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Archive for August, 2010

So, yesterday I played golf with a friend of mine.  In the golf cart was an advertisement for the Martini Lounge.  The last time I had a martini was at a bar in Chicago where transvestite sang for entertainment.  I told him I was not a fan of martinis, nor transvestites, but not for the reasons you might think.  Martinis, mainly because they are pretentious, and transvestites because they wear too much makeup.  I hate makeup.  It is why I hate clowns, Shakespearian actors, Halloween, and anyone who works for or shops at Mary Kay.

The conversation continued into a more controversial area and that is homosexuality as a sin and laws that have been proposed to prevent certain lifestyles, such as gay marriage.  I realize that this is a hot topic for many of my readers.  Hell, it is a hot topic for many Americans, but I do not want to discuss whether or not homosexuality is correct or not.  Quite frankly, I don’t care, but I am interested in the concept of what I will call “The inequality of sin”.

If you are a Christian, or a believer and follower of the Bible, you are aware there are a number of commandments on how one should live.  The Bible is considered by many as the Word of God and when one does not live by the Bible’s commandments, and therefore God’s Word he is committing a sin.  The Bible also clearly states that “… all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23.  And this is a point that my friend made.  “Everybody sins.” He said.  I said, “You are right, but the problem is we do not treat sins equally.”  Whether you believe in God or not, whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, or Jewish, I bet you do not treat sins equally.

If homosexuality is a sin, then so is sex before marriage, living with someone you are not married to, wanting what is not yours, such as your neighbor’s wife, adultery, and my favorite, divorce.  We don’t view people living lifestyles in these “minor” categories as major issues.  And we certainly wouldn’t dream of proposing legislation to regulate divorce or living arrangements.  It is kind of hypocritical, isn’t it?  But this is an issue for everyone.  Regardless of your beliefs, my guess is you too have your pet sins.  Here is an example: If a man is convicted of being a pedophile, serves his time and is released, where does he live?  In your town?  My town? The neighboring town? An island?  Even if he reforms, never commits that crime again, he is forever labeled and will find it difficult to receive forgiveness anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE.  Would I be OK with a pedophile living near me and my family?  Hell no.  But I am aware of my areas of hypocrisy, are you aware of yours?

My church starts a series called “Everybody” next week.  I am looking forward to it.  I believe the church should be more inclusive than it currently is.  If you have ever read the Bible, you will know that people absolutely loved hanging with Jesus.  You also know that he hung out with people who were CLEAR sinners.  People hated him, in part, because of the people he was associated.  Think about it.  The Christian church just 2000 years ago was a handful of people, and now has a membership of millions … millions.  The church was the place to be.  When was the last time you heard of the church as the place to be? Jesus was the man.  I believe if you met Jesus you would like him.  You would want to hang out with him.  Jesus was clearly a cool dude.  He was your bud, your pal, the kind of guy you could throw up in the back of his car and not get mad.  Where is His church?  I want to belong to a church that loves EVERYBODY and people feel welcome within its doors.  I want EVERYBODY to know that they are loved.  Does it mean you must agree with everybody, no but it does mean that we all have issues and we all have fallen short.

I don’t care who you are, you don’t treat sin equally, but if you did, you might not look at that particular person with such disdain and realize, we all got problems.  I don’t agree with everyone the same, but I want to love everyone the same.  I am not there yet, but I strive to be.  How about you?
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Whenever I go to the grocery store and walk through the detergent aisle I think it smells fragrant.  I walk and smell the perfumes and fragrances and have the same thought every time:  This would be a great place to fart.

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So, a couple of days ago some good friends, Nick and Laura stopped by to see the baby.  They visited for a while.  Nick brought over a couple of cigars (I am very glad that he did not believe that this was a gift reserved for boy babies.  Good on ya Nick!) and a 4-pack of Guinness.  Laura brought something, I don’t know what it was, I was too focused on the stogies and beer.  I know it was pink and I am sure Violet will wear whatever it was at some point.  Anyhoo, after oohing and ahing over Violet we went out to lunch together and had some nice conversations.  The main subject of one of our conversations was prompted by Laura who asked us if we plan to vaccinate Violet and our overall opinion on the subject.  That particular conversation has led me to write this post.  However, before I do, I want to talk about something else: Is there anything more of a couple activity than visiting someone’s baby?  Seriously, unless you are married, no guy chooses to go see someone else’s baby that they are not related to.  And even then you are only going to go if it is very very convenient.

