Sunday, April 20, 2008


Well, this is it. Your mom, your grandmothers, everyone else who can hardly wait for tomorrow, have gone to bed. For the next few minutes it's just you and me.

It's been a weird day. Kind of like Christmas Eve would be if you knew that your presents would be wrapped in blood and have to be opened with knives. Exciting, terrifying, and slightly nauseating. I can't tell you how many times someone used the phrase 'last day of freedom' today. It's like they're seeing you off to prison and then following it up with the word 'congratulations'.

I won't lie to you. I still have mixed feelings about the whole deal. Sometimes I look around at the nursery and the baby gear and it seems like it's been here so long I can't remember what it was like without it or why I would ever have been afraid of it. And other times I feel like I've wandered into someone else's house, someone else's life. I still worry about how things will change, that your mom and I will feel less like two people in love and more like two people running a business. Scheduling, maintaining, picking up, dropping off, putting out fires, and simply being thankful for every day that the whole enterprise doesn't go under. By the time you read this, I'm sure the idea that we could ever have been anything other than the people you've smiled at, babbled to, and crapped on will seem ridiculous. But you didn't know us way back when. We were a good time duo. Swear. And I guess the fact that that might seem funny or impossible to you while being a memory to me is what scares me more than any mountain of diapers.

Nine months ago, when I found out about you two it was obvious that my life was going to change. And if I momentarily brushed this idea aside there's been no shortage of people willing to remind me. 'Just wait', followed by an evil laugh and a shake of the head seems to be one of the natural reaction of fathers faced with someone about join their ranks. And so the question that you and I have endeavored to answer in that time is just how much I could change before everything else did. How much life and making up for lost time I could pack into the days, weeks, and months that it's taken you to go from my DNA to my daughters. Could I be a novelist, a white Spud Webb, a Frenchman even?

Like most things, the answer is mixed. I managed to write a screenplay and turn it in. It will need work, but it's on the right track. I touched the bottom of Spud territory, I just couldn't carry anything up there with me. And if I were lost in France and only needed to ask about horses or airplanes, I'd probably be fine.

I guess, for me, it comes down to this: what I did or didn't do is really beside the point.

As much as I wanted to flip a switch and suddenly be capable of all sorts of things I'd never done before, there was no switch to be flipped. What progress I made was slow and deliberate. I didn't suddenly become this other person. Whatever my successes, whatever my failures, I'm still just me, the same idiot I've gotten to know all these years. The one who writes well sometimes and poorly others, who can't jump very high, and who thinks the idea that nouns and verbs have gender is ridiculous. All this time I've worried that acquiring you two would force me to lose some part of myself. But I'm not so sure it works that way anymore. I've tried to take a hammer and chainsaw to myself these last nine months, and I'm still here, pretty much the way I've always been. And to me, that's kind of comforting. So while I'm sure there's a host of things that will be different after tomorrow, if the last nine months has taught me anything, it's that maybe I won't have to be one of them. I hold out hope that I can be your dad and still a person too, and that someday, if not the by first time you read this, then by the last, that you'll get to see both.

In just a few hours you'll cease to be a pair of theoretical concepts that I can write angsty letters to, and you'll become my daughters, flesh, blood, and angst of your own. I anticipate that you will greet this reality with a great deal of screaming and crying. I will probably join you. Because while I can't wait to meet you, I'll miss these little conversations. I'm anxious to say hello, but part of me hates to have to say goodbye. Maybe that's why the Hawaiians just have the same word for both.

I don't really know what happens next, and despite all the 'just wait, you'll see,' I'm not sure anyone else does either. But if I could suggest a birthday wish in your last hours before turning zero, it would be that someday you find yourselves as excited and terrified as I am at the prospect of an unknowable future and the knowledge that you'll sort it out with the incredible people you're about to meet.

Until then,


p.s. To all of you who've followed along, my sincere thanks for your kind and thoughtful words throughout the months. This wasn't ever intended to be anything more than a place to park the voices in my head. I never expected anyone to find it interesting, and never imagined how friendly, articulate, and sincere those who did could be. As much as I've enjoyed the conversation and support, I always intended for the story to end here, a picture of the person I was before I became whatever I'll become tomorrow, and I think it's best to stick with that. So Still A Person will be no more. I have, however, been convinced that even in a sea of parenting blogs, there might be a place for me. So if you find yourself interested, you're welcome to come along for the next part of the story here. I make no claims about quality or content and can only hope that the phrase 'parenting blog' will feel like an loose fit at best. But if this is where you get off, I want to say thanks again, and let you know that it's been a better ride for having had you along.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Le Finale

To demonstrate just how far I've come, I decided to put my second to last entry in French. The translation, done by a French professional, appears below.


