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Baby’s First Pair of Shoes

This is the outfit that the Baby is supposed to wear on his way home from the Hospital

White Baby Shoes

Happy news! Although Mom2be had been feeling little “butterflies” for the last two weeks, we finally felt the Baby move for the first time today, March 28, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. Mom2be called me over, very excited and told me, “the baby just moved!” I put my hand on the belly, hoping with all my heart that I could also feel the movement. Sure enough, our baby kicked again to let me in on the fun. I immediately put my face to the belly and, in a warm voice, said, “Hi baby! Its Poppa!! Thanks for letting us know your there!! I can’t wait for you to come out and play!! We love you!” About 10 seconds later another kick(!) to confirm that baby had received my message (okay, that last part is my wishful thinking).

Then, I guess baby went back to sleep or whatever he is doing there inside the belly. Needless to say, this little moment of joy made my day, my week, my month, my year!

Ever since I found out that we were pregnant, I have been seriously thinking about religion, spirituality, and life, and how they each have affected and shaped my life. I don’t know if I would categorize myself as a good Catholic. Probably not. However, being raised Catholic by very traditional Mexican Catholics and also going to 12 years of Catholic School did have a very profound effect on my life, for the most part positive.

Catholicism gave me a set of beliefs, an internal compass; it gave me an identity, membership in a group, part of another family; it gave me scholarship and academia; it gave me traditions and rites to mark not only religious holidays, but important milestones in my life. It gave me the Sacrament of Marriage. All things that I still hold very dear in my life, even though for the most part, Catholicism is in the background. It comes and it goes but I always feel that I am welcome back no matter how long I’ve been away. And when I do come back, I feel the comfort of tradition, of the familiar.

Which brings me to fatherhood and our son. It is clear in my mind that I do want to pass down my Catholic religion and beliefs to our son. As he gets older and his mind develops, he can then choose for himself what he wants to believe in and whether to continue with Catholicism, just like I did when I became of age. I have discussed this with Mom2B and we are on the same page on this issue.

The most important thing to us is to make sure that our son will have a solid foundation of beliefs, values, traditions and myths that will help guide the child as he grows into a man and then to adulthood. For him not to be lost, so to speak, when confronted with the events of life (both good and bad), when facing ethical or moral questions, when having to make tough decisions. In short, I would like for my son to have an internal compass, a GPS device if you will, so that he can find his way no matter where he is at in life.

“The fourth function of traditional mythology is to carry the individual through the various stages and crises of life–that is, to help persons grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. This wholeness means that individuals will experience significant events, from birth to midlife to death, as in accord with, first, themselves, and secondly, with their culture, as well as thirdly, the universe, and lastly, with that mysterium tremendum beyond themselves and all things.”

–Joseph Campbell

“The first fact that distinguishes the human species from all others is that we are born too soon. We arrive, incapable of taking care of ourselves for something like fifteen years. Puberty doesn’t come along for twelve years or more, and physical maturity doesn’t arrive until our early twenties. During the greater part of this long arc of life, the individual is in a psychological situation of dependency. We are trained, as children, so that every stimulus, every experience, leads us simply to react, “Who will help me?” We are in a dependent relationship with our parents. Every situation evokes parental images: “What would Mommy and Daddy want me to do?” Freud made a great point of this dependence.”
–Joseph Campbell

I came across this passage and I liked it for various reasons.  I read it and re-read it, trying to grasp it all and decipher it in my mind.  I thought about it for a few days and even discussed it with Mom2be. I have been thinking of concepts such as the one described above during times that I have asked myself, “What is the role of a father?”  and “What kind of father do I want to be?” 

The passage above just solidifies for me a very important concept that I had thought about, but had been unable to put into words so far–the fact that my child will be completely dependent on me and his mother.  As a father, some of my many roles are to be the provider, the guardian of the family, the teacher, the role model (this is a whole other post!).  Being a father is a huge responsibility and I must rise up to the challenge.  The passage also makes it “concrete” to me the fact that a child’s relationship with his or her mother and father is probably the most important factor in the development of the child. I made a mental note to remind myself of that importance everyday–as parents, my wife and I will be the most important factor in the development of our child. Read the rest of this entry »

I also remember all the “teaching tools” that my mom utilized in order to teach us the brand of Catholicism known as Mexican Catholicism.  Her Mexican Catholicism and beliefs were passed down to her by her parents, and probably for generations.  Praying El Rosario in espanol, praying to La Virgen de Guadalupe, reading La Sagrada Bibilia, going to La Iglesia, 12 years of Catholic School, and of course, seeing the many IMAGES of religion, were some of the tools used. 

One of the tools that my mom used were posters hung up on the walls in our house.  Kids learn from images.  Do any of you remember the classic “Dos Caminos” poster?  This is the poster where it shows a little guy at a crossroads—one road had all the vices: loose women, gambling dice, empty wine bottles, etc. and that road led to a fiery Hell.  The other road was paved with good works and of course, led to the great paradise that is Heaven.  The poster was supposed to be a visual aid in learning right from wrong, and choosing the “right” road to travel in life.

I found a version of the “Dos Caminos” poster online and here it is for your viewing pleasure.  However,  I don’t think it’s the same one that my mom had for us. 

Dos Caminos Poster

I look up to and respect one of my Comprades very much. He is a great husband, father and family man with two small children already.  Through this fatherhood journey, I have often sought his counsel and guidance.  Hard to believe, but we have been best of friends for 13 years now even though we don’t see each other often because of distance (he lives up in the NoCal).  Thank God for email, telephone, and our annual reunions.  Anyway, I asked my Compadre to share with me some Old-School Oraciones so that I can teach my child.  Here is what I got:

“I have two short ones.  When my sis and I would walk to school, and we were always afraid that several dogs (they run all over the place in Mexico City) would bite us or chase us.  So my Abuelita told us to say this prayer if we were ever afraid of a dog:  

“Perro en ti, Dios en mi, que la sangre de Cristo me libre de ti.”

And after every meal, before we left the table, we had to stand up, put our hands together, close our eyes, and say this one:

“Bendito sea, el padre eterno, que nos dio un pan de comer sin merecerlo. 

Gracias a la divina providencia.  Amen.”

It was our ticket to be out of the table.  I love this one too, because it says that we didn’t deserve to eat.  I love it.”

“We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’ His name is ‘Today.’”

–Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral (April 7, 1889 – January 10, 1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Indian and European influences.

I went on YouTube looking for the original video for this song, but instead I found this wonderful video. I wanted to dedicate this song to my son.

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
Song lyrics by John Lennon

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He’s on the run and your daddy’s here,

Beautiful,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It’s getting better and better,

Beautiful,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we’ll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it’s a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling,
Darling,
Darling Sean.

boy bootiesBaby Boy Cake

He put one dab of jelly on the right side of the belly, and one dab of jelly on the left side. Then he put one dab in the middle, slightly lower, followed by a long curvy line underneath to make a “Happy Face” out of the jelly on the belly. With that, Dr. P began the ultrasound exam.

“No doubt about it,” Doctor P proclaimed. “Its going to be boy!” Dr. P pointed at the monitor screen and said, “See that there, that is the left leg, that’s the right leg, and in between, that there is a penis and a scrotum.” And that is how we found out our child is going to be boy.

On the way out, I got into my car and turned on the radio. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2 was playing. It was a very good day.