Tag Archives: family

Time for Parenting

Today’s guest blog post comes from Kristina Martin, a Portland author, humorist, and comic, who is also a great cheerleader for other writers, and who can’t use more comics in their lives?

three babiesI am blessed with many people in my life. Ironically, right now a large number of those people are either pregnant, awaiting the immediate birth of a baby, or brand-spanking new parents. A few have asked me questions about what to expect as a parent but since I am known for “telling it like it is” I usually don’t field many follow-up questions about labor and delivery or life with newborns.

But if I did, I would tell that pondering person that babies are all about time.

Simply making a baby requires the type of precision normally reserved for marching bands practicing for the Rose Bowl. While not all egg and sperm “providers” are carefully watching calendars and clocks, a good many do.  And for those folks, making a baby is all about the perfect time.  I hope they enjoy that moment, because it’s the last perfect time they will have for a long time. Read More…

The Acquisition of New Dad Stupid Powers

wooden baby rattleIn college, Fred Van Lente played a game with his friends called “Stupid Powers,” in which each of them had just such a useless magical ability. They could, however, deploy these at will for whatever they were worth, making the concept a kind of junior varsity version of the X-Men. Maybe not all magical powers have ambitions for greatness. Who are we to judge them?

Stealing the basic concept from Fred, I wrote a novel called SuperQueers that I’ve since put on the back burner, not quite trunking it. I need to be happier with how I’ve executed the story before I’ll query it—even the unpublished have their standards. But I do love the stupid powers in that book, and I’m always on the lookout for new ones to acquire because one never knows what it will take to save the world, when the time comes. Why couldn’t it come down to the ability to know how to swear in extra-terrestrial languages? Read More…

Dragon Blossom, or the Story of Emile’s Birth

To no one’s surprise, it is 3:08 in the morning and I am awake, groggily awake. Unlike past bouts of insomnia, on nights when I couldn’t sleep because oh, I was going to start 3rd grade, or when I had to get up this early to make a flight, I am awake by means of a constant prodding from my son, Emile. And despite the sleep deprivation and little ways that it steals sensibility from a person (such as forgetting how to open a door), just writing his name in a blog post thrills me. I’m so happy he’s here with us.

Also unsurprisingly, my wife’s child announced his need to be born on his own terms. Neither she nor I lacks for obstinacy, and both of us have an automatic resistance reflex when we’re told what to do. I’m not a huge fan of DNA as fatalistic decider for human behavior, but I admit there are things like family patterns. And proclaiming that just because Susanne went into labor two days before our scheduled induction means the little one is as stubborn as each of us is premature but fun. Because I’m zonked out these days, I’ll take fun as a sustaining activity.
Read More…

Due Date Physics

I admit that I’ve been reading up on string theory and theoretical physics, in research mode for my next novel, hence the title of this post. We were all set to go for induction this last Thursday, but then, well, nothing ever goes as planned, right?

DEFCON signage, on level 1Taking a few steps back to the last Monday in August, we were informed that our appointment would be moved earlier by an hour because our regular doctor had called in sick. So we met with another doctor in the practice. Instead of Sarah Palin’s doppelganger, who I’ve come to really like, we got a woman who looked like a soccer mom of 8 children. All I knew about her before this appointment was that she’s the doctor who does the circumcisions in the practice, and she’s kind of klutzy. Those are two tastes that I’m sure don’t taste great together, but on this day, I could be unconcerned with her gracefulness and focus on Susanne’s internal exam. Had our own doctor Palin been doing the examination, we’d have a clear idea of when to try to induce; as it was, we were going to have to wait for the fill-in to contact Susanne’s doctor, who would then call us, probably on Tuesday.

In the meantime, however, Dr. Spaz made an induction appointment for us for that Thursday.

Three. Days. Away. Read More…

Tales of an Unborn Dragon

36 weeks pregnancy imageIt seems a mite inappropriate to discuss my wife’s pregnancy using gambling metaphors, but saying we’re in the “home stretch” also strikes me as apt. There is some kind of race to the finish here. Maybe she’s trying to snap the yellow tape in a contest against the end of summer, I’m not sure. But as the doctor appointments increase in frequency—we’re now going to see the Sarah Palin lookalike every week—and now that Susanne’s belly is somewhere around three times the size of Susanne herself, it feels like we’re about to accomplish what we set out to do oh so many moons ago. Read More…

Awash in Swaddling Material

swaddled babyI suspect I’ve told too many people these last several months that I have concerns about being able to create a quality swaddle for our baby once it’s been born, because now I have something on the order of a dozen swaddles. If the sage green velcro-fastening fleece doesn’t work, there’s a stretchable muslin swaddler with little bees on it that all of the Who’s Who in LA are using for their little ones. If that one isn’t a good fit for our baby Houdini, then I have a broad blanket I can use, or an inspired-by-NASA breathable swath of material that one friend swears by. The only piece of equipment I seem to be lacking is an auto-swaddler, but I suppose it’s not sitting in our nursery because it doesn’t exist. Maybe I should file for a patent. Patents are all the rage right now. Read More…

Holy Baptism, Batman

blue water waveWe finished baby class number 4 last night, which was All About Breastfeeding, and I saw more nipples on film than if I’d sat through ten hours of Girls Gone Wild. GGW doesn’t know anything about latching on, though, so at least my exposure to exposed breasts left me with a basic understanding of what to tell Susanne to do when she’s struggling to get into the nursing schtick. I’m sure she’ll want to hear advice from me at 4:20AM when the baby is crying and we haven’t slept in three weeks. Read More…

Calling in the Clothing Police

As soon-to-be parents, we find ourselves awash in baby clothing. This isn’t a problem, given that I hear most newborns go through more costume changes than Diana Ross at the Sands—though maybe fewer sequins. The problem is this: sizing for baby clothes is a joke, or an example of the chaos that runs rampant throughout the known universe. Take for instance, the following exhibit:

All of these outfits claim to be for a 3-month-old baby. Read More…

A History of Scars

parts of a knifeI had a battle with a newly sharpened knife last night, and the knife won. I know better than to cut toward me, force a cut through meat, and all the other rules about handling knives, but it was late, I was tired, and I rushed through deboning a chicken I’d roasted so I could put it away. In less than one second the stainless steel sliced my left index finger just under my cuticle, and I shrieked over to the sink to get cold water on the cut and help numb the sensation. Susanne, firmly in her waddling phase of pregnancy, managed to skeedaddle into the kitchen and assess the damage, so we opted for some gauze and tight tape to staunch the bleeding. I realized, during this morning’s shower, that I am a professional when it comes to keeping recent wounds dry. And this is because I have stabbed and slashed myself accidentally so many times I can barely count the instances anymore.

But let’s try, shall we? Read More…

On Father’s Day

father's day tiesThere is a heavy glass frame on a sideboard table in my dining room, among other sundry items like playing cards, pottery serving pieces, and right now, a stack of diplomas earned by Susanne and myself as we reorganize the office into a nursery. In the frame is a picture of my parents, some sunny day from the 1980s, on a trip they took to Hawaii. They’re seated at a luau, with beautiful leis around their necks—nothing resembling the cheap plastic ones you can find at the dollar store—but what they’re wearing most wonderfully are their smiles. My mother’s hair is perfect; my father is wearing a new, hasn’t-been-stained-yet tropical shirt, and they’re just about to settle in for a fun evening. If photos can capture and preserve a moment in time forever, this was a great one to snatch. Read More…

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