I no longer have a 2 year-old son. As of today, I can start referring to you as my “2 and a half year-old.”
You are just as close to your (assumed) monster truck & dinosaur themed 3 year-old birthday party as you are to your Thomas the Train themed 2 year-old birthday party.
I look at you now and see how you’re clearly looking more like both Mommy and me.
Sure, the (now darkening) blonde hair and blue eyes are still a surprise, but gone are the days when I would write about how you don’t really look like either of your parents.
Something I was thinking about this week is how in classic sitcoms, by around the 5th season, the family would typically have another child, to better engage the audience with fresh new story lines.
From there, the next season would feature the zaniness of life with a new infant and baby. Then magically, the following season, that toddler who could barely talk instantly became a wise-crackin’, catch-phrase coinin’ 5 year-old.
Okay… here we are. Let’s find out. As a 2 and a half year-old, falling in the category of what I call “the flyover years,” will life still be interesting? Will you still be just as funny and entertaining to Mommy and me as you’ve been for the past 2 and a half years?
I’m thinking yes.
I’m eager to prove writers of classic sitcoms wrong, as if that’s even a thing that matters.
If you were a character in a family sitcom in 1988, you would be replaced today by a different, older actor.
Well, I’m keeping you. I predict life won’t skip a beat, even if you’re entering the flyover years.
Back then, you were a 3 month-old fetus who I best understood through a black-and-white sonogram. You’ve come a long way, kid.
But so have I. I learned how to become a dad.
Like Elvis Costello in 1983, everyday I write the book. We figure this out together, in real time.
Along the way, there have been things I’ve said on The Dadabase, that looking back now, I wouldn’t say; nor are they still accurate depictions of how I see things.
There were times I was so zealous about representing myself as a confident dad with a consistent parenting plan, that it probably came across as bravado, not confidence.
And I do regret my former tone in regards to controversial topics like abortion, circumcision, the cry-it-out method, and even politics in general. I see now how I was only adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
That’s not me anymore. Everyday, I’m becoming more like Jack Johnson. And everyday, you’re becoming more like Jack the boy… not the baby.
In the Season One finaleof dad from day one, I promised an interesting plot twist. So here in this premier of Season Two, I’m letting everyone know my own meaning of the phrase “Sweet Home Alabama”.
As I explained in due date, a common trait of ‘80’s sitcoms was that a family was introduced to an outsider who suddenly moved in their home, therefore creating a new sense of “normal”. An exception was Just the Ten of Us, where the Lubbock family moved from the state of New York (the setting of Growing Pains, which it was a spin-off from) to California. Dad from day one will be combining both of those plot devices: the newcomer and the new setting. Next Saturday morning, December 4th (on the 4th day of Hanukkah- for any Jewish readers out there) we will pack up our PT Cruiser and Element for the 2 ½ trip (not counting baby delays) from Nashville, TN to the small mountain/valley town of Fort Payne, AL (pop. 14,000 not including illegal immigrants) where I was raised.
Something that makes this really interesting is when I am asked: “So do you have a job lined up?” Nope. That’s part of the reason we are so briskly making the Hometown Migration- so I can search full time for a new job during the whole month of December while living off leftover paychecks and savings. Despite having nearly five years of career experience involving sales, doing trade shows, hiring, and training, I am not naïve to think that a new job will magically appear the week we move to Alabama.
However, I have this belief that as a follower of Jesus Christ, God knows I will make a lot of noise and commotion honoring Him before and after He answers my prayer. And since I believe that glorifying God in all things is the ultimate meaning of life, I am confident that at the right time, God will provide for me so that I can provide for my family. As Jesus put it, when a child asks his father for bread or fish to eat, his father doesn’t give him a stone or a serpent instead. I love that example.
In Fort Payne, we will be living less than three miles from not only my parents but also my sister and her husband. We know that this quiet town will not only be the right place for Baby Jack to grow up, but also the most practical place for my wife and I to care for him- to be able to watch him grow up slowly, as compared to seeing him only a couple of hours a day in a big city life. There is no mall in Fort Payne; only a Super Wal-Mart. There are oddly no Italian restaurants, which will be difficult for Baby Jack, my wife, and myself who all happen to be a quarter Italian and need marinara sauce and garlic bread in order to function properly. And sadly, for my wife, there is no Starbucks: I think the nearest one is about an hour away.
A lifestyle without malls, Italian restaurants, and Starbucks is precisely what the three of us need. Because despite leaving all those so-called conveniences behind, we will be able to slow down the pace of life to the speed it needs to be. My wife and I are extremely happy about the move. In a sitcom it’s pretty normal for each new season to bring about new characters on the show. New characters, new city, new plotlines, here we come.
Today was my wife’s last doctor’s appointment before the due date (November 11th), which it just one week from today. She is dilated one centimeter and effaced 50 percent. However, the nurse told us today that it is common for first time moms to go a week past their due date. But still, it could happen at any time.
