Fear, Loathing, and Teething

11:20 AM Posted by Knox McCoy

So Rowe is teething...Not just teething though. It's more like TEETHING.

Something I've realized over the last year is that for all their linguistic limitations, babies are particularly adept at expressing their emotions. Perhaps they don't meet our expectations of speech clarity, but they do put forth an unrelenting effort to convey their needs. It's as though they realize their inefficient speech and to compensate, they escalate the volume and intensity of their protestations.

This week has been full of said protestations. Loud, angsty, temple-throbbing protestations.

I don't begrudge him this because I suppose that if I had shards of teeth slowly descending through my gums that I probably would be similarly unpleasant.

Which is where we find our problem.

Essentially, this process provokes frustration and stress. Ingredients like a shrieking child, profoundly poopy diapers, poor appetites, and late night rampages are the fundamental elements of stress.

In and of themselves, these are not overly problematic things. But when intermingled, they work to undo our sanity. Justified as the descent into sanity might be, we still feel guilty.

The guilty feelings are so potent because we know that our ideal reactions would be those of grace, sensitivity, and calm in the frenzied face of his screaming mouth and swatting hands from 2am - 4am nightly. But those ideal reactions are generated from equally ideal behavior from Rowe.

Realistically, I'd like to say that our temperament is unconditional and not dependent on his interactions with us. It should be anyways. Maybe it will be one day.

But for now, under the influence of sleep deprivation, that notion is naive and dangerous, particularly if said by someone without kids.

So how do we reconcile how we feel versus how we should feel?

I don't know. Endurance I guess?

Someone smarter than me once said that stress and money don't make you a different person. They just make you more of who you actually are.

While we don't have money, we do have a surplus of stress and what we're finding out is that we'll never be able to pull off the idealized concept of the perfect parents.

But who can? There's this notion that you have to have everything figured out to be a good parent. You don't. You just have to be consistent, loving and resilient. Mistakes will be made, but love is always an effective elixir.

Besides, we get like four years before they remember anything right? Right??


Wide Awake, Wired, and Updating...

2:58 AM Posted by Knox McCoy

Ok so, a couple of things:

I'm wired with the euphoria that typically accommodates the vanquishing of a migraine. I went to bed at 9:42 with a massive migraine and am now WIDE awake. Awesome.

For anyone that may care, I did not get my Tennessee Titans internship job. Long story short, I spoke with a friend at bleacherreport.com and he informed me that I was the clubhouse leader after the application process ended. Unfortunately though, CBS was approached by some out of work NFL beat writers who had gotten wind of the contest. They offered to work for significantly less than what I would have made, so I got cut out. Sad times.

The good news is that the people at Bleacher Report felt pretty crappy of how everything shook out, so they are sending me a check for $500 and they've offered me a featured columnist position with their website.

Even though the gig pays exactly $0.00, I'll take the exposure. Though it all feels like a consolation prize, Ashley and I are pretty happy with how everything turned out. I won't have to be away from her and H.R. for 7 months and I still get to write for a larger audience.

Not only that, but I even made my first $$$ from writing. Is it enough to buy a beach house? Not exactly, but I guess Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

With all that being said, I've decided to begin posting links to the articles I'll be doing for Bleacherreport.com. I'm sure that this is incredibly exciting news for the 4 people who read this blog regularly. Feel free to pinch yourselves.


Jon and Kate Plus Hate

1:16 AM Posted by Knox McCoy

Recently, after yielding the remote and thereby forfeiting my chances of watching the NBA Playoffs, I watched the tabloid melodrama that is Jon and Kate Plus 8.

Admittedly, my history in watching the show is brief and limited to random viewings as seen when 1) the remote was lost, 2) I was too lazy to get up and retrieve said remote or 3) Options 1 and 2 simultaneously.

At any rate, given my occasional indulgence in US Weekly (there I said it) my interest was piqued given the allegations of Jon’s philandering, Kate’s profiteering, and a cult-like obsession with the “unique” stylings of Kate’s hair.

Given the Lost, American Idol, HIMYM, and Southland-sized holes in my TV schedule, JKP8 was definitely getting a look-see at what the Gosselins had in store for the American Public.

Sadly, the show quickly took me from morbid curiousity all the way to discomfort in watching what transpired.

First, before I begin launching boulder-size stones at J&K’s massive new glass house, let me say this: If I was approached to do a reality show with my family, the easy answer is to say, “No thanks.”

But when people start throwing out compensation figures like $50,000 - $75,000 per episode, then things change. Everyone has a plan until they get hit with the green wave. But would I still say no? Ideally, I’d love to say that I would, but knowing myself, I would negotiate with myself until I could say yes. Doesn’t make it right.

But even then, does that make it a bad decision? From everything I gathered, early on J&K seemed to have a good relationship centered around a strong faith. Sure, Jon always seemed to look about as enthusiastic as I did during my colonoscopy purge and Kate managed to make Bellatrix LeStrange look charming. But there was an authenticity to their relationship that made the show feel less like a reality TV show and more like an earnest documentary with flawed but genuine subjects.

But at some point (and I haven’t watched enough to know when), J&K clearly allowed their own self-interests to usurp the original priority of their family first and foremost.

For Jon, this is most clearly seen in his forgetfulness about who his wife is. For Kate, this is seen in her choosing to be away while trouble brewed. The blame pours both ways and though many excuses and arguments can be posited forth, what remains is that you NEVER are justified in cheating and leaving when things are left unresolved is unacceptable. This clearly wasn’t a conscious decision on either of their parts, but what ensues will be.

While some will scream that they should cancel the show and work out their problems, I’m not so sure that it is that simple. TLC has made J&K the incubator through which all the other programming is gathered around. It is a cash cow and this kind of cow is usually contractually obligated to continue being milked until every last drop is extracted and the network is content to move on, so I can’t beat them up for not shutting this thing down and trying to work on their problems.

The next few episodes will provide all the answers though. Will the show center around the impending split? The marital strife? The accusations? Or will it show two people humbled by their mistakes and attempting to rebuild the foundation in which their marriage was originally built on? The optimist in me hopes they rally, but I’m afraid we’re about to get 39 more episodes of the smoky descent and fiery crash.

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Lessons in Leg Lesions

9:10 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

These are the facts: I have a large, gaping wound on the side of my left leg. It has been like this for 2 weeks. I’m whining slightly more than the average contestant on the Biggest Loser. I did this playing church softball. I am 26.

