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Operation Squirrelly

Well, I promised you some news, so here you go. Operation Squirrelly -- previously alluded to here -- is a success.

We've known for a while. In fact, we knew almost immediately. But it wasn't until The Queen came home from her first Nurse / Midwife appointment with sonogram in hand that the truth really sunk in: I was now the proud father of what appeared to be a packing peanut. Wow," I said upon looking at the image. "You get 50 more in there and that uterus is ready to ship!" (Note: do not say this to your wife.)

I don't know what I expected to happen next -- maybe we'd get a few more of these ultrasound pictures, like postcards from the womb, and then nine months later The Squirrelly would just show up in a taxi or something. Little did I imagine that the next step would be for us to start eating like hippies. The Queen purchased a book called Every Woman's Guide to Eating During Pregnancy (A.K.A. How To Make Your Husband As Unhappy As You Are During Pregnancy) and began whipping up the sort of dishes that make vegans giddy. Seriously, the first meal she made involved red chard. Do you know what chard is? Do you know why you never eat chard? Well, I'm here to tell you that once you eat chard, the reasons why you never eat chard become abundantly clear.

(I was recently talking to someone at work about Operation Squirrelly and mentioned that The Queen had just entered the second trimester. "Ah," said my coworker, "She's entering the salad days." I was immediately seized by fear, thinking she meant that, during the next three months, we'd be eating salad more often than we already do! Thankfully, the opposite has been true: now The Queen eats seven meals a day, two of which usually involve The Outback Steakhouse, so I can pick and choose which ones to join.)

Either because of or in addition to the chard, the first trimester was rough on The Queen. Apparently placentasmithing is hard work, and she was pretty much exhausted all the time. I told her she should write down her daily caloric intake, estimate how many calories she was getting out of the deal, and write the difference in a ledger. Then, when The Squirrelly gets older, we can make it pay us back in chores. "You're not going anywhere this weekend," we'll say. "You've got 23,800 calories worth of lawn to mow."

But The Queen's been feeling much better now that she's entered her fourth month. Now I feel sorry for the cats. Since the addition of Edgar to the household it's been a monkeys-vs-kitties stalemate, with each team having equal members. Team Monkey really only holds power by virtue of the fact that we can open doors and cans. But throughout the first trimester, I think the cats thought they had a defector. After all, The Queen has begun to exhibit some distinctly feline qualities, namely (a) sleeping 19 hours a day, (b) becoming exceptionally finicky about food, and (c) occasionally throwing up without warning or provocation. I'm sure they were thinking "Once we convince her to start pushing beer coasters off the coffee table, she'll be our!" Little do they know of the monumental act of treachery The Queen has in store for them, when, in six months, she not only rejoins Team Monkey but brings on the reinforcements.

Anyhow, that's the news. The due date is February 21st. But I need everyone in the Internet Community to spend three minutes a day hoping for February 29th. It would be totally fun to torture The Squirrelly three out of every four years by saying "Sorry, no birthday presents again this year. I don't make the rules, I just follow them." That's gonna be awesome.

Posted on September 02, 2003 to The Squirrelly


P.s. Encouragement, advice and sympathy for The Queen can be sent to TheQueen@defectiveyeti.com.

Posted by: Matthew on September 2, 2003 3:23 PM

Oh boy. You're so gloriously doomed. Congratulations you poor doomed bastard(s).
John (father of two)

Posted by: John Moe on September 2, 2003 3:33 PM

I've got four, so shut it.

Posted by: thohan on September 2, 2003 3:36 PM

i have fish, so I am naively and one-dimensionally happy for you!

and a snail too. i also have a snail.

Posted by: Jeannie Yandel on September 2, 2003 3:56 PM

We just have a hairy hound called Molly...!!!

Seriously though, congratulations to you both - brilliant news!

Posted by: David Way on September 2, 2003 4:03 PM

Congratulations! Any ideas for names yet? I recommend "Chuckles" for a boy, and "Chuckles" for a girl.

