Love is Surviving his Noxious Gas (and 6 Other Things I Realized While Watching The Bachelorette)

ImageOkay, so this season of The Bachelorette is over, and everyone is so happy for Des after she managed to take one day to get over being dumped by the supposed love of her life in order to get engaged to her second choice. In case you live under a rock and/or have a serious aversion to social media (if so, I’m glad my blog is an exception, thank you) and have never heard of ABC’s smash hit The Bachelorette, it’s basically a show where one woman spends 10 weeks sifting through a group of 25 men to find her one true love. It’s totally realistic.

I’m kind of embarrassed that I got sucked in this year. I’ve never watched it before. I was trying to reconnect with my girly side. It’s been a long time since I got to hang out with some girlfriends and watch a chick flick or Sex and the City. I’m a stay at home mom and rarely have a reason to dress nice or wear makeup. I have a son and am engaged to a real guy’s guy. I’ve begun to grow hairs on my chest and have developed a penchant for peeing outdoors. Ok, just kidding on the last two counts… although I did have to pee outdoors a few weeks ago when J’s stellar navigational skills got us lost in the middle of nowhere. I did not enjoy it. I especially didn’t enjoy that he laughed his ass off the whole time and I could barely go I was so embarrassed. What a jackass… I mean… so glad he could find humour in my humiliation, that sweet, sexy, ever-loving fiancé of mine… errrrr, right.

And on that note, the amount of times that Des talked about ‘real love’ on the show, and then proceeded to swoon over presents, poetry and romantic walks on the beach made my ears bleed. Apparently true love Bachelorette-style equates with Nicholas Sparks-style romance. Um, Des? Don’t you know Mr. Sparks’ romances rarely end in happily ever after? Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.43.12 AM

So, I decided to make a 7 point list of what love really is in order to help out future stars of The Bachelorette. You’re welcome, o seekers of true love. You’re welcome.

Love is…

1. … being able to tell little white lies and feel no guilt because you know you’re doing it to protect the one you love. And no, I am not advocating dishonesty. I’m talking about insignificant lies that protect no deep dark secret. Nope. Just the kind of tiny lie that is meant to cover your passive aggressive ass and protect the illusion that you are nothing less than perfect. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.50.31 AM

Example scenario: Your boyfriend/husband/partner always manages to throw his/her dirty laundry on the floor next to the hamper rather than in it. After asking politely several times, your passive aggressive tendencies take over and you find yourself tearing a beloved t-shirt into tiny pieces with your scissors/teeth/claws. Little white lie: “Oh Honey, no! I would never tear your favourite t-shirt to shreds. The dog/cat/baby dragon must have got it, that little rascal.”

2… never having to say you’re sorry. JUST KIDDING! Love is a big fat slice of humble pie and if you don’t learn to admit when you’re wrong and learn to use that word with sincerity, your love is probably going to drown in a big boiling vat of resentment. Ironically, the movie that line comes from ends in much the same fashion as a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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3. … being able to put up with someone’s crazy quirks. Example scenario: Your husband turns to you in bed with that loving look on his face (you know, that look that normally tells you you’re gonna get some), leans towards you, reaches out and tucks your hair behind your ear, his lingering fingertips soft on your cheek, looks deep into your eyes while reaching for something off the night table behind you and says, “Honey, will you please pluck each individual back hair out with these tweezers I bought today?” Even though your brain is probably sincerely questioning your taste in men, you do as he asks, cuz hey, you love him and he loves to be hairless. C’est la vie.

4… being able to refrain from committing murder. Let’s face it. Part of the reason divorce is rampant is because we have this fairytale idea of love. We’re told it’s always there. We’re told we should want to always be with that person. That we should always miss that person when we are apart. Pft. It’s impossible to feel lovey dovey all of the time. The person you love is the person you spend the most time with. You see the best of them, but it also means you see the worst of them. If you can survive those worst moments you can survive anything. That’s love. If you commit homicide, that is not love. Therefore, not committing homicide = true love. (Don’t bother pointing out the fallacy here. I’m well aware.)

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5… realizing that if the knife actually did slip/the pillow lingered a little too long/the vial of arsenic did accidentally get knocked over into his stew, you would miss him terribly. Yes, the love of your life will probably drive you cuckoo bananas, but you’d rather risk your sanity than live without him.