Having no other recourse after my amateur medical methods yielded little improvement, I sought out the good doctor, Doc Thompson to shed some light on the unrelenting grotesqueness that sits just below my knee. At the conclusion of our visit, Dr. Thompson declared my wound to be, not an abrasion, but a severe 2nd degree burn. Good times.

This struck me as odd so I compiled 2 theories on how the leprosy of my leg came to be.

Theory #1: I was running at such a great speed, that my slide simulated that of a motorcycle wreck, resulting in a wound similar to that of an injury earned during a motorcycle’s skipping across a hard surface (A 0.01 % chance of being the likely answer).

Theory #2: The cumulative mass of my ample backside forcibly striking the ground, created a big-bang style explosion of energy and heat. The burn on my leg was ground zero of the massive release of energy, thus providing the source of my heinous, festering sore (A 78 % chance of being the likely answer).

I’m fairly certain that the truth is somewhere in the middle of those theories.

Following a nightly occurrence of my yelping in pain as a result of peeling the bed sheets from the gooey adhesiveness of my wound, I thought of this situation as a plush garden from whence I could extract many teaching points for young HR: The benefit of pants when playing baseball/softball, being content with doubles, and addressing problems head were just a few of the gems I came up with.

Since the origin of my wound, I have been diligently treating the problem. Triple antibiotics, Neosporin Pain+, and surgical dressings have all been purchased in an effort to quell the throbbing pain emanating from just above my shin.

My attention has rarely wavered from it and it’s healing has never been far from my focus. But it was only recently that I understood just how starkly my handling of this injury stood in contrast to my approach in other areas of my life.

If given truth serum, could I honestly say that I’ve approached all my problems in this manner? How would my marriage be if I attacked each of my faults as I have my melted tissue? What about my spiritual walk? Have I ever paid as much attention and been as consumed with my spiritual flaws as I have been with my leg?

Most of the last two weeks have been spent franticly trying to figure out some kind of resolution to my problem, but yet when God is dealing with me about something, I often find it appropriate to stick my head in the sand and hope for the best.

The physical immediacy of the pain made it the preeminent problem of the last two weeks for me, but discomfort alone isn't the measure of a problem's depth.

So if there is anything profound to be shared with HR from an injury incurred just before third base, it is to tackle the problems of his spiritual walk and personal relationships like they are throbbing flesh wounds.

Sometimes they go away quietly and just leave a faint scar as a silent reminder, but other times they escalate, and in doing so, are complicated infinitely more than they ever should have been.

Or sometimes they make you have to wear shorts for two straight weeks, ensuring that you look REALLY professional at work, as you’re forced to walk like Lieutenant Dan after Vietnam. Awesome.

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Enlightenment at a Yard Sale

10:41 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

In the interest of spring cleaning and eventually selling our house, Ashley and I planned a yard sale and so embarked on the process of inventorying and itemizing the wealth of junk that had accumulated in our house. This was no small job, but we found it to be liberating and cathartic when we observed all our tables and blankets robustly filled with once treasured items.

As early morning on the day of the sale approached and our first customers shuffled about our cast away items, Ashley and I revisited a previous conversation we had joked about. We should sell, nay, give away our dog, Emma.

Before you leap to conclusions though, ignore the simplicity packed into the previous sentence. To accept Emma as an ordinary dog is to casually dismiss the essence of her being.

Our dog Ajax is normal. Though he is princely, moody, and sensitive, his behavior typifies that of most humanized and domesticated dogs. By this definition though, Emma is not normal.

She is a swirling vortex of death, destruction, and mental problems.

Her name is the last vestige of femininity that has been associated with her and a portly frame combined with killer instincts works to betray any softening perceptions one may have of her.

Her weight gain has been especially troubling to us and to combat it, we stopped leaving food in her bowl and began feeding her smaller portions but the balloning continued. It wasn't until I realized that she was supplementing her diet with high fat dishes like squirrel, blue jay, and rats that I understood how her rotundity came to be.

Naturally, with Rowe on the scene, the exit of our natural born killer has been weighing heavily on my mind. But even with her foibles, I still feel she deserves a graceful exit to a setting where she and her unique skill set would be welcomed (like maybe Afghanistan).

So a yard sale seemed to be the perfect venue to find a decent home for Emma.

A couple of prospective adopters passed after seeming concerned that I had to bring Emma out like a restrained Hannibal Lecter, but it was still early when a female customer asked to see Emma and seemed genuinely delighted that Emma was overweight with a nervous tic.

After some pleading with a disinterested husband, I found myself hoisting Emma into their car while excitedly detailing some of Emma's "quirks."

And just like that, the fat, black albatross that hung so heavily around my neck was gone.

But just like Michael Myers, Jason, or the Fast and the Furious movies, she was never really gone because 5 hours later, there she was soaking wet and back in my arms.

The girl gave me some delirious story about cats, eyeballs, and frantic french bulldogs, but I waved her off because Emma is my cross to bear and I was kidding myself to think her exit would come so easily.

I think as parents you are naturally eager to convey all your failures to your children in the spirit of improvement and avoidance. I have no shortage of failures and screw-ups to share, but Emma will be a vivid lesson for me to share with Rowe.

My rescuing of her, though noble, was ill-fated as I had neither the space nor time to properly invest in her. Optimistic intentions without consideration rarely end well. Especially when dealing with a killing machine.

And so when Rowe asks about the shadowy, black shape waddling around our back porch in the pictures or videos of his infancy, instead of needlessly recounting the massacre of woodland creatures around our house, I will use it as an opportunity to teach Rowe about the importance of foresight and consideration in decision-making. Because if not, he could end up with a dog that can eat an entire kitchen floor in one night (a story for another time).

The Paradox of Parenting

11:25 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

Never before has 5 months felt more prolonged. But what's funny is that I find myself unable to recall much of the goings on throughout these months.

It feels like a phenomenon more suited to the (re)cast away survivors on LOST. That, or it could be lack of sleep.

Regardless, life has seemed to slow down but with very little anecdotal evidence to support that claim.

What is for certain though is our new station in life, which is complete with parental duties, new responsibilities, and skills yet to be learned. But not only has the time spent in these roles left us memory-challenged, it also is beginning to wipe out my recollection of life before Rowe.

It's almost like Back to the Future when Marty keeps examining the photograph of his family as siblings begin to slowly vanish from view.

What exactly was it that I did on week nights? On Saturdays? At 5am in the morning? All the things I did that were such large and prevalent portions of my life are now drifting away with very little attention being paid to their dismissal.

