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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

in memoriam

i hope you all had a meaningful holiday yesterday. it was a particularly poignant memorial day at Villa Nice Guy. we looked back fondly on a dearly departed beloved one who had only recently left us. that's right: Mr Sleep. baby nice guy's dutch grannie, omi, left town on sunday, taking with her our old friend. we miss you, Mr Sleep.

here is a quick diary, beginning at noon on sunday, when the in-laws took their leave of us (they almost got away with the baby. we hadn't noticed that they had discreetly packed her in the igloo cooler until she whimpered just before they closed the trunk. very crafty, omi nice guy!). here is how our first unassisted day went:

noon, Sunday: feeling confident. empowered. refreshed. ready to take on this parenting business.

12:07 pm, Sunday: why won't this baby remove her fingers from her eyes?

12:16 pm, Sunday: and what is the deal with that screeching?


12:39 pm, Sunday: oh she was just hungry. no problem; got it all sorted out.

1:08 pm, Sunday: should milk be coming out of her nose in high-pressure blasts like that?

2:13 pm, Sunday: baby sneezes during application of diaper rash cream (or as we call it 'round these parts: crack spackle), instantly loosening her sphincter. baby craps all over father's hand. father still in frame of mind where he think this is about the coolest/funniest thing ever.

2:22 pm, Sunday: a changed, fed and swaddled baby comes very close to dozing off when she has several audible bowel movements. should dad risk disturbing placid baby by changing her, or should he let her marinade in her own feces? where is the new york times ethicist when you need him?

2:46 pm, Sunday: baby making horrible screeching sound. am realizing i can tell difference between her cries: the condor, the bald eagle, the jackal, the moose in heat. i can tell them apart, but have no idea what they signify

3:12 pm, Sunday: baby asleep. we grab stroller and cruise the neighborhood.

5:41 pm, Sunday: baby has slept more than two blissful hours, screaming only when the stroller stops. or slows down. or turns suddenly.

5:51 - 7 pm, Sunday: feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby. repeat as necessary in whatever order you want, it makes no difference. call me sisyphus. (or sissy-face. that works too.)

7pm - 8:30 pm, Sunday: baby grunts like a truffle-hunting pig onto something good. howls every time father's pinky is removed from her mouth; protests every time one attempts to place her into a bassinet.

9 pm - 11: 30 pm, Sunday: quick feeding followed by two more blissful hours of babysleep, during which time mom and dad have dinner and cringe in abject terror every time baby moves. things are looking good. no doubt she will sleep through the night!

midnight - 5 am, Monday: feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby, feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby, feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby, feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby, feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby, feed baby, burp baby, beg baby to stop screaming, change baby.

5:03 am, Monday: check the going rate for healthy newborns on ebay.

5:44 am, Monday: baby falls asleep in father's arms, refuses to sleep anywhere else. mother has finally drifted off to sleep.

8:01 am, Monday: baby ready to be fed. father's left arm completely numb and frozen in a football hold, impossible to extend.

8:57 am, Monday: feeding and changing (treatise on color of baby poo to follow shortly) largely uneventful. now that it is daylight, baby's circadian rhythms decide to let her fall peacefully asleep. her father however is hallucinating; mom has just put the laundry in the oven and the cats in the dryer. after a few minutes of adorably kicking her legs in the air and squirming on her tummy, an exhausted baby drifts back off to sleep. where was this particular child at 2 am?

11:02 - 11:47 am, Monday: baby awakes refreshed and cuter than something really cute (sorry, powers of simile failing). she is ready to be fed and i can swear she recognizes her bedraggled old man. a rush of love floods the heart. the world is beautiful.

noon, Monday: feeling confident. empowered. refreshed. ready to take on this parenting business.

hors sujet!

this may be off-topic, but does anyone else think something's fishy that deep throat's identity was revealed on the very same day as the announcement of paris hilton's engagement (to herself, no less)? paris hilton ... deep throat ... revealed ... coincidence? think not!

Friday, May 27, 2005

got milk? man milk?

sir, step away from the baby. sir! DO NOT BREASTFEED THE BABY, SIR.

so i recently made a comment about how i whip out my man juggs and let my baby latch on. i was -- how do you say? -- joking. most of you managed to figure that out. others got a case of the creepy-jeeblies (i have this effect on many women; just take a quick shower and you'll feel better). but! i was not prepared for this! thank you, kind anonymous reader, for the link for that truly keeps on giving.

first, let's start with the title:

Milkmen: Fathers Who Breastfeed

christ, i weep with delight every time i behold those words. comedy gold. thank you, brave laura shanley, for writing that headline. but it just gets better:

While my husband David had no interest in nursing our son, we both were intrigued with the idea ... He began telling himself that he would lactate, and within a week, one of his breasts swelled up and milk began dripping out. When we excitedly showed my father (a physician)David's breast he said, "Obviously there's something physiologically wrong with David." The fact that David had willed himself to do this, did not impress him.

if my breast began swelling and leaking, i too would immediately and "excitedly" show a physician. although my excitement would be more of the "WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY TITS?" variety than the "oh goodie, i am lactating through sheer will power" stripe. the physician's response was only halfway suitable to my tastes. physically, yes, obviously something was wrong with Lactating David. but this poor physician completely failed to mention that something else was going on, that his daughter and son-in-law had gone completely batshit insane. i would say that their mental problems are at least greater than or equal to those of the physical kind. but wait, there's more:

