Friday, April 26, 2013

Daddy Day

Today we’re enjoying a full on Daddy day.  There’s no daycare, no mom, and most importantly, no work. Just him and me and the dogs.  I'm not sure what the plan is when he wakes up.  We'll probably do some kicking, some singing, and maybe some reading if we have time, but then it's on to the good stuff.  BB guns, fishing, dirt bikes, I think I have some old bottle rockets in the basement...we'll see what the day brings...

daddy day
Daddy Day couldn't come at a better time.  On Monday I came home from work feeling like death.  I thought it was food poisoning, then the flu, possibly Polio...I don’t know, my mind tends to wander...

My parents were visiting from Texas so it was kind of a bad time to be in need of an exorcist. That and the fact that there's a 3 month old baby in the house.  

I was quickly whisked away and quarantined, where I spent the next 13 hours in bed alone, watching Netflix on my phone.  Poor me.  I could hear my son and my dad in the other room, laughing and giggling, possibly at my expense.

I woke up the next morning feeling human again, but was still banished from my little guy, having to sleep in the guest room.  It did get me out of diaper duty, but by then I almost missed it.

By mid-week I was finally back to normal. There was color in my face and I could breathe without moaning.  I won’t take my health for granted anytime soon, or my son for that matter.  Holding and kissing him is too much fun.

Being back at full speed I've vowed to never again lick the handles on public restroom toilets.  I need to be healthy and keep my stamina up if I expect to hang with this little guy on the move.

Speaking of which, I just heard him's time to go work on that jump shot!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rockwell Moments...

A couple of Sunday afternoons ago, after enjoying the warm temperatures of the day, my wife and I fell into the couch for some DVR.  (Digital video recorder,not code for something exciting...). We scrolled through the recordings as my wife held our son, who was somewhere in between nursing and falling asleep mouth open, a milk-drunk smile on his face.  

It was almost 8 o’clock and our windows were open as the summer-like temperatures dragged into the dark. Outside, we heard happy little screams of excitement.  I walked over to the window, a smile spreading on my face as I watched the scene in the neighbor’s front yard.

In the waning hours of dusk, a little girl jumped and skipped through a twirling lawn sprinkler.  Her faithful companion, a blue tick hound, followed at her heels, barking playfully with each leap. Crickets chirped, the sprinkler ticked, and with the glowing moon hanging over the roof of the house, all that was missing was Norman Rockwell and his paintbrush.

After last week’s events in Boston, I started thinking about the important things in my life. As a brand new dad, I look forward to the days my son can play in the yard and fill the evening with laughs and giggles. (Every neighborhood should come with laughing children, it would cut depression in half.) As a father, I sympathize more with victims of tragedies. Not that I didn't before, it's just different now.  I found myself thinking back to that simple scene across the street and the innocence of childhood.

So here’s to those special moments.  Whether it be the inviting aroma of of the backyard grill or the smell of freshly trimmed grass.  Lighting bugs, whiffle ball, an ice cream truck, whatever takes you back to those sticky summer evenings from your own childhood.

Tomorrow brings the unknown, as in an instant our lives can change forever. But for a moment on a Sunday evening, the simple scene of a little girl, her dog, and that sprinkler in the yard reminded me of all of the good still in this world.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


It seems that every few months--or even weeks, we have to wrap our heads and hearts around an event that seemed unfathonable a day earlier.  There are no words for these unimaginable acts, and as a new parent I am left with feelings of helplessness in what can be an awfully cruel world.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victims. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Drop Off...

Well, we did it.  We dropped our son off at daycare.  It was extremely difficult, more so for one of us.  I of course was the strong one, holding Mom up as she nearly collapsed in the driveway, sobbing and moaning about all that is wrong in the world.  Get it together, I told her.  Always the rock I am...

It was time for tough love, and being that I'm the tough guy type, I had to keep things afloat.

DayCare blocksAs we walked in, my eyes scanned the place for any signs of danger. One kid immediately caught my attention.  He was staring at Simon as though he were a sparring partner.  Back off kid, I’ve got my eye on you.  We dropped off his belongings, and after my wife went through every detail about any possible combination of scenarios involving our son, we made our way to the door, trying not to linger.

We had driven separately.  I gave my wife a hug before we got into our cars--one strong, the other not so much. 

I’ll bet my wife cried as she drove off.  I’ll bet she tried to stop the tears from welling in her eyes. I'll bet her lips began to tremble with each passing mile as Sweet Child O Mine hummed softly on the radio.  I’ll bet the tears blurred her vision as she drove, resisting the urge to make a wild Uturn across four lanes of traffic.  Maybe even a group of construction workers began pointing and laughing from the four door crew cab beside her at a red light. She probably had to pull over to the shoulder of the road where she buried her face into her hands, balling incessantly as traffic zoomed by on the expressway. Afterwards, pulling into work, she may have sniffled and began composing herself before walking in.  Coworkers probably asked her what was wrong.  She may have told them that it was her allergies.  They're horrible this time of year. 
That’s probably what happened…

Sunday, April 14, 2013


As the weather warms and the grass turns green my son is taking notice.  He watches everything around him with wide-eyed amazement.  There’s so much to see, and with 16-18 hours of sleep per day, little time to see it.
mommy's big guy

Simon is extremely vocal these days, sometimes surprising dad with a loud coo or gurgle. His Tarzan call can be heard throughout the house (and maybe the neighborhood as well).

He spent the past week with his Grandma and Grandpy, visiting from upstate New York in efforts to help us make the impending transition to day care.  They brought with them a trunk full of hand-me-downs, courtesy of his older cousin.  I’ve never seen so many clothes. This kid may never wear the same outfit twice. 

