Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some days, it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

It's 6:21AM, according to the clock in the upper right corner of my screen. I've been out of bed, successfully, for twenty minutes now, give or take. I've been pooped on (a big one) and puked on already.

I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Keep them doggies rollin'...

Today was a big travel day for The Boy and me. We travelled from Scotch Plains, NJ, to Swiftware, PA - about 85-90 miles - to help Uncle Sasquatch (not really an uncle, just my best friend from 6th grade) move some stuff from his basement to his upstairs as they prepare to move back to NJ. We left home at 9:15, arrived at 11. Fed him, changed him, got him used to Lee so that we could move a loveseat, a couch, a reclining chair and a 62-inch rear-projection tv up a narrow flight of stairs. No problems. Played with him for the next couple of hours until he fell asleep, then showered and played XBox until he woke up. Drove down to Near Rutgers, NJ, and left Him with The Wife, while she helped out at a concert in her district. Left them, drove an hour north to pick a guy up for barbershop chorus, then Dapper Dans, then home. Five hours in the car today. My body is vibrating.

Infants in cars are fine. They sleep. A lot. The only problem? The boy's neck is at a horrific angle. The chair doesn't go back far enough to allow him to keep it back up against the seat, and it's a little scary. Still, he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable - he contorts himself normally when he sleep. It's just wierd.

Ugh. I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Great Expectations

I expected to enjoy fatherhood. I really did. I thought that this whole ride was going to be a great one: infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood, with my wife and I being there to help when he falls and to pat him on the back when he succeeds. Don't get me wrong - I walked in with open eyes in regards to the downside of things. I was aware of the sleepless nights, the sleepless months, the constant demand for attention, the subjugation of my personal life and feelings for the care of the child. I understand the casual cruelty of which children are capable. I understand the need for independence to the expense of all else, the need to assert himself as his own being. I'm not an idiot; I pay attention to the parents around me. I know the bad sides, and I know the good sides.

But, man, I'm loving this whole thing far more than I expected. I love it. I love being a Daddy. I love seeing the bright smile and excited eyes on the baby when I talk to him; I love how happy he gets just by being acknowledged by one of us. I love watching him with my wife, as she does the whole Mommy thing - and she does it so well, believe you me. I love the fascination that The Boy has with the entire world, from his own toes (...and other body parts) to my hands to his toys, all of which he seems to see for the first time every time he plays with them.

People keep telling me not to rush him along, to enjoy the time I'm spending with him, because "...they get older, quickly." Believe you me, I am enjoying every second of this. I am, most assuredly, in no rush to have him grow up. I'm completely satisfied for him to move at his own pace and for me to be there with him. Every moment that I spend with him is better than any moment that I've had in a school building, and I would gleefully spend the next several years at home with him, if I could.

I understand that this isn't for everybody. Most of my friends would go absolutely nucking futs if they had to spend my days doing this. Not me, my friends.

Not me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Review: Baby Einstein Lights & Melodies Discovery Center

My father bought the Baby Einstein Lights & Melodies Discovery Center for us in early October, which was a month after The Boy was born. This was The Boy's first Christmas present and a major source of pride for my old man.

The Lights & Melodies Discover Center is a plastic standalone device. It has two sets of arced legs; each set can be adjusted to three different heights. The heights are tall, for babies who are are lying on the ground or standing in front of the device; medium, for babies sitting down in front of the device; and folded, in order to take less space for transportation. The top of the device is shaped like a caterpiller, with a bright smile, big eyes and easy-to-grasp antennae. One of the middle segments is a spinning wheel with a pleasing pattern on it; the other is a click wheel that makes animal noises when the faces align - dog, cat & cow. The far segment is a mirror-ball with a yellow side, so that it spins and changes the face of the mirror.

Underneath the device is a star-shaped rattle; a handle that, when pushed, starts one of several melody and light patterns; and an orange ball that fits through a hole, starting different music. The music is fairly high quality, alternating between Mozart and Schubert and others. The music is entertaining for us, even after the five hundredth time hearing it.

