It’s Difficult…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

… to tell which of the two of us is the smarter one. Especially when you consider the silly things you say to an infant. On the other hand, I’m proud to be the first person to introduce him to the phrase “hookers and blow”.

Two Whole New Photos

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Two’s a lot, right? I’m not going overboard, am I?  I’d hate to be one of those fathers who drags friends and family over to his website so they can look at three, sometimes four, photos.  ‘Tis an endless chore for the viewers, that’s all I’m saying.   One’s usually enough, but I’m edgy; I’m bold.  I rock.

On with the show!

The last is my favorite.  Mostly because he’s not crying.  Oh, and he’s adorable.  But adorable and not crying.

Look What We Found On Our Doorstep! (In a basket. With a note attached.)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

The note read:
“Cower, mortals, and rejoice in the arrival of your new overlord, Wiggy!”

And, here’s a slightly better photo of Wiggy:

Not only does he have red hair (like his devastatingly handsome Pa), but he came into this world weighing a whopping 10 pounds and standing tall at 21.5 inches. Can I say that I’m thrilled I’m a guy? Despite the glorious help of an epidural, that just looked painful!

By the way, it was hilarious to see the tiny fold of flesh at the top of his head crown for a few minutes, and then one mighty push later, his GIANT noggin’ comes pushing out, making it look like someone just inflated a huge doll head. Plus, he came out sunny-side up, looking at the ceiling, so all I could think of when I saw his squalling face for the first time was the first coupla words from Peter Gabriel’s Big Time: “Hi, there!”

Ma Kettle is tired, of course, but doing well. She’s thrilled to no longer be pregnant. Pa Kettle stopped off at home this morning to take care of the dogs, but will be headed back to the hospital shortly.

So, yay for baskets!

The Invasion

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Wiggy, my friends, is now officially on his (or her) way today.  Get ready to fire up your cigars!

I bought a cigar, by the way.  Dropped by one of the swankiest cigar places in town to pick it out and up, too… but I’ll probably never smoke it.  Because I don’t know how.  And because I’ve never smoked before.  But, I could light it if I wanted to–just this once; after all, Google has presented me with many a page of instructions on how to set fire to that stick o’ tobaccy, so I’m sure nothing could go wrong.  The Internet is full of experts!

Anyhoo, the Insta-Princess and I have been at the hospital since last night, so we’re just waiting for Wiggy to stop slacking and make his way to Delivery Depot.  Today, some time, we’ll have a new squaller in da’ house. (Besides me.)

Stay tuned for pics and whatnot. (The Insta-Princess says if I actually save any bona fide whatnot from the delivery, she’s leaving me.  But she needs a ride home first, so she’ll proably wait until after that.)

The Village of the Damned

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s funny, now that we’re a month away from polluting our house with Gerber and Pampers, how people are just now creeping and crawling in to alert us with numerous horror stories of having kids. Before, the Insta-Princess and I were pumped full of anecdotes and foretellings of sweetness and light. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” Now that they know we’re stuck, that there’s no turning back, it’s a different story.

Last night, for instance, we were out at dinner with our friends Peggy and Wayne. Now, I’ve known Peggy since I was, oh, maybe 11 or 12. Back in the days when I had both energy and hair, I was schlepped to a daycare each afternoon after school; Peggy, as luck would have it, was one of the “teachers” (as we, the young, wide-eyed innocents, called them). She and I bonded over our voracious reading habits, and when she left for college, she was kind enough to be my pen pal. So, over the years we’ve been in contact off and on, and I’m happy to say that she married a great guy and ended up having two wonderful children.

Or, so I thought.

We were eating Greek food (me, with my lamb shank and octopus; everyone else munching on treats I don’t recall because, frankly, mine was so good, who cared about the rest of the world?) when we all stumbled into the inevitable conversation about kids. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” But then, almost immediately after…

The room got colder. I shivered and turned to look at the Insta-Princess, distracted by the chattering of her teeth. “What’s going on with this wacky temp–” I started to say.

