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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Anticipating parenthood and all that comes with it

The arrival of baby Gavin is approaching quickly and all things related are becoming the main subject of our discussions, with each other and with friends and family. We are finding it hard to stop shopping for him as we see all of the clothing wherever we go. Most people will say that girls are much easier to shop for and that girls' clothes are much cuter than those of little boys. I happen to disagree with the latter of the two statements. The tiny hiking boots they make and little camouflage Vans are EDIBLE!

I do agree that as girls grow into their toddler years, the style choices are more abundant than those of boys' clothing. Girls have shorts, skirts, dresses, and different kinds of pants. Boys get shorts or pants and whatever kind of shirt that goes with it.

Of course, beyond putting clothes on Gavin's back, we are starting to explore how we want to approach parenthood. Last night, we spent some time with my nephews while their parents endured another Sacramento Kings loss at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. My nephews Bryson and Devin are 7 and 3 years old, respectively. Like any other siblings, namely boys, they have their issues but all in all you can tell that they are glad to have one another. I do my part as an uncle to keep them in line without interfering with their parents' style of parenting. I have thoroughly enjoyed unclehood as I have the part of the cool guy that shows up now and then to hang out and be the non-parent but authoritative figure.

I received some Kudos from my wife Kacy in regards to my methods of handling some of the issues that took place during the evening. Being that she is a teacher of small children, it filled me with some encouragement and faith in my instincts.

Teachers truly have the most difficult job of all time and I realize it every time I'm around kids. Not only are they trying to educate their students, they have to act as the voice of reason that kids block out when their parents are not in plain sight. Of course, we have to mention those parents who load up their sick kids with Tylenol and send them off to school. That works fine for about 2 hours and then the kids' noses are running wild and they're wiping their germs on every toy, book, and flat surface in the classroom. The message that teachers get is that work is more important to many parents than getting their kids well, not to mention the health of the other kids and teachers at school.

OK, thanks for baring with me on my rant but it had to be said.


Now is the time in my posting when I "toot my own horn".
Everyone always has the nicest things to say to you when you're expecting, whether it be words of encouragement and prediction of good parenting, or simple wishes of luck and health. I am one of the guys as an expectant father that uses those words as reference when I say that I do believe I'll be a great father. I won't be accepting any father of the year awards that I can predict but I know that from a hands-on point of view I think I'll suprise people. I've changed more diapers than most would think and I have a knack for putting babies to sleep on my shoulder. If my nephews' memories would date back to those times, they could back me up.

I just know that my main goal is to simply raise a kind man who will follow in my footsteps of general outlook and behavior. I know how ridiculously presumptious that sounds but I know for fact that many people think I'm a truly nice guy and I pride myself on it. I think in this day and age, when people are strung out on drugs, robbing and killing people, parents have more responsibility than ever to make sure that their children become active contributing members of society. That's not enough either, though. As Justin Timberlake claimed to bring "sexy back", my wife and I are bringing manners back. What happened to "please" and "thank you" and asking nicely for things or simply taking no for an answer once in a while. If there is one thing I will focus on in raising Gavin, it will be the simple manners that most children do not exercise. I do not expect to create a perfect gentleman, but I do expect that he will be the kind of man that any woman with pride and self-esteem will feel lucky to have.

Traits that I do not want to pass on to my son are my financial practices and driving approach.

I've never taken money seriously, and I pay the price now. I've had jobs in the past that paid very well and the money was spent on the most ridiculous of things. Savings was never in my vocabulary, and still to this day I haven't gotten into the habit of putting away for tomorrow. Of course that will have to change very soon so Gavin will have options after high school.

As for driving, I've had more tickets than most of my friends COMBINED. It's not that I love to go super fast either, I'm laying down my victim card in saying that I'm just the recipient of bad luck. I'm always in radar view when I happen to break the speed limit. I have proof of my victim theory too, and his name is Daren.

My friend Daren has owned a Toyota MR2 turbo, a Corvette, and a Dodge Viper. I've been in all three of these cars and sometimes at white knuckle speeds. He's gotten a ticket for a U-turn while visiting family and me here in Sacramento, and maybe one speeding ticket.

I've owned an old Toyota Celica, a big slow Chevy truck, a Camaro IROC, and a Honda Civic before my current car, a Mitsubushi Montero SUV. While I admit that I took my IROC to 120mph on Highway 99, that is really the extreme of my speedy tendencies. Any other instances are simple moments of being at the right place at the wrong time. There seems to be a strange correlation between the volume of the music in my car in relation to my foot as it connects to the pedal and I'm still working on that one.


In summary, it is important that my son learn to follow speed limits carefully not just to avoid tickets but for safety reasons as well.

Regardless of what others think of me as a father, the person I want to win over the most is Gavin, obviously. I'm already ahead of the game though; I found the best possible person to be his mother.

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