The Boy enjoys playing with the device. When lying down, he's got an attention span of about three minutes with the toys there. When standing in front of the toys, he enjoys grabbing the handles on top; he particularly likes "eating" the face of the caterpiller. The face is very fascinating to him and is a highlight for The Boy. He has not yet figured out how to manipulate the other toys on it, but he does like grabbing the star and playing with the orange ball. He likes playing with it while sitting down, even though he doesn't sit too well by himself yet.

This is a fun toy. It has a lot of different options for him to play with, and he hasn't discovered how to play with all of them in the month that he's had it. I recommend this toy moderately highly - it's not as fun as the jumperoo or the bouncy chair, but it's pretty good.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review: Graco Snugride Car Seat & Glider Stroller

Now that The Boy has grown out of it, we're packing away our Graco Snugride Car Seat. We bought this a month before The Boy was born, on the recommendations of people from the mommy discussion boards that my wife frequents. (Yup, these are all itty-bitty pics of the boy. He's MUCH bigger now!)

The Snugride Car Seat is a relatively light car seat. Ours has a green cover with animals printed on it. The cover is designed to be easy to take off for washing - which is something that you're going to have to do with relative frequency. There's a matching canopy that attaches to the handle joints. I had a really hard time with this and had to request two new legs for the canopy because of putting-together difficulties. It literally took me about forty-five minutes to an hour to figure out how to put the darn thing together, which was immensely frustrating.

The car seat attaches into a base, which fastened into my car (a 2002 Ford Taurus) through the Latch system - which is two metal loops bolted to the car frame for a secure hold to the infant seat. There are options to attach the base in the car through the seatbelt, and the seat itself can be hooked into a car through a normal lap belt. The seat, as is required for children of that age, is rear-facing. Graco also has options to buy additional bases for other automobiles; we bought one for my wife's car, a 2006 Pontiac Vibe, which also used the Latch system to hook in. (Hers fit much better than mine, which rocked side to side by a little bit for some reason.)

Getting the car seat into the cars was a mixed bag. My wife's car was very easy - for some reason, the seats and the doorframes allowed easy entry for the infant seat to fit through. For my car, the seat had to be manipulated a bit and turned on its side in order to fit. This was not something that was remotely dangerous - it was just the amount of finessing that it required. Carrying the seat around was easy: even with the baby in it, it wasn't too bulky or heavy. The canopy kept the sun out of his eyes, as much as can be expected.

The cool thing about this was that the car seat attached itself into the Graco Glider stroller (left) with the same firmness and safety that it attaches into the car. This allows the baby to be walked safely and securely in his stroller; the car seat was also rear-facing in the stroller, which allows you to watch the baby as you walk. We stopped using the seat and the stroller together just a couple of months after the baby was born because he was big enough to sit in the stroller with the stroller's safety straps.

The stroller has matching fabric and is just as easy to take the seat cover off to wash. It's a BIG stroller - this does not travel particularly well, as it takes up about half of the large trunk of the Taurus. It is very sturdy and very hardy - the sidewalks where I live a crappy, and it takes the bumps and bruises of the sidewalk without a problem. The stroller has a tray table for the baby with a cup holder, which The Boy hasn't used yet - he likes throwing his toys (which means they're not coming on walks yet) and he can't feed himself yet. The parent tray - which has two cup holders and a recessed part which is perfect for sunglasses or a granola bar or something. The cup holders are pretty well useless, as the stroller has no shock absorption and drinks bounce all over the place. Coffee doesn't stay even in sealed cups, and cans of soda empty themselves. Bottles of soda are lots of fun to open after they've been shaken (not stirred). Underneath the stroller is a place that is very convenient to carry a diaper bag, some comics and an extra blanket and hat and mittens.

This is not the sort of stroller that you're going to take to the mall - it doesn't fit in stores easily and is too wide for indoor use. If you're looking for a portable stroller that you can throw in the car and use while shopping or touring, then this is not the one you're looking for. This is a great stroller for cruising around the neighborhood and walking around outside.