So, it got me thinking: What activities signify that you are in a serious, most likely to get married relationship?  Nick and Laura, the first part of this post is dedicated to you.

A la Jeff Foxworthy:

If you are a guy and you attend an event that has anything to do with babies, i.e., new baby, christening, baby shower, bar mitzvah, or bris … You might be in a serious relationship.

If you are at a wedding, and you are with someone and you are NOT wondering which bridesmaid or groomsmen you might be able to get with that night …  You might be in a serious relationship.

If you have to set your alarm to get your girlfriend or boyfriend to the airport on time … You might be in a serious relationship.

If the boys or girls say “Let’s hit the town tonight” and your response is “Sure, but let me clear it with my partner first.” … You might be in a serious relationship.

If a HOT guy or girl walks by, and you do NOT notice (more for guys), you sir, are whipped, and … You might be in a serious relationship.

OK, now back to our regularly scheduled program.  So, we were talking about vaccinations and how there is a population of people who believe that vaccinations have led to more harm than good in their children.  And it got me thinking about the human need to understand the cause of something.  We need to know why something happened.  We especially need to know why bad things happen.  Let me give you a few scenarios to illustrate this point.

If you take your car to the mechanic for an oil change and on your drive home from the mechanic your car breaks down, or you hear a knock, or something is clearly wrong, who are you going to blame?

If you are in perfect health, not a hint of sickness, and you take a trip to the hospital, and within an hour you are as sick as a dog, where did you pick up the bug?

And finally, if you have your child vaccinated, and within 24 hours of the shot your child appears different to you or is later diagnosed with autism what is to blame?

Please do not get me wrong, I have the utmost respect and love for parents raising children that have conditions that are not considered typical or are difficult to manage.  My oldest son has seen his fair share of professionals to diagnose and assist us with his development.  The point of this post is simple, although we need to know the cause, the cause is not always clear, and the “obvious” cause may only be obvious to us because of coincidence and our strong human desire to know the cause of an unfortunate event in our life.

We all address potential coincidences differently.  For example, I believe in prayer.  If I pray for someone to get better and they are miraculously healed, I will thank God.  However, if you do not believe in God, you will thank modern medicine or call it a coincidence.  For even I know that not all my prayers receive miraculous results, so it can be difficult to know coincidence versus Divine Intervention.  If the outcome is good, divine intervention, if the outcome is bad, other explanations are needed.  One must be careful, because you can not have it both ways.

In general, humans have major problems with randomness and mistakes.  We hate randomness because we need to know why things happen and we will go to great lengths to connect A to B.  We also hate mistakes, or more specifically, we hate accidents.  Why?  Because we need to blame someone or something.  If it is an accident, than it is no one’s fault, and we hate that.  Living in a no-fault culture is detrimental to health and well-being.  Everyone and everything makes mistakes.

A while back I went to the ATM to withdrawal 20 bucks.  The machine deducted 20 dollars from my account, but money did not come out.  This has happened once in my life.  Luckily, these machines have cameras, and I wrote a letter to the bank and the 20 dollars was placed back in my account.  So you see, even machines make mistakes.

I would hate to be a doctor for this very reason.  Doctors are humans, but they are expected to be perfect.  How can a doctor be perfect? Yet they are expected to be, especially if it is your child.  When something goes wrong during surgery, we need to blame someone.  Keep in mind, neglect is different from mistake.  If doctor is proven to be negligent, I get that, but I do not understand how someone can lose their job over a mistake.  But if it were my kid, God forbid, I would definitely need someone or something to blame.  I get it.  This is why I understand why so many have blamed vaccines for autism.  It also did not help that a now defunked scientific article was written about the time parents were looking for reasons for their child’s autism.

Approximately 10 out of 10,000 babies have autism, a relatively low percentage.  What is the likelihood that most if not all of them were caused by vaccinations?  But it can give a parent a reason, and that is important.

Let me leave with you one final example.  This is an example of how our minds work and our brain will literally create an image with meaning that may not exist.  In 1976, the following picture was taken on the surface of Mars.

A shape that is about two miles long near a region of Mars called Cydonia.