But unlike the time-traveling McFly, I don't feel a sense of urgency to reclaim my lost freedom. It's a good loss as only now do I realize that most of my time was spent catering to a massive self-centeredness.

If it seems as though I am painting myself as enlightened, please understand that (in staying with the Back to the Future theme) in many things I still operate with an ignorance befitting Biff.

It's more of a situation where beyond the perfect miracle that Rowe is in and of himself, God is also using him as a daily reminder of how much richer life can be when I realize that there is more to life than myself.

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The Smell of Weakness

11:09 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

He smells the weakness.

His nose and feet twitch instinctively as the mechanical mongering of the garage is faintly heard and he knows that my wife - his mother - has left us alone together. This is his cue, his summoning to awake and pounce on the weak one left behind.

The attack begins with a muffled cry. I have come to know that cry as a scare tactic. A taunt meant to send my blood pressure sky high much like a coyote circling his prey from a distance.

I scurry about the house collecting paciphers, blankets, gripe water, and any other items that may temporarily stifle his unrelenting outbursts.

Deep down, I see these props for what they are. They are my water guns and he is the inferno.

His muffled cry now becomes a full on battle cry. He is eager to engage me and shame me into running my hands through my hair and dialing my capable and competent wife for rescue. But I am eager to meet his challenge.

He is not to be taken lightly. I am 26 and a salty veteran at life compared to my formidable opponent, but what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for in unpredictability and shriek-ability. He has the is stubborn and merciless.

I enter the bedroom, the oft-chosen site for many of our clashes. He flails his arms from within his bassinet and begins cooing and giggling at my entrance. His laughter ridicules my presence and his cooing is no doubt some form of infant trash talk berating me before we've even begun.

I pluck him from his bed and he stares at me wide-eyed, no doubt shocked at my willingness to endure the spittle and ferocious screams he will direct at me.

He laughs.

It is a laugh borne from disdain for me, entertainment at my attempts, and relief that he will not meet the iron will of his mother.

He waits.

He bides his time before striking and we continue circling each other as though we are sword-wielding combatants directly from King Arthur's round table.

The tension is palpable and unyielding against the back drop of Praise Baby and Baby Einstein but I see the first subtle signs of his coming attack.

He yawns.

He waits and again he yawns. The yawns grow stronger and less concealable and soon it is clear that he will be striking soon. He begins fussing like a pent up bull in anticipation of his entrance into a rodeo. Emboldened, I make the first move in an attempt to catch him off guard. I shift him against me so that he quickly finds himself in a sleeping posture against my chest. My plan is to sneak-attack him and hope he is too tired to retaliate. I have grossly miscalculated.

He screams.

He is irate over my surprise attack and launches a full-on assault on my ears and spirit. I shift him into several different positions that I have learned from the master, Ashley, but it is to no avail. I have angered the bull with a bright red cape and he is intent and making me pay quite possibly with my sanity.

He doesn't not waver in his assault. He will not be reasoned with nor is he interested in surrender. He will not relent until he has wrestled my dignity away from me, because Rowe does not take prisoners.

As he settles into a berating rhythm I find myself becoming systematically worn down as he drops the hammer on me. I have no counter as he has successfully defended all my offensive tactics. Though I promised myself I wouldn't do it, I begin entertaining the thought of calling for help.

He senses my indecision and increases his audible attack on me. Victory is only seconds away.

I fumble for my phone and as I am close to dialing the numerical code for surrender, I hear a glorious sound.

The long and laborious sound of the garage door emanates through the house. Back-up has arrived. His screaming subsides into a smattering of whimpers before he retreats completely into silence and as the sound of my wife's footsteps echo in our kitchen...

He sleeps.

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11:58 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

I feel that it is appropriate to apologize for the lack of content I've been providing lately. I'm sure there are a great deal of people in suspense over when the next painstakingly written post will appear (observe HEAVY sarcasm).

I've had a couple of things brewing over the last few weeks and here's where you can see the fruits of my labors:

www.thesportingmuse.com (occasionally)

(somewhat frequently)

www.thefullmontekiffin.com (periodically)

(tri-weekly is the tentative arrangement)

Thanks for reading (all 2 of you) and I hope to have something up later this week with Rowe making an angry face. Hope all is well with everyone.


The Perils of Reality TV

11:56 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

Becoming a father ushers in so many hopes and dreams for your child.
There’s a natural inclination to pass down the wisdom of experience even with the caveat that your child is to become his own person with or without your advice.

But that doesn’t stop my heart from overflowing with love and hope for Rowe. While there are some futures I secretly root for, I can honestly say that I don’t worry about the passions and hobbies he will develop. There are some areas where I am more proficient than others and that I selfishly hope we can share in. But I am equally open to his pursuit of happiness in ways that are less than relatable to my experiences.

But there is one thing I will not allow. I will not negotiate it, won’t support it, and cannot permit it regardless of what he feels.

I will never support Rowe entering into the reality TV realm.

When I pray, there are many things I pray for: Health, wisdom, discernment, etc. But I also pray that I will never suffer from the indignity of watching Rowe make an idiot of himself on television.

I pray that his presence is never seen on The Real World, COPS, or The Bachelor. Is that too much to ask for? (As an addendum to this list, I would also prefer that Rowe never be interviewed by local news….after a tornado…with a trailer park as the backdrop.)

Let me ask you this: In the 20+ years of The Real World, has there ever been a single male cast member that you would have your son emulate? The short answer: No. (And if you are wondering, I did include this season's ex-dude and transsexual, Katelynn Cusanelli in my vetting for a reputable Real-Worlder. Not surprisingly, her sex-change really hurt his/her chances at being example-worthy.)

Do you know how many nights I wake up in the throes of a nightmare where Rowe is apprehended by his mullet-haired head on COPS, while wearing a grease-stained wife-beater? I must have missed the chapter on night terrors concerning your child’s future in What to Expect When You Are Expecting.

And as for The Bachelor, let’s be clear: I watch. I’m not joining the fan club or anything, but I watch. But it’s more a bewilderment with the belief that the process of truly loving someone can be distilled into a camera-influenced 2-month(ish) period. But I do watch and will continue to watch with a skepticism that is framed with fascination.

But the fear is that if Rowe ends up on The Bachelor, he A) has an incredibly skewed idea about what love is, B) is an insatiably attention-hound or C) will be unable to use any adjective other than “amazing” to describe a woman.

Clearly, I want the world for Rowe and will be happy only if he is truly happy. I want him to discover and pursue what he loves. Just not on Temptation Island or Bromance.

