Where did the name Kung Pao come from?

Huzzah! A couple of new questions in the inbox! First, my friend Dr. Katie asked the following:

Where did the nickname Kung Pao come from?

Also, my other friend Katie asked the following:

How did you and Mel come up with the names Kung Pao and Claire Alice?

Well it all started when we first found out that we were pregnant.  We were celebrating the news by eating dinner from Bill’s Garden, where we ordered our usual Pork Fried Rice and Kung Pao Chicken. After dinner, we had the following conversation.

“Oh, I’m so full. I don’t feel very well,” Mel said.

“Is it the food, or the baby?” I asked.

“Probably both,” she said. “It’s a food baby.”

“A Kung Pao baby?” I asked. “Are we having a Kung Pao baby?”

“Yea, I think we’re having a Kung Pao baby.”

And that’s pretty much it. From then on, we’ve called the baby Kung Pao.

Claire is just kind of a name we both liked. It wasn’t either of our first choices, but we made a spreadsheet and ranked our separate preferences using a simple averaging algorithm, and Claire floated up to the top. Also, I’ve been a sucker for the name Claire ever since Claire Danes played the fantastic character Angela Chase on My So-Called Life.

Alice is a family name on both sides of the family.

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Are You Ready to be a Father?

So any day now I could be a father.  In honor of Kung Pao’s impending arrival, Mel and I decided to eat some Kung Pao Chicken for dinner. It only seemed appropriate, don’t you think? Maybe a little twisted in a “we’re eating our own baby” sort of way.

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t ever actually eat our own baby, although I have been teasing Mel about how we should eat the placenta.

I like to dance around the living room singing “Boil it, Mash it, Stick it in a Stew.”

She doesn’t like it.

No offense to anyone out there who did decide to eat the placenta (or save it, or plant a tree on it, etc.) I’ve been told some people do that. Whatevs, you know? Hell, I eat Cheetos, and that’s pretty questionable judgement, too.

Anyway, speaking of birthing, Huzzah! New question in the inbox! This one comes from my friend Liz:

What have you learned about birth from your online birthing class that you didn’t know before? Are you glad you took the course? And are you scared/excited/nervous for the actual event?

As Liz points out, Mel and I decided not to taking a formal birthing class. Instead, we opted to read the about.com article on birthing. Mostly, I think I learned that about.com is not a very reliable source of information. This article was terrible, and the lady that wrote it was a total hippy. But I did learn that (according to about.com) my primary responsibility during the birth process is to offer Mel massages. I’m gonna see if I can swap that around and get her to give me a few massages while we’re at the hospital.

But I am mostly an emotional pendulum, swinging back and forth between terrified and giddy excited. Oddly enough, I have been totally craving listening to Ace of Base recently, which I’m gonna go ahead and blame on Kung Pao since I don’t have any other good explanation. When it comes to parenting, I really have no idea what to expect, so here goes nothing.

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Music for Babies

Huzzah! New question in the inbox!  This one comes from my friend Alex:

So, what music will Kung Pao be rocking to in a few weeks?  My two boys currently like Barton Hollow.  The 9 month old laughs every time we play it.
In case you haven’t heard it, here’s the youtube music video:

THAT is a really good question.  Hmm. One I hadn’t even thought about, actually.

Turns out, I gave up on music about three years ago when I got married.  It wasn’t a conscious decision… I never said to myself, “Music? Kid stuff! I’m gonna eat donuts instead!”

But that’s pretty much what happened. I pretty much just gave up on music.

These days, I pretty much just listen to Podcasts.

So here’s my plan.  I’m gonna let Kung Pao take a few days to get settled in to her new surroundings after we bring her home, then I’ll set her up with her very own ipod mini loaded with all sorts of great podcasts:

  • podcasts about storytelling
  • podcasts about web hosting
  • podcasts about mormon culture
  • podcasts about WordPress
  • podcasts about urban planning

After all, the earlier she learns this stuff the better.

The only thing she’s missing is podcasts about bikes, but that’s just because there aren’t any good ones out there. I’ve tried them all, they’re all lousy.

But let’s watch that video you linked to:

Ok, nice. The Civil Wars, huh? Ok, I’ll give it a shot. If she starts to get bored with the WordPress podcasts, I’ll throw some The Civil Wars on and see what happens. I thought babies were supposed to like clown music or something. Is that not true anymore?

Maybe someone out there can give me some pointers: Parents, what kind of music are you playing for your babies?

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At Home Water Birth?

Huzzah!  Another question in the inbox!  This one comes from my friend Kristy, who blogs over at Peanut Butter and Honey.  She writes:

Heres a question.
As you and Mel get closer to meeting your babe, have you considered at home water births? Cause those women are freakly amazing. AND are you ready to be a daD?

Hmm… at-home water births, huh? The thing I find most attractive about water birth is that it sounds totally cool to let the baby hang out underwater for a minute before bringing it up for air.  It’s like a science experiment.  It’s awesome that babies don’t try to breathe underwater. 

But no, for a few reasons, Mel and I aren’t really considering at-home water births, but primarily because neither of us wants to have to scrub the bathtub either before or after the birth.  Ugh.  We hate scrubbing tubs.

I’ll tell you what, though, you want to lose an hour of your life staring wide-eyed at a computer monitor? Just start searching for water birth videos at YouTube.
Am I ready to be a dad?  Well… I’ve finally got my hands on some half-sized cans of soda, if that’s what you mean…
Any more questions?
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An Evening of Babysitting

I’m spending the evening at home babysitting a little one-year-old.  She’s pretty adorable, and I was actually pretty excited about it when my wife informed me earlier today that I would be on babysitting duty.  I don’t have a lot of any experience with kids, so I was also a little nervous that I’d ruin her entire life, too. It didn’t occur to me, though, that she’d be asleep the whole time.