Still, we were not ready for David to actually breastfeed our baby. First of all, there was no need for it. I was doing just fine on my own. But more importantly, he simply had no desire to do it. After he discovered that his body had indeed been responsive to his thoughts, he suggested to himself that the lactation would stop, and within a week his breast returned to normal.

hmm, maybe Lactating David is on to something here. let us try a little nice guy experiment: i am now suggesting that my abs to turn into a rock-hard six-pack of steel. i am currently willing my rapidly thinning hair to return to my head. i strongly advise the stink to leave my feet. and ... it is not working. fuck. help me Lactating David, you're my only hope. a little clue? laura shanley continues:

We didn't give it much thought after that until years later ...
WHAT? i'd be giving serious wattage of thoughtpower on a daily basis to the fact that i WILLED MYSELF TO FUCKING LACTATE, like, forever. i would be going on tour! "behold the Amazing Lactating Nice Guy and his Generative Man-Bosom." i would be earning squillions of dollars! i would become world famous. i would become surrogate milk nurse to the languid malnourished stars. especially the naked ones.

On the other hand, I think it is safe to say that women are better suited to breastfeeding than men are.
oh, no! don't stop believin', sweetie. how fickle of you laura shanley.

anyway, she continues much in this manner. i had to stop reading though, because the baby cried and i willed my milk to drop. gotta go feed the little one!

milestones in baby biology

lots of people keep telling me: "you think having a baby is fun now, just wait until it starts actually doing stuff. like smiling." there are a couple of reasons why these negative nellies are wrong, why this statement is blatantly fraudulent, chiefly:
  1. since when does "smiling" constitute "doing something"
  2. who says newborns don't do anything?

look, baby nice guy is a miracle of biological functions. she is a gurgling vesuvius of burbling fluids. she could blow at any minute. and she frequently does. she has this one patented move, an excellent maneuver that will rival michael jordan's tonguey dunks in the history books. just yesterday, while on the changing table, she clearly bumped her game up to a new level. a clue: beware the sneeze. while on the table, nekkid as the day is long, baby nice guy will stretch languidly, throwing her parent off guard, and then she will attack. with a sneeze. the sneeze will instantly claim control of her sphincter, loosening it in a microsecond, which will in turn send liquid mustard turd spraying across the changing table. it is a terrifying and miraculous thing to behold. (i call this move the grey poop-on). i have alluded to this fact already in previous posts. the news here, ladies and gentlemen, is that yesterday my darling daughter actually cleared the changing table! yesterday, her little turdlets nailed the wall! i am so proud. hell, even grandma was gloating.

also, like a boy she pees EVERY TIME she is changed. she waits until the dry diaper is off to let loose. i like her style.

more biological baby-steps: the umbilical stump fell off today! i was at work, so this is the first of many, many a-milestone i will surely miss in her life (first smile, first steps, first night in jail, her wedding). mrs nice guy called me just to spread the word: "your daughter's stump has fallen off."

mr nice guy: is it an outie?
mrs nice guy: hard to tell. it just looks like hamburger meat.

even more biological excitement, in the form a riddle: how is my 15-day-old daughter very much like a 15-year-old girl?

  1. she whines like cheap merlot whenever she hears my voice
  2. baby acne!

the child is more broken out than clint eastwood in "escape from alcatraz." that's right, baby has a wicked set of whiteheads on her nose. i fear she will grow up looking as pocked as manuel noriega. mrs nice guy informs me that it's all she can do to keep from popping her child's mini-zits.

anyway. the point to all this is that newborns do too do stuff. you just have to know how to appreciate it.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

fatherhood, week deux

today our grunting, runting child turns two weeks old. there is only one reason i am still alive: her grandmother. my father-in-law returns to new york to collect his wife today, which means the glory days of naps, meals and hygiene are about to come to an exhausted, starving and grimy end. this woman is a hero. when i crawl out of bed in the morning, there she is cooing in dutch to our child in the living room, where she has been for two hours, just holding the baby. i don't speak dutch, but i am pretty sure she is not saying things like "when i leave, you will scream for three solid days" and "no one will ever love you as much as me" and "never ever listen to your father; he lies." yes, i am almost positive this is not what is being said.

two weeks. like a tv dad from the '50s, i come bounding home after martinis work, pipe in hand, and announce "honey, i'm home." and then i must bribe whoever is holding my child to let me see her. as i pick the peacefully sleeping baby up and cradle her in my strong fatherly arms, it is then that she realizes the horror of her predicament -- that she is MINE -- and she begins simultaneously screaming, wriggling, crapping, grunting, flailing, barfing and begging to be returned to the arms of her mother or her grandmother. or at least one of the cats.

but i resist! precisely because she is MINE i swaddle her ever so gently, sing to her and even occasionally offer her my nipples for a little non-nutritive suckling action. as she nurses at my empty breast, i look for ways that she is undoubtedly related to me. and i find them. here, in the form of a catechism, are the clues that she could be no one else's daughter:
  • when we bathed her last night, did it not take exactly three towels to dry her because she kept crapping on them? happens to me all the time.
  • when she is presented with mrs nice guy's breast, does she not lunge forth hungrily, frantically even, to latch onto the goods? indeed, so do i. so do i.
  • when the child is on the breast does she not grunt like a potbellied pig? when she is pulled from the breast does she not claw at her eyes in despair (unless she is sated, in which case does she not fall instantly asleep)? man this all sounds so very, very familiar.
  • every time she sneezes does the child not soil her shorts? the acorn, she does not fall far from the tree.
  • who is obviously happiest when not wearing any pants at all? i myself have gotten fined at work for this proclivity of mine.
  • does the child not dread sleep, opting instead to spend the hours between midnight and 4 am vocalizing her tiny animal fears of infinite darkness through piglet grunts, cricket chirps and kicked-puppy whimpers? now her night-owl father finally has an excellent excuse for napping under his desk.
  • who else besides this child has not changed his socks in three days? no comment.
  • she really is a stunningly beautiful child. could she have been sown of any other set of loins?