Just Saying: 10 Random Things

11:05 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

So I'm supposed to do something in conjunction with this list like tell you to do your own list and send it to 12 people or kittens in Abilene will die...or something like that. Actually, I may be a little hazy on the details.

At any rate, let’s do this, 10 Random things.

1. I discover good music 5 years after everyone else. And no I don’t mean Shakira.

2. I am a super-dramatic vomiter. I find that embracing the bodily function of regurgitation helps get it over with quickly and if that means emitting a high pitched shriek like that of a grade school girl, then color me feminine.

3. I love Zombie movies. Even though they ALL follow the same plot and structure, I am fascinated with the zombie ideal.

4. I hate cornhole. I hate the name, I hate the boards, and I hate the trash talk that invariably comes with it. Essentially, it’s a homeless man’s version of horseshoes but with a name way, WAY crappier.

5. I have declared a jihad against Nicolas Cage. He is a brutally awful actor. He is obsessed with Elvis. He named his son Kal-El. He was in The Wicker Man. He’s a more cliché and less accomplished Keanu Reeves. His hair is inexplicably bad. He looks like a younger Gollum. And finally he actually made a movie called Bangkok Dangerous. These are the facts.

6. I love teen soap dramas. It started with Dawson, progressed with to the O.C. and now I’m ashamedly involved with Gossip Girl.

7. I read the newspaper to feel smarter, but the news is typically outdated and the articles are agenda-driven and editorialized. I think it is just more of a token thing now like a pocket-watch or VCR.

8. I’m not completely ready to close the book on aliens.

9. In that same vein, I’m a major conspiracy theorist. Oswald did not act alone, did we really land on the moon, Michael Jordan gambled on the NBA, and the LAPD was involved in Biggie Smalls' death.

10. I’m a garlic bloodhound. If you have had garlic within the past 72 hours, I know about it. You may not realize I know, but trust me, I know. My nose is unparalleled when it comes to picking up garlic breath.

P.S. Garlic breath is somewhere between burnt hair and heat-festered diapers on the Fantastically Awful Smells Scale.

I Am: Homer Simpson's Paternal Embodiment

12:20 AM Posted by Knox McCoy

I’m 26 and fully ensconced in the transitional portion of my life. School is far enough away that has officially become a memory but I don’t feel fully engulfed in adult-ness. Rowe helps me feel as though I am becoming a grizzled veteran of life, but I can’t help but still feel like a kid sometimes.

Maybe this is because I am the younger sibling so invariably feelings of youth will trickle down to me. But regardless, I feel marooned between two eras of life.

But this isn’t anything new. I think my generation has been searching for some kind of larger identity that will define us but there is yet to be a calling card for us. 9/11 was certainly the landmark event of our generation but it didn’t really change any fundamental dynamics of our life. We briefly became patriotic and then quickly found ourselves receding into the familiarity of cynicism and snarkiness.

I mean there hasn’t even been a unanimous choice for my generation’s label. Is it Generation Y? The Millennials? The Trophy Kids? No one knows for sure and I think this identity crisis has most impacted males.

That isn’t to suggest an exaggerated importance or a more put-upon existence than women; rather it concerns the average man’s struggle to identify his purpose. We have had no World Wars, Vietnams, or Cold Wars to define us. It seems as though the conflict my generation fights is cliché and marginalization.

Instead of fighting the advancement of Hitler, Mussolini, and Khrushchev's ideologies, my generation is fighting against the advancement of stereotypes perpetuated by Peter Griffin, Homer Simpson and Doug Heffernan. Are we all really chubby, incompetent, and perpetually covered in barbecue stains?

It seems that we are caught between converging ideologies. Is it better to be the domineering husband of the 50’s or the submissive husband conditioned by feminism? Is it ok to show emotion in front of my son or should I always project stoicism?
Where exactly do we stand?

And the church doesn’t do much to help negative perceptions either. Granted, there are some alarming trends among Christian males, but we aren’t all porn-addled bums incapable of turning away from a pretty female who isn’t our wife. To a certain degree I think it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Men are becoming what they are being told that they are.

I haven’t read Wild at Heart, but I think the essential message is that at our core, men need to be able to be who God made us to be: physical, aggressive, adventurous, etc. But in this digital age, men are being cornered more and more into becoming creatures of the cubicle and unable to be true to ourselves.

When I see Ashley with Rowe, I envy her because it is apparent that her transition to motherhood has been without much problem. She instinctively knows what Rowe needs and how to provide it for him and she completed this transition with very little complication.

I, conversely, am less natural with Rowe. My methods are trial, error, and panic.

By no means am I asserting that young W.A.S.P.s like myself live a painful existence. It’s more that we seem to be becoming more and more lost without the relief of compass or maps.

There’s a dearth of resources out there for young Christian husbands/fathers to consult and I’d like to see more dialogue and discussion about what it means to be a good, honorable, and faithful man. Because I love this point in my life and I want to be what my family needs, but I need all the help I can get.

After all, we can only glean so much from pro wrestling and football, ya know?


Journey to the Center of the Doctor's Office

12:44 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

Taking a baby anywhere
in the winter feels like a time trial on Double Dare. There are blankets, baby carriers to be hustled, cars to be warmed, and tiny little feet to be sock-covered.

But fundamentally, a trip to the doctor feels a bit like Russian Roulette. It's great for the purposes of check-ups and immunizations, but the waiting room presents a formidable gauntlet to a vulnerable immune system.

We went this past Thursday because Rowe didn't seem to be feeling his all-time best. Was the trip necessary? Probably not. But we prefer to err on the side of caution with him so we made the appointment.

The epilogue to this story is that he was fine. Negative for RSV, positive for awesomeness, and confirmed teething. However the main conflict of the story arose from the predicament of the waiting room.

Naive and ignorant as I was before being a father (and still am actually), I did not know that pediatricians segregate their waiting rooms between the sick and the well babies. On the surface, this approach seems suitable. Why expose the healthy babies to the sick ones if it's not necessary?

But what of the babies who are neither totally well or totally sick?

Is it necessary for them to be banished to the sick side where infection and exposure is a certainty? I understand the plight of determining how sick is too sick, but I couldn't stand the thought of Rowe soaking up the buffet spread of germs on the sick side of the room , so while Ashley checked us in, I scampered to the safety of the healthy side. Rowe and I set up in a distant corner of the room so as to avoid detection and skeptical glances. When Ashley returned, we contemplated switching sides and honoring the code of the pediatrician's waiting room.