“Help us!”

“What was that?” I asked my wife.

“Wasn’t me,” she chattered, rubbing her arms for warmth. “It sounded like it came from across the table.”

“Look!” I cried, pointing to where Peggy and Wayne sat. “They’ve turned into the zombies from Thriller!”

“Nooooooo,” Peggy Zombie moaned. “Not zombies, just parents.”

“Help us!” Wayne Zombie moaned again.

“Was it the lamb?” I asked. “I’m so sorry. Usually it doesn’t zombifiy people. Maybe if we talk to the chef?”

Wayne Zombie started to say something, but his jaw fell off.

“By God! What’s happened to you?”

They looked at one another. “Kids,” they said. (Well, Peggy said it; Wayne kinda signed it, what with his jaw having fallen off and everything.)

“But,” the Insta-Princess sputtered, “sweetness and light! Sweetness and goddamned light! That’s what you’ve been promising us!”

“They’re demons,” Peggy Zombie insisted. “Hellions, minions of Satan–that’s what kids are. You’ve got to help us get away. Can we borrow your car? Our kids won’t recognize it, so we could be in Mexico before Friday…”

I was confused, horrifed, even. This wasn’t in the manual–and certainly not in the pamphlet Babies ‘R’ Us had given us. Nothing about demons or fallen angels was mentioned. And I checked everywhere, even the page about breast pumps. (I might have checked on that page more than necessary, right, but you can never be too sure.) “This is so unexpected,” I said.

“We had to warn you–” Peggy Zombie started to say. And then stopped. Her eyes, wide with fright, narrowed and flashed a quick red glow. “Mother,” she said in a slightly higher, almost childish voice. “What are you doing? Are you trying to escape again?” Peggy Zombie nodded, slowly, in terror. “It won’t work, Mother,” she continued. “Now grab Father and his jaw, and head home. It’s bath time.”

Peggy Zombie helped Wayne Zombie to his feet, and then hooked his jaw back on. “It’s-been-very-very-very-nice,” they said in unison. “We-will-see-you-again-when-our-children-allow-us.” They turned to leave, heading for the door. But before they got too far, Peggy turned back around. Her eyes flashing red once more, and speaking with the same childish voice as before, she looked directly at the Insta-Princess’s bulging belly.

“Hail, Mephistopheles, our future brother.”

And, then left.

Thus, I fear, our future is cemented. Wiggy, our very own Child of the Corn.

At the very least, it’d make for a cool movie.

We Need 300 CCs of Brylcreem, STAT!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce, to you, the face of Wiggy:

With hair.  No Nair.

It’s really only half a face (the other half hidden in sono-shadow, not that Wiggy’s missing half a face), but you can make out the top part of the nose, a bit of the lip, one “Is Wiggy giving us the stink eye?!” eye, and… hair. Fuzzy hair that’s tickling the kidneys.

Oh! The doctor gave us the most delightful news today; in fact, I so wish I could have captured the look on the Insta-Princess’s face when he mentioned how Wiggy was urinating inside her. Yep, you read it right: Wiggy is peeing inside Da Momma.

I’m so happy I’m a guy.

ETA: Hmm… based on a few proclamations of puzzlement, I’ve decided to include a handy-dandy guide to the above picture. My first bit of advice is to step back and take a peek; you’ll be better able to see the face from a distance. If not, however, then take a gander at the following skillfully designed map of Wiggy:

 

This time, with yellow letters.

Not only will my kid beat up your kid, but Wiggy will fry him with the laser. I know, right? I’m the best dad, evah!

Lois Sure Ain’t Super.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

To begin with, Happy New Year!

