furniture section to look at cribs and changing tables. We should also be sure to register for diapers because they are expensive and our friends might want to buy us some. I’m okay with having the second shower, but I am a little reluctant to have our friends buying diapers for us. Maybe I can get them to chip in for his college fund, too?

Armed with our scanner, we went forth to scan. Campbell was into it for about five minutes before it became boring and she began looking for toys, chairs and things she thought would be nice for her. As the scans began to rack up (and yes, we scanned some diapers), I was quickly being reminded of the realities of a baby and how much our life was about to change—feedings every few hours, mixing formula, cleaning bottles, emptying the Diaper Genie…it was all coming back to me. Up to this point, it had been a bit more of the general, “Oh, wow! We’re having another baby.” Leave it to Babies R Us to provide the first real reality check. Oh, well, it will all work out and our new little boy will be another adventure and bring us as much joy as Campbell has for her first five years. Looking forward to it. But I wonder if the “registry” lady at Babies R Us does any counseling on the side?

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a boy!

We were very excited to find out that we are having a boy. It is the first (and will most likely be the only) male grandchild in our immediate family. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my father. He has four grand daughters and loves them all very much. He and my mother attend all their recitals, gymnastics meets, horse riding events and other primarily “girl” activities. He’s ready for some football, t-ball and a youngster who’s actually more interested in an LSU football game than the cotton candy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bemoaning Hormones

I’m a pretty calm and rational person. I don’t get too upset by things and after nearly 10 years of marriage, Kendra and I have a pretty good relationship and don’t argue that often. That’s why I don’t really understand the hormones thing. Now wait. I believe in hormones and understand that there are all kinds of weird things going on in my wife’s body—things that cause her to act strangely and cry during every episode of Glee. These I can handle, but the irritability is a little harder. Again, I’m not complaining, it’s just that she gets irritated with me, Campbell, the dog, etc. much faster. And I think it’s worse with the second pregnancy. I know, I know. You’re saying, “How can YOU complain? You don’t have a hard time sleeping. You’re not always uncomfortable. You don’t have the feeling of a small boulder in your stomach.” I’m not complaining. I guess I admire those husbands out there who can calmly and sweetly deal with situations like this:
Husband: “Hey, did you eat yet?”
Wife: “Eat yet? Eat yet? How can I have eaten when I’m in between getting the clothes washed and folded, trying to get Campbell to straighten her room and ordering the rest of the baby’s room décor on line?”
Husband: “I meant that if you haven’t eaten yet I’d fix you something, Honey.”
Wife: “Well, you ate all the bread yesterday.”
Husband: “But I got some more bread. Do you want a sandwich?”
Wife: “You know we don’t have ANYTHING done yet.”
Husband: “Just make me a list so I’m clear and I’ll get to it.”
Wife: “I did make you a list. I just can’t find it. Do you think the blue and brown is too much with this pattern?”
Husband: “Uh…no? Why are you crying?”
Wife: “I was thinking about Glee the other day.”
Husband: “I’m going to go work in the yard.”

OK, I’m going to stop now. I’ll probably get in trouble for writing this post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We have no books!

We had figured having another kid was not in the cards so, being the generous people we are, we gave away our What to Expect When You’re Expecting book and the real gem, What to Expect the First Five Years. You’ve probably heard some grandparent say, “Kids don’t come with a manual, heh, heh.” Well, this book is the closest thing to” directions” for raising a kid that you can get. Crying at night? It’s in there. White dots on the tongue? In there. Rainbow-looking stool? The kid probably ate some crayons, but I’m sure it’s covered somewhere in this book. So, I’ll be heading to one of our local bookstores soon to get one of those enlightening tomes of baby rearing. Now I wonder if they have a What to Expect for the Next 16 Years?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Second Time Around—Giving up Salmon

So, what’s different the second time around on this pregnancy biz? Well, nothing and a lot. Let’s start with some of the things that haven’t changed. One, Kendra is tired. Dog tired. She’s giving Roxy, our West Highland Terrier, a run for her money on being tired. I work from home when I can and am able to view Roxy’s day-to-day existence. She wakes up excitedly after a good 8-10 hours of sleep, goes outside, eats a bit and then settles in for a good nap to start the morning. She wakes up in a few hours and moves to another area to nap. Then she awakes to go outside and then naps. She’s usually awake when Kendra (dragging) and Campbell (bouncing) come home around 6:00 that evening. Campbell antagonizes Roxy for a while, she goes outside to bark at people then she comes back in to lay down. Later, she naps with us on the couch watching TV until it’s time to hit the old hay so she can get in another good eight hours of shut-eye. I catch Kendra looking longingly at Roxy sometimes and mumbling under her breath. Kendra didn’t get sick or nauseous, which is good because she would have probably been too tired to get to the toilet. She promised not to go too crazy on the eating this time like she did with Campbell. She said, “I never again want to be that pregnant woman sucking cookie dough straight from the tube while stopped at a red light.” For the most part she’s done pretty good with that, except when she’s succumb to her nemesis…PEANUT BUTTER. Actually, it’s a delicious little demon for both of us. Nothing like pnb and toast with honey on it. Even though we buy the Smart Balance Omega Plus Trans Fat Free If-You-Have-to-Eat-Peanut-Butter-This-is-the-Healthiest Brand, it’s still got a good 16 grams of fat per spoonful if you know what I mean.

