Friday, February 29, 2008

Snoozin'...

Just had a wonderful parent moment - walked into the bedroom and found my wife and my son asleep together, nose-to-nose. My heart melted! There really isn't anything more beautiful than that: my life partner and best friend, dozing happily with a comfortable, happy little baby. I snuck in and took a picture, because I just had to memorialize the moment.

We've been doing a lot of co-sleeping / family bed stuff lately. Not intentionally: what happens is, one of us goes to get him for his 2 / 3 / 4 AM feeding (whenever he wakes), brings him inside, and then everyone falls asleep mid-feeding. I honestly don't mind that; I think I'm worried about breaking him into spending the entire night in his bed, but that's not a huge concern right now. (Remind me of that when I'm not sleeping because of it!) I enjoy having the boy there with us, because it makes me feel better. It obviously makes him feel immensely more comfortable - the look on his face when he wakes up and sees Mommy on one side and Daddy on the other side tells it all.

It does cramp things a little bit, though. We don't have any specialized sleeper-type thing with us, so I'm a little afraid of the whole SIDS thing. God forbid, the blankets get pulled up too high... although, I have been training him in the "Where's the baby?" game. He's pretty good at pulling sheets / towels / diapers (clean) / washclothes off of his face to reveal a smiling, giggling baby whenever I ask the question! But, for the most part, we sleep with the blankets a lot lower than we're used to sleeping, which is why The Wife now sleeps in a sweatshirt. It doesn't bother me, because I handle cold a lot better than she does.

I do think that the sort-of-co-sleeping that we're doing is giving us an extra hour's worth of sleep on the weekends, for sure. It's making the weekdays a little bit easier, also. Plus, it's hard to get cheesed off at a smiling, happy baby who's snuggling up to you when he wakes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Growing Like a Weed...

Isn't the phrase, "growing like a weed," an interesting one? There seems to be a few hidden implications therein. Is growing like a weed - something that is undesired, that chokes off parts of a garden, that is not visually attractive - a bad thing? Or is growing like a weed - growing incredibly quickly, despite any conditions present - a good thing? I don't really know.

Anyway. The Boy is, most assuredly, growing like a weed. We currently have two large plastic tubs full of clothes that he's already outgrown - that's not counting the clothes that we've thrown away (because they're too badly stained to be used again) or given away to charities. Every day, there's more clothing that we're putting in that pile because he's outgrowing them.

He's already moved onto the middle size setting on the jumparoo. I think he'll be there for a couple of weeks, but - looking at it - I never really thought that he'd be at that setting so quickly. He's almost entirely outgrown the door-hanging jumper that my brother gave us.

ZOMG - the commercial for the Iron Man movie came on. Holy crap, does that look awesome. Man, I'm such a dork.

Today was an interesting day. We woke up and was very, very happy and cheerful, as the baby is wont to be in the morning. He was engaging, bright-eyed and poopy-tailed. He played around for an hour or so until he was ready for his morning nap, which the two of us took together, as we usually do.

(Back to the "spoiled" discussion of a couple of days ago - is it going to cause problems that the boy is used to napping on me in the morning? I don't think so, and - frankly - don't really care.)

When he woke, he was grouchy and angry. He cried and was not happy for most of the next hour and a half, through a meal, a couple of changes and a lot of playing. He napped for forty-five minutes, which fixed his mood issues. He awoke happy again, and we read a book or two, played on all of his toys, walked around the house and ripped up some magazines together. Actually, I read my ESPN magazine, and he tore apart some junk mail magazines. (Just keep him away from my comic books.)

He and I had a nice rest of the afternoon, most notably including a two-hour nap until The Wife got home. I'm enjoying this current sleep / growth cycle that he's experiencing, as I need the rest while recovering from the flu. Isn't it interesting how things like this seem to happen? He'll be back to "normal" next week, when I'm healthy.