For the past week now, I’ve noticed that I have been completely spaced out. My mind is obviously preoccupied with knowing that our “Jack-in-the-box” could spring out any moment. People have asked me if I’m getting nervous- to my surprise, the answer is yes. I thought I was over that stage. But the first time I got nervous, around a month ago, it was because of the realization I don’t really know what to do with a newborn baby. Now that we’ve finished our Lamaze course, I’m much more confident on the basics of how to help care for Baby Jack. The thing that makes me nervous now is knowing that I have to see my wife in pain and discomfort, for hours. No matter how easy it could end up happening, it will still be difficult.
People have asked me if I think I will pass out during the delivery. The answer: a simple “no”. Blood and guts don’t bother me. Besides, unlike the reality TV star of the moment Kody Brown (Sister Wives), I will not be on the “receiving end” while my wife is giving birth. I don’t need to see his head coming out. Instead, I will be holding my wife’s hand, or at least beside her, as he’s being born.
Speaking of blood and guts, my wife and I have come up with some exciting plans for the weekend- that way, even if our baby isn’t born in the next few days, at least we can be busy and entertained otherwise. And we don’t have to just sit around getting anxious. So either way, we win: Saturday morning we have brunch plans with some friends- I’m very excited about the meatloaf and mashed potatoes at the place we’re going. Then Saturday afternoon, my wife and her mom (who is in town for the next couple of weeks) will be getting a facial. (I guess I’ll read a book during that time.) Next, we will go to the matinee: I will see Saw 3D (finally explaining the “blood and guts” reference), while my wife and her mom see something a little more light-hearted, yet appropriate for the upcoming event: Life as We Know It.
That’s right- my mother-in-law got into town Sunday night and plans to be here through the end of the month. If the audience of dad from day one was male, I would have to take a page to humorously explain that though my mother-in-law is living with us, it’s not a wacky, cliché sitcom sort of deal. I can’t complain. When I come home from work, dinner is already ready- as my wife has had help preparing it. As well as the fact that her mom immediately takes care of the dishes afterwards.
People have asked me if I’m planning on taking off a while from work once the baby is born. At this moment, I’m thinking I’ll take off just a couple of days. Because fortunately, I won’t be leaving my wife alone- she will have her mom there with her until I get home. We are very blessed that my mother-in-law has chosen to stay with us.
Those are my final thoughts as a man who has yet to see his son. Everything is about to change. Unless Baby Jack stays in past his due date, the next dad from day one will be “Baby Jack is Here!” Pictures of him will be included, of course.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
*Did you hear about this blog from American Baby magazine? If so, click here to get to the main page (table of contents) for “dad from day one”. There’s a whole lot more where this come from…
During the closing credits of my favorite movie of all time, I Love You, Man, Barry (Jon Favreau) finds out his wife Denise (Jamie Pressly) is pregnant after she vomits on him at the wedding reception. With puke on his shirt, he says to her, “Please, try to make it a boy.” Barry is a Type A jerk, inhabiting every memory and idea of a typical beer-guzzling frat boy. So of course, having a boy (instead of a girl) would be very important to him.
Being that I’m nothing like that character in the movie, instead being much more like the main character, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I had just always assumed I would have all daughters. Here’s the picture I had in my head of my future family: Me, wifey, three daughters, and two Cockapoos (or Labradoodles).
It just makes more sense that a guy who has no interest (or talent whatsoever) in sports or hunting (or anything proving I’m man enough by showing my “game face”), but instead has always been enthralled in everything artistic (drawing, entertaining, acting, singing, songwriting, writing) would somehow automatically make a better father to daughters instead of sons. So that’s part of the reason I was so authentically surprised to learn that our baby is a boy. Like somehow I deserved a son less because I’m not a certain macho stereotype I’ve memorized from three decades of watching sitcoms and movies.
And now, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that can’t help but laugh that without any preconceived hopes or crossed fingers, I get what every man secretly hopes for- a son. There’s an unspoken concept (at least in my mind) that raising a son is a rite of passage for a man. A coveted elective course, a special honorary badge, an engraved trophy so easily received- to be a father to a son. A chance not so much to relive my own life, but to enhance another future man with all the life experience and knowledge I’ve learned the hard way.
The movie I Love You, Man is built around the fact that male friendships and bonds don’t often come so easily. By a man having a son, he is automatically given that opportunity- to nurture a male the way every boy and man craves to be taught and directed. What I lack in knowledge of fixing cars and football statistics and home repairs, I can make up for in teaching healthy communication skills and anything that falls under that categories of “literary”, “artistic”, “psychological”, and “entertainment”.
In other words, I have a feeling I will be raising the likeness of a future Jewish comedic actor, maybe the next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the next Shia LaBeouf, the next James Franco…
A well-rounded people-person who is confident in who he is, that’s who I predict he will become. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be a quiet, mild-mannered, studious, future accountant. But with a dad as quirky and Hawaiian-shirt-wearing as me, I just don’t think he has a chance of being anything like Clark Kent.
Baby Jack's body is the length of a cantaloupe this week.
Here’s what The Bump says about Week 20:
Baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation… baby’s genitals are now fully formed!
To return to the “dad from day one” main page, click here.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: