Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fetus News for March 28, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Am Not Phil


Hi, I’m Noah! This Summer, my wife and I are having twins! Anyone know where I can get a good deal a on a blue space monkey?

One of my favorite shows on TV these days is a new comedy called Modern Family. In many ways, it’s a pretty typical family sitcom, albeit one shot in that faux-documentary style everyone is using these days. But it’s buoyed by sharp writing and a pitch-perfect cast who delivers consistent, multidimensional, and very funny character performances every week.

A particular standout is Ty Burrell as Phil, a 40ish father of three. Phil is that sitcom standard, the doofy, childlike, suburban dad, but the show brings a new energy and a real humanity to a potentially hoary archetype.

The running gag with Phil is that he desperately wants to be a cool dad and to relate to his kids on their level. For Phil this means learning all the dances to High School Musical and using teen slang like “WTF” which he thinks means “Why the face?”

I’m very nervous that I will turn into Phil in years to come.

There’s no question that I am roughly as dorky as Phil, at least proportionately for the real world. I am, however, slightly more self-aware. I know I’m not cool. There might have been a time when I attempted to be, or at least convinced myself I was, but I have long since abandoned such illusions.

I think the nail in the coffin came a few years back when I bought a Weird Al album –

The fact that I was buying Weird Al albums in my late 20s or early 30s was probably a sign I wasn’t particularly cutting edge –

And, when I got it home, I discovered that I didn’t recognize any of the songs he was parodying. Not only was I out of it, culturally, but I was significantly less cool than Weird Al Yankovic. Not a good day.

So the advantage that this self-awareness gives me over Phil is that now, unlike him, I have utterly no desire for my kids to think I’m cool.

If my kids grow up thinking I’m cool, they are completely screwed. Any child who uses me a as a role model for how to seem hip might as well just pre-wedgie themselves every morning before they leave the house.

So which way do I go? Do I censor myself? Hide all my comic books? Try to make it through the day without referencing Monty Python, every day for the next eighteen years?

These are tough questions! I didn’t expect the Spanish Inqu … DAMMIT!

Or do I go in the extreme opposite direction and crank UP my natural dorkiness so high that it annoys my kids so much that they rebel against me by being cool.

Or maybe there’s a middle ground, where I just monitor the kids for how cool they are and if they’re not cool enough I just … buy them some cigarettes or something.

Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, the point is, I need to do SOMETHING to make sure my kids don’t think I’m cool. Not if I ever want them get laid before they turn 30.

Hold on … if my kids don’t have sex until they’re 30, that would save me a lot of tsuris. Maybe there’s something to be said for having dorky kids.

Hmm … yeah …

Tonight, I think I’ll wait till Amanda’s asleep, then I’ll put headphone on her belly and play the twin the Dead Parrot sketch.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Cat's Out the Bag, Part 2

Hi! I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins! That’s right, I’ll be the father of Twins … just like Darth Vader.

When last I left off this topic, I was telling you how Amanda and I told our parents, my brother, and her grandfather the news of our pregnancy.

After that, it was time to tell everybody else. But, here’s the thing. Once you tell people you’re having twins, THEY want to tell people, too. So we now had to get into the nitty gritty of dividing up which people we would tell, ourselves, and who our parents got to tell.

I called dibs on grandparents. All three of my grandparents who are still alive already have great-grandchildren, so we’re not breaking brand new ground. But we are the first set of twins on either side, so we’re doubling my paternal grandparents’ number of greats and tripling my maternal grandmother’s. So they were very happy to receive my phone call. My favorite response came from my grandfather, who said that Amanda is “good wood.” I’m not 100 percent certain what that means, but it sounds awesome.

I also got to tell some cousins and uncles and aunts, and some friends. Now, I’m not much of a telephone person, so when I called and left a message like “I have big news, call me back!” everyone could guess what the news was. But, once again …

Nobody guesses twins, be-yotch!

I’m trying to start building up catch phrases so I can sell t-shirts.

As I said last time, the outpouring of love and excitement you get when you tell people you’re pregnant is unlike anything else. Everyone we told was thrilled for us. When Amanda and I were in India, we went with a group to volunteer at a school in Chennai. We were supposed to work on a cleanup project, but they were apparently so excited to see us that they did all the cleanup before we came. But when we got off that bus, we were greeted like the Beatles touching down at JFK in 1964. They had a band playing, they threw petals at our feet … honestly, I have never felt that honored and that welcome before in my life.

Telling people you’re having twins? Kind of like that.

Once we had told the people we planned to tell over the phone, we compiled a list of people to tell via email. Now, it does feel a little weird to divide your friends and loved ones into tiers like that. But it really was just a matter of practicality. We simply couldn’t call EVERYBODY.

And we probably love the telephone people more.

But, even then we couldn’t spill all the beans! Amanda told her boss, but she couldn’t tell all her coworkers until they had a big staff meeting that week. So that meant we had to keep the news quiet for just a few days more. So, no Facebook, no Twitter, and we couldn’t return all those phone calls we kept getting from TMZ.

We did a pretty good job of keeping it hush hush. There were a couple of slip-ups, when overzealous loved one posted messages of congratulations on our walls, but we nipped those in the bud pretty fast.

So, finally, Amanda told work and we let the news hit the web. Once again, incredible reactions. Got a little jealous because Amanda got 32 Likes and 57 comments responses to her post on Facebook and I only got 29 Likes and 44 comments, even though I have 627 Facebook friends and Amanda only has 512. Then I remembered … she’s the one actually having the babies.

She’s always going to have that to hold over me.

Telling people good news in the 21st Century is a little complicated, but it’s still pretty awesome. I look forward to doing it all over again when the twins actually arrive.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Name Game, Part 2


Hi, I’m Noah! This summer my wife and I are having twins. Someday, they will rule Poland.

I promised you I would say more about the process of baby naming. So it’s time for more on names.


Thank you.

Today I want to talk about sources, places to look for names for babies.

A great source for names, from a Western perspective, is the Bible. Good solid names that stand the test of time. People know them and they can spell them … sometimes.

Sidebar: When Michael Jackson died, practically every trending topic on Twitter was about him, including “Micheal Jackson,” spelled M-I-C-H-E-A-L. Yes, enough people were spelling the name wrong to make it a Trending Topic. Enough people cared enough about Michael Jackson to tweet about him, but didn’t know how to spell the name Michael, which is the most popular boy’s name of the last 20 years. Seriously America, there is a reason why this country is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the People’s Republic of China.

I like Bible names for, somewhat obvious reasons, though, when I tell people my name is Noah and my brother is named Abraham, they tend to assume we’re insane Biblethumpers who were home-schooled to believe that the one true path to heaven comes from eating buttermilk and barley sandwiches and shooting Mexicans on sight.

Yes, my brother is named Abraham. My mother’s father was the most lapsed of lapsed Jews, yet somehow he wound up with grandsons named Noah, Benjamin, Abraham, Samuel, Aaron, Daniel and Jeremiah. Conversely his granddaughters all have Jane Austen names Jane, Jessica, Emma, and Tessa.

Another good source for names is Shakespeare. Actually Shakespeare isn’t so great for boy’s names, since they either tend to be standard English names like John and Henry or impossibly fanciful fake Italian names like Prospero and Malvolio or dirty jokes like Falstaff and Pickledick.

There isn’t really any Shakespearean character named Pickledick, but there ought to be.

But Shakespeare is FULL of great girl’s names – Cordelia, Miranda, Viola, Rosalind, Cecily, Portia, Etcetera.

Etcetera isn’t the name of a Shakespearean woman, but it ought to be.

Then, of course, there’s family names. Now, for my own personal taste, I’m not a great fan of giving a child your own name, or that of any close relative who’s still alive. Actually, in the Jewish tradition it’s considered unlucky to name a child after a relative who’s still living. But if you go back a few generations on your family tree, you’ll probably find some good ones.

Of course, this gets into the problem of giving your child a name that seems like an old person name. But remember, these things are cyclical. In fifty years, everybody’s grandmother is going to be named Brittany or Tiffany. Does this mean all the little girls born in 2060 will be named Ethel and Prudence? I don’t know, maybe, but I could definitely see some old lady names like Rose or Clara come back. Remember that only a few years ago, Sophia was totally a grandma name, and now it’s the _________ most popular name for baby girls.

On the other hand, some old names are NEVER coming back into vogue. For example … Dorcas. Yes, that is a real name, a real woman’s name. It’s not a HAPPY woman’s name, of course. There’s a reason why the song doesn’t go “Who’s skipping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees? … Everyone knows it’s Dorcas.”

Still so much more to say about names. Do you have other good sources to find great baby names? Let me know.