(did i mention the grunting? this child doesn't really cry. if she gets really pissed, she'll shriek once, but mostly she just grunts away. usually when she has gas. it's actually kind of hilarious -- she is a tiny 80-year-old misanthrope in a stained t-shirt.)

even though she is the closest thing i shall ever come to attaining IMMORTALITY, it actually pains me to witness such a resemblance to her fat, lazy and dull father. i wish she would begin to take after her generous and industrious grandmother. after all, wasn't the original point of having kids -- i am talking about waaay back in the day -- to help out on the farm? to achieve this end, i will begin calling her ChoreBaby. as in, "ChoreBaby, the floors need scrubbing!" "ChoreBaby, make me a sandwich!" and "who let ChoreBaby out of the storage closet?" yes, having a child may be the smartest thing i've ever done.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

back at work

mr nice guy has returned to the lamentably poo-free confines of his office this week. he returned yesterday, uneventfully. his colleagues were pleasant and happy to see him again, impressed by his formidable fertility and prodigious powers of procreation.

sitting in my office today, deleting thousands of unread emails, this note popped up from a baby-wielding mrs nice guy, exiled to nice guy world headquarters in brooklyn:

-----Original Message-----
From: Nice Guy, Mrs.
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 12:37 PM
To: Nice Guy, Mr.

auntie nice guy sent us a swing. our house is slowly being overrun by babygoods. we're drowning in things for a 7 lb. tyrant.

i just typed this whole note one-handed.

i am unimpressed. mrs nice guy should know by now that her husband is the undefeated champion of one-handed internet surfing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

and then it dawned on me

you do realize what all this means, don't you? all this birthing and babies business. you know what it adds up to, right?

i am now officially married to a milf.

i can die happy.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

pompous circumstance

ah, may! the flowers are blooming, the sun is out, the pheromones are flowing. what's more, 'tis the season of college graduations. commencement! college ends and adulthood begins!

mr nice guy's very own cousin is graduating from amherst college today ... this very moment even. i remember when she was born, so wee was she. it touches my heart's whispering valves to know that she is all grown up, that she was never carried off by wild dogs. for obvious reasons, mr nice guy could not be in attendance. but auntie nice guy, being the diligent mother hen that she is, sent out a supplication earlier this week (nothing gets mr nice guy's hackles up like an email with the subject line reading: "a small request/assignment," but he read it anyway). it was an interesting challenge. it seems my cousin was sad that no one special was speaking at her commencement, so her mom asked a bunch of family and friends to write their very own brief commencement speeches, to be read at lunch following the ceremony. of course, i'd be happy to share with my cousin a few of the insights i have gleaned from life the hard way--on the streets.

so i wrote a little something. i believe it may have taken the wrong offramp from the information superhighway, for i never received tearful thanks from my aunt. surely the only reason she hasn't acknowledged its receipt is that it either got lost or she was so deeply touched that she has slipped into an ecstatic coma, unable to type a simple thank you note.

lucky for you, i have saved my sage graduation ponderings and am reprinting them here. this speech, soon to be canonized in the annals of all-time great commencement addresses, has been modified to fit the format of your computer screen:

Pimpin' Circumstance, by Mr Nice Guy

Cousin Nice Guy. If you are looking for words of earth shattering wisdom and breathtaking insightfulness on the occasion of your graduation, man, you have come to the right place. As you may know I graduated from college in 1996, which, if my humanities degree serves me right, was 47 years ago when Calvin Coolidge was president. 1996. A youthful nation turned its hopeful eyes to Mel Gibson's "Braveheart." 1996. A little group called Los Del Rio was taking the country by storm with their hit single "Macarena," and as we now know has since proven wrong all the cynics who called them "one hit wonders" and "talentless." 1996. My dreams had not yet been crushed by the oppressive weight of despair at my rapidly approaching death. Ah, sweet 1996.

I think you will find that being a college graduate is very useful. You should be proud to belong to an elite club that includes such esteemed members as myself, Bill O'Reilly, Lynndie England, the Unabomber, almost every cast member of the Real World, OJ Simpson and our president. The list goes on. Indeed, without this degree, you almost certainly wouldn't be attending commencement ceremonies this week.

Anyway, as you can tell, I am a font of wisdom. If you ever need help navigating the torpid waters of life, I am at your beck. (I said torpid waters and I meant torpid waters. If you want help with torrid waters, ask someone else.) As I type this I sit in Brooklyn with a brand new beautiful baby girl who I am pretty sure is mine. Believe it or not, I recall holding you right after you were born. I was probably around nine years old. Man you were a big baby. Cute too. What happened? Your parents did the best they could. They told me. Auntie Nice Guy called me last week and said "Mr. Nice Guy, I did the best I could. You were there; you saw the raw materials I was working with. Depressing. That's why I had two more kids. Between you and me, it's a miracle she ever figured out that her fingers were attached to her hand much less made it through a third-rate mental ward like Amherst. I did the best I could." Of course, that's between me and your mother, so you'll never hear me repeating it.