Little Firehose

It never ceases to amaze me that, no matter how carefully I try to time the diaper changes, at least once per day, my Little Firehose decides to go off in between diapers. It's astonishing. No matter how long / how short the diaper changes take, he will inevitably just fire away at the world.

Granted, it's been a few days since he's peed in his hair. But, give him time. He almost got me in the face today - just remember to be careful when you lean down for belly kisses when the boys aren't wearing a diaper. Keep a washcloth or hand positioned intelligently.

Usually, when I change him, I'll let him play a bit, pants-less. He'll grab his toes, stick 'em in his mouth and play with his junk with his free hand - "playing the banjo," my brother calls it. That's fine - whatever. It's the best toy he's ever going to have, so he might as well get used to it. It's never - or very rarely - during those times that he shoots. It's always during the other times, when we're getting ready to go out, or he's just been changed into a new outfit an hour previously, that he does.

Ah, well. As long as it keeps him happy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yelling and Shouting

Earlier today, The Boy decided that he wanted to test his lungs out. It was really cute and actually kind of funny - he stood in his jumparoo and just shouted. He wasn't angry, he wasn't hungry, he wasn't upset; he just felt like yelling. Just a whole bunch of "YAAAAAAAAAAAA!" and "mmmMMMMMMMmmmMMM!" and "OOOOOOOOooOOOOOO!" The Wife brought him inside the bedroom, where I was convalescing, and he decided to scream some more.

The interesting part of it was that he was really responsive: I would say something to him, he would shout back at me, then say something, then shout at me, etc. All the while, he had his big, gorgeous, gummy smile at me.

He's got a nice voice - it's resonant and clear. I think he's going to be a great lead singer when he's older - at least, I hope he does. I know that we have enough basses (me & my father) in the family. We need some leads and baritones. Then, the family quartet would be closer to complete...

The moral of the story, I guess, is that it's interesting when the baby is starting to learn about verbal communication. He does say "mamamamamamamamama" often, even though he doesn't know what it means yet. I'm interested to see where he's going with this - how he's going to learn to talk.

Been a while...

Haven't forgotten about my blog, really - just been sick for a while. Still am - I actually had to ask my wife to take a half day from work, today, so that I could get a little extra shuteye without neglecting The Boy. I've got that lovely flu-like thing that's going around (could be the actual flu, for all I know - it's been a while since I've had that), combined with a mild asthma incident. So, not only am I feverish, achy and stuffy, but I also can't breathe. Whatever. It won't kill me, this year.

The Boy is still so darn cute! His first tooth is about a quarter of the way in, and two more are working their way through the gums. We're excited about the teeth thing, not so much about the pain that they're causing. He's remarkably good-natured about the whole thing, though - he's still sleeping (some days more than others) like a six-month old.

He's fluidly rolling from his back to his front, and he's occasionally going the opposite way. He's also started to pump his arms and his legs when he's on his belly, although he's not getting the whole coordination thing down. He can kind of reverse army-crawl backwards a foot or so before becoming too tired. That's a new trick, from the last week or so.

Anyway, I'm back on the horse, and I hopefully won't be bucked for a while.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rutgers University, class of 2030...

Oh, if only I was fifteen years younger and single... (memo to my wife: I'm REALLY only kidding.)

Today, after spending an hour at PT with me (the Daddy walked smack into a fire hydrant in Denver, CO, while arguing with American airlines about the flight that I was supposed to be on the following morning - the one that they canceled my ticket, for no reason - this caused some sort of tendonitis, which is still bugging the crap out of me), The Boy went with me, my father & my niece down to Rutgers for a tour of the nursing school. The Niece - a lovely, sublimely intelligent young lady who is, outside of my baby, the apple of my eye - is looking to become a nurse, and Rutgers is #1 or #2 on her list. Since both The Wife & I have degrees from there, I went on the tour to explain some Rutgers things with her. The Boy came along, as the decision was bring him or leave him in his crib all day. Since I don't want my wife to kill me, I took him with us.

