Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Reaction Diaries

So far the best part about being a first-time father in the making has been telling people about the impending arrival.  All of my friends took it about like I expected them to, with the cool casual, “Ah, man that’s great” kind of stuff.  Then I drop the bomb.  It’s twins.  That’s when the responses get really good.

At this point everybody was honestly surprised.  Before it wasn’t too big of a shock that Becca was pregnant, except that it might have made some of my high school friends feel old.  But now it was a sincere ‘What in the world’ kind of moment. 

The first non-family member, non-accidental golf course revelation I made was to Scott, one of my best friends since high school.  As soon as I got back from the lunch with the parents I called Scott.  We’d been roommates in college and were both in each other’s weddings so he is probably one of my best friends on the planet.  The conversation (to my best recollection) went something like this.

"Sup?" - Scott (Scott always answers the phone this way.  It's more of a "Suuup" type sound.  Long, drawn-out and white boy ghetto like.)
"Hey man, what's goin' on?" - me
"Not a whole lot, what about you?" - Scott
"Oh, just got back to work.  I just had lunch with the folks and Becca at Peppers." - me
"Oh yea, how was that?" - Scott
"Pretty good.  We just told them that Becca was pregnant." - me
"Um . . .  Wow." - Scott
"Yup.  It's twins, too." - me
"Wow.  I don't really know what to say right now." - Scott
"Well hey, don't worry about it.  I was just calling to let you know real quick.  I gotta go back to work though." - me
"Um, okay.  That's freakin' great though, dude.  I just don't really know what to say." - Scott
"Not a problem.  I'll talk to ya later." - me
"Okay.  Congrats." - Scott
"Thanks, seeya." - me
"Later." - Scott

So I laughed as I imagined Scott hanging up his phone and thinking for a second.  Then opening his phone back up and checking his call log to see if that really just happened.  Haha, poor kid.  Maybe I should've given him a little bit of a warning.  He was supposed to get married in just two weeks, and everything wasn't exactly going properly, so maybe this helped him.  Yea, he didn't necessarily know all of the details less than a month away, but at least he didn't have two kids to worry about.  So for that, you're welcome Scott.

I then proceeded to call my sister.  She didn't take the news well.

"Hey." - me
"Hey, what're you doing?" - Camie (my sister, in case you didn't pick up on that)
"Not much, just at work." - me
"Oh, cool.  What's up?" - Camie
"I was just calling to tell you that Becca's pregnant.  With twins." - me
"Kellen, that's not funny." - Camie
"I'm serious.  You're going to be an aunt." - me
"Ok, well I gotta go." - Camie

My mom said I freaked her out.  I said it couldn't be any worse than what Sonogram technician lady did to me and my now fragile mind.  Either way, I was pissed for a few weeks but we're past that now and she's ready for any Auntly duties.  Whatever those may be.  (Editor's note:  the blog posting page has an automatic spell check.  Both Kellen and Camie are underlined in red as incorrect spellings, but the world auntly is not.  I thought that was interesting and figured I'd share it with the world.)

From there, it  just depended on who I could get on the phone as to the order I told everybody else.  I actually texted my friend Ben.  Ben is another great friend from high school.  I lived with him for two years during college, and apparently our friendship is the lasting type considering it survived three years of his psychotic ex-girlfriend.  So well done to us.  Anyway, his response was, "I hope you're ready for your life to be over."  

Thanks Ben.  Thanks a lot.  To his credit, he did send me back a legitimate congratulatory text saying he was happy for us.  He has now given himself the title of Uncle Bennie, and enjoys sharing his fun facts with me via text message and blog comments.  (Ben and I previously shared a blogging experience, for more on that, please visit:  http://www.xanga.com/aah_201_playaz.)

Another friend Kyle, just responded with a hearty "HOLY CRAP" mixed with a little bit of laughter.  He giggled for a while and just kept repeating "holy crap" over and over.  

The funny part about telling all of these guys was that they all live in Nashville and see each other pretty regularly.  I sort of forgot to tell each of them that they had told the others, so when Scott and Ben got together for a drink later that week they both knew, but didn't know the other one knew.  

