September 7, 2008
I don't usually talk about my personal life here, but I have to make an exception in this case.
I debated for days which geeky reference I would use as a synonym for "we're having a baby". The title is the best I could do. I'm truly sorry.
As an aside, this is something my wife and I have worked at for a number of years, and was only truly possible through the Miracle of Sciencetm. Despite the best of intentions, you really start to resent all those teenage couples who manage to get pregnant so awkwardly and accidentally. Oh, that's right! You have sex! It's so obvious in retrospect!
Not that managing to procreate is anything special compared to programming. Just ask the inestimable Richard Stallman:
It doesn't take special talents to reproduce -- even plants can do it. On the other hand, contributing to a program like Emacs takes real skill. That is really something to be proud of.
It helps more people, too.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to stocking our unborn child's mind with all my insane, crazy ideas. I think Dave Eggers said it best in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, describing a road trip he took with his younger brother after the death of his parents:
His brain is my laboratory, my depository. Into it I can stuff the books I choose, the television shows, the movies, my opinion about elected officials, historical events, neighbors, passersby. He is my twenty-four-hour classroom, my captive audience, forced to ingest everything I deem worthwhile. He is a lucky, lucky boy! And no one can stop me. He is mine, and you cannot stop me, cannot stop us. Try to stop us, you pu**y! You can't stop us from singing, and you can't stop us from making fart sounds, from putting our hands out the window to test the aerodynamics of different hand formations, from wiping the contents of our noses under the front of our seats.
We cannot be stopped from looking with pity upon all the world's sorry inhabitants, they unblessed by our charms, unchallenged by our trials, unscarred and thus weak, gelatinous. You cannot stop me from telling Toph to make comments about and faces at the people in the next lane.
It's unfair. The matchups, Us. v. Them (or you) are unfair. We are dangerous. We are daring and immortal. Fog whips up from under the cliffs and billows over the highway. Blue breaks from beyond the fog and sun suddenly screams from the blue.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, with any luck, he or she will be scarred for life. That's a proud family tradition where I come from.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Congratulation and good luck.
I would never try to change such an announcement like We will have a baby to such a technical an non-human one Spawning a New Process.
Jeff, I would suggest to keep personal things personal ... not technical. Otherwise you would never have birthday, but getting a new version :)
... oops. And sorry that I forgot :)
Congratulation and the very best to you and your growing family!
Congratulations Jeff. As someone who's currently waiting for the miracle of science, this post gives me hope. And I totally understand your comment about teenagers having babies.
BTW, you might want to remove some of the more personal information in that picture.
Looks like Atwood 2.0 has been released to manufacturing :)
Congrats and best wishes.
I bet he will want to be a actor when he grows up. And he will really like oranges.
Anyway, Congratulations Jeff.
my best wishes and big congratulations
Oh god, congratulations man. =D You gotta be so proud and happy.
It also scares me a bit what will this child have to go through with the father it'll have. Think we have a Coding Horror Redux in the making? =p
Hmm, 83 identical comments. Boring and predicatble.
Congratulations. May your child bring you delight and wonder.
Congratulations! I've been a father for just over 11 months now, and I have to say that our daughter is the absolute best thing that ever happened to me. You're going to love being a father! Best of luck!
Hey great news Jeff !
I'm not Stallman but I tell you: Being a father is much much more than contributing to emacs.
wow jeff. congrats! have 2 more then we'll be tied!
I'm guessing you are already signing him/her up with openid, a blog account somewhere, and a facebook profile ;)
Congratulations Jeff and Mrs Atwood. After forking off a few carbon-based processes myself I can say it is entirely worth it. I learned a lot about myself, and nothing else (short of my own birth originally) has been so profoundly life-changing.
Regarding being scarred for life....well - can you imagine having your own character flaws (or those of your loving partner) magnified and reflected back at you? How about sleep deprivation for the next year of your life? How about being scratched, bitten, vomited on, urinated on, defacated on and hit in the groin by someone so small and beautiful you couldn't possibly be angry with them? How about reading the cat in the hat or the very hungry catipiller 20 or 30 times a day for months on end? Good luck.
You do realize he/she is going to be a complete jock and care nothing about computers.
Don't laugh, it happened to me.
Congratulations. I've also just found out that I'm going to be a Dad.
I to have a stock of crazy offbeat ideas I've been working on to populate my child's mind. Perhaps, I should start him/her off on Python first...
since I am interested in coding I nerver thought something could be more
overwhelming than to have a piece of code running after a long hart time of work. But there truly is. My son is now about 8 months and nothing
compares to that he is with us.
Be a lucky guy, as I am !!
