It’s a very exciting time to be alive when you are expecting a baby. Everything takes on a new significance. I know I frequently think about what things must have been like the year I was born, and I find myself trying to imagine what it would have been like to live in that time in my parents’ shoes.

And so it is now, I see what the cars look like in the streets, and I see the world changing devices (like this one I am typing on), and I try to imagine what it will be like for this child when they’re all grown into adulthood and watching period movies about this time we are all living in.

A year or two before I was born (in 1972) my dad saved up his pennies and bought himself a fancy new electronic gadget – a handheld pocket calculator. At the time it was hard to imagine such technology, I’m sure. When Cooper was born I’d recently acquired an iPhone. What will be in the next generation’s pockets? Will they even have pockets?

Man, a world without pockets. I fear for the future.

Blogging about blogging

I used to blog all the time. I like blogging. It’s cathartic. It gets stuff off your chest. It takes thoughts out of your head and posts them on the Internet, for all to see. A little like confession, I suppose, though you don’t have to reserve blogging for just the things you are ashamed of.

It’s a self centered activity, though. It’s all about me as I sit here thumbing this into my iPhone. It’s presumptuous. I’m presuming you give a flying fart what I’m writing here. Actually scratch that; because it’s so about me I don’t give a flying fart for your flying fart.

In related news, the air here in my blog is fresh and clean.

When Coop was born, I found I had a lot more priorities and a shrinking amount of time to do them in. The blog sort of fell by the wayside. Oddly, I think my writing actually picked up. I’ve been writing more, but it’s been for self therapeutic reasons. When too much is swimming around in my brain I get out a pen and a letter size notepad and I just write whatever it is out of there without line breaks or paragraphs. It works wonders. Takes me about 15 minutes first thing in the morning and then I’m a better man for it all day.

I’ve never read anything I’ve written that way. As soon as I finish the last sentence, I tear the sheet up and throw it away. The purpose is served, and I don’t want anything incriminating lying around for others to see.

It’s a pity, because I bet there are some fine blog posts in those torn bits of paper.

But I miss the blogging, I really do. And the process of writing and destroying those sheets of paper has reminds me that writing is good for me.

What I expect to expect (as I am expecting)

Expecting a new baby recalls the last time I was expecting a new baby, in 2008, when Julie was pregnant with Coop. I asked a lot of people what it was like to have kids, trying to anticipate and understand just what the heck was actually happening. The most consistent thing I heard from people who had started families was that there was no way to describe or comprehend what the difference was. After a while, I started believing them, and I can remember the odd conundrum of trying to prepare for something you know you can’t really wrap your head around until it happens.

It was true, by the way. I don’t think you can really understand how life will change when you have kids. If I could go back to a childless me 3 and a half years ago, and try to describe to myself what was coming, I wouldn’t be able to. There really aren’t words.

So, this with this baby, unlike the last, I have previous experience. I’ve done it before, and I think I have a better idea of what it will be like this time around. While I still don’t think I could fully describe to someone what it’s like to go from having no kids to having a kid (to the point they’d really get it, anyway), I do know that this time around there are a few big things I’ll be aware of:

When the kid is born, personal time will vanish.
There will barely be 10 minutes in a day that won’t be applied to parenting, working, or commuting between the two for the first while. That might seem exaggerated, but that really is my perception of how it went for me after Coop was born. (Those 10 minutes though? GOLDEN.)

My life will become less about myself.
When I had no kids, I felt my life was pretty much all about me, and I was right. After Coop was born, it became very apparent I was no longer quite at the center of my universe anymore. I am still a celestial body in it, but off to the side from the middle. With another kiddo, I anticipate I’ll be a bit further off to the side again.

Somehow, those 2 points above will be okay.
Sounds scary as I see it in print, but In fact, it is all is completely worth it by a longshot.

Life changes: it gets easier, less intense, and more fun.
I remember the first week with Coop as one of the best and worst times of my life. The Happiness was euphoric; I felt complete, and more capable of love than I ever would have imagined. I also felt fatigue like I never had before. Because of that, my body felt older, I was irritable, there was strain on my relationship with Julie, and it all made for a pretty tough time. When that’s all happening, you don’t know how long it’s going to last. You wonder if it will always be like this.

It’s not.

With this new arrival, I know it will be tough at first, but then in a few months I will be sleeping more, I’ll get used to the new definition of ‘us’, and I’ll start to feel the relief that comes with a sense of normalcy.

Later, that infant will become a person, complete with personality, and it will be fun to hang out with them (that is, if experience is anything to go by).

It’s a real trip to hold a tiny infant and contemplate your place in the vast universe, and to try to grasp the meaning of all the circumstances that had to culminate to allow you and this precious child to share this moment. It’s a real trip, and a wonderful thing, but it’s also really intense, and not really fun.