I highly recommend these two things. They're great! The stroller and the car seat have been absolutely wonderful. I recommend, if you live in a cold area, that you buy what we did - a furry blanket-thing (left) that lets the straps fit through it and kept the baby warm on the trips back and forth through the car. (Most of the time, we didn't put a jacket on him - keeping him in the furry thing was enough for the brief time he was exposed to the elements.) We'll be keeping the car seat and two bases for child number two - s/he's not on the way yet, don't get extra ideas.

Worst thing so far about the transition from the infant seat to a more standard car seat? With the infant seat, when he fell asleep in the car, he wouldn't wake up when the infant seat moved inside. He'd frequently stay asleep for up to an extra hour or so of blessed silence. Now? He wakes up immediately when removed from the car seat. >sigh<

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And I'm Not What I Appear to be...


(I'm A Loser, by the Beatles)

Yesterday, I was a crappy father.

David spent a solid 90 minutes being REALLY pissed off at me, and he had every right to be.

The day started off wonderfully. He was happy & smiley all morning, good natured about sitting and watching us eat breakfast. He was giggling while we played around as Mommy was getting ready for work. He took a nice morning nap, sleeping from 6:45 until about 8:15-ish. The issue really revolved around the fact that he wasn't feeling particularly well: his throat was sore, as evidenced by the fact that his cries were very hoarse and approaching a tenor level.

I knew he needed a lot of snuggling and attention because he wasn't feeling well; all week, I've been wearing him and spending much of the day walking around and singing to him. This was okay by me, because I'm learning the baritone parts to several of the barberpole cats (tunes that a so standard in barbershop singing that everyone is expected to know them). This gave me an opportunity to catch up with the straightening up around the house and to learn my music.

We went out around 11 o'clock, after the two of us had lunch, to go to the comic book store. It was a nice walk, and he fell asleep during the last block and a half of the walk. I used this as an opportunity to start my workout. Usually, his post-walk naps - particularly on the colder days when he's comfortably and snugly bundled up - last for an hour or more, which is more than enough time to complete my workouts, which tend to last around fifty minutes. I stretched and started lifting.

Here's where I start to feel bad. He woke up about ten minutes into the workout and was VERY grumpy. I paused working out to take him upstairs to change him and to feed him; he was kind of hungry, but his sucking was more for comfort than for sustenance. For another ten minutes, he was okay with - but not happy about - our usual workout time together, which was do a set, pick the baby up to play for a minute, then put him down again, do a set, pick him up again. Normally, he's okay with it - he might give me a look or two, but he's content to spend time in his chair or his door-hang bouncy seat. Then? Not so much. He started crying VERY quickly. And, very quickly, the crying escalated into the full-blown, full-body tension, every-muscle-tight, veins-in-the-forehead, eyes-squinched-tight scream from the pit of his soul.

In my defense, I know what happens when he gets like this. He's inconsolable. He's not wet. He's not hungry. He's not cold or hot or uncomfortable. He's just REALLY angry at the world or at me. I picked him up and held him, walked around with him, brought him upstairs & sat and fed him on our usual chair. Nothing.

I knocked off a couple more sets, alternating lifting with holding him and trying to comfort him. Nothing worked. Finally, the last time I put him down, I accidentally whacked his head against the top of his chair. This is not an unusual circumstance; they're not hard whacks, but it's difficult to get a big guy like The Boy into and out of his chair without banging something on something. This was the last straw for him, and he descended into a level of hell where I became actually afraid that he'd forget to breathe because of the screaming.

Here's where I am disappointed in my own selfishness: after a reasonable amount of time trying to comfort him, I walked him upstairs, put him in his crib, finished the last ten minutes or so of my workout, showered, had a quick post-workout snack before picking him up. He cried at me for another 45 minutes, then fell asleep. He woke up happy as a clam afterwards.

I'm disappointed in myself. I should have found a way to comfort him better. I know this is "Daddy Can Fix Everything" attitude and isn't realistic; babies cry, sometimes because they just feel like it. But, I didn't do such a great job with him yesterday. I hope that I've learned something from that. Probably not, but I hope so. Usually, I work out when The Wife gets home, so she can watch him. Should have done that, but I had a late rehearsal that night that prevented it. And, if this is worst thing that I do to him, he'll have MUCH less in therapy bills than I had.