Anyway, now you're graduating and now I have a baby girl. Naturally I am thinking deep thoughts at a time like this. Having done the college thing, the job thing, the marriage thing and, now, the dad thing, I can tell you I have earned some knowledge in this world. I know that at this moment of your life, you are reflecting on adulthood and I know what you're wondering: what does Mr Nice Guy have to teach me? Well let me tell you one or two things that you probably didn't learn in that fancypants lockjawed Northeastern college of yours. I learned these nuggets of truth in the school of hard knocks, baby. Grab a pen. Here goes:

  1. All the Microsoft spell-check in the world won't save your ass when you write a letter to the New York Pubic Library.
  2. No matter how badly you think you need the money, those pictures will end up on the Internet and get forwarded to your wife. And your boss. And your aunt. Sorry about that, Auntie Nice Guy.
  3. A night in a Tuscaloosa jail with a cellmate named Fat Jenny feels a lot longer than 12 hours. But you walk out with a friend for life.

Whatever. That's not what matters right now. Right now, what matters is that I have to go: my daughter, your new cousin, just barfed on something, which is definitely not something you ever did in college. So congratulations, Cousin Nice Guy. None of us thought you could do it. Here are a few words of wisdom from a very smart man who had the misfortune of being French. His name was Voltaire. He said this: "To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered." And let me add this: Godspeed.

Friday, May 20, 2005

fatherhood, week one

who needs tv when you can watch mt. baby erupt from every orifice?

baby nice guy turned one week old yesterday, which was, interestingly enough, her actual due date. thanks for coming early, kid. let's take a look back at your first week on earth, by the numbers:

  • number of days on earth: 7
  • average number of diapers per day: 12
  • number of sleep hours we are averaging per day: me, 3. you, 23.
  • number of chins: two, but there was only one when we got you. am thinking about asking for a refund.
  • number of times my parents made it abundantly clear that they do not like your name: just once, but it was less than 10 minutes after you were born. thanks for that magic moment, guys.
  • number of trips out of the house: about 5, including your first dinner in a restaurant. sushi for your fish-deprived mama.
  • number of times strangers have cooed over your sleeping form as i announced proudly to them BEHOLD THE NEW LIFE I HAVE CREATED AND BESTOWED UPON YOUR TINY EARTH. WORSHIP ME, MORTAL: 8
  • number of times i have had to restrain myself from throwing you on the grill so i can eat your babylegs, slathered with garlic butter: 52
  • number of arguments i have gotten into with mrs nice guy's mother: 1, over how to chop rhubarb. don't ask.
  • number of times per day your grandmother asks if you are the cutest baby on earth: 32,645,709,470,970.
  • number of trips to the baby vet: 2, the pediatrician gave us an A+ (you also got a nine on your Apgar test. you are smarter than everyone).
  • number of times you have crapped while being changed, sending a two-foot arc of yellow custard poo across the changing table, which has been lined with a phillip morris towel: 2. you can do better.
  • average number of hiccups after each feeding: 82, who do i write a letter to about stopping this?
  • number of baths: 2, which, interestingly, is exactly 2 more than your father has had
  • number of times you have chewed your mother's right nipple into hamburger meat: once, but that was enough thanks. that's normally my job.
  • number of times i have tried to update this website but failed either because of lack of mental wherewithal, time or because you crapped on something: 617

this list goes on, but i find being a parent has suddenly made me less funny. why is that? i will say this: it has certainly turned me into a big mushy pile of babydrunk dad putty. i will spare you the gruesome details of my utter disintegration as a rational human being. but i will indulge myself as much to tell you i love this child. what will she look like as she grows into her chubby face? what will captivate her attention? would it be illegal to have her dipped in bronze so she never grows?

and when she is older, what will her disposition be? i have this fantasy: she has just graduated from college and moved into her very own place. she is supporting herself for the first time, finally, all grown up. i don't know what she will do for a living and i don't really care. what i do want to know is how she will react when i show up in her bedroom at 4 am one morning, screaming. will she mind? will she sit patiently as i vomit all over her and then methodically urinate on every last stitch of linen she owns? will she?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

my most laborious post to date

congratulations, it's a pineapple!

so, for the curious, here's how it all went down: as you may have heard, mrs nice guy lost her mucus plug early wednesday morning. can i say those magic words one more time? mucus plug. el pluggo del mucusa. mr mucus pluggy. seamus mcmucus pluggity o'snotcork. uh. sorry, that last one was a typo.

anyway mrs nice guy's timing was spot-on because we had an appointment with our totally awesome midwife a couple of hours later. the fun fact from that visit was that mrs nice guy had put on eight pounds of water weight in ONE WEEK. poor thing. i tried sticking her with a needle to see if the water would drain out, but she was all "ow" and "stop it" and such. whatever. the midwife sentenced her to bedrest and told her to drink lots of nettle tea for her vexing pregnancy (incidentally, do you know how fucking hard it is to find nettle tea? mr nice guy went to no fewer than FOUR hippy tea-toting granola shacks before lunch on wednesday and utterly failed to locate a single nettle. i did score some wicked patchouli, though, which is nice). so then the midwife swabbed the amniotic sac -- which sounds like the title of an insane miscegenation of a star trek episode and a pirate adventure story. but that's what apparently ultimately triggered her labor. so those of you who are overdue: swab the sac, matey! arrgh!

ahem. where was i? oh yes. mrs nice guy went home and i went to work. where she called me at about 11 am to tell me she was having cramps. our due date still being a week away and all, i thought braxton hicks had returned for another round of fake contractions. so i said: "yer fine. rub some dirt in it and walk it off, champ."