Posted by: Andy Baio on September 2, 2003 4:36 PM


i am curious to watch and see when exactly your train of thought begins to derail.

since the queen is soon to reproduce, and the name is squirrelly, are we to assume this will be the rodent prince? the hairy heir apparent?

i think we (as in your voyeuristic public) should begin suggesting names.

Posted by: lisa on September 2, 2003 4:38 PM

So... How much sleep does a computer programmer need? ... Uhuh... Well, you won't be getting it. :P

Congratulations on your lil' bundle of joy anyhow! I'm sure you'll make a great (And hilarious) Father. :)

Posted by: James Metcalf on September 2, 2003 4:40 PM

Congrats! I, too, did not know what the heck chard was until my wife got pregnant. Eventually she made me get donuts at midnight. That made up for the chard, I think.

Posted by: Jack on September 2, 2003 4:40 PM

Wonderful news! I personally preferred the pre-pregnancy calendar as a form of retaliation, as opposed to the caloric punishment. You can keep track of every day of pain and anguish (oh yeah, as well as the joyous days. Koff koff...) and then have DOCUMENTATION of the woes of pregnancy. The bruises along the ribs, the stretch marks, the varicose veins....should I continue? I now have a solid investment in my future, thanks to three pre-natal calendars. BEtter than Blue Chip, I tell ya!

Posted by: Cath on September 2, 2003 4:48 PM

Nice first entry. I'm confident that you're gonna go all Seinfeld on us, rather than going all Cosby on us.

- d

Posted by: dave on September 2, 2003 4:57 PM

Congratulations to both of you!!

My wife and I just had our first little squidget five months ago. We are really really excited for you. The beginning is harder than anyone will ever even tell you, but then it really does get soo much better. I'm already at the point where I can't imagine life without her.

Ellie was actually born on-line, thanks to MT and some doctor in the hospital who left their wi-fi wide-open, so if you feel like reading the whole play-by-play, click below.

Alternatively, just enter "mucus plug" into google and click "I'm feeling lucky".

(If that doesn't scare you off...)

Posted by: Kevin/Caryn/Ellie on September 2, 2003 5:12 PM

Congrats. As the happy father of two tetras, a sucker fish, and a cat, I can assure you that we both feel luckier than each other.

Posted by: KOTWF on September 2, 2003 5:50 PM

As the father of five squigglets, two of which just graduated this year and the last trailer of which just entered Jr.K, let me say this: Sleep. Now. Go directly to sleep. Do not collect $200 (won't be enough anyway) and do not pass Go.

As for food and things and stuff and all the many products people are going to line up for your sleep-deprived proud-as-anything vulnerable and worried sick little good hearts to buy buy buy, trust me on this: All it takes is love. That's how you got into this, that's how you get out of it, that's how you cope with the middles. Love isn't obsessing, it's not worrying. It's a trust fund.

My mother, she of three boys, adds these two:

1. First child, you boil the bottles for 20 minutes. Second child you pour boiling water over the nipples (the bottle's not your own). Third child you blow hard --phwewt-- and rub the hard stuff off on your sleeve.

2. You can always tell the mother of three boys. She's the one who knows that screaming doesn't work -- I will append that you can always tell the father of three girls, he's the one who knows that reason doesn't work either.

Posted by: mrG on September 2, 2003 7:24 PM

Operation Squirly *hehhehhehhehhehhehheh*

Don't mind me. I'll be over here dying of laughter for another few days.

Posted by: Aiden on September 2, 2003 8:18 PM

on the subject of 'salad days':

I sat in on a University Shakespear class. There was a crazy substitute teaching that day who liked to talk about sex a lot.

In the middle of a speach about how anthony and cleopatra were androgynous, she said that in the olden days, girls ate certain salads to prevent contraception. So when Cleo yearns for her 'salad days', she's not just thinking about the good old days, she's thinking about sleeping around...