To continue, have I mentioned my wife’s car, Lois? If not, let me contribute a quick summary: I loathe her. It’s not ‘hate’ I feel, for hate is almost too simple, almost too Saturday morning cartoonish; I don’t despise Lois, because ‘despisableness’ is much too long a word, making it a pain to keep on typing it in case, you know, I want to show off its noun form. No, I loathe Lois because she has been little more than expensive trouble since the day we got her. (Okay, the day we got her was rather kind of mild: a little snow, some ice, but overall, not too bad. Considering we drove her home without a license plate, I’d say she didn’t cause us one bit of worry in our burgeoning career as minor automotive code criminals.)

Lois is a Volkswagen, and Volkswagen as a company stinks like rotten fruit. (The smelly kind. I’ve no idea whether sweet-smelling rotten fruit exists, but I live in the world of nitpickers, so I thought I’d clear that up before any objections are made.) Volkswagen has refused to fix an engine oil sludge issue covered under warranty without first cornering us into paying over $500 in unrelated charges; her brakes and tires have given way a year after we brought her home; Lois’s signal indicator has crapped out; her cupholders suck (truly, VW has no idea how to design a car interior); in fact, Lois is such a snot that the Insta-Princess and I proudly and defiantly flip the bird at the local VW dealer each day as we pass by on the way to work. True, such unrestrained middle finger usage has earned us some rather nasty looks from unsuspecting fellow drivers thinking they are the target of our distempered digits, but so far we’ve avoided road rage.

So, knowing how I loathe Lois, even I was surprised how sorry I felt for her this past Saturday when poor Lois, for the second time this year, had her ass busted. Yes, as the Insta-Princess and I were sitting at a red light silently fuming over Lois’s crappy cupholders, a cute redhead lobbed her Lexus into the back of Lois. Ouch. Lois’s bumper buckled, meaning we’ll have to get it replaced (all courtesy of the redhead… who was, as I mentioned, rather cute and wearing somewhat tight clothing, so that’s okay) again, less than a year after the last time someone else hit us from behind as we were patiently waiting at a red light.

“Lois?!” you fume. “You’re sitting here talking about Lois when the Insta-Princess was pregnant? What about her, what about Wiggy?”

You’re right, of course.

The Insta-Princess and Wiggy are fine, thanks for fuming. A little discomfort was felt after the accident, so we drove to the ER to have both passengers looked over. I’m thrilled we did for a few reasons:

  • The Insta-Princess turned out okay.
  • Wiggy moved and grooved to the monitors for the three hours he/she was being watched.
  • Our maternity nurse, Karalie, is my new super-secret girlfriend.
  • Finally, the walls were just thin enough and our room just silent enough that I got to hear the woman next door scream out in labor a few times, and then, just when I thought she had given up, stuffed everything back inside and headed home, I heard a baby scream. “It’s a boy!” someone shouted. It was pretty cool.

Interestingly enough, Karalie mentioned that some hospitals don’t allow video cameras filming when the doctor pulls the baby from the hoohaw.  “It’s a liability issue,” she told us.  Huh.  You’d think they’d come up with a better way of telling us they don’t want to be sued for a botched delivery.  Still, Karalie wasn’t a delivering doctor, and she was very, very cute, so that’s okay.

So, Wiggy’s fine, the Insta-Princess is still sweetness and light, Karalie is f-i-n-e, and Lois’s cupholders are the pits.  How was your New Year’s weekend?

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Here’s a round of Happy Holidays to the teeming millions reading this blog. To help celebrate the season at our house, we put together a stocking for Wiggy:

Wiggy, Ho Ho Ho

Wiggy keeps trying to get to it, I’ve been told, because the Insta-Princess has woken each morning this past week to see some part of Wiggy pressing against her stomach. (Kinda like Alien, only without so much gore.) The Insta-Princess had been telling me for a while now that Wiggy was jumping jacks in her belly, but each time I placed my hand on her stomach to catch some movement for myself, Wiggy calmed down.

Until last night. As an early holiday gift, Wiggy allowed me to catch him/her in the spotlight: I finally felt the sucka wiggling and jiggling. It was very cool. So, thanks, Wiggy; I’ll be sure to fill your stocking with something nice this year. (Like a gift card to Micro Center… ’cause, c’mon, really, what kind of gift card can you get a fetus?)