Their week long stay was a lot of fun.  The weather was great, welcoming our northern grandparents with warm temperatures and blooming trees.  With snow falling back home, I think they enjoyed the fresh air and open windows, although I think my mother-in-law could do without the stinkbugs. She didn't come to vacation though, getting down to business on arrival. Since our child's birth I’m not sure the house has ever been so clean.  Clothes were washed before they hit the floor and dishes were rinsed and put away before I could turn around.  

She was on a roll…diaper changes, bottle feedings, even getting the little guy to sleep in his crib—another new development.  He’s awfully lucky to have such great Grandparents.  And we are awfully thankful for them.

For the most part I'd have to say we're really blessed to have such a great baby.  But he is very adept at letting us know what he dislikes, and most of the time this involves sitting.  The little guy likes to be moving, not sure where he gets it from…

I'm still getting used to referring to myself as Dad, but I'm learning some very dad-like lessons in the meantime.  The other night as I lifted him from the table to the tub, I felt something wet and warm.  Sure enough, I got soaked. But it’s okay, all part of the experience I guess…

I'll resist the urge to place an R Kelly joke here...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

His Smile...

In today's world of digital media it seems that nothing goes uncovered.  The more outrageous and deplorable acts take the headlines, and it can be easy to lose faith in our fellow man as each day these stories are painfully covered from all angles until the next one comes along.

But there's still good news to be found out there, and I have a breaking story I'd like to announce:  We have a smiling baby...
There’s not much I won’t do to earn that smile.  Baby talk, funny faces, goofy dances...he really likes when we hit mailboxes with the car….Don't tell mom. I’ll go to great lengths for a grin. Off key singing will do the trick, bicycle legs can get the job done as well.  And if that’s not working I’m not above going straight for the belly tickles, always a smile-getter.
That smile is the best thing going in my life and it's all I need to lift my spirits and make it all worthwhile...that and his mother of course. Throw in a giggle and I’m set for the week. 
I’m a sucker for that smile.

But it also causes a dilemma for me.  As a new dad comes a newfound worry and stress that I've never before experienced. I've become awfully soft, as I know that someday he’ll lose the innocence in that sweet little smile (no, not that innocence).  There’s pain and hardship in the world, and it will find him one day whether I like it or not.  I know, man up, right?  Grab some chewing tobacco and teach that boy how to fend for himself.  
After a good tickle fight of course...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Every Lemon Has A Lesson...

If all goes according to plan my son will get his driver's license in the year 2029.  That’s only 4 presidential elections away, and who knows, cars may be running on high fructose corn syrup by then. I can see it now, The Pepsi Prious, 48 miles to the pop! 

My first car was a 1984 Renault Alliance.  A small, four-dour sedan that was midnight blue and free of blemishes. I could hardly contain myself as my dad plunked down 5 crisp $100 bills and we drove off, struggling to find head room in the tiny compact. As part of the deal I agreed to get a job and pay the monthly insurance premium.

In hindsight, car insurance was the last thing we needed. Only vehicles being driven on the road require insurance, and mine was a lemon.  I found this out while trying to start it in the get to my pay for insurance...for the car that wouldn't start....and so on.  I spent more than a few Saturday mornings cranking and pleading with the ill-fated French product to start.

When the car did sputter to life, it struggled to climb hills, the horn was located on the signal lever, the gauges only worked on Tuesdays and Thursdays, French motor oil is expensive. Most of that's true anyway..

But there was much to learn from the problematic car.  My dad and I changed the oil and even replaced the radiator, or should I say, radiateur. I washed and waxed it as it sat in the driveway, (not like it was going anywhere). I saved up and even had a tape player installed. 

I look back on my little French car with pride. Sure, it had all of the luxuries of a golf cart and the zip of a riding lawn mower, but I was 16, and grateful just to have a car. And if Dad had bought me a newer car, one that—get this, started every time I turned the key, I would have been happier would have never learned so many valuable lessons that come with driving a beater.  Humility being the most important.

So for my son's sake, I hope he doesn’t get his hopes up, because his dad’s not shelling out for one of those high fructose roadsters anytime soon….or later for that matter. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day Care Looms...

For the first 10 weeks of my son’s life, he has had his mother with him every breath of the way.  Holding him, feeding him, and of course, loving him.  And as the pages of the calandar have flipped like an early animation booklet since his arrival, we've been too preoccupied with the fascinating growth and development of our little guy to think about much else.

daycare drawing
It doesn't even have walls!!!
Unfortunately for us, we are not in a position to be supported by my salary alone. I've devised a plan that would slash our budget to mere necessities, and perhaps slash a few of those as well, but I haven’t been able to sell her on it. (How much plasma do I acturally need anyway?). And since I’m not about to start unplying toilet paper, mom will trudge back to the classroom in a week and a half while our son will head care. 
I've been pushing the date from my mind since his birth, pretending that it would never actually come. But time is a stubborn thing, and like an appointment for a root canal, the impending date lurks on that mean old calendar.

We've come up with crazy scenarios, one involving my wife bringing him to school. Just showing up ready to teach with our son strapped to her chest. This may work, until she whips out a breast at lunchtime to feed him while second graders stare, mouths agape while sitting at their desks.
As you can imagine, this will be extremely hard for her.  She is not sure she will be able handle dropping him off.  She is playing the lottery lately, hoping and praying for a miracle. 
I’m sure this is a common issue for all working families, but it sure doesn’t feel very common for uh…her.  She worries that her son will bond with his sitter, forgetting mom and dad all together.  It will be tough for her to let go, she is dreading it.
On the bright side, it will only be for six weeks and then he’ll be home all summer.  But come fall and we'll have to do it again...