Fun is going swimming with a (nearly) 3 year old who has just discovered the joy that is jumping into water, and shows boundless enthusiasm for it with a 20 minute toothy grin that just won’t stop. Fun is being completely absorbed with the game of catch. Swimming and catch: totally fun, and not so intense. Also: that’s what I did this morning with Coop, and it was awesome.

We’re expecting a new baby! May 2012

Yes it’s big news!

Julie is roughly 14 weeks into this pregnancy and we will be expecting a new baby sometime in May 2012.

So far everything is going along well. Julie’s been tired and nauseated which we’ve been accepting as good news. This is easier news for me to accept as good than Julie.

We told Coop last week and he’s been taking it well. He hasn’t grasped the full profundity of the situation, but slowly it is sinking in. I did lots of Internet research on how to tell him about his new baby sister or brother, but when we told him his only reaction was to ask, “Okay, now can I watch the Backyardigans?”. Fair enough.

With Julie’s recent narcoleptic tendencies and new full time employment, life’s been a little hectic in our world lately. It’s been a crazy time.

I’ve been doing my best to enjoy the slow parts of my day where I can find them. I know that when this kiddo arrives, these days will seem like a pretty easy time in contrast, what with all the sleeping and the conspicuous absence of diapers.

We’re excited and eager to meet the new baby, and I’m pleased to be telling the world the big news!

Migrated to WordPress

I just installed WordPress on my server; it’s time. I’ve been developing with WordPress for a while now in my professional life and it’s now my tool of choice for creating websites.

I wouldn’t call this a site redesign; I am still using the default template that installs with WordPress, but I’m already finding writing a blog entry easier, so hopefully this will be an improvement that will result in more blog writing.

You can still find all the older entries here: http://mikelathrop.com/oldblog.

Hilarity in the Middle East

So Coop has been developing a sense of humour. Some might even call it a pronounced sense of humour. Occaisionally, he will just command, “Let’s all laugh! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Usually, we can’t help but to comply.

Lately though, it’s become more contextual. Now when he wants everyone to laugh, he just picks a word at random from whatever conversation is at hand, laughs as hard as possible, and chases it all with a “That’s funny” at the end.

So, today, here’s what I heard from the back seat of the car while driving with the radio on. The program was a panel of pundits talking about the Gaza Strip and the West Bank:

“Palastinians! HAHAHAHAHAhahaha! That’s funny.”

“Situation! HAHAHAHAHAhahaha! That’s funny.”

“Colonization! HAHAHAHAHAhahaha! That’s funny.”

So that makes at least one person who sees the goings-on in that part of the world downright hilarious. Oddly comforting, that.

Why I voted to extinguish the HST

For those of you not in BC (or living under a rock), some background:

Recently, shortly after a provincial election, the incumbent BC Liberal party passed a tax called the HST, which restructured sales tax in my province. The net result was an extra 7% on a number of goods and services, with a decrease in hidden taxes elsewhere.

During the BC Liberal party’s campaign, a few months earlier, this plan was not mentioned. When critics of the HST questioned why it was not discussed during the election, the party denied having any plans they’d do this before the election. When evidence came to light that they did indeed have plans to implement the HST before the election, the Premier’s popularity fell to 9%, and he shortly thereafter resigned.

A petition was launched to collect signatures to force a referendum on the HST, and it was successful. So now we’re all given an opportunity to vote: “Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)?”.

There are a lot of compelling arguments for the HST. It’s simpler, it’s meant to help businesses create jobs, and as a consumption tax it’s harder to evade.

And I feel all the pros and cons of the HST are irrelevant.

What’s relevant is that our government attempted to implement taxation without representation. That’s something that’s inspired revolutions in other countries.

It bothers me that most of the debate I’ve heard about the HST was been on its merit as a tax, and not about how it was legislated. I voted to extinguish it because I don’t want governments thinking that they can implement tax like that again. It’s just not cool.

If you’ll pardon the analogy, let’s say, for example, you were to put a bag over my head and throw me in an airplane, only to dump me out on a warm, sunny Mexican beach. I wouldn’t consider whether or not it was a nice beach. I’d just try to undo what you had done and get myself home, to pursue whatever legal means I had of rectifying the situation later.

And that’s what I did with my “Yes” ballot today, as much as I could anyway.

2010 in Photographic Review

There are people who read this blog who would say it’s high time I posted some photos, and it is!

here’s a link to the album: http://picasaweb.google.com/bigmikestudios/BestOf2010#

In other news, Cooper got better, then I got sick, then I got better, then Julie got sick, then Julie got better. I am VERY glad to be past that plague.

It was our first experience with a sick kid when both of us are working. We worked it out, but a few observations on that experience:

  1. “I can’t work because my kid is sick” isn’t an excuse that cuts it in today’s workplace.
  2. When your kid is sick, you can’t leave them at daycare.
  3. You can’t just tie your kid to a tree, and head on in to the office.
  4. Raising children is a necessary factor in the continuing survival of the human species.

Can anyone else out there spot the problem?