Je m'applle Kyle. Le premier chose vous direz en une autre langue est votre nom. Apres vous direz votrez nom vous fairez un cheval. Croissant. Vraiment, je ne sais pas beacoup mots en francais. Je n'apprendre rein dans le neuf mois quand vous es dans le stomach de votre mere. Mais, je desire de parle bein quelque jour. Pour maitenant, je ferai le meilleur avec le mots je connais et moi es vous parlex beacoup a voitures, le plage, et les avions. C'est difficile de parle avec mon bebes seulment en francais quand je ne connais the mots pour "please don't pee on daddy," mais j'essaye. Peut etre votre premier mots sera 'bonjour'. Je ne sais. Mais, pour maitenant, tout vous avex connaitre est je t'aime.

En denoument: epaulle, stylo, routle.


My name is Kyle. The first thing you will say inside another language is your name. After you will say your name, you do a horse. Crescent roll. Really, I don't know lots words in French. I don't to learn nothing inside the nine months when you are in your mother's stomach. But I desire of speak good any day. For now, I will do the best with the words I know and me and you speak lots at cars, the beach, and the airplanes. It's difficult to speak with my babies only in French when I don't know the words for "s'il te plait, ne pas faire pipi sur Papa," but I try. Maybe your first words will be "hello." I know not. But, for now, all you have to know is I love you.

In conclusion: shoulder, pen, kneecap.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Final Leap

Final measurements are in. I cannot dunk a basketball. I cannot dunk a golf ball. If we could measure such things, I might, at most, be able to dunk an atom.

I can touch the rim. That's 120 inches up, minus my 90 inches of reach, for a vertical leap of 30 inches. Looking back, we started with a vertical of 27 inches. I was hoping to increase that by 9.5. No dice. On the upside, I can now out jump the fattest linemen in the NFL draft (who sport a mere 28.5 inches).

To measure, I jumped at a series of tape strips on a wall outside. Over and over. At some point my neighbor came out and said, 'If you need a ladder you should just ask'. I told her I was measuring my vertical leap. She asked 'why in the hell' I would want to do that?

I started to tell her that I was afraid of becoming old and useless and feared having children would forever render me another average, boring, anonymous suburbanite, and if I was going to be all those things then I at least wanted to wait in the SUV gridlock outside my kids' pre-school and know that I, if the situation called for it, could jump over something up to 30 inches tall.

Instead, I gave the answer I always give when someone asks me about one of my more idiotic actions.

'It's for a class.'

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You -6

This is the only picture I have or will offer you two. With your eyes not really focusing beyond a couple inches posting more would just be mean. But this was you, six days before you were born and about five days after you mom was ready for you get out. Not pictured: Her shaking you like a snowglobe and screaming 'GIVE ME BACK MY UTERUS!'

We've been project oriented lately. Filling time. It turns out there's a very small number of projects that fit your mom's current criteria. She can't really walk very far. Or stand for too long. Or sit. Or lie down. And everything makes her cry. So we took pictures. Without her head in them.

Your mom never cries, so when she gets like this I like to put her in charge of all our long standing customer service issues. Nothing gets results like someone who goes to pieces when you ask for their account number.

Tomorrow I'll get in my last stab at a dunk. Either way, I predict the results bring tears to your mother's eyes.

Novel - Fairly positive reaction so far (not counting dad who thinks it might be the most brilliant thing ever written)
Dunking - Tomorrow, we fly!
French - Even the French nursery rhymes are beyond my vocabulary level

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Last Days

You're one week away.

Here's where we stand:

I've turned in my work. Until someone tells me what to do with it next, I'm sitting around.

Your mom is sitting around.

There's a lot of sitting around.

Your mom is reading about how to self induce labor and talking about buying a trampoline. She's ready.

The office is no more, replaced by a guest bedroom, eventually home to the world's greatest South African au pair. There's now a desk and a computer about five feet from our bed which has raised some issues. Apparently typing doesn't count as 'white noise'.

Most of your gear has been assembled, installed, washed, experimented with, etc. Your mom has turned on the swing and stared at it while it makes ocean noises. I may have mentioned that she's ready.

I'm beginning a week of books about baby mind control. I don't think that's technically how they describe themselves, but that's what I'm looking to get out of them.

And I'm finishing up these letters.

Novel - turned in as a screenplay
Dunking - final measurements this week
French - The new plan is to learn together

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