Our glance to the other side of the room was met with rows of seats that were filled to capacity and saturated with both children and parents alike who were hacking, sneezing, sniffing, and groaning.

Just then, a mother and child burst through the double doors that bisected the waiting room into the sick and healthy halves. With a tone equal parts panicked and stern, she yelled, "GIT YOUR HINEY TO THE RESTROOM, SON!"

The little boy looked like a deer that had somehow ended up in a suburban backyard: Clueless and frantic. Unable to heed his mother's command, he sprayed a brown surge of vomit from the door's entrance to the check-in desk. His spewage had essentially acted as a Berlin Wall of sorts. No one on either side would be crossing over his liquid regurgitations until the sawdust had settled.

I try to avoid misappropriating God's influence in my life to the trivial matters, but at this moment, I felt that God was clearly advising us to stay on the well side. We did, moments later we were summoned to the privacy of our examination room, and Rowe's clean bill of health vanquished me from any feelings of guilt.

Just another trip to the doctor.

The Embrace of Concern

1:55 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

There is this stifling malaise I find myself working against lately. It's a heavy sense of dread that just hovers around me and I can't seem to shake it.

Some of it is, no doubt, a compilation of emotions and fears with Rowe now being here and being such a vulnerable little boy right now. I concoct ridiculous worries that fill my head, but their slight chance of reality is enough to frighten me.

I know the hopeful and spiritual things and I remind myself of their merit and truth. But this isn't something that is so easily vanquished and it isn't just relegated to Rowe. It's a lot of things.

Big scope things like the economy. Money. TV when Rowe becomes impressionable. My legacy. Work.

Smaller, more personal things like family. Tragedy. Church. My dogs.

And I get that it doesn't pay off to spend time in worry. But right now I don't really care if it pays off or not. It's there. And worry isn't something that typically takes avoidance well.

I think this is part of the larger and more progressive transformation from husband to husband/father. It's almost like having Rowe has been this turnkey that activates all these previously dormant emotions. Was it normal that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made me borderline unstable or is it a symptom of an evolution of my understanding of this brave new world I inhabit?

Benjamin Button is actually a pretty apt reference because underneath the larger story of a man aging backwards, it's about a man trying to figure out how to balance embracing life's richness and opportunity against the sadness and loss that is native to everyone.

And I think I find myself at that crossroads. I don't want to stick my head in the sand and be devastated by tragedy but I hate living in this oppressive dreadfulness.

Like all things, I know this will level out as I find a happy medium, but I think there is a certain level of worry parents never shed and I'm pretty ok with that.

Rowe the Equalizer

4:06 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published on 1/18/08)

I’m resisting the urge to talk about my resolutions, because at this point in my life it’s more important to look back on ‘08 than to project forward through ‘09.

January is always a time when optimism and regret similarly bloom. 2008 was a year with some big moments with Rowe obviously being the most significant. The past year was undeniably his year as we found out that he would be coming right as spring was arriving. Most of what occurred (and will be remembered) was directly related to him and most all of it is drenched in happiness.

But as hard as it is to see 2008 outside the prism of Rowe, there is a roll call of big events that also happened throughout the year.

It seemed to be a year where God spoke very clearly through numerous failures and dead ends. It’s funny how we rarely consult God when we feel like we have a great idea or plan, but when our plans invariably go awry we are eager to seek Him out to salvage whatever is left.

There were personal shortcomings, professional failures, and a healthy dose of discouragement. Old friends drifted and new relationships emerged. Fresh interests and renewed talents emerged.

But even in the face of some of the less than ideal happenings of this year, I have an overwhelming feeling that my compass is pointed in the right direction. If that comes across as a boast, keep in mind that I write those words with a decent amount of debris just behind me. I just turned 26 and this is the first time I feel like I have any kind of definitive clue as to what I should be doing.

One of my devotions recently came from Genesis 50 when Joseph’s brothers come to him. They ask for mercy from Joseph for all the terrible things they did to him through their conspiracies against him. Joseph is quick to grant forgiveness because had the evil designs of all his brothers not happened, he wouldn’t be where he was.

I can relate to being in the middle of the aftermath of regret. Aimless. Inefficient. Wasteful. Failure. All of these things still sit in my not-so-distant rearview mirror. But instead of these things being held against me, I think God is using those experiences to prepare me for the path He has for me.

But like I said, everything else pales in comparison to the magnitude of Rowe. Anything bad, embarrassing, or regretful that happened in ’08 is sweetened and salvaged by his birth. I guess you could call him, Rowe the Equalizer for helping out the good and the bad of ‘08.


De Resolushuns of Ajax for ‘09

4:04 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published on 1/11/08)

So leesten…
In keeping wit my tradishun of new year’s resolushuns, Ajax wanted to shar wit you ezactly what Ajax will be hoping to do dis year.

1. Lose de weight
Les be honest. Dere is no need to tiptoe around de ishue. Ajax has put on a fuw pounds. Es no big deal really when you tink of all de stress dere has been. And I mean honestly es dad’s falt. He has been getting de chophouse filet mignon chunky style food. But Ajax does need to run de stares a bit more and maybe not beg for treets so much you know?

2. Ezact revenge on Rodger
Ajax ais all about de okashunal hijinx and whatnot but dis guy is making it personal. He is pooping in my yard too often for it to be a coinsidense like he clams. My sisser Emma sed dat rodger is making a punk out of Ajax and if I don’t do someting den I will lose respect among all de dogs in my nayborhood. She den told me about some tings I could do to Rodger which was probably de sorce of my nitemares.

3. Get my GED
It es sad dat in dis day and time, alodda peeple still have a prejoodice against peeple witout high skoll deplomas. Ajax applied to be a barista at Starbux and de manager said he coldnt hire me. He woodnt tell me why but I know es becaws I checked de box dat said not a high skool graduate. Some peeple can be so shallow, you know?

4. Find my biological mudder
I love my mom and dad bery much but it is important for me to find de women responsible for my life. In my dreems, I believe her to be a beyotiful white lab. Emma sez dat God had too much vanella ice cream and pooped me out, but I jus tink dat she is jealus of me. I tell her dat my dad is probubly someone famus like Bob Barker or Regis Fillbin because I am so good looking and smart, but I wood be ok if he was jus a normal husky. Ajax does not find his wurth in pedigree.