There was a huge uproar from the public regarding the meaning of this incredible “finding” and the evidence of life on Mars.  To put the situation to rest, NASA took pictures of the exact same site again in 2001.  This time with the benefit of better technology.

The picture on the right was taken in 2001. Do you still see a face?

Pictures were taken from http://www.msss.com/

We often see things that are not there.  Our brain is excellent at creating reason for everything.  I think a great movie to watch is The Invention of Lying (http://the-invention-of-lying.warnerbros.com/).  It will give you something to think about regarding beliefs.  Keep in mind, I recommend this movie as a believer in God.  Nonetheless, we all want to know why things happen, but unfortunately sometimes things just happen.  I don’t think everything is random, as matter of fact I think most things are not, but I do believe random plays a part in my life.  I know I certainly make mistakes and sometimes accidents occur where there is no one to blame.  You may like this post or not, you may agree or not, but one thing is for sure, I wrote it (Cause and Effect).

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Why is hair being disgusting so dependent on its context?  It is the same hair isn’t?  Fingers through someone’s hair, OK.  Finding hair in your soup, not OK. I’m just saying …

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So, the other day I was working out at the Y and headed for the locker room to take a shower.  I had an experience, an experience I have had before, which has led me to a very simple question: At what age do I lose ALL sense of modesty?  Old dudes, especially fat old dudes have absolutely no problem walking around, carrying on conversations, shaving their areas, and I mean ALL their areas, and just in general being nude.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of myself as a prude, nor do I have a problem with anyone, even not so perfect bodied men walking around naked, but there is something especially, I don’t know, “vomit in my throat” wrong about the way these particular individuals carry themselves while nude.  Let me paint a picture of an incident that happened to me about three years ago.  The events you are about to read are true, only the names and places have been changed to protect their identities.  Also, I believe if I am too specific it will cause a deeply buried memory to surface to such great detail that I might find myself on the floor of my shower in a fetal position trying to wash the shame and loss of innocence out of every orifice of my body.  “Why won’t it wash off.  Why won’t it wash off!  Those aren’t pillows!”  The following story is graphic and may not be suited for people with weak constitutions. Proceed reading at your own risk.  You’ve been warned, says I.

I finished working out with a buddy of mine and went to the locker room to shower.  The locker room was set up so that the shower room was in plain view of the last row or lockers.  My locker happened to be in the last row, but in the recess where view of the shower room was mostly blocked.  My friend, acquaintance actually, happened to have his locker right next to mine that day, and I did not see him until I emerged from the shower.  Now, my shower routine is significantly more modest than most.  At my locker I de-robe and immediately place my towel around the “naughty” areas.  This is in contrast to many men, especially older ones, that start the process naked and than place their clothes in their locker, walk “balls to the wind” to the shower and then back to their locker to retrieve their towel.  I prefer to remain covered pretty much 90% of the time until it is time to re-clothe.  Feel free to attempt to remove that image from your brain, good luck, it only gets worse.  Now, upon completing my shower, I immediately re-don my towel and walk, covered, back to my locker, and there he was, standing in front of his locker, at about 6 feet five and about (I’m just guessing, but would bet my entire savings account that I am not more than 10 pounds off) 380 pounds.  A big dude, with the bulk of his mass in the middle, if you know what I am saying.  He is wet, and he is naked.  Now, personally, I like to dry off in the shower area, walk back to my locker mostly dry, with a few quick touch ups as I get dressed.  My friend, let’s call him Fred, did not share this philosophy.  Fred preferred to do most of his drying locker side, and he wasn’t getting dressed until he was completely dry.  So, I am at my locker getting dressed, trying to avoid eye contact, and Fred proceeds to ask how things are going, facing me, and trying to have a “normal” conversation, meanwhile, continually “waxing” and “buffing” his robust “vehicle”.  ==PAUSE FOR EFFECT==  Then, like a horrible car accident, or a 90-year-old woman sitting in front of you and uncrossing and recrossing her legs like in Basic Instinct, “That did NOT just happen?”, Fred “lifts the hood” to get, literally the underbelly and like in “The Graduate”, if you were on the other side, you would see me through his leg resting on the bench in front of the lockers.  Ugghh, a chill went through my spine just writing this.  If it was possible to remove this very clear memory from my brain, but there was a high chance that other memories would be removed with it, like the birth of my children, sex, roller coasters, the mountains, I would risk it.  Fred continued to talk to me through his entire process, never skipping a beat, and I actually waited until the conversation was over before leaving the gym.  I went home immediately, and re-showered.  I felt violated.