He was an absolute hit, and he was an amazingly good baby. Did he get a little cranky and fussy? Well, yeah. Around his nap time, he was angry and upset that he was in his carriage and indoors instead of in his crib or in his daddy's arms. Who cares about that? He was WONDERFUL! He was happy and engaged in his surroundings, and he was a little flirt all day. Barely the coed that passed that didn't stop to bid the young one hello. The Boy happens to be exceptionally cute, and he had a great time "chatting up" all the girls.

What does a "good baby" or "bad baby" mean? What's the difference? I'm not entirely sure at this point. The general consensus seems to be that a "good baby" isn't crying a lot and does smile a lot. A "difficult baby" is a crying baby or a baby that isn't smiling. Kind of arbitrary, don't you think? There's plenty of times when The Boy is just hanging out and watching what's going on - watching me, watching the surroundings, watching the shadows on the wall of the room, watching the digital photo screen or the television. (Not that much tv, thanks - just a show or two for Daddy's sanity during the day.) When he's just "hanging," he's not necessarily smiling or reacting to what's going on around him - he's just watching and feeling mellow. Does that mean he's not a "good" baby? Of course not!

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm really blogging right now to avoid doing some of my school work. I have a statistics project that I'm not entirely sure about - I know how to do it, I just don't know the direction that I want the paper to go. I don't have a lot of energy tonight, and it shows.

Ah. More on this later. What do you think? What constitutes a "good" baby, and what constitutes a "difficult" baby? Don't all babies have elements of both - sort of human nature, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who am I?

Time for the occasional reminder about who I am...

I'm a 33-year old guy, with a 5 and a half month old son. I've been married to my wonderful, lovely, supremely talented wife since 2004. We live in central NJ, in a house that we bought in 2004. I'm a stay-at-home dad, while my wife teaches orchestra in central New Jersey. In the afternoons and evenings, I teach private instrument lessons (currently, I have a "stable" of 4 regular saxophone students and 2 occasional ones and 3 regular clarinet students and 3 occasional ones), direct a small barbershop chorus (since January 2005, member since November 2002), sing bass with an international-caliber barbershop chorus (since August of 2006), and sing bass with an Episcopal church choir as a paid section leader.

I'm currently collecting approximately 13-15 comic book titles per month and am a regular reader of Sporting News, the Instrumentalist, Muscle & Fitness, Playboy, Maxim and the Newark Star Ledger. I just finished reading "Soon, I Will Be Invincible," by Austin Grossman. I work out three to four days per week, mostly weight lifting - although I started physical therapy on my knee yesterday morning. I'm a regular watcher of Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Torchwood / Doctor Who, and a few other sci-fi shows; I also watch Bleach and Yu-Gi-Oh! G/X animes, and I'm a daily watcher of Scrubs, the Simpsons and Attack of the Show. TiVo is my friend. I subscribe to a bunch of podcasts: ESPN's Baseball Daily, The Lost Podcast with Jay & Jack, New York Times Front Page, 60-Second Science, The Onion Radio News, Baseball Prospectus, The Acapodcast, CASA Originals podcast, The Fitcast, Galactica Watercooler, Around the Net, Ask a Ninja, Strong Bad E-Mails and Fanboy Radio.

I'm planning, right now, on staying out of work until next fall. I'm looking for employment in some of the normal places, and I'm hoping to land a local teaching gig. I'm 1/3 of the way through my second master's degree, this one from Western Governor's University in mathematics grades 6-9. I want to work within 15 minutes of home, so that I can be around for my son. If I can't find a job within those parameters, then I'll work marching bands until I finish my degree, and plan to go back to work in January 2009. I have no real preference when it comes to what grade level; at this point, location is more important.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cheating in Sports

Recently, cheating has taken a high profile in the major league sports, and I'm very torn. I want to teach my son that cheating is wrong and that he shouldn't do it... yet, some cheating isn't as wrong as others. Right back to Orwell's Animal Farm: "Some cheating is more equal than others." I got into a discussion with this at the Big Apple Chorus's retreat this weekend, and it bothered me that, in the conversation, I was not angry about some of the cheating and furious at others. I consider myself to be a painfully honest and honorable person, and this attitude about cheating surprised and confused me.