The pregnancy can be hard on both you and your wife, and the the first six months after delivery will be full of rough nights, but it gets SOOO GOOD after that! We liked it so much, we did it 5 times! My youngest is 1, and we already have the itch for another. Regardless, we cannot have another. But honestly, that's just greed talking.
For those of you just tuning in, this blog is just at the point where Fonzie's skis have left the ramp but he hasn't hit the water yet.
Congrats on your baby, but more so congrats on joining the 3% of computer nerd population that have actually had sex. LOL!
Beware, however, that if your kid is anything like mine, by the time he or she is 3 your computer will no longer be used for making bug fixes to stackoverflow.com. It will, however, be used for watching train videos on YouTube, watching Super Mario videos on YouTube, and painting pictures on the Little Einsteins website.
Another word of advice - NEVER invite Richard Stallman to any playdates or birthday parties. He sounds like a real charmer.
I want to congratulate you. I agree with everyone on the sleep thing. It would be ideal if you kept your sleep up before the babies arrival. I'm curious about a couple of things. That's one baby up there. I was thinking I saw 2. I was wondering about that. What ever you do don't name the kid Version 2.0. My nephew tried it and they wouldn't allow him to use the numbers. I think her name is cute enough. Oh and make sure you check and see if it is a foul word in another language, it's a very important process!
Soon you'll have to decide on a PID for the new process. (couldn't resist)
That's awesome news Jeff. The title made me laugh at any rate. :)
Congratulations! The threading and synchronization issues with the new process can be a bit tricky at first, good luck ;)
Nothing is as hard as, or as rewarding as, raising a child properly.
Try to put as much work into it as you do being a geek.
Congratulations and best wishes. Fatherhood is the most trying job in all of life but it's also the most rewarding.
And suddenly Stack Overflow became a site for parents...
Just kidding, congratulations!
We liked it so much, we did it 5 times!
Your world is about to be turned upside down.
I used to watch commercials about the peace corps: The toughest job you'll ever love - it actuality it is parenting.
I am glad all your 'hard work' paid off!
Congrats. You'll have to start watching those ctrl+alt+del strokes more carefully.
Congratulations! I'm about to have a baby too, and exactly today I knew it's a little `she` who we're waiting for hehe.
Congratulations and many wishes for every happiness!!
Damn, and here I was hoping for another well researched post.
But congrats none the less, a few days ago I was thinking you were gonna' have a baby soon, only makes sense, you have been home more ;)
Thanks so much for all the great comments, everyone.
Yes, I do read them all, and I'm sure Betsy will too! It's only fair since she's doing all the real work here.
I particularly appreciate any hard-won bits of geek dad advice anyone has -- if it's wasn't clear by now, I have no idea what I'm doing!
Congrats Jeff - parenthood is a wonderful thing
Just make sure it learns C so Joel can be happy.
Congrats and best of luck to the three of you! As a proud father of two, I'm confident in saying that your priorities are about to be severely rearranged...
Congrats, and may you not have spawned a Daily WTF! I have a 6.5 month old daughter, and she's awesome.
I don't know why I just read 113 of your comments before saying Congrats!
Just take solace in the fact that your child will likely rebel by becoming a jock or joining the military.
Best of luck.
Congratulations! Your life will change utterly and completely. It is a wonderful thing.
You will get all sorts of unsought advice. Perversely here is one, listen selectively to any advice. Filter it through your unique child. Though from reading your blog, you should not have that problem.
Oh and you will know the joy of having your actions instant replayed by the little one with appalling accuracy.
The first ten years you will be physically exhausting. The next ten years will be emotionally exhausting.
More unsought advice, treat the terrible twos as a trial run for the teenage years. These little ones like to confirm where the boundaries are at so don't take it personally. They need to know you care to make the effort. It will pay off, mostly when they have kids of their own.
Last bit of unsought advice, most importantly, the mistake you make in raising them is not as important as what you do afterwords. The best thing you can do is to show them how to recover from mistakes, missteps, and misunderstandings by letting them see you are human and learning.
Father of 3 teenagers.
Time to start a parenting tag on stackoverflow, with questions like How to get your toddler to sleep through the night and Best ways to get kids to eat vegetables
Another note on the computer: might want to find a case that will lock the optical drives away from curious hands for a few years. My daughter broke the tray in half on the desktop, and she inserted a number of assorted coins into the slot-load CD player in my wife's car, so neither version of loader is safe if they have access to it (and by the time you find out they can reach it, it's too late).