Given that this teacher was a complete nut, I don't know how true this information is.

Posted by: Pippi on September 2, 2003 8:31 PM

Well, none of the experts on the matter (e.g., here and here) seem to think that's what salad days means. Ah, well.

In the meantime, many congrats! My wife went through a healthy food kick all the way through her pregnancy (ended up loving a pound, net, when the whole thing was over), but she was kind enough not to impose her food predilictions on me. Indeed, I got all her french fries, so it was all good.

Again, congratulations to you both.

Posted by: *** Dave on September 2, 2003 8:50 PM

I saw a report a couple of years ago that ultrasounds have been found to have a slight negative effect on the baby statistically. The surprised researchers were out to demonstrate that it was safe. So I wouldn't go mad on those strange pictures.

Posted by: Jim Birch on September 2, 2003 9:36 PM

Congratulations Matthew! You must have conceived about a week after you wrote the post about trying. I'm due approximately 3 weeks after the Queen.

I admit to feeling doomed. Today when we heard the heartbeat my husband said "It's alive!" as a joke. (I don't mind jokes at our fetus's expense.) I couldn't stop laughing thinking about the 1970s movie "It's Alive" and the baby in it that ate the postman.

I don't know what the Queen is like besides feeling sick...if she is like me then God help you--my husband found it lifesaving to hide the knives...

No, really. Congratulations!

Posted by: Miel on September 3, 2003 12:33 AM

My not-so-much-better half claims having a squidget is almost as bad as having a girlfriend squared. You know with demands on your time, money, sleep, etc. But congrats anyway! And may your peanut turn out to be twice as cool as the figures on a sea-monkey box.

Posted by: emese on September 3, 2003 2:03 AM

I wish you and your expectant family the best of health.

Posted by: craig on September 3, 2003 3:51 AM

Congrats!!! I look forward to your postings!! Enjoy all the moments... they never come by again.... and it goes by fast. I'm the mom of three young men. :o) Wish there had been blogging when mine were little... kids do the most hilarious... AND the sweetest stuff... in between all the stuff that makes you want to scream!!

Posted by: Malie on September 3, 2003 5:06 AM

Congratulations! I'm about as far as humanly possible away from forming my own little ranter but I hope to be as hilarious about it as you are when the time comes.

Posted by: Ryan Waddell on September 3, 2003 5:17 AM

We just had a baby four months ago. In the initial ultrasound I decided the baby looked like a bean. I decided to refer to the wife as "the Bean Bag". Unfortunately she didn't find it as funny as I did.

Posted by: Chris on September 3, 2003 5:48 AM

Welcome to the ranks of pre-fatherhood. Are there dues or initiation rites? More than you know.

Posted by: Bert on September 3, 2003 6:36 AM

Congrats to you and the queen. My advice, try to remember all the good things you do now, because in a couple of years you're going to ask each other, "What did we do with all the extra time and money we had before we had squirelly?" Seriously, though. I have two daughters and I cried like a little girl during both of their births. There is no more awesome and daunting feeling than holding that baby and knowing you are now responsible for it for the next 20 years or so.

Posted by: The Unknown Blogger on September 3, 2003 7:06 AM

Salutations and congratulations. Children are a wonderful reminder of why we keep doing this over and over, even when they kick and scream and tell us they hate us.

Posted by: ryan on September 3, 2003 7:08 AM

Yay! A little Yeti!

(The hairier the fetus the more heartburn the mom 'supposedly' gets during pregnancy. Yetis are hairy right? .... poor Queen.)

Posted by: Heather on September 3, 2003 7:59 AM

Go on vacation. Now.

Posted by: Dave on September 3, 2003 8:11 AM

Interesting. Your offspring has not arrived yet you already have a "pet" name for him/her

Posted by: Steve on September 3, 2003 8:19 AM

Congrats to you guys :)

Im going to go spew milk out my nose now in honor of your kitties. :P

Posted by: Jiggles on September 3, 2003 8:21 AM


I like chard more than babies.