well, no. looking back now, we both agree that she was in active labor by around 6 pm, which is funny because right about that time i was just tucking into my seventh scotch and soda getting off work. earlier in the day she asked if i would bring home some fruit, yogurt and maybe some dinner. so i called her at 6:30 to ask what i should pick up at the store. her reply was thoughtful and concise: "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK, ASSHOLE." hmm, i thought. that water retention has made her a mite cranky. and off to the store i went. while i was reading the ingredients of every goddamn box in the tea aisle in my ongoing fruitless hunt for nettle tea (what the hell is a nettle, anyway?), it dawned on me ... you know, this is pure conjecture, but she just might be in labor.

i got home at around 7:30 only to find her curled up on the bed. i asked her how she was doing and she said something along the lines of "sdljcuzz hnoicx!" i asked her if i could fix her something to eat. she said "WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM TIME MY CONTRACTIONS AND CALL THE MIDWIFE." after recovering from a brief blackout and frequently checking in with our midwife, i summoned our crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula at around 9:30.

crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula upon entering the boudoir to find mrs nice guy balled up on the bed eating her pillow: oooh, helloooo. thees ees so beeyootiful.

and then the doula--she who eats placentas--practiced her doula magic. oils and soothing balms were applied liberally (incidentally, i offered her some chicken and she replied "no thanks, i am vegetarian." ha!). contractions ramped up at a steady pace, so we headed to the hospital and met our midwife there at about 11:30. mrs nice guy, usually the modest one of the family, stripped buck nekkid and jumped in the hot tub where she began lowing like a dying wildebeest. time flew. i got in the tub with her and had a relaxing soak. she was out of the tub by 12:45 am, back in at around 2. puking by 2:30. both midwives were on hand along with our doula. the birthing center was a soothing sauna of cooing words and coursing estrogen. i think i even began lactating a little.

anyway, mrs nice guy was in the tub when she announced between contractions that "this is really boring." then her water broke. she stayed in the tub until she felt the need to push. so she got out and pushed on her side, then we moved to a birthing stool. this all sounds pretty straightforward, but she was making noises i have never heard a carbon-based life-form make before. my emotional state was too complex to describe: fear, joy, concern. i was in a perpetual limbo between laughing and crying. every time i tried to say something encouraging, my voice broke like cheap china. "baby, you're doing so goo-hoo-ood," i would say, stifling a giggle-sob. i could tell we had never been closer as a couple. she looked up at me and hissed, "don't you fucking dare laugh at me." she was in pain and it was intense and it was exciting and hard to watch. she was stronger and braver than anyone i have ever seen in my life: if i had been in her drug-free position, i probably would have just drowned myself in the tub right after begging the midwife to throw eleven toasters in with me.

after about an hour of pushing, freya was born with her mom sitting on a birthing stool. i was sitting right behind mrs nice guy, so she was basically in my lap. she was probably in serious labor for no more than 10 hours. the last time i did anything for 10 straight hours was when i was a 13-year-old chronic masturbator.

the best part of it all: as you may recall, we didn't know the baby's sex. so the chief midwife says to us as the hellchild is crowning, "we're not going to tell you what sex your baby is. we're going to let you see for yourself and then tell us." that was all my tiny, exhausted wife needed. she pushed one last push. the midwife handed us the baby; i soiled my shorts a little. mrs nice guy grabbed the child and heaved it up to get a look at its goods. longing to see it, she pulled the baby toward her with such gusto, such instinctive momverve, that the umbilical cord, which is apparently not 130 feet long, snapped.

that's right. mrs nice guy yanked the baby out of her crotch so damn hard that the umbilical cord ruptured. the cord, as you may know, delivers blood to the baby. but at that instant -- at 3:45 thursday morning -- the cord ceased delivering blood to the baby and began delivering blood to everything else in the room. it was like a garden hose. the midwives instantly looked like they had just returned from filming the bloodiest scenes in "kill bill," "sin city" and "showgirls" simultaneously. there was such violent devastation in the delivery room -- everything was so thoroughly bloodsoaked -- that i had only one thought: I WANT MORE KIDS.

the midwives tied the cord up, fixed our floppy screaming albino salamander baby and returned her to our arms. as i held my daughter for the first time, i had never felt such joy; i was washed over with a tsunami of relief and gratitude. at last, i thought, i will never have to look for nettle tea again.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

only because you asked so nicely and i have nothing better to do at 5:50 this morning

behold my new overlord, the incredible farting monkey girl

her name is freya

and she's pretty sure there's been some mistake here.

ps: here's the placenta (haha! made you look). i noticed the doula was eyeing it hungrily ... i fear she may have absconded with it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

and then the kid was born

thanks, all, for your awesome encouragement.

mrs nice guy had the most perfect baby girl ever born in the history of the world on thurs, may 12, at 3:45 am. all natural and exceedingly painful and respectably bloody. we're back at home. so now i can stop blogging for good. thank god!

i kid. but posting will probably be slow until i get things under control, so see you in about 18 years or so.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


wife in labor. moaning. doula here. hellchild on the way. going to birthing center soon. god save us all. must remember to feed cats.

the snot cork goes awol

mrs nice guy woke me early this morning with five of the most terrifying words i have ever heard. like an angel, i slept the dreamless sleep of the just ... and the profoundly stupid, at peace with the world and my place in it. but then -- then! -- mrs nice guy waddles into the boudoir and leans over me. she blows gingerly into my ear. i awake blinkingly. she has a funny look on her face. she says: "baby ... i lost my mucus plug."