He's a good boy, though. Today he was awesome. So, I don't think he's holding a grudge for now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brand New Day

Departure from the baby world for a moment...

In Amazing Spider-Man, the comic book, a story has just finished called "One More Day," and transitioned into "Brand New Day." The premise is this: after Spider-Man was unmasked a few months ago during the superhero Civil War, several members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery decided to go after Peter Parker. In the process, Aunt May was shot and critically wounded. As she lay dying, Mephisto - the Marvel Comics' devil character - came and offered Peter and Mary Jane (his wife) a choice: he could save Aunt May, but only at the cost of their marriage. If they gave up their love and their marriage to him, erasing their relationship utterly, then he would save Aunt May - souls, you see, just aren't satisfying enough to him any more. They agreed, and Aunt May was saved, the marriage never existed, and several other things were retconned out of existence. (Retcon: "Retroactive Continuity," meaning history re-written after the fact.)

I'm a Spider-Man fan of some extent; I've liked the character for some time and own the movies on DVD. I know that the justification for this comes from the editor-in-chief, Joe Quesada, who has always hated the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane. The marriage, apparently, runs against the core of the character: the lovable, everyman-style loser that has lots of crap happen in his life, but always seems to come out on top. Being happily married to a super model runs contrary to that. In an effort to have the character be more approachable by younger and newer readers, this decision was made.

My fundamental issue with this lies in the decision that was made. What would Aunt May have wanted: to be alive, or to have her nephew - the only son she's ever had - be happily married to the woman who's his soul mate? I don't think that there's a person alive who would believe that Aunt May (as the character has been established) would choose life over Peter's happiness. If May found out what happened to Peter and MJ as a result of her injury, she would die of a broken heart.

From a personal standpoint, I lost my mother in 2001, after a long battle with cancer. It was pretty brutal at the end, particularly since my mother was one of the most extraordinary women I've ever met: without a college education, and starting in a time that did not favor women's equality in the slightest, she was president of a business and ran the local town council, both for a couple of decades. This was a women who backed up the old axiom, "Teach a man to fish..." by lobbying to create bus lines from the cities into the suburbs of our area of New Jersey for the purpose of city workers coming in to work the local jobs, as well as getting the county vocational school enough funding to survive.

I would not trade my wife (and therefore, my son) for my mother, period. End of story.

Does that make me selfish? Probably. But, look at the heart of it: my mother, 100% of the time, put her family ahead of herself. She would be crushed and heartbroken if she ever found out that I traded MY soulmate and my beautiful, wonderful baby boy for the last fifteen years(-ish) of her life. That's not how she rolled, and I know that. I also know that my wife is the absolute perfect woman for me: besides being able to tolerate my bipolarity and other emotional extremes, we share a brain most of the time. Further, my son is gorgeous and fun and fulfilling and all of those other things. So much in my life would be different without them and without her that things would be entirely unrecognizable.

So, I don't buy the story. I mean, there has to have been a better way. This is comic books - science is merely a suggestion. Have a time machine malfunction which causes Peter to get a flat tire on the day they were supposed to have met. That'd be more plausible. Asking him to give up his entire life for his aunt? I don't get it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wow - what a week!

I hear this all the time, but it's amazing how quickly time flies with the young one around. We get up together when Mommy leaves for work, and after we turn around twice, Mommy's coming home from work, it's 3:30 and I'm starting my nighttime stuff.

Still.

Things are becoming a little bit easier right now. My private lessons are starting to take off - I've re-acquired some of my clarinet students, and I'm teaching around 10 students per week, including cancellations and changes. On weeks when everyone shows up? Wow. Life is good. I know that these things are cyclical, though, so I'm not going crazy about it. Once the Jr. Region auditions are over in February, I'll lose around half of my students for regular lessons and go to a more sporadic schedule. That's not necessarily a bad thing - I'm just starting a statistics course with my math stuff, and I have a BIG test worth 4 of my 42 credits in a couple of weeks. I figure that if I can earn a thousand bucks per month in private lessons, and keep my church gig and the Dapper Dans, then I can pretty much stay home for another year, finish my math degree and see David old enough to go into a more traditional day care place.