Posted by: Squidocto on September 3, 2003 8:28 AM

As the proud keeper of Scooter (a schnauzer) and Bunny (a bunny), I have but one piece of advice for you -- lay in lots of Haagen Dazs!

Congrats! :)

Posted by: Stacey on September 3, 2003 8:34 AM

I dunno. That last time I laid in lots of Haagen Dazs I got frostbite.

Posted by: Matthew on September 3, 2003 8:36 AM

Many congrats.

The kitties still outnumber the monkeys 2-to-1 at my house, but we all just found out we're going to be aunts come April. Must be spawning season or something.

Posted by: Anne on September 3, 2003 9:13 AM

Congrats. I've got two boys (almost 4, and 1.5) at home right now, and one due in about 5 weeks. Let me give you a bit of friendly advice. When your wife's 8 months pregnant...don't go out and buy a puppy. I don't know what the heck we were thinking.

But all's not lost. Rather than "salad days", the wife is having "ice cream days". So every night, I get a chance to score extra points and also get some ice cream out of the deal. I just wait until the kids are in bed, then ask her if she needs anything. 9 out of 10 times the answer is "yeah, could you run to the store and get me some ice cream?"

Posted by: Sam on September 3, 2003 9:27 AM

Be careful with that Leap Year plan...otherwise you can end up with a 20 year old entering kindergarden (and most frightening of all - LIVING AT HOME!)

Posted by: April on September 3, 2003 11:06 AM

Did somebody say "mucous plug"?

Posted by: Allan on September 3, 2003 11:11 AM

Wow! A packing peanut! You are a lucky man. Most of the ultrasounds I have seen look more like a map of Europe. Now you can go out and buy all those cool toys and pretend that they are for the kid. How perfect is that?!?!

Robert (a Ballard boy)

Posted by: Robert Douglas on September 3, 2003 11:46 AM

Yay! More monkeys!
Flash mop at your house end of Feb?

Posted by: dayment on September 3, 2003 1:12 PM

We nicknamed ours "Cletus the Fetus" and "Bob the Blob". Of course, she turned out to be "Julia". We also thought she closely resembled a peanut at the 6-week ultrasound, but by sweet jebus there were like three pixels right in the center that wildly gyrated from day one, meaning a real, honest-to-god heart. That was cool. Wait until the later ultrasounds, when you see all four chambers of the heart, and the stomach cavity, and little arms and legs waving around. Rather profound. Our doctor picked on ours because you could see her tongue sticking out quite often... curiously, she still does it.

All right, reality (from the father of an almost 4 month old):

The first month can suck. Hard. It is no lie to say that you will probably not find much sleep. Even the ultimate newborn ever placed upon the earth sleeps at most 4 hours at a whack... usually it's closer to 2, 2.5. You will be edgy, The Queen will be edgy. You will pray to all that's holy (and, quite possibly, things that aren't even clean much less holy) that your baby just sleeps for a couple of goddamned hours, is that SO MUCH TO ASK?!??! Ahem. However, you will find yourself often at 3 in the morning with a little 7 pound bundle on your shoulder who finally wore herself out and wouldn't wake for the world, and you can feel her breathing and it'll help.

If you're lucky, your baby will start working up towards only one late-night feeding in a couple of weeks. That's pretty nice. If you're very lucky, you'll find that one day she slept through... you probably _didn't_, since you figured a stuffed animal fell off the shelf and landed right in her miniscule airway and you popped awake every half hour after 2:00AM to go check on her figuring that she'll wake up _ANY SECOND NOW_, but she'll do it. And the next night. And the next night. And that's when it gets better. We got lucky, our daughter started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. And by that I mean from ~9:00PM to ~8:00AM. Yours might start earlier. Pray you don't get one like my coworker whose daughter has yet to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time and who is 18 fucking months old. If that's the case, I assume we will never get another blog entry out of you.

