Saturday, November 12th, 2011
Above photo credit: www.joehendricks.com
Now that my son Jack is just days away from turning a year old, I’m having these flashbacks from when my wife was pregnant with him. I remember how people were constantly asking me about our plans for his delivery and postpartum care. Looking back now, I wish I would just kept my mouth shut.
My wife and I are planners. Sure, so much of life (especially when it comes to parenting!) is unpredictable; but still, we like to be able to take control of little we can in our lives. So we had plans on how Jack would be born and raised. But as John Lennon sang in “Beautiful Boy,” “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” And that is exactly what happened in our case.
Life (our son) happened while we were busy making other plans. Here are the Top 6 plans that didn’t work out:
1) No epidural. We watched The Business of Being Born and wanted to do this thing as naturally as possible. We knew that statistically, a woman who is given an epidural has an increased chance of needing a C-section. So my wife decided (on her own) that she would not get an epidural unless it become absolutely necessarily.
After enduring 17 and a half hours of labor naturally, we were told that if my wife didn’t get an epidural, she would definitely have to have a C-section because she wouldn’t have enough strength to deliver him.
Five hours later, our son was born. In case you’re keeping up with the math, it was a 22 and half hour labor, only five of those hours being drug-induced. Just for the record, I could never have done that! That’s why I was born a man.
2) Breast milk only; no formula. Jack was born tongue tied, so breast-feeding wasn’t much of an option because he couldn’t latch on properly. We did have his tongue clipped when he was three weeks old, but at that point we just decided to continue pumping and supplemented with Enfamil until he was nine weeks old; at which point we switched him entirely over to formula.
3) That he would be born early or on his due date. I knew I had to be ready, so I was; as ready as I could be. All that anticipation caused me to actually think he would come out on time. But of course, though he was due on November 11th, he was born five days later on November 16th.
4) Cloth diapers. Yeah, that would have saved us a lot of money. But I guess we’re just not disciplined enough of parents to raise an exclusively cloth diaper wearing baby. They were too bulky, they leaked if they weren’t on just right, and they made Jack smell bad by the end of the day.
5) Co-sleeping. Mainly, Jack just didn’t want to. He fell asleep better in his Pack ‘N Play, so that’s what we let him do. I admit, I’m glad I was wrong about this one. Because it sure is nice that since being seven months old, he has slept 11 hours a night in a separate room down the hall. I love my Jack-Man, but I don’t think my bed is big enough for the both of us.
6) Pacifers. Evidently, Jack thinks that pacifers suck. He experimented with one for a brief amount of time, but ultimately, he couldn’t pretend enough to even care about having it. Granted, he has put his mouth on a whole lot of other stuff, including a closed water bottle, a pumpkin, and his own foot.
In the midst of planning this blog post, Shawn Brook Williams, one of the graphic designers for Comics Buyer’s Guide magazine, sent me a copy of his graphic novel, Five Pounds and Screaming. His comic book style novel covers those subtle and understated moments a dad goes through, from the realization of pregnancy up until the child’s first birthday. So that’s why reading Five Pounds and Screaming was so perfect in writing this post; it conveniently jogged my memory.
I feel that Shawn and I share a very similar perspective and narrative on fatherhood. The book doesn’t cover being a dad in the cliche ways that Eighties sitcoms typically did. His approach is fresh, original, charming, and warmly familiar.
One of the most memorable scenes in the book, for me, is when the protagonist brags to a supermarket cashier, “I’m a dad!” This stood out to me because I remember doing the same thing the first couple of weeks after Jack was born.
From the telling of the family of the pregnancy, to the anxieties of expecting, to the frustrations of breast feeding, to the child’s first birthday party, Five Pounds and Screaming is like an illustrated version of The Dadabase. In particular, I think the book would make a perfect (and fun) gift for any expecting or new dad.
In the tradition of mini book reviews here on The Dadabase, the first reader to A) leave a comment on this post requesting the book, and also B) send me an email with your mailing address to nickshell1983@hotmail, I will have the author mail you a free copy of the book.
*Congrats to Hannah W. from Dover, Delaware on winning this!Add a Comment