According to Scott, there were apparently tip-toeing around the subject with each letting the other know that they had talked to me.  Granted, I am a third party, but I'm going to try and let you know how the conversation went according to both of them:

"So I talked to Kellen the other day." - Scott
"Oh yea?  Me too.  What'd he say?" - Ben
"Not much.  Just seeing how the wedding plans were going." - Scott
"Oh cool." - Ben
"What'd he say to you?" - Scott
Ben then looked at him through squinted eyes and said, "Nothing."
After changing the subject it eventually moved back to me and the news.
"So what'd he tell you?" - Ben
"Nothing important.  What about you?" - Scott
"It was something, but I can't tell.  I don't think." - Ben
"He told me something I can't tell, either.  Do you think it's the same thing." - Scott
"Probably.  So what'd he tell you?" - Ben
"Uh uh, I'm not saying it.  You tell first." - Scott

After going on for a few minutes with this, they both spilled the beans and I found out they also suck at keeping secrets.  It must be a trait shared amongst our entire group of friends.  Sometime during their happy hour, they began discussing who was going to be the godfather.  Then they began texting me and giving me little snippets of their godfather resume.  

Facebook statuses reflected the ongoing "Godfather War" and I laughed because the one thing I told everybody was "You can't tell anybody about this."  Oh well.  

I would have to say Ben definitely lobbied himself into contention through fantasy baseball.  One of my favorite past times, my offense is struggling this year.  My shortstop has shoulder issues and I have too many OF's on my bench to be of any use.  What I needed was a corner infielder with average and power.  What Ben happened to have was a horrible team he never checked and third baseman Garrett Atkins.  A few clicks later, I had Atkins and he had the edge in the race.

He would later put himself ahead by sending me a secret text message letting me know that not only is Scott addicted to cocaine, but he is also a Muslim.  Winner:  Ben.

Too bad we're not having a godfather, huh?

Finally, the absolute best response to the news would have to be one of me and Becca's mutual friends, Anna.  We met Anna working at Twin Lakes Summer Camp where Becca and I initially met so we've known her for a long time.  One of our other camp friends recently found out his wife was having a baby so I used that as a conversation starter.  Once again, the conversation was all done through text messaging and it went like this:

"So ya know how Ben's wife is preggo?" - me
"Yeah!  What about it?" - Anna
"So's mine." - me
"Shut up.........." - Anna
"Nope.  Twins." - me
"Wtf.  Lies." - Anna
"Honest to God truth.  3 months along." - me
"Oh my gosh.........?!?!?! Oh my gosh........?!?!?! Oh my gosh........?!?!?!" - Anna
"Yep.  My feelings exactly." - me

After a few more messages back and forth she had finally accepted the truth and went about telling everybody currently working at Twin Lakes Summer Camp, whether they had ever heard of us or not.

Awesome.  Congrats to us . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Telling the Parents

I cannot tell a lie.  I also cannot keep a secret.  Don't trust me to.  Believe me, I'd rather not know than be told to keep quiet.  So immediately after the Sonogram technician lady officially rocked my world, I texted my buddy Jeff and told him the good news.

I realize this is a bit odd.  I probably should've called my parents or my best friend or somebody I've known for more than a year and a half.  So allow me to explain this.  

During the 2007 baseball season, I had the pleasure of working for a minor league baseball team.  The days were long, the pay well below minimum wage and the stadium I worked in was slowly falling apart around me.  That being said, it was the single greatest job I've ever had.  Jeff happened to be a lowly intern like myself.  He also happened to have a baby girl smack dab in the middle of the season.  So when Becca had the positive prego tests, I allowed myself to tell one person and one person only:  Jeff. 

Therefore he became the only person in my world who could actually convince me that this was not only a possibility, but a reality.  It also helped that he now lives in Birmingham and the few dozen acquaintances we share are scattered all over the country.  So even if Jeff can't keep a secret (as I've already admitted to being guilty of), it really won't affect me too much.  

When I met Jeff's wee little girl, Jordan, for the first time I was terrified.  I've held two babies in my entire life.  One was my sister, right after she was born and I was two.  I have no idea what in the hell my parents were thinking, but I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.  The other was my nephew, Jackson.  I only held him long enough to awkwardly pose for a picture where my discomfort is easily visible.  I have Becca to thank for that one.

