Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for August, 2005

Reading Is Fundamental

The thing you never hear about impending pregnancy is the enormous library you will develop. Cherise and I are both pretty well-schooled (six degrees between us!), so it’s natural to want to do some reading on any new topic–especially this one. But even if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have a choice as other parents are quick to provide reading material. We must have over a dozen books on pregnancy or neo-natal care and we haven’t bought one. They just keep showing up with useful recommendations, caveats, etc. Some scare the living daylights out of you (if you inhale smoke, your baby MAY be born with three heads!). Others provide methods for how to treat your child in the early days. While I am not usually one for user manuals, I expect Iris to be slighly trickier than an 802.11b router. The reading materials are definitely welcome.

But as great as all these books are, I guarantee you that the most influential book on how I’ve been thinking about parenting is one that no one else has on their list: "My Life" by Bill Clinton. For those of you who managed to make it through the 900+ pages, you’re probably saying "I don’t remember any child-rearing tips". Well, no there wasn’t anything explicitly said about child-rearing. But after having read that book, there’s one lesson that sticks out in my mind more than any other: childhood experiences truly shape who you are. Say what you will about the man’s personal life and his politics, but there is no doubting his compassion and his ability to see past color, gender, etc. I remember reading the early chapters and thinking "maybe I should skip this and get to the good stuff about Newt, Yasser, and Monica". I’m glad I didn’t. It’s amazing how much Clinton remembered about his childhood and how he could relate the experiences as a child to his philosophies as an adult. Little William Blythe (his original name) of Arkansas got a chance to live hand-in-hand in the deep south. He was raised by a mother who loved him (his birth father died before he was born), but wasn’t afraid to discipline him. These experiences were all tremendous in their impact and they were happening before he turned 10. He gained empathy for minorities, single mothers, and those who scraped to make ends meet. Like I said, I don’t want to get political, but I feel like that is something that is someting our current President doesn’t have and, with all due respect, I think it shows. I think about Iris. Will she be President of the United States of America? Nobel Prize Physicist? Clerk at a convenience store? I don’t know and, as long as she’s happy, I don’t care (OK, I care a little). But the fact is how she carries herself out in any of those situations will be directly related to her relationship to Cherise and me as well as the experiences we can afford her–and when I use the word "afford", it has nothing to do with money. I’m excited about her multi-ethnic background and how she will be embraced by two very different families. Perhaps we’ll travel someday (as Cherise did in her childhood) so that she can gain an understanding that the world is not just made up of Americans (I love how Bill Gates thinks of the philospophy for his children in regards to his wealth: "enough that they can do anything, not enough that they can do nothing").

I feel like every day I spend with Iris is going to be an opportunity to affect the way she views the world. That’s an impossible responsibility, but one that gets me excited. Whether she’s running the free world or a Target in Kenosha, I want to make sure she does it in a way that would make me and her mother proud (as President Clinton’s mother clearly was of him). And for the record, I’d be down with being the "First Father". C’mon, say it with me: "President Iris Khaund". Cool!

"The Belly" and The Docs

Well, we’re down to the final two months. As we’ve been well-warned, our lives will forever change once Miss Iris Mary Khaund enters our lives. Of course, the main thing is that we are now part of this newfound club of parents. The coversations change (I’ve never spent this much time talking about poop before), the stories shared are different (again with the poop), and you share the fears of not knowing what the heck you are doing. Soon, we’ll be taking the class, meeting with the doula, greeting helpful in-laws, and counting down the days. It’s amazing to think that we’ve known about this for six months. Even at the beginning, I was almost skeptical ("Is she really pregnant? She’s too thin and she’s not barfing!"). But there’s no denying "The Belly". Yes, as you’ll see in the pictures, it has become it’s own entity , complete with kicks and gurgles. I have this insatiable appetite to place my hands on Cherise’s stomach at any time or place. In addition, her innie has become an outie, something that fascinates me to no end for absolutely no reason. I’ll miss "The Belly" once Iris is here. Maybe I’ll ask Cherise to put a pillow under her shirt for old times sake.  Of course, right now, I imagine both of our families are thinking "We have a way to bring back ‘The Belly’. Kid#2!".  We know, we know.  After all, Cherise and I are well aware that second children are often more impressive than the first…

The most exciting preggo-related incident of our last couple of weeks was the "Meet the Doctors" night. At Cherise’s OB group, they do an informal gathering of all the doctors and all the patients because you never know who will be on call the night Iris decides to make her debut. This OB group had about seven doctors and they each introduced themselves and took questions from the audience. It was a little surreal–one of these women (they happened to all be women) was going to be responsible for bringing my child into this world. They were all different ages, regional backgrounds, educational backgrounds, etc. It was like a bizarre game of roulette. I’ve got my money on the Berkeley/Stanford grad who was training for the Danskin Triathlon. When she gave her bio, it was a little too coincidental. Of course, given I knew Cherise was pregnant a week before she did and I also knew it was a girl long before the ultrasound, I have been officially granted clairvoyant powers for this pregnancy. Therefore, if I make this prediction, Cherise will pretty much assume it’ll come true. Of course, more interesting than the doctors were the other expecting husbands. Yes, I was checking out the competition (no, there’s no actual game here, but I need to find ways to keep myself involved). There were a couple of guys that seemed totally bored out of their minds, like they didn’t want to be there. Then, there were others that seemed a little TOO excited to be there. One was asking questions about videotaping the birth. I saw Cherise’s look of horror and later assured her that no cameras would be present until Iris was safely in her mother’s arms. Given it is the "miracle of birth", I suppose you might want to capture it. But I gotta tell you, if my dad were to tell me my birth was on film, I’d run out to get the gasoline and matches and take care of it for once and for all. Nobody needs to see Sandy’s debut.

Baby Showers, oh my!

August showers bring September… flowers?  Well, August is definitely shower month for Iris.  We’re excited!  After surviving the registry process at Babies R Us, we’re ready to celebrate!  Thank you so much to Kymber and Julie and Lisa for your willingness to host on August 20 and 28th, and for communicating the crucial message of “although we’re pretty sure Iris is a girl, please don’t buy us pink!”  (yup, Lisa’s invitation even required an offering of chocolate by anyone who dared venture into pink-world.)


But don’t worry – there’s lots o’ baby fun aside from pink and frills.  We love animal themes, and Iris’ room already has elephants, giraffes, lions, birds, (and Sandy’s favorite dog Snoopy) on the wall.  And she’s already been snorkeling in Mexico, so loves all kinds of underwater creatures.


Anyway, the most fun part of the showers will be getting together with good friends and catching up before we begin a whole new phase of our lives. 

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