Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Now and Later Worries

While Daniel is - admirably - worried about baby-proofing the house, effective discipline, education systems, moral development and the like, I have more immediate concerns:

How will I ever eat again?

I found out I was pregnant like most women: I went to Walgreens, paid an exorbitant amount of money for two small plastic sticks, peed, nearly fell over in shock, and finally recovered enough to tell my husband. Important, that last bit.

Initially I was a little unnerved. I felt exactly the same, no signs of pregnancy whatsoever. I turned to Dr. Google who told me that I was (a) perfectly normal or (b) doomed to miscarry.

That was two weeks and a few days ago. Now? I rue the day I ever wished for some physical sign of the lentil within. I am tired. So tired that when I asked the time last evening and the answer was "9:30 P.M," I thought I was hallucinating. My sixth grade bedtime rides again.

And food? Normally I love food. I love baingan bartha, sweetbreads, broccoli rabe, labne, moldy-musty blue-veined cheeses, kimchi, boudin and merguez, frogs legs, and homemade sauerkraut pierogi. You get the idea. And we are lucky to live near a terrific farmer's market. I am exceptionally lucky to have a husband who cooks and cooks very well. Weekend dinners were a celebration of the season.

No more. Or at least not for a while. The lentil wants fruit, cereal, toast, crackers, and tea. It doesn't want a prenatal vitamin. It doesn't want meat; fish, even the smell, makes it angry. Honestly, I haven't spent this much caressing a toilet since I was an irresponsible undergraduate. All the traditional remedies -- eating frequent, small meals; not going to bed hungry, eating simple carbs upon awakening -- help, to a degree, but nothing takes away the terrible seasick/motion sick feeling. (I am a coastal child and have never been seasick or motion sick so I can only make an approximation.)

So, I'm leaving the big questions largely in Daniel's capable hands until my stomach starts permanently accepting more than Goldfish crackers.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I'll admit it. This becoming a parent thing scares me a bit.

More than a bit.

First, I've got the general "will I be a good parent?" worries. Will I raise a pscyhopath? Will I horribly scar my child through incompetence or careless malice? Will I ever get over being grossed out by diapers? Will I ever be able to warm up to something that can't talk about philosophy, or politics, or even Lost for a decade or more? Will the fact that Melissa and I are atheists, or have tattoos, or are pretty lefty, or etc. put our kid in an awkward position in an increasingly conservative U.S.? Did we do the right thing by moving to Baltimore, or did we condemn our kid to a childhood of crime, crummy schools, and mercury in their crabs? Speaking of schools, what will/should we do about their education (I'm sure I'll be speaking about education at length here)?

Second, I have to admit to more selfish, personal, how will this affect my life worries. It's not exactly admirable, but I worry that, now that I have opportunity to travel (both for my jobs and because we have more money now), having a kid will make that hard, especially if I want to travel somewhere more out of the way or be gone for an extended period. Already, between the commute, work at home, etc. etc. Melissa and I need to plan ahead to get out of the house for anything more strenuous than dinner or a movie - when will I get to go to awesome shows and rock out (I remind myself that I don't do that that much now, which is less than comforting)? The consensus, even from reading accounts of "alternative" parents is that, yes, having a kid means you don't get out much for the next 18 years or so.

None of this makes me not want to have a kid. They're just worries and apprehensions that I need to manage. I think, especially for the selfish ones, it's a lot of "you're 30, you have a mortgage, and NOW YOU'RE HAVING A KID. YOU ARE OFFICIALLY OLD." Which is irrational but, I think, probably fairly normal.

Super-Double-Plus Secret Blog

Originally, this blog was going to be called "Beat on the Brat," but I should have figured out that someone would have thought of that by now. So, instead, you get the lame-ish title that it does in fact have. Of course, "Beat on the Brat" would probably have seemed embarrassing itself in a few months, and at least this way I don't have to worry about nice men showing up at my house to ask me why I'm beating my child.

Which doesn't, technically speaking, exist yet. Hence the gender-neutral name.

If you're reading this post, and it's before late September 2007, you must either have randomly come across this blog or you know me and are rather clever. My wife (Melissa) found out a couple of weeks ago that she's pregnant. This is very much an expected, planned, and hoped-for event. This won't be that sort of blog. We're not not telling folks about it yet out of any perversity, but just because things are early and if anything were to happen with the pregnancy, we'd rather just deal with it quitely ourselves than have to go around to all the folks we'd told about the good news to tell them about the bad news, too.

Now that I think about, I may have to reassess that existence claim. I guess if the pregnancy continues, then our kid does in fact exist, in some sense, now (in a sort of acorn-to-oak-tree sense). S/he's just very, very small. On the other hand, should (mighty agnost forbid) something go wrong, it'll be perfectly natural to think of this as losing a pregnancy, but not really as losing a child. I'm a philosopher, and this sort of metaphysics still makes my head hurt a little.

But I digress.

Anyway, the fact that we haven't told folks yet doesn't stop me from thinking about it. I'm worrying about how to baby-proof a house that features two cats, lots of wobbly bookshelves, a glass table top, and bunches of tiny gaming dice. I'm doing standard-issue gen-X parent things like reading Punk Rock Dad and The Future Generation (and The Moral Judgment of the Child and Parenting Beyond Belief, when I get done), putting Ramones onesies on the baby wishlist, and, well, starting a blog. I figure that this is something like the 21st Century equivalent of the scrapbook, only more confessional and involving less paste and dust.

So this will be a place for me to gather my thoughts and reflect. It'll be relatively straightforward and uncensored, and I'm sure somewhat stream-of-consciousness at times, so I hope there's nothing here that will scar my future child (or my parents). Maybe I can even get Melissa to contribute from time to time. We'll see.