What’s changed? Well, Kendra had BIG craving for Greek food with Campbell. We ate it so much that I thought Campbell would forever have a hummus-like hue to her skin and one day have a strong desire to change her name to Shawarma Pappadopoluos. This time, she’s not really craved anything, but she has been repulsed by seafood. Especially fish. We used to have salmon once a week before she was pregnant, now I haven’t had it in months. I know I could probably go out and get some for myself and cook it, but I think I’d run the risk of nauseating my poor wife and that’s not a risk I want to take. She’s been able to tolerate shrimp, but not been real keen on crawfish. I’ve given up the salmon, but crawfish is a totally different story. I’m from Louisiana for goodness sake! Probably the biggest difference in this pregnancy is that we’re both a little more relaxed. She gave away her What to Expect When You’re Expecting book and is not freaking out about it. She claims she’s just going to kinda’ wing it. I don’t totally believe that. I plan on doing a little brushing up on some things, so I’m not “that guy” at the store where some poor mother takes pity on me and performs some kind of “mommy magic” to help my child stop wailing…magic like giving him/her a bottle or moving the leg that’s being pinched by the stroller. Speaking of which, I think I’m going to begin searching our bookcases to find some of those books. It’s never too early to start looking!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

So It Begins

My name is Jeff English. I am a freelance copywriter here in Baton Rouge and the owner of a company called, Creative English Communication Consultants. I partner with companies developing communication strategies and helping them deliver messages to their audience through a variety of mediums: web sites, television, radio, print, social media and just about everything but smoke signals. I’m fortunate enough to work for a range of clients, one of which is Woman’s. At home, I have a wonderful little five year old girl named Campbell and an incredible, beautiful, intelligent, funny, outgoing, free-spirited wife named Kendra who I know will be reading this. Did I mention she is beautiful? I am also going to be a father for the second time, which is why the lovely (and persuasive) ladies in the Woman’s marketing department asked me to write this blog. I’m not getting paid for it. Like I said, they can be persuasive and they are pretty nice to me, too. And they’ll be reading this. Did I mention how nice they are?

So, I’m a little behind on this blog because we’re about halfway through this pregnancy; however, I’ll go ahead and add to this as things progressed over the course of the last few months. First, we’ll travel back in time to December when I first found out about this pregnancy thing. (Cue “Wayne’s World” travel-back-in-time music). If you don’t know what that is, Google it, youngster.

It was a December morning, 2009. I must say that I am not a morning person and neither is my lovely wife. However, she is usually a little more chipper than I because she awakens first due to the fact that Campbell usually worms her way in the bed at about 6:30, snuggles and doses with Kendra, and then begins to proclaim that she wants breakfast because she is “STARVING!” I stay on my side and try to cram a few more minutes of sleep into the day. Like I said, I’m no morning person. On this glorious morning, Campbell had slept late for some odd reason and we were awake, but alone. Kendra said she had something to tell me and mentioned that we were going to have another baby. Since I am forbidden to include expletives in this blog, I cannot write my first reaction. Now before you get the wrong idea, I was not upset, just stunned. You see, we had Campbell in April 2005. We were blessed with a fairly easy birth (I can hear all the ladies now telling me “ain’t nothing easy ‘bout birthin’ no baby) and a healthy child that now talks non-stop. However, when we decided it was time for niño numero dos, things weren’t quite as easy. We are not as young as some first-time parents (but my wife is younger than me…and looks it, too, and that’s all I’m saying), so we thought it might be harder. In fact, after a couple of years, we’d resigned ourselves that another child wasn’t in the cards and that we’d just love and appreciate Campbell, even though she was rarely quiet enough for us to actually tell her. So, there I am staring up at the ceiling thinking about this baby thing. OH! And I also forgot to mention, I’m a planner. If you’re not married to one, then I’ll explain. It’s not that I don’t like being spontaneous; most of the time I just like to know what we’re doing in the future. I like to know that we’re going to go to Live After Five on Friday and then work in the yard Saturday morning. We’ll have my parents over to dinner Saturday…OK, I’m going to grill Sunday and then we’ll watch a movie that night. However, if things change a bit, I don’t have a melt down, but I can get agitated sometimes. I just like to plan things out. Plus it was morning for goodness sake. So, as a practical “guy,” my first thought was, “Wow, two kids! Boy, our schedule is going to change. What time will we have to start getting up in the morning? What are we going to do about school? I hope Campbell gets into the Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts so we don’t have to pay for school tuition and daycare. Daycare! We need to get on a list somewhere.” All this is rushing through my head when Kendra says, “So, what do you think?” This is the point in the marriage where most men are smart enough to lie, show off their acting chops and exclaim how excited they are. I was just kinda’ smart—smart enough not to go into everything that was racing through my fog-filled brain, but dumb enough not to be “excited.” I honestly mentioned that I was a little shocked and we hadn’t planned for this, but I was going to be excited, just let me go to the bathroom and splash a little cold water on my face. My wife is a pretty cool chick who knows me and probably sensed that I needed a little time to process things, and as long as I didn’t run from the room screaming…well, things were going to be okay. Off to the sink I plodded and, as the cold water dripped off my nose and I gazed into the 42-year-old face in the mirror that was coming to grips with the fact that there was going to be an addition to the household, I heard the words, “I’m STARVING” echo from the bedroom and I just had to smile.