My Favorite Posts from I’m Not Grandpa’s First Year*

Sono 1Wow I can’t believe it’s been a year since I launched I’m Not Grandpa—well sort of.  My first post, the Introduction, went live September 26th 2014 followed by a second post about a week later.  Unsure of the tone and voice and being deep into a high-risk pregnancy I put blogging on hold until after the baby was born because my mind was elsewhere.

Cataloging experiences between naps and diaper changes I started writing at the end of February.  Memories of Esther’s pregnancy, our first days as parents, and unsolicited advice from all directions poured from me like poop out of a diaper.

With three posts in the can and halfway through a fourth I published my second first post (the first two were warmupsand asked friends to check out I’m Not Grandpa when the fourth post went live.  Imagine my surprise when parents said they could relate to it.

Fatherhood and blogging are new experiences, I’ve enjoyed both, but I’m still learning.  I made a list of my favorite posts.  Click on the links below to check them out.

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Esther’s Pregnancy—Nine Months in a Few Paragraphs — This is the most popular and shared post.  Published by The Good Men Project, I wrote about my surviving the wife’s pregnancy.  Written strictly from the male point of view, more than a few friends told me how relatable it was.

My response to anyone suggesting we name our child Brooklyn
My response to anyone suggesting we name our child Brooklyn

What’s in a Name? — You found out your having a baby?  Congratulations!  What a tremendous feeling, until you realize you have to agree on a name.    It’s not as easy as you think.  Men and women have different concepts of what makes a good name.  This is my favorite post.  If you are debating baby names this post is a must read.

Dad playing with Cristian on his last birthday.
Dad playing with Cristian on his last birthday.

For Dad — I wrote this the day before my Dad’s 89th birthday as a birthday gift (he hated receiving Christmas, Father’s Day and Birthday Gifts).  Written from the perspective of a newly-minted Dad, he made it look easy.  At the time none of us knew he was suffering from pancreatic cancer.  He passed away three months later.  This post was the frame work for his eulogy.

One and Done — I was 50-years old when Cristian was born meaning he’s probably going to be an only child.  I wrote about my concerns.  The response I received from single-children parents was overwhelming.

Déjà vu All Over Again  — After Dad passed away we moved in with Mom to help out.  Moving back home is difficult under any circumstances—doing it with your wife, baby, and diaper-clad dog is a sitcom in the making.  We miss you Chico.  Settling in I experienced Déjà vu.   Mom and Dad moved into the same house with two young children 50-years earlier.  This post shows a few changes in the years between both sets of Priegue parents moving into the same Cape Cod House in Queens.

Baby 2.0 – Your Survival Guide — My intervention post to any parent thinking it gets easier after your child’s first birthday.  Published by The Good Men Project this survival guide lets you know what to expect.  Don’t worry you can join a support group—they meet at most local bars.

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Esther’s Pregnancy – Nine Months in a Few Paragraphs

Since returning from the break I’ve thought about the best way to cover the five months between posts.  If you’ve met me, you know I’m chatty.  I’ve been called a lot of things, but I’m sticking with chatty.  I figured it would be best to hit the highlights so I could get this blog going before Cristian goes off to college.

Another sonogram of Baby Priegue
Another sonogram of BabyPriegue

High-Risk Pregnancy-Because of her age (42 on the baby’s due date) and medical history (two miscarriages) Esther’s OB/GYN was a high-risk specialist.   This meant doctor’s appointments every other week and lots of sonograms.  In addition to maintaining a strict diet and regular weigh-ins, she was restricted from cycling, running and Zumba.  The doctor, an avid Republican, loved a lively political debate. More than once Esther asked me to steer the conversation towards politics so she could avoid a lecture for gaining an extra pound or two from the last weigh-in.

It Was an Active Pregnancy-Despite the restrictions Esther qualified for this year’s New York City Marathon. Instead of running she walked the nine qualifiers, finishing 11 races overall, including two half marathons and a ten-miler (yes I sound like a proud husband). Walking the More Half Marathon with her taught me it’s harder to walk a half than run one.  Most memorable was Cristian’s end-zone dance at the end of a 5K race at Met Life Stadium.  It scared the hell out of the paramedics giving us a story we still tell.