So Jeff laughed at my fear of his newborn daughter and said something to the effect of "she doesn't bite" but I didn't believe him.  She looked fierce.  Anyway, Jeff was my personal support group during the time I found out about the pregnancy so I sent him a message right away that said "So, um . . .  There's two of them."  By the time we were escorted to Dr. Brantley's office, I had a response:  "Holy sh*t!  Are you serious?!?!"

My feeling exactly.

So the next couple of minutes were spent discussing my potent sperm, our expectations for the next six or seven months, Becca's need to pack on about 40 pounds or so and I'm almost certain several vital pieces of information that I was too dazed to actually absorb.  I was just furiously texting Jeff and he obliged by repeatedly laughing at my shock.  How sweet of him.

At some point between the time we payed and the time we left the building Becca and I realized that daunting task No. 2 was now priority No. 1.  We actually had to tell our parents.  My original plan for telling our folks was this:  get them together and tell them we were getting a divorce.  Give that a few minutes to sink in and then say, 'Just kidding!  We're really pregnant!'  

It seemed like a good idea.  Then they would be twice as excited.  No divorce AND grandchildren.  That idea, however, was quickly vetoed (Becca feels that she now represents three voices in every vote).  So we decided to meet our folks on my lunch hour on Saturday.  I felt like we were leading our parents into an ambush.  Not only a baby, but two of the little buggers. . .

Saturday had finally arrived and we were standing in line at Sweet Pepper's Deli.  I was nervous so my hands were cold, my mouth was dry and I just knew the old folks had figured it all out.  Since our mom's birthdays are only a week apart, we said we got them presents that they had to open at the same time.  The fact that I suck at keeping secrets may not be directly tied to the fact that I suck at surprising people, but I think they're somewhat related.  

So I just knew they had it all figured out and were just being nice and letting us have our fun.  Becca had gone and bought two pairs of baby outfits for each mom and labeled them 'Surprise No.1' and 'Suprise No. 2'.  Apparently that's what three out of four had voted on, so that was our method.  Finally, as me, Becca and both sets of parents sat in a booth waiting on our food to come, I decided it was time.  The next few minutes were a blur so this is to the best of my recollection:

"Ok, it's time to open the presents." - Becca
"Yea, let's open 'em up!" - Mrs. Linda (Becca's mom)

It's at this point that I almost chum up the chili nachos I have so far finished off.  The tissue paper starts to ruffle and Becca and I just look at each other and start to laugh.  My mom gets to the onesie first.

"Oh, JESUS!"  

My mom isn't one to just go throwing that one around, yet alone at that volume in a crowded restaurant.  So I nearly pulled a Saved by the Bell by almost spraying the table with my most recent sip of water.

I don't really remember what Linda's reaction was, but I know Mr. David just kept repeating "Are you kidding?"

Becca chuckled and said, "No.  Keep going there's more."

Again, my mom found the wee little outfit first and burst forth with, "Holy Shit!"  

At this point people were starting to stare.  I kept begging my mom to keep quiet, but the battle was lost.  David was up and pacing.  At first he was rubbing his forehead, then his chest, then back to his forehead.  I thought we'd killed the poor guy.  He just kept mumbling to himself.  I think there were variations of 'Are you kidding?', 'No way' and 'I can't believe this' going on at this point.

Both moms were doing that weird laughing/ crying thing that only females seem to be able to do and Becca and I were just laughing.  My dad took it like a champ and just laughed through the whole thing before asking me, "Are there any more surprises?"

Thankfully, no, there were not.  I think that was plenty for one day.  David and Becca disappeared outside to go call her brother, Michael, while I was left with the moms and my dad to discuss all the whos, whats, whens, wheres and how in the hells.  The moms showed off the sonogram pictures to the waitress who served us and began planning the 2009 tailgating procedures with the new members.

After eventually getting a free piece of cheesecake because my sandwich never came, I returned to work and once again had to keep a secret.  It killed me to pretend like it was a normal lunch, but I do what I'm told.  After all, it is three against one.

3 Months

Ok, so this first one isn't actually ours.  Kudos to those of you who figured it out.  It's actually the album cover of Agaetis Byrjun, which happens to be one of my favorite albums.  It also happens to look eerily like Baby B, so I figured that was somehow significant.  