But I must bring this post back to the real question.  At what age do men become comfortable with this clear lack of modesty.  Although I have shared with you my worst experience of this phenomenon, it is by no stretch of the imagination an isolated incident.  I see this kind of behavior in older, fatter, men, ALL THE TIME.  Why?  When will this happen to me?  I need to know.  Is this also true with women?

Believe it or not, I would LOVE to receive your comments on this subject.  I need to know that it is not just me.  Is this true in women?  Am I overly sensitive?  Share your story if you got one.

Yes, you just read this.  Don’t look at me, you are the one that visits my site to explore the inner sanctum of my mind.  Not pretty is it?  You never know what is lurking in there.  Yes, I am a caring, thoughtful father, husband, hopefully all around good guy, with disturbing images of fat, old dudes dancing in my head.  You read it correctly, in my mind they are dancing …, always dancing.

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I LOVE B-movies.  One of my favorites is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  It is a classic.  Watch it and thank me later.  “Can someone pass the ketchup?”  Very , very funny.  To that end, I have not been as excited to see a movie since Hot Tub Time Machine.  By the way, Hot Tub Time Machine did not disappoint.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  So, what is my latest must-see movie?  You guessed it,  Piranha 3D, who’s with me?  As long as it is not meant to be a true horror film, I am in.  Like Lake Placid, I expect unintentional comedy, crazy “Oh my God, did that just happen, then laugh” scenes, and the one thing that every self-respecting B-movie should have, gratuitous, unpredictable, would never happen in real life, random nudity.  I’m just sayin …

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So, originally I was planning on posting on the hypocrisy of people wanting to modify the 14th amendment.  It is as hypocritical an idea I have ever heard and as far as I am concerned it is yet another veiled act of racism.  Although I wrote that post (coming soon), I was distracted by an idea I had about an experience I had at the gym involving very naked and very old men (also coming soon).  Unfortunately, I had an incident today that I feel compelled to talk about in this post.

As some of you may be aware, my son is taking football for the first time.  The coaches tell me he is doing great.  They have been extremely supportive and I have had great conversations with them and their insights to how they think they will use him in the game.  He is slated to play defensive line.

In the beginning, I don’t think he liked it because the first week was all conditioning, but whenever we talked about how he would hit people in the future, his eyes would light up and it was clear he was excited to play football.

Now don’t get me wrong, my son is awesome, but his interactions with the world and other people are not the same as other 10-year-olds.  It is for this reason that I worry about him constantly.  I worry that he will have difficulties making friends, understanding his teachers to be successful in school, and now being able to learn a game he has never played before with several coaches giving multiple instructions.  He is a big kid, and like most people who are especially big, tall, or strong, certain expectations/assumptions are made upon them.  Although he is large, he is also the sweetest, nicest, and most unassuming kid you will ever meet.  He is a pleasure to be around, and probably not a single aggressive bone in his body.  The funny thing is, I was the same way at his age, and I believe I am trying to fix MY “flaw” in him.  I stated in a previous post (Parenting: Raising Children in a Bubble) that “nothing will make you more angry than when your child does or experiences something that is a direct reflection of your own flaws.”  You see, my son did nothing wrong, yet I saw in him something that I wish I would’ve done when I was his age.  It was as if I could fix my flaws through him.

You may have kids and if you do, I’ll ask you this: What is your flaw that you try to fix in your kid(s)?  Maybe you think that if only your son/daughter would apply their God-given talents they would be more successful than you ever were.  Or maybe you wish your child wasn’t so lazy, because you know how lazy you were at their age.  Maybe your child gets too emotional, not emotional enough, no initiative, not prepared for the future, or dating the wrong guy or girl.  But I will ask you to seriously think about it.  Is the thing that annoys you the most, also your flaw?

If you don’t have kids, my guess is that the parent you have the most struggles with are most like you.  If you don’t believe me or you think that it isn’t true, just ask someone else.  For example, my father and I are very alike.  He has an annoying way of saying things to you that are not exactly kind.  They are often true, but it is in the tone that is truly irritating.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my father, and he is significantly more tolerable than he used to be (I think age does that), but he can get under my skin like no one on the planet.  And today, the tone I used with my son after his football practice was from page one of my father’s handbook.  It was like I was acting just like my father, something I promised I would not do, but it was like I was hovering over my body and it was channeling my dad’s tone.