I was a little bummed out when I realized I wasn’t gonna get any face time with the kid.  Her mom took her straight upstairs and put her to sleep and that was the end of it.  I should have guessed, though.  There’s no way they’d leave me alone with a kid if there was actually a chance I could mess something up.

As her mom and my wife were leaving the house for the evening, I was given very strict instructions to ignore the kid if I hear her crying.  I was told she wouldn’t be hungry, wouldn’t need changing, and short of the house burining down, I should just completely ignore her. (I also joked that if the house did catch on fire, I’d quickly toss the kid out the window.  I thought that was pretty funny, but her mom didn’t.  Come on, she’d land in like two feet of snow!  She’d be fine!)

Well after they left, I decided to try a little bit of hands-on parenting.  I went straight to the kitchen and grabbed a couple of diet sodas – one for me, one for the kid, and I started upstairs to wake her up and get her all hopped up on caffeine and candy for the evening.  I started wishing I had some of those little half-size cans of soda.  A whole can, I thought, could wind up with a diaper needing to be changed.  Half-sized cans of soda, I thought, would be perfect for one-year-olds.

Well it was right about that time I got a text message from the kid’s father.

Don’t mess her up. I’ll mess you up.

So I changed my plan a little bit, and just decided to let the kid sleep while I went downstairs to blog about my hands-off parenting style.  Turns out, years of playing drums and listening to loud music has left me a little hard of hearing.  She might be upstairs crying her head off right now for all I know.

So let me get this straight… All you do with a baby is set it in a playpen thing and ignore it?  Doesn’t sound too hard.  I think I can handle this.

How to make Cute Babies

Mel and I were lucky enough to spend this past weekend at a cabin in northern MN with a group of friends and some of their young kids.  Naturally, since Mel is all hormonal because of the pregnancy and I’m scared shitless, we spent a good deal of time staring wide-eyed at our friends kids, which ranged in age from a couple weeks to almost 2 years.

I kept asking stupid questions like “Why do babies cry when they’re too tired?  Why don’t they just sleep since they’re all swaddled cozily in bed and stuff, and don’t have anything else to do?”

I’ll tell you what:  Babies…. I do not think they are too smart.  Still, despite their lack of basic language skills, they’re pretty cute.

Anyway, since Mel and I are looking forward to having a little girl, we naturally found ourselves eying the two girls under the age of 2 and asking questions like, “I wonder if our little girl will be anything like these little girls?”

And it was right about that time that we began to realize something.  The bar for baby-girl-cuteness has been set pretty high around these parts.  … like really high.

“Look at these two girls,” I said.  “They’re adorable.”

“Yea,” Mel replied.  “They really are.”

“Are you worried about this?” I asked.

“Worried,” she said.  “Why would I be worried?”

“We can’t compete with this level of cuteness,” I said.

“Oh, yea. You’re right.  There’s a serious gene pool going on here and we’re not exactly a part of it,” she said. “I can contribute chubby cheeks, but that’s about all I’ve got.”

“Yea,” I said. “I think you’re doing your half, but there’s no way that anything that looks 50% like me is going to be this cute.  Factor in that half her personality and mannerisms will be stuff she learned from me, and she’s doomed.”

“Right,” Mel said.  “…unless people start to think it’s cute to watch a baby sit on the couch in their underwear and burp all day.”

Yikes.  I don’t like the sound of that.

Still, we had a great weekend with some friends, and we had a great time getting to know their kids.  In fact, I kind of liked them, and I think they kind of liked me too.  At least one of them did, anyway.  Mostly because I kept slipping her animal crackers when her parents weren’t looking.

Also, my beard makes kids cry.  Instantly.

Buying a Cargo Bike?

So now that Mel and I are officially pregnant (that’s what this somewhat cryptic post was about, in case it wasn’t clear), we’ve been trying to figure out how in the world we’re going to keep riding bikes with an infant.

Mel really set the standard high when she suggested that we buy a cargo bike:

Speedy Supermum and her cute cargo
(Photo by Pays-Bas Cycle Chic, via flickr)

I grin from ear to ear when I think about my little Fetus Daughter snugly nestled in a cargo bike.  We like this system because it allows us to use a standard car seat, and it places the precious cargo directly in front of the rider where Mum or Pop can keep a constant watch.  But the $3,000+ price tag is a little hefty, especially since the design of the bike doesn’t lend itself well to being transported any way other than riding it (so, for example, if we wanted to drive the bikes to a trail head before riding, this is of no use to us).  Plus, this thing will require some serious real-estate in the garage.  There are a couple cheaper options than the original Dutch Bakfiets, but none of them are cheap.  We’re totally bummed that we’re having a hard time justifying this purchase.

Mel summed it up best:

I sort of hate it when we talk ourselves out of being badass to be practical.

So the cheaper option is the standard bike trailer.  If it’s big enough, you can just strap the car seat right into the trailer.  Once they’re a little older, there are kid seats designed for infants, like the following:

(photo via Bruise Cronicles)

Or maybe having a kid will just suck my life away and I’ll never do anything fun again.  Yea, I guess that’s an option… we’ll see.

Ok, internet, Now’s your chance to talk me into buying a cargo bike. Ready? Go.