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6…  being able to survive his noxious gas. This is especially important to the stars of The Bachelorette. Men are smelly smelly creatures, but they can hide it well in the early weeks/months of a relationship. Ladies, 10 weeks is not long enough. Once you’ve survived your first Dutch Oven (intentional or inadvertent) and you still want to let that guy/disgusting creature/swamp thing touch you in your happy place, you’ll know you’re playing for keeps. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 12.03.42 PM

7… when, despite his protests and threats to retreat to the basement man cave, that man will give in to your request to curl up in bed with you and watch The Bachelorette. Watching The Bachelorette is probably way down there on that list of things your man would like to do. He might even rather stab himself in the eye with a fork, cuz hey, he’s got two eyes. He could be using his one remaining good eye to watch Duck Dynasty or Cops or ANYTHING ELSE. So yeah, watching The Bachelorette with you? Now THAT is love.

The Other Other White Meat

Yup. I’m still alive and well. The alive part is for sure, the well part is debatable. For one, I have a horrible head cold that I caught from my offspring. While I am incredibly grateful that his immune system seems kick ass and he usually only gets a wee bit stuffy, I am not grateful for my own immune system that treats the common cold like it’s THE END OF THE FRIGGEN WORLD!!!!…!

I haven’t been able to write pretty much for the same reason that I look like a sheep dog (bangs in desperate need of trimming), most of the time can’t be bothered to get out of my sweats and drink almost the same amount of caffeine that I consumed when I was a Starbucks employee but this time it’s not freed and soon I might have to sell my kid in order to keep up the habit… but then I wouldn’t have a kid and I wouldn’t need all that caffeine. It’s a tough decision.

First Baby H was going through a “Muahahahah Mom. I’m NEVER GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN” phase. That sucked and certainly kicked the caffeine consumption up a notch, but I would take the no sleep thing over this “Muahahahaha Mom. You must hold me AT ALL TIMES or else I will SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, or at least scream until your ears bleed” phase. It’s hard to type with a kid in your arms. It’s also hard to do basic things like brush your teeth, hair, go to the bathroom etc. So, it’s either have a baby attached to my person at all times, or listen to a constant whine/scream-fest.

To those people who think the Reasons My Son Is Crying blog is cruel, I say get a grip. You either:

a. Have no children, in which case I hate you a little bit

or

b. Have perfect children that never cry, in which case you are basically the worst kind of person, and oh yeah, I hate you a lot

(I’m sorry, did that sound bitter?)

If I weren’t able to laugh at the situation I’d go stark raving mad. My kid is an absolute delight as long as he’s being held/played with. When he has to do anything on his own (and by this I mean sit and play while I clean the kitchen, not feed himself or pay the bills) he’s miserable. And his sad face is just as cute as his happy one, so you better bet I’m gonna take a picture.

Without further ado, I give you some reasons Baby H has been crying:

Kitchen Cry

We told him about the other other white meat

We told him about the rising cost of university education

We told him about the rising cost of university education

He wanted to be picked up

He wanted to be picked up

I picked him up

I picked him up

I put him in this baby cage

I put him in this baby cage

He was having too much fun

He was having too much fun

I wrote this blog post

I wrote this blog post

Hey MacLean’s, I have a request

Yesterday a wonderful blogging friend of mine posted a link to an article in MacLean’s Magazine on Facebook, along with her expression of disgust at the author’s opinions. She wrote her response this morning, as have many others. I feel like writing about this now may be redundant, but as I have gone about my day with my son, feeding, playing and planning for his upcoming baptism (yes, I know I wrote about Passover yesterday… let’s just say we’re religiously confused, ok?), I haven’t been able to get this filth out of my mind. I don’t want my son to grow up in a world where there isn’t a public outcry in response to such sensationalistic attempts at journalism.

The article in question discusses the Steubenville rape convictions, sexual harassment sparked by the Sarah Thomson/Rob Ford incident, and the firing of Professor Tom Flanagan from the University of Calgary and as a guest commentator on CBC over his comments about child pornography.