First of all, to paraphrase Gregory House, MD: "Everyone cheats." How many people stay within the speed limit always? I don't. How many people have illegally parked their car - and yes, running inside for "just a second" doesn't make the parking job any more legal. How many people have fudged a few numbers on their income tax forms? How many people have snuck a glance at the cards of the guy sitting next to them at the table? How do we know what cheating is wrong and what isn't?

The New England Patriots are in the middle of "Spygate." Basically, other teams have accused the Patriots of videotaping secret practices and plays, as well as having cameras on the opposing teams' sidelines during games, in order to steal signals. This, I do not consider to be cheating and do not consider this to be serious.

I look at it this way: in baseball, the "art" of stealing signs goes back for more than a hundred years. Batters have always snuck glances at catchers to determine whether the pitch was going to be inside or outside; offensive teams have had players and pitchers in the outfield relaying signs to the batters, and - every once in a while - a team is accused of having a scout in the stands in the outfield relaying pitching signs to the batter. There's a traditional, and very successful, method that is used for keeping teams honest: the catcher calls for a low, outside ball, knowing that the sign would be stolen. The pitcher throws a high, inside fastball; the batter, who is already starting to dive across the plate for the pitch, then must dodge in order to save his life. Afterwards, that team is not as likely to steal signs from that catcher again.

What should teams facing the Patriots - or any team suspected of stealing signs - do? Simple. Set up in the same formation, with the same indications, that you normally do. Then, instead of having a play go as a run up the middle, as the signs say, you have a playaction pass to a streaking wide receiver. The secondary has come up to cover the run; the receiver goes past them; 80 yard touchdown play results. Another result? That team doesn't trust the signs they're stealing. Controversy over. The teams that are involve with sueing the league and the Patriots are coming out in public and telling everyone that: 1) they weren't smart enough to figure out that they'd been snookered, and 2) they weren't smart enough to deal with it on their own, and 3) they weren't smart enough to use that information to their advantage. I'd LOVE to know that Bill Belichek thinks that, when I call this sign, this play will result; any other play that I run SHOULD be hugely successful.

That's why I don't consider that to be cheating. With luck, I can convince The Boy that that sort of thing is just not worth the effort as well as being wrong. But, as a baseball fan, I have to admit that cheating is part of the fabric of the game. Spitballs, scuffed pitches, corked bats, illegal leads by runners, the "neighborhood" force out (watch a shortstop comLinking across second base to turn a double play - frequently, he won't even be within five feet of the bag when the out is called), sign stealing and gamesmanship (watch "Bull Durham" and see how Crash Davis deals with the batters up at the plate) have been an important part of the game for the game's entire history. Heck, Gaylord Perry won 314 games on the strength of nasty pitches and the constant threat of a world-class spitball. As a baseball fan, I would think it odd that a football team wouldn't be trying to steal signs and plays and all that.

Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs... that is another story, but not quite as other people think. Illegal drugs have been forbidden for use via baseball's collective bargaining agreement for more than two decades, and steroids were added to the list of illegal drugs, officially, in 1991. Anabolic steroids - steroids used for non-prescribed purposes - have been schedule one substances for several decades, which has made them technically illegal since baseball's CBA banned the use of illegal and nonprescribed drugs. Drug testing didn't start until 2001 in the minor leagues and 2003 in the major leagues. Therefore, any player using steroids was already in violation of both the laws of the United States of America and the Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Now, take a deep breath on this one, folks: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have never failed a drug test. They have been tested multiple times, each, but have never failed. Not once. Taking Clemens' case in the Mitchell Report: the ONLY accusations leveled at him are from a convicted felon who is trying to keep himself out of jail. I have read from reputable sources (specifically, Peter Abraham from the Journal News and Steve Lombardi from waswatching.com) that several of McNamee's reports (such as Clemens telling him about using steroids at a lunch party that Jose Canseco threw - when Clemens can prove that he wasn't at the party) are blatant lies or mistruths. McNamee's "evidence" against Clemens is several syringes that were allegedly used to inject Clemens with steroids... syringes that were kept inside of an old beer can for ten years.