Esther finishing a 5K race.
Esther finishing a 5K race.

The Baby Shower-Like its cousin the bridal shower, baby showers are a great way of filling your home with tons of free stuff—but it’s not really free—it comes at a cost.  I had to be there.  In olden times, women went to baby showers while the men stayed home.  The father’s involvement was limited to loading and unloading the car afterwards.  It was a good system that worked fine. I’ve always been a believer of “If it ain’t broke.”  Over the past few years baby showers went coed.  Men are now required to attend, not just the expectant fathers but the husbands and partners of the female guests.  Why would a guy want to go to Hooters for beer and wings when he can play games like Baby Bingo?

Esther and I during her Baby Shower
Esther and I during her Baby Shower
My practice doll from class.
My practice doll from class.

Parenting Classes- Esther signed us up for a series of parenting classes.  It was a good idea—or maybe it was a hint.  The classes covered feeding, bathing changing diapers, and Basic Parenting 101—perfect for a baby spaz like me.  I didn’t go to the breast feeding class because she felt it would make the other women uncomfortable. I told her I’d leave the camera home.

Oh That Weight Gain-Not hers—mine. It’s common for expectant fathers to gain weight during their wife’s pregnancy—I just didn’t think it would happen to me.  Is this foreshadowing?  We both gained weight (25 pounds for me) the difference is Esther produced a son, I produced a belly.

Esther and I showing our bellies after last June's Queens 10K
Esther and I showing our bellies after last June’s Queens 10K

Hormones Hormones Hormones-Every father has more than a few war stories about their wife’s hormones going berserk. These hormones hijack your sweet lady giving her more personalities than Sybil.  They are no joke, if you’re lucky it only feels like getting a prostate exam from a doctor with fat sausage fingers. Why are you putting your head in the oven Frank?  Don’t worry they pass when the baby is born.  Suck it up and focus on the big picture.

When in Doubt Laugh-It’s my motto for life and it helped me when things got stressful.  Pregnancy is a unique experience, and those experiences have given me enough material for a 20-minute set at any Comedy Club or a maybe a blog.  I survived Lamaze Classes, unsolicited advice, and baby name suggestions (tomorrow’s post) with a joke or two.  Sure it cost me a few looks and maybe a lecture (see the previous paragraph on hormones) but it helped.

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Your Father is Going to be Very Happy

Esther and her nephew Justin.
Esther and her nephew Justin.

In my post before the break I wrote about finding out about Esther’s pregnancy but it still wasn’t real—I said it was but it wasn’t yet.  We’d been here before.  Esther had gotten pregnant twice and miscarried both times.

We tried IVF—three cycles worth.  Early morning blood tests, late-night hormone shots, and a 60-year old woman handing me a cup and pointing me to a room full of adult movies and magazines.  Is that Lindsey Lohan?  Okay I had the easy part, but IVF didn’t work for us either.

Since Esther was 41, and had two miscarriages, we were a high-risk pregnancy.  We were referred to a specialist.  After discussing our family histories Esther was sent for a Chromosome 21 test.

Me and an old picture of my niece Katie.
Me and an old picture of my niece Katie.

The fetus was tested for potential birth defects such as Alzheimer Disease, Cytogenetically Normal Acute Leukemia and Nonsyndromic deafness.   All we could do was cross our fingers and pray.

While we waited I joked that one family was going to be disappointed.  Esther’s family was dying for a girl, her brother has two sons and her sister has another. My brother has two daughters. My family wanted me to produce the elusive male child and keep the family name alive—but no pressure.

A few weeks later Esther called crying.  The test results were back.  Bracing for the worst, she said,

Esther and Chico at Shea Stadium for Bark at the Park Night.
Esther and Chico at Shea Stadium for Bark at the Park Night.

“The test results were negative.”

Choked up I asked, “Does that mean?”

“The baby is healthy” she answered crying tears of joy.

Wow!  It just got real.  She asked me, “Do you want to know the sex of the baby?  I didn’t ask because I wasn’t sure if you wanted to know.”

I wanted to be surprised, but knowing Esther wanted to know, said, “Sure, call her up and let me know.”

Twenty minutes later, Esther called back saying, “Your father is going to be very happy.”

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