I’m off to do some last minute shopping.  You all have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Rushing Headlong

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Based solely on the latest set of sonograms given to us at our last doctor’s appointment, Wiggy has transformed from a vague brine-looking sea monkey, and into an actual vague person-looking thingy:

Wiggy's Head!

See that nose? Adorable, isn’t it? Wiggy gets it from her ma, the Insta-Princess.

Now, I’m not saying my own schnoz is lacking in the looks department, but on the whole, if I had to compare the two, my vote goes toward the Insta-Princess’s nose as being the cutest. Mine’s a more rugged look, closer in description to aquiline than button. (The phrase “cute as a button” always reminds me of Button-Bright, the curly-headed wanderer from The Road to Oz. His real name, by the way, is Saladin Paracelsus de Lambertine Evagne von Smith. And, yes, I did suggest that as a final name for Wiggy, but my suggestion was turned down. Although, not so much turned down, mind you, as laughed out of the room… taking me along with it.)

Wiggy, sensing an audience, yawned while we were taking a black-and-white peek. Cutest damn thing, evah. We’re pretty sure it was a yawn; it looked like a yawn, and the doctor didn’t disabuse us of that notion, so we’re going to stick with it being a yawn. For all we know it could have been a fart, rerouted through Wiggy’s esophagus due to the lack of a fully-formed butt.

So, yeah, a yawn.

Gee, that’s all. I thought I had a lot more to say, but breaking into a bottle of wine and stealing all of its goods last night didn’t quite put the spring into my step this morning. It was made worse, even, because I had to go it alone thanks to Wiggy’s upcoming arrival.

But I updated The Blog, and by golly, that’s important.

Art’s In Heaven. I Wonder How He Got There?

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Now that Wiggy is busy building lips and ears and cheeks (many kinds) and a possible future receding hairline, the Insta-Princess and I’ve discovered that we now have to consider some of life’s kicks-in-the-butt that we previously thought wouldn’t (in the words of the wise ’80s prophet, Matthew Wilder) “break [our] stride”.

For instance, do we allow spanking? If so, should we wear the leather outfits and ball gags? Or, should we save it as a disciplinary measure for Wiggy should he do something naughty like bury the neighbor’s cat?

Since, for the most part, we weren’t really planning on having kids, these conversational topics failed to make their way to the top of the list; instead, we focused more on areas of interest designed for the dual income, no kids crowd. Like:

“Wanna cook dinner tonight?”

“No. Do you?”

“Not a chance. How about fast food?”

“We had that last night.”

“Right. Sounds good, though.”

“Yeah. We haven’t tried the Arby’s on the other side of town. Betcha it tastes different than all the other Arby’s we’ve been to.”

“Brilliant theory. Let’s go—hey, are we waddling?”

In our defense, we talk about smart things, too, like String Theory. Her opinion is that string cheese is pretty damn good, and mine generally centers around, “Say, did the cat eat string again? ‘Cause, otherwise, what’s that coming out of her butt?”

I suppose the one child raising consideration that we’ve (largely) done our best to ignore is religion. Now, luckily, the both of us don’t really butt heads when it comes to worshiping an almighty. Me, I’m an ex-Catholic who eventually transformed into a mighty robot atheist; the Insta-Princess is somewhat more inclined to believe in a vague “something” out there that has, thus far, handed her a good life (including, despite her occasional complaints and handful of restraining orders, moi). Personally, I kinda wish atheists would go the route of rituals and robes—because that was always pretty cool—but otherwise I haven’t missed religion. (I was an-occasional-weekend-but-mostly-holidays Catholic, anyway, so my lifestyle didn’t change much with the exception that I started enjoying Sundays a whole heckuva lot more.

Hey, pews ain’t comfortable.)

