Tuesday night the wife and I passed yet another “milestone” on the road to birthing a human and then taking care of it for the rest of its life: Lamaze class.
Technically, it’s called “Childbirth Education” class, and for the next five weeks, for 3 hours a week, my beloved and I will sit in a room with four other couples and learn how to deliver a child safely and without strangling each other in the delivery room.
With the caveat stated right off that “Yes, I know, you can’t really prepare for being a parent, you just have to DO it!” here are a few things I learned on the first night:
— When your wife tells you she’s had her first contraction, go make a sandwich. Walk around the block. Watch the entire six hours of HBO’s “Angels in America.” But whatever you do, don’t rush to the hospital. Yep, contrary to what I’ve seen on TV all these years, early labor can take hours, and should be done at home. If you go to the hospital with contractions 20 minutes apart, they will laugh at you and send you out quickly. So I was told.
— “Birthing ball” is a term I will get very familiar with. Apparently moms-to-be are supposed to sit on these exercise ball thingies toward the end of pregnancy, since it helps strengthen the pelvis and lower back, and helps turn the baby for easier delivery.
— I’m old. Well, I didn’t learn that in class, but my wife and I, both in our late 30s, were definitely the graybeards of the group. Hey, at least they didn’t offer us a senior citizens discount on the class or anything.
-Lamaze class feels a little like health class in high school, with all kinds of diagrams of the female anatomy and arrows and photos and stuff that generally you’d rather not see. Unlike in Mr. Stangasser’s health class in 10th grade, though, I didn’t spend most of Lamaze class trying to get the cute girl in the next row to smile at me.
Toward the beginning of class, Mary Lou, our instructor, said the goal was to get us new parents more relaxed and less anxiety-ridden by giving us all the information about what’s going to happen.
Not sure if she was looking at me and saw the terrified look on my face when she said it, but that immediately made me feel better.
And besides, those breathing and relaxation exercises can be done by the dads, too, right?
**Gotta admit, this is a new one on me. Was watching Rachel Maddow the other day and she mentioned this story, which I had to find to believe.
Jordan Haskins, of Saginaw, Mich., is a 24-year-old convicted felon running as a Republican for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives, and it seems he’s getting no support, or opposition, from the county GOP.
Maybe that’s because as a teenager, Haskins had a long criminal record, mostly due to one of the most bizarre sexual fetishes I’ve ever heard of.
According to this story, Haskins admitted to police that he scaled fences and trespassed on both public and private property in order to take vehicles for joyrides and to facilitate a fetish he referred to as “cranking.” Police reports state he disconnected the spark plugs on a vehicle and then masturbated while attempting to turn over the engine.
I mean, seriously, this is a thing??? Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, please move to the back of the line, your transgressions have got nothin’ on Mr. Haskins.
Spark plugs? Where does one even discover a liking for this kind of thing?
Lot of strange, strange people in this world.
**Finally today, some very cool video of a place we don’t get to see like this too often: Antarctica.
The AFAR travel guide company sent Chris Jones to the remote continent last winter, and he wrote a fascinating story, and shot some really cool footage, of how beautiful the place is.
Really gorgeous stuff.