Keep in mind that, according to what I've read, there is no medically credible way to establish what the syringes were full of when they entered Clemens' body. This evidence would not stand up in any court in the land.

Is their circumstantial evidence that Clemens used PEDs? Yes, kind of. He was a great pitcher into his 40's, something only done by Nolan Ryan. And, his career resurgence happened right at the time that he was accused of starting his use of PEDs. But, that does not really take into account his legendary workout routines - something very new to baseball, when - even into the late 80's and early 90's - players were told not to lift weights because it would make the "stiff" and "too big to play baseball." Players half his age couldn't keep up with him - and I have seen, in gyms, people Clemens' age who can do that.

What do I tell David, later on? Hard to say. Can we throw away the great career of a man who was never convicted of using Performance Enhancing Drugs? I don't think so. I think it's possible to appreciate the accomplishments of a Roger Clemens - or even a Barry Bonds or a Mark McGwire - while deploring the use of drugs. McGwire and Giambi - having admitted to using PEDs in one way or the other - have more to answer for. Bonds - currently fighting indictment for perjuring himself before Congress - has more to answer for. Clemens? Not so much. When real evidence comes forth, then I'm interested.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Review: Rock Band for PS3

I bought Rock Band for my PS3 as a Christmas gift for myself. Rock Band, made by Guitar Hero (Activision) rival EA (which has since been absorbed into Activision), is the latest in the new genre of "Rhythm Video Games," meaning games that require the player to press the buttons in a certain order at a certain time. Think, if you will, "Simon" when you're reading the notes as its going along.

The cool thing about Rock Band: not only does it have the requisite guitar controller (which is an electric guitar-shaped thing, with five buttons and a "strum bar," that you hit to make the "notes" register in the game), but it has a microphone for singing, and a drum kit for playing. The drum kit is a highlight for me - it's got four pads, ranned in an arc, and a kick pedal for the bass drum sounds.

The game play is really pretty cool - you select a song, and - as the song plays - the "notes" are read down the screen ini color & length for you to play. The patterns are pretty standard for guitar playing, drumming, bass playing (with the same controller as the guitar, but they only give one controller). The singing aspect shows the words, along with a relative pitch level of the note.

For a professional musician, this game is really quite challenging. I have a sophisticated sense of rhythm - it's kind of what I do, you know? I have had quite a bit of difficulty playing some of the songs on each instrument because of the rhythmic differences I have with the machine. The songs are not metronome-accurate - they are as accurate as the actual performers are. This is pretty good, but not quite as accurate as I'm used to playing. This has meant that some of the fast passages have been almost impossible for me to play - I'm dropping notes, or - weirder - the notes would just disappear and not register with the machine.

Plus, the game requires the "musician" to play on the VERY front end of the beat. This is hard for me, as I'm a back-of-the-beat kind of guy - comes from playing with many different conductors over the years. I have a tendency to be late on notes unless I'm careful, and once I start really listening to the music, I'm dead.

My wife will actually play this game with me, on occasion. She's quite good at the bass stuff, and good at the guitar stuff. She's a better singer than I, so that helps - although she was the one who figured out that you really need volume while you're singing in order to score the most points.

This game is an awful lot of fun. It's also appropriate for most age levels. I'm not a big believer that rock music - no matter the lyrics - is inappropriate for kids to listen to, within reason. Nothing in the game is obscene, and the rest of it is a lot of fun. I've finished, to date, 61 of 61 songs (I downloaded three songs from the Playstation network) on guitar and 37 of 61 on drums. I heartily recommend this to anyone who's a music fan and has a few extra bucks lying around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bachelorhood... or, it's a boring life.