And, it gives me some options when it comes to employment. I'm tired of taking crappy teaching jobs. I've had four of them - although, to be fair, my high school gig COULD have been great, if I wasn't thrown under the bus by my supervisor. Well, not great - but it could have been livable for another couple of years. I want a good job, in a good district - whether it's teaching math or teaching music. Music is preferable - but I want a good job, close to home, where I can actually be a part of my son's life.

Teaching privately really is rewarding, though. I've formed very, very good relationships with most of my students, and I've had the pleasure of watching them flourish. I'm proud to say that, any student of mine who has actually practiced what I've preached has become the best player on their instrument - in most cases, their school - within six months. It's nice to tailor lessons to individual personalities and temperaments. It's nice to make playing clarinet and saxophone fun and rewarding - something that isn't necessarily possible in a large ensemble setting.

A little weirdness, though - Saturday, I didn't need my saxophone. Just clarinet lessons. That's new.

Back to fatherhood... Friday night, The Wife, The Boy & I cuddled up in bed to watch some Simpsons and maybe some House. This was 9PM. We were all asleep by 9:15. While The Boy woke up a couple of times to eat - at around 1 and again at 5 - neither one of us was actually conscious while he ate, and all of us finally woke together at around 7:30. It was great! I admit to being nervous having The Boy sleep in bed with us - I'm terrified of all of the stories of SIDS, but neither one of us moves around when we sleep. But, It was comforting to have The Boy with us, and he felt the same way. It's not going to become a habit - I think - but it was an awesome night of sleep. I felt really good on Saturday and Sunday because of it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Let Sleeping Babies Lie...

My wife and I have (what we call) a "Mutual Nonagression Pact." Meaning, if The Boy is asleep, we let him alone. There is no possible good reason to wake a sleeping baby, save major disaster showing up. If he's asleep in his stroller when we get home? Wheel the stroller in the house through the garage door and leave him there. In the car seat when we get home? Unless it's late at night, leave him in the car seat and let him sleep. If he's asleep, walks get postponed, no matter how much of a pain in the rear it is. I suppose there are exceptions - like, Mommy has to go teach a lesson, Daddy is already out at his night job, and noone is around to take care of the baby, then he gets moved into his seat for the trip out the door.

Mutual Nonagression Pact. Would that those worked as well in the real world. But, telling someone not to mess with some else is like saying don't pick at a scab. It's there, you know it's there, and it's going to itch like crazy until you pick it.

I freely admit to sneaking in his bedroom every half hour or so to check on him. I don't do anything - watch him sleep, adjust the heater, that sort of thing. Well, truth be told, my visits last a total of about thirty seconds. I just can't sit and watch him sleep. I'm not wired like that. Don't get me wrong - he's beautiful, I understand that. I love his face, I love his chubby cheeks, and I love watching him breathe. I love watching his mouth suck on a dreamtime breast. I love watching his hands grip dreamtime toys. Even the night terrors he occasionally gets - that single yelp every once in a while - are still cute. But, I can't sit there for that long. I go nuts. I'm not designed to sit still for any length of time.

Please note, by the way, how much he fills that chair. To the left is a picture of him from September 4, the week after he was born. What a difference! The only annoying thing? He doesn't do that for me. For Molly, he'll sit contentedly on her lap while she types on the computer. For me, he'll start screaming after fifteen or twenty seconds. For Molly, he'll sit in the chair and contentedly babble at her for fifteen or twenty minutes while she does her thing. For me, he screams after three minutes - usually long enough for me to microwave my food and sit at the table. That time drops from three minutes to thirty seconds after 11AM. Sigh. It's just not fair. Only kidding. It's fine. He does things for me that he doesn't do for her - like go more than an hour or so without eating. He knows I don't carry around a food source like she does.

