Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jesus sing-a-long

I am not Christian, but I love songs about Jesus and his Old Testament friends.

Ezra seems to share my passion for the songs of Christ. His current favorite song is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. He discovered this Christmas hymn watching the Peanut’s Christmas special, and sings it constantly. He carries the melody beautifully, but has no idea what the lyrics are.

Ezra is not familiar with Christian mythology or its lexicon and many of the words in the song are no longer in common usage. When was the last time you used hark, herald or ye in a sentence? This lack of knowledge makes understanding the actual lyrics incredibly challenging. Ezra’s version of the song is full of garbled words, a "newborn king," and "pizza on earth." He also believes the last line in the song is “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” which must make the song’s storyline even more confusing.

I am not surprised Ezra enjoys Christian music. Amanda and I made this playlist when we moved into our church, and we had it in pretty heavy rotation when Ezra was in utero.

23 Weeks

Our week: T'was the night before . . .

Before bed, we put on one stocking and hang up its match so that Santa knows which stocking is ours.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

22 Weeks

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has a great exhibit on the human body, You! The Experience. The exhibit explores areas such as "your mind," "your movement," and "your appetite." For obvious reasons, our family was mostly interested in "your beginning," the section devoted to pregnancy and fetal development. The display includes an interactive illustration of a pregnant woman's body in profile. You can adjust the weeks to see the growth of the fetus and where it pushes all of her internal organs. This is a great way of pointing out to the non-pregnant partner why you need to pee constantly! You can play with it on the exhibit's website.
There was also a display of 24 human fetuses at different stages of development, including one at the same gestation as our baby. We knew the baby should be 7 1/2" crown to rump, but seeing this specimen pointed out that - Wow, the baby is big!


“Chicago, Chicago that toddling town/ Chicago, Chicago I will show you around” 
Chicago, Fred Fisher

Like so many other animals, the approach of cold weather awakens within Amanda and me a need to travel. While everyone else prepares to migrate south, we usually get an itching to go north to Chicago. Wintertime in Chicago, with the lake effect weather, is a beautiful time to visit. Wait, I said that wrong. Wintertime in Chicago, with the lake effect weather, is a cheaper time to visit.

Ezra has only been to Chicago during the winter. He believes it is a city that is always cold, snowy, and probably located somewhere near the North Pole, but the weather is not why we love our trips to Chicago. I’m always excited to take Ezra to an actual city - there are so many things to do, so much to experience. Ezra mastered many things this trip: public transportation, walking city blocks, checkers. The one thing he could not quite get a handle on was the city’s name.

“What is it again?”


“Sweeswago. Sweeswago?”



Though he finally figured out the pronunciation, he decided he like “Sweeswago” better.

He also really liked being in the city, whatever it’s called. Here is Ezra’s list of his favorite parts of our trip:

1.    Staying in a hotel. “Our hotel was amazing!” (It was actually pretty standard.)

2.    Trains and buses. We took the Amtrak to Chicago and used public transportation to get around the city.  Ezra was always the first to spot the bus we were waiting for, “here comes the #6 bus,” and always knew which stop we needed when on the “L”. He also discovered the pastime of people watching while using public transportation. “Why does that guy keep yelling?”

3.    Escalators.

4.    Dinosaurs at the Field Museum, especially Sue. We spent two hours at the museum. All of that time was in the Evolving Planet/Dinosaur Hall exhibit. We would have stayed longer, but the museum was closing.

Two vertebrae from a Brachiosaurus and an Apatosaurus footprint

5.    Our hotel, again. “It was so beautiful. Our ‘fridge was in a little spot. It was amazing!”

6.    ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

7.    The ice sculptor at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

8.    Did Ezra mention he really likes escalators?

9.    And the hotel had a pool! Ezra found this very exciting even though he was reluctant to get in the pool. Mostly he played checkers poolside.

10.    The Museum of Science & Industry. Ezra’s favorites included: The Idea Factory; the stage show about digestion, “Poop Happens”; and milking a [model] cow.

11.    Trains and buses, again. We all agree we would be happy to only use public transportation, and not own a car.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

21 Weeks

When we were expecting our first child, the pregnancy was constantly in my thoughts. My free moments were filled reading parenting books, perusing lists of baby names, and selecting the perfect baby gear. Each week Amanda and I would look at our book on fetal development to see how the baby had changed over the last seven days and then faithfully update our families. The entire pregnancy was meticulously recorded and shared with photographs and writings.

This time, even though I am very excited to be having another child, days pass with me barely thinking about the pregnancy (a luxury of being the non-pregnant parent). I am so busy being a father, I am a terrible father-to-be. Amanda has reminded me many times that I have not taken a single photograph of her changing body. “I will after I [put Ezra to bed, wash the dishes, walk the dog . . .],” I promise, but I keep failing. Amanda has finally given up waiting for me. She has taken a “selfie.”

I am sorry, Amanda, and I’m really, really sorry, baby. If you are ever curious, you can read about your mother’s pregnancy in great detail here. Did I mention that is from your mom’s pregnancy with your older brother? If you want to know more about her pregnancy with you, you can look at this grainy photograph.

We are now halfway through the pregnancy, and I am beginning to worry about how little attention I have paid to it. Am I already, unintentionally, making our second baby, feel like second best? Our child’s place in birth order is new territory for everyone in our family. Amanda, Ezra and I are each the first-born child in our families. We will not necessarily relate to our new child’s feelings about being a younger sibling, but we will hopefully be empathetic. Having children allows you see the world through another person’s eyes unlike any other experience. Maybe through our youngest child, Amanda and I will gain new insight into our own brothers and sisters.

Amanda and my younger siblings’ photo albums attest that our second child will probably be photographed less than Ezra, but being the younger child also has many advantages. First, your parents are probably better at their jobs. Amanda and I spend a great deal of time figuring out how to parent Ezra through different developmental stages. Amanda’s mom once apologetically confessed to her that, “first children are really the practice child,” and she is kind of right. We now have some footing and experience to apply with our new child. Instead of fretting over choices and overcoming learning curves, we can now focus on getting to know our new baby.

The most important difference in being the younger sibling is that you are welcomed into a family with more people who love you. This includes a sibling who for better of worse will know you better and share more experiences with you than any other person in the world. He is waiting with many plans on what you will do together – did I mention first-born children are bossy?

Our week: Tree Trimming

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pregnancy cravings

In movies, a pregnant woman is often portrayed as a person no longer in control of her body. A fetus, this alien being, has hijacked her body and is now using it to fulfill all of its wishes and desires.  Through its mother’s mouth it screams, “I need pickles, NOW!!” That it is 2 am during a blizzard makes little difference, the father must follow her demands or receive the wrath of his possessed wife.

Weird food cravings and insatiable hunger are the favorite pregnancy symptom of screenwriters  especially when trying to make an audience laugh. I have always believed these food issues to be greatly exaggerated if not fictitious. Amanda did not have any cravings when pregnant with Ezra, and though slightly hungrier than normal, she didn’t eat any differently than before she was pregnant.

Amanda thinks this pregnancy will be the same, but I have my doubts. Dipping corn tortilla chips in ice cream and honey, something she has never done, is not “perfectly normal” and as ordinary as she is trying to convince me.

Maybe this will be more of a Hollywood pregnancy, but I do not really have much time to think about it right now. I need to make a midnight run to the market . . .