Personally, I'd resist the temptation to have her in your room, even "at first." She slept in our room the first night home, but every night thereafter was in her nursery. I think it helped her and us.

I know, this seems serious for a yeti comment. Would it help if I told you I was naked typing this?

Posted by: ColdForged on September 3, 2003 1:33 PM


If you're looking for a bit of laughter to liven up the pregnancy, may I suggest the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" books. Our favorite part was the "What to Expect Diet", which tells you that if you do well on the diet all week, you should treat yourself to a ... (anticipation builds) ... bran muffin!!

Personally, I also recommend seeing if you can gain as much weight as The Queen during this nine months. It takes some work, but it helps afterwards when neither of you can ever achieve your original shape again.

Posted by: Dugrless on September 3, 2003 2:09 PM

Congratulations to both of you!

As the proud mommy of one terrific little boy, I can really understand a lot of what you are going through. During my first trimester I went all healthy eating too, but it didn't work for me - I wasn't gaining weight fast enough. My doctor told me to eat as much icecream as I could (along with all the good stuff!) to help get those extra calories. Oh, and you are extremely tired that first trimester, but somewhere in the middle of the second, that stops, and you have soooooo much energy as you go into what they call the "nesting" stage. I redid a bathroom, organized closets, redid the soon to be baby's room, and just basically couldn't stop doing things till nearly about the day before he was born.

Which was an emergency c-section a month early ... and he was a tiny 4lb14oz. But perfectly healthy and such a doll! Oh, and I'm going to agree with ColdForged. The first month or so probably will be very hard. Baby was up every two hours for a feeding, and that was half an hour to feed/change him, put him down, and then a while to fall back asleep ... only to do it all over again in an hour. VERY hard on mommys. (and daddys) There very well may be a bit of frustration and tears. (please help the queen as much as you can during the night - it's hard work, and with all those out of wack hormones - just getting the baby when it wakes up and bringing it to her to nurse will help so much) All quickly forgotten once things start going smoothly, and you get that first amazing little smile.

Oh, and if you breast feed - don't expect the little yeti to go asleep through the night anytime soon - it takes longer for them then their formula fed counterparts. Baby didn't sleep consistantly throught the night till 6 months - although he was down to only one feeding a night at 3 and half months (which was very do-able).

Sorry this is getting long - one last thing, everyone will have advice for you - and horror stories - don't let it overwhelm you. Every pregnacy is different, every baby an individual, but both are rewarding and special.

Best wishes,

Posted by: Keiric on September 3, 2003 2:47 PM

Congratulations! Your lives will never be the same, and most of the time that will be a good thing. Yes, the first month or two are incredibly hard, but just remember . . .

Never mind. I promised myself I wouldn't give any unsolicited advice. I also won't touch either your or the Queen's belly, or try to pluck little Squirrely from your arms once he or she joins the rest of us out here in the world. Promise.

Posted by: Caryn on September 3, 2003 5:26 PM

Man, everybody's expecting a goober all of a sudden. IS THERE GOING TO BE SOME KIND OF POPULATION EXPLOSION? WHAT ARE YOU THIRTYSOMETHINGS DOING?!? Well, maybe that way they'll be contributing enough to Social Security by the time I'm ready to collect. In that case, nice going.

Posted by: dr gonzo on September 3, 2003 6:21 PM

Any word on who the father is?

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on September 3, 2003 6:25 PM


Posted by: Isabel on September 3, 2003 7:12 PM

A name suggestion:
I had a friend who named his car Stink, after his pet bobwhite. He liked to call himself Chelm, but don't use that one; that's just weird.

Posted by: ken on September 3, 2003 7:32 PM

Congrats to you and your queen! I read back to the earlier posting, and have to say that the one thing my wife said was good about being pregnant was not changing litterboxes. This confused me, since we didn't have a cat at the time, but I assumed it was just a continuity error and that the writers would fix it when they got a chance...