The Wife took The Boy to quartet rehearsal tonight, because I was teaching a clarinet lesson. It's hard to teach private lessons with the baby around, for obvious reasons - babies like attention, and they don't like loud squeaks. (All clarinets squeak. Even the highest level professionals squeak - just not so much, and usually in a way that sounds like music. Saxophones are just LOUD.) Plus, the baby is used to going to quartet rehearsal... so, off they went, leaving me all by my lonesome.

This was, by far, the longest stretch of time that I've been home and babyless since he was born on August 30. It was almost six full hours... it was weird. The house is different when they're not around... kind of creepy, actually. I hate a big, empty house (even though the house isn't so big). I hate - and usually won't - going into the garage / Comic Book Room when I'm home by myself. Call it a too-vivid imagination fueled by WAAAAAY too many horror flicks.

So, what did this wild and crazy dude do, stuck at home by his lonesome? Lots of exciting stuff: cleaned & vaccuumed our bedroom. cleaned the downstairs bathroom, halfway. finished the laundry. taught a lesson. did statistics homework. washed dishes. cooked & ate dinner - two english-muffin-egg-cheese sandwiches, with ketchup & onion salt.

I did play "Rock Band," for fifteen or twenty minutes. I've finished all 61 songs (the 58 on the DVD and 3 that I bought) on "medium" on the guitar (I'm done with about 35 of them on drums at the same level), but I decided to go back and try to get "5 stars" on the songs that I didn't get five stars on. Three songs, doubled my score & got the requisite stars; the fourth, did just as badly as I did before. I have a lot of trouble with one-note-repeated-quickly stuff with the guitar, because my inner rhythm / feel for 16th notes is very different from the computer's feel. I think I'm more accurate, because the computer is playing along with recordings, and rockers don't use metronomes often.

That's it. Boring, boring, boring. Although, I did spend fifteen minutes organizing episodes of "Bleach" on my iPod, making sure the titles & episode numbers were correct and unifying the album artwork.

Back to Rock Band... it is interesting, though. My rhythm is way more "behind the beat" than the machine will allow... it comes from playing in too many bands. I have good anticipation when it comes to following a conductor: I can flawlessly interpret a conductor's intent and execute it, usually without any conscious thought. That's what 25 years of playing an instrument in various ensembles will do. But, when I'm playing chamber music - which, in a sick, twisted & warped way is what rock & pop music are - I tend to play responsively instead of aggressively. Don't know what to call that, really; it's just what I do. I'm usually not the leader in a quartet / quintet setting, so I'd rather blend with the leader and work it from there. The game, because you're punching buttons in a rhythmic fashion, needs your beat to be on the FAR front of the beat - actually a 32nd note or so ahead of what you're actually playing. This is distracting to me, and it causes problems until my internal pulse adapts to it.

The problem is happening when one note is repeated for several beats of 16th notes. For whatever reason, I fall out around the 7th or 8th note; this is preventing success on some songs, which are made up of that sort of rhythmic pattern. It's getting better, but not by much, and not quickly enough. I don't want to spend time practicing this, necessarily; I can't justify the time practicing a video game when I should be practicing saxophone. Still. It's interesting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Momma's Boy

The Boy definitely has his preferences about with whom he spends his time.

It's kind of astonishing, how he's figured out that Mom & Dad are two different people who treat him in two different ways. Sometimes he wants Mommy's ways, sometimes Daddy's... it's the "Momma's Boy" and "Daddy's Boy" syndrome. Nothing big, yet, because out of sight truly means out of mind.

Although, when The Wife comes home from work, he's absolutely bewitched, bothered & bewildered by her. (I use that phrase because that episode of "Buffy" was on on Sunday.) I mean, he watches her like a hungry dog watches a hamburger! He definitely notices the times she's not around, and he definitely notices the times that I'm not around by the same way. It is extremely rewarding, when you're been gone for a little while, to come home & have an enthusiastic greeting from the baby!