5. Dis is de year Ajax makes it on de Real Wurld
Dis is ridiculous. Ajax is such a compelling case for a roommate on de real world. Esn’t de real world about pushing de envelope and diversity? Alo? Ajax is your man. Don’t dey have a lady who used to be a dood on the new cast? Dats weirder den a dog right? De old Jax wood be a hit wit de ladies because he has de soul of a latin lover. And after the show was over wit, dey wood invite me to all de Real Wurld / Road Rules Challenges becaws not only do I make good tv but I can also be diabolickal and create drama. I wood play de species card and be like, “Oh is it becaws Ajax is a dog? Dat is so speciesist!” And dey wood be all like, “No, Ajax it is cool. I love dogs. I have a dog. All my freends have dogs.” And den I wood say, “Do you put leashes on your dog?” And dey would look at me blankly and I wood be like, “Ajax sees your soul for what you really are.” And den I wood walk away all dramatic and look over my sholder at de camera all dramatik like before de commershul break. Ajax was made to be on tv, you know?


An Education in Sickness

4:02 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/31/08)

In our continuing march through the perilous jungles of parenthood, Ashley and I were recently encountered with the stress of a newborn’s sickness and all the related fear and worry that comes with it.

My own scholarly approach towards sickness is to ignore an illness until it demonstrates some worthiness. By this immensely flawed logic, the heavy hitters (think kidney stones, bronchitis) will prove their seriousness and the sinus infections / colds will run their ineffectual courses through my immune system. There’s a good chance that part of the avoidance is due to the co-pays and mandatory weigh-ins but that could also just be speculation.

But when the sufferer is Rowe, I scrap my policy of avoidance very quickly.
It’s a funny thing how our behaviors bend in the light of different situations. When considering the difference in how I treat my maladies vs. Rowe’s, I couldn’t help but think about how this disparity extends into other parts of my life.

When I think about the deadly serious way we interrogated the pediatrician and the iron-fisted enforcement of his recommended treatment, I wonder why it is that when it comes to the treatment of my faith that I become so cavalier with what is recommended of me.

There’s a safety-net mentality that unfortunately stains the thought process behind my daily faith. This emboldens me to play fast and loose with the direction and desire God has for my life. But in all matters pertaining to Rowe, I carefully consider each action and the ensuing consequence.

Why is it that I don’t pursue the safety of my spiritual health that diligently?

I’m grateful that God continues to cater to us within our relatively insignificant circumstances. He’s always refining. Always repackaging His will for us so that it will speak to our ever-changing circumstances more perfectly than it did yesterday.

For me, it was in the frenzy of fear and worry about Rowe’s health. Where else would my attention be? I suppose He could have chosen to hide His message for me in a segment on the 700 Club. Or it could have been spelled out on a church marquee I pass on my way home from work.

But He met me where He knew I’d be.

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Ajax Therapy Session

4:00 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/31/08)

I mean I’m happy for Marley and ereting but de dood was a major sellout right? At sum point es like dood you gotta respeckt yourself you know? Ajax wood nevur sell his life storee to be poortrayed by sum B-list actors. Jennifer Anneston? Reely? Wuz Angielina bizzy? Oh das right…bizzy steeling Brad Pitt. Ohhh Burn by Ajax.

But seriously dough, wear es all de canine talent in hollywood? I would be afraad dat de creepy dood from Hollywood Cheewawa would end up playing de old Jax. Rin Tin Tin is not walking through dat door and dat kina depresses me you know?

Neways, like I wuz saying, dis keed is making me crazee. At furst I thought dat it would be like a new bone smell or sumthing you know? After a cuple of weeks he wood be outside wit emma for good. But mom and dad are steel preddy obsessed wit him. Let me give you an ezample.

For chrismuss last yeer, I got a stocken wit biscuts, cookees, and chu strips and my present wuz a new Dudley de Duck. Dis yeer? Dad tossed me a pig ear and sed, “Mary Chrismus, bud.” I wuz all, if dat is all den you are no freend of mine, but i’m preddy sure he wasnt leestening.

I know, rediculus right? Ajax’s furst rule of freenship is dat Ajax is not yur bud untell you show him de gifs. I asked for a new bed, a drumset, and de furst seeson of Ceezur Milan: Dog Whesperer and dey think dat a pig ear chew is gunna fly? Is dere a Ceezur Milan for hoomans becaws i’m preddy close to callin dem.

Dat wood be hilareeus. Ceezur would be yeeling and poking dem in dere bellees so dat dey would feed me mor and take me fur walks mor. Dat shuld so be on TV, you know?

Danks for leestening Elmo. Yur a preddy cool dood. Yur eyes are kina beeg and creepy, but yur a good leestener. We shoud do dis again sumtime.

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The Art of Imitation

3:57 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/31/08)

One of the fun things Rowe has been doing lately is mimicking our facial expressions. It’s fun to try a certain expression and then see the wheels turn in his head about how he can best imitate what he just saw.

I found myself wondering the other day when he would stop doing this and begin disregarding whatever it is that Ashley and I may be doing. That’s a sad thought for me, but I guess it is part of the process of growing up and learning to proclaim his own identity outside of mom and dad.

The moral consciousness a child introduces is surreal. His impressionable presence is always felt though not in a teacher-looking-over-your-shoulder sense. It’s more pure than that. It’s almost like I don’t want to reveal who I really am so that he won’t be tempted to replicate my faults which leads me to carefully consider every action I take and how he may interpret it. And he’s not even 2 months old yet.

The prayer that I find myself continually praying is for God to guide him in spite of me. My fear is that something I do will initiate a tailspin of confusion or doubt that will plague him his entire life. There is the haphazard quality about life that cause it to flitter away before we are able to control it in it’s entirety and it is this lack of control that worries me to no end.

I used the picture above because it tells quite a tale within the relationship between Floyd (the father) and Justin (the son) Beebe. Justin has obviously taken his cues from his father, Floyd, and followed him into a life of crime and poor facial artwork. Did Floyd consciously lure Justin towards a life that will most likely be spent in government facilities? Probably not. But yet Justin still mimicked the lifestyle of his father and his life will most likely be sculpted in that unfortunate manner.

While I’m relatively confident that Floyd and I share very little in common, I know that comparing myself to him doesn’t help the fact that Rowe’s eyes will always use my life to gauge his understanding of the world. I have no doubt that this accountability is God’s way of reminding us of the outbranching of consequences our sinful nature creates. But I do wish that he didn’t have to watch me so judgmentally when I eat birthday cake leftovers.

On the bright side, I’m pretty sure Rowe and I will be Justin and Floyd Beebe for Halloween next year.