I’m not going to address the Steubenville argument any further than to say that if it had been a drunk passed out football player who had been beaten nearly to death in that state, the perpetrator would surely have been convicted of assault quickly and perhaps even quietly. The noise surrounding this case is because the mere suggestion that the girl is in any way to blame and the boys’ actions can just be attributed to a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude is so morally corrupt that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. And clearly neither can many other people.

Sexual harassment… not much to say about that. There is a fine line between joking around and inappropriate conduct sometimes, and those who cross that line need to face the music. It’s about CONSENT. Do we really need to talk about this? I thought it was dealt with decades ago.

As for the firing of Prof Tom Flanagan from both the CBC and the University of Calgary over the child porn comments, I’m not sure that should have happened. I had an economics professor who argued each semester that child labour can be good for the economy. And yes, there is an economic argument for that. My professor was brilliant and made a tough subject easy for me to understand. I don’t think she was actually arguing that we all rush out and hire a bunch of kids, stick them in conditions of squalor and pay them one bowl of rice per day. She was simply arguing that there is an economic argument for it. I think this is the point that Prof. Flanagan was trying to make, though I wasn’t there and haven’t read a transcript, so I don’t know.

The problem with economics, however, is that its arguments only hold up from an economic standpoint. Economics assumes that all humans are ‘homo economicus’ or ‘rational men’ (excuse the sexist term, I didn’t coin it), and they simply aren’t. In economics this means that all people are assumed to act in such a way that maximizes utility as consumers and profits as producers. What is missing from this picture is that most of us are not motivated this way, and those that are would be considered sociopaths. We are sentient beings. We feel for one another. Morally, we know that rape, sexual harassment, and child pornography are WRONG.

Enter Barbara Amiel and MacLean’s Magazine.

We’ve been hearing both sides of the Steubenville incident for months now. We’ve been talking about sexual harassment for years. We can intelligently argue that Prof. Flanagan was not condoning the viewing of child pornography. This woman (I can’t bring myself to call her a journalist because there was simply no integrity in what she wrote), Ms. Amiel, is either one of the aforementioned sociopaths, or she has just gone way too far down the “shock and awe” path that some journalists are wont to take. It’s okay to be controversial, but it is NOT okay to trivialize the rape (and yes, even if it wasn’t the appendage that we normally associate with the term, it is rape) of a teenaged girl, incidents of sexual harassment and the viewing of child pornography. Many of her comments were callous and never in a million years would my brain have gone there. For example:

With regards to Steubenville Ms. Amiel wrote, “In a normal society, the girl’s mother would have locked her up for a week and all boys present would have been suspended from school and their beloved football team. Instead we had a trial and media circus…”

She refers to sexual harassment as a “term invented in the 1970s that ought to have been strangled at birth.”

She continues to miss Flanagan’s point and writes, “I always thought rounding up people for what they privately watch on their computers was a stomach-churning breach of civil liberties far more damaging than the private contemplation of squalid pictures.”

She further misses the point and declares that “the justification that without viewers there would be no market for child porn is accurate as far as it goes, which is about one millimetre.” Actually, there is a very good economic argument. It’s simple supply and demand. If the demand is there, supply will rise to meet it. That’s the way it goes. By making the viewing of child pornography illegal we at least appeal to some pedophiles who know that they have a sickness and know that their actions are wrong. Even if we are only deterring some of them from giving in to their illness, even if it’s out of the simple fear of getting caught and is in no way treating their mental illness, we are still reducing supply. To suggest that viewing child porn harms no one is seriously offensive. There are children being forced to commit unthinkable acts in those videos. Children, the picture of innocence. The ultimate victims.

Ms. Amiel states up front that these topics are ones that “any sensible commentator must preface with ardent assurances that nothing with the possible exception of matricide could revolt more, and only abhorrence flourishes in the breast of the commentator who now feels compelled to address these matters. You have to say that or your licence as a pundit gets withdrawn amid truly vicious attacks.” Well, no. Not exactly. As small as I am, I would like to ask MacLean’s to remove this article from its website, to fire Barbara Amiel, and to issue a formal apology to all victims of these types of crimes and pretty much just to human beings everywhere. Yes, we do need debate in the media, but there is a line that has been crossed here. These are important issues, but they need to be addressed in a way that is not so devoid of basic human decency. This is not healthy debate. This has gone too far. For shame.