I think we all struggle with our parent’s “mistakes”.  I have placed the word in quotes because I am no longer convinced they were mistakes, but consequences of being human.  My friend, Doug posted a comment (Don’t Have Kids … Please) that I believe states it best:  “But as Don Luis Miguel said in his book, “The Four Agreements,” we hear these things, make an agreement with it, and then later on spread this same negativity. Hopefully today for that mom, and in the future for that child, they begin to break that cycle by making new agreements. 1. Be impeccable with your word. 2. Don’t take things personally. 3. Don’t make assumptions. 4. Always do your best. I have had to work very hard at not doing some of the same things to my kids that my parents did to me. At the same time, I had to let go of resentments about those things and realize that my parents did what they were taught and did the best they could with what they knew.”

I don’t resent my parents.  I think they did a bang up job, but it does not mean that there aren’t cycles I would like to break.  At the end of my little tirade at my son today, I apologized.  He did not deserve my tone.  I told him how great I think he is and how his dad unfortunately gets carried away sometimes.  It was not my intention to make him feel bad.  At dinner I told him that I did not need to be at practice, and he could ask me when he felt he needed my help.  Before he went to bed he said he wanted me at practice, and I was very relieved.

I know I am not the best father in the world, but I hope I am the type of person that can learn from his mistakes and continually strive to be a better person.  I don’t know if I broke the cycle as my friend Doug discusses above, but I do know that I apologized to my son for a mistake that I made, and I am pretty sure that is different.  Maybe the cycle has been broken after all.

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My father is not perfect, but he has been supportive to all his kids and you will not find a more stable, supportive, give the shirt off his back, did the best he could father on the planet.  Not funny, but true.  I’m just sayin …

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So, my baby daughter turned one week old yesterday and she is the third example of a simple truth that I have come to know, babies are boring.  Insolence! Naysayer! He’s a witch, burn him!  You sir are a charlatan and a fraud!  You cad! Good day sir.  I SAID GOOD DAY!  That’s right, you read correctly, I said that babies are boring.  Don’t believe the hype.  Now here is the main point of this post, most people, maybe all people, with the exception of myself and possibly 20-year-old single heterosexual males think babies are awesome.  What’s so awesome about them?

Here is a day in the life of my daughter, Violet:

10:30-12:15 Awake
12:15-12:30 Feed
12:30-3:00  Sleep
3:00-3:15   Feed
3:15-4:15   Awake/sleep/cry unless I am walking with her in my arms
4:15-4:20   Feed
4:20-5:30   Sleep
5:30        Isaac wakes up Violet by poking her in the eye
5:31        Isaac denies waking his sister up, but since she is up, he asks if can he hold her.
5:31-7:00   Awake/sleep/crying
7:00-7:15   Feed
7:15-9:00   Sleep
9:00-9:15   Feed
9:15-9:45   Watch TV with Daddy
9:45-12:00  Sleep

When I use the term “awake” I use it VERY loosely.  She can’t focus her eyes.  When she “smiles” I am quite confident it’s gas.  And she can’t keep her head up on her own, she is basically a 10 pound bobble head.  Of course, if I flick her head like a bobble head I am a “bad” father.  Who makes up these rules?

The rest is basically a blur to me as I try very hard to sleep through the feeding sessions.  Before you condemn me for being a man, know this, I do NOT have mammary glands, and could not feed her if I tried.  My guess is that the inventor of the breast pump was a man, but its intention was not for humans, it was for cows.  The modifier of the milking machine most certainly was a woman.  If it was a man, he was punched by the nearest father once the ramifications of his invention became known.  I am also certain that after being punched and socked in the groin by a man with kids, the inventor got up and quietly said “I deserved that.”  Leah has a breast pump, but plans to breast feed for as long as I can convince her it is best for the baby.

The point is that babies don’t do nuthin’.  So, why are so many people crazy about them?  Ok they are cute, but what else they got?  Now don’t get me wrong, being cute is very important.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it is the one thing keeping the parent from killing their child. If you have children, you know exactly what I am talking about.  But when it comes to being crazy about babies, no one is worse than grandmothers.