Anywho, these are our children:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"You're In Trouble"

sur·prise:  1.) to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness, 2.) to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly

Synonyms:  Uh oh, crap, no friggin' way and seriously???

Surprise No. 1:  Finding out that my wife is pregnant.
Surprise No. 2:  Finding out that my wife is pregnant with twins.

The last two months have been rather interesting in my world.  I've found out that I will become a father of two on or around January 17, 2009 at the age of 23.  I realize this is a common occurrence all around the world, but definitely not in my world.  So let's start from the beginning:

About two months ago, my lovely wife Becca told me it might be a good idea to pick up a pregnancy test.  I guess technically, that should've been Surprise No. 1, but my brain attempted to find all the possible holes in this idea and therefore delayed reality.  Enter daunting task No. 1:  sneaking through the local Wal Mart to purchase a pregnancy test without running into anybody I knew.

This covert operation may not seem quite as dangerous as you would think, but I was born and raised in a small town.  Every time I go into Wal Mart I see a former teacher, class mate, church member or general acquaintance of myself, my parents or my sister.  At this point, we were still trying to fly under the radar, so we fumbled our way through the health section trying to find out which cardboard box was better/ cheaper than the others.  Unfortunately, we couldn't stop our child-like giggling long enough to stand there and figure out which one was better than the others so we just grabbed one.

So now that the task of picking the proper pregnancy indicator was done, it was time to tuck that bad boy under our arm (hidden of course by several other random, unnecessary purchases) and haul tail to the front of the store.  Of course I looked both ways before exiting the aisle and saw no familiar faces so we made a mad dash toward the self checkout.  Sadly, the self checkout aisles at the Madison, Miss. Wal Mart aren't open on Sunday afternoons (in case you're ever in town) so we had to do it the old fashion way.  Luckily we didn't know Belinda.  So things worked out there.

Now that daunting task No. 1 is accomplished, we rush home to see the results.  One peed on positive later and my stomach feels funny.  Since two tests come in the box, I suggested we try the second one and see what it says.  Same thing.  Surprise No. 1 is official.  Becca is prego.

Since I'm a male who's out of touch with most of reality, I don't know the proper benchmarks of doctor visits during a pregnancy.  So a few weeks later I find myself in completely new territory:  the gynecologist's office.  Not only is this uncharted territory for most males my age, but it is also a whole new level of awkward.  As I sit in the nearly-empty waiting room I was kept entertained by an obese 12-year-old's conversation lovingly played for the entire waiting room via her speakerphone.  The adorable little child decided to give me the stink eye and speak louder every time I glanced her way, which only added to the awkwardness.  

Anyway, after a few minutes we were called to the back and I was then forced to sit alone in a chair with no wife around to make me look like I belonged in this VIP lady doctor area.  I ended up just playing Brickbreaker on my cell phone as women in various stages of pregnancy passed by.  (High score of 25,750 thank you very much.)

After a few minutes of the brick breaking action, we moved into the Sonogram room where I would be introduced to my offspring for the first time.  Enter surprise No. 2.

After a few minutes of small talk and goop application, the lady pulled up a screen similar to television static and proceeded to click some buttons.  And then it happened . . .  The most jaw-dropping conversation of my entire friggin life.

"Do you see what I see?" - Sonogram technician lady
"Probably not." - Me
"I don't think so." - Becca
"There's two of 'em!" - Sonogram technician lady.
"Pardon?" - Me
"Yea, there's two of them." - Sonogram technician lady (as if we had any idea in hell that was a normal thing)
"Are you kidding?" - Me
"Nope.  There are two babies in there.  See, one and two." - Sonogram technician lady.
"No, seriously.  Are you joking?" - Becca
"No, I'm serious.  You guys are having twins." - Sonogram technician lady.

It's at this point that my wide-eyed stare turns to Becca and I mutter the words, "You're in trouble."

At what is by far the most exciting news I've ever been given, I turn to my lovely wife and all I can muster is "You're in trouble."  I'm going to make one hell of a father.

So after several days of not being able to come up with anything more to say to each other than "frickin' twins" Becca and I now have to face daunting task  No. 2:  telling the parents . . .