Although it is entertaining, now that he's figured out that she stores The Boobie inside of her shirt. When he's hungry, he starts pawing at her blouse until The Boobie comes out. It's quite endearing. Back to topic at hand.

Frequently, when I arrive home at night, The Boy will be asleep at the boob, either in bed with Mommy or on the lounge chair with her. So, it's my job to peel him off and put him down in his crib, which I do willingly enough. He's cute, so it's not the hardest chore in the household. What is funny is the indignant SHRIEK that he lets out when I pick him up off of his mommy - this very brief, white-hot, red-faced, vein-popping, blood-curdling shriek that lasts for a full 1.5 seconds - until he falls back asleep after the grip on the baby stabilizes. He gets irritated again when placed in his crib, but the aquarium usually puts him right back to sleep. I just get a kick out of how passionate that shriek is! I'm glad he's got something to light the fire.

I wonder what this means about his temper, if anything? I know that I've got an ugly temper at times. The Wife has a strong temper as well, although she's got far better control. We'll see. I hope he takes her temper instead of mine.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sittin' on the dock of the bay...

The Boy is starting to figure out the whole sitting up thing. It's a startlingly complex action, if you think about it: lots of muscle strength is required in your legs, hips and trunk, not to mention a semblance of balance between your upper half and your lower half. He's got the strength in the lower half - Lord knows that, when we're holding his hands, he can kick his legs straight and lift his body up. That's cool. Lately, he's been noticeably developing the strength in his trunk - mostly, because he's in love with his toes and tries to chew on them as often as possible.

Ahh... babies. They fold into easily portable shapes.

Over the last week, he's been grabbing at his toes when we've sat him up, which kind of counterbalanced him, until he'd fall flat on his face in a yoga position. That ticked him off, but fine - that's why Mommy and Daddy are there. Now, he's starting to sit on his own.

I still wish he'd sleep. Although, once he got to sleep last night - REALLY late - he did sleep through until 5:15AM, which was almost four whole hours. >sigh< I want these teeth to just show up already.

Make him the cutest I've ever seen...

Even when The Boy was a newborn, he hasn't had a weekend like this. Tonight really takes the cake.

He fell asleep at around 8. Woke up at 9:15. Fell asleep at 9:45. Woke at 10:30. Fell asleep at 11. Woke up at 11:35. Fell asleep at 12:20 after screaming for thirty minutes straight - like, full body-rigid, face-red SCREAMING.

Ugh. Even when he was just out of the womb, he slept better than this. He must be teething, but there's no sign of anything poking through the gums. The Wife & I think we see something working at it, but she thinks its on the right side and I think the left. We might both be right, but only time will tell.

And I pray that he stays down. I'm also praying for it to get cold QUICKLY, so that The Wife can stay home from school tomorrow. I'd like a nice, relaxing snow day with them. Plus, I REALLY want to see how The Boy likes snow. And, I want to see him shovel.

New pics up at my Facebook and Myspace sites for those interested.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A-bag, B-bag, C-bag...

Man, I have grown into such a slob since the baby was born. I realized this when I sat down to dinner with some chorus mates the other night, and one of them said something along the lines of, "we'll contribute towards heat for your iron, if you'd like." Granted, I was in cords, a beat-up pair of sneakers and a collared shirt, untucked, so I deserved it. But, corderoy pants don't iron under the best of circumstances, and the sort of work I'm doing does not require pressed, creased shirts.

This is actually a huge departure for me. Nobody can say that I'm not a snappy dresser under normal circumstances. My shirts and pants are creased correctly and hung appropriately, and my ironing has become the stuff of legends - when I iron during a game played by one of my teams, they have a winning percentage of close to .900. (Because, of course, my ironing board has mystical powers... or I just pick and choose my ironing times based on pitching matchups.)

Normally, I'm not an every-day shaver, but I've let things go to once or twice a week since The Boy was born. Between that and wearing t-shirts / polos that don't required ironing (but probably should be), my fashion sense has downgraded by an order of magnitude. I don't wear khakis on a regular basis, and when I do, I tend to favor the wrinkled-up pair of cargo pants that fit comfortably.