Posted by: Tom on September 3, 2003 9:52 PM


I am the happy father of a 5 year old boy and a one year old girl, and I can still remember the day my son first slept through the night. My wife and I woke up several times in the night to listen for crying in the monitor, but all we heard was the occasional sigh, bed squeak, etc. When the sun came up, we congratulated ourselves on having made it through a parenting milestone. When I got out of the shower and went into my son's room my wife was holding him in her lap but they both had a really sad look in their eyes. I said "What's wrong?", and then I heard some other woman happily talking to some other baby in the monitor.

You guessed it, when we turned the monitor's transmitter on the night before, we had inadvertantly switched the channel and listened to some other baby sleep all through the night.

Be kind to the Queen, if you are not already in awe, you will be. Also remember to PRACTISE what you learn in the childbirth education classes. It will help take your mind off of all the group sharing about various birthing intimacies.

That first smile is life changing, but wait till they tell you their first joke - again and again and again and again and again. My advice is to give your kids lots of love, but remember that they are just kids and keep a sense of humor. Everything else is details.

Posted by: Brian on September 4, 2003 7:13 AM

On further reflection... I thought Chard was a pokemon character... am I wrong?

Posted by: Ryan Waddell on September 4, 2003 7:46 AM

Congratulations. Also, I just wanted to comment on this:

"I saw a report a couple of years ago that ultrasounds have been found to have a slight negative effect on the baby statistically. The surprised researchers were out to demonstrate that it was safe. So I wouldn't go mad on those strange pictures. "

Just FYI, this was proven to be complete bunk. The reason they came up with this outcome was because women with high-risk pregnancies were sent for more ultrasounds. Also, any ultrasound that shows any abnormalities is often followed up by yet another ultrasound. Hence, sick/high-risk babies are going to have more ultrasounds. They are not sick/high-risk because of the ultrasounds.

Anyway, have fun. Hopefully she is into the 'doing-it' stage. heh. That brief period of time when she'll wanna do it all the time and still be small enough to actually manage it.

Posted by: amy on September 4, 2003 8:20 AM

May I suggest the name Skipper? Skip isn't bad either. Perhaps Sailor?

Posted by: kris on September 4, 2003 12:27 PM


How DARE you announce this while I am on vacation?!?! Being the 54th person to congratulate you is no good at all!

I bet queens and yetis make pretty packing peanuts.

Posted by: brittney on September 4, 2003 1:55 PM

I just found http://www.ironycentral.com/babymain.html

If you've known about it forever, great. If not, you will need thi site once Squirrelly comes out to play.

Posted by: Caryn on September 5, 2003 8:38 AM

Some of my favorite bloggers have disappeared off the face of the Internet in the first months after the birth of a child, so my advice to you is to write a whole bunch of posts in advance. Write about what you THINK it's going to be like, and then we can all have a hearty laugh when the truth comes out later.

Posted by: Mrs. Kennedy on September 5, 2003 8:59 AM

wow, eerie congratulations. we were actually given a due date of feb. 25, and were gunning for the 29th as well, but our first ultrasound showed either a) a giant mutant or b) an older baby than they thought. Net result: we got bumped up almost two weeks.

Squirrely: good name, thankfully not food-related (unless, of course, you're among those squirrel-brain-eating hillbillies in Appalachia. two words: Mad Cow.) All the websites we found seemed to compare the creature to an item of food ("This week, Baby's as big as a grain of rice!") or worse, they'd do so in "Look Who's Talking" mode, ("Now I'm the size of a small orange!"). At an early, Tostito-sized stage, we took to calling this creature Nacho. It was only a couple of weeks later when a street kid/drug dealer vic on Law&Order turned up with that name.

We're obviously already doomed. Maybe some day our juvenile delinquent can run off with your teased haired mall rat.

Posted by: greg.org on September 9, 2003 2:28 PM