Related posts:

The Best Life: No Means No

IHAVEANOPINIONIDLIKETOSHARE: An Open Letter to Perpetrators of Sexual Violece

Powers of Invisibility

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I might be invisible. I walk in a door and everyone beelines for the kid, which is fine, because I totally don’t need them to validate their love for me as an individual. I know how awesome I am. I think… but anyway, last night we had a big family dinner because the Jews escaped from slavery in Egypt a bajillion years ago. Also, according to my father, something about string theory (I call shenanigans on that one).

Slavery and string theory aside, no one wants to see me anymore, they just want to play with my baby. My own grandmother told me he’s my only claim to fame. Two seconds later she asked if I minded that she said that. I said no, of course not, look how cute the baby is. But secretly I died inside and longed for the days when I could drown my sorrows in a bottle of Bailey’s (because alcohol that tastes like alcohol is yucky). Ok, just kidding. I never really drank. I used to look forward to holidays because I loved spending time with my family, trying to get drunk. I inevitably failed and all my brothers made fun of me, but that was cool. It was just what we did. Now we play pass the baby. The baby doesn’t even have to pretend to get drunk to get their attention. What is that about?

Family and friends: Don't tell grandma there is a picture of her on the Internet. She may not understand the Internet, but that doesn't mean she'd approve of me using her image... but look how cute they are!

Family and friends: Don’t tell grandma there is a picture of her on the Internet. She may not understand the Internet, but that doesn’t mean she’d approve of me using her image… but look how cute they are!

I also noticed that I spent the whole evening obsessing over the baby’s sleep training and fretting that being up past his bedtime would screw it all up. It didn’t help that I tried to put him down to sleep, but then 20 minutes later I found my dad at his bedside trying to explain string theory and the greater meaning of life to him. Ok, just kidding. It was because my dad turned on the music and even though it wasn’t loud it woke up the baby anyway.

When we packed up to leave at the very late hour of 9pm my cousin hugged me and said, “I feel like I didn’t get to talk to you at all.” Um, that would be because she came straight in the door and grabbed the baby and then spent the next half hour holding him on her lap. He bit her finger and drooled all over her leg. If she had been holding me in her lap I wouldn’t have drooled all over her nice pants (can’t say I wouldn’t have bit her finger, though), but pfffftttt, whatever. I considered spilling my red wine all over her sweater and then blaming it on the baby somehow (i.e. putting my powers of invisibility to use for evil), but decided against it. I’m not that desperate. The baby’s cute and I’m not. I get it.

Proof of the alleged finger biting

Proof of the alleged finger biting

I think next Passover I will bundle up the baby in a basket and leave him in a pile of reeds on the doorstep. The story kinda started with a baby in a basket, right? (Right?) My alter ego is very religious, but I’m not, so I’m iffy on the whole story. I may have to pile bricks on top of him though, because by that point he’ll be mobile and probably won’t have the patience to sit in a basket on a doorstep.

Next weekend is Easter and I get to be ignored by a whole other family and religion. Wahoo!

I think it’s absolutely beautiful the way a new baby brings a family together. I guess my powers of invisibility are being used for good after all!

And I’m okay with this cuteness being my claim to fame.

How to (Sleep) Train Your Dragon(s)

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Image from deubellzebub’s Etsy store. Go buy something so that I don’t get sued for stealing this image.

I think Baby Dragon is about to fall asleep for his early morning nap, but I can never be too sure. With babies you can think you have a good thing going and then blammo, your hell spawn is screaming in his crib and you’re cowering in the corner covered in various kinds of bodily fluids (His? Yours? Who the hell knows).

Yes, the time has come to kick sleep training into high gear. Baby Dragon, whose roar of choice is a wail so deep that instead of striking fear in its opponent (me), it penetrates to the very core of my soul/heart/being (reader’s choice!) and whittles away at my sense of reason by activating the self-doubt gene that every parent struggles their whole existence to overcome. But THAT is the challenge of the ‘cry it out’ (CIO) school of thought. When your baby dragon is wailing alone in his cage (crib), demonstrating his mad drama skillz (he is going to make it in Hollywood, I swear!), you will question your parenting choices. Is CIO really the way to go? What if he really NEEDS me?