Mommy, right now, bathes him. She also reads more stories to him - something I'm trying to change, but haven't made into a habit. She gives him naked time - gotta air out the junk, you know?

I take him for walks. I toss him around - gently, naturally, but I figured out the "toss the baby on the bed & EARTHQUAKE!!!" game, which he loves. He and I bounce a lot together on his toys. I carry him around the house on walks & housework - not that he does housework, but he hangs out with me while I do it.

Different people, different set of activities. It's cool to see that he's picked up on them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Technical Issues...

Internet's been down in our household since late Thursday night. Annoying, because it isn't my fault, this time. Tomorrow, I have to make a trip to Comcast's payment center to get a new modem. >sigh<

The Boy has not figured out locomotion yet, but - when he's on his hands & knees, and propping himself up (like he's learned to do within the past week), he's figured out how to rotate himself around. Last night, we both were dead-set certain that he was going to start inching himself forward, but he didn't make it yet.

Look, I'm not rushing it. Believe me. I'm not looking forward to the days of childproofing, outlet covers, special doorknob-things & unscrewing hot water knobs. I'm not looking forward to the "Don't pull on the television wires," "that's DADDY'S videogame, sweetheart," and "No, honey, your comic books are over there - they're the ones with slobber all over them." I enjoy the fact that, for the most part, if we put him down, he'll be in the same place in 30 seconds, when we turn back around.

Still, it was really exciting last night, watching him put the concepts of motion to work. He saw a toy about two feet in front of him, knew that he wanted the toy, and was trying to coordinate his body motions in order to move forwards to get the toy. I could actually see the little gerbil on his wheel in the boy's thought processes. It was very cute, and he worked at it for, like, fifteen minutes before getting frustrated enough to stop trying - which is a really long time, for The Boy. It won't be long.

Crazy week this week for all of us. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

7-Minute Abs

For the first five months of his life, The Boy would have nothing to do with "tummy time." This was really quite odd to us, as we were told that babies enjoyed tummy time, for a couple of minutes per day, at least. The Boy would nap on us lying on his stomach, but if he was put down on his playmat or the carpet on his belly, he would scream for two minutes, stick his thumb in his mouth and refuse to move. Kind of cute, in a weird sort of way.

But, for whatever reason, he's decided that he now loves Tummy Time. On Sunday, he decided that he wanted to be on his belly and raise himself up on his hands in order to look around. So, for the past two days, he has spent a lot of time on his belly. His playmat has great stuff on it that crinkles, and he levers himself up and squeezes the crinkly stuff. It's very cute. Even today, for me, he spent quite a bit of time doing that sort of baby yoga, in order to look at stuff and grab stuff in front of him.

I can understand why - he finally figured out that, if he pushes himself up (baby pushups, similar to a yoga position that I forget the name of), he can see LOTS of stuff that he can't see when he's on his back. He also managed to propel himself a little bit - he pushed himself back about six inches, after five minutes of work, Monday night.

So, it looks like he might actually crawl, after all. He might not skip directly over to walking. We'll see. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Still got it...

Went to a Super Bowl party tonight on Long Island. For the geographically challenged, Long Island is roughly 60-ish miles from central New Jersey, where we live. It was an annual Super Bowl party thrown by one of my buddies from the Big Apple Chorus, so everyone there was a barbershop nerd. My kind of crowd - particularly since the dude throwing the party is into the same stuff I am. (Comics, Babylon 5, Heroes, Lost, etc.)

A little background - this dude has the same hairstyle that I have - shaved head, goatee, similarly shaped glasses. I'm a couple of inches taller, and he's a bit heavier than I am. He and his wife also adopted three kids around the same time that The Boy was born - a 7 year old, a 3 year old and a 3 month old, all sisters. The littlest one - now 8 or 9 months depending on how you're doing the math - woke up from her nap soon after I arrived. Her mommy brought her into the room that had everyone, the baby saw me and immediately reached out and wanted to be held by me.