But, how do we deal with Wiggy? I’d like to think that personal religious preference is just that: personal; however, I also know full well that even if our own families didn’t believe differently than we do, there’s a world full of neighbors who won’t allow personal to remain such. People are nosy (including me) and will happily demand to know your religion (well, okay, I don’t do that); and if you happen to give the wrong answer, they’ll be sure to supply you with the proper instructional tract. Still, even if the adults in her world are gracious enough to leave that topic alone , Wiggy will face questions from her curious classmates, so she’s probably going to come across religion about five minutes after walking across that kindergarten classroom threshold.

I’m all for leaving religion out of our daily lives until she brings it up. And, then? Well, I want to introduce her to critical thinking as early as possible, but seeing as she’ll be, oh, a wee bit too young for that, I’ll probably try to stick to something short and simple like, “Nada. We believe in zilch.” Or, “We believe in Arby’s and the holy 5 for $5.95. Amen.”

Except, Santa Claus. By golly, Wiggy’s gonna believe in Santa Claus… even if he didn’t die for our sins. (Yeah, well, Jesus never saved Charlie-In-The-Box from the Island of Misfit Toys, either, so it’s pretty much a wash.)

Boys and Girls Together

Friday, September 7th, 2007

In case you don’t recognize it, the title of this post has been gleefully stolen from a book of the same name by, in my opinion (considerable that it is—also in my opinion), one of the best writers alive. Well, I assume he’s alive. He’s never called me, which is a shame because I have no doubt that we’d get along like gangbusters: I’d fawn and he’d preen. But, since he hasn’t called me, I guess I just don’t know whether he’s really, truly alive. I could query the wide world of Internet, but hell, anyone can make a dead person a zombie, given an anonymous proxy and five minutes to play around on Wikipedia.

So, William Goldman, if you’re still kicking things around (avoid buckets), give me a call to let me know how you are. You can then yell at me for stealing the title of one of your books. Until then, however, I aim to borrow it. And by “borrow” I mean “unabashedly steal like the little thief that I am”.

But, back to me. Or, more aptly, back to the lovely Tricia. (It’ll come back to me. I promise.) Now, Tricia had commented on my last entry, and had asked a question. Not one to miss an opportunity to write yet another blog entry to hear myself talk, I thought I’d devote a whole new entry to her question instead of answering in the comments. Lucky gal.

Boy or girl, she asked. (Wiggy, she’s referring to. Not me. I’m pretty sure Tricia knows what I am, and I know I know. But, just in case no one else knows… I’m a girl. No, boy. Damn.) Are the Insta-Princess and I, Tricia wants to know, going to find out whether Wiggy will be wearing next year’s exciting Spring collection of hoo-ha or kickstand?

In a word, no. (In a longer word, noooooooooooooooo.)

The Insta-Princess and I have no problems with soon-to-be parents finding out the gender of their kid. After all, there are perfect names to consider, colors to choose, toys to buy, clothes to get ready, and, most importantly, fights to have over whether a loving parent really should put his or her child through the most outrageous infant torment ever devised: The Harrowing Headband of Hell

For us, though, we’re going a different, headbandless route. We choose yonder path of surprise! Neither of us has a favored gender, so as long as Wiggy is intelligent, accomplished, talented, can fly, has the right number of nostrils, is a natural on the harmonica (just like his old Pa, no matter what anyone else says), and can convert base metal into gold, there will be love enough to spare. (No alchemy, though, and no bedtime stories. I remain anchored to that belief.)

Girls are adorable and funny and fun and for all of them that aren’t related to me, great to snog. They do, however, have this teensy-weeny social paranoia problem come the age of the teen. I’m afraid that, as good as I might be in other areas (computers, Halloween, books, and um… harmonica), I’ll fail as a fatherly paragon of good advice when it comes to the teenage years. Hell, I spent my teens lusting after the gals, not actually listening to them. The only sagacious advice I’ll probably be able to offer a Her-Wiggy would be, “Don’t get pregnant.”

Also, “You’re grounded.”