Answers: Yes, it is the way to go. And if he really needs me, I will know it, and no book detailing a method is going to deter me from picking him up!

How do I know it’s the way to go? Because sleep in this house is on its way to being something that actually exists! CIO, contrary to popular believe, does not mean leaving your dragon to wail himself into a fury, hone his fire breathing abilities and burn your house down so that you wake up amongst the smouldering cinders (that exact scenario is the popular belief). It is actually a progressive waiting method. The idea is that you put your dragon in his cage awake, tuck him in, kiss him goodnight and leave. If he cries you set a timer and wait until it runs out before going back in. When you go back in you may adjust blankets, replace a soother, pat and kiss for reassurance, but for the love of God DO NOT PICK UP YOUR BABY DRAGON! If you do he will demonstrate the fire breathing skills he’s been working on and you will not only be homeless, you’ll also be hairless… and everyone knows that if you’re homeless in this winter climate you need lots of hair, so please, don’t be ridiculous. You then leave the room again after having spent no more than two minutes with your baby dragon. If he starts to cry again you reset the timer for a slightly longer period and wait it out once more. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat etc. The miracle is that we have never gone beyond two wait periods! This method works for this dragon!

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

And not only does it work, it has improved his sleep. When we were co-sleeping and Daddy Dragon was relegated to the spare room, Baby Dragon was waking up every 1.5-2 hours during the night. Since the CIO sleep training has begun the 5-6 wake ups/night has been reduced to 1. Yup, that’s right. 1. 1 measly little almost insignificant wake up! It’s a miracle. So, you’d think this mama would be getting some sleep now. Well, you’d be Wrong. That’s right. So wrong that the ‘W’ needs to be capitalized.

Let’s back up a bit.

The sleep training began not by choice. It began because Daddy Dragon reclaimed his rightful place in bed. He weaselled his way back in by engaging in our most romantic conversation to date. It went something like this:

J: The baby is sleeping in his crib tonight.
S: No! I’m not ready!
J: Don’t be a wimp.
S: I’m not a wimp! I’m just not ready! Neither is the baby!
J: You promised that at 4 months he’d go in the crib.
S: … (I got nothing… it’s true. I did promise).
J: So the baby is going in his crib tonight, end of story. (He tries to end the story quite often. He has yet to realize that is isn’t the sole author of this story. Hell, he’s not even the first author of this story! I’m pretty sure that’s the kid.)
S: Fine. If you want the bed back I guess I could sleep with the baby in the spare room.
J: What do I have to do to make you realize that I want you in my bed again? Tell you?
S: Um… yes?

D’awe. Aren’t we sweet?

Romance Fail

This is typical of J’s idea of romance, and is the reason why yes, he did need to tell me!
Image courtesy of mindskin.com

So, Baby Dragon went to his crib that night with no time for me to mentally prepare (probably a good thing cuz I would have just psyched myself out) and Daddy Dragon reclaimed the west side of the bed. At first I was happy that he had expressed a desire to sleep by my side again… but then reality set in and I was swiftly reminded of how difficult it was to learn to sleep by each other’s side comfortably in the first place. Daddy Dragon’s roar of choice is the snore roar, and let me tell you, it is loud and it is mighty. Mighty. Loud. He also likes to fight battles in his sleep which involves a lot of thrashing and grunting. These are the various forms he took last night:

Screen shot 2013-03-15 at 9.58.01 AM

Image courtesy of my real life experience

The pink ‘x’ represents where I fit into the picture. b. is the absolute worst case scenario because I have the least space and the weird neck angle results in the most tremendous snore roar. All scenarios result in blood pouring out of my ears and unhealthy homicidal thoughts. I’m not too sure if sharing the bed again is so good for our relationship… ok, that’s not true. I value the pre-sleeping cuddle time and we did manage to figure out bed-sharing once before. I just need to recommence the shoving and punching that beat him into shape last time around.

Baby Dragon has awakened from his nap and is letting out that frustrated cry that only creatures with underdeveloped wings can master, so off I go to rescue him.

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons. Aren’t they beautiful?