"WHAT?" i reply, instantly awake, adrenaline pumping wildly into my bloodshot eyes. "where did you last see it? you need that! retrace your steps!"

turns out she last saw it in the john, right before she flushed. do you know how hard it is to snake a mucus plug out of a toilet and feverishly try to reapply it to your wife? DO YOU? it's very, very hard.

so, basically, it's on. baby is imminent. minutes or hours away. or days. i don't know. this is all very confusing. i am so, so cold ... naked, quivering ... hold me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

didn't i say i'd do this on mother's day?

ok. so i just barely intimate that there's a modicum of possibility that i might -- just might! -- be weirded out by promises of excessive blood at my wife's labor. what happens? i get a million comments from moms telling me all about their gory births.


i see how eager you all are to share with me. so i encourage you to send me "your gory, your bloody, your gushy, your disgusting birthing stories." what happens next? not a fucking thing! what is it with you people? you can't wait to share your filthy gore with me until i ASK FOR IT. then it's all silence and you leave me hangin', flopping in the wind. like a tiny little penis.

anyway. fine. whatever. i can handle rejection ... it's all i knew for the first 27 years of my life.

here are the scant few comments i did get, for old time's sake:

sarah: i took a pillow and a bathrobe home in a bright red "biohazard" bag. the hospital pillowcases, towels and sheets that were ALSO soaked with my blood went to the incinerator. so sorry to be the bearer of bad news: labor is BLOODY.
[you bring home a stylish new biohazard bag and you're complaining? hey, free baby AND free bag is how i look at it. -- ed.]

anonymous wrote: I went commando in the delivery room so I didn't get any stains or anything. They just tucked a blanket around me and off I went. I would suggest a chew toy since I bit through the blanket but I don't want to scare you.
[maybe i am ignorant, but even if you don't go commando to the delivery room, you pretty much end up commando, right? hell, i certainly plan on going in there without any pants on. i know that much is true. -- ed.]

gerah says: Well, after I gave birth, the delivery room looked like someone had beheaded a chicken in there. That was before I attempted to use the restroom which was about 2 square feet around. You should have seen the place. No. You shouldn't have ... I remember trying to clean the bathroom 2 hours after ejecting a 9 lb. baby from my vagina cause it was so gross. I could barely move, but was on the floor with a piece of toilet paper trying to wipe up all the bodily fluids.
[much ... too ... awesome. can't .... breathe. -- ed.]

and a different anonymous, of whom i am in awe and who mrs nice guy hates just a little: I just had my first on Sunday morning, and there was very little blood. Of course, the whole thing took only 6 hours from start to finish, and things progressed so quickly at the hospital that the doctor almost missed it -- he basically walked into the room, caught the baby, and we were done.
[actually, mrs nice guy doesn't hate you a little. she hates you a lot. sorry. i think you're nice. -- ed.]

but the grand prize goes to candace, whose husband writes, horrifyingly: The first blood incident occurred when C's IV was inserted. The nurse pushed in the needle and blood spurted about a foot across the room. I felt a little woozy then. Oh the innocence of first blood spilled. After that, nothing blood-worthy occurred for 24 + hours. Oh, sure the anesthesiologist inserted a total of 4 epidurals during that time, her water broke, and there were copious amounts of cervical checks and lots of pushing, but not much in the way of blood and gore and gushy stuff. C pushed for four hours and that baby wasn't getting any closer to the light. Just before 11 pm, during a push, the baby's heart stopped. When she stopped pushing, his heart came back strong as ever; the decision was made to deliver via c-section. They wheeled her off to the OR while I got suited up in scrubs. I made it in time for the first incision. It really wasn't that bloody (but she said she could feel it; say hello to morphine!) but it was pretty gross. Think slicing through layers of gelatinous goo that are dipped in blood. Kinda like that. The doctor dug around for a minute and finally pulled out the baby. He was whisked off to the NICU team (remember his heart had stopped *and* there was meconium in the amniotic fluid) so I got to see the rest of the procedure. The doctor flipped C's uterus onto her stomach and started cleaning it out. It reminded me of a small, purply-red, bloody purse. By this point I was so exhausted and worried that I was just fascinated. Not grossed out, just fascinated. The nurse put a stainless steel bowl (more like a bed pan, but smaller) underneath C's nether regions and blood started pouring out. It was quite odd to see such a sterile instrument just fill with blood. Anyway, so the doc is cleaning out her uterus and asks if I want to see her fallopian tubes. Who wouldn't! I have the distinct pleasure of saying I know my wife inside and out. And I really do! C was knocked out during this whole thing, so she doesn't remember anything. It's really too bad, because how many women can say they saw their own uterus? The whole thing really wasn't too bloody (not like horror-film bloody, anyway), just very medical. But seeing her uterus and fallopian tubes was pretty cool. I wish I had pictures.
[so do i, candace's husband, so do i. -- ed.]

