Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prenatal classes and an answer to, "Hey, do you have anything new coming out?"

Hello All,


So my lovely girlfriend and I have been going to prenatal classes for the past six weeks, in anticipation of the baby's imminent arrival (next month). I've enjoyed the classes and I think they're really valuable for first-time parents. There are so many little, and big, things you sort of need at least a little grounding in before the grand event itself.

Last night it was breastfeeding. Which, truth told, is something that concerns a lot of first-time mothers. Will I produce enough milk? Will the baby "latch" properly? These and other issues are causes of concern for mothers. And fathers, too, if only because it's hard to watch mothers struggle with those things.

But the classes are funny, too. Our instructor was a real earthy woman—a nurse, a lactation consultant, just a straightforward get-'er-done kind of person—and last night we talked a lot about what to expect with our baby's ... er, output.

Our instructor called these "poops." Or "stools." We talked a lot about poops and stools last night.

Evidently those maiden stools should be sticky-black, like tar ...

Oh, wait—are you eating right now? If you've got a sensitive belly this might not be the best reading material. Just so you know.

And then, after those tarlike loads—which should happen within the first few days of the baby's life—the "poops" should turn green, then greeny-yellow, then yellow, then establish a more normal coloration. They should be, as our instructor put it, variously "pasty, mushy, or seedy." Once every seven days it is apparently common for a baby to produce a staggeringly voluminous, diaper-bulging stool. A truly heroic poop. So we shouldn't be worried about that.

What father would be worried? Nice poop, junior! That's a blue-ribbon winner!

But we parents must be ever-watchful of our newborn's stools, evidently. If they're not suitably pasty or seedy (what does that even mean? Do these stools, like, grow scraggly mustaches and buy switchblades and start hanging out at grungy bars down in the Bowery?) then there could be issues. And our baby's pees shouldn't be too dark yellow or crystalized orange, either—this may mean baby's not getting enough colostrum, or enough mature milk.

A good, healthy baby should be producing two "wet, heavy diapers" in their first few days, along with 1-10 poops, a few of which should be "large stools"—bigger than a quarter.

So, am I going to be counting stools? You bet! That's part of being a parent, so far as I can tell. I will buy a pair of jeweller's calipers and measure the stools, too, to make sure they are suitably "large." It's like measuring fish caught in the wild—if they don't measure up, back in the lake they go!

Not to make too light of things ... you really do have to be on the lookout for this stuff. It's going to be a lot of changes coming, real quick. Our entire lives will change in a lovely way.


Realizing how much things are going to change, how much of my life will be taken up with the new baby, I've been pretty busy writing of late. I had a stretch of nearly 8 months where I didn't have a day job; in addition to the freelance work I was able to complete, I had a big fiction output. Novels, stories, and so on. I guess I realized it would be the last chance I'd have for awhile to really get some work under my belt.

I say so because lately—likely because of the movie hubbub—people (random wellwishers as well as editors and producers so on) have been asking, "Hey, are you writing anything else? What else do you have?"

Anyone who is really, professionally interested in that is urged to contact my agent, Kirby Kim, directly; you can find the contact details on my website, in the "ABOUT" section:

Contact Kirby

But just as a matter of interest, I can re-iterate what I've stated on this blog before, albeit some months ago now.

My next book is called CATARACT CITY. Some people like this title. So do I! It's actually the nickname for Niagara Falls—the latin for waterfall is cataracta, I believe, so the English version is Cataract, another name for waterfall. It's the story of two boys growing up in Niagara Falls, and it focuses on some of those things that have, and will continue to fascinate me: wrestling, dog racing, fighting (duh!), cigarette smuggling, friendships between boys as they become men, the beautiful mystery of women, and a strong sense of place. I realize now that my place, fictionally-speaking, is southern Ontario. I get the vibes of that place better than anyplace else.

So that will be coming out ... well, a date's not been set yet. It'll come out with Doubleday in Canada, Graywolf Press in the US, Atlantic Books in the UK, and Albin Michel in France. There's some editing yet to be done on it.

Beyond that, I've written two other books (one very far afield of my usual, and another that may be YA), plus some stories, some of which have been accepted for upcoming publication. I'm about 30k into a sort-of thriller right now. Plus my day job. Plus the baby. So things are pretty busy, but I've got a good backlog of work to carry me through what may be an extended fallow patch where I won't have the luxury of writing time.

Thus ends the update.

All best, Craig.

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