My mom and Leah’s mom are chomping at the bit to see their granddaughter.  However, we made it very clear to them that we would not like visitors until September.  We don’t want to start out with craziness and I don’t care who you are, family, friends or acquaintances, visitors, especially sleepover visitors add stress to one’s life, especially mine.  So I assure you that no one was more surprised than me when our phone rang (I did not answer it) and over our answering machine’s speaker I hear my mother-in-law’s voice with many pieces of information, but only one important one, she and Leah’s niece are in a hotel 15 minutes away.  I clearly mis-heard.  My wife comes down the stairs, I say to her,”Hey Love, your mom left a message.”  “Yeah she called me on my cell as well, let’s listen to it.” she said.  They are in Milwaukee.  WHAT!?!?

Later, I made it very clear to my mother-in-law that this was not OK, but here is the thing, she drove SEVEN HOURS, paid for a hotel (didn’t knock on our door in fear of us not letting her in, also did not call us sooner in fear of us saying no to her visit) to see her granddaughter for TWO hours and then drove the seven hours back home.  Crazy!  Baby crazy!  Oh by the way, what was Violet doing during her visit?  Sleeping.  She would’ve got the same impact by holding a teddy bear with a picture of Violet’s face on it and saved the gas and hotel costs.  I know, I know, I can hear you saying it now, but Brett, it is not the same.  Really?  Really?  Would waiting two weeks (when she was due to arrive) make that much of a difference.  Baby Crazy.  It should be classified as a disease.

So, call me an ogre, callous, or say that I do not have a soul, but the bottom line, my daughter is about as exciting as the WNBA (Oh no he didn’t.  Do you know that WNBA games are going on now?  Yeah, neither did I.  Who is funding this league?  Why does the WNBA still exist?  I say play a game between the best high school students, and if they win, they get to stay on TV.  If they lose, we finally get to shoot that broken legged horse.  Am I wrong?)  OK, that was a long digression, I apologize.  Simply, babies are boring.  This won’t be true forever.  For example, my three-year-old provides loads of entertainment.  My son announces to his mom “Babies poop in their diaper and Isaac pees on the floor.”  My wife is despondent as she gazes at the very large puddle on the bathroom floor.  See, comedy gold. 

I am convinced there is a gene that causes people, mostly women, to go crazy over babies.  A gene that I am clearly lacking, but if it wasn’t for this gene, the human race would have probably died out long ago.  I love my daughter, and she is definitely the cutest little girl on the planet, but until she can show appreciation for Star Wars, throw a ball, tell a joke, or start pooping chocolate, she is officially and affectionately B-O-R-I-N-G, boring.  Oh by the way, did I mention that my daughter, Violet, is AWESOME!

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When do feet become ugly appendages and parts of the body that one would never, ever want to be placed in one’s mouth? Unless you have some kind of fetish, in which case you have issues that I would prefer not discuss here, you could place a baby’s foot in your mouth and no one would think of you as weird.  Unless it was a stranger’s baby, and then they would call the police.  But I just find it funny that baby’s feet are super cute and cuddly.  Daddy’s feet?  Uuuggghh, shiver down the spine.  I’m just sayin …

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So, if you are a regular reader of my blog you know that we just had a daughter.  My wife had a very long arduous pregnancy and we are so glad that it is over.  Besides the end of pregnancy we have our wonderful new daughter, Violet.  Violet is currently sleeping next to me as I type this, and hopefully she will let me finish it before the night is done.  Her mom is sleeping and getting some needed rest.  If you still haven’t read the detailed adventure of my daughter’s birth, I encourage you to do so (https://sincejuniorhigh.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/pregnant-no-mo/).

I love this picture of Violet. I think she has beautiful eyes.

While they were still in the hospital, recovering, my oldest son, Brett asked if we could celebrate the arrival of Violet.  I told him that is an awesome idea.  We bought flowers, cupcakes, and Violet had presents for the boys.  We decided to have a REAL birthday party.  A party to celebrate the birth of Violet.

I don’t know if other people throw birthday parties at someone’s birth, but they should.  I think this should become the cultural norm.  Our two boys open up presents.  Brett also opened an envelope containing ten dollars for winning the bet of when Violet would actually be born.  We all sang happy birthday and had a great time eating cupcakes.  And instead of the birthday girl getting gifts, since she is technically zero, her brothers get gifts from her.
Isaac receives a Batman and Sandman from his new sister.