Now, I know that it wasn't any kind of mystical baby charm I was wielding; she was still partially asleep and saw a head & face that was like her daddy's face, and she reached out for it. So, I held her, and she snuggled in close. It was nice, as always - babies feel really nice to hold. She's heavier than The Boy, but isn't much taller - maybe 5 pounds heavier and an inch taller, if that. So, it was wierd holding a heavy baby! She started to wake up and figured out that I was not her daddy fairly quickly, all things considered; but, she decided that she was comfortable, and we made friends and hung out until bedtime.

I've always been good with babies. I like babies and always have liked babies. Throughout my life, babies have enjoyed being held by me and spending time with me. I'm pretty happy with that, because they're fun. Considering that I do miss The Boy when he's not around, it was nice to have a Temporary Baby (TM) to play with for a little while.

Girls are different than boys, though. It ain't just the plumbing; they're just different. They smell different, and they behave different. Can't really explain it yet; it's just not the same.

The Boy was with my wife at my brother's house for the game. The Boy was apparently an absolute delight, as I'd expect. He's starting to warm up to people over the last couple of days, so he was nice to Grandpa and the Furry Cousins tonight. Today, he also started rolling over again and spending time on his tummy - something he just has never done for me. Eh. Whatever.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Does whatever a spider can...

So, The Boy has been excessively clingy over the past week or so. What I mean by that is thus: during the day, when he's home with me, he does not want to be out of direct physical contact with me for more than, say, 30 seconds. This excludes breakfast for some reason: he has no problem watching me cook breakfast and eat it from his chair. For the rest of the day, he's a major Daddy's-Boy. If I put him in his chair while I, for instance, take a shower or go to the bathroom, then he goes nuts. If I put him in his crib to nap - even if he's dead exhausted - he'll cry himself awake after an average of 15-20 minutes.

Occasionally, in the jumperoo, he can go five or ten minutes without direct contact from me. This makes the jumperoo the best choice for showering or making and eating lunch. This isn't such a great idea, as I'm uncomfortable with leaving him in the toy while I'm in the shower.

Plus, G-d forbid I read a book or the newspaper or log in to the computer. He has no tolerance for that stuff, choosing to start screaming within approximately twenty seconds. The only exception to this is that he will allow me to carry sheet music around if he's in the carrier and I'm singing to him. When I listen to the iPod, he decides to play the game of "grab the thin white wire and yank REALLY HARD," which is a fun game for David and not so much fun for Daddy.

What this means is, all told, I'm ingesting far less media than I'm used to ingesting. I'm used to devouring websites, newspapers, books and magazines at a ferocious rate. Normally, I'm an extremely fast reader - around a hundred pages per hour, and I remember far more than most people do. This isn't bragging; it's just how I'm wired. I never go anywhere without several forms of literature with me: usually, a novel, two or three magazines and my iPod with several podcasts and television shows / movies.

I will admit to being a bad father, again - The Boy does watch some television with me, against the recommendations of the AMA. Usually, we watch G4's "Attack of the Show," which is entertainment, video game and computer news - basically, infotainment centered around dorks. Occasionally we'll watch one of my cartoons or other shows, usually while he's eating and can't see the television. This is necessary, as my brain starts turning cartwheels if not active.

I couldn't imagine being a homemaker and not having the hobbies / work that I do. It must be agonizing. Just spending the day cleaning and taking care of the kid? Wow. Nuts to that!

But, over the last week, it's been pretty close to that. He won't allow me a moment to breathe during the day. I'm told that this is a phase and wears off, eventually. In a way, I'm looking forward to that; but, in a way, I'm not. I'm very aware of the passage of time, and I'm very aware that, in a short period of time, The Boy is not going to want to get within five yards of me without a radiation suit. I do enjoy the snuggles, carrying him around and sitting with him on my lap. I don't want that to go away at all!

But, I would like to read the newspaper once in a while.