(It doesn't help that I'm about fifteen pounds heavier since the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Most of it is intentional weight - probably about ten of the pounds - gained since I ramped up the intensity of my weight-lifting. Some isn't, and is just a result of careless diet. So, I need to transition back to my older pants instead of the newer, slimmer pants.)

I tend to be forced out of my pajamas at the first spit-up or spraying of the day, but I transition into work-out clothes (where I don't care if I get spit on or peed on). My "work" clothes for my nighttime music lessons tend to be polo shirts and jeans, or untucked button-downs and jeans.

I guess that will change when I start working again next school year (or so). I'm not particularly missing the OCD of dressing professionally. Although, there is a backlog of The Wife's and my father's shirts to iron.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Stars shining bright above you...

Okay, I cannot say that this is unexpected. It just sucks.

Remember, way back when, when I said that The Boy was consistently getting through the night? Well, not the last two. The last two nights have sucked beyond belief. He's woken up at midnight - when I'm settling in for my long winter's nap - and wanted to play with Daddy until he falls asleep again at 1:30. Then he wakes up at 2:30 and decides that he's hungry... and then wants to play some more, until he falls asleep at 4-ish. Then, The Wife hands him to me at 5:30 with a cheerful "Good morning!"

Urgh.

Don't get me wrong. He's REALLY cute, and he's REALLY sweet. He authentically only wants attention and company. He wants to chew on some toys or on Daddy's finger, or he wants to jump in his Jumparoo, or he wants to watch television. (Not really on the last one. I've been turning the TV off when he's been paying attention to what's on the screen. I do have it on sometimes, for noise and company, when I don't feel like setting the iPod to play.) He's not screaming and crying - much. He's smiling and happy and bouncy and energetic and... well, there's a reason that I'm in love with that little guy. I just REALLY wish that it wasn't at 3:30AM. "Only mad dogs and Englishmen," indeed.

On the brighter side, the last couple of days have been beautiful 50-degree days, so The Boy and I have gotten out to walk around. We went to the comic book store yesterday, just to hang out and chat a little bit. Today we went to the bakery and bought a treat for Daddy, because he had just run a couple of miles on the treadmill and needed the carbs.

>sigh< Now to watch the end of "Snakes on a Plane" and go to sleep. Maybe both at the same time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

You put your right foot in...

Right now, The Boy is going to town on his jumparoo. I mean, he's dancing from foot to foot like he's doing some kind of Irish jig, and he's laughing up a storm. What a great thing to watch! I took a minute's worth of video, which I'll send to my father & my in-laws today or tomorrow. It's way, way too cute - particularly when he starts in with that cute little giggle & laugh that he has. He's not entirely sure what laughing is all about yet, and what it means, and how to do it, but he lets out a REALLY cute giggle every once in a while.

It's still all about his toes, though. Sitting, lying, whatever - he's all about his toes, all weekend long. Any way that he could find to grab them, play with them and chew on them, he took. Actually, The Wife got him to sit up by himself for a few seconds - he grabbed his toes, and it balanced him quite well. Not too long now before he's sitting & balancing and starting to cause loads of trouble - at least, if he takes after his mother. I was good baby.

Surprising as it seems, I was a good baby. I wasn't obnoxious, like I am now. I wasn't a trouble maker until I was in school. At least, no one remembers that I was. Not surprising, though - I was the 4th of 4, and by the time I came along, everyone else was too busy to pay attention to me. Look at all the pictures of me - I have a half dozen or so baby pictures, then the next set is me graduating high school.

(Slight exaggeration. I have some school photos in there, too.)

The Wife and I are coming up with a bit of a conundrum: teaching lessons. On Saturdays, we travel about 40 minutes north to teach. She's got a one-hour lesson, and I have a 30 minute & 60 minute lesson, in towns that are roughly ten to fifteen minutes away from each other. The issue? It's very difficult to teach a music lesson when there's a baby along for the ride. Even at home, it can be very difficult if there's only one person to teach AND take care of the baby. I know that one student from a nearby town won't come in for a lesson if there's no one to take care of the baby - whatever. I understand. I'm not cheap to commission, and I'd want to make sure that my kid got every second of attention. So, we're trying to figure out what to do about it.