P.S. I love that I have about five million drafts started, but this post is the one that made it to completion. Why? Because two of my favourite blogesses have also posted about sleep (or, to be more accurate, lack thereof) in the last two days. Sleep is so important and so scarce with wee ones around. I have to credit their misery for the actual completion of this post. Check them out:

Sanity Has Left the Building

A (mostly) Depressing Post

Bored Baby

This? Again? Really Mom?

This? Again? Really Mom?

...

… 2 minutes later

Every Mommy Needs a Daddy Sometimes

So after yet another night of four feedings I groggily and reluctantly woke up before the sunrise because Baby H said so. I went down, popped a T-Disc in the machine and cried to myself a little bit. I miss my friend Sleep so much, although I somehow don’t feel it so much during the day. I miss it in the throes of lacking it, when J is fast asleep and snoring.

I came back upstairs to where my little wiggle monster was, well, wiggling around in his bassinet. I flipped on the TV to find a familiar scene unfolding.

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As a pregnant lady watching this movie last summer I definitely related most to the Elizabeth Banks character. Despite people telling me that I had ‘that glow’, I did not have that glow. It was just sweat. Buckets and buckets of sweat. To be fair, it was the hottest summer on record and I had no air conditioning, but still. I spent the last months of my pregnancy flopping around on the couch feeling like I’d never be comfortable ever again.

So, given this information, and the fact that I have clearly forgotten it, why on earth do I feel twinges of envy as friend after friend announces their summer babies on the way and posts adorable belly bump pictures? They are still small enough that they really are glowing and lovely. Maybe that’s why. Maybe if they were posting pictures of themselves looking like beached whales or Violet Beauregarde post-blueberry incident I might not feel that little bit of envy.

Two days before the birth of H... see the resemblance?

Two days before the birth of H… see the resemblance?

Why on earth would I miss being pregnant? Besides being huge and uncomfortable, I was a sleep deprived hormonal nightmare. I haven’t slept since August! I have no sleep in the foreseeable future. And while I don’t begrudge J his sleep (ok, I do begrudge him just a smidgen of sleep), I have in fact, as Amy at Pregnant Chicken (<- Pregnant women, click that link. You’ll thank me later.) warned, stared at his sleeping, peaceful face at 2am and wondered what the hell the point of him is. In those sleepless 2am moments, especially post-baby, as I stumble around blearily trying to figure out if the baby needs to be changed, nursed, or both, I think of J simply as “the sperm donor” and feel like he couldn’t possibly be the father because he clearly abandons me in every 2am moment of need. If only the men had the boobs… (ok, no. I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t give it up for any amount of uninterrupted sleep, and that’s the truth!).

Sperm Donor

Ok, to the point. On those nights I don’t really feel abandoned. That’s the deal. He needs to get up at 5am to work every day, and he operates heavy machinery. I’d be a pretty horrible person if I expected him to share in the sleepless nights. However, despite my supermom status, I must admit that sometimes I need him. And so does the baby. The other night, I was having a moment (or several). For the life of me, I could not get little H to sleep. He’s normally really easy to put to bed! Nurse him or pop a soother in and he’s fast asleep in 5. This night, though, I felt like my baby had been replaced by a banshee. He screamed until he was purple in the face, tears streaming from his eyes. I tried everything but he could not be consoled. This is how J found us upon arriving home from work at 10pm (where he’d been since 6am). I fully anticipated that he’d disappear into the basement or to bed and leave me to deal with the shit show we’d created. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. He came into the room and started talking to the screaming, writhing mass that I suspected was the baby but was no longer sure. My head was throbbing and I couldn’t think clearly. All of a sudden there was silence as H listened to his daddy’s voice. There was still some pouting and gasping going on, so J picked up the baby and off they went to play in front of the mirror and have a little chat. An hour later a perfectly calm little angel child was returned to me and we fell asleep side by side, which is where J found us 6 hours later at 5am. It was a miracle.

So you see girls, there is a point to him. If you’re tempted in those last days of pregnancy or early days of baby to stab him with a fork as he lies there sleeping like an angel (or snoring like at trucker), hold off. Think about it for a few days to make sure its what you really want to do. You might end up regretting it because even though it may not seem like it during those sleepless nights, every mommy needs a daddy sometimes.

S and J