The last, admittedly, isn’t much good as advice, but I figure if she’s grounded, she can’t get pregnant. (Danae and Zeus aside, that is.) On the other ovary, however, girls can break gender roles much easier than their trouser snake counterparts. So, if she wants to be a king when she takes over the world, no one will blink an eye–or if they do, they’ll be executed, because that’s how Wiggy will roll. The reverse regal title for a He-Wiggy wouldn’t quite be viewed the same way. (Don’t look at me. I don’t make the rules; I just make bad jokes about them.)

Boys are hellions when younger. I wouldn’t have the same worries about a He-Wiggy when he reaches the teen years, but what if the little rascal kills me by virtue of having waaaaay too much energy? I don’t even take my dog for a walk on a regular basis, and the law quite clearly spells out that I can’t tie Wiggy to a leash and let him run around the yard in a circle until he’s exhausted. (Meddlesome, do-gooder politicians.) Still, men are judged by more than just their looks, so it’s possible that, like his Pa, he could still lose his hair and score a hot babe like his Ma. (Not his Ma, though. Just so we’re clear. I’m open-minded and all, but limits, folks, limits.)

So, the Insta-Princess and I are delaying these worries by not finding out beforehand. We figure we’ll freak out enough when the equipment, no matter ball or basket, comes popping out. (Or, I will. The Insta-Princess will be happy and content and sublime and totally, absolutely, out-of-her-mind, drugged. Go figure.)

One Hundred and Sixty

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Thump-a-thump-a-thump-a-thump-a-thump…

That’s not the sound of an excited dog’s tail, nor is it the restless taboo of my foot as I wait for the local drivers to figure out and work their way through a roundabout (on the other hand, that’s also kind of funny). No, that excited pitter-patter is what I heard a couple of days ago after the Insta-Princess’s doctor lubed her belly and had us listen to the fetal doppler (as opposed to a fatal doppler, which is when a local news channel weatherman collapses under the weight of his dire “wind! snow! er, did I say wind!” predictions… and expires).

That, my friends, is the sound of Wiggy’s heart. Beating too fast, you say? Maybe not human? Nonsense. Wiggy’s just taking after his/her pa, that’s all. I mean, the Insta-Princess often tells me that I lack a heart, and I know it’s not the same thing, but look, two weird heart issues right there. Wiggy and I are obviously related.

One hundred and sixty. The first one hundred and sixty sounds I’ve ever heard my kid make. (True, Wiggy might also be burping by now, but I’m not sure whether the burping organ has been formed yet. I hope it has. Burping’s great fun. At any rate, I haven’t heard it, so I wish they’d hurry up and develop a fetal burpoppler.)

I thought it’d be kind of cool if Wiggy grew up to be a rock star, so with that helltastically great beat, now I know Wiggy’s a natural drummer. This is definitely good for Wiggy’s groupie status (i.e., he’ll have some); after all, while the drummer doesn’t get as much play as the singer, he certainly gets more than the bassist. Oddly, the roadie gets the most.

Me, I was a roadie once. I was allowed to be a Roadie-On-The-Spot (carrying out an amp and a stand) for the gorgeous gals of Softee, and for an all too brief moment of rock-‘n’-roll glory, I was able to puff out my chest, glare at the doorman and sniff in contempt as I haughtily told him…

“I’m with the band.”

Oh, Wiggy, with your 160 beats a minute, you, my dear kiddo, you’ll go much further than your roadie dad. I’m proud of you.

Jumpin’ Ginger

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

My lovely wife is a fan of Dad Gone Mad, the blog of a gentleman who is, unsurprisingly, a dad, and a little surprisingly, not quite mad. He should be, I imagine, because based on the cartoon characters decorating his site, he has two kids. (Both with the same size and color of eyes. Freaky.) One’s enough, and I haven’t even had mine yet.