It looks like I'll teach both of my lessons, then she'll teach hers. It's not an ideal solution - it's difficult to commission lessons at, like, 1 o'clock on a Saturday because it sort of shoots the whole day down the drain - but it'll have to do for now. Maybe some weeks, The Boy can stay with Grandpa for a couple of hours or something like that - but not now, when Grandpa's in Florida for a month.

Any suggestions? I know that he'll be portable to lessons when he's older - my college teacher brought his then-3 year old to lessons, and he had been trained for a long time on how to behave and did a pretty good job.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Growin' Bigger

The Boy went to the doctor today for his 4 month checkup, who said that he's hitting all of his milestones - he's tracking objects around the room, is more engaged in life, responds to voices, reaches for stuff, can sit and stand when assisted appropriately, poops a lot, pees a lot, etc., etc., etc. He's now 26.5 inches tall, which is 90th percentile - not surprising, considering his parents are giants - and he weighs 16/11, which is 80th percentile - and seemingly less than when we weighed him at home. But, still, he's a big guy. He had at least two inches on the 9-month old boy in the seat next to him. Plus, he was MUCH cuter.

(The last statement was just as objective as the other statements. I've discovered that The Boy rates a 74.2 on the cuteness scale, which is a 75-point scale - that would be 99th percentile, according to the doctor. The other baby was a mere 72 - still high, but not high enough.)

He got his shots today, which did NOT help his mood very much. He screamed at us for about 45 seconds before calming down - which is much better than his father, who has been known to cry for an hour and a half after shots. So, he's MUCH less of a little girl than his Daddy is.

The funny & cute bit was when I stripped him down for the examination. He found his toes a couple of days ago, and while we were waiting for the doctor, he had ahold of his toes for dear life - chewing on them, playing with them and moving them around. He was wiggling them and watching them intently, which was WAY cool. The doctor came in and noted, "He has no problem being naked, does he?" Well, it runs in the family more than a bit.

But, MAN, he loves those toes.

He had his leg pulled across his body, so that his right foot was a little bit above and outside of his left shoulder. That's pretty darn flexible. I sort of tried that a little later and got my right foot about up to my left hip, and it stopped. Not that I'm a flexible guy, but I'm pretty athletic and do work at it. As I've said to The Wife, The Boy can be folded into more portable shapes when necessary.

After his shots, we went home and both ate. Then, I managed a nice Jedi mind trick and convinced him that he needed to nap, and we both napped on my bed until Mommy got home at a little bit after three.

Tonight, we're headed into the city and David's going to meet Uncle Composer, who was my roommate at the University of Michigan for a couple of years. He's got two little ones of his own, including a daughter that JUST came home from the hospital after being born around 3 months premature.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Oh, what a difference a year makes...

So, last year at this time - The Wife was pregnant. The Boy was the size of an almond. I played PS2 - Final Fantasy XII, I think, but that might have been 2 years ago. I was teaching in my last job, revelling in a successful concert season, which included 11 trips to the Big Apple Chorus Singing Christmas Tree, 4 caroling dates with the Dapper Dans, my two concerts and two of The Wife's concerts.

We had our old, non-green couch; the nursery was a spare room and the spare room was a computer room and the music studio had a little bit more room in it. The living room had our Christmas tree but no toys. On top of that, we were getting a solid nine hours of sleep per night during this vacation break.

Now? I'm unemployed. Our living room has a jumperoo, two play gyms and a bouncy chair. Nine hours of sleep per night seems like a distant and fading dream, something out of a story.

Is it worth it? Hellz yeah. It's been an amazing four months, and every day is a little bit better than the last one. This is a wonderful journey that we're taking.

2007 turned out to be FAR, far better than it had any right to be. 2008 will be even better.