It is kind of like a reverse birthday, but I think it is more of a birthday than a traditional one because someone was actually born.  It was very cool.

With the arrival of my daughter I am also struck by how soon personality seems to be evident.  She is already clearly different from her two brothers, and I know it is early, but I am certain that she is strong.  Another strong-willed person in our family may make the teenage years unbearable.  It will be very important to practice my good guy routine.  You know, me and her versus mommy.  That sounds right.  But it is got me thinking, how much of who we are is set at day one?
This is an old argument, right?  Nature versus nurture?  However, if you have kids, I am sure you will agree with me, personality began to show itself super early, maybe as early as day one.  It is also no surprise to me that girls are different from boys, something I plan on posting about in the future.  But for now, I will just say that we treat girls different from the get go.  For example, literally 95% of my daughter’s clothing is pink.  Who made this choice?  Why does a girl have to wear pink?  I am sick of pink already and she is only three days old.  I love my boys, but my daughter already gets more attention then they ever got.  Say what you want about gender issues, but we begin the process of differentiation as soon as we can.  I promise you this, if I buy clothes for my daughter, it will NOT be pink.
Well, I better go, she is beginning to stir.  I will leave you with this.  I love my daughter, but if you are reading this and you are considering having three or more kids, even a little thought that might be in your brain, believe me when I say this — “DON’T DO IT! IT’S TOO MANY KIDS!!!”  We no longer have one-on-one, but we are playing zone.  It’s crazy, but I love her.
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Every person that sees me has asked about the birth.  I’m at least glad she is born so I no longer get, “Is the baby here yet?”  But why are the details sooo important and why must we talk for five minutes about the birth?  I don’t know you and you want to know how long the labor was, how much she weighed, how long was she, did my wife tear during the birthing process.  OK, I made up the last one, (She did not by the way), but I am surprised at how much information people think they are entitled to when it comes to babies.  What’s up with that?  Oh and by the way, 7pm-3:13am, 8lbs and 11oz, 19.5 inches long.  You happy? I’m just sayin …

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Pregnant No Mo’

So, it all started about two years ago.  My wife, Leah asked if we could have another child.  The idea of having three children did not appeal to me, so in my infinite wisdom, I said no.  I obviously put my foot down as man of the house.  Oh, wait, you already know how that story ends.  You see, my wife is persistent and believes that I should not get my way in all circumstances.  It turns out that is best for the relationship.  Huh? Who knew.

Almost 40 weeks ago we learned that she was pregnant after a very irrational fight.  It was the same with Isaac.  She turned into a crazy person, I was evil incarnate and she did not feel well.  She is pregnant.  We were about to have a baby.  Unfortunately, although she was super happy to be pregnant, our soon to be new child was not going to let her off so easy.  From about month two, she has been sick everyday.  Am i exaggerating? No.  When I say everyday, I literally mean sick and vomiting EVERY day for the next six months until the last day.  It was NOT fun for her, and it was certainly not fun for me.

During her first sonogram we learned that she was having a girl.  This was very exciting news for both of us.  Exciting for her because maybe, just maybe, the testosterone tide in the house would turn and she could have someone who did not want to have a peeing contest all the time in the house.  Again, not exaggerating.  Exciting for my family, as my mom as like 13 grandchildren, and this will be her first granddaughter.  Our daughter will be the most spoiled child on the planet.

We decide to call the fetus Guinness, because we both enjoy the beer, and we have visited its brewery in Ireland.  We found it better than calling the fetus, ‘fetus’ or ‘it’.  As we searched for baby names, Leah came across a baby name and shared it with the family at the dinner table.  Brett Jr. and I both laughed out loud when we heard it, seriously.  A clear rookie move on my part, and needless to say did not go over well with Leah.  In case you are wondering, the name stuck and will be introduced later.