The process of raising a child is mostly iterative in nature, and there will be many times you feel like you're stuck in a loop with no break in sight. Just remember that humans, whether 3 or 103, are constantly testing the boundaries, and while you want to encourage curiosity, you also want firm limits. Of course, that won't really be important until they can walk.
Something else: read to your child before they are born. I thought it was pretty silly at first, but the day my daughter was born she would turn her head towards my voice every time I was talking to someone else in the room (it's impossible to use your normal voice when talking to a new-born). It also means that when s/he's fussy at night there's a chance that once you've exhausted the options with the diaper change/bottle/burp routine, a book and a rocking chair could be all you need to calm her/him down. I'd recommend getting a nice book that you can both stand reading for a couple months (maybe even something your child might enjoy at an older age) and putting his/her name and the date you bought it on the inside cover, something they'll treasure when they're older, and keep it away from them for the next 10-20 years ;)
Best wishes to the new family. Get ready for some early a.m.,one-handed keyboarding.
Congrats Jeff! My daughter is now 5 months old and I can assure you, it is the most wonderful thing. You won't regret it. Everyone says the first three months are the worst, and they are rough, but let me tell you, when your child is a few months old, and she grasps your fingers and pulls herself up, the look of wonder on her face makes it all worthwhile.
Congratulations! I guess that makes this a Genetic Coding Horror?
The worst (or best, depending on your point of view) geeky announcement I ever experienced was when an acquaintance sent out a DD-style character sheet when his first was born... *shudder*
Congrats! I'll attest that not just the first 3 months are rough (though being awaking at 2 am and then again at 3 am and then at 4am... is rough), but the first year or so are... but as they start to learn new things and become more independent, it gets to be a lot of fun. My daughter is 3 1/2 now and it's amazing the things she does or the stories she tells. She's quite good on the computer too, having mastered the art of dragging my icons every which way (thankfully deleting them is a skill she has not yet learned). She's baffled still by the duel monitors though, as she loses track of where the mouse goes when it leaves the main screen. Your kid will be expecially confused with three monitors.
Congratulations Jeff. It is an amazing experience. You will definitely look at lots of things from a different perspective.
That's fantastic news Jeff - Congratulations!
My 2nd was just born on 8/8/8, weighed 8lbs 8oz.
Better watch out. They tend to leak memory.
With all my heart, congratulations my good man. Take it easy, and one day at a time.
sounds to me like
Reproducing may not take any extra skill, but all the stuff that comes after?
Good luck! (from a father of two)
Congrats, Jeff! As a new dad of just over 6 months, Kris is right - the first 3 months are hard, and they get slightly easier after (at least youre sleeping consistently), but overall this time has been as challenging as anything has ever been.
The biggest change is in your priorities. Suddenly all those geeky side projects arent so important anymore, or you decide to save them for when s/he's older and can enjoy them with you (I cannot WAIT for my son to experience Legos, Halo, the Matrix, Star Wars, junkbot building, playing chess, football, fishing, etc etc). And suddenly there's more downtime.
Every decision you make is colored by thoughts of your child. I stopped buying gadgets, computer components, and video games because I thought the money would be better spent on my son. Its shocking at first, let me tell you. In the end its so incredibly rewarding.
I guess in hindsight a child makes you realize your priorities weren't really as important as you thought they were.
Enjoy every single moment. It will be the hardest thing you ever do.
I'm the praying type, and we will pray for you all!
Well done Betsy. Jeff, face it, you did the easy bit.
As a two time father, my only advice is... watch out for the smell.
Am I right dad's, or am I right?
Congrats Jeff have you come up with any names?
I don't usually comment but just want to say CONGRATULATIONS! ^_^
I'm really happy for you Jeff. A bit worried too though. You seem so happy, and miscarriages *do* happen. We had 1 (out of 3 properly born). My mom had 2 (out of 2). That's why we don't usually announce until we have to. Nothing wrong with it; it's nature's way.
For the adoption fascists out there, please go adopt your own children and leave Jeff the heck alone. My dad arranges adoptions a lot, and I can tell you they have their own issues, and are not for everyone. Even couples who do adopt as a moral choice tend to like to have *one* child of their own if they can.
Congratulations--I couldn't be happier for you.
Is it only I who is seeing the outline of a skull in an empty void in the head :-)
You are going to have a geek for a kid, Congratulations...!
I particularly appreciate any hard-won bits of geek dad advice anyone has -- if it's wasn't clear by now, I have no idea what I'm doing
1) Take some Vicks with you to the hospital and rub some on your top lip when you go into the delivery ward. You'll thank me.
2) Don't wear squeeky shoes into the delivery ward. You REALLY don't want to draw attention to yourself.