Sunday, May 08, 2005

WWJCD ... (JC = Julia Child)

puuuush! and ... soup's on!

more stories of creamy doula goodness! first thing is first: our doula (she of the potato fetish) is, we fear, possibly a little on the flakey side. we have been trying to have a meeting with her for about two weeks now. the first meeting she cancels because one of her "clients" had gone into "labor." pssh. whatevs. then we were supposed to meet with her on friday night at seven, but it was basically 7:30 by the time she decided to stroll around. normally, among friends, this behavior is tolerable. barely. among people who you need on hand because you are, oh i don't know, IN LABOR, promptness takes on a new level of importance in your life.

anyway, that's not important. she showed up. we were grateful, because there she was beaming in all her crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula glory. she breezes in, all scarves and billowing pants, and does the cheek-kissing thing and says in her adorable accent, absolving herself of all guilt, "aye am sorree for being late."

so we're sitting on the rug (because couches are for OB-seeing suckas!) and we're discussing the plans for the birth and when we need to call her and all the logistics and such. she applies her healing doula hands to my wife's engorged ankles. i take her picture. it's a big doula lovefest. then this happens:

crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: sometimes, ze women, they get the blooze. the post-partum.
the nice guys: yes, we have heard of these post-partum blues of which you speak.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: sometimes eet ees a good idea to have a smell zat you like. you can have lavender in ze room to help.
the nice guys: that's a good idea.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: sometimes eet ees a good idea for ze mother to take a leetle piece of the placenta and to eat it.
the nice guys: ...
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: yes. ze women, they get ze blooze because all of ze nootrients that were eenside them are suddenly gone after ze baby ees born. so eef you eat the placenta, that helps to put the nootrients back eenside.
the nice guys: that's really ... something.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: i theenk ze placenta ees so byootiful.
the nice guys: hmm.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: eet ees like a tree.
the nice guys: a tree.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: yes. eet ees a byootiful purple tree. a tree of life. the roots are the umbilical cord and ze branches reach into ze organ. eet ees byootiful.
mr nice guy: would you eat your own placenta?
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: oh yes.
the nice guys: yeah, we probably won't do that.
crunchy-french-canadian-earth-mother-doula: some people, they take eet home and bury eet and they grow a real tree. that is byootiful too. aye will do zat too.
mrs nice guy: i like lavender.

yes. yes, i believe she would. there is not a single atom in me that doesn't believe she would eat a little chunk of one of her own internal organs. (it is a temporary organ, granted, but an internal organ nonetheless.) and i get the sense that she wouldn't cook it either.

and the other thing? i bet you every last penny that i own: she is a vegetarian. i'm just sayin'.

the misgiving tree

Saturday, May 07, 2005

the secret life of pants

stevie wonder just called to say he loves your mom.

to paraphrase the great father guido sarducci ... if god is love and love is blind, then obviously stevie wonder is god.

(as if you needed me to tell you that)

Friday, May 06, 2005


mrs nice guy says: you know what's weird? my stomach just growled. but it sounds like my boobs are growling because my stomach is pushed up behind my boobs.

mr nice guy hears: my boobs are growling.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

a modest proposal: (that does involve babies, but not necessarily eating them ... yet)

i am getting a ton of awesome real-life blood-and-guts birth stories in the comments section. look, let me clarify: i've seen the videos. i know it's gonna be gushed-out and messy. i can take it -- i just tackled 5 months of pure vomity joy, you may recall. (i know, i know. you're saying, "that's not the same thing, mr nice guy." and i have formulated a reply: shut up.)

maybe we should have a contest to see whose childbirth is the sloppiest?

a modest proposal: ladies! and husbands! and witnesses!
hit me with your gory, your bloody, your gushy, your disgusting birthing stories. i will choose my favorites on mother's day ...

cinco de mayo is supposed to be about independence, after all

every morning now the missus and i wake up and look deeply into each other's eyes, lost in connubial bliss. ahh, a new day! we embrace, thankful to have our health and each other. then, gradually, i can just barely make out the black cloud of terror that slowly fogs over her cornea. without fail, one of us will say with an almost imperceptible shudder of horror: "one day closer to baby."

but you know what? as a friend pointed out, 05/05/05 would be a really cool birthday, wouldn't it?

yes. yes, it would ... for someone else's kid.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

making a list. checking it twice.

a screenshot from the forthcoming movie 'the wedding crashers.' how come real life news isn't as rad as this? president walken!

seeing as how the baby is at term, has apparently dropped and is threatening to pop out at any given moment, now seems like as good a time as any to leave town start thinking about what to bring to the hospital that fateful moment when mrs nice guy looks tenderly into my eyes and says "honey, it's time."

first, of course, i will probably not quite grasp the horrible meaning of her words. "it's so totally not time, sweetie. it's newsweek. you saw that screengrab at the top of this entry. pay attention."

"um, yeah. actually, i meant it's time to go to the hospital. i think i'm going into labor ... honey? honey, get off the floor. stop clawing at your eyes and making that terrible noise."

sometime between getting off the floor and drunk, i will have to grab the necessary delivery-room gear. and in that scatterbrained state, it would behoove your hero to have a list handy with which to get the packing done. and so here it is, delivery room essentials!

let's check in with our old friend armin brott for a looksee at what his book suggests that the expectant father ought to have handy (p 154-5). (i shall leave out boring items like "diapers" for the "new baby" and such. generally, it's a good list except, as you'll see, for the last item below)

for mom:
  • "a bathrobe a nightgown, or even one of your old t-shirts that she won't mind getting a little blood on." ok. that's scary.
  • "CD or tape player and some favorite music." you know it! i want the first thing baby nice guy to hear on this earth to be the honeyed voice of mr boombastic himself. is this a delivery room or a Shaggy danceparty? why can't it be both?!
  • "warm socks and/or slippers (again, ones she won't mind getting bloody)." umm. is she giving birth or turning inside-out?