The Lull of Repetition

3:53 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/17/08)

“Repetition is the reality and the seriousness of life.” - Soren Kierkegaard

Let me get this out of the way: I hate when people use quotations from long-dead philosophers to create the impression that they themselves are so attuned to a philosophical idea that its essence flows from their fingers. I used the quote because he makes the words go together purdy.

Within the first few weeks of parenthood, there is a tendency to find myself mired in the minutiae of being a parent. That is: holding, feeding, burping, changing, and rocking (not in a musical sense but as a sleep facilitator). If that comes off as grumpy, I don't mean it to be. It's just that the dynamics of parenthood are somewhat limited at this juncture.

A lot of people talk about the journey of life and the various landmarks we pass along the way. Our natural tendency is to focus on the life-changing events and gloss over the smaller and seemingly insignificant details that populate a majority of our days because, let's face it, in the museum of our mind who wants to remember that time they found a band-aid in their food at the Chinese Buffet?

But what I am coming to realize more and more is how the method of our journey is just as important as the landmarks we pass along the way.

As I interact with Rowe each night, my mind easily drifts to the first time he will say, "Dad," or the first time we will play catch, or the first time he will hug my leg when I come home from work. But in doing that, I allow myself to begin wishing Rowe's childhood away in favor of the eagerly anticipated landmark event.

But the essence of life isn't those handful of big events. It's the every day interactions. It's the stare-downs, spit-ups, and sleepy eyes that, though inconsequential, make up the fundamental processes of life as we know it. I don't want to be like the stuntman who slides down the steep incline of a high-rise building grasping wildly to grip anything that could halt his plummet. I'd rather take a nice leisurely stroll throgh Rowe's childhood.

There's nothing pretty about the repetitive processes that make up large sections of our life, but these processes are the reality and substance of our lives. To allow them to pass by unappreciated is something I hope I can always be able to avoid.


You godda be kiddin me...

3:48 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/16/08)

Dose cats have really done it now (Clic here for de storey)

Ok so leesten...

Alodda peeple play up dis cats vs dogs ting. Dey act like we spen our dayz trying to figger out how to destroy each odder when really us dogs are tryin to figger out how to 1) get mor peeple food and 2) how to get mor peeple attenshun. Seriously peeple, dis izn't like one of dose crazy Mishun Impossibull movies where no one knowz what de heck is goin on. Dogs love food and attenshun. Case clozed, you know?

But when I reed stuf like dis, it really makez me angree wit my cat friends. Catz wit contakt lenzez? Is dis serious? Why do dey need more purfect vision den dey already have? So dat dey can see more cleerly who dey are ignoring? So dat dey can see dat big box where dey do dere pooping in?

And if we are being honest wit oursalves, izn't corrective vishun de last ting dat Ernest de Cat needs becaws he seems to be preddy close to de end of his 9th life, am i right (sorry I coudnt rezizt)?

Maybe I'm mparshul, but woodn't you tink dat everyone woud benefit mor from dogs getting dese contakt lenses? Um I dunno mayb becaws we are actually soshul pets who care about more den catnip and ignoring everyting.

And I probablee dont have to tell you about what happened to my friend Chippy. Let's jus say dat it ended wit Chippy yellin, "I'M NOT DAT KIND OF DOG!" Dere's a video of it below:


Maybe Chippy just ran into a bad cat, but I for one don't wanna have all dese cats running around wit dere purfect vision. Dere's no telling how many odder dogs dis kind of ting has happened to you know? So do we reely want to put contakt lenzes on predators like dis? Dats a world I dont wanna live in, you know?


Rowe's Rules

3:46 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/14/08)

With Rowe approaching the big 6 week-old mark, we wanted to share some rules he has graciously provided us with throughout the last few weeks. He's been really cooperative with us and we have been particularly thankful for the skill and efficiency in which he communicates to us. He hasn't laid down a large number of rules for us but what he has given us has been enforced with a cold ruthlessness.

1. No wet diapers. Poopy diapers are not desired, but I'm a flexible guy. Besides, I don't see the justification behind the stigma attached to poopy diapers. Couldn't you argue that poopy diapers are nature's own warm, organic spa treatment?

2. Diligent feeding is a virtue. Feed me on time every time and be quick about it. Some people say life is about the journey but to those people I say shut up and feed me. At my young age, there is very little that I am serious about but food is one of these things. If you prolong the eating process, you will feel my wrath like the stench of 10,000 poopy diapers wafting through your nostrils. DO NOT TEST ME ON THIS.

3. (For mom) I forbid the consumption of foods that will hurt my stomach. So what if you don't know all those foods yet. Not my problem. If you choose to violate this rule and offend my digestive system, I will respond by making judgmental eye contact and screaming at both of you for the duration of my uncomfortablity. You will not be able to comfort me as I will channel all of my anger into loud, soul-crushing shrieks that make you question your competency as a care-giver and I will stare deep into the heart of your soul and spit up on it. That, my parents, is a promise.

4. If you put me in a bath, I will pee on you. I don't know how I can be any clearer about this


Ajax Addresses a Serious Issue

3:41 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/8/08)

Der is a patturn of prejudiss goin on right now in my hous and franklee, de old Jax is sick of it. Jus because my brudder’s pasifierz keep disappearin does not meen dat I am de one steeling dem.

Tru, in the past I may be guiltee of chewing up de underware of my parents, but who among us has not chewed up our parents underwear? For dat I’m most posetive dat we are all guiltee.

Der was dis one insident last chrismus where I may have eaten all de gingerbread people as dey stood in front of dere gingerbread home. But my sister, Emma, dared me to eat dem and I couldn’t look at myself in de toilets reflecshun if I didn’t answer her dare. De old Jax has gotta defen his manhood, you know?

So for dose of you who think that it is ok to pin de tail of blame on de old Jax, shame on you. Dere is an old saying from my homeland of Acapulco: No todos los que chiflan son arrieros. For dose of you who cannot speak my nativ tongue dat meens, don’t juge a book by its cover.

Beesides, what would Ajax do wit dese pasifierz? Its not like I could sell dem to de packratz who leev across de street for milkbonez because dat is jus crazy talk and you shuldn’t believe everything dat Rodger de beagle tellz you becaws one time I watched him eat his own poop and can you reelly trust someone who eats his own poop? De anser is no becaws if histry has tauht us anything it is dat poop eaters shoud never be trusted, you know?

Regardless, check yoself before you come at de Jax wit dose crazy allegashuns becawz it wood be unfortunate if all your underware got eaten or sumthing cimilarly trajic. Considder yoselves warned.