3) Enrol in a remedial comedy course. It's a well known fact that your ability to tell a joke decays exponentially with the number of children you have.
4) Having children means never being allowed to play World Of Warcraft... ever... again.
5) Get ready for the best roller coaster ride of your life. Watch Parenthood for some good being a Dad tips.
How soon into the sono-gram where you thinking you could do better with the video feed, and started checking the cables to improve the UI?
Congrats, dude! Enjoy him/her before the teenage years.
Don't you just abhor those punk kids accidentally getting pregnant. It took us a solid year. My wife is in her ninth month now, it gets super fun in the 28th week, and super miserable in the 36-40.
Some unsolicited advise from a father with a six-month-old baby:
A newborn baby is a real shock to your life. I was told this by many, many people, and I believed them, but you have no idea until you go through it.
My advice is that you save nothing -- NOTHING! -- to do after the baby is born. If you have to prepare a nursery, do landscaping work, fix a running toilet, or whatever, do it BEFORE the baby arrives. Get the house absolutely spotless beforehand, too, so you have some room in which a mess can grow the first few weeks when you don't have time to keep up on things like that. Line up as many friends and family as you can to help with food, cleaning, laundry, etc.
Since you work from home, I'd strongly suggest discussing with your wife how that is going to be handled. You're going to need very strong boundaries between working and family life if you want to succeed at both.
Finally, I'd suggest reading a few parenting books and picking a parenting philosophy before the baby is born. Even if it's not exactly what you end up doing, it's a starting point. You also know some of the basic facts. A friend of ours, for example, actually thought she was helping her five-day-old baby by not spoiling her by not feeding her every time she asked to be fed. She actually thought she was helping her baby become independent by leaving her to cry for food at that age. Any research on her part would prevented such stupid notions from being formed. (Note that I'm not getting into the contentious issue of whether it's OK to let babies cry it out, as nobody believes that would apply to a five-day-old baby crying to be fed.)
Congrats! As a father of a 2 year old girl I can tell you that there is much joy ahead for you and your wife.
Our geeky line was 'And the baby makes 11' (get it?)
Thanks God for a bit o' science...
First of all congratulations! We are expecting our first in March, so we share in your excitement.
As for the geeky reference for we're having a baby...
I started a baby blog to document our experience and keep the distant family and friends in-touch. The default post for WordPress is titled Hello World. I thought it was very fitting for the introduction of a new life and tied into my own geeky personality.
I always tell people that being a programmer was great preparation for being a parent: little to no sleep, changing requirements, demanding unspecific users, everybody thinks they can tell you how to do it better, and after the fact you can always find something you could have done better.
In re: scarring, you won't truly know how you've affected your kid(s) until you have grandkids and find out what terrifyingly embarrassing things your kids are teaching them. (My daughters still remember dancing on my feet in the local Waffle House while my wife tried to pretend she wasn't related and whispered sotto voce that we should stop because people were looking at us. True enough, but all of the women staring were either lost, remembering times with their own fathers or sadly remembering times that could have been while the men were grinning and enjoying our impromptu ballet.)
Enjoy your kid while they're young and never let yourself feel too big to get down and play with them. Those memories form a quiet conspiracy between the two of you that lasts a lifetime.
Oh, and, you're not prepared. No matter what you've read, no matter who you've talked to, no matter how many you've had before, you're never prepared. Each one is a unique miracle that comes missing some of the policy and procedure manual that you'll have to fill in yourself. Make a lot of mistakes and get over 'em. Kids have survived generations of worse parenting than you can inflict and flourished (even before air conditioning and indoor plumbing, if you can imagine).
It's a wild and wonderful adventure. Lose yourself in it and you may find a little bit of the kid inside you that had been lost.
A proud father of four (two step and two biological) and grandfather of two.
Congratulations Jeff! :) Programming with human factors...
Congratulations! Nice to see that after forking failed a few times, that you got the return result you wanted. I expect you'll have an evil genius on your hands.
With all due respect to Richard Stallman, no, it doesn't take talent to reproduce, but it takes a lot to manage it and your efforts do affect a lot more people than Emacs. I'm a father of three, with the oldest a teenage daughter. THAT takes far more effort, learning, and patience than any programming I've done.
Just one word, Jeff: Congratulations!!
I hope this child fill your lives (yours and your partner's) with a new happiness.
Am about one month away from launching our own little science project onto the world. Congrats and happy development!
Always happy to hear that a nerd got a little play. Congrats Jeff!
Congratulations Jeff =)
As an aside, this is something my wife and I have worked at for a number of years
Oh poor poor Jeff. MORE work?!