for me, armin brott suggests i bring:

  • "comfortable clothes." but i already ordered the rental tux. damn.
  • "some magazines ... to read to her." would the midwife get freaked out if i started reading penthouse letters aloud? "dear penthouse, i never thought i'd have a three-way, but there i was in the delivery room when this hot slab of manflesh strolled in with his panting wife ..."
  • "tennis balls for back rubs." ah, yes, tennis balls for backrubs. and while we're at it, how about chopsticks to replenish her fluids. and besides, i think it's the wife who'll need the backrubs, not me. thanks anyway.
  • "camera and film." "jesus, honey, would you sit still for a second? the baby's crowning and your leg is in the way!"
  • "this book." oh man! you can suck my left nut, armin brott.

mostly this book fails because it doesn't tell me how much scotch i'll need to last me through the whole ordeal.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

a different kind of three martini playdate

(two martinis, dry, with olives and a splash of hoodia gordonii)

the shoe was on the other foot this weekend, friends. mr nice guy did a little vigorous empathizing with his long-nauseated wife after work on saturday and he has only this to say: woman, i salute you!

as you may recall from the last paragraph, i work on saturdays. on this particular saturday, i managed to get out of work on the early side. there is usually not too too much to do on the weekends, and a couple of old high school chums were in town, so i figured i could cut out at around 4 pm, enjoy a cocktail with them and make it back to brooklyn in time for a barbeque i had been looking forward to. good plan, right?

so there we were, sitting around a swank midtown watering hole. they too had plans later in the evening so we quickly quaffed a martini. we chatted. life was good. the buzz came swiftly and happily. so swiftly and happily, in fact, that we all had another martini. mmmm, martinis.

i should note here that i hadn't eaten anything that day.

(except, of course, for the olives in my martinis).

then it was time to head home. i noticed how the escalator to the subway was a newer model -- one that went sideways as well as down. "neat," i thought. "ggrggl," replied my stomach. the ride home was largely uneventful. i listened to my ipod at an ear-melting volume hoping to stop my head from levitating off my body, which it apparently had decided to do. i found that resting my eyes made the stops go by much, much faster. also, i started sweating. man, it was hot in that subway.

ah. brooklyn. back to the borough of broken dreams. i emerged aboveground, certain that the cool night air would relieve my sweating. and staggering. i stopped in a bodega for gatorade, "justone gaydorrade pleesh." ah, just the drink that every slurring non-exercising-yet-sweaty staggering young man requires at 6 pm. surely hydration would take the edge off my hunger. "blppg," replied my stomach.

i walked past a mcdonald's. i walked in, thinking that my aggressive queasiness would be excommunicated if i ate a sloppy cheeseburger. the halogen lighting blinded me so i looked down at the pretty tile pattern on the floor, which was undulating. my feet decided that my stomach did not in fact want a cheesburger so they escorted me out of the spinning building and on home.

at the apartment i sat on the couch next to my lovely wife. she asked me how my day was. i replied using as few words in english--or any language--as possible in order to appear in complete control of all my rapidly depleting faculties. i lay down. the room did cartwheels. i sat up. i tried sweating a little. i thought maybe salivating would help.

mrs nice guy: are you ok?
mr nice guy: oh, finethangs. you?
mrs nice guy: you look worried or something.
mr nice guy: mnope.
mrs nice guy: are you sure you're ok? you look like you're really upset.
mr nice guy: i'm cool.
mrs nice guy: are you going to be sick?
mr nice guy: now that you mention it, that's a good idea ...

and i sprinted to the bathroom, vomiting with an (only in retrospect) incredibly impressive high-pressure burst. alas, the lid to the bowl was down so i had to flip it up mid-ralph. it was still in motion, only halfway up, when i disgorged ... resulting in the the unanticipated and not very delightful effect of splashing vomit back up into my face and all over the bathroom walls. olive chunks went everywhere. mrs nice guy tried to open the door. i panicked, afraid she would see the new coat of gastric juices that i had liberally applied to the walls of her bathroom.

mr nice guy: you don't have to come in. i am fine.
mrs nice guy: i was planning on taking a shower.
mr nice guy (feverishly mopping vomit off the tile floor): i don't want you to see me like this.
mrs nice guy: oh please. how many times did you see me throw up?
mr nice guy: bbllluuuuuuurhghgh

i puked again. instead of tasting like gin and olives, this time it tasted like gatorade. yum. mrs nice guy gets into the shower as i finish tidying up. and, for good measure, i puke again--mostly dry heaves. she opens the shower curtain to see the father of her unborn child flat on his back, his mouth open and his sweater freshly encrusted. this is, i can only imagine, an incredibly encouraging sight for a mother-to-be.

mrs nice guy: you look like a degenerate. how much did you drink?
mr nice guy: [weeps silently]

she took excellent care of me: putting wet washcloths on my neck, helping me into bed, rubbing my shoulders. she was a champion. i slept from 8 pm till about 10 the next morning, convinced that the saucy barmaid had slipped me a roofie.

sufficiently chastened (unfairly over-chastened, some might argue), i made breakfast the following day, a lovely sunday morning at home. mrs nice guy hugged me and said "if i had gone into labor last night, i would have had to fucking kill you."

ps: funny, a kind reader ('sup misfit, holla!) just recommended a book called 'the three martini playdate' in the previous entry's comments section. this actually is a book i own. but it is a book i no longer plan on reading. it is, in fact, a book i now plan on burning.

pps: what the fuck is hoodia goordonii?