But, this blog shall not turn into a cheaper version of the insane daddums. It shall not be solely about the kid because the kid shall not rule my life! My wife’s life, on the other hand…

My poor widdle sweetums, struck ill each day as the cells divide, the cord grows, and the DNA dances its genetic jig as it tries to figure out whether the hair color will be dark brown (my wife’s) or a gorgeous red (mine–what little is left). We redheads rock, in case you doubted. Conspiracy nuts blather on about secret cabals of religious organizations, government powerhouses and, one time, a guy named Fred from down the street (that sumbitch was scary), but they do so without knowing that the true power, the tastiest moxie, the proper Fredness, belongs to redheads, whether the Devil’s own auburn or an angelic strawberry-blonde.

So, lil’ kiddo, I bet you’re a redhead. Ruling your mom’s life, telling her through mild nausea and energy-sapping biological e-missives that she is not to touch vegetables—those are the hallmarks of real power. I solute you, kiddo, even if your mom is looking, right now, rather anxiously at a book of exorcism.

Amen.

P.S.: You conniving, devious fetus! Curses! This entry was about you, after all. Damnable wily redhead…

I’m Prawn To You, Baby

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Seafood Lover's Delight

So, it looks like I’m gonna be a Papa. And, based on the image above, it looks as if I’m going to be the proud father of a healthy baby prawn. With, if you look closely enough, a really long… umbilical cord. (Please. If I didn’t make a puerile joke like that, someone would have. At least, that’s my defense.)

We’re gonna have a kid, and by “we,” I mean my wife—who seems steadfastly intent on doing it all by herself. “It’s natural,” she tells me. “It’s up to me, my stomach and an occasional craving for catsup and sauerkraut. And the gardener.”

“Hey, what’s he got to do with this?” I was suspicious. I’m quick like that.

“What? Oh, nothing.” She patted her belly. “Isn’t that right my little ootchie-kootchie-TruGreen Chemlawn?”

My part is done. (Not my “part” part—he’s fine. But I appreciate your concern, and so does Lord Von Hugenstein.) There’s little else for me to do, but being an emotional sort, I thought I’d write a letter to our future polka-dot; kind of a fatherly gesture, what with this being my first kid I ever knew about. So, here goes…

Dear Prawn,

I can’t say how good of a father I’ll be, but I hope when you’re on death row and they ask you how you came to this end–what caused you to be this way–I hope, my shrimp-like dickens, that you’ll look them straight in the eye and proudly blame it on yer Ma.

But before we even get to that point, I hope, boy or girl (we don’t know yet; we just hope you don’t turn out to be a puppy or a kitten… which, honestly, would make an excellent YouTube video), to teach you the important lessons in life:

  • Michael Bay should never direct another movie again. I mean, Jesus!, who gives Optimus Prime lips?
  • Cereal is only really cool when you can dig your hand deep down inside the plastic bag, get the rainbow-colored bits of artery-clogging crisp mini-donuts grimey with whatever childhood funk you’ve got growing on your skin, and grasp the cheap, plastic toy that someone (your Ma) will eventually force you to throw out because it’ll “draw bugs”. But for those few minutes when you’ve run off with your treasure and secreted it away somewhere in that toy-infested pit of perdition you call a room, it’ll be grand. Simply grand. Because, honestly? You only buy the cereal for the toy.
  • If you’re a girl, stop it with the pink. Seriously. It’s just a bad color. Oh, and avoid pastels if you can.
  • If you’re a boy, see the note to the girl.
  • You can cry all you want; you can wail and gnash your teeth (when you have them), but no matter how sincere you are in your displeasure; no matter how passionately you point out how insanely dumb it is, Spike will continue to have a chip in his head for FOUR friggin’ seasons. They’ll make him bland and uninteresting; they’ll vacuum out his cool and replace it with a weird, frothy mixture of stalker and puppy love. Mourn for Buffy, my faithful off-spring, shed a tear for our favorite vampire slayer.
  • Daddy’s wang really isn’t called “Lord Von Hugenstein”. It’s “Cadbury”. But that’s a family secret, so don’t tell anyone.

Take these lessons to heart, my little tadpole cast-off. This is wisdom I wish had been passed along to me when I was your age.

Love,

Pa