Now, Leah is very natural.  Her first child, Isaac was a natural birth with a brief shot of drug to give her rest and lasted for about an hour.  To this day, she wishes she never had that drug.  So, to have our daughter completely natural, she decided to take Hypnobirthing classes.  She informed me that I was to take them as well.  Again, apparently my wants are not always needed for consideration (again, who knew?)  I wouldn’t say I hated hypnobirthing class more than a kick in the crotch, but it was close second.  I am not against hypnosis, but don’t teach it as legitimate science, which these two teachers, or at least one of them tried to convince the group.  Basically the premise is simple, if dogs, cats, elephants, primates, or tigers and bears (oh my) don’t feel pain during labor, neither should we.  STUPID!  Wrong on so many levels, but I don’t have time to explain why this premise is so flawed here.  Simple answer, the human head is huge compared to other animals.  Anyway, I digress.  So, labor pains are simply a cultural manifestation.  Ugghh!!  There were multiple times I wanted to argue with the teachers or just stab two forks in my ears.  But every so often you must take one for the team.

She was due July 29, and July 29 came and went with absolutely no sign of her being born any time soon.  Brett Jr. was due to go to his first overnight camp (YMCA) ever (which he LOVED by the way) and we were afraid she would be born while he was a way and he would miss it.  On August 6 we visited the doctor, and still not clear indication that she was on her way.  Our family also had bets on when the baby would arrive, Brett Jr. had August 7.  On August 6, the family drove an hour to pick up Brett and join him for dinner and participate in the last camp’s campfire ceremony.  After seeing Brett, who was glowing from both dirt and the joy of camp, we had dinner together and headed for the campfire.  Leah came out of the bathroom, looked at me and said we must go, now!  Her shorts were soaking wet and it wasn’t from falling in the toilet.

We were an hour from home and had to check out Brett and fast.  We were sad to miss his campfire, but we had good cause.  On the way out of the camp (very very very simple directions), I got lost and had NO idea where we were.   My wife’s contractions are now five minutes apart.  I find a local bar with a drunk woman sitting outside grooving to music and ask for directions.  Unclear whether to trust the woman, I have no choice and head through farmland to hopefully the highway.  We make it.  Contractions are coming fast and furious and I suggest I drop her off at the hospital first and then go to the house to pick up her stuff.  She insists on going home first.  I say she is crazy.  We go home first (See above).  We drop off the boys at a friends and head to the hospital.  I say let’s go to the emergency entrance, she says no, I’ll walk from the parking garage.  I say you’re crazy.  No way.  We walk from the parking garage (seriously).  She stands up out of the car and like in a movie about pregnancy, water falls to the ground like a popped water balloon.  I say wait here, and I go get a wheelchair.  She is laughing the entire time worrying about the car is going to smell because of her amniotic fluid.  “Would you like to go to the store and get some cleaning supplies and clean the car and then go to the hospital?”  She laughs.  “Can we go now?”  “Yes” she says.

The birthing center is practically full and the nurse appears visibly shocked that we have come to have our baby delivered.  After an “All hands on deck” we get a room.  Leah begins listening to her hypno CD and all is going well until the first REAL contraction hits.  I am called into service immediately.  Screw the CD, help me!  I spend the next several hours telling her stories both real and made-up about our experiences in water during each contraction.  To my surprise it works.

The baby’s heart rate keeps dropping.  During contractions it is worse.  Multiple times the heart beat stops.  The nurse crew comes in multiple times to get Leah to move and multiple times they get the heart rate back up.  Leah has no idea what is going on, but I am extremely concerned.  It is now time to push, and with zero medication, our baby is born … with the cord wrapped around her neck and she is purple.  The nurse, Linda (who was awesome) wants to take the baby.  Leah says no.  She has no idea what is going on.  Linda argues with Leah.  Leah is not budging and basically holding the entire staff hostage.  Linda, who I could tell was also strong willed and probably has a husband who also does not get his way all the time, stares down Leah, places the baby on her chest and works with the baby while on Leah’s chest.  The chord is removed, she gets the baby to cry, and what was once purple gradually turns pink.  Later, things are explained to Leah, but right then and there, I wanted to hug Nurse Linda.

So, at 3:11 am on August 7, 2010, weighing in at 8 pounds 11 ounces, 19.5 inches long, very late, but right on time, and even though she was born purple, her name was picked long before, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you a very healthy and beautiful baby girl, Violet Ann Woods.

Later in the day I arrive to give mom flowers and a 4-pack of Guinness.  Leah is SUPER excited to see the Guinness.  That’s my girl.

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During the birth, Leah almost broke my hand as my wedding ring dug into my finger.  I should have taken it off in the beginning.  Rookie mistake.  I’m just sayin …

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