Ajax Leonard McCoy, Esquire


A Preemptive Parental Apology

3:39 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 12/7/08)

One of the perks of having a baby is the influx of visitors who come by to sneak a peek at our little guy. It's nice when people stop by because it has a way of evacuating us from the baby bedlam and reintroducing us to normal adult conversation.

If we aren't careful though, conversation can quickly turn to the current color and texture of Rowe's feces which is no doubt a delight for those not yet a part of the parenting faction. I realized this from a clever insight made from one of our recent guests.

Having Rowe is such a huge and monumental life change and I mean to convey that without any tinge of negativity attached. It's crazy and stressful, but it also has completely redefined our concepts of love and happiness.

Unfortunately, I think this tidal wave of enthusiasm sometimes washes over new parents and we aren't careful in how condescending we can sound when discussing how great it is to be a parent.

Don't get me wrong, it is great, but that is only so because of the context in which it exists. We were ready for this and wanted it, so we love this current season of our life. That doesn't mean that those who don't have kids are somehow missing out, but sometimes this seems to be the unspoken message new parents clumsily relate. It just means that as new parents, we find ourselves perfectly stationed where we wanted to be.

There are so many different seasons of life that God blesses us with and this happens to be the one in which we find ourselves so forgive us, childless people, in advance for the hyperbolic rants about the newfound nirvana that only children can bring. Because even though it will take awhile for the joy he escorted into our lives to dissipate, this season will no doubt be followed by yet another season of life that is deemed best one ever. I guess it is all about the immediacy of the current situation.

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A Rowe Retrospective

3:35 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 11/24/08)

While it's only been 2 1/2 weeks since Rowe arrived, it feels closer to 4 months. Diapers, burping, and sleep deprivation may have something to do with that, but when the majority of your world revolves around this new person, every little thing is oohed over and it tends to slow time down.

It's like news coverage. We keep watching and waiting for the next big thing: a smile, eye contact, a good firm handshake or whatever, but we end up seeing the same things: red-faced bowel movements, grunting, and sleep. But we continue with this methodical Rowe-watching.

I don't think either of us would have it any other way because we're content to see his same old tricks. We'll be excited when we get that first cognizant smile, but we aren't wishing anything away right now.

My favorite memory from these past 2 weeks is right after Rowe was born and he was laid out in his incubator as the nurses ran the seemingly unending gauntlet of tests on him. I was floating around the room, not really knowing where to go or how to deal with ugly cry that was making its way up from my chest.

I remember sitting down on a stool and just watching him as the nurses yanked, poked, and prodded his little body. He had a long list of reasons from which to justify his crying and I wondered if I could offer any comfort to him yet, or if he would have to learn my smell, voice, and touch before he would allow himself to be comforted by me.

In my ignorance, I reached out to rub his chest hoping that this would inspire some kind of security within him. But as I extended my hand, his hand intercepted my finger and he gripped it with a ferocious and unrelenting grip. He stopped crying and his bobbing head turned in my direction.

Now I could tell you that he smiled, or said 'thank you' or 'what up', but I think we all know that most of that sequence was a newborn's involuntary movements and not a conscious effort to communicate with me. But that makes no difference to me because that first memory of interacting with Rowe will always be folded up and stored in my heart.

Regardless of whether or not it was pure chance that he grabbed my hand and looked in my direction, I will always have the memory of Rowe accepting his frazzled father's feeble attempt at comfort.

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A Special Message from Ajax

3:32 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 11/20/08)

So leesten...

Dere have been sum rumers lately about me stroogling wit depression. Let me be cleer: Ajax Leonard McCoy does not have mental helth problemz.

I would be lying if I sed dat I was escited about my liddle brudder. I'm sure it will be kool and evrything, but I mean, hallo? Who iz goin to spen any time with the Jax, you know? Evryone tells my mudder that dey are praying for her but no one sez anything to me about der prayers. Evryone forgets about ol Jax.

But its all good. On the pawsitive side, soon I will trane my liddle brudder how to drop his food for me so dat I can eat the tasty peeple food.

Also, hav you seen how many stuft animals dey have in my brudder's room now? I have like fiddy stuft animals to steal and pull de stoofing out of. Dere is dis one stuft dog that sits next to his crib and oh momma am I gunna show him who is de boss of dis house. He gets my blood a boilin de way he starez at me.

So in konclusion, feel free to send me bones an treets if you feel so led. It has been preddy tuff for me lately but tings are lookin up and I am escited to meet my liddle brudder.


Ajax Leonard McCoy Esquire


Love at First Sight...

3:28 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

(Originally Published 11/11/08)

We apologize for the delay in updating. Some nonsense about a baby being born.

So he's here and he's as beautiful and perfect as we thought he would be. I'll supply the cliff-notes version of the night: After a drug-addled sleep on Tuesday night, Ashley's water was broken around mid-morning and she experienced the fabled birth pains. As any curious person would, Ashley wanted to briefly experience the labor pain and then begin the epidural. Her wish was granted as she had to endure a significant amount of pain until she could receive her epidural.

From there, her body quickly began preparing itself for labor in the next few hours until hitting 9 1/2 cms. We stayed there from 3:30 until 7:00ish and the possibility of a C-section became more and more realistic. Fortunately, after increasing her pitocin, Ashley was ready to began pushing some time after 7pm and Rowe finally arrived at 8:48pm weighing 8 lbs and 3 oz and 21 1/2 inches long.

To explain the emotions we felt afterwards is impossible. It's like trying to find your way in a profound darkness. There is no concept I can communicate that can quantify the feeling of hearing Rowe cry for the first time. Hearing his first pitiful cry set off a flood of emotion within both of us that I can only describe as an emotion bomb in the delivery room. I hugged each and every nurse in that room and though I know they deal with births every day, Ashley and I were so thankful for each nurse and doctor in that room (though not as thankful as Ashley was for the epidural doc. She offered him a kiss and/or cookies after he worked his magic. He politely declined both) because we felt so indebted to them for the miracle they helped provide us with. While this was just another day at work for them, what they did changed our lives forever.

We returned home Friday and both of our families helped make our transition home so easy. We're so thankful for everyone that has visited and helped us catch some sleep as well as everyone who uttered a prayer for us throughout the entire pregnancy and labor process. It has been a surreal journey that has provoked so many things: maturity, priorities, family, and most of all the development of Ashley and my relationship. Rowe is quite an accomplished little fellow already isn't he?

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